Tag Archives: gratitude

Have A “Romy and Michele” Day!

31 Jan

high_school_reunion_tickets

We all have encounters with people we work with that just floor us… and not in a good way. I’m lucky that I’ve only had this happen a handful of times and I’ve come to realize that resentments will kill me… literally. My ‘cure’ is to just stop the resentment before it spins out of control… and stopping it doesn’t always  mean that I need to confront that person or ever talk to them again.

Sometimes it’s best to just say fuck it, fuck her/him/them, I’m good.. what’s next on my plate for my life… and move on. Romy was a tad more eloquent when she said:

“What the hell is your problem, Christie? Why the hell are you always such a nasty bitch? I mean, okay, so Michele and I did make up some stupid lie! We only did it because we wanted you to treat us like human beings. But you know what I realized? I don’t care if you like us, ’cause we don’t like you. You’re a bad person with an ugly heart, and we don’t give a flying fuck what you think!”

If there’s one thing I learned in my 5 sober years, it’s that the only thing I can change is myself. I also learned that co-dependence is a bitch and emotional abuse is never okay. We truly reap what we sow and our true mindset, our true intention and who we really are.. deep down… can’t be hidden from the powers that be.. our authentic self is known by the universe and what we experience is because of who we really are… not the mask we show the public.

You can’t live life with an ugly greedy heart behind the mask of a generous guru and expect life to not kick the shit out of you in the end. Trust me, the scales will not balance in your favor.

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A Love Letter From A Recovering Alcoholic

8 May

loveletter

Dear Future Love Of My Life,

Even though we haven’t met yet, I have to take a moment to offer a word of caution, before attempting to have a relationship. Trust me, you will thank me in the end.

See there’s a slight problem thinking that you can have a fairy tale when you will never be able to put anything or anyone above your sobriety. To knowingly be selfish – because that’s what saves my life is a double edged sword because it will also keep me from loving you with my all. I know that you want to be first. You want my heart and my love… but you have to realize…  if I give you all of ‘me’ then I will lose the one thing that I value above all – my recovery.

Resentments

So many resentments will build and eventually those resentments will explode in a Mt. Vesuvius fashion – destroying everything in its path – including me, including you and every single thing that we value and love in this world.

Dear Future Love Of My Life,

I’m sorry but we will never be Middle America. We will never have a relationship that resembles any sense of normalcy. There will be no 50/50 or even any shade of compromise or understanding that doesn’t have me putting myself first. Selfish and self-seeking, that’s how I was when I drank. All ego. All hubris. All bravado. The same degree of being selfish that kept me locked in a warped world where my false perception created a disillusioned reality is the same degree of selfishness that I have to have every single day in order to stay alive.

I must turn my will over to the God of my understanding, to admit that I am powerless and to have my first and last thought of each day be gratitude for another 24. And while you may be an observer, perhaps at times an active participant – the world of my sobriety will always be foreign to you. And it will always come first.

But…

Because it comes first I am able to do something that I never thought was possible.

Feel emotions for you that are true, that are not in a fog or haze and that are pure. Sober means when I say I love you – I do. But I can only love you with part of my heart – not all of it. There will always be a small part of my heart where only the God of my understanding resides. Where I have conversations with Him that I will never have with another human being.

That’s my salvation. That’s my serenity. That is my true love.

Without Him – there would be nothing in me to give to you. So please accept what I have to give, because it truly is all I can safely give to you.

Welcome To Normalville – Population – One Woman In Recovery

25 Jan

lg_life_on_lifes_terms

I was going to title this ‘Holy Shit, I’m going to outlive my parents!’ But this title works too.

The concept of time never ceases to amaze me. When I look back… I realize that for 10 years I lived drink to drink… anything else and everything else took second place. Selfish, Self-Seeking, Destructive & Complacent. I was all of these things for so long that when I first got sober, any sense of normalcy made my skin crawl.

Normal was uncomfortable. Where was the ‘rush’ in just doing ordinary, blasé, normal things? Oh how my ego and hubris fought me every step of the way on my journey to Normalville. I would cringe at what I considered the most dull, boring and mundane of tasks. Then one day, something shifted. I’d say this was around 3 years clean, sober & working a program.

