Four Years (5.12.17)

sober

It’s still amazing to me that I’ve gotten to this point. God willing I will continue on this journey, and will find the accumulation of each new year just as magical as the first. I remain a work in progress, and hope to be a student of sobriety for the rest of my days. AA has saved my life, and I must continue to give thanks for all that I’ve received by carrying the message of hope to others. It can be done. Life gets exponentially better! Please stay while you are here.

4

I finally got my coin yesterday, as I left town on Friday and got back Tuesday. In a way, I’ve turned a corner on my recovery this year. Or maybe it’s just in my personal growth? I’m sure I’ve written here how I’ve struggled with my sobriety date. It’s a day of both pain and joy for me. The past three years I’ve absolutely dreaded the week of my sobriety date, because on the day before, I relive my car crash. Of course I don’t remember the crash, but I am wracked with guilt and pain because of it. Thanks to the intensive work I’ve done with my amazing counselor, this year I was at peace with May 11th. I see her again next week, and I cannot wait to tell her how I did last Thursday. Nothing I can do will change the events of that day, but it’s such a relief that I made it through May 11th this year without stirring up a horrible maelstrom of emotion. I acknowledged the past, I prayed for my victim and her family, and marveled over how I am alive today. What an incredible blessing!

Cheers, Friends!

 

Adventures of Anxiety Girl!

anxiety-girl

 

My depression and anxiety are a million times better in sobriety, but sometimes they still get the best of me. The past week has been a rough one, and I’m fighting these feelings instead of turning my worries and problems over to my Higher Power. Two years ago when I was working with my sponsor E., she would always tell me to put down the boxing gloves.

Me: (overwhelmed. struggling. flailing!)

E: KC, quit fighting yourself. PUT DOWN THE BOXING GLOVES. Turn it over!

Me: But I’ve been fighting myself my entire life! THIS IS WHAT I DO.

E: And where has that gotten you?

Me: Le sigh…okay, fine. (prays, asks for help and acceptance.)

Two days later…

Me: Hey, E! I feel so much better. Why didn’t I turn my problems over sooner?

E: Told you so! That’s why I’m the sponsor and you are the sponsee. (wink, wink)

I’m struggling with a few things that I’d previously had a handle on. But as time moved on and life didn’t move in the direction I had hoped it would by my time frame, I’ve gotten angsty. Frustrated. Completely bummed out. Last fall I kept thinking, okay. This is going to happen when it is supposed to happen. In God’s time! It’s going to work out when it is supposed to. But I’ve gradually lost faith of it happening because it hasn’t happened yet. Looking back on my life post-car accident, I’ve been able to see that everything has happened when the timing was right.People, places and things worked out when they needed to. When I kept doing what I needed to in the program, when I stayed in the middle of the bed (so to speak), the magic happened.

Note to self: pray, turn it over, help another alcoholic, have faith. You’re gonna be fine!

An unrelated source of anxiety is my probation. It officially ends on June 9. I’ve lived in perpetual fear since being released from jail that I would make one wrong move and/or forget to do something, and I’d be immediately booted to prison. Since moving back to Akron and getting my probation transferred to a much bigger county with more crime, I am small potatoes here. Instead of seeing my PO each month, I go to the police station downtown and check in to a kiosk. I’ve only had to see my PO when I moved down here, and when I’ve needed to fill out paperwork that grants me permission to travel out of state.

Despite marking each month’s probation check in multiples time on my Google Calendar, in the past couple years I have woken up several times in the middle of the night, sweating profusely, heart racing, thinking that I missed my check in day. And being terrified of getting shipped to prison. Even jaywalking terrified me for a while! My judge is no joke, and I know that if I even sneezed wrong around that guy, he’d want to ship me out. I promise that I am not overreacting. My anxiety of jaywalking is, however his seriousness is not.

