Short and Sweet

I’m going to make this quick because it’s been a LONG day – actually, it’s been a long five months. Anyway, my husband, Tyler, had his neck surgery today and all went well. He’s home, resting and feelin’ fine on all his meds.

I’m hopeful that this will be the end to his chronic pain. This has been a rough winter for us with his neck stuff and all the colds and flu that seemed to plague our family. We’ve always been a pretty healthy family, but now I feel like one of “those” families that always has the kid with the snotty nose who’s missing school. Sigh.

Oh, I know. It could be a lot worse. I get that. But, when you’re dealing with it day in and day out, it gets really old. Really fast.

My mantra right now is “I think I can, I think I can.”

Tyler has a couple months of recovery ahead of him, which means a little more care taking on my part. The thing is, I keep wondering how the heck I would’ve ever done all this if I was still drinking. Um, yeah, that just wouldn’t have happened. Can you imagine? Him drugged out unable to move his neck and me passed out on the couch. Man, it’s times like these I thank God for my sobriety! “Thank you, thank you, thank you!”

We’ll get through it because we truly believe God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. Sometimes I start to doubt, but I’m quickly reminded He doesn’t.

Ok, time to get the patient some food. Hope to catch up again soon!

When Nothing Makes Sense

Give Me Faith

I’m sorry if this post seems disorganized and rambling, but I’m feeling a need to purge my thoughts and sometimes they’re not such a tidy, pretty little package (as much as I’d like them to be). It’s like diarrhea of the mind, with thoughts firing back and forth until my head feels like it’s going to explode (sorry for the visual).

My hope is that I can empty it all out and make room for more peaceful, loving and kind thoughts. Thoughts filled with faith and hope, especially during this first Lenten season that I am participating.

What’s on my mind? Grief. The loss of people I love, people who are no longer here; my husband’s upcoming back surgery that puts a desperation and fear into my thoughts that I’ve never experienced before; my own mortality and what that looks like; the recent tragic death of a woman from our church who served on the Pastoral Council with my husband who was shot and killed by her 17-year-old son; the fear when I think about the world that my children are growing up in and the desperation I feel to change it, to do SOMETHING to make it just a little bit better.

My husband called me yesterday afternoon while I was shopping in Portland with my five-year-old son to tell me about, Michelle, the woman who had been killed by her teenage son. Not only did he kill his mother, but he attempted to kill his father who remains in critical condition. As I drove the hour home with my son sitting behind me playing his Leapster, I wondered how such an innocent child could grow up to do something so horrible and inconceivable. Yes, these things happen all the time, but WHY? What happened to that young boy to make him do such a thing? As with so many families and children, everything seemed fine on the outside. Yet, obviously, there was something horribly wrong on the inside.

It’s times like these, I look up and want to scream to God, “Why?!” My husband who just turned 40, who has been the epitome of health his entire life, is having major back surgery in two weeks. I have watched him suffer silently over the past five months, in chronic pain from the shooting pain and numbness that has taken over the right side of his body. A man who has always been afraid to take more than two Advil at a time who is now taking heavy pain meds throughout the day, barely masking the intense pain. My husband who has been a pillar of strength for me throughout our entire marriage who is now the one in need of my strength. His humbleness is beyond anything I could ever hope for myself.

Yes I am worried; yes I am fearful; yes I want to know why. But, I know in my heart of hearts that there’s no answer.

You know, my entire life up until I got sober I was a glass half-empty type person. Ask anyone. I always feared the worse. I always expected the worse. I always admired those glass half-full people. How could they be THAT positive? I know now. I know they had a faith that I never had. A faith that, despite the pain and suffering, it would be okay. It might not turn out how they expected or how they imagined it would, but it would be okay in the end.

I know that family who has just experienced the most horrific tragedy imaginable will continue to suffer greatly. But, I know because of their immense faith in a loving and just God that they will be okay. They will go on and inspire others with their strength and determination.

