Saturday, January 28, 2012

Brain bending..

I'm tired because I've been staying up every evening transcribing interviews for my Masters research and  when I get to bed my brain is fizzing and it's hard to drop off and then the kids keep waking me up ridiculously early.  So I've got that weary-behind-the-eyes feeling and it's reminding me a little of what I used to feel like all the time.

I think I've actually forgotten what a hangover used to feel like.  Hangovers were almost a normal state for me.   Now I'm feeling tired I can remember the feeling of dragging my sorry ass through the day hungover.  Most of the time now I get up full of energy and fresh without reaching automatically for some panadol and a big mug of instant coffee.  I must remember to appreciate this....

I had a few thoughts in the afternoon yesterday that it would be nice to have a drink given it was Friday night.  You know, I actually wanted to bend my brain a little.  Coz that would be fun, just doing a little brain bending.  I was sitting outside a vege shop late in the afternoon as Mr D ran in to get some mushrooms and over the road was a SuperLiquor and the cars were pulling in and pulling out, pulling in and pulling out.  And people were trotting in and trotting out with their boxes of beer or plastic bags with who knows what.

And I was watching, aware that I'd wanted some of that brain bending liquid just earlier, thinking Man our society condones brain bending.  Human beings want to bend their brains and we just do that all the time openly and whole heartily.  Friday night and there were all those people in that little store, one of millions around our country, trotting in and trotting out to get their brain bending liquid.

Later in the night we were sitting around at friends, the kids snuggled up watching tele and us adults were playing cards and drinking.  Red wine for everyone but me, I'd bought a couple of little bottles to drink on the way over.  A Lemon, Lime & Bitters and something called a 'Peachee' which I'd grabbed on a whim.  It was bright orange peach juice made by a trendy drinks company.  Late in the evening I poured it into my wine glass (still don't want to have stem withdrawals so I drink from wine glasses a lot) and Mr D asked for a sip to try it. He had one then commented 'Hhhmm, bit boring.  Be better with a shot of vodka in it', there was a pause and then he PATTED ME CONDESCENDINGLY ON THE SHOULDER.

Ok sorry about those caps there but ... what the hell??!!  I was a bit flummoxed and blurted out 'don't give me pity!  Don't pat me condescendingly on the shoulder!' and everyone sort of laughed a bit but I think Mr D was a bit shocked (at me or him I'm not sure) and he said 'Come on, I can do that with you' and he was meaning 'come on we're not like that' and I could see in his eyes what he meant, that we're always cool, and we are, so I laughed and forgot about it.

Until this morning in bed when I remembered and started to feel a bit miffed but then I was like oh bloody hell I can't be too precious, we're very close to these people and maybe getting to a place where we can laugh and tease about it means it's becoming even more normal.  I just have to not care.

And then I also remembered that a bit earlier I'd made a joke that the more they all drank the worse their card playing got and I was still sharp as a tack and going to keep winning.  So the tone was set by me.

Obviously still navigating this new sobriety landscape of mine.  And about those thoughts earlier in the afternoon about wanting to bend my brain.  They were thoughts, not cravings.  I listened to them, analyzed them, acknowledged them and dismissed them.  Eventually they'll get the message and go.

Love, Mrs D xxx


  1. TheNoiseandHaste here: I wish I could fold up the last part of this post into a tiny little square to carry in my pocket always. It's such a sharp, sad little observation on how sobriety affects our relationships.

    Forget right and wrong, cool or uncool. The slightest little comment, the merest glance, a pat on the shoulder -- intended or not -- that's all it take to get plunged into fear that maybe by getting sober, we will have to give up everything we love.

    Your dear husband surely didn't mean to hurt you. On the other hand, he DID hurt you. With one small condescending pat on the shoulder, he left you all alone in a vast, unknowable future. If he could've known how it feels, trying to get sober (not just because you don't want to be a lush, but because its the only way to get to the person you must become or die,) I'm sure he would have never done such a thing. Because it's not "nothing" and you're not being "precious."

    What you're going through is scary enough on its own. Having to come face to face with the idea that the people you love most may not ever be able to understand -- and what will that mean for the future? That's some major shite.

    I loved reading your post because it made me feel not so alone.

  2. Friday nights are the hardest, which is why I make sure to workout after work or sometimes I hit a 5:30 meeting, which is even better for me.

    Still, I enjoy them without alcohol, I just tend to feel the cravings more. Still, they pass.

