My 60 Days without Alcohol

I decided on August 24th that alcohol and I were no longer friends. It had done a number on myself and my relationships, and when someone said, “You, can’t stop drinking! That will never happen!” It pissed me off. I’m stubborn and hate being told I can’t do something. I can do anything I want to damnit! So I quit.

60 days later, I’m not going to tell  you it’s been easy. It hasn’t. I was using alcohol to not deal with a myriad of problems going on in my life. Some I created, some I didn’t. Most of them I had absolutely no control over, and my drinking had become daily.

Almost without thinking I would pop open a bottle. This use to occur when I got off of work, but then I quit working in October of 2016, so I had an abundance of time to do whatever I wanted. And apparently I wanted to drink.

Sunday brunch drinking turned into Monday day drinking. Why not? It’s not like I had anywhere to be. And since I was divorced, I had a week at a time to myself. Before I knew it I was drinking all the time. Sometimes I didn’t even really want to, but I’d think, meh, it’s there, why not?

Here’s another thing about me… well a couple of things. One, I’m an only child, and two, I’m never wrong. Or so I thought.

Everyone always comments how nice and sweet I am. That is… until you piss me off. I’ve been told by some of my best friends, who pissed me off, that my tongue is ruthless and cuts to the bone. This was a quality I knew I had and frankly, I liked it. Especially since I was never wrong. I felt like since I was speaking my truth, I could say anything I wanted. This fueled with lots and lots of drinking was a deadly combination. I alienated many a friend. My two best friends said they no longer recognized who I was as I drank more and thought more highly of myself than I ever had.

I thought I was invincible.

Turns out, I don’t possess that super hero quality. I only discovered this after losing my best friends and gaining legal issues. Hello DWI. I spiraled quickly in late 2016 and the first 8 months of 2017. Until that one person made the comment that changed everything. Telling me I couldn’t quit.

The hardest thing that has happened since quitting has been facing my fears without any numbing substance. I have many fears. Most are about things I can’t control and the unknown. I worry and worry, and worry about things that may or may not happen, and that fear was paralyzing.

I was also in a very unhealthy co-dependant relationship that I told myself I had to be in, because I could not face the fear of being alone. Not drinking allowed me to see just how destructive that relationship was, and I ended it.

And it was freeing. Absolutely freeing. I love being free. I forgot somewhere along the way that when I’m free, I’m happy. What a sobering slap in the face. Now, 63 days  in, I’m happier than I’ve been in over 20 years. Yep. 20 freaking years. That’s a long ass time.

Stopping drinking has taught me to look my fears straight on, and walk through them alone. I am no longer afraid. There are still problems and issues, but I’ve learned to not sweat the things I cannot control. And to not tell myself it would be horrible if ‘this’ or ‘that’ happens, because frankly, I don’t know. Maybe it would suck, maybe it wouldn’t. I won’t find out unless that said event actually occurs. I’ve learned in the last 63 days that the reality is often not what I thought it would be. Not at all. And I’ve realized I’m a pretty bad ass bitch. And I’m okay with that.

I don’t know if I’ll repair the relationships I’ve ruined, but I’m okay with that too. I’ve made it a year without the two people I cherished most in this world as far as friends go, and I’ve survived. Of course I miss them, but if they can’t forgive me that’s okay too. I’ve made some new kick ass friends and life goes on.

My outlook to the future is bright. It’s almost downright blinding. And I cannot wait to see what the next year brings. Challenges, ups, downs, life… I’ll take it. And I’ll survive. And I’ll be just fine. 

The End of an Era

I don’t know how I’m going to make it through this post. I am absolutely terrible with change. Even when I know it’s coming. So, when my beloved nanny Thavone, told me when the boys returned to school it would be time for her to move on, I bawled like a baby. For a week.

Realistically I knew she would not be staying with us forever, but I definitely daydreamed that she would be there by my side, waving with me as I sent Luke and then Cole off to college.

When she leaves I know the boys will be fine.  Cole will be more upset than Luke, but I know they will both be okay. It is me that I am worried about.

Thavone has been with me for five years. She started the week after I brought Cole home from the hospital, and she was immediately family. Her family became my family and vice versa. Her daughter Jade helped out with the boys too, and every time I tell them Jade is coming they shriek with joy.

Friday is Thavone’s last day. Tears stream down my face as I think about it. I watched Jade graduate from TCU and move to France. I was excited when she came home. I remember when Thavone’s husband Phillipe got sick. I watched her care for him daily. I remember when Jade called and told her to come to the hospital now, that it was time. I remember watching in awe as Jade and Alex sang at the funeral, wondering where on earth they got their strength from.

