2 Whole Years

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Staying sober is easier than getting sober. That saying brings me back to the numerous times I decided I wasn’t going to drink again.  The first couple of days were easy because I was still in the throes of the hangovers from Hell. The kind that make you want to crawl out of your skin and beg to be someone, anyone else who wasn’t feeling that way. I’d  be dehydrated from a three day binge and not be able to eat until day three, which was the day my physical self started to feel better but I had to deal with anxiety for at least the next 5 days. Before my own episodes of anxiety,  I had always thought anxiety was something that could be controlled if you put your mind to it.  I found out that it’s one of the things that could bring me to my knees. It was devastating to have my mind so out of control.  Most of my frayed thoughts revolved around how horrible of a person I was because of my drinking episodes. I would panic as I tried to replay what I had said and done while black out drunk.

My resolve to stay dry usually lasted two weeks.  By the end of that second week I would be feeling better and decide I could moderate my drinking.  The first drink would go down pretty slowly so I would convince myself that I was in control.  I would spend the next couple of drinks feeling pissy because I knew I was close to the limit I had set.  Once I passed that limit,  all bets were off for when I would stop.  The vicious cycle of my binge drinking continued. If I stopped,  it wasn’t long before I had to start again because my body would be nauseous,  shaking and begging for just one more drink because that was going to make everything better.

I don’t know why I stopped binge  drinking on November 2, 2013. I mean,  I know why I stopped after that last binge but I don’t know why this time was different from any other.  Maybe it was because I gave myself enough time away from drinking to realize how much better I felt staying sober. 

I still have days that suck. Every day doesn’t feel like the best day of my life but it’s better than the hell that I was living.

Even after two years of waking up sober, I haven’t committed to never drinking again.  For now, I’m happy with,  “I’m not drinking today”.

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Drain Bamage

At nearly two years sober, my brain has decided to take a vacation. I’ve been having trouble stringing a complete sentence together these last few days.  I’m chalking it up to peri menopause.  I’m nearly 47 and assume that it won’t be long before I begin that journey.

I felt like I had my life more together when I was drinking.  I suppose that’s because I had to work at making my life look organized.

My divorce has been final now for 6 years.  I spent most of the 20 years I was married staying home with my daughters.  I worked cleaning houses and did other odd jobs when my then husband had mornings or days off. My girls never went to daycare and I pride myself on how well rounded and intelligent they are.  Their teachers always remarked about their manners and educational abilities being well above their age groups.  I’ve nothing against daycare and realize it’s something almost all families have to do in order to make a living.  I consider our family blessed because of the time we spent together.

Because I chose to raise our daughters,  I never finished my education.  I’ve worked in our family business as a graphic designer for the last  14 years.  I truly enjoy my work there.  After the divorce,  I had to take on a second job. I fell into a part time position with one of the largest agricultural companies in the world as a safety technician  (having no prior experience) for a research site. I’ve been there almost 6 years and feel I am doing a pretty great job. My supervisor tells people he wishes he had 10 of me. He can’t however,  give me a full time job because I don’t have a degree.

I’ve spent the last 6 years inserting myself into learning jobs other than my own in an attempt to make myself irreplaceable.  If it comes my way,  I’m going to learn it.  Everything from weekly office cleaning,  yard care,  becoming certified to train people for forklift operation, handling all of the occupational health pograms, hand labor in the fields and labs and also anything my job description requires. All this while also running the family business,  sometimes from a corn field. I have no idea how I managed all of this while suffering debilitating hangovers.

The last three weeks have been tough on me physically. I’ve been working 50+ hours with only one day off a week.   I’ve been working at hand harvesting crops for research which entails back breaking work and walking around  6.5 miles in a day.  We have now moved on to machine harvest where we must take field notes before the crops are taken off. During this time,  my foot decided to have plantar facitis.  I could barely walk for a few days but I’m learning how to treat it.

It’s possible that all this physical labor is causing my brain to short circuit.

Two years ago when I was still drinking at my worst, I would do this back breaking labor knowing that I was going to stop on the way home and buy enough booze to make me pass out cold.  Then get up and repeat. It was what I thought kept me going.  I realize now that I was slowly killing myself.

Thankfully,  my family job is flexible at the times I need it to be for the other job. I’ll have to write more some time about that job.

This post is all over the place. I suppose I better get to sleep so I can wake up and start all over again.  Tomorrow my first thoughts will be of thankfulness for being sober.

Go With The Flow

Today I will take my youngest child to live in the dorms at a Big Ten University. I’ve spent the last 22 years of my life focused on my children. Now that they have both flown the nest I’m not sure what my new goals in life will be. I’ll have time to sit and think and hopefully not drink.

Since summer had passed me by without so much as having one fun excursion, I decided to take my daughter and her boyfriend on a trip down a river floating on an inner tube (tubing). I asked my mom if she wanted to go. She’s always up for an adventure and wasted no time inviting two of her friends. So, the six of us packed ourselves into my vehicle and began the two hour trip to the river. I felt like I was a bus driver and was thankful that I didn’t have a hangover.

The river was chilly and the sky was overcast but we didn’t let that stop us. (What it did stop me from was using sun screen. I knew better. Water + virgin white skin + eventual sun = ridiculous sunburn.) The idea behind tubing is going with the flow of the river. It’s nearly impossible to fight the current so you learn to go with it.

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Going with the flow takes some getting used to when you normally try to control every aspect of your life. The current may pull you to the left bank when your group is a quarter mile to the right. Just go with it I told myself. It reminded me of drinking. Sometimes people are drinking over there on that side of the room while you’re over here on your own. Just go with it. It’ll all work out. And it does work out to my surprise. After being separated from the group, we all ended up at the same destination but some of us took a different route.

All in all, it was a relaxing four hour trip down the river with family and friends. In my drinking days, I would’ve been hung over and all thoughts would’ve been about how soon I could get that first drink in me. Lucky for me, my family is mostly non drinking because most who go tubing bring an extra tube for the cooler filled with alcohol. (Sadly, booze and water activities don’t mix well. A young man was drinking last week on this same river trip and got out to go to the bathroom and drowned. They didn’t find his body for a few days.) I’m grateful to be with people who can have fun without drinking.

So today I stay goodbye to my longest career of being a full time mother to both of my daughters. I’ll be waiting in the wings watching them soar and feeling proud of the two best things that ever happened in my life.

122 Days

The world is still working against me or so it feels like it. Things have only gotten more escalated with the boyfriend. Just when I think there are no more buttons to be pushed, he finds a new one.  

My sobriety is showing me the volatile nature of this relationship. I think  he cares about me somewhere in his heart but he’s too fucked up in his own head and lost in his own alcoholism to care. 

Every morning, I thank God that I wake up sober and not hung over. I’m too busy to waste my life living in the sickness that booze brings me. When it takes you a week to recover from a binge, you need to realize that you’re going nowhere fast.  It only took me 10 months to figure that one out.  I should be grateful that it didn’t take me years to come to this realization. 

This whole sobriety thing is still hard sometimes. I wasn’t an every day boozer. I don’t physically crave alcohol now but there are days that I want to check into the black oblivion that is my heaven and hell. Feeling emotions is tiring. I mean, I’m physically exhausted from my latest round with the boyfriend. So, I’m going to use the only coping mechanism that’s working for me at the moment and go to bed at 7:30 pm.