Tag Archives: day count

Frozen Yogurt or Something

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Day…Month 9 and change.

I’d be lying if I said I had my sh*t together right now.  My emotions in the past 48 hours have ranged from hysterical laughter, hysterical crying, extreme sadness, lethargy, mundaneness, rage, contempt, contented, fatigued, and spasmodic…and this is me on a mood stabilizer. The posts I started to write but deleted with fury were just as disorderly. This has been going on for two days.

Yesterday my attention was focused on researching the tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  I intended to relay a scholarly, articulate interpretation of my past drunk version of Hyde, and the present sober Hyde in me who is still very alive.  I thought that’d be a good time to write about how I was threatening to sue IKEA for a dresser I built incorrectly, but that was a dud, too.

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(This is how I look right now)

I confessed my writer’s block (more like writer’s spaz) to a friend.  Together we tried to generate metaphors on life and frozen yogurt.  This is what we came up with:

-Today is like a gummy bear…transparent and sticky.

-My mind is like a clogged frozen yogurt dispenser.

-My ideas are the crumbs that everyone drops because those stupid spoons are too shallow.

-My fingers are like gummy worms.

-Frozen yogurt is like a blank canvas.  The toppings mean so and so…

So far nothing has been able to reassemble my discombobulated thoughts.  I feel like the creativity portion of my brain is Humpty Dumpty; in pieces and can’t be put together again.

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(sorry to be so graphic)

I even tried to provoke my archenemy for material, but the fight didn’t progress much past, “fuck this guy,” and something about grudges in small huts.  I guess writing about disdain isn’t exactly a sober topic anyway.

The worst part about this shit-show is that the problem is obvious and the solution is one step away.  My pal “Dan” said he was a crazy person during Steps 6 & 7, and now I understand why. In Step 6 I came to terms with the defects of character I’d like to be removed, but they’re still there because I’ve been unwilling to get rid of them. After being in limbo for 3 weeks I finally willingly read Step 7. It was an extreme ah-hah-clarity moment.  Hey look I’m actually writing about something.

“Our crippling handicap had been our lack of humility.”

Humility as I understand it is: “not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”

My lack of humility explains this neurotic scatterbrain state I’m in.  My actions inside the AA room have been “A” material but outside, getting an “F.”  Road raging, threatening to sue IKEA over a dresser, buying things I don’t need, and thinking of myself are traits I’ve been working to eradicate, not enhance.

“Instead of regarding the satisfaction of our material desires as the means by which we could live and function as human beings, we had taken these satisfactions to be the final end and aim of life.”

I live in a town where material possessions prevail, and my insecurities make it real easy to forget that they don’t matter.  Standing in line at Starbucks sometimes makes me feel like I’m the only person at a fashion show wearing jeans and flip-flops.

What I’ve forgotten in between Step 6 and 7 is that my confidence and happiness aren’t going to come from acting more selfish, less grateful, and insanely insecure.  I forgot to remember that I have to work at this everyday, because one bad mood makes me behave like I’m being victimized by the world.  Self-centered fears starts running my show and I start losing it, in more ways than one.

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(victimizing as usual)

So I guess if I was to compare myself to frozen yogurt right now…kidding, totally kidding. I’ll keep coming.

The End.

The End.

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F-bombs and Freedom

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Day 276

Valentine’s Day this past year was shitty.  Literally.  My dog had explosive diarrhea first thing in the morning.  She hit every single carpet from the kitchen to the front door. Good morning, Mom!

I was 14 days sober at the time and just about everything felt like the end of the world. Cleaning up crap by myself at 6am on Valentine’s Day had me this close to throwing myself into the creek.  Instead, I threw all four carpets over the deck…all of them, until I was “more sober” to deal with dog poop.

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There was no way to drown the mental tally of being a 25 year-old, single, unemployed, alcoholic on the stupidest Hallmark holiday of the year (without relapsing) so I went to an early morning meeting I’d never been to before.

In real life, as in when I don’t have a delete button, I curse like Ozzy Osbourne.  It is very unladylike but it makes me feel better…so why the fuck not.

I unleashed f-bomb fury to the room full of strangers, and felt a little better afterwards. I read somewhere that cursing relieves pain.  Seriously!

A stunned silence was left in my wake. Then a badass old man with a classic knobby cane, and a grey beard with character to boot shared.

“I noticed that some of you all looked a little taken aback by this young lady swearin’,” he said, holding his hand up in my direction.  “But you know, shit, I love it!  ‘Fuck’ is my favorite word, right after freedom!”

There was a roar of laughter and suddenly everything was much lighter. So my dog had a rough morning.  It dawned on me that it could’ve been worse— could’ve been the white carpet, or if it weren’t for AA I’d be waking up the day after Valentine’s Day with a hangover that no swearing would fix.

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Disease-Doubt (Bear with me)

Day 276

There are two types of insecurities that run me around: self-doubt, and disease-doubt.  What’s disease-doubt?  I just made it up.  It’s the feeling I get when someone questions my alcoholism.

Self-doubt is what makes me feel inept, and fuels the “why even try” attitude; it’s in the same category as low self-esteem.  Fortunately, AA has been teaching me how to counteract insecurities by becoming a better person and finding out what the hokey pokey is all about.

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Disease-doubt stems from a very specific source: an old friend.  Every once in a while, a former partner in crime will waltz back into my life and say/ask in response to my sobriety:

“But you’re not an alcoholic?”

In the beginning, I had the same reasoning as said friends; I was a happy drunk, and for the most part, a party animal.  What they didn’t know was that I hated myself, and what I didn’t know was why I hated myself.

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I want to be sober, but when my decision is disputed by someone I care about, I doubt my disease. (Disease-doubt!)  It makes me feel foolish for being in AA, and throws my program for a loop.

In the right wrong state of mind, (that sounds weird) it’s easy to say:

“I wasn’t a daily drinker!”

(Never mind that I had to ask a friend every morning whether or not I had to be embarrassed of the night before.)

And then I’ll compare my coke habits to George Jung.

“I almost never did coke by myself!”

(Never mind that I’d go home with strangers, meet drug dealers in trailer parks, wait in parking lots for hours on end, and spend money I did not have.)

When I start making stupidly irrational justifications, I go to this quote for clarity:

“Alcoholism is 90% thinking, 10% drinking.”

No matter how bad, or not bad my substance abuse was there’s no refuting the fact that I can walk into an AA meeting, anywhere, and people in the room will understand, 100% of the time; we all speak the same language.

Speaking of language, they might even understand my new awesomely self-explanatory phrase “disease-doubt.”

(I googled group understanding and this is what came up…looks like AA to me.)

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Rainbows and Batman Take Halloween By Storm

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Day 274: 9 MONTHS TODAY!

To lessen the pain of my first sober Halloween in over a decade, I impressed myself by coordinating and purchasing tickets for an event called “The Blaze.”

I proposed the idea to fellow sober-rovers, and some asked if it was a weed convention; why else would “blaze,” in the title? I told them no, it was a pumpkin extravaganza, with over 5,000 hand-carved jack-o-lanterns.  Despite not knowing any details about the thing, several of us RSVP’d and began planning our Halloween costumes.

My getup consisted of rainbow suspenders, combat boots, a white tutu, and an electric blue wig over two and a half feet long.  In case there was any confusion about what I was supposed to be (a rainbow) I bought 3 boxes of Skittles and shook them vigorously.

Batman aka my partner in crime arrived at my house in a Patagonia jacket and jeans; not exactly the Batman costume I was hoping for.  He said his Bat-suit had turned into more of a sweat suit, but assured me he would change at the event. I would’ve protested longer but there were 150 pieces of candy in the Bat mobile.

Thirty chocolate bars and 45 minutes later we arrived, parked, and within seconds realized we were the only adults dressed up—actually I was the only adult dressed up, because my friend Batman was still a version of “Bruce Wayne” from the suburbs.  He opened the trunk and looked at his bat-armor reluctantly.

“You have to wear it,” I said, as a family not sporting any Halloween-wear walked by.

We struck a deal that made me feel better.  He wore just the Batman head and black rubber gloves with his regular attire, and held a light-sabor that made noise like a broken barcode scanner.  While walking with the rest of the foot traffic, laughing at the sheer ridiculousness, I had a perplexing moment of clarity; I didn’t care what anyone else was thinking…which was good, because of what happened next.

