63,072,000

Have you ever closed your eyes while driving? I don’t recommend it if you’re planning on living a long life. But, if you’re a risk taking kind of gal like myself, you might have. It takes less than a second to make an irrational, reckless decision like that. I remember thinking how badly I just wanted to feel alive. I wanted to ride a rollercoaster with my arms up in the air screaming, “I CAN FINALLY FEEL MYSELF LIVING!” or “I’M GOING TO PUKE.” Either of those scenarios would pump adrenaline in my veins forcing my brain and body to snap into the present.

I wasn’t suicidal. I just wanted to feel something, anything, no matter what the risk. The big hole inside of me had spread. I was numb to everything- love, life, sadness, reality, happiness… all of it. It felt like I was being pulled down into the ground by branches and weeds. It felt like I was being covered with dirt and sand, unable to breathe or experience anything, but still hopelessly alive.

92CB02D3-1918-454B-BA2C-6CB396F05092I felt this way right after I got sober. I had already admitted to myself and every person in my life that I was an alcoholic. I cannot drink normally. I’m allergic to alcohol, it makes me break out in stupidity. Saying that kind of thing out loud didn’t really seem all that difficult for me. Yeah- hi, I’m Kate and I’m an alcoholic. Whoopdeedoo. It wasn’t rocket science. Everyone in my family had been walking on egg shells for years wondering when I was finally going to stop.

I stopped. Aren’t you happy with me now?

Aren’t I happy now?

No. Sobriety doesn’t come with a Groupon for instant satisfaction and joy in life. What it does deliver is a swift dose of reality and most of us are very startled by that. What do you mean I have to work on myself? I just gave up my best friend. Isn’t that enough? Are you seriously telling me that I have to show up at these meetings with you random, weird people and tell strangers about my life? What the hell is wrong with you people? I like to air my dirty laundry out on facebook, not face to face. That just sounds savage.

I’m was willing to kiss Pinot Grigio and PBR tall boys goodbye. Peace out alcohol, this relationship is over. I’m moving on to bigger and better things. I figured that first night that I would go to sleep an alcoholic and wake up to a happier version of myself.

That’s pretty typical of us alcoholics, right? We want what we want and we want it right now. If we can’t get what we want when we want it, we can become slightly…insane. I can’t even count how many tantrums I had when I ran out of wine.

It’s pretty clear that alcoholism is a symptom of something much harder to break. Our mind can be a weapon against ourselves. Our lives are full of self-destructive chaos. We slowly kill ourselves with substances to avoid situations and emotions that cause us stress.

Shortly after I decided to get sober I started to see the real world and it was FUCKING TERRIFYING. I had to tell myself, “Don’t worry, you stopped drinking, you don’t have to feel those things. Alcohol was the problem!”

HA. HA. HA.

Every table I sat at in the beginning was filled with people who had coping skills and they seemed pretty damn happy. I wanted what they had and this time I could get it. Ask and ye shall receive. They told me what to do. They told me I would have to work hard to achieve sobriety and start a better life. They told me to surrender. They told me to pray. They told me to breathe.

F238EE5C-D1F7-4900-8F56-A2BAD60F91E2Breathe. I have always been trying to catch my breath. Trying to run around and search for anything or anyone to fill the void. When that didn’t work I kept running in every other directions until I finally couldn’t.

Sobriety is simple. I have regularly found that I don’t exactly do *simple*. Breathing is also simple. But, I find myself holding my breath. I breathe in fear and let it settle into my core. Instead of living in the moment, I get stuck in the moment. I can’t control anyone or anything but myself. I hold my breath when I’m hurting, when I’m demoralized and beaten with words. I hold my breath as I watch my children grow and worry if they’ll make the same mistakes I have. I hold my breath when I think about the love I have lost and the love I’ll never have.

Sounds pretty sad right? I’ll invite you to my pity party. All of my fears dancing around me taunting me, pushing me, trying to break me into the shadow of my past.

 

Woe is me.

