Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Moving Along...You can come too!!!

After over four years here at Blogger I'm moving over to my very own website!


Come visit me at my new digs. You can still email me about anything, and I'll still be writing blog posts. I'm also offering Life + Recovery Coaching over there too.

Thank you to everyone who reads along with me here, I hope that you'll continue to be part of the Soberbia community. With this community I have grown into the woman I am today. Let's keep going. BIG LOVE.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Love's Not Love

The other day my oldest son, age 12, brought home a lovely bouquet of dandelions and sweet little purple flowers for me. He stuffed all these flowers into his LaCroix lemon seltzer can during outside time at school, carried them around with him half the day and all the way home on the bus- the bus that carries eighth graders who are relentless in their teasing of my under-tall unfashionable glasses wearing boy. He came in the front door grinning. "Mom! I picked these for you!"

I am never surprised by his open heart, the heart that stays open in spite of always being teased for being different and this year, 6th grade, is the first year he's finally had a solid group of real friends. His love for me is so big, and he is so honest about it, that sometimes it feels so vulnerable for me to witness. He is so confident in it- this love we have for each other- that I find myself being envious of the person he loves so much until I realize she is me.

I love him back in this same open way, he and my other son are the only two people on the planet that I can really let my own apprehensive heart reach out to and receive back from. I relax into both of my children like soft pillows, my love for them feels so good and safe. I relish their arms around my body, their faces pressed into my shoulder or my side, giving me love. Even when they yell things like I HATE YOU MOM! and YOU ARE THE WORST MOTHER IN THE WHOLE WORLD! I know they don't really mean it, without any doubt. I let them love me in whatever way they do, unafraid of their anger or resistance, encouraged by their independence, secure in the knowledge that they love me, really real-y forever.

It is easy for me to give love. When I say that what I really mean is it is hard for me to accept love. I cringe at being offered love by anyone other than my children. I am the first to offer a hand, a heart, or a help, but I vanish to last in line with my blind eye turned when those things are offered to me. I am uncomfortable when given things like tenderness, empathy, and care. So uncomfortable that I can feel my shoulders tensing even now, just writing about it.

This makes a marriage hard.

Sometimes in my head I am the loving wife I think my husband might need- I imagine melting into his arms when he reaches for me as I walk past in the kitchen first thing in the morning, I picture looking up at him with kindness and a kiss, but then I react the way I always seem to when offered the soft gift of love: I straighten and panic. I can feel the wall clank into place, annoyance fixed on my face, impatience brushing him away, again and again. How many times can I do this before he stops reaching?

I'm working on it- chipping away at the days and years of self protection with a tiny chisel and a fearful yet courageous heart. Logically I know, I know I'm safe. I know I am capable of watching out for myself, and knowing when I don't have to be protected, but my involuntary nervous system is well trained and stubborn.

And thankfully my husband is patient and good humored.

The longer I'm sober the more I recognize what I need- and god... do I ever need and want love. Funnily I hate even admitting it, that I cannot be some self contained underwater breathing apparatus, a closed system, a solo artist. I long for and cringe at the thought of fading into the amount of trust it takes to allow myself to be loved, it's like I'm dying of thirst holding giant glasses of water. It makes sense to drink it, but what if? So I stand there thirsty, sheepishly smacking my lips, taking smallish sips and seeing if anyone noticed.

Sobriety has given me the courage to even think about all this. It gives me the ability to laugh at my hunched up shoulders and to share these thoughts with you and to keep going further and further into the woman I really am inside all the years of hurt and fear. It allows me to see who I am and to recognize myself clearly in all the messes and rejoice in the finding.

So maybe love's not love. Maybe it's more than that- more than a word, more than a feeling. Maybe it's acceptance, maybe courage, maybe nothing more than a grin and some flowers, held tight then given freely on an early spring day.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

New Blog

Hey y'all!

I have a long time pen pal who has started a blog and his subject matter resonates with me. So much of recovery can be faith or religious based. I come from a totally not religious/spiritual background and he comes from a background rich in religion and faith. Yet somehow we are so similar when it comes to the way we speak about what faith and spirituality means to us, what it means in recovery. He is writing about his struggles with and interest in different ways of believing, and I think that is something many people can identify with. Hope you like it!

Shifting Beliefs Blog

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Lovely Profile

Hi Y'all!

