A Magic Wand

While on the way to work this morning, the local radio station I listen to posed this question to its listeners…”If you had a magic wand and could change one thing about your significant other, what would it be?”

Rather than listen to the calls, I (being the glutton for punishment that I am) turned down the radio, turned to the hubs and asked him, “So…what would you change about me?”

Every man reading this is now saying, “NOOOOOOO do not answer!!!!  It’s a trick!  Go back!”

But my hubs has been on the planet and lived with me long enough to know exactly how to respond.  Begin with clarification.

“Is this what I would want to change about you or what you would want changed about you?”

But I am not so easy.

“Either.”

To which he wisely responded, “Well, there’s absolutely nothing I would change about you because I think you are perfect.  But if I could change something about you to make you happy, I would remove the excess weight you worry about because I know how much it bothers you.”

Dude’s good.

Then he said, “Isn’t that what you’d do if you had that magic wand for yourself?”

I started to reply, “Hell yeah!” but instead I paused because when given all that power and only one wish for myself I want it to be the right one.  So I looked at him for a moment and said that no…that’s not what I’d wish for.

I would wish for peace of mind.  I would wish for the ability to accept myself the way I am and for who I am inside.  I would wish for the ability to see myself the way he, and everyone else who loves me, sees me. 

Because it’s really not about the weight.  Sure, it’s about health but it’s more about just feeling good about who I am and how I’m perceived by the outside world.  For some reason it still matters to me and that is more troublesome than this excess weight will ever be.  And do you know how I know that?  Because when I WAS thin I didn’t know I was.  I was always obsessing and worrying and talking about my fucking weight.  It was always on my mind.  So waving a magic wand is not going to get to the root of why this weight bothers me so much.  It’s not going to give the the peace I so desperately seek.

I grew up with a mother who taught me that we are how we appear and that smoke and mirrors were better than substance any day.  She taught me to judge people based on their appearance and that if they were overweight (which she was every day of her life) then they were lazy and sloppy and not as good as us.  Wait…what?

Danger Will Robinson…that does not compute!  (Most of you won’t get that TV reference.  It’s an old thing I assure you.)

So even though I’ve grown past that kind of thinking when it comes to others, I still think it about myself AND I believe that others see me that way as well.  So I’m embarrassed that I look this way.  Humiliated to be seen in the “plus” size section of the stores.  Reluctant to invest any time or energy into my wardrobe because really…what’s the point?  I’ll wait until I’m “skinny” again and then all will be right with the world.  Like the tag in the back of my jeans tells the world what kind of person I am.

Bull-fucking-shit.

I am well aware that society has a predjudice against those of us carrying some extra pounds (check out airline seats if you don’t believe me) and that there are people in the world who do judge other by what’s on the outside but they aren’t the kind of people I would hang around with ANYWAY.  So why do I give a flying rat’s ass what they think? 

Because it’s how I was programmed.  I’m not hard-wired that way but I’ve been loaded with faulty software that now has to be uninstalled.  A complete reimaging (pun intended) is in order.

One thing recovery has taught me is to question everything that is instinctual to me.  That most of what I was conditioned to believe as a child is crap and that it fucked with my head royally.  That issues I uncover can seldom be fixed from the outside and that I must dig deep, turn over rocks and pick at some old scabs to get to the root of the problem and start the healing process.  This is no different.  This issue is not going to be fixed with my April challenge, a new diet, a new hairdo, more exercise, a better mirror or a magic wand.  The only thing that’s going to change this is hard work on the inside.

It may be time to seek some outside help.  I think I’m coming to a real turning point in my recovery.  It feels like I’m ready to make some real strides in my mental health and well being.  I’m not sure how that’s going to happen but this feels like the right path.  Making this decision feels like…an exhale.  Like a “Finally…I can move forward.”

Namaste

Advertisements

The More Things Change…The More They Stay the Same

I get emails all the time for Living Social and Groupons.  If you’re not familiar with these companies, they exist as a marketing tool to promote businesses.  Basically you sign up for a specific region of the country and then periodically (i.e.several times a day) you receive emails with coupons and/or special deals on goods and services.  Most of it’s crap but occasionally I happen on a good deal.  Once I got all of our carpets cleaned for $99.  I also got the dogs bathed and their nails clipped for like $40.  I’ve also gotten massages and other spa services at a fraction of the price.

