Sunday, May 29, 2016

A Time to Give, A Time to Take


I’m celebrating 90 days of sobriety today. For some reason it feels like a much bigger accomplishment than 60 days. I’m not sure why.. maybe because 90 days might actually be the longest I’ve ever gone without alcohol since I first started drinking. Even when pregnant, I did have the occasional glass of wine... convincing myself it was “good for the baby”. But these days, I’m not even cooking with wine. My how the times have changed. 

I won’t be celebrating my accomplishment with my twelve-step program, however. I’ve decided to continue my journey on my own. Well, not on my own, exactly. I still have tremendous support from my friends and family. And, of course, this little face is my biggest cheerleader, even if he doesn’t know it.


I’m not saying I’ll never return to meetings. I can definitely say they are beneficial and I certainly appreciated the additional support while I was getting the ball rolling. However, there are some things about the meetings that I’m just not incredibly keen on. And believe it or not, it’s not the religious aspect. That’s easy to look over. I mean, shit, I scroll pass tons of “pray for this” and “amen to that” posts on Facebook every single day. 


A woman at one of my meetings shared a pretty humorous story one night. She talked about being out with friends and when the waiter brought over the Rusty Nail someone had ordered, the woman knew immediately that the drink was prepared incorrectly. It was missing Drambuie. She could tell just by looking at it. She then went on to talk about how she used to finish everyone’s drinks at the bar, incredulous that someone would actually leave alcohol in a glass. It was a funny story. Also sad, and very real to alcoholism. It was memorable and a good share.

Two weeks later, at the same meeting, that woman had an opportunity to share again. Without missing a beat, she told the same exact story. Word for word, with the same inflections in her voice, the same pauses for laughter. I subtly glanced around to see if anyone else was visibly reacting the way I think I was. No... still engaged. Still laughing. Did it only bother me? 

In the other meeting I attended regularly, everyone shares every time. One man in particular has been a part of the program for over 20 years. He got sober very young, before he was even legally able to drink. After he shares, he always finishes with the same proclamation: that his life just keeps getting better and better. I remember thinking, when I first started going to this meeting, about how awesome things must be for him. He must have such a wonderful life. Through more shares, I found out that he’s been married and divorced multiple times, he’s lost a child to drug addiction and has another that is currently addicted to heroin. But his life just keeps getting better? I don’t understand... 

The sponsor thing has always been a bit of a hot button for me as well. I was told by someone recently that her sponsor was upset that she wasn't being in service enough. She wasn’t attending enough meetings, offering up herself as a sponsor and, in general, giving enough back to the program. You know what that reminded me of? Church. One of the reasons I stopped attending church was because I was always being asked to “be in service” which I never really liked doing. Okay, maybe that makes me a bad person. A “taker” instead of a “giver”. But are you saying I don’t deserve the benefits of either organization because of it? I mean, there are countless people who can’t wait to donate their time. Is it so bad that I’m not one of them? After all, I thought the only real requirement to be a part of the program was simply a desire to stop drinking. Am I to understand that the longer I attend, the more likely it is that it won’t be enough?

Like I said, I’m not saying I’ll never attend again. There are things I really, really like about going. I love the support, the camaraderie. I love the sharing, as long as it’s genuine and not scripted or practiced. I love the fact that people have chosen a different path in order to better their lives. I love being a part of that. But I don’t want to sponsor someone. I don’t want a sponsor myself. I don’t want to sit on a committee. I don’t want to show up early to hug everyone as they walk in. And I don’t want to attend a meeting every single day, or multiple times a day. 

I just don’t want to drink. That’s it. 

There is one lady that I met who checks in with me from time to time via text. I guess she’s the closest thing I’ll probably ever have to a sponsor. I hadn’t been to a meeting for a couple of weeks and got a text from her asking if I was staying sober. She was concerned that by missing meetings, I had a higher chance of relapsing, which I’m sure is common and therefore, a genuine concern. I explained that I had surrounded myself with friends and family that were supportive of my goals and that I was focusing on my move and getting the next chapter of my life underway. I also promised that if I felt the urge to drink, if the pull became very strong, I would definitely go to a meeting. And I meant it. 

