The next 40 days

Who said it takes 21 days to break a habit?  I have heard this sooooo many times, with regards to sobriety, eating habits, exercise, & smoking.  But is this a scientific fact? I tried to find some facts but didn’t search too long or find anything concrete.   Personally, 21 days doesn’t do it for me.( if you can make or break a habit 21 days, congrats!) But it has always taken me a little longer to catch on, or stick with anything, in just about every aspect of my life…

That being said; the season of Lent is upon us (for those not familiar, & without getting too religious, it’s the 40 days before easter, a time of sacrifice & mindfulness reflection before the celebration of easter…thats a very edited version;).   

So I have decided to use Lent, which begins tomorrow,  as the time to stop drinking the DC…diet coke.  I am hoping that 40,days will be enough to totally kick the habit!  Or maybe the catholic guilt will kick in if I cheat;).

In all seriousness, I defintely traded addictions when I stopped drinking alcohol & started drinking way to much diet coke.   Now diet coke isn’t destroying my life or relationships, but it isn’t helping my health.  I have finally realized that it is stalling my fitness & health goals.  There is absolutely no benefits to drinking diet coke.  Truth is, I don’t even really enjoy it anymore.  I drink it just because.   

I have known that I need to stop this nasty habit for a long time…I crossed the addiction level a long time ago….I’m embarrassed to even mention how much I drink on average per day…its more than 3 less than8….ugh!!!!

So I’m jut gonna do it. I have already for warned my boyfriend, kids, & co workers that I may be not nice for a few days;). Its not gonna be easy, I know that, but I have overcome so much more.  I know I can do this! Heck I have many recovery tools in my ‘recovery tool belt’ that will be very helpful:)

So why the heck am I blogging about this? Trivial to some?  … one word comes to mind: ACCOUNTABILITY.

I have had my last diet coke for the next 40 days….hopefuly for ever….but let’s just start with one day at a time.

:)❤✌

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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 Wink & A Smile

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I am all about the God winks these days.  It’s kinda funny because 2-3 weeks ago I had no idea what a God wink was, never heard of ‘it’ before.  I was browsing the self help section at Barnes & Noble ( I always end up there☺), & I came a cross the the book When God Winks at You, by Squire Rushnell.  It sounded interesting, it was small, only 200-some pages, & something I could easily get through quickly.  I purchased it, & started reading it almost immediately. It was shortly there after that I suddenly experienced my own God Winks.

An individual enters my life at a time I am questioning so much, coincidences & experiences that mirror my own.

An opportunity to help women, who are struggling with addiction & sobriety through sharing my story.

A heart to heart with my nine year old daughter whose compassion, empathy, & kindness, amazes me to no end.

For the longest time I was searching for the ‘a-ha’ moment, as if a bolt of lightening was going to bop me on the head!  At times I was way to busy, preoccupied, or not willing to listen to my inner self, (always trying to control!). I was not mindful of what God has in store for me.  All I needed to do was stop & listen.  No worrying  necessary.  Searching not required.
Just a little faith, that’s all I need.
☺❤✌🏿

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A few words of advice

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Happy Thanksgiving friends! So I wanted to repost this piece from a year ago.  I still believe in the sentiment,  but another year in sobriety &  I am a tad more confident in myself & more self aware.   If anyone questions why I don’t drink I simply say I’m a recovering alcoholic and leave it at that….usually I get uncomfortable silence(not on my part) or a ‘wow, congratulations’….  

I guess what I am trying to get across is that it’s all about respect.  Something our society desperately needs these days.  I, myself am very comfortable talking about recovery and sobriety, but not everyone is like me, thank goodness:).  Just be respectful….that goes for me too… A grateful alcoholic….

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Let me begin this post by saying that I am blessed and so very grateful for my friends and family who have supported and believed in me always, even during the dark times when I did not believe in myself.
My thoughts for writing this is because the holiday season kicks off later this week, which means lots of reuniting with friends and family, eating, and drinking.  For those of us in recovery, we want to participate in activities with our friends and family and not feel ostracized.  More on that in a moment.

So, I have been giving this topic some serious thought the last couple of weeks and comprised a short list of helpful hints for surviving the holidays for those in recovery and their loved ones.

