A Rebel is Reveling in the Change (of her Closet)

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The “She Shed”…

Have you watched the show “Tidying Up” on Netflix yet? It’s a reality show with tidying expert, Marie Kondo, helping families and couples “purge” their homes of any and all things that do not bring them joy. When all is said and done, her clients have developed new habits in maintaining tidy, functioning living spaces AND have reignited joy, happiness and harmony in their homes.

For me, finding this show was a game-changer.  Because, see, I am more or less a fucking slob.

That’s right. I am.

That’s not self-deprecating language either, it’s the truth. I’m not even going to try to blame “part-time working motherhood” because the fact of the matter is, I’ve been this way my entire life.  I have always played “catch up” with the messes I have created for myself to clean up.

The worse my house gets, the more daunting the task of tidying becomes.  I find myself paralyzed, not knowing where to begin; cursing myself for even allowing it to get so bad. Beating myself up for not “maintaining” like I said I would do.

When that negative self-talk takes my mind hostage, I accomplish nothing and the house gets worse. It reaches a point where I cannot take another day living in such chaos, so what do I do? I attack and I attack HARD. I’ll spend the entire day putting my house “back together” and feel a massive weight lifted.

Until it goes to shit again and I’m back to where I started.

Disaster → Fix → Relax → Repeat.

Since obtaining valuable tips and tools from the show, my home has become more manageable. However, with young kids in the house, I gotta stay on top of it. I MUST implement daily tasks to keep my home from “falling apart.”

And THAT my friends, is the story of my life when it comes to treating my alcoholism. While I haven’t drank in (ALMOST) 7 years, I’m still an alcoholic. I always will be.

I no longer have a drinking problem but I will always have a thinking problem and thinking problem can make or break my day. Every.Single.Day.

Just like my home, if I get complacent on my spiritual program of action, things go down for me real quick.  I don’t drink but I engage in other thinking and behavioral problems that make life…well…unmanageable.

If you’ve been reading for a while, you’ll know that this blog was conceived in my closet and that my closet represents my life as a dry drunk and alcoholic in recovery. I have spent the past year and 3 months transforming both : purging, organizing, and holding onto things that I am not ready to let go of yet – in my closet and in my recovery.

In Skeletons Part 1, I talk about what my drinking and recovery was like before deciding to take my life back.

In Skeletons Part 2, I talk about what happened to land me in the rooms of AA and my desire for change in recovery.

I was 4 months shy of 6 years without a drink when this blog was born and a LOT has gone down – leaps of faith, secrets revealed, therapy and lots of “getting honest with myself.”  And here we are now in Skeletons Part 3: What (by God’s Grace) it’s Like Now.

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…AKA…

And let me tell you…

…I LOVE the changes so far.

But there is still work to be done. There will always be work to be done.

Recovery is a lifelong journey that I am so grateful to have finally embraced: striving to be a better human being than I was the day before.

One.

Day.

At.

A.

Time.

#morewillberevealed

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 My “Cloffice”

 

 

My Reassurance

I had some major deja vu yesterday morning.

I woke up at 4:30 AM…again…as I have been every day for the past I don’t know how many weeks, for a while now.

I’m not complaining though, I love it! It is my absolute favorite time of the day. There is a woman I’ve watched in AA for years now…well…not so much recently but I still read her thought provoking texts every single morning. She always shares how mornings are her favorite part of her day. Of all the things she has said that I had rolled my eyes at, that was never one of them. I have always loved mornings too…well…when I wasn’t hungover.

Or a mom to two girls.

Their cries, fights, screams, whines and incessant demands have helped me see the value in silence, which has made me love the mornings even more. The sound of silence, oh how I savor thee.

So it’s 4:30 and I’m awake. I settle in to do my morning “spiritual fitness” routine which goes a little something like this:

1. Read devotional of the day from “New Morning Mercies” by Paul David Tripp. 

2. Read Bible verse noted at bottom of devotional.

3. Read daily reflections from the AA Spiritual Toolkit App.

4. Read daily meditation from “A Woman’s Spirit” by Karen Casey.

5. Pray

As I sat in reflection, I turned to H and mentioned just how much I loved getting up so early and then hit the deja vu: that exact moment felt strangely familiar and yet different at the same time. Wasn’t it about a year ago that I was doing the same exact thing?

