Relapse-Reset & Rigerous Honesty Sucks

I picked up my 60 day chip on Monday night. It made me feel like shit.

When I got sober, from alcohol, in 2013, each milestone felt amazing. This just feels crappy.

Rigorous honesty sucks. I feel like quitting AA again, just so I can walk around saying I have 3+ years of sobriety. White knuckle it, again. It worked so well the last time. :/

Being a weak ass addict sucks too. I am not even sure, right at this moment, that if a Vicodin landed on my desk, I wouldn’t take it, and that REALLY sucks.

It has entered my mind just to say fuck it to all of it, and chuck it all.

The damage is done, I could go back to my old ways, then quit again, and be where I am right now. In my warped thinking, that would feel like a true reset.

Go big or go home.

 

 

Rigorous Honesty and a Day Count Reset ☹️

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I have finally owned up to the fact that I can no longer say that I have 1213 days of sobriety.  This has been a tough one for me.  Since I quit drinking on 11/30/13, I have taken opiates four times, an addiction I don’t readily own up to. I took them for the same reasons I used to drink, to not feel something that was painful.  It is the same behavior as drinking to mask my feelings,  I took the pills to make something less of a THING. To make it go away, however briefly.

I have gone back to AA and am giving it 100 percent effort this time around. When I first got sober, I did it online for the first three months, white knuckling it with the WordPress sober community.  I then decided to try an AA meeting. I found one where no one asked anything of me. No coffee making, no greeting, no commitment. Also no offers of sponsorship, nor did I asks. I just went one night a week, sat in a chair, said nothing, then went home. Just going through the motions.

I had a sponsor, but she lived in a different state, so we weren’t connected geographically, and were unable to attend meetings together. We weren’t able to get together in person and discuss my new sobriety the way I can with my new sponsor.

My current sponsor is tough, she expects a daily telephone call, and she expects me to show up at meetings, regularly. No half assing it this time.  I have been doing that, because there has been a hole in my sobriety. Without the meetings, I was back to white knuckling it, and just going through the motions. I wasn’t drinking, but if given the chance or the opportunity, I would happily gulp down a pain pill.

What I have found by attending meetings for the last three months is that  I was missing was the rigorous honesty. When you don’t have to be accountable for your behavior, you give yourself a pass and rationalize away anything.  And I have. I have done that four times when I have chosen to take opiates.

I have attended a lot of meetings in the last few months. I have been listening, and I have heard people tell on themselves repeatedly. I kept hearing the phrase rigorous honesty. It has stirred something deep in me, I have not been honest with myself, or within the program, and now it was time to own up to it.

In my mind I had kept my two addictions in separate places, never admitting the pills were as bad as the alcohol. I was sober because I didn’t drink. I kept up my day count. Nothing was going to stop my streak. Somehow, I discounted the pills, they weren’t my REAL addiction, so I kept going after each pill relapse as though nothing happened.

Except this time it was different, I had a new sponsor, I had to tell on self. That is what we do. When I first asked her if I should reset my day count, she said she felt that I was a bit too fragile and new at the program to do that, and we could let it go. But I can’t. The more meetings I go to, the more I realize that I have to reset my sobriety date. As I have relapsed, not once, but four different times. The pills and the alcohol are the same, they are both an addiction and they belong in the same bucket.

This morning I told my sponsor that I felt I needed to reset the date. The continued talk of rigorous honesty was getting to me. I am not being honest, I am a liar. I have not been sober for 1213 days, I have been cheating.

It is time to own up to it. I don’t want to, in fact it makes me cringe and cry. I can’t even think about getting another 30 day, 60 day, 90 day chip, it just makes me so sad. I am told I will feel better once I admit this. It will be a weight off, it will be the beginning, again, this time with rigorous honesty.

 

 

 

500 DAYS

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That is 500 bottles of wine, give or take a few.  That is $5000.00, give or take $10.00 or $20.00 bucks.  That is something I never though I would see or be able to do.

