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.

A Spiritual Awakening

I thank God every morning for waking me up and waking me up sober. He gave me my sobriety and I wouldn’t have the life I have today if I were still drinking. My daughter wouldn’t be here, and I’m not certain that I would be either.

You know me as Letitgocoach and that is what I am. Maybe what you don’t know is, my name is Barb H., and I am an alcoholic. For almost 17 years I have been walking into AA meetings and saying those words. I don’t go to meetings for myself anymore. Being blessed with sobriety for this long, I go to see how I can be of service to others.

My heart still breaks for the newcomer, as they sit there weeping. I cried at every meeting for 30 days when I began.

My story is not unlike anyone else’s.

I started out a social drinker and entertained my then husbands business professionals, so I didn’t have to leave home to drink. He bought cases of fine wine and my favorite part of the evening was the clean up. Pouring all the leftover wine into one massive wine glass and drinking it. That sounds pretty disgusting now, but back then it was normal. The things we do for a drink.

A part of my story you don’t hear much anymore is, I had a spiritual awakening. Yes, I heard God’s voice as He spoke to me. God answered my cry for help, and if that doesn’t sober you up, I don’t know what will.

It was obvious I was at the lowest part of my life. My husband of 10 years had given me an ultimatum. Get help, or I’m leaving with our son. My body was down to an unhealthy weight of 98 lbs, which is not good for a woman almost 5′ 9″.  I needed help, but didn’t know where to turn.

The next morning, I popped my son on the school bus, made my way up the steep driveway and into the house. It was cloudy and dark outside which suited me to leave the house dark as well. I poured some wine into a short Tupperware cup and climbed up the staircase in the two story foyer. I sat at the top of the stairs just staring off into space.

Then came the tears and frustration. The knowing I could not live like this anymore. I was in my early 30’s and had been drinking like this since my teens. I looked up at the palladium window at the top of the foyer. The clouds were rolling by and I could barely see any light. All I knew to do was cry out to God for help, so I cried, “God, help me”!!!

Looking at the bottom of the stairs, I see a light coming through the window, landing in the foyer and touching the bottom stair. It started coming up the stairs straight toward me as I sat there frozen. It went right over me, and I felt a warm hand pressing down on my shoulder.

Then I heard a deep, soothing voice in response to my cry. The voice said, “I will.” That was it.

Standing up and trying to walk was next. I was pretty well shaken, plus a little hungover, but walked into the office where we kept a phone book. Searching for AA meetings, I called a hot-line that helped guide me to the closest one. That day I walked into the first of many AA meetings.

God took my desire to drink completely away. I don’t struggle with thoughts of drinking. We even continued to entertain for years after I got sober. It wasn’t always fun, but I enjoyed the fact that I could entertain and be able to remember it the next day.

My marriage didn’t make it.

Drinking excessively during our dating on into our marriage, it makes sense, when you take away the alcohol, you wind up strangers.

We tried for 12 more years to make it work, but we were two different people. He couldn’t forget the past and I was in the present moment looking toward the future. He didn’t know what to do with a woman that didn’t drink, and I didn’t know either.

This is the past that brought me to where I am today. Letitgocoach is Barb H. and I’m a recovered alcoholic.

Worthy of All Good

There are a couple of Farmer’s Markets, not far from my house, that I love walking through on Saturday morning’s. For the vendors, this is their livelihood and a delicious service to the community. If you read, “The Final Day of A Better Way To Live“, the Farmer’s Market is the perfect opportunity to give of yourself.

I say hello and hug most of the vendors. It was cold this morning, so they were bundled up, but present. They were so happy to see a smiling face, it didn’t really matter if I made a purchase. The hug, smile, chit chat and laugh were enough.

mirror
Bathroom Mirror

As I was getting ready this morning, I read the writing on my bathroom mirror, and want to share. This statement was given to me by a friend of mine and I passed it onto my daughter. We say this out loud daily, and my daughter, Bailey, wrote it on the mirror. Isn’t that one of the places we look for approval?

“I am strong enough, pretty enough, smart enough, and I am worthy of all good!”

There is a difference between using a mirror to get ready, and looking in the mirror and seeing the person looking back. My hope is that you like that person looking back. It took me a long time to be able to look into a mirror after my drinking career. Once I did, I knew there was someone in there worthy of all good.

oval brown wooden framed hanging mirror
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