Sunday, November 30, 2008

feelings (not)

It's interesting to see what my head has been up to the last couple of weeks, so I am going to see what it looks like written down. In the two and some years I've been walking this road of sobriety, I've never been at this place. I'm losing interest in AA meetings, losing interest in working the steps. I don't believe I have anything meaningful to share at meetings, often passing when askd to share. Struggling when I do. A blanket of apathy is starting to settle down over me. I don't know what to write here, feeling like my problems are small compared to everyone else and so why am I whining?

In the writing course I am currently taking, it is taught that as we write and rewrite, our truth comes out. I am writing lots, just not here, not in an format that's public. What's coming out is my struggles with feelings. I don't like feeling sad or hopeful, euphoric or angry. Feeling anything is not on my agenda. Flat and neutral, if you'll please. And that's how I feel today.

The trouble with flat and neutral is that it's (for me) really depression that's masked. I really don't want to use the words "selp-pity". Before I was dragged into recovery, I worked so hard to get unfeeling. I really wanted to fall asleep, to never wake up. Flatness. Flat line. I don't want to go back to that spot but my recent struggles with accepting feelings of any sort state the opposite. It would be nice to take a break with life, for life's terms can be difficult.

Don't get me wrong, I'm still going to meetings, still working with sponsee's, still giving people rides, still checking out your blogs, still keeping some sort of emotional intimacy with my partner. Still working those steps. The only thing I could do better is talk with my sponsor, whom I haven't chatted with for a week and a half.

My first sponsor often told me that this will pass. I hope so, for I do have some fears around this. Most of the folk who started in AA the same time I have are gone. Most of me doesn't want to go, a bit does. Majority rules. I'm sticking around for today. I've hung in through some rough times in the past by going one day at a time. Need to keep on doing that.

Thanks for letting me share, I needed to see my own crap before I fell back into the cess pool.

I am grateful for my sobriety. For a partner who likes to hold hands and wants to stay close. I am thankful for the fellowship of AA and will accept me just the way I am. Thankful to be here with all of you.

Photo credit: cindy47452


steveroni said...

And I am thankful to be here with YOU, Hank!

Shadow said...

what you described here, about feelings, is EXACTLY what i'm feeling right now. i find myself longing for blissful oblivion. mind you, not in alcohol or drugs, that brings guilt and many more shitty feelings, and feelings is what i'm trying to avoid. yet i DO want that oblivion. i sure hope it passes. it has in the past. i'll just blame the poor ole moon for now....

Cat said...

Is it kinda like going through the motions but not feeling the goodness of what you are doing for yourself along the way?

If so - I think i have been there too.

Hang in there.


Sophie in the Moonlight said...

Oh, I know, the place where you are at...
Apathy towards recovery and all of the repetitive actions that constitute active recovery.

Bowser has seen this landscape a few times and we've learned that once he takes a couple of steps down into Apathy Gulch, his recovery efforts quickly turn into a giant tumbleweed which spins further and further away from where he really wants to be.

The desire to not feel anything is one of the roots of addiction. Addicts look for the escape hatch in order to avoid those feelings and instead live in a world of numb detachment. So, enter Self-Medication.

After relapsing, Bowser says of the path back to recovery: "First it's hard, then it's harder, then it gets a little easier." As the spouse of an addict, I see a similarity further into the sobriety process. There seems to come a time when the addict starts to get bored with the recovery pattern he has set up, starts to detach and lose interest in this program that seems interminable. Recovery is for life, one day at a time of course, but the goal is for life-long sobriety. So this path of Steps and Meetings and Sponsors and Sharing just stretches out for forever.

So what's the big deal about taking a break from it for a while?:
Because when you give in to those desires for apathy and space, you are creating an environment within yourself to have more thinking errors and be more susceptible to triggers.

Unsolicited advice warning: why don't you try to change your recovery structure a wee bit? Just like folks need to change their exercise routine to keep them motivated maybe it would feel good for you to change your routine a little bit. Take on different responsibilities at your meetings, get some different reading materials that aren't necessarily 12-Step but that nurture your spirit and help you see the lights around you, or take an art class and learn to express yourself in a more visual manner rather than the literal manner at which you are so accomplished. Those are my simple suggestions. They are things Bowser does when he gets to your spot.

Wishing you the wisdom to do what is right for you.

Anonymous said...

Feeling the feelings is scary for me too. Baby steps is how I have been dealing with it. and sometimes one forward and two back, but I never want to go all the back to oblivion, because I know that this too shall pass, and I WILL come out on the other side, hopefully knowing me a little better, and closer to God. I like Shadow's conclusion...darned old moon!

big Jenn said...

I can tell you that after I had been sober awhile the crap that made me use in the first place, started to surface in a BIG way. I don't know if that's what's happening for you or not, but It's a scary place. I moved towards it and came out the other side without using and it kicked off what I consider to be true sobriety. Before that, I was mostly going through the motions. I also needed help from more than just a sponser. Just sayin'.Willingness is key. Pretty much everything else takes the course it needs to take. jeNN

Lou said...

I'm feeling the same way, as are several other bloggers, I've noted. Maybe there is something celestial going on. Or the holidays. I'm feeling like OK, I got the steps, I do them, move on.

I do feel it will pass. Stay close to your supports.

molly said...

the REASON we know it passes is that it DOES. look back at the last few weeks. were there days that you felt GOOD? the next day you felt down or depressed, wondering where did the 'good' go? then back to OHHHH - life is GOOD. next day you are throwing sh*t across the room and angry as hell. so the proof is that is does pass.

THAT SAID. there are some things you can do to increase the number of 'good' to 'bad' ratio - every one is different and sometimes it takes and act of WILL to do it. nature walks - do you have a park by your home? go there - even for 10 minutes. lift weights - even if for 5 minutes a day. get as much sun as possible this time of year. if you work indoors, go outside on as many breaks as possible and look at the sky. WRITE a gratitude list EVERY day - all day - just a note pad in the car and let your mind go there.. to 'i had a warm shower this morning and food to eat. coffee tasted good. the cat's fur was soft.' it's a sort of 'mind training' thing with gratitude. forces the mind to look THERE - not the other place. ah well - i'm sure ya know all that.

it IS a goofy time of year. stay close to meetings and sponsor. be sure to mindfully do step 10 and 11 all day no matter what and constant thought of others. is great for inquiry work. funny movies. yip. all work and lots of play too! hehe

take good care !

steveroni said...

Molly, if I was a girl, I'd ask you to be my SPONSOR--seriously, you wrote a wonderful piece of guidance.

Thanks to you, sponsor.

..Nah! That would NEVER work! Tried that once...Holy Shit! No, No, No.

Anonymous said...

I started to lose interest in my meetings also and I was quite shocked. It was so unlike me. That's about when my depression started.