I feel terribly guilty. I have been reading your wonderful blog posts and comments but I have been in the trenches and too exhausted to write anything meaningful here. I am adjusting to being back in my classroom and I am beginning to feel more human at the end of each day. Many wonderful, frightening and life affirming things have happened over the last two weeks. Below is a brief (though probably poorly written) overview:
1. I came out of the alcoholic “closet” in my department at school. When I told my beloved colleagues that I was in “recovery,” one of my favorite people was briefly confused and thought I had suffered a cancer scare. They were all very understanding and I feel really well supported.
2. A good friend, who is also a colleague and mentor, gave me some really straight up feedback on how I was perceived last year at work. I thought I was successfully hiding my increasing descent into hardcore alcoholism but mostly it just appeared I wasn’t as good at my job or as passionate about teaching as I had been. This made me incredibly sad for a little while, but I decided to look at it as an opportunity.
3. I reached and coasted past 60 days. My new AA buddies made a big deal at my Friday meeting. A really good friend made a cake and gave me a beautiful angel statue. I feel more at peace and healthier every single day. Things are so much better at 60 than they were at 30 days. I still have shitty moments and shitty days but overall, I feel better than I have in years.
4. My husband and I have had several really powerful and reflective talks about our collective and individual alcoholism. We are doing a good job (most days) of being powerful allies to one another.
5. I had some friends over for dinner. This seems small, but sober entertaining was a huge milestone for me and makes me feel infinitely more human.
6. I have realized that I am soooo much better at my job and better at balancing my job and family sober. The difference is truly staggering.
That is all I have for now. It is 10PM and I am actually tired (finally!!!). Night, night. 🙂
Back to work this week. Cognitively, I am at a very, “fire bad, tree pretty” place, at the moment. I will write more later.
(Part 1 of this was posted on the BFB FB page, as well. Sorry if it is redundant).
Part One, 6PM: Holy hell!!! Today was ROUGH. I got voicemail from my grandmother at work in which she demanded that I come to the nursing home right away so we could talk about “things.” I left work early to go see her before a hair appointment. I get to the nursing home and it is fucking (sorry) happy hour (fucking, really?) and my grandmother, instead of sitting with other people like a normal damn person, is seated at the makeshift bar by herself (not even drinking!). I had to sit next to an open can of beer and open bottles of wine while I tried to figure out what was going on with my grandmother. And….she couldn’t remember why she called!!! Next, the activity director tried to hard sell me on free booze and cheese. I told G I had to go. I was about to crawl out of my skin.
I went to my hair appointment early. When I walked in, my hairdresser offered me a glass of wine (fuck!). I shuttered and said “no.” I realized it wasn’t the nicest refusal so I told her I was in recovery (I have known her for over a decade and honestly adore her, despite the following). She was completely shocked but mildly supportive (Good…for…you… Really). She made some comment about having the same problem years ago and having to “cut back” (Fuck you!!) Then she made a comment about an ex boyfriend who had a drug problem stating that she thought getting over addiction really just came down to willpower (after all, that was what worked for her). (Double fuck you!) Then she asked me if I had lost a lot of friends (WTF?). I am never leaving the house or speaking with anyone outside of my immediate family ever again. Ok, maybe I will just go to my Friday AA meeting, but after that- I am becoming a sober fucking hermit (sorry for all the f-bombs, it has been that kind of a day).
Part Two, 10PM:
So, I went to my AA meeting. Man, I really like this meeting. It feels very homey. I like the people, I like the vibe, I like the location and despite the fact that it is in a church, it is less God- centered than the others in town. I was a little panicked when I got there and even more panicked when a student of mine walked in to sit with his mom. Shit! But I listened to some stories, ate some birthday cake and calmed the fuck down. I had decided that I was going to share my story before I even got there (a plan I almost scrapped after I saw my student there but ultimately decided to go for it anyhow). I think I am kind of dating this meeting. It was perfect because the topic was ‘forces that keep us sober.’ Today, knowing I had my meeting was a great comfort, so I talked about that. After I shared another guy shared and then mentioned he couldn’t chair a meeting he was scheduled to chair at the end of the month. I am a chronic over helper. (Is there a support group for that?) No one volunteered so little helper me chimed right up and volunteered. The woman who was chairing the meeting looked a bit uncertain and said we could chat after the meeting. I knew I had made a tactical error almost as soon as the words were out of my mouth. After the meeting, a guy came over and somewhat awkwardly told me what I already suspected: I need a year before I can chair. Oh, but he felt it necessary to further explain how I needed to be deemed worthy of delivering the ‘AA message.’ He kept going on and on (I totally got it at, “you need a year” ponytail dude) about all of the things I needed to do or accomplish before I could take on this responsibility. I was beginning to feel really unwelcome in this little meeting. I was also starting to get a little pissed. I gently interrupted him and apologized for volunteering out of turn, grabbed my stuff and scurried out. For about an hour after the meeting, the pissed feeling stuck around. Wolfie also tried squeeze in a comment or two. (Fuck you, Wolfie! I am not in the fucking mood for your bullshit right now!). After some reflection, I have decided that I am not giving up on AA or on the meeting I like (though I really wanted to for a little while there), but I will likely steer way clear of self-righteous, ponytail dude. I am also not going to beat myself up for making an innocent mistake.
You know what else? I had this super shitty afternoon/evening but I got through it. I am going to go to bed soon, I will sleep like a baby (b/c I am freaking exhausted) and I will wake up tomorrow without a hangover, shame or otherwise. NIght, night. 🙂
Awesome post from the Soberista site. 🙂 An AF ‘cheers’ to you.
In recent years there has been a notable rise of the Soberista, and I’m not just talking about Soberistas.com. Numerous celebrities have opened up about their decision to become non-drinkers and various media worldwide have picked up on the early indications of a wider sea change in people’s attitudes towards alcohol and whether or not they wish to consume it in the same destructive way, something that has become the norm in many parts of the world.
We are used to reading about celebrities who pop into an exclusive rehab for a few weeks after one too many shots of them being completely out of it have appeared in the tabloids, their car crash lifestyle spilled out for all to see and the subsequent visit to some remote clinic or other becoming common knowledge. But in the last few years there have also been stories in the press about people such as…
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