Catboy and upcakes

Thank you very much to those who knew I celebrated two years of sobriety last week and left comments. It meant a lot and helped to make the occasion very special. I said I was going to close out my two years with a post about the many gifts of sobriety, but then the time came and I couldn’t. I lost my dear sweet cat of 18 1/2 years a few weeks ago and, I don’t know, life happened and I just couldn’t bring myself to feel, let alone write about gratitude.

The cat was very, very old. The above picture, taken days before we had him put down, doesn’t show that he’d shrunk to 5 pounds and how his hip bones jutted out like matted fur and he was so wobbly he could barely stand. His death wasn’t a surprise and, in fact, we’d joked for years that we would have him stuffed when he died because he’d seemed such a permanent fixture in our lives. Instead we had him cremated and now he sits on our mantle in a small wooden box with his name on it. I guess we became those people.

And by those people, I guess I mean people doing normal life things, ready or not. In the week following the cat’s death, I was mostly fine but then I’d be putting laundry away and notice the giant hole in my heart. Honestly, I was mourning the loss of a life I haven’t known in years as much I was missing my sweet catboy. What I noticed was how much grief over one thing stirred up grief and fear and even resentment over other, seemingly unrelated things. Nothing new had happened in my life other than the cat dying, but here I was trapped in old patterns of feeling afraid and hopeless.

I have to keep an eye on this kind of feeling because I’ve been depressed before and taken medication for it. I’m trying not to right now, though I am taking supplements and definitely exercise. I’m trying to be kinder to my monkey mind (thanks, Christy) and so I just sit with it and listen to the chatter and occasionally feed it cupcakes, like the one I had at lunch the day I hit 2 years sober.

Not my photo because I ate mine before I thought to take one.

I met my sober friend Lisa for lunch. She is behind me in sobriety by not quite a month, and marking the occasion with her felt right. The place we went to has these things called upcakes, which are basically upside down cupcakes with the top cut off and icing all over. The description doesn’t do justice to how amazing these things taste. It must be the homemade icing.

For awhile there, I worried I might have to ditch dessert…again. I was hitting sugar hard and had picked up a few pounds and was feeling pretty miserable about it. This was even before my cat died and work got more stressful and old issues flared up. Then I sort of prayed on it in a half-assed, totally non-religious way — more like a “I don’t think I can do this anymore” whine thrown into the ether. And it seemed to work and I am grateful because it means I get to keep occasional upcakes and Rita’s gelatis, which are usually followed by 3 mile runs the next morning because I’m not fucking magical.

It’s ego and vanity, but running makes me feel good about myself. I’ve lost weight and so far kept it off and I can run longer and faster and it’s hard to explain how good that feels and how that keeps me going during the tougher moments. Oh, I also think I’m going to hit a meeting in the near future. I have no intention of attending regularly again, but I miss that sameness and feeling of comfort that comes from sitting in a room with a bunch of stranger-drunks.

We also plan to adopt two new kitties. The kids have never known a pet that sees children as anything other than a threat or competition, so I think this will be good for all of us.

I guess I did get around, in a round about way, to writing about the gifts of sobriety. I had the loss and felt it and didn’t run from it and cause it to mutate and multiply. Life isn’t easy sober, but it’s easier than I ever made it out to be.

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30 thoughts on “Catboy and upcakes

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  1. Love that last sentence. Two years into sobriety for me my Mum passed away. It was, obviously, a really really hard time. But I walked through it with others who’d been there before, sober, and I actually grieved, I felt it I experienced it… it was ok… and time is as they say a healer. Now my Dad passed away suddenly when I was just turned 22 about 10 months before I got married, just before I bought my first house, he never saw me grow, the kids come etc. He has been a large shadow in my life for all sorts of reasons, a lot of my handups have been I believe that underneath I wanted to impress my Dad but he wasn’t there so it wasn’t complete and good enough. I was looking back already an alcoholic by then, I certainly drank too much, too often. All that meant I never really started grieving until 20 later and still it is an issue – because? I drank through it and killed all that emotion through booze.

    Life sober is no more free from emotional pain than when you are drinking but rather than running from it and using anything to numb ourselves to it you go through it and that bizarrely is one of the greatest gifts in sobriety to actual feel emotional pain and understand it and deal with it and heal through going through it.

    Again huge congratulations on your 2 years and this post just shows how far you have already come on the “trudge to happy destiny”.

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    1. Yes, this is how it seems and what we all hope exactly…that we can’t avoid the pain but it’s worth it…somehow, maybe not immediately revealed, but on a deeper level. Thank you for your well wishes too.

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  2. My 19 year old cat died two years ago. I still miss him every day. I’d had him since I was 20. I always joked that I was glad he couldn’t talk- cause lord, the things he’d seen. xoxoxo
    p.s. way to go on 2 years! i’m so glad.

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  3. Good morning BBB, I am so very sorry for your loss. 18 1/2 years is a really long time to develop a relationship with an animal, and I can’t imagine how painful losing him must be.

    You may not have written what you planned to write, but I heard a whole lot of gratitude in there anyway. I’ve already told you how proud I am of your two years, I am even prouder how you are handling your loss. You are an inspiration.

    On a lighter note, before I even started typing this comment, I opened a new tab, and tried to google upcakes. Because, you know, it’s not even 8 in the morning, and I COULD plan mine and my kids day around a field trip to buy a freakin’ cupcake. Alas, google kept auto-correcting me to cupcake. Maybe the universe is trying to tell me something, but damn if I don’t still want to know where I can get these things!

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  4. Rita’s gelatis looks really good. Never saw that before but it is not beer so that’s easy math.

    Sorry to hear of your cat. We have two now, Mo and Missy. Unique and funny, they are loyal and devoted friends. I keep my last dog’s (Whistler) ashes close by. Hard to let go sometimes.

