All Grown Up

I have found that I am a much more responsible person when I am not drinking. I have been taking care of IMPORTANT ADULT THINGS that I had been putting off for… let’s not even go there. These things would cross my mind every once in awhile but somehow I would never find the time, energy, or brainspace to deal with them. In the past few weeks I have:

– made an appointment to have a will made.

– made an appointment to get life insurance.

– called a few people that I have been neglecting to call (a couple of old friends, my mother-in-law).

– checked my credit report.

– opened a joint bank account with my husband.

– began the process of getting health insurance for myself through our new government programs (neat!).

It is amazing how things can slip through the cracks when your time is being devoted to drinking/being hungover/thinking about drinking/feel guilty about drinking/etc. Life seems much more hazy and unreal than it does when you are sober. I have a lot more time now, so why not take care of some things? I feel better knowing that they are done, which helps to strengthen my sobriety.

This does not mean that I am doing everything 100% responsibly, however. I have noticed that I can be kind of irresponsible with money when I am feeling depressed, which is something I need to be careful about. I am also secretive about money, just like I was about drinking. How bizarre! Yet, I don’t think it’s terribly uncommon. Alcoholics seem to transfer their problems from one thing to another.  Getting into debt or losing my husband’s trust regarding money would be hurtful to my sobriety, so I am going to do some things to combat this side of myself. One, I am going to try to be totally open and honest with him about money, even when I think I spent too much or did something wrong. Two, I am going to continue working on releasing stress in other ways. It makes me feel much better to have a plan in place.

Happy Thursday!

Loving Kindness


Today my goal is to start a practice of loving kindness. I think many alcoholics/addicts can be hard on themselves; I know that I beat myself up sometimes for not doing enough/doing too much/being altogether unworthy/etc. Loving kindness means that you are giving yourself the gift of unconditional positive regard. You are viewing yourself from a detached point of view, and treating yourself like the perfect grandmother-figure would treat you in a perfect world (that’s my perspective of it, at least). You can also extend these feelings and thoughts to others, or the whole world, the entire universe, on and on.

Here is a loving kindness meditation if you are interested in doing it, too! There are many versions of this meditation, but I like this one for right now. Simply sit in a comfortable position and focus on your breath for a few moments. Repeat the following phrases as many times as you want. I will have to read them out loud until I can memorize them. No pressure, though. The goal is to create more happiness and peace in your life, not to create stress.

May I be happy, well, and at peace.
May I be open to things just as they are.
May I experience the world opening to me just as I am.
May I welcome whatever arises.


Some Thoughts From Day 54

I feel happy today. Fulfilled. Rested. Organized. It’s really nice. I will take these pink clouds any day of the week, that is for sure. I am 54 days sober today and things are feeling a bit easier. Just a smidge. I humbly take it.

On another note, isn’t is weird how negativity can breed more negativity? Does that happen to you, too? The past few days I was taking care of my sick kiddo, which I wrote about in my last post here. At the same time I had trouble sleeping, even though I was exhausted, because I was thinking about how screwed up my family-of-origin is. WTF? Why were those thoughts coming to me while I had other, more important things to deal with?

I’m not exactly sure why that happens. Any theories? My theory is that negative thoughts get in the cracks of your psyche when you are tired, or stressed, or scared about something else. AA’s idea of HALT comes to mind. (Don’t let yourself get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired). But sometimes it is really hard to avoid feeling tired or stressed or scared because…that’s life. So you just have to put on your big girl pants and deal with feeling shitty feelings and thinking about difficult stuff. At least that’s what I had to do. And you know what? It turned out okay, at least for now.

So, back to the realizations I had about my family-of-origin while staring at the ceiling instead of snoozing. My family was a mess while I was growing up, and they still are in many ways. I always knew this on some level, but I never really wanted to admit it. Alcoholism is rampant amongst us. We lied, enabled, covered up, and worked together to further addictive behaviors for a long time. Some of us still do these things. I learned how to do them as a child.

It’s strange because it seems so obvious and crystal clear to me now, but I genuinely didn’t want to see the truth. I wanted to protect my family from having BIG, BIG problems. “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” I joined them from the moment alcohol first passed my lips. I can’t pretend things are okay anymore, either, and I’m not sure exactly what to do about that yet. For now I will continue to process this new, yet old, knowledge by talking, writing, praying, meditating, and forgiving (or at least trying to).

“It isn’t the things that happen to us in our lives that cause us to suffer, it’s how we relate to the things that happen to us that cause us to suffer.” -Pema Chödrön

Health, Love, and Gifts

My son has been sick for the past few days with his first illness since he was born. He is currently snoozing peacefully on my lap as I write this. I look at his sleepy face and feel so much love and gratitude that he exists. He has changed my world, and my perspective, like nothing else in my life.

I have not had the desire to drink over the past few days because I have been busy caring for him. I imagine it is scary to be a baby sometimes, especially when you are in pain or aren’t feeling well, because you can’t understand what is happening. He has wanted to be close to Mama and Daddy constantly, which is totally understandable. Daddy has been a great help over the weekend, but nursing and sleeping are Mama’s territory, out of habit, comfort, and biological necessity. When we finally get him to sleep at night my husband and I breathe a sigh of relief. We are all pretty tired. 

I’ve thought about how things would be different if I were still drinking. I feel ashamed to think that after he went to bed last night I most likely would have had a few drinks to wind down and relax from the stress of caring for him. He woke up a bunch of times during the night, and I would have been slightly buzzed while attending to his needs. That thought breaks my heart.

Today I am grateful to be fully present for my sweet boy while he recovers from his first-ever virus. I am acting like the kind of Mama that I want to be, and I do not feel any shame or guilt. Thoughts about ‘what might have been’ are so much easier to deal with than real actions. Sobriety is a gift that I have given to myself and to those that I love.

