Be Ferocious in feeling your feelings. Give yourself the shot.

Oh God. Feel your feelings. Sort of Ewww. Gross in a from the neck up psuedo-spiritual way and just cliche gross but it Fu&*ing works. I have proof it leads to relief. Empirical data, repetition.

Ive been using this quarantine to soften or let go of some behaviors. Delivering my mind and body from habits is ALOT easier when I face the feelings that hide under the habit. Focusing on emotional waves is also a lot easier when I’m laid off and have my head all to Myself. I have the luxury of being an NON essential worker.

This type of ferocity ala Shirley MaClaine is a good illustration of how I binge drank .

Intention: Binge feelings with same ferocity in which I binge drank.

When I “process” my emotions, my burning desire to buffer with Food/alcohol/control/drugs/sex/shopping/add your own fades away. FADES AWAY. Not will power, white knuckling or pretending it ‘s not there , but a cleared feeling of “I can take it or leave it”.

If I am consistent in my attempts , I can actually get a HIT off the release.

There are varying methods with which to do this and I have tried a lot of them. I’ll list some of them at the bottom of this post.

What seems to work best for me is :

locating the physical sensation in my body and allowing the story to unfold -the who or what the why, the feeling – is it Sadness , Grief, Shame, Or I don’t know but It sucks.

Letting myself tell the story and feel the feeling . This is no time to be the ethereal witness, be your kid self. for 1-5 minutes. I set a timer.

Drop the story (the aforementioned who, why ,what ,where) and focus on the visceral energy or weight of the feeling. 3-10 minutes depending on how much time you have.

Feel the feeling in the body. Is is a fat slug sitting in your throat? Or maybe a cuter animal in your Solar plexus? Your stomach? is it leaking out of our eyes? Whatever the weight or energy of it is, give it its due. Ignore it at your own peril. This feeling is a Golden Ticket to more freedom.

The sensation will unravel or it wont . Either is ok.

This can be exhausting but not as exhausting as binge drinking, 3 day hangovers, and years “lost” to inertia and fear paralysis.

I’m doing this to experience more joy not be “nice’ or “good’.

Here’s a list of some techniques , articles, ideas that have helped and if you can afford a coach or therapist – all the better!

Brene Brown excerpt

UFYB Kara Loewentheil podcast

Sarah May B podcast Help Me Be Me

Sedona Method

Too bad you’re late. You just missed my Virtue Signal.

Virtue signalling statements are used to enhance ones standing within a social group, often without a practical application of the opinion held.

Becky Pemberton
8 Mar 2017, 22:53
Updated: 8 Mar 2017, 22:58

vir·tue sig·nal·ingnoun

  1. the action or practice of publicly expressing opinions or sentiments intended to demonstrate one’s good character or the moral correctness of one’s position on a particular issue.”it’s noticeable how often virtue signaling consists of saying you hate things”

Now doubt this phrase begins to be bandied about again. Especially the day after the black square Black out Tuesday went mostly wrong. But there are people far more educated than me about the movement and Ill leave it to them to hash it out and provide commentary.

I reflected on the number of times I or others may have used a “type” of sobriety as virtue signaling.

“Well she’s not really sober because she had THC cactus nectar” OR ” He doesnt have a sponsor so…” ” She took a bite of of a rum cordial and had to reset her date”

It is my aim in this journey that sobriety or coming back from “relapse” not become a virtue signal.

Its taken several years to fall and get up and experiment. Before , My first concern was gathering virtue validation from others and THAT being the priority. That is finally receding a now. Hence the site “Define Sober” Today I have 30 days of planned sobriety-meaning I haven’t had any alcohol. I allowed myself to drink but chose not to. I could also smoke pot If I wanted to but have not had a craving. This Sobercurious time is giving my life a sheen of curiosity in all areas. How thirst quenching this has been so far! I’m wildly curious about what strength lurks beneath these lies Ive told myself and I enjoy not having a clue about what Life will look like since so many enchanting and daunting possibilities are bubbling up.

Whether you are sober , sobercurious , Curious, Curious George , or a Cat that has been killed and then revived by Curiosity; I look forward to all of us creating a new non virtuous, trickster signal so we can recognize each other.

10 songs to cry to if you’re Gen X and no stranger to Musicals

I’ve gotten very versed at the different types of crying. From the slight leak to keening.

