|This is a great symbol to me of good clean fun. Save me the "soda is bad for you" routine, I rarely drink it and sometimes it's the only thing that hits the spot.|
There is so much to love this Thursday, it's difficult to pick one Thing. And that one thing today is that I am pretty raw. And that suits me just fine. I am far from blocked off, as far as what I share for the greater good. Let me explain:
I was asked to do an interview, along with Mary Tyler Mom, a fantastic writer and blogger who also happens to be in Chicago, and I am so proud to be her friend. Anyway, we met up with this writer for a Chicago magazine last night at a little cafe in our neighborhood and chatted over delicious, but a rare treat for me, Coca Colas.
People know MTM as a Cancer Mom. And she is. Boy is she ever. And the most gracious and devoted advocate for Pediatric Cancer I know and honestly, her story of her daughter Donna changed my life and tons of other people's lives around the world. And now, being friends with MTM has shown me she is SO MUCH MORE than Cancer Mom. It's her passion and her calling, just like I am Sobriety Girl and more recently, IVF and TWINS LADY. And yet, I am SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT.
Sometimes, not for long, but sometimes, I forget. I sit in a fancy little place like that with two healthy babies growing in my belly with two successful moms who have lives that are good and relatively normal and I forget. We sit there and chat and answer questions as if I am one of them. And today, I kind of am like them. I kind of belong to that club of women who have it all, who struggle - AS EVERYONE DOES and if they don't admit it they're lying - but who are incredibly blessed.
The truth is, I NEVER FORGET. I blog about my story and where I've come from so I don't ever forget. I talk about my story a lot so I never ever forget or take for granted that I am ONLY in this position because I am sober. That I am not just like them. I AM A DRUNK - surprise! And you all know I'm grateful for that. But the truth is, if they have wine while sitting there talking they can go on about their daily lives, if I have wine, my entire universe and everyone in it is fucked.
The lovely woman who was interviewing us last night asked, "how does it feel to be so RAW?" Well, I am never good at spur of the moment answers, and I tend to trip over my words until I am behind a screen with a keyboard and then I can find my words. RAW? Well, when you've lost everything and you crawl back out to try to make a life for yourself, the word RAW doesn't occur to you. You just do whatever you can do to make your life work.
Am I an impostor in my own life? Sometimes it feels that way. When I'm somewhere new and nobody knows my story and my situation, I feel like an impostor. Like I should have a big sign on my forehead that says, "I am a drunk who's not drinking and a smoker who's not smoking, so please consider this your warning" But I don't have that. I just look like a normal person, but I'm not a normal person. I bet most of us feel that way. I am not the only one with a back story and a story that is CRITICAL I keep in front of my face AT ALL TIMES. But I don't have to keep it in YOUR face at all times. It's my responsibility. When you are in recovery, it has to be a constant thing, 24 hours a day, not just when it's convenient.
It's not just not ordering a drink at a cafe, it's being responsible, whenever and wherever somebody is asking for help, I am responsible. It doesn't mean I am responsible FOR THAT PERSON. BUT I am responsible to carry the message of hope and recovery. And I can honestly say I do. No matter how inconvenient it is or even if I just don't feel like it, I carry that damn message. And it helps me be grateful. All day, every day. YOU all help keep me sober. We help each other. I have reminders of OH MY GOD, HOW IS THIS MY LIFE? Meaning, I seriously pinch myself and think, THIS IS SO MUCH BETTER THAN I EVER COULD HAVE DREAMED. Even on the shittiest of days, it's still so much better than my best days drunk.
And the reason is because I have been so RAW. I am going to say that is my Thing I Love this Thursday. Being raw. I am happy to be known as Sobriety Girl or Drunk Girl who is not drinking today, or whatever I am characterized as. I know that without this, I have nothing. I am that and so much more, but at the core, that is who I am and I have no shame about that. It is because I am a drunk who is in recovery that I get to be a mom. And a way better mom than I would have been had I not gone through all this. And one day, I will proudly share my story and this blog with my kids. They will know about their mom. I can't stop them from taking their own path, but I can tell them my experience, strength and hope. So, if that makes me raw, so be it. I wear my heart on my sleeve and it doesn't hurt nearly as much as it used to. It sure feels way more than it ever did, that's for damn sure.
We have to feel the really really bad and the really really good to experience life. No numbing. No running away. Just feeling. Sitting with it and experiencing all that life has to offer. If you numb it out, it is still there. It doesn't go away. It's always there until we deal with it. I find if I just get to the business of dealing with the shit, I get to deal with the sweet that much more. Like, for example, having a sweet delicious Coca Cola with two lovely ladies talking about how great life is through grateful tears and laughter.
