Was it Really Just Wasted Time?

wasted-time

I’ve got about 8 months until I turn the dreaded 50. I am clinging onto 49 desperately, trying to savor the sweet taste of each day left in my 40s. I find myself spending a great deal of time, too much time really, thinking over choices I’ve made in my life. I go through days where I feel this gnawing, yet barely audible, hum of doubt vibrating within me, and then I push it aside. Waking the next morning, if I am quiet, I can hear it again. Distracting myself, I can avoid it for a time, yet there is a part of me that is fully aware of its existence.

There are so many things in my life for which I am extremely grateful. I enjoy so many blessings, including my amazing grown children, wonderful friends who make me laugh every day, and a loving and supportive family. I can keep myself busy with work, and coffee dates with friends, a good hike on a gorgeous fall day in AZ… but that hum does not go away. There are questions I ask myself that seem to be screaming inside of my skull. I cannot avoid the doubts I have, the things I may have missed, and the time I may have lost. Then, I heard a song by The Eagles that I had never heard before… and I was brought to tears.

So you live day to day and you dream about tomorrow, and the hours go by like minutes and the shadows come to stay. So you take a little something, to make them go away. I could have done so many things, if I could only stop my mind… from wondering what I left behind, and from worrying about this wasted time.

Living with regret that I am unable to regain time that has passed is just NOT the way I want to live my life. I make a tiny bit of progress each day with that, but it isn’t always easy if I am being completely honest. So I do what I can to appreciate what I have and spend my time in the present.

As the song goes on to say, “And maybe someday we will find, that it wasn’t really wasted time.”

~ Paige Loveland

No Back Patting Here

its-handled

I remember the early days of my first try at sobriety. 30 days, 60 days, 3 years… Announcing each milestone as some right of passage for which I took all the credit. I would pat myself on the back, grin from ear to ear, and congratulate myself for a job well done. Yes, I took the actions necessary for getting through each day without a drink. Yes, I dragged myself to meetings when I didn’t want to. But I see now that there was a force guiding me in those actions.

As for me and my own choices? I have to look at where those have gotten me in the past. My choice to pick up a drink. My choice to act a fool in the midst of it all. My constant poor choices for years, which led me to a vicious cycle of daily drinking and despair. Where was God in all of this? Trust me when I say, He was there. But I was not with Him. I pushed Him aside and forced my own will upon the world. I wreaked havoc on my world and everyone in it.

Today, I think of God, my Higher Power, as a gentle father… A father who wants what is best for his child. One who would move heaven and earth that his child feels peace and happiness. Would a loving father want his child to drink into oblivion? Would he want his child to fall into bed each night in such painful despair, and awaken to shakes and sickness? Would he want his child to feel a loneliness that is indescribable? As a parent myself, I can say with all certainty that a parent would NOT!

So when I walk into a meeting these days, I do not look at my sober time as any accomplishment of my own. There is absolutely no back patting here. I know with every fiber of my being that I stand here sober at this very moment because some force greater than me, my Higher Power, my God, has relieved me of the obsession to drink. This reprieve, as it says in the Big Book, is only for today.  God will keep this obsession from me as long as I continue to take the actions necessary to stay sober, and I can only take the steps when I am living within His plan. So I put my daily trust in Him, and believe that only He, not I, can keep me that way!

~ Paige Loveland

Her Will

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Peering in each direction

Not a single soul in sight

She reaches for her magic potion

To make everything seem all right.

When the warm begins its way through her veins

She releases a thankful sigh

For this moment in time like a happy wall frame

She appears giddy and now so alive.

The sun, it is brighter, quite sublime

The flowers emanate scents of jasmine & lilac

A whirling and swirling within her confused mind

Then she suddenly realizes it’t time to go back.

The effect washes away like a low tide at sea

The warmth turns to unbearable chill

One more look around, alone again, you see

She pushed them all away, as is always her will.

~ Paige Loveland

When Darkness Comes

darkness

Darkness comes at such surprise

Even devoid of chemical influences

The sun shines bright but I can’t see

These grey tinted lenses hinder my senses.

Mskin feels tingly to the touch

My step an unsteady gate

Lovely music flows with sweet strings and such

Filters through me like screeches and hate.

There’s a space on my bed which remains warm

As I’m lying there most of the day

A half made bed where my weary self mourns

Not one specific word, thought, or ill to convey.

All darkness seems to bear no source

All pain has no true indication

Tears aimlessly run their course

My only known remedy is prayer for patience.

