Today is the Best Day

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Today is THE best day of the year!!!  I have been sober for 3 years, or 1,095 days to be exact.  January 2, 2013 I woke up in the detox unit of Lutheran Hospital in Cleveland .  Gleaming white walls, plastic covered mattress with sheets that felt like cardboard, a pounding headache, a snow storm brewing outside, all alone, and yet I distinctly remember feeling complete relief.  My game was up, everyone knew the truth, I didn’t have to lie to cover the lie that I lied about to my loved ones.  I had arrived, I had accepted that I was an alcoholic.  I surrendered my whole self to God and was ready to accept the help I so desperately needed and desired.  I breathed a huge sigh of relief.

I don’t want to dwell on the past too much, for it just that, the past.  But it is important to me to reflect on where I came from.  It keeps me humble.  It also stirs something up inside of me that makes me feel uncomfortable and almost ill.  I think that something is the realization that I was horribly sick, a raging alcoholic, a sad, desperate, lonely, miserable woman, whom was dying inside.  Even as I type this, I pause, that feeling growing in the pit of my stomach.  I guess it’s a good feeling in that I know that I NEVER want to go back to that nightmare….like I said, it keeps me humble.

So fast forward to today….WOW!  I am in a place that I never imagined I would be 3 years ago.  I honestly LOVE my life, so much so I’m gonna say it again….I LOVE MY LIFE!  I have an intimate circle of family and friends.  I have the most rewarding career. My kids are THE best (I am biased), and I get along with their dad (my ex husband) better now than I have in years.  I am reaching fitness goals slowly but surely.  I embarked on a journey, a lifestyle change of clean eating.  I am in a healthy loving relationship with an amazing man, who is in recovery as well.  Getting sober and staying sober have made all this possible.  Without AA, without my sponsor Melanie, who has stood by my side since day 1….and then day 1 again… without God and the 12 steps, there is absolutely no way I would be here today…Day 1095….and God willing day 1096.

So what do I hope for in 2017?   To live in the moment and enjoy the little things each and everyday as they come.  I decided a while back that I was constantly waiting  for the next “big thing” or “waiting for other shoe to drop” or  speeding through stuff to get to the end result or the next item on my list.  Well guess what?  Life is too short…..its getting shorter…I realized that I was missing a lot….all kinds of special moments, a smile, a tender touch, a conversation….and so much more.  And for what?? Think about it for a minute….what is so darn important that you can’t pause for a moment and take in the silence? Hug your kid or loved one?  Listen to a friend for a few extra moments, let go of the petty stuff and live in the now!

How grateful am I that I can sit and type this as a sober woman?  I know too many who are still sick and ravaged by this horrible disease.  I thank God each and everyday for another day sober and for those who have stuck by me on the journey….My momma who is the heart and soul of our family, and who has been to hell and back with me.  I love you.  My 2 sisters, whom haven’t always understood “it” (and that’s ok),  but have always listened, empathized, and have forgiven their big sis for her selfishness.  M&M, the loves of my life, whom love their mommy unconditionally, whom have endured more than any young children should have too. I love you to the moon and back.  My bestie Kerry; through it all we have stuck by each other…in good times and in bad, sickness and in health:).  My partner in crime, Reggie….who knew those puzzles would play a role in our friendship and recovery.  My work family…..you never threw me to the curb, you don’t judge me and you are the most hilarious and ‘sick’ group of individuals that I am priveledged to work with on a daily basis.  My fellow blogging friends; especially Paul, you inspire me and keep me motivated on the writing and running track!  Last but definitely not least, Todd….I cant find the words…(shocking I know!) you came into my life when I least expected it.  You have my heart.

2017 is going to be the year of new adventures.  It goes along with my theme of living in the moment.  I have decided to run the Cleveland half marathon in may (already registered), a come back of sorts.  I am going to do more writing and lots of it.  Finally, I want to do more advocacy work in addiction.  Much of society still considers addiction a lifestyle choice, a bad habit of sorts.  Education is desperately needed.  This is a disease and I am the face of this disease.  I hope to make a difference.  I hope to help even one individual.

Well that about wraps up my anniversary post.  My heart overflows with gratitude.  I am excited to see what awaits in 2017….but will take each moment as they come and enjoy it!!

