Two Years, No Drinks

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Two years ago was one of the most shameful days of my life.

I won’t go into details, and they aren’t awful, as I was a ‘high bottom’ drunk. I’ve never had a DUI or anything like that. But I knew that I had to stop drinking once and for all.

In these two years, the blessings and gifts haven’t stopped coming. These come in the form of simple things like the intrinsic appreciation of a warm, sunny, lazy day. Other times they are bigger gifts, like getting an A+ on my physical exam and bloodwork or actually communicating effectively with my spouse.

At any rate, I can honestly say that these two years have been the happiest of my adult life.

Read that again.

What if I had known this all along?

I can’t go back and I don’t do regrets anymore, so my point is if you are reading this, today is the best day to quit. There will never be a better day than today and you are not getting any younger.

Speaking of younger, according to my Arboleaf scale, my metabolic age is lower than my actual age

If you have no idea how good that feels, than you are in need of some self-care/self-love. It is a boost that no amounts of drugs/alcohol could ever provide- and the results are long acting and cause a chain of other positive events.

The false highs do the opposite. While the pleasure is immediate, the fall is hard and the only way out seems to be located where there is more, more, and more.

Okay enough soapbox talk. Wanna know how I’m going to celebrate? I’m going to go to TJ Maxx to get back some of the stuff I tried to buy a few weeks ago.

I was yearning for that stuff for about a week, then finally forgot about it.

Now I’m almost out of conditioner for real and tried to order a similar product off Amazon but it’s not nearly as good, so I’m just going to have to go back to that store.

The good news is that I know exactly what I want and it’s only a few small things, not a cart full like I had before. And it’s now a need.

I hope you all have a happy Sunday

Day #725 Don’t Look at Me

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Spring has sprung, and the sunshine couldn’t feel any brighter. The birds are getting louder every day and the grass is slowly turning a lush green.

Despite the arrival of spring, and my birthday, last week was tough. Low vibes and low energy, all week long. I didn’t workout as much as usual and my workouts all week were weak.

Still feeling kind of low, despite the fact that this has been the most perfect weekend, if you’re looking at outside factors beyond my control.

But, I’m focused. Shadow work has been popping up everywhere, so naturally that’s what I’m focused on. I’m in a somatic writing class for the next two weeks- and I’m not enjoying it too much. I am in way over my head. The women in this group seem to be very far above me spiritually. I’m trying to learn bits and pieces from them, but I’m feeling sort of lost in this class.

I joined a book club group for the book, May Cause Miracles, that starts in a couple weeks. This is a 40 day soul program that I started a couple years ago and have been meaning to get back to.

One thing that I’ve really recently noticed is that I have awful body image problems. That’s about where I stopped while doing this program before, so I’m eager to see if it helps.

By awful body image problems, I mean I feel awkward and uncomfortable when anyone compliments me on the way I look.

In 2019, I lost a lot of weight. I attributed it to getting off Prednisone after being on it for a year, plus intermittent fasting and eating better in general, and finally getting out of the alcohol cycle and completely omitting that poison. Whenever anyone said anything about my weight loss, I immediately told them it was because I’m off the pred. Fine.

Well that was fall of 2019. Since then I’ve gotten healthier. I’m eating cleaner, joined Club Pilates, and workout regularly.

Someone recently commented on how healthy I looked. Immediately, I used being off Pred as an excuse. I later thought about it and wondered why I wasn’t honest. Especially given how much work I’ve put into my health. Why didn’t I just say that I’m eating better and doing killer workouts?

My sister and I are reading the cliff note version of A Course in Miracles. We read a lesson nearly every day. A couple weeks ago, the author told a story about asking his daughter what she was doing.

“Just laying here, feeling beautiful.” She replied. I can’t even remember what the point of that day’s lesson was but my sister and I had a long conversation about it.

Sister loved what the daughter said. Said she was going to use that line. That line was horrifying to me. I would never say that, unless it was a sarcastic remark made to laugh at myself.

I decided right then that I would be happiest not even discussing looks or the body at all.

