Thursday, October 4, 2012

Things I Love Thursday - Part 54 - 11 YEARS SOBER

TODAY I AM 11 YEARS SOBER.



It's a big fucking deal.  As I said last year, in this post - Gratitude for 10 Years Sober - I do shout it out.  I do make a big to do out of this every year because even though we only have this one day sober, it adds up and to me, it's worth celebrating.  Way more so than my earth birthday, which came and went without much ado this year, thankfully.  THIS is the shit worth celebrating for me these days. 

When I was in my last of many many detox's and then psych wards years ago (they put me in the psych ward because I was having such severe hallucinations while coming off booze, I needed to be monitored for that shit), I walked into an art therapy session (yes, it was as awful and cliche as you see in tv and movies) and the hippy dippy trippy leader of the class, an older lady wearing danskos and a lovely jumper with birds on it, said, "I've been where you are now and I promise you it gets better". 

I looked at her with my weary and doubtful eyes that had no spark of hope and said, "how long have you been sober?" And she just said, "Since I woke up this morning."

I was in no mood for cute little sayings from AA people.  NO MOOD.  And she saw that and said, "11 years, but really, just for today.  That's all any of us have.  I woke up today and said I wouldn't drink and Higher Power willing, I won't."   Hmmmm, hippy dippy trippy sober for 11 years, wonder why she's on my heart today?

That stuck with me as have so many other little interactions through the years.  Both before I got sober, if I remember them, and afterwards.  October 4, 2011.  That is the date that everything changed in such a profound way that when I look back on it now I almost cannot believe that it was me.  But I own it all. I know it was me and I know this is me all these years later continuing to strive for more, for better, for true joy.  Each year has been different.  There have been many phases to my sobriety, some plateaus, some negative spells.  It's not all magically fixed because you get sober.  There is a lot of hard work to do.  And only I am responsible.  I can't blame anyone or anything else for the wreckage I caused.  And I'm still making amends.  And that's ok. 

The magnitude of gratitude I feel for being sober today is the most POWERFUL WEAPON in my arsenal against getting drunk.  Truly.  I see people who aren't grateful for who and what they have and they are miserable.  Why wouldn't they drink?  You have to replace the hole in your soul with something good.  With something enriching.  With something that KEEPS YOU GOING EVERY DAMN DAY whether you feel tip top or not.

I have shitty days, but my worst day sober is always better than my best day drunk.  ALWAYS.  See, that's one of those annoying little sayings that people in AA say and newcomers just want to PUNCH US IN THE G-D FACE.  I still want to punch me in the face when I hear myself saying all this cheesy shit sometimes.  But today I just smile, shake my head, and say, IT IS SO TRUE. 

My little mama sent me a text today saying, "I get you be with you on your anniversary 2 years in a row, honey!" And I know that means the world to her because they lived through it all with me and were integral in me getting sober, and then the first year.

What I know for sure is, every damn day, I made a gratitude list.  It is the MOST IMPORTANT THING I DO EVERY DAY.    I am having twins.  And that is supremely important, but if I am not sober and doing what I need to do to stay sober and happy, these babies are SCREWED.  And, I got sober for me first.  These babies and my husband come second.  That sounds harsh, but it's absolutely the truth.  I cannot stay sober for my babies.  I need to stay sober for MYSELF. 

Gratitude List for Today (not in order of importance necessarily, except for number 1, without which I HAVE NOTHING).
  1. SOBRIETY.  Just for today.  And ok, for 11 years of continuous, good and strong sobriety.  and of course, the program and people in AA and my Higher Power helping me along.
  2. Being alive and not dead.
  3. Furries who love us unconditionally.
  4. My wonderful husband.
  5. My miracle babies, Hall & Oates, growing so healthy in my belly. 
  6. Being completely healthy in body, mind and spirit (if I keep doing the hard work).
  7. A roof over my head and luxuries I never dreamed of that most in the world don't have.
  8. Healthy and delicious food to eat and clean water to drink.
  9. A great job that pays me money every day to do a job I mostly enjoy very much - WITH BENEFITS.
  10. Friends that are absolutely there for me and get me.
That's my basic list every single day.  And I build from there.  But with a list like that, who can complain about anything?  Not I said the fly. 

So, here's to another year sober, and more than that, another year happy, joyous and free.  Hopefully for all of us.  We strive for this.  We want this.  We can have this.  One day at a time. 



p.s. I've linked a couple posts here, as you can see.  It's like a treasure hunt of sobriety in these links.  I write about my experience, strength and hope A LOT.  In fact, it's all I write about.  I have said before that I believe I was given this second chance at life to reach out and to help other people who are struggling with this.  Or just struggling and need to know they are not alone and that, hey, whatever you've done or been through, chances are, I've been there, done that - if not worse. PLEASE click on the links to get more insight into where I've been and that I know what I'm talking about. 

