It’s Not That Simple

Everything is upside down.  I sometimes forget that I am still fresh into sobriety.  I haven’t yet grazed the year end mark.  However, it has become abundantly clear that I can think straight and trust my instincts.  I’ve had my fair share of pain and I know that I can get through the uncomfortable times.  It’s pretty amazing what happened this year since I extracted my head from my ass.  Still, sometimes old habits die hard.  In the big picture, I can see now that I have never really put myself first and I’ve suffered at my own hand.  It feels selfish to do what I need to do for myself and my son, but there is a solid footing under these decisions.

  I still crave being numb sometimes.  I haven’t battled too hard with the actual cravings for alcohol lately, it’s more or less a need to escape my feelings.  If I want to cry, the instinct is to suppress it.  So instead, I’m fighting my learned behavior and trying to cope differently…and actually let myself have a cry.  Last night I was sitting at the counter in the kitchen feeling emotional…I moved home to my mom’s with my son last month and I am feeling my world shift around.  It’s a dichotomy of depression and happiness.  My boyfriend and I want different lifestyles and have different goals.  Everything is murky and undefined with us.  However, I have my dream and a solid path ahead for my son.  My son’s future comes first. 

It’s been challenging to keep the bloodsuckers away.  Over the winter I weeded out the friends who suck me dry and don’t give back.  Man, those people are voracious…I am a magnet for complainers and chronic bad decision makers.  Being done with drinking has allowed me to be done with bullshit.  Once I saw how everything was connected, it became obvious that the drinking aspect was really just the tip of the iceberg!  I have embarked on an entire life overhaul.  I heard a lot of people using the word “authenticity” on the sober blogs when I first began reading them.  I wasn’t sure how that would apply to me, since I figured I was pretty darn authentic at the time.  Now I see that it takes a little time in the saddle to shake out all the bugs.  It’s not just quitting a substance, it comes with much more work involved.  The sauce is what stands in the way.  Once you remove the vault door, there is quite a bit of exploring to do. 

If I had to summarize my experience so far and give you an idea of what the landscape of getting sober has been like, I’d start with the physical basics.  The first few months were a total roller coaster and it felt biological in many ways.  I had to unwind from age old patterns and figure out the basics: learn how to sleep, manage my raging anxiety, return to eating normally, reward myself with mocktails, nourish my poor depleted body, play with supplements to get my brain chemistry working, allow my body to detox and heal, hydrate, and rest.  After those basics were in place, it became less about physical things and more about the trajectory of my life.  All these little decisions I made were adding up and suddenly I became aware of my TOTAL RESPONSIBILITY.   I realized I was the one at the wheel.  I stopped playing a part in the play and feeling out of control.  It dawned on me that I was the director the whole time and life wasn’t happening “to me”, I had made all the decisions to put me right here and now.  Equipped with a new found sense of life ownership, I began the process of reshaping my relationships.  When I was drinking, I always had a fair share of shame to carry around.  Maybe I said something I shouldn’t, or did something awful that I couldn’t remember.  Sometimes it was a simple as feeling like I wasn’t being truthful with myself and in turn I didn’t feel like the best version of myself.  I accepted more bullshit because I thought that I was the pot calling the kettle black.  A part of me felt like I deserved it.  I saw people taking advantage of me instead of realizing that I was the one allowing that to happen.  Phase two was all about boundaries and healthy relationships.  I made a plan to save my energy and spend it on myself (and the healthy people I love) and stop depleting my reserves.  My world shrank down pretty small.

Now I think it’s about coming alive.  I am remembering who I am at my core.  I feel inspired again.  I am making plans to better my life and create a good life for my little boy.  I’ve made some new friends and they are teaching me what it’s like to give and receive.  Apparently I never learned how to accept help up until this point.  I am not strong arming it anymore, which feels good.  I haven’t had even one drink in 9 months!  It’s been amazing to see the things that were once out of reach becoming a reality.  That is powerful to tap into.  You have the power to change your life completely…and all it requires is fearless self inventory and dedication.  I’m the proof that you can be a phoenix.  Last November I hated myself…but now I feel proud of the woman I have become.  I love her. 


