That’s When The Magic Happens

You know, for almost 2.5 years I’ve been focusing so intensely on staying sober that I forgot how to blog. Also, nothing was funny in the least and I wasn’t terribly excited about dumping all my dark thoughts out onto the internet for the entire world to see — but I also wasn’t okay with editing myself to make it seem like everything was fine over here.

Everything was so NOT. And I think y’all are smart enough to know when someone is bullshitting you.

So here we are. I have so much to tell you that I don’t know where to start, so in true me fashion, I’ve created a list.

  • A journalist from The Washington Post contacted me several weeks ago. She found me online because I talk so openly about recovery, and we had a nice long chat. A few days later, Pulitzer finalist Edmund Fountain showed up at my door on behalf of The Post to take photos, and now we’re friends. You can read the story in the paper here.
  • To be clear, I don’t understand the “sober curious” movement. I’m an alcoholic. I’ve got no need to be “curious” about abstaining from alcohol — for me, it’s a matter of life and death. However, I’m happy to discuss addiction, recovery, and life as a sober parent all the live long day.
  • KCBS Radio in San Francisco contacted me and asked if I’d be willing to give a live interview in like, two hours. I’d never been on the radio in my life — what could possibly go wrong? (It went great, I’m told by those who listened. I have no idea what the person on the other end of the phone said or what I said in response. It was a total blur.)
  • Two days later, I joined my friend Franz Borghardt, an attorney and sometimes radio personality, on Talk 107.3. We had fun chatting about how weird it is to get sober in a very public way. Also, it’s important to note that it was very early in the morning and I don’t think I’d had enough coffee before I got there. I was concerned about being jittery, but next time? ALL THE COFFEE.

There are other exciting things happening that I’m not ready to share yet, and the reason why I’m bombing you with all of this is simply to say HOLY HELL, THIS IS CRAZY.

***

At the same time all of this other stuff was happening, Health published a piece I wrote; you can find it here. Warning, though: it’s a dark and lengthy read.

The part that isn’t in print is that I started out the summer with my kids feeling extremely swamped and overwhelmed. Poor planning on my part meant that for the first time since I got sober, we weren’t putting any of our kids in summer camp. Now, before you cast judgement, I’d like to point out that two of my children have various forms of ADHD and/or Asperger’s Syndrome, which doesn’t bode well for an unstructured, relaxed sort of summer.

My personality type and the fact that I’m in recovery makes it difficult for me to cope with certain types of stress (read: motherhood). This is not a cop out, it’s almost verbatim what my therapist instructed me to tell my husband when he asks why we’re saving money for next year’s summer camp tuition.

Here’s my 7-year-old, Asher, refusing to walk. He literally scooted on his butt all the way out of the indoor trampoline park, into the parking lot, down the sidewalk, and into our car. This is motherhood.

So far, I’ve managed to make it through this experience unscathed, still sober, and without causing any major damage to anyone in my house. BUT, I almost relapsed. Not on alcohol — on my first love, phentermine.

I wrote the piece that was published in Health because I HAD TO WRITE IT. If I didn’t, if I kept the thoughts inside and didn’t get them out in front of an audience (even if that audience is just my writing partner, Audrey), then eventually my brain would trick me into doing the exact thing I’ve worked so hard not to do.

The article ran. I hung onto my sobriety. And that’s when the magic happened, as it tends to do when we live authentically. Crazy how that works.

(If you liked this post, then you should follow me on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter!)

Summer: All About Acceptance

There’s a passage in the recovery world that I adopted as my own personal mantra almost as soon as I was sober enough to understand it.

” … Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed,
it is because I find some person, place, thing, situation — some fact of my life — unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.

Unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy.
I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world
as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.” 

This summer is turning out to be nothing much more than an endless exercise in practicing acceptance.

For example, I have to accept that all of the neighbors within a 5 house radius can hear me screaming things like “I TOLD YOU, DO NOT PEE ON THE SLIP N’ SLIDE!” or, “I KNOW THAT’S PEE THAT YOU’RE PLAYING IN RIGHT NOW!” or, “YES, IT DAMN WELL IS PEE, I SMELLED IT MYSELF JUST TO MAKE SURE!”

