Self-Care

Why I Love Libraries

books

Things have been…good. Calm. Just what I need.

One way I take care of myself is by volunteering. I always loved the idea of volunteering but I never took it too seriously. Probably because I was too busy destroying my life.

Back when I got my DUI, one of the things the court required me to do was community service. When presented with my choices, I chose to serve at my local library since I’ve always been an avid reader and writer and had a fondness for libraries.  Setting everything up to complete the community service was personally humiliating for me. It was not the way I had envisioned my philanthropic efforts to really begin to bloom.

I followed every rule and caught on quickly at the library. I spent as much time as I could there to complete the required amount of hours.  As I did so, I found a peace there. I hadn’t stopped drinking at this point, but when I was volunteering, I felt so at ease and my soul felt so good to be giving back, even though it was court mandated service.

While I was completing my community service hours, I also got to know the staff and other volunteers. I didn’t open up much at first because I didn’t want anyone to find out that I was a mom and a teacher and that I had gotten a DUI. No one seemed to mind though. I came and did my job and I learned about everyone else while they didn’t poke too much to find out about me.

While it may seem cold of them to have not inquired more about who I was, it wasn’t like that at all. I could tell they just sensed that I wasn’t ready to open up and they weren’t going to push me. No one asked why I was there or how I got started volunteering. They just let me be while making me feel welcome and loved when I felt so unlovable.

In less than two months I finished the required hours of community service. As I was getting my official court documents signed by the head librarian, I hesitantly asked if I could keep coming back to volunteer.  Without missing a beat she exclaimed that of course I could and they were all hoping I would! She even told me that I’d make a wonderful librarian if I ever decided to go that route. I nearly cried from all of the grace and love I felt from these wonderful people.

So I kept going back. For two to four hours a week you can find my volunteering at my local library. I’ve done so for the past year and will continue to do so. And to this day, none of the librarians have asked me about how I got my start as a volunteer. It hasn’t mattered to them.

Other volunteers have joined us who have community service hours to complete and when they do, I remember the grace and patience I was shown and I now show it to them. Every time I walk into the library, even now at a year later, I immediately relax and am filled with a joyful peace.  I am part of the family there and they have welcomed and loved me (and my kids!) with open arms.  It has been a truly beautiful experience.

I have often thought that maybe the whole DUI and community service part was a blessing in disguise for this opportunity at the very least. I was happy just to continue giving back to my community and those who have helped guide me when I’ve been lost without a court requiring me to do so.

Then today happened. The head librarian asked to speak to me in her office. I was slightly nervous – did I do something wrong? Had I messed up somehow? No, not at all. She offered me a paid part-time position for the summer.

My heart soared.

I have gone from court ordered community service to volunteering to now a paid position. The librarians think enough of me, the girl who got the DUI, to offer to pay her to work for them. I am in awe.

Life is certainly so much sweeter sober.

Holidays · Mental Illness · Self-Care

My First Sober Vacation

beach

Guess who is going on her first sober vacation tomorrow? THIS GIRL!

Four other lovely ladies and myself will be heading to the beach a few hours away for a 3 day get away and I’m super excited. Let me be clear though – it wasn’t always this way.

When we first began to plan the trip a few months ago, I was very early into my recovery. The thought of going to the beach with some friends and NOT drinking gave me major anxiety. Apparently, the thought of going to the beach and my drinking gave some other people anxiety too.  Another friend decided not to join us thinking it would be a crazy, wild weekend courtesy of yours truly and she didn’t want any part of that because she had witnessed it enough times before to know that it was not fun. Truthfully, I don’t blame her. It’s embarrassing for me to know that my drinking is the reason she passed on a fun weekend away but I get it.  When I first learned of this (because she gave me a different excuse but then told others her real reason for staying back – me) I felt awful. I was humiliated and filled with shame, guilt and anxiety for around 2 weeks. I had to sit with that and own it. I’m not proud of who I was, but I know who I am now and I am incredibly proud of that woman.  Also, when we were planning this trip, not everyone knew that I had stopped drinking at that time and those who did didn’t think I was that serious about it. They were wrong.

