mellow is fine

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I need to reprogram my brain to like mellow/peace/fine again. I used to prefer that state of mind, but now I crave the crazy. I guess not the “crazy,” per se, but the “fun.” I guess it’s not really “fun” exactly. ha. I don’t know what it is, but mellow is what I’m feeling today; and mellow SHOULD BE a pretty darn desirable way to live the rest of my life.

My desires/instincts are out of whack from the days of drinking and focusing on my own self.

So, let’s meditate with the Rosary and my favorite, “The Memorare,” and get used to this sober state of mind.

KISS by Prince just came up on my playlist and i didn’t automatically start dancing, like I normally would.

I hope the dancing will come back soon. I like to dance—but only when I’m by myself, alone in my apartment or in the car. ha. No! I also always dance when I’m around my boys. They make me happy, and i feel like dancing when I’m with them. But that bugs them. Teenage boys aren’t too thrilled when their middle-aged mom does the PUT YOUR HANDS UP DANCE in the car…

I guess I actually am sort of bouncing a little bit in this chair.

There’s hope!

The Power of ONE

One-Logo

Finishing up day ONE. All day I had to bombard my thoughts with prayer and affirmations, and I smashed any random craving thoughts that zipped through my brain without my permission. Around midday, one of those pesky thoughts wouldn’t go away! I was so annoyed—I had to get a little mentally violent with it, actually. lol. And it finally relented.

There is power in getting through another day ONE.  Day one, and I’ve had many unfortunately, takes a tremendous mind-shift. An all hands on deck mentality. An, “Okay, let’s DO this already.” I’m actually pretty mentally exhausted.

It’ll be nice not to bug my friend with drinking emails tonight. Living amends. No more emails. It’ll be nice to wake up tomorrow morning early, not hungover. Journal-time. Yay.

The marriage separation, while sad, is necessary. I had mixed support at home for sobriety. I happen to be married to a human, just like everybody else I know. A human who is quite as imperfect as me, with his own battles to fight. While my sobriety is absolutely and ultimately up to me, I’m giving myself a better chance by separating, at least temporarily. I have a hard time with the “idea” of divorce. It may happen. My focus has to be on sobriety first. First things first.

And I have to remember this every single frickin’ day. Even on the lonely days, the broke days, the hard days. I can’t forget to think of sobriety first. ONE DAY AT A FRICKIN TIME. I have a powerful forgetter. And I have a high-tolerance for unmanageability. When you’re married to your drinking buddy for 18 years, it’s easy to turn to alcohol to let go and enjoy each other. No matter how badly he wants me sober, he’d still love it if I could drink just “once a week.”

Topped day ONE off with a massage. Going to watch some Netflix episodes of Homeland and call it a day. Hit the pillow sober. Nite, y’all.

change

i can’t believe it’s been almost a year since my last post. i guess it’s descriptive of where my life went once i picked up another beer. if you’re contemplating relapse or thinking you want one more, take it from me; and don’t. it’s way too difficult to get back to sobriety. i wish i never had relapsed. now it is what it is. i’m resigning to the truth that this is just who i am. i can’t change.  prayers you all stay on the narrow road. XO

Let the Oppressed Go Free

imageI have a bookshelf, well, actually it’s more like a couple of drawers full, of books that have and are helping me through my alcoholic journey.  As a Catholic alcoholic, or maybe just the way my contemplative/mystical brain works makes this so, I don’t gravitate towards Louis Hay and her affirmations – or even the AA books- when I’m feeling squirrely and in need of help. I don’t “call someone.” I don’t “go to a meeting.”  Instead I retreat into my world of Catholic books…with the Church, Her wisdom and guidance, Her help.  The saints, the Sacraments, Mass. Confession. Adoration.

These things fill me up.  The other things just don’t “do it for me” when I’m in the most need.  The company of others helps when I’m happy and content.  But when I am struggling, all I want is God.

So, I go into a place by myself, a place only me and God exist – other people would just distract me, no matter how well-meaning they are.  Being around others all the time exhausts me, drains me. As an ambivert (look it up) I do like other people a lot. I like to get out and talk to people and be social or bounce ideas off of others. But this also wears me out, leaves me tired and often confused.  My best friends in the rooms of recovery are not Catholic. And the rooms aren’t Catholic. So, while all of this camaraderie and all of the meetings do me a world of good for staying on track, they’re the last thing I look to when I find myself getting off track.

