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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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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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.

 

The Hard Truth

I must preface this post by saying that I don’t mean to be a pessimist, or Scrooge, I just feel that being in the ‘throws’ of the holidays its important to remember (for myself, I can’t speak for all my sober friends;), that my addiction is ALWAYS lurking.  It is always waiting for a weak moment.  It is always ready to pounce if I become to complacent.

I came across the following ‘letter’, that was given to me during my outpatient therapy almost a year ago.  It is a difficult piece to read, and unfortunately I can relate to much of it.  Perhaps that is why an uneasiness settles in the pit of my stomach every time I read it.  I’ve been ‘there’ and not that long ago.

The author is unknown,  their words humble me with each reading…

Dear Friend, I’ve come to visit once again.  I love to see you suffer mentally, physically, and spiritually.  I want to make you restless, so you can never relax.  I want you jumpy and nervous and anxious.  I want to make you agitated and irritable, so everything and everyone makes you uncomfortable.  I want you confused and depressed so that you can’t think clearly and positively.  I want you to hate everything and everybody-especially yourself.  I want you to feel guilty and remorseful for all the things you have done in the past.  I want to make you angry and hateful toward the world for the way it is and the way you are.  I want you to feel sorry for yourself and blame everything but me for your present condition.  I want you to be deceitful, untrustworthy, and to manipulate as many people as possible.  I want to make you fearful and paranoid for no reason at all.  I want to be in your dreams.  I want you to wake up all hours thinking of me.  I want your home life to be miserable.  I want you to constantly be in financial difficulty.  I want to take away your ambition and desire to succeed.  Should you win, I want you to come back soon, thinking you will win more, so I can take your last dollar and start the downward spiral again.  I  want you to borrow and steal from family, friends, and financial institutions so I can destroy those relationships.  I want you to sell the things that are dearest to you, for me.  I want you to ignore your family for me.  I want you to commit or consider commiting illegal acts for me.  I deeply appreciate how much you have sacrificed  for me.  The countless jobs and fine friends you deeply cared for-you gave up for me.  And what’s more,  the ones you’ve turned against yourself because of your inexcusable actions-I’m even more grateful.  And especially -your loved ones- your family, the most important people in the world to you -you even threw them away for ME.  I can not express in words the gratitude  I have for the loyalty you have for me.  You sacrificed all these beautiful things in life just to devote yourself completely to me.  But do not despair, my friend, for on me you can always depend.  For after you lost all the things you once held dear, you can depend on me to take even more.  YOU can depend on me to keep your mind, body, and soul in a living hell- for I will not be satisfied until you are dead.

Forever yours, Your addiction

Powerful stuff… Thank you to whomever wrote this difficult, but brutally honest piece.  I am grateful to have read this, shared this, and yes, even lived this.  I do not want to ever forget where I came from, respect the past, but gratitude and humility fills my heart to know that I don’t have to go back.  I have the power to make that choice.