Day 901 – The Invisible Line

Dear Sobriety,

When did I become an alcoholic? Hmmmm… this is a question that can bring attendees of a recovery meeting to their feet. For me? Knowing who I am today as a woman in sobriety, I truly feel that I was born this way. Do I think that kicking off my drinking career at 16 with a pretty traumatic life event didn’t help? I don’t know, but I do know that that life event gave me a “reason” to drink for many years.

Was I happy after my first husband and I separated because I could finally drink the way I wanted to? Yes. No question there.

Meeting my second husband who drank like I did was awesome. Until it wasn’t. Different story. Different time. Actually, I may have already written about that.

Being in an adult relationship with a pothead was great because he could never say anything about my drinking. At least what I was doing was “legal”. You bet I threw that in his face whenever necessary. Which was always. Duh.

“Legality” was an argument I’ve utilized a few different times throughout my drinking career with partners, family and friends… really, with anyone who needed a reminder. Drinking is legal. After I got my DUI and totaled my car, I, for the most part, stopped drinking and driving… Ehhhhh… truth is out now! I told everyone that I had stopped drinking and driving after I got that DUI. Unfortunately, that’s not true. I got my DUI during the end of my first marriage and my drinking didn’t really kick off (in my opinion, ex #1 may feel different, but due to black outs and ECT treatments, I remember slim to none of that entire relationship) until after that marriage ended and I felt like I was owed some party time because I spent my mid/late 20s married. Doesn’t that make sense? It made absolute perfect sense to me. It still does if I think about it now despite being sober. That’s cause I have the thinking patterns of an addict. #1 person in my life is me. One of the reasons I volunteered to be the “beer b!tch” the first time I ever drank was because every time someone would have me grab them a drink, I would also grab for myself. Boom yeah! If I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it right. Didn’t matter that it was my first time really drinking. It just felt natural to me.

Drinking is probably the most natural ability I have. It feels so weird to say, but I’ve always had a “high tolerance”. I used to shout out thank yous to my German and Irish ancestors for giving me such an amazing ability! I can out drink any man! And even though I may not remember it, I have no doubt that I have outdrank everyone I’ve tried! Like that is a feat to be proud of, but it sure was for me. Also, can you hear the amount of ego in that? Yikes, girlfriend! Step back a little.

That’s what happens when I drink. I don’t know if I ever crossed an invisible line of “drinking socially” to “drinking alcoholically”. If so, I didn’t just cross that line, I took a chainsaw to it and cut it the f**k up cause there was no going back because I finally felt “normal”. I do know that many times when I drank around friends, I would have to sneak shots, chug beers and mix in other drugs to get to my happy place because some would comment about the amount/extent I drank. And forget hanging out with friends of friends. That never went over well. You want to go to bed? Oh hell nah! It’s time to drink a red bull and kick the night off! You puked and don’t feel good? Hey! I puked too! Now we can drink more! YESSS!

I think that’s one reason why I started becoming my own best drinking buddy. There was no judgement. There was no one telling me to stop or “you should slow down” or “maybe you’ve had enough”. You know what happens when I hear those things? I double down on every drink until I get the taste of your judgement out of my mouth. I never did figure out the perfect number. If I hadn’t gotten sober, I’m sure I would still be doing serious research to find the perfect amount. Ha! Yes, my friend, that was pure sarcasm.

Where was I even going with this?

Day 862 – Learning Something New

Dear Sobriety,

COVID-19 has affected nearly everyone around the WORLD.  If you aren’t infected by it or recovering from it, your lifestyle has been drastically altered because of it.  I know mine has.  This pandemic had increased my anxiety to a point where I felt like I was walking around in a haze with a brick on my chest.  The moment I decided finances be damned because me and my sobriety are worth more than a regular paycheck was the moment I was able to take charge and start being me again.  Sure, it’s just me in my apartment with my cats doing some creative accounting, reading, attending virtual all day AA speaker marathons (I’ll have info on that below) and following the CDC guidelines in order to hopefully slow this virus down.  But when I think of how that brick felt on my chest felt, do I need anything more than that right now?  I’m going to answer that with a vehement Hell no!  Like I’ve mentioned before and have heard many time over from others:

You must take care of yourself first before you are able to care for anyone else.

