Tag Archives: sobriety

Brother Jon is Three Years Sober!

There’s something pretty special about a guy who dedicates his three-year sobriety anniversary blog post to another person.

I mean, who celebrates three years of sobriety by writing about someone else?

Brother Jon, that’s who.

Meet BroJo ... proving that Mormons (and Sober folks) can be normal people too.

Meet BroJo … proving that “Mormons (and sober folks) can be normal people too.”

I met “BroJo” early last year after his post “Feel the Beat of the Rhythm of the Nineties” was Freshly Pressed. It’s no secret that I’m an 80s music fan (visit my guest post “A Defense of 80s Music” at El Guapo’s if you don’t believe me), but truthfully, I may like 90s music just as much. So I was happy-dancing around like Duckie singing Otis Redding when I discovered another 90’s music kindred! When I found out Jon was sober too–almost two years at that point–well, that made me break out in full Vogue. What? I know I’m not the only one that still loves that dance. Am I?

Fast forward eighteen months and here we are. We’re both still blogging, we’re both still music lovers, and we’re both still sober.

And today Jon celebrates three years of sobriety.

Congratulations on your three years, Jon. And thank you again for dedicating your anniversary post to me.

Seriously, who does that?

Oh yeah, Brother Jon does.

Stop by Jon’s post “Third Year’s a Charm” to say congratulations, and while you’re there, click around and get to know him a little bit (don’t forget his 90s post). You’d be hard pressed to find a nicer, more generous blogger out there.

And, Jon? Three years sobriety calls for a very special happy dance. No, not the Duckie. Not even the Vogue. Nope, three years calls for a very special 90s dance . . .

The Carlton.


Don’t forget to check out the latest Life in 6 Songs post. Find out how to join in with your own 6 songs or by sharing a few of your memories from the series (deadline is Monday at 10 am central). You may even win an Amazon gift code! Don’t be shy, we’d really love to hear from you.


Have you met BroJo yet? Which music do you prefer: 80s or 90s? Neither? ;) Do you have a special happy dance? A favorite song to dance to? 

I’m No Snake Charmer (Ode to the Wretched Snake)

Let me officially go on the record:

I do not like snakes.

Nope, nada, no way José. Nothing you say will change my mind.

Look, I love animals, you know this. I label myself an animal-lover on my “about” page … even before I label myself as an alcoholic. But then I get more specific:

I love all animals. Well, if they have legs. Fur helps too.

Last I checked, snakes have neither legs nor fur. Therefore, they are not included in my love-fest. But apparently, the snakes didn’t get the memo.


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I never want to look around and see a snake. Especially not at 10:30 at night when I’m letting the dog out before bed. But living in the hot dry country, every once and while it happens.

The first thing I do is run back inside (what? I’m no hero. At least not until I grab a weapon.) The second thing I do is look for a rattle. Next, I either grab my camera or grab my shotgun–in this case, I grabbed a camera first, because I didn’t really want to wake my sister-in-law.

(Oh, did I forget to mention that we had company staying the night? My brother-in-law and his wife–his ‘petrified-of-snakes’ wife–had just gone up to bed. I have a feeling they won’t be staying with us again any time soon.)

Without going into detail, the snake looked enough like a rattlesnake to me. So we ended up shooting it.

What kind of snake was it, you ask? A dead snake. (hardee har har.) Truth is, they all look poisonous to me. Brown snake? Must be a rattlesnake. Patterned? Copperhead! Huge? OMG it’s a python. Near a puddle? Water moccasin! Yellow stripes? It’s a coral snake! Black? Holy mother-of-pearl, it’s a black mamba!

No, sorry, not That Black Mamba. (image via)

No, sorry, not that Black Mamba. (image via movieplayer)

Given my love for flip-flops and for off-leash dogs, the survival rate for discovered snakes around here is pretty low. Does that make me a bad person? Depends on who you ask, I guess. I mean, haven’t snakes been getting mankind in trouble since the beginning of time? Sure they may serve a purpose in nature, but they can also kill curious dogs with a single bite.

