Vaca without the Rosé

Two weeks ago, I sat in an AA meeting and started sobbing. I was terrified that I would screw up and drink on our upcoming vacation. Vacation to me has always been drinking heavily and trying to get a tan. Especially, as a mother, I couldn’t wait to have some mommy time, sipping on wine and eating cheese cubes.

 

Well, shit. I’m sober now. I can’t do those things. I started to cry in the damn car ride to our vacation, because I thought THERE IS NO WAY IN HELL I AM GOING TO HAVE A GOOD TIME. I thought I would sit in a corner, sip on my diet coke, and feel sorry for myself. Alcoholics do a very good job at feeling sorry for themselves.

Anyway, I was pissed. Sober and pissed.

I put a fake smile on my face, got my kids out of the car and walked into the villa we shared with my in laws.

As we opened the door, my smile grew. It was beautiful. We could see the beach from our  room. My daughters ran around in circles as their grandparents watched. My kids were happy. Imagine that! TRUE HAPPINESS. If my chidren can be filled with happiness, why couldn’t I?

Slowly, my heart started to fill up with gratitude. It’s been a tough ass year for this family, and we were going to have a FUN AS HELL vacation without alcohol. They say in AA that miracles happen once you start to change your life without alcohol. It was an absolute miracle that I spent the next five days without thinking about alcohol. You know why? Because, you actually can enjoy life with true happiness, and not at the bottom of a bottle.

I sat watching my girls jump in the pool while sipping on a virgin tropical drink, and I thought to myself, ” This is a miracle. I can make memories with these kids. Memories I’ll remember.” I gave a big high five to my Higher Power, because I couldn’t do it on my own.

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What I learned is that a day on vacation is still just a day. Every morning we wake up to a new day. I put so much thought into how vacation days were HUGE and we must be DRUNK TO HAVE FUN ALL DAY EVERYDAY.

But it’s just a day. Just like any other day that we live through. The only difference was the view and the relaxation. True relaxation, not a stupid drunken sloppy mess of relaxation.

We talk over and over again about taking it day by day. I don’t have to drink today. I don’t have to drink in the next hour. You just take it day by day. And the next thing you know, you’ll be running into the ocean, laughing and thanking your Higher Power.

This wasn’t just a vacation, this was a learning experience for my journey through sobriety.

 

And damn, it was fun.IMG_1837

Tryin’ catch me riding dirty

Imagine this:

It’s 9 pm on a busy saturday night. You’ve probably already had a few drinks before you go out. The first bottle of wine makes you feel confident and beautiful. You decide to have some more wine, just to maintain that buzz. You feel like superwoman. Drunk superman. You take out your keys, hop in the driver’s seat, and get on your merry way.

 

You cruise down the street for a minute or two, and then you see it. The cop car. Right behind you.

FUCK.

As the police officer walks up to your car, you try to act normal. You can’t act normal, you’re too drunk. The police officer asks for  your license and brings out the breathalyzer. It will inform the officer that you blew a .128. Yup, you’re drunk. You’re screwed. Off to jail you go.

You’re an idiot. Selfish, drunk idiot. You could have crashed and killed someone, even yourself.

 

Perhaps this story has a different ending.

 

 

You drive to a different town for your daily AA meeting at 9pm. You’ve had a pretty great day. The streets are kind of messed up, lots of construction and many Michigan lefts. You decide to take a left near some construction. Big mistake. Within one minute, a cop catches up with you. Your first thought is, ” Um…I havent been pulled over in fifteen years…what the heck!” The office talks to you through your open window. He asks you where you’re headed, did you not see the traffic sign, He shines his flashlight into your eyes and you have zero fear. You don’t drink anymore, your eyes aren’t puffy and blood-shot. The officer is very kind to you, gives you a ticket, and onward you go.

This is the true ending.

 

I didn’t have any reasons to worry. I am sober. But, I could have been sent to jail if I had been drinking and driving. The consequences would have been long and dark.

 

I was laughing as the officer and I talked. How ironic is it is getting pulled over on your way home from AA. I’m glad I got pulled over. It reminded me of what this could have been. This was a wake up call.

 

I’m almost 60 days sober and every day little miracles happen. It’s a miracle that I was sober that night. Each day into my sobriety, I realize how much gratitude and truth I have now. fullsizeoutput_669b

Serenity

Something pretty huge just happened. I made it to 30 days sober, and I”m still chugging along. Working those steps, reading the big book, reaching out to my new, incredible sober family and sponsor. I never thought I could be sober for 24 hours. No one, nothing could have come between me and my mommy wine time. If that meant hiding wine bottles all over my house so my husband wouldn’t see me drinking, then fine. If that meant lying to every single person in my life day in and day out, tha’ts fine too. If Iost myself in a bottle of Pinot Grigio, then FINE. I didn’t care. I deserved that wine. I didn’t have a problem, nope. I saw friends of mine do the exact same thing and they seemed fine.

