Tag Archives: sober

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She Recovers NYC 2017

I remember reading A Year Without Alcohol by Kelly Fitzgerald, now Kelly Junco, and thinking “Holy shit, this girl has some balls”.  It was 2014 and I was around three months sober when I read her blog sharing about her year without alcohol and how great she felt now that she was sober. She even posted pics of herself all wasted. I couldn’t believe someone could be so brave, I was shocked and inspired. She was the first person I saw that was recovering out loud, like REALLY loud. There was no way I could ever do that, but I thought she was amazing and I wanted to be just like her. Except for the recovering out loud part.

 

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Kelly aka The Sober Senorita

I followed her though out my first year sober all the way up to my relapse on May 18th, 2015. It was soon after my relapse that I knew in my heart and mind that I had to share my story. It was the scariest thing I had ever done, being so open and honest, how would people respond? What would they say? But, I remembered Kelly and how she did it and if she could, maybe I could too. On October of 2015 I had the chance to meet her In Washington D.C. for the Unite To Face Addiction Rally. I kind of felt like a groupie lol.

 

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Holly creator of Hip Sobriety

I found that after I started sharing my story openly I began to connect with so many other women sharing their story too!  I found Holly Whitaker creator of Hip Sobriety and I knew I had to contact her. We had a brief phone conversation where she assured me I was on the right path and if I needed anything from her to call her but that I was already doing an a great job. Who would have guessed a few months after that conversation she  would ask me to be on the HOME podcast! Craziness!

 

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Marianne Williamson

Since then I have connected with so many women, some in recovery, some still trying to figure out their path and some have just been there for me when I was struggling. The online recovery community has been such a huge part of my journey. Not only do I have friends that are near by but I can go to any part of the country and have a friend that would probably make me coffee and let me sleep on her couch if I asked. And I would do the same for them in a heartbeat!

 

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Dawn Nickel creator of She Recovers

So when I heard that there would be a She Recovers conference in New York City I knew I had to be there. 500 other women like me?!?! As Dawn Nickel the creator of She Recovers says “We are all recovering from something” and she’s right. We are all recovering from something, we just don’t always talk about it. But here was our chance to come together as one, to talk about the hard stuff, to be with others that truly get it. To finally meet the ones that we’ve only connected with and admired from afar.

What A Magical Experience It Was!!

I got to see Kelly again and this time I didn’t feel like a groupie, it felt like old friends catching up. And I got to finally meet Holly. I got to meet Laura Ward of Quit Wining another mom in recovery that I follow and look up to. I met sober bloggers that I’ve been following and admiring finally IRL! I met Heidi Smith creator of Addicitive Designs, another one that I totally love and look up to. I met so many of the women that I’ve only chatted with on Instagram. In case you didn’t know, there is a HUGE recovery community on Instagram. It was incredible! I had multiple women ask how my son is doing, and they genuinely care. It felt like a room full of friends that had know each other forever. Not only that but we got to hear Glennon Doyle Melton, Gabby Bernstein, Elizabeth Vsargus, Elena Brower, Marianne Williamson, and a few other amazing ladies.

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Sober Bloggers

I’m still amazed by it!!

 

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Heidi of Addictive Designs

One of the best parts of the conference was on Friday evening when it had just began, I was filling up my water cup when a woman slowly walking by asks me if I’m Melissa. I told her I was and the look on her face makes me cry just thinking about it. She goes into saying how she has followed my blog and listened to my episode on the podcast and how much it has helped her. I wasn’t expecting that and I’m at a loss for words to describe how her words made me feel. Full of gratitude.  That right there is why I do this, if my story helps even one woman have hope then it’s all worth it. My biggest fear when coming out with my truth has been the fear of being judged, but when I hear someone say the things she said,  I know I’m on the right path.

I’m never alone! 

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Sober Bloggers

There just aren’t enough words to describe the experience. The conference reminded me that I’m never alone on this path, ever. None of us are ever alone. And when we speak our truth, we give others the courage to speak theirs too. Just like Kelly (The Sober Señorita)  did for me. I will be forever grateful for the women that came before lighting up the path letting women know it’s ok to own our stories and tell it like we don’t give a f^*k what others think.  Can’t wait for the next conference!!

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St. Patrick’s Day Over The Years

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! It’s March 17th, 2017. I’m sure there are thousands of people out celebrating today, drinking green beer and having a blast. I used to be one of them for years. These days my St. Patty’s Day consists of work and hanging out with my kiddos. I still wear the green, I just don’t drink the green beer anymore. And best of all, I won’t have a hangover tomorrow morning and I’ll remember everything that happens tonight. I’ll take that over a hangover any day. I had some crazy times I’ll never remember. Maybe it’s best I don’t.

Here I am trying to look sexy, but it kinda looks like I’m wasted and trying to make myself throw up lol.

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I lived in Dallas for years. My favorite day of the year was the St. Patty’s Day block party on lower Greenville. It was a blast and I looked forward to it every year. I would plan my whole weekend around the block party. Basically all it is is a bunch of people walking up and down Greenville drinking alcohol. There were house parties and bars to walk through.  It always started off innocent, as innocent as a block party full of booze possibly can. I’d wander through peoples houses drinking their beer, eating their food and using their restrooms. Then I’d head off to the next shenanigans I could get myself into. By the end of the night I’d be in a blackout and somehow make it home. That’s how I spent every year for about 6-7 years. Until I moved to Oklahoma City.

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The photo above is how the day started off. Coherent and having fun. We got in an argument and split up. He ended up in jail and I ended up at the apartment. We made up the next morning at Hooters while we washed away our hangovers with more beer. Gross!

