Life is hard even without the drink. It’s how we choose to experience our life that creates our reality.

My four year anniversary of sobriety is coming up on March 8. I haven’t had a drink, a drug, nyquil, painkillers, or any other kind of mood altering substance in 4 years. People mark their sobriety in different ways, but I also really hate cold medicine so it’s been drug free as well.

Four years ago, I thought my life was hard because I drank a lot of wine and literally couldn’t show up for life. But after four years of living life on the straight edge, I can report back that life is hard in general. There are these amazing highs and then some pretty sad lows. You gain things, you lose them. You fall in love with someone you want to spend the rest of your life with but get fired from your dream job in the process. It’s a series of tradeoffs. I am one of those people that strives to find meaning and the lesson in every single experience but when I look back over the past year, I see the sum of my experiences as being necessary to find myself in a relationship and finally come to terms with the fact that I have an overwhelming need for the people in my life. Because throughout everything, it was really the people that brought me back to life. The last time I was unemployed was 2006 and I drank myself into a hole that year. Being unemployed sober is a much different place.

Things I went through over the past year without a drink:

-On my anniversary last year, I found out I was getting fired from a job that I loved. I was asked to stay at my job for an extra three months knowing that they were firing me and there was nothing I could do about it. I officially lost my dream job two days after my 33rd birthday.
-I fell in love for the first time in my life.
-I have been unemployed for the past nine months and been on about 15 interviews, 5 of those were 2nd and 3rd interviews. Three times, I was told that I was the final candidate only to find out I wasn’t.
-I ran out of money and couldn’t pay my rent or bills for a couple of months.
-I took a couple of vacations with my boyfriend. This is scary in the fact that I have been unemployed and also never taken a vacation with a man. It’s fucking hard.
-I introduced my boyfriend to my family and he loves them despite my complicated history with them.
-I told a man I loved him for the first time ever and he didn’t say it back until about 3 months later. I took a chance and was rejected the first time but I hung in there and waited for him to develop his feelings.
-Doing nothing for the past nine months. Feeling a sense of loss over not having a career. My life has been pretty stalled and I literally sat in my apartment and stared at my wall for three months.
-I learned how to need people, how to let friends in and ask for help.
-After applying to the same organization and interviewing for 9 months, I accepted a new job two weeks ago.
-I started looking into my issues with money and people including my own self-worth. It’s been a pretty painful process but I am ready for my life to change on a fundamental level.
-Learning how to take care of myself in a relationship. When we first got together, I abandoned my life for his but slowly over time it’s all been coming together.

My real take away from this past year of loss is that I create my life. I didn’t gain any physical assets or money but I learned a lot about me, what I need and how to be in a healthy, vulnerable and intimate relationship with another person.

I lost my job and had to give up a lot of things that I loved but I also got to take time off and recharge. I slept in a lot and fell in love. Falling in love feels like you are going insane, it was nice having time off to process a lot of the fear and triggers that came up for me getting into a relationship. My life had to get really small in order for me to step into my own power.

My only real goal for the next year is to live in the present moment. I have spent a lot of my sobriety working towards goals and things without really enjoying my life. I want to know what it feels like to just enjoy life without constantly working towards the next big thing.

peterwknox

Phil Hoffman and I had two things in common. We were both fathers of young children, and we were both recovering drug addicts. Of course I’d known Phil’s work for a long time — since his remarkably perfect film debut as a privileged, cowardly prep-school kid in Scent of a Woman — but I’d never met him until the first table read for Charlie Wilson’s War, in which he’d been cast as Gust Avrakotos, a working-class CIA agent who’d fallen out of favor with his Ivy League colleagues. A 180-degree turn.

On breaks during rehearsals, we would sometimes slip outside our soundstage on the Paramount lot and get to swapping stories. It’s not unusual to have these mini-AA meetings — people like us are the only ones to whom tales of insanity don’t sound insane. “Yeah, I used to do that.” I told him I felt lucky because I’m squeamish and can’t handle needles. He told me to stay squeamish. And he said this: “If one of us dies of an overdose, probably 10 people who were about to won’t.” He meant that our deaths would make news and maybe scare someone clean.

So it’s in that spirit that I’d like to say this: Phil Hoffman, this kind, decent, magnificent, thunderous actor, who was never outwardly “right” for any role but who completely dominated the real estate upon which every one of his characters walked, did not die from an overdose of heroin — he died from heroin. We should stop implying that if he’d just taken the proper amount then everything would have been fine.

He didn’t die because he was partying too hard or because he was depressed — he died because he was an addict on a day of the week with a y in it. He’ll have his well-earned legacy — his Willy Loman that belongs on the same shelf with Lee J. Cobb’s and Dustin Hoffman’s, his Jamie Tyrone, his Truman Capote and his Academy Award. Let’s add to that 10 people who were about to die who won’t now.

