Updated: May 27, 2020
My words are gone.
I suddenly can’t find my words. Not like the “use your words” kind of words I used to ask my kids to find when they were little and crying like, well, like babies.
I’m talking about my big girl words. My sober words. My writing words. My blog words!
My head is so scrambled with all of things I don’t have time for
…things I have to do
…places I have to be
…people I need to reach out to
And now, my words seem to have gone missing because I don’t have time to spend looking for my lost words. I have things to do!
I don’t have time.
I’m afraid to begin.
I don’t even know where to begin.
I’ll just deal with the “feelings” later.
I don’t have time.
I just need a nap.
Maybe some chocolate.
I’ll be fine. Eventually, but now right now because I’m too busy.
Where’s the chocolate?
But, I’m not fine.
I need a three-day long nap, a bubble bath, probably a good long chat with my therapist and an extra large box of Kleenex and dammit, where is the chocolate?
But, rather than tackling everything I need to do, I avoid all of them because there are too many and quite frankly, they are too big and scary. Avoid and numb and avoid some more. That is my game plan, which really sucks because it’s a crappy plan. I know it.
And, I already know that when I finally pick up that 1000lb phone to call my sweet sponsor she will gently remind me that one of my biggest character defects is procrastination. I procrastinate when I am overwhelmed. When I don’t know where to begin…so I don’t. I procrastinate when I am in fear. Exactly the reason I procrastinate in calling her.
(OMG! As I write this, I am starting to see the pattern. This, btw, is exactly why I write. I love all of you readers dearly, but let’s be honest. I am selfish. I write because I need to sort out my own thoughts, not yours. Selfish. Anyway, getting back to me…)
Fortunately, I now live in the land of a 12-step program and a sponsor who tells me I can’t continue doing what I normally would do in order to not feel my feelings. Errrg. She tells me that I need to lean into the problem rather than away from it. I know she’s right, but right now, I really hate that she’s right. I hate that I know that she’s right, because I know what that means. It means work and
I don’t have time
or the energy
and I’d rather procrastinate
…to avoid and numb.
Women (and I only say women, because I can’t speak for men) tend to put themselves at the bottom of the list. Last. We think of everyone else first and forget that we need to take care of ourselves, so that we can take care of everyone else. (Even writing that last sentence seems crazy to me.)
“We take care of ourselves…so we can take care of others.”
Women, at least the one typing right now, tend to stuff, stuff, stuff. We stuff our feelings deep down hoping that “when things slow down” we’ll take care of them. But, we don’t because things don’t slow down. We are women and mothers and wives and those job titles don’t come with the big, red “PAUSE” button. We stuff things down and either avoid them completely, work through them like big girls or stuff them deeper until we are bursting.
Or, we numb. We self-medicate. With alcohol. With shopping. With bad habits. With chocolate. Whatever it takes to quiet the loud noises scrambling in our head. All tools that we use to avoid and numb.
Sometimes, even with close to six years sobriety, I still want badly to numb. Luckily, I’ve learned a few things.
1. Feelings are not facts. They are just feelings. They will not kill me.
2. Play the tape through to the end. “If I do (blank), then (blank) will happen. If (blank) happens then (blank) will happen…”
3. Crazy sh*t happens in my head when I am hungry (again, chocolate), angry, lonely or tired (naptime!).
4. Gratitude. It’s impossible to be in pity/anger/self-centeredness and in gratitude at the same time.
5. Surround yourself with an army of people who will listen and love you through the feelings, but who will also call you on your BS. Don’t allow yourself to be a victim. No matter what life is throwing at you right now. You’ve got three minutes to tell your army your sob story, feel sorry for you and then, the ball is in your court…do the work. Figure out your next steps. Your game plan. Ask for help when you need it. Do the work.
Here’s the moral to my story: I guess I found my words.