Memory Lane

I was writing about my new adventure for the new year and of course I took a trip down memory lane.  That trip included the year I made my resolution to quit drinking.  That’s when it occurred to me that some of you may be thinking about or have already made a resolution just like that.  And maybe some of you are scared.  Or pissed.  Or sad.

Or all of the above.

I was all of the above.

My last drinking New Year’s Eve was spent at a friend’s house who always throws an epic NYE party.  I never seemed to get really drunk at those things, I think because I was at the point where my hard-core drinking was done in private.  I made sure there was wine in the fridge for after we returned home because…well that’s how I rolled.

But that year I was really subdued.  I spent the evening quietly in my head thinking about how my life was going to be without alcohol in it.  I looked around at all of my friends, most of whom were normies just having a fun new year’s eve.  I was sad because I believed I would never be able to have fun again.  How would I enjoy life without my beloved Chardonnay?  What was the point of doing anything if I couldn’t do it with a glass of wine?

Boy was I wrong.

But I didn’t know that then.  I spent the next seven days in that state of contemplation.  No one knew about my decision because, unlike all of the other times I quit drinking and failed, I hadn’t mentioned this to anyone.  You know…just in case I changed my mind.

Cause I was scared shitless.

I was afraid of life if I quit.  I was afraid of who I’d be without the booze.  I was afraid of leading a boring life devoid of all fun.  To be honest, I was afraid I’d fail again and disappoint not only my family but myself as well.  I wasn’t sure I could survive that yet again.

But this time I was more afraid of continuing to drink than I was of quitting.  That was the key.  Everyone says you’ll finally quit when you get sick and tired of being sick and tired.  For me that was all based in fear.  I was afraid that if I didn’t quit, I’d lose all hope of getting another job.  I was afraid I’d lose the love and respect of the family I’d fought so hard to build.  I was afraid of losing the love of my life who I still can’t believe fell in love (and has stayed in love) with me.  I was afraid of getting cirrhosis and dying.

I was afraid of becoming my dad and worse…my sister.

That was my turning point.  I realized that a life spent drinking was not a life.  That I was losing everyone and everything that I held dear.  That I was gaining weight and checking my eyes for signs of jaundice every morning and how fucked up was that?  That’s when I knew that a girl had to do what a girl had to do.

So I did.

And so can you.  And if you’re reading this then you are already ensconced in one of the most effective ways to get and stay sober.  Sober blogs saved my sanity.  If I had found them in the first two years of my sobriety it would have made my journey much easier.  Read the blogs.  Comment.  Reach out to ANY of the authors.  Every one of them (and I say that with a deep confidence) will be happy to offer advice and love if you send an email or connect via the blog.  I promise.  And I don’t promise very often…only when I KNOW I can keep the promise…because I don’t break promises.

So here’s another one.  I promise that after the initial awfulness of the first few months (sorry – it’s a fact – early sobriety can be both wonderful and awful all at the same time), you’ll find something you never, likely in your entire life, have ever had.

You’ll find peace.

And we’ll all be here to love you to it.

Namaste

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Merry Christmas!!!

I hope you all felt the joy of the season in your hearts.  This is a time of year that I struggle with getting it “right” which usually ends up ruining at least part of it for me.  This year I made a concerted effort to LET GO of a lot of that crap and just try to be present, in the moment and enjoy all the things I love about the Christmas season.

Guess what?

It worked.

I was able (for the most part – progress not perfection right) to enjoy the holidays warts and all.  Even when my boys showed up Christmas morning without a gift for dear old mom, I was able to laugh and tease them rather than retreat to my pity party.  What’s more, it got me an after Christmas Water-Pik guilt gift which I desperately needed.  Score!

I also let them know that as long as they are on the planet and sharing love on Christmas with me (whether face to face or via phone, FaceTime or Skype) there would never be a “ruined” Christmas.

But I did tease the hell out of them.  Give me a break…I’m old…I’m sober…I don’t smoke (anything)…my pleasures are minimal.  ( 😉 )

I also ate my weight in sugar this holiday season even though I only made three types of cookies and two types of fudge…oh…and a chocolate chip pound cake.  There were days where all I ate were carbs.  Yep…I said it.  Don’t judge.

Which brings me to the second part of this post.

Happy New Year!!!

In a few days we move into 2015.  My 54th year on the planet and my 5th year in sobriety. Also approximately my 10th year carrying extra weight.  All of those things have combined to create high triglycerides (still), knees that are shot, clothes that are a size I didn’t think I’d EVER see, and an overall bad attitude and self-esteem that follows me into every day and hangs over me like a sad little cloud created just for me.

Enough.

