Every year around this time I get a bit wacko. I should see it coming. I should know it is on it’s way and prepare. But do I? Never. You see, I am coming up on my “sobriety birthday” and it always makes me a bit squirrelly. There are some things every recovering addict knows to look for. (Although, rarely do they when they need to!) One of the phrases (or in this case acronym) is HALT. Things to look for that mean you could be on a super icy slope to a slip. In this case, HALT.
Check. Check. Check. Check.
Unless you are an addict, the feeling is so hard to put into words. It is a restlessness. A feeling of being caged in and feeling like you don’t fit into your own skin. An addict who is struggling and jonesing for something to fix it can be an insane wreck. It’s not that I want a fix as in drugs. But a fix as in “fix this feeling now!” Nothing works. There is a searching for the right combination of things to make the restlessness go away. But there truly is nothing that fixes the feeling. You begin to look way back into your using days and remember how the pill took care of the jonesing. But you know that is not an option. Not even close. So you stay restless. You try to fill that feeling with anything and everything that might make you feel less caged in. Destructive things or creative things or even healthy things. None of it really works. The jonesing feeling stays. And gnaws at your gut until you feel it will eat you alive.
Exhibit A: Me.
This year we add on the grief of missing Mom. Add on that my doctor in his infinite wisdom decided to change medication. And then add on my ability to sign up for far more than I can possibly do under the best of circumstances. And there you have it…a caged in, jonesing, pacing, and searching recovering addict who does not fit into her own skin. Both of the meeting places I used to go to have moved. And I have no idea where they are now. Don’t worry. I know better than to go this alone. I won’t. Talking about it and opening it up helps.
There are friends out there who know me well enough to
make me allow me to talk about it when I need to. (But I usually don’t.) Or to just rant. (Which I never do about this.) Some of them who will tell me to get my ass back in gear and do something. (To them I get pissy, but listen.) And then there are readers who do the exact same thing. (They are harder to ignore when they pop up in my inbox in all caps!) I am amazed at the number of readers who are in this position or have been in my shoes who without even trying, say just what I need to hear.
I guess I just need to say it out loud. I am feeling a bit screwed up and restless and caged and freaked and lost and lonely and hurting and angry and all of those things that are lethal to staying clean. Maybe if I admit it, I will be safer. Maybe not. But at least now I know that I haven’t kept it a secret. That’s a step toward staying safe, right? Keeping it in will slap my ass right onto that slippery slope. And right now, I just cannot afford to go there. I just can’t.
So I will pace and wander and act like a caged animal, but I won’t use. I won’t use. I won’t use. (But I may sleep a lot. Hard to get in trouble while sleeping!)