Skip to main content

hole in the soul


You can often hear people in AA talk about the hole in their soul.  They theorize that they’ve always had the hole and that their drinking was an attempt to fill it (as Lady Gaga sings “Aren’t you tired of trying to fill that void?”).  This explanation rings true to me.   At times I can actually feel my hole; it’s like an ache and a longing and an emptiness.  But in AA we look to healthier ways of filling it than drinking.  We have the fellowship of other like-minded people, we can pray and meditate, and we have our higher power.  Also we can be of service.  I think all of that helps but my void never goes away.  It’s only temporarily filled so I constantly have to work at it.  It’s a spiritual quest.  Is this just part of being human – do non-alcoholics/addicts have the void too?
The other night I had an ah-ha moment that the hole in my soul is grief and loss.  Is that true of other people’s holes or is everyone’s hole different?  I feel that at my core is an infinite space of incurable sadness and if I wasn’t on Prozac I’d be crying non-stop.   Even though I am medicated I still can’t bear to watch PETA or other animal rescue videos on FaceBook.  They tear me apart, including the ones with happy endings.  I am so scared to tap into this grief and loss, it is what I am most afraid of in the world.  My limbic brain thinks the feelings will kill me – literally.  So I live in a constant state of suppressed emotions and the fight or flight response.  Boy do I need to meditate!
I don’t want to get too philosophical here but I wonder was I born with this grief or was it a result of something that happened in my early childhood.  My 12-step program of Adult Children Of Alcoholics would probably say it’s about growing up with abandonment issues.  But I’m tired of blaming my parents for stuff and besides this feels like such an integral part of me, like I came into the world this way.  The metaphysical train of thought goes that our souls have a plan before birth of the lessons we want to learn or work out while here on earth.  Maybe it’s even karma-related, but supposedly we choose ahead of time the ways in which we need to grow.  Maybe my soul chose to be an alcoholic and have the journey with all that entails, both good and bad?
Considering my black hole of grief and loss, what is my dharma?  Is it my job to grieve for the world?  Because if I let myself think about it, I will.  The people in Syria, whales swallowing tons of plastic refuse and the wrecked condition of our mother earth.  Domestic abuse, school shootings, temple bombings, dog fighting, and our government that lacks a shred of humanity;  these things would consume me if I were to dwell on them for more than a minute.  It’s unbearable!  I try to block it all out and even though I don’t drink anymore I still sometimes stuff my feelings with food.
I also fear people dying.  I’m not scared of death for myself but I dread the thought of having to go on after losing a loved one, including all the dogs that I take care of.  I’m sure I’m not unique this way, I’m not trying to be special, but why do I have the immense grief as if it has already happened?  Or as if it is ongoing?
This is starting to be a bit of a downer so let’s get back to the possibility that the hole in my soul is there for spiritual reasons.  Like, it’s supposed to be there.  If I am on the right track it keeps me searching for God, so ultimately it connects me to God.  I’m sure there are plenty of writings about this, and various religions would have their say, but I come at it from a recovering alcoholic standpoint which is simple:  you are not alone.  We share about our voids and the recognition we see in each other closes the gap a little.   We alcoholics are searchers; we search in the bottom of the bottle if we are not aware, but if we are in recovery we search by working the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.  Over- eating, drinking, drugging, shopping, gambling, sexing can feel like a natural response to the hole in the soul but it only ever makes things worse.  We need to accept the void and feed it with self-love and spiritual matter.  Oftentimes that is easier said than done but we can always come back to it because, for some of us, it’ll always be there.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

homage to an ex

I am a sucker for a good romantic story and I have started many a questionable relationship just because the storyline was hot.  The most solid example of this is the case of my first husband, the only difference is that he wasn't questionable.  He was pretty great.

In 1989 I was a wild child, free-spirited, rockabilly art student, living in San Francisco with a couple of more conservative "normal"  young women.  One of the women had a friend from college who was an officer in the Marine Corps and we were all invited down to Twenty Nine Palms to visit him and his friend on base.  I thought it would be kitsch to go; it appealed to my sense of the ironic.  Little did I know I would fall in love.  With the desert.  A searing 104 degrees melted all my tensions and aggressions and the two Marines turned out to be super cool.  We shared a similar love of Elvis,  classic old movies starring Humphrey Bogart, and cheap whiskey.  They both had romantic sensibilities which may be …

a dark place

I’ve been watching a lot of dark movies and tv shows lately only they don't feel dark to me. They feel matter-of-fact, like "Yeah, that's how life is".  Does that mean I am depressed?  My friend K and her husband are hooked on serial killer true crime tv shows and K is normal.  Does that mean I am normal?  Usually I avoid anything remotely dark but nowadays it seems to suit me.  And at this time of year there is usually a season of Dancing With The Stars to perk me up (see post What Gets Me Through) but they are forgoing the early spring season in order to revamp the show, so I am left high and dry and watching Inside Look:  The Assassination of Gianni Versace, American Crime Story.

Ever since I was a little girl I've been afraid of the dark - literally.  I was always scared there was something evil and dangerous lurking and even to this day I am wary.  When I was a teenager my parents always warned me about going out after dark as if being out and about at nigh…

on sex & romance

I grew up watching classic movies from the 40s and 50s.  Every Saturday I'd be glued to the tv instead of playing outdoors like my mom urged me to do.  And as I watched Holiday Inn last night I was thinking that those classic movie star men influenced how I think men ought to be.  There was Cary Grant, Bing Crosby, William Powell, Gene Kelly, and even a young Frank Sinatra.  They were witty and wry, devilish and dashing, stoic and strong, and gentlemanly and kind.  In other words, the impossible dream.  Somewhere in the back of my mind I hold this ideal, the fake fantasy of a fake man, from a bygone era.  And it's not helping my current state of being bored with sex and romance.

I have no sex drive, no ooomph, not spark of interest which could be a result of menopause or even underlying depression.  I have a few friends my age who seem to be in the same boat.  But mostly I think it's boredom.  I went to my gynecologist the other day to see if there was a pill she could gi…