Day 804 – Something to Share

Dear Sobriety,

One of my sisters in sobriety shared this today and I am absolutely bursting with excitement to share it with all of you!

If you ever think you’ll never see the light at the end of the tunnel, take a moment to click this link for an exercise in gratitude. You will soon see that the light has been surrounding you the entire time.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=PMjZ98sxzQ0&feature=youtu.be

Sending much love and good vibes to you all!!

🥰🤗🥰🤗🥰🤗

Day 1,541 – numb

Dear Sobriety,

My dad passed away suddenly 11 days ago and I am numb.

Ya know the feeling when you’re driving and you realize you arrived at your destination without paying attention to the drive? That autopilot feeling? That’s the only way to explain how I feel.

The one man I’ve always been able to depend on is gone and I don’t know what to do.

Day 1,520: Brain Drain…

Dear Sobriety,

I’m kicking myself for the fact that I’m emotionally disturbed right now. My uncle’s wife, as well as one of my friends at work, are going through some serious health issues and my p!ssy mood seems so miniscule in proportion. But here I am… on a rainy Friday in January typing away because my brain has been nonstop spinning since earlier today.

So Butthead and I have been back together for a little over a year and I feel like he doesn’t think I’m worthy enough to bring back around his family. I have yet to see any of them in person aside from his cousin who he is closest with. This bothers me. This bothers me to no end. It was not my fault we broke up. It was not me who kicked him out of my house. I could sit here and b!tch, but the more I’m actively thinking about it, the more I just want to sit here and cry and just make it all go away.

Fortunately my stubbornness has kept me from drinking. It sounds d@mn good right now, but I know I’d only be f**king myself over if I went down that path. Also, another thing that’s kept me away is knowing that my emotions would absolutely sky rocket and I would say/text things that I can’t take back. That’s a bonus in sobriety. The ability to pause. It doesn’t always work, but 85% of the time it usually wins out over a$$holery.

Another thing on my sobriety plate is the fact that I have foot surgery scheduled Monday to fix my 95 year old arthritic toe. Not fix, fix, but fix well enough so I’m hopefully not begging for a cortisone shot every three months. So we shall see. What’s surgery got to do with sobriety, you ask??? I shall tell you, young grasshopper. It may be minor surgery, but I betcha it’ll come with a pretty good chance of opioids. Yep. My drug of choice will always be alcohol, but damn. Pain pills come in a close second for me.

I’ve been thinking about this for the last couple of week. Rationalizing and then telling on myself to my parents or Butthead. Then rationalizing how “two days” won’t hurt anything. Good news / bad news is that I’m fairly certain it will.

In 2018, I busted my other ankle dashing across my apartment to stop my unbalanced washer from bouncing through my wall into my neighbor’s apartment. I went to urgent care and they gave me pain pills. I think the script was for five days. They were gone by day two. Then I was constipated and had cravings for a week. It was sh!tty. I was just under a year sober and I was back to having super strong cravings. I overate desserts and worked a lot of O/T that week.

Being four years sober, I’m (thankfully) much further away from those physical cravings. Unfortunately, I’m concerned with how I would respond to them. Especially given my f**k the world attitude of current.

I don’t know. Sh!t happens. Like I said, my sh!t is nothing compared to some people close to me and I feel like sh!ttier sh!t for complaining about it.

Yeah. Woohoo! Go positive Monica, go! Meh… I’m not always positive, but so far my track record for getting through bad days is 100%. Stupid slogans playing in my head.

It just sucks cause I felt like “this time” would be different with Butthead. But I also said that after my 2nd ex husband would apologize for punching me in the face. Am I ignoring red flags? No physical abuse is happening, so don’t worry about that. Just an example of how I’ve ignored very obvious red flags before. Ugh.

Sorry for being a Debbie Downer. I was hoping typing this would help to get it out of my head and make me feel better. Instead it’s only made me realize just how real my feelings are.

Sending love and light to all. Don’t drink, d@mmit.

Day 1,409 – Caturday!

