Carrots. Forks. Feelings.

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Those of you that are of the “I’ll-never-be-sober-for-more-than-3-days-at-a-go” variety: This one’s for you.

I used to be  you.

Once upon a time, everything I did seemed impossibly difficult: Work. Sleep. Human interaction.

And perhaps, it’s because I did it all, drunk. Yes, being wasted made everything seem so much easier. So, effortless. If I wasn’t drunk already, my drinks were the carrots I dangled in front of my every errand and task. It was my only reward: Get through this shift, get through this conversation, get through this day. Then — Boom Shakalaka: Get your drink on guuurrrlll!

Well, the thing is, this type of reward system ends up failing. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but eventually, it will collapse. It will collapse fast and hard, like: JENGA muthafuckas! There comes a time when Jim Beam’s dangling carrot is no longer enough. And when you get to that point, there’s a big ol’ fork in the road:

Path #1: Get real with your bad self.

Or, the more likely, ever-popular:

Path #2: Start drinking more, more, more!

And, much like the song, once you’ve gone down the more-more-more path, things get real shitty, real fast.

I’ll spare you the deets of my oh-so-graceful alcoholic timeline. But, suffice it to say, in the end, for me, the “getting real” option became my only option. It was an internal switch. No one flipped it for me. It’s a conclusion I had to come to alone. And, the best I can tell you is, when your compass points due North, start walking. (And, prepare for shit storms.)

Getting sober is one of the craziest things I’ve ever done. And, it continues to baffle me that, not only have I been able to maintain this lifestyle, but, I’ve managed to embrace it. Without my dangling-carrot, my anesthetic, my liquid-modus-operandi: things started to hurt. My body ached. My head felt swollen. I didn’t sleep.  Oh, and the apocalyptic, paralyzing, plutonium-reactor-grade emotional melt down. YeahThat.

Yes, there’s the initial shock-wave, but soon after, the real motivations begin to emerge. Craziness and truth start to separate like oil and water. The truth is: I didn’t give up drinking to feel good. I gave up drinking, because I didn’t know what feeling good felt like anymore. There’s a big distinction.

I realized that, this time, I was for real. I didn’t give up drinking for 30 days just to say I did. The word “sobriety”  became relevant when I finally came to terms with the fact that I gave up drinking as an acknowledgment of something larger.  Something bigger was at work. That thing I’d been putting off for over a decade…Yeah: It’s pain.

And yes, pain sucks, until that amazing moment when you realize you are experiencing something. And suddenly, it’s like: “Oooh, so this is what pain feels like…”

After a decade of avoiding it, it’s a revelation: This is ITThis is what I’ve been missing: Feelings.

 

My advice to you: Get the headaches, lose some sleep, have a melt down. Feel something.

Now, that is a good fucking carrot.

 

Stay saucy,

Sarah

 

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Accepting Thirty.

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THIS IS THIRTY: The moment where your Grandmother tells you that she prays, every night, that you’ll find a man. And, instead of laughing, you’re crying, thanking her profusely for her prayers.

I wish I could be an adult about this, because honestly, twenty days into my third decade, I should definitely qualify as one.

But, there’s that piece of me that just won’t comply. I’m still just a little girl standing in the middle of the living room, stomping her feet because she didn’t get her way. Thirty?! No! NO! NO!!!!

Why doesn’t the Universe know?! By now, I’m supposed to have a great job, one so overwhelmingly fabulous that I just spring out of bed every morning, dance into the bathroom, singing into my toothbrush like Joan Jet, serenading the day that awaits me. Just down the stairs, my hunk of a husband, is seated at the granite-topped island in our fabulous kitchen, reading John Updike, waiting, with a cup of French-press coffee, just for me.

STOP. WAIT. WAKE UP.

Welcome to my real life:

I’m single. Broke.  My cat has to scratch me out of bed in the morning because half the time I ignore the alarm. No one’s waiting with my coffee. I’m the one brewing a 12-cup pot of Costco Columbian Select when I arrive at my lack-luster desk job. Frankly, my Sonicare toothbrush is the most energetic part of my morning.

