And so the adventure begins. . .

No one has ever accused me of having too much patience and this is an accurate reflection.    I had to update this little blog site to what I felt was a more organized, cleaner, and easier to navigate version.  Whattya think?!?  Up there to the left there is a very visible and clear COMMENT button and you’ll notice some pages have been removed and switched to categories instead. There will be some additional changes here and there as we go along in the next week or so but feel free to suggest any modifications. If you’ll notice the NEW URL address above and would like to change it from the old one, please do.  If not, the old site will redirect you.  The new official address is thepartyissober.com.  There are also social icon buttons to the right of this post so feel free to share!

Also, the last header image was an image that I do not own so in the interest of copyrights and all of that business I felt it was best to go with a solid image of yours truly sleeping  passed out in the midst of a party on what may possibly be the most hideous couch in existence. I’ve seen better looking couches in alleys.  I bet if Benson and Stabler and the SVU gang put their x-ray jizz gun on that thing it would glow like a Lite-Brite.  I like that there’s a dude next to me that seems to be non-plussed by my unconsciousness as well. I’ve said it before folks, I put the ASS in class. The other fun detail here is that my make-up is still relatively pristine so that tells me that this was an impressive nose-dive and subsequent crash.  If I had to hazard a guess I’d say this looks like the aftermath of Jaegermeister.  Let’s leave my outfit out of the debate because clearly it was high fashion to wear black tights under ripped jeans in Hollywood, CA.  COME ON, IT WAS THE EIGHTIES, PEOPLE.

So, I’ve got some ideas.  Topics.  Steps and suggestions.  A monthly theme. Some swag!  I’ve recently been told that I’m full of SCHTICK and I need to start profiting as such and really, I think so too.  I mean, isn’t it time for alcoholism to start paying ME back?!?

This week I’m going to talk a little bit about surrender, honesty and powerlessness. Stay tuned, won’t you?  Just like sobriety, this is an ongoing process and I’m just glad you’re along for the ride.

 

Alabama Pines

Well, guys, I’ve held out as long as I can without geeking out on Jason Isbell. Prepare for the diatribe that could possibly spew forth from here on out. Jason Isbell is the real damn deal and while he’s earned his reputation as one of the most talented and lauded musicians currently alive, he’s secured his bar stool at the alcohol recovery table as well. Jason has been very public about his struggle with alcohol and very public about his recovery, consequently. We have that in common. I am known to say that I was a very public drunk so it should be no surprise to anyone that I’m very public about my sobriety. My husband was less than thrilled with both, but as the case in most marriages he gets on board when he realizes that resistance is futile it is happening, regardless.

This is an older song and still one of my all time favorites, but the most startling thing to me while re-watching this video was the mind-blowing physical transformation of Jason before and after he quit drinking. Now, I love the man and would gladly watch him mow his lawn in a pair of overalls anytime, but just for shits and giggles you should glance at another video, say “Traveling Alone” AND JUST LOOK AT HIM. Everyone knows that alcohol impacts us physically but it’s super hard to ignore in a before-and-after video comparison. My transformation was every bit as dramatic and I’ll cover that more in the new year, I promise.

I can’t get to sleep at night. The parking lot’s so loud and bright.
The A.C. hasn’t worked in twenty years.
Probably never made a single person cold,
but I can’t say the same for me. I’ve done it many times.

I hear he’s every bit a kick-ass dude as he is a musician and that’s saying something. I want to thank Jason Isbell for lighting the way for the rest of us following him on this path. Coincidentally, his sobriety date is also my birthday. One day we’re going to celebrate together. Probably after they lift the restraining order.

The present of presence

We alcoholics are big on gratitude and that’s really kind of a no-brainer, isn’t it? I mean, if you’ve been to rock bottom and managed to make it back, you’re REALLY thankful. Most folks I know in recovery are grateful for big things and little things and EVERY thing and I am as well but the more time I put between me and the The Trainwreck That Became My Life,  I am consumed my gratitude and will bend the ear (and gag reflex) of everyone I know and tell them all about it.

If you stick around recovery programs for a spell you’ll hear words and phrases used over and over again. Phrases like “show up” and “live in the present” and words like awake and aware. Drunks are infamous for not really being too keen on the present. In fact, rather than be present we’re often self-medicating by downing a pint of vodka in lieu thereof. Why do you think we drink until we pass out? Because we don’t want to feel what we’re feeling, whatever it is. Sadness, loneliness, obsession, anger, resentment, loss, and pain. For years I told myself it would be okay if I could just “get through” whatever it was I was trying to survive; like an old farmhouse where I felt like an invisible apparition, or a new family and non-familiar surroundings. Paralyzing grief over the loss of my Father, or relationships that were failed or strained. You name it, I had one coping strategy, and that was booze.