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I thought I was so cool. But what I’ve learned over the years is that my alcoholism is progressive. It got worse and worse as the years went by. My consequences got worse and the” fun times” were replaced with needing alcohol to function. Fast forward to Saint Patricks Day 2016, my kids are in foster care for the second time and I get to have a two hour visit with my daughter while my son attends a camp for children that have parents that struggle with addiction. My “memories” on Facebook remind me where me and my daughter had lunch. We went to the park afterwards and then I had to take her back to daycare where the foster parents would pick her up. Here we are being silly. Wow, I remember wondering if the day would ever come that her and her brother could come home.

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Which brings me to today. March 17th, 2017. In two days I will celebrate 22 months sober. In two months my kids will have been back home under my roof for one year. Today I went to work in my green t-shirt and then I picked up my kids. I also picked up another little girl so she could come over and play for few hours. Her mommy is in recovery too. It really is crazy when I look back over the years and see how much has changed, how much had to change.

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I wonder how many people celebrating on Lower Greenville with their green beer will eventually find themselves in the same situation I was in, addicted and unsure how to function without the alcohol. I wonder how many will long for a better way of life, a life that doesn’t include blackouts and guilt that could cripple. If one person reads my story and finds hope, then the hell I went through was all worth it.

Tomorrow Is A New Day

 

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I’ve been on the verge of tears the whole day. My mind is crazy wondering what I could have done differently. I try to remember this isn’t my fault. Or is it? All I know is I wish I knew how to help my son.

I walked through a cemetery yesterday morning with my son looking at children’s graves wondering aloud what happened to those kids. Young boys. A  little girl. I told my son I bet their mom misses them. He didn’t seem impressed.

His cries echoed through the halls as I signed him into the hospital. How could we be there again? Why is this happening again?!?! Why? 

I went to a yoga class this afternoon to quiet my mind. At the beginning of the class the teacher says to set an intention, or dedicate our practice to a person. I’ve never had an instructor suggest dedicating a class to a person, but I knew it was meant to be for my son. I held back tears throughout the class. I let them flow when the lights went down at the end. My son is on his own path and I will always be by his side, but I have to remember to be ok even when he’s not. Easier said than done.

My dear friend who lost her son to suicide a little over year ago showed up on my door with a card and flowers. She’s one of the strongest women I know, if not the strongest. I think of her when times get rough with my son. My phone has been going off all day with kind words from friends. Thank God I’m never alone.

Finish The Story To The End

fullsizerenderHere it is Wednesday December 7th, 2016 and I can’t stop thinking about this past Sunday. It was just an ordinary Sunday, I happened to be off work and had plans to go Christmas shopping with my boyfriend after church. We take the kids to the same church they went to for a year while living with their foster family. We are all basically one big family now so whenever we are able to see them we take the chance. I am not a big church person and don’t necessarily consider myself religious, although I do like the feeling of community when I attend. I always hear something that I relate to when I go, so when I have a Sunday off we try to make it.

This time I heard exactly what I needed to hear and the pastors words are still running in my head.

“Your life is too short and your calling is too great to live offended”

Craig Groeschel 

I sat in the third row listening to the pastors words and this sudden urge to have a drink hit me. I had a vision in my head of me drinking a cold beer in a crowded bar, no worries and no where to be. I pushed to the side and kept listening to the message, forgive others just as we have been forgiven. Me and my boyfriend sat next to each other, all I could think about was our huge argument the night before. Hurtful words were said but nothing that wasn’t true. Sometimes the truth hurts, sometimes I need to hear it. And there I was listening to a talk about forgiveness and rising above negativity and hurt. I felt the tears coming. I held it back. I felt my heart open. I heard everything I needed to hear.

After church we went to lunch, a nice restaurant in the city, alone with no kids was nice. I apologized for my selfishness and self centered ways. I asked for forgiveness and it was so kindly given. The restaurant had a bloody mary bar, I had looked away as I went to the restroom. I sat in the stall wondering what the hell is wrong with me? Seriously a drink? WTF?!? Why now? I haven’t felt this way in 568 days. The last time I felt this way was a Sunday. Sunday used to be my biggest drinking day. Back before I had kids my Sunday mornings would start off with a hangover and a beer, followed by day drinking that usually ended with jail or a big fight with whoever I was with.

I started a blog to talk about all the difficult things that I have gone through and still go through, I questioned whether or not to talk about this  because I didn’t want to worry anyone, but then I remembered My Truth Starts Here and so here it is. I wanted a drink on Sunday. But truth is, I didn’t actually WANT a drink, I wanted the sense of ease that comes along with the first drink. That relaxing feeling like everything is right in the world, no worries and no place to be. I remember hearing multiple times in a meeting an old timer saying in his early days of sobriety he sat in a meeting about to jump out of his skin so he jumped up and said “I want a fucking drink so bad I can’t stand it!” and suddenly the urge didn’t have so much control over him.

So, I sat at the table with my boyfriend and said  “I want a drink and I don’t know why.” He was so calm as I explained to him that when I get things out of my head the thoughts don’t have so much control over me. Then I did what I have been taught, I finish the story to the end. Out loud.

I take the first drink and I feel relaxed. For a brief moment. Then the obsession begins. I immediately think about the next drink because it has NEVER been one drink. Ever. I now have lost all control over how many drinks I will have, where I will end up, who I will be with and what happens. I will drink until I blackout, forget about all responsibilities, I will start a fight with someone, pass out, and then wake up with the horrible dreaded knot in my stomach. Guilt and shame will consume me. I will have to clean up whatever mess I made, apologize for things that I said and did, and pray I don’t have more legal issues. I will feel the disappointment from friends and family, but most importantly I will feel the intense anger towards myself wondering how did this happen again. 