So … it ended up a dead snake. Not the first time, and won’t be the last. This time got to me though. When I came back inside after disposing of the snake, my hands were shaking from fear and adrenaline. Maybe it was because the snake was right by the steps to the yard, and the dog had walked right by it. Maybe it was because I took pictures of the snake and really looked at it. Maybe it was even because we had house-guests upstairs. (Of all nights to have a snake. Geez, how embarrassing.) But for whatever reason, I was really edgy and antsy. I stood at the kitchen sink and thought to myself, now is the time I could really use a drink. It wasn’t a craving, more of an objective analysis of the situation: stressful event, shaking hands, shot nerves . . . Most folks would pour a stiff shot of whiskey right about now, just to take the edge off. But I can’t. Sometimes it sucks to be an alcoholic, it really does.

How poetic would it have been for a snake to be the temptation that sent me back to the bottle? Instead of an apple, an apple martini. But, thankfully, I hadn’t the desire nor the vodka.

Instead of having a drink, I emailed Jennie and said Holy crap! Blankety blank blank, look what was on my blankety blank blank porch! Those creepy blankety blank blanks . . . I hate their blankety blank blanks! And of course she promptly replied with her own commiserating blankety blank blanks. Isn’t that what best friends do? Commiserate and cuss with you? I tend to only swear for emphasis here on RoS, so I’m refraining, mostly, but let’s just say that snakes bring out the sailor in me.

Snakes bring out my inner-Michone (a character from The Walking Dead). Image via Wiki.

Snakes also bring out my inner-Michonne (from The Walking Dead). Image via Wiki.

The next day Jennie suggested I write something about the snake, an “Ode to the Hated Snake,” or something like that. So I played around and sent back a few stanzas of snake and shotgun material, mimicking the style of some other poems, and Jennie said she actually snorted. She then implored me to share them on the blog. Since Jennie doesn’t implore very often, when she does, I usually always cave in.

What follows are my very quick attempts at snake poetry. Quick as in “ten minutes of impulse typing on the iPhone while I watched television,” so don’t judge too harshly. The first is a light-hearted attempt (and includes a Bukowski-esque F-bomb), but the second turned into a slightly more serious piece on the nature of snakes and mankind’s fear of them.

Really though, why do so many of us fear snakes? We don’t fear lightning or birds or clowns with the same vigor. Is it something instilled in us from the beginning of time? Back to the fall of mankind? And is this fear more of an anger? A resentment? I don’t know. I’m not too religious, but I’m logical enough to know there’s something strange about nearly everyone being scared of snakes.

Our very own lovely MamaMick isn't scared of snakes! She's as badass as Uma and Michonne!

Our very own lovely Michelle (MamaMick Terry) isn’t scared of snakes! She’s as badass as Uma and Michonne! (Maybe even more!)

I try my best to emulate the awe and wonder one of my favorite poets, Mary Oliver, has for the world and all its inhabitants. She has expressed respect for snakes in many of her poems, including “The Black Snake,” “Ribbon Snake in the Sun,” “Carrying the Snake to the Garden,” and the below “May“:

What lay on the road was no mere handful of snake. It was the copperhead at last, golden under the street lamp. I hope to see everything in this world before I die. I knelt on the road and stared. Its head was wedge-shaped and fell back to the unexpected slimness of neck. The body itself was thick, tense, electric. Clearly this wasn¹t black snake looking down from the limbs of a tree, or green snake, or the garter, whizzing over the rocks. Where these had, oh, such shyness, this one had none. When I moved a little, it turned and clamped its eyes on mine; then it jerked toward me. I jumped back and watched as it flowed on across the road and down into the dark. My heart was pounding. I stood a while, listening to the small sounds of the woods and looking at the stars. After excitement we are so restful. When the thumb of fear lifts, we are so alive.

— Mary Oliver, “May”
New and Selected Poems, Volume 2
Beacon Press, Boston, 1992

Like Ms. Oliver, there’s a part of me–albeit a very small part–that marvels at snakes: their survival skills; their notorious images not jading their joie de vivre, their lust for life – to be so hated, yet so happily oblivious; being able to do so much without hands or legs; the ability to shed their skins–their gorgeous, sleek, shining skins–and to leave the past behind. Well, it’s amazing really. I can’t help but marvel and admire them.

But mostly?

Mostly, I hate the creepy little fuckers.


