Thursday, January 31, 2013

Holy Shit Y'all.

I woke up in the middle of Monday night and felt the mind race gearing up so I turned on the TV. I was looking for Law and Order (always on, puts me right to sleep) and the image on the screen froze. So I started flipping channels. They were all frozen. Then this appeared on the screen:

"After eighteen years of sobriety, Terry relapsed two years ago." 

Holy shit y'all.



6570 DAYS. 

Holy fucking SHIT y'all.

It turns out the show was "Intervention"- which for me is enthralling and totally depressing. I used to get secret satisfaction from watching people who were waaaayyyyyy more fucked up than me. Then I would rationalize: "I'm not chugging mouthwash in a locked bathroom. Phew. I'm just fine." I liked to see the people get better. That made me feel like if only someone would whisk me away to a fabulous rehab then I could be the sober one waiting for my family to get there. And that my hair would look better.  

And then sometimes the catch-up info at the end would say things about relapsing, and getting sober again. And I would think it wasn't possible. That everyone goes back. Why even try? 

I haven't watched "Intervention" since I quit drinking. I found out that watching people fucked up on booze and drugs is uncomfortable and depressing. And not (for me) a vehicle of deterrent. More like the bus over the high cliffs of hopeless. I read that sentence on the TV screen and wanted to shake Terry with all my might. I wished I could have been there to yell "DON'T DO IT!!!!" when he picked up that bottle and told himself after EIGHTEEN YEARS that it was OK. (Terry also went back to his crack habit, too. Thank you sweet baby Jesus I never had one of those.) At the intervention he said yes. Then he relapsed again. And then got sober again. And now? Well, who knows?

I have been almost rudely lucky since the stars aligned and I chose to get sober when I was exactly the readiest. I don't want to drink. Most of the time. Ninety percent of it. The I see some shit like that and I feel like I might need a suit of armor. A bodyguard. Or at least a guard dog. A mouth chastity belt? Now that would be cool. Right. Mouth locks are the new black. 

This looks comfy eh?

I don't want to be at my sons' wedding in eighteen years and blow it. "Why is mom doing keg stands at the family reunion?" Lord. 

I don't tell myself,  "I won't drink today, just for today. I can drink tomorrow if I want to." I tell myself,  "You can never ever drink again. It ruins you." Because then for me there is no decision to be made. It's kind of like asking if I'll push that old lady in front of the speeding train. It's the never asked question. There is no question. The answer is always "NO!!!". And you really don't have to ask. This doesn't work for everybody. The thought of never drinking again makes me feel relieved, not desperate. It could be all in the way you look at it. Or it could be just me. But it works for me. And hopefully it will for years. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Say What?

"'Motherfuck-itude' and 'motherfuckery' is 

about quitting your bitching, getting out of 

your own ego, and getting to work."

I read this and wanted to immediately print it out and tack it to the wall above the desk. And then live by it every single mother fucking day. I'll have to memorize it since it's probably not appropriate for an eight and a four year old to get their minds on. "Mommy? What's a 'mother fucker'?" I think the word 'ego' is a much dirtier one. But the bad word police didn't ask me. 

I've been wallowing a lot since the Girl Scout cookies arrived. Eating them with total abandon. Alcoholic abandon. "Hi, my name is Amy and I'm a Girl Scout cookie-a-holic." Really it's more like this: "Hi, my name is Amy and I'm a give-myself-permission-to-do-whatever-I-want-even-if-it-makes-me-miserable-and-I-know-it-will-a-holic". Phew. Say that ten times fast.

I have not enjoyed revisiting the place where I say "Fuck it!" and then beat myself up for it, and then do it again! I have gone backwards in the past week. And I don't dig it one single bit. I've been living unintentionally. Not having any direction, or purpose. Flailing about not concentrating on anything, doing a little of everything, accomplishing nothing. It has sucked

I hate this feeling that I'm being dragged along while the crazy person makes all the decisions. It's like when you were little and someone tickled you until you were laugh-screeching for mercy. You loved it, it was so funny, but it was awful because you couldn't escape or breathe. 

I'm learning that I like structure. A lot. That I like telling myself "NO!". It works for me. The easy choice isn't always so easy. Yes, I can cram cookies down my throat while sitting on the computer instead of paying attention to my children and doing a load of laundry. That seems delightful and easy. But then. My face breaks out from the sugar. The children gallop around the house, wanting to be noticed. No one has anything to wear. I feel fat. Easy's not so easy anymore. Fat, yelling, and zitty in dirty jeans: not so delightful. 

