Geezer Alert

I’m about to rant about something which makes me sound (and feel) really old.  I’m not going to rag on the most recent music (I love ALL music), I don’t particularly care what the younger generation wears, and I don’t really care if they spend all day with their noses in their phones on their personal time, but a lack of manners and decorum really pisses me off.

I know that times have changed and blah blah blahdy blah blah, but good manners never go out of style.  Look, I was raised in the projects.  My parents had no social skills and certainly didn’t pass them on to us.  My grandparents were immigrants.  But I knew better than to show my ass in public from a very, very young age.  I knew the difference between my inside persona and my outside persona. (Forget voices.  I’m Italian…I have no inside voice.)

When my kids were at that “magic” age when they began to flex their potty mouth muscles, I made sure to have a conversation with them about their different personas.  I explained that I knew they would be trying on expletives to see how easily they rolled off their tongue and while that was perfectly normal, there was a specific time and place for that behavior, i.e. only with their friends and only out of earshot of adults.  Who could be lurking around any corner.  So be careful.  Very careful.

I made sure they understood that they were a reflection of me and that no matter how “good” they were, a foul mouth and rude behavior would have people thinking poorly of them and that good manners, kindness and a polite demeanor would cast the impression that they were trustworthy, mature and well behaved…even if they were the heathens I knew them to be.  I also made it clear that a poor first impression was very hard to overcome and a good first impression would pave the way for forgiveness of future sins.

In other words…don’t fuck up and make me look bad.

No…of course I didn’t actually say that.  My foul potty mouth is reserved only for this blog and my husband’s ears (and a few close friends).  Otherwise I have daisies and rainbows flowing from my mouth on a regular basis.

It worked.  I am consistently complimented on my kids and their behavior and they make me proud everyday.  They have an excellent vocabulary.  Wouldn’t think of cursing outside of their inner circle.  They open doors, pull out chairs, say please and thank you and blah blah blahdy blah blah.

Here’s the thing though.  Yes, my kids are well-behaved adults but I honestly think the reason I get complimented so often is that the rest of the world has lost their freaking minds!!!  Since when is it acceptable to drop the f-bomb every three minutes within earshot of perfect strangers?  Strangers with toddlers in tow?  Or at a work function?  Or directly to your boss?!

Again…I must be geezing.  I know they are just words and that, as I told my kids, they only have power if we give them power.  But the fact remains that society has given them power and we have to respect that.  Or not.

We recently took a group of our trainees to a community service function.  We were asked to leave.  Let me type that again.  This group was asked to leave a VOLUNTEER function because they didn’t know how to behave.  From the time they walked in the door they were rude, foul-mouthed and not helpful at all.  These are young adults – not high school or middle school kids.  We didn’t accompany them because we thought they were adults.  We were wrong.  And let me assure you, they knew what was expected of them.

And let me also assure you that they heard from me upon their return.  But digress.

On what planet is it EVER okay to be rude, foul-mouthed and disrespectful?  I’m no Emily Post but damn people, it doesn’t cost a dime to be kind and respectful.  But it costs a lot for my company to have their reputation drug through the potty because of a few obnoxious frat boys and girls…yes girls…even they were in on it.  I think that pissed me off the most because, in a male dominated industry like mine, I expect more out of the women.  I expect them to be better than their male counterparts because that is what they’ll have to do in order to get ahead.  Is it right?  Hell to the no!  But it’s a fact so get over it.

What I do not expect is for them to show their ass while wearing a t-shirt with the company logo on it.  Show your ass in your own clothes…not mine.  And while you’re at it, bring me a bar of soap because I’ve got a line of people who need their mouths washed out.

See…told you I was geezing.




What I don’t know how to do

In preparation for my upcoming therapy appointment, I’ve been thinking about things I’d like to work on and, ultimately, improve.  A comment I made either on my blog or on someone else’s (who can keep track?) about how I don’t know how to be normal has got me thinking…what else can’t I do?

First, I don’t feel emotions like other people do.  I tend to either feel them too deeply or not at all.  And if I feel them too deeply and they become painful then Mr. McStuffins shows up and stuffs them all…well…someplace…I actually have no idea where it all gets stuffed.  Someday some well-meaning therapist is going to find the key to that “someplace” and things will likely get very, very messy.  I’d like to work on opening that someplace slowly rather than all at once.

