One Malfunction Away

Last week we dropped off my boys at summer camp. It is a three week camp. They had never been to a sleep away camp – so this was a huge leap of faith and hope and money(!).

They love it. We’ve received two letters and it sounds as though they are having a blast.

From the moment we dropped them off – and I mean the very first moment, we weren’t even off the camp property yet – my Drunk Nancy voice started clamoring for some wine. She started screaming: “We are on VACATION! Let’s celebrate!”

Drunk Nancy has been screaming for seven days now, and she sort of has a valid point.

You know the feeling you get when you have just begun a much-anticipated vacation and you’ve made it to the airport: Work is behind you and the automatic email response is now in charge; the house is clean and ready for your return; you’ve checked your travel bags and made it through airport security. Responsibility and work are behind you. Fun and freedom await. You take a deep breath, giddy with excitement.

And we all know the perfect way to mark this occasion and kick off the vacation: A DRINK.

That’s how it’s been for a week now. Drunk Nancy screams for her drink and the other voices shut her up by telling her she’s stupid and sloppy and no one wants to be with her, so just go away already.

Each day has not gotten easier, but it hasn’t gotten harder either. Drunk Nancy screams and the other voices scream louder.

I talked to my therapist about it and he said: “Everybody white knuckles it sometimes.”

This was exactly what I needed to hear. Sometimes it is just like this. Life is good, and I want to drink. Life is shitty, and I want to drink.

So I stay sober and stick with the good life and try to make it better. Because if I drink, life will definitely be shitty. And there is no need to start from zero again.

Yesterday, my husband and I were reminiscing about the time we took a sailing class. I never finished the class because once I got out on the water in a teeny tiny sailboat and felt the vastness of the ocean beneath me, I was overwhelmed with my own insignificance and decided dry/firm land was more my style.

He felt the vastness too, but he liked it. To him, the vastness was a peaceful challenge – a reminder of his rightful place.

“You’re just one malfunction away from going SPLAT,” he said. “And nature doesn’t care.”

His comment helped me quiet Drunk Nancy for the first time in a week. Using compassion, rather than berating her. She’s just afraid. Of course she is.

No matter who we are, drunk/sober/perfect/fuck up, we are all just white knuckling it, trying not to go SPLAT.

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14 thoughts on “One Malfunction Away

  1. I find your husband’s “one malfunction” story a great comfort, too. I go both ways with the “you don’ t matter” story: sometimes it’s lovely, sometimes more worry. But either way, compassion always seems a better route to me than yelling at someone, especially at me! Glad you’re doing well, despite some struggles. I’m good too, and I am all for compassion all round. (I’m also, practically speaking, really glad the kids like camp. Enjoy the holiday!) xoxo

  2. White-knuckling it with you right now as am moving house and my voice is whining – ‘but this is hard and you deserve a drink’ ……. It got chocolate instead 😉

  3. I’m experiencing the pre holiday build up just now and had to white knuckle it this evening. I nearly succumbed to walk to the pub and me and hubby had got our coats on to go…. them I changed my mind and had a cup of tea instead! Day 13 for me.

  4. I read this post at the beginning of my sober journey (which is still in its beginning stages, but going strong) and I can’t tell you how often the phrase, “everyone white knuckles it sometimes” from your therapist has stuck in my head and helped me not drink. So thanks for that.

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