Today is Thanksgiving here in the United States. People all over will be cooking, eating, watching football, doing LOTS of drinking. Then the really crazy ones will wake up early tomorrow morning to get the good ‘Black Friday’ deals.
I’m not exactly sure when I began to despise the holidays. Probably after a few years of celebrating with my in-laws, honestly. No fault of theirs though.
Holidays are super stressful to me for some reason, and I don’t even have a lot to. Furthermore, I always feel so bad hating on them because I know I’m so lucky to have family to celebrate with.
This year is extra hard due to circumstances out of our control. So much that I told hubby a few weeks ago that I would not be going to his family’s Thanksgiving or Christmas.
I didn’t make this decision lightly. All of the spiritual literature I’ve been reading, and that has helped me level up in life, goes against what I’m doing today. But I’m doing it anyway, because these boundaries are necessary for me at the moment.
I won’t apologize for it.
The week leading up to today has been sketchy. My ego really really wants me to be pissed about today.
All week I’ve been shutting it up when it says things like, “It’s not fair you have to spend Thanksgiving alone.” Or, “You should be angry with hubby for not skipping it with you.”
I’m so happy to know about the ego and it’s big wish to sabotage every bit of happiness in my life!
I didn’t know how I’d really feel come today. Would I be remorseful? Angry? Sad to be alone and not stuffing my face?
I thought I might go over to the in-laws after my sister in law leaves, but today is panning out way better than I expected, so I probably won’t. (They live right behind us, a big reason why I wouldn’t expect hubby to skip it when we don’t have anything going on).
It’s just after 1:00 now and the family is getting ready to go.
I am feeling a sense of peace and calmness I’ve never felt on a holiday.
This morning I adopted a turkey named Jackie. I feel happy knowing that on ‘Dead Bird Day’ I at least saved one. This will be an annual tradition!
I was leery about spending today alone, so I invited my dead relatives.
My mom, my grandma Jackie, grandpa Bill & my other grandpa.
It’s kind of nice because I don’t even have to feed them 🤷🏼♀️
And my grandma & mom always LOVED doing dishes. I’m going to tell them they can do all mine.
This is going to be a very spiritual day for me, and I am really looking forward to it. 💙🙏🏻😇
Super ugly post warning. I don’t remember having a day feeling this low. I wasn’t going to drink last night, but I did. I woke up in a puddle of piss. I WET the f’ing bed! I can’t even tell you the amount of shame and guilt I have today– over not just this but the enormity of it all. I showered this morning, but still felt like I smelled like piss all day. I hope (pray) it was in my head. I looked like garbage all day and functioned at probably less than 50%.
It’s been a busy couple of days. I drank once since the last time I wrote and I believe it’ll be the last. I was SO filled with guilt and shame the next day, it still makes me cry. This is what I posted in my sober circle that sums it up:
My hubby texted me twice throughout the day and both times I was reading into things thinking he’s going to boot me to the curb. How can he not hate me? And my poor kiddos– what the hell am I doing to them continuing to drink? It was so hard to go to school today and try to act normal when walking around with a boat load of shame, guilt, etc.
Fortunately, I have some good things to look forward to. My BFF is coming down this weekend to visit for my son’s bday. Next week is spring break and I am SO excited to get back to the things that are good for me and hopefully make it to some AA meetings, maybe even find a sponsor and start on these steps. I hope and pray that this is it. I’ve said that literally like 1000 times, BUT I don’t think I’ve ever felt this low. If you are the praying type, I would appreciate a prayer. I need all the prayers, positivity etc that I can get right now <3
Now it is March 30th. That day that I posted this ended on a high note. Hubby was forgiving. We rode our bikes that evening up to have dinner. We didn’t talk about “it” other than me telling him that any and all alcohol in house must go (even the kind that gives me zero temptation) and that I HAVE to stop. The dinner, the 8 mile ride with the birds singing and frogs calling, the weather — it all was so refreshing and filled with so much life and renewed hope. I knew then that I can’t go back.
