Heya, Monster.

A SoberBlog by a TallWoman.

Archive for the tag “Achievement”

The Long-Awaited…

Is finally here!

…. And it hurt!

…. And it still hurts!

…. But It. Is. SO. COOL!!!

I love it.

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That tattoo artist is amazing. Cool. Good at swearing. Great story-teller. And a friend of friends. Can’t wait to go back to her next year for my second star… *smile*

For those who ask, first, it was a pretty tender place to get tattooed in the first place. But? I couldn’t think of anywhere more I wanted it. So, glad I went through with it. The feeling was like when you scrape your knee, but in slow-motion, and on purpose, and for a looooong period of time. Well, 30 minutes. But still. Slow-motion pain.

But now? I feel like a bad-ass. I also feel like if I do become a regular inker (skeptical), then anywhere else I decide to put a tattoo would be a breeze. Did I mention how tough I am? *smile* Ha, yeah, right.

Day 390, Heya, Universe. Thank you.*

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A Year in the Life.

Well, today is the day.

1 Year Sober.

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And?

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I was inexplicably sad and tired all of the time. I felt constantly stressed, angry, and frustrated with my Life in general, and I was resentful and irritated with those people I love most in the world. I wanted so much to be the person I remembered being in my younger days, but I couldn’t find my way back to Her. I turned in on myself and away from the world. I tried every night to ‘treat’ myself and take some Me-Time in the guise of a wine glass. I thought it was adults did. Instead of filling me with positives and benefits, the wine took things away…. Most of all my sense of self, and replaced it with shame and pain.

Today? I am not the person I was. Even in the midst of all that has transpired this year (this spring in particular), I am Joyful. I am Happy. I am sure of myself, who I am, what I want, what I believe. My relationships with others are deeper, more sincere, more honest, more present, and more consistent. Resentment has gone the way of the dodo. Shame left me soon after I stopped drinking because I had nothing to feel ashamed about. My work/my creativity is stronger. I am rested. I am kinder and gentler – most of all with myself. I truly feel like I have recaptured Who I Was into the Me Who Is Now.

Sobriety is the best gift I have ever given myself, because it has given me my Life back.

To those people I love here in the blogosphere, my family, my friends, and the hubs, THANK YOU for all the love and support. I would not be here without having you with me on every step of this fascinating journey.

Year 1, Here I Am.

p.s. To those considering sobriety, perhaps just try it and see. What’s the harm? If, like me, you’ve tried counting drinks, setting limits, setting rules, jumping through the hoops of justifying the morning-after drink, or the drink at 5 o’clock-even-though-yesterday-was-an-alcoholic-blur, or if you’ve covertly picked up another bottle because it was on your way, or next to the grocery store anyway, or if you’re planning get-togethers with friends because it gives you the opportunity to drink in a group, an alibi, but then later by yourself, or if you’ve drunk by yourself and secretly filled your glass, or watched the bottle level go lower and lower and you’re not getting enough while everyone else seems to, or if you’ve hidden bottles away from your people and then gotten rid of the empty bottles when no one’s looking….. If you’ve done any or all of that, what would be the harm in just trying sobriety for a day or a week, just to see how it goes? What I discovered was that Sobriety is a whole lot less work than drinking ever was. It was actually easier…. on my life, on my health, on my well-being, on my peace-of-mind. Reach out to us here, if you want someone to listen to your story, or if you have questions. There are so many of us here who have been where you are. And, to be sure, I do not have all the answers, nor is my journey done. I still choose sobriety every day, and sometimes that choice is a lot harder than others, but? To me, it is always worth it and proves itself to be day in and day out. Love, -HM.

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3… 2… 1…

“Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.”
     -Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

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Here I sit in the midst of my countdowns (plural)…. The school year has ended. Grades have been reported. Grad parties have been attended. My own goodbye party has happened, where it seemed an infinite number of hugs and ‘See you soon’s and ‘Keep in touch’es were said by all. In the job world, I have one sliver of a string keeping me tethered to the Old, while a second silver string is dangling in the near future – complete with transition meeting set next week, and then off to the races with planning, learning, deciding, more planning, scrapping, then planning s’more… *smile*

It’s been good. Gooder than I thought it would be. (Please know that grammatical error was a conscious choice.) The major hurdle had been this past Thursday with the end of the year luncheon, and once that was over, everything else kind of followed in a logical sequence.