I still look through the old photos of the ghosts of Christmases past and feel the pangs of regret when I realize I don’t remember much about those holidays. Sure, I have some funny anecdotes, but more often than not I was checked out thanks to booze and usually ashamed of my performance and/or consumed with heartache from something I may have said which usually was out of insecurity or just plain meanness. Worse yet, sometimes I felt nothing afterwards.

This year was different. This year I was IN IT, for better or for worse. Of course when you’re present for the good stuff you’re also present for the crap and that can be challenging at times, sure. This year I didn’t just think about myself (for once) and kept my head (for the most part) out of my own ass. I cooked and cleaned and I helped where I could. I didn’t share every single thought in my head that was snarky and unwarranted and there was a time when I would’ve prided myself on how fast I could have torn down each situation, for nothing more than self-satisfaction and malice. Then again, none of my relatives are Trump supporting racist fucking douchebags, so it was relatively easy for me to hone my zen. I’m sober, you guys, not freakin’ Wonder Woman.

This year I got to spend time with people that I love and I did so without whining and grumbling about my ridiculous sacrifices or rolling my eyes at every comment. Was I perfect? Oh hell no. Was it easy? Mostly. It’s a change of perspective, really. When you’re constantly obsessed with the past and busy projecting the doom and gloom of the future, it’s hard to enjoy the here and now and that’s something I still struggle with and try to work on, on a daily basis. It takes practice, trust me.

This year I was present. This year I didn’t get rip-roaring drunk before when it was time to carve the turkey. This year I was able to laugh with my friends and family and enjoy spending time together because we all know that yesterday is gone and tomorrow isn’t a promise. All we have is today and when you really boil it down, what really matters here? I don’t know how many Christmases my Mom has in her and I hope it’s like 27 or so but the fact is, it’s a real number. It’s a real number how many days or years I have in me, isn’t it? Same with you.

I spent enough of my days wallowing in self pity and resentment. I wasted enough time being wasted, one could say. An old friend of mine used to remind me that it was easy to forget what’s important, so don’t. Simple enough, isn’t it? And that’s another thing I’m grateful for, the never-ending reminders of how it was, then, and how it IS, now.

Now is better.

The Ghosts of Christmases Past

The pic isn’t great quality but the memory sure is. Christmas Day 2005, I think. Ben, as per tradition, was visiting and also per tradition, had to ruin (or make epically better) every photo ever taken of him. Mr. Cooper, between us, seems to have a Christmas name tag or label stuck to his head. I’m sure we were waiting for my Mother to come task us with something or chase us around the kitchen with some sort of tongs. To her, Ben was like having another kid. Better, perhaps, as I bet he never asked her to loan him money or tried to move in with her in his 30’s. <ahem>

Fast forward to this Christmas morning and I’m so grateful to have had these two in my life for as long as I did. They both did their best to love and protect me, and I tried my best to return the favor. They are both gone now and my Christmases have a little less sparkle, but like the Grinch, my heart is exponentially larger for holding them both inside it.

Merry Christmas.

Christmas Spirits

So last night I went to a Christmas party hosted for and by my knitting friends and the lovely store where we gather. Yes, that’s right, I’m a knitter, and lately, I’ve even learned to crochet, so one could argue that I’m a hooker now as well. The party was delightful and it was so nice to celebrate the season with so many folks that have meant so much to me over the last few years. There was quite a spectrum of women represented (we do have dude knitters, they just weren’t at the party) and I’m often humbled that I’m even included in their company. Professors, stay-at-home-moms, retirees, working gals, world travelers, and more. Every single woman there was an ass-kicking superstar and I’m so lucky to be under their sturdy and strong wings. We often liken the shop to Truvy’s Beauty parlor in Steel Magnolias as it’s where we all gather and celebrate, commiserate, support each other, and occasionally we DO, in fact, knit.

