Begone Shame!

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What an incredible turn-around in my mental health by blogging (AKA – writing letters to my future self).

Reminder to me in a crappy place in the future: WRITE

And write frequently! It’s my own gratitude journal of snippets of life that I completely forget.

When I am hurting I get more isolated. I can’t tolerate any extra stimulation. Writing gets me out the door without leaving the Lazy-Boy recliner.

It’s my baby step back to socializing.

And when I share – it keeps my head clear. I dump those emotions onto paper or cyber paper and they get out of my head. It leaves room for the linear thoughts to work their magic. Bad self-talk thoughts feel like they carem around the inside of my skull. Bouncing around and gaining momentum. If I can get them out, it leaves my thoughts peaceful.

That’s what writing does.

My self-talk about shame can build up if I don’t release it. That release of shame ESPECIALLY at the beginning BEGAN the journey to healing.

“So girlfriend (haha sometimes I talk to myself like that) if you’re feeling like you want to pour a glass to escape – You Do That! Because in your fridge are lots of no alcohol solutions, including a chocolate milkshake!

Then take out your contacts and crawl into bed with a good book. Because once you go there, ain’t nobody gonna put those contacts back in, put on a bra, eat a salad and spend two more hours battling the voices in your head. You are DONE for the night. And it feels SO GOOD!

And one last reminder girlfriend, if you drink the night before, those nasty self-talk voices find you the minute you open your blood-shot eyes. So you escaped the night before, but now you have to battle an entire day of crap. If you go to bed, you get to wake up with your thoughts on straight. And sitting here in the early morning quiet with a cup of strong coffee and the exciting conclusion to a great book and all your friends in the blogging world sharing their strength, hope and love, it’s the right answer.”

Sending my future self much love from whenever you read this. You got this girlfriend!

Driving a Backhoe

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My Year of Yes life theme sometimes takes weird turns.

Around a farm there is large machinery that needs to be moved, and it takes two people. One car to get us both to a different farm, one to drive the Backhoe home and one person to drive the tractor. Then the tractor goes back and the car is driven home.

After ADAMANTLY  refusing to drive the backhoe, “It’s your year of yes.” is once again used by said boyFRIEND. (Why I ever shared that with him is beyond me! It seemed CUTE at the time!) Friends don’t let friends drive drunk backhoes.

There is a thing called – automatic clutch. Which means you don’t use a clutch pedal but still need to shift gears. I wish you could see what that means in a backhoe. The shifter on the floor uses the entire range of motion in my shoulder! All 5’1″ of me. The steering wheel itself goes from my waist to my nose. And the Backhoe itself is jointed in the middle. It has a wide bucket on the front and a scoop thing on the back. (But not like Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel – we are just driving the “small one” today.)

Two miles of gravel and one mile of county highway later and I have driven the Backhoe home.

End of story – NOO

The boys and I went out to the farm to grill steaks and relax. But those words are not spoken when the sun is shining on a farm. Pretty soon my friend the Backhoe comes around to the garden and we are to put the sticks in the bucket. My 16 year old and I get some gloves and do this NOT relaxing and scratchy job. My one week shy of 14 year is playing asparagus hunter with a knife.

We finish sticks and once again sit. Pretty soon we hear the backhoe calling. Ugh. But he is calling the child who is one week away from getting his drivers permit. My older son and I look up and guess who is DRIVING the backhoe! Yes, he was told that if his mother could drive the backhoe it should be easy for him. (Not alone! The boyfriend is there – unlike when I drove.)

So…my saying YES gave my son the once-in-a-lifetime experience of driving and dumping sticks from a backhoe as his first ride AND getting to shock his mother at the same time. (This kid struggles with the social requirements of society. What a fantastic memory for him ๐Ÿ™‚

I said YES to taking a risk and leaving my comfort zone. And my kids are looking to me as their role model. It is scary! But a life without being tied to a wine glass is pretty exciting! A normal Sunday night of TV and red wine led to a bad Monday. But look at this new life! I’m very happy that sober is sooo much more fun.

Giving Value to Failure

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I’ve written a bit on Failure, and why it’s a good thing. It’s taken me a bit to see my Sober Failure as valuable. I have always been a proponent of over-sharing with strangers in order to let people know they are not alone.

When people are in “hospital mode” and their new lives are spent living at and celebrating holidays confined to hospital rooms & bad news, I share my family’s story.