I did better yesterday. And then, like magic, this quote appeared this morning. 

And I mother fucking love it. 

p.s. Here's the article if you want to read it.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

HIGH FIVE! Sunday 1.27.13

Another week gone by- they fly and sputter all at the same time. On Sundays sometimes I have another blog post I want to write, but then I remind myself that there has to be time out for cheering and encouragement. High five reminds me to think about what's been good about my week, and to give myself a few pats on the back for getting through it. I always want to hear what's been good for you, too- so I can give you a high five and a rock on you rule! -even if the thing you're most proud of is walking the dog on Tuesday. (which I did not do, so good on ya!)

I'm sober fifty-two days today. La la la! I had the non-trapped mind shift. That's worthy of a little statuette. :) I stopped my restrictive diet and have been being gentle with myself when I eat a PB & J, or an entire box of these Moondance chocolate chip cookie bars. The Girl Scout Cookies are coming soon. Lord help me.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Freeing the Birds

Once again my job has me thinking. My job is not fancy, or very important. It supplies good health insurance, and until now has allowed me the schedule I need to take care of my kiddos without having to pay for any child care. (I work 7-2, husband works 4-11ish)

Look at me, putting the cart before the horse. I don't know that my schedule will change. I just have that sinking feeling. You know the one where you've got a good new routine going and then for some reason wha-powie! the universe needs you to move. You aren't in the right place.

Oh. Maybe I'm not in the right place. Maybe I need to be really willing to move. To change jobs. To give up health insurance as some sort of justification for staying in a low paying job that I'm not really happy in. Maybe if I think about it objectively instead of emotionally I can come up with a better solution. I'm not trapped after all.

That one word- trapped- got me really thinking this morning. All my thinking from a meeting yesterday at work until this morning was trapped thinking. No options thinking. I'm stuck. No solutions. Nothing I can do. Helpless.I can't. Can't have a different schedule. Can't go to part time and lose my health insurance. Can't understand why things just won't roll along smoothly the way I want them to. Can't you just let me be for a bit? Get steady? Get it together? Keep it together?

When I was drinking I always had the "if only's":

"If only I wasn't so worried about money I could quit drinking."

"If only being a mother wasn't so stressful I could quit drinking."

"If only these jeans fit better I could quit drinking."

Now I think I have a case of the "can'ts":

"Can't you just let my job be less problematic so I can stay sober?"

"Can't life be easy so I can be sober?"

"Can't these jeans fit better so I can be stay sober?" ;)

Y'all! Then I had this great thought. I have been looking at it all wrong. All wrong! Because I have always felt trapped instead of free to make choices. Choices that may be right or wrong, but choices! Here I spend all this time whining to the universe and God about "If only" and "can't" and I've been talking about the wrong things the whole time. No wonder no one is listening, even I'm not paying attention!

So look at me, up there swinging from that ladder. Hanging from it, you could say. It looks hopeless. Helpless.

But then. Ho ho. I think I'll swing my feet up and then grab a rung. I think I'll climb up to that big strong branch holding the ladder and look around. I'll shimmy down that tree and check out all those roots at the bottom. I'll decide to look at it differently. I'll decide to be un-trapped.

Perspective and perception can change the way I think about things. I'm so glad to be sober so these thoughts can get through my mind soup. Instead of worrying and fighting my own head fight and resisting change I can embrace it. (carefully though, maybe we'll just go to "second base" today...) Looking at things rationally instead of wailing away about things being unfair. Seeing the options. Weighing them. Not taking it so personally.

When I first stopped drinking every day felt like a gift. A beautiful glowing healthy anything's possible gift. And then days turned to weeks, and now it's been almost two months (which is so short, but so long!) and I have to remind myself that every day still is a gift. And then I have these mind blowing conversations with myself and I'm freeing the birds.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Caring Isn't Punishment

For the past few days I've felt like this child in the corner. I know that's what made me give up my Whole30- it started to feel like punishment, like I'd done something wrong and deserved to do without. Hold up.

I realized this morning that I carry this notion that nurturing myself has negative connotations. That it's a bad thing. A selfish, self-centered, greedy thing. Well, dang. Where did that come from? If you wrote to me and said you were doing something nice for yourself I would be all for it. Hell, I even have a whole day of this blog devoted to cheering for myself and y'all.

