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.

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?

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.

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!

Reminders

image

I bought these Doc Martens the first time I was in London, March 2002. They’re wickedly uncomfortable, but I love them. There’s a blue and red stripe up at the top of the boot, some extra flair that my jeans cover up. And thanks to a night of heavy drinking in November 2012, the toes are scuffed all to hell.

Perhaps it makes them look a bit more weathered, but the scuffed toes tend to piss me off. I’m pissed that I fucked up my Docs, even more pissed that it’s because I was well (as the Brits say), pissed.

I was out celebrating the birthday of one of my best buddies that night. It began innocently, with sushi and a beer. I can’t remember where we all ended up or what happened. I just remember thinking once again that it was going to be a laid back night. Seems like those laid back nights always caused me the most grief! They often ended up being a catastrophe.

I have hazy memories of walking stumbling back to J’s house from a bar. It was her birthday, and while she was also a heavy drinker (and the birthday girl!), she was in charge of getting Drunky Drunkerton back to her house. Apparently throwing me into a cab wasn’t an option. Only a couple months earlier that happened at another birthday celebration and I ended up passed out in a park. Clearly I wasn’t to be trusted to get home safely on my own anymore once I reached the point of no return.

On the walk to J’s house, I was so drunk I kept falling down. It was freezing and I was done. I wanted only to sprawl out on the sidewalk and pass out. J kept dragging me back up, and I would stumble and fall on my face again. I woke up with some incredible bruises and some banged up Docs. I kept hearing J coax me back up: “Come on KC, we’re almost at my house. You can do this!” She was and still is so sweet to me.

It felt like I was attempting to cross the Appalachian Trail instead of a sidewalk. Our journey back took what seemed forever, but we finally made it. I crashed in bed with her, and never gave one thought to letting my ex know where I was. Probably because at that point, I didn’t know where I was and didn’t care.

That night reminds me of a party I was at before I turned 18. I ran around my friend’s house double fisting beer and wine the entire time. The night ended badly of course. At one point I was in the bathroom and two of my buddies were trying get me to stand up, coaxing me just like J had. I could see our reflection in the mirror, see them struggling to hold up my dead weight. 17 year old me and 32 year old me were exactly the same. It took until I was 33 to end the madness.

I wore my Docs yesterday for the first time since the spring, and tying those laces, seeing the scuffs brought all those memories back. At first it was shame and embarrassment, but the longer I wore them yesterday, the better I felt. I’m never going to be that falling down drunken disaster ever again. And that feels amazing.

Oy Vey

A quick update: I’m still alive and kicking. Good news! *wink, wink* And I’m still sober, but I am having a hard time with my new normal. Getting out of jail and suddenly being surrounded by booze (my mom and her husband are drinkers) after being completely removed from it for half a year was a weird feeling. Like walking by an open beer made me feel…really uncomfortable. Almost like it was going to leap out and bite me. In fact, my entire state of mind is akin to my newly sober days. I am not coping as well as I was prior to my sentencing. I feel like I’ve taken 50 steps back in every aspect of my life and emotional well being. I’m not gonna lie, it sucks.

But I just wanted to let you all know that I am here and doing okay but still adjusting. Still trying to get caught up with all of you again. I just NOW checked my blog’s email account for the first time since I’ve been out. Oops! And there are others of you that I still need to reach out to and reconnect with. Please be patient with me, I’m in a bit of a tailspin at the moment. To all of you who are newly sober and checking out my blog (my stats are going up again, so I’m guessing that there are a lot of you here – Welcome!), I hope that you find my archives helpful. If you need help, do not hesitate to ask. Please email me if you’d like.

I hope you all had a great holiday season. I was spoiled as usual, and despite getting sick, had a wonderful time seeing family and friends I hadn’t seen in ages. And overindulging in lots of delicious food! I lost weight in jail, but I think I’ve gained most of it back already. No worries though, as I am out of that cold, depressing place! Today I applied for a job at my former place of employment. Unfortunately, it’s not my previous job, but it would be a step in the right direction. And trust me, direction would be great right now. Please cross your fingers for me.

Alright kids, be good! I promise to be back shortly.