Sober Paranoia

I’ve noticed since I got sober there has been this small inner sense of paranoia that comes and goes frequently. Paranoia about what? About touching alcohol or being seen with it, near it, etc.

When I’m out at restaurants or bars and I order a non-alcoholic drink, virgin daiquiri, or whatever, I always abnormally fear that they will accidentally put the alcohol in! I overcompensate by saying WITHOUT alcohol, or make sure I am speaking exceptionally loud so that the waiter will hear me correctly. Is this fear irrational? I think so, but I can’t make it go away! haha.

Then once I get the drink I normally smell and taste it to make sure it is in fact alcohol free before enjoying it. Even though when I have been in the vicinity of alcohol the smell just about knocks me over, you would think I would know if they ever accidentally gave it to me by smell alone.

Besides ordering drinks when I’m out, I also don’t like to be photographed with drinks in my hand. I try to never hold my boyfriend or friends’ drinks. It’s awkward for me. I don’t want people thinking I am drinking! The paranoia sets in. If I take a picture with a drink people will think it’s alcohol – if I hold Fer’s beer people will think it’s mine, they’ll think I’m a drinker!

Why is this bad? Why should I care what other people think? No one really cares about my sobriety except me right? Well shit, I never knew that. My sobriety is about me, not what everyone else perceives. This is all still so new to me.

To this date, no one has ever accidentally put vodka with my ice instead of water or put liquor in my virgin mojito, (that I know of) and I’m pretty sure I would notice.

Another thing that gives me sober paranoia are dreams about drinking. I’m told this is pretty normal to experience and I was relieved when I heard it was because I thought there was something wrong with me at first. They’ve gotten fewer and farther between lately, but they still happen every once in awhile.

When I first got sober they used to happen a lot. I would wake up in a panic, from a dream where I was still drinking, or was hungover, or had blacked out again and not remembered what happened. There are even times during the dreams where it seems SO real and I am talking with people and pleading with them that no no no, there is no way I was drunk last night or did any of those things, because I am sober! They always laugh at me and look at my like don’t you know yourself Kelly? Those dreams really fuck with your head. Luckily I try to forget about them and separate what is real from what is not, but when I am in REM sleep my body tricks me into thinking what I am experiencing is real and it is not a good feeling.

There is nothing worse than thinking I am back in that same place again, I guess that’s why it gives me so much panic and anxiety. It makes me more thankful to wake up every day with a clear head and a full heart.

 

The Beach Whale Fort Myers Beach

My birthday this year out at a bar in Fort Myers Beach. That’s water with lemon in my hand.

 

La Isla Thai Lounge Cancun

virgin mojito at Thai Lounge restaurant in Cancun

liters on the beach in cancun

A clamato preparado (ojo rojo without alcohol) on the beach in Cancun a few months back

About these ads

Having a Partner Who Drinks

acceptance love quote

 

My boyfriend Fernando is a drinker and I am not. Most of you know this already from other posts and photos. I’ve received many questions asking me what it’s like to be with a partner who drinks and if it is ever a problem for me.

Fer and I met in the party scene. He is a DJ by trade and has worked in nightclubs for years. When we met, we both partied and drank a lot and at the beginning that’s what our relationship was based on. Our relationship started out rocky and any time we had an argument, alcohol was involved. In the beginning I tried to push him away and I treated him badly. I was an emotional and alcohol addicted mess. I couldn’t really figure out why he wanted to date me in the first place, and I tried my best not to let it happen.

Eventually he grew on me and I let myself feel the feelings I had for him. Our arguments would continue until I decided to stop drinking. Every argument that happened was when one or both of us were drunk. Normally it was about me getting too drunk, him having to take care of me, me not remembering what I did, or being mean while intoxicated, etc. As soon as I quit drinking our arguments stopped – I kid you not. Since the day I put down the bottle, our relationship has grown and changed so much.