I haven’t made a real New Year’s Resolution since I quit drinking five years ago.  I’ve made pseudo-resolutions like a commitment NOT to diet and to be kinder to myself (how’s that working for you Sherry), or to “treat myself better” or some similar bullshit.  It all results in me entering yet another new year feeling like crap and promising to be better to myself.

Sigh.

So here’s how I’m going to roll this year.

I’ve been slowing down on the posts on this site lately.  I think it’s because I just don’t have that much to say about my sobriety and recovery anymore.  When I “go there” it feels very negative (I know it’s not negative but it’s how I feel).  I’m a lot of things but negative isn’t one of them.  So I’ve been struggling with posting.  I guess I’m just not feeling inspired.

I’ve decided to focus instead on a new site.  54 at 54. (It won’t be live until the 5th.)

This site will be dedicated to my 2015 resolution to lose 54 pounds in my 54th year and regain my health.  It’s important.  It’s redeeming.

It’s time.

So, beginning January 5th (I never start resolutions on the 1st…I’m stubborn that way) I will be posting daily on this new site.  Now, before you decide you want to follow me let me warn you about some things…number one being that it might be boring.

Very boring.

I’m going to use the new blog as a way to remain accountable.  I’ll be listing every piece of food or drop of drink that goes into my face.  I’ll also be posting about exercise and my resolution to get up every day, at 5:30 a.m. (jeez that hurts to type) and do some type of exercise.  I’ll write about how I’m feeling, what the doctor has to say about my numbers and whether or not my chronic heartburn and knee pain is alleviated.  There may also be some bitching, complaining and…gasp…whining.

See…don’t say I didn’t warn you.

The plan in the beginning is to eat only protein, fruits, vegetables and complex (very complex) carbohydrates.  I’ll be up at 5:30 everyday except Sunday.  M-W-F will be cardio (I’ll be buying a new treadmill with my bonus this year) and T-Th will be yoga.  At first I will not be counting calories.  I’ll try that on for a while and see how it goes.

I will also be posting my weight.

Yep…I went there.  THAT’s how committed I am to this.  I, a soon to be 54-year-old American woman is going to put her weight and weight loss progress on the internet for the entire world to see.

Oh shit.

Of course I’ll be writing here on my original site when the mood strikes about anything other than those 54 pounds.  Kids, hubs, sobriety, recovery, therapy, work, you know, the usual, but I’m anticipating spending a lot more time over at 54 at 54.  I would love it if you’d pop on over but trust me, I’ll understand if you refrain.  Not sure I could put up with me at this point.

If you do follow me over, I’d love any recipes, advice, workouts, plans, etc. that you want to share.  I’m open to any and all advice at this point because, even though, in a former life, I was a gym rat and really fit, that ship has sailed.   I am an beginner (that also hurts to type and admit) and so I’m open to whatever advice comes my way.

So wish me luck.  Merry Christmas and Happy, happy HAPPY New Year!

Namaste

Powerful Words

When my kids were little and trying on profanity as children do, I used to tell them that profanity was just a group of words to which society had given power.  The only power curse words had was what we gave them.  That was usually followed immediately by, “In this house they still hold power so you won’t be using them.”  I also let them know that there was a time and place for those words and that time and place was never around adults or in public places.  I knew they would be using it with their friends because, let’s face it, it’s a right of passage but with those rights came the responsibility to know how and when to let fly with an f-bomb.  I never had one issue with them using inappropriate language and to this day they blush if they say “damn” in my presence.  I like that.

I also modeled the behavior and offer them the same respect I expected of them.  Told you I was only a potty-mouth on my blog.

Anyway, after reading all the wonderful comments from my post yesterday, it occurred to me that I have assigned way to much power to what amounts to a group of vowels and consonants strung together to form a word.  Society has also given the word way too much clout and most of it is negative, which makes a lot of us “non-drinkers” recoil when the word is used to describe us while others embrace it like a long-lost friend that has finally returned home.

Read that last, very long and run-on sentence again.  The important part is that some of us recoil and some do not.  WE decide how we will react to words.  WE have the power…no one else.

Hmmmm….

The fact is that I have a negative connotation with that word and always will.  To me it represents ruined holidays, turbulent birthdays, arguments, drama and turmoil.  It means lies and selfishness, separation and divorce, illness and eventually death.  It scares me.  It’s ugly.

I don’t do ugly.

So I’ve decided to “drop the rope” when it comes to that word.  Since I have and always will give it power, I’m going to stop trying to make it something it’s not.  For me, it’s not a warm and fuzzy word.  It’s comes with baggage and I’ve got enough of that thank you very much.  No more fighting with it.  It’s just a word.  No more and no less.

Hi, I’m Sherry and I don’t fucking drink.  That is all.

(You knew I had to drop an f-bomb before the end of the post right?)

