Sober Friday Night

Friday Night Recovery Toolbox

(If you’ve been reading for a while, you probably know that I am person in long term recovery, which for me means I no longer consume alcohol. While I’ve often been a writer and contributor to recovery-based websites, in the past few months I decided to share a bit more about my recovery journey here on my own blog! If you’re looking for more information about how I got into recovery, what my path has looked like so far and more, check out the Recovery section of this site!)

Friday night…those two words strike terror in the heart of those in early recovery! If you’re in your first days, weeks or even months of your journey, Friday nights can be some of the most difficult times. For me, Friday nights were always my “free nights.” During the week, I often felt extreme guilt and shame about drinking. What kind of a mother is up late drinking on a Wednesday? A horrible one, I would think to myself. But Fridays….well, all you have to do is look at your Facebook feed and you’ll find endless justification to drink on a Friday. It’s the end of the work and school week, the big weekend is looming ahead of us, and social events are usually on the calendar. So when you decide to take alcohol out of the equation, Fridays can become extremely triggering. There were so many times where I would make it a couple days or weeks alcohol free and feeling amazing, only to be foiled by my own lizard brain on a Friday night.

Sober Friday Night

When I decided I really wanted recovery to happen for me (for REAL!) I knew I had to take on Fridays. This meant having a plan. Now, having a plan won’t guarantee you won’t drink, but it will make it a heck of a lot easier to say no! That said, here is a list of 29 things you can do on a Friday night that don’t involve drinking. Pick one (or more than one!), make a plan, and hold on, my friend!

  • Order pizza and get the special cheese-stuffed crust.
  • Put on a mindless TV show for the kids and start a warm bath for yourself. Lock the door. Put a funny show or podcast on your phone.
  • Have a friend night! Go for coffee or just for a walk.
  • When the kids start whining for dinner, get out cereal, milk, bowls and spoons and tell them to have at it!
  • Make a giant bag of popcorn and snuggle underneath warm covers with Netflix.
  • Spend $5 on some Epsom salts and put them in a hot bath. Breathe. You’ll sleep like a baby (well, a baby who sleeps…I mean, I never understood that saying…babies are the worst sleepers!).
  • Fill your freezer with the fancy ice cream that comes in those little pints. Refuse to share.
  • Order take out from your favorite sushi place. Refuse to share.
  • Go to a movie, but not one of those theaters where they serve wine! Instead get a soda, popcorn and candy and pretend you are 13 years old again. Bonus if you can get a good girlfriend to go with you!
  • Wander the aisles of Target with a Starbucks coffee and silence.
  • Go for a run.
  • Binge watch Stranger Things. Then decide you’re totally gonna dress up as Eleven for Halloween.
  • Call a friend or someone you know in recovery. Tell them how much this sucks. They will get it.
  • Sign up for a Friday night yoga class. Or download Yoga Glo and do your own practice at home.
  • Send the kids out with friends or your co-parent and go to bed early.
  • Plan out your Saturday morning…think of everything you get to do because you won’t be hungover! You won’t miss out on half of your weekend!
  • Journal. Write how you are feeling. Let it out.
  • Get a couple of those fun face masks from Sephora and some trashy, celebrity magazines.
  • Watch reality TV. Zone out.
  • Get a massage.
  • Buy some incense or a smelly candle. Get a book from the library. Read in a comfy chair with good smells all around you.
  • Buy some new nail polish and give yourself an at-home pedicure.
  • Go out and get a real deal pedicure.
  • Rewatch (or watch for the first time!) all the old Gilmore Girls episodes in preparation for the new ones coming out the day after Thanksgiving.
  • Download the Headspace app and meditate.
  • Go to a recovery meeting.
  • Schedule a Skype call with a friend you haven’t talked to in a while.
  • Buy a bunch of ingredients and create your own signature mocktail.
  • Have an at-home dance party with the Fitness Marshall videos on You Tube. Try not to smile. I dare you.

This list could go on forever…but hopefully this gives you a few ideas to get you started! And don’t worry, one day Friday won’t seem like such an huge mountain to climb. Instead, it will be just another day in your life. You real life. The one you got to be a part of when you put down the bottle.

Love Warrior

CB Reads : Love Warrior

A few weeks ago I posted about some things in my life that were making me happy, and included in the list was the incredible new book by Glennon Doyle Melton, Love Warrior. I finished the book a few days ago, and I wanted to share a few of my thoughts.

Now, first of all, yes, this is a book about marriage. Except it’s SO MUCH MORE than just that. I think this book applies to anyone, anywhere who has ever loved or been loved. And in turn, anyone who has ever been hurt. Which, let’s get real, is everyone, everywhere! One of the biggest takeaways of this book for me was the idea that a love lost is not wasted. Grief is not just a sadness…instead, Glennon shares her idea that grief itself is PROOF that we have loved, and loved well.

