...To Be Continued

A Minnesotan girls' adventures and struggles in college and sobriety.
21 years on this earth. Rugby player. Slightly infatuated with Selena Gomez. Recovering alcoholic. Always up for a chat with someone going through the same. Questions? Ask away.

21 things you learn after (almost) one year as a sober 21-year-old

  1. Recovery jargon. Words and phrases like “higher power,” “12 steps,” “Serenity prayer,” and “surrender” become part of your daily life.
  2. Who your real friends are. These might be different than your party friends, but if they are the same ones, they will still love and support you - the sober you. If you’re lucky, they will love and support you even more than they did before.
  3. Drunk people are really just adult toddlers. Think about it…they say whatever comes to mind, cry at the smallest things, are messy eaters, don’t have social skills. Okay, not all of them, but you get the idea.
  4. Everything becomes normal if you do it long enough. Even sobriety. Even when it seems like it will never get better or easier – it does.
  5. How to find an AA meeting. Immediately. No matter where you are.
  6. There are so many people who have suffered from or are affected by alcoholism – and they all come out of the woodwork as soon as you do. There is always an immediate connection, an immediate mutual understanding and respect.
  7. Honesty is the best policy. This obviously goes for being honest with yourself, but also with the people in your life. The more people know what is going on, the more support and accountability you have.
  8. A family’s love is unconditional. Even when you feel as if it is the last thing you deserve or even want, they will be there. You can’t shake them or push them away, and eventually you will be confused as to why you tried.
  9. The importance of caffeine. Some people will disagree with reliance upon caffeine, but in college, it has been a lifesaver. Especially at the bars – gotta keep up with all the drunkies and their energy level.
  10. Higher power does not automatically equal God. I struggled to grasp this concept for a long time because I felt as if I had been distant from God and didn’t want to just turn to him suddenly because it was convenient. Eventually I came to terms with the fact that acknowledging a higher power simply means admitting there is something in the world more powerful than you.
  11. Bar tenders love sober cabs. They might even give you free pop all night if you are driving. And if you frequent the same places, they also memorize what you drink so you don’t even need to order anymore.
  12. Drunk people also love sober cabs. Actually they just love sober people in general. And they will let you know that, time and time again, as they sloppily hug you and state how proud of you they are.  
  13. Alcohol contains calories – a lot of them. And when you stop taking in those calories (and stop the drunchies that ensue) the weight and bloating will drop off of you and you will look like a new person. A healthy person.
  14. Looking like an idiot on the dance floor is okay. At first, dancing sober was the most awkward thing I had ever done…now I just look around and realize that everyone is a) drunk and dancing like an idiot and b) no one knows that I am sober and no one cares.
  15. You learn how to cope with feelings instead of drink them away. This isn’t always pleasant or fun, but in the long run, it is so much healthier and more productive.
  16. Your relationships become real and meaningful. Not that they weren’t before, but you’ll realize some were just superficial. Some people were just your drinking buddies, nothing more. Relationship maintenance also becomes a lot simpler when you are not blacking out and saying or doing stupid things to upset people.
  17. Life is about balance. Just because you are sober doesn’t mean you should lock yourself in your room and do homework all weekend. Chances are people still genuinely want you around and enjoy your company. Sometimes being social will be the last thing you feel like doing, but it will usually pull you out of a funk pretty quickly.
  18. Hangovers suck. Sure, you probably knew this when you were in the midst of one. But that was the price you paid for an entertaining night, right? Still, after the absence of waking up with a pounding head or a nauseous stomach, you realize how debilitating they really were.
  19. Not drinking can sometimes be frustrating, especially in college. This is okay to admit and struggle with, as long as you face it somehow. Whether this is talking to a friend, a sponsor, writing about it…any of the above are more helpful than you would think, and definitely more helpful than reverting back to old ways.
  20. Some AA meetings are the stereotypical old-guys-sitting-around-drinking-coffee. But guess what? These guys have been around the block and know a thing or two. And they love young people.
  21. Bad days are never going to be nonexistent. They just get easier to approach and navigate over time. And chances are your worst days sober are still a billion times better than your worst days using.

