So today was one of the greatest days of my life, one I almost came to dread the last few days. I had mentioned my upcoming sobriety anniversary to my AA-friends for a long time now, and I suppose I did so because I wanted to share my joy with others. But then at the beginning of this week I realised what I had done, I had made sure that everyone knew about my sobriety date, people would celebrate it and I would be the center of attention. Yikes! Thankfully this had been quite a busy week and I did’nt have much time to think about today. That I even managed this week, tired as I was, was because I knew that I have an entirely unplanned and free weekend waiting for me. I could relax and enjoy this week’s journey, because I would be rewarded with two whole days aaaall to myself. Bliss :)
I was an hour and a half early to the AA-meeting, opened, made coffee, set out the two big chocolate cakes that I had brought with me, lit candles and had everything prepared when people began dropping in one by one. I hugged each and every one long and well, topping up the level of love in my heart. Any nervousness that I had, for this meeting to become just wrong, quickly faded away. I let my guard down and allowed myself to enjoy being the center of attention. Because, my friends within AA have no expectations on me. The only thing they wish is that we manage sobriety and that we are well. And what I saw in my friends eyes and faces this evening, was the reflection of a woman celebrating sobriety, so incredibly happy spending this evening with her friends and fully content with where she was at that very moment.
Monica, oh sweet sweet Monica – she texted me earlier this week and asked if she could give me her two years AA-medallion. My heart nearly burst in my chest, so happy that she was there for me. I was so proud to receive her medallion, Monica herself celebrated five years of sobriety this Summer, so this surely must be a very lucky coin ;)
I seriously did’nt think that anyone would have anything to say about me once the meeting started, because I thought that I unfortunately was a rather anonymous person. Oh how wrong I was… I got to hear what my friends thought of me and I was overwhelmed over the fantastic, sincere and kind words they spoke. I could hardly comprehend that it was me they were talking about… it was almost surreal. Tears were shed, by me and by some of the others. One friend told how she had watched my struggle over the years, how she had been so afraid and worrying about how I would do when I began drinking again. She knew the enormous amount of alcohol I drank every day, and feared that I would’nt survive it… her words scared me, because she reminded me about the one I once was. Not too long ago, and I’m well aware of that part that still lives within me – the alcoholic.
Then it was my turn to speak at the meeting and my mind went blank. In all of this busy week, I did’nt even consider what to say at tonight’s occasion. But I felt that I had to say something and began talking… in my head thoughts stumbled over one another, I grabbed one here and there and tried to express these thoughts in sentences that hopefully would make some sense to the others. It all sounded like a ramble to me, but once done speaking people looked at me with tears in their eyes and a little bit stunned by that I passed the word on to the next fellow alkie. A man had entered the meeting only five minutes before it ended and came up to me afterwards and said “It must have been one heck of a speech you gave, everyone seems so taken by it. Too bad I missed it…” I wish I could’ve heard it too hahaa I hardly remember anything of what I said.
Wow… it’s hard to grasp the entire extent of what my life has become. Or perhaps I should say depth? My life today inhabits a richness and depth that I have never experienced before. A life that would never have been had I continued drinking. A life that I could sense a few years ago, hinting the potential that awaited… it was all there! Just waiting for me to wake up and seize it. I have said it before and I will say it again; this is only the beginning, these two years have been a taste of what life in sobriety has to offer. Each thing that I learn or experience opens up a door revealing another thousand new things to learn, they in turn each open a new door to new things to learn and experience… you see where I’m going? Life is limitless, I am the limited one. I hope I learn how to rid the limits I have surrounded myself with and hope that I get to enjoy more of what life has to offer.
And now, at last the weekend is here and I’m looking forward to a long and good sleep. Tomorrow will be a day of rest, baking, drawing, cat-cuddling and watching Stargate :)
Wishing you all the best and hoping that you enjoy a brilliant weekend! xoxo
I read somewhere that life is’nt about discovering yourself, but to create yourself and I had been thinking about that. When I sobered up once and for all, I understood that I no longer was who I once had been. Most often that’s okey, but sometimes it is a sad thought. Sometimes I can miss the young easygoing and cheerful me… but then I think “But what’s there to stop me being easygoing and cheerful again?” And then I realise that I’m not that super duper interested in being all that cheerful and easygoing anymore ;)
As time went by, I could’nt figure out how I was supposed to discover who I am… Instead I found that I was getting to know myself. As sober, I had at last come to a point in life where I allowed myself to matter. I told myself that I am important, that I am good enough and loved and that I have respect for myself. Very important here is that I don’t chase for other people’s love and confirmation, I have to find love for my own self within and am grateful that I actually found self-love. I had thought that I only inhabited self-loathing, but that disappeared as I began becoming friends with myself.
I have’nt been discovering myself much, but have rather been listening to myself. Or perhaps those two are the same thing! What situations do I find myself in, in everyday life? How do I feel and think in these situations? How do I act? Am I content with how I act and interact? What makes me feel good? Do I give myself enough affirmation? Am I kind enough towards myself?
Now when looking back I can see that I was’nt discovering who I am, but that a whole new me is in the making. And I want this new me to be a good one. A loving and patient Alma, happy with herself and happy in life. I am becoming a someone taking resposibility for her own life. My life is in my own hands and that is a heavy task to manage for the alcoholic me, being used to escape from myself, from life and from responsibilities. But, practice makes perfect and I’m practicing.
Life sure as heck is’nt any dance on roses and keeps giving me a kick in the butt when I least expect it and when I think that I least deserve it. With feelings hurt I automatically curse the unfairness of life and a small voice in the back of my mind whispers “To hell with it, it’s not worth it.” As soon as I hear those dark thoughts I realise that living life and sobriety certainly IS all worth it. The lessons that life gives me here and there, thankfully in healthy and manageable doses, are there to give me the opportunity to understand how I function, how I react and how my mind works. Most often it is people who makes no sense and I need to speak with someone about it. It’s amazing how there always are people available to talk to, willing to share their thoughts on pressing matters. The more I speak with other people, the more I realise that I’m not so alienated or so very special – I am no more unique than anyone else, nor am I any freak.
