Lately

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.

Recovery.

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.

 

How to Surrender or Let Go

I never have really understood the concept of letting go. I mean…I understood it in an abstract way, but I didn’t actually know what it looked like to DO IT. It seemed hard. Unrealistic. I would “let go” only to have invasive thoughts creep back into my head…thoughts that I TOLD myself I was letting go of. It just didn’t work. I eventually stopped trying because I felt like a failure at letting things go.

I have decided to focus my attention on the art of letting go. So, instead of trying to let go of my thoughts, I am now telling myself “I Surrender” throughout the day. It is a powerful mantra that really seems to work. It brings me back to the present moment to feel my feelings instead of dwelling on my negative thoughts. “I Surrender. I Surrender. I Surrender.”

I want to let go of my past. I want to let go of my obsessive thoughts. I want to let go of control, especially unhealthy control over things that I have no control over. I want to let go of guilt and shame. I want to be open. I want to listen to my inner voice. I want more peace. I want to gain more personal power. I want my life to be fluid. I want to surrender.

 

Accidental Living

livewithintention

In an ongoing search for “the answer” to help my baby sleep better, I have been reading yet another in a long line of parenting books. This one talks a lot about ‘accidental parenting,’ an interesting idea that got me thinking about intention in other areas of my life. Accidental parenting refers to creating bad habits in babies and children by not thinking your actions through for the long run. Living with intention is about making sure that everything you do has a purpose. In what areas am I living with intention, and in what areas am I doing what I am now calling ‘accidental living?’

Before I made the decision to get sober I did a lot of accidental living. Things would happen TO me; I only steered my ship some of the time. I thought I was being spontaneous, but now I see that it was less about that and more about learned helplessness. I didn’t believe that I had the power to make changes in my life. If something good happened to me– great –but I didn’t have much to do with it. The same with bad stuff. I was essentially giving my power away by being a product of my circumstances. This is living accidentally, or living without intention. Boozing fit in perfectly with this idea because it helped keep me stuck in those thought and behavior patterns for a long time.

I used to put a lot of resources into drinking that I can now put elsewhere. There is so much space that boozing used to fill… time, money, thoughts, etc. Booze takes up space, there is no doubt about it. Even if you drink normally, it still takes up space that you could be using differently. For me, it took up WAY too much space. And now I am relishing the fact that I have SO MUCH FREE TIME.

I am beginning with small goals. A few things that I can do/have been doing to live with more intention. Work everyday (for money). Write everyday (for me).  Entertain once in awhile. Eat healthy foods. Cut down on sugar. Drink more water and green tea instead of Diet Coke. Keep up with my gratitude lists. Work on letting go. Get up and move instead of messing with the iPad. Look at each moment as an opportunity for SOMETHING instead of as time to fill. It is a luxury to have this time, and it is up to me to make it amazing.

Shifting the Old ‘Tude

I have been thinking a lot about drinking lately. Not all of the time, but enough that I want to explore it a little bit here. It feels like my initial motivation has flagged somewhat and I am stuck in an uncomfortable place of wanting to drink yet not wanting to drink. I feel whiny, blah, and basically tired of making the effort to quit drinking. I have been experiencing the Fear of Missing Out when I know that my friends are out doing stuff that involves alcohol. I have been questioning my seriousness about sobriety.

Once I write down my thoughts they seem silly, but they are persistent little suckers.

I guess I am struggling with the amount of work and effort it takes to recreate my life from scratch in so many ways. Drinking used to be an effective, if not good or particularly healthy, time filler. It was my hobby. It kept me company. It took away bad feelings that I didn’t want to deal with. Even when I wanted to do other things I ended up spending my time drinking, so I never had to think very much. I would be faded enough that I could believe my own lies about what I would accomplish on some distant tomorrow.

Now I have to think about things more. I have to talk to people socially without having a buzz. I can’t pretend that certain things in my life are okay because I have on blinders from alcohol. I have to make things fun on their own merit, not just because I am experiencing a chemical “high” from drinking. Hard ‘effin work, I tell you.

So what am I going to do about these ambivalent feelings, blog? Make a list! Raise your hand if you love lists, too. Here are some ideas for the next few days to keep my sobriety going strong.

– Read a sober memoir. I checked out Augusten Burroughs’ ‘Dry’ from the library and am going to start it. And probably finish it. I am a speedy reader.

– Write down three things that I am grateful for each day this week.

– Spend 20 to 30 minutes praying and meditating every day. No excuses for this one because it helps me so much.

– Work on goals for the future that I want to accomplish in the short and long term. Write them down. Maybe write them down in a new journal because blank pages, and pretty new journals, make me happy.

– Get some damn exercise, sister.

– Practice loving kindness towards myself. I beat myself up SO much sometimes and it really isn’t helpful in the quest for a sober life. Perfection is a myth and I am enough just the way I am. Hey, hey. That can be my mantra for the days ahead.

Wow, I already feel more positive and hopeful just thinking about doing these things.

Dreams

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”  –Mark Twain

One of the realizations that led to my decision to sober up was the fact that if I kept going the way I was going, I would never achieve my big dreams in life. What a scary thought! Drinking is such a damn time waster. I mainly drank in the evenings, usually 4-5 times per week (more often in the past, but not since having the baby). After I began drinking I was completely useless at doing anything productive, aside from cooking dinner and watching shows on Netflix. Every evening was an unproductive waste of time!

I am a big believer in doing nothing at times. We all need space to think, sit, meditate, and breathe. That is much different from self-medicating and zoning off for hours at a time. I am a stay-at-home Mom and do not have much time for myself during the day. I need productive time to myself in the mornings and evenings to read, study, and work on projects. This is a fact. There is only so much time in a day.

I want to teach myself how to be a front-end web developer. I want to write creatively- poetry, blogs, maybe a book someday. I want to make subversive cross-stitch projects for my friends. I want to build and paint furniture for my home. I want to save money for travel, and then travel the world with my family. I want to start a daily meditation practice FOR REAL (I’ve said that I was going to do this a million times and have never started). There are so many things that I want to do, and if I continue drinking they will never get done. They will remain in the dream realm indefinitely, along with the millions of other dreams discarded by alcoholics who do not realize how precious time really is. Who always think there is more time to do “all of that.”

How frickin’ sad! I don’t want to be some drunk talking about my dreams…I want to live them!