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A Fresh Start & Still Learning

Wow!  A lot of what is stated in this quote has happened, is happening!   This year I’ve embarked on new adventures.  Fitness & health being the biggest & quite honestly the scariest.  I don’t know why either.  I have no problem being honest about my sobriety & recovery, but when it comes to weight loss & exercise I clam up?!  I’m still working on the why’s of that one!??  I started the year off with my heart broken (or so I thought).  In retrospect, it was my expectations that caused the heartache.  I have learned to go with flow & let affairs of the heart happen naturally, & guess what?! I am capable of doing that & I am quite content☺.  M&M & I moved recently.  It wasn’t a big move in terms of distance, but one that mentally & emotionally means a lot.  We moved away & said goodbye to a place where a lot of shit went down.  Fortunately little M is to young to recall, but his sister certainly does.  It was definitely time to close the door on that chapter (not forget), of our lives.  To be honest, a huge sigh of relief.  The three of us are in a brand new place where we can make our own memories. That makes me happy☺.

Then I think about me.   I like to say I’ve come a long way since starting this blog nearly 2 years ago!! WOW!!. I’ve been re-reading my first posts.  It was  definitely progress, not perfection☺.  I was so freshly sober, so happy riding the infamous pink cloud, so spouting off anything and everything AA.  And you know what?,  that was OK.  I was  at a point where I was still struggling with the day to day recovery stuff.  I wasn’t yet completely comfortable with my new normal.  I still didn’t know what this ‘new’ Katie was all about.  I still had a lot of resentments to let go off.
All that being said, I’m still not where I  want to be today. I am striving each and everyday to be better. Not perfect, not searching for more of anything,  just better than I was the day before. Just plain grateful, its that simple.  

I think the biggest thing I have learned since starting this blog, is how important it is to be mindful.  Everyday, & yes everyday I take 5 minutes to just be…. I clear my head, I pray, I say thank you, I think, I reflect, I journal, I breathe…anything where I focus on the inner me.  Without these 5 minutes, the negative, nasty, scared Katie may rear her ugly head…& nobody, especially me wants that!

So I decided to attach my very 1st blog post. Once again its a great reminder of how far I have come, and how there is absolutely nothing I want more in this world than continue on this road of life; sober, healthy, happy road, & whatever surprises that are in store for me.

☺❤✌

October 2014  

Letting Go

No this isn’t about the now infamous Disney song, I promise not to break out the lyrics.  How often do we say to family, friends, or significant others “Just let it go”.  How many times is it spoken to us or more importantly do we say it to ourselves?  The words just roll off the tongue like they are no big deal, a shrug of the shoulders, say it, do it, wipe the slate clean, and move on.  If it was only that simple.  If it was, broken hearts, broken relationships, missed opportunities, feelings of hurt, guilt, and shame, and the should of’s, could of’s, would of, would not monopolize so much of our time, our minds, and our hearts.

Speaking from personal experience, letting go has been both a positive and negative experience.  Over the last 10 months I have learned to let go of a lot of garbage, toxic stuff I was carrying around.  That’s the thing about getting sober, it forces you to examine just about every aspect of one’s life.  The good the bad the ugly.  I spent so many years feeling inadequate, unhappy, and generally sad.  I carried so many feelings of shame over my behavior, especially when I would drink.  Learning why I felt this way, why I drank, and letting it go has been freeing, life changing.  That’s not to say that I don’t struggle with feelings of inadequacy or sadness, the difference is that I know how to deal with those feelings, and I do it without picking up a drink or other unhealthy behaviors.

But not all situations and circumstances are easy to let go of, broken relationships, wondering what if I had only done this, or what if I try this, creep into my head.  My mind is taken over by self-righteous thoughts of, well why the hell not me!  I pray and try bargaining with my higher power (I call God), please give me another chance.

