Presently: Un-Sober

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about where I was this time last year. I’ve been thinking a lot about who I was. I was really, really happy, but at the same time, really, really anxious. I was experiencing old things in a new way and taking in a lot of new information on a daily basis. I had a label and a goal, which made me feel like I had a purpose, which I clung to for deal life as I dealt with being newly unemployed and audition-less, heart-achey, and in a new apartment in a new part of town.  I would say this time last year, everything, good and bad, felt dramatic. Me? Dramatic?! Shocking…. I know. Ultimately though, I miss how I felt 365 days ago. The good feelings were really, really good.

That’s not to say I haven’t had some really, really good feelings this year. I’ve had my moments, as most of you have read. Lots of highs and lots of lows, and of course, lots of extremes.

This year seems to be full of more extremes (and we haven’t even made it to April yet, woof).

I think these extremes are coming from a place of re-learning and re-mistaking. As much as it seemed like I was growing and changing last year, introducing un-sobriety back into my life has caused me to take a step back. I told someone the other day that sometimes I feel like I’m 21 again. I feel like I need to learn my limits all over and find that happy grown up balance most of us have by the time we turn 30.

I’ve had too many mornings this year where I’ve woken up and thought “What did I do and why did I do that?!”. (Note to Mom: by “too many” I don’t mean like 100, I mean like one or two, which I think we can both agree, is one or two too many).

I guess what I’m trying to say is… Nowadays, when I drink, I do really stupid shit. (Note to Mom: sorry for cursing).

I spent a year getting to know myself stone cold sober thinking that once I started drinking again, I’d have my “ish” together and would be super responsible and fabulous. Instead, I’ve spent the last three months proving my theory to be completely, totally, utterly wrong.

I forgot to factor in one very important variable when forming the above hypothesis. I forgot about alcohol. I spent a year without alcohol and literally forgot what it does and how it affects the average human. Alcohol lowers your inhibitions, and when you take away my inhibition, I’m not harmlessly dancing on a bar or stupidly hitting on a stranger, I’m making bad choices that end up having consequences.

In my early 20’s, I did the same thing. I think a lot of us did. We learned lessons the hard and drunk way, but we were in our 20’s, so it was excusable and only a matter of time before life dealt a blow to snap us into grown-up mode.

Now, I’m approaching the last year of my 20’s and I’ve had my fill of “blows”. I don’t need to learn any more lessons the hard way, thanks life, I’m good on that.

My goal now is to be Presently Un-Sober. Last year was all about staying “Presently Sober” to get to know that side of me, and now I want to get to know that other side. I want to know me as a social butterfly. I want to be fully aware of who I am after a glass of wine or a few shots of whiskey. I don’t want to fall into an unconscious trap of binge drinking and poor life choices and what-happened-last-night wake up calls. I want to take all of the drama from last year and apply it to this year. Instead of learning from my mistakes; I want to learn from the bravest and craziest choice I’ve ever made. I want my sobriety to dictate how I drink again.

I guess, what I’m trying to say is, I think it’s all about presence. I’ve said this before, but when I named this blog a year and a half ago, I couldn’t define presence, and I had no idea that 2015 would not only teach me that definition, but also teach me how to apply it, and learning that would be the most rewarding experience of my life, so far. I think it is possible to have that same presence even though I’ve taken away my sobriety. I think that’s what people call “balance” and now that I’m a grown-up (or will be in less than a week), I’m ready to find my grown-up balance.

 

 

 

Presently: Out of the Woods

I’m starting to catch my breath. After a few long talks with loved ones, a lot of even longer talks with myself, and a day in a snow covered cabin, I feel like things are slowly working their way back to normal; no…. better than normal.

One of the very few positive things about these slumps is that I can only sit in it for so long. After a few days of dark and stormy wallowing, I find myself itching to make a change, and that itch motivates me, and feeling motivated inspires me, and feeling inspired is my favorite feeling in the world. And before I knew it, I had a game plan to “turn that frown upside down”.

The first two steps of my game plan were logical.

