It’s the first day of the kids’ Spring break and I’m already exhausted. I’ve been really irritable this last week – itchy, grasping – exactly the feeling that would precipitate me having a drink (or ten) in the past. But that’s not what I want anymore. When I start to feel twitchy these days, it’s more like an alarm going off telling me that I need to seek safety instead of vices. I’ve learned, after many months of not picking up a drink, that when I feel like this my body is communicating that it needs help. It’s telling me that I’ve been trying to do life all on my own again and that’s exactly what got me into this mess in the first place so I’d better listen up.
I got sober almost nine months ago, and much like when I reached this point in my pregnancies with my children, I am ready for this shit to be DONE. I have spent these nine months growing and stretching and spending my days getting used to feeling terribly uncomfortable just like I did when I was growing humans inside of me and I’m kind of over it.
It’s easy to start to feel after several months of sobriety under my belt like, I’ve got this. I have suffered enough; a martyr I am not. I have faced a lot of my demons and I have allowed myself to move through and feel some of the most uncomfortable feelings I’ve ever experienced in my life, all without a drink or substance to soften the edges. I’m ready for this whole sobriety thing to start being a little easier.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I’m about to start my 9th step, arguably the most uncomfortable and challenging of all the steps. There’s something in me raging, saying, Naw, I’m good, I don’t need to grow anymore. I’ll just stay right here in my little sobriety womb sucking my thumb. But just like with pregnancy, there comes a point when your body knows it’s time to push. That time is now. Indeed, I feel like I’m about to give birth to myself and it’s freaking me out a little.
After I had my first child my doctor informed me, much to my chagrin, that there was actually a fourth trimester – the three months after the baby is born. Because human beings heads have developed so much faster than the size of our push holes *actual anatomical term, babies have to come out before they’re fully developed leaving them as helpless as my father-in-law alone in a room with a remote. In contrast, a baby foal, for example, is basically off and trotting within minutes of being born.
The first few months of a baby’s life requires almost constant human contact, feeding, changing, and soothing. Without it, they would die. If my sobriety is a baby, my fourth trimester is going to need even more care and connection than ever before or it too, could die.
So in between the kids’ complaining of how bored they are this week and the Spring cleaning I will be inflicting upon them, I will also be quietly pushing out a crabby sobriety baby. Actually, I probably won’t be that quiet. This shit hurts.