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Teetotaler

And it’s here.

Today marks one year without a drink, and I celebrated with my “teetotaler” tattoo.

On this day last year, when I decided to quit, I had not crashed at rock bottom. But… I HAD crashed into the bottom so many times, my life was like a trampoline—up up up, boom? ! Up up up, ? boom!

I knew if I didn’t stop drinking, that I’d be back hitting the bottom of the trampoline soon enough.

tattooThe question was whether the trampoline had the resiliency to catch me and not tear straight through the next time.

(I wasn’t too sure.)

I had struggled with depression for years (decades?).  I even had a doctor swing wildly towards diagnosing me as bipolar, and prescribing me some medication that made me almost catatonic. Let me tell you how hard it is to train for triathlon when catatonic. I have learned over the last year that these bipolor episodes are actually not that—that while I am probably a little manic, in general, the wild bipolar-like swings have dissipated.  And honestly, without my little bouts of mania and madness, my creativity is dead. So, while yes, maybe it’s inconvenient to be a raging insomniac… it’s also a blessing and a big part of what makes me tick, write, and be.

It was the drinking. (Please note that I am NOT saying that depression, bipolar, and the like are not real issues, should not be taken very seriously, etc…  I am simply anecdotally sharing my story–one that was full of depression and darkness. For me, quitting booze and controlling my sugar have been the two major turnarounds for my mental health issues.)

Yes, I still have dark spots.

But where the darkness was full-throttle, pitch black before… where I was stuck in a cave with no air, no sight, no movement, and no freaking way out kind of darkness?  Yes, I have been there, and that hasn’t happened to me in a year… well, eleven months.

(I say eleven months, because the first month sober was unreal hard, and pretty dark and scary.)

But then, well… things changed.  I have noticed over the last eleven months, the darkness still comes, and I see it, and it’s dark.

But there is always a light, somewhere. Sometimes there is large light that screams, “Right here, you dumb chicken. Open your eyes and walk towards it! LIGHT! Helllllllo!”

Sometimes I have to squint, but I see it–a tiny pin-prick light–and I crawl towards it, eyes with tears, but I go. I can see it, feel it, and move towards it.

This past eleven months there has always been a light—always.

And I honestly can’t think of the last time I have gone a year without total pitch darkness encompassing me at some point.

That is grace and sobriety, and grace.  Lord, it’s grace, and I am thankful.  My family is thankful. I am so thankful.

Sure, I still bounce up and down. And yes, life sucks hard sometimes. BUT, that’s life. But I know that I can handle it now. I know that the sucking is more of an enjoyable, capable and tolerable suck fest, a more manageable ride down on the trampoline, with a slightly gentler landing.  Instead of “Ohhhhhh $&@?!!!!!”  I hope that this trampoline works.

I have faith that the trampoline will hold me now.  I know it will. Somehow. And the light will be there. That too.

(And even if the trampoline doesn’t hold me, I’m going to be fine.  I know that. I believe that).

unnamedLast year, I didn’t lament the departure of the booze that much.

[Maybe a little.]

But. I knew saying farewell was the next step for me, my life and my future.

Wasn’t easy. Still isn’t.

But when I decided to lay it down, I knew it was over. Booze was no longer invited over to party. (Bring on the seltzer!)

There are some things, people, places and behaviors that you can turn your back on and just KNOW it’s over.

And today, I am a fabulous, one-year proud #teetotaler and I ain’t ever going back.

Will I always have it together? Certainly not.

But I am banking on myself and staying sober.

So, I am saying it with the type of certainty that I must live this way. That I will be a Teetotaler. A proud one, at that.

I. Will. Not. Go. Back.

On this day last year, I knew exactly where I stood.

And today, I know where I stand.

And maybe it’s too much, but like Holly at Hip Sobriety says,

“And I think, I like this girl I am. I like that she’s too much for some and too little for others, I like that she is strong enough to be disliked and still be exactly who she is. I like her a lot, because she’s mine.”

I may be a little much or not enough, but I am just enough for me.

And I know where I stand.

