Posted in My Relationship with Alcohol

Covid vs Sobriety

There is an irony that is not ‘wasted’ on me (no pun intended) that this is my millionth go around with trying not to drink.  I know I sound like a broken record.  Especially, as I try and navigate another ‘new’ beginning.

To get started this time, I have been going through my blog and rereading some of my posts, starting at the beginning and seeing how far I got on the first go around. I passed the 6 month mark for the first time ever three years ago, and although I was feeling good, the devil on my shoulder often let me know that this was just a pre-show. 

There would be no final curtain call.

I would not be giving a dramatic bow for my flawless performance. 

This was a limited engagement, and I knew I would be purchasing tickets again so that I could hopefully one day see how the show ends.

And then the blockbuster of all shows came our way.

2020 released Covid 19.

And as the nail biter began, we realized that this horror show brought with it a lot more than what we were typically used to handling. 

Fear

Isolation

Confusion

Depression

Worry

Unemployment

Home School

….Death

Covid became a one man show and the world became puppets, with the leaders themselves not knowing how to operate the strings.  All we really knew was that we were losing and it was winning. People were and are dying alone, scared and helpless….all over the world.

The pandemic had literally brought the whole world to its knees. 

Businesses were closed.

Schools were closed.

Family and friends outside your ‘bubble’ were off limits.

And we all had to stay home.

This invisible threat had us all running for protection, but not more so than in the first few months.

When the word ‘lockdown’ was first uttered everyone went into survival mode.

Shelves were bare in all the grocery stores and toilet paper became a commodity we never imagined would be unavailable.

This was all very inconvenient, because this all kicked off in March, and I was still struggling with my New Year’s resolution of quitting…again.

But ‘screw it’ didn’t take very long to be my obvious recourse.

With the news of a lockdown and the uncertainty of what was considered an ‘essential’ service, I bolted to the liquor store and filled my cart like the end of the world was coming. As I was loading it up, my mind was swimming with all the excuses of why I ‘needed’ this.  The first was wanting to be a good wife and ensure my husband had what he needed (wasn’t I considerate) and then there was the secret thought. I was going to be alone for 14 days and no one will ever know that I was stocked up and ready to do this quarantine MY WAY – wasted.

I wasn’t the only one though….the store was packed. 

Everyone’s carts were full.

Social media was exploding with memes about how wine was going to get us all through this.

I was actually a bit excited about it all.

I could drink and not have to be accountable for a very long time.

But as I loaded up the truck with all the booze (a really nice man even helped me load the truck as it required 2 trips) I did have a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.

And when I came home and filled the wine rack (which hadn’t been filled in a very long time), neatly put the beer in the fridge and the 3 large bottles of rye in the cabinet I knew this was going to be bad.

But who gives a crap? Right? The world is coming to an end, so I might as well go out blitzed.

But being hung over and trying to home school sucks.

Being hung over and cleaning the house sucks.

Being hung over and getting outside for exercise and fresh air sucks.

Being hung over and cooking dinner sucks.

Being hung over and trying to be the perfect wife and mother SUCKS!!!!

You get the point.

It didn’t take me very long to realize that I literally brought the enemy into my quarantined ‘safe place’.

And after the first week I panicked.

What have I done?

Why did I do this?

Questions that are really easy to ask once the deed is done.

I can’t pour it all down the drain, my husband will kill me.

So, we drink it all.

And I swear that I will never do that again.

Once it is all gone and out of the house I feel so much better again.

I worked hard on moderation, failing most of the time, but giving myself a pat on the back for giving it a go.

Months pass and kids are not returning to school and the summer starts.

We are all struggling.  I can see the pressure bearing down on not just addicts but those who didn’t even have a drinking problem.

I scroll through social media and see a theme starting to happen.

As much as there was the mommy groups sipping their wine in their Yeti mugs, there were also the moms starting sober groups. I found online communities with a ton of support from total strangers all over the world!

I joined them all.

There were moms I started to follow that were opening up about their addictions.

When you hear another mom say she has a drinking problem, you stop and you listen.

You listen because moms are not supposed to have this problem…and if they do, they definitely shouldn’t admit it.

I started buying books on addiction and how to quit.

I started following all the sober mommy blogs, along with so many others, reveling in the knowledge that I wasn’t alone!

And it helped.

So, as the year was coming to a close and the world’s relationship with Covid was still spiraling, I decided again to stop drinking.

And this time I felt very different about it.

I didn’t feel weak or fragile.

I felt strong and determined.

And perhaps I have Covid to thank for that.

At first, I think Covid brought out my weakest side. 

It brought out my fears, anxiety and worry.

But as the months went on, I realized that like everything else in life, it’s all about YOU.

I have to be brave.

I have to protect my family.

I have to get healthy.

And so much more, that you can only realize when there is the ultimatum of life or death.

Quitting this time may save my life.

Covid is out there and will not be going away for a long time.

My heart breaks for all of those who have lost their most important people, and couldn’t be with them in their last moments.

All of it is so horrific, that if you can’t quit now, when will you?

And that has been what’s been going on in my head. I have deteriorated my body so much over these past 20 years that if I got Covid…it would take me down.  There is no question about it.

Quitting drinking is in my control.

Quitting drinking will make me healthier.

Quitting drinking will better my mental health.

Quitting drinking will help me make the right decisions for may family.

Quitting drinking will save me money!!! Woot!

So, I reflect back to when I started this journey.

It was 3 years ago when I launched The Female Project.

It began as a way for me to release all of the thoughts that clogged my brain.

One of the posts that has been read the most was 17 Years Drinking vs 17 Days Sober.  And that was in 2017.

3 years later I am at my longest stretch of 20 days sober starting the last few days of 2020.

