Me? An inspiration?

Yesterday I was talking to one of my girls from work. She’s 19 years old and still in college, working part time at my store and another store. She was talking about how stressed out she gets sometimes because she feels stretched so thin, but that she sees how much I’m doing and how much I’ve overcome and that she uses me as an inspiration and looks up to me. I was like wait, hold the phone, I’m your inspiration? First, I was super flattered, and almost in tears because it was so sweet. And second, I was shocked. Mostly because I’ve literally never been an inspiration to anyone (to my knowledge) unless it’s inspiring people to take more shots. And then I realized how far I’ve come in such a short amount of time and how much I’ve changed my life, and I was incredibly humbled and thankful. I never thought in my life that I would be someone that people looked up to, and it makes me so happy to know that I can be. 

Life is good guys. Happy Monday! 

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Sorry I’ve been MIA

I realized the other day that I haven’t posted on here in a couple weeks, and that I should probably check in.

In my little absence from writing, I received my 3 month coin, have been CRAZY busy at work, and signed up to be a Team Beachbody coach! 

That last one I’m particularly excited but also nervous about. I’ve never really known what I wanted to do with my life, but I have known that I really enjoy helping people. Fitness always was really important to me, and I was always very active in sports when I was younger. Obviously when I began drinking and partying, my health got away from me. I stopped working out and eating healthy, and it really took a toll on my body. I used to be in fantastic shape and look really healthy, and then I found myself just looking sick, tired, and out of shape. 

One of my best friends from college who I recently reconnected with (she didn’t keep up the partying after college and we fell out of touch) is a Beachbody coach, and asked me recently if I ever thought about doing it myself. I posted a while ago about not really loving my job anymore and wanting out, and I thought, maybe I could give this a shot and see what happens. At the very worst, I got to meet some awesome and motivational people, which I need desperately in my life (more positivity please!). 

So I’m jumping all in and learning everything there is to know so I can try to pay it forward and help others, the way that so many people have helped me the past few months. 

Sober date night

Last night my boyfriend took me out to dinner to get my mind off of my cat (and because we hadn’t had a night out in a bit). Our waitress started off by immediately coming over with a bottle of wine and offering us a sample. Out of habit, I almost said yes; but I caught myself and slowly said “no thank you” and ordered a water. Brandon accepted a sample, and then the waitress looked at me and said “is it because it’s a dry wine? Because I can let you sample another kind.” At that point I was like really dude? I already said no thanks. So I said politely, “no I actually don’t drink” and she looked at me like that wasn’t really a thing. At that point I really wanted to say “I’m a recovering alcoholic who’s newly sober CAN YOU PLEASE BRING ME MY STUPID WATER.” But I just kind of stared at her instead. When she walked away, Brandon said “I kind of thought she was going to try pouring the wine into your mouth because she was so insistent that you try some.” At least I wasn’t the only one who felt like she was being pushy.

In the end we both laughed about it, and I later shared the story with one of my close friends who is also in the program. Her response was so perfect that I had to share it.   
My point here, I guess, is not even that people need to be more sensitive or whatever, because no one needs to go around worrying they’re going to offend everyone. My point is more that if someone says no to something, that should be enough of an answer. No need to ask 60 times until I throw my AA chip at you. As a person who works in retail, I know she’s trying to up sell us to ordering wine, but again, if someone says no, that should be a good enough answer. 

Goodbye my Princess

My cat, Lilly, has been going downhill for a couple months now. She wouldn’t really eat anything, eventually stopped eating all together, and subsequently lost a bunch of weight. I think watching her slowly die has been part of the reason I’ve been feeling depressed lately.

I got Lilly in the late fall of 2001, when I was 11 years old. Because I insisted on getting a kitten RIGHT THEN instead of waiting until spring or summer, they were harder to find. We ended up driving to a little cat shelter in the boonies, almost an hour away. When I got there, I eagerly ran to the kitten section. But, I was immediately disappointed. These kittens were insane! They were running around and clawing things (later, when I adopted my baby Spider-Man, I realized that’s just how most kittens are). I wanted a calm cat who just wanted to snuggle. The girl giving us the tour then told my mom and I that there was one more kitten, and she was in the hospital area, because she had a cold. When she brought the kitten out and I held her for the first time, I knew she was going to be the one I took home. She immediately snuggled up to me and rubbed her face in my hair (which became something that Lilly did to only me). My mom tried to talk me out of taking the sick one home, saying it was too much work, but I knew that I loved this one and I had to save her. So we took her home that day.

Because she was sick and her nose was stuffed up, my mom and I would run the shower on full heat and sit with her in the bathroom in the steam, wiping all the boogers that came out of her little nose. We had to do this before every feeding, because otherwise she couldn’t smell her food and wouldn’t eat.

