Wasted on the Way

I have to say this has been the saddest three weeks of my life.

I have been very lucky.  Three of my grandparents died when I was relatively young.  Young enough that I was too self involved to really pay attention.

I was lucky enough to have my wonderful grandmother for 100 years.  She died on Christmas day 2009.  We had a wonderful family celebration of her 100th birthday in August, everyone turned out for it.  It was very special, a special time for a special lady.

me and gg

Three weeks ago my mother was diagnosed with Stage III multiple myeloma.  This is a leukemia that affects the bones.  It is a disease that is diagnosed in it’s infancy.  It sits in the body and smolders for years, and nothing happens.  No drugs are needed, no treatment, just monitoring of blood levels every three to six months.

My mother was diagnosed with MM 7 years ago.  We all panicked, but quickly found out that MM can smolder for years before it becomes full blown.

It became full blown three weeks ago.  My mother was hospitalized, numerous tests were done, and the diagnosis came back, the smoldering had ended, we were in full blown disease.  The oncologist reassured us that this is highly treatable with very aggressive, very sophisticated chemotherapy drugs.

I came back to Virginia to get the cure going.  Booked planning meetings with oncology and began the first round of chemotherapy on August 13th.  As we sat in the planning meeting, my mother and I, my brother on speaker, I noticed the look on my mothers face.  She had completely shut down, she wasn’t in the room, she wasn’t listening, she wasn’t interested.  She told the nurse practitioner she wasn’t interested, she didn’t want this, she didn’t want to try, she was too tired, it was all to much.  We didn’t listen, we had our agenda.

We got out the rally bats, my brother and I.  Mom, there is remission, limited side effects, easy plan to follow!  Let’s try it, let’s commit to one cycle, see how it goes, see how you feel!

Begrudgingly, she agreed.

The first round began on August 13th.  It involved pills, injections, and blood work.  I spent my time making medication lists, chemotherapy schedules, injection times, medication times.  Document after amended document.  Trips to the pharmacy, trips to the cancer center for treatment, Google calendar links to everyone.  A lot of planning and doing.

Through out it all, my mother seemed to get smaller and smaller.  She became less than what she was, she disengaged, she didn’t read any of the literature, she payed no attention to my well thought out schedules, she was confused, started having side effects immediately, and was tired, just so, so tired.

Throughout it all, I was the upbeat cheerleader. I kept trying to get her involved. Ikept putting my lists and schedules under her nose.  Nothing, nada, no interest.

She mentioned taking her life during one treatment.  An antidepressant was immediately added to the medications list.  On we pressed, another injection, more pills, more lists, more driving.

Endless activity until last Friday night, when I finally put my agenda to the side, and took a good honest look, and finally heard what my mother had to say.  She didn’t want any of this.  She was tired.  She didn’t want the crappy quantity of life that chemotherapy was going to give her, she wanted what time was left for quality of life, her version of the quality of her life. Not what I was selling.

I listened when she told me she was done with chemotherapy.  I took a deep breath, and said the one thing that I never thought I would have to say to either of my parents, it is okay, you can let go.  You can do it your way.  No more treatment, you don’t have to.  And no, I don’t think anyone will think you are a quitter.  It is your life, do with it what you want, it is your choice.  My brothers and I will back you 100%.

In the past three days, I have written and added funeral and cremation instructions to her will, filled out advanced directive forms, and picked out her outfit for cremation.  The whole time holding on, not breaking down.

She then got out her jewelry boxes, all of which were to go to me.  One was filled with heirloom pieces given to her by her mother and aunt.  The others had a lot of costume pieces.

The soul wrenching, gut sobbing tears started when I opened the box of stick pins.  Remember stick pins?  She used to wear them all the time.  I couldn’t get a grip, I was like a little kid again, holding onto my mommy and sobbing.  Stick pins in a box, she will never wear them again.  Oh my god, my mother is preparing to die.

This was a pain like I have never felt before.  This was not the plan, the plan was for her to get better.  The plan was life was to go back to normal.  Too bad that was my plan, and I forgot to check with her, because it certainly was not her plan.

