Joy.

If you ever enter my house, you’ll see about 50,000 things that say JOY on it. The word has a special place in my heart. My grandmother, GG, made it her mantra. So much so that at 75 she got it tattood on her wrist like a bad ass grandmother, if ever there was one. She actually convinced me to get my first tattoo at 18, with half of my family standing around in an itty bitty tattoo shop in Torrington, CT on my 18th birthday. She really, really had to convince me. My first reaction was, NOPE.

Nope. Nope. Nope. And then another thought filled my head. ” You gotta live a little.” That was one of her sayings. I can hear her voice right now, ” Katie, you’ve just got to live a little!” So I did. Fastforward many, many years later…I have 8…and I’m getting another one soon. It’s easy to get addicted to tattoos, right? My cousins followed in my path, and now my parents and my sister have ink.

 

Anyway, I digress.

 

That’s how she lived her life. Everyday she was thankful. Everyday she would reflect on the joys in her life. She wrote all of this down, and after she died, as we went through all of her journals and pictures, we saw JOY on every page. She inspired all of us. Even strangers.

Right after I turned 25 and six months before my wedding, She fell ill. Still, she spread her message of joy and love with every single person she knew. I’m not just writing this to write it. I’m writing it to show the absolute magnitude of acceptance of love and life she shared. If you ask ANYONE who ever came in contact with her their lives were better for having her in it.

Honestly, I could write a book about how this woman changed the world on person at a time.

I struggled with God after she died. I wasn’t religious, but I kept thinking if there is a God, why is he taking her away from us? How could he?

 

The day she died, I had a couple hours with her alone while my famiy discussed hospice in the other room. Her eyes were closed. They would never open again. Her chest went up and down, taking in some of her lasts breaths. I held her delicate hand in mind and I wept. This woman was my rock. She was all of ours rock. It was devestating. We all knew she was ready to go, but she kept holding on. My wedding was coming up, and I had spent countless hours talking to her on the phone about it and how important to me it was to me for her to be there.

My tears poured out as I told her, ” It’s ok. You can go now. I know how badly you want to be there, but it’s ok. I will be ok.” I sat with my head on her bed, placing her hand on my cheek. My heart was breaking into a million pieces.

A few hours later, she was gone. Months went by and I couldn’t control my grief. It was too much. I found myself desperate to hear her voice.  I tried to grasp the acceptance of life without her.

It sucked. Really, really sucked.

 

A few months later I got married. It was beautiful. The sun was about so set as we stood under the gazeebo and shared our vows. Everything was perfect. Except one thing. My GG wasn’t there. Nothing could change that. We all tried so hard be brave, but the tears poured and poured.

What happened next was mind blowing.

Here’s two pictures of myself with her.

 

At some point in the evening, my cousin just so happened to be snapping some pictures on the lake. Then she saw this.

 

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She found a way to be at my wedding after all.

 

One of my biggest struggles is isolation. I hate being alone. I panic. It sucks. Most of my alcoholism revolved around isolation.

 

Step Two says: We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

This step was challenging at first. I wasn’t sure if there was a God. I thought this was kind of uncessary. I didn’t need God. Fuck that.

 

Then the miracles started to happen. My sponser said to just get on my knees every morning and night and ask God to help keep me sober throuought the day, and then thank him (or her) for keeping my sober another day. I did this for two weeks. I felt nothing. My sponser told me to be patient and kind to myself.

This shit ain’t easy.

Then all of a sudden, while on my knees, I felt the absolute prescence of my Higher Power, my God. The feeling came out nowhere and blew me away. I was stunned. I went from not believing in anything, to suddenly believing in something HUGE.

It still blows my mind.

 

There were many times when I was drinking that I wished I had GG in my life still. I would drink and drink while asking the universe to somehow bring her back to me. I cried when she missed the birth of my children. I cried at Thanksgiving dinner without her. Hell, I cried driving home from work, because I missed her in my life so badly.

 

Then, just today, another miracle happened.

 

Someone said sonething tonight that touched every part of my soul.

 

He said God works in us in amazing ways. We all will die someday. That’s a given. And, we all go through tough challenges, but we’re not alone. We are jealous of angels. Our loved ones and friends have not left our lives for good. Not at all. They stand side by side with our Higher Power. They live with us and in us along side our Higher Power.