Today is Day 30 for alcohol-free ness. Day 4 for benzo withdrawal.

I wont go into all of the cries in my collection. At least I can suggest some Melodic backdrop to enhance the experience for your own slight leaking or full on keening.

1) Johanna -from Sweeney Todd

2) Old Man River -from Showboat

3) Some Enchanted Evening – from South Pacific

4) Camera -REM

5) Unlovable – The Smiths

6) Perfect Circle -REM

7) We Kiss in a Shadow – from The King and I

8) Climb Every Mountain-from The Sound of Music

9) Insider – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

10) Track of Time – Anna von Hauswolff

Im not new to sobriety but I am newish to not really caring how many times a day I weep. To be transparent, this acceptance started way before the pandemic and has only served me.

I know about the stacked cry/or Pyramid cry . This one starts with catching myself in the mirror and appears to be about jowls or some compartment of my body but then I ask , “”wait what’s really going on there?” Breath. Tears are released and so are Tiers of the cry.

Here is a cry pyramid I experienced lately. Its starts out relatively banal and dysmorphic then levels down to more acceptable crying material.

Body image- usually some version of “you are UGLY”

grief over being so risk averse and creating a smaller life. Shame.

friends, time and experience lost over alcohol abuse/anxiety/fear/

A general feeling that Enchantment is gone and nothing joyful ever happen again

Biochemical release or the Ativan Cry

I thought I was going to be on Broadway now Im 52. I better get on “Real Housewives of Anything” and become in influencer so I can go to Broadway by the time Im 55.

There is no Broadway right now

Im not a a housewife

Oh sh*t, Covid 19

My Father is dead.

I drank thru 9-11

I ate thru Rodney King

Where is my tribe?

Im not safe

Nothing is safe

Plant Based Spiral -Animal keening

Looting

Curfews

I miss my father

My mother is starting to forget things

Im not hungover

smidge of compassion

So I have to parent myself now

RESULT- window of heart opened, smaller pores, and always awe and awwww of music.

Great blog post on the Holly Hunter Cry

Check out benefits of crying. I think we all can call BS on the stats for” how often people cry “in this article.

Benzo withdrawal stuff:

Jennifer Leigh

Jennifer Leigh’s site

Benzo Buddies

And please feel free to comment and let me know your own songs !

P.S Enlightened with Mike White and Laura Dern is a Masterpiece

Tapering off AA Killing the Normie and Keeping the Swagger.

After 17 years of field research in and out of Alcoholics Anonymous, I am taking what I want and leaving the rest.

An Alanon sponsor once reminded me, “You’re allowed to change your mind.” Oh? Oh!

Someone asked me the other day ,”Do you think you’re an alcoholic?” My answer was ,”I really want to be.”

As I re enter AA , I think about drinking more than I ever did. Its easy to step right back in and parrot the slogans and reunite with people I truly do love =instant community! A lot of The people in AA are what I choose to keep . Not the perversion and the archaic-ness of the program.

AA was great when I was broke, getting thrown out of gay coke parties and my Father had just died. I was 31 and looked into AA 3 years later. The women in AA were the best friends I ever had. I still dearly want to be with some of them but not with the AA hijacking of human survival skills and belief in Normies.

I don’t know if retaining friendships is possible if you prefer to be sober but not with AA as the centerpiece. I feel a sad, nostalgic waft of 2003 AA air ,very similar to the Nostalgia I have for drinking without 3 day hangovers. Luckily I know how to process feelings. For this blog post I’ll keep it short-er and cite this wonderful article . More later on my own experience as I continue to mix a cocktail of curated AA meetings, audible books on sobriety and life AFTER , Harm reduction, Belle Robertson on Recovery Elevator podcast , and Stanton Peele.

That Creep in your Zoom meeting #4 Day25

Are you new or trying Sober and getting creeped out by Older White guys? You are not alone. If you’re a newcomer and identify as female and experience anything like this, here are some comments, and tips on how to navigate or unf*ck the experience and stay on path.

The meeting I go to are 85% white hence “creepy WHITE guy ” So this is only my experience. Pick your poison and your predator according to yours.

I went to CO ED AA zoom meeting and and identified as a newcomer. I received a private chat message from a regular in this group that said “I love you xxxxx” I have never spoken to this man When I received the chat message, I looked and saw who sent it. Ewwww. I did not reply and let the secretary know. It’s gross. Im older and have been around. What if I was new new?

