Thank God

Wow! I can’t believe I haven’t written in over a month. When I started this in May my goal was to atleast write once a week if not more and it was going to be about my walk. The struggles I have had with sobriety, with relationships, being a Mom, with God, just generally being me and living. If I could encourage just one person out there and open up about my failures, my struggles, my victories all the wonderings that race through this head of mine it would be worth it. Little did I know that when I started writing it would be so healing for me. So God has blessed me just by writing and sharing. I really hope it helps someone out there and I hope most of all you know you are not alone in how you feel or what you go through. If nothing else though I heal a little more each time I sit here and the letters flow through my fingers to make the words on the page.

I did not intend to take this much of a break but life has a way of sticking it’s foot out as you are running by and making you really ugly fall. When my Dad was diagnosed with an Anaplastic Astrocytoma Brain tumor on May 23rd life really did stick it’s foot out. Actually it threw a ridiculous amount of marbles out onto the road and I, well my whole family, have been trying to navigate that road ever since. We’ve been sliding and rolling and doing a balancing act to stay upright and move forward at the same time. We have all been trying to find our place in this and be where we need to be. What I have seen over these last months is nothing short of amazing. I have also learned God has given every one of us a different gift that we have the potential to use during a time like this. People have reached out in so many different ways and the love and support have often come from places that we did not expect. I also am learning to accept help from people and not to judge someones motives. Where I was expecting certain things from one direction they were coming from another. Not everyone can deal with illness, caregiving and dying the same way. You have to learn to meet people where they are and be thankful for the gifts that God has given them and how they are using them. Some are great encouragers, some send wonderful cards, some just check in time to time to see how you are doing. Others are hospital visitors, meal providers, shoulders to cry on and people to vent to. Some work with their hands and have contacts in the right places, loaning and putting together a wheelchair ramp that saved us a lot of money. Some send people to clean your house when you just don’t have it in you or to put in a handicap toilet because your Dad is coming to live with you. Others drive 5 hours here and back almost every weekend to give you a break and because they want to be here to take care of their Father, Grandfather, Grandfather in law. If they could be here 24/7 they would. Still others drive that far just to visit or have given money either to help with expenses or they have donated to the National Brain Tumor Society. I say all that to say I am learning to let people use the gifts they have and not require things and judge people for their actions as to why they did or didn’t do something. That is not a complete list of all the amazing people who are around us daily or who have been there for us and helped us through this. It’s just a little glimpse of how blessed we are.

I have also learned how I must pay it forward. I know the next time I run accross someone who is going through something. An illness, a crisis, a marble balancing act, instead of just saying how sorry I am and let me know if there is anything I can do I need to show up. That doesn’t have to mean to their house every day or maybe it does if that’s what God wants from me. A card, a meal, a phone call, some flowers, whatever the circumstance try to meet the need. That person is never going to let you know if they need anything so I know I just need to do.

This is a hard journey. For my Dad, for my family, for all those its affecting around us but I do know one thing. I have seen God show up a lot through out this and I need to remember that. I have seen my family become closer because of this and I need to be thankful. I have seen the giving heart of people that I never even thought cared and I need to rejoice. I have gained a lot of wisdom through this and I need to give it away. I have had my own personal hardships but I have also had my own personal victories and I need to Thank God.

Cucumber Water

Finding a place to keep living in the middle of taking care of my Dad has been hard. Now don’t misunderstand. I am not taking care of him by myself and he does not have to be sat with 24/7. We are not at that stage yet. I mean just continuing to the every day things that need to get done instead of putting my life and everyone else in it on hold so I can just concentrate on him and what he needs and be there for he and my Mom.

