Lemme Tell Ya

Once in a while, a slightly sick feeling comes over me. It’s hard to dress it in words, but it’s heavy and sad, like a mixture of dread, disappointment, anxiety and sorrow. It’s not every day, far from it, and most of the time it’s just fleetingly there. When I look back over the drinking years, i.e. most of my adult life, it’s hard to work out when it was there and how often given how alcohol obviously played a HUGE part in any rotten emotions. Now, however, over two years into recovery, I can sit with my emotions and the beauty of this is that I can have a good ol’ look at them. Today, it dawned on me when this heavy sorrow comes over me – it’s when I say goodbye. It’s right there, at the end of most interactions I have, except for with Hubby and Bambino.

I cling on to those I love. Or try to, rather. I always feel every interaction ends too soon coupled with overstaying my welcome. I come away feeling stupid, feeling I said or did the wrong thing or was too unfiltered or too much or whatever else that might point to how I’m just less than. Today that feeling popped up again. When? The moment I said goodbye to Dad after speaking to him on the phone. It was a good conversation, nothing bad in there at all, yet when I came off the call I felt small, needy and stupid. I felt desperate for the conversation to continue – stay, stay, stay – and didn’t want to let him go, and when I’d had to was when this feeling descended on me.

As gloomy as this sounds, it’s a hugely positive thing to get closer to the origins for troublesome emotions. If we can find their source, we may be able to change the course they take eventually.

Sure, there are problematic feelings as far as my father goes, but in this instance it just highlighted this doom and gloom emotion that isn’t specific to him per se. The time before that? When Bonus Son #2 came to stay recently – when he left I was filled with this emotion too. Had I shown him enough how welcome and wanted he is? Had I done enough to make him comfortable? This thing I’d said or this joke I’d made, had I offended him in any way? And it also ends up with me wondering if I’d gone too far the other way – am I too much? Do I make him feel awkward because I love him so much? Do I make him cringe?

The time before that – meeting up for coffee with Wifey last week. Lovely conversation, lovely to see her. And then moments after she hugged me and left, there it was, the feeling of dread, embarrassment, sorrow and feeling stupid. And the time before that – a text message to the WhatsApp group with the people on the counselling course. I’d made a joke and then immediately was filled with dread thinking they all think I’m stupid and maybe even offensive.

When I start to decipher it that way, it’s crystal clear – with the exception of Hubby and Bambino, I get this feeling every time I’ve had any interaction with another person. In fact, I’m struggling to find instances where it hasn’t come over me. I feel dread both at what I’ve said or done in case it’s made the other person dislike me or think I’m just ridiculous, and for what I haven’t said or done but wish I had. Big or small.

And the absolute core of the emotion in all the situations where I feel it: does he/she want to get away from me as soon as possible? I want to cling on but they want to go. So looking closer at that part, why am I clinging on? Is it so I can make damn sure that I get to clarify all the things that may have come out wrong and cram in ALL the things I should say or do? Is it a matter of in my heart feeling misunderstood or a fear of being misunderstood? Desperate for people to know I mean so well and am so good? That I “know” I’m not likeable and desperate to prove there is good in me?

Who knows, but I feel I’m beginning to understand it. And that’s got to be a good thing.

In other news, I’m also beginning to accept that no one can get out of addiction until they are ready to and want to. It’s simultaneously the most beautiful and the ugliest thing about addiction – it’s possible to recover and anyone can do it, but you have to want it or you will never get there. The anger at this cruel fact is still ripping through me and I don’t at ALL want to accept it, but I can more and more see how I probably have to. And maybe all I can do is recover loudly in the hope that another Anna will have a seed planted from my testimony. So maybe all I can do is keep on sharing my story and offer a helping hand when someone wants it.

Well. Today is a good day. The sun is shining and I’m heading out for a run. A bunch of course work is out of the way and I feel happy and peaceful. I’m right where I want to be: somewhere in the mid-section of a gentle roller. No mad high, no shitty low. Just life. Perhaps even a little boring, but lemme tell ya – boring is fucking glorious too. Life on life’s terms – sign me up!

Actually, here’s a mad high for you and one that makes my heart burst with joy:

Today I’m not going to drink.


30 thoughts on “Lemme Tell Ya

  1. I hear you!! That saying goodbye and wondering if you did and said the right things. I have it far less now I’m not drinking thankfully but it’s still there. Recently someone talked to me about the Buddha belief of holding people with an open palm rather than grasping and clinging to them. It really stuck with me. I’m a clinger because I’m scared I scare people off!!! I’m working on holding gently and not gripping on for dear life!!
    And yes, boring is pretty bloody awesome in my humble opinion. 😁😁😁
    Claire x

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I almost teared up reading this because….jeezus, you’re so like me. Sometimes when you write (and I know you feel the same) it’s like you’ve been in my head or something. I worry constantly about me overstaying my welcome or saying TOO much or whatever. It’s exhausting and hurts my heart sometimes. Love ya x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s exhausting, isn’t it, and so painful. That feeling is so heavy. And probably so misplaced, but even accepting that on a rational/logical level doesn’t necessarily change it. Maybe all we can do is allow the feeling and hope it lessens in intensity the more clearly we can meet it head on, if that makes sense. Anyway. You can trust me with your heart, I promise to never hurt it. ❤️❤️❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is interesting because I feel your exact feeling upon leaving a person or conversation, but I’m such an introvert that for me it’s often dread or regret that I haven’t said enough. My boys are only with me half the time and everything is great until they leave, and then my mind starts ruminating over whether I said enough, if I told them I love them enough, or expressed how much I care about their lives… Oh this self-discovery. But I love that I can connect to others such as yourself through shared words and feelings. Xx

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Likewise, sweetie. And thank you for showing me that connection – not being alone is always a tonic. I’m introverted too but my neediness overpowers even that! 🙄😘❤️❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Claire’s comment about the Buddha open-palm approach reminded me of what beginning riders are taught—to hold the reins in each hand as if one is holding baby birds. Grip too tightly, and the little birds will be crushed, grip too loosely, and they will fly away.

