Tag Archives: Recovery

The Bubble Hour (reblog)

runningonsober:

My good friend Kristen from ByeByeBeer will be participating in “The Bubble Hour” podcast (an excellent sobriety resource) TONIGHT (Sunday, March 2), along with fellow bloggers Mrs D, One Crafty Mother, and UnPickled. Swing by Kristen’s post for details and to congratulate her. I couldn’t be prouder for these fine ladies. You can listen in tonight, or download and listen at your convenience; details are in Kristen’s post. -christy

Originally posted on ByeByeBeer:

Once, hours before hosting a dinner party, my husband and I decided to change the light fixtures on a ceiling fan we’d scarcely noticed before. Nevermind that the food and hosts still needed work or that this involved a Saturday afternoon trip to Home Depot. Swapping out perfectly good sconces for almost identical ones became the number one priority.

If you notice my theme looks different, you’re not imagining it. (If you didn’t, uh, nevermind?) I came in to put up a short post and changed all the sconces instead. It was an accident at first because I couldn’t figure out how to get the column-thingies at the bottom to appear on the right without changing the theme and this is why I like words like ‘sconce’. They are soothing and they distract and deflect.

I’m going to be on a podcast tonight called The Bubble Hour with fellow sober…

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Treasure

Symbols of what I most treasure

Symbols of what I most treasure

“What do you treasure? What’s most important to you?” asked Krista in this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge.

And while I could post pictures of my family, my music collection, my journals, my treadmill, my feather pillow, my health, my letters from my mother, or even my emergency stash of Twix bars, the truth is, the only way I can treasure anything else, is to first treasure my sobriety.

Top row, left to right: My very first token for 24-hours of sobriety; the middle 24-hour token symbolizes the many times I slipped and got back up; the 1-month token symbolizes my pride and dishonesty because, see, I didn’t actually earn that one, and interestingly I wrote in my journal later that day, I got it because “I needed to not feel like a failure.”

Second row, left to right: 24 hours, 1 month, 2 month, 3 month.

Third row: 6 month, 9 month, 1 year.

Bottom row: 2 years (and counting).

I treasure each one because they remind me of how far I have come and how grateful I am to be sober today.

What do you treasure? I’d love to hear. Or even better, I’d love to see! Join me in this week’s photo challenge: Treasure

So I Said I Wanted to be Brave. (My Interview With WordPress.com)

So … I said I wanted to be brave. Remember that? I even made “brave” my theme-word for the year. I want to “say what I want to say” and to have my “words be anything but empty.” I want to be brave.

But the universe is a funny little monkey. You don’t just snap your fingers, and VOILA!, instant bravery. Besides, where’s the growth in that? Where’s the challenge?

Nope, instead what happens is we are presented with opportunity — sometimes via the universe, sometimes just because we’re out there looking for it. I can’t help but think of a note my mom wrote me shortly before she died:

Mom must have been watching Evan, Almighty

Mom must have been watching Evan, Almighty

I wanted to be brave.

And WordPress gave me the opportunity to be brave.

Last week, the awesome people at WordPress.com News offered me the chance to be interviewed as part of their Blogger Profile series.

Um, what? You mean, you want me to put my face and my story out there for thousands and thousands of people to see?* Um, um, um … let me get back to you after I finish this whole bag of Twix Bars and these fifty Reese’s Cups.

That’s what the voice of fear was saying inside my head. My stomach overheard and unleashed cages of nervous butterflies to flitter and flutter to and fro in attempt to distract me from making a decision.

But then I remembered the note from my mom. I remembered the quote from A Game of Thrones I shared in “On Bravery, Death, and Why Mary Oliver Will Save My Life“:

“Bran thought about it. ‘Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?’
‘That is the only time a man can be brave,’ his father told him.”
― George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

I remembered all of the quotes on bravery and courage I had just shared on Words for the Weekend (Beauty the Brave) and how I had asked, in essence, what do you do when your row-boat is no longer in smooth waters? Do you sink, swim, or fly? Do you give in to your fear and say no to opportunity? Or do you feel the fear but say yes anyway?

I took a deep breath, thanked the universe, and said yes.

And then I jumped.

Please stop by WordPress.com News to read my interview with Krista:

Not Running on Empty, Running on Sober: A Blogger Profile

***

A huge thank you to WordPress for not only giving me an opportunity to be brave, but for continuing to shine the light on topics of addiction, recovery and mental health. You are helping countless lives heal, grow and connect. On behalf of us all, “we are waving and saying thank you.”  I guess you could say you’re pretty dang awesome and brave yourselves, WordPress.

