If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes

Well  Wordpress told me the other day I have been working on this blog for over a year now.  I have not been sober over a year.  I started the blog, was “controlling my drinking.”  I was pretty sure I was not an alcoholic.  I knew I drank a lot but I honestly didn’t know what an alcoholic was, I had an idea it was someone that wasn’t me.

SURPRISE!

Then along came June 20, 2013…Rather than to rehash what I have said many times in this blog, I had to do something.  Because of a conversation with an old friend from a year before that, I figured I would try AA.  I went to several meetings in the first few days, mostly hoping that I would hear something that would tell me I wasn’t an alcoholic.  The more meetings I attended, the more I knew I was.  Didn’t make me happy at all.  But there was some HOPE in knowing there was a way out of the black hole I had been in, even though it seemed easier to swallow the vodka than to swallow the truth of being an alcoholic.

It Ain’t Easy

I have to say my life is completely different than it was just 9 months ago.  I realize more things about myself and many of them I don’t like at all.  Some times I feel strong in dealing with them while other times I feel incredibly weak.  My weekly routine includes daily meetings,  prayer & meditation, yoga, exercise and plenty of sleep.  These things I did not have before.  I still work and interact with people, that part hasn’t changed.  I am more aware of wanting to make some more changes in my life than ever or do I just accept things?  That I am not sure about.  People have told me not to make big changes for a year.  When I stopped drinking I may have been referred to as a “High Functioning” alcoholic.  That doesn’t mean I wasn’t screwed up and didn’t do things the way an alcoholic would do them.  In my case it meant I had a job, I had not been arrested (yet), I had clients, I had a home to live in.  I owe it all to my Higher Power to get me to listen before I had lost it all.

Are you there “God?”

Today is one of those days.  It is one where I am twisted up in thought.  I have had a cold for 3 weeks, I am sick of winter, sick of people lying to me, sick and tired of being sick and tired.  So God as I understand you, help me ease my monkey mind. I help me make it another day without drinking.

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A New Chip

8 Months ago today, I was sitting on my couch feeling terrible. Sweating, shaking, my stomach was burning and I was desperately trying to hold it together so no one would know that I was an alcoholic.  I would not admit I was an alcoholic.  I didn’t want to believe that I was but I was afraid of what I was and had become. One way or another inside my heart and my head I was dying and I knew it.  I just wasn’t sure that these feelings were those of an alcoholic.

Early Summer

We had some beautiful weather here this summer.  Before I quit drinking I couldn’t tell you much about it. I don’t remember Memorial Day very well, except it was becoming increasingly inconvenient to “stash” my bottles.  Especially in our camp that was small and everyone was in close quarters. Not much went on that everybody didn’t see.  Memorial Day was when we opened up the camp and I always did the cleaning and last year was no different. I would call myself high functioning.  Most people had no idea (and still don’t) the degree of the lie I was living.  My focus was on wondering where exactly I was going to keep my stash in order to:

  1. “Infuse” it into whatever beverage  was carrying around that appeared non-alcoholic
  2. Get more and what excuse would I be able to come up with in order to leave and buy more?
  3. How was I to get enough “booze” on board (me) not to shake or to not go over board?

A couple more trips to camp happened after Memorial Day and I managed to be able to “not get caught.”  People noticed that I looked “stressed out” or seemed “preoccupied” but nobody caught me red handed drinking at an odd time or rifling through an odd place looking for my secret potion.  Thank God for that!

Today

Last night we had a snowstorm.  Last week we had a snowstorm and we are supposed to have another tomorrow night.  I am looking outside my window watching the wind whip the snow across the field. I am not sweating, shaking or anything else peculiar.  I am living.  I have a bunch of stress that I am dealing with, I have some big decisions to make about my life in the next few months.  Decisions that would have been made for me and not by me if I had still been drinking.  I am trying to let my Higher Power lead me and not try to jam things into place the way I used to.

I got a new chip today and with all your help and God’s (as I understand him) I will live that life.

 

 

Coasting?

