Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Start of the Journey

Six years ago today, I took my last drink.  One last willful swig and a full bottle of vanilla Absolut fell reluctantly into the trash between the pumps of that am/pm.  I thought my life was over.  And it was.  That life.  That state of hopeless mind and body.  I had no idea the journey that was to begin that day.

Today, however, is not my sobriety birthday.  For about two weeks after that I was still stealing my husband's codeine to sleep, which I found out later was...let's just say...'frowned upon'.  So, after about six months, I picked a safe date, a date I knew that I was really clean.  Not knowing what the real date was, I flipped through the Daily Reflections and found a reading that spoke to me.

September 15
A New Life

Yes, there is a substitute and it is vastly more than that.  It is a fellowship in Alcoholics Anonymous.  Life will mean something at last.  AA Big Book p 152
Yes!!  That's what I found.  A way to do things differently.  A way to change my life.  A way to make it mean something and become present for the ones in it, instead of being the checked out mother, wife, sister, daughter, teacher I had become.  The hopeless, broken, 'Crazy Me' found a place where other people told the same stories and had the same feelings.  They welcomed me, told me to keep coming back.  I saw that they were happy and I wanted that too.  I believed them.  I just kept believing, even when I didn't.  The only thing that I had to do perfectly was just not to pick up, no matter how badly I wanted to.  I finally got it.  It took me five long, long years, but I finally got it.  

Is my life always well and wonderful??  Hell no!!  Life still happens.  My stuff is still unmanageable sometimes.  I still struggle with money, my ex's, relationships, my kids, work.  My glaring character defects still jump up and slap me and others in the face.  There are still days that I want to close the blinds, lock the door and not talk to anyone.  The difference today is that I don't have to hide from any of it.  I don't have to use something to escape it.  I can feel it.  I can face it head on.  I can have peace and serenity through it all.  The disclaimer here is...if I choose to.   Today, I do. 

Thank you to my family and my ex husband.  Thank you Never on Tuesdays.  Thank you B, S, K, J, J, M, M, L, C.  Thank you to my two fantastic sponsers.  Thank you CDRP.  And thank you 'Crazy Me' for finally having some willingness. 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Standing up inside myself...

I went to a retreat last weekend and heard some awesome stuff, but the thing that stuck with me the most was the phrase..."I am standing up inside of myself."  What a cool mental picture of finding out who I truly want to be, living and going after what I want with this integrity, and having the courage of my convictions.

I have thought about it when I have told my truth.  I have thought about it when I have been the mother I want to be.  I have thought about it in dealings with my ex and every other relationship in my life.  I have thought about it when I am doing just what is in front of me.  And I have thought about when I have fallen short of these ideals.

I know I can't control a lot of things...other people's behavior makes the top of that list.  I can, however, control my behavior and my reactions.  I can realize that they are acting out of their own values and beliefs.  Their place of integrity.  I can give them that and I can have mine.

Today, I will be 'standing up inside myself' and in there, I am the only one that can knock me down!!  ♥

Friday, August 27, 2010

Service...what a gift

When I started sponsoring other women, I was so excited to give back what was so freely given to me.  To somehow put a dent in the debt I thought I owed.  To share my experience, strength and hope with someone else.  To share with someone how I have gone from the point of feeling like I could never quit drinking, being completely broken, knowing I was a total piece of shit and thinking that I would never be able to do things any differently, to the place I am at today...truly believing that I am a woman of worth, doing my best to be the woman I was meant to be (most days...progress, not perfection).  What a gift!

What I didn't expect was how much this act would help me.  There is nothing like working with another addict to get me out of myself.  My sick head shuts up, my racing and obsessive thinking stops, and my self pity slips away.  Suddenly, I am not in my head.  I am in the solution, my recovery gets stronger, and I stay clean another day.  I would say that these women will never know the gift they have given to me, but I believe they will someday, when they share their experience, strength and hope with someone else and they give and get that gift back.

Shout out to my girls...Thank you for being a part of my recovery.  Thank you for allowing me the honor and privilege to be your sponsor.  I love you.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I want to see the top!!!

