Staying Sober and Enjoying Girls Just Wanna Weekend!

Imagine this.

You are laying in savasana, eyes closed, Caribbean water sounds drift in and out of your mind. You realize, and are grateful that this isn’t a dream.  With reality settling in, a rush flows through your veins.

You are in Mexico – finishing up a Vinyasa flow at the Hard Rock Hotel where you will be singing with Brandi Carlile in a FEW SHORT HOURS!

How did I get here? During the past year and a half of sobriety I have had so far – I find myself asking this question often.  Is this truly my life that I am living?  Who am I?  My list of things “I wish I could do” are starting to slowly fade, and in turn I am actually accomplishing these thoughts and ideas that were once so very distant.  Is this part of growth in sobriety?  I would like to think so. Doubting myself has become less of a pastime, and more of a rarity – which is currently the most mind pleasing sceniario.  Starting to accept this new found courage and motivation can prove to be challenging at times – but I am leaning into the unfamiliarity and just letting it happen. I give a lot of credit to my healing mind that hasn’t been poisoned with alcohol in 556 days.

We left for the Riviera Maya very early (1/29) and were at the resort by 3pm that afternoon. We checked in and receieved our event bracelet, some swag – and the festival schedule! There were a number of concerts and activities to keep us stimulated for days. Unlike our trip to italy, the alcohol here didn’t immediately catch my attention – and more importantly, my energy.  It was free flowing – RIGHT THERE, EVERYWHERE we turned.  Being that it was an all-inclusive vacation, that could really have thrown a wrench into things.  Pineapple and cranberry juice with seltzer and a lime was my frequent drink request, which the bartenders didn’t seem to mind making whatsoever.

I could easily tell you in detail every minute of our trip  – however, this post would become my first novel. As lovely as that sounds (hah), I will try and consolidate the incredible experience to a list that represents what has been lingering in my brain as the memories that are most indelible.

5. Yoga: Thankfully the resort offered a daily yoga class taught by a very limber and kind man named Joshua. Our first class was inside the yoga “temple” and I was so happy the learn it was vinyasa flow, as that has been my favorite type of yoga to practice.  The second day the group moved outdoors nearer to the water on a patio. All of the heart openers toward the sky created a platform of gratitude inside my chest, and a sunburn on my nose and forehead. I was so glad to be there. The last day of yoga was taught by Tiffany Hanseroth and her friend Brandy.  That was special because Tiffany is Brandi’s sister and one of the twin’s (Phil) wife. She was offering assists during class – but I wasn’t one of the lucky ones who recieved!  How amazing was it to have been hangover free for this? It’s an unexplainable feeling. I am glad we packed our mats with us, because these classes were something Jen and I looked forward to attending each day.

4. Beach or Pool? Since neither Jen or I had ever been to an all inclusive resort – we weren’t well seasoned in having the choice between lounging at the pool or by the open sea.  Most days the beach loungers won- as that was also the location of the smaller stage where the “sunset shows” were held. The pool area offered a swim up bar (for mocktails and cocktails alike), bottomless snacks, and great people watching.  The beach area was full of clear blue water, big fish you could see under water from a distance, and people using several types of tubes – ones shaped like donuts, pizza, a cat, etc. The ability to bounce back and forth to either venue was exciting.

3. The camaraderie (and an AA meeting)! In any location we explored throughout the resort there were inevitably new faces. This didn’t create shyness or tension, instead – everyone was so kind and curious. “Where are you from?”, “what do you do for a living?” were among the very common questions I heard people asking one another.  On the Facebook group for the Festival, people kept in touch and I noticed if one person needed something, someone else was on top of it. I was also able to attend an AA meeting. While at home I haven’t made AA part of my every day recovery, but when you are outside of your comfort zone and around more alcohol than normal – this was something I was willing and wanting to do. I am glad I did. Knowing there were others who were in the exact same situation was helpful. Similarly to the meetings I’ve attended in the past, I was honored to hear others’ stories, thoughts and feelings regarding sobriety, and in that meeting – what they were grateful for, as that was the topic of choice.  It wasn’t too difficult to name a few things during this trip that made us feel thankful – however it is always nice to reflect and share.

