I see eleven sides to everything and not just when I’m drunk.

Oh for fuck’s sake, y’all. So much is swirling in my head and being a grown up just bites sometimes. I hate this adulting thing. This week has (already) been one of uncertainty, financial douchery, and temporary employment ennui.

My recovery process has been amazing, don’t get me wrong – I have learned so much in the last 949 days.  Seriously, I think anyone could benefit from working a 12 step program, addict or no. The funny thing is, when I learn something that I feel is life changing and substantial, I always think to myself, “boy, won’t it be awesome when I can use this knowledge in real life? I can hardly wait until a situation presents itself and I can choose to react like __________.” You can insert whatever you like here; “a mature adult” or  “a calm and rational grown-up” or my personal fave, “like I have some fucking home training and common sense and don’t need to go all fetal in the corner somewhere because I don’t know what the hell to do and I’m terrified”. I’m paraphrasing, of course.

Except that IT IS NOT awesome when it happens and you have to ‘use your tools’.  My first reaction is NOT to pause and breathe, I’ll tell you THAT. My initial reaction is to pour about 13 ounces of straight vodka into a glass and to SIT AND HOLD THE FUCK UP FOR A MINUTE before my entire head pops off its stem and lazily rolls away from my body while it, in turn, implodes. I hate change. I hate limbo. I hate grey, I prefer black and white.  But nooo…my whole life right now is an ever-changing mass of complicated limbo while languishing in various unsavory shades of grey. What’s a drunk  gal to do?

Be decisive.  Right or wrong, make a decision. The highway of life is paved with flat squirrels that couldn’t make a decision – Unknown

Well, this is where I have to pull out the resources I’ve been taught. My first reaction is ALWAYS fear, in one form or another. Fear of change, or fear of failure. Fear of manipulation, or loss of control. And here’s the thing about that; I’m not in control of much. I am merely in control of myself, and my choices and responsibilities. There’s amazing freedom in relinquishing control, and believe me, I cannot even believe I’ve just typed those words.

Hear me out:

It’s true. I have learned (and am still actively learning) the process by which you recognize your lack of control and that, my friends, is a gift, if you can choose to look at it that way. Once I realize this, some of the fear abates.  I am NOT in control of whether or not these folks offer me a permanent position. I am NOT in control of the abysmal traffic getting to and from this hellhole. I AM in control of negotiating a salary if said job is offered to me. I do not have to accept said job if I feel it isn’t a good fit for me. Guilt, as a dear and wise friend reminded me yesterday, is a useless emotion. I have managed to fret over a circumstance that may or may not arise, for the last couple of days.  This is very counter-productive to my time and mental stability, yet I find myself obsessing (once again) over and over at EVERY possible scenario and how it will inevitably end in certain disaster, or with me hanging limply from a ceiling fan. I realize that I get my needle stuck on this point (see below post) but it bears repeating.  Recently I’ve heard it said that if you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop, you’re probably holding it.  THIS IS SO MY LIFE YOU GUYS.

Ever thought you might land a job you don’t want? What would it take to relinquish your creative soul to the corporate devil? Big salary? Benefits? Desperation? Sometimes we have to do what’s necessary and that’s the part of adulting that seems to stick in my craw. Let me say here that nothing I’m referring in this post is a life or death decision, and I do tend to have a penchant for the dramatic, of course, BUT, having said that – I did mention that part of the purpose of this blog is to help me LIVE SOBER and living sober often requires making decisions and not flipping the F out. Every. Single. Time.

Well, I don’t know what the future holds. What I do know is that I’ve survived 100% of the shit I’ve been through so far, so really, the odds are in my favor I’ll get through this as well. Maybe that’s how I need to look at things – through my liver filter.  Through the liver filter, almost everything looks rosier because almost everything is better than dying from liver failure. . . amirite?!?

How do you process your decisions?  Do you freak out initially and weigh your options? Do you go with your gut reaction?  Do you plunge in wholeheartedly and see where it takes you? Do you follow your heart or listen to your head? Do you just crawl under the covers with some peanut butter cups and wait for an epiphany because I totally think that’s going to be my strategy going forward.

In a onesie.

Y’all can comment down below – all feedback appreciated-you do NOT have to have an account to do so and can even just type in your name and comment and hit enter and no one is the wiser. JUST SAYIN’.

I (over) think, therefore, I am. . .somewhat neurotic.

Recently, I found myself in a drunk yoga class. . . as opposed to being drunk in a yoga class. Been there, done that.

