Step 2

As part of recovery in AA, you hear about members/alcoholics meeting with “sponsors” and doing something called Step work. This is doing a lot of self work/evaluation by using the twelve steps of AA and “working” through them and applying them to how you view life, how you operate in life, especially now in Sobriety.

As I enter into Month of sobriety, I am still stuck on step 2. I had recently come to terms with this because I was puzzled and not quite sure of how I felt about it.

Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Jesus. … literally.

I think when I first read this and began to think about the steps, this step long with step one was kinda, like, ok. yeah.

Well though as I thought more about it, I had some feelings about God. First of all, I get all messy when I think about God being male and I have big feelings about having to do what a male/masculine voice says for me to do.

I have to pick this apart.

  1. God is not a male. He or She, She is a God, they do not have a sex or gender. It’s bigger than that.
  2. just accepting that first thing I just wrote I should be Able to keep going. but

During this step work along the way, I became distracted in my life in my pursuit of love, of companionship. I met someone who distracted me quite a bit and I put them first all while denying it. It was only after a month in what is now the pandemic and being isolated AND staying still long enough to read or listen to things that are about life.

Brene Brown, Glennon Doyle, Specialists of Trauma, Doctors, and Ministers, I suddenly was able to pry open myself to being open.

I”ve been working so damn hard to not feel so much because frankly I was sick of it.

I no longer had my best friend … red wine to numb me. So catching a dopamine buzz off of “being liked” was pretty cool. I found that a quick fix to having my heart squished by someone was to go out and quickly dig up a new one. That is, not doing self work and evaluation. also

Choosing not not focus on that second step of “realizing that God can restore me to sanity.

Finally I found some writings that began to make this clearer to me.

First hearing Glennon Doyle being so freaking vulnerable and sharing her work in her latest book.

Brene Brown on always bringing in wisdom and highlighting the deep work of being vulnerable. I should be given a honorary doctorate in this because I don’t know how to be anything but when I am being myself and I realized that I had NOT been myself lately because I was trying to be whatever it might be that might possibly attract someone to love me. Therefore squishing my thoughts and impulses and words.

Sue Monk Kid sharing her spiritual journey and reminding me that it’s ok to question.

Jen Lancaster in that sometimes doing the right thing is hard.

My AA small group of sharing the phrase, doing the next right thing.

My therapist of making me call my damn doctor

my sponsor that was like…. um yeah, call your doctor

and finally hearing and being open to listening to a random devotion by my minister. She focused on what it’s like to being in the now. being with the uncomfortable. Being in the messy and noticing what it’s like and noticing when you move through it and what were the things that you noticed and found joy in. Whoa.

and finally she said, oh yeah, God wants you to do this and by the way, God will be there while you are in it and knows how to guide you around with this. Lean in.

Step two- letting God restore me to sanity.

well ok. ok.

If God is my guide, then I have it all, I can do anything anywhere and when I choose to pull God into my being with this, I will know …

what is the next right thing

I can do anything

I am enough

because I’ve got God. The ultimate tour guide, sherpa, guru, mentor, sponsor, advisor, and companion.

Step two- ok. I’m going to finally be with this step and I’m going to dig around a bit and look at life a bit with these God glasses on and see what else is out there that I walked by when I was looking all around instead of looking what was right in front of me.

Psalm 23.

The things that I forgot.

As time goes by and I am more and more clearer in the head, I have more time of not drinking and I also accept that I cannot drink, I think about why I continue to not weaken and have a beverage that I used to have every single day/night.

Just the other day, the weather turned warm and driving home that afternoon the sky was blue, my sunroof was open, and as I was enjoying the moment, a thought slipped in. yummm. a beverage. A beverage to enjoy looking at the sky. A beverage that I might have had to stop for. I would have poured the beverage and I would have sat outside and drank it. On days that it was the middle of the week, I might have not have drank it so fast. on the weekends, I would have sucked it down.

I may have had food in my belly but the last year, not much sometimes. So by the fourth glass, my buzz had been achieved and I was humming along with my relaxation. Most would have stopped but at this point, is when the problem started to become out of control. I would have not thought, I. need to not have more. I would lose that ability to stop. I would keep drinking.

sometimes I might just eat a bunch

or fall asleep

I found out that I texted people that I don’t remember

that I called people and sometimes talked but then I did not remember the conversation.

I did at times, get upset with people on the phone and get mad and say things I should not have said. To my mom, my brother, a boyfriend, a good friend.

I would spill wine on the side table and then use towels to soak it up. Then I would have to wash the towels and spray them with wine stain remover.

I would have wine bottle trash on the side table.

my recycling can was full, I had a cork collection.

I spent at least 60 bucks on wine a week.

That is $240 bucks a month and 2,880 a year. The thing is..

I think I spent more than that.