I don’t know about you but when something so big comes up in my life I have a knee jerk reaction to look at everything else around me and everyone else around me and say “You all are just going to have to exist on your own because as of this moment I am no longer available.” Granted the way things run will have to change but I just can’t wak out of my life. I still have a husband, a son living at home who just recently got his tonsils removed and needed to be taken care of for two weeks, a house to keep semi straight, animals that aren’t going to feed themselves and a garden that would probably keep Kroger’s produce section stocked for the rest of the summer. I still have to keep living. I’m a fixer. If there’s something wrong well you just sit down make a list plan out how you are going to take care of that and you get it fixed. Follow the list, A B C D or 1 2 3 4. My Mom and my sister are the same way. Fixers. None of us can fix this. You just have to live in this. I’m also a perfectionist. If you don’t understand completely what that means it doesn’t mean that everything I have is perfect all the time. It means that if I can’t do it completely and accomplish it all the way through exactly as I need to I can’t do it. So, the kitchen needs cleaned but I only have time right now to sweep the floor. That’s not going to work because the whole kitchen needs to be cleaned. What good is it going to do to just sweep the floor. It’s bill paying day but I also have to balance my checkbook on the same day. If I can’t do both I will have to do that tomorrow because you can’t do one without the other. Yes I know, that is sounding a little OCD. So I will just leave things undone until I can accomplish the whole task at one time. You see where that would get me. With a big pile of chaos and my anxiety level is just off the charts.

I need to find a place to just live in this. I need to understand I CAN’T FIX THIS!! Ya know it’s still hard to deal with my brain and all the thoughts that go through it. It has almost been 2 years but sometimes it can feel like it’s only been 2 days. The thought goes through my head that I could deal with everything much better if I could just sit down at the end of the night and have a vodka tonic. Then I could just relax. Really, is that how that would go. No, it would start there but quickly and I mean very quickly that would be 5 or 6 VK’s light on the tonic at the end of the night.

A couple things happened yesterday that made me happy to be in the moment. My Mom and I were wrestling this wheelchair out of the back of my car and getting my Dad in it so she could wheel him into the house through the back. Well I was trying to make it easier on her and get him in the chair and wheel him through the grass to the walkway so she wouldn’t have to push him through the grass. It’s kind of hard to do that if you never have. Well I ran over her foot and she laughed and I laughed and it was just kind of comical. I ran and parked the car and came through the front door out the back and she was having a hard time pushing him off the walkway through the grass to the patio. So then we both pushed him and Dad was using his cane like an oar as if he was helping us get through the grass. Uh, if you didn’t know already that was of no help and I let him know that but it was all just funny. The other thing that happened was JT came home last night and I was still up and we just sat and talked a bit. Not about anything in particular but just about stuff. Just talking, he and I on the couch talking and laughing. I love those moments.

I tell you those two things to say I know if I were drinking I would have been moody and irritable with my Mom and my Dad to get them where they needed to be so I could get home and have a drink. I would miss the funny laughs that you have to have through this to keep your sanity. My Dad needs to laugh, we all need to laugh. If we can’t do that this road is going to be longer and harder than we think it is. I would have already been drunk by the time JT got home and would have had little to no interest in talking to him and felt that he was interuppting my me time. What a missed moment. Those are the kind of moments your kids remember when they get older. Not what they got for Christmas when they were 12 or what they got on their 16th birthday but those moments when you laugh and talk heart to heart and you are just loving on eachother.

So reading through all this rambling I’ve done today I come to this conclusion. Find a way to live in this. I’m not going to fix it. Making a list is fine for certain things but it’s going to be ok if you have to move those things from day to day. Doing a little bit at a time is fine, if you don’t do any of it it’s never getting done. Stick with cucumber water it doesn’t make you nearly as moody, irritable or give you the same hangover that vodka tonic’s do.

Consider It Joy

Things sure have changed for me in the last month.  I seem to spend a majority of my time at Dr.’s appointments or hospitals.  I’m sitting in the hospital right now waiting on the Dr. to come tell me that everything went well with my son as he had his tonsils taken out today.  There is never a dull moment here.  I think I had four hours of sleep last night.  Ya know it could be worse.

