July 29, 2013

Happy Monday Sober

Yes, it is! The sun is shining and I am setting myself up to have a good day. I strongly believe that if you think positive, positive things will happen :)

This used to be extremely difficult for me. I usually got up on a Monday morning with the hazy reminder of whatever I drank and did during the weekend. Still most of the time, buzzed, or with the terrible hangover brewing, I would scramble to get ready for work. I would stop few times to examine how bad I felt and decide if calling in sick was an option. -But what would people think? Ugh. Better go in.- So I would do a good scrub down in the shower and then plaster some strong smelling lotion on my body and brush my teeth and tongue vigorously. All this, just in case I still had booze in my system and it was oozing out of my pores. I had a hard time telling if I was still buzzed, I had this method to check, I would turn my head from size to side, quickly; if things seemed to be moving at the same speed as my head, I was ok, if they were moving slower... I was still buzzed, if I couldn't swing my head too well, then I was still drunk!

View outside my office window.
On the way to work I would smoke few cigarettes, one after another, in hope that smelling like an ashtray would be better than smelling like a brewery!  And I remember thinking that exact thing! Lol! How did that make sense to me is just besides me! 

And so my day would begin, countless cups of coffee and gallons of water, no food - couldn't eat much - and popping Tylenol like it was going out of style! And staying away from people at all costs. And anger, lots of anger, for all reasons, and the fact that my head was pounding something awful! And please don't talk to me, and don't even look at me, just let me sit here and get thru this! The hours would pass by oh so very slowly, and all I could think about was my first drink after work that would alleviate all this misery, and...  inevitably start the entire process all over again! Crazy.

Today, I don't have to do any of this! (- I mean I still shower and brush my teeth, LoL!-) What a joy it is to get up and embrace the day! No hangover, no shame from the weekend happenings, no worries. Just get up and go, and be present, embrace the day and enjoy LIFE! Sobriety rocks!

Happy Monday!

July 26, 2013

In My Subconscious

I have about a four block walk from the metro train stop to my office, through the main part of the city, along the famous street that gets closed often so that the presidential caravan can pass through on the way to the White House. So to say the least, a very busy section of the city.

Last night I had a dream, or a nightmare?, ok, a dream, that I walked the four blocks wearing a black t-shirt with huge white letters that said ALCOHOLIC.  As I was walking, with every step, I felt the piercing stares of others, whispering and laughing and pointing at me. I felt extremely uncomfortable and I wanted to run and hide, but there was nowhere to go. I kept walking and trying to keep the appearance that I was strong and proud. But inside I was absolutely freaking out. Then I woke up! Hmmm… I think the t-shirt was supposed to say SOBER! LOL!

You can purchase this T-Shirt from www.zazzle.com
Today on my walk to work, I thought about my dream as I was passing the crowds on the street. I wondered. Would they really stare? Would they even notice? In the city you see some crazy stuff sometimes. I mean really c.r.a.z.y.! So I am not sure that anyone would really notice.

I wonder if all this is really, just in my head!

When I got to my office I told my coworker about my dream and asked him what he thought would happen if I actually did that. He knows that I am in recovery and has been very supportive, so maybe he is somewhat bias, but he said no, no one would care! I asked why he thought that. He said it wasn't strange/weird/crazy enough for the city, maybe in the suburbs where I live, I would have a better chance of turning heads. LOL! Turning heads.... Ha Ha!

So I don’t know. I found it interesting that my dream was so powerful and it came just as I have decided to “out” myself more. I guess, there still is, that part of me, which feels shameful… and afraid! But that’s OK, any change can be hard to adjust to. I am just going to keep doing it and it will become easier. Practice makes perfect, right?! The important part for me, is that I stay true to myself!

p.s. I think I am going to have to get one of those t-shirts!

July 24, 2013

Be Proud to be Sober

I have been outing myself more and more. I hope I am not going against the AA traditions, but I am feeling like what is the point of being in recovery if no one knows and I can't share it and hopefully help someone else. So here and there I have just been disclosing more about being sober and my recovery. In talking to few people, I have realized that I tend to be more bothered by being the one not drinking than the people around me. People just don't seem to care as much as I think they do. Strangely enough, we are the one who still carry all the shame associated with alcoholism.

