Friday, June 20, 2014

Some Posts I Almost Posted

I have lots of drafts that never really made it into posted posts.

1. Um, My Break Please....

Sometimes it all gets so overwhelming I need a break from recovery. Like, um, could I just be a regular person? I don't even want to drink like one, I just want to think like one.

2. Enough Already 

After I wrote about my six months of sobriety, and then having a huge craving (that struck again last night while husband and I were having a before dinner snack and he got the grill started: soooooo time for a few glasses of wine before dinner. It amazes me how tangible and real it feels- almost like I'm having it) and reading the comments about it something has been bugging me.

The enough already.

My mom tells me all the time when I talk to her about something I want to do: "Oh, that sounds like a lot. Take it easy. Don't try to do too much." This is what she means: "I care about you and don't want you to get hurt." This is what I hear: "You aren't strong enough to do it. You aren't really capable of such lofty goals. You should just sit back and not try."

"Already enough" is not a bad thing. It's a great thing, actually. It's contentment. It's OK, but in a good way.

I'm fighting with the sides of average- of already good enough. Of saying yes, I am good enough, but it doesn't mean I should stop trying.....does it?

I feel like I need to clarify a bit- for y'all and for me. Just because I make a big ol' list that says so many things I want to do does not mean I'm throwing myself a pity party everyday if these things don't happen. Not even if they don't happen in six months, or six years. 

It means that I have this new life and I want to shape it. It means that here I am, big ball of clay that is my life: ready to shape and twist and pull. Some planned, lots unexpected. But I'm ready for all that. I'm strong enough.

The message I'm telling myself when I make a big list like that is this: "You can do it. You can take it. You can make it anything you want it to be. Dream big! Because if you dream big and you fail you can get through it. You are strong enough. You can do hard things."

I can't just let getting sober be my biggest accomplishment. I believe you get sober, and then you get a life. I believe that the thing that was really stopping me was my drinking. Now that that mess is out of the way I can take chances, take risks- put my heart on the line and do some living.

I read a great post by Lisa Neumann about how she's doing something hard but getting through it. I don't think the work and love of my life all depends on it being easy, cuddly, and sitting back. I think it takes balance of hard and easy- of pushing pushing pushing to reach lofty goals- and of being gentle enough to say "It's OK" when you need to, and smart enough to know when "It's OK" is the last thing you need to hear. Knowing that all the things you feel are good- because feeling is good. Even when it sucks big time.

So it's not enough already. Not even close. And I'm OK with that. :)

3. We Are Family 

Something I forget to remember is how connected to people I'm getting because I'm sober.

Yesterday my brother and I had a talk about my mom, how she is. How we both feel. How we both feel crazy, but that maybe she's the crazy one. How (like you and I recognize each other because of our struggles with alcohol/addiction) he and I recognize each other because we grew up together. In the same house. With the same parents. That made me feel much righter in the world.

We don't talk about my drinking yet. He knows I quit. He knows it wasn't just a whim, but a necessity. We are six and a half years apart and never had anything in common. I was miserable by eight or so, and he just added to it. Yet, I have always adored him. And to this day believe that he is the best person I know. He has a kindness inside. He makes me laugh. He knows where I come from- who I come from.

This morning I sat down to read my email etc. and it hit me: I am building relationships. Because I'm not always worried about drinking (either doing it or feeling sick and guilty from doing it) I can reach out. Hold a hand. Show people who I am, and then they might come back. I am building these bonds by slowly getting to know me and them.

4. Soul30 

I'm having a Soul30. You can eat and be and do what you want but it has to feed your soul. Most of the time. Even the soul needs a break, and so you can take those too. But the very biggest unbreakable rule is this: no lying to yourself. That means about "Sure another four cookies are fine" or "Well, I think I can go to that big drunkfest party and be OK" or "I can keep doing this thing that makes me feel like shit because I'm sober". It's about finding out what works for you and then being it, doing it. Even if everyone else can and you can't. It's about finding the can, the yes, the it works and ignoring what doesn't.

So far it's working pretty good.

Two days. It took two days for me to feel righter again. And I ain't gonna lie, I gave up gluten and dairy again. I'm kind of back on the Whole30 way of eating, but with dark chocolate and butter. And I'm calling it a Soul30 instead of a Whole30 because it's sometimes nice to call things something. And also it makes me feel less shallow. Plus Monday was the 21st, which makes me 42 and a half so it seemed logical to start something important on that day.

5. no title 

I've been feeling a little sober stale lately: when I put my sobriety sort of on the back burner and kind of muddle through life with my eyes half closed and my ears half listening.

6. Getting Sober Support 

Feeling safe in the world means that I can speak my truth and not fear any repercussions. Because when you tell the truth it doesn't involve judgement, or malice. It means "Here you are in my life, and these are things that are true for me. Maybe they are true for you too?"

