Skeletons 2.9 – The Relapse Series – Part 1

Relapse (past): The idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker. The persistence of this illusion is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death. (BB, Chapter 3, pg. 30)

Here’s the bottom line: I don’t remember my very first sobriety date because I wasn’t done drinking. All of the harsh consequences I had already brought upon myself weren’t enough to convince me I was a real alcoholic. I still needed more proof, hence the final 3 legit relapses and I will relive all 3 of them for you today in a series of 3 posts.

Relapse #1: I talk about it in My Recovery Rewind – Part 2 and Skeletons 1.9. It was a basically a true “relapse before the relapse” situation.  I had just gotten 30 days prior to a wedding weekend. When I was handed that token, my mind was already in Bend, OR, fighting off that trigger that I knew I wasn’t going to even try fighting.

I wasn’t excited about it. I didn’t rush home to show H or text pictures of it to my family or friends. I was also terrified of anyone knowing about it that weekend because, well, a) my prideful, alcoholic brain didn’t want them to judge me but more importantly b) if they knew, they’d try to tell me not to drink and I couldn’t have that. But at the end of the day, it didn’t matter. I had relapsed in my mind before crossing state lines.

H did tell our friends, I still hid it, I still got caught. I said I had one mimosa and I stuck to that story – with my sponsor, my counselor and everyone else who I told.  If you already read the posts mentioned above, you know that was not truthful at all and I still can’t believe I drove after the reception.

Insanity.

My new date was now March 18th.

#morewillberevealed

Skeletons 2.8 – My Recovery Requisite

Requisite (Past): The only requirement for membership is the desire to stop drinking (Tradition 3, BB, pg 139)

After my second DUI, I was told 2 things:

  1. I had to stop drinking and
  2. I had to wait 6 months (or a year) to resume efforts to get pregnant.

I wasn’t asked. I was told.

No alcoholic likes to be TOLD to do anything, ESPECIALLY when it affects their drinking.

For me, if I am told to do something that I don’t want to do, I will resist until I have no choice. If I am told I CAN’T do something that I want to do, I’ll do everything in my power to make sure that I CAN.

When it comes to #1, I told you: I secretly drank several times in a month before finally getting caught and forced into outpatient rehab. That still didn’t stop me though. After claiming an official sobriety date, I relapsed 3 more times, twice my husband knew about and once I lied about…for years. I’ll talk about that in my next post.

As for #2, the day after my arrest, H said he thought it would be a good idea to wait 6 months to resume trying to get pregnant. Per usual, I went into my childish theatrics – sobbing uncontrollably until I fell asleep, the whole time hoping he would feel bad and take it back.  But he didn’t. Not that night anyway.

It was also “suggested” by my first sponsor that I wait a year to get pregnant – newcomers are discouraged from getting into new relationships or making big life changes in the first year of sobriety. But H had already recanted the whole 6 month plan, so of course I lied and said I’d take into into consideration. I didn’t dare challenge her but there was also no way I was going to listen to her either.

For those that didn’t read the excerpts from the previous post, this is the only part that matters in this one:

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While my desire to drink  “someday” didn’t go away after that last weekend in jail, my choice to drink did. Yep, A1 had literally implanted herself the same weekend I received that email. She saved me from my own self because I most definitely would have relapsed again otherwise.

People have asked me if I’ll tell her that little detail about her conception and the answer to that question today is this:

I just did.

#morewillberevealed

My Reprimands – Part 4

I wrote some amends letters after my reprimands of SD2 and the last one was to myself (second person to first person,) and I ended it with this:

“Is that all? You done now?  Because I can think of some messed up stuff you did to other guys too, or have you forgotten?  I hope you plan on taking responsibility for how YOU treated some of the dudes that you spent your time with over the years because you were no saint.”

Yes, yes I do.


Yep, I wasn’t very nice.  In fact, at one point in my 20’s, I proudly claimed Nelly Furtado’s “Maneater” and “Promiscuous” as my anthems – which, not gonna lie, I still get a sick high every time I hear both of those songs and I recognize I should feel bad about that now but I don’t…not yet anyway.