So why does my inner bully start tapping the bat when I'm starting to feel pretty good about things?

And when did I stop believing that I was a worthy person? Because I cannot remember a time when I didn't feel that way. Whoa.

Getting sober uncovers all these simple truths about me. It's like I'm meeting a whole new person. It's pretty damn cool, and pretty unsettling at times too. If you'd asked me three months ago if I liked myself I would have said flippantly, "Sure, I guess I do." And I really wouldn't have known the answer, I didn't even know who I was. I was a shell.

If you asked me that today? Right now? I would say with my head, "Hmmmmm. I think so. I'm still figuring this one out." and with my heart I would say, "I would die for this woman. She is brave, and kind, and strong. I love her."

As I would say to my oldest, Jack (he's eight):

"It's OK to think your self is cool."

I think it's time to learn that lesson for myself.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Giving Up Gracefully

I didn't eat pigeons, but I did eat biscuits. Two of them. With jam my husband made from strawberries we picked last May. And they were delicious.

I was doing this "thing" called the Whole30. One of those detox/minimalist diets that are all the rage now. Speaking of rage...well, that's a strong term for what I was feeling. I was really just sick of it. I'm tired of the messages from everywhere that we aren't good enough just the way we are. That we always have to be a little thinner, or more enlightened, or have longer, stronger hair. Run faster, run farther,more more more moremoremoremore. My neighbor, who is a size two for fuck's sake, still thinks she's fat.

Since when is my life all about struggle and dissatisfaction every day? Oh, right. Only everyday. But then two things happened yesterday. One was something Belle commented on the post I wrote yesterday, "you're not broken. you don't need to be fixed." And two: I realized that everything is available. And that I have some common sense. And all that stuff they say about choices is true. 

I thought about the biscuit I've wanted for weeks now. I compared it to wanting a glass if wine. I thought about how choosing not to have the wine makes my life easier. Less complicated. I thought about how, if I had that one glass of wine I would probably have seven or eight. How it would wreck my medium stable grasp on sobriety. How a biscuit would probably just be a biscuit. 

It's hard to find the balance of making sure the booze carries the weight it needs to (fucking soul destroyer) and not giving it too much power (meh, no thanks). That's true then for all these decisions, isn't it? Biscuit or no biscuit, run three miles or don't, yell or take a breath, read or take a nap, rob a bank or go to work, jeans or yoga pants. 

The choice about sobriety was made for me a long time ago- I must be it. Or I am a mess. So it's not really a choice any more, it's decided. The answer is always no. 

But these other choices- Choices Light- I'd like to take these as they come. And I'd like to stop worrying about what everyone else thinks I should do or be, and start deciding that for myself. 

I went upstairs yesterday morning with the kids and shook my husband awake. Asked him to go get biscuits. Gave up twenty-six days of hard choices gracefully. It was time. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

No Joke

I've been sort of stuck lately. I was chalking it up to having the flu and the cold medicine. Today is the first day in over a week that I've been up at my "regular" time. I am bad a interrupted routines. I'm worse at getting squirreled away into my own head and starting the call to war. "Time to suck...time to're not doing it right...not doing it right..."

It's weird, but now that I'm all in with my sobriety, to me too far to go back now, I think my brain needs something to obsess about. And since I'm going to be finished with this fucking Whole30 (thank you sweet baby Jesus made from a biscuit) on Thursday I feel like my poor self is a little lost. What will I worry over? What makes me working on myself? What makes me special?

I am always starting some new restrictive "diet" or plan. (husband can tell you that) For example: no gluten, or no dairy. Or vegan, or paleo. Macrobiotics. The lists are endless, and the information is too. Today: eat grains. Tomorrow: grains are horrible for you. I have no food allergies. I am often jealous of people who can just eat and not wonder where the meat was raised, or who go to the grocery and pick up a pepper and not check the sticker to make sure it's organic, or look around for local produce. Who just use the creamer that is right there in their coffee instead of always asking for something other than dairy or soy, and then being a little annoyed since it's the regular almond milk not unsweetened. Is it being conscious or crazy? I get a little sick of myself.

People have always thought I ate weird stuff. It's my "thing". You know how we all have one. Like: He only wears flip flops. Even in the winter. Or: She only writes with blue ink. Or: He only wears black t-shirts and jeans. Something that's your "signature move". I have one neighbor that gets it. Everyone else stuffs their children full of Goldfish and candy and looks at me like I have three heads. What will I do when I have no food stuff to fret over? Start wearing black turtlenecks every day?

