200 Days Without Alcohol

For the most part, I am feeling really good!

I feel that I’ve made tremendous emotional and spiritual growth since first getting sober in 2017.  I want to reflect today.  I’ve been thinking a lot about the many intrinsic thoughts that have changed for me– all in very good ways.  I used to have so many beliefs that just aren’t true for me anymore.  I don’t even know how I learned all of this, I think these all are byproducts of cleaning out the inside of my house, AKA my soul.

I used to think and believe many things that were mostly negative towards myself or others.  Those beliefs were unhealthy and unproductive, and although I didn’t see it at the time but I can see now how those thoughts made me sad, lonely and miserable.

 

I used to believe….. Now I believe….
That my hubby would love me more if I lost 20 pounds, or if I had long hair or was prettier.. My hubby would love me just as much even if I lost my legs, or burned half my body.  Our love is much deeper than our outside shell.
It is my fault if someone is mad at me.  If I have done nothing wrong (which was usually the case when analyzing people’s anger towards me), then their emotions are 100% about them.  Knowing this, I simply no longer worry if people are mad at me. It no longer takes up mental space, which is great because they are negative thoughts, and I don’t have extra room for meaningless negative thoughts.  
If someone does not like me, I need to reflect on me and why I’m not likable.   No, no and no!  If someone does not like me, than they do not like me.  Period. That’s about them, not me and they are entitled to their own opinion.  But it’s all them, I won’t allow it to take a second of my energy.  
My elders who are regularly duped and/or taken advantage of (by their loved ones) will wake up someday and realize the truth.  Some people will always be blinded by love.  Many of them will go to their graves without seeing my truth. That is ok.  My truth is mine, their truth is theirs.  
When something awful (and out of my control) happens, I must think about it constantly and run through different scenarios in my head. I can’t help it if negative thoughts are taking over my brain.  It was a traumatic situation and I can’t just NOT think about it. I don’t allow thought worms to take over my brain.  I will thank them and then send them on their way. Awful situations bring enough negativity, I will not let negative thoughts take over my brain.  My brain and my thoughts are mine and I now have the ability to quiet them down.  
Life is overwhelming and I can’t do hard things.   Life is hard, but so am I. I can do things that seemed impossible yesterday.  EVERYTHING in life, big or small, is accomplished with small steps. I can always put one foot in front of the other.  

 

I think one things that helped me the most with changing my negative internal beliefs is The Four Agreements book*.  Changing these negative, limiting and harmful beliefs have made me a happier and more productive person.

I have a lot more to learn, and a whole lifetime to learn it <3

 

*listed below are my Cliff notes version of the book.  I am an emerging technology student, and was unable to provide a real link, so you need to copy and paste in your browser

https://thedevildrinksvodka.com/2019/06/24/the-four-agreements-rule-1-be-impeccable-with-your-word/

https://thedevildrinksvodka.com/2019/07/22/the-four-agreements-the-second-agreement-dont-take-anything-personally/

https://thedevildrinksvodka.com/2019/08/03/the-four-agreements-agreement-3-dont-make-assumptions/

https://thedevildrinksvodka.com/2019/08/16/the-four-agreements-agreement-4-always-do-your-best/

 

All of the Crap in Life

Hey Guys!  I’ve been putting off writing this week.  This has been one of the most difficult weeks I’ve had since my mom died.  It actually has brought up many of the behaviors I had while going through grief, which is mainly extreme symptoms of ADHD, along with the constant feeling of being on edge and intense irritability.  I’ve spent my morning commute either avoiding my feelings– or crying silently on my drive in.

Last weekend was one that we had been looking forward to.  Our boys love the 80’s band Toto and we bought them tickets to a show they were playing a couple hours away.  Our teenage nephew loves Toto too, and had a birthday in September, so we took him along for his birthday.  To make it even more exciting we booked a room at a hotel with an indoor water park.

On Friday night we got a call that our nephew got kicked out by his mom and was riding towards our house on his bike.  This has been the 3rd time in the past month that she has kicked him out.  She drinks every night, then gets irate with him, and tells him to leave and to not come back.  She’ll pick him up a day or two later when sober and won’t even talk about it.  He said he’s tried to bring it up before but she won’t even listen and just drinks over it.

It was the evening of our youngest’s birthday, and we left him at home to go look for our nephew.  Luckily we found him quickly.  We told him that he can stay with us, or his uncle and that he doesn’t have to go back and live with his mom if he doesn’t want to.

