Who’s Driving Your Car?


Cooped up in my house, my thoughts seem to be all over the map. I can’t divert myself with friends, wandering stores, or yoga classes. Dealing with my own thoughts has been the biggest challenge of my life. But it’s also the one thing that changed my life so profoundly.

Pam Grout described how she handles these thoughts in her blog here. For those who don’t know, she lost her only daughter, Taz, this year, but has continued on her amazing spiritual journey.

Insist that Love Drive the Clown Car

Here is a photo of Pam with her daughter.


Tales of a High-Bottom Alcoholic


“Every day of my life, my head tells me I can drink and I have to remind it I don’t even want to drink. My mind wants to kill me: it only leaves me alive to have a vehicle to run around in.”

— Jackie Monahan

I think this quote is both hilarious and scary. The woman who wrote it is an actress and comedienne, and she has an article in The Fix called Tales of a High-Bottom Alcoholic.

Don’t Die Wearing a Cardigan


Do you remember when you were a kid, and people would ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” And you just knew, without giving it a second thought, that you could be anything you wanted. It was your choice. Nothing was off the table. There was this huge array of things to choose from, and you had the fun of deciding what you wanted to be.

My dad asked me this when I was about eight years old, and I said, “A hippie. Just like Laurie on the Partridge Family.” My dad, who has never gotten a traffic ticket, was dismayed. “You’ll change your mind,” he said. I was indignant. “No I won’t!” I shot back, angry that he would suggest such a thing.

He was right. I did change my mind, but now I’m changing it back. I still want to be a hippie. After decades of “mom wear,” including matching sweater sets, I’m going to reinvent myself.

And why not? Sobriety gives you that chance. But there’s a trick to it: You have to withdraw who you were while drinking to allow the real you to emerge.

But change can feel dangerous and heartbreaking. I recognize this in some of my earlier blogs, as I wrestled with giving up that woman at the party — the “fun” girl who was reliably late, forgot you name, and rambled on enthusiastically with the other drinkers. That woman seemed like who I was, and I played her part for twenty-five years. That’s a lot of time to establish myself as that person. I really thought that she was me.

Guess what? I’m someone better now, though I feel endless compassion for the women at the party. She seems like someone I used to know, who stumbled along like the rest of us, trying to prove something she never had to. She only exists in photographs now, like someone who has gone on to a better place.

So after mourning the party girl, I get to choose again who I want to be. I no longer have to blend in to the woodwork as someone labeled “woman with a drinking problem” anymore.  I have no drinking problem. I very wisely chose not to drink. No problem there. It’s more like a rock star asset, if you ask me.

So now, at a little over two years’ sober, I’m going to buy some loud clothes. I’m going to practice being noticed, after years of only feeling worthy of notice after I’d had a drink or two. It will be so much fun! I’m going to get some weird earrings, the kind that scream “I’m into some crazy shit!” (I am, by the way.)

So there is opportunity in every seeming calamity. My decades of drinking were an invitation to rise above it. I was given this invitation every single day that I drank. Sometimes I listened; more often, I did not. But every day is a rebirth, and I’m continually being reborn now, without offering myself another lesson in pain.

What seemed like pain at the time, I recognize now, was just me at a crossroads, choosing the road of pain over and over again. Now I see the gift wrapped inside the pain of the crossroads … I get to choose again.


No More Tunnel Vision


Today is Saturday, and I’m free as a bird.

I can do anything I want, or nothing at all. Yoga? Maybe. Or I might drag out my camera and try to take some really artsy photos. Or I might take the dog to that park with the sign that says, “No dogs” and sneak him in under the fence. That’s always fun. And I MOST DEFINITELY am going to the Starbucks drive-through and get a giant chocolate chip cookie and some iced green tea.

I ramble on here for a reason. What I have today is possibilities. I have no goal for the day except to enjoy it and do whatever my heart desires.

No more tunnel vision.

I remember a well-meaning friend asking me if I wanted to join a hiking group a few years back. But how does the involve drinking? I thought. As if reading my mind, she said, “It’s a short walk through the woods, and then we end up at restaurant and have some drinks.” Now we’re talking.

And because drinking made me a slug, I told her that my ankle was acting up, but that I’d meet them at the restaurant. Perfect plans!

I got there early and had a nice pre-drink so as not to drink others under the table, which is seen as unladylike in some cultures. Plus, these weren’t my regular friends, so they might be the type to order a glass of wine and then sip it slowly, making it awkward for other people to order another and another. So rude.

And that’s exactly what happened. They showed up with those hiking stick things, all glowy with health, and ordered tea. (Sweet tea, how decadent!) The waiter ruined by pre-drink plan by saying, “Do you want another glass of wine, miss?” I hesitated just a second, and said, “Sure,” as if he’d pressured me into it. Then I remembered to rub my ankle as if it hurt.

The whole thing was a fraudulent act to hide my only goal: to drink. It was Saturday, and no one was going to stop me from drinking. Not that I didn’t drink the rest of the week as well, but Saturday gave me an extra license to drink. Besides, what if I quit Monday? Better enjoy it while you can.

I could never have relaxed at this outing without the wine. My tunnel vision would make it so I couldn’t think about anything but leaving. I might have gone to the ladies room (alone) and popped open a mini-bottle with my name on it, hidden in my big purse for just these types of emergencies. (My purse could hold up to four mini-bottles for dry weddings, etc. It was big and ugly, as my daugher liked to point out, but it served its secret purpose.)

It’s so nice to be free of that tunnel vision. My mind is free to wander and enjoy the possibilities of just going with the flow. I don’t have to arrange for a drinking lunch, an afternoon nap to sleep it off, and then an evening of more wine.

And a Sunday from freaking hell. Liquor stores don’t open until 12:00.

Free at last.


I’m Out There


For those of you who think I might be a little “out there,” I’m about to prove it:

Tomorrow, I’m flying to Chicago to attend a Sonia Choquette workshop. I can’t wait!

I’ll have three days to delve into intuition, chakras, spiritual healing, and dancing sober. And not even my mother’s deep deep disapproval of anything “psychic” can stop me. (She always points to a 60 Minutes show that she watched 30 years ago in which an elderly woman gave all her money to a gypsy.)

Sorry, Mom.

Then again, my mom has no idea I have a sober blog, or that I’m writing a book about my journey to sobriety.

There is much much disapproval and chagrin in my mother’s future. I can hear her now, embarrassed to go to the grocery store in case someone who knows her also knows me and also knows about that whole drinking thing, which was much better swept under the rug, like women did in her generation.

Best epitaph ever: She Never bothered her neighbors. 

(Someone out there remind to take down this post around publication time.)

No matter. I’m on a roll.