As time has passed and I approach the 6 month sobriety mark, everyone who is attending the trip knows that I am sober and very serious about my recovery. Everyone is okay with that of course and frankly, I don’t think they really care as they all have their own problems and issues to worry about.  Funny how that works isn’t it?

Now I’ve gone from being anxious about not drinking to being anxious about being away from my kids for 3 and a half days because I’ve never been away from them for that long. And because I’m just an anxious person in general, so if I stop having anxiety about one thing, I just seem to find another to latch on to!

I know better than to get complacent though. That’s when, for me, I know a relapse could happen. I still remember how horrific it felt to wake up filled with shame and guilt and panic over not remembering what I said or did the night before.  The humiliation of having someone fill in the gaps for me, often angrily or disappointed. I remember how much I hated myself…how self-destructive I had become and how little I cared. I never, ever want to go back to that. So for today at least, I choose not to pick up a drink.

I also have been proactive in how I’m going to handle things on this vacation. I know the girls won’t pressure me to drink because they now understand how serious I am about my sobriety. I’ve already told them that if I feel anxious or don’t feel comfortable going somewhere with them, I’ll just stay back at the beach house.  I think it’s really important that I advocate for myself so I did. I’m bringing several books for the beach and for anytime I may stay at the house and need something to do. I plan on practicing yoga and meditating while away and I’ve made sure to pack my headphones so I can check in with my favorite sobriety podcast, Home. Of course I also know I can always check in here and read sobriety blogs or write if I need to. I also can check in with my wonderful sober friend who helps keep me in check at times if things get difficult.  I feel secure in utilizing these tools so that I never have to feel so hopeless again.

Just writing this out now, I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for this beautiful gift of sobriety. Even in the midst of a divorce and still figuring out who I am as a sober person and working through all of the issues that led me to my addiction, I get to wake up sober and I am in awe of how blessed that makes me because I know the dark side of alcohol abuse. The old me would be looking forward to beginning my drinking at 10 am on the beach during this vacation and continuing until I blacked out each night and made a fool of myself.  This new me, the authentic me, is excited to read on the beach, truly feel the sunshine and sand beneath my toes and sneak out to the beach in the early morning to meditate and practice yoga. I only appreciate these small pleasures now because I understand what a life filled with pain is like.

Life is so much sweeter, sober.

Relationships · Self-Care

Update, Update, Read All About It!

thanks

Just in case no one has told you lately, ya’ll are the best readers a girl could have. Seriously. The support I’ve received from all of you has been wonderful. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I got to see my therapist a few days ago and that was so helpful.  As I sat in her office crying and asking why I’m just not enough for anyone, she simply asked, “Well, are you enough for you?” That really made me stop and consider what’s truly important right now.  I certainly feel more enough for myself today than I did 169 days ago.  Some days I feel like I am and some days I feel like I’m not.  What I know for sure is that I want those days that I do feel like I’m enough for me to be more consistent than they are now. So I stay sober and keep working on myself.

At the end of my session I asked my therapist if all of this is normal and am I grieving correctly? My fear is that I’m not processing everything in the right way and will end up making a mess of my life again like I did when I failed to grief my father’s death. She assured me that I’m doing okay and I’m much more self-aware than many people in this situation which made me feel less anxious.

My ex is having a minor health issue but it’s got him pretty worried and I don’t know if it’s that or what but he seemed to have called a truce and we’ve gotten along well the past few days.  Today we had an unexpected conversation concerning our marriage.  It was rational and emotional in that we were both able to admit we just aren’t happy together and in the end we want each other to be happy because that’s what’s best for our kids.  It was nice to feel like we are on the same page again.

So with that being said, I started the divorce process today.  He was going to file the papers, but after meeting with a lawyer last week he stalled. I wasn’t sure why until he filled me in today on some disheartening things the lawyer said.  When my ex walked in and introduced himself, the lawyer introduced himself and informed my ex that his job was to split up families.  This did not sit well with my ex because the one things we have agreed on through this whole situation is that whether we like it or not, the four of us will always be a family and we will do whatever we need to as parents to make sure our kids experience the least amount of stress over our divorce. There were some other things the lawyer said that aren’t in line with the kind of divorce we want to have so my ex said he just couldn’t do it using that particular attorney.  I am so grateful for his judgement on that.  So I took the reins today to get the ball rolling. It will probably be 5-6 months before everything is finalized just with state laws and such but it will end up being an amicable divorce that is on our terms and that is what is important.

