Category Archives: drinking

“Killing me softly”

So there I was in the Colonial Pantry gas station & convenience store at the corner of Green and Illinois Avenue. It was the convenient store that I would walk to alone in the middle of the night to get cigarettes. I really didn’t drink a ridiculous amount back then, so rarely alcohol. This store was located right by the apartments where I learned how to lay tile and also learned about rape. It was also across the street from where I had my first crushing break up of my college career and both of those moments were pretty pivotal in every. single. thing that ever I experienced after that…

AND THAT’S HOW STORIES GO for sexual assault survivors just so you know. Out of nowhere I just got to run down those memory files again…

So there I was in the Colonial Pantry buying cigarettes. I cannot afford my usual hard pack of Camel Lights so I buy Doral 100s – little bit more smoke per pack.

I always said that I was committing suicide slowly and I just made a connection to that with the alcohol and of course the cigarettes and the short-lived drug use. I did, in essence, kill myself and I suppose that’s where this rebirth comes from – this  phoenix rising from the ashes. I was on fire and instead of tending it, I poured ethanol on it. I included a link there to some research about the links between alcohol and cancer. here’s another one.

I lost two of the most special women in my life to cancers identified as connected to alcohol: liver and breast. It is literally on my to-do list to get my ferritin levels re-checked since quitting my habit. I cannot lie and say that fairly heightened levels was a final factor in my big quit, though it certainly resonated.

Back to the original story – I saw a story on Instagram about how people are using social media to help others with their mental health struggles. That’s what I have been trying to do my entire teaching career and for the last 20 years with trying to get this book I wrote called, Something from Nothing published.

For the longest time in my life, one got published with publishers. Then there were companies that would charge you THOUSANDS of dollars. And then there was Amazon.

CLEARLY I need a little marketing help. I always knew I was on to something and OF COURSE, I was before my time.

I may have to hire a real editor since my current person is coming up on two years pissing around with it. If she can’t find some passion for it, then – someone else!!

I think if I could get a timeline for when it might actually be finished, I would know how much to share with others in social media. But also there is the whole I have to have a certain persona as a teacher and is it okay for me to share the kinds of things that I would need to share. So I have this huge struggle with my own identity while I’m trying to be my own person. It is just a cluster $u@*.

So I have chosen to live and am on day 136. I honestly have to look that up every time. I bet there’s an app for that (wink wink). Doesn’t matter though because I won’t use it…I just don’t worry so much on counting the days as I count the moments where I’m catching up for so much lost time and just drinking every single feeling in and through me instead of drinking to cover me.

In case you’re curious, I don’t link my personal writing website or name to this website because I am open about that aspect of myself at this time, as much as possible, given my conservative profession, but I am not “out” about the rebirth, where the girl who was damaged by all that decided to walk back to herself. You know, to get the more she always wanted!

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Half a World Away

Half a World Away

Go ahead, give it a click. Aurora is quite lovely.

Coincidentally (or not?, if you’ve followed my journey of signs on this blog), she happens to be my newest artist discovery. A childhood friend shared her and it appealed to me and now, I cannot stop listening.

Turns out, Aurora is also a city in Colorado where there is a job with my name on it.

Well, I hope my name is still on that job. Allow me to explain what I have been up to in these past weeks. On the 5th of April I attended the Teacher Fair of which I spoke in a previous entry. Here I connected with five or six viable districts who were in need of services I could excel at providing. I had some nice leads. As luck would have it, my offer came in a form other than what I expected, but that I have grown to love.

I have been offered the position, there is the matter of the contract remaining. So, it’s as if we are moving and getting our wish granted, but kind of  NOT, all at the same time.

So, we are digging through the boxes in the attic and purging our home of clutter and things we simply do not need anymore. We are excited about taking very little with us and starting over and buying new. Our attitude toward home furnishings has changed. We want practical and temporary – not lifetime pieces. We did that already and that beautiful cherry furniture served us well, but it is time to let it go to serve someone else.

As one can imagine, it’s been a busy and kind of stressful time lately. My current students are doing a great job reinforcing my desire to leave and I am just tired and nervous and scared and elated and re-energized – and…and…and…

ALIVE.

And thriving.
So! Here’s to making it SUCCESSFULLY through a THIRD OF A YEAR (Day 121, y’all!) without drinking! For all the craziness right now, I can trust one thing – myself. I can finally trust myself after years of second guessing. Could be age, could be new brain pathways forming in my noggin while detoxing…No matter – I can make big decisions and trust that I am leading my family, instead of being led by that saboteur, alcohol.

Cheers to new adventures!

(whatever they may be!)

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Physical changes

I don’t really know a lot about BMI and water percentages, but I got a new scale in the midst of tracking changes in my body during my first days and months of sobriety and I think I have some decent results. I decided to post here today as I currently have no shorts or jeans that I cannot pull on and take off without buttoning or unzipping. I am back to my regular size, but I feel petite yet strong.