Most of the gals in this menagerie know my story. Well, the cliff notes anyway. I assume they’re learning a bit more if they’re reading this little blog. NOT UNLIKE MY MOTHER.  Anyway, I had a choice (well, did I?) when the shit hit the fan in 2015 to be honest about my addiction and consequent situation, or to lie like I’ve been doing (mostly unsuccessfully) for the last 30 or so years. I don’t know if I chose honesty or if it chose me but the fact of the matter is that the truth was just easier.  Remember Viola Davis in that gut-wrenching scene in The Help where she confronts the ruthless Miss Hilly and says “All you do is scare people and lie to get what you want. Ain’t you tired, Miss Hilly?  Ain’t you tired?!?”  Yes.  Yes I was.

So, with that, I’m extremely fortunate. My friends and even most acquaintances know that I am an alcoholic in recovery. And per my nature, they all know they can laugh with me at my challenges as well as celebrate my victories, and that, my friends, is priceless. They know they can ask questions, as well. I’m “out” of the closet liquor cabinet, one could say. However, I totally understand that many folks aren’t and that the holidays can often be filled with anxiety ridden events revolving around alcohol. I know a lot of people that struggle with alcohol also struggle with turning down a drink at a party, especially those new to recovery. “What will everyone THINK?” And that’s a fair assumption because really, when we were drinking we definitely didn’t turn down a drink and who in their right mind would?!?  Well, don’t get your tinsel in a tangle, there’s good news. I’ve not been out of the cabinet long but one thing I learned quickly is this; no one else cares. That’s right, I said it. NO ONE CARES IF YOU DRINK OR NOT.

Now, this does not include active alcoholics because they just may give you some flack because your ability to say no may turn their high-powered accusatory finger back on themselves.  I hear time and time again where people are flummoxed on what to say when offered a drink. I was no different. Last year at this time I went through a ridiculous week of sleepless nights leading up to my work Christmas party where only a few folks knew my truth and the rest did not, and they were a heavy drinking lot. What will I do if someone sends me a shot? What will I do if the president of the company wants to toast with me? WHAT DO I SAY?!? And guess what you guys? The president himself sat at my table and when the waitress came by for our drink order I ordered a soft drink and. . . nothing happened. Well, something happened. The gal brought me a diet coke and we commenced eating our holiday dinner. TA-freaking-DA.

Now I realize it can be nerve wracking to some and it goes against the social grain to turn down booze at a party but more and more I realize that it is not about ME at ANY gathering. Everyone else is so consumed with themselves that they are really not focusing on what you have or don’t have in your hand to drink. This was foreign to me of coursebecause as someone recently said, alcoholics are egomaniacs with an insecurity complex. Another friend of mine in recovery laments, “I know I’m not much, but I’m all I think about.” 

Well, that goes for most people, I’d say. We’re all just doing the best we can every day and social anxiety and awkward holiday parties are just part of the package this time of the year. Try saying “no thanks”, it’s simple and it works wonders. You can always say you’re driving and most normal people will respect that. In my case I could never say I was the designated driver BECAUSE I NEVER, EVER WAS. I’ve told a stranger that I’ve retired from drinking, when asked if I’d tried a certain sangria.  That worked and even got a chuckle.

I was at a party a few weeks ago where a lady asked me who I was and what I did. It was at the end of the evening and you know how sometimes inappropriate things just fly right out of your mouth? No? WELL BELIEVE ME, THEY DO. I casually replied with “Me? I’m an unemployed alcoholic.”

She retorted, “Oh no! You’re unemployed? I just recently got a new job myself.” I shit you not.

Like Nancy Reagan said, just say no. Well, maybe say “no, thank you”, I mean, unless you’re dealing with a pill-popping heroin pusher after school and then you can probably lose the Miss Manners etiquette and run like hell.

And no matter what you celebrate, to all, a good night.

Kindness starts with one

This past weekend I found myself running errands and doing Christmasy stuff, probably like most of you. I stopped into a large department store and as I stood in line at the checkout counter I noticed the gentleman ahead of me. He was dressed very warmly and had what looked like a cart full of shopping bags. I paid no attention to his exchange with the sales lady until we were ALL listening to his exchange with the sales lady.  He was attempting to purchase a very large beer and had his wallet extended while offering the sales person his identification, but she was having none of it.

This got my attention. As I peered in closer I noticed that his cart was not in fact full of purchases but what seemed to be his possessions. The sales lady was an older woman who appeared to be very shrewd and very no nonsense. Her eyebrows were drawn on and yet they still appeared furrowed and angry. She was loudly refusing to sell him the beer and he was loudly exclaiming that this was complete and utter bullshit. Naturally I could see both sides of this argument.