You are so right. You HAVE to feel the bad to appreciate the good. And you are good. You are so good. xoxoReplyDelete
OH MY GOD, HOW IS THIS MY LIFE? Meaning, I seriously pinch myself and think, THIS IS SO MUCH BETTER THAN I EVER COULD HAVE DREAMED.ReplyDelete
I do forget. I forget all the time. But then I have these moments, these moments where I see what I have against what I expected to have--bitterness, poverty, abuse--and I can't believe just how lucky I am now. How lovely my life is. I think it's important to try and remember what used to be and what could have been, because remembering these things, as you conclude, keeps me so damn grateful for the amazing life I live now.
Also, re: the conclusion of this post? *dabs away tears*
Thank you for not being quiet with all this amazing gratitude. So many lives (mine included) are so much better for it. ♥
I adore you ! I am so proud of you ! I'm currently struggling with my sobriety, you give me HOPE I can be better ! <3ReplyDelete
"When I'm somewhere new and nobody knows my story and my situation, I feel like an impostor. Like I should have a big sign on my forehead that says, 'I am a drunk who's not drinking and a smoker who's not smoking, so please consider this your warning'"ReplyDelete
That actually made me laugh out loud. I'm not an alcoholic, but I am raw. I'm a cancer mom (hear me roar), and it's such a huge piece of me that I have to share it with new people. If you don't know that about me, you know nothing about me. Not that it defines me, but my life is made up of so much of what it has done to change me.
We moved to a new neighborhood in the Spring, and my biggest worry was breaking that kind of news to a whole new neighborhood of people. I still get a lot of head tilts, and ".. but is he doing better now?" reactions.
I'm not really sure how else they could react, but I do think it'll take some time to get past that defining thing before I can really get to know any of them.
Then I'll break it to them that I'm a Mormon and a writer. =) Perhaps I should cover all the stereotypes at once...
You inspire me, mama. xoxoReplyDelete
Hmmmm. I never think of you as "Sobriety Girl" or "Drunk Girl Who is Not Drinking Today." I've always thought of you more as "Hippy Dippy Trippy Warm Hearted Open Minded Sunshine Spreading Unconditional Acceptance Girl" accompanied by her faithful sidekicks, Science and Love ;)ReplyDelete
Another wonderful post by you! CHEERS! *clinks glass Coke bottle with yours*
Oh wow, I identify completely! Being with strangers or in an unusual setting is what triggers it for me. I feel like a need a big sign, "This isn't who I am!!".ReplyDelete
Truth is I'm surrounded most of the time by others in recovery, or if they're not, they know me and know my story. So it's so weird where I'm sitting in a "normal" situation and they just don't know the WHOLE truth.
I remind myself that *they* don't have to know (or remember) I'm an alcoholic - *I* do.
And this is how we'll stay sober - we don't forget, or romanticize the past. We don't have to live there, but we can't shut that door. - Kim
You make me want to go to a meeting ;) ❤ to you, you would be amazing drug & alcohol counselor. (that's what I went go school for!)ReplyDelete
I started crying when I read, 'these kids will know their mom', because that is such a gift you can give them. The ability to see vulnerability and weakness, and then strength and courage to persevere. We want to be perfect for our children, we don't need to be.ReplyDelete
Also, you're not just 'drunk girl' or 'sober girl' to me, you are 'sunshine girl', 'smiley spazzy happy girl' and 'make this world a better place girl'. xoxo
Another inspiring post.. And now I'm craving a coke. ;)ReplyDelete
You never cease to amaze me. With your honesty, strength, optimism, and beautiful soul. How lucky Hall and Oates are!ReplyDelete
This is so perfectly said and can apply to so many of us, no matter what we've gone through. I lost a daughter and I think the same, there are days I'm out with my kids and someone compliments me on them and right after I say thank you something in my mind says "they must think we are just a normal family." We all have our stories and I'm always drawn to people who share theirs so openly and honestly. So glad I found you (and sorry for writing a book in your comments).ReplyDelete
You've helped me see 'the other side' of a serious addiction. Its soooo so easy for us to discount the drunk, to get pissed off at the addict, to be hurt by it, feel guilty about it...but you have brought me into your world and made me feel what you've felt. I am seeing things so differently now..and your advice you've given me has been greatly appreciated. You're doing great things, and I so admire your strength and courage, not only to get and stay sober, but to let us all come along with you on this journey.ReplyDelete
This is beautiful. Thank you for your insights and grounding words yet again.ReplyDelete