Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Some Worry, Some Faith

Dear Readers,
Yesterday we learned that Mr. UT will need an operation to remove a large colon polyp.
We met with the surgeon, and she walked us through what needs to happen.

The polyp is large and close to the top of the colon, so it has to be removed by surgery.
This type is precancerous, and as she explained, it can hide cancer cells in it.
It will have to be biopsied when it is removed.

She will try to remove it with a scope, but chances are, it will have to be removed by cutting it out, as well as part of the colon.
The colon will then be reattached. 

This of course can have side effects, including problems with bowel movements, and a possible chance of leakage where the colon is reattached.

I am nervous.
Mr. UT is nervous.
I have been through 11 operations.
Mr. UT has only been through one, his tonsils out when he was a little kid.
He will have to stay in hospital for about five days, and it takes about a month before he can go back to work.
The surgeon did not give us a, "Oh, I probably can get it with the scope."
She wants to be careful because it is easy to poke a hole in the colon, and that is another reason she would cut it out.

Mr. UT gave me the go-ahead to write about this, which is pretty cool, since he is way more private than I am!
I wish he could have the operation soon, but it won't be until early October. 
So this just sits there, in the back on my mind.
I know the anxiety we feel is normal.

All we can do is trust that all will go well.

With a lot on my mind,
Love,
Wendy and Hubs

Monday, August 22, 2016

Happy Anniversary to Us!

Our Wedding!
Dear Readers,
Yesterday was our 40th wedding anniversary!
Yikes! That's a long, long, long time!
Mr. UT and I are high school sweethearts, meeting in 11th grade.
We went steady for 7 years before getting married.
And here we are...47 long years later!

We celebrated by going out to dinner, golfing, and biking!
And eating ice cream!
I kept thinking we should be having a big party or something, but in the end, a simple celebration was perfect. 

One of the things I love about being sober, is that we are becoming more active again.  
We always used to go skiing, hiking, and camping.
We learned how to golf together, although hubs is way better than I am!
Biking to Minnehaha Falls 

Right now, my favorite activity to do together is biking.
I feel so free when I am on my bike!

When my drinking slowly increased, I found I was so focused on drinking or getting a drink, that much of what I thought about became, "When or where can I go to get a drink?"
Golfing became about getting beer. 
Skiing became getting a drink on the hill.
Then I would be so tired, and I would not want to do anything.
Friday nights became all about drinking.
Now, our Friday nights are about going for a walk.

We are, without a doubt, so much happier now that we are not drinking. This does not mean everything is perfect.
But it does mean we argue less, overreact less, laugh more, and love more deeply.

With Much Love on Day 718,
Wendy and Mr. Ut

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Happy Times

Dear Readers,
Last week was a time of celebrations.
My Cute Neighbor
It was my birthday, and I also celebrated 23 months sober! 

My birthday was filled with golf with a friend, coffee dates, a dinner date, and lots of love.
It was perfect.
I also did a dog walking for a neighbor's dog! 
I loved that! 
He's a cutie pie!

Flowers are filling my life right now. 
Hubs and I bought a beautiful planter, and I put vincas in it.
I also bought myself some yellow roses for inside the house, and I think that will be a weekly treat from now on.

Flowers!
I continue to work on my mind-set and self talk.
If I want the good things to continue in my life, I have to go get them.
I tend to discount the positives of doing something, and focus on the negatives.
I love to go a particular yoga class on Saturday morning, but when it comes around, I often talk myself out of it, saying, "It's too early, and I can't do it."
But when I go, I love it!
I see some wonderful yoga buddies, and my body feels good afterwards!

I can talk myself out of anything, because my first default thinking is, "It's too hard!"
I have been putting off writing this post, because I couldn't think of something to say, so today, after yoga, I just decided I would start typing. 

For those of you who are newer to my blog, I added a feature post that tells you why I stopped drinking. (It's on the right side of my blog page.)
I continue to get support from my yoga buddies and teachers, family, friends, and AA buddies.

I think it's important to celebrate this accomplishment.
Whether it's 1 day or 700 days, it's something to be proud of.
Every day I choose to stay sober, means I am choosing life.
It means I am choosing to make the world around me a little bit better.
It means big smiles from my cute hubs.
It means I am free.

