Category: Not My Best Moments Stuff

1,000 Days

Anyone that is friends with me on Facebook undoubtedly saw the outpouring of celebration yesterday by my friends, who congratulated me and showered me with gifts and love in celebration of my 1000 days of sobriety.

For those of you that don’t know my story, or weren’t aware of that portion of my story, I wanted to give a narrative that maybe answers some questions you have. So what does that mean? What did life look like 1005 days ago? Do you go to meetings? Do you get a chip?

The answer is no, because I have never gone to meetings. I do have a group of friends that I lean on when I know that the circumstances in front of me start looking like they used to when I did what I always did – find my way back to self-destruction, through which ever path I could get to faster. Sobriety didn’t begin with rehab and meetings, and pre-sobriety did not look like the picture many people have in their head when they think of sobriety or recovery.

So what did pre-sobriety look like? It looked kind of normal. I wasn’t hiding vodka bottles in the closet. I wasn’t out every weekend partying. In fact, I wasn’t even a frequent drinker, but when I was, I was a heavy drinker. I had zero concept of social drinking; I was 0 or 100, with no in between. And actually, I didn’t drink for periods of time, and abstaining was not a struggle for me. When I did drink, I more than made up for all the nights I did not. I do not get funnier or quieter after alcohol; I got louder, and I got more aggressive and out of control when I drank. And with less inhibitions, I made horrific choices. I don’t love the taste of alcohol, but I craved the escape it brought me.

On June 2, 2013, I got violently drunk in a hotel room on a business trip I went on with Jason, and things became so badly out of control that it’s really only by some sort of miracle (or maybe just him not wanting his colleagues to know) that I didn’t end up in jail. I woke up on June 3 sick and mortified, and devastatingly remorseful at the things I had said and done to my husband. And I decided that morning that I was tired of apologizing for hurting the people I loved. I was tired of being out of control, and that day marks the day that I committed to stop adding fuel to the fire.

Addicts of various kinds that are in stages of recovery (as well as family of recovering addicts) will tell you that there is a big difference between not using and being sober. Prior to that day in June, I had many days that I did not find whatever substance I could get my hands on to escape, but I did not have sobriety.

Sobriety looks different for most people. For me, it looks like suffering through the six kidney infections I had this year without any pain relief, because I had to decline the prescriptions. It looks like not drinking at all, because abstaining completely is better for me than trying to manage it. Once, I was on a trip for work, and I smelled the scotch someone was drinking. And despite the fact that I have never liked scotch, the way my mouth watered scared me, and I realized at that moment that “drinking casually” was likely never going to be an option for me.

I have zero judgments about people who drink. My husband has a beer once in a while. My friends have wine when we go places. They have something I don’t – the ability to self-regulate.

It’s been a long time, much longer than 1,000 days, since I was clearly out of control. My family can attest to the time they had to come and get me from college and bring me home because of my months-long bender. My husband can attest to the time I lost my job because of all the pain meds I was on. Or the business trip that I was so out of it during that my coworkers were actually scared for my health. Or the seizure I had because of a medication interaction. Or the time I invited my parents to dinner and nodded off the whole time in the restaurant. Those days were much longer ago than 1,000 days.

However, as for the amount of time since I made the conscious decision to be a better mom, wife, friend, and family member? That has been 1,000 days. It has been 1,000 days since I decided to stop being my own worst enemy. Most of those days have come easily, but some have not. It meant learning new coping mechanisms for when I am stressed. Or bored. Or happy.

Sobriety is difficult at times, but it is not complicated. It only requires saying no. Sometimes that “no” comes easier than others…but it always comes.

So that is the story of what prompted the decision I made one thousand days ago. If you have questions, feel free to contact me. I am happy to answer them.

Living with Hooligans

Over lunch with a vendor who doesn’t have kids, I remarked that having kids is like living with drunk people. Please see the examples below for backup to my theory.

Exhibit A: they sit in weird positions.

Exhibit B: they are really rude.

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Kids Are Resilient.

This picture was taken the day we separated.

This picture was taken the day we separated.

They are, aren’t they? Kids can withstand so much; they’re just so resilient.

I hear this a lot when adults justify the decisions they make; I actually said it once to justify my own divorce. Kids are resilient; and she’s young! At five months old, she’ll never remember us together, so it’s not like she’ll miss having her mom and dad together. It will be her normal. 

Lots of rationalizations, there. In retrospect, it wasn’t actually important that I end my marriage sooner because it wouldn’t actually be better for her. It would actually be better for me.

It hurts just to type that, y’all. To admit it, right there in black and white. Sometimes transparency is for the birds. I convinced myself that The Oldest One would be better if mama was happy. You know what didn’t occur to me, though? Making the best of the situation. Maybe not making it obvious that we were unhappy. Perhaps acting like a grown up. You know what kids don’t do? Analyze their parents to see if their happiness is at an adequate level. Kids are naturally kind of narcissistic, and I don’t think they really care if their parents are happy because I don’t think they notice, unless there is abuse.

What she needed was to not feel the gut wrenching pain of not being able to see her daddy every day when she was two years old, and then three, and then four, and so on; she needed to see her brother on a daily basis. What she needed was to feel loved and secure, and to have a predictable schedule. She needed to feel like she could speak freely about her love for both of us.

Many of us wake up every day at a time we don’t like and drive to a job we can’t stand because it’s the responsible thing to do for the season we are in. We call that responsible, mature, hard-working.

