Carpe-ing the Sober Diem

The early days of sobriety are sometimes filled with a euphoric feeling known as a “pink cloud” phase. I am years-deep in sobriety and pleasantly surprised to find myself in a bit of a “pink cloud” of sorts lately, a feeling of easy contentment and general goodness.

I think I am due this bit of emotional fair-weather. The last year was just one hard thing after another that seemed to rippled outward to the edges of life. I put my head down, ate more than my share of ice cream and cut myself some slack. Time passed, life moved on.

Gratitude is an amazing thing. It kept me going through the hardest of days, but what I did not expect was how staying grateful would transform the easier, less eventful periods in life into glowing patches of tranquility.

I spent 4 days in Los Angeles for the SheRecovers conference and it was a gorgeous event. I could have focussed on the negative (a long travel day of missed connections, being so nervous about moderating the panels that I now have a huge dry-cleaning bill from flop-sweat on my nice dresses and blazers, the social anxiety that tends to hit in crowds), but I threw gratitude at those moments and they didn’t stand a chance.

UnPickled at SheRecoversLA
Conference Memories

The flights were at least free because, like all of the fun recovery-related trips I do, they were booked on points. (I use my credit card for everything from groceries to utility bills so that I can build points, which adds up to enough for a getaway every 18 months or so.) I was nervous about being on stage but also honoured, and my-oh-my what a stage! The historic Beverly Hilton is home to the Golden Globes and I got to be on that same stage (and in the green room, and the backstage bathrooms…). Gratitude, gratitude. As for the social anxiety, well not much I can do about that but I was thankful for every hug and hello from strangers and old friends alike. There is no warmer, safer crowd than a group of recovery people celebrating together.

It was all a blur but it was wonderful.

And when it was done, I flew (on points!) to Denver where my husband was to meet me for a camping trip, working our way back home to Canada from there. On arrival, my luggage and I took the train downtown and met an old/new friend, a fellow member of an online group whom I’d never met in person. We have been supporting each other’s recovery for years, and I’d reached out to let her know I’d be passing through. We took the opportunity to spend a few hours together, enjoying brunch at Union Station and then going for a walk through her gorgeous historic neighbourhood. She then kindly drove me to the campground. We talked nonstop the whole morning.

Camping in Colorado

The suitcase of dresses and heels was stowed under the bed and I switched into camping mode for the duration of the week. My husband and I had an incredible adventure through Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana on our way back home – a Punch Brothers concert in Red Rock, lobster mac and cheese by the river in Steamboat
a romantic stroll through Jackson, and the prettiest Montana sunrisesunrise imaginable in Bozeman.

Dinner in Steamboat

Home feels good, too. Somehow the floaty pink-cloud carried me through all of the laundry today, as well as 52 emails that needed attention. I don’t know how long the feeling will last, but I’ll enjoy it while it does. I have a quiet month ahead and I just want to bump along drinking coffee and paying bills and shaving my legs and walking my dog. All good, all good.

We got through the hard moments of the last year, and thankfully embraced better days. Remind me of all this if things get hard again, and they will, of course they will. That is just life, unfiltered.

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20 comments

  1. I listened to your interview with the Betty Ford biographer on a walk today and was so moved! Came home and downloaded the book~ can’t wait to dive in. But first, I’m down the rabbit hole of your fantastic blog! 2011 was a long time ago…I need to pace myself on devouring your posts! I see so much of myself in your story: we are close in age, my 3 kids seem to be about the ages of yours; I stopped drinking before a rock bottom.
    Just had to add that I know the very spot in Steamboat where you are having lobster mac n cheese~ we are part-timers there and I’ve sat at the river at that same stump with my (af since August) drink!
    Thank you for all that you do for this community!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Day 1. This is the first time I am trying to quit with the help of resources like this and with full disclosure to friends and family. Unpickled and Tired of Thinking About Drinking have inspired me and I feel more prepared than ever. I know challenges lay ahead, but I look forward to the process.

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  3. Love your blog and your podcast – I am 13 days sober today! You are an amazing talent with your simultaneous ability to empathize and listen with curiosity and an open heart. You have made these last two (almost) weeks somewhat easy. I have enjoyed mining your resources of other bloggers and podcasters. What a wealth of resources out there that I never knew about.

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  4. I love your blog and the bubble hour. I would love to attend ‘she recovers’ but I never will because I had no idea they’d photograph everyone and put it on Instagram. Soberwitch shared it on hers.

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    • I’m not sure what you saw but I can understand that it would be unnerving. As I understand it, they provided photos of the event to the participants. At the event, there constant strict reminder announcements about privacy and anonymity on social media. People can always post pictures of themselves but not others unless they have permission. I hope that eases your mind.

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  5. Love this. The ability to look at the contrast in our lives as just that- contrast- is truly a gift. Ever more is the ability to recognize it in the moment. This is an awareness I am getting better at with each day of sobriety. I am always humbled by the love and support women in recovery show to each other.
    One of these days, I hope to see a SheRecovers in the Midwest. 🙂 I’d be happy to help.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. If it weren’t for your podcast, I would not be celebrating and thriving in Day 9 right now! I listened to your interview with Lisa Boucher, author of “Raising the Bottom” today; and thanks to the Bubble Hour and UnPickled, I gathered up the courage to attend She Recovers last weekend and am still feeling the outpour of support and encouragement from all of the women there! Jean: you were calm, welcoming and fabulous the whole time [and your talent at moderating is extraordinary]… I do not give out compliments lightly. You rocked it! Please keep doing exactly what you’re doing with the Bubble Hour and UnPickled. You are instrumental in “raising the bottom” for so many. You and your guests have saved my life and my relationship with my family and clients.

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    • Whoops. I didn’t mean for that comment to be “anonymous”. Here’s to all of us women shining the light on being free from fear, free from addiction, free from self-loathing, free from judgment and no more hiding/shame/anonymity! Thank you to each and every one of you who extended hugs, text ph.#s, support and encouragement to me after my “Day 3” question to Mackenzie Phillips.

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  7. I love it that you went to Red Rocks for a concert. I live in a Denver suburb, and I try to go to the Red Rocks Ampitheatre just to run up and down the steps and take in a sunrise or sunset. Although I wasn’t able to come to LA for SheRecovers, I met you at NYC last year and read your blogs. You know, I seem to always make it through the really tough times. It is the ordinary days that seem so hard. I started my recovery in 2004, and along with some catastrophic knee buckling falls, I have had incredible moments of clarity and redemption. Life does move on. Every thing is temporary… pain, pink clouds, full in-boxes, sweaty pits, and even the natural high of being sober. The one constant of recovery is the reality of living it, of being in it, and being able to breathe no matter what.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. That’s right! I honestly felt a little star struck when I saw you. Loved that bathroom. The whole weekend was top quality. Amy Dresner was pretty hilarious.
    I hope you have a relaxing, cozy fall and winter. I’ll be listening!

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  9. You did not seem nervous one bit at the confernce and you looked beautiful! I met you briefly with Kelly Beck (who you so graciously introduced me to a year ago). I just want to say thank you for all you have done. I literally have listened to every back episode and you have a way of speaking to people that is so calm and without judgment but you are strong. Your show has really changed the course of my last year. Thank you.

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