Sane and Sober

The other day I told a friend, “The only thing keeping me sane right now is reading and writing.” I’m still utilizing the Morning Pages, but have stopped beating myself up for not filling up three pages. There’s so much going on with my jobs right now, I don’t have the luxury of spending time on three, but one page gets me grounded.

This time of year I always think about sobriety. My sober birthday is in November, but a couple of months before it arrives the mind starts playing tricks. The mind of an alcoholic will say, “After 23 years, surely you have this under control and can have one drink.” Fortunately, I’m stubborn enough to ignore those thoughts.

One thing I know about staying sane and sober is you need community, because it’s not a ‘go it alone’ lifestyle. I’m plugged into several online communities through work, but the one that holds my heart the most is my neighborhood. That simple habit of walking to the end of the street refreshes my soul.

I wouldn’t be living this life I love if I was still drinking. Not even certain I’d still be alive. If I was to have a similar conversation with my friend today I would elaborate with, “Walking, reading, writing and my relationship with God is keeping me sane and sober.

A Sacred Bow

As we approach the end of the year, let’s take this opportunity to look back … so that we can learn from our experience, set intentions going forward, and improve our practice and structure.

Leo Babauta

Since June, I’ve been a part of the Fearless Community, and it was one of the best things I did for myself all year. A lot of what I’ve posted here this year was due in large part to Fearless Training. The Fearless practice brought my meaningful work to the forefront of my everyday.

This morning, as I walked into my room, the light from my window was hitting something shiny and causing it to shimmer. You know that’s going to grab my attention. 🙂

It was a medallion my daughter gifted me with 3 years ago, and it’s one of my favorites. The medallion was something I always looked forward to in the rooms. To celebrate years of sobriety, the meeting you frequented the most would hold a birthday meeting every month. It was called birthday night and they’d hand you a medallion with your year embossed on it, and there was cake.

I paused at the window and looked down at the medallion resting in the little love dish. ‘To thy own self be true’ is the inscription. It reminded me of the sacred bow, so I gave it a little bow. (Bow rhymes with cow)

I have a stack of these medallions.

The first few medallions were bronze color, but I received my first ‘pretty’ one after 2 years. There’s Bloggers who have given up alcohol this year, and that is a massive accomplishment. Medallions signify a lot of ‘one day at a times’. Those days accumulate into years, and then you get to hold that year in the palm of your hand.

Some people carry them in their pocket, or place them on a key ring. It’s a good reminder of what you hold sacred.

Sobriety is so worthy of a sacred bow.

Protect Your Sobriety

Every morning I open my eyes, my first thought and words spoken are, “Thank you God for waking me up sober.”

I’ve been thinking about sobriety, which is normal for me this time of year. On November 10th, I’ll be 22 years sober. There’s a twinge of embarrassment when I say that to someone newly sober. They usually ask, “How’d you do it Barb?” I respond with, “With God one day at a time.”

When I was newly sober, my then husband flew me to Canada with him for business. We were to meet his clients at a French restaurant for dinner. I recall walking into our private dining room and seeing the table set with what seemed like a million wine glasses. I was 2 weeks sober.

Photo by Fabio Sangregorio on Unsplash

It broke my heart to take a seat at that table.

My then husband didn’t understand the alcoholic. He thought maybe I’d have a glass of wine and be a part of the evening’s festivities, but when the waiter came to my glass with the bottle, I laid my hand over the top so he wouldn’t pour. He felt my trepidation and took the glass away.

Then I just got angry. Being the lady I am, I sat quietly at the table holding my composure, but wanted to scream. That was the last time I sat at a table like that.

Back then, I looked at drinking as something I couldn’t have and it felt like I was missing out. What I didn’t realize it was actually the beginning of a whole new life.

Almost 22 years later, I’m still thinking about sobriety. It’s not that I can’t drink. I could and the life I have today would quickly dissipate. I’m not willing to let that go. When it comes to one more day sober, here’s your permission slip to choose your table wisely, and protect your sobriety.

Keep Choosing Her

I woke up this morning to the smell of Mrs. Meyers. I cleaned house yesterday, and not just the usual dusting and vacuuming. No, my darling, I was on my hands and knees scrubbing corners.

It reminded me of my drinking days.

I was a falling down, blackout drunk.

soberwoman

I posted this on my Letitgocoach Facebook page, but seeing it again this morning, it spoke to me as a sober woman. Sobriety is a choice, and when you have family history of alcoholism, the odds of drinking increase.

Recently, I offended a friend of mine.

