Learning how to “sit in my feelings” in recovery

adult alone anxious black and white
Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

 

This morning briefly reminded me of those mornings I used to start dreaming about drinking Sauvingnon Blanc around breakfast time. First of all my daughter wasn’t sure if it was fancy dress day at school today, and couldn’t decide whether to go in normal clothes or fancy dress: cue gigantic meltdown. Then my computer-illiterate husband starts swearing and getting frustrated at the computer when it turned off in the middle of his paperwork, losing what he was working on. Right in the middle of it all the chaos the dog starts to barking to be let out so he can pee and poo in his favourite spot up the street where I have to go and pick up after him, and I was running late. It made me think: life isn’t easy! No wonder people look to alcohol or other crutches to get them through! I am just so happy that I had been to the gym before all of this craziness descended, and that put me in a good enough mood to get through the morning without having a meltdown myself and, for the most part, with a smile on my face. I am so grateful that I have begun to learn the coping skills in sobriety that mean I don’t turn to meltdown in stressful situations.

Hello Again

So I’ve been gone a little while. Last time I left you guys I promised to try and get a bit more raw and vulnerable on the blog. I can’t say I’ve had any epiphanies or deep amazing thoughts about where to go with this blog or how to reveal myself in a vulnerable manner. One thing I have decided, however, is that instead of aiming for weekly blog posts I need to aim for monthly posts instead. This is the only way it is going to be manageable for me as I just have too much work to do in my day job. As for my personal journey I do feel like I am still learning and progressing every day, although rather than it being epiphanies hitting me all the time, the progress is a little more incremental now. But that’s fine too. Slowly, slowly in sobriety I am starting to build self-esteem, starting to believe in myself more, and starting to get over my imposter syndrome, all of which is a welcome change from the stuck record that was previously in my head for so long, telling me I’m not good enough.

Online Commenters (Trolls)

troll face

Yesterday one of my more controversial blog posts was shared around a few places online, getting a bit of attention. Now I have been trolled a fair bit in my life prior to writing this blog whilst trying to advocate for science online (some of those anti-vaxxers can be cray cray!), so I can handle a bit of criticism and don’t tend to take most of it on board. Generally I don’t bother giving trolls oxygen, or only engage with them in a way that amuses me, but as a ‘once only deal, I will reply to a couple of the comments I received here. The ones I will reply to were those saying that I am in love with my intellect, or that I have a huge ego. I can have a huge ego it’s true – the kind of ego that a person with low self-esteem has, where they are going to solve the world’s problems alone on the one hand, and are deserving of nothing on the other. An ‘insecure egomaniac’ as my recovery coach calls it. Nothing special or different about that, and I’m trying to become more balanced.

Am I in love with my intellect? Well at this point in my recovery, I look at it this way: I have battled with low self-esteem and imposter syndrome for many years, and this was one driving force behind my drinking. In sobriety I have begun to piece together some self-esteem and some belief in myself so that now I think I’m in a position to say “Fuck yeah I’m in love with my intellect”. It’s pretty good. It’s helped me get pretty far in life, so I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I’m stupid when I’m not. Sorry (#notsorry) if that pisses you off, but it’s the truth and I have finally reached a place where I am comfortable enough within myself not to apologise for that. It doesn’t mean I know everything about everything, and it doesn’t mean I’m never wrong. I have changed things on this blog when inaccuracies have been pointed out to me for example, but I  only engage in this manner with commenters who are respectful.

Overall, I guess what I’d like to say to those people who feel negatively about the things that I write in the blog is that all I am doing here is trying to help people. When I got into recovery I couldn’t find many voices like mine – atheist with a strong adherence to science and evidence – so I thought why not put my voice out there for the others in recovery who feel like me? You don’t have to like it and you don’t have to agree.

I would also like to address some of the comments on my atheism for a second, as people seem to have plenty of thoughts about that. To the trolls on this issue: I am not you, and my reasons for my atheism are not necessarily the same as yours were before you got into recovery etc. Mine have a lot to do with believing in the big bang, evolution, the vastness of the universe (and if there’s an omnipotent power ruling over such vastness then what is the meaning of their life?), the fact that coincidences are statistically more likely to happen than not, and the fact that our brains are wired to detect patterns when they are not present (hence inferring the hand of God).

Working through Trauma

Finally, something I share in common with so many of you who are in recovery is some of the traumatic events I have been through in my past that had led me to drink. I talked about many of these today for the first time in a very long time to my wonderful recovery coach and this has left me feeling very emotional. But for the first time in recent memory, not only have I been able to ‘sit’ in my emotions, but I have actually wanted to. I haven’t wanted to run away and escape from them, but rather have just let them wash over me in a way that wasn’t necessarily effortful or effortless. Mainly I have known that I am just processing them in both a conscious and unconscious manner. Most importantly, until writing this blog right now, the thought of drinking didn’t even enter my mind, and this is real progress.

So overall, between the crazy morning, the trolls, and the trauma, I experienced a lot of triggers today. But I didn’t drink, and I didn’t even want to drink. This is real progress, and I think I might finally be growing up – not actually to the point of being a proper adult yet, but maybe 15 or 16 instead of 13 😀

 

9 thoughts on “Learning how to “sit in my feelings” in recovery

  1. Love your blog and posts. I’m an atheist and just under 5 years sober. I can relate to your thoughts and fascinating Neuroscience far more than praying to a deity that works in ‘mysterious’ ways! 😉
    Keep on writing, thank you

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  2. Go girl. I have many friends in the 12 step programme who are atheists and they still live by the principals of the programme. Your recovery coach is much like a sponsor and you are learning to cope with feelings. You are doing much the same as millions of us worldwide apart from attending meetings. Day at a time, we do recover. Keep on walking

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I could not agree more!! I have learned in the past few years there is more than one way to get and stay sober. I really enjoy your blog and can relate soooooo much!!! To all the trolls out there, FUCK EM!!

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  3. On a good day I have a wee quiet faith in a higher power, others days I’m agnostic, occasionally I’m a confirmed atheist. It seems there is room for the 3 of us in my recovery. The very best with your own recovery journey

    Liked by 1 person

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