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Archive for June, 2010

Some People Have No Sense of Humor

This is an email exchange I had with a media person that just cemented to me that a lot of people don’t enjoy sarcasm. Or at least mine anyway.

Hi,

I wanted to let you know about an upcoming event with actress and host Niecy Nash at Grand Central Station on June 23 at 10:30 a.m. Nash will be “flushing” for a cause with Clorox and the World Toilet Organization (WTO)

“Flushing” For a Cause with Niecy Nash
Nash and Clorox to Distribute Free Subway Tickets to Flushing, NY commuters
to Bring Awareness to Those With Flushing and Those Without

WHAT: Fresh from a successful run on Dancing with the Stars, comedic actress and host Niecy Nash is partnering with Clorox® Toilet Products to kick-start a donation drive for the World Toilet Organization by distributing free subway tickets to Flushing, NY commuters, helping bring attention to those with access to “flushing”.

On June 23, for every commuter ticket Nash and the street team hands out, Clorox will contribute a like for like subway fare donation to the WTO, estimating it will provide more than 10,000 free rides totaling a donation of $22,500.

WHERE: Grand Central Station’s Vanderbilt Hall
87 E. 42nd Street (at Lexington Avenue)
New York, NY

WHEN: Street Team at Flushing Station Nash in Grand Central Station
Wednesday, June 23 Wednesday, June 23
7-10am 10:30-12pm

I’ll look forward to hearing from you!

Best,
xxxx xxxxx

ME: Do you seriously forsee a huge turn-out for this?
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

xxxx xxxxx: Yes, We have already confirmed many TV stations along with top US magazines and radio stations who would like to participate and support the cause.

ME: Is there some sort of rubber bracelet or ribbon I can purchase to wear my support?
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

xxxx xxxxx: Yes, there is actually going to be a “virtual toilet” on our facebook page and for every “flush” another dollar will be donated. That would be a great way to show support. I will send you the info when it is up and ready! Thank you. We really appreciate it.

ME: I’m thinking more of a wearable item. Is there like a “potty pendant”? And will Neicy’s face be on it?
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

And…crickets.

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on June 21, 2010 9:10 pmUncategorized18 comments  

Don’t Get Drunk Fridays (Fine Monday) – Kate’s Letter

Hi Everyone, I’ve just turned in a book and it robbed my soul of any more creativity for weeks and weeks but…I’m back now and ready to update my blog like a real blogger. But here’s the thing, from time to time I get a letter from a reader that I feel sums up a universal experience. It’s like everyone who is drinking feels like they are the only one, with their own “special circumstances” but as you’ll see, it’s not the circumstances that make us all the same, it’s the way we cope. And sometimes the way we cope is a result of something much deeper; a family history, anxiety issues, bi-polar etc. But what difference does it make really? If it’s time to stop, it’s time to stop.

I thank “Kate” so much for allowing me to publish her letter. As I explained to her, it will sure help so many of you to see that you are not alone.

Dear Ms. Wilder-Taylor –

I saw you on Dr. Oz and your story was just like mine (in many ways). Your image became the angel on my shoulder who began a competition with the devil (Mr. Sav Blanc) at 5:00 pm on the other shoulder. Angel (you) said, “Come on, just start today. You gave it up before you can do it again. Twins are no excuse. I have them too. Mr. B would say — “It’s only white wine. It really isn’t as much of a buzz as all the other stuff. You managed to get through the day. You deserve a little liquid calm.

I am a mother of three. I have an eleven year old diva who thinks she is so full of wisdom that it is a miracle I survived 35 years until she arrived. Then there are my nine year old identical twin boys who were a month premature but ended up with lots of scary health issues at birth. We almost lost them. When they came home and I recovered from the surgery, I started having my two glasses a night. As their physical health improved, we realized their developmental health was not where is should be. Every time some issue resolved and I thought we’d graduate to normal, a new issue came up and eventually the punch in the stomach: They have Autism — but it is the good kind (yippee) — Asperger’s Syndrome. I know a lot of folks have it harder than me, but it still sucks. As the wind was pulled from my sails, I started to drink more. Usually 3/4 bottle a night — gotta leave a little in the bottom so no one could say I’d had an entire bottle.

I quit drinking when they were two after my mom held up a bottle and a picture of my little girl and said “you pick.” She said, “You’re cute and delightful Kate, but you’re not when you drink.” There are plenty of anecdotes to demonstrate that – many like ones you’ve shared. I didn’t fall down the stairs, but back in 1994 at my future in-laws’ who could be mistaken for the Cleavers, I was so drunk I knocked over a bowl of potpourri and tried to clean it up with scotch tape so they wouldn’t notice. It was so pathetic. My father in law would walk by the door and hear me pulling strips of tape off. It was futile and they were gracious.

So, from 3/03 until 2/09, I was sober. Then in 1/09 my stepfather died suddenly. My biological father is in my life, but he’s quite busy with his other kids (he has eight all together ages 56-21) and his fourth wife now. My stepdad was my real father — the man who made me feel worthy and special. He was the real source of encouragement in my life. I suffer from anxiety, OCD, and depression. Mom is my other rock and she was grieving herself and seemed so slammed. When he was gone, so were all the “atta girls” a mom of three kids with special needs craves. Not to mention I really loved him and his country accent and stories of his farming buddies at the stock yard. No one got more joy out of selling a manure spreader (yes there is such a thing).

