A Little of This and That

I have been busy planning a friend’s bridal shower and bachelorette party for next month. It is my latest obsession. It seems like I get through my days better if I have something to focus on… something to distract me from being present all the time. Last week I was researching cars like crazy, making lists, deciding which would be best for my family. This week it is party planning. Don’t get me wrong- I like doing these things most of the time. I might obsess a bit much, though. I also sometimes obsess and then drop the project completely when I get bored. Hmm.

The cool thing is that I am 100% not worried about being sober at this party. I am actually looking forward to it. I will be present, clear-headed, helpful, and able to DRIVE. So… it will be good. Plus- it’s not about me so I can sit back, relax, and help my friend have a great day.

I feel guilty when I am not 110% present in my life, which is ridiculous, I think. Nobody is totally present all the time. Distractions are good, especially in early sobriety….which I am STILL IN. I have to remind myself of that sometimes. Slow down, speedy, there is plenty of time to rule the world. But still… the nagging thought that I NEED something outside of myself to be fulfilled upsets me. It’s always on to the next purpose, goal, item to buy. Keep moving, moving, moving, buying, buying, buying. Sometimes it just all seems so compulsive and depressing. I didn’t want to get sober just to start ‘keeping up with the joneses’, you know?

Or maybe that was an excuse that I used to tell myself when I wanted too much out of life. I didn’t want to be greedy and materialistic like everybody else. Somewhere along the line being responsible became too normal for me. I was too cool for that shit. DOWN WITH THE MAN.

So now that I am sober and cleaning up my messes I realize that I was wrong about people. They aren’t boring because they are responsible… I said that to feel better about my life. I see it more clearly now because I am not boring even though I am behaving in a responsible way. Even if I am boring… who cares. I don’t have to please everyone, anyway.

This post is pretty rambling…. thanks for reading. 🙂

I spoke with a family member last night and they told me all about this person at their job who had it in for them, and it reminded me of the old me. I used to always worry that other people had it in for me. I also thought people were assholes a lot of the time. I am realizing that I was wrong.

a) People can be assholes but they aren’t all the time. b) Drinking too much on a regular basis makes you see things in a fucked up way. c) Distractions are okay but I want/need to remember the important things in life. d) It is okay for my priorities to change now. It is okay to let go of the old me. I am not letting go of the good parts. e) It is okay to slow down and take this one step at a time.

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Pesky Old Feelings

Yesterday I felt bad. Tired, lethargic, irritated, kind of angry. This followed two or three days of energy-havin’, flowy days where things just seemed to click. The bad feelings almost seemed worse because of the good days I had just experienced.

I tried to get myself out of this funk all day long. I went outside and did yard work to get my blood pumping, played with my son, lounged and watched TV, took a bath… all of which sometimes help to make me feel better, but not yesterday. Nothing helped.

Also- I couldn’t figure out WHY I was feeling bad. I didn’t know what was wrong. The only thing I could think was that maybe I needed some alone time… but I wasn’t sure if that was it. I really had no idea what was going on with me.

Today I read the post Whatever You Do, Don’t Feel’ on the Sober Mommies blog. It made a lot of sense. I don’t always feel my feelings… sometimes I can’t tell you what I am feeling at all, and yesterday was one of those days. I spent so long avoiding my feelings it is only normal to have some confusion about them now.

I am trying to figure out how to get to the root of my feelings at times when I am unsure of what is going on inside. Writing helps. Talking helps. Acknowledging the fact that I feel bad and don’t know why helps. It is okay to just sit with the bad feelings, too. I don’t necessarily have to figure everything out all the damn time. There doesn’t always have to be a REASON. (All caps because that is how it sounds in my head.) Ha.

Anyone else have this experience? What do you do about it?

Regrets

What will I regret at the end of my life? Living sober?

I don’t think living a sober life is something that I will EVER regret. Does it feel sort of lonely and flat sometimes? Yes. Do I have cravings for booze sometimes? Yes. Do I feel like I am missing out on fun sometimes? Yes.

Do I regret getting and staying sober for the past six months? Hell to the no.

I have been realizing more and more that experiencing life without tamping down my emotions is really fuckin’ worthwhile. I am feeling more creative than I have in years. I want to add to the world. I didn’t add much when I was drinking, even though I wanted and planned to, because I was stuck in a foggy rut of alcohol abuse. I did okay some of the time, but I was never even close to reaching my potential. Yikes.

