FALLING FORWARD

I just saw the movie You’re not You.  This song is at the end, and it really resonated with me.  This is how I feel about my sobriety, this journey and my sponsor.

At least I am falling forward.

Finally I’m laying down these arms
The ones I held so close to see me through
And I’m just like a sparrow in a barn
I’m flyin’ for that tiny patch of blue
I dive head-first into the dark
I don’t look back, I just keep stumbling
I trip and fall
I hit the ground, I skin my knees
I just keep going
I made a mess, I’ve been a mess, I guess
And guess what – life is messy
And if I learned anything
At least I’m falling forward
Because of you
I’m fallin’ forward

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.

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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Journal: Date 1/7/08

I was straightening up a drawer last week, and came across an old journal.

I have done a lot of reading about getting sober, staying sober, and moderation.  Over and over I have read that if you try to moderate, it can take years to get back to Day 1 again.

It is true.

After this lame attempt at trying to quit drinking, I never tried again until 11/30/13.

That was 5 years later.

What a waste of time…

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Drop the Rock

Maggie sent me some audio files from Sandy Beach to listen to while trying to work through the Third step of AA.   I am enjoying them, so I Googled him, and found this on You Tube.

It isn’t a great help for Step 3, but it is a fantastic way to look at my past, and embrace the future.

I am so glad I dropped the rock!

 

He still isn’t getting it

smh_shaking_my_head_mousepad-p144086746662891245envq7_400-1I had another SMFH (shaking my fucking head) conversation with my husband this morning.

I went to the local all women’s AA meeting Thursday evening. It was not well attended, three women and me.  It was good on an informational level though.

One of the ladies gave me a printed list of all the area AA meetings and made a suggestion about one to attend that could be a better fit.  She said it is well attended and has more people in my age range.

She has 26 years of sobriety and still attends three or more meetings each week, and has had good experiences at the suggested meeting.

I was discussing the new possibility with my husband this morning and gave him a few details about the woman’s background.

My husband, the DOCTOR, looked at me and said,”Wow, after all these years she still goes to so many meetings?  IS IT REALLY THAT HARD?”

Before I found a blunt object to beat him with, I began to cry, and said, YES, it really IS that hard.

Where is the disconnect?

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90 Days!

Today I mark 90 days alcohol free.

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This is a huge deal for me.  I haven’t gone this long without a drink since I was 37 years old.  Although my alcoholic path is not strewn with DUI’s, rehab, or prison, it has still been a journey of excess.  The more I drank, the more I wanted.

I drank every night, all night.  I went through 1.5 liters of wine almost every night, and some nights more.  That is a shitload of booze.

I have felt guilt for picking fights with my husband, shame for screaming at my children, and self-loathing at 3 am, 5 am and in the morning.  I have had mind blowing, body aching hangovers.  I have promised on numerous times to myself, and to that elusive higher power, secretly, that I would quit.  I knew full well by promising in secret I really wouldn’t have to do it, no one would be the wiser.  Since I already disappointed myself on a regular basis, I didn’t feel any worse about pouring that first glass every afternoon. I deserved it. I only felt bad about it when the alcohol wore off and I woke my up at that ungodly time every morning, only to repeat the lying promise.

I have pinned my final decision to stop drinking on an ugly moment with my husband, but I have known for a long time that I needed to do something about my drinking.  No alcoholic listens to anyone tell them they drink to much.  Yeah, yeah, pour some more wine in my glass and shut up, leave me alone, I have this totally under control.

I am proud of myself, I have made it to 90 days!

I want a marching band, cake, balloons and cheers.

I won’t get that, because no one in my human world understands how hard I have worked for this, and how much work it has been.  (Mostly because I keep telling everyone I am FINE.)

So, I am patting myself on the back, and the marching band is going in the background, confetti is falling, I am wearing a tiara and one of Liz Taylor’s gorgeous necklaces.  (I should get out of my pajamas, then I could be beautiful and sober.)

Thank you to everyone who has listened, emailed and helped me to get here.

Thank you to Belle, and her 100 day challenge, otherwise I never would have started.

On I go!