I totally feel like my life is this giant, million piece puzzle right now. I've got a bunch of the background stuff done.  The corners are coming together nicely, but I can't quite figure out what it's suppose to look like and fuck if I haven't lost the top, so I can't cheat and look at the finished masterpiece to help me see what part I should be putting together next.  Is it a beautiful river scene, with a full moon reflecting off the water or something totally different?

What's the right thing to do with my kids?  What should I be doing about my career?  And relationships?...UUGGHH

I know I can't sit by and do nothing, expecting everything to fall into me, but I also can't sit in this spinning mind of mine and force my will in every situation.

What I have been told is...Surrender the outcome.  Do the next right thing.  Stay open to paths in front of me.  Be willing.  Leave the rest to my higher power. 

I sure would like to see the top, but for today I will trust that whatever the scene, it's going be better than I ever would have imagined for myself.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Not feeling it

Right now, in this moment, I am not feeling it.  I am not feeling connected...not at all, not one bit.  Kids are fighting.  Money SUCKS!  Love hurts.  And, I am stuck in this gigantic pity pot!!

What I do know from experience is that I can sit in this shit and spin out of control and ultimately cause some sort of wreckage that I will have to clean up...or, I can do something to get myself out of it.  I am always afraid to try to do the things that I know have worked in the past because I am so scared that they won't work this time and I won't find peace.  I am terrified that if they don't work, it will destroy my faith in the process.  I don't know why I still cling to the belief that I am that fragile.  Things that I am talking about are writing about it, talking about it and praying about it.  I know in the past, it gets me to a point to turn it, whatever it is, over to the care of God as I understand God, but I am always afraid to do it. 

What if it doesn't work this time, then what?  I will have to drink, that's what!  If I just hold on to it, I won't be disappointed and I, and all of my self will, will figure a way out of it.  Or, this is too big, even for my God to handle!!  (All my stupid self talk)

When I first started trying this I did it with urges to drink.  Wanting to drink so bad.  Deciding to drink.  Driving up to the liquor store..  I would sit out front with every intention of doing it, saying, "fuck this and fuck AA!"  For some reason, every time, I paused to say a little dare prayer to my God..."I'm gonna do it!!  But, if you want to help, be my guest." 

Once I went into the store, went up to the guy behind the counter and said I wanted cigarettes.  The next thing out of my mouth was going to be, "and some vanilla Absolute".  Before I could say that next part he said, "I quit smoking 20 years ago.  I quit drinking 30 years ago"  In my mind, I was like, "FUCK!!  Why, why, why, are you telling me this??"  I was able to say however, "Wow, I have like 6 months" and walk out with just the smokes.  Another time, same dare prayer, I walked in and there was an AM radio show playing in the store about AA.  Another time, again, dare prayer, one of my students was in line behind me. 

Coincidences?  Maybe.  I like to believe that by pausing and uttering those words, I was having the smallest amount of willingness and surrender, even if they were irreverent and contemptuous.  I think had I not uttered those words outside the store, it wouldn't have matter if there was an entire marching band, with 'don't do it banners' and horns singing the praises of AA, carrying Bill W. himself on their shoulders...I would not have seen anything but exactly what I wanted to see, which was a big bottle of relief with the label vodka on the side.

Every time it has worked.  I find peace and serenity every time I am willing.  Each time my faith has grown.  I am not quite as irreverent and contempuous as I used to be.  I have gotten to the point that I trust that it might work with every area of my life.  I have tried it with the big stuff...financial insecurity, my divorce, love, my children, losing jobs, finding a new place to live and yes, even on Crazy Me.  I have seen it work time and time again.

So, here I am, writing about it, trying to talk myself into the fact that everything is just fine, in this moment.  For today I will trust that my HP has my back!!

What do ya know...I feel better!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Today I am sitting at home with the kids, instead of going to work...ruff morning.  We have been watching Home Alone 2,  I have been contemplating surrender. 

Perfect topic at last night's meeting.  My sponsor and I meet before that meeting every week and every single week, no matter what my struggle has been, what we talked about always seems to be the topic.  She jokes that she calls ahead to let them know and she has started asking me what it's gonna be before we leave, but I believe everyone probably hears exactly what they need to hear, if they are willing to listen.

Back to Home Alone, there's the part where Kevin is torturing the two men and he shouts, "Have you had enough pain yet?"  The guy slams his hands willfully on his hips and shouts, "Never!!"

