Tag Archives: New Year’s Eve

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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Just say YES

31 Dec

5:08 pm

Just say yes.

That’s my “theme” for 2014. Well, that seems to be what it’s going toward–and, it just came to me against my will, so, hell, why not? Just say yes.

After some tough face-to-face realizations over Christmas–some of which made me feel uncomfortable for reasons beyond which I could elucidate–I’ve come to see what about getting sober has become counterproductive, for me anyway.

Here’s what: I feel like since getting sober, I’ve reined myself in so tight, closed my boundaries so much, that I have a hard time anymore saying yes. Stopping thinking and just doing. Opening myself up. Loosening those boundaries.

I’ve come to see that when we first get sober, it’s all about saying no. And necessarily so: No, I can’t drink. No, I can’t drink. No, I can’t drink. No, I can’t do this, that, or the other–because it might make me want to drink again, or, it MADE me want to drink again. No, I can’t go there, or see him, or talk to those people. No, I better not take that job, or run that race, or tax myself in any way beyond what I believe myself–weak and vulnerable, because this quitting drinking shit is fucking hard–to be capable. I better just stay here, small, enclosed, tight. Saying no. All the time.

To the point where you don’t realize just how much you’re over-thinking things and as a consequence, limiting yourself. I don’t think I’ve ever been as up in my head as I have been getting sober, wondering about every choice, overanalyzing every step I take. It’s as if getting sober has resulted in a spotlight on my forehead, a strobe going ’round and ’round and ’round, illuminating every thought, action, and reaction. I don’t just go or be or do anymore; life has come to carry so much WEIGHT.

Now, everyone’s journey is different. My “bottom” was low–it was the end of the business-as-usual way that I drank–so, I don’t think I can refuse the sober momentum that is building inside me. A certain order has been cast on my innards, almost as if the moral code of my Universe has melted and re-solidified as something else. So, I’ll keep going with what’s been working–moving toward “yes,” is how it feels. I can’t go back, and that’s OK, I guess.

However, I wasn’t necessarily using wine to get out of bed, or, to basically live. I lived my life, and my life was working in spite of my hangovers and stupid drunken shenanigans. My relationships suffered, yes, and my job, too. I had the distinct sense, though, that I wasn’t “not doing,” you know?

Sobriety seems to have made me less willing to do stuff–in order to protect myself from myself, I guess. And, I think, taking a step back/a time-out is necessary to heal. It was for me. Now, though, I feel like it’s time to move forward. It’s time to stop “being in recovery” and start “being recovered.” Time to say, well, yes. Yes, I can probably do this sober; yes, I’m ready to…just say yes.

Say yes to a new job search.
Say yes to a move.
Say yes to having kids–or yes to trying.
Say yes to saying NO to the guilt of not having kids–or the guilt of an abortion.
Say yes to saying NO to a career in journalism, if that’s what I truly want.
Say yes to a new career outside of my head, maybe yes to school for this new career.
Say yes to exploring different healing methodologies for my back pain–maybe even the Western ones.
Say yes to trips.
Say yes to exploring my sexuality further.
Say yes to saying NO to thinking about how things relate to my sobriety or not–chances are, they do, but who cares? Enough is enough–say yes to this.
Say yes to getting my energy up every day, and being more of a firecracker and less of deadbeat–even if my neurotic mind says no because I’m afraid of threatening or alienating others who are less energetic.
Say yes to saying NO to Facebook!
Say yes to the people around me, and yes to not trivializing them by wondering what people in my computer are doing.
Say yes to saying no to comparing myself to others–and that includes knowing what everyone is doing all the time in favor of what I’m doing!
Say yes to what I’m doing as being good enough, engaging enough, valuable enough.

You get the point.

I don’t know, just say yes. What’s the worst that could happen? I could be afraid of the outcome; I could pretend there is no outcome, or that it doesn’t matter; I could pretend there is no fear in me. Or, if I can’t ignore the fear, the projections into some nonexistent future, I can say yes anyway.

Just say yes.

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!

Happy sober New Year! Or, I do not want what I haven’t got

31 Dec

8:53 pm

(WHAT? Oops! I meant to have this post on New Year’s Eve, but alas, my procrastinating self hasn’t figured out how to set the “self-timer” thingie on WordPress, and I still go in and manually enter the publish time (which I accidentally set for December 31, 2013). Anyhoo, here’s my rant from a few nights ago, and to be perfectly honest, I’m so over it: the event, the thoughts re: the event, and my annoying self. Done. Still…have a read and then let’s all move on, shall we?)

I haven’t been sober for New Year’s Eve in like, a decade or more. And, let me tell you, it’s GOT to be better than last year’s.

I’ve been ruminating a lot lately about my “drinking past,” and frankly, I’m over it! However, some people aren’t, and that hurts.