I had to check in yesterday, but the doors were locked. Government offices were closed for President’s Day. I immediately emailed my PO, and told her that the doors were locked, I didn’t see anyone, and that I hope it was okay if I would check in today. My anxiety rose on the bus this morning as I neared the police station (which is conveniently located where I exit the bus every day to walk to work). Worse Case Scenario Girl imagined me checking in, then promptly getting handcuffed and carried out when a buzzer went off. SHE DIDN’T CHECK IN WHEN SHE WAS SUPPOSED. SHE FINALLY FUCKED UP!

My PO told me once that if I was unable to check in on a certain date, to let her know ahead of time. Well, I wasn’t anticipating not being able to check in yesterday but at least I notified her ASAP. Tomorrow I will see her to get some work travel cleared, but I’m still freaked out. Deep down I know that I have nothing to worry about. I’m not a threat to the system in this county. She likes me.But I will still be on edge until I am done talking to her tomorrow. Until then, I know that I need to pray and turn it over. And calm the fuck down! (wink, wink).

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?

647 Days

Holy shit, you guys! So much is happening. I’m sorry for being quiet but I went through a much needed phase of rebuilding with a wonderful new sponsor. I’ve been working the steps, redid 4 and 5, and have been making amazing progress with myself.

Jail erased all the confidence I’d built up prior to my sentencing, and it physically and mentally wiped me out. I went into survival mode there; it was all I could do. But that’s behind me now and I’m moving forward.

I have gotten a job back with my previous employer: same job title but different department. And I just signed the lease on a cute little studio apartment! I move in this weekend, begin work on Monday.

Holy shit!

My head is spinning.

In the meantime I am so overwhelmed with gratitude that I cannot stop it from spilling over onto my cheeks and down my face. I’m blown away by how fast my life is progressing and moving forward. And I am so thankful for AA! I’ve survived the scariest and most awful moments of my life without having to take solace in a bottle, to remove myself from, well, myself. I am so humbled and so proud!

Once I get settled, I will return to regular posting again. I will have my desktop at my place, and that will help. I’m terrible at using tablets and my phone for long correspondence and blogging. Not my thing.

Thanks for being patient and for following me on this journey! Life is good, and transforming from a glass half-empty person into a glass half-full person is pretty fucking great. I hope you are all well!

7 Days to Go…

*gulp*

The final countdown begins…

My weekend was good, and I am feeling a lot less frantic than when I posted last. Going to three AA meetings between Saturday and Sunday helped a lot. Whenever I am freaking out internally, AA takes me out of that state. It’s amazing how much it helps to talk to people who get it, and have been through similar situations. I spoke about what I am currently going through at a meeting yesterday (my voice wavering the entire time – my shyness tends to keep me from participating much during discussion meetings), and I had a line of people wanting to talk to me afterward. All folks who had been in my shoes, and lived to talk about it. That sounds dramatic, but sometimes this feels like The End of the World. That helped so much! I felt lighter afterwards. My problems are still there, but talking to others who’ve been there helped to ease the burden a bit.

The weather was perfect this weekend, and I got to spend a lot of time with one of my best friends yesterday and eat some really yummy food. I am currently on the “Going to Jail Diet” – meaning I’m not eating ice cream for breakfast, but I’m eating whatever the hell I want and not feeling bad about it. I keep joking to my friends that I will get scurvy in jail, because I loooooove all fresh fruits and veggies. I will panic when there is a lack of fruit in my house and I need to go shopping. So me and jail food will not be simpatico. I like flavor! Yesterday I had amazing strawberry-rhubarb french toast at my favorite local brunch spot. The food there is phenomenal, but I tend to not get there as often as I’d like because it can be pricey. Since my friend treated me to brunch, I treated myself to a lemon curd tart from their bakery. I ate it last night, and it was so good it almost killed me. Death by lemon curd tart! What a way to go.

Okay, quick post but I just wanted to check in. OH! And a heads up…if I am in jail for a while, my best friend Robin has agreed to write the occasional update on my behalf. I’ll mail her a letter with my update, and she can post it for me. WOOT!