    I’m sort of the opposite about those goodbyes; I enjoy my time with those few I enjoy being with, but am always happy and a bit relieved to wrap things up, say au revoir, and get back to my private world. If there is an adjective that means the very opposite of “clingy,” that’s me. And I dislike being clung to.

    I always assumed that I was a loner because it was easier to drink that way—with no boring judgy people noticing that I was on my fourth glass. But now that I don’t drink, I still prefer to limit time spent in company of too many people, even if I like them.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. That’s interesting. I’m definitely a loner in that I massively value and need alone time, and even as a kid I preferred wandering around in the woods in my own world or with my nose in a book as opposed to playing with friends. When I was drinking I couldn’t wait to get away. Always found most other people’s company uncomfortable. But this is shifting. And they do say there’s a lot to attachment to other people and what it does for us. Johann Hari says “the opposite to addiction isn’t sobriety, the opposite to addiction is connection”. I guess it’s not clear cut but these feelings I’m experiencing I recognise somewhat from a life long ago. My teenage years perhaps. I pulled away and isolated but there was definitely part of me that wanted to hold on and connect yet doing so was uncomfortable. ❤️

      Liked by 2 people

  5. yes, i am the same Emma- i am a very private person/loner -although most who have met me in the community would say other wise. They have seen me as very outgoing, social and talkative for years- but most of it was just the image i needed to project. I do enjoy conversation, and people but for the most part i enjoy retreating into my private world a bit more:)

    Liked by 3 people

  6. So many of your friends here are saying things that resonate with me, Anna. I’m such a talker, in public (job requirement) but I crave solitude, HATE talking on the phone and am perfectly happy in my own company, which surprises people who know me. There are a handful of people (I have small hands) whose company I seek, and with them, I could happily (and quite comfortably) spend hours/days/maybe even a week with. I recently met a dear friend for coffee. As we were discussing whether to have a bigger breakfast or just coffee, SHE suggested making it a coffee and THEN lunch date. I was delighted because I love spending time chatting to her but am always concerned I’m overstaying… it was lovely to know my company was as valuable to her as hers is to me. I recently left my husband of 33 years and am living in a flat with my youngest daughter who’s 21. We spend some time together, but seem very alike in the respect that we retreat from each other too. She ‘chills’ in her room more than I do in mine, but I was never out of my room when I stayed with her dad. I’ve realised because of the breakup that I’m intrinsically a loner, but never lonely! P.s. my ex and I have a better relationship now. We talk more now than we had in about 20 years.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. We should’ve split up YEARS ago and if I’m honest we were never best mates (which was the main problem I think) but I think we both appreciate the good things about each other over the flaws (of which there are many) and can be civil. 2/3 of our kids don’t share my acceptance however. Let’s just say that I’m not looking forward to any family gathering we all have to attend! Yegods! I know more couples who are like you and your ex although one of my pals and her ex still spend Christmases and some holidays together with their new spouses and kids. I definitely won’t be doing that haha.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ve had a blog in my drafts for AGES about what people have said to me since my ex and I split up. I must get my finger out and finish/post it. This whole thread and your blog is very relevant to many, it seems. X

        Liked by 1 person

  7. This is a topic much on my mind, so I’m glad the discussion seems to be taking off. As Greta Garbo said, “ I vant to be alone!” Reason: my husband, a couple of years ago, decided to move his office/work home. Logistically, it worked out fine; he already had a large “man cave” upstairs, with his own bathroom, large walk-in closet that now houses his printer and supplies, and a separate computer nook. Perfect, for him. BUT. He is f&#$*ing HERE all the time now, and I hate it. I mourn those golden, glorious years when he showered and left at 8, and didn’t reappear until 5 or so.

    In a way, it’s been good for my sobriety, because hiding the wine bottle(s) would be 100x harder now. (He never knew I was a daytime drinker). But having another human in the house 24/7, except for when he goes to the gym or for lunch with a friend, might well drive me back to the wine!!!

    Not really. But. Wasn’t there a song, “How Can I Miss You If You Won’t Go Away?”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m a contradiction because I’m so much like you describe and SO relate to “golden, glorious” time alone. Hubby is my best friend and I’m lost without him but whilst I miss him lots when he’s away (he travels loads with work), I also treasure the alone time – 100%. Maybe those I needed to attach to always pulled away and I became a loner because it hurt to feel that need? Cue isolation and addiction. And now sober those old emotions are bubbling up. Attachment for me = I need and crave it but it hurts and my coping survival strategy has been to avoid it altogether.

      I guess a balance somewhere is good.


    2. “He is f&#$*ing HERE all the time now…”
      This comment made me laugh out loud, Emma, because my ex worked internationally for 16 years before he was suddenly made redundant. He was then unemployed for 2 whole years. (We were done before that but it didn’t make our marriage stronger). I feel your pain though.

      Liked by 1 person

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