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GFORCE'S totally NEW, Totally AWESOME thread! ;)

Old 04-10-2013, 11:42 PM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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Hi all

And hey BeMyself! Nice to see you over here

So, everyone, I went on my first ladies night mountain bike ride. I was really nervous. I asked the British woman who was organizing the groups (beginner, intermediate, advanced) what group she thought I should go with, and she rattled off a bunch of questions in rapid succession with the efficiency of a military drill Sargeant:

"How long have you been riding?" "NO, how long this year." "ON these trails?" "No, where?" Arizona, Washington, all over, I tell her. "Right. What style, Cross Country? Are you in good shape?" Pretty good, I say. "Right, go with the intermediate group, they are leaving right now." "Sir yes SIR!" I said, and with a stiff two finger salute, I clicked my heels and took off on my bike with the intermediate group. (O.k, so, I did that last part in my mind.)

In any case, I kept up pretty well with the intermediate ladies. I struggled a lot on some of the technical bits, but considering I just started riding again last summer after 5 years off, with not much technical riding over the last stretch--and, oh yeah and I'm on a new bike. Given all that, I still did pretty darn good. But Lordy, those other ladies are some Mucho Macha Mujers!

So here's where this becomes relevant to my sobriety journey: The ladies group meets at the local pub here for some post-ride grub and beer, and I decided to go. This is the first time I've been to the pub since I quit drinking, and I was pretty worried. But I went, and the leader of my group who was sitting next to me ordered a ginger ale, so I did the same. It was definitely weird being in the bar. It was packed, and it was also the last bar I drank in! But I did all right. I felt extremely awkward around all those women I didn't know. But, a few on the group were really interested in me, (as a person, I think, though you never know...!) and asked me a lot of questions, and where also really encouraging. So, that felt nice. And, I made it through my first social outing at a bar, and didn't drink. I just kept telling myself, "I am a non-drinker... no biggie."

However, I did feel nervous, and I'm definitely seeing how I've used alcohol to deal with my anxiety around people.

You know, I just don't know what happened to me. I used to live in a place where it seemed like I knew everyone. I had tonnes of friends, and I was the music editor and writer for a smallish local indy newspaper, and I also did a few freelance articles for the local paper as well. I had friends at every bar, and ala Hunter S. Thompsan, I hung out at the crappiest ones in the afternoons, where I occasionally got some good news scoops. Everyone knew me. I had friends on every street corner, and when I walked around, there was always someone calling my name from across the street, or a passing car.

And now, what. I'm some lonely lady who's terrified of talking to people I don't know. What the hell happened to me?!

I've been doing a lot of internet research on Social Anxiety and Alcohol use disorders, and I'm coming up with some interesting information. However, I'm going to save that for tomorrow, because this post is A: already way to long, and B: I'm EXHAUSTED.

So, I'm working on a theme for the morning.

Cheers sober strivers!
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Old 04-10-2013, 11:46 PM
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GFORCE, Congratulations! This thread is not only new, but it is totally awesome as well!

It's a great way to head into spring and towards a fantastic summer!

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Old 04-11-2013, 12:43 AM
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Wink

Nighty night possum - but when you read this in (your) morning:

You have no idea how much those last few paragraphs resonated with me. The ones about having been [fill in the different blanks] into all manner of different things about town - I quite liked the Hunter S reference :-) - and so forth. And now, social anxiety. Ech?

A while ago either here on SR or in my own (rather poorly tended) journals, I remarked something similar. AKA 'maybe I've always been a bit of an introvert, more or less?'. And ergo: '....maybe my years of drugs / boozing fooled me into believing, even feeling, that I wasn't...or something?'

This topic, in itself, seems to preoccupy heaps of us, I've noticed. Not all, but a lot. Hummm. Yes, I've done quite a bit of research on this stuff too. And that's OK too, i.e. to wonder about how we change as the years go by.

That's good to do, and frankly, kinda healthy, regardless of our addict or otherwise 'conditions'. There are many other factors in play too in our kinds of society which make the imperative to / how to socialise really quite a drag imho.

Just my thoughts, blossom.

See you sometime in your tomorrow (or is that my tomorrow?). Anyway, see ya soon.
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Old 04-11-2013, 10:23 AM
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And now, what. I'm some lonely lady who's terrified of talking to people I don't know. What the hell happened to me?!
You're growing. You know how Hunter Thompson ended up - right?

It's going to take time to get the hang of a new way of doing things. When you were a little baby pooping in your diapers you didn't suddenly spring up and start strolling around the house. You tried to stand up and you fell down on your padded butt. You did that over and over and over again.

I think it's great you went with the gals on the ride. You had a good time at the bar and surprise(!) didn't drink. So, our little Gforce is growing up! So cute. Ha!
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Old 04-11-2013, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by ClearLight View Post
You're growing. You know how Hunter Thompson ended up - right?

It's going to take time to get the hang of a new way of doing things. When you were a little baby pooping in your diapers you didn't suddenly spring up and start strolling around the house. You tried to stand up and you fell down on your padded butt. You did that over and over and over again.

I think it's great you went with the gals on the ride. You had a good time at the bar and surprise(!) didn't drink. So, our little Gforce is growing up! So cute. Ha!
Good morning everyone, I personally am not having a good morning, as I couldn't sleep until 11:00 pm after a demanding ride, and then I woke up at 5:00am and couldn't get back to sleep. I woke up at 5:00am yesterday as well. Have you ever been so tired you just want to cry?

Clearlight Yes I do know how Hunter S. Thompson died: With gun in his mouth, just like Papa Hemingway,who's carefully crafted prose--understated metaphor's, and carefully chosen active verbs that cut like a knife-- makes him, in my opinion, one of the Grand Hero's of the written word.

However, those guy's had a thing or two in common, and I'd say they shared certain machismo and ego about them that didn't allow for much weakness, and I'm sure in their minds, there was nothing weaker than getting old.

While I am not thrilled with the idea of aging myself, I doubt that I'd choose to go out in the same way. I'm just to much of a chicken. Or maybe I'm just a woman. Men seem more prone to the trap of needing to live up to some impossible standard of manliness. Some more than others, I'm sure.

So, on the subject of Social Anxiety and Alcohol "Use" Disorders: (AUD's for short--just what I need, another acronym in my life.) it's interesting, because there have no thorough formal studies connecting the two, which I found extremely strange considering how many alcohol users, abusers, and alcoholics freely state that they use it to either "relax" socially or deal with social anxiety. The fact that those in the position to look into these things, quite simply haven't, is a real stumper, if you ask me.

In fact, researchers dismissed the idea that people used alcohol in this way, because despite the reams of anecdotal evidence, there is no scientific evidence supporting the theory that alcohol actually decreases anxiety! Besides the fact that you could have knocked me over with a feather when I read that, it appears that whatever benefit anxiety sufferer's believe they are getting from alcohol, apparently it is only a perceived benefit, and not an actual one! In that case, there seems to be a lot of very misguided alcohol users out there, sucking down their drinks in hopes that it will stop their heart from racing and their hands from shaking like an airplane hitting a rough patch of turbulence. (Actually, my hands shake like that whenever I'm actually on a plane, whether it is hitting a rough patch of turbulence, or flying smoothly through the air.)

So, I am to darn blasted tired to name my source or pull up the link to the research article, but when I'm not, I'll pull it up and put it in another post.

Anyway, that is my report this morning. This tired puppy is going to lay down. I was going to do recycling and go then go to the gym, but at the moment, that feels about as impossible to me as it would to flap my arms and fly.

Cheers!
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Old 04-11-2013, 01:14 PM
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it appears that whatever benefit anxiety sufferer's believe they are getting from alcohol, apparently it is only a perceived benefit, and not an actual one!
Not only that, continued overuse of alcohol actually increases anxiety in most people.
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Old 04-11-2013, 10:27 PM
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Not only that, continued overuse of alcohol actually increases anxiety in most people.
You bet. That was certainly the case for me. The day after a strong drunk people could walk all over me. A combo of shame and physically dragging through the day. Or waking up and knowing you can't function at a decent level because you're so dragged out.

I'm a lot stronger in my head now that I've got some sober inside of me. And that let's me be even more "out there" than when I was drinking. My sober creative work is waaaay more crazy than work done while in the drinking lifestyle. Good crazy - not crazy crazy.

Which leads to a video I rediscovered recently! It's one of my favorite Frank Zappa songs. I'm not a big Zappa fan but this song, and the album it's on, really shine. The band for this album is stellar.

The song is called Inca Roads. It refers to the Nazca Lines - a series of ancient geoglyphs located in the Nazca Desert in southern Peru. Back when this was recorded there was rampant belief these were symbols made for, or by, aliens to use the mesas as a landing area. Zappa pokes fun at that idea in the song.