I know the next two months will be challenging for our family as my husband goes through surgery and recovery. There will be days of immense exhaustion and frustration, but it will be okay. It will be okay because, together, our faith will be stronger than any feelings of desperation and fear that attempt to bring us down.

As I go forward in this Lenten season, I pray that God opens my heart to greater faith, hope, love and kindness.

Let’s all just strive to be kind to each other. I am reminded daily that we never know what someone else is going through. Your words or the way you look at someone could make or break them.

I constantly remind myself of what my sponsor always tells me, “We are all God’s children.”

Peace.

Cake, God and 18 Months Sober

18 Months

I had every intention of writing this post yesterday (which was my 18 month sobriety birthday), but it was a LONG day and after a dinner out with Tyler and a piece of my favorite cake, I was out like a light!

18 months. 18 freakin’ months without a single drink. Wow. In many ways it seems like yesterday and in others it seems like an eternity since I took that last sip of beer at our local Applebee’s. I had already had one relapse and despite the anguish and hurt it had caused me and my family, I still wasn’t ready to surrender. It was a hot summer day in August and I had just picked the kids up from going to the state fair with my in laws. There was tons of traffic and it was getting close to dinner time, so I decided to take a detour and get an early dinner at a nearby Applebee’s. I knew before I stepped in the door, that I was going to have a drink. Just one. No one would know. My kids were still too young to realize what was going on. It’s just a beer. So, as we ordered dinner I quickly looked around me (to see if there was anyone I knew) and ordered a Blue Moon beer. Perfect for a hot day. Our waitress returned with my beer and I looked around again before taking a big gulp.

As I took another sip and looked around, I felt embarrassed and guilty. As I sat there with my 3-year-old little boy and 5-year-old little girl, I suddenly wondered what the hell I was doing. Was it worth it? The shame, guilt and embarrassment? The lies? And, that was it. Right then and there with a beer at an Applebee’s, I decided I was done. It was the most uneventful drinking experience I had ever had, but I knew it was over. That part of my life was over and I was finally – FINALLY – ready to move on.

I drive by that Applebee’s multiple times throughout the week and it always sits there as a reminder of that day and that life-altering decision. That day, without fully knowing it at the time, I turned it all over to God. Without fully knowing or understanding, and without the exact words, I mentally said, “I can’t do this anymore. I need help.” I was tired of fighting; tired of hiding; I was just plain tired. And, I knew that I couldn’t do it by myself anymore. And, in my desperation and exhaustion, I decided the only thing I had left was God. I had been hiding from Him and pushing Him away for so long; I honestly didn’t know if He would still be there. But, He was. He was just waiting; patiently waiting for me to say, “Okay, God. I give up. If you’re so great, show me what you can do with this mess I’ve created.” And, yes, I gave Him a little attitude because, to be honest, I was still skeptical.

As I sit here today, there is no doubt that He was there; listening to that broken, stubborn and frightened woman. He took that mess and turned it into a walking, talking miracle. And, yes, I consider where I am, who I am and what I am a true miracle. I don’t pretend to know who God is, what God is and where God is. But, I know for me He is more real than anything in this entire world. He is the only reason I am who I am today and I will forever praise His name without shame, embarrassment or fear of what others might think. I lived in fear and embarrassment for a long time; afraid of what others thought about me. But, no more. I stand strong and proud of the woman I am today. I have done many things in my life that I’m ashamed of, but those things don’t define me. I am defined by who I choose to be today.

Today, I am so grateful for this journey. I am grateful for that moment in Applebee’s; for my sweet, beautiful children who sit next to me as I write this; for my husband who looks at me now with more love and admiration than ever before; for my family and friends who have loved me and shown me the true meaning of forgiveness and grace; for those who have guided me down the path of sobriety; for the humility I have experienced along the way; and thank God for the Old Fashioned cake at Gerry Frank’s Konditorei for getting me through those first few months of sobriety when all I wanted was chocolate cake!

