One For The Good Guys

I have a very deep sense of what I believe to be right and wrong. In my younger days the hubs used to say that I was too black and white; that the world consisted of many shades of gray.  (At least 50?  Haha…sorry, couldn’t help myself.)  And now that I’m older I see that (grumble) he was right. 

BUT, there are some things I still believe to be black and white, right or wrong, good or bad.  Things like hurting (either physically or emotionally) those that are defenseless against the rest of the world – kids, animals, the elderly, the handicapped, etc.  You get the picture. 

Or pre-judging people based on what they look like, or where they are from, or with whom they sleep.

Or that you must take your turn IN TURN!!!  Which, you may have guessed by the use of capital letters, is my topic of the day.

I am always amazed at those who believe their time and needs are so much more important than mine.  You know – you’ve been waiting in line for 20 minutes and someone comes up to the counter demanding to be waited on because they are in a hurry.  WTF?  Well, by all means go ahead of me since obviously there is nothing at all going on in my life that can compare to yours. 

Or you’re waiting in line and another opens up and someone jumps right in without looking around to see who was next.  Really?  Well I guess because I’m not obnoxious and not prone to causing a scene AND I try not to sweat the small stuff, you win.  But it’s still not right.

And my absolute favorite, traffic is backed up on the highway, you’re sitting there waiting, you have to pee (oh wait…that’s probably just me since I ALWAYS have to pee).  People are merging every other car because that’s the right thing to do when, all of a sudden, one car whizzes by on the shoulder.  FAST.  Then, because we humans hate to see anyone get an advantage that we can’t also have, the next car whizzes by…then the next and pretty soon there’s an entire other lane that really is not a lane and should be used in the event of an emergency.  You know, like the fact that an AMBULANCE might have to get to the poor souls trapped in the car up ahead that is causing this frickin’ back up.  UGH!

Which brings me to my favorite moment of the week…and it’s only Monday. 

Picture it, sitting on the highway in a bumper to bumper traffic jam, where we’re moving about three inches per hour (if that).  Everyone is being polite and letting people merge over so we can all get out of the way as quickly as possible.  Then, of course, a white van comes barrelling up the shoulder to the right of me (I’m in the far right lane because, well, that’s the only place I could go), followed closely by several other cars.


About five cars ahead a tractor trailer seemingly pulls onto the shoulder to also get in that “lane”.  But wait, the driver doesn’t pull all the way onto the shoulder.  He or she pulls only far enough to block the cars that are trying to not wait their turn.  The driver then proceeds to ride like that, half in the right hand lane and half on the shoulder, all the way up to the incident where traffic finally opens up and we start moving.

I was smiling from ear to ear while I could see the drivers in the “shoulder lane” were not very happy.  A lot of yelling and slamming of the steering wheel was happening while all the driver’s in the vicinity that were patiently waiting their turn were laughing their asses off.

Bravo Mr. or Ms. Truck Driver…score one for the good guys.


Fear, Faith and Trust


I have tried at least three times over the last couple of days to write this post and every time it comes out wrong so I’ve deleted and stepped away.  I’m back again and this time I’m just going to write what’s in my heart so if you’re not a fan of rambling, making no sense blog posts…you might want to sign off now and come back when I’m more coherent.

I was looking back over my post on frustration as well as some other recent posts and I realized that I’m carrying around a lot of fear.  Believe me, this isn’t exactly “news” to me – I’ve spent my life reacting to and dealing with fear, but I thought I was moving through it.

I think I was wrong.

While I’m getting better at uncovering (and liking) who I am and who God wanted me to be, I’m still afraid and until I learn how to deal with that I’m going to stay stuck.  Stuck in this place of uncertainty and insecurity where I worry about things over which I have no control and live my life bobbing and weaving to avoid that of which I am afraid.  I’m fairly certain that is why God put the word Faith in my head when I was looking for my 2013 word..even He knows I need to learn to move through the fear and enter a place of faith, of trust, of love.