Now, I am normally not a get-involved-in-public-conflicts-kinda gal, but in this case I felt like there was a reason I was behind this guy in line. I don’t know if it was luck or maybe it was God if you believe in that sort of thing. Maybe it was Oprah Winfrey for all I know, but there I was, directly between a drunk and a hard face.  She quickly glanced at me as she exclaimed, “I AM calling security!” to our apparently intoxicated comrade, who was still ranting.

“Hold up, I offered. I speak Alcoholic.”  I swear to god y’all those words have never sprung from my lips but now that they have I think I like it. One could argue that alcoholics have their own language anyway given the sayings and mantras that go along with recovery programs. And as luck would have it, I speak alcoholic fluently.

Since there were around six to eight people behind me in line, she decided to let me go for it. She had a situation on her hands, after all. She resumed calling security but gave me a “knock yourself out, honey” nod.

I placed my hand on the gentleman’s arm and gently turned him towards me. “Hey. Hey there, sir. Sir. . . please. . . please calm down.” I spoke softly so he had to stop shouting in order to hear me. The minute I saw his features I could feel his pain. It was palpable. His long face was craggy and hardened, perhaps by time and maybe weather. He softened when he looked down at me. His eyes were large and watery and he smelled heavy of alcohol. His hands were shaking as he held his still-open wallet. We moved out of the way and stood together in the busy store.

“I just want to buy a goddamn beer”, he said. “I know, I replied, “but she’s sure as hell not going to sell it to you. She thinks you’ve had enough.”

He looked at me sadly. “But. . . she doesn’t understand.”  And that part was certainly true. She did NOT understand. She did not understand that he needed that beer like a drowning man “needs” a life preserver. Does that mean she should sell it to him?  No, of course not.  Does that give him a right to disrupt a store and its employees and customers?  Nope.

We sat down on a bench and waited for security together. As we chatted, I told him I was a drunk too which didn’t seem to surprise him and I’m still processing that. I told him that I know how much it sucks to have the shakes. I told him about the time I was shaking so badly that I had to go down the stairs on my ass one step at a time. That made him laugh and I joked back with mock offense at his laughter.

We waited on the bench and security did arrive. They were kind to my friend and gently asked him to come with them and they’d help him sort things out. They helped him stand up and he turned to me and smiled.  “I do like your boots,” he said. I wasn’t expecting that and it made me laugh.  “Thanks,” I said, and we both waved goodbye.

With that, they took him away. He was quietly muttering to the security guards and they appeared to be listening and I think in the end, that’s really all he wanted. He wanted to be heard. He wanted to matter. He wanted to stop living with the excruciating pain his existence had become and isn’t that really what we all want? We all want to matter and be heard.  No one wants to live in isolation and pain. We need each other folks and it’s getting more and more imperative every day and I’m not just talking Trump administration-dystopia but globally. Like it or not, we’re one people on one damn planet.

When I awoke this morning the headline on my computer news homepage was “Little girl asks Santa for food” and there was a heartbreaking story that followed detailing a young girl’s letter to Santa and the subsequent donations that came forth after the story had gone viral.  Thankfully, it had a happy ending.  This time of year is hard and it’s easy to feel defeated before you’ve had your first cup of morning coffee. In that spirit, we can each do what we can to try to help where we can.

Can’t we?

I didn’t save him. I didn’t have any money to give him. I didn’t even point him in the direction of the local area mission. I just sat with him.

I was kind, and to their credit, so were the security staff and sometimes that’s the only thing we can do. So, if the opportunity presents itself, I implore you; be kind.

You don’t need a season or a reason. And trust me, it’s a gift we all can share.

Fun Foto Friday!

Posting this picture is almost going to be worth the shit I’m going to get when my Mother catches wind of it. Seriously, y’all. So many questions need answers and of course I’m referring to the picture above and not Kate Hudson’s new hair-do because I’m very conflicted about how I feel about that.

This picture is awesome on so many levels. The matching sweatshirts. What the hell with the liquor being the only thing presents under the tree!?! How did my Mother afford for both of us to simultaneously have braces?!? Does anyone actually drink peppermint schnapps?!? Did they catch the person that did that to my bangs? And speaking of hair is my brother actually wearing a hair helmet?

Let’s not forget the awkward but glaringly obvious fact that if my brother and I somehow fused together you would have Tommy from the hit 1970’s show, ALICE.

