I’ve come to believe that all my past failure and frustration were actually laying the foundation for the understandings that have created the new level of living I now enjoy. Tony Robbins
It’s hard to believe that I started this blog almost a year ago. I started writing this blog on New Year’s Eve 2011 and as it almost dawns on New Year’s Eve 2012 I was thinking back at the amazing amount of changes that have occurred in our lives over the last year. When I started this blog Michael and I had just gotten back together after a forced separation due to legal circumstances. We almost broke up several times at the beginning of 2012 and, in fact, I almost left him and he almost left me more than once. We both struggled with bouts of alcoholism, me more than him. We went through the AA program together and are stronger for it. This last year I have hit some of my darkest nights and yet at other times I have seen some of my brightest days. In the last year we have lost “friends” to betrayal and back stabbing, we have lost musician friends, but at the end of the day our relationship has grown stronger through all the trials and tribulations. We have grown closer as friends and our love has grown deeper. We have managed to regain something through our music, that something special that has always been the glue that held us together.
During the last year I gained some of the lost time with my daughter and grown closer than ever to my mother. I have become a better rhythm guitar player and taught myself to sing in Welsh. I have learned more about myself as a musician in the last year than I have in 42 years of life. We have played some really fantastic gigs over the last year, and have many more to come. I moved up in the writing world from being an internet writer to writing for a real magazine and making my worth for the articles I write. My photography editing skills are getting better and better and I am continuing to work on my dream collage. I have no idea when, if ever that will be finished. It’s an ever evolving dream journal in images.
I have seen friendships end and new friendships sprout. I have also seen friendships that I thought were dead in the water re-sprout with new life of forgiveness and understanding. With each dying flower a new one sprouts in its place, a more beautiful one I believe, richer in color and smell. At the end of the day, and almost year, life is very good. It is as hard as it ever was, but we are happy, and I know that come what may Michael and I will continue to grow together, to love together, and to perform together. Life is very good my friends!
With that I leave you with The Supremes and the beautiful Diana Ross…
I absolutely love this little gem that I found this morning!
And this looks like a BAAAAAD nite. LMAO
I leave you with Etta James and BB….
Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. Confucius
Ok let’s just get this out of the way right now. I fell off the wagon. Don’t ask me to explain how or why it happened, because I honestly don’t know. Am I blaming some one or some thing, hell no! I did this all alone. However, the cool thing is I have my program and all my friends rallied around me to brush off the dust and apply ointment to the skid marks. I am still loved. It’s great to be an alcoholic because I have a village of Indians that stopped to see what fell off the wagon and rallied together to see what they could do with it….Yes, I can laugh because I may have fallen but I am not down for the count. I am loved and for today I am happy and sober.
Friends are like roses…you have to look out for the pricks!~ Anonymous.
Even before I finally became sober I was slowly eliminating “bad” friends out of my life. It was a long process, sometimes they just didn’t want to let go, but in order for me to maintain my sobriety I had to let them go. The first ones to go were the ones that enabled my drinking the most with their own drinking habits, these were actually the easiest. The ones that were closest to me were the hardest to let go of because they are the ones that hurt me the worse. One “friend”, the one I thought that loved me most betrayed me in such a way that I will never be able to forgive them. This person had gotten sober and found “god” but they didn’t eliminate some of their worse traits and I inadvertently found out that this person was never really a true friend in the first place because they went after something very close to my heart and tried to take it for their own when I was going through a very rough patch in my life. This same person has been trying to get back into my life, but what they don’t realize is that once they betrayed me in that way there is no hope whatever that they will ever get back into my life ever again.
Then there is this “friend” that had helped me out through a very rough patch in my life. I thought that they were being a “friend”. It wasn’t until after I was quite a ways into my sobriety that it came to me that they weren’t really a friend at all. This person had kept enabling me in my drinking, even though I had been telling them for months that I wanted to quit, that I needed to quit, that my life depended on my quitting. I finally realized how caustic this person really was and is. I finally told them to stay away from me, not to call me, and I explained to them that every time I saw them it took me right back to that bad place I was in just a few short months ago and I needed them to stay away from me because the memories were far too painful. I told this person that if I saw them I would turn and walk the other way because just simply by their presence it reminded me of the pit of hell I was in and it was hurtful to my sobriety.