Love Warrior

For those of you who are fans of Glennon’s website Momastery and her first book, Carry On, Warrior, this book might be a bit more intense than what you’ve seen before from Glennon. Which is saying something, because she’s usually very open! But this book goes even deeper, and really explores the anger that we experience as women when our trust is broken. It also investigates and puts a spotlight how the world receives a woman’s anger. In the end, it’s the anger that really forces Glennon to look further into herself than ever before, and helps her not only heal her newer wounds, but years of trauma, which started when she was a little girl.

But here’s the thing…Love Warrior is FUNNY! Like, I was laughing out loud reading certain passages. How can a book about infidelity, faith, love, anger and healing be funny? Well, that’s the gift you guys. Because if this book was too heavy, I don’t know if I could have made it through. Humor is how I work through the really difficult questions in my own life, and I’m so grateful that Glennon did the same, because it made her story even more familiar to me.

After reading Love Warrior, I feel more empowered to continue to heal myself and work toward closer relationships with all of my life’s loves…my husband, my children, my family and my friends. This book is truly a gift.

If you are looking for more Glennon in your life, I love this podcast interview with her…and also this one (although there is definitely some saucy language here, so make sure you’ve got your headphones plugged in at work before you hit play!).

Recovery Month Bed

Finding My Glasses

Yesterday I woke up to rain pouring outside. It was darker than it should have been. Usually when my alarm starts chirping, the sunlight is streaming through the window on my face. But yesterday I found myself confused and groggy. Was my alarm wrong? Did I set it to a random time on accident? Is it the middle of the night? Where am I? Is my husband here?

Recovery Month Bed

I rolled over and saw my husband snoozing beside me. I started gathering my bearings as I scanned the room. Everything was blurry. It was dark. It felt wrong.

I reached over to my bedside table, knocking over my glass of water and slapping the snooze button to quell the chirping. I fumbled around until I found my glasses and shoved them onto my face.

Then. The world cleared.

With my glasses on and my vision restored, I saw the reality of this particular morning. It wasn’t dark, it was just cloudy. Rain was pelting the window, creating a soothing rhythm. I rolled out of bed and padded around my room, stepping over the dog, attempting not to smash the kitten who was jumping around at my feet. As I walked down the hallway and into the kitchen, I felt my body start to wake up. Synapses were firing…slowly at first, but still, it was better than nothing. I ground the coffee beans in our insanely loud coffee grinder, the noise and the smell perking up my brain. I turn on NPR to hear the daily headlines while I sip my coffee in the dark. I feed the dog. I feed the cat. I start to put together lunch boxes for the day and check backpacks to make sure I’ve signed every permission slip or homework assignment.

Recovery Month Photos

And then I sit down and write. This is new again, the writing. I used to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard daily, but then things changed. Life was harder and faster and more frantic. I couldn’t just write “nothing.” Everything had to be something. It had to be perfectly curated with photos and white space and design. It had to be sponsored or be a list or be happy. It had to be funny. It had to be “real.” Eventually it all became too much, and I stopped writing for myself. I wrote for others. I shared my story, but rarely on my own terms.

Until today.

Recovery is a journey, and while the beginning was the stuff of novels and memoirs (the salacious and scandalous and obviously difficult brings in the readers), the in-between is what makes the story. The idea that one day you can wake up in your bed, three and a half years after your last drink, and the simple fact that it’s cloudy can transport you back to your misery. Those scary days when you woke up afraid and confused and unsure where you were or how you got there…but then the world clears and you realize that isn’t real anymore. Your life is now. Your life is a clear head and quiet coffee, not throbbing in your cerebral cortex and chugging glasses of water at 3 a.m. to battle dry mouth. Your life is packing lunches and writing, not crawling on your knees to the bathroom so you can lay your face on the cool tile. Your life is waking up to the mess your dog left in the kitchen when he got into the trash, not waking up on your couch with your wine glass in hand and red spilled all over your chest. Your life is now. You are different.

You are wearing your glasses now. You can see everything clearly.

September is National Recovery Month, but for me, every, single day is a celebration of my recovery. Every small act, each minuscule idea that pops into my brain, is a part of my recovery. When you’ve lived through the darkness, the light, no matter how dim, can be blinding. When you have been your very worst self, each tiny accomplishment is worthy of a parade.

Today my recovery is different than it was a few years ago. It’s a process, and it’s constantly changing. There are so many ways to get better, and my needs change as my life changes. I am okay with that. I am not perfect, but I am getting better. Progress is my goal, not perfection.