With Flowers and a Fur Friend,
On Day 702,
Love, 
Wendy

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Pain

Just a Little Bass
Dear Readers,
Mr. UT was on vacation last week, and we decided to stay home and "play" outside.
We went golfing, fishing, canoeing, biking, and hung out on our deck.
It got super hot a few days, but we managed to still have fun!
We are lucky to live in a beautiful state with many lakes, bike paths, and places to enjoy nature.

Today my body is hurting. I never know when it will hurt, or how long it will hurt. 
To help feel better, I said a prayer to all the other people who are suffering with pain, and sent them healing thoughts. I went outside in the sun. I fed the birds and watered my flowers.
But most of all, I was very gentle with my body. I didn't yell at it, and I didn't get in despair.
I took some big breaths and moved slowly. 
When my body hurts, I know that I need to move. Sitting for long makes it worse.

I think of all the people in pain; emotional, physical, or mental. There are many of us.
So many people look for relief but can't find it.
It's no wonder so many of us end up being addicted to something.

Now I am not using drinking as a way to deal with my pain, so I am finding new ways to help myself.
For my emotional pain, I am learning how to change my thinking, to examine my thoughts.
My thoughts are not always true. I am also learning that I will be hurt once in awhile. 
That's life. It's not always fair.
I am learning that I am very loved, and when I feel my worse, if I reach out to help someone else, I feel better almost at once. I am learning to get out of my own head and act. Often I over think something, and that makes me feel worse.

To help me with the mental pain of depression, I am learning to do the same...to examine the thoughts that lead me to feeling depressed. I often over generalize those thoughts. My depression is often linked to my physical and emotional pain, so when I help that pain, my depression eases.

I have been learning how to deal with my physical pain from my yoga teachers, PT, books, and other people. Often, I need help with this, and I ask someone to meet me for coffee or a walk, so that I am "forced" to get up and move. Because I find that if I just sit at home all day, feeling sorry for myself, I feel worse.

Today, I texted an AA friend and told him I was going to the meeting. That makes me get up and go. I am always glad I go. I hear such wonderful stories of strength and hope, and it always uplifts me.  And just maybe, someone will hear something I say and it will help them.

With Much Love to All of You Beautiful Blogger Friends,
Wendy
On Day 691

PS - Thank you for your wonderful comments on Mr. UT's post!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Mr. UnTipsy Writes Again!

Love on a Bike Ride!
Inner Strength

It’s been a while since I last wrote a guest post.  So I thought it was time to do so again.  Mostly because I want to express my admiration for the hard work Untipsy Teacher has put into her new sober life and what that means for our lives together.

Untipsy Teacher is nearing the two-year mark since she decided to stop drinking and embrace sobriety. She has faced many challenges in the past twenty-two months, and I’m sure she will face many more in the future.  She has met those challenges head on and with each one she grew a little more.  She has grown in confidence and conviction.  She found a new community of supporters from around the world through her blog.  She has reached out to others in the community where we live.  She’s read studies and books and talked with friends. It’s a journey of discovery for both of us.  I’ve watched her deal with problems in her life which would have sent her into a downward spiral in the past, searching for relief from the stress with wine or martinis.  Now she handles the problems with a calmness she didn’t have before.  There is still stress in her life, there will always be stress in our lives, but she has learned how to deal with it without drinking.  Untipsy Teacher has always been interested in personal growth and self-understanding, sometimes a bit too much.  At times she would find fault within herself that really wasn’t there.  Causing her to worry that she wasn’t “good enough”, only adding to her stress levels rather than helping her grow as a person.  Now her introspection helps her find solutions rather than adding to her problems. Over the past two years she has learned how to begin to put things into perspective. Sometimes “a cigar really is just a cigar” and not a fundamental problem or flaw.  The process isn’t perfect, it isn’t perfect for any of us, but it is much better than in the past and as a result she is able to see these small problems for the minor inconveniences that they really are, such as deciding what to pack for a trip.  We are no longer making “mountains out of molehills”, such as deciding what to pack for a trip.  Did I mention that already?  By learning how to handle the small problems we are in a better position to handle the big problems that come our way.

Watching Untipsy Teacher these past two years I’ve learned that there is no one answer that fits everyone.  It’s not just reading sober blogs or going to meetings or entering treatment or reading books or going to yoga classes. Maybe it’s a combination of one or all of these. Each person is on his or her own path; using whatever tools they find that work for them.  I think the key is to try everything until you find what works for you.  It will most likely be more than one thing and it might not be the first thing you try.  The point is: keep trying!
These are the lessons I know Untipsy Teacher hopes others can learn from and by doing so, find their own inner strength.