So, now I here I am contemplating my big 1 year-aversary set for Thursday, 9 June, 2016. I am actually getting kind of excited for it. Today, in silly Monster-fashion, I contemplated the idea of ‘One. Year.’ and what all that meant. I mean, of course I know it’s a year, but for some reason, today I felt like I could suddenly look back and see and understand what that huge concept represented – all of its ins and outs. Daunting in its magnitude. And proud-making in its scope. And shiver-shaking in its many, many effects.

As each day goes by this week, I am trying to raise my courage levels so that I am ready for my big dive into skin art. I am determined to get a tattoo (moon & a star) on my left wrist, but now that I have discovered the beautiful Rilke quote above, I am getting all cocky and thinking…. ‘Aw, I could totally do a moon and a star AND a Dragon.’ …. Someone talk me off my ledge. *smile*

Day 363, I will keep you posted, cool cats & kitties…..

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Heya, Hope.

Morning Sunrise Photo Depicts actual Cloud with Silver Lining

Good morning.* Some big things have happened in the past month – so big, I can’t even really believe it all fit inside the time of 35 days.

So, on April 1st, I found out my teaching contract would not be renewed next year. (I’m sorry I keep repeating this fact.)

But then? Even inside all of my sadness and grief and loss, I got shit done. References, resumes, cover letters, job hunts, applications …. Which led to …

Hope

A job interview! …. Even better? …. For a theatre teaching position! A full-time, department lead, theatre position. It was like finding a unicorn. Seriously.

1st interview led to a second, all-day interview extravaganza about a week later. Discovered the school is Happy. Very open. Liberal. Kind. …. I found myself getting hopeful, but also trying to stay pragmatic – I kept generating applications and getting them out so that I wouldn’t lose momentum.

Had to wait a looooooooong week as there was a second candidate going through the same process as I had – teaching 2 classes, meeting with a student panel, HR, current teachers, and then another interview at the end of the crazy day. I decided I just wanted it to be a good fight, because what could be better than that?

So, that week went by, and I got the call offering me the position. The principal was SO kind and supportive and enthusiastic. I accepted (of course!), signed my contract yesterday, and now? The future waits just around the corner. Yow!

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Throw in all the sadness and anger and frustration, doing my regular teaching job, as well as opening and closing a show, auditioning for a second, and prepping for a third, oh, and my family and personal time, some consistent retail therapy, new hair-do, lots and lots of hours spent listening to lots and lots of great music, and to top it off, coffee – lots of it, and then, after all that, you pretty much get the gist of my month. *smile* (I can smile now.)

Oh, and?!

I hit 11 months on May 9th! (I am officially shopping for final tattoo designs and artists for my year-a-versary.)

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So. Much. Happening.

Day 340, How did that happen?! Holy shite.

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MEMEntos from an Earlier Life.

Alright. So I was online prepping for a different post completely, when a wine meme popped into the search results. It caught my attention, and so I looked up ‘wine memes’ and within five minutes, I think I had pulled at least 20 different ones. As I went further and further into the search results, my stomach just turned. Ugh. Yuck. So many of these would have made me laugh aloud in my drinking days (only 6 months ago), and they would also make me feel okay about how much I was drinking on a daily basis (i.e. a LOT), as well as make me feel justified for drinking as much as I was because Hell, everyone was doing it! Jump on the drunken bandwagon, Monster! (So I did. (Over and over and over again.))

Now, here is a heads-up if you would like to cut out of here and go read another blog, I totally understand. The following material may induce flashbacks to ‘The Good Ol’ Days of Regular Public Embarrassment,’ or make you wax nostalgic about those sweet days of yore rife with alcoholic hook-ups and drunken stupors.

Looking at these memes in a collection really unnerved me. Some of them are actually quite offensive, and others of them just make me sad, because even though they’re meant to be funny-ha-ha-jokes, they really ring with a bitter tone of Truth.

Personally, until I got sober, I had never noticed how pervasive the message of ‘You should drink‘ was found in every facet of my life! In my early drinking life (read: 20s), my primary Achilles’ heels were movies or TV shows portraying people ‘just like me’ who always sought out the coolest, trendiest cocktail bars, or dive bars for the ironic factor, or tried the new craft beer or whiskey because they were Just. That. Cool. My imagination and perceived perception of reality (read: idiotic) in my early 20s came partially because I was one of the younger people on staff, and I truly believed my older, more mature, and wise coworkers socialized like those people in the movies who I aspired to be like, so again, I multiplied my efforts and tried to be just like all of them.