I can’t drink Donald Duck Pineapple Orange Juice, look at an old-fashioned billboard, or a box of broken crayons without feeling…well…weird (in fact, just typing those words did it).  There’s a deeply buried memory associated with all of these things that brings up feelings that seem to be uncomfortable, but my psyche doesn’t let me really “see” what it is.  Usually we suppress things that are too painful to remember.  I hope this isn’t one of those times.  If it is?  Let’s approach that slowly as well okay?

I don’t like myself.  I try…but that damned voice in my head keeps repeating the shit that was put there long ago.  THIS is my biggest challenge – to get to the root of all of that and figure out how to stop the message.  But shit is messy yo.  And it stinks.  So I don’t expect this part to be easy but it’s got to happen because, at the end of the day, shit is also toxic if not handled properly.  However, if handled properly, it can be used to feed and nurture and make beautiful things grow. 

I don’t know how to let go.  Again I try…I really, really do.  So much that I had the words tattooed on my body.  All that did was give me a bad ass looking ankle, which is fine, but not exactly what I was going for if you know what I mean.  I need to learn how to keep the good stuff from a situation – you know, all the learning and positive spins – and let the hell go of all the bad stuff.  Just, you know, release that shit into the Universe to be dealt with accordingly.  Yeah…I’m gonna need to work on that.

I don’t know how to forgive.  Okay wait, let me clarify.  I have worked very hard to learn to forgive others and I’m doing a fantastic job and it feels amazing.  I love looking a people with love and understanding rather than anger and resentment.  Believe me when I say that it makes a big ass difference in my gut to not carry that shit around anymore.  Where I fail is when it comes to forgiving myself.  I’m not very good at that.  Down deep I don’t feel worthy of my own forgiveness and even I know that’s fucked up to the max. 

Speaking of “not worthy”, I don’t know how to effectively administer self-care.  Sure, I talk a really good game but when it comes execution?  I suck.  Big suck.  Mammoth suck.  I’m not even sure I really understand what the fuck it means to practice self-care!  I know what it’s not!  It’s not mani-pedis or chocolate or a new blouse.  Those things are nice but they’re temporary.  I may not know what it is exactly, but I know I need it and I know I need someone to take me by the hand and introduce me to it.

“Sherry, this is self-care.  It’s here to help you heal in a healthy and balanced way.  It’s good for you and should become part of your life.” (Said using tones like you’d use when talking to a frightened four-year old.)

“Self-care, this is Sherry.  Chick is all kinds of fucked up and needs you to slap her upside the head from time to time to get her attention.  But yo, she’s a quick study so it shouldn’t take her long to recognize you.” (Said in tones like you’d use talking to 50 Cent.)

The more I think about it, the more I think I should just email the link to my blog to my therapist so he can read and understand and save us both a hell of a lot of time and money.  Okay…save ME a lot of money.

But I don’t want to risk sending him screaming into the night.

Just kidding!

Sort of.


Weekend Thoughts

Lots of thoughts this weekend about drinking.  Before you get your panties in a wad or your boxers in a bunch, I’ll explain.

These weren’t the normal pangs (or is it pings) that knock me for a loop and scare the shit out of me.  These were thoughts about why I drank, what I missed and how I was going to battle this bout of depression without it.  Processing thoughts.  Analytical thoughts.  Thoughts that kept me mostly in my head this weekend instead of being present in the world.

Hmmm…I haven’t decided whether that’s good or bad.  For now it just is.

I noticed a lot of silence and deep sighing went on while driving in the car with the hubs.  Very unusual.  Usually I’m talking his ear off about one thing or another and since we’re rarely completely alone, it’s often in the car that we connect.

Not this weekend.

I thought about how lovely a glass of wine used to feel…about how it was an escape…about how I used to float away and be happy…for the first glass anyway.   I also thought about how odd it was that I NEVER (and I do mean EVER) thought about drinking as an escape.  How could a woman so seemingly aware of her own mind NOT consider things like drinking, smoking or eating an escape?  Or even a coping mechanism?  What in the name of all that is holy is THAT all about?

