6 Months Sober and “the thing”…

WHAAAAT? Today actually snuck up on me. I happened to look at the date and then counted backwards to November and realized I am 6 months sober today.

As a “chronic relapser” (I despise that term, by the way, but the truth hurts sometimes and acceptance is the answer!), I tend to let milestones go by the wayside. Not sure why….yes I am…guilt, shame, embarrassment, just to name a few. I catch myself buying into negative self-talk, such as:

  • It SHOULD be 4 ½ years sober, if you wouldn’t have screwed up.
  • For that matter, you would have almost 6 years sober if you hadn’t been stupid in January of 2011.
  • Look at all the devastation and destruction you caused by not staying sober after going to treatment in 1996.

But NOT TODAY! Today, I am simply grateful. My old sponsor often said, “I’ve never known anyone to go back out when they had an attitude of gratitude.”

I am grateful that I am God’s perfectly IMPERFECT child. He made me exactly the way He wanted me, blemishes and all. I know this to be true because “Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God’s world by mistake.” Man, oh, man, do I have to chew on that statement lots of times to get it down without choking!

I am grateful for simply being alive. That last relapse really did a tap dance (more of an Irish Jig) on me physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I hope to NEVER forget the first days and weeks after putting the plug in the jug. It reminds me of what a blessing life is and how quickly I can screw it up if I unplug the jug again.

Before I woke hubby up this morning, I took Joe outside. It was 4 a.m., but the birds were chirping softly and I could hear the baby leaves on trees rustling in a light, chilly Minnesota morning breeze. I said my prayers as Joe was doing his “business”. I suck at meditation. It’s this rambling mind of mine….but this morning I felt a sense of calm. The chirping birdies and rustling leaves seemed to be playing a peaceful song to me. What a gift for the brain that is usually so jumbled with shooting thoughts it struggles to get through a silent prayer! I was able to pray, meditate and just BE. It was amazing! I didn’t want to come back inside, but alas…I had to say good-bye to whatever this new found state of being is and resume life.

After getting hubby on the road, I was going to go back to sleep. “Hmmm…maybe I should take Joe back outside and see if that thing happens again.” Thinking it was probably just a fluke and certainly wouldn’t happen again, especially not with 2 cups of coffee in my system, I summoned the big, black “Fuzzy Butt” and we went out the back door. The THING happened again! Calm, peaceful, able to focus on thoughts…”Whoa! This is awesome!”, I thought. I vaguely remember feeling the thing in the past. It’s been so long since I felt it that this morning it felt brand new again. Joe even came over to me and gave me a “something is different” look. Now, if “Fuzzy Butt” notices and approves, it’s gotta’ be special.

Gratitude…I found the thing again. Dare I call it by name? Shhhh…..I will whisper it so as to not chase it away…serenity. It’s here…it’s in me…it’s awesome. Welcome back.

WHAT A LIFE!

~Me

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The Dark Side, Part 2

Okay, so my last post was about my relapse and the “cookies” over on the Dark Side. I got pretty emotional while trying to explain what happened when I put the plug in the jug AGAIN.

What happened was….TERROR. Paralyzing fear. A relentless feeling of hopelessness. In all of my years of drinking and swearing off drinking, binging and quitting, I have never experienced such a deep sense of absolute DOOM. I laid on my couch for 3 straight days, unable to form complete sentences, unable to think rational thoughts. I couldn’t even say the Serenity prayer. I honestly believe I was on the verge of having a wet brain. Physically I was so weak that my husband had to help me stand so I could use the bathroom. On the 4th day, I was able to eat 3 or 4 bites of toast with a bit of butter soaked in milk. That 4th day is when the reality of my situation started to hit me.

Could I recover from this? Was I going to die? If I didn’t die, did I do irreversible brain damage? Did I want to live? Did I want to recover? Incomplete thoughts would shoot through me at the speed of light. I couldn’t slow them down. I couldn’t rest. Sleep was impossible. I remember saying “God, please help me. Thanks. Amen.” That was the longest string of words I could manage.