But why?

Why is this so Taboo for me?

So… I’m relying on my favorite guru, Gabby Bernstein to help me out! I may just need a miracle

So, happy day 725! Almost two years, and the real work has just begun.

Maybe work is the wrong word. Most of the time it feels like miracles and magic and is way more play than work. Oddly enough though, the toughest situations or lessons often produce the most magic. This I must remember— it’s very easy to forget and resist.

Happy Sunday friends! I hope you all have a great day and are able to rest, relax and get in some sunshine

Are We Sure ‘Stuff’ Doesn’t Make Us Happy?

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Day #717, Saturday March 13, 2021 

Yesterday was a gorgeous March Friday in Michigan. In celebration of the great weather we’ve had all week, I ventured out to do some leisurely shopping at TJ Maxx. The only thing that I was specifically looking for was a St. Patty’s Day mask. Anything else that I found would be a bonus.

It takes a certain mood for me to poke around a store without worrying about time, and yesterday I was in that mood. There was nothing I needed, but I spent who-knows-how-long looking at endless racks of purses, and then sunglasses, and then off to the make-up section where I would spend even more time.

I found some amazing treasures! I have a very saggy face, from being middle age and from losing a significant amount of weight. My intuition recently told me to use manuka honey on my face to help with firming up the skin, so when I found a night-time manuka honey firming cream, I knew it was meant for me.

The make-up/skin section had a slew of cheap goodies. I got a leave-in conditioner, another hair towel (I bought one for the first time around Christmas and am constantly washing it), a room spray, two clay masks for detoxification and firming, tinted lip balm, and that might be it for that section. Off to the bras/underwear.

I immediately found a pack of Lucky bras that were soft and exactly what I was looking for, but they didn’t have my size. I searched and searched and as luck would have it, I finally found a set in a size L- I was thrilled!  I also bought matching underwear and a pack of pj shorts that were so soft. Mission accomplished in the lingerie section- off to the food/home goods aisles.

Not a whole lot here. I found some chocolate/caramel candies and chocolate fudge. I looked at the notebooks and candles and then glanced at my cart with stuff piled in it, and knew that it was almost time to go. But not before hitting the clothing section. Near the clothing section is the workout section, and I scored two yoga blocks on clearance!

The store was starting to get busy and I knew I’d be quick. With the aisles getting crowded, I set my cart off to the side while I quickly rummaged through the clothing, glancing at my cart every now and again to make sure it was still there.

After looking at and almost buying a couple of tops, I decided that I didn’t need anything else, and it was time to go. I moaned when I saw the growing line as I went to get my treasures.

Only, my cart was gone. Just, gone.

It couldn’t have gone far. I looked all over- by the service counter, the checkout lanes, the restroom, where was it? If an employee took it, they couldn’t have emptied it that quick, and so I circled the store, not once, not twice but three times looking for my cart. Throughout the whole ordeal, a little voice was telling me that there is nothing in that cart that I really needed.

After three rounds, and about three minutes of reshopping and attempting to refind the same treasures, I gave up and left, feeling empty.

TJ Maxx did not have any St. Patty’s Day masks, so after leaving, I ran into Walmart. No masks there, but I did find some other St. Patty’s Day decorations and a couple of bras similar to what I found at TJ Maxx, and probably just as good. I felt good as I checked out at Walmart, thinking of the money I probably saved not buying a bunch of junk.

I felt a little happy when I arrived home and thought about all of the items and packaging that I now did not have to put away and sort through. Putting all new stuff away sometimes leads to feeling let-down and I acknowledged that at least I didn’t have that to deal with. I was still sad. I told my oldest son what happened, and we laughed and laughed, because it was kind of funny.

Last night, I thought of the tinted lip balm and got excited to try it, until I remembered I didn’t buy it. It was one of my ‘cart casualties.’ Every time I thought of this, it made me feel empty, and I had to remind myself that it was all stuff I already had.

This morning is Saturday morning, which means when I woke up, I didn’t have to get up right away.

Want to know the first thing I did?