So, basically, what happened was this:  THAT thing happened on Friday.  We didn’t deal with it, really, and left on Saturday to go have a fun weekend away.  It felt good to leave all of the baggage behind.  Except for when Sunday came, and then Sunday afternoon.  My nerves were so stressed not knowing what would happen with my nephew and wondering if my SIL will blow up and if it’ll be a huge fight.  As a side note, if you leave baggage behind, it is likely to grow over time.  I was not prepared for the feelings that took over on Sunday. Due to some uncontrollable circumstances, she still does not know that he has moved out.  She is finding out today, and I don’t’ know how she will react, and I worry about her coming and having an altercation with him.  So this week has been just gross and stressful and I’m in awful anticipation.  And worry, constant worry.

I’d like to think that she will see this as a good thing.  They (SIL and nephew) have not gotten along for awhile now.  BUT, she is totally irrational most of the time.  She has this belief that all of us are just trying to take her kids.  Of course that’s not the truth.  None of us want to take her kids, but we do want her kids to be taken care of.  I would take the youngest two right now if I wasn’t likely to get arrested for kidnapping.

So, we’re in the middle of this mess.  We usually look to his parents to find rationality, hope and guidance, but I can honestly say that after this week, we HAVE to be the leaders.  His parents are blinded.  This is a very desperate and lonely realization.  I can’t tell you how many times I watched my husband have SUCH an incredibly difficult conversation with his dad or our nephew, just cringing with sadness.  Such a hard/sad thing for everyone and sometimes I worry that we will reach our breaking point.

GOOD things are happening.  They are going to Al-non and they are calling it her “alcoholism” and not just making excuses like last summer.  They also are going to take my nephew to a teen Al-non group, which I think will be good for him.

BUT.. they still won’t give up on her.  We have given up on her.  So have her other siblings.  We can’t do this anymore and pretend that she is ok.  If she doesn’t change immediately we have to keep putting her kids first and foremost.

I know it’s the right thing, but if I think about taking in my nephew too hard, I start to become panicked.  My thought worms go into overdrive.  I begin to panic over the thought of a suddenly being a family of 5.  I calm myself down, it’s not much different since he spends so much time at our house, and we don’t have a choice.  I am constantly grateful that both of my kids have welcomed him with open arms, even when I tell them he’s likely to be staying permanently.  Then I worry about their health and how this could impact them.  I tell myself that the positive impacts will outweigh the negative ones.

And there’s good in all of this.  I am still alcohol free.  I am processing and dealing with an huge amount of intense feelings.  I know that there are things that I am not doing right now to properly care for myself, but that’s ok, I’ll get back to it.  I am doing some other things TO properly take care of myself- to help myself cope.  Like yesterday, I had a quiet day (for once) after work and just binge watched TV for awhile.

I am pleased that in all of this I am able to see the good and to be grateful.  While sitting in traffic on my way to work, I noticed a small and neat house right on the busy road.  It was cute and I don’t know why I felt grateful, but I was enjoying the sight of the little house, crammed between an auto shop and another home.

 

 

 

No Toe Cancer

Dr. Jones called yesterday to tell me that Jules cytology came back as inflammation only, no cancer.  I was overjoyed!

She is still concerned.  She wants him to take a course of pred and to keep him off it as much as we can.  That means no walks 🙁

We have been into a great routine this fall.  We get up most mornings and I run as fast as I can for as far as I can (which for me is like a half mile, then walk/run, walk/run, I’m not fast, but I am consistent).  I leave for work feeling satisfied that he is tired, and if I do a bike ride after work, I don’t feel guilty for not taking him.

This morning I got up early to write, and he just keeps looking at me waiting for a sign that it’s time to go on our early morning adventure.

I am not complaining, I’m just complaining.

I just didn’t love our conversation over the phone yesterday.  She thinks that even though it’s not bothering him right now (he is not licking or favoring his paw), it might become a problem in the future.   I definitely don’t want it to become more of an issue and cause him pain.  So.. I’m going to keep him off it (I WAS going to ignore that advice, but decided that probably wasn’t the best thing to do..).  I’m going to reach out to my running with dogs group on FB to see if they have any good ideas of other ways to stimulate him.  It’s hard because a lot of the brain toys have treats inside, but we are working on his weight and have to watch treats.  I suppose I could fill one with kibble and then feed him less at meal time..

I just wanted to write about our happy news.

This week has totally been a mixed bag.