Denial’s not just a river in Egypt people.

I never thought about it because I really and truly believed I had my shit together.  I was successful, a good mom, a good wife, a decent cook, a not too patient but still good daughter and part of that persona was that I, like every other woman on the planet it seemed, loved my glass of wine in the evening.  I mean, wine with the other mommies was a thing.  Wine with colleagues on a business trip was a thing.  Wine on date night was a thing.  Wine was a thing!

But of course then it became so much more.  I remember thinking to myself, “This can’t be right.  I think I must have a problem because once I’ve started I just can’t stop.  I need to put more controls in place.  I mean seriously?  I am the Queen of Control!  I can do this!”  Except that it stopped working.  Moderation wasn’t an option and stopping, even for a 24 hours, just wasn’t happening.

I had crossed over from occasional binges to problem drinking to full-blown alcoholic.

And it never occurred to me that I was using alcohol to escape?!  I just figured I inherited alcoholism like my green eyes and slow metabolism.  Get sober and everything will work out.  Get sober and get skinny like I used to be (but of course didn’t know it) and that will fix everything.  Get sober and I’ll be a better mom (okay – that one is true).  Get sober and all my problems will magically float away on a big pink cloud.

Uhhhhh…not so much.

Even after getting sober, even after going through the steps with a sponsor, even after blogging myself stupid, I’m still battling the same damn demons that sent me running for the smokes/bottle/chocolate in the first place.  Dude…that is fucked up!


Let’s take a look at an example shall we?  I started this redecorating thing in the spring, I think, as a way to make me happy.  At that point I didn’t realize that I wasn’t happy and I certainly hadn’t figured out that I was depressed.  In fact, I’ve had two touch point visits with my shrink where my response to his questions were all, “I’m fine!”  When clearly I wasn’t but since I didn’t know it – I couldn’t tell him.  Are you following?  Good cause I’m confused.


I truly LOVE the way the house turned out.  It’s beautiful and just what I dreamed it could be.  Time for a gut check.

Nope.  Still depressed.

I know!  I do another Whole30!  Yep.  If I can get skinny again surely that will solve everything!

Except that everytime I get going on one of these things I self-sabotage and end up back where I started.  As soon as I’m having some success, I end it and fall deeper into the pit.

I’m no therapist but even I know that means there’s a lot more going on here than a few extra pounds and some tired ass paint colors.

I’ve been reading back over some of my old posts and what jumps out at me clearly is the roller coaster of emotions.  I know this is normal for anyone AND I know that it’s especially normal for someone in recovery.  I’m just really, really tired of this particular carnival and I’d really, really like to move on now thank you very much check please and someone call me a taxi because I actually thought this weekend, “You know, a glass of wine would make this all go away for a little while.”

Okay, I lied.  That one really did scare me.

More work to do on me.  I think that’s going to be my new mantra.



So I made an appointment with a therapist yesterday.

Close your mouth – it’s not THAT big a deal.

Okay…maybe it is.  It’s no secret the way I feel about therapists.  I have three and two of those were a disaster.  The third could have probably turned into something but that was during my quit/relapse phase and I wasn’t ready to hear what he had to say.  Add to that the therapist that my nephew had when he lived with us that not only robbed us of our money but then refused to assist when we were fighting for custody and…

Well, you get the picture.

But I can’t shake this depression! I’ll go for a few days and be okay (not good…just okay) and then I find myself back into it again.  It’s not the crying nonstop (yet) it’s the “I don’t give a fucks” which are far more dangerous.  I’m bored.  I have no initiative to DO anything and so I stay bored.

If it walks like a duck…then it’s probably a depressed duck.

So yesterday I pulled up the website for my psychiatrist’s practice so I could make an appointment with him and get his opinion when I saw that they just added a new therapist.  Hmmm….  I kept reading.  Turns out he specializes in addiction, cross addictions and adult children of alcoholics. 

Whoa.  Rewind.  I read it again.  Then I called and made an appointment.

THEN on the bus on the way home, I read my Twitter feed (which I only read when I ride the bus which I haven’t done in weeks…just sayin) and there was a post from a website that I frequent called Band Back Together – here’s a blurb from their website

Welcome to Band Back Together, a community weblog open to all, created by Aunt Becky from Mommy Wants Vodka.