As always, I’m continuing to work on my recovery.  It’s even more important for me to do so during difficult times.  I joined a gym and I signed up for a month of personal training sessions to kick start my journey. You see, I recently went to the doctor and when I was weighed, I saw that I had gained 10 pounds since I stopped drinking in December. This is a major red flag for me because I was also a food addict.

When I underwent gastric bypass surgery 10 years ago, I was 24 years old and tipped the scale at 285 pounds. This surgery truly saved my life. I didn’t admit it at the time or even a few years after, but I was a food addict. This addiction clearly transferred to alcohol when the perfect shit storm occurred to pull everything together to throw me right into my addiction to alcohol.  So when I saw that I had gained 10 pounds, I knew I needed to take action now or else my alcohol addiction could end up going right back to being a food addiction. I’ve worked too fucking hard battling both to end up with either one ever again.

I’m being proactive with the gym membership. I’ve been working on my mental/emotional health the past 169 days but I’ve not really focused at all on my physical health.  That’s okay with me because I know myself and I know that had I tried to take it all on at once from day 1, I would surely have relapsed by now.  But now I’m going to the gym at least 4 times a week at the recommendation of my trainer, doing the workouts he recommended and meeting with him one of those 4 times each week. He kicks my ass but I feel alive afterwards and I know that caring for myself physically will also help my mental/emotional wellness.

I’ve had two sessions so far and while I typically hate working out, especially in front of people who are waaaaaay more physically fit than me, I remind myself of all I have survived so far. I can survive 30 minutes of torture (haha) in order to take care of my physical health. My goal is to eventually lose 43 pounds and get toned up but just like my sobriety, I am taking it one day at a time.

Mental Illness · Self-Care

I Sing Alone

canaries

Glennon Doyle Melton has this beautiful analogy comparing the mentally ill/addicts to canaries.  She explains it much more eloquently than I can, but the short version is as follows: Long ago, canaries were taken into mines because of their sensitivities to toxins in the air.  If they stopped singing, their carriers knew they needed to turn back because it would be dangerous to go on.  Addicts and those who live with mental illness are the canaries who are extremely sensitive, more so than others, to all of the world’s bullshit.

I feel very much like a canary today. My emotions are running high and I am picking up on all the other vibes from people around me. My morning started well but then I walked into a room that was clearly filled with tension and negativity.  Anxiety took over my body and mind almost immediately. I could not focus on anything except how awful I was feeling being in this environment. I wanted nothing more than to flee.

I looked around and I could see that most of the people in the room were oblivious to what was happening.  There were two however who were clearly the ones I was picking up the vibes from.  Scowls covered their faces, eyes were rolling and whispers about what a waste of time this was were rampant. My jaw clenched, my stomach did flips and I just felt so WRONG. I didn’t feel like the me I’ve started to get used to – calm, cautious, careful but doing my best to stay positive. I was being consumed by negativity.

I survived this experience but holy shit, was it ever hard. I left feeling angry and hurt that I’d let other people’s negative words and actions affect my attitude for the day. I was barely holding back from letting loose and giving the two people who were just downright RUDE a piece of my mind until finally I was able to leave.  I literally BOLTED out of the room and on to my next meeting.  Other people started texting me and asking where I was and I was in no position to be around others because I knew I would bring everyone else down. So I spent the afternoon working alone because I needed that time to refocus my energy and bring myself back to a place of positivity and peace.

The great news is – it worked. I just needed that time and space to refocus myself.  The strange news is – some people got worried because I “isolated” myself and asked to be alone for awhile. It’s so weird how the world works sometimes. I was just so proud of myself for recognizing how angry and terrible I was feeling and coping by walking away and taking some time to myself to calm down instead of wallowing in it and letting it grow into something bigger. I was proud that I even asked for what I needed and took care of myself.