Let me back up.  This week I attended a “Yoga for Recovery” class that combined core yoga poses with some reading and light meditation, specifically geared for people in recovery. I really enjoyed it and plan on going back for the entire series. Upon returning home, however,  I noticed that skin on my right side (around my waist band) was reddish and angry, presumably from my brand new yoga pants I had purchased for my Arizona trip, but not yet worn. I thought nothing of it and slathered it with Campho Phenique* and that, was that.

But that wasn’t that.

The next morning I awoke to a blistery rash starting to circle around to my belly and around my back from my hip.  WHAT THE HELL.  You know who loves looking at weird and gross things on my body?  MY HUSBAND.  Well, not really, but my Mom is 3 hours away so he was up to bat by default.

“Eeewww”, he stammered as he peered at the red cluster of blisters forming on my hip. He squinted and  stepped away from my torso. He walked over and opened his laptop.

“What?  Why did you say “ewwww”?!? Did something bite me?” I asked. “Is it Poison Ivy?”

At this point I had more than a few worst case scenarios buzzing through my mind. Here’s a fun fact: alcoholics are obsessive. We like to churn things over and over in our heads until we can conjure up the WORST possible outcome and then we take that and make it worse. By constantly obsessing about situations, we trick ourselves into thinking we’re in control of them and of course, that is never the case. We keep at it though, the proverbial dog chasing its own tail. It’s exhausting and counter-productive, really.

However, that does not stop me. I’m sober, but not completely sane, remember. In the few minutes it took my sweet husband to consult Dr. Google, I had:

  1. Been poisoned by a gang of minuscule (yet freakishly deadly) spiders who somehow got trapped in the waistband of my yoga pants and obviously bit their way out. Spiders are assholes.
  2. Developed a rare strain of AIDS that had previously been dormant for 23 years that I assume I contracted after kissing a rather sketchy “drummer” by the Hollywood sign (that’s another story) but was clearly manifesting itself in a display of open sores on my hip. Back then I couldn’t decide if the dude was homeless or just into grunge, but clearly I was paying for my youthful frivolity.
  3. Been infected with that flesh eating bacteria like that poor girl in the rain forest or Congo or wherever, but she lost both of her hands and one foot. My body is literally cannibalizing itself from exposure to some third world bacteria that I probably got from using the bathroom at the fucking mall.

As I started to flail about the kitchen in sheer panic, my husband glanced up from his computer with a weak smile.

“IT’S LEPROSY, ISN’T IT!?!”, I screamed. “I KNEW IT. I bet I got it from the self-scanner at Lowe’s. That thing is always streaky…probably with toxic waste and boogers.”

He rolled his eyes and sighed. “No, honey.  It’s not Leprosy. What you have is a classic case of Shingles. Welcome to your fifties!”

Shingles?!? Okay. I know two things about shingles. They are heavy as fuck when they are in a cardboard box and you are a smallish girl assisting your father in building a garage. YOU try carrying an entire box of shingles sometime, trust me. Heavy, rough, and scratchy. However, to this day I know how to adeptly use a post-hole digger, so there’s a skill to put on my resume.

The same father I’m referring to above used to eat something horrific called “Shit on a Shingle” when I was in the same age bracket.  This, evidently, is a military delicacy and was NOT to be made fun of in our household, no matter how badly it smelled.  Now, my Mom had no part in the Shit on a Shingle nights at our home, nor did I.  This was a “treat” my Father saved for himself when she was out for the night with other plans, and my little brother and I were splitting a can of Spaghetti O’s. For those of you blissfully not in the know, I have ascertained that SOS is chipped beef poured atop toast, or in my Dad’s case, a frozen waffle.

I would rather eat a live Praying Mantis. Seriously.

I know nothing of this other type of shingle. However, I do recall seeing commercials featuring elderly people (supposedly with shingles) happily playing golf.  Fantastic, I’m already behind – I don’t know the first damn thing about golf. 

So, I have made an appointment at the clinic and have subsequently executed my Last Will and Testament to prepare for the inevitable.  Please donate my “WWJD” flask to The Great Museum of Alcoholism so that it can be gazed upon as a holy grail of sorts for our times.

 

*Campho Phenique. Remember in My Big Fat Greek Wedding when the father thought Windex cures everything? Well, my sweet Grandma felt the exact same way about Campho Phenique.  It didn’t matter what was wrong with you, Campho Phenique could calm it, soothe it, and remedy it.  My Mother once casually remarked to me during a game of Gin Rummy that for the last thirty or so years, my Grandmother would put a “dab” of Campho between her buttcheeks after bathing, as a hemorrhoid preventative.  “I didn’t know she suffered from hemorrhoids”, I said naively.  

