The 1st’s in Sobriety

Let’s try this again….. sorry about the “technical” err, user difficultiesūüėČ…

Over the past 11 months a lot of stuff has happened, a lot of firsts and without a drop of alcohol.¬† Events that in the past would have required a drink, or 2 or 4…. you get the idea.¬† The divorce, a breakup, financial strain, birthday parties, summer festivities, class reunion, the day-to-day hassles and hiccups life throws at you, when¬†I used to respond with, “I need a drink!”, and most recently, first dates.

I can proudly and confidently say that I got through the good, the bad, and the ugly with my sobriety intact.¬† To the “normie”(what we alcoholics call the normal social drinker), this may seem like no big deal, but to those of us who are recovering alcoholics, it is a very big deal.¬† As each event or situation comes my way and my sobriety remains intact, my confidence grows, and I grow more peaceful and content within.¬† Spiritual growth perhaps?

When I say confidence, I don’t mean cocky, I am not, nor do I want to become complacent.¬† My sober life today includes a core group of special women, including an awesome sponsor, who I am in constant contact with each and every day.¬† This group has¬†my back always, and vice versa.¬† They will and have called me out¬†on my shit.¬† Going into events or situations, I always have¬†a¬†plan, including exit strategies.¬† I know when to decline an invitation if I don’t think it will be ¬†“safe” or comfortable for me.¬† I realize that some may not understand¬†my reasoning, others may be offended, but my sobriety comes first and foremost.¬† Yes, even before my kids, (gasp), because if I do not protect my sobriety, if I decide to test the¬†waters, so to speak, I would jeopardize and most likely lose everything that I have worked so hard to obtain and achieve.¬† The most ¬†important ¬†being the relationship with my kids.

So as we are in the “throws” of the holiday season, and I¬†am venturing into the world of first dates, I am relying on all the tools I have collected over the last several months.¬† I must say that with each situation and or event that is¬† a “1st” in sobriety, I feel so incredibly grateful and¬†humbled.¬† I¬† did this, I am doing this, and I will continue to do this, God willing.¬† And maybe, just maybe, my experiences, my story, can help another who maybe struggling.

Sobriety aint¬†so¬†badūüėä

Pinky Swear

I am blessed with 2 awesome kids, a boy who¬†is 2 and a girl who is 8.¬† I often refer to them as M&M (as I will when I write).¬† They truly are the loves of my life! They are hilarious, kind, loving,¬†smart, inquisitive, and creative (of course I’m not biased;)).

Fortunately their dad and I want what is best for them and we both love them unconditionally, even if the two of us are not married anymore.  I am truly grateful and humbled that they call me mommy.

My drinking “took off” after M was born in 2006.¬† I recently came across journal entries where¬†I wrote¬†that I was concerned with my drinking and that I was going to change my ways for the¬†sake of my family.¬† Wow!¬† Well, that never happened¬†and the drinking escalated. Every family event,¬†holiday, and impromptu¬†gathering required alcohol, wine to be specific.¬† I recall¬†several of my daughter’s birthday parties being wasted,¬†and¬†sadly and selfishly I don’t recall much else.¬†¬†In the¬†evenings, when¬†I should have been playing¬†with my daughter I was drinking.¬† When she asked me to read a¬†story I told her to wait,¬†because I was “busy”.¬† I missed many nights tucking her in….

When M was¬†6, her brother was born.¬† Her little brother idolizes his big sister, who acted as a little momma while their real mommy was drinking.¬†¬†Late afternoon it was time to uncork the bottle, a few hours and a couple of bottles later, M was¬†a better mommy.¬† In the spring of 2013 I entered rehab voluntarily.¬† I “left” my kids, the loves of my life for 18 days… they didn’t understand why their mommy left …. nor was it fair that they even had too.¬† It was the hardest 18 days, being away from them.¬† Upon my return, I¬†was told that M compared me to Miss Hannigan,¬†Carol Burnett’s character in Annie….. whoa !!

Here I thought M didn’t know about my drinking, I didn’t think it was affecting her…… seriously??!

When I relapsed in January, M&M witnessed my behavior.¬† I believe¬†in my heart of hearts that God wanted¬†me to¬†witness what my actions had done to them, because I¬†should of been in a blackout, but the sheer look of terror on M&M’s face is ingrained in my brain.

It took a few days for M to talk to and feel comfortable around me, and rightfully so.¬†¬†When she was ready,¬†we talked (at a 7 yr old level) and I apologized.¬†¬†She¬†had me pinky swear¬†that I would never drink again.¬† That was 10¬†months ago…..I pray every day that I keep that promise and I am grateful each night that I kept¬†the¬†promise, to her and myself.