Year 3, Day 303 and 304:

These last two days really took me back to high school. On Friday I went to McCallum’s class to chat about being on the newspaper in college, which ended up being more of me just hanging out and talking to people. But that’s okay. I love that I can go back to the high school and no one questions what I am doing there, and all the teachers I had remember me. The fact that I am friends with a lot of them on Facebook is nice because there is less to catch up on in person. Mallum will always be one of the adult figures in my life for whom I am beyond thankful. He has taught me so much about journalism, but more so about life. 

Saturday night, Sam and I met up at Culver’s. I literally hadn’t seen him in almost two years - we had one great hug. Real life has kept up both busy, so catching up was way past due. I found myself sitting there, having a conversation with him and thinking “Three years ago, our lives were so different and we were such different people. Who would have thought in three years we would be sitting here talking about people our age getting married, our travels around the world, my drinking.” I mean I know we are growing up and high school was a long time ago, but I think it will always be a little bit weird to me that we are big kids now (I also found out some news a few days ago that solidifies this, but I have to wait to share. Eeeeeeek!) Anyway. I don’t think I realized how big a role Sam played in my life in high school, especially senior year, but looking back now I see it. He will always, always have a special place in my heart and my life.  

10 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Date A Journalism Major

A letter to my future son or daughter

You don’t know me yet, but I’ve thought about you often.  I’ve thought about what it will be like to see you for the first time, your balled up fists attempting to unfurl, your tiny, squinty eyes struggling to adjust to this big, bright world. I’ve wondered who your dad will be, how much I will love him (especially after giving me you), if you will look like him or like me.  I’ve wondered about your firsts - your first word, your first steps, your first tooth.

There are so many things I can only wonder about, but there are a few certainties, too.

I can promise I will be your best friend, because that’s what my mother did for me. I will hold your hair when you are sick, I will console you when you cry. I will read you book after book if it means you will grow up with a love for literature. I will let you climb into bed with me even when you’re well past the appropriate age - because sometimes you’ll just need your mom, and the rest of the world can wait.

I can promise you that I will support you – as long as what you are doing isn’t detrimental to yourself or anyone else. I will support you in each endeavor you choose to embark upon. I will support you when everyone turns left and you stubbornly declare right. I will support you in your triumphs, and even more so in your failures. I will support you when you’re not sure you even support yourself.

I can promise to teach you what I am able to, but there are some lessons you will only learn on your own. And when those come about, I promise to let you learn them, even though every instinct in me will be screaming to stop you, to protect you from being hurt. I promise to let you learn.

But above all, I can promise you that I will love you. I will love you the first time you tell me no, the first time you slam your door, the first time you threaten to run away. I will love you when you make the wrong decision time and time again. When you have your heart broken for the first time, when you fight with your siblings, when you tell me you hate me…even then I will love you. In fact, I’ll probably love you even more than before.

Someday I promise to tell you these things in person. Meeting you is a day I will look forward to forever, and when it arrives, I know so many more promises will come to me. 

Year 3, Days 289, 290 and 291: Wayneeee

Year 3, Day 283 & 284:

Overall a really great weekend. Cass, Kell and I went to the boys’ games yesterday in Eden Prairie, which was a good choice. It was great to spend time with them like the old days - we’re all just so busy with our lives that it’s hard to ever be in the same place at once, even practice. 

Sunday was declared Hamms Day by the teams, and it was a whopping 50 degrees and sunny. It was one of those days when I just looked around me felt so completely happy and content…pure moments like that, being able to forget everything I should be doing instead, are rare and fleeting. I never imagined I would be so okay with everyone around me drinking beer while I had an energy drink, but I really am. My life is just so much better when I’m sober.I actually like being the responsible one and watching crazy drunk people around me. 

