This is Really All There is.

11:36 PM Edit This 9 Comments »
In this whole dancing venture, I've met alot of new people. And I don't know how to do it. Sure, I meet new people in recovery all the time, but the talk is of what it used to be like, what happened and what it's like now. We all know each other's stories fairly intimately. If another woman talks to a newcomer and finds that their story relates to mine, they'll point them in my direction and that's that. It's nothing to tell a new person in recovery my whole life story in a half hour if they ask. Meeting "normal" people is different. They chat. They talk about their careers. Their kids. Their hobbies. I don't have a career. I don't have kids. I don't have hobbies. I have recovery. And that's really all I know how to talk about. Maybe some day that will be different, but for now, it's all I have. And for now, it's the most important thing I have. And I don't see that changing in the near future.

These so-called "normal" people? I have a really hard time relating. And it makes me feel very alone. Tonight when we went dancing, I felt more and more alone as the night went on. I remember that feeling well. Seemingly alone in a room full of people. And that was a reason to get really, really drunk. It's a horrible place to be. But I kept smiling and I kept reminding myself that it was all me and that I could choose to do something about it. But I just couldn't. The tears were too close and the fear closed in on me. That's a hard one to bring myself out of. The fear.

This morning, I went to a recovery meeting. The building itself makes me feel safe. Secure. Loved and wanted. All I have to do is drive in and park and I breathe just a little easier. Not because I'm in danger of drinking, but because I know that once I walk in, pour some coffee and light up a cigarette, some wonderful woman who knows exactly what I'm feeling will give me a hug and tell me what it was like for her when she started doing something new in recovery. I laughingly related that someone asked me if I had any ex-es (when "All my ex-es live in Texas came on) and I said, "No. I just have dead people." And one of the wonderful women pointed out how just a few months ago, saying that would have catapulted me into weeks of despair. I don't tell normal people that I have a dead guy behind me most of the time, but when they ask if I'm dating, I usually just say that my fiance died three years ago and I'm still not sure how I feel about it.

I don't say it for people to feel sorry for me. I used to. Oh God, I used to. It was a total attention seeking statement. But now, I just say it as a matter of course. Because OF COURSE it informs who I am today. Waking up to a dead body is not anyone's idea of a good time. It has shaped me. In more ways that I care to think about. And there's no way to candycoat it. No fucking way. So I say it and people give me these puppy dog eyes and "I'm so sorries." And that's not it. It's just a part of who I am. I don't know how to say it without getting that response. Does it need to be said? Hell, I don't know. Maybe it doesn't. But if I want someone to know me, it's a fucking huge part of what there is to understand about who I am.

Maybe I just don't "get" this casual social interaction. Maybe if I just let people assume that I'm horribly shy and not just freaking terrified of life? I don't know. All I know is that I'm pretty sure I'm crawling back into that hole that feels safe. That doesn't mean drinking and it doesn't mean it will last forever. It just means I need to put some things in perspective and go to a hell of a lot more meetings than I have been lately. I'm scared, actually. I haven't felt this alone and afraid for a long, long time. It's terrifying.


Anonymous said...

I dated a recovering alcoholic a long time ago and noticed the same thing about friends.

All her friends were in AA. She had very few friends outside of AA. Me being one.

I noticed the longer I dated her that AA was more of a social club and not a method to get back to "the normal world".

Since then I've wondered if the addiction became AA and not alcohol.

lacochran said...

I understand that recovery is your focus. At the same time, I don't think it's all you have.

You have a job. (Lots and lots of people don't have careers.) You like to go dancing and ballooning and play bingo and you love to cook and I know all these things just from reading this little slice of your life. To me, you seem like a very interesting person and a real sweetheart. And quite normal in your fears. That may not be what you want to hear, but that's the way you read to me.

Malaise Inc said...

You know what? All those "normal" people are scared shitless, too. The only difference between them and you is they may have different means to push through the fear and go out into the world. You once turned to alcohol as a way to push the fear down. Now you have a more healthy means of helping you confront the complexities of life.

Scared is normal. Revel in your normality.

Sarah said...

"Seemingly alone in a room full of people."

Oh I've been there. Sometimes I'm still there, even at the regular dances in Omaha, where it's usually my "safe and secure" place (it was especially bad when my two best friends left town and I had no one). But I've gotten better. I don't always leave in tears during nights like that.

CatKrny said...

No hobbies? Seriously, what don't you do???

buffalodick said...

I quit drinking for almost 6 years. I was happy, certainly healthier, and bored out of my skull... I started again, and I wish I wouldn't have. Hang in there, as you will find your place- as we all get a different deal..

Anonymous said...

I've been there.

Recovery changed your life - there's a "before" and an "after"...and for now, the "after" part is such a small percentage of your life (as measured in time) but such a large part of your life (as measured in importance), that it seems to you like that's all there is.

But you are so much more than that. And as you get on with your life, you'll slowly begin to realize that you are so much more than that.

You will. I promise.


Sweetly Single said...

I know how you feel.....

and I promise you

You are never alone

and if I have to drive down there to prove it to you I will darn it! hehehe

SoMi's Nilsa said...

Don't you think this whole recovery thing goes in waves? Waves where sometimes you'll feel like you can conquer the world? And other waves where you feel like the loan outsider? I don't know what recovery is like, but I do think that it's a process. An ongoing process. And so long as you're able to find peace, happiness and love in this world, while maintaining your health, does it really matter where you find it?