A Mishmash

I have a few things floating around in my brain that I want to get out, here today, at 526 days sober. I have been doing some thinking and a lot of obsessing. Some good, some bad. Such is life, but I am hoping for a breakthrough of some sort soon. I think writing here, in this lovely space, will help that happen. So I have a mishmash of a post here today. I need to clear my brain and let it all go. Thanks in advance for braving through it with me.

I enjoyed reading all the special words chosen for 2015. I have decided, quite late to the party, that my word for the year is inspiration. It keeps hitting me in different ways the more I think about it, which I love. I think it something that could be a lot more present in my life. I sometimes feel that life is meaningless, but when I choose inspiration I don’t feel that way. I feel a spark light up inside of me. Inspiration doesn’t just magically strike, at least not always; it needs to be sought out and given room to grow. So choosing this word means spending more time seeking inspiration in my everyday life. It also means trying my best to be an inspiration to others (humbly, oh so humbly) by living my best life. How else does it fit? Pursuing the spark of inspiration by writing and creating art. So, inspiration it is. Thank you to those ahead of me for inspiring me to choose a special word for 2015. Inspiration is truly everywhere. 🙂

I have also realized recently, maybe today even, that one of my biggest addictions is trying to control the world around me with obsessive thoughts. I don’t always do it, but when something is bothering me I think about it and worry over it until I feel in my bones that I have determined the outcome one way or another. Something clicked for me today, maybe when I was listening to an episode of the Bubble Hour, but I realized that oh hey, I don’t have to determine an outcome for every so-called problem that appears in my life. I don’t need to figure it all out. In fact, I can’t figure it all out, nothing big ever works the way I plan it, and trying is a huge waste of my time and energy. Epiphany!

For example, the past few days I have been obsessing over whether or not I should have another baby. I have thought about the pros, the cons, decided yes, decided no, talked to friends and family about the matter, talked to my husband about it, worried, and stressed. Yes, people do sometimes plan pregnancies or protect themselves against them, but in reality I have limited control over this. Since I have thought about this so much, I know that I will be okay no matter what, that my happiness does not depend in any way on the outcome of this decision, and that the ultimate fate of my uterus is in hands greater than mine. God, the Universe, whatever you want to call it. I am not calling the shots here, even if I desperately want to know what happens in the end. The stories that I tell myself about this subject aren’t helping me, and no matter what happens I will learn something. In fact, I am sure that I will learn valuable lessons no matter what.

This is an recent example, but these types of thoughts are pretty normal for me. I need to plan! I need to figure everything out! I am actually really happy with life right now, but I need to get out of my own way. I am ruining my own happiness. What a waste of a short life.

It is time to set down this heavy load and let myself be happy. It was these kinds of thought patterns that kept me stuck drinking and numbing. I am not numb anymore, I do not drink anymore, so it is time to let that baggage go. It is time to change. The Serenity Prayer comes to mind. I think I need to hold it a bit closer these days. I feel like I always need to qualify these things by saying that I am not all that religious, and that I don’t go to AA, but who really cares in the end? Sometimes wisdom is just wisdom. Here is the beginning of the Serenity Prayer if you want to read it, too.

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Wishing you all serenity today.

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Celebrate Sobriety!!!!

My husband and I have a difference in opinion about whether or not sobriety is something to be celebrated. He doesn’t think so, as he thinks it is simply what responsible people do when they have a drinking problem. My husband quit drinking when I did, mainly to support me, so we both passed our one-year sobriety date this last weekend.

He has the right to his opinion. He doesn’t identify with being an alcoholic and may indeed resume drinking moderately at some point. I am okay with that for the most part. I wasn’t okay with him drinking at first because I knew I couldn’t do it without him, as he was my party buddy, but now I feel strong enough to handle being sober alone. I enjoy being sober and wouldn’t want to go back to my old way of life.

I worry about it because I worry about everything. I am working on that.

This isn’t a post to bash my husband’s opinions, but rather an opportunity to state my opinion on the subject of celebrating sobriety.

My view? It absolutely, 100%, most definitely should be celebrated. In many cases getting sober saves people’s lives. I believe it saved my life. Getting sober is hard! It takes some serious guts and determination to learn how to live life without drugs or alcohol. Plus, in recovery you learn all sorts of neat stuff about who you are and what you want. You learn how to live life without an escape hatch or a way to numb your emotions. You learn how to live life on life’s terms, which is a lesson that everyone should learn, addict or not.

If you are sober, no matter for how long, take some time to celebrate that fact. Don’t be ashamed that you have gone down this path in life. Many awesome people have gone before you. Sobriety rules!

 

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

Saturday Morning Dance Party

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I have been writing a daily gratitude journal- well, most days at least- for the past few weeks. I am already noticing a shift in my attitude because of it. I became sick with the flu this week, and felt nauseous in a way that I haven’t since my last hangover. I can’t believe it used to be normal for me to feel that way so much of the time. It is SO not normal. Today I am grateful to be sober because I am learning that I deserve to spend most of my life feeling good.

Early this morning I had a dance party in my living room with my son. I never would have done that when I was drinking because I usually felt like I had the flu on Saturday mornings, and it was all I could do to make coffee and supervise. I am grateful for Saturday morning dance parties. They are 1,000,000 times better than Friday night drinking parties.

