31 days.

31 days.

Happy Monday followers and readers! I haven’t written since March 15th. There have been times I wanted to open the site and start writing but I knew my focus was elsewhere and that it was exactly where it needed to be. I will slowly begin adding blogging back into my routine but for now I am loving my focus being on building my career and my sober network. Writing is, and will, always be a part of me but for now, the best parts are being saved for private journals.

Today I celebrate 31 days of Sobriety. I began THIS journey on March 9th 2018. Comparison is the thief of joy so I won’t do the thing I do where I say how and why its different this time because I can’t put into words what my heart feels.

What I can do is tell you that I acceptance in my heart even if I don’t always like it. I have a growing relationship with my higher power. We are still learning to walk in stride and how lucky am I to have such a patient, loving, and fierce God?

The 12 steps is a simple program that opens a lot of complex feelings and thoughts but we are blessed to have sponsors and friends to help guide us through and keep us in our lane.

I have a pretty good idea what I want from recovery and what I want from life and I know an undeniable truth that it doesn’t matter what I want. What is going to happen is going to happen because it is my higher power’s will. When we cease fighting things fall into place so here in black and white is an admission of complete surrender. I can’t promise to always like what outcomes there are but I can promise I will do my best to accept it with grace and humility.

Also an admission that you will likely never get out of me again: I have no fucking clue what I am doing but I am doing the best I know how to do.

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Now on the topic of what I am doing….I can fill you in on the happenings in my life the past 31 days.

I completed step 1 with my sponsor. I continued to grow my business and learn some tough, valuable lessons in the process. I took my best friend whale watching for her “bachelorette party”. Her actual bachelorette party is in Lake Chelan for wine tasting, it sounds exquisite for her and I am so excited her friends have planned something so lovely for her, but what is lovely for non alcoholics is usually jail or hospital time waiting to happen for an alcoholic in these situations LOL! It was pretty tough being surrounded by alcohol and away from home but we stood our ground and had a fantastic time! We got to see a whole pod of Orcas, bald eagles, Harbour Seals, Stellar Sea Lions, birds, and beautiful Washington/Canada back drops.

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This past weekend I went to the 36th annual North Coast Round up in Seaside, Oregon. It was a ton of fun with heavy doses of experience, strength and hope. Yesterday was the last day there and we ended the day with a sobriety countdown. I had my 30 days yesterday and it was thrilling to stand among my peers and be proud of those 30 days. The combined amount of Sobriety in that room was 17,000 years. THAT IS A LOT OF FREAKIN’ SOBRIETY!

I will end on this note for now….if I can get sober during mercury retrograde, I can probably accomplish anything when I use the tools I have been graciously and freely given!

 

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Yes I’ve Been Black, But When I Come Back You’ll know.

Yes I’ve Been Black, But When I Come Back You’ll know.

Greetings followers, readers, and fellow bloggers!

Many of you know my struggle with alcoholism and the roller coaster ride I have been on. My highs have been high and my lows got lower last week. I am currently 6 days clean and sober but have a lot of work to do. My last time out brought me to my knees literally…and the emergency room. When they say that addiction is a fatal and progressive disease, they mean it.

I am OK now and working to stay on track. I have a new sponsor and a lot more support this time around.

I am fighting for my life right now, so with that I need to focus 100% on my recovery. I am going to be taking a hiatus from blogging. I hope that upon my return I am instilled with wisdom, recovery, and spiritual growth.

In the mean time, please take a moment to check out the new podcast “The Way We Behave” – Podcast I did an interview last month on recovery and relapse. It will be airing later today.

The thing about recovery is its HARD. We have shining moments and we have broken moments.  Just because a person relapses does not mean they haven’t walked on the road of recovery. It doesn’t mean all their growth is gone. It means they stumbled. The moment that matters is when they get back up.

