Full Throttle Senses

As I frequently mention, I am not a Doctor, a social worker or a counselor of any sort.  My trainer was called “LIFE.”  Mine.  Experiences are mine and shared experiences with others. When I share on this blog it is merely an attempt to sort out things happening with me in hopes that someone reading may connect and find comfort. The daily journey with our disease is unique to each of us.  I find that knowing I am not in this fight alone, it is more possible and my “daily reprieve” lets me live a life without being consumed with the thoughts of wanting that drink.

Here Come Those Tears Again…

Early in Recovery, it seemed that I would cry at the drop of a hat.  When I started meditating in a class of non-alcoholics in the prolonged silence the tears would stream down my cheeks. And in that silence, I was thawing out. I was thawing out in safety and that needed to happen.  All those years of “stuffing” bubbled up and when there was no alcohol to “soothe” them, they just flowed freely.  I survived and it was not a bad thing.

I find now that I need to be keenly aware of what some people call “triggers.”  Personally, I am not a person that is “triggered” by one thing  inasmuch as I am a “cup runneth over” type.  Controlling those things that fill my cup, the good and the bad is critical to the “Happy, Joyous and Free” factor of my life.

For Example:

As I write this today, I write in silence.  No background noise except the occasional dog bark, cars going by outside my window.  I don’t have the music on.  Most of the time I do have music playing and I select the type of music based on how I feel that day.  I was up and doing a radio show before 6am which is fun and exciting for me, lots of switching gears and interaction. By 8:30 I am getting into my “real job” and I can feel the effects of “over-stimulation.”  (All the coffee doesn’t help either.)  ONAIR

What Does This Mean?

Now that I am in Recovery and sober I feel things.  After a couple years, I am beginning to be comfortable with those feelings.  Rather than dulling those feelings with booze, I try to manage them with the sounds, smells, and visuals in my workspace.  By doing this, I am not only allowing more serenity in but not being snappy or sarcastic with others around me.  A smart-ass comeback isn’t always funny, especially when I am reacting to something rather than responding thoughtfully.

If you are early in Recovery, take a look at your environment around you.  What things can you control? Music or talk on the radio, the places I go before and after an appointment (quiet and calm or busy and loud) even the aromas around me, seem to help me manage my day.  I never knew it could be that easy, but then again I never bothered to notice because I was drinking it all away.

How about you?  

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The Letter

I recently got “Drunk Dialed.”  It was later on in the morning around 10:30 and it was one of my old friends. I must say my old best friend.  We often spoke early in the day, one of us needing the other, most of the time we were planning where we were going to “drink lunch.” It has been 2 1/2 years since I have been a participant in that type of call.

History

Like many of us, when I decided to make changes in my life, most of my friends did not. Most of my friends drank like I did, most of my friends are still drinking like I did.  I cannot say they are alcoholic, that is for them to decide.  But when I decided “enough was enough” my daily decisions did not include where I was drinking and therefore did not include my old friends.  There was no blow up, no arguments or sharp words.  We just didn’t see each other very often anymore.

“I Decided I Have to Stop Drinking”

Was the first sentence I said to my friend on June 21, 2013 over the phone.  I then continued, “I decided I am going to go to AA.” I had been to my first 3 meetings the day before.  She said something like, “Just take a break, you will be all right, just slow down a little.”  I continued on to say that I wouldn’t be joining her for lunch and not to take it personally.  I just couldn’t drink anymore.

It was a short call.  But I said “my peace,” there was no yelling, I remember I was sad. Knowing that I was closing the door on my best friend.  She was someone I did a lot of things with, certainly all of them included drinking but we were close and we could always talk to each other.

The weeks went on and I am not exactly sure how long it was – a few months maybe.  She called, we met for lunch in a place we normally didn’t go.  I didn’t drink and she drank some wine.  It was awkward feeling I remember, we didn’t talk about AA but she saw that I wasn’t drinking.  We talked about the people we knew, her kids, my dogs, normal stuff.

Probably in the past 2 1/2 years we have been together 4 or 5 times when before it was 4 or 5 times a week.  I don’t push my program.  I just try and live it.  I have talked to her probably 10 times on the phone, sometimes it sounds like she has been drinking and sometimes not.  Lately, I have felt like my Higher Power is nudging me along to reconnect with her on a more “personal” level.  Her last phone call was so sad I have had a hard time getting it out of my head.  I sometimes wonder if she even remembers that I told her about AA those 2 1/2 years ago.

Today Was The Day

I have spoken about this conundrum in meetings lately and prayed about it.  I finally decided to write her a note.  It is the Holidays after all and today I did it.  I was short and sweet, I put it down on paper:

I cannot believe that it has been 2 ½ years since I stopped drinking.  I would be lying if I said my life hasn’t changed.  It has.  I actually want to live now. The morning I called you that summer and told you I stopped drinking and started going to AA was the day I thought I was going to die.  The problem was, I wasn’t dying fast enough.  I mean I didn’t have a shot gun in my mouth or anything but I sure felt like life wasn’t worth living.  I felt pretty lonely and very scared.

