NO not the chunks from a night of too much drinking. Not the dry heaves in the morning. I am just so emotional. Sometimes from gratitude, sometimes from fear, sometimes from joy, sometimes from self pity, sometimes the moon (ow wooooo!), but I feel like I keep emotionally throwing up. Yet, I woke up this morning and as I got ready for the day I had a real sense of well being, of peace. Like I just felt everything was going to be okay. And not just my sobriety but everything, my marriage, my kids, my future, my mother. I just realized that I did not need to dwell or act on all the thoughts that keep swirling around in my head and just knowing that it was going to be okay helped calm those thoughts down...a bit. Of course, I tried to share this at the morning meeting and just ended up crying...again. I am soooooo sick of crying at meetings, especially the morning one and it's embarassing. I bet they are sick of me too. Thar she blows!! I don't every time and sometimes I am really together. But geeeez, crying while reading the preamble, like last week? Get yourself together girl!
I keep hearing that this is normal. I excused myself from the meeting to weep and get control of myself and just got a lot of knowing nods, a few "are you okay" and I was. I can't put into words what I am feeling. Good, bad, sad, mad it just erupts and flows.
I watched When a Man Loves a Woman last night with my husband. We didn't talk about it afterwards. It just felt too awkward, but it hit so close to home. I met my husband in a bar. I always say he got me under false pretenses. I am gratefull he has stuck by me through these years. I'm not sure if it was love that has kept us together or inertia and it scares me as I anticipate what I may conjure up in my recovery. I can' help but think there was someting in it for him for me to be drunk all the time. But before I continue with all these swirling thoughts the main thing I must do is stay in the day. Rome and a sober life for Kathy were not built in a day.
Attended a friend's mother's memorial service today. I did not know this woman. She lived in the same facility as my mom and so my friend and I shared caregiving stories. As the memorial progressed, I realized that I was hearing about a woman, a mother that I had always wanted and never had. It's hard for me to hear about other peoples' mothers, (unless they are crack whores) no offense, I hope.
I do not have any childhood memories of my mom. I know she was there. She made my clothes, she fed us, she did the laundry, she told me to clean my room, but I have no memories of feeling loved, of feeling cherished, of feeling protected, of feeling nurtured. I'm not feeling sorry for myself, or maybe I am. I just didn't get a sense of worth from my family. I always wanted another family. They always looked better than mine. They felt better. I felt more at home in some of my friends houses when I was growing up than I did in my own but I always felt different.
And don't get me wrong. My mother is a nice person. People love her. She has a great sense of humor and now is always laughing. She was considered a saint by many because she put up with my father (but that's another story). People are always telling me what a good daughter I am, taking care of my mother now, but I am doing it out of duty, not love. And of course that makes me feel guilty. So many mixed feeliings just swirling around in there. Maybe I need an ACOA meeting. Do they have meetings?
And I'm not saying that I wasn't loved, I am saying I didn't feel loved. I'm not sure why that is. That will probably be very expensive to find out:) I know her mother was withholding. When we cleaned out my grandfather's house we found my grandmother's journals. It so excited us because we (my brothers and I) thought we would finally get some insight into my mother and her family. There were quite a few of them but consisted of entries such as: " The wind is blowing today. I got a permanent and I think it looks good." We kept searching for entries with meaning. Nothing. Not a feeling to be found.
I guess it just scares the hell out of me what I may have done to my kids. I pray that they feel my love. I think they do but I know they are damaged and I can only pray that as my recovery progresses they are given some relief.
Martha at bouncing off the bottom got me to thinking about how much spin I've placed on my story. I think by definition the spin is based sometimes in a truth but it is not the main truth. You zero in on something else that allows you to ignore the real problem and to place blame elsewhere.
I didn't screw up in high school because my parents moved the family to another state. I screwed up in high school because I started drinking and drugging and all my ambitions and aspirations were zapped.
I didn't drop out of college my senior year because I was so advanced that I acquired social worker "burnout" doing internships, I dropped out because I failed all my classes fall semester because all I did was go to bars at night and was hungover during the day.
I didn't waitress every night because we desparately needed the money, I worked every night because I liked the party afterwards.
I didn't drink after work because it had been a rough night, I drank because I wanted to get drunk.
