The Party Girl Challenge, One Year Sober

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Archive for the month “February, 2013”

Cookie Monster

I always loved cookie monster. He was my favorite Sesame Street character.

Cookie Monster!

Cookie monster and I have a lot in common. We both love cookies. (I also LOVE cake but that’s another thing entirely.)

So I love cookies. A lot. 

I got these cookies last week from Trader Joe’s. 

The cookie I can’t stop eating.

I literally cannot stop eating them. Every single time I walk past them, whether I am hungry or not, I grab a few. Seriously, I cannot stop eating these tiny little mediocre cookies. It’s bad. 

I don’t know if I am an “alcoholic” but I know one thing for sure…I have a problem with self control. If there was alcohol in the house, I drank it. If there was pot in my possession, I smoked it. And if there are cookies in the house, I eat them. So that tendency, toward excess…that inability to control my instincts…I would like to figure that out. Because I think it’s at the root of a lot of issues in my life. 

The fact that I can’t walk by those cookies without grabbing a handful is all the proof I need for not drinking or smoking pot anymore. It’s just proof that I haven’t gotten a handle on my self control problem. Perhaps the answer is…stop buying cookies.

Or perhaps it’s the realization that cookies, while fattening and unhealthy…aren’t likely to hurt me the way drinking too much was hurting me…and hurting the people I love most. So I can’t stop eating cookies. So what? If I wake up one day and I am 300 pounds then we have a problem, but I’m not, so who cares?


PS: Cookie’s for breakfast is fine, right?


A couple of A’s

If one more person tells me I need to go to AA, I am gonna punch them in the face.

I’m kidding. Completely kidding.

It actually doesn’t bother me when people tell me I need AA. Seriously. Tell me. Suggest it all you like. If it worked for you then I say, HOORAY!!!

I am not opposed to AA. It helped my dad quit drinking. It’s helped millions of people quit drinking. I haven’t gone because I just haven’t. I thought I would in the beginning and then I didn’t. A couple of times I looked up meeting times but didn’t attend the meeting because I just felt uptight about walking into a room full of strangers. There is a lot of research that shows AA is not the best way to quit drinking. The research shows that the success rate for AA is quite low. So, at the risk of upsetting some folks out there I am gonna just say it…I am not going to AA because I don’t wanna. It doesn’t interest me. I think the the biggest reason is that I just don’t want to go into that room full of strangers. It makes me nervous to think of it. So I haven’t. I don’t think I will. If I get really bad…like I am pretty sure I am about to down a bottle of vodka…I promise you I will go to an AA meeting. I promise. But right now, I am not going to go to AA. Because I don’t want to. And because I don’t think I need to. I’m sorry AA advocates, I am not knocking your program, I just don’t think it’s for me. I am not the only one who feels this way. Google the words “Does AA work?” and you will find thousands of websites devoted to why AA doesn’t work for everyone. You will find huge research studies on why it is not as effective overall as proponents want you to believe.

Let me repeat that I have nothing against AA. I am completely convinced it is a great system for some people. Not me. But some people.

I can’t get past the idea that I am powerless. I don’t believe that. I think God gave me the ability to choose my own path in life. I think what I decide and how I live my life is 100% mine. I am not powerless to my addiction. I am not. I am completely responsible for my choices.

The fellowship of AA is one of the major reasons it is successful. But frankly, this blog has been it’s own form of fellowship for me. I also have some fantastic friends who have supported and loved me every step of the past 13 months. I am actually doing fantastic with not drinking. I am doing the hard work of making changes in my head and in my heart to become a better, more thoughtful, healthier and happier person. I am not white knuckling anything. I am in therapy, I am writing about the experience, I am doing the work….very similar to the work in AA. Perhaps not in the steps presented in the AA program, but a similar process. One that works for me. And it is working for me. I am sober 13 months. I am healthier and happier and more centered and more present than I have ever been in my entire life.  I am proud of my accomplishments.