I’m sure it was at least 3,000 a year on wine. So maybe in the 10 years that I have been drinking…. this much…. I have spent 30,000 on wine.

that’s what I don’t remember.

I could have gone on more vacations. I could have had more stuff. I could have done some cool things but I drank it up.

I just want to sit with that.

wine stains

My sponsor asked me to write about the things that I was out of control. While discussing some new books to read, my therapist told me a story from this one woman book, it was about her love of sheets but ……. they had wine stains. That prompted me to remember my own bed. The first two years of grief, I spent a lot of time in the bed.

One mothers day, Anna drew me a card and on it it she drew mommy’s favorite thing to do, She drew me in the bed with a wine bottle to the side. I was horrified and quickly hid the card. a few years later, we moved to a house and I decided to put the TV in the living room and create the mom den and for several years I did not watch tv in my bedroom so help me get out of hiding and crying and drinking.

I remember and still have many sheets that have wine stains. I cannot get a wine stain out of my mattress cover because I washed it before putting my special wine stain remover on it. that’s right. I had to buy the big size wine stain remover for my laundry time because I had so many wine stains on my clothes and on my bed Lenins and on towels when I had to clean up my knocked over glasses or bottles.

Eventually I moved to the living room but when I started passing out and blacking out, it would stress the kids out the I was asleep in the living room and not in my bedroom. I tried to tell them, it’s ok. just let me sleep. I often would get up during the night and crawl back into my bed. sometimes I would remember and sometimes I would not. but again…. more reasons of things I did that caused damage to my children.

Our Mistakes can turn into our greatest lessons, if we allow them to.

My greatest mistake is choosing to buy a bottle of wine instead of saying, hey this is really a problem. but thankfully, I had been thinking it for lots of years so that when my child says, it’s a problem and also if you don’t stop, I’m going to tell someone that might cause issues….

What is my lesson teaching me so far. So far I’ve learned this with sobriety….

it’s really hard but not as hard as I thought it might be.

I love not being so hot at night

I love sleeping so well.

I love not feeling exhausted all the time.

I love remembering what I did the night before.

I love that my kids are not being further hurt by my drinking at night and that maybe they are healing.

Maybe that giving up my bottle continues to return me to finding out who I am now that I have 6 years of widowhood under my belt, that I’m finding out who I am after losing weight and returning to hobbies that were physical that I could no longer do. That I am learning about new hobbies that are just pushing me forward as to keeping me back or just entertaining me while I tread water and not go anywhere. One of my desires that has come up in the last year or so is that I want to know what love is again. Alcohol distracted me from truly finding out and now, I don’t want to have that in my body and maybe not even near my life. I want to know what love is like as the new me, this incredible, strong, smart, vivacious, passionate woman that wants to just live life fully.

Step 2

First I wonder am I supposed to write and think about step 2 already, or am I supposed to still be thinking about step 1. The twelve steps of AA are a bit mind boggling to me. They push the 12 steps of AA but I can’t seem to find the rule book to explain them or I should say, “work them” as they advise. The blue book definitely goes over the 12 steps and has stories but I’m frustrated with the male voice so it’s having a negative effect.

Now to my reflection.

Come to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

This is simply the baseline of my personal faith. For me I would say, as long as I have a mustard seed of faith, then God is with me. I personally can attest to the above statement due to losing John and losing my faith and saying, it’s all done God. and… then God was not done with me. I know in my heart that I have witnessed the love of God or the action of God because there is no way to explain how he/she/it showed up in the darkest moments for me after John died. I do tell people about this when I am asked to talk about “faith”.

But this… this step 2 is hard. I really felt it this past week when my therapist told me that all I have to do is ask God and he will help me. and I thought again some old thoughts but I know it’s because it’s such a primal thing.

  1. I asked God to save John and John died.
  2. I told God to fuck off and he did not. He sent me love in every way possible that only I could know it was God. and maybe John if John got to be an angel in which I hope to God that he did because that thought makes me so happy because John would be the best Angel.
  3. If I ask God to help me now, will he really?

So I am asking God, please God, do not let me drink again. Please lead my thoughts and cravings to somewhere else and instead help me heal myself. If I have to be with my thoughts, please let me use what I have learned of going through the trauma and replaying it and or not replaying it and be ok.

I’m asking God to let me be ok without numbing myself because it’s too much. and if it’s too much that I’m asking God to walk with me through it, help me feel it knowing that I’m going to be ok and it’s going to subside and I will find happy again.

When I can love myself and take care of myself and put myself first then I will know love. I want to find love with another person so much but why I spontaneously choose to put another person who I do not know ahead of my desires without even establishing a good relationship, I know that is the problem.

I need God’s help with me not drinking and not using the “buzz” of someone’s attention as a way to not feel.

Step 1

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol- that our lives had become unmanageable.

