Christmas Chaos

Christmas was several weeks back. I have been decompressing. It was a wonderful holiday full of family gatherings, friends, lots of love and laughs.

It started off in early December with the 2 obligatory business parties. I reigned it in this year and chose not to participate in many of the dinners and friend get togethers. I don’t know why, I think I wanted to save myself for the busy two weeks of before Christmas and New Year.

Allie and Pat came home on 12/17 and spent about 2 weeks with us. I loved every minute of it.

A winter storm was brewing a few days before Christmas. Very very cold, lots of wind and some snow and ice. Not ideal timing. Pat’s mom joined us before the storm hit, his sister came the next day in the middle of it all. Luckily Allie, Pat and Kirsten were already home.

We did our annual family braciole making on Thursday night. The weather was warm and a little rainy. Pat’s mom, Geri, got to get an up close and personal look at my crazy family as she joined us this year for the tradition. The kids are all getting older and the process takes a lot less time than it used to. We stayed and played games and just hung out. Of course a lot of drinking too. When we left that night it was cold and snowing hard.

Friday brought the wind and cold with windchill at the -30 mark. Sister, Rhianne joined us. We all hunkered down. We made cookies, played games and watched movies. Again, a lot of drinking was happening …. all day! I was ok.

Geri and Rhianne stayed until Christmas, just a few days and we had a blast.

Christmas Day it was back with my family. More games, more presents and more drinking! It was good family fun and our braciole and meatballs were delicious.

The day after, Steve’s mom and sister came for a visit.

A couple of days before NYE, Kirsten’s 5 besties from college descended on our house. for a couple of days. Allie and Pat were still here. We had 8 extra people at home. Allie and Pat along with dog Stella headed back to Dallas and the next day Kirsten and friends headed to Cincinnati to celebrate the New Year.

It was fun chaos. I didn’t realize how high my guard was up with all the drinking until it was all over. I needed to distance myself from all things alcohol for a bit to regain my footing. During all the holiday chaol, I was able to enjoy, stay in the moment and not stress. All wins for me.

I have had the time to decompress. Now the house is quiet and kind of lonely. I love having my kids home and it is hard to let them leave again. Ollie was depressed for a few days after his buddy Stella left. The let down after the holidays affects everyone – even my pup.

Steve and I have a couple winter trips planned, one hopefully to Dallas with the whole gang (Geri, Rhianne, Kirsten and Steve and I). And they will be back in the late spring. It is all good. It was a great Christmas and I am still sober!

An Ordinary Thursday

It is just an ordinary Thursday on December 1.

Tomorrow, December 2nd, I will celebrate 8 years of continuous sobriety. Each year, month, day, hour and minute is a miracle. It has been hard fought at times to get to this point. I am ever so blessed to where I am and the life I have today. Is it perfect …. hell no, but I am grateful. I plan to be with my sponsor on Sunday to receive my official 8 year token. I always reflect this time of year with Thanksgiving, My sober anniversary and the Christmas Season. I have been given a second chance that many do not have and I have so many friends in the fellowship, Doctors, therapists and of course my family to thank for it.

Now that December is officially here the hustle and bustle of the Christmas Season is ever apparent. I love the holidays, but at the same time it overly stresses me out. So many parties and gatherings and I usually feel like I have to go to them all. Nope! Not doing it all this year. I have declined several sober dinners and get togethers (and those are my people). I have a couple of work parties with the business and a neighborhood party I will show up at for as long as I feel comfortable. A friend of mine that I was discussing all this with said she has noticed that I have pulled away from a lot of these things since my sponsee, Kerry, committed suicide. It is probably true. She also said it was good that I do what I feel I need to do or not to do for me. I appreciated that and it sort of made it ok to say no.

Allie and Patrick will be home for Christmas on 12/17. We will make our traditional Christmas dinner on 12/22, Pat’s family will be joining us in our home 12/23-12/25. We will do my family’s Christmas celebration later on the 25th. Allie and Pat leave the 27th or 28th and then Kirsten’s 5 college friends come on the 28th to stay with us for a couple of days before moving on to Cincinnati for NYE. It is going to be a couple of weeks of chaos! It will be fun, but chaotic. Home is my safe haven and there will be no escaping.

I have done a lot of shopping, probably over shopping to control my anxiety. It could be another addiction. I swore it was going to be a small Christmas, I am not sure who I was fooling.

So stress is the name of the game for December. I am though proud of my sober accomplishments.

On The Move

Day 3 of life in our new home. It is utter chaos at the moment. It really is a daunting task to find a place for everything in a new space. I am sure we will arrange and rearrange several more times before we are satisfied. We are finding things we forgot we had as a lot was packed away in storage the past 6 months.