M didn’t deserve to be forced into adult situations, she doesn’t deserved to have a mom who is an alcoholic.¬† Neither does little¬†M, but by the grace of God, he wont remember¬†his mommy as a drunk,¬†but his sister will.¬† Fortunately, I have been, and will continue to be open and honest with both kiddos.¬† I won’t keep this a hush-hush topic.¬† I welcome the honest conversations as they come, age appropriate of course.

Today, I live in the present and am present for M&M.¬† I think this is the best¬†way to keep the pinky swear¬†I made¬† over 10 months ago.¬†¬†I continue to work on forgiving myself for being absent¬†in M&M’s¬†lives.¬† I know I must keep the past in the past, but those feelings of¬†guilt and shame creep up time to time.¬† Fortunately I have the tools and support to process those feelings.¬† More importantly, I¬† have the unconditional love of¬† M&M. I am one lucky mommy!

Happy Anniversary

10 months, 305 days, over 7,000 hours….. sober…. big deal? kind of… I didn’t make it this far the first time around.¬† To many it may not seem that 10 months sober is a reason to celebrate or even worth mentioning.¬† But to me it represents the¬†hardest work I have ever done, which at times¬†has been incredibly painful.¬† I have learned more about the real me in 10 months than I had in¬†my previous 38 years.¬† Everyday I wake I am grateful for another day of sobriety.¬† I pray that if it is Gods will that I will stay sober another day. I¬† am given the opportunity to¬†make the right choices,¬†be present to those I love and encounter, be honest, be patient, and admit when I am wrong.¬† Is this difficult at times? Yes, I’m sober, not perfectūüėČ.¬† But going back to the dark, lonely, and¬†sad world of addiction is just a¬†place I absolutely do not want to re-visit, ever!

10 months ago, I awoke in a locked unit, a detox unit.  Terrified, yes, more importantly, an overwhelming sense of relief. I was done, finished, exhausted.  I had surrendered. While hospitalized, I wrote a letter to my addiction, a goodbye of sorts.  I  recently came across it and would like to share it.

01/2014

I suppose you could say we started out innocently enough.¬† Warm and inviting, “giving me” a sense of self-confidence (or so I thought), to a gal who was desperate for even a glimmer or shred of confidence.¬† When we were together I became funny and flirty, engaging, and confident.¬† I was led to believe that I belonged in any situation, and was liked by everyone.

Over a few years, your ugliness and true intentions began to appear, but I was not ready to give you up or break away.¬† I was not willing to notice our abusive relationship.¬† My reputation as “Fun Katie” or “Life of the party” became not so much fun anymore.¬† Broken promises of only one drink, or being the designated driver, was occurring more often than not.¬† I was becoming obsessed with you-even when I “thought” I didn’t want you.¬† You became all-encompassing in my day-to-day life!¬† I could rationalize why you were so important to me, more so than my loved ones.¬† How sick is that?¬† I said NO MORE!

But you are a temptress, just like an abusive relationship.¬† I kept coming back, thinking this time it will be different.¬†¬†I thought; I can stop drinking anytime!, only one drink!, I haven’t had a drink in 2 weeks, so its ok to drink tonight, or work is so stressful, it’s the only way I can unwind!¬† So many lies, so many excuses, so much manipulation, and so much un-¬†manageability.¬† I was broken and defeated, your grasp on me was slowly killing me.

We did break up for a brief period, and life was ok.¬†¬†I was putting the pieces of my life puzzle back together.¬† Unfortunately I became too vulnerable, and you seduced me.¬† How did this happen again?¬† Those around me couldn’t¬†grasp how I could take you back.¬†¬†Why wasn’t I¬†strong enough to just stop and walk away?

I am truly blessed with loved ones who got me the help I so desperately needed and desired.  The relief (overwhelming), that I finally surrendered and admitted that I was powerless over you (alcohol), felt like I was finally able to breathe after nearly drowning.

You are but a symptom of this horrible disease called alcoholism.  I am completely powerless to you, but I know what I must do in order to keep me well and sober.  Just as chemotherapy is the medication used to treat cancer; meetings, the 12 steps, my sponsor, being honest, humble, and patient are my medication.  Everyday is a battle, But I simply need to follow my treatment plan on a daily basis.

I am slowly realizing that I don’t hate you, what good would that do for me and my recovery?¬† I need to learn to respect you, (keep you enemies close).¬† You can be awakened at anytime and our destructive relationship could be rekindled.¬† It is Completely up to me to use the¬†tools I¬†have been given and learning to use every day.¬† By the grace of God, I have¬†been given another chance, and to that, I am eternally grateful.¬† I cannot and will not underestimate your power, but¬† most definitely will not give you anymore power.¬† I have too much to¬†live for!

Signed

A grateful alcoholic.

10 months ago I was defeated and scared, today I am¬†full gratitude.¬† I think that’s a reason to celebrate.