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.

The Engagement and other Life Events

I haven’t written in long while, I am just out here trying to live life on life’s terms ….. which isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Sometimes it is a downright battle, but let us not go there right now.

Allie and Patrick finally got engaged. The official engagement date was 5/21, so it has definitely been a minute or two. With all her snooping, she was still surprised. It was sweet, They were at a park in Dallas with the dog – they were going to go on a picnic but forgot the blanket so they just walked around and he popped the question. He had a party with friends planned for after the proposal and even had her bestie fly in from Chicago to complete the surprise. We are truly excited to welcome Pat and his family into ours. We have no wedding plans as of yet. There is still the decision as to where the wedding will be …. Dallas or Dayton/Cincinnati. We have said our peace and given our thoughts, but it is their wedding and they must decide. We have an engagement party planned for a couple of weeks from now here as they will be in Ohio for a wedding. It is just family and very few special friends. I will update after their visit.

With it being summer and the 4th of July holiday there have been a lot of drinking events, but I am holding my own. There are moments when I wish I could drink ….. take part in the jello shots. It is such a drinking culture that sometimes it is difficult not to feel left out. I love my sober life and my sober friends – but ………..

Ok so the really big news, because we all knew that Allie and Pat were going to get engaged, that was just a matter of timing …… I finally got a breast reduction. it has been 8 weeks since the surgery and I am doing great. The wounds are almost healed and I am finally able to do things around the house and in life in general. It was a rough go not being able to carry, lift or push anything. There was pain, but it wasn’t anything like I thought it would be. I only took 2, well maybe 3 Percocet …… 2 that were desperately needed and 1 , well, not so much.. I just survived on Tylenol and Motrin for several weeks. The wounds were gross and took a lot of cream and gauze. The surgeon took out a total of 6.75 lbs of breast. I am getting used to my new size ….. now it is time to get rid of the love handles and old lady belly. I found it interesting and refreshing that the anesthesiologists asked if I wanted a different cocktail that wasn’t (addictive type) narcotics. My sober friends and I joke that anesthesia for a very few short seconds is the best, but anyway I did tell him to give me whatever would best and I could deal with it. I got 20 pain pills with this surgery. I still had my 18 from my kidney stone. Good news, I finally emptied my drawer of all the pain meds and handed them over to Steve to get rid of or hide, not sure which he did. I did say hide don’t pitch, but you never know. The pills after all this time were “talking” to me and I was really struggling. Taking that extra Percocet when I wasn’t sure if I really needed it scared me enough to take action, I have been seeing my surgeon every couple of weeks for post op. I am thinking only a few more visits and I will be good to go.

With the breast surgery my diet went to shit. I have been on a new program (that I paid a pretty penny for) it has a lot of accountability and pretty straight forward and kinda strict guidelines. I was all in before the surgery and losing weight but since surgery I have not been able to get in the right frame of mind to go all in. I am eating better, but half-assing the program. I am pretty discouraged with it right now and I hate going for my check ins because I am running out of excuses as to why my weight is staying constantly the same. It is rough. I want to eat and I want to drink like a normal person – ugh!

Well, that is the Life and Times of Me for the last couple of months. I am at a crossroads trying to figure out what my life is for and what I should be doing with it. Stay tuned, I may or may not ever figure it out.

Thanksgiving Eve Reflections

The house is quiet and it gives me time to reflect. I have had some ups and downs, but I have so much to be Thankful for. We will gather tomorrow with family at my brother’s house ….. 14 of us. Allie and Pat will be home for a couple of weeks at Christmas time, so I will be missing them. This time of year I like to tell the people who have made a difference in my life how much they mean and how they have helped me overcome. Mostly my recovery sisters, but also some special friends received a I am Thankful for You letter in the mail.

I have been thinking a lot about where I have been and where I am at now. I am scheduled to give my lead at the AA meeting on Sunday. It has been about 1.5 years since I have done this. The more I try to organize my thoughts, the more anxious and flustered I get. I am just going to have to “let go and let God” speak through me. In the past I would write everything down, sometimes I would use the notes, sometimes just a glance at them. It was more a control issue …. being in control and knowing what I am going to say. Last time, it was short notice and I did not have time to prepare. I just told my story and it worked out beautifully. I am going to try it again this way, but right now my thoughts are all jumbled. I was hoping since it was Thanksgiving weekend, the crowd would be smaller, but I have a feeling the opposite will be true. I am nervous. My mom wanted to come, since I don’t always share with her all the gorey details, but I am not ready for that yet.

I am also about 8 days away from my 7 year sobriety anniversary, which is also cause for reflection. 7 years is a big deal. I first went to treatment in 2007 and it took me 7 years to finally surrender and admit to my innermost self that I had a problem. My sober day is 12/2/14. I will get my token on the following Sunday from my sponsor.

Sometimes life does suck, but as one of my AA friends says …. “You sometimes have to embrace the suck”. But really despite the crappy days, life is good. I love life sober. I love the fellowship I belong to. I am grateful for all I have and my wonderful family and friends.

Happy Thanksgiving ….. Be Grateful!

No Words for this one

The halloween party was fantastic. We had such a great turn out and a lot of creative costumes and yummy chili. Of course some things weren’t as I would have them, but it was okay. I am still learning to let go of control. I would love to post pictures, but it is an anonymous program.

So many things in life our out of our control. I want control, I want to be able to take care of those I love and i want to fix things and make life better. I have to remember that serenity prayer for acceptance, courage and wisdom.

I have a sponsee, my very first. We started working together about 6 years ago. I was just over 1 year sober myself. She reminded me of myself in terms of having a hard time staying sober. We had a lot of friends in common and just clicked. She moved, we tried to stay in touch some, but we all know how that goes. She has always though held a special place in my heart. She is a lovely person.