It is winter here in the North East and we have had a crazy winter.  Maybe it is crazy because I have been sober through all the holidays and all the snow and ice storms?  Under “normal” circumstances or let’s put it like this, “Over the past 20 years…”  holidays and snowstorms meant “Party Time!”  Stock up for the guests to come over for some Holiday “Cheer” and stock up again for being stranded some place!  God knows we cannot run out of provisions! (Beer, vodka, mix and maybe some weed?)

The Party Is Over

Not very long ago, these were all happy times and most of it under control.  But in the last few years something changed.  I have mentioned it in this blog before and I remain in the idea that I didn’t initially drink to punish myself.  It was fun. We had great times.  When things got sad, we comforted each other and yes alcohol was involved but somewhere along the way and I am not sure when, alcohol separated me from my friends, from life.  It wanted me all to itself so it could kill me.

It went from drinking to celebrate to drinking to exist.  Now I am still searching for how to live.

Drama Central

We say in AA, “Life on Life’s Terms.”  And from one day to another that can mean something different.  When I drank to exist, my drama or anyone else’s was a daily event.  Last week, I went through 4 or 5 days of uncovering a sleeping giant and got bit pretty hard, I blogged about it.  That was real stuff, shoved way back in the closet and doing my Step work brought it to light.  As I dealt with the confusion and intense sadness my “new way” was with meetings, meditation, prayer instead of drugs and alcohol.  I cannot even believe I am saying that.  I cried a lot too.  But I didn’t drink then and I didn’t drink today.  Thank God.

Rolling, Rolling

At the end of last week we were waiting for some biopsy news at my house.  The doctor’s didn’t bother to call us because it wasn’t cancerous (only they didn’t tell us that!) they were determining the coarse of action.  Friday the news came, “No cancer,”  Friday night I started getting sick and by Saturday afternoon I was having the full blown virus “cold” that everyone else had about a month ago! Amazing how life works.  Now that the dust has settled somewhat, I can spend sometime in bed.  Which I did on Saturday afternoon/night, most of Sunday and now,  Monday afternoon I am going to sneak a nap, because if I DON’T I will never feel better!

Homeless and Not Helpless

My “Home Group” is at our large Homeless Shelter in our city.  It was the first AA Meeting I went to, the first AA Meeting of the day in our area.  I am not sure what horrified me more that day, that I was at a Shelter or that I was at an AA Meeting.  Once I got there and sat down the rest is history.  Everything has grown on me since then.  The program and the people in the shelter that I see every day.

Snow Day

I got to the Shelter this morning, it had started snowing and the roads were getting greasy. I was in a little bit of a “mood” because of the driving.  I was making coffee and there was a lot of buzz around the coffee machine, most of the outside smokers were inside because of the weather.  People were talking and many of the folks there know me.  I turned around and I saw what I thought was someone slip on the floor.  Then I heard someone say, “He’s having a seizure, get help.”  Instantly people knew what to do, except me, I froze in my tracks. Off to my left, one of the “Homeless Relapsers” (as described by him), who has the miles of pain on his face, took me by the lower arm and says calmly, “C’mon Dear,  let’s get over here. “He guides my arm gently and we walk over to the side of the room.

In the meantime help is with the victim, I said, “I have never seen anything like that before.” (it is still going on – foam and shaking, etc. ) He said, “Yeah honey, I could tell, here I was grateful it wasn’t me…”

Shelter Life

Many of the folks in the Shelter are “on the run.”  From drugs, alcohol, relationships.  Each person has a story.  The place is its own community, it’s own heart beat.  Many folks attend our meetings, many folks “graduate” from the Shelter and move on.  Get housing, jobs, a new life.  Many graduates come back to our meetings to maintain perspective of “where they came from.”

Blessed

This morning I got perspective from where I came from.  Not to say that I was going to have a grand mal seizure but how do I know what may have happened if I was still drinking?  It wasn’t getting any prettier I know that for sure.  I feel so grateful that my friend (that who on the street I would have crossed to avoid 8 months ago), was gentle and kind because we are both in the same boat and helping each other

Knight in Shining Armour

The last 3 posts were done in order to explain a situation that happened last week.  As I have mentioned, I was working the Steps and completely out of the blue feelings overcame me.  Writing those posts helped and I appreciate your sticking with me.  This blog helps in so many ways.  I am happy that people read it and I truly hope it gives strength and support to others.   For me, there are good days and not so good days.  Last week was a string of several bad days in a row, all brought about by an innocent contact from someone that rescued me from the abyss I had been living in back in 1978.