I didn't nap with my babies because I liked to cuddle, I napped with my babies because I needed to recover from the previous evening.
I didn't get involved with a guy at work because I had found my lost soul mate and new best friend and my husband didn't pay attention to me, I got involved because I was drunk and self centered.
I didn't avoid social gatherings because I was a recluse, I avoided them because I wanted to drink more than was socially acceptable.
As they say in the Big Book, the list could go on ad infinitum. But I thought it was about time I said out loud the truth.
A young kid shared at our morning meeting about attending his first sober concert last night. He's been sober about a year and I spoke with him after the meeting. How smart is he to get it at 17? I wish I had been smarter. I wasted so much time. I'm trying to stay away from remorse and regret but he did give me a Remember When.
When I was just about his age, maybe a little older, I went to see Aerosmith who was touring for their first album I believe. They were just emerging and weren't quite big yet. Steppenwolf opened for them and that was who I really wanted to see. I was very retro and hadn't really heard of Aerosmith yet. Anyway, my girlfriend drove and we proceeded to attempt to get fucked up before we got there. Because who ever heard of going to a concert straight. We didn't think of it as sober. It was straight. Nancy wasn't really a drinker so she got high and I didn't smoke anymore (I thought it made me stupid) so I proceed to chug a bottle blackberry brandy on the 20 minute ride to the Coliseum. OMG! We had 8th row Floor Seats. They were the best seats I think I have ever had for a concert. We got in our seats. Someone was passing a joint. I think a bottle too. It starts to get fuzzy here. It didn't turn into a black out but it was close. At some point Steppenwolf came on. We were up. I maybe made it through 1 or 2 songs. Then uh oh. The room is spinning and I am upchucking all over the guy in front of me. Nancy is trying to get me to the restroom without notice of security. I am throwing up the stairs. I remember being on my knees at the toilet while Steppenwolf was singing The Pusher. We had to leave. On the way out, I started making out with some guy who was hanging around out front. Nancy said he had a huge scar down the side of his face. Thank God for Nancy. She really took care of me in those days. Somehow she got me away from him and we went home. Needless to say she was pissed. Dumped me off in my front yard. Of course I couldn't go in the house. I was covered in puke. I think my parents were still up. So I passed out under my bedroom window and at some point I must have snuck in the house. Charming, huh.
Never did drink blackberry brandy again though that was the only lesson I learned from that experience. I am grateful that Tim gave me this Remember When because sometimes I am not so sure when my alcoholic drinking began. I do believe this is evidence that I cannot deny. Did finally see Aerosmith though about 10 years ago. Wasn't wasted but wasn't sober either. But that's another story for another day.
"Life will take on new meaning. To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friends-this is an experience you must not miss." p.89
This has become very true for me. Last night I was at the Step Sisters meeting. The chairperson of the meeting is whoever sits in the chair that the purple book is under. Well, noone sat in that chair so one of the women handed the book to me. So I start reading the introduction and by the time I get to the preamble I am completely choked up and cannot speak. The woman next to me had to finish reading it for me. I wasn't sure what had come over me. And one of the women approached me at the end of the meeting and put it in words, "your gratitude overflowed". She said this used to happen to her all the time at the beginning of her sobriety (though never reading the preamble:) As we know this is not the first time this has happened for me. (Blubbering Idiot post)
And it really is a life, my life, taking on new meaning. I was in a room surrounded by women sharing their experiences, strength and hope. And this night their beliefs as we were on Step 2. I am getting to know these women. I am beginning to love these women. I feel the same way about my morning group and the men and women there. When I got home last night I read this from the book Came to Believe:
"I knew I had to have a new beginning and this beginning had to be here. I could not start anywhere else. I had to let go of the past and forget the future. As long as I held on to the past with one hand and grabbed at the future with the other hand, I had nothing to hold on to today with. So I had to begin here, now. The next time I went back to my AA group the "happy hypocrites" looked different to me. I began to see love in their eyes, a greater warmth that i had ever seen before. I mentioned it to my sponser, and he said, "The reason you see love in these people's eyes is because you are beginning to love them. The love that we see in their eyes is the reflection of our own love. We have got to love to be loved." p. 46
And I think it is these feelings that help take away that compulsion to drink. This is my God at work. My mantra from my Francis of Assisi 30 Day Study book yesterday was "God is wordless love". I think that is what I was feeling last night and now. I am full.
