Two years

I can’t believe that it happened.  Two years of sobriety.  Thank you for your prayers and support.

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April 2016 Update

One year!

 

That’s right, one year sober.  I can’t believe that I did it.

 

I’ve made some changes in my life along the way – I ran a 5K race, started meditating regularly, and some other small things – but this biggest change is the one which allowed all the others to take place.

 

I hope you are doing well on your journey also.

five months

I’ve been sober for 5 months and 2 weeks now.  What a shocking idea to write those words, and yet, it feels like I’ve been sober for sooooooooo long.  I know that it’s a drop in the bucket compared with how long I was drinking, and yet, these have been some of the longest months on record.

At the 12 Step meeting I go to, people always ask, “How did you do it?” when someone shares that they’ve reached a milestone (and each 30 days is a milestone in this first year).  There are the predictable responses:

“I didn’t, God did.”

“Working the program; it works if you work it.”

“Coming and sitting at these tables and hearing your stories.”

While I identify with each of those, and have said each of them at one time or another, I feel that it’s important to also say:

“I smoked twice as many cigarettes.”

“I hid in my bed at night rather than go to the store for supplies.”

“I’ve been binge watching Netflix and mainlining chocolate instead.”

Because each of these has been true as well.

So, whether you are in the first camp or the second, keep up the good work, one day at a time, and know that you are not alone.

to my husband – making amends

Dear Rod,

Last night we were playing cards and catching up on our days, as we always do, when I said something to you.

“I’m sorry.”

Now, I’ve said that before, many times.  When I stopped drinking the first, second, third time.  When I was in the middle of drinking.  More mornings after than I care to remember.

But last night was different.  Last night I wanted to explain, to really let go, and to really own what I needed to own.  And, let’s be honest, it was more for me than for you, because you’ve already forgiven me and moved on, time and again even, but I needed to do it for myself.  Since you stopped me with a shrug of your shoulders, half smile, and air kiss, and since I respected that you didn’t really want to hear it, considering it water under the bridge in your own mind, I’m writing this letter to you today.

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry that I let my need to be in control of everything put me in control of nothing, especially my consumption of alcohol.

I’m sorry for the times that I was so insecure and wanted to fit in that I let that control my drinking such that you had to control me.

I’m sorry for the times that I let my fears about life, about relationships with my family, about work, about us control my drinking instead of facing those fears and moving beyond them.

I told you then and I’ll tell you again: today, I’m letting go of my need to control everything.  You are a shining example of going with the flow and trusting that everything will work out, and I want to revel with you in the flow and enjoy life like you do, with you.

I’m grateful to you for so much.  Thank you for being such a patient, kind, loving father, husband, and friend.  I appreciate you more and more each day.  I love you.

mid-life crisis

107 days

Earlier this summer I made a new friend.  Well, that’s a little strong, let’s change it to this: I met someone who I desperately hope will become a new friend.  We were camping and I was practicing the guitar and she complimented me one starting to learn something new at my age and I jokingly replied that, “This is my mid-life crisis.”

The truth is, though, that it is.  I turn 40 later this year. It was that realization coupled with some other factors that caused me to realize I needed to make a serious change RIGHT NOW last January.

Now that I have been sober for an extended period, there are a number of experiences that I always (said I ) wanted but, somehow, never had the time or energy or money or strength enough for, which suddenly, I do have the time, the energy, the money, and the strength for.

I’m learning how to play the guitar.

I’m learning how to cook (OK, follow a recipe well) vegetarian meals.

I’m meditating.

I’m (gasp!) running.

I’m writing.

I’m building a business.

It turns out, that a mid-life crisis doesn’t have to be the awful thing it’s portrayed to be.  For me, it means finally getting my life straight and really living the life that I’ve always wanted to.  There is space for play and laughter, there is time for kitchen disasters, there is joy and strength.

40 no longer looks so bad.

90 days

I have to say that I didn’t see this one happening.  I really thought I would lose it between 45 and 60 days, and again 68 through 72 days.

It’s interesting to me how much deeper my spiritual life is running these days.  Making time for mediation has become really important to me.  I still don’t do it every day, and sometimes when I do, there is a child in my lap squirming around or, if he’s not there, he’s watching TV in the same room, but I’m making time for it.  I think that’s one of the most positive things to have come about thus far.

I hope that you are well also!

“Are you ready for school to be out?”

Dear Everyone,

First, let me say thank you for taking the time to make conversation with my son.  He loves to meet new people and share about himself with you.