The music is really evocative. At one point 6:30' I swear it just sounds like you're in a spaceship flying around the Andes.



Did a vehicle Come from somewhere out there
Just to land in the Andes?
Was it round And did it have A motor
Or was it Something Different
Did a vehicle Did a vehicle Did a vehicle
Fly along the mountains And find a place to park itself
Or did someone Build a place To leave a space For such a vehicle to land
Did a vehicle Come from somewhere out there
Did a vehicle Come from somewhere out there
Did the indians, first on the bill Carve up the hill
Did a booger-bear Come from somewhere out there Just to land in the Andes?
Was she round And did she have a motor
Or was she something different
Guacamole Queen Guacamole Queen Guacamole Queen
At the Armadillo in Austin Texas, her aura,
Or did someone build a place Or leave a space for Chester's Thing to land
(Chester's Thing... on Ruth)
Did a booger-beer Come from somewhere out there
Did a booger-bear Come from somewhere out there
Did the Indians, first on the bill Carve up her hill
On Ruth On Ruth That's Ruth
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Old 04-12-2013, 11:48 AM
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Mornin."

While I'm not a fan of all of Frank's music, I'm a big fan of Frank Zappa the man. You've got to love his prodigious wit and wildly irreverent sense of humor.

However, I must say that alcohol did exactly what I was expecting it to at the time I was using it. It may be purely anecdotal evidence, but in social situations, it certainly seemed to calm my nerves and lube up my social skills. Now then, I'll freely admit that it often seems that I was merely kicking the anxiety can down the road, but it definitely seemed to do the job I was asking it to, while I was using it.

Now then, what baffles me, is that there has been hardly any research about people with Alcoholism or Alcohol Use Disorders who have a co-morbidity with anxiety and especially social anxiety. It's kind of forehead slapplingly obvious that people would and do use it that way-- whether they get they actual benefit or perceived one, does not, in my opinion, invalidate that they are indeed self-medicating with it. Also, in the discussion of the study, the author stated that traditional treatment of alcoholism or Alcohol Use Disorders is not always the best mode of treatment for those with social anxiety disorders, as it often requires being in large groups where you often encouraged to speak about yourself. Also, if the anxiety does get treated, the "relapse" rate of anxiety sufferer's is higher, because they are self-medicating.

I find personally, that since I've quit drinking, my "generalized" anxiety seems to have quieted down, but my Social Anxiety has gotten worse, not better.

Alcohol seemed to put a muzzle on the little evil leprechaun that sits on my shoulder and critiques not only everything I say and do, but also seems to give an unwanted play by play and detailed analysis of people's reactions. After a few beers, that little leprechaun b*st*rd shuts his big trap.

Now, I did mention kicking the can down the road, because precisely what would happen. While I may not have worried as much about what people thought at the time I was drinking, if I woke up after a night of heavy social imbibing, I woke up with extreme anxiety about the way I might have been perceived the night before. BUT--it did do it's job AT THE TIME.

So, the reason I'm avoiding socializing and social drinking situations, is not just because I've quit drinking, it's that with out drinking, I feel so uncomfortable, that I'm really only "getting through" the situation, I'm not really enjoying it. Socializing feels like torture to me. I actually get "performance" anxiety talking to people. I will be talking to someone, and often in the middle of a sentence, I will be struck with anxiety, and my mind will go completely blank. You have no idea how many times this happens to me. I'm talking to someone, my mind goes blank, and suddenly there is just a canyon of awkward silence. I'll try to recover, but it just sounds lame.

I'm also slightly neurotic. I often ruminate out loud with out even realizing it. I process my anxieties "should I/shouldn't I's) out loud, with out even being aware that I'm doing it. I think it turns people off. I just feel like a freak.

The guy's at the bike shop don't even want to give me the time of day, because I have so much anxiety about spending money, that they'll try to give me a deal something I'm looking at, and I'll tell them to hold it for me or that I'll come back for it, but I never do.

I worry out loud around people a lot, and I think it's probably annoying. But what's funny, is I am not actually THAT different of a person than the person I was 8 years ago with all those friends and all that popularity. I just don't know what happened. I still believe some of it is the "BC" culture. People are pretty reserved here, and they just have more "cool" way of interacting here in BC It's not as open as it was in the States, at least not where I'm from.

I'm not by any means calling Canadians jerks. They are not jerks, so don't anyone get offended, I'm just saying, that I think there is a subtle difference in the social culture here that often makes me feel like I'm left hanging out to dry.