On Monday I had a good workout in the am and then took a bike ride after work.  We lost power, but it was supposed to be back at 5:00. At 5:00, they bumped up the estimate to 8:00.  8:00 came and went, and we still were without power.  We are on a well, so no power means no water.  When I went to bed Monday night my house was a complete disaster.  Dishes all over the kitchen, tuna juice all in the sink (stinking), just stuff everywhere, and a laundry pile up since I couldn’t do my daily load or two.

Power came back late Monday night.  Tuesday was a great morning.   I walked into my classroom and noticed a few minutes later that my Smartboard and speakers were up!  I can’t even explain to you how excited I was!  Especially since I had almost given up hope that I would actually get one.  Another great thing is that my 1st group of the day was on a field trip, so I had an extra hour to try to figure it out.  Even in that short amount of time I was able to find several activities and lessons on it to use yesterday– and the kids loved it!   Then in the afternoon I got the “no cancer” call.

After work was kind of tough but fine.  I worked for hours catching up from the day before.  I was exhausted by night and went to bed before 9:30, but was satisfied that our home no longer looked like a war zone.

NOW it’s Wednesday.  I got up early probably because my body is ready to GO, but I’m writing instead.  I normally could jump on the treadmill or elliptical but they are in the basement, which is undergoing leak treatment.  That means one side is empty and the other side is jam packed with stuff.  There is a mildew/bleach smell in the air (not ideal for working out).   It’s getting fixed on Friday but then we are leaving for the weekend.  Hopefully next week I can get the machines set up downstairs and the air will be ok to breath.

Anyways, this might be this blog’s most boring post!  Today is day 189 🙂

Have a great day everyone <3

Don’t Go Breakin’ his Heart

As a mom of older kids (16 and 11), we don’t hit milestones often anymore.  That makes them that more exciting when they do happen. A big one happened last week, one that I have been eagerly but patiently waiting for.  One that I knew would probably open up a can of worms that is better left closed– or at least the longer the better.  A girl.

Boys are funny and seem to work in one of 2 ways.  You have the early bloomers who tend to find a girlfriend in 1st or 2nd grade.  I have a couple nephews like this, and there’s nothing wrong with it.  It’s like the Macklemore song “Same Love” when the lyrics say, “Ben you’ve loved girls since before Pre-K!”  Then you have late bloomers who wait until 16, 17 or sometimes even later to even want to date.  The nice thing about having younger boys who love girls is that as a parent you get used to it when it’s not so intimidating.

One thing that surprised me was how anxious I felt to meet her, and it was a real eye opener.  She came over on Tuesday for dinner, so I had all day to think about it.  My son was making dinner, so at least I didn’t have to worry about impressing her with my mad cooking skills.

My son cleaned the house pretty well, but I was thinking about extra things I should do, plus give the dog a bath.  Then I thought about the time I met my MIL in what is now our house. I was pretty nervous to meet her.  I don’t have a great memory, but can pretty much guarantee that I was NOT concerned with how clean their house was.  Then I wondered if MY MIL was nervous to meet me.  THAT thought had never ever crossed my mind.

She walked home with him from school and they were watching a movie when I got home.  I did a few things waiting for them to come upstairs, but they didn’t so I went down there.  Holy awkwardness!  I have a newfound appreciation for my in laws.  In fact, my MIL said something to me and my future hubby the 1st or 2nd time I met her and I was resentful for it up until my 1st step 4.  I realize now that it was said probably out of nervousness/awkwardness and not to hurt my feelings.  Quite honestly, that was like my 1st impression of his mother and I think that incident caused me to build up some heavy walls that still contain bare bones.  Yeah, much of the wall has come down over the years, but I still have the frame, just in case.  I AM working on taking that down too, one step at a time.

The girl friend was very nice and impressed us.   Our son seemed himself around her and they had an ease about them.  After she left he was ALL smiles, which I thought was incredibly endearing.

That night and the days that followed, my Thought Worms were out of control.  I mean, I did a pretty good job reining them in, BUT why were they there to begin with???  GUYS, I can’t tell you how anxious I was about this girl, but in unexpected ways.  I knew my kid is super into her, but I was instantly afraid that she was going to run from him as fast as she can because his parents are soooooooo weird, and strange and cooky and every other negative attribute out there.  

WOAH.

I’ve thought about the day I meet the first girl many times.  Never did I expect to feel responsible for making or breaking the relationship.  BUT, now it’s several days later and I no longer feel worried about this, thank goodness.  The Thought Worms have pretty much gone regarding this entire situation, but it was really strange so I wanted to make sure I write it down.

