Downward Facing Spiral

I’m going through a really scary time in my recovery: processing major events in my past that my alcoholism is rooted in. Maybe normal people wrestle with terrible things that happen in their lives within a reasonable time frame, without having to hit rock bottom half a lifetime later and narrowly avoiding rehab. Clearly, I am not a normal person.

For half my life, I stuffed and avoided and blocked out and denied and channeled all of the pain and sadness into defiance, drive, and misguided attempts at controlling the outcome of almost every situation I found myself in. When I had fully exhausted myself of all those options, I turned to alcohol.

I would drink anything that was handed to me. I knew it would make everything better, if only temporarily. The liquid burned; I didn’t care. The burning hurt less than the pain inside my chest.

I’m in a really uncomfortable place. I can’t eat and I can’t sleep and I’m sweaty all the time and it sort of reminds me of my first 30 days of sobriety, except without the shakes. I’m afraid. Feelings are terrifying — I’ve spent half my life running from them — but they aren’t fatal. I have to remember that.

Trying to stay focused on today is hard for a planner. Even as a child, I would lie awake in bed at night thinking about the next day, preparing my outfits in my head, making sure I don’t repeat anything twice.

Recovery has hills and valleys. There have been times that I felt amazing and everything was great. This is not like that. Right now, I’m in a valley, a dark one, and someone stole my flashlight.

I won’t stop moving forward, but I gotta say — I DON’T LIKE THIS PART AT ALL.


I found this meme on Instagram via @hallelujahnellie and I LOVE IT SO.

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7 thoughts on “Downward Facing Spiral

  1. I am over 3 years sober, but I do know I had ups and downs for sure.
    The good news is, they get less and less as the weeks go on.
    Dealing with the not so nice things from our childhoods is hard work.
    I wish you peace tonight.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m only a couple weeks sober longer than you which is why I have so appreciated your commentary on this process. I went from feeling like I couldn’t drink to actually feeling like I don’t want to drink. However, the last week I’ve experienced two dreams of me drinking. The first one I was annoyed that I had relapsed on a beer being that wine has always been my drink of choice. The second dream was bothersome. In that one, I was helping clean up after a dinner party. I felt funny when I would stand up and put dishes away or say goodbye to people. As the crowd dwindled, I asked the host if I had been drinking earlier. His response,”ummm…yeah you were!” At which point I began to cry and shake. I was shaking so hard from my break down in my dream that it woke me up. When my hands touched my wet face, I couldn’t believe what I was feeling: grateful it was only a dream but so emotionally sad from the experience as it felt so real. Strange time for sure…10 months in one more week…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m new to your blog… Im a mom to a 9 yr old son , and I quit drinking and smoking pot 2 yrs ago after decades of daily use… I’ve fallen off the wagon a couple times here and there, but every time I’ve built a stronger wagon and am doing well again. The holidays are really hard and full of triggers so I went searching for online inspiration and found you and really like your posts. I’m sure you’ve read glennon from momestary… Your post about ups and downs and being in a valley reminded me of an article she wrote in Oprah magazine… Basically saying , don’t knock the valleys, that’s where the river runs deep through the mountains… That’s where the soil is rich enough to grow things…. The peaks are exhilarating but it can be hard to breath in the thin air and it’s hard to climb that high sometimes…. It’s ok to rest at the bottom when you need to. Just thought I’d share, and I look forward to reading you as you continue to write, thanks. 😊


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