Let me repeat that I have nothing against AA.

I had a weak few days and I blogged about it. Generally I blog when I am happy. I have blogged about how I only blog when I am happy. I made myself write about how I felt weak the past few days and I had two comments and some private messages about why I need to go to AA. People in AA have weak days. Maybe they go to more meetings in those days. I don’t know.

So for those folks who have genuine concern for me and really believe I won’t make it long term as a sober person unless I go to AA…next week…I commit to attend a meeting. I have my kids this week and it’s early dismissal all week so it’s very difficult this week. But next week, I promise you all that I will attend at least one AA meeting.

OK? Will you shut up about it?

Actually don’t shut up. I appreciate your concern and your determination to help me. Seriously.

Please feel free to comment on why you believe AA is fantastic and the only way to quit drinking. Or comment on why you dislike AA. Or comment about why you are indifferent. (I would include myself in that category.)

For the record, I feel wonderful today. Clear headed and peaceful and ready to face another day sober. I just watched the sunrise while writing this. It’s crisp and beautiful outside and I am happy.




I am going through a weird few days. The cravings are really strong. I had a gathering last night of friends to watch the Oscars and I asked that the alcohol go home with my guests. I just didn’t feel strong. I don’t know that I would have drank anything but I didn’t feel strong…I didn’t trust myself. I did therapy today and it was full of digging deep to make discoveries…why do I fear anyone being mad or disappointed in me so strongly? Why do I feel unworthy of love? That’s uncomfortable to talk about and it’s certainly not fun to delve into the past to find the reasons behind these negative thoughts. So…I am ok. I’m not great. Reality sucks sometimes. It just does. And I don’t feel like i have the tools to deal with reality’s suckiness.

But I’m learning. And I want to.

My God, I do not want to go back and be the person I was becoming. And I can’t stay stuck. So the only answer is just moving through it.

SO I am. 

Not full of gems of enlightenment today. Just stating the real drudgery of trying to change my life.

It’s full of beautiful moments. Today had a few.



The Moon.

My amazing children were sweet and full of light.

Focusing on those beautiful moments is the only way.

I hope you all had a beautiful moment or two today.



Sober 13 months…blah, blah, blah…

No one mentioned my soberversary yesterday. I didn’t bring it up until I was out to dinner with several girlfriends who were enjoying some wine. It didn’t bother me that no one mentioned it. Seriously. I barely noticed it myself. Not to downplay the significance of the milestone…it simply becomes less of a momentous occasion with the passage of time. 13 Months is cool. I did that. I am proud but I certainly don’t expect a parade every month for the rest of my life. I will, however, take a parade every January 21 for my year soberversary. Do you hear this, friends…start planning my parade, dammit.

I’m kidding. Really.

So how am I? Soberwise…I am fine. I find myself fantasizing about drinking again sometimes. I go down the mental path of could I handle it? I am a different, stronger, more grounded and enlightened person now. SO I play with the idea and I always come back to…why would I drink? I know I can not drink. I know I can do it. I don’t know if I can drink responsible, so I am not gonna. Why would I? That would be stupid…and I am anything but stupid. So my immediate plans for not drinking are not to. I don’t miss it. Maybe a little. But not enough to risk it. So I’m good.

But learning to live in reality is a different story. I am getting used to living in reality but it is difficult. It’s not impossible. I said in a comment that my year two goal is about simply becoming comfortable being uncomfortable. That’s really hard for me. I don’t know why. I have noticed that I cannot stand to sit in uncomfortable situations. I work hard to keep anyone from being mad at me, I cannot stand it if I have disappointed someone…made them angry. My therapist and I are talking a lot about that issue right now. If someone is mad at me, I will either do or say anything to get them to stop being mad or I will run from the situation…blame them…make it their fault or just run away and hide. Working through problems head on is very difficult for me. I need to figure that if I am gonna make it through year two.

