old (2008), Uncategorized

the ballad of peter pan

The past 24 hours, I’ve been getting back on track, doing all the things that I’m supposed to have been doing all along: working, eating regularly, feeding my cat, doing the dishes, meditating, relaxing, taking time for myself. And it feels good… but then I get frustrated and wonder why I can’t have all the things I’ve BEEN doing — going out, spending time with friends, having fun outside of my apartment — and still keep on track. I feel sometimes that I try to push my sobriety too hard… it’s like when I was twelve and wanted to start wearing makeup and my mom asked “Why are you in such a hurry to grow up?” and of course I rolled my eyes at her because she obviously didn’t understand the allure of mascara and eyeliner. But it’s the same way, now, with sobriety… I keep doing things and making decisions that I suspect are best left to people with WAY more time than I have, leaving me overwhelmed and profoundly lost.

And in a deep, almost-desperate way, that’s how I feel: lost. There are days I feel completely content with my life and who I’ve become and others when I just don’t know what direction to take or what I need to do to find relief. People ask me, “What do you need? What can I do?” and the answer is always the same: “I have no clue.” I’m scared by the prospect that I don’t know how to take care of me while engaging with the world at large — and even if that’s only a temporary thing, something that can and will change after I have more time in the program or do my fourth step or whatever other milestones come along, it’s not easy to swallow. Intellectually, I want to be able to go out in the world and make connections with people and enjoy life on life’s terms… but emotionally, that’s not working out so well, as a lot of the old anxiety is coming back and I feel grumpier than usual and I’m slacking off on my work (until the past 24 hours) and my first instinct is to crawl into bed and stay there for about 17 hours with my cat sleeping on my feet (which feels awesome).

The solution is, I suppose, a handful of things with which I have little to no experience: taking care of myself, putting my needs (and my sobriety) first, being honest about my limitations, respecting my own comfort level, pushing aside this niggling feeling that by doing these things I am disappointing people or being unkind to them or not being that great of a friend. And I need to be kind to myself, which is another one of those things that seems almost impossible because it’s so entirely unusual.

I was tired yesterday and took a really long nap with the windows open and my cat slept on my feet and I think I snoozed from about 6:30pm until almost 9pm — and when I woke up, I was able to be really productive and did a ton of work until around 4am. And before I did go to bed, I prayed and meditated for the first time in a while. But I also didn’t make it to a meeting, and I didn’t chat with Slavegirl, and I was distracted when Sax Man called me, and I didn’t sign on to Google chat at all because I didn’t want to talk to anyone… and I felt guilty about the nap. And I realize this is all me — this anxiety, this stress, this idea hanging over my head that the solution is to isolate because all I’m ever going to do is disappoint people and then get angry at them because I’m slacking off at work because I don’t know how to be an adult human being displaying the characteristics of a responsible person being kind to herself.

(I think) I need to be alone for a while, but (also) I don’t know how to do that. I do know how to go to a meeting tonight and talk about this, and call my sponsor, and pray/meditate more, and keep plodding along. I just wish I were further along. I wish I had it figured out, how to take care of me and interact with the world without feeling as though I’m going completely insane. I wish I were more sober — and isn’t that the most ridiculous thing in the world? I think one of the wisest things my mother ever said to me applies here, “There will be all the time in the world to do all those grown-up things. Enjoy being young while you can.”

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