On Motherhood

I didn’t always want to be a mother.  When I was in my early 20s and I envisioned my future, having children just wasn’t part of that picture.  I didn’t even like kids – I felt awkward around them and felt they could see right through me.  I also felt that I wasn’t warm and loving enough to be a mother.  In college one of my closest friends told me I was emotionally unavailable.  For years I believed her and sadly, I used that observation to allow me to keep my relationships at arm’s distance.  When I met my first husband, part of the reason I was attracted to him was that I didn’t need to be vulnerable in the relationship.  He was just as closed off as I was.  He had three children and I felt that was perfect for me – a premade family that I could jump into, but one where I didn’t need to be that warm motherly person that I couldn’t be.

I’m not sure exactly when things begin to change, but eventually I found myself deeply unhappy and unfulfilled.  I looked at my life and where I was heading and I didn’t want to go to that future.  I began yearning for more intimate friendships and closer relationships with family.  And suddenly, I found myself wanting a child.  Maybe it was my biological clock giving me a nudge or maybe it was because I had finally realized that I wanted and needed more love in my life.

I tried to incorporate these sudden changes into my marriage but ultimately it didn’t work.  Maybe I didn’t try hard enough, or long enough…but that’s another story.  I moved on and dared to hope that I’d still one day be able to have a baby.  I got my happy ending.  I met my husband, married him and found out that I was pregnant.

That wasn’t the ending however.

Throughout my pregnancy I battled with myself.  That old comment from my friend never left me.  I tortured myself by questioning whether I’d be a good mom, whether my baby would feel loved by me, and whether I was selfless enough to be a mother.  What if she doesn’t know me as soon as she is born?  What if we don’t bond?  What if I don’t fit the perfect mom mold that is portrayed on Facebook and Pinterest?  I had so many “what ifs?”

Eventually, my daughter was born.  Instead of feeling that all-consuming love that is portrayed on diapers commercials, I felt relief that it was over and concern that my baby was ok and healthy.  We brought her home and instead of feeling excitement and fulfillment I felt exhausted, sore from feeding and I cried every morning.  When people asked how I was doing, instead of saying that I was wonderful and so happy I told them that being a mother was harder than I could have ever imagined.

I scrolled through Facebook in those early weeks and saw my friends who were also new moms post that their baby was “the light of our lives” and “the best thing that ever happened.”  They looked so happy in their pictures while in contrast, I was counting down the minutes for my husband to get home so I could pass my baby to him and get a break.  I felt as if my worst fears were confirmed – I was not cut out for this.

And then one day she made a sound other than a furious cry and I laughed in surprise.  A few days later she smiled for the first time and it took my breath away.  A few weeks after that, my mom made her giggle and we both had tears in our eyes.  Two weeks ago she finally learned how to hold on to toys and I felt an immense sense of pride.  On Monday, my mom was holding her and I was telling a story. Savvy began cooing and smiling at me, so excited to hear her Mommy talk.  I felt like my heart was exploding.

Being a mom is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  It doesn’t come as naturally to me as it might to other women.  I can’t be blissfully happy when my baby is wailing in my arms, just because she’s in my arms. I get frustrated when she won’t sleep and still welcome the opportunity to let someone else hold her.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t love her.

What I have learned over the last few months is that my friend was wrong.  I’m not emotionally unavailable.  I just love a little more quietly than others.  When I love, it’s a strong, internal love that spreads like warmth against my heart. People may not always be able to see it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there.  They just need to step a little closer, and listen.

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100 Days

Today marks 100 days since my last drink – my personal record.  There’s a sense of pride there, but that inner voice of mine (many of you know which one) tries to devalue it due to the reason I have accomplished this.  I am 18 weeks pregnant.  The day that I found out I was pregnant was a day I almost picked up a drink.  The bottle was in my fridge – chilling and waiting for me to open it – when the two pink lines appeared.  I had picked up the test on a whim, thinking there was no chance it would be positive, but my fiancé and I had just started “trying” and I wanted peace of mind before I picked up the glass.  I took three more tests that day, not able to believe what I was seeing, but after that first test the bottle was thrown in the trash, unopened.