Ode to a Wretched Snake

with apologies to the poetic greats

Oh wretched snake
How do I hate thee
Let me count the ways

Shall I compare thee to a slimy worm
For thou art as creepy and crawly as any vile creature

Oh shotgun, oh shotgun
Wherefore art thou, Shotgun?
Tis a snake! And the shotgun is my friend!

And I have carnage and death to reap
And a box of shells to use before I sleep.



Snake Charmer

after Bukowski’s “Bluebird

there’s a snake charmer in my heart that wants to get out
but I’m too tough for her.
stay there, I say
do you want to ruin my Michonne image?
mess up my shot-gun plans?
screw up my garden shovel endorsement deals?

there’s a snake charmer in my heart
but I pour mothballs and ammo on her
and inhale gasoline fumes.
but she’s not dead yet.
she still plays her flute a little.
and in the mid of night
we watch Swamp People together
and admire the fear
these leg-less creatures
born of temptation
instill in man.
mighty man
who’s only sins were
desire for knowledge
and trusting
the wrong

it’s enough to make a man
but I refuse to weep.
I shoot instead.
no, I don’t
weep, do


Remember, friends, to heed Tom T. Hall’s warning . . . beware of those Sneaky Snakes. They’ll steal all your root beer! Here’s the song, performed by the very talented Buddy Miller:



Are you afraid of snakes? Why? Why not? What (else) are you afraid of? Did you see the movie “Snakes on a Plane”? Do you recognize any of the poetic greats I “borrowed” from?

What the script really said before Jackson changed it.

Had Shakespeare written the script…


Forgiveness, Church TV and Red Lights

I don’t normally watch church on television. Weekends find us usually watching whatever sports may be on.

We tend to watch more sports on tv  (image via)

We’ll even watch rugby. Those guys are tough! (image via)

Last weekend though as I was flipping around looking for soccer (futbal, if you prefer), I saw a local preacher talking and decided to watch for a minute. Like I said, I don’t normally watch church on tv, but this was a little different; the preacher on tv was female. And not only was she female, but she was an African-American female.

Big whoop, Christy, right? Where have you been? The 1950’s?

No, it’s not that. See, I live in a “small” town; it’s conservative, it’s stuffy, it’s the type of town kids can’t wait to leave. It’s not a young town–the majority of people who live here are old–and it’s definitely not progressive.

(I feel compelled to say that we only moved here to take care of my husband’s mother, who, yep, was old. It was the right thing to do at the time. Of course that took me away from my own mother who was not so old and who was dying of cancer. But that’s another topic for another day, maybe. Or maybe not, since there is nothing I can do about that now. And I really am trying to embrace this whole “Letting Go” thing I took on for my 40th birthday. I guess I felt compelled because I don’t want you to think I’m old or stuffy or conservative or stuck in a small town, though I may be two of those things now. But Let it Go already, Christy, move on . . . )

Okay, so anyway, I remember when the church announced it was hiring a female to come in to minister. “Oh my goodness! They’re doing what? Oh my, oh my, oh my!” You could hear the whispers all around town.

When news got out that the preacher was also black? That was just the cherry on top. Nobody really said too much about that, but you could feel it in their tone. “Did you hear about the new preacher they hired? Did you know she’s . . . fe-male?” With eyebrows raised and layers of emphasis on the “fe-“, as if you could lump everything that is non-white-male within the confines of raised eyebrows and two little letters.

But you know what? Everyone loves her. She’s young, vibrant, relevant, funny and straight-shooting. She’s even made me consider going to church because of how well she blends real-life lessons into religion. I feel like I could even overlook the whole God thing and instead consider it a self-help course.

The first time I saw her on tv was Christmas Eve. I decided to watch because I had heard the gossip and whispers when I went in town to “The Wal-Mart” and I was curious to hear what she had to say. (Okay, maybe I was curious how others were reacting to her.) Something happened as I watched though — I was glued to the tv. She was talking to my heart, and I couldn’t not listen.

or dog shows . . . (image via)

This little guy is glued to the tv too . . . (image via)

That night she was talking about “Letting Go.” Of anger, of resentment, of anything holding you back from living the life you want to live. But it’s not just letting go, she said, it’s embracing and doing the things you need to do (not the same as want to do) to get you to that life you want to live.

She shared a story of letting go of her own anger.

