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Phrase of the year

2 Jan

11:24 am

I’ve seen many posts re: word of the year.  I used to do that, too, and in a way, I guess “phrase” is akin to “word”.

Move the earth.  Or, move the earth, beyotches.  This is my phrase of the year.

2017.  It does have an ominous, heavy feel to it.  Maybe because it’s closer to “20” than “15” or even “10”.  Maybe it’s because I know what lies ahead:  digging in, pushing out, molding form out of lumps of wet clay.  Focus, and effort.  And:  sweet, sweet smells of dirt, of salty earth, of pepper and fire and flint–steely eyes, steeled tongue.  I do not give any fucks anymore–in a good way.  😉

I’ve spent 18 months at a nearly-intolerable job in order to make money, essentially.  I feel like I’ve been PREPARING and PLANNING for a long time, and that includes, thinking about and writing about getting sober.  I won’t stop doing that–it seems, IS, as much a part of staying sober as any of my well-worn coping mechanisms.  BUT, I can officially say that I want something more.  Else.  Different.  New.

(Mind you, I also made my science journalism about writing about addiction, too, for a while, so maybe I’m just burnt out.  Sometimes I think, if I never have to write one more fucking word in my life, I will be the happiest girl alive.  And then I come back to reality:  I am a writer, I am compelled to write.  And I miss it terribly when I don’t write; I can’t even live my life when I don’t process it via the written word!  So, I let that thought go and try to embrace the grey area, so to speak–something that becomes more challenging the more I want to make real change instead of waiting, wanting, working toward something that is coming, in due time, if I just keep plugging.)

Last year at this time, I was in a world of hurt.  Glad that hell is over.  Yes, I made good money and have since continued working (remotely) for that company, but man, was I depressed last year.  No more.  Done.  I made it through.  Happy to NOT be there, and to be here.  Much has transpired between then and now that has helped me get happy again:  I moved home (I am much more myself in a tropical than desert climate); I worked as a barista, which I really loved; we got engaged in May; we traveled a lot this year (New Orleans was my favorite!); I paid off my graduate student loans; I got into running more (I have somehow managed to keep off those 15 pounds for 2.5 years).

One big thing I want to mention is that I started taking hormones by way of the pill!  Imagine:  at 42, I am taking the pill for the first time.  Haha.  It’s worth mentioning because, I have ZERO PMS craziness anymore.  It’s awesome.  MANY of my worst drinking binges happened around or because of my fluctuating hormones–many women who drink can probably say that, they, too, drank when they were PMSing.  No one talks about that, of course, but look, it can be as simple as taking birth control, or, I guess if you’re older, actual hormone replacement therapy–to feel way better, to NOT feel crazy, to not feel angry, or depressed, or like you want to down oceans of wine for two weeks out of the month. Not to mention, the hangovers are from SATAN when your body is not really processing booze well, which (ironically) is what’s happening around this time o’ the month.  (More on this for another post, methinks.)

Anyway, I feel stronger now, and I think I’m simply ready to start thinking about other stuff more of the time.  I mean, I will always blog here, that’s a given.  That I can’t let go.  I would love to wake up, however, and not have this feeling of, I have to think about sobriety.  I have to relate things I do now, in my present life, with my having gotten sober.  I DO, constantly, because it is all intertwined; I just wish there was a way I could both appreciate the past without having to think at all about it.  I’m grateful, though, and it’s just a matter of perspective when it comes to “ruminating” on getting sober, and being sober.

I need to get out more, too.  I quit the coffee shop job back in September, and it has been rough.  I am SO tired of these four walls, you know?  And, I’m getting kind of irritable.  Maybe, mean.  Like, cynical.  I need connection, we all do.  I’m on day 5 of a Facebook fast, and I feel like I like people more–what I get now from interactions is real, it’s authentic.

I admit:  I have felt lonely since not logging into Facebook.  Like, there’s no reason to go on my phone!  Haha.  BUT, I’m slowing down and opening up to the people and places around me; and I’m gaining a little bit of mental patience.  I can take things in that used to annoy me because they were too slow, not enough, immediately boring.  I felt…controlled by Facebook, and that felt very much like being addicted to binge drinking.  Now, I feel better, freer.  It’s good.  Despite feeling truly out of it, and lonely, I’m going to keep going.  (I really miss “on this day”, though…)

As for wanting to drink?  Well, I have to admit that on New Year’s Eve, as I was remembering other NYEs–when I was single, granted, and was going on all these crazy, “life experience”-type trips to far-flung places for the holidays–I felt staid.  Boring.  Not lacking in contentment, but sort of unhappy.  Vexed.  Fear of missing out was an actual, I am missing out.  I am not learning, or growing, or expanding my horizons!