Recovery Month Photos

In honor of National Recovery Month and because I am ready, today I’m launching a new section of Crazy Bananas. The “Recovery” section will house the story of my sobriety and will hopefully help others who are struggling. While I’ve written about my recovery intermittently through the years, I want to create a safe space where I can write about it more regularly on my own time and using my own rules, and a place where I can direct people who contact me looking for answers or advice. I want to be a part of a community of helpers. I want to use my own pain and struggle to assist others in the darkness. Because today I’m fortunate enough to be in the light, even if sometimes it’s raining when I wake up.

Today, my vision is clear. I am so, so lucky.

Click over to the “Recovery” section to read more about my journey through recovery.

Recovery : Three Years

1,096 Days Later

Today is a pretty basic Saturday around here. We have a few sports games for the kids, I have a photography session tonight and maybe we’ll even have a family movie night. I’ll make meals, wash clothes, maybe lay in our hammock while the kids and the dog run around the backyard. I won’t save the world today. Today won’t be one for the history books. Today is just a normal, simple day.

But also, not. Because today is never, ever a basic day for me. Three years ago today I made one of the biggest decisions of my life, one that has caused ripples of change throughout my own life and many others. Three years ago today I was reborn.

In the recovery community, we call the anniversary of our last drink our “birthday.” We sometimes even eat cake and blow out some candles. In so many ways, it really IS a birthday, because the person I am today didn’t exist three years ago. The Megan from three years ago was a vastly different person. She was more timid, more afraid. She was always looking over her shoulder, worried that underneath all the sarcasm and humor that someone would figure out who she really was. And if they found out, her life would be over.

Recovery : Three Years

Today I am rarely afraid of being “found out.” I live my life out in the open in a way I never did before. A year ago today I spoke for the first time publicly about my recovery here on this blog, and that was a huge milestone in my life. Even though I’d been in recovery for two years, I never really felt free of the immense shame until I started talking about it. Funny, huh? Fear and shame hold us hostage, when in the end, we held the power to defeat them all along. By sharing my story multiple times over the past year I have been healed. I am no longer ashamed of who I am. I’m damn proud of it!

In the last year so many of you have reached out to me to tell me your own stories. From people struggling with addiction or mental illness, to those of you who are afraid for someone you love who is dealing with his or her demons, to those of you also in recovery giving me virtual and physical hi-fives….every time I open a message from one of you my heart grows three sizes. I’m like the Grinch of recovery. I used to think that everyone in the world was out to get me, but the last year has taught me that connection is the solution. By reaching out, you have helped me immensely. Thank you.

Recovery : Three Years

If you are new on this journey, and you’ve found this post because you don’t know who to talk to, hold tight. It gets easier. Find your tribe, your people who get you. I was so fortunate to find my people on this path. My support system of women and men just like me, from all walks of life, who have held me up, cheered me on, sent me “hell yeah!” texts when I reached a milestone and listened to me cry when I was afraid it was never going to get better. I reached out to them earlier this week because I wanted to make something fun to celebrate today, and they didn’t let me down. We talked about remembering the terror of refusing a drink at a party or gathering and wondering if everyone knew our dirty little secrets. We laughed (yes, laughed…eventually you will laugh again!) about how much changes as you grow in your recovery, and shared different responses for that guy at the party who just WON’T LET IT GO and keeps offering you a cocktail! I loved them so much, I put together this little video to help you out if you’re newly sober and wondering what the heck you say to the dreaded question, “Hey, do you want a drink?”

Here’s to finding the funny again. Here’s to bright eyes and clear hearts. Here’s to no more fuzzy, wine tongue at 3 a.m. Here’s to being who you really are, without numbing and running away.

And here’s to many, many more basic Saturdays.

Happier + Healthier

A few years ago I started thinking about getting my health into check. I was in my late 20s, and I felt awful. I was exhausted all the time, I had a gym membership, but I rarely exercised, I had colds and sinus issues from October to March, and most of all, I was deeply unhappy. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it at the time, but my unhappiness was probably the biggest problem of all, and the root of that unhappiness was a deep seeded shame and, honestly, a hatred of myself.

The first step to addressing all of my health issues, both mentally and physically was quitting drinking. While I didn’t know it at the moment, that one choice would ripple down and affect everything in my life. And over the past few years, I’ve made small baby steps toward a life that is so much more fulfilling and joyful than I could have imagined.

(If you’re interested in learning more about my recovery, please click here for my story. If you’re struggling, you’re not alone.)

