This wasn’t today’s original post.
Today was already mostly ready and planned out.
But sometimes the message keeps coming through that there is something else more pressing I need to write about (more on that in a bit) – so I will.
This was my Monday.
I know I always say I am grateful – and God knows I am – but gratitude even doesn’t feel like a big enough word for it really.
When I stop to really think about the amazing timing and gift. . .
My sober birthday is March 28, 2017.
On that day, when God was finally able get through to me after so long, I only (haha) had either one or two stress fractures in my feet but I was still a working Baylor nurse on the weekends. It was painful but I expected them to heal and I was pushing through.
When I celebrated my 100 days, my awesome friend Aaron fitted me to get this and I joined my teetotaler Hip Sobriety sisters in our ink:
Not long after that, on July 7th, I would work my last shift as a nurse ever, as my bones in my feet were continuing to crumble and I was getting sicker and sicker and could not return.
So, at 38, I found myself home full-time, unable to work, stuck in the middle of the disability process (and that is enough for 17 posts), sick as Hale, overcome with anxiety that I had been battling for 25 years but not really talked about (as I was too proud), and watching my RA get worse and worse.
Shit. Just shit, ya know?
A few weeks later I would be sitting at a doctors appointment, with a heart rate of a billion, so anxious I was about to come out of my skin – and this sober woman would FINALLY be able to say “YES, me too,” instead of being prideful and trying to appear together when the doctor looked at me and said, “I really think we need to consider dealing with your obvious anxiety.”
And what was one of her suggestions for my officially diagnosed “severe anxiety” once I was honest about my history and all that was going on? An emotional support animal.
And, again, the growth and openness that came with sobriety for me allowed me to go home and finally express the same feelings of anxiety to my husband and to tell him what the doctor said.
And this guy joined our family:
That’s right. No sobriety, no Henry Herring.
I cannot imagine.
I hid, and suffered intensely with, and self-medicated, tremendously painful anxiety – both generalized and panic attacks – for 25 YEARS, fearful of speaking out.
And ashamed too.
Shame has deep, deep roots and it’s linked to addiction and all of the bad things in so many ways.
If you aren’t familiar with the work of Brene Brown, I encourage you to check out her books – and you know I’m going to give you her TED talk about shame here. 🙂
Seriously, watch this. It says so much. If this TED talk nerd could pick ONE talk for everyone I know to watch, this is it.
When I got sober, I started reading and praying and opening up. I started coming back to myself.
(I still have a long way to go. It’s a life-long journey. But I’ve come a long way too.)
This place changed into place where I write my truth. I NEVER in a million years imagined I would post that I was a sober person – until I did. And that opened the door for me to share many other things I needed to. And I continue onward.
When I got sober, I also never imagined we would be saying goodbye to one of our dearest friends oh-so-suddenly later that year.
My best friend’s husband.
An enduring pain that is always with us.
And I want to fix it so badly – and I can’t.
BUT – at least I am here. I may not be much, I feel so often helpless, there is nothing I can do at times.
But – I. Am. Here.
Thank God for His timing in getting my attention.
And if I had persisted in my behavior as I continued to decline?
I cannot imagine what could have happened with these potentially liver-damaging meds and sick time in bed and anxiety.
And I really can’t imagine once the CRPS came into the picture.
I don’t want to think about it.
So I wish I had an even bigger word than gratitude for these beautiful 653 days.
For my amazing little family and our Wonderpup and cozy home. For my bestie. For our Mom, Pop, & GJ. For my dear friends.
For books and school and writing and TED talks and nerdy documentaries and podcasts. For warm blankets and fuzzy socks.
For becoming a published writer and seeing my dreams starting to come true. For more chances and fresh starts and more opportunities and new projects.
For God not giving up on me.
My heart overflows. I am so thankful. ❤
And now there is so much more to do.
And why this today?
This morning, several sobriety related articles popped up on my feed and I really felt a pull to do some writing about it – but I had some course work to do today, so I carried on as planned.
Then my eyes did this crazy CRPS thing they do sometimes where they go all blurry and I can’t read – yuck I say – so I laid down for a bit and napped.
When I woke up, the first two articles I saw were this article from The Temper about sober celebrities:
And this article about Bam Margera leaving rehab again:
The article about sober celebrities is interesting in that it does make a great point that the more people who are “out,” the less shame there is surrounding addiction and sobriety. Always a good thing.
As for Bam, I wish him the best and can only hope he is being honest with himself and those around him.
But the moral of this story isn’t the articles themselves but that today was clearly meant to be Sober Thursday instead of Sober Saturday this week. It followed me all day until I took the hint.
So it is.
So I’m sharing a little bit of my story to say that there is nothing to be ashamed of. Bringing it into the light and seeking help among those who truly understand is the BEST thing you will ever do for yourself.
A whole new beautiful life is waiting.
So, if you are struggling with alcohol or substance abuse or any addiction for that matter, help IS available to you – and you don’t have to be able to afford rehab to get it (but, if you can, awesome).
Some resources that are available:
https://www.aa.org/ – Alcoholics Anonymous, a traditional 12 step program
https://www.na.org/ – Narcotics Anonymous, a traditional 12 step program
https://al-anon.org/ – a great resource for family members of those suffering from addiction
https://www.celebraterecovery.com/index.php – Celebrate Recovery, a faith based 12 step program
http://www.hipsobriety.com/ – Hip Sobriety. This helped me tremendously. There is so much information. Holly is real and down to earth and her approach just worked for me. Everyone is different. Find what works for you.
There is an amazing community on Instagram. Some awesome accounts to get started:
holly (formerly Hip Sobriety)
And I am: theautoimmunehippie
And search hashtags: #sherecovers #wedorecover #wearetheluckiest #recoveroutloud #teetotaler #soberlife #soberliving #alcoholfree
As always, if you are in crisis, PLEASE present to your nearest emergency room. They WILL help you, regardless of your insurance status or anything else. Don’t wait.
Be well, everybody.
Grace and Blessings.
Twenty minutes after I posted this, I received a notification from HuffPost of this article:
Sometimes the point is REALLY clear. . . 😂😂😂
Be well, y’all. 🖤🖤🖤
congratulations on such an amazingly awesome accomplishment! well done!
Thank you so much, sweet friend!