Monday, May 22, 2017

How The Heck Are You 5/22/17: Another One Of Those, "Life's Too Short" Posts



Can't really say how I am this morning, a little tired, a little depressed, but also hopeful and excited? I kind of remind myself of me when I decided to do something about my drinking problem-I feel beaten by my current circumstances and I am at the point I know I have to surrender this battle and I need to move onto battles I can win. Things have to change. "Have to" not, "should" or "I wish the would" they "have to" change. Without going into detail about what those circumstances are, I'll just say I am having more and more difficulty being happy, and I am one of those fortunate people that generally have a positive sunny outlook, so I need to go unearth that part of me again. So, we leave day after tomorrow to return to the states and I have made my mind up to embark on an exploration of how and where I actually want to live the rest of my life, or at least for the next year or two. Because life really is too short to live it unhappily.

I know this is very vague, but I'll keep you posted.

On that note, How The Heck Are You?

Friday, May 19, 2017

How The Heck Are You 5/19: Regrets Revisited



“The key question to keep asking is, Are you spending your time on the right things? Because time is all you have. ” 
― Randy PauschThe Last Lecture

I've been thinking a lot about my How The Heck Are You post from yesterday, and questioning if I was being honest about my regrets. The thing about regrets, is once you start tracing them back, wishing you'd done something different, it never stops. If I'd never started drinking at all, I wouldn't be the person I am now and I finally like the person I am now. Would I like the person I would be if I hadn't struggled with drinking? Would I be as proud of myself? Would I choose not to fight as hard for things I want because I didn't know I was strong enough?

See what I mean?

I stumbled across the quote above this morning when I was looking for the daily MM facebook post and I guess I would have to say that I wish I hadn't spent as much time fighting to keep drinking. Because, while I might have lived more life in the 30+ years I drank, I've grown more in the 6 years since I quit. 

But, then again, I realize I needed every one of those struggles and battles to come to the decision I made to quit.

See what I mean?

 So...ok, one regret-I wish I would have reached out for help earlier, I wish I hadn't struggled so long on my own because it was the support of others reminding me to keep going that kept me on the path I needed to be on.

Thank you guys, I love you.

How The Heck Are You?

Thursday, May 18, 2017

How The Heck Are You 5/18/2017: Demon Rum? Not The Way I Remember It



Some people who are vacationing down the beach from us stopped in for some drinks and conversation yesterday afternoon and stayed and stayed and stayed, so I got very little done that I had intended to get done. That's ok, because all the while they were drinking I was thinking, at least I won't be hungover tomorrow so I'll be able to catch up. Can't begin to tell you how much of a  difference that makes in the stress level. Of course, if I'd been drinking, I would have just told myself that getting drunk was worth it, because make no mistake I would have gotten drunk, then today I'd be full of self-disgust and in a panic because God knows how long the hangover would last-at the end of my drinking they could last a week-and I only have four days left to get everything ready to go back to the states...And, I can honestly say I didn't miss drinking for one second yesterday, never even thought about it even though it was going on all around me. I still find that a miracle after all these years.

The woman was a natural moderator-she had one glass of wine and got happy. I joked and told her, "You're who I wanted to be when i grew up" but the truth is I never wanted to be that kind of drinker, I wanted to be the gal who could drink with the big boys and tell raunchy jokes and shoot pool and scratch where it itches no matter who was looking-and I was very successful at all of that for many, many years-except shooting pool, I always sucked. There is a part of those years I regret-I now know that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't drink like I did and be as good a parent as I wanted-but other than that, which I agree is huge, I don't really regret the years I drank.  It was fun and I made a lot of good friends and i would have kept doing it if it would have remained fun, or for me, if drinking hadn't started trying to kill me.I have a problem with books or programs that demonize alcohol and tell us it has no role in life except as a destroyer of lives. I disagree. Some recovery organizations and recovered people spend so much time trying to convince us, people who love/loved drinking, that it's a horrible thing, alcohol, and all those years must have been horrible years no matter what they felt like when they were happening, after all that hell it should be easy to give up the demon drink, and we must recognize what a horrible presence it was in our lives. But that's the problem for most of us, we don't view all the time we spent drinking as horrible and destructive because it wasn't, not all of it, for some of us, not any of it was destructive but we recognize it might be heading that way.

Here is how I look at my relationship with drinking, we had a good time and when we no longer enjoyed being together and I recognized it was never going to get better, we were never going to be able to go back to what we were before, it was time to part ways. But I do have fond memories.

How The Heck Are You?


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

How The Heck Are You 5/17: Write It Down!





Pretty darn good. Yesterday, I stuck to Pierre's regimen of writing down my priorities and dividing them into 3 "hard" tasks (tasks at the top of my priorities) and 3 soft (tasks I wanted to get done but I could let slide for a day or two). I didn't accomplish everything on the list, but I completed the ones that were most important to me, which are also the ones that I have the hardest time facing. Not because I don't enjoy them, really, but because I don't think I'm up to the task. The hardest tasks are the ones in which I challenge myself. No surprise there.

