Down, but not out.

Over the last week, I have started this post several times, only to end up deleting it.  Some of the drafts just sounded too depressing because I’ve had a rough month.  Some I thought seemed flat, like I just didn’t have anything good to say.  And one draft just sounded angry, and that’s not how I wanted it to come across.  Today, I realized that the whole point of my blog is to express my feelings – whatever they are.  So, I’m not going to delete this one, I’m going to put my feelings down and get them out of my head.

May has not been a great month.  At the beginning of the month, my estranged daughter celebrated her 17th birthday.  Not being able to be with her was heartbreakingly painful.  I wrote an open letter to her, and while I had no expectations of a response (I don’t even know for certain that she reads my blog, but I know that other family members do), I think I was holding onto a little bit of hope. But I heard nothing, good or bad.  Then, just a week later I had Mother’s Day to deal with.  I was sad to not be spending it with my daughter and with my own mother.  No matter what my relationships with them are like now, I still miss them.  In recovery, I have gotten better about accepting the past for what it is, but on days like Mother’s Day, there is still a part of me that longs for a different past.  I know it’s an impossibility, but I still wish for it, especially on days that I am already in the dumps.

As if that wasn’t enough to deal with, last week we lost a member of our home group to his addiction.  He was a handsome young man who had been in and out of the rooms for a couple of years. He was intelligent and friendly and had a smile and a voice that lit up the room. My husband took an instant liking to him and talked with him at length on several occasions. The last time I spoke to him, he was headed back to treatment and he sounded hopeful. He did not die sober. It was a drug overdose that took his life. He was only 18 years old.  That’s where my now deleted angry post comes in.  When our friend’s death was announced at our morning meeting, some of the comments from old-timers majorly pissed me off.  Before I knew it, I had written a long rant about how some old-timers forget what early sobriety is like, and that their self-righteousness will, more than likely, send newcomers back out the doors that they only just worked up the courage to walk through.  The comments that were made were enough to offend me, even if I hadn’t known the young man who died.  When you add the shock and grief of losing someone who you care about, it makes it all the harder.

The first three weeks of May have mostly sucked, and I’ve been feeling depressed and sad and discouraged.  What have I been doing with all of these negative feelings?  Nothing.  I’ve let them be.  Now, if I were to play Monday-morning quarterback I could list the things I should’ve done that I didn’t:  I should’ve talked to my sponsor more, I should’ve finished working on my 4th step (I’m in the process of re-working my steps), I should’ve practiced more of my Healthy Habits, I should’ve journaled more and written more posts.  But, until today, I just haven’t felt like doing many of those things.  So instead I’ve been binge-watching Nurse Jackie, crushing candy like a crazy woman, and taking 4 hour naps on my days off.

So, where exactly is the silver lining in all of this, you may ask?  Here it is:  even through my blues and self-pity, I was able to remember that “this too, shall pass.”  I was down, but I didn’t despair.   I didn’t isolate (much), I went to meetings, I talked about my feelings when I needed to, I honored my commitments even though I didn’t feel like it, and I took care of myself.  And the icing on the cake was that I didn’t drink.  I didn’t even want to.  That’s huge.  It’s a fucking miracle.

I’m happy to say that I think I am coming out of my funk, and while I didn’t do everything right while I was down, I did what I needed to and I remembered that feeling bad wouldn’t last forever and I made it through.  I learned that my emotions won’t kill me and that I don’t have to try to avoid or numb them.  I also learned that I am stronger and healthier than I thought before this period of melancholy.  That’s some pretty shiny silver lining, if you ask me.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go finish my 4th step, do some yoga, and de-clutter something.  🙂





10 thoughts on “Down, but not out.

  1. Hi Jamie! I am sorry to hear that you have been going through a rough patch. Mother’s Day is hard for me too and not being able to to see your daughter is just heartbreaking. And I am sorry to hear about your friend dying. This happens often unfortunately and it’s devastating every time. I just had a friend die back in March. So all your feelings are very understandable. Uncomfortable, but understandable.