My husband is a great guy who works hard to take care of us all, but he’s not the type to sit down and talk about feelings. He’s great with the kids and I couldn’t ask for more. He supports all the special services the kids need and the many practitioners we have to support us. He works his ass off and when he comes home the last thing he needs is to hear me belly ache about how our son had a melt down on the school field trip.
He entrusts all the care and intervention for the kids to me — which is a full time job and can be highly emotional. Watching your child try to make friends and fail is heart breaking. As one of my boys was becoming more complex and heart breaking “do you think anyone would ever invite me to their home?” or “I wish God didn’t give me this life”… I used to wonder, “God why two children with autism?” Then I had an epiphany — while sober I’m sure… they have each other. I had my liquid friend and groovy new stem less wine glasses.

Like many women in my shoes, I never failed to get up and do what was expected of me. I never got hung over enough to interfere with my responsibilities. I took my SSRI and ibuprofen with my 3 cups of coffee and I was good to go. I suspect no one would have guessed I was having a huge battle of wills in my brain all the time and was riddled with guilt.

My husband is one of those one of those annoying people who can drink two or three glasses of wine and never be buzzed. He can leave a glass half empty when he’s had enough. He too drinks every day, but responsibly. In the 16 years I’ve known him I have never seen him polluted. His personality doesn’t change. He’s just himself and it makes me so jealous! He can enjoy the wonderful flavor of chocolate with a nice red. I am unfortunately not able to allow this simple pleasure to pass my lips unless it’s a whole bar and a bottle.

I became more and more thirsty for relief of the anxiety, grief, sadness, poor self esteem (did I mention I’m not a wrinkle free babe anymore?). By March of this year I was back up to the almost bottle a day mark. Weekends were justification for a more than that. I was missing the “rules” I made for myself. It was hard to enjoy any of the deliciousness in those dry wines with a citrus finish. I knew my mom was crushed knowing all too well my penchant for excess. My ever-wise daughter had picked up on my drinking and badgered me daily about it. As we’d watch our favorite show “Dr. G Medical Examiner” my budding little pathologist would point out the necrotic liver of a patient and ask if I had a fatty liver yet. Imagine an intervention facilitated by and eleven year old. Insane. With the help of her therapist, I put in place some boundaries and we told her that her caring was nice, but grown-ups get to decide and that mom could be responsible. I couldn’t follow my own boundaries and became the master of rationalizing.

So, your appearances on TV and your blog stuck in my mind. Then, one day one of my sons came out of school with his pants covered in blood from his nervous habit of picking his skin till it bleeds. I initially thought he had been in art class and gotten into the red paint. When I realized he had managed to escape all the safeguards his teacher and I put in place, my Pavlovian sp response was “I need a drink and its only 3:00”. I couldn’t figure out how I would make it until 5:00. I drank through that weekend, but the nagging feeling that I drank to cope wouldn’t let go. I decided I had to quit. I knew the only way to assure that I followed through was to tell people that I was quitting….my husband promised me not to let me off the hook. I called my mother — the relief in her voice was like a bolt of energy to inspire me to follow through with the promise. I spoke with the women in my weekly Bible Study Group (yes, I thought somehow I could trick God – after all, he forgives me and knows I’m human) and asked for their prayer. Then I prayed to God – take this craving and urge from me.

God has a sense of humor. We never know how he makes his will unfold. The next day I got wicked case of strep throat. I was sick as a dog for seven consecutive days – and yes, the craving was gone. He mercifully made those first days a non-issue, albeit in a physically painful way. I sweat out the booze with my fever and by the time I was well enough to face a day healthy without a drink, my mind was prepared and clear enough to fight.

That was 10 weeks ago. I never have done AA – I read a lot on line for support and your column is my first spot when I need a boost. I am committed to being there for my kids at 100% — to the extent a 46 year old can be. If I ever feel like I’m crashing, I will go in a flash, but for now my 12 step program includes: (1) My Lord and his grace, (2) one husband, (3, 4, 5) three great atypical kids, (6) steadfast and unconditional love from extended family, (7) great and loyal friends, (8) one high maintenance dog, (9) diet coke/coffee, (10) Wellbutrin, (11) dark chocolate and (12) funny blogs of others in the same boat (misery loves company). My extended steps include guilty pleasures like the real housewives and fashion awareness – Clinton and Stacey – I love you!

Stephanie – never worry about being the woman who always talks about not drinking…you are saving families and women and after another — including me and mine.

God Bless you and your readers –

Kate

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on June 14, 2010 4:46 pmDon't Get Drunk Friday18 comments  

Don’t Get Drunk Fridays: Updates From Susan

So last week I post Susan who’d lost her sobriety after many years. Well, she came back. And you’ll see that she’s a strong woman with amazing fight in her. And she’s also cool and funny, like many of us gals who like to drink a little too much. This is Susan’s comeback story as she posted on the Booze Free Brigade. She compiled this for us and allowed me to publish it.

