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Finally Ready

Day One

30 years and 10 days old.  Sitting on the couch with Jen – I’ve made the decision to stop drinking alcohol. This has been something I’ve said I wanted to do, should do, and even have tried to do.  However, I put a limit on it.  I did it “until” something.  The last time being when I was waiting to find out if I was accepted to nursing school.  I was sober for approximately 10 weeks straight.  I remember feeling clear minded, more in control. If i was accepted though, I’d obviously celebrate with wine.  I was accepted, and I drank the wine…and then more.  I started school – which was a 1 year accelerated bachelors in nursing program, it was rough.  I am not sure how I created “free time”, but when I did, it was spent planning another outing. Most likely a party, or to a bar.  I’d study with wine or beer sometimes, even. I guess you could say I thought it was just “something you did”.  Being an adult = being able to choose when I can drink.

Rewind my life several years.  In high school, I think I got drunk one time.  I didn’t like it. My goal then was not to be a rebel and party.  I struggled elsewhere.  I battled with the feelings of not being accepted or fitting in.  I came out at a young age as “bisexual”.  I still did not quite understand the internal turmoil of what was right or wrong – or what was real, and what wasn’t.  From as early as I can remember, caring about what another person thought about me – who I was, how I behaved, what I was doing in every day life – completely drove my day-to-day actions for the most part.  I still to this day compete with the better part of my brain that their opinion DOES NOT MATTER. But how do you just stop caring, or more-so, worrying?

Some days, the thoughts of not being good enough, or people not liking me for me just completely consumes my brain.  My thoughts often lean toward craving validation from others.  That I am a good person, or nurse, or partner. Isn’t it human nature to need that support?  However, having just entered a new decade in my life, I am striving for something new.  I am surrounding myself with the awareness that I, in fact, am enough. I will not tolerate belittling who I am for the sake of others.  I am attempting to be more in tune with being present, listening to others – instead of selfishly bombarding my brain with what they are thinking about me.  I’m just going to be me. Period.

         Let me introduce Carol so then it is clear as to why she is retiring. She is a tired, insecure, verbally assaulting antagonist who comes creeping out when I have alcohol in my system.  She can squeak through with a mere “buzz” when provoked, or she can stay latent until I’ve reached a point of no return – AKA: blackout.  That’s right. She’s my alter ego.  The name Carol was started as kind of a joke between my sister and brother in-law…until it wasn’t very funny anymore.  With my underlying emotional/mental health quandary – Carol comes out with a vengeance – to defend only God knows what usually.  She’s unfair, unruly, and blatantly just mean.  Don’t be fooled, she does not always make an appearance.  Sometimes when I drink I am happy go lucky, excitable…and that is an issue in itself.  Because when that happens, it causes me to push the envelope.  It makes me feel like I’ve found my “good drunk” side.  However – I know I will truly never have a side such as that.  You never know when Carol will unfurl – and when she does, she isn’t ever sorry – I am.

So this is where I draw the line.  Who is better in control of our own actions that ourselves?  No one. Sure, I’ll probably always like the taste of a good beer or wine.  But is it worth the uncertainty?  If it may put my well-being and happiness on the line?  No. It isn’t.  I love my life. I have an amazing fiance, dog, friends and family.  In fact, some have said before that they prefer who I am while sober.  I am now at the point and the realization that I, myself, prefer me 100% sober.  I am confident in that. I want that.  It is going to be a road of learning how to maintain friendships with some of the people whom I normally spend time where alcohol is the main ingredient between us.  If it is “friends” like that who I’ll lose, then that’s OK.  Gratefully, the closest friends I already have and my family, I know will support my decision.  They will encourage me, and pick me up when I am down.  I will keep building those relationships. I have a positive feeling that this will also keep my [less than] year left of planning our wedding the most truly felt and real experience.  I cannot wait to marry Jen and create a forever life with her.  I am extremely lucky for her eyes that see my potential, and for her ears that hear even the quietest messages of what I really need in my life. Which is the here and now, It is becoming sober.

This is Day One.  Welcome to the adventure.  It is going to be full of discovery, clarity, and love.