38 comments:

  1. Happy happy Soberthday to you!!! I love and miss your face! Xoxo Chunk

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  2. Awesome and Amazing! Your blogs are always inspirational and full of heart! Congratulations on making it one day at a time for enough days to make it 11 years. You have accomplished so much! I just love you!

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  3. In a word...AWESOME! Wishing you 111 more anniversaries like this one.

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  4. Damn it! You made me cry! I love you so damn much. Thank you for being here with us. You have such an impact on everyone you cross paths with. <3 You have inspired me to sit down each morning and write down at least one thing that I am thankful for that day. Just one. It has made a huge difference in how I approach each day. Even when the baby was yacking on me at 2am on Monday morning, I was thinking to myself, "As yucky as this is, I know that she'll be alright in a few hours. Some parents have to watch their children suffer things much worse than the pukes for years." <--- Look at what you've done to me! Made me all positive and shit! I love the crap outta you for it! Congratulations on 11 years! The internet would be a sad place without your sunshine. Glad you're here with us!

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  5. I say it again: I am so proud of you. I am so happy you are here. You are an amazing inspiration & I love it when you consider yourself a beacon. Because you are. The light shining from you is amazing. I am truly grateful for you. Like so many others. You motivate with gratitude & I am so happy you have found it. You find it in everything & that is amazing. I obviously can't stop talking about how amazing you are. Happy Soberthday! I just love you. And keep doing what you do. (another thing I always seem to tell you...but because I truly mean it) Love & hugs & stuff & everything (like glitter & confetti cannons with fireworks in the air)!

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  6. Congratulations and Happy Birthday!

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  7. Congratulations! Thank you for helping me to remember I have plenty to be grateful for. :) Today is going to be a good day.

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  8. Each time you write something, I think you are more amazing. Stay strong, stay you..and I choose hope in my daily life even without the same "struggles". <3

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  9. Congrats on today... and on the last 11 years.

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  10. Every day is a gift, every day is a chance to do it better, and man....do you do it better! Love you. Congrats.

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  11. You kick ass!!! Celebrate today, and be proud of yourself. I thought about you this morning as soon as the coffee kicked in. So happy for you! 11 years sober. That's amazing! You are an inspiration to others. I think I'm going to try and make one of those gratitude lists. Thanks for the idea! Congrats!!!!!

    Panda

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  12. Thank you. I'm sitting here, crying, because you just gave me the exact method of how to say all that to my husband, who is going on 10 months sober and is struggling with a lot, especially the Higher Power thing, right now. He's got other issues, Bi-polar disorder and ocd, that slam into him every day along with the alcoholism. I am thankful for his mentors and sponsor at AA who have done so much to help him and to help me help him. I'm proud of him every day because he is sober just for that day, which leads to another day, and another and another. The path to healing isn't always smooth, but, if you remember you have to do it for yourself first, it gets easier. Congratulations on 11 years. I raise my coffee cup to you and wish you another 365 days, blessings, love, light and laughter in your life. ME

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  13. Thank you. I found myself crying as I finished reading your post, simply because I realized you have given me a new way to try to help better explain not only step 1 but step 4 to my husband who is nearing his 10th month of sobriety. He's got other issues he struggles with, bi-polar disorder and ocd, along with the alcoholism, so he struggles with untangling all the knots right now. I am thankful for his AA sponsor and mentors who help him and help me try to help him. I am very proud of his progress that he has made, simply because while he professes to be a strict agnostic, he has faith in the path he is following. Once, he asked me what he was supposed to do, since he didn't believe in a Higher Power and had no faith in it; I replied "I have enough faith for both of us. I believe God sent his only begotten son down to die for me, he loved me that much, and his son loved me so much he willingly went and died on that cross for me. Knowing that there is a higher power out there that loves me that much and will never forsake me, how can I not love you? If you can hold onto to the knowledge that I love you and will not forsake you in this, then let that be your faith and I'll have faith in God enough for us both to help you, too.". After that, it got easier for him to accept he had lots of healing to do and to let himself be helped. The path to sobriety and healing is not always smooth, but if you can remember that it is first and foremost doing it for yourself, then, it gets easier. Each day that my husband is sober is a new miracle for me, not because he didn't drink, but because he took one more step forward on the path to healing and away from that dark, dank hole he'd been shoved into. Congratulations to you for 11 years of sobriety. I raise my coffee cup to you and wish you another 365 days, love, light, laughter and blessings in your life. And thank you again for giving me a fresh perspective to be able to share with the hubby. ME

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  14. It's official. I love you. Congrats on one more day.

