My Recovery Rock Bottom – Part 3

“You wouldn’t know, you’re not a mother.”

My friend was right.  She was a mom in the depths of toddler hell and I was childless.

What you don’t know is, I had suffered a miscarriage less than 6 months prior and was actively trying to get pregnant again – I wanted to be a mother more than anything.

But she did know.  She knew that and she uttered those hurtful words anyway because she was struggling with something I knew nothing about. Which is funny because, I ALSO was struggling with something she knew nothing about. She didn’t have to “try” for a baby and she never knew what it was like to lose one either.

I called my husband on my way to work to invite him to my daily pity party of 1:

“Can you believe she’d say that?” (waaaah waaaah) “She KNOWS how bad I want a baby!” (waaaaaaaaah)

I had already polished off the wine from the night before.

“Have you been drinking?” he asked

Of course I lied. I lied all the time about my drinking. But everyone close to me knew I was an alcoholic. Down deep, even I knew, but I was drowning in a sea of denial at the same time. Less than 6 months later, I got my second DUI on my 32nd birthday. 2 days later, my husband told me he thought it best to wait 6 months to get pregnant. Devastation is an understatement. I wanted to get hammered but instead, cried myself to sleep because it had been decided for me that I was done drinking. Sure, I could have drank but I did not want to deal with the consequences…not that weekend, anyway.

I went on to relapse a handful of times over the next two months and for some reason, my husband changed his mind on baby making.  I picked up a sponsor to make everyone think I was serious about sobriety (cuz I wasn’t) and she highly suggested I wait a year to get pregnant.

What do you think this dry drunk girl did?

1 month later, I saw 2 lines and it wouldn’t be too long until I would experience the challenges that come with ages 0-5 that my friend was lamenting about just before she dropped that insensitive statement on me.

Do I regret getting pregnant in my first year of recovery? Of course not!  God did for me what I could not do for myself.  I’m convinced that had I not gotten pregnant, I would have drank again and again; causing more wreckage along the way. That being said, I’m also positive that had I put more effort into my recovery that first year, I would have been better equipped with tools to handle life when it got harder after we brought home baby #2.

Because being a mother is hard AF. I cannot imagine doing it drunk.

Being a mother (with alcoholism) without a complete reliance on a Higher Power proved to be unbearable. For me anyway. Hence the name of this series – My Recovery Rock Bottom.

#morewillberevealed

A Rebel is Reveling in the Change (of her Closet)

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The “She Shed”…

Have you watched the show “Tidying Up” on Netflix yet? It’s a reality show with tidying expert, Marie Kondo, helping families and couples “purge” their homes of any and all things that do not bring them joy. When all is said and done, her clients have developed new habits in maintaining tidy, functioning living spaces AND have reignited joy, happiness and harmony in their homes.

For me, finding this show was a game-changer.  Because, see, I am more or less a fucking slob.

That’s right. I am.

That’s not self-deprecating language either, it’s the truth. I’m not even going to try to blame “part-time working motherhood” because the fact of the matter is, I’ve been this way my entire life.  I have always played “catch up” with the messes I have created for myself to clean up.

The worse my house gets, the more daunting the task of tidying becomes.  I find myself paralyzed, not knowing where to begin; cursing myself for even allowing it to get so bad. Beating myself up for not “maintaining” like I said I would do.

When that negative self-talk takes my mind hostage, I accomplish nothing and the house gets worse. It reaches a point where I cannot take another day living in such chaos, so what do I do? I attack and I attack HARD. I’ll spend the entire day putting my house “back together” and feel a massive weight lifted.

Until it goes to shit again and I’m back to where I started.

Disaster → Fix → Relax → Repeat.

Since obtaining valuable tips and tools from the show, my home has become more manageable. However, with young kids in the house, I gotta stay on top of it. I MUST implement daily tasks to keep my home from “falling apart.”

And THAT my friends, is the story of my life when it comes to treating my alcoholism. While I haven’t drank in (ALMOST) 7 years almost 9 years, I’m still an alcoholic. I always will be.

I no longer have a drinking problem but I will always have a thinking problem and thinking problem can make or break my day. Every.Single.Day.