    I've been surprised by the intensity of the emotions I've had towards my husband when he's made an offhand, insensitive comment about my sobriety or alcoholism. I know it's a sore spot for me, and he's learning to be more sensitive.

    It's a tough spot we're in. Thoughts are normal in early sobriety. I wish I had advice for you, but all I can say is I understand exactly what you're going through. xoxo

  3. Last night we went to a bar where a girl we slightly know was singing. I didn't want to go but a lot of our friends were going and I knew the DH wanted to go for a while. He said he didn't want to sit around for hours and watch her sing but he wanted to stop in and say "Hi" and just have one beer. Two hours and four beers for DH later, the singer was sticking her microphone in the happy drinking crowds' faces as they sang along. I can't sing and when I'm sober, I realize this and I didn't want that damn mike shoved in my face, so I was ready to go. The DH wasn't. We're not talking this morning. Give your DH a hug.

  4. I have a friend who has battled unsuccessfully to give up smoking for about a decade and the other day he spoke to me about how hard this has been for him. I have never smoked and had no idea that he had struggled so much. All I noticed was that he sometimes smoked and sometimes didn't. He said that I had often sounded patronising or dismissive about his efforts to stop and I didn't know what to say. From now on I will try to pay more attention and be more sensitive. Sometimes he felt he was doing so well and that it was easy; other times he couldn't get rid of cravings and gave in, felt a failure. His ambivalence made me unsure if he was winning or losing, if it was fine or not fine.

    The reality is that if it isn't our problem, empathy, informed awareness and sustained support is not going to come naturally from those closest to us who can drink without any difficulties.

  5. What a great way to capture a moment we all have experienced.
    It is a time when we are still intensely clinging to our sobriety and not yet, if ever, comfortable with the reality that we cannot ever drink, ever.
    At once we are grieving we cannot ever, ever drink, angry we have this hardwired flaw, and proud that we have turned our lives around through sheer hard personal graft and confronting our own issues.
    For someone to respond to our newfound awareness and self knowledge as a 'pat on the shoulder' is trite, unconvincing and reminding us that we are at a base level just a hopeless addict.
    I feel your rage, and your frustration at the utter injustice of addiction.
    I feel your quiet, bubbling resolve hardening, and your inner strength flexing and your breath slowly exhaling.
    So what if you react with passion and honesty to what you feel.

  6. How interesting Mrs D. Particularly your insight that maybe you opened the door to comments you don't like about your sobriety by your earlier comment about their drinking.......

    Something I need to remember...

    I also remembered something I've found useful from AA meetings, one member often says "My Granny never got drunk in her life and she doesn't expect endless praise and special treatment..."

    I'm not suggesting you do either, don't take this hard. But there is an insight there about how our alcoholism can affect our sober behaviour and attitudes just as much as it can when we drink.

    Such is my experience. YMMV.

  7. Hang in there Mrs. D! Glad you let him know it bothered you. There's nothing wrong with expressing how someone made you feel. It's hard to do. I always either flew off the handle about it or simmered in silence. Learning to calmly express yourself is hard to do but you did it well. Good for you!

  8. Well Mrs D I'm married to the most amazing man in the world and even he's made this mistake.

    He joked in front of people, he thought he was ok doing it...he had no idea it was of limits.

    After a bit of time stewing we had a chat where I was open about my feelings in a loving way.

    He now gets it and ensures he's not doing anything to jeopardize me.

  9. I came over from Last 100 Days. I love your blog so far. I drank until I was 36, but I've never been drunk. Lately after listening to my facebook girlfriends I have had some drinks here and there. Like the other day I was a bit shocked my daughter had left home to go to uni, but I was in a happy mood at that particular minute. Someone said I needed a wine, I said I had one in the fridge that someone had given to us for doing some work, well to my husband actually. I had the wine, one glass and was disappointed, I felt flat, my happy mood was gone. So I am never encouraged to try again, until someone encourages me I guess. But I had never been drunk, so have no idea what brain bending feels like. When I drank at 36 I enjoyed it though I wasn't drunk. I had the culture sort of. I love the taste of spirits, will never be a wine person. Now I just don't get it. I have learnt to drink beer lately though, still fb. Not bad really, considering I was scared to ever taste it. If someone drank mostly VB which a lot do here, I would drink it along with them, maybe one or two cans. My last drink at 36 was peach wine cooler, West Coast. I have no idea about the new drinks, the names go over my head. Had medium dry sherry in a trifle, was so disappointed my husband cut the wine back in it because the kids couldn't take it strong.