Because I've decided (gasp!) to give it a rest for a while after this is over. Quitting drinking and starting the Whole30 (two weeks later, what was I thinking? Oh, yeah. I ate fourteen thousand Christmas cookies) taught me something very important. I really don't want to shift my bad relationship with alcohol over to the way I eat. And I want to be aware of my food choices, but not every moment of every day.

But even deeper than that, I don't want to get into attaching myself to another "cause" that prevents me from seeing life day to day. I don't want to hide behind the curtain of another better-me scenario. I think that keeps me from dealing or not dealing with the minutiae. That whole seeing the forest for the trees.

Getting sober and staying sober has been such a gigantic release of distress. I picture myself opening my mouth wide and thousands of birds flying out- an avian worry spew breaking away from me. Every bird a voice that gave me permission to keep lying. But then I get afraid to live inside out and so I flutter my hands around trying to stop them, trying to keep them in. Trying to put myself back in the cage I've always been living in. Back where it's safe.

It's a scary prospect for me: to just live. To take each day as it comes, with no death grip hands on the wheel  muscling it this way and that. Instead to sit back, and enjoy the ride. Giving up control is no joke. But missing out on the nuances of life because I'm too busy trying to make it what I *think* it needs to be isn't so funny either.

p.s. I found the picture after I had the thought about the birds. I love the internet.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

HIGH FIVE! Sunday 1.20.13

This is kind of what I looked like last Sunday, upstairs in bed dying. It's taken a week but I am feeling better. High five to that! Once again we welcome back High Five Sunday. Here's where you can comment about something or things that were high five-able about your week. It/they can be big or small or even medium. And you can include your days/weeks/months/years sober too. Or sober intentions. And I will shower you with friendly words of encouragement.

I'm forty-five days sober today. :) Holy shit.

Friday, January 18, 2013

One Thing and Another


I didn't realize how much of my time was devoted to thinking about my drinking. That shit was a full time job. With overtime. My whole life was my drinking habit. Morning: "Oh god, why did I drink last night. I hate myself." Noon: "I feel pretty awful. Why did I drink so much last night?" Night: "I feel a little better. How much can I drink tonight?"

When you get sober, after a while you stop thinking so much about not drinking and start trying out this person you are. At first all you can do is just keep praying. "Please don't let me drink. Please don't let me drive to the wine store. Please don't let me wreck it. Please don't make me start over again." All you are is not drinking. And relieved.

Then after a few weeks it gets different.

The choices you make in other parts of your life start to change. I am realizing that I checked out of everything because I was always aware that I might have a hangover in the morning and I learned not to promise myself to people.

This really hit home the other day when I called my doctor to squeeze in an appointment because I was sick. On the phone with the nurse at 7:30 AM:

"Can you be here at 8:30?"

Me: "Ummm.....yes." (OK, I did have to call and change the appointment to 9:15- the kids have to get to school first. Duh.)

I still went to that place in my head where I had to check in to see how hungover I was, could I squeeze in a nap before the appointment? And then I remembered I wasn't hungover, no need to check that. I don't have to arrange my life around my hangovers anymore. It floored me how much I maneuvered my life around making it easy for me to be hungover. How much I missed because I'd be too busy taking a nap trying to feel well enough to finish up the day.

I answer the phone now. I respond to emails and texts. I make plans instead of excuses. I keep those plans. And make more of them. I'm getting better.


There's something else I've noticed. I am clenched tense ready for fight or flight at all times. Last week at the dentist (look at me! Getting cavities filled! Taking care of myself!) she told me my gum line is receding in front not because I've been to the dentist only a handful of times in the past twenty years, but because I clench my jaw. So I started noticing. I am a clencher! But not just my jaw- my whole body! I am almost constantly in a state of what I'll call pre-action. A state of at-the-ready. Never relaxed. Never at ease.

I am always ready for the attack. Not TO attack, but ready to defend myself. At all times. Even while lounging watching Downton Abbey I had to consciously un-clench four different times. I have this misconceived notion that I'm a laid-back person. I've always thought of myself as easy-going. Affable. Approachable. This may not be true at all! I'm not sure what to do with that. It's not upsetting, it's just...interesting.