I had to go look at my IG feed and by golly, it was! 1 year and 4 days ago to be exact, I was getting up around 4:30-5 every morning, on my own, no alarm clock and spending time with God with a fire blazing in the fireplace. I didn’t understand why then but I sure AF do now.

1 year ago, I was begging God to take over because, while I was still without a sip of alcohol in, at the time, almost 6 years, I was miserable on so many levels.

Confused.

Distraught.

Remorseful.

Scared.

Sad.

Tired.

Lost.

I prayed for a miracle.

I remember feeling the presence of God with me one morning as I was praying in the fetal position, face down in my hands on the carpet. I had this vision of him wrapping his arms around me and say “it’s going to be okay, my child. You are going to be okay.  Just keep doing everything you are doing. Don’t stop. You are going to be alright.”

It wasn’t long after that I wrote a blog post after a 5 week hiatus of NO writing.  It was only my 5th post published on New Year’s Eve and I was in a lot of fear.

Since then, the entire year of 2018 has been nothing short of mini miracles, one after another.  And this entire time, as I have grown in my faith and recovery, I still will hear in my head, “it’s all a lie. God does not exist. How can there really be a God who can do such miraculous things?”

It’s still hard for me to wrap my head around, it really is, but my faith is strong enough today to realize where that voice is coming from and what I have to do to make it go away: rebuke, read and reflect.

You guys, the last paragraph of my devotional started with the following sentence:

“So don’t let any evil enemy whisper lies into your ears.”

THEN the accompanying Bible reference was a story in 2 Kings and once again, God revealed himself to me like he always does; reassuring me that indeed He’s STILL here with me, He IS real and He IS at work in my life in miraculous ways.

And theeeennnnn the daily reflections (DR), OH. MY. GOSH. Look. Just look.

(FYI, if you can’t read the text but want to, the link to the DR is in the sidebar.)

If you only knew what the year 2018 has looked like for me, your mind would be blown just as much as mine is by this DR. It’s really quite amazing and hard to put into words but I’m going to try as this blog unfolds.

I have so much I want to share and I know it’s been a while.  Let me reassure YOU that I’m still here and I still haven’t picked up a drink.

I want to also reassure you..well..no, I guess this will be the first time I’m saying it: I really don’t care to talk about my marijuana usage any longer…for now anyway.  Is it still part of my life? Yes. Does it rule my life or my recovery for that matter? No. Will I mention it again? Probably. Why? Because it’s still a PART of the story. That’s why.

I’m still in the “what happened” portion of my story and I’m not done yet; there is still more to share. Before I get into “what it’s like now,” I invite you to visit Skeletons Part 2.12 for a little review.

Then I may or may not go into more details about the list of 12 things that happened in 2018 before I jump into 2019 and tell you more cool shit that happened when I accepted my alcoholism, surrendered my will over to the care of God as I understand Him and got honest in the rooms of AA.

Who knows, maybe my story will help you in your recovery too.

That IS how it works, after all.

#morewillberevealed

P.S. The 5th post I mentioned above is also worth a read because I talk about our Elf, Gidget, and how we do “Elf on the Shelf” in OUR house. You can find it by visiting the My Story page, titled Disclaimer. This is year number 3 and we are having so much fun with it; so much so that I decided to give Gidget her own page to showcase the shenanigans she’s gotten into and the notes she and A1 have been leaving for each other.

So much growth this past year…so much growth!

I’m a Yeller :(

I will never forget the first time I yelled at A1. A2 was a newbie, less than 3 months old and A1 was 2 ½. Us 3 girls were home doing laundry up in the small hallway of our townhouse while H was at work. I was still using a gate at the top of the stairs, A1 was “running loose” and A2 was in the bouncer being the precious little angel baby that she was.

A1 was a jealous big sister and she wasted no time in showing me too. I had no idea WTF I was doing but was telling myself I did, so I assured H he could go back to work when A2 was just 8 days old.

H: Are you sure?

P: Totally. I got this.

But did I?

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Nursing in a glider. Not a couch. Not a stationary chair. A chair that moved.

Yeaahhhh no I didn’t and that was just the beginning.

A1 was VERY affectionate towards A2 – in such a way that I was scared of her smothering her.  Of course she wouldn’t, not in front of me anyway but what I’m trying to get at is this: I could NOT keep A1 OFF of A2.

