Day 326

Ball of Light Mandala, by Denis Smith


Well, it’s been a Day.

I’m sitting here on the couch checking work email, with a pile of laundry next to me and evening chores still to do. But here I am instead. Feeling overwhelmed with everything that needs to happen tomorrow so procrastinating, obviously.

Work was extra strenuous today, making me question the idea of giving up freelance for a staff position at this place. And I found out that my old boss, the alcoholic sexual harasser, has resurfaced from whatever swamp he’s been in for the last 2 years. This time, he’s on his second round of interviews at one of the agencies I used to work at (and still do, frequently, as a freelancer). 

While today’s workload didn’t leave room for drama, some still managed to squeeze in and left me remembering how quickly the gossip travels around here, in this tiny local pond of agencies where everyone has worked everywhere.

I tried half-heartedly to psych myself up for a totally sober evening, but gave up after putting the boys to bed solo (C had volleyball) which, after today’s insanity left me feeling like I deserved to escape for a bit. So I smoked and sorted my closet for clothes to donate. 

While I feel like I’m in a slump lately, there are moments when a little glimmer of the Better Me peeks out. Like the fact that I didn’t get that hung up on a tense conversation with C last night. 

A video of a monk explaining consciousness has helped me (great video about how we practice distraction in today’s age of technology). He explained that consciousness was like a ball of light inside your mind. Your mind has all sorts of places it goes, some positive, some negative, some helpful, some unproductive, etc. And with awareness, we can move that ball anywhere we want. If we don’t like what we’re illuminating with it, we can move to something else. That’s not to say that we ignore the problems in our life… just that if we are not enjoying focusing on them, or if it’s unhelpful, we have the choice to focus on something else.

And I’ve been practicing it on occasion. Honestly, it’s been a relief especially related to C.

While relaxing my mind in this way, it has occurred to me that his intense avoidance of any sort of complex emotional relationship with me (or anyone else for that matter) comes from a place of fear. Consciously or unconsciously, he is aware that he is not good at emotional connection, that he struggles with it and it’s not fun, so he avoids it. He can be relatively inflexible about trying something new – or doing anything that takes him outside of his usual comfort zone (aren’t we all, to some extent). So of course, it would only be natural that he would avoid emotional connection like the plague.

Not sure where that gets me, maybe just a more empathetic place.

Plans are afoot to jumpstart my mojo again in September, with another 30-day Challenge together with a friend. I also just received the brandy-new book, Aware: The Science and Practice of Presence by Daniel Siegel and am looking forward to diving into it. 

An in-depth look at the science that underlies meditation’s effectiveness, this book teaches readers how to harness the power of the principle “Where attention goes, neural firing flows, and neural connection grows.” Siegel reveals how developing a Wheel of Awareness practice to focus attention, open awareness, and cultivate kind intention can literally help you grow a healthier brain and reduce fear, anxiety, and stress in your life. 


Day 324

a piece of you a piece of me, by ohkii studio


Still sober and slumping along.

I’m trying to pinpoint why I’m so stalled here. It’s disappointing that the forward momentum for positive change and self-improvement has slowed down. For awhile there, I was cooking along – making changes left and right, and most of them have stuck (drinking homemade green juice right now and have plans to attend kickboxing tonight yay me).

I guess I thought sobriety would always be like that – just one major improvement after another until I was enlightened or something.

Who knows? Maybe some people experience it that way.

But right now, I’m feeling a bit down on myself for the myriad of ways in which I’m falling short on my journey of self-improvement. And then of course, a part of me rebels and says “Damn it S, you need to let go of your over-achiever high expectations. This is one of your issues! Stop trying to be perfect and just accept yourself where you are at right now.”

And mostly, I think that voice is worth listening to. Except when it comes to unhealthy addictive replacements for alcohol. I need to get a handle on those behaviors, and I think if I do – I’ll feel better about myself.

Getting outside of my head and into the reality of this past weekend, we enjoyed our friend’s yearly “Endless Summer” party where the beer tasting challenge took most of the night, and the alcohol flowed freely.

I was reminded how awkward I am in certain social situations, darting randomly around the periphery as if I have a purpose – but mainly just trying to avoid people. Having kids has been great for this in years past – as they’ve required constant attention. But this year, they were pretty self-sufficient and I found myself without an excuse.

In the past, grabbing a drink and chatting over the beer coolers had been one way of fitting in. And after a few, it didn’t matter anyway.

But this year, my social awkwardness was on full display.