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Slowly, but surely my life was spinning out of my control.

 

My first thought every morning woud be, ” When can I have wine? Where can I get it from? Did I have any hidden somewhere?” My last thought for the day would be, ” You have to get that wine early tomorrow. You’re going to need it.” Totally normal, right?

I wasn’t an alcoholic. I was a thirty-one year old stay at home mom, who happened to enjoy wine. I enjoyed it so much that I stopped enjoying everything else, including my children and marriage. All moms do this, don’t be ridiculous. I could totally stop if I wanted to, but screw that! I didn’t want to stop. Wine was my bestfriend, you don’t just push your bestfriend out of your life. Sometimes, I’d think about stopping, but I couldn’t do it on my own.

 

The past 30 days have changed my life forever. There was no heavy baggage on my shoulders anymore. There was honesty, truth, and acceptance. There was a gratitude for every day that I did not drink.

 

You can’t do this shit on by yourself. You need your people. They will guide you, encourage you, push you farther than you ever thought you would go. I go to AA meetings almost every day, and through those meetings and support, I am able to stay sober.

I feel like I’m finally waking up. It’s about time.

 

 

Sunshine & Rainbows

I have been waking up every day smiling.

 

I shit you not. I open my eyes, look over at my kids who have hogged my bed, and smile. I smile when they ask me for breakfast. Two weeks ago I would have thrown a half frozen waffle at them and said, ” Here. Eat.”. Now, I actually toast the waffles properly and add butter with syrup. Like a real mom.

I smile at my dumb dog when he has go to pee first thing in the morning.

I smile at my husband, which is basically unheard of in this household.

 

I can’t stop smiling. I’m smiling about everything, all day long. I used to believe that the people who were like, ” I woke up with a smile on my face!”, were chipper assholes who needed to calm the F down.

WHERE IS THIS EXTREME HAPPINESS COMING FROM?

That’s easy. I’m sober and I’m finally grateful for every single day. That’s not to say that shit gets hard and I feel like I”m losing my mind sometimes, but I recover from it. I don’t dwell on it. Just keep chugging along. There’s these things, they’re called coping skills, and apparently they work pretty well. Who knew, right?!? Crazy.

 

I keep looking into my kids eyes and it’s like I’m finally present with them. I hadn’t realized how touched out I was before. There was this fog in front of me before. I couldn’t see my way through it, but slowly it’s finally starting to fade little by little.

My dad has a saying that he repeats all the time, “Great to be alive!”. I thought that was pretty corny before.  My sister and I would look at each other and giggle or roll our eyes, but I get it now. I get it. It is great to be alive. It’s great to be present in my own life for once. It’s great to be open and honest. It’s all just really freaking great. GREAT.

 

My kids are still going to poop on me, my dog is still going to pee all over my house, my husband and I are going to fight about something dumb, but we get through it. It’s not an excuse to drink anymore. It’s an opportunity to deal with whatever is going on with a clear mind and heart.

 

As I’m typing this, I”m like, ” Who the hell is this person writing this?”. I sound like a cheesy life coach or something. But I don’t give a f***. At all.

It’s sober life baby, sober life. It’s not all sunshine. There aren’t unicorns barfing up rainbows (although, that would be fun.), it’s life. A life worth living. A life worth smiling about.

 

YASSSSSS QUEEN.

Twelve steps to happy hour…

Habits are hard to change. They become imbedded in our bodies. Muscle memory. That’s just how it is. My habits were out of control.

Cooking dinner? Here! Have a glass of wine!

Putting away laundry? Here! Have two glasses of wine!

Cleaning the house? Here! Have the whole damn bottle!

 

I was cooking dinner the other night and I had the strongest urge to have a glass of wine. I felt like I didn’t know how to cook without it. I was folding laundry and my body just ached to get buzzed so it wouldn’t suck so much.

 

Bad habits are incredibly hard to change. I decided to quit drinking and go sober for one month. My relationship with alcohol had become incredibly desperate and dangerous. I could make up a reason, any reason at all, why I deserved to have a drink. It was easy. I could have a glass and block out my postpartum anxiety like magic.

 

It was very easy to slip and slide into self medicating mentality. It starts with one glass.

 

But it’s never just one glass, is it?