Drinking won’t bring back the “life-changing” experiences that were INVARIABLY RUINED anyway by the time New Year’s Day rolled around in said far-flung places.  I know that drinking isn’t the answer, and cannot be:  it doesn’t work and hasn’t for years.  I know that what’s simmering in the pot will come together into a lump of…something good to eat, soon.  Yes, it still comes and goes, this desire to drink to fix, or transfer, or be reborn.  None of that happens, and never did, and never will.  It was fun, looking back–but, I’m here now, and pretty content, actually.

This year will still be about plugging away, and working, but also, finally starting to do stuff, you know?  After all this obligatory preparatory work–laying the groundwork-work, doing this before moving on-work–it will pay off.  Move the earth, beyotches!  🙂

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Things end, things begin

28 Feb

1:53 pm

I’ve missed you all, and I’ve missed sharing the milestones of long-term sobriety (or, several years of sobriety–feels like forever to me, and I know I will never, can never, return to all that).  I haven’t blogged much these past six months because I’ve been working a full-time contract and exploring a new (geographical) place, trying to figure it all out, as it were.  I’ve been essentially wrestling with a lot of what-if’s.  But, I miss my old “sober” life so much.  I’m still sober–of course.  I was reading a post I wrote for The Fix three summers ago, and while a lot of the comments were encouraging, there were a LOT of garbage ones, too.  (Trolls do as trolls are.)  I’m glad I didn’t listen to the garbage and have kept blogging–it, alongside my own resolve and self-discovery, has been the cornerstone of my sobriety.

I am starting to wind down my temporary life here–and, hopefully, wind back up my freelancing.  Which means, more blogging…and more personal writing and “excavation.”  I cannot wait.  I feel like I’ve been starving in a lack of substance, sustenance, for six months.  I need to write, to create, to explore.  I need to be in touch with all the possibilities that emanate from within.  I’m glad for the financial opportunity the past six months have given, but I’ll also be very happy to come home for a while (at least for a few months, while I wait out whatever this company decides to do, which, either way, it’s all good) to just be.

More soon!  Hope all are well…

Happy 2015!

10 Jan

11:29 am

I just wanted to check in quickly and say, happy new year to all!

Lately, I haven’t been blogging much, mainly because I’m really busy with my freelance writing business. I have to say, 2014 was a fantastic year, and I’m almost a little apprehensive: will 2015 live up to it? My “word” of the year is BUILD. Just continuing to build, and work, and reap the rewards of continued sobriety. There have been so many, and from the talks I’ve had with self and others, this year is looking to be pretty fruitful as well.

Last year I took something like five or six trips–it was a very active, confrontational year. Meaning, I went toward, and worked on, my demons, or, the things that I had to go back to. This year, that doesn’t have to be the case; I’ve circled the wagon and seen inside–not much going on that’s relevant to my present, daily life anymore.

This year, my boyfriend and I are already planning a handful of awesome trips, one of which will be another road trip through the southern part of the US–to see where we want to move to. The freelance writing, after much, much work, has finally started to pay off: not only am I writing almost constantly (because I work almost constantly), but I’m landing better-paying gigs. Hope that keeps up this year. It will keep up if I keep putting the work in, is one thing I’ve always known. You work, and it pays off. Eventually, somehow, somewhere.

Full steam ahead, continuation of the hard work that I put in last year–that’s all I can come up with for 2015. Sobriety is my cornerstone, but…not drinking doesn’t mean all that much, in the end, without accompanying work toward making my life what I want it to be. Meaning, I have a bottle of white in the fridge–haven’t even looked at it beyond using it to make risotto a couple times. BUT, have I felt tired and frustrated and unsure–and happy and joyful, and frankly, free? All the time, yes, yes, yes. Both, and neither, and in between. That’s life. It has nothing to do anymore, for me, with wine, white or red. Life is life; liquid that you put into your body is just that. I pick life to think about and do these days, not “sobriety.” Sobriety, thankfully, is done. It’s there. It’s my building block. But, that doesn’t mean I believe I have to be afraid of returning to the person who was guzzling bottles on a daily basis.

Which is a little bit why I haven’t blogged. But, mainly, it’s because I’ve been busy working and dreaming and planning for what’s to come, not what WAS. And, what isn’t. I guess I can open up some time, one day soon, to ruminate on what isn’t. Not today, though: I have writing to do (ugh), a beach to visit, some kind of kickass meal to make (I really like cooking now), dogs to walk, and “The Killing” to watch. 🙂

Here’s to a productive–and TRULY “happy, joyful, and free” new year. Happy, and joyful, and free is HOW YOU DEFINE IT. And, if you’re at that point, of being able to use those words, and set even just a little meaning to them; you’re well on your way to full, lasting recovery.

