Sober but Twitchy Christmas Eve

There were many Christmas Eves when by this time (1o:45 AM) I would have already been on my way to being drunk. If we were visiting relatives, I’d have little wine bottles hidden in my bag, or I’d sneak into the kitchen and find whatever liquor was available and have three or four shots. I’d keep a good base-line buzz until after lunch when I’d find myself alone as family did Christmas things, and then I got down to the real drinking. I’d chew gum, brush my teeth, drink water, even take an alcohol-induced nap…and no one seemed to notice. Perhaps they were so used to be isolating myself–even during Christmas–that they didn’t notice or get to close to me. I spoke little for fear of slurring my words.

During the evening, when it was more acceptable to drink wine, I’d knock it back and replenish myself by darting upstairs and drinking more. To anyone paying attention, I had no more than two glasses of wine on Christmas Eve. I knew the truth, though I vigorously blocked it from my mind: I was probably bordering on alcohol poisoning, as I had many times before. I’m amazed that my drinking history doesn’t include a trip or two to the hospital.

On January 5, 2017, I’ll have two years of sobriety…and I have no plans of fucking that up. But under the guidance of my psychiatrist, I’m in the process of switching anti-depressants. I’m tapering off one, and it’s a quick taper. I spoke to my psychiatrist before leaving down because I felt I was going to explode out of my skin…I also felt like running into a brick wall repeatedly. On top of that, I felt like I had an enormous hole in the middle of myself that I desperately needed to fill. I know what I would have filled it with before, and the thoughts whizzed through my mind, but I didn’t act on them.

Today is hard, but I feel better than yesterday. I have an anti-anxiety pill if things get to bad. I wanted to type this entry to hold myself accountable and reach out to some fellow alcoholics.

I hope this finds you all well. Merry and sober Christmas Eve.




Lessons from Jesus and Master Yoda

Firstly, I’m still here. I’m much more active on my creative writing blog lately, but I thought it was time to make an entry on this on. I suspect as I go further into recovery, the less and less I’ll write about alcohol and cravings (which still happen, but they go away pretty darn quickly…whew).

I find myself without a job for the first time since I was in my early twenties, and even then, I picked up a job within a week. Granted, it was at a Barnes & Noble bookstore, but I still got it. As a teacher, I’ve always been able to find jobs, and even if they weren’t the best fit, I learned a lot. Some of the lessons were painful, like when I worked with at-risk kids, but they were lessons nonetheless.

Now, though–despite interviews and calls and emails–I have no prospects. There’s a ghost of a chance one of the schools I interviewed with a few weeks ago will call me up, but I imagine they’ve already filled positions. I also interviewed with schools that I hope don’t call, and it wasn’t until I sat down with the administrative team that I thought, “Um, this isn’t going to work for either one of us. Good day!”

good day sir

Anyway, I’ve done everything I can do on my end. I attended a job fair, applied for every middle and high school position in my county (and a neighboring one), updated my teaching certificate, wore my fancy duds at interviews, and now…I have to release it. I’ve done my part. God will take care of the rest. Right?

Yes, technically, but then I get antsy and say, “I’m going to stew on my predicament for two or three hours and work myself into a tizzy. That’ll help. And I bet my family will get a kick out of my sour-ass mood.”

And this isn’t the best time to be in a sour-ass mood since I’m doing VBS with my kids at church, and for the third year, I’m the puppet. I love puppeteering, and I take my role seriously and have a blast doing it (though it’s bit harder these days to crouch down and perform). Along with that, the fine folks during Bible story telling time needed someone to play Jesus, and they asked me. Well, after others declined or were helping with other activities, they asked me. I hesitated, because even if it’s just pretending, I’m not super-comfortable portraying the Lord. Still, I said yes, and the disciples and I acted out the time Jesus calmed the storm on the Sea of Galilee. After calming the storm, I turn to the disciples and say, “Where is your faith?”.

jesus calms
I was having such a good nap…

I got the picture, especially since we performed our little skit three more times. Everything will work out. I don’t need to panic. If I truly have turned my life and will over to the care of God, as outlined in AA’s third step, then I need to quit worrying so much.

Also, I realized how dangerous it is for me to futurize because then I come up with all kinds of unlikely scenarios, like becoming homeless and never being able to find a job again. You can take alcohol out of the boy, but it takes a little more work and time to take the boy out of addictive thinking and circular logic and just plain bad self-talk.

I began thinking about Yoda’s words to Luke when Luke visits the Jedi Master the first time on Dagobah. Luke’s all gung-ho about becoming a Jedi, and Yoda tells him to hold up.

This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away, to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was, hmm? What he was doing. Hmm. Adventure. Heh. Excitement. Heh. A Jedi craves not these things.” – Master Yoda

yoda and luke
You must unlearn what you have learned. Also, a ham sandwich I want.

I can be present, interact with the kids at VBS, write a little poetry and music, and enjoy the fact that for the first summer in a long time, I’m not teaching. I can walk my dog during the day. I can read. I can wash and fold clothes (ugh). I can say the Serenity Prayer and mean it more than I normally d0.

That’s all from my sober neck of the woods. I hope this post finds you well.