I know you are but what am I?

There seems to be an identity crisis going on here. I don’t know if crisis is the right word to use but, I’m trying to figure some shit out. Some days, I look at myself and the familiarity is comforting. Other times, I yearn for a map to lead me to where I need to be. Where I should be going. A guide out of my own personal hell of self pity and addiction.

Before.

Prior to sobriety I had always hated my body. I’d change my clothes 30 times every morning to try to find an outfit that would make me look skinny. I didn’t have confidence in myself. I thought that it was my job to keep my family and friends happy. If I failed I was devastated. As I got older those things started to haunt me day after day. I hated those feelings. They hurt too much. Fuck that. I wanted to be numb and feel absolutely nothing.

Someone introduced me to alcohol and the rest is history. Alcohol was the solution for everything. I didn’t start off drinking like a fish, that would come later. But the door had started to open and my brain invited addiction in like it was a long lost love seeking shelter.

Beer. Vodka. Tequila. Wine. My new besties.

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*Hey, check out those DEAD eyes… knock, knock! No one’s there. Also, no clue who that blonde was, but she seems to be having a good time* 

 

Alcohol made me feel pretty. My insecurities washed away in a shot glass of whiskey. I felt confident. I flirted with disaster and bad boys. I laughed loud and passed out quick. I took shots of vodka from my water bottle during third period on a Monday. It wasn’t an everyday thing, but the more I drank the better I felt. I invited friends over and raid the alcohol cabinet again and again. I was also pretty dumb, because I decided to replace in the freezer with water. Water freezes. I told my parents it must have been the men outside gardening. They must have come into the kitchen and pounded it all without a chaser.

I used my fake ID daily during my freshman year of college. It was totally normal. I’d start pre-gaming house before the bar or party. I’d put my makeup on while drinking old style. I felt beautiful. I’d dance with strangers and take the shots they offered me.

21370849_10102229351533937_7585698918920757950_n* I’d like to call this my faux mug shot. I’ve never been arrested (Thank you sweet baby Jesus), but I imagine this is kind of what it would be like. There’s nothing behind those eyes*

One night I was talking to my friend and she asked me what I was doing. I replied that I was in my dorm room drinking. She said that drinking alone is the start of something bad.

I stopped telling people what I was doing. I became a masterful drunk. I’d tell my friends how happy I was to be out and drinking beer with them. I’d leave out the part where I had already drank four glasses of wine and two beers. There was also a strong chance that I had popped some random pills too.

Whatever. Didn’t care. I felt wanted, smart, clever, funny and talented. If it meant killing my liver in the process, so be it.

 

The next morning those euphoric feelings disappeared. They were replaced with shame, guilt, confusion, pain, heartbreak and a slew of other horrible feelings. I’d cope with all of that by drinking more. Meanwhile, my self hatred grew and grew. Alcohol fed the beast inside of me.

After becoming a mother my drinking started to spiral. I believed whole heartedly that alcohol made me a better mom. Want to color? Sure! Want to do a puzzle? Sure! Want to bake cookies? Absolutely! In bed at night I’d tear myself down piece by piece. What kind of shitty person drinks to hang out with their kids? Only a piece of shit. I was a piece of shit. I didn’t deserve happiness. I deserved a difficult life (all by my own doings). I accepted that I would never find peace.

17553882_10101959875815437_9215602668637248072_n*Oh, wow look at you, you little emo/moody wino. Still with the dead eyes.*

In the back of my mind I knew that I was an alcoholic. I knew that without a solution that my alcoholism would be fatal. I fully intended to drink my life away until death. I thought my family would be better off without me. I was terrified of messing up my kids. When those emotions crept in I would pick up the bottle again and again.

 

What a hot ass mess.

 

Present

I wake up and fall to my knees. I pray to a God that I had long dismissed as a myth. I ask my God to help me stay sober today and help me follow His will, not mine. I don’t know what His will for me is, but every single day tiny miracles happen in my life. I don’t fear being alone anymore. I just get on my knees and repeat over and over again. I cook my daughters breakfast and we laugh over silly stuff the baby did. I’m slowly learning to love myself. I’m present. I see myself in pictures and I see the face of a girl who finally knows her worth. I know that I deserve happiness, peace and joy. None of that would be possible if I was still pounding drinks every day.