I know that being sober I admit that I have a problem, I admit that I am an alcoholic. Yes, it sounds rough, leaves a bit of a bad taste in the mouth, huh? But it is the truth. I have the disease of alcoholism, no matter how you phrase it. At the same time I am a sober alcoholic which means that I have been able to turn my life around despite the low statistics - only about 3% of people that try recovery, actually succeed. But I didn't do it alone! It's time to share with others what has freely been given to me in hope that they too find the strength and are encouraged to do the same. We don't have to suffer alone!

I know there is stigma still surrounding alcoholism and addiction. I know some people still believe that it is a lack of self control and no moral standards that cause our addictions. But you know what, that is just not true, you know it and I know it! If I could have willed it away I would have! And today,  I'd rather people say, oh there is that boring girl who doesn't drink anymore, than oh there is that drunk girl again, wonder what fiasco she will cause tonight! And, you know, really, what other people think of me is none of my business, because if it is not this, then there will be something else they will find to talk about.  I am no better or worse than others!

Acceptance is the key here. We are all exactly how we are supposed to be. We are all where we are supposed to be. We all have issues to deal with. I am an alcoholic. That doesn't make me a bad person. It just makes ME.

I wish I felt this way in early sobriety, maybe I wouldn't have done so much research, and questioned it so much: am I? am I not? Who cares, really. I knew the answer long before my last drink. And if getting sober seemed like an amazing thing to do, like running a marathon or climbing a mountain, maybe I would have gotten to it sooner! But getting sober seemed shameful! Why?

The point is that sobriety should not be shameful! We who find sobriety have worked our arses off and continue to do so to stay sober! That is a lot of work and perseverance! Getting sober IS amazing and for me the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. If everyone out there understood how horribly difficult it is to deal with this cunning and baffling disease of addiction, they too would be proud!  And maybe the people still struggling with their addiction would find it easier to raise above and get sober! And then you can run a marathon or climb a mountain too! We should be proud! I AM proud!

YOU. Should. Be. Proud!

July 19, 2013

Sober Progress not Perfection

This is so funny, I swear as soon as I posted my Coasting Sober post, something shifted! Lol! And go figure, I got in a huge fight with my ex today! It's funny cause I was so proud of this new way I have been just coasting thru life, but it looks like I need way more practice! I have to say, it was a great week thought!

So my ex and I got into a big fight. I never know how and when these things escalate but boom, the next thing I know we were threatening each other with court! Ha crazy!  But this time I didn't feel scared, and I didn't feel intimidated, I told my ex - Go ahead, take me to court, you got nothing on me now! - yep that felt gooooood! Yep, this is another great side effect of living a good, kind and sober life for me! My slate is clean!!!

Yet, after I hung up with him, I felt pretty shitty about the whole thing. I mean it's not really important what it was about, but the speed of the progression, from just a conversation to explosion was crazy. He said shit, and I said shit, so he said more shit, so I had to say even more shit! You know, and on and on, till I hung up on him. Oh man, that's not the person I want to be. But pride, and my still (somewhat?) over sized ego was saying - you are right, he is wrong. F him. - So I decided to call my sponsor and confirm of course, that I was right... ha ha, but deep down, I knew I was wrong in my behavior and I needed to "promptly admit it." Ugh. Well, she didn't answer, but I knew what she would have really said and what had to be done; good thing that I am on AA Step 10! - Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. 

Oh, but my mind was going nuts, yes, no, I don't wanna! But I just hit the speed dial and waited for him to answer, while I was trying to figure out what I was actually going to say. - oh man I don't want to say it! But here it goes…
"I am sorry for my behavior, it was inappropriate."

