Today is my birthday! I blame my exuberant celebration of birthdays (not just mine but also family and friend’s birthdays too) on my parents. My dad had always been doted on by an adoring mother who felt the world revolved around him. My mom, on the other hand, had felt the opposite. Although her mother was sweet and loving, she was oppressed and silenced by a stern, seemingly cold husband and they never had money for anything other than bare essentials throughout her childhood. Because of this combination; my mother wanting her children to feel ultra special on their birth day to make up for what she lacked, and my father carrying on the tradition of ensuring the thorough spoiling of the birthday celebrant, I grew up feeling like a princess on my birthday. Mom would always make an adorable theme-related and delicious birthday cake for me, and there was a party. Always a party. I remember childhood friends in my young years laughing and playing and having a blast, and of course, the sensational experience of all the presents with my name on them. Birthdays were magical in my childhood. The curse of growing up being spoiled on my special day was assuming I would continue to be put on a pedestal on September 19 throughout my adult life, which as you can imagine, made it challenging for any partner who found themselves in the cloud of my expectation on the eventful day. I was rarely disappointed though. I guess I picked mates that understood I wanted to feel that thrill of princessdom, to be honored and enamored, because for the most part, it did happen year after year. I seem to have chosen friends, too, who are willing to carry on the tradition absent of male partners. Lucky me!
I absolutely spoiled my boys on their birthdays as they grew up, which must have driven their father and stepfather a bit nutty. Not possessing my mother’s talent of elaborate cake making and decorating, I instead spent a lot of money on beautiful bakery cakes decorated with whatever superhero or cartoon theme was most important to that child at the time. There were clown birthdays, superhero birthdays, Pokemon birthdays, treasure and scavenger-hunt birthdays, gaming birthdays, birthdays at kid-friendly arcades, swimming pool birthdays, game-filled birthdays, and endless gifts. I admittedly overspent to the extreme for birthdays for my boys, but no doubt they felt honored and cherished on their celebrated days. I continued that with friends, gifting in great big ways, wanting my friend or partner to feel like a million bucks on their special day. Naturally, this has pros and cons, but ultimately, I have no regrets.
This morning, I find myself reflecting on birthdays past. This is my first sober birthday since I can remember, probably since my teen years. Birthdays always involved some form of alcohol. One of my birthdays with girlfriends involved drinking bubbly all day long; each friend brought a bottle, and we had delectable cuisine that paired magnificently with the sparkling wine. Some birthdays are real stand-outs, like my surprise birthday at “The Rio Grill” post work shift, for my 30th. Thank you Kathleen, that was absolutely magnificent! My fortieth birthday was a fabulous surprise with loads of friends at a winery, magnificently orchestrated by my then hubby with live music and great fun – but it ended in extreme trauma, the beginning of the end of marriage number one. That is another story for another day. My favorite birthday memory is of my 9th birthday, when my parents presented me with a scruffy, dirty, adorable pony. My dad had convinced me, in response to my incessant, endless begging for a horse and absolutely nothing else for my birthday, that a horse was completely out of the question, that there was absolutely no way we could afford it, or house it, or take care of such a beast. He did a great job making me believe, in deep despair and feeling absolutely hopeless, that my biggest dream, my greatest desire, was never going to come true. When Dad surprised me the morning of my 9th birthday with Lexy the pony, a truly life-changing gift, it created one of the most magical days of my entire life. My therapist decades later claimed that monumental event was evidence my father lied to me, betrayed me with his insistence on an untruth, but I choose to cherish his scheme as true love and eagerness to delight his little girl.
My most recent birthdays, the past two years, were super fun and celebrated with dear friends at a local wine bar, connected to the man who was my on-again, off-again lover over these past five years. That is not happening this year. I have to admit there is sadness connected to the loss of the joy and love and laughter our connection held. But it is better we part ways, our lives are in very different places these days. Suffice it to say, I have had unforgettable birthdays, happy birthdays, sad birthdays, mundane birthdays, disappointing birthdays – an entire kaleidoscope of birthdays. For each of us, birthdays come every year whether we dread them or look forward to their arrival.
For this next revolution around the sun, I am excited to celebrate my continued sobriety. My body and mind are healthier than I imagined possible as I embark further along the path of my life. I finally feel my best, full of vitality and eager for the new beginning of each morning. I have great big hopes and dreams and believe I can make them all come true. This blog is the substance for a book I feel I was born to write. I have been strategically planted in this powerful new movement that will ultimately have an enormous influence on many peeps – The Sober Movement. I feel thrilled to support, inspire, encourage, hold the hand, or crack the whip for anyone curious about discontinuing their dependence, addiction, self-medicating tendencies, numbing with, or in any way ready to divorce society’s ever present shiny penny, dangling jewel, disguised devil, glorified evil witch, whom I named “The Booze Bitch”. Let me know if you would like help in slaying The Booze Bitch. I have lots of tools in my sober tool shed, lots of tricks up my sober sleeve. I have been there, I know how hard it is, but yet how it is so simple. The sober island holds more beauty, more fun, more excitement and joy, greater connection, self confidence, trust, adventure – than any place I have encountered previously. Surfing the ever-thrilling, incredibly refreshing, unbelievably exhilarating, ultimately satisfying wave of sobriety in the best thing I have ever done for myself. Come on a sober Surfing Safari with me!