Seriously though, I do feel bad for some stuff – how I handled some break ups, caused drama and led guys on.  Let’s face it, I was self-seeking and loved the attention of the opposite sex. I have yet to get to the bottom as to why but a thorough 4th step will uncover a lot when I get to it. For now, here is a short list of the kind of damage I did and would make amends for if it WERE appropriate because today, it is NOT:

  1. I broke up with my very first “boyfriend” on his doorstep, dropping him off after the “sadie hawkins” Valentines dance. 2 years later, the same was done to me after the Homecoming dance. Of course it did. I totally deserved it.
  2. Barely paid attention to my date at the Homecoming dance the year prior to the one mentioned above. Why? Because I was no longer interested in him and wanted to be there with someone else.  He went on to be a total jerk to me until Sr. year and as fate would have it, I married him 12 years later. Man, I am one lucky gal.
  3. I willingly fueled situations that led to physical encounters between guys I was dating and ones who had hurt me in some way.  That’s just weird to me.
  4. I befriended guys who wanted to be more than friends – when I was single AND in a relationship. It is clear to me now that I simply loved the attention, bearing no concern for their feelings. Careless and mean.
  5. Fell in love with “the one that got away” and broke up with D1 in hopes to be with him. But the love was not returned, so I went BACK to D1, only to cheat on him a few months later with H – and then lied about it so he wouldn’t break up with me.  Then I really broke up with him and called him pathetic when he wouldn’t stop crying. At that point, I really was a heartless drunk.
  6. “Dated” guys while I waited for H to move home from out of state. I DID however, tell them not to get attached because someone else had my heart and they were just “fillers” but still…selfish and not cool.
  7. I’m not going to say how but I hurt H at the beginning of our relationship. Pretty bad. I will be making a living amends to him for the remainder of our days on this earth.

Yes, I am sorry for all the above and that’s all I want or even need to say. When it comes to my days “playing the field,” it’s time to let go of all the shame, remorse, guilt and any other negative feelings that no longer serve me.

#morewillberevealed

My Reprimands – Part 3

Reprimand for Misdemeanor #2 – 2012:  My sentencing required a lot from me over the course of the next 18 months and, as previously mentioned, one of those things was spending 2 weekends on lock down. I find it hard to hold back telling you everything about this experience so here’s a sub-list of the moments that stood out as particularly memorable:

  • The seasoned inmate who called me “ma” as she consoled me in the depths of my emotional breakdown after waiting HOURS to be assigned a bunk and my name not being called. Fun little fact: “ma” was a nickname I shared with a couple besties in high school and it stemmed from a mean-spirited joke about someone else. Oh the irony.
  • The two other “weekenders” whom I befriended and at one point shared my hopes to get (or already be) pregnant. I became FB friends with one of them and I still am to this day. Coincidentally enough, I saw her 3 years later and locked eyes with her as I led a meeting telling my story. I was also pregnant with A2 at that time and she had gotten her 3rd DUI. Now THAT’S a trip!
  • Being solicited to smuggle drugs back in when I returned for weekend #2. I asked her, “do I look like someone who would know how to score hard drugs?” Where those balls came from, I have no idea and the fact that I escaped a lunch room beat down from challenging a broad like that is beyond my comprehension. Another bullet dodged.
  • My bunkmate the same weekend.  My first impression of her gave me no reason to feel intimidated or think she was in for anything other than drugs, like the majority of inmates.  That is until she nonchalantly tells me she had just done heroin for the first time the day before and later threatens to kick the ass of the person who had just farted in her general vicinity. Confession: it was me and I remained unscathed. (so many bullets!!)
  • The one and ONLY email I received from a loved one those two miserable weekends.  Yes, I still have it and no, you can’t read it. But you CAN read excerpts from it right here:

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(To the author of the above hilarity, if you are reading this, I still laugh at your humor in this email. You’re still funnier than me, but man of man do I have some new material!)

  • The wasted woman puking up blood in the drunk tank as I waited to be released.  I was far from accepting my alcoholism but I felt compelled to give her the hard word and told her if she didn’t stop drinking NOW, she was going to die. She proceeded to tell me she was already dying from esophageal cancer. Several months later, I saw the same woman at a rehab facility where I attended a handful of “after care meetings.” In that moment, I wanted to run up to her and tell her how happy I was to see her alive and getting help to improve the quality of her life for as long she had left. But I didn’t because I knew there was no way she’d remember me.

As the ex who traveled with me to the aforementioned foreign country where I EASILY could have become a cold case victim would say: fun times…fun times.

Like I said before, this series has been mostly for me; it serves as a “purging” if you will, much like what I talked about in my very first blog post.  However, I’ve beat myself up long enough for my choices with the opposite sex and my recovery journey. I think enough time has passed that I’m ready to be fully free from all of that negativity. God keeps doing for me what I could not do for myself and has relieved me of the desire to publicly shame these lost and damaged souls, therefore, I have removed the DUDS page from my menu, as well as deleted their “letters.”

I have totally forgiven all of those dudes who didn’t deserve me.

Thank you, God!

