Sunday blahs

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Just a few random thoughts:

  • Its okay to chill out – but its been like 4 weeks now. Come on already…
  • pms – probably
  • Headachey from trying to stop eating candy bars at every meal
  • Graduation party means I will have to put on a bra
  • Started weight watchers but chose the personal coaching and started a blog on their site (because that stuff works) I searched for the word ‘sober’ in their program and zero hits. Really?!
  • Did I mention I have 2 teenagers!!!
  • Signed up for a 30 day challenge to walk the dog everyday. Luckily it didn’t speciify distance  or time!
  • Have to work tomorrow after lots of time off. Super yuck.

Tomorrow will be 30 days Sober!

Getting Home

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The Trip

I am now the mother of 2 teenage boys! And both are excellent map readers.

The thought of 4 1/2 hours of interstate driving was too much for me. I highlighted a back route taking us through the most beautiful country. But I would need a good map reader to do this. I figured if they couldn’t do it we would just grab a big highway and skip the scenery.

Wow – we found the most glorious sites. NE Iowa, SE Minnesota, the big woods of Wisconsin. Rolling hills, the mighty Mississippi, the Amish. And of course Yogi Bear & Boo Boo at Jellystone Park.

Mini golf, swimming, driving everwhere in a golf cart, log cabin with a loft, Yogi Bear cartoons at the outdoor theatre at dusk. A 13 year old’s birthday vacation complete with Daniel Boone coon skin hat and S’mores birthday cake for breakfast. And one unexpected gift, knowing my kids can read a real, paper map.

With the ability to read a map, the world opens up. The backroads are where life’s treasures are found.

We got home last night, picked up the dog from the kennel and watched Yogi cartoons all together in my bed as our wonderful 3 days ended.

Being Home

Today, I am tired, sore, an extra 6 pounds of water weight from all the driving, and have so many to-do’s I’m feeling frantic. I started reading sober blogs right away this morning. This overwhelmed feeling is a recipe for drinking to me. I am going to have to be careful today because I want out of this feeling!

It is 6 am and I am already tired of listening to my son talking to me. I spent 3 amazing days focused on them. Now I will need to really focus on some self-care for me.

Treat Ideas:

  • Mindless TV – my favorite cooking and home improvement shows
  • Pinterest & Candy Crush marathons
  • Yardscape on paper, school’s out, vacation’s over, now I can start the outdoor dreaming. I have some summer long projects to plot and plan.
  • Menu plan
  • Blog as much as necessary today, maybe every 4 hours, it really does help to get the emotions defined and send them to cyberspace

Getting Ready To Go

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Gearing up for vacation used to be a battle about perfection. Packing exactly what we need. Thinking of every little detail and the angst if I forgot something.

Then I would drink to offset the stress, then worry how much I was drinking so I could get enough sleep to drive the next day. It didn’t seem to matter if I had no drinks or a few. My sleep was stil bad and I just got through.

The  last few days I have come to understand that because of the amount I was drinking, I was having withdrawl symptoms on the nights I didn’t drink. There was no physical way that I could get correct sleep even if I didn’t drink before travel.  I recognized that, but not the WHY of it. (In other words – might as well drink then.)

Being a single mom and taking kids on a vacation is different. Next time you go on a family vacation check out the single parent families. What? You don’t see any? Exactly. I usually go on vacation with my brother, his wife, their 3 kids and my mom. When my boys were little, it was really a necessity for me to have help and to mentally brave all those two parent familes.

Now at 13 (in 3 days!) and 15, my little family has found our way. We are getting ready to go to Jellystone for 3 days. I could not have arranged this vacation for us if I was still drinking. My confidence and risk level have greatly increased since not drinking.

Before I would have worried so much about getting sleep so I could drive without a hangover. Today, not at all. It is really sad for me to see how difficult I made my life by drinking. I didn’t know any better. Thank goodness for all The Bubble Hour podcasts on shame. I am not alone and I can forgive myself because of brave, strong women who are not afraid to tell their stories.

We are getting packed today and “perfect” is no where to be found. My oldest doesn’t have a swim suit that fits. My thought is –  meh, we’ll just stop at a walmart on the way. Who is this person? Hello, calm relaxed me!

I Need To Be Here

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This is what I have been chasing. The chance to be done.

Done drinking, done with mess, done with apathy.

Purging out my clothes drawers (the KonMari way) has been so cathartic. What a huge amount of emotions went with the items I had been storing. The tools of sobriety have made it possible to physically handle and thank the clothes, shoes, purses, lingerie and coats that I have kept in drawers.

Love, hope, dreams, relationships – it was astonishing the amount of memories. Being strong enough to touch, remember, thank, bless and then let my belongings move on. Giving the items the dignity and grace to either complete their journey or continue to a new owner.