I felt much better the next day and find it absolutely amazing how much things can change in 24 hours.
For the moment, I’m keeping busy, but not tempted in the least. I tagged along last night with hubby, sons, brother in laws and nephew to see an awful movie (Marvel- I hate action and violence). It was a nice time though and we had dinner out which was delicious. My brother in law got a drink at the restaurant and again at the movies. I had no desire to join him or go home and drink. In fact, I talked to him for a bit about his longtime best friend (who coincidentally was our neighbor when we bought our first house) who lost his wife suddenly over a year ago. He was always a drinker but his wife kept him in line. He’s completely lost all control since she died. I am so sad for him. He’s choosing death over life. I hope he comes out of it.
My kids and I are off school next week for spring break. Timing is a pure blessing and could not be better. This will give me time to read, write, meditate, go to AA, set up an appointment with my old therapist, and work on my soul. And to think a week ago, I was actually going back and forth about drinking over break. I am so thankful to NOT have that internal dialogue in my head right now and the gift of sobriety today. Vacation is always so much better with a clear head and a clean soul <3
One more thing.. Lately I have been reading some incredible books that I think will be life changing for me. One is The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne. The other one is, The Lotus and the Lily: Access the Wisdom of Buddha and Jesus to Nourish Your Beautiful, Abundant Life, by Janet Connor. I’m just getting started but am learning about some amazing principles. I can’t wait to share more as I embark upon this new and exciting journey!
Anyways, time to check some more things off my list. Have a GREAT weekend <3 < 3 <3
Life during a pandemic can get old & monotonous. My family & I have begun some fun routines.
It all started with a bulgar bowl.
At the start of the school year, all of our boys were at school on Fridays & hubby & I worked from home. We treasured these days, with a quiet house, and celebrated with lunch from our favorite take-out joint. One day I tried a bulgar bowl instead of the usual falafel wrap and it became an instant favorite, plus it was fun to say ☺️
But then it became a ‘vulgar bowl’ & soon Fridays were called ‘Vulgarbowl Fridays.’
Then it expanded to the weekend. Kind of like Super Bowl weekend, but this is Vulgar Bowl weekend, and the goal is to be vulgar, which isn’t very hard living with a tween, two teens and a 40+ year old man-child (I mean, not that vulgar, all in good fun).
This was planned to go until the end of 2020, to make the year more jolly. The way things are looking, we may need to expand it 😯
Next, we started an early morning Tim Horton’s tradition- Tim Tuesday’s. It began as an impromptu date with my youngest, but it quickly became a routine. Anyone is invited and the only requirement is to be ready by 6am, and to wake me if I’m not up. Tuesday is one of two in-person school days for the kids, this makes it a fun start.
Our last Foodie Fun groove is, ‘Frothy Fridays.’ This includes a hot drink next to the fire as we wait for the bus on Friday mornings. Friday is the second in-person school day of the week and this makes for a nice start. It actually started as a silly suggestion on a Thursday night. I didn’t think much of it the next morning, but my youngest said, ‘You should have woken me up for that special thing.” “Ooooooh!” I responded. “Don’t worry, we can drink hot chocolate while you eat your cereal by the fire.”
It was such a silly little thing, I was surprised he remembered, let alone got excited about it at age 12. It made me realize that it really is the little things, that are the big things. Really, it doesn’t matter if it’s a Tim’s hot chocolate, a gourmet meal, or a game of Uno and hot drink by the fire or in a favorite spot– with great music of course.