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  15. Happy happy Soberthday to you!!!

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  16. I think you are amazing and I'm so glad I found your blog. You are such an inspiration to me and so many others. Your heart and soul are beautiful. Congratulations on today, all your days past and all your days future. There is just so much i feel like you "GET" and I can't wait to hear about how you mother your kids. I'm sure all us moms will be learning patience and understanding and hope and light from you. Keep on keeping on...you are loved by many>

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  17. Katy -- I am 1-1/2 years clean and sober. That's 573 days and roughly 49,535,300 sober heartbeats. I start every day with "Thank you for yesterda and thank you for today," as I put on my slippers. My gratitude list usually starts with my slippers, because I noticed early on in my sobriety that they point *the right way* every morning now (toes out from the bed, meaning I *didn't* fall into bed face-first)! Most days that list just flows and flows. Other days it's harder to get started -- so I start it with #1) stickie-notes. Pretty easy going from there.
    *Congratulations* on 4018 days and 347,187,300 sober heartbeats (not sure how to figure in H&O's lil ones...)!!! And thank you for your inspiration!!

    -- Janine

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  18. I "met" you one year ago today - you made me cry then, and you made me cry today. But they are happy tears, full of love and joy and admiration for you. You have been an inspiration to me in so many ways, and you have given me so much insight into alcoholism - and I needed that to be able to at least partially understand the whys and hows of what my ex did. Maybe someday I'll be able to forgive him - and I know that before I found you, I wouldn't have even considered it. So thank you - for being you and for being open enough to share your story with us.

    I've said it before and I'll just keep on saying it - you are awesome. <3

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  19. Congratulations! My mother struggled with alcoholism her entire life and she never found what it is that you have. The world needs people like you to help others. You're an inspiration. You're a hero. I salute you.

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  20. This is one HELL of a Things I Like Thursday!! I applaud your ongoing courage and strength. Your babies are SO blessed and fortunate to have you as their Mama. Continue staying sober with your badass, spazz dancing self!! <3<3<3

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  21. i wish my mom had made it 11 years sober. after i moved out she relapsed because of her new husband (and i do blame him completely. he is the reason she got pregnant and hes the reason she got so depressed after my brother was born that she turned back to using and i had no way to help) i think about her every day and every time i see your post about how long you have been sober i get so sad because my mom would be at 15 years sober and alive if he had never been around

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  22. Congrats to you. I agree, the cliche's make you want to poke someone's eyes out at first - but they all, eventually, come true. 9 years and 11 days today. But, "Since I woke up this morning..." I still get that.

    What a testimony to your faith.

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  23. Congratulations, Shining Star!!! <3

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  24. I love the point you made about doing it for yourself first. If you do something for someone else you can end up being resentful towards them on your darker days. It doesn't mean as much when you do it for someone else. But making the choice to get sober for YOU that's huge! Because it says you care about the state you're in, you care about the live you have. You should never force someone to do something for you, they need to understand the change needs to be made for themselves.

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  25. thank you for being you. and of course for your writing too. your posts are like extra meetings to me and i always seem to get what i need even when i didn't know i needed anything at all

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  26. I'm a big fan of the 12th tradition. I'm just sayin.

    Also, congrats. You rock.

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  27. Congratulations! I wanted to thank you for your blog. I started reading it in May when I finally started my journey in sobriety. I appreciate your frankness and reality in your posts. I always enjoy reading your posts. Thank you for being a voice out there to lead the way, even when you don't know you are doing it :)

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  28. Did you hear? In the dictionary they're going to put a photo of you next to the definition of "awesome"!

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  29. You are so amazing and inspiring. I love you so, so much. <3

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  30. I can't believe I've been reading your blog and following your crazy, beautiful ass for over a year. You are such an inspiration, Katy. I am so beyond happy for you. Happy 11th soberthday, doll. Here's to many, many more! XoXoX

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  31. I'm smiling at you. Like one of those big goofy wise tired happy smiles. You're wonderful and I'm grateful to consider you a friend. And every time I see or hear the words or even the music of Hall and Oates I grin this goofy lopsided grin and think of you. Love you.

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  32. Thank you so much for sharing your life, and what a difference gratitude can make in one's life! Your words are compelling and inspirational. I stumbled upon your blog this morning... and have been reading blog after blog for hours. I am hooked. In the above blog, you mention October, 4, 2011 as the date that everything changed in a profound way for you.... I have to think that the date was supposed to say October 4, 2001, since you are celebrating 11 years sober. Yes?
    Thank you again and congratulations on your staying sober, one day at a time, and on the birth of your beautiful children.

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  33. stealing your photo. Just hit 11 years today. FEELS GREEEEEEAT!!!!!

    -Oregon Steve

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