 

I don’t like committing to things at all. I like to have excuses. I like to have a way out if I need one. I need to be in control. But, by my second day of sobriety, I realized I couldn’t do this on my own. I couldn’t commit to making this change all by myself. I needed help. I didn’t even realize how much help I needed, but holy shit did I need it.

My husband half jokingly asked me if I was going to start going to AA meetings. Normally, I would have laughed. I did not laugh this time. Only two days into this whole sober living thing, I realized that my relationship with alcohol was toxic. Slowly turning me into a shell of a human being, hiding behind drunken smiles and laughter.

I couldn’t do this on my own.

So, seven days ago I walked into a room in a local church, scared shitless. I was scared to know that I was going to have to face my demons right then and there, without the cozy warmth of a buzz. As I walked in, a woman rushed over to me and asked me if this was my first meeting. Still skeptical, I said yes. She immediately hugged me and told me how proud she was of me. A woman that I had never met before opened her arms and heart up to me. The tears started pouring out of me. It didn’t stop with her. Every single woman in that room introduced themselves and hugged me. I felt wrapped up in the love that was being poured all over me. I felt something else too.

Support. I felt supported.

Within that first hour, I cried, laughed, listened and embraced the women who had just opened up their lives for me. I walked into that meeting thinking that I was just going to see if I could gain some insight so that I could have a healthier relationship with alcohol. Because, apparently I believed I could have a nice, clean relationship with booze. I figured I would learn a few tips on how to stop drinking after two drinks, and gain some control back in the relationship. I had no idea that I was going to fall to my knees in humility and admit that this wasn’t just a bad relationship.

This is an addiction.

 

For the past five years, I’ve jokingly portrayed myself as the wino mom. Almost every single night I would open up a new bottle of wine and drink the whole damn thing. No problem. I told myself that I could stop whenever I wanted to. I told myself I had a high tolerance. I told myself that it was normal to buy extra wine and hide it in random places throughout the house. I had hundreds of excuses as to why this was normal and that I deserved it.

When I was pregnant with my first kid, I told my birth doula that I couldn’t wait to have champagne after the baby was born. She said, ” You could probably have one glass if you really wanted one.” I replied, ” No. You don’t get it. I don’t want a glass, I want the entire bottle.”

That was the beginning down the path I’ve been drunkenly crawling through for years.

 

As I listened to these women share their stories of sobriety, accomplishments and failures, I could feel my guarded wall slowly breaking down. Slowly but surely. I related to these stories. I have felt the same things.

I found more than just a meeting of women discussing their sobriety, I found a community. A huge, unwavering, welcoming, understanding community. I didn’t even realize how long I had been searching for the peace I felt while sitting in that meeting. The weight of the world was finally off my shoulders.

I could finally admit that this is a huge problem in my life. I could finally admit that I had been lying to myself for years. I could finally admit that I couldn’t do this on my own.

Complete strangers were willing to tell me their deepest, darkest secrets to help me realize that I wasn’t alone. My heart was in shock. I couldn’t believe it. After everyone else had spoken, they asked me if I wanted to share anything. My heart was racing, because I knew exactly what I needed to say.

 

” Hi. My name is Kate and I’m an alcoholic.”

I let out a deep, long breath and felt lighter than I have felt in years. The first step.

I left that meeting with a new sense of purpose, a new reason to be honest with myself and others. The next day I decided to go again. And again. And again. Pretty soon the women started joking that I really got around the block, with all the meetings I was attending. In truth, admitting that I’m an addict was the absolute hardest thing I have ever done. But, attending those meetings made me feel so happy and so alive. I started to look forward to it. Every day around five pm, I start counting down the minutes until my next meeting. My happy hour. 

 

I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. I can only handle one day at a time, but instead of handling it with a box of wine, I’m handling it with faith, strength, and sharing with others. I know that I could very easily fuck this up. I’m very aware of that. It isn’t easy being sober, it’s a constant battle. I am ready for the fight and I know that I won’t have to fight it alone.

I left that first meeting as an entirely different person. There was the wine drinking, shit talking Kate from before, and now there’s the sober, but still shit talking, Kate.

It feels amazing. This is my new normal. I’m fighting for myself so my children have a mother, so my husband has a wife, so my parents have their daughter back, and a million other reasons. This is probably the best thing I have ever done for myself. I’m going to fight this shit day in and day out, but I’m gaining the skills to kick the hell out of it.

 

One day at a time.  Serenity.

Sober.

This past weekend was a blast celebrating St. Patricks Day.