(* I should add WordPress did not mandate that I share any particular info or photos; they allowed me to share what my comfort levels allowed, and I am grateful for their courtesy and compassion.)

A thank you also to my friend Kristen of ByeByeBeer for the very sweet mention of my interview.

A ginormous “hot damn and hallelujah” and congratulations to Marius of Trudging Through the Fire who celebrated an entire decade of sobriety on February 1. Stop by his post “February is a Great Month to Surrender” to say congrats. If he offers you Peanut M&M’s, keep your shoes on ladies. He’s harmless though, mostly, and he’s a hell of writer. Check him out; you’ll be glad you did.

To my new friends and followers, welcome! Do you like Fritos?

If any of you are debating whether to say yes or no to an opportunity, say yes. You’ve got to roll with the punches to get to what’s real. Might as well jump. Go ahead and jump.

Jump” by VanHalen from 1984

Okay, stop jumping for two minutes and come read my interview!

Say Anything, Begin Anywhere (What Matters to You?)

"The Voice" by Shel Silverstein from Falling Up

“The Voice” by Shel Silverstein from Falling Up

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” ~ Dr.Martin Luther King Jr.

But what matters? And what exactly do you say about it? And how exactly should you say it?

I wish I could tell you. That’s something you have to decide for yourself.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about what most matters to me. About good and evil. About light and darkness. About integrity and the type of life I want to live and the type of people I want to live it with. What is it I believe in?

Do you ever ask yourself that? What you believe in?

How often do you ask yourself?

We all change. Our beliefs do too. It’s always good to stop and ask yourself from time to time what exactly it is that matters to you. What do you stand for? What are your motivations? What do you believe in?

So, that’s what I’m in the process of doing.

Sometimes, if you don’t know what to say, it’s okay to not say anything. It’s okay to do some soul-searching, some watching, some listening. I encourage that. My mother taught me when I was young, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Or maybe it was a movie, I’m not really sure. I know I used to believe that. But not anymore.

Some things should be said. Even if they’re not nice.

Some things shouldn’t.

And some things don’t need to be said, at least not right away.

As I contemplate what I believe, I know this: I believe in light; I believe in words; I believe in stories. I believe, as Martin Luther King Jr. did, that “darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.”

“Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark. Begin at the beginning. Tell Gregory a story. Make some light.” ~ Kate DiCamillo

So for now I leave you with some light, a story. A light-hearted one I wrote a few months ago as I began to stretch my writing boundaries. It’s a discussion I had with that little voice in my head, and sometimes I cuss when I talk to myself — please don’t be offended.

And please, have a discussion with that little voice in your head. Re-examine what you believe and what matters to you. If you don’t know where to begin … begin anywhere.

My gratitude to Michelle at The Green Study for reminding me in her post “Equivocating, Voyeurism and Cathartic Blogging” that sometimes it’s okay to just listen; sometimes we have to slow down and examine our current motivations and beliefs, and sometimes boundaries are warranted and needed. Thank you Michelle. And to my friend El Guapo, for his post “Angry Doesn’t Describe It,” I say thank you for saying something, and for saying it fiercely and with conviction. Both Michelle and Guap show us there are some things that should be said, some things that shouldn’t, and some things that don’t need to be said right away — it all depends on your personal beliefs and what most matters to you.

***

Say Anything, Begin Anywhere

All

“All my instincts, they return
and the grand facade, so soon will burn
without a noise, without my pride
I reach out from the inside”
~ “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel, image from movie Say Anything

I don’t know what to say.

Can’t you say anything?

Fine, Mr. Cusack, yes, I can; but what should I write about?

Well, what do you want to write about?

Oh, I don’t know. Stuff.

What sort of stuff?

Ah, but that’s the question, isn’t it?

Is it?

Are you even paying attention to me?

Why? Did you think I wasn’t paying attention?

Do you always answer every question with a question?

Do you?

Wait, what?

Do you?

Do I what?

Weren’t you paying attention?

For cryin’ out loud, yes, of course I was paying attention. Seems to me I was asking if you answered every single question with another question.

I don’t know, do I?

Duh. Yes, yes you do!

I do?

WHY GOD, WHY ME?!

Because none of this is really about me—it’s all about you. But surely you knew that already?

Yeah, I guess I did. Wait… you did it again.

Oops?

I see what you’re doing.

Oh you do, do you?