June 2016 I am starting to get nervous. A couple of weeks ago, I was pretty hyped up, excited. Now that the clock is ticking, I don’t know if I can follow through. How can I? I’m so used to old habits and the way things are, how can I change? I keep hoping that if I want it bad enough, then I can be successful.. right? The past couple of weeks have been a bear. I have a pleural effusion, which may or may not have been caused by something serious (liver cirrhosis, cancer, autoimmune issues or air changes..). This has slowed me down some (it’s basically a fluid build up between my lungs and rib cage), sometimes waking me up early in the day not able to breathe. Normally, summer vacation would have started already, but due to a late Labor Day and start to the school year, we still have 7 school days left with kids, plus 1 without kids. But I am exhausted! I haven’t cut down on drinking. I am trying to savor each drinking day! I really don’t know if I can stop. I haven’t made an outpatient appointment yet. I suppose I should get off this blog and make a decision as to where I am going and see about getting an appointment. This is scary. I don’t want to spend the summer 2016 strung out, I really don’t! I want to feel good, energetic, happy and healthy. I want to exercise daily and detox my body. I just don’t know if I can do it!
At 22, I met my hubby at a small, rickety, hole-in-the-wall bar. It wasn’t a place my friend and I went to find a husband, we even bet who could find the guy with the most teeth (we were in our 20’s and MEAN AF).
I vaguely remember talking to him outside and being so drunk.
On our first date, he insisted on paying even though I had ordered, I don’t know probably five or six mixed drinks. Something I said to him that night sticks in my head to this day. I said, “You don’t have to pay for my alcoholism.” I wasn’t truly serious, but it haunts me sometimes.
Anyways, we got married a year later and the rest of our 20’s was spent finishing college, having a baby, buying a house, we were way too busy to worry about drinking too much. We drank mainly on the weekends, without an ounce of guilt.
At 30, I finally finished college and had another baby. We had moved into an old farmhouse that we rented from his parents. His brother lived in the upstairs apartment. Our first baby, who was now around 5 would love to go up the stairs and eat a second dinner and then hang out with his uncle. It was a special time filled with many parties and drinking escapades. At some point at this house, my drinking went from weekend/sometimes during the week, to every single night. It was a gradual transition, and I didn’t even notice until it was too late. This is the pitcher plant theory in action.
At 35 we had moved into our 3rd house, a cute tri-level on Sunset St. After 5 years of working for charter schools, I finally got into a public school. I remember being so happy to quit Hanley, the administration had started to treat our special ed team poorly because our students didn’t pass the state exam. They were just idiots because only like 30% of ALL students pass, and our students are working below grade level so I would literally expect zero to pass.
So when I found out I was crying tears of joy on my way home. I also vaguely remember a voice piping up in my head that said, You made it. You don’t have to drink every night now. It was profound and the first inkling of knowing that drinking nightly was not normal. I think I abstained for a few hours, but the other voice, the one I now call Besty, overrode the good voice and I was tricked into drinking once again.
At 36, I knew in my heart that my drinking was out of control but didn’t want to admit it. I told myself, and others, that I just liked to drink and didn’t want to stop. I told them that I liked to drink when I’m happy or when I’m sad. I told hubby this one night and remember him saying, “I can see why you want to do it, it’s fun and you’re productive.” At that time I was in a running class and getting up early to run some days. I should mention that he, like many of my other friends, had pretty drastically decreased their alcohol consumption in their 30’s and is considered a normal drinker (normy).
At 37, I suddenly lost my mother. The next 2-3 years would be spent spiraling. It wasn’t until I had health problems, that I knew could be related to my liver, that I knew that I had to stop. I would spend almost a year knowing that I needed to stop but having no idea how. I talked to a general practitioner who gave me some dead ends, and made me feel more hopeless.
At 40, I spent my very first adult birthday sober. I had a party and felt so boring and I mourned my old friend who wasn’t invited (alcohol).
I wish I had done things differently. I can see the big picture now. It doesn’t surprise me that life stress turned me into a daily drinker. I had no idea about self-care and coping skills, none- plus I wasn’t spiritual at all- which I now know is also a crucial part of self-care and dealing with life (not necessarily talking about God here).
So.. beware. Just like the Pitcher Plant, alcoholism will sneak up on you. If the party is long over, and all your friends (or most) have left, it might be time to go.
Pitcher Plant Theory
Allen Carr, an author and addiction expert best known for helping smokers overcome nicotine addiction, uses a perfect analogy for how addiction works: the pitcher plant. This analogy is powerful, both in making sense of addiction in your conscious mind and in reconditioning your unconscious mind.