I wanted to share this profile from

I think this is the nicest profile I've had done yet. I am always so happy to share my story- who I am and where I am in my recovery. It seems like we all have a recovery story of some kind, and I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to put myself out in the world so I can connect with others and we can have those "ME TOO" moments that help us all feel our belonging.

Profiles in Recovery

Thank you for reading and for commenting and for being part of this community. :)

Saturday, February 11, 2017

These Revelations

I sent a complaint letter.

I've never done this before, me, people pleaser extraordinaire, forget the thought of me speaking up when mistreated or handled in a clumsy way, but I did it.

I have revelations all the time- Oh! I can do this! Oh! This seems so normal! - it's disconcerting how I realize and understand so much about myself in these short bursts, like an explosion of light bulbs above my head, it's so blinding and so illuminating all at one big time. Sometimes I have to laugh because I feel so off center and wobbly that if I don't laugh I might just cry and revelate forever. I reassure myself with little victories: I'm learning to walk, how to stand while bearing weight on both legs- to be in my body. I can take deeper fuller breaths than I could a year ago, I'm not always holding my breath. My accomplishments may seem small in the grand scheme of things- I can keep my chin level now instead of a little up ready to defend, I think about sex without wanting to seethe, disappear or hide, I danced with other people in the room, I sent a complaint letter. Revelations. Grand scheme ones.

I've gone from reading about sex to reading about grief. Unexpressed grief is basically like shoving giant wads of gunk into your feelings pipes so they get mucked up, impassable, and you become anxiously paralyzed by the fears you'd meant to cry out but drank down for twenty years instead. I can connect the two so clearly, sex and grief go hand in hand for all of my life. I can see how the grief was the beginning, I can take myself back to me at five sweet years old, strawberry blond hair hanging down my back, past the ties of my favorite pinafore, sucking in my tears because I was too dramatic and so so stupid for crying, my parents teasing me for having feelings. I can feel how much it hurt when I needed tenderness and my parents had no idea what that even meant since their parents had no clue how to do things like feelings either. How that grief led me to using sex for hurting myself and being hurt, how drinking helped me unrealize who I was enough to do it, over and over until the beauty of my body was lost and I spread my legs again, bereft. Revelation.

I can feel how much I try to hide myself, too big to disappear and too unwieldy to blend in.

I sit on the couch across from my therapist and stay a good girl, unable to sob out the tears that are dying to get out because I want her to like me and have me please come back again next week. I have stuffed it all down for so long that I'm afraid to let it out because I could possibly head into a nervous breakdown, never to return- we only have one small hour, and then I have to head to work. Not a lot of time for falling apart and then back together.

I imagine a time when I don't have all this work to do, that these moments of glaring understanding, these revelations, will happen only a few times a year instead of a few a week. These things that come up, these elementary understandings that could have been lessons learned long ago had I only been bravely paying attention instead of fearful and drinking. I feel so stupid sometimes that I'm just now getting the idea that I can ask for what I need and it isn't a crime, it isn't wrong. Why wasn't I this person I am now all along? My years of work boxing up and shoving down all of the feelings and it turns out they never disappeared after all. All that work, down the drain.

The other day I was talking to my mom about being sweet when people are hurting and she said she uses humor to make people feel better. WHAT? I felt so sad and angry thinking of all the times I cried, hurting, and got humored by my own parents. They were using their humor, the very people who were supposed to love and heal me instead making it worse. Making it funny. I'm in total disbelief that she thought that teasing was what made people feel better. I want to stomp my five year old foot and scream stop laughing at me! right in her smiling face. Which would have only made her laugh harder.

No wonder I have no clue about what a normal emotional response is. No wonder I don't know how to take myself seriously, or how to speak without questioning myself, or how to be tender, or where to put all these big feelings. No wonder when I sit on the couch at therapy when the most hurty things come up I laugh. God, no wonder. No wonder my life is full of revelations, these connections that lead me from disappeared to conscious again and again.

I'm all spun up, so much happening, so many feelings that I don't know where to put them all. They're all unruly as puppies, scattered and making messes everywhere. I don't feel like myself anymore, but I don't know who I feel like either- sometimes it feels so much like me and then I hardly recognize who I am. It's like giving birth, but for years.

