August 26, 2018

Yesterday was a hard day, but it was also a good day. A day filled with memories, tears, openness, and the divine.

I moved my mom to assisted living a few months ago. She was not taking care of herself, and because she was alone, lonely and afraid living in the home she built with my father, she developed late life alcoholism. She used alcohol to keep the memories of raising her family, of my deceased father, and her better health away from being front and center, because these memories did not bring her joy anymore. She could not see these memories as a gift she was given, but rather as something she lost. When I spent time with my mother she was missing, and the house and the memories were slowly killing her.

I put the house up for sale, it recently sold, and now I am left with dismantling my mom and dad’s lifetime. My sister is away at in patient rehab for alcoholism, and since she has not been in any shape or capable of helping in anyway I do this on my own. My husband helps, always ready to pitch in to lighten the load, but cannot share the emotional strain because he was not witness to growing up in this house, and the things inside do not hold any emotions for him. I sort through all the things my parents accumulated and I alone decide what holds value, and I pray I am doing a good job as I place their lives in plastic tubs with my name or my sister’s name on them. All the time I’m doing these tasks I am waiting for a text or phone call that is keeping me even more on edge and more aware about the sacredness of life.

I have a friend that is dying from cancer. I last saw her about a month or so ago, dropped off some essential oils I thought may provide some comfort and lift her spirits if even for a moment. She met me at the door, we hugged. She was thin but still incredibly beautiful. We parted ways a short while after with hugs and cheer, and talked about the next time we’d get together.

Thursday night I received a phone call from one of our mutual friends saying my dying friend had turned that corner that cancer killingly provides. It appears that practically overnight it has taken her around the corner with it, and has left her a mere shell of herself. My friend says she will text me Saturday, will let me know when I can come over to perhaps say goodbye. I received that text yesterday while I was sitting on my parent’s basement floor, reading my sister’s elementary school report cards and deciding whether or not to put them in one of her plastic bins. I race out the door, mentally preparing myself for this visit.

I am shocked when I see my friend. I want to fall to the floor and scream, but I do not. Instead I walk over, I hug her little body, and she says something like, “About time you got here, I’m dying you know. This is how we talk now, so get used to it.” That brings a smile to my face, and now I know my friend is still in there with her snarky wisecracks and sparkling blue eyes. And she has given me the gift of relief, relief to know that I’m certainly not going to say anything wrong in this group of women!

So us women chat, make her food she cannot eat, but loves to smell. Her big handsome son comes and picks up his mother and moves her from her wheelchair to the couch, and we all move like well oiled machines as we do our best to make her more comfortable.

My other friend leaves to run some errands, and now I am alone with my dying friend, and now we can get down to business. She tells me she is scared, that she doesn’t want to die. I hold her tiny legs on my lap and rub her feet. I don’t know what to say, so I just try to speak from my heart for once, not to guard my words to try and say the perfect thing, and I listen. My friend has taken her meds, and she grows sleepy, and I tell her to just take a nap, I’m not going anywhere. She closes her eyes, but opens them and says she’s afraid to. Afraid she is going to miss something, afraid that if she falls asleep this will be our goodbye. All I can say is “I know, I know, I know. I’m not going anywhere.”

I leave after a few hours, with promises I’m going to make homemade chicken broth, and I will bring it to her. That is exactly what I’m going to do once I pour all of this out.

On my way home after packing my mom and dad’s lifetime away, and after visiting my dying friend, all I wanted was to stop and buy a bottle of wine. I wanted to sit on my deck and drink and smoke my way through the evening. I wanted to sit with my husband and share the closeness he and I used to have when we would share our thoughts with each other over our drinks. I did not stop for that bottle of wine. I made it home empty handed, I came through the door, I sat down and cried. I then decided life was too short to hold so much in, and that I did not need alcohol to loosen the tightness that was inside of me.

I finally opened up about my feelings to my husband over all that I’ve been thinking about these last few weeks. My entire day was taking me to a place where I felt a connection to something bigger than anything in this world, and perhaps that is the Divine.

Through some great advice from women in this group, and through the fact I felt The Divine was with me all during that hard day, I let my experiences flow through me instead of locking them away and feeding them alcohol. I feel there is hope for my husband and I, and we finally let up on each other. I will finish up at my parent’s house today, and I will see my friend today. I will not drink, and I will fully feel everything I am supposed to feel. Thank you all you amazing women, I cannot express in words how much I am learning from you, and how much all of you mean to my recovery and learning to live life.

