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.

A little bit of Fall

The leaves are starting to turn and the weather is getting cooler. It is October. Every early October for the last 5 years I have had my niece, Caroline, while her parents travel. Those 6 days were busy, full of adventures and exhausting. I love having this little girl, she is sweet with a little bit of sassy. She is a very well adjusted 6 year old. This year she seemed to miss her mom just a little bit more. FaceTime was a life line. a couple of temper tantrums that I found myself having little tolerance for, Steve was actually the voice of reason on most accounts. All in all we had a lot of fun. We visited the pumpkin patch, went to a festival, visited Kirsten and went to the park in Cincinnati and went to a class to make kitty cat caramel apples. She also had school (with couple of days off) and soccer practice. I was fully aware of my age as she is the energizer bunny. I love fall as the temperatures cool down, football, fires and pumpkins!

Right on the cusp of fall we had our 8th annual family foundation golf outing. The outing was a great success with proceeds going to 4 Paws for Ability, service dogs for vets and those with disabilities. it was so much fun and dogs from the program joined in the activities. My girls and Patrick were home for a long weekend. It is the first time they have all been home for the outing in many years. It was so wonderful. I loved having my family under one roof, if only for a couple days. Pat played golf with Steve, while the girls and I helped run things. Steve got a hole in one on the course at the prize hole – it was very exciting, and a great win! When all was said and done I had full house withdrawals. Even after all these years of having an empty nest it is still hard to let them go. Both Allie and Kirsten are doing well in life and are successful well adjusted adults. I am very proud of both of them.

My volunteer gig also had their fundraiser and I was on the event committee. That too was a great success. That night I got a text from Steve to come pick him up. He was at a local nice restaurant. I asked him if he was drunk, and he said yes. I could not get a hold of him and was getting quite angry. He finally called and was on his way home, driven by one of the patrons he struck up a conversation with. I got home and he was crashed, totally incomprehensible. He kept saying something is wrong, I wanted to take him to the ER but he could not get up off the couch so I had to call the squad, He was in bad shape. Turns out he had less than 2 drinks. Something fishy was going on. The ER doc. chalked him up to a common drunk when in reality it is obvious that something was put in his drink. The man who befriended him at the bar and drove him home said he was fine and normal and a second later was totally loopy. The family dr. agreed with the assumption that something was awry and that something had to have been put in his drink. The dr. is having all sorts of tests being done to rule out anything else. His alcohol level was 212 – so clearly it was the drink. The ER doc did not do a urine test which would have immediately told the tale. So now we are left with a mystery. It was scary and he is now doing fine. It is sad to think that someone would do that, especially at a nice upscale bar / restaurant – but is scary that it can happen anywhere.

So – so far this little bit of fall has been busy, fun and kind of crazy. Not to mention the scare of alcohol poisoning. Next stop, a visit to our condo in Florida and halloween.

Busy is Better

It is only mid-August but it feels like summer is coming to a quick end. Fall is right around the corner. The neighborhood kids start school tomorrow which means more traffic and school buses!

I have been busy and some days it is hard to get everything done, other days there is not enough to keep me going. Being busy is good for me. If I am too idle, I get up in my head and start thinking and analyzing life. Busy is definitely better. I am happy. I am grateful that I no longer have to work. I have time for friends, volunteering, AA, workouts and whatever else comes along.

The engagement party was a success. A lot of fun with family, soon to be family and some friends. During their weekend visit, Allie and Pat visited a few wedding venues here and Bingo ….. they found the perfect spot in Mt. Adams, Cincinnati. It is a beautiful old monastery that has been converted into a wedding venue. We couldn’t be more excited. The only downside is nothing was available in 2023 so the wedding is May 25, 2024. A Saturday over Memorial Weekend. It seems so far down the road. It does give us a lot of extra time to plan, save money and for the MOB to lose some more weight. Gotta look at the bright side!

The results from the breast reduction are good. I am all healed up. I still have some follow up appointments with my surgeon, but they are now few and far between. I have decided since she also has a staff that does cosmetic skin enhancements, I am going to have my first facial peel on my next visit. It is time for some old lady skin care. I am back full force at the gym with my trainer. My diet is ok. I am not exactly on the plan perfectly for the program I am doing, but I am eating way better than I have in the past so I guess that is a win. I have my body scan this week to check my measurements, I am not looking forward to it. I feel like I have had little or no change in the last 6 weeks. I have less than 2 years to get into wedding shape. I also want to be healthy. My glucose readings have been higher. I talked to my family doc and she did not like the numbers. I unfortunately had to go on a low dose of diabetes medication. I am not happy about this revelation, I am starting to feel my age and I don’t like it. My achy joints and arthritis are probably side effects from the Ulcerative Colitis. It sucks!

I have started back to my volunteer gig. I joined up again with the event committee. We are planning our big bunco fundraiser for 10/1. Looking forward to working on this event. It was super fun and profitable when we did it before Covid. My sponsor and I are hosting a going away party for a dear friend who is moving. I offered up my home for this. It is next week. 40+ have been invited, 25 have responded that they are coming – I have no idea how many people will end up at my house. Luckily our new outdoor space: patio, pavilion and landscaping will be almost complete. Just waiting on the granite countertops. I just need to chill about this gathering as it is stressing me out. We are also in the midst of planning our family foundation annual golf outing which takes place 9/19. It is not my year to be in charge so I am just doing what I can to help. A lot of event planning is currently happening and keeping me on my toes.

With fall coming, I am excited that football is starting back up. I love my Cincinnati Bengals. I am looking forward to having friends over on our new patio to watch games and hang out. Summer seems to have gone by really fast. They say the older you get the faster time goes by and boy is that true!

So for the life and times of me ….. I am just busy.

