Heya, Monster.

A SoberBlog by a TallWoman.

Archive for the month “August, 2015”

Hours in the Day.

Wow. The days are so much longer now that I’m not drinking.

And they’re awesome (mostly).

So much beautiful time in a day.

So much beautiful time in a day.

Since quitting drinking, I have found that there is time for me to relax (Note: ‘Relax’ no longer means ‘Drinking until I’m foggy and groggy and unable to keep my eyes open.’).  And now my relaxing is full of time with my kids, cooking, drinking fizzy water, watching MasterChef Canada, reading, working, cross-stitching, talking with the hubs, going on walks, being with friends, drinking coffee, etcetera etcetera, so on and so forth. *smile*

The anxiety of making sure I have MeTime has almost disappeared. Some days I get antsy for it, but mostly I find things to get invest in and then I’m good. Some days, I take a couple of gabapentin and then I step back into the world and am able to say ‘yes’ to whatever is going on. By the by, for those considering sobriety or in the early stages of recovery (that’s still me, too, p.s. I am not setting myself up as someone who knows it all – definitely not!), talk to a doctor or a psychiatrist about the options you have that could help you stay on the sober path. Honestly, this past summer I only took gabapentin three or four times over the two and half months. Since starting back to full-time work (I’m a teacher), I have taken it five or six times in the past two weeks. It calms my anxiety and tension right around the witching hour time of 5 or 6 o’clock. (To clarify: It’s not my witching hour to drink any longer – I definitely won’t. But it helps take the edge off of that coming home from work tension so that I can relax and be with my kids and not be drunk or in an altered state.) And what I love about my psychiatrist is that she was so nonjudgmental when she prescribed it. Her point was she wanted to give me all the help she could so that I would stay sober. In fact, when she first gave it to me, I was the one who was all judgy-judgerson about it. But now? (And considering what my friend told me in one of his responses to a blog post awhile ago – ‘You’re still sober, right? Who the fuck cares how you stay there? You’re sober!’) I agree with my shrinkydink and my friend. I Am Sober! And sometimes I need a little extra help, and that’s okay.

So, that was a long paragraph to really just tell you not to be scared to ask for help. Perhaps in a way you wouldn’t necessarily consider. (I know I hadn’t!)

And? I will say my goal in the coming month is to taper off using gabapentin as I find my new balance with the school year and all that is going on. I had so much freedom to create my day this past summer. It truly felt perfect. While I am in love with my job, I do need to figure out how to ‘be home’ when I get here. And without the habit of drinking as soon as I walk through the door, it feels like discovering a new world, which really? It is. I’ve been at my job fifteen years, and almost every day of that work life, I sought a drink as soon as I possibly could after work. That’s a lot of Habit to reconfigure, untangle, and rewire.

So? Back to my newly discovered hours…. Last night, for the first time in four years, the hubs and I stayed up after the kids went to bed and watched a Lord of the Rings. (I’m a dork.) And? It was awesome! I kept checking myself and just noticing that I was still awake and still engaged with him, with the movie, and yep! All systems go. …. We’ve tried watching a movie several times before in the past year, but I was drinking, so I would pop upstairs to fill my glass countless times, then within the first hour, I would usually start listing to one side, or falling asleep because I was chugging the wine so fast. Granted, I was always happy and thinking ‘We’re being adults! Yay! UsTime!’ But my stupid brain would equate that with drinking, so I would drink and drink and drink s’more. And those date nights always ended early because I would start snoring, and/or I would try to hide how drunk I was and stumble upstairs to go to bed, blaming it on a long day or something like that.

Watching movies (awesome movies like LOTR) is SO much better sober!

 

Seriously. *smile*

Last night I was talking with the hubs about being sober and how it feels like I have to relearn how to do everything. I feel like I’m waking up for the first time and seeing the world again for what it is – and everything is new and different. I know my mood stabilizer is doing some of the work (especially now that I am sober and it’s able to function correctly), and that is great. It makes me feel great. But I also know that so much of this feeling is because I am sober. My body isn’t sluggish or bogged down with tired. I’m not grey any more. I’m all sorts of different colors. I really feel like I have woken up from a long, spindle-pricked sleep full of horrible dreams and dragons. Now I feel like I am carrying a sword and could kick any dragon’s ass that might come my way.

My favoritefavorite thing? Instead of having a cottonball-brain, it’s clear and rested. This is going to sound weird to some of you, but for the past ten years, I haven’t been able to listen to music much on my own. Never in my car. And definitely never when I was in conversation with someone. My brain could not filter one thing from the other. It drove my music-worshipping-hubs batshit crazy. And now? As I type this! I am listening to music. I listen to it Every Day. And I LOVE it! I forgot how much I love it. I just think it is the craziest thing in the world that I couldn’t listen to it for so long. I was physically unable to. And now? *angelssing* Music is on all the time. So happy to have it back in my life. I missed it. Truly.