Happy Sober Sunday!
Kelly

August 24 ,2018

 

I’ve been sober for a little over 3 weeks, but it really seems like 3 years, because I am a different person, and a new me is emerging that I don’t think I’ve really ever known. Some days I love her, and some days I think she is melancholy, a touch too introspective and that dreaded word, BORING.

During these weeks, little by little, I’ve been letting more people in my life know that I am not drinking. This statement is met at times with huge eyes, with words like “How are you doing it? I could never do that, like how do you relax?” or “It’s not forever is it, I mean, you’re just taking a break right?”

Hhhhmmmmmm. Not forever? When somebody mentioned the foreverness of my decision it made me step back and stumble. I didn’t know how to answer so I just averted my eyes, looked down at the ground, and mumbled. “It could be forever.” Like I was ashamed. What the hell! I should have said “Hell yes it’s forever, I can’t take this shit anymore, and I’m moving past it, I’m moving through it and I’m crawling out on the other side and it feels fantastic, life changing, and why are YOU still drinking because it really is better on my side of the street!” But of course being the good little girl we are all taught to be I kept that inside where it is supposed to be. We don’t want to upset people, do we? If my husband is around a couple people have asked him, “How are you handling this?” or “Is she for real?” Like I’m not even in the room. He doesn’t say much, something like, “if it makes her happy I’m all for it.” And then I think we both pray that the questioning will end. We never talk about it after we make our exit, but I’m sure it’s talked about plenty in our absence. Another member recently posted some excellent ways she handles this line of questioning, so I’m hoping to arm myself with some of her brilliant phrases, so hopefully I’ll be ready for the next go around.

So back to that word FOREVER. When this word creeps into my head I have a hard time dealing with it. Like yesterday when I went to get my hair done after work. What about that glass of wine they offer and how much I loved having it after a hard day? Is that forever? Yep, I’m afraid it is. I’ll have an ice water thank you. I sip sip sip the ice water, and for a while I thought I was missing out, got the Woe Is Me’s. But then I thought about how just that one glass of wine would have had my mind consumed with, “Oh, I’ll stop at the store and pick up a bottle of wine so I can have A GLASS (which means a bottle) after I get home. And the whole time I’m getting my hair done I’ll want her to finish up already so I can get out of there.

Another aspect of the word forever is making me consider the fact my family may never have another decent home cooked meal again. I’ve mentioned it before so I won’t go into all the details of what my nights looked like, but like so many I’d take my time cooking, drinking wine, and smoking cigarettes on the deck. It was my way of relaxing, and my way of looking like I was doing something meaningful which was a big fat cover up because let’s face it, I was doing it so I could keep drinking. But when that dinner was finally served it was something! Now I don’t really cook elaborately because that is a trigger so I’ve been whipping up some really lame meals, or we’ve been going out. My son comes home from soccer practice REALLY disappointed, but as far as I know nobody has died from spaghetti made from Ragu, but they sure have died from alcohol. So I’ve been slowly lowering his expectations over his dinner.

When I get messed up over that word forever I try to remember that I’m supposed to take this one day at a time, not to think too far into the future, otherwise I might go crazy. But crazy I am because I can’t help but think of a particular dilemma I have coming up, so it makes me think about the future and where all of this is taking me so I have been throwing all of that ONE DAY AT A TIME business out the window lately.

We have a house rented with a bunch of friends and our kids for Thanksgiving. We’ve had this planned for months, and the thought of being stranded hours from home in a house full of drinking people is putting me over the edge. I will be the lone sober soul there except for the under age kids, and it now sounds like pure hell. I was soooo looking forward to this, and now I’m spending time trying to figure out how to get out of it. I know I need to protect my sobriety at all costs, I know this is a dangerous place to be. I know I am going to receive so much shit if I don’t go. I know my marriage is being strained by my sobriety, my melancholy demeanor, my quietness and constantly thinking, thinking, thinking. So forever sinks in a little deeper at times, and living one day at a time is harder at times. But I’m formulating a plan of going for a night, and then coming home separately with my kids so we can have dinner with my mom. Maybe my husband can just stay and get a ride home with one of our friends. But I know this will hurt him, and will probably put another divide between us. It’s exhausting thinking about something that is supposed to be relaxing…… so what is the point anyway?