WOULD THIS HAPPEN AT A MEETING IRL? NO

Stick with the women unless they drive you more crazy and don’t have what you want.

Try other 12 step meetings- PINK CLOUD is a great tool to find them and you can filter by Women only OR the focus of the meeting

use an alias /change your name if it makes you feel more comfortable

Try alternatives to AA if the guy and/OR the 12 steps are not a match for you- there are plenty of other programs and alternatives . Its all part of Life’s Rich pageant to find the one that works for you. Who cares how you get sober. I welcome you if you are trying or have tried.

Belle Roberston has a totally anonymous program

Kevin Griffin weaves the 12 steps and Buddhism Together and is an older white guy who is NOT gross or Predatory at all.

WFS is another Women centered resource

Other alternatives to 12 steps.

I need to remind myself that the good guys are plentiful in meetings too. I’ve met a lot of male folk who have helped me along the way over the years and who are NOT creeps. There are also women creeps. Sometimes Ive been a creep ( althought not in a sexual predatory way -more in a snarky gossipy way) than they have been. This doesn’t excuse or negate White male creepery, which is rampant , but paints the fuller picture.

Day 25 for me. Lots of zoom meetings involving ACA and AA and Alanon. It helps me. I also listen to Belle Robertson and Recovery Elevator, and Kevin Griffin. I Find more resources every day. I give 50% airtime to what I disagree with and 50% to what I espouse in these meetings, podcasts, blogs. Thats all I can hope for. I feel better after a meeting/listen and maybe I can help someone. So the pros far outweigh the cons in this Pandemic climate. When they don’t, I’ll know and I’ll keep discovering , ideally while remaining alcohol free.

#3 Benzo Enchantment Day 24

I am titrating off Ativan under a Doctors plan. I took 2mg at night for sleep.

And when I say for sleep , since I don’t mix it with alcohol now, it is ostensibly for sleep . I do long for the days of the effortless, elegant Ba-Bye at 2 mg. I started out years ago (maybe 10) with a .5 mg “when needed” and have become dependent on a larger dose. Its hard to say goodbye to the wafting hush. Yes, I know there are way worse cases. I remember Janice Dickinson on “Celebrity Rehab” But this is my case. Sharing this to help with accountability.

I have titrated down from 2mg to 1.5 mg. And now, the headaches and trouble falling asleep. The spin in the head that is great for writing for not for trying to reach alpha and eventually delta brainwaves.

On this sobriety experiment (day 24) , I have not been a daily or weekly drinker so I know it’s not the alcohol withdrawal. I have no clue whether this a high or low dose of opiate. I sense myself looking for permission to have withdrawals since i have it “pretty good”

I took a Tylenol last night to eradicate the headache. Is this even worse ? The lesser of several evils?

I had been going to sleep at 9:30PM and now am not falling to sleep until 1 AM or 2 AM. I am astonished at what a difference the absence of .5 mg makes .

I will now scour the other Benzo related blogs and compare my experience, dosage, and results.

On the flip: I am meditating twice a day, exercising (dance) 2-3 times a week and am losing my sweet tooth a little.

#2 Stop Grading your problems . Day 23 -“You mean all this time we could have been Friends?”

The last time I drank alcohol was not spectacular or worth a short film. On March 19th when The mayor issued the order that non essential workers in my city go home, I was not unhappy. The part time job was a necessary drudge that I showed up for the best I could. Let me also say I have known of no one in my small circle who has died or been catastrophically affected physically by COVID 19.

Loss. Grief. Fear. Whose is greater? Whose wins? Stop grading and take care of your own first. It counts. If you’re in your 50s and you’re trying to reconcile crepe-ing arms OR you are 40 and going through a loss of a parent OR you are 15 and getting bullied or you’re 55 and getting bullied OR your Public identity is OVER because of COVID 19, the body isn’t making note of the specifics. Do you think your adrenal glands, cortisol levels, limbic system are all talking to each other going , “Actually, lets just fire at a level 2 Fear because she should be over this shit”. No. The monster under the bed is REAL to your body. Whatever age or whatever longitude and latitude coordinates you occupy. #Compareanddespairanddonothing.