I know that story so well, I lived it many times. Over and over again I would tell myself that I was done and this time would be different, only to find myself at day one once again. My last day one was so painful that I won’t go there again, but I do know that I have a disease that tells me I don’t have a disease. It doesn’t care how well I’m doing, it’s still there lurking in the corner waiting until I let my guard down. It is patient and it is deadly. I know that I am lucky to have made it as far as I have, so many others don’t make it out alive. I have to stay aware.

I sat with the feelings, and I listened. The argument the night before bothered me. I was in the wrong. I don’t do well with being called out, I am very prideful. The holidays are supposed to be a joyful time of year but this time of the year is stressful to me. I’m anxious. My kids weren’t home this time last year so I want things to be perfect. Money is tight and it hasn’t been the last few years. I put too much pressure on myself to make everything perfect just like all those people on social media. Resentments. Resentments. Resentments.

I need to just let it go. I will drive myself crazy. I don’t need to control everything. When I try to control everything, me and everyone around me is miserable. Everything always works out better than I expect anyway. What a relief it is to remember that I don’t have to have it all figured out.

After I finished the story to the end, sat with the feelings and figured out what all of this was about, I reminded myself that “Life is too short and my calling is too great to live offended” Life is too short to hold on to resentments. My calling is too great to give in to the urge. Life is too short to be mad all the time. My calling is too great to sweat the small stuff. Life is too short to ever go back to day one. My calling is too great to not stare my addiction in the face and give it a big F*”k you!!!

Divine Intervention

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Divine Intervention- Direct and obvious intervention by a god in the affairs of human.

When something remarkable occurs in ones life. Divine intervention is mainly related to a miracle that would occur when you didn’t expect it. To look into this matter theoretically it involves God coming to dawn from the heavens and maybe stopping something bad that was just going to happen to you.                                 

www.yourdictionary.com

The picture above is me when I was 24 years old. I was in Grapevine, Texas and had just been arrested for my second DUI. My eyes are bloodshot and I’ve been crying. I seem sad and hopeless. And I was sad and hopeless, I just didn’t know it at the time. There was so much more going on that night that I would not understand until many years later. I like to think of that night as a divine intervention. My angels were looking out for me that night, along with many many other nights, but for today I’ll share two times that I am grateful things didn’t work out the way I had planned. Not many people know what I was doing that night, so here is the story behind the picture.

I think it was a Sunday, that was one of my favorite days to drink. I don’t remember how the day started out but if it was like any other day during that year, then I woke up still drunk from the night before. I have never been able to sleep in after a night of drinking and drinking was always the first thing on my mind when I woke up. What I do remember is sitting at a bar on Greenville in Dallas. It was one of those seafood shacks, lots of beer and lots of yummy seafood. I loved taking the Dart train all through Dallas while stopping to drink a few beers and downing a few shots before moving on to the next stop. That day though, like many other days, I was driving. My boyfriend was with me, I’ll call him ‘N’. He drank the way I did. I Always dated men that drank the way I did, too much and to often. I remember sitting at the bar, hanging with the regulars, downing beers and shots and having a blast. Somehow our conversation lead to marriage, we decided that we were going to Vegas that night and tying the knot.

We left the seafood shack intoxicated and announcing to the bar that we were leaving to get married, we toasted with the regulars and drove to the Dallas/Fort Worth airport. There were no more flights out to Vegas by the time we got there, but there was a flight leaving super early in the morning. The plan was to drink some more that night, stay in a hotel by the airport and head out to Vegas early in the morning, and be married by noon. Crazy!!!! We rented a hotel room, drove to a restaurant that was across the highway from our hotel and downed some more drinks in the bar. How long we were there I have no idea, and why we decided to leave when we did I’ll never know. There was still a lot of people there when we left so it couldn’t have been last call, I don’t know, but we decided to leave. My car was parked facing the highway, I literally could see the hotel we were staying at.

This part I remember like it was yesterday. As I’m unlocking my car door, I look to my right, and make eye contact with a police officer. He was driving by slowly the exact moment I was about to get into my car. It was like time stood still as we looked into each others eyes. I knew in that moment that I was about to be arrested. I got in the car anyway. A few minutes later I was being put into the back of a cop car while ‘N’ was driven to the hotel.

I was pissed! I was defiant. I would not cooperate with the officer when we got to the jail. They had me read along with them as they read my rights out loud but I wasn’t having it. As soon as they would start reading I would put the paper to my side and glare at them. They were getting angrier and angrier every time I put the paper down and made them stop reading. I finally let them finish reading my rights and take my mugshot, the one you see above. I spent the night in a little jail cell, angry that my plans to wed were ruined. N spent the night in the hotel and picked me up in the morning, afterwards we would get my car out of the impound and go drink some more.

I have no idea what would have happened had we made it to Vegas, more than likely  it would have been way worse than what I went through that night. 

It would be 10 years later something like that would happen once again. I was 34, newly sober, had two kids with ‘N’ and on a pink cloud. Turns out ‘N’ was sober too. Our relationship after that night in 2004 turned toxic, at least more toxic than it already was. Lots of alcohol and lots of fights. After he threw my stuff off his third story balcony and then attempted to throw me off the balcony, I left Texas for good. Turns out I was pregnant with our son, a few years later after a lapse in judgment, would end up pregnant again. So when I found out he was sober too, I thought “Wow, this is it. We can finally have our family together without the alcohol”. 