I’m on to you.

You are?

FOR FUCK’S SAKE.

Why are you getting upset?

OH MY GOD.

Yes?

Great, my god has a fucking sense of humor.

What’s wrong with having a sense of humor?

It’s not that. Gawd, god…

Then what is it?

Where do I even begin?

Why don’t you begin anywhere?

Anywhere?

Why not?

Why not? Because what if I begin in the wrong place?

Isn’t one place as good as another?

Not if it’s the wrong place, it’s not.

Couldn’t you always begin again?

I suppose.

Like my favorite song says, in the long run, isn’t there still to time to change the road you’re on?

Hmmm… It makes me wonder. I hope there is.

There is.

You can’t know that.

Actually, I can.

Oh yeah, I forgot.

Besides, where do beginnings come from?

Is this a joke, god? I don’t know. Where do beginnings come from? You tell me. Please.

Have you ever heard that song, Closing Time?

Sure, yeah, hasn’t everyone? They played the hell out of that song. Err, sorry. I didn’t take you for a Semisonic fan though, god.

Do you remember what the song said about new beginnings?

Umm… ‘every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end’?

Aren’t those profound lyrics?

You keep answering in questions.

So?

Ah, nice Peter Gabriel reference there, god. Impressive. So … nothing. I’m actually getting used to your rhetoric.

You are?

Don’t push your luck, god, I’m still agnostic; I can swing either way.

You’re getting sassy with me?

Not really. Why? Are you going to smote me?

Just testing you. Seeing if you were still paying attention?

Did you really think I didn’t hear you?

Ah, but were you listening? That’s the real question.

It is?

Isn’t it?

The question to what?

Wait, what were we talking about anyway?

You forgot what we were talking about, god?

Maybe. Or maybe I’m just testing you again. Why don’t we begin again?

Okay … Sure… Why not?

Where shall we begin?

How about the beginning?

And where is that?

It’s right here, god, it’s right here. Every moment is a new beginning. Every moment is some other beginning’s end.

Ah. So you were listening.

Was that a question?

Nope.

Thank god. But it’s kind of sad if you think about it. How every beginning is an ending.

But every ending is a beginning. And that’s kind of cool, isn’t it?

You’re right, god.

I know.

Smart-ass.

I know.

So this is the end?

Or is it the beginning?

Yes.

I know.

If there’s no end, there can be no beginning.

Secretly grateful you’re sharing this moment with me.

~ No End, No Beginning” by Poets of the Fall from Alchemy, Vol. 1

~~~

There is Still Bacon to Eat and Songs to Bark

We’re going to fight. We’re not ready to give up.

I’m not ready to give up.

Spot still has bacon to eat, tummy rubs to relish, “I Love You’s” to hear, squirrels to chase, sunshine to feel, slow walks to enjoy, kisses to lavish, songs to bark … life to live. And I hope to give her all of these and more.

We have decided to move forward, quickly, with a last-line defense of chemotherapy–what they call a rescue-therapy. Spot’s tummy had a tough time with some of the drugs last year, so we are using drugs that should be easier on her system. Statistically, they won’t buy us a lot of time (a few months, if successful), but none of the drugs can promise a lot of time — that’s a rarity after lymphoma has returned. For those of you medically inclined or who have faced similar issues, we are going with Elspar, Lomustine and Prednisone. We anticipate this to be our last stand. We know what ultimately awaits, but we will face it bravely.

Spot starts chemo again tomorrow, Friday, January 10.

It’s been a hard week. I cannot thank you enough for the thoughts, well-wishes and prayers. It’s so important to me to thank you each individually–I do, and if I haven’t, I will.

For my readers–especially new followers, welcome!–you are probably expecting topics of sobriety, maybe of running. Those posts will return. For now though, even if I don’t mention sobriety, please know this is what sober life looks like. Things happen. Life happens. Death happens. But I don’t have to drink over any of it. And I won’t, not today.

From my family, from me, and from Spot especially, “we are saying thank you and waving / dark though it is.”

And to Death we continue to say, Not today–there is still bacon to eat and songs to bark and life to live. And roses. There are still roses to smell.

There are still roses to smell

There are still roses to smell

***

Thanks

by W. S. Merwin

Listen
with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water thanking it
smiling by the windows looking out
in our directions

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you

over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks we are saying thank you
in the faces of the officials and the rich
and of all who will never change
we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us
our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving
dark though it is

“Thanks” by W. S. Merwin from Migration: New & Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2005)