It was important to start before the year ended. I wanted 2020 to know it didn’t win.

And my prayer is that the silver lining of Covid will be that we will all begin to value the little things.

Because what I have learned from the start and stop of sobriety is this:

It is the hardest, but most important thing I can do.

No matter how many times you fail, try again.

Be kind and forgiving to yourself…but make sure to have a stern conversation with yourself and get back to it.

We are not failures; we are warriors who never give up.

Fill your social media feeds with the sober movement.

It is real.

There a millions of us out there.

And the more that I dive into it, I am seeing that there are more women than men.

Mommy and Alcoholic just don’t go together.

And as 2021 looks like it is going to be the same shit show, if not even worse than last year, packing my house full of booze I have now learned, is definitely not the answer.

Healthy, mindful and grateful…that is the ticket you need to get into the show of LIFE.
Make sure you consider what you want your story to be, because you are the only one who can write it.

Here is to going into day 21 of 2021. 

There has never EVER been a better time than this moment in time to just DO IT!!!

Posted in My Relationship with Alcohol

Fertility…the ugly, beautiful truths.

There has been something I have wanted to share with you all for a very long time, and it’s bringing up all the feels…. the good and the bad. And with everything going on in the world right now, especially the global pandemic, there is no better time than now to share.

Last year my work was hosting a women’s networking event, that brought together female entrepreneurs throughout our community.  This was such a fantastic evening and the energy each woman brought was palpable.  As I mingled, I had the pleasure of being introduced to a newly published author. We were able to chat for a while, and she shared with me a bit of her writing journey and then I opened up and told her about my dream of one day writing a memoir. I bought her book and we parted ways exchanging our contact info.

Shortly after this event, she posted on Facebook about a new compilation book that was being put together examining infertility, and they were looking for unique stories that would create a book for women who suffer with infertility, miscarriage, child loss and grief.

I reached out to the group because I knew I had a story to share.

Within days I was being interviewed as a potential author and after speaking with the creator for over an hour I was asked to be a part of the book.

Needless to say, I was thrilled and very excited.

And then shortly after…. I got totally nervous.  What the heck was I thinking?!?!  Of course, becoming a published author has always been a dream of mine, and now I was being given the chance to get my feet wet with this collaborative group project. But it also meant that I would be putting my story out into the world.  

Was I sure I wanted to do this? 

Was the timing, right?

But things moved pretty fast and as the group of 15 authors was assembled, and the schedule of due dates started coming out, I knew I may have bitten off more than I could chew.

And as the journey began…I started to pull away. I didn’t understand why I was doing it except that I was beginning to feel stressed, anxious and overwhelmed.   I was missing deadlines and I was feeling like the weakest link among a group of women that I only knew online but completely admired and respected.  I had been used to writing on my schedule and in my style.  So, when the deadline came for my story to be submitted, I panicked.

The reason for this, was at the exact time I should be writing, my husband and I had decided to move back home to Ontario.  The decision to move across country happened about as quickly as the decision to leave the first time….in a matter of days.  As par for the course of my life, I make knee jerk decisions and let the chips fall where they may. 

In saying that, my chapter was due right in the middle of packing, finding new jobs, a new school for my son,  getting renters for our home, selling everything online that we owned, plus with the help of family and friends, virtually trying to find a place to live when we arrived.

My family and I were in the middle of packing up our home to move across the country and my mind wasn’t where it needed to be.

In order to write my piece, I needed a few hours alone to really bring myself back to that time in my life that I now realize I had shut off. 

The desire to be a mother, to be pregnant, to get the positive pregnancy test, to feel a baby kick in your stomach, to give birth, to hold your baby for the first time and every other image you create in your mind to realize your dream, is an innate desire for most women.

Women are biologically built for reproduction. 

Women are natures progression of the species.

We are hormonally charged with the desire to breed.

So, what happens when it’s your time and your body decides you are not fit for the job?

When you body declines the job of motherhood on your behalf without consulting you first?

Well, you fight.

You fight your body and you push past the negative pregnancy test, the miscarriages, the scientific invasions and the financial costs.

While doing this, you are also fighting a mental battle of inadequacy.  The feeling of ‘why me’ always present. And the mental mind game that is played every 30 days when you feel pregnant and then wipe blood that confirms you are broken.

Sitting down to write my piece brought all of this back up.  Even though my time had passed and I was blessed with one child, there is a grief that you carry with you when your ‘mother picture’ wasn’t fulfilled or the path to it was treacherous and scientific.

As my story unfolded on paper, tears ran down my face as I remembered the journey and the memories bubbling up. Once I was done, I didn’t reread it, I just hit send to the editor, collected myself and continued packing for our move.

The launch of the book was happening during our drive across Canada and it required all of the authors to promote and push it out. It was going live on Amazon and the publisher wanted to hit Best Seller status within the first few days of the launch.

Again, I didn’t participate.  I was the weak link. My emotions were a whirl wind.  Everything in my life was changing all at once. I was spread thinner than I have ever been spread before. And as the book was birthed, I stepped aside and chose to focus on my family and getting us all moving in the same direction, needing us to succeed in this decision to start a new life again.

The good news is, the team of authors are the absolute best and the book hit best seller status in it’s category right out of the gate! Yah!  The publisher was thrilled and the team was happy.

Slowly the team disassembled and each author went their separate ways with their story out in the world to help and inspire other women.

The feeling of detachment lingered and really bothered me.  It took me a long time to understand why I felt this way. But finally I began to understand.  Because I was in and out of the project I felt like perhaps my story wouldn’t have the impact that the other stories did.  I felt that because I hadn’t put the time in and participated in the group fully, my journey didn’t deserve to be in it. I felt, ashamed at my distraction during this amazing time to finally put my truth out into the world.  I was disappointed over and over again with myself and just couldn’t shake that feeling.