I have to accept that my children sneaked out of the house while I was in the shower and tried to sell sandwich baggies full of chopped up fruit and vegetables — food from our refrigerator that we were gonna eat — to anyone who would answer the door. They were also barefoot in their pajamas, and Asher wasn’t wearing underwear.

When I emerged from my bedroom, the kids were super excited to share with me that they’d already earned $5. Oh, and also that I needed to go to the grocery store because we’re out of food.

I must accept that Maverick sometimes runs around naked and screams obscenities in the morning before his meds have kicked in. I wish he would stop; one day, he might. Until then, I can either yell at him until my throat feels sore, or I can simply accept it and move on. I choose to move on.

I’ve been forced to accept that my husband, who has not exercised ever in our entire 16 year relationship, started working out three mornings a week like six weeks ago and already dropped like 20 pounds. WTAF. Don’t get me wrong, I’m super proud of him and his biceps are really quite impressive, but REALLY? I’ve gained and lost the same 4 pounds for the entirety of 2019.

And so, when my children are outside screaming like they’re being skinned alive for no reason at all and I am stuffing my face with the chocolate-covered Rice Krispie Treats that I swore to myself I wouldn’t touch, I repeat to myself for the fortieth time acceptance is the answer to all my problems and immediately count the days until school starts.

30 days.

(If you liked this post, then you should follow me on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter!)

Stories of the Brave

Photo credit: Anthony Pierre, Jr.

When my friend Anthony contacted me and asked if I would be willing to tell my story of recovery for a project he’s doing, my initial reaction was ABSOLUTELY NOT.

But then I sat with it for awhile.

And he kept pestering me.

And my therapist asked me why I was avoiding doing things that would be helpful to other people. She called it what it was: laziness and fear.

Not long after that, a clairvoyant in New Orleans called me lazy.

All these people calling me lazy really struck a nerve; I’ve always prided myself on being a hard worker, a hustler, a woman who gets shit done. Why was I working so hard to avoid sharing my story when all I’ve done for the past two years, 4 months, and 9 days is tell my story?

I finally figured out that my issue was lack of control. As a writer, my comfort zone is writing and publishing, not TELLING OUT LOUD and having someone else write. I lose control over the narrative when someone else creates the words. What if I look stupid? What if I let this person take my photo (he’s talented AF, by the way, and I knew that going in, but still) and I look fat or wrinkly or just plain ugly? What if, what if, what if?

It boils down to this: if I really want to help people, then I’m going to have to get over myself. So I did. I lowered my walls and I got out of my own way and now my story can be found here.

After that, in another, unrelated event, I was contacted by a reporter at The Washington Post. A (Pulitzer finalist, very impressive and legit) photojournalist came to my house and followed me around for almost 5 hours and now there is going to be a story that I did not write and I have not seen the photos for, IN PRINT NATION WIDE on Monday, July 8th. (The online version will be out tomorrow, just FYI.)

I’ve been invited to come down to the radio station at 107.3 and talk about all of it. I’ve never been on the radio before. What if I sound stupid? What if all of Baton Rouge judges how I sound at 6:00 a.m. on a Wednesday morning?

To say I’m afraid would not do my state of mind justice.

I’m going to do it anyway. Not for myself — if it were up to me, I’d stay home in bed, stuffing my face with Sour Punch Straws and spiraling into deep self-loathing. I’m going to push myself because my therapist asked me to, because other alcoholics ask me to, because my editors ask me to, because my Higher Power asks me to.

As long as I’m being asked, I’ll show up. That is recovery.

(If you liked this post, then you should follow me on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter!)

A Slow Rebuilding

Getting sober fucked me up.

Before I stopped drinking, I wrote prolifically for a number of online publications. I was briefly a staff writer for Scary Mommy, one of the most well-known sites in the parenting world. I was asked to interview for magazines and podcasts.

My essays were published in three actual books. Editors called me on the actual telephone. Being in demand gave me the opportunity to negotiate my rates – and I got what I asked for. I made money, sometimes a lot of it.

And then, I got sober.

