Well, I guess you can say I’ve been hiding behind this secret and allowing it to excuse me from writing for the past 2+ months.
I have wanted to move out of the past and write about the present but uhhhh, I haven’t been doing that now, have I? So clearly I need to still talk about some past shit in order to move on.
That’s how working a spiritual program of action works. And when I’m not doing it to the best of my ability, life is just harder. I can’t explain how that is and I’m digressing anyway so let’s just put a pin in that for now.
Back to my BBS that I have been harboring; recent events have made it abundantly clear that I cannot hang onto this part of my story anymore and if I continue to ignore my instincts, I will remain stuck in my recovery and I don’t want that.
So here it is: towards the end of 2018, I determined that not only am I an alcoholic but I am also a straight up addict.
Cigarettes, alcohol, weed, sugar, pills, & caffeine – I have abused them all at various points in my life and it’s time I write about it and make some serious changes while I’m at it.
Kicking this series off is the cigs because I’m ashamed to admit that after promising my 6 year old daughter that I would quit smoking back in May, I still am puffing them down and I can’t fucking stand it anymore.
Pause, you guys, I just went to look at when I last posted. It was May 22nd. The last “quit date” I set for myself and here I am about to set another one. Weird. Anyway…
I swore up and down I’d quit smoking before my daughters would ever know I smoked and yet here we are, her little voice yelling at me from the screen door for all the neighbors to hear: “MOMMY! STOP SMOKING!”
Me: (whisper yelling) oh my gosh…get inside…oh my gosh (closes door)
(door opens again)
A1: MOMMY! NO SMOKING!”
Can we say mortified?
I’ve made countless vain attempts in quitting. I’ve made a gazillion promises to friends and loved ones, solemn oaths and public social media announcements. I’ve quit smoking WAY more times than I quit drinking. Just like any relapse, I was immediately hooked after the first cigarette. It has been, by far, the hardest addiction to crush.
I remember my first sponsor telling me she used the 12 steps to quit smoking, so…that’s what I’m going to do.
Seriously. I am.
I know you don’t believe me.
I wouldn’t either.
But mark my mother effing words: I. WILL. QUIT. SMOKING. CIGARETTES!
Resolution (past & present): How can we possibly summon the resolution and willingness to get rid of such overwhelming compulsions and desires? – 12&12, Step 7, p.73
Up until March 30th, 2012, I had made many attempts at quitting the drink for various stretches of time. I talk about my final relapses in Part 2 of My Story, but there were many more during my drinking career. However, I would not have considered them relapses back then because, well, the intention was never to be done for good. I was always motivated by a major binge weekend of poor choices or a preceding consequence of some kind, wanting to prove to myself and everyone else that I wasn’t really an alcoholic ; even though in my heart of hearts, I knew I was.
So all of my “personal detoxes” and “breaks” were in vain. I’d stay sober just long enough, to feel good enough, to drink just enough, until there was NEVER enough.
Things were starting to look the same with the weed and as I mentioned the other day, that did not sit well with me. While I hadn’t suffered severe consequences from my MJ use like I did my alcohol consumption, I still did not like that I had taken it beyond harm reduction and was using it far more than I ever intended. It really wasn’t working for me the way it used to. I had heard that’s a very risky place for an alcoholic to be and I did NOT want to drink.
This THC break, it wasn’t the first time I made an effort to “slow my roll.” My sponsor (S3) graciously reminded me of that and suggested I not leave it out. She said that my saying that I accepted a challenge by my friend and just quit without sharing the rest was “flippant of me,” and she was right. I realized I better make sure to tell you the whole truth, so when I was looking for something else in my older posts, I discovered that I HAD already told you about my last 3 THC breaks. Ha! Whouldya look at that? I had forgetten (face palm.) You can read about that in Skeletons 2.15 – My Recovery Returned.
But of course, those weren’t the only times. I made multiple half ass vows with no solid motivations or accountability. For an alcoholic like me, 1 of 2 things needs to happen for me to get off my fucking ass and change the things that I don’t want to:
I either need to be backed into a corner with an ultimatum with no other options, or
want something so bad, I’d do anything to make it happen.
This time around, I quit MJ for reason #2. I still wasn’t ready to quit for good so I chose to reset my tolerance in order to build the momentum I need to get after what I really want out of this gift called life. I’m almost 40 years old and I’ve wasted enough time playing small. I have dreams and aspirations to pursue and I want to make them reality…BAD! Having reached official stoner status, I knew the weed would stand in my way if I didn’t do something about it once and for all.
Tuesday, May 21st was Day 30 and in the interest of rigorous honesty, I made it 29.75 days completely THC free. On Day 30 at 6:30pm, I chose to smoke simply to see how the first time would feel after that long going without. Before I did, I prayed…HARD. I prayed for the ability to be responsible and the willingness to quit for good if I couldn’t be. I prayed for the strength to use it the way I had originally intended or not at all. I laid it at God’s feet and said Amen.
Then I smoked. From 6:30-11:00, I took a total of 4 puffs, stayed up way past my bed time and did not go to bed stoned.
How did I feel about myself the next day?
For a moment, I felt bad. The “committee” in my head started shaming me for not making it a COMPLETE 30 days. But then I said FTS! Excluding my pregnancies and post partum, I was 100% clean and sober for the longest stretch of time, for the first time, by choice, EVER! I am beaming with pride and full of so much hope and I’ll be damned if I let anyone take that away from me, especially my own “stinkin’ thinkin’.”
My mindset has changed drastically and I have resolved that I never want to build a tolerance to THC ever again. I want to be able to rely on it for the medicinal benefits or for emergencies, like PMS, should I deem it necessary. Or if I am in a social environment where it’s an option and I feel like being “a part of.” None of that is a possibility if I go back to the way it was. I’m clear and firm on that. VERY!
Therefore, I have made a resolution: if I find myself using it beyond what I just stated above, then I will walk into a meeting and raise my hand high and proclaim with confidence that I am a newcomer, have the desire to never smoke again, and change my sobriety date. Never did I ever think I’d say that but I just did. I can’t believe it.
There God goes again, doing for me what I could not do for myself. Does it get any better than that? According to “The Promises” of Alcoholics Anonymous, you bet your sweet ass it does!
P.S. Today is Wednesday, May 22nd and I did NOT smoke weed today. Why? Cuz I didn’t feel like it. That’s why. To God be the glory.
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. I made it 13 days. 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.
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.