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Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

 

I have been offline for a week now, and I can’t tell you how much I’ve missed this community!  I have only just begun catching up, I feel like I’ve missed a gazillion great posts!

I am making this statement not just to say “hey!” to all the posts I’m late in reading, but also to bring up the point of today’s post.  The reason I was absent last week was because I was preparing for my son’s 11th birthday.  We were hosting a sit-down dinner for 15, followed by an ice cream party/sleep-over, followed by a trip to a trampoline place, followed by a lunch, I could go on for a while longer, but, suffice it to say:  a busy weekend that required a lot of prep work.  As a result, I was consumed with the details that involve making a weekend such as this one a success, and therefore let my usual sobriety-focused routines fall to the wayside.  Nothing overly dramatic, as I’m only talking a week, but enough small “concessions” that by Sunday I was feeling the effects of a full-on emotional hangover:  I was exhausted, cranky as all get-out, and reverting to behaviors in which I have not indulged in a really, really long time.

I woke up Monday, very excited to get back to a regular routine and lead my Monday meeting.  And at that meeting the topic (pre-arranged) was Step 10:  continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.  If I were to attempt to highlight the portions of the chapter that directly applied to my life, I would, in fact, be re-typing the chapter.  The focus of step 10 is to self-evaluate, at the very least daily, but, more specifically, when in any kind of turmoil.  Because if I am feeling turmoil, I am the root cause, and the only way to resolve it is to look at my thoughts, feelings and behaviors.  Guess what I failed to do the entire weekend?

The second part of step 10:  and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.  Quick side note:  as I was typing that last sentence, my husband called to say hi.  So I can now say that I have put into action the second part of step 10 as it relates to this past weekend.  Again, there is nothing melodramatic that happened, I believe all who attended the dinner party had a great time, they ate well, and my son had a fantastic celebration.  But only I am in my head, and I haven’t felt this out of sorts in a long, long time, and I don’t enjoy the feeling at all.  When I think that this is how I used to live life daily, I shudder… how in the hell did I live like this?  And I know, if I am feeling this bad, then there is no doubt that I am acting out of sorts as well, and so my husband, as usual, becomes my default punching bag.  I already feel better for having promptly admitted my mistakes.

So the moral of today’s story:  sharing your turbulent thoughts really does calm the mind, and try to keep constant the routines that keep you serene, even when you are stressed.  Because avoiding routine during stressful times is like throwing gasoline on a fire, and there is that much more to douse at the end!

Today’s Miracle:

Since I posted a picture of last year’s birthday cake, I figured I could do it again… it was a work of art!

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Looking at the Past to Appreciate the Present

Things are going great, and they’re only getting better
I’m doing all right, getting good grades
The future’s so bright I gotta wear shades -Timbuk 3

Today I am hustling and bustling getting ready for my son’s 10th birthday tomorrow (special requests include potato salad, chicken cutlets, and a pac man cake, thank God for the internet on that last one!).  First thing this morning, I came into some knowledge that had my character defect of self-righteousness on high alert… I believe I am a victim of some injustice, and nothing gets me more irate than when this happens.  To complicate this issue, I have no ability to find a resolution for about a week, which only heightens my angst.

As I began my food prep, I tried to focus on how I can maximize my son’s enjoyment of his special day.  And that’s when it hit me… what was happening exactly one year ago.  I wish I could say what I am about to describe was my final bottom; sadly, it was not…

One year ago today I was preparing to enter an inpatient rehab.  I convinced the family member instrumental in enforcing this decision that it would be best to wait until the day after my son’s birthday, so as to minimize the disruption to his life.  I had been “caught,” for what felt like the millionth time, violating my promise to stay clean and sober 5 days prior to his birthday, and the ultimatum had come in… get some help, or get out.  I chose the former, and we spent the next few days figuring out rehabs, insurance acceptance, and attempting normalcy around the children.  We had the extended family over for cake and ice cream, and no one was the wiser, which simply added to the stress of the situation.  You know what 4-5 days of waiting to go into rehab is like?  It is like a form of hell on Earth.  And trying to pretend to the world that all is well makes it that much harder.

Okay, that’s enough of the sad stuff.  Fast forward a year (thank the Good Lord I am able to do that!), and here I sit, typing a blog to family, old friends, and new ones I haven’t even met but who inspire me daily.  I am able to plan all sorts of neat ideas for my son to enjoy, and I am appreciating the opportunity I have to do so.  I am a week away from celebrating 9 months of continuous sobriety, something I had only accomplished in the past when I was pregnant.  I am actively involved in a 12-step program, getting ready to finish the steps, and looking forward to passing on the message to others.  I have begun the process of starting my own meeting, and am actively recruiting attendees.  I am involved in a legal program that will ultimately allow me to wipe my slate officially clean.

What in the hell do I have to complain about?

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