I love sharing my experience, strength, and hope. I love the witty witch blog. But I need to be sure I can share the message, not the mess. I want to do things right this time. I will miss you all, even if its just a short break. When I come back you will definitely know. The comeback is always stronger than the setback.

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Coffee Keeps Me Sober.

Coffee Keeps Me Sober.

Today I want to talk more about recovery. Specifically, service work in recovery.

There are 4 factors that contribute to continued sobriety. When I listen to them, I stay sober. When I let self will run amok, I drink. It’s that simple. We need newcomers, old timers, sponsors, and service work.

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When I first joined AA and was told I should get into service work I was confused. What the f*ck is service work? So you’re telling me I have to go to a meeting almost everyday, donate a dollar or so at each meeting, and now you want me to work? But, having agreed upon entering AA that I was willing to listen and do what those before me have done I signed up for my first job. Making coffee at my home group. It sounded simple enough.

What I expected: do my time setting up for the meeting and at the end of my term call it a day. I’ve done my deed!

What I got: the gift of giving. AA has FREELY given me serenity, friendships, fellowship like I have never known, support, love and sobriety. I love setting up the coffee and tea station and being the first in the room when my friends start coming in with their big books, babies, and hugs. I love setting out our tattered “Daily Reflection” for the group to read together. I love being there at the end of the meeting piling up chairs and pushing tables back and talking about life with these women. I love going to the store and picking up the Sweet and Spicy Tea I know my friend in the program loves, or the hot chocolate the non-coffee drinkers like to sip on.

How has it benefited my sobriety? It keeps me accountable. I was trusted to hold the key to the church to be there each week to set up our meeting. It’s such a small thing I can do to give back and it truly helps keep me focused, just for that day anyways.

There are a lot of times I don’t want to go to a meeting because I am tired from working two jobs…but on my service work day I am “forced” to go in and I love every minute of it when I get there. Not once, has there been a meeting I attended where I didn’t hear something I needed to keep me sober that day.

Now I am taking it a step further, I have signed up to be the greeter at my Saturday morning meeting in addition to my coffee job and I am making a casserole for a speaker meeting/potluck I am attending. What is better in life than sharing food, coffee, and stories of our experience, strength and hope?

I will always hold a service position now because I am HONORED and GRATEFUL to give back to a program that saves lives everyday. Thanks AA.

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Beautiful People with Beautiful Problems

Beautiful People with Beautiful Problems

Alone I sat in my empty room

My head a prison, my heart a tomb.

The love felt little and the pain immense

nothing in the world seemed to make sense.

For years I poisoned my body and mind

rock bottom I hit, and I knew it was time.

I walked in a room full of sparkling eyes and steady hands

If they can do it surely I can.

They handed me a book and offered a hug

these rooms, I found, were more than free coffee…they were full of love.

“If you want what we have just follow our lead”

I knew these people had not what I want…. but what I need.

To strangers I cried, I broke and I grew

This feeling of belonging was something I never knew.

Now they’re my family and I owe them my life

How can I repay them and continue to do right?

“Its simple” they said as we all held hands

Just carry the message wherever I land.

 

My heart has been full to bursting lately. I have finally taken myself out of my protective bubble and stepped out of my comfort zone to truly connect with women in the program. Before I showed up to meetings and instantly left. Before the meeting started I sat and stared at my phone. I thought I could have AA in one corner of my life and my other life would still exist. Wrong. I have found friends from my old life slipping away and sober people infiltrating my life…and that is my higher power putting my people in my life.

This poem is short and to the point. It is the smallest of summaries I can give on what the program has given to me already. I have never maintained perfection in sobriety, I have never thought I have it all figured it out because I don’t. I need those who did the time before me to guide me. When I put ego aside I can learn from these warrior women who have achieved sobriety through this simple program (that when left to my own devices is a difficult program.)

I am learning that my worst day in sobriety is still a million times better than a good day drunk and all my problems are sprinkled with blessings from my higher power. I am surrounded by beautiful people with beautiful problems.

Thank you beautiful women (and men) for my sobriety.