I had a lot of unresolved anger in my heart then, so I listened raptly as she talked about going to the shopping mall, joining the throngs of other last-minute shoppers, and circling (and circling and circling) the parking lot looking for a spot. When she finally found one, another car swooped in like a snake and stole it away from her. She shared how her heart filled with rage and her mouth filled with profanity and she wanted to get out and give THAT OTHER PERSON a piece of her mind.

Her anger grew and grew until she felt like a smoldering volcano. This anger made her think about all the other things that had made her angry, so not only was she upset at this other driver, she was now angry at her mom, her fifth grade teacher, her first husband, and the person who had 30 items in the “10 item or less lane” at “The Wal-Mart.”

Because anger loves to incite anger, her anger spoke to my anger. And there we were, two little angry volcanoes.

But she knew that she had to let this anger go. It wasn’t helping. Instead, it was making her miserable.

So she chilled out, did her shopping, and as she was leaving the mall, she saw a lady in the parking lot having car trouble. It was dark by then and she was late for an appointment. “I don’t have time for this tonight! I am late, late, late. I know someone else will help that woman,” she thought.

So she drove away. And at the red light leading out of the mall, she realized every other person was probably saying the same things to themselves. Even though she was late and even though she really didn’t want to, she turned around at the red light to go help.

She went on to talk about compassion and some of the hardships she had encountered in life, even some of the challenges she faced moving to this small town. Honestly, I don’t remember it all, but I remember how I felt. I remember thinking this lady gets it.

People will forget what you said
People will forget what you did
But people will never forget how you made them feel.
Dr. Maya Angelou

So the other day when I was looking for futbal and happened to see her on tv, I stopped flipping, and I watched.

This time she was talking about forgiveness. And again, it was like she was talking directly to me. See, I’ve been harboring a resentment and waiting for an apology from a friend for something that happened years ago. My friend offered to apologize, but she wanted to apologize on her terms. Screw your terms, I thought, I’m the one hurt, you should apologize just the way I asked. It made me angry (which in turn, opened up those anger flood gates, just like the preacher in the parking lot, and there I was again, a little angry volcano). Why can’t she just do what I want her to do?! Now she needs to apologize for this too!

Volcano via BBC

Have you ever been so angry you could spit fire?
The Indonesian volcano Anak Krakatau erupts at night (credit: Getty Images/Tom Pfeiffer/VolcanoDiscovery) via BBC Earth

But this preacher . . . she talked about forgiving others, get this, even if they don’t apologize. Not only that, but even if they’re not sorry. What?! Blasphemy! I don’t want to forgive, I want to be angry. I’m justified here. Yeah, so what? In the notorious words of Dr. Phil, “And how’s that workin’ for you?”

Then she held up a book and compared it to a little annoyance. She handed the book over to someone in the congregation, and said, “Hold this out at arm’s length. Don’t let go.”

Have you ever tried this? It starts out easy. It’s just a little book, it barely weighs anything. “Piece of cake, right?” she asked.

But after a while, that little book starts feeling like War and Peace. Soon your hand starts aching. And then your arm starts shaking. And then you start sweating, and pains start traveling to your back. Then your entire body starts trembling until you can’t stand it any more. You have to drop the book.

What starts out like a little tiny annoyance will build and build and poison every inch of your body . . . if you aren’t willing to let it go.

Like most, I’ve heard the quote, “Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” (It’s a biggie in recovery meetings.) But I don’t think the meaning really sunk in until I saw that poor little man holding out that book with his arm shaking, ego and stubborn-pride being the only things keeping it up. And for what? Why do we let ourselves suffer so much? The person we’re angry at isn’t suffering. They’re probably not even thinking about us!

You don’t forgive to let the other person off the hook. You forgive to let yourself off the hook. Drop the book already. Forgive, move on. Let. It. Go.

While forgiveness will always be a hot button for me, I can accept that some things are in the past. They can’t be changed. So I can either continue to let myself suffer as I hold up this book that is now the size of an entire Encyclopedia series, or I can drop the book and move on, for my own health and sanity.

Forgiveness. Acceptance. Letting go. Self-care. I can call it whatever I need to call it, I just need to do it. Maybe next time I’ll be smart enough to not pick up the book in the first place.