 

Here’s why I haven’t suffocated yet- I drop to my knees and quietly ask God to take over, be my ventilator until I can inhale my serenity and exhale the rest. I reach out to others who have learned to breathe and ask them how. How do they do it? They just do it. They put the time, the effort, and the service to help others and themselves.2A62B932-A96B-4B41-B785-64080836D04B

I’ve been breathing my whole life. When did I complicate it? The answer doesn’t matter, the solution is sobriety. It’s trying to comprehend that this life has not been handed to me, I have to work for it. It’s taking those risks, opening my heart, opening my mind, and asking God to take over. It’s accepting that shitty people, places and things happen. It’s accepting that I have been shitty to people, places and things (… I’ve thrown a good amount of cell phones in my time.) but that doesn’t define me. I define me, and I identify myself as a sober mom just taking it all in day by day. Am I perfect? No (unless you ask my dog, of course). Am I trying? I am.

I’m taking life one day at a time. One minute at a time. One second at a time.

63,072,000 seconds to be precise and a lifetime more to go.

17247AE6-DFBA-46B1-B255-24D2CDDD6C24

 

 

Be here with me now.

 

“Flow with whatever may happen and let your mind be set free. Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate.” -Chuang

 

I can’t sit still. My mind is always going at full speed into a million different directions at any given time. I could be cooking dinner for my kids and my brain will be thinking about what color backpack I should get them next year and when was the last time that the lawn was mowed.

8936BB3B-F1DE-46EE-A2C9-0667F28B3FD2My mind is loud and reckless. It’s distracted and random at best. I spent about a decade trying to quiet the damn thing down by smiling hard and guzzling wine.

Shut up. Shut up. Shut up.

Please.

I found it very easy and simple to shove it all down with one substance or another. Feelings are dumb. Don’t have the feelings. If you have too many feelings you might end up on the Dr. Phil show.

Distraction works as a defense mechanism. Instead of being present and taking life one day, one minute, one second at a time, I’m over here planning my three year old daughters wedding several decades from now instead of working through my own relationships in life.

Even without a hefty amount of toxins in my body I found the act of being present in my life was a challenge.

Here’s a quick example: I don’t have time. Time for what? Time to read the description of a television show called, “Unsolved Mysteries” on Netflix. I am a true crime junkie. I live and breathe for documentaries I can watch when the kids are asleep. I became emotionally invested in the entire first episode. On the edge of my couch, I counted the minutes. I realized that the show was more than half over and the audience was no where near knowing what happened to this poor guy. I waited and waited…

 

WHO SHOVED THIS MAN OFF A ROOF?

Did his coworker kill him? Tell me! Details! Now!

Then the screen went black and at the bottom there were a few lines saying, “If you have any information about what happened to so and so, please call this number…”.

ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?

The show is called Unsolved Mysteries. UNSOLVED. I must have just skipped right over that first word before starting the series. I couldn’t even take the time to pay attention to what was playing right in front of me.

Typical.

EEE16D89-13CF-437D-BDD0-A0E5865EAB11There have been so many moments in my kids life where I couldn’t or wouldn’t be present for them. Sober or not. When I was drinking, the alcohol came before everyone and everything. When I realized what I was doing and how I was missing precious moments with my kids, I chose to drink even more to not have to feel the guilt or shame. Even in sobriety, being present for others and myself hasn’t been easy. My daughter is always asking me to play with her. Let’s play ponies! Let’s color! Let’s go outside!

 

Sure! Sure. Yes. Absolutey. I would love to do those things with you, but first just let me finish folding the laundry, chopping the veggies, sweeping the garage, feeding the cats, charging my iPad, stare blankly at the wall while I forget which task I was supposed to do next, all the while missing out on moments that would have been memories. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked into the mens restroom in various gas stations, because I wasn’t paying attention.

I have never once left my house with everything I was supposed to bring with me. I’ve forgotten diapers, pants (MY OWN PANTS), wallet, phone, children…you name it.

I try my best to not spend all of my days drowning my sorrows, worries, hopes, fears, dreams, reality, or broken heart in a bottle. I slow down. I pause. I pray. I talk. I listen. I make progress, not perfection.

BBD40C79-2B4B-4F74-9C7D-7462BEC5235DA few months ago my mom filled me in on a little secret. She told me that she had started meditating and it was helping her with stress. I can’t remember my exact response but I’m sure it went something along the lines of “That’s cool, but that sounds like some hippie dippie shit.”

New Age Bullshit.

