Two Years Free!!

My sober 45 year old self!

So today its two years now since I quit alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana too!
When I read other people days,months and years I’m always so amazed and like WOW that’s a lot of days together. But when I see mine in my app I’m not so amazed and in awe! I’m not sure why but I have some ideas. Us Irish and maybe not just the Irish are not good at celebrating their achievements and taking praise or compliments. For example when someone comments on an item of clothing we brush it off and say “ah sure it was only cheap from such and such a shop”!!
I feel like Catholic Ireland has always taught me and us that pride is a sin!! So maybe that’s why I find it difficult to feel pride in myself.
But what does feeling proud of oneself feel like? What is the sensation in the body?
A month into my recovery like I’ve written before I found myself a therapist to work with. Not a talk therapist but a somatic one. So I try describe sensations in the body..So for me, pride feels like light. Its a feeling of being relaxed in my body,warm and spacious. Being sober also gives me these feelings. Drinking made me heavy inside and a feeling of being suffocated. So did smoking but I think that’s more to do with the fact I was suffocating my lungs. Today I can certainly say I am breathing more easily.

Two years in one day at a time I have not found it all easy going no. I’ve had to get real and dig deep into all the stuff I numbed with my addictions..This is an ongoing process and necessary one. Layers exist. Sometimes layers exist around the same issue and when I think I have dealt with something enough, another layer will become clear. This is the showing up. This is the driving weekly to therapy a 90 min round trip. I am thankful for this journey. It has given me so so much, some of which I will share now.

I have a 12 step programme. One that’s tried tested and works if it’s worked at! I find this extremely beneficial as the way the 12 Steps are structured gives me a purpose. Also means I now have a sponsor whom I can ask to help me with the programme. Step 8 is “made a list of all persons we had harmed,and became willing to make ammends. This is important to me. To my recovery and peace of mind. As are all 12 steps…

I have a hangover free body and mind every single morning I wake up. I am not sick with drink anymore ever. This is one of my favourite things about being sober. I was sick of feeling sick. Now I’m free in myself..its the biggest reward.

I have and am attempting to pay my debt. It feels wonderful to be able to pay bills on time. It feels wonderful to be able to treat myself and my loved ones. Before I would always have a choice to make, pay the bill or part of it and fund my addiction. That does not happen now.

I’m not running away anymore. Before I ran away alot. Now I try my best to face everything. Not all at once but little by little step by step… being vulnerable is a strength. Not a weakness.

At the start of therapy, it was suggested i gather things together that i like to do that are beneficial. I draw on these resources when i need them which is daily.
They have kept me sober and sane.
Swimming is one of them and now with the pool closed for Level 5, I will have to use other resources. Unless i want to swim in the very cold lake!!!
That’s life in pandemic times. We don’t know what will happen next but I know I have many resources to draw upon. This writing being another one. Which I don’t need anything for really. A pen and paper I guess and a laptop and internet if I want to share via my blog.

Walking is another one and thankfully can still do that. Sadly without my beloved Star who I miss every day still. She was a joy giver, especially on walks with her stick carrying antics! Walking can be so boring now!! So I’ve got myself a pair of Bluetooth headphones and started listening to podcasts or music. This helps me. Star is still with us always in our hearts never to be forgotten. So lucky to have had a dog so perfect!!

Reading would be another resource I use daily. I do like to read other peoples stories on how they got and stayed sober. Some of my favourites are: The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober by Catherine Grey, Recovery by Russell Brand and Glorious Rock Bottom by Bryony Gordon.
I also read The Big Book from AA and The Twelve Steps and 12 Traditions.
I will read whatever I find hopeful and helpful so it’s varied and wide!!
And of course, I read other stuff too that is not about not drinking!! Untamed By Glennon Doyle was a recent favourite and I highly reccomend it.

Another resource I want to write about is meditation.
This one helps me the most. It takes me back to the here and now. It takes me to my breath to the oneness of stillness. Quiets the mind and makes me feel still and full of calmness throughout my whole body.
I use a free app called Insight Timer and would highly recommend it. So much goodness contained in one app!! I need to meditate daily. Some days I don’t but when I do it daily,it only adds to my day. It is true for meditation what they also say about swimming “you never regret it”!!

