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 800 – The Other Shoe…

Dear Sobriety,

92ba82be4fc7eede29b2567bc01890c9So many blessings have been bestowed on me this week!  Two that are key are: my identify theft case was closed and my doctor sent me more info on my blood test results!  I am beyond excited to share this with you because I was concerned more so about my white blood cell count being up again than my cholesterol being high.  The last time my WBC were up, I had to follow up with an oncologist and that is not a doctor I ever want to see on the regular.  While he was super awesome, if you’re seeing an oncologist, then there is something serious going on with your health.  So I am super grateful to say that while my count is A B Normal (any Mel Brooks fans out there?), it is my “normal”.  Also, she told me that while my LDL (bad) cholesterol is high, my HDL (good) is incredibly good, so that helps bring down my risk of heart disease.  So yay!!  Great news!

Had this news been presented to me a few years ago in such a small timeframe, I would have immediately started worrying “when is the other shoe going to drop?”  Thankfully today I have a better way of living and it is more in this moment than worrying about the future and what could happen.  Now don’t get me wrong, I still worry about the future from time-to-time, but not nearly the way I did when I was drinking.

This week I was able to truly enjoy these gifts that were given to me without bothering myself of the what if’s, why’s or consequences that would come with them.  It is so freeing to think about how I live my life today.  The chains that were bound to me before by not only alcohol, but also my mind have truly been lifted.  I’m able to laugh, love and be the best me that I can which in turn affects those around me.

But on the cholesterol side of things, how did my week go with my new goals?  As far as my food goals went, fantastic!  I have to say that just after a couple of days of healthy eating, I already feel much better physically.  Unfortunately, I caved last night and ordered a fried chicken sandwich because aside from adding tuna to my salads and eating my egg muffins for breakfast, I haven’t had much protein, so I used that as my excuse.  Let me tell you that after just a few consistent days of healthy eating, I felt like crap after that sandwich.  Sure it tasted good, but ugggghhhh!  I felt more bloated and sluggish than I had in a while.  Live and learn, eh?

I threw my back out yesterday morning on my way to my car.  Slipped on some slush and felt that twinge that you know means something is wrong.  Luckily, my butt didn’t hit the ground, but when I tried to catch my balance, my back and shoulder are paying the price.  Today is much better than yesterday as far as mobility goes, but if I decide to order anything for the rest of the weekend, it is going to be groceries instead of junk, so I can meal prep for the week tomorrow.

So this weekend me and the kitties are at home on this dreary Caturday watching bad tv and resting up for the week.

Wishing you all a beautiful day and sending a reminder to enjoy the gifts you’ve been given instead of waiting for shoes to drop. ♥

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Day 795 – Prep for Success

Dear Sobriety,

So much good news today!  My identity theft case has finally been closed!  What a relief!  I checked my weekend mail this morning and about sh!t myself when I saw the envelopes from the credit cards that were opened up in my name.  Thankfully, the message inside read that they’ve found me not responsible for the charges.  Yay!  Of course, the 15 minute drive to work with the unopened envelopes sitting next to me was full of anxiety… almost to the point that I got sick all over myself, but hey!  It all worked out in the end!

So starting my heart healthy diet today.  Since it’s friggin cold here, I stopped and got groceries at lunch and was able to start on my food prep as soon as I got home from work.

Step one: Sort groceries so you can figure out WTF you’re going to do.  Really, I did this so I could send a pic to my parents to show them how many good choices their youngest daughter had made today.  Aren’t I adorable?!

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Step two: start oven at 350 degrees (if you’re not in ‘Merica, you’re gonna have to do the conversions yourself) and begin prepping salads.

Step three: Dice onion and throw in skillet with olive oil and minced gaaaaaaahlic.

Step four: Cut all salad veggies, fruits, fungi, etc. how you’d like and make an assembly line.  Mine included romaine lettuce, celery, radishes, carrots, baby portabella, raisins and grapes.  Once the oven is preheated, pierce skin of sweet potatoes and throw on a sheet pan for roasting.

Step five: Add extra sliced baby portabellas to the onions sweating on the stove.

Step six: Assemble and complete salads!  Yay!  Lunch is done for the week!

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Step seven: Prepare muffin tin by spraying with nonstick spray (you can also use silicone baking cups for this, I just didn’t want to do extra dishes) and add in sautéed onions and mushrooms.