Who are we? We’re The Band.

We’re a band of survivors. We’re here to put a face to everything once kept in the dark. We’re here to show the world that you can go through hell and come out the other side.

So, pull up that old tattered leather chair and make yourself a drink. Pull your skeletons from their closet and make them dance the tango. Alone, we are small. Together, we are mighty.

We are all connected.

We are none of us alone.

Share your story.

It’s time to get the Band Back Together.

I can’t read it all the time because frankly, it’s just too depressing.  But it gives a voice to people who don’t feel they have one – they do good work people.

ANYWAY, the tweet in question was one on adult children of parents with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  The level of anxiety reading that damn thing created made me cry…on the bus…with other people…not the snotty ugly cry but still.  I sniffled all the way home.   Hmm…

So let’s recap – 1. new therapist that specializes in the effects of my father; 2. specific post about the effects of my mother = latest brick upside the head from God. 

So I’ll go and see what this guy has to offer.  I have to do something.  I’m not myself and while I’m not opposed to changing my meds, I want to see what a little talk therapy will do before I go that route.  I feel like I’m in a rowboat with no oars and so I’m drifting into a storm.  My oars – smoking, alcohol, food – have been cast aside and I don’t know how to replace them. 

BECAUSE I have no idea how to be “normal”.  I have no idea how the non-addicted people of the world process their feelings, thoughts, events, etc.  I never learned and I’m tired of relying on other people, substances or meds to do that for me.

Time to get to work.  Time to chart my own course.


Wasted Time vs. Time Wasted

I’m getting old.  No no…don’t try to make me feel better by telling me how young I look…well…okay you can try.  Fact is that I’m 53 damn years old which means I’ve been on the planet longer than I have left on the planet (unless I live to be 107 which is highly unlikely…possible but unlikely).  PLUS the time I have left is time this body and brain will be winding down rather than gearing up or coasting.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not throwing my hands in the air like I don’t care and giving up!  Quite the contrary.  I’m doing all I can to keep the body and brain “hittin’ on all 8’s” for as long as possible.  That means working, exercising, learning, eating well, sex and all those other things that More magazine says will keep me young.

After all, 50 is the new 30 right?

What the fuck does that mean anyway?

Anyway, I’ve become very contemplative of late.  I’ve been looking back and thinking about all the time I wasted being trashed when I could have been doing something else.  Anything else.  I spent so much time wasted that I wasted a shit-load of time.

See what I did there?  Yeah…I’m a regular Bill Shakespeare.

But seriously, I did waste a great deal of time that I could have spent enjoying…well…anything!  Specifically I’m talking about my 40’s.  Yep…pretty much the whole freaking decade.  That’s my lost decade so to speak. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I drank in all of my decades from my teens to my fifties and I didn’t know it then but I drank alcoholically for all of it.  But my 40’s?  Yeah…that was when it all went to shit and I dove ass first into that big bottle of Chardonnay.  That was when it went from being “fun” to being tragic.  When it went from being an occasional way to blow off steam to a necessity.  That’s when I began to isolate and spend “quality time” with my bottle(s).

I feel like that whole period is one big blur.  From 2001 to the end of 2009 the following events happened…

  • September 11th (we lived in DC then)
  • My husband’s company failed (due to 9/11)
  • We moved to my dream home (near the beach)
  • The hubs had emergency triple bypass surgery and then gall bladder surgery two years later
  • One of my twins broke his arm which required surgery and then a while later contracted a serious bout of strep that landed him in the hospital
  • I had to fight to get the other twin diagnosed with ADD and then found out he was clinically depressed as well (which of course I blamed myself for)
  • My mom passed away after spending a great deal of time in and out of the hospital and running into a house with her car which almost killed her in and of itself
  • I accepted a new position that relocated us to another state leaving the dream house behind and plunging me into a prolonged depression
  • I got laid off from that job about a year after we moved
  • I decided (with the help of my wonderful husband) that enough was enough and got sober

Looking back you’d think all of those things would be etched in my brain for a lifetime right?  Well they are…sort of.  Most are kind of a blur because I spent so many evenings drinking and so many days wondering when it would be okay to crack open a bottle.  Date night became an excuse to get plastered and escape, for a minute anyway, all the bullshit that was happening. 