There  were a few more paragraphs, but that one above is the meat and potatoes of the note. I wanted to open the door that I was still going to meetings and perhaps if I told her how I was feeling when I started AA, she may think about it.  She may consider calling me for help.

Stay Tuned

As I have said in this blog before, stay tuned.  As I live life on life’s terms, I will keep you posted.  I do feel better that I have done something with the “little voice” I kept hearing to tell me to reach out to her.  A letter is something that a person can read when the time is right or they can burn it if they choose.  I do feel a lot better about it now that it is in the mail no matter which choice she makes.

 

Being Nice to Myself and it was FREE!

My last post talked a little about “self care.” I had no idea what that meant.  I had lived in chaos either created by others that I hung out with or I created myself, I had no idea that there was such an idea as no chaos.  Chaos was my normal.  Chaos made me choose drinking, when I didn’t know how to deal with chaos/life.

Change of Pace

When I stopped drinking, I unplugged my coping mechanism.  But the chaos was still around me, the chaos was still in me.  And If I hadn’t had meetings to go to, I would have no idea that this was normal  but, there were other options other than drinking. And how would I? It was a lifetime solution and it was my father’s solution. This was my first introduction to being nice to myself. Giving myself credit for trying to do something different.  Something that certainly looked better.  Seeing people around a room, people that felt just like me and were dealing with life without drinking or drugs.  So I took a deep breath and said to myself, “I want this and I am working for it.”  That was being nice to myself.

Hypersensitive

Chaos for me hid in some very unexpected places.  People and family were obvious.  Traffic and my phone also obvious.  But what I didn’t know was that as I was in early recovery everything seemed overwhelming.  I was still in the detoxing stage I think. Though the shakes had stopped, I found I had fog in my head. I would cry or feel like crying.  Most of the time, I didn’t know why.  Again, someone in the fellowship told me it was “normal.”

If you drive, do you ever find that when you get into bad weather or a tense situation you turn off or down the radio without even thinking about it?  Well, that’s me.  I learned early in recovery that the music on the radio or on my ipod that I had been listening to when I was drinking caused some anxiety. Just hearing it. Some people called it a “trigger.”  It didn’t make me run to a drink, but it did make me feel that same chaos that over time may have made me choose to drink.  I stopped listening to that music like I had been.  I listen to it again a little now, but I have noticed that something more mellow helped to soothe me rather than “revving me up.”  I learned that listening to different music (or no music at all), was being nice to myself.

And it was FREE.

I Still Hate Sunday Nights

Sunday nights meant Monday mornings. In the old days, it was about pulling it together to go to work Monday mornings. It was only a few times I didn’t, I managed to function even at the end of my drinking days.

Same Ole Story
Now I am sober and as I have mentioned previously, I have not changed my job situation.  One reason, I am an owner in the company.  When I got sober I took my partners to lunch and apologized, explained that I was getting help.  They were as supportive as they knew how to be but since that conversation about 2 1/2 years ago, lots have changed.  One thing is, ME.

Truth
Being in recovery, I recognize things I never used to notice.  We are business partners and not close friends. We never have been.  We don’t and never have done anything socially.  I honestly don’t think they are capable of having real friends. Neither of them do to this day.  And of course, when I started going to AA and learning more and more about REAL relationships, the more the “notsoreal” relationships faded from my life.  This is the remaining relationship that I am in because I made a commitment that I am trying to live by.

Lies
One partner put his house on the market and has moved his family about 400 miles away.  At the time, we were told that it was a temporary thing, there were some elder care issues. Once the FOR SALE sign goes up it seems less than temporary.  The sign was up before I knew.  The idea was perhaps growing the business.  To this date, a year and a half later the business is not coming in.  He only criticizes this area and repeats statements that he believes we are backward here.  Then the other one has become a Department Head at a local university and is dividing his time significantly – he lives more than an hour away and recently complained that he is working 80 hours a week.  The 80 hours is not for our company.  I have a hard time feeling compassionate when it is his choice to put his commitment with our company on the back burner and we are supposed to move all our schedules around to accommodate these two men, for meetings, calls, etc.

Third Step
I don’t know how many times I have recited the Third Step Prayer in the parking lot before I have gone into my office.  I manage to get through the days but again, here I am on a Sunday night feeling major anxiety.  They treat me like shit, they treat our employees like shit unless they want something.  I have told both of them things are not acceptable but since I “outed” myself as an alcoholic they have distanced themselves even further than before. I am tired to talking to brick walls.

Test
I know my HP won’t give me anything more than I can handle, but it is hard to reach down and believe that it is all going to work out the way it is supposed to.

Loving the CrossFIRE

I often go to a meeting on Sunday night at 5:00pm in the next town.   Last night, I was thinking I wasn’t going to go, then my Sponsor texted me and asked if I wanted to ride with her to that meeting.  (She hardly ever goes to that meeting.)  I took that as a sign, when my Sponsor asks me to go to a meeting with her, I go.