She didn’t”, my Mother replied.

 

So while I’m still basking in the glow that was my golden jubilee (I’m told this is what some trendy gay men call their 50th birthday extravaganzas and I am so down with that) and subsequent trip to Arizona where my LIFE WAS ALTERED forever with that magical otherwordly experience, I just realized that my beloved birthday month is almost at its end, and I had such lofty aspirations to cover one recovery step per each calendar month on my new stinkin’ sobriety blog. *oops*

For as organized as I am, it baffles me that shit like this can still sneak up on me. In my defense, though, I’ve been incredibly busy attempting to meditate and do yoga and eat bark or things that taste like it. . . and, OH YEAH, figuring out my plan for the rest of my life on this earth. It’s been time-consuming, you guys.

I know, I know. . . one day at a time, hippie chick.  I KNOW. But when you when you’re excited about your new life you want everything to begin RIGHT THIS SECOND, you know?

So, I’ll put my spiritual/physical/mental transformation on hold for a sec and we’ll switch gears a little bit here and talk about HOPE.

Did I get your attention?  Hope. It’s a big one, and sometimes, not so easy to find. Especially these days, it would seem.

If you’ve seen the movie, The Shawshank Redemption, then you know about hope. Red tells Andy to forget about hope while in the confines of the prison, that inside, hope is a dangerous thing. Andy disagrees, he feels that hope is the best of things, the only thing he can hold onto inside the horror of the prison walls.

It’s not a stretch to compare alcoholism to prison. By all means, it IS a prison, except that you hold the lock AND the key. I know you want to throw up in your mouth a little bit after reading that, because I do too – but I’m preaching the truth, Ruth. You have to believe in hope. Do you believe recovery is possible?  In the sophisticated words of Russell Brand, if you’re metaphorically fucked, “could you be un-fucked?” Well, then, there’s hope.

“Hope begins in the dark, that stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.”

Anne Lamott

Step one begins with defeat, despair, and honesty. Or, in my case, liver failure. You don’t get much traction with dishonesty when your organs are shutting down. Step one was a breeze in that regard. Step two though, is where we find ourselves believing in hope, even if we don’t necessarily believe in ourselves, or in our worthiness of recovery. Read that again if you have to. I don’t care who you are, or what you’ve done, or where you’ve been. . . you ARE worthy of recovery.

We can’t move forward without hope. It is necessary to our human existence. Hope isn’t just wishful thinking, or even optimism. Optimism is an attitude, whereas hope, a belief.  A belief that things will get better and that you have a desire to make it so. Where there is hope, there is a potential for healing. The irony is when folks are brought to their knees by alcoholism, hope is usually unfathomable. They can’t imagine a life with or without alcohol. It’s a living hell, if you want to call that living. 

I’ve said this before but it bears repeating, you have to WANT it. Some call this “the gift of desperation”, where you are so beaten down by your drinking that you’ll go to any lengths to stop the misery. When your pain outweighs your fear of change, you’ll know. For some lucky folks, all it takes is one “close call”, or possibly a DUI. Others need to be hit directly in the face with a 2×4, perhaps with some crooked rusty nails jutting out, to really get the gist of things. This latter category is where I fit. Some literally call this making the choice between life or death, and that was certainly the case for me. I chose life, and on the days I didn’t, life chose me. I’m still not completely sure why. I hesitate to call it luck as I was recently taught that luck, as a concept, is inaccurate.  I was informed of this in the desert by an old cowboy that had absolutely no time for my antics.  I’ll have to overthink that shit later and stay on point, here.

If you’re teetering, let me give you this push. If you can’t dig down deep enough to rustle up some minuscule amount of hope, talk to someone in recovery. Go to a meeting. Listen to other alcoholics. They’ll give you some of their hope until you can find some of your own, I promise. No matter how shame or pain (or both) based your identity has been, it doesn’t have to stay that way.

There’s hope.

 

Where is My Mind?

As mentioned below I recently returned from an unbelievable trip with my three best friends.  I haven’t had a “real” vacation in years and certainly not since I’ve been sober, so we were all optimistic but somewhat apprehensive on how things would go. To put it simply, you wouldn’t have pegged me as a “spa and/or resort kinda gal” in my drinking days. No way.  Now, in trips past, I’ve been all about drinking straight vodka in the direct sun by a pool somewhere while blasting the Foo Fighters from my earbuds. That said, I would usually pass out BEFORE happy hour and subsequently miss dinner. I wasn’t one to spend money on facials, massages and manicures or luxuries like that. No, my hard earned money went to very important things like SKYY vodka and bags of cool ranch Doritos.