Do one new thing every day…

3 Jan

1:44 am

…is my New Year’s mantra! I’ve already broken a few resolutions, like, eat less cake and drink less Diet Coke, BUT… Resolutions are things to work on, not attain. When it comes to goals like these, it’s not all or nothing, it’s not black or white, and it’s not one-size-fits-all. Just like getting sober! (Not to mention, what does the Gregorian calendar have to do with my soda consumption? I’m sure the Pope wouldn’t really care if I didn’t eat less cake…)

I like the idea of having a year’s theme. In fact, I was reminded by Mished-Up’s awesome post just how productive declaring a “word of the year” can be! I did that for a few years back in my early 20s. One year it was something like Growth. Another year it was Change. A third was, This is the year of Creativity.

Haha, I KNOW. But the words resonated with specific things in my life at the time, and it seemed to work. If I had a word for this year, or a theme, it would be… ‘ME.’ Or, ‘BACK UP, BITCHES, AND MAKE SOME ROOM!’

ME, to me, translates to kicking ass. Starting. Getting to work. Making a bucket list and getting ON IT. Letting go of the past year and reaping some of the rewards of getting sober. So, I’ve decided that I’d like to try something new–something that’s probably been on my to-do list for years–every day. It doesn’t have to be exactly new, or even grandiose. It could be as simple as trying a new food, or trying to make a new kind of food. Ordering some crocheting tools online and starting my “plastic bag” project. Hiking a new trail. Visiting a new island. Pitching a story. Taking an online fiction class. Learning how to give a better massage. I mean, the list is ENDLESS!

I have the tendency to overthink things. I know, I know, it’s hard for some of you reading this blog to believe, but it’s true. 😉 Overthink and overplan. I’m trying to try something new this year, and to a certain extent, it’s out of necessity: I no longer have the energy to be a perfectionist, especially in the face of the work it takes to maintain my sobriety. The other day, after reading something (probably someone’s blog), I realized that most, if not all, of my recent choices and lack thereof have been based on my fear(s). Fear of doing stuff, fear of starting stuff. I’m a fearful perfectionist, and these two character traits have definitely prevented me from moving forward in my career, for example. They’ve also tied me to the wine bottle, as it’s easy to avoid confronting your fears–and your fear of your perfectionism getting the better of you in the creative process–when you CAN’T do anything because you’re either drunk or hung over. You can’t fail if you don’t try, right?

Anyway, it’s been a good new year so far. New Year’s Eve was fine, actually. Sure, I felt a few pangs, especially at midnight (though, the whiff of champagne I got from someone else’s glass made me feel almost sick–ah, the power of association), but I got over it quickly by remembering just how much I have. I guess, the whole “I do not want what I haven’t got” idea is hitting home these days because I really don’t want what other people “have” anymore. (The question is, what DO I want? Another day, another post.)

I felt good where I was at, no desire to be out and about, getting drunk. I was in bed by 2 (am, that is), and woke up to a bright, sunny day. And, what a great way to start off the new year–no hangover, no drama, nothing to hate myself for having done or say I’m sorry about for having said, no tracks to cover or mishaps to fix. My frustration(s) the other night have passed, and I’m “back on it,” as they say. I guess some days will be harder than others, but it was good to pinpoint my triggers (thoughts and then, feelings, that drive me into a tailspin) by actually observing them and not drinking them away.

And, one new thing a day? Well, my boyfriend and I hopped the 2 pm ferry over to [beautiful island] yesterday and hiked to a beach. We’ve been to that beach before so that wasn’t “new,” but we hiked around a resort and over a few trails that I had never been on, so that was! Today, I signed up for my first road race in like, years and years–8 Tuff Miles. It’s an 8-mile course up and over the hills of [beautiful island], so…it’ll give me a very good reason to stay sober past my 90-day goal. (Not to mention, my sciatic and leg pain have subsided to like, a 2 out of 10, so that’s a HUGE relief. I’ve been swimming to strengthen and now running to build muscle without overdoing it… The key for me is skipping yoga; basic stretches are OK, but anything else is counterproductive.)

Yes, the thought of drinking at 90 days has crossed my mind, but, WHY? I mean, what purpose would it serve? I like where I’m at now; I feel like I’m finally getting out from under some of my thought triggers. I want to work more, do more, and run at least every other day. HOW WOULD BEING HUNG OVER HELP ME? Not to mention, I have no “need” to drink: there is nothing that I want to run from, and I know that I have to face my issues and fears and goals and relationships, including the one with myself, sober if I’m going to move forward. Drinking just sets me back. How simple, but profound.

2013 and, well, life is the same–I’m still sober! Happy new year, indeed!

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