4 months passed and I still hadn’t purchased a copy of my own book!  What the heck was wrong with me?!?!

Finally, I went onto Amazon and bought it.

When it arrived, I opened in and then it sat on my night stand for a few weeks before I cracked it open.

A month ago, when my house was still and everyone had gone to bed it called to me.

Finally.

I sat down, alone and opened it up.

I didn’t go straight to my story. 

I wanted to read it as you would read it.

Start to finish.

And the moment I had been waiting for happened.

The moment that we all need to feel.

I was enough.

My story mattered.

I belong with this group of women.

This is what it means to put yourself out there for others to know that they are not alone.

When you share your truth, your raw emotion of pain and inadequacies you quickly see that this revelation create a balm.  The wounds you open, you may discover were never really healed, because you buried them. When you resurrect and reveal the truth, that is when you heal.  And in doing so you have a chance to help someone else tell their truth and begin the healing process as well.

Therefore, what I know for sure is this book matters.

These women coming together with 15 unique stories is only the tip of the iceberg.  There are millions of stories out there.  If you are a woman you will have a fertility story.  No matter what.  There will be a story.

Reading, writing, talking, and sharing is what women do as a community.

We are a Sisterhood.

We carry and lift others up.

We stand beside one another.

We lead and sometimes we follow.

If you have ever struggled and feel alone, know you are not.

If you are feeling low and defeated in your fertility journey, know you are not alone.

And know that there are 15 women who came together with that mission.

You matter.

Your journey is important.

You belong.

Never give up.

xo

 

Posted in My Relationship with Alcohol

Take the Hand

Have you ever fallen on your face?   Like literally?

I have.

Actually, I have fallen on my face many times (I’m not the most coordinated 😉)

However, just the other day I fell really hard, right on my face.

I was out trying to be a cool sporty mom (which I am not).

Pretending that I was 16 again…playing baseball with my family.

I didn’t stretch or warm up. First mistake.

I went right into the game feeling like my body was going to just pick up where it left off.

We started slowly, just tossing the ball in a circle, so that my son and I could get a feel for the ball and the mitt.

Then our circle widened and we started tossing a little farther and harder.

Now we brought the bat in and started hitting the ball out into the field to see who could get to it first.

Everything is all good, and I am pretty impressed with my catching, throwing and hitting abilities.

I am all smiles.

Now my husband is up to bat and he hits the ball perfectly.  Up high and coming my way.

I got it! I got it!

Focused on the ball and not where I was going.

The ball and I are about to come together, as one, and it was going to be awesome!

Or maybe not.

As I run, my body begins to not feel connected.

My bottom half is not in line with my top half.

My top half is moving faster towards the ball then my legs.

My mind is now in slow motion and the inevitable is about to happen.

Yup, my top-heavy body landed me on the ground, a high speed collision, with my nose taking the majority of the hit.

When I fall, it isn’t graceful, or logical to the onlooker.

Nope, it is me meeting the ground like a sack of potatoes.

I just laid there.

Stunned, panting and embarrassed.  And because of this, there is no rush to get up.

I liked laying in the falling.

I like my face touching the dirt.

My body needs time to process this change in elevation.

Moments ago, we were running, now we are laying.

My husband runs over trying not to laugh, because I know that if you were to play the fall back in slow motion, it must have looked very comical.

However, upon seeing the dirt on my face, my glasses askew, tears flowing down my cheeks, he tries to get me up.

I let him know that I need a moment.

A moment to recover and take inventory.

I have been here before.

Face down in the dirt.

Trying to figure out how the hell I got here.

Normally, I jump up and get right back to it.

I never take the time to think how I got there, or if I need help moving on.  I just brush off the dirt and carry on.

But sometimes, we have to just slow it down.

We have to feel the fall, and lay in the dirt for a while.

My husband put his head down to mine and looked at me, probably wondering what the heck is going on here.

Slowly, I put my hand in his and he helped me up.  He wiped the tears and dirt from my face and adjusted my glasses.

He gave me permission to sit out for a while and catch my breath.

I took it.

And it helped.

This is something I don’t do often enough.

Catch my breath.

Sit and be still.

Watch others and observe.

It helped.

Being vulnerable and letting my husband and son see that I needed to get up on my terms, helped them understand that I needed time.

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Often in life when we make mistakes, screw up and fall on our faces we get up too quickly and we don’t take time to heal ourselves.  Take inventory and see how the pain affected us.

So, when we are thrown curve balls and we don’t catch it, sometimes we get wounded.

And most times, when we get wounded, we ignore the pain and move on.

But our mind and body remember.

While you think you’ve moved on and are ready to continue playing, every hit you take the layering of your wounds begins to happen.  Slowly, as more curve balls are thrown your way it becomes harder and harder to hit the ball out of the park.

Why?

Because you haven’t fixed the problems.

You haven’t taken time to heal.

You haven’t taken time to reflect.

You haven’t taken time to learn how to do better.

You are just consumed in the doing.

Nothing else.

I knew that I wasn’t going to feel the majority of the pain of my fall in that moment….the full effect was going to be felt the next day, and those to follow.

And of course, that is what happened.

I woke the next morning to pain throughout my body.  My arms, shoulders, back and legs.

Many times, when you injure yourself the actual physical effect doesn’t surface until days later.

Similarly, to when you have gone through something difficult or tragic in your life.

We have a  tendency of finding ourselves on auto pilot and we tell ourselves we just need to get through it.

We go into survival mode.