I grabbed my phone and went on the TJ Maxx website to see if I could find some of the make-up and conditioners I found on clearance, and to see if I could find the Lucky bra and underwear. No luck, nothing, and so I’m writing this out.

I have the urge to go back today and get some of my stuff. I don’t know why the pull is so strong, and why I feel that I am missing out on something.

It’s a nice day and I’m going to forget about it. I’m taking the dog to Proud Lake and going to enjoy the sunshine by the river.

Lucky for me, there’s a Dollar Tree by the park and I can’t wait to stop and poke around on the way home.

 

 

Back to School

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February 28, 2021

Day #704

My boys, who have been attending school two days per week, are going back full time starting tomorrow. Five FULL days, which is amazing! They are kind of salty about it, and are complaining that they won’t be able to social distance. Anthony and Andrew are in their senior year. The fact that they have (or get) to go back full time in March, the beginning of the best phase of the school year, PLUS it’s their senior year, makes me have zero sympathy for them. I’m happy they’re going back.

Anthony would like to return on March 13th, instead of March 1st, for nostalgic purposes alone. I’m stoked that this all started and the schools closed down in March of last year, so now we’re all returning on March 1st. It feels full circle. It feels refreshing. Although, sometimes I wonder where the past year went. It was like a blur, did it even actually happen?

Things at the school I work at are a little different. Our students have been fully remote, except for the special education students, who have been coming in to work with Liz and I in small groups or individually. Tomorrow, our students return two days a week. So whoever wants to keep their kids at home will still be remote, but the kids who are coming are split into two groups and each attend two days.

I. Am. So. Excited!

The school has been big, and empty, and sometimes it’s overwhelming. I’ll always have memories taking motor breaks with my 3rd graders. I have two that I see together and they are ecstatic to come back to school. Since the fall, these two practically drool when we walk by their general ed classroom, peeking into the big empty room with huge eyes and a bit of excitement laced with disappointment. I am so happy for these two to come back.

Speaking of those two 3rd graders, something small but profound happened last week. I was working with them in my room, when their teacher peeked in to ask me a question about a meeting we had that day. She felt terrible interrupting and was trying to be quick about it. When she left, I realized that I should have introduced her to her students. I turned to Kayla and said, “Shoot, that was your teacher. I should have introduced you.”

Sassy old soul Kayla replied with, “Yeah, I know.”

“Oooooh, yeah that’s right. She’s been teaching you all year (remotely), I’m so silly, of course you knew who that was.” I felt foolish, as they had been working with her online all year long.

I was still kind of bummed they didn’t get to say hi in person. Their teacher stopped by again at the end of the school day and I told her what happened earlier. My remorse over not introducing them, then realizing that I don’t have to because they already know each other, etc. Her mouth dropped open.

“Those were my kids?” She asked, with a shocked expression.

The utter disconnect hit me hard. No fault of the teacher, the kids had masks on, it is really hard to recognize people with masks on, plus she was trying to not interrupt my lesson. But three people, who have relationships, who have been working together since September, were feet apart and didn’t even know it. For some reason, it makes tears come to my eyes but not in a happy way. I hope Sylvia Brown’s prediction of school going all online in the 2020’s is inaccurate or maybe predicted based on the short stint that Corona forced upon us, I sure hope so because I don’t think online learning is good for anyone, minus a few exceptions.

We are still wearing masks everywhere. Some are more fanatic about it than others. For example, we don’t wear ours when we are outdoors, even in public like a park, but some families still do.

Stores are fully stocked and have been for a majority of this whole thing and medical appointments seem to be running fairly normal.

Vet Clinics are still staff only. This means that I have to wait in the car, for everything (well except for when Jules started his allergy injections last summer- they let me come in so they could coach me through the injections).

