Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Celebrating MY Independence Day!

Happy Fourth of July everyone! 

Striking my Rosie the Riveter pose...
I DID Do It!
I have so many fireworks going on around me that for once it is hard for me to write because all I want to do is celebrate, celebrate, CELEBRATE!

The biggest thing I am celebrating is something few people know.  It was just one year ago today that I chose to quit drinking in the efforts to focus on what was most important in my life without the distractions that alcohol often brings.  Too many times in the past I allowed alcohol to play a factor in my choices and the consequences of those choices.  I was curious to see what would happen if I eliminated it from my life completely.  Would I finally get a job that I wanted?  Friends that I could count on?  Performances I would be proud of?

Yes, yes, and YES!!!

It was certainly not the easiest year to attempt such an endeavor, which of course, often made my journey that much more difficult and challenging (feel free to read old blog posts if you need to get caught up because I am done talking about them.)  However overcoming those obstacles is what makes the celebrations today that much grander!  I never allowed the bad things that happened to me prevent me from keeping the promises I made to myself.  In the end, I learned I was stronger than I thought and faced the problems with a clear head instead of numbing the pain with avoidance and anger.  I came to understand that the “bad things” or "bad luck" were simply the means to get me out of those unhealthy situations I had somehow got myself in and wouldn’t leave on my own as a result of not being a quitter.  I learned to accept and trust that my new unpaved road with no GPS to guide me was eventually going to take me some place far greater.  And boy, did it ever!

In my time of sobriety from July 4, 2011 – July 4, 2012, I have:

1. Smiled more than ever before knowing that I am finally the person I want to be.

2. Written more regularly on than ever before, which means I am ready to finish my book later this year!

3. Performed more comedy shows in 1 year than the prior 9 years combined & was paid for the majority of those shows, wearing clothes I made.

4. Re-launched my purse business & have sold more in the last three months without any promotion than in 2004 – 2005 (even when I was on the cover of the newspaper!?!)

5. Finally attended an Oprah show after 25 years of ticket requests…then met her!

6. Performed a literary comedy show at the ALA national conference.

7. Seen some friends come and go, but now know that it is the very best ones who have stayed & been there during the tougher times.

8. Seen go from an idea & blog to a nationally recognized & industry promoted, paid program for libraries.

9. Learned to let go of the past – who I was, who I knew, what I didn’t get.

10. And as of Monday, July 2nd (just in time to make this list), finally offered a library job with health benefits after two years of applying & interviewing.

People say that, “timing is everything,” “things take time” or “time heals old wounds.”  I don’t know what I believe.  I just know I have always been obsessed with time and dates.  For example, July 4th was also the anniversary of when I fell in love.  Well, when that relationship ended, I needed to accept it and move on.  He had, so why shouldn’t I? 

So last year while valet parking cars in Malibu wondering why my life was still in the crapper, I decided to apply new meaning to that July 4th date with one simple decision that would have the potential to both better my professional life & repair my heart at the same time: I declared my independence from alcohol. 

Instead of drowning my sorrows in a glass of wine after not getting a job or going to a bar to throw back a few cocktails with buddies to avoid being alone on a Friday night, I would work on or apply for library jobs.  Anytime I felt the need to drink, I would work, volunteer, or write.  

Looking back, it seems to have made all of the difference.

I cannot thank you enough for joining me on this journey.  I am at this point undecided if I will continue with my sobriety experiment or in sharing my personal life on this blog.  All I do know is that I am thankful to have a library job to go with people that I like and respect.  I also really want to finish the book I have been writing on and off for the past couple of years...and do some more library performances…and sell some purses…and record that comedy cd…oh, who am I fooling, I can’t start drinking again; I have too much work to do.

Today, we celebrate this great country we live in because it allows us to be whatever we want to be…then gives us numerous chances to be it!

Happy Independence Day America!

My last drink - a port from a local winery in Temecula, CA.
July 3, 2011