I haven’t been writing or participating much in the sober community because I feel like I haven’t “earned” these 100 days like others have.  It sounds silly.  But I couldn’t get to 100 days before I found out I was pregnant.  I know sobriety is sobriety but the perfectionist in me fights against that.

Part of me feels ashamed that my story of finding out I was pregnant revolves around drinking.  What kind of person drinks when she is trying to get pregnant?

A person who sometimes still believes she doesn’t deserve to be a mother.

I didn’t always want to be a mother.  When I was a teen I used to say I was never having kids.  I didn’t have the patience for other people’s kids…how could I have my own?  As time went on, that maternal instinct became stronger and stronger, especially once I was in a committed relationship.  I loved the idea of two separate people joining together and creating a miracle, out of nothing but love.  I loved the idea of family; of raising a child in this world and teaching them to learn from my experiences.  My ex-husband had three kids of his own, and despite the fact that he said he was willing to have more with me, not once did he actually do anything to make me believe it.  I would try to bring it up in conversations and there was always an excuse – not until we have more money, wait until we buy a bigger house, until the middle child has graduated, until our sex life improves, until he gets a new job.  I continued to accept his excuses while my clock kept ticking.  I had wanted to have a baby by age 30 and one day I found myself 33 years old and no closer to having a baby than I was at 18.  There’s a saying that goes “No one changes until the pain of not changing exceeds the pain of changing.”  I had finally reached that point.  The idea of never having a child hurt more than anything I had ever experienced.  I could not continue to live in “what if’s” and “maybe’s” and risk never having a baby.  So I left.  Living without at least trying to have a baby hurt more than being alone, starting over, hurting our friends and family, losing financial stability, and not having a guarantee that I could even physically get pregnant.

It was by far the best decision I have ever made.

Three years later, and sometimes I feel like I’m dreaming.  In 24 days I will marry a wonderful man – a man I thought only lived in my dreams.  Four and a half months after that I will hold our sweet, beautiful baby in my arms for the first time.  Sometimes when I am alone I allow myself to really think about all that is happening in my life and I can’t breathe.  The combined feeling of disbelief, gratitude, awe, joy, and love is so overwhelming that it paralyzes me.

Do I really deserve this?  If I breathe and allow myself to feel all of this happiness, will it stay?

There’s a feeling of impending doom that I can’t quite seem to shake.

This morning a quote I had hung up months ago, when I was still on my shaky sobriety sea legs, caught my eye.  It’s a quote from The Alchemist (which I still haven’t finished):  “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”  I have been thinking about it all day, and I think I’ve finally discovered what is going on.  A big piece of me has been feeling that I don’t deserve all that has been given to me because I didn’t have long term sobriety before I became pregnant.  Whenever I thought about having a baby, it was always with the belief that I would have “mastered” this sobriety thing.  Obviously, it didn’t happen that way.

And yet.

The Universe knew that I wanted to be sober.  It knew that I wanted to have a baby.  What if it was supposed to happen this way?  What if getting what I wanted most in the world (a baby) was the invitation into sobriety that I have been looking for?  Maybe God and the Universe love me so much that they gave me one gift, knowing it would lead to another.  I never needed to earn any of this.  I just needed to trust and accept and receive and love.

100 days today.  I am so grateful.

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Thinking About Drinking

SATURDAY

2;00pm.  Just had a spa day with a friend and we are at lunch afterwards at a place that has awesome craft beers.  She orders a summery ale with a tangerine finish and my mouth waters.  I can have just one, I can do it.  One won’t be a big deal, and day drinking is so, so nice.

 2:02pm:  Order a ginger beer, making sure the server hears me say “non-alcoholic”.  I enjoy my lunch and leave feeling energetic and ready to start my weekend project, redecorating the office in my house. 

 3:30pm:  Driving home, think about how I have the house to myself all weekend.  Looking forward to seeing how the gold spray paint turns out on my table.  What will I do in between sprays, while waiting for it to dry?  A glass of red wine sounds nice.  Actually, a bottle of red wine sounds nice.  No one will know, I’m home alone.  I’m in a good place emotionally now, so I can just drink the bottle, pass out and not do anything stupid. 