But here I sit, after packing more boxes for my quickly approaching move, and I’m looking around the room with sadness. I’m getting ready to move me and my son out of the house I brought him home to. Not really “taking him away” from his dad, but taking him to a different home where he won’t be with him every day. While I’m not exactly going to be a single parent, since I know Johnny will still be incredibly active in Xander’s life, we will be co-parents, not a cohesive family unit. We will share decisions, but not each other’s lives. I will live my life and he will live his. And I know it’s the right thing to do. But that doesn’t mean it’s the way I wanted things to work out. It’s not how I pictured things. And it makes me sad, it makes me lonely, it makes me frustrated. However, it does not make me want to drink. 

So, meetings or no meetings, here I am. 90 days sober. I’m waiting for my life to start getting better but as long as I stay the course, I can’t see it getting worse. I don’t miss the drink, I really don’t. But I do miss smiling and the meetings have not brought that back into my life. I hope maybe I can find that somewhere else down the road. Luckily, my sweet boy does plenty of smiling for both of us right now.


I will still celebrate today. It’s still an important milestone. And I don’t ever want to discourage anyone from doing whatever they think they need to do to move past their addictions. Meetings, therapy, exercise, meditation, family, whatever. Everyone’s journey looks different. It’s the end result that is the most important. My new life is more important than my vice. I don’t know if that means it’ll get "better and better"... but it is more important.

And knowing that makes all the difference.


Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Older I Get, The More I Like The Merry-Go-Round


Today was a pretty productive day. 

Xander actually slept in this morning and since he is my alarm clock, I got to sleep in as well. Unfortunately, it made us late for breakfast plans with friends but luckily, my friends are awesome and waited for us. 

After breakfast, I dropped baby off at home with his dad for a nap and went and got my oil changed. Then, I squeezed in a pedicure and some frozen yogurt. I got groceries and gas and headed home. 

I made lactation cookies and threw together some pasta for dinner. I made baby food for the next few weeks. I did dishes. I prepared dinner for Xander and fed him. He did some house laps in the walker. Afterwards, I loaded him up in the carrier and we took my dog for a walk. We stopped by my parents’ house and visited for a few minutes. 

We got home and I gave him a bath. We sat on the floor in the living room and played with some toys and sang some songs. Then we went in the bedroom, I nursed him and put him in his rocker and he peacefully went to sleep. 

We had a really nice day. 

I’ll tell you what I didn’t do today. I didn’t cry. I wasn’t angry. I didn’t wake up with an anxious mind and stomach. I didn’t stress about my next step in life and I didn’t worry about what I was actively doing to expedite said step. 

I just... lived my life. 

Now, unfortunately, there is a lot of work to do that can’t go ignored. 

My parents and I have decided to pool our resources, move out of our small and pricey homes and move into a larger, more accommodating home together. For so many reasons, I am excited about this decision. 

I’ve lived with my parents a few times throughout my adult life, but in the past, it’s because I was sucking at the whole adulting thing and needed help. Now, we are both making a conscious decision to share space, picking a house together and setting up a new life where we can all be a little more comfortable and more available to support each other’s goals. 

Sounds great, right? 

Well, between dealing with flaky realtors, ridiculous application fees, credit challenges, high deposits, houses renting before we can even get call backs, crazy work schedules, family troubles, continued relationship stress, more credit issues, thousand dollar vehicle repairs and finally, a clogged milk duct (which, thankfully, did not turn into mastitis), my parents and I can’t seem to catch a break. 

It’s enough to drive a person to drink! 

(Too soon?) 

We are handling it all, of course. I mean, what option do we have? Run away and just hide from everything? Ha! 

(We totally considered that.)

I like to think that all of these challenges are just so when things do start going our way, we can appreciate them more. But really, I think it’s just Life being a super dick and my best bet is to try and not lose my shit before something positive finally fucking happens. 

So besides the occasional wave of loneliness, I really enjoyed my nice day today. Thank goodness for my baby as he definitely keeps me grounded and sane. I smiled when he tried peaches for the first time, I felt success as we nailed a back carry and I laughed out loud as he tooled around the house in his little bare feet. For me, it’s good to have something as important as him to care about so that I don’t spiral too much into the land of negative thoughts. 




And now I’m off to bed. I'd like to wake up to some good news tomorrow although these days I’m prepared for anything. What’s that saying that keeps popping up? "I never said it was going to be easy. I said it was going to be worth it." Here’s hoping there’s some truth to that. 

Because I'm a little over this roller coaster.