It was the first day that I didn’t drink for the last time (I hope). Did you follow that? October 4, 2001 was far from my last rehab, dry run, committed stay anywhere, but it somehow stuck that time. I was in a rehab in Wisconsin and I was full of shame once again because I sneakily drank the day before thinking nobody would notice and it was awful. They let me back in for one more chance. I finally took that chance.
Since that day each passing year of sobriety has brought different challenges because life brings different challenges. Sobriety doesn’t make life stop happening, but it helps how I move through life and how I react to what happens.
And if there isn’t a hell of a lot to react to this year. I mean DAMN.
My place is to listen, to be of service, to do no harm, to be a helper. That is my place. This year is fucking with my place. My serenity. My sobriety.
Is this 19th year of sobriety the hardest year yet for me personally? No. But it is likely top 5 because I am a human being in and of the world.
The fact that my sober anniversary is October 4th, one month away from this most critical election that holds the futures of all our children, is DICEY. The fact that I’ve stayed sober this year, quit pulling on my e-cig I’ve had for years (quit date 3/2/2020), and was laid off from my job of almost 20 years back in April due to Covid is A LOT. Oh and we are still smack in the middle of a global pandemic (nope, it’s not over yet), and we are FINALLY calling out and recognizing and coming to terms with and making changes on racial injustice that’s consumed our country for it’s entire history and oh yeah, parenting and teaching our children and managing their mental health along with our own and our older parents as we are sandwiched in the middle of all of it. GOOD LUCK EVERYBODY.
Everybody has a list of what this year has taken away from them. But I’ve got some really great things this year has given me and the top of that list is freedom of recovery. I know people are struggling and are using all kinds of coping mechanisms – I’m definitely using food. And I disappear like every 3-4 days and then pop back up. I keep off social media and don’t text people back and stick very close to home – which is easy to do right now. My family is my safety. Not everyone has that. I see you. I see you and I understand that you are doing what you can to get through.
Please be careful and take good care of yourself. I don’t do the best job of this, but please know I’m thinking about you and picturing you streaming and doomscrolling from your bed like me some nights and know I’m here too. I’m here too. But we have to keep going, we must. Do you hear me?
Not working for the first time in my adult life is still taking some adjustment (I am a worker bee and I am driving my husband batty with some of my projects) but for the most part I’m soaking it in. I know this won’t last and I will have to go back to work and I recognize my privilege. But the other thing is, I didn’t ask to be let go. I had a place and that was taken away from me from no fault of my own. Like so many, I was given no closure, no goodbyes. I’ll never get that back. After so many years, it stung. I am now living a life that is small and fulfilling and finding things out about myself that I didn’t know I enjoyed and/or was good at. I’m cleaning and organizing and paring down in ways I’d never do if I were working full time. I am present for my incredible kids in ways that I haven’t been able to be since they were born.
I keep trying to go high. I keep trying and I just keep pausing because if I open my mouth some ugly business comes out, and you know what, sometimes that is ok because going high continually in some ways is what has gotten us exactly to this moment. But there has to be a balance of finding the good and the joy and calling that out too otherwise, what the hell are we doing?
I don’t need to fall for the bait and attack the lowest hanging fruit. It is honorable to hold back and it takes much more strength to hold back than to lash out in ugliness.
It’s not up to me to enact some karma on folks. If I tried wouldn’t that be bringing back some karma on me? *head explodes* All I can do is live my best life and try to be of service when and where I can. That includes every day in my own home and community – both online and in real life.
I want kindness and empathy and strength of character in our leaders. I want to be one of those leaders. I want to run for some political office and rise above but then I see the abuse and I wonder if I can even handle it for five minutes. But then I think, IF NOT ME…..you know the rest.
All of our futures are at stake. My babies and your babies futures are too important to throw away on someone who proves time and time again that he isn’t for us. He is for himself.
I’m so angry I haven’t been able to see my parents since January because we are taking such great precautions and yet so many flagrantly flip us off every day by not wearing masks and gathering to spread this virus because they want to do what they want when they want to do it.
I’m 19 years sober on October 4th and I am the most grateful person you will ever meet but I am also mad a hell.
I’m trying to live like Michelle Obama and keep going high but my god, it’s difficult. Two wrongs don’t make a right and I don’t ever want us to sink to that level of degradation. I don’t. As much as I’m tempted to get in the muck, I can’t let myself do it. My kids are watching. And they’re watching you too. What are you going to do with that responsibility?
I’m going to not take a drink today for one more day in a string of 19 years worth of one day at a times. Hopefully tomorrow morning when my feet hit the floor I will choose to not drink that one day. I can only handle one day at a time and isn’t that wonderful that’s all I am asked to handle. I’m going to try to help somebody else, without expecting anything in return. I’m going to continue to parent with the philosophy of “be kind but take no shit”. Just because we are kind doesn’t mean we are punching bags. We just don’t have to punch back. We can walk away. WE CAN VOTE. Please vote. Vote as if your life depends on it because it does.
I can be mad as hell and still find joy every single day in this life. You can too. We contain multitudes. We have much to be grateful for – even in this time – BECAUSE OF this time. I have so much to be grateful for.
Thank you for being here with me. I am with you, even if you aren’t with me. I am for you. That is the only way I can keep going every single day. I cannot have so much hate in my heart that I risk my life by using a drug that will kill me and destroy my family. I cannot afford that luxury.
We can’t get sober for anybody else. But I can sure as hell stay sober for these kids. I don’t ever want them to see me drunk. I made some promises that I intend to keep.
In some ways, recovery and living one day at a time has made me thrive during this time, this year. This is definitely a silver lining. I can only control what I can control and I thrive on minutiae within my home and managing gardens and kids and animals is my happy place. So if I can stick to that, to find the joy and the gratitude, I will be ok. I’m guessing you will be too. This is about all of us. My family – your family. US. As I tell my kids, “let’s make good choices.” VOTE VOTE VOTE.
Cheers to 19 more sober years, one day at a time. Today is still my favorite.
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