Posts from a second sobriety:
The first sixty days as reported to the Booze Free Brigade

Day 1 3/31/10: Today is my quit day. I saw my Dr. this afternoon and spilled it. He was extremely understanding and sympathetic. He prescribed librium for the next few 3-4 days, as needed to get through the acute withdrawal phase. For the next few hours I vacillated between thoughts that I could leave all the craziness behind, and the knowledge that my husband wouldn’t be home until late and I could get my drunk on one more time and tell him the Dr. said I should start tomorrow.

But I told at least 10 people close to me that today would be my quit day.

Since I know nothing about Librium, I went online. Maybe it took a couple of days to build up in your system. Maybe you could drink and take it. Nope on both accounts. Shit.

So it was quit or wait another day. Take the pill or have a glass of wine. I took the pill. Tomorrow I want to tell everyone who asks that I have a Day. And I want to tell my BFB friends that, too.

4/3/10: Day 4- Easter. After a tough day dealing with my mother in law for the first time sober, I went to a meeting I hadn’t been to before in a local church. As we were going through the preliminaries, this old woman walked in. She was driving around looking for a church service to attend, and wandered into an AA meeting, but she sat down anyway.

As the meeting was opened for discussion, she raised her hand and asked if she could sing for us in God’s grace. We all kind of looked around at each other and finally said sure. She unzipped the case around her Casio (seriously) and started in. She proceeded to sing the most heartfelt rendition of Amazing Grace that 3/4s of the room was in tears by the end.

Saved a wretch like me, I was lost but now I’m found…

The whole drive home, I prayed to the god of my understanding for the first time in years.

THANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOU.

4/12/10: Day 13 – Grace: http://www.cryingoutnow.com/2010/05/grace.html . Note from today: I was a happy cherub on a pink cloud when I wrote this on Day 13. Didn’t get posted for a bit, so the chronology looks weird.

4/17/10: Day 18: I’m in a lot of action right now. Lots of meetings, and working on the steps. I also am going through a Spring Cleaning phase on my house that I started in motion just prior to getting sober. We’ve lived in the house 8 years with two young kids. It was time for a refresh: paint, floors, fencing, landscaping, a bit of re-decorating.

I’ve been thinking about all of this positive chaos I’m creating. It certainly does keep me DISTRACTED, doesn’t it? On the other hand, I’m doing what I’ve been instructed to do to maintain my sobriety, and while doing all this stuff is tiring, the result pleases me, adds to my serenity.

So what do you think, brigade, positive change or covert chaos?

4/27/10- Day 28: The Post that No One Responded to: Anyone else out there completely lose all interest in all matters sexual in early sobriety?

5/19/10 – Day 50: This week was my first business trip sober. I had a very specific routine when I traveled to the home office, involving boxed wine upon arrival and oodles of unobserved drinking at night in my hotel room.

I made many preparations to come on this trip: finding out where the AA meetings were, making plans in the evenings to meet colleagues and friends (when normally I would rush back to the hotel and my wine), telling my home group to create accountability, and confiding in my support network. I was scared.

I didn’t really realize how scared until I found myself laying on the shower floor the day before I was supposed to leave. I had decided that the day before leaving town for a week was the day to regrout and recaulk my tile shower. For 11 hours. I was completely out of control, unmanageable in the face of busyness. My mind was the most compulsive it had been since I put down the drink.

Around 3 pm, already exhausted, I realized I didn’t want to go on this trip. AT ALL. I didn’t want to be away from my safe, sober routine. It was new sobriety territory and it scared the ever loving bejesus out of me.

No one would know.

The thought curled and coiled and writhed in my alcoholic brain. Repeating over and over in tandem with the repetition of the work. I had sought mindlessness in the task, and found mind-full-ness instead.

I’m making it through, brigade, and it’s not as bad as I feared.

6/2/10 – Day 63 – Insomnia: In general, I don’t sleep for crap since I quit drinking. I used to be a 10 pm girl. I’m lucky if I get to sleep before 12 am–usually around 1:30. I don’t exercise late, drink caffeine late, etc. I’m just up.

Please help me with your best sleep-inducing tips. I’m not getting enough sleep. I’m not going to drink over it, but it’s getting a little hard to deal with the T in HALT.

6/3/10 – Day 64 – Today. The thing about relapsing is that getting back into the groove of sobriety is like getting on a bike. I’ve been overwhelmed by acceptance on my return to AA and amazed at how many people want to hear what caused the relapse so they can avoid it themselves. If you are an AA-er, it’s pretty simple: don’t drink, maintain your spiritual connection, keep going to meetings. If meetings feel stale and boring, start giving back.

This part applies to all alcoholics: the day will come when having a drink seems like a pretty good idea. Your circumstances will have changed, you’ll be feeling fine. It won’t be the day your dad dies, your spouse wants a divorce, or the 16 year old announces her pregnancy. It will be the day when the sun is shining, all is right with the world and gee, a margarita with those chips and salsa sounds pretty good. And just like that, you’ll be gone.

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on June 4, 2010 2:52 pmDon't Get Drunk Friday7 comments  


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