It wasn’t that it was a bad day, or stressful, or really any one thing I can put my finger on. It’s usually a bunch of things or thoughts that fuel my insecurities. I think I just had a day that I would’ve rather have skipped over. I am not one to want to rush time anymore, being that I’m in my mid forties now. Time usually feels more precious than ever these days. Just not today. Today I feel insecure.
It was an “in my head day”. A day I probably should have gone to an AA meeting and been with people that I truly consider my tribe. We come from all different backgrounds, yet we speak the same language and they understand me. They know when I’m feeling “off” or down. They call me out. They question when I’m not my usual self, even though I don’t really know what that is yet. I believe they know me better than I know myself. I don’t always feel secure at home. I feel like I am on my own island a lot of the times. It is a beautiful island, one that I wouldn’t trade, I’m just glad I have my AA network to keep me grounded. My husband doesn’t belong to my AA tribe. Fortunate that he doesn’t have an addiction problem where he needs to go, but unfortunate that he doesn’t participate in that area of my life mostly.
We are going through a lot of changes on the home front. My husband is starting a new career after being in a different, yet similar one for the last 15 years. Though related to his past career, it’s going to be very different. A lot of insecurities arise from that, from the extremely beautiful, hard working, smart woman he will be working with side by side daily, to the amount of money he will make – as it’s not a straight salary. He will again rely on commission, but there are so many more unknowns for now. Time is always the solution… I guess that explains some of the reasons why I wished I could’ve skipped today.
How does one trust blindly? I struggle with that daily as well. It’s a test every morning I wake – am I going to trust my husband? I pray that I can let the past go, once and for all. Lay down my insecurities (maybe bury them once and for all one day) and move forward. Scars are reminders of the past, but I don’t need to stare at them.
“Bored people are stupid”, my Grandma used to say. “You’re not stupid, so find something to do.” I never said I was bored anymore after that…well at least not to her. I know there are a million things I could be doing right now, but I decided to choose writing in mi blogola. I miss that awesome woman something fierce. I miss my Grandpa too, but my Grandma was my best friend. She was tough-as-nails, yet sweet-as-pie. She always kept me in the loop as to where to look for the secret stash of chocolate when I went to her house. She taught me to sew and bake. She had beautiful blue eyes that sparkled when she laughed. She wore dentures and would accidentally throw them away in a napkin frequently, which meant one of us was frequently digging through the garbage to find them. She always wore bright red lipstick when there was a gathering or an event.
My grandma was very overweight and I loved sitting on her lap because she was so cushy and smooshy. I’d settle right in on her lap for as long as she’d let me. I dreamt about my grandparent’s house about 6 months ago and it was beyond nostalgic as I walked through each room and saw it as it was exactly, down to every last nic nac and my grandpa’s slender cigar slowly burning in the ashtray. My Grandma always let me go into any room and look through anything I wanted. I tried on all of her costume jewelry. She wore wigs sometimes if she didn’t feel like styling her hair and I’d try them on a lot too. I loved painting my Grandma’s nails and styling her hair. She let me cut her hair when I got older. My grandparents left me the exact amount of money it cost to go to hair school later in life after they passed away. I think she always knew that was my calling.
Their attic was my favorite place to be as a kid. My Grandparents gave me and my cousins free reign of the attic and the basement. There was a bar in the basement, so needless to say I spent more time down there as I got older (more on that later). I love to remember the time we spent in their attic. It had a sloped ceiling on both sides and a small twin bed was tucked under each diagonal slope. There wasn’t air conditioning, so when my cousins and I slept up there we tossed and turned and melted into our own puddle of sweat. We laughed and joked and tried on all their clothes that were in the old, dusty trunks. They had old coats, hats, clothes. There were crutches and a wheelchair. We made up countless plays and used our imagination. We found a croquet set and my grandpa taught us how to play. We also found badminton supplies, which kept us occupied hitting those birdies back and forth for hours. If my cousins weren’t there, I would just bop it up into the air over and over again. There was an amazing tree in the backyard. It was the PERFECT climbing tree. I was beyond saddened to learn as an adult that after my grandparents had moved into their assisted living apartment, that tree died and had to be cut down. I remember one year it was covered in empty cicada shells and I borrowed a basket to collect as many as I could. They fascinated me. Family gatherings were almost always at my Grandparent’s house. My most fondest memories were made there.