#grace #day366 #teetotaler #hipsobriety  #justkeepmovingforward

 

* * *

A big thanks to HipSobriety.com for the Hip Sobriety Manifesto and inspiration for the #Tt.
I am all in for the movement. Let’s do this.  (Below is the highlights of the Manifesto… please go visit the full site for the entire manifesto and SO much inspiration and joy in sobriety).

tattoo“1. You do not need to hit rock bottom…

4. It’s not a sad consequence. It’s a proud choice…

5. You need a holistic approach. It’s not about just cutting out the addiction or “just stopping”. It’s also about what led you to the addiction in the first place and what keeps you going back to it.  To truly break from addictionwithout transferring it to something else or just white-knuckling  through it – you need to address the drivers that led you to it in the first place, and the addiction and related complications. Furthermore, you need to develop an entire arsenal of healthy coping mechanisms to use in place of the shitty ones you are using now. There is no one silver bullet here. To truly be free, you must holistically address the underlying cause and the addiction.

9. Your hangovers go away. Your social life doesn’t…

11. You’re not weak or powerless.”

Read more at HipSobriety.com source

================================

For those of you who might be struggling, please know that you are not alone. Do not be afraid to ask, seek, look and reach out for help. I’m also here if you want to chat, or confess, or just need someone to talk to.  And I really do mean that.

Resources:
http://www.drinkerscheckup.com/
http://www.aa.org/
http://al-anon.org/
https://www.na.org/
https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/addiction
http://www.addictionsandrecovery.org/what-is-addiction.html
SMART and SMART Friends and Family

(*I am not a psychologist or health care provider, and am not pretending to be. Just sharing some links, some stories and some struggles/successes. Feel free to add your own links, comments or other that might be more helpful in the comments below.)

15 Comments

  • Tara

    December 12, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    Today is an important milestone in several of my important people’s lives. You are a full year sober. One of my besties is celebrating and grateful for 26 years sober today, after getting sober at age 26. Hubs is reflecting on 5 weeks of sobriety and questioning if he’s really all in or not. He’s the only one who can answer and live that. Of course, I hope he decides he’s all in.

    Reply
  • Steph

    December 12, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    1 week sober for me!! I am feeling great but the temptation is also great. One day at a time. One party at a time. Thanks Meredith for being so honest. You are my inspiration ?

    Reply
  • Courtney

    December 12, 2016 at 7:37 pm

    Congratulations Meredith! You my friend are an amazing woman and role model for all people. I am sure everyone who follows you or has ever meant you is proud of you I know I sure am. You’re a tough cookie and a class act for sure. ❤️

    Reply
  • Kate

    December 13, 2016 at 12:01 am

    The funny thing about sobriety for me, after about a month, is the realization that I really didn’t *need* booze in the first place. It was more of a bad but comfy habit for me, like being in a cozy relationship with an abusive friend. It was just time to let it go in order to move on. The other funny thing is that I feel nuttier than a fruitcake even more now that I’m sober than when a couple-three bloody marys constituted breakfast. A strange new world. The old familiar guideposts are gone, but I’m in for the ride. Thanks for You being You, congrats for the sober year behind you, and may all good things be yours going forward.

    Reply
  • Heather

    December 13, 2016 at 10:52 am

    Thank you so much for sharing your life – both the highs and lows! I have 13 years sobriety and I still occasionally struggle. We are all in this together 🙂

    Reply
  • Dawn

    December 13, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    Day 71 here. I found Hip Sobriety because of you, and it was not until I dug in that I finally felt it ‘click’ for me, for what I suspect are all the same reasons it did for you. I am NOT powerless, and that was always the rub for me. Thank you for your openness, because I have to say paying attention to your story over the past year made a huge difference to me, as a person and as an athlete. I could have written almost every word of this post, right down to being considered for a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. I am looking forward to a much stronger 2017. I love you, and I am so proud and grateful to know you.

    Reply
  • SoAnyway

    December 14, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    Congratulation Mere. I have always been (and still remain) enormously impressed by your discipline and ability to reach the goals you set for yourself.

    Way to go SBM 🙂

    Reply
  • Kate

    December 15, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    So incredibly proud of you! And just think of how many people you have helped by being so bravely honest. I’ve said it several times, Meredith, You Rock!!

    Reply

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