Landing on the Shore

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”.



14 thoughts on “Landing on the Shore

  1. I didn't know about your reading, triggering that feeling on Sunday….however, never feel that you don't want to interupt whatever is happening in my life to talk to me…I'm always there and here for you and I got your back even when you don't feel you need it…Love you baby…

  2. Hi Sherry . . . First, well done for riding the wave and landing safely; taking control. As I've said before you seem to go from strength to strength. There's no stopping you!
    Second, Bless your husband's sweet heart
    Third, I was asking in a post the other day (yet another one that I didn't even publish!) if anyone could recommend any good books by Heroin addicts who have got clean. I can relate to these sober blogs and I read and re-read them often . . . But I would love to read one relating to Heroin. Can you recommend one please? Just one would be fine. I can't find any Bloggers who have kicked the habit, so maybe a good book if you know of one?
    Thanks Sherry, sending love x
    PS I read “in the old days I would have taken the hubs for a ride up in our room” 😉

  3. Elmo's comment is very sweet. I can guess who that is. ;o)

    Once I knew I was taking the weekend off, I ate everything I wanted….a small bag of chips, 2 diet cokes, popcorn, a Hershey kiss….ok 3, the wedding chocolate mousse pie, and a bowl of ice cream….not all at once or on the same day of course! Over my 3 days of cheating. But your right Sherry….I wasn't craving any of the above items….I just wanted them! Big difference. I am having a lot of feelings coming up these past couple weeks….I will blog about it in a bit, but food isn't among it all really. It was fun to binge, but I was really looking forward to this morning and getting back on track….structure and parameters feel good. Bless you for doing this!

  4. Hi Bugs.. have you read Russell Brand's books? He was a heroin guy I think. My Booky Wook and My Booky Wook 2 I think they're called. I just read Kelly Osborne, her thing was vicoden. Also Ninety Days by Bill Clegg. His thing was crack cocaine. I just googled “memoir of heroin addiction” and a lot came up. xxxx

  5. I would have SO LOVED to have met you at Target. We need each other Sherry why don't we live around the corner from each other!! Now.. I am taking this Whole9 thing very seriously. I am going to start on Monday so the 16th is my start date. I have started making a meal plan and snack plan, I'm going to have to be organised for myself and the family because I feed 4 other people all day every day. This is good, I really need this. I am even going to buy their newsletter service and get that every day.. Mr D is going to stick with me at home.. looking at the food blogs they recommend with lots of recipes .. it will be hard but good. xxxx

  6. Hello my sweet friend!

    Here are the ones that I've read:
    Junkie: a true Baktimore Story by Tia L. Lincoln
    Dying to Survive by Rachael Keogh
    Beautiful Boy by David Sheff
    More Now Again by Elizabeth Wurtzel
    A Million Little Pieces by James Frey

    These are only the ones in ebook form. I've given away the ones in paperback that I read.

    Those I've heard are good:
    American Junkie by Tom Hansen
    White Out by Michael W. Clune

    Read them…I promise they will help.


  7. Oh Sherry, when I read your post the first time, I read the first line of the 8th (?) paragraph as, “In the old days I would have taken the hubs for a ride up in our room” and I thought, 'YOU GO GIRL! ELMO'S A VERY LUCKY MAN! lol

    Sobering up has awakened me to my own reactions that I used to drown in booze. I am very much a stress eater and now I have the pitiful, “I already gave up booze, what else do I have to give up?” mentality to go along with it. But it is great to be alert enough to recognize what is going on in this head of mine and recognize the bullshit I try to feed myself. This summer when I was living on my own, without the cap'n and his candy hoard enticing me, I found that if I made out the menu for the week and went to the grocery store and just bought the needed items, I didn't really have urges and I looked forward to what I was going to be preparing. I ate my three meals a day and didn't really have cravings between. Of course, now that the cap'n and I are done working and back to living under the same roof, all of that has gone out the window.

    I'm feeling a little girlfriend jealousy here, I want to go to Target too! I feel like the teenage girl that went away for the summer and came back to find her girlfriends have forgotten her. My own damn fault, I've got to get back in the game!

  8. Fantastic! This is an incredibly inspirational read, also very motivating – and now I have a great tip up my sleeve for how to ride the next wave; retail therapy 🙂

    Thank you for the list of books that you listed in a previous comment, I was going to ask – but now I have written them down. I've never read a drunk book, so that'll be very interesting.

    Thank you so much for sharing my dear friend, take care! *hugs*

  9. In my opinion, something will be triggering you forever. Whether or not you read the books. It's life showing up—life. I think you did great. We all have moments when the best we can do is not drink. At 9.5 years sober I still to take a nap to not feel sh*t I'd rather not feel. And Lord knows I never want to drink again despite what my f**king head says. What a relate-able post.xox

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