5 Years Sober

I made it!!!!  A few days ago I got to celebrate 5 years of continuous sobriety.   It is by no small miracle that I can make this claim.   I came into recovery in 2007, with a lot of unwillingness to take the actions required to remain sober.   By the Grace of God, I kept coming back to the program of AA after each relapse.    I had to continue to pray for the willingness to be willing.   After 7 years of half measures, the willingness finally came.

One of the things that changed for me was finally getting honest with myself about my addiction issues, getting my side of the street cleaned up, following direction as well as being of service.   After my last relapse …. my sponsor told me to stop the “keep coming back” and just stay!    Just staying in the program, WOW, what a concept.   That one word had a great impact on my current progress in recovery.

I am truly blessed and grateful for the life I have to today and the people in it.    The fellowship of AA is my lifeline.    I have a wonderful group of women who are my biggest cheerleaders and best friends along with my loving husband.

I got my token last night at my favorite women’s meeting with a lot of my special friends in attendance.   That support, friendship and love is what it is all about.    The kind words from my sponsor were inspiring, the congratulations from friends, gifts and cards all made me feel good and like I am finally embracing this thing called sober living.  There were a few tears from those who have been with me since the beginning.  Everyone was truly happy for me and in my corner.   I was overwhelmed and humbled by all the celebration for sober me.     I do not necessarily like being the center of attention, but it was a wonderful evening with the meeting and a celebratory dinner with 12 close friends from my tribe.

On this day I am happy and grateful to be able to say I am in recovery.     Life is good, I hope and pray I can continue on this path.

 

Accidental Drink

I am coming up on 5 years of continuous sobriety … to be exact, I have 4.94 years, 59.37 months or 1,807 days clean and sober and I got served an alcoholic drink Saturday night at a restaurant.

I was out with my husband and some friends and ordered my usual club soda and cranberry, but ….. it came with vodka (a lot of vodka)  Not knowing this, I took a really big sip of my drink and OMG.  I immediately felt that warm and fuzzy feeling.   That feeling that makes us want to drink more.    It would have been easy to continue to drink it, but my immediate reflex was to recoil from it as if it were a hot flame, like it says in the AA big book.  (Wow is that me, sort of quoting the big book!)

I will not lie, after just taking that one gulp … I have had some obsessive thoughts about drinking.  It is amazing how fast your head can get crazy with just one taste of alcohol.  You see I liked the taste of alcohol,   I liked the way it made me feel. With that one drink, I remembered all the wonderful things about why I liked alcohol and the way it made me feel invincible.    But all I have to do is play that tape all the way through and remember in the end how it really made me feel along with the pills and how it could have destroyed me.   The thing is, a few days later, I can still remember that taste of vodka in my drink with just that one big sip.    But I am in recovery and I have to remember I am in recovery and how good my life is today; mentally, physically and spiritually.  I am grateful that the urge to drink didn’t take over and that I have my tools to get through this.   It is not totally over yet, but I will get through this and in 20 days I will, by the grace of God,  have made it to 5 years!

Control Freak

It is that time of year when the weather starts getting cooler and the leaves are changing color ….. the best part of fall though is Halloween!

Being on the board at our local recovery club, my position is all things social. Last night was our annual Halloween Party …. The Monster Mash Chili Bash.  I am proud of the parties and activities that have taken place in the last 18 months since I have been planning social activities.   Before our club didn’t do much, but now we support many fun activities.   I have planned parties, a picnic, and a night watching our local baseball team among other things.

I can not take all the credit, I have a great committee that is ever evolving.    I have never been a leader, but this is now all under my direction.  I have taken control, doing most of the planning, foot work and gathering of supplies.   I am a control freak by nature ….. I want things to be a certain way, and I certainly want to control outcomes.   The definition of control: The power to influence or direct peoples behavior or the course of events.  Not having control causes me a good amount of anxiety (and not just with party planning).

This last party, I let go of some of the control and let other members take the reins.  While some things might not have been done the way I would have done them, it was all ok.   I had less work to do and more help and those other members felt valued.   That is a win all around.    It was a growth opportunity for me to let go of some of that control.    I still had anxiety, worried that everything wouldn’t be perfect and that people would not have a good time.   You know what … people really don’t expect perfect.  I have to know that I can not control whether or not they have fun or not.   I have to remember that I can not control the outcome, that I can only do the footwork.

