Monthly Archives: May 2011

My Recovery Kitties

Happy Friday everyone!! I am itching to get out of the office early today. Leo and I are driving up to New England tonight to spend the the loooong weekend with his parents. I can’t wait! We’re going to my most favorite state ever…I guess it should remain anonymous but…Live Free or Die, friends. Unfortunately for us we will be studying all weekend since our big exams are ONE week from tomorrow. But he’ll get to play a few rounds of golf while we’re up there and I am hoping and praying we get to go to the beach for a few hours. We’re also taking Tuesday off from work so we don’t waste our Monday sitting in horrific traffic on our drive back to the city. I hope nobody else has the same idea…

Part of what happens when I go away is that I need someone to watch Crazy and The Dark One. For weeklong trips I have friends do a “stay-cation” in my apartment. I’ve had two of my besties in the program do it for me! And for a lot of weekends, an AA friend in my apartment building feeds them. But for holidays (like this one), I ask Kathy, my cat-sitter to come. My friends shouldn’t have to work on holidays! Look how lady-like The Dark One was last night?

She always crosses her legs when she sits like that. It’s hilarious. And adorable. 

Crazy only looks adorable when she’s a sleepypants. Otherwise she is fierce, loud and whiny.

I miss them whenever I leave though. It’s always nice to come home to love and affection even if it means The Dark One bites/nips at my arm when she wants to be petted. They are my recovery kitties. They’ve never seen me wasted or high. They’ve seen me cry. They’ve seen me laugh. They’ve seen me alone. They’ve enjoyed the company of Leo, their “Daddy.”

In their short lives (almost 4 years) they have been lived in 4 apartments and 2 houses, 2 states. They have slept on many beds and couchs. They love me unconditionally. They usually love me more when I have treats to give them, at least Crazy does. Crazy once faked an injury so that I would give her more treats. Once she ate them she had no trouble jumping and walking again. Leo and I have given them a bath once…that was a huge mistake. Never bathe a cat. It doesn’t end well.

I might end up an old cat lady some day, but for some reason I am ok with that. I love them and they love me. They helped me stay clean in those first few months of my sobriety. I knew I couldn’t just leave them at home alone for more than a few hours at a time in their young fragile state. They depended on me to be responsible. I couldn’t let them down. They have helped me get through a lot of really hard times in my recovery and I am eternally grateful.

Do you have pets?

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Kitties, Recovery, Studying, Uncategorized, Vacation

A New Meeting, A New Feeling

I was adventurous last night. I’ve been stuck in a rut of only going to 1-2 meetings a week lately and mainly I just stick to the Clubhouse or Maiden Voyage. It’s not great for me to go to that few meetings. I may have 3.8 years sober but I’ll never be cured. Going to a meeting is like taking medicine for my disease…you can’t just take it whenever you feel like it and expect to feel good all the time. It’s optimal to go daily, but when that is too much, go more days than you don’t go. ASL and I agreed that I should be going to 4 meetings a week. That seems like a lot to me, but I went to a meeting every day during my first year. Why should this year be any different?

So yesterday I decided I would go to a new meeting and found one on the Upper West Side that was only 2 stops away from my apartment on the subway and started at 8:15pm! Perfect. I would have enough time to get there after physical therapy and enough time to study before bed. To my surprise, it was a small meeting -maybe 10 people max? I like the intimate meetings – not many distractions. In addition, it was a Living Sober meeting which is when everyone takes turn reading paragraphs in one of the chapters in the book: Living Sober. Last night’s topic was the Seventh Step “We humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.” I’ve never read Living Sober, so it felt refreshing to hear something new.

I felt like a newcomer. I didn’t know anyone in the room and I’d never heard the literature before, but I felt totally comfortable being there. I even shared. I have never gotten close to the seventh step, even in NA. But I do know what it’s like to feel humbled. It was also nice to go to a meeting where I didn’t know anyone. Because then I get to sit peacefully and focus on my recovery rather than wondering what my friends are thinking or if we’re going to get coffee after the meeting or what movie we’re going to this weekend. I haven’t been “alone” with my recovery in a meeting in a long time. I didn’t know anything about the people who shared until they shared. I didn’t have any sort of outside information about what is going on in their lives like I do with my friends. It was nice, my brain got to rest.