It can always be worse.  I guess that’s what I keep stumbling upon.  No matter what your circumstances it can always be worse.  We checked into the hospital this morning and signed all the paperwork and went over everything including my portion of the bill.  Which was not to bad since I’ve used the heck out of my insurance this year and hit my deductible.  JT and I were looking at the total of the procedure and thinking, What if we didn’t have insurance?  We wouldn’t be able to afford the procedure.  What if we couldn’t pay our portion?  We wouldn’t be able to get his tonsils out.  Now whether we get JT’s tonsils removed or not is not life threatening.  Think about other situations.  What if we did not live in a place that affords us the opportunity to have his tonsils removed?  What if I could never have gotten the antibiotic the first time JT had strep throat?  What if? What if? What if?  I could go on and on with the what if’s because there are so many.  We are so very blessed and most of the time forget that we are.  Your situation can always be worse.  How? Do you really want to know?

My Dad was quoting some scripture yesterday just sitting in the living room.  One such scripture he mentioned was “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perserverance.  Let perserverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1: 2-4.  He was kind of talking that through with everything that he’s going through, Is this tumor from God? Is this tumor from Satan? Am I to consider this tumor Joy?  Are we to consider our situations sent from God?  Are we in them because that’s where he placed us?  I certainly don’t consider myself a scholar of the Bible.  I haven’t even read the entire thing but I am trying to do that.  By the way that still won’t make me a scholar of the Bible.  I think each one of us can apply scripture to our lives.  There is truth in each scripture.  It’s not that it has a different meaning depending on how you read it.  I believe it applies differently to your life depending on where you are at in your journey.  Does that make sense?  Maybe not.  Sometimes words in my head don’t make sense on the screen.  I think God does place us in the right moment at the right time in order to  “fulfill his good purpose.” Phil. 2:13 and  “work for the good of those who love him.” Rom. 8:28.  I also feel like we well I’ll say me,  I have to go about it the hard way.  Instead of taking a direct route to where God needs me to be I go around and around the mountain.  I can’t remember if I’ve seen that rock before so I take another trip around.  But that’s the beauty.  Not while you are going through it necessarily.  When you get there!!  If God wanted us just to get there he would have created robots who could not think and act for themselves.  We can, think and act for ourselves, and we fail and we fall and we learn and our faith gets tested and it produces perserverance.  That’s when God shows you where he needs you to be when you have matured and you see that rock.  You realize you have seen that rock 17 times.  If I just would have noticed the grafitti on the right side I would have known I passed that rock 17 times before.

So is my Dad supposed to consider his tumor joy? Am I supposed to consider it joy?  All these things that are happening are they from God? My feeling is this, the tumor is not joy, JT’s “faulty” tonsils are not joy.  Am I here due to my own choices or because God put me here.  I’m here by the grace of God.  He brought me through all my terrible choices and he will continue to be a good good father and walk with me through my choices to come.  Good, bad, silly and really, are we going to go through that again choices.   As hard as it is sometimes I need to remember to consider it pure joy.

Being A Lori

Sticking to a schedule can be hard to do.   Especially when you feel like you just can’t get ahead.  As hard as you try you are moving in slow motion.  That’s what I’m struggling with.  I feel like I am the proverbial chicken with it’s head cut off.  I have been trying to clean my house for over a week.  Each night I sit down with my planner and schedule for the next day and have everything all set as to what I’m going to get done tomorrow and here lately it’s just not happening.  It seems there is always something that is coming up that is more important than mopping my kitchen floor and cleaning the hardwoods on the first floor.

I am starting this week out again with a purpose and schedule as to when I am fitting in cleaning my bathroom and my kitchen and everything else around here.  I think my cats are brushing themselves and just throwing up the cat hair  in the living room to see how long it will take to cover the couch.  Cat couch motif the newest rage.

