Rebel Without a Cause

I had this crazy-very busy dream last night.  And what may have been my first drinking dream-in over 2 years!   Without getting tooo wordy about it all, I will tell this much.  I was getting on a bus and as I was boarding, Victoria Beckham was also getting on.  She handed me a champagne flute that was filled to the brim with brandy.  I was surprised on a couple of levels-one that she-Victoria Beckham-would do that and it was really early in the morning, like dawn.  I also didn’t want it.  I really wanted coffee-but, I took it.  I sipped at it all the while not liking it and afraid I’d get drunk.  Then at some point, Lucinda Williams got on.  Victoria handed her a glass too-and she loved it!  Had her guitar with her and started to sing.  Not sure if you know who Lucinda Williams is-I LOVE her!  She’s kind  of a folksy, country, rock and roller.  Has had a pretty wild ride. So, here I am, feeling  and believing that the people we see in dreams represent a part of us-of our personality. And boy! 2 very different sides here! “Posh” on the one hand and wild, rebel southern rocker chic on the other.  That sounds about right!

In thinking about and trying to analyze this dream, I realized several things.  The first is that I did not want nor was comfortable with having an alcoholic drink in my hand.  I did not want to get drunk. I wanted coffee!! Times do change! As a matter of fact, throughout the dream I kept looking for a way to either make or somhow get a coffee. I guess I would like to think that in some very, very small way, I can at times be “posh”.  But then! Then comes in Lucinda!  An-at least at one time-hard living woman!  With the gravelly voice to prove it! Yet at the same time, she’s an artist-a poet-a performer.  And yes, I have definitely had and lived through my rebel southern rocker chic stage.

All of this makes me think and remember how rebellious I was growning up. I was always angry- fear based anger.   God! I was always fighting something-having to prove something.  Because I got so nervous trying out for the drill team and only made pep squad-which I deemed was for nerds and failures, I went to the complete other side-drugging and drinking all through high school.   Then through my limited time in college.  Always being the one who could “stay in control”. Yeah! Right!  Eventually giving up drugs and pot, but hanging on to that alcoholic beverage.  Until of course 2 years ago when I quit.

What this dream ties into on some levels is something that occurred to me the other day. That aside from the fucked up political scene here in the US, I don’t really feel and underlying need to rebel anymore.  Which brings me to my belief that addiction and overindulgence on a regular basis is tied to underlying issues that we are either not in touch with or don’t want to be in touch with.  For example-or several- in my first marriage, I realized during all the therapy that I had during and after, that I never really felt safe with my ex.  Not in a fear of physical abuse, but emotional. And, now in thinking about it that while I can acknowledge that being with him helped bring me to where I am today, there was an underlying level of discomfort-and so I drank.

The same is true with my catering career.  While I was good at it, I never really wanted it and there was a HUGE amount of stress involved-both physical and mental. And to be honest, I should never have gone into business for myself.  I was good at the catering part-and pretty much every part except the business part.  So there was another underlying reason to medicate myself.  Another excuse.

Of course growing up I had issues with my parents.  A metally unstable father and an over-loving mother.  I spent so many years so angry at my mother-but as I like to say, she out lived my anger and I am so grateful for that. I was also adopted.  And while I was so loved and accepted by all of my family-and never thought of as an “outsider”, I think that was always something that I was aware of on some level. As a child and an adolescent, then as a young adult and then as a not so young adult, it seems that I was always in a state of outraged resentment.

I felt like I had to be the “coolest”.  And that of course involved substance abuse.  Even as an adult into my 30’s, 40’s and 50’s (YIKES!) that meant looking sophisticated with a glass of poison in my hand.  Using all kinds of excuses as to why I needed it.  Except of course the real, underlying ones.

Then, the other day that thought about not needing to rebel anymore occurred to me.  I’m in a strong, loving relationship with a man who treats me as an equal and isn’t into any kind of power trips or manipulation games and has a good heart.  I long ago made peace with my parents. I let go of my father long before he died and as I said, made peace with my mother and was able to be with her when she died.  I no longer have my business.  As a matter of fact, I totally closed out all of my business tax accounts at the end of the year.  I realized that even doing it once in a while was not enjoyable.  So now, I will cook for groups that I want to cook for-as a donation.  Like when a special Guru comes to town or the yoga retreat we go to every year.  Cooking out of love on my terms. I have a strong spiritual belief system.  And while I don’t have a ton of friends here in the city I live in, I do have strong, loyal friends that are there when I need them.

So, I guess what I’m saying is that getting to a place of being gounded in sobriety-or just life for that matter-is a process.  An ongoing process-ever unfolding. IF we do the work.  IF we face our demons and underlying reasons for WHY.  By facing those demons and confronting them and bringing them to the surface, we are able to heal.  I am certainly no therapist or professional in the recovery process, but I have to wonder if the reason so many people fail over and over and over to obtain sobriety is because they don’t want to deal with the underlying reasons as to why they need to medicate themselves.  To self-harm.  So many think if they just quit drinking, everything will change.  And yes, much will.  And sometimes, the main thing is to quit and stay quit-but what I’ve noticed with some people, is that while they might be sober, they still make the same poor choices as they always did.  They are still in the same “drama” as they’ve always been in.  Because they haven’t dealt with their shit.  I learned long ago-and am constantly reminded-that if we don’t deal with a deep underlying issue, it will keep presenting itself to us. It may come in a different form-but I can almost promise you it will come up-again and again.   For example-a therapist once told me that unless I dealt and learned about my issues with men, that I could choose someone who was totally different than my partner-totally opposite in physical characteristics, nationality-all of that.  BUT, because I hadn’t learned to be different, that sooner or later, we would have the same issues I’d had previously.  I mean, come on, how many times have you realized that “ok, here’s this same lesson again!!!”  When am going to learn??  When we change, when we have changed and learned from our core issues, we can create a new life.  A new way of being that we can be secure in. We attract new people and new situations.  A different kind of people and different kinds of situations.  When we learn to react differently, we change the dynamic.   We are then coming from a place of Self, not from some deeply flawed insecurity.  We can always blame the other person or situation, but at some point, in order to overcome and grow, we have to accept our part in things.  We have to have ownership as to why we are in the situation we’re in.  That’s where the growth comes from. Yes, it’s scary and it can be painful.  It can mean making some changes that are deeply uncomfortable until we can become rooted in them.  It may mean taking a stance against something or cutting someone out of our lives.  But hey-you can always go back to being dysfunctional-having dysfunctional relationships, so what do you have to lose?

DO THE WORK!  There are many avenues-therapy, group therapy, an all women’s or all men’s group, books, online courses-online therapy.  In AA they tell people not to make any major changes in their first year of sobriety. I get that.  After my divorce I made a conscious choice not to become involved in a relationship until I became grounded in who I was working on to become- so that I would have changed enough to not attract the same type of person/relationship again. I was without a relationship for years! So long that a friend of mine remarked that so much time had passed I should consider myself a virgin again!

Its important to dig deep. It’s will take however long it takes. Give yourself time to “break in” those new shoes you will be walking in- to be comfortable with who you’re becoming.  Slowly, step by step walking away from the past and stepping into the new.

And love yourself.

Drunken Angel by Lucinda Willliams

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