I love “drunk books”. That’s my lovingly affectionate name for the memoirs of recovering alcoholics and drug addicts. I’ve probably read close to 50 or 60 of them since I put down my wine glass. Most of them in my first year. When I say that they saved my sobriety, I am not exaggerating one little bit. It’s true. Remember, I didn’t go to AA until midway through my second year of being sober and didn’t really begin to recover for months after that. These books let me know that I wasn’t alone, that I wasn’t crazy and, most importantly, that eventually I was going to be okay.
At first I read them like they were a vaccine for my disease…and by that I mean constantly. Then I found that I didn’t need them as much so I’d read one about once a month or so. Later, I picked them up from time to time when I felt like I needed a good shot of where it could all go wrong if I wasn’t constantly vigilant. Kind of like a booster shot for sobriety.
I was thinking the other day that I hadn’t read a good drunk book in a long time. I went to Amazon and found one with four stars and I read it all weekend. But…well…it had the absolute opposite effect. It triggered me and depressed the hell out of me all at the same time. Weird.
Late yesterday afternoon, I got to a point when the author had hit bottom, been through rehab and is now rebuilding her life, and I felt the old restless, irritable and discontent feelings rising. That hole opened in my soul and I felt the need to fill it.
I started with food. I ate some nuts. Some fruit. Some dinner. Nope…didn’t do it. I realized what I was doing and stopped…thought and realized I wanted chocolate. I wanted potato chips. I wanted wine.
What the fuck?
They weren’t exactly cravings as much as they were “wants”. For me, cravings are physical. They can actually hurt. Wants are more psychological and they are much harder to overcome. After a few weeks of being sober, the physical pull of alcohol abated but it was replaced with the ever present want that lasted MUCH longer. Same with the sugar. After two weeks I was over it physically. Psychologically…well, I’m still on my pink cloud but I’m sure it will be the same. This was a want. I WANTED something, anything to fill that whole and the fact that I knew I couldn’t have it was depressing me and fucking with my zen.
In the old days I would have taken the hubs for a ride or up in our room and just talked about what I was feeling. But now I get the impression that he’s kind of sick of hearing me whine about my addictions and how I cope. I’m sure, for a normy, this shit gets pretty tedious after a while. Plus it was noisy, football was on and…well it just didn’t feel like anyone would really be listening if I started talking.
So I did what I knew would satisfy it, give me a chance to clear my head and wouldn’t cost anything, financially or emotionally.
I got in the car and went to Target.
There is something about that store that calms me. I can peruse the aisles, check out the end caps where all of the clearance items are, try on clothes and jewelry, compare nail colors or other girly stuff, and dream about how I’m going to redecorate my house. I can also get a Starbucks coffee and pick up lettuce and dish detergent if I want. It’s therapy and it works for me. And I didn’t spend a dime.
It gave me time away to think this feeling all the way through (Was it the book? The Whole 30? The kids? The hubs?) and decide that the why really didn’t matter. What mattered was that I took control of the feeling, did SOMETHING that wasn’t destructive, rode the wave and landed safely back on shore.
Now I know why it’s called “retail therapy”.