Music & Me.

Music & Me.

Off to spend a day (my favorite day of the week, p.s.) with my beautiful fam.

Day 82, we be jammin’.

Advertisements

She’s Alive!

And holy fuck is she busy!

… Yep. Hello. I’m here. School has sucked all of my time, and then my children have sucked any little droplet of time that’s left over.

I’m here and I am sober and kicking ass. Well, mostly.

It’s been a really good week and a really (fucking awful/stressful/crazy) intense week. Here are some things….

Biggest blog news is that the hubs is now in the know. He knew about the blog all along, but didn’t read it because I wasn’t ready. Then, while I was away with the babes, he accidentally read a post, came clean to me (so sweet that he felt so bad about it – he thought it was one of your blogs that I had bookmarked on our iPad), it happened to be the post where I told all of you about my early 100-day celebration present before I had gotten home to tell him. Eep! He was mad (rightfully so), but also struggling with having read the post in the first place. (Can I get any luckier in the love department, people?) And I completely understood where he was coming from, but also felt that it was okay that it fell out the way it did. We came to an understanding, and now he is reading the blog. (Hi.*)

Quick query for my friends who have friends/family reading their blogs… How is it for you and yours? It hasn’t really been an issue for me because I haven’t had the time to write in what feels like so long, but I also worry about holding back my honest thoughts if and when they come up. I’ve promised the hubs I won’t do that – he’s been warned. *smile* But I also know there is a possibility of it happening subconsciously. What do you all do about that conundrum, hm?

For me, the cool thing about his reading the blog is that he’s more inside of my head and has access to seeing all of the things I am juggling and digging through in my recovery. I feel like it’s really helped our mutual understanding as he is a normie and does not have addiction tendencies. Not one lick! The lucky dog.

The other thing that was affected by his reading the blog when he did was that it made me get real honest real fast. Particularly, it made me worry that he had read the post before the ‘Premature Celebration.’ For those of you who haven’t read ‘More About My Monster,’ it is a bit about my discovery of alcohol and my subsequent abuse. When TH told me he had read my blog, I panicked. It became clear as we talked that he was in the dark about my more vulnerable story details, but it also became apparent that I had to tell him the truth. All of the truth. So I did. I came clean about my night with our daughter (more is in the linked post above) and how that really felt like my lowest point. All of my low points after that one were me avoiding my problem and trying to convince myself I didn’t have a problem.

I do. It’s called alcohol.

And while I love now miss it, my Life is so much fucking better now. Even when it sucks, it’s better. I feel so much better owning every feeling – even like the messy bits of confusion and hurt like what happened in my story with the hubs. I know I’ve said this a million times before, but being present for my life is the reward. I’m not missing anything. And because I am not hiding from any of it any longer, I have so much more confidence in who I am as a person. The equation is truly remarkable.

My last little bit here is to say more about the hubs…. He’s awesome. And I’m not just saying that because he now has permission to read these words. I am saying it because it’s true. The night we got into it, I ended up tearing up at one point because I told him how many recovery stories I’ve read, or heard where the marriage or the partnership doesn’t survive the alcoholism. How many times partners have walked away because things got too ugly, or the alcohol had changed the drinker too much, or …. countless other reasons. And here I am, eight years into our relationship, and thanking all that is holy that he is still here with me. And that he stuck with me even in the murkiest days and nights. Even when he was mad at me getting too drunk to walk into the house after a night out with friends. Even when he had to make sure I was okay through the early hours of the morning – passed out on the bathroom floor again. And again. Even when my drinking and my depression stole my light. When I wasn’t really Me anymore. He waited. And he was patient. And he loved me. In my most gruesome, monstrous form.

That’s incredible. … He’s incredible. And I am soso lucky.

Our colors. So sweet and rich.

Our colors. So sweet and rich.

I have more to share, but will save it all for another post. This one can stand alone as an ode to my guy.*

Day 79, one of my favorite numbers!

Confession.

Yesterday, I had a chance to sit with a friend and share with her more about my sobriety. I told her how much better I have been feeling, that my mood is completely changed over from the past several years, that I wake-up hangover-free, that my nights are longer and enjoyable, that I have more energy, and that I’m not overwhelmed any longer and trying to keep up every step of the way.

In short, I am happy! *smile*

I look back at last year, and I can tell my anxiety has lessened incredibly. I can’t say that I am anxiety-free – I have horrible stage fright (crazytalk for an actor/director) and that rears its head at the beginning of every school year like clockwork – but compared to last year, I am already more grounded and solid in my thinking and overall being. I feel different. I feel more solid. I feel more whole. And yes, I am taking a mood stabilizer, but I really, truly believe it is my drinking, or lack thereof, that is changing my life significantly. Instead of trying to accomplish every little thing and prove I am worth the space I take up in this world, I am already sure that I am enough as I am. No proving, no running, no spinning required. Fuck all that. This way – this Sober way – feels so much better. I feel like I can breathe again. What a beautiful relief.

