Monthly Archives: June 2011

Anniversary City

It’s been Anniversay City these past few months!! I guess spring/summer is a great time to get clean and sober. It certainly was for me (July)!

I had the honor of attending a really fun anniversary dinner for one of the guys in my sober network last night. I usually follow the “women stick with the women, men stick with the men” suggestion in recovery, but E has been a good friend over the past few years and it’s always nice to see his smiling face at meetings. Congrats E on celebrating three years yesterday! We had some delicious italian food and great fellowship before the 10:30. I even found a speaker for my Monday night meeting – yay for planning ahead!

A big shout out also goes to A – my first NYC friend in recovery! She celebrates 13 years today – CONGRATS!! My first sponsor and share a mutual friend and we met my first week in NYC in 2007. She came with me to a meeting, we got something to eat and spent the rest of the night chatting recovery on her sofa. A has always been there for me. She went with me to the meeting when I decided to get clean for good after my relapse. I will never forget that summer and her kindness. Without her I may have never decided to get clean again. We are both so busy with life now that we only get together every couple months, but she is very special to me!  She’s also shared some pretty exciting news with me the other day and I wanted to dance around the office when she told me. So congrats on many levels my love!

My first sponsor, “Raquelita,” celebrated a million years on June 2nd! Haha, kidding of course! I think she’s got close to 15 by now? She got clean when she was 14 so, yeah, pretty flipping amazing. You can read about her here.

Love to E, A and R and many others so far this month!

When is your big day?

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Fake It Til You Make It

Alright, loyal readers and random passers-by, I apologize for being MIA with the regular morning posts…I’ve gone from have 3 projects at work to 12 in about 48 hours. I’m not really sure how that happened, but Clarissa does not enjoy late nights at the office. I miss my days of blog reading, commenting and writing, oh and you know sometimes doing my job at work. Oh March 2011 how I miss thee.

Seriously though, it feels really nice to be working hard and feeling needed and appreciated at my job. The big boss even came over today to say that I did an excellent job on my impromptu presentation in our group meeting this morning. Things like that always reassure me that I’m not a complete fake. I’m definitely a fake, but not completely. Fake it til you make it right?

The addict part of me says I’m still in the “faking it” zone, while my friends and family always tell me I’m in the “making it” zone. To be honest, I’m not sure when I’ll ever know the difference. My brain is structured in such a way that I believe that I’ll never be “good enough,” or worth anything. I didn’t go to an Ivy League college…not good enough. I haven’t nailed every job interview I’ve had…not good enough. I’m not married or engaged yet…not good enough. I’m not this, I’m not that. I know the truth though. Recovery has slowly given me the strength to chip away at these insecurities. Because that is all they are. Not reality, it’s just me being insecure.

It’s silly that I’m insecure over these material things. No one ever gave me a List of Things To Be and said: Be these or you will be a failure! I made all this stuff up…my sick and twisted brain made them up. I can’t even blame excessive expectations on my family, because there never were any! My parents just told me as long as I tried my best, that’s all they expected. I’m not sure they have ever not been proud of me. Even when I finally confessed to them that I was addict, they were proud that I was 60 days clean and in a 12 step program. SERIOUSLY?!? You’re not disappointed that I was a degenerate for years, completely self-centered and tried to kill myself on a daily basis? No, they weren’t disappointed. Partially because I think deep down inside will never accept that I am an addict and partially because they love me despite my flaws. I’m lucky to have them, despite their flaws.

Even if you don’t have parents like mine, you probably have a handful of people in your life that love you and support you and are proud of you no matter what you do.This is called unconditional love and there is nothing like it. If you’ve never felt it before – go to the appropriate 12-step meeting. Complete strangers will love you no matter what. I’m not joking, it’s amazing. And not out of pity, or selfish interests. People literally love you because they can. When you get clean and sober you have the capacity for love that you may have never had before. You understand what it means to do the most horrific things to yourself and to other people, so when newcomers tell you their deepest darkest secrets, you just nod and smile – because you’ve been there. Literally.

And after being alone in my own addict world for years…I had forgotten what unconditional love felt like. Knowing people love you and feeling it are two very separate things in my mind. I know my family loved me, but I felt so disconnected from who “me” was, I couldn’t feel the love that was being given to me. In active addiction, having friend and family who don’t know what you struggle with can be very similar to being completely alone. Most of all, I didn’t even love myself.