It’s incredible. In that very moment I felt a wave of emotions. My grandmother didn’t leave me. She was waiting for me to find my Higher Power. Through him, she is with me. It’s crazy. Insane.

 

I cried on the way home tonight, because that isolation I had been feeling was gone. I am never alone. Ever.

 

It’s a gift. It’s a miracle.

 

My Little Bear.

A lot of things have happened these past few weeks.

 

I got a sunburn.

Lucie learned to climb down the stairs.

Maeve ate a tub of ice cream for breakfast.

Fiona graduated preschool.

 

I have to repeat it over and over, my baby is going to kindergarden in the fall. How did this happen? I blinked and POOF she’s tying her shoes and telling me she would like some ” me time”. This is a first for me as a mother, my first born growing up right before my eyes. Without even realizing it, she became a little girl.

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The toddler days are gone. She doesn’t need me as much as she used to. She radiates and shines with such tenderness and love. She doesn’t need me to hold her hand to walk to the potty. She doesn’t need me to pick out her socks. She doesn’t need me to hold her close after falling asleep in her carseat. She doesn’t need me to tell her how to spell her name. She doesn’t need me to show her how to do the monkey bars or play on the swings.

But, I do. I still need all of those things. The seconds, the minutes, the hours, the days and years that have passed have gone by so quickly. I know that this is part of being a parent. Kids grow. But, my heart tugs to keep her close always. IMG_4607

She asks me to put her to bed and rub her back. After a few minutes, she’ll reach her hand down and put it in mine. She falls asleep holding my hand. That’s a memory I”ll cherish forever.IMG_2213

She sits her sisters down and tries to teach them their colors and ABC’s. She’s quick to grab a paper towl if the baby has spilt something on the floor. She’ll run upstairs for diapers and wipes if we’re all out. She makes sure that we all look both ways when crossing the street. She asks me to tell her about the night she was born, how I became her mommy. She understands why Mama goes to meetings at night sometimes, she says it’s ok. She knows that those meetings help me be a better mommy for her.

 

She is a gift.

 

I know this is all kind of rediculous. She’s just going to kindergarden, which is two blocks from our house. She’ll be there all day monday through Friday. Children go to kindergarden. That’s how it works.

But, how will we make it through the day without her? I want to hold her hand forever and keep her safe. I want to be the one making her lunch. I want to be the one who puts a bandaid on her booboos.

I can’t keep her in my arms forever. I have to share her with the world now. I have to let her open her wings that will take her to places she’s dreamed of. I have to sit back while new friends are made. I have to smile and her beautiful face and know that she’s going to be ok.

 

She is going to soar and I’ll be right here when she needs me. It is true, the days are slow, but the years are fast.

 

Can you imagine how unbelievaby sappy this blog is going to be when she goes off to college? I can’t help myself. I’m a sappy, proud mommy.

 

Oh, the places she’ll go. IMG_2043

Self-care… wait, what’s self-care?

When someone asks me if I have time for myself, I usually crack up.

 

SELF-CARE? Are you kidding me? I haven’t showered in four days, I can’t remember when I brushed my teeth, I don’t know whose socks I”m wearing. I have three girls under five. It’s a miracle that we even leave the house somedays. I mean, I”ve left the house in my pjs and slippers by accident for preschool pick up once or twice.

 

I like simple things. I don’t have time for some 90 min face mask with cucumbers on my eyes. I don’t have time for massages. I don’t have time for manicures. My time goes towards my children. All day. Every day.

(EXCEPT, when grandparents are in town and I throw my children at them, so I can go take a three nap.)

So, anyway, my friend (Hey, Angela!) asked me if I’d like to try some stuff that I could easliy fit into my crazy ass schedule, and create a even just a bit of me time.

Before, I tell you about this stuff, I want you to know that I’m not selling or pressuring  anyone into buying anything. I just really wanted to share this, because this stuff helped me SO much.

There’s this company called Arbonne. I had kind of heard about it through the grapevince, but promptly forgot because…mom brain. So anyway, I tried a few things out and they were pretty awesome. IMG_1875*I liked the bag…*

The first thing I tried was ” Arbonne Essentials”, it’s like a packet of powder you can add to your water. The reason I enjoyed this was because it didn’t taste like other water enhancers I”ve had. It was great and it gave me a little boost.