We don’t accept the helping hand that is being extended to us.

We don’t stop and take a moment to see how did we get to this spot or point in our life.

And when we skirt past the difficulties, the wounds get thicker and thicker.

And it is hard, because life is moving at such a fast pace. We are comfortable moving on to the next challenges thrown our way.

Never taking a moment to catch our breath.

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But what I am learning, is that we need to slow down and sometimes just stop.

Stop when it is the hardest.

When you are in the thick of it, with your face in the dirt.

Stop and take that hand that is being extended your way.

It’s okay to take it.

It’s okay to ask for help and shoulder the burden of what you are carrying.

Your family is your team.

They are there to help you win.

Sometimes we are so focused on where we are going, we don’t stop to see where we are.

Going through this global pandemic has taught me to slow down and ask for help.

Putting my hand in my husbands and feeling his strength as he helped me, made me feel safe, seen, understood, and most importantly loved.

Being in the game is important.

But so is knowing when your face is in the dirt, because that is where the real learning and growth is.

Being in the dirt is your opportunity to take inventory and decide how you want to proceed.

Do you want to take that hand that is reaching out to support you?  Or do you want to go it alone?

I recommend taking the hand.

And when you see someone else who has fallen and is in the dirt of life, be the hand.

More than ever we are going to need the support and help of all those around us.

And they are going to need us.

So, my message in this baseball fiasco situation of mine is to stretch yourself and limber up for what’s to come.

Engage and do what you can do.

Be brave and bold and move beyond that which makes you comfortable.

But be prepared to fall.

That’s okay.

Just don’t stay down in the dirt alone.

Look up and see who is around you.  Who are your people that love you and want to help you?

Know who they are.

Keep them near.

And when you fall…and you will…we all do,  take that hand.

 

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Posted in My Relationship with Alcohol

Anxiety During Self Isolation

Yesterday was a bad, bad day.

Scary bad.

The bad that fills you and paralyzes your being.

The first sign for me is my vision.  My peripheral is gone and with the narrow view is difficult to navigate.

The room spins and I move to the bed to settle myself.

My head begins to pound and my breathing becomes laboured.

Just sit with it, I say.

Just sit with it.

And breathe.

Just breathe.

But it’s not working.

My son has finished his at home school work for the day and thankfully has screen time and is wearing a headset and I am grateful he cannot hear me holding back my uncontrollable sobs.

I think the worst thing about an anxiety attack is that it can come out of no where. There are times when you can feel anxious, but an anxiety attack is something else entirely.

It makes you feel weak, confused, dizzy, out of breath, tired, and completely defeated.  This helpless feeling lasts minutes for some and up to hours for others.

 

This is my 3rd attack, and mine stay for hours.

My first one was on my way to work.

My second happened while shopping.

And this one happened while cooking.

Even though this was my third one, it still scares me.  I don’t like the feeling of not being in control.  The feeling of being taken over by something that you can’t make end, is THE worst feeling ever.

Logically I know that it will pass. And it will.  But when you are in it time goes by very slow and the pain is very deep.

Around the point when I felt scared for myself, I made the call to my husband.  He wasn’t surprised as he felt that I was heading down the path for this attack.  I had been extremely emotional the night before.  Feeling so much guilt for all the lack of self isolation tasks that I haven’t completed yet.

Knowing that I have this time at home to do ALL THE THINGS and only getting SOME OF THE THINGS done is stressing me out!!!

I want to lose weight, I want to be THE BEST home school teacher, I want my son to listen to everything I am saying, and get that when he doesn’t my anxiety kicks in…he doesn’t seem to get it!

I want to try ALL the awesome recipes out there.

Get my 10,000 steps in a day, and have an immaculately clean house.

That night though, even though I had accomplished some great things, I felt behind.

Like there is a finish line everyday and I am just coming so close, but never cross the line.

So instead of feeling like a winner, I am ending each day feeling like a loser.

There in is the recipe for an anxiety attack.  Unbeknownst to me.

Because my husband could see things clearer than I could, he set me up with a small task.

Get a routine.

3 Simple goals.

Have breakfast, lunch and supper at scheduled times and do not veer from that schedule.  Then everything else will fall into place.

I felt better hearing this simple idea.

I feel so scattered and unfocused because I am just figuring it out as the days goes by.

Waking up late and stumbling along, creating the ideas and projects as I think of them.  With no logical way to complete them.

I can do this I told him.

Are you okay?  Should I come home?

I am okay …. I lie.

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We get off the phone and I walk around the house.  Laundry was my one task I wanted to complete before the days end.  I throw another load in and bring the fourth basket to the bedroom.

The wave comes again.  I have to hold onto the dresser as my vision goes.

Everything is dark and my eyes hurt.

I sit down on the ground and wait.

Screw the laundry.

I need to take care of me.

I need to lay down.

The day is ruined and nothing is going to get done.

I tell myself that this is okay.

It is okay.

Tomorrow is another day.

We have got to get to tomorrow though.

I give myself permission to end my day and crawl into bed.

As I lay there, the room is spinning and all I feel is fear.

I know now that hearing a voice of reason is good for me.

I call my mother.

I just need to talk for a minute.  I just need to let someone know what is going on.

We talk until my heart rate slows down and I begin to drift off.

We hang up.

It is dark now.

The day is coming to an end.

Thank God!

My son comes in and he only knows that my tummy hurts.

We cuddle and I feel myself clinging to him and his warmth and softness fills me.

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I feel for the first-time content that he is okay.

He is safe.

He got to play video games for most of the day, so for him this was the best day ever.

I won’t feel guilt for this.

I know that I was dealing with much bigger things than worrying about screen time.

I hear the front door open and my husband is home.