During this year, Milo and Zoe have both needed some intense appointments. Milo had a wound, then tooth problem, so he had them all cleaned but was kind of slow to recover and I was worried for a bit that something else was going on. Zoe recently had cellulitis and was treated at the ER (while I waited nervously in the car, something I’ll never get used when they have a problem). Her recheck a few days later showed an increased fever, and she got more antibiotics. Her fever was even higher the next recheck, and when he picked a scab off her cellulitis, puss came pouring out. She had an abcess inside. He put her out and cleaned out her insides, with the abcess going all the way into her armpit. She came home with a bloody belly and a little drain tube sticking out.

I hated taking her in each time, especially since I couldn’t be with her. I haven’t met the doctor who did her surgery in person at all and that made me uneasy too.

I’m happy to report that she appears to be all healed up. She was a doll during it all. She had her abscess surgery on a Friday afternoon, so I was grateful that I would be home to watch her for a few days. She spent the weekend laying with me (all over my Reiki binder that I was using to study the Reiki class I was taking) and letting me use a washcloth to groom her wounded belly. She had to wear a cone until the drain came out, and it was heartbreaking watching her try to clean herself.

But somehow, the whole thing bonded us. She is closer with me now than ever before and I can’t help but to think that she knew and appreciated me taking care of her. I am so grateful that she is back to normal, Zoe is one of the sweetest cats we’ve ever had and my whole family was worried about her when she was sick.

Feeling much better!

My Greatest Teacher

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For the first time in 7 years, I felt joy when I saw the date, February 13th.

It was my late mom’s birthday. She died suddenly in 2014. Her birthday, just like her deathday, can be a sad and overwhelming time.

I didn’t allow myself to feel guilty, for feeling joy, on this day, although my ego tried to be persistent.

I would honor her by having a nice, cheery day and would light a candle and say a prayer at 2:13pm, and I did.

When I was five, I found a picture of my uncle Bob. He died of cancer a few years earlier when I was just a toddler.

My mother and I had a conversation about death next. It ended abruptly with me in tears and my mom trying to reassure me.

I was lucky enough, if you call it that, now I call it oblivious and unseasoned, to not have to deal with death much in my early life.

As the years passed, my sisters and I often recognized that it was rare that we were in our 30’s/late 20’s and still had all four of our grandparents.

My mom’s dad was the first to go, from a slew of health issues. He was in his 80’s. It was 2008 and I was 31 years old.

The death, the funeral, all of it was sad, but not unreal. He was old and lived a really great life with a huge family and a lot of kids and grandkids. He lived a fulfilling life and while it was glum, it was a normal thing to have happen at my age.

The next death was much different.

In early July, my mom was rushed to the ER with a bowel obstruction, the day before she was supposed to meet us up north for a family holiday.

My little family had arrived up north the night before, but headed back home when we got the news.

They did surgery that evening, but she died early the next day from being septic. Her car already packed for our Fourth of July holiday.

The days, months and years following were very tough. However, it became apparent to me about a year ago that her death was the worst, and best thing for me to experience in my life.

How ironic, that our conversation about death was cut short so many years ago, never to be brought up again, yet her death turned out to be one of my biggest life lessons.

I’ve grown like never before, since that tragic summer.

The number one, biggest factor in all of my growth was quitting drinking. This was the beginning of a rebirth.

My drinking spiraled after losing my mom. I drank responsibly (for the most part, at least from what I remember ), but then again drinking every night was not very responsible. I woke up most mornings not remembering going to bed.

I sank down pretty far, so much that I couldn’t stop drinking. Not even after waking up day after day with miserable hangovers. I would swear that I would quit, or at least cut down. But by evening, the guilt, shame and promises we’re replaced by Betsy, telling me how much I deserve and need a drink. Which of course would turn into half a dozen- or more.

I spent summer 2016 floating in the pool with a drink, telling myself that if I got a sign from my mom or the universe, like a bird landing on the side of the pool, then I would quit. The lack of signs was the perfect excuse to continue sipping away.

And I did, for the entire summer and beyond.

The desire to stop, accompanied by the inability to do so, propelled me into sobriety once I discovered sober groups and started to connect with sober people, who seemed to be having way more fun in life than I was.

This opened the door to an endless path of learning, growth and self-improvement.

