The warmth of the sun, the love of my family, and a clear memory of what happened the last time I tried to self-medicate a bad bout of depression with alcohol…those are the reasons I sit here today with 231 days of sobriety — and counting.
Getting out of bed, going to work (on the weekdays) or going out for a walk (thank God for our gorgeous weather this entire weekend), and NOT drinking to feel better, are the extent of my accomplishments since I last checked in here.
Maybe next week I’ll have enough perspective on managing early recovery from addiction and mental health issues at the same time to write my usual tome. I have plenty of thoughts on the subject, just not the clarity or focus to sort them out in writing. Right now I’m too immersed in survival mode (think of it as a poor swimmer in the deep end of the pool, neck straining and feet kicking furiously to keep eyes, nose and mouth above water) to be very articulate.
Podcasts have been my constant companion over the past seven-plus months, to the point where I consider some of my favorite hosts (shouts to the ladies from “The Bubble Hour” and the kids from “Binge Mode: Game of Thrones”!) my close friends. That might sound pathetic, but it’s no more embarrassing than anything else I’ve admitted on this blog, so what the hell do I care?
At this point, the cards are on the table, the warts are on full display, the soul is bared, and so on. If you read this blog, God bless you, you pretty much know my life story.
I was beyond honored to tell that story — or at least the broad strokes of it; thank goodness the hostesses kept me on track and off my usual trail of endless tangents — on an actual podcast this past week. You can listen to it here. “Transformation Thursday” is the creation of two transgender women, one of whom I know from blogging days past, and it’s a celebration of change. While the changes I’ve undergone since getting sober 223 days ago might not be as significant as that of Penny and Amy, what we have in common at our core is that we are all striving to live life as our authentic selves. Continue reading “Authenticity”→
I’ve never actually kicked a goose — or punched a cat, for that matter — but boy, have I fantasized about it.
…The geese-kicking, not the cat-punching. What I mean to say is, I don’t have anything against animals in general, but I really hate geese.
I forgot how much until I started (occasionally) running again on the Delaware Canal towpath, which is a wonderful place except that it’s basically one long, narrow, winding outhouse for worthless water fowl. This morning I was out there trying to log a few miles before assuming my groove on the couch for the weekend, and sure enough, when I wasn’t zig-zagging to avoid stepping in their shit, I was yelling out loud at a gaggle of them to GTFO and stop just standing there for no reason and blocking the trail. My actual words were, “MOVE, YOU MOTHERF*CKERS!” and when they didn’t immediately comply, the idea of kicking them (briefly) occurred to me.
Maybe you can see why I chose the topic I did for this post, and why I relate so much to the attached “Simpsons” clip (it’s funny because it’s true!) It’s become very clear to me since I swore off my drug of choice 216 days ago and no longer have booze to numb out my innate emotional intensity, that I, unfortunately, am an angry girl. Continue reading “Aggression”→
A lot has happened in the past week. Prior to marking — literally — my 210th alcohol-free day this morning, when I allowed myself the luxury of sleeping in until 4:30 🙄, I had my one-year job review at the marketing company I joined at the beginning of 2019 as Step One on my “Plan B” post-journalism path. The meeting went well.
By “well,” of course, I mean that I sat in the HR guy’s office and cried, because hearing people tell me I’m doing a good job still affects me at 41 the way it did back in elementary school. Which is to say, deeply.
I might never have had clear goals, personally or professionally, but all I’ve ever wanted in life was to do a good job. Money, status, material things…nope; never gave a shit. I just wanted to feel worthwhile, to feel that my skills were useful to the world, in whatever small way.
(My husband is reading this going, “That’s very nice, but we also need our skills to pay the bills, especially when some people in this lovely house eat so damn much food.” 😬) Continue reading “Celebration”→
The other day before a recovery meeting, I was chatting with someone in my group who, like me, enjoys working out.
“I’m a recovering alcoholic and CrossFitter,” I told him with a chuckle.
It wasn’t really a joke. After more than a year away from the competitive fitness circuit that consumed my free time and dominated my consciousness for about a decade, I can see very clearly how it brought out the best parts of my Type-A achiever personality.
I can also see how it fed and enabled my darkest demons.
Now, before anybody gets their booty shorts in a bunch, let me be clear: I have absolutely nothing against that community, nor would I try to pin any of my personal issues on an exercise methodology, a gym culture — or anything outside of my own brain, for that matter. I was a sick puppy long before I walked into my very first WOD back in (I think) 2009, and it’s like they say: Wherever you go, there you are.
Or, to quote another cliché: It’s not you, CrossFit. It’s me.
And I am a person plagued with never-ending, nagging not-enoughness.
It’s getting to the point where I can say that in past tense — “was plagued” — because 202 days of sobriety has begun to ever so slightly soften the sharp edges of stringent self-appraisal that used to make me look in the mirror at lean legs, cut arms and six-pack abs and think, “Yeah, but you can do better…”
Maybe some of you can relate to this awful affliction. It’s as damaging as any physical addiction, this innate compulsion to always keep reaching for more than what you have.
You’re in the best shape of your life, and you focus on what you perceive to still be wrong with your body. You push yourself hard, physically and mentally, in an activity, but still emerge displeased because you could have gone harder.
You measure your self worth by constantly comparing yourself to others.
If it’s possible to be better, why would you ever accept where you are? If satisfaction is somewhere else, why would you ever stop and enjoy the view here in this spot? If happiness is a few more accomplishments away, you can’t be happy until…
My butt hadn’t even begun to warm the seat cushion when it became abundantly clear: There would be no sitting back and getting comfy in that chair.
“What made it OK to stay with a drunk all those years?” the therapist asked my husband within the opening five minutes of our very first session.
The balls, right? Of course, both of us just sat there, stunned. It’s actually funny now, to think about my sweet, kind, reserved hubby trying to come up with a response to a question like that on the spot, when he’d never even been to therapy before in his life.
Couldn’t tell you what was going through my head at that moment. My heart, on the other hand, somehow knew.
This might sound silly, but an incident that happened on my high school volleyball team effectively poisoned me against women for most of my adult life. Burned in the recesses of my mind from age 17 on was the notion that even if they seemed agreeable, they were probably out to get me, and they definitely weren’t to be trusted or “let in” as a potential friend. Yes, I fancied myself one of those “guy’s girls” who just didn’t get along with other women, and that was OK. 🙄
All it took was 25 years spent developing an alcohol addiction and f*cking up my life to discover how wrong I was and how much I had been missing.
Entering recovery back in July 2019 has opened up a whole new world to me, in general, and a beyond-amazing community of women, in particular. “Amazing” is an overused word now — and I hate feeling uncreative — but there just is no other way I can think of to describe the spiritual and emotional experience I’ve been through over my first six months of sobriety. Continue reading “Retreat”→