….. …. … .. .

Note: I will admit that I am a bit anxious about the school year. We are having a major shift in leadership, so that always throws everyone for a loop. I am nervous about it as well, as I worry about the more formal environment being set-up and required. I worry that we as teachers will lose our personal identity, or be forced to, and that the machine of the institution will become more important than the unique qualities of the individuals. We shall see…

Because of the school year kicking off, I have been completely away this week, and I have to tell you – I miss you! My to-read blog list is longer than it was on vacation. I keep trying to catch-up, but only get to two or three a day. I am hoping my weekend will solve this problem. I don’t want to break away from this great community and all of your inspiration, so I am holding on with my fingertips at the moment.

Day 73, wait for me!

Hello, Work Life.

Me = Teacher

Summer Vacation = Days with Babes x Time with Hubs x (Directing a Show + Directing a Show) / New Sober Life

Last 3 Months = Heaven

Headed into work today for a morning meeting. Not too horrible a way to start the school year by any means. Then, I have tomorrow off, and then dive into workshop meetings on Wednesday.

Here’s the funny bit… I love my job. My career. My vocation. My calling. It truly is who I am. Through and through. I’m in love with it, and if it were possible, I would marry it and live a polygamous life. (Two Pee-Wee references in two days!) …. And even though I am in love with my job, I get nervous and excited for the school year to begin. Every. Year. Like stage fright.

Silly rabbit.

Back to School Supplies & Board

This year I am more excited than I have ever been before, and do you know why? (I bet you do.*) …. Because I am one-hundred percent s.o.b.e.r. How cool is this year going to be? (And not be – I should be a little realistic for the tough times.) But still! How CoOl?! …. For example? It’s only 7:26 am and I am wide awake, with my brain functioning pretty quickly, and enjoying my cuppa joe …. wait for it …. with no hangover! Wa-oot!

So, yes. Big things are a-happenin’ here in this monster’s life. Big, wonderful, awesome things.

Day 69, tee-hee…… (I can never say that number without giggling.)

theatre-curtain_0

 

 

 

p.s. How lucky am I that Theatre is my job?!

 

Acceptance.

Acceptance was the word of the day (Ahhhh! (Pee-wee’s Playhouse fans, anyone?)) at the AA meeting I attended yesterday. It was introduced so well by one of the members, even though it was an impromptu subject due to the scheduled speaker not being there. I was so impressed by the woman who brought up the idea of acceptance, as well as the story she told about her own journey and how she found herself in a place where she needed to accept her situation and identity as an alcoholic, otherwise her life would continue to run in the shit-storm it was already well entrenched in.

I was humbled that this woman would share her story so openly in such a crowded room. I related to so much of what she said because there were so many poor choices and bad situations she put herself in as a result of her alcoholism. What resonated with me from her story was her determination to not see her alcoholism in any way, shape, or form, her habit of blaming everyone and everything else around her before looking inward at herself, as well as her anger and denial when she first began her journey towards sobriety. So many of her challenges were mine as well. In her speaking and sharing, what a gift she gave to so many of us – what a gift she gave to me.

So, going back to the original inspiration for the AA meeting, what is acceptance? According to Wictionary, here are a few of the official definitions…

Noun: acceptance ‎(plural acceptances)

  1. The act of accepting; a receiving of something offered, with approbation, satisfaction, or acquiescence; especially, favorable reception; approval
         the acceptance of a gift, office, doctrine, etc.
  2. Belief in something; agreement; assent.
  3. State of being accepted.

So, first off. I am struck by the idea that within the meaning of ‘acceptance’ lies the hidden meaning of receiving the something in a positive way. So often, I think I am accepting that things are the way they are, but that I don’t have to be happy with them, I just have to realize they are what they are. But no! True acceptance is positive in nature. Hm. Food for thought.

Second, looking at the italicized example above, acceptance could possibly turn The Thing To Be Accepted (TTTBA) into a positive thing as well, even if TTTBA started out as a (hugely vicious, horrible, life-altering, scary, horrific) negative. This is complete conjecture and I realize I am projecting my wishes on this definition now, but I also like the ‘spin’ it adds.

What do you think of the following hypothesis, my friends? … By accepting TTTBA, it becomes a positive because we make room for it in our lives. We give it space. We see it for what it is. And, we give it room to be what it is. By not squelching or squishing or stomping TTTBA down, it becomes less of a problem because my energy and focus is not drawn to quieting it every minute of every day. Yes, TTTBA exists, but instead of focusing on it, now I have all this time to do and explore other things, while TTTBA lives in its corner and doesn’t bother me as much as when it was my whole world.