Homecoming was last night and the new couple went and had a great time.  Hubby and I had the night to ourselves, as our youngest was a friend’s for the night.  Now get this, hubby and I have never been helicopter parents.  Especially with our oldest, we had him young and early in our marriage, so he practically raised himself.  With this newfound thing we have become helicopter parents.

Our son went out to dinner with his gal pal and then to her house for pics before the dance.  Our nephew was staying at our house until the dance so we took him out to dinner and then dropped him at the dance.  But we didn’t leave. We waited, watching for a glimpse of our kiddo.  We watched them walk in and at that point I would have paid money to be a fly on the wall or a chaperone.   I know hubby felt the same, we didn’t want to leave.   And before you start thinking that we are completely psycho, we DID have a good reason to stick around until he got there.  He’s diabetic and had his diabetic bag for dinner (he needs insulin with meals).  I was texting him to make sure he didn’t want us to grab his bag so he didn’t have to worry about it (yeah yeah, excuses excuses).

The dance was a ton of fun for the kids, and we enjoyed hearing their stories (OH to be in high school again).   Our son and his friend seem pretty attached, but we’ll see what happens.  In the beginning of the week I felt almost panicked about one of them getting their feelings hurt, especially mine.  But now, I just feel happy for them and grateful that even if they don’t last long it’ll be a learning experience and necessary.  Of course I don’t want my kid’s heart hurt, but at the same time, I don’t want him to hurt hers either.


Overall, the past week was fantastic and I felt high vibey pretty much the whole week.  I got up 4 days and walk/ran before work.  I went on a couple bike rides.  I ate healthy and actually had a lot of energy.  And BEST of all, I am almost down to the weight I was when I first tried sobriety back in February 2017.  In 2 1/2 years, I put on over 20 pounds, probably mostly from eating a lot of sugar during early sobriety, plus my foot/ankle being bad and being on pred from fall 2018-summer 2019 didn’t help my weight.  Really, I am feeling SO good right now, and SO grateful <3

Yesterday was the low point.  I had an early appointment to see Dr. Jones with Jules.  He just needed routine vaccines and I was so happy to go in for routine stuff (he had SO many tests over the summer, each one was stressful to him and caused me anxiety until getting the results).  His weight is down a little, we are active and he appears healthy.  While examining him, she discovered one of his paw pads is thickened and feels like a mass.  It could be cancer.  If it is, they will take off his toe and he will more than likely be ok.  BUT STILL.  COME ON.  Can’t we have ONE healthy visit???  But I guess, all his summer tests all checked out clear so technically his previous visit WAS a healthy one.  The weird thing is, these are my dog’s ailments: allergies and/or food sensitivities, obesity, fatty liver, toe problems.  We have matching symptoms!  I have food sensitivities, am overweight, I’m SURE my liver was not in great shape when I was drinking AND my toes are bad with my arthritis.   How cute.

Despite this unexpected news, I am ok.  She scraped his pad and sent it to the lab.  WE will get results on Tuesday or Wednesday.  We will deal with whatever it is.  We will do whatever we can for him medically. He has lived 5 full and wonderful years with us.  I hope he has many many many more, but know that that is not in our control <3

I look back to old posts about Jules.  His hurt back, and his problems over the summer and I am able to see and appreciate my emotional and spiritual growth.  I am grateful for that.

Ok, I better end this.  It’s Sunday morning and I have SO much to do today!!  Our basement spare room got flooded a little and has some water damage.  We are having the leak fixed and in the meantime have to gut the room.  It’s a good thing, because we’ve been wanting to redo the room and make it bigger.  Below is the mess that I am waking up to.  Sadly, I also have some homework due at midnight and need to do that before I even start helping downstairs.

The old me would be SOOOOOOOOO stressed about all of this.  The dog, the leak, the basement, the mess, it being Sunday, etc etc.  The new me feels slightly pressurized but not overly stressed.  We will GET IT DONE.

I don’t even feel crabby about it all, just grateful and that makes my heart feel happy & full ♥️

 

 

 

Billy Joel

I’ve never considered myself a huge fan of Billy Joel.  I can name a couple or few songs off the top of my head, but that’s about it.  Until now.

My sister and I took our teenagers to a Billy Idol and Bryan Adams concert back in August.  My niece is obsessed with Billy Idol, my son and I just tagged along for fun, but didn’t love either of the bands.