It's amazing the power that writing a goal down has for me. So simple, yet for some reason, it grounds me and gives me a roadmap for the day, from the minute I write it, I know it's there, waiting for me to reach it.  Oh yeah sure, I used to write down "I will not drink today" over and over, day after day, and didn't reach it the majority of the time. But it was there waiting for me. Goading me. Reminding me I still wanted it.

Yesterday I reached my goal which makes reaching for it again today so much more possible which makes everything seem so much more possible. I find that to be true concerning just about everything, dieting, exercise, NOT DRINKING! If I can get one day under my belt, I'm off and running. The power of ONE DAY is amazing too. ONE DAY! That's all it takes to turn the direction of your life. I know it's schmaltzy and some people will say over simplified and over used in the recovery world but I'm calling bullshit on that. That which is necessary cannot be simplified too much or used too much. Today could be the ONE DAY that I'll look back and point at and say, "Right here, on May 17, that's the day everything began to change."

Today is one of those days when the world seems to be an open door and I just need to walk through. Tomorrow I might come up against some doors I have to push open or pick the lock on to get to where I want to go. Tomorrow I may not reach my goal, but I'll keep writing it down so I don't forget how much I want it.


How the Heck Are You?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

How The Heck Are You? Roster 5/16//2017



I have been posting almost daily "How The Heck Are You?" reports on the various message boards I participate on and I thought, "What the heck? Why don't I just share them over on my blog at the same time and give some of my old friends over there a chance to chime in with how they're doing too? Kicks me out of the guilt cellar for neglecting my blog and gives me a chance to stay in touch with the first community I joined on this journey. So here goes:

Been down in the dumps for the last few days and can't really pinpoint why. I'm looking forward to getting back to Colorado and the states and kids and grandkids and good beef. I'm going to throw a roast in the oven the minute I walk in the door, we can find steaks down here in MX and hamburger but I've never found a roast. I love the smell of one cooking all day in the oven and it's always cool enough where we live in Colorado that the added heat from the oven will be welcome.

All my kids called on Mother's Day. i know that sounds like it's not that big of a deal, most mother's kids call on Mother's Day, but on Mother's Day seven years ago, I spent most the day convincing myself that it would be okay if my kids didn't call, that I understood, they were busy, I'm hard to get hold of....then, I finally asked myself, "When did I get to the point that I was accepting of the possibility of my kids not calling?" How had my relationship with my kids reached the point that they might not want to call me on Mother's Day? It was on that Mother's Day that I decided no matter what, by the next Mother's Day, I may not be assured that my kids would call, but I would be assured of the fact that I had done everything within my power to return my relationship with my children to the level at which it had once stood, before I let my drinking convince me that it was ok not to put my relationship with my kids first. It was that Mother's Day that I decided that, even if I had to go to AA, my drinking would no longer stand between me and the things I wanted most, one of them being a close relationship with my children. It was that Mother's Day that I took my first "step." I wasn't sober by the next Mother's Day, but I had spent that year wrestling with my drinking problem with all my might and learning and repairing myself. It wasn't pretty, not at all. War never is. War is never won without losing a battle or two or hundred. War is only lost if we surrender.

My youngest son texted me this year, "Mom I love you more than you'll ever know. I'm so thankful for who you are and the mistakes you've made." I'm not sure how to take that. In one way I wish I was the mother whose kids didn't admire her because of her mistakes, in another way, as I replied back to him, if my mistakes made it so my kids feel like they can talk to me about anything, i'm happy.

That Mother's Day seven years ago, was a turning point for me, a day when I said, by next year at this time I will be a different person, a person who is doing everything she can to become a person she wants to be. And, a year later, while it may not have looked like it, even to me, I was becoming that person. This year I am making the same promise to myself. "Next Mother's Day, I may not yet be the person I want to be, but I will know I'm doing everything within my power to become that person.

How the Heck Are You?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Still Kicking!



I'm not really sure why I haven't blogged recently, I guess I could say my life has gotten too busy, that I had to let something slip and my blog is what slipped. 

And, that would be true. Believe me, I'm not one of those who got sober and then left all of this muddling about in the muddy recovery trenches for higher ground, I depend on all that muddling about to remind me that I've made it out and want to stay out. Telling others every day that I am sober, is necessary for me to stay sober. Because, believe me, if I thought no one was looking or noticing, it would be so easy to slip. By staying sober for others, I stay sober for myself.

So, where have I been?  I spend a lot of my time, the majority of my time, the cap'n would say, over on the Moderation Management sites. Between the MM forum, the MM listserv, mmabsers (yes, MM has a community for those of us who have chosen not to drink at all), the MM Public Hub and the MM facebook page. Oh yeah, and in the MM Abs Chatroom on Wednesday nights.

I'm not listing all of those communities to say, "Hey, look at me and everything I do." Instead, I list them to show what it takes to keep me sober. For me, sobriety is work and while I still marvel at non-hangover mornings and sleep-filled nights, those are not enough for me to stay sober. I have to stand up in my virtual recovery world every day and say, "Hi, my name is Kary May, I'm an alcoholic and I'm not drinking today." These online communities are my smoky church basements. Some people would say, "You've replaced one addiction for another." and they're probably right, but this addiction isn't going to kill me and if I help a few people along the way, more better.