Over the past few years I have slowly learned to love others and ultimately love myself. I have a long way to go, but I believe stepwork will play a major role in knocking down some of my insecurities.

Faking it or making it?

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Adult Field Trip!

Leo and I planned to go to the Vueve Polo Tournament on Governor’s Island on Sunday afternoon but when we got down to the ferry the line of people was so long, we decided it wasn’t going to be worth the wait. Note for next year: show up earlier! We were all dressed up with no where to go. It was overcast, but warm and we wanted to stay outside. Leo decided we should go to the Statue of Liberty instead. So we bought tickets for the passage and got in line (this one was much shorter!). We got onto the ferry after going through security where Leo almost flipped out when the guy made him take off his watch…it was funny but I’m glad he didn’t make too much of a scene…

We had a nice ride and got closer and closer to Lady Liberty herself…

When we arrived I snapped some photos of our surroundings including our ferry!

Leo and I stopped in the cafe to get some water and french fries (don’t worry raw people, the fries were for Leo)

Then we walked around the grounds and sat near her pedestal on the shore for a few hours before returning to Manhattan. It was nice to be outside together after studying for the past five months!

What was the last field trip you took?

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Sober Blogger of the Month Award!

I did well on my exam on Saturday! I was just short of my goal score, so I will study for one more month and give it another shot in July. Luckily I think my score is good enough for the school I would like to go to. WOO! I have fun stories from my sober adventures over the weekend but the pictures are an important part, so I’ll wait til tomorrow when I remember my camera cord. My brain is a bit fried these days!!

In some new pretty fantastical news…I got an email on Saturday that I have been awarded Blogger of the Month award (June) by SoberSites! This is my first blogger award, so needless to say I am pretty excited. Last week I talked about how I measure my self worth. While this award is very much appreciated and totally unexpected, I would write for SATC regardless of the recognition! The biggest rewards I get for writing this sober blog are the comments and emails I get from readers. This blog started out as a vessel for my own thoughts and sober journey but I never imagined how much I could help others by sharing my life this way. Thanks everyone for being a part of SATC!

What other blog awards are out there?

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How Do You Measure Yourself?

Well folks, it’s the day before my big exam. I think I am relatively confident but still a bit nervous. I think healthy fear is good fear. This test will not determine the rest of my life, or even my chances of getting into graduate school. It won’t make me worth more or less as a person. Even through college I always felt like my self worth was wrapped up in the grades that I earned. If I got a B instead of an A I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t smart. It’s always been black or white for me.

Today, as an adult, I am still guilty of judging myself on a scale. My self worth can be so wrapped up in what company I work for, what schools I went to and  how much money I make. The problem is, I just don’t have the energy to be so worked up over these things that I don’t have 100% control over. And I know the truth. The truth is I am not worthless if I don’t make enough money or work for a company with no prestige. I am worth something because of WHO I am, not WHAT I do. And so are you.

Our identities can be so wrapped up in these labels, “I’m a lawyer, I’m a banker, I’m a waitress, I’m an actor, I’m a musician, I’m a writer.” No, that is not who you are. You may do those things to make money or you made do those things because they make you happy. YOU, my friend are a human being. Just like me.

My self worth is not dependent upon the clothes I wear or the purse I carry. It’s inside. When I was in active addiction I thought I had a bunch of self esteem and self worth. I measured myself by my athletic and academic achievements. All of that added up to one kickass person. I had friends, a boyfriend and a family who loved me. My professors respected me. It all added up on the outside. But on the inside I was dead. It took so much energy to maintain the grades, the athletic stamina, the lies I told my loved ones. I was crumbling on the inside and I used drugs and drank to either make things easier to handle or to escape the stress of it all.

And you know why I got clean? It wasn’t because I was done with the drugs and alcohol. It wasn’t because I wanted to be a different person. It was because everything was starting to crash down around me and I was not about to fail at my own life. When I used uppers to study I wouldn’t study at all. I went to practice wasted or hungover most of the time. I would go on a 4 day bender intending just to have 1 good night. I couldn’t keep up with the lies I was telling to everyone and to myself. I was trapped. And then right as I was approaching bottom, something greater than myself muttered something about wanting to get clean for good. And I listened.