Very VERY few people know this story, because who likes to admit failure? Or stupidity in this case. It was a Saturday night in 2014, my kids were living with their grandparents because they had been taken away in December of 2013 due to my son eating a pot brownie I had left laying on the counter while waiting for their owners to come get them.

Anyhoo, I had the wonderful idea that I would buy a plane ticket and fly to the Dallas/Ft Worth airport and spend the night at a hotel with ‘N’ so we can rekindle what the F^*K we thought we had and then take the train back the next morning. I called a cab and took it to the Will Rogers Airport in Oklahoma City. I called a cab because my windshield wipers didn’t work and it was raining. OH and my drivers license was suspended and my then sponsor said I was NOT an exception to the rules and needed to start obeying the laws. So I cabbed it to the airport. My friend who I confided in on the way to the airport asked me if that was a good idea and asked if I had ran the idea by my sponsor. My answer was the same as it had always been “Act now, deal with consequences later. Plus my sponsor would see how amazing it all turned out and be glad I went.”

I get to the airport and my flight has been delayed, I assure ‘N’ that all is well, a little rain wasn’t going to keep us away from each other. He sent me pictures of the beautiful sunset in Dallas and I was sure it was going to be the best night ever. Until my flight was canceled. I called my coworker and she picked me up from the airport. I said well SHIT, take me to the damn meeting. I walked in and sat next to my sponsor. I say to her “I did something that you’re not gonna be happy about, I don’t want to tell you but I’m going to tell you anyway.” Let’s just say she was wasn’t jumping for joy lol. I text ‘N’ and said well looks like I was meant to be at the meeting cutting cake for the people celebrating a birthday. He said he was watching sports and that is obviously where he was meant to be. Our relationship would turn sour after that. Mainly because I “got it”. I knew in my heart that there was a reason these things weren’t working out. I need to stay as far away from him as possible.  There will always be a special place in my heart for him, he’s my kids dad, but he’s toxic. He always has been toxic, just took me a really LONG time to finally really see it.

 Now I don’t know if you believe in miracles or angels or anything of that nature, but after everything I’ve been through I KNOW someone is watching over me and thank goodness for that. Thank goodness for all the times things didn’t work out the way Melissa had planned. 

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Everyday I’m Just A Little Bit Better Than Before

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Today is one week since I stood in front of a mental health judge to discuss my son being in a mental hospital. I have never met this judge, nor has she ever met my son. She asked me why I thought I had had such a problem getting and staying sober, I was caught off guard, I hesitated before answering with “I don’t know.” She asked a few other questions about my past and then proceeded to tell me: I’m not looking at the bigger picture, I’m not well, how everything that I’m doing is not enough, and basically my son is not well because all I’ve done is remove the alcohol and not dealt with the underlying cause of my addiction. Seriously? She just met me.

If only I could explain to her for as long as I can remember I have felt uncomfortable in my own skin, even the thought of going to the grocery store sober would make my skin crawl and only alcohol made the discomfort disappear. I wish I could somehow make her understand how the voices in my head that tell me I’m not good enough and never will be were so loud, so unbearably loud, alcohol was the only thing that could give me some peace and quiet. And that I would chase that quiet, no matter how temporary, to the ends of the earth regardless of the consequences. If I could explain to her that the consequences thrown at me never hurt me enough to stop until I saw how bad it hurt my children, maybe she would see that I am serious about my recovery and I am serious about doing what’s best for my son. If only I could make her see that I wake up everyday and tell the voices they are wrong, I look my dis-ease in the face and say I will win. I wake up everyday and choose recovery because I know I’m worth it and so are my kids. I could have explained  when I got sober in May of 2015 God removed the voice that says “you can have just one drink, this time will really be different” and replaced it with “share your story to help others” and that every time I share my story, a piece of me heals.

I get it though, she’s jaded. She’s seen her fair share of parents that could care less about their kids. She’s seen too many moms that will not or can not take responsibility for their own actions. She’s watched people come in and out of her courtroom struggling with mental illness and addiction refusing to seek the help they desperately need. She doesn’t really see ME, in her eyes she sees an alcoholic mother whose actions have caused her son to be put into a mental hospital. She sees a lost cause. At least that’s what it felt like. It wouldn’t matter anyway. She already had decided who I was, what my problem is and why my son is struggling. Nothing I could say would make her see me any differently. Although, I can not take back the past as much as I would love to but I’m also not my past mistakes. I am not this sick person that she has made me out to be in her head.

I asked God to help me nod and just walk away with my tail between my legs. My prayer went unanswered and I “No, I wasn’t looking at the big picture before which is why I relapsed, I See the big picture now, that’s why I ask for help from the foster parents, my caseworker, my friends, I am not trying to do this alone like the last time this happened.” She wasn’t impressed.

It takes a lot for me to get up there and say maybe I’m not what my son needs right now, maybe he needs help that I am not able to fully provide at the moment but maybe the foster family can. Maybe we can all do this together as one big family unit. It takes a lot of courage to push my pride to the side and say I can’t do this alone, I need help.  If that’s not looking at the bigger picture then I don’t know what is!  

My friend and sister in sobriety, Holly Whitaker creator of Hip Sobriety, posted something on her Facebook that I keep going back to because this is how I felt when I was being attacked by the judge. At least it felt like I was being attacked. No, it wasn’t coming from another woman in recovery but it felt the same regardless. Doesn’t matter how comfortable in my own skin I am now, that shit hurt.

