I’m Still Standing

Hi all! World’s worst blogger here, but I am still sober. I just looked online to calculate that I am on Day 1374. Not too shabby!

I know I have mentioned this before, but I often think of my blog and feel guilty. My life is great, but I am incredibly busy these days. My blog also didn’t go in the way that I had planned, and that stalled me for a while. I’ve been out of jail for two years now but I had intended to blog about my experience there. I had written for my blog while incarcerated, but the person who had agreed to help me only published once and never gave me the rest of my writing back. You can only depend on yourself, right? Right.

Last year was an incredible one for me personally and professionally. I got to travel to the Outer Banks, Virginia Beach (for a work conference), and Boston. I started sponsoring in AA, and gave a bunch more leads (speaker meetings). Giving a lead still terrifies me, but the payoff is so worth it. In June I got engaged to my best friend! We are getting married in October. Life is moving along at a dizzying pace, but I can remember all of it! No more hangovers, no more guilt, no more shame. Sobriety is and will remain the best thing I’ve ever done.

One of my best friends just joined the program, which was an answer to my prayers. I shared my blog with her, and in doing so, got to go back and relive these entries. I am still grateful for all of you who traveled on this journey with me, and offered encouragement during those early days. The pain is palpable in so many of those posts, and it is a relief to be more settled in sobriety, to have overcome the unimaginable in my life.I hope to be here again on a regular basis, and I will do my best not to let you down.

Advertisements

3 Years

A brief note to let you all know that I am still around and still sober. Three years today! I still cannot believe it, but even better, I am amazed at my life now. Obviously it hasn’t been a cakewalk, but every moment has been worth it. I hope you are all well, and that you are working hard. I lost a member of my support group to suicide on Monday, and it’s left me pretty shaken. At this point, it still doesn’t seem real, but it will be downright painful when we celebrate her life Saturday. This disease is no joke! You’ve got to work your ass off and become uncomfortable to change. You need to reach out and ask for help! People are dying everyday from this. I promise you, your efforts will be rewarded. Don’t leave before the miracle happens.

Much love to you all,

KC

Amy

AMY

I saw the Amy Winehouse documentary “Amy” at an indie theater here in town on Saturday. Obviously, I knew how her story would end, but the film managed to break my heart anyway. Amy died in the summer of 2011, a little less than two years before I decided to choose a life of sobriety. It’s life or death, this whole sobriety business. And it’s hard work. It’s hard work for the rest of our lives, at least I know that’s how it will be for me. My disease lies to me constantly, telling me that it’s really not that big of a deal. But it’s a big fucking deal, and I can never safely drink ever again. Did I ever safely drink to begin with?

I am a fan of Amy’s music, and I find her to be incredibly talented. Her death leaves the mystery of what could have been, same with all the other members of The 27 Club. I remember reading about her disastrous nights out on the town, brawls with her husband, the complete downward spiral of her addictions. At the time, I was probably thinking the same as so many other people. What a waste of talent! Hot mess! Why can’t she get her shit together? Does she want to die?

Through the lens of sobriety, I was able to both sympathize and relate to so much while watching the documentary. Don’t get me wrong, our stories couldn’t possibly be any more different. But as addicts, we all have a lot in common. And I watched in horror as so much of her tragic story could have been prevented. As a celebrity, I cannot fathom how much harder life is. To be scrutinized constantly, followed by paparazzi. That is not normal life. Eventually she wanted to disappear, and I don’t blame her.  And she did disappear, thanks to the help of alcohol and drugs.

Towards the end of her life, she managed to string a month of sobriety together. She picked up again three days before her death. All I could think of while watching was “People, places, things!” That ALL has to change for a sober lifestyle to be maintained. Amy tried, but that piece of the puzzle was never there.

Amy, I hope that you’re at peace now, wherever you may be. Of course I hope the same for the countless people who die everyday from this horrible disease.

Have any of you seen the film? Thoughts?

790 Days

As you’ve all figured out by now, my life has gotten a wee bit hectic. June was a blur, and sadly, it took me a while to figure out that I was neglecting myself. I had no Me Time, no balance. It’s just been go, go go! No wonder I’ve spent this week white-knuckling sobriety.

It’s scary how fast I can go back to being completely self-centered, resentful and ruled by fear. Tonight I went to a meeting that I normally don’t go to, due to the fact that it’s filled with chatty and oft obnoxious millennials. Of course the discussion revolved around my current struggles, and it was a really fantastic meeting. I left feeling five pounds lighter. I now have a clearer picture in my head of what I need to be doing to take care of myself, along with what needs to be done to aid in my recovery. In addition to all this, I hope to utilize this space more. I miss it, and writing here and connecting with others has helped a whole hell of a lot in the past.

How do you, wise readers, seek balance when life feels like a circus?

One Year Ago

My sentencing was one year ago today.

That morning I was escorted out of the courtroom amid the sniffles and sobs of many family members, friends, AA contacts, and colleagues. It was the worst day of my life.

This anniversary has been weighing heavily on me in many ways. I’ve been dreaming about my time in jail constantly, I think I see corrections officers on the street or around campus while I’m working. My time away continues to affect me in weird and profound ways, and I plan on documenting my experiences here.

I had hoped to write about the events of June 9, 2014 here today, but my schedule is wonky. I had to work late, and I have to open the library in the morning (I hate opening shifts – I’m so not a morning person). And well, the Cavs are on (ha). But I plan on doing so in the next couple days.

