Feeling the Feelings

Day 10.

You know what’s so super great about not drinking?  Feeling all the feelings.  You know what SUCKS about not drinking? Feeling all the fucking feelings.

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I don’t know what I was expecting, really.  But life did NOT become perfect when I stopped drinking. I still had daily stressors and problems and chaos, but now I didn’t have alcohol to numb myself from feeling.  Basically, an emotional 16 wheeler came at me full speed all day, every day. IT WAS HARD.  I was angry.  I was angry with my kids, my job, my dog, my husband.  I was angry with everyone for just being.   I was angry with myself for having gotten to a place where I NEEDED this break from alcohol.   I was angry about being angry.

To be honest, it wasn’t pretty and I thought A LOT about throwing in the towel.  Things weren’t easier.  Life’s challenges didn’t seem to improve just because I did. And that pissed me right off.

One of the podcasts I listened to religiously at this beginning stage was ‘Mother Recovery’,  a podcast about women who mom sober. Annika O’Melia is the host and she is downright fabulous.  This topic of feeling the feelings came up a LOT as she interviewed other women in recovery. Although all of the stories of how and when these women got sober were unique, emotional recovery seemed to be a commonality among all. ‘Well that’s just fucking great’, I thought as I considered what this meant for my submerged emotions.

Another podcast I adore is ‘The Bubble Hour’ which focuses on real stories of addition and recovery.  One episode talked specifically about the sucky-ness of this beginning stage of sobriety.  Apparently what I was going through actually had a name..PAWS (Post Acute Withdrawal Symptoms). The American Addiction Center defines PAWS as ‘any symptoms that persist after a person has ended their physical dependence on a drug. It can feel like a “rollercoaster” of symptoms, which come and go unexpectedly’.   According to the AAC, these symptoms include:

  • Hostility or aggression
  • Anxiety, panic, or fear
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Depression
  • Exhaustion or fatigue
  • Inability to sleep
  • Trouble concentrating or thinking
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Anhedonia, or the inability to feel pleasure
  • Trouble with memory
  • Sensitivity to stressful situations

REALLY?   This is not fair.  I quit booze- THAT was supposed to be the hard part.  Now all this? FUCK. It’s time to find a community. A meeting. Something.

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