getting sober : excuse me while i freshen up a bit

First, I want to take a minute to say THANK YOU to all of you who read and follow me, I am truly overwhelmed and incredibly grateful!  The outlet of this blog not only makes you laugh, but keeps me sane and gets me out of my own head, hence “I’ll be out in a minute.” Every now and then I feel the need to be serious, but it always passes rather quickly…so this post will fall under that category.

Let’s be clear, I didn’t have a drinking problem, I had a stopping problem.

I have been a good old-fashioned weekend warrior problem drinker for the past 15 years, and have been a daily drinker for the past 10, with the exception of pregnancies. The quantity necessary to catch the buzz that I wanted increased, the drinking hour began earlier and earlier and I started making really bad decisions. I drove intoxicated on a regular basis.  I flipped my Land Rover on its side. Blackouts started becoming more and more frequent.  I was there physically, but I had emotionally checked out from my family.  I would not attend a function or event if it did not serve alcohol or I could not bring it or hide it.  Vodka became the tragic center of my universe and my world around it slowly atrophied.  These are things that I only realize now that I’ve got some decent sobriety under my belt, and the clarity that comes with it.  Obviously there’s a lot involved before and after, but you get the gist. I was a fucking hot mess.

Over the past 7 years, and particularly the past 3, my drinking had escalated to a level which I went to great lengths not only to hide, but protect.  Believe me, everyone knew I was a drinker  ~ I was a vodka with a splash of club soda, extra ice, quarter of a lemon, and pour it like you hate the owner kind of girl.  I am an extrovert, an asshole at times, extremely social, and rather uninhibited so it was easy for me to hide in plain sight.  You see how I am now…put about 6 Tervis Tumblers of vodka in me and it’s funny for a while, until suddenly red flags are popping up everywhere, and your friends start forming “informal interventions.”

Granted, I have had to deal with many traumatic events throughout my life, but who hasn’t?  The past 2 years I lost myself and allowed that self-pity to take me deep into depression.  But instead of dealing with the problems, the feelings, I just poured an increasing amount of vodka on them, and this in turn did wonders for my depression.

I had the immense pleasure of being notified, in therapy, by my husband of 8 years, that I needed to quit drinking and to start by getting my ass to AA.  What?  Did I miss the memo?  This was ridiculous, I could cut down if I wanted to!  I was PISSED, and I mean pissed!  So, like any good alcoholic, I stormed out of our therapy session, flew home, poured myself a ginormous drink, at 10:30am and grabbed a bottle of vodka.  I packed a bag, texted my husband that he was responsible for picking up the kids, and 911 dialed my best friends and headed over to my father’s house which was empty because he was in Florida.  I don’t know why my friends put up with me as long as they did, and still do, but they all came over for support and I proceeded to cry hysterically and get myself blackout shit faced drunk with self-pity. That morning when I woke up and looked at myself in the mirror, I knew what I had to do, and I was terrified.

That was the last drink I’ve had, and that was November 9, 2011.

I’m from a family of alcoholics. There’s no question I was an alcoholic way before I ever even took my first drink because a big part of being alcoholic is alcoholic behavior.  I have been able to use a vast array of mind altering substances and alcohol to get as far away from myself as I’ve wanted (or needed) since I was 13.

so now I am a 41-year-old woman, with emotions powerful enough to plow me over or rip me to pieces sometimes.  I have never learned to handle them like a normal adult.  I am finding this is very typical of alcoholics.  The good news is that you get your emotions back, the bad news is that you get your emotions back.  Now the challenge is to be comfortable enough in my own skin that I can stop trying to get out of myself all the time.   Surprisingly it’s not as much about learning how to live with out drugs or alcohol, as it is about learning how to handle actual sobriety, how to live life on life’s terms.  I now know I am an alcoholic, I have the only disease that tells me I don’t have a disease.  It is indeed cunning, baffling and powerful.

“One Day At A Time” “It works if you work it”  Shoot me in the fucking head I am sitting in a cliché!

It made my skin crawl when I first started to go to AA meetings – all those sayings.  The irony is not lost on me that  “one day at a time” is the simple principle upon which I now choose to lead my life.  I am no longer plagued by anxiety of the future and I try not to hold onto resentments of the past or waste time worrying about what could have been. I have made a decision to live in the day, and that’s it.  It’s that simple, and that little piece of advice has turned my life around tremendously.  I”m far from perfect, it’s a work in progress.

I never in a million years thought that I would be drinking up the proverbial AA Kool-Aid so happily and coming back for more.   Call it a cult if you will, but I dig my cult.  My cult is awesome. I get to test drive some of my best material there. I go to 5-6 meetings a week, have a home group, have a sponsor (who is one of the coolest women on the planet btw) and I run one of the meetings on Tuesday nights.  See, “it’s not worth doing if it’s not worth overdoing.”

For me, it’s a tremendous gift, and a perfect fit.  Sobriety is the most beautiful gift I have probably ever been given, just delivered in one of the ugliest wrap jobs I’ve ever seen.  I am finding out who I really am for the first time, I am getting out of my own way, I am experiencing happiness that I used to have to try to alcoholically manufacture.   I enjoy my children and my life so much, I am grateful, I am humbled.  The best part is that I am breaking the chain, I can now give my kids the greatest gift of all, something I never had, a sober Mother.

