Third Step Prayer

Seems the only time I make to write here is when I a) have a babysitter and b) have some extra time before or after a meeting.

Today it is a little extra time before a meeting. I usually go to a noon meeting near my house on Mondays, but today I am going to try a new meeting, a little further away at 1:00pm.

I am currently three-and-a-half months sober (again). A little over one year ago I went to my first AA meeting. Now, one year later, I definitely feel like I’m on more solid ground. Did I want to do AA? Never; not really. But I ran out of options and was tired after 10 plus years of battling this craziness.

I’m still struggling with my concept of a higher power, or something greater than myself. I have done step 1 and 2 with my sponsor, and currently I am finalizing the rewriting of the 3rd step prayer, so it is something I can say and believe.

This is what I have:

I offer myself to the Universe, to build with me and do with me as it will. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better understand my purpose. Take away my difficulties, so I can help those who still suffer. May I find sanity and serenity for the rest of my life that daily surrender gives me.

I also found this one that I am fond of:

Universe,
I have tried to control the uncontrollable for far too long.
I acknowledge that my life is unmanageable.
I ask for your care and guidance.
Grant me honesty, courage, humility, and serenity,
to face that which keeps me from you and others.
I  give this life to you to do with as you will.

Thoughts? I’m leaning toward the first one.

As soon as I have settled on a third step prayer I can say daily and truly believe, I will begin step four: writing down  my resentments.

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Plot Twist

What’s a story without a little drama? Some twists and turns? Who would stick around if the ending was so predictable and straight-forward?

I hate to disappoint.

On Tuesday May 29, 2018 I drank again, putting an end to my three month sobriety streak. I drank the following morning, too, before I got an uber to the airport.

I had been out of state, alone without my husband and children, for a dear friend’s wedding. I wouldn’t have drank unless there was an opportunity; and although it was a dry wedding and reception, my friend’s house that I was staying at was not dry. And I caved. What’s more is I sneaked it.

When I got home I didn’t stop and leave it at that. My husband kept a stash of tequila in his office under strong surveillance, complete with sharpie marker indicating the level at which he had last left it.

The obsession was back in an instant, and I had no hope of resisting something right there, under my nose. I drank. I diluted with water up to the sharpie marking. I drank more. I diluted it again. I drank again. I diluted it again.

It’s no surprise the bottle became mostly water. So what was I to do? Well, duh: go out and buy more. And drink the watered down tequila (as to not waste any) and replace it with pure tequila back up the the sharpie marking. Then there was leftover tequila. What was I to do with that? You can probably guess.

This cycle repeated itself several times and eventually my husband caught on and the gig was up. He said if I kept it up, he’d leave me.

So I have a new sobriety date, again: 6/13/18. I am currently 2 months and 17 days in.  The first year is so hard and yet I keep prolonging it.

I am sitting here in a coffee shop, before I go home to the kids, flexing my will to stay here and write and drink coffee, and not go to the liquor store. The cravings are strong today. I keep having passing thoughts of picking something up. Just a bottle of wine. Just a little something.

But to do so, I know from experience, is madness. It just reignites the obsession and makes it all so much harder all over again. I need time on my side. I must stay clean.

Before I sat here at the coffee shop to write this, I had met with my sponsor and attended a meeting. She said she believes I have completed the first step. And the first step meeting proved to be much needed.

I’m still craving. I’m still having stupid thoughts. But I will do what I’ve learned: take it one moment at a time, and it will pass. I will finish writing this, leave the coffee shop, and go straight home. I will not stop at the store. And I will not do anything stupid.

I admit I am powerless over alcohol, that my life i this area is unmanageable. I cannot, with my unaided will and present understanding, consistently manage this problem area.

And now, the only other plot twists I’d like in this story, are the ones that come from leading a sober life.

April & May

April was a successful sober month. In addition to staying sober, I continued what I has started to do in March: Exercise and watch my food intake. I know there is a lot of controversy over doing this in early sobriety, but I feel it ultimately helps my cause as opposed to hurting it.

Exercise gives me a natural high that makes me feel good and encourages me to stay sober, and watching my food intake helps me feel better about myself as I am caring for my body and not eating to numb feelings.

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This may appear a little over-the-top and perfectionistic, but it’s how I roll. I kept outstanding notes when I was a student and have always been a highly organized and detail oriented individual.

To summarize, in April I worked out 13 times. I ran 10.3 miles. I only overate 4 days. I lost 3 pounds. And 100% of the days I was sober.

I am happy to say I am only continuing to improve and continue this plan of action in May. I am slowly increasing my miles of running, as this is a true joy of mine and something I stopped doing when I relapsed.

I am registered to run a 5K this Sunday. It will be my first race since a half marathon I did in January 2016. It is a small step back in the direction I want to go. I will not break any personal records (I’ll be happy if I can do it in under 30 minutes!) but it is a good starting point for the trajectory I wish to follow.

On that note, I continue to keep a calendar this month that is capturing the same data. While weight-loss is not a top-priority, it is something that I am monitoring as well (as you can see). It’s a little added bonus. But the biggest priority, and mother of all bonuses, is my sobriety.  That comes first and foremost.

Three Months

This past Sunday, Mother’s Day, I celebrated 90 days. On Monday I went to a noon meeting and received my coin.

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This past week was a noteworthy one. First, 3 years ago, my mother died in her drunk driving accident. In addition to the anniversary of her death, I would have celebrated 4 years sobriety on the eleventh had I not relapsed.

