Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Another cautionary tale

My intention for today's post was to write a lovely piece that included a quote from the book I'm reading that I mentioned yesterday. To wax prolific and poetic about the merits of solitude, silence, and "being" as opposed to being a "doing" machine. Well, this ain't gonna be that.

What is coming to mind as I finally sit down to write is the little nugget of wisdom, "This too shall pass". I've heard it around the blogosphere. I've heard it in the real world. I've heard it many times. The first place I remember hearing it where it sunk in was, where else, AA. It can be such a comfort, when one is feeling overwhelmed with either the reality going on around her or the emotional turmoil swirling within. How many times, when talking to another recovering person and vomiting out a carload of pain that was making me want to guzzle a fifth of Jack did I hear that simple line? And it helped.

But right now, the memory of the phrase is a little different. I probably had about 6 months of sobriety at the time, and discovered at the end of a day I was feeling good; hadn't felt like drinking. It was pretty radical. I called my sponsor and was all bubbly and cheerful and optimistic, and she at last said to me in all seriousness, "This too shall pass". WTF!!??!! I was pissed off. How dare she stick a pin in my happy balloon, throw ice water in my cheerful face? But even as I was irritated and annoyed, I knew she was right. Everything passes. The ultra-sh*tty, the glorious, the tragic, the victories and the defeats. Whatever it is that I'm all up in a lather about today will likely be long forgotten next week at this time. Good stuff stays good - but the emotional intensity of wonderful moments settles down. A realized achievement, long awaited, quickly becomes part of the hard-wiring, and another carrot emerges to be the next must-have/do/own/win.

By now you are likely thinking, "Uh-oh, she's off on another psychological-philosophical rambling...". I guess I am, but my mind just works this way. I sat down to post at least 5 times today, only to find myself stopped up in the brain-flow department. When that happens, I just have to wait it out a bit and try to let what's really going on emerge and manifest so I can meet it face to face.

This is a very long way to say that all the ease and peace that emanated from my being yesterday must have oozed all the way out and vaporized, because today I'm at the opposite end of the spectrum. Restless and irritable. Sick and tired of having to be "modified" in so many of my activities. Trapped like a rat in a maze. Oh the drama!! (Don't worry, this is not making me want to return to work. At all. Just to everything else I want to do, and with a big full wallet as well. Capiche?)

I slept crappily last night because the knee was achy, and I'm conflicted about taking the Vicodan at this point. I talked it over with my sponsor tonight and she told me to stop being an idiot and use it as prescribed if I need it. Well then. Anyway, after my 7 a.m. meeting, I went to the produce place, the grocery store and Trader Joe's. I came home and hubby (who works out of the house in his own business) was in the den on the computer, talking on the phone about petrochemicals and freight trafficking when I wanted some peace and quiet. Blah blah blah. A friend picked me up and took me to lunch, which was nice. Translate all this: I totally overdid it.

After lunch, in order to not be home listening to Mr. Leslie's petrochemical phone calls, I went to the local library "to be alone". But I felt so sleepy once there I knew I had to go home and take a nap. By now, my knee was throbbing, the other knee was even tired, and I was a mess. And...I ate a big sweet roll from the local store that I dashed into to get a diet coke. That set off more wacko quacko eating. But I did finally take a nap, spooning with the dog up against me.

When I woke, I felt leftover and sluggish, and I know it was from eating junk. So I decided to but my losses in the eating realm and made a good dinner of roasted root veggies and Lyn's Cabbage roll casserole. If you go to the link, the recipe is listed in the left margin. It's a wonderful healthy meal that I make a lot now.

Clearly, it's time to stop comforting myself with food. I've been very loosey goosey with eating for the last 2 weeks - but for the last few days since the surgery, I've gradually EXPANDED into frank overeating. I feel dough-y and fuzzy. The increased intake of simple carbs, even if not in binge fashion, is leaving me feeling yucky. I'm sure it's affecting my mood, because sugar and simple carbs always do.

So, sorry no book reviews tonight, or flowery discussions of metaphysical marvels. Just an old story of how one day we can be on top of the heap, and the next day want to crawl under it. My lengthy explanation stems from having learned to take stock of what's going on in my emotional landscape continually so as not to get knocked off my square and be vulnerable to a drink. But I can still get knocked off - and instead of a drink, a cake can seduce me in a nano-second. Thank goodness that I also know that no matter what's up, this too shall pass.


  1. I actually had Barbara Brown Taylor's book on my shelf and I pulled it to page through. (How lucky am I to work in a library!) I have 2 books going presently (one in the Kindle and one audio in the car) and I couldn't possibly take on a third, but it's a short little thing and will be perfect to squeeze in next. Thanks for the suggestion.

    Thoughtful post.

  2. Hello Leslie-I don't leave comments often but I do read your post.

    You are a remarkable woman who has come a L-O-N-G way. Some folks don't make it as far as you've come. Hold your head high and walk (well, you may have to sit because of your knee!) proud!

    This isn't the end of your journey and yes, you're right...bad situations (and unfortunately good ones too) are like bad gas: it passes!

    Here's to a great Thursday :)

  3. I really appreciate you being honest. Each moment does pass.

    I've been realizing that my highs usually come from a build of of working really really hard and I have one good day with the thing I'm working on. I celebrate like forever is gonna be fine. But the reality is that I just made it through one day. That's different from a week, a month, etc.

    Thanks for distilling it for me so that I could have an epiphany. I hope you sleep well tonight, and that your pain is under control by now.

  4. Hey, I know what you mean about emotional ups and downs.
    HOpe your leg feels better soon. Hope you feel better soon.

  5. I know what you mean, too! I've felt like a rubber ball lately, bouncing up and down so often! But I think part of it is when we aren't totally numbed with the food, we DO feel stuff more, and have to learn to deal with it.

    I hope things calm down for you, and the knee gets a rest and heals fast.

  6. Sorry you're feeling so shitty at the moment... As you quite rightly say "this too shall pass" and you'll be back to feeling good again before you know it.

    I don't know whether it's true, or just how I interpret it from your blog, but your real ups and downs do seem to be quite short-lived(?) so hopefully the negativity will leave as quickly as it arrived...

    Take care

    P x

  7. emotional ups and down yuck hate emotions lol
    hope you knee feels better soon
    that food looks great
    take care of yourself

  8. I absolutely love your blog. You are so honest and open...qualities I respect greatly.

    A man at my church once said..."Do you remember what you were worried about 3 months ago, 1 months, or how about last week?" Normally we can't remember. So yes....this too shall pass :)

    I really hope your knee feels better soon.

    I totally get the husband on the phone and in our precious space thing. My husband blabs on the phone ( TOO LOUDLY ) about business and he's home when I didn't know he would be. Lawdy..that drives me C-R-A-Z-Y!!

  9. Leslie I am not dealing with nearly the things you are but I understand. Even with this pneumonia plaguing me over the last weeks I've had days where I feel hopeful that it will all be over soon - and then I have a day like yesterday when I feel it will never end. It's ok to feel that way and the fact that you recognize it is even better.