It was not without expert planning how this trip evolved. A few years ago this excursion would have probably just pissed me off and I would have found myself drunk and dehydrated in the Arizona desert trying to make homemade gin out of a Juniper bush.  Luckily, that was not the case this trip. This adventure was celebratory on many levels.  It was the first time in 1.5 years that the four douchebags had been reunited, and that right there is cause for much rejoicing. It was also my 50th birthday, which was monumental to me, obviously, but also to my best friends since they *almost* had to  to bury me in 2015.

I have a lot of observations and truths to process regarding this trip so I expect you’ll read more about it to come, as it was just too magical to properly convey in one post. There were levels to the awesomeness, if you can believe that.  The FIRST and foremost thing I want to mention is that this is the FIRST vacation I’ve ever taken where I returned home feeling rejuvenated and ALIVE and restored. Rested and whole.  Like only a weekend with your best girlfriends can do for you, but add in a FABULOUS resort that focuses on mindfulness, wellness and balance and you have a mind-blowing experience for a recovering drunk, lemme tell ya.  For decades my vacations left me needing a vacation because I would return home limping, bruised, hungover, and penniless.  EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.  And you know, that’s NOT to say I didn’t enjoy myself, of course, but I’ve never experienced a restful vacation.  Sometimes you just have to get day drunk and skip obnoxiously with your (now) dead friend Ben through the Chelsea district in New York City and do some blow in a porta-potty with an African American drag queen.  AS YOU DO.

One of the features of this resort were various classes of all sorts that you could add to your package.  All types of yoga, a fitness boot camp, a 7am stretch class, meditation, photography, water aerobics, cooking, horse-back riding, zip-lining, and much, much more. I was giddy with choices.  And moreover, they were good choices.  There was no class that taught you how to shoot 6 ounces of Fireball and take off your bra without removing your shirt, for example.

In recovery there is much ado about meditation, so I decided to check it out.

OMG.

It’s hard. And weird. And frustrating. AND FABULOUS.

The instructor was a mid-thirties gal who mentioned she had been meditating since she was eleven.  SERIOUSLY!??  I’m fucking old.  My parents gave me lawn darts and some Pringles when I was eleven and told me to get lost.   She was warm, supportive and gentle in her guidance. As we settled in to begin, she asked us to go around the room and introduce ourselves and our intention for our practice. Awhile back I would have said that my intention was not to fart and/or doze off and where is the damn bar because surely to god I could sit here and do nothing with a Mimosa in my hand, amirite?

As folks started introducing themselves I listened and thought about my own introduction. As I thought about telling the real truth about my intention, my heartbeat began to speed up. I got sweaty and started pittin’ out  as the voices crept closer to my own seat. You know that expression, “speak your truth even if your voice shakes?”  Well, THAT.  I decided to be authentic and truthful and let my voice shake.  And shake it did.

“My name is Jenny and I’m an alcoholic. I realize this is the wrong meeting for that. (nervous laughter) I am in recovery and it’s been suggested to me to try meditation, so. . . here I am.”

The room was dead silent except for my heart which was about to thunder out of my chest. The instructor smiled at me warmly and said, “we support you.”  I didn’t dare meet the gaze of any of the other participants out of sheer terror and if I’m honest, shame, but as soon as the words came out of my mouth, their power disappeared.     

We proceeded to be guided in meditation for the next 30 minutes.  Sometimes it worked and I found my inner essence in the stillness. The other half of the time my face itched, my stomach growled, and I couldn’t stop thinking about breakfast and what I hoped were chocolate chip muffins and not some carob bullshit. I’ve heard it said that “prayer is when you speak to God, but meditation is when God speaks to you.”  I’m not sure God actually spoke with me but I do know that I achieved enough snippets of peace and serenity to pursue it again, now that I’ve returned home. Even the most experienced meditators fall victim to distractions and diversions. Be kind to yourself, they say.  Gently guide your thoughts back to your breath. Start again.

And repeat.