So what am I afraid of (besides ending this sentence in a preposition…I HATE that).  Lord have mercy…it feels like I’m afraid of EVERYTHING here lately.  I’m afraid of losing my husband too soon to heart disease, I’m afraid he’ll stop loving me one day, I’m afraid of something happening to one of my kids, grand kids, or friends.  I’m afraid that people will judge me because I’m old, or fat, or whatever.  I’m afraid of not being successful at work and of wasting my talent.  I’m afraid of settling and calling it contentment (actually I’m afraid I won’t know the difference).  I’m afraid of becoming an old, judgemental, cranky woman.  Sigh…

It wasn’t always this way.  When I was young I was COCKY.  I had the world by the ass and I knew it.  Of course it was bravado covering a lot of insecurity but it sure felt better than fear.

After I had kids I felt real confidence for the first time in my life.  My faith and trust in God was never stronger, I felt His light and love right down to my toes. 

Then everything went to shit.  Bad stuff starting happening around me and I coped by drinking…not a good combination.

So I quit drinking, started recovering, forgave a lot of old and moldy crud that had been living in my brain and have stripped my soul bare.  What I’m left with is all of the old insecurity and a lot of fear.  I know it’s mostly a fear of the unknown but what I’ve lost is the faith and trust.

Faith and trust that I can only live one day at a time and if I do my best with a loving heart than I can’t do it wrong.  Faith and trust that I know how to do my best with a loving heart.

Faith and trust that God has my back and whatever He’s got in store for me will be what it will be.

Faith and trust that I don’t have control and that shit happens.  It’s how we react to the shit that matters.  And that it’s really none of my business what other people think of me and that usually it’s about them and not me at all.

So here’s the $364,000 the hell do I get it back?


Dealing with Frustration

Sometimes I get frustrated at work.  Oh hell…I get downright pissed.  My boss is still not totally sure of me AND she’s a control freak AND my role has not been clearly defined so I end up being a very well paid gopher and assistant most of the time.  It’s frustrating because I’m a highly qualified learning professional and my skills are going to waste.

Of course I knew all this when I prayed for and took the job, because at the end of the day, it’s the people and the company that are most important to me (assuming I’m being paid enough to live); but it still gets frustrating sometimes.

Right now I’m frustrated and I’m trying to figure out the best way to deal with it.  It’s hard to remember how I used to process frustration like this but I’m sure I wasn’t doing it right.  Which leaves me to wonder…how the hell do normal people deal with frustration?

I have learned to walk away, calm down, think…and then speak.  Well…most of the time.  But often that doesn’t really get me over it.  Sometimes I carry resentment that, as we all know, can sit and fester and rot until it does some real damage either to me or those unfortunate souls who happen to be in close proximity when it occurs.  Well that can’t be healthy either right?

I’ve also been trying to breathe through the resentment and what ends up happening is that total strangers will look at me like I’m hyper-ventilating and pull out their phones in the event I need 911 assistance.  Clearly that’s not the solution either…either that or I need a refresher on Ojai breathing techniques.

Sometimes I come out here, like I’m doing today, and write it down.  Working through the feelings on “paper” is really, really helpful.  People told me about “journaling” for years and I own some beautiful, completely blank, journals.  It wasn’t until I came to the blogging world that I realized how beneficial just writing it all down could be.  It also helps that, for the most part, this blog has remained anonymous.  It helps me to write freely.

I pray about it also.  That is probably the best option but often I find God saying, “I’m with you kiddo but some things you have to process through on your own.”  Kind of what I say to my kids when they are struggling with something.  But as my presence and support gives them comfort, His presence and support give me comfort as well.  I just wish He could kiss my boo-boo and make it all better. 