I know that many paths to recovery advocate staying single and working on yourself when you first start with sobriety. Relationships can be messy, complicated, and can take away from the time and energy it takes to work on yourself. I can understand why jumping into a relationship when first becoming sober is not recommended.

The truth is, I wasn’t sure if it was going to work out with Fer and I. There was a lot of hurt, fights, and anger between us in the beginning. When I decided to quit drinking, I didn’t know if Fer would stay with me to see if I would really change. I wouldn’t have blamed him if he didn’t. Like I said, I was a mess and I couldn’t figure why he wanted to be with me in the first place. I also wasn’t changing for him, I was changing for me. Maybe I wouldn’t want a relationship with him after these big changes.

Fer decided to stay with me while I committed to sobriety. He has been there with me on the best days and the worst days of my life in the past two years. His drinking habits have also changed dramatically. In 2013 when I stopped drinking, he stopped working in nightclubs and he stopped going out so frequently. He never had the issues I had experienced while drinking (blacking out, getting sick, doing things you regret etc.), yet he still welcomed his own changes. When we lived in Cancun he would still go out with his friends every once in awhile (1 or 2 times every two weeks) and he would drink and sometimes stay out late. Most of the time I wouldn’t go with them. I preferred to stay home. Sometimes I would get annoyed with how late he stayed out, but I always knew where he was and what he was doing. I trusted him and I still do. I realized some of the time I was upset because I felt jealous. I wish I could be out drinking with my friends and having a great time like he could. I was taking my insecurities and emotions out on him. It took me a long time to accept the fact that I am different and that that is just the way it is. Just because I have a problem with alcohol, doesn’t mean Fer does and it doesn’t mean he should miss out on socially drinking with his friends.

We don’t keep alcohol in our house. That doesn’t mean that I’m opposed to it being in the house when we have friends or family over to visit. I’ve told Fer he is welcome to have beers in the house if he wants, but he prefers not to. With his drinking cut back and since I’ve stopped, he likes to save his alcohol consumption for special occasions – weddings, birthdays, celebrations. He likes to enjoy the occasional non-alcoholic beer with me when we grill out by the pool.

Would it be cool if Fer was 100% sober like I am? Of course. But he doesn’t need to be and I would never try to force him to be. Just because I have issues with alcohol doesn’t mean he does. Just because I am sober, doesn’t mean he needs to be. He is extremely respectful and supportive of my sobriety and I appreciate that. If I ever thought he had problem drinking habits, I would be the first one to bring it to his attention.

With that being said, I can say being sober has helped our relationship tremendously. We almost never fight because the topic of our fighting has been removed. I also feel that me being sober has allowed us to become a closer and more honest couple. We have better communication and I have let myself truly love this man who has been there for me every step of the way. Feeling healthy, rewarding, stable love and being able to give that to him in return is an amazing feeling. He is the definition of a best friend. He has loved me at my worst and at my best. He makes me want to be a better version of myself every day. He has shown me what real love is and I am so thankful to have him in my life.

I know that relationships don’t always weather the storm, especially through serious issues like addiction. I do know that removing addictive behaviors from a relationship can change both people for the better and working on a healthy partnership is possible. I am lucky that Fer and I have been able to support each other through hard times and I have all the faith in the world that we’ll be able to make it through anything. For now, I just count my lucky stars that I am able to fall more in love every day and experience the world with my best friend.

Couple Cancun Mexico

Life in Florida Update

Life has been traveling at light speed over here in our new town of Cape Coral! I was so busy last week that I didn’t have time to publish a blog.  I apologize! I wanted to write a life update for everyone since life has been hectic and GREAT since moving to Florida.

I continued to work for Sunset World (the hotel group in Cancun) from home for the months of June and July, as well as picked up a few freelance projects to keep me busy.  I continued to job search and I actually heard back from one of the first jobs I applied to in the southwest Florida area.  I went in for an interview on July 24 and the next day they offered me the position!  I am happy to announce I am the new Inbound Marketing Consultant for Impulse Creative in Fort Myers! I actually started right away and finished up my first week on Friday (hence my super busy last week).  I was sad to finally hand over my Cancun social media accounts and blogs to my former co-workers and it was like we had to say goodbye all over again. I will miss writing about the city I lived in for 5 years and all its beauty.