But, that means the yoga pants I took out of the spring/summer bin are a bit big.

Body Data

I’m not sure if you can tell anything by these “before” pictures, but I can’t find the ones where I showed my big belly. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)IMG_0438IMG_0425Being good to my mind and body has been good for my soul.

 

 

 

 

Self-Care crunch

I am in a really big jumble right now. I have so many deadlines and responsibilities upon me, but mostly I want to focus on my inner journey and growth. I have so many creative ideas and juices flowing and it’s frustrating to have to set them aside when I have finally we reawakened them.

My husband and I have been on a tremendous journey the past seven years and we feel as though all of our hard work is about to break open and this change that we have put into motion is about to come to fruition and it is an exciting and scary time.

I can get overwhelmed in times like these, and I remember that I have forgotten my morning self care ritual of yoga and breath work for about two weeks now.

I had a nice morning off feeling my way around my home and the responsibilities and things that need done over this weekend and I believe that starting tomorrow morning I will be getting up and doing my yoga stretches and my morning breath work and we’ll see if this helps me to handle the forthcoming challenges and give me the energy to do all the good that I want to do.

There are deadlines for my current career as well as applications and job interviews for the next chapter in two possible locations. There are conversations with the distraught 13-year-old about not wanting to move. There’s blaming and there’s doubt and it’s muddy, but I am a Warrior of the Light and I will continue to be attentive to the signs that keep leading me along this journey.

I think it’s safe to say that alcohol has not been a contributing factor to my success in life and now it is time to break free of those chains and take my training wheels off for good.

Perhaps when I get through the deadlines I can get focused and carve some time for adding the regular writing into the self-care mix.

Day 110

I just had an amazing growth experience in Colorado and am still reeling from the amazing positivity and energy there. I visited some people dear to me and I felt welcomed and inspired.

According to Doreen Virtue, a popular spirit healer, “1, 11, 111, and 1111 in Angel Numbers all mean: ‘”Keep your thoughts positive, because your thoughts are manifesting instantly into form. Focus only upon your desires and not upon your fears.”‘

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I could not bear to be inside earlier today and I had so much to do. Sometimes, even with the best plans, deadlines approach faster than expected. I took on a lot this year because I thought if I could handle the administrative licensure while working full-time last year, I could do anything. I tell you what I know for sure, and that is that sacrifices must be made to follow dreams. I am thankful I am able to do just that.

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I have had much encouragement from the universe in these past months and I am watching and listening carefully.

100 days of sobriety

I got a little off schedule with posting. I’ve been “working” on a draft for a week, but mostly, I have just been laying low. The production was a wild success and I have been getting reacquainted with reality. And having free time.

Right now I don’t quite know what to make of the time that was spent in rehearsal for three months, but I do know I am not spending it drinking. Staring at walls, maybe, but not drinking.IMG_1545

I was cleaning out the fridge this weekend (okay, so maybe more than staring at walls) and noticed that I have a little split of champagne left over in there for a guest. Before that would have been GONE the second I didn’t want to go to get wine one night.

I have been noticing the beer in there as my husband still likes to have one once a week or two, but it struck me to see see that this is Shiner CHEER, their winter holiday blend. It’s in my fridge – IN APRIL. Come to my house, I can offer you a beer!

Today marks 100 days of sobriety. Other than being kinda bored with seltzer water, I feel like I’ve got this. Now I just have to work through the awkward small talk moments on my own at social gatherings and I’ll be a pro. I am definitely not there yet, but I know with time I can do it. Practice, practice, practice.IMG_1558

Cheers! Have some bubbly with me!

90 Days

Last Sunday night I celebrated the closing night of our 4 show run of this little musical I put together. I was scared to death to do it and I wasn’t exactly sure I was going about it right, but I kept trusting the process and failed to panic and get crazed. The designers that worked on the show all worked so incredibly hard to get everything just right and it was a cute, entertaining show.

I can hold my head high in the community that I pulled it off! The children had a blast and all the parents seemed pleased and proud. The energy was amazing and cheerful.

In the midst of a very hectic time, I maintained my yoga and breath work and I continued my hobbies and self-care regimens. I did not even feel tempted to drink. It’s as if this time is just different. I’m done throwing away my one precious life.

I spent two days after my show closed staring at walls and computer screens. Well, and clouds when I could get outside, but I think that is much more positive idle time.

I just worked for ten weeks solid on a musical production with 40 children – staring into space for a couple days seems appropriate. But it’s not the kids or the show that have me this way.

It’s an individual that I had to work closely with that was not a good fit on a number of professional levels. He is concerned with his own ego and is power-hungry and it gets all over me. Unfortunately, his performance was not entirely supportive of the production and it is the truth. I have recorded my notes and I will have faith that the truth will prevail. But it was no fun having that mess all over my perfectly wonderful experience.