The funny thing is, that I know that God has a plan in place, he has since day one, I need to let go of control.  10 months ago I started this journey, it most definitely has not been easy, everyday I must make a conscious effort to let it go, the past that is, life is so much simpler and I am so much better off living in the now.  Does that mean I completely forget the past?  No, of course not, I have respect for it, but I need to move forward and not dwell on the should of, could of, would of.  Everyday I need to remind myself to let it go, whatever it may be.  I know I will be ok:)

A Crossroad to Grace

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I feel like I am at a crossroad of sorts… unsure of what direction to choose.  I am approaching 18 months of sobriety, a big deal?… maybe a little, maybe not.  I am not expecting pats on the back or accolades of any sort.  Sobriety is my way of life now.  Recovery is my life, and a great life at that.  I have absolutely no desire, nor do I miss the misery and lifestyle I embraced when I was drinking.  I do ‘play the tape’ back of my last drink, as well as other painful experiences while intoxicated, and it gives me anxiety, a physiological response, almost like a fight or flight response.  I do not regret my past, I own it, and respect it, but I hope to never return to that dark, dismal, lonely place.  A place where I was completely broken and hopeless.

I am grateful that today I am comfortable and accepting of being alone.  This is different from being lonely, I am far from being lonely.  I am comfortable with myself, I am who I am, I can be alone and be ok with that.  There was a time not too long ago when I would not of been able to say that.  Huh, perhaps I’m experiencing some growth?.

So with this new found growth, I have been experiencing some unrest or uneasiness. ….Ok, I am just going to call myself out; I’m just not into my meetings these days…. there I said it!  Before the backlash starts and the well meaning slogans such as you know ‘meeting makers make it’, let me explain.  I love AA.  The program, the steps, the women I call sisters, have all impacted my life, and in many ways saved my life.  I have learned a whole new way to live.

I am not becoming anti- AA, nor am I suggesting that I am above meetings or the program.  I am also not suggesting that I am cocky or over confident with my sobriety & recovery.  I just feel restless, like I need to change the course up a bit.

New meetings, try to step out of my comfort zone? Volunteer, give back, lead, teach, write?  Try new activities?  I don’t know, I’m just throwing out ideas.  I do know that my meetings are not full-filling me right now and that something is missing.  Yes, I have been praying, and thinking about this a lot, hoping to find some answers.

I realize some may disagree with my ideas, and that’s ok,   I’m not look looking for approval, I’m looking for suggestions.  I’m looking for ways to enhance my recovery program.  I will always be a part of AA and I will always rely on meetings and the program as my core and foundation to my recovery.  I would like to expand my horizons.  I am very aware that my nasty addiction is always lingering, waiting to pounce ..  I am not naïve to this.  I have a kick ass recovery toolbox, I would like to add a few new tools.

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Turn Yourself Around

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I’m at a turning point, I think I have been ‘here’ for a while, but haven’t fully accepted, or maybe haven’t been comfortable with the idea.  That may seem a little odd, especially when I reflect on what this post is about…oh progress not perfection… Of course there have been many turning points over the course of my young life. The biggest and most influential becoming a mother, getting married, getting divorced, and admitting I’m an alcoholic and getting sober.  I wouldn’t change anything that I have endured over the years.  This statement may seem crazy to some, and that’s ok.  It’s my life and I own it.

This is my turning point today.  I can finally say that I accept me for me.  Take it or leave it.  I have worked my ass off, not only in my recovery, but with just about every facet of my being.  I am not the shy, scared, sad, co-dependent, people pleaser that I was for many many years.  I no longer care what others think of me, (besides its none of my business).  I don’t have time for pettiness or drama, I spent too many years on that twisted ride.  I hope and pray to stay off it.  I do my best to live in the 4 Absolutes: Honesty, Unselfishness, Purity, and Love.  It’s not always easy, I’m in recovery, not perfect😉.

That being said, if it wasn’t for the program of AA and the journey I started a year and 4 1/2 months ago, and continue on everyday (God  willing), I would not be at this turning point.  I would not be able to say with confidence that I like me and the woman I am becoming.  I’m living in the moment , the best that I can, but I ‘m excited to see what’s in store 😊

Looking back at all the shit I went through and all pain I put my loved ones through I cringe, but seeing me today, it was worth it, and that’s a pretty big turning point!

My name is Katie and I am a grateful recovering alcoholic.

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So Now What??…

I have been asking myself this question since January 3rd.  I think that is part of the reason I haven’t blogged lately.  Well, that and some serious writers block.  I just haven’t had any descent (in my opinion) ideas that I have been able to develop into a logical, published post, worthy to share .

Wow, that is an  alcoholic statement!  it just oozes with egotistical, controlling , perfectionists traits, or in my case character defects.  I think I answered  my own question!