Some days are harder than others to let go of the past. What a roller coaster my husband and I have been on the past 18+ years. I knew he was “the one” the night I met him. He was “normal”, “secure”, had it “together”. I was a fucking mess. I was an active alcoholic, that made it to work and somewhat functioned, though most days it was through a hungover fog, green with nausea. I muddled through each long, exhausting day until I could reward myself with a drink. I told myself I wouldn’t drink the next day, but that became the next day, then the next day…
It was exciting at first, we were inseparable. At least until he figured out that he couldn’t keep up with my partying ways. Alcohol had been a huge part of ruining anything good that came my way. I wasn’t going to let that happen again, not this time. I NEEDED him, so I convinced him that I’d “keep it in check”, and thus began our roller coaster descent. We even chose “Love Rollercoaster” by Red Hot Chili Peppers for our song to be introduced as a married couple at our wedding reception. We both were headstrong from the beginning, two strong-willed individuals. His brother proclaimed that he had “met his match” during his best man toast. For a long while, we chose to want to be right, fighting to be right, rather than choosing to be happy. We still do that sometimes. Old habits die hard.
Everything happened so fast. The big move, a new career for him, children, a new trade for me, which required schooling, the starter home, the move up county to the bigger “dream home” with the dog and fence. All the while, I drank and tried to function. I didn’t understand the extent of the destruction it was causing. We pushed each other away – he nagged and I rebelled and snuck around, hiding how much I was actually consuming. He felt trapped but didn’t want to leave the kids, so he chose to sneak around too, by having an affair as a coping mechanism. He too needed an escape from the madness. It would be a long time before I found out about his affair because I was too busy doing my own thing. We slowly went from being best friends and lovers to roommates.
I finally hit my first real bottom in 2011 and sought help. We argued so much and I couldn’t keep sobriety first with the horrible fights we were having, so we decided to put our marriage on hold. I focused selfishly on my sobriety. I wasn’t aware but, he continued on with his affair. I met someone in the meetings I was attending and felt an immediate connection, mostly due to our similar depressing home circumstances and our having addiction to alcohol in common. I began an affair 8-9 months into sobriety. Obviously, that was not sober behavior that would lead to consequences and ultimately a relapse in 2014. I had reached a dark, scary bottom I couldn’t believe existed. A bottom below my bottom. I hadn’t known about my husband’s affair, though I felt something was off for a long time, I had no proof. I had the biggest meltdown in my life due to the guilt and remorse I felt over my own. I didn’t realize the pedestal I had my husband on for all those years, I couldn’t believe he could be capable of having an affair. I thought he vibrated at a way higher level than I. I never realized how much I looked up to him. I was going to find out how human he really was.
I started to obsess over how I would take my life. I always thought that to entertain and/or commit suicide was the ultimate selfish thing. I learned that wasn’t really the case. That I could be so consumed by it and convinced that everyone, including my children, would be better off. At the time I actually thought it to be selfless, that I’d be releasing everyone of the burden of me. I look back and think, “who was that woman???”. Somewhere through the darkness, I had a God moment. I asked for help and I saw a bit of hope. I realized this was an inside job. I had to fight for my own happiness through AA, therapy, and yoga. I worked hard on myself and grew. I learned that nothing on the outside of me was responsible for my happiness. As I continue on this journey, more growth is inevitable. I try to choose happiness, but sometimes my O.C.D. thoughts come in and try to sabotage that.