Step eight: Mix up an egg scramble mixture and seasonings and pour over onions and mushrooms then put into the oven for 20 – 25 minutes.

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Step nine: Assemble egg cups and baked sweet potatoes in to go boxes when everything is done baking.

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Step ten:  This step is key!  REMOVE EXCUSES by stacking each day’s breakfast, lunch and snacks on top / next to each other so you can grab and go before work.

Also, I keep hot sauce at work for breakfasts as well as oil, balsamic vinegar, pepper and something to shake it in so I can make my own vinaigrette.

How can I refer back to alcoholism?  There’s no f**king way in hell I would have done all of this when I was in active addiction.  When in truth, it didn’t take more than 90 minutes from start to finish.

Looks like my food goals are attainable for this week!!

Day 794 – Cholester All Up in My Bizness

Dear Sobriety,

So I mentioned the other day that I started seeing a new GP.  It had been a bit since I’ve had any blood tests done, so she ran a whole panel on me and part of that was checking my cholesterol level.  Well… let’s just say I’m an over achiever in that area.  My overall number is… 284.  Yep.  Eek!  Take a look at where I am on this chart..

Guide to Healthy Cholesterol Infographic

Also, I accidentally conked out on the couch last night at 7:00p and woke up at 1:00a today all bright eyed and bushy tailed, so I’ve been doing nothing but googling cholesterol stuff and figured I might as well write about it and try and set some goals for myself with you all as my witnesses.  I guess it’s time to start paying a little more attention to what I put into my mouth, eh?  I haven’t really been caring too much since my clothes haven’t been getting tight, but my weight has also upticked a bit.

So here we go with the mini goals:

  1. Hit the grocery store with an actual list instead of playing the “I’m hungry for alllllll of this.”  I think we all know how well that ends up going.
  2. Actually food prep for the work week.  I’m absolutely terrible about not making lunch for myself and end up eating out waaaaay too much, so this will not only help my waistline, but also my wallet.
  3. Add on to #2 and if I don’t bring a lunch, to run to the supermarket and hit the salad bar instead of the drive thru.  It’s cheaper and healthier.
  4. Start working out… Blech.  I know this is not only good for my physical health, but also for my mental health, so yet another twofer of positives.  I actually have gym membership, but haven’t used it in the past two years because A) I’m lazy and B) the ex and I used to go to the gym together, so I have a slight fear that he could actually be in the same physical space as me.  But really, the odds of that are slim to none, so that’s not an acceptable excuse anymore.  Due to the major aversion to this, I’m only going to set a goal of three times a week to start out with.  I don’t want to set myself up for failure, ya know?  And working out with my dvds at home is absolutely acceptable.  I have a bazillion of them.

I think that’s a good start.  Smoking is on the list in my mind.  We shall see when that happens.  I actually had no idea that it impacted cholesterol as much as the internet has been telling me, so that’s another reason to quit.  I’m still learning how to properly adult myself, ya know?

So yeah… sobriety has impacted my health in so many positive ways, but that doesn’t mean my journey to get healthy ends with that.  There will always be things I need to work on and improve, so I think this is a good start.  Also, it’s a good thing I just got two 80 packs of maple and brown sugar oatmeal from Sam’s, huh?

Have a magical Sunday funday!  I think I’ll be napping this morning.

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Day 791 – What a Pain!

Dear Sobriety,

f0eccec3c036c275ba0ce6b1daec7352The last few months I’ve been dealing with shoulder pain that has gotten progressively worse.  I’ve been working with my chiro on it for a while and while he’s been able to help a bit, this sucker has continued to go down hill, so I finally sucked it up and went to a shoulder specialist on January 2.  X-rays showed nothing, so it’s got to be tendonitis or something along those lines.  He gave me a sheet with exercises and said to take Aleve and if it’s not better in five weeks, come back and he’ll do an MRI.

What did I do?  I wish I had an incredible story to tell you.  Something involving unicorns, trolls and a great treasure that I went on an amazing and treacherous quest for, but unfortunately, I’m thinking it’s just really bad posture and too much cell phone play.  It’s my right shoulder which is my dominant side.  I can definitely notice the pain spikes when I’m at my desk mousing around at work or bebopping on my phone.  It hurts worse with smaller movements rather than larger.  I have great range of motion and really haven’t lost any strength, but dang!!  Doing nothing with it is a killer!

