I am not a happy camper these past few days. I’m decisively irritable and discontent. But why? Generally life is good. I have all I need. Kids are happy and all that stuff and I’m grateful. Like really grateful for everything. But still something is just not right with me. I’m like the proverbial cat on a hot tin roof. When I’m home I can’t sit still and want to be out somewhere. When I go out everything is irritating me and I want to be home.
Even in my sleep I’m flailing around like that girl from the exorcist, never getting into a deep sleep but just lingering on the edge of slumber and being awake. And if I do manage to fall asleep for five minutes I’m having these weird dreams about being left alone or I’m surrounded by strangers. I mentioned this dream to my therapist and her interpretation of it was that perhaps I’m abandoning myself, or perhaps I’m lost in the search for myself. Gee thanks therapist lady, like that was no help at all. Now I’m even more confused by my agitated state.
Usually if I’m going through an irritable patch a prescription from my sponsor for extra meetings and helping another alcoholic perks me up and gets me out of that blah space. But not this time! I’m being mindful of the Hungry? Nope. Angry? Yes a little. Lonely? Not sure. Tired? Most of the time. And if you’re a woman, you need to add Hormonal? into that list also; no not at the moment. However, on a daily basis I’m generally a combination of some, and on occasion all, of that list and I can manage to get by.
This is the first time in my 4 and a half years of sobriety that I’m not even getting comfort from my program. Even in meetings I just can’t find that calm spirituality I’ve grown accustomed to. Usually when I put my foot inside my home group room a sense of peace washes over me no matter what chaos prevails in my life. Now even the sound of peoples voices in meetings is grating on my nerves. I’m being critical of peoples shares. I’m sitting there growling to myself “huh, no message there then”, if a person doesn’t say the right thing, or what I perceive to be the right thing. I don’t want to shake anyone’s hand and I most definitely do not want anyone putting their arms around me and giving me a hug. Dare I say it, but I’m just not enjoying the recovery experience at the moment.
I’m praying like I do every morning and night and I’m meditating, endeavouring to maintain that conscious contact with my source of life. But of course, instead of just letting this grumpy patch pass and letting my Higher Power remove it I find it necessary to beat the crap out of myself. I have to search until I find an acceptable answer to why I’m feeling so totally alien in my skin, despite not becoming complacent with regards to my program. Where is this inner resource they talk about in the Big Book? I’m tapping it for christ sake. I’m actually banging on it’s front door. I’m fearful that I’m losing my grip on the joyous, happy and free theme of recovery. Shit! Am I slipping?
And despite being totally adverse to all things recovery related, I’m still doing what I’m supposed to be doing. The next right thing is at the forefront of my mind. I’m working my program to within an inch of its life. I’m sure people are sick of hearing me share and watch me cry about this phase I’m going through. Yet even with all the emotion coming out of my eyes I can’t seem to find the right words to describe what it is I’m feeling. It’s as if the words are hiding behind my ribcage somewhere and I’m too afraid to seek them out in case I might in fact, choke on them as they pass through my voice box.
I want to attach this feeling to an event. I want to be able to name it so logically I can put it in a nice tidy box where I can keep it under control. My usual refuge in times of distress is the woods or a deserted beach so I took myself down there this morning. But try as I might, after a period of quiet contemplation, I still couldn’t put my finger on the exact cause of my frustration. But as a friend pointed out to me later over coffee, why is it so important to know what it is? Can’t I just let it happen? Out of hundreds, possibly thousands of events during my lifetime, how can we realistically attach a feeling to just one event? He’s right. And if I’m being totally honest, it’s my fear of having to face yet another deeply buried trauma that’s causing me to be uneasy and agitated. Another friend pointed out to me that if I’m really living the program and trusting that my Higher Power has my back then it is totally safe to go through this process and not fully understand it. Basically it’s ok not to know. And it’s ok to not be ok.
The most important thing for me while going through this “not knowing” stage is that I gather my support around me, and do exactly the opposite of my diseases desire for me. I have to force myself to not isolate. I must continue to read, pray and meditate and I must continue to attend meetings even though I’m sitting there imagining slowly torturing half of the attendees. In a few days or perhaps a week I’ll just put this down to yet another experience in the recovery process. But right now it sucks.
Photo courtesy of suncoastrehab.com