Fortunately now I have a whole new group of friends that are loving and sober and working on the same goals that I am. They are supportive and have been with me since the first day I met them on our paths to sobriety. With friends like that who needs the trash of old enabling friendships sticking around with its stench and flies buzzing incessantly around.
Yeah, I know I drink a lot, I know I do because I’m a writer and that’s what I do, I drink. I’m not like those people out there, I can control myself! I can, if – that – if I wanted to, I could, if I wanted. I can! I can!~Gwen Cummings, “28 Days“
I had almost, not quite, but almost forgotten that it was my 60 days. 2 months, sobriety birthday yresterday. I almost forgot because I have been too busy being sober. I know that may sound crazy, but it’s really not. What is crazy is the amount of years, months, days, minutes and seconds I wasted of my life drinking into a dark hole. I can’t believe how busy my life has become since I put the bottle away for good. My music has taken a precedence in my life, I’m accomplishing more than I ever could have believed was possible. One night of my life a week is dedicated to “sober” night. It’s an open jam that I host on Tuesday nights at a coffee house and we get a huge turn out from my friends in AA and it gets bigger and better every week. We are getting more bookings than ever and now, by the grace of my sobriety we are booked to play at “John Doe’s” for a two hour acoustic gig in mid September. After that we have the Indian Creek Festival. I also have the distinct honor of representing my family and our Welsh heritage at the Scottish festival, where all the Celtic nations are represented. My grandparents would be so incredibly proud. I owe all of this to my persistence in remaining sober, the love and support of my beautiful husband and my wonderful family. Thank goodness I am a stubborn person. The very quality that makes me an obstinate person is also the same quality that saved my life. For that I am grateful!
“Knowing you will be with me in all my tomorrows, makes my today so wonderful.”
Today is the day! It is our 8 year wedding anniversary and all the preparations are made. I spent the day yesterday slicing and dicing, cooking and cleaning. I so want everything to be perfect, just for today. We are having a sausage dog roast at the park near our house and spending it with the people near and dear to us, many of whom we just met in the recent months of our journey to sobriety. I love these people because of the unconditional love and joy they share in their own sobriety that helps me and mine stay sober day by day. That, in and of itself, makes today a very special day. Among other things Michael has achieved 15 months of sobriety and Thursday I will have achieved 2 months of sobriety! So, there is a lot to be celebrated and enjoyed! Yesterday Michael brought me roses of my favorite color for roses, yellow. He always manages to find these roses that are unique, they have reddish pink tips and are so beautiful and smell simply delicious. What a wonderful day this is going to be, what a gift to be sober and with the person I love most in this world!
If I’d observed all the rules, I’d never have got anywhere. Marilyn Monroe
I have been religiously going for my bike rides everyday, 7.5 miles. I ride 7 days on and take one day off. Yesterday I had to miss my ride because I went with my mother to the doctor. Well, to my disappointed surprise, my bike trail was blocked this morning at both ends. The trail I take constitutes about 2/3′s of my ride. It used to be that I would not allow a “path closed” sign to deter me from anything. I pretty much did whatever I wanted without regards to the consequences. Ah, but for sobriety I would probably still be riding that dangerous path. “So, what did you do?” I’m glad you asked. I went a different route. I doubled up on the other part of my green belt ride, the part that was, of course, not blocked. I got finished early because it is not as long a route as the other way, but for a day or two that is ok. However, since achieving sobriety I rely on a set schedule and I don’t like disruptions. It throws me. My day is filled from the moment I rise until the moment my head hits the pillow. It’s all good though, the path will open again shortly and things will go back to norm, for now I will adjust.