I don’t know what will come of it, but I’m open to the possibilities, and to me, that’s the important part. As a drunk, I was unrelenting in my beliefs and reluctant to even entertain other viewpoints or perspectives. How ridiculous is this, living in your own intolerant self-absorbed bubble? It’s not who I am. And here’s the thing; I’m not completely sure WHO I am, but I’m slowly finding out and while it’s not always favorable, I know it’s worthwhile. Isn’t that why we’re here?  To share this human experience and become the best version of ourselves that we can be?  To be of service to others and help where we can? To be authentic and humble and honest with ourselves?

Life on life’s terms. That’s what we have, folks. There’s always going to be a shitty carpool, a troublesome co-worker, a pesky Mother-in-Law, unpaid bills and adult prone acne that will upset us and rock us off balance. Getting that balance back is the challenge.

I’m still here, I’m sober, and this time, I mean it.

Challenge accepted, Universe.

*the video above in an artistic depiction of one of my favorite songs by The Pixies, aptly titled “Where is my Mind?”  Oddly enough this song has popped up in a somewhat reoccurring fashion these last couple of weeks. A sign, perhaps?  I don’t know.  BUT I’M OPEN TO IT DAMMIT.

Then and Now

I have just returned from a life-changing and restorative getaway with my three best friends, The Douchebags. I’m still processing and collecting my thoughts on all that I learned and experienced there, so in the interim, I offer you an another tidbit from my old (while I was still a “practicing” alcoholic) site, Girl, Corrupted. I had just returned from a trip with the gals in California. My drinking didn’t always end in misery, you guys, but if I was in misery, my drinking was always involved. This trip was one of the last we’d have before I got sick. This last trip was a trip of a lifetime and you know what?  I was there.  I was present.  And I remember. . . everything. 

 

I read once that the best trips aren’t going to somewhere, they’re going to someone.

That’s always the case when I get together with my three lifelong best friends. You remember the DB’s, right? Of course you do. Here we are then.

OMG I was a fetus

Yep. That’s the four of us, circa 1993, I’d say. Yes, we were smoking and OMG, look at the time in the background… it’s 10:45 pm. Nowadays I’m in bed with a kleenex tucked in my sleeve lying next to a dude sporting a “Breathe Right” strip by 9:30pm. Livin’ the dream, people!
Us, this past weekend.

Winos, clearly

That’s the DB4 at the Rubicon Winery and Vineyard in Napa, California. We jetted off to Cali for a whirlwind weekend of wine tasting, hot tubbing and fine dining. Oh, and lots and lots of laughter. We’ve been friends over 20 years now and boy, you can certainly tell if you’re ever unfortunate enough to be around us as a unit. We’ve had a good run, lately. If you’ll recall, we went to Cancun last March and then to Colorado and The Stanley Hotel in August as well. Now we can add San Francisco and Napa to our list of fantastic forays. It was ridiculous fun, I’ll be honest. Wine and more wine. Fine cheeses. Delectable dinners and absolutely decadent desserts.

Who cut the cheese?

Cheeses, apple slices, candied walnuts, nutbread and marinated onions. Delightful.

Also known in Napa as your first course. These people know how to live. And drink.
Mind you, this was my individual portion. The four of us were allowed to customize our own menu for the evening and it was exquisite. They paired a glass of wine with each selection so between that and my early evening martini, I was well on my way to one of the finest evenings of my life. Now it *may* also be said that the finale of this particular night was my doing the “chicken wing” dance to the Black Eyed Peas in a million dollar resort in Calistoga, but that would lead to my flying to various states and rabbit punching a trio of women right in their throats. AM I CLEAR, LADIES?!?
*ahem* Okay, where were we?
Oh, that’s right. Here.

Huevos Rancheros done right, y’all

I don’t get this delicacy often and Schell and I both took advantage of this opportunity coupled with a bubbly mimosa at brunch. Heavenly. Now Jane will tell you that I proceeded to burp this fantastic meal for the remainder of the day. And she would not be wrong. Blowing said burps directly in her face, *may*have been.
I digress.
We picked up a spare DB along the way. Stacy’s little sister, McKenzie has been an honorary douchebag for around five years now. She’s a DB in “training” one could say. She excels at her studies, I should mention. The below picture makes me so happy.

Sisters

We call her “sunshine” and I don’t think there’s any doubt why. Just look at her. She’s
bubbly and beautiful and smart and funny. If I didn’t love her so much, I’d totally hate her. I think this photo was taken right after I said something inappropriate about anal sex, but I can’t be sure. I think talking at all about anal sex could be defined as inappropriate but then again, these are my best friends and sometimes I will do almost anything for a laugh.
So, yet another photo.

