“Me too”

It’s been a year since my last post. So where do I start?  My name is Kristin and I am an alcoholic.  I have been sober for 523 days.  What have I learned since the last time I posted (1 year ago)?  The one relationship that has to be “right” in order for everything else to work, is my relationship with God.  Yep.  That about sums it all up.  Actually there is a little more to it for me than that.  In order for me to keep adding another 24 hours to that ticker….. I go to meetings several times a week.  I have a sponsor that I talk to frequently.  I sponsor other women in the program.  I work the 12 steps.  I have a close relationship with God.

So why post now? I have what I need.  I am sober today.  Go about your life Kristin.  I have neglected to update this page for a VERY long time and I am not quite sure why.  Oh I can give you of a lot reasons.  I don’t want to remind myself that I am an alcoholic on a daily basis.  I don’t want to be discovered.  I don’t need this page or this community anymore, after all I am sober.  The reality is…..Every day I wake up I have to remind myself of exactly who I am and what I am. But I need fellow alcoholics like I need oxygen.

My husband (my favorite recovering alcoholic) sent this quote to me this morning….”An alcoholic is a person who wants to be held while isolating.” TRUTH!

Yep that’s us. I still struggle with letting the world know me.  Who I am, and how I feel, are two things I like to keep tucked deep inside of me.  You wouldn’t like me if you knew what I have done.  You wouldn’t want to be my friend if you heard the things I have thought.

This morning I picked up the phone to touch base with a friend in the program.  I just thought we would have a quick chat and go about our day.  Actually we talked for quite a while, reminding each other of what it was like, what happened, and what it is like today.  The fellowship I have with other alcoholics is how God speaks to me.  He guides me and directs me through people.  I learn about me.  I share who I am and what I am and in return they love me all the more for it.  Best two words I have heard in this program…..”ME TOO.”  Before AA I would hear someone’s story or challenge and say “Oh that’s too bad” or “I am sorry that happened to you, must feel awful.”  I would hide the fact that I been through a similar circumstance, so as not to be judged.  Now I realize that this is our primary purpose.  This is how we serve each other. To be perfectly imperfect and to reply “me too” to one another. That is how we grow spiritually.  I know now that is why I was blessed with the disease of alcoholism. I used to love to look at someone else’s life, sit back and judge them, feel sorry for them, listen to them but NEVER let them know me.  When I was asked to speak for the very first time at a meeting I was so scared to tell my story.  I prayed to God.  God help me be honest but I really don’t want to share “this” story or “that” story.  As I started to speak though, everything came hurling out.  As hard as I tried to hold certain things back, God pushed them right out of me.  All of the strength I had couldn’t keep this stuff inside. After that meeting I received a gift from God.  People shared their experiences with me.  Some said “Thank you for sharing that with us.  I had the exact same thing happen to me and your talk has really helped me.”  Others said “You have given me the courage to be honest.”  But the most important thing I heard was “me too.”  THAT is the gift we give each other.  That is how God speaks through us.

So almost a year and a half after my last drink I know some things about me. I get better every time I share my experience or feelings with another alcoholic.  I become more compassionate when they share their experience with me.  “We” free each other the moment we look into each other’s eyes and say….”me too”.

God brought me to my knees with this disease. Maybe I should stay there instead of getting up and running off the minute I feel better. 🙂  This disease has taught me more about myself than I had learned in my previous 40 years before sobriety.  The most important thing it has taught me is that we are all on this earth just to walk each other home.  We get one step closer every time we say “Me too.”

Peace to you all today! And “me too”!


Celebrating 5 months!

kc

Celebrating 5 months of sobriety today! It’s been a while since I’ve written. I was thinking about shutting this site down. I asked my sponsor to take a peek before I did. I explained that I didn’t need it anymore. It had served its purpose for me. Writing on this blog helped me when I was too scared to make my way into the rooms of A.A. It allowed me to share my thoughts and my feelings when it was just too hard to do in person. We spoke on the phone last night and she explained to me that I owe it to others who are in the same position I was 5 months ago. It was in the blog world that I received my first support. You all saved me when I was just too scared to save myself. So I have decided that for the time being I will continue to share my story and hope that it will inspire others to start down the path of recovery.

This past weekend I visited my sister in Arkansas. While we were watching the Cardinals game one evening my brother in law said to me, “I don’t think you are really an alcoholic. I’ve never really seen you that drunk. Well, maybe 3 times I thought you may have had a bit too much wine, but that was it.” Now I found myself trying to convince him that I was in fact an alcoholic. This is a conversation I never thought I would have. It’s strange to try and explain to someone why you are the person you tried to pretend you were not. I told him about some of my drinking shenanigans. To which he replied, “That is funny as shit. You should write a book.”

