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I’ve been gone. I took a break from my blog to tend to my kids, my job, my man, my house, my health, my spirit.

I’ve also been tending to my sobriety.

I quit drinking five months ago. Not a long time in recovery circles, but long enough to know that this has been a life-changing decision for me.

On December 23, I came home from work. I opened a bottle of chardonnay and poured a glass while I cooked dinner. Such a civil way to end the day, to take the edge off. I stirred the spaghetti sauce and poured another glass.

An hour later, I went out to the garage to put the empty green wine bottle in the recycling bin with the other empty green wine bottles.

There have been times in my life when I took my recycling down to The Recyclery so that my empty green wine bottles wouldn’t be exposed out there in the bin on the curb, clearly visible to my neighbors. Fourteen wine bottles in the recycling bin looks like you had a party. Unless you have fourteen wine bottles in your recycling bin every two weeks.

I’ve played my cancer card exactly once: to get out of a ticket for not wearing a seat belt ("Sorry officer, I just had reconstruction and it hurts," I lied.) But I don’t intend to use it to explain the alarming increase in my alcohol use. Yes, I went through a debilitating depression last Fall after my reconstruction. But my drinking had been progressing way before then.

I quit for these reasons:

I quit because I was drinking too much.

I quit because I discovered that moderation was not an option for me.

I quit because chemo threw me into complete menopause in 12 months, causing me to gain 20 pounds, upon which working out like a triathlete has had little effect.

But the main reason I quit was because of a conversation I had with my 15-year-old son about drinking and driving. “Mom, don’t you think it’s kind of ironic that you’re telling me to not drink and drive when you had two glasses of wine at home, you’re drinking a beer here at Jersey Joe’s, and then you’re going to get in the van and drive us both home?”

At that moment, I knew I was going to quit drinking. It took another couple of weeks. But on Christmas Eve, I walked into my first AA meeting.

It actually feels amazingly good and freeing to not drink. I find that keeping things simple works. I find that a ride on my mountain bike with Ocho works. I find that a steaming bowl of chicken and vegetables over rice works. I find that music works. I find that being here for my kids works. I find that God works. But keeping things simple is not simple for me. I’ve actually had to check out so I could check back in; I’ve had to focus on only the most essential priorities.

So, I’ve been gone. But I’ve been here. Where I intend to stay.


SweetAnnee said…
I'm so proud of you..and so glad to see you post..
Life can be hard and WAY busy!!
Anonymous said…
Uh you've gone and done it!! :-) You've got the total honesty keeping it real thing happening now. Ya know that means there may be some that won't be able to be around you comfortably, maybe. And there may be some that will make excuses to not be in touch. Because I have been a 15+ yr member Al-Anon and many year supporter of AA, I also gained sooooo much with Recovery. Anyone who is uncomfortable with my honesty is not a loss for me. I particularly like the 12 Step saying "You're only as sick as your secrets!" Oh boy, that really lost me some major people in my life, no more games, no more secrets. It has been healthier for me and my husband who is also Al-Anon. We're not as popular of course and the Steps also are in our work and everyday affairs...Thank God! I "found" myself in the 12 Step rooms. They showed me what true spirituality was where no church ever had or has. I found the people in all those rooms were more spiritual and honest in their everyday affairs than any others I have ever met. I am so glad you found your way there. I hope someday our only adult child does and some other loved ones. We miss all my siblings and our parents who never made it into those rooms and passed in pain. Thank you for making your healthy choices and awareness public. Love to you and yours. Church
Sherry/Cherie said…
Oh my gosh -- you love yourself so much!!! And you love your children!! And you are an inspiration in more ways than I can say. You have courage and bravery and a sense of self that sings. Love you so much!! You go girl!
Katie said…
Wow, what a post. Thanks for sharing.
SweetAnnee said…
thinking of you today..
love ya
Trudie said…
Congratulations! I am also glad to see yu posting again!
lahdeedah said…
Deena, thank you! Hope things are good with you. I'll be thinking about you and your final chemo. This coming Wednesday?

Church, it feels like you're sitting here with me over a cup of coffee. I love your honesty and your support. How'd you go through that life of yours and still end up with such a big, open heart?

Sherry, I am so happy to see you here! I have missed you, my friend. I love your exuberance! Thank you for the generous words.

Katie, I'm anxious to read more of your story. Thanks so much for coming by here :)

Trudie, I'm anxious to read your story, too. Thank you so much!
Sherry/Cherie said…
Next time I'm in NorCal (it took me 30 years to get back this time!!), we'll make plans!! ♥
bella said…
I'm grateful to have you back, here, writing again.
I honor the brave and powerful truth telling and living you are doing right now.
It feels like the time is always right to come back home again.
lahdeedah said…
thank you, bella :)
Chloe said…
It’s great to see your words here again. And I’m thankful for that son of yours!
Anonymous said…
Congratulations! My husband was an alcholic and died drinking and driving- I was left to raise my 2 month old son, and 4 and 5 year old daughters alone. He had tried several times to quit, but always relapsed. So, stay vigil - for yourself and your family. It'll be one of the hardest and one of the best things you can do for yourself.

God Bless
lahdeedah said…
Hey Chloe, nice to see you writing again, too :) And, yes, I am grateful for that son and daughter of mine.

Dear Anonymous, thank you for being so generous and for sharing your story. I hope life has gotten simpler for you over time. God bless you, too.
SweetAnnee said…
Good news!!
Check my bloggie...
lahdeedah said…
Dear Deena, words alone cannot express how happy I am for you, girl :)
Jen Ballantyne said…
My darling girl you are a tower of strength. Keep it coming, you can do this I promise you can, we are always, always stronger than we know. Until we are tested, we just don't know what we are capable of. Do this thing and you will be confident you can do anything. A wonderful gift to give yourself and life is short sweetie so make the absolute most of it and that means being authentic as you are which is so brave. I also want to thank you so much for your support on my blog, you are a beautiful person who has done it tough. Life can absolutely suck and it can be so tempting to turn to something to ease it's path but that 'thing' usually ends up exacting payment. Love to you and if you ever want to talk just email me and I will respond as quickly as I can. Love Jen B. xxx
lahdeedah said…
Dear Jen B,

You are not only amazingly gorgeous, you are incredibly generous.

Love and peace to you.


and i would love to connect with you by email, thank you :)
Imstell said…
Awesome! Show that stregth!

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