Well, maybe those hippie dippie people had a point. I was introduced to meditation in a group setting. I hadn’t intended on spending my evening with a bunch of people meditating in a room together. I just walked in the room. I saw some familiar faces. I made eye contact and realized I was fucked. I had to stay. Leaving would be rude, and my mama raised me better than that.

I sat in an uncomfortable chair, listened to the instructions, sat up straight, closed my eyes and promptly heard a familiar voice in my head that has always comforted me over the years.

Britney Spears.

 

I wasn’t exactly sure where my brain was going with that, but I think we can all agree that the Queen of Pop has changed all of our lives with her #1 hits over the years. So, if my brain wanted me to hear the classic early 2000’s hit “Lucky”, I didn’t question it.

I was told to let my thoughts happen, whatever they were. Good or bad. Just let them come and go.

C1B9573C-DC7F-419B-88C1-0F625EDC29A5The waves in the ocean, crashing with impact and then pulling slowly back with the tide, making room for the next. Over and over.

Ten minutes later I felt like a completely different person. I couldn’t explain it. I couldn’t understand it. I just knew that something had happened. My damaged heart started to open, the light that I had been avoiding came through the cracks. My mind allowed my heart to feel gratitude in a way I had never felt before. My eyes started to water, because the peace I felt in that moment was a gift. The tiniest amount of serenity left me with an awakened heart and mind.

So, I did what anyone would do.

I walked out of the room and promptly forgot every single thing I had learned.

But I kept coming back. I keep coming back.

Meditation has allowed me to experience life differenty then before. I can breathe. After all of these years, I can breathe.

2AF2ED41-3568-48B5-B3E1-BD045F6C925ASerenity and peace don’t just fall into our laps. Wouldn’t that be amazing? Yeah. No. That’s not how it works. The only way I can stay in the light is with an open mind, open heart, willingness, honesty, prayer and fellowship with a few like minded people.

048AF1F4-7EDD-4365-AB75-C1A8A7F7218BI sat outside a few days ago surrounded by rocks, paint, glitter and my daughters. I watched them laugh and goof off with each other. I watched them share the paint brushes (for the most part). I watched them show each other each and every stone with pride. I watched them toss glitter in each others hair and dance in the afternoon sun. I sat next to them fully present and grateful that I could be there with them. Right then and there. I could be still without thinking about next weeks dinner plans, if the car had gas in it, how to get rid of cellulite and if I fed the dog yesterday.

6F301EB5-F4F4-48B2-BF8D-ADA7CD7315CDThis moment matters. This singular moment. The moments that follow will matter as well, but I don’t need to worry about that.

I just need to stay in the moment until the next one comes.

There’s a force so much larger than ourselves that keeps whispering in my ear repeating this over and over again-

Be here with me. Be here with me now.

0A1C4AC6-404F-4F27-95C2-8FD36AF0115D

“Breath by breath, let go of fear, expectation, anger, regret, cravings, frustrations, fatigue. Let go of the need for approval. Let go of old judgements and opinions. Die to all that and fly free. Soar in the freedom of desirelessness” -Surya Das

 

 

 

 

 

Things that go bump in the night…

I remember when I was a kid I was scared that there was a monster under my bed. I was terrified that this monster was going to grab me and pull me under the bed into the land of terrors. I had no idea what a real monster could do. I had no way of understanding that there were monsters in my everyday life. I hadn’t been introduced to alcohol, I hadn’t been told to take this pill or that pill to feel better.

Not yet at least.

 

Fast forward to July 2016. I had just brought home my second beautiful daughter, and life was pretty good. I remember my husband asking me if I wanted a drink or anything. I was so focused on the baby and making sure our eldest felt loved in the midst of all the changes in her life. I told him I was fine. I didn’t need a drink. I was oozing out happiness and bliss from every pore. I made sure I gave myself a big ‘ol pat on the back for turning down alcohol. At the time, I said to myself, ” See! You don’t have a problem. You can say no.”

That lasted for approximately two hours. The sun was setting, the house started to quiet down, and bedtime was approaching. I told my husband to sleep on the couch so I wouldn’t wake him when I was up with the baby. Around two am I started to feel like there were bugs crawling up my legs. I couldn’t sit still. I became terrified to close my eyes. My heart started to race, I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I thought I was dying. I woke my husband up and told him he needed to bring me to the ER immediately. The feeling just got worse and worse. I realized I couldn’t go to the ER, because I would have to take the baby too and she was too little to be surrounded with all of the germs that lurk in an ER.