Then the mental illness demons decided to tap dance on my already mushy mind. Anxiety sucker punched me. PTSD gifted me with flashbacks from numerous past events, so real even the smell and taste senses were present. Bipolar must have thought it was time to play King of the Mountain, because it came in and knocked everyone else down the hill. I was Sybil in rare form!

I am so thankful that I had a strong support system in AA that helped me find my way back. I had to have my butt in a chair daily for quite some time. Even 6 months later I am battling the mental health demons, though not nearly as bad as in November. Here’s a little bit of what I’ve learned or needed a refresher course on:

  • The Dark Side sucks ass!
  • They LIED about the cookies!
  •  An ex-booze hound should NOT drink booze.
  • Booze and psych meds DO NOT MIX!!
  • Mental illness and addiction is a wicked combination.WHAT A LIFE!
  • ~Me
  • And finally…Staying sober is WAY, WAY easier than GETTING sober!!! I am so blessed to have been given the opportunity to get and stay sober AGAIN.

The Dark Side, Part I

So, here I sit, back in the “sunlight of the Spirit”…sort of. Let’s just say I am “cautiously optimistic”. This last visit to the Dark Side still has me scarred, scared, befuddled, baffled and then some.

And for those of you in recovery that might be in a bad spot and be tempted to the Dark Side….take it from me…THE COOKIES SUCK ASS!!! Oh, sure at first they will serve them up nice and fresh, warm from the oven with a tall, ice cold glass of milk. MMMmmmm. Then, they downgrade just a little. Cookies not as fresh and milk not as cold. Then the cookies aren’t even homemade and they skimp on the milk. Before I knew it, I was getting sugar-free STALE cookies that left an after taste and NO milk. Sound familiar? The point is, the Dark Side lies. My addiction LIES. I turned back to the booze because my disease told me nothing else would make me feel better. I gave up. Used the booze to self-medicate. Instant gratification. Did it work? You bet your sweet ass it worked. A couple of times. But then, it didn’t. Just like the cookies. And what I was left with was 100 times worse than where I started…

  • 3 ½ years of sobriety gone
  • Loss of loved ones trust
  • Bipolar in full swing
  • Despair
  • Doubt
  • Fear
  • Anxiety x 100
  • Compromised physical health

Just to name a few. I went to the Dark Side alright. And it damn near killed me. I went to treatment from the end of September to the end of October. Still had a few drinks in me though. Finally got my act together on November 20th. I pray that I never forget the first two weeks without booze. No drama here…I was near death. Could hardly stand, barely swallow to sip water or eat “milk toast”. And my brain….putty. For 3 days I just layed on the couch and “existed”. It was a literal hell. I was stuck in my own skin, my mind would race through a million thoughts but I couldn’t catch one. I’m getting anxious just writing about it.

Glad to be back. More later.

WHAT A LIFE.

~ME

Back in the Saddle…

Just call me Rip Van winkle, I guess. My last post was on September 9, 2014. Let’s just say I went over to the “dark side” for a while. It wasn’t fun and I am very BLESSED to be back…and ALIVE.

Not much to share about the “Dark Side”. Let’s just say it was immensely, terrifyingly, desolately, painfully DARK. The addict in me wanted to stay there and wallow, self-medicating with booze. The mental illness demons fed off the relapse and helped keep me there. What a tail spin! It is truly by the grace of God that I sitting here typing today. I’ll share more on this later.

To bring everyone up to speed:

My awesome hubby is doing great. He’s still a “Steel Cowboy” (Semi truck driver) and works for a kick-ass company that takes real good care of the drivers. I miss him something fierce when he is on the road during the week but we are grateful he has a dedicated route so we know where he’s going most of the time and that he is home every week end.

The grub snatchers are doing well. Four girls…yes, that’s right…four girls. Three from me, one from hubby. So, we have a 20, 17, 11 and 8 year old. Hope to be getting an updated family picture while we are all together this summer. The last one I have is from Christmas, 2013.