2. The music: This seems like an obvious one, but it must be discussed. We went to bed early on day one in preparation for the coming nights. Around 9pm one of Brandi’s songs started playing loudly – party animals were out there! Or so we thought. All of a sudden I realized it was her SOUND CHECK! We were up and out the door so quickly.  What a treat! We were happily spoiled with constant music.  There was a jam session under a hut each day, and the people who showed up with their instruments and sat around in a circle with us were insanely talented, welcoming, and fun.  There were sing-alongs, solos, and many tribute songs to Brandi, The Indigo Girls and other musicians who were adorning the stage during the 3 day festival. These sessions were a catalyst to me feeling more comfortable singing around others – to see so much confidence was inspiring. Every night we were graced with a concert on the main stage that was jaw-dropping and emotion provoking. I was flooded with elation, and then in the same second would be thrown into tears just feeling the gratitude of being present during this first ever Girls Just Wanna Weekend. The pioneering experience of validating that women can provide a successful music festival. Ask anyone who was there – it was life altering. I’ll never forget looking around and just knowing that we all were on the same page. From what I saw – it was all about the musicDuring the last night at the show, I vividly remember leaning into Jen as we swayed to one of the last songs. Her arms were wrapped around my waist – and I could feel the love we had for not only each other, but for that very moment we were able to share.

1. Brandioke: The universe must have thought it would be a very good idea to get me to quit tip-toeing around the edge of my comfort zone and DIVE INI knew it was a possibility I would have to, since I was the one who submitted the video of myself singing – but again, I was really just trying to stretch myself. I did NOT think I would actually get picked.  However, on 2/1 at 3:30pm, I found myself and nine others in the lobby, and we were escorted to the backstage area of the Heaven Beach Stage.  Several of us were terrified we would forget the lyrics, we did “power poses”, and tried our best to soak in each moment.  I looked out into the crowd and found my people.  Jen, along with several friends had turquoise t-shirts with my FACE and “Carey Born’s Fan Club” screen printed on them.  Brandi, Tim, and Phil entered the backstage area and went directly up on stage – forcing our first meeting to be when we were JUST ABOUT TO SING WITH THEM! I was 9 on the line-up, so for the first 8 singers I sang along, watched the audience and practiced deep breathing exercises.  It was an incredible feeling being called on stage and realizing that my hands were not shaking, I didn’t want to run and hide, and my fears were recreated into motivation to sing that song the best I knew how. Brandi was tuning her guitar and looked at me and said “you look beautiful today!” – aw shucks! Did she really just say that?  I heard Jen yell – “yeah she is! She’s taken”. So I had to tell Brandi that my wife was yelling at her. HA!  The song begins – I took a deep breath, and just sang. It was a no brainer to keep my eyes on Jen in the front row who was singing it right back, and then as I skimmed the crowed, I truly felt it was an out of body experience being able to take that stage alongside her and her band.  How did I get here? A once in a lifetime opportunity started and finished within 5 minutes. I can without doubt say that it was a fleeting moment that I am still not sure I fully comprehend. When it was over, I hugged each musician –  when Phil her bassist said, “you sound like a sweet angel!” Seriously?!  The entire group was able to get a picture with the band once it ended, and that was that. Every person who I had the pleasure of having the experience with was so special and talented in their own way, and I hope to keep in touch with them.  The moral of this situation is: SUSPEND YOUR FEARS! I know there is no way I would have taken the time to push the worry aside and post a 1 minute video of me singing if I was still drinking. The rational for this isn’t completely clear, but I am convinced I wouldn’t have been able to handle the undercurrent of anxiety based around what other’s thought of it all.  At this point – I’m actively practicing the “who cares” mentality.

Here is where you can click to see the performance: Brandioke!


 

If you are still reading – I give you credit, and thank you for being interested. This trip was therapeutic, relaxing and a slingshot for me in my growth. We decided that no other vacation we take will be without music being the main ingredient. It ties together relationships, feelings, and emotions so precicely.

 

Sobriety lends itself to experiences becoming so much more enjoyable. There is no more moments of “what did I say/do?”, the worry of if you can or can’t control yourself dissapates – and instead, you have this ability to just live.

 

Until next time.