Spring

The procedure I had in New York kept me out of the water for a couple weeks and there was a significant blood loss that really wiped me out.  But I swam anyway.  Not particularly well, but I did swim.  I went to practice and went through the motions.  After a month or so, I was physically back to fighting speed.  Since I am a documented asthmatic, we told everyone I had been having a rough patch with asthma and again people accepted it and forgot about the strangeness of the situation.  I stuffed it deep inside. Until just recently, I realized how deep it was.  I learned early how to “fake it till I make it.”

My Brother

My brother is 2 1/2 years older than I am.  The “offender” was his age and one of his high school friends that he had left behind when he went into the military. At the time, he was serving at a base about 5 hours from where we lived.  I told him nothing about what had happened and neither did my parents.  It was not uncommon for my brother to show up with friends from far away places at our house or camp for a home cooked meal or at camp for a party.

In the late summer of that year, on one of his trips to visit my parents and I were at camp.  He showed up with a car full of buddies.  It was a great time of cribbage games and laughs.  I was still swimming and under age, there was no alcohol for me but it didn’t matter, we played guitars and had a great time.

After that trip, my brother showed up with one of the friends he brought to camp at one of my swim meets.  It was great to see him and after that visit, we started writing letters.  Then talking.  I had not been involved in anyone since that Spring and this man was kind, quiet and extremely caring.  Many times, I thought he knew what had happened to me.  I continued to burn up the pool, get through high school and think about college.  My new friend was very supportive, showed up at the occasional meet (after driving for hours) and sat next to me on the bleachers, cheered me on. I always felt safe.

An Item

It was known after a while that we had bloomed into a couple.  Kisses and hugs, no sex.  To think back on it now, I don’t know he did it.  The last thing on my mind was sex, but I could crawl up into his arms and he would hold me close.  One day we were riding in his car somewhere and I just blurted out a very small abstract of what had happened to me before I met him.  I don’t remember what it was exactly but I remember  him saying, “I knew someone hurt you, I felt it.  I want you to trust me, I would never hurt you that way. Ever.”

Geyser

I sat in his car sobbing and trying to apologize for being so damaged. I couldn’t stop crying.  I didn’t unload the whole story. But once I had started, I needed to know what I was saying wasn’t going to cause him to leave me too.  I told him about my father calling me “Whore.”  All he said was, ” Everything is going to be all right.  Just as long as I never, ever meet this guy.”

I started slowly to rebuild my trust and he was the reason.  We dated for 3 years.  There was no sex, he treated me like a china doll.  It was my Higher Power helping me heal, helping me to grow up.  This part of the story is over but there is more that will be told later on that had come to light during my Step work.  The Good News is he isn’t angry at me now and didn’t feel like my apology was necessary.  More on that later.

Cleaning Out the Locker, (Part III)

If you are late to this series, I talk about being raped in the first post, I talk about dealing with it immediately, in Part II.  Now when it really gets “good.” *sarcasm filter*

Thanksgiving Break

My boyfriend came home from school over Thanksgiving and we got together.  I asked him what had happened when I came to visit him at his Fraternity.  He sort of scolded me for my visiting him and said, “You could have really gotten into trouble.”  I said, “But I wanted to see you and I didn’t expect that you would hurt me the way you did.”  He said, “Well, I didn’t mean that to happen either and if you hadn’t come, it wouldn’t have.”  Bewildered, I let the subject drop.  We both were working together over his vacation and things were normal “sort of.”  He went back to school and finished out his semester, returning for Christmas break. Again, we saw each other but it wasn’t the same.  He never apologized or even offered an explanation and I felt lost.  I was still in high school, while he was on vacation and working, I was often at school or swimming.  The time and experience distanced us.  There were no harsh words, there were no words at all.

