Posted in My Relationship with Alcohol

Great Expectations & Thanksgivings

I thought I was pregnant … but I AM NOT.

I’ve thought I was pregnant many times… but I WASN’T.

When will this end.

This dream.

Hope.

Expectation.

Wish.

Disappointment.

Dread.

Truth.

I cannot get pregnant…. naturally.

I know I am not alone, and that there are millions of other women like me, but when I think about this…this uncontrollable incapability… it creates an ache in me that turns to a form of insanity.

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My mind becomes my biggest enemy.  Playing tricks on my thoughts, feelings and body.  It tricks me into thinking I’m pregnant…it really does!

And this time… being 3 months late, I knew I wasn’t pregnant.  I even took 2 pregnancy tests- both negative (what a waste of money) ☹

At 43, there is a very strong, logical explanation— I must be heading towards menopause.  GREAT! UGH!

But nope, regardless of this logic, my secret mind builds this world of a child growing inside me.  Filling me up and creating a new world, a new future.

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My son getting the sibling I’ve always longed for him to have.

My husband getting the little girl I know he has wished for.

Me getting the chance to smell that new born baby smell, snuggling and sleeping in my arms.

Oh, I have to go to the bathroom, better stop dreaming for a second.

Wipe.

All good.

No blood.

Better book an appointment with the doctor.  I could be one of those freak people that are pregnant even though the tests are negative.

She takes my blood and says it will take a few days, but those store-bought tests are pretty accurate.

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For the last three months, as I go about my everyday, the thought of being pregnant is always on my mind. And every trip to the washroom, I hold my breath…. No blood.

Could this really be happening?

Could this be my miracle?

Has the fact that I stopped drinking fixed me?

Even though I am older perhaps this is just going to be my story….She tried her whole life, and when she least expected it she became pregnant!

Great expectations.

Oh, I have to go to the washroom.

Great disappointment.

Blood.

When I least expected it.

SNAP back to reality.

What was I thinking!  Why do I do this to myself…. over, and over and over again.

I know better.  I do, I really do.

And then I sit and think, and know that this isn’t what I want anymore.

Truly.

I am too old.  I know that.  And in my sane mind I know that having a baby right now would be all wrong.

I was meant to only have my one, beautiful, magical son.

I know that as a family, we are heading into good times.

We have all grown, and we are all moving in a direction of freedom and dreams.

We are good.

The three of us.

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I will never know why my body cannot do what it is naturally made to do.  And I accept that…now.

As I am getting older I am looking forward to the future.  Of Logan growing older and becoming a man.  Guiding him and watching him navigate this complex world.  Being able to share our stories and grow.

I look forward to my marriage changing, evolving.  Working on being a couple again, yet always being parents, but getting that more intimate one on one time, we had at the beginning.

I dream now of travelling, moving, getting healthy and fit.

And yes, I do look forward to menopause.  Knowing that this will free me of the craziness that enters my mind sometimes.

I stop and listen to Logan and his dad playing a game in the kitchen while I write.

I am Thankful.

Thankful that I was blessed with the help of doctors to have my very own family.

Thankful for the health, life and energy of my 8-year-old.

And thankful that I was able to experience life growing inside me.

The expectation of Logan’s arrival into this world filled my days with glory.

And holding him in my arms filled my soul with Thanks.

We all have our story and path to follow.

As we hold our breath with expectations, know that we are given what we can handle, and with that let’s be thankful.

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Posted in My Relationship with Alcohol

195 Days Sober

6 months alcohol free has come and gone!
This picture, when I saw it, truly symbolized to me the whole process of the Journey that I’ve been on this past 6 months. Slowing down and taking care of myself and those around me. And trying to bring alive what was once dead. It can be done!
The amazing thing of this last 6 months, has been the accountability.
I’ve had so many people reach out to me with encouragement, support, and even their own stories of doubt about how much they’ve been drinking.
And that has been what has kept me on the right track.
Accountability, and having people know where I’m at has been the key. THANK YOU! 😊
If you feel that you may be drinking more than you should be, or even want to be….just say it out loud. It doesn’t seem real until you actually say it out loud.
Or even if you just try and not drink for a week.
See how your body and your mind feel about that.
If you struggle for a week and it’s something that’s on your mind maybe there’s something more going on that you need to look at.
I never thought I could commit to something like this, and it has only been 6 months, but it seems like it’s been way longer.
And the best feeling that you actually get from all of this is being proud of yourself. 😀
195 days!!! Woot! Woot! 😀😀😀😀

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Posted in My Relationship with Alcohol

If you had to bet on yourself, would you?

Recently it was asked of me, if I had to bet on mine and my families success, would I?

