sober lifestyle

Flexibility

I’ve never set foot in a studio or shown my face in a group class. I own one set of DVDs recorded in what looks like the mid-90s, one mud-stained, crumbling mat that’s at least 10 years old, and zero articles of Lululemon clothing. My “chair” pose is stiff like wicker and so painful that I’ve been known to say “f*ck off” to the sweet little instructor on the TV screen — or in my headphones — when she commands it. And my lack of grace while practicing on the wood floor in our living room can be heard throughout the house — “Hop your feet between your hands!” *BOOM* “Come up into airplane pose!” *CRASH* — so I’ve recently started taking it outside onto our deck.

Somehow, the deck is still standing. And I only have a few bruises. 😏

Sitting here today (at 2:30 AM on Sober Day #350), I would say yoga is currently my favorite form of exercise.

Continue reading “Flexibility”

sober lifestyle

Restraint

Not to brag or anything, but I saw a social media post that made my blood boil, and instead of going off in the comments, I threw my phone across the room onto the other couch and turned on the TV.

Then, someone from work pissed me off, and instead of firing an emotional retort into the group chat, I got up and stomped downstairs for a soda, grumbling profanely to myself as I went.

Later, I witnessed some bad behavior out in my local park, and instead of posting pictures of the offense in a public online forum along with a statement of outrage, I stopped in my tracks for a few moments and glowered at the mess, while grumbling profanely to myself, and kept on walking.

You guys, I really am learning to control how I react to the world, and it’s one of the greatest miracles of sobriety!

Continue reading “Restraint”
sober lifestyle

Distraction

In a seeming show of solidarity with widespread social unrest, Mother Nature unleashed a storm earlier this week that was so intense it splintered, uprooted and felled large trees throughout my neighborhood. Our little pod of townhouses lost power for 24 hours.

All things considered, we got off easy, even though my husband and I had to scramble on Thursday morning to find somewhere to go that had electricity, WiFi, and allowed for safe social distancing so that we could do our jobs. HUGE shout-out to my generous and hospitable sister-in-law, who took in a couple of un-showered, laptop-toting hobos — one of whom desperately needed coffee — at her lovely home in Montgomery County.

Everything worked out in the end; it just took a little creativity.

Of course, to get to the other side of the power outage, I had to put myself through the old Wielgus Wringer of Worry, spending the latter part of Wednesday aimlessly pacing around the house or tossing and turning in bed or going out to the car to charge my phone and check my work email. All the while, my thoughts raced between the deliverables I had to get to a client in the morning and the 1,500-word content piece I was supposed to write — no way was I going to try doing that on a tiny iPhone screen! — and the food rapidly warming in the dead refrigerator, and the question of how I was going to get my coffee or attend my regular Zoom recovery meeting, or work out if there wasn’t enough warm water to wash off the sweat, and oh shit, I just did a load of towels and I can’t use the dryer! Continue reading “Distraction”

sober lifestyle

Eleven

My brain is always noisy, but for whatever reason — middle-aged hormones, current events, new Augusten Burroughs audiobooks (I finished “Running with Scissors” and currently am halfway through “Dry”) playing in my earphones nonstop during all non-sleeping hours — the constant clanging upstairs was particularly cacophonous this weekend, and I couldn’t focus long enough to decide on a topic, much less write a long, well-thought-out blog post.

Thus the screenshot. There really is a Simpsons reference for everything.

Anyway, I’m just popping in because I feel compelled to announce that as of today, I am 11 months sober. The dry-erase calendar in my kitchen now actually has “365” scrawled on it, at the very bottom, corresponding to July 6.

A year is within sight!!!

Recovery continues to be the most rewarding experience of my life, even if the last 3 months of it have passed mostly within the walls of my house. It’s bizarre to be feeling more stable, grateful and hopeful than I can personally remember feeling, when the world outside has never seemed more f*cked up, at least not in my time in it.

Continue reading “Eleven”
sober lifestyle

Tradition

“This is too much rain, even for me,” I thought this morning as I peered out the door of my basement gym at the scene depicted above. The bottom portion of our deck was getting pelted, and I understood that I would have to program myself some kind of indoor workout, rather than taking my usual Saturday nature walk.

But, at least my hubby would be happy!

A soaking wet deck meant we couldn’t carry out my harebrained Memorial Day weekend scheme: setting up our tent right here at the townhouse and doing a quarantine campout.

I conjured up that ill-fated idea earlier this week, while walking through Tyler State Park at lunchtime of a much nicer day. Looking up at the leafy canopy above me, with sunlight streaming through onto my face, I was instantly catapulted to our campsite at Lake In Wood, Lancaster County, where we used to kick off the summer every year by kicking back in zero-gravity chairs and drinking beer (after beer after beer) under towering elm trees, next to a fire pit we worked hard to keep active all day long.

Old traditions die hard, but at 321 days, I’m starting to feel strong enough in sobriety to dive into some of my old favorite activities without one of my two long-time best friends.

Continue reading “Tradition”

sober lifestyle

Fellowship

It was nearly past my bedtime, but I sat fully upright, at attention, on my living room couch. Staring at a blank blue iPad screen, waiting for the thin green line in the center to pulsate, twitch — anything to indicate signs of life on the other side of this video call — I felt patches of sweat quickly forming in my armpits.

My heart pounded and my mind flashed back to my first recovery meeting last July. Deja vu.

This was, somehow, even more surreal. I’d volunteered to serve as guest speaker for a 12-step group at a rehab center — a local one, but it could’ve been on the moon, for all I could see…which was nothing. Nothing but blue.

They could see me, though. And they were waiting for me to tell my story.

I’ll skip past that part, because A) you know everything there is to know if you’ve ever peeked into this space; and B) I was so nervous I don’t even remember what I said.

I do know I tried to lean heavily on the last part of the “experience-strength-and-hope” blueprint. The turbulent experience of early sobriety (314 days and counting…) is a daily struggle to find, or summon, strength, and if you don’t have hope, you probably ain’t gonna make it. While I could only speak for myself, I figured the invisible people I was talking to would be able to understand that universal truth.

I was right. The men — turns out it was a room full of men — who stepped to the mic, sending ripples across that green line, talked about feeling triggered, pissed off, ashamed, scared…and grateful for the chance to keep going, do better.

They reminded me of the men in that very first recovery meeting (oh look! I wrote about it!), when I sat, flop-sweating my ass off on a stiff folding chair in a room full of strangers, and for one hour ceased to feel hopelessly alone.

Continue reading “Fellowship”