Everything But The Damn Coffee

I have arrived.  I am bright eyed, focused and alive.  What a different life I lead now since I quit drinking.  I watched the people milling around on the corner of main street tonight, puffing on cigarettes and hunched up against the light drizzle.  I saw the drooping shoulders, the chemically induced animation, and I felt pure sweet relief that I wasn’t one of them.  I am not trapped in the shame or the escapism.  I feel so much more of everything these days but it’s not as painful as it used to be.  Waking up was painful.  Processing was painful.  My old knee jerk reaction to anything uncomfortable was to soothe it or numb it. I’ve learned to lean into it. 

Now that “integration” is over and life has begun in a new vein, I don’t feel trapped at a cross roads.  I am far enough down the path to know that this is what works for me and this is who I am now.  I had to shovel a lot of shit to get out of that place, and I have some more work to do.  But the work does get easier just like everyone told me.  So if you are reading this right now, looking for a sign and wondering what would happen if you quit drinking…you have arrived.  Now is the time.  Things can and will get better.  If you are thinking about it and reading sobriety blogs, then a part of you already knows it’s time to wake up.  It’s simple in some ways to quit.  You just make that your priority and you do it.  Every day.  Sometimes every hour, or every minute.  Then one foot ahead of the next you realize that six months have gone by without a drink.  Holy shit!  It’s been half a year.  On my birthday last fall I had this idea, kind of like a life experiment.  I kept thinking, “What would happen if I quit drinking for a full year?”.  I wondered how my life would change, and it scared me (and thrilled me) to imagine the pure extreme nature of this experiment.  I felt that urge to go “balls out” and really whoop it up directly after thinking about quitting for such a long time.  I’ve read about extinction bursts in behavior, but I never tuned in to my own.  After a few weekends of overindulgence, I was really ready.  I’m thinking back on it tonight because a significant amount of time has passed but already my “experiment” is working. Now it’s a lifestyle. Haha! Aside from all the health benefits and ego driven side effects like looking years younger and losing a couple pants sizes, I am mostly interested in trust.  I trust myself again.  I trust that my emotions are real and not skewed.  I trust the inner voice that is urging me to do something great! 

I’ve written before about the “small voice”.  I used to fight it and drown it out a lot more, because I was scared and partly because I was lazy.  Alcohol can make a person kind of lazy and tired, you might notice.  A little dulled down.  Now that I am sharp and clear, new challenges have presented themselves.  All my energy and time is being channeled.  I know what I want and I am not afraid.  For awhile, I felt like I was in a type of purgatory.  I was content to tread water as long as I didn’t fuck up.  I wasn’t sure that changing anything was a good idea, so I allowed myself to take comfort in keeping everything else the same while I reconstructed the inside of my life.  Now it seems like I am hitting the boundaries and chafing at the dead end job, the house with no land, the status quo.  I want to live my dream! I’m no seasoned vet of sobriety so I want to build slowly.  I trust that I feel this way because it’s time to make the next step in my spiritual evolution.  Have you ever wondered what might happened if you made your happiness the number one priority in your life?  I believe the point of life is to be happy and experience as much wonderful shit as you can before you die.  I know I will never ever regret making the decision to get sober.  It has been the biggest gift I could ever give myself and my family. 

