Live and Learn

I guess I may have ended the last post a little abruptly and most definitely negatively. tumblr_mhvdjlmgx31qb0wfxo1_250I want to apologize for that, but quite frankly, my time on the library computer was counting down to the last seconds in my session. Yes, that’s right, in this day and age of technological abundance, I still go to that ancient place where books still live and you are constantly shushed. It clears my head and helps me think better.

So, since last January, when I wrote about my downward and out mental status, things have improved tremendously! Due to the program I work for my addiction and my personal belief that my Higher Power knows EXACTLY what He is doing, I was able and willing to reach out for help. Back in my drinking days, I wouldn’t have told anyone, I would have lived in a bottle hoping all my troubles would just vanish.

While sitting in all of the financial turmoil,  I realized a few important things.  Firstly, that everyone goes through trials and tribulations and my issues were no more detrimental than anyone else’s. Mine is not unique or worse, therefore no more important than your problems. That other kind of thinking gets me back into my all-important ego and it’s really easy to fall into that defective thinking. The second thing I learned was that I have to believe and have faith in my god, not only when things are great, but especially when they are not. I believe this was the lesson God was showing me.

My brain gets stuck. Even in sobriety, my brain is warped and I must have someone tell me how sick I am. No, really. The illness of my disease is complete self-centeredness and disorganized thinking. Everything, and I do mean everything is about me. It’s difficult to explain to normal folks how twisted an addict’s brain really is and how our reality is sometimes merely that, our reality, not what really is. 3-1Does that make sense at all? Kinda like Russell Crow’s character in “A Beautiful Mind”. He really and genuinely believed in his truth and lived it out. Spoiler alert…we come to find out that the whole story line isn’t real at all. We get to live, for 2 hours in his mind and feel what he feels only to be jolted at the end and told none of it was actual. That film is the best way I can describe how I, as an alcoholic think. Never know if the facts are just my version of things or the way they truly are. It’s all very confusing.abe9f8927b3752900c8f92655f381306

On a much happier note, today I am working full-time at a sober living facility for women where I’m blessed to have an opportunity to mentor and watch miracles happen everyday. God has placed me exactly where I have wanted to be since I was in the throes of desperation in the Psychiatric Ward almost 2 years ago. I have my own place to live again and  although I live modestly compared to some, it’s all I need. I have added a puppy to the mix and just found out recently that I am going to be a grandmother in October…of TWINS! Do I still have struggles? Without a doubt! But life looks so much different today than it did a mere 4 months ago. I just had to keep doing the work, trusting and having faith, not picking up a drink and realize that this life truly is a journey. Every road leads to a new experience which can either break me or make me stronger. I choose to coast along in the passenger’s seat and let God keep the wheel. He is a much better driver than me!

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Where’s the Pink Cloud Now?

This will be the LONGEST post I have ever made! Since it’s been a while, I want to catch you up and to cover the time span I’ve been MIA. Thanks ahead for reading it. This is most definitely the most intimate writing I’ve ever done.img_0438

These excerpts are the last two pieces of my journal that you never saw. Things are great today and through all of the darkness over the last year, I have learned so much! I’ll tell you all about it in my next post. Really didn’t plan on sharing these but, I live a life of honesty and decided I needed to be true to myself.

 

The 1st part of this was written about 8 months ago but never published:

It’s been a while since I have felt like writing. I don’t know why, no motivation. A good deal has happened in the last month or so and I let some of it suck the spirit and happiness out of me. Most of the challenges have been financial and I lost sight of what’s important. Me, the person who gets on your nerves with all my “look on the bright side” chatter, was not feelin it.

My pet sitting business  slowed down since school started back. People had done their vacationing and seemed to be falling back into the normal life that Fall brings around. My resources and income were tapped out. Auto-drafted bills still hit my bank account as scheduled, even though there wasn’t enough money to cover them. A letter from the bank confirmed that my account was overdrawn and there was nothing I could do about it. With no income coming in, I called all of my creditors to let them know what was going on. Most were willing to work with me and for that, I was thankful.

I had been diligently sending out resumes and applying for any jobs I could but I was either turned down or never got word back about them. I had been praying, meditating and asking God to show me the way, as I have been taught to do but getting no answers. Frustrated and down, the pity party was starting to grow.

