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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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My First SMART Recovery Meeting

I have been looking into non-AA ways to expand my IRL sober network and recently found a local SMART Recovery meeting near me. I’ve been SCARED TO DEATH to go and was trembling just walking in the building…but apparently I can do hard things…and I didnt come this far to only come this far….and I’m a fierce mother fucker….soooo I dragged my scared ass there, and I did it!

For anyone else worried about something like this – do it! You will feel so much better after you face the nervousness! It felt good to face a big fear. It also felt good to see people face to face and talk about sobriety.

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Where’s the shame in that?!

Just back from a two week vacation and getting ready for the real world again. During vacation, I celebrated 6 months being alcohol-free! I shared with one of my sober groups that I had been feeling really disconnected from my sobriety – as if most of my latest sobriety was by luck and not on-purpose.  The thing is – I have been doing this sobriety thing – not drinking, working through an 8 week workshop, being involved in several online sober groups, reading This Naked Mind, joining the 30 day Alcohol Experiment – I have been doing all of that and yet I still sometimes feel lost. Sure, part of it is because this is all new to me, but could the other part be because I’ve been hiding it all? I mean, “sober me” is basically a secret identity that only me, my hubby, and my sober groups know. Sobriety is basically some secret thing that I do when there’s down time or when it won’t be in anyone’s way. It is basically something I “fit in” in between life’s events. I think I’ve been stuck trying to “live my normal life” while adding in a dash of sobriety, but isn’t my “normal life” what got me drinking to begin with? Maybe it’s time to live my new life! Maybe it’s time to let go of who I thought I was, accept who I really am, and become who I know I can be!

Now, I’m not saying I need to “out myself” to the world or run around being Super Sober Girl or anything (side note – wouldn’t that be an interesting super hero), but I need to find a way for it to BE me and ME not be secretly ashamed of it. I started this path because I thought I could learn to moderate or drink less. Holly’s workshop was perfect because she gave us permission to just try new things and learn -with no labels, judgement, or forever-commitments. A brief time in, I realized life was better sober and I wanted it for good…but I didn’t want to have to label myself, or “have a disease”, or be that person who was different from everyone else, or be forced to do something for the rest of my life. I still don’t want that, but the thing is…I don’t actually think that has anything to do with me anyways. It’s not that I don’t want it to be “a thing”, it’s that I don’t want it to be a thing to everyone else. So here I am – doing something really healthy and amazing, feeling really great about it, choosing it as a way of life because I love it, and it’s all the warm and fuzzy things that it is – but I’m afraid of how I will be judged.

Isn’t it actually sad that so many of us walk around worried about judgement when in reality we had something going on in our life that we wanted to change, and we changed it?  That’s AMAZING! That’s AWESOME! That’s a GOOD FUCKING THING! Where’s the shame in that?!  Isn’t it actually sad that so many of us find ourselves in situations we weren’t expecting to be in and we’re too afraid of judgement to reach out for help and move forward in our lives?  Don’t you think that’s why problems get as bad as they do – because we have to hide our problems and keep them secret while we try to figure them all out by ourselves? You can’t tell me that every single person hasn’t, at some point in their life, had something they wanted to do differently. Self-improvement is self-improvement. We all have things we need to work on. We all have things we can do differently. Sure, some may be a fuck ton harder than others. Sure, some may require a longer commitment. Some people may have A LOT of little things and some people may have one giant thing…but the one thing that is certain is that we all have things to deal with! There is nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to making your life better, and I need to start remembering that.

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Something flipped

Morning everyone! So this past week, me and hubby have been watching Intervention and a few other shows where characters are clearly struggling w addiction. I’ve just realized that something has flipped for me! I no longer look at “epic drunk events” as fun – I literally just feel so bad for everyone not knowing the truth about what they are doing to their minds and bodies. I feel so bad that they don’t know how to cope with their lives. I no longer look at addiction the same way – now, I get angry that they had no idea what they were getting themselves into and their families have no idea how important it is to try to stop it earlier rather than later. I literally have NO desire to alter my brain chemistry. I’m not saying I won’t ever have cravings or a fleeting thought – I am sure they will still come…but this space I am in is SO different than before. Before, I “knew” the things we were learning about alcohol but I didn’t completely “get it”. And you know what – I don’t think I would if I weren’t out seeing people drinking, watching it on tv – witnessing the actual proof of what we have learned. I was so scared those things would trigger me but it’s just proving to me that I have done the right thing.

We were watching this one Intervention episode and the girl drank crazy amounts of vodka everyday. I totally related to her but hubby said to me “see, you were nothing like her”. It’s funny how on the outside I still appeared fine -because I know I was not fine by any means. All I could really say is “we all need to stop judging people’s drinking against the worst case scenario and instead judge it based on what they have already lost and harmed”. Maybe I wasn’t dying from a brain disease caused by vodka YET but I sure as hell poisoned my body for 20 years and hid from emotions the entire time.

Never again! Life is too beautiful to be duped into addiction.

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The dollars from drinking

I am getting SO excited! Hubby and I are in the process of buying a little cabin and hopefully (KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK), we will close on it at the end of the month! Guys, this is completely because of sobriety! For starters, I’d have NEVER been interested in going to the middle of nowhere to relax and hike when I could be at home drinking! And also – the money I spent on drinking covers more than half of the mortgage payments each year!! Can you believe that? Think of all the stuff we could have or saved for all those years drinking?!

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Reminders and gratitude

Well I did it! Not only was yesterday my first sober flight, but it was also my first event hanging out w drinkers while being a non drinker.  It was really interesting watching everyone deteriorate. It was a cooking class team building event and by the end of the night – the instructor was asking me and hubby to do all the knife work because he didn’t trust the drunk folks with a knife! I know they don’t even realize it – but they all missed out on a great opportunity to connect on a real level last night. I’m sure they are all hungover today as well.

So I had two people question me not drinking – first one knows me as a big partier and this is the second time she hasn’t seen me drink now. She asked if I gave up drinking and I said “yep- I don’t drink” and nothing more. She waited for more…and I didn’t have anything else to offer her. She was clearly uncomfortable and said “good job” and didn’t speak to me the rest of the night. Next girl doesn’t know me at all but had enough to drink to come over and share her life story w me. She asked why I wasn’t drinking and I said “I’ve had plenty in my lifetime – I’m good” and she proceeded to try and sneak me champagne several times after! After the sloppy cooking event, where 8 people consumed 13 bottles of wine…they headed to the bars, and me and hubby went back to our hotel for hot tea.

I am so grateful for my new life. I didn’t see a single thing last night that makes me want to go back to drinking.

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1st sober flight

Today is my first sober flight! There is SO MUCH TIME now that I don’t need to stop for 2-3 double Bloody Mary’s before the flight! We are on our way to a team building event for my husbands’ work – lots of drinking around me tonight but I will just drink my sparkly water and observe the insanity!