My plan involved closure, telling her how much she had hurt me, airing all my resentments, letting her know how messed up our relationship had always been.  Hugs and kisses and starting anew.

As I sat looking at that box of stick pins, I let it all go.  Life changes in the blink of an eye, what was so important to me for so long, what has festered in every encounter we had,  has no meaning now.  I can’t waste any more time.

I am making the most of these last few days we have together.

This weekend we are moving her to assisted living in St Louis to be near my brother and his family.

If we are lucky we will get a year.

No more wasted emotions on past resentments, we no longer have the time.

Look around me, I can see my life before me
Running rings around the way it used to be
I am older now I have more than what I wanted
But I wish that I had started long before I did
Crosby Stills Nash – Wasted On The Way Lyrics 

 

 

 

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Is My Higher Power Testing Me?

That was my thought this morning as I was running. I was thinking about all of the stuff that has been happening this summer:
My husband and his 99 year old father,and the trash, the dirt, and the driving.  The fact that the hubs hasn’t set foot in his own home since 6/3.

Me and my mother, our awful relationship, and me now having to be her caretaker, decision maker, and part time therapist. Having to be brutally honest with myself and come to terms with the fact that this relationship is so toxic and damaged that I just don’t care what the outcome of all of this is.

The fact is that  I am really only here so that if and when something happens I can get up in the morning, look at myself and realize that I did the right thing, no matter how painful this is to my psyche. No matter how many body shots I have to take from her foul, bitter attitude. No matter how many drinking triggers this sets off.  No matter how many times I have to see her snot flying drunk.

Is this my higher power throwing down lighting bolts, laughing and saying, “Will she really stay off the bottle? Is she up to this life on life’s terms? Can she manage everything I am throwing down and not go get drunk?”

Maybe it is payback for being a shitty person for so long. Putting a glass of wine before everything and everyone. Maybe my metal is being tested. I don’t know.

As these questions consumed me during my run I shook off the negative thinking, and looked up. This is what I saw.

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Maybe my HP decided to shine on me for a few minutes. Whatever it is, I’ll take the strength it gave me to keep on keeping on for the rest of today.

Tomorrow, who knows. Right now I am looking down at where my feet are.

Cancer and Booze

My mother was diagnosed with Stage III multiple myeloma last week, it is a form of leukemia.

She had started to feel crummy when I left two weeks ago, but we both thought it was just a bug.  She went to urgent care a week ago Monday, and the rushed her to the hospital in an ambulance as she was beginning to have kidney failure.

As I was geographically closest to her, being in NY, I immediately offered to get in the car and drive to Virginia.  She said no, that she would be home in no time.  What I wasn’t aware of was that she had hypercalcemia and that caused her to be slighlty demented and she had no idea what she was saying.  I stayed in NY awaiting a diagnosis.

She was in the hospital for a week.  She had renal distress, anemia, elevated calcium, lesions on her bones, and blood cell counts.  While in there, they discovered that she has bullous emphysema from smoking for 60 years.  (That means she has large “holes” in her lungs.)  On Wednesday they had the diagnosis, at that time, I was told she needed to be kept a few more days.  I began to make my plans.

I was in constant contact with her doctors, nurses and anyone and everyone involved in her care while she was hospitalized.  I spent hours on the phone setting up follow up appointments and making the arrangements to begin her chemotherapy.  Additional time was spent dispelling the nonsense she was telling me, which I thought was the truth.  I am sure the nurses on 4 South were never so happy to see a patient and their annoying health care proxy leave.

I left NY very early Monday morning to arrive by the 4:30 pm discharge time.  (So close, I got there at 5 pm.)  9 hours in the car for a 6 and 1/2 hour drive while she wore my phone out tracking me down route 95.

I got her home, unpacked her belongings, did her laundry and got her situated.  On Tuesday the prearranged home health nurse came for the initial visit, I  took her prescriptions to be filled, and went back to the hospital to pick up things that were left behind.

Today, we had a two hour meeting with the staff at the oncology office and set up her plan for treatment, which will begin on Friday. I have held her while she cries, talked her out of her ridiculous decision to just throw in the towel and talked her into just giving a round or two of treatment a try.

