45 Dan Rd Workspace@45 Suite 35 Canton, MA 02120 admin@sobermommies.com 781-247-5672

Sometimes Everyone Needs a Time Out

Sometimes, the kindest and sanest thing you can do for yourself is to recognise that you need a time out. When you are in recovery, too much freaking out can be dangerous.

I was there recently. The more eagle eyed of you will notice that I have been absent from the site and the page for the last couple of months. It was an act of self preservation.

I had a couple of months where life seemed to be spiralling out of control. As if I was being tested.

So many things were going on at once. I was trying to process a long-buried grief. I discovered that most of my ‘flaws’ can be explained by the ADHD I wish I had been diagnosed with years ago. I was struggling to find traction in my muchloved business. All these things combined caused more stress than I could deal with. I felt dangerously unbalanced and out of control. I needed a holiday from my life. Obviously ,that wasn’t possible, but thanks to the love and support of my Sober Mommies sisters, I was able to take a break from my responsibilities here.

I’m still freewheeling through life a bit, but I am clearer now about what I am doing:

  • I have devised some strategies to get to grips with the worst of the ADHD (apps and Yoga loom large in my plan!).
  • The grief is abating as I am able to make peace with more in my past than I realised I still needed to come to terms with.
  • I am still treading water with my business, but I know who I want to help, and how I want to do it, so that is a powerful start!

And I am back in the loving arms of my Sober Mommies family. I never fully left. I was still part of the gang, still involved in the conversations when I chose to be, and still loved and supported across the Atlantic.

The writing team on this website are truly the most amazing, loving, loyal, generous and supportive group of women—I am so absolutely grateful to them for giving me the space I needed, but still showering me with virtual hugs when I reached out for them.

If you are ever in doubt as to the strength of the love and support in this commuity, please don’t. I am here to tell you that as long as you need it, it is always there for you. You will not find a more fiercely supportive group of women than the Sober Mommies. I’m proud and grateful to be not just a sober Mum (I’m British, so I’m Mum) but a member of the Sober Mommies team.

Thank you so much to my sisters for the love and patience. I am looking forward to paying that love, support and patience forward in bucketloads.

Sayonara my loves, be well.

I Reevaluated My Life When My Brother Died

On February 28, 2018, I got a call from my dad saying my brother died. My brother was the guy I went to for advice. The man who was an amazing uncle to my kids. Someone who constantly told me I could be a single mom and kick ass at it. The guy who protected me from my ex. The guy who I called my best friend and brother. He died. From an overdose.

He was gone forever.

I managed with the grief. I didn’t drink anymore.

Until April 30.

I restarted the clock. My boyfriend at the time was out with his friends, so I figured what the heck, I can too. One drink turned into five, which turned into shots, which turned into me crying and feeling like I wasn’t important to anyone. Then a hangover. My last hangover.

Nine months ago.

It’s been nine months. It feels so amazing to say that. And boy have I been tempted.

“Just have one drink, it won’t kill you.”

I’ve been asked why I don’t drink. I’ve been frowned upon, judged, and I have been congratulated and admired.

I’ve read countless books about being a drunk mom, a drunk wife, a drunk employee, and just a drunk. I’ve read countless blogs and message boards. I’ve messaged my amazing sister in sobriety too many times to count. And I have drunk 1,092,381,927,537 cups of decaffeinated coffee.

But you know what? You know what is amazing? Sitting in a deep dark place NOT numbing your pain and getting out of that hole with your own sober mind. It’s so liberating.

It’s freedom.

I’m here. I’m living proof. You’re worth it. Everyone is. Be proud of who you are. Be proud of what you have overcome. Your children love you. It’s unconditional love. It’s there every single day. Every single minute. Don’t take it for granted.

This post was submitted by Erica Kaspar.

Sober Mommies ~ I Reevaluated My Life After My Brother Died #grief #recovery #pain

I Wanted To Get High

I am an alcoholic. I didn’t have a problem with drugs. I didn’t do them. I drank and that was enough to get me to my bottom. That being said, I make no distinction between alcoholism and drug addiction. We were all trying to go to the same party, we just took different cars.