I learned to be with myself rather than avoiding myself with limiting habits; I started to be aware of my feelings more, rather than numb them. Judith Wright
When you stop using mind altering substances, such as alcohol in my case, you are forced out of your little numb closet into the world of feelings. Suddenly you realize you are alive and you can feel. Those feelings can become overwhelming because when you begin to feel again every emotion begins to take on the proportions of a bright painting in the vivid neon colors that are so intense they hurt your eyes and you are powerless to turn away from the painting even though it burns your vision. Yesterday was just such a day for me. I went through my day just as surely as if I were a zombie plodding along going down some strange path and going through the motions without knowing why I was doing that or where I was going. I wasn’t numb, in fact I was far from it, I was in a deep pensive funk that I couldn’t seem to shake and I burst into tears at one point for absolutely no reason. I guess instead of taking the day off from my normally busy schedule I should have kept busy but I had no way of knowing that my mind was going to be in such a turmoil of mixed emotions. Sometimes being too busy can be a very good thing.
- A Different Person (catseyesk.wordpress.com)
There are two lasting bequests we can give our children. One is roots. The other is wings. ~Hodding Carter, Jr.
My daughter has informed me that she’s leaving to Alaska on Saturday. She’s leaving and spreading her wings. I tried to explain to her that she’s leaving what feels like a cage here to a cage there. She’s running scared because she’s pregnant. I tried to tell her that changing scenery is not going to alter circumstance. Of course she won’t listen to me, I’m only her mother. She’s running away from me and herself to grandparents that she doesn’t know and they don’t know her. They are the ones that sent her the plane tickets, not just for her but for her boyfriend that is leading her around by the nose. Don’t even get me started on the boy’s mother. She’s just happy that a girl, my foolish daughter, is getting her lazy, good-for-nothing son out of her hair. Why did it have to be my daughter that finally got this lazy boy off his lazy ass and out of his mother’s home? My daughter sent me a message on Facebook that she wanted to see me before she left and I told her “no”. I will not apologize for refusing to see my daughter off to a foolish expedition without a plan or any foresight. I know me too well, anything I say to her is surely going to sound like judgment and it will come across harsh. So, I chose not to see her. I choose not to see her because as surely as the Earth rotates on it’s axis I know that if I try to speak to or look at my foolish child right now I am putting my sobriety at risk. I am not sorry to say that I am being selfish about my sobriety. I wish her the best, but deep down I already know how this is going to turn out and she will have to find out for herself. There are so many things wrong with this picture, her boyfriend’s mother is so happily throwing her child to the wind in her over-exuberance to have her son out of her house and on his own when he doesn’t have a pot to piss in or the knowledge of how to get a pot, and dragging along my pregnant daughter with him. His mother uses this fallacious argument that “I have raised my kid!” I could say to my daughter, “If it were me”, but it isn’t me and at this point she is going to make her mistakes and I’m only afraid that this is one that she is going to pay for dearly. I’m sorry for her because I think she’s going to realize her mistake but it’s going to be too late and her pride won’t let her tell me so.
Sarah: That’s not fair!
Jareth: You say that so often, I wonder what your basis for comparison is? ~ From The Labyrinth
I am going to whine so beware….LOL! Now that I have quit consuming my calories in mind bending beverages I am putting on weight. I have started riding bike, 7.5 miles a day everyday, to keep my weight and shape, but it’s not fair! I don’t eat anything out of the ordinary or glutton myself, but my families gene pool sux! My mother weighs in at 275 lbs and my grandmother weighed very close to that when she passed. I have always watched my weight and been super sensitive about my appearance. It’s good that I have put on weight, in November I was very sick and shot down to 125 lbs, but hell’s bells do I have to starve myself to keep from weighing over 150 lbs. My good weight is 140, that’s when I look the best. I stand 5’9″ and that is the perfect weight for my bone structure. However, the only way I get to maintain that is if I eat like a freakin’ bird.Well, I have been on the bike riding routine for less than a week, so I’ll just keep on keeping on, but dam, I still say it’s not fair. Ok I am over it now!
“Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” -C.S. Lewis
Everyone says I have changed so much in the last month and a half. Mike says I am a ray of sunshine. The funny thing is I know that I have changed inside, deep down inside. I am still crossing the monkey bars and learning how to cross while holding onto a banana and not fall. I am like a child learning all about myself for the first time, the exception being that I am an adult with a vast array of experiences, and some not very positive at all. The fact of the matter is that I am still grumpy, and at times, downright cranky. That’s just part of who I am. The banana I hold onto is the goal that once I cross the monkey bars I can eat my prize, that golden, yellow, delicious banana with its rich fruit wrapped so tenderly in a protective peal. I find that I am tired a lot more than I used to be and I don’t always feel like a ray of sunshine. There are days I just feel down and depressed, there are days that I just don’t give a shit. The fact is is that I am human and I still feel things, just differently because now there is no numbing, mind bending substance to take it away. I have to face my emotions head on and that isn’t easy after such a long and devoted career of inebriating myself from feeling anything. In this new life full of changes and becoming a different person the knives are very real, the pain they inflict deep and I don’t have the Novocaine to stop it like I used to. Yes, I have been given a whole new set of tools to deal with my hurts and ills, but they are still there and more real than ever, and that is hard! In the beginning of sobriety we are more than happy to grasp the banana knowing that one day we will be able to partake of it’s wonderful fruit, but no one tells you you have to swing across these precarious monkey bars of emotions and feelings to the other side before you can really enjoy the fruit, and if you drop the banana you get to start all over again. The thing that no one tells you about is the flood of emotions that may seem like they are going to overtake you. This flood of emotions happens because we no longer have a mind altering substance to blind us to the tidal wave that is rushing our direction.
- Monkey Bars (thedailytravesty.wordpress.com)
Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world. ~George Bernard Shaw
After the car wreck of your life has finally come to a stop and you have begun to pick up the twisted fragments of metal, the broken shards of glass, healed the cuts and wounds, filed the insurance claim and received a new car it’s time to look at the cause of the car wreck in the first place. Were we not the drivers that caused the wreck? Were we not the ones who lost control? After the exterior mess is cleaned up there is still the internal wreck to clean up, and believe me I need a big broom and dust pan. Even after you think the mess is cleaned up, swept away and thrown in the trash, inevitably you still find shards of glass, pieces of plastic and fragments of metal you have missed. The best thing I have found is walking into a place where you find happy, sober people doing happy, sober things. They have all been in the same car wreck as you, it may not have happened for the same reasons, it may not have been exactly the same wreck and some walk away in better shape than others. The point is that we must honor our self by cleaning up every last piece of the car wreck and surround ourselves with cushions like a bumper car so that that accident doesn’t happen again, for next time we may not walk away unscathed, if at all. Surrounding ourselves with sober, happy people is that cushion of which I speak. If you continue to surround yourselves with people who are constantly getting into car wrecks you are not going to honor yourself and your insurance rates will climb higher and higher with each new collision. Finally, the insurance company is going to get sick of you and the wrecks and drop you entirely. It isn’t enough to simply clean up the mess, we must change and learn to honor ourselves and those around us.
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.” – Reinhold Niebuhr
Ok, so here’s the deal. Now that I have changed my mind’s perspective it is time to go after the body. Since I am no longer drinking my calories and I am eating normally instead of going days without eating, choosing to drink instead, I am starting to put on some weight. So, now that I have the mind in line it’s time to start taking care of the positive effects of what is happening to my body. My family has this terrible problem with obesity and my body image has always been of huge concern to me. My mother is pushing 275#’s and my grandmother weighed just about that when she passed. Excuse my vanity Buddha, but I like looking good and I don’t like little pockets of fat sticking out all over my body. I made a command decision yesterday that I would take a 1-2 hour bike ride every morning. So this is it…day 1 of the beginning of a new path for me…the path of caring for the positive effects happening to my mind as well as my body. Wish me luck!
The final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands. Anne Frank
Last nights topic, character defects. I’ll be the first to admit I am a walking character defect. I’m a control freak and I am, to a certain extent, OCD. I have been told that I need to ask a HP to remove my defects of character. No, not a Hewlett Packard! HP is my higher power. Well, being the person that I am, I have to say this. No one, and no thing is going to remove defects of character for you. You are responsible for you and your behavior and the only person that can change that is you. Yes, it is great to have an HP, whether it is your concept of God, a green haired troll doll, or a far away star. However, I do feel that we, only we, can change certain defects in our characters. That is something that comes from within us, not outside of us. Who’s fault is it that I fell down the rabbit hole of drinking, no ones. I am solely responsible for that chaotic miasma of self-indulgence and self-pity. For that I take full responsibility, in this way I have no one to blame if I fall down the rabbit hole again and end up having drunken conversations with a disappearing cat, a rabbit on the run and a stoned caterpillar!