But all of this is a delicate balancing on a fine line, because I will not change myself to gain approval and attention from others. My life is’nt about others anymore, it is about me. About what makes ME happy and what I want out of life. This is my one time opportunity to live a life, and not one moment of my life has been wasted and will not be regretted. All my experiences, good or bad, have been and will be my lessons learned and valued. What I do with my experiences is what defines me. I can’t deny that my experiences have changed me, but it is I who decide what becomes of me. And I guess that’s how I’m creating myself – not discovering myself :)
Anyways, time passes by quickly and I found that some marvelous folks had left me such lovely comments here in my blog. It reminded me that I needed to resume my writing, but these comments also reminded me about the goodness in others. These comments warmed my heart and inspiration came to life and here I am composing a new blog entry.
A while back I found myself strolling down one of life’s paths and discovered that this one was a particularily interesting one. I am simply living a perfectly normal everyday life; working and getting to know my colleagues better, hanging out with friends and getting to know them even better, getting to know new friends, attending AA-meetings, creating and drawing, taking care of my home, my cats and myself… Almost two years sober and most days still amaze me.
Today I’m grateful for a brilliant Winter’s day with lots of snow, the company of friends and family and a great day out. We left our home town this morning with an old steam train and arrived an hour later in a beautiful town by the sea, that offered a Christmas fair and lots of fun activities.
Back home again, time is nearly eight o’clock in the evening and I’m lighting a whole bunch of candles so that I can get my body temperature back to normal and then to cook myself some supper.
I hope you’re enjoying a lovely weekend, or if you’re having a hard time – remember that you’re not alone and I’m sending you strength and a great big warm hug ♥️
Time is nearly noon and I had just been to the mall. It was my sweet tooth that drove me out of my home and I went to the grocery store to buy a little something to nibble on. While walking through the mall and then when leaving I saw that most folks were carrying plastic bags filled with bottles from the off-license. For a moment I had almost forgotten that Saturday equals party time for many and thought about how such visits to the off-license would have been my happiest moments in life. It would mean drinking and partying, happy times. Now when looking back I find that to be sad… I had nothing else in life that could make me happier than booze. No matter how happy I was, booze managed to top it all.
So today when walking home, carrying only a wee package of sweets, I thought of how damn lucky I am. For me, to quit drinking meant to discover other things in life that makes me happy… and I’ve managed to find several things and even suspect that there is more to come. Would I drink again, all of today’s happy stuff would be gone. ALL of it, because alcohol would take all my focus and energy, I would be 100 percent obsessed with alcohol and that simply leaves no room for anything else in my life.
I’m grateful that I have this Saturday all to myself. I am here and aware. I have decided to spend this day on drawing and doing the laundry. Tomorrow I’m off to a flea market with a couple of friends, and all of these rather simple pleasures in life are my golden nuggets that I treasure dearly. No things, no money and hell no alcohol can beat that, not if I don’t allow it. Because I actually do have choice and I choose not to drink, I choose life and it is with humbleness that I can see that alcohol has been downgraded to a mere memory.
This is so strange… well, in my mind it is :) It’s about synchronicity and throughout my life I have noticed that sometimes some things comes in pairs… A hypothetical example; I could be watching a movie and someone says something insightful in that movie, something that makes perfect sense to me where I am in life right now. The following day a colleague basically says the same thing that I had heard in the movie. When coincidences comes in pairs, to me that means there’s a message with a little extra importance. Sometimes they make sense afterwards, but most often not. Or, not that I’m aware of.
So, in the beginning of this week my colleague Magnus said something that I did’nt pay much attention to. Him and I speak a lot during our workdays, sometimes too much. Many times we share problems that bother us, or we play with ideas or we just joke and have fun. But this time we were serious and then he said that he had been thinking about people in general, how they are not able to be content with what they already have. That they tirelessly keep chasing something better… that people are materialistic and hungry for status. I guess, to sum it up; they can’t see that they are good enough.
After that Magnus and I spoke about a lot of other stuff and moved on with our lives.
Then yesterday I was at the AA meeting, it was wonderful as usual seeing my friends and talking to many of them. I had earlier read that for a person to feel loved, one should be hugged at least twelve times per day. I find it to be a silly statement, but just to be on the safe side I made sure that I squeezed as many sober alkies as I could. I’m also in a phase were I just love listening to what people have to say. Everybody has something on their mind and it’s interesting to hear what the first thing is that comes out of their mouth when they speak with me. Right before the meeting began, I was speaking to Bella and all of the sudden she’s saying almost exactly what Magnus had said; that she had been thinking about how some people are not able to be content with what they already have.
It was almost spooky, because she almost quoted Magnus. I thought about this later on when lying in bed, and wondered if there was a meaning. Am I not content with life? Am I yearning for that grass which is greener on the other side? I don’t think so… Or, perhaps this is not about me?
After a good night’s sleep I had forgotten about this latest synchronicity, until a moment ago.
About five years ago, I had a Swedish blog in which I just shared links to interesting stuff that I found on the internet. This was at a time in my life when I was heavily addicted to alcohol, I began isolating myself and so spended all my spare time on drinking on my own and surfing the net. Through that blog I got to know a few people, but I eventually lost touch with them as I deleted my blog and soon thereafter embarked on my journey through sobriety. A few days ago, one of these old blog friends contacted me. A while back he had been sitting in a waiting room, without anything better to do he then picked up a magazine and to his surprise he found an article about me and alcoholism. He had gotten a minor shock, because he had no idea that I had alcohol problems. So he found the courage to send me a message and I was surprised but also happy to hear from him. It was a little strange talking with someone from particularily that time in my life, it brought up a lot of memories from those days. It also made it quite clear how much I have changed, I think I dare say that I have become a whole new me. Yet this is just the beginning, a new beginning where I’m getting to know myself and am rediscovering the world around me.
Anywho, we had been chatting earlier this evening and in the middle of everything he wrote about how he had been thinking about how some people are not able to be content with what they already have. He found it to be sad, and we chatted a little about materialistic wealth and spiritual poverty and so on. And I just had to blog about this, because three times this week has three entirely different people said the same thing to me. Coincidences piling up and again I find myself pondering on what it is that I’m supposed to understand or learn, if anything. Maybe it’s just a simple coincidence, or maybe it’s life telling me “Yes yes, this way! Keep going, you’re on the right path.” Hahaa I really don’t know, but I find it both strange and interesting.
It has been a vacation with lots of rest, but also with lots of musts and dealing with emotions. And I am so happy that I had the luxury to be able to deal with all of this while off from work. Am also happy that I AM dealing with emotions and responsibility and am not escaping by alcohol. I’m going to give myself a pat on the back for this one!
