Monday, August 27, 2012

Rehab2: Dry Drunk

AA concepts include the dry drunk - someone who has stopped drinking but hasn’t dealt with any of the underlying issues that precipitate additive drinking. They still exhibit the same unproductive attitudes and behaviors of a drinking alcoholic. They aren’t a recovering alcoholic. They are just an ex-drinker.

I feel like a dry worker. An ex-worker. I’m no longer working, but many of the underlying patterns associated with my last years of work are still there. I experienced a tinge of that a week in, and then a couple weeks ago when I was forestalling doing anything work-like during the “doing nothing/rest” phase. (see the Unexpected Emotion; Pacing, Pavlov and Work/Not-Work; and Rehab posts)

But things changed last week. I switched back into work mode to do some tasks that had accumulated and that had to be addressed - some because of deadlines (review and critique a 60 page report, taxes, and insurance stuff) - others because they meant money received or saved (compare options and switch internet/phone/cable provider, navigate the federal information labyrinth regarding retirement benefits payment), and a quasi-medical procedure that limits my exercise a bit, and other miscellanea. Finally got the bulk of it done today.

It felt like a week of work. And I felt the same frustration, anxiety, stress. Add in lots of little changes, ambiguity, and uncertainty and the result is a two-day headache and that queasy feeling, just now receding.

I see that I need another stint of in-house treatment…a loooooong stint, without a backlog hanging over my head to be accomplished, so I can really detox. Truly get it out of my system. Move from being an ex-worker to a recovering worker. Maybe before too long I’ll be a recovered worker.  I wonder what  - and how long - that will take.

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