I’ve been doing step 4 of AA this week, and getting pretty bummed as I take a hard look at myself and see some realities I was in denial of or had willfully forgotten about. I’m bottoming out with depression seeing how all my various habits contribute to the hand I am dealt. The more I learn about mental-health hygiene, the more mortified I am about all my own habits and ways of life, always focused on a quick fix, so rarely choosing hard work and discomfort for long term happiness.
It’s enough to make me give up, not really, but I keep wondering what the point of not drinking is, anyways. If it’s all going to go to shit anyways, if I’m inherently a worthless slob, I may as well get drunk right?
Tonight at AA a fellow told me not to beat myself up. That sitting around beating yourself up isn’t healing, it’s not getting better, it’s not helping anyone. She suggested a helpful mantra, “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.”
I talked about how it’s true, I can still hit emotional rock bottom, my depths of self loathing can still no know bounds, just like when I was drinking. Only now, instead of hundreds of fair-weather friends telling me to have another, I have a handful of meaningful, reality-based friendships with steady people who remind me of all the things I can do to feel better, like exercise and singing. Now I have AA, with dozens of role models, people who have been sober for 1 day or 10 years with love for me and pearls of wisdom that help me so much. I have an inner voice, my own lil Jimini Cricket, slowly becoming audible to me as I become more quiet. Telling me how I can get through this. Telling me to listen and learn and endure and question and love. Reminding me I do not KNOW, I can never KNOW, all the where’s and why’s and the biggest pictures and the smallest fragments.
I walk. I sing. I clean. I make lists. I help others. I make art. I try new things. I spend time alone. I spend time trying to be present. I try, then I stop trying, then I try again.