Talk. Out loud.
No one ever said that being sober was easy -- well, no one that was seriously in recovery, anyway. Thankfully, I've got people who tell me like it is, keep my head on straight, and hold me accountable to the challenges. Damn challenges – why can’t I resist?
Today should have started like any other day; I head to work, eat my breakfast (usually a chicken salad or an egg burrito), and move on with my day. Except that my egg burrito wasn’t exactly an egg burrito, it was a sausage biscuit. Normally, I would have eaten said biscuit – but I didn’t want said biscuit! I tossed it, none-to-gently, back into the bag. I was hungry, and I was a little angry.
I didn’t get breakfast this morning.
But I didn’t let that stop me from my morning meditation. Occasionally, I’ll do my meditation in my car instead of in my room, and this morning was such a case. And I needed to meditate after my little fiasco with the burrito/biscuit switch the employees had planned on me this morning. But I couldn’t concentrate. My stomach was pissed, and Left Side and Right Side took that as a signal to start bickering.
“Stupid employee! He should know what it is I order by now! I don’t care if it was the first time I’d seen that guy or not!”
Believe me, the banter was getting noisy. But I managed to use a guided meditation, and I got through it – albeit distracted, but through it nonetheless.
Normally on Tuesdays, I skip a lunch. I have a standing, indefinite appointment on this day down town, and I have to work through lunch to make up the time, so that’s what I do. It’s usually not too bad, I just wait until my appointment is over, and then I get a turkey wrap or a salad from somewhere, and I’m good. It works for me, though I do get a bit shaky before I eat.
Well, the appointment was canceled for today. This left me with a huge amount of time that I needed to fill, or would be faced with attempting to calm the inner monsters, Left Side and Right Side. Normally, this means sitting and trying to meditate, or heading to a coffee shop and typing up a blog or working on step work. But I’m caught up on step work for now, and I won’t be seeing my sponsor until sometime Thursday or Friday. I didn’t have anything I felt pressing to blog about, either, so I figured I could read in a worst-case scenario. I didn’t have anything else to do, though I should have gone to get something to eat.
AF lives in the nearby area, and we were in contact with each other, so I swung by her place for a little bit. By this time, I was getting shaky, so AF offered to make me an egg burrito. <grin> Yes! I got my egg burrito. It turned out more like a soft-shelled egg taco, but it was very good, and it was very kind of her to fix me some food. It was a hell of a lot better than the one I got gypped out of early today. <grumble grumble>
As I ate, we began discussing my blogs, and at some point I made a comment like, “Well, I’m not very good at it, and I worry that people will judge me on it.” With a frown, she’s looked up at me and said, “I thought we’d had this discussion before. Who cares what others think?”
She’s right. I mean, I know this – but somehow, I continue to let Left Side and Right Side convince me that I am in need of other people’s approval all the time, as though they will run away from me, laughing the whole way, and leaving me standing there alone; deserted and lonely again.
“Dummy – that sounds like crap! No one is going to like this!”
“You’re going to be laughed at!”
The thing is, this is an argument that really takes place in my head! Left Side and Right Side bantering back and forth about how terrible I am at whatever it is I do. In the past – I’ve simply deleted entire blogs before just to get them to shut up. Hit the delete key and – BLIP! – all gone, peace and quiet. And a sense of loss and failure.
It’s a hard thing, listening to one’s own head argue – it can be an endless source of pain and frustration, and the depression can seem unbearable. Any suffering alcoholic/addict knows this. What they may not know, however, is that it can be stopped, even if only for a brief moment. And with practice and time, it can become manageable, right to the point of happiness.
But to stop it, it must be talked about, whether written or spoken. Those of you that have been following me know how I feel about writing vs talking, but let me advocate for talking for just a moment:
As AF explained to me once; when we are speaking, we are also listening to ourselves. This registers quite differently when we hear what we have to say out loud, rather than when we let it rattle in our heads. She proved this to me with the self talk challenge she gave me a while back, where she challenged me to speak affirmations out loud, not just read them or write them, but say them. This shit works. And today proved it for me yet again, because not only did I hear my arguments out lout, so did she – and she became my voice of reason, stopping my verbal-vomit. Again.
If you can’t stop the arguments, pick up the phone. Call or text a number on the phone list. Or better yet, go to a meeting, and then talk, either to the group, or to an individual. Any one of them. Someone will hear you; but only if you talk.
And then meditate.