Monday, March 15, 2010

Riding the big wave of feelings

I feel particularly blessed to have the spiritual director/counselor that I do. In fact, I probably would never have embarked on this abstinence adventure without her. As it is, we worked together for over a year before I even came close to the willingness to let go of this last sedative called sugar.

Anna is a psychiatric nurse practitioner with addictions training. She is also a deeply compassionate person. It's just what I'm needing in this very difficult time. To say that old childhood feelings are coming up is a bit of an understatement although I cling to the truism in AA that you never get more than you can handle at any one time. And the support I'm feeling from friends and Anna is helping me to have the confidence to believe I can ride through this and came out the other side, no matter how long it takes.

Something definitely cracked open on Thursday and after literally spilling my guts, I've been doing it emotionally for days. I'm not one who cries easily and boy I sure can today. I'm not one who shares the deepest of fears and concerns and yet today I can.

From the age of 9, when some traumatic experiences happened to me, until I began to drink steadily at edge 23, I lived in a state of perpetual anxiety. It was not generalized anxiety; it was fear. Fear of the atom bomb (I'd been through the duck-and-covers experience at school that many of my peers did), fear of the Soviet Union and its missiles, fear of pesticides (thanks to Rachel Carson and Silent Spring), fear that I was a geek (I was), fear that no one loved me, fear that God would punish me, you name it, I was afraid of it. When I ate sugar, some of that fear subsided. When I started to drink, all of it subsided.

I didn't drink to be a party girl. I drank to be numb from fear. When I got sober from alcohol, I got busy. I worked a lot, got active in AA, I travelled, and I ate sugar. Somehow the fears stayed inactive. Oh, they surfaced from time to time, especially under the guidance of a competent therapist but we never pushed them and I would go home from therapy sessions that were painful and eat a lot of ice cream. In fact, I knew just where to go from each therapist's office to get my current favorite sedative. I stayed really busy for 20 years.

Now that's not working. Or rather, I'm tired of living life that way, fearing the fear. Fearing what's been suppressed in my emotions, in my heart, in my body. So now I'm not sedating and I'm afraid. I'm afraid in waves of anxiety, and dread, and panic. And then I'm tired and okay again for a while. This is my process and I'm riding the big waves at the moment.

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