Step One: A lot of times, when a person who suffers from anxiety and/or depression is taking medication for said anxiety and/or depression, that medication needs to be adjusted as that person’s life changes. This has been a really tricky back and forth for me. I constantly wonder if I should be on something different or if I should be taking anything at all. I really want to believe the people who say you don’t need medication for these things, but I’ve tried that and as you may or may not remember that experiment ended with me in a gas station parking lot gasping for air, for no particular reason whatsoever. But, then I think about how different I’ve felt over the last 4 to 6 months as I’ve been on something (after not being on anything for a while) and I don’t mean a good different, not even close. The highs have been really high and the lows have been really low and I honestly haven’t felt good being me for awhile. My mom affirmed that the other night; I haven’t been myself lately, which made the following decision pretty easy. Time to ween off this one and see what happens. I don’t really know what I’ll do once this stuff is out of my system. One of the ironies of anxiety disorder is that it seems to be something you have to take day-by-day, which for an anxious person is terribly painful.

Step Two: I finally found an unbiased person to bounce my thoughts off of (which is the sugar coated way to say, therapist). I personally think everyone needs an “unbiased person to bounce thoughts off of” and I am SO relieved to have found mine! Again, there is some trial and error here, and finding the right one can take a few trials (hopefully no errors), but I’ve started the process and that feels like a giant accomplishment. (Side note: If you’re in LA and looking for someone, I found a great center and would be happy to pass along the information). 

My final step wasn’t as tangibly logical, but was still completely necessary.

Step Three: I eased up on Amelia. I’ve been really hard on myself lately and I think I finally figured out why. I spent an entire year sober, and that was awesome, and with that came a lot of praise and pats on the back. Last year was the first time in my life I had a label that I liked, that I was proud of. And then I took it away. And when I took it away, I replaced it with some really nasty labels, and the more I told myself I was those things, the more I believed that and the less I believed in who I really am.

So. No more labels. If you ask me to describe myself in one word, I can’t. There isn’t just one word that exists to describe any of us and asking me to put myself into a one-word box is kinda mean and really boring.

One of my favorite authors wrote in one of my favorite books “The ultimate truth of who you are is not I am this, or I am that, but I Am.”

There’s a peace that comes with knowing nothing has to follow my “I Am”, and I’m going to hang out in that peace for awhile.

Presently: Vulnerable

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.

Just one of the many lies, masked in a cute little rhyme, our parents and teachers drilled into our brains.

Words hurt. A lot.

What people say about me and to me, affects me. Some of it is easy to brush off and some of it plays over and over in my head like a broken record. Some of it dictates my own thoughts, and a lot of it has been dictated by me.

As some of you may or may not know, I spend my days surrounded by children. Babysitting is my actor day job, and I love the children I get to be around. In fact, I love them so much, if I heard any of them talking about themselves, the way I’ve been talking about myself lately, they’d get a long time out and a serious heart-to-heart.

So, Amelia. Go to your room, and think about what you’ve said. (That’s what I’ve been doing tonight).

I’ve been really hard on myself lately, especially this week; as I’ve bombed auditions, stressed about money, felt so lonely it physically hurt. I’ve called myself a failure, an idiot. I’ve wondered what’s wrong with me and what I need to fix. To put it less dramatically, I’ve been in one hell of a slump. (Which is ironic, considering the last blog I wrote was a love letter to myself. What a hypocrite.)

If you’ve been following this blog, you remember my post about a year ago when I dove head first into the topic of anxiety and depression. Well, these slumps are one of the many symptoms of the aforementioned “disorders”. They usually take some time to build and after a few rough days, you wake up feeling like you wish you hadn’t woken up. Yet, you drag your ass out of bed and tell yourself over and over again that things will turn around in no time. But, when they don’t turn around fast enough for your liking, the black hole gets bigger and harder to crawl out of.

Yeah. It sucks.

This is the first post I’ve ever written while I’m smack dab in the middle of the now infamous slump. I usually wait till the storm has passed and the lesson’s been learned so that I can write some inspirational, healing message.

I guess I think it’s important to share the bad with the good. In a few days or weeks or months, I’ll go back and read this and remember how gross it felt and pat myself on the back for coming out of it on top.

Because no matter how dark and stormy it gets, I always seem to find a way out.

Resilient. That’s a word I’d write on myself tonight.