Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Chilled to the bone

This is an email I received today from a friend in recovery. It's longer than my usual posts, but I believe it's worth reading. I asked for his permission to copy, paste and post it here (and I received it LOL).

Good very early in the morning everyone. Well, I hope that you are having a rich cup of coffee and that you have had your moment of meditation. You will need it if you decide to read through this monologue. I have to talk. You may choose not to read this. I will understand, because it will be long by the time I finish. You who are receiving this know me well enough to know that I have no need for drama and that I prefer that the attention stay off of me. I do not want to be recognized. I do not want to be anyone’s model for sobriety, spirituality, or how to effectively and successfully live life. So, you know that what I am about to disclose is coming directly from what I have just experienced. My mind is going over and over it in replays, so I need to get it out of me and I need for me to get out of my head so that I can go on, relax, and be ready to face the day.

It is now 5:15 am as I begin to write this.

I woke up about an hour ago in a sweat; yet chilled to the bone. I am slightly trembling. Confused and bewildered, I became aware of the deep sense of shame and feeling of disgust and guilt that clung to the inner part of my being. Sluggishly, I sat up upon the bed and gradually folded over into a fetal position. I am desperately hung-over and physically ill. My mind began to take over, posing one question and one thought after another: “What have I done?” “How could I have placed myself in a situation that would lead me down this path?” “How am I going to get through this with any sense of integrity?” "Why did I have to revert back to my self-sabotaging behavior?” "I will be shunned and rejected again.“ “My life is really over this time.” “I hate myself passionately.”

My mind raced to a remembrance of me waking up from a sleep as I had laid my head down on the bar. As I raised my head to wake, the bartender gently smiled (I remembered that he had invested a lot of time flirting with me prior to my nap on the bar) and said, “Hey babe, I am glad you slept a bit. You needed it. Here you go, you will need this.” I sleepily stretched my arms over my head, brushed my hand through my hair, rubbed my eyes, and with a smile reached my hand towards the flirtatious bartender to take from him what was to be the last drink. As I drank the last drink, I realized where I was and keenly became aware of what I had done. I put the shot class down and raced out of the bar into the streets. As I began to wonder aimlessly towards my car, I found a quiet place of solitude, sat down, and began to sob. I knew that I had failed. I was thinking and feeling that I would not be able to go back to AA or ever face the people who have embraced me, those who have been there for me, those who have cared for me. I will forever be disconnected from my children. My life is over. I found my car and drove home. I went to bed. I woke up about an hour ago in a sweat; yet chilled to the bone.

It was a crazy-ass dream.

Two days ago, my neighbor stopped me in a conversation and brought to my attention that for several days I have made reference to drinking. He asked me “What is going on. Are you seriously considering drinking?” I paused and replied “No. But for some reason it has been at the forefront of my thought lately.” I told him that I actually spoke about it last week in a meeting. I was hoping by doing so that I would be released from the thoughts and that I could move on. Well, the thoughts are there, still.

My assessment: my brevity with sobriety and AA has given me at least a bit of insight as to what my mind is going through. I am experiencing some anxiety about my 18 months milestone. I can only suppose that part of my fear is experiencing the success and like in the past when I got so close to success I began to engage in self-sabotage. Fear of achievement. Fear of going through the public recognition process and of being setup as a public model of goodness. Fear of not fulfilling the expectation of what others have of me, of being what a good model should be. Fear of being found out that I am not so good after all… that I am… on and on and on and on and on and on.

So, this morning I choose to embrace this fear. It is what it is. It is neither good, nor is it bad. It just is. I feel it. I own it as part of the person that I am. I fully experience it. I accept it for what there is to learn from it. I release it to my loving, kind, tender-hearted and understanding God who embraces me with all of his compassion.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for being there and for caring.


Scott W said...

I have been fortunate to have had few using dreams. The ones I did have made me feel just as your friend wrote. The only good thing about those feelings is that I truly value my sobriety, if I didn't the dreams and the feelings afterward wouldn't be disturbing at all. Thank your friend for allowing you to share that with us.

Blue said...

Beautifully written and my using dreams have been just as vivid, they have described it well. I just thank God that it is just a dream

doughgirl said...

I had these dreams a lot in the very very early months of recovery. They were just as vivid and I too woke in cold sweats, scared to death and then the feeling of gratitude came over was just a dream and God was reminding me what it was like and what it is like now all at the same time :)
Thanks to your firned for sharing !

Phil said...

I had a few drinking dreams in very early sobriety. They didn't noticeably shake me up, since I was pretty shook up anyway.

Your friend's story is, to me, inspiring. The last paragraph, on embracing fear, speaks to me loud and clear!