What happened to me the other night was quite a surprise. I happened upon a bag of pot. No big deal, right? It wasn’t vodka, it never called my name…before.

The first thought I had when I saw it was “I should smoke that.”

Plain. Simple. Clear. This voice that had never spoken to me before told me I wanted to get high.

In my opinion, smoking pot or taking a shot would both break my sobriety so that was out of the question. I did what I was told to do when struggling and talked. I told one woman in recovery and she told me she had the same thought a few years ago, but ultimately decided that smoking pot would lead her back to a drink; perhaps by lowering her inhibitions, or inducing disappointment.

Another woman I talked to had just been with a terminally ill friend who had a bottle of Oxycontin next to her bed. Like me, she had never done drugs before, but the voice in her head told her that she could take one and no one would know.

Both of these women shared with me that they, too, sought the council of other women in recovery and eventually were able to work through it without making a poor decision.

Next, I told my husband. The first thing out of his mouth was “That’s weird.”  He sounded more and more judgmental, and I formed a bigger and bigger resentment.   And, as we do, I let the resentment stew and grow: who the hell was he? How could he react that way, and not see that I was looking for encouragement and a bit of sympathy for my plight? Why can’t he see this is all new to me and just another thing I have to deal with?

And then, it hit me. There are people that baffle us. Those who sip their wine because it compliments their meal and may even leave a bit in their glass while we’re internally screaming, “How could you DO that?” Those very same people we look at with bewilderment because they can call it a night before they run out of booze or pass out, those people are baffled by us too.

This may not be a big AHA! moment for any of you, but for me, it really puts things into perspective. There is a reason why this website exists, why meetings and recovery programs exist. Simply put, it’s because we need people in our lives who will get us. I need someone I can tell about my drunk dreams, my cravings, how the smell of a beer triggers a memory, how watching someone have a cocktail on a TV show will drive me batty on the wrong night. I need someone I can tell anything to, that without batting an eye will get it. I need someone to tell me they have been there too. This crazy ride is a whole lot easier when you know you are not on it alone.

This doesn’t mean I don’t need people in my life who don’t understand these things. Some people, no matter how I try to explain it, will never get it.

If I look at it objectively, I was not being judged by my husband, I was judging myself.

I know that I am an extremely lucky woman when I look at the crazy crew of people in my life, including those in recovery, and those who will never in their lives fully understand what that even means. However, in order to remain in recovery, I will surround myself with people like you. I will keep calling you and telling you my crazy thoughts, and we will get a laugh out of it, or a cry. Inevitably, something else will come along that confuses me, and throws me for a loop, but knowing that you are going to be there makes it a lot easier.

6 New Habits I’m Starting 2019

2018 was a beautiful year for me. Promises were kept, lessons were learned and authentic growth happened. There isn’t much negativity in my reflections—I have no bona fide regrets or heartache. Regardless of the favorable outcome, however, it would be foolish to assume that there is nothing more to discover or re-evaluate. I’ve spent much of the new year planning for 2019, but I also have taken the time to reflect on the habits that weigh me down. These are six ways I hope to finally let them go.

Changing my inner dialogue

The thought of being kind to my body scares the crap out of me. Hating my body and speaking unkindly to it is second nature—like breathing or running late. Anything other than self-loathing seems far-fetched and unobtainable. Yet, this year, I am finally ready to experience what it would feel like to try. I’ve spent much of my life trying to reach an unreasonable level of perfection by abusing myself with hurtful words and bad habits. I am ready to see what happens if I stop. What will happen if I go to the gym because I want to, rather than because I hate the way I look? Can I choose to eat healthy (on my own terms) because of the way nourishment helps me feel on the inside, not because I want to be so skinny it hurts? What would happen if I thank my thighs for allowing me to move, instead of berating them daily?

We are our inner voice, and I want to see what happens when I change my personal dialogue. I wish to discover what my body would offer me if given love rather than hate. If I nurture my body like I do the tiny cactus on my windowsill, will it also bloom? In 2019 I am ready to find out.

