I recently read an article from Psychology Today about how “the opposite of addiction is connection.” It made so much sense to me, I even brought it up in one of my recent therapy sessions. Then I kind of forgot about it. Until a couple days ago when someone in a sobriety Facebook group I’m a part of quoted the article. I felt it again – that pull in my soul telling me to be quiet and LISTEN. So clearly I forgot about it again. Ugh. But then today….today the universe said, “FOR FUCK’S SAKE WOMAN, LISTEN!” and so I did.
The past couple days have been uncomfortable for me. I have felt so uneasy and unsure. Earlier in my sobriety (the first 90 days or so I’d say), I felt so aware of everything I was now doing sober. There I go to work not hungover…make dinner without my obligatory glass (or 5) of wine…shower without a beer waiting for me on the sink…go to bed when the kids do instead of staying up to drink some more…breathe in, breathe out, don’t drink, repeat. The last 25 days or so I am still aware but not so hyper-vigilant of the daily tasks I now complete with a clear head. I’m figuring out a new “normal.” I’m not quite there yet, but my routines have definitely changed. This week however, I’ve felt like I’m back in the very early days, always on guard.
These past few days have been challenging. I have felt like I’m just waiting for the bottom to drop out from under me. I’ve been super sensitive to everyone and everything and kept isolating myself, just waiting…then I thought, “WAIT! What if the bottom has already dropped out? What if those awful 2.5 years I spent blacked out or living a chaotic, stressful existence WAS the bottom dropping out?” Holy shit. I survived that. I fucking survived that.
Then I happened to have 3 amazing conversations today.
This morning I reconnected with an old friend who I happen to also work with but never see. I asked, “How are you?” and she basically called me out and said, “I don’t even bother asking that question anymore. People don’t really want to know how I am and they don’t want to tell me how they really are.” SO. TRUE. We ended up having this great conversation then about how people just give bullshit answers and how we both really want to know how people are – the good and the bad. How are you REALLY? Don’t lie or try to cover it up. If you’re going through a really shitty time – own it and tell me about it. Let me help or just listen at the very least. I don’t want people to feel like they have to put on a facade around me and I sure as hell am tired of pretending like everything’s just dandy in my own life. It was so freeing to be able to honestly say to her – my life kinda sucks right now. It’s better than it was, but guess what, I’m sober because I had a problem and now I’m trying to figure life out sober and that’s new and confusing and there’s a lot of feelings that come with that that I’m not sure about just yet.
After work I went for a massage I had scheduled awhile back. New to me and owned by a local lady. I walked in and I just knew in my gut this was going to be a good experience. There was nothing special about the place – just a feeling. When my appointment began, the massage therapist went over the required health questionnaire I had completed and she asked me about some of the health problems I had noted which led to me word vomiting some of my medical issues. She must have felt comfortable because she then went “off the record” and started telling me some of her story. We ended up talking for the entire massage. We share many of the same beliefs and I opened up about being in recovery and she was super supportive and we talked mental illness and self-help books and life philosophies AND I got an amazing massage during it all. Throughout our discussion (before I mentioned my sobriety) she said a couple things that resonated so deeply with me about accepting and owning your past and living in the present which I’ve found so challenging lately. I felt like it was no accident that I was on this particular massage table at this particular time.
Finally, I ended my day with a discussion with a friend (who doesn’t know I’m sober) about our kids, men, crapping our pants and getting older. Light conversation with lots of laughs but I so desperately needed that even though I didn’t realize I needed it until it was already happening.
All 3 conversations were no accident today. I needed them. The universe knew that. They were reminders that these connections are so much stronger than my addiction. That I’m better when I’m not alone.
I’m. Not. Alone.
There are others out there who are also facing their own demons, addiction or otherwise, and others who think I’m worth knowing and loving even though I’m facing mine. I need to know that. I need to know that I’m not the only one who has FUCKED UP and that my mistakes don’t define me. THEY DO NOT DEFINE ME AND YOURS DO NOT DEFINE YOU.
I do believe that connection is truly the opposite of addiction.