Sunday, July 15, 2012

279 Days

I can't believe that I am coming up on one year sober. That feels insane to me. I am amazed everyday at how much I have grown and how much more I appreciate and embrace who I am. There have been incredible challenges in the last two months but even more amazing victories. Sometimes I feel like I am watching someone else's journey. Its interesting to watch how differently I react to trials and the strength that it takes to grow and learn from them without mentally checking out. Most times I am shocked when I come back down and realize that strong woman is me! I unexpectedly had the most difficult night last night. I'm still a little confused on what triggered it, I think it must have been stress and the way the weather was yesterday, but I wanted to drink. Not just a couple of drinks, I wanted to be carefree and out of control. It hit me quick and lasted all day. I have been able to control the random cravings myself until this one hit. I called my Dad around 6:00pm last night angry and crying, it wasn't the slight cravings I usually have, this one was screaming at me to run up to the gas station and make it happen. Its amazing how this disease still, after 8 months and 29 days violently screams lies in your face. I believe I was more confused than anything. I had made it through the bar scene, bonfires, birthday parties, nice days on the patio, and even canoeing and trips to the lake, how can the weather on a random day trigger me to relapse? It was very scary for me, I felt like I was in a physical fight to defend the hard work and progress I've made, haunted by the insecure, terrified, lonely, angry and hurting girl I used to be. I drove to my parents house in Mount Vernon to find my Aunt, Uncle and two of my cousins sitting around a fire pit in the middle of the yard. We laughed and cried together while watching shooting stars and enjoying the summer night. I am EXTREMELY happy to say that I won the battle and because of that am even stronger than before. I am so thankful for my family and faith in God. Today would have played out much differently if I didn't have those two things in my life to keep my head above water when I'm not strong enough to do it myself. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

23 Weeks & 3 Days...

Its been awhile since I have written about my journey but I have had some pretty heavy things placed on my heart recently. I am 23 weeks and 3 days sober today. I wish I could say that its been a piece of cake, but unfortunately it hasn't. I can truthfully and whole heartedly say however that it is undeniably worth it. It has been a little harder for me lately now that Spring is here. You have to understand that I used to spend 95% of my free time on my back patio, entertaining myself with a bottle of vodka and the computer for hours and sometimes days at a time. Now, I still spend 95% of my free time on the patio with a ice cold glass of flavored water or energy drink. I still pour it into my "drinking" glass for fun. My patio is the peaceful place I retreat to in order to get away from all the craziness, in fact I am sitting here as I write this, listening to the birds and watching my weimaraner chase squirrels, but it doesn't provide the hours of entertainment like it used to. I'm not tempted to drink, but I crave it badly sometimes. Beer goes with grilling, bourbon goes with a campfire, vodka is refreshing after mowing the lawn. One day and one victory at a time.
As I watch people that used to be close to me struggle with addiction my heart hurts so deeply I can't describe it. I can't imagine how helpless my family and friends must have felt over the last 3 years watching me destroy my life. I want to scream, cry, hold, shake, pray with and help these people so badly! I want them to know that although they feel free in their "it's my life and I call the shots" kind of way, the reality is that they're prisoners to their addictions and don't even realize it. It's the hardest thing a person will ever do to give up a real life addiction. It takes courage, humility, honesty and bravery to face the things you are running from, and to give up somthing that has become a very real part of your life. I want people to know its okay to be mad, its okay to be sad, its okay to feel lost, its okay to be alone, its okay to be embarrased, its okay to talk about it, it's okay to embrace it and be proud of it. Being bold is what got you here, be even more bold, let go of the control it has on your life. The real freedom comes with each new day, everyday you are free, CELEBRATE IT! I heard it said best a few weeks ago, that having a new life away from addiction will transform you into a living person instead of one who just exists day to day.
 Please be brave enough to ask for help! It doesn't make you weak, staying where you are however does. Asking for help will make you strong again. I believe in you.

Friday, January 13, 2012

12 Weeks of Life.

 Tomorrow will be 12 weeks sober and wow how things have changed.  It’s amazing to look back now at the old life I used to live. I know 12 weeks isn’t a very long time, but it seems like it was years ago. I don't know how I ever survived a single day relying on myself to make even the simplest day to day decisions. The bad times aren't nearly as hard and the good times are considered amazing blessings now. My eyes are open and I am alive. I see differently, I feel differently, I speak differently and see life differently.
 I have read several books recently one is called Captivating by John and Stasi Eldridge. My friend Sarah had given it to me almost two years ago and told me I MUST read it. I took one look at the front of the book. It said something about "Unveiling a Woman's Soul", I put it down, annoyed at the title and didn't touch it again until a few weeks ago. This book has changed me in a lot of ways. I had several relationships after my divorce, each one had its ups and downs, some of the guys were genuinely good guys and I was drawn to them because I felt safe from life and myself. The other guys, well, I believe they saw me as prey, vulnerable and insecure. I was completely blinded in my own self-inflicted pain and choices. On the outside I was happy, successful and enjoying life. But on the inside I was screaming! I hated who I was. I hated the choices I made. I hated that I was "that girl".
I have been raised in a Christian home, with amazing parents, sisters and extended family. I know the difference between right and wrong, I know the things I am supposed to do and the way I should have felt. I believed it, but I didn't live it. I get it now! I finally really understand it. It’s not about being perfect! I don't have to be. That's not what Jesus wants from me. He knew I would mess up. He knew I was going to fall flat on my face, literally and figuratively. It was him that picked me up off the cold parking lot that night downtown when I busted my face. It was him who took care of me. He didn't say "Oh that girl, yeah I have no idea who she is, but dang she is one hot mess of a disaster."   NO!  He said, "Come on love, let’s go home and rest, I will take care of you, I love you and even with your black eye and out of control emotions, you are beautiful"
I heard it said perfectly a few days ago. God is like the navigation system we have in our vehicles or on our phones. He has set a life with him as our destination point. We can take any route we choose, sometimes it’s through a muddy, dark, scary, gravel road in the middle of nowhere with evil things screaming at us from behind the trees. Jesus doesn't shut off and say "I don't know where you are going figure this out yourself, your got yourself here you can figure out how to get back on the paved road" 
He is constantly with us, no matter what route we take. He is always recalculating how to get us to the original destination, Eternal life. I am thankful for the updates he loads into my spiritual navigation system on a daily basis. I can't make it though a single minute without him. He loves me, he calls my scars beautiful and has amazing plans for me.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Week 2 & 3