 

 

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Great Suffering and Great Love.

Great Suffering and Great Love.

Happy Valentines Day! I know this holiday can stir a lot of emotions, both good and bad for a lot of people. I used to loathe this holiday when I would be coming fresh off a breakup, which always seemed to be my luck. Walking into the grocery store to be assaulted visually by pink, helium filled, heart balloons and teddy bears I wouldn’t be getting was like the nail in the coffin. Even a year ago today I wrote a blog that was eloquent and sincere, but was masked by the facade of strength. Pretending those pink heart balloons weren’t breaking my heart and making me ache deeply….even though they were. A year ago today I was suffering from extreme depression, heartache, and in the throes of my addiction. Wanting so badly to stop drinking but not knowing how I could possibly not go home and drink and watch Sex and the City when my heart was lying somewhere in my stomach and getting out of bed seemed impossible.

A year ago today I was one month single and although I was doing everything in my power to overcome it except the most important thing- abstaining from alcohol- I was in misery. I prayed, I meditated, I listened to self help books, I joined yoga, and I blogged my heart out. I had no idea that the pit in my stomach and heart would never fill because I was bankrupt spiritually and emotionally. I was doing SOME things right, but I wasn’t addressing my addiction. Then to throw me off track even further I met a boy. Well, more like a boy added me on Instagram and I took it upon myself to throw myself at him to an extent. Typical alcoholic and co-dependent behavior, filling one void with something else.

I have no regrets that I started the relationship when I did because the lessons I have learned from it are gifts from my higher power. Sometimes the gifts come cleverly disguised as catastrophes and many parts of my life were just that. I very much love my boyfriend and the time we are taking to focus on our own well being and sobriety.

I find myself reflecting and asking myself how have I grown, even if just a little bit in the past year? I am on a path to freedom and spiritual awakening through the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. I have hit bottom and relapsed over and over again, but the message is clear, I cannot, nor will I ever be able to drink like a normal person can. My happiness is contingent on my spiritual well being. If I am sinking I better fix it fast, because alcohol is always there waiting to seduce me, no matter how much sober time I accumulate. I have found that with alcohol I am insane and with sobriety I have peace. I have found out how to communicate with others respectfully, put boundaries in place, stand up for myself, and pray for people who hurt me instead of taking it personally. All of this is stripped from me when I drink. I am learning how to be ok alone, how to fill my time with meaningful activities that don’t require validation from others. I am learning how to be genuine and true to the person I am.

The most important lesson I have learned though, and how fitting to write on it today, is that I cannot love someone right until I learned to love myself enough to get sober. I can’t stay sober for my boyfriend, my family, my friends, my sponsor, or any other reason. I have to stay sober because I love myself enough to do so. A year ago no one would have come to me-the queen of isolation and resentment- for advice. Today, I have women from all walks of life that message me to ask about AA, anxiety, and overcoming obstacles. Today when women come to me I do not answer with my ego, I pray and ask my higher power how I can guide them where they need to go to find their own healing. Selflessness for the  most part has disappeared, but only if I continue to work on my own healing. If there is contention in my life I say the serenity prayer instead of feeling sorry for myself, and if self pity finds its way into my heart I reach out to people to talk through it. I am only alone if I choose to isolate myself. The family I have made in AA will always be there should I reach out my hand to them.

This past year has been a journey that I needed every minute of. The extreme highs and the lowest lows. I have so much learning and growth to do but the door has opened and the key of willingness stays in my hand.

I have so much love and gratitude in my heart that I feel even through pain. I hope that if you loathe Valentines Day you look at it from a different perspective. The world lacks a lot of things, love and random acts of kindness included. Spread your love and light to others and it will come back to you. But most importantly, find great, big love for yourself.

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Recovery is Black and White.

Recovery is Black and White.