Half-assed Batman and I got in line behind an array of teenagers waiting to enter The Blaze. As the laws of waiting in lines go, we idly moved forward even though no one had advanced.  Our friends hadn’t showed up, but we were anxious to get going since it had started raining. People in line kept glancing at us, probably because we looked like challenged adult-children, who got lost trick-or-treating. Also I figured my wig was probably pretty straggly at that point.

Finally folks started moving, but not forward…everyone was dispersing; suddenly Batman and I were standing on a cleared patch of grass, facing a plastic orange fence between the event and the woods.

We hadn’t been waiting in a line at all, just standing awkwardly close to a group of strangers who were all friends.  No wonder they were looking at us! I bet they went through a round of, “Do you know that guy with the batman head and toy light-sabor? No? Why is that girl shaking a box of Skittles?”

Once the situation dawned on us, we doubled over in laughter. Batboy had to rip off his mask and I just about passed out from laughing so hard; I’m almost certain that any and all bystanders perceived us as wasted or on drugs.

The rest of the night was equally as comical and disastrous.  By the time we met up with our friend (dressed as an astronaut), found the real line, and entered the much anticipated Blaze, half the jack-o-lanterns had been snuffed from the rainstorm and the path was jam packed to a standstill with normal folks who had enough foresight to bring umbrellas.

After a unanimous “let’s come back next year” we retreated in high spirits.

The best part about last night was that our plans totally failed, but Halloween was still a complete success.  Blow and whiskey were my short cuts to feel self-assured, and converse “normally” without my thoughts interjecting doubts every two seconds; last night I stuck out like a sore thumb with complete confidence, and had a blast.

For the first time since God knows when, my mind wasn’t littered with unfounded suspicions about what “everyone” was thinking. I don’t have to point figures in unnecessary self defense.  Who knew wearing a tutu could be so freeing.

This morning I woke up with a raging hangover. Sugar hangover that is.  I’m going to revisit step one and add candy to my list of powerlessness…and The Blaze will go on my list for next year.

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Procrastination: Getting nothing done, slower!

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Day 271

Woke up at 6:03AM as usual, made oatmeal which I consider to be as whole as healthy gets, stretched, prayed, went to the nanny gig at 7:00AM.  In a hustle, I shook off a brrr before I opened the door.  The second I walked in the 10-year-old munchkin/monster jumped out from behind a chair.

“BOO!!!!!!” She screamed with her hands up like claws. She got me.  Friggin’ boo tag.

Since it’s too cold to play basketball in the mornings Miss. Anonymous has taught me what she calls “Boo-Tag,” and I call “Anxiety Attack.”  The game goes like this:  one of us counts to 20 as the other hides somewhere in the house.  There’s the standard “ready or not here I come” warning, and the objective is to scare the crap out of the seeker the second before they see you.

My physiatrist told me that the worst thing to do for anxiety is avoid it, and recommended I put myself in situations that make me  most anxious; like driving on highways, and watching scary movies.  I figure since my mornings are now living nightmares, I’m taking doctor’s orders and enhancing my cognitive health.

After getting my blood pumping I went to job 2, which was great. It was picture day, and we had a photographer who started barking like a dog.  Usually I hate getting my picture taken but this guy made it worth the pain.  Plus, there were donuts.  I had the NY Giants-frosted one even though they should be shamed to NFL hell.

Then I had to get cupcakes, because someone mentioned cake; I can’t talk about cakes and not eat cupcakes.  I stopped at the bakery and picked two with the most grotesque amount of frosting.  I ate both and immediately regretted it.

There’s been a lot of nothing since then.  I fought with some insurance companies, wandered around, picking things up, putting them down, going to my laptop, googling dog behavior, texting for 20 minutes about diabolical plans, play dates, fireballs, and how Yoda’s name should be Young Yody. After that it was back to the computer, leaving my computer, etc., etc., etc.

Sometimes I think I spend my day walking around in circles, growing increasingly more anxious and stressed with each lap, until it’s nighttime; then I can’t sleep because I’m thinking about all the shit I didn’t get done. Procrastination will be the death of me…if I ever make it there.