No one really has control, we have to Let Go and Let God!

 

Freedom to Choose

I was at a twelve step meeting the other day …. I forget the topic, but we were reading from “As Bill Sees It, The AA way of Life” and we read a passage on the Freedom to Choose and it really got me to thinking more about the choices we have in life.

When I talked with my sponsor (in the past) about really wanting to drink or other things with a possible negative outcome, she would always tell me in part that the choice was mine.    I didn’t like that or understand it, but now I do.   In the past while in active addiction, I really didn’t have a choice.  Sober,  I always have the choice to do what is right or to do what is wrong.   My journey, my choice.

In the “As Bill Sees It” reading it says:   “Looking back, we see that our freedom to choose badly was not, after all, a very real freedom.    When we chose because we must this was not a free choice either, But it got us started in the right direction.   When we chose because we ought to , we were really doing better.  This time we were earning some freedom, making ourselves ready for more.   But when, now and then, we could gladly make right choices without rebellion, hold-out, or conflict, then we had our first view of what perfect freedom under God’s will could be like.”

For awhile I felt trapped into being sober, like I had no choice because of my commitment to my sponsees and my position on the board at our local meeting club.   In reality I chose to do things to help keep me in line and to keep me sober and doing the next right thing.    I always have the choice to give up those things and return to a life a despair.     My journey, my choice.

Today, I like the choices I have made in staying sober and my commitment to helping others.   My life, my family, my friends are all better because of the choices I have made in the past several years.

Today I choose to be sober …. Happy, Joyous and Free!

The Ripple Effect

Did you ever stop and think that whatever you do affects the universe in some way, it is called the ripple effect.   What I may do may have an impact on what someone else does and so on and so on to infinity.   It is weird to think that one little action could play such a role.

We are currently watching “13 Reasons Why” on Netflix.   I know we are a little late in the game to be watching this .. but it is about a teenager who commits suicide and the actions of others and how it relates to and affects all.   It has really made me stop and think about life and death.   I would be lying if I said I never had thoughts, especially during active addiction, of just leaving this earth …. suicide.   When you are in that state of craziness, I don’t think you realize the effect of that action on the world around you.   I know of many in my 12 step program who have thought about or even tried to kill themselves.  So as I wrote in my last post, I wonder sometimes what is the point, death is inevitable and life does go on.   But there is a point, there are many points!   This world needs each and every one us for one reason or another no matter how long we are here.

For me today, I am grateful for life.    I am glad I didn’t give in to those moments of despair.   I am glad the drugs and alcohol did not kill me and that I have a chance to always choose and hopefully I choose the right action.   My higher power, who I choose to call God, has a plan for me on this earth.

The ripple effect happens no matter what you choose.  One must remember that it is not all about one person, but how that person interacts (whether it be good or bad) and how it effects the people in their life and the world around them.

Just don’t forget about the Ripple Effect!

And the Point Is …..?

Does anyone ever really think ….. What is the point?

I often ponder why I was put on this earth and what I am supposed to accomplish.   It is a heavy question and a burden.

I know I am supposed to be a good person of faith, love and compassion.   But is there more?    Was I put on this earth to suffer with my disease of Ulcerative Colitis, addiction, depression and anxiety so I could help and be of service to others?   Surely I didn’t go through those things for no reason …. the outcome of those issues is that I am a stronger more compassionate understanding individual.  Maybe it is all to help me grow into the person that I am supposed to be.   I don’t know.

For awhile I thought my purpose was to be a Mom and it was, but my children are grown and on their own now.   Yes, I am still their Mother, but in a different capacity.

Maybe there is no point after all and it is just life and then we die.

But I have to believe there has to be a purpose to this journey here on earth or there wouldn’t be a point to be here and to participate in this life.

I often pray to know God’s will for me and the only thing that I know for sure is that He wants me to be Sober and of Service …. maybe that is the point and the only point and I  have to let that be enough, but is it enough?

