|This is my personal 24 hour coin. My most valuable coin even after being sober for 10 years. I drilled the hole and carry on my key chain with me everywhere. LOUD AND PROUD, BABY!|
This is only my story, and people have many different ways of how they went about getting sober. For me, it worked and as much as I hated it at the time, it was exactly what I needed to get me where I am today.
After I walked out of 26th and California, the toughest jail in Chicago, for the last time, I went to my last rehab center. I stayed there for 2 months.
I was stripped raw, literally and metaphorically, of all my defenses. I hated my counselor because she knew my game. She make me stop wearing my cute little outfits and doing my make up every day. It was sweats and clean face for me. This place had one of those ropes courses where we were "building trust" and working on "teamwork", when I look back on that part of it now, it seems fucking bat shit crazy that newly sober folks were told to get their asses way up in the air and just don't worry about your shakes and coming off of booze or drugs. Just trust each other. What. the. fuck. Funny how I put myself in much more dangerous situations for years while drinking, and yet, THAT whole thing seems even more crazy to me.
After my counselor that I hated so much because she knew every one of my sad excuses said, "after treatment you should live in a Women's Halfway House" I said, "NO EFFING WAY."
I was real peach back then. This woman is a saint for dealing with me. But as we've spoken through the years, we laugh about it now because she's one of us. She did the same bullshit with someone else who helped get her sober.
I went to live in that damn halfway house for 6 months. Because as much as I was crabby about it, I was ready to do whatever it took to get sober. In the middle of nowhere Wisconsin, with 8 other women. Only two of us are alive and sober today. It was the first time in my life I learned to relate to other women, openly, honestly, in a dirty and real way. It wasn't pretty for any of us. And we went to meetings every day. Sometimes twice a day. And our big outing was going to Culver's for malts. That was it. I learned to crochet and make 846 scarves that are all horrendously ugly. But it kept my hands busy. We watched old movies all the time and smoked hundreds of cigarettes, drank buckets of coffee and gorged on barrels of ice cream. You crave the sugar when you come off booze. All the while dealing with feelings that we had all been covering up with booze or drugs for so long, we didn't know how to express a feeling, let alone deal with it.
We got Sponsors. We went to AA meetings. I wasn't allowed to talk that first year in meetings. And as hard as that was, it helped me enormously. What the hell did I have to say to people who were sober 20 years? I could talk with them after the meeting, but not during the meeting. We read the Big Book and started working the steps. It was the first time I had ever expressed what I was really feeling to anyone. Ever. And didn't feel judged for it. It was the first time in my life I felt like I belonged somewhere. These other women, so damaged and so hurt and so angry, were my people. They still are.
Only today, it's different because the women I connect with are the ones that are trying so desperately to get better. I say it all the time, I don't care who you are or what you situation is, if you are trying to better yourself, I will help you if I can. I help others because so many have helped me. I am responsible whenever anyone, anywhere wants to get sober. IF YOU REALLY ARE WILLING TO WORK FOR IT. I will not do the work for you and believe me, I CAN quit you. I am not an enabler. The longer we make excuses or say, I hate the slogans and that's so cheesy and BARFORAMA to some of the cliches, the longer we are miserable. I know. I fought everything. And I still get how cheesy it is. But I also know it works. Some how, some way. I don't believe in God. But I believe in this program and the steps and I can tolerate the rest to stay sober. BECAUSE IT IS SO MUCH BETTER THAN ARGUING WITH IT AND BEING MISERABLE. Call that the gift of time, because it absolutely is. Acceptance. Sure, people get sober without AA. For me, this is what works to be happy and sober. Not just dry.
So what I say to people who want to be happy, joyous and free? And if you are saying, "well I can't go to rehab"..... I say GO TO MEETINGS. Rehab didn't get me sober. Meetings did. Work the 12 Steps. Cut the bullshit and get real. You have to strip away to NOTHING to build yourself back up. If you aren't willing to do the hard work, why would anything change? No more excuses. It is not easy. When I chuckle and nod my head when someone is telling me their story that they think is SO UNIQUE, it's funny because it is absolutely not unique. I am not unique. I am a drunk. I see through your bullshit. But I believe in miracles. I am a miracle. And I see them happen every single day in the form of people getting and staying sober. If you are struggling, do the hard work - especially that first year. It is your foundation. I have today to be sober. That's it. Nothing more is guaranteed. We only have today. And what we use it for matters. I choose to use it for good. I hope I make the same choice tomorrow.