There’s one thing that came to my mind this morning.  My Aunt Lori.  She passed away and battled cancer for I think as long as I’ve known her.  She’s seen the inside of more hospitals than even seems humanly possible.  One thing she said to me while she was here.  She said “God didn’t put me here to clean.”  I always thought no he didn’t but keeping everything tidy and clean is just something you need to make sure that gets done.  I didn’t understand what she was saying until here recently when my Dad got sick.  God didn’t put her here to clean.  She was in and out of so many hospitals that when she was home and feeling good that woman was on the go.  She was selling things at festivals, she was cooking for other people, she was always helping at church.  She was just always doing when she could be doing.  She loved to fish and I think she was the first person who took JT fishing.  She lived across the field from me( we live in the middle of a farm) and when JT was maybe in kindergarten he got mad packed a suitcase and ran away from home.  To her house.  He came back after dinner.  When he got older and needed to talk to someone that wasn’t me he would go over and talk her ear off.   She would do anything for you.  I can’t tell you how many times I called her at 7am and told her I couldn’t drive because I had a migraine.  Would she please take JT to school for me.  She never once made me feel like it was an imposition or I was a bother or for Lord’s sakes it’s 7am can’t you find someone else.  She would simply say I got it.  What time do I need to be there.  She was always helping anytime she could.  She would also tell you just what she thought and how things ought to be done.  She didn’t have time to mince words.  I think she was so outspoken because she never knew when she was going to be sick again and wanted everyone to be clear on who she was, what she said and how she felt.    If she had an opinion you were going to know it.  Whether you liked it or not.   That is why she was so loved.  That is why I miss her so much.

So I’m thinking she heard it directly from God.  He didn’t put her here to clean.  He put her here to serve.  What do you want people to think about when you come to mind? Oh, she has an immaculate house.  Her yard is to die for.  Yes, all those things are great and I’m not saying you should live in squaller.  What I am saying is who cares if my kitchen floor needs to be mopped.  My bathroom needs a good wipe down.  I haven’t been deadheading my Petunias and they are looking pretty rough on the front porch.  I would rather be a Lori than making sure my house was sparkling when people came in the front door.  Those things aren’t going to matter in the end.  Your relationships will matter.

My family, my whole family, is coming in town this weekend and a good majority of them are staying at my house.  I hope I get to clean before they come but if I don’t get things looking great and have meals for them this weekend everyone is just going to have to understand.  My sister is getting married this weekend.  That’s what’s important.  Spending time celebrating her marriage.  Getting my Dad to his appointments this week.  That’s what’s important.  JT is having his tonsils removed on Thursday.  I’m going to need to take care of him and make sure he is comfortable and healing.

So as I look at my planner this week I have everything scheduled out.  I got on the treadmill this morning and spent time with God.  Taking care of myself and spending time with God are a must.  I can’t help anyone else if I’m not taking care of myself physically and spiritually.  I wrote down clean the bathroom then I have to take a shower and get out of here on time to get to my Dad’s for his first Dr. appt. today.  So if the only thing that doesn’t get done is I have to put off cleaning the bathroom till tomorrow it will be a succesful day.   I don’t think God put me here to clean either.  He put me here to serve.  I pray he gives me a serving heart like Lori.

 

For Such A Time As This

I’m tired. I’m sure about 99.9% of the people reading this can say the same. I wake up and half the time look forward to getting back in my bed that night. This last month I’m pretty sure I have been operating on auto pilot. It kind of reminds me when I had my son John-Thomas. You don’t know how you do it but you just get up in the middle of the night and you function on no sleep but you just keep on motoring right along. It’s a special setting that God gives us when we have kids. This is not quite that level, I’m not waking up every 2 hours to feed someone but the stress level is off the charts. When you’re dealing with Dr.’s it’s hurry up and wait. I stated previously my father was diagnosed with a brain tumor and he is doing just that, going to the Dr. to hurry up and wait. Each one gives him snippets of information each time we go. We learn a little more and find out another step in this process and meet another Dr. They need to streamline this process. You get diagnosed they put you in a room with all the Dr.’s your going to be dealing with and you just have your own panel for a couple of hours.

I can’t imagine how hard this must be on my Dad if it’s this stressful on me. He has such a great sense of humor though. He is the first one to make a joke about his tumor. He really makes us all laugh and I’m not sure I would be able to do that if I were in his shoes. After he had his brain surgery he pulled the Eddie line from Christmas Vacation. “Don’t turn on the microwave or I’ll pee my pants and forget who I am.” As stressful as all this is there is not a day that goes by that we don’t laugh.