Dear Sobriety,

Couple more Recovery Awareness Month texts to share. Have a meowgical Caturday!

9/19/21

My brother posted this in a recovery FB group we’re both in. Sometimes a visual representation works better for me.
Happy Sunday Funday!!!

9/20/21

It’s funny all the places inspiration can hit you.

I saw this today and it reminded me of perception.
Every time I thought about quitting drinking, I associated it with not being “me”. Drinking was so ingrained in me that it felt like part of my DNA.

It took a long time for me to realize that I’m still me. I’m just me with a shitload of positives!

No more daily hangover, no vomiting in the morning, I started showering daily, my skin began to glow and I lost weight without changing any eating habits! And those are just a few of the physical positives. The list for emotional and mental shifts is continually growing and is too long to try and quantify!!

A change in my perception has made me realize that instead of losing myself, I’m gaining a life I never imagined would be possible and gratitude for the chance to live it.

9/24/21

From my motivation app that pings me quotes throughout the day.

I’m one of the lucky ones who hasn’t (yet) driven away the people who love me. In fact, my parents have given me my recovery coins for the last three years and I have my brother’s one year coin after mine was left at a meeting.

My parents make a point to express their gratitude at my “birthday” meetings and it never fails that someone shares the significance of having the support that I do. It’s truly rare.

My parents and Butthead have each taken me to the ER for detox as well as rehab.

These are the people who have truly seen me at my worst and I can’t thank them enough for not giving up on me.

9/25/21

My fave pic from hiking today. It was about 7:30a, no one was around and this was the view behind me.

It reminded me what I’d normally be doing at 7:30a on a Saturday less than four years ago: either restarting drinking from the night before if I was by myself or beginning my weekend with a blasting hangover and dying for a “decent” time to kick off drinking again.

Just a moment in my day that I thought was beautiful and wanted to share.

Day 1,402 – Fourteen Hundred!

Dear Sobriety,

Few more texts to share…

9/15/21

Recovery has gone from a taboo “anonymous” subject to being a subject that people are openly talking about in the last couple years. This is one reason why I am very open about myself (also I’m an over sharer – I blame my mother🥰).
I consider it an honor to help kill the stigma while spreading the message that recovery is possible.
I love when people feel comfortable to approach me to chat. Whether it’s about themselves, family members or just because they’re curious why I don’t drink anymore, I’m always happy to share my experiences. (And I’ve actually been approached by different peeps for each of those scenarios)
The only skeltons I keep in my closet are for Halloween and if I’m being honest, they stay out all year round!! ☠️🥰☠️🥰

PS Danny Trejo was always a fave of mine, but he gets bumped higher on the list because he’s also in recovery.

9/17/21

Real recovery awareness thought for the day: since we’ve learned the 3 C’s and the hula hoop rule, we know that we can’t control anything outside of ourselves. So another add on is” expectations are premeditated resentments”. And a lot of the time we don’t even realize we’re setting them for a person, place or thing (including yourself) until we’re disappointed or upset.

The next time you get the negative feels, try to step back and ask yourself if you (un)knowingly set expectations.

It’s not easy the first million times, but once you start to get the hang of it, it brings you to an entirely new level of self-awareness. 🤓🤓🤓

9/18/21

I’ve tried not to associate these texts specifically to drugs or alcohol. That’s part of my story, but not part of everyone else’s.

Call it semantics, but I differentiate between the word sobriety and recovery. To me, sobriety = not using my drug of choice. Recovery is learning to live life on life’s terms.

Every day isn’t great, but we’ve all survived 100% of the worst days in our lives and that deserves a celebration. 🥰🥰🥰

Day 1,398 – Spread the Word

Dear Sobriety,

More texts to pass on and also, I’m kinda getting excited to hit the 1400s!!!! I still cannot believe it’s been this many ODAATs in a row!!

