A decade of honesty & self loathing – my journey with sobriety

It does not feel like ten years.

Just the other night I was “reminiscing” with friends about parties we went to and different events we somehow managed to crash and it felt like it was a LIFETIME ago.

No, it definitely does not feel like ten years.

People will ask me from time to time if I miss drinking and I’m like… “LOL YES?? I’m a fucking alcoholic….”

To me, being an alcoholic means admitting that I am powerless over drugs and alcohol. It means that I have a serious problem with moderation. It means that I cannot remember a time I drank that didn’t involve me getting sick, fighting or both.

For me, personally, it is not a daily struggle. Anymore. The first 3 years were the hardest and then it kind of became second nature.

I’m not going to lie and say there haven’t been triggering moments where I’m craving, wanting or even NEEDING a drink (a whole bottle, I never did “a drink”..) because those moments happened when I least expected them since day one.

It was more frequent in the beginning – like, everything triggered me wanting a drink.

  • Car won’t start? DRINK
  • Late for work? DRINK
  • Got yelled at? DRINK
  • Bills are late? DRINK
  • Short on cash? DRINK
  • Lonely as hell? DRINK
  • Someone said/did something you didn’t like? DRINK

And then it was just petty shit…

  • Woke up? DRINK
  • Went to work? DRINK
  • It’s the weekend? DRINK
  • Bored? DRINK
  • Saw booze? DRINK
  • STLL ALIVE? DRIIIINK
  • LIFE SUCKS ASS?? DRRRRIIIIINNK DAMNIT!!!

Somehow I made it through most of all that unscathed and I lived to tell the tale.

The hardest part of my recovery is the loneliness. I almost wrote “crippling loneliness” but it’s definitely not crippling, I’m just dramatic. It’s a very lonely world when you are not completely submerged in “the fellowship” – which in my experience is mostly a cult but maybe I haven’t found the right one……?

It’s hard for people to relate and they think you’re some boring ass-hat who doesn’t like to have fun. It’s like NO! I’m the epitome of fun! I know how to party, believe me!! I’ve been court ordered to rehab… TWICE! They don’t do that for people who DONT know how to party! Please be my friend! LET ME LOVE YOU!!!

Beyond the loneliness factor – I do have a SOLID group of friends who I wouldn’t trade for the fucking world. These are friends who keep me on my toes, engaged with the world and they love and respect me.

These past ten years have been so incredible. Mostly because I can remember most of it! I hate remembering it all but at the same time I don’t. It’s win/lose, you know?

Lose because the bad sticks with me forever until I have enough therapy sessions to let it dissolve and float away.

WIN because I have DONE and SEEN and EXPERIENCED some amazing shit in these past ten years. Things I never could have dreamt of, things that were never a possibility when I was active in my addiction.

Well, here I am… doing all that feelin’ shit.

Lol why are my neighbors screaming? Like, I know they are from Virginia but it’s NOT the first time it’s snowed and they are on the front steps yelling… athe snow. They do drugs. It’s fine, they smoke weed and I can’t judge them because they are older and they’ve lived their lives so if they want to get stoned on a Sunday afternoon and yell at the snow who am I to say shit?? But my WALL neighbors (the ones I share a wall with) are annoying as hell. Mostly the girlfriend that just moved in last year. The guy isn’t so bad and he’s hot but her voice echoes through these walls and penetrate your eardrum like a needle poking through a thick cloth. I want to slap her. I’m going to sleep with her man. Whatever. I’m a bad bitch.

ANYWAY – here is a journal entry I found from 2009 shortly after I sobered up:

“Leah and Mandi are drunk now, talking to these men as we sit under an umbrella in an already enclosed patio space. As I stare into the skeletal structure of this massive umbrella, the crisp static of conversations around me barely making its own at into my thoughts, I’m wondering how such an ill conceived idea as umbrella-d tables in a covered smoking patio came to be when I noticed a hand caressing my knee.

Not in a sexual advance kind of way, more of a friendly way, but he was no friend. Not even someone I could call an acquaintance. Just some tired old guy in a tired old gay bar trying to regain my attention.

The night was just a bunch of brief encounters full of compliments, insults & derogatory remarks (mostly from Leah and the man who eerily resembled Chris Frank).

I don’t know how we managed to break ties with these guys we were smoking with but I do remember Leah’s booming laughter trailed by “there’s too much estrogen here, let’s go to Pi”…

I chuckled nervously, she always knew what NOT to say. I look at my nails judging. They’re too square and I hate that. I always ask for round and for some reason they always make them square. I hate square. Square nails are gaudy. Square nails are for women without class, tact or grace. I don’t want to be at the bar anymore.

When I was younger I thought that sitting in a bar with a cigarette lit in one hand and a drink in another was the epitome of greatness.

In reality it was as me sitting slouched over a mug of rail vodka & dry ass cranberry juice listening to bad remixes of already bad songs… standing outside to smoke a cigarette while fat sweaty men hang all over their fat sweaty girlfriends.

I went to bars to drink away my problems at home. I drank at home to forget who I was.

I started drinking to be cool and have fun. I quit because I wasn’t cool and I wasn’t having fun.

