Month: July 2013
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I learned today the danger of letting myself get too hungry and stressed. I had the worst craving crisis I have had so far on the way home from the store tonight. I was near tears when I got home and had a terrible tension headache. Once I ate something, I felt SO much better. Holy hell, that sucked. I have a meeting tomorrow. I will try to remember HALT next time that happens and remember to always carry a snack in my purse. Bedtime, now.
1. My old drinking stories aren’t really funny anymore. They sound more alarming and sad…
2. If I am really honest with myself, I have had a fucked up relationship with alcohol and other mind altering substances for a very long time.
3. I don’t give a rat’s ass if people ‘find out’ that I am in recovery. Almost… Sort of… Most of the time…
4. I *might* not be as in control of things as I once thought (Dammit!).
5. There is no longer even a glimmer of a doubt regarding the question of am I or aren’t I. I am an alcoholic and while it sucks, it is not the end of the world.
6. No, I cannot just drink moderately. Ever. So shut the hell up, Wolfie.
7. I can’t do this alone.
8. I can’t control anyone else’s recovery.
9. Recovery is about way more than just quitting drinking.
10. This is going to be hard.
11. This is going to be worth it.
12. I am worth it.
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Want to fill up your Facebook feed with inspirational messages and quotes (just be aware that others might be able to see what you like)? “Like,” follow or friend the following pages (it is a hell of a lot better than scrolling through drinking stories and pictures of bourbon and wine):
I am so proud of my continued sobriety (35 days- Woot, woot!). I know I am doing difficult stuff right now and my brain and body are healing but I have found myself wondering several times per day, WHY DON’T I FEEL BETTER? Seriously? What the hell. Shouldn’t I be doing cartwheels and smiling like a lobotomized, 50’s housewife? Instead, sleep is still mostly allusive. I still get headaches at night. I am two seconds away from “irritable bitch mom from hell” at any given moment of the day. Plus, I am still a LUMP on the couch (just with fizzy water instead of Merlot on the table next to me). I just LACK energy. My current spirit animal is a rotund house cat.
I was listening to the latest The Bubble Hour episode on Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms and have discovered why I might not be feeling super great, yet. Sigh.
The Symptoms of Post-Acute Withdrawal
The most common post-acute withdrawal symptoms are:
- Mood swings (yep)
- Anxiety (definitely)
- Irritability (oh, yeah)
- Tiredness (always)
- Variable energy (mostly low energy)
- Low enthusiasm (eh…)
- Variable concentration (What?)
- Disturbed sleep (right now, in fact)
So according to the ladies on The Bubble Hour, PAWS is something that many folks in recovery deal with for 6-24 (WTF?!) months after quitting drinking. Yay. They promise it does get better… Any experience out there with anything like this?
Wolfie whispered in my ear as I passed a mirror tonight. I was laughing at something my husband said and I caught a glimpse of myself. The conversation went like this:
Wolfie (voice flat and small): What are you doing? This isn’t you. You want your life back, don’t you?
Me: Fuck you.
It was a much shorter internal conversation than the maranthon from yesterday. In my life when I am doing the ‘wrong’ thing (something that doesn’t make me happy-usually in the form of bad relationships or friendships) I get this anxious lump in my chest. Tonight, it felt as if something in my subconscious was trying to manufacture that feeling. The feeling of being on the wrong path. But it wasn’t genuine. It tasted like synthetic sugar and felt like cheap polyester. I have been thinking about that other path for an hour or two now. I was so afraid to give up that life. That drunken bourbon/tequila/beer and wine soaked existence. I told myself that it was easy, fun, exciting. It was cool. It was gritty. What a load of bullshit!
I don’t miss it tonight. I don’t miss stumbling around the house. I don’t miss feeling too drunk to brush my teeth or check on my kids. I don’t miss the night sweats or waking in the morning feeling more dead than alive. I gave 20 years of my life to this shit. 20! I started getting high (anything to escape) the summer I was 17 and I am now 37. It is enough. It is too much, but I can’t do anything about that now. I don’t have a fucking time machine… There is only moving forward.
