Tuesday, March 21, 2017

No Longer Hostage

On Our Walk...The Beauty that Fills my Spirit
Dear Readers,
Alcohol was bankrupting me emotionally, spiritually, and physically.
It was holding me hostage, and slowly strangling me.
My goodness was being eroded, my growth stopped.

It was not the solution to the problems I thought it would be.
It did not give me courage, in fact, it made me more fearful.
It did not make me brave, instead it made me a coward.
It did not give me confidence.
It did not make me pretty, nor a better teacher, nor richer.
It did not make me happier in any area of my life.

It did not make me a better wife, sister, daughter, or aunt.
It did not make me think clearer.
It did not make me wiser or stronger.
It did not make me kinder, and instead made me angry and bitter, full of resentments.
It did not make me feel less lonely.

It just stopped me dead in my tracks. 
I could not move forward in anyway until I stopped drinking.
Only since I stopped drinking have I been able to look at myself with less delusions, and with more honesty and clarity.

I believe we are all connected in this life. When I feel different, or feed into my self-pity, I lose that connection. Everyone has times of feeling different, feeling fear and anger.
As soon as I set myself apart from this understanding, or as soon as I see my problems as worse than another person, I suffer.
I suffer because I fail to understand the much bigger picture of life.
We need each other, and we need to forgive ourselves and others.
We need to support each other, because no one can do life alone.
My 91 Year Old Mother, Still Strong and Lovely

Today at my AA meeting, I had an intense feeling of being connected to my fellow humans who struggle with the same things I do. I saw more in common than I did differences.
All ages, races, genders have the same human struggles.

Today, I am living and loving my life sober.
More often, I am able to forgive myself for my mistakes, and let go of my perceived mistakes.
I am learning that there is no perfection, not for myself, not for other people.
Now, I am able to give freely of myself, not only to other people, but also to myself.

With Joy and Love,
On Day 929,
Wendy

PS - We just went to Boise, Idaho, to visit my mom, who lives with my brother and sister-in-law. This visit filled me with so much love.



Friday, March 3, 2017

Obstacles

Dear Readers,
I just am so thankful for this on-line healing community.
Thank you for your support. I know if I post something here, I have a world of people holding my hand.
I truly love all of you for sharing your strength with me.
My depression has lifted, and although I am still sick, I feel un-stuck and ready to go!

I am so thankful for my hubs, who loves and cares for me in a way I can't even describe.
We met in 11th grade of high school, and dated steady until we got married.
That's a long time of loving.

I thought of this topic for awhile, and wondered what held me back from getting help for myself sooner.

Of course, my biggest obstacle was denial.
I wasn't that bad. I felt it would be horrible to be labeled an alcoholic. To be honest, I think some of that came from watching my dad's alcoholic behavior, which was not pretty.

Another huge roadblock for me was the fun/social aspect of drinking.
I felt that I was funnier, had more fun, and was invited to more places drinking.
That is something I did not want to stop.

When I was teaching, Friday nights were big drinking nights. I would have too many, sometimes starting at happy hour, and then lying to hubs and having a lot more at home.
Why? I needed it to relax. I deserved it. How else would I de-stress from the week?
This too held me back.

When I dug down deep, I thought of another obstacle...my ego.
I really felt superior to non-drinkers. I thought they were religious nuts or were boring.
This was hard for me to admit.

I think some of my drinking was a rebellion of sorts. Like a teenager, I said you can't make me do anything. I'll drink if I want to. I refused to see reality. 

At my AA meeting the other day, a woman said:


 What happens when you drink?
How is that working for you?

Yikes. That really cut to the core. It certainly didn't work well for me!

I learned, and continue to learn from the word "willingness".
I was finally willing to see past the obstacles, and face the truth.

With GIANT hug,
On Day 911,
Wendy

PS - Prim has a good post about willingness, and you can read it here!


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Guest Post By Mr. Un-Tipsy

This is a post about thanks.

I want to thank everyone who has reached out to Un-Tipsy Teacher over the past few years to offer help, prayers, suggestions or just warm heartfelt wishes.  All of these acts let her know that she is not in this alone.
Dancing The Night Away! (Well until 10:30!)