“This morning I had that weird thing happen, where someone I didn’t really know projected their recovery all over me. And let me just tell you that it doesn’t matter how strong I am in my own skin and path, it never fails to shake me when someone has the audacity to tell me how my process should be going, what I should and shouldn’t feel, or make assumptions about me and my health, mental well-being, and self-love based on 3 sentences. 
Nothing feels more destructive and unsafe than being judged for how we heal, or where we are in our process.
Nietzsche said “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.” 
Remember that. Just because something is true for you, worked for you, doesn’t mean it’s true for another human being. And conversely, if anyone ever tries to tell you that your way is wrong or invalidate what is true for you, remember it’s just their shit.
If we are ever going to make progress in this space, it has to start with us, and it has to taste like tolerance for all ways. Supporting someone never looks like thinking we know better about how a human should live her life than that human herself.”
-Holly Whitaker

My relationship with alcohol was a toxic relationship. An abusive relationship is what I compare it to, although I’ve never been beaten and bruised by a boyfriend, I imagine the hopeless feeling I felt is somewhat like that of a woman being hit by a man she loves. I would want so badly to stop, but when I tried, there it was reminding me of all the good times we had together and how it would go back to that if only I would give it one more chance. And it would be good for a little while, but then there I would be, broken and in despair wondering how I got there once again. It’s a sick viscous cycle that I’m grateful to have gotten out alive. Many do not get out alive. If it’s not the damage alcohol does to your body that kills, it’s one of the many horrific accidents that alcohol causes that takes us down. Worse than that is the stigma around addiction that causes many people struggling to stay in the shadows and not seek the help they need. I sometimes consider myself lucky that I’ve been in as much trouble as I have, if not for the law breathing dow my neck over the years I don’t know if I’d be sober today. What about the ones that don’t have the legal issues like I do but still need help? God has called me to be a voice for them, to help fight the stigma, to stand up say F*^K YOU, I’m no less than you just because I can’t tolerate alcohol the “normal” way. What the f*^k is normal anyway? Society says drinking is good but saying you have a problem is bad, you must be able to ingest this drug that causes more deaths than any all other legal and prescription drugs combined otherwise something is wrong with YOU.

This sad story is another reason we have to stand up to the stigma, maybe this teacher would be alive today.

“70% of us drink. Which means, 70% of us gamble to see whether we’ll be one of 30% of drinkers that abuse it, or one of the 10% that die from it. 3 out of 10 drinkers abuse, 1 out of 10 die. It’s not just some rando woman who couldn’t keep her shit together. This is the picture of us. This is our story. Some of us get out alive. Many do not.”  -Holly Whitaker

Thankfully I know me and I know my recovery well enough to know that regardless of what that judge may think of me, I know that I’m doing one hell of a job taking care of what needs to be done for me and my kids. Her words could have easily sent me in a downward spiral, but what she actually gave me was a gift. The gift of motivation and determination. I’m already determined everyday to kick my addictions ass but I’m also hard headed and stubborn so when she spews her judgements at me without actually knowing me or my story, it only motivates me more to be better and do better.  Everyday I am just a little bit better than yesterday. Grateful for everyday I wake up sober.

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Guest Post: Rose Lockinger – Why I’m Uncomfortable With Being Comfortable In My Own Skin

 

Changing the meaning of word. Uncomfortable into Comfortable.

 

For so many years I hated myself. I hated the way I looked. I hated the way I felt and I hated the way I acted. It was almost as if I had some innate hate machine inside of me, never allowing me to be comfortable and driving me towards self-destruction. I was filled with resentment and anger towards many people in my life.  I wish I could say now that I am sober I no longer struggle with resentments.  Unfortunately this is not the case, however what I can say is that I now have a way to deal with them

If you look at it, no person who actually loves themselves drank or used drugs the way that I did. The two things could not coexist with each other and so my self-hatred fueled my alcoholism and in return my alcoholism fueled my self-hatred.

This changed though when I got sober and I began the long process of self discovery and acceptance that has lead me to where I am today. I no longer abuse drugs or alcohol in order to deal with reality and I no longer feel the need to run from myself because I feel like I am a terrible human being.

That being said though, I still find the idea of being comfortable in my own skin uncomfortable. That may sound confusing, but it isn’t really. I basically just mean that I am not always comfortable with the idea of being okay with myself. I still sometimes today find that when I am feeling good about myself or when I look in the mirror and like what I see, I am afraid that I am being arrogant and so I attempt to cut myself down to size in order to not become overly egoistic.

I am not really sure where this came from. The best explanation that I can come up with is that I have some how managed to pervert a thought from recovery to an extreme. See humility is something that we are taught to strive for. We are taught in Alcoholics Anonymous to not get too full of ourselves because if we do we run the risk of relapsing and so I find that I am always on the lookout for my ego and its shifty lies.

This however has resulted in my inability to be totally comfortable with myself. For instance I know that I am a good person at this point in my life. I know that I care about others and genuinely want to see people succeed, but I cannot fully accept the fact that I am a good person. This may have something to do with the fact that I still carry guilt from my active addiction, but I believe that it more so has to do with my fear that if I really accept the positive things about myself, I will be unable to control my ego and then I will fall back into the pitfalls of addiction.

I can understand how this may sound like over thinking and you may be correct, but I also believe that it is something that a lot of people in recovery suffer from, an ability to truly accept themselves and be comfortable in their own skin. You hear it at a lot of meetings, just said in different ways. People will say things like I am not okay when everything in my life is going well, or I don’t know what to do when I get praise from people. Most of the time this is chalked up to operating under calamitous conditions for so many years, but I have begun to think that it is because a lot of us are just afraid to be alright.