It has been great two weeks, but I do look forward to returning to work tomorrow and to my good old routines.
And on this last day my creativity awakened! As I am finishing my drawing I was wondering if I would rather draw on smaller paper. I dug through my stuff and found an unused drawing pad, it is four times smaller than the current paper I’m drawing on.
I could’nt help myself but began a new drawing. One can never have too many drawings in the making! ;) I hope you’re enjoying a lovely Sunday! I certainly am and now I’ll pause my drawings to go and cook myself a pizza *yum*
Well I’ll be darned, I just realised that I’m actually done with all my musts at mum’s place. We received a new digital box and I could without any problems install it on mum’s new TV. So everything TV related seems to be in order. I had a new walkthrough with her regarding the new Windows 8 laptop. I have noticed that mum grasps Windows 8, with its new interface, much easier than she did with Windows 7.
I am understanding that mum’s memory is deteriorating, this has been hard to deal with, but acceptance is helping me cope with that side of mum. An example; two days ago I installed a game, FlipWords, that she loves and wanted me to put on her new laptop. Today mum began speaking about a game that she had played years back, but she could’nt remember the name of that game. A while later she remembered it and exclaimed “FlipWords!”, oh how she had loved that game. About a year ago I would’ve just stared at mum, slightly shocked, because I had already installed the game as she herself had requested it. I might even had become upset that she can’t keep information in order. But today I just showed mum again how the game was already available from her desktop and she wondered how it had gotten there. I told her that I installed it on Wednesday and she was happy and thanked me.
Mum’s projects are done with, but what I need to accept is that she repeatedly will be asking me the same questions. But every time I’m at her place I will make sure that we repeat various tasks on both her laptop and the iPhone.
I don’t know if she suffers from some form of dementia or if it’s Alzheimers, time will tell.
But, Friday is here and two more days remain of my vacation. I wont be doing much today, but tomorrow I have planned to clean my apartment. So there, the exciting life of Alma ;)
I wish you all enjoy a brilliant Friday and have a great weekend! xoxo
I have had lots to do with mum over the vacation; she needed a new TV, a new laptop and then a second digital box for the new bedroom TV. She would’nt be able to buy all of these on her own as she would’nt know what the right thing is to get, and there is not a chance that she could install any of it. That’s where I come in. And I guess that’s why I have been so negative lately, as I have been spending my time on activities that I really did’nt want to engage in. But I can’t bring myself to say no to mum, when I fully well know that she can’t manage some things on her own.
So I have bought all the things, then installed them, then the digital box did’nt work and I had to post it back to the provider, I’ve also been pottering with her iPhone. And all along mum has been texting me about various problems she has encountered with her new stuff and I have been grinding my teeth.
I’ve been struggling with accepting that my mum does’nt have the wits she once had, to not expect more from her and to control my temper. Phew… I must tell though that it has gone rather well actually. Only once did I raise my voice and that was when I was going to login mum to Facebook on her new laptop and she did’nt know her password. She asked me for HER password and I yelled that she should write all her passwords down *grin* But then I could actually figure out what password she had and managed to log her in on Facebook. Later on mum proudly showed me a list of passwords that she had written down, after our little quarrel.
Anyway, yesterday I had to visit mum in the morning because she texted me that the laptop had lost its internet connection. It went well, I solved the problem and returned home. I have had a headache for three days and was wasted, so I just went to bed and passed out. Later I was awakened by a phonecall, from mum. Needing my help with something unrelated to the previous stuff I’ve mentioned. After that she texted me, not fully awake I replied that I’m not feeling well and this she needs to sort out on her own. About an hour later I was awakened again by a text from mum and it said something like this: “My dear daughter, I am so sorry. I have terrorised you a lot lately, needing help with so many things. Not once have I said thank you and not once have I asked you how you are doing. I’m sorry and I love you, just tell me if I can help you with anything.”
After that I fell asleep again for the fiftytwelfth time and slept like a baby. I had to visit mum again this morning, but the first thing she said when she opened her front door was “Thank you!” And she had actually managed to sort out that thing she phoned me about yesterday, all by herself.
You know, I don’t really mind if people thank me or not. Okay, with mum I do stuff out of obligation. But with everyone else I help because I want to, not because I expect anything in return. What I do mind is being used and taken for granted. Words are not needed when I with my own eyes can see that someone is grateful for my help, but most folks that I know inhabit the politeness to say thank you to someone who has given them a hand. Unfortunately I have’nt been able to explain this to mum, because apparently we can’t communicate on the same level. So for her to at last figure that one out by herself is a minor miracle. For that I am very grateful. Today she showed how much she appreciated my help and all of the sudden helping mum was’nt a pain in the butt. We even had fun today, after I had finished updating her iPhone we had a sit in mum’s kitchen, drank tea and played a couple of rounds of cards.
Right before I left, while I was putting my shoes on – I said “Mum, I have something to tell you about Christmas. I have been giving this a lot of thought and have decided that I want to celebrate a peaceful and quiet Christmas on my own. I need that quiet time to myself”. Mum did’nt look surprised and said that she is happy if I do what’s right for me, so this was not a problem at all for her. Thank goodness.
I know that I will have a few more folks to fend off regarding Christmas, and I will be honest as I was with mum and tell that I will spend a completely stress free Christmas on my own.
I will admit that I really am a romantic sucker for Christmas, and now when I know that I will be spending it just the way I like it – I am beginning to feel happy about it. A heavy burden has been lifted off my shoulders and already am I now looking forward to my super cosy Christmas :)
List composed by: Chelsea Fagan
1. Saying “thank you” when someone does something little-but-kind throughout your day. When someone holds a door, helps you grab something, or lets you go first, they didn’t have to do that, and making sure to thank them will make them want to do it more.
2. Doing those little-but-kind things yourself throughout the day. When you’re at that weird moment of “Do I or don’t I hold open this door for the person who is a little bit behind me,” do it.
3. Smiling at children who are smiling or looking at you. Kids are perfect, in that they think most people are generally good and nice, so don’t shatter that image by frowning or looking away from them.
4. Listening to music for the mood you want to be in, instead of the mood you actually are in. If you want to cheer yourself up, don’t sulk with Death Cab albums from your high school “artist” phase — put on some Disney soundtracks!
