It’s Gratitude Time

I had some “stuff” happen this weekend which made me realize that I hadn’t taken the time to do a gratitude post in a very long time. So here goes…

 

I am extremely grateful that my granddaughter is going to be fine. She had a case of Intusesseception this weekend that had her traveling by ambulance to a Children’s Hospital about 90 miles away from my nephew and his wife’s home in Oklahoma.  It was scary (doubly so since I’m so damn far away) and I was a wreck most of Friday and the first half of Saturday.  Fortunately it cleared up without surgery and she’s home now.  Thank you God…you’re the BEST.

I am grateful and very humbled by the prayers that went up after a simple text I sent to a few friends.  I love my friends – they rock.

I am grateful for an HGTV/Pinterest obsession that provided me with enough knowledge and courage to install a backsplash in my kitchen this weekend all by myself (with a lot of cleanup and support provided by the hubs).  A mosaic glass tile backsplash people! Those little fuckers move around when you’re trying to place them!  I still have to grout it and when it’s done, you know I’ll be posting pictures.  (This is me patting myself on the back…pat pat pat.)

I am grateful for a loving family that is putting up with my sometimes batshit crazy demands during this redecorating extravaganza I am currently undergoing.  I think I know exactly what I want and, when faced with other (easier) options I am quick to fold my arms and refuse to change my mind.  (I’m not stubborn…I’m just a Taurus.)  But they are patient and have learned how to deal with mom and so they wait and approach again with samples of their proposal or a slightly different idea.  Most of the time they are right and I end up doing it their way.  I mean…I can be flexible you know.  (FYI – my husband is choking on his coffee as he reads this.)

I am grateful that Spring has finally come to the Carolinas!!!!  And therefore…

I am grateful for Flonase.

I am grateful for a promotion and a new office that I’ve decorated so that I feel warm and cozy while I work.  Lamps, plants, pictures of the family and a large photo of Audrey Hepburn from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” go a long way to making my day enjoyable.

I am grateful that I will finally get a medical test done on Friday that I’ve been either putting off or trying to schedule for three years.  I’ll be 53 in May – I’ll leave it to your imagination to figure out which test I’m having done.

I’m grateful that the twin who is living on campus this semester is thriving like I knew he would and that the other twin is also thriving living at home.  They miss each other but they are being true to their authentic selves (one introvert like me, one extrovert like dad) and that makes me very happy and even more proud.

I am grateful that the nephew is also thriving in his new job and that, perhaps, finally, he will be proud of who he is and what he is capable of accomplishing. 

I am grateful for my oldest-at-home son as well as my daughter and her family…just because thinking about them brings light and love into my day and everyone could use more light and love in their day.

I am grateful for being Freshly Pressed.  It has introduced me to so many new bloggers who comment or “like” or just follow.  Thank you all for stopping by and taking a moment to read this drivel that I take out of my head and put onto the page from time to time.  It means the world to me.

I am grateful that on the 13th of April, I will celebrate 31 years with a man who I love more deeply everyday.  The dude rocks people…can’t emphasize that enough.  Plus, I still think he’s pretty hot.

I am grateful to have one more day of sobriety so that I can continue to discover who I am and what I want and who I love and what I like with childlike enthusiasm and wonder.

Namaste

 

 

Some Days

Some days can turn on a dime.  One minute you’re going along your happy way singing Zip-A-Dee-Do-Da and the next your afraid that one wrong move will make you cry and you’re pissed at the world (but really you’re pissed at yourself).  Yep…some days.

Yesterday was a bit of a shitstorm for me.  It started out fine.  I was up, awake, happy and ready to face the day.  Then, at 9:55 am I went to my appointment to get my finger stuck and have my “health assessment” for work.  We have this deal where we can earn $800 in our health accounts (for co-pays, prescriptions, etc.) if we take a few online classes and let them get our “numbers”.

So I cheerfully stuck out my finger and watched my blood ooze into a tiny little straw and then onto a slide and then into the machine.  While waiting for my results, the nurse took my blood pressure, wrote some notes on my paper and told me to go wait in the chairs facing the window until I was called for height and weight measurements.

Wait…what?

No one said anything about weight…

Damn.

I did as I was told, knowing full well that my day had just gone to hell in a handbasket.  The next nurse came to get me and told me to take off my shoes and get on the scale.  I didn’t even look at the numbers.  I also couldn’t convince her to let me get naked right there in the middle of the atrium…but she did let me take off my earrings and watch.

Then I had to take all my paperwork and see a “counselor” before I could leave.  I sat down with this perfectly nice gentlemen and could tell immediately that I have forgotten more about health and fitness then he’ll ever know.  However, I sat quietly and listened as he went over my results.