My name was Sharon for the first 7 months of my life. I was a foster child. Given up by a woman who was too young, too drug addicted, too incarcerated to care for me. My adoptive parents went through quite the process to call me their own. I was a Mother’s Day present for my adoptive mom. The good news about the adoption going through happened to fall on her birthday that year too. May was a good month… that year. As I got older, I knew what date my birthday was, I knew what state in which I was born… and most of the non-identifying information they’ll let one know when it’s a “closed adoption”. That my birth mother was in a correctional institute for women, what she weighed, how tall she was, and what color her hair and eyes were. I was allowed basically the same information on my birth father. The rest was a mystery, and my brain likes to make a lot of things up surrounding the unknown. Makes sense as to why I was a kid who needed to know “why” to everything. I also used to take anything and everything apart to see how it ticked, what made it work. I was pretty mechanically inclined as well as extremely nosey.
One of my early memories is my adoptive parents telling me that I was extra special, that they “chose” me – I was adopted. I didn’t understand what that meant. I also remember going to school and proudly telling my classmates that I was adopted. Those classmates didn’t understand what being adopted meant either, all they knew was that I was different then they were. I quickly realized how it wasn’t cool going around telling people things that made you stand out from them. My folks realized my distress and sat me down to read a book that was supposed to help explain adoption. All I can recall from it was cartoon pictures that had question marks in the faces that were supposed to represent a biological mother and a biological father. I hated that book. Not from anything they did or said, I started to feel abandoned, less than, unwanted. Around 5th grade I started to spiral downwards. If being a positive person, a glass half full person isn’t something we are born with, we must get to a point in our lives, a cross-road where we decide which way it’s going to be. Unfortunately, I chose glass half empty at that fork in the road. I chose at a young age to allow that black cloud to start tagging along.
Interest in anything positive plummeted. My grades went downhill. I found it nearly impossible to concentrate. I had a snarky, nasty attitude towards anything authority. When I tried to play sports, I was benched due to my bad attitude. I was the kid that if she’d “just apply herself” would make all A’s. I didn’t care. I had no need for school. I was out to become street smart.
I lost a really close friend in 8th grade. She was shot by accident, by a friend’s brother who was playing with their father’s gun. He didn’t know it was loaded. This was my first experience with death at a close range. The sobs sounded like they were coming in waves at her wake. It was the most unusual sound I’ve ever heard. They played two of her favorite songs at the wake and to this day I still get goosebumps when I hear them. Friends became even more important to me after this tragedy. How I made them laugh (I was the class clown), what they thought of me. I was the go-to for advice, the one people came to to talk about anything. I loved solving their problems, match-making or anything that I felt was of assistance to them. I even helped one of my really book smart friends with her English writing assignments. I wouldn’t write my own, but I’d go out of my way to do hers! My friends were way more important than my parents at that time, who always forced “family time” on me and I resented them so much for that. I wanted nothing to do with “family time”. But when it came to my thoughts and anxieties, I kept all of that to myself. Until I met my best friend – I had found my person. Well, I’d actually technically met her in 7th grade, but we became besties in 8th. I grew up without religion. My parents had converted from Catholicism (though I was baptized Catholic) to Unitarianism – which is a very confusing “religion” as a child, at least for me. We kind of studied the bible, but really just played and had fun with the other kids on Sundays. My best friend was appalled that I didn’t know the Lord’s Prayer, so she insisted I learn it. I credit her for me being able to recite it at the end of AA meetings.
We were inseparable. To the point people would question if we were gay because we would hold hands and hug each other. We experienced many firsts together – we smoked pot, we drank, we went to parties, we snuck out, we dated boys. Most of the things we shouldn’t have been doing were my idea. I wasn’t the best influence, but somehow her parents felt sorry for me and let me hang around. One night we told her parents we were going to a school basketball game but went to a high school party and got so drunk that when we came back to her house to sleep over, the minute her mom opened the door I vomited down the front of her. I proceeded to throw up all night. She wasn’t going to tell my parents because she knew how strict they were, but she couldn’t avoid it due to how hungover and sick I was the next day. There was no getting around it.