9/13/21

Got this from one of my AA buddies a long time ago. It lives on my whiteboard sobriety calendar that has been counting my days for longer than I’ve been sober. (There might even be knuckle marks in it from when I punched it after a relapse one time)
Thought I’d keep it simple today. Hope you all are having a meowgical day!!!! 😻😻😻

9/14/21

Three C’s

I first learned the “three C’s”while going through an outpatient dual-diagnosis program.  Dual-diagnosis is essentially when you’re not only lucky enough to have a substance abuse issue, but also have a mental health diagnosis tagged on to you (mine being depression and anxiety).
They’re applicable to nearly everything (especially things causing anxiety for me).

  1. Didn’t Cause It
  2. Can’t Control It
  3. Cant Change It

Let all those things that fall into these categories go! Except bills. Might want to keep paying those.

I was going to add a gif of Elsa letting it go, but I think this gif is absolutely perfect too!

If you’re curious, I go into more depth about the 3 C’s as well as the hula hoop rule in this post: https://dearsobrietyhome.wordpress.com/2020/03/31/day-866-three-cs-with-a-hula-hoop

Hope you all are having a freaking meowgical day! Sending love and light!!

Day 1,396 – Storytime

Dear Sobriety,

Please enjoy the Recovery Awareness texts from the last three days:

9/9/21

This. Is. Me. And I’m getting close to my four year mark.
I’ve prob cried more in the last four years than I have in my entire life prior and I’m a-ok with that. It means I’m experiencing life again!! I’m an active participant in my own life for pretty much the first time ever!
Happy tears, sad tears, angry tears… doesn’t matter. They’re all highly acceptable to me because it means I’m not numbing and hiding myself anymore. I’m present. In this moment. Right now. I am alive and I am grateful!!

9/11/21

ODAAT. One Day At A Time. This is a slogan I apply to everything now; however, this was probably the biggest thing that helped keep me sober through the beginning. Sometimes you just have to use psych tricks to screw with your mind to make things work. If I said to myself “I won’t ever drink again”, I would fail. Believe me, I’ve tested this theory on multiple occasions. Jim can attest to that. But if I tell myself I just can’t drink today, then I feel my chances of success immediately improving.

I still remember when Jim and I were living together and he went on travel and I actually stayed sober the first time. This was a HUGE first for me. I really think this was one of the major catalysts that has led me to adding a few ODAAT in a row. Me taking this step all by myself with no witnesses around to see me helped me instill that little bit of confidence I needed to push through for just one more day.

Life happens. I don’t have a choice in that. But I do have a choice in how I respond to it.

9/12/21

A few of my recovery coins I’ve collected over the years. You’ll see two 1 months and 3 two months. I could beat myself up about all the times I failed at this whole not drinking thing, but what would that do aside from create a never ending loop of depression?

After one relapse, I called my parents (were super close), and my mom told me to remember what Alfred told Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight. (We’re also huge into movies). Me, being me, and in the deep dark well of despair where I spent all of my 20s and the beginning of my 30s, couldn’t think of anything, so she did her best Alfred impersonation and said, “Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves back up.”

If you want something bad enough, never give up, no matter how many times you fail. Learn from your mistakes and keep blooming into that beautiful person you are.

As a bonus for today, my brother (also in recovery) went over to mom and dads one time after a relapse and was going on about how he was a terrible person and he’s never going to get his life together and he’s just going to be an alcoholic waste of space and mom said……………
At least you’re not a pedophile. Lolololololol!!! That got a smile out of him and he’ll be five years sober at the end of the month. 🥰🤣🥰🤣

Day 1,392 – Recovery Awareness Month

Dear Sobriety,

Yeah yeah. It’s been a while again. I know. We need to talk on a more regular basis, but to be honest, things have been going pretty steady. To be really honest, anytime I thought about writing these past few months, it was always regarding physical pain issues and I think you’ve heard me complain about that enough this year.

Anywho, Butthead’s work friends have a group text going where one of them shares info from an “awareness” month and I’ve invited myself in (cause I’m like that) and decided to volunteer since September is now Recovery Awareness Month. Woot!! A month all about me!!! Cause that’s who this alcoholic thinks about all the time, am I right?!?! I’m right. So I’ve shared with them what I fully intended to be short texts which were not because… writing always makes me want to write more for some reason (hence I’m baaaaaack!!). So I thought I’d share yesterday’s and today’s texts I sent. Figure I can do this and double duty it here. Writing is writing, right?

