It’s four am and I’m wide awake in bed, as I have been the past few nights. I returned from a 12-day vacation in Italy on New Year’s Eve, and I’m still catching up with my sleep. My thoughts are rambling and racing, as they normally do, about the New Year and what I need to share and talk about and how everyone has these amazing 2019 New Year’s posts and all I want to do is the anti-2019 New Year’s post. Disclaimer; I could annoy some folks here, but I’m going to keep going because I always share and honor my truth. So, for the anti-2019 post, it’s not because I’m not excited for the New Year and all the promise and hope and possibilities it has in store for me. It could just be that maybe I’m tired. Or that I’m too much of a cynic to jump on the – Lets change and manifest, Embrace the unknown, Say Yes, Learn to love and forgive, Be your own best friend, Be open to new experiences, and on and on. Yes, I believe in all of that and I feel all of that. However, I feel all of that every single day that I’m breathing and trying to just show up and do this sober life thing.
In May of this year, I’ll be 15 years sober and since the day I got sober, I’ve been doing the next indicated thing to move forward. I’ve done the 12 steps, numerous times and each time having that spiritual experience where more is revealed, and the layers of my soul are peeled away even further. I’ve sought outside help and done the EMDR, cognitive therapies, art therapies and the like, and yes those have been game changers for me as well. I’m living a life of service to others while showing up for myself each day with dignity and integrity. After I got sober, my life went from black and white to technicolor – the yellow brick road showed up for me and I have been walking that path ever since. I am grateful, blessed and content about 78% of the time in my life and the other 22% is life showing up with more lessons and speed bumps to push me further along. I love reading everyone’s NY post’s and seeing growth and change and I get excited and inspired when someone with two days or 20 years of recovery posts what they want out of 2019 – I really dig that!
This past year for me was filled with a lot of love and happiness, but it also brought me sadness, anger, and grief. I lost my beloved rescue dog Lucy of 10 years, and then two weeks later we rescued an abused and scared boxer we named Bailey. Bailey is thriving and happy and so loved and that gives me joy. I get to remember Lucy with my videos and pictures and realize what a difference she made in my life, and in others. I got to see my goddaughter graduate from college this year and move forward in her life and make real adult and smart decisions. I was able to enjoy and cherish all of my friendships; near and far. I was able to be with my tribe and celebrate 15 years of recovery for two of them where we laughed and cried and held each other all weekend. I was able to attend the She Recovers LA weekend and be present and soak all of it in and be around amazing like-minded woman who want a life of recovery- how freaking awesome is that!? I was able to applaud others for their accomplishments and milestones – whether it was their sobriety, a book they published, a business initiative, a new blog they launched or a new meeting that was started; I showed up with love and support for each of them. I was able to embrace a Super Bowl win for my hometown team, the Philadelphia Eagles! Seriously, one of the biggest highlights of my year, and I have the video of me crying with joy to show for it.
I was able to take awesome vacations and long weekends with my husband to visit friends and explore new locales. My marriage was tested a few times, as it has been in recent years. We have been able to walk through hard things together. I was able to do much-needed amends to my husband after seven years of marriage together, where I was humbled, and it was emotional because that’s what truth and love is. It’s all emotion and heart for me. I was sad and angry when things, or he, didn’t always go the way I wanted them/him to. I took care of myself and held space for him and his addiction and I continue to love and honor the person that he is. No matter how much others didn’t like or agree with my choice, I made choices that were for me and no one else. We get to show up for each other every day and some days it’s all I ever need and other days I can’t stand him, and I want to run. I’m sure he feels the same way about me as well, we all know I’m not a day at Disneyland. We persevere and forge ahead and love each other. We don’t know what 2019 has in store for us together, or apart, but I know I have dignity and truth in my soul to honor whatever comes at us.
I was able to spend time with my 78-year-old father in October where he visited me for a long weekend. A quality trip together with no other family around. Just the two of us. We bonded, as we normally do, and laughed, and ate, and walked the PCH, and annoyed each other and laughed some more. A month later, he unexpectedly passed away and I showed up as his sober daughter where I was able to honor him and share my love for him with others. My Dad was my first love and my hero, and I miss him terribly. I miss our weekly calls and hearing his voice and knowing from the first second of our phone call if he was in a good mood or not. I miss that he told me what to do and how to do it, all the time. I barely listened, and we’d quarrel, and we had our relationship ups and downs, but always came back to one another as Father’s and Daughter’s do. I miss him every day and still find myself asking, “Did that really happen?”. Yes, I miss him a lot. I am still very much grieving, and it comes in waves and at the most inopportune moments, but I’m blessed that I have the memories and snapshots of the past 51 years to hold close to my heart.
I was able to go to Italy over the Holidays, a place I’d been wanting to go ever since Dad told me how amazing and glorious Italy is. The place of his heritage. It was bittersweet as I wanted to share the trip with my Dad and call him to commiserate. I couldn’t do that, but he was listening. He was with me the whole time, looking right at me through the eyes of old sweet Italian men I saw at the café sipping espresso’s and eating pasta at the small eateries on the side streets of Rome. He was there. I was talking to him and he was listening.
This year I’m not choosing a word, nor do I have a resolution, because I believe each day that I wake up I get to show up. Every morning, I pray, walk my dog, turn on my computer, hug my husband, and start my routine. That is a day of promise for me. It’s a day when I can do what’s in front of me to make wiser choices, smarter decisions and use my past as a directive for what I don’t want in my future. I have made many mistakes throughout my life, sober or not sober, and all I can do today is sit with it and not make that rash decision or that selfish choice or use my will to get what I want. I just sit with it. I embrace it and I do what I’ve been doing for almost 15 years; throw it out to the Universe, call a friend, journal about it and wait 24 hours to act on it. That what usually works for me. Or it doesn’t because I think I know what’s best and I react and then invariably I regret that choice, but that’s my choice. As my friend Jessica recently said to me in Italy, “You don’t give zero fucks. You just say and do what you feel. You aren’t concerned about what others think.” I loved that she said that because that means I’m ok with who I am today. I’m not trying to please anyone or be someone that society or you think I need to be. I can just BE. Show up, breathe and embrace. Those are my words. Happy 2019 Bitches!