New Years Thoughts

Do you ever have that feeling that you are taking on too much?

This feeling HAUNTS ME all the time.

And I know it is because I have the tendency to take on too many things at once. I think that this comes from when I was a kid. There was so much that was expected of me and I was always walking on egg shells at our house after school. So much so that my anxiety has carried over into my adult life. I still stretch myself too thin in some areas which makes me not have time to do things that I really want to do. As stressful as that is, I think that it is also in a way comforting because I am so used to being in that head space. I know what to do and how to get things done when I am in that head space. But I also know how detrimental that can be and has become.

Taking too much on has always been my story.

And I have always let it be my story.

I used to pride myself on being the fixer. Everyone could come to me and lay their burdens on me and I would always be the ones to fix it for them. Sounds noble right? Not really. Because over time those probems weigh on my heart and over shadow my problems. I was so busy being worried about fixing other peoples issues that I had no time to work on myself.

I let my dreams fall by the way side and ignored the things going wrong in my life until they just exploded. And ever since then I have been trying to find my way to being the girl I was before my world imploded. But is that really what I need to be fighting for? I mean, I can look back at a time in my life where I thought that I was truly happy. But then I think about the things that were going on in my life at the time and the habits that were forming that lead me to where I am today.

Do I really want to fight to be that girl?

The girl who had no voice for herself, who put others own happiness before her own, who’s happiness was dictated by others?

The girl who was so insecure she couldn’t leave her house without makeup?

The girl who thought having a lot of friends meant that she was loved?

Nope.

I sure don’t.

Don’t get me wrong. Some of the happiest moments of my life happened at the time but some of my darkest moments happened then too. And unfortuantely, sometimtes, the darker moments outweigh the happiest moments. In 2018 I made a vow to myself that I would change the way that my life was going. And I worked hard at it. But, like every other thing in my life, I stretched myself too thin, expected too much of myself too soon, and because of that I did a lot of stumbling.

But I am still learning.

This year I do not want to make a New Years Resolution focused on how much I can do or how much weight I can lose or anything along those lines. This year I want to focus on not having unrealistic expectations of myself. I want to make myself a priority but forget all the expectations around what I think that is suppose to look like. I want to write. Write what you ask? I have absolutely no idea. I just want to put pen to paper and see what happens. Because thats when the magic really happens. When you have no idea where you are going with something but it turns out just how it is suppose to.

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Starting Over…

I made it six months without drinking and have been struggling to get “back on the wagon” ever since. It has been this constant mind struggle these last few weeks. I tend to get inside my head and tell myself, you don’t really have a problem because you could go without it. But, if that were true, then would I really be having such a struggle with giving it up? Again? Ugh. I know everyone says “the struggle is real” all the time, but seriously, is it the realest right now.

I feel like I have to start all the way over from square one day one. All the guilty feeling for being hungover on a Sunday when I could be getting stuff done to letting myself down and the list goes on and on. Do I really need to do that? Am I really right back where I started when I decided to journey into being alcohol free?

No.

Not really.

I have so much more knowledge this time around and tools to use to get through these couple pages of my story. I would say chapter, but that would imply that I am letting this continue and I’m not. I know starting over is difficult but I have done it once before so I have all the faith I can do it again. The first month or two was difficult but as I made changes, and changed my focus to things other than drinking, I slowly didnt even consider it an option before. Once I let it become an option, it seemed to take on a whole new power of its own. But what I did not realize at the time, was that it was only gaining power because I was letting it have power. I was letting it have the space in my thought and I gave it importance.

But, alcohol has no importance or priority in my life.

In the grand scheme of things, I cannot say that alcohol has ever given me the things I have searched for while drinking it.

So!

49 days without alcohol. Its a start!

When I drank this last time I didn’t go crazy and drink for days on end. Thats not my usual pattern. I had drinks with friends and stayed up way too late. Wasted the next day because of being hungover. Which is my pattern and I did repeat it a few weekends before really kicking myself for it.

This time it was so weird though because I was so sick the next day no matter how much I drank.

I am almost 100% positive that it is a sign.

My husband has always told me that I can do anything that I set my mind to. I am, quite literally, my only limitation.

Through out this journey, despite my stumbling, there are quite a few things that I have learned. The most important lesson though, is that I need to have more faith in myself. I have to remember that I can do hard things no matter how scary that may seem. I need to know that failure is inevitable, but that it isn’t a wasted experience if you learned something.