When the Pandemic order was issued , I hadn’t had a drink for 20 something days. I could just take it or leave it. My desire for alcohol was further lifted and I continued not giving a shit about it (meaning booze) UNTIL the beginning of May. Then I thought, I’ll have 3 beers. This was not a secret plan it was a declaration. An experiment. I was not “supposed” to be sober. Nobody but me was judging/not judging . I walked and bought a 6 pack of Racer 5 IPA from the liquor store. I still have the receipt.

Ensconced at home, couched with my partner, I took a sip. This doesn’t taste good. My body doesn’t like it. SIP. Its like too bubbly? But I really want this to work. SIP. Sort of tastes toxic. SIP. Its not that bad. SIP. It will be fun to host virtual game night with my friends tonight. REST-no sips. Game Night began, the sipping tripled. I was chasing the dream.

Later at 11:20pm after 4-5 beers and an Ativan , I laid on my carpet and drooled. Alone. My boyfriend was snug as a bug in bed. There had been no judgement or altercation. I imagined myself floating away and wanting to sink into the carpet ala “Trainspotting” This isn’t me. This is a sort of death but I’m not ready. I knew what I had to do. Purge and Primp.

I went to the bathroom and induced regurgitation. ACID extravaganza. The next day was lost to physical pain but I didn’t really experience the second arrow of shame which was UNUSUAL.

I’ve gone 5 years and 9 months and 2 months and 6 months without drinking in in AA but the large percentage of that time just felt like I was holding my breath and waiting for a reward from GOD.

On May 2nd, There was a monster under the bed that I skated over and I drank. I’m psychologically astute enough to know I don’t just drink because …whatever. I have no external problems compared to some and maybe a lot compared to the other “some”. As a human (most likely), I have the ability to face fear/loss and the requisite emotions that tap my on the shoulder and then throw bricks if I don’t pay attention.. If I stop grading and comparing my fear, “problems” then I can see them or it. CLARITY. Ohhhh!!! Fiona Fear how are you? Come to Tea this afternoon ( Buddhist reference I know) and I can say “FIRE, walk with me!” (David Lynch credit) Let’s be partners. If not friends then fellows ? fiends? In my experience , this lessens the burden and I incrementally lose the desire to drink , or to (insert buffering behavior)one friendly fear fire at a time. This is ACCEPTANCE and ACTION.

Now here I am with choice. Day 23 goal 30 virtual meetings in 30 days . MY preference is to be alcohol free NOT sentenced by shame to be alcohol free. Will I stay the course? I don’t know. I don’t have to know. I’m not throwing AA out but I’m adding Kevin Griffin and Belle Robertson and Recovery Elevator and this blog. I’m tracking Fiona Fear on an excel spread sheet.

Define Sober #1 NewcomerAgain??

I’m clear. I’d prefer to not to drink . Im 52. Female. I’ve tried AA and it worked for me ( just like drinking WORKED for me ) until it didn’t. AA was a beginning and Im still participating intermittently. I still encourage trying AA if you’ve never been sober. Its not AA or blank … for me ITs AA and blank, blank , and maybe blank for me … Im doing 30 meeting in 30 days right now because in this pandemic-ly virtual world, Its easy for me.

This first entry is ranty. Maybe future post will be solution-y

This is an anonymous slightly screaming blog to track the terrain that awaits me in the alcohol free unknown without trying to be a popular/parrot/good AA. Since 2008, Ive collected 7.5 years of sober time (but EEEEK not consecutive sober time) THIS AMOUNT OF TIME COUNTS.

I am really at odds with the idea of “losing time” or “starting over ” as a NEWCOMER after a RELAPSE/slip.

Any time I’m NOT using booze to buffer a difficult feeling or life situation , its a WIN. I don’t agree with the word relapse. I don’t agree that you have to destruct and recreate from the bottom up and tearfully admit in a pseudo humble way That you are a newcomer again if you have already lived life sober for a time. You’re NOT a fucking Newcomer. All of the gut level “knowing” and experience you gleaned up until now now now is part of the recovery trajectory, it’s not blotto’d out because you drank again. It’s cumulative. Every part of my story is needed. My relapses up until now have only enriched and enlivened my WHY for CHOOSING to move towards an alcohol free or MOSTLY (Im shooting for 87%) alcohol free rest of life. Can I navigate the world and especially a POST pandemic world without the sheen of alcohol. I want to try it. Its a game. A Badass courageous game. I’ll be happy if i get 15% more sober time under my belt by the end of the year.