Hope – It Keeps Me Hanging On

Music guitar

Music guitar (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

Not sure if you ever saw the movie “Shawshank Redemption,” but there is a great scene in that film regarding ‘hope.’  Tim Robbins’ character has it and Morgan Freeman’s character thinks he is hopelessly romancing hope because hope is a heart breaker.

Maybe it depends on the person when it comes to hope.  I used to feel disdain for hope.  Maybe it was because I grouped hope with wishing and praying when I was using and drinking.  Then again, the things I hoped for were things like not getting pulled over by the police while I was high or having twenty extra dollars in my pocket to finish getting my load on. Go figure.

These days ‘hope’ is very different for me.  I do hope for material things like hitting the lottery or waking up one day with big boobs, but I know these things aren’t going to happen, so I am acting the child when it comes to hoping, praying and wishing for things.

I need to redirect my hope to attainable things that are not materialistic.  I write music reviews for three different websites.  At this moment, I am not paid for this, but that’s okay.  I love what I do.  I hope to one day get paid to write about music, but until then I will work my day job and write about music in the evening.

I hope to one day have a flourishing career in the music/writing industry.

Hope is amazing.

Day 5 – Celebrating Freedom

Freedom

Freedom (Photo credit: Josef Grunig)

How awesome is it to celebrate freedom from the slavery of drugs and alcohol?  Once a drudgery of self-loathing and hatred, when I put down the drink and the drug, I found a new way of life and discovered freedom to the core.

There were no more lost moments of clarity.  Nights once spent in a drunken stupor were a thing of the past.  My nights turned into eating at diners after meetings with other like-minded people in search of a common goal.  I discovered that drinking and drugging were not a staple when it came to fun.

Fun and entertainment came in new and enlightening ways without drugs and alcohol.  As I started to work my program, the chain-links of self snapped one by one, creating a gate I could swing open into a new world.

One by one, I snapped a link one day at a time.

Amazing.

20 Truly Exceptional Alcohol Addiction Resources List – I Made #20!

I got an email this morning that said my blog here, Sober Living:  Life at Full Throttle made the “20 Truly Exceptional Alcohol Addiction Resources List.”  I came in at #20!  😀 I checked out a lot of the other blogs, all of which are awesome pertaining to alcoholism, addiction and how these bloggers have handled it.

Here is the link: 20 Truly Exceptional Alcohol Addiction Resources.  Just wanted to share my happy moment this morning.  Okay, time for me to go back to bed… I am sick. 😦

It’s Better, It’s Worse… It’s Both

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I joined Oprah’s Lifeclass a few weeks ago and I have to say… I love it.  I am about ten classes in and am learning a lot about myself by answering thought-provoking questions that only I can see the answers to.  There is also a Daily Life Question that we have the option of answering.  It is linked to the users Twitter account.

As I read some of the answers (a lot of them anonymous) I shuddered at some of the things a lot of people have been through usually in great part by their parents.  I saw remnants of abuse, both physical and sexual, mental anguish, alcoholism, abandonment… 😦

It just got me thinking.. like.. what the hell do I have to bitch about?  Ok, yeah.. my childhood wasn’t the greatest.. I have always been socially awkward and put a lot of my worth on my physical beauty (but am too lazy to do any upkeep on it).  I tend to talk way too much when I get nervous and yes.. I am an alcoholic.

BUT – I am sober!  I AM beautiful!  I grew up poor.. but I have character.  I have small boobs.. but I have a great butt!  I can be very indecisive, but when I know what I want.. no one is stopping me.

It is so important for me (and you!) to look at the silver lining in the dark, looming clouds that hover over our heads from time to time.

We have all been through our own share of hell.  I remember years of self-pity, beating my head against the wall as I cursed and screamed “WHY ME?!”

Well, why not me?  Bad things have happened to me because I have the ability to help others.  If all I can do is take my experiences and share them with another, then whatever I have been through is not in vain.

Whatever doesn’t kill you – makes you stronger. 

What experiences have made you stronger?

Gratitude

The days blur by as our to-do lists seem to grow in size like water infested sponges.  Then life happens.  An unexpected illness, a home repair or maybe your car dies when you are on your way home from work.  I can totally relate to this last one because that is what happened to me yesterday.

 As I sat in the driver seat, cursing everything imaginable with my ‘why me’ attitude, I realized that I was being kind of bitchy.  I mean, there are people who are less fortunate.  There are people who are unemployed and wish they were broke down at work.  Yet, there I was sitting in my car (which has fared me well so far) complaining to my girlfriend on the phone about all the injustice of the day while I waited for the tow truck.

 They say when life hands you lemons to make lemonade, which, I find quite corny.  But I get it now.  Make the best of your situation.  Know that whatever life throws at you, you can handle it.  If you feel the need to drop to your knees and scream at the sky, go for it.  After your brief collapse get back up and figure out how to make it work.

 I made a gratitude list last night.  I listed all of the things I was grateful for.  Some of the things on my list were: my career, money in the bank, AAA, friends and coffee.  Make your own list.  You’ll realize that things are going to be okay and you have a lot in your life that you may take for granted sometimes.     

 Meditation for the day:  I am grateful for the little things in life.

Regretting Obsessive Rejection

I’m sitting in my car at Tyler State Park.  It is about twenty-two degrees outside.  I come here almost every day on my one hour lunch break.  Usually I walk for a while as I collect my thoughts.  But today I am a wimp.  The car is safer.  While I cannot hear the frigid wind smacking the leafless trees, I can hear about seventy geese honking in the field behind me.  The chirping birds and foraging squirrels that would grace me with their innocent presence throughout the summer and fall are nowhere to be found.  That is about the only notion I can understand today.

