When Things Don’t Go … Our Way

Tattered and Torn

Tattered and Torn (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It will be a short post today.  My lovely internet is down at home.  So yeah, I am posting at the office.  This topic isn’t even in my list! But…

I had a situation happen over the weekend that had potential to turn pretty toxic.  We’ll just call it, “people who can’t let go.”  Anyway, there just comes a time when we have to say GOOD-BYE.

When we try to beat the square peg into the round hole, the square peg becomes worn… tattered… exhausted.  The round hole has moved on and so should probably the square peg.

For whatever reason, sometimes people who really want to be together just cannot be together because the relationship is toxic.  Maybe there is drugs involved, alcoholism, abuse, mistrust… the list goes on as to what could make a relationship toxic.  What makes it worse is when neither party recognizes the toxicity.

What makes it worse than that is when only one person recognizes the disaster masked with the word “love.” One person is desperately trying to hold on while the other is subtly trying to move on.

We will be touching on this topic in the coming months. Have a great week everyone!  Regularly scheduled blog posts will resume tomorrow.

Peace…

 

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One Day at a Time

Image: givecourage.net

Image: givecourage.net

One day at a time.  Isn’t that really the only way we can live?  When we were in our addiction, we were caught up in our past aches, resentments and fears.  But that wasn’t enough.  We had to worry about the future!  What will tomorrow bring? Will I still have my job?  What about a place to live?

Since I am inherently skeptical, this whole one day at a time thing puzzled me.  After all, I was a being who only thought about what would become of me along with all the crap of yesterday.  Well, I couldn’t change yesterday and had no control over tomorrow.  Still don’t.  Never will.

Before I got sober, I remember thinking about never being able to drink (or drug) again.  That thought overwhelmed me to the point of anxiety.  How would I function?  Where would I hang out? What about my friends?  All of these are serious questions to the still sick and suffering alcoholic.

The first couple weeks of my sobriety were a rough lot.  I lived one minute at a time rather than one day at a time.  I could not think about the future.  Again, it was entirely too overwhelming.  And holding onto the past was what got me in such a shit storm.  So I focused on keeping my brain occupied.  I should have kept a journal, but I didn’t.  Instead I consumed mass quantities of Pop Tarts and watched the Military Channel.  I only left my apartment to get cigarettes.

But it worked for me.

Of course these days, I do think about the future and there are times when the past creeps in or I see something that brings back a fond (or not so fond) memory. But when it comes to not picking up, one day at a time, one minute at a time, even one second at a time is the best way to live.

How do we live one day at a time in recovery?

We go to meetings.  We get a sponsor.  We read approved literature. We talk to people in recovery (this is so important). We share at meetings (this is something I need to do more). We keep our minds occupied with things besides drinking (or drugging).

I have met so many creative people in the rooms of AA.  I have met many artists, writers and generally people who are doing what they want to do with their lives.  How cool is that?  Maybe they were always creative or maybe they found their creativity while living one day at a time.

Pushing Through

Image: faithoncampus.com

Image: faithoncampus.com

Once we realize that we are powerless and cannot get through sobriety (or anything for that matter) without a higher power, we are now in the position of knowing what to do.  There is a saying (and I am ad-libbing here): “Once you know, you can never not know.”

This picture above is also a magnet.  I saw it at Barnes & Noble one day and snatched it up.  It is on my refrigerator as a stark reminder to do just what it says. And I live by this rule in a selective way.

I’ll explain.

There are times, of course, when we need to give up.  If my car isn’t starting and I am about to crank it for the umpteenth time, I need to give up.  When drinking and drugging are leaving you feeling beaten down repeatedly.  Because doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is insane.

Ya hear what I’m sayin’?

If you or someone you know is struggling with staying away from a drink or a drug (or any other addiction) the most important thing to remember is “just don’t pick up.”  Because picking up is giving up.  Picking up is giving up on your sobriety, giving up on yourself, giving up on the potential that you have!

This is something I think about from time to time. Of course, being an alcoholic, a drink will flutter across my mind like some deranged, chaotic butterfly.  It is a fleeting thought and it flutters out as fast as it entered.  Behind the thought of a drink comes all the memories of the insanity I called life at one point.  That is what keeps it green for me.  Going back to the life of hell I once lived would be insane.

Here are some ways to push through:

  • get to a meeting.
  • call someone.
  • go for a walk.
  • write.
  • listen to music.
  • pray.
  • draw.

How have you pushed through?

Asking For Help

Image: lostandtired.com

Image: lostandtired.com

Asking for help is difficult.  It means swallowing our pride and admitting we cannot do it alone.  There are many places to get help for the still sick and suffering.  The most effective is the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous.  I must be careful talking about that, because it is Anonymous.  Although these days with social media and Facebook Group Pages, there is no longer much anonymity.