Aaron Sorkin's obituary for Philip Seymour Hoffman in Time (via popculturebrain)
Being in recovery means you get to be a part of this somewhat secret society that other people just don’t understand. Sometimes I wish I could share the things I hear in a meeting or the things people are saying about PSH but I will say this- he did not die in vain, his legacy is keeping a lot of people sober this week. He also apparently touched the lives of many in a way that only another alcoholic would understand.

I will have 4 years on March 8th and I still try to make a meeting every day because my disease is insidious. It wants me to drink and die. My crazy brain wants me to escape daily and because of my program, I can not only show up but I can feel my feelings and connect with other people. Being sober is a daily choice and sometimes it’s not an easy choice. I respect that so many “normies” are trying to understand what could have happened to PSH because a couple of years ago, we would have swept his under the rug and his death would have been ruled publicly for “health issues such as heart failure.” This is if nothing else is progress that we can have a thoughtful dialogue. I have never felt so supported nor accepted by the people in my life as I do now.

Being sober is so worth it. A friend the other day asked me why I don’t drink anymore and I told her this, because when I start drinking, I can’t stop. I will literally drink my life into a hole and stay there. And today, I have a life and relationships because I don’t drink. If I pick up, I lose everything, including myself. Today is a good day to live. AA was the last stop on the train for me and the first step towards everything.

Writing for Perception…

Sometimes I like to go back and reread what I just posted and having now read it over 5 times, I think I am going to be okay.  By writing my darkest thoughts down, I found that little shimmer of hope.  I am really blessed to have so many amazing people in my life, I haven’t had to go through this alone- at any point.  I think that’s where the miracle lies. 

Anyways, I hope it helps someone.  

2014 Resolution: Self-Discovery

Falling in love and being in a relationship is not all that.  Trying to balance self and the other person is hard.  I feel like I came to the end of 2013 extremely lost.  I had given up all these personal pursuits for the sake of another person.  It wasn’t that he asked me to, it was that as a woman, I just did.  Sometimes I feel like our brain chemistry gets so fucked up.  We are literally powerless unless we take affirmative action.  I found myself taking action towards him and compromising on things I never thought I would.  Treading that line between love and codependency is hard.

I asked my boyfriend to come to a 2014 bowl burning ceremony with me two weeks ago so that we could come into this new year fresh with new goals.  He was sick.  After I got over my initial upset, I realized that I was meant to be in that seat at that service alone.  With that intention in mind, I made it my goal to make 2014 about me.  In whatever form that takes.  I want to do things I have never done before, expand my limitations and see where life takes me.  

New year, new me.  The only way to find the path is to try and fail.  It’s this weird realization I have come to over the course of being unemployed and without a backup plan.

noraleah

noraleah:

peterwknox:

Oh boy, here we go.

Wait, am I missing something?

Never made it past Day 16 or so, found it very boring and moreover, bore absolutely zero resemblance to dating, or love, or sex, or anything I’ve experienced. (And truthfully, I only made it that far ‘cause I knew so many of you loved it — I figured there had to be SOMEthing there. Er … not for me.)

But then, 

I find most things that “Hollywood” makes to be rather boring.

So.

Yeah, makes sense.

Congrats, savvy strangers!

You did It!

(via italicsmine)

I hate this blog/experiment so much.  I have been reading it and it seriously rubs me the wrong way each day.  I am newly in a relationship- eight months and counting.  And in that time, I have learned a lot of things about myself and relationships in general.  First off, the girl kind of strikes me as a fantasy/love addict type who has codependency tendencies.  The guy is your typical “I had one bad breakup in my early 20s and now I am afraid of all intimacy” emotionally stunted arrested development commitment phobic NYC guy.  These two do not need couples therapy, they need individual therapy to work on their attachment issues.  Relationships are no fucking joke.  Being in my first LTR, I have literally had to confront and work through ever issue I have ever had.  I think it’s kind of a joke that these two created this site and are essentially acting out our their shit on each other.  40 days is not how long it takes to find yourself committed.  The first 60 are just about getting to know each other.  After you decide to become official, the next 90 days are where the real relationship begins.  And if it works, every day is this new opportunity to wake up and recommit myself to this person who essentially might never change.  My boyfriend and I work hard to balance our personal lives with the time we share with each other.  We support each other as we each work on ourselves, sometimes our paths overlap but others, he goes through things I have no understanding of.  

Through this experience, I have read a lot of books on how relationships work, what makes a successful relationship and applied those in my daily life.  This is the best advice I have gotten thus far.  In each relationship, there’s you, the other person and the relationship.  It’s like a three legged stool.  You have 2/3, the other person has 2/3 and the relationship has 2/3.  In order for the relationship to have 2/3, you and the other person put in a 1/3.  So while, 1/3 of yourself goes into the relationship, you keep the other 2/3 for yourself- working on you, what you want out of life, where you want to go.  And at the end of the day, after you go through your respective lives, you and the other person come together to support and soothe each other.  