Merry Christmas from 1982.

Slippery Slope

I’ve said before that I’m no expert on alcoholism, I’m only an expert on alcoholism and me. In that spirit, that’s how this thing works, right? I share what I find to be helpful and then you can try it or pass it along or alternately think it’s a crock of shit and just discard it altogether.

Some folks wonder how it works with booze infused foods, or of alcohol served in other settings, such as Communion in churches or even “non-alcoholic” beverages. I know some alcoholics that will not under any circumstances ingest any type of alcohol, in any form. Whether it be creme brûlée or a Grand Marnier soufflé. Some argue that there is still a slight amount of alcohol in non-alcoholic drinks so by that determination they take a pass. When you’ve had the bejesus scared out of you due to alcoholism, the wise thing is just to stay away on all levels, if that’s where you’re at. I wholeheartedly agree.  However, I’m not quite as stringent. I personally feel that a creme brûlée will not send me screaming back to the sauce after ingesting one for dessert at a fancy dinner.

Then again, I do know someone that spiraled into the throes of a terrible relapse after years of sobriety due to Creme de Menthe over ice cream.  True story, that’s how it started and while that might sound ludicrous, it happened. It’s just the inkling. The scantly perceptible twinge that we feel in our essence when we think we’re going to get that elusive feeling of forthcoming euphoria or delicious escape. It’s an absolutely blissful feeling and I used to feel that way after an occasional puff of a cigarette long after I had quit.  SOMETHING AWAKENS you guys and that is the beast within every one of us that struggles with addiction.

So, yes, I have eaten a bourbon-infused brownie without knowing it was infused with Satan’s magic elixir and you know what?  It was fine. Did I rush back to the kitchen and shove the entire serving tray into my mouth?  No. Did I want to? Not remotely. And if you think I’m turning down creme brûlée, as in, EVER, then you don’t know me at all.

I am not that skittish about triggers or my sobriety, I thought.  Until recently.

Not so long ago I was in a drug store waiting to pick up a prescription when I was reminded that I was out of mouthwash. I scooted down the aisle and found approximately 27 different types of mouthwash.  Seriously, there was gum disease mouth wash and plaque prevention mouthwash and don’t even get me started on all of the flavors. Vanilla mint?  WTF?  As I perused the somewhat overwhelming selection I noticed some of the labels touted that they were “alcohol free”.  This got my attention. I had never internalized the knowledge that mouthwash includes alcohol amongst its ingredients.

Suddenly it was 2013 and I was 500 miles north in my Grandmother’s bedroom helping her make her bed after having washed her sheets.  I noticed that she had put on a rubber fitted sheet on under her real sheet. This was sad and troublesome because even though she was 104 years old, I hadn’t known she’d been wetting her bed.

Me: “Oh, Grandma.  I’m so sorry.”

Grandma: “Why, honey?”

Me: “The rubber sheet. I didn’t know that you were having accidents.”

Grandma: “Oh, I’m not,” she quipped, “but you know what they say, there’s a first time for everything!”

That entire exchange played out in my brain like a movie as I stood there in the middle of CVS. “There’s a first time for everything.” Suddenly I saw a montage flash before my eyes. . . it started out with me innocently brushing my teeth while absently reaching for the mouthwash and it ended with me passed out in public under feces-stained newspapers at a bus stop with my gums caved in and no teeth while clutching a one-eyed matted cat and a half-empty bottle of mouthwash.

The mantra is “to thine own self be true” and there are a few reasons for that. I immediately lunged for the alcohol FREE mouthwash and ran back to the pharmacy to complete my errand. I do know myself and I also know my sickness. Does it sound completely illogical that a grown-ass woman would someday think it reasonable to down three bottles of mouthwash to get a buzz? It should. But to me, it doesn’t. It sounds like it could happen if I let that insanity get into my head and start listening to the lies it tells me. For me to jump from mouthwash to full blown relapse SOUNDS implausible to every single person I know, save for the alcoholics who are reading this right now and shaking their heads in unison so vigorously that even I can hear it as I type.

Someone once said that while we’re in recovery, our sickness is outside doing push-ups and I believe that whole-heartedly. No one has ever lied to me like I’VE lied to me. I have a hilarious and precious friend who is also retired from alcohol and she succinctly sums it up;

“Today I wouldn’t take a drink if you paid me a million dollars but tomorrow I may just take one for free.”

 

And that, my friends, is the insanity of alcoholism.

