Friday, January 20, 2017

Letter to the Men I Love

To my sons; my reasons for everything. I want to tell you something. I want you to get what I'm about to do and I want you to understand why I am doing it. I want you to understand that what I am doing tomorrow is out of LOVE, and I want for that love to be felt by any and all who desire it. A Women's March is not just a march for women. Babies, I march for ALL of you even though you are not women. I march for you because I think that the Patriarchy hurts and diminishes you just as harmfully and gravely as it does to women. It is a man-made construct that labels and divides us, and it is only powerful if we continue to let it be. The three of you are MORE than the mask you will feel pressured to wear. You are already absolute fucking heroes and the bravest of the brave because of what you FEEL, not how tough you are or how manly or strong. Feelings are not for girls only, and they have every bit as much power, actually, WAY more, than any gun or weapon ever created. And tomorrow I march for you.

 I know that you guys understand and get that girls are no weaker, or less, than you three are, as human beings. Sadly, not everyone does believe or understand that. Historically, in fact, for pretty much forever, girls and women have been treated badly by the Patriarchy all around the world and here in America. Marching to express my love for my fellow women, and desire that she be respected, and treated equally, by society, does not negate or lessen the love I have for the men in my life, like you three. Mommy needs to go with lots and lots of other women tomorrow to let the powers-that-be know, we are not going to let anyone treat us badly anymore. We are rejecting the narrative that we are objects, commodities, products. We are the ones who create and nurture life, and tomorrow, we go and ask that those we love and who love us, support and show their love for us. We ask that our men stand with us, in body and in spirit. And for me the most important men I need to do that is you three. As you grow and meet more girls and women, I want you to be prepared to stand up for, and be beside, your friends. And I want to show you exactly what that looks like. The first step is to SHOW UP.

To Klondike, my best friend, protector, and lover. Thank you for supporting me as I claim my power, for taking the helm while I go forth and try to change the world for our sons. Thank you for being secure in yourself and our love to show our sons that both men AND women benefit when equality is realized. Thank you for not even letting me question ONCE if you could handle this part of me.

To my Dad, thank you for being the kind of man who led by example my whole life. Never once in my life did I ever think you'd wanted a son rather than the awesome girls you got. Never once did you make me think I couldn't do something because I was a girl.  Thank you for always respecting my choices, even the ones you totally disagreed with. And thank you for letting your daughters change YOU.

To the rest of the men in my life, be it grade school companions, intellectual competitors, teammates, cousins, uncles, coaches, antagonists, or guardians, co-workers, bosses, exes, strangers in bars, or on the street, teachers who believed in me or didn't.....whatever you were to me that made me who I am today, be it through your love, or harassment, your support, or oppression, your camaraderie, or aggression; that you held me up, or back, or down: excuse me while I join hundreds of thousands of my sisters to strike the match, and burn this mother-fucking Patriarchy to the ground.

Sunday, February 15, 2015


I had a bad day yesterday. There was nothing telling from the moment I woke up that things were off; it took about an hour after I woke up that I realized I had gotten away from myself. Depression, anxiety, whatever it is that I'm diagnosed with is really sort of besides the point, because on any given day, like yesterday and so far today, I don't feel depressed or anxious, I feel like fucking breaking shit and burning this house down. I feel like I'm being held hostage by my own head.

What actually destroys me and breaks my heart is that I have three little boys and a husband who still need me. I hear myself saying these horrible, fatalistic things, so full of venom and anger. Things I do not mean and could never ever truly feel but I'm so worn down and tired and just wanting to curl into a ball like a hedgehog and roll off the nearest cliff. I want an out, just for a day, to not be the one who's needed and counted on for so much...quite so much.

I know I just need to get through this long weekend and then call my doctor on Tuesday. I'm not feeling like I need to be committed or anything (although I won't lie, 3 or 4 days of letting someone else take care of everything sounds like a vacation) but man, feeling this way just really fucking sucks. I feel like I've been hijacked. I seriously feel as if my brain has taken over and it feels so angry, so close to the edge, completely unable differentiate between disaster and daily life.

I switch from that to just wanting to sleep all day.

So that's where I'm at today. Getting by minute by minute. Going through the motions because I'll be even more pissed off if I have to play catch up on chores if I take a day off. But really wanting, above everything else, to just be able to sleep for a week and wake up and have everything done.

