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.

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.

Good Choices

It’s Friday, Day #25 of my Noom change in eating adventure. I think I have lost 5 lbs so far. The damn scale keeps fluctuating and I get discourage very easily. I am eating so much better and less calories. Am I doing perfectly, uh that is a big NO! I like food and don’t love vegetables, but I am eating them and more of them then ever before. You could say that I am making good choices …. most of the time.

I do save a lot of calories since I do not drink alcohol, so happy hour isn’t an issue. I have gotten somewhat complacent in my recovery program. It ebbs and flows like everything else. I am still doing meetings, but I haven’t been all in. So I have restarted a morning program and I am trying to get back in the big book. I think I need to also switch up some of my meetings. I need to try something new and freshen up my program. I don’t want to drink, but I am just grumpy. So again, making good choices.

I have heard from several people in the program who are just coming back to meetings in person after getting the covid vaccine. Some have relapsed others just feel lost. All feel the need to get back in and start from the beginning of the steps and refresh their program. I have been going to in person meetings, but I understand the need for a refresh. It has just all been a little different.

At our club mask wearing is hit or miss. Some are crazy for the mask (and they mostly stay away) while others are very confident in not wearing them. It has been a constant battle that is hopefully coming to an end soon. Things are getting less restrictive again and covid numbers seem to be dropping.

I look forward to the day when all my scale quits fluctuating and stays down and I look forward to the day we go maskless and not have to worry so much about covid. I miss the parties and the large group functions. Especially the sober ones we used to plan at the Club. I miss my tribe. Until then, I and hopefully others will continue to make good choices,

Pool Party

My baby niece turned 4 yesterday,  It seems like yesterday that she was a tiny thing.   It was a unicorn pool party and of course our little Caroline was adorable.   she has a boat load of girl cousins from both sides of the family …. there are 11 of them.   My 2 girls, 25 and  22, my youngest brothers kids 17,15 and 11 then the cousins on the other side are 13, 10, 8, 5, 2 and our 4 year old birthday girl.   Quite the range of cousins, but all girls!  All were there except Allie who has recently moved to Texas.

Then there are the adults.   Family and friends who are like family.    Everyone is an Aunt or Uncle besides the grandparents.     Caroline is a lucky girl to have so many adults to love on her and spoil her.    Caroline really knows how to get along and act with adults, like I said she is adorable!

These pool parties, even a birthday party for a kid, some how turn into a drink fest.     There were fancy slushy drinks in hollowed out pineapples – with alcohol of course …. and lots of beer and white claw type drinks.     Who doesn’t want to drink on a hot day at a pool party, right?    And for me it was ok not to drink …. that is until everyone has had a little too much and I got a little too irritated.       I know I have lost that luxury to drink and my problems should not affect how others drink or not drink, and it doesn’t bother anyone but me.     I was definitely bothered.     Some know why I don’t drink, others don’t.    Some offer me drinks which I politely decline and others claim I am grumpy because I need a drink  (at the end of the night when most are pretty lit).   It can be quite annoying and trigger the poor me feelings.

Sometimes when a lot of drinking is happening and I know it is time to go ….. it is difficult to pull Steve away (not usually, but sometimes).  He was clearly enjoying himself and the beverages a little too much.    Why do I get so angry and as one friend said grumpy?   drinking is one thing, drunkenness is another and my tolerance varies.    I still feel awkward when everyone is at that point and I am left with my seltzer water.   I don’t like it.    I have to know myself and play that tape all the way through of what will happen if I do enjoy the drink.   I know it will not end well for me.     Finally I just gave the final warring …. I am leaving NOW, with or without you.   A wise friend suggested  that he “get on that bus” and go home.   lol.

I feel good today ….. no hangover.    But I still feel irritated.   I am playing that passive aggressive game.    Stupid.   No one knows I am angry, but I definitely am not being what you would call nice.

I need to get over myself and let others live their lives as they see fit, but I can not let their choices affect me and my sobriety.     The party started at 1:00 PM and I finally got to leave at 9:30 PM (with a little break in between to feed the dogs).   That is long birthday party for a little girl.   And let me tell you those kids where still going strong, just getting out of the pool as we were leaving.   To be young again and to be able to drink again …… that ship has sailed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Cap, No Gown

This is the week we were supposed to be in Chicago for my youngest daughter’s college graduation.   We had an awesome week planned with graduation celebrations and a roof top party with family and friends.  As we all know the world has changed and life has been canceled or I should say put on hold due to the coronavirus.

I am sad for the class of 2020 missing all the pomp and circumstance of the graduation season.   I am also sad that the next chapter is also put on hold as it is hard to find a job right now and the economy is crap.   All the plans and hopes that Kirsten and her roommates had to stay in Chicago to work and live are not panning out at this time.  Most likely they will all have to go home to figure out the next step.

Loyola University Chicago, The Institute of Environmental Sustainability had a virtual graduation ceremony last night.  There was no Cap and no Gown, but it was nice to have some closure for the past 4 years.   It was a different kind of graduation.   The school is scheduling an in person ceremony for all graduates in Chicago for early August, but it still will not be the same.

Kirsten has had a wonderful 4 years in Chicago at Loyola.   She has grown into lovely, compassionate, outgoing, world traveler who is very driven.  She was once a homebody, but no more.   I am really proud of my girl and all the things she has done.   She has worked super hard and graduated Magna Cum Laude.    She wants to change the world and I think she just might.

Though the world is in chaos at the moment, there is a new young crop of college graduates who are ready, willing and able to take the world by storm.  Though there may be no Cap or Gown at this time, it does not take away the achievements of this class.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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!

 

Reunion

I graduated from college in 1989 …. 30 years ago.    It seems like a life time ago.   I went to Ohio University in Athens Ohio and have very found memories of my time there.   I was in a sorority and thanks to Facebook, they are planning a reunion in Chicago in September.

I would like to see some of the girls from the sorority and I am sure I could have some fun, but I am an alcoholic / addict and it looks like it is going to be a party time weekend.  Why wouldn’t it be?   Your average person doesn’t have a substance abuse problem.   I don’t really want to disclose my personal business to this group of people, I am really not close to any of them at this time in my life.  I think all I need to know about these “friends” I learn from Facebook.

One of the events is a mini pub crawl …. the Court Street Shuffle (going to all the bars for a drink in one night and there were many) is a staple OU activity.  It doesn’t really sound like a fun way to spend an evening to this addict.  I am pretty sure if I go I will either be miserable or I will drink, neither of which sound fun.   So why am I so conflicted about this?   I think I am feeling left out because I know I can’t do certain things.   If this event were in Athens I could go up for a day, but going to Chicago is a commitment and I would be stuck.   I know it is a choice … I can go or I can not go, up to me.   I just know it is not in my best interest to put myself in that situation, but I don’t want to miss out – conflicted!

College and the sorority were some great times, I would love to be able to relive some of that with the girls I shared my life with for 3 – 4 years.  But if I want to stay sober the answer is obvious and I don’t like it!