It is getting more humorous the further away from it I get. At the time it was hard work hiding bottles of Vodka in my gym bag and unloading them at 5 AM at the local car wash dumpster. Nice! Now I am beginning to see some humor in that.

I also had another first this year. I went to my first parent/teacher conferences and choir performance SOBER. It was different. It was pretty cool not to have to worry if people could smell the booze in my Sonic cup or permeating from my pores.

I have an amazing new sponsor! I met her on the women’s retreat I attended. She is just my gift from God. As I always tell her, “God just plopped her right down in the middle of my life.” Thanks, God! I was so ashamed of the mother I had become, and she has really helped me work past some of those issues. Her first words to me after I asked her to be my sponsor were, “I will NEVER judge you.” Just what I needed to hear and the miraculous thing about that…..she never does. She lets me vent about how much I miss my old life sometimes. She says that I am completely normal for having those thoughts. Frankly, I think everyone should have a sponsor. Best thing EVER! 

I have increased the amount of meetings I attend. I feel God in those rooms. He is among us. I never had much of a relationship with God prior to recovery. I believed in God but had never really related to a God of my understanding. Now I have a VERY personal relationship with God. I talk to Him daily and He answers me daily. He is constantly working in my life and demanding I take action. It is an amazing feeling.

And finally this shit is just sometimes funny! I laugh my ass off in meetings. The stories I hear…the people I listen to….CRAZY GOOD LAUGHTER! I was in a meeting yesterday morning complaining about how much I hate fall now. I used to love it. Big glass of red wine…..okay, bottle, but whose counting anyway? This man in the room spoke up and said, “It gets easier. Soon you will stop associating the seasons with drinking, sports events with drinking and going to the dry cleaners with drinking.” That is some funny stuff right there and all true!

So that is what it is like for me at 5 months. Some days good and some days bad but everyday better than my best day drinking. Peace to all of you who so graciously helped me through these past 5 months!


Important things!

the spoon and the thimble

I am going on a retreat this weekend and while I am super excited about some much needed time to myself, I am slightly concerned about leaving my husband alone with the kids.  The last time he was in charge, I was sick in bed, and he sent this lovely photo to me.

danger

My oldest daughter is having cheerleading pictures taken this weekend that will be in our teams “Home” program for the season.  I explained to him that he will need to have her dressed and in full uniform by 7:30am Saturday morning.  I mentioned that her hair will need to be pulled back in a ponytail.  He responded, “Well I don’t know how to do that?”  Hmmmm…ten years and three daughters later….maybe a skill he could have picked up along the way?  This brings me to my list of things to teach my husband if I die.

  •  If…

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25 random things about me (the thimble)

Just a little something about me from my other blog…

the spoon and the thimble

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1. I am a firm believer in Laser hair removal.
2. I am proud to be a military brat. I think it helps me make friends on the fly.
3. I was the designated driver on my 21st birthday.
4. I could exist on Mexican food alone.
5. My family knows to leave me alone, on Friday afternoon, when my People magazine arrives in the mail.
6. I don’t want to be buried in a dress…put me in some comfy sweats when I die.
7. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.
8. My sister can make me laugh like no one else.
9. I am a stay at home mom and my husband still does the laundry…praise Jesus!
10. I love to cook but hate to clean up.
11. I eat the same breakfast EVERY morning……plain whole wheat english muffin and 1 poached egg….No I never get sick of it.
12…

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Just walk away…

god

I don’t know.  I have been thinking lately maybe I have a slight problem with alcohol?  The past 106 days have been like a ping pong match in my mind.

I am an alcoholic.

I am probably just over reacting. 

No. It is problematic at times.

You just needed to slow down.  You should be fine now.

You were a binge drinker.

Oh chill out.  Every one of your friends drinks.

Do you not remember the chaos that alcohol created?  Do you really want to go back to all that?

Stop acting crazy.  Go buy a bottle of wine and think it over some more.

The door was closed for me.  I’m just going to say thank you God and walk away and keep my eye out for the doors He has opened.