We sort of feel like we have to continuously remind ourselves of how awful we were in our active addiction because we feel like we still need to pay penance, and while this may be true to a certain extent, it really does nothing but hurt us in the long run.

I was thinking about this the other night when I was having trouble sleeping. My mind instantly went to the fact that I must be having trouble sleeping because of something that I did. Almost as if God was punishing me for some unknown sin that I had done throughout the day. This is not the first time that I have had a thought like this before, but this time I realized how false it was. I realized that God just wants me to be happy. He would want me to sleep, and that more than likely my insomnia was caused by me and only me. After this I fell quickly to sleep and didn’t wake up till the morning.

The longer that I have stayed sober the more I have realized that I am the problem. I am my own worst enemy and my sobriety is really a battle against myself. One way that my alcoholism attacks me is that it tries to keep me from truly loving and accepting myself. When I get too comfortable it tells me I should feel guilty about this and that I am not really as good as I think I am.

The reality is that I should be comfortable in my own skin. I do my best on a daily basis to be a good human being and what’s more, I like who I am today. There is no reason why I shouldn’t be able to voice my mind and stand up for who am I and as long as I trust in God and keep doing the things I need to do for my program, I shouldn’t have to worry that accepting myself will lead to an overinflated ego and a drink.

I think it’ll be interesting to see where these trains of thought go over the next year and I am excited to become more and more comfortable in my own skin. I hope by this time next year I will be writing how I have come to accept and love myself and I hope that the same comes true for you.

 

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Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.

 

You can find me on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Instagram

One Day At A Time


If you’re one of the millions of people on Facebook, then I’m sure you’ve received the daily “memories” notifications. I know I have, I get to see where I was and what was going on in my life on that particular day several years ago. Most days I think to myself “awwww that is so sweet” but some days I want to tell Facebook to go F^*k itself. Honestly though, I need to see some of the memories, I like being reminded of how far I’ve come. My life was a mess for a long time and I get to see all of it, thanks to good ole Facebook!

I read a post by someone that I truly admire in the recovery community and as a writer and just as a woman in general, she’s a badass. Her name is Laura Mckowen I love her. Her post discussed jealousy and she posted pictures that make it look like her life is amazing but told the story behind the picture. My first thought was yeah right, Laura jealous?!?! No way! Her life is amazing! How could she ever be jealous of anyone? 

But, then l looked at the pictures and read the stories behind them and thought WOW. That’s what I used to do, actually I’m guilty of that now too. I used to try to make my life seem SO amazing and make it seem that I had no cares in the world. I don’t know if I was fooling anyone in reality, but it helped me to feel somewhat a normal human being when I got a “like” on a picture that really had a whole other story behind it. I mean come on, who wants to put out there that life sucks and it’s difficult and it’s a struggle to get out of bed somedays? I catch myself getting so jealous of people on the internet  and their “amazing” lives, that I forget that there is a story behind the picture.

I got a notification this morning from Facebook telling me that I had memories that I needed to look at. There were some funny things that I had posted in the previous years but then some pictures came up that look like everything in my life was going beautifully. But, it wasn’t. Life was a mess. So I decided to copy my friend Laura and do a pictured/not pictured post also.

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Pictured: September 8, 2013, three years ago today,me looking all happy with a beautiful horse. Life is grand and all is well in world.

Not Pictured: I was super hungover. I had worked that day and rushed home to get some beers in me before me and my kids did a photo shoot out on a farm. I needed someone to take us to the photoshoot because I couldn’t start my car, my interlock prevents me from starting my car if I have been drinking, my biggest enabler took us to the photoshoot and had a cooler in the car for me with more beers. I couldn’t wait for the photoshoot to be over so we could get to the restaurant so I could down some wine before going home and finishing off some more beers and putting the kids to bed.

Three months later dhs would come to my home and remove my kids and put them into dhs custody.

The photographer sent me a CD with all the pictures from the shoot on it, I never printed them. I couldn’t. I felt disgusted with myself. All I could see was a drunk mom who was so uncomfortable in her own skin she had to drink before a photoshoot with her kids. I couldn’t even stand to be sober for a few hours to take photos with my kids. It makes me sad to look back at that day, but also makes me grateful that I don’t have to live that way anymore.

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Pictured: September 6, 2016, me looking all happy spreading HOPE and wearing my “I Am Enough” shirt I so kindly received in the mail from my friends at pluspproductions I talk about having my kids home again and how we are all growing everyday.

Not Pictured: My son was throwing one of his tantrums, he straight up refused to do anything that was asked of him. He destroyed his room, after he said really hurtful words and packed his bags like he was going to move back to the family he lived with for a year.  I got sucked into his tornado. He drained every ounce of energy I had in me. It was a long night and an exhausting morning. I cried all day the next day. I had to dish out some extreme consequences that hurt me to do. I’m a lover, I want to love him up all the time and hope that it works itself out but he doesn’t work that way. His consequences gotta hurt, they gotta punch him right in the gut (not literally) before  he’ll GET IT! Just like his momma!! Always learning the hard way!

Thank God I have a support team that walked me through it, but damn it I was determined to make it look like I was good and life was grand. When I was in my funk yesterday I had to keep off social media as much as possible, I was dishing out F*^k you’s left and right! I had to stop myself and remember that being jealous of what people post on Facebook is not healthy, plus who knows what the story is behind the picture.