I decided to take one more step yesterday.  I identified facebook as another addiction to weed out.  I deactivated my account for the next two weeks to see what will happen.  The whole thing has been floating around for awhile in my head, kind of nudging me toward this next challenge.  I want my time and my energy back.  I want to experience things and not immediately run to facebook and post them for 767 “friends” to see.  My ego is the one that gets stroked when fifty people automatically like my pictures or posts.  Gross.  It’s gross.  People (myself included) are obsessed with their phones and I am noticing because I am guilty of the same thing.  And it comes down to wanting to be present.  I am not experiencing the truth of the moment when I am scrolling in facebooklandia.  It’s time I could be doing something useful, creative, active, or simply something real.  I am talking about being real, folks.  Real fresh air or real sunsets.  Real conversations or real stretches of silence without some distraction.  Most of the stuff I see lately is all about idle time wasting or fear mongering anyways, so fuck that.  I’m out and it feels really weird.  But it feels really good too.  Is there anything you can identify as being in the addiction category?  I’m still hanging on to my damn coffee, but that needs to go sooner or later too.  One thing at a time.

In The Bag

The rants are over.  I just want to disconnect from my computer and my phone and play outside.  I am horse crazy.  I started to homeschool my kid.  I forgot that it was my 6 month last week. Up until tonight, I started thinking I had this whole sobriety thing in the bag.  But the warm wind reminded me of sitting on the back porch drinking a stiff whiskey and coke after a long shift at work..  Despite my allergies going crazy, I contemplated having a cigarette.  Sneaky little bastard.  Gotta stay vigilant.  No whammies.

What I Know For Sure

I like being sober better than being drunk.

I feel younger, more healthy, more positive, and more honest.

I am less moody but I have stronger genuine emotions since I quit drinking.

I require more alone time than I realized.

I value resting, forgiving, and sleeping much more than I used to.

I have more energy for healthy relationships since I kicked out the energy suckers and complainers.

It is possible to create massive change in just one day. 

Every day is full of opportunities to grow and reach for the next branch.

Facing your fears is better than running from them, despite the confrontation.  Get ‘er done.

Pick your battles.  Take it slow with all the perfection crap.  Eat your damn chocolate but just don’t drink the wine.

Nothing is a guarantee…tell your loved ones they mean the world to you and prove it.  You never know when you’re going to graduate from Planet Earth.

All those material things stay behind when you die. So do the vibrations you create in people’s minds and hearts. Be a force of love!   Life is about relationships and it starts with the one that you have with yourself.  When people die, their regrets are wishing they would’ve spent more time enjoying their lives, friends, and families.  They wished they hadn’t given everything to their jobs.  They wished they had traveled more.  And they wished they had taken care of their health, so that they wouldn’t suffer so much.  I think about how much better I feel without the poisons and regrets in my system.  Every small victory counts.  Here’s to your victories, big and small.  Keep fighting the good fight!  You are certainly not alone. 


Starting From Scratch

It’s a beautiful day and I feel grateful to be able to enjoy it.  Easter is right around the corner, and my son is looking forward to the Easter Egg hunt in the yard.  A few nights ago we talked about it and I was reminded about how last year I was “sick in bed”(too hungover) to participate.  I am so glad I have the opportunity to be a better mother now that I quit drinking.  Sometimes I beat myself up about the past.  I really try to forgive myself, but the longer I’ve been sober the more perspective I gain.  How many mornings should I have been more alert, patient, and ahead of the game?  How many dinners did I spend buzzed and getting drunk through bedtime stories?  The more I become truly functional, the more I realize how bad things were before.  It’s hard to let it go, but I am striving to forgive myself and appreciate the fact that I woke up when I did.  I started changing things before my little son will remember his hungover mommy.

I have a dear old friend coming over for dinner tonight.  This afternoon I received a text message asking what she should bring and had I started drinking wine again?  I had thought about having a bottle of wine for her but I struggled with the idea of having it in the house.  I responded that if she wanted to bring wine, she was most welcome to but that I had quit drinking for good.  I can’t go out and buy it just yet, for entertaining others.  Maybe I will get there in the future, but it’s a tricky process.  My mind jumped to the possible scenarios which could lead me to “taste it” or have a half bottle left over in my fridge when she left.  I envisioned myself pouring it down the drain.  There hasn’t been a point where I felt truly tempted to drink anything this whole time.  It’s still kind of annoying to explain to someone over and over that I am done drinking.  It makes me feel like my old friends (who are not alcoholics) have a really hard time accepting that I quit.  I am open to them drinking but I wish they’d stop “checking in” to see if I am really serious.  I might need to start from scratch and alter my approach with more honesty.  I will have to reveal myself a little more, and talk about that dirty little word “addiction”.  Can’t friends just eat some damn food without it being all about wine on a Wednesday night? 