Imagination and projection are problems for me (They are also my bread&butter for the record, but in this reminiscence, they’re a problem.). In my early 30s, motherhood found me, or I found it rather. The above memes were probably first seen on my Facebook feed about that same time, a thing I would check obsessively multiple times a day. And every damned time, I would believe everything I saw. I believed the memes because they were tongue-in-cheek funny. I believe the people posting them were laughing at themselves and how much they drank, but they were so cool and hip and awesome (I am sensing a recurring theme here), they could be self-deprecating and drunk at the same time – and be totally okay with it! For the most part, these memes appeared on girlfriends’ walls and status updates. Women, who I already thought were pretty cool and awesome in and of themselves, would post these types of memes pretty regularly.  Combine the trendy memes along with the everyday posts of these young mothers kicking ass and being awesome (because who takes pictures and posts them when things are normal, boring, or fucking awful?), and I was buying it all hook, line, and sinker. Oftentimes these super-hero-perfect-hair-moms (or so I believed) would post cute, trendy photos of themselves out and about, or in with cozy yoga pants on, with girlfriends clinking glasses, or sharing a bottle of wine, and seriously. I thought every mother in the United States was coping with the suckage of motherhood by drinking herself into a buzz, if not further down the drunken spectrum Every Night.

Now that I am somewhat removed from the constant circles of drinking (social, as well as my own much more regular lonely circle of 1), I have felt a true release and relief from the pressure to ‘Drink! Drink! Drink!’ And all of those outside images and perceived lives I hoped to achieve and emulate? With the filter of drinking lifted, I see a lot more Reality. Even in my 20s (and 30s, if I’m honest), I think my addiction was trying to hide itself inside the whisper of ‘Be like everyone else.’ Without the constant need to drink, and/or the constant obsession to hide how much I was drinking by looking more like the Perfect version of Life, I am now more okay with being myself. And my FB friends, they are still my friends, but I (finally) get that what I am seeing are filtered realities. Of course they are. It just took me 10 years to consciously make myself aware of this fact any time I check in on the ol’ FB. (Sidenote: I’ve been away from FB for 5 weeks just because, and so far? So good.) Without my addiction making me feel like I have to look around at the world and feel like I don’t measure up, or that I have a dirty secret (which I did), I am now able to see more of the reality all around me. And all because I get to look around now. Before I was too taken up with worry because someone was going to find me out. But now? Now I have nothing to hide. I get to sit back and really see what’s going on.
goldfish-one-different-900x600Day 200, Whoa! Fun surprise! (I just looked it up on a sober counter and really had no idea.) ….. I was going to write: Not drinking the kool-aid anymore… Phew! ….. Edit: I already wrote that on an earlier post. I am so passe…

p.s. And compleeeeetely off-topic…. I loved the new Star Wars movie! Finally saw it over Christmas and laughed with pure delight soso many times.

 

 

Achievement Unlocked!

That’s right, folks. You read it correctly. Days of living, and loving, and doing, and laaaaaaaaaughing, and self-confidencing, and playing, and creating, and exercising, and Being Myself. 180 days to be exact. *smile*

(1) Mission accomplished.

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And it really does feel like a mission. All last spring I was just tired and sad and more tired and not sure why I was so sad and so tired. I was doing things! I was prepping for two summer shows, I was spending time with friends pretty regularly (for me), and I was running around like a mad woman keeping the overall look of me from cracking. And every night I was REWARDING myself with wine for making it to another 5 or 6 o’clock. On the days it was 6 o’clock, I was itchy and antsy for that first glass – and it was only an hour ‘late.’ During the evenings I would ‘relax’ and ‘veg out’ and ‘recover’ from my busy days so that I would be ‘rested’ and ‘ready’ for my next busy day.

The Me-who-is-Now calls Bullllllllshiiiiiiiit on that Mess!

I honestly had no idea how much the alcohol was negatively affecting my life. Not one iota of an idea. …. Okay, well, maybe one. I thought I was a little tired in the mornings (due to massive amounts of wine the nights before (but at the time, I thought they were ‘normal amounts’ and that everyone was doing it, they just weren’t talking about it)), but I thought I ‘deserved’ the Reward of letting go of the daytime world and getting some ‘Me-Time.’

(I am using quotes like a crazy woman. …. (Sorry-not-sorry. (Because there’s probably going to be more.))

And then June 9 came along, and I just decided ‘Enough.’ (Appropriate use of a quote, for the record. (And yep. More.))