Going to a meeting outside of a service position or social agenda is exactly what I needed. It’s always nice to go to meetings where I know everyone, but it becomes repetitive and I hear the same people share about the same things week in and week out. New meetings present me with new people, new ideas, new lives. I am glad that I went. And then I went home, called my sponsor, talked to my brother on the phone, watched 16 & Pregnant and went to bed. I feel good this morning. My headache from yesterday is gone. Sometimes we all just need something different.

What makes you feel rejuvenated?

2 Comments

Filed under Recovery, Service, Uncategorized

Time to Change Perspective

I have writer’s block today. Actually, I have life block. I simply don’t want to do anything. I definitely don’t even want to post…but I know it always makes me feel better when I do, so I will.

I have a headache, I have no appetite for salad, I am getting stressed about my upcoming exam, I only want to eat these raw macaroons:

My neck and shoulders and back are sore and stiff, I feel sleepy regardless of sleeping 10 hours last night, I didn’t go to a meeting last  night even though I told ASL that I would, I feel unaccomplished.

And even though I just complained A LOT, I’m OK. These macaroons are delicious and make me happy. I’ll probably have a salad for dinner. I will study tonight and still have about 10 days before my exam. I have physical therapy tonight to help with all the soreness/stiffness. I have two options for new meetings tonight on the UWS at 8:15pm or 8:30pm which will not interfere with bedtime. 

There is always a different way to look at the yuck in your life. There is always another perspective and a solution. Sometimes I still choose to live in the crap, but at least I know there is another way.

What crap can you turn into gold today?

1 Comment

Filed under Anxiety, Food, Headache, Recovery

Steps to Sobriety

Last night I met up with ASL or (My nickname for: my new Awesome Sponsor Lady) on the Upper East Side to read the Big Book. We met at this huge Starbucks. I’m not sure why ‘Bucks are bigger on the East Side, but hopefully without offending the West Side (the love of my life) I will say: I liked it.

Unfortunately all the seating was taken so we were forced to go outside. Luckily there was a nice area with benches across the street, so we sat outside for an hour and a half and read The Doctor’s Opinion and Chapter 1: Bill’s Story. It’s funny that I am reading these things for the first time…and to think of all those years of me whining and saying “I don’t like the AA literature, so I’ll stick with NA thank you very much” without even reading AA literature! Stubborn right? It turns out I just wasn’t ready to hear it. Today I am ready. Today when the text goes on and on about the effects of alcohol and getting “wet brain” etc, I can understand it. I can identify even though I never got the shakes from alcohol. I think my mind automatically replaces the words alcohol with drugs and alcoholism with addiction. Alcohol is a drug, by the way, so I’m being inclusive when I say drugs. To me, today, the words are synonymous and that is A-OK.

I even got my first First Step assignment! I am so grateful to meet with ASL every week now, it’s a nice routine I’m starting to get that hang of. And even though I feel like I have a million things on my plate right now in addition to all my healthcare appointments, it is good to have sponsor assignments everyday to remind me to put my recovery first.

In other random-SATC news…the new Death Cab for Cutie album is available for free streaming on NPR! I’ve already fallen in love with a number of the songs, it is more upbeat than their last album, Narrow Stairs, and I read in an article that it is likely due to the fact that since Narrow Stairs, the lead singer got married and got SOBER! Ben Gibbard said in a SPIN article, “Quitting had been such a positive change in my life. Nothing was going to make me want to go back to that. But I want to qualify that. I’m not, like, walking around with a chip in my pocket. I don’t have a sponsor. I don’t go to AA. It’s not like that.”

So, it looks like dear old Ben didn’t get sober in AA but I’m still psyched that he’s sober!

What step are you on today?

4 Comments

Filed under Fun, Recovery, Service

Mini Golf in NYC!

FunDay MonDay! I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend! I spent most of mine studying since my exam is 2 weeks away, but I did have time for some fun along the way.