The final wisdom of life requires not the annulment of incongruity but the achievement of serenity within and above it. Reinhold Niebuhr
This is my drawing of my place of serenity. On Sunday when I met with my sponge (sponsor) Jules for the first time this is where I went when I was having such a hard day the night before. Saturday was filled with triggers and hurt and I needed a place to go to work through my thoughts and get back in balance with nature and myself. Meeting with Jules was such a blessing, everything just melted away from me. I call her a sponge because I am her spongee and I plan on sucking everything I can out of her, and she is full of all kinds of great wisdom for sobriety. I have so much to be grateful for and in the last month I have begun to see the things and people that were there before me, just waiting for me to open up my eyes and see. They were always there with open arms, all I had to do was be willing to walk into the embrace. It’s amazing how alcohol clouds your vision, blurs your mind and makes you numb. In the beginning isn’t that what all alcoholics seek, blindness and a numbing and dulling of the senses? We don’t want to see, we don’t want to feel. You just don’t realize until you quit, and I mean really quit, how much you have missed.
“Coffee makes it possible to get out of bed, but cupcakes make it worthwhile.” ~ unknown author
That’s right! I got up this morning and I had my usual, coffee. Buuuuuuut, for breakfast I had cupcakes. Yes, you heard me right, cupcakes. They were my treat for myself for achieving my 30 days sobriety. I didn’t eat them last night because after our jam session/gig I was wiped out. Mind you I am not a big fan of sweets, but I do firmly believe that when we achieve a goal or reach a milestone we need to reward ourselves because chances are there are more steps to go to reach the next milestone. I know for me there are many milestones ahead of me and the journey is exciting. I want it to be filled with rewards because when I was growing up I was lucky if I got a blink of the eye out of my parents. I will reward myself today for having achieved what may have seemed like an insurmountable goal in the beginning!
Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut. Ernest Hemingway
Today is my birthday! Not in a literal sense of the day I was brought into this world. It is my 30 day birthday of the day I woke up and decided to get sober and embrace the idea of sobriety once and for all. Sure, I have had attempts at sobriety over the last 10 years, but this is the first time I have embraced being sober and have had every intention of staying that way! If you have followed my blog you would know that since I started blogging on December 31, 2011 I have been up and down in my sobriety. What has changed for me now is that I have found a support group, a sponge (sponsor), I have included my family in my sobriety, I have a therapist, I am working the program and my attitude has changed. Am I excited about having my 30 days? Hell yes! Even one day is hard, not to mention 30! 31 days ago I was in hell. I had fought my battle with the bottle over and over again until I was so exhausted from the fighting I was ready to give up once and for all, literally. I told Michael all I needed was a bullet and a shovel. Yes, I was in that black of a place. Today I am so grateful to my friends, family and the people who have given me their support and love. Today I am sober. Today I am happy. Today I am FREE!
Here’s a list of things I have accomplished in my sobriety over the last 30 days:
- Learned over 20 new songs on guitar and vocals
- Played 4 new gigs
- Completed some new drawings
- Started a dream collage
- Made a plethora of new friends
- Found out that I can love myself
- Found out that I am stronger than I thought I was
- Started forgiving myself and others
I’m sure there are many that I am not thinking of but the point is that I am moving forward in my life instead of standing in a puddle of stagnant water that was sucking me down into a hole I may not have been able to climb out of. Thank you to all who have helped me on my path and thank you to those of you who may not be aware that you did…..Peace, always….Jaz
- Sobriety Junkie (realtimerecovery.wordpress.com)
I know it seems like I’m this strong person who can get through anything, but inside I’m fragile. I’ve had so many things thrown at me, and each one has only made a crack. What I’m afraid of is shattering.
