Sober since April 6, 2006


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Pole vaulting over mouse turds

The AA meeting the other day was about how we alcoholics seem to "make mountains out of mole hills" -- or as one of the ladies put it, "pole vault over mouse turds". I liked how she put that.

In the analogical scenario, a "normal" person would step over a mouse turd and continue on their way. But an alcoholic would freak out, make a huge deal over it, and with much pomp and drama, heroically pole vault over the turd as if it was a genuine obstacle. Then they would expect a trophy or medal afterward.

It's like trying to live life with a Rube Goldberg approach to everyday problem solving. (For those who don't remember, Rube Goldberg was a cartoonist who is most famous for his "Rube Goldberg machines", complex devices that performed the simplest of tasks in exceedingly complicated ways.)

Any simple problem easily solved by a "normal" person can just as easily become the next major life crisis of an alcoholic. Our natural response to small problems is to blow them out of proportion into unsolvable quandaries. And just when all hope seems lost, the craving hits: "I need a drink."

My résumé is a fine example. I can't even think about it without becoming extremely anxious. Within minutes, "I need a drink" hits hard. But that's the problem: it's just a résumé. It's not a life and death situation. It's not cancer. It's not bankruptcy. It's just a stupid piece of paper that means absolutely nothing, but I complicate it to the point of "needing" a drink. One minute I'm strong against the desire to drink. The next minute I'm overcome by a simple problem, hating myself, and desperately wanting to drink. This behavior is bafflingly stupid and annoying.

I wonder, why must every tiny problem in life seem so unsolvable? Is it because we're always subconsciously looking for an excuse to drink? Or is it just part of the "insanity" of alcoholism?

(Or am I the only alcoholic whose natural response to tiny problems is to over-complicate them?)

Whew. I think I over-complicated the entry.

Today, I'm especially grateful for ...

  • being 138 days sober
  • the nice people who read my blog
  • Aikido class. I never thought I could continue to get up after falling so many times and feeling so tired and hurt
  • Advil (ibuprofen, pain reliever)
  • my awesome and loving family
  • my very sweet boyfriend
  • my adorable, furry, slobbery collie, who loves me and greets me every day as if I was somebody important
  • God, who helped me to relax today


dAAve said...

"We don't trip over the mountains, we trip over the pebbles."
"Keep it simple"

(I love all those slogans)

Mark W. said...

You are definitely not alone :-)

Sober Chick said...

You are speaking my language! AA is a simple program for complex people. Yes, we are quite the bundle. LOL.

Ohhh you have a Collie. I love Collies, ok, I love all dogs but Collies, Aussies and mongrols play a key role in my "ohhhhhhhhh." :)

You are right where you should be.

Anonymous said...

What were the promises people speak of?

Gwen said...

Great post. We are so the winners of the drama competition aren't we? I can tell you that all has died WAY down in my life.