What I do remember was using all of that as an excuse to put on some diving gear and go deeper and deeper into that bottle like the scary dude that sometimes shows up in Bikini Bottom to try to capture SpongeBob and Patrick.

Let’s try this again with my internal demon adding her two cents.

  • September 11th (we lived in DC then) – the more I watched the coverage, the more I want to drink
  • My husband’s company failed (due to 9/11) – I’m sorry honey, let’s go out and drink talk about it
  • We moved to my dream home (near the beach) – Let’s celebrate by having all our new neighbors over so I can get shit-faced the first of many times and embarrass myself the first of many times to know them
  • The hubs had emergency triple bypass surgery and then gall bladder surgery two years later – Okay I can’t drink because I never know when I’m going to get a call from the hospital…gotta keep it together…I could really use a drink
  • One of my twins broke his arm which required surgery and then a while later contracted a serious bout of strep that landed him in the hospital – My boy needs me, I need to be ready to go to him in the middle of the night or, when spending the night at the hospital, oh well, I can have a drink when he’s home and okay
    • Let’s pause this part of our broadcast to pose a question: “Who the fuck has thoughts like that when their son is in the hospital being stuck with nine million needles?”  Answer:  An alcoholic in denial…that’s who.
  • I had to fight to get the other twin diagnosed with ADD and then found out he was clinically depressed as well (which of course I blamed myself for) – I’m a terrible mother because of course I caused his depression…better get two bottles tonight
  • My mom passed away after spending a great deal of time in and out of the hospital and running into a house with her car (which almost killed her in and of itself) – drink, drink, drink, drink
  • I accepted a new position that relocated us to another state leaving the dream house behind and plunging me into a prolonged depression – Let’s celebrate because I got the job…oh my god I hate this job…I hate this house…I’m homesick I want to go home…drink, drink, drink, drink, drink
  • I got laid off from that job about a year after we moved – I hate my life, I’m so depressed, no wonder I drink, I hate myself, I CAN’T STOP DRINKING
  • I decided (with the help of my wonderful husband) that enough was enough and got sober

Here’s the saddest part…rather than remember, with clarity, all of the life events that usually serve to build character, provide wisdom, and make us appreciate all of the beautiful things that life has to offer, I have clear memories of trying to figure out where my next drink was coming from.  And I was supposedly high functioning!!!!!!!  There was no functioning happening there people.

That’s a WTF moment if I’ve ever heard one.

Sobriety has taught me to look back only so much as it will help me stay sober.  I need to wake up and realize that sitting around “contemplating” how much of my 40’s I wasted getting wasted isn’t going to change one motherfucking thing.  No matter how much I wish I could go back and change things, the fact is I can’t.  God put me right where I am supposed to be exactly when I’m supposed to be…here…there…  Attention:  Is there a grammar nazi in the house?  I think this post could use one right about now.  Just raise your red pen…I’ll see you.

It’s time to get back to enjoying and experiencing the time I have right here, right now.  Time to get my pink cloud back.  I’m sober and moving solidly forward.  And being sober has helped me learn to be present and pay attention to what is going on all around me every single solitary moment of every single solitary day. 

No more time wasted…no more wasted time.


Because I’m Happy

Reason enough for a gratitude list.

Today I am profoundly grateful for:

My family.  I have the most wonderful husband and six of the greatest kids on the planet.  From my oldest to the newest they are all incredible human beings and I find no greater joy than being in their presence.  They fill my soul with love.

My friends.  Thank God for the friends in my life.  They are all a gift.

My job.  Crazy as it is and as difficult as it was to secure – I’m exactly where I am supposed to be and very, very grateful for being here.

My home.  I have built more than just a house.  I have been fortunate enough to build a home where all who enter can take a deep breath, exhale, and find peace…if only for a little while.  Doesn’t matter where it is, what size it is or what color the paint is on the walls…where my heart and my love reside is where home will be.

Calamine Lotion and antihistimines.

Men who love carpentry and happen to live in my home.

Puppies who take well to insulin.