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God, Johnny Depp, and Santa. Not in that Order.

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Day 268

When I was just a young grasshopper in sobriety, I felt embarrassed of my alcoholism and especially of my involvement with Alcoholics Anonymous.  I went to lunch with my first sponsor 8+ months ago, and she said “AA” audibly enough for the waitress to hear; I came this close to yanking the tablecloth off the table, throwing it over my head, and bolting from the restaurant…As if that’d draw less attention.

My personal stigma toward recovery didn’t last long. There’s no shame in having a disease, and certainly no shame in seeking treatment.  The fact of the matter is that my body felt like a dark empty cavity 268 days ago with a stillness inside that scared me, and that void is being filled with love and faith through God. This is where I get embarrassingly uncomfortable.

Like so many others, the mere mention of God used to make me cringe with discomfort and tense up with fury.  I think my averseness to the notion almost took me out a few times because I thought AA was trying to make me stand in a pew and confess my laundry list of sins.

Religion has always seemed like a manipulative institution of beggars and choosers; picking what can support their narrow-minded system of beliefs and leaving the rest.  In my mind, spirituality sort of glommed onto religion but seemed more like hocus-pocus, falling into the same category as Santa Clause—both nice, both lies.

I have come to learn that not all organized religions are evil, and none of them are affiliated with AA. AA is a spiritual program and just because Santa was a letdown doesn’t mean spirituality is, too. With acceptance of a higher power my definition has God has become defined in a very undefined way.

God to me is hearing a story of pain that ends in hope, it’s saying things I didn’t know I knew, it’s accidentally ordering the wrong truck cover the day before I was supposed to go to California, it’s asking for patience in moments of frustration, or being able to help someone who needs it as much as me in the moment.  Sometimes my God is simply “Dear Higher Power,” or “Thank you Mother Nature,” or “Sup, Great Spirit.”  God can be an acronym for Group Of Drunks, as long as I admit that by myself, I cannot stay sober.

Despite my comfortably and loosely constricted concept God, along with the fact that I’ve separated “Him” from religion, I can’t help but feel chagrined expressing spirituality with both alcoholics and non-alcoholics.

I feel judged mentioning “God moments” because if there’s a silence that falls afterwards, I immediately feel the need to explain myself and justify the importance.  It takes every fiber of my being to refrain from launching into my own higher power as I understand her/him/it, so I don’t, and then I sit and stew and wonder if I’ve been brainwashed. My insecurities come from self-centered fears of what other people think.  I make up scenarios in my head of what people say when I’m not around, about how I found God and lost my marbles.

What I need to work on is caring less about what others think.  I suppose caring less means gaining confidence, which comes through step work, and ironically, interaction with my higher power.  Part of me wants to get it all out, and proclaim my faith from the rooftops, yelling to anyone and everyone that I believe in a God, but that sounds as drastic as the tablecloth plan…I’ guess I’ll just pray on it.  Maybe I’ll pray for Johnny Depp, too.

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Learning to be okay, with just “okay.”

A recent share I could completely relate to:

Fellow Alcoholic:  “My sponsor asked me how I am doing, and I told him I’m okay, which is a weird place to be. I’m not joyous or angry or depressed.  There’s no jolt of anything.”

I can feel the anxious zone of stagnancy he spoke of, and its unnerving feeling of mundanity.  The good news is, we are not alone:

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A friend sent this to me after her sponsor sent it to her, and I find comfort knowing that feeling antsy with ordinary is a natural human condition.

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The Disease of More

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Moderation has never come easily to me; I’m not  sure if I ever had it at all.  When I was only two and a half years old my mom introduced to the sweet, swirly goodness of cinnamon raisin bread. Knowing what I know now, I’m pretty sure this white flour carbohydrate was my first addiction.

Mama Anonymous has recounted my affinity for the bread hundreds of times; how after she doled out one piece, she’d turn around and my little baby butt would be sticking out from the cabinet, in a not-so-sneaky attempt to snag the whole loaf. Even then I felt that one piece was not enough. This would be the theme of my life.