For those I’ve read struggling to begin their Day 1’s, or having trouble committing and sticking to the no-drinking plan, I want to say that June 9 was not the first time I thought I should give up drinking, nor is it the first time I tried to quit the drink. However, it was the first time I was too tired to fight anymore. That whole ‘admitting powerlessness’ is really what happened to me, I just didn’t know it at the time. All the other times I had decided, ‘Okay, no more. I swear, double-dog-pinky-dinky-swear I won’t stop and buy wine to drink tonight’ …. Well, by the afternoons (on every occasion),  I would talk myself into buying the wine and just letting myself have one, maaaaaaaaybe two glasses at Most. I would decide that everyone else in the world was unwinding at the end of their days with alcohol, so it was only fair that I would get to, too. Plus, I would convince myself that I could drink a regular amount today, and again – the one or two glasses of wine would be my bargaining chips in my head. (And then fast forward to later that evening, and the one or two glasses would multiply into one or two bottles.)

Every. Damn. Day.

June 9 showed up and I knew I could not win. I could not bargain. I could not deal. I could not balance, or make sense of, or distinguish, or feel, or regulate, or be, or find, or explore, or lead, or jump… Not in the midst of all the wine. Not in the midst of being shackled to the daily buzz/stupor. Not in the midst of choosing Wine over Me.

So I gave up. I let go of trying to hold on so tightly. So desperately. I let go of planning every day how I would ‘get to’ drink. I had urges to drink. I wanted to drink. Some days I convinced myself that I would drink, but then I reminded myself of letting go, and I would let go over and over and over on those days.

And do you know? It was the most liberating action of my adult life. Minutes, hours, and days have opened up with opportunities, relationships, and fun because I have been there to Live inside of them. Choosing to move alcohol from the center or focus of my world to the banished cold and icy mountains of doom has allowed me so much more freedom! Now my life moves around My Life. As dorky as that sounds. But it’s true! It’s my Life again. Not (wicked) Wine’s. And even though it took years of frustration and circling and considering and bargaining to get there, on the day I finally let go, it/Life became so easy.

There are still days when I start to consider ‘just one,’ or wonder if I could be like ‘other people,’ but then I play the scenario out, and boom. Drunk. Sad. Alcoholic. Horrible. Miserable. Crushed. All over again. So, I let go of the idea again, and move on… Sometimes for a minute, and the thought creeps back, and so I bang it away again, and sometimes playing the scenario out just once is enough. Depends on the day. But? Even on the days the creeping thoughts return again and again, I still go to bed sober, because I know – over and over – that wine is not my way. Not anymore.

Oh, Hello, New Way of Life.

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I am now looking forward to a couple of mini-sober-challenges, which are:

  1. My true 6-month-aversary on December 9th.
  2. A few more days to reach the Winter Solstice on December 22nd.
  3. Set my sights on my Year goal, and subsequent first tattoo. (Woot!)
  4. While simultaneously resetting the clock for another Solstice-to-Solstice challenge to get me into the Summer.

So here I am. 9 am, contemplating a wonderful sober life, and cake. Lots and lots of cake! *smile*

Day 180, You can do it, too! (And many of you have – my Heroes!)

Si, Si, Senora!

It’s been a good week.

A stress-filled week.

But a good week.

I got rolling pretty quickly downhill on Monday into a stressball, as we say in our house. So? After a day of running around, teaching, organizing, designing a brochure, prepping the set design for the next show, as well as prepping for auditions, I was Done.

And do you know? A cool thing happened….

I did not have the urge to drink. (Wa-hoo!)

Nope.

I had the urge to scream and cry a little,

I ran - like the wind!

so instead of actually doing either of those things….

I ran.

Like the wind.

Seriously. I ran So fast on Monday. Usually I hover around 6 mph doing intervals, and Monday, I cranked up the treadmill to 6.5 mph for almost all of the intervals, and then even hit 7 mph for the last one. Man, did it feel good! And such a healthier way to deal with stress than drinking it away.

Then, the rest of the week went by in a bit of a blur. Classes, auditions, show stuff, cramming in time to run 4 out of 5 days…. But it was good. By Friday, I was ready for the weekend! The cast and crew lists were posted, and it was time to par-tay! And by ‘par-tay,’ I mean go home to the babes, drink a bunch of glasses of iced tea, enjoy dinner with my fam, and then read sober blogs and Mindy Kaling’s first book before I fell asleep. Party on, Wayne.

It’s been a good weekend.

Yesterday, I had time with my girlfriends for our brunch & book club. We sooooort of screen-shot-2013-02-01-at-1-46-09-pmdiscussed Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane, which as my girlfriend says, “Breaks your heart twice in the first chapter.” SO incredible and well-written. I’m a huge Gaiman fan – HUGE – and have personally decided this is the book he has been trying to write for his whole writing career. It is beautiful and poetic and core-shakingly brilliant. Truly stunning. … And the time we spent discussing it? Oh, about 10 minutes. *smile* The rest of the time was spent on some much-needed catching up. Wonderful!

