I began WTW because I had a desperate desire to put down the alcohol; not because I wanted to write. But I began to witness this amazing sober community of strength and support and (mostly) non-judgemental attitudes. And these people were doing it! Living sober. And some had been living it for years. AND…..they were happy.
So I wrote.
I felt it might be my last shot.
Well here I am with 1 year and 2 weeks today. Unrecognizable at every turn. I’m at peace with who I am in sobriety and who I am becoming. I am full of hope and look forward to pursuing my remaining years as a sober woman. By God’s grace, I will pass from this world to the next sober. One of my goals is to be a kinder, gentler version of myself. Emphasize the positive traits, temper down the character flaws and defects and mix well with a lot of love! I’m down 15 pounds although part of that was leaving the cheese shop! I love my job now and the people I lead. The gratitude most days is overflowing.
I don’t even blink now when someone asks me why I don’t drink- so rude to begin with. I just look deadpan at them eye to eye and say “Oh you go first and tell me why you do.” Usually there’s an awkward silence and then some mumbling. Gets ’em every time.
Should someone ever actually take me up on it and list reasons, they’ll be listing all the reasons I don’t.
I do not need to drink anymore. Not that I’m cured, oh no way. But way deep down inside of me I feel like a non-drinker. If it weren’t for the lifetime of wretched memories, it would feel like it’s never even been a part of my life.
you all know we all have “those” days.
That’s why it’s so important to work hard to develop those emotional/mental/spiritual muscles and strong self-care routines early on. The healthy habits will help pull you through those times of tests and trials. Along with lots of support from those who’ve gone before you.
this will be my last post for the foreseeable future. I’m leaving the blog in place should I feel inspired. Right now though the thought of writing is painful. I want to enjoy it- not feel burdened by it. It’s just not happening for me now.
I will leave you all with two things:
The first is a link to one of my sober heroes latest blog post. This year did not come easy for me. I started to become a chronic relapser. Her posts are always uplifting and in this latest she writes of why it’s so hard to get/stay sober.
The second is something I read during my morning prayers last week. I immediately thought of this sober community. It is written from one Christian sojourner to another; someone he’s never met.
“It is not surprising if, despite being far apart, we are present to each other….because we are members of one body, we have one head, we are steeped in one grace, we live on one loaf, we walk on one road, and we dwell in the same house.” St. Paulinus of Nola to St. Augustine
Peace and Love to you all and may you be blessed.
HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!
1 month from today, pray to God, I’ll have 1 solid year of sobriety. It’s hard to believe but then…it’s not. It’s been a battle hard-won. Twenty-two years of head banging, inner conflict and torment. Knowing the truth. Trying to deny it. Work around it. Trick it. Ignore it.
Anything but face it.
The powerlessness. The unmanageability of my life although most of the time, I put on a pretty good show.
The withering of my soul.
Oh yeah, there have been times when the blinders came off and moments where the truth sunk in- even a spirit of willingness. Usually after a humiliation. But the willingness came more from an attempt to redeem myself; in my own eyes as well as for those around me- a bargaining chip- an action originating in pride to soften the sting of idiocy.
The willingness was for the wrong reasons.
But now…everything has changed.
I have not had even one day of taking this sobriety for granted and I’m still in awe that I truly am a new creation.
Thanks be to God.
I’ve had an aversion to all things electronically social these past 3 or 4 months. Kind of like I overdosed. So, I’m unsure as to how long I will continue posting here on WTW. While I do enjoy and derive great satisfaction from the finished product when I post, it’s a long and arduous process. Perfectionism makes it way too time consuming.
But I don’t want to just disappear. I’ve spent most of my life doing just that and it’s a pattern of old behavior that needs to go. And it leaves me feeling unsettled when others do the same.
While I suffer deeply for connection, it’s the thing I have always feared the most.
I used to love the A.A. saying “Live and let live”. Most selfish people do. We take it to mean “Ask nothing of me and I’ll ask nothing of you”. Perfect.
That’s not what it means.
Thank you to all my fellow bloggers (you know who you are) who have seen me through to this amazing point because while I give the glory to the Lord for my sobriety, He sent you, His angels, to me.
I’ve been coming to the end of myself lately. You know when you think you’ve made great strides and then BAM, it hits you. They hit you. All those nasties you thought you left behind. Character defects. Personality flaws. With a little (or a lot) of the mental combat thrown in. And self compassion is nowhere to be found. No matter how much you dig.
So what’s happening here?
Despair at what I see. The black hole that always seems to suck every good thing into its swirling oblivion. The black hole always seems to appear after a time of seeing the positive changes and growth within myself.
It’s the all or nothing mindset. And pride and ego are usually not too far away.
And what’s missing?
Gratitude. Compassion. Mercy. Grace.
Mercy is not getting what you deserve. Grace is getting what you don’t deserve.
I’ve received more than an abundance of both in my life.
Doesn’t take much work these days. Actually, it takes an enormous amount of work in the form of surrender and humility. But I’m willing. It turns around what in the past would have been the beginning of one of those “dark nights” my soul knows all too well.
So much has happened in the last 8 months. Yes, sobriety happened. But I had 9 years of sobriety at the time I was 40 years old and I am so much more now. I was happy and joyful then. Stable to a degree. But I am so much more than that now.