I think people who abuse alcohol on the regular do not experience life in the same way. I was caught up in a cycle of ups and downs, highs and lows, hangovers, depression, anxiety, anticipation, being buzzed, wanting more, more, more and experiencing full-on drunkenness and blackouts. The next day the depression, anxiety, guilt and shame would kick in and the craving for booze would begin all over again. I would feel happy when I was drinking because it gave me a brief respite from feeling bad about myself and thinking about my life. I also spent a lot of time planning and thinking about drinking… when, where, with whom, how, on and on. All of that takes a lot of time! Hours, days, weeks, months, and years of my life spent thinking about, engaging in, or recovering from drinking! Fuck me sideways!

I have spent a lot of time in the past six months getting some balance back in my body, mind and spirit. I have had many negative thoughts. I have been scared shitless of living life without any alcohol in it. I have also learned how to be more kind to myself… to set boundaries and say no and tell myself nice things and let go of bad shit that keeps holding me back. I was really, really bad at all of that before. The fog of 20 years of alcohol abuse is slowly lifting from my brain, and I am beginning to see things much more clearly.

I love how this keeps happening… this clarity. It just keeps on coming!

I see that giving up alcohol is something I will never regret when the end comes and I am looking back over my life. Those hours, days, weeks, and years devoted to just getting by through a fog of addiction are now being spent in other ways. Better ways. Ways that fill me up instead of bleeding me dry. I have grabbed the reins and am learning how to be the curator of my life. I am shedding anger and sadness over the past and trying to view the future without fear.

Is living sober perfect? No. I still feel crappy sometimes. I don’t always like myself, sometimes I absolutely hate other people, and I still feel unsure of pretty much EVERYTHING at times. But one thing is for sure- losing the booze has simplified my life by leaps and bounds over the past six months. I like simple, so I am going to stay here.

Valentine’s Day Gratitude

I have been reading about love all over the place today. Love yourself, love others, and some ‘bah humbug’ feelings about love in general. I am pro-love all the way, baby. Love yourself in order to love others. For some of us it is difficult to love ourselves, but we can learn how to do it. We can get better at loving ourselves. Gratitude is helping me find my way towards self-love because I am being grateful for who I am, warts and all. 🙂

So, what makes me ME? How can I celebrate that today?

First of all, I am grateful for my ever-seeking nature. I have always been a seeker of truth, information, answers, experiences, people, work, love. This led me down some strange paths when I was trying to find answers in a bottle of booze, but it has also led me here. To a place where I am finding my TRUE self more and more everyday, and also finding a spiritual and fulfilling way to live.

I am grateful for my genes. I bitch about them a lot because they hold alcoholism and some other nasty stuff, but they also hold intelligence, good looks, generosity of spirit, a strong work ethic, an adventurous nature, loyalty, and a good sense of humor. Ack! It feels uncomfortable writing nice stuff about myself like that. I am getting my brag on today. I would definitely write all of those things about my child, so why not about myself? Moving on…

I am grateful that I have an active imagination. I have a vision for the future, and it looks like a really nice place to live. My imagination has served me well throughout my life. It was how I survived childhood before I found alcohol to soothe my fears and escape from reality. It is really nice to get back to using my imagination for escape instead of booze. It is healthy and makes me feel like a kid again. How cool!

I am a capable, honest and good person. I knew it all along on some level, but it was getting lost underneath the booze. I lied to myself, therefore it became easier to lie to others in a myriad of ways. The true me lives life according to strongly-held values. It feels great!

Happy Valentine’s Day to you all!

xoxo

Get Out of The Way, Me

I was doing some reading yesterday, and I came across a motivational idea in the book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy. WHAT IF I could give up the path of struggle and instead choose the path of joy?

Hmm. My mind immediately went to A) sounds kinda hokey B) How is that even possible? C) Well, that might be cool. I HAVE struggled a lot already in my life. D) Hell yeah! I’m doin’ it!

Why am I always waiting for the other shoe to drop? Thinking about the past, worrying about the future, not enjoying the present. Why does everything have to involve so much pain?

Maybe it doesn’t. Maybe I can choose. I was looking into this idea and I found this quote. I pretty much love it.