I admire those brave souls who just wear their alcoholism proudly and garner all sorts of support.  But  why does it have to be weird for everyone else when someone decides to quit drinking?  I think I have made some really good friends recently who share my passion for horses, natural remedies, kids, etc.  I was so passionate about wine for so long.  I don’t long for it, I don’t think about it a whole lot as a beverage.  I am more concerned with the psychology of getting numbed out.  My family has a history of getting numb in various ways, so it’s becoming obvious to me that I chose a chemical method of coping.  I wish I could start at the beginning and take that Southern Comfort out of my teenage hand.  It’s oddly connected to my desire to help my son have a better childhood than I had.  So the good news is that this Easter I will be up early, feeling good and enjoying this special time in his life when magical bunnies hide candy all over the yard.  That’s almost like starting from scratch if you ask me.

Plight of the Night Owl

The rain is coming down on the skylight in our bathroom.  I suddenly feel an urge to stand on the porch wrapped in a blanket, light a cigarette and observe the night.  I’ve missed her.  On this freshly blazed path of health and vitality, there lies a few bodies in the road.  The smoker.  The painter.  The wild woman with exposed cleavage and ample whiskey flowing in her veins.  I feel a hint of trepidation even speaking about it, lest I start the mourning over the parts of me that seem lost.  I suppose the lust I felt must be channeled into something different now.  But the moon always called, the windows quiet and dark, the trees beckoning, and the mischief-energy would unfurl around me until I broke free.  Howling, sprinting, wild, exuberant, unshackled.  I often ended up playing and singing until my throat was raw.  I would dance until my legs gave out.  I would paint until the art was born, screaming and kicking into the world and I could finally rest.  I miss the exhaustion and pride of what came out.  Sitting on my heels, looking with wonder at a painting that didn’t seem at all from my own hand; it was through me.  There was often rain, an open garage door, a distant wail of a train.  There were menthol cigarettes and Ray LaMontagne.

These little things set me off lately, remembering my ghost.  The sound of rain, a song on the radio, a special time of day, a familiar pang in my side where the poisoned thorn has been torn out.  I don’t want the sourness in my fingers, but I miss the burn in my lungs.  I miss the quiet contemplation.  I miss the company of someone who wasn’t so fucking hard on herself and was just existing in the moment.  I have a difficult time “being” in the moment.  The backwash of anxiety thunders through my sober brain and rattles around and around.  I have better nights than others.  Just the other night, I remembered how to be passionate and uninhibited with my lover.  I’ve been searching for her, still haven’t found her dead when I was looking down History Lane.  For fucks sake.  I’m navigating this ship toward a degree in sex therapy and I need one myself.  It feels good just to put it out there out loud.  Yes, I struggle with living these new lifestyle choices I’ve made, but it’s not a struggle to make them.  It’s not a battle to keep them.  It’s just a period of adjusting to the carnage…I’ve entwined the artist so deeply with the addict.  I’m not sure how to revive one without the other.  It’s like the further I get into process, the more obvious the diseased part of me becomes.  Are they Siamese twins?  Did I kill one so the other slumped over as well? 