  • Blood Pressure: 124/84 – Prehypertensive
  • Cholesterol:  TC – 220 – Slightly high; HDL (good cholesterol) – 45 – should be 60+
  • BMI:  In the “O” (there’s that fucking O word again) range
  • Glucose: 87 (my one shining moment) – should be less than 150

I left that meeting feeling like I had been run over by a truck.  Long time readers of mine KNOW what a struggle it’s been for me to get my health back since I quit drinking.  (Note to anyone out there trying to quit…QUIT BEFORE YOU ARE OLD.  Once you start into your 40’s it’s harder and harder to get back to healthy.)  I’ve done Whole 30’s (love); I’ve done Jenny Craig (hated); I’ve done Weight Watchers (meh); and any other scheme you can imagine.  I gave up looking at the scale; I started looking again.  I counted calories using my app; I stopped counting calories.  I wore my fitbit everyday and tried to get to 7,000+ steps a day with an ultimate goal of 10,000 (still doing).  I ordered videos.  I promised myself I’d do more yoga and meditation.

Start stop start stop start stop – it’s like I’m in traffic on 495 in D.C.  My engine is running but I’m not getting anywhere. 

I’m trying things but when they aren’t working in my timeframe (you know…NOW) I get frustrated and quit.  OR (more likely), something happens that sends me looking for comfort and, since I don’t have any cigarettes or wine, I reach for other things.  Food, my comfy chair and iPad, my bed, my beloved reality TV.  When I should be dealing with things and not seeking comfort.  OR (more likely) I should be looking for healthier ways to provide comfort to myself.  Meditation, exercise, healthy food options, yoga.

Here’s the thing, I don’t want to be some skinny little thing.  It’s not in my DNA.  I’m short but sturdy.  I just don’t want to die like my mom which is where I’m headed if I don’t get my ample ass in gear and soon (I’ll be 53 in a little over a month.).  I want to move more which will then adjust all of those numbers whether I stay in the “O” range or not.  The problem is that I want to get there fast and the fact is that my poor body is aging and being broken down by excess weight and bad numbers (all that shit going on inside of you ages you dramatically – just because you can’t see what’s going on doesn’t mean it isn’t happening).

So I’ve formulated yet another plan to get back to healthy before those fucking numbers get out of control and I’m taking more pills than the average octogenarian.  I’m going to pick one thing from each of these categories to implement each month, do them for a month and then add something else the next month.  ADD not SUBTRACT. 

  • What I feed my body.
  • How I move my body.
  • How I care for my spirit.

For example, for the month of April (so convenient that it starts next week don’t you think…thanks for making that happen God), I will make the following changes.

  • What I feed my body:  Eliminate refined sugar (yes…I’m aware that Easter is in April) and drink more water.
  • How I move my body:  15-30 minutes of additional movement each day no matter what. Even if it’s running in place or doing 100 situps or 50 pushups or whatever.  Just so it’s something.
  • How I care for my spirit:  5-10 minutes of sun salutations and/or meditation every day no matter what.

That’s it.  No pressure.  No eating the elephant whole.  Just small nibbles for a month…enough time to form a habit.  And then we’ll see where I am.  At least it will be forward progress.

Ugh!  I am so tired of talking about this shit.  (I’m sure you’re sick of reading about it too.)  In fact, I am sick and tired of being sick and tired…again.  But come to think of it, the last time I was like that – miracles began to happen.

Namaste

Frozen Hearts

I’m on a heart theme lately so just go with it okay?

I FINALLY saw Frozen for the first time on Friday evening.  It was a beautiful movie, clearly made for a stage production, with strong female characters.  What’s not to love?

I cried almost through the whole damn thing.

I know that a lot of people cried while watching Frozen but I don’t think I was crying for the same reasons.  See, I was crying because I’m estranged from my only sister and will likely be for the rest of her (my?) days.  Watching two sisters grow distant and then come together was tough for me.  Then there’s THAT SONG…but that’s another post entirely.

My sister was born 49 years ago today.  I was four when she came into the world.  She was conceived in an ill-fated attempt to save my parents marriage after my mother figured out that she didn’t love my father and my father found out he was going blind and he started drinking and she started gambling and running around.  A real “happily ever after” if there ever was one.  I know this because I knew all the intimate details of my parents marriage…doesn’t everyone?

From the moment she screamed her first breath she was a challenge.  She was always getting into something.  When she was about two my mother awoke one morning to find my sister at her feet with her purse contents all over the floor and my sister eating her “diet” pills (amphetamines…it was the 60’s after all) like they were candy.  I remember it clearly because she yelled at me and told me it was my fault.

I was six.

That was just the beginning.  I won’t go into detail because her story belongs to her; but suffice to say, she has been in active addiction to anything and everything since she was about 13 years old.  She is the worst kind of addict.  A narcissist who believes all of her problems are someone else’s fault (usually mine or my parents…but mostly me) and that she never gets a break.  She’s been through countless rehab’s, spent tens of thousands of dollars (most of which were not hers), has never worked a day in her life, and tried her best to ruin the lives of her children.

I cut off all ties with her after my mother died in 2006.  Her children we pretty much grown thanks to the hubs and me so I didn’t have to worry about court battles and lawyer fees any longer.  I had only tolerated her to that point because my mother continued to try to help her and stay in contact in spite of some very bizarre and hateful things. (She called the police once from where she lived, 1200 miles away, to report that I had my mother tied up in the basement and I was abusing her.  We didn’t have a basement.  The poor police had to come out, wait for my mother to get home from bingo, and make sure she was okay before they could leave.  That was an example of the bizarre…the hateful I’ll leave to your imagination.)  Even before I got sober I knew that her dysfunction was something that I no longer wanted in my life.