She recently came home to live with her parents. She had to leave everything behind. Even her 11 year old twins. She was in a domestic violence situation. Her story is like so many others that we hear of, one of control, manipulation and violence . The kids are okay and she sees them a couple of times a week and talks to them daily, but they are 2 hours away in another state and they want their mother.

Her (husband) has been planning, controlling and running the show for years. He has documented her alcoholism and the psychotic break she had when she could no longer take the abuse. He is trying to paint the picture of an unfit mother. She is anything but. His actions have destroyed this lovely lady.

My friend is broken. She is void of happiness and life. She has no self worth, she is depressed, she is isolating, she is scared. She is currently sober despite everything. We met the other day at my house. I just needed her to get out and she needed reassurance that she was okay. We talked, we cried. My heart is broken for her and her kids. I want to control the outcome of this, I want to fix this for her, but there is nothing I can do except, I can be a friend, I can love her, I can pray for her and I can listen. I want to be able to do more. But this has to just play out. She only has supervised visitation with her children at this point because of the ugly picture her (husband) has painted. They meet at the end of the month in court for unsupervised visits and the custody hearing is not until next June. A year after she fled the abuse. She doesn’t think she can last that long in the current climate of things.

I needed to write this. I am trying to process. I can’t imagine how she is trying to process. I am afraid for her. Her children are her life and without them she has no will. It is hard for me to imagine someone that is supposed to love you to do the things he has done to her. I can see her desperation and despair. Her eyes show it. The thing I did tell her is that I still see a spark and we have to use that spark to fight. I will be with her every step of the way. I am grateful she has a loving parents who are helping her and taking care of her. She is getting outside help, but nothing seems like enough.

I have no control in this situation. My friend doesn’t have much control at this time either. The (husband) holds the cards and I can only pray that that will change in time. The children have seen some of the abuse and are witnesses to the truth. God please help this woman and her kids and help me to have the right words to comfort and support her.

My heart is shattered.

Damn …. Just Damn

It has been a busy summer so far …. The days are long and warm, It has been good. Damn it is going by too quick. We will be shoveling snow before we know it.

I had a mucous cyst removed from my right index finger last week. Damn did it hurt. It is still sore, but the major pain has gone. You don’t realize how important each finger is, especially on your dominant hand, It has been a rough week. Just typing this is to some extent difficult.

With the cyst removal and the pain …. all I can say is Damn pain pills. I am over 6.5 years sober and once again I am obsessed with the pills. I didn’t think much about them when I truly needed them the first couple days post op. I have stopped the day time medicating as I like to run around too much to be stuck at home in a stupor unable to drive, I have been taking it only at night for a few nights. The sleep is soooooo good! But I think the time has come to be done, You just know when you no longer need them. It is now not a need, but a want. The thing is …. I am a pill addict and I am obsessed with the little amount of pills I have left. I can usually had over the pills to my husband for safe keeping, but it is always a hard act. I like the control of being in charge of my own destiny, even if it is torture. As a relatively sane person this makes no sense. So tonight, if I can, with a moment of clarity, I will relinquish the bottle of pills and wipe my hands of the whole messy obsession. Just Damn!

I have been continuing my diet …. sometimes wholeheartedly sometimes half-ass. I feel like I am making better food choices a majority of the time, but I do still like to eat. I haven’t walked since the finger surgery and it is just hot and muggy, but I have continued my workouts with my trainer for an hour 2X a week. I know that isn’t enough, but it is sure better than doing nothing like before. But that Damn scale is at a standstill. I lose a pound or two and gain a pound or two. I can’t break the cycle and it is really starting to get me down. I know Rome wasn’t built in a day, but come on!

On both accounts I just need to be willing to be willing and focus on my wellness.

So my goal is to walk and get rid of the pills, both of which I know I can do. I just might need a little nudge that is all. And one more Damn ….. it is about to storm and dinner is supposed to be on the grill. Glad I watered all the flowers.

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!

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.

MONEY $

I got a message the other day from a lady I used to sort of sponsor. She never really embraced the AA recovery route. She wanted to talk and had a question for me. Well, we know where this is going, right?

She had called a few weeks back just to check in and give me an update on her life. She seems to be doing well. She called at the perfect time as I was feeling low and like I had no purpose in life. She told me how much I have helped her and that I am always there for her and for that she is grateful ….. wow, wasn’t expecting that, but it made me feel good. We ended the call with the promise to get together to further the conversation. She is sober and taking another route to sobriety. I know everyone has their own journey, some can do it without a twelve step program, I am not one of those people.

We aren’t really friends, I think of us as more like acquaintances and maybe from her point of view I am a little bit like a mentor. But I rarely hear from her. We met from a mutual friend, and my goal was to help her get sober.

Fast forward to this week when I got the text ….. “I have a question, can you call me” As soon as she opened her mouth and started talking I knew where this conversation was going. It is always so awkward when some comes right out and asks for money. I have loaned money or I should say given money to an “acquaintance” friend in the program and got burned. I have also loaned money to a great friend in the program with no problems. The thing is, I feel guilty not helping out. I have money. But I don’t have the trust in this person and that there is the difference. She is not my friend and I feel a little used and angry.

I don’t know why I have so many mixed emotions about this. I can not be the bank for those in need this way. I do donate money and time to organizations that I believe in. We have worked hard to get to the place we are in life. I am grateful to have what I have and to be able to do the things we do. I won’t mention the fact that my husband would not be happy if I loaned money to another miscellaneous friend. He is okay with the loans I have given my real friend, as she is his friend too.

I have got to know I did the right thing, and move on. What are your thoughts?