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

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

Well, Dog-gone It!

Joe

This is my fur-kid, Joe. He is 3 quarters Black Lab and 1 quarter German Shepherd and just turned 2 years old 2 weeks ago. If you know anything about dogs then you’ll know he is still quite exuberant and full of “puppy”.

Yesterday, Joe gave me quite a fright. I had him outside on his lead. He finished doing his business and I let him lounge in the grass for awhile while I perused Facebook. When it was time to go inside, I unhooked the lead and walked Joe by his collar toward the house. He had other plans. He did some sort of doggie ninja move, twisted then pulled and the next thing I knew he was on the other side of the yard.  My heart was in my throat. Joe is a runner.

We just recently moved from a city into a small town. Joe doesn’t know the layout very well yet and we live fairly close to a county road. As soon as he realized he was “free” he bolted across the street and out of my sight. My anxiety level went through the roof. I got Joe’s leash and opened the garage. Sat in a chair in the driveway, calling for him and whistling. Nothing. I could feel my body reacting to the anxiety then. “Deep breaths, deep breaths.”, I told myself. I was shaking. I laid eyes on him a couple of times but he was always far off. I went back in the house but left the garage door and house door open so he could get in. By this time every muscle in my body was tight and my breathing way out of whack.

Joe is my companion. My confidant. My buddy. He keeps me company while hubby is on the road all week. The thought of losing him is unbearable. He is a very intelligent pup. And funny, too. I am convinced that he understands the English language and therefore I talk to him ALL THE TIME. He snuggles up to me at night, or when I am having a “mental health” day. He makes sure I get my exercise by INSISTING on going for walks. My mind was racing with thoughts of what would happen if he didn’t come home.

I took an anti-anxiety pill. A non-benzodiazepine. I wished I hadn’t canceled my benzo prescription. Went back outside and called for Joe. Still nothing. Came inside and went to the living room and got on my knees to pray. I could hardly get the words out. Finally settled on “God, please help me. Thanks. Amen.” I couldn’t focus long enough for anything else. My mind was too jumbled. I felt like my heart was going to explode. Tears burned my eyes as they welled up before falling.

Tick, tick, tick, tick. I heard the sweet sound of his nails on the linoleum in the kitchen. HE CAME HOME! I got up from my kneeling spot and went to the kitchen. Joe was panting so hard, his tongue almost touched the floor. I knelt down and hugged him hard. He just looked at me like, “Why you cryin’, Mama?”. I shut the front door, got fresh water for him and scolded him while he lapped up the water. Then, the demons kicked in.

The crises was over but the way my lying mind works, the “what ifs” start slamming me. What if Joe didn’t come home? What if Joe had gotten hit by a car? What if Joe had bitten somebody? (he would never do that. lick someone to death, maybe.) I began to feel overwhelmed. Manic. Panic. I couldn’t bring myself back to reality. While a part of me knew these were irrational fears, I was still allowing them to fester. The booze demon decided to come out an play. “Hey, you wanna’ shut those others up? I’ll take care of that. You KNOW I always do. A few swigs and they go silent.” “GO AWAY!”, I shouted out loud. He kept on going, of course. I was in a pickle. I was a hot mess. I didn’t understand what I was doing wrong that was causing this melt down. DUH! I was dialoging with the disease. HELLO! When I dialog with the disease, it always wins. Back down on my knees I went. “God, please help me. Thanks. Amen.” I said a few other things, too, like “Your will not mine”, and “I surrender.”

I started feeling better. Stronger. I was “Higher Powered”. I should know better than to face off with the booze demon one on one. He’ll kick my butt every time. I can’t talk to him. I talk to God and let God fight that battle for me. As for the mental illness demons, I’m still a bit manic today after Joe’s disappearing act yesterday. I still have anxiety. Still have the “What ifs” lurking in my head. But he’s home. He snuggled up with me last night to sleep and we went for a walk this morning. I pray that the vibrations in my mind will smooth out soon.

I am so grateful that I have been given the tools to get through situations like this. I am working on picking up those tools earlier in a situation and not waiting until it’s a full blown crises. Progress not perfection.

WHAT A LIFE!

~Me

Taking Out the Garbage

I have a very heightened sense of smell. I’ve been told that I could smell a flea fart 100 miles upwind. (that was not a compliment) Point being, the garbage MUST be taken out at the end of the day or I am a big “grumpasaurous” in the morning when I walk down the hall and smell the stinky garbage. Sometimes it’s hardly half full but I don’t care. It MUST be taken out or I am grumpy. Who wants to smell stinky garbage first thing in the morning?

I say this because I can relate it to doing my 10th step every night. If I don’t “take out the garbage” from the day, it sits with me overnight and I wake up grumpy because yesterday’s garbage is weighing on me and it stinks! By taking just a few minutes before going to bed and doing an inventory of my day, I get a clean house and go to sleep with a light heart. For me it’s a MUST. When I forget, I don’t sleep well. When I don’t sleep well, one or more of my mental illness demons tries to rear it’s ugly head. But why wouldn’t I want to? I know that when I do a 10th step, I feel so much better and when I don’t, I feel like poop. I must admit, there are times when I am the rebellious teen who stomps the foot, folds the arms, and says, “I don’t wanna’, you can’t make me!”. It makes no sense, but it happens. I get the same result every single time I do it. Crappy nights sleep and an emotional hangover in the morning.

So, tonight I will take the garbage out, both physically and spiritually. I am so grateful to the program that has taught me how to do this.

WHAT A LIFE!

~Me