Stumbling Through Grief


At five years sober, I am still encountering new terrain and challenges. The most recent is the death of my grandfather. This is the hardest loss I have had to go through in my life, and during my grandfather’s one week stay in hospice I was terrified. All I could think about was, I don’t want to feel this. I am scared to feel so much pain. How do I do this???

Compounding the situation was my distance from him and the rest of my family. After I got married last year, I moved to St. Louis. Within two weeks last fall, I got married, moved, and started a new job. Scary? Yes! But I did it. Just like when I spent six months in the pokey when I was 13 months sober. Terrifying? YES! But I did it. Every time I go through something else in sobriety that seems utterly terrifying, I have to remind myself of all that I have been through in this journey. And then I do my best to muster up some courage and barrel through.

I was not able to make the trip home to say goodbye to my Pappy, which was excruciating for me. I felt disconnected from my family, and it all caused a lot of emotional anguish. I did get to say goodbye to Pappy via my dad’s cell phone. Dad said he opened his eyes while I talked to him, and I am hoping he heard me. That was on a Friday, and he was gone three days later.

In the meantime, I was Googling grieving in sobriety. I spoke out in my home group about my fear of losing someone so dear to me. I kept in touch with my current and former sponsor. I didn’t hide from this fear, I laid it out there for everyone to see. I prayed for strength and said the serenity prayer A LOT. When he passed, I kept talking to people: on the phone, via text and email, in person and in meetings. I cried and I yelled. I got pissed that first night that I couldn’t take the edge off with a drink or a cigarette. I acknowledged that anger, then I let it go. In sobriety you don’t get a buffer for the pain, you have no choice but to keep moving through it.

My husband and I made the long drive back to Ohio for the visitation and funeral. I was scared to go into my grandparents’ church, but thankfully I was met by my mom and two of my best friends before I walked into the door. I was scared that I would see his body in the casket and cry so hard that I wouldn’t be able to breathe. I was nauseous, but I did it. And I cried a lot. I brought him one of my sobriety coins to put in his casket, and was grateful that he saw me turn my life around. His own father was an abusive alcoholic, and because of that, Pappy did not drink. Not only that, but he was an amazing father and grandfather. I am so lucky to have had him in my life.

Of course I am still dealing with residual icky feelings and sadness, but I am continuing to put them out there. The old me would have used this as another excuse to drink more, to isolate and keep everything inside to fester. It also would have been another excuse to eat tons of junk and feel like shit about myself. I let myself grief-eat sweets over the weekend (I’m not fucking perfect!), but I stopped and agreed to treat myself with kindness this week. I went to the gym, ate better, and made an effort to get more rest. I am so grateful for a program which has given me so many skills: on living, on coping, etc. Life will never be easy, but we can get through anything one day at a time.

Day 281

I’m feeling much better than when I last posted. I’ve also cut myself some slack in regards to my meetings. Yes, they are beneficial and I really enjoy them. My home group is obviously the one I love most, I’m there every Saturday, and I find that it really does feed me spiritually and emotionally throughout the week. But I’ve had a rough go of things lately, and if I want to be a hermit when it’s nasty out, so be it. I read sobriety blogs and texts regularly along with the Big Book, I keep in touch with my sponsor. Last week I reached nine full months of sobriety, and I am incredibly proud of myself. I’ve always been my own worst enemy, my harshest critic. These past nine months, I’ve learned to let go a bit and be gentler and kinder to myself. I still have my moments, but I feel that I am doing a much better job at silencing my inner critic.

My court case has been weighing heavily on my mind lately, as I do not see any end in sight. This makes it hard to plan for the future, but I cannot live like a prisoner before I am one (which hopefully will not happen, but you catch my drift). My current home situation is depressing at the moment. My dog Cosmo is still being mopey and uber-clingy since Grace has passed. And now with the loss of our cat Takibi, his brother Toshi is understandably acting depressed. And of course my boyfriend and I are bummed out with all this unexpected loss in our little family.

We’ve fostered greyhounds in the past, and we are thinking of fostering again. It’s been two years since we have, and because Cosmo loves other dogs so much, we were thinking that it would be good to foster again either this summer or fall depending on what happens in my case (i.e. will I end up in prison or jail?). For all I know, this could drag out all year. I found out last night from the group I foster for that there will be new dogs up from Florida this week that will need foster families. Why not foster now? I want to jump at the opportunity, but my boyfriend isn’t so sure. It would be a great distraction from all the fun legal stuff in my life, Cosmo would have a new buddy in the house, and our rescue group would then be able to save another retired racer from a Florida track. Win-win, right? We’ll see if I can do some convincing this week. I miss my girl so much, but this would also be another good distraction from that pain.

Since I love to take photos, I’ve decided to begin taking part in the Weekly Photo Challenge. I had no idea there was such a thing, until I saw Running on Sober’s post today. I’m excited to see what this week’s challenge will be! Okay, back to work…


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…