Who me?

learning to see myself clearly

Barbers, haircuts and places we always went…

I miss having a place to go where I can find a friendly face anytime.  Why are there no alcohol-free places like that around here?

I’m on day 49 and last night for the third time since I quit drinking, I stopped at the restaurant closest to home for a bite to eat.  Of course it is also the scene of a lot of my drinking.  I know it’s a bad idea.  I’ve heard the admonition:  if you keep going to the barbershop, eventually you’ll get a haircut.  The other two times, I went in early, got food and left.  I saw a couple of friends, had a cup of tea and felt very relaxed about it all.

Last night was different.

I knew it at the time.  I was on my way home from yoga and I was hungry.  Since I live alone in cold, snowy, dark New England, going home means walking into a dark 60 degree house needing to light a fire in the wood-stove and take three dogs out.  Last night the firewood was beneath a foot of snow, the driveway was beneath a few inches of ice and I couldn’t remember anything in the fridge that I could eat without making it a project.  Already feeling defeated, I opted for letting someone else feed me.

Since it was 8:30 when I arrived, the bar was well inhabited.  I knew everyone.  I sat down ordered tea and dinner, and for the first time, I felt completely out of place.  There was nothing right about it.  I was feeling good after my class and without the haze of some quickly consumed cocktails, the group looked largely sad and I didn’t want to be part of it.

It was as though I walked into the proverbial barbershop, but I could see the bad haircuts and I knew that I  never want what they have again.

The best advice I have received since becoming sober is to find people who have what I want and stay close and pay attention.  I did that.  I found a group of really positive women.  I figured out what meetings they go to.  One of them agreed to be my sponsor.  I will stick with them and remember that the old places and many of the old people just don’t have the life I want.

49 days sober and feeling very grateful

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Happy Dance!

happy-dance

It feels so good to reach the one month mark.  Beginning this journey, one month ago, able to write a bit about my thoughts and to have you all show me your support has been a gift.  I am finding new friends in the halls of AA and for once I don’t feel so much like an outsider.  I am realizing you can find strength when you open yourself up to a new way of thinking.

I was reluctant to go to AA.  I wasn’t sure I needed it.  I didn’t think I would feel comfortable…all the excuses you can imagine.  What I found there, I do need.  I need to open myself up to other people.  I need them and it’s good for me to allow them to lean on me as well.  I get so much out of reaching out to others.  I hear things in every share that I can relate to.  I feel less alone.  Communities are important and I am grateful to have found a new one here and in the halls.

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Yes, me.

If you go back to my beginning posts, you will see that I have been reluctant to declare myself an alcoholic.  I haven’t declared that I will never drink again and Tuesday, when I went to my first meeting, I felt very out of place.  Wednesday, I felt like an imposter.  My story doesn’t have a rock bottom.  I never dragged myself across hot coals to get a bottle.  Then I read this, I am a high bottom alcoholic on Emotional Drinking.  That was me.

Then I came upon another article, Almost Alcoholic, by the Sober Journalist, and I knew.  I am an alcoholic.  I just figured it out sooner than many.  I have spent the last 35 years in a spiral.  I would catch myself in an unhealthy pattern and pull it together, for a while.  Sometimes life threw me so much that I had to steel myself against it and power through.  I was the strong one when 2 of my 3 boys had drug and alcohol problems.  I was the one who held it together when my husband was killing himself with booze, he died June 2012 of liver failure at age 44.  Each time however, I would toast the end of the crisis and eventually find myself in a worse place than before.  I was lucky.  I was frequently in viewing distance of rock bottom.  I watched those around me reach it, but I would avoid complete disaster.

Last summer, one of my boys began his recovery.  In September, another of my boys and his girlfriend came to live with me.  We haven’t spent much time together in 7 years.  I was in a bad pattern and last week I decided that I didn’t like how I looked through their eyes.  Rebuilding my relationship with him and taking charge of my life is important.

Last night, I went to another meeting.  This one felt like home.  I knew I belonged, that I needed to be there.  I am an alcoholic.  I’m just one of the lucky ones who didn’t lose everything figuring it out.

 

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My first meeting…

My good friend had a relapse, a bad one, and as a result I went to her house to check on her after work yesterday.  An AA friend of hers showed up, too.  After a few hours of coffee, water and talking, the three of us went off to a meeting.  It was her home meeting and she was beside herself on the way.

When we walked in, many of her friends welcomed her back.  I was glad for her that she had such support.  She went up for a new 24 hour chip.  When I stood up I got a hug, but they were out of chips.  After the meeting, she helped clean up, my other friend and I waited in the hall until we made our way to the car.

In the car, my friend talked about how wonderful it was to have such an amazing group of women.  She asked me if I agreed, I tried not to answer, but she pressed me.  Not one person had introduced themselves, not one.  I stood up as a newcomer, no one reached out.  The other friend told me quietly that she had other meetings she preferred.  We exchanged numbers.  I will try again.  For those of you in the program, please don’t let that happen to anyone else.  It was awful.

I will say, I have never been more thankful for the support I have found here.  Thank you.

Today is Day 8.

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