Un-Tipsy Teacher began her struggle for sobriety over two and a half years ago.  After several earlier attempts to quit drinking had failed, she realized that she couldn’t do it all alone. This time she opened herself up to everyone and began to write about her life with and without alcohol.  She invested time, energy and herself in her recovery.  She explored AA, Women for Sobriety, family, friends and read sober blogs.  She reached out for help in many directions.  What she found was a vast community of generous people who shared her struggles and offered hope.  She found support from family, friends and complete strangers.  I’m always amazed at the support shown for Un-Tipsy Teacher’s struggles from all of the many folks on the internet.  People who read and comment on her blog have had a major impact on her well-being and her continued success in maintaining sobriety.  As she reads other sober blogs about peoples’ struggles and successes she learns something new which helps her understand something about her own life.  She feels a kinship with other people.  She shares the joy in their successes and feels a loss when they struggle.  She is invested in each one of you.   Un-Tipsy Teacher looks forward to comments each time she posts a new blog.  She shares these thoughts with me and always yearns to reach out and help these people any way she can.  She has met many people at AA meetings and other areas of her life who have shared their successes and failures. This is the strength of the sober community.  It’s also the strength that is out there for anyone willing to seek help in their fight for sobriety.

Un-Tipsy Teacher found that the help is there but you have to ask for it.  She had the courage to open up her life and she received the strength and support that she needed and still needs.  The point is, if you open yourself up to ask for help you’ll find it but only if you are willing to work for it.  Recovery isn’t a “one size fits all” process.  I think that means you may need to look at as many options as possible until you find something that works for you.  It might be one thing that helps or it might be a combination of things but something will work, you just need to keep looking until you find it.  Once you find it, hold on tight and never forget why you started this struggle in the first place.

I’m grateful to all of you who have helped and continue to offer help to Un-Tipsy Teacher along the way.  It is this strength of community which can help all of us.

Thank you.

Mr. Un-Tipsy

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Depression

Dear Readers,
I am at my favorite coffee shop, where seem to be able to write the best.
My home is too comfortable, and I can distract myself too easily.

I have suffered from depression for many years.
I take anti-depressants, use a happy light, exercise and do all of the things that are supposed to help.

I am also suffering from a lack of sleep, now going on for over 8 months. 
I think this is making my depression come back with a vengance.
I am seeing a sleep psychologist.
He has started me on a strict sleep deprivation cycle which slowly resets your sleep cycle.
I am up to 6 hours of sleep a night.
I was getting 4 to 5 hours of sleep, so I am going in the right direction.
This takes a lot of time, but I am very motivated to make this work.

It's hard for me to read social cues, and combined with my hearing loss, it makes any kind of social situation with more than one person very hard. I misread people, and I don't always understand how groups work, which also leads to depressed feelings and thoughts.

I also get depressed when I am sick, and I have been sick for over 2 weeks.

I am crying as I write this, because I made a fool out of myself at yoga today, due to my depression and inability to read social cues.
But strangely, I also feel better just writing about this.

Writing is healing. I must remember this, and write sooner when I am feeling this way.
I often think I must have a theme or something profound to write, but I fail to remember that by writing about my depression, I might be able to help someone else.

I know that my depressed thoughts are not reality. I think depression is a combination of body and mind not in balance. 
To help myself today, I will go for a walk in the sunshine with hubs.
(We have some today!!)

There are times I just can't seem to control this disease. 
I guess I have to accept that as well.

And so I pray for all of the people who live with depression.
You are not alone.

Much Love,
On Day 905,
Wendy

Unconditional Love

Dear Readers,
Life has been busy lately, and that is all good.
Mr. UT and I both have colds, which stinks, but we carry on as best we can.
I have been having bouts of depression, and I will write about that in another post.

I was thinking of a young man in my AA group yesterday, who had recently relapsed, and is sober again. He was in tears saying how grateful he was that he had a group of people who still accepted him. He also said he was honest with a therapist for the first time ever.

How much does unconditional love factor into getting sober?
I wonder where would I be, if my hubs hadn't stuck with me through my attempts to moderate, or quit.
If my loved ones had punished me for my drinking, I am not sure I could have gotten sober. If hubs had divorced me, and my family refused to talk to me, I would have felt a deep, deep shame, and more hate about myself, but would it have helped me get sober?
For me, their love, encouragement, and support was vital.
I was loved and accepted despite having an addiction.

More importantly, I needed to be brutally honest with myself, down to my very core, finding all the hidden dark corners where the bottles and secrets were hiding, and bring them to light. 
I wonder if honesty is another form love, where I love myself enough to do the work to be healthy.

I have so much hope for the young man, as he was working through the denial that is keeping him stuck in the pain of addiction.

Each day I stay sober, I am grateful.