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What the Future Holds

“Change often occurs when the pain of the current situation becomes so great you become willing to change without fully understanding what the future holds”

Annie Grace

I feel like I have so much to say.  It has been just a week since my last post and I can honestly say – I went through some potentially tempting and risky social situations! With my willpower going strong and my support growing huge, I made it to another week.  I am 3 days away from being two weeks without a sip of alcohol.  I have really gotten into the Recovery Elevator podcast, and I think Paul the host would say – just take it one day at a time.  Anything can happen in three days, the thought of what the future holds is daunting, and can cause anxiety. So I will follow that advice, and just not drink today. Today is all we can promise.

Lets break it down with the situations I found myself in this past week!

1.) Going to a lake house with family.

This was an amazing trip!  We got there the day before my sisters so we got a little 2:2 time with dad and Wendy.  We chatted about the blog, my dad turning 60, going on the boat, etc.  Nobody drank at dinner.  I assured everyone they could if they wanted!  They were all respectful, and like I had heard before in the last almost two weeks,  people are being mindful of their own habits.  By me not drinking, I believe it could inspire others to look into their own lives.  Do they really need that drink with their dinner?

 My sisters and their kids arrived, as well as their husbands.  My brother in law made a joke about “why I couldn’t just push it back a week” – so I could drink with them at the lake house.  This bugged me, but I didn’t really expect much else from him.  Refer to the top of this post for an amazing quote by Annie Grace.  That is exactly why I couldn’t wait.  I was just ready. Jen was a key factor in me keeping my – I guess you would say “resentment” feelings at bay.  I get in my head. I’d randomly through the weekend emotionally kick myself and say “why couldn’t you just have a few beers and be good with that?” or “whats wrong with you – that you had no self control several times while drinking..that has led you to this?”.  Well…fuck it. It was my journey, it was how it happened.  I am deciding to not drink because of this.  I am now in control.  Annie Graces’ book “This Naked Mind”  is now right next to me after hearing amazing things about it through the Recovery Elevator podcast, and I even heard her interview on there!  She associates our inability to really deal with our addictions fully until we uncover what we in our UNCONSCIOUS mind believes to be true.  I love it, and I cannot wait to dig deep and rewire my unconscious, so that in the near future – alcohol will be just a mere afterthought.  Anyway – Jen recommended we stay active, and that part of the reason we would even think to drink during the trip was because we were bored – and that that is just something you do…we sit around and watch the babies, and usually just drink. We thought that was fun.  What was more fun was going for daily runs, playing games, rope swing into the water, swimming, and just being present with my family. 

2.) A wedding!

My first ever sober wedding.  Imagine this….it was still a blast!  Add in the insecurity of a couple of my exes being there, and you are almost grateful to now be sober. I have mentioned before, and I will again; that when I drank, it just made my insecurities worse (not better, contrary to popular belief) and in turn made me feel very defensive of things not necessarily needing a defense. So that being said, I have to give so much appreciation to Jen again, because she was right there next to me.  Even though I said she should enjoy a drink or two – she claimed she wanted to experience her first sober wedding right along with me! She has also gotten into the RE podcast, and considers herself “sober curious”. I love her.  We were happy to enjoy each others company while catching up with friends I had not seen in a while, eating good food, and also dancing! It is possible to dance at a wedding without being hammered. Cue the shock. And yesterday when we recapped the weekend, we were almost certain that if drinking played a part in our time at the lake or wedding – we probably would have gotten into some silly argument about nothing.  All in all; a sober wedding = a fun, full of legit memory making, free of hangover good time!

Conclusion:

Ultimately, the past 1.5 weeks of sobriety has been full of willpower, encouragement, research, and connecting with those on this journey as well.  This has made me feel even more proactive with being mindful of my surroundings and keeping internal tabs on how I feel about each situation I find myself a part of.  I am glad to be documenting this process here, as it will keep me accountable and able to look back during times where I may feel uncertain of why I made this choice.  It is for the best.  There is an amazing sober community awaiting people like me who are deciding that an alcohol-free life is a better life. I found an online community already that I feel I am only just getting acquainted with – that has potential to be vital in my future of remaining sober.  The other members are real, honest, and inspiring.  I am not sacrificing a thing by choosing not to drink, I am only enhancing my experiences by being fully a part of them. 

