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)