This is the thing though – people who are not canaries do not understand. Besides the fact that my moods seem to be easily affected by other people’s moods, I feel things so, terribly deeply.  It’s literally indescribable.  This is the sensitivity of the canary.

Perhaps someone who is not a canary would not have been as affected as me by the few negative people in the room this morning, so they didn’t get it.  For me though, I stopped singing.  I was entering dangerous territory and it HURT. I wanted to run, escape, make it STOP because when I feel, I feel SO MUCH that sometimes it feels like I might break.

This is both a curse and a blessing as I’m sure many of those who read my blog will certainly understand.  The positive feelings are amplified just as much as the negative.  When I love, I love with every part of my being.  My joy and gratitude and contentment run just as deeply as my shame and guilt and anger.

I am a canary in this world and some days, like today, I sing alone.

sensitive

Self-Care

Tales from 5 a.m.

yoga

I have officially lost my mind.  Remember when I wrote about those crazy people who wake up at 5 am? Well, I’m trying that lifestyle out for a bit.

I’ve told myself I am only doing this for one week.  It makes it feel doable for me.  Though I also told myself I’d only stop drinking for one year and here I am at 136 days in and I never want to pick up a drink again and feel the way I felt back when I was drinking so heavily. Isn’t it funny how that works?

So Monday morning I woke up at 5 am.  I meditated for 10 minutes to start the day.  I followed my meditation with about 10 minutes of yoga. (I followed along to one of the Yoga with Adriene videos on YouTube.) Then I broke out my bullet journal, (I’m a HUGE fan of bullet journaling!), and worked on planning my day while enjoying my first cup of coffee for the day.  At about 6 am I showered and got ready for work. I was out the door by 7 am.

I am shocked to admit it but this all seemed to have made a difference for me on Monday.  It was a long day to begin with as we had several things to do that evening and we didn’t get home until almost 9 pm.  I can honestly say though that for the majority of the day I felt so much more focused, energized and I was definitely much more productive than usual.

Of course I figured it was a fluke.

So I followed the same 5 am routine on Tuesday followed by a slightly less hectic, yet still busy, Tuesday evening. I had the same results.  I was a bit more tired by the evening on Tuesday than I had been on Monday but I had also eaten crap most of the day and had more mental/emotional stress (though nothing extremely overwhelming or even worth noting.) The cool thing was, being clear headed (aka SOBER) and more focused I was very aware of my body’s needs. I KNEW I needed sleep to recover from two early, long days.

So I gave myself what I needed and slept in today until 6:15.  Holy shit, what a different morning it was. I was completely unfocused and tense as I rushed to shower and get ready then run out the door. I got to work and still felt tense and a bit more focused but not like I was the past two days! I also was back to being very tired in the late afternoon/early evening today.

I’m okay with all of that. I knew I needed the sleep so I’m fine with having slept in a bit today. I also appreciate that I was able to see such a stark difference between the mornings I woke up early and spent some time on me versus the morning I did not.  I would never have noticed these little things if I were still drinking. I am grateful that I am able to do so now.

What does this all mean? It means that I definitely see the benefit to waking up early for meditation, yoga and journaling.  It means that now that I’m tired but feel more rested after a day to sleep in a bit, I plan to be back up at 5 am tomorrow again.  It also means that I need to come up with a plan for the weekend.  Originally I thought, there is no way in HELL I’d get up at 5 am on a weekend…but, well…it felt good. I’m not 100% ready to commit to the weekend yet but I’m certainly thinking seriously about it. I’m also pretty sure I’ll be up at 5 am next week too. This all begs one very important question however…

WHO. AM. I?!?!

Self-Care

Productivity and Predictability

routine

I’ve been thinking a lot about my routine lately, in particular how I spend my time.  Before I was sober, I spent most of my free time drinking, recovering from drinking or thinking about drinking. During the first month of my sobriety I then spent most of my free time thinking about not drinking.  I also took part in a minimalist challenge and ended up cleaning out many things from my house.  I figured I had to keep busy somehow. I was amazed at the time I had now that I wasn’t drinking.