On the bright side, I had a great first week at Impulse Creative.  They are a small marketing and branding agency who help their clients effectively advertise via an Inbound marketing methodology. Was that a mouth full? I know I am still learning it all myself, but what I do know is I like what I know so far.  In my recent jobs and personal writing, I have gotten to express myself and business’s needs through social media and writing.  I never really thought about WHY I was doing what I was doing.  Learning about inbound marketing has given me a new understanding of how consumers’ buying habits are changing and how this has resulted in marketing habits changing as well. The internet is a lovely place to be and everyone is using it to look for solutions to their every day problems.  I am glad that I can help give people solutions by creating remarkable blogs and content. Besides the work being super interesting, the atmosphere and culture at my new job are fun, honest, and down-to-earth.  There is a room with bean bag chairs and a kitchen stocked with snacks and drinks.  I think it’s safe to say this job is going to be a perfect fit for me.

Marketing branding Fort Myers Florida

Team Impulse Creative!

Fer has also been on the job hunt and on Friday he was offered a full time customer service position at Alorica in Fort Myers.  He is extremely excited to start working and begins his training on August 12. I am so proud of him for doing all this job applying and interviewing for the first time ever in the USA. It was frustrating at times, but he has done extremely well and I can’t wait to see him excel at his new job!

It’s nice that we can both now breathe a sigh of relief since we have finally broken into the job market.  We’ll now be able to save money and explore our new area a bit more.  Besides working, I have also been playing a lot of soccer and doing CrossFit.  This weekend I played in the Major Beach Soccer tournament that was held on Fort Myers Beach.  My team ended up with a record of 1-3, but we worked our asses off and had a blast.  I am happy that I’ve found so many soccer teams to play on in this area!  I even met another girl who lived abroad in Mexico.  She actually plays soccer and doesn’t drink! Obviously, we’ve become fast friends. :)

Major Beach Soccer Fort Myers

My beach soccer team

Another life highlight has been finding a decent taco joint in Cape Coral.  We went to Taco Pancho on Friday night after reading their menu online.  They have pastor! Nom nom nom.  When we arrived we also saw that they have mole, cochinita, chorizo, lengua, and agua de horchata! Score! We’re totally psyched we found some real Mexican food close by.

Mexican food Cape Coral

Jarritos for me, Pacifico for Fer

In my “free time” (What’s that?) haha –  I have been planning my trip to Philadelphia for Labor Day weekend to celebrate my sister’s bridal shower, and next weekend Fer and I will be heading to Miami to spend the weekend with her and her fiancé.

As you can see there hasn’t been a dull moment for us here in Florida.  We have really taken a liking to the area and Fer and I have both said we can picture ourselves in Cape Coral , or the surrounding areas, long term.  Only time and our happiness will tell.

Life has been better than amazing lately and for that I am truly thankful. :)

 

Wedding Season as a Non-drinker

I have now attended 4 weddings as a sober señorita.  Before the first one I felt like it would be this big milestone.

I felt like I had to inform everyone before I went. “Just so you guys know I will NOT be binge drinking & getting shitfaced at _____’s wedding like I normally do.”  Although I guess it made more sense for my first sober wedding that I declare that because it was only after a month of sobriety for me.

During that first sober wedding I remember feeling lots of anxiety. It was still in the days where I kind of felt like I was missing out on something.  Looking at all of my friends getting drunk and having fun –  It was hard.  Being sober was something I felt like I had to do and when it was over I breathed a sigh of relief, I did it – I attended my first wedding stone cold sober.

After that, it became normal.  It wasn’t a chore.  Just because weddings are a beautiful, special occasion doesn’t mean I have to drink.  In fact, I don’t want to drink and now I don’t have the feeling that I am missing out, because I’m not. Dancing is just as fun sober as it is drunk, trust me!