I have a huge amount of anxiety about quitting smoking. I want to. Half of me is completely ready. The other half just doesn’t want to do the work. The anxiety comes from fear of health problems. I am scared of what the future holds if I can’t quit smoking. I am 42. I feel like time is running out for my lungs. Every pack is my last pack. It’s a vicious cycle and I really haven’t been able to find the strength to just do the hard part. I am a pro at quitting. I know what it feels like and I also know I can do it. I just haven’t. And it’s frustrating.

Last night, one of my best friends was sitting next to me at the table. Her wine glass, sat right in front of me on the crowded table. I found myself reaching for it several times. Not because I was lusting after it, I just inadvertently reached for it and almost drank it. Then it became a thing in my mind…I started fixating on it. I found myself unable to concentrate on conversations, my brain obsessing over not reaching for her wine glass by accident. Then I laughed at myself and thought, “what the hell am I doing?”. Just ask her to move it. So I did. She apologized. It was no big deal. The solution was so simple. There is nothing wrong with simply saying, “umm…your wine glass is right next to me and I keep almost reaching for it, can we put it over here?” Of course she did. Everyone wants to help. Everyone (who matters) loves me and wants me to be ok. There is something inherently complicated in making that statement and internalizing it. I don’t know what that is but it’s fascinating to explore.

That’s all I have on this 13 months plus one day sober. I hope my sober online friends are having a beautiful amazing day. And if not, if you are uncomfortable today, just allow yourselves to be uncomfortable. Sounds so easy…but it’s not. 



Let me introduce myself

My name is Renee. I have three amazing, incredible, wonderful and sometimes annoying children. I am almost divorced. It’s possible I am an alcoholic…I don’t label myself. If I were to label myself I might say I have a problem with limits which goes beyond drinking. I don’t drink. I smoke which I am completely embarrassed about but not enough to actually stop.

I work for a theatre company and run Education programs. I get really passionate about education and theatre. I can be really passionate about politics and volunteerism (aka giving a shit about the world…I think we all should) and human rights and nature and exercise and animals. I write a blog about sobriety. I do it because it’s allowed me to focus on the journey of sobriety. And it’s kept me honest.

That’s me.

Last night I ran an event and near the end we brought everyone on stage and asked them to introduce themselves. Then the students asked questions. I was the moderator. After it was over I had dinner with two friends and they mentioned that they wished I had introduced myself.

I said, “No one cares who I am.”

They disagreed. And I wondered why I do that? Why do I discount myself or make myself less important than I am. I do that. I’d like to stop doing it.

That’s thought one for this lovely Friday evening.

I haven’t been blogging. It’s been since my soberversary on January 21. The reason I haven’t blogged is, well…

I’ve been kind of a mess.

Signs I am a mess:

1) I cry all the time. I have become a crier with sobriety…but the last two weeks I can cry without even meaning too. I just cry. I am like a leaky faucet. It’s stupid. I hate it. I found out last week that my propane tank was empty and it was nearly $600 bucks to fill it. I started crying on the phone with the gas lady. Who the hell does that? Messy people.

2) I cannot keep track of my keys. It’s like they hate me…the keys. I suspect they jump out my purse and dive underneath things just to mess with my mind. It’s working.

3) In the past two weeks, while driving, I have missed my exit or gone in the wrong direction more times than I care to admit. I’m not thinking. I am distracted. It’s real bad.

4) If I don’t write it down, I will forget. Nothing sticks. It’s possible I didn’t introduce myself last night because I don’t actually know my own name. What’s my name again?

5) I left one of my kids at Target last week.

HAHA. Just kidding. I was just seeing if you were paying attention. I haven’t done that…yet.

6) If I spill coffee on myself I might freak out and go coo coo for co co puffs. It might have actually already happened this week. But spilled coffee is really upsetting. When this happens to you, I recommend doing what I did….yell at no one in particular and then cry. Repeat this for other minor things like breaking a nail or getting a paper cut.