46836961_10102749939970537_4338203563537727488_n*I didn’t get sober for my girls. They inspired me to get sober, but I got sober for me so that they could have the mom they deserve*

All of that shit is awesome, right? Yeah. It’s amazing. I work so damn hard everyday to maintain the serenity I so badly need in my life.

But it’s kinda weird too. I have moments where I miss being a miserable drunk. I know that’s crazy, but getting drunk means I won’t have to feel anything. I’m a lazy ass person. Super lazy. It’s challenging to have to work on myself twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Drunk Kate didn’t have to do anything but sit on the damn couch and watch the Real Housewives of Atlanta. Sober Kate has to pray, read, call my sponsor, embrace the fellowship of others, use healthy coping skills, be present and be accountable. I share my sober story through this blog, because I need to be honest and transparent with others in my life. No more secrets. I mean, I’m probably going to lie to you if you ask me if I’m wearing the same pants that I’ve been sleeping in for four days while at kindergarten drop off.

 

Of course these aren’t the same pants. I’m super mom. I do 70,000 loads of laundry every morning. With a smile on my face. ***** ALL LIES *****

The pants are comfy man, so lay off.

 

I haven’t been sober for years and years. I’m still learning how to navigate life without wine, sometimes I’m pretty good at it, sometimes I suck at it. It’s progress, not perfection. One day at a time. ONE. Not the next 90 years of my life. Just today. This one day.  We’ll see what tomorrow brings, but I do know this…

Every single moment of every day it gets better and better. Every feeling, good or bad, brings me closer and closer to peace. Just by feeling them, staring them in the face, instead of ignoring them with a PBR tall boy.

I still yell at my kids. I still have road rage (bc no one in Michigan knows how to drive apparently…). I’m still selfish and loud. I’m still jerk to the most important people in my life- but you know what? I’m sober. It’s only through sobriety that I can grow and learn to forgive and accept forgivness for my actions and those of others. I pray for complete strangers and I feel Gods presence in the quiet moments of the day.

 

If the old me read this, I would probably laugh. A life without alcohol was not a possiblity. I couldn’t even imagine it.

 

I am so grateful to be able to share this journey with others as I grow and learn to love the new me. We don’t do it alone.

 

One day at a time.

 

46853629_10102750615506757_2530707130097336320_n* OMG THERE’S LIFE BEHIND MY EYES*

a comedy of errors

It’s been awhile.

I debated whether I even wanted to write about this. I worried what people would think. I worried about losing friends. I worried about judgement. But, worrying really gets you no where.

I feel like since I’ve started sharing my sobriety journey I have been pretty transparent. I chose to approach my addiction with complete honesty. It’s my hope that someone else who needs help might read this. Living with your  addiction in isolation is a horrible place to be. Alone. Scared. Sick.

I know there’s people out there who don’t think I should be talking about this so publicly.

 

What will people think?

 

WHO CARES?

 

This is my life. This is my journey. The only way that I can maintain my sobriety is to share my story with others, and hope that the still suffering alcoholic might decide to take those first steps into sobriety feeling a little less alone.

You’re not alone.

We are not alone.

We do this together. It’s the only way.

At least for me it is.

I want to be held accountable in all aspects of my life, especially this. We’re only as sick as our secrets.

I had a secret.

A few weeks ago I started to feel myself slip. I had been sober for almost five months, and I got complacent. I got a little cocky. I started to think that I didn’t need to go to as many meetings as before. I started to think about how I was going to sneak a drink at a summer picnic. I shared some of my thoughts about this with my friends. I told them I was struggling a little. That’s it. I didn’t get into the deep shit.

I’ll keep my deep shit to myself.

I’ll slip deeper and deeper into isolation.

I’ll start to realize how easy it is to hate yourself. 

I thought I could handle this by myself. I thought I could slip back into addiction and no one would know. I’d make sure I hid my shit in different parts of the house. I’d lie better this time. I mean, am I even really an addict and an alcoholic? Maybe I’m not.