Like so many in recovery I’m starting to get a bit bored, which when mixed in with forever boring becomes even more challenging for me. In the beginning I felt amazing, and waking up day after day without a hangover was this great big gift of clarity. Now it’s expected, and I still love my mornings, but the amazement is gone. Don’t get me wrong, I love my routine of getting up super early, making coffee, reading, writing, burning a candle and calmly starting my day. But that “OH MY GOD I FEEL SO GREAT” euphoria is replaced with, “Isn’t this nice and peaceful?” So I’m learning to live with the peace, and realize that not everything in life has to be super charged up, and boring is a part of life we need to accept. I think I heard on a podcast somebody explain that we need to learn how to deal with the boring parts of life. When I was drinking there was the taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary through alcohol, and then there was taking the ordinary and making it miserable through a hangover so I was constantly in a state of hyper emotions. So today, I’m going to hang out with just being present, and making that okay, and absorbing the words PEACE, CALM and HAPPINESS, and Forever is going to have to wait.

Happy Sober Friday!
Kelly

August 22, 2018

So funny that yesterday I wrote a bit about my divorce (can you believe there’s more, like a LOT more to that story) and yesterday was my youngest son’s 17th birthday, so essentially it’s been about 17 years since all of that happened, and writing it out like that seemed to put it to rest finally, because trust me, I’ve been carrying that around for years. All of your words of kindness, strength, encouragement and me too’s have allowed me to look at it differently.

My oldest son was most affected by the divorce and my drinking back then. He was 7 when it all happened, and he’s always been the sensitive type with an old soul. I feel like when I sat down to tell him that his dad and I were getting divorced he changed forever, similar to how I changed forever. I’ve always felt like it broke something in him, his eyes changed, and there became a sense of sadness to him. He was the first to recognize that I had started drinking, and it caused that sadness to expand, and I’m afraid it filled him up and I could not stop it from happening. He’s 24 now, and through all of these years I have wondered if I should have stayed just so I could have kept this sadness out of his eyes. Should I have worked harder on my marriage? What if I didn’t drink during that time, and instead of focusing on all that pain I focused on bringing my family closer together? How was I at fault in this marriage? Did I put so much of me into my children that I neglected my husband so he had to go elsewhere? And on and on and on this conversation goes in my head at times. Analyzing what I did, the mistakes I made, and beating myself up over my drinking, naivety, and acting on emotion rather than playing all of this out. In the end I’ve been analyzing if my children would have been better off if I stayed. Because if I stayed I wouldn’t have had to work so much and I could have been there to raise them more. My nerves maybe wouldn’t have been so brittle, and maybe I wouldn’t have become a problem drinker that probably, (saying with a big gulp) became an alcoholic.

But yesterday I poured out that story and all of you made me feel powerful, that I had a right to demand a better life for myself, and maybe I did make the right choice all along but didn’t know it. Maybe I had to go through so much so I could learn and grow from it so I can do something with it instead of holding it inside letting it me rot from the inside out. So thank you my friends, I think I’m letting it go, and trusting the universe had a plan, and I’m going to dance into the plan this time.

Which leads me to the word forgiveness. I’m a big forgiver. I forgave my ex husband a long time ago because I was tired of holding hate in my heart for him, and because my oldest son begged me to so we could get along, I forgave my ex so my children did not have to witness the turmoil, and we could somehow be a blended family. It probably took about 7 years, but we did get there. Hell, we just went to my ex’s house for dinner last night to celebrate my youngest son’s birthday! He is remarried and I really like his wife, I guess you could say we are friends, and they now have a young son. Don’t get me wrong, I know who my ex truly is, but he cannot hold me hostage with my feelings around HIM, and I give this forgiveness as a gift to my children.

I obviously can forgive just about anybody anything, but I could not forgive myself. My drinking has never lined up with who I thought I was or was meant to be. So while in the shower after a night of drinking I’d be sure to remind myself about how much I hated myself, how weak I was, how I was a bad mother, and how hopeless I must be. Driving to work feeling like shit, I’d be sure to keep the conversation going to let myself know that I looked worn out, like I’m starting to look like the lifestyle I was living and everybody was going to know what a drunken mess I was. When I had to face the kids after a night of drinking I’d tell myself what a shitty role model I am, how I am probably leading them to a life of addiction, and how they can never be proud of me. Forgiveness was never a gift a could give myself, not until now.

