I Tried to Drown my Sorrows

This week marked one year sober and although it is certainly something to be proud of it has felt rather underwhelming. Underwhelming mostly because it is the third time I have accomplished this, but also because I’ve been really thinking about if sober is something I want to be. The first time was because I was in rehab and for more than just a little teenage boozin’. The second because I wanted to be a better girlfriend and this last time was because I scared myself pretty good drinking and driving, my work was suffering, my hangovers were getting worse and I was genuinely fed up with myself for always ending up at the bottom of the bottle. I was over it.

sorrows2So here I am on the other side of a year. No hang overs, no close calls, no embarrassing morning afters and am truly relieved about that. But as it turns out I’m still just as excessive, compulsive and selfish with poor boundaries and unhealthy coping skills. Except now I can’t escape anywhere, check out for a minute or blame it on the booze and whats worse is I am not enjoying myself. In fact I am legitimately depressed. I am lonely and broke and not where I hoped I would be by now. Far from it actually. I feel like I’ve spent the better part of the last year exhausting myself to stay strong and clear, that I’ve used up all the magic I needed to keep up with the everyday. But all I’ve really done is repeat a chapter of my own history. I just took a different route to end up at the same spot in this maze.

“I tried to drown my sorrows but the bastards learned how to swim” Frida Kahlo

So goddammit that I just feel like a beat up pile of shit with dirt in her eyes, because I know that it’s what I do next that counts. Now that I feel all used up and discouraged. Now that I have less than enough to get by on. Now that I’ve spent all this time with my least favorite parts of myself. Now is when I’ve got to figure out how to grow. sorrowsSo on that note, I may be really unfuckingcomfortable, but can’t help but know that if I jump off the wagon now I will just be singing this same damn song again soon enough. Or worse. I’ve chosen to take the timing of Philip Seymour Hoffman OD’ing to heart and all of this coverage about it has really struck me more deeply than other celebrity deaths. Not just because it’s chilling to know I’d walked past his apartment just days prior. But because his work touched and was so enjoyed by so many people. He’s inspired the discussions to be really poignant and thought provoking about him as an artist and person and about human nature in general. He was also truly committed to telling the stories of the human struggle, which is something I identify with and understand that to stay so close to the darkness is a heavy burden on your soul. So it’s certainly a sad way to be reminded not to tempt that shit.

“I’m afraid I’ll be the kind of actor who thought he would make a difference and didn’t.” -PSH

But it was this line from an interview that really got to me, because it is one of my own deepest fears as a person and if there is a specific thing that I feel like I have gained from this last year of sobriety, it is understanding that my purpose is to help and encourage and teach others. To share something of myself so that someone else may be benefited. But it has always been the gauge for the health of my mind when I wonder if the way I will be most helpful is to succeed or fail. To show the way thru light, or to frighten out of the dark. I know that’s a heavy thought, but it has been a very real discussion within me many times over the years and every time it’s been what’s pulled me out of the shadows. But the fact remains, that without living with the purpose and intention to help I am really just like every other blind and troubled soul wandering around.

So, at this moment I am keepin’ on and staying sober and am really digging for some shifts for the rest of the things on my mind. I’d really like to hear from you though. How you are or what you do when you want to give up or give in? Do you just surrender or do you take it on? I really would like to know.



10 thoughts on “I Tried to Drown my Sorrows

  1. Underwhelming sucks for such a great accomplishment! I know where you are coming from. Please continue to inspire! Thank you. Now go sit in a car and listen to coldplay.

  2. I have to have a practice — something steady to lean on. For me, that’s the transformative power of yoga, pranayama & mantra for my very busy mind. It helps me to witness my thoughts, emotions and sometimes inexplicable sadness without always careening head first into it. And it is a practice in self love & self care. I’m proud of you. Just keep taking care of yourself.

  3. I got sober for 10 years but that’s all in the past now. My use (and I put the “p” in “poly”) is escalating now. So I’m not one to give good advise about sobriety. I’m just wondering if life isn’t maybe more difficult than it needs to be in NYC? Maybe you need to be a little easier on yourself?

    I enjoy the beautiful art that you make.

  4. i know so much how you feel. i’ve been having a lot of the same emotions lately and, quite frankly, it sucks. the past six months of my life have been “one step forward and two steps back.” i’m dealing with my own demons, addictions. i’m not certain of the answers at the moment. i just keep reminding myself that, “when you’re going through hell, keep on going.”

    there are also beautiful moments — mixed in with all of the shit — and i’m trying hard to focus on those, too. <3

    chin up, beautiful.

  5. Such gratitude for you Dena and I know you know. And you’re absolutely right about the beautiful moments, always present and mixed in. This city is full of them. It’s saved me a million times over.

  6. Thank you Emily. A practice is exactly what I don’t have, let me do better about that. I am so happy for you and your connection thru yoga. It seems like such a great fit for you. xo

  7. Glad you are reaching out and expressing your thoughts. Keep moving forward and learn the lessons now rather than having to learn them down the road where you may be worse off than you think you are now. This is only temporary and will change with time. Get yourself moving, take some action so you can shine your light on others. Put in mind what you want that can be accomplished daily. Keep it simple and moving forward. XXXOOO!

  8. I’ve been there and am still there. Its a complete life shift to switch from days of drinking to the days of white-knuckling it with the utmost determination. I absolutely despise people in general, so that’s what made it a tab bit more difficult, but what helped was finding like minded individuals, so that you can bounce these thoughts off of. That was/is the hardest part for me. Being social without drinking.

    I wouldn’t trade my best day drunk for my worst day sober. So when I lose sight of that I have to reiterate the fuck out of that mantra. Sobriety is complicated and utterly fucking boring initially, but its what you make of it. If you want it, take it head on and rape the shit out of it.

    Thank you for writing this. Its shit like this that makes me want to stay the course. I wish you the best of luck. If you ever feel down really down, shoot me an email because my drinking history is enough to make anyone feel instantly better about themselves.

  9. My sweet beautiful Em. My fingers sit here, still, frozen, trying to write something helpful, something poignant, something motivational, something even the slightest bit encouraging…but I’m coming up short. You know I have been struggling, I knew perhaps intuitively that you might have been as well. But know, even though I suspect you already do, that I am proud of you. Know that I love you. Know that I cherish you as a friend. Know that I look forward to walking beside you, arm hooked through wrinkled arm, as we wander through the market. I know that we will look back on these silly days, remembering them to be the days when we learned how to cope, when we learned who we really are, when we learned what to take with us, and what to leave behind. You and I will make it, you see. We have to. There are little girls and boys out there that need to hear our stories – stories we have only just begun to dream, begun to create, begun to write, and begun to live. Don’t give up, and I promise I won’t either.

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