But what is done is done. And as you can tell from above, I am moving forward. I am grateful to have come this far after struggling for so many months to gain traction.

I am grateful I went to Monday’s meeting, because I met a  group of ladies who were obviously well-acquainted with one another. We stayed and spoke after the meeting and they were very friendly to me. The discussion eventually turned towards the question of whether or not I had a sponsor.

I explained that a lovely lady had briefly taken interest in helping me back in December, but  I haven’t heard from since the holidays, so I technically did not have a sponsor. That is when one of the ladies said she would be happy to sponsor me.

So this upcoming Monday my new prospective sponsor and I will be meeting for coffee and getting to know each other and share our stories. And I will once again be on the right trajectory of having someone to mentor me and hold me accountable.

I haven’t really been working “the” program, or any program for that matter; I’ve just been going to meetings and not drinking. But I still feel a pull in my core, quite frequently of late, to pick up. As of this moment, I’ve had drinking dreams the past three nights in a row.  So I know this is an important step in the right direction.

Oh, the bottles

Oh the bottles. So many, many bottles.

Bottles on the bottom of the bedroom closet. Hidden in bags and purses. Bottles in the kitchen. Hidden behind the mixer. Bottles in the coat closet. Hidden at the bottom underneath a fleece. Bottles in the car. Hidden in a bag. Bottles in the bathroom. Bottles in my purse. Bottles in the dresser drawer. Bottles…

Empty bottles in the recycling bin. But, oh… too many. Empty bottles in the garbage. Hidden inside a cardboard cereal box. Wrapped in other garbage so the bottles won’t clink with the other bottles. Empty bottles in the car temporarily, to make a quick intentional trip to that fast food restaurant that has that drive-by garbage pail. Empty bottles in my purse, discreetly discarded in random public trash receptacles. Empty bottles…

New bottles from the store. Paying in cash for new bottles so there will be no traceable evidence of acquisition and consumption. New bottles from a different store, because the store I just went to might notice I am coming by to soon for more. New bottles from a non-liquor store, disguised with the purchase of non-bottle items. New bottles from another store, another store across town. New bottles… gone too soon. Only to need to go and acquire more new bottles…

Other peoples bottles. Visiting my in-laws, so many, many bottles. Take a little bit from a variety of different bottles so they won’t notice any decrease in the volume of  one particular bottle. Visiting my father, bottles in the freezer. Drinking a little from a bottle, just enough so that it won’t be noticeable, but it’s not enough and end up drinking to the point where it is noticeable. Add water, so dilution is not perceptible. Drink more. Add more water. Realize it is no longer unperceptible. Run to store to replace bottle. Drink original watered down bottle and discard, and drink new bottle down to level of previous bottle. Promise not to drink from replacement bottle. Break promise. Repeat. Other people’s bottles…

Oh, the bottles.

I do NOT miss the bottles.

Two Months

Today is Thursday April 19th, 2018. I reached my two month milestone on Friday April 13th.  At the beginning of this week, on Monday April 16th, I went to a meeting to collect my sobriety coin and then went out for celebratory ice cream with a sober girlfriend afterward. The ice cream I got was called the Perfect Storm.

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Here is my two-month coin, displayed in the flower bed in our yard that is now covered in April snow. This has been the never ending winter.

In spite of the less-than-springlike weather, my overall well-being has taken a turn for the better given the longer days and more daylight. It is in hindsight now that I see how much this past winter was a struggle for me. It is also in hindsight I can understand why I struggled so hard to achieve and maintain my sobriety during those difficult months.

The past three years, even if I had suffered low mood or seasonal depression (which I typically do to some degree), I had the momentum and sober-time on my side to help me stay on the right path. This fall and winter, I entered in a state of relapse, and coupled with my struggles with depression, it created a Perfect Storm for continued relapse.

I am grateful I have now found my way out. At least for today. Always only for today.

A Weekend “Alone”

I’m never alone. I’m a mom of three with what could be considered a small zoo inhabiting our residence. But when my other half goes away, I consider myself “alone.”

When I used to drink, this would be considered a prime opportunity to really indulge. I could really let loose and not worry about being judged. Children and pets, after all, aren’t as critical.

So, being 39 days into my sobriety, this is a good test of commitment and resolve.

My other half left yesterday (Friday) morning. I’m pleased to report that as I write this on Saturday evening, I am going strong and doing well. I have not been able to make it to a meeting this week, but I have checked in with my online groups for accountability.

The main group I utilize for support these days is the BFB. It’s a secret group on Facebook that supports people who don’t want to drink anymore. When you post on the main feed, you’re certain to get feedback fairly quickly, and from people who are quite sincere. So it is a great resource to go to for feedback and support, or to turn to before you pick up that first drink, or just for general encouragement or congratulations on your journey.

More recently I joined another support group via Catherine Gray’s Instagram feed @unexpectedjoyof called “Sober Spring.” About a thousand of us replied to her post, expressing interest, and Catherine grouped us into smaller groups (each named after a type of tree) that could support each other via email correspondence throughout the entire spring – March 20th through June 21st  (93 days of zero hangovers)!

I belong to the Monkey Puzzle tribe which, admittedly, I didn’t even know was a type of tree until I was assigned!

I like it, partly because I was born in the year of the monkey. So I’ve nicknamed myself The Sober Monkey. On that note, on this sober weekend “alone,” I will leave you with a picture of a Monkey Puzzle Tree and wish you all things wonderful.

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