God was who I first asked for help.  When I got sober in May 2006, I started in the basement by myself.  I had detoxed off of pain meds and quit drinking along with other substances.  I can honestly say God was with me the whole time, even though I felt like hell, I knew he was there.  There is no way in hell I suffered through that agony alone.  Alone in body, maybe, but not alone in spirit.

The second person I asked was my kids’ social worker at Bucks County Children and Youth.  After the detox, I called the County and they got me in an outpatient group.  I had one counseling session a week with a guy who never had a drug problem and was slightly condescending.  Along with that, I had three outpatient groups a week.

And so it went.  I would ask people for help at the group.  The caseworker always picked up the phone when I called.  For me to reach out my hand was difficult being a woman always hell bent on self-will.

Swallowing my selfish pride and asking for help was the best thing I could do for myself.  There are many places to ask for help.  Visit www.aa.org to get started and find a meeting.

We Admitted We Were Powerless

Image: sabacooperative.org

Image: sabacooperative.org

“Step One: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable.” This is taken from the Big Book and the Twelve & Twelve.

This is the only step we have to do perfectly.  To have an attitude that we “can drink once in a while” or “take a break” is dangerous.  Of course, this is something we alcoholics find out the hard way.  We have all at one time or another, woken up in the morning (or maybe we hadn’t even been to sleep) and said: Man, I am never doing that again! Only to be right back where we were, less than twenty-four hours later.

And let’s face it: admitting we are powerless over anything is tough for us humans.  We have this thing called “pride” that whispers in our ear that we can beat anything.  It whispers that giving up is for suckers and wimps. Our egos and pride tell us that people will laugh at us if we admit we cannot drink (or drug) anymore.

We had come to realize that once we put a drink in our bodies, we could not stop. That first drink rendered us helpless every time.

We tried to drink successfully.  We made empty promises (with good intentions!) that we would only drink beer, or that we would only drink on the weekend or that we would stop drinking at 11 pm. It may have worked for a little while, but ultimately it didn’t work at all.

We could not drink successfully.  We could not stop after one drink.  The minute we put that first drink in us, our bodies and minds crave more and we drink until we are either passed out, puking, in jail or in a crazy situation.  And yes, these crazy situations may make great stories (if we live through them) but they leave us with shame and regret.

The unmanageability of our lives may be that we keep showing up late for work (or not showing up at all), we aren’t paying our bills, we are cheating on our spouses or partners, we are getting in fights, driving intoxicated and ending up in jail.  It is one or some or all of these things.  We could not manage our own lives, we could not manage our drinking, we could not manage anything.

Step One is the only step we have to do perfect.  If we do that one step perfectly, we will begin the road to recovery and our lives will begin to change in a positive way.

Darkness Before the Dawn

Image: hal-pc.org

Image: hal-pc.org

There comes a point in each addict/alcoholic’s life when they feel like there is no way things could get worse.  Whether they are in deep debt, being evicted, homeless, selling sex for drugs/money… the list goes on.

The darkness swallows us, like that giant monster we swore was in our closet as small children.  Only this monster is real.  It is real and it is ugly and it devours us every day making life worse while we try to drown or numb the pain.

My darkness was in a basement in Bucks County, PA.  I had lost my children, was unemployable and was living in the same house as my enabler (my ex-boss).  He and his wife had let me stay with them after I had been evicted from a house in Philadelphia.  I was in debt, could not find work and lived there under the prerequisite that he would give me drugs and money and I would repay him accordingly.

All of my “I never’s” were coming true as I sat in that basement listening to him lumber around upstairs, praying to high heaven he wouldn’t come down those steps.

My two daughters lived there with me and slept in the room on the other side of the basement.  Their precious little faces looked so peaceful when they slept.  My God, what had I done?

No one could tell me about my darkness.  I had to figure it out by myself.  That is the sad truth about addiction and alcoholism.  We always have to find out the hard way.  All those interventions, the threats, the promises the deals… none of it works.  I mean, it may work for a short while, but we just have to feel like there is nothing left.  We have to get sick and tired of being sick and tired.

It is that moment in time, that darkness before the dawn, that loss of hope, that are you freaking kidding me…. that is when we look at ourselves in the mirror and beg God for help.

Ultimate Blog Challenge!

January

January (Photo credit: Deadly Tedly)

The Introduction

Happy New Year!  Welcome to the The Daily Woman.. a blog dedicated to living sober and giving life all you got!  I signed up for the Ultimate Blog Challenge just in time for 2013… The month of January is dedicated to living life sober, getting help, working the steps and tons of other useful information and links.

My goal is to post each of the 31 days.  😀

A lot of us wrapped up in alcoholism and addiction have made resolutions (or goals) of sobriety for 2013.  Most of these will be broken if the right help is not sought.

