I Tried To Anticipate the Ending

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I have done a crappy job of taking care of my head this summer. My physical self-care wasn’t too terrible, but the swing between controlling everything and controlling nothing has gotten crazy. (Well…in all honesty, there was no controlling nothing.)

My controlling everything has gone crazy.

Just last night I found out that what I thought is not true at all. In order to avoid feeling pain, I made up an ending in my head so I would be ‘prepared’ when it happened.

I remember my sister signed her own DNR and hospice papers and then went into the kitchen to finish setting up the TV to record future episodes. (She didn’t get to control her body so she continued to control her environment.) Then she went to bed and never got up again.

Coming from a household of an abusive father, passive mother and childhood cancer has led me towards the controlling side of life. The more I control, the less horrific the outcome. Faulty yes, but a fairly common response.

I know you are all screaming Serenity Prayer here, but the thing about that is having the wisdom to know the difference. In my sisters case, lack of O2 and pain meds were a good reason, in my own case….I think I’m more Jack Nicholson – I can’t handle the truth….

The truth being – I don’t know the ending. Never will.

I would like to live the Serenity Prayer in my daily life. I’m going to work on that today.

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I Think I Forgot

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Been spending time this summer in therapy with my oldest. Transitioning to the next phase of life for him is challenging.

I’m also transitioning from what I considered “normal” to this strange woman in menopause. No “peri” for me. Just kind of overnight a new being was created. I’m transitioning as gracefully as when I gave birth. I went to my classes and did the visualization of a flower gracefully opening as you dilate…. Yeah, a crock of shit.

Luckily, no one is noticing…unless you count the number of people asking if I’m getting enough sleep? Or overhearing my kids say that their mom cries over everything! Or the therapist asking my son to leave the room and collect himself then he turns to me and says…very gently…”What is going ON?” So, yeah, I’m a little crazy right now. And I may be “part of the problem – not the solution”, as they say in business.

My body is doing things that I’m really annoyed about. Things that OLD people complain about. Last night I got in my younger son’s business and said, what did you get done today?! I should have left you a list! Did you practice your trumpet?! He looked at me funny and said, “I’m pretty sure I went to work with you today- Remember???” Dear Lord, I guess my super long day took its toll. When your banker shows up at your house at7:45 because it was the only time us busy working mom’s could find, and then ending the day with anger management therapy, I kind of lost the middle.

After the horrible break-up, my friend and I found our way through it in May. I haven’t really commented on it to see if we could maintain it. I have really stepped back to focus on me & the kids and it works well for us to keep the relationship a little softer and quieter. Again, my “transitioning” has been tough on all closest to me.

It’s unique. It’s a natural rhythm of life. I’m mostly trying to relax into the new me. I’m actually looking forward to more freedoms as the kids leave and life gets a little simpler and quieter.

I’ll probably forget I said that 10 minutes from now as I break the yolk on an egg and RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE and then cry as my kid tells me that for my dog, when I am gone at work, it feels like a week to him and that’s why he’s so happy to see me….

Playing Mind Games

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Since I’m back to counting days, I’m playing a game with myself. Sometimes, ahem…always…that time between 3 & 6 gets harrowing for me. Anxious, tired, more than a little fear of a long evening ahead of me. Once it hits 6 and I haven’t started drinking, things quiet in my head. So my game to myself is…once it hits 6, I can put in my planner – Day 2 ♡ Day 3 ☆ etc. Knowing if I hang tough just a little bit longer each night, I can ‘win’ the night at 6! Then I can relax the rest of the night.

After years of planning rewards for myself, the evening rewards are the hardest. I’m just too tired. People always surprise me with the amount of shame they give me about being unproductive after 3. Like it’s not okay that my brain starts working at 4am while theirs doesn’t kick in until 10am. I heard an interview with Mark Wahlberg and he said in order to get done what he needs, his day sometimes starts at 2am and he goes to bed about 7pm. HA! I tell my nay sayer shaming friends.

My longest time sober came when I slept and woke up according to my own comfortable biological clock. And for me 6 is the end.

Back To Basics

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I didn’t get a planner this year. I was trying to let go of being over-scheduled. As Permission is my Word of the Year, I wanted to challenge some “pre-existing conditions”.

I did fairly well throuh my busy work season, but as soon as I was home more, I just floundered. My new planner finally arrived and I can’t believe the difference in my mental health. Paper & pencil (and colored pens & stickers) are who I am. Tactile not touch screen!

I was also giving myself permission to be much more frugal in my lifestyle. Saving money is always a plus but when I didn’t have my planner, I just kind of…. sat. My to-do piles have become the biggest they have been since my ‘becoming sober journey’ began. I have relaxed back into buying convenience items, well…. for convenience.

Without writing down my 3 Rewards a day, my sober self is much harder to find. My new favorite quote came from this month’s Yoga Journal, “Sometimes we see self-care as triage – something we turn to as we are falling apart. But self-care is really about daily choices. It’s about healthy boundaries, dedicated practice and everyday rituals.”

That’s what my planner does for me and why I felt so disconnected without it. I needed my everyday rituals.

I Said No Thanks – 3 Times

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I am proud of myself for saying no to a beer – three times. It isn’t really about the no, it is about what happened in my head.

I showed up and they had a cold one ready to open for themselves. We were chatting outside and I thought “That beer would be a perfect compliment to this moment.”

Then we took a casual stroll over to see progress on a project and they asked again if I wanted one for the walk and talk. Again I thought “That would be great. Sharing a beer and some interesting conversation.”

Back inside we ate some homemade food and again, more out of politeness, since they grabbed a second one, asked if I wanted one. This time I thought “If I had said yes earlier, I would be saying yes to my second one now, and in a little while saying yes to a third one.”

A few weeks ago I would have said yes. I have felt so much better not drinking lately that I just didn’t want to start that whole roller coaster again. The part that really caught my attention though, was why I thought “certain situations” seemed like they would be better with alcohol.

During our conversation, I had brought up Intermittent Reinforcement for something else, but I think that is what happened with my thoughts. It HAD been fun to have a beer in the past in those moments, a couple times, but by no means all. That ELUSIVE MOMENT.

I think starting sobriety late in life has the unique challenge of 40 years of ingrained beliefs. That is a lot of years with no other story than “Alcohol can make this moment better.” Last night I came home and watched some tv. A little guilty pleasure show. I was just quiet and content.

Each night I say no to drinking is creating a new proof that alcohol doesn’t make anything better.

Getting Rest & A New House

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After finally getting a day or two of quiet, the urge to drink has also quieted. I tried to remember my last day of drinking but I couldn’t. Then I decided to not think about it and just keep going forward.

I put an offer in on a house, but not for me, for my 18 year old son. When you can save $6000 a year owning, versus living on campus and putting housing expenses on a student loan, it was a no brainer for me. I gave the boy life, but I will not give him student debt. (I see the destruction it brings to 30 and 40 year old lives. They are unable to move forward and create wealth with the giant burden of “good debt”.) When my son finishes his tech school we can flip the house or he can keep it. He (I) will have made money instead of debt. His rent payment to me will be his down payment.

So how do these things tie together? When I got rest, I stayed sober. When I was rested and sober, I believed in myself. When I got my confidence back, I trusted myself to make a decision. When I made the decision, my heart and my gut were filled with passion. When my mind is busy with things I love, I don’t want to drink and mess that up.

Food Nerd

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You know you are an official food nerd when you take a picture of your successfully spatchcocked chicken.