It was at this evolution of my recovery where normal, while still uncomfy, was less painful than chaos. How the hell did that happen??  Chaos was truly my drug of choice and amazingly enough… I am repulsed by the very thought of a chaotic situation. Give me normal, give me those tasks and errands and things that ‘normal’ people deal with on a day to day basis. Save the chaos rodeo for someone else. Save that for someone who isn’t just too old, too broken and just too tired of that clusterfuck. I’ve ridden that ride and I even have the t-shirt and scars to prove it.

So where does that leave me… this existence in Normalville?

In truth, I have no idea…. And I honestly think that’s a good thing. I keep my feet firmly planted on the ground, but I still take time to look up and ponder the clouds. The world is a pretty amazing place, filled with all kinds of interesting people, places and things. I spent so long seeking people, places and things that did nothing but fuel my addiction to chaos. Now… my utopia is knowing when I go to bed at night… I’ve given the day my all. Now that doesn’t mean my all at 100 miles per hour, it simply means that each day I give what I have. Somedays it’s a lot, somedays it’s a little.

The key is that when I lump all of my days together… my productivity, my enjoyment and my peace of mind all become evened out due to the law of averages.

I like averages.

I like normal.

It’s still uncomfy as hell… but it’s an uncomfortable that I’ve grown comfortable with. And that… well that’s just pretty damn fantastic.

Addiction ~ It’s Not A Battle: It’s A Journey

31 Dec

demon

There isn’t a week that passes where I don’t hear the word ‘demon’ in regards to someones battle with addiction. Do the following phrases sound familiar?

‘I have to be stronger than this demon’

‘One of these days I will beat this demon’

‘Once I am free from this demon, my life will be perfect’

Did you notice that the word demon and whatever the drug of choice are interchangeable. Wouldn’t the ‘battle’ of recovery be so much easier if we could conquer this ‘demon’? Unfortunately, recovery is not a battle…. it’s a journey. If I thought that I could ‘win’, ‘beat’ or ‘conquer’ my demon… my battle would have been lost before the very first fight. Journey…. not a battle.

The other element that we have to remember is that our addiction is within us, it is a part of us. It is not an separate entity that we can rid ourselves of, it just doesn’t work that way.

If I thought of my addiction as something outside of myself, I would never be able to surrender. My surrender didn’t occur just once, it occurs every single day. I admit that I am powerless.. and this is what continues to give me another 24. My addiction is not a ‘demon’. It is not something that is evil or supernatural or even outside of myself. My addiction is within me, it is a part of me. I cannot try to kill this aspect of me, that would be like trying to kill off the part of my DNA that makes my blood type B+.

My addiction is genetic, it is biological, it is an allergy and the only way I can live with this allergy is to be vigilant, pro-active and aware. I also have to have acceptance.

Every morning I have to accept the fact that I am an alcoholic. I am not evil, I am not a demon and a demon does not exist within me nor is a demon trying to run amok in my life. There is no exterior entity that is hell bent on my destruction. The allergy within me can only kill me if I don’t remain humble, accepting and most of all… aware. I surrender… to my Higher Power. I admit that I am powerless of alcohol. I am granted a 24 hour reprieve. Simplistic… yes. Simple… no.

It would be so much easier to think that I was battling a dark force that wanted my soul. The truth is that I have to accept that part of me is flawed. Part of me is human. Above all…. I have free will. The choice of that first drink will always belong to me. That is the only control that I have. For that… I am grateful.

Free Will In Addiction Recovery

23 Dec

recovery

A drug is a drug is a drug… the question asked was if “I am just an addict, does that mean that I can still drink alcohol?” While this question always leads to a heavy debate of life experience, personalities and sheer ignorance, my answer to this question would be No.  If followed the logic of this statement – that would mean that since I am ‘just’ an alcoholic I can go and use other mind altering substances to my heart’s content because they aren’t my drug of choice.

Flawed logic.

Powerful. Cunning. Baffling.

Alcohol & drugs are all of these things.

Of course I would love an excuse to use a mind altering substance… why wouldn’t my disease convince me that it was okay to do so. My disease thrives on this… it’s a form of chaos, confusion and justification for unhealthy behaviors that I know will feel good. The only reason I put addictive substance into my body is to feel good, numb, with a false sense of control.

