The last few weeks were difficult. I kept getting bad news from and about people I care about, both personally and at work (I’m an acupuncturist). Terminal diagnoses. Deaths. Violence. A psychotic break. A few broken hearts. A few relapses. Playing out in the time of a pandemic, with teenagers at home losing their minds and fighting half the time.
I carried on, smiling and showing up. Tucking people in for treatments, listening and sharing at recovery meetings, mediating kid conflicts, adulting and handling my sh*t.
Then I was rewatching the season finale of The Office with my son and I started ugly crying and I couldn’t stop. Like I sobbed for an hour, and finally released some of the pain.
Like a lot of women I know, I have a fair bit of trauma history. Some of it is so painful only my old therapist knows about it. I’ve been high functioning on the outside, but often I pulled away from reality, disconnecting from deep feelings and painful thoughts. In the past, drinking numbed the bad feelings. It kept me fuzzy when I was in a marriage I couldn’t see a way out of, with a partner who scared me. It was my medicine. It was a comfort. And I have forgiven myself for my eventual dependency. It’s what I could access at the time.
When I got scared that I couldn’t keep drinking like I wanted to while keeping the life I wanted, I got sober. That meant I HAD to do more for me and less for other people. I had to end toxic relationships with people as well as alcohol. I had to be OK with not being OK. I even had to be honest and raw and stop hiding all my bad feelings.
Bottling up my bad feelings led me to bottle after bottle of booze, and made me sicker, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
Today, I give myself permission to not be perfectly OK, and to just say so. Love to all my sober and sober curious sisters out there, and to those in pain.