Stopping my work in order to focus on recovery is the greatest gift I could ever give myself. Yes, I’m afraid I’ll never be successful again. I’m afraid I’ve lost my edge, possibly forever. There was a very specific drug and alcohol combination that fueled my work – a lot of creatives can probably relate to this – and when that combo went away, so did my inspiration.

The past two years have been full of growth and grief and renewal. I am afraid that I’ll never find my way back to where I was, but also, I also never want to go back to where I was.

Louisiana State Capitol observatory deck, Baton Rouge, La.

School is almost out for the summer, and I will officially have a 6th grader, a 3rd grader, and a 1st grader living in my house. Pepper, who will be 6 years old in a few weeks, was barely out of toddlerhood when I entered recovery. She and Asher, my younger son, were too young to remember what it was like before I got sober, THANK GOD. That just leaves Maverick, who remembers everything.

5th grade awards ceremony.

“Did you drink when you were pregnant with him?” he asked us over breakfast one morning, nodding his head over to his brother.

Robbie choked on his coffee.

For the record, I did not.

***

This is the first year that I’ve had it together enough to order yearbooks for the kids.

This is the first year that I ordered school pictures on time and the check did not bounce.

This is the first year that I’ve taken my children to a school fair. Not only that, but I had cash in my purse to pay for whatever they wanted. A SCHOOL FAIR. BY MYSELF.

This is the first year that I don’t feel crippling anxiety when I see summer break looming over the horizon.

I am learning how to be okay, how to not ruin this moment by obsessing over the future or agonizing over the past. I am present in body and in mind, for the first time in my entire life.

When I say that getting sober fucked me up, what I really mean is that substance abuse steamrolled or exploded or otherwise crushed me into teeny, tiny pieces, and it’s been a very slow, deliberate process to rebuild from almost nothing.

After all, sometimes the best thing to do is to just knock it all down and start over.

Downtown Baton Rouge.

If you liked this post, then you should follow me on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter!

What Wedding Vows Would Look Like If We Were Really Being Honest

Our wedding day, October 9, 2005.

I feel very fortunate to be happily married to my husband of 13 years, but that doesn’t mean I don’t wish I could go back and re-write our wedding vows if I had the chance. When we planned our wedding in 2005, I looked up “traditional wedding vows” and copied what a million other couples have been repeating for hundreds of years. And if I’m being honest, the oaths were junk.

Don’t get me wrong — I meant every word. It’s just that, at age 25, I didn’t actually realize what “in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer” truly meant. In my mid-twenties naiveté, I assumed it meant that if God forbid one of us lost a leg or a lung or something, the marriage wouldn’t automatically dissolve. Sounds great! I’m down.

The thing is, we didn’t have two dimes to rub together when we got married, so agreeing to stay in the marriage if we ran out of funds was no big deal. For richer or for poorer? Sure, no problem.

But over the years, my definition of what marriage really means has changed significantly. If we were to renew our wedding vows today, I’d want them to be much more specific in nature. You know, have ’em get at what holy matrimony really entails.

They’d probably look a little something like this …

I promise to love your family as my own.

Let’s be real: I’m not only accepting this man to have and to hold until the day that I die, but also his FAMILY. That means their congealed holiday recipes, outstanding warrants, biting goats, and religious beliefs. That means I promise to ignore Uncle Jimmy when he pees off the back porch and I’ll turn a blind eye to Cousin Willa Mae’s kleptomania. If you love them, I will tolerate them … I guess.

Sidenote: I got really lucky with my husband’s family. NOT ALL OF US ARE SO LUCKY.

Wedding shower, circa 2005.

I pledge to love you even when you start snoring like a freight train.

If you’re in this thing for the long haul, sleeping in separate bedrooms may be in the cards. I swore we would never be those people, but alas, we totally are. After several sleepless years, my husband was forced (by me) into having a sleep study done and was prescribed a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine to put an end to his atrocious snoring. By this point, I was so desperate for rest that it didn’t matter if it looked like he was wearing a gas mask to bed. As long as the deafening rumbling stopped, the marriage could continue.

I will cherish you in ugliness AND in beauty.

