Post-Addiction Angst


The anxiety I am experiencing when I forget to do a dish or follow-up on a reminder is unreal. I am surrounded by tiny slips of paper, a calendar, a chalk board, napkins, and a few pens. I am in the pre-pre-stages of what I picture could turn into one of those conspiracy characters in a movie with everything I *think* I have to do pinned to the wall with strings pulled between each task. I see a future of me seated, legs crossed, on the floor with all of my lists and notes, sweating profusely while I try to explain my inexplicable logic to my normally rather chill family members.


The key word there is *think.* I have been adjusting to life post-substance abuse. I am manifesting obsessive tendencies and fear, and I am wasting the precious time that I bought myself to be alive. It feels as unhealthy as smoking a cigarette. I meditate but I have been blocked from doing so. I just can’t wrap my head around, well, what is going on in my head. Being a Type A Leo with that anti-anal retentive lazy genius artist vibe going on doesn’t really help. I haven’t even obsessed over my weight and diet which is out of character for my anxious shadow.

I want order in the chaos. And sometimes I create that chaos with impatience (sometimes with a dash of rage). And then I shake vigorously while I try to sweep up the shrapnel from the obsessive compulsive explosion and smile and nod. And I know I have the potential to slow down. This has been a constant theme in my life. The never-ending quest to find a way to balance all of this amazing energy I have and find how to cope with things that aren’t as amazing.

Of course we do the right thing, and that’s when it almost kills us.

But over the last two weeks or so, I have been slowly waking up to this phenomenon of my current existence, the panic attack frequency and the constant moving around, tidying, writing lists. I have written more lists than poetry in the last month and I am trying to get a second book out by the end of this month and for some reason that isn’t as important as the Thanksgiving menu or the dough for the pie I am putting into the school pie contest. I think I am being productive and really it is a mishmash of whatever I can do to stay moving.

I will point out that me even entering a pie contest is a risk and finally a POSITIVE ONE. Just like entering the bake sale two weeks ago was never on my life radar five years ago but I trusted that someone from her school loved pumpkin cheesecake enough to love it in cookie form. I am actually putting myself on display. And next week I am doing tarot for other parents at an auction gala and I still haven’t even figured out if I like people.

I have been giving a lot of my time to good causes but I have also found myself standing up and saying no, saying I can’t do something because I have to stop neglecting myself,  and following through on things that may be difficult or painful. These are new skills and I am rather proud of myself for exhibiting them. I am using this to drive my healing in other places.

Coping and balance. Balance and coping. Really two of the biggest offenders in addiction no matter age, job, race, etc. This week, I snapped like a bellowing thunder and lightning, crying like I hadn’t in years because I actually DO know better now. I looked in the mirror at a person who is actually dying and another person on top, being born at the same time. There is a mourning for the person dying and a last gasp at trying to restore parts of them.

Like she is looking back at me crying, “NO I PROMISE TO BE GOOD THIS TIME! LOOK AT ALL YOU HAVE LEARNED!”

But it isn’t just learning. It is an entirely new being who is trying to embrace that nothing is guaranteed and while some things are worth planning, other things are worth enjoying. While some things are worth controlling, others will not ultimately get you what you think you want. And when you have happiness, it really does come down to the minutes you are experiencing them. Because as beautiful as memories are, they only hurt when you realize you didn’t take the time to feel them. I am steadily learning the differences. Transcending is the most painful thing I have ever done.

4 thoughts on “Post-Addiction Angst

  1. When I first got sober, I had a lot of obsessive tendencies. For me, it was about finding something I could control. When the alcohol was taken away, I felt my world crumbling. I had to learn how to balance my life. It took me a long time to get to that point because I had layers of abuse to work through. But it does get better.

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