Rubbing coins instead of clinking glasses

Well, I made it to the 3 month marker.  Today I will collect my 3 month chip.  Cause for celebration!  Sober celebration?  4 months ago I could have made a party out of this lovely occasion.  I would have made a party out of ANY occasion, though.  YAY!  The kids got on the bus.  Hooray!  I went to the grocery store.  Good job, Kristin!  You made the beds and folded a load of laundry.  Break out the wine!  Let’s party!

Today, however, I woke up, did my morning meditation, quizzed my kids on their spelling words, sent them off to school and went to my PiYo (Pilates and Yogo) class.  Although I have gotten some things accomplished, I don’t feel the need to clink glasses with myself over these mundane tasks.  I came home, made myself a second cup of coffee and sat down to think about what has transpired over the last few months.  I can’t help but think about what today would look like if I hadn’t stopped drinking.  However, I am choosing to focus on the gift of recovery.  Thanks to recovery I get to feel this moment.  I get to feel the joy, and the fear, wash over me.  Before I lived in a world of chaos.  I was right where I chose to be.  I delighted in the confusion.  It was a way to block myself from hearing what my soul was quietly whispering to me.  Now, not every day feels good.  Some days I am sad.  Some days I am angry.  But EVERY day I feel it.  Before I couldn’t wait for the time to come in the day when I would poor a glass of wine and get to slowly stop feeling.  I would gradually slip far away.  I would drink to cover up all of my feelings and how I percieved the world was treating me.  I was filled with feelings or anxiety, people pleasing, guilt and shame.  Funny thing is, I honestly thought that I really just wanted a glass of wine to “chill out.”  In actuality I was running as fast as I could with my fingers tips in my ears trying to silence that voice inside me.

I am learning how to quiet the world around me and still myself so I can hear that inner voice.   She is my moral compass.  She lets me know what is right and what is wrong, but she is always kind.  She holds me accountable, but she doesn’t beat me up.  She guides me with confidence, and encourages me to be honest above all else.  I used to lock her away in fear she would embarrass me.  For 40 years I shushed and restrained her, and now I let her sing and dance like no one is watching!  Today we are drinking club sodas and we are gonna feel it all.


Truth

Truth


Everything in moderation

Moderation isn’t something I ever practiced much.  I am finding out that it’s not what I did so much as it is the way in which I did it.

There is a reason I am an alcoholic.  I can’t have just one of anything.  I never have been able to.  If one is good, twenty is GREAT!  If one vitamin is good, than four will make me superwoman.  Although I am no longer a smoker and have not smoked in years, I was a hard core smoker.  It wasn’t that I enjoyed the taste or the smell of smoke, in fact; I didn’t like that part at all.  However, I smoked a pack and a half a day for 15 years.   I think I just loved having something to do.  It was something for me to obsess over.  I would think “When can I go out and have my next smoke?  How many do I have left?  Should I go buy some now so that I don’t have to stop later”?  Same thing with drinking.  It used to piss me off when someone would whip out one of those tiny wine glasses at a party.  Trying not to drink the whole glass at one time was difficult and filling it up all night made me feel like an alcoholic!

bucket

Looking back it is a pattern I have had most of my life.  I find that I am restless and at odds if I don’t have something to obsess over.  It is a form of numbing, a way of diverting my attention.  If I am constantly thinking about food, smoking, exercise or alcohol then I am not in my head thinking about life.  The obsession allows me to escape.  I don’t have to think about anything else.  I’m addicted to addiction.  If I stay sober long enough I will eventually become addicted to it as well.  Just as I am an annoying reformed smoker, a workout Nazi, and a newly crazed yogi, I will try and be the world’s best recovering alcoholic.   And this is why I am also a grateful member of al-anon.  🙂

I realize my behavior is not healthy.  It is something I am working on.  Before, if my kids made their beds I would just come behind and make them again.  If my husband cleaned the kitchen I would come out and after a quick inspection, wipe it down once more.  At Christmas time when I was making cookies with the kids, I didn’t allow them to do a whole lot more than watch in fear the cookies would be screwed up.    I could cite a thousand more examples but you get the point.  Um…excuse me bartender! I’ll have anxiety mixed with a splash of obsessive compulsive disorder and a twist of perfectionism on the rocks.

Last night at my Al-anon meeting the speaker was a “double winner”.  She said something that made me think.

She said “I practice Al-anon.  I never perfect it but I do practice it.  Some days I am on and some days I’m not, but every day I wake up and I practice”.