Month two brought time spent thinking about not drinking and thinking about all the things I was suddenly feeling, like how my marriage was at a breaking point.  This is when my husband and I separated. Besides thinking and feeling I started doing yoga at home with my kids. And I sort of just wandered around, lost.

After the separation and into month 3 I still spent a lot of time thinking about not drinking and what would become of my marriage but I also started doing more.  Once my husband moved out, I took charge and for a few weeks I took on every single household task and began getting rid of more and trying to get organized in some way.  As I sifted through all of the stuff we had accumulated it became very clear that 1) we seriously had way too much fucking stuff and 2) I clearly did not keep up with cleaning and organizing well while I was actively in my addiction. Gross.

Month 4 I got a little lazy because I was thinking and feeling a lot. Loneliness, anger, resentment, fear, anxiety would often paralyze me.  So I thought, felt and read in order to try to make sense of everything. Then I started writing as I needed an outlet for all these feelings and a way to share my story and feel less alone.

I’m in month 5 now and I’m still thinking but back to doing more. I’m cooking meals and baking bread which I had previously given up as being in the kitchen preparing meals was a trigger for me early on in my sobriety.

bread
Two fresh homemade loaves of bread made by yours truly!

 I signed up for yoga classes that will begin soon in May.  (Question:  Why does it seem like people in recovery always do yoga?)  My mom helped me begin to spring clean and I’ve gotten rid of even more unnecessary stuff. (How do we end up with so. much. stuff?) I’ve completely rearranged my dining room and I’m halfway through reorganizing my kitchen. I deep cleaned my freezer (which I’m fairly sure I’ve never done considering all I found).  I even felt secure enough in my sobriety to start selling all of my alcohol paraphernalia:  wine glasses galore, a rolling bar, a wine bottle holder, bartending tools…and let me tell you, that is so freeing. 

All of this productivity has made me reflect more on my daily schedule as well.  It is extremely important to me currently to practice daily self-care. I read about these people who swear by getting up at 5:00 am to meditate and do yoga and journal to start their day.  They claim it just sets the right tone for the day. Frankly, I’ve always believed that sleeping as late as possible is the best way to start my day.  However, now that I’m more in tune with myself and I want to stay that way and continue healing and “doing the work” I wonder if I should try something like this. (Calm down – I’m just in the wondering stage. Hell may have to freeze over first before I start willingly giving up an extra hour of sleep.)

I’ve also analyzed the time I have in the evenings after packing tomorrow’s lunches and making dinner and ensuring that homework has been completed.  Some of it I’ve spent reading, some of it I’ve spent cleaning and organizing, some of it I’ve spent writing and sometimes I spend it just resting.

I wonder though if I should have more of a defined schedule for myself. Up at 5 for meditating (which would probably just put me back to sleep), off to work by 7, home for the evening by 5:30, dinner, then this on Mondays, that on Tuesdays, that on Wednesdays…

I’m not even really sure what that would accomplish. Maybe more productivity. I think mostly it would just satiate my desire for control. Isn’t that what it boils down to? If I have a strict routine then I know what to expect, life is predictable and I’m in control. As we all know though, life is anything but predictable.

Mental Illness · Self-Care · Self-Talk

Talk it out

wellness2

Recently I was in a meeting for work and the topic of employee wellness came up.  We were asked to share the ways we partake in self-care. Everyone said similar things…run, take a bath, read…and then they came to me and I boldly announced that one of the ways I show self-care is by making time to attend therapy at least 1-2 times a month.

You could have heard a pin drop.

People quickly averted their eyes and it took an extra second before moving to the next person.  While I definitely believe there’s been an improvement in the acceptance of mental health issues over the past 20 years or so, we are nowhere near where we need to be.  There’s still a stigma attached and that makes me sad and angry.

Tonight I had therapy and it was a great session, which was very much needed. I didn’t make any huge realizations or figure out the meaning of life, but I word vomited all the things going on that have happened over the past week or so that have been making me crazy and upset and angry and have just completely thrown me off balance.

