I’m a Yeller :(

I will never forget the first time I yelled at A1. A2 was a newbie, less than 3 months old and A1 was 2 ½. Us 3 girls were home doing laundry up in the small hallway of our townhouse while H was at work. I was still using a gate at the top of the stairs, A1 was “running loose” and A2 was in the bouncer being the precious little angel baby that she was.

A1 was a jealous big sister and she wasted no time in showing me too. I had no idea WTF I was doing but was telling myself I did, so I assured H he could go back to work when A2 was just 8 days old.

H: Are you sure?

P: Totally. I got this.

But did I?

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Nursing in a glider. Not a couch. Not a stationary chair. A chair that moved.

Yeaahhhh no I didn’t and that was just the beginning.

A1 was VERY affectionate towards A2 – in such a way that I was scared of her smothering her.  Of course she wouldn’t, not in front of me anyway but what I’m trying to get at is this: I could NOT keep A1 OFF of A2.

So we’re in the hallway, I’m tired and hungry, A1 is running amok, getting in A2’s face every 5 seconds and I’m cursing myself for ever having children because now I have even MORE laundry.  And then it happened.

I didn’t see it coming.

It came out of nowhere.

I yelled.

And it was loud.

Loud enough that I scared all 3 of us. I felt like shit IMMEDIATELY. I don’t recall feeling triggered to drink at that moment but I do know I went to a meeting that night.  On the way, however, I stopped to bring a snack to share and was overcome with self-pity. Why?

Because the patrons in front and behind me in line were buying alcohol and I was not. I didn’t even REALLY want to drink but started to cry in line knowing that they got to drink and I couldn’t. It had now been 3+ years since my last drink and here I was sulking over being an alcoholic and wishing SO badly (and still thinking maybe) I wasn’t. Remember, I was a dry drunk and would remain that way for another year and 7 months.

What do you think would have happened that evening had I succumbed to my emotions and decided to drink; or any other time I found myself overcome with great sorrow over the fact that I was an alcoholic and couldn’t “take the edge off” like normal drinkers? I shudder at the thought.

I remember what I was like when I drank and I was atrocious. If you’re a new reader, you can read my “drunkalogue” in Skeletons Part 1 by visiting the My Story page.  

Aside from drunk driving, did I tell you about the time I utilized a deadly weapon in a drunken stupor? This was, of course, before I quit drinking. I was hammered and out of my mind. I was CONVINCED H had taken my phone and hid it IN the couch.  It didn’t matter what he said, I KNEW IT and the longer he denied it, the more volatile I got. Next thing I knew, I had a knife in my hand. Not a butter knife or a steak knife, a big ass, “I will cut you” knife. I took that thing and sliced open our couch only to find that he was telling the truth – my phone was not in the couch.  No no no, turns out, it was in the bathroom and I’m pretty sure I hid it from myself.

That’s the shit alcohol makes me do.

I’m reckless, out of control and downright dangerous.

THAT’S why CPS would be knocking on my door if I was drinking today.  There is seriously no telling what I would do in moments of anger but I know what I’m capable of and it’s terrifying to even fathom.

So when tempers run high in high stress, anxiety stricken moments with my girls, I don’t drink and smoke weed instead because MJ doesn’t have that effect on me. It aids in keeping me in check when my brain is in overdrive.  It IS a tool in MY recovery toolbox and like I said, it’s not my only tool or the first one I pick up either.

But back then, it was and that’s just how my story goes.

I love my story. And guess what…

…it keeps getting better and better.

#morewillberevealed

My Relapse – Part 3

Relapse #3: I don’t remember what I had but I want to say it was another ½ mini-box of wine? Or maybe 2 mini bottles from a 4 pack? Weird I don’t know specifics because this was the least I had drank of all the relapses since my DUI.  Hubs came home earlier than expected. Since it was such a small amount, I really didn’t think he’d notice.

But he did. He asked. I lied.

H: “Why do I not believe you?”

P: I don’t know because I haven’t.