The insatiable thirst for more has consumed me for as long as I can remember.  In elementary school my obsession became watermelon flavored Jolly Ranchers—I would spend my piggy bank money and buy the biggest possible bag from CVS, sneak them past my mom, and stash the inevitable unborn cavities under my pillow so I could eat them in secret at night.  Nothing about my covert Jolly reserve struck me as unusual, and maybe it wasn’t, maybe all kids hid candy under their pillows.  Maybe…

Dependencies have torn me down in mental and physical forms over the years: weed, artificial sugar, advilPM, ibuprofen, coffee, cigarettes, self mutilation, excessive exercise to the point of injury, overeating, under-eating, frozen yogurt, ecstasy–If I can use it I’ll abuse it.

Fortunately my life has taken a turn for sobriety, but my two most dependable addictions are gone: drugs and alcohol.

Whiskey and cocaine went together like peas and carrots, and provided everything I needed to live with myself and cope with others.  They fed me short-cuts to self-esteem and anesthetized the real world (and the real me) I was unable to face.  Mind altering substances diverted me from looking in and finding out where the pain was coming from, and diversions were okay for a while.  Albeit, as many alcoholics say, “it stopped working.”

The addiction I struggle with now is money.  Just like drugs, if I can use it, I’ll abuse it…and I do.  Although, my savings account is taking the brunt of the abuse.  Where’s my piggy bank when I need it?

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Me, me, you?

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Day 260

“If you ever want to be unhappy, just sit down and think about yourself all day.”

When I heard this in a meeting it resonated, but it’s amazing how quickly I forget.

Living in a pre-Copernican state of mind where the universe revolves around my life is the fast track to going nowhere.  Self-talk makes my world so small; there’s no room for growth, and there’s certainly no room for anyone else.

In trying to obtain what I “needed” this past week to make me “happy,” I made myself extremely unhappy.  What I was seeking most vehemently was validation from others to placate my own insecurities.

If permitted, unrestrained self-centered fears will throw raging pity parties in my head; I’m not smart unless someone says so, I’m ugly until someone tells me I’m not, I’ll buy clothes to make me feel pretty, then traffic on the way home from buying clothes I couldn’t afford becomes the biggest inconvenience on earth. Then after wasting so much time on myself, an AA meeting becomes burdensome and I grow resentful of the meeting and everyone involved.  (Not me…everyone else.)

This cycle has run me around before and it will run me around again, anytime I fail to see people beyond my vision of falsified self-importance.

A wave of relief washed over me when I received the opportunity to help someone today–it was like a spell being broken.  Oh yeah, I thought, this is what it’s all about.

There’s that cliché saying, “It doesn’t matter what’s on the outside, it’s the inside that counts.” And that’s true…in terms of appearance, but not in the cognitive sense.  Sometimes I need the outside to fix the inside, so I can spend the day standing up to help others, not sitting down and thinking about myself.

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Living Sober = Loving Sugar

NOM NOM NOM

NOM NOM NOM

When in doubt, I scroll up in my sobriety archives.  If I’m denying how far I’ve come entries from the first 90 days reassure me of my progress.  Here’s an entry from March 8; I had just over one month.

March 8, 2013

“i cannot stop eating. I’ve been having chocolate pudding for breakfast, I  wake up and the first thing on my mind is, cookies. sweets, candy. my mom hid the chocolate bars from me; i am actually being rationed. my mom has said, just have one piece of chocolate, and i have said, that means nothing to me. instead of thinking rationally about the situation, oh i need to eat healthy, i think, i just need to starve myself a little. healthy thoughts, by….”

…by Faith Anonymous…well, Faith Anonymous 7 months ago, anyway.  Reading entries such as this one give me hard evidence that I sometimes need to carry on for morale’s sake.  I can read the ways in which I’ve grown. Don’t get me wrong–I still love any and all forms of sugar, but today there are healthy solutions as opposed to self imposed starvation.

Healthier options have derived from a healthier mind.  Now I workout,   and then chow down on a candy bar.  Sometimes I have to ardently force myself to drive past that Crumbs Bakery place, aka my heaven and nightmare on earth, but that’s because I’m still learning moderation, and sometimes I walk out of there with three trays of cupcakes.

So I have a sweet tooth on steroids; at least the sugar I consume for sober sanity isn’t nose candy for my addiction.  See?  Healthier Options.

Day 256

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