Friday, February 6, 2015

All the emotions, all the time.

So, boy...the emotions that have come barreling out of me since I started this alcohol-free stage of life have been, um....strong. Overpowering, unexpected, and frankly, at some times, embarrassing!

I hear a song and boom! Tears a flowin'.

Video on Facebook showing Moms picking their kids up after every fall and then their kid is an Olympic athlete? BOOM, tears.

Take laundry out of the dryer and realize some is still damp? TEARS.

Yell at my son for breaking a glass picture frame? Tears. Freaking-A man, I am a horrible Mom. 

I guess this is all a part of the natural course of events when you remove a numbing crutch from your life. Even though I didn't drink during the day (unless it was Sunday and I had my morning Bloody Mary's) I still new my reward was waiting if I got through the day.

So throughout the day, I really was on auto-pilot. Not much got to me emotionally because I was just on survival mode until the boys' bedtime.

But now, with ALL THE EMOTIONS, I'm also finding myself really more attuned to and aware of my boys and all their thoughts, fears, joys. And over the course of a day they make me laugh, cry, feel like I'm doing everything right, or everything WRONG.

But the point is, I'm finally feeling.

Feeling all the feelings.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Three Weeks

So it's been three weeks today since I've had any alcohol. I do feel like I can do this, and I know it will take just as long as it took me to get into this mess to get out of it. But I am wondering when I will stop feeling so tired.

I'm sure the abundance of snow days with all three boys home has something to do with it. May February pass quickly and allow me to take more than 3-4 walks a week.

Man this time of year is tough on so many of us.

But, onward I will go.

 I heard a great metaphor today, from my lovely and wise older sister.

In regards to any big change, be it weight loss, new career, summoning the courage to leave a bad relationship, stopping smoking, whatever: Your decision is like steering a giant ship. The effort to turn the ship in an entirely new direction will take every ounce of strength you have. Your engines will scream under the pressure of steering the vastness of the ship around. For awhile, you'll only feel the strain of the turn.

But once turned around, you will move forward in such a fast and unstoppable motion that you will suddenly really begin to see the water fly by you, and the white froth of your past will be swallowed up by the churning of your wake.

I can't wait to watch that wake. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Feeling Good

So, I'm really just still very new to this whole sober/healthy living thing. Of course I didn't drink during pregnancy but that didn't seem like a big deal because I knew once I had the baby wine would be waiting with loving, open arms.

But this time obviously it's different and yes, I feel somewhat lost still without that stalwart beacon waiting to greet me at days end like a lighthouse guiding me home. I do. I feel adrift. This will take time to ever feel really comfortable in.

But, yet...I have to say, I also feel good in a way that I wasn't expecting. I feel like living my life as an open book has for once really benefited and aided me in this new direction I've chosen to take. I've always been so vocal and outspoken about how lazy I am (it's true) and how much I loved my wine (also, true) that it really came as a surprise to a lot of people that I was so ready to give that kind of thinking up, just like that.

Which led to an outpouring of people asking what's up, and why, and then, to my great surprise, being totally supportive and NOT all that surprised with my decision. Almost like, "yep, that's cool, you're making an adult decision...good on you!"

I feel more at peace with the idea of not drinking than I thought was possible for me. I mean, for ME, especially, Ms. Proud Wino, suddenly just putting down that whole aspect of my life, and it was a BIG part, it feels right and it feels like me. 

Who knows what I'll feel in a few days, or tomorrow even. Tomorrow is Friday, after all.

But for now, it's a new dawn for this Mama. I'm reading more and walking more and eating better, and really BEING with my kids more. This whole week I turned the TV off once school was over. The boys colored and crafted and played outside, and we talked, and it wasn't the usual harried "yeah yeah yeah just hurry up so I can finish laundry or cooking" it was moment by moment and it was okay to put off the folding or whatever for a few minutes.

And of course there were still times, just tonight in fact, where I wanted to scream and cry and just run away. Because sometimes, that's how Moms feel, and that's okay.

So tonight I'm cheersing myself with some flavored seltzer in a wine glass: "Good for you, self. You can do this and you deserve this more than anyone I know."