#morewillberevealed

My Reprimands – Part 1

Reprimand(s) #1 – February, 2005: The Drunk Tank and Community Service

Highlights from my arrest, “the tank” and community service:

  • Cuffed and chatting* with the young officer en route to jail, I BRIEFLY considered offering him sexual favors if he’d just let me go.** I said brief, people. It was like “I wonder if…” and then a half-second later I heard my OROD’s voice say in my head “don’t be an idiot, Pixie” and that was the end of that. 
  • Shared the drunk tank with a tweeker who kept banging her head on the concrete wall, biting her tongue till it bled and who I graciously allowed to braid my hair to pass the time.
  • Sought refuge in a corner as two women came close to brawling over the barely private toilet stall.
  • Upon my release, being the sentimental person that I am, I asked if I could keep my inmate tags they cut off my wrist.  The woman behind the glass window gave me disapproving eyes and I sheepishly bid her farewell, never thinking I’d find myself there again. You know what happened next. Just a mere couple hours later, I drank, got behind the wheel again, got pulled over and drove away with a warning. Un-frickin-believable.

Oh yeah, I mentioned community service. This experience was pretty uneventful. The only memory worth mentioning from my time in the orange vest was the small exchange I had with the supervising officer on day 1 and it went a little something like this:

Officer: Alright ya’ll, grab your gloves and let’s get to work.

Me: Shoot, I need gloves?  I didn’t bring any.

Officer: You came to community service with no gloves? How many days you got?

Me: um, 2?

Officer: That’s all? Hey everybody! White girl here only has 2 days.

Me: (in my head) oh no, now I have a target on my back.

(Eye roll) So dramatic. Know what, I’m gonna say it: That’s some racist, judgmental, white privalege bullshit right there. All of it. On MY part. I mean, wow. Shame on me!

The Reprimand Series

img_0299All of that drunk driving I did eventually caught up to me…twice…and I’m lucky it wasn’t more. I’m even luckier that I never seriously harmed or killed anybody or myself.  I swallowed the bitter pills of humiliation and shame as I went about righting my wrongs. I paid my debts to society by spending a couple weekends in community service AND jail with a bunch of lost and abandoned souls serving out their short to long term sentences or awaiting trial.  The next few posts will feature highlights from my days in the orange vest, my time “on the inside” and the guys that were, what one might consider, “fixtures” in my life during those times.

That being said, I do need to say something:  I already told you, this series is MOSTLY for me. I know I previously mentioned that I wasn’t going to be very nice in my “reprimands” to my DUDS but let’s be honest, I’m also really good at blowing hot air.  It’s likely they’ll never read this anyway, but my conscience simply won’t allow me to unload it all. Truth be told, I no longer care what they think about me but I DO care about the impact my words MIGHT have on them or others they care about. Anonymous or not, it’s not right for me to go there.

Don’t be mistaken though. I’m still going to go there. Just not THERE there.

#morewillberevealed

Reprimands Avoided – Bullets (with Balls)

Reprimands (past): Many bullets dodged and not enough lessons learned.

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If there was a game called “let’s see who can dodge the most bullets in life,” it’s safe to say I would have dominated the competition. Remember that cheating scandal I told you about and how I was mad that I wasn’t in on the scheme? Bullet dodged.

Engaging in illicit activities along side my boyfriend with a stranger outside a club in a foreign country, losing my wallet and running into said stranger on the beach who had it with nothing missing? Several bullets dodged (seriously, you have no idea.)

Calling in “sick” from the night before or showing up late, still drunk with booze on my breath, misplaced or lost keys, and emotional outbursts without ever getting fired from my job? Obscene amounts of bullets dodged.

Countless times drunk behind the wheel and damaging multiple cars with no severe consequences? How about getting pulled over for expired tags 20 minutes after drinking bloody marys just after my release from my 1st of 4 stints in a women’s detention facility and driving off with a warning? Undeserving bullets dodged.

Then there’s my revolving door of friendships. I have run with various circles through different phases of my life and I’m surprised I didn’t do more wreckage.  I’m sure I did, I just don’t know to what extent and I cringe at the thought. But what matters today is how I show up for my friends now because I actually need and value these special people in my life.

But listen…just because I don’t drink anymore, doesn’t mean my “assism” went away. I can still be a total asshole sometimes. I’ve just gotten a lot better at recognizing it and making amends when necessary.

I came close to losing best friends at different times during my drinking career but came the closest to losing my OROD a couple times IN recovery.* No alcohol involved, imagine that. 