I celebrated 90 days without alcohol the weekend of the show – how cool is that?! I cannot express how amazed and proud I am that I pulled it off. Stepping into unknown territory without familiar coping tools. And things were mostly effortless. I felt more in control of my experience and everything remained calm, cool and collected until the very end.

I think that’s something of which to be proud. So what if no one in administration or even the teacher who has the upperclassmen came to see it. Guess they all knew it was going to be WONDERFUL.IMG_1366It was.

I just returned home from some time at my mother and father’s house in Texas. My little brother hosted my son on a wild game hunting trip on the land he leases just 12 miles north of Mexico. It was a wonderful trip for my son and, as it turns out, for me.

I can hardly write for wiping my tears. I’m trying to be discreet as I am not alone and these moments are so personal to me and because I have so little control sometimes, I love for my moments alone to be alone. It just so happens that my study is in the heart of the house.

A house that I have grown to love so much. It cradled me in its arms and spoke gently to me. We grew together and it will be the hardest thing to leave behind when we pack up and head to Texas. Because we have to.

I believe it was Monday night that everyone went to sleep and I still had plenty to think about so I jumped into a Master Class through Mind Valley Academy to embrace my energy body. Since my session with Grace I have been chipping away at educating myself and the classes I’ve found are not lining up with my schedule. It was well explained and I was able to feel the warmth of my energy between my hand as Jeffrey Allen described. I coaxed that block from my sacrum and I replaced it with fresh new expansiveness.

While my mom was taking an afternoon nap and my sweet husband was driving our ten-year old around on the golf cart, I sat on the back porch rocking. I am interviewing for positions in education again this summer in and around Austin and I saw myself driving to the Lake on the weekends to visit my mom. Her respiratory issues are just not good.

She has taken such good care of herself almost her whole life and smoking, combined with toxic chemical exposure, has really  done a number on her ability to breathe and live.

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Cannot be any accident that I have discovered my breath this year. I rocked on her porch, strolled over to the pond and just let all of my thoughts and feelings wash over me. The bitterness from getting the raw end of the deal was absent. Suddenly I felt like I was the lucky one. My boys are 13 and 10 and my brother’s first son is not quite 8 months old.

So I redoubled my efforts and got a few more applications in to other districts while I was there. She had very little energy, having battled bronchitis for three weeks and so there were no big outings or anything so I had plenty of time to do it. Things were very low-key with my Dad and oldest being gone and there was plenty of down time.

I am back home now decompressing and processing the moments of the past few days, which included a digital video interview for a HUGE position in Austin and some crazy little details and connections being revealed that may or not be synchronicity, or as I always called it, as a young girl with a favorite book, Serendipity (1974).

I have been looking to purchase this book for myself for a number of years and I went ahead and bought a first edition, just like the one I used to have. Many of my childhood toys and keepsakes were missing from my grandparent’s basement when my mother and I returned from her first tour in the service. I have always been sad to have lost those things.

About three years ago my mother found “my” Raggedy Ann doll on Ebay, bought it and sent it to me.

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I will be so curious to peel back the cover and see the name of the original owner of Serendipity and that little girl (?) and I will share a moment of acknowledgment that “Knowing who you really are will bring you happiness” as is the theme of the book. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that my connection to this book has been steadfast my entire life. I look so forward to re-reading it. Perhaps the next time I head down this spiral, I will treat myself to my other favorite: Flutterby (1976), with the moral: “Be just who you are.”

At any rate, I am feeling a certain pull to the area. Perhaps a real connection to the idea that this is finally the real move that is due. It was no trouble at all to be present in my own skin without being inebriated or drinking at all. Maybe I am ready to surrender to the idea that my Mom is certainly not perfect, but she has done the best that she could for me. Maybe I can learn to forgive her for things that hurt me.

I guess she has probably had to forgive me hurts over the years.

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Independence Day 2016

I bumped into a yoga instructor and holistic healer on social media. It was a bizarre meeting, but we have many things in common and she is conducting a Nourishing Awakenings women’s nature retreat just a few hours from my home. Fire walking is involved and I am very seriously considering going. I contacted her about it and in our conversation it came up that I am trying to get my family to Austin and we’re saving money and all of that and of course, that’s exactly where she was on her travels as we spoke. Anyway, I have saved this much since quitting drinking…I continue to want to reinvest it…2017 word = truth. This could be my celebration of my SELF. My real self. This event takes place post 100 sober days…walking on fire…hmmmm…Just all seems so serendiptous.

We shall see – I have until the musical I’m directing closes this time next week to make a final decision, so the timing could not be better.

This post is a reflection of me at 81 days. Getting clearer and clearer.

Tonic and Lime, please.

10 weeks. 70 days.