Meaning, would I invest?  Wager? Gamble? Place a bet?

Am I in it to win it?

Well, many from the outside looking in, would run away as fast as they could.  Clear to them that we were a bad investment, a long shot, destined for misfortune.

Yes, to some it may seem so, especially in light of this past month, which has been incredibly trying, dramatic and just plain unbelievable.

I know now why I drank! And I am amazed that I haven’t during all of this.

You know, going into July I was energized.  Ready to embark on a remedy for my body that would require me to ask for help and to rest.

I won’t lie, the thought of being off work for a month was delightful.  I was burnt out and having a surgery actually seemed like a welcomed opportunity for some R&R.

I flew my mom out to help with the TLC and was looking forward to bonding and connecting again after not seeing each other for a year.

My surgery went well and I was very grateful to be taken care of.

As women, we are always the care givers, so to be the recipient for once does not go without gratitude.

But the R&R was not to last long.

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On the 6th day of recovery, feeling the need to get back out in the world, we all packed into the truck and went for a 3-hour cruise around town.

I didn’t want to go back home.

I didn’t realize how cooped up I felt and getting out felt wonderful. It was the magical evening hours when you are out West.  The sun is beginning to set, the air is crisp yet warm, and the breeze sooths.  It was exactly what I had needed.

But as we made our way home that feeling disappeared as we pulled into the driveway.

My heart stopped as I saw water pouring down from the top of our garage…. Massive flood.

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A pipe burst while we were away and the pressure and amount of water that poured through the house damaged 3 levels, 3 washrooms, 3 bedrooms and the garage.

We slept in a hotel that night.  And I was dreading what was the come.

This had never happened to me before…I had no clue where to begin, and my husband was away for work.  So, crippled me, my mom and son started to make plans.  And thank heavens for home insurance! If it wasn’t so devastating, it was almost comical how the 3 of us went into pure adrenaline mode seeing water pouring every where.  And my son amazed me with his ‘step up to the plate’ attitude. What a trooper.

And now for the last month, my home has been invaded by strangers.  Touching, taking, packing and moving all our possessions.

The thing about a flood is that you don’t expect it.  You can’t prepare for it.  It just happens.

Your things are here and there.  It’s impossible to remember each and every item and where it is exactly in your home.

But when it starts to get removed, the feeling of invasion and resentment begin to kick in.

Things you thought you would have forever are destroyed.

Shipped off without a second thought.

The sadness and emptiness begin to take hold of you, as day by day your house slowly gets torn apart.

Room by room.

Plastic runners are laid down, to compensate for the wooden floors that have just been ripped out.  And cardboard boxes become you bureau for all your clothes.

But you know what?  My husband and I looked at each other in the midst of all the rubble and we just had to laugh.

We’ve been through worse.

This is new, granted, but not the worst.

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Yet with even this happening, we were meant to be tested even more.

The following week I was to lose a dear friend.

A beautiful, vibrant, young mother of two.

27 years young. Ready to conquer life and all it’s challenges….

Taken too soon.

Shocking. Unbelievable. Impossible. Questionable.

That is the worst part.

The questions.

How? Why?

This was unexplained and unexpected. And has affected me deeply.  Speaking at her funeral gave me a bit of closure, but I will not be at peace until all my questions are answered.

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And as I was in the beginning stages of processing my grief, we received news that my husband lost his job.

So disappointing.

This economy is so unpredictable.  What was once a booming industry, is now struggling to survive.  The job loss is immense and we are one of the many, not the few.

Another blow.

But we can get up.

July has been a month of LOSS.

Loss of house.

Loss of friend.

Loss of work.

And if you remember from my last blog.  Loss of my son for the summer.

And now loss of husband.  He has joined our home sick child.

The boy who thought he could take on the world.

By day 4 he wanted to come back home. 😉

So, I ask myself…would I bet on me?

My answer…

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Damn straight I would!

I would be betting on resilience, stamina, and the strength it takes to overcome.

To carry optimism and conviction in the face of all that goes wrong.

To support and not judge.

To look at the gains we received from our losses.

My son gained a summer with all his cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents and friends.  Memories he is old enough now to remember for the rest of his life.

He gained independence from his clingy, paranoid, overprotective mom. And yet, he still misses me! 😊

He gained self awareness and the ability to trust his judgement.

All a big win for him.

As for my home.  Well… now it will be completely renovated.  I will get to pick and chose how I want it to look and everything will be brand new!  And when the time comes to list our home it will look the best it ever has!

A big win for our home.