And finally, all the years, emotional energy and money squandered dating and/or pining over degenerate losers or playboys. Most of them were selfish with no moral compass who used me for their own financial gain and/or didn’t see me for more than a sex object. However, I still managed to redeem my stellar credit score and avoided a handful of STDs and/or getting pregnant with their children.

SO.MANY.BULLETS.DODGED.

Clearly, I got away with a lot of “shtuff” and needed to repeat the same mistakes over and over to end up in all the low places that I did, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

I needed things to work out the way I didn’t think they should have, in order for me to have the life I never thought I would have…

and you know what that means…

#morewillberevealed

Skeletons 2.10 – My Recovery Revealed

Revealed: It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol is a subtle foe. (BB, pg. 85)

I remember the first time I learned that smoking pot was a no no in the rooms of AA. I was sitting in a meeting watching a woman take a 1 year token after “smoking a little weed” when she had 11 years of sobriety. I distinctly remember a part of her share when she received the coin and it went SOMETHING like this:

“I really don’t want to be taking this token but my sponsor is making me.”

I thought it was ridiculous that a woman with long term sobriety would be “told” she had to start over.  I still do and that’s why I kept my “marijuana maintenance” a secret for so long.

Revealing my chosen recovery path here isn’t the first time I have “outed myself.”  I came clean to 3 friends a few years ago and their response was this:

“So? The only requirement for membership is the desire to stop drinking.”

I couldn’t believe my ears and was really happy they were so accepting.  It was a game changer for me and I started going back to meetings. But not regularly. Even though no one else in the program knew, I still felt like an outcast and “not worthy” to be an active member of AA. Down deep, I really did want to be “a part of” but I was convinced I wouldn’t be accepted if I fully “got honest.” I felt like a fraud and it was killing me inside. I could NOT let go of the idea that I didn’t belong because I WAS doing it “my way” and if they knew, they’d shun me. Why?

MY ego.

MY pride.

MY will.

I was IN self and entering the danger zone, distancing myself further and further from the program.

I’ve heard countless times that people who smoke weed in recovery end up leaving AA altogether and eventually turn to the drink when life gets really hard. And guess what…

…it did. I left AA and then shit got real. And guess what…

…the thought to drink DID occur to me a handful of times. But did I?

#morewillberevealed

Skeletons 2.6 – My Recovery Reflection

Reflection (past) – Hindsight is 20/20…sometimes.

Sooooooo, we decided it was a good idea to go to Las Vegas for Easter weekend 2018.

Easter weekend in Sin City? Really? Yes!

With the kids? You know it! 

We needed to get out of dodge. H suggested it and I said “hey, why not?” The plan was to leave early on Saturday morning so we had 2 full days. But something unexpected happened two  days before that threw me into panic mode: We had a lice infestation!!!

I will spare you the series of events that occurred but let’s just say, once again, I made things harder for myself than they needed to be. It was a cluster of a situation that had me crying and cursing myself left and right.  We were close to canceling the trip all together but I gave in and spent every pretty penny’s worth on having it professionally removed.

The whole debacle was such an ordeal, I knew there was no way we were going to get on the road as early as we had planned. And we didn’t. We lost the entire day and arrived to our hotel at 5pm.  Not the end of the world, at least we made it and enjoyed the time we did get to spend there. However, I’ve reflected a bunch since we’ve been back and have caught myself doing a little bit of self-loathing with the “coulda, woulda, shouda” statements (CWSs):

I could have saved a lot of time, stress and tears if I would have just slowed down instead of rushing to fix the problem without informing myself better. I should have done more research.

If only I could have seen them sooner; then I would have taken care of it before it got so bad. I should have been paying closer attention. 

I might as well be incarcerated for the mental beat downs I give myself, I mean damn.  When this pattern of “stinking thinking” takes over, I cannot be in the present or of any use to others. So, figuratively speaking, I am a prisoner…..in my own mind.

This “stinking thinking” has carried over into my recovery life as well. I remember somewhere in year #3, S2 said “I wish you would put as much time into your spiritual fitness as you do your physical fitness.” Looking back, I totally get what she was saying.

As I reflect on the first 4 years of my recovery, the CSWs held me back from taking it really seriously.  Plus, I still hadn’t accepted my alcoholism and was l”ugging around my baggage,” so I always had one foot in and one foot out when it came to AA.  I thought it was all about drinking and as long as I wasn’t drinking, I was good.

Other than that, as I talked about in Part 1, my recovery from March 2012 – December 2016, was half-assed, at best. I did the bare minimum of what was required of me and flew below the radar. I did not “get in the middle” and fall in love with the program or the fellowship. Sure, I was cordial and even made friends but I was basically faking the whole recovery part. Yep, I celebrated each year abstinent from alcohol, took dirty tokens, and celebrated others do the same. I was genuine when it came to my interactions, most of my shares, the relationships I formed and what I brought to the table in terms of friendship. However, everything pertaining to recovery was pretty much an act but I wasn’t just fooling others, I was fooling myself as well.

