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.

:)✌❤ 

What’s a Holiday without a Holliday Celebration?

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What a weekend! I’m exhausted, but so damn happy, content, & grateful. I’m not being corny here either;). This weekend was not only a 3 day’er , it was the wedding of one of my cousins. I have a large extended family on my mom’s side which includes approx 26 cousins & spouses, significant others. These days getting together is rare, as everyone has busy lives & we live all over the country. Fortunately for this event, just about everyone came to Cleveland for the festivities. It was one giant party for 3 days…. I went into the weekend prepared to have my guard up, as I knew their would be a lot of drinking. It wasn’t that I was so concerned that I would be tempted, those cravings are long gone. I was worried I wouldn’t have fun, wouldn’t feel included, and would become irritated & annoyed with everyone else.
That’s a whole lot of should of and could of’s….a lot of self-serving thoughts…seriously, isn’t this all about me??;)…Man, as the words come stumbling out, I’m rather embarrassed by my presumptuous ideas. Alcoholic(selfish) thinking never completely goes away. And that’s OK, I’m definitely not perfect;). What is important is that I recognize it before it takes over my psyche.:)

So, I will say this….I am overcome with gratitude towards my wonderful, fun-loving, goofy, caring, & loving family. We are a motley crew, but, the outpouring of love and kind words bestowed on me through out the weekend was very humbling. I down play all my rough times. To me, I do what I have to do because my other choice(s) are devastating.
I am so very blessed to have these wonderful, unique, quirky, individuals in my life. Each one has a special place in my heart. Even though I am exhausted beyond belief(I think we all are;), I wouldn’t change a thing.
:)❤✌
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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.

The 1st’s in Sobriety

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

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 bad😊

A Gratitude List

A part of my program is a gratitude list, which is exactly what it sounds like.  Big or small, short or long, silly or serious; all  comprise my gratitude list.  Today is Thanksgiving & I have so much to be grateful for!

1. My Sobriety, first & foremost, without it, I have nothing!

2. M&M, my kids, the loves of my life! I found this note from my daughter the other day, she surprised me with it.  It wasn’t that long ago she was angry & scared of me…

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3. My family; especially my mom, who has supported, loved, “bailed out”, & has not given up on after many disappointments.  I love you mom😊

4. My sisters & their hubby’s who are always their for my kids & I , always….

5. My awesome friends, (you know who you are), I can count on you always & you all make me laugh &keep me on my toes.

6. My job, its more than a job, its a career I truly love!

7. AA, without the program & those I have met thru the program, I would not be successful in recovery.

8. This blog, & all those who read it, follow it, & those that I follow.  This experience has been way more than I ever imagined, & has been a humbling experience.

9. My health & my kids health.

10. The roof over my head, food on my table, heat, electricity, & water.

11. Books. This gal has to be reading something!

12. Music, especially Pandora.

13. Mitchell’s  Ice cream (need I say more).

14. My sock monkey blanket (yes, I have a security blanket).

15. Honesty, openness, & willingness, 3 traits that were often lacking before sobriety.

What a difference a year makes!

Happy Thanksgiving !  Be grateful, today & every day after!!!

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!