Humility through yoga and sea lions

In January 2012, I was a little over 6 months sober. I was still attending AA meetings and also apparently yoga per this post called Nirvana, which is very misleading. They were Family Yoga classes at the Y where you could bring your kid and the format was loose and the room dark.

Almost ten years later, I feel like I should be saying, hey, I’m still doing yoga, however now it is Advanced Yoga. Which is probably not a thing. There is such a thing as YouTube Yoga because my husband and I did some in January of this year. It was very humbling. The cat watched judgmentally from the couch. I was secretly worried our youngest child would secretly video us and become YouTube famous. The best thing to come out of our YouTube yoga phase was that it ended. The second best thing was that it motivated me to take up running again and lose some weight. I’m down 13 pounds from January 2021 and up about 20 pounds from January 2012, but who’s counting.

Sea lion pose

In the yoga 2012 post, I talked about a trip to San Diego I’d taken with my husband before I got sober. I will never forget it, not because of all the fun we had and the beautiful scenery, but because of a soul-crushing hangover that lasted days. Free from parenting responsibilities, I drank more than usual, which was already too much. The hangover started the morning I’d booked a boat ride to gawk at sea lions. I woke up feeling nauseated and shaky. Mounting panic at the thought of being trapped on a boat with sunscreen-scented, non-hungover strangers made the hangover worse. I thought about canceling, but pride prevented me. I’m sure I looked very proud with my head down and eyes closed for most of the trip.

With my eyes mostly closed, I was unable to fully appreciate the sea lions slimy, slothful beauty. I did snap a couple pictures and made an emergency plan to vomit over the side of the boat while the other passengers were busy taking their own pictures. Looking at my pictures today, the sea lions look the way I remember feeling. For the rest of the boat ride I wished I was dead but did not go so far as deciding not to drink again, not even for that day.

Barely hanging on

You know what’s really nice about going on trips sober? Everything, but most of all not having hangovers that make you wish you were dead. Everything is so much more enjoyable without them. Boat rides, sightseeing, swimming or lounging by the pool, meeting people for the first time, enjoying good meals, walking, breathing. I wonder what that trip would have been like if I hadn’t been soused and suffering, but in a way it’s kind of perfect because it caused a big crack in the image I had of myself as this merrymaking person who had her shit together. It’s okay not to have your shit together. In fact, wonderful things have happened every time I’ve been beaten down enough to accept this.

4 thoughts on “Humility through yoga and sea lions

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  1. “For the rest of the boat ride I wished I was dead but did not go so far as deciding not to drink again, not even for that day.” I sure can relate to that one. Congratulations on your (almost?) ten years of sobriety.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like seeing the seals and sea lions on the dock, totally unembarrassed about just flopping around soaking up the sun, and not pretending to read The Decline of the West or something, just hanging out and thinking about how tasty those herrings were this morning.
    That’s a great list of stuff you’re enjoying more – good meals, breathing, etc. and writing stuff, too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too, I am still completely enamored with them. If they noticed us, they pretended not to. It seemed more like they were in their own world of sun and herring naps. I hope so.


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