I called my brother last night; we haven’t spoken for almost three months (not for lack of trying), since his girlfriend’s vicious response to my amends letter–a very heartfelt, honest apology and attempt to make things right (even though, months had gone by before my brother changed his mind and told me that no, things weren’t OK, that his girlfriend was still “very angry” with me).

I’ve told the story before, but in a nutshell, last year I got really, REALLY drunk at their house on New Year’s Eve. Deerunky drunk drunk. Drunker than I think I’ve ever been, EVER. It was the culmination of a long year of basically hitting bottom over and over and over–I felt like the skipping stone that just wouldn’t stop!

Anyway, I ended up blacking out (the flip just SWITCHED) and screaming at my brother and his girlfriend, calling her names; ranting about what a crazy bitch she is (which she is, literally–victim of incest, rape, and severe psychological abuse; but has chosen to hate her way through it), how my brother doesn’t care about me, how they’ve isolated themselves in rural America, how his girlfriend has ruined his life. Blah blah blah. Yelling, crying, rolling on the floor–you get the picture. (There was also a rant about how much I hate Coldplay, which is sort of awesome and I really wish someone had filmed that part.)

The problem is, IT WAS ALL TRUE, what I said. Doh! Sigh. The worst part about getting blackout drunk is that quite often, there is truth to what you say to other people and about other people in your blackout. If you’re me, anyway. In fact, it’s like, I allow someone a completely unobstructed view of my mind, of what’s really inside my head. YIKES. And, not cool, because there are many things that people just DON’T NEED TO KNOW.

I woke up the next day as if from a nightmare. I had NO idea–it was a total blackout, with practically no flashbacks and no ability to even conjure a feeling of what went down, especially the parts related to me yelling at the girlfriend, who actually ran and hid, according to my brother. When I woke up, I remember feeling extremely pissed off, fuming, confused, and utterly unable to remember WHAT was making me feel so sick in my head, so sick to my stomach. Did I have a nightmare? Something happened, I’m sure of it. Was it a dream?

It wasn’t a dream. My brother and I had a painful talk on the stoop after I got up, and then I left. Drove the fucking 6 or 8 hours to DC with the WORST hangover on record (I’m surprised I didn’t hallucinate and drive into the ditch in the middle of West Virginia), and then spent the next, well, 12 months saying I was/am sorry. I finally wrote a letter to the girlfriend, and I got the most vicious reply in return (she wrote me a Facebook mail while drunk; does the word “irony” mean anything?).

Anyway, I’ve tried, kept calling, and I get little to nothing in return. At this point, I’m the one who’s pissed that they’re not budging–they’re continuing to hold a mighty grudge, and not ONCE have they asked me about my drinking, my getting sober, how it’s going, how I’m doing with all this. Not one question. In August, I told my brother on the phone that I had 60 days sobriety, and his reply was an awkward grunt. Oh-kay, then, guess I won’t be bringing that up with you EVER again.

I haven’t brought it up, and I doubt we can truly mend this. I’m pissed at them for not only not forgiving OR forgetting, but for lying about the fact that they did! I know I shouldn’t feel this way, because I was the one who messed up, but come on. When I write a heartfelt letter to the woman and she responds by getting drunk and telling me that I’m a “cunt who will never be loved by any man and that I should die”? And my brother, not even admitting that she sent it, let alone apologizing on her behalf, even just a little?

(To be sure, I’ve talked it out with my mother and uncle, who know the girlfriend, and they’re both on MY side. Just sayin’. I’m not sure why I keep bothering myself about someone who simply isn’t capable of having a normal relationship.)

So, this has turned into a rant, but I’m sorry, I needed to vent it in hopes of setting it free, finally, this year. I have to move on. I don’t want to be there anymore. That place was dark. I want light. I want clear thinking, healthy relating, progress.

Tonight, I’m grateful for all I have, all I’ve accomplished, and all the people in my life who have supported me through a very progressive year! I’m sober, and I’m living in [beautiful island where I now live]. I’m freelance writing/editing, and I’m doing it from wherever I want–this was a big goal of mine, one that I didn’t think I could accomplish even this year, let alone WHILE I was getting sober. I got back to [cold east coast city] for a month or so and re-discovered a possible future life there. I checked the fuck out of [cold west coast city referred to as hotel named in famous song] and have not looked back. There, I was living alone in the Tenderloin, drinking every night, and being miserable. Now, I get to care for dogs, another person, myself. I get to work and live. I have the sun every day, the ocean (one that you can swim in without a wet suit, that is) by my side. I get to dream about the future. I get to appreciate the present. I have choices, and I get to make them every single moment of every single day.

Happy new year, friends. I would not be here, in this place, without the support of my sober blogging community. You guys rock, and have taught me that whatever path you take to get to Sober Land, as long as you get there is what matters.

2013…and 90 days, coming up!

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