My sober studies led to learning about the law of attraction and the life force energy.

My studies on the law of attraction drew me to soul work, where I experienced magic and miracles in everyday life and activities (see all blog entries from the summer 2019- the ‘spiritual’ summer).

The soul work led me to developing a stronger intuition.

Communicating with my intuition urged me to learn more about energy, such as how to perform Reiki and tapping into my psychic abilities.

I never in a million years would have imagined me full out hippie witch in my mid-forties- yet here I am.

Happiness and suffering go hand-in-hand. This may explain why I was such a rotten adult in my 20’s and 30’s. My ego overshadowed everything and I went through life with a ‘poor me’ attitude.

My mom often urged us to be grateful, especially as we all got older. I would reply that “I was grateful, for our home and food.” But I still went through life searching for something that felt empty.

Her death taught me what it’s like to feel grateful, like intrinsically glorious at a given moment for the simplest things in life- and to feel so fortunate for that minute, yet grand, experience.

This post is dedicated to my mom, who continues to teach me deep lessons from the afterlife.

Ironically, the most important thing she and her death taught me is how to find my own peace and happiness amidst the chaos.

Day #690

Day 676 – What’s in Your Garden?

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“We don’t see things the way they are. We see things the way We are.” -Talmud

I used to see the world through a different set of eyes, because of the way I was. I’ve changed, and so has the landscape I look at everyday.

But it’s not the landscape that has changed.

I used to spend my time watering my weeds. I spent endless energy fueling a fire that was burning my house down. All the while thinking that I was dousing it with water.

Most things I did, including daily chores and gatherings, were done reluctantly and sadly, unless, of course, my old pal alcohol was involved.

My world revolved around it. My fake world was burning to the ground and while I feverishly worked to keep everything under control, I missed the abundance of flowers and the sunshine in the real world.

On Day 675 my youngest hurt his foot sledding & we thought it was best to take him to the ER for an X-ray.

It was about 6pm and because of Covid, only one of us was allowed to stay with him.

I didn’t hesitate, nor did I give hubby a choice. I stayed.

While we waited, I didn’t have a care in the world (he wasn’t in pain unless he walked on it). The hospital is just a couple miles away and very nice. One we got into a room, we had cable tv! We don’t have cable at home, so it was a treat.

All the while my previous landscape was in the back of my head.

You wouldn’t have stayed.

You would have gone home and started drinking before he even got back.

If you had stayed with him, you’d be jonesing, just waiting to go home and “douse” the flames.

Man, my inner critic never let’s me forget.

And neither does the Universe. A woman was getting dropped off for detox while we were there. I heard her daughter talking to the nurse after they took her mother. My heart hurt for them and I was reminded of how blessed I am.

These days I’m spending zero time watering my weeds. Instead, most of my time is spent watering & admiring my flowers, and pulling out weeds here and there as the need arises.

What’s flourishing in your garden?

What do you see in your landscape?

Always Watching

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My oldest kiddo is a huge Tetris fan. When one of the most well known champs passed away recently, he was in shock.

He told me about a headline he saw, saying Jonas Neubauer has died, which he thought was a joke. Then he told me about his wife’s Twitter statement, confirming the awful news.

He passed away due to a ‘Medical Emergency.’

The first thing I thought is that he passed in his sleep, of drugs, alcohol, or both. I jumped to this conclusion because by now in my life I’ve known people who die in their 30’s. If it’s not a car accident that kills them, it’s more than likely drugs, alcohol, or suicide. Or a brain aneurism.

I didn’t want to be negative, so I suggested it could have been a brain aneurism, which is sudden and not terribly uncommon.

“Yeah,” he cooly replied. Followed by, “he was a big drinker. He would drink every time he streams, and at every tournament.”

Nothing else needed to be said.

They are always watching. Always

Day #661 and forever grateful

Day 653

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I can’t believe it’s coming up on TWO years since I’ve had a sip of alcohol.

One of my favorite songs is “Hate Me” by Blue October.