I do love this new house and the neighborhood. The neighbors met so far have been over the top nice and welcoming. It is odd though being further away from all my places and people. I am sure it will take some getting used to and all will be fine.

Unpacking is interesting. Wondering why some things were kept in the first place and so many boxes to still open. Each one a surprise (even with the labeling). I did have an interesting find ….. old narcotic prescriptions. One for Steve and one that was mine. Like from 2017 and 2019, but that doesn’t matter. It sure did make this addict’s brain go there. It makes me wonder if there will ever be a time that I won’t be tempted by such find. They probably aren’t even good anymore since they are so old. But I did tell I found them …. to my sponsor and therapist. But I did keep them in the basket I found them in and then found a home for it. Maybe I will get rid of them and maybe I won’t. I don’t know why I feel the need to keep things like that. I still have that 1 left over Valium from my breast biopsy last September in my purse. Not that one will do me any good. It is weird. I guess I like knowing I have the choice and that I am in charge of what I do. Or maybe I just like white knuckling my recovery. Either way I know it is crazy thinking.

One of my friends from the AA program, who lives 2 doors down, is making the family dinner tonight and another neighbor brought us over a welcome to the neighborhood homemade coffee cake. There is still so much to do and so many new things to get used to. But I think I am going to like it here!

Moving Along

My life is in disarray!

The house sold in 3 days. We had the condo we put money down on, but got freaked out that it might be too small for the duration. We looked at a house and put an offer in but we could not come to terms. Found another condo and its perfect for what we need … and that is where we will be resting out heads for the time being. It is a main level with a walk out lower level with a lot more space than the original condo. Only down side is we lost our money that we put down on the first condo – breach of contract. We are closing on the condo next Friday 10/30. It has been a whirlwind. Lots of anxiety and uncertainty.

My house is half packed up and half livable. We are doing a little bit every day – seems like we are always going for more boxes. We certainly have a lot of stuff and a lot to do! Movers are scheduled for 11/12 so we can get the condo ready and move some things ourselves.

In the midst of all we have going on, tonight we (Steve and I) are having dinner with my long lost friend. The one that I recently reconnected with over lunch and her husband. I am feeling a little anxious about this. We were a fun foursome and we loved to drink. They have no idea about my addiction problem and I don’t plan on telling them. The drinking situation could be tricky and I am not sure how I am going to react … I am sure there will be questions . A drink would help me relax in this situation – we all know though how that would end, so I am not even going there! I have been craving a drink lately, maybe it is all the anxiety, I am not sure. Better than a drink though, I think would be some Xanax. But that is not going to happen either. I still think I have that one Valium in my purse.

Best news is that Allie is coming home next week to see her childhood home one more time, to help us pack and just visit. I am really happy she is coming. It will be nice to have a full house for a few days.

And those who are wondering about the Whole30 Diet. I am totally off that bandwagon, but need to get back on some type of diet and exercise program – I have gone to the other extreme since the Whole30 thing. The key I know is moderation and food choices. With all the moving stress, I haven’t been doing it. But I gotta get my head in the game and just do it!

That is it ….. The Life and Times of Me.

House on the Market

Yes our house officially for sale. It is a crazy time for the housing market. It has been very stressful getting everything cleaned up and ready pre market and now we have to keep it that, which is not always easy. God love our relators who have helped us clean up in a pinch.

Our house was listed Wednesday night for Thursday showings. On Thursday we had 9 showings, on Friday: 8. Saturday only 1 and Sunday 3. We have a pending offer and waiting for a couple more that are supposed to be coming later today (Sunday). We are still showing until we have a concrete offer.

The pain is having to take our old overweight dog and our hyper puppy who gets car sick out of the house for hours on end. We have hung out with my Mom and Tom for a few hours on Thursday and Friday. Went to a friends house with a fenced in backyard, took a trip to the dog park, went on a hike and even hung out with the dogs at the AA club after a meeting while decorating for fall. The poor dogs are so confused.

So when this house sells we will be moving into a condo for 18-24 months while waiting to build. We are going from 5500 to 1700 square feet and 1.5 acres to nothing. It is going to be a big adjustment for everyone including Ollie Pup. There should be lots to write about as we all adjust.

My anxiety has been very high during this process. I have needed a little boost in my anxiety meds. I do still have that 1 Valium hanging out in my purse. But that is a controlled substance and to even take that 1 pill would be a relapse. Not really sure why I am still hanging on to it, sometimes I even forget about it.

It has been an interesting process and I am looking forward to getting an offer so we can move on to the next phase ….. packing it all up. My current closet is 12 X 14 and we will be moving into something way smaller. What will I leave behind? My current closet is almost the same size as the condo master bedroom. Yes, it will be big adjustment!

Living Life on Life’s Terms

Life sure has gotten busy and interesting.