How to Love a Girl Who Doesn’t Know How to Be Loved.

Year 3, Day 266: Tug-of-War

For being in my own head, I make a lot of choices that I can’t validate or explain. 

Like, ya know, sabotaging every could-be relationship that comes my way. Because why be with someone who treats you well, makes you happy and sees all the good in you, when you could instead completely flip out, run the other direction and be alone?

Right. I don’t get it either.

It’s like I am playing this constant game of tug-of-war - I lean one way and think it’s the right way, convince myself it’s the right way, and then some force from the other side reacts - and all of a sudden I topple over without any sense of the right direction and confusion as to why I was even playing to begin with. 

I need to lean one way and have an opposing force balance my force. Instead I am constantly standing at the middle of the rope debating which side to take. Listing the pros and cons, the what-ifs, the should-haves. I know that’s not what the game is about. The game is about chance and strength, yet I find a way to make it about mentality.

'If I want this badly enough, I can make it work,'

'But if I have to think about wanting it, then I must not want it.'

'So if I don't want it, what am I doing?'

'Nope, don't know what I'm doing, I should end it.'

That is literally my thought process multiple times a day and it is just draining. If it is an age/time of life thing, fine. A situation thing, fine. A schedule thing, fine.

But what if it is a me thing? That’s not fine. 

And I worry that it is a me thing. So many of my “relationships” the first two years of college were centered around drinking. And I’m not talking just romantic ones. I think because of this, my emotional maturity has almost digressed and I’m left wondering how to connect with people without drinking. Not on an every day level, but on a deeper level. I realize how sad that sounds, but I have no other rationale for my hesitancy and fear to just let something unfold. 

I don’t want to play the game any more. Right now I want to be the sore loser who stomps away and completely overreacts to the entire situation like a toddler. That is what I feel like: a giant toddler who just needs a good temper tantrum and a mommy hug. Instead I need to find an adult way to deal with my feelings, and I guess that is what this is. Writing a bunch of random crap on paper just to get it out of my head does no one else any good, but it sure as hell makes me feel better. 

Dammit, dammit, dammit. I am just so mad at myself right now, to the point that I can’t even articulate how I am feeling. Besides mad. Mad I recognize and can articulate. What I need to do is play rugby because I just want to take people down. I know I would feel better after that and life would be clearer. 

Year 3, Day 260:

Yay hockey. Yay front page. Yay 10 months sober. 

Yay life. 

Humans of CSB SJU

Year 3, Day 247:

Year 3, Day 240:

Wow, I have been terrible at updating this semester. In my defense, I don’t have a lot of spare time for “fun” writing these days. I’m normally working on an article or 20, so there’s that. 

Hmmmm. The pictures here are from Valentine’s Day, which was a good time even though I was single and worked that night. I’m okay with both of those things. 

I legitimately do not have it in me to ramble on about my life right now. I need to go be productive in it instead. But to all you followers, yes, I am still alive and well.

Year 3, Day 234:

My story on the Sartell swim boys was on the front page of the website today and above the fold in the actual paper, so that was neat. 

Also, when I got to work I found flowers and a card from Diane as a congratulations for the ACP award. It was seriously so sweet and unexpected. 

There are a lot of thoughts in my head right now (about many things) but for once I am going to keep them there because I am tired and semi-sick, so I need to rest. 

Year 3, Day 233:
Por fin, hable con mi familia chilena…y mi Colomba esta corriendo por toda la casa! Un parte grande de mi corazon esta en Chile todavia. I finally talked to my Chilean family..and my Colomba is running all through the house. A big part of my heart is still in Chile

Year 3, Day 233:

Por fin, hable con mi familia chilena…y mi Colomba esta corriendo por toda la casa! Un parte grande de mi corazon esta en Chile todavia. 

I finally talked to my Chilean family..and my Colomba is running all through the house. A big part of my heart is still in Chile