Monday, April 29, 2013

Life as Seed

Here we are y'all. Just living, you know, day to day. Making breakfast, making decisions, making a life. I've been finding some measure of comfort lately in the simple of it all. How life has kind of untangled and sort of wanders along. Meanders even.

Lord, I did never ever think my life might just meander.

Even in all my great messiness there was that beauty I was, the beauty I am inside. I could not ever have the appreciation for my simple day to day life if I had not been who I was then. Just the plain act of waking up and realizing that I'm sober rewards me daily. The way I look at my face in the mirror- without shame or malice, oh.

I kind of liken my life to me as a seed. You know, you can drown a plant. There is a such thing as too much water. In trying to grow my beauty (you know, fit in) I suffocated who I really was. Poor pitiful little me pouring my life out. I love the idea that sobriety dries you out, makes you reach to find the water to nourish you. Gets rid of that seed coat and lets you push your tender self right on up and out towards the honesty of a real life. A life with real feelings, and memories, and people who care for you- not the you who makes them feel better about how much they drink- but care for you. Because really you have to be cared for and about. And these are two different things. And then a lot the same. You know, just like people and seeds.

I think about people who are struggling with giving up booze every day. I think about the people I know, and the people I don't know who are in their heads wishing and wondering if it can be done. I wish I could do an on call sobriety service: you call, we hang out and drink seltzer for two weeks until you get your feet under you, and then you stay sober forever. And then I might have to be a magician. And since I'm already juggling too many ideas I can't do that too. So then maybe you have to be a magician for yourself.

Growing something from a seed really is kind of like magic. Put a hard small thing in dirt. Give it water, sun, and caring. Not too much of any of these though. Things can go haywire if you smother something with too much of any of these things. Much like early sobriety (since you're trying to defeat the mess of having too much as it is) you have to figure out how to do things to the here and not the WAY OVER HERE!!!! Your plant will show you what it needs if you pay attention: drooping from too much water, shriveling from too little. Not growing or flowering if there's not any sun. I think you can care about it as much as you want to though. That part will be OK, except not too much since you might need other things to do, too. And then with caring, for and about, your plant will give you cool things like flowers, or tomatoes.

Growing a sober you from a seed is definitely like magic too. Here you are, hard and scared and in the dirt. Just the thought that you can get sober is enough. It's enough to start the magic. And then as you stay sober you start to learn how to grow yourself, you start to see who you are and what you need not just to survive but to thrive. To grow and flower and get a strong trunk and loads of leaves and whatever you want to have your life to be. And the more you care for yourself the easier it gets and the better it is and then maybe you're an orchard or an entire garden center and it rocks.

I've planted a garden on my drinking porch. It looks nothing like it did last spring. Last spring there was a big metal table with an umbrella. A few flower pots and beer bottles full of smelly cigarette butts. Now that table is in the yard, the stinky cigs are gone, and there are tiny plants all over the place, and two bright green plastic chairs. I have also learned, over these past several months, that I've planted a garden in my head: that I can have an abundant, fertile, beautiful life. So as my garden grows on the porch, my sobriety is growing too.

If you are struggling with your magic, if you are wishing for your own garden, I applaud your courage. Just thinking about quitting is hard. Go today and find a something to plant a seed in. Find your seed. Plant it. Even if you're still drinking take care of that little seed. Let it remind you to take care of you. Hold that seed, that little plant instead of a drink. Tell it your problems. Watch it grow. I'm rooting for you.

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.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Sober Friend

I've had the blues lately- and from what I'm reading I haven't been alone. What is it about this spring that makes it all so bittersweet? I've been going through the motions, but I swear if I didn't have to work and take care of my family I would have been buried under the covers with yogurt pretzels and cookies watching Bravo for days now. So thank god for them.

It's hard to explain. This is one reason why I wish I had a sober friend- a friend I can see, or call. Who can hug me and cry with me and make me laugh. But, like Belle and Fern I bristle at the thought of AA. It is not me. If it were I would have been there by now. (And, it should go without saying but maybe it needs saying so here's this: I'm not against AA. I don't know much about it, but I just get that feeling that it isn't what I'd like. I believe in whatever keeps you sober. So AA it up if that's your thing and I will high five you all day. Deep breath.)

But this post is not about AA.

I think I've mentioned before that I kind of thought that by getting sober the world would sort of hug me back. A lot. Kind of like "I see all your effort, you just won the lottery!" Well, not that drastic, but maybe just make things a little easier.