It just feels like such a joke that these two are doing this.  My therapist once said to me that if I really wanted a boyfriend, I would have one.  And you know, she was fucking right.  The reason I was single for most of my 20s was because I was too immature and too damned judgmental to have any kind of real understanding of what made love and relationships work.  If you are seriously critiquing the kind of shoes your date shows up in, then I would say you have exactly what you want- that fun swinging singles life.  Real people require love, acceptance, compassion, understanding and more importantly- Authenticity.   I wouldn’t trust anyone with my vulnerability who couldn’t fucking accept my god damned choice in shoes.  But this is just my experience, strength and hope.  Because relationships require intimacy and to be intimate, you need to be available and vulnerable.  That’s just how it works.

lilyb

Before You Do Anything Else Today

lilyb:

lazybookreviews:

Please go read this piece by V.C. Andrews’ original editor on how “Flowers in the Attic” came to be, and THEN THIS AMAZING INTERVIEW!

I read “Flowers in the Attic” one day in high school. I’d been given a full day’s detention for a silly act of rebellion, and rather than do schoolwork (of which I was all caught up on) I read the book. The entire book. It was one of the best days of my high school experience. That book. Soo bad and yet soo impossible to put down. 

Awesome interviews! My Sweet Audrina is one of my favorite books of all time.  I own a majority of her books and reread them for fun every once in awhile!

First day on the Internet since may 10.

I have been offline since may 10th. You would think being unemployed would mean I would spend my days surfing the net and reading silly things. Instead I have been offline living life. Today I read 400 pages of tumblr which took roughly 6 hours.

The conclusion I have come to is that I have missed nothing for the most part, It was more interesting to check in on the more personal Tumblrs and see how much people’s lives have changed. I love the people.

It’s been 3 years and 5 months since I signed up for my mostly anonymous life. It’s interesting, I can’t really blog or post photos of about 99 percent of the stuff I talk about or do. Sometimes this is frustrating because I hear a lot in my network of people. So when I read some silly opinion on a topic and I literally know the actual people involved, it frustrates me. It’s easier to stay off the blogosphere and stick with the news.

Also, my boyfriend hates blogging so out of respect for our relationship I stopped writing about stuff. I am not sure where my life is headed next but right now I am happy and relaxed in the present, that’s something I have been working on this summer- staying in the present moment and finding my value in relationships. July was fucking rough but I have learned to accept that life has its ups and downs and sometimes it’s become about my perception of the situation and less about fixing things these days. And hopefully I am learning to be just a little bit nicer to myself in the process.

A relationship filled with firsts!

On July 4th, my boyfriend and I are golfing with his parents. I feel so domesticated. It’s been a really long journey from my party girl days of weirdos and too much wine. Yesterday I had to google FOMO because I had no idea what that meant. I remember that feeling well when I was drinking, in sobriety, it’s been nonexistent. Life just kind of moves forward and you don’t really care where the party is because you are constantly in it. It’s really kind of nice.

Being sober means you can’t hide from life’s challenges, you get to feel every single glorious moment of it.

I am currently in transition from an experience in my life of which I can’t go into detail yet but the primary reason this is happening is because it’s not a good fit.  

The reality is, when I was drinking and going to happy hour, alcohol helped numb me to conflicts, challenges, and hard life stuff.  Today, if I am annoyed or my needs aren’t being met, it shows.  It shows up in every glorious detail in the way I interact with you and how happy I am in my work and personal life.

At my last job, I was so numb to everything that happened there because I was numb about everything.  I didn’t know who I was or what I wanted and half the time, I was focused on where I was meeting my friends after work.  

Life is different now, whatever situation I am in has my full attention and sometimes I am deeply uncomfortable with how it is unfolding or my part in it.  I don’t have the skills or the luxury of hiding that discomfort anymore.

It’s actually kind of nice because it also means I don’t to hide anymore.  IF something isn’t a good fit, I can find something that is.  

This is not loss.  This is gain.  I now drop the loss and take the gain.

Addiction is a real disease and it kills people, you can ignore it all you want but you are doing a disservice to those who could live.

Yesterday, my mother called to tell me that my childhood best friend’s fiance died in the middle of the night.  He went into the bathroom and after several hours didn’t come out.  He was a recovering meth addict who relapsed when doctors denied him methadone for withdrawal.  After a week of making an amends to family members, he bought a bag of heroin, snorted it and effectively took his own life than to struggle alone with his relapse.  

What baffles me is that my mother and her friend threw out the bag of heroin in hopes that no one would find out how he killed himself until the coroner’s report.