I sign with a sense of relief.

He comes in and puts Logan to bed.

He kisses me on the forehead and tells me he loves me and we will talk in the morning.

I feel his love.

I can now close my eyes and go to sleep.

I will make it through this day.

As the night envelopes me and begins its healing I drift off.

Safe and secure.

Knowing this is almost over.

And it was.

The sun came up this morning.  As I lay in bed everything felt okay.  I felt okay.  I got through it.

It’s a new day.

And I am thankful.

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Posted in My Relationship with Alcohol

When You Can’t Just Have One Drink …. Are you an Alcoholic?

I have been feeling so much anxiety about writing lately. I haven’t written anything in over a year. And it’s not because I haven’t wanted to. My mind writes a blog post probably every day. But to actually sit down at the computer and write… well I don’t know; I just haven’t been able to.

I think a lot of it has to do with guilt.

Guilt that I was drinking. And that I hadn’t been able to completely quit.

I have been trying to have a relationship with alcohol. And I am realizing that it just isn’t going to be possible. I started the Female Project 3 years ago. When I had hit rock bottom. I had almost made it to 300 days sober, but fumbled when we went on a family vacation to Disneyland. Those few drinks during our time away has created a pendulum swing in me ever since.

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I wanted to be able to have a drink when I was on vacation.

I wanted to be able to drink with my friends.

I wanted to celebrate special occasions like everyone else with champagne cheer.

I wanted to unwind at the end of a crazy week with a rye and coke.

Instead, what has happened was that as everyone around me was just having their one or two, I was having my 6th, 7th or more…

Maybe they were having more than I realized.

Maybe they were feeling as shitty as I was the next morning.

Maybe they were not themselves until 3pm.

Or, maybe not.

Who knows and really why do I even think about that?

The most important thing to think about is what it is that I am doing.

Why is it that MY body cannot just have one drink?

It is really so frustrating because I just HATE the word ‘alcoholic’. But when you cannot just have one drink….is that what you are?

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I am a very thirsty drinker. Meaning that I gulp my drinks down. I don’t savour them, even though I crave them. My mind is calculating the whole time how much I will need to drink to get to the point that it’s time for bed and I will just pass out.

And the next morning the pendulum swings the other way.

I wake up feeling horrible and create a whole action plan for how I am never going to drink again. I have this self talk with myself throughout the day. And I can literally feel the strength in my convictions as I take my shower and get ready to face the day. And as the day moves on, I am still thinking about how I will be different tonight. But as I begin to feel better, I also begin feeling slightly weaker. The day has been long and hard and the pendulum is slowly moving the wrong way.

I get home and do all my motherly/wifely duties. I’ll even throw some exercise in the mix here and there. Thinking this will keep me on course.

But then the moment comes when I kiss my son goodnight and walk out of his room. I close the door behind me. And as the door clicks shut, I stand there with my hand on the knob. Lost.

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Now what.

It’s 9pm.

Now what.

I am lost.

I could clean, do laundry, tidy up, write, read, go to bed.

Just go to bed……

Or, I could just have one drink.

I deserve it. I have navigated through the day. I have been successful. I have been a great mother, wife and worked hard at my job.

I deserve this drink.

The voice in my head from the morning is further and further away. I almost cannot hear her anymore.

Almost…

I am 10 days sober.

I have made it through 10 nights.

And I am going to make it through another 10 nights.

I have been contemplating AA.

Why? Because this is hard. And I am learning that having a shared experience can be better than being alone.

I haven’t gone yet, but the fact that I just wrote it, is big for me.

I drove by a church the other day and saw a sign on the front door.

I wonder what it is like when you are there.

What kind of people will be there?

I wonder how it works.

What will I have to say?

Does it work?

I believe it must.

I’ve made it to day 10 because all the alcohol is gone from my home. We are currently a ‘dry’ home. And believe it or not this makes me feel safe. Safe from myself. I don’t trust myself if it is in the house.

I begin this journey again having 10 days behind me, a ‘dry’ house and an eye on AA, I am feeling a shift inside that is telling me that this time is different. I really want it this time. It’s not worth it anymore.

I will keep you posted!

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Posted in My Relationship with Alcohol

We Must Keep Getting Up

I turned 45 last week.

I took the day off work to be alone.

Reflect and set new goals for myself, even though I woke up feeling anxious, as I always do on my birthday.

So, to combat the feeling of dread that was taking over my heart, I decided it was best to get outside, visit mother nature and go for a walk through the forest.

Fresh snow had fallen the night before and it had been mild the last few days.  I mustered up as much positive energy as I could and headed out.

The opening to the forest was inviting and the snowy path was well worn from previous visitors. I entered with the feeling I always get as I start my walk.

Thankful.

Thankful that I got off my butt and out of the house and into the woods.

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My walk started out with me having to navigate each step with care as the ground changed from snow, to mud, to gravel.

My heart rate was up and I could feel my cheeks were rosy.

With my endorphins at their peak and my mind full of ideas and creativity, I was jolted to reality when the ground came away from under my feet unexpectedly and without any notice I came crashing down.

The path before me had changed from soft snow to sheer ice.

Still in shock I found myself lying in a puddle of water, thorns embedded in my hands from grabbing onto a nearby bush to soften my fall.  By brain is frazzled and shaken from the impact, and I notice warmth between my legs as I guess the force of the fall made me pee my pants!!!

The joys of being 45 with a weak bladder!

I sat there for a few seconds to gather myself. Taking in my surroundings. All of a sudden feeling very alone and far away.  All my happy thoughts gone.  Realizing that I told no one where I was, and of course my mind went straight to me dying alone in the woods.

Shaking my head, I realized that the problem with falling, is you gotta get up.