Today is a good day. A very good day to be alive and sober.

Drink – A Book Review

A quick note to my fellow recovery bloggers and aspiring writers: if you haven’t yet tried it, I suggest using Grammarly’s plagiarism checker because you never know what us drunks are capable of (kidding!) – and it’s way more fun to read original stuff!

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As many of you know, I love recovery-related books. Before I ever got sober, I was reading books about people who had been there, done that. At the time, I secretly had concerns over my own drinking, but it would be months before I admitted I had a problem. And, then when I finally did get sober, I had this overwhelming need to know that there were other “normal” people like me out there who had gone through the same thing. That was a very lonely time for me and the voices that came through the pages of those books took away some of that loneliness and gave me hope.

Ann Dowsett Johnston’s recent book, “Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol” is one of those books that give us hope. But, not only does she give us hope by sharing her own experience with alcoholism and recovery; she gives us knowledge with her in-depth research regarding what has truly become an epidemic in our culture, stating, “We need to have a robust discussion about this issue: How does alcohol play out in your community? In terms of suicides? Kids being abused? Violence? Teens in emergency rooms? Are we having an adult discussion? I don’t think so.”

As I read about Johnston’s own experience with alcoholism, I found myself nodding my head, thinking, “that’s exactly how I felt!” Sometimes it’s hard for me to put into words what my alcoholism was like, but Johnston explains it perfectly when she says,”Suddenly, you realize booze has moved in. He’s in your kitchen. He’s in your bedroom. He’s at your dinner table, taking up two spaces, crowding out your loved ones. Before you know it, he starts waking you up in the middle of the night, booting you in the gut at a quarter to four. You have friends over and he causes a scene. He starts showing you who’s boss. Booze is now calling the shots.”

One of the main differences in Johnston’s book compared to other recovery-related books that I have read is that Johnston takes it a step further and really addresses the core issues related to drinking, women and our culture. She raises key questions, such as “why are we aware of the dangers related to trans fats and tanning beds, and blissfully unaware of the more serious side effects associated with our favorite drug?” And, most importantly in my opinion, she takes aim and questions the motives behind the alcohol industry, media and politics and how they all work together to feed this growing rise of drinking and alcoholism among women. Giving the history behind the alcohol industry to attract more women, she describes the development of “alcopop” or “chick beer,” and I couldn’t help but be reminded of the loads of Zima, Mike’s Hard Lemonade and Smirnoff Ice I used to drink.

Johnston urges us to educate ourselves about the serious risks of drinking and to start having real conversations about it. “When it comes to alcohol, we live in a culture of denial. With alcoholics representing just a tiny fraction of the population, it’s the widespread normalization of heavier consumption that translates to serious trouble.”

I often think about what I’ll tell my kids about drinking. While I would love to tell them to never touch it and avoid it like the plague, I know that’s not realistic. But, I will tell them the risks. I will tell them my story and how easy it is to get caught up in a culture that normalizes drinking. I will tell them they have a history and they need to be very, very careful. I will tell them that no matter what, they never HAVE to drink. And, I will tell them that alcohol changes you. It changes the person God intended you to be.

Johnston’s book inspires me. It inspires me to tell my story and do my part in telling the truth about drinking.

As a side note, I was not paid for this review – I simply liked the book. However, this post was sponsored by Grammarly.

And, God Said Be Still

Snow

On the 7th of this month, God said, be still. He said stop your busyness, throw away your to-do list, spend time with your family and just be. How did He do this? He sent snow. Lots and lots of snow. More snow than we’ve had in over five years. And, then He sent freezing rain. And, we were stuck. We were snowed in for three days. And, we were together.

On the first day, in the midst of my kids arguing, I said, God I don’t know if I can do this. And, I went downstairs (we have a daylight basement) and locked the door. I took some deep breathes and I prayed for patience. And, God said, you’ve got this. And, I did. That’s the thing about my God, He’s usually right.