I had a super random seemingly innocent thought a few weeks after the concert:

“The concert would have been much better if it was Billy Joel, not Billy Idol.”

One day, one thought.

Here we are several weeks later and since that thought ran through my head, all my soul wants to listen to is Billy Joel.

Billy Joel in the car.

Billy Joel in the shower.

Billy Joel in my classroom.

Billy Joel in the garden.

Billy Joel on my run (I found out yesterday that there is something very magical about running to My Life in the dark morning before the sun and world wakes up)..

Billy Joel on my long bike rides.

Billy Joel in the pool.

Billy Joel while making dinner.

Billy Joel all the time.

 

 

But I don’t even really like Billy Joel…

 

I think maybe my soul needs Billy right now, gonna listen and see where it takes me <3

 

Hugs

My youngest is pretty selfish with his hugs– he must get that from me.  He started telling his dad he left his hugs in his room at bedtime.  It was Will’s way of ensuring that we would tuck him in “in” his room, not just give him a hug in the living room and send him on his way.  I thought it was pretty brilliant..

My mom was never cuddly or huggy with us kids.  As I grew up I became the same way.  Hugs always made me feel uncomfortable.  When I was in my late 20’s or early 30’s my mom went though this weird phase where she became huggy.  I didn’t like it, it felt weird.  I felt like this long after her death.

My hubby is very hands-on and affectionate.  He loves to hug, kiss and give me full body hugs at night while trying to sleep.  For years I accepted it but would wiggle away if it was overwhelming or sometimes run away and we have found a happy medium.  He knows I can take hugs and affection, but sometimes I need it in small doses, and sometimes not at all.

Oddly enough, I’ve discovered over the years, that it is during the time that I’m the most resisting and the least lovable that I need hugs and affection the most.

I believe that the spiritual work that I did over the summer has helped me open up and become more huggy.

The first time I noticed was back in June.  The vet thought my dog might have Cushing’s Disease.  I didn’t fully trust the vet practice I had been taking him to, so I promptly made an appointment at VetSelect.  I worked at Vetselect from 1994-2006 and the veterinarians, technicians, receptionist and assistants there are like family, even though I no longer know half of them.  I want to add that this switch was a huge blessing, it’s like going back to family every time I visit.  And luckily, Jules didn’t have Cushing’s or Thyroid Disease, he had a fatty liver because he’s too fat– so we’ve been working on his weight.

I don’t know why but I was nervous to go back.  I made an appointment with Dr. Jones, one of the best.  I worked with her for YEARS so it was a little awkward.  It was so weird.  She worked with me while I was a young adult in shambles (coming in on no sleep/terribly hungover.. you know).  I mean, she did know me when I got married and started a family, but it feels like she knew me more during my wild times.  Now I was a middle aged woman with almost grown kids taking my beloved mutt who is my pseudo baby because my real ones are too old to coddle.  Sitting in that room, waiting for her to come in made me feel like Mrs. Rosman.

When I was younger and working at the vet, a middle aged woman would bring in her standard poodle, Kelev.  Kelev Rosman would often have an appointment and Mrs. Rosman would sing to him while he got his shots.  As a young adult, who was far more interested in clubbing and guys than people and their pets, I always thought she was loony.   But now, here I was, middle aged and with my ‘baby’, who is a dog and who I totally would break out in a song and dance at any moment if it made him more comfortable.

So it was weird, and I was feeling old and strange.  It was a feeling that I’ve never felt in the many times I had been in that exam room 1.  But here I was, it had been over 10 years, but it felt like I had just left.  Anyhow, when Dr. Jones walked in I did something totally uncharacteristic and jumped up and gave her a big squeeze.  I don’t think she is very huggy, so it was slightly awkward, but it felt ok and made me feel good afterwards, so it was all good.  I was surprised and a little proud of myself for opening up like that, it was not normal for me.

A similar situation happened at work yesterday.  We have a staff member who has been out since last spring when her doctor found tumors in her back.  I was never extremely close to her, and didn’t get a chance to talk to her much the two times I saw her at school events last spring. 

She stopped by yesterday and visited my room.  I immediately (without thinking about it at all) jumped up and gave her a super big hug.  We had some great conversations and she is hoping to be able to come back at the end of October– praying she doesn’t need another round of chemo.

