Dear Sobriety…

“If heartache won’t kill you, you find something that will
And it turns out this battle is only uphill…” Pistol Annies

My family has a genetic predisposition to addiction.  I was hooked on smoking after about two days – up to 2 1/2 packs by the time I quit.  This, after I watched my dad struggle to kick his 5 pack a day, work in the steel mills habit.  I may have started smoking, and I may have college-binge-drank, but I won’t touch alcohol as a general rule these days.

Let’s put it this way – one of the reasons I saw my world imploding, was my willingness to say “can I have a rum and diet”  or “gin and tonic, double limes, please” and know that despite all the pills I take, I needed something else to lean on.  I ache to know what it would be like NOT to want to blot my world out or just soften it around the edges.

I’m also amazed at how legitimate it is for adults to try to peer pressure you into drinking.  My mom, my friends, everyone.  Sometimes they take no and it’s not a worry, other times they look at me like there’s something wrong with me.  Doesn’t EVERY woman like wine?  Aren’t there wine cozies and wine slushees and wine wine wine?

I laugh about pill o’clock and my ability to swallow a handful of pills in one gulp – it’s not something to be proud of and my shame underlies that joking and sharp openness.  I’d be very very angry if someone took my tranqs, my anti’s, my opies, my sleeps…  the row of meds that sits on my desk, all prescribed, all legitimate, all known.  But I hate myself for needing them, for the way I get anxious if the doctor jerks me around and it’s hard to get an appointment.

These days I don’t do pill addition with the bottles of alcohol that float around our house, usually.  I don’t add up how much would kill me, how much would hurt me, how much would send me uselessly to the hospital.  I want to, though.  I really do.

Just breathe…

“If I get it all down on paper, it’s no longer inside of me,
Threatening the life it belongs to… ” (Anna Nalick)

Today is a day when I’m quiet in my head, when the doubts and the shame I confessed yesterday in therapy aren’t beating so loud inside my head that I can’t hear anything else.

I remember her kindness, telling me that my self judgements were evident and suggesting that maybe I should treat myself with kindness and less self condemnation.  I never realized how much therapy could help, like draining a cup of acid that you’re carefully balancing – one misstep and everyone will see and notice your mistake.  On the days immediately after “confession”, I feel like my cup is less full and I can take a deep breath without that danger.

I wish I’d known before, that even with the small helps that I could ferret out, with the thoughts of killing myself comforting me every day and the knives carelessly scattered around my house, that there was someone, something out there that could take the heartbeats of hell and turn them into something I can look at and make sense of.

My psyche may be jagged pieces, but they’re my jagged pieces and I think maybe I’m learning how to fit them together.  It says something that just that tiny bit of hope feels like I’m dooming myself, the same way I’ll never make a wish because it’s just known – wishes I make do not come true.

First blog post

Six months ago, my life felt out of control.

Four months ago, I was still in partial hospitalization.

A month and a half ago, I was  discharged with treatment plans and hope.

Today I realized that my story was still being written, in the choices I make, in the meds I take, in the therapy I attend even when it feels too hard.  I am still terrified every day, waiting for the floor of sanity to crumble beneath me.

Who I am: anonymous, older than you would think, a lawyer, a wife, a friend.  I’m liberal, I’m lost, I quote bits of songs to myself when I see myself.

Maybe someday I’ll find the answers.