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Day 23-Baby steps that feel bigger

Jan 25, 2010 - 0 comments

So, 23 days without a single drink.  No physical symptoms.  (Didn't think I would anyway).  And its becoming easier to deal with mentally.  Actually went out to dinner Friday to our "usual" spot.  The bartender already had my "usual" poured on the bar.  My husband took it and asked the bartender for a club soda with a splash of cranberry for me. "You, know...the point thing" he said to Dylan.   I didn't even have to do anything.  You can't imagine how huge that is for us.  I honestly feel my husband gets it now.  This isn't a "phase" I'm in for a few weeks.  This is how it's going to be.  

I wonder if everyone else has experienced the changes sobriety is making in so many other areas of my life.  I wouldn't say they are big things...nothing monumental.  But I actually do what I say I'm going to do now...pretty much all the time.  THings I commit to to others and to myself.  I am trying to lose some weight, and in the past have never been a great dieter.  Easily distracted and convinced by my moods that it is OK to cheat, cuz of x, y or z.  I'm not doing that now.  I consider picking up that donut or stopping at MCDs and then decide NOT to.  I feel pride in myself and a sense that my bigger goals are more important than that donut.  It feels so good.  Seriously.  

My only fear is that I know I'm not perfect.  I'll screw up something.  Eat that donut one day, or not check off everything on my "to do" list one day.  And given my "all or nothing" kinda mindset I tend to live in, will that dip me low enough to grab a drink?  I'm trying so hard to keep myself out of that attitude.  Grabbing a donut or blowing off a "to do" is in a different stratosphere compared to grabbing a drink.  I just hope I can stay strong in that moment and remember that!



Went to my first meeting

Jan 21, 2010 - 0 comments

So I am 19 days completely clean and sober today.  And I went to my first AA/NA meeting last night.  I don't know why I waited so long to go.  It was wonderful.  It was a small meeting.  Total of 8 people there, including me.  I knew about the meeting from a posting at my addiction counselor's office and had called the contact person earlier in the day.  First, because it was a small meeting, I wanted to make sure the meeting was still on, and, second,  so that it would be harder to chicken out at the last minute.  Joe was so nice on the phone and let me know that the meeting was definitely "on" and it started at 7pm.  

So I get to the meeting right at seven (Jersey traffic S-U-C-K-S by the way) and in the small foyer of the center, there's a grease board with the time of this meeting listed as 730.  Oh well, I think...and head to the room anyway. As I get closer to the room, I hear people chatting and wonder if it's a different meeting.  I peer around the door and see 3 people chatting at the table.  Immediately, one says, "Amy?" and I say "yes".  He comes up and shakes my hand and says, "Hi, I'm Joe".  I'm so sorry I gave you the wrong time.  I called all the meeting "regulars" and got some of them to come a half hour early so we wouldn't leave you hanging."  

Can you believe it???  These people had never so much as heard my name before and rallied around me so that I wouldn't be sitting in this room by myself, waiting for them.  It was so humbling and so touching to me.  In that moment, I knew that this was where I had needed to be for a long time. You hear about the power of the fellowship, but I don't think anyone can understand what that really means until you feel it for yourself.  And I felt it so strong, right there and then. And I was a stranger to them....a perfect stranger.  

Well, maybe not a perfect stranger.  I am an addict and an alcoholic and I learned last night how similar my story is to others'.  The meeting started with introductions.  All seven of them introduced themselves and told me their stories.  Some have been long time addicts with stories dating back to before I was born.  One was born the year I graduated high school.  All variations of the same theme.  For one reason or another, tried drugs or drink.  Liked it.  Liked it a lot.  And the disease got its grips in each of us and turned us all into selfish liars with our DOC at the top of our priority list.  Three of them have basically lost everything.  They are divorced; their children are with their ex.  They lost their careers and lost all their savings (from both drugs and legal problems) . When I told them that I almost didn't come tonight (one of my kids had to go to the doctor and I felt guilty about asking my husband to do it alone), Gus said, "If you put anything in front of your sobriety, you will lose it, guaranteed." It was exactly what I needed to hear.