Thavone would hold me as I cried in her arms. I cried because I didn’t know how to handle two kids. I cried because I was unhappy. I cried because I didn’t want a divorce. I cried because I did. I would cry and tell her my kids deserved someone else to be their mother. Someone like her. She was my angel when I needed one. But now her time with me is over. Because I have grown and I have changed.

We changed each other.

She showed me how to trust myself. She showed me that I was not only enough, but all my kids needed as a mother. And she assured me that I was the only mother they would ever want. She told me that I had given my children the two best gifts in the world — the gift of love, and the gift of freedom. Freedom to be who they want to be, and to encourage their individual spirits.

I taught her that it was okay to sometimes just throw caution to the wind. To let your hair down and not take yourself so seriously.

And there was so much more! There was such growth. As I struggled with my various situations, through all my tears… I grew. I learned that I was, in fact, stronger than I thought. I learned that because of what I have gone through, I will be able to help my children when they go through difficult situations. I understand their idiosyncrasies better than anyone, so who better are they to chart these crazy waters with? We were definitely meant to go through this together.

This week will come and go. And so will Thavone. Just like that, she’ll be gone. I know in my mind it is time, but my heart hurts just thinking about it. And as I know this week will be very bittersweet, I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes. It’s from Dr. Seuss, who reminds us, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” And today, that is what I will do.

I love you so much Thavone! Thank you for being the sister I never had. I know this transition might be a bit rough, but I know you will always be in our lives. And for that, I am forever grateful. Thank you for everything.


 

unBELIZEable

When the ship goes down, you better look around and see who is right beside you. Those who you spot with a life vest, in a dingy, mouthing you ‘Good Luck’ are ones to go ahead and mark off your Christmas card list. If you make it to next Christmas, that is.  Those that have vest on, and say, ‘Grab me, I got you!’ Those are the peeps you never let go of.

This was made very clear to me on a trip taken to Ambergris Caye in June, 2014. A trip that came to define my life. At least this particular era of my life. It started a year before, back in August 2013, when Alexa got married to her ‘lovie’ Jamie in a magical and mystical experience in Belize, complete with Woodland nymphs {oh wait, that was me}. There was a flautist, who we are all still convinced is Marc Anthony’s much less famous and talented brother. There was snorkeling with sharks, the amazing Palapa bar, where we could hang out in intertubes and get drinks lowered to us in buckets, or upstairs, where you could play your own playlist and twerk with the bartenders behind the bar. There was drunken sleuthing with Simone… My guess is, if Simone ever does go into business as a P.I., she will not call and offer Tracie, nor I, positions. It was the trip of a lifetime. So much so, that we could not stop talking about it. And six of us migrated back 10 months later…

Three couples. The lovely bride and groom, me and my then husband, and Ashleigh and Daryl. Some of Alexa’s good friends went down as well, and were staying in a condo just across from us.

Night one.

We get situated and immediately start looking for food and drinks. We have heard there is a place ‘just down the beach from us’ and we start off down the road. We found it, it was great. We met, what I am fairly confident is, a 10-year-old cocaine drug lord who is from America and whose parents own a breakfast joint just down the road. We decide to walk back closer to the beach on the way back, and just around the corner there are three men standing with machetes. I screamed and jumped towards the water. They never moved. We went back to our place and continued to drink. And then we decided to go have a dancing contest on the pier. It was then that a guy on his bike and an older gentleman come down our private pier with, a huge machete. I’m a little nervous at this point, but the old man, who offers a joint and says his name is Mr. P, calms my nerves a little. At least I’m now more confidant they aren’t planning to cut us up and feed us to the fish. Then the young guy explains they own a snorkeling company two piers down, and they were simply going to fish. I ask them where their fishing poles were, and they laughed. The young guy, Nahuel, pulled out a beer bottle, a string and some bait, and taught us how to fish without poles. Ashleigh makes plans around 4 am to go snorkeling ‘in the morning.’

At 10 am the last thing I feel like doing is getting on a boat. Our host show up with rum punch, which wasn’t going to sit well with me. Right after we pull away, I feel sick. Instead of returning me to the shore, my friends drop me off in the ocean. On a house boat. Nahuel assures me he knows the workers and ‘everything will go real smooth.’ I watch my friends get smaller and smaller as the boat drives off.  I can barely stand. I crouch down, where the water is meeting the floating vessel and start throwing up. Then a man comes to stand over me. My life starts to flash before me, and I’m sure this is not going to end well… He reaches down, and hands me a water. Tells me he hopes I feel better. I mean to say thank you, but roll over and puke instead. Several fish swim up to eat. My barf. Which makes me get sicker, which draws more fish. All I can here is the Jaw’s theme music playing over and over in my head, when, what feels like hours later, I finally hear the roar of the motor of the boat my friends are on. I am fairly convinced I have narrowly escaped death three times already, and start telling everyone we are about to be the topic of a Dateline story. Then I go on a long diatribe about how much I hate Stone Phillips and he better not be the anchor. I stand by that rant.