So I’m working on it.  Many moons ago, I took a training course which was basically a bunch of pop-psychologists spoon feeding a lot of touchy feely bullshit.  They did more damage than they did good.  However, I took away two things from that ridiculous experience,

1.  It is important to recognize when we are reacting to situations rather than really listening and seeing them for what they are and nothing more.
2.  Most people are good and are not out to get you.  Try not to take things (especially at work) so personally.  Assume positive intent.  This one remains the hardest for me to do…but I’m getting better.

So I will step back from this situation and breathe, pray, try to bring myself out of reaction and assume that this is about her and not me.  This may take some time…


Remembering the Bottom

Every alcoholic or addict who finally reaches out for help has a “bottom”.  A place or time or occurrence when they wake up, or look in the mirror, or look down at themselves say, “Enough of this shit…I’m done.”
Thing is, that bottom is different for everyone.  It can be one occurrence or several.  It can come from within or be triggered by something as big as an intervention or as seemingly insignificant as an overheard comment.  There’s no formula or rule book…it just (thank God) happens when it happens and we start to get well.
My father’s bottom was when he was hospitalized for cirrhosis of the liver in his sixties.  He was very close to death and, I guess, he figured that this time would have to be his time to either die or get sober.  He got sober. 
My sister still hasn’t hit hers and likely never will. 
For me, it wasn’t one particular thing that happened but a build up of many things.  The problem with that is those “things” pop into my head from time to time and…well…make me feel like shit.  So I come out here and write about them to get them out of my head and on to paper where I can then read them and, hopefully, begin to forgive myself.  To have faith that it will never happen again.  (See how I worked in the F word? See yesterday’s post.)
Anyway, today’s particular memory is about a time when my family left for the weekend to go home to Maryland and visit friends.  My son was still dating his first girlfriend and we would make the drive every once in awhile so they could visit.  However, because we have two dogs, one of the grown ups always had to stay behind.  I can’t remember why, but this particular time it was me.  (It’s likely that I arranged it this way so that I could drink.)
I started drinking before the weekend even began.  They left very early in the morning and I had been up most of the night drinking.  I had attempted to bake them some crescent rolls to take on the road and I fucked that all to hell and back.  I remember looking at them after a couple of hours of sleep and thinking, “Oh God!  They’re going to know I was drunk when I made these!”  Yeah Sherry, because your family is basically stupid and didn’t know you drank to excess every freaking night.
After they left I went about my day and stuck to the rules…no drinking before 5:00.  I remember being incredibly sad and depressed.  I thought it was because they were gone but looking back, I know it was because I hated myself so much then.  So to cheer myself up, I went to Target and walked around.  I love Target, just being in the store cheers me up.
And then I went home and drank…and drank…and drank.  I stayed up till all hours of the night and just got rip roaring stupid drunk.  No one was there to judge or “catch” me.  No one could look disapprovingly at me or look disgusted or start to cry because I was drunk.  It was just me and umpteen bottles of chardonnay.
Jesus fucking Christ.
I passed out downstairs on the couch every night they were gone, eventually waking a couple of hours later in that sweaty panic to make my way upstairs to bed…only to sleep fitfully the rest of the night until the dogs woke me in the morning to go out.
Then I would get up, pretend everything was normal and do it all over again.
It’s funny – it’s been over three years since any of this happened and I can remember it like it was yesterday (or bits and pieces anyway).  I’ve had a lot of drunken episodes over my drinking career and I don’t remember shit…but those last few months before I FINALLY decided that enough was enough, are clearer than any of the others.
Thank you for that God.  Thank you for giving me a husband who put up with my crap, never judging, always loving, always caring.  He is my strength.  Thank you for giving me children who have forgiven me for all the crap and still love me.  Thank you for helping me to forgive and love myself a little more every day. 
And thank you for standing by me every day that I am sober because the alternative sucks ass more than I can say.