I’m doing my best to stay positive, but it’s getting really difficult to not try and beg pain pills from a doctor somehow.  The little addiction monster was sitting right next to me during this doctor appointment.  It took all I had to keep it from screaming for some type of meds to quiet this pain.  Unfortunately, if I had some, it surely would quiet the pain (temporarily), but that monster’s voice would grow epic proportions with each dose.  Then each dose would get closer and closer together until I was out of a month’s supply in a week. Been there before.

By the time that prescription bottle was empty, there’s a much higher chance that some other bottle would be in my hand trying to chase away the pain.  By that time, guilt, depression and anxiety would be through the roof and then some.  It’s really scary for me to even think of it.  But it is the truth.

Funny thought I just had: when I was in my first marriage, my ex would dole out my psych pills to me each day (I was taking a lot at the time).  He literally had them locked in a safe that I didn’t know the combination for.  It’s funny because he would keep them all locked up except the Xanax which I had a bottle of in my purse and in my bathroom.  You never know when you might need to put yourself in a fog, ya know?  Sure, some of the psych meds you could overdose on, but the amount of alcohol I was mixing with my normal psych meds plus the amount of Xanax that was actually prescribed to me daily… it is amazing #1 I’m still alive and #2 my liver is doing as well as it is.

There was a time that I daily mixed alcohol, Xanax and ambien.  Wow…

So right now I feel like this shoulder pain is kinda a test of sobriety.  Is something serious wrong?  No.  Not really.  Is my HP (Higher Power, if you’ve just started reading) taking this time to test my patience and will to see if I will actually commit to making a positive change?  I think so.

Positive Change Word Cloud, Made With Text Only

I started seeing a new General Practitioner (GP) on Tuesday.  I decided to change docs cause my last one had a terrible, dead fish handshake (yes, I will judge you immediately by the way you shake hands with me) and while he was fine, he wasn’t the right fit for me.  I did a little research and found a younger, female internist and made the switch.  She immediately called me out for smoking and while she gave up trying to encourage me to quit during that appointment because she could see that scare tactics won’t work on me, I have to admit that she planted a seed.

I’ve quit before in the past.  The longest was five years during my first marriage.  It was a choice between smoking or get bitched at on a regular basis, so I quit.  As soon as the decision was made that we were separating, I started up again.  Because that’s “who I am”.  Well, I’ve learned a lot in these last 791 days.  Alcohol doesn’t make my decisions for me anymore, so maybe it’s time to take the leap and kick the cigs out too?

Obviously, I know smoking is terrible for me and it’s just another emotional crutch.  I’m not quitting today and probably not tomorrow either, but the seed has been planted and I’ve thought about quitting more the last two days than I have in a long time…  We shall see how quickly it takes to take root…

Sending love and good vibes to all!
Monsy & the Cats

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Day 782 – I Call BullSh!t

Dear Sobriety,

Read at your own risk. Suicide mentioned below.

img_5991When my parents and I are on the phone, we often end up discussing every single aspect of recovery. My parents are not addicts, thankfully, so they often ask my opinion on things they’ve heard or just questions in general. My parents know pretty well everything about me – good, bad and ugly – and I’m not ashamed of any of my past or my beliefs, so I don’t mind sharing with them my opinions or lessons learned. I can’t remember how we got on the subject, but my mom mentioned that she hopes that down the road of recovery I don’t ever think to myself, “One drink is ok,” because she knows the guilt that would come over me if/when that drink ever happens would damn near kill me. I was honest and I said if that ever happens, I can guarantee that I will either drink myself to death within a week or commit suicide within the same timeframe. I am beyond serious. I can feel that in my bones. For me, at this point, I truly feel that I am one drink away from death and I’m a smidge over two years sober.

So what does this have to do with the title of this blog? I’m so glad you asked! When I hear people say, “I just wanted to have one ____” (fill in with your drug of choice), all I want to do is yell, “BULLSH!T!” When I wanted to drink, I wanted to get DRUNKITY DRUNK DRUNK and it’s going to take more than one, two, three, four or five to get me there. I mean, isn’t that the point of drinking? Also, if I’m going to relapse then I am going to REEEEEEEEEElapse. I mean, if you’re going to do it, do it right. Am I right??

Maybe I need to take a step back and look at this differently?