Needless to say all or this has been highly stressful.  I am not sleeping because of my own personal crazy; the room isn’t blackout dark, and my brain knows it even though I am wearing a sleep mask.

There have been land mines in my path every hour of every day since I arrived on Monday. All of the mines have a beautifully chilled bottle of sauvignon blanc attached to them.  I have dodged and weaved them all while holding tightly to my sobriety.  As always mother’s fingers are firmly planted on every single button as they always have been.

Since she got home on Monday, my mother has not had an alcoholic beverage.  I have been amazed, and slightly impressed.  That was one week in the hospital alcohol free, and two nights at home.

I asked her about it today, and she told me that the alcohol just isn’t tasting good to her right now.   I was jumping up and down in my head, I was so happy to hear that. I was thinking that this situation may not be so bad after all. I can probably handle the anger, passive aggressive comments, and nastiness if she isn’t getting shitfaced every night on top of it.

I jumped too soon.  Tonight around 6 o’clock she announced she wanted a glass of wine and asked what I thought.  I told her to do what she wants, it is her body.

She then said,  “Well they are going to start poisoning me on Friday, so I am going to get smashed tonight.”

Spoken like a true alcoholic with a truly sick alcoholic brain.

I ate dinner with her, and immediately retired to my 6 by 12 room, and my blow up bed.  (Yes, the bed almost touches that sliding glass door.)

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I may have to be here to hold her hand, calm her head, and take care of her if the chemo makes her ill,   but I do not have to watch her get shitfaced.

posion

 

PS.  I bought blackout curtains today.  If I don’t sleep someone may get hurt.sleep

 

 

 

 

Jealousy or Mental Illness?

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I had a very disturbing conversation with my mother Friday evening.  It brought back a flood of emotions from my childhood.  Her jealousy and contempt was laid bare, and she wasn’t even talking about me.

I have a very beautiful, vivacious, intelligent niece.  She excels at most everything she does, and is in accelerated classes in school.  She is a pleasure to be around, sincere, sensitive and sweet, not a malicious bone in her beautiful presence.  She was the target of my mother’s vitriol during dinner Friday night.

Our Friday evening dinner consisted of the usual, meat, carbohydrate and vegetable.  The vegetable was broccoli.  My mother did something I had never seen before: she dumped blue cheese salad dressing all over her broccoli.  I made the comment that the blue cheese on the vegetable was something new.  She told me that my niece, A, had introduced her to it, and she LOVED it.

She then said, that after the first time she had it, she sent A a thank you email for telling her about it.  She angrily said that A had never responded to the email.  My mother was beyond angry that she didn’t get a thank-you for the thank-you.  (This is the same person who will send you a card, and if you don’t immediately call and thank her for it, she gets extremely annoyed.)

At this point, the diatribe that my mother launched into has disturbed me since.

She told me that she had asked A if she had gotten her email about the dressing.  A said that she does not use email, she uses Instagram and Snapchat.  Nevertheless, she thanked my mother for sending the email.

My mother then sneered, and with a perverse smile on her face, she informed me that she likes to DIG at A about the email.

“I like to DIG her, I DIG at her every time I see her. I ask her about it every time I see her, just so I can get to her.”   DIRECT QUOTE.

I was stunned beyond speech.  I scrambled around in my brain for a response, yet came up completely empty.  HOW does one respond to something so disturbing?

As I tried to go to sleep that night, the conversation kept swirling around in my brain.  I couldn’t reconcile the contempt, hostility, and malicious hatefulness that I had witnessed emanating from my mother

All of the feelings from my childhood came flooding back.  Her contempt when my father paid any type of attention to me.  My confusion as a young girl as to why my mother would be SO angry with me, when I had done nothing but try to have a normal father daughter relationship.

The longer I thought about it, the pieces began to fall into place.

My mother had begun to refer to my brother, A’s father, as her HUSBAND.  Therefore, A was the competition that I had been.  A was no longer a niece that she should lavish love on, she was the rival for the affection that my mother felt should be showered on her by my brother, her husband replacement.