Begrudgingly, I made the hard decision to pull my 401k out and suffer the huge penalties and taxes. There was no other way out for me. Just because I had no money coming in, didn’t mean the bills stopped coming. I was 2 months in arrears on my car payment, a month late paying my health insurance (crucial) and my account was overdrawn. Embarrassing and humbling as it was, I even had to borrow money from my mom just to put gas in my car. I felt like a kid again, and not in a good way.

As I was moving through these financial woes and in complete self pity mode, my mom made the observation that I had not posted on the website lately. I told her that I had no words of hope or pearls of wisdom to write about any longer. I had nothing worthy of sharing. Momma said to me, “People read your blog because it’s real and honest. They expect you to be truthful, good or bad. Perhaps you should share some of your struggles, it may help someone else realize they aren’t alone in theirs”.

Still, I was not willing to sit down and write. Putting pen to paper makes things more real for me and life was real enough without taking a good hard look at the issues. My dear friend and trusted advisor suggested that God was letting me sit in this hardship for a reason, I needed to trust that “more would be revealed” in time, God’s time, not mine. This was definitely not what I wanted to hear.

I never finished the above post and revisited it the early part of the new year, January 2017. Again, I added the following to it, yet never published.

I haven’t even looked at my blog in a while. A couple of jobs did finally present themselves and I selected the one I knew would make me happy rather than a position that would have covered my monetary needs, yet felt like settling. I knew the new position wouldn’t pay the bills, but other than that minor detail, outstanding! I moved into my own place again, happy to be starting over.

Nevertheless, three months later, not happy, joyous or free. I have continued to slowly, inch by inch, day by day, sink deeper into the old familiar sludge. All the words shared by others who had traveled this course before me, those who ended up relapsing, are now making sense. I could never relate before, could not imagine why or what could get you down after discovering the joy in being sober. Today, I understand.

For over a year, I was cocooned in the passion of my recovery world. It was a bubble of comfort, consuming every aspect of my life. There were no distractions, no real life worries, only support, honesty and light. I believed I was ready to dive, head first into this thing we call life. Then, of course, being the extremist (aka. Addict) that I am, I bounded, both feet first, back into a full-time job, paying bills and dealing with “earthlings”. I guessed I was ready to take on my life again. After all, I received my bag of tools and had learned to use them over the last year. I got this, right? Not so much.

Due to the new job, I could no longer attend the noon meetings I had grown so accustomed to, the place where my chosen family was every day. That’s ok, I thought.

I was now working night shifts, and my Sponsor worked days, I could not speak to her as much… that’s ok, I thought.

“Normal people” are so trivial, they possessed no idea what’s really important. They were really getting on my last nerve! Me? Intolerant, just like them? No, it was ok, I thought.

I was still maintaining my all important prayer and meditation everyday like I’m supposed to. Yet slowly over time, I only took a moment for a quick prayer in the mornings. As long as I’m still praying, God’s got my back. It’s ok, I thought.

And so all of this continued, slowly dragging me down, little by little. These days, instead of waking up each day with gratitude and prayer, like I used to, my first waking thoughts are worries. I have been worrying about how to pay my bills, what am I supposed to be doing with my life. Am I supposed to be going back to school to obtain a degree in counseling? Am I supposed to be trying to acquire a nursing degree? Should I be traveling and sharing my experiences?

I have been feeling so lost and lacking in direction. I have prayed for guidance and have asked God why I was kept from death if there was no big plan for me. I’ve waited, and waited, then waited some more. Still, no answers.

Things are not ok anymore and I have to face this. I have stopped answering the phone when people call, choosing to stay alone in my house when not at work. Everyone is starting to get on my nerves again, I am not tolerant and peaceful anymore. I find that I don’t want to go to my meetings anymore. I don’t feel like getting together with anyone from my recovery circle. I am getting more comfort from being by myself. I am questioning my purpose, my very existence. I am dipping into the darkness again, finding solace in the familiar isolation that sustained me for 20 years. I am not unhappy, however, not happy. I am just here… in Stage 1.

There are 3 stages of relapse: For those who do not know, here is a cheat sheet.

1. Emotional relapse– I AM HERE
Anxiety
Intolerance
Anger
Defensiveness
Mood swings
Isolation
Not asking for help
Not going to meetings
Poor eating habits
Poor sleep habits
2. Mental relapse
3. Physical relapse