One other thing I wanted to mention to those of you quarantined with your partners: take advantage of this time.  Sure, you’re going to get on each other’s nerves from time-to-time, but doesn’t that happen when the world is operating “normally”?  Think outside of the box.  Here are a few ideas that I’ve used during past relationships:

  • Go for a picnic.  We’re all encouraged to get outside right now (and socially distance ourselves, of course), so go visit a park with a lake.  Take a picnic basket, camping chairs or blanket, a couple of books or camera or whatever you’d like and just enjoy the amazing nature that is happening outside.  It’s Springtime in the States, so birds are singing, trees and flowers are budding and while the humans are quarantined, the world outside is becoming more alive!
  • Take any ol’ game (poker, Twister, Battleship, Monopoly) and give them the adult twist by adding “strip” to the beginning.  Change the rules.  Make your own games.
  • Write notes to each other.  If you’re the early riser and get the coffee going, leave a post-it note on the coffee maker for your partner to see when they get their morning cup ‘o joe to start their day off on a positive note.  I was going to say “start their day off ‘right'”, but there’s no “right” or “wrong” way to start a day, in my opinion.  Leave a note under their pillow before you go to bed.  If you’re like me and can’t keep a secret to save your life, then when you two go to bed, you’ll be all smiles and giggles waiting for them to crawl in next to you and find what you’ve left.
  • If you need some personal space, communicate that to each other.  You’re only hurting each other if you’re sitting there seething about your partner being around “all the time”.  Communicate that, set either time boundaries or household room boundaries and quarantine yourself from each other for a minute and respect this time/space.  It’s not like you or your partner are really “going” anywhere.  Also, if you’re like me and you’re the one who requested the space, you’re going to manage to do this for five minutes before giving in and realizing how much you enjoy having that other person around not only to talk to, but just be with.

Enjoy this time and enjoy each other.

Back to sobriety… Check out this link (www.recoverytapers.com) for a whole slew of free, online speakers.  All of the zoom meeting info I’ll post in pics below may also be found there.  Also, all the zoom meetings I’m posting will be recorded and available at the link above for free.  Miss a speaker you’d like to hear?  It will be available.

This is an amazing time for people in recovery.

Be safe.  Be kind.  Be you.  Sending loads of love and good vibes around the world!  ❤

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Day 667 – Stand Still with Me

Dear Sobriety,

Maybe my visions of “happily ever after” are a bit skewed from the multiple failed relationships and too much Sex and the City.

So yesterday I discovered that there is now a dating section on FaceBook… It shows you mutual friends, but no last names.  I noticed a friend trend in a person who I found attractive, despite the seven year age difference which would immediately catapult me into cougar status.  So I figured why not?  All of the mutual friends were sober friends, giving me the assumption that he was sober as well and I hit the like button.  Shortly thereafter he liked me as well which immediately opened up a messaging platform between the two of us.  img_4713

After a few quick pleasantries, he delved into deeper water and asked me what I was looking for and my response was, “End goal: real relationship, so feel free to run now.”

Him: I don’t need to run because of that

Me: Woot!  How about you?

Him: I’m not looking for a one night stand but I am a very sexual person.  hoping to find someone just as sexual as I am to be in a relationship with

Beginning to cringe to myself as now the ol’ HP must’ve read my blog last night, laughed and said, “Here you go, sweetie!  You said you want clothes optional companionship, so here it is!”
Me to HP: You think you’re so f**king funny, dude.  Me, you and my therapist are gonna need to have a serious talk.

Me to dude: Roger that, my friend.  (me hoping to deter from anymore sexual conversation)  I noticed the trend of friends we had too.  Are you a friend of Bill W? (FYI, this is code for, “Are you an addict in recovery too?)

Him: I am

Me: Me too! (getting re-excited – I can let that dumba$$ comment go for someone in sobriety, right?)

Him: nice

Me: Phew!  Now that that’s out of the way.  LOL!

Him: haha that was easy.  the other part don’t scare you out of the way?

Re-cringing to myself and silently cursing the HP.

Me: Thanks goodness for the code! (referring to the Bill W. comment followed by referring to the sexual comment which immediately made me feel awkward)
Not really. (even though it does because who in the f**k talks about sex when they aren’t on some kind of mind-altering substance and / or should also be in Sex Addicts Anonymous?  Am I just that old???)

Him: just how sexual are you?

Begin immediately running for cover and trying to hide in fear that this person can somehow see me cringing and trying to wipe the gross off of me that this conversation is beginning to cover me with.