Well, that thinking got me really far.

 

It took me all the way back in and right smack dab in the middle of relapse.

All of that hard work was gone. Right out the window. I didn’t think twice about it. Actually, I didn’t think anything about it as far as I know, because I have zero recollection of the whole thing.

 

It lasted a little over twenty-four hours. In that short period of time I took all of my will back from God. I told him to get the hell out of my life, because IT’S MY LIFE. I’ll do what I want.

Thats the kind of thinking that led me to this shit hole in the first place.

As I came out of the fog I looked around me. I had put my addiction in first place in my life. I didn’t care what my husband said. I didn’t care that I could have hurt my kids. I didn’t care what my family had to say.

I crawled out of bed and started crying.

What the fuck had happened? How did this happen? Why?

I disappointed my parents. I disapointed my brother and sisters. I disapointed my beautiful, amazing daughters. I disappointed the man who chose to spend the rest of his life with me. I disapointed everyone.

I disapointed myself. I wanted to smash my head into a wall. I wanted to jump off the roof. How could I have done this? I could have lost everything. My home, my family, my serenity. All of that could have been taken away from me in just a few short hours of insanity.

Cunning.

Baffling.

Powerful.

I took a good look around and decided to claim my will back from my addiction and hand it back to my Higher Power.

I had to find it again. I had to get on my knees in the middle of my kitchen and pray. Praying for sobriety, gratitude, honesty, love, willingness and an open mind.

I walked into a room with the people who knew all about my struggle, and they welcomed me back with love and understanding. We shared our stories, we laughed, we cried, we held hands.

I kept going. I’ve been going. I’ve been surrounding myself with my people. The people who look just like any other normal human being, but know the struggles and desperation of addiction and despair.

We do this together.

Relapse is not required. But it happened. It happened and all I can do is push and push forward into that sweet space of life where I can find that peace and happiness again.

I’m here. I keep coming back to the space where sobriety is life and death.

I chose life.

 

Life is kind of funny sometimes.

 

Several hours before I relapsed I got a new tattoo. I wanted to get my sobriety date in roman numerals with a sparrow on my left collar bone.

Four hours later I lost my sobriety. Yeah… so that date that’s permenantly on my body? Not my sobriety date anymore. Honestly, there is such comedy in life, I still can’t stop laughing about it. It’s like getting a boyfriends name tattoo’d on your boob, you know? You know it’s a horrible idea, but you do it anyway.

Perfect comedic timing.

I kept looking at it. It’s pretty. After a while, I realized that the date on there, March 18, 2018, was still one of the most important days of my life. On March 18th I learned that there is a life after addiction. I learned that serenity is a possibility for me. I learned that I didn’t need to drink that day, today, or anyday. March 18th is when my journey began, and I”m damn glad that I’ll never forget it. It’s a constant reminder.

But… you’ve got to admit, it’s pretty funny right?

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Motherhood: The Land of Lonely

When you announce your pregnancy, everyone is excited. Everyone has a million things to tell you about parenting. People want to express their feelings on feeding your baby, how your baby will sleep, whether you should vaccinate or not and everything else you can imagine. People love to tell you how wonderful it is to hold your amazing, precious baby skin to skin. People love to tell you how beautiful the relationship between a child and a mother is.

All of these things are true. It is amazing to give birth. It is amazing to hold your baby. It is amazing to bring your baby home and turn your house into a home. There’s lots of awesome things that happen the second you become a parent.

But, no one prepares you for the lonely. How could they? If we all sat around talking about how isolation as a mother is completely debilitating, no one would ever reproduce.

 

I have a hard time committing to anything. I like options. I like an exit strategy. If there’s something I need to give myself fully to, I have to go big or go home. If I don’t, I”ll end up running in the other direction. Getting married and pregnant within three months is a perfect example. I was twenty-five years old when I took that positive pregnancy test.

TWENTY-FIVE. Literally, still a baby myself. I didn’t realize how much of the world I had yet to see. I didn’t realize how every single priority in my life would change. I had no idea that I would lose and gain friends over and over again.