If she had just been an addict I can say without question that I would have had more compassion and would likely still be in touch.  But the ugliness that she brought upon her children and my parents is something I can’t forget.  I’d like to think that if she suddenly got sober and clean I would relent and greet her with open arms…but I don’t really know if I could.  I’m still working on healing wounds she inflicted in her children…the kind you can’t see.  I’m not sure there’s any hope for my niece…but I keep trying.

The thing that made me cry though was the fact that, like the sisters in the movie, we were so close when we were little. Of course we fought, but we played together when things were good and comforted each other when things were bad.  We were a unit and I loved her so much.  Like the movie, I think she was born with her demon and it wasn’t long before it became apparent to everyone around her that there was a problem.  Teachers, clergy, psychologists, relatives, doctors all tried to help…only to give up when it had no impact.

I kept trying though.  I kept trying to be there for her.  To help her when she needed it and even when she didn’t.  I stuck around for a very long time until I couldn’t any longer.  I had to save myself, my children and her children.  For lack of a better term…I froze my heart where she was concerned.

It’s still very sad.  I don’t really miss her because she’s been gone from my life for a very long time.  I certainly don’t miss the chaos and dysfunction she brought.  I think what I miss is the idea of a sister.  Not in a “happily ever after” kind of way but in a “no matter what we have each other kind of way”.  I have that with a number of other people, my best friend of 35 years, my daughter, my husband…so I’m not lacking for anything. 

But still…

Namaste 

The Heart Knows

The hubs and I were driving along yesterday talking about the upcoming release of Mrs. D’s book (YAY MRS. D!!!!) when we got on the subject of how normies think vs how addicts think.  As usual, I find normies fascinating.  He just couldn’t believe how much time and energy goes into a normal day when you’re an addict.  I couldn’t believe how much free space is available in your heart and in your brain when you’re a normie. 

From the very first sip my heart said, “This is a mistake, remember your heritage.”  I was young and really, really stupid but I thought I was really, really smart.  I took my first drink at about 16 and then not again until I was 18 and legal for beer and wine.  I drank beer and a little wine from time to time but I never got drunk.  I was 22 when I really kicked off my drinking career and it was a blast.   I had a shitload of fun.  Twenty-something, no kids, no worries.  All of us drank too much but as the years went on I was the one who always got drunk.  First to arrive, last to leave, always saying “just one more”, never wanting the party to end.  That’s about the time the my heart piped up, “I think we have a problem.”  When I mentioned it to friends and the hubs, they would just say, “Don’t be silly.  You don’t drink enough to be an alcoholic.  You’re fine!”  So I let those messages into my head and told my heart to stay out of it.  But it knew.

When I was pregnant I didn’t even think about drinking.  And I mean that literally.  My heart was happy.  No longing.  No cravings. No feeling left out.  No desire to party.  Just peace and quiet and healthy babies.  My heart and my brain, for once, were in harmony. 

That was true after they were born as well.  I was happy drinking only on date nights or when I traveled and I kept it to a minimum.  In spite of this, my heart was on alert and when I would occasionally get drunk it would say, “Whoa…better give that up girl.  You’ve got a family to think of.  Remember your dad and what he did to you.”  And then my brain would say, “I’m nothing like him.  I work.  I take care of everyone.  I’m FINE.”  And thus it beat down the heart.

As they got older and my mother got older and we closed my husband’s company and we relocated once and my mom died and we relocated again and the kids kept getting older…the drinking escalated to epic proportions.  The heart was weak from being beaten down so much but still it whispered…”I think we drink to much”.  And the brain responded with what other people said… 

  • “So what if you drink wine at home, lots of women do it?” (Hah…way more than you know.)
  • “Don’t be silly, you’re just letting off steam.”
  • “No way!  Look at you!  You wouldn’t be able to function like you do if you were drinking too much.”  (Ever heard of a functioning alcoholic?)
  • “You can’t be an alcoholic, my {uncle, dad, sister, mother, neighbor} was an alcoholic and you’re nothing like them.”

But the heart knows what the heart knows.  It knew way, way back when.  It knew I was an alcoholic long before my brain caught up.  Or should I say long before my brain allowed the truth in.  I was denying what I’d known from the time I took my first drink, got drunk and swore I’d never do it again.

I was an alcoholic. 

Until I was so far down that I couldn’t get up.  Until, finally, my husband said (out loud), “I think you’re drinking too much.”  Until I put down the wine glass and surveyed my own personal wreckage.  Yep, in spite of being “functioning” I had a great deal of wreckage – mostly to myself but to a lot of other people as well.  Every alcoholic has wreckage.  You don’t have to get arrested, or wreck a car or end up in detox to have lain waste to your life.  The journey into that can or bottle tends to destroy everything that is touched along the way without regard to what or who it is.  And that, is also, a stone cold fact.

That’s when the heart rolled up her sleeves and said to the brain, buckle up brain…it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

I heart my heart…it never fails me.

