Recovery, and Life, and Hello

Recovery is a thing that happens all the time these days. It is seamless, integrated, a part of me that exists along with breathing and going pee. Well, maybe not exactly, but I feel super grateful that I no longer have to dwell on it quite as much as I used to. It took a lot of brain space and time. It was totally worth all of the brain space and time to start living a sober existence, but it has changed. Amazingly, though, I don’t feel in danger of relapsing because I am not focusing the same kind of attention on it. I feel super alive for the first time in many years, and I am grabbing onto that feeling with both hands.

Let me tell you a little about what is working for me these days, because recovery has a tendency to change over time, just like life. It looks different for different people, and it even looks different for different people on different days. Lately for me it has looked like reading lots of books that inspire me to be the best person that I can be. Thinking about big picture things on a regular basis. Being open with people about who I am, including the part of me that is an alcoholic. Starting a new business venture that scares the shit out of me but also makes me feel useful and creative. Reading one good book per week. Prayer. Gratitude. Family and friends.

Oh, and remembering this thought EVERY SINGLE DAY- I can not have this life, this amazing life, if I start drinking again. Drinking is simply not an option for me. I still think that surrendering to that knowledge is the single most important thing you can do to get yourself sober. As long as I remember that every day, I don’t feel in danger of drinking.

Blogging hasn’t really been my thing lately, and that’s okay with me. Being here all the time helped me so much for those first few months. Hell, for the first whole year even. I still stop by every day and read what all of you have to say, but I don’t comment as much as I used to. I feel like I have limited resources to get me through every day, and sometimes I would rather focus my attention elsewhere. So, it is what it is for now. Maybe one day I will feel like writing more here again, but for now I am okay with stopping by occasionally for an update, and reading your thoughts, struggles and feelings. It helps.

The work of recovery doesn’t ever stop, I am finding. I am constantly learning more about myself. Turns out I am a ‘highly sensitive person’. Have you heard of this label? It seems like a bit of pop psychology, but I secretly love pop psychology and self-help type stuff, and the description fits me perfectly. I recently read The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine Aron and it helped me understand the strengths and weaknesses that come along with being this way. I think I was using alcohol as a type of medication for so many different purposes. It is interesting to become more ‘me’ as sober time increases. It’s not all good, but it’s definitely a more authentic way to live.

You all take care of yourselves out there and remember that you are never, ever alone. I’m sending out lots of good vibes to the universe for every single one of you.


Feelings and Reactions

I am getting to a place where I feel pretty solid sober. Cravings come every once in awhile, but they can be dismissed much easier than the cravings I felt in the first few months. This is good. I like being sober, my life is going well, I have more clarity, I am energetic and making positive changes in many areas of my life. Good, good, good. Oh, and did I mention that I am 200 days sober today?

Now I am working on all the STUFF that comes up from being sober. I am no longer numbing my feelings with buckets of booze, so I have to deal with them somehow. I might have mentioned it before, but DEALING WITH FEELINGS IS HARD. For everyone, not just me, but this is my blog.

I am realizing that I almost always want to react immediately when my feelings are hurt or my buttons are pushed. I want to TELL THAT PERSON THAT THEY HURT ME RIGHT THEN AND THERE. I have a need to do something right away. I have a hard time letting go without action.

I basically see red until I say something, or text something, or write an email, or call the person. I have a hard time concentrating on other things until I clear my head of the issue and get it out on the table. DIRECTLY TO THE PERSON.

I believe in honesty and telling people how I feel, but sometimes I think I am reacting to my feelings instead of taking the time to think about what I am saying. I move too quickly to let people know that they hurt me. I want to stop doing this.  I want to detach and learn how to deal with my feelings without ALWAYS having to tell the other person everything that is in my head. I want to create space in my life for new reactions and thoughts. I want to be more patient with my feelings… to see how they change, flow, ebb if I don’t react right away. I think I am missing an opportunity for healing by blaming the other person for my feelings. I don’t want to follow the same patterns of thinking and behaving from my past.

Wow, writing about this subject is triggering me. I can feel my shoulders tensing up.

I really like for communication to be crystal clear. Things were murky when I was a kid, so I prefer to have everything out in the open. Is this always the best way to do things, though? I am realizing more and more that it isn’t.

I think people don’t communicate their feelings to one another often enough, which leads to many miscommunications in life. People should talk more and tell each other their thoughts and feelings. I err on the opposite side, though, by sharing too much, too often. LOUDLY.

There is a time and place to have talks about hurt feelings, and sometimes I need to put on my big girl pants and deal with it on my own. It is selfish to put it on the other person’s plate when it is really all about ME and my perceptions. Chances are they didn’t mean to hurt me in the first place.

I know that it will be hard to change this, but from here on out I am making the intention to pause before I react. I shall simply pause to sit with my feelings for a few moments, regardless of the discomfort I feel. Maybe I could write them down, take a shower and cry in private, or go for a run to help release them instead of going straight to the person with them.

Huh, sounds so grown up.

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?


I have been doing my thing lately, which involves spending a lot of time working on my recovery, plus eek-ing enjoyment out of my day-to-day life, when and where I can. I have been working on developing good routines, too, but that subject deserves a post of its own.