Friday night, Caron, her hubby, our friend P and I went to see Thor in 3D. The graphics were good, Natalie Portman and some of the dialogue was amusing, but I have to say the story wasn’t really as developed as I would have expected. I wouldn’t want for it to come out on Netflix though, because you would miss out on a 3D viewing. The best part about the movie was the Girl vs Guy fight that broke out a couple rows behind us because of the “kicking of a chair.” It was pretty epic. Luckily they simmered down before I had to go find management to get them to SHUT UP! They were ruining the movie, but what they were yelling at each other was pretty hilarious.

Saturday night Leo and I went out to dinner and then we decided to walk around a bit since we were both pretty full. Leo had seen a mini golf place that was being set up on one of the piers down near Battery Park months ago, so we walked down there to see if it had opened yet. It was open, score! And it was only $5 per person to play 1 round, awesome! Next to the Mini Golf Course was a skate park and beach volleyball courts. We had a pretty nice view of NJ too…

The course was 18 holes, some were short, but overall it was good fun. I even got a hole-in-one. Leo was not amused, although he beat me by 11 points!

Check out this hole on the back nine – you had to hit the ball so that it passed over that teeny tiny bridge! Leo made it since he’s a golf stud. My ball ended up in the water. Luckily it was shallow so I was able to scoop it out.

Here’s a view of Battery Park. Prettyyyy.

Another shot of the course. It was pretty small compared to the ones you see down in Florida, but for NYC it was sufficient!

At least it had a fountain!

Sunday was spent studying and hanging out at Leo’s club. I can’t wait til all this studying is overrrrrrrr. Hope you all had fantastic weekends. Tonight I’m meeting with my sponsor for Big Book Reading Take 2. I feel like I’m really taking care of myself these days, it’s a lot of work though!

Do you like to play mini golf?

3 Comments

Filed under Exercise, Fun, Recovery, Studying

Today i-is Friday, Friday

Yesterday was Thursday, Thursday
Today i-is Friday, Friday (Partyin’)
We-we-we so excited
We so excited
We gonna have a ball today

Tomorrow is Saturday
And Sunday comes after…wards

Please tell me you have all seen the Rebecca Black “Friday” Youtube video. It’s pretty ridiculous, but helpful if you forget the order of the days of the week. For anyone who is still confused: TODAY IS FRIDAY!

Tonight Caron, her Husband!!! and I are going to see Thor. In 3D. WOOOO!!

They are leaving on their honeymoon tomorrow and even though I know it will be amazing, I am going to miss them like crazy! Bestfriend-withdrawal is not one of my favorite things. But since I have all of YOU, I think I will make it through. I have already decided we’re seeing The Hangover II when they return 🙂

My new sponsor, let’s call her “Awesome Sponsor Lady” or ASL for short, has suggested I get to 4 meetings a week for the time being. I’ve been hitting maybe 2 or 3, so it’s time to do some research on good meetings after 9pm or early mornings – any NYC suggestions welcome in the comments! I usually stick to my neighborhood, but I am open to traveling as long as it’s not way downtown or way uptown. I am also supposed to call one person with less time and one person with more time than me everyday, so newcomers: I’m coming to find you!

Staying sober one day at a time is easier than it was years ago…but dealing with the rest of life can be a difficult daily task. Stress, headaches, snuffy nose, eating 80% raw vegan, work, relationships, family drama, worrying about my future…it’s a lot. But I know that because I am sober I have a network of people to help me through all of it. Today I am grateful for my sober family, because they let me know one day at a time, that I don’t have to do everything on my own. I was alone when I used. I wasn’t a party girl in the end- I was a “stay-at-home” addict. I just hid in my room, used and drank. Sometimes I would drink in bed, in the dark until I fell asleep – the way some people drink warm milk. It was a sad existance filled with empty bottles and cans and baggies every morning. Today, I live differently. Today, I brush my teeth before I go to bed. And even on the worst days where everything seems to be going wrong, I know that I still have a chance at life. I still have a chance to become a better person, to be a better friend, to learn how not to live in fear. If I pick up a drink or a drug, I have no chance, no choice.