Carey

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Hi – I am still here :)

How did your holiday season pan out?  Was it what you hoped for?  Did the family time, food prep and eating plan work for you?  How about your sobriety?

Now that we are a little over a week into the new year, I suppose it is a great time to reflect on what just happened.  The holidays – and really just the past year in general.  I personally cannot believe all that was accomplished during that one year of 2018. It was full of preparation, love, and also some strife.  I wouldn’t trade any of it for anything.

I have stopped thinking daily about alcohol.  This is a recent revelation for me.  I do not have dinner out or at home with the “hmm this would taste better with a beer” thought chirping in my brain.  How did that happened?  I am grateful for this. For those of you rolling your eyes thinking it’s impossible for you to go a day without, this is proof that it is! That doesn’t mean it NEVER crosses my mind, but I don’t miss it. 

Throughout all of our Christmas festivities (which there were SO MANY) – with all the wine, beer, champagne – I always had an out. I was prepared.  That is so important to do in times like these.  Whether you prepare yourself and leave when the alcohol arrives, separate yourself from the temptation, make mocktails, etc.  You, are entirely up to you.  Emotions run high and a lot of “fuck it” or “I can’t deal” thoughts are subsequent. I can promise that if you had a tough time, you were not alone in it, even if it felt that way.  I was blown away and so honored when a friend texted me on New Year’s Eve stating that if she didn’t reach out to me, she would have had no accountability and she knows drinking that night would be unsafe and a bad choice for her.  I was so proud – because even though she felt weak, she was actually insanely strong for doing that.  It warmed me to know that she was in the headspace to go outside herself to stay where she knew she needed to be ❤

-Preparation

-Reaching out

-Knowing your limits

All of these are key to embracing your sobriety and succeeding during the tough times!

 

We are heading to Mexico for a 4 day, all inclusive concert vacation at the Hard Rock Hotel in the Mayan Riviera at the end of this month…..I KNOW! IT’S GOING TO BE AMAZING. One of our favorite musicians, Brandi Carlile is putting on a all female headliner festival to prove that WOMEN ROCK!  I am so excited for the warm weather, beach yoga and all the other festivities.  I also for some crazy reason submitted a singing video for a karaoke contest, and I got picked with 9 other people….sooo I will have to go on stage with Brandi and sing one of her songs with her and her band….again – I KNOW!  I am trying not to let that stress me out, and instead just look at it as a once in a lifetime chance, and who cares if I end up sounding horrible because I’m so nervous.

Back to the all inclusive resort thing – obviously this means alcohol.  Now, I am not very worried about it, because I know they will have many choices for mocktails and I love me a good mocktail.  I did however feel curious and knew I couldn’t be (and didn’t want to feel like) I was the only one out there. So, I reached out to the Facebook group of people who are also going. Turns out – there are many sober people attending!! Many of them want to have a little meet up, which will be so fun! Can’t wait to update you all on that.

I am ready for this year to be one of ease, growing my own personal emotional and physical strength, and taking things one step at a time. We want to save more money, do work on our house, and enjoy our life!!  Last year was incredible in all it’s forms; but we are ready for  a year that is a little more boring and smooth sailing.

Until next time – thank you so much for being here for me

Carey

Jen gave me a Ukulele for Christmas! Been practicing 🥰
One of our many Christmas celebrations!
Cutting down our first tree for the new house!

 

 

Life Detour

I am sitting in the waiting room of the surgery center where my wife is currently having her thyroid removed.  In July of this year, she was diagnosed with Graves Disease – which is an autoimmune disorder that creates hyperthyroidism, and in turn gave her symptoms such as heart palpitations, tremors, and increased anxiety.  The first line of defense was to try and regulate the thyroid with a medication called Methimazole.  From August to late September the meds seemed to be doing their job, and she was even able to decrease the dose because her levels were looking better. On the last weekend of September, she came down with a very sore throat, a gnarly canker sore, fever/chills, and that following Tuesday we decided that she most likely had the flu.  Before I got out of work, she texted me that she was headed to urgent care because a friend who found out she was sick texted her to say it may be a side effect of her medication. From the Urgent Care we were sent to ED and then admitted for 3 days: acute neutropenia with a fever.  Jen’s white blood cells and neutrophils were so low, her body had no ability at all to fight off any infections she may come into contact with.  It was very scary leading up to that diagnosis – but the medical teams all worked together efficiently to treat her.  No more methimazole, and a shot in the belly to stimulate her bone marrow to get back to normal! All her numbers recouped very quickly.  This side effect is extremely rare, but I always knew my girl was something special 😉  Her healthcare team decided that because antithyroid medication is no good for her, the thyroid should just come out, and then she will just take a hormone replacement afterward!  So here we are.  The nurse from the OR just called out and said she’s doing great in surgery so far!