IMG_2343*The Goods*

I tried out some of this stuff too. I”m a tea snob, but I liked this tea a lot. I actually made ice tea out of it, beacuse it’s 3,000 degrees outside. I tried the shake too (it also came in vanilla), and I mixed it with water. It was ok, but if I had mixed it with almond milk or something like that, it might have been a little more smooth on the way down.

 

By far, my FAVORITE stuff was this…

This is their anti-aging skincare line, and DAMN did I need it. There’s face wash, toner, night repair cream, intensive serum cream, corrective eye cream and more. Once in the morning and once at night, it took me approximately two minutes to add this into my routine. So that’s pretty rad.

I spend most of my time shocked at how different I look from when I was younger. I stare at my wrinkles. I have grey hair popping up everywhere, and I”m constantly tired. That’s called growing up, I suppose. I’m thirty-two in August and being able to take those two minutes into my day for my own self-care is pretty remarkable for my self esteem.

I didn’t love all the samples that were given to me. I didn’t like the mascara, for me it just clumped up my lashes. But, overall, this stuff is pretty good.

 

So, if you are looking for a super simple, healthy way to get some self-care into your life, I would reccomend Arbonne to you. This isn’t an advertisement, this is just an honest review I wanted to share with my crew.

If you think this stuff sounds rad, you can hit up this lady, Angela at http://www.angelachristou.arbonne.com.

 

WOO!

Firsts.

We all have *firsts*. First kiss. First concert. First apartment. First airplane ride. First fight. First sip of coffee. First time lying. First time laughing. First birthday party. First day at college. I could go on and on about all the firsts we have in our lives, but it would take all day.

Every single first becomes part of your life. They serve a purpose in molding who  we are.

 

Well, what if you basically slept through five years of firsts?

I did that.

 

Alcohol consumed me and made me forget. There was no room to try new things or experience any firsts, because alcohol selfish. Alcohol takes away all those happy memories. Alcohol wants you to hide your emotions. Alcohol wants you to reach that bottom of the bottle. Alcohol is a real fucking jerk.

 

I didn’t want to feel anything. Happy or sad. I just wanted to be happy and thought that the only route to that emotion was alcohol. I just stuffed it way, way down.

Then I exploded. You can’t go on like that forever.

 

The first day of sobriety. On that first day, I knew I had to deal with some shit and it wasn’t going to be easy. But, I was sober. I went to my first AA meeting and immediately I was surrounded with other women like me. Women who had realized how I felt. I felt relief. I felt shame. I felt anger. I felt accepted. I felt love.

 

I felt emotions that made me realize that I was, indeed, an alcoholic.

 

I felt. I felt for the first time in along time. I opened up my heart and let myself feel everything.

 

I felt comfort when I ran into my husbands arms after sobbing and shaking with fear. I felt scared saying goodbye to my best friend, alcohol. I cried so hard, I popped blood vessels around my eye.

I felt confident when I didn’t relapse on vacation. I felt joy when I watched my daughters in the sand and ocean. I said to myself, ” I am sober. I can feel these things. I can make memories again.”

I felt shock and disbelief when my youngest daughter took off her diaper and chucked it at my head. I felt silly, because it was kind of hilarious that she chose to do that.

 

I felt calm when we hosted Easter at our house this year. It was my first sober holiday. I expected to be anxious, but I felt peace. I knew I could get through it. I felt like God was holding my hand, keeping me safe from that first drink.

 

I felt excited to watch my beautiful five year old graduate preschool. I’ll remember her being that little forever. I felt proud as I watched her on stage during her dance recital.I felt so much happiness at her birthday party. Birthday parties are tricky. I always thought birthday parties were actually for the moms who gave birth and deserved a drink. I would fill my cup up with wine as much as possible. I would then start a fight with my husband and black out.

 

I felt thankful that I was able to see her blow out her candles on her cake.

 

I felt safe knowing that my Higher Power was with me at all times, and lost all feelings of wanting a drink that day.

 

I can’t go back. I can’t rewind and experience my firsts from the past. All I can do is, try to feel and express every emotion that pops up. My sobriety helps me see things with clear eyes. I take it day by day. I know that there will be hundreds of new experiences to see and feel for the rest of my life. I welcome it. I’m open.

 

Bring it on.

 

 

 

 

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.