I have been reflecting on surrender and vulnerability lately. I have a hard time with surrender but I am getting closer to understanding its role in all of this. I am afraid of surrender. I am terrified of vulnerability. I have some work to do. I know I am on the right path. Fuck you, Wolfie.
I have brushed off suggestions of trying out an AA meeting or working the steps. In fact, I have been firmly against it from the very beginning. I watched an episode of “Bullshit” the first weekend I was sober that centered around “the cult” of AA and wrote it off as an organization designed for and by Christians. This week however, I have been listening to and reading recovery stories online and a great number of them have some sort of foundation in AA. Further, many of the speakers or writers were like me, non-Christian… Hmm…
Fast-forward to the Friday night from hell. I just felt terrible. I reached out and I got support from online friends. I white knuckled my way through it but this morning I wondered if I needed another layer of support…
I have been leery of my town’s AA circle. Part of it is a (sorry if this offends anyone) mistrust of Christians, having been burnt by some so-called folks before. Part of my hesitancy might also be rooted (this is where things might get a little heavy) in my own perception of alcoholics in my community. Alcoholism is a pervasive social problem in my little town. The negative stigma is alive and well here. There are many people who suffer from debilitating alcoholism and I frankly have a hard time envisioning myself as a member of that particular social group (this is me checking my elitist asshole bullshit). Nevertheless, I hunger for a community, for face-to-face connection and support beyond what my dearest friends and family can (or should be asked to) provide.
So I decided, at 11:20 this morning, to attend the noon meeting. Before I left the house, I coached myself, “don’t get your hopes up.” The meeting was held in a single wind trailer surrounded by lush trees and bushes. Inside the trailer I found a large open room with two long tables, peppered with books and coffee cups. I was a little early, but when I walked in, everyone was already seated and either chatting or doing their own thing. I took a seat pulled out my knitting (to avoid talking to anyone, of course) and waited for the meeting to begin. A kind-faced, older man offered me coffee which I graciously accepted. A couple of older gentlemen a couple of seats away were arguing over the meaning of the word ‘cornucopia.’ A younger woman played with her phone. Two tattooed younger men sat quietly at the end. A few other people sat around the table seemingly preoccupied with their own thoughts. I made several snap judgments about their respective backgrounds and how they came to attend meetings in this little trailer. I am an idiot.
The meeting began. It reminded me of mass. I kept knitting. The leader, the same man who gave me coffee, asked if there were any new people or visitors. All eyes landed on me. I spoke the words: My real name. I am an alcoholic. I told them I had 33 days and was unsure about AA because I wasn’t a Christian. I figured I would get that shit out of the way right off the bat. I was half hoping, half expecting they would give me some sign that I was not going to be accepted. If they didn’t accept me, I could move on and strike AA of my list of tools right? As I spoke, I noticed the leader tense up (“Oh, boy. Here we go.” my brain said). As soon as I stopped speaking a man across the table from me said sort of incredulously, “you don’t have to be a Christian to be a member.” From there, each in turn, the members welcomed me and reiterated their own struggles and versions of their higher power. The same man who said I didn’t have to be a Christian said that the meetings were about alcoholics helping one another not what anyone believed or didn’t believe in. The man who tensed up when I spoke, spoke of his own agnosticism and struggles with defining a higher power. He even talked about atheism and physics (wasn’t expecting that). He gave me a 30 day chip (so cool!), bought me a big book and gave me a hug, commenting that he never missed an opportunity to hug a female.
Um… I was… a little shocked, ok more like flabbergasted, by their kindness, acceptance and thoughtfulness about the program. I shared a bit more and I thanked them all for welcoming me. I am still not sure if the steps are my cup of tea, but I found the meeting to be very reassuring. I left feeling quieted and hopeful. I think I might just go back. I feel honored that I might have the opportunity to learn a thing or two from these folks.