The music is back

Four years ago today, desperate and heartsick, I quit drinking. I knew I couldn’t keep on with it. It was making me too ill, too depressed, reclusive, isolated, labile. I cried a lot, life looked hopeless, I felt deeply ashamed.

But sobriety didn’t immediately launch me onto a pink cloud. Drinking had helped my chronic back pain, and when I stopped, the pain got worse. It also had given me periods of energy, elation, sociability that had gotten shorter and shorter as time passed, but without wine, they disappeared entirely. With daily blackouts and increasing subterfuge and shame, continuing to drink simply wasn’t an option; but quitting brought a load of problems to resolve that I’d been avoiding for years.  I felt trapped.

It has taken a long time, but things are improving. The latest attempt to treat the pain with medical marijuana is showing promise, and if I can get to a place where being out and about for a few hours doesn’t do me in, I’ll be content.  I think the marijuana is helping my mood as well–I find myself humming again, music is back in my life.

I’ve never been a patient soul. Had I known it would take four years to get to this point, would I still have quit? There wasn’t a choice. Drinking has its own momentum, you don’t stay in one place–and my life was consumed by it. From the outside, I looked pretty normal, but as I posted on a recovery forum this morning:

I don’t think I realized at the time how much my life revolved around it. Every day I got up with an acid stomach and trembling hands and shame and regret, swearing I’d never drink again. As the hangover passed, the strategizing began: what food would taste good with wine for dinner, what store wouldn’t remember my last big purchase, how much could I sneak into the garage without my husband noticing. Whatever else I was doing, obsessive thoughts about drinking were the background for it. I was enslaved, and now I’m free.

Or, as Bob Marley would have it,

One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.

Photo credit: Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns

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13 Responses to The music is back

  1. mishedup says:

    OH COngratulations!
    “drinking has it’s own momentum, you don’t stay in one place”..so true.
    And the hiding and the obsession. Yes, freedom is so much better, maybe not quickly, but eventually.
    I am so happy for you, and happy about the possibilities in the marijuana for your chronic pain.
    Yeah Susan!!!!

  2. cleo says:

    Its just wonderful that you have got to where you are. Congratulations. Especially since alcohol served you in a way I did not need – physical pain relief. That must have made it much tougher to give up. I hope the MM continues to help and lift you. xxx

    • sswl says:

      Thanks, Cleo! The mm is definitely helping, the gods be praised! I’ll post about it soon–others might want to try it if they can lay hands on it.

      Started reading Disgrace. He is such a fine writer! After only a few pages, I was so thoroughly immersed in the character that I was shouting warnings to him in my head (no no–leave her alone–don’t be a fool). Brilliant and creepy.

      • cleo says:

        Re reading Disgrace again too. A slightly different perspective 10 + years after the first time. Lots to think about.

  3. Congrats on four years Susan!

  4. julie says:

    Dear Susan,
    Congratulations on your 4th spiritual birthday. Keep coming back no matter how good it gets!
    xo, julie

  5. Mary LA says:

    Good to hear the mm is working for you Susan — I love Coetzee;s work but Disgrace is a harrowing read especially if you know the Eastern Cape.

  6. Thinking about you Susan, just dropped by to say hi. xx, Christy

  7. Marcel says:

    My brother recommended I might like this web site.
    He used to be totally right. This pist actually made my day.You cann’t consider
    simppy hhow much time I had spenbt foor this info! Thanks!

    • sswl says:

      Thank you, Marcel. It made my day to read your comment! I hope some day to get back to regular blogging, and you’ve definitely encouraged that!

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