I had a Christmas Eve meltdown. Which threw me for a loop because this year there wasn’t any pressure to do much but go to my brothers. He drinks but he’s not the kind of drinker that cares if I do or don’t drink. His wife doesn’t drink much. She might be the first real “normie” I’ve ever met. She enjoys one glass of whiskey once a month. Is that crazy or what? She must have superpowers. Anyway, I’ve been doing surprisingly well with my sobriety this time around. I’m not sure why. The anxiety of “but what will others think” has been gone. The scenario game isn’t playing in my mind. The one where I ask myself “what about holidays? special occasions? vacations?”. It’s almost eerily comfortable this time around. I’m not overly enthusiastic and trying to be everyone’s cheerleader. I’m not obsessively pissed off at the alcohol industry. I don’t want to throat punch every person that drinks. Just calm. I take time every single day to enjoy this feeling because it can be an allusive one, I know that. I know that because Christmas Eve those feelings of panic and anxiety crept back. The fear that I wouldn’t get my calm footing back made me feel more panicked. I was mean. I was beating myself up for how I looked. My inner voice was tearing up my husband for how he looked. My dog even looked like he needed a bath. Suddenly everything in my world looked like it wasn’t right. I criticized myself for leaving dishes in the sink, spills on the oven top, crumbs on the counter. I remembered that this is what I had done in prior sober attempts. I made sure sober me was perfect. I put a lot of pressure on myself to do things just right. That pressure caused a lot of anxiety. It also created a scapegoat for falling back into drinking. “See, sobriety isn’t working and it sucks anyway. May as well drink”.
I didn’t drink. I got home and wrote out all my feelings, determined not to let this anxiety feeling settle in. Alcohol is extremely addictive and crafty, isn’t it? It knows what hot buttons to push. The conclusion I came to that night was that it was my first weekend not binge drinking so my brain was craving booze and acting like a jerk. I also realized that I don’t have to buy into it. If I have a panic attack about not drinking, the thought process that actually helped me that night before bed was “I didn’t just quit drinking. I made a decision to take care of myself in the most loving way possible.” I took a moment to think about all the changes I’ve been making and it really is a lifestyle change. I’m paying attention to the things I tell myself, allowing myself to indulge in some chocolate and hot cocoa (with REAL milk and chocolate syrup), going for fresh air walks and not putting pressure to go to a 90 min. yoga class 4 times a week. All of these things dissolve those feelings of not being good enough, which is what I really struggle with. The goal is no longer to be perfect. The goal isn’t to be superwoman. The goal isn’t to be motivator or a cheerleader, although I do like pom poms. 🙂 The goal isn’t to keep my home so clean that it feels like a museum. The goal is to take all the pressure off and just love myself unconditionally, love the people in my life unconditionally, and enjoy where I am in life right now. I dunno, I kinda like that goal.