Just because you choose to ignore addiction, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.  As a person in recovery, it deeply offends me when people die from this disease and families hide it.  You are doing a disservice to myself and others.  If I someday die from my alcoholism on a relapse, I hope that others’ would use my story as a cautionary tale for those addicts that are still struggling.  This is no fucking joke and society’s continued ignorance and denial makes it nearly impossible for people like myself to recover.

We recover by sharing our weaknesses and our experience, strength and hope.  Denial is what drives us towards the disease and keeps us imprisoned in the bondage of self.   

Those of us that do manage to string together time are fucking miracles.

Also, do you know how offensive it is to those of us in the rooms when people die and the families push it under the rug as “heart failure”?  WE know.  Your fucking loved ones are our friends, their failures give us the courage to make it one more day- so fucking think about that the next time Uncle Bob dies mysteriously because his internal organs shut down.  

Jury Duty

So I finally found a valid reason to get out of jury duty- Being a nonprofit event planner/fundraiser.

Someone was arguing with me that you can’t get fired if you are doing jury duty, well if you are planning a million dollar event for a charity and won’t be around for a month, yes you can.  

The court and lawyers were really nice and totally understood. 

Anniversary Month! Things I have learned in 3 years of sobriety.

Friday is my 3 year anniversary in sobriety.  For me that means no alcohol, drugs, nyquil, pills, etc. of any kind for 3 whole years.  In that time, I have learned a lot of hard lessons and below is the summation of those lessons.  May it help you too!

1.  I am not responsible for how other people are feeling.  Really, in fact, it’s not any of my business.  You don’t like it when I x, y, or z?  That’s on you!  Stop hanging out with me!  Unless, I am deliberately hurting you, your feelings belong to you and mine belong to me. 

2.  People are just not thinking about me.  Like ever.  Like EVER EVER EVER.  Most of the time, when I do something “wrong” and think everyone sees it, I am actually an idiot when I point it out.  People are most of the time 100 percent thinking about themselves.  And if they are thinking about me, it’s really about them.  How much they hate me because they hate themselves.  How much they love me because I bring out the things they love in themselves.  etc, etc.

3.  I AM NOT A PIECE OF SHIT.  And neither are you.  The universe/God/allah did not play a joke on the world by birthing us then turning us into a huge fuck up.  No, in fact, most of our perceived reactions to ourselves are based on ego, rigid societal structures, and social expectations.  I mean seriously, you are perfect just as you are.

4.  Food will change the way you feel.  If you feel like shit or are crying after every time you eat chocolate, maybe it’s time to look at what you are putting into your body.  Also, see alcohol, drugs, pot, etc.

5.  All actions have consequences.  Own what you say and do.  If you put toxic and negative stuff out to other people and the universe, you are directly responsible for the consequences of those actions.

6.  Be Nice.  Seriously, you don’t have to roll out the red carpet but be nice.  Being mean is lame and no one will want to be your friend.  If you are mean to yourself or to another person, chances are you are probably at one point going to be mean to me.  Why would I let that in my life?

7.  Forgiveness is letting go of obsessive thoughts of anger or ill will towards another person.  PERIOD.  That’s it.  You don’t have to call the person up and take them out to dinner.  Make a commitment to yourself to forget them.  You don’t have to forget the wrong, but you also don’t have to rent space in your head to them.  Forgiveness has so many layers, if you struggle with letting go then turn to yourself and take a look at where you feel like you have let yourself down.  Work on that relationship first and the others will fall in line. 

8.  Be kind to yourself and practice good self-care.  Like most of us, you probably have had a rough life, traumatic childhood, bad breakup, shitty friends, horrible job, sleepy monday, angry cat or a dog die.  Think of yourself as you would a friend and nurture yourself.  Make a list of things that make you happy when you are sad and do those things on your worst day.

9.  Surround yourself with positive people who make you feel good about yourself.  Your relationship with others is a mirror to the one you have with yourself.  It says everything about who you are and the measure of your character.

10.  Do estimable acts EVERY SINGLE DAY and tell no one.  Do something nice for another person, just for yourself and see how good you feel.  It’s an amazing way to build self-esteem.

11.  Put yourself first always.  If you are not taken care of, then you can not take care of others.  THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT.  No one wants a cranky, angry, hungry, tired friend to show up in a crisis.  

12.  Feel your feelings.  Don’t ever let anyone tell you it’s not ok to feel the way you are feeling.  Let it out.  Scream, cry, rage, do what feels right in moments of doubt, sadness and anger.  Practice self-care and go see a movie.  You earned it.

13.  It’s ok to be happy.  Stop comparing yourself to others.  You are never going to measure up using that faulty scale.  People like you right now, not 10 pounds from now or 3 marathons from now.  Right now, now.  You are amazing.  Everything you could ever want to be happy is right in this moment- love, friends, ice cream- it’s all yours.  Relax and trust life.