Give Us the Dirt (3)

(If you haven’t read the first part of this series, please go back to the beginning so everything makes more sense. Link here: Give Us the Dirt! & Give Us the Dirt! (2))

I wish there was a way I could skip over my entire teenage years and go straight to college and provocative living, but that started way sooner than college. When I was in high school, I had developed all kinds of bad habits already. I smoked cigarettes regularly on the weekends, even though I participated in every sport and was a good athlete to know smoking was bad for me. I drank every weekend without fail, even if it was only a beer or two I’d sneak from my dad’s Coors Light collection in the fridge. I lied about where I was going with friends on the weekend if I knew my destination was a place my parents wouldn’t approve of. I became sexually active with multiple partners and it almost became a goal to sleep with someone new regularly. I’m sure some of this behavior was typical for teenagers, but I also threw in another deadly habit as well…I drank and drove on a continual basis.

Growing up in the small town where I did, there was a hobby of sorts we called “backroading”. We would cram as many friends as we could into one vehicle, find someone of age to get us the booze, and then proceed to drive around town on all of the backroads we could find. Most of the time we were going well under the speed limit, doing 10 mph in a 30 mph zone. But occasionally my friends and I would wind up in the car with an idiot who had already drank too much and wanted to go fast! I must say that I’m lucky to be alive considering how stupid we all were. I do have friends I went to school with who weren’t so lucky. May they rest in peace.

This habit of drinking and driving set up the expectation in our young minds that we were invincible and even out of reach from the cops because most of the time no one was ever pulled over. I’m not sure if the cops knew what we were up to on those backroads and they just turned the other way, or if they genuinely had no clue we were all getting lost on country roads in the middle of nowhere blaring Kenny Chesney with the windows down going 10 mph.

There were several times when we went backroading that are memorable and no doubt have funny stories to be shared at a different time and a different place, but one story in particular rises above them all…and it’s definitely not so funny.

(To be continued…)

Back to Life, Back to Reality

Hello friends! I’m so happy to be back with you today after a week of travelling. I was in another country for a dear friend of mine’s wedding. While we were gone, my husband and I had time to reflect upon many things in our lives.

One of the more notable mentions is the fact that we weren’t 100% ready for a wedding/party type atmosphere. We were in a country in South America where the liquor and beer flows freely during any kind of celebration. My friend’s family in particular likes indulging in drinks just as much as any American family.

We didn’t even think (or I guess I should say I didn’t think) about the rehearsal dinner and the reception being that much of an issue. But then they brought out the serving trays of beer and shots that kept rounding our noses every few minutes. (I mean, the waitresses were really doing their jobs in making totally sure we really didn’t want any.)

We tried to find the just the right amount of time between staying at the party and not being rude by leaving too early. Finally, we had all of the water our bladders could handle and enough temptation to feel like we’re playing with fire.

We left the party early as well as the wedding reception because we had served our purpose. We were there to celebrate our friend’s wedding, meet the people important to her, and enjoy the party. We were not meant to linger around tempting fate to see how long we could really stay before one of us accidentally drank the champagne sitting right next to our water glass.

We made it! We did it! We grow stronger every time we venture out to another uncomfortable social atmosphere and I’m proud of us. My husband even salsa danced with me…SOBER! I feel more in love with him at that very moment!

 

Give Us the Dirt! (2)

(If you haven’t read the first part of this series, please go back to the beginning so everything makes more sense. Link here: Give Us the Dirt!)

Upon entering adolescence (as I’m sure many of you can relate), I tried to find the best way to fit in with the right group of people. Since I already had the ideology of the multiple beer-guzzling action demonstrated in front of me, I thought that the entire point of consuming alcohol was to drink it very fast and as many as you can. As you can imagine, this was a terrible idea for any 12 year old. (Yes, I did say 12 year old. I was mischievous and curious from a young age.)

I wouldn’t say I was getting drunk all of the time with my new found enjoyment of alcohol, but I definitely remember early signs of lying and inappropriate behavior. I remember taking my mom’s wine coolers. It was so easy to sneak them because a 6-pack would sit in our fridge well over a month at a time and my parents would completely forget they were there. Like I said before, mom was “allergic.”

My brothers and I also noticed these other bottles that would appear in our house from time to time, usually after a family gathering, and they would be stored in this special cabinet that was under lock and key. What was so special about these bottles?  And why did they need a key? The forbidden drinks became even more intriguing to me so I decided one time when my parents left for the day that we were going to investigate these special bottles.

I remember finding one bottle in particular that was in a purple box with a purple lush bag wrapped around the bottle that had a gold crown on top. Must be fancy to have it’s own bag, I would think to myself. I bet it tastes like rainbows to have such a fancy outfit. It did not. Straight whiskey never has had a big appeal to me unless I was trying to look like a bad-ass in front of friends in college, but that’s a different part of the story.

The introduction to the “hard stuff” was a pivotal point in my drinking career. It meant that there was more out there than the over-sugared wine coolers and beer that tasted like someone burped in my mouth. I had the taste of something new that made me feel powerful, rebellious, and most of all light headed and tipsy, which is the basis for all of my drinking to come.

When I was young, I started to gain a tolerance for drinking. Not so much as to say I was able to put down many drinks without the side effects of being tipsy. Rather, I built a tolerance for what was acceptable and unacceptable behavior when drinking. Let’s just say there was more acceptable actions than unacceptable. I had totally lowered my standards at this point.

(To Be Continued…)

Give Us the Dirt!

Maybe you’ve been coming here month in and month out to see if there’s any “good stuff” being distributed here on this blog. “It’s called Healing for the Alcohol ashamed, but I mostly see her telling us motivational insights all of the time,” may be a thought that has crossed your mind. Or simply, “Where is the real stuff? I want to know that someone else’s life isn’t perfect just like my own!” (At least that is something I constantly think when reading other’s blogs.)

