Happy Birthday to Me! Happy Birthday to Me!

One year. 12 months. 52 weeks. 365 days. Yep. I have been sober for this amount of time. I just reread my first post and I actually feel a little bit sorry for that ole gal. But in a year’s time, so many miracles have happened.
First, I am alive, and I am healthy. A year ago, I was on medication for pain, antidepressants, ibuprofen, you name it. I was not well. My whole body ached whether it be my joints, my head, my back, my stomach. Not a day went by that I didn’t have a complaint about some ailment. I used to tell my husband that I was dying a slow and untimely death every day of my life. For him, it was a joke. For me, it was a reality and I wasn’t laughing. Today, I am only on antidepressants. I know I need them so I take them. As for anything else, I am free and clear. I have zero aches or pains. Nothing hurts today. I realize now that I was literally poisoning myself with alcohol every single day.
I am free. I am able to live my life not by the clock but by the moments. I no longer worry if I have to drive my kids somewhere after school and what time I will be home so I can start drinking. Today, I think about what I have to do after work and smile that I have a car, a license, children who love and need me, and a husband who can rely on me to take the kids to and from their activities. All of those were a matter of being lost to me for good if I continued to drink.
Today I know how to communicate better. I don’t have to use tears, guilt, manipulation, sex or alcohol to get my point across. I can have a rational discussion today; I have the ability to empathize, to see others in a positive light. Am I a great conversationalist? Do I communicate perfectly? Not even close. Put I am a heck of a lot better than I was last year at this time. I am calmer and I can think clearer.
I wake up happy. I am no longer hung over so I can think about my upcoming day and what I have on my plate. I used to be so angry when I woke up. I would get in the shower and try to rehash the previous night. This would result in frustration, shame, and disbelief. That would evolve into anger and self loathing. To my family, it became the routine. “Mommy doesn’t like mornings. She’s a night owl.” No, Mommy loves mornings now and she likes to be in bed early these days.
I have good family and friends. Those who know me and know me well have stood by me. I have had some friends drop me, but they weren’t really friends anyway. They were drinking buddies. My family has been supportive of me and my journey. I have had a number of texts and calls today that mean the world to me. They sound a lot like, “Thanks for making the decision to love yourself. We love you, too, and are glad you are present with us today.” That feels pretty darn good. My sponsor and some other ladies are taking me out to dinner after I get my coin at our 5:15 meeting and I couldn’t be happier. If someone had told me I would be going out with three ladies I don’t currently know for Thai food sober, I would have never believed the story. Yet, here, today, this is my new life; this is my new truth and I couldn’t be any happier.
There are tough days; my previous blogs posts are indicative of that. But, when I was drinking, EVERY damn day was a tough one. Every minute I was alive was painful. Today, that is not even close to the truth.
Just for today, I am grateful, thankful, healthy and happy. For without my Higher Power, the gift of AA, my family and friends, I would not be taking the time out of my day to pray and tell God I am so very grateful for the life- with all of its imperfections- that I have the privilege of living today.


My Truth About Sobriety- Some Days- It F*&%$ing Sucks

In the blogosphere of late, I have come across many honest, heart-felt posts about what it’s like to be sober, to get help, to live a sober life. Having such emotions personally, I felt compelled to share. I am approaching one year of sobriety Friday and this past weekend threw me for a loop- and an angry one at that.
Here’s what happened and how I felt:

Bitch 1. My husband and brother-in-law had a few beers and left the remainders in the outside fridge. I have one hard, rule and that is NO alcohol can remain in my house after the imbibers go. They either take it with them or my husband disposes of it. This didn’t happen. I was pissed off and resentful that my husband didn’t follow this rule. Alcoholism is a family disease and having beer- despite the fact that it was some nasty Pabst crap- is like putting a hand grenade on my back and asking me to run; it’s dangerous. When I confronted him the next day about it, he said he forgot. I came unglued and went on a tirade about how I have asked one thing (not true, I’ve asked for many things over the past year)and that he CAN’T forget. When he forgets, I feel like he is saying, “I don’t understand your disease and I am going to carry on with my life no matter what it may or may not trigger for you. F*((ing deal with it.” Of course, this is NOT what he saying, but that is not what I am hearing.