Standing up for what I believe in

With sobriety has come clarity that goes beyond my tiny world. In 2018, not a day went by without being confronted by aspects of society that didn’t sadden, anger or scare me. When I was still drinking (5 years ago), I didn’t have a smartphone or much internet access. I had zero opportunities (nor desires) to learn about what was happening around me. I was a recluse living in selfish black-outs. As a sober woman, I’m opening my eyes daily to take in what’s happening all around. This journey of self-discovery has led me to reevaluate my opinions, morals, and beliefs.

In 2018 I learned to vocally stand-up for what I believe in while using social media to preach things like – #LikePrayForParis—but I have not fully stepped out of my own shallow waters. I would tell myself there are better people than me out there to make a difference. I would use justifications such as—I don’t know where to start. I’m not educated enough. I don’t have sufficient resources.

The truth is, I’ve been privileged enough to not have to stand up. I am ready to change that. I’m ready to truly live in my beliefs and fight with my truth towards my hope for our future by doing more than updating my profile pic in solidarity. In 2019, I will speak out when I see injustices. I will seek out information to expand my worldview. I’m ready to seek out ways to support human rights and expand hope, whenever I can.

Moving to “I Can”

“Oh but darling, what if you fly?” Sobriety has made clear is that I can achieve what I put my mind to if I am willing to do the footwork. Time and again I have proven this to myself, and while to some, these victories may seem small, to an alcoholic like me, they’re huge (though still difficult to take credit for). I hope to leave the words “I can’t” in 2018. I want to pursue everything with the belief that I can. I’m ready to say “YES” to life.

Trying is how we end up wherever we should be, even if that destination isn’t where we planned. With every victory I have found in the past five years (both big and small),  believing in myself it still feels undeniably uncomfortable. But then again, sometimes abstaining from booze feels uncomfortable— yet here I am, abstaining all the same.

Taking Care of Myself

This might sound simple and possibly maybe immature, but the truth is, this may be the most difficult thing to leave behind. I’ve known for a while that a proper bedtime and routine is the last brick missing for my adult-foundation. I’ve been fighting against utilizing sleep as a form of self-care, but this year I’m going to leave that resistance behind me. As much as I dread it, as much as I may try to convince myself that sleep isn’t something I truly need, I’m going to abandon those lies and crawl to bed without them.

Cultivating Creativity

I read a quote the other day that spoke to me—”If you wish to create, you must stop consuming.” For me, 2019 is all about creating. I want to create memories with my boys and secret moments with my husband. I also hope to create stories, kindness, and love. In order to cultivate any creativity, I must stop consuming! I’ve got to put the remote down and pick up my pen, I must stop browsing comments on social media, and start reading unfamiliar words in new books. Another thing I can create if I consume less and cultivate more? My savings account.

Being More Real

Throughout sobriety, I’ve learned that unrealistic expectations about others can lead to resentment. However, putting false expectations on myself is just as unfair, yet it’s still something I practice. In 2019, I will no longer try to be someone I am not. I’m not the mom who replicates recipes from Pinterest. I’m not the wife who will have perfectly cooked food out on the dinner table by the time my man strolls through the door. I can’t cook, I simply cannot do it. Something always goes wrong and nothing ever tastes right. I have this grandiose idea of who I should be, a woman maintaining a spotless home, a peaceful garden and fierce eyeliner.

I’ve realized that when I strive to be these things that I simply am not, I become overly stressed and feel like a failure. In 2019 my garden will stay brown, my menu will remain limited, and my hair will be messy, though I will be less high strung and I receive far less inner beatings. And I will accept that I’m OK with that.

For 2019, I’m setting the intention to grow and seek ways to expand my outlook.

Happy New Year mamas, I hope that 2019 is full of new beginnings and opportunities to amaze yourself—we’ve got this.

