Mexico 2004

3 simple ways to support a newly sober friend

When I decided to stop drinking, I was lucky that i had a great group of friends who supported my decision, but I know  that’s not always the case. So many people decide to go it alone when it comes to sobriety. I get it: you don’t want to be a “buzz kill” (literally) for your friends and you don’t want to make people uncomfortable. But I think that having a strong support system is the difference between successful sobriety and unsuccessful sobriety.

So, here’s how you can be a good source of support for a friend who’s decided to stop drinking–either for good or for awhile.

Continue reading “3 simple ways to support a newly sober friend”

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Mexico 2004

Reunion Weekend

I spent the weekend with a group of friends that I haven’t seen in years–some of them as long as 17 years, some of them only a few years–but all of them important to me.

These were people that were my “drinking buddies,” so it was a bit odd to be the sober one. Even odder (more odd?) to see them through sober eyes.

The beauty in this weekend is that we all just picked up right where we left off. Everyone looks the same and acts the same (not sure why that part surprises me) and there were times during the weekend that I had to remind myself that I hadn’t teleported back to 2000.

We all left each other today, with teary promises not to let time get the best of us again–not to let 17 more years come and go before we saw one another again. Hard to say if we’ll be true to all of our words, but I know that I have a renewed sense of love and friendship after this weekend. It was balm for my soul.

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Mexico 2004

Feeling excluded

Feeling excluded was a common emotion that I experienced when I first stopped drinking.

Now, let’s be clear: It certainly wasn’t anything anyone did on purpose. But it was the nature of the social scene. When people get together–specifically moms of young children–drinking is the main event. When I stopped drinking, I struggled to find things to do socially that wouldn’t make me feel uncomfortable. But it also made me very aware of how much alcohol plays into social events.

Continue reading “Feeling excluded”

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Mexico 2004

What it’s like being an introvert

I have people ask me often “how do you know that you’re an introvert?” I addressed that in THIS post, but I thought I’d talk a bit more today about what it’s like being an introvert–some of it might surprise you!

Believe it or not–I enjoy being social:

If you met me, you might find me to be rather social. I enjoy talking with people and can carry on a conversation like a champ. In fact, I can even be energized by good social interactions. However, BAD social interactions set me back. Certain personality types turn me off to a degree that I have trouble recovering and often close up my “shell” in the presence of those types of people. One step forward, two back.

I need alone time, but not TOO much:

I’ve started trying to save Mondays just for myself. If possible, I don’t make appointments or commitments on Mondays, so that I can spend some good time to myself, writing or just doing things around the house. But, I don’t think that I could do this for more than 1 day in a row. I’d be lonely if I had to spend multiple days without interacting. I know….I’m a mystery even to myself.

I really enjoy going out for coffee or lunch with friends:

Granted, two hours before I’m due to meet up, faced with changing out of my beloved jammies and putting on (gasp!) real clothes, I often consider canceling, but once I’m committed to going, I am typically excited to talk and socialize with friends over coffee or lunch. Some of my most invigorating days have been spent having long conversations with friends over lunch.

Truth

So, that’s my introverted life in a nutshell. I don’t believe that anyone is 100% on either end of the introvert/extrovert spectrum all of the time but I’m definitely more introverted than extroverted most of the time.

What about you? Are you more of an introvert or more of an extrovert? 

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Mexico 2004

Making friends when you’re a teetotaler

I’ve been asked many times how I make new friends as a woman (specifically a mother) who doesn’t drink.

On the surface, this might sound like a stupid question to someone who doesn’t think much about alcohol. But, in our culture of “Mommy Juice,” and PTA meetings that end with tequila shots at the taco joint next to the school, it’s a formidable question.

The shorts answer is that…well, it is difficult–I’m not going to sugar coat it.

Part of this is likely due to my introverted personality. I would much rather be a fly on the wall at a party than be actively moving about the room visiting and getting to know people.

Also, if someone is part of a recovery community, they’ve got a built-in safety net of people to socialize with.

I didn’t have this at my disposal.

When I was a drinker, meeting people was a bit easier because alcohol allowed me to be more open and friendly. I took more chances and I didn’t quietly observe the room quite as much as I do sober. I could also tolerate certain personality types when I was drinking that I typically couldn’t have tolerated sober.

When I stopped drinking, I had a wonderful home-base of lady friends. When I told them that I was going to stop drinking, they were supportive but also largely non pulsed, which is just what i needed at the time. It was no big deal and they loved me regardless of my drinking habits.

Then, we moved away from my friends and I was faced with making all new friends.

So, I started mixing and mingling with people in our new community. When my drinking status came up in conversation, I found that it was usually met with 3 possible reactions:

Oh, okay…that’s cool.