Now, I am not a doctor and I don’t even play one on TV, but I do know what has worked for me and hope to do some sort of twelfth step work through my blog. I have reached a point in my sobriety that what keeps me sober is doing the next right thing and putting my hand out to the next still sick and suffering alcoholic/addict.

Thanks for climbing on board and Happy New Year to you all.

Out With the Old – A Time to Reflect

Reflect

Reflect (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As 2012 comes to a close… I have looked through my Penzu journal, gone through old notebooks and basically stepped back and looked at the canvas of my life.  It hasn’t exactly been a spectacular year… but then it has been a spectacular year.  I fell down a cliff on a quad, I celebrated six years of sobriety in May, I started going to Al-Anon (which changed my life!) and I ended a six year, toxic relationship never dreaming that I’d enter into a new relationship with a man who I am pretty sure was made just for me.

I read somewhere that when we order up the life we want to exact specifications, we just might get it.  Well, I seem to be on my way.

The Old:

Procrastination – Insecurity – Self-loathing – Laziness – Self-doubt – feeling unworthy in most situations.  Ahhh.. those old ugly beliefs and bad thoughts that I wish I could beat with a hammer.  However, thoughts are not tangible so I have to beat them with positive thinking!

The New:

Get it done! I am beautiful! I can and will prevail! Successful author!  I have to fake it ’til I make it – and my advice to all of you is to do the same.  Faking it ’til we make it is like a mental affirmation of determination that only we know about.  It kinda goes along with that whole “The Secret” thing.  Trust me – it freaking works.

How about you? What is your out with the old, in with the new for the coming year?

Think, Think, Think During the Holidays (and Everyday)

Photo: barreralawfirm.com

Photo: barreralawfirm.com

While drunk driving and drug related traffic accidents are down in the last couple years, they are still too high.  According to statistics on MADD, 9, 878 people were killed in drunk driving accidents in 2011. 

I am not here to talk about statistics and percentages.  We can read stats on websites and billboards all day long, but realistically, they are just numbers and numbers do not hit home nor the heart.

I am here to talk about common freaking sense.

When we put chemicals into our body, even cold medicine, it alters our state of consciousness and our senses become warped.  We might think we are driving “perfectly fine” after just a couple of drinks, one hit of marijuana, or a couple of pills, but the truth is the effects of any drug effect us.

You may or may not have a drinking problem. Chances are if you or someone you know thinks it is okay to drive while intoxicated, there most likely is an issue with drinking that goes deeper than just being selfish and without regard for others. 

Here are some tips for partying (without injuring yourself or others) during the holiday season:

  • Have a designated driver.  This works.
  • KNOW your limit.
  • The switch off.  Drink water between every drink and for God’s sake EAT SOMETHING.  Still: DO NOT DRIVE.  This method is good for helping you or someone not turning into a belligerent drunk.
  • Keep an eye on friends or people you are with.  If someone is drinking too much, make sure you take their keys (with our without them knowing it). They might get angry with you, but an angry friend is better than a dead friend.
  • Make sure you don’t have to drive.  Plan a ride ahead or have money for a cab.

If you or someone you know has a drinking problem, go over to aa.org and get some information on how to get help and how to find a meeting. 

Have a fun and safe holiday season!

F.E.A.R.

I was working with one of my sponsors a few weeks ago, and she told me this phrase.  I almost fell out of my chair.  There are a few acronyms for “FEAR” such as: F*ck Everything And Run and Face Everything And Recover.  But… False Evidence Appearing Real is the one that works best for me. I have a lot of fear in everything I do.  Or should I say, everything I don’t do.  Fear holds me back in many decisions.  Is that why I am so damn indecisive?

Umm… definitely.

There have been times I felt the fear and did it anyway.  Like, the first time I rode a motorcycle, or a roller coaster, or stood up for myself in junior high school when I got in a fist fight.  There was definitely a lot of fear in those instances, but I did it anyway.  Ok, maybe getting in a fist fight is not the best example… The point is, I felt the fear and pushed through it.

A lot of us as children were afraid of the dark.  I remember when I was a little girl, I was afraid of my closet.  I swore to everything that there was a monster waiting to eat me.  The false evidence was the creeks from behind the closet door.  The fear appeared real because I believed it.  I would jump up and turn the light on, go look inside the closet and hey… no monster!  Imagine that.  The false evidence had appeared very real.

I am going through a major life change in the next six weeks.  I decided I need to leave my boyfriend.  We met in recovery a couple of months after I got sober.  He has done a lot for me and we have been through some great times.  But I see the big picture and it is pretty blank.  I won’t go into the sordid details (although it would make for some interesting reading).  Let’s just leave it in the “we grew apart” ditch.

Fear is absolutely a healthy emotion in certain situations.

So I have to be out by December 1st! How will I do it? Who the hell knows… I have faith in God, in my program and in myself that I will pull through this.

Have you ever pushed through the fear? How did you overcome? Share your thoughts and stories below! 

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