I look like an entirely different person at bedtime. I remove my contacts, don coke bottle glasses, pop in a mouth guard, insert earplugs, cover my eyes with a mask, and smear goop all over my face. Basically, everything about me says “KEEP OUT.”

Robbie didn’t marry this version of me — the person he married would barely allow him to see her without a generous coat of concealer and mascara on. But this is what marriage has done to me. It’s made me comfortable. I literally let it all hang out, and that’s not a bad thing … it just needs to be addressed in the vows.

Present day shenanigans.

I’ll honor our vows even when I regret marrying you in the first place.

Because trust me, that day will come. It might be a fleeting thought that pops in and out of your mind, or even something you allow yourself to dwell on. The point is, I made a commitment, and “for better or for worse” is directly referencing the fact that I routinely find toenail clippings on the floor. There’s also the pressing matter of who forgot to write “coffee” on the shopping list. YOU SAW THAT WE WERE OUT, ROBBIE. You know I cannot function without at least two cups — are you trying to kill us all?!

I will love you even when you suck.

Sometimes I burp a lot. I cover all the bathroom counter space with random products that are supposed to make me more beautiful. I made fun of him after his vasectomy and later on found out that he really did have a complication that was not funny at all. He’s fine now, but I still felt like a jerk.

I narrowly avoided rehab in 2017. I dragged him to multiple counseling sessions. I blamed him for things that were clearly my fault. I nagged, manipulated, criticized, and eye rolled him. I took the last cookie so many times, and also broke into his candy stash (and blamed it on the kids).

All of this is basically what it means to be married, but this is the kicker: he continues to love me in spite of me.

So yes, I will take Robbie to be my lawfully wedded husband, until death do us part. He is the only person on this planet who knows what I truly look and act like in the morning and he still chooses to live here.

“A partner who supports your dreams and your healing is a priceless gem, a heaven in human form.” – Yung Pueblo

If you liked this post, then you should follow me on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter!

Teaching My Kids How To Be An Ally

(This piece originally appeared here, written as part of an anti-bullying initiative for Disney/ABC.)

Parent-teacher conferences are right around the corner, and to be honest, I’m not sure what I’m going to discover.

Are my kids measuring up to their potential (whatever that is)? Is my 5th-grader showing his work on math tests? Is my kindergartener learning how to hold her scissors properly? Does my 2nd-grader assert himself?

But most importantly: Do my kids stand up for others?

I was picked on a lot as a kid. Almost everyone is, at one point or another, which is the main reason why I’d never want to relive my childhood if given the chance. But this is why issues of bullying are never far from my mind.

Looking back, it wasn’t so much the bullies that hurt my feelings the most — it was the kids who stood by silently, complicit in the act. The kids who saw what was happening and could have stepped up and said something — anything — but chose not to because my pain wasn’t worth risking their own.

Of course, now that I’m older, I understand why. I’ve certainly been silent and complicit before myself. It takes courage to speak up, especially when doing so might jeopardize your social status. Staying quiet means staying on the bully’s good side; being loud will only draw attention. There’s always a feeling of relief when you aren’t the one being called names in the lunch line, and when it isn’t your backpack being thrown into a lake.

The thing is, there will always be bullies. There aren’t always allies.

Being an ally requires more than just empathy, and I want my kids to know this. It means being willing to be brave, to act with and for other people simply because it’s the right thing to do. In large and small ways, I try and instill in my kids the value of fighting for justice. I just hope these lessons stick.

In our house, there is a combo of neurotypical and neuroatypical children. Our oldest has ADHD, anxiety, and high-functioning autism. Our younger two are not officially diagnosed with anything, but each have their unique sets of challenges and eccentricities. My husband is a rumpled, absent-minded mathematical mastermind, and I’m a recovering alcoholic, neurotic writer.

Basically, our entire family is quirky, and none of us pretend to be perfect. As a result, our day-to-day existence revolves around kindness, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, and the ability to say “I’m sorry” whenever it’s warranted.

My kids have grown up intimately aware of the fact that there is always a lot more to people than what we can see on the outside. They know that sometimes, what people need most is a big hug or a super comfy bed to take a nap in, but also, sometimes people don’t have access to either of those things, and it’s our job to understand that.