I cannot count how many times I have continued to beat my head against whatever brick wall is blocking my path,  trying to force my will or refusing to 'let go', shouting NEVER!!  What am I honestly losing by letting go of things I can do nothing about?  My answer...nothing but the stress, pain, anger, self pity, etc. that goes with it.  What do I gain?  If I take care of the things within my control and do the next right thing, I get peace and serenity and the feeling that the universe has my back.

My sponsor also said something yesterday that stuck with me.   Paraphrasing...I hold on so tightly to things I think are mine.  Whether it be people, jobs, things, or my own character defects, I keep them in a death grip.  Just because I let go doesn't mean I can't take it back at anytime.  I'm not going to forget how to be a bitch.  I'm not going to forget how to drink.  I'm not going to forget how to be impatience, procrastinate, or be judgemental.  I can go back to it anytime I want.  For today, I'm choosing to surrender to the universe my car and all it's problems, that my bills will get paid when I do, expectations about relationships, and that my kids needed me today more than my work.  For today I will trust that as long as I take care of the things I can control, the universe will take care of the rest.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Gratitude List for Today

Nothing puts things in perspective for me like gratitude, so here goes...

Another day of sobriety, without which, nothing for me is possible but craziness.
Awesome, inspiring women in my life that remind me daily that anything is possible and that I, too, am a woman of worth.
My mom, who I could never repay for her unwavering love, support, and encouragement.
My two beautiful children who inspire me to try to be my best self everyday, even when I don't feel like it.  I can't imagine my life without them...they rock!!
Fantastic sisters, who are totally different, with incredible unique gifts that bless my life daily...even when we don't talk.  You both are amazing and I am so lucky to have become friends with you as adults.
A job, a place to live and food to eat...simple, but important.
An invaluable tool kit, at my disposal, to use...when willing...to do things differently.

Really, how could I not love my life!!  It's fanfrickintastic!!

Neither I, nor this message will self destruct in 10 seconds...

This morning I am choosing to sit my ass down and write this nonsense to the nothingness.  I desperately want to run and find something, anything to get me out of this moment and find some alternate form of reality...my current drugs of choice:  food or refusing food, poker, relationships, facebook, isolation and honestly I could probably slide down the scale to "shots, shots, shots, shots", if I really let the self-destruction take over.

What I know today is that I do have a host of positive ways to change my perspective...writing, praying, meditating, talking to others, reading, painting, playing guitar.  The funny thing is, when I actually do these things, I have yet not to feel better afterwards and the great thing is, I don't have all that bullshit, self imposed wreckage to clean up.  The amazing thing to me is that regardless how many times I have seen this to be the case, my first instinct is still to want to 'run'.  As always, the key for me is having the willingness to choose path B...the one filled with positive choices and positive results.

Today, I will take care of what's right in front of me and leave the rest to the universe...it's plan for me is always so much more awesome than one I would have created for myself  There will be no self-destructing today...so sorry 'Crazy Me'.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Shout out to the universe

Just want to thank all my tables today for giving me the opportunity to practice love, kindness, and acceptance.  Your behavior is not about me.  It speaks to your dream.  Thank you for allowing me to practice doing my best and to not expect any reward in return for it.  Thank you for letting me practice saying only things that are necessary.  Thank you for letting me see I don't have to be right in a situation...I can let you have your human dream and I can have mine.

Today I will be grateful for opportunities to practice because without them, how could I make a change and create my own, new dream?

do nothing...CRAP!!!

I so struggle with knowing what the 'right' thing to do is in so many situations.  By right, I don't mean by society's judge or those around me, but rather, the action that will bring me the most peace and serenity and leave me feeling like I have acted with integrity. 

Have I told my truth?  Do I need to tell my truth in the situation?  Is this kind?  Is it necessary to say everything on my mind or should I say nothing at all? 

Important matters and especially matters of the heart can get me spinning for hours on these questions.  I feel plagued in a state of permanent pausing.  I was once told that pausing can be thought of as the deepest form of acceptance, but doncha know, sometimes I don't want to pause and definitely don't want to accept it.  When I am in fear that things aren't going to go my way I want to gain back control and act...fuck the consequences and who gets hurt in the process of my tantrum.

