Spiritual Malady

One of the biggest things I learned early on in my sobriety is that alcohol wasn’t my main problem.

Say what!?

Yeah, that was my first thought too.

You see, I have a 3 part disease. An allergy of the body, an obsession of the mind, and a spiritual malady.

ONE sip of alcohol and my brain becomes obsessed. It actually sends off signals to my body wanting more. All control is lost. This is when my choice is gone. If I tried to stay sober one day, that day consisted of me obsessing over every minute and every hour that i was without it, and contemplating every reason to drink. The obsession always won.

The spiritual malady was explained to me when I started to do some work on myself for the first time in my life. I had never heard such a thing. I had already admitted & accepted that I was an alcoholic and I understood why I shouldn’t drink anymore. But I didn’t believe I could ever be happy. Happiness was rare for me so I was a non believer, and I was about to roll my eyes and tell myself, I knew this was bullshit.

However I read the paragraph on p52 in the AA Big Book that sums up the symptoms of the infamous AA ‘spiritual malady’ said to be at the root of all alcoholism/addiction; the reason why we need to drink/drug/have sex with strangers/eat our weight in sugar/work ’til we drop just to cope with daily life;
‘We were having trouble with personal relationships, we couldn’t control our emotional natures, we were prey to misery and depression, we couldn’t make a living, we had a feeling of uselessness, we were full of fear, we were unhappy…’ it goes on.

I was all ears. Could this really be? Someone else felt the same? This isn’t just me? There is a name for how I have felt my entire life? At 30 years old I had absolutely no ability to cope with anything that caused me unhappiness, stress or anxiety. So of course! It makes sense! You mix a spiritual malady, an obsession of the mind and a physical allergy and no wonder I drank daily for 10 years. To make it worse, I am predisposed to alcoholism because of my family history. This is when my eyes opened and my ears started listening to learn and not just listening to justify going back to drinking.

I can honestly say that my spiritual malady can creep up like a creature in the night. If I’m not self aware, if I don’t pray to my higher power on a daily basis, if I stop expressing myself, helping others, and doing all the things that I have been taught, that malady will stick around. Eventually my old coping mechanism will come back and I will drink. I know this 100%. So today, when those bad days come, I use my tools; or my lifelines as I like to call them. I pray, call a friend, distract myself with a book or writing here, I work on my business, I try to help someone, I go to a meeting, or some times I simply spend time alone in a quiet room.

Allowing myself to feel sucks some days. I hate the sadness, anxiety & stress life brings sometimes. But I like it more than relapsing! This too shall pass- and it does!

1400 Days Sober!

I woke up today 1400 days sober, or 46 months. HOLY SHIT. I am 2 months away from 4 years! Its a MIRACLE. Some people say celebrating or sharing this is gloating, or not being humble. I say to each their own. I personally decided to start sharing my story 1400 days ago for a few reasons.

First of all I tried keeping it a secret for far too long. It weighed on me, and I couldn’t do it anymore. If I am open about being an alcoholic than in a way it holds me accountable. Even if I wanted to drink, I cant. My sons know that I can no longer drink, my family, my friends, my recovery family, EVERYONE knows! I have way too many people who I would disappoint.

Second, I personally think its Gods plan for me to share my story. To plant seeds and hope that one seed blooms like it had for myself. Growing up I was always writing poetry, short stories and dreaming of becoming a writer. I just had no idea what to write about. I had writers block for years and then I got sober, started journaling again here, and BOOM….the words have spilled out. Could this be what I am meant to write about? To help others? I really believe it from the bottom of my heart.

Third, I am proud of every day that I wake up and go to bed sober. Why shouldn’t i be proud? I live around 5 liquor stores and I could literally go drink at any time If i wanted to. Listen, I used to be so ashamed of myself. I thought i was a piece of shit, the worst mother in the world and completely and utterly worthless. I am now PROUD to be an alcoholic. I have found myself through recovery where otherwise I would still be a lost soul. I will not apologize for celebrating my victories!

