Easy as Pie

Just keep it simple. Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it? I mean, it should be SIMPLE. I seem to have a way of complicating things. I future trip, I obsess over things I can’t control, and basically stress over small stuff I advise others ( when they ask) to think about if their problems won’t matter in a week, a month, or a year. We have the tendency to either worry about something we’ve done in the past or imagine the what if scenarios for the future. What ifs are never a good idea. It’s so much easier today to keep things simple. When we were drinking, everything was complicated. Hiding our bottles, lying to family and friends, feeling physically, spiritually, and emotionally sick were part of our daily routine. I am SO HAPPY that’s not my life anymore. It was like every day I started about 6 hours behind everyone else. By the time my hangover was wearing off, a lot of other people had accomplished 56 things. And so, yet again, here comes the complications. It’s a cycle that seems impossible to leave but once we did? Freedom. Simplicity. Love and kindness. Happy Sunday, sober family! Keep it simple today 😉.
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Watch and Learn


If you tell me I can’t, then I have to. The people in my life who didn’t believe I could quit drinking weren’t just trying to be haters. They just knew me. The ones who REALLY knew me? They knew that my stubbornness and I’ll show them attitude was exactly what would work for me. They also had to wait until I decided to do it for myself. They had a long ass wait 😂😵‍💫

Whether or not your tribe believes in you, just know that we do. We do because we’ve been there. We do because we’ve done it. We’re not angels. We definitely are closer to being good people since we dropped the bottle. It’s not just putting down the bottle, though. We also lost severe anxiety and depression (still have it a bit though), gossiping, judging, and lying. So just think about this – If they don’t think you can, then you have to. And we’ll be by your side (at least virtually) every step of the way. Happy Thursday, sober family! Keep it simple today.

Cinderella Even Slipped

If you don’t try, there’s literally zero chance of success. I know a guy who tried, and failed, to quit drinking 9 times until it stuck. And I’m not talking about the promises he made to himself after a particularly wild night when he swore he’d never drink again. I’m talking real instances where he poured out every last drop, insisted to friends and family he was done for good, went to recovery meetings and announced his sobriety. Nine times. Some people said he’d never get it- look at his track record. But time number ten was his magic number. Getting sober isn’t a straight line. It’s twisty and turny and messy and exhausting. But if we don’t keep trying we have no chance of succeeding. Give yourself a break if you slip but don’t forget the lesson. Life is too short to wake up in the morning with regrets. Happy Wednesday, sober family! Keep it simple today

Reflections

This seems to happen to almost everyone I know who has made a decision to cut alcohol out of their life. They tell us about how some of their best friends or family members tell them that they’re fine and don’t need to quit. They say that we all do stupid shit and just “tighten up”. We have a few sober sisters in Ireland who say they’ll be cut off from their family if they quit. For me, no one said I was ok and didn’t need to stop🤨😵‍💫🤪but even my sister heard that she didn’t have a problem with alcohol. Here’s the thing. If you do or if you don’t, no one should feel like they can tell you what’s best for you if you’re telling them what is. How the f do they know?! I know I lied about the amounts I was imbibing and the consequences of my actions when I was drunk. If you want to stop, that’s for you to decide. If they can’t handle it, that’s on them. Maybe they’ll just miss their party pal. Maybe when you’re so wasted they think they’re not so bad. Maybe they’re scared to level up themselves. Whatever it is, it doesn’t matter. You can say that you’re doing it for your health. That you’re on a cleanse. That you’re in a diet. You’re pregnant. You developed an allergy. Or tell them your truth. Whatever you have to do to keep you sane and sober is key. Happy Tuesday, sober family! Keep it simple today. 

Tahiti


If I had a penny for every time I was going to quit but didn’t because of an upcoming event I’d be writing this post from my glass bottom house in Tahiti. Maybe Bali. But I digress. How many countless times have we all done that? Oh well I was going to quit but I have a reunion coming up! Maybe next month. I wanted to stop but then I had to cope with a breakup! How could I!? About five years ago I remember texting my two bffs and saying I’ve had enough! From now on I’m only going to drink if there’s a reason! My friend Amy said isn’t there always a reason? Mind you, hers is the wedding where I took off my dress in front of her grandparents at the bar supposedly because I’d “never been so hot in my life”. 😵‍💫

We can always find a reason TO drink. I’ve found about ten thousand reasons NOT to. I’ve proven it to myself countless times. Alcohol and I don’t mix. Oil and water. Tigers and gazelles. The two families from Romeo and Juliet. Our mom’s wild dogs and squirrels. We just don’t do well together. If you do drink successfully, good! We tried. Oh how we tried. We got tired of blowing up our lives. Took long enough. Happy Monday, sober family! Keep it simple today.

Streamers, Please

I’ll never forget the day I got out of rehab and went to a recovery meeting. I wanted the world to give me balloons, cake, and streamers. Didn’t they realize that I’d been sober for 28 WHOLE DAYS?! Where are all the props? It eventually dawned on me-why should I be celebrated for something that “normal” people do daily? They didn’t need a treat when they drove past the liquor store without going in. No high fives for making it through one more happy hour without a drink. I thought that people just didn’t get it. They didn’t get how hard it was for me. I’ve been drinking since I was 12, for fucks sake. And just like that I got it. Everyone I met in recovery was the worst of the worst (drinking wise) of their family and friends. I wasn’t special. There are more people like us than we realize. And when we get together we can relate. We can even laugh about it now. But today I want to tell you that you’re incredible. If you’ve gotten through three hours without a drink you’re killing it. And we’ll celebrate both your little and big wins with you. Happy Tuesday, sober family! Keep it simple today.

