A Numbers Game

I always drank alcoholically which means I never knew when to stop and there was never enough.  But up until 4 1/2 years ago it really wasn’t that bad.  However, the last six years were that bad

What do I mean by that bad?  I’m glad you asked… 

  • 2 1/2 bottles of wine a night x’s 7 days a week = 17.5 bottles of wine a week
  • 17.5 bottles of wine a week x’s 4 weeks = 70 bottles of wine a month
  • 70 bottles of wine a month x’s 12 months a year = 840 bottles of wine a year
  • 840 bottles of wine a year x’s $8.99 a bottle (US) = $7,551.60 per
  • $7,551.60 x’s 6 years = $45,309.60 in wine costs used to pour down my throat, ruin my health, permanently alter my metabolism and make me lose sleep, wake up sick and cheat my kids.

That’s a fuckload of money.

That bad also means…

  • 6 hours of drinking time on weeknights plus 8 hours of drinking on Friday and Saturday nights = 46 hours per week of drinking time
  • 46 hours per week x’s 4 = 184 hours per month
  • 184 hours per month x’s 12 = 2,208 hours per year
  • 2,208 hours per year x’s 6 years = 13, 248 hours over 6 years
  • 13,248 hours divided by 24 = 552 days
  • 552 days equals roughly 1 1/2 years that I could have been sleeping well, spending with my growing (grown) children, holding hands with my husband, volunteering, cooking and baking, watching trash TV, reading good books or countless other things I missed doing because I was too busy drinking.

That’s a shitload of time wasted.

A fuckload of money and a shitload of time.

That’s what that bad is.

Namaste

What It Means To Be Sober

As I settle deeper and deeper into my sobriety, it has just become…well…living.  I haven’t been writing lately because there’s really nothing about which I feel like writing.  We’re crazy busy at work so my funny bone is on hiatus and the sobriety thing is just an everyday part of my life.  Nothing new…nothing earth shattering…no “ah-ha’s”…no middle of the night or in the shower revelations about living life without alcohol.

It just IS.

I’ve been thinking about what that means to me and what I think about living this way for the rest of my life.  Once upon a sober time I thought that one day, when I’m old and gray I’d start drinking again because I’d have one foot in the grave anyway and so who gives a flying fuck.  That was because under no circumstances could I ever consider the idea of NEVER EVER EVER drinking a glass of wine or, gasp, champagne EVER again.  I would just push the thought out of my mind for another day.

Now it seems that, just like when I quit smoking, I’ve reached the point that I can’t think of one single solitary reason that I would ever again pick up a drink.  That person seems so distant and unlike who I am now, it’s hard to believe I was ever her.   Not that I’ve forgotten that woman, much to the contrary, she lives and breathes inside of me every day; but I don’t need or want her around anymore so she lies dormant…forever I hope.

In fact, from time to time when she’s resurrected through conversation or memories and I cringe and feel that icky stomach that says, “Yes, that was you.  Yes, you did that”, it’s followed quickly by “That is the past.  That is no longer you.  Let it go.”  So I do.  Or at least I try.

Because life is now so…normal.  Yes I’m still working on me and my food and body issues and trying to figure out why I self sabotage and all kinds of other psycho-babble things that should have been addressed oh I don’t know…about 30 freaking years ago.  But it’s woven into the day-to-day normalcy of a life without hiding, absent of drama and totally present.  It’s about just being instead of trying to be.  Does that make any sense?

I simply go along in that day-to-day life just plain living and not trying to be someone else or have what someone else has or live someone else’s life.  I spent so much time in my life wishing I was somewhere else or someone else that I cheated myself out of just being who I am and living the life God meant for me…just me…and no one else.

So being sober means just being.

Damn girl…that’s deep.

It’s really the only way to explain it.  I think part of the disease of addiction is psychological issues caused either by genetics or life events that had me behaving like an addict long before I actually picked up my first drink, lit my first cigarette or stepped into Target for the first time.  Those issues also caused me to hide instead of deal and stuff down feelings that should have been felt and then let go.  I always thought of myself as less than and compared myself to others thinking they had it better or were better or at least looked better.  Then I would seek to soothe externally and when that failed to make me feel better – the cycle would begin again.

Now?  Now there is no cycle.  No hiding.  Just feeling and dealing and being and living.

So being sober is just living, just as I am for as long as I have and appreciating what I have, right now, in this moment; and being grateful I have it.

It’s also about no longer being afraid or ashamed.  I let fear and shame control so much of my life.  Fear of failing.  Fear of being found out.  Shameful of where I came from and who I was.  Fear of someone noticing that I didn’t know what the fuck I was doing on any given day and shame that I couldn’t possibly do it right even if I did know.  Fear of people not loving me because they’ve discovered who I really am under the facade.  Oh hell, who am I kidding…fear and shame of and for every-fucking-thing!