TTTBA becomes something smaller than what it once was, and oftentimes sweeter.

TTTBA becomes something smaller than what it once was, and oftentimes sweeter.

So, taking the picture as metaphor (and taking me as the snail (and taking the little flower as my addiction)), yes, my alcoholism exists, but look at how much larger the world is around me! I might be visiting my addiction for a minute, noticing it, giving it a little nudge with one of my sober-tools, but I’m not trapped in it, nor am I surrounded by it. My life is not only the flower. My life is wider and bigger and richer than just the flower.

Going into the second definition… ‘a belief in something; agreement; assent’ ….. It took me a long-ass time to come to terms with my alcoholism. And honestly? Some days it is still a challenge. However? On the days when I am able to remind myself to stay in the moment and to take ‘one day at a time,’ then that internal struggle of believing I am an alcoholic or not disappears. It is what it is. I am what I am. (Who said that?) And for today, I will not drink. Agreed. Accepted. It is true. Let it be so.

(Gah. I find it so much easier not to fight against my alcoholism. I have so much more energy now than I ever did inside of my addiction.)

Lastly, and most challenging, is for me to live in a state of acceptance. I am working on it, as I said. And most days, things are good. Things are what they are. I don’t fight against the current. I sail with it. (How many metaphors can this post hold, I wonder?) I reach for my sparkling water, and/or my M&Ms, and sometimes I seek time alone, but mostly? I am happy sailing along…

La-di-dah...

La-di-dah…

Day 68, starting my day with coffee & cuddles. C’est parfait.*

Dear Day 3-ers.

Listening to The Bubble Hour today on my looooooooong ride home through Midwest, USA, I heard a little gem. First, the episode I was listening to was: ‘Straight Talk About Alcoholism Signs & Symptoms,’ and I found it so realistic regarding the various stages of alcoholism. The women hosting the episode were incredibly frank about the stages they identified themselves in, as well as the symptoms they were feeling, just as they were on the verge of seeking help for their addiction, or requiring help.

As it relates to my blog post, I had a ding! moment because for whatever reason, I’ve found that several of my friends here have written that they are finding themselves having to repeat their early days over and over again. Well, in the episode, a great fact was shared that withdrawal symptoms are usually at their worst 48-72 hours into sobriety! My Dear Day 3-ers, This. Means. You!!! Isn’t that great news? You’re not crazy. You’re not alone. And yes! That Day 3 is a mother fucker! (Is it weird that I’m smiling while typing all this? It doesn’t seem like a typical thing to be happy about, but I think it is just awesome!) That Day 3 that keeps holding you back, or giving you the what-for…. It’s chemistry and biology all mixed together. It’s not you. You are not weak. You are not worthless. And you are not a jerk for not making it through that day. It’s a hurdle. A really big, sky-scraping hurdle, covered in barbs, with alligators waiting at the bottom in a murky, slimy pit, and vultures circling above you as you climb naked, but in heels (men, too) all the way to the top and over that jerky-of-the-jerkiest-Day-3s.

…. Doesn’t that give you Hope?

And a little relief? I had to share it with all of you right away. I know some of you are back in early days, and I hear your frustrations and sadness. I thought maybe hearing a bit of the physical components to the disease might make it more possible for you to get to that Days 4 and 5… And onward!

Day 66, Love from the Monster.*

 

Premature Celebration.

No one panic. This post will not dive down into the ‘blue.’ Swearsies.

I am still on vacation, and I am still a bit frazzled and craving release. This am I actually started to cry because my children were crazy beast-animals. I had a few hours of respite while we visited a family friend and they played outside for two hours, however the tension and anxiety in my shoulders hasn’t really left me at all.

So? I did a not-awesome-(but-secretly-I’m-excited-and-think-it’s-awesome)-thing.

The ‘thing’ is a $300 purchase of a Tiffany necklace I have coveted and eyed for yeeeeears. I am so happy, but feeling so guilty. So? Similar to my early 30-day splurge, I am calling this my early 100-day splurge. Guilt (mostly) resolved. *smile*

Here’s a pic:

Ooh-la-la!

Ooh-la-la!

I have to go on record and say I am very, Very good at figuring out rewards. … If any of you need help brainstorming, then just give a holler. hee. I’m happy to help!

Alright, off I go. This post is less than a tenth of yesterday’s post in grateful thanks for your awesomeness and beautiful support yesterday. I am so lucky to have so many cool people in my life via this rad thing called the interwubs.

Day 63, and happily committed to the 100-day challenge (as well as Sobriety-for-Life) Now more than ever. Ha!

p.s. Still feeling itchy on vacation. I won’t lie. The necklace helps, but still have the itch. Going to try some exercise and see if that helps. (It usually does, doesn’t it?)

 

More About My Monster.

