sober lifestyle

Disenchantment

My phone was buzzing away on Friday afternoon, but I was busy banging on a keyboard, finishing out my work week. And by the time 5 o’clock hit, I was so eager to get home and eat my Door Dash sushi, I barely glanced at the long string of texts my family had been firing into our group thread, as I…well, dashed out the door.

I didn’t see the news until this morning.

It’s probably a good thing that I’ve kept baseball beyond arm’s length over the past couple years while I was preoccupied with getting sober, working on my marriage, changing careers — you know, all that annoying “real life” shit that adults have to deal with. There was a time I had a finger planted on the pulse of my favorite sport, but now, it can’t reach me to deliver a debilitating gut punch.

The Big Cubs Breakup has me feeling numb.

I’m in disbelief but not really shocked; the selling-off our 2016 World Series heroes was by no means a bolt from the blue. You’d have to be completely off the grid to miss the telegraphed signs of an imminent fire sale, and if you’ve followed sports for even a little while, you know these things are par for the cyclical course.

I feel more like one would if, say, her parents had been threatening to ground her for months, and all of a sudden one day, she found herself confined to her room with TV and phone privileges revoked.

They did it. They actually did it.

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sober lifestyle

Trigger

Everything I loved most in the world was at that table: my hubby, the Cubbies (symbolically, at least), tequila…and freedom.

We were about to fly from snowy Philadelphia to sunny Phoenix for a weeklong Spring Training vacation in Mesa, and although we were sitting in a cramped corner of a nondescript airport bar, the promise of fulfilling a lifelong dream, plus the blissful buzz of those first few drinks, made that moment feel like paradise. ☀️🧢😎

Oh my God, those moments when you’re right smack dab in the sweet spot between reality and intoxication, when all seems right with the world and your place in it! I still grieve for those moments.

Sometimes, I wonder if I always will.

I was overcome with grief when the above picture popped up on my phone screen Saturday morning, as I sat in my therapist’s office waiting for my appointment to start. Facebook memories nearly always trigger an emotional reaction, and it makes sense, because pretty much anything I posted prior to my sobriety date — July 7, 2019, not even 2 years ago — involved alcohol. A.K.A., my ex-best friend.

The memories aren’t all bad.

Continue reading “Trigger”
sober lifestyle

Certainty

Celebrating a sweet Chicago Sunday on my Monday sunrise walk. Forgive the tired face; it was smashed into a pillow like 10 minutes prior to taking this pic. 🥱

Sunday was the first time in a long time that I sat down and intentionally watched sports. It was a “safe” endeavor, given my complete lack of skin in the Eagles-Washington game — which, come to think of it, lacked “skin” altogether, now that the home team has dropped its controversial nickname.

“Safe” is all I do these days, now that I’m sober.

Of course, the second that game was decided, the sports gods LOLed at my snugness (and smugness), and FOX switched to the final seconds of Bears-Lions. Detroit had the ball down 4, with favorable field position and plenty of time to snag the winning score. Then, before I could change the channel in a panic, they had it — no, they dropped it! — and Matthew Stafford was launching one more last-ditch pass…😱

This was precisely the type of emotionally-charged, unpredictable situation I have been strenuously trying to avoid for the past 14 1/2 months.

It’s almost — no, it’s exactly — like I don’t want to feel things I can no longer numb with a drink. 🤔

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sober lifestyle, Uncategorized

Identity

For Secret Santa at work, they asked us to write three things about ourselves on a piece of paper, to give the person who ends up picking our name a clue for how to spend their 20 bucks.

I wrote: 1. Chicago sports fan; 2. Love scented candles; 3. No booze.

Yeah, I’m not sure the last one was really necessary. I could’ve just said I drink coffee, or something. At the same time, I’ve seen plenty of bottles change hands in office gift exchanges over the years, and I’m not ready to even hold one in my hands to re-gift it at this point.

Over the past five months, not drinking alcohol has become the biggest thing about me there is. It’s the headline of my bio. The plot of my story. It’s even listed in my Twitter profile, right there alongside my pledged allegiance to the Cubs and Bears.

Thank goodness for the sports thing, by the way, or I’d have literally nothing to talk about with people outside of recovery meetings. As it is, I have to stop myself from blurting out, “I’m [X number of] days sober!” every time someone asks “How are you?” Continue reading “Identity”

sober lifestyle, Uncategorized

Redefining the ‘W’

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Some days, I have to force myself to come down to “Fly The W Fitness” to work out . Most days, I have to force myself to appreciate the little victories – and brush off the inevitable setbacks – that dot the road to recovery.

A mature woman with proper perspective on life would take it in stride, rationalizing that since she was THERE when IT happened, all other good stuff is gravy — and any bad stuff can easily be shrugged off. She’d also probably realize how little sports really matter.

I mean, I’m just speculating that’s what she would do. I don’t personally know that woman or relate to her in any way.

Nope, this woman still falls to pieces over the Chicago Cubs. Even in the midst of the most self-improvey era of my life, as I choose personal growth over substance-induced stagnation for the first time in 41 years, I’m still apparently stuck in sports fan infancy. When things don’t go my way, it’s in everyone’s best interest to stay out of it.

What’s making me unfit to mix in society these days, of course, is the Cubs completely missing the playoffs for the second straight year, after a cruelly anticlimactic tease of a season in which Murphy’s Law reigned supreme across the street from Murphy’s Bleachers — just like it always did back in the old days. Continue reading “Redefining the ‘W’”