February Vacation

I was going to practice, getting ready for the next big meet.  I looked down at myself and saw something.  I was gaining weight.  Swimming 5,000/day and gaining weight?  I also hadn’t been feeling well.  I went to the Doctor and the news came.  I was pregnant.  I will never forget that look on my mother’s face.  She was horrified, so was I. On the way home in the car, Mom said, “Are you going to call him?”  I said, “Yes, I guess so.”  She said, “Let me deal with your father.”  I knew that was going to be bad. Real bad.  This would cause another of the famous fights we had in our household.  One we hadn’t had in quite a while.

Whore

My father came up over the stairs 3 at a time.  “So what is the little whore going to do about this?”  I heard him say.  All ready I had called the fraternity house and left a message, it was common to call the House phone and leave a message.  It was uncommon for me to have to leave many, without any returned call, which was how it played out.

Boarding the Plane

A silent plane ride to W. Hempstead, NY and a silent 3 days set the stage for the day I killed my baby.  I had an abortion.  No boyfriend to hold my hand, only an ashamed mother that tried to make the best of a terrible situation.  There was no “decision” to make whether I was to “keep” the baby, my parents decided I would abort. And I did.

Secrets

I never told my parents about the events that led up to my pregnancy. It was bad enough all ready.  I was ashamed. I knew my father would load a shotgun and kill my boyfriend and though I really thought I wanted to myself, the shame and grief was too great to deal with all that.  My parents thought it was teenage sex, I got pregnant.  I left it at that.  Time marched on and I got back to my life, scarred and never to be the same again.

I never saw my old boyfriend again until about 5 years ago at a funeral.  He couldn’t look me in the eye and how could he? He did know that I was pregnant though the news never came from me to him directly. My calls to him remained unanswered.  There was no such thing as voice mail then.  I learned that he knew absolutely from a mutual friend that asked me about it 10 years ago.  He only asked because I had asked him where “our” friend was living.  After that conversation, I got rip roaring drunk and cried myself to sleep, a cry I had been waiting for for 24 years.

Cleaning Out the Locker, (Part II)

If you missed the last post, let me give you a quick abstract of it.  I just got finished telling you I lost my virginity getting raped by my boyfriend. The post goes into lots more detail but in case you missed it, I wanted this post to at least make sense.

The Good News

…I managed to get back onto the pool deck.  The Meet was still droning on and no one seemed to notice that I had been gone.  I looked up at the clock and it only been an hour. An hour for my whole life to change and on that evening I had no idea just how much.   In other Good News, my event, the event that I was supposed to swim wouldn’t swim until the morning.

Going Through the Motions

We boarded the bus to go back to the hotel and several of my friends were asking why I was so quiet, I made the excuse that I was tired and that seemed to satisfy everyone,  After a hot shower and a change of clothes I began to feel a little better even though my thighs were aching as well as everything in between.  We all shared rooms (2 double beds meant 4 girls/room) there was no room for tears and I just lost myself in my team mates stories, successes and some tears of their disappointments.  We were on a curfew and everyone was pretty tired. We all worked out and many of us, including me had events earlier in the day.  I went to sleep on my side just wanting things to be “normal” again.

The Finals

As I proceeded to the blocks I looked up in the stands and saw my parents and my aunt, plus the normal swim families that were always there to cheer us on.  I was not ready for this event.  Yet I had trained for months and months.  And in one hour, I had thrown it all away.  The Backstroke is an event that starts from the water.  I tried to clear my mind.  I prayed to God for focus and to restore my edge to compete.  It was a tough race and as I swam I felt an overwhelming sense of anger explode out of my aching body.  I swam like a mad woman.  I won.  I didn’t break the record that I had wanted to, but I won.  Everyone was going crazy. I got out of the water, walked back to the bench, looked up into the stands only to see my boyfriend and his fraternity brothers jumping around and slapping him on the back.  Just as I got to the bench my knees buckled and I just started balling.  I hadn’t noticed him before the race.  I wished I hadn’t seen them after, it was just too much energy and emotion rushing from me.

Girls Cry

My team rushed toward me and helped me to the bleachers, I had torn my bathing suit on the corner of one of them,  being reminded of the events of the day before.  They all were laughing and hugging me and making sure I was okay.  One of my friends was massaging my legs.  I couldn’t stop crying.  After a grueling race, people cry,  it was understandable to them why I was.  Only you, me and my boyfriend in the stands knew the real reason.

Still More to come only it gets “better”