My emotions have been all over the place for the last two weeks, since I quit drinking again. Last Saturday I posted about feeling buckets of gratitude. Honestly, my heart was so full of love I thought it would burst. I was so damn happy. But throughout the day I went from the top of the world to completely bottoming out. By the next morning, Sunday, I was so full of despair I honestly thought about checking myself into an inpatient treatment program. I just could not get a handle on the negativity that was racing through my brain and poisoning my spirit. I just did not want to be awake anymore.
So I did something crazy. I cried. A lot. And, I opened up to my partner about what I was feeling. Wild, right?
It felt so good to be honest and unburden myself. Why is it so hard for me to do this? Once I talked about what I was feeling, and heard myself say the words, it was like my pain was cut in half. He doesn’t always know the right things to say (who does?) and he doesn’t always understand, but just being able to tell another person was freeing. I don’t have to do this alone. I don’t know why I feel the need to be so independent. It is what has stopped me from getting to AA all of this time and what still stops me from speaking at meetings when I go.
I am so afraid to put myself out there and ask for help. But by not allowing myself to be supported, I am not only denying myself care of others, but I am denying those I love the chance to know me. I am denying connection, trust, and love.
There are a multitude of reasons that I am this way. Some come from my family, in particular, my mother, who was stoic and unemotional while she raised me. She raised me to be fiercely independent and she did the best job that she could at that time. She was a survivor and her job was to raise her children to be survivors. I love her for everything she did for me and I also felt very alone and unloved growing up.
I also think that, I have tried to not align myself with the stereotype of a woman who is emotional and irrational- like those are “bad” things to be- and so I have tried to minimize, or ignore, my emotional self. This repression of self hasn’t worked out very well for me. Bottling things up and pretending that they aren’t there has probably not helped me, and likely has been one of the catalysts to my addiction. I have tried to drink away my emotions. And it worked, for a while. I drank to mask insecurity and unease. But now that I am not drinking I actually have to feel these things and it’s hard and scary but I want to do it. I want to feel what I have to feel. I want to let people in. I want to get better.
At the same time, last Sunday, when my partner was hearing me, supporting me and loving me, he was also feeling his own pain because I have not been a very good partner at times. Not only do I hide my pain, but I also hide my love. How many times do I look at him and feel love but I am unable to say it? Sometimes I just can’t make myself express my emotions. Other times I feel disconnected from them. By the end of the day, because I was so wrapped up in myself, he was hurt. He doesn’t express his emotions very often, and it was difficult for him to come out and say that he did not feel loved by me.
It was a wake-up call. Hearing him say that broke my tiny little already beat-up heart! I want to live with an open heart and feel love and be connected to my partner and the people around me. The only way to do this is to stay sober. Alcohol kills this love and shrinks my heart. It stifled me by keeping me on that shitty little cycle of drinking and hangovers. It kept me so much in my head that there is no room for anything else. It kept me so alone. Often surrounded by people, but so alone.
I’m getting ready to love.