I am tearful just thinking about it. Acknowledging my things, my actions and emotions surrounding them, the act of letting go.

I have sorted and purged faithfully twice a year. I am not one who keeps lots of “stuff”. The vast amount that I blessed and thanked and sent forward was surprising. As the book indicated almost all who do this, experience a physical detox. As I was sorting, my eyes were crying, I had to lay down because I was dizzy and I had diarrhea. My body was releasing.

All this confirmed I was doing the next right thing.

I do not want to carry unhealed memories into my new sober life. I don’t want them hidden in drawers just waiting to catch me off guard each spring and fall when I clean again. I don’t want to put them back in the drawer because I can’t deal with the emotions.

I knew this place of peace with my things was there. Just as I have gathered my sober tools to help keep me from drinking, I have been on a mission to get and stay organised. I thought that if I had enough time I could get it all done. What I didn’t understand was, it is not about storage, it’s about release.

In the past, my spring and fall sorting led to great amounts of alcohol to deal with the memories, the lost dreams, the waste of money on unworn items. This time, there is a feeling of expanse, of making room, in my largely empty drawers and in my chest. I did not store one single item of clothing. Everything is in it’s place where I can see it, touch it and thank it for it’s service.

I have learned in the book that my children should not outgrow their feelings of attachment to objects. Innatimate does not equal without purpose and place within the universe. It is all connected. My job is to role model value and care. To appreciate and honor the things that serve us.

I have been chasing this feeling. I knew it was out there. I am thankful to be here.

Lightness

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I crave lightness. If there is space I can breathe.

I have empty cupboards. Things do not over flow. Purpose and place.

My mom brings rolls of paper towels and toilet paper and boxes of wine because she is afraid I will run out in the two days she is here. Her car never goes below half a tank. She is a fearful person.

Empty – means I can fill it with thoughts not things. When my home gets messy I can’t think.

This I know about me.

But my body … It is so congested. Tight with asthma, excess weight, dark heavy clothing. And I numbed it with alcohol.

I’m beginning to introduce lightness in my physical being. The violent coughing is just an occasional bark. Spring cleaning of my clothes drawers the KonMari way. Ready to pick up my vegan cookbooks. Creating space within me.

Old Journal Entries

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I am not the girl I was 2 years ago. That poor thing!

I thought i was just muddling through, but now I recognize severe addiction.

Reading old journal entries is heartbreaking. I was not strong enough to get sober. I really wasn’t. (Okay yeah – obviously I was! but you know what I mean.)

But … I was starting to search for a way out. It is VERY cool to look back and watch myself recover

The transition of my entries is compelling.

  1. Internal dialogue. Mostly complaining and wailing. Discovering that I was having a love affair with wine. And wine was an abusive lover.
  2. Self-help books. Lots of entries as I made notes chapter by chapter. I started tracking  – days sober, blood pressure, weight, vivid dreams at night, to do lists, hopes & timelines. I started creating a vision of a future me, even stick pictures!
  3. External Input. Belle, The Bubble Hour, therapy. My focus really shifted from fixing everything to just not drinking. My journal entry from a Bubble Hour binge listening day ” None of these women talked about – I couldn’t have done it without _____ . All of them said  – I did this. All of them said they had a support system, but for the hard work it was very clear they just bumbled through alone.”
  4. External Output. Ta da !!  I haven’t journaled on paper at all since I started blogging. Getting and sharing feedback.

Greatest thing about reading old journal entries? Everything – yes everything! – that I wrote as a ‘reach for the stars’ dream came true.

I wrote on someone’s blog very early on, “What happens if you create this new sober life with all of its new stuff & then you go back to drinking and you have even MORE things to deal with?”

Now I can answer my own question. There is LESS to do being sober. Yes, there are new experiences and new hobbies, but getting sober is not adding. It is subtracting things that aren’t efficient. There is more time to get less done.

Getting sober is a sigh of relief.

Creative vs Geek

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My boys are artists. I am a math geek.

They struggle in school due to the rules. I was – school rules!

I had no idea what exclusion was In school. Not being able to have a pizza party or go to a movie as a treat because you were late with one piece of homework. My 6th grader is having the worst end of the year.

My son with autism is a freshman. He coaches his little bro on how to handle these situations. Because he has such heightened sensory experiences he is able to  share how he had to hold his muscles, use facial expressions and control the thoughts in his head when he was that age.  He explains how this time will pass and that it will get better.

It is horrifying for me to not understand how they feel. I don’t even remember any unfairness in school because I was never less than the best at anything. I certainly don’t understand how hard it is to be an artistic, creative soul in a geeky rule driven world.

Because of the autism of one and the severe speech stammer of the other, my boys did not talk to each other until both were in elementary school. They don’t fight, either physically or verbally. My freshman son tells his friends that his little bro is cool.