Instead, I ran out into the backyard hysterically crying. My husband had to hold me super tight, I was scared shitless. Eventually, the feeling left.

Twenty minutes later, round two started. Same crazy feelings, same terror. This time I decided I had to do something about it. If it kept happening I would be exhausted from being up all night panicking or feeding the baby. I had to sleep. I had to turn off my mind to make the panic go away.

Drinking seemed like the obvious solution.

I pounded two glasses of wine. That’s all I needed. My brain started to slow down. Well, if two glasses managed to help, two more wouldn’t be a big deal. I was trying to develop a healthy breastfeeding relationship with my newborn, but I had some formula stashed away. It didn’t matter. I fed her formula as I felt my boobs just straight up fill up with milk that I couldn’t even feed her.

 

As time went on, this nighttime panic bullshit got worse. I started these weird rituals when I could feel the anxiety creeping in. If everyone else in the house was asleep, I wasn’t allowed to sleep. Someone had to be up. I would look at my windows and try to see if any of my neighbors were still up. If they were, then I could go to sleep. If that failed, I would watch infomercials until 3 am when the news came on. If the news came on, I could sleep.

Constant racing thoughts, scared of dying in my sleep, feeling inadequate as a mom, hating my curvy body, worrying that I might trip on the stairs and drop the baby, and so many other intrusive thoughts just ran a marathon in my brain.

 

All of this crap became an excuse. I’m depressed! I have anxiety! I have OCD! Drinking will help. Look- see, I had some wine and now I’m totally functioning! I’m smiling! Alcohol was the solution to all my postpartum issues.

 

Cracking open a bottle of wine at 2 am started to seem more and more like normal behavior. I thought it was helping me sleep. It wasn’t helping me sleep. I was BLACKING out every night. Over and over and over and over. Reality started to become blurry.

“Are there other moms that do this? There has to be. I can’t be the only one. But, just to be safe, I’m not going to mention this to anyone.”

 

Hundreds and hundreds of dollars spent on my ” medicine”.

 

Happy moms drink! It makes us better moms! What a relief! I don’t have to feel anything at all, EVER. AMAZING!

 

It never occurred to me that those rituals that I made up in order to fall asleep weren’t exactly rituals at all. They were excuses that I created in order to feed my monster. The list got longer and longer. It got to the point that if someone even looked at me the wrong way, I would tell myself to go drink.

 

Sure, drinking would knock me out, but over time it made everything worse. My depression was all-consuming. My anxiety started to debilitate me. My OCD was getting worse and worse.

 

The harder it got, the more excuses I made. “It’s noon on a Tuesday and you have to fold laundry? Laundry is stressful! How about I Just start drinking…”

 

I would go in and out of different doctors, begging them to help me. I felt like my mental health was in bad shape. They’d prescribe this and that, never once asking me how much alcohol I drank. And if they did ask? I’d lie, obviously. Only a couple glasses a week!

(um try…four boxes a week…)

Then after a couple years of that shit, something happened. I woke up for a brief moment and looked at my family. I was turning this home into hell for everyone here. The guilt and shame over my selfish behavior pushed me into start thinking about getting sober.

It didn’t happen overnight. It happened after several months after more blackouts. I finally realized I had to kill the monster. This monster disguised it’s self as a friend.  I wasn’t sure how I could live without it.

 

Then this really crazy thing happened. Sobriety. 

The most sobriety I have, the more that extra crap fades away. Who would have thought that alcohol made all of my mental stuff worse? I thought it was helping. It wasn’t helping. It was killing me.

I’m not perfect. I can’t tell you what tomorrow will bring, but I know that I have faced my monster and I kicked its ass to the curb. It will try to creep back in over and over again, but I’m not weak anymore. I’m a fucking warrior and I will beat that asshole senseless before I let myself believe the lies it tries to tell me.