4:00pm:  The gas station on the corner of my street sells wine.  It’s coming up now, f*ck it, I think I’m going to stop.  I can start over tomorrow and 60 days will be here before I know it.  Having the whole bottle to myself while I’m working on the office will be amazing.  Ok, it’s on the left, I can see it.  Sometimes the parking spots are all full and I hate when that happens and I don’t want to just pull up in some random parking spot because it draws attention to me.  If there’s a spot open, I’m getting in the left lane and parking my car and going in and buying a bottle.  Shoot, that truck is pulling in.  It’s going to take my spot, don’t do it.  Damn it, it just took the last open spot.  Ok, keep driving, it wasn’t meant to be.  JUST GET HOME.

 4:10pm:  Whew, that was close.  Good thing that truck pulled in right before I got to the light.  Ok, let’s get that table out to the garage. 

5:00pm:  Damn, that table was heavy but I got the first coat of spray paint on and now I can work on clearing out the rest of the office while it dries.  I used to love cleaning and drinking wine.  Having a buzz makes cleaning so much more fun.  We do have that extra bottle of red wine in the rack that friends brought over last month.  Dan probably doesn’t even know it’s there.  I could drink it and he’d never notice it was missing.  I don’t even really have to reset my days, it would just be one little blip.  Do I really want to lie to myself though?  Ok, think about it for another 30 minutes.  If you still want it then, you can have it. 

5:30pm:  Yep, still want it.  It’s not that big of a deal really.  You’re not going to hurt anyone and it’s just one bottle…You’ll drink it slow.  But what if you want more after that one bottle…you are known to not be able to make good choices once you take a drink.  What if you think it’s a good idea to get in the car and go to the gas station to get more?  That wouldn’t be good.  You won’t, you know better now.  You’ll be fine.  Think how amazing it will feel to take that first sip and just relax and enjoy the rest of your night, painting furniture and organizing.  It WILL be amazing.  Ok, screw it.  I’m drinking it.  

 5:40pm:  Pull bottle out of rack before I can change my mind and rummage in drawer for wine opener.  Found it.  Ok, are you sure you want to do this?  Yes.  Yes, I’m sure.  Struggle with cork, but finally, it’s open.  Ahh.  Let’s smell it first.  Hmm, it doesn’t smell that great.  It smells old.  Wait a minute, does that say this was made in Virginia?  Isn’t that where the bottle that Dan’s friend gave him was from…the bottle that Dan said he was going to drink soon?  I’m pretty sure Dan’s friend actually owns a part of that vineyard.  Shit, did I grab the wrong bottle?  Race over to wine rack and look at the three other bottles…nope, they are all white.  The Virginia one was the only red.  I must have drank the other red.  Ohhhhh.  Right, I drank most of that the last time I relapsed and then poured the rest down the drain.  Damn it, damn it, damn it.  I can’t drink this wine.  Dan would know for sure I drank and I can’t just go and replace this because it is from VIRGINIA!!  I’m such an idiot.  I should have checked before opening it.  Put cork back on bottle and place back in wine rack.  

 5:45pm:  I could go to the gas station and get wine.  You pretty much already made up your mind that you are drinking already, so just do it.  It makes no difference now.  Put on flip-flops and grab keys.

5:47pm:  No.  There is a reason you opened that bottle from Virginia.  It was to teach you a lesson.  The Universe is looking out for you.  Don’t do it. You will regret it.  Kick flip flops off and go back outside to paint the second coat. 

 9:00pm:  So glad I didn’t drink.  Didn’t even take a sip.  God is watching over me. Talk to Dan and tell him what happened and that he will have to drink the wine soon now, since it’s already open.  Grateful for him, and for God. 

11:00pm:  Go to bed and sleep peacefully.

SUNDAY

 10:00am:  Awake, clear headed, hangover free.  Excited to finish the office today.  Want to go shopping and buy some fun decor.

 1:oopm:  At World Market.  Such cute stuff.  Wait, is that a cat statue?  What is that?  Does that say Riesling?  Oh, it’s a wine bottle shaped like a cat.  That’s awesome.  I have to have that.  But can I buy wine without drinking it?  You could buy it and pour it out right away.  Keep shopping, think about it.  