Namaste 

Why I Love My Ink

I didn’t get my first tattoo until I was 45.  As I’ve said before…it was a mid-life thing (assuming I live to be 90).  It was cheaper than a sports car or plastic surgery and way less damaging than an affair.  I got a simple Om symbol in the small of my back (yes…tramp stamp).  I chose that spot because it was the place least likely to change regardless of what my body did as I aged…when I die at 90 it would be mostly recognizable.  In addition, the symbol had, and continues to have a deep, spiritual meaning for me.  My life was in the shitter at the time and I needed something.  I expected it to help…it did…a little.

What I didn’t expect was to fall in love with all things ink.  When I grew up the only people who had or got tattoos were bikers, sailors, gang bangers or trashy women.  To have a tattoo meant that you were part of the dregs of society and any friends I had that got tattoos at 18 or so, were in the process of having theirs removed while I was going under the needles.  But the art was evolving and I was fascinated.  I wanted something that was private and just mine (at my age there wasn’t any danger of my thong and tat peeking out of my jeans at a party) and my new art filled the bill.  I was in love.

So much so that I planned and thought about my next piece almost immediately.  I had my daughter (the artist) design something around my Om symbol that would not only add color but make it more meaningful.  Around my symbol she drew six cherry blossoms (for each of my kids), five little buds (for each of the grandkids) all of which paid homage to my hometown, Washington, DC.  In my 50th year I had that one inked on my back during a business trip to Orlando.  I got lucky and the artist did a wonderful job but thinking back, I should have waited and done some research…it could have gone very, very wrong.

By then I was watching Miami Ink, LA Ink, InkMaster, Best Ink, and any other tattoo show that came on TV.  I love hearing the stories of why people want to change their bodies permanently and I love watching these amazing artists do their work.  Some are silly and irresponsible while others are joyful and celebrate life.  Then there are those that are sad and pay homage to loved ones lost.  Some are ill placed (neck and hand tattoos????? risky) while others are hidden so well only that “special” person and the owner will ever see them.  All are fairly expensive and the really good ones by the really great ones are sometimes actually cost prohibitive. 

The one I saw that truly changed my opinion of tattoos forever was a picture in a magazine of a woman who had a radical mastectomy on both breasts and was left with horrible disfiguring scars.  Instead of attempting reconstruction (always a deeply personal decision) she had the most beautiful tattoo done over her chest and under her arms to her back.  It was breathtaking and for a moment, you didn’t see the scars…only the art.  That’s when I realized the impact tattoos could have.

The most important tattoo I have is the one I got about a year into my sobriety.  I got my sober date (1/7/10) tattooed on the inside of my right wrist…my “drinking” hand.  That tattoo served many purposes.  First it served as a constant reminder of what I was fighting for.  Second it was like a talisman…guiding me through the tough times.  And finally, it was a reminder that if I picked up, having it removed was going to be expensive and hurt like a sonofabitch!  Let’s just say that simple, quick and inexpensive tattoo served its purpose.

I have a swirly hard to read tat on my right ankle that says “Let Go”.  My friend and I got them together and they match.  Whenever I’m having trouble remembering that I’m not in charge…I think of that little piece of ink.  It works.

Finally, I recently decided that my sober date had served it’s purpose and it was time to move forward and stop looking back.  I now have four cherry blossoms covering that date and the words “Be Still” in my favorite font below it.

It also reminds me that I’m not in charge..

“Be still and know that I am God…” ~ Psalm 46:10

What’s next?  Only time, money and my impulsiveness will tell.

Namaste 

Me Through the Decades

From the first moment that Cinderella tells little girls that we need a man and his money to save us (although I’ll say this, Cindy worked her ass off), to the barrage of ads and articles in Vogue, Glamour, Cosmo and other “women’s” magazines that bombard us with examples of how we should be rather than who we are (or have the potential to become), we are led to believe that something in us is missing.  That we’re not perfect just the way we are.  That we need to change.

Batshit.

I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s during the Women’s Liberation Movement (yes…it was a thing…a very important thing and it deserves its capital letters).  The Movement told me that I could be anything I wanted to be…which was good.  They also told me that Disney was trying to keep women in their “place” with their spanking clean fairytales of Princes and happily-ever-afters.  Then they told me (well…not me, I was only a kid) to burn my bra and let the girls hang free.  They ALSO told me that the work world had a glass ceiling which meant I’d never make it in a man’s world without a fight.  This was very confusing to young me since I really, really liked the concept of happily ever after, the women on TV shouting and burning their bras were very scary, and no office had glass ceilings or you’d be able to see up every girl’s dress which the nuns at St. Thomas Moore told us was a no-no.

I did, however, take away some very good lessons.  I learned that just because it had never been done by a woman didn’t mean I couldn’t do it if I wanted to do it.  But what if I didn’t want to do it?  What if I had something more, um…traditional in mind?  Well then I should do it anyway…you know…for the good of women everywhere.  It was my job to break down doors and bust through barriers for womankind all over the world.  I was a trailblazer!  No pressure.

Just for the record?  I never burned my bra.  No one was ready for that nonsense.