For YEARS, I listened to the line, “
I’m sober now for three whole months it’s one accomplishment that you helped me with” and couldn’t fathom 3 whole months. It’s still one of my favorites, and I can’t wait to say, “Three whole years.”

I’ve been seeing a ton of posts lately from people just beginning their sober journey.

I think of the years I spent, writing on here, about day 1 after day 1 after day 1. At times I felt like a sham, “Hi , me again, I F***ed up yet again.” Feeling like a sober imposter.

I didn’t understand it, any of it. I felt great during sober streaks, so why did I keep falling into the moderation trap? It never seemed to work, and just left me thinking of alcohol 24/7.

I want to hug all those in the very beginning. I want to tell them that showing up is half (or more) of the battle. And if they f*** up, to not give up. Keep showing up, reaching out, utilizing meetings & connecting with others, and to keep building that sober toolkit. I want to promise them that they’ve been lied to and there is so much more to life than feeding the monster while keeping it at bay.

I’m hopeful that people are starting to wake up.

The Man at the Bike Shop

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The Man at the Bike Shop- Cocoa Beach, Florida

I didn’t like him at first, he really irritated me. When I called, the lady who answered said they had a bag on the bike for our belongings, but when we asked at the shop, the man sternly said noooooo like we were off our rockers.

I had a wrist compression sleeve on and he asked about it while he was helping me with my bike. I told him that I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and a current flare. His next question got my attention. “What is your diet like?”

Nobody asks that question and I dubbed him immediately as one of my people (holistic/against the grain). I’m not against doctors, or my rheumatologist, by any means, but they do seem to be about 10-20 years behind the current trends (although these “trends” have been practice in the East for eternity- the West somehow got away from it, probably during the industrial era, AKA factory prescription drugs).

He told me to get turmeric, ginger, cayenne pepper, and garlic and to put it all in a capsule to take about 4 a day. He says it’ll help tremendously with inflammation, and also with healing my gut (80% of your immune system is in the gut, so if you have autoimmune problems, the gut is a good place to start). He talked my ear off about all sorts of things: juicing, diatomaceous earth, and the 7 important energy centers located in our body that can clue us in on problems (AKA Chakras). These are all things I do, or have done, so it was exciting to get some more information.

He claimed that people from all over in his area came to him for the magic inflammation pills. He’s also writing a book on all of this.

He works at the bicycle shop and is happy as can be, enjoying passing along important matters to the boss and not having the burden on himself. He used to be in the marines, then worked for GM. He had a family but recently went through a divorce, sold all his things, retired and is enjoying the good life on the beach with a side a job that makes him happy, and not stressed.

I spent part of my Sunday stuffing capsules with these spices

Since talking to that man, I’ve been consciously more healthy. I’ve been juicing regularly, taking that spice combo and trying to eat mostly whole foods in hopes to decrease my inflammation/flares. I believe that we come across people for a reason, and coming across this guy seemed to be great for my motivation.

That was last week.

Two days ago was Monday and we were back from winter break.

It was so overwhelming to think about going back this time. Usually I’m ready to go back, to get a good start to the new year and wait for the spring countdown to start.

I hate my job right now. I don’t feel effective most of the time. I get a stomachache when I think of coordinating meetings, parents or other teachers who don’t answer calls or emails, testing that needs to be done in a short window and takes a few of my students hours per test, the grossness goes on.

Most of my students want to be at school, this is hard on everyone.

Each day I’ve been daydreaming of purging all our stuff, moving to a shack on the beach and selling tacos out of a truck.

Survivor Guilt

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I came across this post yesterday, and it made me cry.

Why her and not me?

I guess it hits hard because as I’m working on my vision board, I’m feeling so incredibly pumped for year 44.

And I think of the people in my life who are still drinking regularly, and think, why have I found recovery, and they continue to deny?

And it’s all good because it makes me hate alcohol even more.

But why do I get to see the truth while others continue to be lied to and live a facade?

Why do their kids have to suffer, while mine see me thrive as they enter into adolescence/adulthood?

Why me?

Why not them?

Q