My shoes hurt my feet. I was mad at them. My bladder was full. I was mad at it. My headphones weren’t working, so I couldn’t listen to my usual podcasts — or anything at all, except the silence and the cicadas — on my regular early-AM walk in the park. That made me mad, too.
Then, some guy’s phone went off at full-blast during my A.A. meeting, after we’d been given the regular instruction to silence our cells. My anger at him only lasted a second, though, because I quickly had to busy myself trying to hide under the brim of my Cubs hat as tears inexplicably started rolling down my cheeks. Was I overtired? Was I feeling sorry for myself? Do I have Pseudobulbar Affect? Have I officially become my mother? Who knows, but when the meeting ended, I just about threw my folding chair in the cart and ran out the door to my car so I could have a proper cry.
That’s a recap of my Saturday morning, so you can see I’ve come a long way since last week’s post. 🙄
Nope, sober life is still an emotional roller coaster at Day 70, and apparently I’ve graduated from the “emotional mess” stage to the “emotional mess acting like a petulant toddler” stage. 🙄🙄🙄
But wait! I don’t want anyone out there to read this blog and think sobriety is misery, or that quitting drinking isn’t the best decision I ever made. NOTE: I don’t count marrying my husband as a “decision”; saying “yes” required no soul-searching or rumination.
I also don’t want you to think I’m a cheeseball fanatic when I tell you that since I made that first hash mark on the whiteboard in my basement on July 8, I’ve already experienced a few miracles.
It’s true! There have been a couple instances when I was running or walking and a song I had heard thousands of times before came on in my headphones (they were working back then), and suddenly, it was like I was actually hearing the lyrics for the first time. The words made sense in my head, and they meant something in my heart. It made me cry (don’t look so shocked). Now, if you know me, you know that I know the words to every song ever written — or I at least know which words to fudge so it sounds like I know. I don’t just listen to music. I hear it! But this…I can’t really explain it. It was a message.
Then, there was the guy in line next to me to get my giant Bryce Harper/JT Realmuto souvenir cup refilled with Diet Coke at that fateful Cubs-Phillies game back in August. I caught a glimpse of his face, and he was wearing that “I know you from somewhere” expression, but I didn’t recognize him. After standing there for a few seconds, he says to me, out of the clear blue: “I just want to tell you, you can do it. Keep going.” I stared at him, dumbfounded. And he goes, “I follow you on Twitter.”
I wish I could post a picture of my face at that moment. I mean, what are the chances? Of course, my response was something like, “Thank you! It’s really easy to sit here drinking Diet Coke instead of [Overpriced Alcoholic Whatever] when the Cubs are winning!!” 😐
That bears repeating: 😐
Still, that was an amazing moment that I’ll never forget. And it’s funny; I think that when the fog starts to lift from your brain and you don’t have anything to reach for to dull your senses whenever you’re feeling uncomfortable, you open yourself up to these little amazing moments because you notice things you didn’t notice before. You’re more present in the moment — which is a miracle in itself.
It’s a bit of a challenge when everything you notice makes you want to cry, but I’m told the emotional instability stuff will calm down the farther I get into sobriety. 🤞
I’ll close with a couple more miraculous moments I experienced just this week.
Someone brought their mother to one of my regular meetings for support, and I had the overwhelming urge to go up to this woman afterward to tell her about the moment I finally decided it was time to quit drinking.
I was visiting my family in Chicago back in June, and I was drinking (as usual) at my nephew’s birthday party, and this was the impetus for yet another fight with my mom…BUT, somehow, as I was about to tell her for the 10,000th time that she doesn’t understand and she can’t tell me what to do anymore and go pour another tumbler full of tequila, I just stopped. I looked at my dear mom, who’s been my best friend and biggest supporter — and partner in cry-me…get it? 😉 — through all the toughest times in my life, and said, “Mom, I know I have a problem, and I know I have to quit.”
One week later, I marked my sobriety date. I used to think my mom, the reason I’m alive at all, might be the reason I’m still alive today. Now, I can say it for sure.
The mom at the A.A. meeting got tears in her eyes after hearing this story and gave me a long, warm hug. This is exactly what happened with my own mom during that amazing “Come to Jesus” moment three months ago. I don’t get to hug my mom very often, since she lives three states away, so maybe you can understand why I consider this another little miracle.
Feeling uplifted — because who wouldn’t, after that? — I said goodbye to my surrogate mom and marched over to the lady who is now my sponsor and finally had the courage to ask her to be my sponsor.
Finally, on Saturday morning, I dragged my tired body and my awful attitude to a meeting, resolved not to say anything or interact with anyone. But I happened to sit down next to a friendly older gentleman who completely disarmed me — by sneezing, then apologizing for it. Before I knew it, we were having one of those life-affirming, you’re-not-alone conversations about our (former) drinking habits, and he was telling me how proud I should be of my 69 days of sobriety, and to just keep going.
His name? Same as my dad…
I’m going to assume it’s unnecessary to explain how much a dad’s pride means to a firstborn daughter, no matter how old she is. I’m going to assume you already know, because honestly, I write thousands upon thousands of words every day, and I don’t think I could ever find enough to tackle that topic.
Speaking of tackling, it’s time to go take a crack at Day 71. I’m going to put on those same shoes, and a different pair of headphones, go for a run and get my mind right for a really big week.
I have my first “step work” session with my sponsor on Monday, and I’m chairing an A.A. meeting for the first time on Thursday…and just typing that feels pretty surreal. Considering where I was when I wrote my July 4 blog post, I don’t think it’s cheeseball fanaticism to talk about miracles.