I spent the 80’s denying what I wanted out of life and what my gut told me I should be doing.  WAAAAAAY down deep (way, way down deep…did I mention it was way, way, way down deep), I wanted to be a mom first and an English Literature teacher second.  I wanted to create the kind of home I’d always dreamed I’d have and make high school kids love literature the way I did.  That didn’t happen.  I took a job in the banking industry because it was a man’s world (while teaching was women’s work) and I vowed never to have children because it would get in the way of my career and I’d probably just fuck them up the way my parents did me.  So I would take one for the team.  What did I know?  I was just a snot nosed twenty something who thought she knew everything and was going to set the world on fire one man at a time.  Hey…I earned that “FemiNazi” nickname! (And the “Funnelface” one but that’s another post entirely.)

Then the 90’s came around and all of a sudden I was in my 30’s, and a kinder, gentler woman emerged.  I had children and began questioning my career choice, finally settling on teaching within the banking world.  That’s about when my confidence headed south along with my ass and my breasts.  I had children and became the best mom ever (I have a mug AND a t-shirt that says so) but I was starting to think that being a mom and having a career wasn’t going to work (pun intended).  My job required travel but how could I be a good mom if I traveled so much?  The stay at home group said I was the devil incarnate and that my children were going to grow up to be neurotics who would prey on the normal people in their Stepford neighborhoods and torture guinea pigs while sucking the life out of the Maytag repairman with their tales of how bad their mama treated them.  The career women wondered why I refused to travel on my children’s birthdays and questioned my commitment to a job I was only doing until the Lottery Gods finally decided it was my turn to win.  Oh…and by the way, Vogue and Glamour and Cosmo said I was fat and my clothes were ugly and that I shold give it up anyway, 30 somethings were so last week!

Finally my forties arrived and while it was a tough time for me (my drinking got really bad then and my own mother – living with us at the time – tried to kill me by just being herself), it was also the time I started to question those “other women” and so called “friends” who were constantly giving me advice about my life. 

Let’s start with all of the women who, because they couldn’t figure out how to do it all, thought I couldn’t either and had the balls to say so!  Like my stay at home mom “friends” who were frustrated by talking to kids all day and secretly wondered if their husbands were sleeping around because they were BORING and therefore found joy in tearing me down because I had a life outside the home. 

“I am so sorry you HAVE to work…that must be awful.”  Well no…I actually really love my job and oh…are those the same yoga pants you had on yesterday? 

“But what will the kids do when you travel?  How will they manage?”  Well they have a father and my mother lives with us so I’m sure they’ll muddle through somehow and how come your kids are always eating at my house…oh that’s right YOU DON’T COOK even though you’re HOME ALL DAY. 

All the while I was feeling guiltier and guiltier about not being there for them, even though they were happy, well adjusted kids who everyone loved and got great grades.  The truth is that I would have LOVED to stay home and be boring (no really…I would have) but I couldn’t because WE COULDN’T AFFORD IT so give me a fucking break and back the hell off.

Then there were my career women “friends” who hated to be at home because their kids were brats and their husbands were assholes so they threw themselves into their work and made their co-workers miserable instead of their family.  THEY decided it was a good idea to question my devotion to my job because I actually liked spending time with my family and would do anything to be with them more.  How about you lighten up a little and pull that Blackberry out of your ass and lend some support to your fellow women rather than tearing them down?

Oh and by the way, now Vogue and Glamour and Cosmo said I was really fat and my clothes were still ugly and I was peri menopausal and cranky and I couldn’t remember how far to tighten my bras because I didn’t know where the girls were supposed to be on my chests and my shorts had to be worn down to my knees otherwise my ass cheeks were peeking out.  (And you wonder why I was cranky.)

But now?  Now I’m in my fifties.  I am through menopause, sober and guess what…I don’t give a Jack Keebler what anybody thinks.  I love my job and I love my family and I love being sober.  I’m softer and squishier than I used to be and my kids could care less.  My husband still thinks I’m sexy.  My grandchildren like me this way (“I love you Grandma Sherry…you’re soft.”).  Vogue and Glamour and Cosmo still say I’m fat (as well as that damn nurse in the doctor’s office) but I’m more concerned about not dying like my mother than whether or not I’ve got a thigh gap. (Really?  With all the problems in the world we’re not focused on daylight between our thighs?)  Besides…I cancelled all of those subscriptions years ago.  They could say what they want about me but I’ll be damned if I was going to pay for the priviledge!

I’m looking forward to my sixties.  I don’t care if they are the new 40’s or 30’s or what-the-hell-ever, for me they’ll just be my sixties. I’m also looking forward to another round of bigger and better “I don’t give a fucks.”

Namaste

A Minor Confession

 

I have a minor confession to make…or maybe it’s a major one.  Maybe it’s a minor one now but could turn into a major one later if I don’t share it.  WHAT.  EVER.  I know I have to get it out of my head and on to this page before I can move on so here it is.

Lately I’ve been wondering what it would be like to drink again.

Wait.  What?

Yeah.  Not in a “One day I’ll drink again way,” or in a “I think I’ll drink now,” way and certainly not in an “I’ll drink in secret way.”  Just in a, “I wonder what would happen if I drank again” way.  Which is stupid.  Because I KNOW what would happen if I drank again.  It’s not a secret for God’s sake.  I’d be where I was when I quit quicker than you can say Chardonnay.  I’d lose every ounce of serenity I’ve worked so hard to gain.  My health would go back in the toilet.