 

Or, what I should say is, I think it was a blast, because I can’t remember a damn thing. It’s a miracle I even made it home. Sunday morning I woke up just filled with dread. Absolute dread. I’m a 31 year old mom of three amazing kids, and I decided to get black out drunk? What if something had happened to me? Some sort of switch just went off in my brain and I realized… This has to stop.

When I became a mom I would spend hours looking at peoples instagram accounts with funny jokes about moms, coffee, and always wine. It seemed obvious that all moms need coffee in the morning and at 4 pm switch to wine. That’s just how you get through the day right?

 

So, I bought into this. I became a wino. I loooooooove wine. LOVE. Love, love, love. It was fun at first, drinking wine while cooking dinner for the family, or sipping some on my back porch with my friend at 2 pm on a Wednesday. I thought this was normal and cool. I thought I could handle it. But, it didn’t take long for one bottle of wine to turn into two and so on.

 

I realized that I was drinking way too much. Too many glasses while prepping dinner. Too many glasses at kids birthday parties. Too many glasses at family gatherings. Too many too often.

 

That’s not me. That’s not the kind of person I want to be. Alcoholism runs in my family, I have always been hyper aware of that fact. So, this past weekend my mom asked me if I thought I could just stop, and my answer was yes. Absolutely.

 

So, that’s what I’m doing over here. Taking a break. I never could connect the dots together before, but drinking certainly has not helped me climb out of the darkness of my postpartum depression, anxiety and ocd. In fact, I’m pretty sure it made it significantly worse. I feel like I’ve been wearing beer goggles for five years and I finally took them off.

 

I don’t know how long I’ll do this break. Maybe a few months. Maybe a few years. Maybe never again.

I’m not sure how this is all going to go. I just want my body, mind and heart to be healthy.  I want to remember all the moments with my children day by day. Maybe this is the kick in the ass I needed to finally start taking care of myself. I’ve put everyone before me for so long (because, duh that’s what moms do), it’s time for some self-care.

Sober self-care. I’m excited about it.

Part of the reason that I’m sharing all of this with you, is that I need to hold myself accountable. My family will read this. My friends will read this, and I need people to call out my bullshit when it needs to be called out.

 

Life is so beautiful. We’re only here for a short amount of time. I’d rather live in these moments. Instead of  living with my head in the toilet after a night of rough drinking. Maybe someday I will be able to just have one glass of wine. Maybe I won’t. Who knows? But, I’m giving this all I’ve got, because my family deserves it. I deserve it. 

My women.

*I meant to post this during women’s day, but here it is…*

A list of the women in my life who have made me strong, kind and unbreakable…
My mother. The woman who brought me into the world. The woman who always picks up my calls, because she knows that sometimes, a girl just needs her mama. The woman who cries at hallmark commercials, because her heart is so big and feels so much. The woman I almost drove into a ditch while learning to drive down our country roads. The woman who knows exactly what to say and do to fix any problem I’ve thrown at her. The woman who still loves me, even though I told her I hated her when I was 16. The woman who works hard every damn day to support our family. The woman who first showed me that a woman can be the boss. The woman who cut out hundreds of paper hearts and wrote on each of them just how much she loved me. The woman who has held my hand as I cried over how hard it is to be a mother. The woman who has always reassured me that I’m doing it right. The woman who always brings the sunshine.
My stepmother. The woman who came into my family and treated me like a daughter, even though she had never been a mom. The woman who finally convinced me to eat something other than chicken nuggets and mac and cheese. The woman who has sacrificed so much for her children, even if that means missing her own home across the ocean. The woman has loved me as her own, even when I wasn’t on my best behavior. The woman who has always appreciated a good fart joke. The woman who has become my childrens beloved nanny.
My grandmothers. The women who taught me about love and life, while raising their own families. The women I can always call, just to say hi. The women who let me have the extra cookie. The women who let me stay up late, as long as we didn’t tell my parents. The women who showered me with love no matter what. The women who taught me to be brave, even when life isn’t easy. The women who brought me laughter and a warm place to stay whenever I needed a break from my parents (or my parents needed a break from me!). The women taught me that you can overcome anything life throws at you.
My aunts. The women who I have laughed with. The women I have drank wine with while we laughed about my cousins and their latest shenanigans. The women who have treated me as their own when I needed them. The women who have opened their hearts to my own children. The women who have led by example in my family, by creating an everlasting circle of love, warmth and support for all of us.
My mother in law. The woman who has always called me her daughter. The woman who gave me my husband. The woman who has opened up her doors and heart to us whenever needed. The woman who spends countless hours working so she can take her family to places where dreams come true. The woman who you know you can call when there’s an emergency, and know that everything will be ok.
To all these women and more… thank you.