159.5 Days. Whoa.

159.5 days since I have had a sip of alcohol. Holy cannoli.

Let’s be honest here.

I never thought I would get to this day let alone 100 days. 100 days was my goal. I don’t know what I thought would happen at 100 days but I made it a goal.

It was like once I reached 100 days some magic light would turn on in my head and bam I would be fixed. Alcohol wouldn’t be an issue and all my problems would just magically solve themselves. Because that makes sense right? Oil vey.

Now, I’m not what people think of when they think of a typical alcoholic. I didn’t drink every night. Or even every day. But when I did drink I didn’t have an off switch.

When I was younger I didn’t think it was a problem because I never got a hangover. But as I got older hangovers were an every weekend occurence. Blurry memories were an every weekend occurence. Things I’ll never remember were an every weekend occurence. But if I didn’t remember it then it didn’t matter right? Wrong.

It took days to recover and could start over every weekend. And for some reason it was the weekends I lived for. Thankfully that isn’t my life anymore.

Now I’m more present in my life. With everything. And that can be super overwhelming. I used to think I got over my anxiety from my teenage years. But I really just drowned it out. So having to deal with it all over again has become daunting and sometimes feels like it isn’t worth it. But I have so many reminders that it is. Slowly things are becoming easier to deal with.

When I first got sober I felt like I was being swallowed by this horrible depression and I spent almost every moment that I wasnt working in bed wallowing. It started this health journey of finding out what’s going on with my body and health and how to fix it. My hormones were out of whack, my liver was out of whack, and so many other things. Things I knew were out of whack for a long time but didn’t really worry about it because I also drowned it out. Truth be told, I wasnt ready to quit drinking and all of these health concerns started with not drinking.

I’m on the mend now with the help of an awesome naturopath and I also feel like I am making headway with my anxiety and depression. I don’t just lay in bed anymore and I’m starting to really fall in love with things that fell by the wayside because they weren’t important to me then. I’m reading and drawing more and writing. I used to love writing especially poetry. Writing has been a bit harder for me because it requires a certain vulnerability that I’m having a hard time with but I am working on it.

So if you’re sitting there thinking about getting sober or taking a break from drinking I sincerely hope you do it.

I hope you not only do it but I hope that you go all in. I hope that you give it 110%. But I also hope that you are not only all in but are honest about what alcohol does and doesn’t do for you. And not only you but how different of a person you are for everyone around you.

Sobriety is hard and it doesn’t really matter what your poison is or how much you’re addicted to it. Taking something out of your life that was a major stress reliever or a getaway is never easy. And initially it’s going to feel like it was the worst decision of your life but its not. Give it time. Do something you’ve always wanted to do but were too scared. Work on yourself. Because it’s worth it.

But boy is it ever worth it.

Always.

Freakin’ Weekend.

To be honest, when I decided that I was going to go the sober route I didn’t think that it would be that hard. I wasn’t the type that needed to drink every night but I was the type that liked to unwind on the weekend. So, logically I was thinking, oh this will be a walk in the park.

But was it?

Heck to the no.

Is it getting easier? Hmm. Sometimes it feels like it’s easier and other times it isn’t. I guess it really depends on my mood. This weekend it is pretty easy. I had an experience with a family  member this week that completely reminded me why I gave up drinking in the first place. It was a completely heart breaking experience in more ways than one.

I think we often forget that people who have a drinking problem, or any addiction really, are humans too. And I have been known to be someone who judges others based on my perception of their situation. I try not to be, but let’s be honest, habits are hard to break. Just because you see something differently through your eyes does not mean that the other person’s feelings are invalid. It just means that you don’t relate to their story in the same way that they do. You never had to walk in their shoes. This week has really taught me that everyone heals differently and in their own time.

When I was younger the weekends usually meant one of two things. One, that our whole family was going to get together and I could spend time with my cousins. Or, two, that we were going to have to stay home and be miserable at my aunt’s house. Both of these scenarios involved the adults getting blacked out drunk and only one of these situations ended up joyous. If I had my cousins I knew that there was time away from the madness. But that was not always the case.

When  I was in fifth grade we moved to a smaller city so seeing my cousins every weekend was not plausible. That means that the weekend usually meant a lot of alcohol for my aunt and lots of tears, heartache, and anger for my brother and I. There was lots of turmoil and chaos around my house when I was a child and that was normal. I swore even then that my children would not grow up to feel like they were trapped in a prison. Because children who grow up in a home with so much strife and stress become adults who have a lot of healing to do. And I was reminded of that this week.