That metaphor of "it will work if you're willing to" rings true in so many other aspects of life, but so few times is it as crucial. It's not life or death that I do the hard work to lose some of this belly fat and drop back down to a size 6. For so many people, it is life or death that they get with the program (ha! wonder if that's the origin of that phrase) and put in the blood, sweat, and tears required to find themselves worth it to stop killing themselves. Love you. Glad you did what you had to do to get to where you are.ReplyDelete
you are so inspirational! while i remember what i went through that first year and i know what in need to do to stay sober today, you always capture the essence and state it so eloquently... because i read this, i will stay sober for the time being and at a meeting tonight, i'm sure i'll gleam some tidbit of information to keep me sober, hopefully for the rest of today... thank you... for nothing in particular... just for being you...ReplyDelete
Whenever I read your blogs, you remind me what "hope" means. Thank you for sharing your life with us all...ReplyDelete
I love you.ReplyDelete
Really needed this today. 5 years "sober" from pain meds, one month off replacement meds, and 10 days off anxiety meds. I am a walking corpse. I was told by all my doctors that this part would be easy. This right here.. A free mind.. This is the hard part. I was very involved with NA for my first 2 years off the original pain medication I was abusing. It's definetly time to go back. The comradeship alone makes all the difference.ReplyDelete
Thank you. You are funny and witty and a miracle.
Oh Katy... I wish my Mom could meet you! Sigh!ReplyDelete
Maybe someday she will understand? You make me believe that someday there is hope for her
When I came back to AA as an atheist, I found it hard to fit in. ONCE AGAIN, I didn't belong. Until I found a book titled "Waiting", by Marya Hornbacher. I share this only 'cause you too have no belief in a god, or maybe the god people are taught to believe in... and this book gave some clarity to my situation, and allowed me to stay in the program, and not have to do a 4th step on AA's ass. lolReplyDelete
Love you, girl. Love your strength, your humor, your wisdom and your pain. Without sharing that, I would never be able to relate.
You are my hero. xoxoxO!!!
Always with the tearing up with you! You do it to me everytime. Well unless you're making me laugh...and even then I'm usually tearing up. I'm so thankful that this world has someone like you in it. Always ready to do what you can to help others who are seeking help and willing to do the work. Love you, tons. <3ReplyDelete
Thank you for writing this, I read your stuff on fb and can usually relate to the feelings you convey as a fellow woman in recovery. I just celebrated a year yesterday. It is not the first time I have had a year, in fact I had relapsed after 9 years and it took me 3 to get back. I will say that it is the most quality year I have had, however. One thing that I do feel differently about is people not speaking in the first year. First off I think it is important to process what is going on, as solution oriented as possible of course, maybe not at every meeting, but when needed. I also think it is a good reminder for old timers of what it was like so they don't forget. Also so they get to know those newcomers and be able to help them through those raw, often ridiculous times full of extreme highs and lows. there is no "mount sobriety." We are all human, on the same level playing field one day at a time. Congrats on your 10 years...and remembering where you came from to share with others.ReplyDelete
Thank you. After relapsing last year, I wasn't sure I could make it back. A year later, I'm sober, happy, I've met amazing people online that share "our" story, and have been nicotine & caffeine free for over 3 weeks. How the hell did that all happen? HOPE. You have taught me so much about hope and gratitude. I love you babygirl.ReplyDelete
You rock....you have a wonderful voice for recovery....ReplyDelete
52 days today! And you helped!ReplyDelete
congratulations to you! I am in awe at you all for both keeping sober and for encouraging those of us who need to that are in your lives. IN AWE. thank you from the bottom of my heart and those of you fighting the good fight, I am with you. one day at a time.ReplyDelete
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we get here how we get here. A drunk is a drunk right? I am so grateful you shared and that you are here now. Life is SO GOOD.Delete
You are right my dear. You ARE a miracle, and I love you so very much!!ReplyDelete
Your my hero!! I can relate to every struggle. You put into words what's in my heart!ReplyDelete
Sounds so familiar I can't even BELIEVE it! You've made me think of many things that happened that first year... oh 1st time I opened my mouth to share pearls of wisdom I gathered up over the years and was told to be quiet... sigh! bahahahaha.ReplyDelete
It is my 1 year chip that I carry in my POCKETBOOK... a blue plastic poker chip turned aa chip. I have lost more shit in my life... including houses, a car, fucking car keys, and my mind, but I've managed to hold on to that chip -- as if my life depends on it!
I adore and admire you so frickity much.
I just recently found your blog. Although you are years younger I was caught up by your writing style and even more so, your story.ReplyDelete
You are indeed an inspiration. While alcohol has not been an addiction for me it has for more than one member of my own family and one of my closest friends. My father went through treatment in the 80's and never drank again. He, like you, found the joy in life and the joy of being given another chance. Unfortunately my friend and several other family members have not accepted their problem.
Intellectually it is hard to believe in an all powerful being. As I have often told my children, I choose to believe. For me I feel slightly less crazy when I "talk to God" rather than myself or the dog. But not everyone needs that. What they need is what you have found. Holding yourself accountable for your actions and words. Putting yourself out into the world and passing on the gifts that were given to you.
