Reflections On 1 year Sober
Day 1: The alarm goes off and I am immediately guilty and full of shame for I don’t know what yet. I’d rather go back to sleep than find out.
My head is pounding.
My heart is beating outside of my chest.
I am pissed off.
I am in my clothes from last night.
I am in my bed alone.
I don’t know where everyone else is but my trusty dog is beside me.
Fuck I better get up.
I pull myself out of bed thinking about how many minutes until I can get back in.
If I can just get the kids to school, I will go back to bed. A little “me time”. I make my way to the bathroom and brush my teeth and I see myself in the mirror and I honestly don’t recognize myself.
When did I get so fat and old and ugly? My eyes are bloodshot and blurry. I can’t even focus because of the fog in my head. I think I am going to be sick. Mind over matter. “No no just move on. Everything is fine. Don’t let anyone know. Don’t let them see you.” I make a mental note to figure out how to stop being fat and ugly when I feel less hungover and able to address it.
I take my blood pressure pill, which gives me anxiety and raises my blood pressure, because taking a pill means now I am thinking about blood pressure. My Dad died of a heart attack and I am sure I am too. Maybe right now I am.
I head downstairs. I do not make the bed because I intend to crawl right back in and ignore the day as soon as I finish my robot duties of making lunch and getting the kids out the door. This is depressing because my philosophy is always make the bed it is the best start to the day. You’ve already accomplished something within your first few minutes. But not today. I don’t give a shit. Fuck today. I’ll be better tomorrow.
On my way downstairs I see backpacks and shoes strewn about in the entryway. I am pissed. I yell upstairs “Pick up your shit I am not the goddamn maid.” I don’t know if I actually yell that out loud or if I just thought it in my inside voice. But whatever. Same thing. Fuck my people. Fuck this house. Fuck this life.
I'm so dizzy. I can barely open the cupboard and throw the lunches together and let the dog out and fill his bowl. How do I do this everyday? It is so hard to be me. I can’t even do these simple tasks because I feel like I am dying, but I don’t want anyone to know. My head is still pounding. Words of self hatred beating upon my skull like a hammer.
My oldest daughter comes down and she is wearing dirty clothes and yesterday’s make up and I feel anger at her almost as much as anger at me. I decide to take that out on her right now, because she should be cleaner and neat and tidy and she should go to school with a clean face. Just like I should make the bed. She should wash her damn face. I think I hurt her feelings and she mostly tries to ignore me. Then she leaves for school and I know I will go to bed and cry. I didn’t mean to do that. I don’t know what I am doing. I hate me and I hate us all because I can’t turn us into who I think we should be. I feel so bad that I was so critical of my precious girl and her beautiful precious face. I want to take it back so bad but now she is gone and the damage is done. Nothing is right. Everything is wrong. Its my fault and its their fault too.
My husband comes down and looks at me. I hate him looking at me with that face. Why is he looking at me? I glare back at him. I feel like the servant. Why am I making lunches? Why doesn’t he? I do everything! I ignore him. I give him the cold shoulder so he knows that I am mad and it is his fault. He doesn’t know what he did yet, but for sure it is his fault and he is the reason I am hungover anyway. I drink because he doesn’t understand me. Drinking is my solution to our marriage problem. I wish he would fucking understand that.
My youngest girl doesn’t bother me in any way, except that she breaks my heart because I know she deserves better than me. I know my relationships with my daughters are classic textbook alcoholic mother/daughter relationships. The little one does everything right because that is what I need her to do. I am always mad at the older one because she is a mirror reflection of me.
I cannot believe that I am here and this is my story. I refuse to accept it. This is not my story. I do not want this to be my story. If this story continues I see myself dead with so much regret and so many apologies to my family and so much disappointment to me from me. This cannot be my story. Life has got to be better than this. I do not want to absolutely hate myself until I die, but this is the road I am traveling and I do not know how to change directions.
The alarm goes off but it is the coldest weather it has ever been in our lifetime, so my husband and I decide to cuddle with the dog and each other for a few more minutes before getting the girls up.
I am so excited for today because I get to go to my oldest daughters school for an Honor Roll Recognition Ceremony. It is also Friday which is such a good feeling that we have a weekend ahead.
I have been working out in my bonus room/closet everyday but today decide I will hit the gym and then take one of those nice long showers with a face mask and fancy shower gel before heading to the school.
I check my blood pressure and I am pleased that I although I continue to check, I do not need my pills anymore.
I see the scale in the corner of my bathroom but decide not to step on it until the end of the month when my strict diet is over. I have made significant changes in what I eat and how I view food. I now see food as fuel and my body and brain is responding by waking up in a good mood every day.
I have lost 15 pounds. My skin is clear. I have more energy than I have had since I was a kid. I have a generally positive disposition and when the dark thoughts of depression set in and try to wind up my anxiety, I am able to fight back my thoughts and not take every thought seriously.
I head downstairs and smile at the few leftover dishes in a mostly clean kitchen from our company the last night. Mornings and coffee are my favorite time of day. I gladly make lunches excited to decide what fruit and vegetables to put in for the girls today. The girls are watching me eat better and they are getting onboard with it and eating better too. I know they will be excited to see what I fruits I add today. I also add a note about something that I love about them because it is February 1st. I want to tell them something I love about them every day for the whole Valentine’s month. I love them so much and I am so proud of them and I make sure to tell them everyday.
I send a text to a friend to plan a time to get together this weekend. Then I journal and I meditate.
There is just so much to look forward to. The weather is going to warm up so I plan to go to the Arboretum and cross country ski through the trees, which is basically like church to me. It fills me up with the spirit. I am not religious but I feel like singing gospel songs as I glide. I remember my childhood church choir songs, and they still make me happy.
Since becoming sober I am both becoming me and returning to me. It is the me that has always been, but I was hiding myself under the layers of protective armor.
I have this one life to live and I own it now. I can make it whatever I want to make it. I own my life on my terms. When I was drinking, I was underwater and the currents of life were taking over me. I had no choice or control. Things were happening to me. I wasn’t in charge.
I quit drinking and I am so proud of that fact. I am amazed at my strength and commitment to overcome something really hard.
Once I stopped drinking however, the real work started. I am learning to live in flow where I used to live in resistance. I used to fight against everything, even my own family and friends. Now I see how absolutely everything is working in my favor, whether it feels that way or not. I allow and welcome all the experiences of my life. And this is my redemption story. I was able to save myself. No one else did it for me. I did it for myself and I am proud of that. I love the me I am getting to know as I peel the layers of protection and defense.