There is no gain from losing a dear friend.  Only lessons.  And they are simply to truly live life to the fullest every day.  Because today is really all you are ever guaranteed. It sounds cliché, but it so isn’t. This beautiful mother had no idea when she left work that night that she was never coming back.  That she would never hold her babies in her arms again.  That when she went to bed…she would never wake up.

For me I will never hear her voice again, see her smiling face, hear her crazy stories.  And the simplest thing… I will never get a text from her… I keep waiting, but I know none will come.  So, make sure you are kind to one another.  Say your I love you’s everyday. Support and don’t judge, because today is all you really have.

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The bare floors, and the loss of job now seem so small and manageable in light of what can really go wrong.

I am, and always have been a betting woman.

And I will always bet on this family of three.

This family that stays afloat when we should have sunk.

Making sure our life vest are always on and secure.  And because of this I know we will survive and triumph.

We have the will, drive and determination, and that is really all you need.

Throw in love, loyalty and trust.

Yup, I’m going to bet it all on us!

I am all in!

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Posted in My Relationship with Alcohol

Truly Broken

I lie here.

Broken.

But this time I am literally broken.

To become whole, sometimes we have to make a choice to break open the old wounds that have been slowing us down.

Over the years, I have found it amazing how our body adapts to pain.

We learn to move forward with suffering. Adjusting ourselves to accommodate the intrusion of an unwelcome ailment.  Which eventually forces us to make the decision to extract it from our bodies in order to heal, and become who we once were.

I have completed a surgery that I have had a fear of doing for years now.  But in hesitating, and not getting it done, I have had years stolen from my life. I have suffered with the pain. Choosing to step aside and not join events I once would have.  Ignoring that my body was slowly breaking down.

I have sadly realized that by being a bystander to myself I have deteriorated gradually, year after year.

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I had assumed that my body would always be the same, and that it would always be there for me.

That is not so.

I now see that I need to be there for my body.

I know this is probably common sense for most people, however for me, as I have moved through the different struggles in my life, I have taken for granted the vessel that has carried me through each event.  Not realizing that as my mind was suffering, so was my physical being.

I would catch glimpses of myself in the mirror and not recognize who was looking back.

See photos of myself and cringe.

Slowly disappearing from the history of my physical story.

Knowing this, and telling myself I would deal with it later. I am not ready to deal with this issue yet.

I will come back…one day.  I am just not ready now.

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I have been treating my body almost like a line of credit…racking up the debt.  Promising that it’s just ‘for now’, and that one day I will get to it, and pay my body back all of the abuse I have given it over the years.

But now that I am truly physically broken, lying here, and actually seeing how much my body has suffered, I know now that I am going to have to make even more changes on my path of recovery.

I have used up all of my reserve.

There is nothing left for her to give me.

I have to stop and start to give back.

I have accomplished 101 days of sobriety.  Something I NEVER thought I would be able to do. But I have!!!

And through this, I see clearly all the cracks and frailties that are the aftermath of abusing my body these past 17 years.

I see now that my body hasn’t received love or support from me.

That I have relied solely on her… but she hasn’t been able to rely on me.

I have let her disappear.

She has become shattered and wrecked.

Almost, unfixable.

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She is a garden that has been neglected, year after year.  The weeds are so thick and deep making the process of even knowing where to start extracting seem impossible.

Where do you start when you see destruction?

When you are the destruction?

I don’t know…except to try what I did when I knew I had a drinking problem.

Take one day at a time.

This is what has helped me get to day 101.

One day at a time.

I need to look at the garden, with the weeds and the thistles and not be afraid of what lies beneath.

To believe that as I uproot the complicated web of deeply entrenched garbage from the field of desolation, that there will be flowers waiting to bloom.

Flowers that are stronger than weeds.

More fragrant, colourful, lively and strong.

Flowers that will not shrink from the sunlight, but that will stretch out wanting to be seen.

This is what I know to be true as I lie here broken.

I want to be fixed.

I want to tend to the garden.

I want to learn about my body and how it works.

I want to give back all that I have taken.

I need to do this.

I see this clearly.  There is no more time. My line of credit is maxed out. There is nothing left to borrow.

The time is now.

And today is day one.

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Posted in Anxiety Disorder, My Relationship with Alcohol

A Not So Perfect Day

 

The darkness comes sometimes when I least expect it.

Getting ready for work.

Cooking dinner.

Writing.

My eye sight starts to blur, and my peripheral vision disappears. Forcing me to focus on what is right in front of me.

My hands get shaky and my upper lip starts to sweat.

I begin to feel faint and then my brain feels like it wants to split in half.

I sit and I wait.

Scared and confused.

This is starting to happen more and more, and I don’t know why.

I am changing for the better…I think.

I am not drinking…on day 59 today….

But this happened twice on the weekend and then when I was trying to get ready for work.

Everything came to a stand still.

I couldn’t function.

I felt so tired.

Just so tired.

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It took everything I had to get my son to school.

Bad choice… I now see.  I should have called a friend to drive him.

But we made it there and he kissed me and said he loved me and off he went.

I drove myself to the emergency.

In my professional clothes for work, I walk in, tears streaming down my face, mascara everywhere.

I don’t care.

I know I need help.

Someone.

I am admitted and put on IV, as I tell them perhaps I have a brain tumor, or cancer…something really big.

The doctor listens and checks my vitals.  My blood pressure is very high.  But everything else is normal.

They put me in a comfortable room and I begin to relax.

I feel good being there.

It feels good to be taken care of.

They put a warm blanket on me and I begin to relax even more.

The medication in the IV is working I guess.

I am thankful to see one of my good friends.

She is worried and has come to sit with me.

My head is still hurting.

But my body is relaxing.

My blood pressure has come down. And the doctor comes in to tell me that I have experienced an anxiety attack.

Anxiety Attack…okay… but I didn’t feel anxious when it happened.

But the mind is much stronger than we think it is, I guess.

I am still muddling through this, as my head is still throbbing.

I went home and slept.

I slept the whole day and straight through the night.

This morning I took my son to school, came home and went straight to bed.  I just got up now…at 2pm…but honestly, I could easily still sleep. And my head still hurts and I still feel so tired.

So, I decided to write.

To share.

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I have been struggling with depression I think most of my life, and anxiety really surfaced for me when my son was born.  I will share all of this later on.

But anxiety attacks are new.

This has just started to happen the last few months….

Since I stopped drinking really.

What is the correlation? I don’t know yet.

Maybe I am feeling more?

Maybe I am no longer numbed by the alcohol.

But this feeling sucks as well.

So, mind over matter is what they say.

Now that I am working on the alcohol…I guess I should really be starting to look at the why’s?

The why’s might help my mind.

That is what I am going to start to do.

But on a positive note.  During these last few days, alcohol has been the last thing on my mind.

And this makes me so happy and proud to say that today is day 59!

Almost at 2 months.

One more day.

Just Breathe

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Posted in My Relationship with Alcohol

Thank you Mom

There are moments in your life that will never leave you.   

They will imprint themselves in your memory forever.  

The one for me was the night my mother revealed her inner strength and showed me how to rise above the darkness. 

It was winter, and the snow was falling.  Big soft flakes, creating a pure canvas all around. 

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The night felt still and peaceful, but that was to change. 

At home, I remember getting the call.   

“I need you!” came the voice on the other end of the phone.  

It was my mother.  

I stopped what I was doing, opened the front door, and ran. 

I ran from one end of town to the other.   

Her voice was different and I knew I had to be by her side. For this was the night that I saw and understood what strength and courage was.

 

Many women live in abusive relationships with the fear of saying the words “It’s over”. 

This fear has many moving parts.   

What if he walks out right there and then, and never comes back? 

What if he becomes so enraged that his wrath will destroy everything? 

What if he takes the kids? 

What if I can’t make it on my own? 

What if I am making a huge mistake? 

But the one scenario my mother didn’t think of was– what if he says NO. 

NO! I am not leaving. 

NO! This is my family, my home and we are going to stay together. 

YOU will get over this. 

YOU will change your mind.  

What do you do then?  

Well, you live in misery.  You walk on egg shells.  Your anxiety and stress become unbearable.  Until you hit rock bottom.  Until the unthinkable happens.  The abuse blows the roof off the house and my mother realizes if she stays any longer she will lose her daughter forever.  Because I cannot live this life with him anymore.

As my father became his lowest self, my mother became her highest self.  His unforgivable actions one night created a stillness in our home that made my mother know that this was the end of her ‘family’. 

And we left. 

I will always feel grateful that she had the courage to save us from a life of… I will be honest…Hell. 

My memories of our first night of freedom in our little subsidized townhouse were so,

GLORIOUS! 

LIBERATING! 

TRIUMPHANT! 

PEACEFUL! 

All three of us felt it. The stress was gone. The yelling was gone. The abuse was gone. Our day of reckoning had come and we welcomed it with open arms. 

I cannot say the same for my father. 

The guilt became overwhelming for us all.  As it somehow does for victims.  We somehow feel guilty for the damaged abuser. 

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The call that came on that winter’s night, was the realization that my father’s life had stood still from the day we moved out and that on the day he was to leave he hadn’t packed a thing. 

He reached out to my mother for help, and out of a sense of obligation and wanting closure she went, with the expectation that she was helping him wrap up the odds and ends of his move.  Instead she walked into a house that still held the remains of a family that had left months before.  

As I reached the house and walked up the stairs to the front door, my heart was filled with fear and I was incredibly anxious to open the front door, not knowing what I was going to find on the other side. My biggest fear was that the guilt would overcome my mother and that she would change her mind and take him back. 

Instead what I found were two exhausted parents.  

When something ends for good, or for bad, the open wound at the beginning seems irreparable. And the light at the end of the tunnel is extinguished. 

I followed my mother’s lead and took her direction as she worked through the mess and failures my father had brought upon her life.  

These were the times before mental illness, depression and anxiety where acceptable or even acknowledged.  And to be frank, it wasn’t even anything we had heard of, or knew of.  But as the months and years past, the evidence of mental illness surfaced and became the reality for my father. 

I would say this explained many things.  Hopefully releasing my mother of her guilt for leaving him. 

But what she did, during a period of time where things seemed impossible, was to create the possible for her two daughters. 

She saved us. 

She chose us. 

She always has and I know she always will. 

She is the embodiment of leading by example.   I try every day to be as good as she is. 

To live with optimism.   

To see the good in all those around you. 

To work through struggles without complaint, but to stand strong and push through. 

To live with little and to be happy about it. 

To be a realist, but always have a dream. 

To support your community in whatever way you can. Raising money through charity events that enrich other people’s lives. 

To strive every day to be the best you can be.   

To live simply and enjoy life’s little pleasures. 

So, on days when I struggle to be a better mother, wife, sister, friend, employee or simply just a better person, my mother is ALWAYS my first call.   

She will always be my sounding board and the person I go to when I know that sometimes there is just no one else who understands where I am coming from.  She has been the person who I have confessed my darkest secrets too, as well as my most ridiculous dreams. 

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Of all the lessons I have seen her embody, and of which I am still struggling to achieve every day, is the simplicity of just being you.  My most treasured memories she created for my sister and I, was that she was simply just herself. We lived a real life.  She was always present and there.  Loving us unconditionally and creating a bond of safety and respect for our uniqueness.  Never trying to change us, but cherishing the women we were growing into. 

As I began this blog and revealed some of my darkest secrets—and some of hers, she took time to understand and show support.  To dig down deep with me.  To hear me and know that writing was my way of healing.  She is so brave and so strong it amazes me…truly it does.   

And I believe this comes from how she breaks down the world.  Believing that kindness and love will always be your best choices.   

This is what she has always given me, from my first breath, to now my 43rd year as her daughter. Through ever struggle, hardship and battle I have faced, she has been by my side and I love her so much for this. 

This is my blessing in this life.   

Thank you for bringing me into this world and for being the absolute best mother imaginable. 

I love you.

xo

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Posted in My Relationship with Alcohol

Road Trips-Therapy for the Soul

I am a person who loves to escape my life.

In my younger days, I was the girl who used to get in the car, pop in a cd, fill up the tank and drive.

Destination unknown.

The songs were sometimes sad.  Making me cry.  Tears would pour down my face, blinding me as I drove.

Or the songs would rock my world.  The volume blasting and I would sing my heart out. Woot! Woot!  I felt alive and awesome!

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This release of emotion, both sad and crazy were pure therapy for me. And life always felt better once I put the car back in park.

For a long, long time now music has been absent from my life.  And, so have those spontaneous road trips.

I really noticed this a few months ago, when I decided to put on some old music while cleaning the house…and I sang…loud…and danced…hard.

It felt great!

I felt joy and release and happiness within minutes of this explosion within myself, and I realized how much I missed doing that.

Why did or had I stopped?

I don’t know.

Isn’t that weird?

Time has just gone by and I forgot to listen, sing and dance.

So, I am starting to play more music again…and I am playing it loud!!

My son is loving it 😊  He is looking at me probably thinking I am going a bit nuts, but he’s totally cool with it.

And last weekend I spontaneously planned a weekend getaway to the mountains with my husband and son.

The feeling of approaching another weekend and working through Friday night not drinking just seemed so…. unwelcomed.

So, onto Expedia I went and the road trip was booked within minutes.

With one excited family on my hands, we were off.  As we got closer and closer to the mountains, I began to feel more and more free.

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But…here is what I also discovered about myself during this trip.

I can’t run away from drinking.

Ugh!!!!

Because, as we were driving into the mountains all I could see was billboard after billboard advertising alcohol, and how drinking and the mountains were one in the same.  I had never noticed that before.  Basically, what I was being told was that my experience was going to be less than enjoyable alcohol free.

I could feel my anxiety about my expectation of this trip shifting slightly.  I was beginning to feel a little nervous, but kept it to myself.

And as we unpacked our luggage, I was acutely aware that no wine  or beer was brought out and poured…our typical ritual of unwinding after a journey.

My husband and I looked at each other and felt lost for a bit.  So, we decided to head out to eat.

Going to a steak house and ordering Coke instead of wine still seems so off to me.  My husband had a beer and I could smell it from where I sat.  I felt sad for a bit.  He saw that.  But I know that this is my problem, not his.

And as I looked around the restaurant, all I could see was alcohol at almost every table.

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It is the first question the waitress asks you as she seats you…”what would you like to drink?”  I almost feel freakish asking for pop…or water.  At least with water it looks like I am trying to be healthy…but honestly, I need something with some flavour.  It’s almost like a treat for not getting wine.  Water just doesn’t cut it right now.

And then once we were back in the hotel room watching hockey, I swear every commercial was a beer commercial!!!

Ahhhhh!!!!!!!  Is it just me????

Perhaps.

It’s like when you are wanting to get engaged and all you see are engagement rings on the hands of every girl. Or when you are trying to get pregnant, all of a sudden all you see are pregnant women.

I guess the same is true about alcohol.

When I pointed it out to my husband, he said he never even noticed it before.  But once we both started to pay attention it was absolutely crazy how much alcohol is linked to almost everything that is advertised as fun.  Making you feel less than if you even think about doing anything without drinking your way through it.

So, we talked it out.

I struggled.

I almost gave in…again.

But day 50 was the next day, and the BIG question was…did I want to go back to day 1?

HELL NO!

So, I sat with the feeling a while and then I had to move.

So out for a hike we went and let me tell you, my 43 year old body is still feeling it.

But, what a way better feeling it is to know that I worked my body to goodness, instead of drowning it with badness.

And as we drove home, I felt peaceful and proud of myself.

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My old self would have totally given in to the moment and come up with any excuse that would stick as to why we needed to drink in order for this road trip to be any fun.

But my new self looked around, saw the love of my family, and chose to stay present.

Walking through the front door of our home I felt more energized than before we left.  I had breathed the fresh air of the mountains into my soul.  I worked on slowing down and being in the moment.

And the lesson I learned?

Road trips will always be a good thing for me, and now my family. Escaping your life is sometimes a good thing.

A necessary thing.

It enables you to reflect and reconnect with yourself, allowing you to shed a few layers and lighten the load.  So, if you are feeling a bit worn down, overwhelmed or just plain bored… go fill up that tank of gas and get driving.

Your soul will thank you.

😊

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Posted in My Relationship with Alcohol

Storm

Today I don’t feel alone. 

Today I know that there are others who suffer.  Who feel pain.  Who are hurting…and don’t know why.

Or they know why…but are trying to get better.

…Before I began The Female Project, I read a post on girlfriend’s blog.  I remember, I was at work and had stumbled upon her latest post.  This specific post was about depression. I couldn’t stop reading…because I could relate to so much of what she was saying.  But mostly…because I never knew.

I never knew she was suffering.

I never knew how alone she felt.

I never knew she was seeking help.

After reading, I somehow felt better. I felt good knowing the truth.  And I felt proud of her for sharing. 

Her name is Shari Marshall. And her blog is Writing is Communication.

Here is her latest piece.

Storm

 

I could feel that shaky grip on my temper and patience giving way like the floor dropping out from under my feet. All rationality was missing from my actions as my voice blasted at the normal antics of my children. Somewhere in the fog of my brain a voice had been whispering negative words of self-talk, words that flowed like an unknown toxin through my body pointing fingers, casting blame, distorting focus, and blocking out positives. Unknown to me I was casting blame on anything outside myself to try and explain the way I felt inside.

 

I will never forget the way my son’s face shattered as my voice roared out of me in a way that terrified me. The silence in the aftermath of that verbal outbreak was deafening and charged with unstable emotion. I had only bellowed one word, but the intensity and complete abandonment of character that had come wrapped in that explosive moment was enough to change the face of everything.

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The image of my son in that moment burned into my memory. His eyes grew wide with fright as the colour seemed to drain from his face. All movement ceased as if he was immobilized. The laughing smile that had decorated his tiny face vanished leaving an expression that altered between a face of fear and one about to cry. He was so unbalanced by my behaviour that he suddenly didn’t know how to regulate his own behaviour, it was as if his magnetic north no longer had a course along which to point. This image of him ripped through me and hit me hard in the core as an overwhelming wave of guilt, shame, and confusion washed over me. What had I just done? What was I doing?

 

I flew to him and wrapped my arms around him fighting my tears which threatened to drown us both if I let them free. There was a tension in his body that melted out of him as he relaxed into my embrace in an eruption of tears. His arms went around me and he squeezed tight as I rocked us back-and-forth trying to calm both our fears. Apology, although heart felt and sincere, hardly felt like enough for my grievous actions.

 

 

My irritability had been growing in me like a parasite. The more impatient or intolerant I felt the more ashamed and embarrassed I felt, and out of this cycle a rage was simmering. Until this moment I had been trying to keep this growing aggression suppressed inside me; I felt sure that I was irritated about some exterior event, and I believed it was normal to feel angry about that event whatever it might have been. I thought that was how everybody felt in the face of one occurrence or another. However, at this moment I couldn’t fool myself any longer.

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I was horrified when I took a hard look at myself in that moment. I had no idea who I was, what I was becoming, or why it was happening. I felt lost and alone. My responses were extreme. Instinctively I knew it was time to rip the Band-Aid off and tell someone about this isolating emotion that was constantly bubbling beneath the surface. I had to share this particular heartbreaking moment with someone because I never wanted my children or myself to experience it again.

 

At this point in my life I was waiting for a complete diagnosis in regards to my mental health. A few years previous I had sought help for a self-diagnosis of anxiety. Again, my wonderful children had been at the heart of this self-initiated movement for help. I had a deep rooted fear of not being with them, and I was fully aware that it was irrational and not grounded in any fact. However, I couldn’t get it under control. Out of that initial reaching out for help I had received a diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder (G.A.D) and post-traumatic stress disorder (P.T.S.D). However, as hard as I worked to stabilize myself I just hadn’t been able to reach that goal. Instead I felt as if I was on a steady decline; I was lost to myself, and my life seemed to out of my control. I felt hopeless. The more that I experienced intense reactions and emotions the more I felt despair, shame, guilt, and eventually self-hate. There was a large disconnect between who I wanted to be, who I remembered I was, and the monster I now considered myself.

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Speaking out about my anger was hard, and I still struggle with the idea that I can and could be so angry sometimes for no reason. However, forcing the words out of my mouth with my moist eyes downcast was one of the best decisions I had ever made. The flood of shame and guilt also came with a great sense of relief. This was the right choice regardless of how bad it sounded or how deplorable it made me feel. Sharing all the pieces of the puzzle allowed for a more complete image to be created and shortly after I was diagnosed with bipolar type II on top of the initial diagnosis of P.T.S.D and G.A.D. Changes were made to my wellness plan and suddenly I started to feel as if I was me again, the decline became a gradual slope back up and slowly my life started leveling out again.

 

I reached a place where I no longer feared angry outbursts, and that felt like a remarkable burden lifted from my shoulders. The best reward came from knowing that my anger would not cause that expression on my children’s faces again, nor would anger be the cause of damage in our relationships. Every day is full of management techniques, self-awareness, self-care, and reminding myself of the positives. The result is that I enjoy every smile I see on my children’s faces, every laugh we share, and every moment that we are together as a family.

 

I am no longer afraid of myself.

 

By Shari Marshall – 2017

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Posted in My Relationship with Alcohol, This is Life

Proceed with Caution

 

There are so many days when I feel like I should be walking through my life wearing a safety vest, with the reflective stitching on the back, holding up a ‘Proceed with Caution” sign.

I have stumbled, fallen, crashed and gone head first into so many pot holes in life, that I could be a poster woman for what not to do in your life.

I am not saying that I am unhappy with my life, I just think that the path could have been a lot smoother had I seen the “Proceed with Caution” sign in the distance, instead of coming face to face with the ‘Dead End’ sign.

So much of my life is on fast forward, and I see this not only with myself, but also with the people around me.

There is this feeling of invincibility.

That nothing bad can happen.

That if we just keep moving forward, we will get to the end unscathed.

But as we all soon realize, this is not the case.

I rush through life, confident and scared, all at the same time.  Often ignoring the little voice in my head saying… slow down!

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Pot hole ahead!

Proceed with caution!

But I head on anyways, ignoring the voices and continue on head first…ouch!!!

And I keep going…pot hole, after pot hole.

And the injuries begin to pile up, forcing me to stop and look around and question…

Where am I going?

And how can I get there uninjured and in one piece?

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My bruises and cuts are still healing.

I think that is why drinking was so comforting.  It was the balm I put on at the end of the day.

The drink masked the mistakes and the injuries I have sustained over the years.

Funny thing is, the drink should have had the biggest warning sign of all!

Internal and mental combustion!

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So, I share my stories with people I know and even those I don’t.

I will hold up the “Proceed with Caution” sign for you to see.

Because it matters.

Our lives, our decisions and actions…they matter.  And if we keep moving through life in a haze and fury of speed without checking the odometer… what will it all have been for?

So, if you think you are drinking too much…don’t ignore it.  Think about it and listen to the voice inside you…before you come crashing down.

And know, there are other addictions in our lives that we ignore, because they mask themselves also cleverly.

Credit cards, gambling, food, drugs, toxic relationships, media, sex, porn, and the one I think is the biggest, obsessive addiction of all…our phones.

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I believe this is silently stealing more of our life away than anything else.

We talk about monitoring screen time for our children…when in actuality we need this for ourselves.

So, take care, and Proceed with Caution.

Take some time to look at your life, the good, the bad and the ugly.

For many people, moderation works and the balance in life is found.

For others, elimination brings the balance.

Figure out which one you are, and then go from there.

So, as I face another day of sobriety (day 29 😊) I am looking harder and farther into the distance for the safety signs. And I will begin to heed their warnings, because it is time for this warrior to realize that life doesn’t have to be a battle.

It’s definitely a learning curve.

A one day at a time thing.

But I am beginning to see that the smooth, paved road has a pretty good view.869361859158214c2ecf430d30d4313b

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in My Relationship with Alcohol

When Darkness Falls

Here is where I am… day 22.

And let me tell you, it f-ing sucks.

Don’t get me wrong, I am super happy that I have made it to day 22, but it has been WAY harder than I had ever thought it would be.

After the first 2 weeks, I really felt like I had this issue called addiction by the balls.

I was winning.  It was losing.

Not the case.

It is still in the game, fighting and wanting to play…hard.

Making me feel like a puppet and the drink controls the strings.

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The last 3 days have been the absolute hardest.  My mind has been totally messed up.  The urge and desire and need to have a drink has never been stronger.  And what is messing with me, is that I am feeling stronger yet weaker all at the same time.

Last night I almost drank.

I seriously was going to just do it.

Who gives a fuck?

That was my attitude last night.

I wrote my last blog on accountability.

I got a tattoo that says “just breathe…”

And last night I was ready to just throw in the towel.

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With tears streaming down my face, my husband sat with me.

Concerned.

Confused.

Feeling helpless.

Not knowing which way to go with me.

Let me have a drink to ease my so-called suffering? Or, be strong for me and hold me off as long as he could and just let me cry it out?

Crying is new for me and for him to see.

But, I have cried for the last 3 nights.

The reason why I say crying is new… is because I am on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety pills.  These two together have pretty much numbed a lot of my emotions for years.

So, the fact that tears were just streaming down my face made me know that this was big.

This is bigger than I had ever thought.  And that is what my husband saw as well.

During any of our fights, or tragic events that have happened throughout the years, I haven’t shed a tear.  This has always been confusing to us, but it wasn’t until I realized it was because of my medication that I understood my constant state of non-emotion.

But these last 3 nights…

The tears felt good.

They felt real…something I haven’t felt for a very long time.

Wet and salty, dripping down my chin.  Landing on my shirt.

 

Crying and making moaning sounds, I told my husband that I was ‘such a loser’.  He grabbed me and hugged me to him.  Telling me I was brave and strong and virtuous.  He said he was proud of me, that I was doing something important. That people were watching me and that I couldn’t fail.

As I pulled away from him, leaving a tear soaked shirt behind, I realized he was right.

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I need to continue to hold myself accountable.

I can not give up.

I can not.

I know that is why I started and shared this journey with you.  Because if it was just for me, I would have gotten drunk last night.  I know that for sure.  100%. No questions.

The reason I didn’t…because people are watching and supporting.  And one thing that anyone who knows me knows, is that when I am responsible for someone else… I always come through.  No matter what.

I have always been much better at being there for others than I have been for myself.

If you need me, I will be there.

If I can help you, I will.

It I can comfort you, I will do it.

I do not like to let people down.

So, thank you.

Thank you to the people I know and the ones who are supporting me and becoming a part of my story.

It is because of you, I believe, I will get through another day.

As my mom said to me today, during our conversation of trying to understand my problem, “this is not an over-night fix.”

This is a work in progress. It is in daily motion, and it feels alive in me. And it is not going to just go away.

It wants to stick around.

To test me.

So, I need to move my mind set to understanding and acceptance.

Admit that I have a problem that requires daily attention and work.

And not let the night win.

So, as another sun sets, I will hold tight to my success of the last 22 days, and look forward to the sun rise for day 23.

XO

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