Coming Out of the Dark….Again!

And, the journey begins AGAIN! I took quite a hiatus from posting an entry here. And as you can probably tell from the title, it hasn’t been a great time.

While I DID NOT go back to chugging vodka straight from the bottle, I DID decide to drink “just beer”. When I started drinking “just beer”, of course I chose the cheapest and highest alcohol content beer I could find. Natural Ice was fully leaded, as I like to call it. At first, three beers would give me a decent buzzed feeling. Five beers would have me very buzzed. But, of course, within a few weeks my tolerance built up and I had to drink “MORE”.

I relapsed before the pandemic hit, however, when the pandemic hit, my drinking became MUCH worse. My hubby was an over-the-road trucker, so I was home alone…well, I did have my two dogs to keep me company, and we live in a country town of 686 people. So, you can imagine how isolated I was! I drank my beer from the time I woke up until I fell asleep at night.

Of course, I stopped taking ALL of my psych meds while drinking, so I was a hot mess times infinity. Both of my demons, mental and alcoholic, were working overtime! I was in such a tailspin, not even the most gifted of pilots could have recovered and straightened out my plane!

I will go into more detail in future posts. For now, I just want to say….. I MADE IT BACK!

By the grace of God and the amazing support and encouragement of my hubby and his family (my family didn’t know I was drinking again) I made it back! It was a long, treacherous, scary road, but God saw me through it, even if I didn’t really ask Him to!

For now, I choose to simply do the next right thing!!

What a life!

See ya’ soon,

ME

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

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

Happy Wife, Happy Life.

sam

My hubby has been amazing through this whole rollercoaster of emotion and depression. He has been a pillar of strength for me.

“Practice these principles in all our affairs” is something I most definitely have NOT been doing, and hubby gets the brunt of it. I am ashamed to say, I have been treating him like shit. I have been taught that if you want to see how strong someone’s program is, ask their family. I would fall short if you did that.

Hubby is 13 years sober. He stays out of my program, for the most part. He will gently nudge me and suggest that I “phone a friend”, or go to a meeting, but he does this in such a loving, caring way that I can’t be mad about it. And when he does it, I know he is right. I may bitch about it, but I do it because if he is saying it, I am pretty bad off.

He loves, supports and encourages me in every aspect of my life. With the weight gain, he tells me I am beautiful more often. With the depression, he tells me how much he loves me and cherishes me on a daily basis. With the anxiety, he talks me down and reminds me to breathe slow and deep. And I have just been snapping at him. A few days ago, I yelled because he didn’t put a roll of toilet paper on the TP holder. I’m such a bitch. Hubby knows how insecure I am right now so every time I call him, he answers the phone, “Hello, gorgeous.”.

This man has been with me for 4 years. He has seen me at my best and at my worst. He has witnessed full Bipolar manic episodes that lasted 2 weeks and the crash into sever depression that follow. He has seen how PTSD flashbacks can ambush me and how my severe anxiety can ruin an evening out. Yet, he’s still here. Still by my side. Hell, he even wanted to marry me after seeing all that crap! Maybe I should be questioning his sanity!

I have hubby on my gratitude list, but I have realized through last night’s Step 10, instead of being grateful for him, I am taking him for granted. I need to make amends for the way I have been treating him. Yes, I am depressed and a bit whack-a-doo with the hormone thingy. But that does not give the right to treat my husband, or anyone for that matter, the way I have been. No one is my personal punching bag. Just because he is allowing it to happen doesn’t make it right.

My hubby deserves a happy wife and a happy life. Slowly but surely I am coming back from the depths of this depression. I can feel the hormone replacement therapy working. Which is great, because I know hubby has been jonesing for a Nurf gun fight and I haven’t been in the mood. He may just get ambushed.

WHAT A LIFE!

~Me

But Weight, There’s More…

scale

I had to go to my primary care doc because I pulled a muscle in my back and touched off a bad spasm. None too happy about being in the doc’s office to begin with and then I have to stand on the scale. grrrrr. I weighed in at a whopping 202 pounds. WHAT? I had to look back and make sure the nurse didn’t have her foot on the scale as a joke. Nope. It was ALL me! WHAT?

I haven’t weighed that much since before my liver failure in 2008. I stand 5 feet, no inches tall (or short) so you can imagine what 202 pounds looks like on that frame. Dumpy. Frumpy. Fatty. Ugh. I have gained 35 pounds in 3 months. Is there a medal for that or something?

I know that I have been depressed. I know that I have used food for comfort. But 35 pounds?! That’s just ludicrous. The demons came on fast and strong. I almost completely forgot about the pain in my back. My skull started vibrating, the voices were so loud.

  • “You’re huge.”
  • “You’re worthless.”
  • “Just eat and the puke.”
  • “Hubby doesn’t love you anymore. How could he possibly find you’re fat ass attractive?”
  • “Start drinking again. You never eat when you’re drinking.”
  • “Stop taking you’re meds. They make you gain weight.”

The scary thing was, I was listening to the voices and they were sounding like the voice of reason. Damn those demons. Once doc came into the room and checked me over for the back spasm, I brought up the weight gain. He was shocked. Told me that he found it very hard to believe that I weighed 202 lbs. That made me feel better. We discussed strategy on weight loss, but he made me promise not to try anything until after September 10th when I am cleared from the hysterectomy and now my back. I have to have physical therapy 3 times a week. grrrrr.

The demon voices were still making my skull vibrate. I felt like a total failure. How could I have allowed myself to get to that weight? I felt lazy. I felt ashamed. I guilty. I knew that I had been using food for comfort but I had no idea it had gotten to this point. My mind was racing. 100 thoughts going through and I couldn’t grab onto 1 and focus. Diet…which one…swim…how long…can’t swim yet…not cleared for exercise…binge and purge…bad for me…no carbs…unrealistic. STOP!! “God, please help me. Thanks. Amen.”

It wasn’t instant, but it was quick. I began to calm down. I said my version of the AA ABC’s. I can’t, He can, I’m gonna’ let Him. I felt better. I am powerless. Not just over booze. I’m putting food on the ever growing list. My life is unmanageable. God can restore me to sanity. (so I’ve been told) Nah, I know this to be true. I just have to get out of the way. Quit obsessing over something I have no control over at this very moment. In a few weeks, I can do something about it, but not right now. So I can choose to stew and sit in my poop or I can surrender and give it to God to handle. I choose the latter. At least for now. I may forget and start stewing again. But that’s the grace and mercy of this program. If I take the crap back, God is always willing when I am ready to give it back to Him.

WHAT A LIFE!

~Me