When we wake up one day in a marriage we can’t stand with a partner that makes us want to punch a face, we make the decision to leave or to stay. And if we leave, we call that strong and brave. And if we stay, we call it weak and stupid.

Yet both are responsibilities; commitments that we have made. Ones we honor because it’s the right thing to do, or because it’s the only thing to do, or because we don’t have any other options. And somehow, leaving the spouse we hate seems more logical than leaving the job we hate.

We take a situation and say “I can’t do this anymore. They are awful to live with. I am slowly going crazy here. I deserve better than this.” And we leave, because even with all the coping mechanisms we have as adults, we can’t handle it anymore. And what results is a situation where the parent has escaped the madness, and the children, who don’t have the mental capacity to rationalize behavior, understand triggers, or build protective barriers, to deal with it. Alone. We need them to be resilient; more resilient than we are ourselves. We have to believe that this will be the best for them, because it’s the best for us.

Unfortunately, children aren’t resilient, they just don’t know how to express it. And if they do, they don’t want to add to the mounting emotional problems that they see their parent going through. And they do see it. They have very little coping mechanisms and what little they do will likely damage them as they carry them into adulthood. What they do not have is a group of friends that will bring them dinner and sit at the table and ask them how they’re handling things.

Kids aren’t resilient, they go into survival mode. They do what they can to survive, and they learn all new behaviors to cope with the changes in their lives; and not always good ones.

As an adult, I cannot fathom coming home one day and finding out I don’t live there anymore. I cannot fathom switching places that I live 3 days a week (ever noticed how draining business trips are?). I cannot fathom one day finding out that strangers live with me.

But kids are resilient. If you need proof of how children cope really well with traumatic situations in their childhood, watch Intervention.

There was no abuse in my first marriage, and I want to make that very, very clear. We were just not good together by any stretch of the imagination. This entry is not written as all-encompassing, and it is not written with regards to abuse.

 

Reflection

Get your popcorn, y’all; it’s long and it’s taken me 3 months to finish it.

I haven’t thought about this in a long time, which is why it seemed odd when it kept coming back to me, replaying itself over and over in my mind. Something tells me to write about it, so here we go.

I started this blog in 2012. At first, it was going to be about home renovation, and then it just…morphed into parenting and cooking and whatever else was on my mind. Back then, I posted about parenting and fixing the house, and I had more viewers than I thought I would. I attempted to cultivate a persona of what I thought wanted to be read, and I wrote to that demographic. I posted things that weren’t Continue reading

And now, a bathroom break (or a break FROM the bathroom)

Hubbin chose our vacation spot this year and I have to completely give it to him, he did phenomenal job. Browsing flipkey.com, he showed me a listing and asked if he was reading it right.

Listed was a “Castle in the Sky“, high in the Smoky Mountains, and located in Sylva, NC. Built on 75 wooded acres, it had exactly what I wanted…a pool. And not any pool — a private pool. No yelling kids aside from my own, a pool that overlooked what appeared to be paradise? And affordable. And available.

So he booked it for the

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A Bathroom Reno, in GIFs

Contractor Extraordinaire Daniel refuses to to acknowledge his awesomeness, but I came home last night and our bathroom was pretty much done. To put that into perspective, our toilet was in the living room two days before this picture was taken.

b2014.5

It’s time to cut the modesty, Daniel! His sidekick Tyler also has put in ridiculous hours (I know they worked long shifts while we were gone, and I know at least one of the days they were there from 8AM until 10:30PM. Complete and utter insanity. And I like to follow up complete and utter insanity with gif stories.

I’d give you details, but the bathroom isn’t done and still needs finishing touches. There is an inch of dust over everything (I am not even lying, I mopped the walls last night), and there’s remaining grout work that was curing behind that shower curtain, which will also soon reveal one of the major changes in the bathroom, too. In fact, during that first “Houston” phone call and hearing the words “black mold” and “the standing water under the floor was deep enough to splash”, Daniel adding “but you get your [surprise]” was the only thing that kept me from throwing myself off the mountain.

This should have been an easy job…throw down some new flooring and pull down the shower surround and put up tile. Except for the black mold and rotting subfloor and how we almost had a basement bathroom it was so bad.

Ok, almost like this.

It also rained pretty much the entire renovation (not for us, because we were in paradise while they were stuck in Renovation Hell). Rained constantly – it was in almost every single Facebook post I saw that week, and at least three people considered building an ark. When we realized how badly things had gotten, I’m not even kidding when I say I 100% picture Daniel like this on my lawn:

WHY?!

Then, of course, when we got home on Sunday and I was tired because hello, six hour car ride with the Grumpy Toddler, there was ensuing no toilet, hornet stinging chaos.

And Monday when I got home and it wasn’t done because they were making sure everything was perfect, I acted poorly and had to apologize a couple of times because hello, I’m supposed to be a grown up even if my butt doesn’t fit on that ladybug potty I had to use.

On second thought, just don’t.

And also, I’m the one that told him not to set the toilet until the floor was completely done anyway, but I conveniently forgot that during the moment that led to this meltdown:

But it came together and the toilet went into the bathroom and the shower could be used and it’s beautiful and you’ll know a lot more when it’s super-duper done and I can show you all the cool things. Until then, here’s a gif of me arriving home yesterday and seeing the bathroom:

Details, soon. The best part has yet to come!!