Saturday afternoon my girls went swimming in the creek by my parent’s house and forced the rope swing out of retirement.  No one got stung by a jellyfish, though my dad did scoop one up in a crab net, its oozy mass and tentacles spilling from every hole. All my worries about the weekend were extinguished in one perfect afternoon with the people who are forced to love us best, but you feel they might anyway.

And what I didn’t even write about, and what wound up being stressful, was a visit to my 85 year-old grandmother. My girls and I spent the first night of our trip at her house. I laid awake late into the night and thought about all the dust mites sifting through the shag carpet below the bed. I imagined them with sharp if microscopic teeth and tucked my feet and arms safely in the bed, which felt oddly cramped. I went to pull the sheets up around me and met resistance because something was pulling them away from the foot of the bed. It was my oldest daughter, who just as quickly left through the doorway like a ghostly apparition. She was sleepwalking. I do not like sleeping at my grandmother’s house.

I should feel grateful to even have a grandmother at my age. My brother and I are her only living heirs. Instead I spent most of the visit bracing for what she would say next. She brightly commented in broken english that I have a lot of gray hair and asked “You still trying to lose weight?” which translates to “You still need to lose weight.” She did tell me twice that I look taller, which I took as a compliment and which might explain why my feet hung off the bottom of the bed. Some of her directness is cultural. Some of it is a complete lack of tact. I am thin-skinned and she has no filter but is thin-skinned herself. I am not sure how to work around this problem. God grant me the serenity to accept my filterless grandmother and the courage to visit more often and hold my own tongue. Or, Serenity Now! which sometimes work faster.

Speaking of, this week I take a licensing exam for work and I am very nervous. If I don’t pass, it won’t be for lack of studying but rather lack of comprehension, which is far worse. I am trying to switch gears and take a more positive/hopeful approach because bracing myself for failure won’t help lessen the blow if I do fail. It will only make me more anxious until I take the exam.

I am grateful I am not drinking through this. My brain feels spongey in a way that maybe doesn’t absorb as quickly (desperately?) as before, but offers a better chance of retention. All of this stuff is hard though…these firsts in sobriety that I am still feeling more than a year later. I didn’t realize it at the time, but my first year of sobriety was just about getting through it. Now I have to figure out how to want to live through it sober, if that makes any sense. And I do want to live through it sober, very much so.

I took this picture on my brother-in-law’s boat yesterday and I really like how it turned out. So thanks, instagram. I always took crap pictures before you came along. What I like best about this picture is how it feels calm and choppy at the same time. I can relate.

9 thoughts on “Sailing

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  1. “Now I have to figure out how to want to live through it sober, if that makes any sense.”

    This is an excellent point, and I know that when I make it a year (so far in the future!) that I will be facing this same issue. I hope, though, that after a year the benefits of being sober will far outweigh the desire to return to drinking and I will want to continue.

    I wish you the ease of wanting without desire.


    1. Thank you, Mango. I fear I made it sound like I want to drink more than I want to live sober. That is not the case. Life has gotten much easier in the last year. It’s hard for me to convey it in a whiny Monday blog post 😉


  2. Omg, serenity now! cracked me up. God bless Frank Costanza.
    My Dutch grandmother lacked tact – in fact that whole side of the family lack tact – which can be really hard to take. Some of my biggest drinking sessions were probably after family get-togethers. You’re doing so well doing it sober and I love reading about the things you’re still learning after all this time. Kinda paves the way ahead for newbies.


  3. Good luck with the exam – I am sure you’ll be fine!

    I found the beginning of the second year very odd – we set these arbitrary ways we measure things and just a date becomes so obsessive to those of us with obsession issues! LOL! It sort of was like “So what is the goal now?” First it was day at a time, then I’d done a few months so every 14th of the month I’d be – “Another month!!!” then the first year and I couldn’t believe I’d done it. But then – … yes sort of flat anti-climax so that you have to get into the keep it in the day swing, just for today etc. Soon you’ll be like me and saying I’m x years now “how did that happen?” by not drinking and going to meetings that’s how.


      1. Maybe true you lose that rapid public demonstration of your progress. But I know I’m not the only one like this, I know several who found the second year character building!


  4. “I didn’t realize it at the time, but my first year of sobriety was just about getting through it. Now I have to figure out how to want to live through it sober, if that makes any sense. And I do want to live through it sober, very much so.”

    Yes!! Oh, how true that is. That is the one thing that I try to get through to any newcomers that I may run across. Their first year of sobriety, should they be blessed enough to make it that long, will be a fog in some regards. The body and emotions are just trying to stabilize, I tell them. For gOd’s sake, please don’t try to reinvent the wheel lol.

    Good luck on the exam, sister. I believe you will be fine 🙂


  5. i know exactly what you’re saying. for me, maybe after one year sober, i will get to put wine aside and focus all of my attention on a new plan, a new big goal. like get out of debt, or lose weight, or have a vacation in australia, or write a book. i’m thinking it’s like you are now, one year sober, looking out into the future and you’re not sure yet what big goals you want to put in there? (and how much fun will it be?) me, i want a vacation in a warm place, and i want to speak another language, and hey writing a book wouldn’t suck!


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