During the first two weddings I attended sober, the thought always crossed my mind, what will it be like on my wedding day?  At first I would ponder if I would be ready to take a drink by then.  That was back when I felt like maybe I would want to drink at my wedding.  Well now I know I won’t drink on my wedding day whenever it comes and that alcohol will be the last thing I’ll be thinking about on my wedding day.

All this wedding talk came to mind because my sister will be getting married this year in just 4 short months.  I am lucky enough to be her maid of honor and have been planning her bridal shower, bachelorette party, and writing a speech for her special day.

If you asked me a year ago how I felt about her wedding, my answer would have been: should I toast with champagne during my speech or not?  Looking back I feel like that is A. a really selfish answer and B. Not what my first thought about a wedding should be!  It just goes to show how centered my thoughts used to be around alcohol.

The best part about being more aware and present is that I can plan all these special events for my sister and not ever think twice about the drinking. Yes, there will be alcohol at these events, but no I won’t be drinking.  It’s just how life is for me now and I like this life.

I will get to remember and savor every moment of these amazing times.  I will sleep easy knowing I will know exactly what is going to happen.  There will be no shame, no guilt, no trying to remember what the heck happened the night before. I am no longer anxious thinking about the drinking situation on my own future wedding day.

The thing I am most concerned about right now is keeping my cool during the MOH speech at my sister’s wedding.  I loathe public speaking and I will most likely begin sobbing after the first 5 words. I will not have the crutch of alcohol there to help.

I am FINALLY coming into my own. I have an identity without alcohol, without being the party girl. It feels like the first day of high school all over again – scary, weird, and a bit awkward. I am still navigating and discovering. I am discovering ME…. and it feels damn good!

Cancun beach wedding sober

My sister and I at our friend Jess’ wedding in Cancun in April

7 Things I Miss About Living in Cancun

It’s been over a month since we made the big move to the USA.  Things have been great here and we are slowly but surely getting adjusted.  Even though I am extremely happy to be living back stateside there are things I miss about my beloved Mexico.  To soothe my nostalgic feelings here are 7 things I miss about living in Cancun.

 

1.  Tacos al pastor

OMG why? I never even ate pastor until probably the last year I lived in Cancun because I was a vegetarian when first moving there.  I started out by trying a torta de pastor and then graduated to the classic tacos and now I am stuck dreaming about the perfect red meat garnished with onion, cilantro, and pineapple. Ok my mouth is watering now.

cancun mexican tacos al pastor

The first thing we did when we went back for the wedding weekend.

2. The beach

It’s true we have a beach close by here in Cape Coral , but it’s just not the same as the ones in Cancun.  I miss the cool white sand and turquoise oceans.  I miss the men on the beach that sell fresh fruit for 20 pesos.

blue water cancun beach

3.  The close proximity of everything

In Cancun everything was very close to where I lived.  Traveling to work, CrossFit, nice dinners, soccer games, and the beach was easy and affordable via buses and taxis.  I definitely love having my car here in Cape Coral, it’s easier to grocery shop, but it does take extra time to get everywhere since everything is so spread out.

4.  Our cleaning lady

We miss our dear cleaning lady Sandy who helped us move three different times and was not only a cleaner, but an organizer and cat lover.  I miss her great work and her affordable salary.  In Cape Coral we have done a pretty good job of keeping up with the cleaning and it is MUCH easier with a dish washer, vacuum cleaner, and washer/dryer.

5.  Hotel Day Passes

Another quality I loved about Cancun was the cheap hotel passes available to locals.   You can easily get a full day (9-5) at a nice hotel including usage of their pool, with all drinks and food included, for $30-$40 USD per person, a great deal to take advantage of once in awhile.  There are hotels with beach clubs on Fort Myers, but I don’t think they sell day passes.