….Now let me tell you what I am doing tonight.  I am going to attend an AA meeting.  I went to one during nursing school, as it was a requirement for one of my classes.  I have unconsciously steered away from AA before I even thought I’d quit drinking.  I am intimidated  with what I think is a “religious” organization.  However, after a lot of feedback – I am considering it more of a spiritual conquest, and I think that a lot of the people who are part of AA are also more in that realm. It will be a tool towards remaining alcohol free in addition to the several other ways I will venture through this journey.  I am curious if it will also help me curtail these unsure feelings of the “higher power” because it is in a Unitarian Universalist Church and an all women’s group. I consider myself very open minded and I know there is something to learn no matter where you are getting your support.  I look forward to sharing my experience of tonight afterward here on my blog.

These connections I am striving to make that are nearer to home I know will be super important.  There is nothing like having another person nearby to relate to. There is a recovery fitness group (ROCcovery Fitness) that I have been eyeing on Instagram.  They go for hikes together, have their own gym, and seem to be an awesome group of people!! As any social media goes, I can see that a few of my friends follow that group as well.  I may connect with them and see if they’ve ever participated, or if they want to with me!  This type of support group seems to be right up my alley being that I love to stay active and healthy.  It seems like something that is sustainable in creating new friendships and creating my best self.

So, it is clear we do not know what the future holds. No one does. But you know what sounds good? Clarity, increased health and wellness, good memories – real memories – are just a few ideas amongst several more things.

So much love and happiness.

-Carey

 

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(Just some images from this past weekend. My dad and me, good friends at the wedding photobooth, my love and me on our road trip, and the whole family after playing an intense/fun game of guesstures!)

Carey Carries On

As I sit here trying to continue learning how to navigate this blog and the “blogosphere” itself, I keep thinking to myself – just write. That is ultimately what I’m here for.  The photos linked to the site, the hashtags and followers will come with time and more experience.  When I first decided to blog, I thought I would just do it weekly…I can do a summary once a week as to how it is all going.  Then I realized that sometimes I will just want to say something that doesn’t need to, or shouldn’t wait.

So. How was the weekend, you’re wondering?  

You guys!  I am still sober.  And I am still happy.   This past weekend I was around alcohol many times, but it didn’t bother me.

It’s funny. Because this has been such a long time coming, it really doesn’t seem to be all that drastic of a lifestyle change in my mind.  However, to several of the people I told over the weekend – I think it seems like “whhhhat?” to them. But I wouldn’t know it.  Everyone was so on board.  I didn’t get push-back from the ones who were unaware of my trials and tribulations with drinking..they were like “cool”, or “kudos”.  It was awesome.  Then there are the people who have known about Carol and the bitches many catastrophes. They were like “cool, or “kudos”.

See what I’m saying?  Everyone was supportive. I know that it was only a handful of acquaintances, family, and friends so far…but it meant so much to me.  I would have to say, explaining the issue as a whole and then my decision to stop drinking to the lets say – “unaware”, was almost easier.  Their reaction was important to me, but it wasn’t like they ever had to deal with Carol.  When I told my friends and family who have encountered her –  their response made it the most amazing, autonomous decision. They didn’t shout “HALLELUJAH”, or “FINALLY- she’s gone!”.  They were like: “I like that Carol’s retiring” and “that’s good”.

My heart.  People are so good. My people are just so wonderful.  I am very lucky to have a life here that is my own and a life where I can also rely on many to get me to the places I know I belong. I know the road to staying free from drinking alcohol, or as I read on hip-sobriety’s blog -“teetotal-ling”, is not going to be free from issue or temptation.  I know this, and am ready for the journey.  This empowering feeling of control I have right now is overwhelming in a good way.  I look forward to being my best self.

I also look forward to sharing many stories with you all throughout my time blogging as to what has gotten me here.  That is one of the many reasons I am blogging in the first place.  I want to be sure that when the next person my age comes along looking for another person out there who has struggled and decides to reign it in and needs support – this will be here for them. I want to be able to relate, and meet others in the same shoes.  They are worn shoes, with many miles of stories and ideas. So they should continue moving…we will continue moving together.