Bitch 2: The argument continues (later in the day) with me telling him he HAS to understand that I do not want to go to a family party when the whole point is drinking and to “fill the tub full of beer.” I have opted to stay home or to drive separately because I need an out. He isn’t satisfied with this and thinks it’s ridiculous that I don’t want to be around his family. I feel like a caged animal and I am angry. I will not be forced into any situation that may compromise my sobriety. I remind him that HE is the one who gave me an ultimatum last year: “Quit drinking, get some help, or the kids and I are gone.” I took that to heart and tell him that I did what he demanded and he has to accept that this is my new normal. Maybe he needs to try Al-Anon, I tell him.

Bitch 3: He tells me that I am not the woman he married. No, I am not. I don’t want to hang with our old “friends” or go to the ole watering hole because the sole purpose is to drink. I want to do things that do not involve alcohol. He says this is not realistic. I know this as I have been with him on a company trip for 7 days in an all-you-can-drink atmosphere; I’ve attended professional baseball games, pre-parties, post parties, Christmas parties, Fourth of July parties, weddings, baby showers, let’s-get-together-and-drink-because-we-can parties, etc. But WHAT THE HELL DO SOBER PEOPLE DO FOR FUN???? Well, we go for walks, go to movies, enjoy our children, garden, snow ski, water ski, exercise, visit with other nondrinkers, ice skate, roller skate, journal, read, go to meetings, work. As for not being the same woman he married, I say thank God. I have changed and I like to think for the better. I tell him to go to Al-Anon. Again. This is my mantra, I swear. He never takes me up on it.

Bitch 4: “I know you are a ‘better’ person now, with your new-found relationship with God, your sponsor, your sobriety, but what about me? I feel I am not good enough for you anymore.” I’ll be honest, when I hear that, I cringe. I cringe because I have (admittedly) had those same thoughts. I have worked pretty damn hard to get where I am. I have disclosed stuff to my sponsor that my collection of confessions to the priests over the years don’t even come close to the truth. And while the shame burns my cheeks some days, I know I am not alone when I am with my sober friends. I am getting help; he is not. I cannot carry this family alone; I tell him to go to Al-Anon. Again.

I could go on and on, but I will spare all of you the details of every aspect of my marriage over the past year. The point of all this is SOBRIETY IS HARD. Fucking hard. On the whole family. There are some days when I think drinking would be easier. Some days I feel like, Jesus, I have no friends left; my husband is miserable but is putting on a happy face and I miss the belly laughs we would have while on our way to a good buzz. I don’t go to work Happy Hours because I feel awkward. When I run into people who haven’t seen me in a while, they ask where I’ve been and I mutter, “Oh super busy with the kids” because like it or not, this IS a disease where we are judged by our “lack of morality”. I sit and listen to people judge a woman who committed suicide after being sober one week. “How could she be so selfish?” “What is SO bad that she had to drink THAT much?” “Seriously, her kids will never be the same. She should have never done this.” I listen in silence as I can identify with every thought that woman may have had. I got help and it worked so far; she tried and it was too much for her to bear. Who am I to judge?
At the end of the day, I look back at the struggles. I know it’s okay to cry; I am still grieving the old life I had no matter how fucked up and unhealthy it was. It was a life I lived for 44 years and while screwed up, it was comfortable. But, I honestly do not miss how I felt both physically and spiritually. I was truly defunct in those areas. I know that my life is much better today and that is what gets me through the tough times.
Sobriety IS hard and anyone who says it’s a walk in the park is either a. not an alcoholic or b. never tried or c. in denial
Aside from all of the bullshit, I Do have more good days than bad. And that is what keeps me sober today.