I am healed.
Not from alcoholism but from the fractured and broken emotional bones of childhood trauma. From the self-inflicted pain of young adulthood. From the desire to self destruct.
I am healed.
Of all the self-hatred I nurtured. The perceived notions, hidden from consciousness in the well of confusion and abandonment, that I did not deserve to love or be loved.
I have learned well what it means to be “saved”. I always hated that. Not the thought of salvation but the question: “Are you saved?”
I never realized what that truly meant. Never realized I needed a savior. Never wanted to admit it. But I did. Eventually I did. Realized it and admitted it.
Asked for it. Begged for it. With every part of my being.
You see, Heaven and Hell exist here. They are not some fantastical places up in the sky or in the bowels of the earth. You have the choice of living in either one right now. You have the choice only if you surrender your pride and arrogance. The false belief that you can save yourself. We all need more than ourselves. The one who created us knows what we need to live in peace and joy. You can’t ask yourself; you didn’t create yourself.
Only the inventor knows for what purpose he created his invention.
15 See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16 For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. Deuteronomy 30:15-16
I am healed.
I have chosen life over death. Heaven over hell.
I am healed.
Thank you Jesus.
Image credit: Cielo e Infierno (Heaven and Hell) | by Dibus y Deabus
So much has happened and is happening in my life that I am overwhelmed to write a post- don’t know where to begin. Miracle after miracle- the most major is that I have 7 months sobriety! By God’s grace and mercy. I found Hayley because she found me first…. just like it happens with the Lord. Whether it’s anxiety or alcoholism or any other form of enslavement, let Him set you free. Thank you Hayley, for sharing your gift. You have the voice of an angel.
There was a very difficult period in my life when I felt so incredibly lost and lonely and I didn’t know which direction to turn.
I was suffering from acute anxiety that was crippling me in areas of my everyday life.
To look at me I was the picture of health but inside I was a mess and completely lost.
It wasn’t until I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour that I truly discovered who I was and ‘found myself’ and found fulfillment in Him.
Jesus desired for me to know Him in the same way that He knew me.
Below are lyrics to part of the chorus of the song ‘Know you’:
I was lost but you came to find me
Leaving the many you would come to draw me back to you
I was empty but you…
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I’ve never grieved without drinking. I’ve lost both parents, 2 brothers, numerous friends and others. But never without the obliteration of alcohol.
My brother Richard and I have a special bond.
My first memory of him was watching a summer storm together… I was about 3 or 4 and he is five years older so he was around 8 or 9. As we stood at the screen door looking outside at the thunder and lightning, which us kids always loved and found thrilling, he looked down at me and said: “I’m going to marry you some day, you know.”
He is now dying.
After a 2 year brutal and exhausting struggle with throat cancer, he’s being called home. Mid-December, my 2 sisters and I took a road trip up to where he lives near the Canadian border. To hug him, to love him and to say goodbye. It was a 5 hour trip each way. He didn’t know we were coming.
Because he would have told us not to.
Not because he didn’t want to see us. He most likely didn’t want us to see him so helpless. He wouldn’t want us to worry. And his battle had left him totally spent. Head sunk down on the table spent.
I don’t remember a time when his life has ever been about him.
Richard is a stubborn, self-reliant Vermonter through and through….with a huge heart. A soft heart. And a servant’s heart most of all.
As I write this, I’m wondering if this is his moment….. Or is it now? An hour from now? Or a day. Only the Lord knows.
What I do know, is that a part of me will be leaving with him when his soul takes flight.
I want to be awake and ready at the exact moment he finds his freedom.
I’ve spent the day in prayer, candles lit, gazing at the last picture we took of him and me. And gathering together all the photos I have of him with me and the rest of our brood.
Because grief is exhausting and it’s only just begun.
Through it all I have remained sober.
Thanks be to One who set me free.
I am the toddler on the right. Richard is standing behind my sister holding me.
Tomorrow I will hit the 5 month mark.
It’s been relatively easy as my grand finale is still fresh in memory. I drive by the cheese shop on my way home and see the lights on in the back room knowing the gang are all kickin’ back at closing time. With cocktails of course. And then there’s the liquor shop right next door to them. No chance of running out.
The mental gymnastics I go through in that 2 second drive by are remarkable.
It looks cozy and inviting. The camaraderie. The bliss of checking out.
But it’s all fake.
One big illusion. Take away the alcohol and it’s gone. All that’s left is the aftermath. The self-destruction parading itself as a good time. What the…? It seemed so real.
Maybe next time will be different.
Those 6 words have kept me enslaved to alcohol for 50 years. Yes, I’ve had periods of sobriety but I’ve fallen over and over and over…..all because of that innocent sounding statement.
And it is only by the Grace of the good Lord that I am still here.
Most nights as I pass the shop, I see my thoughts for what they are and smile. The yetzer hara attempting to have its way with me.
Sorry, you best move on. Ain’t going to happen.
But driving home from work Saturday night I got hit bad as I passed the shop.
I prayed. Real hard.
And then the image came. The 4 day binge.
Repulsion replaced the craving.
Thanks be to God.