Thursday, July 4, 2019

92 days, the change is real & so so good !

Living sober has absolutely changed my life for good. How did I get here...the decision to stop drinking (for real this time!) came from utter desperation, becoming completely honest about my drinking; how unhappy it made me and how my behavior was hurting the people closest to me and by complete surrender to my maker. I decided to trust that the one I call God would catch me.

I was so broken. I was done. I didn't want to die but I couldn't continue. What helped keep me sober during those very vulnerable first days...I stayed honest; I looked at my life as it truly was, hard to do  made me sick to my stomach. I cried buckets. I threw myself deep into the Living Sober community built by Mrs D aka Lotta Dann, I kept the browser open and constantly read others peoples journeys and shared my own, I went to every pm AA meeting locally available. Those first few days were hard, there were many tears, looking back it's a little blurry. I documented the first days on camera, I sat in my pajamas and snot and pressed record and talked to myself. It felt strange but it helped, it helped me to process the muddle my thoughts were in and it allowed me to hear and see how weak and unwell I'd become. Long walks and talks to my maker became my refuge; I began to feel strong and at peace. The miracles and mysteries that have and continue to bless my life today are so so so so so so so precious, I'm in awe.

But...life can become mundane, stressful, plain-hard. No matter how good life is now, it can't always be roses and sunshine and working forty-plus hours in a new and challenging role could become a trigger for tiredness and stress, both of which have been common triggers to drink for many years. While driving to a meeting recently I noticed I felt average, a little down, stressed, tired...and out of the blue I remembered I was 80 days sober and my whole state changed. This was an awesome experience that taught me how important it is to continue to celebrate all my achievements and milestones, big and small.

The list of blessings that have come from living sober is long but my favorite most recent is this...I picked up Miss 16 from the airport last night, (she just spent a week holidaying in Fiji), when our eyes met, both our smiles grew big, her first words were, "I missed you". We hugged. Before I stopped drinking, our relationship was so broken and it's hard not to grieve all the time wasted but today is what matters most and today my Miss 16 misses me when she goes away and when shes home shes happy to be home.




Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Day 55 - The growth & Stretch of Sobriety

Life is good, I can honestly say I'm happy. The gifts and miracles of sobriety that have blessed my life in just 55 days overwhelm me with thankfulness. During a recent counseling session, I laughed as I likened myself to Julie Andrews prancing the fields in The Sound Of Music; I've felt that happy. I tend to question and analysis my behavior a lot and I am stumped as to why I've not arrived at this break-though until now. Perhaps I wouldn't be this grateful for all I have now without having first lived the heartache. Perhaps I needed to be this grateful so I'll never take what I have now for granted, I never want to be less grateful for my life than I am now.

Life's not perfect, I have tooth pain I'm too afraid to get looked at, I'm not enjoying night-shift (but I love my job so I'll suck it up), I was forced to command a co-worker last night to slow down and be gentle with a confused and upset resident during last nights night-shift, my Mr 18 is about to embark on his post-school overseas travels and might not be able to visit me before leaving, (he lives 630 km's away) and I've a way to go managing the urge to be frantically busy all the time; to rest and be still. I can feel the growth and stretch of sober living and I like it, I've been desperate for it so long. No, life's not perfect but it feels pretty close to perfect when compared to much of my past. 

It's becoming more and more apparent how weak alcohol kept me, in every way I was weak, fragile, so when conflict or stress, even minor inconveniences occurred, I had no resilience to cope, to respond with clarity. I can now, I can notice a situation inducing an emotion or some worry and if I cant fix it I pray. My prayer life has become a source of peace and strength that I'd be lost without. I truly believe that it was by true surrender to my maker, the one I call God, that has got and kept me here; sober, free, growing and stretching into the person I've always been with dreams, abilities, and strengths that just couldn't be realized whilst drinking plagued my days, body, and mind. After so many false starts to kick the booze, I've finally arrived to where I've been so desperate to be for so so long; living this life without needing a drink to cope. 