I liked that.  I keep looking around these meetings looking for the people that had mastered this stuff.  I just want someone to tell me how to fix it.  I want to overcome this and move on.  I’m not scared of a little hard work.  I’ve never backed down from a good fight.  So when the people in these rooms tell me just don’t drink today, and keep coming back, it really irritates me.   “What do you mean?  I’ll never perfect this stuff”?    No.  I won’t.  And although I may never have a perfect batting average, I have decided that every day I will show up ………..and I will practice!


Words to live by

It’s amazing how powerful our words can be.  A few years ago I read the book The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary D Chapman .  In the book Chapman suggests that everyone has a particular love language, a specific way in which they feel love.  My love language, it turns out, is words of affirmation.  I have always been sensitive to what people say.  I can still remember specific things that people said to me as a child.  They stick with me and in some cases really define me.  I remember my parents always complimenting my older sister on her grades, her intellect, and her organizational skills.  They would say things like I was the funny one, the musically talented one and definitely ”not so organized” one.   It’s not that they didn’t think I was smart or that my sister wasn’t funny, it’s just that those characteristics stood out and were talked about.  By hearing those words over and over, I came to the conclusion that I was not smart, I was a goofball, a “ham”, and a slob.  I truly believed that.  Now, that is NOT what they said and definitely not what they wanted me to believe.  However, I actually played that part throughout my adolescence because I thought that was my role in the family.  I know now that is not what the intent was and they never meant those words to make me feel bad but it’s an example of how words can impact a person without us even knowing it.

I can remember specific put downs by friends.  I remember them so vividly I can tell you what the room looked like, how it smelled and what temperature it was outside when they said them.  I would believe things people said to me as if it were gospel.  My sister used to say I was a marketing team’s dream because if your commercial was even half way good, I was buying whatever you were selling.  Yes….I purchased Nads, Bumpits, TaeBo and countless other goods sold late at night on t.v.  But just as words affect me negatively, a good compliment can keep me going for days.  It is a natural high for me.  Saying something nice to me can instantly turn you into my best friend. 🙂

I’m not saying it’s good to let words have that kind of effect on you, but for me they do.  It’s one of the reason I drank.  I would drink in anticipation of what you might say to me.   I would ponder why you said that to me.  The little voice in my head would say, “What did she mean by that?  I wonder how long she has been thinking that.  Who else thinks that”?  Sick!  I know. 🙂  But wine or vodka could quiet that bitch right down. 

The connection to what you say to me and how I feel about myself is enormous.  Now, try living with me.  My poor husband comes home after a long day at work.  I have cleaned the house, folded the laundry and made his favorite dinner.  He puts his briefcase down and sits at the table.  He takes one bite and starts to chew his food.  “How is it”?  I ask.  

“Great,” he says.  

“Well, you didn’t say anything about how nice the house looks?” I reply.  

“It looks good,” he says.  

“Also, I folded every piece of laundry we own today.  How about that”?  

You now understand why he is a recovering alcoholic as well.  Not really.  He was screwed up way before I ever met him. 🙂

In all seriousness it is hard for me to hear words, speak words, or read words without them having a major impact on me.  Sobriety intensifies that.  So now I have to surround myself with words that inspire me.  I hang around people (like you) who have great words of wisdom to share.  I go to meetings and hear people speak of recovery.  I read self help books.  I write.  I have great phone conversations with my Mom, my sister and my friends.  I listen to my kids talk about what happened at school.  I surround myself with powerful words!

I am a lover of inspirational quotes and sayings.  Some people collect teapots, or baseball cards but I like to collect words!  I find them, write them down and read them over and over. 

Words can change the way we look at the world or even the task at hand.  Some words I am loving lately….

“It’s impossible,” said pride.

“It’s risky,” said experience.

“It’s pointless,” said reason.

“Give it a try,” whispered the heart.


