Heart-On-My-Sleeve

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After the last rosy blog post I wrote, I now feel totally down in the dumps.  What I wrote was honest and reflected exactly how I was feeling about where I was with taking a break from alcohol.  But now?  Now, I feel the complete opposite.  I'm stuck in this funk of a mood and hope that writing it out will help get me un-stuck.  It's my heart-on-my-sleeve approach to life that moors me and undoes me at the same time, so I'm going to stay true to myself by continuing to put myself out there.

After hitting the three month mark of not drinking, I felt really proud and in a good place.  Two days later I ventured out to a friend's house for a dinner party with the feeling that I was ready to socialize once again.  And while I easily abstained from social drinking, I felt like a bit of a Debbie Downer.  While everyone was posing for fun photos and breaking open a piñata, my internal dialog was an endless loop of observations and commentary on the evening.  Everything was perfect from the outset - the food and the chance to gather and reconnect with friends, but it left me feeling flat and I felt like a total bore.  I didn't really want to engage and instead faked it.  

I'm sharing this because I've been in a funk ever since.  

A few days after that dinner party, I hosted book club at my house and really focused on staying in the present and enjoying the process of entertaining.  Setting a pretty table and planning a menu is one of my favorite things to do.  I knew I wouldn't be drinking and made sure there were plenty of non-alcoholic options for me, as well as my guests.  I thought, Oh, I've got this.

I purchased a bunch of pretty pink peonies and planned a summer menu to go along with our literary selection The Summer Book by Tove Jansson.  I ended up leading a mediocre discussion and occupied myself with the perfunctory tasks of getting dinner ready.  Again, I was in my head the entire time having conversations with myself and observing my guests in a new light, a sober light.  Would I ever be able to socialize and have fun again?  Because these women are smart, funny and likable and yet I felt I was not quite ready to commune with them.

When I started this book club nine years ago, it was a way for me to connect with the women in my life outside of my place of business (the local wine bar).  It was a monthly escape and excuse to let my hair down, overindulge in wine and adult conversation.  Doing it without a glass (or two…or three…) just feels awkward and uncomfortable.  I'm not jones-ing for a drink, but I'm jones-ing for familiarity and connectedness.  Right now, I'm not feeling much of that with anyone.

These feelings need to be tended to and I'm not sure the best way to do that, so I've allowed myself to just feel them.  I've allowed them to sink in and sit with me over the past week.  Doing life without alcohol has been a worthwhile challenge, but it does feel a bit isolating.  For the most part, I've enjoyed that part and really tried to retreat and be alone with all of these feelings.  However, I know life isn't meant to be spent cooped up in my house without outside influence.  That isn't a sustainable plan.  I know that, but I'm just not quite ready to dive into additional social situations that set me up for this feeling of emptiness.  

I turned to my husband and shared all of this with him.  And that felt good.  It felt like I was heard by the one person who really gets what I'm going through right now.  But, if I'm being totally honest, it's not enough. 

Escaping into my daily art-making has been a challenge, too.  I'm dabbling in writing poetry, plotting my son's summer fun and reading as a way of redirecting my mood.  It's working to a small degree.  I read this book in less than 24 hours and now I'm on to this one.  I think distraction is key for me.

So, this is where I'm at.  

Not so happy and not so healthy at the moment, but totally feeling it - for better or worse.