I realize I’ve alluded several times throughout these posts to the number of years I believe my drinking has been a problem, and I believe that number morphs and changes depending on the day and the factors I take into consideration in the moment. So this post is my attempt to nail down some specifics, as well as detail the last four years a bit more clearly and the build-up which led, ultimately, to choosing a sober life.

First, the discrepancies in the amount of years I’ve thrown out there…. I believe I’ve said ‘four,’ ‘ten,’ and ‘fifteen’ years at various points in this here bloggy. I will go on record at this moment in time and say that my drinking has been a problem since the first day I ever drank. Fittingly, the night was deemed ‘My Night of Debauchery’ as I was a straight-laced do-gooder throughout high school. I swore I would never chance losing all that I was involved in by getting caught with alcohol, and so I never drank. I will admit to seriously judging those who did drink, alongside of my dearest, most wonderful friends as we sipped our intellectually astute gas station coffee ’til all hours of the night at our favorite hang-out place in our teeny town in Midwest, Minnesota. We were very good at judging, and we were very good at staying sober. Throughout high school, I was never tempted because it was clearly stated to anyone who would listen that I would never drink in high school. Ever.

So, yes. MNoD was quite the event. It happened a few weeks after high school graduation. Friends of mine took it upon themselves to walk me through the steps of drinking a beer, drinking a hard alcoholic drink (vodka & cherry slushie, I believe, the creme de la creme of all alcoholic drinks), smoking a cigarette, and then smoking a cigar. It was quite the night. I remember it as fun and silly and ridiculous, and it was all of those things. I believe I walked away that night feeling like I had just broken the seal on ‘Naughty.’ It was fun to be a little bad, to feel the rush and giddiness of the alcohol and smokes, and later, walking away feeling like I had gotten away with something.

I’m sure I thought about doing it all again as soon as I could, but I was also wrapped up with my friends who did not drink, so pursuing a drink wasn’t my be-all or end-all…. Yet.

Then, as Fate would have it, my best friend in the entire world and I ended up in an extreme drunk-driving accident perhaps a week after my first drink. To clarify, we were not drinking. Not a drop. The people in the car which crashed into us were blackout drunk, perhaps even drunk enough to be hospitalized. The driver registered a .24 blood alcohol count, and the two people with him were as much as that, or more, I’m sure. It was horrendous. My best friend was so hurt from the accident (she was driving), that she missed her first semester of college, which was supposed to start three months later. Her life’s momentum was put on hold, her physical health was wholly compromised, and the mental toll it took on her takes my breath away, even today. For the others involved in the crash, they were also critically injured, but because of their responsibility in the accident, I felt no remorse for them. As the passenger in the second car, I was the only one to remember the accident. I had a small cranial fraction and some more severe facial cuts, which required stitches. I was unconscious for about ten or fifteen minutes, and when I came to, the accident scene was rushing forward in full force. I was taken to a regional hospital, while my best friend was airlifted to a trauma center, as were two of the other people in the first car. I still have issues driving as a passenger to this day.

You would think that after such a traumatic event, I would avoid alcohol at all costs. However, without my best friend next to me every day, I found a new, older group of friends to take me in that summer. They were not ‘partiers’ per say, but because they were older, they had already been to college for a couple of years, and they came back and took me under their wings. They were an awesome group of friends (and still are), but I quickly associated drinking with fun. I left behind all of my former choices and stances, and I began seeking out alcohol in order to have fun. I started to work my schedule and my events around drinking.

This pattern was full-blown in college. Even though I was underage, I managed to drink five to seven nights a week, easy. At this time, my bipolarismness really came to the forefront as well, and I wonder now, with the clarity of hindsight, if my manic and depressive episodes would have been as extreme had I not been drinking as regularly and as wholeheartedly as I was in those early-twenties’ years of mine.

Zipping forward into my mid- and late-twenties, I see that I used alcohol to dampen the weight of a couple of bad relationships I worked hard at entangling myself in. I would go so far to say I even sewed myself into them. They were Bad. The first was bad because I didn’t respect the man, even though I had said ‘yes’ and gotten myself engaged. (So many times in my life I have wanted to grow-up faster than everyone else. My question to my younger self now is, of course, ‘Why, you crazy nutjob?! Slow the fuck down and enjoy the ride for Christ’s sake!’) To clarify, I did not marry the first man (phew!). The second relationship was emotionally and verbally abusive, and I am pretty sure (again with hindsight) that the man is a narcissist. So all through my twenties, I used alcohol as a social lubricant (what a weird phrase), as well as a buffer for my unhappy home life. I probably drank every night at this point. If I wasn’t out with my friends, or my current boyfriend, then I would cook at home and usually drink a bottle of wine by myself. Those nights were my favorite. I loved time to myself, I loved cooking, and I loved drinking wine. And I honestly thought that my friends were all living this way, too. I was single (to a degree), and I didn’t have the pressure of taking care of any children, so I could fit most of what I wanted into a day.

