& On Her 88th Day Sober, She Made Amends.

& On Her 88th Day Sober, She Made Amends.

Good morning and happy June! I have been itching to write for DAYS and for the first time in my life truly understand the meaning of working to the bone. I have had so many beautiful thoughts drift in and out of this head and now they are gone somewhere in the universe and not on paper, but that’s ok.

First and foremost, a little update on the recovery roller coaster. I am 89 days sober. I have NEVER made it to 90 days sober since my drinking career began. I know now that the celebration for recovery milestones does not only cover abstinence from the drug of choice, but the spiritual growth and serenity. Yesterday I had a moment where I got to come full circle.

My younger sister had two bottom wisdom teeth removed. She was not put under and was in extreme pain from the surgery. The dentist’s office knows our family well and our history of addiction and  took it upon themselves to not prescribe her opiate pain killers. She asked with a mouth full of gauze for medicine to help with the pain and they still did not write a prescription. They gave her some Ibuprofen and sent her on her way. For those of you not aware, my brother is a heroin addict in recovery and we have obviously had some traumatic experiences with that. My sister was crying and in agony for hours so I took her to the emergency room. This is a smaller medical facility and we were in and out and well taken care of. This happened to be the hospital my sister took me to 88 days ago. The staff had to call security on me, I mistreated the staff horribly, I have barely any recollection of this and ended up leaving that night. It’s been in my head since my recovery took off that I wanted to go back and apologize to these nurses whose job I made incredibly difficult. In this roundabout way I got to make amends. I got to tell them I am almost 90 days sober with that evening being my last drunk. They were so lovely to me and it was honestly such a humbling and beautiful moment.

Prior to this event on Sunday, June 3rd, my brother and I went to a concert together. This event that might seem small to some, was monumental for us. For the first time we were both completely drug and alcohol free. We weren’t arguing, we weren’t sick. We were just a brother and sister enjoying a concert together. Laughing, joking, and talking about life.

In my personal life there has been a lot of stress and problems that are a direct result of drinking. The aftermath has followed me into my recovery. I am tested and challenged mentally and physically everyday to stay sober, just like everyone else in recovery. I know that to drink is to unravel all the progress I have made on a spiritual level. Despite all the challenges and the fear of the unknown to come I have to cling to my faith. The big book talks about having faith under all conditions. I have to believe that whatever happens I will be taken care of by my higher power and my family in recovery. To have peace of mind and serenity during chaos is something I never dreamt I could have, but I do. Not everyday is a walk in the park and even though the gifts of recovery are raining on me, it does not entirely remove the desire to numb out the stress and pain. I have to remain vigilant against this disease because it is always hiding around the corner, ready to seduce me.

I want to end this blog with an outpouring of gratitude. If it weren’t for this program of recovery I would not know peace. I would not be able to see the light in the midst of darkness. I could never begin to count the blessings my life has been littered with. I could never see the growth and change in myself; rather I would only be counting my flaws. I wouldn’t know how to own my mistakes and correct them.  I am overflowing with gratitude in a situation that would normally be a breeding ground for hate, resentment, excuses to use, and bitterness. All of this is freely given to me and all they ask in return is that I spread the message to those that still suffer.

Thank you AA. Thank you universe. Thank you for not giving up on me when I wanted to give up on me.

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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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New Moons & Satanic Sinuses

New Moons & Satanic Sinuses

Happy Friday and NEW MOON in Gemini! I want to thank my friends and readers for still supporting the blog as the focus has shifted slightly from spirituality and witchy matters to sobriety. I am trying to find a balance of both but my blog is my therapy, and right now my main focus is my health and recovery. I have also had people reach out to me on the cusp of admitting they have a problem to let me know my blog is helping reveal some truths within themselves….and if I can convince one person to get in a meeting from my blogs then I have no regrets about opening up so candidly.

Today I just want to ramble about life in general. I woke up this morning with the worst allergy attack I’ve had all year. I am sitting at my desk with Kleenex shoved up each nostril because blowing my nose has done nothing to stop the constant flow. I tried my steroid sprays, claritin, saline sprays, etc….Summer is officially here! It does have me concerned about my upcoming 8 mile hike in the enchantments. As a person with allergies and asthma its always in the back of my mind that going deep into the wilderness and off the grid may present challenges for me. I have had to turn back on more than one hike. This is THEE hike though. The one that has been on my bucket list for two years! If I have to crawl to Colchuck I will. I am so looking forward to the hike and the wonderful cabin we have booked in Leavenworth. It has a wood burning hot tub that is filled with natural flowing spring water. I have stayed at this cabin before and it gets better each time. You can see every star in the sky at night. It will be a great way to end an exhausting hiking day. I can’t wait to go scavenging for herbs and plants also. The cabin is located on a large privately owned piece of land with a private waterfall and hiking trails. Imagine all the goodies I can find to stock my apothecary cabinet! Stay tuned to the Instagram for pictures!

I have had my nose in the real estate practice books this whole week and am going to take practice test number two Saturday or Sunday. Saturday is my graduation party so I’m not sure how much I will want to invest in that and Sunday we were invited to go boating but I need to just get this out of the way. It’s right at my fingertips!

