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1 down 2 to go…

Last time I posted, I talked about how I made the decision to go back to school and change career paths. I want to become a mental health counselor. I am still very excited about the decision, but today I am feeling a lot of doubt.   Do I really have any shot of making this happen?

Last week, I got word that I was turned down by one of the three schools I applied to.  It’s funny, because I had actually decided I didn’t want to go to their program after all…but then they gave me the form letter rejection, and it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I actually wish I hadn’t gotten the notice until after my next school interview – because it really shook my confidence.  Logically, I know that I was never guaranteed to get into the program.  They get 100s of applicants and were only selecting 6.  I’m a great human being, but I’m not necessarily top 6 of 100s.

I just got home from a group interview from a second school.  In that interview, every other applicant was already in the field!  For every question, they could speak to how they’ve already encountered it professionally or how they’ve been trained to.  Then there’s little ol me.  I work in a completely different field.  Most of my experiences related to therapy are related to my own personal therapy journey.  Many of the reasons I think I would be good as a counselor are related to my mentoring within sobriety – which I have no desire to even discuss publicly.  The other candidates seem to already know exactly what they want to do, what will be involved, and how to articulate it.  Meanwhile, my social anxiety was alive and kicking in a way I haven’t seen in over a decade.  I just couldn’t get the words out of my mouth.

I don’t believe I did great on the group interview.  Maybe, it’s just a case of me needing to know what a group interview is like.  After all, I’ve never been in an interview with other candidates before. Or maybe, I’m not far enough along to really deserve to be there.  What gives me the right to decide to go into this new field with little to no experience in it?  On the other hand, this is a field where there is a shortage of professionals AND an increase of patients.  Why is it so damn hard to get into a program when you’re willing to cast aside a successful career to get involved and help?

I should hear back from this 2nd school at the end of the week.  I’m either going to get great news… and then can start planning for how I will tackle social anxiety on a weekly basis while role playing and presenting things in front of groups of people LOL…or I’ll get bad news and then have to reevaluate what I’m going to do differently.  Either way, I know it will all work out in the end.  It always does.

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Grateful

Happy Thursday, everyone! I am on the third and final day of my little weekday escape. I have had the most amazing time this week. Life is really beautiful, isn’t it?

I have spent the last two days, meditating, reading, listening to my favorite music, sitting outside in nature, watching sappy romcoms, and going to the spa. My soul feels healthy and happy. My heart feels full of love.

I have a lot to be thankful for. While I do suffer from anxety, and addiction took more from me than it was ever worth – I have a full and beautiful life. I have a meaningful marriage – a true partnership. I have sweet dogs who love me unconditionally and are always there to throw a curve ball in any boring day. I have every opportunity I could ever ask for.

Today, I am grateful.

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Busywork & a noisy mind

Happy Tuesday everyone! I have 3 days off of work this week! My hubby is out of town – so I’ve decided to take advantage of the alone time and am headed to the mountains! I’ll spend 3 days in nature – away from people, work, chores, construction, and road noise. I plan to blog, journal, meditate, read, and spend time with my puppies.

I woke up this morning feeling so rested and at peace. And then, I let the real world set in, and I could feel that anxiety form in the pit of my stomach. I do this all the time – I let day to day life invade my time off instead of really being present and enjoying the time.

Frequently, when I have downtime – I fill it with cleaning, cooking, or random tasks. I could take advantage of the downtime – take a bubble bath, watch a rom com, read, meditate – but instead I default to busywork.

I remember every time I tried to give up alcohol, I filled my time with busy work. It was valuable early on, when I didnt know what else to do, but now, it really is a form of distraction.

Sometimes, I just dont know how to slow down and be present. Even though, I’ve found meditation to be a life changer for me – I still will default to busywork, planning, or constant improving. So this three days – hopefully – will be me reconnecting to self care.
Anyone else find themselves in that cycle of busy work…doing doing doing? What do you do to change it?