But, like I said, 90% of the time it’s crap.  I scroll through, looking for a good deal and then I move on.

But today I saw something that made me pause.  And caused me to think.  And then caused me to LOL.

I saw this…

Now this is not the first time I’ve seen a “go cup” like this.  But it is the first time that I thought, and I shit you not…

“Wow…there’s a lot of wasted space in that glass.  You should just take out the stem and fill that sucker up!”

I guess some things never change. 

At least I’m consistent.

Namaste

Bread, Milk, Toilet Paper and….WINE!

It’s going to snow here in the southeastern part of the U.S.  Maybe 1-3 inches.  Maybe ice.  If you know anything about this part of the country, you know that the “S” word makes people a little crazy.  It snows so infrequently here that we don’t have the equipment or people-power to manage it.  Plus we have an abundance of transplants here so you’ve got wizened Chicago drivers on the roads with paranoid Floridians. 

It’s not pretty.

Most of the schools in the area are closing early today and will likely be closed tomorrow.  For 1-3 inches.  Yes…I know.  I can see my Canadian friends doing their best WTF chuckle and my northern U.S. comrades shouting, “Rookies!” at their screens.  But when your child has been trapped on a school bus for 6 hours in a traffic jam and you’re home worried sick. Or when YOU’VE been stuck in a traffic jam caused by that person from Chicago trying to pass the Floridian and neither one can navigate the ice that has formed because we didn’t have enough salt and chemicals to treat the road…well…then I’m GLAD they are closing schools.

But even more incredible than the schools closing at the mere whisper of snow, is what happens at the GROCERY STORE.  Even now I’m guessing that there isn’t a loaf of bread, a square of toilet paper or a gallon of milk in any store within a 50 mile radius of Charlotte.  People are flocking to the store to “stock up” just in case they’re SNOWED IN. 

Because that happens so often in this part of the U.S.

Um…not.

However, you really get a glimpse of what people value when you sit and watch a few hundred of them go through a check out line.  New moms and dads have cleaned out the diaper and formula aisles.  Teens and college kids have cleaned out the cookies and chips.  Milk and bread have moved from the stores to the pantries of families everywhere.  And on the way out they all grab some cocoa and marshmallows because what’s a snow day without cocoa and marshmallows?

Four years ago, if you had seen me in that checkout line, you would not have seen any of the above (okay…maybe the cocoa and marshmallows) because I’m from a little further north and I know that the likelihood of getting SNOWED IN falls squarely in the “no fucking way” category.  But…you would have seen several bottles of Chardonnay (or maybe a box…or both) on my belt.

Some things are best not left to chance.

I would PANIC if I thought I didn’t have enough wine.  I’m talking hyperventilating, racing heart panic.  Of course I would never admit to the panic.  I would call the hubs and toss a comment like, “Hi honey.  On the way home could you pick up some popcorn and hot cocoa so the kids have it for their snow day.  Oh…and grab a couple of bottles of wine too would ya?”

Smoooooth.

Since I worked from home back then, I got to enjoy a day where the kids ran in and out of the house precisely 3,465 times, got dressed and undressed a mere 845 times, drank all the cocoa, played every board game we had and watched every cartoon Looney Toons ever made.  The sad thing was that in the back of my mind I would be thinking and waiting and waiting and thinking about what time would be a good time to crack that first bottle.  Never fully present. 

Sigh.

But that was then and this is now so I need to call the hubs and makes sure he gets the sugar free cocoa and the mini marshmallows and the ingredients for my chicken soup.

Cause what’s a snow day without chicken soup?

Namaste

Getting Pissed

I posted yesterday about being sick but then took it down.  No one needs to know THAT much about anyone else.  Sorry to those of you unfortunate to read it. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Things went very well Friday night.  The hubs seemed to have a good time.  I eat in places like that all the time for work but he never does so I think it was a really nice change for him.  For me…meh.  For one thing, I ate too damn much (the dessert was good but definitely overkill), for another…the pangs are still there.

