Catching Up

family_chickensHey friends! Here we are at the end of 2017 and I’m already making ANOTHER new year resolution to write more here in 2018. Really, I’m going to try hard to make that happen.

I’m not sure where 2017 went, but it flew by! As I write this, I just took my first shower in two days, my face is breaking out (probably too much sugar) and I’m attempting to remain calm and collected in the midst of holiday chaos – easier said than done! However, with all that being said, I’m happy – really, truly happy. Not just, “I’m saying that because that’s what you want to hear.” No, I’m saying that because it’s the honest to goodness truth.

After being on our little farm for over two years now, I can say without a doubt that moving to the country was the best decision we’ve ever made. Not only was it good for our family, but it was good for my sobriety. I feel free here; free to be the person I was meant to be. When people ask me what I’ve gained through sobriety, I will often tell them I gained myself. I’ve discovered what I like and what I don’t like, and I suppose, most importantly, I’ve given myself permission to be honest about those likes and dislikes.

I’ve discovered that I don’t particularly like being in large groups of people or being forced into casual conversation. I don’t like spending time with negative people who leave me emotionally drained. This one’s hard because I really wanted to like it, but I’ve realized that I don’t like entertaining and hosting large groups of people at my home. My home is my sanctuary; it’s my safe place to escape from all the craziness of the world and having other people here often feels suffocating to me. I’ve accepted that I’m more of a one-on-one type of person. I want people in my life who will sit down and have real and honest conversations.

And, what do I like? I like routine. I like my morning coffee with my husband. I like working in my yard and garden while the kids play and laugh in the background. I like the thrill of chasing my chickens around the garden until I’m able to catch one (I know, weird!). I like binge watching historical dramas on Netflix. I like trying out new canning recipes, especially jams and jellies. I like the anticipation of planning my garden for the next spring. And, at the end of a long day, I like sitting around the table with my family, giving thanks and hearing them talk excitedly about their day.

For so many years, I feared living my life based on my real likes and dislikes because I was scared of disappointing or offending someone. These days I don’t feel the need to have everyone agree with me or even like me – they won’t and that’s okay. There is an incredible sense of freedom in letting go of the pretenses and being honest with yourself and others.

Comparatively, my life now might sound boring and uneventful, but I will be the first to lift up my arms and say, “Amen!” Boring? I’ll take it! Uneventful? Even better! Through hell and high water, I have learned that in boring and uneventful we often find the greatest peace and contentment.

Tomorrow, we celebrate my son’s ninth birthday. He was three when I got sober and with every passing birthday, I’m so incredibly grateful that he will never have any memories of me drinking. Sometimes, I try to imagine what my life would be like now if I had never stopped drinking and, honestly, it makes me physically sick to my stomach because I know that I wouldn’t have any of it – this beautiful, flawed, painful yet grace-filled life.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a blessed new year!

 

The Gift of Plan B

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So…it’s been a long time. And, I’ve completely neglected this blog, but I’d like to think it was for good reason. In the beginning of sobriety, we often wonder how life will go on. How will we function without the daily drinks or glass (or um, bottle) of wine? How will we handle social situations? How will we ever make up for all the harm and destruction we have caused? We slowly see the need for a new normal, but the reality of it being long-term is terrifying. And, then we start to question if it’s all really worth it. Wouldn’t it be easier to go back to our old normal, the normal we were so used to and comfortable with? But, we know we can’t if we want to keep our families, our marriage, our children – our life.

If we’re one of the lucky ones, we begin to reluctantly accept the new normal. Like a child taking their first steps, we slowly, carefully venture into the unknown. We fall, we skin our knees, but we continue until we gain our balance and walk slowly, but steady. And, then the day comes along when we realize we’re running.

It’s not the path we intended to take, but it somehow got us where we needed to be – where we were meant to be all along.

On August 28th, I celebrated three years of sobriety. The day came and went without a lot of excitement or acknowledgment. Most of all, I felt peace and contentment.

Over the last month, we have moved to what we consider our “dream house.” It’s an older home on two acres in the Oregon valley with room for the kids to run and for us to have a big garden and raise a few animals. During the first week we were here, my husband and I were standing in the kitchen and he turned to me, and hugging me said, “This is the happiest I’ve ever been since we’ve been married.”

I will never forget his words or how they made me feel – totally and completely loved. All of the pain, anger and hurt I once caused and felt has been replaced with a love I never knew possible.

Every day I thank God for my plan B and this new normal I was blessed to have.