So today, FRIDAY, I choose life.

What do you choose today?

Leave a comment

Filed under Fun

Big Book Beginnings

Last night I went over to my NEW sponsor’s apartment to start working on steps! We also went over a bunch of guidelines and expectations for our sponsor-sponsee relationship. I will: call her every day, call one person with more sobertime and one person with less sobertime every day, email her 10 things I’m grateful for, meet regularly to read through the Big Book and do steps together, and read two spiritual passages from the Big Book each day. Sounds like a lot! But I know it will be good for me, since I have been pretty distant with my active “work” in the program beyond my service positions and fellowshipping with my friends in the program.

We read through the forwards of the Fourth Edition and ended right before the Doctor’s Opinion. It was nice to sit on the couch together and take turns reading pages – talking in between about what resonates with each of us. There is a part in the foreward from 1979 or something that says 50% of people who come to AA and really try get 100% sober and never look back. My sponsor told me she was told that today, the statistic is more like 15%. Pretty slim odds for folks like us right? But more than 15% actually get sober, just means that a lot relapse on their way to getting 100% sober eventually. I relapsed after 99 days and it took me some dabbling here and there to get 100% sober. I’m not even sure you would call my experience a relapse – maybe I should just say it took me 5 months after coming to the program to finally get sober? Who knows. Whatever you call it, I learned from that experience and it showed me that I definitely have the disease of addiction.

I feel silly having almost 4 years clean/sober and just reading the AA Big Book for the first time. I was working a different program with different literature before, so instead of being late to stepwork, I’m just starting something new. I want to clarify the reasons behind my transition over to AA. NA saved my life. I got clean and stayed clean when I was ready to go to any lengths in NA. I learned a lot from my three NA sponsors and from doing steps 1,2, and 3 multiple times. But something shifted in my recovery which is hard to explain. I felt a strong connection with a group of women in AA and my apprehensions about AA (focused on alcohol) started to slip away. I felt “a part of”, I felt loved, I felt cared for in my new circle of friends. I had NA friends in New York, but it was different than my NA friends from my college town. The relationships in NYC never felt as intimate to me, I felt left out sometimes, I felt different. I still got good recovery and was able to do service and help others, but in the end I didn’t see my life revolving around New York NA. Today my life revolves around my relationships in AA. Everyone has a home, sometimes it just takes work to find it. I know if I continued my journey in NA in New York I would stay clean, but I’m not sure if my heart would be in it as much as it was in college.

I want to be where the solution is. There is a solution in New York NA, you just have to look for it a bit harder sometimes. I wanted to be in a place where people are getting better, one day at a time. And maybe I just didn’t have the willingness to keep looking for it in the meetings I was attending. In the end, there is no right or wrong way to recover. It’s up to you. You have a choice. I know from the experience of others that I can work through my experience with drugs the same way in AA as I could in NA. I have the disease of addiction and that is all –encompassing.

If anything, having the experience of both fellowships will help me to help newcomers even more. It is very hard to find a newcomer in AA who never did drugs…and sometimes when I meet someone at an AA meeting and I hear bits of their story, I bring them to an NA meeting to see which resonates with them more. I would have never gone to an AA meeting at 21. If you told me I was an alcoholic I would have told you to go eff yourself. But something about being an addict…I just accepted that. Years later, I understand that the disease is the same, the principles of the program are the same, and the meetings are the same. I can say I’m an alcoholic and not cringe…to me it is the same as being an addict.

I am grateful that I have a strong, loving woman to take me through the AA steps.

Where has your journey taken you?

6 Comments

Filed under Recovery, Service

Detoxing is Icky

To be honest, recently I’ve felt like this:

Except I’m at work and don’t really have a bug. I think I’m suffering from a slight head cold but it’s probably more that the raw food detox has decided to rear its ugly side-effect-ridden head this week. I will spare you the details, but just know that I feel gross. The good news is, today is better than yesterday. And unlike Monday and Tuesday, I have no headache today. Score! This is also probably because my acupuncturist is a wizard and I saw her last night! I know in recovery all we have is today but I think when you’re sick its ok to look forward to tomorrow.