Getting sober for me is like I won the biggest jackpot lucky luck luck lottery there ever was. Sometimes I want the sober parade to follow me around everywhere so you can see what I have. Sometimes my sobriety is big and shiny and I get prideful and looky looky. It's like the emperor's new clothes- as soon as I'm flashy I'm suddenly naked and nervously out there looking for a way to get some cover.

As soon as I think I've gotten all ho-hum about being sober another thing happens that shows me exactly how important my sobriety is to me- how without it nothing else is. I still re-read the beginning of the instructions: One: Get Sober, Two: Be Sober, Three: Stay Sober. Now I need to figure out Four: Share Sober and Five: Sober Support. All without being an asshole.

Support has many forms, but I have to be willing to share without being overwhelming. Without being selfish. Understanding when enough is enough so no one's boxes get too soapy. Being able to be supportive and knowing how to keep myself safe- these are things I've never had to do since it's just always been me far flung without aid or protection. I've never valued myself enough to think I even needed protection until now. But how do I balance support without being self serving? How do I, when someone is struggling, help them understand that I'm not that mean lying ego-y voice in their head that tells them over and over "You're wrong, you suck, you're wrong, you suck" but the one that is really telling the truth? How, when you're holding out a light, can it look like a way into the dark?

7. Out of My Mind

There's been a theme running through my life for the past few fews- trust the body. When I go to yoga my instructor tells me to "hang my bones". I had a one-on-one much needed therapy session and my therapist told me the same thing: "trust your body".

Trust is an evolving thing for me. I want it, I need it, but in a strange twist I don't trust it. Oh.

That comes from way way back when I was little and was hushed and shushed and teased and made fun of. Endlessly. I still am often amazed at who and what people think are "cool" and how I sometimes don't feel like I fit in anywhere. I'm amazed because I feel like I mostly don't really care about being "cool" anymore- but it's still hard at 43 to feel like I haven't quite found my place.

It's hard to find my place when I don't trust my instincts. When I doubt the voices in me that I know are true but that damn lack of trust throws up roadblocks all the time.

I imagine that most of my trouble comes from my mind. That big crazy awesome place where who I am is. I think about how my body does its' work without any help from me- my heart beats, I don't forget to breathe, I coordinate all these parts to be able to type this without having to consult instructions. Then I think about all the work I out myself through in my own head- studying why things happen, questioning myself, reviewing things over and over until I want to throw my brain out with the bathwater. I am living sober, but I still have a drinking mind.

I am working hard on that.

The universe is working hard to put me in places where there are lessons. Tough ones. I'm making a new way of thinking that isn't really new as much is it is me.

I took some time this morning to remember where I came from. How far I am. How, because I trusted that instinct that said "QUIT DRINKING" I am here, now, figuring out all this other stuff that was making me need to drink in the first place.

8. Get Some

Speaking my truth is one of the hardest-easy things I do. Easy because I believe in sobriety with every bit of my self, hardest because I'm one of those people who really wants to be liked and even though I know better I still say things to make others feel better rather than the things I really need to say. That makes me feel a little like I'm wearing the wrong color lipstick and there's some on my teeth- weird and awkward. I don't even wear lipstick. Perhaps I should just keep my mouth shut. I'm learning when to do that too.

Feeling safe in the world means that I can speak my truth and not fear any repercussions. Because when you tell the truth it doesn't involve judgement, or malice. It means "Here you are in my life, and these are things that are true for me. Maybe they are true for you too?"

When you are fighting for sobriety- however you may need it- freedom from the any thing you can never ever do enough no matter what- the first step is to check ego at the door.  I had to understand that I didn't have the answers, I just had all the excuses why I didn't have a more than just liveable life. But this, but that, but later, but tomorrow, but but but. I think most of the reason I drank and drank and continued to drink even though I knew it was the very worst thing I could do to myself was because I handed the keys over to my ego and said, "I'm tired. You should drive. Maybe forever." And then I reclined my seat and closed my eyes. But but but.

After you've turned over the keys it's hard to hear anything over the blaring blaming ego-radio. You take suggestion as insult and when people say things that are meant to be helpful you think they're pushing you around. You think this because you don't really want to give up your big comfy comfort and when someone says you have to your ego yells "Well FUCK YOU" and so you do too.

The reason I know this is because I yelled FUCK YOU at myself for twenty some years and so I know just what it sounds like. And it usually didn't sound like FUCK YOU, but more like IT'S OK TO DRINK SO MUCH. NO ONE UNDERSTANDS ME. PLUS I AM SO HURT. I know exactly what it looks like in the dark. I know that the light can be there all end-of-the-tunnel-like and then there's that hopeful feeling like you can make it and then the tunnel end rushes away from you when it seems like you're getting closer to the light and so you just can't go on.