My Journey to Recovery Went Beyond My Wildest Dreams

Sometimes, I forget to be grateful. I forget how amazing my life is, and how a few years ago, I was convinced I was close to death. My drinking and drugging had progressed to a place where death was a welcome escape and I wasn’t even “lucky” enough to die.

Suffering had become my destiny, I was sure of it.

Days wasted away, much like my myself, and turned into years. Hope faded to memory and happiness was meant for others, not myself. I just wanted to be okay, and I was anything but okay.

The journey to recovery was a long slow process, full of impulse-led decision making and a hundred day ones. Every time I started over, every time I gave up, I learned a little something. As my mind cleared and I really started to see other people, living life in recovery, I started to hope that maybe I could have something someday. My ideas for what that “something” was were super vague, but I knew there had to be more to life than where I was at. How to get there was my challenge.

Eventually, I surrendered to the flow and allowed the universe and human aid to help get to where I needed to be.

Once that happened…life began to happen.

I found people in recovery in my community. I found online support. I started to build relationships with people, which like most of my friends, it’s not an easy thing to do. I had to let you in. Little things started to happen. I found out what I like to do to entertain myself. I started to get hobbies, and go on little trips. I got a part-time job. My physical health was improving. I had a safe, stable place to live, and I had friends who also had places to live. I learned how to dress appropriately, to watch my mouth, and how to act on a job interview. I walked through so many fears. I found out how to get a divorce, and how to get my license back. Those were things I thought I would never be able to do.

Over the years, things got even better. I moved to a better apartment, I got better jobs, my kids went to better schools. I found out how to keep the people in my life that were important to me and how to weed out the unnecessary stuff. I learned that no was a complete sentence and that I didn’t have to accommodate everybody all the time. That it was okay to do what was best for me at that time.

I guess I’m thinking of all this, because I’m sitting in a work vehicle, waiting to get an inspection sticker, with a corporate credit card in my wallet, an envelope full of cash to buy things for my job, and keys to the medication cabinet. My children are safe in school. I have a career that I love. I’m a college student.

I used to feel that it was too late to do any of these things.

I’m almost 40 years old and it’s not too late. My life is far from perfect and I have plenty of my own struggles, but we are I am today is far beyond anything I ever could have imagined for myself I am so grateful that I stop struggling with whatever the plan is supposed to be for me and just let things happen.

My life is so different from what I imagined, but it is a beautiful life. I am blessed every single day to wake up and have what I have. I think more importantly the stuff that I have, the stuff that you can’t see the inside stuff, Is what matters the most. I certainly don’t have the best to the fanciest of everything. I have self-esteem and self-worth. When my gut is screaming at me to not do something, I don’t do it anymore not if it’s going to make you or me or anyone else happy. My sense of self-preservation is still very keen, although very different from what it used to be. My kids have a sober, available mom. None of those were qualities I possessed before I enter recovery, and they weren’t things that just showed up overnight. But I stuck around and it got better for me.

Sober Mommies 10 Ways to Prepare for and Walk Through Holiday Cravings

10 Ways to Prepare for Cravings During the Holidays

I never know when my triggers will hit or when a craving will take over my day. It can be the sun shining or the rain pouring, it can be receiving good news or bad. For me, anything can be a trigger, yet the holidays can almost always guarantee thoughts intruding my mind. Whether it’s resenting my Uncle Jack as he pounds spiked eggnog, or wanting to escape awkward conversations at my husbands Christmas party. Sometimes I’m even tempted to pick up in attempt to erase that lonely feeling I can experience when I’m in a room full of people.

Whatever it may be for you, we’re bound to experience a craving. However, the beautiful thing about holiday cravings and triggers is that we KNOW they are coming. So we are able to game plan, we can be proactive and prepared. And hopefully, by being prepared, we’ll feel much more at ease.

Move a muscle, change a thought.

Basically, do anything other than what you are doing at that moment. The key to getting past a craving is to keep going until it passes.