I cried myself to sleep last night, yesterday was a really bad day and I haven’t wanted a drink more since I quit than I did yesterday, and I have never wanted to quit music more than I did yesterday. I didn’t give in to the unholy terror ripping through the core of my being, but don’t think that I didn’t want to. It is so hard to face the knowing, the knowledge that you have something really beautiful inside you to give and no one wants it. You are ignored and treated like crap by even the ones closest to you. You think I would be used to it by now, it’s been that way my entire life. My mother had an ignore button and she’s apparently not the only one. The day started out good, I found a sponsor, but then it just went to crap. What still sticks in my mind was when a person I like very much said something completely rude and snide to me. I was trying not to take up his time because I knew he was busy and I though his son was going to fix our beverages for us. Like an idiot I said this and he snapped at me and made a point of reminding me who he is. It hurt! What this friend probably didn’t know was that I was already a wounded animal when I walked up to the counter. Well my wounds were only going to get deeper before the day was finished with me. I sat at a table with my beverage and waited. Next thing I know my lead guitar player/husband was gone and didn’t say a word, I was left there sitting alone, beverage in hand and hurt. He was where I wanted to be. So I left and went home and cried myself to sleep. It’s morning and I am still crying. Why can’t my heart have a crap cleaner like my computer?
- The Fragile (happyperdition.wordpress.com)
- Pain of Glass (myownheart.me)
- Fragility (unexpectedlovely.wordpress.com)
- Fragile strength (butterflywarrior.typepad.com)
“Our Similarities bring us to a common ground; Our Differences allow us to be fascinated by each other.” Tom Robbins
You might be in the right place when….You have an addiction and everyone there does too. You are in a room chalk full of complete strangers, yet the love and support is there for you to take and to give. You have a chance to untimely change your life through the kindness of others that share a similar bond with you. You have a place to go almost every night to receive love and support, you can listen to the trials and tribulations of others so similar to your own, and every single person here shares the exact same problem as you do. Their road map to getting to these hollowed rooms may have been different, but the perils and dangers are the same. Each road that each person traveled may have been different, but inevitably led to a choice of two paths, life or death. I only recently began going to meetings, but I know something now that I didn’t know then. In my past failures in my trials with sobriety I failed because I neglected to set up a solid support system of people like myself, struggle like myself and are needing support to make it through another 24 like myself. Thank Buddha I finally figured it out. I think I’m home.
Criticism is an indirect form of self-boasting. Emmet Fox
I really have to get this off my chest because it has been bothering me. However, I need to do this in the most Buddhist fashion I can and that isn’t going to be easy because frankly I am really irked at this person. I have been going to meetings recently to help me maintain my sobriety. There are great, loving people there and as of yet I have not met anyone negative, that is until Saturday. The meeting was a good one and one person even received his award for 14 years of sobriety. We closed the meeting and without my knowing it this person who had received the award made a point of saying to me, “I remember you when you were living on Chicago Street, you were trying to get sober then, too.” Now I have to point out here that I haven’t lived on Chicago street for over 8 years, so it just goes to show how long my battle has been. This person who pointed this out to me isn’t a regular at our meetings, in fact I have never seen him there before. I think he simply showed up at our meeting because it was his day to receive his award and there were no other meetings on that day. I didn’t recognize him and put it together who he was until after we had already left. He was the head of a group I used to attend about 9 years ago and I haven’t seen him again until Saturday. The fact is I didn’t like him then, and I surely don’t like him now, Buddha forgive me, but I abhor him and his critical, judgmental self. What right has he to judge me! I am so incredibly happy for him that he has managed to maintain 14 years of sobriety, Good for him. We can’t all be like him, in recovery, self-righteous and supercilious. Some of us have to fall and scrape our knees many many times before we get it. Was it really necessary for Mr. High-and-Mighty, Mr. I am so much better than you, Mr. Look at my award, to point out another person’s failure who is struggling with their sobriety. In a way I hope I never see the MF again, but at the same time I feel the strong need to point out to him that what he did was incredibly negative, incredibly out of line and incredibly the opposite of what we try to learn in our meeting about love and support. So, on that note, now that I have gotten that off my chest….Peace be with him, bastard that he is!