Then, last night, the hubs and I were Clark-Gable-Peter-Warne-It-Happened-One-Night able to enjoy a bit of a date-night as our babes fell asleep pretty quickly. I was in the mood for a romantic comedy (because Mindy Kaling mentions the genre more than once in her book that I had been reading – Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns). As I was picking through our collection, it was (re)discovered that the hubs had never seen the classic, hilarious, and wonderful movie It Happened One Night, starring Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable, directed by Frank Capra, and written by Robert Riskin. Oh, my goodness! I forgot how much I love this movie! So funny, and so sweet. I mean, look at this still from the movie – that look! Doesn’t it make you melt? And the love-ily thing is that Colbert has more than one moment of that sweet look as well. Gah. Love it.

So now, today, in about thirty minutes, imgresthe hubs and I are headed to another date out. Wow! We are so full of awesomeness and together-time this weekend! … And I can’t wait because we are seeing The Martian. I am not usually one to have the quick instinct that “I have to see that!” But with this one? The first time I saw the movie trailer, that was the thought I had. I’m so excited, and am perhaps looking forward equally towards the movie itself, as well as the popcorn and/or candy that will accompany said movie. Hee. Yum and Yay!

Okay, and? Now for the last good thing on my current list (there are so many today – so cool)… I was kind of losing track of my sober days, what with all that has been going on at work, and then on Thursday, I realized I was pretty close to 150/5 months. I checked in on line for a minute, and tuh-dah! Sober Day 150 was on Friday. Huge achievement! And my official 5-month happens tomorrow. So great! Now I am just 30 days away from my 180-day challenge finish, as well as edging up on that Winter Solstice/Solstice-to-Solstice Challenge. As I like to say, Woot-to-the-Oot, People!

So, here I was basking in the goodness of sobriety and achievement and not really feeling the worse for wear (as opposed to the time around the 100-marker), and was thinking I might splurge on a little Aveda perfume, because it’s waaaaaaaay cheaper than the perfumes I am in love with. Giorgio-Armani-SiI mentioned it to the hubs yesterday, and do you know? That man came home in the afternoon with a 5- and 6-month combo celebratory present for me. Gah. So sweet. And so deliciously amazing! As you can see here, it was a hunormous bottle of Armani’s Si perfume, plus a little gift set for buying the biggest bottle (Score!). So now, I am about to get ready for the date mentioned above, and then wear my new, yummy, wonderful perfume. Plus? Cate Blanchett is the spokesperson! I didn’t even know that until I looked up images this morning, and now I am more in love with my perfume than ever. Way to go manipulative advertising machine. You got me!

And with that? I must run. Time to get ready for my date! Ooooooh! We might even kiss! Gross.

Okay, love you. G’bye!

Day 152, Oh, look at that – the Pink Cloud has returned with a sky FULL of identical friends.

 

100 Day Sober Challenge = Complete.

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I’m here.

And even though it’s been a surprisingly lackluster sort of a day,

complete with a morning wake-up to

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 this,

followed by long minutes

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of this,

and an unforgivable cup

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of this

(seriously, the worst cup of coffee I have ever had was today of all days),

I am still

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happy.

And I’m still

proud.

And even though I don’t feel like

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dancing,

or

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cheering,

I still feel pretty

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And better than I’ve felt

Well? …

In a long, long, long, long time.

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Day 100, I made it.

p.s. And here I go –

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onward & upward.

 

p.p.s. Thank you to my (dear, amazing, incredible, how-lucky-can-a-woman-get?!) hubs, to my family, to my friends (Little Ms. Jones, AnneMillie, LoriFeelingBettyRobert, Prim, Wanting Something BetterA Hangover Free Life, Ella, Wendy, and Dinah), my therapist, and to Belle (for cheering this fucking party on). You have all been true gifts to me with your continued support and general awesomeness. Love to all of you.*

#Poundage.

I have to tell you my confidence is way up. The bloating has almost completely gone away – particularly from my belly and face. I am wearing fun clothes, and taking time in the mornings to do my make-up, and just ‘get ready.’ The new treats from the past couple of months are being worn and/or used frequently. And I just feel good about me.

The coolest thing? I am more confident when speaking with people. ….I always was confident, but now I am grounded. I’m not afraid to ask for thing – I know the answer might be ‘no’ – and whatever happens, happens.

In numbers, I’ve lost about 10 pounds total. Am still high on the scale, but for right now? I think this number here is Awesome. Yesterday this number ran 2 miles and didn’t get winded. This number is all kinds of wonderful.

Day 85, oh, Hello, Self.*

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?)

 

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