Here are 10 Ways to Prepare for and Walk Through Cravings During the Holidays:

  1. Play the tape through. Think, what will happen if I pick up? Will I have a ton of fun, turn into this wonderful person singing lovely Christmas carols and make fantastic decisions? I know for me, there’s no way. When I play the tape through I always wake up naked somewhere in my own piss, have been under the mistletoe with someone other than my husband and I am always craving another drink to forget it all. It’s a vicious cycle.
  2. Watch a movie or read a book! Do anything to get outside of your head.  Most likely,  we won’t be able to pull out a book or turn on the Netflix in the middle of a party, however, that doesn’t mean we can’t use these type of distractions to prepare our mental state before venturing out of our comfort zone.  A Piece Of Cake by Cupcake Brown is a wonderful memoir about a woman who walks through her addiction. I cannot say enough about it, it is my favorite inspiration. The documentary Happy on Netflix is also fabulous. It’s not about addiction per se, nonetheless, it’s about perspective. I promise it’ll help.
  3. Get outside. It’s science, fresh air and nature help clear the mind, it’s a natural remedy. Go outside, walk around a bit. Excuse yourself from conversing with coworkers, politely walk away from your friends drunkenly debating politics. Take in the world around you, and breathe.
  4. Reach out. Wherever we are, we most likely have access to someone who will understand us. Call a friend who supports you or post to one of the sober social media platforms (like sobermommies),  text someone you love and say hello. Get what you’re feeling off of your chest, saying it out loud takes the power away. Check out our list of resources page to find both 12step and non 12step options.
  5. Take a hot bath. Candles, music and all. I usually get bored after ten min, nonetheless, I always feel better. This is another suggestion that will be best done if you’re triggered at home. However, you can also schedule out bath time prior to leaving the comfort of your own home. Before you put on your ugly Christmas sweater and curl your hair; relax in the tub for a few minutes, you deserve it.
  6. Exercise. Don’t have a gym membership? That’s okay! Don’t know how to work out alone at home? No more excuses; YouTube is the answer. YouTube has some fantastic FREE channels. From Pilates and yoga to cardio; you can find it. Some of my favorites are Blogilates, Yoga with Adriene, and Betty Rocker. Love love love them all! Workout before you leave, workout at home while triggered, and if all else fails; go for a brisk walk outside, at least you’ll be getting that fresh air.
  7. Find inspirational quotes. Sometimes I struggle putting into words how I feel or what I need to hear. Pinterest is a fantastic place to search for inspiring quotes. Create a special folder in your photos or on your Pinterest page and begin saving your favorite quotes. Then you can pull out your phone while sitting on a friends couch as people unwrap their wine bottles and shot glasses, and you can remind yourself, “I didn’t come this far to only come this far.”
  8. Color in a coloring book. The reason adult coloring books are so popular is because they really can and do help. Boredom, lack of structure and stress all add to our triggers and those come to play in the holiday season. Coloring helps combat those triggers, it can help us calm down and take the focus away from our negative thoughts. Coloring is a great relaxing method at home but there are also coloring book apps that allow you ‘color’ on your phone. Excuse yourself for five minutes and work on one while you redirect your thoughts.
  9. Put ice on your forehead. Sounds bizarre, but it isn’t. I recently sat through an educational family class for DBT and this was a suggested exercise taught to the patients. The sensation of placing the ice on your skin immediately redirects our thoughts to the sensation. This is also a useful suggestion for those struggling with thoughts of self-harm or extreme anger episodes. Again this is a fabulous suggestion for when you are triggered at home, realistically, you won’t be rubbing your forehead with ice in while conversing with your husband’s coworkers, however, you can sneak away to bathroom, run your hands under cold water or dab a wet paper towel on your frontal lobes. If its really a bad trigger, take your ice water into the bathroom and hold an ice cube while you prepare your game plan in the bathroom stall…Do whatever you need in order to not pick up.
  10. Leave. It’s as simple as that, just leave. Have an escape plan; know how to use Uber, have the number for the local cab company or if possible, drive yourself. Do not feel committed to stay for anyone other than yourself. Politely say your goodbyes, give out hugs and well wishes and make your exit.

Remember “move a muscle change a thought.” Walk through your craving.

It will pass, I promise.