I feel so fortunate to be coming along in my understanding, and also so right at the beginning, like I've been running for a hundred years and somehow I'm still within sight of the starting line. It's frustrating in this gracefully annoying way, this is where I have to laugh, where it actually is funny, and lovely, sweet and amazing. Me, at forty-five years old, stumbling along, learning to walk. Learning to fly. Being exactly myself at my life. Being born, by revelations.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017


                                               Image result for mating in captivity downloadable photo

Hey y'all! Something I've been kicking around for a while is a virtual read along. I love to read and I always appreciate it when a blog I read posts about books they're reading...and then I thought it would be cool to post it before I read it, in case you wanted to read it at the same time. I'll start a discussion by writing a post about it, people can join in, and we can have some "me too's" and maybe some "whoa really's?". 

I started with this because sex and intimacy is my biggest thing I am working through. It has taken me years to get to a point where I can actually almost talk about it and almost not feel like I should probably find the nearest rock and crawl under it. In other words that tiny little s-e-x word is HUGE for me- I have a ton of stuff around it: my body, my freedom, my violations- but what I don't have is a clear intelligence about my own self as a sexual being, how sobriety has changed my sex life, and what all that even means. In talking with others I've learned that I am definitely not on my own when it comes to this subject.

So let's read THIS BOOK and then talk about..(moving rock)

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


Do you ever feel like you are an incredibly capable superhuman amazing person and then things happen to make you remember you are certainly all of those things but mostly you are the human part? ME TOO.

I've been stretching thin, starting big new things, internalizing all the stress from thinking I might die from skin cancer, juggling all the things that are supposed to slow down after the holidays but that really just keep going. My body has been so lovely, healing my stitched back beautifully, having the energy to balance my ever persistent roller coasters of anxiety, putting up with having coffee instead of rest when I'm tired. I've had a little patch of eczema in between and around my eyes since the fall, for four or five months, this tiny spot, controlled by a cream the urgent care doc prescribed for me when as an afterthought I had him check out my rash while we were there for my son's fourth bout of strep throat in as many months.

Those creams you can't use forever- so in addition to removing a piece of my back the dermatologist prescribed a different cream I refuse to use (holy warning on that sucker- please read your paperwork at the pharmacy before you pay $50 for something and then get it home and realize you wouldn't use it, which I didn't do and learned a $50 lesson) and so my eczema has been like a wild animal unleashed- moving around both eyes like a blotchy red lizard-y eye mask. I hate to admit how vain I am, but I am. We've been snowed in and I've spent the snow days peering at myself in the mirror half horrified half amused at what seems like a really bad joke.

I have to laugh kindly at myself when I start bargaining with the universe: Um, hello. I just had that skin cancer scariness so all this eczema all over my EYES so soon seems a little...unfair? 

And then in typical universe fashion the universe sort of shrugs and says ...meh, what're you gonna do?

My body is always obvious, it just takes me a long time to listen. Even though I've been sober for four years that doesn't mean my body isn't still processing almost 25 years of drinking. It's interesting how me being able to say "I'm sober" seems to make me think that my sobriety absolves me of all bodily (mental or physical) debts incurred over my long career as a drinker. Like living while drunk was punishment enough, but now that that part's over, it's just over. It's kind of like when you start working out for like two weeks and then get a little pissed at your good intentions daily because your jeans feel a little tight and you still want to eat all the cookies.

Are you as good at hide and seek stress as I am? I can take on so much and still seem okay, it reminds me of a duck: gliding at the surface, paddling like mad underneath. I push it down and push it down until my body throws up the flag of surrender: I get sick, or I get a big rash all over my eyes, or I have a breakdown and pick fights with everyone in my family until I can finally admit that I'm freaking out some and then I work my way back to being fine, shedding good intentions as I go.

My good intentions can also be my downfall. I get myself into too much and then I have to get myself out of it, I get wrapped up in taking care of everyone else and forget the instruction that I am the first person to get the oxygen mask always. Then my sweet body shows up for me, making me more tired than usual and when I still don't listen my face blooms in a messy rash around my eyes making it impossible for me not to see where I am really.