That’s when I turn inward. In order to refresh my soul.  I retreat into my world of Catholic books and my little quiet spaces with God.  Maybe that’s how Jesus felt when he sometimes went off to find a quiet place to pray.  Being around other people all the time makes me tired. Then I crave my quiet time with God, the same way I’d crave a drink.

Soooo…. I just took three paragraphs to explain myself!  Why so many explanations — I guess because in the rooms, I’d be told I was “isolating.”  Or, I’d be told to “call someone.”  As if my desire to be alone was a bad character trait that will make me relapse.  In treatment, when I really wanted to walk the grounds, rosary in hand, and simply be by myself – I was accused of not caring enough about others, of not opening up and talking with the other women.  In treatment they had a whole “group session” of the other women telling me I don’t care enough to open up and talk to them.

Come to think of it, it’s been this way my whole life – I was an ambivert in high school, too. And so, although I had a lot of friends and was involved in lots of activities, often I just wanted/needed to be by myself. Collect my thoughts, not be around people. I was accused of being a “snob” on numerous occasions. And I remember thinking, “God if you only KNEW how insecure I was?!” I’d think, “If you only knew that I’m the furthest thing from a snob – that I think you are so comfortable and happy and I am so uncomfortable and awkward!” I’d think, “All I want is to be alone, just me and God for a little bit; and then I promise I’ll be back.”

And so I feel a little insecure about my desire to retreat.  Nobody else seems to do this. At least not the people that are staying sober. They do the “we” thing.  I completely second guess myself. What if I was better at being a social being, wanted to be in community with others more? Maybe then I would be “doing this right.”

I know other people need their quiet time with God too. Of course. That’s not what I’m referring to here. I need that each morning too.  What I’m talking about is needing days of this!  Needing to step away from the world for days and recuperate from all this togetherness.  My need for retreat seems to be exaggerated. After too much time with people, I pull away and HAVE to have it. And so I’m sometimes not a very good friend.  At least in my own head, I’m not.

There’s a woman in the meetings, a new friend — she’s AWESOME. Wonderful, caring, loving, faithful (not in a Catholic way but in a very wonderful Jesus loving way) and she really likes me. She’s helped me with rides and stays in touch with me. So, I feel guilty pulling away but it’s exhausting me. And so again I lose a friend – or at least I lose the intensity with which she wanted to be my friend.  Her feelings appear to be hurt and I feel badly about this.

And my point is….

My point is, I’m doing this now. I’m in a retreat. Actually, creating my own little “retreat” with all of my wonderful books. I’ve been reading the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius Loyola — a tough read, but I love it! And my Magnificat, of course. And my book “In Conversation With God,” by Francis Fernandez. And my 30 day series of books with the Saints —namely St Teresa of Avila, St Teresa the Little Flower and the Cloud of the Unknowing. And I found a little book I bought last year called “Let the Oppressed Go Free” by Cardinal Rigali.  And THAT’s what I wanted to talk about today!

This little book should be in the hands of every Catholic alcoholic and family member who loves one of us.  It’s from “The Shepherd’s Voice Series,” published by Basilca Press.  Let the Oppressed Go Free: Breaking the Bonds of Addiction.

Cardinal Rigali writes perfectly for me. He explains the nature of addiction and how the Church can help addicts so simply and eloquently — I wonder if he is a Dominican? I usually am drawn to Dominicans.  My thoughts are so rambly today, sorry! I can’t even give a good review of this book because my head is swirling with too many thoughts.  So, I’ll spare you dear reader and close.

I’ll review the book tomorrow or something.

A Ring, A Robe and a Party

imagePhew! My spiritual breakthrough finally!   I had been angry at God for about two weeks! Or maybe, no, it was just a week; but it felt like two weeks.
After I took DUI school I thought I would get a hardship license; so I was sort of riding on that hope. When it didn’t happen–they wouldn’t grant me a hardship license– I crashed and spent the next week being so mad at God! Isn’t that funny I’m mad at Him for all this? I blame him for my relapse last April (I had had 6 months sober then and thought it would last forever) and felt the DUI was more than I could handle. And didn’t God say He would never give us more than we could handle?
Meanwhile He is sending ALL these people to help me! Mom, Andraya, Sally, my new sponsor Patricia! They drive me places, give me support and love — And I just keep thumbing my nose at Him being ungrateful in my heart for my lot in life, poor me. But Wednesday, after my Mom left, I was supposed to work all afternoon designing ads and invoicing. Instead I happened to pick up a book we got at Church free at Christmas that I’d never opened: Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic. It was written in simple enough language to penetrate even my hard heart.
After reading about having a daily scheduled routine of prayer/quiet time with God, I realized I had stopped doing that. And then reading about intentionality and continual improvement making small steps to God, and then reading about how God just waits for us to turn back to Him… my heart softened; and I put the book down and prayed…told God how SORRY I was for being such an ungrateful little brat, acknowledging finally all the blessings in my life and begged His forgiveness.
Just then His peace and warmth came back over me and He was back!!!!! And my whole attitude that I’ve had for the past week vanished, and I could start over with a clean slate and the Love of my Creator!
He was there the whole time just waiting for my return, with a ring and a robe and a party!!!