So we talk about the fact that everyone has challenges. Sometimes we can’t see them. Sometimes they’re not pretty to look at. Sometimes they’re even uncomfortable to be around.

The important thing is that they are learning to be allies, whether or not they ever call it by that name.

Of course, no parent wants their child to be the bully — or worse, be bullied themselves. But I want to take it a step further and give them the confidence and the tools to step up and stand up for other kids who might not have the same.

After school, I ask my kids if they noticed anyone who seemed lonely or sad that day. When one of them mentions social drama, I ask questions. What did you do when you saw Allie getting picked on? How did that make you feel? Then I use real-life situations to point out ways they can help their peers.

At the end of the day, I try not to put pressure on my kids to solve the world’s problems, because that would be an impossible expectation; but it’s important for them to understand that part of being a good human is helping the other humans within your orbit.

And because I want to raise the kind of people who aren’t afraid to speak their mind, I’ve learned that I have to be willing, as a mother, to let them speak their minds. Frankly, it’s exhausting, but it’s a price I’m willing to pay.

It is my highest hope as a parent that my kids will be gutsy enough to say, “Nope, that’s not okay,” when they spot an injustice. I want them to be friendly enough to say “Hi, new kid, you can sit here,” or “Stop picking on her!”

I want them to understand that saying something can change the course of a person’s day, or even their entire life.

I can’t control whether or not my kids get teased or picked on at school, and the reality of that is painful. But my job as a parent isn’t just to make sure my children know the difference between right and wrong; it’s to make sure they’re gutsy enough to actually open their mouths, speak up, and refuse to be a part of the problem.

If I can pull that off, then my job here is done.

(If you liked this post, then you should follow me on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter!)

Things I Would Have Blacked Out Over

I don’t always get the luxury of writing about a profound experience right after it happens. Usually, I’m stuck in traffic or in the middle of an important task and by the time I get freed up to write it down, the inspiration is gone.

Creativity is like that. Elusive. My husband doesn’t understand how I can write prolifically for years, and then all of the sudden arrive at a screeching halt. Believe me, if I knew how to fix it, I WOULD. This is why artists cut off their own ears.

But this morning, I had a thought. Where is my God Box? I really hate the name. God Box sounds like something I might have been instructed to make in my uber conservative Christian elementary school, except that I was taught that we don’t put God in earthly containers. That’s sacrilegious. “Thou shalt not make a box and put me in it.” It’s in the Bible, you heathens.

Nope, the God Box is something I learned about in recovery, an idea given to me either by a sober mentor or my therapist, I don’t remember which, to help me learn in a very simple way how to turn my issues over to a Higher Power. Most of my problems were directly connected to the fact that I didn’t trust anyone or anything to run the shit show I called a life, but in recovery they told me that the reason my life was a shit show was because I was the one running it.

Oh.

I honestly believed that the reason I drank and took pills was because of everyone else. This, I know now, is what every alcoholic or addict believes — that if I just had more security, if I had more love in my life, if I could just lose 20 pounds or erase the wrinkles on my face, if my child wasn’t sick, INSERT WHATEVER THING THAT IS BOTHERING YOU HERE, then I would no longer need to drink.

Bullshit.

So, in order to learn how to turn things over, I needed a box that would be hard to open. I needed to be able to write down a concern, fold it up, and cram it into a locked container. I decided to use a piggy bank. For months, I crammed my worries into that box and felt like an idiot doing it. The thing that kept me going though, was that it actually made me feel better and it’s not like I had any better ideas. Even now, two years into this thing, my default solution is STILL “Your Grandmother died and your family imploded? Let’s get a round of shots!”

I literally have the thought, I let it pass, and then I move on to a second, more sane, idea. That is re-wiring.

I stopped needing the God Box when I successfully rewired my brain to be able to let go of the things I cannot change. I don’t remember when that happened. It was a gradual shift, just like everything else — but this morning, it occured to me that I had no idea what was in that box or where it might be located, and suddenly consumed by the fear of someone in my family finding it, I began a frantic search.

The box was in my closet.

I opened it.

It was stuffed full of scraps of paper.

I pulled out the paper.

