Posted in Addiction, alcoholism, anxiety, escape, Life, random, recovery, twelve step

Slip Slidin’ Away

slippery slope

Sometimes, I forget who I am. I get a little too relaxed. I walk around my home without seeing how incredibly blessed I am to get to live here, in a house I can afford, where my daughter has her own room, and I get to have my dog, and I have a big old yard, and TWO bathrooms. I just get caught up in living my life without seeing how amazing it is. Same thing goes for my career- I can be whiny about my job, I get lazy sometimes, completely oblivious to the fact that the rash decision I made 13 years ago to go to night school, the credentials I gained, and the amazing opportunity I was handed when I was hired at the hospital where I still work today, changed my life. Completely transformed it. I’m not saying this is unusual- no one walks around in a state of constant gratitude. At least, no one I know.

But one thing I would do well to remember is the reason I get to keep the wonderful life that I have. The one thing that would save me, should the house go away, or the job wasn’t mine anymore. That thing is my recovery, and I haven’t been doing much for it lately. I really need to remind myself that if I didn’t have all these days in a row of not just being clean, but being clean and working on the person I am, working towards steadily getting better than I was before, I wouldn’t be sitting here, writing this right now.

Life can and will keep changing right before your eyes, and it is easy to get swept up in this thing or that thing, and let your focus change. I think that during those times, it’s pretty normal to stray from the path and wander off, but…do I think it’s a good idea? Nope. I think, in reality, when you feel yourself getting off track, you need to double down on the things that anchor you. I do, that’s what I need to do. I should be specific here, I am talking about me, about my life right now. I need to be closer than ever to my program of recovery, not just saying the words, but actively.

Listen, I am not in any imminent danger, but…my thoughts have been a little squirrely lately. Which, of course, is how it always begins- right in your head. I have been wishing for something to take the edge off, or blur the edges at least, just a little bit. I want something that will make me less…less worried about how ME I am all the time. Because I am messy and nervous and insecure, I think way too much, and take things pretty seriously, believe it or not. And my brain has been telling me stories about how much more fun I could be, how easy it would be, the exact way that I could lay all this heavy shit down and just fucking relax already.

Thankfully, I know my brain to be a liar. I know my brain, sensing discomfort, will do just about anything to make that feeling go away. I mean, my brain has been lying to me for yeeeaaars. So I don’t have to listen to any of it. I know there are no shortcuts in recovery, and there are certainly no days off. Not even when you could really use a drink or two. As a matter of fact, all these years that I have put in? This is sort of what I’ve been training for- the day when I really longed for an escape, or an easier way. This is the test I’ve been studying for this whole time. I’m not about to fail, not now.

I made a choice, I made a commitment, a long time ago, knowing there would be times in the future that it would be hard to keep that commitment. There have been these times in the past, and I kept at it, and I wasn’t sorry. There are always two paths, and I know where one of them leads me- I’ve been down it about as far as a person can go and live to tell the tale. The other one, well…the other one I don’t know as well. But I have a feeling that the woman I want to be is somewhere along it. So I think I will stay on that path. I think that is the wise thing to do.

slippery

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Posted in advice, books, escape, love, random, reading, Uncategorized, writing

Word Nerd

BookS-books-to-read-26957638-1024-768I have a confession to make. When you start talking to me about numbers, my mind shudders to a grinding halt. Even in the most innocent and simple of conversations, the minute you throw in a fraction, i.e.- “Oh my gosh, that frigging pie was SO good , I tried not to eat more than half a slice, but I couldn’t help it, I ate more than three quarters of the whole thing!” Well, rest assured, you lost me at half a slice.

I don’t know why this is, or what is wrong with me. I suspect it has something to do with years and years of humiliating failure in my math classes- it’s kind of like that stupid riddle, what came first, the chicken or the egg? Well, here’s the answer- I don’t KNOW, and I’m tired of trying to figure it out! I’m just no good at math, that’s all. (by the way, that is a terrible answer to that joke, so don’t try it. People will just look at you funny and walk slowly away.) What I mean is, I don’t know if my classes sucked because I was bad at math, or if I’m bad at math just because that part of my brain is atrophied or something.

I remember being in my early twenties and taking some entrance exams to the local college-one of the counselors was looking over my scores, shaking his head. As usual, my testing in everything was really, really great…except for math, which was dismally low. He said to me, and I will never forget this- “Someone, sometime in your life told you you weren’t good at math, and you believed it. There is no way someone can score this high in everything else, and score this poorly in math.”

I have a different theory. I think I’m bad at math because it is harder for me. I have to try ten times as hard at math to do half as well as I do in anything involving words. (Hey, that had multiplication AND fractions in it. What do you know?)  I even do better in word problems than I do in straight number problems. I think maybe there’s a little part of me that gave up when I realized I couldn’t be a superstar in math the way I could with all the other subjects.

