Lock down life is ticking along. I realise considering I’m, you know, ‘writing a blog’ I should be more descriptive but there is literally no other way to describe it for me right now. It’s not particularly good, it’s not particularly bad…it’s ticking along. I’m lucky enough to have had the new life experiences of being in a new city and this for sure has broken some of the endless feeling of ‘just existing’. I’m grateful that I chose this time to move despite it’s challenges.
The high from moving to a new city and living alone is far from over, it still makes me happy everyday, but there is a gentle lapping dread deep down that I feel like I can’t ignore. Don’t get me wrong I’ve been giving it a pretty good shot and succeeding for the most part. Pushing it down with coffee and crime shows has been a welcome distraction. I’m pretty good at avoiding potential problems. In fact I’m pretty damn good at ignoring glaring problems too, *que nods from anyone who’s had a drinking problem*. I’m determined to let that shit go as it’s nothing if not toxic but it’s process. Turns out eating nachos and watching YouTube videos of cats is not an antidote to unexplained existential dread…it’s a great distraction though. Getting things out, however hard it is for me to do, is one of the few things that helps when my thoughts are creeping. I need to make sure that I’m the one in control and sometimes that means…I have to…”talk it over”…*gags*.
I was trying to figure out the uneasiness rising over the last week or so and then I remembered that absolutely everything had changed. Literally every single thing in my life has completely and utterly changed. So I’m thinking it’s probably quite normal to feel unsettled and weird and that’s not even factoring in staying sober. You’d think I would have considered this, I know you really would, but nope just went straight for the “I’m probably just losing my mind” train. I’ve moved away to a new city, I’m living alone for the first time, away from my support network, adjusting to huge changes, anxious for the future, nervous about the pandemic and trying to establish myself as competent in a new high pressure job. And….being honest….I have been thinking about drinking a lot. It’s been on my mind and it makes me feel so much more unsettled than any of the other stuff. Little thoughts here and there. Sometimes even little fantasies, but mostly just intrusive thoughts at strange times of day. They seem at random, I doubt they are, but the point is they are there.
Then I remembered.
That. Is. Ok….I’m thinking about booze a lot….So what?
Two things get me through when the thoughts start creeping in….you know the ones. “Well it a new city and new friends…they might not think you’re fun?” or “You’re seriously never going to sip a nice whiskey again?”. Now this bastard of a thought has been particularly prevalent. Hot take: alcohol free whiskey…NOT A THING! I’m tangent-ing again aren’t I.
Two things that I remind myself of all the time:
1.) A thought can’t make me do anything and..
2.) Drinking doesn’t just happen.
It used to really feel like it just happened, my god did it feel like that, but I now look back and I know that was because I had no control of my drinking whatsoever. I just took the steering wheel and passed it to alcohol, too drunk to care if we crashed. It doesn’t just happen. I don’t think about drinking and all of a sudden there’s a glass of Merlot in my hand, there are so many small decisions and actions from thinking “I’m going to have a drink” and then actually having the drink in my hand and drinking it. So much of this process for me has been taking myself off autopilot. Wrenching the steering wheel back and putting on the fucking breaks.
I am thinking about drinking a lot. I don’t like that I think because it scares me, the thought of starting drinking again. I just keep reminding myself that being scared that I’m going to drink says a lot about how much I want to be sober, and I choose that.
Drinking doesn’t just happen, these thoughts don’t mean I’m going to drink, and I know from going through this that I don’t fucking want to. Not even a little bit. I choose nachos, cat videos and existential dread, with both hands firmly on the steering wheel.