A Blank Slate

That’s what I feel I have here.  A blank slate.  That’s what sobriety has offered me.  I have cleared the cloudy thoughts, eliminated the worries, doubts, procrastination, and have a clear view of endless possibilities.  Now I know what adults mean when they say to children, “you can do…you can be…anything in the world that you want.”  Well, too bad I waited till I was ready to collect social security before that realization became clear.  In any event, I have a blank slate to work with and I’d better get moving before it’s too late.

I’ve been reading several of your blogs with messages indicating that it may be time to move on, move away from the minute by minute sober evaluation.  Perhaps time to allow other thoughts and activities to fill the void.  Not suggesting total disconnect with sober blogging or group meetings, but maybe time to step out of the box a bit and spread our wings.  Are we ready?  It feels like most of those messages are coming from those of us coming upon our one year mark – or just beyond.  I listened to a Bubble Hour podcast today (a rerun actually) where co-host Lisa explained that she needed to break from the show and take care of family business that she’d put off while in her first year of recovery.  She explained that although recovery is still #1 on her list, she must step back a bit to be able to take on her family responsibilities with more energy.  I get that.  I’m feeling that.  I’m feeling more secure as I come upon my one year.  But I’m not giving up on my blogger friends.  You all understand me.  You are my soul mates.  I could tell you anything and you’ll understand.  My drinking friends/acquaintances don’t get me anymore.

Back to my blank slate.  I’m having a blast filling that in.  I’ve seen more changes in my life in this one year than I’ve had in…well, my whole life!  Important things like watching my youngest get married, taking my dream vacation to Italy, retiring after 45 years in the workforce. returning my hair to it’s natural color (that’s really a big deal for me!), getting off blood pressure meds and heartburn meds, committing to daily exercise and healthy eating, and did I mention I quit drinking? 

I was cleaning out a file folder of old health records the other day we when I came across a typed sheet of paper that I apparently planned to take along to a doctor appointment – 15 years ago, when I was 44 year old.  My kids would have been 14 and 12.  My list stated my age, 44; my weight, 160; height 5’8″; a family history of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure.  There was a list of my ailments to discuss:  waking during the night, waking with swollen joints, difficulty walking when I first awaken, heartburn, high blood pressure.  Then there was a wish list at the bottom:  Quit drinking, reduce caffeine intake (from 5-6 cups/day), exercise.  15 years ago the first thing on my wish list was to quit drinking.  The following was penciled in there as well:  “check liver function – am I hurting my liver?”    Wow…44 years old – and I know I was probably worried even before that, but I didn’t type it and print it out.

I remember talking to the doctor about that list.  She prescribed that drug that makes you vomit if you even get close to alcohol,  I filled it, but I didn’t take it. So, I am now 60, I weigh 150, I exercise daily, I no longer have high blood pressure or heartburn, I don’t wake during the night and I have no swollen joints or difficulty walking, and I probably drink 3 cups of coffee a day.  ALCOHOL…it was all ALCOHOL…

Take care, my friends.  I’m sticking close to all of you.  I depend on you and look forward to reading about you, your life, your recovery, every day.


300 Days of Changing Course

I have been sober for 300 days. Nearly one year. Unimaginable to the old me. Didn’t think I could go one day without my glass (or 4) of wine. But once I got going. Once I set the date and prepped myself with the words of the sober bloggers…it just happened. I can’t say I had any hard days. In fact, just weeks after quitting, I took a sober trip to Italy. With my travel companions commenting on the wine that flowed from noon to bedtime, I was so happy to enjoy my Pellegrino and the view. Not sure what clicked this time, but it must have been something YOU said/wrote. The month of June seems to be my magic month. I was married in June 35 years ago. I quit smoking in June 31 years ago, and I quit drinking in June (will be one year ago). Gotta love the month of June.

Many changes happened this past 300 days. I quit poisoning myself with alcohol; I turned 60 years old; I took a sober vacation to Italy; our youngest daughter was married; our sweet fourteen year-old lab went to heaven; I’ve retired from work; I’ve retired from work; oh… and did I mention, I’ve retired from work!

I am building a list in my head of all the things I want to do with my life now. None of which would have been possible had I been drinking. First of all, I’m sure my drinking would have escalated had I been retired and home all day. I would have found more hiding places for bottles. I would have found new liquor stores to rotate into my weekly shopping trips. I probably would have needed to take on a part-time job to pay for the extra bottles/boxes of wine. It would have been ugly, dangerous, and life-threatening.

So, sober-retired is much more exhilerating. My list is growing. Volunteering is top of the list. Giving more of my healthy self to others is necessary. Keeping myself healthy and fit is a close second. And then all the little silly things like reading, gardening, playing piano, knitting, etc.

I love reading the blogs of many of my sober cyber friends reaching 300+ days. Many one year anniversaries are celebrated. I’m noticing new “faces” joining in. Belle’s blog is wonderfully active and it’s fun to see her new offerings. Soberistas.com is going gang busters with new design (I’m in their book club). But they are getting so big that they are going to a subscription only platform. Not sure how that will affect participation.

I love seeing how this sober-explosion is growing throughout the world. Seems like some major power is lurking here. Are we at the helm of the new “sober is the new cool” campaign? Sure feels like something big is bubbling.

Hugs to all of you who are struggling and high fives to those who are helping them along.