7) There have been moments in the past two weeks, when I have desired the feeling of being wasted more intensely than I have in a year. There was one day last week where I actually plotted the destruction of a year of sobriety. It was that bad…the longing to escape from myself.

But I didn’t do it. I am better now. Things have calmed down. But that desire is scary and it made me realize just how careful I have to be. I have to be really careful not to let depression or anxiety take over. I have to stay as centered as I can be in these turbulent times. I could totally become the crazy wasted divorced lady. Like something out of a Lifetime, made for television movie, that could be me.

Ok, I don’t actually believe that. Not really. Cause I am such a different person than I was a year ago. But I have been climbing a very steep hill and I have almost reached the top. I am weary from the stress. My divorce is almost final. The decisions I am making right now affect me for the rest of my life. I am scared of being on my own. I am scared I won’t find a job that pays enough to support me. I am scared I will be irresponsible with my savings and piss it all away. I am scared I will never be able to make another relationship work. I am scared my kids will never recover from the trauma of this divorce. I am scared of so many things I can’t count them all.

And I am sad. Divorce is hell. There is this promise, this commitment, this intention that you had…the hope and dreams and visions of the future. You have to let go of all of it. It’s sad to say goodbye to it. Even when you are certain it’s the right choice for both people…it’s still really sad.

So that’s overwhelming. Sadness, worry. Then my youngest had a minor surgery. Then he got some random horrific illness. He’s been out of school for two weeks. It’s my first post divorce crisis. So that’s stressful on top of stressful.

Stressful + Stressful = wasted Renee

Nope. That didn’t happen. But it could have. I may be sober for a year but that doesn’t mean shit when it comes to the heaviness of life kicking your ass.

And figuring out how to navigate through super crappy times without some substance via margaritas or wine or a few bong hits is difficult. Ugh…the last few weeks have sucked. But they sucked sober. And I think it’s clear to me they would have been much suckier if I had thrown it all away and gotten drunk or stoned. Yeah, I am sure. There were a couple of moments last week where I might have said something else. But today I am sure.

So that’s my second thought for today.


I got a text from a good friend yesterday. She was having a bad case of drinking remorse. She had gotten wasted and acted the fool. I suggested she commit to never drinking more than two drinks in one day again. I considered that when I was trying to decide what to do about my drinking. That’s the reason I ended up quitting entirely. I knew I couldn’t do it. I knew I could SAY I wouldn’t have more than two drinks but after two drinks I would likely have another one because after two drinks I wouldn’t care so much anymore. I knew I would never be able to guarantee that I wouldn’t behave badly again if I kept drinking, and that propelled me to just quit entirely. I am not doing AA but I think that falls in line with the idea of being powerless. I felt powerless to control the drinking. I chose what I knew was a guarantee.

My friend went on to lament why this happens to her sometimes. Why she can have a few drinks sometimes and be fine and other times she has a few drinks and ends up completely wasted.  I don’t know the answer. I asked myself that same question many times. I played games and asked questions about my drinking for years and years and years. I made deals with myself and explored options on more occasions than I want to admit. So I simply loved my friend through the moment. She’s young. She isn’t ready to quit yet. She will probably quit someday. When she is sick of it like I was.

But the point of relating this story is this: When you have to have conversations with yourself about your drinking…more than say…once or twice in your lifetime…it’s a sign you have a problem. The inner dialogue is a clue. You can make deals with yourself, plan to limit your drinking, promise to only drink beer or never drink Vodka again or Tequila or whatever…if you are making promises to yourself and suffering from repeated incidents of drinking remorse…you HAVE a problem.

Accept it now. Accept it later.

Or drink your life away.

But that nagging voice won’t go away. It will get louder and louder and louder. It was screaming at me when I finally quit. I couldn’t shut it up. There wasn’t a substance strong enough to quiet it.

That’s it…that’s all I’ve got. It’s late and I am super tired. Sorry for the long rant…it’s five blogs rolled into one.


PS: Here is something funny. Cause sober people need laughs.

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