Trust me when I say that I am a true alcoholic. I never thought I was until it started progressing. I started waking up in the morning with the shakes. Deep down I knew, but the guilt, shame and anger was too much so I drank more. I started drinking in the morning to ease the shakes. I tried only drinking coolers or beer. I tried sticking to weekends or holidays. I would buy one small bottle of wine and promise myself thats all i would drink. I started hiding bottles. I would go to events or restaurants already buzzed and act like I was only starting to drink, to look normal. I would fake being sick so I could stay home and drink. I started drinking vodka and bringing it in my purse. I COULD NOT STOP and I was going down FAST. That did not make me a bad person. That made me a very sick, broken and sad woman who was in her own way crying out for help. I was holding on to 30 yrs of secrets, abuse, depression, anxiety, heart breaks, loss, and stress that I had no idea how to handle.

So when I celebrate a milestone? You better believe that I am proud of myself!

My own Stigma

I spent 10 years with my own stigma held against myself. 10 years of believing that I was a horrible, rotten, miserable, worthless human being for being an alcoholic. I honestly thought that was correct. I also isolated from nearly everyone because I figured thats what they thought as well. My only real friend was the bottle.

I believed I was the only woman in the world that drank like a man. I was so special that I was the one woman in the world that was a real alcoholic. Everywhere I went, I would see other women smiling, put together nicely, laughing with their friends or significant others. Then there was me. Secretly miserable. Secretly wanting to hide and never come out. No one else understood. No one else would ever understand.

From what I have learned in the past few years is that all alcoholics believe NO ONE UNDERSTANDS. We are so self centered in our active disease that we actually think we are so special to have a disease that NO ONE ELSE IN THE WORLD UNDERSTANDS. Its pretty funny now that Im sober and I look back on it.

Truth is, I was so spiritually broken that nothing anyone said to me, or about me was worse than what I believed about myself. It was my fault that I was an alcoholic. It was my fault that I had been cheated on multiple times. It was my fault that I was depressed. It was my fault that I was a complete mess. IT WAS ALL MY FAULT.

Talk about a pity party! Being predisposed to alcoholism was not my fault. I didnt know there was a solution. Also, I cant control what others do to me, that part is not my fault. All i can do is control how i handle it. I had no idea how to handle anything or how to cope. Drinking was my solution.

I had to forgive myself. I realized that I was a very broken person who didnt know any better. I am and always will be an alcoholic. I need tools to help me get through life.

Now that I know the solution; dont drink, clean house, help others and keep connected to my higher power – I now have the ability to choose which life i want. A sober one, or an alcoholic one. One sip of alcohol and I will loose all ability of choice. So, alcoholism is a disease because once it hits my blood stream, my body and mind become addicted. Normal people do not have this problem. I CANNOT STOP IF I START. So, day by day I choose to stay sober.

For those who dont know the solution yet, all we can do is pray for them. And i hope my writing helps just one person. I hope it plants just one seed in someones mind. They cannot stop without help. I dont care what anyone says at all, someone who is under the influence and who is an alcoholic CANNOT STOP ON THEIR OWN and live a HAPPY life. They may be able to stop for moments, a day, a few years, but they arent HAPPY like they could be.

Dont judge us because we are judging ourselves.

Happy Mothers Day!

 

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In the first picture you see, it was Mothers Day 2014. Two months before I got sober. We went out for brunch with my parents so this was before noon and I had already been drinking. Most likely it was left over wine from the previous night. Nasty sour wine that was still in my glass. I was so sick! The last 6 months of my drinking career was the worst I had ever been. I had been going downhill fast. The only reason I look decent in this picture was because I was only a couple drinks in. I was drinking morning to night (or whenever I passed out). At brunch my mom asked me if had any drinks and I lied and told her I had some weed because of my anxiety (how stupid – my pores leaked booze she must have smelled me). This is how bad my alcohoism was. I couldnt even go celebrate mothers day with my mother and sons without taking a drink. I actually couldnt look at pictures from before July 2014 ( I sobered up July 24 2014) because of all my guilt. Even writing this, i feel some guilt creep back up again. What a horrible mother I was!? Thats what I really want to say, but the recovered part of me knows I was a good mom, but I was a very broken, sick mother who didnt know there was a way out. My sons were clean, fed, dressed, happy and healthy. But their mom was not 100% emotionally available. OMG THE GUILT DOES NOT GO AWAY. It has eased up over the years, but its still there. That is a work in progress.