Much Love,
On Day 905,
Wendy

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Protecting My Sobriety

Dearest Readers,
For the Beauty of The Earth
Mr. UT and I went for a walk when we FINALLY had a sunny day!
We really love, hiking, holding hands, talking about anything and everything, and connecting.
It really is the best way we listen to each other.
(Well, we can't escape each other when we are out, so if we fight it's a long way home!)

I was thinking about how I protect my sobriety, as I never take it for granted.
I love a holistic approach, where all of my body, mind, and soul are respected and love.

Physically, I keep going to my yoga classes, as I find exercise so important in keeping me sober. I walk with hubs. I find that the peace of mind I feel after being out in nature, or moving my body with grace, helps me stay calmer and connected to what my body needs.
It helps me think things through, like a form of meditation.

Connecting with other people in recovery, helps protect me both spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. I go to AA meetings, and at my meetings I hear stories of strength and hope.
I share my story at first step meetings and that reminds me of how far I have come and why I never want to go back. We hug, meet for coffee, and I see all of these wonderful souls struggling with the same human emotions I have. 

My blogging world has protected me, immensely. The joy and pain we share, shows we are all human, and we really need love and support. I thank you all so very much.

By volunteering in the recovery world of opioid addiction, I have found a community of people who remind me every day of the importance of and the strength of recovery. They are so joyful. This protects me as this little bit of helping I can give this community brings me gratitude many times over.



Spiritually, I protect myself by praying, keeping a gratitude list, reflecting on the vastness of nature, and being open to feel the touch of God though other people. I pray for all the people in recovery who are struggling, that they find acceptance. I pray for all of those people with disabilities, that they find comfort. I pray for all the people who have pain; mentally, emotionally, and physically, that they find the strength, support, and the love they need.

I keep a gratitude list, and every night, I write one or two things I was so thankful for that day.
This is a powerful tool. It protects me by helping me see all the good in the world.

Nature always brings me joy, by seeing its vastness, beauty and even destruction it brings.
Here, I can feel the touch of God.

I have had several gifts this week, that I would describe as spiritual, or God working through people. They have only happened to me now that I am sober, because, I am open to listening, feeling, and accepting these gifts. People who have listened to me cry. Who have hugged me. Who have gifted me their wisdom and their stories. They touched me deeply.

Slowly changing my eating habits, is helping to protect me. My kidney doctor has helped me with this. As I have to eat way less salt, and drink way more water to keep more stones from forming, I am finally able to choose more protein, and stop eating chips. This keeps my blood sugar levels more stable.
And I have been eating an apple or other fruit for a snack. Of course, ICE CREAM has very little sodium!! 
The only problem with water is that I have to pee a lot more!

I am strong. But I am stronger with a huge support system around me.
If I am aware, I will receive many gifts. 


Today we had another day of sun. It was pure joy.
Laundry done, sheets changed, kitchen picked up, blog written, helping with a training for my volunteer job tonight, and coming home to lights on and hubs waiting to be sure I am safe.

These are my gifts today.

With so Much Love,
On Day 882,
Wendy

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

This is the Face of Recovery


Much Love Here!
Dear Readers,
I am one of the many faces of recovery.
The photo of Mr. UT and me shows the feeling I have of being sober.

People can and do recover.
I am no longer ashamed of myself and my drinking. I am very happy I quit, because if I had continued I know the consequences would have gotten worse.


Lately I have had some self-pity, feelings of being left out in a group, where I am not included. I acted out some of these feelings by crying and telling different people, (ones I felt safe with), that I didn't belong in the group. I felt ashamed of the feelings of being left out, and then felt more shame by crying to the other people. 


Dancing Sober is Super Fun!
It's hard to accept reality, and it's hard to let go of feeling like a victim.
But this has been a story I have carried for far too long, one I really want to let go of.

So today, as a strong sober woman, who is loved by many, I declare myself free of this story. 
I have decided to show my wonderful friends and family more love, to be less passive.

The dancing picture shows me at a music fundraiser for the Steve Rummel Hope Foundation, where I volunteer! I really enjoyed this night, and I even could hear the beat of the band so I could dance!

I am the face of recovery, one of many.
We are strong and courageous.
I almost forgot that during my self-pity time.
I almost forgot that my purpose is to show other people how great being sober can be, to help other people in recovery, and to just be happy.

I want to continue on dancing through this life, with all the ups and downs, with all the pain and delight, showing everyone that this is recovery.

With A Big Thank You for Your Friendship,
On Day 873,
Wendy