day 35…getting through it

 Bad news.  My dear brother’s esophageal cancer has metastasized to his lungs and liver.  Stage 4.  He’s having trouble eating and is in pain in other areas of his body.

This is where I can get real angry.  Powerfully angry.  And the risk of confiding in a bottle of wine will skyrocket if I let my anger get the upper hand.

I do not know His ways but I trust.  At least I will try very hard.

If there is anything that can make the wine look good it’s death.  I’ve lost 2 out of 5 brothers, my mom, my dad and my stepdad and various close friends. It happens to everyone; it’s called life. Everything that lives eventually dies.  But nothing seems to prepare me no matter how real I think I’m being with myself.

 Have never gone through the experience of losing family without heavily medicating myself.  Watching people I love (and sometimes those I don’t know) suffer through the end of life process feels unbearable; but I know it is-bearable- because I have.  I’ve got through it.

As a person of faith, this is where the rubber should meet the road.

Will I abandon my relationship with the Lord by acting out or will I let myself lean into Him.  Rely on Him instead.  Allow myself to enter the pain- both mine and my brother’s.

To just be there, fully present for him and for my family.  And myself.

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day 34…

Too much time spent on this computer today.  I need to find balance.  Feeling cranky and tired and would love to crawl into a cave to hibernate for just 24 hrs.

I’m going to stop complaining here and try to finish my work. Try to find time to read some sober posts and comment and maybe continue this one on a more positive note later.

I don’t sound it but I’m happy and grateful to be sober for 34 days.

day 33…

Good to be home.  It’s late (for me) but I’m too wound up to go to bed.  Survived the first social outing without the wine and actually had a lovely time.  No one ever asked so my well rehearsed response as to why I wasn’t drinking was left unused- for now.  Whew. A huge relief.

I am not someone who craves the company of others.  Never cared for small talk and have never been particularly adept at social etiquette.  Even here in cyberspace.  I often prefer solitude because my work requires me to be “on” 40 plus hours a week.   But I also know that I can tend to give myself way too much alone time.  Connecting with others is not only healthy emotionally but we now know it’s also vital in maintaining mental health in the ‘twilight’ years.  And I’m there…in those years.

Finding balance will be important.  One of my sober goals.

day 32…that was then, this is now

Thinking about the work related birthday party I’ve chosen to attend tomorrow night.  Not so much about having to resist a drink- I don’t think that will be an issue at all.  I just want to have a casual, short and sweet response as to why I’m not drinking.  Cut ’em off at the pass kind of answer.

I was very honest with the owners and my co-workers when I started this job 6 years ago.  They knew I was newly sober and I had also told them about my previous sober history. Still, they would press me to join them in a drink as I didn’t fit their idea of an alcoholic.

It was a tough year not drinking.  Feeling deprived.  Left out.  Resentful.  Watching everyone have “fun”.  Then the Christmas party happened.  I went knowing full well I was going to drink the expensive red wine.

And that was that.

It gave me another five years of drinking under my belt.

 I was also going through a divorce that first year.  Had absolutely no idea who I was without my husband.  I had given my entire life over to him- his friends, his interests; all at the expense of my own.

Here I am now.

So much has changed.  I know who I am without my husband but I do not yet know who I am without the drink- although I’m beginning to get a picture and I like it…

I like it a lot.

day 30!

I am really loving this change.  Sober nights and unclouded days.  I feel that the war within is over.  At least for now.  I’m adding that negative only because I know through my own previous period of sobriety as well as bearing witness to my father and brother’s battle for a sober life, that in these times of rest one still needs to remain vigilant. And continue to build upon the sober time gifted.

Been thinking a lot today about my  brother who lost his battle at just 50 years of age. Surrounded by many, many empty 1/2 gallon vodka bottles.

But he tried. He really did. Tried real hard. Reading the journals he kept through his brief sober moments  was testament to this.  How could someone want it so bad- want to change-and then die trying?  I know it happens all too often.

I was in wonder at the many various ways alcohol addiction can manifest itself….and why some receive the grace to win and others lose. Lose miserably. Horribly.

I thought about how in A.A. they say that the disease is always progressing even when you stop. And if you drink in 5, 10 or 20 years you don’t pick up where you left off- it would be as if you had never stopped.

That did not hold true for me.

And I believe that I kept on drinking for the last 21 years partially because my experience proved differently from what I had been told.

Thirty days ago I didn’t have a bottom. I just had enough.  Surrendered.  In doing so the desire to drink has been lifted although the work of living unmedicated remains.

The glory belongs not to me but to Him.

I have been blessed and I pray that I never ever forget.

day 29…

Good day today. Feeling more upbeat mood wise and more energy physically. Took a walk/run this AM before work.

Not much in the mood to write. Tired but a good tired. Dinner then a little unwind time before bed.

Feeling grateful.  Feeling good.