That's a tough one but I'm working on it. It was a joy last week to spend with my 7 year old niece and 10 year old nephew. I didn't spend time thinking up activities for them that would allow me to drink. Didn't dump them on my daughter, though they often dumped me for my daughter:) Revelation: it was a crazy week, full of schedules because while they were on vacation we weren't but it was fun. Normally, I would be all stressed out plannng, packing, scheduling, etc but I didn't. I let the week happen. Now that was a problem for my husband. He kept trying to pull me to where I used to be and getting upset that I wasn't there.
I gave my daughter my 2 month chip yesterday. We did not have a deep, heart to heart as I wanted but that's okay too. She does not want to hear it and I don't blame her. I am happy to just have it out in the open with her. When she wants to talk she'll hopefully come to me. I hope the chip will protect her when she goes off to college. I will give my son my 3 month, God willing.
Today I will be resigning as co-president of the Band Parents Association. (stop snickering back there:) I got drafted into this position last year and I did have fun doing it but I can't do it anymore. It requires time and my time is now spent at meetings and getting sober. I've already met with some resistance from the Band Director and I hope this will not reflect on my son. I can't share why. I told my partner president that I was working on personal issues long left untended and left it at that. She is resigning too because her son dropped out of band. So tonight is the big meeting with all the parents where we discuss what we do (mostly fundraising) to the freshman parents and elect new officers. So far noone has stepped up to our initial requests for volunteers. As it is I will be late to the meeting so I can go to my Tuesday Women's Stepsisters meeting. I'm worried about the whole thing but it is out of my hands.
My sponser is home from her road trip. I screwed up and planned to meet her before the meeting tonight. But I have also offered to give another woman a ride (who I have to tell I can't give her a ride home because I've got the band parents thing). Maybe I'm letting the whole live in the day thing go too far:) I have a problem saying no, can you tell? Shit.
I posted this yesterday not sure why but it showed up for August 10th so I'm going to try it again:)
Well stuff happened since my last post. The speaker dilemmas continue. The guy I asked to speak backed out the morning of, said his sponser told him no talking til 90 days so we have a deal for that. I was okay with him but I was suprised at me. I was really upset at myself. I guess I felt that I had put him in jeapordy which of course makes it all about me when it has nothing to do with me. What did have to do with me was twofold. One: I thought I was trusting my instinct which in turn must be God's Will (WRONG!) and Two: I had to find another speaker which meant calling someone. After alot of hemming and hawing, pacing and praying, I did call someone who agreed to speak and spoke beautifully. It turned into a great meeting and I learned some real valuable lessons about group consciousness, instinct, God's Will, etc. I still have 2 speakers to get, well just one because last night I was giving a woman a ride home and she was talking about how she hated to speak but her sponser said she should never say no. So of course, I asked her for next week. We roared. I think that was probably God's Will.
I don't know why I'm so obsessed with God's Will but it's tripping me up. I think my problem has been that I want to recognize it and I don't think that is possible. God's Will just Is. Nothing to plan for, anticipate, prepare for, even pray for. Inspired by these events and by Martha's question about defining Higher Power, I bought a book called "In His Footsteps, Living Prayer, Poverty and Peace with Francis of Assisi," which describes itself as a handbook for a spiritual journey and gives you daily readings to begin you day with and meditate on, a mantra to repeat throughout the day and a prayer to end the day with. It's helping me learn to pray and not feel awkward about it.
Guess what today's mantra is?
In thinking about why I drank, I believe there was emptiness that I was trying to fill. In this sober life I have found I am full, "You Are Enough for Me."