I am starting to forgive myself, and this too, is making a difference in my recovery. Every day I do not drink, and every day I get a little stronger. Everybody had a few drinks last night at the birthday celebration, but not me! My husband sat in the back seat, and my son drove us home because he has his learners permit. I sat in the front next to him. We talked about philosophy of all things for a little bit on the way home. I felt all warm, and a sense of pride in myself, and I hope my son felt a sense of pride in me, his mother. His mother that was fully present for his birthday celebration!

I will pray that we will all forgive ourselves a little bit more today, because we deserve it. We may struggle, we may not be perfect, but we are trying. And that, in and of itself calls for a celebration.

Happy Sober Wednesday!
Kelly

August 21, 2018

I’ve often thought about when my real drinking problems began. I’ve gone in many stages, from just social drinking, to having a really bad night where I got wasted, back to just social drinking, But I can pinpoint when it all started feeling different, and it wasn’t just a social thing to do. It was a “I need some mind altering thing to do so I can survive this”.

My 3 kids are from a previous marriage, and what a roller coaster ride that was! My ex husband is handsome, oh so charming , and quite the sociopath. I didn’t focus on the sociopath part, but I sure did focus on the handsome and charming part. To this day there has never been another person that has made me feel so beautiful, interesting, and has given me the feeling that anything is possible. I have to say that even now I miss those feelings, even knowing that it was all lies fed by his dangerous personality.

I was a stay at home mom to my son and daughter for about 6 years, and I loved it so much! I had worked my entire life since I was 16 years old, and this freedom, this ability to control my schedule and love on these little babies as much as I wanted to was such a gift! So I poured myself into them, and I became a good wife, a good mother. I cooked and cleaned, I hung out with the other moms in our little beach community, and I put up with my husband going out a few nights a week with his buddies to drink. I put up with this because my father was a big drinker, and every day after work he would stop at the bar and drink until dinner was ready. He usually came home on time, but when he didn’t, look out! My mom turned into a dark cloud which quickly escalated into either a thunderstorm or a full blown tornado which left my sister and I shaking in our bedrooms with our hands over our ears waiting for the storm to pass. I did not want my children cowering in their rooms with angry words and accusations swirling through OUR air, so I just put up with my husband’s behavior for the most part.

It was with my newly found mom group that I learned to drink socially with other mothers. Up until then it never even occurred to me to drink while I was with my children. If my ex and I had a party to go to with the kids I never drank. The kiddos and I would leave my husband at the party if he wanted to stay longer. I would take the kids home, give them their baths, and we would all snuggle in my big bed together calling it a “special night”.

But slowly it became okay to have a few beers at the beach while we were watching the kids play in the sand and water. I ALWAYS loved to drink, but I had boundaries back then, yet I was starting to cross them. In the winter there were play dates, and hey, why not have some wine while the kids are busy with each other? But it didn’t really get out of control, and I thought the whole entire thing was fantastic! I was making fast friends, did not feel lonely with just the kids and I, and it made the absence of my husband bearable.

Flash forward to when my youngest son was born. I now had 3 kids, my baby was 2 weeks old, my little family was growing, and I was a happy mama! One morning I sat down at my husband’s computer to send a thank you email to his sister in London for the beautiful flowers she had sent me when my son was born. It was early on this Labor Day weekend, so I was all alone with my coffee and savoring these moments before the kids woke up and my day would begin.

I started looking through my husband’s sent emails to find her address, and as you can guess I was doing a little snooping. As you can imagine, and how so many other women found, there were emails my husband was sending to a woman. He was asking her to go to Florida with him so they could be alone. And I had gone to high school with this woman, this adulterer that was fooling around with my husband, who was fooling around with our lives, and who was stealing away the innocence of my family.

Right then and there I think I changed forever. I remember waking him up, making him come downstairs to look at the emails. He claimed he was just trying to help a friend out that needed him. Bullshit! Then he confessed it was just sex, meant nothing, and that he loved me and the children. Bullshit! And so the conversation went on and on and on. And then he left to go to the beach to escape the accusations crowding our house, and I stayed with our 3 children, had a nervous breakdown, and thought about how their lives had just been destroyed.

We tried counseling, we tried talking, I tried forgiving, and he tried very little. He was still going out as much if not more than usual, and I stayed at home with the children. I tried leaning on my friends, but they quickly bowed out of the picture because I think my story scared them, and they could not handle my raw emotions. We had money troubles, and I soon learned how severe the money troubles were. My father came to the house after I told my parents about his infidelities. My father pinned my husband up against my oven and demanded “What are you doing to my daughter, to this family?” Yeah, what are you doing to us? But my ex didn’t answer. So I left after 6 months and filed for a divorce. How could I continue with his lying, his cheating, and his lack of giving a shit? How could I let my children be raised with the idea that you can settle for a life like this, and how could I let my daughter think a man has a right to treat his wife this way?