I never imagined on 11/30/2013 when I decided to quit drinking that I would still be sober 500 days later.  I had had enough.  I was tired of feeling crappy, hating mornings, hating my relationships, hating the world, hating myself.  I was sick of sitting on the couch night after night, deep into a bottle of wine, wondering what “normal” people do.  I was tired of looking at people doing wonderful things,being successful, and questioning whether they drank a bottle of wine every night too.  I was sick of myself.  I was sick and disgusted at what I had become.

I have no idea what clicked in my head on that day in November, or why I have been successful this time around.  I often spend time trying to put my finger on the catalyst.  Why this time, what was different?  I still do not know.  I imagine the Universe had a different plan for me, and decided that it was time for it to begin.

The past 16 months have had a lot of challenges.  Life is challenging, but it seems as though mine got more so once I got sober.  Maybe I was just more aware of it because I was sober.  In the past I would have used any challenges life threw at me as an excuse to drink excessively, but I didn’t, I stayed sober.  It wasn’t easy, it still isn’t at times, yet here I am, still sober after 500 days.

That being said, and hopefully not to be too boring, here is another list of the things I have learned thus far:

  • The first three months of sobriety suck.  They really, really, really, suck, suck suck.  At least that is my personal experience.
  • The above is what helps keep me sober.  I do not want to have to EVER feel that way again.
  • I have to BELIEVE.  Believe that it gets better, because it does.  Believe that AA works if you work it, because it does.  Believe that life is better sober, because even when it isn’t, it really IS.  I continue to listen and believe, because so far everything I have been told has been the truth.
  • I don’t have to drink when bad things happen.  I may WANT to drink, I may think I NEED a drink, but I really don’t.  Drinking never made anything bad better, it actually made the bad things worse.  It is just easier to see that now with a clear head and heart.
  • If you go to AA, you really should read the Big Book.  I read most of it in early sobriety, not all of it.  I thought is was outdated and couldn’t help me.  It may have been too soon in my sobriety to have seen it, but the book has a lot of important information in it.  It is all how you interpret it.
  • Sober people are some of the nicest, most giving people out there.  That said, be careful who you choose to confide in,and get close to, not everyone is pure of heart, and it hurts real bad when you find that out.  Especially after sharing intimate details of your life.
  • What you hear hear, does not always stay here.  That sucks, it is shocking when you find out you are being talked about outside the room.  Unfortunately this happened to me, and I still can’t get my head around it.
  • Life is a marathon not a race, and so is sobriety.  Cliche, I know.  I am a runner, so I am always about racing to the finish line, getting it done, being first.  I can’t do that with this process.  Things have unfolded over time, on its own.  It doesn’t matter how much I want it, it comes to me when I am ready for it to be revealed.
  • I often wonder if people who aren’t addicts work on themselves as much as addicts do.  Or do they already know all of this stuff?  Do they have this life thing figured out?
  • I am much more sensitive to people being assholes than I was before.  Probably because I was an asshole too.  I am far from perfect, but at least I am trying.  When I find that I am being and asshole, I apologize immediately.  Something I have learned in sobriety.
  • Sobriety is like a see-saw.  It has its highs and lows.  Anything else is unrealistic.  I was unrealistic frequently.  I thought, I am now sober, bring on all the great things.  It doesn’t work that way.  It is still life.
  • I started out being a non believer.  No higher power, no spiritual guidance, nothing, just me, powering through it all, all alone.  That has changed.  No one is more amazed by this than me.  I still am not comfortable with some of the verbiage,especially the word God, but I sincerely believe that the wind that is in my sails is not by chance.
  • Having an attitude of gratitude is a much better way to live.  Instead of negative thinking, I work hard at finding the good in any situation.  (Although I am still stymied by the fact that my mother is dead, I have found nothing good there.)
  • I freaked out my home group when I told them I wanted to drink.  I didn’t really WANT to drink, I wanted to not feel the way I was feeling, and the go to has always been to drink.  It was nice to know how much they care about me, and how much support they really give me.
  • I don’t know if I put my sobriety FIRST every day, I am not sure what that really means.  I do have a sobriety counter on my phone that greets me each morning with how many days I have been sober.  That has worked for me so far.
  • I am still uncomfortable with sober firsts.  I guess that will continue until there are no more firsts to be had.
  • I no longer need pats on the back or accolades about how well I am doing.  The only person I am doing this for is me.