She lost her sobriety after taking care of her Grand-kids for a week. That would definitely be a tempting time to drink, but no, I’m not giving up sobriety. She asked if I’d ever been tempted to drink, and I told her, “You would think so when the doctor told me I had Breast Cancer, but you can’t drink during Chemotherapy.”

She compared my Cancer, to her one bad day.

Hey, anyone can stop drinking, but living sober is an act of God. It’s a hard choice, and by His grace, the only choice to continue being a sober woman, is to keep choosing her.

Get Over Yourself

That’s what my sponsor would say. When I felt alone, or decided to have a pity party, she would encourage me to look outside myself.

To find a need and fill it.

Not my own need, but the needs of others.

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The first line you’ll read in the book, “The Purpose Driven Life” is, “It’s not about you.” I’m continually reminding myself of that.

Yes, there has been a pattern to my life. In a society focused on self-care, we tend to focus on ourselves a little too much. ‘Take care of yourself first, so you can care for others’, but I don’t believe self-care was meant to turn into self absorption.

I’m glad I had a sponsor who would tell me to get over myself. Anytime I feel that tilt in the scales of, ‘What about me?’, I hear her voice. To live a life on purpose means living outside of ourselves and it’s not always convenient. I’m learning that.

I’m thankful to have people in my life that tell me what I don’t necessarily want to hear, but really need to hear.

Even if it is, get over yourself.

Your Want To

This Blog post is for anyone suffering from an addiction.

To overcome the addiction, you have to want to. Your ‘want to‘ has to become bigger than it. God created us to be overcomers, and because He has overcome the world, there is nothing we cannot overcome through Him.

I give credit to AA for giving me the relationship I have with God today. The first 3 steps are all about God, and this scares some people away, but He took the desire to drink away from me. I will happily spend the rest of my life serving Him, because I get to enjoy life sober.

There will always be an excuse to drink. Someone asked me once, “How do you know you’re an alcoholic?” Because normal people can have one drink, and stop. My one drink was the entire bottle of wine. To numb the feelings that were bubbling up inside of me. When I stopped drinking, I had to feel those feelings. With sobriety there is no hiding.

When you stop drinking, you meet all the parts of yourself you have been at war with. Face them.

If I didn’t face my feelings, I would drink, but I also knew those same feelings would still be there once I sobered up again. Pouring alcohol over those feelings was a temporary fix, not to mention all the stupid stuff I did while drinking.

That just added to the horror of what I was trying to drown.

It’s no big secret how to stay sober. Go to meetings. That means I have to shower, get in my truck, and drive, and then walk into a room full of strangers. Not necessarily. You can sit in front of a computer screen in an online meeting. I did that. I also drank wine while watching what was being said in that online meeting. You cannot hide and stay sober.

My fear of waking up hungover, and not remembering what I said and did is real. I will go to any length to enjoy this life God has given me sober. My ‘want to’ is bigger than any fear.

Stopping to Go

Today, I gave my daughter the day off from being my daughter.

She harbors these ‘people pleasing’ abilities that will wear off over time. Her father’s hectic life is adding stress to hers, but he needs her more than I do right now. Not wanting to add to an already stressful situation, I encouraged her not to come home today as planned. She was grateful.

I went to an AA meeting at noon. I was in the midst of cleaning house, and didn’t mind stopping to go, if God saw fit. Walking through the motions of getting ready, I told God, “If you really want me to go, everything will fall into place seamlessly.” At 11:40, I was ready to walk out the door.

Walking into the meeting, I noticed a young lady sitting there that I haven’t seen before. She had made a similar deal with God.

“Okay God, If you want me to go to this meeting, someone will walk in that I need to see.”

Long story short, she asked me to be her temporary sponsor.

This is the second woman in the past 30 days that God has placed in my path to sponsor. I have no clue how to be a sponsor, but I know how to stay sober, and I can coach.

I sat down yesterday, and came across this page in SC Lourie’s new journal. It sums up precisely where I am today.

Here is what it says.

“I had to stop waiting. Waiting to be that person I always hoped I would become. Waiting for that person to rescue me. Waiting until I felt ready. Waiting until I had healed. Waiting until I got things right. Waiting until I was seen, noticed, acknowledged, or remembered. Waiting for that ultimate day somewhere in the future that would change everything. Soon after, I realised something. You are either waiting, or you are living. I choose to live. To end the wait.” SC Lourie

 

Dear Sober Me

It’s been raining this week in Texas. The sun broke through the clouds this morning, beamed through the front windows, and filled my home with light. The air outside was cool, but the warmth of the sun felt fabulous. Now it’s cloudy again, but that is only the weather.