1.  “So are you still doing the not drinking thing?”.  Asking this seemingly harmless question evokes some serious frustration.   I have been asked this on more than one occasion.  I just chuckle and usually reply with some sort of smart ass reply (passive aggressive, I know).  It wasn’t a fad nor did I give up drinking for lent. It’s my way of living :D.

2.   “You know, its all about will power”. Ummmm….no its not.  If this was the case,  thousands of addicts would be in recovery and not dying or living in despair.  I cannot speak for all recovering addicts, but I did not wake up one morning and say …hmmm, seems like a good day to be an alcoholic and destroy my life…
It’s a chronic disease! Just like diabetes and heart disease.   I am an alcoholic and I always will be. There is no cure.  I work everyday to stay sober.

3.  “No seriously, though how are you really??”.  (Asked repeatedly).  I understand and appreciate peoples’ concern , especially if I don’t see them often.  I know for many loved ones of addicts, the ‘wool was pulled over their eyes’ for years.  It may be difficult for them to know what to believe.  Asking once is fine, just leave it at that.

4.  Acting awkwardly or not knowing what to say .  I can only speak for myself, but be your self!  I am me, a better version of myself, but me.  That means I still love to have fun, laugh, be sarcastic, and inappropriate (at times;).  I enjoy social gatherings whether it be at someone’s home or venue.  I know when I have to excuse myself and hit the road.  I am comfortable being around those drinking.  I always have my club soda or diet coke in hand.  Reality is, drinking is a big part of social events, especially during the holidays.  I’m OK with that, if I’m not, then I will excuse myself.

5.  Respect the space.   Often, once a fun holiday party gets going, noise levels gets higher, everyone loves everyone else,  personal space is non existent. I get it, I did it for years.  That being said,  if I leave early, or sit quietly in another room, please give me my space and don’t be offended. We’ve all been the ‘sober one’, the frivolity can be a little over whelming at times.

6.  I want to be at events and I want to have fun, treat me like any other guest.

My tips are meant as a guideline.  I have experienced them all.   While I do understand the why and that ‘they mean well’, a little sensitivity and awareness makes a difference.

I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!  I am grateful for so much and truly humbled by all that I have experienced this year.

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wHappy Birthday to Me!

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I am 18 months sober today & it’s my 39th birthday.  I guess you could say it’s somewhat of a special day.  I think what makes it an extra special birthday this year, is the fact that I am 18 months sober.  Age to me is just a number, I don’t feel 39, (probably don’t always act like it either at times😉), and I’m not going to waste time worrying about being one step closer to 40.  What the heck is the big deal with getting older?  Are there days in my life where I worry, or wallow in self pity because of my current situation?  Well yes, of course, because sometimes being a divorced, single momma, working full time, pay check to pay check just really sucks!  And this isn’t the life I envisioned for myself when I used to day dream about my future. I definitely didn’t wish to be an alcoholic either.

But you know what, I’m 18 months sober; I am an extremely grateful recovering alcoholic.  I am lucky to be celebrating my 39th birthday, with my kids, healthy, sober, alive.  2years ago today I got out of rehab for the first time, thinking I knew it all, ready for a fresh start.  I desperately wanted to stay sober, it was my birthday wish…I wasn’t ready…

Today its a completely different story!  I believe that I am my true self, and continue to learn about the real Katie, each and everyday, and you know what, she isn’t half bad😊!

So for anyone struggling with addiction, or in the early hours or days of sobriety, stay true, stay honest, one moment at a time.

It’s  worth it!

This year  I’m  not making any birthday wishes, I’m right where I’m supposed to be, my story is just beginning.

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Oh, and to celebrate my 2 milestones, I am going to a meeting to start my day, and having ice cream with M&M to end my day.

Can’t get much better than that😊

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Memorial Day weekend, 1st official weekend of the summer, pools open, BBQ’s a plenty, 3 day weekend (for many), and was once my wedding anniversary.  Would of been 13 years today.  Am I living in the past by mentioning this day? It is what it is. Recovery has taught me to respect the past, but do not dwell or live in it.  I do not regret my marriage, it produced the 2 loves of my life, the 2 that only truly matter, M&M.

