Day 131

Love, Margaux Motin


Mom arrives today to help while my dad and C go on a ski trip – so I’ve been in a flurry of cleaning and prepping while still trying to work from home. This next week will be a good one to practice restraint.

While I love my mom and she is an incredible woman, I am not immune to the typical reactions that most women have when in close quarters with their mother for any length of time. In the past, after about 4-5 days I end up blowing my top about some stupid thing or another, and regretting it almost instantly.

I’m vowing this time will be different.

Although my relationship with my mom is not painful, I am finding this quote helpful as I work on being less reactive:

You will continue to suffer if you have an emotional reaction to everything that is said to you.

True power is sitting back and observing everything with logic. True power is restraint.

If words control you, that means everyone else can control you. Breathe and allow things to pass.

Gratitude postscript:

Need it be said? I’m grateful for my mother’s influence in my life, and her gracious support whenever I need it – whether over the phone or in person during times like these. I’m grateful to have a mother who inspires me and lifts me up, even when we don’t agree.

Day 130

Mad About Monkeys: An Encyclopedia, by Owen Davey


I’m having a mint & chamomile tea (late evening staple lately), and fitting in some work email, begrudgingly. My “slow it down” mentality may have me going to bed early tonight… I have zero energy for my usual evening list.

Recent conversations about habits and how our brains work have me pondering the commitment I’ve made. This started as a year of sobriety, but I’m wondering if I need to start now in committing to a lifetime. If I open my monkey brain* up to the possibility that at a year, I can go back to drinking, my monkey brain will probably start pestering me about it even if I want to stay quit.

Damn monkey brain.

*What I’ve taken to calling the thoughts in my head – wild and out-of-control, unless I see them and choose how to manage them (ignore, contain, accept?)

Gratitude postscript:

Driving home, I caught myself heading down the familiar negative pathways due to tiredness and work stress… and it was like catching myself biting my nails. I looked up, suddenly aware of the subconscious actions of my brain, and mentally slapped myself. I have a great job! I work for myself, making good money, for the most part appreciated in what I do and recently, not working all THAT hard. Today, I’m grateful for that.

Day 129


Slowing down. What a simple concept, what a profound result.

Just choosing not to react, acknowledging my feelings in the moment but not acting on them, silencing my thoughts to pay attention to another’s words, facial expressions, attitudes… in the rare moments that I have been able to do this in the last couple days, it has made a huge difference.

And in the moments where I haven’t, I’ve often regretted it.

I’ve been reading and absorbing so much lately, on sobriety, on relationships, on parenting, that at times there is an overwhelm of information. Too many ways in which I’d like to improve, so many things I could be doing differently, so far to go.

But for now, I’ve boiled it down to this one choice: slow down, stay quiet, don’t react. 

And that’s plenty.

Gratitude postscript:

Each and every day, I am profoundly grateful for my boys. But today, I’m feeling it right on the surface. Nightmares last night, probably spurred by a scary article I read right before bed (why did I do that?), woke me with a desperate, gutted feeling of something gone really wrong. And then I felt my son, little C, sleeping next to me, and realized it was all a dream. Dream or not, I’m appreciating them a little more than normal today.

Day 128


So today, I received two conflicting pieces of advice.

The first person, a good friend and one of my best cheerleaders in this journey (of the few who even know about it), asked me why I was still counting days; “You’re beyond that!” “Counting days keeps you attached to your past, you need to move on!”

I found myself bristling a bit and defending my need to watch the days add up.

Then later today, in a private FB group I shared my desire to get a tattoo after a year to commemorate the life change of sobriety and all that it’s meant for me. 

The advice I received there basically amounted to “Don’t ever count your chickens, ever.” This person had been sober 9 years and fell off the wagon. I found myself getting defensive there as well, and then quieted myself down before responding with gratitude.

I find I agree more with the second piece of advice than the first – although at some point I’ll probably count months more than days, or maybe give up counting all together – but that will need to happen naturally. I still need the crutch right now.

But regardless of whether I agree or not, I’m learning to be quiet, slow to react, and sometimes – just listen. Others have wisdom to share, if I can get out of my own way.

Gratitude Postscript

Today, I’m grateful for Sisters. My own, wonderful sister by blood whom I love dearly. My Sisters-in-law, who I am connecting with over the years, all of them deeply feeling, strong, intelligent women who enrich my life. And my Sister friends, those few golden friendships I’ve made over the years, who remain close in spite of distance and time.

Day 127


Today’s plan: yoga morning, Super Bowl afternoon with friends coming over. So far, so good.

