Preparing Myself

Temptation

As I embark on this weekend, I’m preparing myself for two big events: 1) my first wedding sober and 2) our annual Easter celebration that I wrote about in my last post here.

This will be my second Easter sober, however, I’m still reminded of previous years where I used Easter (and all other holidays) as an excuse to drink as much as I could in a short amount of time. For some reason, I thought I needed it to cope, to have fun, to “survive.” It turns out, being sober made last year’s Easter celebration a lot more enjoyable – imagine that!

As for weddings, well, weddings and I have a long history – mostly a history of not remembering much. If there was ever an event that called (or more like begged) for drinking it was weddings. I mean heck, I got drunk for the first time when I was fourteen at my mom and stepdad’s wedding! I clearly remember the thrill and excitement of it, yet at the same time I remember my eighty-two year old grandmother helping me up the stairs and undressing me for bed. But, despite the shame and embarrassment the next morning, I loved it and I wanted more.

As I got older and my friends started getting married, weddings became all out parties – or at least they were for me! When I was single, I would find myself in questionable situations and after I got married, my husband would have to drag me (literally) out of the reception. Of course, it was always assumed that he would be the one driving and I would be the one passed out or throwing up in the passenger seat. Ironically, the only wedding I didn’t get drunk at was my own – go figure! Oh, and the one I attended while pregnant, but I’m sure I still managed to sneak a glass here and there. I mean, who could possibly imagine going to a wedding and not having ANYTHING to drink?!

To say that weddings bring up feelings of temptation is an understatement. Fortunately, we didn’t have any weddings last year, however, this year we’ve been invited to three. Tomorrow is the first of those three. To be honest, I’m not as anxious as I thought I would be, but I’m still doing the work in anticipation. I’ve gone to meetings this week, I’ve talked it over with my sponsor, I’ve done my readings and, most of all, I’ve been praying. I didn’t get sober on my own, and I know damn well I won’t stay sober on my own. I need God to help me and protect me, act as my armor if you will as I go into these situations.

Because that first drink is there, it’s always there waiting, tempting and calling my name.

 

 

The Bunny Is Real…And Other Easter Memories

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You know the saying, you don’t just marry the person, you marry their family? Well, that was definitely true for me. Despite both my husband and I being only children, unlike me he is from a very large, close-knit Catholic family who all, despite a few, live within close proximity to each other. I would be lying to say that I wasn’t completely and utterly overwhelmed when I attended my first Easter celebration with his family.

Growing up, we celebrated Easter, but nothing compared to my husband’s family. The week leading up to Easter is filled with excitement and anticipation, especially now that we have two kids who are obsessed with the Easter Bunny and all things Easter. There are Easter crafts, Easter stories, Easter baking, Easter cartoons, and, of course, lots of talk about Aunt Tess’ and the Easter Bunny! And, yes, the “Easter Bunny” makes an appearance each year at the annual Easter gathering at “the farm.” Okay, so Aunt Tess used to work at Hallmark and got the bunny costume at a great deal – but I digress.

The day begins with early Mass and then everyone makes the short trip to “the farm.” It’s not technically a farm, but there are a few horses, a cow or two, dogs and lots of room for the kids to run around – it’s beautiful. It’s the first time most of us have seen each other since Christmas, so there’s a lot of catching up and eating – lots and lots of eating. At some point, someone is chosen (or told!) to be the “bunny.” Usually, it’s one of the older cousins who have yet to participate in this coming of age-like experience.

As the anticipation builds, everyone gathers on the lawn awaiting the Bunny’s arrival. It’s always a surprise as to how Mr. Bunny will make his entrance. Last year, I believe he rode in on a four-wheeler and the year before that being pulled by a tractor – like I said, you never know! Of course, once the Bunny is spotted the kids go wild, some laughing, some crying and some standing in awe. It’s a sight to see!

Over the years, I’ve come to realize how truly special this celebration is. Before the Easter dinner (as with all family celebrations), we stand in a circle holding hands and say the traditional Catholic meal prayer, giving thanks to God for all the blessings He has bestowed upon us. As you look around, you will see Nornie, the matriarch of the family, along with most of her six children and their spouses, her grandchildren and their spouses and a multitude of great-grandchildren. What a sight to behold!

As the day comes to an end, you will find groups gathered by the fire or playing a board game and a few napping on the sofas, exhausted from the day’s activities. Those of us who have children, will gather them up, load them in the car and drive home, tired yet grateful for another year of Easter at “the farm.”

And, this year, I will be especially grateful for my second Easter spent sober and present, enjoying the excitement and joy of my children and glorifying the Lord who makes it all possible.

Blessings this Easter and always!