And to think that my addiction nearly cost me my children.  My selfishness robbed M&M of their mommy.  They did not deserve that.  Many memories of this date, as well as many others, are filled with memories both good and bad, many alcohol laced, resulting In missing pieces to those memoires.

So this weekend, including today I created a whole bunch of new memories, without alcohol or dwelling on the past, and in all honesty, I didn’t have to try real hard either.😊

The weekend was filled with laughter, love, family, lots of activity (I’m completely water logged😉), and of course, ice cream.

I had an absolutely amazing weekend with M&M, I’m exhausted, but it’s so worth it!  I was (am) present for my kids, and that is what they deserve!  A momma who will go down waterslide again and again, who is able to take them for ice cream, and put them to bed, safely and responsibly, as every child deserves.  I am so grateful for today, the new memories I have created, and the opportunity to do it all again tomorrow.

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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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Dream a little Dream

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It was only a dream… it was only a dream… Thank God it was only a dream…

The mantra I repeated this morning as I tried to slow down my breathing, as I was on a verge of a panic attack, and the uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach vanished.  I told myself, I was ok, it was only a drinking dream….. an absolute nightmare, but a dream nonetheless.

In this dream I was drinking secretly, or so I thought.  There wasn’t any tragic event or celebration that spurred my drinking.  I just did it because I could, because I thought I could handle it.  In my dream I kept telling myself that no one had to know, that I could keep up the façade for a long as I wanted too, convinced that I could control my drinking at anytime.  In my dream I continued to live a sober lifestyle, as if I wasn’t the biggest liar and hypocrite around.  In my dream feelings of dread, despair, loneliness, and fear felt almost real, hence the physiological effects when I awoke.  In my dream I thought I was hiding my secret from my family and friends, but I thought wrong.  Even when confronted in my dream I continued to lie… and then I woke up…

So I asked myself, what the hell brought this on?   I haven’t changed anything in my recovery.  I know that I am not immune to the temptress that is my addiction.  Is it my subconscious?  Then it hit me, I have been doing lots of reflecting on my past, more specifically my journey in recovery.  The how’s and the whys.  I am preparing to give my first lead in a few days.  Sorting through what to say and what not to say stirs up a lot of stuff.  I am honored (& a tad nervous) to share my story with women who are where I was 15 months ago.  I hope that some small piece of what I have to say, sticks with or touches just one of these women.  I pray that I can share with them a sense of hope.

Drinking dreams are a nightmarish reality for me.  A  dream yes, but was once my reality.  I must  respect that, acknowledge it, and be ever grateful for another sober day😊

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The Not so Great Expectations

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I will preface this post with I am far from perfect & I don’t pretend to be, so with that being said;  I feel like my expectations have been heightened since I got sober. Maybe it’s because I’m thinking clearly and have cleaned up so much garbage from my past.  Maybe it’s because I believe the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous can be the foundation for heathy living for everyone, not just alcoholics.  Or maybe it’s because I expect others to change because I have. (See I even use the word on a regular basis!). I say all this even though deep down I know that I can only concern myself with me, and no one else.  But that is not always easy.  I find myself disappointed in others and myself when a situation or event or even the mundane day-to-day stuff doesn’t go as I had planned.  I try to hide my disappointment on the outside, but inside I’m hurt, sad, frustrated, irritated(just to name a few).  And mostly at myself. I feel the resentment build within me, almost as if I can’t catch my breath.  When I let it get to this point, I must take a step back & look at the facts.  The majority of the time these resentments are a direct result of the expectations I have placed on others &/or myself.  I really wish there was an easy way to stop this cycle!  I have been thinking and praying about this issue a lot lately, I don’t like feeling resentful, it does me no good.  Resentments can lead me down a dangerous path, a path my addiction would love to see me on.  When I was drinking I resented just about everyone and everything, in fact I resented the fact that my resentments made me drink(if that makes sense), which is typical alcoholic thinking.
I guess when it comes down to it, I just need to focus on the task or day at hand.  I can be hopeful. I can (& should)  act and not expect.  Most importantly I can turn it all over to the big guy upstairs, ‘he’ knows what ‘he’ is doing and what is best for me….’He’ has not let me down.  I sometimes forget that….

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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.