6.  Historical sites to visit

I believe there are historical sites I have yet to visit here in Southwest Florida, but I’ll always miss the Mayan archaeological sites in Cancun and the neighboring cities.  There is just so much history and untold stories and culture in that area of Mexico.  I know when we go back to visit I will have to hit the Mayan sites I haven’t been to yet.

Coba archaeological site tulum

Fer and I climbing to the top of the pyramid in Coba

7.  Cheap veterinary costs

I had to take Ramona to the vet here in Florida already because she was having stomach issues.  Just the check-up without any blood work and 7 cans of healthy digestion food cost me $100 USD! I about fell over.  It was really nice just paying 200 pesos ($20USD)  per visit on average in Cancun.

There are many other food items I miss like mole, cochinita, and agua de horchata, but if I listed all the food items we would be here all day.  I also miss my friends and family that I left behind.  On the other hand, there are a lot of things I DON’T miss about living in Mexico and I am very grateful to be living in a nice area in a house with luxuries that aren’t available in many houses in Cancun.  There are a lot drinking memories that I was happy to leave behind in Cancun too.

Mexico will always hold a special place in my heart. I can’t wait until we can go back and visit and enjoy even more aspects of this beautiful city that we weren’t able to while living there. :)

 

Online Sober Reading

sober sayings quotes

 

In my post How I Got Sober I talked about how reading about alcoholism and addiction online really helped me get through my first months in sobriety.  I was looking for comfort, answers, and to know I wasn’t alone.  I found many great books and websites along the way.

In this post I decided I would outline for you the main websites I like to read for information, community, and encouragement.

1.  Sober Nation

Sober Nation is a website full of addiction and recovery resources.  You can find treatment centers, current addiction stories and articles in the news, and a recovery blog where people like me have written their personal stories.  They also bring up important questions and topics that are discussed in the recovery movement.  I really like the fact that they are committed to removing the stigma from recovery.

If you’re looking for some awesome sober gear, Tim the founder of Sober Nation, is also co-founder of New Lyfe Clothing. They offer some pretty cool t-shirts that promote sobriety and they decorate your bag with a nifty inspirational quote when you order one.  I just bought one.

 

sober clothing new lyfe

2.  Veronica Valli: Recovery Rocks

Veronica is a recovered alcohol and drug addict, an addiction therapist, and an author.  I have learned so much from her in a short amount of time and I am lucky to also call her a friend.  Her website is full of informative and interesting blogs, recovery rocks interviews with other people in recovery, and promotion of her amazing book: Why You Drink and How to Stop .

Out of all the addiction books I have read hers was the one I could relate to the most.  She breaks down the concept of alcoholism, the path that takes you there, and what drives it.  She outlines how you can change your personal story at any time – only you have the power to create your own future.

One quote I really love from her book is, “It isn’t alcohol that kills alcoholics.  It’s the lies they tell themselves in order to keep doing what they are doing.  If they didn’t lie to themselves, the pain of the reality would be unbearable.  Why is it we would rather drink to the point of destruction than tell someone else how we really feel?”

I definitely recommend reading her book and checking out her website.  She might help you make sense of what you’re feeling.

3.  Addictive Daughter

This website and concept was founded by two 20-something BFF gals from the UK.  Their goal is to get you “addicted to the good stuff.” They tell you how to get your addictive personality to focus on healthy things.  These girls are not only encouraging and intelligent, but they release funny and inspiring videos on how to deal with life.  They refer to them as “life nuggets.”

You can subscribe to their YouTube channel here.

4.  The Fix

The Fix has A LOT of great info and is more news, reporting, articles, and opinion pieces on recovery and addiction.  I enjoy this website because it always has the most recent news and it is raw and honest.  You can find many different view points on this page.  They also review rehabs and have sections dedicated just to sober culture and sober living.  They have been featured on The New York Times, The Huffington Post, MTV, The Daily Mail, and many other news sites.