Wishing you all a happy and healthy Sunday.

Is it True? Is it Necessary? Is it Kind?


I had a big falling out with a friend a few months ago. She approached me for a serious discussion about my drinking, and it made me really upset. Sounds like a classic case of an alcoholic in denial, right? Well… yes and no. She told me some things that were true, but she did it in a insensitive and hurtful way.

I quit drinking a month later, and I am still trying to figure out what it all means. I had been thinking about quitting drinking permanently for awhile at that point, so she doesn’t deserve the credit for all of my hard work. Her words did trigger something, though. I mean, I pretty much obsessed over our conversation non-stop for the next week, at least. Letting our friendship go has saved me from drama and stress that she brought into my life. In fact, I think it has been easier to stay sober without having her around. But she helped me see things more clearly about my drinking… things that I was trying so hard not to see.

I am so, so grateful that circumstances in my life have changed since then. I have examined my priorities and am working on being my best self, sober. I feel much more confident than I did a few short months ago when it seemed that if you looked at me too hard you would see all of the holes I was trying to hide. Holes in my confidence, holes in my story… you get the picture. This situation is a good reminder to me to be mindful in my communications with others, because you never know what they are going through. You have to be careful how you approach people when it comes to delicate situations, like confronting alcoholism or whatever the issue is, or it could just make things worse. There are ways to approach people that are helpful, and ways that are not so helpful. And always remember to be kind. It is so, so important.

** I edited this post on 10/11/13. For some reason it made me really uncomfortable in its original form. I think I shared too much, too fast. I will return to this subject at a later date.

Weekdays Are My Jam

It’s weird, but I feel much more content and happy on weekdays than I used to. The lack of hangovers is pretty spectacular when it comes to getting up in the morning. I also feel less pressure to drink than I do on weekends, both from myself and from the number of social situations where alcohol is present. I used to party hard on the weekends, but not always on weekdays. Don’t get me wrong, I often drank on weeknights, but I usually had some sort of responsibility the next day that I had to attend to, so there were more consequences when I overindulged (which still happened kind of a lot). It’s a different vibe, one that I am totally digging these days.

I am feeling more positive than I have in awhile, and I think it has helped me to read a bunch of sobriety stuff and write here regularly. I don’t want to put any pressure on myself to write on this blog because it is fun thing to do, and pressure for me often equals a quest for perfection, which usually equals failure, which then equals guilt, shame, guilt, shame, and ends in me wanting to drink my problems far, far away (even though I created them myself). You can probably see why I am avoiding that land mine for the time being. However, when I do take the time to write my thoughts down I feel lighter, happier, more balanced.

I guess living sober is like most things in life…two steps forward and one step back. I make some progress, realize some things, think rationally about how I have chosen to stop drinking, and then totally freak out because I can’t drink anymore and it ISN’T FAIR! It’s sort of like recognizing that I have really bad PMS that will surface every month. If I am aware of it I can prepare for it to a certain extent, and it helps to know that it will end after a certain amount of emotional pain and general angst. Does that make any sense?

feel slightly more prepared to deal with those dark places the next time around. I also feel humbled, once again, by how powerful this addiction is. Thank you to everyone who comes here and reads my thoughts, as well as bloggers who share their lives with the rest of us. You really help and I appreciate you.

Stages of Grief

I first learned about the stages of grief when I was in graduate school studying counseling psychology. The next time I heard about this model was when I was quitting smoking and perusing resources on the Internet, mainly at the website The five stages of grief, according to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

When someone dies, or you lose something important to you, such as an addictive substance that kept you company for a long time, you go through these stages of grief. They don’t always happen in order, and it is totally normal to cycle back through them a number of times until you have fully processed your feelings about the person/object/substance that you are grieving the loss of.

So why am I boring you to tears talking about models of grief? Well, because it really feels like this model applies to me lately. I have been cycling around the anger, bargaining, and depression stages a lot, wishing that I could just be normal in regards to drinking. Since I know for a fact that I can’t be normal, I want to be sitting pretty at the acceptance stage, happily going about my life without thinking about drinking at all anymore. I am SO not there yet, and am realizing more and more that I do not have the power to get there before I am truly ready.

Acceptance sounds so wonderful, peaceful, zen. It is where the cool kids of sobriety hang out… the ones that I aspire to be like someday. In reality, I am in the middle school stage of sobriety… awkward, dorky, and uncomfortable, with a side of anger. I am angry because I want to be a normal drinker and fit in. I am angry at my parents for being shitty drinking role models and for passing along alcoholic genes. I am angry when people drink in front of me and angry when they don’t, because it makes me feel weird. I am angry that I can’t handle my booze, or going out at night sober, or doing social things outside of my house. Sigh. My anger does not feel rational or logical.

I dislike being angry because it is exhausting and I don’t know how or where to express it, so I try to bargain it away by making deals with myself. That doesn’t work because I am no longer in denial about my drinking, so I end up depressed. It is a big clusterf**k of thoughts that are not very much fun. In the past I would just drink these thoughts away, create drama to avoid them, or be too tired/hungover/guilty/anxious to care. I am happy not to be drinking, but I don’t know what to do now. I am throwing myself a pity party and you are all invited.

I have decided to try to embrace these earlier stages and just go with the flow as much as I can. If I keep living sober, and working on true change in my life, I will reach the acceptance stage one day. I have faith that this will happen. Maybe the journey to acceptance will be more enjoyable if I stop fighting it so much and try to be, just BE, exactly where I am each and every day. Even if that means feeling angry or depressed or generally uncomfortable. Feeling my so-called bad feelings is so much better than drowning them in a substance that would likely kill me one day. I am alive, awake, and aware, which are good things to be.