Getting Healthy

Now, while quitting drinking was a huge leap on my road to wellness, I’ve found so many other things that have changed my life in such positive ways. I relate all of my health wins back to recovery, because without that, I never would’ve had the urge to get well in the first place! But while I have talked at length about what quitting drinking did for my health, I haven’t talked very much about what came after.

When I quit drinking, I lost 25 pounds in three months. Now, mind you, I would guess that 80% of that was water weight and pure bloat, because I certainly wasn’t eating any better! In fact, after I quit drinking, I promptly replaced alcohol with a strong addiction to gummy bears! My body craved sugar like never before, and in early recovery, I didn’t care what I had to do, as long as I didn’t drink. But after a year, I felt like it was time to get myself back. After all, I hadn’t saved my own life, just to waste it away on gummy bears and bad reality television! (Though I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the Kardashian’s, whose crazy lives truly got me through those early days…)

For me, facing my issues with alcohol forced me to look at my body in a new way. As I became less toxic, my body could do more and more. I liked that feeling! I finally saw my body for the miracle it was, instead of seeing everything it wasn’t. I felt like superwoman, and became obsessed with finding new, easy-to-understand ways to make my body function at it’s best. Now, let’s be real…I’m still me. I still love cheesecake and think yoga pants are best suited for hours on the couch watching a Doctor Who marathon, but I knew there had to be small, simple ways for even ME to live a little bit healthier.

  1. Cut Out Soda/Drink Tons of Water – You guys, have I told you how much I love La Croix? Because I love it, so, so much. It’s a little unsettling when you notice how many empty La Croix boxes I have in my recycling bin, but it’s way better than empty wine boxes, so I’ll take it! La Croix is a sparkling water and it has almost completely replaced my soda habit. I’ll still have a Coke every once in a while, but for the most part, it’s water all the way.
  2. Get Rid of (Most) Sugar – This is a HARD one for me, you guys. Luckily, I’m not a perfect person, so perfection is not my goal. So yes, I still have cake and chocolate and ice cream. Just not every day anymore. And I’ve been working to replace most of my household foods with items that have less sugar. Peanut butter is a great example! We eat tons of pb&j in my house, but most peanut butters are LOADED with sugar. So we swapped it out for a natural brand, where the only ingredients are peanuts and a bit of sea salt. We did the same with our jelly and bread. We still rock our pb&j’s, just with a little less of the sugar.
  3. Making Our Meals – I am an awful cook. AWFUL. The worst. But one of the big changes in our house has been implementing a meal plan and sticking to it. Now, this doesn’t mean I’m cooking four course meals every night, but I am finding it way easier to stick to healthy options when I know ahead of time what we will be eating. I’m also slowly growing my skills in the kitchen so that one day I won’t burn all the toast. Fingers crossed! 
  4. Vitamins, Supplements and Essential Oils – I truly believe that a huge part of why we haven’t been as sick this year is because as a family we have taken a proactive approach to our health. Trent has been taking vitamins and supplements for years, but only this year did I start adding them to my daily routine. You should definitely talk to your doctor before starting any sort of supplement plan (which I did) to figure out what your body needs and what’s right for you. In addition, we started using essential oils to replace some of our needs around the home. We use Young Living essentials oils to make everything from kitchen cleaner to headache remedies, and I love how they have replaced many of the toxic chemicals in our home. Sleep has always been a huge issue for our family, and initially we started using essential oils to help with that, but I keep finding new applications along the way, and I’m so grateful to have them as a tool on my journey.
  5. Sleep and Exercise – Like I mentioned above, sleep is a big deal in our home. We have two night owls and two light sleepers, and the mix can be exhausting. In the last year I’ve done a lot of research on sleep, and we’ve tried quite a few methods, some of which have helped, and others which have failed MISERABLY! We are still working on this issue, but I’ve found that a good mix of exercise and movement during the day really helps my sleep patterns at night. In fact, I feel better in general when I exercise…who would’ve thought? Apparently yoga pants can actually be used WHEN PARTICIPATING IN YOGA?!! Crazy. I’ve also added running and strength training to my days, and the combination not only makes me physically stronger, but the activity releases endorphins, which help with depression, anxiety and stress.

While this blog hasn’t regularly covered health topics in the past…it’s a lifestyle blog. So that means if there is something happening in my life, I’m gonna write about it! I’ve put off writing about health topics for a while, because I didn’t feel qualified, but this blog is about sharing my life, and right now health and wellness are some of the most important things I have going. I’m so excited to have you come along on this journey! I hope to post more regularly about wellness-related issues, and maybe even team up with some incredible people who have helped me along the way to provide you all with easy how-to’s, DIY’s and health hacks. Let me know if you all have any ideas or anything you’d like to learn more about!

Hooray for healthier bodies and happier minds!

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