5. Giving someone at least one honest compliment per day, about something other than their weight if possible. (Even if someone lost weight, it’s much better to say “You look great!” rather than comment directly on the pounds, because that often comes with a lot of baggage.)
6. Putting more fruits and vegetables on your plate, and eating those first before treating yourself to the less-healthy things. Making the choice to eat better is often very simple, and only involves being more smart about what you put in front of you.
7. Answering your text messages right away (even if they stress you out), because you know how you feel when someone leaves you hanging. Also, you have a tendency to say “I’ll get to this later” and then forget about it completely, and that’s just rude.
8. Putting your alarm across the room so that you have to get up and go turn it off and can’t accidentally hit “off” in your sleep and never actually wake up.
9. Saying “hi” to your neighbors when you see them, and maybe even asking how their day was because, come on, you basically live together.
10. Preparing breakfasts, snacks, or lunches to take with you throughout the week. There’s only one way to avoid paying a lot of money to eat terribly at the last minute, and that’s by planning ahead.
11. Not obsessing over the stupid/embarrassing thing you said two years ago to keep you from sleeping or make you freak out in the shower. (My technique with this one is to actually say the thing out loud, laugh at myself, and force myself to think about something else.)
12. Calling, texting, emailing, or in some way acknowledging your parents and find out what they’re up to today/let them know that you love them.
13. Freezing grapes, because that shit is delicious.
14. Writing down a list — ideally on a dry erase board or something, where you can see it every day — of the things you need to do. And actually going through this list, one by one, and checking them off. I promise, it feels almost better than sex to see the whole thing crossed out.
15. Telling a friend you love them, or you’re thinking about them, or you hope they’re doing well.
16. Pointing out at least one thing in the mirror that you actually like about yourself, and that you’re excited to see.
17. Reminding yourself that the body you have is more than just an object for people to observe, it’s also an amazing thing that allows you to run, jump, hug, eat, and exist in this world.
18. Finding at least one thing on the internet to get excited or happy about, instead of just surrounding yourself with negative information, things and people to criticize, or hate-reads that you use to feel righteously angry.
19. Stretching. Especially in the morning.
20. Taking at least a few minutes out of your day to think about things that you are happy about, things you can improve, and this you want to do differently tomorrow. Allow the feeling of gratitude to fill you up and motivate you to carry the good things over and leave the pointlessly negative things behind.
21. Realizing that you are not perfect, that no one else is, and that it should never be your goal. The more you compare yourself to people you think are happier or more successful, the more you turn them into characters and not human beings. Every single person you pass on the street is real and has their own story, and their own flaws. Remembering that they’re struggling, too is the quickest way to make yourself a better person.
In Swedish we have an expression; vargtimmen, which translates into the English “the hour of the wolf”. The hour of the wolf are the hours before dawn, at about 3 am to 5 am. It is said that’s when a human’s body is the least active. The level of melatonin is the highest, our body temperature and blood pressure is at its lowest levels and also the metabolism slows down.
I read sometime long ago that if one is awake at this time of the night, our thoughts can the most negative, one might feel worry, fear or anxiety. So I always try to remember to not pay any attention to whatever goes on in my mind at that time. Because my thoughts most often really are negative sometime after 2 am. I have also promised myself to avoid blogging anything at that time, as it is me at my worst and after a good night’s sleep I’m sure I would regret such a blog post.
I did’nt fall asleep until about 4 am this morning and had been struggling with a lump of worry in my tummy. I was pondering that perhaps the dull, foggy and grey weather really is affecting my mood. Then I thought about December and then about Christmas. And I am not feeling happy about Christmas this year, at all. I had to struggle quite hard to leave those thoughts, to not worry about something that awaits almost two months in the future. But it was’nt easy to think positive thoughts and to remain in the present moment when so tired, and so negative.
Last Christmas was’nt fun at all, naturally ruined by my mum’s disrespectful behaviour. Lately I have been thinking that I don’t want to celebrate any Christmas this year, I don’t want to end up keeping mum company out of obligation or a guilty conscience over her being all alone. So already am I dealing with this dilemma, I’m thinking that she or anyone else are not my responsibility and if mum ends up alone on Christmas; well that is out of her own doing.
Most people have this idea about how Christmas is to be celebrated, and I’m just not agreeing with this tradition anymore. I have already managed to get myself out of celebrating the New Year. I have’nt celebrated New Year’s Eve with other people for years, but am so much happier just being on my own that night. I don’t want to be forced to be in a certain way, by the majority, to be like everyone expects from me and from themselves. I wish to do the same about Christmas. If I can’t celebrate it with people that make me happy, then I really don’t want to celebrate it with anyone at all.
So last night I was agonizing over the thought telling those who might ask me to celebrate Christmas with them, that I will not be celebrating Christmas with anyone. Problem is that people just cannot grasp that someone wants to enjoy solitude at such time of the year. But I do, because I’m fed up with the weirdness that occurs during Christmas. It’s fake and I don’t do fake anymore. Last night I did my best to remember that it is no other than myself who decides how I think or feel, though what complicates this is my sense of guilty conscience, that I egoistically will withdraw myself from the Christmas celebration.
Every year I am feeling so happy after having spended New Year’s on my own, doing with that day whatever I please – and I desire to do the same with Christmas. In my mind, I listed all the people that I know and honestly could’nt find anyone with whom I could enjoy a pleasant Christmas. Perhaps there will be one day, but no matter what I will try my best to not make myself unhappy anymore.
To be honest, I had made the same decision last year… but still ended up trampling over my own wishes. I did what was expected of me and had an awful Christmas, which obviously has left me worried a whole year later. This will not be repeated.
I dislike pondering about this already, yet I am sort of preparing myself for a worst case scenario and gathering the courage to do what is best for me and my wellbeing. I dwelled on it last night and now I have hopefully written those thoughts out of my head. Now I want to leave them be until it at least is mid December.
I once read somewhere that when lying awake in the middle of the night, pondering and worrying – then it helps to turn over to lie on one’s back. And so I did, and then did my little exercise that helps me to sleep; first to choose a theme, and I picked my favourite one; Science Fiction. Then I began naming anything sci-fi related in alphabetical order, for instance: A is for Andorian (a humanoid species in Star Trek), B is for Bean (a character in the Ender’s Game book), C is for Cloaking device (in sci-fi movies it means invisibility for a whole spaceship)… and it worked! I fell asleep long before I could reach Z :)
In the Summer of 2011, after I and my four friends arrived to Gotland we immediately went to the car rental place. Once we were all seated in our car, we decided to visit a grocery store before heading to the house we had rented.