Because there were money problems, because I hadn’t worked for 6 years, because I was suffering, and because I wasn’t thinking clearly I left our home with my 3 young children because I couldn’t get my husband to leave, and I moved in with my single sister. She was a traveling nurse, and was gone much of the time. And then I decided I had to make some money because my ex sure wasn’t giving me any until the courts ordered him to do so, and in the meantime we had to eat!

I didn’t want to lose any time with my babies during the day so I took a waitressing job at night because I wasn’t sure what else to do in the beginning of this mess. I had a teaching degree, and I had worked in advertising, but I wasn’t confident enough or even stable enough to return to these types of jobs. My mom and my mother in law watched my kids while I worked at night at a fairly upscale restaurant. A restaurant that my ex husband and our friends would go to. And now I worked there, and even waited on our friends who I was scaring, as my heart crumbled in my chest and I learned about humility.

After the night ended the owners of the restaurant had a policy where we could have up to 2 drinks while we “cashed out” for the night. Sheepishly I declined in the beginning, but then I decided it was okay, and I wanted to feel like I belonged, and I longed to just forget about this life I was living. The kids were staying the night with their grandparents after all because I didn’t get done with work until midnight usually, so what harm was there? So I sat with my co workers, learned to laugh and drink with them. Once I got comfortable with this I learned they kept the party going, and they would go to a house a bunch of them shared together which they called The Palace. So I started going there, and drinking more and more and more. And then I would come home, sleep for a bit, and then pick up the kids to get the older 2 to school, to take care of my new baby, and then to sit and wonder how my world was falling apart…………

When the kids were gone it was time to drink to escape my nightmare. Every day there was some other nightmare waiting for me to uncover. I learned that the girl he was trying to get to go to Florida with him was just the tip of the iceberg. There were many girls, some one night stands, some living out of the state, some pretending to be my friends. I kept seeing in my mind pictures of all these women sleeping with my husband, in my bed, in my bedroom, touching my things. I kept thinking about the innocence of my house before I knew, and how hard I worked to make it a happy home. I felt like I was living in two different worlds, and I wasn’t sure which one was real. But I did know drinking helped me escape, and I so desperately needed an escape because I was in danger of my mind collapsing. And so my REAL drinking problems began which made my problems even worse, and my feelings about drinking changed forever. I realized I wasn’t a social drinker, I was a problem drinker, and perhaps an alcoholic. And ever since I’ve been fighting to change this, and to regain my dignity I so desperately want for myself and for my family. This is a sad sad story, but I’m finally finding a happy ending.

Happy Sober Tuesday!
Kelly

August 19, 2018

Yesterday was a pretty good day over all. My son was busy with his friends, and my husband and I had the day to ourselves, and I was in a good mood and not really feeling all that bitchy. I woke up super early (I’ve been waking up at 4AM most mornings since I’ve been sober!). I love these mornings before everyone is up. It’s my own little oasis, and my time to be introspective and balanced. So I had my coffee, read for a bit, looked over this site to see how everybody was doing and to pick up some sober women love, knowledge and to hear and honor stories. I then threw my swimsuit on under my clothes, jumped on my bike and headed to the beach. The water was even warmer than the fresh lake air, so I went in, floated, swam, and was reborn as I stared out into the horizon with the water holding me up.

I was feeling all calm and relaxed as I took a shower and got dressed after I came home. My husband I went to an art festival, bought some beautiful hand painted coasters, and went to lunch. I ordered my iced tea, he had a couple beers. We went home and I took my mom shopping, and my husband went to a celebration of life for his co-worker that had passed away. It was at a DAV club, so I knew that meant more beers, but since I wasn’t being bitchy and had been reborn that morning I was going with the flow. When I came home from the shopping he still wasn’t home so I made myself a cup of tea, did some more reading, burned an incense and was really getting into my afternoon. My husband had thrown some chicken in the smoker, and I was looking forward to a good dinner, maybe a walk together with the dog, and a movie. I was getting ahead of myself.

