How does an HSP get sober?
Sobriety and the Highly Sensitive Person
How does an HSP get sober?
I’m an alcoholic or an alcohol dependent [whichever philosophy you wish]. My subconscious mind is pushing me to make a CHOICE as my Spirit longed to go free but my conscious mind did not trust and my mind was winning. The world wasn’t trustworthy – coming from an unrecognized, unactualized and unvalidated though-I-did-not-know-the-word-at-the-time-but-still-was HSP position. So I numbed & sedated with alcohol. I’d try to stop. I’d drink again. I’d not drink for a few days to prove I wasn’t an alcoholic. I’d give up the fight altogether and stay drunk. It would have to be a big deal for me to want to finally stop the cycle of this particular samsara. Mine was never fear I’d lose my job, house, significant other, jail or physical death. No. My big deal was a pain; a deeply rooted pain longing for the return to home; To myself and out of Samsara.
Why Did I Get Sober?
But as the cycle wore on and my desolation increased, which I attribute to separation from God (however you define that; I define it as my Self or my Spirit,) I had an intuitive, yet unable to express, knowledge I had placed the importance of numbing as such a priority that my mind was unable to SEE/FEEL ANY ‘gifts’ of my Spiritual Sensitivity but all the ‘curses’ [ie, Hell]. Which made it worse, as now I couldn’t even numb properly. No longer was I in a stateless sense of waiting [ie, Purgatory] but an insistent Hell.
My bottom did not occur because of external/physical repercussions but because of spiritual/metaphysical ones. And in that sense, I was already dying on my last breath in this Hell. THIS was finally what made it worth it for me to go BACK through the River of Styx … and back to Earth.
While ‘on earth’ I knew sobriety was just the first step and that I’d have to work differently than most others I’d seen if I were to ‘get back home.’
I am not putting on shoes for the sake of the shoes because I typically do go barefoot. I am putting on these shoes because I have to go somewhere and it’s the going somewhere that is my destiny. Yes. So even then I knew that freeing my mind from alcohol was just the first step. And as Synchronicities [capital ‘S’] would have it, my journey very rapidly evolved to then Codependent Recovery and Eating Recovery as well as Sugar De-Addiction. In retrospect, it is very clear my Spirit – in seeking its natural state – was seeking to cast off all kinds of chemical and emotional dependencies. All it took was my willingness to let my body/mind/ego scream its death song. Piece of cake. Heh.
I found a sponsor in Alcoholics Anonymous who was HSP too [again, unknowing of the term at the time]. These synchronicities along with plenty of others that happened in early recovery are what continued telling my Spirit that I was on the right path.
Why Am I Still Sober?
I am still choosing sobriety because once I metaphorically crossed the River of Styx [the initial pain; the body/mind/ego scream] by doing away with my biggest self-inflicting neurosis (aka “active alcoholism”), life got exciting. Life became an enjoyable journey. Life turned into a play and I was on the front row.
I had primarily the memories of separation from Spirit and what it felt like to be in Hell. So that when it first got really tough – and for me, without consulting my journals, I think it first got really tough and rough the 3rd – 6th month of no alcohol. Up until the 3rd month I was still in grateful wonderment over how great I physically felt and the no-effort-on-my-part automatic dispelling of shame due to my behaviors while drinking. I was happy; a genuine and sincere happiness that permeated my entirety. And just because there is a term that you may hear others call it, does not make it any less beautiful.
The Pink Cloud
People in Alcoholics Anonymous might refer to this happiness and gratitude (of a newcomer) as ‘Being on a pink cloud.’ It happens when newcomers quit drinking and are happy. Yes, just like that. For the first time in a long time they might feel hope. They have a sense of gratitude and that all is well in their world. They have found a place full of drunks, like them, and their initial shame might even be alleviated. They are smiling and joyous and sometimes cannot even contain their happiness so they may even have the courage to share in a smaller meeting how great they feel! I love seeing this. When I see a newcomer pick up a white token, feeling defeated and beaten, and I see her again in a few weeks with a beaming smile… It is so fun!
