Tag Archives: women in recovery

Viva Las Vegas

19 Oct

las-vegas

Today was a good day… the work week ended as per usual…. Me feeling like I did an okay job for the majority of the week and with an end in sight (January 2014), each week gets easier. Emotional detachment does have its benefits. However… it also has its detriments. A few weeks ago my Doctor decided to scale my bipolar meds way back… and when I say way back… basically to almost nothing.

Goodbye Prozac, Goodbye Wellbutrin and Goodbye to ¾ of my dose of Depakote.

Needless to say, the past few weeks have been an adventure. Some elements I’ve handled well, other elements not so much. I’ve managed to do okay but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been difficult. I forgot what it was like to have a roller coaster of emotions and feelings and joy and rage and just an uncontrollable feeling of unrest that goes from being in my mind to externally not being able to slow down. My bipolar runs from hot to scalding so there is no ‘down’. I use to love this – love the sleeplessness nights and the raw feeling of every emotion that my mind, heart and soul experience in the course of a day. Now.. well now this just fucking sucks. The chaos that was always my drug of choice has become as uncomfortable to me now as the rush of dopamine was my euphoric elixir years ago.

Scattered thoughts, sleepless nights and the amount of self-control and energy it takes to not just go with the flow are exhausting. Exhausted Insomnia… talk about a fucked up state.

I know I have all of the tools to keep myself straight… but that doesn’t mean that temptation has been removed from my life. Tonight I almost let my guard down… tonight I almost gave in to the trickster… not to drink but to revert to behaviors that makes my bipolar do a happy dance. Some would say that I was being ‘tested’ but I am not Job. I did however, have a glimpse of divine intervention.

It All Started With Ben Affleck

Kicked back in the most amazing movie theater seats I’ve ever seen, my sister and I enjoyed utter relaxation after a long week for us both. We went to see Runner Runner. Not a great movie, not a terrible movie but Ben was trying to relive some Boiler Room moments and his monologues didn’t have quite the same punch. All in all a great way to enjoy a Friday night, my last night in Sin City. Amidst my relaxed and calm state, I forgot about HALT. Hungry, Angry, Lonely , Tired… 4 things that occur in all of lives, usually without consequence. For those of us that are the alcoholic variety – HALT can put a serious cement wall waiting for you to collide right in front of your face.

As we headed home, my sister gets an invite to head out… some anniversary party at a club. She asks me if I want to go and before really thinking about it, I ask for 25 minutes to get ready. While in the midst of figuring out what dress will match my rather loud orange spiked heels… I had a pause. Ever have one of those? That brief moment where for one split second, you are almost standing outside of yourself.

In this brief moment, I realized that the heels I brought didn’t match any of the dresses I brought. Go figure, I thought orange spiked heels would go with everything! The dress I chose made the ensemble close enough to pass but not close enough to go together. Divine Irony. That’s what I like to call it. Truly God doing for me what I could not do for myself. It wasn’t that the combination of the dress and heels would have made the doorman go ‘what the fuck you cannot enter the club in that monstrosity’ but the pause as I looked at the outfit was what made me think. Fuck. This isn’t me anymore. I don’t get ready to go out at 11:45pm on a Friday night. I don’t hang at the club till 3am making small talk with people I could care less about. Who am I going to meet or what conversation am I going to have that would greatly impact my life at a club in Vegas on a Friday night? Don’t worry… I’ll wait while you come up with an answer.

The truth is… I have no business in a club in Vegas on a Friday night. None.

The Big Book tells me that there are times in my life when I will have to be around alcohol. The key word is ‘have to’, but the Big Book also tells me that if I am not vigilant – I’ll create any reason to ‘have’ to be around booze. So how did the evening end? I told my baby sister that she looks gorgeous (which she does) I tell her to have fun, to be safe and to call or text if she needs me for anything. Then I packed up the dress and the heels that didn’t quite go… I put on some raggedy yoga pants and a t-shirt – pulled my hair up into a ponytail and took off my makeup. I took my Big Book out of my purse… read a few highlighted passages… I sat down and thanked God for doing for me what I could not do for myself… and I am about to kick back and watch American Horror Story Season Two Episode Two and chill with Sammy the Cat.

The bottom line.. I’m blessed… blessed to have those around me who understand, blessed for the pause, blessed for having a Higher Power and blessed for Mom’s Amazon account. You see it’s the little things… there’s no cure… there’s nothing larger than a daily reprieve. The minutes become hours.. the hours become days and the days become years… but every milestone in sobriety starts one minute at a time.

I said for the longest time that I didn’t have another run in me. That’s a lie. I do have another run in me… what I don’t have in me is another recovery.

My recovery is not dependent on people; it is dependent on my relationship with God.

Advertisements

Why The Anonymity & Recovery Debate Sucks

11 Aug

cropped-slide14.jpg

Are You In Or Are You Out?

Gotta love the anonymity debate. For years, many addicts and recovering addicts relied heavily on the anonymous nature of traditional 12-step programs. With the increase of technology empowering those addicted and in recovery to have a “voice”, the curtain of anonymity is being dropped. The issue being raised questions if anonymity is still safe due to the increase in recovering addicts coming out of the addiction closet. Fear is also rising regarding the protection of the anonymity of those that choose to remain anonymous. In my opinion, I’ really fucking tired of hearing about this debate.

Controversy

While the controversy over remaining anonymous runs rampant, I figured I would add a few points to hopefully clarify the situation. Simply put, I don’t see a problem. I highly doubt that individuals who opt to be public about their recovery or struggles with addiction are going to start a campaign to “out” the entire community. Also, I don’t think that by openly declaring your addiction status threatens the anonymity of those that opt to no be as open. Individuals that wish to remain anonymous can do so and those that opt to declare their addiction or recovery to the world at large should be free to do so as well. I fall (obviously) into the category of people who decided to shed their anonymity. Why did I do this?

I made the personal choice to become public about my struggles with alcohol and drugs and subsequent day-to-day success of remaining sober and thriving in recovery. I did so because I am lucky enough to deal with the stigma on my terms. I am not in a position to lose employment and I am willing to deal with personal backlash because of my public admission of addiction. I am extremely lucky that I have not had to bear a stigma cross for this blog, my activity on twitter or recovery status updates on Facebook.

Make A Choice

If you want to come out of the addiction closet then do it if you want to remain protected by anonymity then do that. But for the love of God don’t just sit on the fence. I take issue with individuals who wish to use addiction and recovery only when it suits them and then run and hide behind the curtain of assumed anonymity when they encounter people, places and things that don’t give them a gold star for being sober or give them an award for living past their addiction hell. Therefore, one must put on their adult panties and make a decision that they can live with. Just keep your side of the street clean.

In the end, it comes down to choice, that nasty responsibility of free will. Simply make your decision based on your comfort level. I don’t see people walking around with signs demanding that you out yourself as an addict or an addict in recovery. Nor do I see signs being waved that all addicts and recovering addicts must remain anonymous in order to keep the collective whole safe. The stigma of addiction will not end until society becomes comfortable with the word “addict”.

Hope Remains

Addiction is a very lonely disease. For me, being ‘out’ has lifted the shame that is associated with being a drunk in recovery. I made bad choices. I hurt a lot of people and now… now I make living amends and I take each 24 that I am given in stride.

Whichever choice you make, embrace it, be responsible for it and take ownership. You are not being forced to choose to be public or private. Be true to yourself and the decision to be anonymous or out of the addiction closet will be the right one… for you.

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.

%d bloggers like this: