Friday, October 29, 2010

The Dark Night of the Soul

I've been there the last few days. It was awful. It was worse than anything I have been through in many many years, maybe 20. Some of you don't want to hear about it, if that is the case, please go on ahead and come back tomorrow. Some of you, like me, draw hope from hearing about survival - about walking through hard times without picking up a drink or doing anything crazier than buying a new sweater and a new quilt for my bed.

Last night I called a friend. He is someone who lost his job last spring - over a year ago. He has been unable to find another job. Luckily for him, he has plenty of money, unlike other people (like me) so he really doesn't need a job, except he needs to work. He was really suffering, oh maybe a year and a half ago, so I told him I would call him every single day to check on him. That is something we AAs used to do. I know we don't do it anymore, but we used to. Anyway, I got in the habit of calling him every day. Most of the time we just chit chat. That is what I thought we would do last night. I just was going to call him and then crawl into bed hoping for the day to be over.

But he heard my voice and said "what's the matter honey?" I started to tell him, and I started to cry, and I kept crying, and I kept talking, and I kept talking, and I kept crying, and talking, and crying.... he just listened. He said he understood. He didn't tell me to go to a meeting or write a gratitude list. He didn't tell me I was being self-centered - maybe because I told him I knew I was, but knowing it wasn't helping me change it. He didn't tell me why I shouldn't feel the way I felt, he just listened.

When I woke up this morning, I still felt awful, but I was awfully grateful to him for listening to me. As the day went on, the cloud seemed to lift a bit. I actually feel OK right now. I talked to my friend tonight and thanked him for being such a good friend. Of course, he just said "that's what friends are for." And I know he doesn't think it is anything. But it is everything to me.

When I got home from work tonight my neighbor called and told me she had a confession to make. I know her well enough to know that means that she has done some work in my yard without my permission (as if she would need it!!!) She chopped down two dead trees in my back yard! I hadn't even noticed!

Last night I felt like the most alone person on earth. Tonight I know that is not the truth. I have some wonderful people in my life.

I wish my brain didn't gang up on me from time to time. There are some things going on that I don't feel free to write about due to some unfriendly people who are now reading my blog with a critical eye. I just can't write about something that is breaking my heart. I really wish I could.

Here is a cautionary word to newer bloggers: Don't tell any of your real life friends about your blog. They may eventually find it if you blog for years like I have, but it is a wonderful outlet to be able to write about people in an anonymous way when no one knows who you are. Once people know who you are, you can't write anything.


Thanks be to God, I did not take a drink of alcohol through this dark night of the soul. I am more grateful than words can say for this fact.


Hope said...

As always, thank you for being so honest. I am glad that your friend is loving, compassionate and wise. There is something about being loved in the fullness of my humanity that is healing.

There is someone in my life who I am calling daily right now. I told them that they might as well get used to me calling them every day for the rest of their life. Neither of us mind that one bit.

I have seriously regretted telling some people in my real life about my blog.

Annette said...

Oh MC, I am so sorry you were feeling so down. But, I am SO grateful for the precious listening ear of your friend on the other end of the phone. Not giving advice and just listening is a learned skill.

Excellent advice about not telling friends about our blogs. I agree!

Mary LA said...

My heart goes out to you Mary Christine. I am glad you are willing to share the tough times with us.

A couple of years ago I had an email from somebody living in an isolated place in Namibia who believed she could stay sober doing what I do rather than moving to a city with AA meetings accessible as her family thought she should do. Her answer was 'If Mary can stay sober all by herself, so can I'. And she couldn't stay sober, has never managed to sober up.

I felt I should close my blog rather than mislead suffering alcoholics because I might be sending out the wrong messages. But people read what they want to read and if we allow others to silence us or determine what we write, the blogging is of no use to anyone.

Findon said...

Good advice Mary.

Take care of yourself

dAAve said...

I'm sorry you're going through this. But i know that your expoerience tells you that it will pass.
And you could have called me, ya know.

Roxie said...

I am sorry you are suffering so. I hope each passing day brings you some peace. I am thankful you have such a good friend to turn to who will listen and "hear" you.

Great advice about the blog. I've been blogging for nearly ten years and I haven't told.

Anonymous said...

Mary, thank you for sharing all of this. I am sorry you are down today, thanks most most of all for sharing how you friend responded to you. Sometimes I forget to "just listen." It really is the most loving thing we can do sometimes. If I could not sit down and vent my brains out once in a while without editing, I think I might just hang it up forever. I love this outlet, weather anyone reads or comments or not. My blog is all mine. Sorry it is no longer like that for you.

Now, about that gratitude list! Ha,ha just kidding!

Linda Myers said...

We are lucky people to have friends who will listen. I never had that until I walked into my first meeting.

~~BRB Queen~~ said...

Thanks for your honesty. It is very much appreciated.

Let Go, Let God said...

I have experienced some dark days myself. Friends, like your friend, who listens are a gift. I did not feel the need to turn away from your blog. It was a comfort to know I am not so strange when I have these feelings too. Thank you. And thank you for the advice to new bloggers. I agree, though perhaps a bit too late.

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

I'm glad you have good friends who are good listeners! Those are indispensible!


God be with you and keep you moving on this path.

(oh and ... thanks for sharing your blog experiences)

Syd said...

I am glad that the dark night passed and that your friend was there. I will tell you that someone at work did find out about my blog and left two anonymous notes under my door. They were not nice. I didn't write about it on my blog because I refused to give fuel to their crazy fire. But it was disturbing to me. And it happened after I retired but while I still had an office there. After the second note, I told the director that I no longer wanted to keep an office there. It felt hostile to me. Not a good feeling. Hang in there MC and thanks for reading this long comment.

Anonymous said...

Wow, your words of not sharing this with real life friends hit home for me. I have made that mistake of sharing with a person whom I essentially work with who is also sober. Im now regretting it. I try to still be as open as I can, but its a challenge. I trust this individual, but there are times I want to shout from the rooftops but am afraid to do so.

I just found your blog this evening and am looking forward to reading more about your journey.

Ms Jones said...

Shall I say that in reading your blog I am reminded that no matter how long since my last drink we can still go to those dark places. What you continue to do (and beautifully,might I add) is that you do keep walking, no matter what. That is incredibly important, especially to this drunk. I started a blog not to long ago, While I still keep it about me and my recovery, I can not imagine my work finding it and reading it. They don't even know that I am in recovery. I wish to keep it that way.
Thanks MC. You are awesome!