Blue Jays who chase great big black snakes out of my yard.  I never liked Jays because they are the bully of my trees, taking over and chasing away more gentle varieties that sing to me.  HOWEVER, after witnessing one peck at and chase a snake out of my yard the other day, I’m a now allowing them free reign.

Did I mention antihistimines?  Oh…yeah.

And…as always my sobriety and my faith.  Nuff said…



Slowing Down

Since about mid-May I’ve been going full-out, hittin’ on all 8’s, balls to the wall.  Between the house and the busy season at work, there has been absolutely no end to the rat race.  I have worked through a head cold and pink eye, exhaustion, extreme heat and humidity and all other manner of plagues that have beset me. (I’m not even sure if I used that word correctly but I’m too tired to care.)

Now, with the house 95% complete and things beginning to slow down at work I have met my match.

Poison Ivy.

Holy mother of God this shit is horrible!

In my job we train incoming Analysts and Associates for seven weeks.  We get them right after they graduate from college, train them and then set them loose on their jobs.  Part of that training is to take them to do community service which reinforces the commitment my company has to giving back.  Because we train in the summer…in the south…we try to stay indoors.  This year however, our numbers we so large that we had to take two groups to local parks for “beautification”.

USUALLY, “beautification” means spreading mulch, picking up trash and planting for 3 hours.  Not this year.  One group went to weed gardens for a local farming cooperative and the other cleaned out a wooded area in a park for safety reasons (bad guys hide in that shit yo).  Problem is…no one told us that long sleeves and long pants were advisable.

Guess which group I was in?

I’ve never had poison ivy in my life and I’ve cleaned out some really yucky areas in yards.  I know I’ve been exposed because others have gotten it when I have not.  So I instructed anyone who knew they were allergic to stay out of the wooded area, wear gloves and just feet the chipper.  I dove right in…after all, I’m not allergic.


So now I have this shit all over my arms, legs and…wait for it…FACE.  Turns out brushing the hair out of your eyes with arms that have been exposed to poison ivy isn’t very smart.  Well fuck me backwards.

The doctor gave me a five day dose of Prednisone, an antihistamine that wouldn’t make me drowsy and sent me packing with a looking of pity rarely seen on a doctor’s face.  I’ve been through every home remedy known to man to calm the itch…baking soda and apple cider vinegar, Benedryl cream, cortisone cream, oatmeal baths, etc.  The only thing that’s helping is the stuff my mom put on me when I had chicken pox as a child…calamine lotion.

Thank the good Lord for calamine lotion.

But…you guys know how I roll…gotta put a silver lining on this shit.

I think this is the Universe telling me to slow the hell down and take a breath.  So that’s what I’m doing.  I have several books I haven’t even begun to read, an appointment to get my hair done, and a recipe I want to try for dinner.  The antihistamine that’s not supposed to make me drowsy makes me drowsy so I foresee naps in my future.  I’m going to catch up with the hubs, watch HGTV and just veg…you know…lay like broccoli (that’s from Pretty Woman – love that movie).

Just as soon as I…




noun, often attributive \kə-ˈmyü-nə-tē\

a :  joint ownership or participation


b :  common character :  <community of interests>


c :  social activity :  fellowship


d :  a social state or condition


Like many alcoholics, growing up I never felt like I belonged or fit in anywhere.  I always felt too fat, too ugly, too clumsy.  I always felt like I said or did the wrong thing; that others always had the answers or were in on the joke.  I was always outside looking in.

Funny thing is that it wasn’t just as a child or teenager or young adult.  It’s something I deal with to this day.  In any social situation, business situation and sometimes even family situation, I’m still feel outside looking in.

Except here.

“Here” meaning out here in this blogging world with all you blogging readers, writers, lurkers, browsers, commenters, emailers or whatever-ers.  Here is where I know I’m accepted.  I know I’m understood.  I get the joke.  I’m at peace.

“Here” meaning that I know for a fact that if I got on a plane tomorrow and flew to London  or Canada or New Zealand or Sweden or Colorado, Mexico, California, Pennsylvania; or if I drove to Raleigh/Durham, Atlanta, Florida or Virginia that there would be someone there who would put an arm around my shoulder (or maybe a giant hug) and, without saying one single solitary word, I would know I was understood. 