I really welcome this season in my life. I don’t welcome the fact that my Dad has a brain tumor but I welcome the fact that I am where I am. For such a time as this. That’s what keeps coming to me since this started. My Mom has said it to. There are no coincidences, or luck or karma. I don’t believe in those things. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 There is God working for our good. This was years in the making. Certain people had to do and be where they were supposed to be for me to be where I was supposed to be. God doesn’t just tap you on the head and say ok you’ve put in your time I think it’s your day go forth and do what you do best. He uses people. He loves people. Otherwise he would have been done with this whole planet a while back.

I know this started with my nephew Matt. I don’t know the in’s and out’s of what was going on with him but I know he was getting his life in order. Matt just really had things working for him and was starting to put into practice things that made his life move forward. He found an amazing motivational speaker, Les Brown and became disciplined on what he was doing with his days. The change could be seen just by looking in his eyes. Well, he shared that with his Mom, my sister. She started really having things working for her. Listening to Les Brown, being more positive, putting God first and she has an amazing gift. She can talk to people like you wouldn’t believe. She can see something in people and talk to them and pray for them. She truly makes me want to be a better person. She and I are horrible about calling eachother actually I will say that I atleast answer my phone but I digress. (Love you Leslie) Two weeks before this all happened with my Dad we had a conversation, a long conversation and we shared some things with eachother and I told her about wanting to write a blog and how it had been on my heart for a long time. She just took whatever was in me and pulled it out. I had been thinking about doing this for almost 2 years. After talking with her I did it a few days later. My whole attitude changed. My whole outlook changed. My purpose changed. I had a purpose. For such a time as this. You see little did we know that in two weeks we would find out my Dad had a brain tumor. I needed to be in a different frame of mind. I needed to have a different purpose. If Matt wasn’t where he needed to be then Leslie wouldn’t be where she needed to be and I wouldn’t be where I needed to be.

“For if you remain silent at this time relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14 I love the book of Esther. She had no idea she was going to be thrust into the position she was in but God knew and she was placed in the palace at the precise moment she needed to be to save the people. Now obviously I’m no royal princess but I’m here. God knew I needed to be here. Someone had to impact Matt to start him on his journey so you see we all have someone that we need to touch. You may not know everyone you have an impact on. Matt didn’t know how much of an impact he had made until he was told. That’s powerful. What you do and how you live are seen by more people than you think. You can make an impact. We are not put here to pull a paycheck and just do the same thing every day and go on vacation once a year with the family. We are here to make an impact. We are here to change lives. I’m so grateful that I can be in the position I’m in. I have felt like I have floundered for these past couple of years and I have. I’m sure God could have used me in other ways before this moment but I apparently wasn’t ready.

So yes I’m tired and it’s stressful and I’m worried about my Dad. The alternative is I could still be drinking and miss this last year or so with my Dad. I could still be drinking and not be able to drive he and my Mom to the Dr. I could still be drinking and be emotionally closed off and not be there for my Mom or my sister and brother when we needed eachother. I’ll take tired, I’ll take stress, I’ll take puffy eyes and I’ll take being with my Dad for little moments and laughing with my Mom and Dad at the Dr. when we people watch and crying when the Dr. visit might get to be painful or overwhelming. I’ll take all that and more because I’m so glad I’m here For Such A Time As This.

Being Nudged

Drinking does not mix well with depression. Alcohol is a depressant to start with so your not doing yourself any favors by downing a few or six to make yourself feel better because your depressed. Add in the fact that you’re taking antidepressants on top of that and drinking can make your antidepressants less effective. So your just popping pills that aren’t working and drinking to feel better which is really making you feel worse. Then to top it all off it starts to interrupt your sleep. Drinking was great for my sleep in the beginning. I could pass out sleep all night and not wake up one time. After a while it took a lot to pass out and then I was waking up all the time. I couldn’t sleep through the night and would maybe get a solid 1 1/2 hours of uninterupted sleep. So I’m popping pills that don’t work, drinking and becoming more depressed and now I’m not sleeping. This plan is really working for me. So what do I do? I put this party into high gear and drink more.