So we drove to the store, went inside and got what we needed to survive until the next day. I and Monica were the last ones left in the store, our friends stood outside waiting for us. Am not sure what kept Monica, but I was walking towards the exit to join the group. After that I just acted on an impulse – I sped up my pace, then walked even quicker, had a very serious look plastered over my face and as I walked past my friends I said: “Monica is robbing the store”, and then I ran!
The incredibly awesome thing here is 1) I made my friends run too, and 2) for a second they actually believed that Monica was robbing the store.
When Monica walked through the store exit she saw her faithful friends running as if they had the devil himself chasing them, and we were running towards the parking lot. Half way to the car all of us broke down laughing and it took us a while to tell the confused looking Monica about my practical joke.
This memory had me laughing good and I wonder why I don’t joke more like this. Oh yes, I can joke and I laugh a lot – but I do have become a rather serious person. So that mischievous part of me definitely needs to come out a little more often ;)
After I posted my last entry, I was remembering my last trip to Gotland and the nightmare surrounding that beautiful trip. And thought that I must have mentioned Gotland before in this blog, after a search I found that indeed had I blogged a little about it. So if you’re curious to read that old post, written by a five days sober me – then here’s the link: Why sober again?
When life is an uneventful, humdrum way of living, when I lack motivation… that’s a spirit killer for me. These last few days, I’ve been feeling tired and unadventurous. The few activities I have engaged in, I have done so halfheartedly. At the same time I’m grateful that I’ve been off from work during these days and have had all the time in the world to indulge in resting.
Have no idea why I’m this tired and I’ve been slightly worried that I might sleep this vacation away. I had made plans for today but after I got out of bed and saw the grey, windy and rainy weather outside – I decided to stay at home instead and slept some more.
Later on I by accident stumbled over things called “shadowboxes” in Pinterest. For example, check out this board: Shadowbox. So I assume that this wooden house that I bought is a shadowbox? And so Pinterest gave me lots of ideas for what I could do with my wooden house. And then later on I found this cutest little thing whilst window shopping:
It too was very cheap and as I bought it an idea began forming in my mind, my next decoupage project which will be quite different from my previous decoupage projects. I was playing with this idea in my mind, I was thrilled and that’s when it occured to me how dull I’ve actually been lately. Perhaps one can’t constantly be motivated… or are people motivated all the time? Sometimes my motivation fades away. It does not awaken any hunger for getting drunk, it just is what it is; dull. And I’m not too keen on dull. But I have accepted this unmotivational me this week, I had been looking at my drawing thinking that I could draw some – yet I did’nt. And now there’s this new idea spiring in my mind, and with that comes fresh motivation and joy.
Unfortunately fresh creative ideas can’t be produced on command. Or maybe they can, but I have never managed to do so. Maybe dullness is what is required sometimes to form new ideas?
Anyways, I have made simple plans for tomorrow. I found a wee charming shop in Stockholm city that sells miniature things. I want to see what else I could add to the wooden house. I am thinking that I will colour the house dark brown before decoupaging it (or more like stain it). Then I will create a sky in the top section of the house and in there hang the hot air balloon jewelry. Perhaps try out polymer clay for the first time, to create clouds. But the remaining six sections also needs to be filled with something, and I might just have a few ideas lined up for those. Perhaps one section will contain an owl and some greenery… or a tiny gnome would be cute? And some moss and stones? I shall see :)
Yesterday I met up with my friend Helena and we enjoyed a conversation over a cup of hot white chocolate each. This was at a café in the mall in the center of my hometown. As we sat there, two of our friends Bella and Maria walked by. We caught their attention, happily they joined us and took a seat by our table. As the four of us chatted away yet another two friends stopped by and that coffee break turned out to be one of the best I had in a long time. It was so lovely sitting at a café, meeting people that I know. It is a magnificent feeling living in a town and actually having befriended some of its inhabitants… It makes me feel at home, and it illuminates the fact that I am not alone. Mind you, a fact that needs illuminating from time to time. Mainly we all talked about our trip to the AA convention at Gotland in May next year, but we also spoke about a lot of other interesting stuff; like relationships, self-esteem and other emotions, about sobriety and about creativity. Maria told that she’s creative, but she’s only interested in creative projects that are practical and that can be useful. So this wooden house of mine, it would make no sense to her and she would probably ask me what I would use it for?
Firstly I will savor this fresh new idea of mine, play with it in my mind and allow it to evolve. Meanwhile I will get the things needed to complete this project. And lastly I will complete it, making it real. It will be used for nothing, though I will be happy if it turns out good looking and that in turn will give me some personal satisfaction. As the entire creative process will… and all of this is a great part of my replacing alcohol. This is some of the things that I do to remain sober. So, in the end perhaps that wooden house will just sit on one of my shelfs doing nothing but looking good. Maybe I will give it away, but it will be a little something that helped this alcoholic maintain her sobriety :)
Oh and I DO intend to complete my drawing, no doubt about it!
Edit: Here’s a link to my photo album at Flickr from my first visit ever to Gotland in 2011. It was my first great AA convention, a remarkable experience. Next years AA convention at Gotland will be my second one.
Every once in a while I receive a compliment about my straight back. Apparently I have a posture that gives people the idea that I’m a self-confident woman. I figure my height plays a role in this part as well, I don’t think I’m too tall but am 180 centimeters or nearly 6 feet tall.
One thing surprised me this morning, I met a friend’s boyfriend on my way to the bus station. He has always been a head taller than me, but today when we walked side by side I realised that he was shorter than usual! Or I was taller hahaa Strange! Then it occured to me that perhaps sobriety has helped me straighten my back again. Now a days I’m not the crushed drunken alcoholic, and maybe some heavy burden was weighing my friend’s boyfriend down.
