Today I finally signed up for Belle’s 100 day challenge which I have shied away from for the two years I’ve been writing this blog. I’m thinking that’s a good indication that my current level of commitment is higher than before.
In my previous post I wrote about a breakthrough moment and that I would write more later. After a couple of sleep-filled days I think I can get my head round an explanation now.
I’m doing lots of ‘sober’ reading and I’m part way through Veronica Valli’s Why you drink and how to stop. This book really, really, REALLY resonates with me and it’s proving to be immensely helpful and uplifting. I found myself thinking, ‘OK, this is so similar to me, why haven’t I been able to recognise it and write out these sort of thoughts and feelings?’ Then I started thinking about feelings and emotions in general and realised that that’s probably an area of development that got completely arrested by heavy drinking.
I’m from a family that doesn’t show any strong emotions, or even moderate ones come to think of it. My childhood tears would be met with a gentle urging of ‘Don’t cry, come on and dry those eyes’. Fear and despair from being bullied was a part of ‘toughening up’ and learning to deal with the world. As for anger, nooo, no, no – that was definitely not allowed. That would be squashed down instantly. I don’t resent my parents for this at all. I recognise it’s just a result of the patterns that were instilled into them by their upbringings. I know they both loved me and wanted the best for my experience of life but they just weren’t equipped to be emotionally demonstrative. They were a result of generations of that ‘fine’ British tradition of the stiff upper lip.
So, I’ve realised that my perception and expression of feelings and emotions is totally skewed. That’s not big news to me. What I have remembered though, is that there are two exceptions to this. Music and art. I apparently was extremely expressive when playing musical instruments when I was a kid. I remember the feeling, it’s definitely easier than talking or writing.
I also remembered how many ideas that I couldn’t explain using language concepts used to come to me clearly in visual form. I’ve always been a very visual thinker, happy to silently ponder the flow of imagery in my mind. That doesn’t do much for your ability to communicate within society so I’ve had to force myself into ways of thinking and communicating that are less natural for me.
What then happened was like a floodgate opening in my mind. Images came into my mind that expressed the things I couldn’t express in writing. They appeared fully formed as pieces of illustration/art just waiting to get out. The images mostly centre around the experience of addiction and the issues within society that are contributing factors to the cause of addiction. They keep coming in a steady flow – so many ideas and things to express that have been trapped in my brain for years.
It’s overwhelming but exhilarating too. What’s most special though is that it’s all coming with a ‘hairs on the back of the neck standing up’, ‘soul-stirring’ feeling deep inside that says YES! this is something you NEED to be doing. Ooh, it’s giving me the shivers, in a nice way. It’s a lot to process too but it definitely feels like something positive and meaningful is unfolding. I’m not going to over-think it and see what develops.
Unfortunately I now feel like headache is starting. Each time I stop drinking I get a strange delayed reaction headache at some point in the first week or two. I don’t know if anybody else has experienced this but it definitely seems to be a repeating phenomenon for me. Ugh, still, I’ll take the headache in this context over the headache of a hangover any day.
Time for a hot bath and an early night I think. Have a good one x