A Bath Person
I wake up early. I take public transit, I live a car-less life because I’m starting to think I’ll actually live into the part of the future that will be ravaged by climate change. I rediscovered how fun it is to play Pokemon Go walking to and from the train, even though I’m too old for this shit, even though it’s caused me to step into a pothole more than once. I’m no longer a Party Girl and I thought that would make me sad but there’s an immense relief at staying home, at letting my body heal. I take baths. I can’t believe I’m now a goddamn bath person. I read like I’m trying to rack up AR points for a middle school pizza party. I still eat pizza and junk food, I haven’t gotten into exercise or lost weight like all the look-at-me-now recovery memoirs I’ve read (pizza party), but I do journal and sit there and think, what some people might call meditation but that title seems too lofty for somebody as ADD as me. There’s been a lot of thinking, something I realize I actively avoided before. I try to keep up with friends and listen and check in because all we have is each other, which is kinda beautiful as long as it doesn’t make you too depressed. Why not both! –
Yes ! To Everything
Of course I pray and do transcendental meditation and go to a million meetings and work the steps over and over. I don’t just eat vegetables; I grow my own vegetables. I go to yoga regularly enough that the instructors know me and compliment me on my practice. I have a practice? I run and run and run, marathons and then half marathons when I calm down a little about it. I do so much service that a sponsee says in a meeting she’s grateful to have a “sponsor who is very service oriented” and I look around because I think she must’ve fired me and been referring to someone else. I say yes to just about everything except ecstatic dance, which my sponsor suggests but seems like a length I’m not willing to go to. Yet. I got divorced even though I got sober because I didn’t want a divorce. I date progressively less inappropriate men. I talk and text to friends who, when I tell them my little stories, ask things like “how do you feel about that?” I do pilates and barre and swim and therapy and take my kids to therapy and talk to my mom about therapy and talk to my brother about his therapy. I go to work. Every day! I do so much it seems absurd, sometimes, but it still seems so much easier than drinking ever was. My favorite thing that I do, though, is laugh. Sometimes I’ll tell a story and laugh so hard I can’t finish it. Sometimes I get the giggles in a meeting and can’t stop no matter how much the leader glares at me. I’d do all this and more to laugh like that so I keep at it. – Hannah S.
Reusable water bottle
I try to wake up earlier in the morning, at approximately 7:30 am it becomes possible to shake the waste-oid feeling. No good to start my day at noon anymore. Each day I stay clean, the agenda becomes more whole, my schedule is busier, I have more sober allies to talk on the phone to. I don’t dread being with people anymore. I used to ache from sitting shoulder to shoulder in a meeting. It doesn’t feel that way now. Now I call people, I ask questions, I ask for help. That thing I don’t want to do is the thing I try the hardest to complete. I signed up for community college. Sometimes when I’m really on my A-game I carry a reusable water bottle with me. Hot yoga, where I bleed myself of all perspiration and negative intent has been the capstone of this period of sobriety. Yoga and iced coffees and religiously listening to my fellows. Talking doesn’t help me much because at this stage my bullshit filter isn’t calibrated for my level of self obsession and denial and insecurity. Sometimes at meetings I’ll say something fluttery and inconsequential. But listening to other people is important to me. – Addie S.
Magic mushroom walks
I wake up early, I do the dishes, my laundry still goes unfolded but for shorter lengths of time. I have more interests, but I still don’t have enough focus to be good at any one thing – I’ve started playing the violin again (badly), I’ve become obsessed with mushroom hunting and learned words like saprophytic, I take long, quiet walks through the woods and try to connect with things greater than myself. I started my first semi-successful garden. I have the energy to get up in the morning and do projects on our hellacious fixer upper of a house and I’ve gotten kinda buff from it. I stock up on tea – various types for various times of the day— and I started baking to feed my newfound sweet tooth. I eat way too many cookies. I spend a lot of time beating myself up for not doing more with my sober time, and then reminding myself to be kind. I’m still working on this one, but I think I’m a better friend, aunt, sister…my dad died right before I quit so I never got the opportunity to be a better daughter. I did, however, get through his funeral/reception sober, and I even stood up and read a poem and didn’t bomb it. I think I’m a better partner, too, although I put my husband through the ringer the first few months. I gave my dog/soulmate the best last three months of her life before I had to put her down. I pat myself on the back for doing big, hard things, without downing a bottle of wine. I reach out more to loved ones, although, more often than not, I just stare at the phone then walk away because sobriety still hasn’t fixed my social anxiety. I think a lot more about possibilities – I could quit my job if I really wanted to and work at the general store – I could get some goats and chickens and a cow and maybe one of those miniature donkeys and remember to feed them – I could go back to school and I might even be good at it this time. I may not do any of these things, but it all feels possible now. And that’s a subtle but beautiful thing. – Liz S.
I Pray To Death
Every morning after waking I lie on the ground for 15 minutes. I try to relax my body, reteach it how to breathe, how not to clench through everything. Before I stand I pray to death, to replace an old habit of courting it. I ask its advice instead; it whispers something simple back – “slow down” / “go with the flow” / “take everything less seriously” / “look for all the ways the world wants you” – and I spend my day trying to follow it. Before I go to sleep, I report back to death on how it went.
In between, every day, I meditate (Headspace or the unforgiving Soto Zen), seek and record a joyful moment, write a list of achievements (“washed hair” often features), and spend 5 minutes studying Italian. I interchangeably draw from a palette of body therapies – I have done enough to intimidate my many teachers: TRE, sophrology, tai chi, qigong, gong baths, acupuncture, shiatsu, myofascial release, craniosacral, Feldenkrais, every type of yoga, somatic experiencing, fuck-tons of massages. I drown my panic attacks in swimming, martial arts, circuit training, running, long angry walks, gratitude lists, and dancing, dancing, dancing. I read every book I can find on anxiety, trauma, mindfulness, healing. I journal; attend Codependents Anonymous; ignore correspondence from my family; sing, sometimes with an audience; and seek out people who can help me learn how to love me. – Kat A.
Weird, Fidgety Things
I knit, I draw, I cook, I have a little cleaning routine. I take barre classes, I try to take more walks. I’m really lonely at the moment. I can get into anything physical or sensory that seems therapeutic — right now it’s acupuncture, it’s been massage, ASMR videos, saunas… Okay maybe that’s it, but sometimes there’s a sense of trying to throttle my life to squeeze pleasure out of it in other areas. I’ve sort of lost the thread there, at the moment, or I’m trying to find it again. For me the thing that happened after I stopped drinking was how much energy I had. Like I didn’t want to drink anymore, but it suddenly felt like my body was some giant dog, straining at the leash, and I needed to sic myself on things. The biggest thing has been giving my hands something to do — knitting, drawing. Cooking sometimes, cleaning also. Doing weird little fidgety things. It never quite feels like enough. – Edith Z.
Would you like to be part of the next Inverse Pitching? Sign up for our newsletter then, for God’s sake.