Yesterday I attended my very first Al-Anon meeting. Over the years, I struggled with the idea of attending an AA meeting feeling it wasn’t the right fit – but after spending 5 days with a roommate at a conference – we got to talking and she’s a long time Al-Anon member, it felt like this group would be something that I could benefit from. And so, I planned to go alone, but she joined the meeting. It was a discussion group meeting and I have to say – after my first one, I feel like this is going to open up a whole new world for me and perhaps be the catalyst that will truly give me the “Courage to Change” (I bought the book yesterday and love the dated daily readings). I enjoyed the meeting so much that I’m going to another one on Monday and I am also considering going to an Open Speaker AA meeting as well.
I guess my own issues or worries around drinking stem from being afraid I’ll end up like my sister or be that ‘heavy’ drinking parent my girls will remember and this is NOT what I want for them. I did grow up surrounded by a drinking family and recall many experiences that truly affected me and made me who I am today. It also led me to attracting some negative people into my life – but I am happy to say that I’m single and very aware of the quality of people that I draw into my life now.
I won’t lie – the past couple of months I have not been so AF and I felt myself spiraling down a road I didn’t want to travel again. And so, after some very motivational conference speakers/sessions, I came back home and setup a 90 day challenge for myself. It started August 1st and day 90 will be October 29, 2014.
I also have a LOT of changes going on at home with my oldest moving out August 1st and my own realization that I need to change my own living space as a 3 bedroom, 3 level condo is just too much for me and my 13 year old daughter. I think the past couple of months’ stressors have been this indecision or the unknown of what was coming … but now that things are materializing, I feel a sense of peace. I’m the type of person who is an organizer and planner to the unknown is hard (I’m a Virgo can you tell lol). It’s going to be HUGE to move from a house to a 2 bedroom apartment (I have not lived in an apartment for over 20 years). But I am looking at the bright side of things – it’s an opportunity to get rid of a LOT of old ghosts including furniture I’ve had since before my marriage (and subsequent separation/divorce in 2002). I have listed things to sell and will donate even more. While I dislike moving (it’s only been a year since my since my last move), this is a good decision as it will cost less per month and it will bring me closer to work and my daughter closer to the day treatment program she’ll be attending.
And so – this time, it seems easier to be AF than all the other times I’ve tried because there’s a different purpose behind it. I also believe that with this newly added ‘in person’ support, I will reach my goal! I’m not saying I’ll be AF forever, but I will be AF a lot more than I ever was, and perhaps one day, I may quit altogether, but just for today – I will not drink.
I’m partway into chapter 4 of The Sober Revolution which I started this morning and I’m already loving it!
I think what really clicked with me is how my relationship to alcohol is very similar to those negative relationships I’ve had in my life with men. The analogy provided by Lucy is bang on for me… I was that girl who always wanted the thing or man I couldn’t have or shouldn’t want. The bad boy syndrome. Me being the rebel and going after something I really shouldn’t allow in my life. I believe this is why I have had such a hard time letting go because if you tell me I can’t have something – then I seem to want it even more.
But things have changed now. I’ve matured and I’m learning. With the readings, the blogs and learning from others’ experiences, I feel confident that I can and will walk away from this BAD relationship. I want Mr. Wonderful in my life!! Sobriety… the one who will make me feel good, treat me well and encourage me to live my life to the fullest. Mr. Unsuitable keeps trying to call me back… he knows me since we’ve had this relationship now for a few decades. 28 years to be exact. That’s even longer than my marriage/relationship with my ex-husband of 13 years so I know this isn’t going to be smooth sailing all the way.
It’s true that at times when I’m feeling vulnerable Mr. Unsuitable will try to lull me back by bringing up some of the more ‘fun’ times we had together – but I need to stay focused on the overall negative effect he has had on my life, and so many of my experiences.
Sobriety is what I’m after now. And for now I’m ok to be ‘single’ for a while longer until I work through all of this and build a solid foundation for a healthy future with Mr. Wonderful. Again – the analogy provided in the book is BRILLIANT… I used to do a lot of work searching for a soul mate – tired of being single (now almost 11 years) – but I now realize that I have to FIX myself first and love myself most before I can have anyone else love me. Self-love is what will heal me and guide me to doing good things for myself including this journey to sobriety.
I know my words are strong today because the voices (or Wolfie or Mr. Unsuitable) are far away for now… but I also know that so long as I keep building up my tool box of resources and arm myself, I’ll be ready when they come knocking at my door and I’ll happily tell them NO – I’m not going back to that relationship – We Are Done!!
No more of this – maybe I can give it another try and see if it can be different. Shit – it never worked in my relationships with men either. I swear this lesson learned right here, right now – it will be key in my truly finding a fulfilling and healthy relationship… once I’ve achieved my goal of sobriety.
I feel encouraged by this new view point. By looking at ‘da booze as that shitty asshole partner/boyfriend that I’m DONE with. I am better than that and I need to focus on getting on with my life and living it to my fullest potential … SOBER.
This journey for me is not easy. I finished reading Lisa Newmann’s book Sober Identity and while I had some difficulty following parts of it the end really rang true for me in so many ways. The trial and errors about my getting to the ‘sober’ status and how perhaps because my mind is still not fully committed – that’s why I’m falling more than not.