Something to Prove


Being stubborn usually doesn’t serve me too well but when it comes to proving that I can and will do something, it does. I crushed truth or dare back in the day. My sister and I compare my determination to a Jack Russell terrier. Try telling one of them to give up. You’ll get a bit of push back. When staying sober seemed impossible I’d think of the people who support me…but mostly about the people who didn’t believe it. I’ll show them😂! I talked with an old friend for the holidays and he told me how impressed he was that I haven’t had a drink in a few years. He said, “I can’t believe the girl who would get as drunk as she possibly could (in high school) and then drive all over town, can actually be sober”. It actually IS unbelievable. But you better believe that if I can do it, you can too. And I can wake up on a Sunday morning and not bury under the covers to hide from whatever I’d done or said last night. Happy Sunday, sober family! Keep it simple today. 

You Are Not What Happened to You

My anxiety today went from code orange to code red, then zoomed right ahead to flashing sirens. Something happened that triggered unresolved trauma. It’s been horrible, the resurgence of panic and dread, as well as the sort of resigned feeling that I’ll probably never really feel safe again, that there’s always something lurking and waiting to get me.

I’m not trying to stuff it all down, which is huge progress. I didn’t drink my weight in wine whilst furiously drunk dialing everyone in a hysterical spiral.

I did my best to take care of myself instead. Because I finally learned that I’m not broken or unworthy. I have a story, and some of it is dark. That darkness doesn’t have to define me. The fear is my monster. The more I face the monster, the less power it has.

The monster is not me. Facing it down head on reminds me it is separate from me.

The day started great—productive and peaceful. It’s a classic gorgeous San Diego day and I got to Dog Beach with a f*cking amazing new friend, and attended a powerful and humbling support group meeting (you’re all invited, send a DM if you want to join us). And then the trigger. But not the usual crazy reaction—a healthy response! I called friends, I messaged my therapist. I blew off my other jobs on the list and took a lavender salts bath in candlelight, listening to guided meditation and doing loud, embarrassing-to-teens deep breathing. And I just told you what happened too, which took even more of the monster’s power away and separated what happened to me from who I am.

It’s hard sometimes, but true healing usually is. ❤️‍🩹

Thanks for being here, sober family. I’m more grateful than I can say.

Why I Drank, and What Happened

The links between why I drank and what happened as my drinking progressed matches this chart exactly.

I drank to cope: with anxiety (made it worse); a bad relationship (made it worse); work stress (worse); parenting stress (you get it).

The more I drank to cope, the worse care I took with myself. I only managed the bare minimum-clean clothes, basic hygiene, some kind of calories. Risks? Plenty. The worst of them was drinking and driving. I went to jail and everything. Work problems? See ‘jail’, above. I risked my professional license. I also was just phoning it in at work, and my job wouldn’t last long with me doing the bare minimum.

The other motive that fits my story is to “enhance” positive feelings. Basically, I read this as “to try to falsely create some.”

This is the one with binge drinking and blackouts and a primary outcome. This fits. If I’m trying to feel good (in other words, completely different to how I really feel), a slight warm relaxing feeling won’t suffice. But getting wasted, that’s more like it. Let’s dance. Ughhhhhh.

It helps me to work through some of my “whys” to fix what’s really wrong. It helps me to remember what happens when I think the fix for what’s really wrong is at the bottom of a bottle.

Happy Friday sober family! Keep it simple today.

**This is a very simplified snapshot of an NIH (National Institutes of Health) study from 2012, called “Motivational Pathways to Uniques Types of Alcohol Consequences.”

Faking it

I kept up appearances quite well, even when I started drinking heavily. There were a couple slips of course (getting cuffed and hauled to county jail was not in line with my reputation, but you can be sure only my loved ones knew about that). When I felt embarrassed about getting sloppy drunk around certain people, I made sure I didn’t drink around those people anymore. It started getting easier just not to go out so much.

Most people were shocked when I ‘came out’ with my drinking problem. I’d practiced my whole life making sure other people saw me as a capable, intelligent leader. A problem solver. The emergency contact.

I didn’t bother to check in with myself after awhile. After I had kids, I told myself, “That’s what moms do. They put the kids first.” Never mind that I didn’t make time to eat, they have play dates at the park in 10. No problem! Off we go!

I was not emotionally secure. I drank more to try to calm my anxiety and get some sleep. I couldn’t fit yoga into the hectic schedule anymore (glug glug gulp). I skipped book club and walks with friends to say yes to more committees and meetings (chug, slam, repeat).

I’m so grateful that I finally (FINALLY) figured out that I don’t have to spend all my time and energy trying to please and impress other people. Oh, I’ve done the affirmations. I’ve read all about codependency. I could spot it in other people a mile away, and it gets me all fired up. I always want to shake someone accepting and enabling bad behavior. As a very wise sober sister casually said at a meeting last week: “If you spot it, you’ve got it.”

*Sigh*

Ladies and gentlemen. Here’s the truth. Putting everyone else’s needs above my own made me sick. I felt unhappy, fearful, and physically sick. Worry about my reputation almost turned to panic as I tried to juggle more and more while drinking more and more.

The ship was going down and I was polishing the brass.

if you’re unhappy with your relationship with alcohol, I have a suggestion. Don’t drink today. Go to bed sober, and see how you feel. If you got through it, doling it again. And reach out for support. You’re not alone.