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Alcohol & It’s Lies

I use to wake up, exhausted, run down, emotionally beat up, ashamed, and anxious. The birds chirping and the sun rising were just a headache-inducing reminder that another day was starting that I needed to drag myself through. I couldn’t appreciate the day. I couldn’t appreciate what I had. I couldn’t be anything other than a girl…who drank too much at night…regretted it all day the next day…and drank again later.

Oh, the hell I was in for so long. Oh, how scared I was. And I couldn’t understand how I got there, how to get out, and I was so embarassed. I was so ashamed. How could I be like this? How could someone with so much talent and ability have fallen into this trap? Everyone drinks to relax, to have fun, to unwind. Why did it go wrong for me?

Well, now I see things differently. I don’t think all those people around me are ALL drinking “just fine” anymore, and I hope that they get out before they get where I was. I don’t see it as ME being unable to “drink responsibly”. I now recognize it as me consuming an addictive substance and eventually becoming addicted.

We are told that “alcoholics” are people who just can’t control their liquor…that only “some people” will ever become like that…that it is their fault for not consuming the product correctly. When in reality, anyone can become addicted to addictive substances, but most of us don’t view alcohol as an addictive drug. We are marketed to, instead of educated. We learn slogans, instead of facts.

If we don’t view it as potentially dangerous, how can we use it safely? And by the way – why do we NEED to use it to begin with? Why do we need to escape, not feel, miss out on the present, mute the world, dull the details? Isn’t THAT the true tragedy? That we all grow up believing that we need that in our lives?

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I might be a shitty dog mom, but I’m not a drunk dog mom!

Today is one of those days that I have to remember – even though it sucks, it would be so much worse if I still drank. The “bad days” are so real now. If this were 18 months ago, I would have had a lot of wine and vodka the past few days. And what sucks…is even though I don’t drink anymore, I still somehow spent the entire day as if I were hung over (including the Uber eats order of Mdonalds to get me through).

I barely slept last night – partly because I believe the waitress at dinner sabotaged me with caffeine when I asked for decaf, but also partly because I’m going through stress at home. Our super loving , but oh-so-fucked-up rescue dog had an altercation with a very sweet neighbor dog over the weekend. Now $460 later and an awkward relationship with a new neighbor – and here I am a complete and utter mess.

You go into pet ownership thinking about all the joy pets bring and all the fun they are. Until Friday, I never really had an appreciation…not a true one…for the fact that these are animals… with instincts and drive.. that I don’t even fully understand. Sometimes pets do crazy stuff that can completely fuck up your life…or someone else’s. It is a huge responsibility to own a pet – I mean…even my cat is basically an itty bitty murderer.

The crazy dog incident was an accident. Our rescue mutt hasn’t fought with another dog before…but he is anxious and scared of dogs, and I didnt keep him safe. I didn’t protect him from himself. I failed him. I stupidly let him in the garage with the door up – and off he ran, ready to fuck up the weekend …and fuck up his life.

On the scale of bad dog things – this wasn’t enormous. All the dogs are alive and well – one just has a lot less of an ear than she did before 😦 but I am horrified, embarassed, sad, and now scared to death of what the neighbors think and worried if the little ear-ripper is going to always be like this.

I feel so much guilt. It was an accident, though. I have to find a way to forgive myself…and to forgive my poor dog. I have to find a way to make his life less stressful and in a way where he doesn’t want to eat ears as an anxiety reduction method!

This has nothing really to do with sobriety…except it has everything to do with sobriety too. I don’t drink. Sometimes shitty things happen, and I still don’t drink then too. Now when shitty things happen – I feel them. God, do I fucking feel them…and I dont know how to always cope with that. I’m still learning.

I can say, though, I may have accidentally let my horribly anxious dog out…but 18 months ago I’d have probably been drunk when it happened, and I bet that would have been a total shit show! So … accidents are different now. Accidents feel shitty, but at least I know they don’t happen because my brain is functioning poorly from poisonous chemicals.

At least I can say I am doing my best. I might mess up, but I do my best and learn from what I screw up. That is way better than barely remembering what I screwed up the next day!

I’m reaching a bit, here, but that’s all I got. Today, I am having a really hard time…but I never once thought alcohol would make it better. And even if my 25 pound, ear-munching mutt is the talk of the neighborhood- at least I’m a sober dog mom and not a drunk one!