I’m no longer living under the black umbrella of shame.  I’ve dealt with the things for which I had a right to feel shame and tried to let go of all the other shit.  I will admit to still being afraid sometimes.  I’m afraid I’ll somehow forget how authentic this life is.  I’m afraid of taking it for granted and not be grateful.  I’m also still afraid of losing the ones I love but not because they “found me out” but for the same reasons everyone else fears losing loved ones.  You know…reasons like a meteor falling from the sky and conking them on the head so that they can’t remember who I am.  Those reasons.  You know…normal reasons.

Being sober means living without fear or shame.

I love my authentic, living, being, fear-free, shameless life.  It’s so much easier than my old one.  I think I’ll keep it.

Namaste

Mother’s Day

My son and I were chatting the other night when I suddenly asked him, “What do you think about when you think about Mother’s Day?”

He’s a man so of course he’s suspicious of my motives.

So I clarify, “I mean…since you were raised in a ‘normal’ house, I want to know what you think about when you know Mother’s Day is coming up.”

I see his shoulders relax.  He thinks about it for a second and then says, “Nothing really.  It’s just a day for us to tell you how much we love you.”

Best.  Answer.  Ever.

I used to dread Mother’s Day.  For me it was a day that I was sure I would disappoint my mother in some form or fashion.  Since nothing I did was ever enough for her, having an entire 24 hour period soley dedicated to the art of disappointing her and not measuring up was not something to which I looked forward.  No matter what gift I purchased, how much time I spent in her company or how many times I told her I loved her, at some time during that day she would let me know that I also did not do X Y or Z and therefore she was not happy.  Not always…but at least 99 3/4% of the time.

As a little girl and teenager this made me sad but as I got older I came to understand that it was something in her and not me that was causing this.  I didn’t know what and it didn’t make things any better but I stopped feeling it was my fault.  It wasn’t until long after she was gone that I came to understand her brokeness.  This allowed me to forgive her and acknowledge my love for her and most of all, find some peace.

So having Matthew give me that simple answer was one of the nicest Mother’s Day presents I have ever received.  To know that I have raised my children without guilt or disappointment is a blessing. To know that I have instilled in them the simplicity of loving someone not for what they bring you or do for you but rather for how they sit in your heart is a miracle.

So THIS Mother’s Day I want to say thank you to my children for making the job of being their mom the greatest experience of my life. 

Thank you for the sweet scent of baby hair after a bath.

Thank you for “I love you’s” spoken with a lisp or through tears or first thing in the morning (and all the other times too).

Thank you for hugs that started with you in my arms and now are me in your arms.  (I know I’m short.  So what.)

Thank you for trusting me with your secrets and understanding when I couldn’t keep them.

Thank you for understanding that I couldn’t be your friend (or marry you when you grow up) because I’m your mom.  First.  Foremost.  Always.

Thank you for making me laugh like no one else on the planet can make me laugh.

Thank you for forgiving me when I mess up.

Thank you for wanting your mommy when no one else will do…not even dad.

Thank you for letting me be their to check for a fever with a kiss, calm the fear of a thunderstorm, swat away a bee, heal a broken heart with a hug, or help you work through an issue by just listening.

Thank you for teaching me what sportsmanship is, what true sharing means and that sometimes you just need to throw a fit before you’re going to get over it.

Thank you for letting me share all the firsts and wanting me there.  First tooth, haircut, word, step, laugh.  First day at school.  First heartbreak.  First prom.  First real accomplishment.  First real love.  Graduations.  Moving out.  Marriages.  Births. 

Thank you for always wanting to come home.

Thank you for letting me be a mom.  Not just your birth mother…or step mother…or aunt mother…but your real, honest to goodness, mom.

Thank you for touching a place in my soul I never knew I had.  I love you.

Namaste

Where Am I?

No, I’ve not lost my mind or gone senile (yet) and dementia is hopefully a few years away and even though I have the worst sense of direction on the planet, I know physically where I am at this moment.  I just don’t know where I am at the moment…ya know?

This sober thing can fuck with your head sometimes.  Except in the very beginning, it’s always a good fuck with your head. (Is that even possible?  I digress.)  For me it’s always about who I am and what I’m doing and where I’m going.  Not literally like, “I’m a 53 year old woman who could stand to lose 10 or 50 pounds who works for a bank and is currently excited about going to see her youngest granddaughter in a few weeks.”  That’s the easy part.

It’s more about who am I and what am I doing and where am I and where am I going inside that I’m talking about.  (Yes…I did just end that sentence in preposition.  This is a casual blog.  I don’t get paid for it.  Geez lighten up!)  It’s about this journey to liking myself and being okay with the kind of human I am.

On that front I have to ask…where the hell am I?  I’ve made a helluva lot of progress these past four years but where am I going and how am I going to get there?

I know I’m happy.  What’s more I’m happy in a way I never thought possible which is to say, content.  I no longer need a bigger house or granite counter tops or a sports car to make me happy.  I used to crave things like that.  Now I’m content with the things we have and, to be honest, could likely be content with a lot less.  I’m happy with the relationships I’ve forged in my life and the children (adults?) that I’ve raised.  I’m happy that I didn’t let my drinking ruin those relationships or children.

