End of January

This week I’m going to break a little from the way I’ve been writing these because I kind of want to focus on a realization I had this morning.

When I started this whole thing, my drinking habits seemed like the biggest problem in my life. I knew I was drinking to deal with stuff, but I thought that once I stopped, everything else would kind of fall into line. I’m on week 5 without alcohol, and here’s what I know, in no particular order.

Drinking was just masking the real problems – it wasn’t causing them. I never got to that point in drinking, where IT was the problem because I was missing work, abusing my family, etc. It was just easier to get than Thorazine. It allowed me to avoid dealing with what needs to be dealt with. And since I have a family history of alcohol abuse, it sure is a convenient excuse for not facing life. “Hey, I’m an alcoholic. That’s my big life struggle. Everything else is fine as long as I’m not drinking.” Not.

The real struggle I’m facing right now is ending my relationship with Jeff. The struggle, at this point, is entirely internal because while I’ve told him that ending our marriage is on the table and one of the possibilities I’m working through in therapy, I haven’t made a concrete statement to him. I spend a great deal of time on my relationship with Jeff in therapy – by far it’s the focus, rather than not drinking.

I’m scared to death that I won’t find something I really love in terms of fitness. I love the idea of running, and I love the memory of when I was doing it more often and having that great endorphin high, I am super scared about how my shins are reacting right now. I’m holding off total judgment until I get the new shoes and see how they affect things. Anyway, the reality right now is that between my social phobia (which keeps me from fitness classes) and my hurting shins, I’m not getting the activity I would like to be getting.

If I’m not careful, gaming can play a role that’s very similar to alcohol – a way to check out and not feel. The other thing I’m working on in therapy is how I struggle with allowing myself to feel sad. Jami (my therapist) is very good so far at stopping me and pointing things out in areas where I shy away from feeling sad or powerless. There are a lot of those areas. I’m learning to sit with the feelings. It is intensely uncomfortable.

I’ve backburnered exploring my sexual identity until I’ve figured this thing out with Jeff. What I think I’m seeing is that it can become yet another way to NOT deal with what’s wrong with my marriage and why it needs to be over. Once I’m in the clear on that, then I’ll figure it out. It’s kind of like the pattern with self-improvement being a way to avoid actually dealing with the stuff that needs to be dealt with.

I am still committed to remaining alcohol free while I work through things. At least until June, and, it seems likely that I will stay alcohol free for some time after that because I don’t want it to be a crutch through the changes that are coming. Like I said, family history, convenient excuse, etc. Heh. I do think it’s possible that at some future point, I may be able to have some kind of relationship with drinking again. But not anytime soon.

While I’m still committed to taking a year off grad school when I complete my MS this summer, I had some breakthroughs in school this week that were pretty awesome. I have been somewhat on the fence about where my place is, whether it’s in education or therapy. Definitely have some clarity on that now, which is great. I’m very excited about moving into the counseling program come 2013. I’ll probably do some volunteer work between now and then to help shore up the app, hopefully at the Q Center and/or Bradley Angle.

So… I’m not revising the checklist, I just wanted to be a little freeform today. The realization about drinking not being the biggest problem was kind of, well, big. For me, anyway. Probably obvious to everyone else, but figuring out causation was important to me – i.e. my problems are not caused by alcohol. They existed before the drinking got out of hand, they existed while it was out of hand, and now, they exist when I’m not doing it. For me, that matters.

  •     I will begin training with the Couch to 10K podcast for May’s 10K. CHECK
  •     I will stay sober. CHECK
  •     I will attend one therapy session each week. CHECK
  •     I will update my Circle of Support once a week. CHECK
  •     I will stick to my schedule to avoid procrastination with my classes. SORTA
  •     I will sit for at least 5 minutes each day, according to the practice outlined in Evolutionary Witchcraft. CHECK

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