“There are two ways of approaching life. The first is coping and the second is challenging to change a situation. The situation is the same but the results are different. Coping is linked to the past and our past knowledge and experiences. It is a conservative attitude, limited, restricted, passive, defensive, dependent. There is no vision and no hope. This is not Buddhism. Buddhism is about change. Changing ourselves, society and humanity for good. The way to change is determination based on wisdom. Change is a projection towards the future. It is positive, creative, independent, attacking and seeking. It is an attitude of great hope and vision. Coping is the past projecting to the present. Changing is the present projecting to the future. We can choose. The difference between ordinary and great lives is up to us.” -Kazuo Fujii, Buddhist Leader

Instead of looking for the downside I can look for the opportunity in each situation. I can let go of drama. I don’t have to live my life simply reacting to things based upon my past. I can fully embrace the present. Life does not have to be a constant struggle.

I think it will require some work, but the seeds are planted. I choose joy… and I can totally dig it.

Leaving Things Behind

better-things

I have started over a lot in my life, and I am finding that I have less energy for doing that now. I know that there are many things that I need to leave in my past and things that I need to work to heal, but thinking about my past makes me anxious. In the past few days thinking about the past has been overwhelming me so much that I have been staying firmly planted in the present as much as possible. I do know one thing- I am not the same person that I was a short time ago.

My old life is slipping away, and I am letting it go. That is scary for me, but it feels good, too. I still have so much to figure out and it takes time. Time and patience. My past is not going to magically be resolved, but I am hoping that answers will become clear to me after more time passes.

I have always been kind of a loner. I have always felt weird about being a loner, like it is somehow the ‘wrong’ way to be, but I am starting to accept that that is who I am. I needed to be drunk to be around a lot of people every weekend. Right now I prefer small groups, being with my husband and baby, or being alone. Going to a party sounds fun, but as a special occasion thing, not a regular thing. I am not lonely when I am alone… I like it. But the guilt and anxiety about liking it is still there. I feel that I should try harder to be with others. I fear that I am missing out.

I also sometimes wonder if I am not blindly traveling down a well-worn path from my childhood. My family always isolated themselves, mainly due to my Dad’s alcoholism, but also due to my Mom’s tendency to enable and spend time drinking, too. We started over a lot as a family when I was a kid… moving to new locations in new cities for a fresh start. We never actually said that we were moving for a fresh start… it was always about money or jobs or something else, but in actuality it was because things had gotten hairy in the place we were living and we needed to leave. I suspect that alcoholism played a huge part in that, but I was too young to understand or pay attention to what was really going on. I just went along with it and learned that you start over when the going gets rough, but maybe you call it something else. You also spend most of your time alone. That is normal.

I have been an alcoholic my entire adult life, too. It is much easier to admit now, but it still floors me. How did that happen? How did nobody notice? Do I really like being alone so much, or am I scared to show people who I really am? I don’t know.

There is a lot of conflicting information about letting go of the past. It is good to live ‘in the now’ but you have to find a way to integrate your past into the now. I don’t want to leave my old life completely in the past, but I am not sure how exactly to bring it into the future either.

I am figuring things out slowly. I am letting go of control little by little. I am realizing that life has plans for me, but sometimes I have to get out of my own way. I don’t have the answers to all of my questions.

I am 180 days sober today, and it feels good.

Greater Than The Sum Of Its Parts

I am getting better at taking care of myself.

My baby steps are paying off in small but good ways. I am treating myself better than I have… maybe ever? It is shocking to me that I treated myself so shitty now that I have a bit of clarity through sobriety. I didn’t think I was at the time, but I was.

I was doing the best I could then. Luckily, I know better now.

I am only doing simple things to take care of myself, but when repeated daily they have the power to make me feel pretty damn good. Eating healthy and delicious food, getting exercise, looking nice everyday instead of wearing yoga pants, praying, writing, taking some time to myself, etc. …

It all adds up. Self-care is greater than the sum of its parts.

I never knew!

But… I know now, right?

I am trying not to worry about doing it perfectly, either. It is okay to miss a day of exercise, for example, if that is what I need to do to take care of myself. It is NOT okay, however, to make excuses all the time because I am being lazy. Balance, balance, balance. What a nice word. I thought my word of 2014 was surrender, but maybe it is really balance. Maybe it is BOTH.

I am not allowed to talk in a mean way to myself, either. That is not allowed in my new balance-y life.

I just shut those negative thoughts right out of my head, and DO something instead.

Baby steps, baby. Just keep taking them.