Seeing where I could wind up is so incredibly powerful.  It is even more motivation to stay the course, stay clean and stay sober.  The meeting turned its focus into a reading from a small book I couldn't see the name of.  I think it was a thought-of-the day kinda book and talked about sobriety as the foundation for living and how it can only be that foundation if you trust that by living sober, your life will turn out right.  It's a lot to trust, but the payoff is immense.

During the meeting, I saw Joe take out this booklet and start passing it around.  All 7 of them wrote their names and phone numbers on the back of the book. At first I thought they were making a roster or something, but the booklet never made it to me. Near the end of the meeting, joe handed me the booklet.  It was a llist of every meeting in Northern New Jersey.  And everyone's names and numbers were on the back.  They encouraged me to call any number on there...any time of day, for any reason...even if I didn't even know why I wanted to call.  Again, I was just blown away.  

The meeting ended with everyone standing in a circe holding hands.  We said the serenity prayer.  Joe then thanked God for the ME, yes ME.  Thanked Him for bringing a newcomer to the meeting.  

I hate to sound mystical or all gushy, but this meeting was just amazing. Everyone there was genuine, real, raw, and open.  I feel like I belong.  And I do.  I'm Amy.  I'm an alcoholic and an addict.  

Edited to add....somewhere out there is my dear friend, Richard.  He tried to convince me to do this well over a year ago, and I ignored him.  What a stooge I was.  Although we don't talk anymore, I think of him a lot now, and wish I had wisened up back then and I could have shared my excitement about this first meeting with him and taken this journey with him.    If you're out there anywhere, Richard, your freaky twin says thank you from the bottom of her healing heart. xoxo

I'm Back

Jan 18, 2010 - 3 comments

Have been MIA for a couple months here...mainly because I felt like a hippocrite.  I was taking about being clean and sober, and about being committed to ending my alcohol use, when deep down I wasn't.  I was still really unsure the answers to the big questions:
:
Am I REALLY an alcoholic?
Do I REALLY  need to quit?
Can I REALLY  do it?

After stumbling several times last fall over the answers to those questions, I left this forum.  Not officially, but defnitely in my mind.  I felt guilty for being here when I hadn't truly committed to getting and staying sober.  I felt like an idiot posting "I'm doing it...stopping drinking for good!" one day, and posting that I gave in and drank just that next day.  I promised myself (right or wrong) that I would not come back here to this forum without a deep down committment.

So, yes, I REALLY am an alcoholic and yes, I REALLY need to quit and yes, I REALLY can do it.  My last drink was New Years Day.  

Couple things different this time....told my husband (who still drinks) that I was really serious this time and that if he does anything to try to sabotage my efforts, I will get up and leave (hardest thing I have ever said).  While I have said similar things to him in the past, they were during heated discussions.  This was during a time where I asked him to sit and talk with me.  We were both quiet and calm.  And that sentence was preceded with how much I love him, but..

Really starting my way through the twelve steps. While I haven't actually been to a meeting yet, I have the Big Book, and  "The Gentle Path through the Twelve Steps" that I am reading. I also have the location of a twelve step meeting that sounds right for me plugged into my GPS.  It meets on Wednesdays, and I am going to go day after tomorrow.  While this forum is a wonderful help, I think I need that physical meeting...and maybe even a sponsor.  I think I'll feel more accountable to someone I can see and touch (no offense to my wonderful support system here!!!)

Anyway, I am starting to feel truly positive and hopeful that I CAN do this. Don't get me wrong. I have no fantasies about this being easy.  It has been hard and I have had several temptations ...a nice dinner out and thinking...would 1 glass of red wine really matter.  (YES... you nincompoop!)   But I feel...well, hard to put in to words...genuine?  Real?  Like the true "me" is living my life now.  Does that make any sense to anyone? While it is liberating in many ways..also scary as h*** in others...when I do something wrong or stupid, I can only blame myself, not the alcohol.  And when I want to take a chance or try something new, I have to do it without anything to blunt my fears or worries.  