To close, let me tell you a quick story about me and my mom:

Mom and I were on vacation a couple of years before she got sick. We were relaxing in our hotel room flipping through the channels on tv. Guess what we land upon? Church. The preacher was screaming and jumping up and down, he was sweaty and red-faced, and we were absolutely mesmerized.

“Jesus is coming!” he shouted. “Are you ready?! What are you doing?! What are you doing right now? You’re at home, watching The TV! Jesus is coming but you’re gonna miss Him because you’re at home watching tv! When your friends ask you, “Hey did you see Jesus? He was just here.” you’re gonna have to say, “Nope, I was at home . . . watching The TV.”

It became one of those things Mom and I would laugh about, especially after she got sick.

I’d call her on the phone, “Hey Mom, whatcha doin’?”

“Not much, Christy, just watching tv.”

“Just watching tv?!  Jesus is coming back, and you’re going to miss Him, Mom, because you’re at home watching The TV!”

And then we would laugh and remember better days. Even now, typing this, I have to laugh. My god wouldn’t care if I was watching tv. My god could preempt any tv show he or she wanted in order to get a message to me.

And now I have to smile and shake my head, because I just realized maybe my god has been preempting shows getting messages to me:

  • Let go of anger.
  • Help others, even when you don’t want to.
  • Accept apologies, even those you don’t receive.
  • Drop the book.
  • If you’re flipping channels, don’t be afraid to watch a little church. Sometimes that’s how important messages get to you.

And, sometimes, you can change your life at a red light. (Jonny Lang as preacher? Now there’s a church I’d never miss.)

A chance to breathe
While sitting at a red light
You look around
reflecting on your life…

“Red Light” from Jonny Lang’s album Long Time Coming

How about you? Ever watch church on tv? How do you let go of anger? Still waiting for someone to apologize to you? Why/why not?

* A special thank you to Michelle (MamaMick) for inviting me to buzz around her newest personal writing blog The Hidden Hummingbird Diaries. I’ll be posting poetry and playing with new creative projects as my alter-ego Christina’s Words. Come say hi and check out my first two pieces “Words, Unread” and “The Secret: A Golden Shovel Poetry Challenge.”

For my 40th birthday, I’m gonna let it go …

Therefore, dark past,
I’m about to do it.
I’m about to forgive you

for everything.

-  from “A Settlement” by Mary Oliver

Does an individual “hoard” to retain memories, or to defer recalling them?”
Joyce Carol Oates

Original Landscape Art Tree Painting ... Letting Go. Amy Giacomelli. Via FineArtAmerica.

Original Landscape Art Tree Painting … Letting Go. Amy Giacomelli. Via FineArtAmerica.


I’ve been carrying a lot of shit for a lot of years.

Like a backpack on my back, each year the weight getting heavier and heavier. Some people hoard magazines or glass menageries. I hoard emotions. Grief, especially, and anger too if I’m being honest. I usually don’t think too much about it. Like most hoarders, I stick my items in a corner and then I forget about them. I use them occasionally for motivation. I use them as fuel and kindling. I use them to punish myself (and others). I use them self-servingly.

I’m done. I’m tired.

I’m not so naive to say that I will never grieve again. That I will never get angry again. That I will never remember a past insult or injury directed at me. That’s like a magazine hoarder saying they will never buy another People Magazine again. Instead what I will try to do is just bloody feel what I need to feel, then I’ll set the emotion down, and then I’ll move on.

I’m gonna let it go.

We spend the bulk of our lives gathering, accumulating, acquiring … things, memories, emotions. Just stuff really. There’s no bravery in hoarding though, in holding on. We hold on because we’re scared to let go.

Bravery is all in the letting go.

Letting go doesn’t always mean “forgiving your dark past” though. Sometimes it means you accept that something happened and that you can’t change it, even if you wanted. Accepting isn’t condoning, isn’t excusing. It’s simply saying, “I’m tired of holding on. It no longer matters. I’m going to set you down now, and I’m going to move on.”

On this milestone birthday, as I have 40 years behind me, and hopefully 40 more ahead, instead of giving myself the gift of more stuff, I give myself the gift of freedom.

I give myself permission to let go.