09/07/21:

So Butthead has told me about y’all sharing fun facts and info about different awareness months, so I thought that’d share that September is now recovery awareness month.
Hi, my name is Monica and I’m an alcoholic. I’ve been saying that since I totaled my car and got a DUI in 2009 and had to go to court mandated AA meetings; however, my actual sobriety date is 11/16/17.
I love talking about recovery and all the amazing things I’ve learned, so I’ll try to pop a quick share of my experience, strength and hope sometime each day (that I remember 🤓) for this month.

Let’s start here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/08/31/a-proclamation-on-national-recovery-month-2021/

09/08/21:

Happy Winedown Wednesday!!! (I had drinking names for every day of the week cause that means I deserve it, right?!?!)

Sobriety, to me, isn’t just about not drinking or taking fistfuls of pills. That’s the easy part (tho it took a while for me to get that first part down). It’s more about learning how to be a better person to myself and everyone around me. My daily 2 step process. Step 1: don’t drink. Step 2: don’t be an asshole. If I can get through the day succeeding at both of those, it’s been a good day.

Probably the greatest gift from recovery I’ve received is acceptance. I could spend all day using just my past as an excuse to fall down into the land of relapse (where I lived from 2015 – 2017).
Luckily, I’ve learned that, while acceptance doesn’t mean I have to like some of the shit storms I’ve gone through; I do need to recognize that I wouldn’t be the the amazingly grateful woman I am today without all of the days prior.

Two of my fave quotes ever:
1) If you’ve got one foot in the past and one foot in the future, you’re shitting on the present. – Anonymous
2) The sweet aint as sweet without the sour. – Brian (Jason Lee) in Vanilla Sky.

Also, in all fairness another reason I did this is cause I popped the mobile app open and fully copy/pasted all that from text cause I’m not just an alcoholic, I’m also lazy.

Day 1,174 – The Neck Saga Continues

Dear Sobriety,

Went in to go over my MRI results today and exclaimed a huge, “YESSSS!” when the doctor told me I wasn’t faking it. 😛 Dear goodness! It’s nice to actually have “evidence” that there is actually something that is causing all this painful nonsense. Lucky me always has to go above and beyond too. Not only do I have one disc bulging, but I actually have three. Two are mild and one is herniated. The herniated one is actually pressing on my spinal cord. He told me there’s nothing serious, but damn that sounds freaking serious to me.

Next steps: neck doctor is handing me over to their pain management specialist in the same office to do trigger injections. Now I just have to wait for them to get the insurance to approve trigger injections, then schedule the injections, then get injection. That’ll be followed by restarting of PT and hopefully some well deserved relief. I was so proud of myself for telling him I hadn’t had any headaches in the last two days and as soon as I walked out of the office to my car, one kicked in. Oy. There is at least a little more light at the end of the tunnel. I’m quite looking forward to the next crazy thing in my life to talk to you all about because this subject is getting way old to me.

I have been doing some very, very light yoga for upper body that I found on Prime. Here’s a link to it. It’s a 40 minute very slow floor stretching video and so far the furthest I’ve made it is 16 minutes. It’s so freaking weird how quickly my arm tires out sitting on the floor stretching. The first time I did it, I made it 12 minutes before my arm was literally shaking like I’d been pumping some serious iron and getting Arnold ripped. I never would have guessed how seriously a neck issue would mess with other parts of your body, but I guess it makes sense.

I appreciate all the support I’ve received on here! Just taking it ODAAT (One Day At A Time) and doing my best to move forward (very, very slowly).

Sending loads of love and light to y’all!

The kitties say HI too!

Day 1,172 – The What Ifs…

Dear Sobriety,

A whole slew of damning ideas of what’s going on with my neck and shoulder have been flying through my head for a while now. MRI was on Friday and results review is on this Tuesday. So glad they were able to get me in as quickly as they could. I think the scariest what if that has popped up in my brain space is: What if nothing wrong shows up on the MRI?

