Journal Entry-Happiness and 180 Days

Happiness“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”-Confucius

Yeah, I know it’s been awhile, but I’m back.

The holidays were different this year, but none the less special. My ex-husband, Roger Darling and I shared the expense of buying gifts for our four kids. We prepared dinner together. Prime rib, mashed red skin potatoes, and a wonderful salad bar. We ate heartily and laughed exuberantly. Even though our family is now fractured, there is still happiness and laughter.

We spoiled our children with good gifts like we always have. And filled their stockings with everything they could possibly want. Thank you God for the dollar store!!!

The kids drank wine and beer, but it didn’t bother me. I drank Diet Coke and quietly celebrated my own milestone of another day without a drop of alcohol. I know Roger Darling keeps track of my sobriety, which I’m kind of honored by. I will never understand how a man who’s heart I shattered could give two shits about me. Never mind, I do know. Even after everything we’ve been through, he still loves me. I may not love him the same way, but we will always have a connection. We were a family, once upon a time…

In this New Year, I celebrate that I’ve been sober for over 180 days.

Many times I’ve stood in the liquor aisle and stroked the bottles of flavored vodka. They called to me like they were my lover, but it is a siren’s song. I knew if I took a drink, I would crash into the shore of my own self-destruction again, and again, and again.

I made myself walk away from those bottles of poison, more than once. No matter how lonely, depressed or angry I got, I never drank.

I just knew the next day would be full of hope, promise and at least one reason to smile.

I’m still finding my way back to happy. It isn’t in the bottom of a vodka bottle.

It’s within me.

My heart, mind and soul are happier, sober.

I’m no Pollyanna. There are days that I can barely get out of bed. I force myself to get up and face the day. Just waking up without a hangover and going to work is blessing enough.

Happy New Year my dear friends. I hope that 2014 is a better year for all of you. May you all let go of fear, and live the lives you desire.

Love,

A sober and somewhat happy Sparkly Girl

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It Happens When You Least Expect It

Loneliness happens when you least expect it. While shopping for groceries on a weeknight. You see them, the couples, deciding what to make for dinner. The fathers, shopping with their young children. Giving the stay-at-home mom a break. Dad’s put in a full day, but he knows that his wife’s work is never done.

You peruse the produce section and grab a couple of naval oranges from California. And a fresh bouquet of flowers to display in your one bedroom apartment. It reminds you of the verse about buying your own flowers; decorating your own heart. Or something like that….

After grabbing a fresh bag of salad, you look for a good steak. You can buy what you want, because you live on your own. You’ve instantly lost your appetite though. Throwing the prepackaged meat back on the shelf, you take to wandering aimlessly up and down each aisle.

You get the rest of your items and walk down the liquor aisle. The variety is overwhelming and you pray for strength. It’s been 150 days without a drop of alcohol, but this night your will is weak. Screwing up every ounce of courage, you leave the booze behind. You don’t need it. The tears will come whether you drink or not.

You see a young mother chasing down her child and you smile. You remember being that woman, a lifetime ago. You wish you could tell her to enjoy every minute of it. But your reverie is broken by the child running into an Indian man that has his arms full of food items. He and the young mother laugh and the little one squeals with delight.

Once home, the tears trail down your cheeks. The pain of loneliness is so intense, you sob until your throat is raw. The whole time you bawl, you’re throwing groceries into your fridge and cupboards. The cat is freaked out by the noises you emit and runs away. Then you throw a tantrum about the cat not even giving a fuck about you.

You kneel beside your bed and you pray one simple word, ‘please’.

As the tears and sobbing subside, you fall into a troubled sleep. Hoping that tomorrow will be a better day.

God Said Hahahahahahahahahahahaha!

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Ha!!! Hahahahahahaha!! Hah huh, ha huh, ha huh, ha huh! Huh, huh, huh, huh! Ha!!!!!!!!

On Monday morning I planned on writing a journal entry, after my work was finished of course. Hell, I planned to follow the format that I’ve been trying to follow for about three months. But something always seems to fuck it up.