Thinking

Thinking

Thinking

Nope. Can’t do it. My opinions are clouding this subject up too much. I’m curious to see what other people think. Agree, disagree or indifferent, I am intrigued. Plus, I enjoy hearing others’ opinions. Hell, I thought every person in recovery who lived alone was lying about being sober at one point. That’s because at the same time I was in “recovery”, living alone and drinking after meetings.

One is too many and a million is not enough.

img_5995And now for something completely different: meditation. Along with my gratitude jar, I’m really working on making meditation a daily healthy habit. It isn’t easy, but as I go along and don’t give up, it’s getting easier and, if nothing else, it’s very relaxing. Although, I do have to say that trying to meditate on the couch with cats crawling all over you is a bit disruptive. I have to find the balance between their chi and my chi. I found it last night though and that was my best session yet. Looking forward to tonight.

The app I use (and even purchased) is Calm. It’s super user friendly and the people reading during the guided meditations have nice, soothing voices. It’s nice to not want to claw your ears off during a session. They do have a free version, if you’re interested.  Click here.

Day 787 – Growing Gratitude

Dear Sobriety,

One post it at a time, one day at a time, one second at a time, whatever your pace, do recovery your way.

I just read a blog the other day about a fellow writer relapsing. I’ve been there before… multiple times. I know exactly how those feelings seem to take over and you almost go into this autopilot mode. Before I knew it, I had purchased something to drink and had already started revving the engine on active addiction once again.

The guilt was more than overwhelming. The disappointment in myself rocked me to my core.

What I want to say about this is that it’s still possible to put a positive spin on it: you were sober for X many days longer than you would have been if you wouldn’t have tried. Now you’ve got to find your motivation to make recovery not only “stick”, but how to make it the thing you love most about yourself. I know without sobriety, there’s no way I would’ve baked cookies this weekend! Now I’m enjoying the fruits of my labor!

Find your “why”.

PS, my gratitude jar is growing so quickly!!

Day 782 – Day-to-Day

Dear Sobriety,

51ojxqIb4yL._SX384_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgGoodness me oh my!  I took last Thursday and Friday off as vacation days to give myself a mini break so I can kick the new year off with a bang at work.  Unfortunately, I feel like I did myself a disservice by doing that.

Working in any type of corporate environment, you’ll see overheard cost savings put in place all the time.  One of them recently has been to cut excess overtime.  Aside from missing the extra cash on a paycheck, I didn’t really see this affecting me any other way.  Now I know better.

After just two days of work this week, I feel like my normal pace of crazy has mainlined speed.  My normal routine of getting to my desk at 5:30a and being the first one there without any distractions, then working through lunch has gone kaput.  Now I’m walking in at 6:55a when fires are already burning swiftly around me and then it’s a constant blistering pace all the way to 4:00p.

There’s no more slow build up of the day’s intensity.  It’s walk in with phones ringing and emails flying at me.  It’s really messing with my chi and I’m not sure how to slow it down.  I work in a pretty fast paced environment as it is, but WOW.  This is even impressing me.  So what to do?

Sure, I could complain, but is that really going to get me anywhere?  Probably not, so there’s no sense in it.  I thought about this yesterday and I’m hoping that this “compressed” work day for me is going to help me create new ways to focus more intensely on the task at hand and work on my prioritization.  I have to say, though, it has been a challenge to say the least.  Fortunately, the fact that I love not only my job, but also the majority of the people I work with is very motivating.

I can see where the upper management is coming from though.  The fact that we all are constantly working overtime really kills the work/life balance and that seems to be a key part of why they’re mandating this.  It makes sense.  I feel like I get an extra day at home during my mornings, so that’s been nice.

The good part about being sober when all of this is going on is being able to think logically about the entire situation from different angles.  When I was in active addiction, I would have immediately started up with, “The ‘man’ is out to get the little people again!” and it would have just gone down hill from there.  Being able to “flip the script” is definitely a blessing.  Seeing this as an opportunity to continue to better myself is amazing. 

Not drinking is just the beginning of sobriety.  Changing the way you think is much more difficult, but you reap rewards nearly instantaneously.

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Edit: I literally opened my new calendar after writing this and here’s what 1/1/20 was:

Day 781 – Keepin It Real

Dear Sobriety,

I have started and erased today’s blog three different times with three different topics.  Amazingly the title was applicable to all.  That’s pretty good cause sometimes when I title a blog, it’s not really related to anything at all in the writing.

