Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Back Around




Baby me. An approximate representation of who I was after I finished yoga teacher training. 



Hi y'all! It's been months and months and here I am, still sober. :)

Yoga teacher training pulled me apart. In ways like warm rays of sunlight shining on fragrant fields of growing grass, but also in ways that are like the stinky liquid goo you find at the bottom of the kitchen trash when someone hasn't put the bag on right. I have been feeling the hills are alive with the sound of music along side I want to be in bed, in the dark, maybe forever.

Did you know I was a waitress? It's what I've done my whole adult life, aside from a four year stint at Whole Foods where I thought I was going to set the world on fire- maybe in ten years I'd be running my own store! I could make great money without having to go back to school! I could stop waiting tables forever! Then I quickly realized I was not cut out for working at a corporation- even if it was Whole Foods. I still stayed there for four years. It's where I got sober, halfway through my time there. It's where things got so bad that I had to either quit drinking or become a total fucking failure- me at forty, working at the grocery store and not able to handle that much less my life and my family.

I've been sober for almost four years, and back waiting tables for two. It seems ironic and at the same time a bit awful that I make a living serving food and loads of drink. Bottles of expensive wine, big cold martinis, things to taste and pour and talk about and enjoy and I just smell and play along, relying on knowledge I gained fifteen years ago when I was at the top of my booze game. It doesn't bother me much, randomly I'll long to be a person who can go out to dinner like some of the people I wait on, people who can carefully select a bottle of wine and then make it last all of dinner, maybe even leaving a glass in the bottle. How can you just leave a whole glass behind? I'll think and I have to laugh at my disbelief when this happens, knowing what I know about my a-holic self.

My husband waited tables at this same restaurant, I took over his job two years ago when he left to go to computer coding school. I stayed at Whole Foods too, working two jobs so he didn't have to work at all while he was in school.  Our whole marriage has been one of us waiting tables at night to supplement the other person who is working a "real" job during the day. It means that one of us is always around for the boys, and that we are not much around for each other. After twelve years of this style of marriage we are both ready for the way out- not out of being married, but out of being apart, single parenting patiently together for what is starting to feel like might be forever. Now that he's finished with school and has been working for over a year at this amazing job that we still both can't believe happened and I'm finished with yoga teacher training it's time to make some decisions. It means that I have started to think about what I want to be now that I'm grown up.

If there's one thing being sober has taught me it's dream big, and then think bigger. Half the reason I ended up as a waitress is that I never dreamed all that big- in spite of being smart and creative and capable I chose instead to dull myself down because success scares me. I remained contained and small, safe in the place of not pushing myself deserving the just settling. Amazingly enough it seems that I can't tolerate that anymore. That's part of what led me to do my yoga teacher training: I had to. I knew it was going to wake me up in ways I may or may not be ready for and for sure, it did.

After teacher training I had to take a break: I had to gather all my scattered thoughts together to see what thoughts I even wanted to be anymore. Who I wanted to be anymore. To see if I can handle blogging about who I am and what is happening to me. To see if I was ready to move away from putting sobriety front and center, if maybe I could just quietly be sober and perhaps something else would become a beacon of my life.

Lessening the importance of my sobriety didn't happen. What did happen was that every time I though about my life and choices, I was reminded of how recovery has given me the life I have today. Recovery is the lighthouse, it is what sends my ship to sail and plants my feet on the ground. It doesn't need to be in the background, because it doesn't have to. It isn't everything I am, I am everything it is.

My recovery is an ongoing, lifelong project. I quit drinking, but that isn't the finish line, not even close. I get alternately frustrated and overjoyed with the prospect that la la! recovery is going to last forever!!! and that recovery.  is.  going.  to.  last.  for.  ever. There isn't even a finish line. ACK!! How can this be?

How to stay? How to remain open and transparent and stay in the blogging world when things have gotten so much bigger than simply quitting drinking? How to give value to the privacy my life deserves but to also let it all hang out because what if my honesty can be a thing that helps someone whose ship's almost run aground find their lighthouse too? Can this be part of what I am? Is it okay for me to be who I actually am, all out in the open? Can I stop hiding and offer and accept the gifts I am given? Who the hell am I anyway?

I figured it all out... the answer is I don't know.

So here I am, back at my keyboard, thinking of myself and of you there, reading and maybe finding some something that makes you feel ok at your life. I apologize if I left you stranded while I put the oxygen mask only on myself for a while. I thought at the end of my yoga teacher training I would be awake and alive and healed- so healed that I would glow with it, emanate it, radiate it. Instead I was a tender naked mole rat- more than ever out in the bright scary light of the world with only the steadiness of my breath and my feet on the ground to carry me along to where I am today. Yoga helped save me at the beginning of my sobriety, it was an answer to my S.O.S. that now anchors me when I start flailing around. But it also can be so fucking hard because if I practice with honesty and integrity there isn't anywhere for me to hide.

I'm okay with that now. I'm not in a hurry anymore, I'm not searching for the finish line. I'm afraid every single day without pretending I'm not anymore. I'm glad to be here, back where I belong.




24 comments:

  1. Amy! So good to hear how you're doing! I was just thinking about you as I ate my breakfast, wondering whether you were ever going to blog again and how it was all going, and then I stopped online and here you are. Hooray you! It's great to hear you're figuring it out, thinking about how to live, making changes and seeing what works. "Recovery is my lighthouse" is a perfect way to say it. I think I'm just starting to get that. Also, I want to tell you that you do glow, you've been glowing for years! I'm so curious where all this big dreaming will take you. And I'm looking forward to hearing what you have to say about it all. Big hug to you, my friend. xo

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    1. Hi! I'm glad to be back. Thanks for still being here :)

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  2. Hi there,
    Your post really hit home with me, especially your comments about “what I want to be now that I'm grown up” and “there's one thing being sober has taught me it's dream big….half the reason I ended up as a waitress is that I never dreamed all that big- in spite of being smart and creative and capable..”