500 days sober.  All strung together in one row.

And on I go.

ADDICTION KILLS

Leonard Nimoy, Dr. Spock from Star Trek, died yesterday from COPD; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.  Smoking tobacco is the most common cause of COPD.  Smoking is an awful addiction, just like alcohol.

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cigarette smoking results in more than 480,000 premature deaths in the United States each year—about 1 in every 5 U.S. deaths—and an additional 16 million people suffer with a serious illness caused by smoking. In fact, for every one person who dies from smoking, about 30 more suffer from at least one serious tobacco-related illness.

Leonard Nimoy took to social media after his diagnosis to let people know how bad smoking is.

Smokers, please understand. If you quit after you’re diagnosed with lung damage it’s too late. Grandpa says learn my lesson. Quit now. LLAP.

When I was addicted to cigarettes I ignored good medical advice. Addicts have lying ears. LLAP

Cigarettes don’t make anything better. Nicotine taken in any form is addictive. Look into mindful meditation instead. LLAP

Breaking the smoking habit is tough. Worth the struggle. Save the lungs. Living with COPD is no joke. LLAP

Nicotine is the hook. Smoke is the dagger. LLAP

My mother was diagnosed on October 2, 2013 with Stage IV lung cancer.  She also had chronic heart failure, emphysema, and COPD.  She was a smoker for 60 years.

Over the years my mother had a series of surgeries.  I was with her for intake processing for each one.  When the nurse would get to the question of smoking, my mother would get irritated, and answer in an unpleasant tone; “Yes, I smoke, but not much, three or four a day.”  This was a lie, a big one.  My mother smoked close to a pack a day for 60 years.

As with most addicts, my mother lied constantly about her smoking. I could hear her smoking when we talked on the telephone, I would question her, “Mom, are you having a cigarette?”, she would always say no.  My children and I lived with her briefly in 2007.  We walked in after school one day, and the place stunk like cigarette smoke.  I said, “Hey mom, were you smoking in here?”  Once again she denied it, even when I told her I could smell it, and the kids found her hidden stash of cigarettes.

She never smoked in front of me, but she would in front of my older brother.  He stayed with her two years ago, and told me her condominium smelled like a bar after closing time.  I guess she thought she could hide it from me, as though my brother and I didn’t talk.

When my daughter and I packed her and helped her move in 2013, everything was coated with cigarette smoke dust, especially the curtains.  It was awful.

She finally quit smoking when she moved to Virginia at the end of 2013.  It was too late. As she had never had any preventative testing because none of her doctors ever knew the full extent of her addiction, we had no idea how much damage had been done.  Not until the horrible day In October when we received the news of impending death.

I hid my sobriety from my mother for almost a year.  I glossed over it by saying that I had to get some blood work done, and was taking a break for a while.  Even when I stayed with her in August, she didn’t know I was attending an AA meeting every Saturday.  On Saturday mornings I would tell her I was going for a long run, I would run to the meeting, and run back, I was sweaty, so there were no questions asked.

In November, I went to visit her in her new assisted living apartment in Missouri.  It was the visit before I left for Florida for two months, I thought it might be the last time I saw her alive -it was- so I finally told her the whole truth.  Yes, I have quit drinking because my liver enzymes were elevated, but there is more to it then that, I have a problem. I drink too much, I consumed a huge bottle of wine every night.  I told her I was going to AA, I showed her my 3,6,8 and 9 month chips.  We had a long discussion about our family history of alcoholism, and how I had the bad luck of having genetic markers on both sides.  It felt good to finally tell her the whole truth.

As we discussed addiction, she shared with me that if someone walked in the door right at that moment and offered her a cigarette, she would want to smoke it, and probably would.  Even knowing that she had ravaged her body with the killing effects of cigarette smoke, she still felt the pull of that addiction, and the certainty of giving in to it.  I understood completely.