So I’m in this viscious cycle. The picture that came to mind was a whirlpool in the ocean. We’ve probably all seen one at some point in time in our lives on TV or at the very least in the bathtub. I looked one up and that was definitely me spinning around and around in the center unable to swim out. Everytime I thought I was going to make it and I could see the sky above me, I had this talent for throwing myself backwards into the center and whipping around like one of those inflatable air dancers outside of the car dealerships. I would start drinking again and having a good time, get depressed, drink some more, get depressed, you get the picture. Then there would be the Chernobyl like fall out when my marriage would take a hit or I embarrassed myself. Maybe I could make the neighbors mad. Hey this time I could also hurt myself and fall down the stairs. Then came the extreme depression because I could beat myself up about being a terrible mother, wife, daughter and all around human being. It just got worse every time I took another spin. Yet I kept finding that whirlpool irresistible. The waters up above just looked to calm.


Everyone always says you have to hit your rock bottom. That is true and it is different for everyone. For some it could be jail. For some you may not hit the bottom until you are no longer here. For others it’s a DUI and yet sometimes it seems some people don’t even have a rock bottom. I hit my rock bottom finally. Of course this was after putting my family and especially my husband through a lot of things that he did not deserve to go through. My rock bottom was obviously being drunk but then I decided to take it one step further. I decided that it would be ok if I did some cocaine. I didn’t even think twice about it. I never even paused. I woke up the next day and knew this train had come off the tracks. I knew I had no choice. I had to sit down and tell my husband I had a problem. I was an alcoholic and I was out of control. I knew at that moment if I didn’t and I kept on going down the path I was on I was going over a cliff. I was going to lose my husband, my child, my home. I was going to lose everything I loved and it was going to be me and alcohol all on our own. I didn’t have a drug problem. I could have. I’m glad I didn’t wait much longer to find that out. I was an alcoholic. Now don’t get me wrong. I did take a moment to sort through my feelings and come up with the right words and the right time to talk to him. This involved several soul searching days into the bottom of a vodka bottle. After my deep soul searching (if you not good at detecting sarcasm you need to brush up because my sense of humor is completely sarcastic) I sat down with my husband (Wyatt, tired of calling him my husband) and told him I was stuck down in this whirlpool and I needed his help to pull me out.

It’s amazing how freeing the truth can be. Yes it is true. The truth can set you free. I was hiding behind so many lies and it was taking so much energy to keep everything straight and hide this secret from the ones that were so close to me. On one hand I felt like I could breathe and then on the other hand I was having a panic attack feeling the hurt, pain, guilt and fear and there was nothing to drink to make it go away. This feeling business and dealing with your problems is for the birds. From the word go Wyatt stood by my side. As long as I was willing to get help he was willing to walk with me every step of the way. You know who else stood by my side. Jesus. I had walked away from him a while back and was pretty good at ignoring his gentle nudge. You see he had been asking me to stop drinking as far back as July 14, 2004. That’s pretty precise isn’t it. I found a journal entry on that day. “For some reason I am having a difficult time doing what God is asking me to do. Stop drinking. ” That’s what I wrote on that day. God has been giving me a gentle nudge asking me to be obedient and I keep pretending I don’t hear him. The gentle nudges have gotten rougher over the years and there is one thing about God. If you’re not going to listen it’s going to be painful when God is done nudging and his arm comes out of nowhere and he clotheslines you. Slamming to the ground is never fun and you’re going to get a lot of cuts and bruises along the way. It’s never just you either. You will manage to trip over the ones you love and scrape them up in the process. Don’t miss the blessing in being clotheslined. He loves you enough to knock you off your feet. He could have just said he was tired of dealing with you. I’m sure I made him want to beat his head against a brick wall a time or two or three. He’s greater than us and his love is perfect. So even though he may knock you off your feet and you may land in the mud he is right there loving you as he always has. No less, he’s just waiting for you to look up and grab his hand. Nehemiah 8:10 – “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” How is the Lord’s joy our strength? The Lord’s joy is in forgiving and saving us. He delights in showing love to all that believe in him. Whenever we feel weak or defenseless he loves to step in and deliver us. In that his joy really will be our strength.

So I haven’t missed the blessing in God clotheslining me but listen up. If you aren’t there yet and you still have time I suggest you listen to the gentle nudges. He’s going to get your attention one way or another. It all just depends on how you want to be nudged.