So what does this have to do with my sobriety blog?

During this process I couldn’t help but wonder, “how would I have dealt with this, had I been still drinking?”  My previous habits didn’t involve drinking every single day in excess – but it DID involve me leaning on it during times of stress, discomfort, and pain.  It helped relieve feelings of uncertainty when I just wanted things to disappear.  In this case with Jen, I feel like if I had allowed myself to run away with a beer or wine, I assume I would not have been as present, attentive, or able to handle any news that came our way.  She was so brave and strong during all of it, and I learned a lot from her patience as a patient.  I needed to share this as part of my growth.  I am so incredibly grateful for the strength and change in ability to handle a challenge nowadays.

Our bodies are amazing storytellers – resilient and strong.  We will tackle recovery head on and put all of this in our past. I look forward to sharing more of our journey in combination with my passion of living a sober, healthy, and happy life.

—– Please know that if you find alcohol is getting in the way of being able to cope with “life on life’s terms” – reach out!   To me, to a loved one, or even a professional. Don’t allow it to control you any longer than it already has.  There is a way out, and a way up to the ability to love life, even when it isn’t fair or kind.  ❤ —–

 

 

One Year! What’s Next?

mile·stone
/ˈmīlˌstōn/
noun
  1. a stone set up beside a road to mark the distance in miles to a particular place.
  2. an action or event marking a significant change or stage in development.

It’s interesting to me that both definitions of the word “milestone” could pertain to sobriety. Except, I do not acknowledge being sober as finding a particular place, or a destination.  It is a never ending cycle of days to creating your best self.  Finding out your true colors, interests, and becoming a person that you, yourself, actually want to spend time with.

However, there needs to be a little bit of give, right? We deserve to be recognized, and have the autonomy to reap a tactile representation of our efforts.  It isn’t an easy task to go against what our society engrains into us.  We are encouraged to mark these stages in our sobriety – celebrate that we have made it, typically 30 days, 90 days, ONE YEAR…and I think after it goes year to year from then on.  It is up to us, as sober individuals to accept as much or as little attention during each of these momentous occasions. You can acquire chips at an AA meeting, depend on family and/or friends to lift you up in encouragement, or take yourself out for a treat! Set up stones along side a road, for all that matters- as long as:

However you choose to celebrate your milestones on this journey, I hope you are proud of yourself – that is of the utmost importance.  

 

This brings me to my very own one year of sobriety!  It was just over a week ago at this point.  Jen gave me a beautiful pair of earrings from the Park Ave Fest and I received several congrats messages throughout the day.  I decided I’d like a dinner out at one of my favorite restaurants (Cedar – Lebanese), and to completely out myself as a non-drinker on social media!

“Comparison is the thief of joy” is one of my all-time favorite quotes. As I have become increasingly aware of the stories one can tell themselves about another person based on their Facebook or Instagram page – I felt the urge to express my truth and remind others, that we are in fact, very human.  My story, is also someone else’s story and that is why it needs to be told. We are unique as individuals but can fall onto similar paths.  How can I shy away from who I am, to those who “seem” to know so much about me personally?  If someone is going to compare themselves, I would prefer for them to instead be able to relate to me – and I want them relating to the true me.  I received an outpouring of love and support from my family, friends, and also several people who I had never even met yet.  It am so grateful and it truly opened up my eyes to more than I already believed about this decision I made one year ago.  I have been on a rollercoaster that is not over, and I am truly enjoying the ride.