Just like my home, if I get complacent on my spiritual program of action, things go down for me real quick.  I don’t drink but I engage in other thinking and behavioral problems that make life…well…unmanageable.

If you’ve been reading for a while, you’ll know that this blog was conceived in my closet and that my closet represents my life as a dry drunk and alcoholic in recovery. I have spent the past year and 3 months transforming both : purging, organizing, and holding onto things that I am not ready to let go of yet – in my closet and in my recovery.

In Skeletons Part 1, I talk about what my drinking and recovery was like before deciding to take my life back.

In Skeletons Part 2, I talk about what happened to land me in the rooms of AA and my desire for change in recovery.

I was 4 months shy of 6 years without a drink when this blog was born and a LOT has gone down – leaps of faith, secrets revealed, therapy and lots of “getting honest with myself.”  And here we are now in Skeletons Part 3: What (by God’s Grace) it’s Like Now.

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And let me tell you…

…I LOVE the changes so far.

But there is still work to be done. There will always be work to be done.

Recovery is a lifelong journey that I am so grateful to have finally embraced: striving to be a better human being than I was the day before.

One.

Day.

At.

A.

Time.

#morewillberevealed

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 My “Cloffice”

Ps.  My “Cloffice” is being “remodeled” again!  3 years since this blog was born and I’m still working in my closet.  I can’t wait to show you!

Skeletons 3.1 – My Recovery Reborn

Reborn (present): “We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.” The Promises of AA (BB, pg 83-84)

In Skeletons 1.3, I mentioned giving a speech at my high school graduation and this is what I said about it:

“I spewed a bunch of nonsense. I knew exactly what they wanted to hear and I gave it to them. Knocked that fucker out of the park. “

For my birthday this year, my in-laws had a mini “viewing party” for my husband, kids and I.  Upon plopping on the couch, tv still off, I somehow knew what it was we were about to watch: excerpts from our high school graduation video. And I was right! Upon watching myself at 18 years old, I was hit with 2 realizations:

  1. My speech was NOT as good as I had remembered and
  2. My anxiety was grossly apparent and that further proves why sharing in meetings has always been a challenge for me.

“…and as we celebrate tonight, we must remember to glorify him in everything we do.”

Lip service, that’s what that was.  I knew what they wanted to hear but my delivery was cringe worthy; not only that but I did the exact opposite of glorifying God in everything that I did that night.*

Let me remind you that I was giving this speech as STUDENT BODY PRESIDENT. Not the president of my class. The president of the ASSOCIATED STUDENT BODY, people!

Let me also remind you that I became ASB President by default, I was not voted in.  I was voted into the ASB as the secretary, NOT ASB President. But then something crazy happened that led to some “impeachments” and yours truly automatically took the seat**; if you recall, I was not party to the scandal I mentioned in Skeletons 1.3. because my friends were worried I would ruin it for everyone. Fair enough.

Fast forward 15 years later to March, 2013.

I was up in front of a room full of women accepting my 1 year token.  I have no idea what I said except for this big fat lie:

“The promises really have come true for me.”

I didn’t even know what the promises really meant, I had no idea what I was saying, and I stumbled over every single word I thought they wanted to hear.  And that’s how it went every single time I accepted a token thereafter, up until year #5, the last token I “took” (as we say in the rooms.)

Fast forward 2 years later and I’m not like that today.

Today, I say what I mean and I mean what I say.

Today, I do what I say I’m going to do…for the most part…and when I don’t, the only person I am letting down is myself.

Today, I still get super nervous sharing but I’m a little bit calmer and self-confident.

Today, I care more about how my share will impact the newcomer and not what others are going to think about me.

Today, I do know a new freedom and a new happiness.

That’s what faith does.

That’s what trust does.

That’s what love does.

Thank you, S3 – you know who you are.

And thank you, HP! To God be all the glory.

#morewillberevealed

My Rebirth

Rebirth: “Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.” (BB, pg.59)


Did you read the Daily Reflections today. If you didn’t, click here. (Reminder, I also have the link in the sidebar.)

WOW, what a God shot!

