07:53 Still the benefits keep stacking up for not drinking, *especially* while having a weekend guest here who drinks, *especially* because one of those guests is my sister, a person with whom I’ve had a challenging relationship with in the past. No cravings or urges for booze yesterday at all, I might add. Crazy hey?
This was different for me than one year ago. One year ago I still had the “if only I could drink” mindset alongside the “maybe I could learn to reduce my drinking to a level I would consider personally acceptable” mindset. This time around, like “NewChapter / So Much To Gain From This” said, in her latest post, “I’m not craving alcohol and the thought of it repulses me a bit, mainly because my mind now automatically ‘plays it forward’ without even trying.” Yes, that’s it exactly, sister.
Whenever I see a glass of wine and think, “hmm, that smells like team spirit,” I can automatically recall the next-day post-social anxiety that I experience EVERY SINGLE TIME after drinking. Post-social anxiety is what I call that strange feeling some of us ambivert/extroverted-introverts get after hanging out with a bunch of people and ruminating on our part in the interactions and how we could have done things differently or better. The tendency (for me at least) is to feel very little judgement towards others (and their own very human qualities), while feeling all kinds of self-loathing towards ourselves for even the slightest perceived misstep or imperfection.
In my case I would drink alcohol to relieve the pre-social anxiety I’d experience before having to socialize with others, particularly others who for some reason made me feel a little nervous (who am I kidding, also anyone I loved being with, because I felt it would enhance the feeling); the alcohol would relax my inhibitions and help me perceive myself as confident, funny, attractive (though apart perhaps from “confident”of course this was all an illusion, photos and videos never lie, lol). But the next day my confidence would plummet to far below where it had been before I started that cycle, as I relived and mentally beat myself up for the way I had behaved, which effectively had not been true to my core, WHOLISTIC self.
Sure, we can say booze helps brings us back to our animalistic nature, so perhaps that is a kind of core self, but in my case, at least, it removes that outer societal layer, that finely-tuned ability to monitor our own reactions according to what is appropriate in a particular social situation, and removes the protective, logical ability to THINK before we ACT. This is not wholistic, so not as healthy, IMHO.
The beautiful thing is this: The farther I get from my drinking days, the less I experience post-social anxiety. Why is this? Because I am finally giving myself the space I need to re-discover my true, wholistic self, and I am learning, slowly but surely, to *like* myself a little more. Which brings true self-confidence, a healthy sense of humour about my own “faults,” and then… voilà, a natural assertiveness as a result.
Only people who know me very well (or here through this blog, lol), will know that I suffer/ed from this intense social anxiety. Most people I socialize with would likely see me as quite socially adept: outgoing, smiling, accommodating, loving, appreciative, etc. Perhaps my number one strength is adaptability. And my number one weakness, the flip side of the adaptability coin, is inconsistency. But something about coming back to my true WHOLISTIC nature is marrying these two sides of myself (and many other opposing sides of myself as well).
This weekend visit with my sister is going spectacularly well. I wish I had written about that, instead of the above, because that’s what I’d meant to write about when I opened this page.
[giving it a go:]
There are so many wonderful details, for me — like the fact that I am so grateful that because I was not drinking, I could better connect with my little niece, as well as my own children. I could quite happily and gladly allow my husband and sister to relax downstairs drinking beer and wine and talking over business and whatnot while I spent time reading stories to my own youngest children and then singing my niece to sleep afterward. I was truly present and able to enjoy this time with her; the best gift we can give each other. And I was also able to truly appreciate my leonine sister, with no piscean fear or resentment. I am learning to be who I am, and I can feel her respect for me growing because of that.
One thing that I believe has irritated my sister to no end about me was, ironically (because it is worsened by others’ disapproval), my lack of self-confidence, my inconsistency, my indecision, my lack of assertiveness. Now that I begin, once again (this is the second time around, or third, if I count that 50-day stint in January, which felt so negatively different from this time, and the one before that) to re-discover my core wholistic self (but isn’t that term an oxymoron? if so, perhaps it’s why I love it so much), and begin to like myself as a result of not being blurred by even “normal” (by some folks’ standards) amounts of wine, I learn to be assertive, slowly and surely, and I learn to be less fearful and more true to myself.
For example, I truly think my sister to be beautiful. To me she looks like a curvy, urbanite version of Elsa from Frozen. (Gorge, no?) My “core wholistic self” wants to give praise and acknowledgement for this. But the fearful, resentful, passive-aggressive side of me would hold back from expressing it to her, since sometimes I felt she was very critical of this expressive side of me. I was worried she would think I was “gushy.” (Well, I believe she has told me as much in the past.) Also, I craved this kind of recognition from her as well, since I am a hound for praise (while she isn’t. She has told me herself that her love language is “acts of service,” not praise) and since she didn’t “serve” me in this way I didn’t want to give her praise either.
But last night I hugged her big time, and told her I thought it so nice to finally have a girly/womanly presence in the house again, so stylish and so good-smelling, and that her good looks were inspiring me to maybe start giving a hoot about my own appearance again, and could she give me a make-up lesson and how did she do that with her hair etc., why did she look so young, and she told me “Lash-Gro, professional eye-lash tinting and Botox, of course Botox” and I said “are you SERIOUS?” And she imitated me, “Are you SERIOUS?!?”
and if I’d been drinking I would have taken it very personally and felt offended and sulked and retreated and hated myself and hated her, but instead I thought it all very funny and delightful because we are so different yet I admire her so much, and I hugged her and burst out laughing and she laughed and we did our lovey-dovey dance that we used to do as very small children and OH MY GOD it has been the best weekend visit with her ever (so far, knock on wood lol).
And though I’m still not sure about Botox, I am so ordering Lash-Grow or whatever that is because you guys, her eyelashes look so long and thick it is amazing. I hope there are no nuclear-fallout side effects.
Have an awesome day, sobriety-lovers.
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Edit 2019-06-08 made private soon after publishing because of FUD and (ironically, considering the subject matter—) low likes.
By the way the “Lash grow” turned out to be this stuff: Rapid Lash. I did “invest” in it, lol, but keep forgetting to apply it at night. Ergo, still stumpy lashes. Sigh