After a week or two she got better. She was never a kitten that ran around or got into things, she would prefer to laze around and sleep, and always loved sitting on people’s laps. She got kind of tubby and she was super sassy sometimes, but that’s what we loved about her. Eventually, I went off to college, but every time I came home she always snuggled with me and rubbed her face in my hair like always.

When I was 21, a group of boys I knew at college snuck a kitten into their on-campus housing. A month or so in they got caught, and I ended up taking him. When I brought him home for Christmas break, he was introduced to Lilly. By then she was 10 or so, and wanted nothing to do with this rambunctious kitten. He wanted SO BADLY for her to like him and want to play with him. 

Yesterday when I came home from work, she was doing really bad. I sat with her and cried and told her how much I loved her. I called my boyfriend to come over, because I couldn’t handle this alone. He spent all night trying to get me to stop crying, but I just couldn’t bear to see her suffering. I knew it was finally time to let her go, but it was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. How do you decide to end an animal’s life?

Rest in peace, my sweet little baby. I’m so happy I got to rescue you and give you a beautiful and happy life. Spidey and I will miss you so very much, but I know you’ll be in heaven playing with Bear, KD, and Cruz (our old family pets) and of course, grandma will make sure you’re taken care of. Sweet dreams princess.

Gross cloud of depression

Don’t let the featured image for this scare you, I’m not suicidal. I never have been actually. I’ve always just been able to relate to that feeling (and I still can) of not wanting to kill myself, but just not really wanting to be alive or have to be a functioning human in the world. I’ve hated myself for a long time, and going to AA and starting to work the steps have helped a little, but lately I’ve been in this gross funk that I just can’t shake, and those awful feelings of depression have started creeping back in. 

If you have never read the articles Adventures in Depression or Depression Part Two on the website Hyperbole and a Half, you really should. The minute I first came across these articles, I immediately identified with everything she was saying. But not only that, I’ve since used it as a resource to give to people so they can better understand me. My boyfriend being one of those people. It explains it perfectly, with a little bit of humor thrown in so it doesn’t seem so harsh and scary.

I’m starting to feel like “why bother even going to AA, you just end up feeling alone and awkward,” which is exactly how I felt last night at the meeting. Yeah, I posted that kind of funny video about befriending a cat, and that’s always kind have been my way. Self deprecation is my armor, and I use it when I truly start to hate myself, but don’t want others to know it. I did it ALL THE TIME when I was drinking. I always blacked out and did stupid stuff that deeply embarrassed me and gave me enormous anxiety when I woke up, but I would just laugh it off and be like “LOLLLL yeah I’m hot mess but it’s funny right?” But inside I was dying.

And that’s how I felt last night. I got home from the meeting feeling just kind of off. Before I even got out of my car I started crying and thought to myself “I’m going to meetings and doing the steps. I thought I was doing better. So why do I still hate myself? Why do I still feel like the girl in that cartoon above, who wants to somehow become not alive?”

Again, don’t worry, you don’t need to put me on suicide watch. I’m currently at work setting up our Halloween and Christmas displays, and later I’ll probably go to a meeting.

I’m not quite sure what the point of this post was, other than to just put it out to the universe and hope for some kind of response or change from my higher power. If you actually read through this whole little rant, thanks. 

How the hell do you make friends?

I mentioned in my first post about how I have suffered from anxiety since I was very young, which always made me feel awkward and alienated in social situations because I didn’t know how to act and it always felt like everyone thought I was super weird (I was). So when I got into drinking, I learned how to make friends by being the social party girl. It was a lot of self deprecation and being a crazy hot mess, but I still made a lot of friends. However, when I got sober, I lost most of those “friends”. Now I’m 25 years old trying to figure out how the fuck a weirdo like me makes friends. My boyfriend doesn’t get how someone who used to have so many “friends” all of a sudden can’t figure out how to make any. I’ve met a lot of people through AA, but I still feel like I haven’t been welcomed into anyone’s friend circle, and I never get invited to do things with anyone I meet at AA. I’ve made plans with people a few times, but it’s never been reciprocated. 

I guess it’s something I’ll learn with time. I’d rather take it slow and find actual friends who accept me and love me completely as I am. For now, I guess that’s what cats are for!

 

Am I a hypocrite?

I recently posted about acceptance, and I honestly do believe that I cannot stay sober or put myself back together unless I fully accept my alcoholism and am up front with people about it. I’ve told my close friends and even posted a couple of articles on Facebook about addiction and recovery. But, I’m human, and recovery is a process. I’m still learning to accept who I am and not be embarrassed or ashamed.

Tonight my boyfriend came to a meeting with me, which was amazing. But after the meeting he casually mentioned that one of our “couple friends” asked what me and him were doing tonight, and he was honest and told them that he was going to a meeting with me because I’m an alcoholic in recovery. Now, these people don’t know me THAT well. We’ve only hung out with them a handful of times, and during all of those times (surprisingly) I drank but was under control. All the people I’ve told so far about me being in recovery have known me when my drinking was really bad, so it somehow felt easier telling them about it because they understood and were relieved that I got help. This couple, on the other hand, was probably really surprised and didn’t understand, since I was drinking with them just a couple months ago.