A year ago, I set out to be “reborn” from the inside out. I wanted to start fresh and live authentically. I ceased coloring my hair after doing so for 20 years. The longer it grew out, the shorter I cut it. I’ve never been huge on make-up but I stopped wearing it all together unless situations called for it. My face went “naked” as often as possible.

I was still purging my closet and set out to purge more throughout the house. One room, closet, and cupboard at a time. I started purging my email inbox and decided it was far too overwhelming and opened a new email account…2 actually because, well, you know, one is never enough. Haha.

Seriously tho, I thought it would help me get organized. It didn’t. But it did help make things more manageable.

The purging process has been just that, a process. It’s not getting done perfectly but I make progress every time I put in the effort. The same can be said for my recovery.

Progress, not perfection. That’s a not a new year motto, that’s a LIFE motto. And I didn’t make that up either, I got that from AA too!

I set out to “rebirth my recovery” and live authentically in the rooms of AA, which meant I also purged my brain, right here on this blog. If this is the first time you are visiting, welcome. I’ve shared a lot about my drinking and recovery in the past but not so much in the present or future. You can get an idea of what it has looked like and what happened in the past by clicking on My Story, which can also be found in the main menu.

If you CBB, ZFG. This is the perfect time to start following because it’s time to leave the past behind once and for all and live in the present and look forward to the future with Part 3: What (by God’s Grace) it is Like Now.

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#morewillberevealed

P.S. Reminder: I’m on IG as @pixiedustorm & @myrecoveryrevealed. If you don’t already, go follow me there too by clicking the link at the top of my page. I’ll be posting on both of those pages more frequently AS WELL!

Skeletons 2.11 – My Remorse

**Disclaimer: This is an unusual recovery blog. I am presently in the “what happened” portion of my story, which focuses primarily on my drinking and recovery in the past. Whether this is your first time here or you are a returning reader, I encourage you to visit my About page before reading further.**

Remorse (past) – Our friend is still victimized by remorse and guilt when he thinks of yesterday. (12 x 12, Step 3, pg. 39)

Like most problem drinkers and alcoholics, I did and said things I would never do sober.  There were always consequences – big and small – but the ones that did the most damage were the guilt, shame and remorse. Why?

Because that was the cycle – drink, do or say things I would regret, wake up, feel bad for said things and then drink the bad feelings away.

The feeling of remorse was a constant. The longer I drank, the worse I got, the worse I felt, the more I drank. I was even remorseful for drinking when I DIDN’T do anything stupid. I knew I had crossed the line into full-blown alcoholism and made many vain attempts in getting my shit together. Chapter 3 of the BB offers a list of some of the methods people try in order to gain control of their drinking so they don’t have to quit for good. Here’s the list, what I tried and the result (over an approx 10 year period:)

  1. Drinking beer only – nope, didn’t drink beer unless it was the only thing available.
  2. Never drinking in the morning – yep, failed.
  3. Drinking only at home – nope, in fact, I far more enjoyed drinking socially even though I did most of it at home.
  4. Never drinking alone – yep, failed.
  5. Never drinking during business hours – yep, failed.
  6. Drinking only at parties – nope, refer to #3.
  7. Switching from scotch to brandy – literally speaking, nope. But I DID try using MJ to help me drink LESS and that DID work…for a little bit soooo, that’s a fail.
  8. Drinking only natural wines – nope, wine is wine and my drink of choice. I never discriminated.
  9. Agreeing to resign if ever drunk on the job – nope, I was never put in this position but should have been fired a gazillion times for how alcohol affected my job performance.
  10. Taking a trip or NOT taking a trip – nope, taking a trip meant uninhibited alcohol consumption and the only reason I wouldn’t take a trip is if I was told I couldn’t drink on it.
  11. Swearing off forever (with and without a solemn oath) – yep and yep, failed.
  12. Taking more physical exercise – yep, failed.
  13. Reading inspiration books – yep, failed.
  14. Going to health farms and sanitariums – kinda? I went to a holistic nutritionist at one point. I tried. But not hard enough. So, yeah, fail.
  15. Accepting voluntary commitment to asylums – yep and you can read about it in Skeletons 2.3 – My Reckonings.