When my ex left for a 21 year old (20 years younger than me at the time) the boys were 3 & 6. Just starting special ed preschool and kindergarten. Gosh, its been a tough 10 years alone.

Their artist father lives down the street with his new family but doesn’t see the boys. The other side of the family are professional artists. My side of the family, engineers, computer programmers and accounting.

I drank to black out. Not even to get drunk. I just wanted out.

But, I’m here now. Not wanting out anymore but trying to find a way in their lives.

Creative is my word of the year. I thought it would mean “doing” creative things. Looks like I will be exporing what “being” creative means. The challenges, unfairness and choices that must be faced when we live in a geek driven world and have creative souls.

…Lori

My Give a Crap Is Broken

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I am going through a lovely time of “I don’t give a crap.” Dishes and old takeout pizza boxes are still at the sink. My paperwork is piled on the dining room table and there are crumbs everywhere by the boys favorite chair for xbox playing.

It is the last few days of school for the boys. I have to work today even though I am not well yet. But … in a couple days we will be wrapping up all these loose ends. Done with school, done with work, some energy to get the house cleaned up.

I am looking forward to getting my thoughts, my papers, my schedule back in my appointment book and back under control.

When “drinking Lori” felt like this, I fought it so hard. I labeled myself a failure and bad mother. I couldn’t see past the immediate chaos. “Not drinking Lori” is very calm and just doesn’t seem to give a crap in the same time frame.

When I drank time seemed to be so precious. I wanted to slow it down. Now the days seem long and lazy. There isn’t a feeling of – if I don’t do it now it will never happen. I am starting to see – if it’s important it will happen. Letting go of expectations and trying to control outcomes.

Balance. Yep. But my “not drinking life” is feeling a lot less urgent.

Staying Quiet

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I’m getting quite anxious to get back to life. I am feeling better but when I spend more than 15 minutes moving around I start coughing.

Since I went through whooping cough 4 years ago my pelvic floor muscles are shot. Leaving the house is not an option yet. (For those who have not given birth or are a woman of a certain mature age – it is called peeing your pants!)

This staying quiet thing is hard. Being lost in my own thoughts has previously led me to drink.  But, I am quite amazed at how my inner voice has changed.

The treats and rewards that I try to post about have helped reframe my day. Getting to the other side of withdrawl symptoms with a new mindset feels great.

In my beginning posts I definately see the physical struggles. I also recognize the racing life style and thought patterns that led me back to the only thing I knew to stop and slow myself down. Taking a drink.

I have read or listened to so many stories that reflect how other women felt ‘stress’ until they quit drinking and then discovered undiagnosed panic or anxiety.

When there are no more chemicals to change my racing thoughts and actions, I have to rename it from stress to anxiety.

To me stress is a response that can be fixed. Take a drink. Done. Over.

Anxiety is way of life, a constant fear, a character defect, a mental illness.

Stress is a ” look at her – she’s has so much going on and look at how well she does things” feeling. Anxiety is ” sheesh – she has a real problem, she is defective.”

I get positive feedback from others about doing good work with a high stress life. When I fall apart from illness- usually caused by too much stress – the feedback is more a how soon can you get back.

An old Oprah show had on a woman who said that she took some time off from life. She went looking for peace by resting at home.

It took her 5 years.

I was shocked. In the same way we give employees 1-5 days off for grief, we use the same mentality for anxiety. Are you done yet? Can you please go back to normal? How long is this going to take?

I have decided that  in dealing with my newly renamed anxiety, (ouch, just saying it makes my stomach flip) that I will honor it. I will give it the true attention it deserves. “I will hug it, and kiss it and call it George.”

I am going to stay quiet.

Crazy Pred

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I haven’t talked much in the last 2 weeks due to poor lung function. Normally I am an 100 mph type person. This crap has left me very quiet. Except for the cough, for which I am banned from sleeping upstairs with the boys. They need to sleep.

After a little pred, I am starting to talk again. Kids are not thrilled. I am back on their case about getting dishes done and other neglected chores I have let go while sick.

I have put my quiet time to good use. I have read several sober bloggers entire posts from beginning to now. So many lessons learned.

  • I am not alone.
  • This is hard. The hardest thing ever!!
  • It is serious.
  • It gets easier, but it gets harder.
  • Harder ends, or transforms, or gets worse.
  • Then it gets easier.
  • Then harder at milestones.
  • Then easier again.
  • Then harder again.
  • Sharing stories make tough times better (not easier).
  • Blogs are love letters to ourselves.
  • There will always be someone ahead of me.
  • There will start to be a few behind me.
  • Extreme self-care is necessary.
  • Treats, rewards, humor, make it fun.