I've told you the tale of the search for my ubiquitous soul. It's a surface skimmer at best.  I don't delve.  In fact I keep a lot of my troubles buried deep under the surface of who I am in order to spare people.  But if you are here perhaps you do need to hear it. In truth I have no desire to edit my story into some palatable thing that makes you feel more comfortable, but I can only give you small digestible chunks of truth throughout the life of this blog.  I simply cannot vomit out the entirety of my truth for you all at once for you to dissect because it isn't who I am.  I have to share my way. Gently. Over time.  With this newfound respect for who I am, and who I used to be.  Because I still respect that girl I used to be.  I honour her.

{What I failed to realize was that I Am. 
I Am everything.
Like You.}

Truth - Mommy drinks. Or used to anyways.  Not anymore, not ever again.  I need to express how I felt super inadequate in life (not self hatred, not that far deep,  but close) and that losing my mind drinking was the quickest way to feel some kind of validation.   Up until ten months ago I thought this drinking behaviour of mine was fine.  I thought to drink was the norm, and that sobriety, or choosing an alcohol-free life, was highly irregular. Our society is so drink-centric it's a fucking crying shame.  For those stuck in the cycle, you can get out.  It's not normal.  No that doesn't mean YOU are not normal, you are.  What is not normal is that we are all expected to live glossy, "wine glass in hand", laughing hard at the jokes of the pretty people kind of existences. It's everywhere.  IT IS POURED DOWN OUR THROATS.  The good life!  Cheers!!
All those lies.

{What I failed to realize was that drinking is not required. 
 If you don't like me or you think I'm not good enough
that's really your issue, and your problem. By the same token, if I don't like me or I think I'm not good enough
that's really my issue, and my problem...which alcohol does not hold the answer to.}

 I want to tell you that I judged harshly those who didn't drink.  I didn't trust them.  
I didn't think they had any fun either. I guess it boils down to, I didn't trust myself.
But looking back, I wasn't having any fun.  Ever.  I was fooling myself the entire time.  Being unconscious from wine isn't a life.  It's a slow and painful glass at a time. 

Sadly for me there was never an honouring of the space I was occupying at the time.  There was never an honouring of the space I was in or current mindstate in it's naturally silent mode - because silence is natural - "no mind" or "non-duality" is our purest nature and once the drinking started  nightly to escape my stress - it was a runaway train of thought that led to poor decision followed by even poorer decision.

More pics of wine and wine bottles than my own kids in those days.
I want you to know that I wasted so many years being wasted in the evenings after my kids went to bed (gotta keep it on the down low, mommy) that when my dog died last month of kidney failure I felt like I had failed her.  I didn't fail her, but when you lose time drinking you lose time that could have been spent engaged in your real life.  I feel like I cheated myself out of some great moments with her, and I will never get that chance back again. Ever. Not just with the dog but with life.  Missed opportunities, grounded in the fear of not being able to have a glass of wine.  Life revolved around it, always.  It was the hub of the wheel.

  I look back at those conscious choices at the time and I have to wonder - were those actually conscious choices? Because the guilt is something that is tough to bear. On the outside I looked normal.  I acted normal.  I wonder how many people judged my recycling bins with the empties piling up each week.  There is also the guilt lingering from making sure the wine was stocked up in the fridge - but that we were indeed out of milk or dog food.  Fuck. I mean really? Will anyone even like me after reading this? I suppose I don't really care. My opinion is really starting to matter now, and I do like me, very much.  This is the freedom putting the glass down brings.  I am the only one who needs to worry about me. 

Taking myself out to be in nature.  A regular thing now. A beautiful new appreciation.

Is being addicted to "getting away from yourself" actually the real addiction? You know some people like to eat a lot. Some like to work out at the gym until they puke. Others maybe bite their nails.  Some like to pop pills or smoke weed. The common denominator is this - we do these things to make us feel elsewhere.  To escape whatever feeling we are feeling.  I spent years avoiding feelings.  YEARS. I smoked my way through a zillion feelings.  Chain smoked. Drank the whole bottle of wine.  Several times.  Could not stick to one glass, had to finish the entire bottle. All this for the quest of being out of body.  For the forgetfulness that it brings...for the postponing of problems.  Ah the delicious postponing of problems.  Until the next day. 

What was I trying to forget? Let's countdown the things!