So we’re in the hallway, I’m tired and hungry, A1 is running amok, getting in A2’s face every 5 seconds and I’m cursing myself for ever having children because now I have even MORE laundry.  And then it happened.

I didn’t see it coming.

It came out of nowhere.

I yelled.

And it was loud.

Loud enough that I scared all 3 of us. I felt like shit IMMEDIATELY. I don’t recall feeling triggered to drink at that moment but I do know I went to a meeting that night.  On the way, however, I stopped to bring a snack to share and was overcome with self-pity. Why?

Because the patrons in front and behind me in line were buying alcohol and I was not. I didn’t even REALLY want to drink but started to cry in line knowing that they got to drink and I couldn’t. It had now been 3+ years since my last drink and here I was sulking over being an alcoholic and wishing SO badly (and still thinking maybe) I wasn’t. Remember, I was a dry drunk and would remain that way for another year and 7 months.

What do you think would have happened that evening had I succumbed to my emotions and decided to drink; or any other time I found myself overcome with great sorrow over the fact that I was an alcoholic and couldn’t “take the edge off” like normal drinkers? I shudder at the thought.

I remember what I was like when I drank and I was atrocious. If you’re a new reader, you can read my “drunkalogue” in Skeletons Part 1 by visiting the My Story page.  

Aside from drunk driving, did I tell you about the time I utilized a deadly weapon in a drunken stupor? This was, of course, before I quit drinking. I was hammered and out of my mind. I was CONVINCED H had taken my phone and hid it IN the couch.  It didn’t matter what he said, I KNEW IT and the longer he denied it, the more volatile I got. Next thing I knew, I had a knife in my hand. Not a butter knife or a steak knife, a big ass, “I will cut you” knife. I took that thing and sliced open our couch only to find that he was telling the truth – my phone was not in the couch.  No no no, turns out, it was in the bathroom and I’m pretty sure I hid it from myself.

That’s the shit alcohol makes me do.

I’m reckless, out of control and downright dangerous.

THAT’S why CPS would be knocking on my door if I was drinking today.  There is seriously no telling what I would do in moments of anger but I know what I’m capable of and it’s terrifying to even fathom.

So when tempers run high in high stress, anxiety stricken moments with my girls, I don’t drink and smoke weed instead because MJ doesn’t have that effect on me. It aids in keeping me in check when my brain is in overdrive.  It IS a tool in MY recovery toolbox and like I said, it’s not my only tool or the first one I pick up either.

But back then, it was and that’s just how my story goes.

I love my story. And guess what…

…it keeps getting better and better.

#morewillberevealed

My Recovery Retort – Part 2

When I first started this blog almost a year ago, I was hell-bent on changing AA and the minds of the recovery community surrounding MJ use.  It’s funny, on my About page, I specifically state the following:

“What I do NOT welcome is negative feedback or pursuits to “change my mind” on the path I have chosen to take.”

Ha ha, that’s my alcoholic brain in full effect right there.  Can we say hypocrite? I’m basically saying “I want everyone reading this to change THEIR minds but don’t want anyone to try to change MINE.”

While I still don’t want anyone to try to “change my mind,” I no longer want to change the minds of anyone else either.  I am who I am and they are who they are. I do recovery one way and they do theirs another way. I’m no longer here to defend my right to smoke pot as a member of AA nor promote it within the rooms of AA.

That being said though, if someone says that I am NOT in recovery or addresses me in a condescending manner, then yeah, I’m going to defend myself. Because it’s that kind of judgmental, self-righteous thinking that made me leave my former home group and almost leave AA altogether.

So yeah – I’m an alcoholic, I don’t drink, I smoke pot and I’m a mom.  Did you know that I wouldn’t even be a mother if I hadn’t quit drinking?   It’s true (in my mind, anyway.)

Did you know that I had a miscarriage 9 months BEFORE I quit drinking? It’s true (very early but still, it was a loss.) 

It was that miscarriage that sent my alcoholism into high gear. My excessive drinking jacked my reproductive system so badly I couldn’t get pregnant for another year. I wasn’t ready to be sober and I didn’t realize at the time but I really wasn’t ready to be a mom either. But, as always, God knew what had to happen. Less than a month after my final relapse, A1 was conceived.