My husband came home, and excitedly told me he was wrapping up our chicken and taking it to our neighbors because we were having dinner there. What? I guess while I was relaxing he was planning and the plan was to keep the party going, and that meant packing up my dinner because our other neighbors were going too and we all were bringing something. So I let him pack up the damn chicken and I promised I’d come over later………

I texted my friend / neighbor and asked her what time she was going over there. She said she was getting some stuff done, and would let me know if / when she was going. I agreed to do the same all the while knowing I wasn’t going anywhere. I started a movie and got comfy on the couch with the dog. And then I decided there was no reason not to be totally comfortable so I took my movie watching and the dog upstairs to the bed.

My friend / neighbor knows I quit drinking, and I was pretty honest with her why I quit drinking, and she’s been super supportive. All of us went out last weekend, and everybody drank but me, and I will never forget what she said to me as I was dropping her off at her house that day. She said, “Some day Kelly I’m going to be like you.” I couldn’t believe it, and it was an honor for her to say that, and I don’t think it is something I will ever forget. I texted her last night to let her know for sure I wasn’t going, and here’s how the text chain went:

Me: I’m watching a movie, relaxing, I’m not going over there tonight.

Her: I don’t think I am either. I’m looking at watching a movie! And tired.

Me: Me too!

Her: Found my movie and tucking myself into bed. I actually like this!

Me: I know, it’s fantastic!

I just felt all proud that maybe, in some small way, I was modeling that life without alcohol is better, and that, I think, is part of the reason I am feeling so different this time, and why I feel like I’ve been reborn. During my other attempts at sobriety I kept journals, and every day I was sober I would write how many days I had made it. I focused on those days, and fought like hell for each and every one of them. I would write in my journal how I was feeling, and I would write about my kids and my worries over them, or about my husband. I would make a list of all the things I should be grateful for. But I felt all alone in my recovery, and I was too ashamed to tell my friends about what I was going through.

But for a while now I’ve been learning, growing. Through podcasts I discovered that I am not alone, that each story I hear carries pieces of my life, of my behavior, of my shame. When I hear these women tell their truth I feel them, and the fact that they have been able to move forward in their sobriety and to forgive themselves has made me realize that I am worthy of forgiveness too, and that maybe I can start forgiving myself and realize there is another life I can lead, and it is not too late. And then I made my way to this group, and once again all these strong women with so many stories like mine are marching forward, and I finally found that I could march with them. And I could tell my truth too, and maybe my truth will help another, and we can all keep reaching out with healing arms. Being of service and feeling connected are my life lines at the moment, and that is keeping me afloat despite the other challenges I’m facing; like my dinner being dragged to my neighbors.

I was looking over one of my journals, and I found where I wrote, “The best most life changing thing I can do is to stop drinking. If I can do this everything else will get better and change.” My reborn self is saying, “The best most life changing thing I can do is to stop drinking and to be of service. The universe will take care of the rest.”

Happy Sober Sunday!
Kelly

August 17,2018

I’ve been a real bitch lately. Not to everyone, but definitely to my husband, and I’m worried my marriage is not going to survive my sobriety

He is irritating the shit out of me, and I can’t stop judging him. I feel so wrong and guilty, but if I’m honest, and that is what we all are on this site is honest, I’ll confess I’m disappointed in him. I think he misses his drinking buddy, and I think my not drinking is forcing him to look at his own drinking . He has never told me he is proud of me and then given me a hug, and he never mentions my sobriety and how it is affecting him, me, us. I feel that he is focusing on how this is making him feel, and he is not realizing how necessary this was for me to do, and that I was in danger. So I keep quiet. I feel like I’m keeping secrets from him as I do my therapy writing and conversing with all of you. I’m going to sign up for Kripalu in November and I haven’t mentioned this to him yet. I keep thinking I’m going to tell him when I can string a few days together where I’m nice, and things are not so tense between us. But these nicey nice days are turning out almost as hard to string together as sober days.

I think my husband misses our talks that we used to have over our drinks and wine. We did not argue when we drank, but we drank to intensify our feelings around everything. By drinking we were taking the boring moments of life and making them extraordinary. We were taking the difficult things in our life and making them bearable, and we were letting ourselves be more intimate with each other because alcohol tore down those barriers . And now I’m afraid sobriety is exposing the problems in our marriage that we were numbing our way through.