A little clarification here…the pangs are so tiny that they would not be seen by even the Hubble telescope but I still noticed them and they still pissed me off.  And made me sad.  But mostly pissed.  At me.  At genetics.  At the alcohol industry.  At anything.  Just pissed.

But that’s okay.  Being a little pissed off from time to time is good for the soul.  It gets the heart pumping, the emotions rolling and the hormones (what few I have left) churning.  It reminds me that there are things worth getting pissed off about.  Like messing with my family, or injustice, or bullies, or screwing around with my sobriety.  Those are the things that I allow to mess with my zen and make me angry.  In fact, I’m pretty sure in the “How to Behave Like a Good Human” book (publisher…God) it states that you should get pissed off about shit like that.  Because getting pissed inspires you to take action, to do something about that which is pissing you off.  Am I right?  Hell yeah!  Oh..sorry…got a little carried away there for a sec.  Carry on.

Of course, it’s only good as long as you don’t dwell on it too long…as long as you recognize it, review it, feel it, take action if necessary AND THEN LET IT GO.

So I took action.  I shook my head, smiled at my adoring husband and ordered dessert.  Because there is no greater weapon against being pissed off at alcoholism for me than a good dessert.  See, when I drank I never ordered dessert.  And, even though it was overkill…I ate it.  Then I smiled inwardly because I know I am one badass motherfucking sober ninja lady and wine’s got nothin’ on me.  I got skills and I know how to use them.

Namaste

I Write

Once again I am unable to comment on Blogger posts from my work computer.  Last week I could…this week I can’t.  I wish the IT department would make up it’s mind!  So again, if I don’t comment it’s not because I didn’t want to…it’s because I work for the Internet police!!!  😉

It’s particularly frustrating because I’ve been clicking my way through some new and interesting blogs of late.  BTW, if you leave me a comment and you have a blog, I always click on your name, find your blog, read it (maybe comment IF I CAN) and put it into my reader so I can “read you” on a regular basis.  That’s the way I’ve found many of my friends.  That and going to other blogs and clicking on their blog roll to see what I can find interesting.  Lots of good stuff my friends…lots.

I still scratch my head and wonder about which blogs get loads of comments and which don’t.  I’ve never been one to get a lot of comments and I get roughly 100 hits a day or so on my blog.  And that’s okay…I’m not out here to count stats and worry about who’s commenting – when I first started I did…it was exhausting!  I’m out here to keep myself sane and sober and if anyone reads and wants to comment…BONUS!!!  I’ve also made some lifelong friends out here folks (DOUBLE BONUS TIMES INFINITY) and I wouldn’t trade them for a million hits and 100K comments.

But it still leaves me scratching my head sometimes.  Then I get all, “What’s wrong with me?” and “What am I doing wrong?” And then I shake my head and kick my own ego to the curb and refer back to the paragraph I just wrote.  Sheesh!

Then I wonder if it’s time to throw in the towel.  Many of the blogs I started out reading no longer post (still missing you Lou).  Some moved on with their lives.  Some were unable to keep blogging for fear of being found out or “outing” family and friends.  Some just ran out of stuff to say.  So they signed off, some for good, some to start other blogs.  If I have the address I follow the new ones.  If not, I just miss them.

And I’ve thought of all of that.  Am I outing family and friends (many of whom read this here blog thing I do)?  Have I moved past this whole sobriety thing?  (BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA…oh sorry…Uh…no.)  Have I said all I have to say?  Well, since I’ve tried to quit twice (or is it three times) and each time feel compelled to write…I guess the answer to that is no.

I write because it helps to get the crap out of my head and on to the page.  My head, like that of many alcoholics, is a very dangerous neighborhood.  There is stuff flying around in there that would make me insane (or drink) if I didn’t remove it.  Since I don’t have a pensieve and a wand like Dumbledore, I have to rely on this blog to get it out of my head and onto the page where I can see it, review it, and hit delete if necessary. 

I write because I’ve always wanted to be a writer but I lack one critical component…an imagination and talent.  I took a creative writing class once in college and it was…well it wasn’t good.  I recently found some of my old writing…I cringe thinking about it even now.   But on the blog I don’t have to worry about  my lack of imagination…I don’t have to make shit up.  It’s all for reals yo! (That’s for you Annette.)