It reminded me of this article, by one of my favorite female voices, hip sobriety, quoted below.

The beauty in feeling awkward and being sober is that you become who you are, because you can no longer use the thing you were using to hide who you are.


Day 320

Bloody dairy


I just read a post in one of my Facebook sobriety groups written by a man in the music industry who has been quit for over a year. He was sharing what that first year was like and described hitting an emotional wall around 8 months in. Actually, he admits to having an emotional breakdown.

It’s made me feel a bit better about the slump I’m in. I don’t need to have everything worked out at this point. There is still a lot of emotional baggage that I need to work through – things I haven’t processed over the years thanks to alcohol – and even if I can’t quite put my finger on what’s going on under the surface… I need to give myself room to be unhappy, unsettled, uncomfortable in my own skin. 

It doesn’t mean that all the progress I’ve made over the last 10 months is gone. It just means that I’m working through something new, and maybe that means I’m about to grow again.

Superficially, life is going pretty damn good right now.

My long-term freelance client just offered me a staff position again, this time with the flexibility I need, so I’m considering it. The boys have matured so much this summer – overall, they are a real joy to spend time with and we are having a blast swimming, beaching, exploring, and goofing off together. C and I are in a happy period, planning for an upcoming night away when we travel to upstate NY later in August.

But there isn’t a day that goes by without some thought of alcohol.

Today, it surfaced a few times.

When I was making a restaurant reservation for our anniversary, every place had its drink offerings displayed alongside the food menus and although I care about C’s preferences, I had to put blinders on to avoid feeling sad about giving up the date-night pre-dinner cocktails, wine pairings with dinner, and post-dinner night caps.

This Saturday, we have a party to attend where the hosts have a yearly beer tasting contest. Up until this year, C and I would spend time figuring out what was the best beer to bring and then join in the tasting fun (we won a hand-carved mini surfboard one year!). This year, there has been no talk of bringing a contester.

And lastly, as I close up shop to join the family downstairs for dinner, wondering how much C has already had to drink, it occurred to me that I’d noticed him drinking sparkling water at this time of day recently. Who knows, maybe he’s taking a few days off?

Day 319


I may not have come out on my own Facebook wall as “dry” yet, but I’m testing the waters by posting publicly about the topic. Last night I was inspired to join the fray on a post asking people to share their unpopular opinions: 

“I think alcohol should be treated with the same warnings, restrictions and taxes as cigarettes. It’s highly addictive and detrimental to the health of those who consume it AND those in proximity in similarly proven ways.”

My passionate foray, although not written as well as it could have been, has received primarily positive replies. And I’m encouraged that although it might be an unpopular idea among my drinking family & friends, overall – it’s not that farfetched.

Still slumping along, no pink clouds in sight and certainly not lauding my current lifestyle and personal choices as the best route out of alcohol addiction… but for today, I’m still quit.

And that’ll do.



Day 317

The Three Fishes, Kerry Hyndman


It’s been a whole week since I posted.

I don’t have any excuse. I’ve just been feeling rebellious lately. No, I don’t WANT to exercise. or read parenting books. or exert self control.

or blog.

Every day over the past week, as evening approached, I’d spend a few minutes thinking about what to write and come up short. I don’t know why, really, except that things haven’t been processing in the steady positive upward direction that’s so easy to write about.

I’m in a Slump.

Some amount of ill-defined personal stress is getting to me in a number of physical ways (TMJ from nightly teeth clenching has my ears plugged up, feeling like an ear infection, fingernails are bitten to the quick – yes, disgusting, upper back is a ball of knots, and I’m having stress nightmares).

And my healthy coping mechanisms have gone by the wayside in favor of the less healthy ones – mentioned in a previous post.

I can’t put my finger on exactly what is causing this though, which of course is stressful in and of itself.

All that to say, I don’t have a neat & tidy post to share, so I’ve stayed quiet.

But still 100% sober.



Day 310

Afterglow, Grounds for Sculpture


Well, the art opening went pretty much as expected. Loads of interesting indie art on the walls, people with heads together chatting quietly while examining the details up close, overly hip and slightly snobbish staff in attendance.

Turned out, the open bar had only alcohol, no seltzer. And my friend wasn’t there when it started, so I waited around drink-less for the better part of an hour, circling the gallery a few times and even considering buying one of the less expensive works. As the gallery filled up with people sipping wine & drinking beer, the smell of alcohol started to permeate the small space.

It wasn’t hard to say No, but I will admit to feeling a bit annoyed that they didn’t have *something* non-alcoholic for us liver-conscious few.