The next day, it snowed a lot. As I stood in the kitchen cooking a big breakfast, looking out at the snow falling, I felt peace. Peace in the simplicity of a morning where we weren’t rushing out the door; or barking orders at each other. Peace in my children’s laughter and excitement over the new fallen snow. Peace in sitting with my husband, drinking our coffee and just being.

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We played, built snowmen and sledded down my in-law’s driveway. We didn’t need fancy sleds. Boxes worked just fine. We used my husband’s childhood sled to walk around the neighborhood, visiting friends along the way. It could have been anywhere; at any point in time. We were just a family – sledding, laughing and being together.

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Sledding

And, God said, Chenoa, I know you’re not a big board game player, but you’re going to play a game as a family, because, really, what else do you have to do that’s more important? And, so we played a game of Chutes and Ladders and we laughed. And, I said, okay God, that was fun but I’m pretty sure that game is rigged because every time you get to the top, you have to slide down one of those damn chutes and it’s impossible to win. And, He laughed, because He knows it’s true.

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We baked cookies, watched movies, did puzzles, danced and sang (I’m pretty sure my husband and I could both sing that “Frozen” song word for word). And, I didn’t worry about running out of wine – because before, that’s what I would’ve worried about. Because, before, that’s how I “coped” with my kids. Now, the only thing I worried about running out of was my coffee and Prozac. Because, God knows I need both of those to function. Yes, my God has a sense of humor.

And, in the silence of the snow, God said, this was good. This was good because it made you be still. That’s what I love about my God. He knows what I need, when I need it most.

Some Much Needed Sunshine

Sunshine Award

I love blogging awards because 1. It’s humbling to know others are actually reading your stuff (and like it) and 2. It gives you a chance to pay it forward and recognize others for their ability to reach out and touch you through their writing and stories.

I’m honored and humbled that Tracy over at Wanderlust nominated me for the Sunshine Award. Thanks Tracy – I could use a little sunshine right now in the midst of this cold! If you aren’t familiar with Tracy’s blog, stop by and check it out. Not only is she an AMAZING photographer, she has over 20 years of sobriety, which to me sounds like an eternity! I’ve found very few people in the blogging world who have that kind of sobriety so I consider her a true gem.

As with any award, there are a few guidelines. Here’s how it goes:

To accept the award, the awardee must do the following:

  • Display the award on your blog.
  • Announce your win with a post and thank the blogger who nominated you.
  • Present 10 deserving bloggers “who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere.”
  • Link to the awardees and let them know of the nomination.
  • List 10 interesting things about yourself.

Okay, 10 interesting (if you can call them that) things about myself.

  1. Growing up, I wanted to be a high school English teacher.
  2. I never, ever thought I would end up settling down in Oregon. But, now, I can’t imagine living anywhere else. I love it.
  3. I used to think I really liked big cities, but as I get older, I realize that I don’t like them at all. And, I’m okay with that.
  4. My dream is to live on a little piece of land with room for a BIG garden and chickens.
  5. I have a thing for cowboy boots and love everything country – music, rodeo, Americana, etc. I think it has something to do with my Texas roots!
  6. I could never run for a political office because there are too many pictures of me topless and inhaling (not necessarily at the same time). Unfortunately, when you drink like I did, you do really stupid things that you end of regretting. Ugh. Oh, and if you happen to have any of those pictures PLEASE burn them!
  7. I used to think that being a church-going Christian meant you had to have really big hair and wear lots of makeup. Not so! God loves me just the way I am!
  8. I got my first (and only) tattoo on my 33rd birthday. It’s a naked woman sitting on a crescent moon, which is the same one my mom had on her ankle. It’s taken from a necklace she used to wear when I was little and I treasure it. It’s my way of holding her memory close to me – always.
  9. I’m thinking about getting my nose pierced again. Shhh…don’t tell my husband!
  10. I love, love, love strong coffee. Hot. In a big mug. Preferably by a big, roaring fire.