I come here almost every day in the hopes that one of these afternoons I will find peace.  And in finding peace that will free my mind, if only for a moment.

But I am obsessive.  I would like to tell you that I obsess over happy things like a good day at work or winning three dollars on a lottery ticket.  However, that would not propel my insanity forward.  So, I obsess about unpleasantries such as a bad day at work, whether or not I am good enough and the dumb things that spill out of my mouth like cherry Kool-Aid onto a bright carpet.  Sure, it can be cleaned up, but the stain always remains.

A small engine airplane just flew overhead.  As I hone in on that, still with honking geese in the background I start to wonder where that plane might be going. I have a good idea that it is probably going to the airport in Mercer County, NJ but that thought doesn’t give me warm fuzzy feelings.

I’m tired and have been for years.  This game called life is not fun anymore and I look every day for the reset button but it never surfaces.  All of the dreams and aspirations I have had in my life have dwindled to dust as I decided somewhere along this path that the right thing to do would be to put myself last.  How crippling that thought has become.

Now my days are filled with despondent sighs and dreams of “someday”, “if only” and, the most damaging one of them all, “I should have.”

“I should have” are three words seeped in regret like a bitter tea bag in hot water.  Regret is a tough teacher albeit a good one.

I regret not listening to my grandmother all those years ago on our car rides up River Road into New Hope, PA when I was a little girl.  My Gram gave me such good advice about how to act like a lady and how you should never be easy.  Her words rang in my ears until I became a teenager and the pressure of being cool and fitting in greatly outweighed good advice.

I regret listening to my father.  While my grandmother gave me words of wisdom, my father gave me lectures of negativity.  My dad, it seems to me now, wasn’t very comfortable outside the box.  He told me why I shouldn’t be an auto mechanic, why I shouldn’t be a race car driver and went right down my list of dreams smashing them all one by one with the hammer of doubt.  As a little girl, the one thing that I wanted to do very badly was please my father.  If forgetting my dreams could help me do that, then that was what I would do.

It became clear to me a couple years ago why my father never pushed me.  If I went after a dream and it didn’t work out then he would be devastated.  If I stayed inside my little sheltered coven he would feel no pain because I never tried.

Since I need my dreams and aspirations intact, I don’t tell my father what is on my mind anymore.  If I happen to be talking to him it is usually small talk.  Even if I have something burning my brain that needs a hasty exit through my lips, I hold back.  My father can never know who I really am or what I really want anymore.  Obsession over that rejection will destroy me.

Selfish Suicide – Part One

Suicide is selfish.  Truer words have never been spoken.  Okay, truer words have been spoken.  But on the topic of suicide, there is no other way to really describe it.  I can say that I have been truly selfish once in my life.

It was a hot day in the middle of July 1996.  A whole host of events had led up to that day.  I was upset; disgusted. I really felt there was no other option.  How could I go on?  What shot did I have at a decent life?  I felt hopeless and weak.

I stood above the sink with a bottle of prescription muscle relaxers. The tap flowed as I put my plastic cup under the cold water. With a pile of pills in my hand and tears streaming my artificially tanned cheeks, I begged for a sign that I didn’t need to do this; that it would all be okay.   The telephone didn’t ring.  My cat didn’t meow. There was just the steady sound of running water.

I took the pills and chugged from the plastic cup.  There.  It was done.  I didn’t have to suffer anymore.  As I walked crying into the other room it hit me like a bolt of lightning. My life; others lives flashed before my eyes.  What the fuck was I doing?

I ran to the kitchen to take it back.  I put my head over the sink and rammed my fingers down my throat.  The harder I tried to make myself throw up the weaker I became.  It was in that moment that I begged God to forgive my sins.  I stumbled into the living room and collapsed on the floor.  That was the last thing I remembered.

I woke up in the hospital days later with no recollection of what I had done.  My mother was by my bedside and I asked her where I was.  She told me I had suffered a stroke and that my oldest daughter had found me dead.  Rescue was called that day I collapsed on the floor and they had worked on me for roughly twenty minutes before getting a pulse.

That day was July 19, 1996.  My mom would call on the nineteenth of July every year for the next eight to remind me of the progress I had made since I fell apart.

The stress of being a young mother of four children with a dead beat husband would make anyone fall apart.  My family was masterful at the cover up.

At about year six, I started to remember pieces of things. Events that seemed almost dream like flooded my mind.  As I remembered them, they overlapped each other like a poorly dubbed cassette tape.  I would mention these thoughts, these pieces of a movie almost, to my mother.  She would side step my notions quite gracefully.

At year seven I had called my mother.  I was excited.  I had a dream.  A violent dream, but nonetheless, a dream.  Now, you might think, so what?  We all dream.  And I know that I had dreamed every night since that hot day in July, but when I awoke from my sleep every morning, I had nothing.  A glimpse of anything that had run through my subconscious mind during the night never resurfaced in my head.

That dream meant so much to me.  It meant normalcy.  To dream meant that I was going to be okay.

I wish I could say that my life and the lives of my children returned to normal after that night in July.  I wish I could pretend that a glass of water and a bottle of muscle relaxers coupled with a dark state of mind didn’t alter so many paths.

The lives of my children would never be the same after that day.  My life warped into what seemed a strip of bad scene selections from a sub-par movie.

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