It is overwhelming to realize just how many of us are out here, overshadowed by the way our society views alcohol.  We have created shame, a stigma, and an inability to comfortably voice our troubles with it.  In general, we are made to believe that alcoholics are an obvious bunch – the ones who are stumbling down the street, carrying a flask, and ruining their lives.  Then on the flip side – we are also made to believe that drinking a bottle of wine in one sitting is an accomplishment, mommy wine play dates are an acceptable way to get through your days with children, and don’t get me started on all the marketing schemes. It isn’t fair to me, or the other millennial’s, or the mothers, or the professional people who have been struggling. If we can open up the conversation to:  does alcohol affect your life in a negative way? Have you gotten yourself into several pickles while drinking? Do you wonder if you could become a happier, more confident version of yourself and think alcohol is getting in the way of that?

My goal from here is to be someone’s voice that doesn’t feel quite ready to speak out. I want to stay honest and accountable in my own sobriety. I’ll be an ear for those who need support, and I want to at some point create a group for those locally who may not be into trying AA quite yet, but would like to also join the conversation and fight the stigma.

We will see where we can go – but I have a feeling it can be pretty far!

Much <3,

Carey

 

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One Year!! Having celebratory pink lemonade with my love!

 

Three Part Series: #3 An Italian Honeymoon

As I write this post, I am one day shy of my 365th day without a drink, and we have been home from our honeymoon for well over a month now.  Although the feelings of temptation and insecurity are behind me – I must reminisce for you, in case I ever try to forget why I am here in the first place.

We chose to go to Italy.  Our imaginations ran wild with “Under the Tuscan Sun” type of beauty, rolling hills, old architecture, art and history.  In the back of my mind at times, I wondered “what if” about the alcohol?  I researched blogs and information from people who had gone and successfully didn’t drink. I didn’t come across anything too dramatic; however, part of me worried, and then it was simply wiped away with excitement and the thrill of traveling to Europe for my very first time.  If there was to be a challenge – it was fully accepted.

Our first stop was Venice for two nights.  During the day we walked miles upon miles in a zombie-like fashion due to jet lag, but I was gratefully distracted with honeymoon bliss and adventure. I kindly said “No, Grazie” to lemoncello at the end of our first dinner.  An amazing restaurant called “Benti Godi”, where I complimented the chef as best as I could – and then he poured us the shot.  Their response?? “It’s just lemoncello!!”.  This was the most common phrase I heard when someone understood that I was denying even the “mildest” form of alcoholic beverage.  Smiling, knodding, and increasing my intake of acqua gassata (sparkling water) did the trick…most of the time.

During the course of the rest of our first week (Bologna, Florence, Tuscany), an overwhelming sadness and insecurity brewed inside me.  I knew exactly what it was – FOMO. The Fear Of Missing Out.  It seemed as if everyone here was a model for a wine commercial. Slow sips looking out over the grape vineyards, swirling their glasses in their hands – and I caught myself craving. Part of me felt guilty.  I didn’t want to ruin the point of the trip! It was our honeymoon for goodness sake.  All I wanted was to be with my wife while enjoying the views, food and experiences all around.  We had gelato every single day (except one) to replace the calories spent while walking everywhere.

Then, during one meal, Jen and I discussed the pros and cons to me indulging in a glass of wine.

It got to that point. 

I cried while walking through an alley, holding her hand.  The whole time I knew that I didn’t actually want to drink, I just wanted to feel like I was doing things like normal people did.  I was catching myself becoming resentful during our times of Apertivo (Italian happy hour with snacks, basically).  I felt as if all of these people around explore, work hard, and then get what they deserve – delicious glasses of wine when they finally sit down to relax.  It didn’t seem fair to me that I was an outcast, or so I told myself I might be.  Our ultimate decision was going to be for me to hang on tight and enjoy this ride,  the wine was not for me at this time in my life. I knew then, and I still know now that I am not the type to just indulge in one. The point to my drinking was never to just “taste” it, or get to know the process behind its creation. It would have turned into more.  This was like a pop quiz I wasn’t quite prepared for, however – leading up to the trip, I knew it was a possibilty of coming my way.

I passed the test.

