Back from Guatemala. Kind of unbelievable that I was able to travel to another country and stay sober. Ask me two years ago if I could do it. I'd laugh. I'd order another beer.
I keep receiving signs from the universe that it's time for me to start working on my moral inventory for my 12 step program. In Guatemala, one of the girls leading the retreat/group said that she (while not in AA and not sober) does an inventory every 3 months. Just cleans house. Makes a list of what's working, what needs improvement. It's not some huge list of moral failures – it's just a glance at what needs to happen and what already happened (positive and negative).
I think I get so afraid. I think of what I've done, who I've hurt, when I've been selfish, etc. And I freeze up. I already know I'm "bad" so writing it down will just solidify the pity party. But I don't really have to think of it that way. I can choose to think of it differently. Then, I went to a meeting last night and the speaker talked mainly of step four, the inventory. The universe is like, hey girl. It's time. Get started.
I've been a little slow to get back into the swing of life this week because I had very intense food poisoning while in Guatemala. One of the days I was literally vomiting from 4am to 2pm, every hour on the hour. Sometimes more. And then sometimes from the other end. It was really intense. I lost 10 pounds, like rapidly. I just want water to taste good again. My whole body feels off.
I also went to the dermatologist today and he gave me a slip saying I was diagnosed with "Acne" ... with a capital A. Like, lol. No kidding! I have topical creams to put on but they also want to do "surgery" where they make incisions in my face to open up my pores. And I alsooooo have to get my wisdom teeth out in about a month. The realities of my body. I feel a little bit like I'm falling apart.
I’m traveling to Guatemala with a friend, as part of a women’s travel group that’s focused on ethical and authentic Latin American travel. Like today. I’m at the airport. My first time out of the country (ever)! I’ve wanted to travel internationally really intensely for at least ten years but always had an excuse why it wouldn’t work financially or within my work/academic responsibilities. I don’t think it’s really hit me yet that I’m going. In hindsight, I’m glad I didn’t go abroad during my drinking years. I look back on past behavior, especially in uncertain or new surroundings... and I am amazed I am still around to tell the tale. I made so many erratic and unsafe choices while drinking. I’ve already made a few travel errors but I’m embracing it and focusing on the positive and what I can control. I’m feeling incredibly blessed, privileged, excited, overwhelmed, tired (cuz I took an overnight bus and damn we stopped a lot and a guy yelled at me for adjusting my seat 😂🙀😬), brave. Feeling it all. Also I think last time I was at O’Hare I puked from a hangover. Different times, man!
Very close to my original goal - one year without alcohol. This is the longest I've put a concerted effort toward anything in my life and it's pretty incredible.
I am working on making a moral inventory and kind of going through self-forgiveness. I have a lot of shame about how I used to act when I was drinking – and my therapist has talked to me about how to navigate that. With my self talk, I'm then able to say to myself - "You were doing the best you could with the tools you had at that time." And focusing on having regrets rather than shaming myself. Sure, I can regret a past behavior and work toward not engaging in behaviors like that moving forward. But for me, my instinct is to beat myself up and spiral down into why that behavior is indicative of all the reasons I'm not deserving of love. I go in waves where I feel connected and my shame is dissolved but when it comes back - it baffles me and hits me hard.
Very very focused on spirituality, living with intention, keeping depression at bay. I still have really low moments but it's quicker to bounce back.
I get asked a lot... if I'm going to start drinking again after a year passes. I have no way to be certain and I know relapse is possible. But I do know that I have today. I plan to continue on this journey one day at a time. It's been amazing so far and I can only imagine how much better it will become if I keep working on myself.
I’m sad a lot cuz have clinical depression and generalized anxiety disorder. But something that helps a lot is bathing, doing small tasks to build my confidence/momentum and reminding myself it’s just temporary and the low feelings will pass. Not drinking helps too.
Learning about how sex and sobriety intersect and how to be more chill about sex and relationships. Aka having sex for the right reasons and not freaking out if I don’t get my way / if there’s a miscommunication. I really value and trust my partner but my tendency is to freak out and shut down if I feel rejected in the slightest. Realizing more and more that I have a living problem as well as a drinking problem, and learning how to cope is the biggest challenge I face day to day. Just coping with challenges, relationships, emotions, daily stressors. I had really poor coping skills when I was drinking heavily, and I’m just now starting to really establish new habits and coping strategies / activities. Like the aforementioned bathing / self talk / etc.
Honestly it’s crazy how important sobriety has become to me. Like, staying sober is by far the best thing I do for myself each day. I’m learning how to forgive myself for my really dark alcoholic episodes and how to embrace the me I get to be every day. I get my life back if I stay present and stay sober. I love this gift. I love myself (most of the time). This is huge progress. A year and a half ago, I wanted to die. My hangovers were so dark and so extreme and so scary. I don’t have to live like that anymore.
I’m working on currently:
Decided I was done with weed in July 2017 and haven’t had alcohol since December 2016. Made a choice to approach things with total sobriety. Aka lost my right to any substance. Feelin good. ☀️🌸👽✌️
Working through a recovery program. Step 2 is about believing in a higher power and that a higher power can restore us to sanity. Going through a checklist of questions about my religious / spiritual upbringing – i realize there’s a lot of disconnection and fear in my former relationship with God / any sort of higher power.
I’m really interested in how others cultivate a spiritual practice in and out of AA. And especially outside of organized religion.
The most important things I do all day:
1) not drink
2) focus on being present
I still have a very hard time coping with the concept of an ex not caring about me anymore. When I was with my ex, I was feeling pain from a PREVIOUS ex’s rejection. I’m coming to understand that it’s more of a cycle of codependent tendencies, rather than an emphasis on any individual. It has virtually nothing to do with wanting to be with them, more just feeling insecure about perceived rejection or loss. Even losing people who abused or abandoned me gives me great pain, presently, if I think too hard on it. I have to make a conscious effort each day to stay present. Live in the moment. Deeply accept the reality of right now. Right now is so beautiful. I want to be open to surprises and love and hope and trust. I trust the universe to bring good things.
I shared a story that I wrote in college on here a few days ago but had to take it down because I felt way too vulnerable and exposed and unsafe. If you have had scary experiences with drinking and intimacy, hit me up - I’d be happy to talk through it with you. I just couldn’t leave the whole story and the details of an assault experience on here. It just felt too scary. And I don’t know who all reads this. So, I took it down but I’m here to talk. Always.
In related news...
It's easy to feel shame about my past and how drinking affected my sexual and romantic history. My inability to emotionally connect for years made me feel like I was different or bad. It still does make me feel that way, if I think too hard or think myself into circles. I think it's easy to get caught up in anxiety about it all.
Alcohol was a huge part of how I was able to feel 'okay' with intimacy. It was an element of my disease. I think that as I work through my recovery more, I can really examine all this and work toward full healing. A lot of the guys I was with, I did care about deeply. I just had a hard time expressing it and I had a hard time really allowing myself to feel pleasure or feel worthy of love/adoration/good things. I think alcoholism contributed to that and also just immaturity and inexperience. It's hard to say.
I think there's just an intense shame and anxiety that comes with sharing my past, because there's a fear that a man might read my words and blame me for being assaulted or other forms of not believing me. As a woman, it’s like I’m not conditioned to believe my gut.
Anyway, I'm growing. I'm staying sober. I'm doing my best to live with honesty, vulnerability and strength. I can only go forward.