“It’s not the weight you carry
But how you carry it-
Books, bricks, grief-
It’s all in the way
You embrace it, balance it, carry it
When you cannot, and would not,
Put it down.”
So I went practicing.
Have you noticed?
~ “Heavy,” Mary Oliver, Thirst


So What

So I stayed in a toxic friendship for too long. So what. So I accepted insults and anger and emotional abuse because I thought I deserved it. So what. So I felt like a bad friend every time I tried to walk away and let myself get guilted into returning for more abuse. So what. So I hung on to every insult and every slight and every cruel text so that I could hurl them back like grenades. So what. So I plotted revenge, acts of my own cruelty. So what. So I felt justified in my hurt. So what. So I tried to take the high road and be the better person. So I failed. So what. So I break into a cold sweat and feel the initial waves of a panic attack, of fight or flight, creep in when I see a reminder of you. So what. So you win. So what. So you broke me, so I have trust issues, so I will never believe you again. So what. So you still don’t get it. So you still think everything is about you. So I can’t change a damn thing. So what. So you’ll figure out a way to make this my fault. So you’ll hate me and play the victim and tell all your friends how I broke your heart. So you’ll use me as an excuse to hate yourself. So what. So you’ll talk about me to your shrink. So what. So you’ll drink again. So what. So you have your mom to pick you back up. So what. So my mom is dead. So what. So I’m jealous of you and your mom. So you know it, and you use it, just like you use all my weaknesses. So what. So my mom is dead and nothing will bring her back. So my mom is dead. So my mom is dead. So my mom is dead. So what. So one day you will understand when your mom dies. So what. So when she does you’ll look to me as I looked to you. So I won’t be there, just like you weren’t there for me. So what. So somethings I’ll never forgive. So what. So fuck you. So what. So I’m moving on. . . . So what. . . . So I’ll just say fare thee well. . . . So I lied. So what.


Someone I loved once gave me
A box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand
That this, too, was a gift.
~ “The Uses of Sorrow,” Mary Oliver, Thirst


Sitting Across From You

Sitting across from you at the breakfast table
a broken man.
A ghost of the man I fell in love with.
Broken. Beaten down. Given up.
I did that.

Pushing the scrambled eggs around on my plate.
Headache pounding.
Sipping a Sprite.

“I don’t care anymore.
I’m done fighting you on this.
Done trying.”

(My stomach flip-flops as I try to swallow a piece of bacon.)

“I’m so sorry.”
I say, meaning the words this time.
More than usual.

Your eyes.
You look like you are going to cry.
“I know.”

The look my mom had during my last trip to visit her.
The last trip I would ever see my mom alive.
“Can you really not stand to see me this way? Are you that scared, Christy? Do I make you want to drink that badly?”
The hospice worker—Grace—saying that maybe it had to happen this way.
Maybe you had to see how bad, how deep she is; maybe it’s the only way you would know.

The last phone call.
“I just wanted you to know I’m not mad. I love you.”

Two days later,
“You need to come home,”
says my dad,
“please don’t drink on the plane.”

I tried to get there in time.
Accident. Grid-lock.
Thirty minutes stuck on freeway
Out of my control.
Now I understand road rage.
I’m going insane.
Hold on, Mom, hold on.
Finally pass the scene. Bad.
Metal on metal.
Someone has died.
You can’t take her too, you Bastard.
Don’t you dare.

I sped so fast. Daring the police to pull me over.
Never arrested drunk. (Yet.) Oh the irony if it happens sober.
I speed faster.
Trying to make up time.

Dad on the porch when I pull up.
Why the hell is he on the porch?
I know.

“Do I make you want to drink that badly, Christy?”

Is that why you left, Mom?
Is that why you couldn’t hold on fifteen more minutes?

I traveled all fucking day.
I wanted to see you one last time.
I wanted to hold your hand.
I wanted to be there when you left.
I wanted to be there when you needed me.
(I, I, I, I, I, I, I, fucking selfish, I.)

Why did you leave?
Did you not think I could handle it?
Is that why you died fifteen minutes before I made it home?
Is that why God caused the wreck? Took another life?
To prevent me from getting drunk?

I was mad.
So much anger.
You. God. Dad. Husband. Friend.
You all think you knew what was best for me.

Maybe you were right.

I wish you could see me today.
Can you?

I just wanted to say I’m not mad. I love you.