My 95 year old arthritic toe has been giving me fits for about… oh… five years now. I go in every few months to my podiatrist’s office for a cortisone shot which does nothing to fix the problem and is probably only making it worse in the long run. I went to a foot orthopedic specialist last year or maybe 2019? It’s all blurring together anymore. He told me the same thing that my podiatrist said, “It’s not bad enough for me to do anything.” Why? Does that mean the pain levels I deal with on a regular basis mean nothing? I guess I should wait for you to call me and tell me that it’s bad enough to do something, huh?

At my last podiatrist’s visit, November 2019, they took new x-rays of my foot and told me that yep, the arthritis is getting worse. Soooooo… can you do anything yet? Nope. Just continue with the cortisone every three+ months as needed. I really do not understand how people deal with arthritis on a regular basis because this is literally in my right big toe. That’s a very small joint. The pain has been bad enough for me to nearly fall while walking. Quick suck in of breath, stop, wait, continue to limp to wherever I need to be or else walk with terrible form to try and avoid that toe from bending at all.

Ugh. Yesterday was horrible. Since January 21 I’ve had headaches every single day of varying severity. Yesterday was the worst so far. I’m sure the rain all day didn’t help either.

One thing that is stuck in the back of my mind is from a blood test I had in 2018. I left the blood lab and on the way home I got a call from my doctor. That. Is. Not. Normal. The office personnel, sure, but not a call from the actual doctor about 20 minutes after you’ve left. My white blood cell count was noticeably up. Since then I’ve gone to follow up with a blood/cancer doctor (which is scary as sh!t, btw) and apparently this raises WBC count is my “new normal”. Does that even make sense? So what’s in the back of my mind is that something started then and my body has been trying to fight it off and it’s finally manifested into something physical. So many thoughts swirling in this over-active noggin of mine.

Looking forward to hopefully getting an answer and plan of action for something on Tuesday. But then the what ifs start… And what if it’s nothing? Is this my new life?

Day 1,168 – Part Deux

Dear Sobriety,

Thank goodness we’re still talking. Yesterday… ugh. I feel like I’m still recovering from it. If you’d like to read about the 7th layer of Hell, feel free to over here. Thankfully the rest of the day wasn’t as terrible. I had my follow up with the neck doctor and he’s decided to hold on my PT sessions until further notice. Thank goodness! Do I think they’ve been beneficial? For my shoulder, yes. For my neck, f*ck no.

Got a call from the imaging office and have an MRI scheduled for Friday! Follow up to review results the following Tuesday! I think there’s some light at the end of my vertabraeic (real word) tunnel! All I want to do now is get my oil diffusers running, snuggle cats and wrap myself in a blanket with a mega cup of hot tea. That sounds absolutely magical.

No way I life by myself

Aside from my parents and sis, I’m so freaking thankful for Butthead right now. My parents get to see me at my worst, but Butthead gets to see me three levels beyond that. Hey, guess what? Just because you get sober doesn’t me life stops for you. Sh!t continues to hit the fan and blow back on you. You’re still gonna have crappy days. Sometimes multiples at a time. But you’ll be better apt to deal with them. It’s still going to suck big, hairy balls, but think about it: if I was still drinking on top of the amount of pain I’m in, I’m fairly sure I would not be alive. For serious. Between pain, depression from pain, pain increasing depression because I feel like I’m not living my best me right now topped off by a bit more pain, I would have made a super f*cking bad decision that doesn’t allow me to hit the reset button afterewards.

For today, I’m grateful I have such a strong support system surrounding me. There’s no way I would be able to get through this without them. Non-alcoholic beverage of choice cheers to those you put up with my nonsense on the daily. You guys are freaking rockstars!

Take a minute today to thank your support system. And if you don’t have a reliable one, I’d highly suggest putting in the effort to build one. You never know when you’ll need a shoulder to cry on and I know, for me, I need multiple.