My why is stronger on my heart today than it has ever been.

I want to raise children who do not need to spend their adult life moving forward from their childhood.

I want to raise children who always feel loved by their parents and know that there isn’t anything we wouldn’t do for them.

I want to raise children who look back on their childhood and were able to be kids who did not have to grow up before their time.

So, my freakin’ weekend has gone from parties to family movies. It has gone from drinking to reading and vegging out with my husband and kiddos. It has gone from nights I won’t remember to memories I will never want to forget.

 

Sobriety Journey!

Over a month ago I had decided that I was going to stop drinking for a while. I didn’t really decide how long but I knew I wanted it to be longer than 30 days. 11 days in and I had thrown the goal out the window and drank.

And felt awful the next day. I wasted that day, and like so many other times, I swore I wouldn’t drink for a long time. Just put that record on repeat. That was for the last couple years. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

I am not sure what it was about that particular day but just clicked.

How long was I going to keep repeating this cycle?

Why couldn’t I just walk away from alcohol all together?

Food for thought.

I never really considered myself an alcoholic. Until….

I tried to quit.

And it was effing hard. I was so frustrated and I guess I still am to a certain extent.

If I didn’t have a problem how could I not just walk away?

Because I did have a problem.

Not in a full blown and drink every day alcoholic but in a drinks and over does it almost every time alcohol problem.

It has been 32 days since I drank last. And every step has been hard but every step has been rewarding. The week days are easier to handle but the weekends creep up and so do old habits so that’s where the real battle begins.

But it hasn’t all been bad. I have learned a lot throughout this 30ish days that’s really opened my eyes.

I never really believed people when they talked about how they had an overwhelming sense of feelings and that was partly because I had never felt anything like that. My emotions these past few weeks have been all over the place. Partly hormones and partly because I have to feel everything now and find a different outlet. I’m learning that works and what doesn’t. Even though all of it is hard, heart breaking, and joyous all at the same time I am really enjoying the process.

What is my next goal? This the question I keep pondering. I am not sure. I know not drinking is a goal but I do not know for how long or anything like that. Forever sounds so ominous and difficult. I find smaller goals can be easier to stick to. I think another 30 days is in the works.

28 more days until 60 days no alcohol.

Anxiously Sober

I have been tossing this blog post around in my mind for a couple weeks or so. And I am honestly still not sure exactly what I want to say.

Where do I begin?

A couple weeks ago I felt a tugging on my heart to start a new Instagram account to kind of journal my way to living a sober life but in pictures. I had felt like I wanted to for a while but never felt like it was the right time. I started following people who were also on a sober journey and began researching why others had decided to go sober.

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I ran across an Instagram account and the woman who ran it recommended a book called Girl Walks Out of A Bar by Lisa Smith. I ordered it right away and read the whole thing in two days. I was absolutely captivated the whole time! I remember reading the book and couldn’t believe how she had fought her way back to sobriety when she was so far into addiction. It was truly inspiring. It made me understand addiction from a whole other side but one that does hit close to home. It was heart breaking and so motivating at the same time. But I thought to myself, that even though it was all of those things, it did not feel like something I could really connect with wholeheartedly because I do not need alcohol to function during the day.

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Then I found another recommendation for A Happier Hour by Rebecca Weller. Her story was so similar to mine in the aspect that she did not drink everyday and could even go 10 days or so without drinking and it not bother her. However, when she did drink she did not have an off switch. It was like her brain was not wired to be able to stop. And mine felt exactly the same!

When I did drink I was always worried if there wasn’t enough alcohol or who was going to get it if there was not enough. It always turned me into someone I did not know. And the hangovers were awful. To begin with, none of that stuff bothered me because I figured I was young and it was a phase that I would grow out of! I was still taking care of my kids and functioning fine so I was good! But I never really thought about why I was drinking. On the outside, I looked like a completely normal 20 something who had started a family and was working hard to provide and grow. But really I was just the same insecure girl I was who was looking for security and validation in the wrong places. Drinking let me drown out the little voice in my head that told me, hey now Shirley you are heading down the wrong path. I did not have to listen to it when I drank and to me that was great. And for a while it worked.

Until it didn’t.