Catching up on email at work on Monday morning, I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. Cliche I know, but it’s how I felt. The sentence that squeezed my heart stated that two staff members would be directly affected by an Administrative Services Transition. I knew it was my job that would be eliminated. It was surreal to think after almost 25 years, my job might be gone. After speaking with a colleague I decided to talk to my director and tell her that I thought it was me that was going to get laid off. She confirmed my fears and waited for my response. We’ve worked together for 18 years, and she knows me. My initial reaction usually is to cry. This time, I didn’t. I sat in the blue canvas chair across from her, and felt strangely at peace.

I’m not sure if it’s the latest changes in my life. Alcoholic’s Anonymous and being sober for over four months. Being newly single. Or learning to let go and let God. But I was composed while I sat in my mentor’s office. Resigned to the fact that my job would be eliminated as of April 1, 2014. With the news came opportunity. A chance to interview for new leadership positions with Shared Services. To start a whole new career. It’s not something that a 45 year old, newly single and sober woman looks forward to. I’m kind of a weirdo though, so I say, bring it on.

At the end of our meeting, my director and cherished friend hugged me fiercely. I’m not sure how I’ll handle not seeing her smiling face every morning. When I leave, she’ll be the one that I miss the most. Her guidance over the years has made me a good employee. Her faith in me has been unwavering. For all the times that I’ve stumbled, she has picked me up and encouraged me to set my feet on the right path. I love her. Without her support and tough love, I don’t know where I’d be.

Now I’m updating my resume, creating a professional profile, writing a cover letter, perusing job postings and buying a new business suit. Fuck, I haven’t worn one of those things in years. I was hoping I’d never have to again. The one constant in my life is being ripped from me, and all I can think is, it could be worse.

Maybe next week I’ll get to follow my blog format. Maybe next week I’ll write every day. Maybe next week life won’t turn on a dime. Maybe, maybe, maybe. Maybe not.

Quoteful Thursday-FDR and Fear

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I wondered if I was going to be gutsy enough to write about the recent goings on in my life. But I’ve been too afraid. For so many years I’ve been ruled by fear. Fear of what others would think about me. Fear of being alone. Fear of losing my sanity. Fear of not having enough money. Fear of death. Fear of unemployment. Fear of being a drunk. Fear of being fat. Fear of not being good enough. Fear of being found out. Fear of leaving my husband and making him sad. Fear of upsetting and hurting my children. Fear of just about every fucking thing you could think of.

Hell, I can’t even grocery shop without feeling the icy cold grip of fear wrapping around my heart. No, I’m not standing in the freezer section with hardened nipples. I’m trying to slow my thought process down and not be ADHD girl. To be fearless and say I can do the simple task of shopping without crying. I’ve always had Roger Darling to rely on, but not anymore. After 24 years I’ve decided to separate from him. I care very deeply for the man and we’ve had a good life, but it’s time for me to move on. I’ve tried for years to change my feelings for him. To try and love him again. There is no solace in knowing that I’ve broken his heart and the hearts of my children. I’ve broken apart my family.

I’m not asking for pity or empathy. The only thing I ask for is understanding. I pray for it everyday.

In a week I will move out of our home and into a little one bedroom apartment. I will leave all that I’ve ever known. I have not lived on my own since 1989. People, it is 2013 and I am 45 years old. I’m scared as fuck but I’m ready.

I have so much shit to pack. All I really want to do is go to sleep, wake up and have it be next week. I’m tired of hurting myself and those around me. I don’t know how it works, this moving on without Roger Darling. This not talking to him everyday. He’s been my confidant, lover, and friend. I want us to continue being friends. To not be the normal ones that go our separate ways. We’ve never been much for normal anyway. Hell, we raised our children to be outspoken, rebellious and fearless. We tried to live our lives that way too. I guess I didn’t comprehend the memo though.

I’m hopeful that in time Roger and I will be able to meet for a cup of coffee and conversation.  I know we’ll talk mostly about our children and what they’re up to. Meggie, the teacher. Adam, the lawyer. Chris, the lumberjack. Claire, the scientist. But I hope we touch on the subject of our past life and how good it was for the most part. I’ll want him to know that although we are no longer together, I’ve never regretted being married to him.

It was my destiny to be Roger’s wife and Meggie and Adam Boy’s mother. Unfortunately, I have to change the end of the story and go it alone.