Girl Corrupted herself at the Golden Gate Bridge

A very atypical gorgeous clear afternoon in the Bay. And as if I couldn’t be more clear myself, I’m one very lucky gal. I’ve always said that the best things in life are the simple things and this trip specifically drove that point home. Wine. Food. Friendship. Laughter. Soul mates. Did I say wine?
All in all, pretty simple things. But put together? Absolute magic.
The icing on the cake? The other thing I miss most about my Hollywood, California days/daze besides the cheap drugs and the carefree incredibly hot sex?
In and Out.

my kingdom for a double-double

Holy shit, this is good food. A burger, fries and a chocolate shake. Heaven on a red plastic tray. Like I said, sometimes it’s the simple things.
So, simply put…I love you – Stacy, Jane and Schell. And Sunshine. Still and yet. Again and always.
(you douchebags)
 

Next time I’ll be more specific.

I’m going to make Cortez wear a helmet, naturally.

For me, one of the challenges of early sobriety was finding other things that I enjoy doing besides getting black-out drunk.  When you take booze out of the equation, you suddenly find yourself with a LOT of time on your hands – at least I did. Now, there were a bunch of activities and/or hobbies I enjoyed WHILE drinking that didn’t really go together well.  Like reading. I cannot tell you how many times I have read the first paragraph of The Girl on the Train. Every single time I would pass out or immediately forget what I had read, and then would attempt to re-read it, yet again. I don’t think she ever got ON the damn train in the scope of my “reading”.* Now,  I also enjoy knitting, as I’ve mentioned before, but often drinking + knitting = my throwing a tangled skein of yard across the living room in drunken frustration and blaming it on Law and Order SVU and not the liter of vodka that preceded my attempt at being crafty in the first place.

Now, my husband enjoys his sports ball, of course, and he’s an avid reader himself. We both enjoy hiking but rarely find ourselves with the time or energy to hit the trails on the weekends these days, if the weather even cooperates.  We were a boozy couple so that factored in to a lot of our free time activities, before. A few weeks ago, while we were making dinner, I got a wee bit dramatic and  started complaining about the lack of time we spend together. I had become frightened that besides happy hour, maybe we didn’t have much in common after all. Of course this is grand hyperbole on my part, but it is what it is. We drunks like to obsess and spin and repeat things in our heads and make them even more miserable and apocalyptic, if at all possible. I could envision us as an elderly couple at our breakfast table years from now, silently digesting our morning meal with literally nothing left to say to each other. The prospect terrified me.

He listened to my concerns, and immediately reassured me that I’ll outlive him by decades anyway, so really, I shouldn’t fret. While that made me feel a little better, I still felt uncertain. Fast forward to my fiftieth birthday, last week. We were getting ready to go to dinner and my husband brought out some gorgeous flowers and a card. As I opened my card, I could tell he was visibly nervous. Now, let me interject here that my sweet husband swept me away last weekend for a getaway in the mountains that included a hot tub in our room and a Yacht Rock cover band so I had already HAD a wonderful birthday, for sure. I glanced up at him and smiled. I was 100% sure that envelope held another ridiculous surprise, I mean, come on, it IS my 50th birthday.

Well, I was correct. It was indeed a surprise, and indeed it was ridiculous.

What that envelope contained was thus: a sweet card and heartfelt written note from my husband that put a lump in my throat as I read it, a 3-hour cooking class featuring tamales, and (separately) a course in CURLING.  YES, CURLING.  You know, that sport happening RIGHT NOW in the Olympics that no one knows anything about?  That shuffleboard-on-ice shit?

Yes, that shuffleboard on ice shit. Now, these are for us as a couple, not just myself alone, so that makes it even more outlandish. My husband often refers to himself as The Great Indoorsman and you could say his athletic days are mostly behind him. I enjoy recreation but we are typically NOT that couple.  You know that couple. The couple that strolls around your neighborhood holding hands? Not us. That couple that jogs together in matching North Face jackets and heads for a kale smoothie after?  NOT US. The neighbors that get drunk and blast Neil Diamond while shooting off a BB gun in the back yard in their pajamas? THIS IS US.

When the shock and confusion of it all faded away, I saw my presents for what they were; the gifts of a sweet husband only wanting to make his wife happy. A husband who is trying to listen and do the next right thing. A man that is willing to risk looking like a circus bear on ice, just for me.  I also see that they are somewhat self-serving, I mean, the man LOVES his tamales.