For a year and a half of my life, percocets and oxycodones were my tool.  I used them to erase bad feelings and dampen fears and difficult emotions.  I thought I was hot S*** when I was able to stop using them.  But gradually, insiduously, the alcohol crept in and (in hindsight now), I see how it had become just as much of a crutch as the oxycodone had.  I never bought into "NO MIND ALTERING SUBSTANCES" that I now know is essential to long term sobriety.  I do now.  The oxycodone and alcohol are symptoms of my disease.  Not the disease itself.  I finally get that now and understand that I will only stay clean if I get to the bottom of this...figure out ways to deal with my emotions, my baggage and my stress.  Otherwise, I'll just keep finding something new.  

Ughhh--I need help.

Nov 12, 2009 - 9 comments

So....I'm still fine and still off oxycodone, but I drank quite a bit of alcohol last night.  WTF.  Maybe this was a good thing?? I took today off work.  For several reasons....1 because I physically didnt feel great and 2 because I knew I needed to do some soul searching.  I've been telling myself that I am not an alcoholic.  That I don't drink every day...sometimes even go for a week without drinking.  I've tried to give up drinking before because I felt I should...not because I felt I needed to.  I felt that it was probably wise to stop all "mind altering substances" because the books say I should.  

But I don't think that way anymore.  Now, I am admitting I have a problem with alcohol.  I'm a binge drinker and can't control it.  Last night proved it.  I worked until 11pm and got invited out afterwards with several co-workers to "send off" one of them who was getting married this coming weekend.  So cool, I thought. Kids are already in bed.  Hubby home.  I texted him to make sure there wasn't anything I was forgetting and he said..no..go and have fun!  

So I go to the bar with about 10 others from my job.  I know 2 or 3 of them really well, but not the others, so that uneasy, awkward feeling brews in me. Someone buys me a drink.  And I take it. AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH.  And so after my "just this one" , I start to feel that awkwardness ease and take a second one.  I'm on my game now...laughing and telling stories and having a great time.  But its not really me.

I get the WTF attitude and tell myself I'm having fun and why shouldn't I keep going.  So I have my 3rd and 4th.   I'm saying things I wouldn't if I was sober.  Being too chummy with my friends.  Just not me.  

At least I realize that the bar will close in an hour and I will have to drive home.  So I turn to soda...The bar closes and David drives me to my car and gives me a big hug.  One that I can sense he wants more from.  And in that moment, it's like I completely sober up from my toes to my hair and I am scared.  Thankfully one of our friends walk up to his car and gathers his attention.  I get out of the car, smile, thank him for the ride and start walking to my car....F R E A K I N G out.  What the hell did I do that made David think it was OK to do that.  I am a happily married woman who adores my husband and would never, ever  cheat on him.  

I clearly am powerless over alcohol.  I have known that I am powerless over opiates for well over a year now.  But I didn't think the same thing about alcohol until now.  

So you'd think I'd be freaked out enough that I would feel like I did when I decided to quit oxycodone...and could honestly say...I don't ever want to drink again.  But I can't say that.  I want to say that.  I do not ever want to be so close to risking my relationship with my husband...THAT IS FOR SURE.  But how do I overcome that awkward feeling around friends.  How will I have a good time with them.  How can I go to the Christmas party this year and NOT drink.  How can I go out to watch football and NOT drink.  

Am I committed enough...God I hope so.  I want to be.  It's weird.  I guess it feels easier for me to keep using alcohol, because there's nothing illegal about this.  There's no secrecy.   I felt (and still feel) ashamed about my oxycodone use.  I don't feel ashamed about drinking alcohol.  The shame factor isn't there.  Why?  I'm still out of control when I drink...clearly.  Why can't I committ to stop drinking.  Why?  Why?  Why??