…. A note, too, to say that not all of my twenties were shit. In fact, I was mostly happy. I used to believe… I convinced myself that I shouldn’t be too greedy. In my world, my life was a pie divided into three pieces (.33333333333 for those math nerds out there). So, here I was over-the-moon happy with my career (teacher – still am, p.s.) and with my family. I thought to be completely happy in love was just not part of my equation. I thought it made me greedy and that it broke some cosmic rule in the universe if I should happen to be happy with all three pieces of the pie. So I just accepted my fate and lived with what I got (i.e. not much, love-wise).

Then, tuh-dah! The heavens rained odours on me (that’s a Shakespeare quote (I’m not kidding – I know it’s weird)), and I realized I was a stupid idiot. I met my amazing, sweet, kind, handsome, good-kissing hubs, and had my pie and ate it, too (sorry for the quotey misappropriation).

But? The weird part that I noticed in the side of my mind…? I was still drinking just as much, if not more. And I didn’t know why. I blamed it on winter and seasonal blues. I blamed it on being in theatre and going out for drinks with everyone … all the time. I blamed it on the stress of work and let myself decompress at the end of a long day. … I knew I didn’t have anything to be truly unhappy with, but I still kept drinking. In my late twenties and early thirties, I was easily drinking a bottle of wine or more a night.

Then, children struck, or were born… Take your phrasey pick. My first pregnancy was wonderful. I was the epitome of a healthy, cute pregnancy. I didn’t drink during those ten months, except one glass of wine a month. And I usually tried to make my decision well in advance so that I could celebrate a family birthday, or a holiday or something.

When my daughter was born, I was so happy and such a helicopter (I still am). I didn’t go right back to drinking. I would have maybe a glass here or there in a week, but not much at all – not compared to my old numbers. But after about five or six weeks of monitoring, I slid back into regular daily use. Plus, now that I was home with her all day, every day, I didn’t quite know what to do with myself, so I would drink. I remember one night when my daughter was about two or three months old, I drank so much and ate so much of what I had cooked that night (feeling like a grown-up for a change and feeling put-together), that I threw up. I threw up a lot. My husband wasn’t home, and I was scared. My little baby was on the couch crying, and I was heaving my guts out and trying to clean everything as soon as I had made the mess so that my husband would never know. I don’t think I’ve ever told him about that night. The next day I went to my first AA meeting and wept and spun in circles as the AA members were so eager to pick me up and guide me along their path. …. Looking back, I just remember being so happy at the beginning of that night. Here I was a new mom, with the sweetest, smartest baby in the world, and I was being a grown-up in my own kitchen cooking a love-ily meal, with fresh groceries and a baguette, and I had picked up a box of wine, and I was just enjoying those minutes So. Much. And I was so excited for more and more and more goodness, that I ate and ate and ate, and then I drank and drank drank…. It was horrible. And it so quickly spun downward from something so exciting and good to one of the worst nights of my life. I still beat myself for putting my daughter in danger. Thank god nothing happened to her. Thank god, thank god, thank god… I shudder remembering that night.

As I remember it, and I will admit to not remembering it well, I believe by that night of the AA meeting, I had convinced myself that the night before had been an accident and that I wasn’t that bad. I’m sure I also needed a drink in order to soften the hangover, and so convinced myself that I wasn’t as bad as all that. My husband is still confused about that weekend. I won’t tell him about it, or rather, I haven’t had the courage to yet. I don’t think I’ve told anyone that story until now. …. There you go, world. Not glib at all here, to clarify. I’m shaken and scared to put that out there to you, but it’s one of the biggest reasons in my long list of reasons over the many years it’s taken me to realize I needed help, and that I needed sobriety.

My second pregnancy was the opposite of my first. I was still depressed and not very good at figuring out how to balance my life with a baby, a job, a husband, my drinking, or at the very end of my list – time for myself. I was feeling frayed, hollow, lonely, and empty. I drank a lot – similar to my mid-twenties – about a bottle and a little more every night. With my second pregnancy, I still was mostly sober. Instead of my one glass of wine a month, I allowed myself a glass of wine a week. I also ate anything I wanted because I was trying to fill the something in me that was so empty. I gained a lot of weight, struggled with sciatica pain, and was just sad and disconnected from my life and my toddler. Of course, my sadness was not apparent to the outside world. I was the picture of perfection (besides the weight) to the world at large (so to speak). In fact, I was Wonder Woman. *ching* (That’s the sound of my golden bracelets chinging together, p.s.)

With my second babe, I jumped into drinking almost immediately. As before, I was always careful with my breast milk, but I definitely brought back my ‘reward’ faster than with my first. And I was still in my funk, in my depression.