“Our lives are not determined by what happens to us but by how we react to what happens, not by what life brings to us, but by the attitude we bring to life. A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events, and outcomes. It is a catalyst, a spark that creates extraordinary results.”  ~Anonymous

2013 – The Year of Words

Words…it is beginning to look like 2013 will be the year of carefully selected, well thought out words.  AND, since I tend to write things down and use them a lot…I love that.
It all started with my friend Kary May over at God Walked Into This Bar when she chose her word for the year and then wrote so beautifully about it and why she chose it.  I won’t spoil it for you…you’ll have to stop by her blog and read it for yourself.  It’s lovely.
That got me thinking, maybe I needed to choose a word to carry with me this year.  One that I could use as a mantra when I meditate and one on which I could draw when times are…um…difficult.  Then I got busy, shit happened, people needed things…and I plum forgot.
Then today, Amy over at Soberbia (best name for a blog EVER), wrote about a word she had chosen for the year.  Nope…not going to spoil that one for you either.  Suffice to say, Amy is a wonderful writer who is newly sober and you owe it to yourself to read her post. 
Which got me thinking again…and then what I assume is MY word for the year popped into my head and, since it won’t leave, I was prompted to not only respond to Amy’s post but to write this post as well.
My word is…
Here’s what it means according to Webster…
1 a : allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty  b (1) : fidelity to one’s promises (2) : sincerity of intentions
2 a (1): belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) : complete trust
3 : something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs <the Protestant faith>

Um…okay. That is way more deep and heavy duty than I thought it would be but damn if it doesn’t speak to all that is ME, what I hold dear, and what I believe to be true.  It’s really…well…kind of perfect. 
Perfect…but what does it mean for me in 2013.  Why did God pop this particular word into my head?  Why, as Amy put it, did it choose me?  Why am I using so many italicized words today?
I have no flippin’ idea – but I am willing to do the work to uncover the whys and wherefore’s. I’ll think, and ponder, and wonder and meditate and discuss.  Faith will act as my catalyst this year to move even further into and through recovery.  Wow…I’m excited!
Let the year of faith begin!

So this sugar thing? Um…Not So Much

Yeah – I’m off the wagon.  Really I should say that I never got on the damn thing in the first place.  I haven’t been able to walk away from sugar yet.  Isn’t it always the same with addictions?

Anyway, I’ve decided to do what has worked in the past when I’m stuck like this.  I’m going to do the first four days of Dr. Ian Smith’s Four Day Diet.  I’m not disciplined enough to go beyond four or eight days because…well…it’s boring as all hell.  Plus, and this is the most important part, it’s a DIET.  I don’t do DIETS anymore.  I lost the first 16 pounds by…shhhh…this is a secret…EATING LESS AND EXERCISING MORE.  It’s not magic it’s math…calories in vs. calories out. 

It’s the quality of those calories that matter.  Basically, I feel like shit right now and it’s all about the damn sugar that I’ve been putting in my body.  We all know I have a problem with moderation (helloooo…alcoholic here) and when I over indulge I feel it.  I have aches, pains and swelling in my joints, I’m pretty sure my blood pressure is up and I’m sluggish, moody and short tempered.  Yep – sugar overload.

Dr. Ian’s plan is easy to follow and the best part is that it’s only for four days…I can do anything for four days.  When the first four days is complete I can go on to the next four or I can just go back to what I was doing prior to the holiday season.  Eating good, healthy food and trying to move my fat ass more than usual.

I’ll let you know how it goes and if, at the end of these four days, I can start up the calendar again on the no sugar thing.

Oh…and I am sober for three years today!  36 months, 624 weeks, 1,095 days if my math is correct.  Today SoberMom really does rock!


Right Where I’m Supposed To Be

Update on the hubs:  He has, um, well ya see, well…A COLD.  Now, in my defense, it’s not your garden variety cold.  It’s a chest cold with a lot of that barking cough and crud coming out and…oh shit…who am I kidding…it’s just a dang cold.

