Tag Archives: sober

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.

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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.


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.


What if she says no???

 

So I finally got a hold of the woman I was going to ask to be my sponsor.  When she answered the phone I stumbled around but finally got out the words…”Would you maybe be willing to possibly be my temporary sponsor”?  Whew I did it!  That wasn’t so hard.  “Kristin” she said.  “I would love to but my sponsor has told me that I should not sponsor others at this time.  I am not sure if you know or not, but I am a licensed therapist and it was getting to be too much for me to council women during the day and after hours as well.  I am so sorry!  I really would like to but I have to follow orders on this one.  Do you have anyone else in mind”?  I quickly apologized and responded “No but I am sure I can find someone.  Really it’s no big deal.  I am so sorry to bother you.  I totally understand how busy you are”.  God I felt so stupid.  She followed up by asking me “So tell me, how have you been”?  We talked for about a half an hour.  What a fantastic talk too.  She was so honest and open and really wonderful to talk to.  She made me promise to call her while I was on the lookout for a sponsor.  I told her I would.  When I got off the phone, it occurred to me, that I had asked someone a question, I had been turned down and really nothing bad happened.  It was a revelation for me.  Sometimes the answer will be NO and that is okay.  I don’t need to drink in fear of hearing no or in disappointment from hearing no.   I didn’t die of embarrassment.  The world didn’t stop spinning.  It was just NO.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.  Thanks God for that gentle lesson that I so desperately needed to learn.  Thank you for putting this lovely woman in my path and for the wonderful conversation we had.   Now I am ready.  Will you please introduce me to MY sponsor? 


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