I am grateful every morning I wake up, but even more grateful to wake up sober. Today marks 18 years of sobriety for this chick. So, even though the weather is cloudy, my mind is not, and neither are my eyes. There is a lot on my mind at the moment, but my eyes are shining bright! Asking God for His help 18 years ago, was the best decision I ever made.

I just returned form a very long appointment with a Radiologist. Just to check my level of patience, they had me waiting from the very beginning. I went yesterday, which living in the woods, is a 45 minute drive to see them, one way. They had me scheduled with the wrong doctor, and asked me to come back today. So I did, and there was more waiting.

A nurse came in and asked me lots of questions. Once they were answered, another lady came in that is the doctor’s assistant. She liked to talk, and I sat there listening to her describe every aspect of radiation. By the third time I looked down at my lap and zoned out, she got the message and stopped talking. I just wanted to see the doctor and leave.

The doctor eventually came in and went over the same information as she. It was like they were trying to talk me into it or something, so I said, “What are my next steps, and when do we start?” They said their goodbye’s, and told me to expect a phone call this week, or next, about scheduling a scan of my breast.

Two weeks after the scan, they will start treatment.

sobriety

It’s a good day to be sober. I cannot imagine following this Breast Cancer Journey hungover.

God took my desire to drink completely away when I asked. I can’t recall a craving in all these years, but the thought of a drink has crossed my mind. Fortunately, I learned very well that a glass of wine, or ten, does not fix anything. The circumstance I was drinking over was waiting on me the next day, along with whatever chaos I caused while drinking.

I was hoping my Breast Cancer Journey would be over by the end of the year. Radiation will begin sometime in December, and be 5 days a week, for six weeks. The journey will fall into the new year. My sponsor would ask me, “Would you like some cheese with that whine?” I have nothing to whine about. We will continue the journey as planned, and stay sober me.

During the Storm

Dropping my daughter off yesterday, to spend time with her Dad, she hugged me and said, “Don’t do anything Mom. Be still, and wait on God.”

katieblog

Doing what’s right and doing the next right thing is how I enjoy living my life. When I feel mistreated by someone in my life and it happens unexpectedly, I have to pause. My sponsor taught me, “Wait three days before making a decision.” The only behavior I can control is my own.

Some things happened this week that would have not been pretty if I were still drinking. Drinking would have caused an irrational reaction and made matters much worse. Being sober, I get to respond instead of react.

Drinking took pretty out of my life. It clouded my vision and thinking to the point of not enjoying the actual moment. As I sit and type this, I’m overlooking a lake. The breeze is lightly blowing across the water and with the sun hitting it at the same time, it looks like someone just dumped a truckload of glitter onto the surface. I get to see that today.

stormisover

There is a small storm brewing in my life right now. It was caused by the actions of others, but it’s still painful. I was listening to Joel Osteen during the drive to the lake. He was talking about being pushed into your purpose. What we feel right before the big push.

God uses pressure to make many things and that includes our character. My daughter saw the pressure I was under and encouraged me not to move. My circumstances are beckoning to be fixed, but I am determined to wait on God. I’m in the birth canal right before the push.

The minute I step in and fix it, His power ceases. I like to think of it as a test. I want to pass it, so I don’t have to retake it. God doesn’t cause trouble, but He will use it to make us better. The more quiet and still I become, the better I can hear. Being sober today shows me options I couldn’t see before. Thank you God for sobriety and for being with me during the storm.

Only Our Hearts

It’s an honor to be writing for the Sisters of Serenity and Sobriety each Friday. What a fabulous end to my work week!

Losing my home and having it go through foreclosure years ago was heart wrenching. Ever since then I have rented a home to live in. Sometimes for a only a year, or two, but we enjoy moving, and living wherever God leads.

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The home my daughter and I live in today is an old farmhouse, on 5 acres, that has been restored to its natural beauty. We have been here four months and the rent is due the first week of the month. I received a text last night from my landlord, asking for it pronto. I made myself sit still.

If this would have happened before sobriety, it would have prompted me to drink. The majority of my income goes into PayPal, so it takes a few days for it to move into my checking. There was not enough money in my checking to cover rent this quickly.

I was so grateful for that moment. To be able to be caught off guard and not react in a drunken spew. Stopping and asking God for guidance and to be my words is all it took. We talked it through via text and it will all work out. The first thing I said to my daughter when it happened was, “This is a test. I have to pass this test!”

It’s little things like this that make us stronger. I handed my landlord the check this morning and told him I have moved the money from PayPal, but when it shows up is in God’s hands. Moving forward, I will pay them on the first of every month.

I encourage you today to be still and know, He is God. He doesn’t need our help, only our hearts.