For the past few months, leading up to this: thirty, I’ve devoted a lot of time and energy to thinking about all the things I haven’t done. All the goals I haven’t accomplished. All the women I’ve wanted  to be, but, have successfully eluded becoming. I’ve thought about my contemporaries, assembling the dreaded comparative checklist. Sure, there are the “successes,” the lawyer/business mogul-superstar daughters of my mother’s coworker, and there are my cousins who are happy, married, and breeding. (Grandma’s prayers worked for them!) But, after some investigation, I found that most people in my age bracket have no idea what the fuck they’re doing. And, it’s OK! They’re surviving! We’re going to be alright!

When I actually slow down, assess the situation realistically, I realize that, maybe, just maybe, I’m right where I need to be.

And, for now, Right-Where-I-Need-To-Be happens to look like a crazy train wreck. Wham-O: I’m in the midst of a depressing break-up (again), at a dead-end job, and I’m a renter, a fucking renter! So fucking what?!

Thirty is really the same as twenty, except now, I’m a hot warm mess. I’ve learned truly valuable lessons about love, losing it, and what NOT to do. And bonus prize: I’m still YOUNG.

Holy shit people! I looked in the mirror on my thirtieth birthday and I had to admit, it’s the best I’ve looked in years!

I haven’t peaked! I’m not peaking!! This is PRIME TIME!!!

I’m sober. I get to live my life now, not just watch as it passes by my blurry eyes. And, while I’d be a big fat liar if I told you I had all my shit together, I’m not totally without purpose. There is a destination, I think, even if it’s a mystery. For the first time in my life, I feel worthy of something good. Now, maybe it hasn’t arrived just yet, but, I’m old enough to know it’s on the way.

Thirty is my lesson in acceptance.

Accept a new decade, and, realize that it’s the same deal.

Sure, it’d be nice to feel a bit more secure. It’d be nice to have a partner to pick me up when I crash and burn. It’d be nice to own a home. It’d be nice to know that if I die in my apartment, that someone will get to me before my cat eats my face. But, in all honesty, things are on the up’n’up. I’m no longer the wimpy twenty-something, chain smoking outside of bars, throwing back tequila shots, and falling off ledges–breaking, then losing, my $500 Prada glasses (yes, I did that).

I’m an adult, but, I’m still cooking. So, you can wait a few more years before you stick that fork in me, please.

Thirty Fucking Schmirty.

I’m on the way up my lil’ saucies.  On the way up.

Stay saucy,

Sarah

P.S. Tell me all about your birthday revelations in the comments! I want to hear your acceptance stories, pronto!!!

 

There’s just this moment. Now.

Ram.Dass

When I first discovered Ram Dass, I was a lost soul.

I felt stuck. I was still drinking heavily, but, I was starting to question the road I was on. I knew in my gut that there was no way for me to keep up with my own lifestyle. I was afraid of who I was becoming. I didn’t know how to change. I didn’t know who to be. And, I was afraid to ask for help.

In my confusion, I began to read voraciously. And, in a passage of  Anne LaMott’s Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith, she mentions reading, and having a life-changing experience with, Ram Dass’ classic: The Only Dance There Is. I immediately went to my local bookstore and bought a copy. The moment I cracked open the spine, Ram Dass exploded into my heart. His language: woo woo, hippie-dippy, far-out, and super groovy, spoke to me. He was unapologetic about his place in the Universe. His presence was his own. I envied his clarity and confidence. In his own, marked place of presence, he made me feel PRESENT and ALIVE.

It was only a few months after reading The Only Dance There Is that I called my parents and told them I needed help: I wanted to stop drinking.  And, with their support, I was able to leave my job and enter a six month, holistic, outpatient rehab center.

Without drinking or using drugs I had no choice but to be present. Of course, I tried to distract myself. I obsessed. I got lost. But, eventually, I found myself in a moment where I had to stay. A moment where I had no choice but to experience what was happening. A moment that is everything and nothing simultaneously. Yes, it’s far out.

When I found my presence, it was scary. I’d spent most of my adult life attempting to escape such moments. Yet, somehow, it came to pass that I was actually seeking my own presence, my own unapologetic being.

Sobriety is the ability to be fully present. Any type of addiction cuts us off from our authentic state. It was difficult for me to get to a place where that concept made sense. I spent a lot of time missing my drinks. I was convinced I was missing out on something. But, eventually the opposite was revealed: I had been missing out on lots of things by continuing to drink and use drugs. Being present is the ultimate tool. If you can live with yourself, you can be anywhere, do anything, and feel any and every emotion, because no matter what, you’ll be authentically you. That’s all there is.