During one of our last telephone conversations, she told me that she was so proud of me for admitting I have a problem with alcohol and doing something about it.  She also mentioned that she had really cut back on her alcohol consumption as well.  I choose to believe that was not because she was so sick, but because she was making a conscious decision to make a change.

As my brother and I were undertaking the horrendous task of cleaning out her apartment, I asked him where her wine and bourbon were, she always had one she was working on and a spare.  It was very noticeable that there was none there.  He told me he had gone over very early that morning to remove it all, just in case the devastation of her death caused me to decide to pick up. I was overwhelmed with his thoughtfulness and thanked him for that.  He then shared with me that she really admired what I have done, and he felt that if she had lived a bit longer, she too would have quit drinking.  We will never know.

Cigarettes killed my mother on February 4, 2014.  If I had continued to drink, alcohol would have killed me.

Addiction is horrible, addiction kills.  I choose to live, no matter how hard sobriety is, it isn’t harder than no longer having a mother.

Is it better to be loved or envied?

That was the question my brother asked me with tears steaming down his face.  We were in the midst of cleaning out my mothers apartment at the assisted living where she had passed away the day before.

Through his tears he told me that he knew that my mother loved him, but he said she envied me.  She envied all the traveling I had done over the last few years, the places I had been, but mostly the fact that I had gotten sober.  As I mulled this over in my mind, he added, that had she been healthy and lived, she would have quit drinking.  She never said that to him, but he had gotten that sense through conversations they had.

She did not live long enough.  On February 4, the cancer that had invaded her, took her life.

If I dig deep, I can find a gratitude in this.  I am grateful that my higher power listened to my prayers, and took her quickly.  I talked to her on Tuesday morning, she told me she was feeling better, by midnight Tuesday night she was gone.  The last thing I said to her on the telephone was I love you Mom.

We spoke on the telephone every day for over 25 years, sometimes multiple times a day.  Her world was small, so I loved sharing my daily adventures with her.  Sometimes our conversations were short, sometimes over an hour long.  No matter what I said, whether I was right or wrong, she always had my back.  I don’t know how I am going to get used to not being able to pick up the telephone to share my thoughts,to gossip or to just babble with her.

I am so grateful for my sobriety.  Through that, I reconciled my past difficulties with her, and finally felt at peace with my relationship with her.  It wasn’t easy, it wasn’t what I thought it should be, but it was the best she could do, and in the end, it really is enough.

Love or envy, it doesn’t matter now,  I have a hole in my heart.  I know that time will help it close up a little, but it will never go away.

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Last Day of the Stay-Cation

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Today is the last full day of our 2 month Florida get away.  Tomorrow I am heading home.  We are leaving a day early, because my beloved Patriots are in the Super Bowl, and I have to be back and settled to really enjoy the game.

The month of December was really difficult for me.  I could not relax, and had frequent triggers that made me want to drink.  Being at the beach, who doesn’t associate sitting on the beach with a cool alcoholic beverage?  Being bored, a classic drinking trigger, this one happened a lot..(I watched 4 seasons of Gilmore Girls, if that doesn’t say boredom, what does?)  Walking into the only two stores that were in the area, CVS and Publix, which both have a large wine section.  (Supermarkets in Tennessee do not have a wine or liquor section, yet.)  Both of these stores had displays at the end of every aisle of beautiful bottles of wine.  It was wine-a-palooza in every aisle.  Ugh.

Then came Christmas.  My kids were not with me, and I was not with my mother, on possibly her last Christmas.  It was awful.  This lead to thoughts of Christmas past, red wine and roast, and the tradition of drinking Bailey’s on Christmas Eve.  Christmas was a let down, a huge let down.  I hadn’t even had the forethought to pack the small Christmas tree so at least we had some decorations.  All I wanted was the day to end.  It was a wretched way to spend Christmas, I was sad and sober, a mentally miserable combination.

December ended and I started to come out of my funk.  I still had not quite found my groove.  I was attending AA meetings, but not feeling any kind of connection at any of them.  I attended a Smart Recovery meeting, and was just as confused about that program after the meeting than I was before.  I felt like my boat had been untied from the dock, and I was bobbing around without oars.