You’re my obsession

I get asked quite a bit about what I’m most grateful for in sobriety and that can be a difficult question. Most folks I know are very thankful for their recovery and protect it fiercely and most of us have SO MANY perks in sobriety that we can hardly narrow them down. From small things, like always remembering where your car is parked, to bigger things, like not telling your Trump supporting Aunt to shove a pine-tarred dildo up her ass on Facebook. There is SO MUCH.

I could seriously go on for hours about how well I sleep and how terrific I feel physically and yada yada yada, but for now I’d like to expound upon one such affliction that often plagues the drunk and addicted.

OBSESSION.

We alcoholics are widely known to have a “thinking” problem and not just a drinking problem. I’m no different. The obsession that came with my alcoholism was absolutely stunning and terrifying at the same time. In hindsight I sometimes wonder that if I’d just focused all that effort and energy into something productive and worthwhile I may have stumbled upon a cure for Cancer or invented Alexa.  That’s how much time I spent thinking about booze. However, it was a slow progression.  In the beginning I would bemusedly sit at my desk at 4:30 pm and think longingly of a frosty martini waiting for me that evening when I arrived home. A treat for surviving such a mundane day. Or a challenging day. Or a great day! It didn’t matter, the martini was still waiting, like an old friend or an obedient dog. Always ready to comfort me and help me relax.

It didn’t take long for it to sink in deeper than just a passing notion. You know what I’m talking about, we’ve all been on our way somewhere and suddenly we’ve forgotten if we’ve left on a iron or a hose perhaps, or a lit candle in the living room. It is ALL YOU CAN THINK ABOUT until you remedy the situation and that is truly what alcohol became to me; a grand obsession. Would I have enough? Will the party have vodka? What if it’s beer and wine only? I’ll have to pack a damn flask. Will I have time to get a buzz on before the game starts? Can I drink a full glass of whiskey before the dinner party commences?  I HAVE TO HAVE SOMETHING FOR GOD’S SAKE I CANNOT GO IN TO (insert really any situation here) UNLUBRICATED. ARE YOU INSANE?!?

And so it went and let me tell all of you aliens out there that can drink responsibly and in moderation; IT WAS EXHAUSTING. It became not just a preoccupation, but almost a demonic fixation. It was draining mentally and down in the deep recesses of rationale I knew it wasn’t a favorable complex. I wasn’t stupid, I knew it was going to end badly, yet I didn’t care. I didn’t want to die, of course, but I didn’t really want to live, either. I wasn’t blatantly ignorant, just a raging alcoholic. I know the lines are nebulous at times, but there IS a difference. We bend reality to suit our addiction or maybe it’s the other way around. Someone once said, “we don’t see the world as it is, we see it as WE ARE.”

Of course it got worse. I would bargain with myself over day to day chores in order to reward myself with a cocktail. I moved happy hour up to 3pm instead of 5pm when I was unemployed. Booze ran my schedule and trust me, it’s no way to live, if “live” is even an accurate term. When I say booze owned me, I mean it, it OWNED me. Friends would ask me out to social functions and I would come up with lie after ridiculous lie why I couldn’t join them and the somber truth was that I couldn’t fathom being out in the world without my bottle by my side and let’s face it, finding a purse that holds a two liter of potato juice is a fashion challenge. And guys, if I did get caught out in the bright headlights of sobriety I was not happy about it. I would actually get physically restless and nervous about where my next drink was coming from. Very quickly I transitioned from someone who drank to feel differently to someone who drank to feel normal and that is when the darkness began to sink its talons into what used to be me.

From that day forward every day became about when I could start drinking and where I would get my booze and anything that fell in-between had to surrender to that shameful schedule. The social butterfly quickly retreated into a cocoon and we all know where that landed me – into a web of isolation and lies, and ultimately, into liver failure.

Now I am no longer shackled to that weighty and oppressive ball and chain. Alcohol had me in it’s death grip and it took over two decades for me to realize that the grip was becoming a noose and if I kept on that schedule, I’d eventually take my own life. The freedom that comes with sobriety is nothing short of exhilarating. A lot of newcomers to sobriety note with delight on how much extra time they seem to have now and it’s absolutely true. It’s amazing what you can accomplish and appreciate when you’re not blacking out, lying to yourself, or avoiding life on life’s terms, for starters. Again, I’m not saying it is easy, it’s sure as hell not.

But it’s so very, very worthwhile.