For the first time, I became present. I became available to myself and to the infinite Universe of which we are all an important part. It is a gift that I sincerely hope everyone has the opportunity to receive.

This week I encourage you to stop and Be. Here. Now.

How will you show up for yourself and the world today? What stops you from being present? Share your story in the comments…I want to hear it…

Stay saucy,

Sarah

 

 

 

Why Choosing Hapiness Is Your Best Option

Jack

Maybe you’ve heard it before: We create our own luck.

Personally, I don’t believe in luck. But, I do believe that there’s something to creating our own circumstances.

For a long time, just shy of a year and a half to be exact, I stayed sober. I did the deal: I went to the meetings. I wrote in the journals. I called friends and family when I felt crazy. I got pedicures. I took long walks. I started eating right. I quit smoking. Blah. Blah. Blah. The list goes on.

I was miserable.

I discovered that time in sobriety wasn’t the key to unlocking my joy. And, it bummed me the fuck out.

I left a 12-Step meeting one night after a horrible day, and I decided it just wasn’t worth it. What was  the point of being sober if I always felt like shit? And, then and there, I decided to head to the bar. I figured I would stop and pick up a pack of smokes en route. I mean, why not ruin all my hard work in one fell swoop?! Right?!

As I pulled into the convenience store parking lot on my way to the bar, I realized something:

Nothing external, not a cigarette or a drink (or ten!) was going to fill the hole I had in my heart. I felt the weight of that truth more than I had felt the weight of anything else in my life, ever.

I knew whatever it was I was looking for was INSIDE ME  and I had to be the one to go in there and find it.

So, instead of going into that convenience store, I got back in the car and drove home. And, that night, I decided that I was going to be happy. I had to do it — or I’d be drunk. And that just wasn’t an option anymore.

Since that moment in the convenience store parking lot, I face everything with a positive attitude. My life has completely changed. It’s begun to flourish in ways I never dreamed possible for me. I created my joy from the seed of my pain. Explain that one…I sure can’t!

It’s not easy. I’ve been through some hard, even devastating shit, since my foray into happiness. And, I have to wake up and choose daily. Sometimes that choice is uncomfortable. I still make it.

The more I choose to be happy, the more I choose to let go of the past and all the limiting beliefs I have about myself, the easier it becomes…and life gets beautiful. That’s a promise.

Give it a try. What’s the worst that could happen?

How will you choose happiness today? Take some action! Leave a note in the comments. I want to hear your story.

Stay saucy (and happy),

Sarah

Define YOUR OWN Sobriety

Merriam.Webster.

How do you define your sobriety? Merriam-Webster’s definition doesn’t cut it for me.

so·ber adjective \ˈsō-bər\ 
: not drunk
: having or showing a very serious attitude or quality
: plain in color

Pssshhh. I don’t know about y’all, but, my attitude is not serious nor am I plain in color.

I’m fuchsia people. I’m saucy  as hell.

Sobriety, once only considered a consequence, associated with street drunks and alley-way addicts, has new borders. It’s a state of mind that benefits EVERYONE. In this new-world revolution, we’re all striving for great health, emotional and professional balance, and true clarity. There’s nothing plain in color there. In fact, the color spectrum broadens as we start to think more clearly and behave in ways that are congruent with our authentic nature.

Sobriety is as bright as the frame that you put it in.

There’s frame #1: Survival Sobriety.  Quit or die.

Then, there’s frame #2: Choose Sobriety. I mean, think about it, who wouldn’t want to choose sobriety? What does your drink or drug of choice offer you that makes it more appealing than being your pure, unadulterated self? There’s no right or wrong answer here.

If you WANT to be sober, whether you need to be or not, it’s an amazing and worthy option. Embrace it.

What brought you to this page? Are you planning to be sober for life? Are you hopping on the sober train for a month or two to clear out the cobwebs? Have you been sober before and feel like it’s time to get back on the wagon?

No matter what your reasons for being here are: They’re amazing and valid.

Sobriety is about clarity of mind, being present for your life, and being a witness to what’s around you without mind altering substances.

All things being equal: Sobriety = Worth it = You.

What is your sober story? Share it!

Screw Merriam-Webster. Define yourself. We’re listening….

Stay Saucy,

Sarah