I wanted to blog about the black and the white parts of recovery. That’s what I call it, I’m not sure if there is a real term for it. I’m sure I can’t speak for everyone, but I am pretty certain most people who have started the journey of recovery have experienced what I have at some point. Maybe not though.

The white parts of recovery are waking up with a clear head, having the whole day ahead of you to be productive and work on personal and spiritual growth, to wake up without feeling sick, to feel wonderful feelings that aren’t muted by alcohol or drugs, to spend time in the presence of family and friends and know what is going on, to always make fairly sound life choices, and so on and so forth. These are the gifts that recovery gives us. It sounds great doesn’t it? Like once us addicts have a piece of that recovery pie we will never want to go back. It’s not that simple though. Even if your grandma makes the best pie in the world, you might still eat a hostess pie from 7-11.

That is what the black part of recovery is like. The bad parts of addiction slip from our memory and we begin to be seduced by the false memories of good times. The laughter, the camaraderie of drinking at your favorite hole in the wall bar with your favorite people and the warmth the first sip of alcohol fills your body with. All of a sudden you don’t care if its grandma’s pie or expired 7-11 Hostess Pie…in your sick mind they both look appealing. You forget about waking up sick, hurting people you love, making detrimental life choices, and feeling despair instead of happiness. How can we forget how far down the scale we have gone? Because we deal with alcohol, cunning and baffling.

No, recovery isn’t black and white in the way that we know the term….I call it black and white because there is a light to it and a dark side to it. Alcohol will always exist and always be there waiting to seduce me back into a life that was unmanageable. How can we forget the gifts that recovery has brought us and relapse? How can I sit here and crave a drink after all the hard work I have put in to stay sober and stay in the white. When you start to slip into the grey area between white and black, that is when relapse happens. The thing is that life and recovery has a lot of shades of grey. In one day alone I think I go from white to black to grey 50 times per hour. The purpose is to just make it through 24 hours at a time without slipping. Sometimes that means one minute at a time instead of one day at a time.

The more days we accumulate the easier it gets. I know because I have been on both sides of the spectrum. I have been MRS. Alcoholics Anonymous hitting more than one meeting a day, reading my big book and attracting others to the program. I have also been the ex girlfriend of AA. I sneered at the program and blamed all of my problems on it.  I have even thrown my big book at the wall in rage.

This all over analyzing though. The only truths I 100% know are as follows:

  • My life in active addiction is unmanageable
  • I cannot recover on my own
  • The program works if you work it- if its not delivering, I’m not working hard enough

There is no purpose to this blog other than to maybe give some insight to the internal battles we feel on a daily basis. We KNOW we can’t use or drink but that doesn’t mean we don’t desire to. We KNOW how deadly this disease is and we still sometimes choose to cave in. That is the sickness of it all. No one wakes up and decides to become an addict and if you are the type of person that thinks life in this hell is a personal choice you are dead wrong. Yes I can choose not to drink, but NO, I cannot choose to remove the disease. All I can do is choose to use the tools I have been given to make sure I don’t succumb to the diseases effects.

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She Put that Bottle to Her Head and Pulled the Trigger.

She Put that Bottle to Her Head and Pulled the Trigger.

The rumors flew, but nobody knew how much she blamed herself

For years and years she tried to hide the whiskey on her breath

She finally drank her pain away a little at a time

But she never could get drunk enough to get him off her mind

Until the night

She put that bottle to her head and pulled the trigger

And finally drank away his memory

Life is short but this time it was bigger

Than the strength she had to get up off her knees

We found her with her face down in the pillow

Clinging to his picture for dear life

We laid her next to him beneath the willow

While the angels sang a whiskey lullaby

-This song came on shuffle today and as I was listening it to I had tears streaming down my face. How many times did I try to drink my pain away? Too many. How many times could I have succumbed to dying from this disease? As I’m working on my 4th step this hits even closer to home. I am sitting through some heavy baggage that’s long overdue for processing but I thank God I found the strength to get up off my knees. No matter how many times I have failed I keep getting up.