For ten weeks I have not allowed alcohol of any kind to pass my lips. Strange that even though my last drink of choice was red wine, the drink I miss the most is BEER.

Ice cold draft beer.

It’s a great time to live in Memphis as there are craft and micro breweries popping up all around town. There are a fair number of outdoor events and the food truck craze is full on here. Couple that with spring weather and a nice afternoon in a hammock…a beer is an excuse to take a break and I sure do forget to do that.

img_4848That one time I spent TEN WHOLE MINUTES resting in my son’s hammock. I likely had an afternoon beer after I snapped this proof that I do stop moving sometimes.

 

When I was looking at how to quit drinking this summer, one of the options I thought to give myself was to allow only beer when out and about at festivals and concerts. In my mind, I was pleased with the image of being “that” kind of drinker. That image appeals to me, but the jury is still out … not sure if I even want to think about what might be in store for me – someday. Gotta concentrate on today.

Based upon the limited recovery reading I have had time to do, it doesn’t sound like a “healthy” relationship with alcohol is likely in the cards for a girl like me. The data indicates that I’ll be fine with a beer or two at first, but that after time, and a short one at that – I’ll be chasing 12 packs and kegs again because those addiction pathways are deep and not easily mended by a little sobriety thrown into the mix.

So, I continue to choose NOT to drink. Went to a concert Saturday night for a college and life-long favorite, Ben Folds. Ordinarily, I’d have “pre-gamed”having at least two drinks before I even left. Then I’d have spent half of the evening wondering how I was drinking so fast and when I could get another drink from the bar without missing my favorite song. Or, I’d have spilled all over myself and been an embarrassment. That last part’s not entirely true, but it has happened before. At minimum, the drinking at the concert would have been automatic. It may well have been my first sober concert ever.

Turns out that I was perfectly happy drinking a tonic with lime. They actually didn’t have lime wedges, so the bartender used lime juice and it was DELICIOUS! It’s like I play a little game with myself – where I used to call it a “treat” to have an alcoholic drink (even though I would have four or more daily), I now reframe it and call my “non-alcoholic replacement drink” a gift to myself. Something about allowing that psychological process to happen is helping to shift things for me.

I have always struggled with self-talk. My inner critic is a blazing ASSHOLE. My mother was (is) very critical. She’s wicked smart, but because she had me at 15, she lost out on many opportunities to advance herself. She made a wonderful career in the USAF and obtained her Bachelor degree in journalism, but she still has untapped potential. She is an authority on just about everything. So, I carry that with me and it’s loudest when I am not perfect. You know, all the time. 

Strangely, I find it easier to silence that critic now that I am free from alcohol. There’s less happening in my brain to confuse the issue. Things are far from perfect and I have a heaping lot of mess to sort through yet, but I can much better discern bullshit from truth.

Good thing, since my 2017 word is TRUTH.

I’m getting plenty of it.

 

First Dream

I have taken a much needed day off work to keep to myself today – a “mental health” day if you will. I was putzing around and just realized that I think I had a glass of wine or a beer at an event I attended during a dream I had last night. I left a long day (and a week of Mondays) into evening at work to go home and address some personal issues with my son and his behavior affecting his education and I remember thinking as I got into my car, tuning out with a glass of wine would usually be in order about now. But I knew I wouldn’t and didn’t actually want to. The thought went through my consciousness as quickly as it came.

First of all, dreaming is pretty much a thing of the past. Well, it was, until now. How ironic that I should have my first dream in as long as I can remember after I spend sixty sober days and it is about drinking?

So many thoughts to process. Which rabbit hole shall I travel? The more I think about it, the more real the dream felt on a visceral level. I was ashamed of doing it.

These dreams are normal.

This forum has a thread of experiences posted by many others with drunk dreams. It seems to me that this might be common in these first months of sobriety. Looks like that is right on target. Textbook case.

I am looking forward to witnessing a blossoming dream world in my sobriety. I remember many years ago the revelations I was in tune with in my dream as a young adult, before I began to drink dreams away, unbeknownst to me all the while. I have been tossing around the reality that soon I will begin Julia Cameron’s “morning pages”. I have to wrap up the current youth theatre production at the end of March and then I will be able to explore it further.

Though I started The Artist’s Way on December 27th, my first day of sobrietyI quickly realized I would have to put it on hold until a prior commitment came to pass. I also wanted to firmly establish my morning  yoga and breathing ritual that I began attempting on January 3rd. Currently, I am just shy of a week of 100% mastery of that goal. I have talked about those morning routines here and here. I may elect to begin exploring the idea of morning pages before I conclude the play – perhaps when I have a dream that needs to be recorded. I want to make up for lost time now that my mind is healing, and I want to take full advantage of all of these rich experiences without getting completely overwhelmed.

I got the help of my husband to finish the shelving project in my study.

I just love this room of my own.

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