I feel like I’m growing like a newborn and so many things feel brand new. I am reading, I am writing. I am going to the store if I want to in the evenings because I CAN! Car needs to be cleaned out because I have to drive my boss around all day? Done, did that last night when I came home from work. In the past I would have come home, opened a bottle of wine, smoked on the deck while I cooked dinner, blah, blah blah……. you know the story. I would have woken up this morning with just enough time to get ready for work and then BAM! Crap! The car wouldn’t have been cleaned out or washed, so I’d be in a crazy hurry dumping a ton of stuff into the garage to be sorted out later, and I would have taken out a wet towel to give the dashboard a quick once over and as a final hail Mary I’d throw a couple dryer sheets under the seats to take away any weird smells. Not today baby! My car is washed inside and out!

Sounds victorious I know, but here’s the back story. My husband and I did the miraculous after work car washing together, and I smelled alcohol on his breath. “Have you been drinking today?” I asked. “I had some drinks this afternoon. I had lunch with so and so and we went to Hooters and had some beer and wings.” Great, booze and Hooters during the day. But I kept those words to myself. We did the car washing and stopped at the grocery store to get a couple items for dinner and then we went home. I’m irritated and resentful. While I was working my stressful, never can let up for a minute sales job my husband was sitting in Hooters drinking. And this is not anything new, but it wears on me, especially sober me because now there is no way out and I have to face these feelings, hence me being a real bitch at times.

As I’m putting groceries away my husband announces he needs to return something to our neighbors, and I know what this means. He’s going over to the neighbors to drink, because he’s looking to continue getting his drink on and it’s no fun to do this at home anymore. I just murmur ok, because to be honest I want him out of the house. I want him out of my safe sober space so I can go back to my plans, to feeling good, and to make dinner for my son so he has a good meal to eat after soccer. Out the door he goes.

My son comes home and we have dinner together. He tells me about practice, we talk about what he may want to study in college, etc, etc, etc. It was such a nice night with my son and I. Not talking to him through a hazed fog, just open and clear conversation. We ended our night by watching The Grand Budapest Hotel. I just love that movie.

My husband came home drunk, like REALLY drunk after I went to bed. My friend was texting me last night while I was watching the movie, giving updates on what jack asses our husbands were being, but I ignored them so I could just be with my son. I guess she ended up kicking the guys out of her house (our other neighbor was there too) with a warning they were on their way home.

So I’m pretty sure therapy is the next step. But right now I don’t want to go to therapy. I want this special, life changing time to myself. I want to read, listen to podcasts, write and get to know the real me better before exposing all of this to a stranger. I will get there, but I just need more time doing what I’m doing now because it is working.

As I continue to grow I’m afraid I will outgrow my husband. I don’t know if I can look at a lifetime of how things are at the moment. So I keep telling myself this too may require one day at a time. Right now I don’t feel like I have a right to explain to him all the changes that are taking place in me because I feel that I haven’t been sober long enough to earn that right. I haven’t proven that I’m going to stay this way. Part of me thinks he is waiting for my sobriety to end so we can all just go back to us being us. But I know I’m not going back, and there will never again just us being us. It is now me and him, and I hope we can somehow meet again.

Happy Sober Friday!
Kelly

August 15, 2018

I went to AA for the first time about 4 years. I never had the courage to go, although I longed to go, and this time love for my family trumped my fear.

One Sunday I had just gotten back with my daughter from a quick whirlwind of visiting colleges where she was thinking about playing volleyball. It was a heated topic in my house. We had spent years and lots of money helping her to pursue her dream of playing in college, thinking about all the tuition breaks she would get, how she could continue pursuing her sport. But of course as most things in life it came time to make some decisions and she decided she wasn’t interested anymore. So we fought the whole weekend as I forced her to at least look at a couple of the schools. I begged her to consider the possibilities and to not say no without any experiences behind the no.

We finally got home that afternoon, and she went out with her friends. The house was empty. I can’t remember where my husband and son were, so there I was. Exhausted, emotional from all the arguing, and ready to just relax with a glass of wine. But there wasn’t any wine in the house, and since in Indiana at that time you couldn’t buy alcohol on Sundays I was in quite the dilemma. So I put on my big girl panties and made myself a rum and sprite, my husband’s drink of choice, because that was my only choice. One drink turned into two, and two turned into three, and the number grew as the day grew longer. It was cold outside, so instead of doing my usual deck sitting I was fireplace sitting. This was my naughty place to smoke when the weather was cold and nobody was home. I would light a scented candle in case all the smoke didn’t go up the chimney. I’d sit on the floor, and make an ashtray out of aluminum foil because it could be crinkled up quickly and thrown out the back door if I heard a key turn in the lock. My back would hurt from sitting on the floor, hunched over my computer as I looked at glimpses of the fantastic lives everybody was living out on facebook, and there I sat, drinking, smoking, and isolating.