I know nothing about Curling. Well, not yet anyway. So stay tuned and give me a few weeks and I promise to report back, hopefully with pictures. Probably from the local emergency room. What I do know is that I have a guy at home that is trying. And so am I.  And that, my friends, is totally worth sobering up for.

 

*When I finally did complete reading The Girl on the Train post sobriety, I found it amusing and somewhat ironic that the Girl, herself, was an alcoholic. Figures.

The original F-word

Inside: Happy Birthday from your best friend.

Today I am fifty years old.  FIFTY.

And, just as my high school yearbook predicted, I’m an unemployed alcoholic.

I KID. Well, it’s halfway true.  I have returned to temping while I wait for someone to pay me for being awesome. Too bad I couldn’t have just been a temporary alcoholic, huh?

The card up there was given to me by my best friend Ben twenty-five years ago, today.  Ben died from complications of his alcoholism last May and it has left a dark and abysmal chasm in my heart.  I have no idea how I’ve kept up with that stained and tattered beaten-up yellow thing for all these years. (Ben, I am still talking about your birthday card, you jackass) This will be the first time in over 25 years that I haven’t received my annual snarky birthday message. I find myself absently glancing at my phone to see if I’ve missed his call. It’s been almost a year and his absence still, at times, takes me off guard. I mentioned this to a sweet and wise friend and she replied, “good days can be when we miss them most“.  The simplicity of this truth surprised me. Of course I’m going to miss him today. We’ve celebrated half of my life together.

I’ve had grand birthdays, and lonely birthdays. My high school birthdays usually revolved around ice cream, scary movies, and me and my girlfriends agonizing over some terrible quiz in Cosmo. By my early twenties my birthdays usually involved hitting the bars in Hollywood full force with my posse and then ending with someone trying to pry my drunk ass off the back of a stranger’s Harley. Of course, that was pretty commonplace at the time, anyway.  I’ve spent many birthdays at the lake laughing through the night with dear friends, and even spent a birthday on Alcatraz. Ten years ago today there was an epic surprise party thrown for me at my favorite dive bar of all time and I’m surprised I’m not still nursing that hangover all these years later.  Now, before you balk and get all Ralph Furley on me with your “stop whining for the love of god, you’re still a young whippersnapper”, remember, I almost didn’t make it to 48.  I arrived at 48 much like the space shuttle when it re-enters the Earth’s atmosphere – shaking violently with shrapnel flying everywhere and trying not to shit my pants.

Now, I’m not going to get all morose and somber on you, but I would be remiss if I didn’t admit that this birthday has a bittersweet ring to it. The joy in this occasion is obvious but what else is glaringly obvious to me is how much time I’ve wasted in those fifty years. Maybe it would be better reworded; how much time I spent wasted. This, I know, is a game I cannot win and it would behoove me not to play it at all.

Yet I do. It’s usually in the wee hours of the morning when the shitty committee comes out in my head and runs a reel-to-reel film featuring all of my mistakes, discarded opportunities and regrets. Often, it’s a double-feature.

Does everyone get reflective with introspective bullshit when they approach a milestone birthday or it is just me obsessing? Sometimes while driving I muse  about what could have been. What I could have done. Who I could have been. What could I have accomplished in all those years while I was so raptly and selfishly engrossed with my reckless and audacious lifestyle? I overheard someone once in a meeting say “getting sober is basically growing up in public”. One could concur that I, too, have a lot of growing up to do. So, I look at the past fifty years. What I’ve done, where I’ve been, and who I’ve become.  And here’s the thing, don’t get me wrong; I’ve had a ridiculous amount of fun – too much, you might argue. Memories dance through my brain like an out-of-focus montage. I’m ashamed of a lot, proud of a little and lucky as hell. So that begs the question; what’s next?

Well, I’m glad you asked. I can’t dwell on the past. Like I’ve said before, I’m really good at tripping over things that are behind me. No more. I have to forgive, starting with myself. I am not the same person I was and sometimes the best apology is changed behavior. I am determined to make up for lost time, and if I can’t do that, I guess I’ll just try to live every day forward trying to be grateful, humble and authentic.  If I can help someone, I will.  I mentioned when Ben died last year that I feel like now I have to make my life count twice as much, like somehow I have to live enough for us both, as if I haven’t already. I still feel that way.

So here’s to the next fifty years.  I promise you, Ben – we’re just getting warmed up.

All in the Family

Congrats mommy!!! I love you.

