The Alcoholic Brain’s Take on a Perfect Day

Some days seem to be written by talented movie writers.  You are familiar with this scene in the movie; its where we see that a certain character does in fact have lovely days of personal connections and feelings of gratitude so that we, as an audience, can use that as balance when all hell breaks lose.  Here’s an example you may relate with.

It was a beautiful morning.  I woke up just before the alarm rang, enjoyed gazing at the sunshine on the lake.  The extra time in the morning allowed for a relaxed pace, a perfect way to start the day.  My mind was clear, calm, and ready for an amazing and balanced day. 

After a few weeks apart, my sponsor and I met up again to keep doing the work.  We read and she gave me homework for step 11.  Good stuff.  

The meeting of my home group was next on the schedule.  Yeah home group! Yeah discussion by old timers and newer members!  Yeah getting my 9 month chip! The goodness continues.

Pilates at the gym with my favorite substitute teacher.  She does a good amount of strength work, which my body can use, and always reminds us to “feel it” “accept it” “love it” which is healing for this alcoholic’s mind-body connection.

Uplifting text messages from two friends met me following the workout.  Happy connections!

Scooting through the farmers market just before it closed down gave me the opportunity to see friends, peruse the gorgeous produce, and accept the gifts of friends at their farm stands as they filled up my bag with delicious gifts harvested earlier this morning.  

Dear universe, thank you for allowing me this day to truly feel the blessings of this day.

Throughout the morning though, my alcoholic mind would pop in with its own observation: back in the day, sitting at home alone and slowly drinking until comfortably numb was just as satisfying.  Sick.  Sick, but true.  But for today, I will not return to that space of preferring to be comfortably numb.

 

 

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Life as a Toddler

Day 279.  So much looks the same, yet everything is different. Moving through each year the times of stress, quiet, holiday, and family get togethers are fairly predictable.  Just a year ago, I knew how to handle each of these times.  Some of them were relaxing and enjoyable, ie having alcohol available was simple, and others were stressful for the lack of dependability of the alcohol.  Each event or period of time itself was secondary to the necessity of the alcohol supply. Then there were the cover ups to worry about, but I felt like that had been taken care of fairly well.  As long as the alcohol availability and cover ups had been cleverly thought out, life as I knew it would continue.

For the past 279 days, those worries have had no place in my thinking.  You’d imagine it would be so easy now, to just move ahead through these times doing everything just as I had previously but simply without the alcohol.  But since having those drinks available to get me through was an all consuming responsibility, I didn’t really know how to take in the experience for what it had to offer.

A toddler.  That’s what I feel like.  Some days are glorious, others long and frustrating.  But every event or phase of the year is brand new, and I’m figuring out how to live it with honesty and integrity.  Everything familiar is now new.  Some days this newness is exciting, and others I could use a break, a trip back to that familiarity.  But not today.  Today I have chosen to experience the world with clarity and determination.

We *Were* Powerless

Day 268. “We admitted we were powerless …”  After days and months and years working harder and harder to convince myself and everyone else that I was a valuable member of the community, someone to be respected (who secretly had a bad habit that took incredible amounts of work to hide but I did it so cleverly that everything would be alright), and could do even more to prove to the world that every single thing was JUST FINE, finally I admitted to the universe that I was powerless.

Powerless.

Not invaluable.  Not defeated.  Powerless over alcohol.

And the Universe untethered my chains, set me free, and wrapped me in infinite love.

Who Knew?

Day 267. The inlaws have been visiting for the last few days. Living two states apart, we don’t get to see each other as often as we’d all like, so visits are special. Somehow I lucked out and married into the right family. Lots of good people reside on my husband’s family tree. We all like each other and get along. The only thing missing are the Crazy Uncle So-And-So stories and I’ll gladly experience those in the movies.

Since we don’t see each other too much, I chose to side step sharing my recovery and sobriety with them. The anticipated hostess gift is what sparked the conversation. Often they’ll bring us a bottle of wine or two they discovered on this or that journey.  It’s always a thoughtful gift and hey, it’s wine!  Before their trip this time my husband shared the news. I was a nervous wreck.

Their time here was wonderful filled with conversation, outings, and a yummy BBQ with friends. I kept waiting for the dreaded topic to come up.  How in the world could their son have ended up with an alcoholic wife?  Pathetic. It went down like this – this morning my Father-in-Law and I were chatting over breakfast and he tells me, “We’ve been smitten with you since the very first time we met you. We support what you are doing and just want to make sure you’re ok.”  Total love. No judgement.  So even though I can still be my own worst enemy at times, knowing that my family truly cares for my well being is powerful.

Why Quit?

Day 263. So many times I had tried to stop. I’d convince myself but knew at the same time that I was just telling myself what was expected. Sure I needed to stop, but honestly I didn’t want to. Why would anyone choose to dismiss their best, most reliable friend? If I sent away the only entity that truly understood me, that made me feel like me, there just might not be anything left.

We Admitted We Were Powerless

Day 262

You know that family with the perfect house for BBQs and get togethers?  That’s our house. And yesterday we threw our first BBQ party of the summer. These were always events I looked forward to, but getting through this first one sober has been something I dreaded.

During the party, two of my friends who are both aware of my journey in recovery were talking about alcohol use and perhaps addiction in their families.  I felt like they started this because I was in the room. Needless to say, it was as uncomfortable as hell so I found a conversation to join outside. Those familiar questions had returned: why hadn’t I been strong enough?  Why didn’t I prevent this?

At my meeting this morning, up on the wall were those familiar 12 steps. There I found the essential response, the one that separates my past from my present, “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol.”