Namaste

In General

I’m going to admit something here that I never thought I’d admit…out loud anyway.  Are you ready?  Okay…here goes.

Sometimes times I get sick to death of being an alcoholic.

There – it’s out.  You can return to your regularly scheduled programming.

However, if you’d like to stick around for a second or three, I’ll explain.

It’s not that I tire of being sober.  That I like.  Sober sleep.  Sober food.  Sober sex.  Sober heart and love and kindness and LIFE.  There’s also sober arguments and feelings and resentment and anger and guilt and LIFE.  But I never tire of those.  Maybe I haven’t been sober long enough yet to get tired of it.  Who knows?  All I know is that I never tire of waking every morning without a hangover, have a chit-chat with the Big Guy and facing life on life’s terms.

That shit never gets old.

But identifying as an alcoholic?  Wearing the LABEL that says alcoholic?

That shit DOES get old.

Sometimes I wonder why I even need a reason that I don’t drink.  Exactly why does anyone need to know the reason I choose to abstain?  Isn’t the simple fact that I choose to remain sober enough?  Why are we all so freaking nosey?

I think I’m just over the whole “label” thing.  Why do we, as humans, feel the need to categorize and label everything in our world.  Why do we generalize?  It works great with paperwork and spices and perishable food but people?

Yeah…not so much.

Labels and generalizations reduce us to something that fits in someone else’s box.  Our brains are wired such that when we encounter something unfamiliar (read: scary) we have to put a label on it to make it fit in our preconceived notion of the world.  That just doesn’t work for me.  We, as a human race, are so much more complex and beautiful and real than what our words can describe.  We and our possibilities are HUGE and INFINITE and shouldn’t be minimized in anyway.  We should be taken for who we are without regard to anyone else.

Sigh…just had to get that off my chest.

Namaste

Message Received

Every year my coworkers and I do a community service project.  Our company gives us paid time off to do this so we usually take a full day right around the holidays.  This year we participated in Operation Christmas Child, run by Samaritan’s Purse.

I knew of Operation Christmas Child but knew very little about Samaritan’s Purse or exactly who the OCC program served.  So I was thrilled when I heard we had to go through an orientation before we would be led to our work stations.  The 10-15 minute orientation consisted of a short message from the organization’s leader followed by a description of and instructions on each workstation.

Oh…it also included a lot of what I affectionately refer to as “Jesus Jamming”.  That’s when I come to feel that an organization or individual is jamming Jesus down my throat.

And these people were jamming!  Strike 1.

Then I discovered that ALL of their ministry was outside of the U.S.  We were packing shoe boxes for children all around the world while there were children in the U.S. who might not have a Christmas.  Strike 2.

So here I am, all confused and confuddled and following everyone like a lemming to the sea, thinking the whole time, “OMG what am I going to do?  How can I do this?”

Let me get something straight.  I don’t have a problem with Jesus.  After all, I’m a Christian.  I LOVE Jesus.  And God.  And while we’re at it Mary and Joseph as well.  I am not, however, a religious person.  In fact I really am not comfortable with organized religion at all.  I am however, deeply and profoundly spiritual.  My faith is very important to me and I rely on it to guide me through my life.

So it’s the bottom of the ninth, the bases are loaded and the count is three and two when the leader of the local group invites the chaplain to the front of the room so that we can “pray over the boxes”.  Great…more Jesus Jamming.

As I’ve said before, God has been known to speak to me on occasion.  Well…that is when I remember to “Be Still” and listen.  Unfortunately he usually has to throw a brick my way for me to actually get the message.

He threw one of those.

As I laid my hand on those boxes and the chaplain started praying, I was filled with the Holy Spirit (or something anyway) and my heart swelled like the Grinch after Cindy Lou Hoo gave him his gift.  Tears sprung to my eyes and I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that I was exactly where I was supposed to be and doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing so I should probably just shut the fuck up and get to work.

So I did.  It was one of the most fulfilling and fun days in recent memory for me and I know we’ll do it again next year.

Message received Lord.  I don’t need to know why or how or agree with the politics but if you want me there then there I will go.

Namaste

A Quick Interlude

I’m working on a new post about an experience I had yesterday while volunteering at Operation Christmas Child.  In the meantime, here’s a link to an article just published on the Florida Beach Rehab site. I am loving writing for these guys!!!

http://www.floridabeachrehab.com/i-know-what-an-alcoholic-looks-like/

Namaste

Liar Liar Pants on Fire

Gloomy gray day here.  The kind of day that makes you want to curl up with a good book next to the tree with a warm cup of tea (or, because it’s still unseasonably warm here – a diet Pepsi).  The kind of day that was made for napping.