I write because it makes me happy.  Since I am a firm believer in protecting the happy, I will continue to write.

Did I mention I tend to ramble…

Namaste

Celebration – Part I

Thank you to everyone for your responses to my last two posts.  The fact is that I would write this blog even if no one read it.  It’s way cheaper than therapy and it works.  But the fact that I know you guys are out there, cheering me on, supporting me when I’m low and laughing at my stupid jokes has made this blog a part of my life and you all a part of my family.

And if even one person gets even an ounce of comfort from my words then it’s worth every keystroke.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Yesterday got me thinking about the word “celebrate”.  The meaning of that word has changed so much in my sobriety.  Believe it or not fellow alkies, everything is not cause for celebration!  I know!  I was shocked too.

See, when I was drinking I was constantly on the lookout for situations that would make me feel normal AND allow me to drink as much as I wanted.  The key was to celebrate something so that everyone was drinking and I didn’t feel so alone.  The words “Let’s Celebrate” rolled off my tongue like “What’s for dinner?” and “Do you have any cash?” roll of the tongues of my boys.  Anything was cause for celebration for me.  Anything to keep me from feeling like I was drinking too much.

Because I knew I was.  I just was not ready to admit it.

This process worked fine, for awhile.  I was able to drink only while celebrating and my normal life just kept going.  I held down jobs.  I parented my children.  I loved my spouse.  I hid.  I lied. 

I drank.

And somewhere along the way it all went wonky and I found myself celebrating alone more and more.  I mean, why go out and pay for wine when I could get much greater quantities much cheaper and stay home?  Plus, going out meant I’d have to bring my mental calculator so I could keep track of how many I’d had, how many my nearest competitor had, how much was left and whether or not I was slurring yet.

Sheesh!  Way too much work!

So I just stayed home and drank by myself.  I’d still celebrate the stuff I used to celebrate, (you know, like the laundry being done) but I did it alone so that I wouldn’t have to expend so much energy thinking and I could just concentrate on drinking.

Because drinking “moderately” was hard work.  In fact, it’s fucking exhausting!  Keeping track of all that crap, worrying constantly that I’d be found out, that someone would notice how much I had to drink, that someone would judge.  Nope…just too much to do and it ruined my happy time.  So I preferred to just sit home alone and drink.  Because I deserved it.  Because I was celebrating!!!

And then one day it was not so much fun anymore.  In fact it was painful.  I was full of shame and remorse and guilt.  It was hard to get out of bed every morning and keep that life I loved so much together because I was sick.  Not just sick from being hungover, I was used to that.  Sick from being in so much pain all the time as a result of the thing that was supposed to numb the pain!

Now no one was celebrating.  Not my family who were concerned but tired of seeing me slurring and incoherent every night.  Not my friends who wanted to see me but I’d isolated myself so much I turned down every invitation.  Not my colleagues who saw me sick and pale every morning but, since they were the last to know anything, thought I might be ill.  Not my wonderful and loving husband who would have done anything for me but was so tired of rehashing the same arguments, night after night, when he should have been sleeping.

Damn I’m glad that’s not me anymore.  {shudder} 

Namaste

Four Years

You know how I always say that counting days doesn’t really matter anymore, that I’m past that and that’s it’s no longer about the time sober as it is the recovery going on into that time. 

Well, while the latter is definitely true, the former is bullshit.

Congratulations to me!

I suck at selfies but you get the idea!

Namaste

January 7, 2010

Today marks four years since I stopped by the liquor store during my daily errands (I had been laid off from my job and was living on severance), purchased a ridiculously expensive bottle of Cakebread Chardonnay (plus another cheap bottle), went home and announced to my husband that this would be my last bottle of wine.  Once he got his composure back (the Cakebread was expensive and I was spending a lot on wine at the time), he smiled.  What I noticed about that smile is that it didn’t reach his eyes.  He said, “Good for you beautiful.  You know I’m here to support you in any way I can.”  But what I heard in his voice was, “We’ll see.  I hope it sticks this time.”