I don’t know where I’m going, I barely know where I’m coming from. But… finally, I feel like I’m beginning to know who I am.”

And that’s that. I’m going to buy a pack of smokes and enjoy this beautiful snowy day.

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Stressed and Sweaty: Summer in the City

For the past couple of months I have been lurching through life with an ominous [internal] black cloud floating over me. 

I have been off Zoloft for a while now – I ended that relationship in March due to the hurricane of emotions I was hit with every ten fucking seconds. Am I depressed? Sure… do I need a mountain of prescription pills to sustain life? Jury is still out on that one… are the feelings I am experiencing only here because I am not medicated? I am thinking no, confidently. 
No, this feeling is less “empty jar where my heart should be” and more like marbles rolling around in my stomach, bricks on my chest.
Work. 
Sigh.
Work.
It is like this weird game that I am somehow just realizing I am a part of. Sometimes I love it, and I live it, and its this thing that consumes me and I am it, and it seems like I cant get enough! Other times I am drained to the point of no return. Honestly, I am ashamed with the amount of time I spend thinking of hiding under my desk just to escape the noise.
Its like I am two different people all at once. Work Maria loves the chaos of the day to day, the busy-bee queen feeds off the high pressure environment, the ringing of the phones, the stupid customers asking stupid questions. I cant explain the satisfaction felt after assisting one of my team members with a difficult situation or completing a daunting task.
The other Maria, the one I am still struggling to get to know and understand, she is afraid. She knows she is not indispensable, she knows she can be replaced. She feels like she is juggling machetes, and that any second one will not be caught and artfully tossed into the air, if you catch my drift. She feels like she does not belong, that she is not capable, she feels her shortcomings outweigh her abilities.
After chatting with my therapist for some time I have come to the realization that in both my personal and professional life that there is this underlying need for not only acceptance but a need for being needed. 
I guess on some level I have always known that because I mean, come on, who doesn’t want to feel needed? 
Boundaries.
That is my problem. I take work home with me. Literally. 
Thing 1 : Mission to Mars – a select few of us were chosen to partake in the first ever mission to the future. What this means, I have no fucking idea. I was tasked, along with my fellow astronauts, to read a book about a ship [not a shark, as I later discovered after asking everyone about the “shark book”] and to bring back discussion topics for our next training session. 
Okay. That isn’t so bad. I like reading, books are cool, they smell good, and this one could potentially help advance my career and instill a new level of leadership I didn’t know I had. Cool. Bring book home. Read book in spare time. 
Thing 2 : EVERY-FUCKING-THING ELSE!! 
THE TEXT MESSAGES – THE EMAILS – THE PHONE CALLS – THE ANXIETY OF KNOWING I LEFT WHEN THINGS WERENT COMPLETED – DID I LET MY TEAM DOWN – SHOULD I HAVE STAYED LATER – SHOULD I HAVE COME IN EARLIER – SHOULD I HAVE TAKEN A LUNCH BREAK TODAY – DID I TAKE TOO MANY BREAKS TODAY – DID I SWEAR TOO MUCH TODAY – DID I DRESS PROFESSIONALLY ENOUGH – DID I – DID I – DID I – SHOULD I – SHOULD I – SHOULD I …. FUCKING JESUS A CHRIST!!!!!!!!!!!
See, I don’t know how to walk away and leave it at that. I don’t know how to leave work AT work, leave all my shit there so I can pick it up the next morning when I return. Do people actually do that? I do not believe that I am the only person who gets into their car and instantly starts panicking about “what the fuck just happened today”, “what could or should I have done differently/better/more[or less] of/this/that/20 other things”… I know I am not the only person who does this and yet… I know for a fact that the one thing that me and my fellow panic-ers have in common… we probably aren’t too happy. 
And then when the texts or calls come in, man, that triggers a new level of panic for me. Why have I failed my team? If I was better they would have the resources needed to answer these questions on their own and get through the day without having to call me. Or have I bred a culture of “neediness” where I wasn’t actually giving my team the tools required to excel, but only giving “just enough” so my team felt empowered but really, I was only crippling them enough for them to not notice how much I needed them to need me and I secretly and subconsciously created these crazy fucking roadblocks where people HAD to go through me for approval and answers???? 
WHAT DID I DO? AND… did I actually do this???
We are in the process of this Mission to Mars where we are learning more traction-y ways of being a leader/boss and going through LMA sessions. Now, this is not my first LMA rodeo, I have sat through the videos, read [skimmed] how to be a great boss, and filled out one of the LMA questionnaires for my boss, Scott. 
We sat down in a conference room on Tuesday, me and this new group of astronauts, and we watched the video – first time for some, second or thirdsies for others – and discussed. Scott rambled off some stuff about things and we went through the LMA questionnaire again. AND HOLY SHIT – I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO DIE RIGHT THEN AND THERE.
I COULDNT ANSWER YES FOR ANY OF THE QUESTIONS. I was a no for all categories. 
And that made me cry. Not for myself, even though I have been known to be exceptionally selfish, but for my fucking team. Like, lord, what? Honestly, I know this last year has been somewhat of a blur both in my personal life and at work, and I knew that there were aspects of my work life that I really needed to narrow in on and re-group/re-focus on. I just didn’t realize how far off course I really was until I sat down and read that stupid fucking piece of paper. 
Aaand queue more waterworks. 
For those of you not familiar with LMA its basically like this: Leadership + Management = Accountability… and something like if you are a good leader and can manage shit your team will be successful and happy and respect you. The questionnaire asks things like “do you make time for your team and give them what they need”… 
So, based on my really shitty explanation of something a bit more complex than that I am sure you can understand why I was [am] so upset. 
It all makes sense now. This needy culture WAS created by me, my absence as a LEADER created a black hole. These people are just looking for someone to help them out and I was too busy being a raging ball of BITCH to actually give a serious damn. I gave a half-hearted damn, I was going through some shit, okay? 
Excuses are like assholes but whatever, that is all I’ve got.
How long can someone be “going through some shit”before its just “my life is shit”… and when do you know when you have crossed the line from one to the next? How will I know if I am succeeding? 
What does success look like?
When will going to work stop giving me anxiety? When will being at work stop giving me anxiety? When will leaving work stop giving me anxiety? When will sitting at home on the couch watching shitty TV stop turning into thinking about work and getting anxiety? When will a text message from work stop giving me anxiety?
Is it my job – or is it me? I am quite certain it is both.
I don’t know – I am not a mental health professional but at the same time I don’t trust half of em, so whatever.
I just want to be fucking happy. I cant remember what it feels like to be genyinely happy, and that makes me even more fucking depressed.
I feel like a damn idiot, going through the motions every day. 
Cheesy-toothy grin and a wave “hi hello good morning” “how are you? Oh me, I’m fine thanks for asking!” “Love your shirt today” “INSERT LAME STORY ABOUT ELTON THAT NO ONE GIVES A FUCK ABOUT BUT HE IS MY LIFEBLOOD”… cry at desk, cry in bathroom, cry while smoking, cry in a different bathroom…. think about eating. 
WORK
GO HOME
MAYBE SEE FRIENDS – joke and joke and joke – touch on one serious topic and go deep into self realization that I am shit, I know nothing about being a person – back to jokes and jokes and maybe food eating
GO HOME
MAYBE PAINT
LOOK AT ELTON
ORDER DELIVERY FROM PARKWAY PIZZA – SEE SAME DELIVERY DRIVER – FEEL LIKE SHIT FOR ORDERING TAKE OUT AGAIN
LOOK AT ELTON
SLEEP FOR A COUPLE HOURS
HIT SNOOZE *19* FUCKING TIMES BECAUSE I SET MY ALARM FOR 6 AM BUT CANT WAKE UP UNTIL 745
STARE AT ADULT ACNE IN MIRROR AND CRY
GET READY FOR WORK
PANIC WHOLE WAY INTO WORK – WHAT DID I FORGET TO DO
PANIC ALL DAY AT WORK – WHAT AM I FORGETTING TO DO
PANIC WHOLE WAY HOME FROM WORK – WHAT DID I FORGET TO DO
*repeat every day for 9 months with the exception of a handful of days
I am tired. 