I’m just plain friggin’ happy people!

But inside me about me?  Yeah…not so much.  Still working on that little piece of the puzzle.  Which is normal if you think about it.  What I’m trying to change is the equivalent of raising yet another child.  In addition, I have to UNDO all the damage that was done over 49 years and insert all the good from the last four.  It’s like a rubber band.  I keep pulling at it and stretching it farther and farther but as soon as I let my guard down and let go, it’s snaps right back into it’s former shape.

Except…

Except that each time I stretch it, it changes a little.  It becomes a little more flexible, stretched out, loosey goosey if you will.  Over time it will either find some middle ground in between tight ass strong and floppy loose or it will break.  Either way it will be a permanent change. 

I’m trying to stretch that mother fucker to a place where I accept me, just as I am, for just who I am.  A place where I forgive myself easily and am kind to me.  A place of acceptance and unconditional love.  Until I can find that place, no amount of weight loss or plastic surgery, or make up, or new clothes (in any size) will matter.  Until I can say that I love myself for who I am, right now, I’ll continue to take two steps forward and five steps back in my self improvement efforts.  Until I can work on the inside there will be little or no change on the outside.  Until I can truly believe that the outside doesn’t matter, I’m doomed to believe that it does.

Clear as mud?

I’ve written about this many times.  Most recently here.  It keeps coming up…like heartburn.  Everytime I look at a photo of myself or pass by a mirror or store window, my first thought, I shit you not is, “What is my mom doing here?”  Followed closely by, “Who is that fat old lady?”  And ending with a slump of the shoulders and a loud sigh…

Everytime I lose a little weight I sabotage myself and gain it all back.  I’ve taken in the same damn pair of pants about eleventy-billion times, only to have to let them out again a few weeks later.  Why?  Who the fuck knows?  Same thing with my hair – cut it…let it grow…dye it…tie it…throw it over your shoulder like a continental soldier but whatever you do CHANGE IT.  It’s like building a mansion on sand…doesn’t matter how pretty it is, without a decent foundation it will all come crumbling down…eventually.

So for now I’ll just keep chip, chip, chipping away at the inside and hope that, eventually, the light will shine through those dirty window and show the beauty within.  (Okay…that preposition was for poetic effect!)

Namaste

 

Dumbing It Down

Of course, as soon as I say there is nothing in my head…something pops in there. Happens every time. Every. Time.

Anyway…

I’m on a little bit of a rant here lately about the way Americans seem to be “dumbing it down” for a new generation. How we’re allowing things to fly that would have never flown in a prior decade. (Yep…I turn 53 today and I sound old as crap.) For instance, I can’t tell you how many spelling errors I find on websites these days. It’s unbelievable! It’s like there is no quality control in most companies’ IT departments. I’m not talking about someone’s personal blog where they might, oh…I don’t know…get going so fast that they forget to proofread and a stupid mistake gets published (guilty). I’m talking about professional, well established corporations who’s websites often have spelling mistakes, poor grammar or incorrect punctuation. For reals yo?

Oh yes…for reals.

I’ll admit to being a bit like the grammar police when it comes to my kids and work (not my blog however…see how I got out of that). I check, recheck and triple check my work correspondence or materials and I’ve always make my kids text in full, complete sentences without the use of “text speak”. It drives me crazy to see a text that uses no punctuation and lacks even one completely spelled out word. Oh yeah, IN ALL CAPS. I’m like, “Why are you yelling at me?”

I’ve also been known, when asked “Where you at?” to respond, “Behind a preposition!”

I can be obnoxious like that.

I do not expect everyone to be an annoying hard ass like me when it comes to shit like this but dang people, are we going to continually dumb ourselves down to the point that if spell check didn’t catch it then it’s not a problem? What does it say about us that I can’t go even one day without reading something that misuses your and you’re. Or it’s and its. Or (my personal favorite) they’re, their and there. Or any number of other English errors that have become commonplace. I don’t expect everyone to know or care about comma splices or dangling participles but for the love of pickles, can we just learn to spell or, in lieu of LOOKING IT UP (yep…yelling that time), Google it? It seems we have more resources available to us than ever before and yet we are accepting mediocre quality control from our citizens?

And don’t even get me started (okay…I’m started…so what) on our advertising brethren.

As I wrote in a Facebook post the other day, does anyone else find it ironic that the same Muppets (whom I adore) that have been teaching our children to read and count for over 40 years are now on TV selling a car that, “Ain’t got no room for boring?”

Yeah…there’s that.

Namaste

Everything Is Okay

Pepper is going to be fine. We’re working out the insulin thing and he’s pretty much back to normal. Thank you thank you thank you for all of your kind words. It made a very difficult time much more bearable.

I’m in a funk when it comes to writing right now and I’m not sure how long it’s going to last. I’m not stressing…just letting whatever it is run its course.

I’ll be back when something pops into my pea brain that I need to share. In the meantime…

Namaste