It’s hard to be a mother when most of your friends aren’t. I totally get it. If I didn’t have kids, I would still be living in Chicago. I would still be doing theater, my first love. I would still think about my future and how I could leave my mark on the world.

Now, I realize raising my children to be decent and honest human beings is how I’m going to leave my mark. It’s going to be a very large mark if Maeve has anything to do with it. ( Love my little wild child.)

 

How can you possibly explain that to someone who’s not yet a mother? I used to sit in the dark, breastfeeding my kid, scrolling through my Facebook feed religiously. My baby would be farting on my leg, while I would see pictures of my friends out on the town doing shots of Jameson and dancing to Snoop Dog. My heart would turn green with envy. I wanted to be there with them. I wanted to experience life. I wanted to travel. I wanted to make mistakes. I wanted to hike. I wanted to cover my body in tattoos, reminding myself of my journey. I wanted to be able to sit outside in the sun while reading a book.

 

Instead, I was knee deep in poop, barf, and stretch marks. Sometimes, I would sit on my couch, tears rolling down my face, baby on my boob, just wishing I could go out. Wishing I could live the life I led before kids. As fast as those feelings would come, they would almost immediately be replaced with guilt. Over and over again.

I told myself to shut up and stop whining. I had a beautiful, healthy baby. I had a home. I had a car. I had no reason to feel sorry for myself.

 

Except, I had no one to tell this to. I couldn’t pick up the phone and call my person. I couldn’t call anyone. I got married young and started my family young. I made the choices I made, but leaving my independent life was the hardest.

 

You’re probably thinking, ” Join a mom group! Go to story time at the library! Go here, go there, just do it!”

 

Yeah…um… ok. I suffered for so long with the postpartum shit and when you’re going through that, the last thing you want to do is go to a freaking mom group. I didn’t want to sit in a circle, sing some songs, and compare myself to every perfect mom there. I wanted to sit here, in my house, feeling sorry for myself.

Even five years later, I still feel sorry for myself sometimes.

 

They say it takes a village. It does. Especially, when you’ve moved to a new state with no family or friends. That’s not to say that I haven’t made friends. I have. I have made amazing, wonderful, generous, kind friends. I’m SO grateful for that. Most of these friends have kids, so they get it. They understand that you have to leave at 7:30 pm, because you don’t fuck around with bedtime. That shit needs to be on schedule. They understand when you can’t make it out to lunch, because your baby pooped all over you.

 

I’ve had a few villages. Some of them turned out to suck. Some of them were awesome, but they weren’t the friends I grew up with.

 

They weren’t the people who knew about my first kiss, my parents divorce, my dreams of being an actress, my eating disorder, my love of the ocean and my hatred of camping. I missed those people. My people.

 

It gets better. I wouldn’t have believed that a few years ago, but it does. At some point, I took my lazy ass out. I went to playgroups. I went to family yoga. I forced myself to introduce myself and my kids to every mom I could make eye contact with. I came out of the darkness of lonely with a pretty awesome circle of friends. They’re funny, understanding, kind, generous, willing and honest.

That’s hard to come by. I hate saying this, because it’s so cliche, but I feel blessed.

 

There’s still an empty hole where my past life used to live. A life where staying up until 4 am doing karaoke was normal. A life with keggers and nachos. ( I did throw a kegger this past year. And yes, I did keg stands, because I’m THE COOLEST MOM EVER.) A life where things were so much more simple.

 

It’s a grieving process, letting all of that go. It also takes a significant amount of time, love and patience to keep those special people in your life.

 

I’m still grieving, but I’m hopeful. I used to think it was black and white. Friends with no kids, friends with kids.

 

Life with friends is so much better than a life without. I’ll take them anyway I can. My village is not the same, it’s not complete, but it’s made up of people who love and care about me… even if I show up with my shirt inside out and someones poop on my arm.

 

(Side note: I listened to this the entire time I wrote this blog. I have a flair for the dramatics…)

 

 

(Last side note: Don’t get it twisted, I’m definitely an NSYNC fan. FOREVER AND ALWAYS… but this song cracks me up and I felt it necessary to share.)