Day 4 AF

a bed with four kittens piled on it

So here’s how things are going in my head today.

CN: (historical) suicidal ideation

I think a thing that I never really processed properly – if there is supposed to be a proper way to process these things, is just how much I wanted to die in the week after I had my gallbladder out. I wrote about how I had a medical event and all the doctors rushed into my room, etc, and I was like “what, no, I’m not dying and I don’t want to”, but in the week after that, when I was at home recovering, I changed my mind about that. I’m glad I was warned by someone on twitter to expect that after general anaesthetic, because it was just a huge huge drop, which I’d compare to the time in 2003 when I stayed on my cellphone to Good Tom while Kate Hamlin came and took away my pills. It was the hospital food too, utterly disgusting, everything the same gristle coated in slime. Even once I was out of hospital, I could still smell and taste it, and after the pain I went through, I was afraid of all food.

Me, a famously food-focused person, could not stomach the thought of anything. And I didn’t know who I was anymore, as if my whole identity was built into eating and if I didn’t want to eat, who even was I? You can see where I’m going with this now, can’t you?

For no physical reason, food is a struggle right now and makes me nauseous, as if that gnawing hunger is what is keeping me virtuous. People have brought me snacks and sent me treats (and Tom even brought around treats for Seb too who has definitely earned them) but my desire to eat right now is gone. I did eat broccoli today though, I’m not wasting away. I don’t have a physical dependency on alcohol – it’s just that if I do drink, I might have more than I originally intended to, and it might make me a fucking jerk. So I’m trying to reimagine my life as a non-drinker.

The semi-ironic thing is that I’d actually mostly been drinking less in the past couple of months. I was driving more to visit people not within uber distance, and they weren’t big drinkers, so I usually wasn’t with them. When work was at its most awful I took to working from home on Fridays to avoid the after-work drinks and drinking too much to relieve the stress of it. And those were good things. I enjoyed sipping tea and chatting, cuddling someone, getting to know them and being vulnerable, instead of getting loud and slurry and thinking I was invincible. And yet, party situation where I was out of my depth and here we are now.

Progress on the sobriety: I’ve downloaded an app called Daybreaker where people trying to stay alcohol free or moderate alcohol (Jo, Day 4 AF – oh yes, there’s all the slang to learn too) share their triumphs and fuck-ups and their temptations, and others give them suggestions and encouragement. For example: Am I Hungry Angry Lonely or Tired?

There are online counsellors as part of the service, who you can talk to about your specific goals, and while I suspect they have very much a cut’n paste approach this was interesting:

“One thing that is good to remember is that some people will be affected differently by alcohol. For some people, based on their genetics and life events, they may find that it is really hard to stop drinking after one or two drinks – once their blood alcohol reaches a certain amount, there is a really strong desire to keep drinking. This is do do with dopamine pathways in your brain – if you’ve been exposed to a lot of stress in your life, or if you have certain genes, the ‘reward’ feeling will be much greater – leading to wanting to drink more and more alcohol even though you are not necessarily enjoying it anymore.’

Well that certainly sounds relateable. The part about genetics though, is pretty much in contention with This Naked Mind which I’ve started reading and crying my way through. Yup, your girl is trying all the things (while waiting to find an actual professional who will be able to add in specific advice around depression and anxiety too). You know how much I like to take on wide-scope projects. Maybe Hubris will basically just become a Lit Review that I’d barely scrape a passing grade on.

Writing helps, although the wiseness of being currently jobless and being so open in a town like Wellington might be questionable. I’m also writing down things that I wish I could tell people. I’m wondering whether to embark on an email campaign dating back to at least 2009 to apologise to various other people for fucking shitty things I did to them when I was drunk now that I’m recognising patterns of behaviour. Some of those people I’m still friends with and some are gone from my life for a number of years so I’m trying to decide if an apology would actually serve them at all or just me.

I’ve made an appointment with a personal trainer to work out some ways for me to move my body more to keep my brain happier and to build up my strength. I’m making appointments with friends for wholesome activities so I can get out of the house and have something to focus on. Conversations with lovely new people too have brought new perspectives and insight. I am so lucky to have the support that people have been giving me, both online and also in real life. I’m still not entirely convinced I deserve it.

I’m not at all tempted to drink because I’m still just very much in the self flagellation part of the process. It’s hard to stay hydrated let alone contemplate making an Old Fashioned. But Anji showed up today wearing a House of Boom t-shirt and brought me a bottle of non-alcoholic gin so if I do need to mix something up, I have options.

Now to retreat to the wholesomeness of Making It and the very much not at all wholesome Righteous Gemstones. Then sleep. Then wake. Then another day. Oh! And as your reward for making it this far – the other day I walked into my production manager’s studio and burst into tears so her partner took me into the room where their FOSTER KITTENS were and that was very nice. Here, have a kitten pic.

a bed with four kittens piled on it

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