Quiet Ride

This particular meeting is about 25 minutes from my house.  I usually drive alone and I have time to listen to Public Radio on the way and again on the way home. Riding with my sponsor meant, she drove and we talked the whole way.  She shared with me a situation she was dealing with and I could feel the anxiety she was feeling. The meeting was a good one but as we talked on the way home, she was getting pretty wound up – I could see she was applying her “situation” anxiety to some of her existing feelings of some of the folks at the meeting.

By the time I got out of her car, I was jumping out of my skin.  She apologized for getting so jazzed and thanked me for being her sounding board.  Once I got into the house, a football game was wrapping up and our favorite team was bringing it down to the wire, behind by a field goal.  WHAM!  I felt that when I walked into the house.

Agitation

For the rest of the evening, I was agitated.  What I should have done was take a bath or something else relaxing, I just couldn’t.  Instead, my OWN anxiety started churning about work on Monday and our Staff Meeting Monday afternoon.  I tried to meditate before bed and I did sit, but my mind was still racing.  There is a lot of things up in the air with my job and Sunday nights and Monday mornings have managed to become anxiety machines in their own right.  Taking on my Sponsor’s battles (which she never asked me to do), was a bad idea. The funny thing is, I made all these choices, I did all of it, knowing it was going on and I just chose to let it keep on going.  I mean this is stuff that makes me drink and I need to look at this seriously.  So here I am spilling my guts to you guys, understanding now – it’s Monday.  Thanks for listening.

Patience or Procrastination

“The Good Thing About Procrastination is I Always Have Something to do Tomorrow.”

I have spent most of my life making snap decisions, decisions on the fly, as my alcoholism progressed my decisions were made in haste, because of impatience and emotion and because I did not realize that what I was doing was operating with limited information and lots of booze.  I did not see the correlation.  Since I GOT sober, I have become pretty cautious in a lot of ways, like decision making.   I have found that once a few more facts have come to light the decision I may have made immediately would have been different than the one I made when I had the information. Sometimes VASTLY different.

Where is the Line between Patience and Procrastination?

When I was drinking everything seemed to be EVERYONE else’s fault.  Any problem I had with a relationship was not my doing it was always about THEM and what THEY did.  Right after I stopped drinking I put the brakes on. Someone had said in a meeting that they had to look at what “their part” was in any situation.  My sponsor said, “Don’t make any huge decisions for the first year, unless you are in danger or really have thought it through.”  So I took it to heart.  It was easy to understand.  My emotions were on my sleeve, hell I cried at the drop of a hat and my anxiety was off the charts. For a girl who spent most of her life driving in snowstorms – this past winter was a killer.  I didn’t dare drive some days.  I was reminded that I was going through something big in my life and I needed to take care of myself.  I reminded myself that I spent years not trusting myself and I needed to build that back up and not expect it all RIGHT NOW.

The 3rd Step

I SAY that I am turning my will over to God as I understand him and yet I find I have pulled it back. Then I wonder why I am struggling.  I want things to happen but I want them to happen quicker than they are.  I am in unhealthy relationships, not dangerous ones, but ones that do me no service and therefore I am not able to do them any service either.  So I am writing in this blog JUST BECAUSE this is part of my process. I have realized and verbalized this in meetings, spoken to my sponsor and yet I am very uneasy.  I don’t want to drink.  I want to live happy, joyous and free.

If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes

Well  Wordpress told me the other day I have been working on this blog for over a year now.  I have not been sober over a year.  I started the blog, was “controlling my drinking.”  I was pretty sure I was not an alcoholic.  I knew I drank a lot but I honestly didn’t know what an alcoholic was, I had an idea it was someone that wasn’t me.

SURPRISE!

Then along came June 20, 2013…Rather than to rehash what I have said many times in this blog, I had to do something.  Because of a conversation with an old friend from a year before that, I figured I would try AA.  I went to several meetings in the first few days, mostly hoping that I would hear something that would tell me I wasn’t an alcoholic.  The more meetings I attended, the more I knew I was.  Didn’t make me happy at all.  But there was some HOPE in knowing there was a way out of the black hole I had been in, even though it seemed easier to swallow the vodka than to swallow the truth of being an alcoholic.

It Ain’t Easy

I have to say my life is completely different than it was just 9 months ago.  I realize more things about myself and many of them I don’t like at all.  Some times I feel strong in dealing with them while other times I feel incredibly weak.  My weekly routine includes daily meetings,  prayer & meditation, yoga, exercise and plenty of sleep.  These things I did not have before.  I still work and interact with people, that part hasn’t changed.  I am more aware of wanting to make some more changes in my life than ever or do I just accept things?  That I am not sure about.  People have told me not to make big changes for a year.  When I stopped drinking I may have been referred to as a “High Functioning” alcoholic.  That doesn’t mean I wasn’t screwed up and didn’t do things the way an alcoholic would do them.  In my case it meant I had a job, I had not been arrested (yet), I had clients, I had a home to live in.  I owe it all to my Higher Power to get me to listen before I had lost it all.

Are you there “God?”

Today is one of those days.  It is one where I am twisted up in thought.  I have had a cold for 3 weeks, I am sick of winter, sick of people lying to me, sick and tired of being sick and tired.  So God as I understand you, help me ease my monkey mind. I help me make it another day without drinking.