One thing I firmly believe in is karma. For those of us who life has treated kindly, we need to give of ourselves, our time and if possible our monies. While most certainly we will at some time be taken advantage of, it is not the reason to quit. As my Father always told us, "Everyone deserves a second chance." He took his and ran with it. He took the time to be there for others he met at his AA meetings. More than once my parents gave those same people a bed in their home and a hot meal at their kitchen table. As you can guess, yes, they were taken advantage of more than once. It didn't stop them.
Reading what you have written makes me realize what a true miracle you are. I love your style. Reading the comments show how your message resonates with those others out there who are struggling.
So kid, know that you are one extremely amazing young woman. Your struggles have forged a woman any one would be proud to call daughter. Keep writing and keep making us cry and laugh!
holy crap girl. Every time I read something like this you amaze me even more. I think of you, kind of, all the time. But not in a weird, stalker way. Well, maybe. But I think about your conscious decision to be sober each and every day. I think of how you take any moment and make it dazzle. How cool that someone I've never met, reminds me to see the sun in the dark and the sequins among the burlap. That's what you do babe. Licks all around. Let's drink an almond chai tea to that.ReplyDelete
thank you. I needed this. since you're in the area, wondering if you've heard of quad A? they're the ones that helped when I really needed it and they're just f-ing awesome people (atheists and agnostics alcohol anonomous)ReplyDelete
I'm in the area and hope to hit the 5555 meeting some day. I will look for a "Lindsay" when I'm there, hoping to meet you.Delete
(I will reference Katy when I do. xoxoxO!!!)
~atheist in recovery~
It has taken me many, MANY years to realize this, but now I see that going through a miserable time in my life (not alcoholism, but abuse) is actually one of the biggest gifts I've ever received, because now I survived, and I'm happy, and LOOK, if I can do it, so can anyone. I was such a hot mess for such a long time, and now I have kids and a marriage and a house and a dream job. It is work, though, every single day, to choose to be happy, to not wallow, to keep working at what I want and not let myself slip because I'm "allowed" to. Yes, this. This is what it's about. I think it's the same for everyone who's ever been broken--so, everyone, everywhere, probably.ReplyDelete
Today is my SECOND SOBERTHDAY!!!!!!! <3ReplyDelete
You are powerful, Katy. And so are all of the people who are coming here and sharing their stories. We are lucky to have you.ReplyDelete
Good post. You've done a great job!ReplyDelete
It takes a lot to amaze these days, but you have done it and I wonder how the hell I didn't find you sooner than today. You are a beautiful soul and I thank you for sharing your story, it inspired me more than you will ever know.ReplyDelete
Have a beautiful and happy week.
Day 6 clean and sober. Scared and without crutches, raw life hits hard. But so much sweeter that pain when surrounded by pride in making a positive choice, than the pain of self loathing and disgust. And the knowledge of the absolute certainty that despite this wretchedness I will still pick up later... I gratefully leave that pain behind me, one day at a time.ReplyDelete
I struggle with thoughts of the delicious escapism that could await me so easily, and choose instead reality and sobriety.
Thank you for your post
Have you ever read "The Descent of Inanna"? Your story, and stories of other women like myself struggling with sobriety or releasing past trauma reminds me of the Sumerian myth of Inanna (the earliest known writing in history), who entered the underworld to answer the cries of her "dark sister" but had to pass through 7 gates, removing a garment at each one...her lapis beads, her robe, her defenses, until she stood before he sister naked. What happens next isn't so pleasant (hung on a hook "dead" for 3 days), but while this was happening forces in the universe were working to free her. She ultimately came back and kicked ass (long story short), a complete and powerful woman. That is how I understand the myth. I think of this and how much work it takes to become a Goddess. Your stories are very honest and inspirational, so thank you!ReplyDelete
After all this time, this one STILL gives me goosebumps. <3ReplyDelete
i just passed the 18 year markand I would not give back a day of these past 18 years...you are so spot on about MEETINGS..i still try to make 3 a week and it is amazing about the need to be willing to CHANGE because "the same person will drink again"...something that helps me cope with each day is a relapse prevention person here in Baltimore once said a few years back that the 3 main cause of relapse are ...1-forgetting the pain of the past...2-ignoring your spititual condition..3-resentments...I keep that message very close to me...again thanks for your share and I will keep coming back...ReplyDelete
You make me believe it's possible to one day look up from the bottom of the hole.....ReplyDelete
Your words make a difference for me....18 months and counting...all one day at a time...While I consider that a short time, I like to here the stories of the newbies....Helps me remember where I came from and everything we hear in meeting is useful, regardless of sobriety dates. Keep the good words coming....Love you Katy...ReplyDelete