Anyway, I was having a conversation with another woman in recovery the other day when I had mentioned that my recovery doesn’t operate well having a “sponsor”.  She asked me why and I said, “Well, I’ve always relapsed every time I’ve had one.”  Then she asked why I think that is and I immediately went to the blame game, but quickly got honest with myself before I opened my mouth.  Instead of going off on why this or that sponsor hasn’t worked for me I said, “Because I wasn’t done drinking.”  And that’s the truth right there.

Do I think me having a sponsor would work now?  I honestly don’t know, but I do know that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  Also, for today, without a sponsor, but with a kicka$$ HP, great support system, fantastic therapist and the right meds, I am sober.  I’m the only person who can keep me from taking the first drink, but it takes a village to keep my head straight.

Sobriety is sobriety is sobriety.  Just because it works for one person one way doesn’t mean it’s going to be the same for the next person.  My thought is that as long as you’re staying sober and not being an a$$hole (yes, BOTH items are key), then you’re on the right path for YOU.  However, if someone is questioning your program and that’s causing you to question your program, then it may be time for a change.  Maybe just a tune up or maybe a whole damn overhaul.

Sometimes I need more help than others.  Sometimes I don’t.  There’s more than one way to skin a cat and all.  Just find the right way for you.

This is HOW I work my program:

Honest
Open
Willing

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Day 780 – The Gift of Gratitude

Dear Sobriety,

Being grateful has not always been an easy thing for me until I started getting sober.  Even then, I had to go through so many layers of acceptance before gratitude started seeping into my brain.  Even NOW, I have difficulties with it at times, so I decided to try something different to kick off my 2020.

Let’s start by defining “Being Grateful” Monica style:

Being f**king thankful for schtuff.

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Fancy, fancy to go Gratitude!

One of my coworkers gave me the cutest little travel gratitude pack which inspired me to start a gratitude jar.  But even the most adorable and convenient item won’t get me motivated to actually follow through with a goal.  For me, in order to continue doing something enough to make a new healthy habit out of it, I need to be able to see the progress, so I chose a clear jar.  To make it even more fun, I found some hot pink post-its and a purple pen (cause who doesn’t have those things just laying around their home) and put them all right next to each other in an easy line of sight as well as a spot where I repeatedly pass by when I’m at home.  This will continually remind me to keep adding to it and also, when I’m not feeling so happy with life – since the jar is glass – I can literally see all the things that I have written down and watch how that jar continues to fill up.

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Opened up!  So cute!

I’ve thought about doing an exercise like this for a few years now, but either have been too lazy or… well, just been too lazy.  I’m going to use the travel gratitude pack to keep in my purse when I need some gratitude on the go.  I can write it down (sorry if my typing is crazy right now, I just had a 9 lb floof crawl onto my arms because she likes to help) and add it to my jar when I get home.

To me, this is a cheap and easy way to start giving yourself the gift of gratitude.  Short on cash?  Here’s a way to build your own el cheap-o verion:

  • Paper: Use scrap paper (think envelopes from bills, free mailers, free local papers, used wrapping paper, receipts, etc).  If you’ve got colored post-it’s at home like me, more power to ya!
  • Jar: the jar I’m using is from flowers that my cats *ahem parents* sent me for my birthday, so it was free to me!  Don’t have that?  Go to a resale shop.  They have tons of mason jars for much cheaper than a store.
  • Pen:  Ummmm… I mean, a pen.  Hit the dollar store.  Boom!  Nailed it!
  • Things to write down: this is the fun part cause GRATITUDE IS FREE!!  WOOT WOOT!!  Better than the jelly of the month club cause it really is the gift that keeps on giving!  (Where are my National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation fans at?!)

I’ve been writing one thing down each day since New Year’s Eve and I’m super excited to say that they’re already starting to add up!  I added a date to mine, so that if and when I decide to read them, I can read how my mindset was at the time and also compare it to how it is at present.

Want to make a gratitude on the go?  Go get some Altoids, eat them, keep the tin, decorate it and find a teeny, weeny writing utensil and pad of paper to put inside.  Ta da!  Gratitude on the go and your breath is curiously strong!  Well, curiously strong with mint.

So there you go!  Easy, practically free and something to keep your mind on the positive.

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Soon, I’ll be “overflowing” with gratitude!