I’d disappoint my family.

So no, there’s not a day on this planet that I would seriously entertain the notion.  But it does leave me wondering why?  Why, after all this time and wonderfulness (is that a word) am I thinking these thoughts?  Have I gotten lazy?  Is something else going on in my life that I haven’t identified yet?  I don’t know.

It’s hard to put into words what I’m feeling.  I’m not frightened because I know I won’t drink, but it does leave me a little anxious because I’ve worked very hard to cultivate this serenity I have and I’ll be damned if I want the voices to start up again.  Right now they are just fleeting thoughts but if I were to feed them at all, they’d grow stronger and be yammering on in my head 24/7.  It’s not a craving, not a yearning, not even nostaglia.  Maybe it’s just curiosity?  I hope not – you know what it did to the cat.  Maybe I’m feeling weak…or coming down with something…or vulnerable. 

I do have one clue.  I am so blissfully and insanely happy right now for no other reason except that I exist.  I exist and have managed (in spite of the drinking) to build a life filled with love and light.  The kind of home I always wanted to grow up in but never had a shot.  A happiness from the inside that just IS.  AND being the child of an alcoholic and narcissist…I know this cannot last.  I don’t deserve to be happy and the other shoe will surely fall very soon.  Disaster is waiting right around the corner.

And when it happens…will I have the fortitude to face it without booze?

Good question.  I’m going to say “of course” and I want to believe it but…well…but.  Life is full of “buts” because you never know what tomorrow will hold.  You just don’t know what the future will bring.  I say this a lot but I don’t believe in mistakes or coincidences.  I think there is a grand plan and that I am not in control.  That, in and of itself makes me uncomfortable but it also takes a lot of weight off my shoulders.  I’m not in charge!  Which means I only have to live in this moment…right now…and enjoy it.

So for this moment, right now, I will not drink.  Tomorrow and next week and next month and next year will take care of itself…no need to go there until I’m there.  For now I am sober and happy.

And grateful…very, very grateful.

Ahhhh, NOW I feel better.  Blogging…the poor girl’s therapy.

Namaste

The Land of Sober

Been reading a lot of posts lately from the newly sober about feeling like they’ll never have fun again, or how hard it is to go out with friends early on in sobriety and feel normal, or that “flat” feeling, etc.  Let me first say that I remember that time vividly.  It’s etched in my head and my heart forever because that was the time that I made up my mind that even if I never had any “real fun” ever again, it would still be better than drinking.  That’s when I knew that I’d be sober forever…and forever didn’t scare me.

It didn’t scare me but it was depressing as hell.  See, early on in my sobriety I wasn’t having any fun.  I was sick, tired, bored, depressed, lonely, out of place, ugly, stupid and all of those other words I’d spent a lifetime drinking to avoid.  I had already come through some very tumultuous emotions.  I had survived the first week or so of beating the hell out of myself for being a terrible mom/wife/friend/daughter/sister/aunt every single minute of every single day until I fell into bed each night exhausted from going 249 rounds with myself.  Then I had survived the highest of highs that comes with that wonderful pink cloud.  The one that takes us higher and higher on feelings of self-rightousness and pride.  We ride higher and higher, patting ourselves on the back all the way until one day the cloud is gone and we’re left tumbling back down to earth…into the Land of Sober.

And then there I was, on the ground again and…flat.  I figured this was it…the final destination of my sober journey.  I looked around and said to myself, “Well Self, this must be it.  This must be the Land of Sober.  Kind of grey and dreary.  Depressing.  No fun.  I guess this is where we’ll spend the rest of our days Self…just sitting here being flat while everyone else has fun.”

Seriously people…this is actually what I thought.  That all the fun was done and that just being there for my kids would have to be enough to fill up my happy account because I had overdrawn that motherfucker years ago and there wouldn’t be any more deposits being made.  And, being Catholic, I thought that was my penance for being an alcoholic and that I deserved what I got. 

I tried going out with friends early on to prove to myself and everyone else that I could, in fact, have fun sober.  But I didn’t believe it and consequently neither did they.  I remember apologizing for being such a downer and people would just smile and nod and say, “It’s okay.”   Mainly because no one really knows WHAT to say to a sober person who’s acting like she just lost the only friend she had in the world because they don’t see alcohol as a friend…but I did…and it was gone.

I know there are some who sober up and have no problem carrying on like nothing has changed with a glass of tonic water in their hands instead of booze.  That was not me.  I MISSED it.  Drinking had defined who I was and what I did for fun for so long that I didn’t have a clue how to have fun without it.  I had landed in the Land of Sober with no money, no map, no reservations and no way to get any of it because I didn’t even speak the language!  I was homesick.  I wanted desperately to go back to the way things were BEFORE it got ugly.  I wanted to go back to being a cucumber.  I spent a long time depressed and homesick.  But I stayed…at first for my kids but later for me because I’m a smart woman and I knew that I had to live here for the rest of my life, no matter how much I hated it.