6.5 years later and I now have 2 daughters – ages 5 (6 in January) and 3 ½. Being a mom of two young children is fucking hard; add work, domestic, social and family duties/commitments and life can feel like an utter shit show. And guess what, the alcohol industry capitalizes on that.  

Have you heard about the “mommy wine culture?” Yes, no, maybe so? Well, it exists and women are blogging about that too. In fact, another writer posted about it today as well! What a co-inki-dink! Check it out HERE.

She and I aren’t the only ones talking about it either. Here’s another post talking about what’s wrong with the “mommy wine culture.” Click HERE.

Alcoholism is on the rise among women and if the last links I just provided aren’t convincing enough, THIS should really drive it home.

I said one of my main reasons for not drinking today is because I am a mom and it’s also a reason why I smoke weed. Counter-intuitive? Yes, and I’ll explain more in Part 3.

#morewillberevealed

My Recovery Retort – Part 1

Retort (present): God grant me the serenity…

…to accept the things I cannot change 

I CANNOT change my past, nor can I convince anyone else to let theirs go.

I CANNOT change that I am an alcoholic, nor can I convince anyone else that they are too.

I CANNOT change AA, nor can I convince its members to accept my choice to use MJ.

I CANNOT change their opinions on MJ in recovery, nor can I convince them that they shouldn’t judge me for mine.

I CANNOT change God’s will for my life, nor can I convince anyone else to live in His will and not their own.

…the courage the change the things I can…

I CAN change my present and help others do the same.

I CAN change how I view my alcoholism and how it can help others.

I CAN change my attitude towards AA and show others how it can work for them.

I CAN change my opinion of AA’s members and accept that they DO (and will continue to) judge me.

I CAN change the course of my life by relying on a Higher Power greater than myself and help others do the same.

& the wisdom to know the difference.

#morewillberevealed

Skeletons 2.13 – My Reasoning

Reasoning (past and present): “Our sound reasoning failed to hold us in check.” (BB, pg 47.)

When it comes to marijuana use BEFORE getting sober, it’s been my observation that there are alcoholics who either: a) love marijuana and “fantasize” about smoking in sobriety or b) hate marijuana and more often than not, had only smoked when they were drunk…which…if I were them, I’d hate it too.  Surely there ARE those that have never smoked as well but I personally have only met one.

Some time after I “claimed my seat” in my former home group, B3’s sponsor reached out to me. She said she had some questions and wanted to explore the possibility of sponsorship. In our conversation, she mentioned that she had never smoked pot before so she didn’t know what it was like and wondered what I got out of it. So, of course, I told her. She asked how often I smoked and of course, I told her. I spoke honestly, holding nothing back and I felt zero judgment.  She didn’t end up becoming my sponsor but she still doesn’t judge me and if she does, she sure doesn’t show it. She is a gem of a woman and has helped MANY women get sober. B3’s sponsor, if you are reading this, you know WTF you are and I love you!

So, why do I smoke weed and what do I get out of it?

Well, for starters, as previously mentioned, my marijuana use was more of a harm reduction tool in the beginning.  I was a bitter dry drunk who did NOT want to be done drinking forever and being in social environments where alcohol was present was a big trigger for me.  Socially, pot allowed me to still feel “a part of”: they drank, I smoked. Sometimes the people that drank, also smoked, so I was not alone and that’s all I cared about – that I wasn’t alone. Had pot not been an option for me, I guarantee you I would have succumbed to the obsession and drank at one or more of these occasions. In fact, 2 years ago at 4+ years sober from alcohol, I came very close.

We were in New York for a wedding. At the reception, I barely knew anyone, my weed was in the hotel room, it was an open bar and the hubs had disappeared with his buddys. I can’t say that I was mad that he had left me alone, after all, he DID tell me where he was going. No, my high had long since worn off and I was mad that I didn’t bring my stash. So it wasn’t long after he was out of my sight that I thought “well? It’s gonna happen. I’m going to say fuck it and drink.” It was decided. The bar was screaming my name. But I just couldn’t do it. I knew I’d regret it immediately. Or worse, the phenomenon of craving would instantly kick in and more “unthinkables” would occur. Neither outcome was one I wanted to experience and I can tell you right now, it would more than likely have been the latter.

Today, I don’t care if I’m the only one in the room not drinking. And I don’t have to be getting high in the those environments to have fun or feel “a part of.” Do I still do it? When the occasion calls for it, you bet your sweet ass I do, discreetly or not.