Some things change after 83 days

  1. I water my plants.  My beautiful flowers used to be dead by June.  I was way more concerned with “wineing” me than “watering” them.  My husband keeps telling me “Wow we have a great batch of flowers this year.  They have really bloomed and lasted so much longer than in years past”.  Hmmmm how miraculous?!
  2. I eat ice cream.  This one kind of pisses me off.  I never ate sweets before.  Now I can’t get enough of them.  I treat myself to this ridiculously good turtle sundae every Friday night after our couples’ AA meeting.  Holy mother of God!  I’m gonna stop right there because now I am craving one and it’s only Monday.
  3. I don’t cry over spilled milk.  When my kids used to spill something it could send me over the edge.  Today my daughter came up to me and said “Mom I spilled”.  I told her “That’s okay.  Guess what everybody spills”.  She asked “Do you”?  I said “Yep!  I sure do”.  Her smile melted me.
  4. I enjoy things besides drinking.   Who knew?  Don’t get me wrong.  I was good at drinking….No I was GREAT at drinking.  I had it down!  I could find any excuse to drink and do it with the best of them.  It took years to perfect my craft, but I did it, and I was quite good.  Now I fill my time painting furniture, practicing yoga, taking pictures of my kids, writing blog entries, shopping for antiques, cooking and reading.  I plan on working hard to become as good at these things as I was at drinking.
  5. I clean my house less.  So I had a bit of a break through recently.  I used to wake up hung over and would clean my house from top to bottom.  It was like some sort of penance I would give myself.  I also wanted you to think that I had it all together.  I guess I felt out of control so I would control the things I could…..my house?!  Now I have more important things to do.  I would rather take my daughter to the park than fold the laundry.  I don’t care anymore if you think I am not the perfect wife and mother.  My kid thinks me pushing her on the swings is pretty great.
  6. I laugh with my kids.  I always loved my kids.  However, they did manage to get in the way of my drinking.  A lot!  They were cute and all but they would want to play and talk when all I wanted to do was have another glass of wine.  Now I would give my right arm to get that time back.  As much as I wish I could do it over, I can’t.  So today I chose to laugh often with them.  We dance, we play, and we act ridiculously silly.  I could just drink that laughter through a straw.
  7.  I love my dog.  Okay don’t send me hate mail.  I always liked him…well…a little. We got a dog about a year ago for our 3 daughters.  Of course I am the one who takes care of the little mutt.  I really wasn’t much of an animal lover before.  To be quite honest, taking care of him was just another thing that took up time in my day that I could be drinking.  However, now that I am not drinking, I really LOVE this dog.  I love everything about him.  I love getting up early and letting him out (being of service).  I love taking him on walks (clearing my head).  I love the way he follows me all over the house just to rest at my feet (loves me unconditionally).  I love that he saw the really ugly me, that I hid from the world, and still thinks I’m pretty cool.
  8. I listen to my husband instead of planning my rebuttal.  God this is BIG.  More than I ever wanted to drink, I wanted to be right.  I was never one to pass up a good argument.  I could live off the victory of winning a disagreement for days.  I didn’t care much what it was about, but the high of the win…..well that was just about ecstasy for me.  Now I listen.  I apologize when necessary.  I even think my husband has a good point every now and then. 🙂
  9. I found friends that have real hobbies and interests.  The people I used to hang out with and I, always shared the same hobbies and interests.  DRINKING!  We loved to get together and sit on someone’s patio for a drink.  We would set up play dates just to drink.  We would volunteer for things together so that we could drink.  We would make an excuse just to stop by and stay for a quick drink.  The friends I have now talk about their love of cooking, or writing, or singing, or gardening.  These people are passionate about what they love to do.  It makes me feel alive to hear them talk about their hobbies and the hundreds of things that interest them.  Oh and an added bonus….now I can actually remember what they like to do. 🙂
  10. I don’t procrastinate.  Oh my!   Was I the queen of procrastination???  Well yes I was. 🙂 I used to have to get nice and loaded before doing things that I wasn’t interested in.  I could put off picking up the phone and calling to make an appointment for weeks.  Now if I have an important call to make, I just do it.  I also cut all of my fruit when I get home from the grocery store instead of throwing away whole cantaloupes and watermelons at the end of the week.
  11. I workout with purpose…..well at least a different kind.  I used to go to the gym to sweat out the toxins from the night before.  Now I go to relax and to get STRONG!  It makes me feel good that the regulars at my gym are not getting high from the fumes coming off of my hung over body.   I’m a giver like that. 🙂
  12. I sleep like a baby.  UGH!  The anxiety alone was enough to make me want to kill myself.  I would wake up with horrible 3 AM anxiety when I drank.  You know the kind.  I would think to myself….”Okay that’s it.  No more drinking”!  I could keep it up until about 4 PM the next evening when I would inevitably manage to get that absurd thinking out of my head.  Crazy talk is all that is!  Cheers!  Repeat performance night after night.  I had a longer run than Cats did on Broadway!  Now I close my eyes at night with no regrets, I quickly fall asleep until I am awoken by my 3 year old.  Quietly she taps me on my shoulder at 7 AM and says, “Mom I’m ready for breakfast”.

the spoon and the thimble

Sisters who paint, craft, organize, cook, share, and laugh

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