Alcohol-Free May!

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May is a great month for change and renewal. It’s named after the ancient goddess Maia, who is associated with flourishing spring, fertility, and playfulness. In that creative spirit, throw off the habits of winter and wake up to spring!

If you’ve been struggling to go alcohol-free for some period of time, why not choose May? I’ve been AF for a couple of years, but I have some major habits I need to vacate in May, and I will use this time for my own mental spring-cleaning.

So … for every day in the month of May, I’m going to post one motivating blog that deals with self-love, self-empowerment, and the creative mind. The posts will also deal with how we perceive ourselves and our place in the world.

This will be a spiritual blog, but not in the religious sense. I follow A Course in Miracles, which is exactly what it says … it’s a course and not a religion, although it deals with spiritual themes and the nature of perception. And though I use the words God or Spirit, you can just as easily substitute Higher Power, Buddha, Yahweh, Allah, All That Is, The Universe, or any other term you’d like.

What I’ve found in my long search for sobriety is that the power to choose begins in the mind, and that it’s possible to use your thoughts to change not only your behavior, but your entire outlook on life. This power is available to every one of us, and in it lies the power to change the world.

Stay tuned!

Next Blog: Where I get my inspiration.

 

“The Good Ole’ Days”

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A friend just sent me a photo from the good ole’ days.

I can see that my eyes are puffy and my skin is dehydrated, because I’m way too young here to have so many laugh lines. (Well, there is that whole sun exposure thing. Have I ever mentioned that I lived in St. Thomas for a year?)

Those days weren’t that great.

But right now, I’m getting ready to go hiking through my favorite mountain top. Later on, I’ll get some work done, go have an incredibly healthy dinner, and then call some people I love.

These are the good ole’ days.

💕

 

Homegrown Sobriety

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“Sobriety is so much more than not drinking. It is the complete transformation of quality of life.”

Jacqui at The OAM

I LOVE this woman’s blog. She travels all over the world and writes beautifully! If you really want to be impressed, check out her Instagram photos at the bottom of her page. (Those photos are actually her.)

Here is her post Homegrown Sobriety at the The OAM.

No More Tunnel Vision

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Today is Saturday, and I’m free as a bird.

I can do anything I want, or nothing at all. Yoga? Maybe. Or I might drag out my camera and try to take some really artsy photos. Or I might take the dog to that park with the sign that says, “No dogs” and sneak him in under the fence. That’s always fun. And I MOST DEFINITELY am going to the Starbucks drive-through and get a giant chocolate chip cookie and some iced green tea.

I ramble on here for a reason. What I have today is possibilities. I have no goal for the day except to enjoy it and do whatever my heart desires.

No more tunnel vision.

I remember a well-meaning friend asking me if I wanted to join a hiking group a few years back. But how does the involve drinking? I thought. As if reading my mind, she said, “It’s a short walk through the woods, and then we end up at restaurant and have some drinks.” Now we’re talking.

And because drinking made me a slug, I told her that my ankle was acting up, but that I’d meet them at the restaurant. Perfect plans!

I got there early and had a nice pre-drink so as not to drink others under the table, which is seen as unladylike in some cultures. Plus, these weren’t my regular friends, so they might be the type to order a glass of wine and then sip it slowly, making it awkward for other people to order another and another. So rude.

And that’s exactly what happened. They showed up with those hiking stick things, all glowy with health, and ordered tea. (Sweet tea, how decadent!) The waiter ruined by pre-drink plan by saying, “Do you want another glass of wine, miss?” I hesitated just a second, and said, “Sure,” as if he’d pressured me into it. Then I remembered to rub my ankle as if it hurt.

The whole thing was a fraudulent act to hide my only goal: to drink. It was Saturday, and no one was going to stop me from drinking. Not that I didn’t drink the rest of the week as well, but Saturday gave me an extra license to drink. Besides, what if I quit Monday? Better enjoy it while you can.

I could never have relaxed at this outing without the wine. My tunnel vision would make it so I couldn’t think about anything but leaving. I might have gone to the ladies room (alone) and popped open a mini-bottle with my name on it, hidden in my big purse for just these types of emergencies. (My purse could hold up to four mini-bottles for dry weddings, etc. It was big and ugly, as my daugher liked to point out, but it served its secret purpose.)

It’s so nice to be free of that tunnel vision. My mind is free to wander and enjoy the possibilities of just going with the flow. I don’t have to arrange for a drinking lunch, an afternoon nap to sleep it off, and then an evening of more wine.

And a Sunday from freaking hell. Liquor stores don’t open until 12:00.

Free at last.

💕

Two Years Tomorrow, Ya’ll!

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And they said I’d never make it!

This song is for every one that wondered if I had it in me. For everyone who looked at me and thought, “Wow, what a waste.”

It’s for every heart I broke along the way. Please forgive me. I know you do. 💕

Because today, I swear I can feel the sparks shooting off me! This girl is on fire! And I KNOW that any of us who made it out alive are here to hand that key to someone else. I’ve been given a whole lot of keys, and I’m so happy that I get to return the favor.

I’m on a soul vacation today. Come on in! The water’s fine.