1:30pm:  I really want that cat wine.  I can buy it, it will be fine.  I’m doing it.  Ok, head to checkout.  Get to counter and wait.  On counter are little airport bottles of Kahlua.  Oh shit.  Right behind me there is a full display of airport sized liquor bottles – rum, baileys, chambord, vodka.  Oh my god.  OMG.  Who does that?  Who puts mini liquor bottles on display right at checkout?  Why is alcohol so glorified?  It’s Sunday for gosh sake. A year ago you would have been in heaven.  You would have bought 5 or 6 of them and hid them in your purse.  Not now.  But.  You could buy one.  Just one won’t kill you.  It may not even affect you, you could just have one to get rid of these crazy cravings from this weekend.  Just one and no one would know.  No, turn around!  Don’t look!  But they are so cute.  So small.  Krista – you know you can’t just have one, if you have one you’ll buy more and then you will never finish the office.  It’s 2:00 in the afternoon if you start drinking now you will be ruined by 5pm and useless.  You’ll regret it.  Fine, ok no.  Hi lady at check out.  Yes, that is all for me.  My ID?  Oh right, I’m buying cat wine.  Say “I don’t even want the wine, I just want the cat.”  She looks at me funny.  Ok, get out of here.

 1:45pm:  In car.  Ahhhh, that was close.  Why am I craving it so much this weekend?  I haven’t felt it this strong in weeks.  Stupid airport bottles.  Whoever invented those should be shot.  It’s sunny and beautiful out and you will be awake and productive all day.  

 2:30pm:  Ok, let’s get started.  Do I want that Riesling?  Maybe.  For some reason white wine just doesn’t sound great right now.  It was $9.99.  It’s probably not even great anyway, it’s cat wine.  It would probably give me a headache.  If I open it, it will be obvious.  Not worth it.  Ok, I’m an adult.  

5:00pm:  Time to put everything back in office.  Where should I put cat?  He will look great on that shelf.  He feels so good in my hands. So heavy.  There’s wine in there.  I don’t even want it.  

9:00pm:  Feels so good to have office done.  Thank goodness you didn’t give in to cravings this weekend.  You did it. 

MONDAY

6:00am.  I can’t believe I almost ruined my 63 days.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  You are so much stronger than you think.  

 

TODAY

It’s this thinking above that convinced me that I just needed to stop drinking altogether.  Any sort of moderation means that I would think like this every single day, and that is unbearable.  I was a mess this past weekend.  But.  I got through it.  Most days I don’t even think about drinking anymore, and for that I am so grateful.  But I’ve accepted that fact that I may have days or weeks that challenge me.  I can’t control my cravings and I can’t really control my thoughts.  What I can control is my reaction and every time I come out on the other side, still sober, I feel stronger and more confident.  It’s a battle, but I’m winning.

 

 

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Guilt

“Guilt: Punishing yourself before God doesn’t”  – Alan Cohen

Guilt has played a big role in my life.  I can’t remember a time in my life where I didn’t feel it hanging over my head.  I have guilt for so many things – hurting people who love me; hurting people who I love; guilt for not being motivated enough at work; guilt for lost friendships; guilt for breaking my marriage vows; guilt for not living up to my own expectations; for hurting myself and making wrong choices; for failing; for not being a better person. I know this isn’t healthy.  I know that feeling guilt doesn’t solve anything.

I didn’t start abusing alcohol until close to the end of my marriage.  I was feeling incredibly lost in my life – to a point where I really didn’t even know who I was anymore.  All I knew was that I wasn’t comfortable being that person who I was.  I started drinking to like that person more.  But then I realized that my house no longer felt like my home anymore, and on the drive home from work I would sob uncontrollably, dreading walking into that place where I no longer felt like I belonged.  So I drank to cover up that feeling. Finally, in a rare moment of courage, I made the decision to leave my marriage and moved into my own place.  Even though I eventually left that unhealthy environment behind, my unhealthy habits remained with me and my brain found new ways to feed those habits. Now instead of drinking to deal with the turmoil in my marriage, I was drinking to numb myself to the guilt I had built up over the years.  Yes, I had made a decision for myself, in divorcing my ex husband – but that didn’t make up for the extreme guilt I felt inside.  I felt guilty for the 10 years I felt I wasted on the relationship.  I felt guilty for hurting him.  I felt guilty for not making the decision to leave before we married.  I felt guilty for my friends and family investing in our relationship and the wedding reception.  I felt guilty for all of the friends I lost due to who I became over the last 10 years.  Most importantly, I felt guilty for suppressing my true self during the entire relationship.  So I found some single girlfriends and continued my habit of drinking 2-3 times a week.