The book says next “we could increase the list ad infinitum” and that is most definitely true for me.  Here are a few (and very common) other methods I personally tried to manage my drinking:

  1. Limiting the number of drinks I would have in a social environment – “I’m only going to have X many drinks tonight.” More often than not, I failed.
  2. Only drinking on the weekends – always failed.
  3. “Personal detoxes” – Swear off alcohol for a determined or undetermined amount of time. I (almost) always succeeded, felt amazing, and slowly fell back into the same patterns once I started drinking again.

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The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 30

It was a deathly cycle that I simply couldn’t change on my own and I needed help but didn’t WANT to ask because I was for too prideful to admit defeat.

So God did for me what I couldn’t do for myself. A “concerned motorist” called me in, the cops were already looking for me. I ended up in handcuffs for the second time.

I felt total guilt. Terrible shame. Tremendous remorse. Remember what I did when I got home the next day? Yep, that wine from the night before was calling my name and I answered.

Today, I still feel remorse over things I do or say sober – I am human after all. I just don’t drink to run away from it anymore.

#morewillberevealed

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

Skeletons Part 2.12 – My Recovery Relaxed

Relaxed (past) – “Don’t quit before the miracle happens.” – phrase used in AA.

I distinctly remember the first time I decided I wasn’t going to go to meetings for a while and didn’t know if I was going to come back after I gave birth..  I was VERY pregnant, sitting in a meeting with my legs spread wide open and a human being beating the shit out of my insides. I was done. I was done being pregnant and I was done with AA.

My meeting attendance in early recovery was relatively consistent due to the fact that I needed signatures. After A2 was born, I went on my terms. I was now 3+ years without a drink and back to my recreational usage of MJ. I still harbored the same resentments towards AA and remained one foot in, one foot out. I simply wasn’t ready to work on myself because I didn’t think I had to.

I was self-will run riot and unwilling to accept what I couldn’t change (people, places and things) or have the courage to change what I could (myself!) and God wasn’t having it. My relaxed recovery was about to get an overhaul and I had no idea it was going to look how it does today.

But God did and stuff had to happen first.

In August of 2017, I hit a wall that brought me to my knees, only this time, I wasn’t drinking. In the months that followed, I was living in a perpetual emotional hangover that gave me the desperation I needed to hand my will back over to God.

You wanna know what happened, don’t you? I know, I know, I would too. Fine, I’ll tell give you the condensed, vague version in the form of…that’s right…a list:

  1. Certain aspects of my existence had become unmanageable.
  2. I started to pray and meditate like my life depended on it…because it did.
  3. I saw the need for change and decided it was officially time I defect from AA, announced it in a private recovery group on social media, and sought professional help for my outside issues that had nothing to do with drinking.
  4. Considered drinking AT my issues a couple of times and went to a meeting right away instead.
  5. One of those times was when I decided to tell a bunch of strangers one of my BBS’s and walked away with a glimmer of hope for my place in AA.
  6. Confessed to women I DID know in a house meeting and walked away with even more hope; enough to compel me to seek out a temporary sponsor while I “figured it out.” The woman I asked said yes under conditions I wasn’t willing to adhere to.
  7. Attended meetings off and on, getting more and more annoyed at the “all or nothing” mentality, suggesting that people in recovery are not really sober if they are using marijuana – medicinally or recreationally – and that they would need to start their date over if/when they decided to quit.
  8. Started this blog and was doing recovery without a sponsor or meetings, using all the tools I had learned in AA the past 6 years (as of March 30th, 2018) and was still in therapy.
  9. Found a private FB community and support group for people who also use cannabis in recovery – recreationally and as a harm reduction tool.
  10. Things happened that would not allow me to close the door on AA for good. For example, I found out that the maid of honor I talk about in Skeletons 1.9 had been reading my blog and that she’s ALSO in the program. Are you kidding me!? She instantaneously became Birdie #6. B6, you know WTF you are.
  11. Was met with nothing but support when I told her about my BBS. That same day, B3 strongly encouraged me (again) to stop judging myself and come back to the rooms.
  12. 2 days later, after a long sabbatical from meetings, I got honest in my former home group and claimed my seat; offering to be of service in any way that I could and that I was praying for a sponsor.  

Can you guess what happened next?

I’ll give you a hint…

..a miracle.

#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

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