Have you heard of a pitcher plant? It’s a deadly, meat-eating plant native to India, Madagascar, and Australia. Imagine you are walking by a Krispy Kreme doughnut shop, and you smell the doughnuts frying. It’s hard to resist the smell of doughnuts. A pitcher plant is like Krispy Kreme for insects. You are an unsuspecting bumblebee flying through the woods. Suddenly, you fly through blissfully perfumed air. It makes your little bee tummy start to rumble, and you want to get a taste.
You fly closer to the plant; it looks like a delicious treat of fresh nectar. It smells great. To get a taste you must fly inside the rim. You land in the nectar and start to drink. But you don’t notice the gradual slope under your feet. You are caught up in the moment, enjoying the treat. Suddenly, you begin to slide down into the plant without realizing it. You only notice the intoxicating nectar. Then you begin to sense the slight slide; gravity conspiring against you, but you have wings. You are confident you can fly out of the plant at any time. You need just a few more sips. The nectar is good, so why not enjoy it?
You think, as most drinkers do, that you are in control; you can leave the plant at any time. Eventually the slope becomes very steep, and the daylight seems further away as darkness closes in around you. You stop drinking just enough to see dead, floating bodies of other bees and insects around you. Alarmingly, you realize you are not enjoying a drink; you are drinking the juices of other dead and dissolving bees. You are the drink.
Some of us lost our dream candidate. Some of us gained our dream candidate. We are love. We choose Love. We pray for one another and believe the President Elect to keep a commitment to heal the nation. He cannot do it alone.
It takes TRANSFORMATION. Each one of us. Trust, laying down our grievances and committing to kindness, compromise, reconciliation, tolerance, forgiveness, empathy and love …in thought, word and deed.
You could say that life’s been a bit of a drag lately.
2020 keeps dragging on. And the election keeps dragging on. And the pandemic keeps dragging on. The endless questions with no answers are dragging on. Nothing seems to be working, and everything is complicated.
It’s been okay in my neck of the woods. I have the rest of the world turned off for most of the time. Many of my connections are bright lights that I can navigate to when I start to feel down.
Since school began in September, cases around here have been going up, a lot. My district was supposed to start in-person next week (my kids have been in-person one-on-one), but now we are all remote– probably at least until the end of January. So last week was the last week for awhile that I can see my kids in person. It’s sad. I’m hoping to spend time sprucing up the office room (that is currently ripped apart due to flooding) and organizing my online lessons. I am grateful that with only doing online lessons, lesson planning will be easier.
I’m kind of pumped to have extra time each day not commuting for almost two hours. I’m also excited to be able to do things differently this year, maybe in some ways better?
About two years ago I had a brilliant idea. I wanted to put my Orton-Gillingham lessons online, or on an app or make into a computer program. I thought it was the perfect project for me and hubby to do together, and between the both of us we’d have the knowledge to do it. With grad classes and all that, we never got it started, but you know what? I’m putting those suckers online now.. how ironic, eh?
You know what else is ironic? Waiting 43 years to get braces, but having to wear a mask all the time after getting them off. That’s the funniest thing that happened this week.
I have been super scattered this year, most notably, making stupid mistakes with work. So much so that yesterday I missed my kid’s 504 Plan meeting at school. At my school, I schedule meetings like these and it drives me crazy when parents don’t show up- and just forget about our meeting. Well, now I’m one of those parents. We both had it on our calendars too. I felt awful when I got the email at 12:20, “we had a meeting scheduled at noon, would you like to reschedule?”
I was thrilled that before missing the meeting I had a doctor’s appointment and got a prescription for Ritalin. I’ve talked to her about it before, and am kind of apprehensive about taking it- but at the same time I hope it helps me.
Other than that, I have some good things to look forward to.
The holidays kill my spirit, and this year I stopped feeling guilty for thinking about skipping it. We bought tickets to Florida and will completely miss Christmas day with both of our families.