With Love from Mr. Untipsy, 
(And Wendy)
On Day 679


Friday, July 8, 2016

A Shift in Thinking

Dear Readers,
On the Fourth of July, I was 22 months sober.
I realized that day, that my thinking has slowly been changing.
I used to say I stay sober because I have to...now I realize I stay sober because I want to.

I want the peace of mind.
I want the freedom.
I want the better life I have now.

I am creating a new life that I know would not have happened if I was drinking.
I am volunteering for a woman who runs a small non-profit that gives money for recovery programs and support. I have been searching for a volunteer position, but I could't decide on one. I kept myself open to new ideas, and when I heard this woman in my meeting talk about her job, I knew this is what I wanted to do.

I have been gently pushing myself out into the world, finding ways I can connect to people.
Meeting people for coffee has been the best way for me to do this.
I can hear people better when I meet with them one at a time.

In my last meeting, a man was crying, and after the meeting I asked him to go to coffee.
We have gone to coffee once before, but this time he was visibly upset.
He suffers from depression and is very lonely. I understand depression and loneliness. 
And so we just sat and talked, he cried, and I listened.

I also am finding I am laughing more. My friend and I went "coffee bar" hopping and we laughed so much! I am also more relaxed when I am with my drinking friends at dinner parties, and so I am having more fun!

My yoga community continues to be a source of happiness for me.
I am learning to be gentle with my body, and I am learning to modify the poses.
Although I can't go everyday, I have made friends with some of the people here.

I am finding more people who are in recovery, yoga teachers included.
A yoga teacher announced her 3 years in recovery on FB, and I know of several other yoga teachers who are sober.
I find so much support all around me.

I have been golfing with a friend once a week, and with hubs on the weekends.
I am not very good, but I continue to play, to be active, and to connect with nature.

I have learned that for my depression to lesson, I cannot stay home all day, unless I am in a very strong place. Otherwise, I must get out of the house.
I need support of other people to do this, but I am learning that because I am stronger than I think, I can support myself, too.

I finally bought flowers for my deck, and it is such a joy to wake up and see the lovely colors!

I also bought a bug!
Hubs thought I was a little bit nuts, but he hung it up for me!
I love Mr. UT so much!

With Flowers and Bugs (Mosquitoes included),
On Day 673,
Wendy





Saturday, June 25, 2016

Living With Uncertainty

Dear Readers,
I have been thinking about how to live life with uncertainty. 
I have no control over so much.
Things can change in a flash.

Living in this world takes a lot of courage and faith.
Courage to face the hard things, and faith that somehow things will work out.
(Now I cannot imagine how to do this if I lived in a war torn country, or other hard situations where there seems to be no hope. So I only write from my perceptive of being a white female, raised in a middle class family in the United States.)

It takes so much courage and faith to recover from an addiction.
We have to have the courage to face the fact that we have a problem,
We have to have the courage to reach out for help and faith that we will receive that help.
We have to believe that somehow, if we can stop, we will still have friends, that we will still have fun, that we can face life's problems.
We hear other people have done it, but we can't be sure it will be the same for us.
Somehow, we have to learn to live with the uncertainty of what will happen.

(I found this wonderful, short article on Courage in Recovery here.)

I think of my 91 year old mother, who just moved from her home of 60 years, and is living in a far away state with her son, in his house.
It is scary for her as she is uncertain if she will meet new friends, be able to drive, find a church, and just figure everything out.
She is facing this with courage and faith.

I have had many operations in my life.
Most of them worked, but some didn't. 
I had to live with the uncertainty of the outcomes of those operations, along with the courage to go ahead and have them, and faith that somehow things would be all right. My eye straitening operations, did not not work, and so I live with a crossed eye.
And everything was all right.

Last week at my mother's house, I learned that I have much more to give this world.
I am reaching way down deep to find the courage and faith to move out of my safe world a little more.
I wrote to a woman who helps others in recovery, and I hope I can volunteer for her.
If not, I now know I have the courage to keep asking to find a place that I can be of service.

I am strong.
You are strong.
We have the courage to face the uncertainty of life.
Even if we think we don't.
We must keep faith that somehow, in the end, things will be all right.

With Much Love,
On Day 660,
Wendy