And then one day I just got fed up with it all and decided I was going to do whatever the hell I wanted to do and screw anyone who didn’t like it.  The only rule I had was that I couldn’t drink…anything else was fair game.  I started looking closely at things that might make me happy rather than things that used to make me happy or things other people perceived would make me happy.  I stopped accepting invitiations to go out because I only ended up miserable.  I stopped entertaining because it was torture.  I stopped planning vacations because I didn’t want to spend money we didn’t have to go and be unhappy.  I could do that at home.  I started blogging.

Eventually I began to accept my new home.  I grew to love it with a passion greater than I’ve ever known.  I started to figure out who I was and how I was going to fit in here.  I uncovered things about myself that I never knew – that I’m a serious introvert and I really don’t like going to parties and making small talk, that I love trash TV and I’m not ashamed to say it, that I need time alone and alone with my family to recharge my batteries.  That I hate baths and that no matter how many times you tell me I should take one as a “treat” it’s NOT going to make me happy.  That massages are slightly uncomfortable for me but soooooo worth it when they are over.

Now I wouldn’t live anywhere else.  I can finally see with clear eyes what the world was like when I was drinking and what it’s like now that I’m sober.  But I’m not gonna lie, the path to get here was not easy.  It was HARD.  But now I go out from time to time and I enjoy it.  I throw small dinner parties with close friends rather than big lavish parties.  I watch as much TV as I want.  I love on my family and friends and soak up their love in return.  And guess what?  I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my entire life. 

But moving is always hard right?  And expensive, disruptive, dishearting, exhausting.  But if you choose your new location wisely it’s always worth it.  At least it was for me.

Namaste   

No Thanks…I Don’t Like Roller Coasters

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First…you guys!  Guess what?  I’ve been Freshly Pressed!!!  My post on Facebook was selected for Freshly Pressed!!!  (Can you tell I’m excited?)  Never in a million years did I ever think that would happen and yet…WOOT!  Thank you Krista for noticing me and pressing me…you’ve made my blogging year!

Now…on to today’s post.  

Earlier this year I wrote a post about eating cleaner and breaking the cycle of obsession that had been a part of my life for as long as I remember.  The obsession with food, with the scale, with how I look, all of it.  I was able to break that awful cycle.  I was able to set myself free.  Free from getting on the scale every freaking morning and letting it have the power to decide my attitude.  Free from waking up every morning and thinking, “I’m going to eat well today.  I shouldn’t have eaten (whatever) last night.  Ugh…I hate myself.”  Sound familiar anyone?

I broke that cycle until…until that bitch rude nurse poor uninformed woman at my doctor’s office used the “O” word.  Obese.

I said I wasn’t going let it affect me.  I said I was going to stay on my path to healthy, clean eating and moderate exercise.  I said

…doesn’t matter what I said.  What matters is what I thought and what I did.

What I did was jump right back onto that motherfucking roller coaster.  I started weighing once a week…and then once every three or four days…and then every damn morning.  I started tracking my calories on MyFitnessPal.com and using my FitBit to not only track my steps, but to give me back some of the calories (you can lync the FitBit to MyFitnessPal).  Before I knew it, I was right back into thinking about food either consciously or unconsciously every minute of every day.  I was dreaming about food!  Shit!

This morning I woke up and my first thought was, “Okay..today’s the day I’m going to eat better.”

And I stopped in the middle of my bedroom and thought, “STOP!”  Which reminded me of my day in my closet when I yelled the same thing (out loud that time).  Which made me realize that I have let one single solitary word uttered by a woman who didn’t give it a thought put me back into a place from which I fought to remove myself with every fiber of my being.  I let that word not only impact my eating but my thoughts about who I am and what I look like as well.  One simple word unraveled all that hard work, and I mean HARD work.  Double SHIT.

It felt like a relapse.  Not a relapse back into drinking but just as harmful to my well being because I have worked very hard in recovery to cultivate peace and quiet in this crazy head that sits on my shoulders.  AND I WAS THERE!  Sigh…

Here’s the cray-cray part, the more I let those voices in, the worse I ate!  Potato chips every night (I counted them of course).  Candy (counted). Cake (counted). Banana bread (counted). Fried chicken, full fat dressing, blah, blah fucking blah.  Plus?  Not one single pound lost…not an ounce!  In fact, I’ve gone up two pounds (and then back down…whatever).  All why counting every single calorie and staying below my target.

Prior to jumping back on this nightmare of a roller coaster I had lost the weight I had gained at Christmas and leveled out.  I knew Spring would arrive and I’d get more active and then – well then I was fully prepared to let my body do what it needed to do while I was feeding it only good things and moving it in a moderate and responsible way (i.e. not making my already bad knee worse).  I WAS THERE!  

Until I wasn’t…

To show you how bad it got (is),I ordered “Rockin Body” from Beachbody and led by Shawn T.  The same Shawn T from P90X and Insanity.  Really?  While I could probably do the exercises and might even like it because it’s dance and I spent a good part of my life doing aerobic dance, I am sick of worrying about when I’ll do it and if it’s going to work and should I start getting up a five am and do I need a knee brace and what if I can’t do it and feeling guilty if I decide to walk the dogs instead and UGHHHHHHH!!!!!  STOP!