“You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.” 
~ Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon


How do you comment on something like this, huh? It’s okay. I’m okay. I’m just tired of holding on to old emotions. I have nothing against feelings; I love feelings. As a writer and poet, emotions serve me very well. But holding on to old emotions prevents me from fully feeling and embracing new emotions.

In a way, this is bringing my Grace post full-circle. I was broken and grieving and full of shame when I wrote Grace, but writing it allowed me to heal. It allowed me to get strong enough to face the even deeper pain, which was loss of grace … which was anger … which was guilt over feeling angry … which was allowing myself to be emotionally abused … because I thought that’s what I deserved.

But like “my mom” wrote to me on my 3 year sober anniversary: “You never lost your grace. You are grace.”

Full healing can only come when you’re ready to let go of the past. And today, I’m ready. I don’t forgive all of it. But I accept that it happened. I accept that I can’t change it. I accept that it’s over.

So I’m gonna let it go.

In fact, I’m truly letting go. As soon as I schedule this post, I’m going to unplug for a while and enjoy some vacation time. Maybe I’ll even go flying. My thanks to Jennie and Michelle, who have offered to water the plants around here and check the mail while I’m away. See you all soon. Have some cake for me for my birthday! ~ Christy

What’s the best present you’ve ever given yourself? Ever held on to anything too long? Have you ever been parasailing or hang gliding? Would you? What’s your favorite kind of cake?


I’ve been caught sideways out here on the crossroads
Trying to buy back the pieces I lost of my soul
It’s hard when the devil won’t get off your back
It’s like carrying around the past in a hundred pound sack
. . .
Today I’m gonna stand out in the rain
Let it wash it all away Yeah wash it all away
I’m gonna let it go”

“Let it Go” by Tim McGraw, Let it Go

Dear Christy, Happy 3 Years of Sobriety

Dear Christy,

Happy 3 years of sobriety! I know how you’re still unsure how to feel when someone says “congratulations” on your sobriety. But since you “celebrated / accomplished / white-knuckled / ate sugar pretty much non-stop / made it” three years without a drop of alcohol, I wanted to write and let you know how proud I am of you.

We’ve been friends a long time. In fact, I’ve known you longer than anyone. So can I just say a couple of things without you getting upset?

I’m so happy that you quit drinking. So so so SO happy.

I know it hasn’t always been easy. I know there are some days you wish you could have a few sips, just to take the edge off, to calm down a little. But I’m not sure drinking ever did calm you down though; you’re much calmer now that you don’t drink, have you noticed?

And you don’t get your feelings hurt so easily now either. I have always loved you, but girl, you were one hell of a sensitive drama-queen back then, even though I know you will vehemently deny that. You loved to stir the pot, to tap the monkey glass, to play the victim. It’s like you weren’t happy if you were not in the eye of a hurricane. Like you needed the distraction and drama around you so that you didn’t have to look at your own life. You don’t do that so much anymore, and I appreciate that. You are enough. You don’t need to hide in others’ drama.

I love that I feel like I can trust you more now. That’s a big deal to me, and I know it is to you too. See, I used to worry about you. When you went out to the store especially, because I never knew if you would come home with a bottle of wine or vodka hidden in your purse. And I never really knew who was talking — you or the alcohol — because you used to say some really hurtful things. And I never knew if you were telling the truth when you said that you were “fine.” You think I didn’t see the self-inflicted bruises? The bite marks? You were in so much pain, just looking for any way to make it stop. It made me so sad. I know, I know. I’m not saying any of this to hurt you, Christy. Rather I’m saying this because I see how far you’ve come from who and where you were.

Some things haven’t changed entirely; I know you still get anxious about stuff, like crowds and last-minute changes and cancer. I know you still feel guilty sometimes putting your sobriety first. I know you’re sad that you’ve had to let some people from your past go, but they kept you small, Christy. They kept you small because your growth scared them, so they tried to keep you in the past however they could. But you are learning to let go. Like poet David Whyte wrote:

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.

I know you miss your mom and your dog and your family terribly. I know you miss your home state; I know you’re lonely where you are. I know people say shitty things on-line sometimes about alcoholics or make careless jokes, and that others jump to conclusions about you–or even ignore you all together–without trying to get to know you, and that some are jealous of you and how good life seems to be for you. Sometimes it’s hard to face these things without wanting to drink. But seriously, Christy? I am so proud of you.