January came.  New Years Eve was not an issue, as I have never enjoyed it, amateur night, as I always called it.  In the new year, I was determined to be more present in my life.  To try to focus on the NOW.  Each time my mind went forward, or back, I dragged it back to the present. I finally began to feel a settling of my angst.  I was trying to relax and a times having success, I was hitting a stride, I was getting used to my environment.  I was running everyday listening to inspirational, funny and alcohol related pod-casts during my runs.  I was working on just being, not feeling like I had to be doing something else.

Then something happened, my son got a job.  I suddenly had a purpose, and more importantly a TO DO list.  The timeline for him moving from Tennessee to Illinois was short.  Flights were booked, a U haul was rented, hotels were booked, moving was completed, and I was once again back in Florida. I arrived back in Florida with a huge case of the jitters, and more cravings to drink.  I have been back in Florida for a week ago, and have yet to find that fleeting sense of peace again.

Tomorrow we leave.  We have committed to another two month stint next year.  I hope to be more comfortable in my sobriety,more founded in my spirituality, have a better ability to let go, and be present in the now.  I hope to be able to relax, and enjoy daily life, not what is behind me, or what is going to be in front of me. I hope to find peace, to be able to relax without having to work so hard at it.

Even though I had difficulty with this stay-cation, I am extremely grateful for many things that have happened over the last two months, so I will end this post with my gratitude’s.

The ocean, beach and sunsets were beautiful.      DSC_5651

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My son got a job!

My mother is still alive, and I will have another chance to go visit her. and my husband and I got along great, in a very small space.

I am still gratefully sober, even with all the emotional,mental and physical torture I put myself through, I am still here watching the day count go up.  I still have work to do, and I am willing to do be happy, joyous and free.

So What Really Happens in an Alcoholics Anonymous Meeting? by Jean-Paul Bedard

aa_logo_2I wish I had read this prior to my first AA meeting, it would have been very helpful and alleviated some of my knee knocking fear.

No one, and mean no one, walks through the doors of their first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting feeling “happy, joyous, and free.” The prospect of spending countless hours in damp church basements and community centers, in the company of other twitching, coffee-swilling addicts doesn’t do much to warm the soul.

By the time I found my way to the rooms of AA, I was desperate to try anything, but truth be told, I came in looking for a way out. There was no denying I had a drinking problem, but like most people in recovery rooms, my addiction was merely a symptom of a much more deeply rooted problem. Alcoholism is cunning in that it is an illness that continually whispers and enchants by trying to convince the addict that you are different; you can have just one, and this time you’ll be able to control yourself. The irony is that the alcohol never solves anything — It just buries problems and feelings that invariably bubble their way to the surface like a festering boil.

And here in lies the problem — every alcoholic is an unwitting player acting out his or her part not in a tragic comedy, but in a comic tragedy. The best description I’ve ever read about the insanity of alcoholism comes from Dr. Vincent Felitti, who said: “It is hard to get enough of something that almost works.” That is certainly how it played out for me. From the first drink to my last alcoholic binge, I was chasing a solution that never quite worked. It is in this space of “not quite working” that the greatest devastation unfolds in the alcoholic’s personal and professional life. There is not an active alcoholic on the planet who doesn’t cause collateral damage. Like ripples in a pond, the chaotic dissonance is far-reaching.

When I finally reached that point of being sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, I grudgingly agreed to give Alcoholics Anonymous a try. Although I was willing to go to any lengths to get my drink or drug, the same could not be said for my foray into recovery. I’m an addict, so naturally I want the quickest fix possible. I called the 1-800 number in the phone book, and asked the polite lady on the other end of the phone if she could send out some AA pamphlets to me in the mail. At that point, I was still convinced I could get sober simply by reading the “How-To Guide.” Surprise… It doesn’t work that way. The volunteer on the phone asked me where I lived, and she told me that there was a meeting just down the street from me starting in a couple of hours.

