Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Sober Birthday or: How I Remembered Every Bit About Turning 42


Me, Jack, Hampton, & Husband. Yes! That's really us!



I celebrated my forty-second birthday this weekend. It was my first one sober in about twenty humpfh snerf years. It was one of the best times I've ever had. Ever.

We ran. We camped. We laughed- a lot. We slept on creaky loud cots, and it was cold in the morning. On my birthday I woke up and stood outside cooking eggs and bacon while shivering and drinking delicious coffee. It was awesome.

Y'all, camping has always been a drink fest. You know- you get there, start to unpack the car, crack open a cold beer. Slowly get wasted. Wake up hungover in the morning annoyed at the kids and the outdoorsy-ness of it all. Maybe you lost the keys to the car somehow when you were trying to hide them so they'd be safe before you passed out and now you're dying of thirst and all the water is in the car. And you're miles from a locksmith and the campground host isn't around to call since you have no cell phone service. And you're still dying of thirst, and the children are confused and hungry.  But then you finally find the keys right where you left them. I mean, that could happen. 

So....once again, sober was so much better. My oldest and I were walking to the bathroom together and he grabbed me and looked up at me and said in his sweet way, "I just love you mom." like he does when he really does just love me, and all is right with the world. I was there for everything: not concentrating on how much beer was left, or if it was too soon for another sip of the sipping tequila. Not wondering if we should open some wine. Not wishing it was time for the children to go to bed so I could smoke cigarettes and stop worrying about them and get drunk. (Like I wasn't already well on my way....)

I laughed so much.

I said, out loud, how much I loved people. How much it meant to me that they were there to celebrate with me. I called a friend to thank her for the flowers she gave me instead of texting her. I said "Thank you so much, this meant so much to me" to another friend who brought cake. I was so grateful to my husband who did almost all the packing and unpacking for our trip. I hugged my mom and dad and told them while I looked at them how wonderful it was for them to share the weekend with me. All of that was very brave since I love a lot, but not out loud.

I also said out loud to myself how proud I was of me. I hugged and held my sweet sober self and cried some with all the gratitude and joy sobriety brings me. I forgave myself my past more. I turned forty two. And I will always remember every sweet little bit.

21 comments:

  1. What a beautiful post and a beautiful picture! *That's* the truck-driver swearing Amy I know? Ha ha. Your kids look so sweet and hubby is a fine looking chap. Great pic.

    And what you said about being there, being in the moment, not having to worry about the booze, about actually calling instead of texting (that was the big thing I got from this) your friend, and the outpouring of love from friends and family really touched me. Really did. This is the kind of stuff we find in recovery. It's not always about the golden orbed Hallelujah moments, or the big God Shots or other wonderful, but occasional stabs of "aha"'s, but the day to day trudging. The times when the boy does say "I love you", when you wake up feeling great, when you feel crappy but get through it with no scratches, when you're ok when the kids make a big mess or dinner gets burnt, when the boss annoys you but you brush it off as her problem and not yours, when you are *grateful* on a daily basis for what you have...these are the real miracles. These are the things that count and get into the bank.

    You blog has changed...and that's because you are changing. And it's a fantastic thing to see. And this post really touched me today.

    Cheers,
    Paul

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, right? All sweetness and light until....what the fuck?

      Yes, it is big for me every day when I tell people how I love them, or say things that make me vulnerable- that show people how I feel. It's the small things that have made all the difference for me.

      Thank you as usual friend. :)And, cheers!

      Delete
  2. And oh jeez...Happy Birthday!!

    (d'uh - don't know how I forgot that) need more coffee here...

    Paul

    ReplyDelete
  3. nothing better than this. the photo, the words, your sober 'belly-button' birthday. all is well in the world of Amy. does make one's heart sing. no really :) i'm super happy to know you :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. YEY! Happy Birthday!! (I am 42 too!) - LOVE this post! All great stuff. This is the perfect picture of sobriety! Congratulations!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay 42! It makes me feel wise and not old at all. Thank you!

      Delete
  5. Happy birthday! You're about 6 months ahead of me. I'm so with you on the camping thing. We went after Christmas and yes, used to be a major booze fest but standing at the camping stove early i the morning with a clear head, with the birds chirping, making pancakes with a tiny fry pan as other emerged sleepily from their tents was such a joy! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nothing like morning outside in the blue blue sky breathing in the air and being able to concentrate on things like "Wow, this is brisk and great" instead of "Fuck. Whose fucking idea was this anyway."

      Thank you!

      Delete
  6. Happy Birthday Amy!,
    I am so happy that you had a super holiday and a special birthday to remember!
    Another sober first!
    And a run too, of course, run Forest, run!
    You even look like you rock!
    Xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Carrie!

      I love these sober firsts. Although I think I will enjoy the seconds too!

      Delete
  7. Beautiful Family! Beautiful You! I'm so darn happy for you. I know, I know, I know! Aren't mornings wonderful? Aren't "I love you's" wonderful? Isn't sobriety wonderful?

    Happy Birthday, you gave yourself the best gift you'll ever receive!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. It is the best gift. Ever. And the best part is it's like a new gift every day.

      Delete
  8. Amy, I loved this post! Thank you for writing from your heart. This post is encouraging to me because I have a trip coming up with a good friend and we usually have wine together so this will be the first time we've hung out in a while without wine. I have been sober for a year but this trip is really making me anxious. I'm getting the "poor me, I can't drink," and "I wish I could have just a glass of wine with her" feelings. I know it wouldn't just be a glass and I know how much better life has been since I got sober. Your post is a good example of how great sober life can be. One of the best things for me about sobriety is being present with my sweet children and there to love the small things. I loved the part about your son telling you he loved you. So sweet. Moments like that just fill your heart right up, don't they?! I also loved the last paragraph when you talked about hugging your sober self. Awesome! Thanks again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know that dread feeling- we have our annual friends camping trip in June and I am already circling the wagons. And wondering when to tell friends I'm not drinking anymore.

      I loved your comment! Thank you. It's such a great feeling to feel proud again, isn't it? :)

      Delete
  9. Amy, I'm so glad that I clicked on your name from Belle's blog and just enjoyed reading your birthday post and I had tears in my eyes! So happy you had such a beautiful birthday! Sobriety is the gift that keeps on giving every day! The running family picture is awesome! I did giggle reading the camping story...cause I have a few of my own that sound a lot like yours! Happy 42nd! Nice to meet you! :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi! Nice to meet you, too! :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. As soon as I found this internet site I went on reddit to share some of the love with them.

    ReplyDelete