Like I said, I have always loved you. But for a while there, I’m not sure I really liked you. You weren’t very likable for a while, I know you know what I mean. But now? I like you. A lot. I admire you. I think you are awesome, and brave, and dedicated, and strong. I think you are perfect. I am so proud of you. And if you ever need to be reminded, just ask me. I will always remind you.

And, oh, that smile. How I missed your smile. You radiate when you smile, just like sunshine. You’ve been in the clouds for far too long, Christy, come out. You were born to shine.

Happy 3 Years.




Wish you were here, wish you could see this place Wish you were near, I wish I could touch your face The weather's nice, it's paradise It's summertime all year and there's some folks we know They say, "Hello", I miss you so, wish you were here ...

“Wish you were here, wish you could see this place
Wish you were near, I wish I could touch your face”
– “Wish You Were Here” by Mark Wills (video)


Dear Christy,

Did you get my letter? I wrote it to you yesterday on your 3 year sobriety anniversary. I had to sign it with your name, but I think you knew who it was really from.

You wonder so often if I can see you. If I am proud of you.

Child. Sweet child of mine. I never left you. I didn’t go anywhere. I am not gone.

Look in the mirror, Christy.

Look at your face, your hands, your hair, your teeth, your nose, your chicken pox scar, look inside and out. Don’t you see? You are me. I am in you. I gave life to you; my life is in you. Don’t you ever ever feel that I have left you. I am by your side always, forever and ever. You are my living legacy. You never lost your grace; your grace is not gone. You are grace. You are MY grace.

And I am so proud of you, every second of every day. I could never be anything but proud. You know that, you feel that. I know, because I am you.

Never doubt. Believe always.

I know you read Einstein and Emily, about the little dog? It was the last book I read. Read it again for me. Pay extra attention to the story.

Tomorrow you will wake up and read this.
You will wonder, “did I write this in the mid of night? Or did she?”
It will be your choice to believe or not to believe.
I am you. I already know your answer.

Remember, I love you and I am so proud of you. You are my perfect, sweet child. You are mine. I am with you always.



PS- Spot sends her love. What a sweet girl she is. She misses you so much, but has fun playing with us all. She says Jimi Hendrix smells like cinnamon gum. She says she loves you. She says she sends you chickens all the time like you asked; she asks if you believe? She says you will understand.

chicken believe spot

One of my daily chickens. This one from, of all places, a butter commercial. Truly, I can’t make this stuff up.


I believe in the spirit of Rock N Roll
In the eternal strength of the immortal soul
Cause sometimes everybody’s gotta let it go
I believe in the power of love

“I Believe” by Cowboy Mouth


 * A HUGE thank-you to Hippie Cahier for deeming May 6 as “Phenomenal Woman Day” and for including me, alongside her daughter, in her very Very touching post “Phenomenal Woman Day.”

* Thanks to Jennie for letting me play on her blog last week. Come check out my 300 word “Flash Fiction” piece, “We’s All Got Our Breaking Points, Child,” about a shotgun-toting, oatmeal-despising grandma. I think she has a few more stories to tell us, so let me know if you like her!

* More thanks to Jennie for the sweetest post and song dedication yesterday in honor of my 3 years. I love you, Coach Diddy!

* I’m not the only one with a May 6 sobriety date. Congrats to Laurie for 2 years of sobriety yesterday. And huge congrats to Paul who celebrated his 3 years of sobriety on Sunday, May 4, by running his first half-marathon (in the very badass time of 2:15, what?! I’m kicking you out of the turtle club! j/k)

* And it goes without saying … thank you to each and every one of you, my friends and readers, for supporting and encouraging me over the last year. It’s been a hell of a ride, that’s for sure. I’m grateful for my sobriety, I’m grateful for this network, and I’m grateful for you. Thank you. Here, have some Fritos. ;)

* So what are you all having for dinner tonight to celebrate my three years of sobriety (and Paul’s and Laurie’s anniversaries too)? How about TWIX and Reese’s Cups and Bacon Pizza and CAKE?! It’s okay to “stretch the truth” — What’s on the celebration menu? …  Who else is celebrating sobriety (of any length)? How long do you have? Or if you love someone who is sober/clean, how long does your loved one have?