In thinking about it, I’ve been more open and huggy with everyone.  Only, it doesn’t feel so awkward anymore.  Maybe this is what my mom went through when she became more huggy in my 30’s.  If only I could have a REAL conversation with her about what I’ve been through the past few years!  I DO have faith that she is with me and knows what I’m going through, but sometimes it’s hard with it being one sided.  And I guess it’s not, I can initiate things, it’s not always easy though…

So, that’s been on my mind and so has my cat sitter Terri.  I stopped at VetSelect (where Terri works) yesterday to pick up some allergy pills.  First of all, Terri has been so awesome for many years now.  She’s been my cat sitter for over 10 years.  When Milo got lost she came out and helped look for him.  When we were on vacation and he had a wound she took him to the vet and medicated him until I got home.  That was on my mom’s death anniversary and I was so thankful that she did that for me so that we didn’t have to drive home.  This past summer, she was watching our cats and called me in a panic because our AC wasn’t working and Milo broke out one of the windows and got outside (normally the glass would be shut and AC would be on).  She found him, got him in and closed the window.  All was good, but I greatly appreciated her diligence and concern.

Not only is she the best cat sitter EVER, but she was a Detroit police officer for like 10 years before quitting the profession to work at the vet.  I have so much respect for this woman, I should have given her a hug!

She waited on me when I stopped for the meds.  She told me that she has put together a calendar for the past two years of client’s pets.  She uses her own time and her own app, and the vet practice sells the calendars.  The first year, she made several hundred dollars and donated it to the Howell Nature Center (an awesome local sanctuary).  The second year, the calendars sold really well and she was able to give several hundred to the HNC as well as several hundred to a local organization who helps disadvantaged people take care of their pets.   I didn’t think Terri could be any more awesome, but to me this just takes the cake!  Here is a girl who doesn’t have much, works her A$$ off (and has since I’ve known her), gives her time selflessly yet is making a real difference.  In the midst of all of the hate and anger that surrounds us on the media constantly, lets not forget to find the love, goodness and beauty in everyday life that everyday ordinary people add to this world <3

As a side note, Terri told me about the calendar because she is putting my beloved Milo in there, and maybe Jules too.  You had better believe that if you know me in real life than you are getting a calendar for Christmas <3 <3 <3

I am working on writing a letter and making a video to send to Ellen.  I would love it if she flew Terri out to her show. Maybe she’ll feed Terri’s cats for a year, that would be an enormous gift!  I would love for Terri to get some recognition, she is an ordinary real life hero.

I think that’s it.  It’s Saturday and I was up around 6:30.  Wouldn’t have mind sleeping in a little later, but my body didn’t want to.  I have a morning walk planned, then dropping Will off at his friends and then I am going kayaking to this cool place in Ann Arbor.  Hubby, my oldest and my nephew are down there camping this weekend.   I’m excited to see them and spend the day on a kayak.  I’m so happy that it’s going to be like 85 out.

It’s going to be a great day, a great weekend!

 

Coping with Life Stress without Alcohol

The fall is moving along with what seems like should be record breaking speed.  I can’t even believe that we are in the middle of September, wasn’t it just August?   Maybe working at a school makes it seem faster.  Every year, that first marking period seems to come sooner.   Then it’s the second, then third and before we know it we’ll be out for another summer stretch.  Next year I will have a Senior in High School so I wouldn’t mind time to slow down for a bit!

With being so busy I had to scale back on my self care routine.  Along with working full time I recently signed up for 2 fall graduate classes, so I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed.  I told my family I would no longer be buying groceries or making them meals (at 11, 16 and 42, I think they can handle it), but know that I can’t keep out of the kitchen for that long.

It was during that 1st week of school when I realized that my self care needed attention. I was having a rough afternoon.  My youngest and I were scrambling to make it to his school’s Curriculum Night and I was griping about how nothing was going right that day.

“Mom, you should meditate.”

My youngest remembered a time when I told him that when I stop making time to quiet my brain, everything seems to go wrong and he was thoughtful enough to suggest it.

And I never think they are listening.

But he was right.  I was going at near 100% all day, then have to rush home and get ready for all that and I was tired, my brain needed a rest, my body needed a recharge and I was forgetting about all of my tools.  Duly noted.

