Thanksgiving and the holidays are quickly approaching and its at this point in time that I start thinking about my sobriety anniversary as well.  I like to reflect on my journey….keeps me humble.

I truly believe in my heart of hearts that I was meant to experience all that I have over the last few years.  The heartache, the jealousy, the shame (lots of it), the loss, the anger (lots of that), and the fear….all of it….and I wouldn’t change a damn thing…not one single thing…

Its hard to put into words why and how I exactly feel this way…I just do…. My recovery has been life changing, life altering really.  I didn’t just stop drinking,  I stopped feeling sorry for myself, I stopped the self loathing, I stopped being afraid of what everyone else thought, I stopped disrespecting myself and everyone who cared about me when I didn’t.  If I’m being honest,  the not drinking was the easy part.  All the other stuff, not so much. It requires attention and work each and every day.  Everyday I make a conscious decision to be grateful, to be kind, to be present, to be mindful.  I don’t always succeed at everything everyday,  I’m not perfect;), but I try.

When I first got sober, not drinking was the most important and biggest challenge.  Today, I am grateful I don’t have the urges or cravings to pick up a drink, but I am aware that those feeling could creep back at any moment.  Today my biggest challenge is being the best I can be.  That means, being grateful for something even if its the crappiest day ever.  It means being kind to those who don’t exhibit kindness back, or whom I may not agree with….for I do not know what battles they are up against.  It means being a positive, loving example to my kids, my friends, my family, and my co workers; at a time when society is not so positive and loving.  It means being honest with myself, and those I care about.  

And if I’m being honest, its not always easy living life this way.   

Some days are just plain shitty.  Some days I want to throw the covers over my head and not speak to anyone.  Sometimes I just want to throw a temper tantrum like my son…..I don’t….but I want too…. On days like these, I step back and think how far I have come….it wasn’t that long ago I was drinking every day to numb everything…  That my daughter was going to bed by herself because her mom was passed out… That I was unloveable and alone because I couldn’t love myself…and my kids would be better off if I was dead…. Lowest of the low….despair….

Fast forward to today…..

My kids are my world….and they teach me about true unconditional love everyday.  I have a new renewed passion for eating well and exercising.  My job is taking me to new heights and I am so grateful to be in a career that I truly love. I’m in a healthy relationship that is loving and honest.   Fear doesn’t control me, its just a feeling that I acknowledge & move past.   I live in the present. I love me.

So yes, I am grateful for going through hell.  And yes I was born for this wild wacky journey….I wouldnt want it any other way.

:)✌❤ 

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The other F word

screenshot_2015-12-12-18-14-29.pngFear, a nasty, ugly word that can paralyze & reek havok on any one or anything at any given time.  It knows no boundaries, it does not discriminate, it is not sympathetic or empathetic for that matter.  At times, when fear takes hold it may seem like you have absolutely no control (at least it does for me).  What am I so damn afraid of????  The unknown? The future? M&M’s well being? The well being of family & friends? Falling in love? Loneliness? Me?…

Honestly, all of the above & then some.

I have been thinking a lot  about fear & what ‘it’ is exactly & why ‘it’ is so crippling at times, & how it has affected my life, thus far.  A fellow blogger & recovery buddy Paul, recently discussed this on his podcast (please check out at BuzzKill Pod, the sound of change, on the SRN network, which can be found on sound cloud ).

He mentioned that as an active alcoholic, his drinking was driven by fear, fear of his true self mostly.  I had never thought about it in that way….and he is absolutely right. I drank not because I enjoyed it, I drank because I was scared to face reality, my life, soberly.  I was scared of what everyone thought or didn’t think of me.  I ‘thought’ that by drinking no one would find out that I was actually a terrified, little girl, who felt like she never fit in nor was ever good enough for her family, friends, or significant other.  My drinking covered all my fears… Until it didn’t anymore.

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Fear is just an excuse.  This is of course my own personal opinion. But after all the shit I have encountered the last few years, I am still here:).  Fear didn’t keep me from getting(although it tried its darnedest), & staying sober. Fear did not stop me from fighting for what’s  best for M&M.  Fear does not make me feel lonely or lost.  Fear does not stop me from trying new things, meeting new people, or standing up for what I believe in, even if others disagree with me.

It is very true that fear crippled me for years.  Today I am not afraid of the future, (besides I have no control over it).  I am not afraid to be alone, (there is a difference between alone & lonely.  I am, most definitely not lonely).  I am not afraid of me, in fact I really kinda like me these days. Yeah, I’m struggling to lose some weight, & I’m trying to get back into some sort of  shape, & money is tight, & I worry that my 3.5 year old son will never be potty trained… And lets not forget the  moments (sometimes long long moments) of self doubt & worry.  The difference today is, I have faith (another F word).

Faith conquers fear, each & every time.  I’m a testament to that.  Had I cowered in all the fear & self hatred, I would most definitely  not be here today.  M&M would not have their mommy. My family would not have their daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, niece, or friend. I would not have the choice to live a happy, fulfilling sober life. That is terrifying!

I chose to overcome fear and have a little (ok a lot of faith).  I thank God for that each & every day.

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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.

A lesson learned

“You’ve always had the power my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself”

Glinda,  Wizard of Oz

Ok, so I realize this quote is from a fictional character in a world-famous movie, but it really resonates with me.  For much of my adult life I hid behind the shadows of others, behind shame, and behind fear.  I constantly worried about what others thought of  me and was always the people pleaser. Too many times I compromised my beliefs, my opinions, my wants and needs because I was too afraid to speak up for myself.

When I drank, those fears and insecurities disappeared, or so I thought.  I exuded self-confidence, or so I thought.  I had power, or so I thought.

That’s the cunning, powerful, and baffling part of addiction.  It is the great and masterful impersonator.  An almighty manipulator.  A chameleon ready to pounce at its victims weakest point.

My addiction had all the power, I was fooled time and time again.  It wasn’t until I fully surrendered that my view-point changed.  I took back the power when I admitted that I was (still am) completely and utterly powerless over alcohol.  One drink is too many and 5 or 6 is never enough.

I have the power to make choices. If  I make the choice (God forbid), to pick up a drink, game over.  For this reason I say the First Step whenever need be :”We admitted  we were powerless over alcohol-that our lives had become unmanageable.”

Powerless over alcohol, yes, but I am taking back the power over my feelings, my happiness, my beliefs, and my dreams.  Although my power never really disappeared, it was just a bit tarnished.