It wasn’t an easy decision, and we’ve both gone through different emotions about it (feeling so excited, but also guilty, especially since we’re taking our nephew and will probably get a lot of flack for him not spending Christmas with his mom), but now that it’s a done deal, I’m thinking why don’t we do this every year??
I love our families, I really do. But the holidays on both sides is extra stressful. His family works for days putting on giant dinner with all the bells and whistles. For the past few years, they’ve been leaving the morning following the Christmas gathering to head to Florida. Since doing that, the Christmas gathering is extra stressful as they are frantically preparing for the trip while doing everything else.
Christmas eve at my dad’s is a smaller party but normally pretty stressful. The only reprieve is to get wasted, and well that’s just not an option these days.
So now when I think of the holidays, I feel an excitement, not a feeling of dread like normal. Then I realize that I need to put myself first more often.
I’ve been trying to keep up on the self-care, which is hard this time of year, especially given the craziness of the school year.
At any point in time, I’m usually reading a spiritual program type book. Currently, I’m studying A Course in Miracles. The real book is wordy, cumbersome and hard to understand. So, I got a cliff note version. My sister and I talk almost every morning and read a lesson from it. These lessons are way easier to understand than the real book. There are over 300 lessons and I’m pretty sure that I’ll be doing them for the rest of my life. They’re good. Currently, the theme is how nothing is real, we make up everything, our thoughts impact our life, our perception is everything.. those kinds of things.
I bring this up because having this routine has helped tremendously with staying sane and happy. My sister has had a lot of spiritual growth also, and we enjoy reading through the lesson and applying them to real life situations.
I joined a Pilates club and have been doing that a couple times each week. It seems to have helped my mood. I am enjoying the classes, but much more since buying tickets to Florida!
Another super cool thing is that I finally made it to the Buddhist temple for Sunday service! It was nice, pretty much what I expected. This was on my 2019 bucket list, better late than never right? I went with a good friend, another good friend was supposed to go, but her kiddo was sick, so she will go next time. Yep, next time, because now I have friends who want to go too. What a great feeling it is to have like-minded friends.
Lastly, I finally have gotten back to my manuscripts. I took a break since school started, I couldn’t get into it mentally. I started about a week ago and have been obsessed ever since. Each future novel is in a binder and whenever I walk by one of the binders, a voice in my head says, my manuscript, and then I feel so freaking happy! Who even cares if they ever get published and stay in a binder forever? It doesn’t change a thing 🙂
Several months ago, even before the pandemic, hubby and the boys were playing Minecraft together. Hubby can play for hours and hours. He especially likes to play after a stressful day or week at work. It gets his mind off the stress. He’s not a video gaming hubby, really, and goes weeks or months without playing, but sometimes it’s a good stress relief and he will get lost in the block world.
“I wish I had something that I could get lost in.” I said to him one night. I was jealous that he could play for hours, putting all the stress aside. I had nothing like that- except for maybe drinking.
Him playing Minecraft or even talking to the boys about playing used to be a big trigger for me because of boredom. It doesn’t trigger me often anymore, but I’ve realized that I need something to keep me busy.
When I started writing over the summer, I found that writing is that something for me. I could write for hours and they just fly by. It also is an amazing stress relief. Whatever I’m experiencing in real life somehow/someway comes out in my writing. Not in an obvious kind of way, but the therapeutic effects it has on me is profound.
I also realized that without knowing about the ego and the awful voice it has, I’m certain my writing would have never gotten this far. All summer long, that voice was like, This story is stupid. You’re wasting your time. No one will ever read this. You should stop now.
I am 100% certain that I would have stopped by the second or third lash of the ego’s tongue, but now I knew better. I’ve often wondered if I would have written more, taken more risks in general, growing up if I knew how to shut up that voice- instead of taking it at face value.
I stopped writing when school started. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get back to my story while working during the school year. It feels so refreshing and great to get back to it. I’m going to try my hardest to carve in at least a couple hours each day to write- after all, that’s the amount of drive time I’m saving everyday.