Recycling; No longer bins of shame

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img_8945Due to the “extreme” weather we have been having here in the southeast, meaning about 5 inches of snow, our garbage and recycling were not collected on our usual day.  I was proactive and got the garbage to the curb yesterday afternoon, but not the recycling.  I figured that I would have plenty of time this morning to carry up the recycling, because with my rocking new sober sleep schedule I have been up by 7 every day.  Of course, not today.

I awoke at 8:15, and to my amazement, the trash and recycling trucks had already been through the neighborhood.  Damn!

We live in a nosy neighborhood.  Retired people who have nothing better to do than watch your house, and look at your trash while walking their dogs.  One day while I was working in my yard a neighbor stopped by, and actually commented on the amount of wine bottles she saw in our weekly recycling.  (I know, really, she must have already watched all of her grass grow and paint dry.)

This comment, of course, irritated me.  So I began to rearrange the recycling in the bin before I took it to the curb.  Wine bottles on the bottom, paper on the top.  That was 6 years ago, when I was drinking in “moderation”.

As the years have passed, and my drinking has escalated, we added an additional bin.  I told my husband and myself, it was due to all the junk mail, and medical magazines he get, and of course my goal of reducing our carbon footprint by recycling everything possible.  We were the only people on our street who filled two bins each week.

The recycling bins became bins of shame. download (2)

Each time I finished off a bottle of wine, I would take it out to the bin, lift up all of the junk mail, and other assorted things, and plop the bottle at the bottom.  I was hiding my drinking from my husband, and the dog walking neighbors.  I was also trying to hide it from myself.  If I didn’t have to see all those empties, they didn’t really exist.  I think the only ones who were tricked were the dog walkers, they may look, and count, but they don’t dig through trash.  (At least I  hope not.)

We have always had two full recycling bins every week.  Stacked tall next to the trash can.  These bins contained my dirty little secret, all of the weeks empty wine bottles.

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After carefully covering up the evidence, I would haul the two bins to the top of the driveway for pickup.  The bins were always overflowing, and heavy.  I  knew when the    recycling truck was in front of our house, I could hear all of the glass clanking into the truck.  It sounded like we had hosted a party, every week.

This morning, when I realized I had missed the pick up, I went to the garage to see what  I was going to have to do with all of the overflowing recycling during the next week.

Only one bin was full, it was tucked neatly inside of the empty one beneath it.

I never thought quitting drinking would be the real thing that would seriously reduce my carbon footprint.

Just one more reason to remain in my sober car. (Thank you for the car ride Belle.)

My Father’s Affairs’s, My Mother the Doormat, Part II

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My father moved out or our house for the first time during my first year of college.  He moved into an apartment in the town he worked in, about 25 miles from our home.  He lived there for about 4 months.  Then he had second thoughts, and it was around the holidays, so he and my mother “reconciled”, and he came home.  Merry Christmas everyone!

I don’t know how long he was he stayed that time, because after Christmas I went back to school.  He moved out again, and this time, moved in with his girlfriend, Ann.  His problem with this relationship was that Ann had two small children, 7 and 4 years old.  My father had two in college and one in high school.  He was torn, he loved Ann, but really did not want to raise another family.  This lead to a large amount of conflict, unfortunately, for all of us.  There was also the age gap, he was 45, and she was 27.  Only 10 years older than me.  She was 10 when my father was having his second child….

I was dealing with the mess my father left behind, my mother.  I would come home from college on weekends, and she would just sit and sob.  Of course when she found out I had known that Dad had planned on leaving, it did  not sit well.  It created a chasm in our already strange relationship.  Mom had never really “liked” me.  She had always felt that I was competition for my father’s attention and love, but I was all she had during this terrible time. So she took the comfort where she could get it.

I can’t really say how many times my father moved in and out. I wasn’t there for a lot of it.  I can remember him using our home as a hotel.  He would have a fight with Ann, and storm out of their apartment, and come back.  He would let himself in, get into bed with my mother in the middle of the night, and surprise us at breakfast.  Sometimes, he would sleep on the couch in the den.  I do know that when he was home, he was either shitfaced, or passed out from having had too much to drink.