The weekends made me nervous. I'm not even going to lie about it, I started planning on Tuesday what I was going to fill my weekend with and how I was going to keep myself busy. I am so thankful for my understanding family and friends. They were and continue to be extremely patient with me. I found a website that kept me busy with crafts and recipes. Bored is a dangerous place for me to be. I am easily distracted so I had to be creative and innovative about finding things that could keep my attention. What God was doing was amazing. I wasn't feeling lonely. The intensity of the headaches decreased with each day that passed and I was getting my appetite back. I was thankful beyond words for this and knew I was only going to feel better as time went on. Only people who struggle with drinking or any addiction will understand this, but it robs you! It weakens the bond of family, eliminates trust, creates superficial relationships and insecurity, it kills, steals and destroys. I have always thought if I get my life right, go back to church and stop partying I am going to have to give up everything I love. Let me tell you...there is MORE freedom away from it than with it. The song amazing grace has a different meaning to me now.

Amazing Grace
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I'm found
Was blind, but now I see
'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Week 1

I fell asleep Sunday night praying like I never have before. I was being real with God for the first time in my adult life. I asked him to walk with me everyday through the detox. I asked that the nausea, headaches, loss of appetite and paralyzing guilt would pass quickly. I asked him to use me however he wanted, to be my words when I speak and guide my step when I walk. I asked him to help me see what really living felt like.  Monday afternoon I began my first training class in my new position at work. I prayed for the people that I would be teaching. I know that God has in trusted them to my care for the first two weeks of their new career, I asked to see them from his eyes, to be empathetic and able to connect with them on more than just a business level. That first week was very strange and full of every possible emotion. I felt things that I had never felt before. I remember being at a stop light, I looked to my left and saw a man walking on his knees to the bus stop sign. I stopped, rolled down my window and asked him if he was ok and if there was anything I could help him with. He told me he was ok he was just tired and needed to rest after shopping while he waited for the city bus. I cried as the light turned green and I drove away. I was 3 days sober and already my mind and thoughts were more clear and my heart was softening. I was beginning to feel things again. This was just the beginning of little victories in my new life.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The End and Beginning

The last time:
I had close friends over Friday night to celebrate with strong drinks, good music and great company. We had a blast, we laughed, danced and told funny stories about each other. My company all left around 4am and I finally went to bed. Saturday morning I woke up around 9 with a slight headache, also known as a hangover although I never liked to admit that because it was self induced. Around 9:30am I decided to make a red bull and vodka, the caffeine in the energy drink helped the headache and the vodka...well that was just for fun. It was October 14 and a beautiful  morning, still warm enough to wear a t-shirt outside and the color of the changing leaves were amazing. I decided to get out my computer, and enjoy the day on my back patio playing on YouTube and facebook and hopefully catching a few rays. This was my typical routine each weekend. As always one drink turned into another until I was about 4 vodka and cokes down. No one should be able to drink 4 strong drinks like I made and still be able to function, but I was just beginning to come alive or so I thought. After a few hours of drinking and waking up, I called up a friend that I new would drive and begged him to go with me to an Octoberfest event downtown to meet up with some other friends who loved to drink as much as I did. I had a blast that day, the event was very entertaining, I enjoyed watching all the kids and adults enjoying the music on the blankets laid throughout the yard of the venue. It was about 7pm and like always I wasn't ready to go home, so I convinced my friend to go bar hopping with me downtown. We basically went to every bar we could, being the entertainer of my group I proceeded to make a fool of myself while I acted as the bouncer at each bar we went to. I was ok with it though, I had been drinking all day and it was making people laugh. If you asked me that night I would tell you it was well worth the money and my reputation. I continued to drink well into the night. Somewhere around 3am while waiting on my ride to pick me up, I tripped over my own clumsy feet and fell very hard right on my face. I laughed at myself for a few seconds until I felt something cold running down my arm and the warm sensation of blood streaming down my face. That's when I began to panic. I don't remember very much after that.

Day 1:
I don't ever remember a time that I have felt the way I did waking up that morning. My head felt like it was being crushed by a 2 ton truck, my eye was throbbing, every time I stood up I felt like I was going to drop to the ground, and the guilt...the guilt felt like a thousand knives stabbing me in the chest. What had I done? How much money did I spend? Who did I see? Did I offend anyone? Were people going to make fun of me today? How was I going to explain having a black eye at work on Monday? I was devastated. The lows that followed a hard night of drinking were usually what caused me to drink again. But this time was different. I was mad, REALLY mad. How had this happened again? Why was I doing this? How do I stop? Crying extremely hard, I called my Dad and confessed that I had yet again had messed up. My liquid drug had taken control of my life once again. I knew this was the day it had to stop, FOR GOOD. No more lying to myself and other people about how I was in control. I remember laying in bed sobbing and praying that the first month would pass quickly. I was all to familiar with the withdraw symptoms that would happen in the days and weeks to follow. I would have given anything in that moment to fast forward through time and through the hard work I knew it was going to take to make it through. One day at a time.