The first couple of weeks of school has been ok.  We have some things going on in our family, like my father-in-law may have cancer.  It’s a 50% chance and he gets a scan in about a week, but we’ve been waiting for a few weeks now, so we are all anxious for results.  It’s really affecting my hubby, but sometimes in good ways (I think).  He’s spent more time with his parents this month than the whole year combined, but I think that is necessary and important right now.  My SIL has her kids back full time and seems to be doing ok.  Her 16 year old is at our home often and I worry that he seems down frequently.  He’s usually pretty open with me and when I ask him about things he says they are going ok, and genuinely seems to give me honest details about what’s going on at home.   It’s hard to not worry sometimes.  I know it does absolutely no good, but…

Today is Saturday and I am having some of Will’s friends over for an early birthday “pool” party.  Last week was the warmest week we’ve had in awhile so we threw it together in like a week.  And I didn’t remember when we were planning it that my hubby and oldest are gone all day at a wilderness first aid training up north.  So, it’ll be me vs. like 5 tweens.  I initially felt and acted really pissy when I found out they wouldn’t be here to help me. I probably wouldn’t have planned a birthday party, and was originally super stressed out but am feeling fine about it now.  I’m glad that I have something to occupy me while the boys are gone.

We had some pretty significant water coming into our spare room (which is in the basement) last week.  It was leaking a little bit occasionally but it seems to be getting worse.   So tomorrow we will have to take out all of the junk in that room, pull up the floor and the paneling off the walls to see if we can fix it or if we have to call someone.  As a side note, soaking up bucketfuls with a sponge is tedious and mentally draining.  And with as much water that was in there I’m praying that my elliptical and treadmill still work.  The good news is that I’ve wanted to work in that room all summer, but didn’t want to do too much due to the leaking.  Now hubby is going to take out a closet on the other side to make the room a little bigger.  And with the room dry, clean and nice, maybe we’ll actually use it.  I hope the leak isn’t a super invasive and expensive to fix, but I am excited to clean and fix that room.

Above all of the big stuff and little stuff in life I’ve had an everlasting feeling of gratitude.  Today I am 171 days alcohol free.  I no longer think much about drinking.  The magnitude of this hits me at random times.  The other night, as I was getting ice for ice water I thought back to the days where I watched our ice supply closely.  I knew how much I wanted for drinks and would ration the frickin’ ice.  I would easily fill 3, 4 sometimes 5 or 6 glasses each night.  Usually with either wine or white russians made with rice milk.

On this night I felt proud to scoop up a glob of ice cubes to nourish my body with water.  Quite different than quietly sneaking into the ice bucket, because of the awful shame and guilt I felt.

Aging parents, crazy siblings, stressful jobs, expensive home repairs, college classes, teenage diabetes, this is a lot of stress and I am coping JUST FINE.

Better than just fine because I can deal with it without KILLING my physical, mental and emotional self.  Addiction is the highest form of self-abandonment, yet if there was any time that would be ideal to abandon myself, it would be about now.  Thank God, I have too much love for myself right now.

OK, well, I’ve got to get moving.  It’s after 8:00 and I have until 3:00 to get everything done.  I hope this party is a success!

 

Thought Worms

Happy Day 163 alcohol free!  WOW, it feels good to say that.  I know my year anniversary is still over 6 months away, but thinking about how fast the fall goes and then BAM March will be here in no time.  Really, if I can continue on this trajectory, then this is very realistic and exciting!

I’m feeling really empowered these days, even on the tough ones.  I am so thankful for my sobriety journey– even the relapses and months/years lost– it has now become powerful fuel to keep my AF mission burning.

I spent many years knowing that I drank too much.  I thought about stopping for probably over 10 years before actually trying.  One thing that always tripped me up is thinking about summer vacation sans booze.  I thought this for YEARS and absolutely dreaded “having” to do this.

Since this time, I just lived through my first sober summer as an adult, and you know what?  It was the best summer vacation ever.  I don’t remember ever feeling this happy and fulfilled.  I mean, sure I have my down days, but not like previous summers when I’d go through weeks of depression.  It also was my first sober start to the school year (except being pregnant), and it’s been a great start so far.  Both work and play are so much better when we are not bogged down by resentments, guilt, shame and the everlasting miserable hangover.

I’m still learning daily how to manage my inner self (you know that obnoxious voice that can be so insulting and miserable).  For example, two nights ago we had Curriculum Night at my school.  My room is always bustling and busy with parents and this time was no different.  I had a lot of really great conversations with my parents– about a lot of different things, some personal not all school related.  As I walked out to my car that night I felt happy and energized.

Driving home was different.  During the monotonous drive on the freeway my mind started to fester and negative thoughts started running through my head.

“Maybe I shouldn’t have said that.”

“Was that the right response?”

“When we talked about X, I hope I didn’t sound like an idiot!”