Quoteful Thursday-Boris Pasternak

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I don’t like people who have never fallen or stumbled.

Their virtue is lifeless and it isn’t of much value.

Life hasn’t revealed its beauty to them.

Boris Pasternak

I know I haven’t written anything lately. I haven’t stuck to my format either. Life is crazy, crazy, crazy. So here’s a quote for Thursday. I promise that I’m writing a story for Friday Fictioneers. It’s a sad one, because that’s what I write best.

Sometimes words dry up, or I stop giving a shit. Or the family I’ve been trying to keep together for 24 years finally falls apart because of me. I would rather beg for forgiveness of my children than write a journal entry or post a Tunesday entry.

Maybe I’m trying to stay sober and need to write out my fourth step. That’s more important than writing about romance. I love the written word, but ‘writer’ is only one of the many names I bear. Today I’d rather be a mother, daughter, friend, employee, etc.

I’d like to hide, but I won’t. I’d like to go running, but I’m out of shape.

I’m not asking for pats on the back or kind words. I don’t want to be told it will be all right, because it won’t.

Tonight, I’ll drive home while music blares on the radio. I’ll be chair dancing and singing along. When I arrive, there will be dogs barking and warm kisses from Wonder Schnauzers and Baxter my grand dog. Roger Darling will be there with a cup of coffee and conversation. Dinner will commence and dishes will be done. I might pack a few of my things up before I head to bed.

During the night after I head to the bathroom for the third time, I’ll snuggle back down in bed and listen to the silence.  I’ll pray that the next time I fall, I don’t take my whole family down with me.

Amen.

31 Days and Counting

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“Fear is stupid. So are regrets.” – Marilyn Monroe

Step 1: I admitted that I was powerless over alcohol that my life had become unmanageable.

Step 2: Came to believe that a Power greater than myself could restore me to sanity.

Step 3: Made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God as I understood Him.

Step 4: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself.

Ay, there’s the rub, catch, or whatever you want to call it. The searching and fearless moral inventory of myself. It’s not easy for a procrastinator like me to park my ass in a chair for a couple of hours and list all of my resentments.  My flaws. Wrongs that I cannot right. Pieces of my past I gloss over. Only to bring them up again so someone can point out how fucked up I am. It’s unnerving and it makes angry. It’s why I gave up going to AA the last time I got sober. I became what you’d call a dry drunk. I didn’t drink, but I didn’t do the work to stay sober either.

31 days ago I’d had enough. I bought a Big Book and began reading it. I even got a sponsor. Of course being the pig headed woman I am, I tried to move ahead and do some of the other steps before completing Step 4. Super Sponsor called me a cowboy and told me to do the program by myself if I was so damn smart. Thing is, I’m not smart. I’m frightened beyond belief. When I finally admitted that to myself, the work began.

My sponsor told me to remember that I wasn’t writing prose. I’m a writer though, and it’s what I wanted to do. I wrote my list in a way that maybe someday my words could be used as a soliloquy if I ever got to do a big Share at an Open AA meeting. Of course I look at the sentence I just typed and laugh at my arrogance. That’s not what Step 4 is about. It’s about letting go of resentment and all that other junk that weighs us down.

Last night I sat at the kitchen table and completed parts I and II of Step 4.  With all the courage I could muster, I texted my sponsor and told him I was finished. His response, only three little letters, ‘ILY’. It made my night to know that he was still in my corner. Still cheering me on.

There’s more work to be completed, but I’m closer than I was two days ago. I’ve been sober for 31 days. I’m not going through withdrawal anymore. I can sleep through the night without having horrific cravings and nightmares. I don’t want to beat the shit out of everyone I come in contact with. I’m generally a happy person to be around again. I’m snarky, sarcastic, fun loving, a smart ass, sparkly, and basically a raving lunatic. So yeah, I’m pretty much back to normal.

What I find most difficult to do at the moment is find my muse. She or he is hiding in plain sight I’m sure. Pray, keep your fingers crossed, dance naked in the moonlight, or whatever you need to do to help me find it again. I’ll be sitting at a table, working on part III of Step 4.

Love and kisses,

Renee