Other than that life is falling into a routine already. Work, study, meeting, sleep, repeat. I am feeling a little lonely and left behind because my S/O is back in contact with all his friends from the program while I am actively avoiding many of my friends that use still. I am also facing a torrent of people that claim couples can’t get clean together. On the contrary….I find it incredibly helpful that we are in this together. We keep each other accountable and when I am tired and feeling like I don’t want to hit a meeting he reminds me why we are doing this and I get up and go. We have our separate meetings, but sometimes I go to NA with him and sometimes he goes to AA with me. It’s about balance and support. We hit the bottom together and we can rise up together.

Yesterday I had to testify for work at a court hearing. We broke for lunch and my boss took me to…*gulp* a bar! I sat with my back to it so I didn’t have Jim, Jack, and Jose staring me down but shit…just walking in was a fuckery. On the way home the sun was shining, I killed it in court, and I had urge after urge to stop and get a bottle of wine. As I drove past the store my fingers started idly drumming like crazy on the steering wheel. I started blasting Nirvana to drown out my thoughts. I made it past the store…and within 15 minutes the urge was gone. I keep telling myself if I can’t get through the day, get through just 15 minutes. I’ve given myself a little incentive too for the long term. If I stay a month sober I am going to buy myself this:

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How PERF is this for me?

Anyways- tonight being the new moon and all I have a lot of things I want to cover magically but I also have an NA meeting to go to, so it might have to be put off until after or tomorrow (I know tonight is ideal…but we cant always be perfect witches). New moon’s are essential for manifesting change though, so something magical definitely will be taking place at the burrow this weekend!

I hope you all have a blessed and happy weekend! Namaste and Blessed be.

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My First Meeting.

My First Meeting.

So I realize the purpose of Alcoholics Anonymous is to stay…anonymous. So I won’t get into too much detail about the actual meeting, rather I will get into how it impacted me.

I went to my first AA meeting last night after a grueling 3 hour practice exam for my brokers license. I was already mentally drained at that point. When we pulled into the lot I felt my palms sweating and my heart racing. This was it. The moment that it all became real. The first step to really recovering and admitting I have a problem. I had no idea what to expect, having only seen AA meetings on TV. I walked timidly behind my S/O and sat at the first chair I saw around a circular table. They other occupants were relaxed and carefree looking and I was a ball of nervous energy. I felt like the elephant in the room. The bull in  the china shop. I don’t know the serenity prayer so I awkwardly stared at my feet when everyone else chanted it together. I kept thinking “god, I want a drink.” I was even more confused when they handed me a pamphlet with a bunch of phone numbers hand written on the back. I fumbled my way through it though and even told a little bit of my story and at the end of the hour I felt like I was among friends. Strangers who knew exactly what I was going through and who LITERALLY applauded me for it being my first meeting…unlike the snide remarks I’ve had to endure from my friends on the other side of my life. It felt like some of the weight I had been carrying had been lifted. What I learned is this is a program. Just like with my college degree, I am going to have to work, and work very hard at it. It’s not a fight though, its a surrender. I need to completely throw myself into the program and surrender to my higher power to help get me through the 12 steps and keep going through them.

I have to ignore the people who have said to me “but you aren’t really an addict. You just like to party”. This was a big part of my first relapse. Just as I had started to embrace step one and put effort into being sober, my “friends” kept reassuring me that I’m not really addicted to alcohol or anything for that matter. “But B, you have a college degree and bought a house and go to work. You drink wine sometimes, you don’t have a problem.” This is exactly what an addict wants to hear. You are confirming what they have been trying to convince their hearts for a long time.

So if you are reading this, I assure you, I am an alcoholic. Trust my process, my program and my judgement. Even if you don’t believe I am an addict, believe that I truly want a better life for myself and that isn’t lying at the bottom of a Svedka bottle.

Other’s have gone far enough to say that “You didn’t have this problem until recently, what is happening in your life to make you lose control?” Ignorance is bliss and those that believe this has not been an ongoing battle my adult life are lucky to not know the internal suffering I have experienced at the hands of this disease. Just because I wasn’t ready to admit it to myself and my peers does not mean I wasn’t suffering. Just because rock bottom came now instead of 5 years ago, does not mean I wasn’t struggling then. Like most addicts I have just been a ticking time bomb, slowly but surely starting to expand and contract under the pressure and then. BOOM. It is not for anyone else to say what I have been feeling or what I have been doing because addicts are very good at disguising the magnitude of their problem.

Just because you saw me drink two glasses of wine at a dinner party doesn’t mean  I have it under control… because I used to stop at the store and buy a whole bottle to down before bed on the way home. Just because I got up and worked under the guise I was “just tired” doesn’t mean I didn’t have a raging hangover. You think you know but you have no idea. Even if you are also an addict, you do not know each person’s individual story and what they are going through and therefore are in no position to speak on it.

I am ok with the fact I will lose some friendships and relationships. The only relationships I desire to keep are those that will help keep me clean and free. Happy and loved. Sober and safe.

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