That being said, I would really appreciate it if you would stop asking him if he is ready for school to be out.  You see, he loves school.  I mean, he LOVES it the way that most little kids do.  It’s a wonderful place with a caring teacher, where kids learn, play, and are with friends ALL DAY LONG.  What’s more is that my son is an only, so a place where he can be with his friends for extended periods of time is great.

Right now, he still thinks that school is the best thing ever.  Unfortunately, your conversational gambit teaches him (unintentionally) that school is something he should look forward to the end of, that he should look forward to not having to go to.  It teaches him that loving school is not the expected or accepted attitude.  It teaches him that school, that learning, that education, are not “good things.”

There are far too many other places in our society that reinforce this attitude.  The model that he (we) hears in some songs, reads in some books, and sees on TV, even on “wholesome” shows, is often one of dislike and disdain.  All of these little reinforcements add up to teaching him (us) that school is wrong, bad, and not a place to want to be.

The attitude of not enjoying school and learning is a learned attitude.

Please, don’t add to that with your question.

Best,

This Mom

P.S.  What are you looking forward to this summer?

threads of ego

My interests are wide and varied and I’ve written this post in my head about 8 times, and even so, I think it’s going to ramble a bit before it (maybe) coalesces into something.  We’ll see.

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What surprises me right now are all the ways in which I need to set aside the Ego.  In literally every aspect of my life, things will go more smoothly if I can do that.  Here follows a (current) list of places where I’m seeing this.

I’ve always been told that I’m “over-sensitive” and that I just need to “let it go.”

I commented to my Dad when my son was about 3 weeks old that parenting was just one long process of allowing the child to leave, building in him the independence and strength to make it on his own, to consistently let him go.  (Six years later I see the truth in that realization more than I could have realized at the time.)

At 1:43 when he says, “Rebel against dogmatic religious terminology by dogmatically using spiritual terminology,” I started to awaken to my own ridiculousness….  This is a humor piece, which caused me to laugh uncontrollably when I first saw it, but also to reflect.

In my work with shamanism we consciously decide to set aside Ego and allow ourselves to operate from a place of Soul Awareness.

Currently I’m taking a class in CranioSacral Therapy and when we apply this therapy, we are not in control, instead we are listening to the body and following, allowing, and encouraging releases to happen.

My therapist has quoted (two weeks in a row) What the Mystics Know by Rohr where it describes each human as one of the masks of the face of God saying that in this way we can reflect God to one another.

The pamphlet we read at one my meetings describes our humility in the face of the ever expansive universe and the importance of us knowing our place in it and recognizing that we are but small part in this grand and wondrous place in time.

I started therapy with a strong desire to “live in flow” and to not have to be in control of everything all the time and a willingness to allow and follow the divine river of life, instead of fight against it.

The step 3 prayer, “Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will.”

The need to not get angry with student behavior and choices that have nothing to do with me, my classroom, or my teaching.

So, what does all of this mean for this post?

I think what I’m waking up to more than anything is just how Ego-Centric my life is and has been.  I’m seeing the Ego being active in ways and places that I did not expect.  We recently went backpacking and I think every obnoxious part of me that could be shown, was.  The difference is that this time, instead of feeling justified and right, I saw it for what it was and how it affected others.

In every area of my life I see that I need to set aside the Ego and become the face of God.  I’m learning to step back from situations and hold space.  I’m learning to hear what is the Ego speaking up and asking for attention.  I’m learning to operate from a place of Soul Awareness.  I’m learning to listen.  I’m learning to know my place in the Universe and to reflect the peace that comes from living there to others.

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So, coalesced or not, there it was.  More than anything, I needed to get these threads out of my head and onto a loom to see if they can be woven into something.

Thanks for reading!

sleep

Day 21

For those of you following this because we’re at about the same number of days, I apologize for not writing sooner.

This week’s theme remains the same, sleep.  Over the years I’ve read a lot about sleep.  It was was a hot topic (is a hot topic) when I was expecting my son – cry it out or co-sleep or be super-responsive or have him sleep in a crib from the start – and on and on.  The hubs has also had problems with sleep through the years and I’ve tried to get him to change his sleep habits so that some of his daytime habits are better, but, as I’m still learning, I can only change myself.

So this week, I committed to getting to bed earlier and sleeping more, and I have.  And, I’m starting to notice the effects, more energy, more efficiency, more patience, more willingness to do the other things I need to do (3 days no smoking!!!).

I encourage you to read this article on sleep if you need convincing.

And I’m curious, how are you doing?