Finally seeing and hearing other peoples journeys is so encouraging to me. Without other people sharing their own story I’m not sure I would be getting through mine. So for those on their journeys and casting out their light, I thank you so so much. You are an inspiration to me and I see you!!

This is one of my favourite quotes from one of my favourite authors Brene Brown which feels appropriate here.

“If you are not in the arena getting your ass kicked on occasion, I am not interested in or open to your feedback. There are a million cheap seats in the world today filled with people who will never be brave with their own lives, but will spend every ounce of energy they have hurling advice and judgement at those of us trying to dare greatly. Their only contributions are criticism, cynicism, and fear-mongering. If you’re criticizing from a place where you’re not also putting yourself on the line, I’m not interested in your feedback”

One day at a time. They will and do all add up.

Keep shining.🙏🌈💖

Walking in the Jauary sunshine!
My favourite prayer

Loss During Lockdown

I wrote the following having seen a post on social media looking for artist of all kinds to contribute to a newspaper(which tunred into a Zine)called The Stange Times

I knew i wanted to write something but i wasent sure what i would write about. Within a couple of days our beloved Star passed away and so naturally i wrote about her.

Star was no ordinary dog.

She was Star in name and Star by nature.
When my son and I made the move over 13 years ago from Drogheda to Co.Clare we knew we had to have a dog in our lives.
After seeing an advert in the local health food store: “Good homes wanted for puppies” we called the number!!
We met about 7 puppies in a barn with the mum and a donkey!! We will never forget the moment all the beautiful  pups ran to us and said hello. But one in particular was the friendliest and jumped and played with my son the most out of all the pups. Any preconceived notions about having a boy pup gone!!Because this one was a girl!!
When the time was right we collected her, when she was old enough to leave her mum!!
We noticed around the heart area she had white star shaped fur and so thats what we called her.
And so our journey began together.

She traveled on Luke’s lap in a box filled with straw! And from the moment we got her she traveled and moved everywhere with us!
One of those journeys was up to meet other family members.On one of those visits we visited with my sister and her son. Star was out in the garden and when she came back in the door we noticed she had something in her mouth! We realized she had found a dummy(soother) in the garden and it was in her mouth the proper way round!!!!

She was always making us laugh with her ways. Always wanting a stick on a walk and going for the biggest one in the woods so taking our legs out as she ran by us. Recently these sticks became treasure and she would bring the sticks all the way on her walk until got to car then try take it into foot well of car with her!!No matter how big or small the stick was she insited it come with her!!

She equally loved a ball with passion. Leaping and bounding and catching them from the sky. During her lifetime a lot of tennis balls was had!! I found 6 while cutting the grass in garden recently!!
She loved her food too of course. She would follow anyone into the kitchen in her own home or others. If cooking was happening she lay on the floor observing and waiting to be given something or waiting for something to fall on the floor so she could hoover it up!!
Once during a family barbecue she stole a piece of chicken on a stick straight from the hand of my nephew while he was busy chatting!!

Everyone who met Star loved her. And she loved them. She taught us how to open our hearts. To love unconditionally. And to be loved unconditionally.
To be excited over the little things like putting shoes on,picking up a collar,saying the word “sausages!” or “stick”or “ball”…that life was to be lived and loved and shared. She gave her stick or ball to all she met she was unselfish in the most wonderful wonderful ways.

As i sit and write this in these strange times,tears flow freely down my face.
Our beloved Star passed away on Saturday 25/4/20
Strange times have turned into stranger times.
Her bed is empty. Her water bowl empty. Our home is empty of her. A bone,a ball, many sticks remain in the garden untouched since Saturday.

The imprints she made in our hearts remains.
In the felt sense that we knew her, we loved her,and she loved us.So much.

Cherish every moment.

Love fiercely because one day it will all change.

This we know to be true now more than ever.

As a pup and in old age!!
That time she found a dummy in the garden!!