You can be a good example or a great reminder

meditationBefore you roll your eyes at me with the preachy title, hear me out…

I am working my way through all the shair podcasts.
I love Omar, he such a cool dude. I love the way he structures the show and also how he asks his guests what their sobriety ‘routine’ is. As someone who was a dry drunk for a good few years, I know first hand that if you want to stay stopped for good you need to do way more than just stop drinking.

Stop drinking is a good first step but that’s all it is, a first step. No one on earth can stay sober if that is all there is to recovery. You have to rewire and reprogram your brain, you have to put in the work and do some serious soul searching You have to get honest with yourself and with your loved ones. You basically have to rebuild yourself from the ground up.

The people he interviews are in long time recovery and they all have something in common. Most of them start their day with some form of spiritual practice. This can take the form of prayer, meditation or just gentle stretches and setting intentions for the day. They also touch base with people in recovery regularly, this can be anything from attending meetings, staying in touch with sober peeps or volunteering. (I think blogging counts;)

Another thing they have in common is gratitude. An attitude of gratitude is key to a happy sober life but this is also a practise. Some days you will just feel like rubbish and that’s ok. I have been keeping a gratitude journal, and extract from when I was going through a really rough time recently:

1) I am so grateful this day has come to an end

2) I am really really grateful that I didn’t kill anyone and that everyone is still alive

3) I am so blessed to be able to sleep now.

See, that right there is still being grateful even if you feel like sh*t.

On one of the episodes, a lady was talking about AA and quoted an old timer that gave her good advice.

“ You can be a good example or a great reminder” I belly laughed at that quote, I don’t know why I find it so funny, I just do.

These ‘pearls of wisdom’ can also irritate me to no end. The rebel in me just doesn’t want to deal with it. I never signed up to be an example to anyone! When this becomes a ‘moral’ issue you lose me completely. I’m way to anti-establishment for that. One of the things that most alcoholics have in common is that they are non-conformist and this trait has served me well in some respects.

But something about that quote sticks to me like an old chewed up piece of gum. I think it’s the second part of the sentence that really gets me… I may not have signed up to be an example to anyone but I also didn’t sign up to be a walking reminder of what addiction can do.

I would rather have a happy life:)

My lovely is gone…

One of my blogging friends has recently deleted her blog and disappeared into cyberspace. I am really sad about this, I feel a sense of loss and bewilderment.  I am working day and night so can’t write a proper post about this, I will when I have time. I am so tired. I am functioning on very little sleep. Have to work while the work is here, I am grateful for it but it’s really intense working a full work day, then children and then working at night till 1-2 in morning. Think I need to sleep, I had to rewrite morning 3 times because I couldn’t figure out how to spell it.

Come back Jenna, where have you gone?


Blackout drunk

I had one of those vivid dreams where you wake up in a cold sweat.

In the dream I was driving my car on the highway in a blackout, when I regained consciousness my car was in a ditch and police had surrounded the car. I was very drunk and disoriented and the police kept shouting at me to wake the “f” up!

I got a DUI and they took my licence away. The worst part of the whole dream was the embarrassment of everyone in my neighbourhood and children’s school knowing that I’m an alcoholic.

I woke up drenched in sweat and panic, I checked my breath (in case I’d forgotten that I drank or something) and double-checked my surroundings. It was just a dream thank God! I cannot begin to explain the relief I felt.

I had so many blackouts when I was active in my addiction. I would black out and then be out partying for hours, walking talking doing crazy shit. I looked like I was there but ‘I’ wasn’t there at all. My husband could spot the sign of a blackout after a while, he said my eyes would get this vacant look and he just knew.

Initially, the blackouts were reserved for hectic drinking sessions when a lot of booze was consumed.

The last year of my drinking, ‘the scary year’ I call it, I started blacking way more regularly.

Generally, a blackout is described as a period of unconsciousness or lack of awareness when you are unable to recall what happened or what you did.

It’s the most harrowing thing waking up with no recollection of what you did. It’s like some shadowy creature of the night took possession of you. This imposter who would say and do really dangerous things, left in charge of the only vehicle you have to navigate your life with. It’s just ludicrous!

Those nights are consigned to the void, it’s time lost that I will never get back. What an utterly miserable pastime drinking is…half-consciousness, inebriation and blurry memories with big black holes in them.

I won’t go into all of the things I did or said when I was in blackouts; that would be a very long list indeed.

I will say that alcohol renders the drinker entirely vulnerable. Your faculties are all impaired so if you are out in that state you are a target.

One of the most amazing gifts of sobriety is those two minutes before you are completely awake…those two minutes used to be spent piecing the last night’s events together, desperately trying to remember what I did, said or how I got to bed.

These days I say thank you, thank you for not having drunk the night before, thank you for waking up sober, thank you, thank you, thank you…

Spending the first two minutes of my day in gratitude instead of regret and confusion is absolutely everything to me.