It’s been a weird couple of days for me.
So, Sunday night, for some reason or another, I got so hot and bothered that I nearly walked out of my boyfriend’s apartment at 12:30 in the morning. He reacted poorly to my little stunt, as one might expect, and told me that it was entirely unfair for me to threaten to walk out the door like that. We sat awake for another hour, as I tried to explain to him how I’ve been needing his attention and affection lately, about wanting him to just talk to me and notice me, about certain things that have bothered me, and how I’m trying to get better at understanding and accepting his communication style. I’m not sure how much of what I was saying got through to him because he was so upset by my threat to walk out. Our official 1-year anniversary is this weekend and he told me that if I was willing to walk out at 12:30am, that it would mean I was making a statement about the viability of our relationship in whole. So I sat on the edge of the bed and stared into darkness for a while and felt my heart melting down into my stomach.
I feel like these conversations have been building in frequency and urgency over the past few months since I first bought up my problems back in early September. It would be unfair to say that he hasn’t at least tried to work with me on my requests. He’s tried, and I see that. But I’m still attempting to balance my thoughts and feelings between loving him and caring deeply for him, and knowing somewhere deep down that some vital components are missing for me in this relationship. I simultaneously feel like I know what I need to do while being paralyzed by the fear of potentially fucking up something good because things aren’t perfect. I’m afraid of being seen as the horrible, awful person again. I’m afraid of hurting anybody else – I’ve done enough of that in my lifetime. Yet, I’m also afraid of not staying true to the values I’ve created for myself. So I’m at a bit of an impasse, unfortunately.
Anyway, we talked for a bit and there wasn’t much of a resolution, except for the fact that I apologized for throwing a tantrum and acknowledged my own part in our communication woes. He apologized as well – for what, exactly, I don’t really know. But he apologized. We kissed and made up. Sleep was fitful and I was exhausted the next morning.
Yesterday – Tuesday – was a busy day at work. I wasn’t able to dash out for lunch until around 2:15pm. I took a quick walk to a grocery store about a half mile away from my office, where I pick up lunch about 90% of the time. It wasn’t until I was steps away from the entrance that I noticed my ex-boyfriend (the stalker-ish one) standing outside talking to someone. He saw me too. Of course he saw me. I was wearing my bright red jacket, hard to miss. I went into auto-pilot and made a beeline for the door, hoping he might just ignore me. But as I was halfway through the door, he called after me: “just trying to say hi!”
I got inside and my hands immediately started shaking. Whether it was fear, anger, adrenaline or the cold, I’m not sure. I loomed over the avocado bin until I was certain he’d walked away. I couldn’t tell if I wanted to scream, cry, or dissolve into the floor. It’s been over a year and some months since he and I broke up, yet he’s still here, walking around the same city as me, day after day, and I have no way of controlling if and when I run into him. it really sets me off.
After walking it off for a bit, I grabbed my food items, paid, and rushed back to the office – but not before scoping the area outside to make sure he wasn’t hanging around. I texted my boyfriend to tell him about what happened and he asked me if he tried to talk to me, and if I was okay. I said yes, just frustrated by his audacity. “yeah, that’s aggravating,” said the boyfriend. And that was that.
Later in the day, one of my sober friends messaged me to say that she relapsed, and that she was seeking out rehabs. She told me she was jealous that I was able to stop drinking on my own. I wanted to tell her to not be down on herself, that she needs to take care of herself in the way that’s best for her, and that she can’t compare journeys because that’s not helpful or productive. But I just told her, “best of luck! take care of yourself!” I don’t know if I could’ve been a better friend to her at the time. I hope she’s okay.
On top of all these things, the semester is quickly coming to a close, and I’m scrambling to make sure I’ve got my things in order. I’ve got 2/3 of my final papers done. In about a week and a half, I’ll be off on a trip down south to complete my first of two, week-long intensive study sessions. I’ll be meeting classmates and professors for the first time since I started nearly a year ago. I think that’ll be the point when all of this feels really real. And it’s pretty fucking intimidating, if I can be honest. But I’m excited for it. I’m excited for my schooling to start feeling like it’s leading me toward a real, tangible profession.
Emotionally, I’ve been okay. The weather has been drab and dreary for the past few days – just a bunch of cold rain that would normally be snow, with low heavy clouds and little sun. Alas, it’s been an incredibly warm autumn/winter, and all of the snow we’ve gotten so far has melted away. I’ve been taking quite a liking to pure ginger tea, brewed extra strong. It’s spicy enough to give my day some brightness, while giving me that good, warm, cozy winter feeling with each sip. It makes me want to snuggle away the days in my bed, reading and writing. Of course, I can’t do that – I’ve got work and other obligations that require my time and presence. I’m hopeful that the three weeks of time off between semesters will afford me some extra time to collect myself and decompress.
I haven’t had any urges or desires to drink lately. Not even after my Sunday night tantrum or my run-in with the ex that just won’t go away. Every day I see more and more benefit to staying on the straight-and-sober. I can’t imagine trying to keep up with the life I have now while drunk or hungover. I can’t imagine giving up this clarity of mind. I can’t imagine forfeiting all of the progress I’ve made with my heart and mind.
I look back and remember my early days of sobriety where i felt shaky and raw and exposed. I remember my face being red and bloated on day 2, and I remember going through the exhaustion and crying fits and days of completely numbness. I remember crying because I felt guilty, and crying because life seemed so absurd, and crying because I just needed to cry. And even though things aren’t perfect or amazing by any means, I simply cannot fathom putting myself through that again at any point in the near or distant future. I feel like I’ve only just started to get to the good parts. I want to know that I can do at least this one thing for myself. I haven’t come this far to only come this far. So, I’m sticking to it.