The Beginning of the End or The Start of Something New?

Saturday April 21st 2016 – I went back to AA a shaking, shivering mess, huddled in my thick parka and scarf, crying and ashamed. Defeated and full of remorse and fear. The Big Book says it all, the program speaks of the alcoholic who is truly defeated and ready to admit powerlessness. With that change came a loss of all of my connections as most of them were toxic, based on shared addictions and my decision to be abstinent and sober was too confronting for most friends. I lost my best friend – alcohol – and then my minimal friendships because I finally realised I couldn’t keep doing the same old behaviours and expect positive changes.

One friend – Philly – said to me “I miss the drunk Isabella” – at the time I didn’t know what to say, yet internally I was screaming and shouting abuse. I wanted to shout, punch and pummel him with reminders of drunken calls, near fatal overdoses, falls and near death experiences. I didn’t say anything.

What I did do was cease contact with Philly who had been in my life since I was 18. Philly had been my best friend for a decade in my 20’s, in my 30’s we still had drunken, drug fuelled catch ups every couple of years. Philly who professed undying love for me, who I had called whilst overdosing and would visit me in hospital when Joey saved my arse from dying. Philly who admitted he did nothing when I called him to say goodbye, that I had taken a shit load of meds and wine – because he was home alone and too drunk to so anything to save or help me.

Philly would try to tempt me with alcohol, drugs or both. Every. Single. Time I tried to get sober. Is that friendship? Is that healthy? Is that fair? Is that love? No. That’s what addiction does to people – it fights to keep its friends close and equally unwell so that the individual does not have to face their own addictions, struggles, pain and self sabotaging choices and actions.

My desperate desire to be sober held a mirror up to my friends and showed them their own sickness – which they were not ready to accept. It was not my place to force them to see their own addictions, pain and chaos created by their addictions. And that’s ok. Some friends I distanced myself from slowly and carefully as I did not want to harm them further. Others turned on me – lashing out in anger, blaming and critising me for my new lifestyle and quiet voice of change. These friends ceased contact with me and it was explosive, painful and full of anger and arguments – recriminations and judgements from both sides. I had yet to learn to avoid or cease the toxic patterns of our friendships or relationship – something I still struggle with today.

Yet here I am – still sober, with a small group of strong healthy friends who only want the best for me. I now seek healthy, balanced company. I seem to be almost “adopted” by people who see something in me that they like. I question their desire to be my friend – are they crazy? Do they pity me? What do they think I can give them in return for their amazing qualities, support and friendship? Are they nuts???

I am slowly learning to accept that others see something in me I do not yet fully see or own. I observe their healthy choices, listen to their love of excercise, healthy eating and gardening, gigs, music festivals, travel (NO girls I am never going to be into excercise like you – that’s where I draw the line!!!!) and, occasionally I ask for advice and act on it.

The only changes I should be focusing on is that of my own choices and life – other peoples lives are their own business. Until their choices and actions impact me – THEN it’s my business up to a point.

In summary –

Luv,

Me.

Isabella.

Day 40 of My Sobriety

I wish I could celebrate and jump up and down with joy at hitting 40 days of sobriety. I am happy – truly – however with this 2nd round of sobriety has come the realisation that this is really my last chance.

Trust me – this is not a drum up, a depressive state or some bizarre way of convincing myself that I shouldn’t drink, this is the reality of my drinking to date. Sadly, and yes, sadly, I cannot drink ever again – not ever – unless I want to lose my entire life as I know it. Unless I truly want to lose everything that I love, cherish and have worked hard to build and gain.

Friday night I was really wanting to ease the pain that the week had bought to me – one of the hardest weeks for a long time because I was sober and I did not use anything to numb the feelings of failure, fear, resentment and anger. I just sat with the feelings, sat with the lessons and shut my mouth as much as I could – I cried a lot, despaired of myself and my moods and in the end faced reality.

If I was to drink again my life would get worse immediately. No doubt about it. Everything within me knows that I came close again this time to losing my relationship with The Boy and, once again, I am close to losing my job due to my inconsistent moods and inability to manage one staff member. Plus other reasons.

I was hit with this realisation on Friday night after an AA meeting – that had not helped in a positive manner – but had ripped my soul open and exposed the truth.

I am one of the lucky ones because I have stopped drinking before I lost it all.

My bottom is high, however if I do go out and drink again I will be left with nothing this time.

How depressing.

So I started to grieve for my old friend – and I seriously considered not breaking up with him, to stay with his stable warmth and see it through to the end. Was all this hard work of the past 40 days worth the break up with the beloved friend who had been there with me through thick and thin?

Yes. Everything I have been through is worth it for one reason – nothing I have gone through, or will go through, will be as bad as the future will be if I continue to drink. The pain will be far greater, the sorrow much deeper and the regret will be profound. If I live to see that day – which I have an uncomfortable feeling that I will because it is my destiny to live to extremes.

So. I have committed to follow the steps, ask for guidance and to not pick up the first drink for any reason and, although life is tricky, painful and it sucks in areas I am determined that I will not let it get worse due to my drinking.