(Then I’d be watched closely to see if I exhibited any overtly religious behaviors, which might explain my teetotaling. Spoiler: If you’re around me for more than about 15 min and hear my potty mouth, you’ll quickly learn that I’m not fanatically religious)

Oh, wow! That’s so interesting! I want to hear more!

I love this response, because, it not only shows that the person cares about who I am and getting to know me better, but it also gives me an opportunity to share a bit of my story with others who might benefit from hearing it.

Oh. My. God. Are you kidding me? I could NEVER give up my wine! You’re crazy.

Perhaps it goes without saying, but this is my least-favorite response and generally lets me know pretty early on that: a. this person and I aren’t going to jive and b. this person might have a bit of an issue with alcohol herself.

I have an acquaintance who still–every time she introduces me to others–says this, “This is Jenny. She doesn’t drink!“. This can be at any setting at all, be it a place where that explanation is necessary (say, at a winery tour) or absolutely not necessary (at a funeral). She’s definitely one of those people who blurts things out all the time and her mouth often gets her into trouble, but I find it so telling that that’s the thing that she chooses to tell people about me. Not, “This is Jenny. She’s the mother of 2 kids.” Or even, “This is Jenny. She has 4 cats, a dog and a fish.” Nope. Every time, it’s, “This is Jenny. She doesn’t drink…not even wine! Can you believe that? I could NEVER give up my wine.”

There have been instances when I’ve met someone–a potential friend–and when they find out that I don’t drink, their face falls and I notice that resigned, “Oh, and I really LIKED her” look go across her face. It makes me sad but I also know that I USED TO BE that person too. In my drinking days, when I met someone who didn’t drink I’d often mentally cross them off of my list of potential friends. “Clearly, we have nothing in common.” I feared judgement from non-drinkers. I assumed that anyone who didn’t drink wasn’t my people. So, I totally understand how people feel when they meet me.

And, all is not lost when first meetings don’t go well. Often, once someone gets to know me and sees that, in addition to being sober, I’m also funny, self-deprecating  and wildly inappropriate, they forget that we differ in our drinking habits and they accept me anyway. That’s really all that I typically hope for.

I also work hard (perhaps harder than I should) so that my friends feel comfortable drinking around me. The thing is, just because I can’t drink doesn’t mean that they can’t. I’m not here to judge but I am here to be an example of what a sober woman looks like.

If you’re a teetotaler, have you found it difficult to make friends? 

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Mexico 2004

The Parent Party Scene

There’s something that’s been bothering me and I wanted to discuss it today.

I need to preface this post with a few statements: First of all, this post isn’t written from a  “sour grapes” angle. I’ve had opportunities to jump into this party scene and I’ve politely declined multiple times.

Also, I’m the first to admit it and my life is boring as shit. Sure, there was a time in my life when I went out late, drank a lot, had inappropriate conversations with people and did some things that I really shouldn’t have. BUT, I was also like 24 years old and didn’t have a family or children depending on me at home. I rather love my current lifestyle and, while I’m glad that I had (most of) the experiences that I had in my early 20’s, I wouldn’t go back to that pace of life for anything. ANYTHING. Give me my orthotic slippers, fuzzy pajamas and Bravo TV marathons any day. 

So, here goes…

Continue reading “The Parent Party Scene”

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Mexico 2004

2017 goals

I’m an action-oriented, list-making type of person, so I enjoy the beginning of a new year and all of the promise and potential that it holds. I’ve never really been a resolution-maker but lately, I’ve grown accustomed to setting some goals and intentions for myself at the beginning of the year. 

This year, I have some goals and I thought I’d share them here, in the hopes that they’ll inspire you and also hold me accountable.

Without further ado, here are my goals for 2017…

Continue reading “2017 goals”

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Mexico 2004

Friday Favorites–Homemade Holiday Gift

I first discovered this recipe for homemade sugar scrub during our first Christmas in this community. I’d made friends with a neighbor whose whole family has extreme gluten intolerance. I obviously couldn’t take them a tin of my homemade Christmas cookies–and I wasn’t feeling ambitious enough to attempt gluten-free baking (plus, the risk of cross-contamination) so I set out to find something that I could make for them that also wouldn’t harm them.

That’s when I found a recipe for this homemade sugar scrub. It’s simple to make and is a skin-saver in the winter when skin is dry and chapped. 

Sugar Scrub:

1 Cup of granulated sugar

1/4 Cup (add more if you need to, as you go) coconut oil

10-15 drops of essential oil 

(Here’s a good set with a lot of variety: Essential oil set)

Melt coconut oil in the microwave–30 seconds or so–until it’s liquified. In a large mixing bowl, mix the melted oil with the sugar. Mix until it’s a slushy consistency. Add the essential oil of your choice. 

Add more coconut oil as needed to reach a spreadable consistency. 