Monday, May 27, 2019

Day 54 - Thankfully Tired

I've been a Caregiver in an aged-care care centre for two weeks, I'm oh so tired but oh so thankful. For two weeks I've enjoyed the freedom that both the morning and afternoon shifts give to attend AA and spend time with family but this week is oh so different, I was called in to work my first night shift last night, (my first of 3 night shifts in a row) the excitement of being asked to cover a shift when I'm still the newbie faded fast when 2am brought body aches and a mushed brain. Night shift struggles aside, I love love love my job.

Miss 16 just commented I should go to bed to rest for tonight's shift, she is right. I slept 6 hours today, but it was broken....anyone that has read my posts over the last 8 weeks will know that having my daughter here at home is a turn-a-round that just weeks ago seemed impossible. Miss 16 moved back home a week ago; my heart is full.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Day 43 & Employed

If thankfulness had a physical form mine would be too big to fit anywhere. Forty-odd days ago I was broken, hung over, isolating, and unemployed. I had no resilience and no joy. As I write this I feel like my eyelids could close asleep in this moment, I'm so tired. I'm tired because I have a job. I have a job that I love so much, I have a job that will grow and stretch me in directions I'm sure I don't even know about. I have a job where I'm required to practice love, kindness, patience, respect, empathy, understanding. I am a Caregiver in a retirement village hospital. I wear a uniform with a badge with my name on it. I report to the nurses station at 7:00 AM. I adore my job.

Had I not made the decision to stay sober and allow my maker to strengthen me by complete surrender, I would not know that I love being a Caregiver and that one day I may become a nurse. I wouldn't be meeting and caring for these gorgeous, wise, tired, beautiful people. It is a complete privilege and honor to tend to these folks' basic needs, water a plant, untangle a necklace, deliver a postcard from a loved one; most are so thankful and have encouraged me over this, my first week as a Caregiver. Some are not thankful, they are in too much pain to be. Some are so advanced in their dementia that confusion and worry seems to full their days; however I was thanked twice today with shiny-eyed smiles from two lovely souls with advanced dementia...this is beautiful to me and makes me want to weep but I refuse to weep at work and so I pray hard every time the tears soak my eyeballs, I pray hard, "please Lord, not here, at home, I can cry at home."

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Day 36

I confidently conducted myself through a job interview today. I would not have had the confidence to sit relaxed and answer each question without fretting if I were not sober. Good things really do happen when you stay sober; even while other stuff is still really hard, good stuff happens. Important, good stuff. It really is true that the longer I am sober the better I feel, think and do. Even the pre-menstrual, I-feel-like-utter-crap days are better because I feel connected to my own body now. I feel like I'm waking from an alcohol controlled coma. The delusion has lifted, the belief that I need alcohol to make anything better no longer exists, it's so far from what I believe today that it boggles my mind how long I've lived believing it.

I'm a little pissed it has taken this long but I'm careful not to dwell too long in regretful-reflection and instead continue to discover what is true and keep these life saving truths close where I'll never forget, so I'll never slip back into another coma of lies.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Day 24

I've just read another wonderful post entitled Six Reasons to Stay Sober by Mrs D aka Lotta Dann on the online Living Sober community she built, https://livingsober.org.nz/ 

I already know the benefits I'm experiencing from living-sober are massive but in true copy-cat fashion I'm going to name a few of those benefits; by doing so I'm adding another post to my tool-box of material to read if I do become triggered and think for one moment it's a good idea to drink.

I too have a new-love in herbal tea, while Peppermint is my staple, it seems there are endless flavors to try. I recently absolutely delighted over a flashy expensive Hot Spiced Cinnamon tea, it was a blissful experience, the flavors took on a three dimensional ability ! Actually ! My other reasons to stay sober are many and so so so important ! I've learnt that the act of refusing to harm myself with alcohol has induced other self-loving actions. I'm taking long walks, I'm swimming, I'm allowing my thoughts and feelings to process, I'm eating mindfully, I'm engaging with loved ones fully; spending full days with them without wanting and waiting to bail-out back to my secret-bubble of withdrawal and drink. My mind is clearer, my thinking deeper, my body is healing, depression and anxiety are no longer crippling my moods and days. I'm able to recognize triggers and work through it, I'm writing and reading, two  great loves of mine that can't be enjoyed when I'm boozing, I'm doing things I've not done before, I'm discovering that I like things I didn't know I did.

