Lemonade?

I love the idea of taking the not-so-pleasant things life sends sometimes and turning them into something else. Something better. Something exciting and new!

In four months, I am going to uproot my family and my life and move us away from the city I have lived in for 30 years to a small mountain town in a very different state. Well, I’m going to leave a bit of root here, but more on that later. It’s exciting and more than a little scary, and it is really going to happen!

I’m hoping this will be the fresh start that I feel like we need. Things have been really rough in my life for about a year now. I have talked about it a little on here, but I haven’t really explained about everything. Warning – this is a long story. As you may know, about a year ago, I was getting closer and closer to a year of continuous sobriety when I had a pretty devastating medical development. My chronic health condition had morphed into something much more dire. I (and everyone else around me) reacted in pretty much the worst possible way. I jumped off the wagon, my partner (who was already abusing substances himself and on a downward spiral during the pandemic) wasn’t doing well at all, and my parents and my best friends got into the kind of fight with my partner during a vacation that you probably can’t ever come back from. Which triggered an enormous mental health crisis in my partner and landed him – eventually and with much prodding of the health insurance provider – in rehab a few months ago. At the same time, my daughter’s school essentially told us that we had to change schools for middle school because they suspected she had learning differences and was just too far behind in the language immersion part of the program to continue on. Much activity ensued – learning evaluations, therapist and learning specialist finding, multiple school applications. Back on the wagon, I managed to do it. And although I pissed off my boss at several points, I also managed to hold on to my job. Which I love and value.

We are more or less stable now. Sobriety has still been challenging for me. I made it almost 100 days again, and then I convinced myself (again!) that I could just drink once in a while and not that much. When will I ever learn? I really thought I had learned my lesson last time. Anyway, it was a fairly brief detour, and I’m back on the wagon again. I know that I can’t drink in any kind of healthy way. I know that NOW, but of course that sneaky part of my brain will make very convincing arguments at some point. However, the choice is now out of my hands as I am going to soon start taking a medication for my medical condition that is contraindicated with alcohol. A medication that – if I can tolerate it and that’s a big if – might give me a fighting chance to live longer. To still be alive at that 10-year mark and, hopefully, beyond.

Anyway – back to the lemonade thing. Although I still love this city that I live in, I have been dissatisfied with life here for a while. Except for my best friends and neighbors (who have now torpedoed their relationship with my partner), I only rarely see my friends these days. I have long needed to try something new, but it has just been too scary. But now is the time! My mom is from a lovely little town, close to a ski area in the mountains. I have exactly one friend there, but that’s better than none! My mom is miserable here. She lives in a really nice assisted living place, but she’s unhappy and wants to go home. And her unhappiness leads her dementia to weird places – like thinking I’m stealing her Social Security. Sigh. My kid wants to move out of the city and always has. My partner is generally up for adventure and is kind of stuck himself. My job is now fully remote. So, I applied for a school in my mom’s town that looks perfect for my kid’s challenges, and we got in. We are going to go! It’s a perfect chance for us to have a fresh start. Make new, sober friends in a beautiful place. People will have never known us not sober. To tell the truth, I can’t control whether my partner remains sober or not, but this is what I am hoping for.

I’m terribly out of shape, haven’t done yoga in a million years, get winded just walking up the stairs. I’ve regained all of the weight I lost last year. It’s a sad situation. This is a town where everyone is active and outdoors A LOT so things are going to have to change there, too. And I’m going to have to get started now.

I’m a person that just is happier with a project going. And this is going to be a big project. Now, I’m not really risking a lot since I can still do my job and I’m going to get a roommate to help with costs so I can keep my place in the city. I’m going to have to come back here sometimes for medical care (my health insurance provider doesn’t operate in the other state so – for big things – I’ll have to come back) and to get a little “me time” anyway.

Does this sound crazy? I suppose it might. But, I’m going to give it a try. And, I’ll let you know how it is going. Wish me luck!

Sending much love to all of you!

xoxo

Ms. New Leaf (aka Leafy)

Day 70!

Here I am at Day 70! Things are still complicated in my life – my partner is coming home from rehab on Wednesday – but also slowing down a bit. I’m waiting to hear from middle schools for my daughter now. Work is in a temporary lull. The plans are being drawn up for my mom’s house remodel. All the stuff is happening. On the other side, I’m not sure how I feel about my partner coming home this week. He sounds better, but its pretty scary. And I also feel numb. Scared and numb. I know this warrants a longer explanation, but I have to go get the kid to school. Just wanted to check in. Sending much love and support to all of you!

xoxo

Leafy

Day 50

Day 50 again, and things are just ok. I’m glad I’m not drinking, but things have been stressful lately. What with the mountains of school applications and other tasks, I’m exhausted (it is almost over, thank goodness). I need a treat of some kind! I have to figure out what it will be. A spa day sounds good, but I’m still nervous about COVID so maybe not. I need something, though. I’m not very good at this treating myself thing. Wine was so easy. So good at filling that treat need. But since that’s not happening, what should it be?