    I have not congratulated you yet on your important milestone because I have not been able to put together a clear line of thought about you and your accomplishment. It will come. Meanwhile, you have done well. Hope you will keep your head up and continue to walk with a purpose.

    In the below clip I see the leg braces as a metaphor for beer and a couple of rocks to the head as the final wake up call. May we all run like the wind blows.

    Thanks for writing.

    Best to you and yours.
    Rob

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2-MCPa_3rU

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  5. We have three boxes with names (all black labs, no kitties). When the last one went (2 of 3 went while sober). I held up for 3 days in my room. No calls, food, conversation, just tears and sleep. It was the most concentrated “feeling” I can ever remember having. The closing on this post is remarkable. You gift me with your words. Love and blessings for you and the family. Thanks for sharing this.

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  6. I’m so sorry for the loss of your precious kitty. I know what you mean about one negative thing causing a bunch of other, unrelated feelings to come up. For me, it seems to be from living a life where I expected all the shoes to drop at once so when one thing goes wrong, I subconsciously prep myself mentally for other things to go wrong too. You do sound grateful to me. You sound like someone who understands that life has ups and downs and you have the tools to navigate them. 🙂

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    1. Wow, I hadn’t thought about fear of other shoes dropping, but I think you nailed it. I am practicing stopping and looking at what is really going on in the moment versus what I’m feeling and finding that helps a little. Thanks Karen!

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  7. Oh the loss of a pet is so hard. When I moved in with my hubs his cat was not pleased. She had been around long before me and was not happy about my intrusion. We agreed to a mutual dislike society and went about our lives. Fast forward 10 years, I’m pregnant with my first and she begins to curl around my stomach at night. A few months later we had to put her down because her kidneys gave out. We think she was 20. My husband was all with his “circle of life” crap (he grew up on a farm) while I sat there blubbering like a fool. I blamed it on the pregnancy but I know in my heart that I had really learned to love that cat.

    We still miss her and talk about her often. The memories fade but the love never goes away.

    Another congrats on 2 years!!!

    Sherry

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  8. My one-year soberversary in May was marked by a visit home to see my parents who are currently separating and it was the wrong way to spend it too. My condolences on losing your kitty. Pets are family. ❤

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    1. Oh congratulations Clare!! I still remember when you were just starting out, so this makes me very happy for you. I’m sorry to hear about the pain you’re all going through and hope one day you find comfort in the memories.

      Hope you are enjoying your new (& adorable) member of the family.

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  9. Wow, that was the George Burns of cats…long life there. Sorry to hear about the kitty cat. I am a cat person, even though I haven’t had one in ages. I relate more to them. Maybe because they isolate and scratch others when they try to get too close and only purr and kiss up when they want something. Oh wait, that was me. Never mind. But I do love cats…so I can understand what it’s like.

    that was some stellar writing there, BBB. It started off about the cat and then got to some deep spots that I didn’t bring my Wellies for but still felt something profound and poignant in reading this. It was stunning and beautiful. But just chill at the same time. I don’t know how you do it, but it’s the stuff that keeps me coming back all the time. What wonderful stuff. Thank you for this.

    Blessings
    Paul

    And of course, congrats on your 2 years. You’re an inspiration 🙂

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    1. You say the sweetest things (and I eat them up). Ha, your definition of a cat is definitely why I like them so much. I don’t see you this way at all and even if it was once true, I strongly admire your tendency to move out of your shell and comfort zone. You walk the walk.

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  10. “We’re not too old for this shit!!” LOL, that scene is priceless.

    I’m looking at my girl kitty’s “box” and remembering how we took her outside to sit in the grass and soak up some sun in her last days. I have a similar photograph too–and thankfully, I’m at the point where I can look at it and smile.

    Congrats again on your two years. You’ve come such a long way. I’m very happy for you.

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    1. Yep, our boy was an indoor cat and when we took him outside, he stuck close by. I’m finding there are a lot of “boxes” out there. It’s not like I thought I was unique in this, but it sure helps to hear others share their experiences with the same. Thank you for helping me through it.

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  11. So sorry for your loss. We lost our last kitty a few months ago and it was horrible. I’m one of “those” people too, so I get it. Congrats on two years. You definitely deserved a cupcake or two!

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    1. Thanks, it isn’t easy but of course we wouldn’t have it any other way. As my dad put it “they just don’t live as long as we’d like.” Thank you for your comment.

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  12. Sorry about your cat! i grew up with a cat we had for over 14 years and it was hard losing her, so i understand your suffering you feel. i can tell you that i lost her when i was still drinking and, after she died, i got super drunk and it made everything worse. Everything.

    It’s almost like Catboy was waiting for you to hit two years because he knew you’d be able to handle his passing with grace.

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  13. Oh man, I’m so sorry about the loss of your cat. There are never words for something like this… And congratulations on two years! Great way to celebrate! I’m drooling just thinking of those cupcakes.

    xoxox

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  14. I just happen to go by *Running on Sober’s* Blog, and seen your Guest Blog. This is a wonderful post! I’m a cat lover, and YES….I get called the *Crazy Cat Lady* at times. W had a total of 4 but now down to 2……I also enjoyed your About Me page. I to am in recovery from compulsive addicted gambling, and a Wee Bit to many Cocktails in the past. I’ve been away from both 6+yrs now. Would love to see you come by my *Little Recovery Blog* http://catherinelyonaddictedtodimes.wordpress.com and read my *PAGE* **Just for Fun*….Yes, many call me the crazy cat lady**….I think you’ll Like It….LOL….I’m following you now, and I’ll BE BACK…:-)
    *Author, Catherine Lyon *

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