So why am I telling you about my height? Well, it’s because I again yesterday received a compliment and I told this kind person the story that I always tell when I get such compliment, and thought I would share it here as well. It wont be any thrilling read, it is just me expressing my gratitude to the man who helped me to this proper posture of mine;
It seems new generations are getting taller, that’s why I don’t consider myself overly tall anymore. But as a child I was considered a freak. I gained almost all my height very quickly, so at the age of 13 I was already 173 cm tall. Adults could’nt believe I was only 13 and most often treated me as an adult. All of the kids in school were much shorter than me, my classmates were about two heads shorter. And I was’nt any skinny kid so when comparing my weight with my “friend’s” average weight I considered myself HUGE! Kids making fun of me of course confirmed this monstrous self-image.
Anyway, slowly but surely I began slouching. To sort of shorten myself, to such point that I almost developed a humpback. I never saw what I was doing to my back, but I think it was at around the age of 14 a friend of mum’s spoke. Him, his wife (Mats and Eva, our neighbours and good friends) were having a coffee at our place. I was standing in the kitchen when Mats thoughtfully looked at me with the most kindest eyes and said; “Alma, I want you to walk over to that wall and stand with your back against it.” A little embarassed over the attention I suddenly got, I did what he had asked me to do. Eva and mum resumed their chitchatting over their coffee and Mats got out if his chair and walked over to me. He put his hands on my shoulders and gently yet firmly pressed my shoulders up against the wall. As he held me basically pinned to the wall he said; “I’m going to let go now, but I want you to hold this position and stay like this for as long as you can. When you decide to walk away from the wall, I want you to keep this posture as best as you can”. I just did what he said, knowing he meant well. As he returned to his chair he added; “And I want you to do this exercise every day, for as long as it takes until you walk with your back straight.”
And I did! It was incredibly embarassing walking around like a soldier, but I did for several years until my back was strong and straight again and then I could assume a little more relaxed posture.
I wish I could tell him how grateful I am about his initiative those 25 or 26 years ago, because with his seemingly simple act of kindness he saved my back. Had he not stepped in I would then most likely have suffered from a troublesome back today and would certainly not have had this proud posture.
It warms my heart remembering Mats, he is one of the most good-hearted people I have ever known. Eva turned out to be an alcoholic as well, and as far as I know she is still struggling with her demons.
Leaving Memory Lane and jumping back to the now, it is Friday at last! And here’s the latest update of my drawing:
I hope you enjoy an absolutely fabulous Friday, tataa for now! xoxo
Yesterday made me think of one of the times I sat in a session with Karin the therapist. I had been sober for only a few days, everything in my life was embedded in darkness; I had been drinking excessively for almost ten months, I stood between jobs, I was overweight, I viewed myself as worthless and ugly and yet again had I forced myself to give up alcohol. Karin and I talked about the effect alcohol had on me, in that particular session we spoke about the positive effects. I was lost, because the only thing that could give me comfort, a rush and an escape at the same time, was alcohol. No other pleasure could measure with alcohol. As we sat there talking about drunkeness a voice in my mind screamed in panic, the alcoholic me could not wrap her mind around NOT drinking. I turned ice cold as an enormous fear sweeped through me… Karin asked what I could do instead of drinking? Because I would need to replace alcohol with something that gives me some personal satisfaction. That’s how I work, over the years I had spoiled my brain with one rush after the other on a daily basis… I refused to give in to the alcoholic’s fear and focused my attention on the recovering me. Through everything, I had never given up my optimistic mindset and would not do so this time either. Going against the profound desire to drink, that panic rushing through my mind – I suggested a few things that I could focus on; my walks, photography… From then on and until this day, I replace alcohol with creativity. It is a limitless state to be in, creativity offers endless opportunities. By using creativity as my new drug, I in no way limit myself to a particular activity or hobby that surely would bore me after a while. And so paving the way to alcohol and drinking again.
Alcohol had been my best friend, my happiness and my escape and at times now a days I can feel a great sorrow as I miss alcohol and its effect. It happens seldom, but it happens.
What I realised now was that since that session with Karin, I never allow myself to indulge in the memory of the rush alcohol could give me. I never think about how madly happy I could become while drinking, how it could make me relax and even turn me into an entirely different person. If my mind touch such memories, I don’t react with fear nor is it in any way taboo, I acknowledge those thoughts but quickly let them go. Because anything alcohol related simply has no place in my life anymore. There is this simple fact that if I want to feel a happy feeling, it will be produced by something non-alcoholic. What that might be changes from week to week, but I always find something. The more I use my imagination, the more my creativity broadens. The longer I lead a sober life, the more natural it becomes to aquire a non-alcoholic happiness. My pleasures are simple and I would like to say that I believe that I am a rather simple and straight forward person, one who thought she was incredibly complicated. Now realising that it was just me complicating things.
Not clinging to control has released a sense of freedom, that is a great pleasure in itself. Feeling and remembering gratefulness in much of what I do or in much of what happens in my life – it too provides me with great pleasure. Letting go of control gives me lots of space to do other stuff, and whatever creative activity that tickles my interest – I will give it a go.
Geesh I’m so tired! And am wondering if I’m feeling this tired only because I have a vacation waiting for me just around the corner? I may allow myself to feel tired because I soon will have lots of time to rest?
Today had been the craziest day at work. It has been a very good day and we’ve all been in a bright mood. But I’ve had rather tricky cases to solve, of which one took half the day. Still I did’nt manage to solve it aaarrghhhh
When I began working at this department, one of the routines that I learned was that when we reach a certain level of difficulty regarding cases to solve, we then pass on such cases to a different group within the IT-department. About half a year ago I began realising that we’re letting go of difficult cases far to easily. As I also noticed that my group’s reputation was becoming a less flattering one. So I decided to up my level and refused to forward any cases to the other group, not until I had done my VERY best. And found that indeed did I manage to solve most of my cases. I brought this up with my manager, about this routine that we have, which I believe has become a something we do out of comfort. I would like to see us use our full potential. Most of my colleagues liked the idea and the suggestion I threw out was that when my colleagues reach such point with a case that they no longer know what to do with it – they then forward it to me. I will look at the case with fresh new eyes, talk to other co-workers to see if they have any suggestions for solutions as I then return the case to my colleague. I would love to see that we solve as many cases as we possibly can and so minimize the amount that we pass on perhaps too lightly. And maybe we can increase our value and gain a better reputation.
The case I sat half a day with today was such a case, and indeed was I impressed over the effort all of us put in it, trying to solve it. We had seriously tried every relevant solution available, but no… we could’nt solve it and I passed it on to the other group. Though this time they will not receive a case in which anyone hardly made an effort. Instead they have now recived a case containing several pages of solutions we had implemented. I will follow up this case to find out how they solved it in the end.