Fast forward to yesterday, Mothers Day 2018. Not only are my boys noticeably taller, but I am nearly 4 years sober. The thought of drinking did not enter my mind yesterday. We had a BBQ at my fiances mothers house, with family and even my parents! I’m with my sons 26 days out of the month (they spend a couple weekends with their dad – sometimes more in summer) I now work at home full time as a Younique presenter www.mandysbeautybar.com , so Im the first one they see before school and after school. It brings me joy that I am a GREAT mother today who is spiritually fit, sober and happy. It brings me contentment that they will look back on these years and have smiles on their faces remembering that their mom changed her life and was always there for them. Lets face it, at the rate that I was going, I was headed towards being a part time mother IF THAT. I owe it to them, to my family, to my friends, TO MYSELF, to be happy and healthy. There is no way that I will find this kind of serenity in a bottle.

What a blessing it still is to enjoy moments like these, without a drop or puff of anything mind altering. I can laugh, cry, smile, dream, be myself, be PRESENT IN THE MOMENT and be 100% available for my sons in every way possible, WITHOUT A DRINK! I never ever thought it was possible. I had literally accepted that being an active alcoholic for the rest of my life was just the way it was supposed to be. Thankfully I now accept being an alcoholic, but I have surrendered and happily live sober!

Understanding Finally!

When I first arrived in AA, I was miserable to say the least. I felt depressed, ashamed, fearful yet I knew I had no other option or my family would take my sons from me. My drinking days were over.

I came into the rooms and everyone was smiling, shaking hands and even laughing! Surely all these people smoke marijuana or something! How on earth are people happy while being sober? IMPOSSIBLE i thought!

I ended up going to 100 meetings in 90 days. By my 3rd month i met a woman who knew the big book with her eyes closed. I was still miserable and what I had been learning in the rooms was starting to sink in. Do the work or go back out. So I asked her to help me.

When we first met up to start the steps, I warned her that if I happened to come off as a bitch to please dont take it personally, but I really didnt want to do them. As we sat in McDonalds while my twin sons played, we began reading.

“It relieved me somewhat to learn that in alcoholics the will is amazingly weakened when it comes to combating liquor, though it often remains strong in other respects” – Page 7 in BB, Bills Story.

When she read this to me it hit home. It reminded me that before my drinking became my life, i used to be a very strong minded, driven, smart woman. I excelled in school, in college, I got every job I had ever applied for and so on. What happened to that woman? Why couldnt i use my strong will to stop drinking or better yet, drink normal?

But as i listened it started to sink in. There is no way that an alcoholic can learn to drink normal. It doesnt mean that I am weak, a bad person or worthless. It means that I have been spiritually, mentally and physically sick. My will got me to this point so it sure as hell wont get me out!

My way was killing me slowly. I was facing losing my sons, my sister was no longer talking to me, and my mother was the last one who showed any faith in me. For the first time, I realized that I cannot battle this alone. I had always believed in God, and I had strong faith as a child, thanks to my Nana, but somewhere along the years i completely lost my connection to him. I sat there and prayed, this time not for money or for one more chance, but simply for him to help me. Please God, help me.

I felt serenity after that. Serenity – peace within the chaos. Life didnt become sunshine and rainbows after this day. But I finally felt a calm come over me like I could do this. Every single day thereafter I thanked God and accepted that I am an Alcoholic. I am nearly 4 years sober and I still do this. I need his help daily! So much that I just got “Serenity, Courage, Wisdom” tattooed on my arm!

As soon as I understood that I couldnt do this on my own, i accepted it and turned my will over to my higher power.

Your higher power doesnt have to be my God. It can be a tree! Anything! But you CANNOT do this on self will. Trust me, I tried.