You see, since my anniversary, I’ve been reflecting and brainstorming how to keep the tempo of my recovery going at a steady pace.  The last 2 steps of Alcoholics  Anonymous is a foundation for the rest of my life in sobriety.

Step 11; Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

Step 12; Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

In a nutshell, Staying involved by going to meetings, setting up meetings, leading discussions,  sponsoring,  and sharing my message (just to name a few).   This seems to be the easy part (none of it is actually easy), but the part that makes the most sense to me.  I guess I am scared that I am missing something, that I am leaving a piece out?… I have completed the 12 steps with my sponsor, who sometimes knows me better than myself.  I also expect to revisit Steps when necessary.   I have a home group, a group of ‘sober sisters’, I pray (need to do more of this), read a lot of literature on recovery and addiction (I choose too), and  oh  yes, this blog, and all the fellow  bloggers I have ‘met’, and admire.  (We are on this journey together).

Sooooo am I making  this way more complicated than it has to be, while on my quest for perfection???

Why am I hesitant and scared as I go into year 2?  Am I worried I will pick up a drink? Not really, (not being arrogant, I know what I will lose if I do),  Am I living in the 4 Absolutes? (honesty, unselfishness, purity, & love), I do my best.  Am I grateful just for today, and mindful of the past?,  For the most part.  Have I forgiven myself?  …. need to work on that… Am I happy?  Yes.

I think my character defects get the best of me at times.  I think I am often so aware and ‘on guard’ of my addiction ‘speaking to me’ (think letter I shared from my addiction), and worry that something is going to go wrong (because so much has gone wrong in the past especially before sobriety), that I am too hard on myself and often ask, what’s wrong or now what?…

Is it validation  I am searching for? I honestly don’t know the answer to that.  Yes? Sometimes?

Gosh, the 2nd year of sobriety just may be more difficult than the first when it comes to peeling away the layers of feelings, in order to maintain emotional sobriety and serenity.

I don’t want to end this post on a negative note, although I do believe I have brought up more questions than answers.  But you know what?, I feel calm and serene as if I’m being told ‘its going to be ok’…

Remember  its progress, not perfection.

What a difference a year makes!!

You could never know what its like

Your blood like winter freezes just like ice

And there’s a cold lonely light that shines from you

You’ll wind up like the wreck you hide behind that mask you use.

And did you think this fool could never win

Well look at me, I’m coming back again

I got a taste of love in a simple way

And if you need to know while I’m still standing you fade away

Don’t you know I’m still standing better than I ever did

Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid

I’m still standing after all this time

Picking up the pieces of my life without you on my mind

I’m still standing…

Elton John

                                                                                   

I’m here, I have arrived.  1 year, 365 days, 8,760 hours.  Although to get technical today marks my last drunk, tomorrow marks my 1st sober day.   I get confused as to which day is the official anniversary, so I plan on honoring both😊.  There would be no sober date without the last drunk date.

Holy cow!  A lot has happened over the last year!  The biggest, waking up in a hospital, ashamed, sad, and scared; but utterly relieved that I didn’t have to lie or hide or feel like crap anymore…I had Surrendered, and Admitted that I was completely Powerless over alcohol.  I was so ready to feel better and move on.  Little did I know how difficult that would be. Through  heartache, resentments, anger, dishonesty, selfishness, and depression (just to name  few),  I have persevered and found my true self, a scared, lonely, unhappy little girl, to no fault but her own.  I discovered the reasons for my addiction, more importantly, why I fed the disease.

Glenda from the Wizard of Oz said it best; “You’ve always had the power my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself.” (I know I’ve used this quote in a previous post;)

That power includes genuinely liking me, for who I am, I am exactly who, where, and what I should be, (this is still a work in progress, darn control issues;).   My faith and spirituality has changed and grown immensely.  My kids have their mom who is present every day and love them more than words.  I have a job that I am truly passionate about, and my coworkers and patients can depend upon on me.  And my family and friends’ know the real and healthy Katie.

I am entirely grateful to those who have saved my life (some remain anonymous, but I know who you are and carry you close to my heart).  Without the program of AA, my ‘sober sisters’, sponsor, the Cleveland Clinic alcohol and drug recovery program, and most importantly my higher power(God), I would be broken, or in jail, or dead.  By the grace of God I’m still here, standing, excited for the future, but living in the moment, one day at a time.