These matters are so much fun, exciting and very stimulating. So when I left work today my heart was beating rapidly and in my mind was this going on:
“I want to eat a pizza. I have earned the right to eat a whole pizza dammit! Oh I have candy at home, I can eat some candy. Or maybe the leftover cheese doodles!”
My bus arrived, I took a seat and began breathing slower. And wondered; but am I even hungry?
The answer was no. And to be honest, I did’nt really fancy any pizza. If I’m going to eat a pizza I want to be really hungry for pizza. For real, physically hungry, not my brain wanting to drown stress in pizza. By the time I arrived to my hometown I had come to the conclusion that yes, I want a proper dinner when I come home and no, I don’t want any snacks nor candy. And I wanted to cook the dinner myself, it would be precisely the relaxation that I needed.
Is’nt it interesting how I automatically treat food as I used to treat alcohol, when I’m stressed? My mind was all about getting me high of food rich on calories. But no, not today my dear alcoholic brain ;)
Well now I’m off to potter around the home, then to enjoy a supper and to submerge in relaxation the rest of the evening.
It’s too late really for me to be blogging, I ought to get some sleep. But it’s Friday tomorrow, I can afford one workday with a little lack of sleep. Not sure what I want to say, but I feel bubbly inside. I had a marvelous evening, am not at all drained on energy but might even be energized. I chatted with various unknown people, with ease and thankfully our schedule was rather packed with activities so there was no time for any longer conversations. Which was good because I don’t really have the patience for nonsense-talking as a time waster, then I’d rather enjoy a moment of silence.
When it was time to take our seats for supper, to my horror I found that we were to pull a number out of a hat and then to take our seat by the table with the same number. I was going to sit with more or less strangers AND participate in any conversation. Oh well, so the little group that I hung out with scattered and everyone went to look for their table. I found my table rather quickly and took a seat, just in time for my next horror when I realised that the head of the local government was taking her seat right next to me.
Three more colleagues found their way to this table, an older man whose role in the town hall I never found out, a woman working with ergonomics and finally a woman working with telephony. And it’s amazing how the five of us found one another and shared the most intriguing conversation. At the beginning I mostly listened, then posed questions here and there. When I had something to say, I joined in here and there as well. As the evening progressed we left superficial matters and began speaking about even more interesting things. At one point, I don’t know why, but our conversation led me to say; “I will be overly honest and tell that I believe in our souls travelling from life to life, from one body to another in a different lifetime”. Oh yes! We were talking about having only one life and that we better make the best of it, as miss Head of Government then mumbled something about that perhaps we don’t only have one life. After I had uttered my belief, miss Ergonomics asked if I meant that I believed that my soul could be reborn as a frog? I answered that I did’nt believe that, but that our souls move from human to human and that each lifetime is a set of lessons. Either we learn our lessons or we will be reborn to go through the very same lessons once more in the next life. Once our lessons are learned we can then move one to a new set of lessons. Apparently all around the table found this very interesting and we talked about it for quite some time. I must add that we talked about a lot of things, it all had caught my fullest attention and interest.
I also mentioned that I would’nt engage in any debate about whether our souls really get reborn, and to be honest – I don’t really care if that is the case or not. I have no clue about what happens after death, no one does! Whatever theory anyone has, it is neither right or wrong. So this conversation had me understand that this belief of mine, is in fact my philosophy of life. It is my way of coping with life, it has become my moral. I live by it and have done so for many years. I believe that whatever struggle I don’t overcome in this life, will follow me into the next one. I believe that if I close my eyes to my wrongs, the lessons in my next life will be all about dealing with precisely these wrongs. If I don’t deal with my relationship with my mother, I bet that I will end up with a similar mother in my next life. So my philosophy, as profound as it is, has turned me into a person willing to learn, to change and to become the very best person that I can be. My belief is so strong that the thought of dying drunk frightens me. For me that means that I will be reborn as an alcoholic who yet again needs to deal with alcoholism. I do NOT want that. The more I deal with in my life, the greater the chance is that I will die with these final words; “I lived life to its fullest, I did my very best in everything that I did, I am happy and my mind and heart are at peace”.
If my soul (if there is such a thing) after my death simply goes POOF GONE! Who cares? Well not me, I’m dead ;)
I can’t express how peculiar it was, sitting there with people I did’nt know and talking about philosophies of our lifes. And I did it completely sober. Now speaking about sobriety, when we arrived to the restaurant we were served welcome drinks. I stood in a group with my manager and some of my colleagues, most of them knowing about me being an alcoholic (most importantly that my manager knows). Kindly a colleague handed me a drink and told me that it was alcohol free. I brought the glass to my nose and the smell of alcohol had the hairs on my arms stand up. So I walked over to the table with drinks and asked the waitress if it really was alcohol free. Yes, she confirmed it was and I swapped my glass for another, but I could still smell alcohol and decided to leave it. There’s no way in hell that I was going to take any chances, if I’m thirsty there’s plenty of water to drink.
Later when we were being served our food, hundreds of bottles of wine were opened and the smell of red wine was incredibly intense. Other than that, alcohol was rather uninteresting. Nearly two years ago I decided to quit drinking and every single day ever since I choose not to drink. Today was in no way different, again I chose not to drink. Or even better, it was natural for me not to drink. I don’t have to drink! The other four around the table had two glasses of wine each and then they had enough and said no thank you to further wine offerings from the waiters. I still am amazed of how most people drink just a little and then don’t want any more alcohol.
I and two of my colleagues had earlier decided to leave together. At the end of the evening I went to look for them, I found one and told her that I was ready to leave. Together we went looking for the second, once found she said she wanted to stay for a while longer. I told her to dance the night away and to truly enjoy herself, and so I and my colleague left. As we were exiting the restaurant my colleague asked if I never drink alcohol? I replied that no, I never drink now a days. She asked why, and I told her that I developed an alcohol addiction and after several years of struggle I am sober at last and that I now call myself a sober alcoholic. She needed to talk, and I knew she needed to talk, I had sensed it earlier when I was suspicious about my alcohol free drink. I suppose it was her body language or the way she looked at me that made me aware. So on our way to the bus station she told me about her drinking habits and we had a very good chat, although too short. But we parted with the words that we would talk again.
