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Friday Afternoon Ramble

Think of this post like you would a long, chatty, catch-up phone call; if you don’t have time for it, don’t pick up the phone!

It’s been awhile since I’ve written without a purpose, but since I missed my weekly “post with a purpose,” now’s as good a time as any.  Since the reason I missed Monday is the reason I am writing today (also, to procrastinate on some new baking challenges I’ve set for myself for an upcoming busy weekend), let’s start with where I was on Monday, which was North Carolina, for a girl’s weekend.

Girl’s weekend started probably about 10 years ago in my family.  Half of the “girls” live in the Philadelphia area; half live in Maryland, one lives in North Carolina.  The one in North Carolina is the only one who happens to have a vacation home where we can comfortably gather without the “boys,” so North Carolina it is.

I’ve spent a considerable amount of time trying to figure out my personal timeline as it relates to Girl’s Weekend:  did I go to the inaugural one?  How many, exactly, did I attend?  What was the year of the last one I attended?  I have it narrowed down, but can’t get confident with the specifics; then again, nobody else is wondering, so I suppose the pressure’s off.

What I remember most about Girl’s Weekend is the last one I attended before this one.  That year we chose to fly in and out of the larger NC airport, which happens to be about 2 hours from my cousin’s vacation home.  When it was time to leave, we were loading our luggage and ourselves into the two behemoth cars my cousin had wrangled for us to use that weekend, and a perplexingly big deal was being made out of who was going into what car.  I was told which car to go in, and was satisfied to stay out of the debate, so I slid into the front seat of the assigned car.

As it happens, the confusion and debate centered around who wanted to be in the Intervention Car, and who didn’t.  To this day, I’m not sure if the argument was over the number of people who wanted in on the intervention, or how many wanted out.  I have my theories of course, but I’ll leave it as one of life’s mysteries.

In case it is not patently obvious, I was the star of the Intervention Car.  To be honest, I could not give you one detail about what was spoken.  Which is a shame, because this many years later, I am genuinely curious.  All I remember is that frozen feeling you get when you are blindsided.  Two hours, trapped, in a car… nowhere to run.  And then another hour plane ride home, and then another hour ride from the airport to my car.  I’m uncomfortable thinking about it now.

Needless to say, I was not rushing back to Girl’s Weekend anytime soon.  By my best guess, that weekend happened 7 years ago.  And by the way, my sobriety date is not quite 4 years ago, so I’m thinking intervention-by-car-ride is not the most effective means of expressing your concern.  At least, it wasn’t for this alcoholic.

So years of resentment go by, then I hit my alcoholic bottom, then another couple of years getting comfortable with sobriety.  And here it is, 2015, and I think I’m ready to give this a go again.  No talk of the Intervention Car, I have no wish to revisit that situation, and so I couldn’t tell you who else even remembers it.  Everyone seemed excited that I was joining them, and I left it at that.

As is always the case of firsts in sobriety, I had some… I’m not sure I would say nerves, exactly, maybe disquiet?  Apprehension?  Whichever word, some thoughts about whether or not the drinking and party atmosphere would negatively impact my sobriety.  This house sits on a completely residential, gated island, so I’m not easily planning my escape.  Then again, it’s a large house, with lots of bedrooms, and everyone knows that I’m sober, so I conclude that I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.

Believe it or not, alcohol was not my biggest concern.  My goal, coming into the weekend, was to lay down a new track in terms of my personal memories of Girl’s Weekend.  Any time I thought of this event, or it came up in conversation at family parties, I would feel a punch in the gut (metaphorical punch, my family is not one for physical violence), because the memory of those last hours haunted me.  I wanted to prove to myself, and maybe to them, that I am a different person now.

Plus, and maybe this could go without saying, I genuinely love my family, and crazily enough like them a whole heck of a lot too.  We have fun together, and my self-imposed isolation was starting to bug me.

So off I went to North Carolina, for 5 days.  And yes, we believe in long weekends in my family.

How did it go?  It went, by any standard of measurement, well.  I would say it exceeded pretty much all of my expectations, and I suppose it did that because I went in with absolutely no expectations.  I was determined to go with the flow, and I think having the plan to have no plan was a good one when you are dealing with 11 women cohabitating in one house for 5 days.

We laughed, and ate, and talked, and laughed and ate some more.  We did not sleep much, it seemed there was too much to say to one another to waste time sleeping.  We repeated this routine in the kitchen, in the dining room, in the living room, on the beach, in a small nearby town, and on a boat.  Some drank alcohol in addition to eating, talking and laughing, but a few of us didn’t, and most of those who did stopped appropriately.

A fact which never ceases to amaze me.

There was no drama whatsoever, no hurt feelings, no verbal altercations of any kind.  At no point in time did my feathers get ruffled.

If I ever doubt that I have significantly changed in sobriety, I need to look no further than the sentence above as proof that I have.

The best example I can give:  I was speaking to my two aunts, and the sillier one said, “You’ve got to stop being so negative!”  I rewound the conversation and saw nothing negative.  Rather than arguing the point (or, worse still, getting offended), I said, “Aunt Barbara, thanks so much for that learning opportunity!”  I then spent the rest of the time helpfully turning the negatives into positives.

Example:  I was the designated driver.  Go figure!  But the DD status also translated to morning runs to the grocery store.  One morning I had to go out for a bunch of groceries, then run up and down the stairs with the groceries, while everyone else went to the beach.  I texted to make sure they had a chair for me; they did not, but they did want me to bring them snacks.  When I got to the beach I thanked everyone for providing me the opportunity for service, as well as the opportunity for physical activity.

Here’s the interesting part:  I started out this turning-the-negative-into-a-positive with a decidedly sarcastic slant, but by the end of the 5 days I was doing it automatically, and sincerely.  And it actually felt good!

I need to get that attitude back when dealing with my teenaged children, that’s for sure.  Perhaps this weekend, when there are 8,000 things going on at once, and a son who is 48 hours away from being an official teenager.  I vow to reinstate the Girl’s Weekend Attitude of Positivity as we slide into the weekend, and I’ll let you know how it goes!

Today’s Miracle:

In the time I’ve spent writing and editing this post, I’ve completed both baking challenges, one a complete success, one an excellent learning opportunity (I now know self-rising flour and all-purpose flour are not interchangeable).  And how’s that for a positive spin?

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