Day 25

Gratitude. I think I should try to focus more on gratitude…

It’s Day 25, and I’m grateful that I have a sense of humor.

Automated voice: “Hello, welcome to AT&T, how can I help you?”

Me: “I would like to order new landline phone service for my mom.”

Automated voice: “I’m sorry. I can’t understand you. Please state the account number associated with this request.”

Me: “This is a new service request. There is no account number.”

Automated voice: “I’m sorry. I can’t understand you. Please state the account number associated with this request.”

Me: “I want to speak to a real person.”

Automated voice: “I hear that you would like to speak to a service representative, but in order to send you to the right place, please tell me what you are calling about.”

Me: “Landline phone service.”

Automated voice: “I’m sorry. I can’t understand you. Please state the account…”

Me: Hang up

Automated voice: “Hello, welcome to AT&T, how can I help you?”

Me: “I want to speak to a person.”

Automated voice: “I hear that you would like to speak to a service representative, but in order to send you to the right place, please tell me what you are calling about.”

Me: “New landline phone service.”

Automated voice: “What is the passcode for this account?”

Me: “There is no passcode. It is new service.”

Automated voice: “I’m sorry. I can’t understand you. Please state the account number associated with this request.”

Me: “I want to speak to an agent.”

Automated voice: “I hear that you would like to speak to a service representative, but in order to send you to the right place, please tell me what you are calling about.”

Me: “I want to speak to an agent.”

Automated voice: “OK. Let me connect you.”

Real person: “Welcome to AT&T, how can I help you.”

Me: “I would like to order new landline phone service for my mom.”

Real person: “OK. I can help you with that. What is the phone number associated with the account?”

Me: “There is no phone number. I need new service.”

Real person: “I see you are calling from a number associated with an AT&T account. What is your passcode?”

Me: I am calling from my cell phone. I want to set up a new landline service for my mom in her apartment. There is no passcode for this.”

Real person: “OK. Let me transfer you to someone who can help you with that.”

Me: “OK.”

Real person #2: “Welcome to AT&T, how can I help you.”

Me: “I would like to order new landline phone service for my mom.”

Real person #2: OK. Let me transfer you to someone who can help you with that.”

Me: “What? I was just transferred to YOU so YOU could help me with it.”

Real person #2: “I’m sorry, I am in the billing department. I need to transfer you somewhere else.”

Me: “OK.”

Real person #2: “Just a moment.”

Real person #3: “Welcome to AT&T, how can I help you.”

Me: “I would like to order new landline phone service for my mom.”

Real person: “OK. I can help you with that. What is the phone number associated with the account?”

Me: “There…is…no…phone…number…yet! This is a request for NEW landline service!”

Real person #3: “I’m sorry. This is the cell phone division. I need to send you to someone who can help you.”

Me: “OK.”

Real person #4: “Welcome to AT&T, how can I help you.”

Me: “I would like to order new landline phone service for my mom.”

Real person #4: “Does your mom want additional services with her digital phone service? High-speed internet…”

Me: “No, no, thank you. She is 87 and has dementia. I actually want traditional landline service. There is a phone jack in her room. I want to turn it on, and plug a phone into it.”

Real person #4: “I’m sorry. I can’t help with that as this is the digital phone service line. I need to transfer you to someone who can help you with that.”

Me: “PLEASE, you are the 4th person I have talked to about this, not including the automated system at the beginning. PLEASE may I have the direct number for the landline division in case I get disconnected?”

Real person #4: “Yes, it’s xxx-xxx-xxxx.”

Me: “OK. Thank you!” I am then disconnected.

Real person #5 (from direct landline division number): “Welcome to AT&T, how can I help you.” (There are distinct sounds of a raging party going on in the background and I can barely hear).

Me: “I would like to order new landline phone service for my mom. You know, plug a phone into a jack in the wall.”

Real person #5: “I’m sorry, I’m going to have to transfer you to someone else. I can’t help you with that if it is a physical landline.”