Sobriety certainly is entertaining. :)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

On the Line

I had so much time to think, so much time to stew and fret and dream while I was sick. I thought of about fifty different posts I wanted to write, and managed to at least title a few so I wouldn't forget. I save those as drafts to come back to later. If you knew me- like you're getting too but probably not that well yet since this blog is only a little bit old, and not really. This blog is really young. I feel really young sometimes too- not in that vibrant toss me a bikini way, but more of a tender baby bird way, and mostly just with my feelings. My skin has started to do the crepe-y thing when I gently bunch it together, god knows that is not young. Or young feeling. When I bunch my feelings together they do something new and different too. And it's a very breakable feeling.

Like I was saying...if you knew me you'd know that patience is not my best act. It's actually one of my worst routines. Ever. I'm sitting here now wanting to get to the end of this post so I can see how it turns out. I always rush the end. Saving drafts of posts is like torture. I get frustrated doing housework because it's taking too long. Sometimes the childrens' pace makes me want to burst Hulk-like from my skin, and then turn around and smack myself for being such an asshole. Sometimes I'm so mad at my husband but I'm really just mad at my own self. I want to cause a fight entirely to get to the end.

I suspect all this comes from a few places: childhood dramas, hiding from my alcoholic self trying to make it look like everything is fine look here if we rush by in this blur you can't see how hungover I am! or if I speed everything along then bedtime comes faster and I can sleep and not deal with anything. Anything at all.

It's funny how God, or the universe, or mother nature- whoever or whatever you pray to or talk to- aligns things just right so even when you're rushing by you can't help but pause. A spiritual speed bump. A soul ka-thump.

I have felt very proud, and very in control being sober all these days in a row. I feel far away from that heartsick woman who healed herself with too much wine and denial. But I'm not quite sure how to make this sober me wait. To take my time. To shut the fuck up before I put my foot in my mouth again. (Since I tend to process out loud all over people instead of in my own head.) To not expect everyone (like husband) to have a great healing just because I'm getting my shit together. To understand that years of hurts don't just disappear because I put down my wine glass and said "I'm sorry".

Agh. That's what's hard. It's hard to make up for being drunk. For the things said and done when booze ran the world. It's hard to sincerely apologize for something you don't really remember saying or doing. Especially when you pretended so well that you did remember when you were actually in the middle of a blackout. Again, and again.

It's hard to feel "well"  and then feel that shame. Oh, the shame. What a beast. What a burden.

It's hard to be patient and let the beauty unfold when you've finally put it all on the line.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Still Sick

Hi! I have not fallen off the earth, or the wagon. I almost fell off the tiny examining table at the doctor's office today. The official verdict? I'm sick. Maybe the flu, might turn into pneumonia, might get worse, might get better. Oh. So I'm kind of in the same boat I was in before, just with a prescription for cough medicine and the rest of the week off of work.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

HIGH FIVE Sunday postponed...

Due to being unable to sit up because of high fever, chills, aches, and wracking cough. Today is the first time I've missed my 4:30 AM tea & writing time. I just got out of bed for the first time. This has been me all day:


Saturday, January 12, 2013


(My dear friend, Belle, inspires me daily. She and I have never met in person, but we talk every day. She is a HUGE reason why sobriety sticks for me. This post was motivated by a conversation we had yesterday. Thank you, Belle. Thank you thank you thank you.)

I have always been not a leader, and not really a follower either. But definitely more follower than leader. Because leading can be scary. It means you have to put yourself out there. Be noticed. Fail, in front of people. I have always liked the beat of my own drummer, just not been brave enough to follow it most of the time. I suppose that makes me a follower. Dammit.

Being a follower is what led me to drinking in the first place. I vaguely remember standing outside somewhere passing around a two-liter of Sun Country wine cooler and feeling really uncomfortable but not courageous enough to turn it down. I must have been all of thirteen or fourteen years old. The group I wanted to fit in with were all getting wasted on the weekends, so I was too. How cool. And meaningful. Yeah, right.

Drinking is what made me a follower my whole life. I drank to fit in. It was the only common ground I had with so many people I wanted to be friends with. Booze is the great equalizer- if you're holding a glass of alcohol you're OK, you're one of us. The suspicious weird ones were the people who didn't drink. The ones people spoke of with disdain: "She doesn't even drink." That was not going to be me.

So I drank.

I became a lemming. The uber follower.

