There are some strong common threads running through the stories on the sober blogs.
Joyce’s latest post, “Something is missing,” touched on those commonalities. “I just know something is missing,” she writes. “I spent many hours over my long weekend reading sober blogs, many of them from their beginning. Hoping that I’ll find some clue that others have experienced this sudden gaping hole in their lives after being sober for a while.”
This void is something I have experienced too. What to do without Sally? Where to put all these thoughts and anxieties now that they don’t fit into a wine bottle.
I was reading older posts over at Primrose’s “Taking A New Path.” At 50 days in she writes of finding unexpected changes in sobriety. She refers to an Unpickled post where Jean discusses sober “surprises,” including this: “Recovery is only partly about ‘not drinking’. It has a whole lot more to do with self-examination and ruthlessly honest introspection. In order to truly change, we have to figure out where all the discomfort originates and deal with it.”
At the risk of stating the obvious, I offer two thoughts:
1. What Joyce is missing in her new sobriety is what Jean is describing in her more mature sobriety.
2. Identifying and dealing with “the gaping hole” and not giving into the “discomfort” makes a huge difference between staying sober and sliding backwards.
Is that right?
I write this post on the last day of an incredibly busy week at work. In the midst of tight deadlines and tracking many moving pieces, I received some negative feedback from my client. The timing was not great.
And here I thought I was on top of things. Talk about “discomfort.”
My initial response was reactive and defensive. As I really thought about the situation, however, I realized that some of his criticisms were not without merit.
I began to panic and started casting about for a quick way to make the discomfort stop.
But before the voices of doom and self-hatred and Sally/Fox/Wolfie could really take me over, I had conversations with ACTUAL PEOPLE. I talked with my husband, got on the phone with a colleague familiar with the situation, and spent quite a bit of time in what Jean describes as “ruthlessly honest introspection.”
Eventually the voices in my head died down and the real, live human voices helped inform a more realistic perspective.
I do not know how the situation will resolve, but that is sort of beside the point. There will always be another work situation, home situation, friend situation … there will always be a SITUATION, a gaping hole, a discomfort.
I faced this week’s situation without hangovers and guilt. This gave me the energy and the internal resources to wait for and to find the other voices. The helpful voices.
Something missing. Something found.