I am missing my family in North Carolina A LOT! Found out that my Mom has lung cancer. She is undergoing chemotherapy and radiation now and I would really like to be there. I hope to make it home for a short visit near the end of summer. Hubby and I can hit his family in Detroit and the coast of NC for a few days and then head back to Minnesota. I gotta get these toes in the ocean soon!

If I don’t publish this now I’ll chicken out, like I have countless times in the past few months. Not sure why….just lost my MOJO. Small steps are still walking, and I’ve gotta’ take that first baby step to get going again, so this is it.

WHAT A LIFE!

~ME

WEEEEE!!!

No, I am not riding one of those coin operated carousels outside the department store. (do they even have those anymore?)

I have just browsed over some of my previous posts and realized that I see way too much “I” in them. If there is one thing I know (there is so much I realize I do not know the longer I am sober), it is that “I”:

  • have no control
  • screw things up
  • have a poopy attitude
  • hate Me
  • have an enormous ego
  • AM self-will run riot

“I” gets me in a poop load of trouble. BUT…. WE do great things. WE:

  • love Me
  • rely on God’s will
  • keep it simple
  • are humble
  • have a positive attitude
  • are amazing

Hmmmm…. I think I will hang out with WE. They seem to have what I want.

WHAT A LIFE!

~Me

My Way vs. Easy Way

cropped-myway.jpg

Okay, I know long ago I learned that the shortest distance between 2 points is a straight line. I know I have been reminded of this fact many, MANY times in my life. Therefore, it baffles me that more often than not, the above picture holds true in the route I take from problem to resolution, task to completion, shucks, even location to destination sometimes!

I begin with the best of intentions. I prepare (sometimes). Make a list, check it twice, that kind of thing. Develop a plan of action:

  1. Do this, then either this or that will happen.
  2. If this happens, do this.
  3. If that happens, do this. And so on.

Inevitably, a few steps into action and I am off course. It’s either, “Oh look, a squirrel.”, or “Ooooo, I see a bright, shiny object. Must check it out.” No focus or concentration. If I do maintain focus, I do NOT stick with the plan. I over-complicate things and start doubting what I have planned out. “Gotta’ check this out.” “Is this really the best way?” “I’ll add this step over here.” The result is a poop load of well intentioned but unfinished projects.

I bring this up because I am doing this with my sobriety right now. If a problem pops up, I:

  • am either instantly overwhelmed and unable to take action.
  • develop a plan of action and then lose focus and get distracted.
  • overcomplicate the plan and run in circles
  • ignore the problem hoping it will go away

Wow, no wonder I’m a hot mess right now! My problem solving and task completion skills suck butt! I used to be pretty darn good at these things. Not sure where it went but it certainly isn’t here now. I can see where work needs to be done. I need to get with my sponsor and get into Step work. I feel stuck in a rut right now and that’s not a good place to be. Idol time has never been my friend.

What a blessing it is that my Higher Power gives me the ability to list out shortcomings so I can see where I have work to do. How awesome is this program?

WHAT A LIFE!

~Me

 

Meh…..just Meh.

That about sums up the week. I’ve just been “meh”. The demons have been damn busy this week. And I can tell y’all why. Because I wasn’t doing nary a thing to keep them shackled, that’s why! I was in that horrible place, you know the one…sitting in my shit, and it stunk and wasn’t comfortable but because it was “MY” shit, it was at least familiar. Everything else had become so unfamiliar and scary, I simply chose to keep sitting in my stinky and uncomfortable shit. True insanity that makes so much sense. Wait….What?!

This insane, sensible inactive activity went on for about 3 days before it became unbearable enough for me to do something about it. Booze demon screaming “drink the vodka, you’ll sleep better!”, Bipolar demon shouting “quit taking the meds, you’ll sleep better”, and the anxiety demon screeches “don’t leave the house because bad things will happen if you do.”