It’s a huge and overwhelming process, but I’m taking baby steps and enjoying the process, most of the time anyway.
I woke up super early this morning and braved the elements. My mind was running while running through the dark cold. Something made me think of the incidents below and it felt shameful, so I decided to blog about it, even though it has nothing to do with sobriety.
When I was about 18, I was driving home from my boyfriend’s house late at night. I was tired and I could feel the tires of my Probe getting stuck in the grooves along the lines of the highway. Not long into the journey, I saw flashing lights pulling me over. Shit. I thought, although I was not driving under the influence of anything.
They put me in the back of the car and told me they were going to give me some sobriety tests. “No problem.” I replied.
One cop looks back and says to the other one, “She’s fine, look at her eyes.” And with that, I was let go and told to be careful night driving.
Several years later, I was student teaching and our school went on lockdown because a 1997 white Ford Taurus robbed a store in the area and was on the run. Later that afternoon, long after the lockdown was lifted, I was heading home in my 1996 white Ford Taurus.
I noticed a cop behind me at one point. I was nervous because I was on hold with my college trying to handle some red tape of some sort. But I knew that I would be talking to them soon and distracted so I pulled into a sub. A few minutes later, I had talked to the college and so I pulled out of the sub and continued on. The cop was watching and I supposed it looked suspicious. He pulled me over, and I didn’t even know why.
“Excuse me, ma’am. Is this your vehicle?”
“Well, we are looking for a car that fits this description. We had a robbery in the area earlier.”
“No officer. That was a ’97 Taurus. THIS is a ’96.” I said with an eye roll.
I didn’t realize at the time, that the two models looked identical and when I told my hubby what happened he was flabbergasted that I mouthed off to the cop. Only I didn’t realize how snarky and naive of me that was.
But.. he let me go. I don’t even think he was irritated at my snide remark. But it was disrespectful on my part. I was probably irked to be pulled over when I was doing nothing wrong.
Two weeks ago I was rear ended. The person who did it didn’t stop when I pulled into a driveway, he/she kept going. I filed a police report. I gave my license and registration to the cop when he showed up. I didn’t have proof of insurance, but thought he could look it up.
Nope, he needed it and waited patiently while a made a few phone calls and sat on hold waiting to get my policy number. In the meantime, he ran my plates.
I didn’t realize it, but I handed him the wrong registration completely (different car entirely).
“You must not normally drive this car.” He assumed.
“Yeah, officer. That’s right. I hardly ever drive this one.” (I drive it 99% of the time).
“Well, make sure you have the correct registration next time.”
This page screams white privilege, something that some people don’t believe in, including my hubby (I’m working on it, he’s getting there– but he also grew up in downtown Detroit and was the only white kid at his elementary and was bullied horribly because of it. He also could not walk safely in his neighborhood alone. He has to untangle these cords before moving forward).
I used to not get it too, but that changed this year. I belong to a running group on Facebook and there was a horrific story that was shared.
A man, who was a well respected father and husband, went out for a morning run. A local father/son duo assumed he was running from a crime and so they took it upon themselves to shoot him dead. He just went out for exercise.
The comments shared on that stream were unreal to me. People chimed in left and right about their apprehension and issues they’ve had while running. Many, especially black men, can’t run at night or early morning, have to be careful where they run and who they run with. One dad said he only runs when his daughters can run with him so that he’s not targeted as a criminal.
Reading firsthand accounts, along with that awful story hit home with me. I didn’t get it before, but I get it now.
Now it sounds so irrelevant whenever I hear, All Lives Matter.
Of course all lives matter, but that’s like shouting, “I too have felt loss!” at a stranger’s funeral. Or it’s like demanding a fireman put his hose on MY house, because ALL houses matter, never mind that the one next to mine is burning to the ground.
This post doesn’t feel great to publish. It feels controversial and preachy. I’m not trying to preach and admit that I, myself, was very late in realizing the big picture.