I don’t mind telling you that I was incredibly relieved yesterday when the doc provided the diagnosis, but I still felt like an ass.  An alarmist ass at that.  But I don’t care, I’m not going to get caught short again.  Plus, that meant I could go back in to the office today and I don’t have to worry about what’s for dinner.  I can live with that.

Of course, I’m still finding it hard to get back into a routine.  My bed was soooooo comfortable this morning!  I’m a little foggy headed and I’m finding it hard to focus.  I figure it’s because my week started on a Wednesday.  The good news is that I only have one more day this week and then it’s the weekend!

Monday is my three year soberversary.  I was musing to the hubs yesterday about it and he asked, “Doesn’t it feel good?”  To which I replied, “It feels…normal.”

When I quit smoking I went through hell.  It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life.  I thought I would always feel like shit because I could no longer smoke.  It was worth it, I reasoned, to keep my kids from smoking and to keep them from even accidentally inhaling any second hand smoke.  If I had to feel like crap the rest of my life then so be it.  (I’m such a martyr.)

But I was wrong!  (I know…I couldn’t believe it either.)  After about a year, not only did I no longer have any cravings but it was hard to picture myself smoking.  In fact, I would think back and it was hard to believe I ever smoked at all.  Who was that woman?  Certainly she was not me!

I am now approaching that state when it comes to alcohol.  It’s harder because smoking has become such a no-no while alcohol is still advertised, promoted and consumed EVERY-freaking-WHERE.  But I think back and wonder, “Who was that woman?”  It’s hard to believe that I allowed that to happen…it’s hard to believe I didn’t quit sooner…it’s just plain hard to believe.

The reality is that this is exactly where God wants me to be.  I was supposed to journey through the childhood o’dysfunction, on through nicotine addiction, to depression, and through alcohol addiction, to come out right where I am today.  I’m not sure what else He has in mind but I’m sure that whatever it is, I’ll come through the other side right where I’m supposed to be. 

Even if it’s sitting in a doctor’s office paying a $25 co-pay for a young doctor (I’ve got underwear older that this guy was) to tell my husband to “take two Advil and call me in the morning”.


And So It Begins….

Happy New Year everyone.  I had an…um…interesting day yesterday.  I was extremely anxious to get the decorations down and put away (I always am…after a month I get sick of them), but this time, for the first time ever, I was sad.  Hmmmm…

As I started thinking about it, I think I was sad because this Christmas wasn’t what it could have been.  There was too much pain for too many people and I had a very hard time getting past it.  I tried…but I really don’t think I was very successful.

But now there’s the promise of a new year and our ability to maybe, for once, get it right in the world.  Peace anyone?  Help for Sandy victims?  Hey…a girl can dream right?

Moving on…

The hubs is ill today.  Sounds like bronchitis but after my little dance with B this year, I’m not taking any chances.  I’m working from home today and will accompany him to the doctor this afternoon.  Know how I know he’s sick?  He didn’t once give me any grief when I asked him to see a doctor.  Yup…he’s sick.

Plus, he’s a heart patient.  He’s had bypass surgery and his cholesterol has a habit of taking up residence inside his arteries.  Congestive heart failure comes on quick and, sometimes, without warning.  We have a neighbor whose husband died two years ago of congestive heart failure – one day he was fine, the next day he was chatting up Jesus.  The family is still recovering (wife, 17 year old daughter, 10 year old son) – he was in his 50’s. 

I told the hubs years ago I would nag him into his 80’s…I didn’t lie.

I’m on the sugar free bus as of this morning!  For now, I’m sticking with no refined sugar.  No candy, cookies, cake, fudge…anything made with that vile but wonderful white stuff.  I’m also trying to stay away from white pasta and rice.  If I can make it 30 days without any of that crossing my lips, we can talk about the next 30 days.  Until then, it’s one day at a time.

Yoga?  Well that wasn’t an option this morning but I will be twisting and stretching this evening for sure…I can’t wait.

Hope your new year is off to a good start.