The Crazy Ex

It can be hard to be sober and feel like you fit in with everyone else. Especially if it is new to you. You feel like a freak, the person at the table or the party or in the room everyone is talking about. Maybe you are, maybe nobody really could care less if you have a drink or not. It’s hard letting go of the world revolving around you and realizing there are other people around that might be of some interest. Being an addict can make a person so narcissistic.

When it’s all new and you have just given up drinking that’s all you can think about. Am I right? It seems like that’s all you see everywhere. Everyone on TV is drinking excessively, every commercial is for beer or liquor, everywhere you go to eat everyone in the restaurant is drinking except for YOU!! Obviously that’s not the case it’s just all your thinking about. Now granted, alcohol is everywhere. It has really become a staple in our society. I won’t be surprised when they place it on the food pyramid. When you see a commercial for a subscription to wine you should drink while watching investigative shows on the ID channel I’m thinking, what the world, score one for the winery who partnered with ID. If I was still drinking I would have jumped right on that bandwagon and had my subscription on rush. That would be just another way for me to justify that “I’m drinking with a purpose.”

It’s hard though. You don’t feel like you quite fit in with the people you were hanging out with and your not comfortable going to the places you were going. You may have to change your whole circle of friends and find new places to go. If all your friends do is go out and drink well, that’s not on your agenda anymore. If you only hung out at bars or went to places where you did nothing but drink well, here’s your sign. The friends that understand will go along for the ride and discover these new places with you and respect the safe places that you create for yourself. The friends that don’t will slowly fall off and you’ll realize you never really were that close to begin with. This really is just a process. A life process. Does it get easier? Yes it does. Does the feeling for a drink ever go away? I don’t know? I’m coming up on 2 years and I still have the urge to drink. It’s not as strong but I Do.

I bring these feelings up because I went to a wedding yesterday. It was beautiful. The ceremony was very intimate and meaningful and I cried from the moment the minister started talking until the time he said you may kiss the bride because that’s what I do. Then it was cocktail hour. We all jaunted over to the next building to grab a drink and some hors d’oeuvres. It was an open bar, beer and wine and water for those who were not drinking. I was waiting in line to get something to drink when I realized there was water available on the sides of the table as people were peeling off the front of the line two, three fisted with mostly beer. I think it’s just normal for my eye to follow all the beer flowing through the room. I immediately go back to, that was me. That’s what I would be doing. I wasn’t freaking out. I didn’t feel the need to tackle anyone outside and hide behind the bushes and down several bottles but it’s just the fact that I think about it. Now a wedding I went to over a year ago I did feel like that. I was completely miserable and I just should have stayed at home. You need to know where you are at mentally before you go to your first public outing. If you get there and you’re not ready, it’s ok. Go home. Home is your safe place and you don’t owe anyone out there anything. You can just politely excuse yourself. I’m not feeling well, I have an emergency, my dog bit my neighbor etc. You know things that could happen. So yesterday I had a good time. I laughed. I cried. I looked sometimes longingly at the beer going by as other people passed. I will tell you like this. The best thing someone ever said to me and it hit the nail on the head. My relationship with alcohol is like a relationship with an old boyfriend. We broke up. It was really, REALLY ugly. It took me a long time to get to this point and I’m doing good. I can go out and see him now but it still makes me want to go talk to him. Then I smack myself in the face and know if I even talk to him nothing good will happen and if I even say hi I will end up in a few hours riding the beautiful swan that is so gracefully gliding across the pond behind this beautiful wedding. So I choose to leave him alone.

Once I have these conversations in my head I can start to relax. I look at my husband and my son and know that it’s not even worth flirting with that no good trouble maker if I could possibly lose one of these two handsome men. I had some fun times and did and saw people do some really funny things when I was drinking and I can laugh about them. I had some really bad times and did some things I’m not so proud of when I was drinking. If there is even the remote possibility that I might do something contrary to my morals and beliefs or lose control of myself (like riding on a swan) alcohol and I don’t mix. If I have to drink to have fun then there’s something wrong with me on the inside. I think I like the new memories I’m creating. I can remember them the next day.