At least it started out that way. Towards and through my thirties I drank because I had to. Because it was part of my identity. Who was I without wine? Drinking was something I really, really knew how to do. And even though it made me miserable I was stuck back in that dark outside somewhere not daring enough to try another way.

So much of boozing is being one of the crowd. Trying not to stick out. Not dealing with the way it should be uncomfortable when you meet new people, or when you're in unfamiliar situations. Jumping on the bandwagon of "Jeez, I just need a drink"- which sounds so much more cosmopolitan than "Jeez, I just need to handle this consciously and I might need a minute." Instead blindly following the lemming. For years. Safely and sorrowfully one of the crowd.

Then I looked down and saw my floating device.


I don't have to go "in the drink". I have my handy life raft ring thing. I can be my leader. I can take me to myself. My sober I'm having lemming-ade self. I am my own in crowd. The un-lemming.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Through the Wringer

This is me yesterday, only I'm not the woman with the purple hair, I'm one of those flat women. I think the one in green. I had a meeting at work and it was a doozy. Add that to the great ground beef fiasco Sunday night and maybe both of those women are me-well, the one in green is me, then the one in red is my nerves. Since my nerves could be on the outside of my body they've been tested so hard this week. And I think they have that surprised look, like WTF just happened here?

Yesterday, after this two hour meeting (which was not all bad, most of it was very good, but the bad part was bad. I'd been having trouble with my boss. He said sorry and his boss said put it in the past.) I felt like I'd been run over by a truck. I was jangle-y, tense, spent. I sat in the driveway on the phone trying to give my husband a five minute synopsis and all I could think was, "I NEED A FUCKING DRINK." (see comments in picture above)

Of course then I remembered that I don't do that anymore. And I only intensely wanted one for about a minute. Because then I also remembered that a drink wasn't what I really wanted, and it surely wasn't what I needed.  What I needed was some dinner. Lots of deep breaths. Some normal life.

Normal life. As in go inside. Hug kiddos. Make dinner. Let my inner mama take over. (my mama, as in me mothering myself) I was patient when I wanted to fuss and grrrrrr. I somehow got through pj's and stories without losing my mind.

My inner mama doesn't play. Now that she knows I'm listening she is not afraid to speak up. And she doesn't like excuses.

Me: "But I had that awful meeting at work and I want to bury my head under the covers and feel sorry for myself. Wah wah wah."

Inner Mama: "That has nothing whatsoever to do with these two boys who love you and want to spend time snuggled close to mommy. Chop chop. And do try to enjoy it. Plenty of time for sad burrowing in a bit."

I made myself do it.

Y'all, no matter how bad and hard and sad and terrible some things have been this week I know that because I'm sober I am getting through it instead of going around and around again. It's been hard to feel- really feel all these roller coaster emotions- to throw my hands into the air for the biggest hills, mouth wide open wailing with fright and sorrow. Feeling the grace of comfort and the warmth of pride for doing it all without my old avoidance technique- i.e. seven glasses of wine. Phew. This shit is real.

I have been through the wringer this week. And the most important part is that I made it out to the other side.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Ground Beef

Doesn't it look innocent, just sitting there, all ground up and no place to go?

You'd never think it would have caused a three hour long sobbing meltdown at our house this weekend. And before you start wondering which child was responsible, it wasn't them. It was me. Me.

It all started because we were having burgers, but also spaghetti later in the week. I thought husband was using too much meat for burgers leaving our spaghetti painfully short. It turned into a "kids stay outside" argument. It turned into me sitting on the bed rocking back and forth sobbing and saying "help me help me help me" and "please please please" in a tiny voice. It turned into a lot of snot and tissues.

I tried to come back down for dinner. I remember trying to eat dinner this upset as a child- the food is an unswallowable lump. It all tastes like nothing. I could not stop crying, just quiet tears rolling down my cheeks. Husband mad, children totally confused. I had to leave the table. I grabbed my wine glass of ruby red grapefruit and seltzer and went up to start the bubble bath for the kids. I keep right on crying.

The kiddos came up to hop in the tub. I managed to pull it sort of together. My oldest and I read our book on the floor of the bathroom for a bit. Youngest started blowing bubbles and wanting us to pop them. It was almost fun. Husband cleaned the kitchen, came to check on us, went to watch football. Oldest and I had a hard four minute conversation that went something like this:

"Mom, are you OK?"

