Reborn (present): “We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.” The Promises of AA (BB, pg 83-84)
In Skeletons 1.3, I mentioned giving a speech at my high school graduation and this is what I said about it:
“I spewed a bunch of nonsense. I knew exactly what they wanted to hear and I gave it to them. Knocked that fucker out of the park. “
For my birthday this year, my in-laws had a mini “viewing party” for my husband, kids and I. Upon plopping on the couch, tv still off, I somehow knew what it was we were about to watch: excerpts from our high school graduation video. And I was right! Upon watching myself at 18 years old, I was hit with 2 realizations:
My speech was NOT as good as I had remembered and
My anxiety was grossly apparent and that further proves why sharing in meetings has always been a challenge for me.
Wanna see what I’m talking about? Of course you do. Here you go:
“…and as we celebrate tonight, we must remember to glorify him in everything we do.”
Lip service, that’s what that was. I knew what they wanted to hear but my delivery was cringe worthy; not only that but I did the exact opposite of glorifying God in everything that I did that night.*
Let me remind you that I was giving this speech as STUDENT BODY PRESIDENT. Not the president of my class. The president of the ASSOCIATED STUDENT BODY, people!
Let me also remind you that I became ASB President by default, I was not voted in. I was voted into the ASB as the secretary, NOT ASB President. But then something crazy happened that led to some “impeachments” and yours truly automatically took the seat**; if you recall, I was not party to the scandal I mentioned in Skeletons 1.3. because my friends were worried I would ruin it for everyone. Fair enough.
Fast forward 15 years later to March, 2013.
I was up in front of a room full of women accepting my 1 year token. I have no idea what I said except for this big fat lie:
“The promises really have come true for me.”
I didn’t even know what the promises really meant, I had no idea what I was saying, and I stumbled over every single word I thought they wanted to hear. And that’s how it went every single time I accepted a token thereafter, up until year #5, the last token I “took” (as we say in the rooms.)
Fast forward 2 years later and I’m not like that today.
Today, I say what I mean and I mean what I say.
Today, I do what I say I’m going to do…for the most part…and when I don’t, the only person I am letting down is myself.
Today, I still get super nervous sharing but I’m a little bit calmer and self-confident.
Today, I care more about how my share will impact the newcomer and not what others are going to think about me.
Today, I do know a new freedom and a new happiness.
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.
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.
Rebirth (past and present:) “Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.” (BB, pg.59)
Did you read the Daily Reflections today. If you didn’t, click here. (Reminder, I also have the link in the sidebar.)
WOW, what a God shot!
A year ago, I set out to be “reborn” from the inside out. I wanted to start fresh and live authentically. I ceased coloring my hair after doing so for 20 years. The longer it grew out, the shorter I cut it. I’ve never been huge on make-up but I stopped wearing it all together unless situations called for it. My face went “naked” as often as possible.
I was still purging my closet and set out to purge more throughout the house. One room, closet, and cupboard at a time. I started purging my email inbox and decided it was far too overwhelming and opened a new email account…2 actually because, well, you know, one is never enough. Haha.
Seriously tho, I thought it would help me get organized. It didn’t. But it did help make things more manageable.
The purging process has been just that, a process. It’s not getting done perfectly but I make progress every time I put in the effort. The same can be said for my recovery.
Progress, not perfection. That’s a not a new year motto, that’s a LIFE motto. And I didn’t make that up either, I got that from AA too!
I set out to “rebirth my recovery” and live authentically in the rooms of AA, which meant I also purged my brain, right here on this blog. If this is the first time you are visiting, welcome. I’ve shared a lot about my drinking and recovery in the past but not so much in the present or future. You can get an idea of what it has looked like and what happened in the past by clicking on My Story, which can also be found in the main menu.
If you CBB, ZFG. This is the perfect time to start following because it’s time to leave the past behind once and for all and live in the present and look forward to the future with Part 3: What (by God’s Grace) it is Like Now.
P.S. Reminder: I’m on IG as @pixiedustorm & @myrecoveryrevealed. If you don’t already, go follow me there too by clicking the link at the top of my page. I’ll be posting on both of those pages more frequently AS WELL!
**Disclaimer: First of all, this post is SUPER long. SNS. Second, I know I said I didn’t care to talk about my MJ use “for now anyway” but I take that back. This post was next in my saved drafts and I need to post it in order to move on. Third, I also know I said F it when it came to sharing the rest of the “what happened” but I take that back as well. Too many noteworthy things occurred to go unmentioned. Lastly, I had yet to share that 1 of my New Year resolutions was to not go so long between posts and publish one every 3 days. But that didn’t happen either. Mother Nature rendered me useless. Thank goodness I hadn’t tossed my flower like I said I would. WHAT?! You read that right. Read on.**
Returned: “You gotta give it away to keep it.” – AA idiom
A while back in 2018, I handed my tokens over to the secretary of my former home group. She was present at that home meeting where I had “confessed” my dark little secret prematurely and I wasn’t sure what she was going to think or say. This chick scared the wits out of me.
“What if she thinks I’m leaving AA?”
“What if she thinks I’m wanting to be a newcomer again?”
(I wasn’t. I never will.)
“Is she going to ask me why I’m turning them in? Is she going to say anything to me about my little secret? What will I say?”
Per usual, the worrying dialogue inside my head was for nothing. I walked up to her, handed her my little bag of tokens and she said “donating tokens? thank you!” And that was that. It was very anticlimactic.
As it should have been and it felt good.
You may be wondering “why the paraphernalia?” Well, when I originally took this picture, I meant to use it another way but something inside held me back. So I didn’t. But now I am.