I know he didn’t do it maliciously, and I know I should be more confident in myself and my sobriety, because it’s already making me into a better person and giving me my life back, but I just can’t help feeling “outed” in a way. Of course now my fucked up brain keeps thinking things like “well, there goes that friendship” and “God now they think I’m so weird.” I’m sure they probably don’t even care. I guess this was a lesson to both me and him; for me, it’s that if I’m going to preach acceptance, that I should probably learn to take my own advice, and for him, that someone’s recovery is theirs to share and it’s up to them when and how they want to disclose that information.

First Post

My name’s Cate and I’m an alcoholic. 

My sobriety date is July 19, 2015, but I didn’t say those words out loud until almost 3 weeks later at my third AA meeting. 

I suppose I should start off by telling a little bit of my story. Growing up I always had this overwhelming feeling of anxiety, and I couldn’t understand why. I was afraid that people wouldn’t like me, afraid to be myself, afraid something bad would happen. So I tried to control everything, and freaked out when things didn’t go exactly as I had planned in my head. I was a basket case. Normally, parents would probably notice that their child was struggling with something and take them to a doctor, but my parents had plenty of issues of their own they were trying to deal with. So I continued on, always feeling anxious. As a teenager, I decided that because I felt so awkward and weird and different, that if I could just make the popular girls like me, that would prove that I’m worthwhile. So I jumped through every stupid hoop they gave me, while they picked apart everything about me and made me feel so small. To this day I don’t understand why I tolerated that, but I did. 

When I went to college, I vowed things would be different. I would find real friends. Up until college, I had never really drank. I was afraid to get drunk in high school because I didn’t want to give the popular girls something else to say about me. But in college I was going to be different, so I tried it. And I LOVED it. Alcohol and I were a match made in heaven. When I drank, all my anxiety and fears went away, and made room for me to finally be myself, be the life of the party. I quickly made many friends, and I finally felt at home. But within the first year of drinking, I already started to see the negative affects. The blackouts, the unwanted sexual incounters, the embarrassing actions, the awful hangovers. But I would just laugh it off over brunch in the dining hall and thought that it was just a small price to pay to be able to be myself. My junior year of college, my parents went through a very messy divorce. I had a younger sister who was still in high school, who was an hour and a half away from me dealing with this all on her own. And then I had my mother calling me daily crying to me. And I was the one who had to hold everyone together. This is when my depression fully kicked in, and my drinking increased even more. I spent my entire year blackout drunk, and the few times I was sober I was curled up in a ball in my bed crying. At the age of 21 I was finally sent to a psychiatrist, who prescribed me the antidepressants that pulled me out of my oblivion. I resumed my normal life in my senior year, ready to be the fun, carefree party girl again. In January of 2012, I was coming back from a concert and crashed my car. When the police officer came to see if I was okay, they immediately asked me to step out of the car. I took the field sobriety tests and failed miserably, blowing a .12. I was immediately arrested, and taken to a holding cell until I was sober enough that my parents could take me home. You would think that would have been the wake up call I needed, but less than a week later I was at it again. 

My drinking continued after college, where I found a group of friends who loved to party just as much as I did. There I was introduced to drugs, which I thankfully never got addicted to. For the next 2 and a half years after college I partied every weekend, had incredibly dysfunctional relationships, and couldn’t hold a job for more than 6 months. In the fall of 2014, something happened that to this day, I can’t explain or begin to understand, but I am forever grateful for. I met a guy, on tinder of all places, who was nothing like any guy I ever dated. He was incredibly sweet, had his shit together, was slightly nerdy, hilarious, good looking, and for some reason was interested in me. I was hesitant at first, because I was terrified he would see the real me and take off running. I knew nice guys like that had no business with girls like me. But he opened my eyes, and for the first time in my life, I started to realize that my excessive drinking wasn’t normal. We had many fights about me not controlling my drinking, and I almost lost him a few times. Everything came to a head in July 2015, just 11 days after my 25th birthday. I got blackout drunk with my friend and then proceeded to drive to my boyfriend’s house. In the morning, he was fuming. He asked me what would have happened if I got arrested again for drunk driving, and I didn’t really have an answer. He told me that he wouldn’t watch me continue to ruin my life, and that if I didn’t get help he was done. So a week later I went to my first AA meeting. 

I’ll save the details of what AA has done for me so far in my 2 months of sobriety and end with the real reason I’m making this blog. I’ve noticed the lack of awareness about addiction and mental illness, and it makes me incredibly sad that something so common in our society is still so taboo. If there had been more information out there, I may have sought help earlier. At first I just wanted to document my experiences in sobriety, but now I think that if my story can help just one person who is suffering, it will be worth me writing it.