All that time – almost four straight years – I honestly thought it was my bipolar that was bringing me so far down into depression. I figured the added complication of post-partem accentuated the depression of my bipolar, and was probably multiplied by two quick pregnancies, one after the other.

I am a smart woman. I have two undergraduate degrees and a masters. I am a leader of my peers, as well of teens. I organize and accomplish school-wide agendas. In short, I get shit done. …. And no where in this strong, independently-minded, smart woman did I ever consider my drinking as being the root of my extended depression. I thought it was my fate as a woman in her 30s dealing with the changing nature of my dear old friend, mental illness. I thought I was just having a tough time sliding into the adult world of marriage, mortgages, and motherhood. No where in that brain of mine did it occur to me that (so much) drinking was affecting me so poorly. My habit was an every day habit, and most mornings, I was recovering in one way or another from the night before, while mid-days I was usually figuring out how to get more, or at least figuring out when I would drink later that day/evening.

How could I have been such an idiot?

… Alright, no judgment. I didn’t want to see it. I didn’t want to recognize the problem that drinking and alcohol had become in my life. The last four years, especially, have been particularly painful and challenging, because of the added complication of being a mother and not being a very awesome one much of the time. I was also carrying so much Shame because I was working so hard to hide my habit. I’ve said before that I had switched to boxes of wine because a. Cheaper and b. So much easier to hide how much I was drinking in a night. In my last four to six months, I would say I was probably closer to two bottles of wine a night than one. …. And even though it’s only two months ago, I just remember always being So tired. And resentful of everyone around me wanting me for this or for that. My resentment was growing bigger, as were my instances of anger. I began seeing a therapist two years into my heavy depression, but as my depression was weighing heavier and heavier on me in the following years, I sought out help from a psychiatrist for the first time in twelve years. I really thought, I believed the problem was a fix that could be given from the outside. That there was a cure outside of me that would magically make me all better.

But no. That was not the case.

The cure was in me. In my accepting that alcohol had become too important, too much my reason for making it from one day to the next, too big a reward for getting through a day or an event or a minute, too much my anchor. Without realizing it, the alcohol was making my life unhappy, listless, and lonely. Everything and every day was foggy. My memory was getting worse and worse, my sleeping was affected every night with early morning insomnia, and my resentments towards my family, my friends, and my responsibilities were growing daily. It was a horrible and difficult life to move forward each and every day, and it was mine. I couldn’t fathom why anyone would ever want to grow up, why anyone would ever want to be an adult. This was awful. And since it was, I believed everyone was working as hard as I was to keep their dirty little secrets hidden, which kept me running in my hamster wheel.

Then, some time in May, I think, I found Kate and The Sober Journalist blog she created when she was pursuing sobriety. Although I had wondered about my alcohol consumption levels over the past eighteen years here and there, I didn’t see or identify myself in the word ‘alcoholic.’ And yet, here was a woman who looked like me, and worked like me, and who drank like me. Suddenly, I wasn’t alone! I wasn’t the only one. My secret only felt like a secret – there were others in the world who felt and behaved as I did. … All it took was the one blog (and all of her archival posts), and I found myself able to consider the possibility that yes, I might be an alcoholic. In the weeks to come, I found other blogs and met other voices with more stories I could relate to. Day after day I felt less and less alone.

On 9 June, 2015, I found myself ready to commit to sobriety, and here I am two months later and feeling centered, emotionally richer, happier, and not ashamed of who I am.

Day 62, What’s your story?

 

Happy (with Hurdles).

Alright, so…. Current hurdle is that my bloggy-posting-engine is not working. I am stuck in the HTML form, which I am sure will make this post look all kinds of funky. Kind of perfect, though, considering my kind-of-funky mood. I will consider this a sign from the gods that the immediate world around me is mirroring what I am putting out at this current moment. As Millie and I were talking about, sometimes we have to fake it ’til we make it. And do you know? I really do believe the idea. Very much, in fact. But right now? I am having the darnedest time with it. I am okay during most of the daytime hours, and then when I am with my kids and doing stuff, having adventures with the fan (we’re on vacation at the mo), etc., but as soon as I have a minute to think, I just turn inward.

I am feeling like I want a lot of things in that one minute. First and foremost, I would like to have true time to myself. In the midst of Quality Family Time (QFT), the most alone time I have is with the kids’ movies playing in the background. It is not super-easy reading blogs (I finally caught up!! *flex*), or writing this blog, or just thinking in general.

And the reason why I want some alone time is because I am feeling the brunt of sobriety in the right here, right now (Jesus Jones anyone?). We are staying at a love-ily resort off of Lake Superior, surrounded by woods and trails, tons of shoreline, and some sweet little towns with cute li’l cafes and shops, etc. It really is wonderful, and such a treat for my husband to be back to the places he remembers from when he was a child. It is so similar to my own childhood vacations, we are having all kinds of fun. Okay, I was alluding to bad stuff while all that I just said is all good stuff. Hrm. So where’s the problem?