I signed up to find speakers for the Monday night meeting for the rest of August. Why did I do that? I don't really know that many people but I figured it would force me to put myself out there. And so far that has worked, talking to new people, going on the commitments have really given me a look at what a sober life can bring me. But its caused me alot of angst this week. Who to ask? What if they reject me? I'm an idiot. Anyway, this guy from the morning group has been struggling. The Saturday I left for vacation, he was at the meeting drunk and in despair. He had had a lot of time and a lot of people were heartbroken. While I was gone he checked himself into detox and was there when we did the committment last week. And this week he was back. When he spoke at the meeting yesterday, I thought about what I was told to look for in a speaker. Someone who doesn't speak alot and who could use it. So I put all my fears aside and I asked him if he would. He said he would but was concerned that some might not like it because he has only 2 weeks now. I asked him if he had spoken in the past and he had, and I told him what they told me. I told him I wanted to hear his story so it worked for me if it worked for him. So now I will be nervous about this until Monday night. I could call the treasurer of the group but now I'm afraid. If she says no then I'll have to ask him not to speak. Yikes! I feel like I did the right thing. I don't even really know this guy, but I felt like he was the obvious choice.
Well, as Scarlett said, I'll worry about that tomorrow. Today, is 60 days and I feel good. Traded in my teenagers for my niece and nephew 8 & 10. Played miniature golf, went for ice cream and just hung out on the hammock. It was a good day.
I'm still plugging along. Can't seem to get to my fourth step and the future isn't bright since I have a housefull coming tonight and my niece and nephew will be staying for the week. Life is full and I am trying to analyze whether or not I am avoiding the process or if it is simply a matter of life on life's terms and when the time is right I will get to it. Anyway, it's weighing on me. I haven't written because I said what I said, taking time off to do Step 4 and then didn't get it done. I started but it felt wrong and then I stopped. As it is I'm writing this because the boss took a day off and my time is my own today. But that's cheating... See what I mean? I envy the people who can check themselves in for 28 days and just focus on themselves. I need that.
It's all about balance. The other day I didn't go to a meeting. It actually felt good to be normal but I missed it at the same time. Does that make sense? I can't seem to get away from the shoulds. I've got a list yay long of what I think I should be doing. And then of course I don't and then I feel bad. So I take a nap. I am beginning to love naps. Never could do it before. My list is too long and has too much stuff on it and I know, I 've got to live in the day. Someone said at a meeting they needed to slow down and I said yes that's me but then someone else said they had to be careful of slowing down to the point of sloth and I said yes that's me too. I am learning but I'm getting beat up, (mostly by myself) in the process. My husband is supportive but at the same time he misses me when I am at meetings or on the computer. So the last 2 evenings I didn't go to the meetings and we hung out. It was nice. But I'm driving him crazy too. He kept asking about whether we should do this or that to get ready for our guests. I just kept saying, it'll work itself out. I'm not going to worry about it and that's a different me. I'm usually worked up into a frenzy about now. I've just got to find the right balance but I don't know what that is yet so I guess it will be trial and error. I keep thinking there is a "right" way and I'm always looking to get the A in the class. I don't trust myself to know what that right way is. I feel like I'm in a tug of war with myself.
None of this makes any sense but I'm just going to leave it. I can't really stand myself right now. I feel a bit lost. BUT, I don't feel like drinking. And that's a good thing. My niece and nephew are coming and I adore them. My best friend is coming with her daughter and I haven't seen her in 2 years. My brother is coming and he won't show up till midnight so I don't have to worry about having alcohol around. Not sure we'll talk about my drinking or not drinking but I hope everyone sleeps in so I can go collect my 60 day chip tomorrow morning at 7. Let Go and Let God. Gotta love those slogans.
Last night was a good night. The meeting itself, not so great. The room was hot and stuffy, the fans were loud and you couldn't hear people speak, some of the people who spoke you wouldn't want to hear anyway and what you did hear was speech impediments. I'm sure there was something said that I could have related to but I either couln't hear it or couldn't understand it. The room was full and noisy. It was social hour for some. I hate that. But at the very end, one man shared this..(and he was one of the uncles, I've talked about).. that alcoholics go to meetings because that is what they do. He spoke of a man who showed up in the middle of meeting the night his wife of 47 years had died. It was the first thing this man wanted to do after he watched his wife die. He was embraced. Doug said that's when after 3 years of sobriety he knew he was an alcoholic.
