that SO MANY of us feel these same feelings?! Whoa.....I honestly thought I was one of a very few who felt *crazy* when it came to other people's alcohol use and I felt like an idiot! I have spent years feeling embarrassed and ashamed at my crazy drink counting, heart pounding, dry mouthed, sheer terror in the face of everyone elses FUN. Why can't I just relax and have FUN?! Because its NOT fun!!!
I did talk to my sponsor and she was filled with kind advice to be gentle with myself, to let it all go, to only be around alcohol in small doses....then she sent me these thoughts about handling our fears:
"The first thing in handling our fear is owning it. Name it. Recognize it. And accept it. There is nothing inherently bad about being afraid. The danger comes from ignoring it and stuffing it, or by feeding it. After we acknowledge it we need to think about it. Why am I so bothered by this? Can I reason myself through this? We can talk about it, we can journal about it."
Another thing she said that really hit the nail on the head was that, "you never know when it will turn bad and that leaves us feeling very helpless." YES! What can begin as a fun time is always just one drink away at any given point from going bad. As a child, a little child, a preschooler aged child, I was a drink counter. I knew that the higher the numbers went, the more the risk of everything exploding became. Drinks 1-4 were in the green zone. We were all safe and all was still happy. Drinks 5-9 was the yellow zone and the stress was beginning to build. Drinks 10+ was the red zone. And of course this all depended on what type of alcohol was being consumed. Beer had quite a bit more leeway. Hard alcohol's red zone drinking could come much sooner than the 10+ scale and take us all by surprise.
I want to thank you all for your comments and sharing your experiences with me. Very meaningful. Some of you said things that really resonated with me..... lots of talk about PTSD (feels rather self indulgent using that term,) navigating landmines in the war-zone of alcoholism...either active or the long ago memories that are laying dormant in our minds and hearts, someone referred to watching my kids drink as watching them play Russian Roulette (YES,) lots of validation and permission to cry and to feel whatever I need to, and bless your hearts....confidence that I can indeed find my way through this!
I also got the name of a therapist that sounds like she will be a good fit. I don't think I can find my way alone through all of this, and I DO, most certainly, want to find my way out of this quagmire. I can't stand the idea that something has this kind of control over me....to undo me emotionally where I am powerless to do anything to stop it.
Alcoholism is a cunning and baffling and powerful disease.The ripple effect of its mark in personal lives is very very far reaching.
So here we go.....
Bless you all!