Speaking of detoxing…detoxing is usually a significant stage in early early recovery for many people. I know daily drinkers end up getting shakes, etc. And for drug addicts a whole host of things happen that are far too gross to discuss. If you’ve ever detoxed, you know what I’m sayin. I don’t really remember having to ever detox from alcohol, and I never got the shakes. Usually a horrific hangover or close-call drunk driving experience would stop me from drinking for at least a few weeks at a time. I didn’t ever drink enough consistently to have some sort of physical ailment without it.

For me, my biggest “detox” phase was actually 6 months before I actually started going to NA. That summer, I had been using that C-word for about 2 months straight, every day, every hour. And for some reason I decided it would be a good idea to quit using before my final language exam (I was in summer school) even though I’d been getting straight As all summer, despite my habit. So for about 2-3 days before my exam, I detoxed. I slept for most of it, would wake up starving, eat and then go back to sleep. After months of use, I started to get really paranoid and I started seeing bugs all over my room…beginning stages of “cocaine psychosis” I believe. So I detoxed, it was pretty bad. I don’t remember ever feeling so sick in my life. Of course I could still drink and do other things at that point, so it probably wasn’t the worst thing I could have experienced. Also, I was using again within 2-3 weeks, after getting an A on my exam.

That was probably the last time I remember using the same thing so consistently that it required me to detox. When I got clean the first time around in March 2007, my “bottom” was much more psychological than physical, although I took up smoking to curb my cravings and it took me a few weeks to stop using completely. The worst of my disease manifested itself psychologically and emotionally. I wanted to kill myself when I came into the program, and even around my 1 year anniversary I was plotting my own demise. Today I know that being sober is the difference between life and death for me. If I relapse, I won’t lose my apartment, my job, my family, my friends, my money, etc. I will die. It’s that simple for me. So I get to choose…if I choose life, I choose to be sober, to go to meetings, to have a sponsor, to work the program. My other choice is death. That may sound crazy to some people, but that’s my reality today.

I have my first sit-down with my new sponsor tonight! I am very excited about getting started and since I’ve never worked steps the AA-way I feel like a newcomer again. It will be humbling for me to go through steps 1, 2 and 3 for the 80th time, but this time it will be a whole new way of doing things. Even after years of recovery, you have work to do and I seem to have more work than others, but I am 100% OK with that. It’s a process. And I appreciate it.

What do you feel like today?

2 Comments

Filed under Food, healthy Living, Recovery

Service Keeps Me Sober

It’s a dreary Tuesday here in New York City, kids. I left my apartment prepared with my Hunter Boots and ‘Brella though, thank goodness. Despite the weather Tuesdays are beoming my favorite day of the week! Why? Because Acupuncture is on Tuesday nights! Hopefully it will help get rid of this raging headache I have.

On to the main topic of today: I have a new service position! I am the treasurer for the clubhouse meeting I chair at. I will not chair for the next year, but rather take on treasury duties. For those of you who don’t know, AA works like any other organization except no one is “in charge.” People take on service positions that reflect certain responsibilities to the group. At the clubhouse, we have a Secretary, Literature Chair, Overall Chair, Treasurer and every night of the week we have two co-chairs to run the meetings. So although the Overall Chair of the 10:30 clubhouse meeting runs the business meetings we have each week, she is not “the boss.” Her service position helps keep all of the group members on track to keep the meeting running and carry the message to the newcomers. It’s pretty cool actually that no one is in charge as addicts/alcoholics tend to rebell against authority….surprising, I know.

As the Treasurer I am responsible for collecting all the 7th Tradition money, paying the rent for the space we use, and paying for any group expenses (including flowers and cupcakes for our Anniversary meeting). It’s a perfect role for me since I work with money for a living. For the “normies” out there the 7th Tradition states that “we are to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.” That means that we pass a basket at a certain point in the meeting for people to put in a dollar or two to help pay for our expenses. We don’t want any money from anyone who is not in AA, so that we don’t end up straying from our primary purpose which is to help the alcoholic who still suffers. NA works the exact same way. I would imagine most 12 step programs do. We don’t accept government money, or corporite donations, or anything. We are fully self supporting. Which basically means that the service we offer to the newcomer is FREE!! Think about all that money you spend on therapy when you could get better in a 12 step program for FREE! When I was a newcomer, I just put in the basket whatever change I had and if I didn’t have any money, no one minded. I was always told “We need you more than we need your money.”