Addiction has plagued most of my life. As a fourteen-year-old I drank to black-out and continued to use alcohol and drugs most days until falling pregnant at sixteen. Then as a young solo-mum of three beautiful beautiful beautiful children, in 2004, I was handed a meth pipe. I've been free of methamphetamine-addiction for five years but cross-addicted back to alcohol and have struggled to stop multiple times for well over a year. I've not spent five years drinking until black-out but I had become a bottle a night, sometimes two a night, wino. A pattern emerged, every month or so I would have a complete emotional collapse, a meltdown, an alcohol induced breakdown, where I wanted to die. Swooning over a cup of tea may seem insignificant but a little more than a month ago, I was sobbing on my shower floor, drunk and suicidal, so now being able to sit sober and still and love myself with a cup of  flashy tea is pretty cool. There's no gray area anymore, no moderation or tricks that can make me drink safely. Drinking and sobriety for me has become as black and white as life and death.

For the first time in my life I am choosing with a will as strong as steel to live life without circling a harmful addiction. For me, relapse became common because sometimes the familiar, no matter how awful it is, is less scary than the unknown and the unknown for me is knowing how different and good my life can be without being dictated by a harmful addiction. 

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Day 22

When I reflect on my state of mind and the wreck that was my body on Day One, I'm amazed to be celebrating twenty-two days of sober-living, twenty-two days of not harming myself with alcohol and the self-hate that floods me when I find myself gulping wine from hidden bottles so not to alarm family of the time and amount needed. Truth is I don't need it. Truth is the benefits of having stopped drinking are already massive at just twenty-two days.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Day 12

I've not felt like writing for the last five days. The adrenaline from my drunken breakdown two weeks ago, the adrenaline that had me recommit to sobriety and walk 40 kilometers in a few days and bake Quince has worn away and I'm feeling low. Low and tired. It's this feeling of mild depression that has triggered my drinking over and over and kept me stuck. I am learning that it is okay to not feel okay. I am learning to feel the feelings. They are uncomfortable. But I am sober and boy will I thank myself in the days, months and years to come if I stay sober.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Day 7

I've done things this past week I've not ever done. I've baked Quince for four hours to find it really does become a divine sugary treat, I've walked everywhere instead of driving and made discoveries I'd never make confined to the car, I've tried new recipes (I won't be making the chickpea soup again). Not drinking really does leave many empty hours to fill and a mind and body and confidence capable of doing new things.

I swam today, just a gentle breast stroke for 450 meters or so. The water was cool and the sun shone brightly on my lane. I think this must be self-care, a new practice. There is something so calming about still water. I'm not a strong swimmer but I enjoy the movement, I love feeling the work and stretch of every muscle. After the first few laps the movements become effortless and my mind rested only on my actions and present moment. The thinking stops. I guess this is mindfulness, it's a wonderful place to be.

Walking home from the pools I received the call I've been bracing for, my Miss 16 will stay where she is, she won't be coming home. I've been a little numb since. I know the tears will flow when I let them, when I allow myself to really feel it. It sucks. I hate it. But she is happier where she is. She has thanked me for not fighting her decision and I have peace knowing that she knows I want what's best for her.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Day Five

I'm commanding myself not to panic because if I do I'm not sure I'll stay sober. Recent events have rocked me to the core but they have also launched me back into sobriety. If I was to drink now with my emotions and resilience being as they are, turbulent and low, I am afraid of what I might do. So I will continue to tell myself not to panic. I will continue to tell myself to seek stillness and breathe myself calm. I will not panic. The sky is not falling, I'm not homeless and my children are safe. I will not panic. There is a verse in the bible that says, Be still and know that He is God. While I don't consider myself a thriving Christian, I'm broken at best, I do believe in a God who loves me completely so I will not panic, I will be still and know...

On a brighter note, I'm so thankful for last nights sleep, my first full nights sleep in seven days. I fell asleep long before midnight and didn't toss and turn the early hours away or lie awake with a trillion thoughts. I did have some crazy dreams but I know that's normal.