Sunday, October 27, 2013

Day 230 What I'm really addicted to

I went to a new-to-me AA meeting yesterday and listened to a woman talk about her relapses (she'd had several). She'd had a couple of surgeries and a lot of pain, but that hadn't been the cause of her relapsing. Each time she'd started drinking again, it was because of plain, old life discomfort: anxiety, nervousness, general malaise. She just didn't want to feel bad. The old admonition to sit with your feelings, to sit with discomfort was something she just couldn't do.

I felt such empathy for her and I wondered if this is at the heart of the reason why so few people get sober and stay sober, an intolerance for that kind of discomfort. It was certainly why I started drinking and probably why I kept drinking until I crossed some line and couldn't not drink. I didn't want to be uneasy, or jealous, or anxious, or off-kilter.

Because I couldn't stand those feelings, I became addicted to soothing. It's why it isn't just alcohol in my life that is/was the problem. Work soothes me, eating soothes me, shopping can soothe me. Not everything that soothes me is bad but that intolerance for discomfort is a tough one for me to handle, to understand, to sit with.  

1 comment:

Lura Frazey said...

Yes, yes. This the ultimate truth about all addiction. You and me and everyone we know--all addicted to preventing discomfort. Hell, biologically hard-wired to avoid it. And all of us addicted in some way to more than one substance or behavior. And living in a time and place of such excess we can literally soothe ourselves to death. Gack!

I'm going to clip this one as a reminder to myself in my battle against cigarettes, because I need to get real with that sooner rather than later. All these damned little lies I tell myself about what I'm up to there are soothing me down a road I promised I wouldn't walk.

Take care, my friend. L