"Stars when you shine you know how I feel
Scent of the pine you know how I feel
Oh freedom is mine
And I know how I feel

It's a new dawn
It's a new day
It's a new life
For me

And I'm feeling good."

Monday, January 19, 2015

Just a Moment

I caught a moment in the kitchen tonight, after cleaning up dinner, about to turn off the stereo, Dixie Chicks "Godspeed" was on, and as I had my hand on the button for "off", I waited a minute, looked back at my kitchen, the main lights already off, only the light above the stove still on; the dishwasher starting to swish and sway, and I waited, listening to the raucous noises from my three boys in the tub, and I suddenly realized, everything is going to be okay.

These are the moments in another life I never would have had, much less appreciated.

And I am so, so, thankful to that moment for seizing me when it did. After a long day of yelling and fighting, pinching and scratching, taunting and tattling, my boys were all together in the tub, splashing and squealing, blissfully unaware of the madness out in the World, or even of my own simmering anxiety as of late. To them, all is right in the World, as it should be.

I don't need anything else.

"The rocket racer's all tuckered out
Superman's in pajamas on the couch
Goodnight moon, we'll find the mouse
And I love you

Godspeed, little man
Sweet dreams, little man
Oh, my love will fly to you
Each night on angels wings
Godspeed, sweet dreams

God bless mommy and match box cars
God bless dad and thanks for the stars
God hears Amen wherever we are
And I love you."

Sunday, January 18, 2015


So, yesterday I sealed the deal. By making it public, I feel like I made it forever, real.
What I never realized was how much I had let drinking dictate who I am. I've always thought of myself as this comfortable, happy, optimistic person, which I know I still am somewhere, but this surrender has me feeling emotional, vulnerable, and raw.

I've heard it said that early sobriety is truly like being born again. So in a lot of ways, this raw and vulnerable feeling is exactly right. It doesn't make it easier, just, better knowing it's normal.

I've known all my life that it was a risky thing to tempt fate, having an alcoholic mother. But, the mind of an addict is so tricky. I told myself since I never had a hangover, rarely drank in front of the kids, never drove, never embarrassed myself, was still highly functioning, that I didn't really have a problem. But the thing is, I do.

After dinner every day, I was counting down the minutes until bedtime, so I could have my wine. Bedtime was particularly stressful, because if the boys didn't play along and just follow routine without any glitches (helloooo, they are 7, 5, and 3!) I would become totally incensed that they were stealing MY time! Imagine that...a Mom so jealous of her wine time that she became irrationally angry with her own kids....... for being kids.

"Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step." Martin Luther King Jr said those words, and I cannot think of a better way to look at things right now. I don't have to be sober for life...RIGHT NOW. I just have to do it for today, believing that the next step will appear for me tomorrow. And that is huge, because if I start to think about my Birthday (without wine) or Valentine's Day (without wine) or my Memorial Day Picnic (without wine) or simply the next few Fridays (without wine), I will surely run screaming backwards.

This day, 7 days ago, I had my last night of drinking. I didn't know it would be my last, and I thank God I didn't know, because the way my addictive personality works is, I have to "prepare" for "the last day" by planning and preparing and then inevitably it's not what I expected or wanted or it wasn't enough or what I want to remember as "the last time", so, in turn, it doesn't end up BEING the last time. But last Sunday I had quite a bit of wine left in my Franzia box, and so I figured I'd finish it off before The Week began.

 And then on Monday I got the phone call from my Dr.'s office making sure I would be at my appointment because my triglycerides were very high and my Dr really needed to go over the results in person. I immediately hung up and started googling what high triglycerides meant and the top 4 factors were heavy alcohol use, belly fat, general overweight body, and lack of exercise. Check, check, check, and check. But the alcohol use stood out. Because I have been running from that truth for years. I had already overcome two addictions, so I told myself I wasn't really an addict. Isn't that something? Ha.

So, anyway. That's where I am today. Still scared and my temper is still very much on the surface. This is kinda the thing I've been heading towards my whole life. I've lived around it and tried to handle it, control it, nip and tuck it so it seemed acceptable and workable. I've centered so much of my time mentally building up ways I could make it work. Because I love it. I really do. And I will truly miss it and it will be hard not to tell myself I can have it. But the cold hard truth is, it does not love me in return.