Because you are my tribe.  You are my people.  You are my community.

Never before have I experienced anything like that.  Never have I felt so much that someone “gets” me.  But out here, you do.  And I “get” you. 

We’re a community

Women have BFF’s.  Best friends that we organize and categorize.  I have the supreme BFF who is my girlfriend from waaaaaay back.  Her family is my family and we’re like sisters.  Then there’s the BFF at work; the BFF at home; the BFF at the gym even the BFF at the grocery store if you’re there a lot.  There are BFF’s but there isn’t a community.  We keep them separate and seldom mix them together in social situations.  Why?  Who the fuck knows?  We’re women.  We do shit like that.

Anyway, with all those BFF’s there is no one that shares this particular thing with me.  This thing that is all of me and at the same time none of me.  This thing that will be with me forever like my green eyes or wrinkled thumb nails.  This thing called alcoholism and recovery.

As much as I love them (and I really, really do) it feels like such an exhausting and daunting task to think of sitting down and trying to bring them up to speed on what my life had become and where it is now.  In the few instances I’ve tried to share more than just, “Yes, I’m an alcoholic but it doesn’t bother me if you drink,” I’ve been met with concern, shock, empathy, sympathy, and even anger and resentment but never have I seen that look or heard the words that tell me, way down deep in my heart – she gets me.

I could share my blog which I have done with some, but I’m very, very selective about it because I don’t want it to change what I say or how I say it.  If I want to call a friend a bitch in a fit of anger and resentment, I don’t want her to read it here and carry a grudge for years on end while I’ve forgotten and forgiven the moment I click ‘Publish’.

We’re women, we do shit like that.  I have no idea why.

Of course my family is my center.  My children and the hubs are where I feel the safest, where I trust the most, where I open my heart wholly and completely and without fear.  They’ve been with me through all of my changes (kids are smart, don’t think for a minute they don’t have a bullshit meter because they do and it’s WAY more sensitive than ours) and they, miraculously, still love me.  They are why I breathe.

But even they don’t “get” it like you people do.  I often find the hubs trying to empathize with something I’ve written here or said and I find myself thinking, “Nope…he’s trying but he doesn’t/can’t get it.  But damn do I love that man for trying.”  Sometimes I’ll keep trying but most times I just stop talking, listen to what he’s saying and, get this people…let it go! (Aren’t you proud of me?)

What keeps me sane and away from relapse is that I know you’re here and that I’m sober and that someone, somewhere out there in the wide wide WIDE cyberspace is saying, “OMG!!!  She’s writing about me!!!  How does she KNOW?”  I KNOW because I’ve done it myself and continue to do it time and time again while reading other’s posts and comments. 

So thank you.  Thank you for “getting me”.  Thank you for reaching out in your quest to get and remain sober.  Thank you for being brave and writing down shit that would never come out of your face but needs to see the light of day to keep you from drinking.  Thank you for commenting even when you’re nervous and feel stupid and think nobody wants to hear what you have to say but writing it anyway.  Thank you for just reading and taking what you want and leaving the rest.

Thank you for keeping me sober.


Fear or Reality

I got a lovely email from a newly sober woman today (28 days…woot!!!) that got me thinking about my early sobriety. I remember being afraid…a lot. Mainly I remember being afraid of the unknown because when you’re newly sober after drinking the better part of your life…everything is unknown.  And scary.  Which made me fearful.  Did I mention that I was afraid?

Anyway, here’s my brain’s way of sorting through those feelings.

FEAR:  I’ll be boring.  I went through life thinking I was outgoing and the life of any party.  I could dance the night away and chat up everyone.  I was FUNNY and it wasn’t long before I had everyone laughing.  What will happen if I take away the booze?  Will I still be the life of the party?  Will people still think I’m funny?  Will I still want to dance the night away and throw lavish dinner parties and stay up until the wee hours talking to my bestie?