My therapist didn’t get to say much since I was speed talking my way through the session so I could mention everything but that’s okay. As I told her tonight, many times I just need her to listen because once I just say something, most of the time I feel at least a little bit better. So talked…and talked…and talked.  I told her about how last Thursday was just an overall shitty day but what made it worse was that I was blindsided at work and told I’ll be in a different position soon (one I wasn’t ready to move to yet). Then I had an argument with my estranged husband (I don’t even know if I am using estranged right and frankly I don’t care at the moment) Friday evening while decorating Easter eggs with our kids, then I said good-bye to my childhood home where my dad also passed away in on Saturday since it just sold and then a few days later there was more arguing with the husband-ish and financial woes and HOW THE FUCK AM I STILL SOBER?!?!

How am I still sober? One day at a time. 10 minutes at a time. By doing the next right thing. By breathing. By checking in with myself.

That is something new to me, this checking in with myself, and I find it very peculiar. I’m not really sure how it started but I just noticed that I’m doing it A LOT this tough week in particular. I am so grateful that my head is clear without alcohol so that I notice when my thoughts become unhealthy – negative and driven by anger or anxiety or shame – and I ask myself, “What are you feeling and why are you feeling this way?” I acknowledge whatever I’m feeling then figure out how to make it go away. Sometimes it’s simply taking a couple deep breaths. Sometimes it’s running through the tape of, “Here’s why that is completely irrational, now move on.” Sometimes it’s writing here. Sometimes it’s just praying to whatever God is above to please, please, please just help me hold on until this passes.

Whatever the cause, whatever the case, I’m doing it. Is this what they call managing your emotions in a healthy manner? Changing your thought patterns? I’m only being half-facetious because I really don’t know. The thing is, I think most people in recovery look to replace their unhealthy coping mechanisms with healthy ones but the truth is, I never learned healthy ones to begin with and that’s an entirely different blog post on its own. I’m learning them now.

So here I am. Sober. Breathing. Writing. Going to therapy. Reading books written by people in similar situations. Trying to navigate life in a new way, a way in which I’m in recovery not just from addiction but from everything that’s ever happened that has broken me.

Self-Care

Connections

connection

I recently read an article from Psychology Today about how “the opposite of addiction is connection.”  It made so much sense to me, I even brought it up in one of my recent therapy sessions. Then I kind of forgot about it. Until a couple days ago when someone in a sobriety Facebook group I’m a part of quoted the article. I felt it again – that pull in my soul telling me to be quiet and LISTEN. So clearly I forgot about it again. Ugh. But then today….today the universe said, “FOR FUCK’S SAKE WOMAN, LISTEN!” and so I did.

The past couple days have been uncomfortable for me. I have felt so uneasy and unsure. Earlier in my sobriety (the first 90 days or so I’d say), I felt so aware of everything I was now doing sober.  There I go to work not hungover…make dinner without my obligatory glass (or 5) of wine…shower without a beer waiting for me on the sink…go to bed when the kids do instead of staying up to drink some more…breathe in, breathe out, don’t drink, repeat. The last 25 days or so I am still aware but not so hyper-vigilant of the  daily tasks I now complete with a clear head. I’m figuring out a new “normal.” I’m not quite there yet, but my routines have definitely changed.  This week however, I’ve felt like I’m back in the very early days, always on guard.

These past few days have been challenging. I have felt like I’m just waiting for the bottom to drop out from under me. I’ve been super sensitive to everyone and everything and kept isolating myself, just waiting…then I thought, “WAIT! What if the bottom has already dropped out? What if those awful 2.5 years I spent blacked out or living a chaotic, stressful existence WAS the bottom dropping out?” Holy shit. I survived that. I fucking survived that.

Then I happened to have 3 amazing conversations today.

This morning I reconnected with an old friend who I happen to also work with but never see. I asked, “How are you?” and she basically called me out and said, “I don’t even bother asking that question anymore. People don’t really want to know how I am and they don’t want to tell me how they really are.” SO. TRUE. We ended up having this great conversation then about how people just give bullshit answers and how we both really want to know how people are – the good and the bad.  How are you REALLY? Don’t lie or try to cover it up. If you’re going through a really shitty time – own it and tell me about it. Let me help or just listen at the very least. I don’t want people to feel like they have to put on a facade around me and I sure as hell am tired of pretending like everything’s just dandy in my own life. It was so freeing to be able to honestly say to her – my life kinda sucks right now. It’s better than it was, but guess what, I’m sober because I had a problem and now I’m trying to figure life out sober and that’s new and confusing and there’s a lot of feelings that come with that that I’m not sure about just yet.