Two to three times a week out with friends turned into 2-3 times a week out plus 1 or 2 nights at home relaxing with a glass of wine on the couch.  It became my solace at the end of the day, a way to relax, de-stress, forget about all of the regrets and guilt that I still felt from my previous life.  But as we all know, alcohol is a depressant, so yes it numbed some of my pain and guilt, but it also magnified how lost I felt, and how sad I was that my life wasn’t going the way it “should have.”  Each time I drank I became more intertwined in the cycle, and before I knew it I was spinning out of control.

cycle

For me, there’s no greater shame and guilt felt than the feeling that accompanies the morning after.  The feeling of not knowing what I did or what I said…having to pick up my phone and cringe at the texts that were sent or the Facebook statuses that were posted.  I still blush at some of the things that I did.  Sometimes I would send nonchalant texts to friends who were out with me – prying for info, and hoping I would get a “don’t worry, you were fine” text back.

During one of the first months I tried to stop drinking, I drank so much that an ambulance was called and I was taken to the emergency room.  My friends and family were justifiably freaked out.  My mom had been on a business trip during the whole ordeal, so she had to suffer long distance, waiting for updates from the rest of the family.  When we talked several days later, after she was home, she was honest with me and told me that her trip had been ruined because she had been worried her daughter was going to die.  The guilt and shame that came up for me was impalpable.  I was disgusted with myself.  How did I get here?

Guilt piled up on me like a heavy pile of blankets.  I had so much weight on me that even the thought of trying to stand up and shed myself of the heaviness took my breath away.  My mind talked me into staying underneath it all many times.  Sure, it was heavy and hurt a little. But it was also warm and familiar and sometimes the promise of familiarity can be tempting.  I would think – “If I just lie here and drink and DON’T MOVE, I’ll be ok and no one will notice.”  But it never happened that way.  I’d lie there and drink and then invariably, I’d talk myself into driving to get more or start drunk texting, or even more scary – start to dwell on suicidal thoughts.  The cycle continued.

Guilt didn’t help me get sober, especially guilt put on me by other people.  In fact, it kept me down.  I’m not sure people who support people like me understand that.  One of the best lessons I learned from my sober coach when working with her was “F*ck it”.  I know it sounds harsh and I rarely use that word.  But for someone like me who thinks too much and cares too much what other people think of me – it’s just what I needed to hear.  I had to let everything else go before I could begin the work of recovery.  I had to put all my cares into one single focus – getting sober.  I stopped going to functions that I didn’t want to go to; I said “No”; I didn’t make obligatory phone calls to family members; I only worked out when I wanted to work out; I stopped feeling bad for being lazy on a Sunday; I didn’t dwell on what that guy thought of me when I drunk texted him.  I just let it all go.  And slowly, the sober days began accumulating.  As the days built up I became more sure of myself and sometime later, when I looked back to find the guilt, it wasn’t as scary.  It was still there but it was smaller, and that made it easier for me to forgive myself.  Being in the throes of addiction made guilt seem insurmountable and impossible to resolve.  With clear eyes I now see that any mistakes I made that resulted in guilt were just steps on my journey, and got me to where I am today.  Now, when I feel guilt creeping up on me I remember this post…and I picture my soul up in heaven planning my whole life out with God, years before I was born.  Guilt was put in my life for me to learn how to overcome, to be strong and to be kind to myself.  I’m learning more and more to accept that challenge.

 

 

 

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Is this all there is?

