I went to go see a holistic health specialist. My appointment was over two hours long. We covered a lot of stuff.

A lot.

She asked me about sleep and dreaming. About my skin. About my joints and muscles. About mucous. And pooping. About exercise. About my vagina. We talked about it ALL. It was cool to talk about my physical health rather than winnow out more mental stuff.

She said, “So, with autoimmune stuff (for me rheumatoid arthritis) stress is a big factor. It seems like you are stressed even when you sleep.” I never really thought about that, but I never really wake up feeling well rested either. Huh.

Then we talked about when I quit drinking and smoking and then had to stop running I lost all of my outlets. All of the places I let go of stress had disappeared, but I haven’t replaced them with anything else. Eating cookies is not really a stress reliever. Huh.

We also talked about my breathing- how I breathe very shallowly. Another example of being in survival mode.

I need to relax. Saying that makes me laugh a little since my first response is “Yeah. Right.

When I quit drinking I really thought that all the pieces would fall into place. That because I quit drinking I would be healthy, lose weight, and life would tra la la along. That I wouldn’t feel tired and wasted all the time.

I would never have guessed that I would be four cups (“cups”) of coffee fatigued each day. When I was drinking I couldn’t even drink coffee because it made me way too edgy. I wouldn’t have thought I’d be thinking about pulling over to take a nap on my ten minute drive home from work. That I would have to go to bed before nine o’clock because I just can’t make it any longer. That I would have to give up running because no matter how much I take time to heal it’s too much for my body to take. I think about how lucky I was when I was able to go out and easily run ten miles or so even with a hangover. I think about how I felt such relief after that first bottle of wine. How I was almost disappeared by then. Nothing lets me disappear now.

Being present is hard. I didn’t realize how alone I felt until Dr. C told me I was in survival mode most if not all of the time. That I don’t feel safe in the world. That I lost my three biggest supports and have been sort of flailing around with nothing to take their place. I didn’t even think about that.

Getting and being sober is about so much more than not drinking. Dammit. DAMMIT! πŸ™‚

I have to smile at that too because even as hard as it is, I love being sober. It makes me feel like I at least have a chance.

So yesterday I breathed A LOT. Deep, purposeful breaths. I drank water, and ate slowly. Slept terrible.

Randomly, I feel so encouraged by it all. First off, can you imagine if all this was happening and I was still drinking? I would be feeling ultra uber shitty and probably in dirty sweatpants with wine stained teeth and a bottle of ibuprofen in one of those hip coin dispensers. Fuck. So this is kind of like life tra la la-ing along, really.

I suppose it’s all in the way you look at it. “How unfair!” I could rant. Or “How possible!” I can be. My life seems kind of like an endless crossroads- but how fortunate I am to actually have choices that aren’t all “guess I’d better get drunk again.” It reminds me that I am aware. It reminds me that I have a lot to be grateful for. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

“Never grow a wishbone, daughter, where your backbone ought to be.” Clementine Paddleford

Since I’m doing all this wishing but not much backbone-ing things are staying the same. Wanting to feel better and working to feel better are two different things. Dammit! So me and Clementine are getting the boat out. The scenery isn’t going to change without some rowing.