When the time came, I walked down the street towards a group of men and women smoking and laughing on the sidewalk near the side entrance to the church basement. Careful not to make any eye contact whatsoever, I slipped past the group and made my way to the door, where I was greeted by a guy, who must have been a bouncer in his former life, who said: “Welcome to the Friendly Group. Grab a coffee and grab a seat.”

Many of you may be wondering what an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting looks like, so let me give you a quick AA primer. I’ve been to meetings throughout North America and some in Europe, and generally, they all follow the same format. There are two types of AA meetings: closed meetings and open meetings. Open meetings are exactly what they sound like — they are open to alcoholics and to anyone else who wants to attend. Typically, after the initial announcements, and the reading of the 12 Steps and12 Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous, one alcoholic will come up to the front and share his or her story of strength, hope, and recovery. On the other hand, closed meetings are for alcoholics and for those who think they may have a problem with alcohol. These meetings also begin with the reading of the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions, and are followed by a group reading or discussion based on one of the steps or traditions, or a topic related to recovery.

I’ve been attending AA meetings for almost 18 years now, and in that entire time, I’ve managed to stay clean and sober one day at a time. After the thousands of hours I’ve spent in recovery meetings, I can say I’m certain of only a few things. First, despite what many people believe, AA is not a cult. It’s just a group of alcoholics trying to figure out how to stay sober by helping the next guy or gal stay sober. Two, no matter how shitty I feel before walking into a meeting, I always feel a little better after it’s over. Three, going to meetings is like holding up a mirror to your sobriety. It’s impossible to see the changes in me since I’ve stopped drinking, but by looking around the room at others with different amounts of sobriety and encountering varying struggles and joys, I’m able to see myself in each and every other person in the room. And finally, having to sit in a chair for 60 or 90 minutes and listen to other alcoholics as they listen to me, is a much needed lesson in patience.

Eighteen years later, I still have days where I desperately want a drink, but I remind myself that no matter how bad I’m feeling and no matter what problem I have, if I pick up that first drink, I’ll still have that problem, but now I’ll be right back in the caustic belly of my addiction. Today I consider myself a grateful alcoholic, and I now realize that I don’t have a drinking problem — I have a living problem.

Originally posted on Huffington Post 1/15/2015

HAPPY NEW WORD OF THE YEAR!!!

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Mished Up wrote a great blog about choosing a Word of the Year. Her premise is instead of making some inane resolution that will inevitably end up in failure, choose a WORD to define your year instead.  I am not a New Year’s resolution kind of gal, so I decided to jump on the WORD OF THE YEAR, bandwagon.

I have been struggling a lot this year with a variety of things.  It seems like 2014 really had it out for me.  I decided to get sober. My son moved home after graduating from college, was unemployed, then under- employed.  My husband was not happy about the living arrangement, nor was I, but to a lesser degree. My father in law turned 99, and because he is still living alone, we spent many months this past summer living with him trying to get him assistance and get him to stop driving,  Then my mother received the double terminal cancer diagnosis.  Things can only get better in 2015, right?

I have rarely been home over the last 6 months, which has been difficult on me mentally.  I am a control freak who loves routine,a To Do list and being home is my biggest comfort zone.

We then decided to take a stay-cation, which has really thrown me for a loop.

To counteract the mental torture I have been putting myself through, I started listening to podcast’s while running.  I have listened to many from Klen + Sobr, starting with Paul from Message in a Bottle.  I then went through the whole 12 episodes of Serial, which was fantastic.  Then I fell back on my old stand by, AA speakers from the YouTube page Odomtology.  My all time favorite speaker is Sandy B.  His speech “Practicing the Presence of Now”, has really has spoken to me, most especially the segment below.

” We are already all that we can become.  We just have to see it.  We just have to uncover it.

Here is a story about the past the present and the future.  They got together one day, and said you know we are always in conflict.  We are always tugging at one another.  Why don’t we hold a meeting, sort of like a peace counsel and we’ll see if we can come up with some kind of compromise, and they all agreed.  And then they pointed upstairs and they said you know that meeting room upstairs is an historic room, a lot of important historical events take place in that room, why don’t we use that room, and they all said “Yeah”. 

So, the only thing left was the time of the meeting, and the past said, I think we should hold the meeting two years ago, we are all familiar with that.  It won’t be frightening, we know exactly what it is.  I think the safest thing, where we will be the most comfortable will be to go back two years ago. 

And the future said, “That would be boring, we already know what that is, I think we should hold it two years from now we don’t have a clue what that would be, it would be a big adventure. It would be very exciting, it will be dangerous, it will be really something.” 

And the Now said, “Well you guys both make a great case. But, If we did go back two years ago, when we got there it will be NOW.  And if we went ahead two years, when we got there it would be NOW, so I think we ought to do NOW.

And the other two couldn’t find a flaw in this argument, and they grumblingly agreed to go sit around the table.  And observers pointed out that as they took their seats, there was only one left, and that was the NOW and the room got very bright with light due to the absence of the other two players.

I FEEL THAT IS THE WONDERFUL RELIEF OF GETTING RID OF EVERYTHING THAT ISN’T THE PRESENT MOMENT.  WHICH IS A VERY HEAVY BURDEN.

WordOfTheYearNOW

 I have chosen my word of the year to be NOW.  I am going to spend my year working very hard to stay in the NOW, keep my thoughts in the NOW, and live in the NOW.


As an aside, MY SON GOT A JOB!!!!  Thank you to everyone who may have said a little prayer for him.  He starts on 1/19, in Joliet, Illinois.  (I wanted him to move out, but not THAT far away.)  I am so happy that he will finally begin his life.  I have prayed to my HP, The Universe, Mother Nature and God, (wanted to cover all the possibilities) every night since the interview.  I don’t know if it is prayer, the planetary alignment or the winter solstice, but I am so happy for him and his new adventure.

My father-in-law just called, his doctor took his license away.  He is NOT happy, but boy we are!

Lastly,I did make a New Year’s resolution, it is to buy NO new shoes, aside from running shoes, and two pairs of flip flops for the summer, for the whole year of 2015.  I brought 19 pairs of shoes on this vacation, and bought a pair last Saturday.  I have 10 more pair to wear if I am to wear every pair I brought.  The 19 pairs are just a small sampling of my “summer” shoes.  I won’t even go into how many pairs of boots I have.  (I clearly have a problem, I am willing to admit to being powerless over shoes and purses.)

shoes

Happy New Year to you all, and stay sober my friends!

PADDLING THE HOLIDAY RAPIDS

Whitewater-Rafting-boat

Last year I went white water rafting with my daughter and my running buddy.  It was a great trip.  My pal, John, owns a small motor home, and we drove through the mountains of Tennessee in comfort.  I had never ridden in a motor home before, so it was a first, and it was fun.

We got to the Ocoee Rafting Company ready to battle the rapids.  It was summer, but it wasn’t a very nice day.  It was cold and rainy.  We figured, who cares, we were going to get wet anyway.

We were assigned a raft, loaded into a van, and went down to the “put in” spot.  Prior to “putting in” we sat in the raft, and received a lesson in paddling commands.

All forward;  all paddle forward.

All back; all paddle back

Left turn; the left side of the boat paddles

Right turn: the right side of the boat paddles

Over right; everyone in the boat gets on the right side

Over left; everyone in the boat gets on the left side

Get down; get to the bottom of the boat, quickly

I feel like I have been adrift in this raft throughout this holiday season.

We made the plans to be in Florida close to 18 months ago.  At the time, neither of my children were living at home, and I was actively drinking large quantities of wine every night.  It sounded awesome, sign me up, fun in the sun, drinking in bars and on the beach!  Boo yah!

Then in November of 2013, I was struck, by who knows what, and decided it was time to give up alcohol, and get sober.

Last year’s holiday season was s struggle.  I think I was unknowingly going through PAWS, and the holiday’s were hard, really, really hard.

This year I thought, been there, done that.I wasn’t cocky, still vigilant, but here comes the holiday season, easy peasy, right?

Wrong.  My son moved home, my mother is dying, and I am in Florida, with my husband and a pile of regrets.

December has been difficult.  I have been filled with guilt about my son being alone for Christmas, and not being in Missouri with my mother, as this may be her last Christmas.