I stared at the pile for a very long time.




Every single concern that weighed so heavily on me, things that I definitely would have blacked out over, have somehow been resolved. Not because of anything I have done. Not because of my intense orchestration and manipulation of people and events. Not because of my intellect.

No. My issues got better because I got out of my own way. It’s a gift and a miracle and amazing and I don’t know how any of this works, exactly, but I know that it definitely, totally does.

(If you liked this post, then you should follow me on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter!)

A Disease No One Wants

Last night I went somewhere I didn’t want to go and sat in a room full of people I don’t know and did a thing I did not want to do.

I felt afraid and out of place. I had to park in an adjacent parking lot in a questionable part of town and walk next door in the twilight, carrying my enormous (high-quality, fake) Louis Vuitton, angry at myself for not remembering to switch purses. My eyes nervously scanned the uneven parking lot as I crunched through gravel in Converse sneakers, grateful I’d at least had the wherewithal to put on appropriate footwear before leaving the house.

Walking into a detox center alone on a Tuesday night is not high on my list of fun things to do. I’m probably supposed to say that I love being around the newly or not-yet-sober, but the truth is, few things make me more uncomfortable. I can smell the vodka and stale cigarettes and what bothers me isn’t the smell of those things but the fact that I miss them so much that admitting that right now is making my mouth water.

54400058_2257807910946407_1821119545717293056_n

I walked in like I’d been there a thousand times before — pretty ironic considering the last time I was there, I swore I’d never go back — and while I outwardly appeared unbothered, on the inside I was a wreck. I wanted nothing more than to run back to my car, go home, crawl under the covers, and ghost everyone who would inevitably call, asking what happened. I wondered if it would be a better idea to flake out and just go back to drinking. Somehow that idea sounded a lot easier than my current situation, if only for a moment.

I’m not sharing this with you to generate praise for forcing myself to follow through with my commitment to show up to a place I did not want to be, to sit among other alcoholics and tearfully tell a tiny part of my story in front of what felt like a thousand strangers while fighting back anger over the fact that I — we — have this disease.

I’m telling my story to help people understand what living with alcoholism or drug addiction is like. The amount of strength and courage that sobriety requires is far beyond what I am or will ever be able to do on my own. I can’t take credit for anything other than willingness, and even that is fleeting.

Last night, I got myself there via car, and an unseen force put my ass in a chair. If left to my own devices, I would be high right now. That’s just how it is.

Sometimes I find it hard to genuinely share my thoughts, because they just seem so dark and serious and I’m ashamed of the depth of that darkness. Like whoa — no wonder I used to drink. I’m ashamed that I am always one breath away from a rehab facility, ashamed that I could easily be one poor decision from imprisonment or some other form of embarrassment or despair — but the truth is, we all are. It’s just that when I come face to face with people who are literally living my worst nightmare, I am forced to face myself.

Maybe that constant reminder of my own fragility is a gift.

(If you liked this post, then you should follow me on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter!)

Cloudy With A Chance of Sadness

I installed an app on my phone to count the days because I couldn’t trust myself to do it. Even now, 1 year, 11 months, and 25 days later, I still find myself questioning whether I got the date right — was it the 26th of February when I took my last drink, or the 28th?

The pills were the first to go; my stash ran out in late December. For the first time in longer than I could recall, I started a new year with only alcohol (and Zoloft) to lean on. There is little I remember from that time other than the terror of having to face myself.

I’m rolling up on two years sober and I’m sad. I’m grieving, still, for a life I once had; even though that life was hollow and riddled with anxiety, constantly haunted by unaddressed pain and trauma that I shoved down deep and covered with layer upon layer of old and new resentments until it was impossible to tell flesh from bone from maggot.

Self-awareness is a good thing to have but it requires a lot of emotional stamina. I loathe feeling sad. I worked really damn hard to avoid feeling anything but happy for a very long time, so it’s hard for me to accept that sometimes, part of the human experience involves being sad. I want to explain it away, validate it, erase it, busy it into thin air. POOF.

Grief doesn’t work that way. Grief hangs around until it is properly addressed.