I have a lot to work out in my head about the WHY I need to do this – even though it may seem pretty obvious too. I guess I need to get more sober days under my belt until my sub-conscious mind or the devil or wolfie or whatever VOICE name you want to call it quiets down. Today was easy and I had no cravings or wants for it. I felt much better too and finishing off the day on a good note.
The power of our sub-conscious mind is so incredible and reprogramming it is going to take time and I have to allow this to come. I know it’s not going to be easy – but it’s definitely going to be worth it in the end. I want a different life for myself, for my kids. They are also struggling with the ‘young’ experimentation of drugs (marijuana) and their taste or curiosity for booze too… and it kills me to see it because I know it’s a slippery slope. Thankfully with counseling I hope that we can address it and teach them better coping mechanisms and provide them with the right tools. The other part is my being a better role model – but I know it won’t happen overnight. It’s like they will need to see proof that THIS time is different.
I thought the answer was to tell more people about my intentions, but now I think I spoke too soon and now I’m just going to fly under the radar on the issue as long as I can and avoid discussing it outside of this sober blogging world where I know people truly understand what I’m going through. I’m not even going to say much to Belle either until I have more sober days ‘done’ since I’ve fallen off the 100 day challenge so often (so much so I feel embarrassed).
I was reading some blogs over on the soberistas website tonight and one lady talked about how one day turned into many … story of my life but worse, how I would actually go to bed early, then wake up once the kids were in bed and drink more so I could do it when they were not awake and I could ‘hide’ it a bit more. There was also a comment there I could relate to in that when I get into these binge modes it’s like I take in all I can because when this is done this time – I’m done… and yet it doesn’t always work that way. I was also reminded by the post/comments about how much I give up when I drink and basically withdraw and ‘hide’ from the world. I don’t want anyone to see me this way and so I put up a facade, make excuses and lie – to them and to myself.
I still hesitate calling myself an alcoholic and I’m not sure if I have to truly admit this to get beyond this addiction. I guess when I think alcoholic I think of a different picture than what I’m going through – the person who can’t go without or they get extreme shakes and tremors – that’s not me. I can stop – and sometimes I do for a month or less – it’s when I start back that I seem to go into ‘days of drinking’. And so, the decision has to be made that total abstinence is probably my best bet and yet thinking that scares me too. I know AA is not for me either – because I refuse to believe that we are powerless in this journey – I know I am stronger than this and I will eventually beat it.
In Lisa’s book she speaks to change and growth and how it’s not comfortable or easy and she’s right – this SHIT is HARD! I’m reaching out for support as best I can with my means and definitely tuning in to my writing because that’s something that has always helped me.
And so now I take a few new lessons learned on this path and get ready to turn in and begin again tomorrow. Moving on to the Sober Revolution book for my next read. Tools tools tools … must soak my mind with thoughts about changing my addictive patterns … and practice more meditation too. Today was a GOOD day!
I’m sitting here after 17 days of daily drinking again – some of which was beyond moderate to the point of binge drinking to ‘finish it off’ so I could hopefully tackle the next day without booze. It’s this cycle I seem to keep reverting to and it makes me wonder if I can really do this AF thing. I know deep down that I must and as I read some wonderful posts – including Lisa’s recent equation one – well I am given hope. This SHIT is real hard. Today is our Thanksgiving holiday and I’m grateful that everything is closed down and that I have resolved to making it my first AF day again.
I told my daughter yesterday – ‘after today I’m going to quit again’ and she replied ‘ya right’… OUCH. I did tell her I made it 24 days last time and I truly and honestly want to make it longer. I can’t think forever because that notion scares the hell out of me – who will I be if I no longer drink? Even as I did allow myself drinks again when I went to meet friends before my meeting, they said ‘oh you have to be drinking when it’s our gala girlfriend’… and that’s on November 30th. So you see – even with my resolve today about NOT drinking – I’m already thinking ahead to that night as I did with my move and how I started drinking then after 24 days of abstinence.
I go through so many highs and lows and sitting here this morning, in my new bedroom looking out the window to the greyish day, the fall leaves on the tree outside the window, gently swaying and leaves slowly falling – I feel as though it’s a time of change for me too. But can I really do this? I know deep down in my heart and soul I want to prove I can. I know posting publicly here is risky – because it opens things up for feedback… and while most of the comments are helpful, there are at times notes from some who just truly should NOT be lurking if they can not relate to what I’m going through.
I’m only human and I have made mistakes and I’m sure I will make more. The key thing I guess is that so long as I keep trying, that I stay true to myself, I will eventually get there. Nothing really worthwhile having is easy. This is HARD work, and I’m going to use the next 24 hours to get back to my sober world.
Having my step-daughter over later for Thanksgiving dinner – and I am going to take time out today to truly be appreciative of the good things in my life – including finally being in this new home and using my AF time to get more unpacking done.
I encountered some tough moments today. It seems at times when I finally think things are turning around I get hit with another rough patch. This morning was an example of that – but I’m getting tougher and my skin is getting thicker. This stuff with my 12 year old – it’s HARD. This stuff with sobriety – even HARDER at times.
It’s a Friday night and I contemplated drinks today just because I feel like my kids are sucking the life out of me. Then I thought – why would I want to let the booze suck even more life out of me?!
And so I’m taking time to reflect on my day as I get ready for an early bed time. The cravings passed and I’m wrapping up another sober day. I know there will be other tough times ahead, but there will also be some good times ahead so long as I stick to my guns and remain AF. I know everything else will fall into place. 24 hours at a time.