the squirrely show

“Squirrely.” That’s the word I’ve heard alcoholics use when they describe how they feel before a sober birthday. It’s a pretty accurate description too. The frantic hopping around from tree to tree, the dodging of speeding cars and the general, jumpy squirreliness of the little critters mirrors the moments before a sobriety milestone. Maybe not for every sober person but with my bellybutton birthday happening this Friday and my 4-year sobriety birthday on January 2nd, squirrely is something I can relate to. In fact, I can safely say I currently fall somewhere in between Squirrely Temple and Squirrely MacLaine.

squirrel gone wild

The combination of future tripping, anticipation, anxiety, perfectionism and the holidays thrown in there for good measure has created a perfect storm of cray-cray. I’m also busier than I’ve been all year and taking on new projects almost weekly. Yesterday, I was so squirrely and, not to over use the metaphor, nuts that I was on the verge of cancelling my birthday party and erupting like some emotional volcano.  I used to judge a friend of mine who was eternally stressed out and the only way she could handle life was by snorting Vicodin. I know. Me the former hardcore coke whore judging.  Needless to say, it’s in tense moments like this I completely understand. Luckily for my nostrils’ sake, however, I calmed the fuck down this morning.

Being squirrely for squirrels makes sense. All the leaping and running and squirreling around is what they do. It’s how they survive. For a nearly 40-year-old gay man who doesn’t even like running or wearing fur, squirreliness makes zero sense. (Sidebar: my nature observation writing is pretty incredible. “Being squirrely for squirrels makes sense” You’re welcome Discovery channel.) Futilely spinning my wheels and getting freaked out about stuff is a waste of emotional dollars. After some prayer and meditation this morning, I realized a couple of things: a.) I’m lucky to have the problems I have today. Just making it to 40 is a freaking miracle for this premiere passenger on Self-Destruction Airways so even if it’s just cake with some friends, I deserve to celebrate. and b.) it happens all the time. By “it”, I mean, all of it. People turn 40 all the time. People celebrate sobriety milestones all the time. People do the work and have generally amazing lives all the time. Thankfully, I’m one of those people.


And people get squirrely all the time. Big deal. My moments of hot messiness make me human and I no longer have to drown these moments out with drugs or alcohol. I now deal with them by writing about them and dragging my fluffy-tailed ass to a meeting.

7 thoughts on “the squirrely show

  1. Love this, Sean. Cute squirrels! I celebrated 5 years on Saturday, but I don’t get squirrely around this date so much as my April 4 date–that’s the day I walked into treatment and my life changed. So all my anniversary feelings come in Spring. So I celebrate to myself. The other date feels a little extraneous, like celebrating a relapse. Ack. So… be squirrely, but don’t eat too many nuts. Or hang out with too many. Love ya, H

    • Thanks, Heather! And congrats on 5 years!! That is AMAZING. As far as squirrely behavior near my birthday, it mainly has to do with the whole remembering my horrific bottoming out at this time of year. But remembering life IS good and having incredible blogger friends like yourself certainly helps! Love ya back, S.

  2. Last Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) was my six-year anniversary being sober. Like squirrels the key to staying sober is getting hold of your nuts.

    The other key is to understand why I reacted the way I did once my buttons got pushed. Self-knowledge is the ultimate power.

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