Emotional Triggers

Today is Day 27. On Day 26, I wanted to drink rather badly.

So first: A success story. I cooked with wine last night but didn’t drink any. Yay! Followed the plan of buying a tiny bottle… 375 ml. My partner reserved the cup I needed for my ciopinno, an Italian seafood stew. It was freaking delicious. As I said, I refuse to stop cooking with wine. But anyway. He reserved the cup, discreetly drank the rest in a boring non-wine glass, and even covered up the stuff I needed so I wouldn’t be all tempted by the smell. That was great. I still wanted wine with dinner, but it didn’t wreck my meal or anything.

What wrecked my day and evening and made me want to drink last night was envy: a formidable, old enemy of mine. One thing I have been noticing about myself is that, at least so far, I’m not particularly triggered by stuff outside me; its the inside stuff. I got through the pub fine, and my partner still has alcohol in the house. I mentioned I’m not triggered by pretty wine glasses, or non-alcoholic beer. Instead, I am triggered by shitty, shitty feelings that cause me to think hopeless thoughts.

Yesterday we visited my partner’s dad, and he has a beautiful, spacious condo with a kitchen I would die for. And he doesn’t cook! Oh the agony. We drove home past all of the beautiful houses in our neighbourhood back to our unremarkable walk-up apartment. I went down the rabbit hole: Why can’t I be financially successful? Why can’t I get a big-girl job? Why can’t I ever have  a nice kitchen? Why did I make stupid life choices?

My rational brain and the better part of my heart know that a fulfilling life does not come from status or from stuff. But, man, I sank like a stone. Two things happened. First, I didn’t frigging like myself anymore. I intensely dislike Envious Me. Envy is a toxic emotion, and my capacity for it something I really loathe about myself. I fight it, but I can never quite shake it.

The second thing that happened inside me was despair, because I am so convinced that no matter how hard I work, I can’t change my financial circumstances. Despair gives me one big, whopping case of the fuck-its, moreso even than the envy. “I might as well drink. I have nothing else.”

Wow, is that bullshit. Even as I write it I’m thinking “Oh get over yourself!” I have tons of great stuff in my life. My kitchen sucks, is all. But emotions can be strong, and that deceives you in to thinking they are right — that they are some sort of accurate reflection on the state of the world and your place in it. Enter cognitive behavioural therapy I guess?

Also I swear I need to get out more. I have no community. I keep mentioning loneliness, and not doing anything about it. I say this because having authentic relationships with other people helps you to check your small, distorted thinking when you start losing gratitude to the demons of envy and self-pity. In short, everyone has their crosses to bear, and I think I need to put myself in a better place to see that. Right now all I have is the noise in my head.

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