Cheers

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I have met some amazing people through my drinking days. Some of them were there in the beginning, some came in the middle and some are still around. I have laughed, fought and got black out wasted with them. I have come to the conclusion that there are three different types of drinking buddies, at least in my case.

The first are the people you started drinking with. The kids you started drinking boones farm with in high school. The kids who can’t handle their booze, not because we were destined to be alcoholics, but because we were kids. It was always a good time. Sometimes drama, sometimes fights, but mostly a good time. Always up for drunken adventures and shenanigans. For some of us, that’s as far as the crazy binge drinking would go. For people like me, its was the tip of the iceberg. These drinking buddies have found other lives. Settled down, learned how to drink responsibly. They will always have a place in my heart and memories of them will always bring back the good times.

The second type of drinking buddies are all of my bar people. The people that I bellied up to the numerous different bars with on a regular basis. People I laughed with. Danced with. Did numerous shots with. They were a blast. Everyone took turns at making asses of themselves, including me. There was karaoke. Darts. Shit talking. Lots of laughs. Those are the people I will never see again, at least not in a social setting. And that’s ok, keep the party going, this girl has to call it a day.

And that brings us to the last group of drinking buddies. These are the people that are sticking around. Maybe they decided to get sober too. Maybe not. Maybe they also have drinking problem. Maybe not. They are the people that support me, with a beer in their hand. They are the people who loved me when I was less than lovable. They are the people that witnessed Hurricane Drunk Jen and decided to stick around.

So in closing, I have a soft spot for all of my drinking buddies. The ones I still talk to and the ones I don’t. We had some good times and if this is where we part ways, I’m cool with that. Pour some liquor out for me once in awhile. As Tupac would say, I ain’t mad at cha, got nothin but love for ya, do your thing. And for everyone that’s sticking with me, hold on for this ride. Just because I’m not a drinker anymore, I have no intentions of getting boring.

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To the Other Mother

Dear Real Mom,

A few months ago, my son came to my husband and I asking to live with you. He was very calm and mature with his request. He explained that he wanted to see what it would be like to live with you. He wants to get to know you.

My immediate reaction was to say no. I  know more about you than he does and my mind is filled with fear for him. He thinks of the woman who spoils him every other weekend, I think of the woman who has broken a million promises. He is excited to spend time bonding and baking cookies. I envision a woman who only sees him as the small boy she left and will grow bored of the young man he is. I think of the countless times I held him while he cried over you. The mother son dances I attended as a second choice, because you didn’t show. I have listened to him speak highly of you for years, knowing that you have never once called him on the phone to check in, or on his birthday or any holidays. He is expecting to live with the woman he has built you to be in his mind, and I am terrified that you will break his heart.

I know in your head you believe that you are his mommy and the most important woman in his life. And I am truly grateful to you for delivering him to the world. But, that is really all you have done. I have been raising him for the last five years. When I met him, he was a scared little boy with trust induced health issues. He was so starved to have a mom that he gave me that title within weeks of knowing me. And I have always taken that role very seriously. I have gotten up with him when he was sick. I have been to every doctors appointment, parent teacher conference and school performance. I have disciplined him when he needed it. I have had countless conversations about a million different subjects. I have laughed with him and held him when he cried. I have fallen in love with the boy he is, and the man he is becoming.

It is because I love him that I want him to have this opportunity. You are a huge part of his story and he deserves to know you. But let it be known, I am very protective of my children, and  I am trusting you to take care of him.  I am giving you a confident, healthy, happy young man. Don’t change that. I am giving you a boy who is hard working and finding his way to being a man, help him. It will not be easy, parenting is not. But please, become the mother he deserves. And if you cannot, be honest with him and let him come back to me. Show him that you love him by keeping his best interest in mind.

 

Regards,

The Other Mother

 

Live or Die

I am realizing that I cannot take this lightly. That I will still have days that staying sober will be hard. That the itch to drink will come back, maybe forever. My life will always be lived to fight this disease. I have to put as much effort into sobriety as I did getting drunk. I have to always keep my guard up and never get completely comfortable with my sobriety. I have to respect the fact that I am sick, and if I go back, I will die.

And on top of fighting for my life, I have been losing my patience with the process. I am not a patient person anyways, a skill I need to work on. I get bored and frustrated. I want to be at the point where I have years of sobriety under my belt. I want to be the girl that is happy with my life and where I am at.

But I’m not there yet. And that is fine. I am in a place or growth and relearning. I am in a place where sometimes I don’t know what to do. I have moments of anxiety and fear. I also have moments of happiness and pride. This process will last the rest of my life. I have to be content with where I am. I have to keep fighting for my life and learn how to live it.

Because the truth is this. No matter how glamorous and desirable it seems to catch a buzz, it will never be worth it. It will never be worth the hangover. The pain, both physically and emotionally.  The regret and waste of my time.