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A little “me” time – alone but not lonely!

Happy 2nd week of 2019, y’all! It really is hard to believe that 2019 is already here. 2018 wasnt very good to me and Hubby -so we are, for sure, glad it’s done! It is funny…I knew we were dealing with a lot of stress, but it wasn’t really until it started turning around that I realized just HOW stressed I was. I think me and Hubby did well through it all too. (No, I am not just saying that because he follows my blog lol). We really had some curve balls thrown at us that tests a couple – and we worked together through it all. We have come out on the other side, even stronger because of it. Between work restructuring, layoffs, and going through my first year of sobriety – it was a whirlwind. Go big or go home? Lol

As I have mentioned before, Hubby travels a lot for work. In the beginning of our relationship, it was really hard to get use to. One silver lining of all the job mess is that he hasn’t traveled for the last six months! I knew that wouldn’t last forever, but I enjoyed it while it did. Hubby started working for a new company last week and has A TON of travel coming up. In fact, he just left for a week-long meeting.

You would think with travel being so hard on me in the past…that after 6 months of Hubby not traveling, that I would be a wreck. I am happy to report that I am not! Don’t get me wrong – of course, I would rather have him home, but my happiness and wellbeing don’t rely on his physical presence in the home, either. It sort of use to… I can’t fully explain it. When I was still drinking, everything was unstable for me. I couldn’t be alone with myself without being miserable. Which is weird…because I’ve always been so independent and really enjoyed being alone. But over the years, somehow being alone just meant being drunk and unable to stop obsessing about everything that went wrong or could go wrong. Alcohol robbed me of the joy I use to have being with myself.

At first, being new to Hubby’s state, I thought I just needed to make some friends, and then I would be okay. But the thing is, I am a pretty big introvert – even when I have friends – I really only want to see them once or twice a month. So how is THAT suppose to make up for a traveling husband? It wouldn’t, obviously.

Then I thought, I just needed a dog. Now, I’ll admit – the dog has done me wonders. I honestly don’t know how I would live without my dog (well, dogs now…because obviously I had to adopt another)! But no dog is going to make up for a missing husband, either.

Then I thought I just needed to turn it into “me time”. The problem with that…is back then, “me time” meant lots of wine, vodka, or wine AND vodka mixed with very sad chick flicks. I’m sure you can see how that actually made the situation much…much…worse.

So, fast forward to now. What did the trick? Why am I suddenly able to send my husband off with a kiss, knowing that I will miss him, but I will be fine? Well, I think that is a mixed bag of a lot of work. I got sober, for one. Amazing how the elimination of drunk moping solves quite a lot lol! I did A LOT of work on myself through sobriety too. I suddenly liked myself again. I suddenly had SO MANY THINGS I wanted to do. I also believe me and Hubby have grown through both my sobriety and through this past year’s struggles. It gave us a reason to look at everything in our life and decide what really mattered and to do it together.

Also, now that the self-centered, alcohol infused, “poor me” fog has lifted, suddenly I am far more interested in how Hubby is doing when on the road vs. how I am doing. I mean really…I’m the one sitting at home with all my home conveniences, home cooked meals (or let’s be real…uber eats), and 3 amazing pets cuddling me …while Hubby is the one out there…on the road…being forced to work out of hotel rooms, planes, and cars. Hoping he has all he needs in his carryon… because if not, it will be on an urgent run to buy pants at 10pm or something ridiculous. HE is the one being totally inconvenienced with the trip…not me!

So anyways, all of this is to say… once again…sobriety saved my life. It changed everything. And I am so grateful. I am fine. I am happy, and I finally love myself and time alone again. “Me time” is now full of healthy things like meditation, blogging, reflection, dancing around the kitchen with my dogs. I go to bed sober, happy, and seeing straight. I wake up refreshed, eager, and with no hangover!

I wouldn’t change a thing!