They say it’s important to acknowledge milestones in sobriety so that the people behind us can see that recovery is possible. When my good friend hit her 2-year milestone a few months ago, I was ecstatic for her. “HOW DO YOU FEEL?” I shrieked, hopping up and down and clapping my hands in the parking lot.

She felt similar to how I feel today: moderately glum, with a general feeling of is this really all there is?

Yep.

Even in the midst of this current bout of free-floating sadness, I am proud that I’ve come this far. The hesitation comes from knowing that I am an alcoholic/addict who will have to actively participate in my recovery for the rest of my life in order to remain sober. I can’t allow myself to think ahead, or it suddenly feels impossible and I start to shut down.

People who self-destruct always grieve the Thing That Destroys Them. I’ll never quite understand why.

20190211_100135

I spend a lot of time sitting and listening and sharing these days.

If you liked this post, then you should follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

How To Make Anyone Uncomfortable

There are so many things I’ve bungled up due to arrogance.

My daddy used to say all the time when I was a kid, “Vanity, vanity; all is vanity.” I’m not sure where that quote originated — maybe the Bible, or perhaps my grandmother — but either way, I was raised to be humble.

Sometimes, in therapy, I express frustration that my parents didn’t constantly pump me full of baseless pride. Wouldn’t life be easier if I never called into question my body mass index or abilities? My impostor syndrome would cease to exist.

The thing is, though, that it would not have mattered what my parents did or did not do, how high or low my body mass index or education level is. It wasn’t until I entered recovery that I learned that alcoholics and addicts have a special kind of misplaced narcissism imprinted into our DNA. We are a walking, talking contradiction.

God bless the people who fall in love with us, because for someone who is so needlessly terrified of everything and everyone, I’m a very arrogant person.

There was the time that I tried to give myself a Brazilian wax at home, assuming that arming myself with online tutorials, how-to videos, and the best hot wax Sally’s Beauty Supply had to offer would suffice.

“It will be fine!” I chirped to my friend. “I’m going to play Christmas music and rip it all out.” I get it done at European Wax Center all the time — how hard could it actually be? I mean, I have a Bachelor’s Degree.

“Okaaaaay. Call me when you’re done.”

I never called. The pain was too great.

Arrogance is what made me think that having a large brood of children would be easy. It’s what made me leave my job to stay home with the kids. It fooled me into believing that disciplining small humans would be a piece of cake. It tricks me into thinking I can stop eating my feelings by my own sheer will.

It is also what made me think, stupidly, that taking a 7-day cruise with our children would be in any way restful.

Most recently though, arrogance landed me squarely in the office of a Colon and Rectal Surgeon. When he walked in, I smiled brightly, shook his hand, and announced that I was there because I need surgery. He looked surprised, probably because who in their right mind would be peppy and cheerful about having a hemorrhoidectomy?

ME. I WAS. After years and years of dealing with indescribable pain and Issues That Nice People Don’t Discuss, I’d reached the end of my rope. A rectal exam couldn’t possibly be that bad, especially after everything I’ve been through, right? At least, that’s what Google (and my misplaced arrogance) told me.

20190214_174046

In our latest Hobbs & Hayworth video, I shared with the world that I’m gonna have ass surgery.

It absolutely was exactly as bad as they say. Holy numbing gel, nothing about that was acceptable. I could no longer make eye contact. Why would anyone do this FOR A LIVING?!

“I can see why you want surgery,” he said, after my pants were back on. “Ten years of THAT? You need to have it done.” He went on to inform me that for a minimum of 2 weeks after surgery, it will feel exactly like someone is stabbing me in the anus with a knife. By then, I was too invested in the situation to back out — a rectal exam will do that to a person — so I went ahead and put myself on the schedule.

Sidenote: butt issues make everyone uncomfortable. What is more awkward than blurting out that I’m an alcoholic to a room full of drinkers? Saying I HAVE TO HAVE HEMORRHOID SURGERY. That one hundred percent wins the award for Making Any Situation A Weird Situation. Keep that parked in the back of your brain, should you ever need to make people cringe.

screenshot_20190215-201846_instagram

My favorite piece of rectal humor.

(If you liked this post, then you should follow me on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter!)