"Yes, dad and I are just in a fight right now, but we'll talk about it and we'll be fine."


"What's up?"

"I worry that you and dad aren't going to be together."

"Oh." (We've talked about this a couple times before. I ain't gonna lie, sometimes I wonder this too. Sometimes things have been tough and not so happy around here. I hope with all my might that it was mostly my fault and that since I'm not drinking anymore, ever, that things will slowly get better. And they are.) "Dad and I will sort it out. We're going to be just fine. Just like you and your brother fight, dad and I fight too. But we'll be OK."

I looked at that wine glass I brought up with me. I was so relieved it had grapefruit and seltzer in it, so relieved that I was sober and not half drunk. So grateful that I was in the middle of something so hard because I was in the middle of something so hard. Glad to be sitting on the bathroom floor able to look my son in the eye showing him who I am without feeling ashamed. To show him that life isn't always perfect. To show him I can deal with it.

The hard part about being sober isn't the not drinking, it's the dealing with all the things that come up without the booze cocoon.

Eventually the kids went to bed. Husband came in and sat on the bed, not mad anymore. We talked, really talked. Tossed some old hurts out there, made apologies, offered forgiveness. I cried more.

And then things were better. We curled up and laughed lightly, just a little, still tender from the great ground beef fiasco. We went to sleep.

I woke up the next day, eyes swollen swollen swollen. But my heart was swollen too. Big and proud that I let it out. That I was brave and vulnerable and sober.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

My Word

Over at Michele shared her tradition of picking a word instead of making resolutions for the new year. (I know, are we still talking about New Year's? Isn't that so...last year?) I thought wow! What a great idea. Kind of a mantra, a banner to fly over 2013. Then I waited for my word to pick me. I was hoping it would be something grand and deeply meaningful like "believe" or "serenity" or "youarethebest" but...well. We all know about plans, right? About mice and men, and them going agley? About the universe laughing when you make them?

So, without further adieu, my word. (drum roll, please)

Ok y'all. It's INVEST.

Welp. I actually thought that. I mean, I knew when it popped into my head what it was. I can't lie, I was slightly disappointed. What a cold sounding word. And it's all about money, isn't it? Ugh. A whole year devoted to money??? Where was my soul bending word? My profound and meaningful syllables? The word that makes me go "Ooooooooooo"?

Then I looked it up.

Oh....hello. Here's what it means:

to array in the symbols of office or honor, to furnish with power or authority, to grant someone control over, to cover completely: envelop, clothe, adorn, to endow with a quality: infuse

: to commit (money) in order to earn a financial return (One of my biggest goals this year is getting our finances under control, to stop wasting so much money on useless things. Not drinking will be a HUGE help for that.)
: to make use of for future benefits or advantages <invested her time wisely> (Again, not drinking has been a great way to actually spend my time)
: to involve or engage especially emotionally <were deeply invested in their children's lives> (Once again, sobriety is already making me a better wife and mother)

Invest. My word. It makes cents. (ha ha, a little financial humor there. Already working the power of my word. *cocky head bob thing*) But seriously. What a great little word. It says all the stuff I want to accomplish this year. In a really good way.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

HIGH FIVE! Sunday 1.06.13

Bonjour! Here's where you can comment about something or things that were high five-able about your week. It/they can be big or small or even medium. And you can include your days/weeks/months/years sober too. Or sober intentions. And I will shower you with friendly words of encouragement.

Y'all, I organized a closet and some kitchen cabinets this week. I can see all the spices. The vacuum is now in a closet and not hanging out by the dresser at the end of the bed. This will sound like a cliché but here it goes anyway: I'm getting my life together.

Sometimes it's about The BIG Stuff: I quit drinking. Then it becomes more about the small stuff: I cleaned a closet.

But really, it's about this one thing: I'm tending to my life. High five.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Waiting Room

I loll about in bed for ten minutes or so before I get up. Thinking about things, feeling what it feels like to wake up sober and stretchy and safe. There's usually an idea that pushes it's way to the front of the line and that's what I write about in the morning. This morning I started thinking about time, and patience, and waiting.

I have waited my entire over eighteen years old life to get sober.

That just blew me away a little.

All those times I felt ashamed, and angry. Impatient with my scared sweet self because I just didn't "get it" yet. Where the fuck is my light bulb moment? Furious at me, embarrassed by the person that I was. So disappointed that I couldn't care about myself enough to take care of her, to show her how I really felt. Anxious and always giving up, sick of waiting.