40 replies

  1. Hi – Just read your latest blog entry and I think you are amazing. Keep it up – all of it – what you have to say is real and funny and therapeutic for everyone, not just you, everyone – which is why it appears that you have the fastest, biggest following and people lurch at your new posts. It’s great to *see* you on here and, for what it’s worth, I’m proud of you!

    • T- I laughed and cried. You have been through alot and seems you have alot still to do so I wish you the best and stay strong. As far as addiction you are right there are alot of cliches and it detroys not just the addict. But the AA cliches really make sense. I just hope that every family gets the help they need so all can move forward in the manner which they choose that works for them No one should ever judge or make choices for anyone. In the end, when you look around you know who your friends are.

      Just for fun- here is a cliche i like (i dont think its anything to do with AA) “Meet people where they are and you wont be disppointed.” Thanks again for your words. I will re-read this one often. It took guts and it hit home. xo Lisa

      • “Meet people where they are and you wont be disappointed.” Expectations are disappointment waiting to happen. Why waste time on what could happen instead of enjoying and appreciating what IS happening. There are a million ways to look at any one thing, and if you stand in just the right spot, you will see the love and the laughter and the hope. hang in there my dear.

  2. Thank you to both of you. It is a full time job, but the good far outweighs the bad. I love writing, but before now I could never get out of my own way long enough to persue it. This whole thing is quite a ride. Thanks for reading~

  3. T – You have no idea how much this touches my heart and hits home. I am on the flip side of recovery. I have two people in my life in husband and daughter. Thank you for sharing! I am learning your story however unique to you is not uncommon an your strength gives hope! My husband says its the only disease cured with words!

    • Wendy, I like that, the only disease cured with words, a lot of truth to that. When I am dying to say fuck it and have a drink, I try to focus on how fortunate I am that I don’t have to do chemo or radiation to treat my disease. It helps me to let it pass and puts it all into perspective. Good luck to you and your family.

  4. I went from laughing to crying.. and I am still hitting refresh!
    I am very proud of you Tracy.. and I am sure your children feel the same way. Everything you write hits a chord with me (and the rest of your followers I’m sure)- I am just so happy you have the balls to talk so freely. It must feel so liberating. Thank you.
    -Still Creeping :)

  5. Dammit you. Did you have to put the “sober mother” bit in?!? What a tear jerker! Another great piece…good to hear my serious girl come out for a visit once in a while. We are so proud of you. :)

  6. Tracy,
    Having been there myself, what you are doing is not easy. As they say, living life on life’s terms. I couldn’t be more proud and happy for you. Everything else will fall into place. Keep drinking the Kool Aid. Just don’t become Evangelical.

  7. You little girl scout you!! Wonderful to have you with us as we travel this spectacular journey together. The friendships in recovery are like none I’ve ever had before. And as they say, yesterday is the past, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift. That’s why it’s called The Present. All we have is today, and the wonderful anticipation of another, if it’s meant to be!

    • Thank you Kristin,
      It is a spectacular journey, but I did have the gag reflex and cringed and threw up a little bit at “yesterday is the past, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift. That’s why it’s called The Present” No matter how true, these sayings still have that effect on me.
      Let’s “trudge the road to happy destiny” (face of a sour lemon)

    • Tracy minus vodka equals a much better person.
      Thanks for being there my friend. Love you too.
      I have to go write something funny, my serious cup runneth over.

  8. Tracy,
    You know me as the irreverent and obnoxious clown who will tag everyone on my blog as a fucktard for shock value, but I teared up reading your post. I empathize for the pain behind the years of drinking, and the consequences. But I’m fucking proud of you for fighting for your sobriety one day at a time, and taking control of your life. Scratch that… for taking your life back.

  9. This was great. It amazes me how many people/friends I’ve found on here that have this same problem. I just celebrated my year this past August, and I’m excited for you to do so in the near future.
    I never could go to AA as I thought it was too “Curchy” for my taste. Very ironic seeing how things have turned out. :) I applaud you.

    • Brother Jon,
      Congrats to you as well, yes, there are many bloggers I’ve connected with who are in recovery. I have never gone to church, and have never been religious. I always have believed in a higher power of some sort, something larger than myself…so AA fit into that scope for me. I’ve heard of a lot of AA experiences that sound much different than the meetings that I go to. I guess I’m lucky to have a smaller intimate group that’s pretty laid back and not at all “churchy”. That would have me right out the door.
      On another note, your story intrigues me, an converted LDS Brother recovering alcoholic…I need to get over to your blog.

      • I think it just shows how close minded I was back then, and how much I was trying to get out of actually recovering.
        Yeah, it’s something else. I often sit around and think how did I get here. I’ve always done that, but now it’s a good thing.

  10. Very powerful and inspiring. I can relate to your story, minus the kids part. It’s a hard one to accept and then to overcome. You took your life back! :) Happy early one year anniversary! I will certainly celebrate you and your accomplishments on Nov. 9th! I believe I shall break out the good coffee I have been saving, for just such an event!! Shh..don’t tell my family and friends I’m using the good stuff :)

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