I drank those two bottles…slowly for a change…and sat up in my room alternating excitement with panic.  “Oh my God…what have I done!  How will I ever have any fun if I don’t drink?  What will we do for date night?  How will I entertain?”  Finally I just stopped thinking about it (because that’s why I drank right?) and went to bed.

The next morning I got up, with a hangover of course, and proceeded to start my day.  I went online and found an online AA meeting and started up chats with several people.  I joined two different groups and vowed to stay in touch with them (which I did for about the first six months).  I took my Nook and ordered several “drunk” books.  I drank orange juice.  I talked with the hubs.

And I waited, terrified, for five o’clock.

Of course it came and went and the rest is history.  The difference in the five o’clock on January 7, 2010 and every other five o’clock in my drinking history was that this time I was determined.  I had dug my heels in and decided, stubbornly, that I was going to break the cycle of addiction that had ruined my family for as far back as I’ve been able to trace.  Divorce, dysfunction, poverty, depression, death.  It had to stop.  I had worked very hard to build a life as close to Norman Rockwell and Currier & Ives as was humanly possible.  A life so far removed from anything I’d ever experienced that it was almost unrecognizable to me on some days.

And I was throwing it all away, one bottle of wine at a time.

So I quit.  I gave myself permission to sleep…a lot.  And to eat peanut M&M’s.  And cry.  And throw temper tantrums.  And love on my family.  And let them love on me.  But I never, ever gave myself permission to drink.  I thought about it at first…a lot.  “I’ll just quit until vacation.”  “I’ll quit for a year and then I’ll learn to moderate.”  “Maybe I’ll still drink when I travel for work.  No one will know.”  But everytime I thought about it I told myself “tomorrow I’ll see how I feel.”  It worked.

It also got easier.  Day by day, hell sometimes it was minute by minute, it got better.  Those first few months were all about just staying away from wine.  That’s it.  Just. Don’t. Drink. Dumbass.

Then it became about, “What the fuck do I do now?”  I didn’t have one clue about how to be sober.  I had to redefine my life in terms of what was real instead of what I had created under a cloud of booze.  I had to learn to be honest with myself and face my feelings and deal with life as it comes, warts and all.  I didn’t worry about having any fun or socializing or even contacting friends.  I was a hermit.  I stayed home and dealt with me.  I contemplated going to the beach for a few days by myself because the ocean is my zen.   But I decided against it because, well…because I didn’t trust myself yet.  I pushed away feelings of guilt about things I wasn’t getting done (like finding a job) and just concentrated on being sober.

Once that first year was done…the year of first Valentine’s Day, birthday, summer, fall, holidays, Tuesdays, a full moon, a sunset, (insert lame drinking excuse here), I could breathe a little easier.  I’m pretty sure that was when I started to actually enter recovery.

I’ve never regretted one single solitary sober moment.  Sometimes I miss the hell out of the taste of a really good Chardonnay or a single shot of Jameson’s but that’s just taste.  Because I know it was never about just one for me.  It was always about getting wasted.  Always about more.  Here the thing though…I never left anything at the bottom of a wine bottle that I need to go back and get.  There’s nothing there for me anymore.  Actually, there never was.

Everything I will ever need is here for me, right now.  Sobriety let’s me reach out and take it and for that I will always be grateful.

So if you’re out there reading and you’re trying to decide (or have decided) that your New Year’s resolution will be to give up the booze, then DO IT.  Reach out to me via the comments or email and I’ll talk you through it.  Or reach out to anyone you see on my blogroll to the right and THEY will be there for you (trust me on this people).  Or keep reading all the sober blogs you can find and stay sober that way.  Or Google AA (www.aa.org) and THEY’LL be there for you. 

But, to borrow a phrase from Nike, JUST DO IT.  Get your life back.  You’re worth it.  I promise.

Namaste

Note:  If you find yourself sick after you’ve tried to quit, throwing up, shaking uncontrollably and you just can’t function without some alcohol PLEASE call your doctor or AA and find a detox center.  Withdrawing from alcohol can be dangerous and if it’s not done correctly it can kill you.  Be careful – it’s not worth the risk. Contact a doctor or detox center.