I didn’t think any of this through thoroughly enough to remember to pack the small Christmas tree.  Therefore, no decorations. There is no cold weather.  Christmas lights in palm trees just don’t give off that Christmasy feeling.  There was no Bailey’s on Christmas Eve, and no red wine with the Christmas roast.

I have hopped into this raft, and have been paddling like mad to keep from hitting all the obstacles the have been placed in the way.

Paddling forward, getting up each morning and trying to be in the NOW.

Paddling backward, resetting my brain every time it drags me into my pile of guilt, or sadness over where I am NOT, instead of where I am.

Hopping to the left side to avoid the Christmas Eve Bailey’s craving.  Hopping to the right to get around the longing for red wine to have with the roast.

I feel like I am in the bottom of the boat every day when I wake up here in Florida, and not in my own home.  I lie there, take a mental inventory and remind myself that I have a lot to be grateful for.  I give myself a mental slap, and go through the list.

I am here, I am sober, I managed to remain sober through a difficult Christmas, and my son was fine being on his own.My mother spent the holiday with my brother and his family, she had a great time.

I have so much to be grateful for, and if I keep my thoughts in the present, I can make it through another day, where I continuously remind myself that relaxing is not supposed to be so much work.

BEWARE OF MR BAKER

BoMB_BG

Last night we watched the documentary, Beware of Mr. Baker, about Ginger Baker the epochal drummer.  He was the creative genius behind the iconic band Cream, and was he the drummer for Blind Faith.

His story is incredible, and disturbing.  He was one of those people who never had a musical lesson, he just had perfect timing, when he heard the music, he could just play it, and play it really well.

One of his early inspirations was the jazz drummer Phillip Seamen.  Not only did Phil Seamen introduce Ginger Baker to jazz drumming, he also introduced him to heroin.  Ginger Baker was an addict for the better part of his life.

The documentary shows his life, his addiction, and his nasty, terrible personality.  It was his personality that ruined his career, along with his prolific use of drugs.  He amassed and lost fortunes a multitude of times.

Ginger Baker claims that Eric Clapton, his band-mate from both Cream and Blind Faith is one of his closest friends.  They interview Eric throughout the documentary.  I came away thinking that Eric Clapton was less a friend than a person who watched Ginger Baker implode from drug abuse, something that Eric Clapton had to distance himself from.  During the course of the film, Eric Clapton admits that he hasn’t seen Ginger Baker in years  because he couldn’t be around him due to his lifestyle choices.

I was never a big fan of Cream or Blind Faith, but Eric Clapton is one of my all time favorite musicians.  He is an amazing guitar player, song writer, and musician.  I have seen him live multiple times, and he never fails to be amazing.

Eric Clapton is in long term recovery, he was addicted to heroin and alcohol.  He got sober in 1989, six years before he lost his son in a tragic accident.  He is also a founding partner The Crossroads Center in Antigua, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center.

“Prior to the time that Clapton decided to get sober in 1987, he addicted to heroin and alcohol, crashed cars, attempted suicide more than once, survived growing up in a broken home and dealt with a litany of health problems.

As mentioned above, he attempted suicide many times…..”the only thing that stopped me was the realization that if I were dead I would not be able to drink anymore.”

Fast forward to 2013, Clapton is nearly 26 years clean and sober despite suffering the death of his child six years into sobriety. Clapton, speaking publicly, on several occasions has credited his sobriety with not only aiding him in surviving tragedy but aiding in his self-awareness.

Since getting clean and sober, not only has he penned the biggest song of his career, he has written a book and released several successful CDs.

Congratulations on 25 years of sobriety Clapton. We can’t wait to see what you will produce during the next 25 years.

To all the newly sober people out there, not that it has to be this way but let Clapton be an example of what you can face, overcome and remain clean and sober through.”  Recovery Now, DeShawn McQueen.

The documentary is unwittingly a juxtaposition of addiction and recovery.  Ginger Baker remained an addict, and continued to ruin his life.  Eric Clapton got sober, and his world has continued to get better.

Recovery works.