You want the dirt? You want the truth? I’ll tell you the story, but this may take a while.

Growing up, I used to watch my father drink beer every night after he got off of work out in the heat. Being a larger man, I would watch him put down anywhere between 6-12 beers every night without losing all of his mental capacities. I never really saw my dad drunk growing up. Maybe once or twice, but it wasn’t many. When he was incapacitated, it was at a celebration like a party or a wedding.

My mother, on the other hand, still swears up and down she’s allergic to alcohol. It gives her the worst headache the next day, she doesn’t like the feeling of being “tipsy”, and she definitely doesn’t like getting to the point of being drunk. (Unfortunately, I did not receive this gene from her nor did my two brothers.)

With that being said, I watched my parents as we were growing up as I assume my own children are doing to my husband and myself. I noticed when dad would come in from a hot day and suck down several beers in a row without even thinking twice about it. Naturally, I thought I could do the same when I got to my preteen and teen age years. “Dad does it this way, so that’s how you’re supposed to drink beer.”

The biggest difference between my dad and myself was the fact that he was easily 100-150 pounds heavier than I was. When I entered adolescence, I truly thought this is how everyone was supposed to drink when they were given the opportunity.

Moving on to adolescence…

(To Be Continued…)

 

Waves of Insecurity

One of the best things about being human is that most of experience the same exact emotions throughout the day, it’s just a matter of how we respond to those emotions.

Do we automatically retreat when we start feeling inadequate? Do we fight through the exhaustion and feeling of wanting to give up? Do we combat the urge to spew word vomit on the people who are really irritating us?

Personally, I go through waves of self-doubt and insecurity. I believe this is a perfectly natural response to trying something new or being in an unfamiliar situation, but once I started voicing these feelings to a few close friends I realized I wasn’t the only one.

When we keep these feelings bottled up inside, we suffer alone in silence. If we could find someone reliable to share these insecurities with, we begin to find that we aren’t alone after-all. Most people feel this way, and often. It’s simply that we are too afraid to talk about these feelings of inadequacy.

I started feeling overwhelmed yesterday (with a very ridiculous “problem”), but instead of wasting my day in worry and angst about not knowing the answer I simply called one of my “people” and told her all about my feelings. She was empathetic telling me it was completely understandable to feel overwhelmed. She also said something that helped to activate some portion of my brain triggering a solution to my problem.

Yes, I probably would have came to this same conclusion on my own, but it was so much faster and easier (and might I add less frustrating) to let someone help me through these feelings.

Please find someone to share these feelings with today. It doesn’t have to be a large group where you formally sit down to have coffee with on a regular basis. I’m talking about 1-2 people whom you can feel free to share your inner demons with that will no judge how you’re feeling but will simply listen and bounce around ideas.

You’ll be surprised how quickly this small change can have a HUGE impact on your life!

Slowly Letting Go

Have you ever lost someone? A friend? A relative? A grandparent? Did you have trouble letting go? If so, you’re definitely not alone. It’s easy to sit around and talk about how amazing a person was in their lifetime, but finding a way to move on when they are no longer here with us is hard.

We are having to say goodbye to someone we love dearly and finding the right words to say to her or anyone else at this moment is very difficult. Even when you’re prepared for these situations to eventually unfold, you still may not know how will you react to the actual situation happening.

Maybe you find yourself stopping and contemplating life more. Maybe you find yourself reminiscing your favorite memories with that person. There is no one specific way to celebrate someone’s life or to grieve the loss of a loved one.

However, the number one thing I know that doesn’t help anyone is to drown your sorrows in booze. Trust me on this one. Circa 2007 when I lost my granddad I decided to drown my feelings in wine, beer, and some very stout liquor that led to decisions embarrassing both me and my family.  Nothing good came from dealing with my emotions this way and I regret not properly grieving his passing sober.

Life is hard, I will never claim that it’s easy. But life is possible to deal with when you surround yourself with support, love, and people you can lean on in the hard times.

 

Celebrating Another Holiday

Sometimes the holidays can be hard. Especially when you know you’re going to be surrounded by people getting belligerently drunk and all you want to do is say “Hi!”, grab some of the banana pudding to-go, and get the hell out of there as fast as humanly possible.

But, as hard as it may be tolerate other people’s choices and behaviors, I believe it’s also good to get out of our comfort zones every once in a while. If you aren’t challenged to be around people who are drinking in a casual social setting, then how will you ever be able to celebrate with the ones you love?

If you think about, almost all major celebrations have some sort of casual drinking involved. (At least in my family there always has been! Hmmm…piece of the puzzle? I digress.) Wedding receptions, graduation parties, birthday celebrations, bachelorette parties, Memorial Day pool parties, 4th of July cookouts, Labor Day lake parties, and then there’s always the actual traditional holidays of the year where people tend to “have an excuse” to drink.

I’m not trying to say that people who drink are monsters and should be told that they’re making poor life choices at every BBQ this summer, but I do believe everyone who is in recovery needs to find their own way to be with the people they care about regardless if there is drinking involved or not.

When my husband first started the road to recovery and we were faced with uncomfortable social situations where we knew people would be drinking, he told me he would repeat the question, “What is my purpose here?” over and over again to remind him that he wasn’t there to drink. He was there to celebrate whatever the occasion. He was there to high-five someone on another trip around the sun. He was there to hug the neck of the relatives he only gets to see once or twice a year. He was there to congratulate someone on another milestone achieved.

What is your purpose this weekend? Are you meeting people for a pool party? Are you hanging out with friends and relatives chatting over the BBQ and catching up? Whatever your purpose is this weekend, remind yourself of why you are there.