One Year Ago

My sentencing was one year ago today.

That morningĀ 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 haveĀ 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…

Weak Spots

As most of you know, this past year has been a constant transition period followed by transition period followed by transition period. I am currently adjusting to my new life on my own, a new job, and another (partial) loss of freedom by being unable to drive. The past four weeks have been another “Look Ma, no hands!” rollercoaster ride emotionally. With change comes anxiety, vulnerability, depression and moments of weakness.

Life would be so much easier without Facebook, wouldn’t it? I wish I could sever the ties completely, but I can’t. Being incarcerated was both a blessing and a curse when it came to human contact. I was no longer a slave to my phone and to social media, but it was harder to get a hold of people via letters and expensive phone calls. There were so many periods where I was so depressed that I couldn’t write letters. And then I felt guilty for friends spending exorbitant amounts of money for 15 minute phone calls just so I could rant or cry to them. Towards the end, phone calls and visits were too much. I went through with them, but it seemed better to isolate myself completely. Hearing a voice over the phone or seeing a face through a glass window left me despondent and missing them more. It was painful.

What was I talking about again? Oh yeah, Facebook. Sigh.

Last night on Facebook, there were some photos of a few people that I love dearly. They were sitting on barstools at my old hangout, pints in hand, with big smiles. I had an overwhelming urge to be sitting there next to them, drinking away my anxieties, feeling that warmth and instant happy wash over me. To have effortless conversation, to not feel like the shy awkward one, to be with my friends in that setting again.

I was jealous. Jealous that I couldn’t be there, jealous of their fun, jealous that for most of them, they can go out and remember what they did the next day. It was a really shitty feeling.

Friends, I know what I need to do, but I also needed to vent with people who understand. Thanks for being here with me.

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!

585 Days

I am still struggling to keep up with texts, emails and phone calls. Still adjusting to real life, along with my new normal: living with my mother and being unable to drive. There’s a lot that’s happened during the past six months, and I’ll get to that. There are also three more posts I wrote in jail that need to be published. Unfortunately the whole blogging from jail thing didn’t work out as planned, but that’s okay. Shit happens.

In September I received a copy of Hazelden’s Twenty Four Hours a Day book from a fellow inmate. It was custom to dole out extra commissary or other goodies to your buddies upon release. What a wonderful feeling it was to get to that day myself and distribute my shampoo, lotion, candy, notebook paper, etc.

In treatment last fall, we read from the 24 Hours a Day book every morning. I still don’t have a copy of my own, but enjoyed adding the daily reading to my morning rituals while incarcerated. One of the first things I did after getting the book was to flip through to June 9, the day of my sentencing. I was floored when I read it. I took this photo of the entry at a meeting yesterday morning:


Coincidence? I don’t know, but it brought me to tears. The day of my sentencing and the start of my incarceration wasn’t my bottom, but it sure felt like another bottom. I was sober, but felt like I’d been drop-kicked into a sewer. Thanks to my drinking, I was broke, spiritually bankrupt, I hated myself and yes, life seemed impossible.

“We had to end it all or do something about it.” Waking up in the ICU, not knowing what I had done (aside from drinking and driving) to get there, I knew it was do or die time. Not everyone gets a second chance, and there’s a reason that I got one. There’s a reason that I lost nearly everything. I am here to help others and to show them that the impossible can be done. That despite all the shit stacked against us, it is possible to climb your way out the rubble, the ruins of drink. To come out of life on top. To succeed. To deal with hardship without diving into a bottle every time something bad happens.

Am I glad I did something about it?” Hell yeah, I am! Onwards and upwards, friends. Onwards and upwards!

575 Days

A quick post to let everyone know that I am finally free. I’ve missed you all so much, and appreciate your kind thoughts and support. It still means the world to me!

I am slowly adjusting to life post-incarceration and am reveling in simple pleasures: sunshine and fresh air, real coffee, walks with my dog, fresh fruits and vegetables, being able to hug friends and family, sleeping in a real bed with a pillow, wearing my own undies, etc. While I am grateful to put the past six months behind me, there are still many obstacles looming on the horizon. I’m scared and hope I have the strength to get through all this. One day at a time right?

Looking forward to catching up with you all!