H: Okay then. Let’s go to your car and you blow in your breathalyzer.

P: (yep, I’m screwed) Okay, let’s go.

H: (sigh) nooo, it’s alright, I guess I believe you.

ANOTHER bullet dodged and man, was I sweating!  I decided right then and there that I couldn’t risk it again because the next consequence would be him leaving me – even though he never once said that he would.

See, that’s where my brain can go sometimes. Immediately to the worst case scenario with nothing to back it up. Like a hypochondriac (which I can also admit that I am to some extent) thinks they are at death’s door when they experience unfamiliar symptoms they cannot explain, I was foretelling the death of my marriage. It’s just so dramatic (eye roll).

I decided I’d wait a while.  I’d complete the 6 week outpatient rehab program, the dust would settle and I’d drink again when it fizzled into something we just didn’t talk about. You know, sweep it under the rug like it never happened. Story of my life.

But I haven’t.

My new date was now March 30th, 2012 and has remained that date ever since.  I am now 8 years sober from alcohol.

#morewillberevealed

My Relapse – Part 2

Relapse #2: I decided I’d do one final “test.” It’s a common test we lushes like to take and it’s rather quite simple for normal drinkers to do: have just ONE drink and that be all. Since I had a suspended license, I walked up to the liquor store and bought 2 of those mini fridge size bottles of vodka and pineapple juice.

Yes, that’s one drink – a double bay breeze, sans cran, duh. Why would I drink a single? I’ve never known an alcoholic to order just ONE single shot cocktail and call it a night. And I know a lot of alcoholics. I’m no different. But I REALLY wanted to be.

Of course I failed the test because the “phenomenon of craving” came on strong right away and before I knew it, I was walking back up the hill to the shopping center but to the grocery store this time.  I couldn’t return to the same place I was just at. I thought they’d think I’m alcoholic and I couldn’t stand the thought of that kind of judgment. I purchased 1 of those mini-boxed wines, hustled home and got to drinking.  I drank…maybe ½?…before H got home. And not soon after, he figured it out and left. I went to finish the box, but a strong sense of conviction came over me and I poured it out.

My new date was now March 24th.

#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

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

Skeletons 2.4 – My Recovery Responsibility

Responsibility (past & present): “Every time you point a finger at someone, there are 3 pointing back at you.” – Unknown

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My favorite game to play in life has been the “blame game.”  Call me out and my go to reaction is more often than not, defensive. I will go to great lengths to justify my mistakes by giving you all the details that led up to them, paying particular attention to who and/or what I could blame so that I am pardoned. Not only that, if push comes to shove, I’ll even unfold my laundry list of transgressions made against me to deflect from the issue at hand.

Before taking my recovery and spirituality seriously, my former ROD had pointed this out to me in the past and I would deny it tooth and nail. I didn’t even understand this concept and had never heard of the “blame game” until S2 related to me when discussing marital quarrels. She stated that she too could be a “blamer” and that it’s important to be mindful of our roles in difficult circumstances and to not shift blame where it doesn’t belong.

When it came to my drinking, everyone, everything and what happened around me was to blame and I carried that mindset with me into recovery.  If I couldn’t make a meeting, complete some step work or get together with my sponsor or friends in the program, you best believe I had an excuse as to why and it was almost always not my fault. Unless backed into a corner, I straight up could never take responsibility for ANYTHING.

If I didn’t know better today, I’d likely still be twisting, manipulating and lying my way out of everything so long as it didn’t hurt anyone and I felt assured that I remained in your good graces. Old habits die hard and I have to really check myself at times.

Truth be told, my recovery suffered because of all the lies I was telling myself: I’m not an alcoholic, I’m not like everyone else, they need help more than me, everyone else made do (or not do) it, I will drink again someday, blah blah freakin’ blah.

There’s only one person to blame for my slow progress and spiritual growth in recovery. All I had to do was take a look in the mirror to see the real person at fault:

Me, myself and I.

#morewillberevealed