Making progress in therapy can sometimes lead you to a type of dual citizenship. I have found that I can move – or be forcefully moved – between two modes of thinking, two parallel universes. I’ve personally dubbed them Sober Healthy World and Drunk (and/or) Crazy World. (I’m not creative with names, I guess.)
Drunk Crazy World (DCW) is a kind of tornado, an empty core surrounded by impulse and sorrow and a grasping, scary need. It doesn’t have to involve drinking, although it can and definitely has in the past. It’s the land of Fuck It, where real life in all its aspects is too much to think about, where fantasy and numbness are what matter.
Sober Healthy World (SHW) could also be called Healthy Adult Mode. It feels like being competent and sometimes, even, confident. It’s the world of making plans and respecting obligations and eating at least twice a day.
It seems like an easy choice. SHW could lead to physical health, a career, a relationship; DCW leads to scars and hangovers. But there are a couple of catches here: for one, it’s not always a choice. I do what I can, and I’m getting better, but DCW is always lurking in my brain and probably always will be. It can sneak up when I’m lonely or discouraged, when my defenses are down.
The other thing about DCW is that, for all its pain, it’s home. It’s where I lived almost full time for years. It’s comfortable, and more than that, it feels true. SHW, because of its newness, can feel so fake, almost plastic. When I’m in DCW, I am me; in SHW, I’m acting like the person I want to be.
This morning my therapist assured me that this fake feeling is common for people in early recovery, that it fades over time. I guess I have no choice but to wait and see.