Nighttime isn’t scary anymore. If I can’t sleep I don’t freak out. The exhaustion that came with being a raging alcoholic is no longer there. If I don’t get those recommended 8 hours a night, I get a red bull and I deal. It’s ok to be tired sometimes. It won’t kill me, but drinking will.

I’m happy. I’m healthy. I’m spiritual. I’m all the things that I wanted to be for so long, but could only achieve through sobriety.

The monster doesn’t fool me anymore.

Traveling with young children? WHY?

People ask me all the time, ” How you manage to travel so often with your kids?” We travel to Chicago and New York/Connecticut a few times a year. I smile and say, ” It’s really not that bad!”

 

LIES.

 

I spend hours packing, doing laundry, making bags of entertainment for the kids, and just generally making sure we have everything we need.

But what we really needs is noise erasing headphones. 

 

So here’s all the things that have gone wrong. I feel like by sharing this I might be able to help you make the decision to stay home forever.

 

  1. ” I’m sure that if we leave at 3 am for our 12 hour drive, the kids will go back to sleep and possibly sleep through a lot of the ride.” …HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAA! They won’t sleep. In fact, they make it impossible for their siblings to even catch a quick cat nap. So, you end up with three very over tired children… which leads to my next point.
  2. SCREAMING. ALL OF THE SCREAMING. ” Hey, Maeve, do you want some pretzels?” “NO I DONT WANT PRETZELS I WANT M&MS. GET ME M&MS” Poor Lucie, she can’t even talk but she sure can scream. Fiona just straight up starts screaming without any prompting. I’m not talking the ” Oh no!” kind of screaming, it’s the ” THESE PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO TORTURE ME AND I NEED A MILKSHAKE RIGHT FUCKING NOW”. See? Not fun.
  3. Packing. When you have three kids and a husband, packing becomes a horrendous task. So, typically I end up over packing. The car is currently filled with kids, a husband, a dog, 3 huge oversized suitcases and not one single matching pair of socks for any of my kids, every coloring book ever made, a hefty supply iPads. My pediatrician asked if the kids were getting more than two hours of screen time a day. My response was, ” Nope! Never. NO.” My children are perfect, they don’t sit in front of the tv or iPad all day! HAHA. I can’t stop laughing. I praise Jesus for screen time, because mama has work to do. IMG_6850
  4. Reststops. Have you ever tried to get your three daughters in to the bathroom all at once? Yeah. Don’t do that. There will be toilet paper stuck to their shoes, and while changing the baby’s diapers your might notice that your kid is basically licking the floor. You only try to get your kids to go potty at the same time, you must really hate yourself.
  5. Candy. Bribe with candy. Works like a charm, until you find 15,000 dumdums all over your newly cleaned car. You can worry about that later.

 

It’s just really difficult. Even with two parents in the car. I’m actually writing this in the car halfway to Connecticut. That’s it. I’ve shared my reasons for never traveling ever again.

 

1910509_10101519315761317_5135981579821719195_n

 

14650166_10101712599893367_4454690081221321115_nDon’t do it! Have a staycation.

 

Actually, we love being able to travel a lot to see our family, because we miss and love them. If I have to listen to 13 hours of screaming, it’s all worth.

I have a small question regarding Halloween…

Why? Why do we celebrate Halloween?

 

Who sat down one day and said to himself/herself,” You know what? Lets dress our kids up in scary costumes and let them ask complete strangers for candy!”

” Let’s buy a very large fruit, hallow it out and put some weird carvings into it with a candle!”

” Let’s try to scare the shit out of people in small houses filled with actors attempting to fill you with fear!”

Also- Is a pumpkin a fruit or a vegetable? Does it even matter? Like… would it be weird if I carved some weird ass shit in a zucchini? WHO CAME UP WITH THIS?

I was just on the phone with my sister, asking her these same questions. She asked me if I was on drugs ( cold medicine, you jerk.), because I’ve been sick for about a week, and I said,” NO.” But, we both agreed that I needed to blog about this.

I remember learning about Dia de los Muertos in Spanish class in highschool and thinking that it was a pretty cool cultural way to honor and remember those who have passed and share our love for them during this celebration.

But I’m Irish. I’m Lithuanian. We’re not celebrating anyones ancestors on Halloween. We’re walking up to your front door, with our huge bags full of mini sized snickers (sometimes, in our neighborhood, they give you the REAL BIG ONES), asking you for candy and skipping along. OH! And admiring who has the best pumpkin designs.