Realty:  I am boring…so-the-fuck-what.  Turns out I’m an introvert.  I don’t even like parties.  I detest small talk.  My children sucked all the rhythm out of my bones during my pregnancies so I don’t even dance well anymore (it happens…Google it).  I was only the life of the party because of the booze.  Hell, I was only AT the party because of the booze.  Staying up till dawn talking?  I’m too old for that shit.  I need my sleep.  As for the lavish dinner parties?  I rather just have a couple of friends over for an informal pot luck.  So much more real and a hell of a lot cheaper.

Don’t get me wrong, if you’re an outgoing extrovert type of person YOU WILL STILL BE THAT PERSON SOBER.  Whoever your way-deep-down authentic self is will emerge the longer you’re sober.  It’s scary but well worth the wait.  For me, the booze made me something I wasn’t.  Which brings me to my next point…

FEAR:  I won’t know who I am without the booze.  I remember standing in my bedroom with my arms wrapped around myself, sobbing and saying to my husband, “Who am I?  I don’t know who I am!  What if I’m one of them?!” (Meaning my alcoholic family.)  I had placed such an ugly face on alcoholism and my biggest fear was being one of them.  I had preconceived notions about AA (which turned out to be false BTW) and I was terrified of going to one of those meetings.  I just wanted things to go back the way they were before I lost control.

Reality:  Okay, here’s the thing, for a while I had no idea who I was.  I couldn’t go back and I had no idea how to move forward.  All I wanted to do was hide in my room and/or sleep.  I was quiet, introspective and EMOTIONAL.  Jesus, Mary and Joseph I cried at EVERYTHING.  I got angry.  I felt resentment.  And when I was happy I felt JOY.  WTF was that all about?  It was about feeling true feelings for the very first time and not having any freaking idea what to do with them.  I was a woman who was stoic, strong and not afraid of anything and here I was reduced to a blithering, crying idiot.  I was raw and vulnerable and unsure of what I was going to turn out like when it was all over.

As it turns out I am one of them.  I’m an alcoholic and always have been.  Things were out of control from the moment I took my first sip of beer.  That’s a stone cold fact.  I never had a chance.  Took me a long ass time to figure that out but there it is.  What’s more I found my own way to that realization.  Through blogging, online support groups, reading memoirs and self-help books, leaning on my family for support (I had to learn how to do that) and a tiny bit of AA, I finally, blessedly became okay with the “A” word.

I also am becoming okay with the person I am.  Can you say “big fucking deal”?  I think that you can.

FEAR:  If I’m an alcoholic I don’t want to be seen as that kind of alcoholic.  That kind of alcoholic is the mental picture that I had of a bum in the streets, zonked out of his mind, with his cheap booze in a paper bag and begging for money.  Or, even worse, my sister.  Forty-nine years old.  Reputation as the town drunk.  Sick, tired and ugly, inside and out.  Sad.

Reality:  What I discovered that there are many, many people who are alcoholics that are just like me.  High functioning people who have a running dialogue going on in their heads that is all about booze.  There are also other faces of alcoholics that don’t look like me…but they don’t look like my misconception either.  In fact, there are as many faces to alcoholism as there are people on the planet.  Which brings me to…

FEAR:  If I’m an alcoholic, I don’t want to hide.  I’ve lived with shame long enough – I refuse to live with it one more minute. 

Reality:  I got sober my way and it worked for me.  I’m a believer that there is no one size fits all sober path.  I think we all have to find our fit.  I also believe however, that we need to try on lots of different things before we decide what fits us best.  What’s the worst that can happen?  You get a little more sober?  You gain a little more insight into yourself?  Oh yeah…that would be bad.  (Insert heavy sarcasm font.)

What’s more, I treat my alcoholism the same way I treat my depression.  If someone asks why I’m not drinking I’ll either say it’s because I lost control or that I’m an alcoholic (depends on the setting).  I don’t make excuses.  I try not to sugar coat it.  Most of all – I am not ashamed of it.  It’s genetic and I’m sober.  Period.

These are my truths.  Everyone has to discover their own.  Just remember that the path to sobriety and recovery is like anything else worth having – it takes work and perseverance but it’s worth all of it and more.  It’s scary.  Some days are diamonds (pink clouds) some days are stones (potential relapse, depression, weight gain from sugar, uncertainty) but you work through it and come out stronger.

And most of all you learn not to be afraid anymore and that’s just the best thing ever yo!