My art depended on chaos.  I realize my loneliness and searching fueled my need to create.  To spend the night writhing and dancing, expressing and then erasing it all with too much wine.  It felt like the only way to stop was for the sun to come up.  I miss feeling wild.  I miss feeling like I could let go.  I miss shutting off the critical repressive voice in my head and let the art come through.  I want to free my body so I can move, so I don’t think, just respond to sound, to sweat and flow and be radiantly unselfconscious.  It wasn’t just alcohol that provided me these outlets, but it was there edging me forward, making me take risks, helping unlock the scared and anxious person I am to allow the roaring ecstatic full body orgasm priestess emerge. 

I long for her.  I am seeking her again, through different means.  But it’s been slow going.  She’s only come out when the lights are out.  She got a taste of it, and is knocking.  But I am paralyzed.  I sit on the couch and think about painting.  I cruise facebook instead.  It’s a delicate skill, teasing apart the artist and the alcoholic.  It’s been a long time since I smoked or swung a kettlebell, for that matter.  I think the logical step is to create more energy in a positive direction.  I’ve simply been treading water lately.  I think the tribal belly dance class in town is calling my name.  The drum is dusty.  The outlets are all there, waiting.  I even bought new paints.  Sometimes the catalyst is simply the act of beginning itself.  No fanfare.  Just picking up the brush and mixing up some paint.  I have to trust that she’s in there, and there is good art waiting to come out again.  I will be the first one on the dance floor again someday.  I will be wild without being destructive. 

I bet I could find a half limp cigarette around here somewhere and go out there right now and smoke it.  But it’s stupid.  And I don’t want to move backwards.  I think it’s time to create a relationship with the artist and not the addict (and the lover, not the lush).   



Uncovering The Truth

Have you ever noticed how drinking masked the real seedy underbelly of who you are?  I am discovering that I am an anxious person.  Who knew!? Here I thought I was confident and concrete in who I am.  Ha!  All these years I’ve been unable to turn off my mind the old fashioned way and go to sleep.  I couldn’t let things go that people said.  I ruminated endlessly on what might happen.  Now I realize more and more that it has become necessary to air out the fears and confront why I feel scared.  I’m not used to being vulnerable.  I am learning how to truly connect.  Gotta take the bull by the horns and wrestle those fears right to the ground once and for all.  At least it’s not the kind of hungover anxiety I used to feel about what happened the night before.  Phew!  Those days are over. 

I was laying in bed last night, reflecting on St. Patty’s day.  It has been a long time since that holiday meant anything other than wearing a green t-shirt to work and hoping I don’t get smacked by some drunk asshole who’s been drinking all day.  I saw five cops in four miles on my way out to the barn yesterday and I couldn’t even fathom why.  Then I remembered.  Oh yeahhhhh, years ago I also reveled in the pub crawls and drunken debauchery in some Irish bar.  It was a morning ’til night binge fest holiday. 

Now I really can’t see the appeal.  I guess that’s great, but if you told me ten years ago that instead of drinking and dancing I’d be playing bingo with the blue hairs- I never would’ve believed you.   But there I was last night, laughing at how vicious these little old ladies can get and taking in the local “scene” on a new level.  Getting sober has meant I had to get real with myself.  I have to get to know myself all over again and cultivate the skills that were left to wither in the dark.  But I have noticed I feel more happy and animals and children seem to like me more.  I’m making better tips at work, making new friends who are wonderful, and I am noticing more details and becoming more thoughtful.  I really enjoy helping others and including people in my activities.  I used to be a lot less inclined to reach out. It gives me confidence and an outlet to have yoga, coffee dates, horse activities, and a much deeper relationship with my family.  The other night I was cleaning up after work and everyone went out to Friday’s for drinks and a bite to eat.  Not a single person asked me to go.  I told my man that I was left out feeling, and wondered if I was “boring” now.  I worried that he might find me boring because we don’t go out to the bar or have drinks and get wild anymore.  But he said he only loved me more for going to bingo!  And that he doesn’t want to do that stuff anymore either.  Things are getting better.  It’s just hard to switch gears and talk about how I really feel instead of covering up the insecure parts.  I am learning and it feels good to have support. 

