“change…usually begins with a door closing, an ending, a completion, a loss, a death. Then we enter an uncomfortable period, mourning this completion and living in the uncertainty of what is next. This period is hard.
But just when we feel we can’t take it anymore, something new emerges: a reintegration, a reinvestment, a new beginning. A door opens. If you fight change, you will be fighting your whole life. That’s why we need to find a way to embrace change, or at least to accept it.
Through aspiring to accept life on life’s terms we begin to move from feeling like a victim and blaming the world around us.”
Elisabeth Kubler Ross.
I am struggling a bit right now. I managed the physical symptoms of the first two weeks, and I survived the draining insomnia. I coped with the first few social encounters, smiled and explained away my unusual abstemious behaviour. I went on a weekend break – normally a huge excuse to drink heavily. And I did not drink.
Now the intense cravings have largely passed, I’ve settled into NOT opening the wine when I get home, I’m sleeping better… Importantly to me, my blood pressure has reduced significantly. And I’m a bit bored. I’m aware of a creeping ennui, and a vague feeling of dissatisfaction; a feeling of being short changed.
I have not lost any weight, my life is not magically transformed, I still have problems. In fact the blunt reality of those problems seems more present, real and intrusive than they were when I drank to forget. I’m not running, although I have taken up Pilates and Yoga; I’m still overwhelmed and over stressed. What’s the point?
When I read the above quote, from a psychiatrist I greatly respect, I remember that choosing sobriety also involves loss and grief. Sure, much of the loss is positive, but there is also loss that deserves recognition. The loss of myself as a ‘normal drinker’, the grief at the time I have wasted, the acceptance of the foolish, selfish and at times dangerous things I have done. These things need acknowledgement; they need emotional space so that they can be processed, accepted and I can move on.
I have read a large number of “sober bibles”; at the time I read avidly and absorbed every word as though it were gospel. Now, as I reflect on some of what I read, I chose to reject the relentlessly positive message that comes from some self help books. There is loss, grief and sadness in accepting change, I suggest there needs to be.
But ultimately I expect there will be acceptance, and peace. This picture, taken in one of my favourite places feels peaceful to me.