Okay, now for the good stuff! I absolutely love the blogging community and have come across so many amazing and talented people. I truly admire those who are willing to take a chance and expose themselves by sharing their innermost thoughts and experiences with total strangers. Not all of them are recovery sites, but they all speak to me in a special way and give me diverse views on living life. I encourage you to check out their sites.

http://thesimplecountrylife.com/

http://soberidentity.com/

http://beefandsweettea.com/

http://mendedmusings.com/

http://mentalrollercoaster.com/

http://soberboots.com/ (Heather is taking a little break from blogging, but she’s awesome so I had to include her.)

http://sobercourage.com/

http://drunkydrunkgirl.wordpress.com/

http://emotionaldrinkingdotcom.wordpress.com/

http://onetoomany1.wordpress.com/

Searching for You

Faithful God

As I sat in the church pew on Christmas morning, I noticed a young woman sitting alone in front of me to my left. I didn’t recognize her and she seemed a bit uncomfortable, maybe even nervous. She followed along with the mass, perhaps at one point in her life being familiar with it. She quietly sang along to the music, yet there was a sadness about her – a loneliness. To her right, sat a young woman and man in their early to mid-30s. I recognized the older woman they were sitting with as I knew she was a regular parishioner. I assumed it was her son and daughter or son and girlfriend. I couldn’t tell. They seemed disconnected, even bored. They went through the motions, but it was obvious they were there out of obligation. Probably in town for the holidays and fulfilling their obligatory “duty” to their mom.

As I observed both the young woman and the “couple” in front of me, I remembered having both those feelings of loneliness and disconnect. Only two years before I had sat in that same church feeling alone, empty and desperate. At the time, I had everything to live for – husband, children, family, friends – yet, inside I was like an empty vessel. I was searching and grasping for everything around me that I thought could fill the emptiness and silence the desperation I felt. I wanted so badly to feel on the inside the way people perceived me from the outside, but in reality I was sinking quietly into the loneliness and emptiness.

It wasn’t until two months later I would realize that what I had been searching for all along was right in front of me. My husband who would stand by me and hold me up when I couldn’t hold myself up, my children who would love me unconditionally and my church that would allow me to explore and question the God I had always been so scared of.

Now, almost two years later, as I sat in that church pew next to my daughter holding her new “Frozen” dolls and my husband holding our sleeping son, I felt the serenity, peace and joy that we often refer to as “The Promises” in recovery. I no longer felt alone, empty or disconnected from my life. I was filled with love, gratitude and gratefulness for a God who could make a broken person like myself whole again.

On New Year’s Eve, my husband and I will celebrate nine years of marriage – a marriage which could have easily ended two years ago.  In all my years of searching for happiness and contentment elsewhere, I was fortunate enough to find a man who would lay down his life for me, forgive me, love me when I was unlovable and walk with me through the pain, grief, anger and healing that it took to get to where we are now. I know he is a true gift from God. But, like all valuable gifts, I must treasure, protect and respect him and his love for me.

And that’s when I was searching, I’m not searching anymore
And that’s when I was learning about the things worth living for
Before I was open, before I knew I couldn’t live a day
Without you
Without you

Without you in the morning, to love me another day
Without you in the evening, when the colors start to fade
Without you on the plane ride to hold my hand and pray
Without you standing here when you could’ve walked away

Now I’m not searching, I’m not searching anymore
But I’m, I’m still learning ’bout the things worth living for
I am here, I am open, and now I know I couldn’t live a day
Without you
Without you

– From Holly Williams’ song “Without You”

I Need a Break

Stop

I’m an addict. I have an addict’s mind and I approach life with an addict’s mindset. If something brings be pleasure (or assumed pleasure), I want more of it. And, the more I get, the more I think I need.

My life has been consumed with different types of addictions. Praise from others, exercise, food at times, men and above all, alcohol. My addict mind becomes obsessed with my “drug” of choice to the point where it begins to consume my life. It’s very subtle how it sneaks up on me. Slowly, unknowingly I find myself struggling with the “need” to satisfy my cravings and the logical part of my mind that says, “It’s not good for you, it’s not important.”