In my early sobriety (like early early- when days weren't even months) I felt more purposed. Now I feel very flail-y and disconnected. Like I am making all this effort to be sober but I need to be plugged in to other outlets besides running, blogging, and thinking about being sober.

I think I need a sober friend.

Where the heck do you get one of those? I'm reading this book called MWF Seeking BFF. It's about making friends, and it's pretty interesting. Here's the rub: You can't (or you can, I can't) just blurt out things about drinking and problems and getting sober to just anybody. (Unless you're at an AA meeting: see above) It's not like you are in conversation and you're all: "Oh! I love to read and cook and run too! We have so much in common! Were you a horrid black out drunk too?" The silence might be deafening. And also embarrassing. And then as you watch the other person run away you might think you've over shared.

Plus, I have requirements. You have to be funny. And trustworthy. I don't like gossip. I do like food. I am sarcastic. Shy-ish. I do not give a shit about shoes, or shopping. I like to be outside. I cannot stand women who are nice in person and then get all snarky and behind your back-ish when you aren't around. No religious fanatics need apply: God knows the deal. Be on time, and don't be a waffler. (you know, someone who makes plans and then flakes. Over and over.) You have to like children. And dogs. You should be a little crazy and/or weird. And you MUST BE SOBER.

Did I really just say that?

It used to be that one of my biggest requirements for a friend was: MUST LOVE DRINKING. A LOT.

Meaning: please don't raise your eyebrows when I'm on my fifth glass of wine- we're just getting warmed up. Meaning: don't get all judgmental because I don't remember what we talked about. Meaning: don't be mad because I said some things I shouldn't have- I was drunk.


A sober friend search. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Bogged and Boggier

 I have been so wiped out by my self lately. It's all ho hum, and meh, and blah around here. I was having a conversation with someone today about how why life just keeps on dishing it out when it's totally clear that right now you just cannot take it? How can I call "Uncle" or put up a "T" for time out and then I get a break from my head and my heart and I just be while laying out in the grass watching the clouds roll by?

I get so bogged down by things I'm not doing, or the things that aren't going right that I completely forget about the good stuff. And then I'm impatient with myself for feeling that way, and then I need an all day run to straighten myself out- or to at least slog out of the bog and maybe into the tall grass.

There's this thing I do. It's called: TOO MUCH. I am very good at too much. Perhaps a pro even. I eat too much cookies. Too much wallowing. Too much negativity? I've got it. I'm a gold medalist in too much self criticism. Numero uno at wanting to hide and hibernate, and also great at too much blaming other people when I'm not feeling good with myself. Too much afraid of life, of always being in this position I'm in and never getting on with it.

This part of early sobriety is not fun at all. It's not too much fun, it's the opposite of that. So I don't have the market cornered as far as the too much there.

So I guess I'm running up the boggy hill, bogging it up. I'm still going, but not very happy about it. I want my clouds back- pink or whatever. I liked that better. I feel better for a bit and then back to *sigh*.

And then I read about people dying in Boston and I feel like an asshole. So I guess what to do is this: keep slogging, keep bogging. And most important keep blogging. And really most important: remember to be grateful even when you feel like a grumpy black cloud. Because I'm sober and alive, and I can never get too much of that.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Tiny Parades

I must admit, I've been recoiling a little bit. Feeling a little lost in the shuffle/down in the dumps/pity party city. Not in a huge, or unmanageable way, more like in a ho hum sort of way. Jesus, life isn't a parade every day? What the hell?

But, then again...maybe it is. Maybe just not the Macy's Parade every day. (That kind of sounds a little hard to maintain.) Maybe a small town Arbor Day Parade some days. But a reason to celebrate nonetheless.

I've been getting bogged down in the "me-ness" of it all and forgetting to smell the roses. (another parade!) Is it possible to bore oneself to death with ones own self-ness? If so, I may be close. Like Belle says, "Get a life." Actually, she didn't say that, but I think she might have meant it. But in a nice way. More like, "Find something else to focus on besides just being sober." (That's what she really said.)

Here's another interesting thing about being sober: once you have been it for a while the excitement sort of wears off. That sounds shitty, doesn't it? But I mean it wears off, and that's a good thing. You just need something else to think about now that you're finished thinking about drinking. So for years I thought about how bad I felt because I was drinking, and then I've been thinking about how awesome I feel since I'm not drinking and now I think I need to start thinking about other stuff.

What the hell else is there?

I know, a thousand million things. And here's the other thing: not forcing it. Letting God or the universe or that tree over there reveal your new stuff slowly. At its' own pace. Not all this frantic searching "what is my thing, what is my thing, whatismything!?! I have to be interested in something! ANYTHING!"