I’m 48 days sober today.  The days seem to be dragging as I look forward to 91, which will be my personal record.  It feels easier this time and I can’t tell if I’m just getting better at ignoring the thoughts, or if the thoughts just aren’t coming as much as they used to.  The other day I was driving home from work and a song came on that triggered a memory of day drinking.  I observed myself have the thought and I watched myself quickly bat it away, and say “you’re a non-drinker now.”  It was anti-climactic.  Is this what life is now? I’ll forever be a non-drinker?

I’ve been having a rough time the last few days.  I feel like I have no passion. I think I’ve been this way for a while, but drinking helped mask it.  Now that I’m not drinking, I am more aware of it.  A lot of it has to do with my job, and how little I value it now.  I’m bored, and unmotivated and not challenged.  I dread getting up most days.  Up to about a year ago, my passion was my job.  But now it’s not and I feel lost.  Or maybe I thought my job was my passion, and I was just able to go on this long because my real passion was drinking.  I don’t know.  But now, I am not drinking and I hate my job and that’s all there is.  I remember when I was drinking almost every night, accepting the fact that life was just boring.  I believe that’s why I drank – to combat the boredom.  Now I know that I created a lot of the boredom for myself by drinking.  But, I expected that to change once I stopped.

I realized this weekend that the thought is still there – life is boring.  If I don’t have anything to look forward to, I get restless.  Maybe I’m still too early in sobriety – but I’ve been doing this for almost half a year…I’ve only drank 2 times in the last 150 days.  I need to find my passion.  That feels like so much pressure though.  What if I don’t have one?  What if I can’t find one?  Do I just need to accept that life is sometimes boring?

This is a lot of rambling today.  I haven’t blogged in quite some time because I was putting so much pressure on myself to have a topic and a clear cut agenda but in doing it that way, I was writing nothing.  So I’m just going to try to write what I’m feeling and go from there.

 

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Rugs in the Way

Something funny happened to me the other day.  Since after the holidays, I’ve been beating myself up about not having a consistent workout routine.  When I lived on my own I had a solid schedule down.  I’d come home from work and get my workout in right away, so that I would have the whole night left to meet with friends or spend time with Dan.  In early November I moved in with Dan and between moving in and the holidays, working out just got away from me.  The last month or two, I’ve had great intentions and I’d do a yoga video or lift some weights but I just could not get into a constant routine.  The main excuse I kept using and just couldn’t seem to get past was that I could not find a great place in the house to work out how I wanted to.  I had done the 21 Day fix diet and workout to much success a few months ago, so I really wanted to get back into that plan.  The 21 day fix involves workout videos, and videos of course require a television.  We have two TVs in our house – one in the bedroom where there is no room to work out and one in the family room, where there is plenty of space.  The issue with the family room is that we recently bought a large, heavy, thick shag rug that takes up most of the empty space.  It’s really not conducive to doing squats, lunges etc.  Every time I thought of doing the videos I kept coming back to this rug, and my mind would race, trying to come up with ways to solve this dilemma:

“Can we put the rug in another room so that I can workout in the family room?”   No, it’s too big to fit in any other room.               

Maybe I can find just enough room to the side of the rug to work out?”  No, there isn’t enough room and besides, how will you see the tv?

 What if I just roll up the rug each time I work out?”  That rug is heavy and cumbersome, and you lift 5 lb weights.  You KNOW that you will use the fact that you don’t want to roll up the rug today as an excuse not to work out. 

 “What if I just don’t do the exercises that require a lot of movement?”  Umm……….really?!

 And even

“I wish we hadn’t even bought the damn rug!”  You both LOVE that rug.  It was one of your first purchases for the home together.  It’s not the rug’s fault!

Last week Dan was vacuuming and as he approached the rug, he picked up one corner of it, kind of threw it, and it folded up on itself.  He finished vacuuming the area, gave the rug one tug, it set back to where it was, and he was on his merry way.

I was stunned.

How had I missed this simple, obvious solution?  How many weeks had I wasted torturing myself over this seemingly impossible obstacle?

As is typical for me, I was completely overthinking it.  Over time, I had built up the rug in my head to be this prickly thorn in my side, my dragon to slay, an enemy to conquer.  Had I just took a step back, brushed away all of my previous thoughts and looked at the situation with a clear head, I would have saw the rug for what it was – an easily movable pebble in my path.