My husband is always telling me, "just be yourself." Well, who is myself? I'm not sure who that is. I'm so many selves. The self I thought I was, seems like an illusion now.

You know, even on the ladies ride, though I ended up having a good time, when I went over there, I stood around on the edge of crowd of ladies, all of whom were talking to each other, but none of them even seemed to notice me standing there with my bike. I'm hard to miss in all black bike gear and my black and orange bike. I stood there and fiddled with my gear aimlessly for about 10 minutes, and then I decided to ask a woman a question about the ride. It was all I could think of to try and break the ice. But the ride started out awkwardly, because all the other 5 ladies knew each other, and there no introductions in the beginning of the ride.

I went to the pub afterwards, despite how uncomfortable I felt not knowing anyone, and though, I didn't have a bad time, I didn't want to stay long, because I wasn't really enjoying it, either.

I guess I'm in feelin' sorry for myself mode.

Well, I'm really tired, I've been going through a bout of severe insomnia. So this could be contributing to my current negative outlook. I haven't slept well in 4 days, and I have to get ready for my trip. I'm really, really tired, and my poor kid has been on the receiving end (you know, why the little ditty about "I" before "E" when there are so many bloody exceptions...) of my extremely low patience due to lack of sleep.

Anyway,

That's my report--I apologize if my report isn't very cohesive. I'm exhausted and I have a lot on my mind.

Cheers
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Old 04-12-2013, 12:04 PM
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but it definitely seemed to do the job I was asking it to, while I was using it.
Yes, this is true, but for me it eventully stopped consistently doing that too. I could be unexpectedly nasty, or weepy, or suddenly naked...toward the end it was anybody's guess. The drink doesn't turn on everyone, but it did me.

So, I feel like I'm stuck in No Man's land. I used to be this really fun person that got invited to all the parties with an unspoken pass to the V.I.P lounge. I was the girl with the backstage pass! And now, I'm just like a sad person standing on the outside of a window, watching all the people on the other side have fun.
You haven't lost your "cool" just because you quit drinking. You may have misplaced your "cool" for a minute, and when you find it again, it may look different than you remember it. You've done harder things than this before. I think you are a survivor. You will figure this all out.
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Old 04-12-2013, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by soberlicious View Post
Yes, this is true, but for me it eventully stopped consistently doing that too. I could be unexpectedly nasty, or weepy, or suddenly naked...toward the end it was anybody's guess. The drink doesn't turn on everyone, but it did me.

You haven't lost your "cool" just because you quit drinking. You may have misplaced your "cool" for a minute, and when you find it again, it may look different than you remember it. You've done harder things than this before. I think you are a survivor. You will figure this all out.
Thanks Soberlicious.

You know, when I talked in my second to last post about the kind of person I was about town, it wasn't so much about being "cool," as it was that I was totally comfortable in that town. I felt really comfortable, and I had great friends and had a lot of acceptance for me and my whatever my foibles are.

I traded that for a dream. Despite all my "coolness," and short term casual relationships in between longer term ones, I've always held a big secret. I just wanted happily ever with someone. I wanted a big fairy tale about girl meets boy, falls in love, has nice wedding, and then has kids, and lives the rest of their days a family. It was big secret, because, I guess part of me didn't really think I deserved it, and I didn't really live my life in a way that would attract that. That desire lived deep down inside of me where no could see it and make fun of me or reject me over it.

So, I got what I thought I wanted. I got a man to marry me, but it turns out, he never really wanted to be married in the first place. I left my wonderful REAL community and all my friends who loved me, warts and all, for something that might not even have been real.

I cannot tell you how many times in the first 2-3 years of living with my husband and going through what I was with him, that I cried myself to sleep with homesickness for my little town in Washington and all the people in it that I loved so dearly.

I've really been pretty alone since then, and I feel like I lost my Mojo, long before I quit drinking. I just wish, that my sense of self worth did not depend so much on feeling like I fit in and have friends.

On the other hand, my little heart just pines for people that I don't have to explain myself to. I had that once, in another lifetime.

I don't care about being "cool" anymore. I'd be happy to just have a few good friends.