And the money we collect mainly goes to rent (it’s steep in this city!). We also buy literature as a group and offer it to the newcomer for free and old timers pay whatever it costs. For instance, I bought my very first AA Big Book last night for $8 at the clubhouse. That book was originally bought with the groups money and I am repaying them. It’s an easier way to get literature compared to going to a recovery bookstore or amazon.com! We also host an Annversary meeting on the last day of every month and we buy small cupcakes and flowers for the celebrants – usually about $30 or less each month. If we have left over money we donate it to NY Intergroup – which is the larger organization that helps to keep all the NYC meetings in tact.

Being of service to others is an important part of staying sober and helping others to stay sober. Most of us in active addiction/alcoholism were incredibly selfish people and we only cared about ourselves. To do service in AA or NA is to take the opposite action. Whether it be making coffee or supplying a meeting with cookies, chairing a meeting, accepting when a chairperson asks you to speak, answering a 12 step call or simply showing up and talking to a daycounter. We are here to serve others and in turn we  slowly grow into better people. Being of service also helps you to get out of your own head. When a newcomer calls me or asks me if I would get coffee with her, I always accept. Not only does it make me feel good to help someone else, it allows me an hour where I don’t have to think about the million things going on in my own life.

I have gotten many emails from people struggling with sobriety who have stumbled across my blog and thank me for being of service with my words. I never imagined when I started SATC that I would be able to help so many people so far away. It is such a blessing to be sober today and to give away what I have been given.

What service positions do you have today?

2 Comments

Filed under Fun, Recovery, Service, Uncategorized

Normal Weekend with a Hell’s Kitchen Fair!

Hey friends, how was everybody’s weekend? Mine was pretty great – nothing out of the ordinary, just normal. I am always grateful for normal weekends because it reminds me how much life is fun even if I’m not doing anything special like going to a concert or the ballet!

Friday night Caron and I saw Bridesmaids and it was awesome. Definitely one of the best comedies we’ve seen in a while, especially because I was & will be a bridesmaid myself this year. The whole theater was super rowdy, and you always know a movie is good when that happens, lots of critics in NYC. Plus Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 91%!

Saturday morning Leo and I headed up to his club up in the suburbs. I studied while he hit balls at the driving range and then we had lunch and headed over to try out the tennis courts. I brought out my racket from when I was 15 and since you have to wear white clothes only so I bought a child’s tennis skirt at the pro shop since they didn’t have any adult smalls! It fit just fine. Leo and I are both horrendous at tennis, which we discovered in the Bahamas last year. We must work hard to get some mad skills so we don’t embarrass ourselves in the future. Luckily we were the only ones playing this weekend.

Sunday Leo and I dedicated ourselves to studying at my apartment. Leo successfully distracted my felines, Crazy and The Dark One while I took another practice test (real exam is in 3 weeks!). Score is in the range that I would like, but not quite high enough yet. I need to work on my reading comprehension skills and apparently read the algebra questions more carefully. Sigh.

We did, however, take a break in the afternoon to seek out some lunch. There was a fair going on all the way down 9th avenue (as far as I could see), so we walked around a bit before Leo got frustrated with the crowds and wanted Pita Grill for lunch.

Not to mention it was dark, stormy and muggy outside. Also, we didn’t have cash for fun games like these:

The rest of the day we spent watching the end of The 2011 Players Championships on the Golf Channel. Congrats to KJ Choi! Also – I bought the Raw Ice Cream I spoke of last week from Whole Foods and it was so good and tasted like real ice cream! Raw Food Detox has never tasted so good

Tonight is Caron’s Five Year Anniversary Celebration  – I can’t wait!

How was your weekend?

4 Comments

Filed under Exercise, Food, Fun, Studying