The craziest (loosely worded) part of all of this was that Ann would call our house looking for my father the morning after one of these events.  My mother would invariably answer the telephone, and actually hand the phone to my father.  As a teenager, this emotional triangle was too confusing, and honestly too fucked up for comprehension.

I used to ask my mother why she didn’t change the locks, and not allow him access.  After all, he had chosen to move out.  Mom got very angry and screamed at me, telling me, “I don’t understand”.  She was right.  I didn’t understand then, and I still don’t to this day.

My father had two women, and could not choose between them.  He was attending counseling with my mother, but would leave the sessions to go back to the apartment he shared with Ann.  During this time, he had changed jobs, and was relocating to another state.  He took both Ann and my mother house hunting, on two different weekends.  I was the one who ended up telling my mother what was going on.  I did not want to see her leave her job, friends and home to move to a new state just to have the drama continue.

The last episode in this ongoing drama played out while I was home on winter break.  I was invited to my boyfriends house for dinner, and had accepted.  When I arrived home, the front porch light was off, this was always and indicator of trouble.  As I entered the house, my father was sitting on the stairs,waiting in the dark, another ominous signal.  He started screaming at me.  He wanted to know why I hadn’t been home for dinner, as that was “Family time”.  I was never one to back down from confrontation, so I gave it right back to him.

I told him he had a lot of nerve.  He was the one who had been gone for two years, had installed a revolving door on the front of our house.  He was in, out, in, out.  I told him he was miserable to be around, mean, and nasty.  I said that none of us wanted him there, so he should pack his bags and  go back to Ann,as it was  obvious that was where he wanted to be.

An hour later, he did.

He packed and left.

During our loud confrontation, my mother hid in the laundry room.  I am sure my father must have spoken to her about him imminent departure, but I was not privy to that conversation.  Later, after I had gone to bed, my mother came into my bedroom and had a complete breakdown.   She began screaming and yelling at me.  She asked my why I made him leave, and why I had to say what I said.  It was a very ugly and painful scene.

Dad moved to a new state with Ann and her little children, my mother began sleeping around like the town whore, and I went back to drinking, drugs and added a huge dose of therapy.

It took me 15 years to reconcile all of my crap with my father.  I finally found a therapist that gave me the best advice ever.  She said, you don’t have to have a relationship with your father that causes you pain.  If he were your neighbor, and you didn’t like him that much, how would you treat him?

That is where we are today, I talk to his wife, but rarely to him.  It no longer bothers me, and obviously doesn’t bother him.

My relationship with my mother is another story.  She is a nasty, bitter drunk.  She tries to suck me into her dark hole every time we talk, but with my new found sobriety, I find that I have more tools to deflect her negativity with.

I also have lost a lot of time, and have drank a lot of wine to fill the emotional holes that were created by these relationships.  I never thought that it would be easier sober.

Feeling Feelings again, and M&M’s

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I have read so much about getting sober, being sober and early sobriety.  Something that was mentioned frequently was experiencing  feelings again, good, bad or other.

Up until this week, my feeling have not been at issue.  I was happy to wake up feeling good.  I was no longer feeling guilt about my drinking.  I finally got rid of all the anxiety that I felt every day about everything.  In summary I was feeling pretty happy and pleased with myself that I have made it this far, and haven’t had a really, really hard time.

That was until this week.  All of a sudden, I feel like all my nerve endings are exposed to the world.  Anything or anyone that brushes by me seems to hurt my feelings.  I am sad, mad, but mostly hurt, everything this week seems to wound my tender feelings. I am hypersensitive, and it does not feel good.  I have had tears in my eyes almost every day, and I rarely cry.  It is only Wednesday, and I have been in weeping off and on every day.  I don’t like this, even though it means I am getting better.

I have read that my brains neurotransmitters have been disrupted by all of the alcohol I was drinking.  I also understand that it takes them a while to recover and heal, but did they ALL have to reconnect this week?

I know there is nothing I can do about this, other than feel the feelings, take a deep breath,  try not to deal with everything all at once, and realize that this too is a phase that will pass.

I  know that this is part of recovery, and that my body is healing, and that it is a good thing.

I don’t like feeling so raw.

Even M&M’s aren’t making me feel better.

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