 

Resentment

I have a resentment.   A resentment against a family member and it is eating me alive.   I am not sure if the situation is real or perceived, nonetheless I have these feelings of anger and resentment toward this person … well, actually persons.

It doesn’t matter the situation or the particulars.

I don’t like conflict and I am more of a passive – aggressive type and we know this doesn’t do anybody any good.

What do they say about the alcoholic and resentments…. The big book states on page 66,  “It is plain that a life which includes deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness. To the precise extent that we permit these, do we squander the hours that might have been worth while. But with the alcoholic, whose hope is the maintenance and growth of a spiritual experience, this business of resentment is infinitely grave. We found that it is fatal. For when harboring such feelings we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the Spirit. The insanity of alcohol returns and we drink again. And with us, to drink is to die.  If we were to live, we had to be free of anger. The grouch and the brainstorm were not for us. They may be the dubious luxury of normal men, but for alcoholics these things are poison.”

I know I need to put my big girl panties on and confront the situation, no matter how difficult that may be for me. For my sake and the sake of my sanity as well as the foundation of my family this must be dealt with…. maybe tomorrow.

 

Amends

I have been around recovery for many years …. I first got sober in 2007, with many relapses under my belt I have 4.5 years of continuous sobriety.   Working the steps is important when you first get sober and continuing to not only work them but live them as you stay sober is just as important.  When I first attempted to get sober living the steps, I did not do.

I recently made an amends that crept up in my mind a couple months ago.   They say more will be reveled as you go through recovery and it is true.   This was something I had not thought of in many years.   It came to me while working steps 8 and 9 with a sponsee and then again as I helped a friend through a difficult situation at home.    After a couple of months of struggling with this thought I knew I had to follow my heart and talk to my friend who I needed to make amends to.   It was quick and easy as it was not a broken relationship as we were and are still friends.   We talked and I realized even more how much this friend helped me through my dark times and I am forever grateful for her.  She remembered clearly some of my craziness that I had no recollection of.    I am sorry that I took her too far into my wrong doings.

It felt good to make this amends, even though like I said, it was something that eluded me for many years.   I think Gods timing is good and things are reveled as they need to or are able to be dealt with.

Making amends is good for the soul!

No Hangover

We went to a concert the other night at a small outside venue.   It was a great show.  what I noticed though was the very long lines at every beer / wine stand.   The world drinks and I don’t and sometimes that is a lonely place.

On the way out an older lady needed help out to the car, flanked on both sides by friends…. she was wasted.   My thoughts went to several places.  I felt pity for her, sad actually.  I also felt a tinge of jealousy.   She obviously had a lot more fun than I did at the show.   While I enjoyed myself, it is hard for me to let loose under any circumstance.

When I was drinking I was fun, the life of the party.   Sober, I don’t think I am as fun.  I still get social anxiety with no drink or pill to calm it.  But I didn’t always drink like other people drank and normal drinkers don’t obsess about the drink and where and when the next one is coming.   Normals can sip the wine and make 1 glass last awhile, I couldn’t.

The more I thought about it, especially the next day, I was grateful to be sober.   That drunk lady was probably pretty sick.   I felt great and got to enjoy a wonderful day with my AA sponsorship family at the park.

No hangover for me.

Father’s Day

Father’s Day is always now kind of bitter sweet.    As I am scrolling thru Facebook I see all these happy faces of friends with their Fathers.   I am grateful for my Daddy who was taken away from us too soon, 9 years ago at age 65.    I had a wonderful Father who taught me so much about about living, loving, God and family.   I was truly blessed with the Father that I had and I treasure the memories I have.

I also have a wonderful husband who is the Father of my children.   I couldn’t ask for a better guy.   He has some of the great qualities my own Father had and they were close.

I know my Dad in heaven is proud of us and our family.   I just miss him so much.   I have the sense that he is around in a spiritual way, but I do wish he was still on earth to impart his wisdom on us all and to see his children and grandchildren thrive as well as our family business.    I wish he was alive to enjoy the fruits of his labor.

So I may be a little jealous of all the Father’s Day photos I see on Facebook.   But I would not trade or change the Father I had for anything.    I love you Daddy!