Getting clean stripped me of all my illusions that I was worth something. It took away my magical power to get 10 things done at once. It revealed that in fact I had no friends, that all my family knew about me were lies. It revealed that I had to work a lot harder in life to achieve anything. Most of all, getting clean took away my weapon of self destruction. When I realized I wasn’t worth anything I had nothing to hurt myself with.Luckily there were some amazing people to love me until I could learn to love myself. My self worth started at zero and grew each day that I marked “clean” on my wall. My self worth was measured in keytags, in the meetings I went to, in the true friends I made.

Although I struggle to this day with my self esteem, my confidence and how much I am “worth.” I no longer put a huge stake in my bank account or my resume. I have real friends who really do love me and who have taught me how to love myself. I have a sponsor who is taking me through the steps and who believes that I can get better. I have a family who I can be honest with today. I have Leo, who laughs at my jokes and takes care of me when my head hurts so much I think it’s going to explode. But, even so my self worth isn’t measured by how many people care about me.

It’s measured in my actions on a simple level. Do I wake up every day with a goal and attempt to achieve it? Even if that goal is just taking a shower and brushing my teeth. If I say I will be on time to meet a friend, am I on time? Am I honest even when I could easily lie? Do I show up for my service positions in AA? Do I do my stepwork, call a newcomer, say a prayer? Doing these simple things on a daily basis helps me to learn more and more about who I am. I’m no longer a liar, a cheater, a thief. I may not be the most successful in my professional life, I may not be rich or famous. I may not be married or live in a penthouse apartment. But I am a better person than I was 4 years ago and hopefully better than yesterday.

No matter what the outcome of my exam tomorrow, I know more than I knew five months ago. I’ve learned a lot. The number on the screen won’t make me or break me, although I will surely be sad or happy for a while. And that is ok – to feel feelings, but my true character will hopefully shine through in how I re-action to whatever happens. If I do well – great. If I don’t – I will put my energy into trying again.

I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend! Head over to the Vueve Polo Tournament on Governor’s Island on Sunday afternoon if you want some free entertainment! I think Leo and I will be there for sure.

How do you measure your self worth?

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Long Weekend and Death Cab!

Sorry for the brief haitus here at SATC. I took a four day weekend to head up to the wonderful land that is New England to study for our big exams and enjoy some sunshine. Look! Flowers!

Ok, I know they aren’t super beautiful or anything, but I wasn’t taking many pictures inside our study cave. Leo and I had fun, despite spending 80% of the time reading books and taking practice exams. We managed a fun trip to Wal-Mart where we found out that Fruity Pebbles are Gluten Free. Amazing! Now if they were only sugarfree, preservative free, and not cooked maybe I could each them too.

We also took few trips to his parents country club golf course and made lots of homemades fresh fruit smoothies! Such a cheaper way to go than buying them at the carts here in NYC…but…I am lazy when I live here. That means Clarissa doesn’t make her own smoothies. Yet.

Getting back to work a day late was incredibly stressful for me, but luckily I made it out in time to see Death Cab for Cutie at Bowery Ballroom with Leo!! I bought our tickets months and months ago and have been counting down the days until the concert arrived! Last night we both left work and met at Bowery. Ticketmaster did not send out tickets for this event so that they could not be sold on the secondary market (i.e.  Stubhub, Craigslist, etc.). While I found this odd, I realized it was really nice to be at a concert with 100% true fans!

We got to the concert in time to catch the opening band: The Lonely Forest. They were really good! I downloaded a few of their tunes this morning before work and am currently jamming on my ipod.

Finally, around 10pm Death Cab came on!! My pictures are all blurry because the bouncer was insisting no flash…and he was really friggin big so I did not argue. Here’s a blurry one of Ben Gibbard and the rest of the band:

Leo and I were about half way back in the crowd on the first floor. Bowery is so small that we were SO close to the stage! The accoustics were amazing and we walked out without any residual hearing loss. Unfortunately we didn’t stay until the end of the concert because it was getting late and both of us have important exams on Saturday, but we will see them again on Leo’s birthday in August when they come to play in Brooklyn!

I had a ton of fun being sober at the concert last night. There was a wafting of marijuana when DCFC came on and apparently it was coming from a few guys standing nearby us. YUCK! Luckily I was enjoying the music so much I stopped noticing it. Ben Gibbard (the lead singer) is sober himself, so I felt very connected during the whole show! He’s not in AA, but hey – he knows how to have fun sober, so he’s a perfect example for SATC! It was a really nice break from stress and studying to just listen to amazing music and enjoy myself last night. It was definitely necessary!

What’s the last concert you went to?

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