[on thursday night I sent the full book manuscript to the ‘big’ editor in the UK. Looking back on some earlier journalling i did about the writing process, i can see now that it took a LOT longer than i thought it would. and i discovered that writing is like early sobriety: shit is hard, then it gets easier, then we don’t know what we’re doing, then we figure some things out, and then we make daily, small progress.
Over the next couple of days, i’m going to post some of the writing that i did over the last year that ‘helped’ me figure out the sober writing thing. Because the parallels with sobriety are huge and many.]
June 30, 2015
i know what i want to say. i can string a sentence together.
what i’m searching for is a routine. and some motivation. I used to write like this: 1993, no internet at home after work, drink on an empty stomach, listen to REM Automatic for the People. Then the CD would end (45 mins?) and i’d keep going. It was the music that drowned out the noise in my head. Perhaps the backdrop of noise in a restaurant lulls writing wolfie into taking a nap.
so now i’m doing new things. i’m trying to create a writing toolbox. i don’t have any experience doing this sober. or married. or with an ever-present internet connection.
Gra: It is hard to apply the things that work for early sobriety into other spheres of life ?.
and my response: I believe that everything is like everything. and it is like early sobriety where I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing.
Gra: and you are right, everything is like everything – I think that has been my big Aha over the past year. And there I was thinking I was more complex and interesting. HA!
AM: Rather than telling yourself to keep trying different, which is totally necessary and great (but sometimes adds extra pressure and anxiety in my little opinion), just keep showing up. Every mountain looks like a mountain from the bottom, no matter how many times you’ve climbed it. And really, how many times during the climb up would you question yourself about why the fuck you are doing this when it’s so hard, what’s the point, who cares anyway blah blah. And then ya get to the top …
and my response: for me, if I keep showing up doing what I did yesterday, then it’s like watching paint dry. I’m better in motion. I’m better if I try something, find the part that works, keep that part, add something else, keep the 5% of that that works, and continue adding bits until I’m at 75% ish.
[this is just like early sobriety. i knew i wanted to be sober, i didn’t know how to get there, i didn’t like most of the advice i saw at first, i kept reading, found someone that i clicked with, did what they said, kept the parts that worked, figured out the rest. start with a replacement drink. then have a plan for witching hour. then have more support…]
my problem with the mountain is that if I can’t see the next step up, then I just walk around for a long time at the bottom.
But if I take the first step, make a change, break out, try different, then I can refine as I go along. Keep what works. toss the rest.
encouragement that even if the goal is large, that it gets smaller as you move through it. encouragement to pursue a large goal even if you think it’s scary. being afraid of a large goal is normal, but don’t nurse that feeling. look forward. think of how great it’ll be when it’s done.
Discomfort….here’s an odd thing, I dread, dread DREAD paying bills each month. No good reason, just hate it. This month I feel very little anxiety about it, I just logged out of my bank account with a sense of accomplishment. Also, a storm knocked out my bathroom light, and instead of avoiding the problem or fretting over it, I flipped all the breakers, ( no luck) and googled the problem. I’ve got a few thing to try now, but may have to call a guy. So what? I’ll do it. I’m learning that drinking was a big cause of anxiety, and I drank to relieve the anxiety, the problem caused the problem.
I find that the anxiety flows over to many things. I have trouble living in the moment…enjoying the now. I’m always worried about how the tomorrow will go. I agree with you Joyce that alcohol increases that anxiety. We just create more things to be anxious about with alcohol…like hiding it, thinking about it, wondering if there is any left in the bottle…did I drink it all last night? Fretting. Take away the alcohol and the anxiety declines.
Yes, Trudy. It seems sooo obvious now, this anxiety circle. I guess we have to figure it out ourselves before we believe it.
Gradually our “discomfort” becomes our new comfort zone….
This entry makes me think of Nelson Mandela’s quote, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
I went to a meeting today. I felt odd, like I didn’t fit in. Sometimes I don’t fit in with a large group and don’t fit in with a small group. I wanted to drink. I wanted to go home. There were bottles of wine and beer lined up on the countertop (along with delicious food) at the meeting. I stayed and tried to socialize while hubby actually did socialize and enjoy himself. I felt cranky that I can’t be like everyone else. Too self-conscious. I came home and thought and realize that everyone there was no different than I; each tackling our own issues, be it dementia, or living where they don’t want to live, or raising a special needs child. Why should I feel that I am so different? I just need to put one foot in front of the other and be a sober neighbor to my neighbors and friends. I need to keep finding ways to fit in, to be me, to try new things. Throw out what doesn’t work.