Until then…

My First Lead

Hi hi hi hi hi!

I hate that I’ve turned into the world’s shittiest blogger. I’ve never been good with balance, and now that my professional life is booming my writing here is nonexistent suffering. But I’ve got to roll with it. Before I was incarcerated, I was bored to tears with my job. Granted, I got hired back by the same university library (which really was a blessing), but this time in a different department. A month ago I sort of fell into another   position when a coworker left for a new job. I was stoked to get this position, and it’s been incredibly challenging. Everything is continuing to fall into place for me, and I’m feeling great. So much good stuff is happening! But I think of you all in the sober blogosphere so much, and curse myself for not writing as often as I used to. I’m one of those folks that will get great ideas while performing mundane tasks (dishes, showering, etc.), but when it comes time to sit down and write, all those great ideas have vanished.

Earlier today I thought to myself that I needed to post an update today. Naturally I forgot, until I got a WordPress “Your stats are booming!” notification on my phone. That was the kick in the pants I needed. No idea why said stats are booming, but here I am.

As was previously posted, my two year soberversary was Tuesday, May 12th. I gave my first AA lead on the following Sunday, the 17th. This was not a planned lead; it was sprung on me about 10 minutes before the meeting.

fuckshitpanicOMGfuckshitpanicOMGOMGOMGPANIC!!!

I was bit freaked out.

I go to two large meetings in a row on Sunday mornings. The first is a discussion meeting, the second is a lead. I announced my soberversary during the first meeting. I was talking to a buddy during the break between meeting one and two when I was approached by E. to lead.

At first I thought he meant next Sunday, but I soon realized that he meant for the next meeting. Turns out his scheduled lead was unable to make it, so I became his next victim. At first I almost turned him down, but I said yes. In AA when you’re asked to do something for the good of the group, you always say yes. I was sitting next to my treatment counselor at the meetings like I always do, and she was so tickled when it was announced that I was going to share my experience, strength and hope with the group.

Of course this isn’t a standard meeting. It’s a big meeting in an auditorium, with a podium and a mic. Public speaking is pretty much the worst thing I can be asked to do. My fear of it is so great, that I’ve dropped college classes that required a lot of presentations. The first thing I did was crack a joke about how had I known in advance that I would be leading that morning, I would have at least bothered to shower for everyone. With these meetings, I usually roll out of bed, grab some coffee, and go. For those of you not familiar with AA, people who lead always dress up. I was in jeans, a t-shirt, flip flops, hair in a ponytail, no makeup. Classy gal I am! Oi…

Because I had such short-notice and my rising panic took over my brain, I didn’t give a typical lead. It was…around 10 minutes long. But in that time span I was able to give a concise talk about my lowest moments, how it all started, what it’s like today and how absolutely grateful I am for this program and the fellowship. The comments, thanks and feedback from others lasted twice as long as my lead. Everyone was so sincere and sweet. Even after the meeting I had a line of people waiting to shake my hand or hug me, and give me their thanks. Apparently I struck a chord with many, especially with a lot of newcomers. I’ve gotta admit, it felt incredible. I hugged E. after the meeting and thanked him for asking me.

Sobriety is full of unexpected blessings. The longer I’m sober, the more I can see God working through the actions of others. My lead and that entire morning was God doing for me what I could not do for myself. Had I been asked to lead the following Sunday, I would have spent the entire next week being nervous as hell and not sleeping. I’m so grateful to have had that experience! I spent the rest of that day walking on air, and as of today, I still have folks from that meeting approaching me and thanking me. All for sharing a sliver of my story. Pretty cool, right?

Two Years!

heygirl

So I officially suck at blogging. Sigh. In my defense, I am crazy busy but it’s good busy! Since I was last here I turned 35, got a nasty case of food poisoning (well, that part was bad), started physical therapy for an ankle injury from my jailbird days, found out that I am getting sued (has to do with my accident – also bad, but there’s nothing I can do about it right now so I’m not stressing over it), finally moved my cat from my ex’s place into my apartment, got a promotion at work, and I am still juggling my mandatory four AA meetings a week. I also got my first sponsee last week, but now I think that isn’t going to work out. All I can do is wish her the best at this point. So yeah…I’ve been busy.

Oh, and as of today I’ve been sober for TWO YEARS.

Last year it was a huge relief to hit that one year mark. This time around, it snuck up on me. About a month ago, I had a couple days where I was overcome with anxiety and dread. It was triggered by an episode from Mad Men season seven. Don’s drunken behavior hit too close to home. Big surprise, right? Then I was going through a purse that I must not have used in eons because I dug out some old bar tabs. I quickly turned into a mess and called my sponsor. Instead of looking forward to being sober for two years, all I could think about was how this would be two years since My Accident. Since I went left of center while driving in a blackout and injured an innocent person. I guess this time of year will perpetually be bittersweet.

This blurb from today’s entry of the 24 Hour Book really struck me:

“Turn out all thoughts of doubt and fear and resentment. Never tolerate them if you can help it. Bar the windows and doors of your mind against them, as you would bar your home against a thief who would steal in to take away your treasures. What greater treasures can you have than faith and courage and love? All these are stolen from you by doubt and fear and resentment. Face each day with peace and hope.”

Progress not perfection, friends. I’m excited to see where this next year will take me.