After work I went for a massage I had scheduled awhile back. New to me and owned by a local lady. I walked in and I just knew in my gut this was going to be a good experience. There was nothing special about the place – just a feeling. When my appointment began, the massage therapist went over the required health questionnaire I had completed and she asked me about some of the health problems I had noted which led to me word vomiting some of my medical issues.  She must have felt comfortable because she then went “off the record” and started telling me some of her story.  We ended up talking for the entire massage. We share many of the same beliefs and I opened up about being in recovery and she was super supportive and we talked mental illness and self-help books and life philosophies AND I got an amazing massage during it all. Throughout our discussion (before I mentioned my sobriety) she said a couple things that resonated so deeply with me about accepting and owning your past and living in the present which I’ve found so challenging lately. I felt like it was no accident that I was on this particular massage table at this particular time.

Finally, I ended my day with a discussion with a friend (who doesn’t know I’m sober) about our kids, men, crapping our pants and getting older. Light conversation with lots of laughs but I so desperately needed that even though I didn’t realize I needed it until it was already happening.

All 3 conversations were no accident today. I needed them. The universe knew that. They were reminders that these connections are so much stronger than my addiction. That I’m better when I’m not alone.

I’m. Not. Alone.

There are others out there who are also facing their own demons, addiction or otherwise, and others who think I’m worth knowing and loving even though I’m facing mine. I need to know that. I need to know that I’m not the only one who has FUCKED UP and that my mistakes don’t define me. THEY DO NOT DEFINE ME AND YOURS DO NOT DEFINE YOU.

do believe that connection is truly the opposite of addiction.

Self-Care

Uncomfortably Mellow

tennis

I’m not sure if I’m having an emotional hangover from my Netflix binge yesterday or the onslaught of my period has made me hormonal or if I’m just having an off day but I’m just not feeling like myself.

I know I need to make time for self-care, especially at times like this.  I’ve really tried today. I started my morning by treating myself to a delicious Starbucks latte.  I spent some time mid-morning working in my new mindfulness journal.  I played tennis with my kids and then took a trip to a local playground after work. I made sure to eat fairly well throughout the day and not just binge on junk. I’m taking some time now to write.  I’ve done more for myself today than a typical day, that’s for sure, yet I’m still feeling like I’m just here, mellowed out. I don’t feel anxious or awful but I don’t feel joyful or happy. I’m not even sure this is a bad thing to be honest. Maybe this is “normal?” It’s just different and because of that, a little uncomfortable.

One thing is for sure, I gave zero fucks about self-care 113 days ago.  For 2.5 years before that I thought I WAS taking care of myself by letting myself drink reality away. Tough day parenting? Drink. Rough day at work? Drink. Marriage troubles? Drink. Dad died? Drink. Drink. Drink. Got a DUI? Don’t deal, just drink. This is how I coped with my reality – by pretending it wasn’t actually happening and blacking out every few days to make sure I really wouldn’t remember much.

Except I did. I did remember some of it. The guilt. The shame. The WHAT THE FUCK HAVE I DONE? The OH MY GOD I DID WHAT IN FRONT OF MY KIDS? The HOLY SHIT MY COWORKERS HEARD ME SAY WHAT? That was horrible. It still is. It’s not as fresh now, which I guess is a positive, but it’s there.  My hope is that the farther I get from that time in my life, the more I dive into my recovery and face all the things I never wanted to face while drinking, the less I’ll feel all of that. Part of how I move forward is taking care of myself in healthy ways. Ways that don’t end up with me in handcuffs or at an AA meeting as it did a time or two before.

So I play tennis and attempt yoga and breathe deeply and go to bed early and ask for time alone and write, write, write when I know my soul needs it.

Any other ideas for healthy self-care that I can try?