My sponsor suggested I should read Chapter 1 of the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions and begin what I believe is my step work. See I’m still very new to AA and to admitting I am an alcoholic and I just don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing except … not drink.

So step one. admit I am powerless over alcohol.

I am.

I had been aware of the twelve steps for 20 some years now but applying it to myself and this situation was something that it took a few months for me to absorb and understand. Understanding that I had a problem with alcohol. For myself, it was forced in a way by my 12 year old daughter who had had enough. She herself had been the victim of my behavior I exhibited when I became under the influence and blacked out. She was all done. So done, she had been sharing with her sister, her brother, her therapist, her guidance counselor and finally my best friend, who she told, I’m going to ask for help. My best friend heard her loud and clear and was shocked that it was this bad. She said she was not quite aware of how bad I was until after the recent Fourth of July, she saw me quite drunk and acting rude to my daughter and she saw that I was not even aware of my actions. She saw me in a black out, then passed out then to rise again and to drink and eat.

A month or less passed and while taking my daughter out for a lunch and movie, my daughter surprised her with “sharing”. Then a night later when my daughter was alone with me and saw me drinking she tried to stop me and then said, I told “______”. (So Called best friend, has requested not to use her name and has asked to be refered to with a code name, I am not able to summon up the best substitute name so she shall now be called “______”). (Just to make her laugh).

Anyway, my dearest child, shocked me and this lead to a phone to “________”. Who then proceeded to tell me that yes, my child had told her lots and further more it scared the shit out of her, so she decided to tell the Ministers at my church, and she also shared with a friend of mine who she thought I was close to, but I am but I am not. Then she reached out to another one of my best friends, who ….. declined to react.

By the grace of God, this was enough to embarrass the shit out of me and I went into shock. My brother was called and he decided that he should step in as well.

I stopped for 3 days. then I decided to drink and see if I could be ok. Nope.

I then went to a Buddhist recovery group the next day, ready to begin…..

No AA for me I declared, I did not want that. I did not want to see anyone I knew. So I tried. and then about another week or so went by and then I got weak again. So I went to another Buddhist meeting and meditated.

I unsubscribed to all the alcohol things in Facebook and instagram. I started following everything sober. I told my best friend I was an alcoholic and she and I had a fight of sorts that I really can’t recall the details because I was still in shock of her telling everyone and my humiliation is what consumed me.

I tried to stay sober but I started to sneak in wine in tiny boxes thinking I could just have a bit and then hide it.

Do you know that my youngest child was so in tune with me that she would go and look for evidence and she found it. I was such a dumb ass. then they would confront me and I would apologize.

My oldest begged me to stop, she was leaving for college and she said she could not take it. So I saID I WOULD.

I had a dear friend in recovery and he helped me as much as he could but he himself struggled.

He sent me a book and I started trying to read the Buddhist stuff and it was good. I needed more. So I found a therapist. My parents agreed to pay for her.

After a month I told her about my trip to the beach where I snuck and drank and I had been drinking again but not getting out of hand. She looked at me and said, look- you are not going to recover on your own. You have to seriously do this or you will fail. You need more than therapy once a week.

Somehow, or another I drove a half hour to a beginners women’s group where I felt like I would not know anyone. There my male friend, coached me in my car to get out of the car, and to go in. As I got out of the car, a nice lady said, are you looking for a meeting? I said I was and that was the beginning of my real recovery.

A few weeks in, I struggled with my intense desire and frustration with this whole thing and not being able to be in control. That is when the first step really started making sense.

admitting and really knowing. I have no power over alcohol. When I reach out , actually when I steer my cart into the section of wine. I have already fallen off the wagon. because I have already made that decision to drink.

It is that moment that I talked about with my therapist and later my sponsor that it’s in that moment. I am powerless.

It is unmanageable if I do that and if I keep doing that.

It has been in this meeting that I have begun to dissect my addiction and share with others that I have a problem and I just am figuring it out.

Did you know I was an alcoholic?

As I peel away the layers of my onion skin that have grown around me in regards to being my authentic self. peeling slowly back the layers of grief that grew fast after John died, then the layers so thick of wine that had been growing before he died… I am getting to where I might be. I wonder… who are my friends? Who do I say, help to? Who will come around? Who knew already? I’m avoiding book club because I just don’t want to be around everyone having a drink but me. I don’t want to hurt around that drink that I cannot have. So then I wonder do my friends miss me? They say they do. but would they give up the drink to spend a couple of hours with me? One drink does not really cause problems for most apparently. Even in public, one drink would not cause me a problem immediately, but I can almost guarantee it would be the trigger that would lead me back into that grocery store into that wine aisle to get myself some secret wine. Then that secret wine might be guzzled in the car, while breaking 2 laws… open container and drinking and driving….

So where are the friends that I have even told. no one checks in. Alcoholism is something that apparently is close to grief, you don’t want to get to close to it. It might sting.