It's like being at the doctor's office. The nurse had called my name, I was in an examining room. But no one was showing up. No one was coming in to take a look at me and tell me how to fix what was wrong. I kept a hopeful eye on the door. 1989, 1997, 2002...jeez, what was taking so long? 2006, 2010... Finally! THERE YOU ARE.

I am so proud of these thirty days that I waited and waited to get to, year after year, hangover after hangover, one day after another. I cradle and clutch them close. I honor them by adding to them and protecting them every day. I burst out in sudden brief sobs when I'm running or alone humbled and grateful that I waited all this time and someone finally showed up: ME. I take the time to think about what being sober means to me, to my husband, to my children.  How it took forever to get here. How we all waited without even knowing what we were waiting for and when it would come.

How suddenly, but with lots of warning (lots of warning, years of warning) I finally arrived. HERE I AM. AND I AM FINISHED WAITING.

Now I wait for other stuff. I roll thoughts around in my head, marbles and morsels and bits of what makes me me. I'm figuring out what I like, what I'll stand for. How to stand up for myself. (since I'm starting to know what the hell I'm talking about) I wait for ideas to finish. I'm not ten steps ahead of myself all the time unable to concentrate on the task at hand. I take a breath. I "be in the moment". Patient. Waiting. Taking MY time.

Friday, January 4, 2013


I've noticed a LOT lately that I am resentful about everything sometimes. Maybe it's because everything used  to take such effort. Unload the dishwasher? I'm kinda tired. Change the sheets? Too hard. Make a life? Maybe tomorrow.

Now I'm noticing me noticing feeling resentful. I can sort of laugh at myself and think "Wow. You get mad about stuff a lot. A lot of stupid stuff."

I think it has to do with the fact that my life was so whacked out that I latched on to any opportunity to feel like I was in charge of the ship. "I may be blitzed by 8 o'clock, but dammit the house is clean!" Like the outward organization would fool my insides into thinking everything was copacetic. If my environment was neat, then the sloppy insides wouldn't be real. Because if I was really a mess then you could see it. If I'm yelling at you because the children watch too much TV then no one will notice that I'm the one not paying attention.

So the house was mostly clean, my husband was constantly on edge, and the children were gnawing their nails down to the quick. Oh. Wait.

Poor husband. He got and still gets the brunt of it. "Why isn't the dishwasher unloaded! The laundry put away! AGHHHH!" As soon as I walk in the door I can blow the day in two minutes. It takes forever to get it back. When I'm in the middle of the resentment I cannot stop. It's like two glasses of wine-why not get wasted? I'm feeling resentful-why not ruin it for everyone?

Resentment is kind of like lying to yourself. It's like telling yourself you deserve to be angry because your life isn't magically falling into place. And also blaming people around you for not being psychic.

It's a big waste of time.

Getting sober is an act of noticing. Noticing when you're wasting your time. Noticing when your self is being just plain stupid about something. Noticing when you notice and then you do something about it. Noticing and then moving on since you don't have to be stuck in an around and around merry-go-round of resenting the same things over and over again. When you get to the part where you actually resent something it is definitely time to let it go or find a way to deal. Step off the carnival ride.

The coolest thing about getting sober is learning all these interesting things about yourself. And then instead of drowning them in drink you can love them or lose them.

29 days today. :)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Here's to New

Happy New Year y'all!

I had my sparkling cider at midnight and only felt like tearing off to the wine store twelve times for a case of champagne. Breaking the bottles open in the car like I'm launching a ship and chugging them two at a time on the way home.

I searched for inexpensive beach houses to rent next summer instead. I watched Black Stallion with my oldest son. And I ate some cashews and coconut flakes. Drank my glass of RRGJ w/seltzer. (That's ruby red grapefruit juice.) Watched bad New Year's Eve coverage. Woke up tired but not hungover. Now that deserves some fucking fireworks! (I'll ask my neighbors. They seemed to have an endless supply last night.)

Today is a big day for lots of folk. I wonder if it's hard for January first to carry all that hope. I know it can be hard for us. I imagine all those intentions out there in the universe, eager to be fulfilled. All those best plans  set and ready. Whatever your plan, I hope you can be tough on yourself when you need to be. And gentle, brave, and encouraging with yourself too. And when you need a helping hand, ask. And I will, too.