Everyday is a gift, and I cannot even consider wasting it on booze. Its time to slow down and be ok with my place in this process. One day at a time, one minute at a time, one breath at a time. Because my life is worth it and I will fight for it.

My Ninos

What I am about to say is going to sting me. I considered not saying it. I don’t even like to think about it. But I know, I have to let it out so I can let it go.

I don’t think I am a bad mother. In fact, I think I am an amazing mother. It is what I am good at. I do believe that I have done wonderful things for my kids. Not always though. Booze has always made me less of a mother.

My kids never went without. They were never hungry or cold. I was never abusive. For that I am grateful. However, there are a lot or regrettable memories I have as a parent.

Kayla spent her first years sleeping in the other room while her father and I have countless drunken fights. Both yelling and physical. She doesn’t remember, but I do. I could have done better for her.

Addie learned very young how to go to the fridge and get mom a beer. They met the drunken version of their mother very young. I always justified it because I wasn’t a mean drunk. Terrible excuse.

So many times, I got black out drunk while my kids played around me. I continued when my son came in to my life. Always drinking with his dad.

I was hungover for every birthday party, school field trip, Christmas program. I always showed up, but I was never present.

I always rationalized it. Made it sound OK in my head. I knew it wasn’t.

Getting drunk at home and leaving my young kids to go down the street to the bar. Risking a DUI or dying while my kids were sleeping. Then telling them that I was going to the store, and going to the bar.  My drinking had become the most important thing in my life, and I didn’t even realize it.

I made excuses. I watched my daughter cry because I was drinking and actually got mad at her for not appreciating everything I did for her. I told my kids to go away so many times so I could get drunk. I tucked them in every night, but I didn’t always remember it. When I was hungover, I would get so annoyed and frustrated with them for no reason.

Like I have said before, I am grateful that I didn’t give my drinking the chance to ruin my relationship with them. I am sad about all the time I wasted. It makes me feel terrible that I gave my attention to booze instead of them. They are my entire world and I put them second.

I have to let this go. I have to move forward. I am lucky to have a second chance with them. I don’t think they think I was as terrible as I do. I don’t think they completely realized what was going on. It will never happen again. I have to make sure of that.  And now, we keep on moving forward. Healing together.

Learning as I Go

When I was a heavy drinker, I lacked real feelings and moods. When I was drunk, I was relaxed and happy. When I was hungover, I was depressed and anxious. And when I was neither, I was exhausted. Nothing in between.

As I am getting further away from the booze, I am slowly getting back to myself. It is confusing. And exciting. And sometimes terrifying. I have a brain that never shuts the fuck up. In fact, more often than not, that is why I drank. My body constantly flowed nervous energy and my mind moved so quickly. It was exhausting trying to keep up. Booze slowed me down. It shut my mind up. It was a break from myself.

Then when that wore off, it was like my mind was mad that I had shut it down. My thoughts came back full force. And they often brought anxiety and sad thoughts with them. I would feel like shit about myself every time. Over years, I learned how to ignore those thoughts, but that didn’t make them go away.

There it is, I have a brain that demands attention and it sometimes drives me crazy. I have a hard time relaxing. I have a hard time living in the moment and being happy. Self medicating is a temporary answer. Whether you choose booze, food or drugs, it will not last or cure you.

So I write. I have small thoughts and I let them form into bigger thoughts. Then I write it all down. I let my thoughts organize themselves and I get them out of my fucking head. Then they make sense. It is my therapy. It is amazing how relaxed I feel after writing.

I exercise. When you drink as much as I did, your body stops making endorphin’s. Endorphin’s are the chemical in your brain that tell you that your happy. I have read studies that say that people who are prone to drug and alcohol abuse lacked the ability to produce endorphin’s long before their addiction. Other studies say that the using made our brains forget how to make them. For me it really doesn’t matter what caused what, I just know that I have to make them. And the best sober way to make them, is to get my ass moving.

And the most difficult, rewarding and scary part of this whole tprocess is listening to myself and actually feeling my emotions. When I’m happy, my instinct is to be worried that everything will go bad. When I’m having a bad day, My instinct tells me that this may be as good as it gets. The biggest challenge of getting sober is letting yourself have feelings that you have been running from for years. That’s why my mind never shuts ups. I have been ignoring it for so long, it will not tolerate not being heard. Fear will motivate me. Loneliness will let me listen to myself. Each thought and feeling is teaching me how to live again.  Every step forward is a positive one, I am finally making peace with myself.

They Will Talk

I’m about to hit you with a bit of truth. Everyone judges. I do it. You do it. Most of us are polite and keep it to ourselves. Some of us can speak our judgement in a constructive way. And some of us are assholes who believe that there opinion always needs to be vocalized.  More often than not, we judge each other and talk to everyone else about our thoughts other than the person we are judging.

We judge each other in every aspect. Its human nature. It makes us feel important or useful or better about ourselves. We judge each other on how we look, how we live, how we parent. We judge each others relationships. We naturally have an opinion about everyone else, and rarely have our own lives figured out.