    And sometime we just need to sit with them and let them wash over. Yes, the feelings will not kill us! So true! And the only way out is through and you did just that!

    I am glad you’re coming out of your funk. Take good care of yourself, and take it easy. Sending many hugs!

  2. Jami…

    that is one of the most hopeful and helpful posts i have read in a very long time.
    The take away here is huge, huge!
    Yes, we can get through anything, big or small without drinking.
    I am so sorry that you had to go through all of that, but they are feelings, and like maggie says, the only way out is through. You proved that, you made it through.

    Thank you for sharing this, all the feelings, all the things you might have done differently, all the things you are doing now….this is an awesome, awesome post and one that will help many, including me, because we all need to be reminded that drinking or drugging makes nothing better, that it can, in fact kill us. And that we have tools to help…even if they are binge tv and candy (some of my favorite tools sometimes!!). Along with that we have sponsors and steps and hot tea and de-cluttering.

    Thank you for this Jami….your recovery is inspiring. I am so sorry about your friend, and I too get so angry when those old timers make inappropriate comments. I always picture them at home later, with tears in their eyes and gratitude that it wasn’t them, because it could so easily be them. It helps me to think of them feeling some of the fear i feel when people relapse, because i do think that is what it is, and then I can be a little less judgmental….a little 😉

    I’m glad you’re feeling a bit better . I will keep your daughter in my thoughts.

  3. Just because people are sober doesn’t mean they are well. There is one oldtimer who has been a source of inspiration to me throughout my sobriety, he has truthfully given me some pearls of wisdom in his sardonic, sarcastic, patronising sharing but mostly whenever he shares I smile and nod at laugh appropriately at his out of place sexist gag (he is old and Welsh and therefore deemed therefore given permission to letch at any attractive female in the room) but… mostly I learn as I sit there and think – “Whatever I get from sobriety one things for sure – I don’t ever want to be like you are my friend.”

    Sorry to here of the loss – A member of one of my home groups died recently through cancer sober and with the family and friends she loved with her to the end. However any loss in any group makes a big hole. I noticed again that a particular chair was left vacant again this week. It will be filled in time by a new comer or a new member – it will eventually be filled by new and different. Tough times.

    So sorry about your estrangement from your family. I still sit amazed sometimes that my family kept me about

  4. Some wise and wonderful words – both from you and from the commentators so far. I read this last night, but was too tired to respond. Today I see it in a new light – winning and not whining. Sure there is some anger and sadness, but there is hope, as Mished said. Lots of it, because you are going through this au naturel, and not thinking about self-medicating. This is the stuff that helps define us and our character and our recovery. I can’t imagine what it’s like being estranged from a child, but you are handling it with some grace and dignity.

    Very inspiring indeed.

    Thank you Jami. Hope your de-cluttering helps 🙂

    Love and light,

  5. So sorry, Jami. It’s been a rough 2014 for us too. Not in the same ways, but still rough. But, you’re right. It’s a miracle that we don’t drink over this stuff anymore. Grateful for your perspective. I’ll keep you in my prayers. Hugs!

  6. No where near as traumatic, but I’m in the same boat. Thanks for sharing this, it helped me today to remember I am not alone. This too shall pass was the great advice I was given, and it really helped! I’m praying that your next post finds you in a better place!

  7. “This too shall pass.” It’s so hard to remember that when we’re in the dip of the ride. I agree with Michele that this is such a hopeful post. It’s good to hear you give yourself a break and some credit for taking care of yourself!

  8. There seems to be a lot of that going around Jami. The Spring time blues and blahs. It’s very strange!

    I’m glad you wrote about it. Like I shared with Josie, it helps us all when others write about the blahs, because then we know we’re not alone. Plus it helps to process our feelings by writing about them. It’s a win win sort of thing.

    I just read that Nurse Jackie (Edie Falco?) has 20+ years of sobriety! She says the show really helps her remember what it was like. I haven’t watched it, but it’s one that I’d like to if I had time.

    Big hugs! xo

    Sent from my iPhone


  9. Pingback: Knowing myself | Sober Grace

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