To use:

Scoop a small handful and scrub into your skin then rinse with water. This scrub will leave your skin refreshed and moisturized. 

My husband uses my homemade sugar scrub for shaving every morning. I also use it for shaving my legs and like to use it on my hands after a long, Holiday dish-washing session. I like to use lemon essential oils when I make this for others but I add a more masculine scented oil (sandalwood is one of my favorites) when I mix my husband’s shave scrub. 

This time of the year, giving “consumables” is such a kind gift because no one really needs more stuff to take up space in their home. Also, it’s nice to give a homemade gift that won’t bust anyone’s diet plans, like sweet treats will. I enjoy mixing up a large batch of this sugar scrub and then packaging it in individual little jars that can be purchased at the dollar store. I put a cute gift tag on them and attach with some rustic twine and it makes a lovely gift that my neighbors not-so-subtly ask me for every year.

Do you have a favorite homemade Holiday gift?

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Mexico 2004

So very thankful tag

Megan and Wendy participated in the “So very thankful” tag and I enjoyed watching their video on YouTube, so I’m going to participate too. 

so-very-thankful
Image courtesy of http://www.meganandwendy.com/

 

1. Name a color you are thankful for. Turquoise. Always turquoise–especially this time of the year because I love seeing turquoise accents, amid the red for Christmas.
2. Something your spouse does that you are thankful for. Kevin plans and cooks dinner every Thursday. It’s so nice to have one night of the week where I don’t have to think about what’s for dinner. 
3. Something your kids do that you are thankful for. Anna’s superpower is exceptional manners, so, while I still remind her to use her best manners everyday, I really don’t HAVE to. Jack is such a hard worker. When he sets his sights on a goal, he’s driven like none other. 
4. A food you are thankful for. I love my recipe for cornbread dressing that is a hybrid of both of my grandmother’s famous recipes. It tastes like my childhood and home. 
5. What recent good news are you thankful for? This one is tricky right now, but I’m going cop-out and say that I’m thankful for the news that it’s finally going to get cold here this week? Sorrynotsorry. 
6. Name a drink you are thankful for. Coffee. Err day. 
7. Name a restaurant you are thankful for. Panera Bread. My kids have finally discovered Panera Bread so now, they’ll willingly choose it over other fast food and I can finally eat something healthy when we go out to eat.
8. Talk about an animal you are thankful for. How much time do you have? I’m very thankful for the opportunity to foster a mama cat (Jacobien–“Bean” for short) and her 4 babies (Booger, Tux, Bandit and Pinto) for our local no-kill animal shelter. It’s so rewarding to know that we’re able to give these sweet kitties a new beginning and a safe, warm home to live in for a few weeks.
9. Name a beauty product you are thankful for. I’m enjoying all of my Rodan+Fields products right now. I drank the R+F koolaid hard, y’all. 
10. Name a cleaning product you are thankful for. My homemade granite cleaner (recipe HERE)
11. What social media platform are you thankful for? Instagram. I love Instagram and I’ve purposely kept my personal account locked down, so only my nearest and dearest get to see what I post–unlike Facebook that is too big and wide right now. 
12. Tell us why you are thankful for the last person who texted you. My dearest friend, Erika. She gets me like no one else (and somehow loves me in spite of it).
13. Name a candy you are thankful for. Sour Patch Kids. I’ll rub the roof of my mouth raw from eating too many then keep going back for more. I can’t quit you, SPK. 
14. Name an app on your phone that you are thankful for. What’s App. That’s how I stay in touch with my close friends from all over the globe. We have almost-daily text chains that range from the philosophical to the ridiculous (and sometimes ridiculously philosophical). Thanks to What’s App, we can stay in touch in almost the same way we did when we all lived in the same city. 
15. What are you looking forward to that you are thankful for? Hosting my brother-in-law and sister-in-law’s rehearsal dinner in mid-December. When we bought this house, we knew that it would be great for assuming some of the entertaining burden from my mother-in-law and I really enjoy throwing a good party and planning every little perfect detail–especially for those that I love. Party hosting is my love language. 

 

This was fun! If you’d like to participate, please link below to your post so that we can see your answers too! 

cheers-jenny

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Mexico 2004

What if dads ran the PTA?

ifdads

I wasn’t sure what to title this post. “Mom Friends” seemed like the obvious title, because I wanted to really talk about how hard it is to make friends with other moms. But I often fantasize during P.T.A. meetings, surrounded by well-meaning, but super competitive, bored, lonely, ex-sorority president moms, about how different school would be if the dads ran the P.T.A…more on that later.

Here’s something that no one tells you about motherhood: it’s hard to make friends when you are a mom and P.T.A. meetings are the worst place to try and make friends. 

Mom friends

Continue reading “What if dads ran the PTA?”

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