Pictured: Today!! September 8, 2016, I have not cried at all today. I have not felt jealous of anyone today, not even once. I have only a little mascara on, I’m sweaty from a walk, I listened to Glennon Doyle Melton on the HOME podcast.  I had an amazing morning with my kids. It’s a good day.

One day at a time.

 

Merry-Go-Round

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Have you ever been in a relationship that feels like a merry-go-round? You’re on this ride that feels like it will never end, you keep spinning and spinning and you never go anywhere. At times it’s all shiny and pretty and so much fun! Other times you feel dizzy and sick, and you want to just STOP already. Just when it feels like you’ve got both feet back on steady ground, you’re pulled back on and you’re off the races again. Just spinning and spinning and spinning. You think to yourself HOW.  How am I still going round and round with this person that is so obviously toxic for me?

I’m on steady ground now. I hope to stay here. I am done going round and round with a person that I’ve been riding the merry-go-round with for way too long. 

I’m coming up on 16 months sober from a long time struggle with alcohol. Not only am I in recovery from the booze but I am also a recovering people pleaser. I like to please people. I like people to like me. It’s taken me a long time to be able to say no without dwelling on it for days, wondering if “they” will still like me. It’s taken me a long time to be able to stand up for myself without my legs shaking and my stomach turning, wondering if I might die from disappointing someone. My need for others approval has kept me from truly growing up, from truly becoming the woman that I was meant to be.

I’ve had sex for “his” approval. I’ve had sex for money. I’ve had sex for alcohol. I’ve had sex for drugs.  I’ve had sex to feel loved.  I’ve had sex for a material things. I’ve had sex because I felt it was expected of me. I’ve had sex I regretted.  I’ve had sex because I felt obligated. I’ve had sex that I don’t remember saying yes to. I’ve had sex because I wanted “him” to be happy. I’ve had sex because I didn’t know I could say no.

Too. Many. Damn. Times. I’ve had sex because I thought the other persons happiness was more important than mine. Too many damn times I said yes when I REALLY really wanted to say no. Too. Many. Times. It hurts to think about it.

This merry-go-round of a friendship slash relationship slash toxic friends with benefits slash whatever the f^*k you want to call it has lasted for so long, mainly because every time I try to end it, I’m guilted right back into it. I’m reminded over and over of all the things he’s done for me and how I basically owe him my life, my body, my self respect. His “no strings attached” are in actuality invisible strings that keep the old me and the new me still hanging on by a thread. They keep me from fully moving into the new me and my new life. Yes, all of the material things are awesome. Yes, they do make me feel happy, but it’s always temporary. All the things he does for me and my kids “out of the kindness of his heart” he makes mental note of so he can throw it in my face every time I try to move on. And I’m tired.  I’m dizzy.

I look back at my years of drinking and the relationships I participated in. Toxic relationship after toxic relationship. Same type of relationship just different faces. All based on what I could get out of it, what was in it for me. How much money and stuff could that person give me. Me. Me. Me. I wanted all you had and then some, and I was willing to give up my self esteem and self respect just as long as I got the “stuff” whatever the stuff happened to be. Money, cars, shopping sprees, trips, alcohol, cocaine. Anything that would fill the void, anything that would distract me from what was really going on. What was really going on was my job was sex. It wasn’t fun or pleasurable, so lots of alcohol had to be put into me before I could be comfortable in my own skin, before I could make “him” happy. The “him” of the moment depended on who was giving the most stuff to fill the void in my heart. Merry-go-round after merry-go-round, get off one and hop right on another. Same story different person.

I went to church last night where I had the privilege of hearing a man  very close to my family preach. He was my kids foster dad for a year while I put myself back together after a horrific one day relapse that ended in my children being taken out of my home. They are no longer the foster family, they are just family now. His words spoke to me in so many ways but one thing stood out. He spoke of a broken woman who was living with a man and exchanging sex for rent, then she meets Jesus. Jesus did not judge but instead he offers her something better. He offers her a new way of life. Eternal life. I relate to this woman. 

I am not a religious person. There are so many things that I can’t wrap my head around when it comes to God and Jesus and the bible. I’v been looked down on by people that call themselves christians. I have been judged because I had kids out of wedlock. I do NOT understand that way of thinking. But like his experience that he preached about last night, I’ve tried reaching for the next drug, the next drink, the next relationship and the next material thing but it never fills the void.

I have always loved being taken care of and I have always loved for people to do things for me. I’ve always needed a knight in shining armor to come save me from my self destructive ways. I have always needed someone to be there when I fell, which was actually quite often. I always needed an enabler. Or at least I thought I needed all of that. But what I was actually doing to myself was prolonging the “becoming an adult and taking care of my own mess” part of life. Instead I became a selfish and entitled brat that wanted everything handed to me, and it was all handed to me, but it came with a price. It came with strings. It came with fear of doing things on my own. It came with the fear of letting my walls down and letting true love in. It came with the fear of failure and it came with self doubt. It came with the feeling of being owned by “him” with all the money.

So today I am choosing to let it all go. Let go of the fear, the worry, the doubt, the stress, and just see what happens. I’m choosing to have faith in the unknown. I’m willing to open my heart to the possibilities. I’m willing to let go of what is not serving my higher self. I’m willing to consider Jesus. I’m willing to consider. 

Maybe, just maybe, I can have a life beyond my wildest dreams. Maybe I can also feel the peace that the preacher talked last night about having.  Maybe I can have the same type of beautiful relationship that he has with his wife. Maybe just considering I can have all of this is the first step to receiving it.

Maybe it’s already here……

 

 

 

My Life Is Unmanageable?