So my new hobby is breathing. In. And Out. I added telling myself to relax and take it easy yesterday. I also try to make my mind blank. (*ahem*) Have you ever tried to make yourself not think about anything? This is hard. So I've been doing more breathing than anything else. What all that boils down to is not forgetting how great I am, and how good life is. And how even if there's only one float, life's still a parade.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Four Months Yesterday

How about that?

Yesterday I got up and went for a sunrise long run. I started laughing, out loud, when I remembered where I was four months ago: glued to my bed ashamed and Hungover unable to function. I have changed so much from that person. Thankfully, since that person was going to really wreck my life. So then I cried some, which is hard to do when running by the way.

I've been super emotional lately- reality setting in? Or just something inside me announcing to all my drowned feelings, "It's OK, you can come out now! It's safe!" And lord, everyone seems to be rushing the door at once.

Feelings: "It's OK! Woo hoo! We can come out now! YAY! Oh, look at that laundry!Grumble! Roar! AGH!!!! No one loves me enough to help with the laundry. Sob. Double sob. Help. Oh, wait. I think I'm OK again. It's OK! Woo hoo!"

Suffice it to say it's been a little bit like a roller coaster around here, except maybe not as exciting but with the screaming. Life is hard. Who knew under all that Prosecco and beer there were actual feelings besides guilt and self loathing? Now that the honeymoon seems to be over (although I will always love you sobriety- since we are soul mates) and married life is setting in I'm having a little trouble getting adjusted. Not I'm-going-to-have-to-drink kind of trouble, but trouble nonetheless. With a little "t".

But it's OK. Because even when it's hard, and I have so many feelings (Too many! That's enough for me thanks, I haven't even finished my first plate of feelings yet, no really. REALLY.) I am a thousand billion trillion times happier than I ever was living my life at the bottom of just one more. I'm so grateful to have reached the finish line- to have reached the end of that part. "Will it ever be over? Are we there yet?" YES. It is over, and we are there yet.

Four months sober. It seems like a gigantic huge chunk and then a little drop in a big ass bucket all at once. I am so proud of myself, and so grateful for y'all- this blog has helped so much. Sitting here at my desk in the morning sifting through things to tell you and how to tell them to you has made me less crazy. I sort through things so I can write them down and they become more clear. And then that helps. Hurrah!

I think that might be what sobriety boils down to for me: The Helps. All the little and big things you were afraid to ask for when you were drinking. Being able to say those two little words: "Help ME." Saying them to yourself, to someone else. Even the dog, or a tree. Or to God, or the sky. But asking. And then being grateful.

So thank you and me and God and the trees for my sobriety. I feel pretty dang happy. Even when I'm on the hard part of the roller coaster.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A First

It used to be that every so often I'd get "creative". In other words, get a little drunk then want to paint or create something. It would be fun, and there were loads of cigarette breaks and tons of swilling and I'd inevitably go about three steps too far and ruin it when all was said and drunk.

This week I've done TWO projects that would have called for some serious wine drinking and cig smoking. Both without any of that. Monday I planted plants and fixed up the back porch (my old private drinking spot) with new chairs. I've been dreading the spring- how will I sit out there and not want to head right back to drinky town? Like this: change that mother fucker completely. It looks nothing like it used to. It looks like a great place for a book and a cup of tea. It's going to be heavy with tomatoes and herbs, peppers and flowers by the time July arrives. It looks like a place a sober woman like me wants to be. I just have to twirl some lights around the railing as a finishing touch. I threw away the flower pot with all the cigarette butts in it. Did you know I quit smoking the same day I quit drinking? I don't miss that stinky habit either. Now I can have zinnias instead of cigarette butts. This new life rules.

And! Project number two...painting my desk. I sanded it and everything. This project would have been perfect for wine etc. As I was sanding my desk I kept thinking about how I would have stopped for "breaks" and how I would not have been as careful or as caring about my pretty new desk- I would have just been rushing to get it done so I could take more breaks. Instead I did it right, took my time. Leaned my head back and forth. Breathed in and out. Stopped to have a coffee and a cookie when I started feeling impatient. Two more coats of paint and an overnight to dry and I'll be all set. A few days left. Me and my pretty peacock blue desk. Blogging about how awesome it is to be sober.

As hard as it is, as sad as I feel sometimes, I still get the magic of this life. I get so grateful to have even just this one another day to be sober. To be me and me and me. To wait for the good parts. To put in the time to make it what I want, not just rush muddle it to be finished. The patient part is the part that makes it all worthwhile.