The Fears

16 Sep

When I was drinking, I remember the feeling of ‘The Fear’ being one of the most horrific things about drinking- that shapeless ball of doom that consumed me the next day. In sobriety I have been free of that, but a new phenomenon has crept up on me- the silent, multiple tendrils of fear that stem from lots of different areas of my life and have slowly gained shape to the point where now, I feel in danger of being strangled.

One of the contradictions of sobriety is that in becoming sober we gain so much that, for some of us, it’s too much to handle. We lose sight of the things that got us sober in the first place and can find ourselves back at square 1. I hear people share about this in meetings all the time and have made endless mental notes not to let life get too full to be sober. I’ve massively taken my eye off the ball and am paying for it.

I’ve taken a job that is all consuming, and whilst the prestige of the job and long term benefit of gaining experience in a really tough field will pay off one day, the pressure is too much. I’ve always been an advocate of the ‘you always have time for self-care, if you make the time’ model, but I’ve become wrapped up in a life where that isn’t strictly true. I work 14+ hours a day, commute 3 hours and I sleep. That isn’t sustainable. I have tried to take my foot of the gas but a culture of fear and pressure has stopped that being possible. I took a holiday and the guilt of being away made me feel worse than I did when I was there. I’m trying to get a Saturday off to go to a wedding but it looks like that might not be possible. My nerves are shot.

The project has the end in sight, but I feel like I’m walking on the fragile glass of my sanity every day and am waiting for it to shatter.

Things in my personal life (the little of a personal life I have) are suffering- I’ve entered a new relationship which is lovely and supportive and exciting and yet it’s making me look at myself in a new light and hate myself, a little. The opening up of myself to another person is making me be vulnerable and look at myself and my flaws afresh as I reveal them to another human being and it hurts. I want to lean on him for support but have tried to learn from relationship mistakes of the past and not push the other person away with my neediness. I feel lost in my own head again and the tendrils of fear wrapping around my brain and my stomach and it’s incredibly painful.

So I need to do something about it, but here’s the thing: I’ve become so practiced in feeling happy and normal, I’ve forgotten what to do. My self-care toolbox feels a distant memory and I don’t quite know what to do. A bit embarrassing really, given I’ve just celebrated my 600th day of sobriety and not drinking is the most natural thing in the world. When did I get rubbish at the ‘life’ bit?!

I need to reacquaint myself with what to do to feel better. Writing is step 1.


12 Responses to “The Fears”

  1. Rebecca A. Watson September 16, 2015 at 11:26 am #

    Ugh, the fear. I hated that. Sounds like you need to go back to Self Care 101. I know how hard that can be, even when you do have the time. Sending you clarity and good energy!

  2. lucy2610 September 16, 2015 at 3:18 pm #

    Lovely to see you back 🙂 Texting people when you need support is also highly recommended 😉 xx

  3. ainsobriety September 16, 2015 at 3:27 pm #

    It would be easy to say quit your job and take care of yourself, but perhaps that is not the answer.

    Noticing you are tired is vital. So, assuming you are willing to continue to the project end, make everything else simple.

    Is there a meal delivery service in your area? One that you can find healthy choices you like? Use it. And make sure you eat. Even if that means protein bars, etc. hunger makes everything harder to deal with.

    Slowly cut back on caffeine if you are using it to survive. Not entirely, but enough that it isn’t one of your major food groups.

    Accept this is temporary and complete you work and sleep and not much else. If work is so horrible that it is strangling the life out of you, consider if even temporary distress is worth the pay off. Sleep whenever possible.

    Find a way to make the commute pleasant. Calm music. Guided meditations or podcasts that support you.

    if the pay off of all this effort is more seniority and more work, there might be no end in sight and that would suck. I hate to look to far ahead, but maybe ask yourself where you are going in your work life.

    Money and recognition are once, but health and happiness are nicer. It is not an easy balance to find, but as someone who has overcome addictive behaviour you know that the pay off of taking care of yourself and putting your needs at the top of your list truly pay off.

    Self love and self compassion.


  4. ainsobriety September 16, 2015 at 3:31 pm #

    One last comment…recently I had a day where I was overwhelmed, tired, extended and hungry. I have absolutely no interest in alcohol for the fun of drinking (shudder, no fun there), but that little voice of self destructiveness did pop up. It scared me. I suddenly understood more how people with long term sobriety replace. It’s not always about wanting to drink socially again. Sometimes it is the compulsive, self defeating behaviour that wins.

    That is where we do need vigilance for the rest of our lives. Supporting our soul.

  5. Sherry September 16, 2015 at 4:43 pm #

    When I get overwhelmed like this (and yep…it still happens) I honestly have to remember to breathe. Not the kind of breath that keeps you alive but the kind that sustains you. Deep cleansing breaths that center you. Google alternate nostril breathing and try that. It feels stupid at first but it works for me. I need that as my first step or I’m never able to break out of that feeling that I’m drowning.

    Good luck. I’m glad there’s a end in sight and that you’re enjoying your new relationship.


  6. byebyebeer September 17, 2015 at 12:27 pm #

    I’m sorry to hear about the job stress and hope you find more balance once the project ends, or before if at all possible. New jobs and relationships are exciting and consuming, and stressful in that. Awareness of what’s going on seems such a gift. I hope you are able to find even small ways to get back to a more comfortable pattern of self-care.

  7. primrose September 17, 2015 at 6:49 pm #

    I personally seem to need to learn and relearn the lesson of self-care until I am bored almost with myself! one cool outcome for me of writing my blog is that it made it very apparent that when I don’t run regularly I get low. which is a pattern I could not see until I had written about 18 blogposts about it 🙂

    I definitely think you writing more is a grand idea (because then I get to read it!) xxx

  8. Annie September 19, 2015 at 8:45 pm #

    Yes, please keep writing. And maybe go back and read some of your earlier blog posts – though you’ve probably done that already – as there are lots of self-care/toolbox ideas there, of very own. Annie x

  9. soberandawkward September 23, 2015 at 1:56 am #

    I’m in the same boat as you! Self-care easily falls off the radar. My life is so crazy busy…I feel guilt for not writing here much anymore either due to all the craziness.

    • FitFatFood September 27, 2015 at 4:09 pm #

      It’s a viscous cycle eh? I hope to be back to it very soon though. Sending good vibes 🙂

  10. Chris Highcock October 8, 2015 at 9:35 pm #

    Your blog has been quiet for a while. I hope you are doing ok.

    • FitFatFood October 8, 2015 at 9:49 pm #

      Thank you, I am. I appreciate you checking in through. Same to you my friend x

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