I keep trying to connect with some of the other mother's in my kids class, and it's been so difficult. There is a couple that are major movers and shakers in the mountain bike community here, and their little girl goes to my boy's kindergarten. While the husband is nice and talks to me, no matter how hard I try, I cannot get any reciprocity from the wife. Their little girls love my son. They once invited him/us to to the playground (in front of their mom) after school, and she said, "Well, any one can come who wants to." Not, "Oh yeah, that would be great." Uh,wow, yeah great, I feel so personally invited. I went anyway because my son was so exited. I talked with the girls mom at the playground that day, but if I see her in the street, she'll barely give me eye contact, let alone wave at me.

I get this every so often. It's disheartening.

Sorry, I guess I'm feeling really down right now. 4 days of insomnia will do that to a person.

Cheers.
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Old 04-12-2013, 01:05 PM
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Yep. Not everyone has your story, but most known the anguish of broken dreams, trade-offs, and pain. When you can recognize that in others, and connect with them in that way it can be profound. Hope you are able to get some much needed rest.
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Old 04-12-2013, 01:22 PM
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Yeah,

It's true, I'm not special--at least, not in a general sense. No body gets out of this world alive, and no body gets through it without some external and internal scars.

Catch me in a few more days after I've had some sleep, and maybe I won't be the baton leader of my pity parade.

I really just want to be able to break on through to the other side, already.

Hm, two unintentional Jim Morrison quotes in one post. Hey Clearlight, I lobbed ya a couple'a easy ones.

Cheers!
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Old 04-12-2013, 03:19 PM
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I really just want to be able to break on through to the other side, already.
I probably won't be breaking on through but chipping away bit by bit. Inch by inch.

Break on Through is a little too easy. How about some insight into the creative process of putting the song together form those involved in the process?

And a kicker to lighten the mood.



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Old 04-12-2013, 04:04 PM
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Oooops - I meant to say YOU probably won't be breaking on through but, rather, chipping away.

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Old 04-12-2013, 04:33 PM
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Hi there everybody,

Well, despite the fact that I am exhausted, I FORCED myself on my bike for almost two hours of fire road hill-repeats. I know, sounds crazy given how tired I am, but I feel a lot better now. I feel like I've adjusted the prescription on my perspective.

My very energetic but reserved grandmother used to tell me that I made "mountains out of molehills." Boy, do I ever focus on things that probably shouldn't matter so damn much. I sure do feel better though, now that I've made molehill mincemeat out of a few mountains on my bike.

You know, I saw the woman I was talking about in my previous post today picking her girls up from school. I went straight to my son's school from my ride, so I was trudging up the hill on my bike and saw her walking up the hill from the other direction. I tried to make eye contact, but she was still pretty far away. Then, I was at school waiting outside of the classroom waiting for school to get out, and she walked up, but stopped about 20 feet away from me, and stood there. I tried to make eye contact, but she was clearly not interested. I she walked by me at one point but looked straight ahead.

Okay... I think I get it. I think she's pretty insecure about me for some reason. The other day, me and my son were invited by her girls to go for a quick trail ride with them and their dad, which we did. However, I really don't think she has anything to worry about, as her husband is no nicer to me than to anyone else, and, I am married--and even if I weren't, it goes against my own personal code of ethics to get involved with people who are involved with other people, especially married people.

Crap, if I'm right, I wish she'd get over it, because I'm a nice person. I know it's her problem, but she and her husband are the owners of a mountain bike centered hostel here as well as being the heads of the local mountain bike club, so it would kind of suck if she hates me for some stupid reason.

You know, that brings me to my next subject: Old people. I really like older people. I like people 50 and older who are just beyond all this social weirdness crap. Even as a kid I often got along better with adults than I did with kids my own age. In fact, I haven't really made friends with any of the other parents (except one) at my kids kindergarten, but I'm making friend left right and center with all the grandparents that show up to pick up the kids. I'm making friends with the grandparents, while their kids can't give me the time of day. What's up with THAT.

Anyway, I'm dead dog tired after that ride and 4 days of insomnia, but I do feel better.

BTW Clearlight, pretty clever of you to take an easy lob and return the serve with a back hand and a topspin into the opposite corner! (I used to play a mean tennis game as well.)

Cheers
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Old 04-12-2013, 04:53 PM
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Woops, that's "my son and I."
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Old 04-25-2013, 08:40 PM
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hiya gforce.....


did you start another new thread or did you disappear entirely or...

come on! say hi, no matter what!
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Old 04-25-2013, 08:56 PM
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I second fini's motion ...just before I go for my siesta.

I love your posts Gforce.
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Old 05-07-2013, 09:05 AM
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Gforce - Just thinking of you and checking in here. How are you doing?

Peace,
Hanna
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