But, alas, I’m a working stiff so here I sit…um…blogging.  Okay – so it’s our slow time of year but it’s a well deserved break.  We only have about six weeks of slow time and the rest of the year is a full court press so you know…don’t judge.

Boxes have begun arriving at my home and with no time to wrap I’m running out of hiding places.  I’ll figure it out, I always do.  This is, after all, my season.  The season when all of my, um, unique talents are taken out, dusted off and used.

For example.  I am the product of a pathological liar.  As I’ve stated before, my mother truly could not help herself, she simply could not tell the truth.  She had begun to realize it at the end of her life and would actually stop, mid-sentence, and say, “I don’t know why I just said that…it’s completely not true.”  I’m not pathological but I do have the gift of being able to lie and make people believe ANYTHING.  I, however, choose to use my power for good.

Christmas is one of those times.  Any other time of the year I abhor an untruth.  I have been known to say nothing rather than let a falsehood slip from my mouth.  Don’t get me wrong, I do tell the occasional fib to spare feelings or, gasp, to avoid unnecessary confrontation (but for the life of me I can’t think of a single example right now).  Just know that I am no saint and have been known to dance like Ginger Rogers around the truth and sometimes even stomp right on the sucker.

But at Christmas?  That’s when I really shine. 

Kids:  Mommy, why don’t you and daddy get any gifts for Christmas?

Me:  Because after parents have children Santa knows there is nothing he could ever bring them that would be as wonderful so he doesn’t even try.

Kids:  Mommy, why do we have to buy toys for the poor kids?  Doesn’t Santa come to their houses?

Me:  Of course he does.  We buy these toys so that the parents have something to give their children on Christmas morning.  (I admit – this one always brought me to tears and had me digging a little deeper into the wallet.)

There were lots more, thought of completely on the fly, and then committed to memory for the future.

Back to the boxes.

For years boxes have been arriving at my house.  In the early days of internet shopping, not all company’s were savvy enough to put that huge Rescue Heroes Command Center into a plain cardboard box.  They just slapped a label on the damn thing and sent it to my house.  In the middle of December.  Really?

Kids:  Mommy, is that OUR Rescue Heroes Command Center?

Me:  NO!  That’s for charity.  I wanted to make sure they got something they would like.  (Then I had to put it in the car and pretend to take it “somewhere”.)

Kids:  Mommy, are those scooters for us?  You said we couldn’t have them because we’d get hurt.

Me:  Of course not!  Those are going to charity.  You are not getting scooters.  You’ll hurt yourself.

Kids:  So, um, mom.  Why is it okay to hurt the poor kids?

(facepalm)

Me:  They’re much older than you.  They have promised they’ll be more  careful.

And on and on and on.

Yesterday, a package arrived from Home Depot.  Earphones for my theatre tech son from Ryobi that will block the noise from the woodshop but allow him to hear music and voices. 

And guess what?  Yep…a label slapped directly on the Ryobi box.

Really Home Depot?  Do you not own a calendar?

Fortunately his twin saw the box, screamed at him to turn around and not look and took the boxes into the house.  Christmas was saved.

I’m telling you, this Santa shit is hard.  You have to be diligent!

And a really good liar.

Namaste

Tid Bits and More Writing

I just realized that I haven’t posted anything since 11/22…whoa!

Well part of the reason is that I’m on the road again…Pittsburgh this week, Nashville week after next and then…..

VACATION! I’ll be off til January 5th!

I wait all year for these two weeks. This is when I recharge my batteries. Shopping is done. Events are planned. House is cleaned and decorated. Nothing left to do but wrap, bake and relax. Ahhhh….

There was a time that these two weeks meant parties and late nights drinking. I miss that TIME but I do not miss what I became. Those memories take on a rosy glow and come to mind complete with jingle bells and lightly falling snow (even though I’ve always lived too far south for Christmas snow). What I force myself to do is see the memory all the way to the end…to the part where I’ve ruined the event, passed out and wake up with a horrible hangover.

I DO NOT miss that…EVER!

Anyway, when I travel I get to watch movies on the plane and I the evening. This time I rented and downloaded Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. My kids have gotten me hooked on Gotham on TV (which is Batman as a child) so watching these movies is helping me understand more context in the show. It’s awesome!

I guess I should explain that I grew up watching the original series on TV, used to jump up and fight with them and had a HUGE crush on Robin, so it really didn’t take much to reel me in.

Watching movies in my room or on the plane is a far cry from my old travel routine filled with booze and the precarious and dangerous situations I was putting myself in. I’m so much happier with my iPad, iTunes and a comfy bed. Bliss.

Finally, check out my article on The Change Blog. Long time readers have heard it all before but the blog is a fascinating collection of stories from people going through all manner of change. It’s definitely with a look.

Namaste