The fact that I felt like an imposter running my business (had zero confidence in my abilities, had felt like a total failure, compared myself to everyone else in my industry and decided I was a big loser...etc.) The fact that I felt like an inferior mother. Again, comparing myself to other moms.  Feeling like the world's crappiest friend.  No time for socializing with small kids at home and a family to raise.  But I was not interested, wanted to see no one.  Just wanted to stay home. Stay home and drink! Was I being the best wife I could be? No. Was I prioritizing my drinking over everyone? Yes. In a palatable, suburban way of course. (When I tried discussing my drinking with other moms, other women, they dismissed my problems.  They said I didn't have one.  As they poured themselves another glass and talked about trips to vineyards and wineries and Napa Valley.)
Let's sweep under the rug the fact that I never stuck to any project through to the end. 
Self loathing is a powerful thing, if you let it fester and feel powerless about it.  Every mistake amplified and projected onto the wall of my psyche every time I drank.  I was playing a movie over and over in my mind of things that happened in the past or of what may happen in the future. 

My drinking wasn't fixing how I saw myself, it was muddying the water even further. 

Let's be very clear about one thing right this instant. We all have unwanted thoughts or feelings about ourselves, about life.  This doesn't mean the thoughts are true.  You get to choose which thoughts you pay attention to, which at the time I didn't know.  I hadn't the skills at the time to deal with those onslaught of thoughts.  

 Just because I drank my way through all those grey and sallow thoughts did not make them true.  Drinking didn't make them true, and drinking didn't take the thoughts away. I had to learn to sit with the emotions and allow them to flow through in order for the thoughts to cease. Or simply leave as quietly as they arrived, like a house guest. 

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

~ Rumi ~

I had lived this God awful cycle for too long.  The struggles of being human had taken their toll. Waking up each morning wondering why I hadn't simply made the choice the night before to not do it again.
I have nightmares about how it has affected my kids. What did it teach them about drinking? What did it teach them about people? How to parent? Time will tell.
I have regrets about how I moved in the world. How I spoke to people.  How I failed to care.

But now I do care. And now is all we have.  Now is the time. 
I am leaning and softening and learning. I'm embracing challenges.  I'm keen to discover how to solve problems without reaching for the numbing solution of alcohol.
Learning the art of self love to guide me through life's problems, instead of trying to drown them in wine. Better nutrition, conscious choices instead of reaching for convenient junk food. For instance meditation, and it's amazing power to calm and quiet the monkey mind.  Also movement, yoga and the gym has got me in the flow again.  Kundalini Yoga for it's powerful lightning bolt to the soul - to connect to something greater is all we need. And it's so damn important to love yourself - it needs to be part of the curriculum in school.  From kindergarten onwards.  Each grade, learning the art of self love + self care each year. 

We teach our kids anti-bullying policies - well that should include themselves. Ourselves. Us. We.   Because a lot of the alcoholics I know beat themselves up daily.  With choices, with self degrading thoughts.  With self loathing.  Without valuing themselves for the great people they truly are.  For they are strong.  We are strong! We are bold, intelligent, we question our truth.  We don't need to be stuck in a rut.  We want to live life to the fullest.  

Sober, no photoshop.  Lines and all.  Every one from a drink.  Let's see how the next ten years shows on my face.

Anyone reading this right now has questioned why they drink.  Well we may never know all the little kindlings that set that fire ablaze.  Maybe we eased into it, like I did.  Perhaps you had that example set at home by one of your own parents.  (God help my kids.) It could be genetic. It could be a college thing that never ended.  Who knows the whys.  We may never know and we all have or had different reasons for self-medicating with whatever our substance of choice is; sexual partners, food, alcohol, drugs, fitness, etc. If you do something too much, and you are questioning it, it's time to listen to the answers that lie within.  You do hold the answers.  It's worth exploring the new road of making small changes that lead to great lives. 
You may not want to stop it all at once. Tackle the big fish.  Alcohol.  Then go from there. Get that under your control and then go for the cigarettes, weed, whatever it is.  
You can do it.  You are a mighty warrior...I know this because with a lot of tears and regret and soul searching, I found mine. 
 She is a bad ass unicorn.  She kicks ass and takes names daily.  All it took was some quiet entertaining of the house guests that swept in with no regard for her - she respected them, fed them, sat with them until they left.  And they DO LEAVE.  They do.  Try this and see. 
I have almost a year sober now, and I think now that my kids are lucky to have a mom like me. It's great to think this now, after so long of questioning myself and my abilities.
We'll chat again soon. I have more stories.  
Some embarrassing.  Some hopeful.  All entirely human.
I will be writing about those next.  Then I will share in time. 
I love your soul, xo
A shrine in Mexico. What remains after a life is up to us.  What legacy we beget our children lies in our hands.  Let's leave great ones.