And that’s OK. I have no problem with this. I used to. It used to bother me immensely. And quite honestly, some days it still does, but I am so much more accepting of this human trait than I used to be.

There will be some people who will always see me as a drunk. The girl who gets falling down drunk and makes an ass of herself. That’s OK. I know better. I know that with everyday I am sober, I am one more step away from that girl and the trouble she brought to my life.

Not everyone agrees with my parenting style and they believe that they could do it better. That’s ok. I am extremely proud of how I have chose to raise my children. I am strict. I make them do chores. I am honest with them and love them with everything I have. My children and I have a mutual respect and love. They are hard workers and respectful. We have a bond that cannot be broken.

There will be people that judge me at first sight. I have tattoos. Some people have even feel that they have the right to tell me how gross tattoos are or how bad they look. I’m ok with that too. I didn’t get them for anyone but myself. I am overweight. If people are going to judge me for that, so be it. I might lose weight, I might eat chicken wings. Either way, I will not lose sleep over what people think.

I can live with people judging. At the end of the day, their opinions are irrelevant. The only person’s opinion that matters is my own. Trust me, nobody has judged me as harshly as I have judged myself. And where has that gotten me?

So, I’m going to try another method. I am learning to love me. And if I feel like dancing, I’m gonna dance. If I feel like sleeping all day, I’m gonna sleep.  Taking care of myself and being happy has finally moved up the priority list. I suggest you do the same. Learn to love yourself and everything else will fall into place.

Today

Today, I am so grateful. I am grateful that I have been strong enough and wise enough to change my life for myself and everyone around me. I am grateful for Sunday mornings, waking up early and not hungover. I am grateful that everything I do from this point forward, I will remember. I am grateful for the struggle, that means I’m still ahead. I am grateful that I made it out alive.

I am so grateful for my husband who supports my every move, even when it doesn’t make sense. A man who loves me all the time, even when he’s mad at me. The man I go to for everything, good or bad. A man who accepted my emotional flaws as a challenge and was patient enough to wait for me to accept his love. A man who values my opinion and makes me feel safe. For him I am grateful.

I am so grateful for my kids. I am grateful for the opportunity to lead them and teach them. I am grateful that my drinking didn’t cause irreversible damage to my relationship with them. They are three people who have made my journey amazing since the day we met. I promised a long time ago to be their rock, and it is an honor to do so. They make me laugh and drive me crazy, and I am grateful.

I am so grateful for all of my friends and family who have loved me when I didn’t love myself. Who supported and encouraged me when I didn’t think I could. Who made me laugh. Who taught me about life. Looking back at my entire life, I cannot even begin to count all of the people I am grateful for.

There are so many things I am grateful for. I am changing my life style and my thought process, and that has been hard. But today, I grateful. For sunsets and coffee. For sitting around the fire with people I love. For the people who smile when they think of me, and I do the same. For being able to work and support my family. For my health. My life is truly amazing, and I am grateful and blessed that I am finally sober enough to see it.  So many reasons to be grateful.

Its OK to be Pretty

 

Growing up, I was not a confident child. I was never expected to become great. Often times  I was told that I would never be like the other kids. I would never be as pretty as the other girls or as smart as the other kids. And of course I believed that. I was a chubby kid with messy hair who sucked my thumb way longer than acceptable.

Then as I got older, I shyly attempted to step out of that mind set. I attempted to do my hair or wear make up. I was laughed at and ridiculed at home for this. I was asked. “is that what your really wearing?, or “have you even brushed your hair?”  This destroyed any chance of me feeling what I intended. Pretty.

When I was around my peers I knew that they were better than me. I knew that they were always judging me, how I looked, how I talked, everything. I learned that everyone deserved happiness, except me. So I stepped back and let everyone else enjoy it. I hated myself. I knew I would never be as good as them. If anyone would look at me, I knew they knew it too.

So these thoughts instilled into my little childhood brain followed me. They haunted me. And then I found booze. When I got drunk, I was pretty. Fucking beautiful even. I was fun. People enjoyed being around me. And I was hooked, booze was my comfort zone.

I am not writing this for pity. It is simply part of my story and it needs to be told, more for my sake than anyone else’s. Fast forward 15 years. I am sober. No more liquid confidence. I am realizing things that I thought no longer bothered me actually do. In fact, they never stopped. I have been faking it for years. If anyone has thought I am a confident woman, you have been fooled. The thoughts that haunted me then still haunt me today. I look in the mirror and I don’t see a beautiful woman. I see an average girl with a double chin. I still doubt myself all the time and have the belief that I don’t deserve everything life has to offer.

But that all has to change. I have to step out of my booze induced comfort zone and find a new one. I don’t live there anymore. So as of today, its OK to be pretty.  In fact, its OK to be beautiful. When I look in the mirror, I have to promise myself to see more than a double chin. I cannot let my thoughts bully me anymore. I am a beautiful woman who deserves happiness and there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, we all are.