Wishing you peace and authenticity tonight.  🙂 ~OTS


125 Days

125 days have gone by since I made the decision to quit drinking.  I am being careful to keep the waters still.  I am always aware of booby traps, which could snap me in the wrong direction on a whim.  I want a new job but I know I am not quite ready for it.  This time my sobriety hasn’t been attached to a limit…it simply exists as a way of life.  I am interested to see how this trip to California will go.  We just bought tickets yesterday and I will be traveling with support.  My mom, my sister, and my son are all going out to the west coast to celebrate his birthday. 

I think by the time I jump on the plane, I will have 165 days.  However, I know that it truly comes down to being prepared for emotions and triggers which inevitably crop up every time I go back to my old stomping grounds.  I’ve already decided not to visit the restaurants and friends which put my sobriety at risk.  I have let my close friends know that I quit drinking, but I know from experience that they might not put it into practice.  The last trip was spent drinking and dining, which was a big part of the industry and my leisure time when I lived there.  I want to spend my time on the beach, doing yoga, meeting with friends and their new babies, and enjoying some family time.  My mom wants to visit the butterfly preserve.  I hope I can be around my ex without wanting to guzzle a bottle of chardonnay.  Looks like it’s time for a test of strength. 

I might be prepping myself for nothing, but I want to give myself a little mental “insurance” so I don’t get blindsided.  I find that anticipating triggers and having a strategy has been the secret to my success so far.  My sister said she’d drink kefir water or kombucha with me when our mother gets into the whiskey.  That was comforting.  I told her that if she wants to drink with our mom, I may be fine.  I may also need to go take a walk.  I will be bringing my Theanine Serene for anxiety support if I really need anything.  However, I think I will be fine.  I look forward to showing up and being in a good place.  It will allow me to talk about my lifestyle change and establish my identity.  Besides, I have been alcohol free when I lived there before and I enjoyed it. 

I really look forward to having a full year of sobriety.  All the things that were wrong in my life have resolved and many unfulfilled dreams have been coming true very quickly.  I will not jeopardize my safety, happiness, or my relationships anymore.  I was thinking about how many times I took a break from drinking and started back again.  Every time I got clear, alcohol made my vision cloudy and my motivation disappear.  It is spiritual poison.  I’ve come too far to go back down that road.  Sometimes 125 days seems like a drop in the bucket.  Sometimes it feels like a lifetime. 

I read somewhere that your body regenerates every cell in a seven year cycle.  So technically, the body I will be taking back to California is not even the same one that was almost thrown off a cliff drunk driving.  The body that fell into a dry riverbed off a rope swing isn’t the same body anymore.  The body that woke up in jail is not the same group of cells that I inhabit now.  It’s strangely freeing for me to think about it like this.  I’m not dodging accountability, it’s just a fresh start.  Living in the past is different from learning from the past.  Now it’s time to make some new memories and pass the next test. 

When The Snow Melts

Today the air is fresh.  I have a linen scented candle burning on the sill and the sunlight is splashing all over the place.  It’s enough to give a gal some hope.  It’s going to be a great spring, full of tender new things pushing up through the soil and new lessons in life.  I am going to grow things and get my hands dirty, cut my nails short, play my guitar on the porch and build a fence for my bunnies and chickens.  That way they can peck and hop around the yard and do what happy animals do. 

My goals are changing and I am becoming less rigid.  I am finding the joy of being right here right now, and allowing myself this moment to be good enough.  I am fighting the urge to push for perfection and total fitness.  It’s difficult to slow down, to rest, to nurture, to allow the process to unfold.  I think the binge drinker part of my brain wants to flip that switch and be “there” already.  I love living in the seasons again because it reminds me to harmonize with what’s growing, what’s in season, what feels good right now.  Slow down.  Go with the flow. 