So, tell me, is that jealousy or is that deranged?   download

I know what I think.

 

 

Keeping my Side of the Street Clean

 

clean

I am at my mother’s.  As I have stated before I find this relationship to be difficult, she apparently does not.   She has no cognitive awareness of how mean and nasty she is.  I have always known, but was usually have in the wrapper so the vision of it had blurred edges.

Now I am sober, and I am seeing it with sharp, clear eyes, and it is really ugly.

Her responses to the most mundane questions are sharp and filled with anger.

I knew this would be the case, so I asked my sponsor how to handle these situations.  She told me that no matter what happens, keep my side of the street clean.  I am.

I am responding to every caustic remark with:

Why are you speaking to me that way?

Why are you so angry?

Why don’t you CALM DOWN and we can talk about it.

So far it has diffused her.  It has been a lot of work, but it is working, and I am riding the street cleaner to victory, SO FAR.

I am in the midst of working on my fourth step, so this visit is coming at a fortuitous time.  It is showing me so many reasons why I carry many of my resentments and fears.

As I have said before, my mother is an active alcoholic.  I learned all I know about how and when to drink from her and my father.

The first night here, it hit me like a load of bricks WHY I drank while sitting in front of stupid, blathering television shows, it is because SHE does.  It was like someone walked into the room and hit me in the head with a wine bottle.  DUH!!  It was so CLEAR  and scary, that I had to leave the room and retire. I visualized  myself sitting in that chair, age 79, sipping from that same overflowing wine glass, staring glassily at the television.  I shuddered.  That WAS me.

It no longer is, thanks to my HP thanks to AA, thanks to my continuously supportive sponsor, M, and all of you wonderful sober bloggers.

On to another day of trying to be a better person, and picking up the trash as I go.

cleaner

Step 4: Resentments

 

resent

I have a very undefinable relationship with my mother.  For me, it is difficult.  I have never asked her how she feels, as she would answer me as any mother would, unconditional love, of course!

The years, and life, have made my mother a very bitter woman.  She is passive aggressive, and a lot of the time, aggressive-aggressive.   She has no idea how she sounds, and most of the time can’t remember what she has said as it is fueled by bourbon.

She has had two major surgeries in the past, the last one was an operation to remove a benign tumor from her brain.  At times I think the surgeon used a hand mixer when he went into her skull as she seems to be getting crazier as time goes on.  Then there are glimpses of cleverness, so I am thinking she is “crazy like a fox”.

Over the years, I have looked at my relationship with my mother with my wine goggles on.

I have always recognized that it is not a typical mother-daughter arrangement.  It may have been at one time, but it isn’t now.

The dysfunction of this relationship became very clear to me as I took my first stab at sobriety last summer.

I was asked to go to Massachusetts and pack all of her worldly goods to move to Virginia. I had 4 days to get it done.   I had 20 days of sobriety going in.  My daughter and I spent 4 days in her dusty, smoky condominium packing up 30 years worth of living.  It was a tenuous situation.  She was scared, naturally, but unhelpful beyond measure.

Such as:

Me: Mom, you have 4 butter dishes, do you need them all to go?

Mom: Well, one I have for the refrigerator, and one I keep on the counter and then I need the others for when those get dirty. (Along with 10 more minutes of babble, which I stopped listening to after it was clear that 4 butter dishes were what one should have in reserve.)

Me: (Huge eye roll)  WHATEVER…they will go, dripping with sarcasm, laced with you are crazy, woman.

Every afternoon ended with the same question from her, “Did you get any wine?  Sit down and let’s have a drink.”

I didn’t tell her about my bad blood tests, I just told her I had too much to do in too short an amount of time to stop and have a drink.

We got it done.  We actually got it done a day early.

My brother rode in on his white stallion and loaded her up, and they moved to Beverly, Hills that is…I mean Virginia, and he drove a U-haul.

Then the shit hit the fan.  She started to bad mouth me.  I was a bitch, I unpacked all her little tiny boxes and DUMPED them into a big box, I threw away all her treasures, and what I didn’t throw out, I sold at a yard sale, or gave to the junk man.  (Who, by the way, wouldn’t even TAKE all of her stuff, it was TOO junky for him.)