Every time we go out for a meal, which is every meal here, we are usually at a pub or a restaurant with alcoholic beverages. And while it’s not horrible and I’ve put myself in the situation a number of times during my sobriety already, I have not experienced this unrelenting parade of beer and wine and cocktails, nor have I actually been on vacation. And actually? That might be the hook right there. The being on vacation part. It just feels different. It feels like I should get a treat. I should get a reward. And I am in the predicament of not being able ‘to let go’ in the way I used to be able to whilst on vacation, i.e. Start drinking at 11 am and continue on through the day, while excusing my behavior and choices by saying ‘I’m on vacation!’ (Cue wine-splashing-prime-time-giggle-fest-girl-time-moment. (NOT. (More like… Cue mom-who-tries-to-hide-the-bottle-of-wine-two-beers-and-a-bloody-in-one-day-while-trying-to-keep-up-with-her-family-and-who?-what?-me?-drunk?-nooooooo-I’m-just-a-little-tipsy-I’m-on-vacation-WHEE!-followed-by-a-foggy-hangover-and-as-many-repeats-as-she-can-get-away-with.)))

So, yeah. Vacation sober is nice. It’s just tough.

And the wedding-party-booze-bash I walked into at the lodge tonight was kind of my last straw. Fuckers. Mazel tov to the happy couple, of course, but curses to all of their guests and their drinking ways. Seriously, people. Corridors of people with cute stemware, half-filled bottles, cocktail glasses with swizzle sticks. I felt like I was in 1950s horror flick where every which way I turned booze was Here and Here! and Here!!! DUMDUMDUUUUUUUUUM! (Confession: I miiiiiight have exaggerated the drama a little bit in this recreation.)

So yes. Any time we’ve been in the communal areas around our vacay, I am feeling overexposed and vulnerable, and today was definitely the worst of it by far. Not the best ramp-up as we are leaving tomorrow. Bom-bah.

I’ve been very open with the hubs and told him on the first day I was just feeling a little anxious. I didn’t factor in the complications and stress of just getting ready to leave town, and I was kicking myself for not packing the gabapentine. I am now still in the action of kicking myself as the boozy factors seem to increase and multiply like bad choices on MTV’s Spring Break. (Confession: I may have thrown that simile in for the mere opportunity of throwing it in.)

Add to all this the fact that I had a cigarette for the first time in yeeeeears last weekend, and now I am absolutely craving the opportunity to just Let Go. If only for two minutes.

GAH.

. .. … …. ….. (I’m collecting myself) ….. …. … .. .

You may be wondering where exactly the Happy I mentioned is in all this, huh?

Well, there is the obvious and Most Important: I AM STILL SOBER. Despite it being shit. And hard. And trickier than anticipated. And more aggravating than I’ve expected it to be. And even though it hasn’t been perfect, or tidy, or wrapped up in a bow? I am still sober. And That is fucking awesome.

(Wow. My shoulders just dropped writing that last sentence, because it is so true. It is SO fucking awesome.)

The other Happy in all this? I’m on vacation. With my fam. And we are having some great adventures. Today, for example, my 2- and 4-year olds climbed and hiked over a significant number of rocks to reach a gorgeous point at the end of a scenic peninsula. So. Cool. And amazing to share that moment with them. Beautiful and fun. And there have been so many moments like that all through the long-weekend. So happy to be here with them. And with the hubs. So lucky.

And when tomorrow comes, the babes and I are headed on another road trip to visit my parents, while the hubs heads back home for work Monday. Our vacation will continue, as will my sobriety. And? Having a little more control over my surroundings will help a shit tonne. Plus, my parents will be in on the sober-thing, too, so that will help in all of our goings-on. I will catch-up with a few old high school girlfriends, and spend time with people I love in places I love. What could be better?

So really? Happy.

Quite, quite happy. I just needed to dig a little. I got here in the end. *smile*

Coolest part about today? ….. (Wait for it) …

DAY 60!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Complete with 60 exclamation points.

*flex*

Too Many Good Blogs To Read…

Not enough time!

A frustrated ‘grrrrr!’ indeed.

You are all too talented, gifted, inspirational, and amazing.

I am having the damnedest time staying caught up with all of your wonderful words.

I love you. I love your blogs. And I keep adding more.

Gah.

Don’t stop. I will catch up … Eventually. …. Maybe by 2019.

But I wouldn’t bet on it.

Day 58, Does anyone have the CliffsNotes?

p.s. Thank you to some of you for including me in your Blog List. Gah! I feel like a celebrity. Whee! (My BlogList has a deadline of Halloween, 2017. (I will keep you posted! *smile*))

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: