Hello, everyone! Life has been keeping me super busy–and my computer has joined the ranks of the undead: it is at “grab a good novel and wait for page to load” stage. I’m sure you all know what that is like. And honestly, I’m too damn old to find typing anything of substance on a cell phone an attractive option.
But anyway, here I am. Still sober—yayyy! Still busy as all hell. This is a good thing.
Our family emergency is still ongoing. There are few really “emergency” type days now, and things have settled into a new normal on that front. In that regard we are fortunate.
How is my sobriety doing? I’m amazed at where I have arrived. In not-quite-nine months my life has changed in SO MANY WAYS. All of them for the better. I am like a new person, in a new skin, with new eyes. It’s glorious and totally unexpected. I really thought I’d be pacing, and fretting, and worrying, and working hard at ‘NOT DRINKING’ for the rest of my life. I had no idea—no idea—that there was a peaceful, fulfilling, lovely way to live available to me if I could just peel away the fuzziness that comes with booze.
I still stay up too late. But now instead of reading books I won’t remember and drinking vodka after vodka, I drink water or diet coke and sew, or paint, or sew some more. I bake a ton and cook most meals from scratch, and I even PLAN for nights that will be awful frozen pizza (which the kids and husband love), so that I can…****gasp***** have time to myself! I go out with friends! I go toodle my way through fabrics at Joann’s craft store. I roam the library in peace. I carve out time for myself, and it doesn’t have to be all recovery-related any longer.
In fact, I recently stopped running the Friday night AAA meeting in our town. I will probably still go once in a while, but I don’t need to run it, and frankly, it was a drain on time I could otherwise spend wisely somewhere else.
I am so glad AA was there. I needed a place to hear other people say that I wasn’t alone. That I wasn’t crazy. I wasn’t hopeless. I could get better. I needed, also, the examples of those who come to AA still shaking and terrified. I have learned so much through all of those shared stories: the victories *and* the sad struggles.
For anyone new in sobriety, please take every single piece of advice you’re given with a grain of salt: use what works to keep you sober. Some folks can’t stand the dogma of AA, but they go because a meeting is a place they can be to NOT DRINK. It’s a safe place to stay sober for one more hour. And sometimes that’s what we need. Don’t let anyone tell you that AA doesn’t work. I am not a die-hard AA-er. I don’t follow the steps, I don’t have a sponsor, I don’t have or want or need a higher power. But when we are falling, we reach out. If you reach out to AA, some of what they’ll hand you is magical thinking…but some of it is practical, and helpful, and works.
What worked for me were the stories. Everybody’s stories. Failures, successes, horror stories, love stories, stories of faith, stories of non-faith, stories of fear and hurt and loss and mistakes, mistakes, mistakes.
And then there were stories of hope…of sobriety…of a change in peoples’ lives just because they were able to stay sober. And now, almost 9 months later, my life is one of those stories. It’s a truly humbling feeling. I was such a wreck. So sure I didn’t matter. So lost. And it was such a damning circle…I drank to curb the hurt and loneliness and anxiety and insomnia, and the drinking made me lonelier, more hurt, more anxious, less able to sleep. I drank to avoid conflict, and instead my whole life was conflicted. I drank for so many reasons, and no reasons…and in learning not to drink, and why I drank, I have found so many reasons never to pick up a glass of wine again. My life is more like a fairy tale right now—even with the usual growing pains of having two teenagers, a pre-teen, and a preschooler still at home–than I ever thought it could be. I feel like someone turned on the lights.
So I’m busy these days. I still try to meditate, but honestly I’m not as good about it as I should be. Maybe sewing counts as a meditation? :p I have been having a blast sewing up all sorts of things for the holidays, and one of my girls just turned 22 while another turns 25 right before Christmas. Lots of scarves and mittens and other fun stuff sewed an mailed.
Homeschooling is an adventure, as always. My 16yo got a great job, so he works his whole homeschool schedule around that and his ski practices. He plays guitar and spends hours doing that, as well. I’m so glad I’m present to be part of the joy and new adventures he’s experiencing this year. Next year will be his last at home.
I keep busy running the other teen and the preteen to ski teams and book clubs, chess clubs, etc etc. Our caboose, the 4 year old, got her own skis this year and I spend time running her to the pool because she’s a champ at swimming. Just fearless. And again, here I am, present and showing up for everyone’s lives. It’s phenomenal.
What’s funny is I sometimes still feel that swoop of fear I used to get when I’d be asked to do something off the cuff…I used to freeze up and quickly ask myself if I had had too much to drink (and at the same time wonder how I’d get more to drink if i was going to be gone a long time! Sheeesh!). Now I can just relax and laugh it off—if bitterly, because what a horrible way to live that was. For everyone.
My house is decorated and the counters are covered in sugary foods and homemade bread. The woodstove is going and Little One and I finished day 14 of our Advent story “The Yule Tomte and the Little Rabbits.” Suitable for fairy-enthusiasts who happen to be atheists who still welcome Santa on Christmas and also celebrate Solstice.
I wish all of you peace, and strength, and sobriety this holiday season. Remember that you’re worth it. You really are.
Here are a few of the things I’ve been spending time working on