Then I drank.  I had many reasons to drink.  I finished the job!  I did it in the allotted time!  I didn’t kill my mother!  I took bushels of shit and didn’t smack anyone until their teeth bled!

I drank for another 3 months.  I drank because of….name it, I drank at it.

Now, I have been sober for 215 days.

I am beginning the 4th step.

Resentments.  Guess who is at the top of the list?  That is right, my mother.

I put her name at the top of the page, and I am astounded at the feelings that flood into my brain and body.  I am so overwhelmed that I don’t know where to start.  I have been so damaged by this relationship that my eyes are filling with tears just typing this.

All I ever wanted was a “normal” relationship with her.  Not the one I got, not the one filled with jealousy, hostility, and aggression.

I know she has been broken by life, but I can’t reconcile the fact that she would have been better off if she had only given birth to boys, as they are her preference.

I have A LOT of work to do.

 

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Road Trip-Update

I made it through the most stressful part of this month long trip.  I went to my mother’s and brother’s and did not drink.

On the telephone on the way up the highway, I reiterated to my mother that I am currently abstaining from alcohol.  I just haven’t given her all the details.

As I mentioned, I told my brother and his wife about my sobriety and AA.

I arrived at my mother’s on Wednesday, and spent the afternoon working on her computer.  I think sometimes the elderly should not own computers, as they manage to mess them up but can not figure out how they did it.

We went to dinner, at a place that did not serve drinks, and then I left to go to my brother’s for the evening.  I arrived there, and we sat late into the night chatting, but I did not notice any alcohol being consumed.

Day One, done, felt great.

The following day I spent with my mother taking her from store to store.  She no longer drives due to macular degeneration, so has to rely on others for rides.  My plan was to get her on the public transportation that will pick her up outside her door, and take her to all the stores that we went to, but she was not interested.  (This is a skill she needs, as my brother, her ride, is moving to Missouri on 7/10, and she will be alone in VA for a few months. You can lead a horse to water…)

I arrived at my brother’s house after this long day of passive-aggressive comments with some shopping thrown in, dying for a glass or bottle of wine.  Can anyone say TRIGGER???

I poured myself a lovely club soda and pomegranate juice, and tried to relax, and let all of the snarky comments go.  I said the serenity prayer, and rubbed my lucky 6 month power necklace.

It passed.

No one at my brothers drank that night either.  Odd, but it made me happy.

Day two, complete, felt shaky but got through it.

The last day, I coerced my sister in law to go with us.  Again, we wandered stores, and listened to passive aggressive comments.  My SIL deflects better, because she has no history with my mother.  I spent a lot of time wandering in a different direction, taking deep breaths.

We finished out this day.  It was not a smooth get away, my mother was clingy and trying to elicit promises of my return on the way back down the East coast.  Somehow we got out without having to invite her for dinner.

SIL and I went for a relaxing pedicure.  She had a glass of wine at the salon.  ( When did nail salons start serving wine?  Good thing I didn’t know about that when I was drinking… )

We arrived back at my brothers house, and uh oh….party on the porch.  Neighbors were over, and drinking had commenced.

My SIL had to take their 15 year old daughter to the movies, so she left.  I was stuck, and extremely uncomfortable.

I emailed my sponsor.

I stayed inside.

I went outside.

I went back inside.

I felt like I was being rude, but then thought it through.

I was never going to see any of the people sitting outside again.  So why did I have to go out?  I didn’t, so I stayed inside.

When my SIL got back and got her cranberry juice and sat down outside, I went out.  Somehow, her presence made it easier.

I did not count my brother’s drinks, but I do know that after dinner, he was talking some nonsense, and my SIL disgustedly told him to go to bed.

We all did, it was 10 pm.

Day 3 was done, and so was I.

I headed out the following morning for the 6 hour ride to NY.  It took close to 8 hours to get here, but it was fine.

I did it, another sober first. Got through a family visit without the numbing effects of alcohol.