Speaking of feeling good, I am starting to make new friends.  I realized this the other night when we were all laughing and I was doing a silly dance out at the stables.  I am not lonely anymore and the old friends I’ve let go have been replaced with people who are kind and lively.  I am choosing to be with people that make me feel happy and loved, people whom I can look up to and learn from.  The other day I realized offhand that I am outside more, playing with my horse, cooking healthy foods, making fun kombucha concoctions, playing music again, and feeling energized.  I am slowly coming into a lifestyle which is nothing like the life I left behind.  It feels fresh, just like the breeze coming through the window. 

One thing I learned to do this week was to cry.  I’ve been containing my feelings for so long that it feels really scary to let it all out.  I was feeling really intimidated by my new horse and it brought up some stuff I need to work out.  It’s so good to be doing the work!  I called my sister because she can relate to being thrown in the deep end of an arena.  I just sobbed and told her everything I was afraid of, and she gave me some good advice.  Take the help from the friends who are offering it and be a good student.  I was anxious heading to the barn, knowing that my eyes might still be puffy.  I was worrying that they would think I was a total greenhorn, stupid, my tack sucked, my horse sucked, and a million other runaway thoughts.  Then I remembered that I got this new horse to help me grow.  I’ve had the old deadbroke plugs, and I wanted a fierce, beautiful, and exciting new challenge to bust me out of my comfort zone.  All that initial confidence I felt in myself and in the horse was correct.  It was necessary to get to the next level.  It was the same knowingness I felt when I made the decision to quit drinking last November.  I knew on a deep level.  Then all the sloppy, difficult, exalting, exciting, and frightening work began.  Sometimes it feels like I went through a meat grinder. I need to work on my confidence, and that’s what asking for help is all about.  I never thought humility and disclosure of fear and weakness could make me feel so strong.  I don’t want to pretend anymore.  Cue the authenticity! 

There is a girl at my workplace who really never liked me.  We worked together fifteen years ago and she didn’t like me then, either.  She always told people she thought I was fake.  I used to feel really offended by that, but recently I have had an epiphany.  She was right.  I have been faking it for most of my life.  Being tender and sensitive hasn’t always served me well in the public sphere.  I thought I did a good job of putting on a confident front but apparently she saw through it and found the charade disgusting.  When I came back to Michigan my life was pretty shook up.  I was faking it to make it.  I felt so much shame, fear, self loathing, and anger.  My father was fighting with my mother and I was a struggling single mother living back under their roof.  I had arrived with exactly one dollar in my pocket and a quarter tank of gas in the car.  Sure I faked it.  I faked it because the reality was too horrible to admit.  I kept judging myself and the voice was mean.  “Why aren’t you married with a big house on the lake?  Why didn’t you finish school ten years ago?  Why are you so fat?”  I didn’t want to be the oldest person in my classes at school.  I didn’t want to be in the single moms club at work.  I didn’t want my life to stay stuck.  I relied on old skills to cope, which included faking it and not feeling it.  And drinking.

When my dad got sick with pancreatic cancer and died three months later, I couldn’t feel anything. It was like my feelings were stuck inside this padded white leather room.  I was this robot who was just functioning and performing tasks.  I got really fit, I got good grades, I comforted my mom, and then once and awhile I’d get sad and immediately go get really shit faced.  I started realizing these patterns only after I quit drinking this winter. 

The good news is that I really enjoyed the hell out of crying.  Who knew crying felt so great?  I was sobbing my true feelings and fears into the phone like a child and it dawned on me.  I am not pretending anymore.  My armor is off, my nakedness is scary and fresh, and I feel like I am being born.  It is so exciting to realize that every day is a new start.  It is as simple as taking the step.  Now I look forward to so many things when I used to stay focused on the struggles of getting through the day.  Being free from the shackles of depression, recovering from horrendous hangovers, and chemical emotional fallout is amazing.  It frees me up to enjoy my life and live in gratitude. It frees me up enough to cry.  Funny how I am melting and so is the snow.

Wishing you peace and comfort through the process.  Have a wonderful day! ~OTS