Good vs Good

Where do we go from here? It seems like the nation is stuck in a davistating loop of violence and hate. Turning on the news or checking social media is a guarantee to see some sort of violence – police crimes and/or hate crimes.

I’ve read reports – national surveys – saying that Donald Trump is more trustworthy (according to voters) than Hilary Clinton. Has there been a national survey about trust of the police? I don’t think the outcome would be good. I have to respect the police, because I was raised that way, but I do not have to believe that they are all good and just. I do not have to believe that they DONT need help.

Is it that police officers are bad? Is it that police officers are RACIST? Is it that police officers don’t have enough training? What is it? People have been saying that “we only see a fraction of reality, that police aren’t killing JUST BLACK MEN”… but… so police are killing a lot more people and we just don’t see it? Ok, but that makes me feel WORSE knowing there are people dying at the hands of police that we did not know about. How is that ok?

Also, is that supposed to make it ok that there are BLACK MEN BEING MURDERED at routine traffic stops? I have been pulled over quite a few times (I’m not the best driver) and never in my wildest dreams would I imagine my own demise. 

I had never been afraid of the police. 

Until now. 

BUT my fear is not for me!! I am a white woman! I am no threat to the police. I fear for my BLACK friends and their BLACK families! My fear is for the BLACK population entirely, not just the people I know. 

My fear is that this hate, this sickness, is going to be allowed to continue, allowed to grow, allowed to darken. 

As I laid in bed last night I read comments of people choosing to defend the police actions, choosing to “wait to pass judgement”… This is not about us as civilians passing judgment, we are not a jury or judge. It is about US as civilians standing up – uniting – and saying NO MORE! 

What more evidence is required for you to see that in less than 1 week two black men were gunned down needlessly? How is that fact, that two men are now dead, not enough? 

Now there are sniper shootings at protests.

Why? 

I don’t really have much to say, I don’t really know what to do. I’m not feeling eloquent or articulate, but I had to just say something, somewhere.

“Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness. We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love.” (1958)