And sometimes are easier than others.

For me, this time getting up was comical. Like your typical cartoon reel of any character you can think of trying to steady themselves on ice.  This would pretty much mirror how I looked.

This attempt at getting up did nothing but make me feel that 45 was old! And at this moment I was thankful that I was alone.

At this point in my journey through the forest I had a decision to make.  I either turn back or continue on, with the road ahead more difficult than the path behind.

I decided to keep going.

And just like the last time, without any notice my butt met the ground again.  This time the ground was harder and my butt cold and hurt.  I didn’t have anything to grab onto and I sat there with the cold ground coming through my pants.

But getting up was slightly easier.

Now I am walking with trepidation and the joy of the walk has completely evaporated.

With one foot in front of the other I know there isn’t much farther to go, but the forest decides to take me down one last time.

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This time as I sit there, I start to laugh.

How ridiculous!

Sitting alone on the forest floor.

The trees all around me.

I decide before I get up this time to really look at what was around me.

I normally don’t have this view of the forest.  I am never this close to the ground.

Silence.

Beauty.

Hard snow on my hands, no longer soft but now sharp and painful.

The smell of the pine needles.

Moss.

Dead leaves from last fall.

Fallen trees that didn’t survive the last wind storm.

The sound of something small running through the bushes.

Cold air filing my lungs.

And my beautiful dog, waiting patiently for me to get up.

 

I couldn’t help but think of this walk as a metaphor for my life. The world around me beautiful and brutal all at the same time.

As much as it offers, it takes away.

The path always changing, no matter how confident you are in the direction your going.

Often times when you least expect it, the rug gets pulled out from under you and you’re left scrambling to put the pieces of your life back together.

We will fall many times.  Sometimes harder than others.  But it’s how we get up that matters.

It’s how we chose to move forward that counts.

We MUST get up.  We MUST continue on.  We MUST never give up.

Sometimes after a fall it takes us longer to get up. That’s ok. Take a moment.  Catch your breath.  Look around and get a lay of the land. Make your plan.

But you must get up.

So, I do.

As my walk comes to an end and the woods open up, my heart is full again.

I take in the sunshine that was hiding from me while I was in the thick of the woods. Knowing that if I hadn’t gotten up, I would be missing the brilliant rays of sun that are now caressing my face. Shining its warmth over me. Confirming that out of darkness there will always be light.

So, on this birthday I tell myself that the day will continue, with or without me.

Enter each day with gratitude for the good and the bad.

And no matter what, always get up.

Every time.

The days are yours and whether it’s your birthday or not, each day is a gift.

We only have one life.

Rise up and live it.

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Posted in My Relationship with Alcohol

Every Step Matters

I am still struggling with drinking.

But now it is just annoying.  It’s there, and won’t go away.

I feel strong because I am so aware of the problem, yet weak because I’m apparently still clueless as to how to solve it.

I go for days and days without a drink and then I slip.

And the fall is hard.

My newest strategy which is completely out of character for me has been working out and seriously focusing on getting healthy.  I am filling my time with movement and distracting myself so that I won’t drink.

I have been exercising 3 to 4 times a week.  Which may sound like no big deal, but if you were to ask anyone who knows me… it is.  This is the first time I have ever continued with anything that could be good for me physically…EVER.

I am at the 3-month mark, which is a huge milestone for me.

The key to this has been a good friend who is working out beside me and doesn’t take no for an answer. If you have a friend like this, keep them close no matter how hard and annoying it can be at times.  Align yourself with someone who is better than you. Especially something you struggle with. Find that someone who will make you stretch yourself.  Someone, who when you want to stop, she says 5 more seconds.  Because what comes out of that is growth.  And when you begin to see change you want to keep going.

I go to an indoor track as the witching hours approaches and I get itchy for a drink.

Out the door and walking by 8:30pm and home after 10pm.

Showered and in bed by 10:30pm.

Don’t deviate or get distracted by anything else.

I HAVE to get myself under the covers or else I will begin to wander and waiver and then it will be GAME OVER.

I take each day as a little bite size accomplishment which I do not take lightly.

I am recognizing each achievement as they happen for myself.

When I am walking on the track and I feel my heart pounding, I am really trying to get in tune with my body.

I almost begin talking to it.

Letting my heart know that the blood that is pumping through my veins is strengthening the vessel that is my body.

Sending positive vibes with every step I take, I begin to feel stronger and tell myself that each step matters.

That one foot in front of the other is more than I was doing before.

That even on a day when I’m not feeling it, the fact that I got my ass out of the house is a WIN and I’m gonna take it!

This is the body that is going to get me to tomorrow.  Every step I take in the right direction leads me to more days of joy and contentment.

But most importantly it is leading to a sense of pride. Pride that I am taking action and that I am living in the NOW.  Conscious of what my problems are and taking my head out of the sand it was buried in. One step at a time.

I am still struggling with drinking.

It hasn’t gone away.

But it isn’t winning as much as it was before.

 

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Posted in My Relationship with Alcohol

From ME to WE

It has been months now since I have written a new blog post.

I have no excuses.

Have I been drinking?

Sometimes…

Have I had an occasional slip up?

Yes.

Do I feel ok?

For the most part yes… and for the most part no.

More than likely I haven’t written because I feel guilt.

I have guilt for not being 100% sober and because of that, I have chosen to hide, even though so many things have been going on that I wanted to write about and share.

But now something big enough has taken over my emotions, more than my drinking, and I want to write about it…

My marriage.

To begin, you may remember that my last blog involved me starting a self help journey that would get me out of the comfort zone of my home.  I met a lot of wonderful people, learned a lot, and I am proud that I pushed my self through the courses. One of the projects that affected me the most was a vision board. As I am the least artsy person I know, I was very hesitant to participate, and yet was surprised at how impactful it was.