Dating…..

Friends have begged me to write about my dating…. it’s something…

I’m 45….. I started dating since I was 43….. I was 4 years a widow….. I have so far dated… or to make it a bit daring sounding…

a sex aholic/uber driver/cna

a film director./painter… he filmed Ron Jeremy

a magazine owner/writer

an exterminator

a former chef/ and a “stuff hauler”.

an engineer

a machinist /cross dresser

a environmental scientist

a kayack daredevil with brain damage

an advertizer

musician/social worker

hotel manager

orthopedist

So right now, I’m typing this in a Hilton chain hotel paid for by my so called date…. who is late…. he is getting ready to open a new Hilton chain right now the road, … they are not allowed to stay in their own hotels… Jesus… that would make things easier…. but oh well.

anyway… they are opening in 2 days and we … thought we might have a second date 3 days from opening… and I thought it would somehow go well. I arrived at 4:15. I checked in. then I realizEd he is not going to be here soon. So of course I drove to … Target… I got snacks… then I ordered dinner which he can have too. but then 3 hrs pass….. oi vey.

I question my sanity but damn I love a hotel room by my self and with headphones and my laptop and a lavender candle.

I need to write about each of those past loves/ or not loves… slash hilarious interludes… they shall be named…

first let’s start with the sex addict.

he is still in my life.

He is always available if I should so have a need. and damn he is pretty good. Just I dont want to get him talking policially.

but sexually. holy shit.

he knows how to please

he starts off slow and casual. and then he knows how much we like it.

I mean, seriously If you have sexual fantasies then he is the person to try things out with.

but until next time.

Sobriety and Grief

For myself, these two words go hand in hand. Just like two hands that are very much a part of my life….. I think that Grief will always be a part of my make up and who I am and will continue to be…. and now I add sobriety into my body make up.

Grief changed me, it changed my brain, my chemistry, my body organs. Due to grief, I got so sick for a year or so in my lungs that I’m sure that my lungs are damaged or altered from being so sick. My stress changed my chemicals and how my brain feels things. My shock as my grief began, set how I react to things and now…. in sobriety I am changing again.

Sobriety is reframing my life. One- the chemical leaves my body and my body bravely adjusts

my skin changes tones

my blood vessels carry blood better- my blood pressure is better

My sugar cravings have come alive! yikes!

my brain is coming out of a fog that once grief held captive and that wine, tried to soothe. and now,…. the fog moves away and I can see my life ahead of me without me trying so hard.

I’m literally working on changing my brain wiring so that when I see trauma, then I can work through it without a fight or flight response. I can now use my healing love to help me transform how my brain receives messages. The alcohol is not there. Everyday when I don’t have it, my brain has less of a mess to work through. My body functions better.

I’m reexaming everything. but mostly my brain is buzzing. My brain is so hungry to be engaged and to examine things…

I think about politics and people and how they tick together

I think about trauma and race and equity

I think about food and where it comes from and who gets to say how it is labeled.

and also I watched one Star Wars and the new one is coming out and so thank god I started to watch them as they were released as opposed to how they actually were in time? right? ?

today I just said, god, please don’t let me drink today. please let me not drink. I want to get better and find and live my life.

The best damn therapist

I have found myself the best damn therapist. I had a great one for grief but this time she was busy and I’m glad because I decided to dig deeper and find someone who knows how to deal with trauma and addiction. and boy did I find a goodie. Last week she kicked my ass figuratively in getting me in a head space to take care of myself.

Since October I had been nipping, slipping, sneaking myself wine, vodka, bourbon wherever I felt like I had a sneaky moment . then it lead to having leftover the next day so I would of course drink that. Sometimes it was just enough to make me sleepy but sometimes it was enough to remind me that I’m not supposed to drink anymore because now my brain goes to black out. I don’t know why quite yet, but I think it’s because of my surgery but also because of the years of abuse and my brain just now thinks that’s what it’s supposed to do. most of me goes to sleep and the rest of me does God knows what. I lost my ear pods the other week and thought I had laid them somewhere else. no….. I found them. they were in the bed because when I was drinking, I got on a phone call and had a conversation that I put on my ear pods and then I passed out and so my ear pods were in the bed all along.

So once again, mornings are more clear and no guilt. but late afternoons and evenings are still stumble some. Walking the other evening helped. and I need more of that. and writing too. so here I am with my coffee and music and candles and writing it all out. processing my shit.

My oldest is home, and we all went out last night. I was happy, we went to mile and we all tried each others food. It was delicious. Then we went into a book store and they were a big fidgety. but we were all together. laughing, teasing, arguing. it was nice. Today I will make myself be productive and clean so we can get ready to decorate for Christmas. I need to get geared up for my party with the staff and create new traditions. Cookies. 🙂