Things we enjoyed: Hiking the Cinque Terre. Eating. Doing the floss everywhere.  Taking pictures. Watching fireworks over the bridges in Florence. Staying on an Organic Farm in Umbria (I milked a sheep!). Artists/performers all around. Talking with people who spoke English! Exploring a hot springs. Sleeping in a castle. The David. Amazing hilltop towns.  Medieval time reenactments. Walking over 101 miles (that’s just what my phone documented)! Taking a bike tour through Lucca….and so many more things.

My brain will not long forget the beauty, as it truly looks just like, if not better than it does in the photos.  I will also not forget the turmoil inside during some of the days when “Carol” stepped in, thinking she could slip back from retirement for a while.

No, thank you, Carol.

One of the most absolute truths today for me is, YOU do NOT need alcohol to enjoy your life.  No matter where you are, what everyone else “appears” to be doing, or what you tell yourself otherwise.  It actually will not in any aspect benefit or inspire me. Yes, social drinkers are able and kudos to them for doing what feels right. But I know for me this is the path I am gladly still on.  I thank my wife for holding my hand during the recurrence of sorrow for the breakup between me and alcohol, for not taking offence or thinking I was not enjoying our trip, and for drinking the wine “for me” when I wanted to make sure I wasn’t holding her back (mind you, she isn’t much of a drinker anyway, and definitely not really into wine).

I find myself growing and learning about myself every day. I’ll continue on, stepping outside the comfort of that glass of red. 

 

So much love

Carey

Three Part Series: #2 Your Own Wedding

I’ve heard countless accounts of someone winding up blackout drunk at their own wedding. As our big day approached, I kept these anecdotes in mind – steering clear of feeling like I’d be missing out on the celebration if I didn’t have alcohol in my system.  There was nothing more motivating than realizing I could have complete control of my actions and ability to remember the day from beginning to end.  I envisioned having all the “feels” while getting ready, walking down the aisle, and celebrating our love with almost 200 of our family and friends.

I had a few people question whether it was going to be a dry wedding.  Definitely not!  I was not in the business of controling anyone elses’ actions, except my own. However,  I had become increasingly aware of just how prevelent and necessary it feels for alcohol to be involved in celebrations of any kind.  Societal norms, I suppose.  Actually, after a long, hard week at work I will still catch myself finding it hard not to romanticize about “winding down” with wine, or a cocktail.  I know over time that feeling and desire will be replaced with better plans – such as being active, visiting with family or friends, and just enjoying my time being present and fully aware.

Anyway.  Back to wedding day! We started the morning with an amazing workout in the yard of the house we stayed at.  Our trainer/friend from our gym came and taught us some cardio and then yoga. After that, it was time to say “bye” to Jen; then with the company of my mom and bridesmaids, we had breakfast, rotated through showers, and had our hair/makeup done.  I felt so incredibly at ease.  Although I was prepared with “Fre” brand fake champagne, and some NA beers – I truly was not focused on a drink, and was soaking in each and every moment.  I felt grateful for my strength, and for my people near and dear to me that were respectful of my decision to be alcohol-free.

My heart grew in infinate sizes from each event to the next, and by the end of the afternoon – we were married!! It was pretty incredible that with all the excitement, I actually have moments where I feel as if I were blacked out – but perhaps it was just because of all the excitement, and me being up on a pink cloud 9!!  There was a packed dance floor late into the night (my dream), singing (Jen’s dream), smiling, and over-all incredible feelings.  It could not have gone any better.  We ended the evening with jumping into the pool in our outfits, and it was probably the third best decision decision of my life.

 Best decisions of my life:

  1. Marrying Jen Born
  2. Quitting drinking
  3. Jumping in a pool in my wedding dress

OK – so maybe number three will be interchangable when things happen throughout my life – but I am sure number  one and two will remain consistent!

So much love

Carey

 

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Three Part Series: #1 Summer Arose

Three things that could potentially sabotage sobriety, no matter who you are….

1.) Summer Weather. 2.) Your Own Wedding. 3.) An Italian Honeymoon.

Knowing this may take up some space, I decided to split it into a [3] separate blog series.

1.) Summer Weather – First experience sans alcohol.