At some point if you are drinking for the wrong reasons you will reach a point where it is not enough. There will be things you regret, fuzzy memories that never quite come back to you, and countless hours and days lost. That is time that you can never get back. You lose many things when you drink but among the most valuable is your time. You can never get that time back. You can never give that time to things that mean the world to you because you spent it hungover and in bed filled with regret and embarrassment. You could be making memories that you will actually remember with people you love and who love you. That is where I am at now. There is a longing on my heart to do things that progress my life, make my heart happy, my kids happy, and my husband happy. And in order to do that, drinking does not have a part in that equation. Deep down I have known that all along.

In A Happier Hour she took a hundred day sobriety challenge. I have been playing with the idea of doing that for a while but have never been able to commit to it totally. Its been 8 days since I drank and I know that if I want to do the challenge I need to just commit to it. I have this terrible habit of committing to something and then a wall is put up in my mind and I sabotage myself. After reading A Happier Hour it seemed that Rebecca Weller had the same issue that I had when it came to making a commitment to stop drinking. She came to a point though where she knew that something had to be done and had to be done now. Am I at that point yet? I feel like I am. But I know that it is a switch in my mindset that needs to happen. I am determined to break through this wall that I keep building up in my mind that is not allowing me to be successful.

Choosing not to drink is an everyday choice. I have heard from countless people that sobriety is taken one day at a time.

So for today, I choose not to drink.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the Instagram account is anxiouslysober and I would love for you to follow me on my journey!

Was My Life Really Like That?

Today as I got up to get ready for work I do what I always do. I say a prayer for my day and then pick up my phone. Typically I check my email and then my devotional before getting ready for my workout but today there was a notification on Facebook. I clicked it and it opened to “On this day” where it takes you back to what you have posted throughout your Facebook life on this same day years before. Of course, there are always cute pictures of my kids or something funny they said but there are also memories on there that I do not remember. Not because I didn’t post them, but because there was a point in my life when I was a party girl.

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It’s not the time of my life that I am most proud of but it is a time when I look back that I can see how I ended up in the emotional and self-destructive situation I was not even aware I was in. At the time, I just thought that all people went through that stage of life and it was just that, a stage. I didn’t even want to think that maybe I was going down a road that would lead to self destruction and make me question everything about myself. Now when I look back, I can see that, but at the time it was just one excuse after another.

Two years ago I couldn’t wait to get off work because I was going to “have a good night with my best friends”. This usually meant a night of getting drunk and making poor decisions which led to a hangover for the next day and a day wasted. Which in turn led to a week of “getting back on track” only to start the cycle again the next weekend. I was stuck in this cycle for years not even knowing I was stuck in a cycle. Now, I am not saying I don’t drink anymore, but it is not something that I do on a weekly basis and I do not drink like I used to. I’ll have a glass of wine every once in a while. or a beer or two, but even then, the behaviors that got me into the mess I was in want to rear their ugly head.

Now I know where those behaviors lead to and that is not a place I want to go back to. It doesn’t mean that the temptation to fall back into it aren’t there, it just means that I need to keep in the forefront of my mind where those behaviors lead to and want better for myself. I need to want to be a better parent for my children and a better wife for my husband. I grew up in an environment where alcohol was a means to stuff your feelings down and still have an excuse for being a shitty person. Even as a young girl I did not want that to be me.

I remember thinking that just because I didn’t want that to be me that it wouldn’t be. But that is not always true. No one is exempt from bad habits or behaviors because of who they are. If you follow the same path as the people you despise you will end up in the same situation they found themselves in. I think that a huge part of bettering yourself is really taking an honest look at  where you are in life without justifications.

When I sat back and really looked at how similar I had let my situation be to the very one that I had grown up in and hated, it was a real slap in the face.  How could I be so blind to what was going on around me? I just hadn’t wanted to see it.

So when the little voice in my head was sending me all the warning signs I drowned her out.

I drowned her out by drinking every weekend.

I drowned her out by surrounding myself with people who did not have my best interest at heart.

I drowned her out by allowing others to influence my decisions even if I knew they were wrong.

But mostly I drowned her out by telling her the very things that had broken her down as a child.

I told her that she was wrong, stupid, incapable, not enough, not worth it and was not important.

And I was doing myself a real injustice because not one of those things are true. I look back now and can honestly say that a lot of bad things happened,  but because they did, it was a real wake up call.

It opened my eyes to what needed to change.

Rock bottom is a terrible place to be. But if that is where you are, then there really is only one way to go. You don’t have to live there. You can pick yourself up and rebuild yourself into someone you love.