Most pressing in this thing called life is that I have to have a breast biopsy. I had a diagnostic mammogram that showed changes in a small area that they want a closer look at. It is so small I am amazed they detected it. Not looking forward to this procedure to say the least, but you gotta do what you gotta do. I go on Tuesday next week. What I am most concerned with is laying on my stomach for an hour + with my left breast hanging out. The nurse that scheduled this said I might need to talk to my Dr. about something for stress and anxiety for the procedure. My ears sure did perk up. Here is the possible chance for my favorite drug …. Xanax! You can be sure that I will call the Dr. tomorrow to see what they can do. As a side note I have taken Xanax as prescribed for procedures since my addiction issues. I am not going to lie, the idea of the possibility of getting to take Xanax excites me. I am a pill addict after all. Of course I will talk to my sponsor and do what I am supposed to do if the situation arises. My sponsor, Ann, has been through this and breast cancer so I know she is someone I can count on. She has already sweetly offered to go with me for the biopsy. I really don’t know what to think about this whole thing. I do think about the what ifs, but I also try to remember that it could be nothing. I also know that I can handle just about anything with my support system.

We have decided to put our current house on the market to sell. We have found some land nearby to build on, but it is going to be a long process. The development has not been started yet. We decided to strike while the housing market was hot and go ahead and list the house now. We have lived in this house for 19 years. Saying we have a lot of stuff is an understatement. Each day we have been busy getting this house in order. I think we have everything just about scheduled that needs to be done. We hope to be market ready in the next two weeks. Now if we could just get the painter to call us back we will be in good shape. It feels good to go through everything and purge. It has also been heartwarming to go down memory lane as we box things up. We have taken many trips to Goodwill and have ordered a dumpster to dispose of a lot of things. We are looking at buying a condo for the interim. It will be at least a year if not longer. I can’t believe we are actually doing this, we have been talking about it for a long while.

My writing course has started off well. I have gotten some great feedback. I feel like I am getting a little bit behind with all this house and health stuff. I really want to make sure I do this course right and get something out of it.

Last but not least the sponsees are keeping me busy. One went out on a drinking binge, but is now back at wanting to be sober. Thing is she doesn’t have “time” for meetings. Two of my girls are really working the program and I see them often. The other has been having some health issues so our step work was put on hold, but I think she is ready to get back to it. Then there is the lady who only reaches out every once in a blue moon, I have not idea how she is doing at the moment.

I definitely can’t say I am bored. Health, house, writing and recovery seems to be all I have time for. Sometimes I don’t know whether I am coming or going. All I can do is just take a deep breath and live the best life I can live ….. one day at a time.

Now 53

Today is June 9th ….. My birthday and I am now 53 years old.    Time keeps marching by.   This year I am in Sarasota Florida with my husband and 22 year old daughter,  We bought a condo here with my brother and friend.   It is nice to get away, but you all know I like home best.

I went back and read the post when I turned 51 and all the gratitude I had for life.  Today I am still grateful, but life seems so much more complicated, out of control and in need of a makeover.

We are getting through this COVID 19 pandemic.   The lock downs are letting up and stores are opening, but people are still afraid and wearing mask while keeping distance.  Only so many allowed in restaurants and stores.  A lot of people are still out work and it is difficult to find a job. Most people are just over the whole thing.  But all are unsure of what will happen next and what our new normal will be.

Then comes the Black Lives Matters protests over the killing of a black man by a white police office.   I get the disgust, uproar and the protests, but I hate to see all the rioting and other people killed because of it.   Yes we need change and equality.   I get that, but destroying property and causing trouble is not to me the answer, but then again what do I know about being black … nothing.   All I know is that the rioting is scary and that we need a new normal of acceptance of all people.

The other thing that is going on is that one of my younger daughter’s friends passed away … the reason they are thinking is getting hit with tear gas at one of the above said protest.   We are still waiting for confirmation of the exact cause of death.  Rumors are flying around, people are harassing the family and social media is going crazy.  Definitely a hard time for the family and friends of this young woman and also this mother.

So this year on my birthday I am struggling to make sense out of life, struggling to stay sober and struggling to stay sane.    I just wonder what this world is coming to.    Sometimes I even struggle with what to pray for and about right now while things are in such upheaval.

I do look back and realize how privileged my life has been despite all the issues I have faced.   I had everything I needed during the COVID lockdown,  I am not in a city where violence and rioting is going on and my children are alive and healthy.    I can get the health care I need and the addiction treatment I need.  I have a loving stable family and many friends both in and out of recovery.     We have the means to survive.

So on this day, June 9, 2020 I am 53 years old.    The world is in chaos, but I can still find the gratitude I need to keep on Keeping on!!!