Drops of Jupiter

Now that she’s back in the atmosphere
With drops of Jupiter in her hair, hey, hey
She acts like summer and walks like rain
Reminds me that there’s time to change, hey, hey
Since the return of her stay on the moon
She listens like spring and she talks like June, hey, hey
Hey, hey
But tell me did you sail across the sun
Did you make it to the Milky Way to see the lights all faded
And that heaven is overrated?
Tell me, did you fall from a shooting star
One without a permanent scar
And did you miss me while you were looking for yourself out there?
Now that she’s back from that soul vacation
Tracing her way through the constellation, hey, hey
She checks out Mozart while she does tae-bo
Reminds me that there’s room to grow, hey, hey, yeah
Now that she’s back in the atmosphere
I’m afraid that she might think of me as
Plain ol’ Jane, told a story about a man who is too afraid to fly so he never did land
But tell me did the wind sweep you off your feet
Did you finally get the chance to dance along the light of day
And head back to the milky way
And tell me, did Venus blow your mind
Was it everything you wanted to find
And did you miss me while you were looking for yourself out there
Can you imagine no love, pride, deep-fried chicken
Your best friend always sticking up for you
Even when I know you’re wrong
Can you imagine no first dance, freeze-dried romance
Five-hour phone conversation
The best soy latte that you ever had, and me
But tell me did the wind sweep you off your feet
Did you finally get the chance to dance along the light of day
And head back toward the Milky Way?
And tell me did you sail across the sun
Did you make it to the milky way to see the lights all faded
And that heaven is overrated?
And tell me, did you fall from a shooting star
One without a permanent scar
And did you miss me while you were looking for yourself
Na-na, na-na, na-na
Na-na, na-na, na-na
And did you finally get the chance to dance along the light of day?
And did you fall from a shooting star, fall from a shooting star?
And are you lonely looking for yourself out there?

Squeezing Out a Little Gratitude

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Last weekend, I made plans to celebrate eight full days of pure gratitude. I would blog a quick note about what I was grateful for that day, leading right up to March 31st, my two-year sober anniversary. My husband was out of town, so I had plenty of time to revel in all that gratitude.

Ah … the best laid plans.

Instead of feeling grateful, I wound up whiny, lethargic, irritated, and martyred. The reason? My plans were changed without my permission. So instead of walking in nature, singing around the house, and journaling about gratitude, I’ve spent the week playing nursemaid to a dog.

To make a long story short, my dog Quigley was bitten by another dog. The bite just grazed the surface, but the healing has gone awry, and after three visits to the vet and finally surgery, he’s wearing a t-shirt tied on with duct tape, a cone around his head, and he’s drugged out of his mind. He refused to walk with the cone on his head, so he had to be carried outside to go to the bathroom. (He weighs over 50 pounds, and the vet called him fat on top of everything else.)

At no point was the dog’s life in danger, and he didn’t appear to be in pain. If anything, he seemed to enjoy all the extra attention and even the drugs. Yet anytime I told someone how I was cleaning and dressing wounds daily (I’m SUPER squeamish), and needed to hose down the house from the inside out, they always said, “Oh, poor Quigley.”

Poor Quigley? What about poor me?

Soon, a voice I call the little gremlin had set up shop inside my brain and began shooting out arrows of self-pity: Why should you have to deal with this? This is sooo inconvenient. Your husband’s probably in a hot tub in Colorado. This isn’t fair!

After a day or so of mopping and re-mopping floors, and whining to anyone unlucky enough to answer my call, the gremlin talked me into a large fry and frosty. You deserve this, he cooed.

As I fortified myself with hundreds of grams of fat and sugar, I knew it was time to retake my rightful place as leader of the pack. I am in charge, I told myself firmly. Not the dog. Not the gremlin.

I began to observe the little gremlin, as my mindful reading has taught me to do. That’s not me, I told myself. That’s the ego run amok. I don’t have to listen to him.

Through the rain and hail of the next few days, I began to practice acceptance. I tried to tell myself, This is what’s happening. It’s inconvenient, and no one is going to come to my rescue. I can rail against this mentally, or I can accept it and rise to the occasion. I can choose to complain, or I can choose to find what this situation is trying to teach me. 

My mood lifted slightly, even though I felt like I was just going through the motions. Still, from acceptance, I could move on to a begrudging gratitude: I’m glad I’m here to comfort Quigley. I’m glad to take the dog out at 5:00 am because now I can watch the sunrise. I’m thrilled not to be doing this hungover.

Then, with this slight gratitude, I was gradually able to sustain some real gratitude. This situation is forcing me to slow down and be present. I feel more in tune with Quigley. I’m able to do things that I thought I couldn’t. 

After a few days, the dog and I had a routine. We spent lots of time together because I had to make sure he didn’t scratch his wounds. It was actually kind of cozy here at the doggy rehab. I felt a little like Florence Nightingale.

So today, Mr. Sober Miracle is home. I have help! Not that I need it, really.

As it turns out, Quigley has to be monitored for another week, so my husband won’t be going on the weekend getaway we had planned. Instead, I’ll be taking my parents to the fancy hotel for Easter weekend. Come to think of it, they haven’t gone anywhere in almost a year due to my dad’s health.

And it’s going to be really inconvenient, I know. I’ll have to schlep both of my dad’s walkers, his wheelchair, his shower chair, and his bags of medication up to the third floor of the hotel.

Oddly enough, I feel up to the challenge. I’m looking forward to it even.

Another miracle.

💕