When a client is currently struggling to understand a new divorce and taxes I can help them sort it out.

The autistic boys who are currently incarcerated and I volunteered to do mock interviews,  they are grateful that stammers and lack of eye contact are okay. I undestad them and they feel heard and accepted outside of prison walls. (I was then asked to present a class on taxes to this group of juveniles who will soon be released about taxes. Such an honor and finally get to do the prison Beatitude!)

But sharing a Sober Failure after my first long stretch of time was really hard! I wasn’t in the beginning stages, I wasn’t long term, but was I normal? AA wisdom holds in not having a relationship within the first year sober. I know it definitely contributed to my drinking again.

Another common clichรฉ is that relationships cause you to face what you need to fix. If you’re not ready to better yourself, than stay single. And I didn’t choose that. So now today, I am looking at my sobriety.

Thankfully, I know how wonderful not drinking feels. I most certainly understand One Day or even “The Next 5 Minutes” At A Time a whole lot better. I had a choice yesterday to drink a beer resting in the shade or iced tea.  I chose tea, but because I battle alcohol, it was a choice that had to be given a lot of thought and an entire blog post.

Because sharing our successes and failures makes us not feel alone.

Old Tools

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I brought back some of my favorite old tools for staying sober. Taking a teenager with me to the store and going to bed at 7 with a book. I have been pushing my edges pretty hard lately. I just am not a stay up late girl. I checked out a stack of books and magazines from the library to help battle the after dinner “what do I do for 2 hours until bed?” feeling. And bought myself some healthy cold cereal to replace the pail of chocolate ice cream that has been my latest comfort. Special K cranberry coconut almond tasted pretty good last night! Having a sober lifestyle of good choices behind me, make this much easier. I know I feel will feel good.

Once I let go of worrying about what others were going to think about my journey of sobriety, I let go of the shame. I’m not going to be the one who made it. But I’m not going to be the one who got sucked back in and couldn’t climb out again.

Tan

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I looked different this morning, there was a slight tan to my skin. Me, the ultimate pale skinned, only burn outside girl. Just the little bit of time spent outside at the farm has given me color.

It shows me that I can change. I can walk out my door and keep working on health.

I reminded myself that I would have achieved one year sober in early May if I had not begun a relationship. (possibly) I did go 7 plus months straight without drinking and the rest of the time was more not drinking days than drinking days. Does that make me want to celebrate? Meh

Days in a row means something. 7 months in a row meant something. It meant that I had started a sober life with no excuses. Only putting myself first.

Now I’m not alone. It is WAY diferent.

But I still have to learn to put things in the right order.
1. My faith first.
2.Then My Self will follow.
3.Then I do not need to worry about others.

Constantly adjusting and fine tuning how I choose to live my life. I don’t want to get swallowed up again by drinking. It takes away my choice.

Transitions

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I’m not good at transitions. They make me itchy… to drink, to cry, to get crazy, to spend, to eat….anything to take the edge off the discomfort of moving from one moment to the next.

I am still in my relationship. The longest one since getting divorced 11 years ago. My kids are experiencing farm life and relishing time outdoors. I didn’t realize that my fear of leaving the house I passed on to them. When we go where no one can see us we all feel so free. They are observing how physically challenging farm chores can be. School is out in 2 weeks and our summer is going to be very different than our usual time indoors in front of screens.

Work has completely changed. I have an offer in to buy two tax offices and it was accepted. But…the owner is not getting in her part of the paperwork. I am walking a financialy scary time of unemployment, part time hours and beginning my own bookkeeping business.

Did I make it through sober? Nope. Do I begin every day wanting to not drink? Yes ๐Ÿ™‚ Do I know that I am an alcoholic? Yes ๐Ÿ™‚ Does being an alcoholic fill me with fear? Not like it used to. I couldn’t even say that word in my own brain let alone in print. There are even times I have even said it out loud!

And my new guy is understanding more the meaning behind it for me. It isn’t crazy wild nights followed by puking the next day. It’s about sneaking a drink alone when no one is watching to take the edge off the transitions. Those darn transitions.

My “Year of Yes” and being a “Do-er” instead of a dreamer is happening. And it is uncomfortable. So here I am pushing through discomfort and writing on my sober blog, that I am back in the game. I am here. My story isn’t going to end by my disappearing from my blog or from hiding in my own home.