Happy weekend to you all.

Sunny Day

I am no longer feeling angry, thank God. It didn’t last too long. Writing really helps me process and release my feelings, so I am freaking thankful that I started this blog. Back to normal and feeling happy most of the time.

I enforced boundaries with my younger brother this weekend by telling him not to visit me this holiday season because he won’t stop calling me drunk. I feel bad about it. Guilty. I think it was the right thing to do, though. Drunken phone calls from relatives really mess up my day. Especially at 8 in the morning after an all-night bender.

Enforcing boundaries in this situation caused problems with my mother, too. She was angry and hurt. Relationships are all kind of codependent in my family. We talked and worked it out, and she is going to fly here for part of the holidays instead of driving with my brother. I feel better about it now because we cleared the air by saying some things that needed to be said. Everything isn’t resolved or agreed upon- that will likely never happen- but we see each other more clearly.

And again, I feel bad that I hurt my mom, but I HAVE to do what is best for me right now. I am choosing a no stress, no drama, feel good kind of holiday season. I will work on my relationship with my brother as I grow stronger being sober. It is going to be really hard for me to be around active alcoholics for awhile, but hopefully he will gain an understanding of how serious I am because of this situation. We will see what happens, and I will hope for the best and try to be kind. I know how hard it is to be stuck in that shitty cycle of addiction. It took me a long time to break free, and I have to work at it every day.

Other than family stuff, being sober is wonderful right now. I don’t miss drinking very often because I genuinely feel GOOD most of the time. It is pretty sweet and cool and I am holding on tight to my new life. I am definitely a less social creature, though. That might change, but it might not. I think I will always be more of a one-on-one, quiet coffee date kind of girl than I used to be. I am also a pretty new mother, and I think it is all tied together. I like being home with my husband and child.

We had a nice weekend decorating our tree, doing craft projects, making homemade candies for gifts, shopping and cooking. I don’t think alcohol would have made it one iota better, and it quite possibly could have made it worse in some way. I think I have cleared the obstacles in my path (with family, mainly) to have a happy, sober holiday season, and I am totally excited about it. Happy Monday!

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.

Difficult Times

We got home from our trip last night, and it feels good to be back. Good and sad really, as my father-in-law passed away while we were in California visiting. I am not going to lie- it was really, really hard in so many ways, but especially handling the grief that surrounded me. I was/am sad, as my father-in-law was a wonderful, accomplished, loving man, but I ended up feeling really stressed out by the experience. I am still getting to know my husband’s family in a lot of ways. Most of our relationship has taken place many miles from both of our families, and we got pregnant/bought a house/got married in that order, all in a short amount of time.  I think I am still processing how I handled being there for my husband and his family, what I wish I had done differently, and what I will try to do in difficult future situations. Oh, life. You can be so tricky to navigate sometimes.

We had a long day of travel yesterday getting back home (two plane rides and two long car rides), and I made the decision that I was going to stop to buy beer and cigarettes on the way home. I decided this after our car acted like it wasn’t going to start in the long-term parking lot prior to our two-hour car ride home. Not that this was the worst or hardest part of the week, but it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I didn’t have a hard time staying away from alcohol during the trip, but the craving REALLY hit me hard in that hot parking lot, with the anxiety and tears building up inside. My brother-in-law magically started the car and we headed home, and I told my husband and brother-in-law that I was going to have a beer later. I felt desperate, like I NEEDED something to take the edge off. I told myself it would be just this one time. I would get drunk, smoke as many cigarettes as I wanted, and start over being sober again the following day. Everyone slips, right? Oh, the twisted thought process that went through my head during this time.

Well, I didn’t do it. I knew that I would feel awful in a myriad of ways if I were to say yes to my HORRIBLE junkie voice. Once we got going in the car and the baby fell asleep in his car seat, I closed my eyes and prayed for help to keep me from drinking and to help me feel NORMAL again. If not normal, then at least as strong as I felt before. So… yes, I pray sometimes. I am not really very religious, but prayer seems to help me when I am feeling really bad. I first noticed the positive effects in college and have done it regularly since then. I guess my prayers worked this time because the need that I was feeling, the desperate, empty, unexplainable hole, seemed to diminish. It closed enough that I was able to tell myself that I would drink another day. Tomorrow, next week, some other time, but not that night. I still felt really shaky about my sobriety- I was holding on by a thread- but I held onto that thread with all the power I could muster. I went home and ordered pizza, even got grouchy with my poor, sweet husband, but went to bed sober.

I am still feeling mentally and physically exhausted from everything that I’ve been through recently, so I plan to exercise some serious self-care over the next few days. I am going to relax around the house in comfy clothes, eat ice cream, watch movies, write here and in my journal, read something good, call friends and family that I have been neglecting, play with my sweet baby, and go for walks. I need to get back to feeling safe. Difficult times without a crutch are just that- difficult. I am a master of escaping from my emotions, and I can’t do that anymore. I think that for me, a true introverted soul, routine and safety are so important. I need to work on a plan for difficult times when I do not have my routine, my home, my familiar surroundings. I read a lot of blogs while I was gone but didn’t have the energy to write… maybe that would have helped.

Anyway, it is good to be back. Thank you for stopping by.