In hindsight, if I HAD taken suggestions and done everything that I coulda, woulda shoulda done in early recovery, I probably would have “gotten it” sooner and not wasted the first 4 years at war with myself, delaying my growth as a spiritual woman in recovery.

But see, I thought that if I revealed my BBS to others, they would think less of me, internalizing this negative belief that I am automatically less deserving of all the gifts that recovery and working with others had to offer.

After 2 more years of meetings (still on again, off again,) a lot of prayer, self reflection, and candid discussions with people in and outside the rooms of AA, I now have a different perspective so here’s what I think of that:

FTS!

#morewillberevealed

Skeletons 2.5 – My Reactions

In this next post, I talk about my interventions. Fun times, you guys, fun times. If you think you may have a drinking problem, well, I hate to break it to ya but you’re probably right. Wanna chat about it? I’m all ears! You can find me on Insta @myrecoveryrevealed.


Reactions:  Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. – Charles R. Swindoll

I’m just going to cut to the chase and give you a clear picture of what alcohol does to an lush like me: a codependent, conflict adverse, people-pleaser who needs validation, praise, love and acceptance from others.  In my right mind, I’d never be on a rooftop as my family approached my front door below shouting “WTF are you doing here!?!?”

And on that note…

Intervention #1, 2006

My sister was concerned after I shared something disturbing that had recently happened when I was drunk at another dude’s house. Disturbing enough that she felt it was time to get my parents involved. All 3 of them arrived unannounced. They calmly expressed their worries and asked why I was so sad. I recall mentioning not being pleased with my life, depression and whatever else I could muster up for self seeking pity. There was no drama. I knew I had a drinking problem and I was going to fix it! I set out to stay sober for 2 weeks. And I did. But then I drank again and I picked up right where I left off.  I moved back in with my parents for the last time and gained SOME control but not for very long (per usual.)

Fast forward 6 years and being the go-getter that I am, I managed to set myself up for not 1 but 2 interventions, back to back. Go meeeeee!

Intervention #2, February – 2012

In Skeletons 2.3, I talk about the events leading up to this quiet sit down. It was just H & my parents and once again, I was calm and not defensive. But that’s only because I was sober and knew I couldn’t talk my way out of this one. H asked me why I kept relapsing and my dad said “it’s the disease.” At that moment, I silently agreed with him. I had no defense of my own. Once again, I solemnly swore that I was done drinking for good.

I told you what happened next: I took advantage of a stop to run into the store for something and prepared for Intervention #3 by smuggling 2 mini-boxes of wine back home for a rainy day.

Ha! Just kidding…

Intervention #3, the very next day

I also share details about what led up to this showdown in the post before this.

You know that horrible feeling when you wake up in the morning, not remembering something troubling from the day before and then you do remember and your heart sinks? I’ve experienced this feeling many times, post drinking and not drinking. Well this was my reality waking up and I was going into panic mode. My mom was talking to my mother in law and what I was hearing discussed enraged me. I was chain smoking in the back yard trying to think of a reasonable excuse I could give my boss as to why I had to miss work.

I was beside myself.  Not because I was being forced to quit drinking. I knew I needed help stopping, just not the level of help everyone else was insisting I needed.  I was trying to tell them all this but no one was listening to me.  I knew how much I was drinking and it sure as heck did not require a supervised detox and 30 days at an inpatient facility.

But again, no one was listening to me.  My internal need to be heard was being ignored and I felt like I was being a treated like a child; and in their defense, I WAS acting like a child. 100%.  My power of choice had been taken away from me and I was throwing a tantrum.

Long story short, I did end up getting evaluated.  Physically, I was not in withdrawal and I answered all questions honestly, thus determining what I already knew: I qualified for outpatient rehab, NOT inpatient and I started the 6 week program right away.


When I have shared scathing details of my drinking career, people say “I can’t picture you acting like that.” I know. Neither can I.  When I think about all the questionable and downright unacceptable things I did, it almost feels like a completely different life. Like, I can’t even fathom living that way.

But I did. I lived it. And by the grace of God, I lived long enough to come out the other side. However, my inability to take responsibility made it take much longer than it should have. As a result, I stayed a dry drunk until December, 2016.

It wasn’t long after then that God said “alright, she’s ready now” and intervened in a way that made me question EVERYTHING.

Including my chosen path of recovery.

#morewillberevealed