The joint represents the first puff I took on July 4th, 2013, just 3 months after I took my 1 year token for complete abstinence. The pen represents where I was in my recovery 4 years later – using the MJ recreationally and no longer taking tokens.
“I sacrificed my entire body for 18 months growing these little humans and if you add the 3 months of maternity leave for both, you’ve got 24 months.”
That’s 2 years, people. I earned those two 1 year tokens and I don’t care if I WAS pregnant and nursing. I still could have drank and I didn’t. So until someone asks me to give them a year token, or I run into my friend you will read about shortly, they’re mine and I have zero guilt keeping them.
The other 3 were dedicated to my mom, dad and sister in Part 6. I kept them because they represent my recovery today: I go to meetings not because I’m scared I’ll drink if I don’t.
I go for my serenity.
I go for peace.
I go to be of service.
However, today, I now have 4 tokens left. Why?
“Each day, somewhere in the world, recovery begins when one alcoholic talks with another alcoholic, sharing experience, strength and hope.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, Forward to the Third Edition, page xxii.
I have a friend I met in the neighborhood shopping center down the road where he hung out day in and day out with nowhere to call home. He once asked me for $4 so he could “get to the doctor to get his pain meds for his knee” which is code for “buy my medicine for my addiction.” I said no and offered him Advil instead. He respectfully declind and I bid him farewell. Then one day, he disappeared.
He no longer was greeting me with a wave and smile every time I drove in to the shopping center. I asked around and found out he had been found face down in a ditch, barely alive. I was thrilled to know he was alive and figured I’d never see him again.
Months later, he returned.
Some months passed and we had more encounters with full on conversations and he was sober for all of them.
So I gave him a Big Book and a token. The man earned it and I SO wanted him to keep it.
No I never shared my BBS with my friend here. I speak freely about it here and in the right social environments but I don’t promote or talk about it in the rooms of AA. But I’m glad I did that third and final time because had I not, I wouldn’t have my amazing sponsor who I KNOW God hand-picked just for me; and He hand-picked me for her too!
When it comes to my MJ use, she fully supports whatever I do.
At the start of 2018, months before finding S3, I took a break until my belly button birthday. 12 days weed free. It was easy.
I did it again during the summer to support 2 of my birdies Bs 1&4 who wanted to quit. That wasn’t AS easy.
Let’s be honest, quitting anything enjoyable, good or bad for you, never REALLY is.
Fast forward to just a week ago and I was about to do the same thing: take a break. Not a “I’m only quitting for x amount of days” break. Just a simple “I’m quitting for now and I don’t know if/when I will smoke again” kind of break. Why?
Because I have things I want/need to do and I felt like it was holding me back. I was also still experiencing some extreme highs and lows, and varying degrees of irritability. But was THAT because of the MJ?
I discovered the answer to that is NO!
About a month ago, my teeth were hurting and I was convinced I had a mouth full of cavities and that my teeth were falling out. I went to the dentist only to find out that my teeth were NOT dying; I was consuming too much caffeine and clenching my jaw 24/7. I had a case of TMJ and needed to make some adjustments.
When I told B1 this, she told me the same thing happened to one of her friends and the reason? The anti-depressant Wellbutrin. The same Rx I had been on for a year. So I read the side effects for the first time and OH.MY.GOSH. I was suffering from many:
Rapid heart beat
Muscle or joint pain
I contacted my doctor and told her I wanted to get off it ASAP so she prescribed me a lower dose with instructions on how to taper off. Then I came up with my 2019 motto:
Getting Clean, Lean & Serene in 2019.
Since I’m a rebel, I picked up the Rx but didn’t start taking it. I quit cold turkey. Oh well. I feel amazing.
I said I would quit the MJ and I did that too…for 2.5 days. I felt amazing.
Then, my once a month 3 day headache arrived. I have an Rx for THAT too but I left it at work so I basically felt hungover off and on for 3 days.
When I was drinking, I couldn’t get anything done hungover. The same goes for these headaches, at all levels of intensity.
When I was hungover, like most seasoned alcoholics, I would “bite the hair” to try to ease my suffering, only to suffer even more OR lay in bed with a bowl to catch every last drop of bile my body needed to eject (sick!) Alcohol, it’s literally poison for me. It NEVER made me feel better.
But I wasn’t hungover, I was PMSing! I’ll be 39 on the 12th, this mama’s clock is tick tockin’ bitches and I swear, the older I get, the louder that clock ticks, the harder my head pounds and the meaner I can be. There’s no “hair of the dog to be bit” and I can’t lay in bed all day – I need SOMETHING to take the edge off!
So 2.5 days into 2019, I felt like ass and decided to partake of nature’s medicine. Then I went to sleep and woke up feeling AMAZING. MJ, it’s literally medicine for me. It helps me feel better.
AA does the same for me: it helps me feel better AND be a better person.
So does hanging with my sponsor (S3).
Or poloing with my sponsee (B7).
Or befriending new birdies.
Bs 7, 8 & 9, you know WTF you are.
Thanks for joining me on my recovery transformation journey and allowing me to be a part of yours. The fellowship of AA and recovery in general has been such a gift this past year. A total surprise and another miracle. I mean, this image right here basically captures my attitude about AA when I first started this blog just a little over a year ago:
But it’s a new year and things have changed and so has my motto:
P.S. Just a reminder, and not that you care, but our Elf Gidget returned in 2018 and I chronicled HER entire 2018 Christmas journey on the blog. If you can’t wait for my next post to read more of my musings, click on her page “Gidget the Elf” in the top menu for more. You may find it to be entertaining or you may find it to be really annoying. Read it or don’t read it; love it or hate it, it’s alllll good with me.
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?
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.
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.
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:
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?