Me: “WHAT!?!?! I’m sorry – I didn’t mean to sound sharp with you. I’m just frustrated as you are the 5th person I have talked to about this, and this is supposed to be the direct landline service line.”

Real person $5: “I’m sorry. I really have to transfer you.”

Me: “OK”

Real person #6: “Welcome to AT&T, how can I help you.” 

Me: “My mom lives in an apartment. There is a landline jack in the wall, and I want to turn it on and plug a phone into it. Can you help me with this?”

Real person #6: “Yes, I would be happy to help you with that. The thing is that we are all working from home and we aren’t allowed to run credit checks from home that are necessary for traditional landline service so I am going to fill out a form, and someone will be calling you in the next 24 to 48 hours to process this. Please be aware that if you do not answer the phone when they call, they will not call back, and you will have to start this process all over again.”

Me: “OK…” (Laughing and crying at the same time.)

Day 19

Some reasons to stay sober:

  1. This is, by far, the best reason of all. Reason number one: so you only have to hear your daughter ask you “What’s an alcoholic?” (as you open the fridge for a beer in the middle of the day) ONCE. Of course, I KNEW she had been watching me down a bottle of wine every night for months, but now I also know that she’s thinking about it. Yes, this finally happened. Oh, my god.
  2. So you can deal with all of the crap that happens sometimes and leaves you scrambling. Recently, I have learned that my child has learning differences and needs an occupational therapist, an specialist math tutor, and a cognitive behavioral therapist for her anxiety and OCD; that her current school (where she was going to transition to middle school next year) can’t or won’t support her properly so I need to find a new school for middle school; that my mom (who has Alzheimer’s) thinks I’m stealing her social security checks and occasionally wants to send me to jail (and it makes no difference when I bring her regular printouts from the bank); and that a plumbing emergency has flooded the entire downstairs of my mom’s house (and everything has to be torn out and replaced). And I’m dealing with all of that while my partner (and father to our daughter) is having a fairly serious mental health crisis (for months now). Yep, this is all happening at the same time, and alcohol is certainly tempting. I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t help me deal with any of this shit, though.
  3. That it feels fucking GREAT to wake up sober in the morning, every morning.
  4. That you no longer are waking up at 3 a.m., every night.
  5. So you can feel righteous even while eating a big piece of chocolate cake. Every day if you want to.
  6. So you know that you aren’t making your pre-existing health issues worse by drinking. Can you imagine how horrible it would be if I needed a bone marrow transplant but couldn’t get one because of the consequences of heavy drinking?
  7. So you can finally get serious about doing something adventurous and different with your life before it is too late.

And many more, of course. I have to wrap it up because my daughter is having a meltdown about not having done her homework. Sigh.

xoxo

Day 17

Still sober, still stressed, but hanging in there. Clinging, really, is what I’ve been doing today. Like to the world’s smallest piece of driftwood in class VI rapids.

I don’t have the energy to get into it all right now, but suffice it to say that I figured I better check in here. I’m proud of me for not drinking.

xoxo

Day 11

Double digits! The last couple of days have been a bit rough. Not with the not-drinking thing. That’s been fine. But, the applying for schools, and figuring out what to do next year … it’s been brutal. Anyway, just checking in to say, “Yay! I’m not drinking!!!”

xoxo

Day 8

It was a good day. Had some social time with friends and went for a long walk in the park. In other news, my addict voice keeps coming around, trying to make me forget what I knew so clearly a week ago. No! I can’t just have a few! I want the whole bottle (and then some)! It was worse last time, and it seemed like I might be trapped forever. Always thinking I would have less or that I’ll quit tomorrow. Not even enjoying it, really, most of the time. Always chasing that perfect feeling that only sometimes shows up. No, I’m not having it anymore! I’m done.

xoxo

Day 7

Woo hoo! One week! Only 51 more for a year! Just kidding. 🤪 One day at a time and all that. I am looking forward to the weekend. I am also very seriously considering taking this opportunity of choosing a new school to get my family out of this big, busy rat race of a city we live in and move to my mom’s small mountain town for middle school. Where my kid could learn to ski at local’s prices and ride her bike to school. Go camping without having to make a reservation six months in advance! Be closer to nature. Where my mom might not be miserable in her assisted living place. Sounds nice, huh? Best wishes for you (and me!) today.

xoxo

Day 6

It is Day 6, and its been a long day of middle school hunting. Two parent orientations and a LONG middle school open house in the evening. And an application and financial aid request due tomorrow. And none seem quite right for my kid. I am craving a drink like nobody’s business, but I don’t do that any more. Looking forward to the morning.

xoxo