 

 

 

290 Days

Wow, this weekend just obliterated me emotionally. It was excruciating, but I battled through it. I took a mental health day from work on Monday, and my mother drove down here and we had lunch. Much needed! It doesn’t matter how old you are, sometimes you just need your mom. We talked about a lot of personal stuff, and it felt so good to get so much off my chest. I’ve noticed that the longer I am sober, the easier it is for me to talk about difficult subjects. I used to have to be at least buzzed before attempting a difficult conversation. It’s good to see growth from my sobriety especially during my rough moments!

Yesterday, I met up with my sponsor for breakfast before hitting up a women’s big book study meeting. I was honest about my recent struggles, and I told her that I really needed some sponsor butt kicking. We talked for several hours, and it was also much needed. I hate talking on the phone, but agreed to call her at least twice a week. We discussed how I need to start working the steps (yeah, I’m not there yet), and I confided in her that I have difficulty with the spiritual aspect of AA. I know I need to just step out of my comfort zone to embrace my Higher Power. Change is hard, and the past 289 days have been rife with change. I’m getting there, slowly but surely.

We went to the meeting after breakfast. She’s been there before, but this was my first time. I recognized a few ladies from other meetings including one who has really reached out to me from my home group. She ran over and gave me a huge hug when she saw me. This was only the second big book meeting I’ve been to since I started AA in October (most of my meetings are leads or discussions – I need to branch out). We were told to turn to page 452 to read and discuss “Safe Haven“. I opened my book to the page, and the first word I saw was “prison”. During breakfast my sponsor and I discussed how I may go to prison, and while the thought is terrifying for me, I am keeping an open mind. I cannot fear something that has not happened yet, I can only focus on making today the best it can be.

I turned to my sponsor, pointed at the word prison and said, “Wow, ironic!”

She smiled and said, “No it’s not, you were meant to be here today”.

Holy goosebumps, Batman! Time to fully embrace my Higher Power…

Day 273

Winter is making me lazy. Winter is making me avoid going to AA.

Okay, winter is making me lazy. I haaaaaaaate winter.

Last night I told myself that I would go to two meetings in a row this morning before I head into work. When I woke up this morning to more snow, it took all of two seconds for me to talk myself out of going at all. Granted, the roads were bad going into work, but these meetings are close to home and I could have dealt with it. But instead, I choose to be lazy, and snuggle with a cat while drinking my morning coffee. Did a few things around the house.

I’ve been going to my home group meeting faithfully on Saturday mornings, though I did recently miss three in a row (I had to meet my lawyer to talk about my case one Saturday, the next was the day after losing my greyhound and I was a mess, and the Saturday after that it was a blizzard – really). So I’ve been to my closed women’s group (my home group) the past two Saturdays, and it’s good to be back. Even though I’m still shy and I haven’t opened up fully, I always leave there feeling lifted and wonderful. But other than that, I’ve been avoiding going to other meetings.

I should be going to at least three a week, but I have a hard time leaving the house when it’s cold and snowy out. And it’s been a cold and snowy winter. I still have all my meetings documented, so I have a record of going for court purposes. This morning I was guilt-tripping myself about missing the meetings, when I began to think about how these missed meetings would affect my case in court. I doubt that a judge is going to send me to prison based on me only going to one meeting a week, instead of three. “Well, I was going to just give her a couple days in jail and community service, but I see that over January and February she started getting lazy with AA. Because of that, this girl with zero priors is going to do hard time, dammit!”

Yeah, I’m weird. And terrified of my future. And a bit depressed.

Friday morning, my boyfriend and I took our 12 year old cat to our vet to be euthanized due to inoperable cancer. This is three weeks to the day of having our vet come to our house to euthanize our dog. It’s been a rough 2014 thus far. The sun was so bright, but it was 5 below that morning. I’ve had a hard time processing the situation with our cat, because my heart is still so broken over my girl. After our kitty was gone and we came home, I put myself to bed. I just didn’t have the drive to do anything but read, be warm under the covers, and sleep.

But I made it to my home group meeting yesterday, and I was so glad that I went. I keep telling myself that I need to do more, but right now, I just feel like burying my head in the sand until spring…