Lately, I’ve found myself feeling uneasy, agitated, unsettled and disconnected. I knew something was wrong, I just couldn’t put my finger on it. And, then in a moment of clarity I realized what it was. I’ve been feeling totally and undeniably addicted to social media. I’ve been comparing my insides to everyone else’s outsides and that is dangerous ground for a recovering alcoholic like myself. I begin comparing who I am with how everyone else portrays themselves to be. I start feeling depressed, inadequate, incomplete and before long I begin to feel desperate. I feel desperate to “fix” how I’m feeling and that’s a scary feeling for me.

I think many of us go through phases where we realize we’re spending a little too much time online and make it a point to scale back – I know I have. But, this time it’s different. I’ve found myself caring more about what others think about me and what I post. Did they “like” it? How many people “liked” it” Why didn’t that person “like” it? Or, I fall into the trap of “needing” to share EVERYTHING in my life. Social media has created this “look at me” mentality that becomes all-consuming. Look what I can do? Look what I can make? Look how cute I am? Look how creative I am? Look how funny I am? LOOK AT ME! Really, it’s a disgusting habit that we’ve allowed ourselves to fall into. And, I take full responsibility for taking part in it.

In sobriety, we learn that being humble is a key part of our recovery. For me, social media attempts to take every ounce of humbleness away from me. Instead, it encourages me to act boastful and prideful. In essence, it takes me further and further away from my relationship with God where I find peace, clarity and humbleness.

I feel relief knowing what the problem is. And, now I need to take the steps to “get right” with myself and God again. I need to refocus my energy and my intentions. In the past, I’ve deleted my accounts, but not this time. Social media will always be there – it’s how I choose to approach it which is the key for me. I’ve deleted certain apps from my phone, which is a start. I’m coming “clean” with all of you, which is another step in the right direction. But, really, the most important step for me is focusing inward instead of outward. I’m okay with me. I’m okay with the person I am today. I’m not perfect. I’ll never be as skinny as I think I should be, or as creative as others. I’ll never be happy with my hair despite how I cut it or what color I dye it. I will ALWAYS have flaws. But, that’s not the point. The point is, I’m okay with me. And, most important, I know God is okay with me too.

When the Unexpected Happens

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I get grumpy when I get sick; just plain grumpy. I tend to be irritated at everyone and everything. Needless to say, I’m not much fun to be around. With that being said, I was in a grumpy mood this morning as I rummaged through our medicine cabinet looking for cold medicine when I pulled this acid reducer from the back.

I stood there for a minute, staring at it as if I had never seen it before. But, the thing is, I had. I knew this exact box all too well, although it had been over a year since I needed it.

You see, towards the end of my drinking I started suffering severe stomach problems. It was also during this time I started the age-old alcoholic “trick” of switching my choice of drink. I’d been a wine drinker for many years, so maybe if I switched to beer the problem would go away. Or, maybe if I alternated between beer and hard alcohol, my stomach would get back to “normal.” Of course, I never EVER considered just quitting!

None of that seemed to work, so I immediately went to worst case scenarios. My mom had died of pancreatic cancer so maybe it was that; or maybe I had an untreated ulcer; or what if it was my liver? I mean, could my drinking be “that” bad where it could be effecting my body? I was never completely honest with my doctor about my drinking, so she had no way of knowing there could be an issue. For my peace of mind, she ordered an ultrasound and all came back clear – whew. She told me to take some acid reducer when I felt sick and that was that. On my merry way I went. Or, more like on my merry drinking way I went.

I’m sure you can guess the rest of the story. Despite taking tons of antacids and acid reducer, I continued to have stomach problems. It didn’t matter what I drank or when I drank, nothing changed.

And, then, through a serious of events I quit drinking and got sober. And, guess what? My stomach problems went away – completely. You don’t have to be a genius to put two and two together.

