I find myself feeling overwhelmed at the thought of going home for the Christmas holiday tomorrow. I have been hiding out in my safe and comfortable routine, far from the crazy that seems to have a grip on so many people in my life. I picture myself in a pool with all of them. They’re all thrashing about, grabbing my arms and splashing and threatening to pull me under the water. I feel panic. Now I’m picturing myself beside the pool, in a chair, with a cocktail…err, wait, that’s the old me. Now I’m anxious because I’m doing nothing to help them. I should save them. This is what I struggle with every day. How do I get past this feeling that I’m going to be either pulled down with them if I stay in the pool, or tortured by guilt if I save myself and get out? In my life, I have chosen to get out of the pool and save myself, but I feel crushing guilt. It’s not addictions or destructive behaviors on their part, it’s just patterns. Patterns that I too easily fall into and lose my balance. At only 3 1/2 months into sobriety, I thought about not making the trip home this year. I’m starting to think my instinct was right. I know I’m probably making it worse in my head than it will actually be. I’m worrying about stuff that probably won’t even happen. What I do know is that I am far from being in the moment. I should be looking forward to spending the holiday with the people I love, right? Instead, I’m worrying about the 3 or 4 people who might turn up and push all my buttons. I’m just sober and raw and all this feels like too much right now. But I have committed to going, and I guess I have to go. I should have listened to my gut a few weeks ago.
I’m not afraid I’m going to drink. I have had ample opportunity to do that over the last 4 days and I have not. What I am afraid of is losing control of my emotions if someone gets to me and pushes all my guilt buttons. There are a couple of people in particular who may show up during the time I’m home who could send me right over the edge. One of them actually has said some pretty harsh things about my moving for my job and leaving my grandma, who now has dementia (she was diagnosed several years after I moved). That exchange left me crying for hours. No one can judge me more harshly than I do, and this person was accusing me of selfishly pursuing my career and leaving my grandma behind. Something I have no problem believing and internalizing. Now, I know this person most likely has some serious mental health issues, so I am not so worried about her opinion of me, I just don’t want to deal with my emotions if she decides to show up and bring up topic again. I just don’t want any drama, and I’m feeling so raw that I’m afraid it’s going to find me and I’m going to be the screwed-up alcoholic who can’t control herself. I know it’s irrational and I’m trying to stop looking ahead. I feel obligated to make this trip, obligated to stay until everyone is done visiting…I don’t feel at liberty to escape if I need to. Again, I’ll be the screwed-up alcoholic who has to go hide from everyone. Looking at what I just wrote, I realize how ridiculous this sounds. One thing I know, I will not drink to deal with this. If I have to white-knuckle it all the way to fucking New Year’s I will. I will get through it. I will try to let go of all this fear and actually enjoy the time. I’m just a bit of a mess over this, but I will find a way to get through.