5.  She Recovers 

I can’t remember how I came across this site, but what I love most about it is their Facebook page which is always sharing inspiring quotes.  Additionally, this website offers Yoga recovery retreats and they sound amazing.  Some of them are held on the beach in Mexico right near Cancun where I used to live.  Although I haven’t been able to afford one yet, I’m hoping one day I’ll get to go to one of these retreats because they sound great.  They also have a section on their website called Reading Room where you can find many different types of books about recovery.

6.  After Party Chat 

This website I just recently started reading, but I love it.  Its slogan says it all:  “Where to go when the party’s over.” I love that concept.  It’s a great website for addiction news, advice, and resources for addicts and their loved ones.  I enjoy their “lists” section where they sometimes poke fun at recovery.

This short list is just the beginning of many resources and reading I have found online since I started my sober journey.  I hope that you guys enjoy these and can get some use out of them.  I will be making another list in the future of just books you can read as well.

Do you have other sobriety websites you enjoy that aren’t listed here? Tell me in the comments.

 

 

A Glorious 4th of July in the USA

nephew family 4th of july

My nephew and I with our face paint

 

After living in Mexico for several years, this year I was excited to finally spend Independence Day in the USA.  I was looking forward to having some good old fashioned American fun and to seeing a real fireworks show, as they don’t have those in Cancun.  Also, it was Fer’s first ever 4th of July in the States, another reason to celebrate.

I was SO excited I actually baked red, white, and blue cupcakes!  A plus about living in the USA is that you can find recipes on Pinterest and actually find all the ingredients at one store and for a reasonable price.  I can’t wait to try more new recipes!

Holiday baking 4th of July

On Thursday night we drove to my sister’s house in Cooper City, Florida to spend the weekend with her, her fiancé (also named Fernando!),  his son Adrian, and Fernando’s sister Jackie.

Friday we grilled out with hamburgers and hotdogs, made Mexican ojo rojo drinks (an alcohol free one for me), and after the afternoon storms passed we headed to nearby Bamford park that was hosting fireworks, arts & crafts, rides for kids, live music, and lots of yummy food trucks.

the fourth family miami

We took our time, walked around and took in the sites.  I decided to live it up and get my face painted.  We watched my nephew jump in some bounce houses and enjoy rides.  The innocence and culture of the 4th of July swept over me.  Finally, I was getting to show Fer something unique about my country, after learning about Mexico over the last several years.  The diversity of the families, the joy of the children, and the colors of the sunset left us feeling happy and content.

sunset colors Bamford Park Miami

4th of July celebrations 2014

You should have seen Fer’s face during the fireworks show, it was priceless.  He had never experienced anything like it.  The “finale” at the end of the show where they pump up the amount of fireworks and everyone cheers literally left him speechless.  He asked me if we would have to wait another 365 days to experience a fireworks show like this.  Needless to say, I think his first stateside 4th of July was a success.

4th of july fireworks celebration miami

On Saturday night we ventured into Sunny Isles Beach where my sister and her fiancé used to live before they bought their house.  We ate a family dinner at their favorite local Indian spot.  If you know anything about Miami and its surrounding suburbs, it is very diverse.  Fer pointed out “Wow there are all different kinds of people that work here.  Our waiter is Indian, the hostess was Eastern European, there are a few latinos, and an Asian waitress as well.”

Perhaps the best part about being back in the USA is the mindfulness that we are and always have been a nation of immigrants.  That it has never been odd or weird for me to see people from different countries speak different languages and live and work in the United States.  In that moment I thought back to many times in Cancun where I was stared at because I have light skin and speak English.  It became normal to me to feel like an alien in Mexico – a gringa amongst Mexicans.  Here, you don’t bat an eyelash when you hear another language. You are never a Mexican amongst Americans, you are just American.

In that moment Fer smiled and I could tell he felt comfortable, like he would never be made to feel out of the place living in the USA.  A perfect lesson for me and my loved ones to learn on the 4th of July. :)

fireworks 4th of july 2014