My plan was to go to bed before anybody got home, but to my surprise my daughter came home early and saw the spectacle I was. I was drunk, not just buzzed, but drunk from the hard alcohol.She saw the aluminum foil ashtray, she saw me sitting on the floor, she saw my broken soul on full display. She cried out “What are you doing?” and I tried so hard to appear okay, to make this look like I was just taking a break in the afternoon. But she saw through me and through my soul and it shook and scared her little heart. The daughter I love so much, the daughter I longed to be a role model for, saw me at my worst. Alone, disheveled, broken, drunk, and shameful. She helped me get up, and I went to bed.

The next morning I had a hangover of all hangovers, and stayed home from work. I lied in my bed as I heard my family get ready for the day. Nobody came into my bedroom, nobody expected me to get up, make lunches, sign forms, ask about after school activities. They just left me alone which was another arrow to the heart. When they all left I knew what I had to do. I called my friend that has been sober for 15 years, and I told her I needed help. My friend listened to me when I told her what I had done, and then I told her more of my secrets. I confessed to her I drank at home, that I was desperate for help, and could I go to AA with her? She said she could hear the desperation and anguish in my voice, and it took her back to when she had those feelings so long ago when she would wake with so much shame and remorse. And that night she took me to her AA meeting.

My daughter called me on her lunch hour to check on me. She quietly sobbed into the phone, “Mom, are you okay? I had to help you get up. I think you have a problem, you need to get help.” And my heart shattered all over again, and I told her “I’m so sorry honey. I know I need help. I’m going with Kate to an AA meeting tonight.” It was common knowledge that Kate was in recovery, and attended AA. I think we both let out a sigh of relief.

I went to AA with Kate, and I was scared to death. I was scared somebody was going to know me, I was scared I wouldn’t fit in, I was scared that I wasn’t “bad” enough to be worthy of AA, and I was scared because my behavior was scaring myself, and I could not stop. But I had Kate by my side, and she told me everything was going to be okay and I believed her.

Kate had a really cool AA group that would meet at someone’s house, or at a church. There were hippies, women in early recovery, some like Kate that had years of sobriety that I noticed seemed to really have all their shit together, and I wanted to be just like all of them. The first few times I went I couldn’t say “Hi I’m Kelly and I’m an alcoholic.” Was I an alcoholic? I was frightened by the word, I was frightened by the label. So I always said, “Hi, I’m Kelly.” And then I’d pour out my feelings to these people I wanted more of. I didn’t drink for 19 days.

I felt great, in charge. I developed a solid routine, and I was getting so much done! It was around the holidays, and for the first time in a long time I decorated the house beautifully, I remember organizing all the kids’ old school papers and art work that I had saved over the years. Then one Sunday morning I was waiting for Kate to pick me up for AA and I received a phone call that rocked me to my knees. Out of respect for someone I love I won’t go into details, but I was needed desperately. So I called Kate and told her I had an emergency and I couldn’t go that day. I dived into this latest drama and put myself aside because, hey, I had this. I was sober for 19 days, I had my routine, and I didn’t really think I was an alcoholic. “Are you sure?” Kate asked. Yes, I’m sure. “I didn’t really think you were an alcoholic Kelly. I mean, if you can slow it down everything will be okay.” I know she meant well, I know she believed what she said, and I loved what she said. My mind grasped onto those words and I remember thinking, “See, I’m not an alcoholic after all.”

I’m sure you can fill in the blanks. I little glass of wine here and there, no big deal. A fun night out where I’d drink too much; hey, everybody else drank too much too. But old behaviors crept back into my life, slowly like a death march.

When I look at all of my failed attempts at sobriety they all seem to have the same pattern. They all end with somebody, no matter how well meaning, telling me they don’t think I really have a problem. I latch onto that, because it is exactly what I want to hear. My addict voice says “I told you so. You are fine. Just control your shit better! We can do this you and I. Self control Kelly, self discipline.” But I’m ready this time. No death march for this gal. If or when I hear any comments of the sort I’m not going to fall into the trap led by my addict voice. I’m simply going to tell it to just shut up already. Nobody can tell me if I have a problem or not, because nobody is inside my head, and nobody knows how I feel about my drinking and myself.

Happy Sober Wednesday!
Kelly