Photo credit quotes gram.com
Photo credit quotes gram.com

I got sober the first time February 10th, 2014. I was miserable. I hated myself. I wanted my kids back. I wanted to stop feeling so out of control. I wanted things go back to the way they were before my kids were removed from my home. I was restless, irritable, and discontent. And I was out of ideas.  I look back and see how crazy my life was before that day. Complete insanity. Complete chaos. But I couldn’t see it back then. I had lived in the chaos for so long, it was normal, it was comfortable. I like comfortable. 

I was hungover and in a fog when a lady came up to say hi to me after a meeting one night. Turns out I already knew her, I had waited on her and her family multiple times at my job, but I didn’t recognize her, the fog was too heavy and I was lost in my pity party. She was so kind and understanding. Little did I know that this lady would change my life.

A few nights later I sat at a bar alone in my sorrow trying to drink away the loneliness, texting her. I asked her what was wrong with me, I asked why am I sitting here doing this while my kids are there. Why can’t I stop?!?! She said you’re alcoholic, but you can stop and it will all be ok. I finally found someone I could hear. She would say things to me that people had been trying to say to me for years but I couldn’t hear them. But I could HEAR her.

Tomgrimshaw.com
Tomgrimshaw.com

I asker her to be my sponsor. And the work began. I was ready to work the steps. I was ready to get my kids back. I was ready to stop feeling like shit. She seemed to have the answers and I was ready to learn. I was ready to take the first step.

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable. 

My first assignment was to write down ten ways my life was unmanageable and ten ways I was powerless over alcohol. I was stumped. My life is unmanageable? How? I didn’t understand the assignment.

I had a car. I had a job. I had a house. Yes, my kids were in dhs custody but that wasn’t my fault. I didn’t make the pot brownie that my son ate. I tested negative for all drugs, it wasn’t my brownie, none of this was my fault. How is my life unmanageable?!?!

I had lived in the chaos for so long, I oblivious to the fact that the chaos that I was so used to was not normal. In fact it was insanity.

Yes I had a car. But, my drivers license was suspended. I had been driving with my kids in the car with a suspended license. Imagine my face when my sponsor says to me that I was breaking the law and that I would not be driving until I had a valid license. She had to explain to me that the rules DO apply to me and that if I was going to start living right then I would stop breaking laws. What!?!?!? The rules apply to me?  “I’m a really careful driver” I said. I tried to explain to her just who she was dealing with and that I don’t take buses and I won’t ride a bike. She would hear none of it.  And wouldn’t ya know, I parked my car and didn’t drive until I had a valid drivers license.

Yes I had a job. But I didn’t work often. I was too busy to work. I needed to party and I needed to nurse hangovers. When I did actually make it to work I was taking a cab. Why? Because I was still drunk from the night before and couldn’t start my car. I have an interlock on my car that prevents me from starting my car if I have any alcohol in my system. So many nights I called the cab company the night before and told them when to be at my house, I would roll out of bed and into the cab. Some days I would have the driver go through Mcdonald’s drive through to get my breakfast, hoping to soak up some of the alcohol. Most days I got my shift covered and planned my day around drinking at the bar, including paying someone to pick up my kids from daycare because I’d be too intoxicated to drive.

Yes I had a house. But, I couldn’t pay my bills on my own. Since I didn’t go to work often, I needed help paying rent. I wouldn’t open bills because it was too stressful and  too overwhelming to think about all of my adult responsibilities. I couldn’t look at my bills without a glass of wine in hand.  I would pass the bill off to whoever was willing to pay it for me. I was willing to give up some of my self respect as long as they were willing to take care of my responsibilities for me. As long as I could still drink like I wanted to I was willing to give up my self esteem. I knew I could drink away the guilt and shame anyway, at least temporarily.

WOW my life really WAS unmanageable. What an eye opener it was to have it all laid out there for me. When I really stopped to look at how  I was living, I was shocked. I was living a totally insane life but had no idea that there was anything wrong with it. I managed to call a cab when I knew I’d still be drunk in the morning. I managed to  get my shifts covered when I would be out partying too late, didn’t matter if I worked anyways because I always managed to find someone to pay my bills for me. INSANITY!!!!! 

That first year sober it was like my sponsor had to spoon feed me. I was a baby. I had to call her when I had a free afternoon to ask her what to do with myself. If I wasn’t at the bar by noon with a man by my side paying for my drinks, what did I do?  I needed step by step directions on how to go through my day without drinking. One day at a time I was able to stay sober and get my kids back. My eyes were open to a whole new way of life. I saw that life is possible without alcohol and that it isn’t boring at all.

Unfortunately though I didn’t stay sober long after I turned a year, but I did learn  that I will never be cured from my disease. I learned that I will never have it all figured out and if I ever think I do have it figured out then I’m in trouble. I learned that feelings pass and adding alcohol to any situation only causes me and my loved ones heartache and pain.

Today I am able to recognize when I am resorting back to old ways such as procrastinating or allowing things outside of myself to dictate how I feel and live my life.  Although life is difficult sometimes, I am able to focus on the day with a clear mind. Yes I have my pity parties but I don’t stay there long. I know that I am capable of making decisions on my own without the need to please others. Today I don’t have to live with the guilt and shame of the past. I can live my life one day at a time, and that everything really is ok.

Chaos isn’t comfortable anymore! 

My life is so fulfilling today and although I do not have a sponsor or work the steps today, I will be forever grateful for the woman that showed up at the exact moment I needed her. I am grateful for all the things she taught me and the way she showed up for me in my time of need.

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