There will be a few uncomfortable situations coming up, but NOTHING like dealing with my family.  I have a new found love and respect for my SIL.  She was amazing.  She held my hand, and didn’t even know it.

I did make more of this trip in my mind then was necessary, but if I hadn’t I could have possibly slipped on the second day.  I am glad I had my toolbox full.

I am grateful for my sponsor who is always there for me.

And my newest ally, my SIL.

On I go.

Sober Power Neckalce

Sober Power Neckalce

Nervous, Afraid, Agitated, Apprehensive, Concerned….

Road Trip.

My Virginia road trip is less than 48 hours away.

I have had more than my normal allotment of telephone conversations with my mother over the last few days leading up to my departure.  I can  feel the negative energy that I am going into through the telephone, it is always there, but knowing I am driving into it is causing me distress.  I feel jumpy. bothered, distressed and uneasy.

I have to continuously remind myself that she is a broken individual, and nothing makes her happy, least of all ME.

She is of the epitome of “if you have nothing nice to say, come sit next to me.”

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I am trying hard to break that cycle of negativity in my own thinking and living.  I am learning to let go, be more positive, and practice patience, all which will be sorely tested in the week to come.

On a positive note, I have the support of my brother and sister in law.

My sister in law sent me the most beautiful card for my 6 month mark.  I was a huge surprise, as we are not that close, but it made me realize that I have a strong ally in her.

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My brother has posted a few inspirational memes on my Facebook page, which makes me feel that he also understands what I am trying to do.

I have loaded my sober toolbox with things that I think will help:  (I am going to make a list, like taking a new path, love lists, you should see the ones I have for this trip)

  • Scott R, AA speaker loaded on my Ipod  for runs and car rides
  • all important and relevant web pages bookmarked for easy access
  • Chapter 5 of the Big Book loaded on my Ipod
  • Big Book, 12 & 12, and a Women’s Way through the 12 Steps ready to be packed
  • Sober notebook ready to be packed
  • the beautiful 6 month sober necklace my running buddy gave me is around my neck (it has super powers I think)
  • my sponsor on speed dial
  • a place to stay should I feel that I need to pack it in and leave in a hurry
  • soda water, cranberry pomegranate juice and lemons ready to go in the cooler
  • my extremely supportive non drinking step mother at the ready to take telephone calls (she lives with the other parental alcoholic, my father

(If anyone has any suggestions for more tools, PLEASE leave them in the comments, more is better.  A suit of armor would be best.)

I hope that I am making a bigger deal of spending this time with my mother than it will really be.

Unfortunately, history shows that I am not, but I have never had 6 months of sobriety under my belt to throw at the situation.

This visit will be living life on life’s terms, feeling feelings, and one minute at a time.

 

Road Trip: Part II

 

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I have been agonizing over my upcoming road trip to VA to see my mother and brother, both big drinkers, whom I used to drink big with.

I just did not want to share my sobriety, and AA story with them.  I feel like it is a small garden and I need to tend to it, and sharing it right now might keep it from growing.

That being said, the other solutions I had come up with just would not work.

Staying in a hotel would be ridiculous.  I have never done that before, and to avoid the drinking, I would have to go back to my room at 5 pm.  They would realize that something was amiss.

Telling them I am on antibiotics was also a big bust.  No one would buy it because it had never stopped me from drinking before.

Bypassing the whole situation and driving right from TN to NY wouldn’t fly either.  I haven’t seen my mother in about a year.  I do not have a burning desire to see my mother, but I do have a sense of obligation.   So that would not work either.

My brother’s wife does not drink much, so I thought that telling her would be my best avenue.  Then I found out she lost her job, and is devastated.  She and I are not particularly close.  I find her to be a bit of a tight ass bitch, but that is just my opinion.  So, I hesitated to add to her burden.

I found out about her losing her job last week, from my mother who couldn’t keep a secret even if threatened with death.  (Hence my not sharing my sobriety with her.)  I knew that my SIL (sister-in-law)  would figure that my mother, the blabbermouth, had spilled the beans when we had our Mother’s Day chat.  So, I texted my SIL on Monday to offer my sympathies, and asked if I could call her to talk to her about something personal.