When Will Things Get Easier?

tazmanian devilMaybe life isn’t going to be easy. Maybe it never was? But I seem to remember a time when things were more peaceful, more in synch with God and the universe, or something.

Or, maybe I’m fooling myself? Like the grandparents that say their generation wasn’t as awful as the next generation…. maybe, like forgetting the pain of childbirth, I forget that things never were ever that easy?

I don’t know. Certainly, my problems are all of my own making — well, actually, except the miscarriage, and actually except the economy wrecking the real estate market.  True, the miscarriage wasn’t my fault. The economy going in the tank wasn’t my fault.  But everything else was.  No, the bankruptcy wasn’t “technically” my fault – that was his fault.  But I went along with all of the decisions that led up to it.  I enabled it all.  It’s not like I haven’t tried.  An entrepreneur, I’m naturally an optimist.  I keep trying to “figure it out.”  I keep trying new things, working hard, coming up with new ideas and plans.  I think of my mother’s voice saying, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”  Maybe she never even said that, but it seems like something she would say.

I have always had good intentions.  I really have intended to get spiritually and physically fit, sober forever, be a good wife and mother, create beautiful successful magazines that the local communities would enjoy.  Create a nice home for my family.  Lose weight, for goodness sakes — how long am I going to carry around these extra 30 pounds and pretend it doesn’t bother me?

How am I supposed to do all of this without a driver license for ten years?  Yes— the DUI last June and a crappy expensive lawyer; and now I’ve lost my license for ten years.  I just can’t accept this. And everybody is admonishing me (everybody who cares about me, anyways) for driving on a suspended license.  I’m not driving very much. I had to drive the boys to tennis practice and guitar lessons — the lady I traded an ad with to drive me places always gets migraines at the last minute.  So, my children have missed their activities.  The kids have been through enough — I’m not going to cancel tennis and guitar, too.

And all the relapses.  Man how I hate that word, “relapse.”  It makes me feel like such a failure.  All of the shame that’s piled up in my amygdala in the last five years. I relapsed last April and before that I relapsed in October of 2009.  And who knows if I’ll relapse again — I don’t have any faith in my ability to stay sober. And I’m supposed to give it to God and He will keep me sober– if I “do the work.”  I guess, to be honest — and aren’t I allowed to be honest here — I guess I don’t trust Him.  He’s given me more than I can handle and I always thought He said he wouldn’t do that?

So, when life happens, which is every frickin day, when life happens, then what?  Sometimes I just don’t want to be strong.  Sometimes I just want to say forget it and throw my cares to the wind, escape from it all just for about five hours.  But I can’t.

So, here you go — instead of “relapsing,” I’ll just dump all my authentic garbage on my anonymous blogger friends.  I’d rather relapse.  But I won’t.

I don’t ever do this.  I don’t like to complain. I hate (I hate the word hate but it fits here) to think of myself as a complainer and somebody that pours all my problems out on everybody.  And please don’t freak out on me and offer a lot of advice — here is where I make all my excuses for myself — I’m really fine.  Really, I am really fine. Please don’t worry or freak out. Just some days — even on absolutely beautiful sunny days like today, I feel hopeless.  As always, I logically know God is there. I know everything.  And that’s probably my problem.

The image of the Tazmanian Devil is my “logo” (I’m a brand/marketing girl at heart) for my alcoholism.  This little devil is the imagery I use in my head for my alcoholic personality. I picture a locked caged with this crazy spaztic Tazmanian Devil banging on the cage, begging me to get out, let him loose, just for a minute… But I have to, have to, have to keep him locked up; because if I let him out, even for “just a minute” (or, just five hours!) then I may never be able to get him back into the cage.