~ Paige Loveland

The Voice of Hope

hope

I remember when hope was prevalent in my life… but not in a good way. I used to HOPE that I would not get pulled over for drinking and driving. I used to HOPE that my family would not notice me sneaking in the bathroom to pull out my water bottle filled with vodka for a few sips during holiday gatherings. I used to HOPE that my employer would not notice my bloodshot eyes and the shaking going on in my body. I used to HOPE that no one would ever ask me to quit drinking.

These days, HOPE looks quite a bit different. Today, I have hope that life will continue to get better… as long as I continue living in the solution. Regardless of the obstacles which almost inevitably come my way, I feel a sense of hope that God will get me through even the most challenging of times. Those times where the world seems to be setting up major roadblocks are the most challenging, but somewhere deep within, there is a tiny voice offering messages of hope.

So for today, I prefer to live each moment with hope for the future, and gratitude for what I already have in my life.

~ Paige Loveland

Shit Happens

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I used to think that once sober, life would instantly become better. In many ways it did… I was no longer hiding, wondering if I would be found out, and feeling that constant twinge of anxiety. However, life goes on… shit happens.

Being sober does not mean that nothing bad will ever happen in my life. Instead, it means that I will finally have the intuition to know how to handle such situations. If you do not feel that you are THERE yet, you will. Little by little, as our heads become clearer and we trust in a higher power to take care of us and show us the way, we will be better able to handle those damn curves that life throws our way.

The key, though, is to put all of our faith and trust in something or someone bigger than ourselves. I know that for me, if I continue to attempt to drive the bus, I will be right back to my truly insane way of running the show. That, in and of itself, will lead us to mishandle almost every situation which comes our way. Even worse, it may lead us right back to looking for something to numb the pain… to put a bandage on a temporary situation. That is what I have come to find out… that our troubles are merely temporary. A drink or a drug will numb us briefly, but the pain will resurface as soon as the effects wear off.

To gain true serenity, I am finding that I have to diligently practice acceptance. Conflicts will continue to come my way, regardless of whether or not I am drinking. So learning to simply cope (yes, I said SIMPLY) with those conflicts, is one of the many gifts of sobriety!

~ Paige Loveland

When the Lights Go Out

I am an addict… specifically, an alcoholic… and I am enjoying a sober life. But addiction is ever present. It rears its ugly head in many areas of my life. Of my many addictions, there are also what I like to call “vanilla” addictions. By this, I am referring to addictions which are not quite as harmful to me as my addiction to alcohol, but are present nonetheless. For example, I am addicted to Netflix. My 19 year old daughter and I will watch tv shows non-stop on any given Saturday. We will look at each other at 11pm, and wonder if we can make it through another episode of Grey’s Anatomy!

netflix

Okay, okay… so there is an underlying point to this absurdity. In all seriousness, there is a theme present in the show, Grey’s Anatomy, that is incredibly relevant to an alcoholic like me. I have seen all of the shows over the years, but my daughter has not. So as we watched season after season, over the course of only a few weeks, my daughter made comments about one of the main characters… Chief Webber.

You see, Chief Webber was this full of life, inspiring character, who was also a recovering alcoholic with long term sobriety. He leads his hospital with integrity and fierce determination. Over the course of a few seasons, you watch his character deteriorate. He becomes dark, withdrawn, and unfocused. My daughter commented that she simply “didn’t like him anymore”.

It comes to light that the Chief has been drinking again. This explains the change in behavior. His portrayal of an alcoholic in the throes of relapse is astounding, and spot on. In fact, my daughter, upon realizing this, looked at me and said, “Mom, this is exactly how you acted before and right after your relapse”.

It made me seriously examine my own behavior in the months leading up to my relapse. I was relapsing long before I took that first drink. I was dark and shaken. The behavior I exhibited was much like the character on the show. The only way I can explain it now, is that it was as if the light in me had just gone out. The sparkle in my eye… the one that showed up as I got sober… had disappeared.

Getting sober again after a relapse can be difficult. You suddenly know exactly what it is you are giving up by going back out. You have tasted sobriety… and it was so damn good. But you gave it up for the old, sad life you were living. It is frightening.

good to be scared

As Chief Webber said on the show… “It’s good to be scared. It means you still have something to lose.” So today, I choose to allow myself to have just a little bit of fear. Fear keeps me on my toes, and it makes me realize that I do have something to lose. In fact, I have everything to lose.

~ Paige Loveland