That's what my sponsor suggests that I say, this way I don't say too much or cause another argument. I also offered to listen to his issue and suggestions, and stay open minded and come to a resolution. And we talked, and I listened, and that's exactly what happened – we came to a resolution. Whew! I felt like hitting that Staples That was easy! button. What a moment of the Twelve Steps in real life! So cool!

OK, now back to coasting sober! Lol! Maybe I can make it a week and half this time! ...work in progress!

July 18, 2013

Just Coasting Sober

Well, there is not much going on here. Just coasting. I am learning how to be. Yep. Just be. Not in a sense of like sitting on a couch and just staring at the TV, or like meditating. But more in a sense of being ok with the world and the events of my day and not getting revved up about anything. Staying emotionally leveled. There is all that crap that I can't control, but I can control my reaction to it.

I think when I was drinking, even though life was quite dull, l would get all wrapped in anything, I mean you look at me the wrong way and I am off! AND the Drama! Gossip! Ahh... So easy to get sucked into happenings around me, that's not relevant to my life or relevant to my life. Who is right and who is wrong and who did what and where. And everything in between. All that stuff that keeps me from being me, and focusing on what is in front of me. And what is actually important. Hmmm... What is actually important?

Well, I am sitting here and thinking. Tough question. I know sobriety is the most important! Without it I wouldn't have anything else! Kids and family, yep, that's a given! Sleep! Yep. Spiritual condition! Yep. What else? My attitude? Yep!

Adjust your attitude. One third of your life will be fabulous, with no thanks to you. It's just fate. Be grateful for it. One third of life is not good, losses and deaths, also with no thanks to you. Suck it up. The other third is neutral. Kind of usual, life being life. Here's your chance. Attitude makes it fabulous or disappointing––which outlook do you prefer? - I grabbed this tid-bit from an article I was reading.
My attitude used to be just horrible. I could not be happy about anything. I hated me and you and everything around. It was always everyone else’s fault and there was never any solutions except to drink over it all! Kind of a sad existence, huh? I even remember when in rehab, we had to write one thing every day that we were grateful for and I had nothing! Nothing for days. Really.

And believe me, even in sobriety it has taken me a while to actually turn this thinking around, ha, I am still working on it. LOL. But you see, my life is not perfect and I am not really coasting – my kids summer activities have been quite overwhelming, my work has been crazy and I have been having to work at home just to keep up, and we found an entire family of skunks living under our deck and it has been quite an ordeal to get rid of them - safely! And wait, let’s not mention, the crazy gas company that got confused and confiscated our gas tank, thinking that we were the people that have not been paying them –yeah sounds nuts right!??! – Sheesh! Nope all this is really happening… whew, that felt good just letting it all out a bit! LOL!
YET, somehow, I am feeling like I am just coasting! So weird...

I am not freaking out. I am not complaining. I am not making this seem like a complete catastrophe.
I am just letting things unfold. I am just putting one foot in front of the other. I am just following my faith because, I know that all the things will work out! Today is going to be a good day!

July 12, 2013


I have an interesting/funny little story to tell, and I am sure it's only interesting because I am an alcoholic! Lol! Normal people would have probably thought nothing of it!

So, yesterday, I was stuck in a metro train station for about 2 hours because two trains had broken down. The metro is our city's subway system which is riddled with constant issues. So to say the least this wasn't new to me or many other riders. As the time slipped away and there was no other way to get home but wait till the issue was fixed, I sat on the station platform along with - now - hundreds of people. Next to me was a woman, wearing a pant suit and typing on her phone. She asked me how long I have been waiting and that sparked a conversation about our mutual dislike of the metro, the situation and the fact that there was no other way to get home. We whined and laughed at the same time, and the time seemed to be a bit more enjoyable. We also found that we lived in the same city and needed to take the same train and bus to get home.

At one point the station manager announced that it would be another hour before the trains start running again and that we are better off going to have dinner and coming back. The lady suddenly looked at me with excitement - LET'S GO TO A BAR! She exclaimed.