I showered the stinky poop of myself and went to a meeting on Friday. And while I can not honestly proclaim that my world instantly become all rainbows and unicorns, I can say I instantly started to feel better. Why does it have to get so bad before I take action? Sometimes, it doesn’t. Sometimes I stay on top of things and it goes good for a long period of time. But I know what to do when it starts getting bad, and yet, I do the opposite. And that just blows my mind.

Meeting makers make it. I know this to be true. With how volatile my mental health and sleep patterns are right now, I need lotsa’ meetings. DUH! So grateful for this recovery life, where I can be “meh…just meh” or can choose to break that old behavior and actually have a great days.

WHAT A LIFE!

~Me

 

 

Nerf’s Up, I’m Outa’ Here!

A few years ago and before we were married, hubby and I were faced with an impending Midwest winter blizzard. Weather dudes were saying at least 3 days of ice, snow and high winds that would make travel impossible. I was terrified. Here’s this guy that I really liked (truth be told, I was already totally in love with him) and we were going to be stuck in a tiny, one bedroom apartment for at least 3 days, probably 5 before the city dug us out. We took every precaution….bought batteries for the flashlights, food that didn’t require electricity to prepare, candles, and an abundance of toilet paper. (hey, priorities!) Then came the idea. Nerf guns with lots of ammo. Being holed up in that rinky-dink apartment for an unknown amount of time, we knew there were going to be tense moments. We had to have something to relieve the stress. I don’t think we have made a more sensible dual purchase since then.

Hubby and I rarely have arguments. Seriously, it’s like almost never. When we do, out come the Nerf guns. He usually takes position in the kitchen and I opt for the living room. We show no mercy. Out of ammo? Plan on getting blasted while you run to the “no cover zone” to pick some up and reload. By the time we are done, whatever was on the table worthy of arguing about is now easily discussed. Stress is turned into laughter and light-hearted fun.

Because our move happened so unexpectedly and fast, we didn’t know exactly where our beloved Nerf guns were stashed. This holiday weekend, my 8 year old step-daughter found them. “Can we?”, she pleaded with Dad. I got a call while grocery shopping at Wal-Mart. “Buy some Nerf ammo.” Oh boy, I knew this was going to be fun. We laughed, giggled and hubby got ambushed in the kitchen. I got shot in the butt and in the boob. I may have a bruise, but it was so worth it.

In AA, we learn to trudge the road OF happy destiny. Many quote this wrong and say, “TO happy destiny.” There is a big difference when you switch OF and TO. Happiness is not a destination, it is a mode of travel. Even through this hormonal depression (which is lifting more each day, Thank God) I can be a part of something more special than an ex booze hound like me deserves. God’s grace and mercy are amazing.

WHAT A LIFE!

~Me

You Never, Never Know….

Yesterday reminded me that I never, never know what to expect out of a day. To simply do the next right thing and wonderful things happen.

I woke up grumpy. Only got a few hours of sleep, my back was pretty sore, the depression is at it’s finest in the monring and I didn’t want to go to a meeting. grrrrr. I put my big girl panties on and begrudgingly sloughed off to the morning meeting. It was amazing. Most of the “weekenders” were there because of the holiday, so the sharing was great. I was honest and said I was having thoughts about drinking. I get so down on myself (and get scared) when I have those thoughts. Still haven’t accepted that it’s okay to have thoughts, what counts is my actions.

Anyway, a friend invited me to a local recovery/treatment campus to have lunch. It’s the first time I have been out there for lunch. This place oozes with serenity. I’ve been there for events before and I can feel the serenity as I walk onto the campus. Great food, company and conversation. And any thoughts of drinking were definitely squished.

Last evening I received a text from a gal that was my sponsor for a short time but then had to focus on some personal things. She said she could sponsor me again. So I am no longer sponsorless! This is a huge relief. At the meeting yesterday, I shared that I am at a standstill in my program. There is no growth and I am not working the steps because I do not have a sponsor. And then…viola!

Needless to say, the “grumpasaurous” that awoke yesterday morning transformed into a very grateful child of God before bed. Certainly not what I expected out of the day.

WHAT A LIFE!

~Me