Some catchup reading and reflections to, well, reflect on:

  • “Love and tolerance of others is our code” (Alcoholics Anonymous, p.84) – I need to practice loving others and to release all resentment, anger and hurt towards those that have harmed me – intentionally or not. I will focus on doing so to the best of my ability – otherwise I will rot from the inside-out.
  • “Fear … of economic insecurity will leave us” (AA, p.84) – I have lived my life in fear of economic insecurity since I was young. In fact, I know that if I continue to drink, the first thing that will go is my financial security. If I return to drinking I will lose my job and The Boy and I will end up exactly where my nightmares take me – where I really feel I belong, yet have spent my entire life fighting not to end up. I still feel that I am at the mercy of the Universe in relation to my job – this week at work showed me that – and I still do not have a strong grip on my finances and spending. I am meeting my commitments, still have my home, however am still living one pay to the next and about two months of pay in debt. So really not that bad, however if I didn’t shop like I do, I would not be in debt – however how minimal. Debt is debt when you don’t have a job.
  • “And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone – even alcohol” (AA, p84) – This week has been a lesson to stop fighting everything and everyone – do I think I have learnt the lesson in full? No. But I have tried to stop resisting, to listen and keep my mouth shut (extremely hard for me) and I was successful some of the time. Mostly at home, work is a different kettle of fish – I am severely conflicted at the moment, feel like a huge failure, like I am the most immature person in the world, and who needs to pull her head in and grow up. I am mortified that my drinking has bought me to this place that I am quite obviously unbalanced and too immature to do this highly responsible job. Yet I know that my heart is in the right place, that I can do the work and develop a strong team – my drinking has just severely impacted my judgement and my behavior. It remains to be seen if the situation is salvagable – I keenly hope so as I truly like the work, the people and the role – I just haven’t like myself.
  • “Once an alcoholic always an alcoholic” (AA, p.33) – enough said really.
  • “I often did not think … (I) reacted to people and situations” – When I was drinking I was a ball of reaction and resentment – I did not, and could not think the situation through. My brain was too crowded and foggy to be able to make a clear assessment of my next step or word, so I responded on impulse and regretted instantly. To cover the pain, to dull my response time and calm the biting pain I would drink to take it all away, to no longer have to think things through or over. Soon, I was drinking to just survive as I found myself lost and confused without a drink or a hangover – I needed the relief of wine in my system to remind myself that I could feel something and control something even as I was losing control of myself.

And finally.

Today is Gratitude Day.

I am so grateful that I have this 2nd opportunity to live life to its fullest, to have this last opportunity to right the wrongs and live life sober.

So grateful that I am able to attempt to change my work situation sober – that I am not still drunk and having to deal with being fired.

Grateful that The Boy is still here by my side and my heart no longer burns with the acid of resentment and pain of yester years.

Grateful that I still have a dog, my cats, family and friends and a place to call my own.

Amazed that the Universe is giving me this last chance to get my shit together – because God knows I have been given many opportunities and have been saved too many times.

Understanding that the future I fear could be mine if I so choose – so choose to continue to drink – the life of my nightmares is waiting just around the corner for me. The beast is hungry for new meat, new pain and a new plaything that is in the depths of despair – that will be me if I continue to drink away my so-called demons.

Hope that the life I dare to dream of will be mine if I am willing to go to any lengths to stay sober, to do any work that is required to keep safe and healthy.

Day 40 is a good day.

Isabella.

xx

I Am Blessed

Such an emotional day today – from the pits of despair one minute to a sense of safety and comfort 30 minutes later.

Where to start?

I had three things on mind this morning that were creating great anxiety and stress which I kept on praying and reminding myself that everything would look different by this time next week.

So – quick wrap up.

Last night I told The Boy how upset I was about him going to the strip club and how betrayed I felt – it didn’t go down exceptionally well, but at least I said something.  Still felt emotionally scarred and hurt, however I told him.

Today I met with The Manager and, although the two hour meeting was not pleasant, and tears were cried (a little), we are both on the same page, and nothing was really a surprise. What was clear is that I am starting to face the mess that my drinking has caused – the unmanageability of my life and the consequences of my actions. Painful but OK.

THEN (yep) the day isn’t over yet – I met my sponsor and spewed out all of my thoughts and feelings, did Step Three and am now on Step Four. Am I proud, pleased and amazed? Yes I am. I am also incredibly thankful for AA, for my Sponsor and my friends that I have made in AA – of which I have gained great strength from.

After walking out of my Sponsors apartment, I called my budding Kitty Kat, who has 40+ days sober and was struggling. Bad news. She had fucked up on some medication which took her straight back to Day 1 which then prompted the evil addiction of alcoholism to dig it’s claws into her tender flesh. She is drinking whilst I type and we are texting each other. I am so sad for her, but safe in my own sobriety – my sobriety comes first. Yet I refuse to not be there for someone in need and as long as she answers my texts I will be there for her supporting her. Dear sweet girl. I know something of where she is right now and I can only be there when/if she comes back. Never turn my back on her but never lose sight of my own safety.

So, I then went home to my sick Boy and hugged him and shared some good feelings and love. My gorgeous little girl Sparkles begged me for a ‘mummy’ walk – her 3rd for the day – so I invited The Boy and we went for a walk. And counted my blessings and shared my story about Kitty Kat with The Boy as a demonstration of how easy it is to fall down.

I can now reflect on the day, give thanks for all of my lessons I have been taught today and in the recent past.

I am blessed each day I am sober and each day I am given another day to make amends by following Gods will.

So in eight hours I went from:

 

To this:

To being blessed because of this:

 

The Love of our Lives

Isabella.

xxxx

 

12 Steps of AA & Prayers

The 12 Steps Of AA:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

12 Step Prayers:

3rd Step Prayer – ” God [of our own understanding], I offer myself to Thee – to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always.”

7th Step Prayer – “My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding.”

11th Step Prayer – “We ask God [of our own understanding] to direct our thinking, especially asking to be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self seeking motives. Thy will be done.

Serenity Prayer:

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things we can,

And wisdom to know the difference.”