I ignored her by saying something totally off topic, but I surely heard her loud and clear. LOUD and CLEAR! She obviously thought that I didn't hear her because she said it again, except this time it was a direct question - Do you want to go to a bar? - she asked. I quickly answered with - Oh, no, thank you, but I am trying to get home to my kids. - With a big smile on her face she started asking about my kids and telling me about her nieces and nephews and such. And that was it.

But, boy, I can't stop thinking about it. Why, well I am not sure. I guess it seems like a weird coincidence. And I find it interesting that a stranger asked me to go to a bar with her. And I am surprised that she didn't have some crazy reaction when I said no. And I am surprised, that I again had that feeling, although very lite, that feeling, PARTY! - YES, I still felt like that would have been great fun! Lol!

But then actually going thru the scenarios, like I like to do, this is what would have most likely happened:
  1. If I was a normal drinker, I would have mostly likely still said no, since I would have found it kind of weird to go to a bar with a stranger - I am not that trusting of people. Lol!
  2. If I was still drinking, I would have most definitely said YES and then probably drank way too much and probably would have been in a blackout and at total mercy of a stranger, who would have needed to, if she even chose to, take care of me and somehow figure out how to get me home - yes this has happened before and miraculously, I somehow ended up home safely, at least to my best recollection, because I don't remember.
I like going thru my scenarios, it's a great tool to stay sober! When I look back on how it REALLY was, it just doesn't seem so fun anymore! And well, I am gonna take this little happening as a nice reminder that I am still an alcoholic! Lol!

July 7, 2013

It Wasn't My Drinking, I Thought

I brought out the box of old CDs the other day, as we have decided to cut out the TV and replace it with music. I started looking thru them and ended up playing one that I haven't heard in a very long while. It sounded good and comforting. It was a CD that I used to listen to in my early drinking days.

It brought up lots of memories! I was surprised that if felt good. I have stashed my CDs away, along with the old memories. Afraid in same way that they would make me miss those days bad enough that I would want to drink. I know it sounds extreme, doesn't it? But I had such a hard time staying sober I just kept putting away all the things that I thought would give me trouble! I would have probably hid myself if I could have! LOL! 

One of my old PICs
Anyway... Music was a huge part of my mid 20's. Of course this was way before I had an inkling of any alcoholic type trouble. I was a photographer for local bands and I had a VIP access to many shows. Now this is on a city scale, not big time or anything, nevertheless, I thought I was a superstar in my own little world - LoL! - probably like Annie Lebowitz felt when she followed the newly emerging Rolling Stones back in the early seventies, right!? And I both admired her work and wanted to be just like her. So my job seemed perfect; it was fun, and amazing, and booze and drugs were a huge part of it. Strangely enough I never got into drugs, I was actually afraid to try them. Maybe subconsciously I knew that I would have probably developed an instantaneous love affair with them. I don't know. I just believed that alcohol was safe and more acceptable, and it helped that it was legal, so it kept me "clean." So I drank, and I drank freely. I drank how I thought the band members did drugs - it always appeared to me that others were way more trashed than me. But in fact I was getting pretty trashed myself. And my job or the "safety" of my job, or how my clients behaved or how trashed they were, was not the real problem, but my excessive drinking was becoming one. 
One of my old PICs

You probably know the rest of my story here - it was very hard to keep it all together, between business and regular drinking and partying. I started missing appointments and losing clients. I made an ass of myself several times too many. I couldn't make my deadlines. I was unreliable. My photos were not up to par. And slowly I was failing at my job. But I just thought that it was the job itself and the late hours, and the badly behaved clients. It wasn't my drinking. I just needed a change, something that I was probably just better at anyway. So... I left and got a new job, at a bar. Strangely enough I remember that the same thing happened at that new job, though drinking or drugs were not part of it to the extent as the old job. I ended up leaving that job too. many jobs followed and basically, I had new job about every year or two! At the time, I sure did not see this pattern at all. Today, I see it very clearly.