The following day we decide to relax and hang out at our favorite bar, the Palapa. It was at that bar that something in me changed forever. It started out with us girls joking around, a joke was taken the wrong way, and my husband did not find the joke amusing. At all. I started crying and went upstairs with the girls, who did what best girlfriends do best. They listened, we talked, the bartender who remembered us from twerking behind the bar a year earlier, came up and ask us if we wanted anything, and at 3 pm, we decided to order lunch. My husband came upstairs right about the time my hamburger was delivered. More fighting ensued, and Alexa, or maybe it was Ashleigh jumped up and said, ‘That’s ENOUGH! You will not speak to her like that!’ He went back downstairs and I will never forget looking out at that ocean. It was gorgeous. Beyond gorgeous. And my husband and I could not get along. At all. And just like that, I knew in an instant it was over and there was no going back. I started to cry and Alexa wrapped her arms around me. ‘Are you okay?’ ‘No. No I am not okay. If we can’t be happy together in paradise… It’s over.’ And it was. It had been for a long time, but for whatever reason, that moment in time, I knew there was no going back or ‘fixing’ us.

And I am in no way blaming my ex for anything, it was just a fight, we’d had millions of fights at that point, some were his fault, some were my fault, some were both of our faults.

And I can tell you this, I have about 6 friends who I know I could count on for anything. The kind who know all your secrets and love you even more because of them. Ashleigh and Alexa are two of those people in my life. Thanks for always being my life raft.

 

 

I saw a sign… Except I didn’t.

Have you ever thought… If only there was a sign from God. Or the guy at 7-11. Anyone… Just give me a sign. Before I got married, there were a *few* signs that maybe this union was not blessed by the stars. Here, are  just a few of those signs. Those that led up to the day of our wedding.

Our wedding was in Las Vegas. I wanted it to be in Bora Bora, or Saint Something, or Haiti, but my mother, who claimed I could plan the wedding I wanted when I had a girl and she was getting married, vetoed all my choices and chose Vegas. She claimed that because she  was paying for a decent portion of the wedding that she got to pick everything. Turns out, I didn’t have a girl, I had a divorce, so I guess I’ll get to plan my second wedding. It all worked out in the wash. *Sidenote, I did put my foot down when she was insisting I be married by not one, but several asian Elvis impersonators.

Funny story about my wedding date… I knew four girls getting married that day. Myself, and three girls from high school. To prove the divorce rate of 50:50, yes, two of the four couples are divorced, and two are still together. By the time I learned of the fourth girl getting married on the same day I was, it was practically an eye roll… I’d run into someone, see a diamond on their ring finger, and I’d say, “Let me just guess when you are getting married…” I was at Neiman’s, at a Barnaby party, {does Barnaby still exist?}, and I ran into my friend Erica. She showed me her diamond and told me she was getting married April 24th, and I replied, ‘who isn’t’ and told her about Laura and Leigh, also getting married that day, and how Leigh was already trying to steal a bridesmaid… “Well that won’t happen to me,” Erica laughed. “I’m not getting married here.” “Where are you getting married,” I ask. “Las Vegas.” “Where?” I enquired with enthusiasm. “Bellagio.” “What time?” I screeched. “8:00” “Erica! I am the wedding before you!” Yeah. How crazy is that? And she is one of the ones still married. Let me find the picture of us in our dresses…


Okay, back to the signs… I purchase the airline tickets for Vegas months in advance, of course, and even though it was way back in 2004 p.i.p. {pre iPhone} electronic airline tickets were still all the rage. But for some reason, we had paper tickets. I had tacked them to our bulletin board that had nothing  else on it in our kitchen. Unfortunately, when we were dropped off by my almost father-in-law at the airport, I had forgotten about those paper tickets, and we missed our flight. We had to go home to get said paper tickets to turn them in for other tickets and during that time, my cat Leah escaped and we had to leave for Vegas while she was outside. I cried the whole way back to the airport.

We get to the hotel to check in, and, an hour and a half later, we go to our room and my parents luggage is in it. They checked us in to my parents room. We go back downstairs and they check us into another, much smaller room then we were supposed to have, so they sent us to get our marriage license while they worked it out. We got our license by the same lady who issued Britney Spears hers y’all. Yet another sign. When we got back to the hotel I laid the marriage license on the desk in the room. Then they called to move us into our final room. I left the license on the desk. I called about an hour later when I realized this. It was gone. No trace of it. We had to go get a second license…

I think some of us see the first sign and get it. Some of us are beat over the head with signs and ignore all of them. For years. Decades. History will repeat itself until you change it yo.