I’m very well aware of the fact that I’m the Grinch of Halloween right now, but my kids and I are sick. Also, I spent the entire weekend in Kentucky drinking bourbon, but that has nothing to do with it. Nothing at all. Nope.

 

It’s just weird. Not as weird as fucking ” Sweetest Day” in the Midwest, which should be banned and NEVER celebrated again because makes no sense. If you don’t know what Sweetest Day is, consider yourself lucky.

 

Whatever. I have to go. I bought a bag of buncha crunch last night and I need to go eat it.

 

HALLOWEEN! SUCKAS!

 

*side note- this blog has nothing to do with the fact that I was once led out of a haunted house by the paramedics, because those fuckers scared me so hard I had an asthma attack…I was twenty-four years old.* #I’maloser

 

I’m only sharing this, because I’m going to need a lot of moral support today.

I have nothing important to say.

 

Nothing at all.

 

But, I do have something HORRIFIC to share…

 

ONE OF MY KIDS POOPED IN A BACK PACK AND LEFT IT THERE FOR A WEEK.

 

I almost died. In fact, the stench from the poop could have killed just about anyone.

 

That’s it.

 

My kid pooped in a back pack.

She said what?!?!

So, I”m really digging this whole blog-life thing I’ve got going on right now. It’s been wonderfully therapeutic for my postpartum shit and just general life shit.

I used the word shit twice in one sentence. 

It’s been hard out here for a sarcastic bitch like myself, to find my way out of the dark, fucking hole that postpartum depression and anxiety threw me in.

Uh oh…I said bitch and fucking in one sentence.

But damnit, I’m a survivor. I’m a woman. I’m a really great cook, which is surprising. I recovered from a decade long eating disorder. I’m a mother. I’m a singer. I’m a very bad dancer. I’m fucking Wonder Woman in the flesh, my friends.

I said it again. DAMNIT! Fuck.

 

I love and respect my family, very, very much. I usually stretch myself in every single direction trying to make all four of my parents (yes, I have four.) and siblings happy. I want to be there for every major life event, even though I live like 800 miles away. Actually, I think it’s closer to 880 miles. I’m extremely lucky to have the family I have. They are supportive. They are loving. They are generous. They are kind.

 

But they hate it when I swear. Hate it. 

 

I remember being twelve and in a ballet class with a few girls who were older than me. They knew I went to a very conservative, Christian school, and I had never dropped the F bomb. These prima ballerinas pushed me in a corner and made me say, ” FUCK!” as loud as I could. It came out as a whisper. I thought God was going to smite me from Heaven right then and there. But, the seed had been planted. I enjoyed having a few new words in my vocabulary.

In order to be my authentic self ( Pretty sure that’s an Oprah phrase…), I swear on this blog. I swear a lot. I say shit, bitch, fuck, damnit… I could go on and on. There’s a few words I won’t say, but generally I swear a lot. I also do this in front of my kids.

CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT? This mother says FUCK on a regular basis in front of her children! BLASPHEMY! What kind of fucking mother says those kind of fucking words in front of her kids?

A mother who is actively teaching her children that when Mama says a word that’s an adult word, it can only be used by an adult. I’d rather teach my daughters how to swear in the proper context than teach them how to use words like hate, idiot, or loser. That’s not to say that they haven’t repeated an adult word. Fiona dropped the F bomb and Maeve said, ” Oh, shit!” once. Pretty priceless, but both were used in an appropriate situation. See? My little shit heads pay attention. ( Ok, I never actually call them shit heads to their face, that’s only behind their backs when they’ve taken a sharpie to my kitchen walls or decided to wake me up at 4 am on a Tuesday, because they REALLY can’t sleep and REALLY want to watch Trolls for the 90,000th time.)

 

Take it or leave it baby, but this is a blog written by a tattoo’d, swearing, wine loving, tea drinking, mother of three fierce daughters. I’m not changing who I am in order to avoid offending anyone.

 

My next blog post will discuss how my gluten free life style has made rainbows shoot out of my ass and cured my hypothyroidism. 

 

Just kidding. That would be some stupid fucking bullshit right there.