Phew… this turned out to be a very long post. Yet, I covered only a fraction of my whole evening. It was remarkable and I’m so grateful that I decided to join my co-workers on this occasion.
It’s waaaay past my bedtime, and my cats need their cuddle so abruptly I end this post here and off to Land of Nod I go! xoxo
I have’nt really thought about it, until now – that I’m heading out Thursday evening. The town hall, where I work consists of five large departments in which a little over 6000 people work. Not all work in the town hall, but are scattered all over the county. Only about 4 percent of the 6000 work at my department, and on Thursday the around 240 people from this department are invited to a great conference with mingle afterwards and then supper. I dug through my memory and my blog, wondering when I was out on a similar occasion (big happening with alcohol served) and I believe (though might be wrong) that the last time was in September last year.
Strange how normality for me once was party, sociality and drinking every weekend. Now, I consider once a year too often. With alcohol out of the way – mingling and nightlife is completely unamusing. Been there, done that, am over it. Still, I accepted the invitation. Alcohol was no where near my mind, either as a threat nor as a temptation. I just thought it would be fun and interesting to get aquainted with all these people being my colleagues, oh and enjoy a hopefully delicious supper out.
In the “old” sober days an occasion such as this would have been on my mind for weeks before it even happened, so I’m happy to realise that I did’nt think about it until now. Naturally as I went to bed and am supposed to sleep. But instead I’m writing this on my iPad and am now wondering where I’m going with this.
I’m not nervous… much. Curiously alcohol is’nt any issue at all. It is people who might be the issue. To be honest, I’m not as scared as I normally would be – that they will completely drain me on energy. I feel fairly confident that I can go to such occasion, enjoy myself AND return home undented.
My colleague Lena and I have already decided how (by bus) and when we’ll leave the office to go to the conference. The meeting lasts from 4 pm to 6 pm. Then there will be welcome drinks served from 6 pm to 6:30 pm. I’m curious what I’ll do with this piece of time… and then we all walk over to the restaurant nearby where we will sit down for supper at 7 pm. Lena and I have speculated about what we might get to eat. Only thing we’d like NOT to have is a buffet; imagine a 240 people stampede racing to the buffet table! Lena and I will be scraping crumbs off the serving plates once containing good food of some sorts. And so her and I decided that with our luck, buffet is probably what we’ll get. And then finally there’s a bus leaving at 9:30 pm and that’s when we go home.
It feels good having Thursday evening outlined. I’m working on NOT fantasizing about the whole thing and so creating expectations. I’ll just keep my mind, eyes and heart open, be myself and hopefully enjoy some good time.
Oh yea, the clothing! I will not be wearing anything fancy. Am not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m the sort of woman who does’nt wear any jewelry as they make me feel like a decorated Christmas tree, nor do I wear any make up. I used to… not sure why I don’t any longer. I have received a few compliments over the years, about my skin that some people find healthy looking and others have said that I look perfectly fine without any make up. And so I’ve been happy walking around without any stuff covering my face for many years now and have found that it is just the way I like it. And clothes, I simply cannot wear clothes that I’m not familiar with or comfortable in. If I would, I’d be so insecure and self-aware that I would miss out on what happens around me. So as I wish to be present, relaxed and maybe get to know people – any fancy clothes needs to go.
Perhaps one could say that fashion-wise; I’m a minimalist, assuming others perceive me as clean, neat and orderly ;)
I don’t think that I was going anywhere with this writing, perhaps I only needed to empty my mind on these thoughts so that I can go to sleep. So now I shall give sleeping a shot and wish you too will enjoy a good sleep dreaming sweet dreams xoxo
As you know, I had planned an unsocial weekend. But already on the Friday a threat to this anticipated anti-sociality appeared. I bumped into my friend M on my way home from the grocery shopping, she suggested we’d head out on a walk on Sunday, sunny weather guaranteed. But my mind was made up and kindly I declined. Then on the Saturday a sms appeared in my iPhone, from my friend Helena asking if I’d fancy going to the three o’clock AA-meeting and then to enjoy a coffee afterwards. Now that was a tempting offer but no, I WAS going to have this one weekend all to myself.
I’m grateful for having people around me who wants to be around me. Who apparently cares and includes me in their lifes. Some understand my need for occasional solitude, some don’t. Those who don’t, well that’s up to them to deal with it or to let it go.
Anywho, I did enjoy a very pleasant weekend. Yesterday I woke up at around 6 am as usual, but was sooo tired. Returned to bed and next time I awoke it was noon! At first I was disappointed that I had lost several hours which I could’ve spent on more interesting stuff than sleeping, but later I realised that it had been precisely what I needed. With my batteries fully charged I cleaned my apartment, put the clean laundry away, cooked next weeks lunches and did the dishes. When I had a sit down afterwards the feeling of contentment made me so happy and I was thankful that I had the good sense to sleep those well needed extra hours.
From one thing to another, something I came to think of; That some weeks, or maybe even months ago I stumbled on a webpage where I read:
As I begin each day, I must remind myself, “Erin, stay where your feet are.”
If I keep my attention on the place where my feet reside, I have a better chance of remaining in the here and now. What’s here and now is all there is, so we’re told.
Written by Erin Lanahan
It was a good and inspiring read, but what stuck with me ever since was the keeping one’s attention on the place where the feet reside. If I for instance sit on the bus, on my way home after a days work, and emotions are stirring within, thoughts are jumping between various musts, has beens and will bees, I can suddenly remember my feet. I look at them, wiggle the toes inside my sneakers, remember where I am and so remember to just be present. This is when I take the opportunity to check for particular emotions or thoughts needing to be dealt with or if it’s okay to simply relax. And most often all I need to do is unwind, it is only the river of thoughts running through my mind that stresses me and gives me that unsettled feeling in my tummy.
Or it can be that in a stressful moment, as it happens I look down I see my feet which in turn reminds me of where I am. I remember to collect myself, breathe in… breathe out… aaand unwind.
Quickly jumping to a final note, because I’m on my way to work and am almost there. Yesterday I decided to round off my Sunday with this tiny little tin decoupage project:
I must say that I deeply appreciate my short salutary break from the world. I don’t mind having my next couple of weekends booked, because in two weeks I’m glad to enter another vacation. It will be a couple of weeks with opportunities to plenty of recuperation (if needed).
Off I go, wishing you a great Monday! xoxo