And so, as I stood in the kitchen this morning feeling grumpy and irritated, I was snapped back into reality by this innocent box of acid reducer that had been hiding in the back of the cabinet for nearly two years.

Sometimes it’s the uneventful and unexpected things like this that remind me just how truly far I’ve come. And, how God continues to do His work in both big and small ways.

Permission to Feel

A Time to Weep and Laugh

It’s been a while, but I’m still here – sober and living life! Now that the birthdays are over (until December!) and school has started, I find myself easing back into that predictable routine that by the end of summer I so desperately miss. I’m hoping a new routine also means a little more writing time for me. I don’t realize how much I depend on my writing for my own sanity until I’m not doing it anymore!

I heard the above scripture read out loud the other day while driving and it really hit me. Usually, I only hear it spoken out loud when I’m watching Footloose and Kevin Bacon’s character is speaking at the town hall meeting trying to convince the community to reinstate dancing…but that’s a whole different story. Way off topic.

When I heard this scripture the other day, it made me think of my life now – my sober life- and how I navigate the reality of living life on life’s terms. For the most part, life is good. It’s really good. I’m the best version of myself that I’ve ever been, but that doesn’t mean I don’t struggle. And, the struggles are just as important as the happy and joyous parts of my life. The difference now, is that instead of trying to numb or guard myself from those struggles by drinking, I have to move through them.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a really crappy day. I woke up feeling fine, but by mid-morning I found myself losing it. My husband had taken the kids to the gym, and as I stood cleaning the stove, I felt this tremendous sense of grief hit me. Tears started streaming down my face and I thought, “I miss my mom SO much right now.” My mom passed away over seven years ago from pancreatic cancer, but sometimes it feels like yesterday. And, then I found myself in the bedroom cleaning, and once again the grief hit me and before I knew it I was sitting on the floor, leaning up against the bed, sobbing. All at once I felt so much loss. The loss of my mom, the loss of my friend Sadie, the loss of relationships with those I was once close to. It was heavy and suffocating and I all I could do was sit there and cry. I wanted the pain and hurt to go away – oh how I prayed for it to go away – but I knew, despite the heart wrenching pain, I had to move through it.  This was me, living life on life’s terms. It’s not easy, but it’s what I do now. I know it’s what I HAVE to do if I don’t want to go back to that horrible place I came from – the drinking and numbing.

I have FINALLY learned (not always the easy way) to give myself permission to “weep” and to “mourn.” And, part of this is also learning how to be honest with those around me and ask for help. When my husband got home, I told him what had happened and said, “I’m having a really hard day. I’m going to be okay, but I need to work through it.” He knows. He knows I will have hard days where the grief of losing my mom and my friends will hit me out of nowhere. But, he isn’t a mind reader (as much as I would like to assume he is) and he needs me to be open and honest so he can step in and give the kids some extra attention or whatever is helpful in that moment. My husband, my sponsor, my friends – these are my lifelines. I reach out, I ask for help – this is what I have learned in sobriety.

The next day I felt better. I went to church, I talked to God – I fed my soul and I continued to move through the grief and depression I had been feeling the day before. By Monday, I felt better. I now know it’s a process, but I didn’t always “get” it. Before, I would stuff it all in, pack it down, put a smile on my face and pretend it was “okay.” I would try to numb it away with multiple glasses of wine, hoping that “one more” would make it all go away. And, it did for a while – until I woke up the next morning and went through the whole cycle over again.

I laugh a lot now. I laugh with my kids, with my husband, with friends – at myself! I laugh a lot more than I weep or mourn. I even dance now – sober! However, my dancing usually leads to even more laughing – if you know me, you’ll understand. For those that don’t, lets just say I’ve perfected the “white girl” moves!

Thank God for my sobriety, which has taught me to live life on life’s terms. Feel it, deal with it and move on. Easy? Not always. Worth it? Definitely!