“I think I did sound like an idiot.  Everyone is going to find out.  Everyone is going to think I’m so stupid.  Ugh..”

And it went on and on and on…..

I was a little cranky when I finally got home after 8:00.  I pretty much did my chores and then laid down for bed.  I was exhausted and couldn’t wait to sleep– only sleep didn’t come but those negative thought worms did.  The same dumb thoughts over and over again.  By this time I recognized them for what they are, joy sucking parasites.  I told them to leave, and they eventually did, but I had wished that I booted them sooner.  They are so mentally and physically draining!

So, I’m learning.  And growing.  And learning some more.  And experimenting.

Please take a moment today to be kind to yourself, maybe even give yourself a compliment, or two.  Give a compliment to others.  Turn off your screen for a bit.  Connect with nature.  Forgive someone, or yourself.  Spend a full minute, or more, quieting your mind and focusing on your senses.  LIVE.

I am proud of my journey <3

Giddy and Gay Labor Day 2019

Last year at this time I had 6 days sober.  I was grateful for those 6 days and reminiscing about the previous Labor Day which I had regretfully drank away.  This year is even better with 158 alcohol free days under my belt.

I’m also excited to say that I feel a little giddy about starting the school year tomorrow.  This is a far cry from my pitiful feelings last week about the waning summer.  My room setup is awesome and I bought some new things over the weekend to help me organize my office supplies (my desk no longer has drawers and I have to keep my office supplies on my desk or in a locker type cabinet).  I have some new cute decorations that I’m super excited about too.

I feel happy and light and it’s wonderful.

Today is going to be a fabulous holiday.  I’m hoping to finally make it out to the new trail by our house on my bike.  I also need to walk the dog and hopefully the family will get a chance to dip in the pool because it might be our last time (it has been unseasonably cold, sadly).

I am going to relish my lazy time in the sun and try not to think about my school filled to the brim tomorrow morning– or my two online graduate classes that started yesterday.

I hope you all find some peace, love and happiness today <3

Working It

Work, work, work– it makes the world go round, and keeps us fulfilled <3

Last week was my first week back after the summer break.  In the years past, I have been more than ready to go back to work.  Long unstructured days with my kids, drinking too much night after night, day after day, I can see why I was eager each summer to get back to normalcy and routine.   This time going back was downright brutal– not at all like it’s been the past.

Summer 2019 will be fondly remembered as the first entire summer of my adult life that I didn’t drink (minus the times I was pregnant).   The long days consisted of getting up early, reading my spiritual soul book, spending time reflecting while I walked with the dog or took him to the dog park, writing, meditating, spending time with family, taking care of my yard and scout camping trips.  Most nights I was in bed long before midnight and loved to wake up early and feel mega productive before noon.

My thought worm (incessant negative thoughts that suck the life out of you) says “Wow, just think of how much better and farther you would be in life if you had spent the past 10 summers being productive!”

Those pesky thought worms that fill you with negativity– I squashed mine!   I LOVE this journey I’m on. If I didn’t have all of those drinking, non productive summers, than I wouldn’t be so much appreciative and in love with this one.

But that’s how those thought worms work.  They try to steal your joy at every opportunity– don’t let them steal yours!

So my point is this.  Summer 2019 was grand.  I am quite scared to go back to work and to lose what I’ve gained (another thought worm).  I’ve been more in touch with my soul than ever before and I’m kind of terrified to lose that too.

Last week was easy.  I had to go in on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  My room is all ready to go and now that the first week is done I’m actually really excited. Because our numbers are so high, we have 2 full time academic support teachers this year, which means I get to start out the year with a lower caseload than usual.  Also, our community approved a bond a few years back so this summer our building got renovated and all the classrooms got flexible seating and a Smartboard.  I was skeptical that my little room would get anything and was pleasantly surprised and so excited to have new furniture.  I don’t have a Smartboard, but they took down my Whiteboard and it looks like my wall is wired for a Smartboard so I’m hopeful that I will have one soon.

My room is long and narrow and I have never been truly happy with the furniture set up.  With the new furniture, it is SO much better.  It’s more roomy, flows better and there is even more seating than before.  My students are going to be SO excited come Tuesday (they love my little room anyways, it’s a comfort for them, but now it’s even better <3).

 

So…. I’m going to ignore all of the thought worms that pop up.  I’m going to spend this weekend fully appreciating the last full days of summer.  I’m going to move my body and get good sleep.  I’m going to finish my mandala and live with intention.  Work or no work, I am productive, happy and fulfilled <3