A post shared by Anna Faris (@annafaris) on

If you haven’t tuned in to the series Mom, you’re missing out. It features the powerhouse duo of Allison Janney and Anna Faris as a mother and daughter navigating the waters of newfound sobriety, together. In its 5th season, it’s amusing, touching and pretty darn realistic. Well, as realistic as a network (CBS)TV series can be, anyway.

Allison Janney is nominated for an Oscar for her role as Tonya Harding’s mother in the new movie; I, Tonya. Anna sent out this congratulatory message and photo on her Instagram. Their chemistry is obvious and part of me wants to squeeze in right between them and be BFF’s with Anna, while Allison schools us with her salty and sage wisdom and the three of us giggle over Ben and Jerry’s Phish food. It makes me miss spending time with my Mom all the more, although she’s certainly not getting sober, thank god.

It’s not Masterpiece Theater, of course, but it’s a fun romp and you’ve got to admit, sometimes sobriety is downright funny. Plus, I’m a fan of opening up all lines of communication when it comes to addiction, no matter your poison. If this show helps someone start that conversation, all the better.  So, grab a beer (ginger) and binge (watch).  Enjoy!

I have cavities older than Brittney.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday I had some errands to run just like I’m sure many of you do on your Saturdays.  Two of my errands were;  1. to purchase some ginger beer at my local fancy health food place, and 2. to pick up a crazy-ass specific light-bulb for the hood of our stove.  Lucky for me the hardware store is right next to our local fancy health food place.

Now let me pause right here to mention that if you haven’t tried ginger beer, I suggest you do. Now that my nightly martini(s) is no longer an option, I consider this my nightly “treat”, if you will.  You know, the drink you don’t drink with dinner, but beforehand while you’re puttering around  watching the news or multitasking and whatnot.  In most households this is probably a glass of wine or something else as lovely.  Well, for me, now, it’s ginger beer.  It’s yummy and spicy and (fun fact!) terrific for your digestive system.  Now you CAN say that about vodka as well except for the fact that vodka will sometimes clean you out but not in the way you’d like it to.

ANYWAY.  I purchased my ginger beer and decided to just bop over to the hardware store to grab my lightbulb without taking the ginger beer to my car first.  It’s just next door, after all.

I ran into the hardware and grabbed my lightbulb.  I placed the lightbulb and the ginger beer on the conveyor belt as I rummaged through my purse for my wallet.  I turned down a bag at the local fancy health food place because I didn’t want to take one for a purchase that actually CAME with it’s own handle.  The effervescent cashier at the hardware store was EXCITED to see me.  She was PERKY.   She was young.  I mean young.  Like basically a fetus wearing a name tag.  Her eyes lit up when she spotted my ginger beer.  I mentioned to her that I was headed to my car from the local fancy health food place when I remembered I needed my lightbulb.

She piped up cheerfully!  “OH. MY. GOD”, she gasped.  “Have you tried these with bourbon?!?  They are DELICIOUS!  You just mix the ginger beer in with some bourbon and then just pour that over some ice with a little lime juice and they are SO refreshing!”

*AHEM*

I’m pretty sure I looked exactly like this.

What I said:  “Really?  That sounds amazing!  I can’t wait to try it – have a great day!”

What I wanted to say:ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME, Brittney?!?  WHAT DO YOU KNOW FROM BOURBON? What do you know, period? I INVENTED that recipe, not Pinterest. It’s all fun and games, isn’t it Brittney!?!  One minute you’re doing an athletic (yet sexy) keg stand and the next thing you know it’s been THIRTY YEARS. I bet nothing on you has even THOUGHT about sagging, has it? I bet you’re wearing a neon thong right now, AREN’T YOU BRITTNEY? Why don’t you just give me my fucking light-bulb before I punch you in your snap-chatting throat?”

See?  Progress. I am so thankful that I no longer have anger issues.

*wink*

Stack a hat on the cat. Or a tube of toothpaste.

As a sober gal I sometimes find myself with too much time on my hands and thank god in heaven now there’s an answer. Why the hell would I go to yoga or take a cooking class when I can just stay at home and STACK SHIT on Cortez? Cortez is that cat that owns us. We are not cat people, mind you, but he didn’t seem to care. He showed up at our house three years ago on the eve of Christmas Eve to which my 9 year old stepdaughter exclaimed, “Santa brought us a kitty!” to which I immediately replied “THE HELL HE DID”, but obviously the joke was on me because now I’m the asshole who gets up every morning and prepares him his breakfast.

Sleep deep, Cortez. I’m waiting.

Click on the link below and enjoy;

The Art of Cat Stacking

YOU’RE WELCOME.