The vision board I created turned out completely different then I had thought it would.  I had whole heartedly gone into this workshop thinking about myself.  Thinking about all the things I wanted and needed to be a better ME.

Everything I had been doing the last few months solely revolved around ME and my well being.

This class however was designed very differently than most vision board classes, I can only presume.  We had to answer deep soul-searching questions, along with meditation and journaling, before we even touched the vision board.

And from this self reflection what I ended up creating, almost unconsciously, was shocking and awakening for me.

When I look back now, it really shouldn’t have been.  But I guess when you are self absorbed and working towards becoming a better version of yourself, you become blind to some of the most obvious things around.

What revealed itself on my vision board was that I had to take care of my marriage…

My husband was missing me.

I was being neglectful.

I was being selfish.

I was slowly abandoning the marriage and him.

And I needed to fix this.

I needed to come back and be present for him.

And also, with my son.

Here I was working so hard to get better for them that I had kept them at arms length during the process.

Have you heard the analogy about being on a plane, and if it starts going down, and the oxygen masks falls, you must take care of yourself first and then the others?  And that you are no good to anyone if you can’t breathe…put the mask on, breathe, then you will be good to take care of the others…

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I was doing exactly this.  Taking care of ME.

But I have been thinking lately…

I think we are taking too long to put the mask on the other person.  I think that we are stealing all the oxygen.

Not on purpose…just because we don’t feel okay…yet.

The process of getting better and becoming more takes a long time.

And I’m finding that I haven’t shared the mask.

How I know this, is how inward I have become.  Feeling the need to protect my little steps forward.  Feeling that letting anyone in will make me crash.

But I was crashing anyways.

Those I love were moving farther and farther away as I tried to ‘find’ myself.

So, as I sat and looked at my vision board and saw my marriage front and centre I woke up.

I woke up out of the slumber of ‘self’ help.

I realized that my partner….my husband… has to be on the journey with me.

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WE not ME

We have to be in alignment

We have to want the same things

We have to want to be better

We have to be great parents

We have to share our goals and dreams

And We have to be loving and caring partners to each other.

I can work on me as much as I want to … but if it’s just about ME the WE falls apart.

So, this has been what I am working on.

I think the reference to the oxygen mask is in relation to how much we do as women.

How much we do as wives, sisters, mothers, aunts, friends etc…

I believe it is referring to the work we do.

The energy we put out.

The late nights and the early mornings.

The cleaning and cooking and homework and entertaining and planning and scheduling…the list goes on…

And I totally get that… trust me!

We need to take some time for ourselves.  We need to take time to meditate, do yoga, go out with the girls.

BUT, what I am noticing and what has happened to me, is that the last one on my list to take care of and love, was my husband.

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Men are built different than us women.

For my husband self help is confusing… and a girl thing.

But just as much as I need it, so does he.

Men need to look inward…once in a while.  There is so much there.  Just as much junk as I have, so does he.

It wasn’t until my vision board and my husband making a comment here and there about how many girls nights do I really need? To make me realize that maybe I need more husband nights.

Looking at my board I don’t see a whole lot of ME…but I sure see a WE that is craving for attention.

Goals and dreams that are not only mine, but ours.

So that is where I am at these days.  Working on bridging the gap between Me to We.

To look back on my vows, and remember why I decided to get married.

My heart is fuller and my load is lighter these days.

This slight refocus has shifted me in a really positive way.

I truly recommend trying it.

😊

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Posted in My Relationship with Alcohol

Self Help Junkie Trying Something New

I am a Self-Help Junkie.

Surprising…. I know!

If you were to look at my book shelf, I probably own more than 50 inspirational books on how to be a better me.

My quick fix for most of my problems, whether it be drinking, my marriage, parenting, my weight, finances or how to keep a clean house, is to head to the bookstore and find the newest best seller on the topic.

I come home and read, put the book down and continue on.

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Sometimes I take in what they have said.  But my retention is short lived.  Hence why I have so many books! And I think if I bring one more book home my husband may burn it!

So, I have decided to try something else.

I am going to take my self help out of isolation.

Instead of bringing the books into my home, I have decided to take myself to where the help may be.

I am going to go out into the world and find what it is that seems to either be missing or not sticking in my life.

This feeling/idea/thought came to me one day when I was in my local wellness store.

I have wandered in a few times since it opened and I instantly felt like I wanted to stay.

I didn’t feel like I belonged… but I felt like I wanted to try to belong…if that makes sense.

I wanted to stay even though I felt uncomfortable.

And I think the reason why I wanted to stay was because I knew that what was going on in that store was something that I had never tried before…. And they do things that I think are kinda hokey, but for some reason, the energy of the place made me know that something right and good was going on.

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The first time I visited, about 8 months ago, I opened up to one of the women working there and told her a little bit about what I was struggling with, and that I hadn’t taken a drink in 182 days.  I didn’t spill all my beans, but just opening up to a complete stranger who works in the wellness industry felt good.  I even felt a little bit hopeful as she listened and offered encouragement.  She let me know that her road to wellness had also been bumpy, and as she spoke her words felt like a balm on my wounds. And although she didn’t have the answers, she seemed to have the training and ability to help me find them.

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But I left, and felt vulnerable and a bit scared to go back… although I am not too sure why.

I have driven by the store often and never went back in.

Probably because I always feel like I can take care of my own problems.  I have probably bought 10 self-help book since I had first gone in!

But even with all the reading I do, I did slip.  I did drink.  I did feel like shit again.

So last week, I went back in.