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Forgiveness

Forgiveness is such a tricky thing. I’ve written a little about my upbringing – I was born to a 14 year old mom and 21 year old dad. My dad struggled with alcohol (among many other things), and my mom was a teenage runaway. I was raised by my very old grandma for most of my childhood – and the occasional relative whenever she was sick, and I couldn’t stay with her. Me and Grandma…we were poor, we were different, but we did the best we could. My dad was in my life off and on, and I never met my mom.  Thanks to my dad, I was exposed to so many ridiculous things as a child.  I frequently sat in the passenger seat of the car as my dad drank beer and filled the passenger floor with beer cans. I watched my dad pass out from being drunk.  I endured sexual abuse as a kid.  I was brought to bars and strip clubs – in fact, I had a stripper try to take me away from my dad once because she felt he was being such a bad father!  I was around my step mother having an affair, and I had to see my dad in the hospital …almost dead… because my step-mom’s boyfriend shot him. All of that shit…all of it…I understand for what it is and have made peace with. But there’s this whole other area in my life that I just can’t seem to get over. It comes and goes, it always hurts, and I really don’t know why.

When I was 13, I moved in with extended family – let’s call them Bob and Jan and their son Jimmy. Bob and Jan took me in when I needed it so badly.  They got me out of my dad’s house and into a good neighborhood, good school, and a somewhat “normal” life. I owe what my life has become to Bob and Jan. But the thing is –  even though it was a better environment – that time in my life is still a giant source of pain for me.  All my life, I never felt like any place was my home. I was always sleeping on a couch, sharing a bed, staying in a guest room, or moving somewhere new. Bob and Jan’s place was no different. I was living in a guest room, and I was a source of resentment for Jan and her son Jimmy. Jan was always angry with me and constantly told me how selfish I was. Now don’t get me wrong – I WAS selfish -I was a teenage girl. They are always selfish.  I was also a kid who grew up neglected and abused and always had to take care of myself.  The only thing I knew was self.  Jan argued with me, argued with Bob about me, and took Jimmy’s side in everything.  I never felt like I had the right to speak up or stand my ground – it wasn’t MY home…it wasn’t MY family. I’m sure Jan expected me to understand how much more of a burden I caused by them taking me in, but how can any teenager understand that? I’m sure she expected me to just happily accept my upgraded life and keep to myself. But I was a teenager…a traumatized teenager. She tried to force me to face issues before I was ready, she was angry that I wouldn’t, and she wanted me to just get over myself. She was never abusive, but she wasn’t loving. She never showed she cared, even though I’m sure she did in her own way. She always seemed in a competition with me – a competition I didn’t know how to play and didn’t want to be in. Back then, all I wanted was to be loved unconditionally… and all she could offer was conditional love. All I wanted was to belong, to have a home, and to be a part of the family… and all she could offer was a guest spot.

Fast forward 20 years – Bob and Jan adore me and speak proudly of me. They refer to me as their daughter. They visit me and my husband, and we have a good time together. Me and Jan have meaningful conversations and have a lot in common. From the outside, we seem like we have worked through a few difficult years. And the thing is – up until last year – I thought we had gotten past it all (mostly). Then last year, I decided to quit drinking and EVERYTHING changed.  I mean everything.  Things that had nothing to do with drinking changed.  For some reason, all of my relationships were back up for review.  For some reason, everything I thought I knew …was wrong, different, or changing – including me and Jan. Without wine, suddenly, I hated Jan. When I thought of Jan, I just thought “how could you treat a broken child like that”? It’s like I am hurt all over again. Even though I never really drank to avoid things – daily drinking does that, doesn’t it?  I basically spent my 20s-40s in a perpetual cycle of work hard all day long, then drink wine all evening long.  When did I ever have time to actually address my feelings about anything?  I guess I didn’t.  I guess that’s why it’s still raw and painful and shitty.  But how do you deal with all the past stuff? Stuff from 20 years ago?  I don’t feel like she owes me anything. I don’t even feel it’s necessary to discuss the past with her.  It’s something inside of me that needs to be resolved and nothing she can do or say will do that.  I just don’t know how to process old feelings…how to let go…how to forgive.  Maybe it’s just a time thing?  What do you guys think?