So it comes back to what I really want...peace and serenity.  The answer that I have found is to change what I can, accept what I can't change, and seek wisdom to know the difference between these.  Usually my head shuts up when I finally get that answer.  Unfortunately, I still can't stop myself from saying 'CRAP'  when the answer is to just accept it and sit with it.

Today, I am going to accept that the universe has a much better plan for this situation than I do and everything is working out just as it should...but, crap!!

Friday, August 6, 2010

It's not going to be alright...it already is.

I heard something tonight that I had totally forgotten about...it's not going to be alright.  It already is.  What a beautiful statement about living in this moment, right here.  Not in the moment of my last mistake, my current heartbreak or my financial insecurity.  Not in the future, where I can dream up the biggest fantasy of grandeur or the most devastating disaster.  Right here, writing this, on my couch nothing can take me out of my own place of peace and serenity...unless I let it. 

Today, I will give no power to my fears.  'I will not feed the parasite (Ruiz)'.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Lesson Learned???

So I totally get that 'it' is about progress, not perfection, but WTF.  How many times do I need to keep repeating the same mistakes and getting similar, if not identical, results before I learn the life lesson the universe is trying so desperately to teach me and decide that I want to try things differently.  My answer...as many times as I am willing to face the consequences.   

Whether it be something as simple as putting gas as in my car, or things that are more life changing like continuing in bad relationships or causing myself financial insecurity, or the everyday battle of sitting in my spinning, cotton candy machine, of a head...they all have avoidable consequences, when I make a conscious decision to do something in my own best interest. 

I have learned that I am willing to put up with a lot of consequences and play the victim.  I have also learned that when I am in fear or my life feels unmanageable, my self will takes over and tries to gain some semblance of control,  with more often than not, disastrous results.  I don't want to feel powerless, sadness, anger or discomfort of any kind and will do anything to escape it!!  

There definitely is a different path for me.  In my experience, all it takes is having the willingness to do something different!!  It might be uncomfortable, but when is change not and ultimately if a little discomfort will bring me the peace, serenity, and freedom from bondage I have been so desperately seeking...BRING IT ON!!  For today, I am choosing to sit with my discomfort.  I don't need to run.  I don't need to fix it.  I don't need to punish myself.  I am okay right here, right now...just as I am.  To the guitar... 

Talkin Shit

What a different feeling it is to have behaved well in a situation when everything inside me was screaming to do the exact opposite.  My dream had finally come true...I was approached by my exhusband's, very currently exgirlfriend, to unload every dirty detail I know about him. 

Our situation...we have been separated for going on 5 years as a result of years of bad behavior on both our part, but mainly my alcoholism and my coming out towards the end of our marriage.  They got together, I believe before we actually broke up and she was our children's Catholic school preschool teacher...hence, I had quite a bit of resentment there.  I have wanted to tell her all the bullshit I know about this man for years and how angry I was that she had anything to do with the breakup of our supposed 'happy family'. 

Finally, I had my chance.  Instead, something miraculous happened.  I paused and asked for my will not to be done in this situation.  As the result of some very good advise, I chose to email her (Thanks S...much love and respect.  You are one of the most inspirational women I know!  I would have never gotten it without you and will be eternally grateful).  Instead of unloading the mess, I was able to console her on their breakup, say I had no info on him, and wish her the best. 

WTF...who's words were those.  Definitely not my first instinct.  What I have learned, over these almost six years of sobriety, is that I don't have to always act on that self destructive, I want to hurt you or myself, first instinct.  I can pause and come from a place of kindness and love.  I can only imagine how differently I would be feeling today if I had engaged in a mess of shit talking and getting even.  Instead, she thanked me for my inspiration words and said she wished we could have gotten to know each other. 

First of all...me???...inspiration words.  Who would have ever thought that an ex of my ex would be saying that to me. Second, I never thought that I would actually genuinely care about someone that I had felt such resentment towards.  Things can change...if I change.  I definitely cannot control other people or their behaviors, but I can control how I choose to act in a situation.  For today,  I chose to act with love and kindness.  Tomorrow, we'll see.  With results like this though, I can't imagine wanting to do it any other way.