The other “AHA” moment I experienced was the fact that I didn’t ask for help.  Throughout my life I have held on to this steadfast belief that I can do everything on my own.

I do not need help, ever. 

Asking for help is weak and usually a waste of time because I can do things better on my own.  

Insert foot in mouth.  Had I just communicated to Dan the anxiety that this rug was giving me, he would have helped me solve it quickly.  I held back from talking to him about it because I was embarrassed and ashamed that I was letting something as silly as a rug hold me back from accomplishing my goals.

This entire thing has made me look back.  How many times have I let “rugs” get in my way of doing something I want to do?  How many opportunities have I wasted or let go because I felt I couldn’t get past a hurdle?  Were there solutions that my friends and family could have helped me with, had I just asked?  What else am I holding back in because of shame and embarrassment?

I’m happy to say that I’ve worked out five of the last eight days and each time I give that rug a little tug, I think – “take THAT!”

Krista 1, Rug, 0.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Sobriety, Women | 3 Comments

I’m Doing This Thing

I asked the BF the other day if he noticed any changes in me since I’ve been sober for almost 60 days.  To my dismay, he couldn’t really name anything concrete.  How can he not see the new-found gratitude I have when I wake up hangover-free?  How can he not see the joy I now experience when I light a yummy smelling candle, burrow under a fluffy blanket and can just “be?”  Why can’t he notice the clarity I feel in my brain when we have deep discussions and I can actually communicate how I’m feeling and what I think?

I was bummed.  I felt like all of the hard work I’ve been doing was all for naught.  I feel like an entirely new person – or at least I feel like a shiny, polished off, “truer” version of myself….why can’t my friends and family see this?

Once I stopped sulking, I gave myself a reality check.   I was looking for validation.  I was essentially saying: “Look Mom, look what I’m doing!  I’m not drinking!  Tell me how great I am now that I’m not drinking!”

 

Here’s the thing about getting sober (or recovery from any addiction for that matter) – it’s one of the only events in your adult life where in order to succeed you have to NOT do something.  You don’t pick up a drink.  You don’t make the stop at the liquor store on the way home from work.  You don’t get behind the wheel of your car after taking shots.  Unlike most accomplishments in life, you don’t get a degree, a prize, a monetary award, a promotion, an award, a car, or a certificate by abstaining from alcohol.  No one will tell you “Congratulations on not getting wasted out of your mind and embarrassing yourself last night.”

 

 

My boyfriend is not going to tell me that he is proud of me for not passing out drunk at 5pm on what was supposed to be a date night; or for not calling him names and being a complete asshole for no reason.  No one is going to pat me on the back because I didn’t get drunk, have suicidal thoughts and try to slit my wrist with a butcher knife.  Unfortunately (fortunately?) that’s just not how it works.  Don’t get me wrong – the fact that I am not doing those things now is a very, very good thing – but I don’t deserve praise for it from anyone but myself.   If not for my addiction, I would never have needed to be recognized for these “non-actions.”   Normal people don’t walk around saying “I could have just walked up to you and punched you in the face just now.  But I was courteous and pleasant, so be thankful for that.”  We are not celebrated for being respectful and decent human beings.

Progress and success in recovery is measured by subtle internal shifts, which often aren’t noticed or can’t be seen by the outside world – at least not right away.   Yes, I can use my “XX days sober” count as a measure, but the real victories are happening inside.   I can’t see them, but I can feel them.  They are the sudden surges of joy I feel when I am driving home from work, knowing I can spend the evening with my boyfriend; they are the belly-laughs I have when talking with a friend; they are the small doses of confidence I now have when interacting with my boss; they are the moments of clarity I observe when realizing I am exactly where I am meant to be.   I may never hear the words “great job, you did it” from an outsider.  I probably will, because I’ve kept my family informed of my decisions and of my progress – but even if I don’t it doesn’t matter.  The true validation, the only one that matters, is my own.

Congratulations dear one, you’re doing it.

 

Posted in Sobriety | 8 Comments