It's just too hard.

This is when you must go on.

You can.

And then you are sober, or you are not. This is overwhelming at the beginning of sobriety, I know it. But that's just the way the sober thing works. It isn't a give-a-try hobby, it's your life. You have to be all in. I was the best alcoholic I could be: I dedicated my life to the surety of my own suffering. So therefore I am equally as passionate about my sobriety. It only seems fair.

But when you aren't there yet, you aren't there yet. When you are sober like I am sober all you want is for everyone else to be able to be sober too. To be free to live and not merely exist from one excuse to the other. I know I am a miracle. I know that I fought hard to be one. That even though it seems like I just woke up one day and found my sober it was really a lifetime in the making.

It's unfortunate that you can't really cut sobriety and recovery in half to share. It isn't like a PB & J, where if you seem hungry I can just tear mine in half and then you get some too. You have to get your own. You have to. I'm not sure about the rule books since they are different for everyone and so there aren't really any rule rules except you have to be "sober" and I can share mine but it won't make you full.

I've been sober for long enough to have learned what it means to me. I've been in recovery long enough to know that it lasts forever- there are no breaks or vacations for time served or good behavior. Like children, sobriety and recovery are relentless miracles. There's more more more than enough sobriety for everyone to have some. But you have to help yourself.

9. It's All About Me It's Not All About Me

You know how, when things happen, it's all about you? And then, all at once, it's not?

I'm learning about my bubble. I'm imagining it- making it. My bubble is the place I go when I need to feel safe. It's where I can gather my anxious self together and take a breath. It's where, when I don't understand or I want to sort out something that's none of my business, I go to shut up. It's where I can say to myself in my own little force-field of OK-ness that everything is fine. That I am fine. It's where I go to know words like "enough" and "peace".

I went on a trip with my family this weekend. Everyone was who they are. And I was me. But, I was me. See?

Instead of taking on other people's stuff I minded my own business. I thought about if I was thirsty, or had to pee. I thought about what things to worry over, and what things had nothing to do with me. I was me me, not me who helps everyone feel happier. I wasn't me who tries so desperately to keep the even keel when things go wonky. I let the wonk wonk, I let people have their own moods. I stopped and soaked in the joy and terror while my boys rode big rides at an amusement park. I let them be: ride this ride, go here, go there. I didn't have a plan, or that awful thing parents do where we set our expectations so high for something we are just flat out disappointed all damn day since children get tired and want to do things just one more time and maybe really want a huge stuffed animal that you don't want to carry around the park for five hours.

I minded my own business. It seems like it's hard enough for me to keep my own life flowing along without adding other people's flow to the mix. I minded my own business when my dad seemed grumpy. When my nephew cried before every ride. I said "Sure!" when my husband wanted to go ride a huge roller coaster I did not want to ride. "Sure!" to him, and "Sure!" to myself who didn't want to go ride it. And we didn't debate, or struggle over it- he just took off on his own and rode it. He met us, beaming, thirty minutes later. And I didn't have a heart attack because I'd already ridden enough roller coasters and one more would have really been too many.

I have to say what I mean. When I find my space in my bubble I can gather the courage to do it.

10. After the 'But'...

"I feel bad, but....."

Do you ever say that? And then not really feel bad, maybe just a little uncomfortable? Like this: "I feel bad, I want to volunteer for that committee, but....." and then the truth is what you say after the 'but'. And that's the part making you squirm. Oprah or Dr. Phil told me that once, so I know it's true.

Or it's like this: "I feel bad, I really want to quit drinking, but....." and then there's the truth again.

My sentence of that was pretty simple for a long, long time: "I feel bad, I really want to quit drinking, but..... I really don't want to quit drinking." And that was the truth. I mean, I wanted to, but I didn't want to want to. See? The truth after the 'but'.

The truth is not always pretty. "I feel bad, I want to quit drinking but it's too hard." "I want to quit drinking but I like it too much." "I want to quit drinking but I don't really think I have a problem." Or, like someone said to me the other day, "I don't want to quit drinking. I might be a stumbling mess, but that's who I am." Oh. Well.....dang.

The truth can also be an excuse. "I want to create a successful at home business, but I'm afraid I can't do it." "I want to run a 5K, but I don't have time to train." Can the truth be a cop out? Or a clue into what you need to adjust so you can do the thing at the beginning of the sentence that seems like the thing that you really want to do. Which then makes that part of the sentence the truth, and the after the 'but' the lie?

I suppose before and after the 'but' are all important. These 'but' sentences have power.