I’m excited that one of the friends joining us is S, my kick-ass girlfriend who has quit the booze too. So she and I are going to be juicing it up with my latest (fresh cali citrus and carrots, with a little ginger), while we stuff our faces with appetizers and junk food.

Feeling grateful for friends that get it, and a relaxing Sunday ahead.

Day 126

Hey Tonight by The Mavericks


A super quick post – tonight C and I are going on a date for dinner and a movie (The Post) and it’s become our replacement Valentines, as he’ll be away for that week on a ski trip.

My plan is to do a better job of listening, and just being quiet. And to enjoy our time together without expectation. I’m excited to share my gift with him (tickets to see The Mavericks, a band we both love to watch live).

I know it will be tough not to drink – and I’m even skipping my usual Saturday night smoke for this – but I’m excited to spend time together.

Wish me luck!

Day 125



So I’m learning, albeit slowly – very slowly, to pause and examine my emotions instead of immediately reacting. That days like yesterday, full of failures and emotional stress, can be followed by days like today, so far the opposite, is just more proof that emotions are flighty, changeable, unpredictable, temporary.

Yesterday, after my lovely post ending in gratitude toward my husband, I went home and immediately got embroiled in angry discussion with him about something completely stupid. Right, I did that. All me. He pushed me out the door to yoga early, saying it would be easier to put boys to bed without me leaving mid-way through, so I was left with time to calm down and reset. Regardless of his tense delivery, I was grateful again, for him.

Yoga went well. It’s a laid-back class with an instructor that says things like “let’s wring out the toxins” and “breath into your third eye”, and while I have yet to actually believe any of that, I did find myself wringing out the angst of the day – alternately feeling hopeless and upset with myself for KNOWING BETTER and yet still fucking it all up, and feeling the strength of my intention to DO BETTER tomorrow.

I ended on a good note (maybe I did wring out those toxins after all ha!) and decided that I would give myself one intention for today: to not react.

No matter what the triggers, the insanity, the anger or stress around me, I would not react. I would hold back and observe. And if I did just that, I would be proud of myself.

And I did, for the most part.

I think it’s a good starting point. 

Gratitude postscript:

Lunch today, with a close friend. So many reasons to be grateful: our friendship which I value tremendously, the freedom of freelance that allowed me to take an hour for lunch (as it was my choice to escape an important meeting to attend), the financial freedom to go someplace fancy and order a big lunch, and the freedom to eat more than I would have before quitting, knowing that I have an additional ~1000 calories per day to burn on real food instead of booze.

Day 124

Karina Eibatova, Mineral


Wow, this morning was rough. Boys were pushing every button, and it was one mess or stressful situation after another for the whole 2 hrs it takes us to get out the door. I just couldn’t get ahead of it. I held it together – no yelling or other bad mom behavior – for most of the morning, until the mad rush for the door. Which was harder than normal due to a temper tantrum right on the way out.

I snapped and said something like “you WILL get IN your CAR SEAT” through gritted teeth as I forced my crying 4-yo into the seat. It wasn’t pleasant. I quickly rallied and acknowledged his anger (“are you upset that you couldn’t finish watching that show? I know that’s hard for you, sweetheart”), told him I knew we were both feeling angry and let’s take some deep breaths together.

On the drive to daycare, he calmed down and my anger faded into tears. I felt like a complete failure. I still feel shitty.

Just last night, I read this article, and it really hit home. It makes so much sense – modeling emotional intelligence to your child – when they are out-of-control, you must maintain control. The importance of acknowledging their pain and anger, and helping them understand the primary emotion behind it. I read it, and thought – I WILL DO THIS. Starting tomorrow morning!

And then.

It’s days like this that I realize how far I have to go, how much I have to learn, how different it is to read something than it is to actually DO it.

Two ways I could have been better equipped to handle this morning’s chaos: better sleep, and a more sober evening last night. I know that contributed to my sense of overwhelm.

So I’m writing this during the day, to give me more time this evening for settling down in healthy ways (yoga, meditation, reading) and going to bed early.

Wish me luck.

Edited to add:

As part of this exercise, I’d like to add a daily note of gratitude. Although I know it’s not directly connected to sobriety, making it part of this commitment will help me stay consistent.

Today I’m grateful for a husband who was understanding of my failure this morning. His text back? “I’m sorry, sweetheart. I hope yoga tonight helps.” Not only does he understand, but he’ll be putting the boys to bed so I can attend the class. I’m grateful for that.