My best friend, my rock, moved away in 10th grade. Saying I was devastated was an understatement. We had become so codependent that I felt I had lost a lung and could barely breathe. My downward spiral picked up speed. That drunken experience along with several others landed me in an outpatient rehab 3 nights a week and NA meetings 2 nights a week. In rehab and with the young kids that were also forced to attend NA meetings, I learned how to do more drugs than I had before I had started rehab. I think my parents jumped the gun and put me in outpatient rehab prematurely. I can’t blame them though, because they didn’t know what to do. They knew that I was born predisposed to addiction and wanted to get ahead of it. I met the girl who I would steal her mom’s car and credit cards and run away with 3 weeks before I “graduated” from rehab at one of those NA meetings. More on that later.
I blamed being adopted. I used that as an excuse for everything negative that happened in my life. The incessant negative obsessive thoughts in my mind told me that I was kicked to the curb, that my “actual” mother had gotten rid of me. I was unwanted and you’d drink too if no one wanted you. I look back now and shake my head at that stranger I once was. I wish I could hug that young girl and tell her to hold on, that it’s all going to get better.
I guess this is what needed to come out of me today. Who knows what tomorrow, the next day or the next few weeks will bring. Nothing’s promised.
I am a recovering alcoholic. My husband enjoys smoking weed and the occasional beer(s). He thinks pot enhances his creativity.
My husband and I got legally separated… amicably and truly with grace. I couldn’t have been happier with how our separation went considering what a rollercoaster we’d been on – my alcoholism, our affairs. There were some good times mixed in. He bought another house in the same school district and we shared custody of our 2 beautiful daughters. This went on for about a year and a half. We tried our hand at the dating world and dating sites. Then came the day when he approached me and said that he wanted to try again. He said he couldn’t imagine me being with anyone else. It took some convincing, but we started awkwardly dating each other again. It was weird (“GROSS” according to our kids), but interesting. We tried to manage our girls’ expectations as best as we could, that we weren’t for sure this would work and figured we looked like pretty decent human beings that were willing to give it the good ole’ college try once again. We went to therapy and both changed A LOT so before you know it, he moved back in… I believe it was too soon. He renovated the house he bought in order to put it on the market and sell it. One day he said he disconnected the stove over there and that he was just going to start staying with me again. I wasn’t prepared and was scared, but I was trying to be hopeful. The plan was to sell that house, sell our original house, then buy a house where we could start fresh! It was somewhat tumultuous, yet we seemed to be persevering – we seemed to be working out one issue after the other, trying to forget the past, clean the slate and move forward. I ain’t gonna lie – it has been so much work – this shit is HARD. One major issue that was possibly to be a deal breaker for me when he moved back in was his weed usage. Not because I’m against it per say, but because I’m sober and it fucks with my head when someone messes with my safe zone (my house). He was in my safe zone smoking weed. I’m all for prescribed medical marijuana, and the occasional use pot smoker is all good with me. When it affects me directly it becomes an issue. He’s not a pot-head or anything but I do struggle with the fact that he thinks he needs to smoke pot to be creative. I speak from pot smoking experience – I smoked in my early 20’s for a year straight at least and I don’t have respect for it at all and I think it’s a cop-out. Regardless of my humble opinion and the fact that it is still illegal in NY the last time I checked, in a constructive, therapeutic setting, with our wise therapist (I say “wise” truthfully and without an ounce of sarcasm, because she played a pivotal role in saving my life – more on that later), we decided shortly after he moved back that he would keep his weed in a lock box and hide it. He would go downstairs to the basement when he wrote late-night and smoke it then. I felt worn down and bent so I agreed to that. I mean, he wasn’t abusive, or a dead beat dad or not providing so, he would go downstairs about 2-4 nights a week, depending on his mood and if he felt like writing. I can say I honestly tried to live with that. He would come up at 1 or 2 in the morning, lightly kiss my arm and go to sleep. Most nights I’d lay there feeling disturbed or perturbed or anxious or many other uncomfortable feelings knowing he was in the basement getting high and working on a book. I do think it’s amazing that he’s writing a book. I’ve been encouraging about that part. I don’t know why he feels he needs to get high to do it. I wrote in my journal several times about it bothering me. I repressed it. I struggled not to say anything for fear if I did, he’d choose pot and I’d feel like I was not enough (again). I do have self-esteem issues…(more on that later).