Well, that was an interesting time in my life. Very active in the scene that revolved around alcohol yet totally oblivious to the addictive cycle that I already was in! Somehow, since I believed that others did more drinking or drugging than me, I felt as though was OK. Actually, I don't remember even worrying that my drinking was an issues, I actually felt that life had just dealt me a bad hand or I just had a little bad luck.
Now, listening to the CD, I was really amazed that I no longer had the drinking thoughts and that I no longer had that feeling that I am still missing the party! The party is long gone and well done. This part of my life seems like a very distant memory, yet a true and constant reminder of how much denial I was actually in.

July 4, 2013

Vacation Sober

Ahhh. Vacation! Yes!

I started writing this before we left but I didn't get a chance to post it, so well, here it is from the beginning:

      I am really looking forward to our vacation at the beach. We are going to unplug! No electronics! The funny part is that I am hoping that I will be ok with that; little addicted to it all? Hmmm maybe.

So I was sitting here at my desk, and thinking about what I have learned about being sober on vacation, and I was trying to remember what my vacations were like when I was drinking. And you know what? I don't remember. I can not remember! OMG. I know I took vacations, well, maybe I did not? No there had to be some. Well, I don't know if I don't remember because I was always drunk or because I just didn't go. Probably a little of both. Sigh.

Our last vacation was exhausting. Yep. That's what I remember the most and that it seemed as if everyone around us was drinking. We stayed at a kid friendly resort; it actually advertised itself as kid friendly! So naturally we thought it would be "safe" right? I mean parents don't drink around their kids right? Wrong. At the pool, in the game room, at the snack stand - they were drinking everywhere. I didn't expect this at all. But of course there is a big difference between how I would have drank and how these people drank! This was two years ago with 3 years sober and I found myself very envious and resentful. The "why me" hang over me the first few days and I couldn't shake it. They seemed like normal folk, aren't we normal folk? Ugh. Well no, in a way we are not. But, today I have to say, that I feel much more confident in my sobriety. So I am hoping that I will not have such a hard time :)

 Read more about my last vacation: Sober Vacation

      And now sitting in the car, on our way back from the beach, I am exhausted again! It was all just none stop, go, go go! But we had an awesome time! I have actually learned how to focus on those great moments and be grateful for them! And I took a billion pictures, with my phone, because I forgot my camera! Yep! Building new memories! These are the "Good old days!" - As my sponsor says!

And yes, once again there was drinking around us! Strangely enough, way less than at the kid friendly resort, but... I still had the same feelings of resentment that they could and I couldn't. Yep. Still there, at least for the first day. Good grief, it is hard to believe that It is still so easily to get my mind wrapped up in the illusion of glamorous drinking. I must say I admire the people that say they were able to put down the drink and never look back! That's not me I guess, and well, that's OK. With time, it has become much easier, that is for sure. I definitely don't have the same cravings and craziness in my mind as I used to have in the first year or so of sobriety.

I think the difference now is that I have my tools and I actually use them; it has sort of become a habit! I immediately look for things I can do to get my mind in different direction, instead of letting myself dwell on the feelings and letting them fester. Usually I first tell someone, like my sponsor or my husband who is also in recovery - but they were not available because I was at the pool with the two older kids when my first drinking feelings came on. So then I knew I just needed to stop staring and focusing on the drinking people, so, I got in the pool and chased my kids around pretending to be a shark! Lol! In a matter of minutes I had totally forgotten about being resentful. Lol! Good times! Later, I cheated with the no electronics rule a bit, well the phone doesn't count does it? - so I read a whole bunch if great blogs; that is a great tool, I tell ya it is so nice to have this cyber support that you can access at any time!  I am so grateful to be sober, and to all the sober bloggers, thank you!


July 1, 2013

At the Beach Sober!

A Sunny Day

© Nirbhay Kwatra
The sun was shining so bright,
having beaten the clouds in fight.

We wanted to go out for fun,
I wish the clouds could beat the sun.

Evening came and the sun went down,
We all went for a walk in the town.

Water was flowing down the stream,
While I was licking my ice cream.

The stars shone brightly in the sky,
they finally showed all their might

Source: http://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/a-sunny-day#ixzz338tU8fIl
Family Friend Poems