Me: I’m thinking not enough.  (close app)

WHAT IN THE ACTUAL F**K?!  In all honesty, I have no f**king clue “how sexual I am” because I am sober and, for me, this is a whole new world and truly it’s going to depend on the chemistry.  But can that wait until I see you in person and maybe we see if we have anything in common?  You’re sober, I’m sober, that’s awesome!  But d@mn.  Hold the phone a bit.  Sobriety has taught me that I don’t need to lead with sex in order to feel fulfilled with myself which is the total opposite of what drunk Monica would be doing.  We would’ve already exchanged faceless nude pics by now, but no.  No no no.

So going back to Sex and the City, is it terrible that in my 37 year old, 667 day sober, independent woman life that I just would like someone to stand still with (see YouTube clip here)?  Am I just “too old”?  Is there something wrong with me?  Am I being a prude?  Or do I need to lower my self-respect again to meet this current dating standard?

I hate to break it to you, I’m not going to do the latter and I have to be honest because I really don’t think I’m old, prudish or broken.  Nerdy?  Yes.  Quirky?  Occasionally.  Bitchy?  Sometimes more than even I can handle.  But I do not need attention badly enough to start talking about sex before I even know your last name.

Ugh.  What has this dating world come to?

Sunny is cool with this lack of events though.  He’s happy being stuck as the forced cuddle bug home fry in my life.  Little sucker needs to get a job so he can start supporting his momma when she retires in, you know, 87 years or so…

At least I got my hairs cut today!  One day I’ll grow into that nose!

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Day 601 – Give a Smile, Get a Smile

Dear Sobriety,

One of my responsibilities at work is to make sure the ladies and gents who work in the unairconditioned areas have access to high quality H2O.  We keep coolers iced down and stocked with bottled water when the temperature reaches a certain level and I make Sam’s runs, as needed, to keep the water flowing like Niagara Falls.  Well, to a certain extent anyway.  I’m normally the one who keeps our customer areas stocked with snacks and drinks throughout the entire year too.  During my, on average, weekly early morning trips to the store to stock up on supplies, I have gotten to know the employees there because I’m a talker.  Lately, we’ve been toying with cost savings ideas at work, so I haven’t been in the last couple of weeks and I have to say that I missed seeing one store employee in particular: Queen Anna.

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Today a heat warning was issued in my locale, so it was time to once again stock up the coolers.  I aim to miss the crowds when I go, so I tend to arrive at the store at 7:00a, right when they open, and I was not disappointed by the very first person I saw as I walked in: Anna!  Her name tag says “Queen Anna” on it, which makes me enjoy my chats with her even more.  I finally got filled in on her mini-vaca with her family that she told me she was going on the last time I saw her and also got to hear about how her youngest finally got her driver’s license.  Yay!

The point I’m trying to get at is that when I was drinking, sure, I would’ve feigned interest out of politeness, but I wouldn’t have cared.  Whereas today, I genuinely enjoy the little convos I get to have with Queen Anna and the rest of the employees.  She has often told me that I’m her favorite customer because I bring such a bright light in with me.  You know what I call that light?  The gift of sobriety and the serenity that comes along with it.

I didn’t used to feel this way.  The only thing that I used to be concerned about was how much longer until my next drink and how much time you’re making me wait until I get to that.  Things aren’t rushed for me anymore, so I feel like I’m able to see and enjoy the beauty in the wonders around me.

Right now I’m sitting outside on the patio listening to the rain fall as a storm and cool front passes through.  The wind is rustling through the trees.  My chair is squeak-squeaking as I rock back and forth while typing and as I looked up, just now, one of my hummingbirds was buzzing around and getting a sip from the feeder I have out for them.  Just the other day I noticed that with my newly arranged living room furniture, I can watch the moon set from my couch.  Throwing my back out was worth it.  I am just in awe of these things… all of these things that I once very much took for granted.

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One of the greatest things that sobriety has brought back to me is trust from my parents.  While I was on my nightly call with them yesterday, mom mentioned that is one of the things that she and dad are thankful for because not so very long ago, the amount of concern that I had for when my next drink would come was equal to or less than their amount of worry of when or, more likely, if their daughter would ever find the answer she was looking for.  And what kind of bottom they would have to witness me getting to and hopefully living through during the process.

Addiction is a selfish, greedy disease.  Even though 99% of my drinking the last few years was by myself, I was still killing my family with it.  I thought since I was alone in my apartment with no one physically witnessing me and I was able to (somehow) pay my own bills while supporting my habit that I wasn’t hurting anyone.  How wrong I was!!