If you are asking yourself if drinking is okay because you are an addict, not an alcoholic… then your relapse has already occurred.

My drinking was an external manifestation of my disease. It was a symptom of the spiritual sickness that existed, and still exists, within me. Drifting into the land of complacency and justification for behaviors and actions that we know are not healthy for us is frightening. How far will we push the boundaries of what is acceptable, permitted and healthy for our recovery?

I know that many will disagree with me, but if I don’t have the truth of ‘a drug is a drug is a drug’ imbedded into my psyche, I will quickly slide to a place that I never wish to return to again for the rest of my life. For me the answer is total abstinence. For you the answer may be different. Try some controlled drinking… see how that works for you.

If I could drink like a normal person I’d drink every day. Let that last statement sit with you for a short period of time. See if you grasp what that statement of supposed fact actually means.

Then… . you will realize that saying you are ‘just’ an addict and therefore can drink alcohol… is nothing but your disease whispering sweet nothings into your ear.. Your disease is hoping, praying and working damn hard to be actively alive. Whether or not it succeeds…well… that’s up to you.

Clouds In My Coffee

13 Dec

monroe

Clarity. Some search for it & others run like hell.

Moments of clarity are needed even for those that aren’t addicted by design. Moments of clarity are found when we can see clearly…. when our senses are not dull. We spend so much time using whatever we can to dull what we feel. How can we ever enjoy true bliss or experience gut-wrenching pain if we buffer ourselves? If we don’t feel these emotions, and I mean feel them to our very core, we miss out on so many. We also risk missing out on the lessons that life is trying to teach.

Pain and Joy both teach, mold and transform us into something else. Something better. Something new. Something evolved.

My drinking was an external manifestation of an internal imbalance. Over time, the need became biological. Now, the craving is but a memory. Not the type of memory that you put in a scrapbook or a diary… thinking that maybe… someday… you will look back and reflect. The craving needs to be a memory that is framed and housed in a place that you see every single day. Not as a reminder of shame… but as a reminder of survival and a beacon on the journey to thrive.

Without clarity… my recovery would be lost. The clouds in my coffee would pull me under and I would drown. It’s just that simple. Continue down a path towards being aware… towards being awake… and eventually… we will arrive at the point where we are truly alive.

Recovery Is A Crazy Place

19 Jun

Recently I have seen a lot of forum topics and headlines discussing mental health and addiction. As someone who is labeled as “dual-diagnosed”, this topic hits close to home. Steadfast supporters sit on both sides of the fence. The group chanting “no meds” rivals the group chanting, “treat the mental illness and the addiction is cured ”. I have very little time for extremists. Both mental health and addiction are personal issues that the afflicted individual has to come to terms with. I don’t feel that taking medication for mental health issues threatens ones sobriety, if they are working a strong program. In my opinion, if you are seeing a great shrink and they understand addiction, they must promote holistic well-being. If they don’t, seek a second opinion. My doctor insists that I deal with my addiction first, working one day at a time to stay sober. The use of low doses of medication to manage the bi-polar is suggested and it has worked for me. When someone deals with mental illness combined with addiction, they must come to terms with recovery and their personal mental health.

People like to talk about balance, saying that life is all about creating a way to manage everything at the same time. I prefer the term harmony. Finding balance is stress inducing and ends up being fruitless. I view my life as sheet music. I see the elements of my life as notes and if I’m having a good day they don’t sound off key. Some days the harmony is beautiful and other days it’s dark and disturbing. Regardless of how the song of the day pans out, it always reflects the real me. I strive for harmony between my recovery, my mental health and living moment to moment. The majority of the time, it works.

I am aware of what outside influences trigger a manic. I’m a member of the “all manic all the time” club, I don’t get depressed. I may crash and burn for a few days but for the most part, my bipolar encourages my mind and body to go go go. No one likes to see me in a full- blown manic, trust me it’s not pretty. I have had rage issues since I was a toddler and when a manic occurs, all of my tact filters fly out of the window.  The exact same thing happens when I drink. You can imagine what the combination of drinking and being manic induces. Utter nightmare. I manage my sobriety and recovery on a day-by-day basis. While I don’t adhere to any specific recovery method, my program is strong and has a solid foundation. The combination allows me to maintain some type of harmony.

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