In the end, K arrived and seemed grateful that I was there so it felt worth it. We caught up for a few minutes and I was surprised at how awkward it felt for some unapparent reason. Maybe the fact that I’d hoped to just breeze in and say hi but instead appeared to be that overly attentive friend/art fan, who waits all evening for a glimpse of the artist.

I wondered afterward whether alcohol would have helped or hurt that interaction and decided that it definitely would have made it worse.

Speaking of awkward social interactions and the effect of liquid lubrication, I’m trying to convince my friend S (the one thinking about quitting herself) to attend a local art show & networking event next Saturday. I mainly want to go because it looks like my kind of fun – it’s at the Grounds for Sculpture, with pop-up light-based art installations going on throughout the night. It’s also a pricey affair so S and I were looking into what exactly was included. Booze, booze and more booze, for sure. And possibly some food. 

From the invite, it looks like booze is key. And I guess that’s true of most networking events. It’s making me reconsider the idea… 

Day 307

Best Street Style Looks of MFW Fall 2018


Next week, I’m turning over a new leaf. Back on track with a more reasonable use of MJ, and tracking my spending for the month of August as well. I’ve also put plans in the works to start my daily HIIT exercise routine back up in September, together with a friend who wants to do a challenge with me.

With a renewed sense of purpose, I pulled myself together today and have been floating around on a bit of a pink cloud.

Last night’s street fashion overload had me picking out a less-than-normal outfit this morning, with the thought that I might attend a friend’s art opening this evening in Philly. Crew-neck white cotton tee, tucked into a body-con black skirt hiked up to my rib cage. Black leather sash belt and punk necklace tie the look together with taupe booties and lots of leg lotion. I knew I was rocking it when I turned heads left & right picking up my lunch…

Now, I just need to get up the energy to make it into Philly tonight (assuming C is OK with it since I forgot to mention, oops)

And if I do – I will admit, this being my first art opening since quitting, avoiding the alcohol will be tough. Art openings can be filled with way-too-serious people, everyone avoiding eye contact and furiously chatting up their friends while sipping away on something strong. The only person I’ll know there will be one of the artists, who I’m sure will be surrounded by interested parties… leaving me way to much leeway to figure out what to do with my time.

The Plan: Take a loop around, grab a seltzer, say hi to K and hit the road for home.

Day 306

Nike Air Max 1 QS Sneaker



So it’s time for a little wake-up call.

I’ve been trying to focus on the positive changes in this journal, but I’m realizing that lately it’s been at the expense of honesty with myself.

The truth is that, while I’m learning and growing and healthy and grateful… I’m also struggling with other addictions creeping in as replacements for the alcohol.

And lately, they’re getting worse.

In the hopes that it will help me (and maybe anyone reading this), here is the full disclosure.

The pot smoking is now almost every night, where before I’d reserved it only for Friday & Saturday evenings.

And the online shopping could be probably classified as a genuine addiction at this point. I visit one store almost daily, and make multiple purchases a month.

It’s embarrassing to write this out, but I need to wake up to what is happening.

At exactly the same times of day and for the exact same reasons, I find myself smoking and shopping. To escape, as a reward, when I’m angry with C, to relax, to feel creative, to get a burst of endorphins.

I don’t have any solutions at the moment. For now I’m hoping that a more transparent awareness of the problem will start me on the path to fixing it.

Late PM thought: maybe I’ll just window shop.

Best of NYFW S/S 2017 Street Style

Day 305


Somewhere in there I fell off the wagon.

The journal wagon, that is.

Still 100% stone cold sober. Even after a week with my niece. Actually, it was a totally awesomeee week (said in an exaggerated teen voice with a little vocal fry at the end).

I learned a lot. Like that my Adidas sneakers are Basic White Girl, although I’d like to think I’m not basic. Hypies are kids who wear only high-end labels like Gucci & Prada. Flossing is more than just a hygiene staple, although the dance move is already out of fashion with the older kids (“only little kids do it now”). And I finally know how to Snapchat. But btw, Facebook/Snapchat/Instagram are all boring… VSCO is the new platform. Just images, very little chatting/text. And apparently, getting the right content for your curated VSCO collection takes a lot of energy and thought.

My mind filled with sunshine, surf style, boardwalk eats, horrible horror movies (Teeth, anyone?), and loads of conversations about life in a 15yo’s world, I’m still catching up with my usual routine and life expectations but it’s taking a while.

In the words of Z, I’m shook.