This is first on the list because it was the first thing this year that really threw my confidence in sobriety for a loop.  I’d been doing just fine.  Interacting via my online community (barely), flexing my sober muscles, and really not giving much thought about not drinking. After 9 months without, I felt as if I was getting a grip on my day to day intention – and succeeding. Then, the way it always is here in Rochester, spring came, and then rapidly turned into summer….

So, I wanted some god damned white wine with fruit in it. 

         Because that is just the way it is when the weather turns nice. Your romantic brain swoons over porches, hammocks, and an ice cold beverage in hand to create a giddy kick into the “summertime and the livin’s easy” mentality.  I survived these urges – explored more mocktails, drank an ice cold NA beer, and leaned on my love to remind me why I am where I am.  It had not occurred to me until Jen called it out – but I stopped drinking in August last year.  That meant, the beginning of summer had already come and gone while I was still drinking.  I’d had my last hurrah of welcoming it with wine (or whatever I wanted), and I didn’t even know it at the time.  Ah-ha! That was an absolute revelation.  The impact weather can have on our emotions, traditions, and our future – is forever out of our control at times.  I was grateful for the learning experience, and the fact that I didn’t throw it all out the window. It goes to show, that the truth still is, there is something positive to anticipate when you lean into discomfort.

I do wonder – will every birth of summer feel this way? I’ll keep you posted 😉

 

 

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Surviving with Seltzer

 

The Months Fly

Tomorrow marks 7 months of no alcohol for me.  This is unreal, I relive moments of my past in drinking as if they were yesterday.  Waking up feeling depressed, worried, anxious, and confused were a slew of emotions I had far too often when I drank.  Not to mention while drinking, my brain had the tendency to focus solely on that; when I finished my drink, would I get another? Am I buzzed yet…? And then totally missing that cue and subsequently drinking til black out by accident.

I do not miss those feelings.  I catch myself sometimes still romanticizing the drink – feeling like if I did it, I would fit in more in certain social situations, or that people may like me more if I drank with them.  I would think of the times that were not that bad, when I was able to handle myself, and actually had fun when having drinks. However, my reality kicks in.  I was never good at drinking.  It drove the people I cared about to most away, and challenged the relationships I tried to maintain.  When I was able to control myself, it was just false hope, or spontaneity keeping me from my truth.  I do not miss it.

I am on the second half of my first year.  I am so proud of myself.

  • I am proud that I can order a mean mocktail when out with friends and not blink an eye. Most people are actually curious of how it tastes, and lift me up with affirmations like “you’re lucky you wont have a hang over!”  In my mind, I think, “hell yeah! Gonna wake up and have another day ahead of me to tackle”.
  • I am proud that I realize now that it is okay that life has not gotten miraculously easier in some ways, it is part of the process.  If you are reading this and are early in sobriety, or have not stopped drinking – just know, when you stop – you brain is going to give you a run for your money.  You may feel [and act] crazy some days.  That is O-K. We can work out, and reverse the damage that has been created by alcohol. We can and will unbury the insecurities and negativity within us – embrace it – care for it – and then let it go eventually.  I know this takes time, because it is still in the palm of my hand.  My process of digging in and discovery seems to have just begun.  Some days I feel good, and others – I can only give myself the compassion to not know any of the answers.
  • I am proud that I have gained tools to ensure this process is a practiced one.  There is proof that if you “white-knuckle” your way through sobriety, it is almost a guarantee it wont last.  I love keeping up with the Cafe RE group on Facebook.  There is something very special and important about having a community of people who are sharing the same journey.  They tend to understand the feelings and emotions that come with knowing you need to stop drinking, and the process of doing so.

I could go on and on about the last 7 months to be honest with you, but this post is already longer than I anticipated.  My last blog was in December, and since then, a few blog drafts I wrote were never published because I didn’t finish – and then the idea or inspiration behind it was long gone! Wedding planning is in full force (!!!), my time with friends and family, and work has all kept me very busy.  I continue to realize that self care is very important to my mental health and well-being.

Life has a very beautiful and interesting way of showing you the ropes sometimes; stay positive and focused

 

Carey

The Holiday Feels

‘Tis the season to be jolly….and anxious.