I used to hate that word and all it implied. If I was recovering from something it meant I had to acknowledge it, accept it, and actually deal with it. Yuck. It totally made me feel like damaged goods to even think about being an alcoholic- much less admitting to being one. We don’t acknowledge alcoholism and all of the problems that go along with it in my family, remember?

Luckily, I found that recovery is a natural process for me. I help it along by attempting to learn my patterns, trying to be aware of my behavior, reading-reading-reading about recovery, keeping a gratitude journal, etc., but the most important aspect of my recovery was making the decision to change my life. And deciding that alcohol has absolutely no place in it today or EVER. Once I got clear on those two points it began to get a little easier. My life began to develop a flow- some people call it grace- and I am lucky enough to be able to step into it some of the time.

I am actually starting to get excited about the future, which was a totally foreign concept to me a few months back. I was so caught up in my own cycles of self-defeating behavior, anxiety, and alcohol abuse that I had a hard time seeing my nose in front of my face, much less planning positive moves for the future. I experienced frantic feelings of needing to change or needing to DO something, which isn’t a good head space to be in. Now it is starting to be fun to think about life, make goals and plan ahead a little, but I am taking it slow, slow, slow. It is okay to be patient and try to spread my wings little by little…I am in no hurry to fly. I know that I will fly eventually if I keep going down this path. Or maybe I am flying already, just staying low to the ground. Either way it is OK. I am ok.

So…recovery. Yeah. It is nothing like I thought it would be and so much better than I could have imagined…sometimes. And sometimes it is hard as shit. Today is one of the good days.


I Hate Alcohol

Booze has taken so much from me. It is pretty futile being angry at an organic compound … a substance that has no agenda … but I am, dammit! That is where I am right now. Fucking angry. Maybe it is part of the process of recovery? Who knows. I hate alcohol, though. Like, really fucking hate it.

I feel angry because alcohol stole my childhood. I then proceeded to give it the reins to steal time in my adult life.

It has stolen people I love. People who continue to choose it every day over other people in their lives.

I am angry that alcoholism might be lurking in my child’s genes.

I hate the fact that it almost killed me, and that it does kill people, and that it probably will kill me if I give it the chance.

I hate that people believe that alcohol is worth giving up their lives for. Worth giving up hope, love, friendship, family, hobbies, work, values, morals, etc. It is not worth it! Those things are better!

I am angry because alcohol is sneaky and tricky and mean and vicious. People choose to drink it, but some people feel compelled to drink it more than others. I can never know the depths of someone else’s pain and reasons for drinking, but it makes me angry that it is so fucking hard for some people to stop. And that it is so hard to stay stopped for other people.

So yeah, that is where I am today. I am hoping that by writing it down I am helping to release it.  Bye, bye anger!

Everything is Okay

I am still going strong on this whole sobriety thing- today is Day 20! I am 1/5 of the way done with the 100 Day Sober Challenge! I am planning on never drinking again, but the challenge gives me a reachable goal to work towards. I like that.

I have been experiencing a lot of ups and downs in the past few days. Life feels really hard and boring sometimes, and I am not sure that I will ever have fun again. But then I see a small glimpse of the life that I could have if I remain sober, and it looks and feels really beautiful. I hope that the glimpses become longer and more frequent as I gain more sober time under my belt. I also remember that I wasn’t having very much fun drinking, anyway, at least towards the end. I think part of the problem is that I lost contact with real, authentic, lough-out-loud fun while I was drinking heavily, and I have to relearn it. It ain’t easy and it will take time, so I must be patient. Ergh. Patience has never been my strong suit.

I guess the thing that I am most worried about is that I will crave alcohol forever. I don’t want to feel deprived for the rest of my life. People who have been sober for over a year say that the cravings diminish somewhat over time, and I really, really hope that is true. At 5pm every day I have an annoying internal struggle. That is the time that I seriously doubt I can do this forever. It would be super great if that stopped eventually.

Why is change so damn hard? Even though I know in my heart that I will appreciate what I am doing for myself in the future, it is still SO HARD SOMETIMES. I have faith that someday I will look back and thank myself for making my self-esteem, health, sanity, spirituality and family a priority. For making my LIFE a priority.

So, in the meantime I am trying to take everything slow, slow, slow. No big decisions, even though I want to CHANGE EVERYTHING! I want to have another baby, move to a bigger city, buy a bunch of stuff, cut my hair, go back to school, and on and on. While many of these things are positive, and could be a good idea in the future, I think that right now they are a DISTRACTION from the boredom of becoming sober. I always jump into things head first, but something is telling me to slow down here. To focus on becoming comfortable in my own skin before I take on new challenges. Not to find another way to avoid feeling my feelings, the same way I did when I was drinking.

For the most part, though, sober life is peaceful. It is a more thoughtful existence. I have no shame or guilt ruining my days and filling them with anxiety. I am even starting to feel a little joy seep into my chest sometimes, as long as I remember that everything is okay, and that I must go through the hard stuff to eventually get where I want to be.