When I was drinking, I would still have my evening phone calls with my parents to catch up with each other.  My goal then was to have that as soon as I got home and to rush through it so I could get properly into my cups.  I would line up a row of opened beers or pop open a bottle of wine before I called them so they couldn’t hear me opening anything during our call… but they still knew exactly what I was doing.

As the evening and my drinking would continue, I would inevitably get pissed about something and have to call back (sometimes multiple times) half-drunk or worse; slurring and not making any sense because I knew they would answer the phone.  I would scream at my parents over nothing and then if they didn’t appease me with their responses, I would hang up on them!  It makes me cringe just to think of what I put them through.  I had no happiness to share with them.  I had only anger and resentment… so much resentment that my life was not happening the way that I had planned.

They listened to me yell, rant and rave more times than I can even remember, but they never gave up on me even though I gave them plenty of reasons to. My parents have told me that when they saw my name pop up on the caller ID, they would immediately start worrying about “who” they were going to be talking with this time.

I know lots of people in sobriety who have lost relationships with family members because of their addiction.  I don’t know how or why I received the blessing of mine not giving up on me, but I am grateful.  It’s one of the greatest gifts I have received so freely in sobriety.

Today, while mom and dad still have the regular worries that parents have, they no longer have to wonder who is calling.  It’s just me.

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Day 553 – Relationship Status N/A

Dear Sobriety,

Do you realize how much more difficult it is to date people when your sober? I use the term “date” loosely as all the people I’ve been in a relationship with prior t66e8e6a42104eb3031f9ffe9b774c53f.jpgo detoxing my brain usually started with alcohol and a few bad decisions. Well, not really bad decisions, just less inhibited verdicts. Lubricated choices, if you will. Ba dam boom! Double entendre right there. Anyway, you could probably call them one-night stands that lasted longer than initially intended.

But why? Well, probably because my relationship with alcohol and men was intensely kicked off the same night. Most people would probably think if you start at the bottom of the totem pole, you can’t go any lower. I’m here to prove that one wrong. But that’s not the lesson of the day.

Today we’re talking about relationship decision making with a clear mind. I’m finally at a point where I think I’m ok allowing myself to ponder the thought of dating. Typing that was difficult. The unfortunate part of being sober during this is that you can’t just run out to the bar, get trashed and invite whoever gives you the most attention over for the evening. Once you get home, you find out you also laugh at the same things and bam! You’re married.

Uh oh… two-time jaded ex-wife, and three-time cynical ex-live in girlfriend me is going to come in to type for a minute. No… no… no. I’m forcing her back, guys. She’s not coming out today. Also, after I throat punched her, I did make her admit that it takes two to tango, so it’s not all one person’s fault in any of the relationships that she (I?) have been lucky enough to be a part of.9de6c660bc1d3ef5227a8518eb707551--reggio-hot-mess-quotes

There are waaaaaayyyy too many people trying to talk over each other right now. Anyway, where was I? Her? Ack!

It’s just hard cause you’re forced to live in reality. I’m not really awkward around new people, so that’s not my problem, but I really am not forcing myself to do anything outside of my home to meet said people, so I’ve turned to the dreaded online dating.

It’s terrible, dudes. It’s terrible. You know, it’s hard to get this much sparkling personality across when you’re pretty average in the looks department because no one wants to talk you up. Then when and if a convo is sparked, it’s too damn much work to try and keep it going. At least, this has been my experience. Ultimately I’ve been suggesting meeting up and the other party has been privy to the idea and then everything just dies and I’m not about to give something CPR when I haven’t seen their STD screen results.

Actually, there was this one dude who stalked my FB profile which is not anonymous about alcoholism and he ruled himself out without even talking to me due to the mention of sobriety. Honestly, that doesn’t hurt my feelings. If I were still drinking, I would NEVER date someone who didn’t drink. Also, it easily weeds out people who are not healthy for my lifestyle now.

I really have no idea where I was going with this. Oh yeah! So now I’m living the sober, single, 30-something life and I think I actually would like to meet someone to share my cats with. It is just so difficult to find someone who does not have kids. And being married to one person who did and then the last guy had kids, I’ve been burned two too many times in that arena. Despite the fact that I would ultimately like kids and if they don’t have to come out of my hooha, that’s a bonus. But for now, it is a deficit for potential swains (ty thesaurus for that suggestion for beaux).

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Sidenote: I would like to apologize to everyone for ending so many sentences with prepositions. Believe me, that was not my intention. It’s just how the thoughts flow.