I spent so many years making the wish to quit drinking, I wished and wished and drank and drank, wishing to be well. It wasn't until I got out my backbone, stopped wishing and made a life out of reality that I got sober and started to heal. This is always the truth: when I get with my backbone instead of my wishing I move myself to more healed. I find my remedies rather than my excuses- it's then that I am back to my backbone, facing reality.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

You Love Her

My youngest has the sweetest crush on a girl in his class. She is his seat mate, they talk all the time: "Even more than me and you mom!" One day after school we waited for her mom to show up so we could ask her to come over to our house. I introduced myself and said to my son's friend, "Would you like to come over to our house one day to play?" She said, "No thank you, I'm fine," and my son pulled in his lips and made the please don't let me cry face and I kind of laughed politely and said, "Oh, okay, um see you later. Nice to meet you." We walked the long walk to the car and when we got in he tried to smile but cried instead. I tried to make it better by saying things like be patient and maybe today just wasn't a good day to ask but he kind of got himself together with a ragged sigh and proceeded to act like it didn't matter.

This has been my relationship with myself. I send out these fancy love letters to myself and then when it seems like time to become home friends and not just at school friends I clam up and refuse politely, and I also forget to feel how heartbroken I am and I breathe a lot and pretend like I'm just fine anyway, thanks. Mixed signals all over the place.

Is it embarrassing and a little self indulgent to admit that I love myself? Does that make me one of those people that persistently posts selfies and quotes about how they just keep going no matter what because even in the darkest day there might be a slice of light? When did it become wrong to love yourself? Does school beat it out of you? Your peers? Just life? Can it just be okay and acceptable and not make me arrogant or full of myself if I am okay with saying I'm okay?

I'm reading THIS BOOK and although I get tired of all the rah rah rah I love reading about giving myself permission to be cool with myself. Gratitude to HIP SOBRIETY for publishing her book list, I hadn't seen You are a Badass before and I really am almost to the liking the idea of thinking of myself as a badass cool lovely woman point. What have I got to lose? I mean I hated myself for years, so I'm giving love a chance. It's all part of the MERGE. :)

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Word of the Year 2017

The photo above is us, New Year's Eve, 2009. It was the first or second year my oldest stayed up until midnight, he toasted our flutes of champagne with his own of sparkling apple cider and felt so grown up while his little brother slept through it all. I had worked that night and had a bunch to drink before I rushed home to ring in the new year with my dears. I'm guessing that after the ball dropped we shuffled Jack quickly off to bed and we drank more, my husband was probably tired and ready to go to bed and me just getting started- "Just one more!" I would demand and he would acquiesce rather than risk setting me off and end up staying up even later to fight instead of drink.

I'm well on way to drunk when we took that picture. My eyes are always my dead giveaway, but sometimes I'm the only person that can see that I've disappeared, to me my eyes look blurry, crossing a very tiny bit, looking far far away even though things are quite close. And this is exactly the way I wanted to feel when I drank: far far away, signals all crissed and crossed, swallowed up. I'm not here anymore.

When I first got sober I wanted to leave that shitty woman as far from me as I could go, I wanted to shed her skin a thousand million times until I was unrecognizable to myself, until you would never ever guess she had ever ever been me. I wanted to be separate from that version of myself, so cut off that there wasn't even a blurry memory of a single phantom limb or reminder of the amputation.

After a few years of sobriety I began to understand that I was still here, that I wasn't leaving. I was beginning to be at peace with admitting that I was my self, my view had expanded wide enough to see past the drunk woman I hated to find the tender girl I was before the hurt of life got in the way. But I was still two separate versions of myself: the unspoiled breakable girl and the woman who didn't drink anymore. Built with courage but scared, free but jailed, I could hold my own hand but not been ready to merge these two: I think of them both as parts of me that are who I really truly am but they remain friendly strangers- these parts of me that recognize each other but haven't trusted that one will allow the other to exist.

A few months ago on a walk in the woods the idea arrived that I was ready to be one person again. I could be finished protecting myself from myself, after four years I am allowed to be trusted. The two hands that represent what I was and what I am have reached across the middle and kept holding on when they used to drop. Instead of passing on the street with a friendly wave they shook hands and held on, each as each, melded together as one person, one woman who is unspoiled and breakable and sober and trustworthy. I have been protecting what is sweet and tender in me from the damage I've been known to do. I know now that this isn't necessary anymore.

My word this year is MERGE. Combining one into the other. Blending what has been and what will be. Becoming indistinguishable: the parts that are fragile and the ones that fight all singly recognizable as just me. Merging the hope and joy of my five year old self with the wisdom and care capably held by this woman at age forty-five. All the heartbreaking hard lessons I learned along the way? They are here too, part of my merge, here to make certain that this one woman never forgets to honor where I came from, where I've been, and all the places I'm yet to go.