But reading…ah, reading. Those sweet, beautiful, wonderful, flowing words that grace the pages of books. The amazing trick of stringing them together, one after the other, to tell a story. A story that can take you places you have never been, places you could never otherwise go.  Books with beautiful covers and wild, improbable tales inside- tales of imaginary places that are so clear in your minds eye, you can revisit them years later simply by thinking of the story you read. Books are the only time machine that truly exists- you can go backwards, forwards, sideways to another dimension. You can go anywhere you want to go, anytime you want to go there- if you only have the pages in your hand and an imagination.

I learned to read at a very young age, and at first it was a neat party trick. It became a source of great pride for me as I grew older, always keeping several grades ahead in ability of where I actually was.  But when life grew rough at home, I discovered the greatest thing of all about my love of words- the escape hatch. All I had to do to be somewhere else, somewhere more beautiful than where I was, was pick up a book and start reading. When we would have book fairs at school, I would go on a feverish mission, hell bent on getting money from my mom so that I cold buy a book.  When they would pass out those little scholastic newspaper thingy’s where you could order books, I would lose my mind- how the hell could anyone pick just one?

The library was, and still is, one of my favorite places in the world. I love the smell of all those thousands of weathered, handled books, the quiet and the anticipation of roaming the aisles, finding some new adventure right in front of you, behind some quiet cover. I still, to this day, miss Borders and B.Dalton and all the other bookstores that have disappeared. The nearest (affordable) bookstore to me is a thirty minute drive from me, and it embarrasses me to have to say that. I mean, what the hell is wrong with this world when the bookstores are dying off?

The most beautiful development of all for me was when I realized that all of those words and stories I had soaked up over countless hours and days, they wanted to come back out, to fill up pages and hard drives and notebooks with words of my own, stories that I created. There are books and notebooks and magazines in literally every room of my home, the hallway included. There are poems scratched on napkins and legal pads with story ideas, and even a full length novel stored in my computer. Nothing in this world makes me happier than words. If you didn’t read as a child, I highly encourage you to try again now. You never know, it may be different now…unlike algebra, which will still totally suck.

Have a great day!

Posted in books, escape, Goals, Life, reading, Uncategorized, writing

Happy Reading

This will be the last post like this post under this blogs name. In the future, all my ultra-personal blogs concerning others (as well as myself, of course) will be at my new WordPress blog, http://allthedirtylaundry.wordpress.com/. This, my new blog, will not be posted as a link on facebook for all my friends and family to see, and will have to survive on it’s own merit. The reason for this is pretty simple- I don’t want to entice people to read about stuff they don’t really need to see otherwise. I can’t stop writing, and I won’t stop people from reading, but if they want to read it, they will have to either subscribe via email or go actively seek out the dirt on me, my family, and everyone else I know and feel like writing about, of their own volition. Hence, the name…get it?

This blog will revert back to it’s original format and idea, where I will, once again, attempt to rise to the challenge of improving myself in whatever way seems appealing and relevant to me. This could be physically, spiritually, intellectually…whatever. My goal is to try at least one new thing each week to write about, and if that isn’t possible, then I will write about whatever I found made me happy.

This past week, I was swamped with work and personal upheaval. I didn’t have much time to write, and when I did, I’d sit down and nothing would come. I actually finished this blog once, but I’d had the page open a while when I did it, and when I went to save the draft, the page logged me out without saving any of the stuff I wrote. I didn’t waste a lot of time being mad about it, I just figured it wasn’t what I was supposed to be saying.

What I did find time to do, though, was read. I read three books over the last two weeks, and all of them thrilled me to pieces. The funny part is that they were all books I’d already read, but I picked them up at Goodwill for a buck apiece, and decided to read them all again. The first one was “Dead Until Dawn” by Charlaine Harris (whose writing I love, and have read ALL of) which is the first in her Sookie Stackhouse series that eventually went on to be the “True Blood” series. It is such a fun series of books, I highly recommend it if you haven’t read it already.

The second book I read was “The Bean Trees” by Barbara Kingsolver- the first time I read it, I think I was in high school, and though I thought I remembered it clearly, I didn’t remember most of it at all. It was great to read it over again- there are parts of that story I’m sure I wasn’t emotionally mature enough to fully appreciate yet, when I read it the first time.  I’m probably still not, but it sure made a lot more sense.

Where_the_Heart_Is_Billie_LettsThe third book, and I am just about done with it, but not quite, is “Where The Heart is” by Billie Letts. What a freakin’ fantastic story. There is not a character in it that I don’t love. It’s sweet and sad and funny and triumphant, all things I want in a book, and it’s full of average people with extraordinary hearts. I read this book in my early twenties, and once again, I thought I recalled it perfectly, but there was so much that I’d forgotten.

Anyway, for me, reading is an escape. For as long as I’ve been able to read, I used it this way- books have helped me make it through some tough times, and this past week has been a hard one. I’d be happy to tell you why, but you’ll have to read about it in my other blog. And for Pete’s sake, if you can’t find it by using the link I posted, use the wordpress search option.