Of course, in my mind, I made this telephone conversation into a WAY bigger deal than it turned out to be.  I had been worrying and stewing about this since the hubs and I discussed going North.

I called, we talked about her situation first.  Then I got into mine, and guess what?? She was absolutely wonderful, caring, and extremely understanding.  (Other than one or two typical snarky remarks, which I let go.)  I asked her to approach my brother, the booze pusher, and let him know that I will not be drinking.  I suggested that she share what she wanted, but I did not want to compromise my sobriety, nor did I want to feel uncomfortable, and have to leave early.  She asked me to call my brother myself.  Telling me that she believed he would feel better hearing it from me.

That, of course, was what I was trying to avoid.  I didn’t want him to think that I am going to try to change his behavior, nor that I am “lording” anything over any one.  I am just doing what is right for me, my marriage and my family.

I called, and started a very brief version, and could immediately tell he was distracted.  We were then interrupted by a fire alarm going off in his building.  We hung up.  I felt less than satisfied, and was slightly upset.

I then told myself, the world does not revolve around me.  Whatever he has going on is more important to him and his life than what I am telling him.  I did the best I could, let it go.  So I did.

He called me an hour later to let me know that he was headed to my mother’s, who we just moved to VA to be near him less than a year ago, to tell her that due to his retirement and my SIL losing her job, they were moving back to St Louis.  Big stuff, huge stuff, bigger than me telling him I am an alcoholic, which he probably knows already anyway.

He called me a few hours later to report how it went with my mother, and we still did not address my news, the elephant in the room.  Again, it wasn’t about me, he has a LOT on his plate right now.  I let it go.

This morning I awoke to a text from him, it said, I AM PROUD OF YOU.

I guess my SIL filled him in.

I did the typical alcoholic thing, I made a mountain out of a molehill.

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But how would I know that?  Each new sober experience is like a notch in my new sober belt.

Lessons learned.

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Bedtime/Passing Out

 

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When I was consuming a 1.5L bottle of Barefoot a day/night, I had a very strict bedtime of 10 pm.  I set that time so that I could minimize the hangover. My rational was if I finished off the bottle by 10 pm, I would feel less crappy in the morning because I would have gotten more sleep.

Obviously this was a completely ill conceived notion.  It really made no difference how long it took me to drink the bottle of wine.  I felt like shit every morning anyway.  I also wasn’t really sleeping, I was passing out.

My bedtime routine was to take two Alleve and  a 1/2 an Ambien when I went to bed, so that I could go to sleep.(Really, with that much booze in my system, I did not need any sleep aids.)  Then when the alcohol wore off around 2-3 am and my eyes popped open like it was morning,  I would take a 1/2 a Valium to go back to sleep.  Dumping all of these drugs into my body seemed to work to lessen the agony of the hang over in the morning.  Instead of it being crippling, it was tolerable enough to last until I could take a nap in the afternoon.

Every morning my first thought of the day was, what time will I be able to fit in a nap?  It makes me ill to think about that now.  This is what I called life

After I figured out my nap time, I would then run my tongue along my teeth to see how thick the fur was.  This was my litmus test to see how good or bad I would feel when my feet hit the floor.  A lot of fur, bad, a small amount, not so bad.  I would then stumble to the coffee pot, to get my body moving, and try to lift the fog from my brain.

Today I have 162 days of sobriety.  It is now a pleasure to wake up in the morning.  The first thing I do is say the Serenity prayer.  The second thing I do is try to visualize good things for each of my loved ones.  The third thing I do is figure out what I need to work on that day, patience, negativity, control, or just trying to pay it forward.

I now look forward to going to bed, I don’t have that same sense of urgency about the time.  Although I still have a slight panic attack when I notice that I am up past 10 pm, but then I realize  it doesn’t matter, because I am really SLEEPING.  Most nights I am the last one to go to sleep, and most mornings I am the first one up.

Life is better this way.  Sober sleep is amazing.  Sober mornings are incredible.

I have seen a lot of beautiful sunrises lately.

 

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