I did use it for recreation as well.  H got to unwind with some beer and I had my, what B6 refers to as, “leafy greens.” I should also briefly mention another medicinal purpose it served for a new mother whose baby literally sucked the libido right out of her whilst breastfeeding. MJ served as an aphrodisiac, straight up. Mama Pixie had “gotten her groove back!” It was a win-win for all!

It remains ONE of my tools and aids in other areas today:

  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Mood enhancer
  • Insomnia
  • Being a mom

I drank for all the same reasons above, except for one of them: being a mom.

At the end of my drinking, I drank for only one reason: I wasn’t a mom.

I don’t drink today for a lot of reasons but there’s one MAIN reason: now, I AM a mom…

…of 2 girls…

…and they are watching me.

If I was drinking today, wanna know who else would be watching me?

CPS. That’s who.

#morewillberevealed

Skeletons Part 2.12 – My Recovery Relaxed

Relaxed (past) – “Don’t quit before the miracle happens.” – phrase used in AA.

I distinctly remember the first time I decided I wasn’t going to go to meetings for a while and didn’t know if I was going to come back after I gave birth..  I was VERY pregnant, sitting in a meeting with my legs spread wide open and a human being beating the shit out of my insides. I was done. I was done being pregnant and I was done with AA.

My meeting attendance in early recovery was relatively consistent due to the fact that I needed signatures. After A2 was born, I went on my terms. I was now 3+ years without a drink and back to my recreational usage of MJ. I still harbored the same resentments towards AA and remained one foot in, one foot out. I simply wasn’t ready to work on myself because I didn’t think I had to.

I was self-will run riot and unwilling to accept what I couldn’t change (people, places and things) or have the courage to change what I could (myself!) and God wasn’t having it. My relaxed recovery was about to get an overhaul and I had no idea it was going to look how it does today.

But God did and stuff had to happen first.

In August of 2017, I hit a wall that brought me to my knees, only this time, I wasn’t drinking. In the months that followed, I was living in a perpetual emotional hangover that gave me the desperation I needed to hand my will back over to God.

You wanna know what happened, don’t you? I know, I know, I would too. Fine, I’ll tell give you the condensed, vague version in the form of…that’s right…a list:

  1. Certain aspects of my existence had become unmanageable.
  2. I started to pray and meditate like my life depended on it…because it did.
  3. I saw the need for change and decided it was officially time I defect from AA, announced it in a private recovery group on social media, and sought professional help for my outside issues that had nothing to do with drinking.
  4. Considered drinking AT my issues a couple of times and went to a meeting right away instead.
  5. One of those times was when I decided to tell a bunch of strangers my BBS and walked away with a glimmer of hope for my place in AA.
  6. Confessed to women I DID know in a house meeting and walked away with even more hope; enough to compel me to seek out a temporary sponsor while I “figured it out.” The woman I asked said yes under conditions I wasn’t willing to adhere to.
  7. Attended meetings off and on, getting more and more annoyed at the “all or nothing” mentality, suggesting that people in recovery are not really sober if they are using marijuana – medicinally or recreationally – and that they would need to start their date over if/when they decided to quit.
  8. Started this blog and was doing recovery without a sponsor or meetings, using all the tools I had learned in AA the past 6 years (as of March 30th, 2018) and was still in therapy.
  9. Found a private FB community and support group for people who also use cannabis in recovery – recreationally and as a harm reduction tool.
  10. Things happened that would not allow me to close the door on AA for good. For example, I found out that the maid of honor I talk about in Skeletons 1.9 had been reading my blog and that she’s ALSO in the program. Are you kidding me!? She instantaneously became Birdie #6. B6, you know WTF you are.
  11. Was met with nothing but support when I told her about my BBS. That same day, B3 strongly encouraged me (again) to stop judging myself and come back to the rooms.
  12. 2 days later, after a long sabbatical from meetings, I got honest in my former home group and claimed my seat; offering to be of service in any way that I could and that I was praying for a sponsor.  

Can you guess what happened next?

I’ll give you a hint…

..a miracle.

#morewillberevealed

P.S. Oh, yeah, I should probably mention what else happened these past 12 months: I smoked, vaped and ate cannabis products the entire time. I also cried…a lot!