Saturday, 11 July 2015

Control Freakery

Sober Mommy (my American blogging twin) commented on my post yesterday that things happen for a reason. And, sure enough, my internet debacle (still not fixed. I'm still one fingered typing on my iPhone) has made me realise something:

I am a total control freak!

I was already aware that my biggest trigger is anxiety. That knot of tension that wine unravels so easily.

Now I realise that what makes me really anxious is when something is out of my control. 

Like my internet problem - currently in the hands of some keen, overworked, massively overqualified, call centre operator in Delhi.

It's why I often find being a stay at home Mum so stressful. You can't control 3 kids. Coach, yes. Cajole, bribe, threaten, encourage....but not control. It's like trying to herd cats.

My wonderful friend P (who sent me her 90 day chip. See: AA, and when the virtual world isn't enough) came to stay from the U.S. with her 2 kids (including my gorgeous Godson Mark).

She is the first person I've met in real life who's read my blog. And she's an addiction counsellor.

Naturally, we talked about it all. To my horror I was totally tongue tied! Here I am, perfectly fluent in the page, but - faced with a real person....bag of nerves.

P told me how she felt after nine years of sobriety. I can't remember her words, but what sticks in my mind is the gesture she made.

She kept clenching her hand into a fist, and then opening up her palm. She talked about acceptance, and letting go. And I realise now that what I am is a clenched fist - desperately trying to control everything.

One of the things that always scared me about the idea of AA is the concept of 'surrendering your will to a Higher Power.' Funnily enough, it's not the Higher Power bit that bothers me; it's the idea of 'surrender'.

Surrender? Me? No! I caused this problem, I can fix it! I will write my own program with my own steps, thank you very much! Read blogs? Not only that, I'll write my own damn blog!

I'm still trying to control the process - every step of the way.

So yesterday, unable to control the issue, or fix it myself, I was a tightly wound stress ball. I couldn't get myself out of my funk. I couldn't even turn to the Internet (my usual escape hatch) since it was down. The only way I knew, with an absolute certainty, I could unwind the ball was to drink.

I explained this to The Husband.

"Go for a run", he suggested.

Now, I was not built for speed. I have only gone running a handful of times in my life. But I changed into the closest thing I own to 'running kit', put my headphones in and headed for the door.

#1, #2 and #3 fell about laughing.

I was back 15 minutes later (don't want to overdo it initally! And after 15 minutes of light jogging I felt like I'd run a marathon) feeling way better.

I'm still a little wound up, but there's a song going round in my head which helps:

Que sera, sera. Whatever will be, will be. The future's not ours to see. Que sera, sera.

Which, spookily, is very much like the AA serenity prayer 'God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can't change.'

Gradually I feel that clenched fist unfurling....

Love SM x


  1. I can relate to that. But it is also good to control the things that are within our control (very AA!), Drinking too much and the lost hangover days - just makes everything utterly chaotic - you just have to look inside my cupboards and drawers - oh and my home office awash with paperwork - to see that! It's good to be in control but I guess it's knowing when to stop!

    1. I hear you lithe! I have been cleaning, decluttering and gardening like a dervish since I quit! X

  2. Well done for the run !! Funnily enough whilst puppy walking this morning I saw lots of runners - who knew there were so many early Sunday joggers !! I'm pleased that it helped with your anxiety it may be very useful at the start of the 7 week holiday ;-) I'm not sure I even have anything remotely like a running kit but yet again you have inspired me so I'll perhaps dig out what kit I have and give it a go - perhaps get the pup to run alongside me too !! Happy Sunday

    1. Go girl! I'm thinking of signing up for a park run with dog and #1....

  3. Running would be a great outlet for you. I am a keen runner.

    Funny how timely your post is, all i have been thinking about the last few days is control/ lack of etc. A holiday where everything was completely out of control has been enlightening/ sad/ thought provoking and hopefully leading to a place of acceptance. Having wine and prosecco daily (mostly for no reason at all except that i did) was ok but it didn't give me any control over the things i can't and when i got home and finally processed all that had happened, it felt like the first time i could breathe in weeks. I really have figured that drinking is only adding to the current wall to wall stress we are experiencing (but i have known this for a long time). Feeling out of control is no fun. But there are better means and ways to cope. (i hope!) xx

    1. Glad you're back Kats! Step away from the bottle, and breathe.... I was thinking of you when I went out running - you've talked about it before! x

  4. I think an anniversary 'meet up' should be on the cards if we hit a year. Would be great to meet you SM and the wonderful bloggers who keep me on track. x p.s try the 'couch to 5k' app. It's great! :-)

    1. Good idea LNM! (but slightly scary too...). Will look up that app - thanks!

  5. Ok, you inspired me again. I've tried a few times in the last 60 days - time to start we'll be all blogging about jogging. Jogger Bloggers. xx

  6. I hear you! :) I've had a lovely sober weekend, of early Saturday exercise (cycling) and much sleep :D

  7. I completely understand where you are coming from with the surrender man in an AA meeting I went to gave a great analogy about surrender that resonated with me. He said all it means is that you stop fighting...and I think that has been the hardest part of coming to terms with my drinking - fighting the label of alcoholic, over-intellectualizing that I didn't have a problem because I never did XYZ...but gradually, I have come to terms with it and realized that surrender isn't so bad.