    In my case (age 48), one of the reasons I quit drinking was the feeling that I was not fulfilling my potential. I had been teaching English in Spain for about 12 years until last year, but frankly I felt like I was capable of much more. Around the time I quit, I started transitioning from teaching into working as a full-time editor (of medical manuscripts), a much more challenging (and higher paying) field.

    Anyhow, I think probably a lot of us ex-drinkers have this feeling of having wasted our talents and abilities. But as you point out, one of the big big benefits of quitting is that you can start to unleash your talents --- the only problem is trying to decide where to focus your energies. I absolutely agree that you’ve got to dream big, but sometimes it’s hard because you may not know in what direction to go. Like you – and I suspect, many ex-drinkers (and probably many drinkers), I still wonder: who am I? who do I want to be? what do I want to do when I grow up? Though I must say that these questions bothered me much more when I was drinking. Now I feel that, with the alcohol out of the equation, at least I am heading in the right direction.

    In short, it sounds to me like you are on the right track! Just keep going and enjoy the journey!

    Hugs,
    Brad

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    1. You hit the nail on the head with "the only problem is trying to figure out where to focus your energies". That's been a huge struggle and I got stretched pretty thin, so I'm learning two lessons at once- making priorities and how to say no, or (gulp) back out of something after I've said yes.

      I think we always wonder who we are, what we'll be- I think it's in constant flow- I'm still trying to grasp the idea that heading in what feels like the right direction is vastly more important than finding the finish line. Thanks for your thoughtful comment. :)

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  3. Amy! How wonderful to read your post. My first thought was retail and food service are two of the most stressful jobs one can work so you got those out of the way. Wonder what teaching yoga would be like, hmm. (I would take your class in a heartbeat - recovery yoga? - if I could.) Well, you and all of us for that matter still have time to figure out what we want to be when we grow up. I alternate between feeling complacent and bored, hopeful and terrified, on track and aimless, though I do think I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be. Again, great hearing from. Don't be a stranger! Byebyebeer

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    1. HI!!!!! :) Teaching yoga is pretty damn cool. I actually like waiting tables over half the time lol. I feel like I'm at least to a point where I feel like I am heading in the right direction even though I'm not sure where I'm going. It's the patience it takes for the future to arrive that gets me- the present moment: what a gift, what a pain in the ass. Glad to see you, too! :) xxxooo

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  4. Amy I've missed your words - they're like a balm to me what with you almost 4 years sober and me almost 3. You are most definitely this gals lighthouse and shine the light just in front of me so thank you for continuing to share your journey so I can benefit on having some sense of what is on its way :) xx

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    1. Hi!!! Thanks for commenting- I've missed being here. I'm glad you're still here too. xxxooo

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  5. Hi Amy, So wonderful to read your post and it's lovely to have you back. I sometimes wonder if I'll ever grow up and I'm in my late 40's! You really inspire me to dream big. I just hope I have the courage to follow through one day. A x

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    1. The courage is already there, inside you. It's figuring out how to be brave enough to let it out that's the tough part. Because I show up for my life I think that makes me a grown up, which is so exciting and not fuddy duddy at all. Plus, with my big dream I keep thinking "Why not me?" So why not you, too? :) xxxooo

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  6. Welcome back and what a nice surprise to see "Soberbia" in my inbox! <3

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    1. Thank you! It's so good to be back! :) xxxooo

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  7. HI Amy!
    I would take your yoga class, too!
    Happy Almost 4 years!
    I hope you make a new photo with 4 fingers up when you get there!
    xo
    Wendy

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    1. Hi! 3 more months to go until 4 years- seems almost impossible that I haven't had a drink for almost FOUR YEARS? There are moments that I still can't believe it. xxxooo

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  8. what a great post to start my day! thanks for the inspiration.

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  9. Looks like you were missed, Missy! I totally love this, "It isn't everything I am, I am everything it is."

    Keep dreaming big-I'm going to, too!

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    1. Yes! We are big dreamers! :) Thank you for pointing out that line, it was one of my favorites too :) xxxooo

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  10. So glad for you, love to read this
    I still think of the Good Housekeeping article and the day I came upon it sitting in my office!

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    1. Thank you! I'm so glad you found it. :)

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  11. Very inspirational post, thank you so much for sharing. My father was an alcoholic for years and he finally stopped. I was very proud of him and I am proud of you as well.

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    1. Thank you! It's hard to stop, I'm proud of your dad too, and proud of you for dealing with his alcoholism. That is not an easy part, loving an addict.

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  12. Very inspirational post, thank you so much for sharing. My father was an alcoholic for years and he finally stopped. I was very proud of him and I am proud of you as well.

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  14. what is it about naked mole-rats that makes them such damn fine writers? oh - that would be the nakedness, I guess.... so good to read you here again, saying things that I have half-framed in my own mind and helping me to grasp them for myself.

    I've also struggled with that issue of being open and honest and blogging about the journey when it has become more than 'merely' quitting drinking. do you know this quote from Sarah Hepola?

    'Drunks tend to get more alike as they go on. Sober people get more and more individualised as they learn to deal with life straight on and enjoy the fruits of actually being present on a day to day basis.'

    it's that process of individualisation which is less easy to blog about, I think, than the first stages of "waaaaaaah, why can't I have wine?/self-care/replacement drink please licketty split!". it can be done though, as you have admirably shown here! lots of love, Prim xx

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