I am also not saying that anyone else has to become or should become this involved in the recovery world to stay sober, some people quit drinking and ride off happily into those glorious sunsets never to be heard from again. And, that's okay. Not everyone wants to be career soldiers. But, I do think you have to find a replacement addiction, but let's not call it an addiction, instead let's call it a purpose.

Too many times we wait until something horrible happens to change our drinking. Too many times that is a temporary change, just until the memories of horribleness and regret change.  What if instead, we chose a good reason to make that change. A new purpose. 

Ok, I know. We all already know that is the best way to go, don't we? But we don't do it. We think we can pursue that new purpose and still drink. The thing is, until you have crawled out of that miserable muddy trench and off the battlefield, you can't imagine the possibilities are waiting for you. You can't. You have to take a chance and believe. 

There is something amazing waiting for you. A purpose. And as I told myself long ago, "I know that purpose is not to go through life as a drunk."

As is my usual form, I've wandered totally off track and I wasn't even sure what track I was on to begin with. 

Thank you, to those who wrote and checked to make sure I was okay. I am. I'll try to do better about reporting in and stopping by to see all of you wonderful bloggers on your own blogs, but one reason I could abandon my post here for so long is because I know that that there are so many other amazing soldiers out on this battlefield saving lives. Don't sell yourselves short, that is what you're doing.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Dryuary Countdown Special!


The book that 4 people are talking about! Available on Amazon for $.99 for the next 5 days.

(Holy Flying Shitbirds! I finally figured out (again) how to link a picture to a website.)

Guaranteed results if you read this book! (okay, you can't just read it, you have to do some other things, too. This recovery thing just doesn't happen by reading, although I spent many years just "reading" about it.)

Before and After Pics of one Satisfied Reader. (Ok, so I'm the writer too, but I bet I read this book more times than all four of those people who are talking about it combined.)

Before:

Isn't this a lovely tableau? That's my friend, Karen, over there singing her heart out-I'm pretty sure the song was Delilah, she always sings Delilah- and the cap'n obviously not very happy with me. See the bright sun shining through the window, it must be like all of  3:30 pm.

After:


This would have been about 9 months after I quit drinking-about a year after the previous pic.

Want some more?

Drinking:


Not Drinking:


Drinking:



I must have really liked that shirt when I was drinking.

Not Drinking:



Need any more? I don't



Sunday, January 8, 2017

Fly


I started off 2017 with such firm intentions of posting here every day, not my usual endless diatribes, just short-sweet, gratitude-filled post.

You can see how far firm intentions have gotten me. Just about as far as my yearly intentions to exercise more have gotten toward a firm body. I think I might be stuck in reverse.

I have been writing though and I have been busy, blah, blah, blah...

So as a cop-out. I present this post I wrote for yesterday's Druary Day 7 Post:

“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.”
- J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
Welcome to Day 7!
Can I ask you a few questions?
Why are you here?
Do you feel like you need to be here?
Or, do you want to be here?
Either reason is a good one, but, as two different points from which we can start this month, they have a huge influence over where we arrive at the end of this month. More importantly, it makes a huge difference in the journey.
Are you here to escape the pain drinking can bring, but can’t think of any place to run to? Has drinking become your only refuge?
Or, are you here to discover other places of refuge? Some place other than a bottle in which to immerse yourself?
For most of us, this month will not be easy. And, yes, there will be times, in the first few days, when we think we’re not getting anywhere. We might stumble. That’s okay. As babies learning to walk, we stumbled lots, but we got right back up, didn’t we? You might fall. That’s okay, too. As a kid learning to ride a bike, I bet you fell, didn’t you? Of course you did. I’ll also bet you finally learned how to ride a bike, right? Because you didn’t give up. No matter how many skinned knees or how much road rash you suffered. Because you wanted to learn so bad. Because the reward was worth every bit of the pain.
It is our nature to persevere, then, triumph.  Drinking can too often persuade us to stay in the stumbling stage and on the ground when our hearts keep saying, “Fly!”
We could use this month to just concentrate on not stumbling and falling. By not drinking, we will avoid the hangovers, the fights with our spouse or significant other, the invariable tiredness that dogs our days, the irksome guilt trips, the bewildering feelings of shame that persist no matter how many times we tell ourselves we’re no worse than the next guy-no matter how many times the next guy tells us we’re not that bad, to quit making a big deal of our drinking…All that in itself could be reward enough. We could even hope by just accomplishing damage control, permanent change will come.  Our bodies and mind might heal enough. As might our relationships. We might even enter February with firm intentions to drink less.
But, why? Just to keep from falling again?
Is that all we want? To just walk through life? Not fall down too much?
Or, do we want more?
 Do we want to use this month to go in search of something to keep us sober on Friday night because we can’t wait for Saturday mornings all year long? Do we want to rediscover what it’s like to laugh so hard we beg for mercy-without being drunk? Do we want to see what joys the evening can bring without all the joy being sucked out of us the next morning?
So, back to that question, are you here because you need to be?
Or, are you here to learn to fly?
Submitted by Kary May