This is the perfect time of year for catastrophe.  The holidays prove to be a magical, beautiful, but sometimes futile experience.  How can we tip toe through the egg shells of family drama, cravings for alcohol when everyone around you seems to be drinking the spiked nog, and the endless struggle to maintain self care – while caring for all those around you?

Don’t get me wrong.  I am enjoying myself fully this year so far.  I have been amazingly blessed with weekends with my love, my family, and staying sober. It has been incredible.  However, it is the little stuff that adds up throughout that can cause explosions. I am not anticipating any personally this year, as I feel I have been very cautious and being dedicated to the work I need to do for myself. AA meetings, every other week counseling sessions – really, whatever I have had to do to build my muscles in order to be stronger during the hard times.

This post is for the ones out there who are in the earlier stages of sobriety, and whose strength is there – but is still buried underneath insecurity and bigger demons.  I believe in you all.  My advice to you is to stay surrounded with those you trust.  This does not always mean family.  Call on a friend, your doctor, counselor – or walk right into an AA meeting and I can guarantee that you are not alone.  If you cannot stand to be in your own skin, get out of it by being of service to someone else around you who may need something.  The feeling of helping another during this time could lift you up.

There are moments where the trip through is long, dark, and lonely. Being uncomfortable with thoughts, feelings, and emotions is extremely difficult at times – we naturally want to run from it and pretend everything is a-ok…but that will not get us anywhere, I can tell you from experience.  At this point – try to embrace being different, try to see the light that you are shining into the world by being here and not succumbing to what life throws at you. 

If there is anything I can do for you out there reading, reach out… I would be happy to help.

So much love

Carey

 

 

 

Fleeting or Forever – Vulnerability

I hugged a stranger today.

It was at a community yoga class.  It was incredibly full in the room – mats kissing, awkward glances around to prevent the possible tap of my neighbor while coming into mountain pose.  The instructor had an intense way of drawing out my emotions. Whether it was a hearty laugh, gratitude, or being very near to tears.  As a group, we were encouraged to envision our best selves, and to focus on others – their strengths and even weaknesses that we could help build.  If we smile at strangers, assist someone in need, become more selfless – the world would most definitely become a better place.  She said the word “vulnerability” in different contexts several times through class and this isn’t a new term to me, but it gave me a certain feeling inside every single time she mentioned it. 

I have great intentions on being or becoming vulnerable – but dammit, it scares me. The feeling inside me when she said the word each time stems from my fear. I hide.  I have been hiding. I know I am working on becoming my best self by quitting drinking, seeking counseling and digging in deep to my roots and sifting the dirt to find my gems.  I know I have more in me.  I have a desire to say things, do things, and enjoy my own life without worry.  It drives me to deep emotional feelings when I think of being vulnerable….I veer from the discomfort of being rejected, judged and disliked.  I am understanding better, though, that many choices I make can be encouraging to another person.  When I dive into a sometimes uncomfortable realm – whether it be immersing myself into a craved activity, practicing and becoming better at the crafts I love, or simply conversing with my friends and family, I can and will grow.

My goal is to become softer with my flaws, embracing them,  all while being a good person.  Kind, lighthearted, and easy going.  I have become so critical, and mostly of myself – which in turn has unfolded into more aspects of my life.  I feel myself criticizing little things, and I think it has become a subconscious defense mechanism.  There is no need to force regret or anger for this. I am acknowledging that it is within me to be less afraid and to welcome vulnerable moments.

If everyone likes you, you’re not doing it right. – Bette Davis

I can’t say that I have ever been pushed to the edge of comfort during yoga.  It was a first today, and I am so happy I was a part of it.  We were instructed to place our arms around our neighbors and come into tree pose, which evolved into a standing split – all while embracing the shoulders of those by our sides.  We held each other up and let our hearts shine in unison.  Once the pose ended – we were then instructed to hug our neighbor.  I looked left, and it was a stranger – someone who looked shy, but I didn’t know for certain, and it didn’t matter after all – we were just humans, in one room, sharing this experience.  We hugged – it was momentarily strange, yet strangely pleasant.

I hope to gain more of these moments.  Vulnerable, sweet, and life evolving moments.  Shall they be fleeting like a hug, or lasting like a conversation. My heart is open, my mind is open.

 

As I feel is completely necessary – Namaste ❤