11. Fault Line

Knowing who or what to blame for all this life is an interesting proposal. I'm not a big fan of finger pointing, I am a fan of accountability. Which means I should just go look in the mirror.

How long do you look for something to blame before you just put past as past and move along with it?

Current Me:

I'm not sure why I didn't post these. Oh, well, yes I am. They were either not quite right, or too close to that moment, or going to get worked on or it was Tuesday or some other something. I'm having trouble collecting my thoughts and so putting out the loose strings frees up some space for some more strings.

A friend sent me a quote that I can't get out of my head. It's from The Zen of Recovery.

"You must believe in your true self 100%, especially when the world is telling you otherwise, trying to knock you down the long stairway of recovery.  Listen:  Don’t take any shit off anyone if you believe in yourself and your direction 100%.  No one else has to live your life and die your lonely death.  No one else has to make your amends and pay your karmic debts.  No one else has the right to judge you and take your inventory if your personal evolution is well-motivated and clear.  Everyone works his or her program his or her own way, and everybody practices Zen or any spiritual path according to his or her own needs and vision."


  1. Brilliant...simply fucking brilliant.

    1. Thanks! I needed some room for other thoughts, but wanted to put these thoughts out there too.

  2. Amy, you have about a million amazing points here! What a smorgasbord of things to think about. I have to come back and re-re-read this. Many thanks for passing along these not yet posted lovely bits of your thinking. I'm heartily with you on not wanting/needing things to be so freaking easy (though I also drop into saying, "Don't be too hard on yourself" to other people, and I've probably even said it to you!) It's OK if things are hard and they hurt and sometimes I try but can't do them. Taking it easy is missing out on life, I think. I also love your Soul30. I think I'm trying to live like that, though of course I don't always manage it and there is a lot of cheese and dark chocolate in my day to day. Lots of love to you. xo

    1. Sometimes when I'm writing it just doesn't all come together- or I haven't found the right way to say it, or I feel like I feel too much about t to put it out there. Some of these are a year old! The Soul30 needs to happen, pronto! Funny that today is another 21st. Lots of love back to you. :) xoxo

  3. You and I would be best friends if we lived in the same state. I have been reading you on and off for a year. Today is my Day 1. Again. I think it's the 15th Day 1 this year. Everything you say is true! It's how I feel - mid 40's still trying to be cool .. to fit in. A square peg wanting to fit in a round hole. Or any hole other than the square one where I fit. Sigh. Day 1. Thank you.

    1. Day one turns into day two- if you let it. I had about a million day 1's until my last one. Thanks for reading and commenting. :)

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  5. Amy, thank you! I came so close to giving up my sobriety this weekend. Almost 4 months in and still finding it tough. I love your blog....I can relate to it so so much. I check daily to see if you've posted and was so happy to see this this's helped me more than you can imagine. I'm 39 now, 3 children and have drank almost every night for the past 18 years! When does the internal brain chatter stop?! Yes I miss that normal? Yes I want to moderate....but know deep within me that I can't. See, the truth is in the "but". Brilliant post, thank you again :) XXX

    1. Coming close is scary! I've been having big cravings this week for some reason. Warmer weather maybe? I'm an alcoholic? Booze never gives up? Whatever it is I know that drinking will never make it better, it will make it worse worse worse. So get out, take a walk. Reach out for support. I'm thinking a lot about how when I feel boozy I want to hide and how that's when I really need to step out into the light and not do what I usually do- isolate, eat. Instead I need to put my phone down, step away from the cookies and play some cards with the kids or write or yoga or walk or anything that feeds my soul but not my disease. Keep going!!!!

      Oooop, I haven't been posting much but I'm going to make effort to write more. This has been on my mind a lot too- how I need to keep working my tools that keep me in strong recovery and not just sober.


  6. also love the thought of Soul30 :) and so many other bits of this post. does your fridge have as many delicious half-begun dishes in it?! if so I am inviting myself round for dinner pronto :) xx

    1. Come on over! I'll set an extra place for you. :)

  7. This was an awesome post.Thank you so much I've taken notes.I love the part about being yourself.That's been such big obstacle for myself ,but a work in progress.I getting to know and like the lady in the mirror these days.I gave myself a big gift yesterday ,piece of mind I delivered a drunk 26 year old back to her " tough love parents,as I peeled out of their driveway after kicked her to the curb I said tough shit this is my life my experience got no room for others irresponsibility.sending aloha konalora

    1. Thanks for commenting. Sometimes all the shit we can deal with is just our own shit. Xoxo

  8. I love this idea.
    I have so many started posts that i gave up on for myriad reasons...there are germs there of something, or quotes I liked and thought I could write about, or just random crazy thoughts that shouldn't be allowed to see the light of day.
    You actually compiled some!