My Miscellaneous Life

I really don’t know where to start ….. life surely can come at you in many different directions at the same time. But it is all good.

We just got back from a quick weekend visit to Dallas, Texas to visit my oldest daughter, Allie and her boyfriend, Pat. It was a wonderful weekend full of fun, family and food. 3 plane flights in 3 months for me is huge and I didn’t even panic much. Steve, Kirsten, my Mom and I all enjoyed some quality Texas time. Allie and Pat seem very happy, but in no rush to move things along in terms of an engagement. I also got the feeling that they aren’t coming home anytime in the near future to put down roots. I loved having my grandparents close by while growing up and loved my kids being close to my grandma and their grandmas. But I am definitely getting way ahead of myself. So I will just try to stay in today.

We were in Dallas only Friday early thru Monday afternoon and that was the perfect amount of time. A lot of drinking happens when my family is together – not like alcoholic drinking …. just drinking and I was for the most part just fine with the whole thing, I did get a little jealous when they got the cold Chardonnay on the warm day on the rooftop bar. But I guess I am finally realizing my place in the world and it doesn’t include alcohol and sometimes that is just unfortunate.

While we were in Dallas, Steve and I celebrated our anniversary. 29 years of being married. It is a miracle. I am so grateful that we made it through a very rough patch with divorce on the table several years ago. We are good partners and happy.

As you know we are temporarily living in a condo while we build a home in town. Well the universe seemed to be against us doing that. So many roadblocks, couldn’t land on a design or stay within a budget. We found a house we loved in the next town over and jumped on it. Looked at it on a Sunday, got all the bank stuff and preapproval done on monday and now we are moving into an existing home on 5/17. It just felt right the moment we saw it. I think it was meant to be. So we are busy packing up again after only 6 months in the condo. Luckily we have a lot of stuff still packed up in the storage room and the storage unit we rented. It will nice to “find” all our stuff again. I am tired though of living in the half packed messy chaos of a condo. We will need to get out, get it cleaned and on the market. We bought it thinking we would be here for 18 months or so.

I strained my back and shoulder walking the dog – much pain. Been sucking down the Aleve and Tylenol for over a week. Got a medical massage to work out the kinks and it helped. Got some good advice and exercises to do to strengthen the muscles (which I have been very bad about doing). I finally went to the doctor and got a muscle relaxer. He gave me a prescription for 90 pills! It wasn’t my regular doc so he doesn’t know my drug abuse history, I had a rough couple of hours thinking about those pills and the oxy I picked up and delivered to a friend. It makes me crazy that my mind still thinks like an addict. I took only 1 pill as prescribed, but it didn’t do much and my addict brain is thinking 2 pills may be better to help the pain and sleep issues better. I did have a nice long chat with my sponsor and now Steve controls the pills. The thing is I am allowed to have to 3 a day, but he will only give me 1 per night. Damn.

We got our second Covid vaccine this week. I still debated on whether or not to go through with it, but again family pressure. I feel fine this time and it is Steve who got sick from the 2nd dose. It is just weird that we have no history on these shots and what they may or may not do to us in the long run. We are totally trusting the system and I am not sure if that is wise.

So, the trip, moving, and the pain / pills and shot is what my life has been these last couple of weeks. It is all a little stressful, but it is all good.

The weekend is about to start and it is full of plans that also will include those around me drinking. That is just life! I am just living life on life’s terms and taking it one day at a time.

It’s a God thing

Well I must admit, I have been a little gloomy lately and for no apparent reason or maybe a lot of reasons.  My life is good and for some reason I was getting a bad case of the F-its and that is fuck everything including my recovery.    I was just sick and tired of it all including my AA meetings and the club which I usually love and just bored with my life in general.  So what does one do … I was starting to skimp on my meetings and reaching out.   I preferred to just sit home on my pity pot.  I cancelled my workout trainer, I did not go to volunteer and blew off friends.   To begin to isolate is never a good sign, at least for me.

I spent a Saturday night last week with some (non alcoholic) friends.   We sat at a bar at a wine restaurant for 3 hours, it seemed harmless at the time, but in reality it might have been a trigger for the desire to take a drink and a bout on that pity pot.   Watching the bartender sling drink after drink especially lots of wines was difficult, but at this point in my sobriety should have been harmless as it usually does not bother me.    My state of mind was not spiritually fit at the time and it probably was not a good choice.

Thank God, I have a strong recovery and that I am connected to the program and the club even when I don’t want to be.   It saved me.    It has been a difficult week.   My God always has my back though and is consistently doing for me what I can not do for myself.    I begrudgingly went to a meeting and lo and behold I got a new sponsee.   Just the thing I needed to get out of myself.    Service work always keeps me sober!   Starting to the work the steps from the beginning with a newcomer and getting back into the big book will be good for me.    My other sponsees ….. well lets see;  One is currently out drinking, and one doesn’t go to many meetings,  another has been procrastinating on step 3, and one is working a program.   None call me.    So getting a new girl to start fresh puts some life back into my program.    I will be picking up my meetings again to see her, be accountable and to set a good example to my new sponsee and for my own sanity.   I really do know what I need and what I need to do.

Saturday night this week, I had a group of sober girlfriends over for a game night while my husband was out of town.   At first I was a little put out that I had planned this and just wasn’t feeling it, I just wanted to sit home alone.  But again, it was just what I needed when I needed it.    There were about 10 of us and we laughed until we peed our pants,  ate, drank (no alcohol of course) and were merry.   Hanging with my peeps was just what my soul needed.

I am going to shake this gloominess off and get on with my life and listen to my God’s will for me.   I don’t always know what God’s will is, but I do know it is to be sober, be of service and to be happy, joyous and free!

I thank God for my sobriety and for doing for me what I sometimes can not do for myself.

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.

 

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!

 

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.