Self Care: Part 2

Tiger versus Art

*Continuted from Self Care: Part 1*

One thing standing in my way is alcohol. Going sober last year for 3 months and earlier this year for 5 weeks has shown me that I’m fine when I don’t drink but that when I allow myself to drink I feel that the only way I can feel calm and mellow is when I drink many drinks. I revert so fast to many drinks because it’s so damn effective at soothing my frayed nerves and convincing me that everything will be fine. What I’ve lost is the ability to drink one or two drinks and then move on to something else like tea. I used to be able to do that. But it’s become all or nothing. It’s a favorite mode of being for me, the all-or-nothing way of life. It’s dangerous and unhealthy.

If it’s going to be all or nothing with alcohol then I’ve come to the point where it needs to be nothing for a long enough period of time that I can re-establish my dependence on other ways of self-soothing. It’s not working for me the way it used to. I now have a lot of anxiety about the fact that the only way I seem to be able to soothe my anxiety is to drink a lot of alcohol every day. I also have a lot of anxiety and self loathing about being so weak and also that this mode of self soothing is keeping my body so fat. The fat weighs on my joints which means I can’t exercise without being in pain or injuring myself. This is a vicious cycle. Exercise is another way to work out some anxiety but it has become a source of pain and anxiety in itself.

I’ve talked so much over the years on this blog that all of this feels like old news.

The real news is that I’m going to stop drinking for a year. From August 1st 2015 to July 31st 2016. It feels impossible but it also feels necessary. I don’t actually know how to socialize with people without alcohol in the evening at gatherings where merriness and fun is meant to be had. The thought of trying to do this while others drink and I don’t makes my brain flicker into an abysmal darkness. So I may have to simply not gather with other humans outside of my family and my home in the whole time.

Though that would be a disservice to my mission which is: to learn to live life without alcohol as the prophylactic between me and other humans and me and my anxiety. What I intend to do is retrain myself. To hitch myself to the earlier me, the one who knew how to socialize and BE without alcohol. The one who drank a lot of coffee and tea. So perhaps I won’t socialize much for the first few months. But at some point I have to be able to navigate my whole life without alcohol being a factor. I have to rebuild my whole life foundation so that alcohol gets put back in its place as something that is meant to be enjoyed and not used as a floating island of comfort.

Who knows what will happen after that. I think I’m going to need to get some fresh therapy which means having to audition a new psychiatrist through Kaiser because the last time I tried to tackle this my psychiatrist seriously let me the fuck down. Then I went to a substance use counselor and SHE pissed me the fuck off with her inability to actually LISTEN to me, her assumption that she could know me better than I know myself after knowing me for less than 15 minutes. So navigating healthcare to find a good support stresses me out but I think it’s important.

I may check out going to group meetings but only if I can find one that is completely non-religious or spiritual based. Not sure that exists. No steps either because I still don’t believe the appropriate word for my problem is straight-up alcoholism. There are different schools of thought on this these days and I hold out to explore what my own deal is. Is it repairable? Can I put it in its place?

One thing I DO know is that I can live without it. The problem is that I never want to.

So here I am. Again. With the beer thing. With the self care thing. With all the THINGS.

Growing up I drank a lot of herbal tea. And then a lot of herbal and black tea as a teen. I want to find my way back to that as a comfort. Iced for when it’s hot and hot for when it’s cold. I think I’ll develop my own chai. And I plan to experiment a lot for possible good blends to include in my Sugar & Pith product line.

I also plan to write about self care as content for my business website because that’s what’s at the root of an natural remedies and teas and herbs – self care. But I’ll keep the more raw content for Better Than Bullets. You know, all the swearing and really creepy inside-head stuff I let out sometimes.

I have to work hard at my daily and weekly routines. Finding what works best to keep my interests balanced. Most of my interests ARE self care. But the most important of them all is writing. I can’t let that slide.  Not the brain purges (here) and not the fiction writing. I need them. They keep brain clutter and chaos from derailing me completely. It’s my internal housecleaning.

A year of purposeful healing and self care. I can do this.


  1. NM says:

    You can do this!
    You already decided this, but I was going to suggest that one thing that seems to work well for you is taking on challenges for creating things, so how about a challenge to create a lot of fabulous, alcohol-free drinks? Things with fancy names, and fruits and herbs, and maybe even little umbrellas, if you like them. Old-fashioned cordials and shrubs, and I-don’t-know-what-all, but names and ingredients that just make you happy to say, and even happier to drink, and have a charming 19 century farmhouse feel to them, as though you might expect Marilla to be serving them to Anne and Diana on a hot summer day.

  2. NM says:

    Also, you need a monitor in your head, that jumps out, every time you call yourself weak, and sternly reminds you that you are not weak. You are strong, and smart, and she isn’t going to hear you abuse yourself like that. Alcohol is addictive, and anxiety is debilitating, and you are smart and self-aware enough to have noticed both of those facts, and to be taking smart, strong action to address them, and you deserve credit for that. Now, pat yourself kindly on the back, and apologize nicely to yourself. And then go pour yourself a cool glass of homemade raspberry lemonade.

  3. angelina says:

    You know me so well, my friend! I DO love a challenge. As a devout beverage person I will definitely need to explore beverages from a non-alcohol perspective in a big way. I have this bee in my bonnet that invented drinks may need to include citric acid for the SOUR aspect. Or tannins for the wine experience.

    I love you Nicole. I know we’re so distant from each other now but you are an amazing cheerleader and such a full-hearted person. I think about you as I foster my feral kittens and plot my food preserving exploits. You are so non-judgemental and supportive. I have you in mind during ALL of my interesting apothecary experiments, my gardening chaos, and my writing. Thank you so much for reaching out in this post, for being such a spunky cool spitfire person busting with passion and intelligence and for sharing your friendship with me even across all this space. xoxoxo.

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