The malcontents (control freaks, bleeding deacons, pill poppers, illusory old-timers who enjoy their Xanax or Percocets but ignore that part of their story) would sometimes passively insult or self-righteously belittle this state of being and warn otherwise happily sober A.A. newcomers of its quickly impending demise or ‘crash’ with the ominous warning of severe pain or drunkenness if the newcomer doesn’t get a sponsor, etc… [This is truth of it.]
Read: Prescription Drug Use and Alcoholics Anonymous (Article August 18, 2013)
My view on this ‘pink cloud’ is different. I look at it as a Safe Place of Being where I could peacefully absorb new (alcoholic recovery) tools in the comfort of my Simply Being. WHO in this world would exchange a Hell that least numbed you for a little while with a Hell that didn’t allow you to be numb at all?
Do not be discouraged if one of these personalities belittles your happiness with “And this too shall pass.” Maybe the ones who say this or otherwise belittle your gratitude for where you are or how you feel are not the ones you need to be following or listening to. Would you be better served to follow the ones who look so truly happy they would much rather share your joy in it? All we have are moments. If anyone is trying to undermine your current one, wish them well (or tell them to go to hell), as you continue in your revelry of the Pink Cloud of Grace.
The 3rd – 6th month of not drinking was the pits although your experience may vary.
I had a lot of internal beliefs to restructure and I had become addicted to alcohol since 14 years of age; Rehabbed at 15 and in relapse not long after. After the bad rehab place that wasn’t really rehab but more like an internment camp that abused children under the guise of rehabilitation I now had a whole slew of new PTSD thinking patterns, behaviors, and fears. My Sponsor said, “Just don’t drink, no matter what.” And what I felt in my heart was, “Just don’t drink, no matter what and it will be worth it.” Well, I did not drink but I did go legitimately nut balls crazy from time to time in the beginning.
Not Drinking. No Pink Cloud. Although I did have a few tools I’d learned, I nevertheless reacted violently to this place called Earth. Here are some things I did when I found myself in a mind/brain scream: I screamed. I broke objects (of mine). I drove to a bar – where I felt safe – and sat in the car. I cried. I screamed. I walked barefoot at midnight to another AA member’s house not caring if I was murdered in the ghetto I was walking through. I contemplated picking up the ‘marijuana maintenance program’ but thankfully discussed it with my sponsor. I grabbed a knife in one hand and mouthwash in the other as my boyfriend was unrelenting in his desire to NOT leave me alone. I screamed. I went to 90 meetings in 90 days and sometimes more often than that. I cleaned my house. I painted the walls. I ate lots of sugar. I starved. I slept. I stayed awake. I screamed. And screamed. And screamed.
How am I Still Sober?
One might think with all that pain up there, there would be no way I was going to really get sober, hardly stay sober.
In hindsight, it seems it truly was a miracle. What no one in A.A. or anywhere else told me was that there would be this kind of pain. Maybe they did not have a mind as messed up as mine was. Maybe they were taking medication; tranquilizers, anti-depressants, anti-psychotics. Maybe they didn’t have this experience of ‘pain.’ Maybe they didn’t want to scare the new people coming in with “Oh there will be pain.” Or maybe they weren’t a Sensitive and it was an HSP thing or maybe it was a PTSD (from the bad place) thing.
For whatever reason, I am grateful I had a sponsor and a Spirit that kept me called to keep going and an intuitive understanding that this ‘stroll through hell’ was necessary for me or what Carl Jung might call “legitimate suffering.”
I am still sober today because in the beginning – through the pain – I trusted another human being who was a lot like me, who was sober. After that, I never remained satisfied with simply not drinking. It was never the point of my life to get sober; It was simply necessary for my Spiritual, Emotional, and Mental Survival and eventual thriving. I kept going and still do with the backdrop being that I am sober. Sobriety was never my destination and it’s still not. I’ve learned to not just handle but to embrace the gifts of being a Highly Sensitive Personality which, for me, means to embrace being a conscious human being.
And it feels like freedom.