At the end of the meeting I was able to approach a new guy. He had identified himself at a previous meeting and as Secretary of that group (yeah, I know, what are they thinking)I was able to offer him a Big Book. Anyway, I took that role seriously and the feeling from just being able to approach him was a good one. His doctor told him to get numbers of 10 men with over a year sobriety and he was asking me for a list. While we were talking Doug walked by and I was able to hook the 2 of them up. I cannot even explain the cloud I left on.
I know this is going to keep me sober. I don't know if this guy will make it. He's trying. But I feel I have found a way.
I tried to speak at this mornings meeting. I had it all planned to tell them about last night's experience and how grateful I am for them because starting my day there every morning has been a lifesaver for me. How I just emulated the Secretary of the morning meeting to be the Secretary of Monday's meeting. I wanted to tell them how I can't wait to get going on my 4th step because I know it will mean progress and progress will mean service and service will mean more sobriety and more sobriety will mean grace and on and on and that is what was good about today. Well, I turned into a blubbering idiot. I got caught by suprise because it was my turn to speak second. Couldn't even get past one sentence. I was so full. And it just got worse from there. People shared, I was touched. Two people had a year today, we had a someone with a month and someone with 24 hours. One woman had her two little ones there playing nicely. Someone was starting their first day without cigarettes. People were coming back, people were welcomed. Yes, it was the ugly cry but there were smiles as well. I can't stop crying. Not sure if it is because my cup runneth over or because my antidepressent medication ran out and i'm waiting for the refill:)
I might not be posting for a few days because I want to devote my time to the fourth step. Between work, family, meetings, my online group and sober blogs, 24 hours a day is not enough to do everything I want and need to do. So something's got to give and my poor husband already is not getting dinner anymore. I hope I can do it all but if not, I'll be reading just not responding till its done.
One thing I learned while away... my husband never shuts up! I guess I never noticed before because I was always blitzed. But Jesus! We had a good laugh over that. Like I've said before, we need to relearn how to communicate. Our week helped alot. He's dealing with not having dinner on the table when he gets home because I'm rushing out to meetings. I think it peeves him a bit. He's getting more alone time than he's used to. I'm not sure he gets that he was alone when I was here and drunk. He hated that but I was physically here. Now I am off at these mysterious meetings. He's not going to try al-anon and has declined joining me and that's okay. He's never going to be a touchy feely guy and that is what he's afraid of at these meetings. It's also what impresses me most about the men I have heard. They are soome tough looking dudes but they talk about feelings! They cry! Wow!
He was cute last night though. There is a 10 day festival in town this week and tonight is a microbrew festival. He asked if it would be weird if he went. I said only if he was an alcoholic and only if he expected me to go. We joked that maybe it was his turn to be the alcoholic and I can do the designated driving. I do think he is mourning the loss of a party partner even though I partied til I dropped which ticked him off. Sort of like Andy Garcia in that Meg Ryan movie.... I can't remember the name.
Since I've been back I've also been thinking alot about my kids. I am petrified for them and I've got to continue to work on living in the now yet getting the courage to just talk to them about what is going on with me, why it's happening and give them the tools to deal with their own issues. At 16 & 18 there is probably very little I can do to convince them not to try drinking if they are so inclined. Accept the things I cannot change. I can only hope that they are the type that want to be the opposite of their mom because I have been such a shitty role model for them during these most significant teenage years. Do as I say not as I do. That's been my motto! Courage to Change the things that I can. What I can change is to be honest with them about my drinking and what I am doing now. What AA is doing for me. What God is doing for me. I've got to pray for this courage because so far it has escaped me. I think their lives may depend upon it.
"But the first salt wind from the east, the first sight of the lighthouse set boldly on its outer rock, the flash of a gull, the waiting procession of seaward-bound firs on an island, made me feel solid and definate again..."
-Sarah Orne Jewitt
From the Bondage of Self Going Sober: June 11, 2007
To live a spiritual life we must first find the courage to enter into the desert of loneliness and to change it by gentle and persistent efforts into a garden of solitude. --Henri J. M. Nouwen
So Far Away by Stain'd
And So It Continues....
"There were in her at the moment two beings, one drawing deep breaths of freedom and exhilaration, the other gasping for air in a little black prison-house of fears. But gradually the captive's gasps grew fainter, or the other paid less heed to them; the horizon expanded, the air grew stronger, and the free spirit quivered for flight." Edith Wharton