I felt the same good feelings I had originally felt.

The same lady was there, and she remembered me.

We spoke and she let me know about some events they were holding.

She wasn’t pushy, she just put it out there.

I decided to sign up for 3.

Yes 3.

One is tonight.  It is a vision board workshop. I wasn’t too sure about this one because I am not creative when it comes to crafts, and I remember doing vision boards back in high school and for me it felt like a waste of time. I said this to her, and she explained that the workshop would be for 3 hours and before we actually start the vision board she will be guiding us through a meditation session and then some reflective journaling– SOLD!  Meditation is something I want to try and learn more about, and well journaling is just my favorite!  So, I will see what kind of board pops out of me after that 😊

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I also joined their book club and a 6-week course on creating the life I desire! This course was a little more expensive, but then I thought about how much I used to spend at the liquor store in a week without flinching. This is money much better spent!  I am looking forward to this course the most!

So, tonight is the night!  I will be dipping my toe into the pond of group self help.  Taking my desire to be a better me out of the house and into the world of wellness.  Which I am hoping will help me be a better me coming back into my home and into my life.

I will keep you posted on this new journey as I work on the evolution of my reclusive self.

And if you have any suggestions as to workshops or groups you have joined that have been a positive influence on you, please share!  I am very interested in hearing what may have helped you.

(and because I know my self a little… I will keep buying books…so any suggestions… I am game to hear)

Thank you for reading 😊

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Posted in My Relationship with Alcohol

Fallen

As all the sparkle and glitter settles from New Year celebrations and resolutions, the self challenges and new commitments become a list that holds fresh hopes and repetitive failures.

I started to drink again.

Sifting through the happiness and joy of everyone’s New Year posts I find myself bored of seeing it all.  Everything looks the same.

Fresh, focused and filtered.

I started drinking again.

My post would be old, sad and disappointing.

Mostly to myself.

I ended the year failing the one thing that I was the proudest about. And it really hurts and it is really confusing.

I haven’t written in over 2 months because of a guilt and shame I feel I set myself up for.

But that was the point.

I put it out there so that I was accountable…I showed up, I did it, and then I hid.

I was hiding because I was trying to figure it out.

Do I, or don’t I have a problem?

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At the beginning of this journey I was so wrecked that the answer appeared obvious.  But as the healing happened and my confidence and pride grew, I guess so did my doubt.

Doubt that maybe I over reacted.  Maybe I shouldn’t have put my personal issues and questionings out there for everyone to know about, judge, criticize and watch my every move.

I started to feel a bit cranky about my success.  I was feeling that not drinking for over 265 days was great for everyone….but me.

I was starting to feel like I made a big mistake, and wondering what have I done!

I want to drink.

I want to be a person who can have a few drinks with my friends and have a good time and be done with it.

I want to drink.

The longer I stopped drinking,  more and more people knew about it, and I was openly sharing my story with them.  And even though there was so much encouragement, there were also the doubters.  People who questioned if I really had a problem.  And when they asked if I would ever drink again my answer was always a bit vague.

It was vague because as time went on I was beginning to forget I had a problem. So, my answer changed from originally stating that I would never drink again to……I’m not too sure.

I began agreeing with the doubters.  Because these people were also the people who know me well.  And trust my judgement and respect my abilities.

….I think when you have an addiction, the weed is always looking for a crack to resurface, stretch, grow and move back in.

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Even though I wasn’t drinking…I was still thinking about it all the time.

And I think if it wasn’t for my blog I would have taken my first drink much sooner.   But blog or not the weed wanted out!

I took my first drink on our family vacation to Disney Land… “the happiest place on earth”.

I won’t bore you with all the justifications, just know there were a lot, and the main one being…”I am finally on the vacation I have dreamed of my entire life…I DESERVE a drink!”

And so, it started.

The first one sucked (probably because I picked one that I normally never would have drank). And the fact that it sucked made me feel confident that I didn’t have a problem.

Look I can’t even finish it!

But, by the end of the vacation we had graduated to a bottle of wine at dinner…and finished it.

But everything was okay, because we were on vacation and I would stop drinking as soon as we got home.

Which I did…for a while.

But the holidays and parties and socializing were all coming at me and all the normal to-do’s that people have during this season were lost on me.  My only concern was… I guess I’ll just see how it goes now that I am at home. Now that I know I can drink a few drinks and not get wasted like before.

Maybe alcohol and me could have a relationship.

Let’s give it a try.

So, I drank.

Here and there.

One or two.

It’s okay.

Don’t worry!

New Years. Let’s have a party!  And let’s have it at my place.

My place.

So, I can drink.

And maybe I can just have a few more tonight…

If your going to really test yourself, tonight’s the night.

And I drank.

And drank.

And didn’t have fun.

Because as the New Year came charging at me, I went charging to the bottle.

All I had gained was slowly falling apart drink after drink after drink.

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I didn’t even feel present.

It felt like I was two people, with one watching as the other was saying- go fuck yourself.

This split of myself has been the hardest of all to deal with these last few weeks.

The fighting voices in my head.

The disappointment in the eyes of those I have let down.

The guilt of enjoying the failure….if that makes sense!?!

The failure let me drink.

And now I have to figure out what to do now.

Now that it is quiet again.  The confetti has settled. Tis the season is over.

Now what?

Do I start over?

Do I go back to day 1?

All I know for sure, is that I like myself better in the morning when I haven’t had a drink.

I wish I could bottle this feeling.

I wish I could reach for this at any hour.

I know there is a way.  So many people have reached out with support and advice and I am sorry for my slip.

But today I am sad.

Today I am disappointed.

But today I did not drink.  And that means tomorrow morning I will like myself.

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