I spoke to my therapist and we said we’d talk all together about how it was affecting me. He felt ambushed in therapy. I got the cold shoulder for a day or so. I gave him an ultimatum to get the weed out of the house, that it was affecting my sobriety knowing it was there and knowing when he was downstairs smoking it late night, so he could write his book and tap into his creativity. I need my home to be a safe zone. It was my safe place for the year and a half he was moved out. Since he moved back I went back on Zoloft, as my anxiety started spiraling out of control. Upon hearing of my ultimatum, he initially chose pot over our marriage. That stung – my fear had come true. We had some serious heated words, the nasty, dredging up the past, fighting dirty words, the kind of words that can break a relationship in a matter of minutes. We went back and forth over texts as well the past few days trying to make sense of why I was giving him this ultimatum, that I was blind-siding him after we had agreed to his pot smoking in therapy! I explained how though I sincerely tried, I can’t live with it. That my sobriety needs to be a priority. He compared my drunken, belligerent rampages of the past to his chilled stoned creative writing sessions and decided it was a ridiculous request. I argued that if it was not a problem for him, he’d give it up simply to support his wife in recovery. He loves pot. He loves the creativity it gives him. He loves the relief of the escape from the real job that he is amazing at, makes great money at, yet hates with a passion. He strives to be a writer. His pot smoking will be something my sober ass will have to deal with the rest of our lives if I choose to stay with him. If he decides to take the pot out of the house I’m afraid it will force him to leave more and will resent me. I fear the viscious circle. Again, my sobriety HAS to be #1. I risk to lose everything if it isn’t the top priority and if I don’t stay true to myself. I always resented him for choosing to have an affair to escape my alcoholism and not giving me a ultimation all those years ago. I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t do what was right for me now.
We are talking of splitting up again. Oil and water? Possibly. Can’t live with him, can’t live with out him? Nope. I was happy alone before. I am happy inside whether I am with him or not, but I am not content right now. Am I settling? That’s to be determined. Is he settling? Maybe my sober life is as much as a burden to him as it was when I was an active alcoholic. It takes a special person to stick by an alcoholic – recovering or not. He is a good man. I am a good woman. Together we have a hard time mixing – we struggle with wanting to be right instead of happy most days. I celebrated 4 years of sobriety in May. I am not the person I was anymore. I have made my amends for the past and continue to take personal inventory and correct my wrongs promptly daily. He is not an addict or alcholic. He enjoys smoking weed. He thinks it enhances his creativity. Considering I’m in sobriety, here I sit writing sober, which has become the norm for me. Not the writing part, but the doing things sober part. On my own sober island.
Decided to take a leap and start writing this blog with hopes that it will serve as a therapeutic way to express my experience, strength and hope to those affected (directly or indirectly) by addiction and alcoholism. To go through this crazy, messy thing we call “life” together. To invite you to join me on our own, beautiful SOBER island. I desire an expressive outlet to attract like-minded individuals from all different backgrounds with the same thing in common – wanting recovery. Are we truly living? Are we seeking to vibrate at a higher frequency? Let’s take the journey on the road to recovery together. WE can recover. WE never have to feel alone again. We can do ANYTHING, so long as we don’t pick up that first drink or drug. Maybe my ramblings will strike a chord with or help someone, somewhere, somehow.
Most people are about as happy as they make up their mind to be. – Abraham Lincoln