So I am taking my overweight (NOT obese) ass off this scary clown, Stephen King, haunted, carnies with three teeth among them, rats and snakes and roach filled roller coaster.  I’m doing it intentionally.  I’m sending back the videos.  I’m deactivating my Myfitnesspal account.  I’m going to take the few minutes I have in my day to myself and do what I want to do…walk the dogs, yoga, meditate.  I’m going to go back to putting clean and healthy things in my body and give myself a fucking break.

Then I’ll reassess.  Stay tuned…I’m a work in progress.

Namaste

Let’s talk about Facebook shall we?

I’ll admit it…I’m a defender of Facebook.  I like it.  I like seeing pictures of my grandkids and keeping up with what is going on with them.  I like keeping up on the lives of my friends and what their grandchildren are doing.  I like the positive news items and the helpful way it reaches out to millions of people at a moments notice.  I like finding friends from way back when and touching base again…not enough to actually make an effort to get together or anything but I’m nosy…I like knowing what’s going on in the world. 

But I’m finding there’s no real “etiquette” when it comes to Facebook.  It’s kind of anonymous…but not really.  We’re not face to face so you don’t have to see my initial reaction to your post and I have time to think about how I’m going to (or not going to respond).  Kind of like letter writing used to be but much more immediate…and permanent.  I mean, a letter could always be destroyed…the Internet is FOREVER.

So…here are a few of the things that I’m getting sick of on Facebook (or social media in general).  Feel free to add your own.  Maybe one day you’ll have to read all these things and take a test before you can get a Facebook account.  BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA…oh sorry.  Yeah well I can dream right?

  1. Please do not leave some esoteric, mysterious, drama filled post with no real details and then get your panties in a wad because I didn’t comment.  I am too old for that shit.  If you’ve got something to say then say it.  If you want my opinion ask me (believe me…I’ll give it to you).  I am not going to respond to drama.  I’ve worked very hard in my life to rid myself of drama, I will not allow a stupid post on social media to violate that moritorium.
  2. And while we’re on that topic, if you post something, I will likely comment if I have something to say.  If you don’t want comments then say so in the post.  Then again, if you don’t want anyone to comment, don’t put the fucking post up!  Facebook is about posts and comments…that’s the way it’s designed.  I just had to unfriend my son’s girlfriend because I commented on a post she made that had me concerned.  She lost her shit!  She posts because it helps her deal but doesn’t want anyone to comment.  This is Facebook honey.  They make things to help you cope with stuff that comes up in your life, they’re called journals.  Buy one.  Use it.  Forget Facebook and other forms of social media including blogs.  People comment.  They care.  Deal.
  3. I make mistakes when I type…everyone does.  Especially when typing on my phone or when I’m in a rush.  I make mistakes on my blog from time to time (cough…often…cough), but I notice that more and more people just don’t care.  Here’s a clue to all you young people out there (younger than me that is…which is most of the population), employers are stalking your social media.  Learn to spell (or utilize spell check), figure out tenses, work on your pronouns.  At the very least use social media to practice the difference between your and you’re.  Pretend it’s school and concentrate on their, they’re and there.  No one wants to hire someone whose LinkedIn profile is full of errors.  I promise it matters…and not just to your parents.
  4. And while we’re on that subject.  Take your naked, booze fueled, nasty self off the internet.  If you wouldn’t show it to your grandmother then don’t show it to the world.  I know it’s been said time and time again but I really have to throw it into this discussion.  Your college frat party antics may be funny at the time but they won’t be when you lose a job because a future employer disapproves (doesn’t really matter if it’s right or wrong…it’s a fact).  You may not even know it’s happening but if you find yourself getting turned down for a number of jobs, you may want to clean up your profile. 
  5. Don’t think that getting hired changes that.  HAHAHAHAHA.  It’s even more important to keep your shit off the internet after you get the job.  It’s no fun to sit in an office and have your boss turn his or her screen around to show you why they are firing you.  Once you’re in the real world your behavior is a reflection on your employer – keep it clean people.
  6. Oh and by the way…even though we’re old and we hang on Facebook which is like so last WEEK…we know where you hang.  Do you know why?  Because we hire people YOUR AGE whose only job is to keep up on what social media is hot and where you’re posting all your nasty ass stuff.  Trust me.  We KNOW.
  7. Back to the old people and Facebook.  Why isn’t there a Dislike button?  Where is the “thumbs down”?  So many times there’s a post that I want to acknowledge but it seems so inappropriate to click “Like”.  “I’m really going to miss my grandfather.  He was the only dad I ever knew.”  LIKE!  NOOOOOO.  I want to acknowledge that I’ve read it and that I empathsize or at least sympathize but I don’t want to leave a comment because…well…you’re not really my friend.  You’re kind of a friend of Uncle Lou twice removed so…well…you really don’t know me but your post was so sad that I feel the need to do something!  Come on Zuckerberg…would it be THAT hard?  Really?

Okay…end of rant.  So what gets your boxers in a bunch about social media?

Namaste