Feeling Better

i feel better now

I just wanted to thank all of you for support and encouragement from my last post.  I am feeling much better and my thoughts have straightened out quite a bit.  The ground is not so shaky and I am seeing things in a better light.  A special thanks for those who commented:  Robert, Ulpal, Debbie, Jodi Lea, Noel and Laura.  You’re helpful insight and sober tools were a tremendous help.  Just knowing people care makes a big difference!  The world of blogging is truly amazing.  It never ceases to amaze me how people I have never met will reach out and give encouragement to a stranger.  There is still alot of love in this world and even though our world is in a fallen state, the love from people surely overcomes all evil.

I do realize I am not out of the woods yet and have to continue to be actively pursuing recovery on a daily basis.  Staying sober for me cannot be done without God and others like you.  It’s important that I keep my heart right with the Lord and stay in constant contact with Him.  Thank goodness for the Holy Spirit interjecting on my behalf when I am not able to pray.  It’s not that I am not able to pray, it’s more like I don’t always have the words to say what I need to say.  I especially find this to be true when I am in a darkened state of mind.  It’s like a barrier to prayer.

I am sure some of the people who read my blog may not have God as their Higher Power.  This is what works for me and I have tried many ways to remain sober in the past without God.  It never lasted.  I’m not quite sure how other people do it without God but I am sure there are many.  Although, I wonder how they get any peace and joy from not having God in their life.  But I will not judge your sobriety ways and ask you to not judge mine.  Do what works to remain sober.  Not everyone follows the same way and we all have to find what works.

So I have a very busy work week ahead of me and it starts in a couple hours so I better get ready for work.  Thanks again to all my friends who read this and may God bless all of us with peace and sober days this week.

Too Many Thoughts…

white_knuckles

I’ve been struggling.  I’ve been having daily thoughts of drinking and using.  Justifying.  Rationalizing.  Contemplating.  I find myself fantasizing about it and even though I try to quickly think of something else, it inevitably creeps its way back into my head.  Even if I am successful with replacing these thoughts with something else, I wind up dreaming about it!!  Not only am I dreaming about it, I am enjoying it in my dreams.  The dream is usually the same in context.  The context being I am always trying to get the drug and most the time am not successful.  I feel the stress in my dreams.  Always searching, searching for it.  The rare occasion that I am successful in actually getting the drug, once I ingest it in some manner, I don’t get high from it.  The other night I had a powerful dream where I almost felt the high and woke up gasping and sat straight up in bed.

I’ve been emotional and very irritable.  People  are pissing me off.  Traffic is pissing me off.  Even a kind word from a stranger pisses me off.  I want a flippiin’ drink or a pill to chill me out.   Not one pill, many pills.  I’m craving a margarita or three or four.   I know there may be a few factors as to why I’m feeling like this but it doesn’t really matter what those factors are.  I’ve thought about going to an AA meeting but those people will just piss me off too.

I’ve been sober for over a year now.  So wtf is going on?  I realize I am on very dangerous ground here.  All of this has the ear marks of a relapse.  I’m worried.  I’m scared.  I want to cry.   I’m tired.  I hate this.   Prayer isn’t helping.  Reading sobriety blogs isn’t helping.  Reading my own blog isn’t helping.  Nothing is helping.  I’m essentially white knuckling it.  And that is pissing me off too.

Warning Signs H.A.L.T

haltOne of the best things I’ve learning in recovery is this world “H.A.L.T.  It stands for:

Hungry

Angry

Lonely

Tired

These simple words can be a great warning sign for an alcoholic.  All of us out there who are trying to stay sober must live a life of self-care and self-awareness.  Taking care of ourselves is a daily thing.  Being self aware of our behaviors, emotions and feelings should also be  on a daily check list.

Many times a person has relapsed because we have let our self get too hungry, too angry, too lonely and too tired.  Being aware of H.A.L.T. can help warn us something is happening before we reach that breaking point.

Hunger 

We should make sure our hunger for food doesn’t get misplaced into anger anddonebestupods irritability.  I for one can relate to how people act when they are hungry.  I work as a waitress and it’s funny how irritable and short tempered my customers can be when they first sit down at the table and yet once I’ve gotten food in their stomachs they are sweet as pie towards me.  I also relate to the feeling of hunger because in the past I found that if I was hungry the craving to drink was intensified and my resistance and strength were low which of course is a dangerous position for a recovering alcoholic to be in.

Hunger can also be an emotional need we to be aware of.  Hunger can also manifest into being hungry for love, attention and understanding.  Hunger can accompany bad moods, unclear thinking, low energy and a decreased ability to cope.  In those moments when we may be feeling drained, overwhelmed or irritable, we should ask ourselves, “When was the last time I ate?

Anger

angryjpg

” tred lightly…. I’m a little po’d “

We all get angry and although this can be a healthy emotion, most of us manage anger in a destructive way, an aggressive way and act impulsively resulting in a negative consequence.  The first thing to do is acknowledge we are feeling angry and why we are angry.   The next step is diffuse this anger in a constructive way.  Some examples are taking a long walk, getting away from the situation to cool yourself down.  Try cleaning house or punching a pillow.  Make yourself sit down and say a prayer while taking deep breaths.  Another good release from anger is simply venting to another person.  Make sure it’s someone you trust and has the ability to calm you down.  However you choose to release your anger the first step is to recognize it when it starts.

Anger was a trigger for me when it came to relapsing.  I noticed that if I got upset with my parents or my boss, my first thought was to use.  This is an emotion I have to be in constant awareness and in control of.  Many times, my response was inflated because I hadn’t eaten all day.

Lonely

Prior to treatment, loneliness was a big trigger for me.  I have drank many a times becomes I was just simply “lonely”.  Many alcoholics mask these feelings of loneliness by abusing alcohol or drugs.  Once we start in recovery we are taught that loneliness can be very seductive.  When we feel alone we can also become depressed, overwhelmed and anxious.  Drinking when we are lonely doesn’t solve anything.  It can actually intensify the feeling oflonely dog loneliness and intensify our depression and anxiety.

The solution to loneliness is to turn to support systems and connect to others.  There are soooo many AA and NA meetings that can help us in our loneliness.  Staying plugged into a program of socializing with others that deal with the same problem is imperative to our recovery.  Stay close and tell your feelings to a family member or spouse is helpful too.

Tiredness

Tiredness takes a toll on our minds, bodies and spirit.  Tiredness can be a product of difficult circumstances and depressions.     Getting a satisfying nights sleep can be rejuvenating and get us back to feeling normal.  I for one suffer from insomnia.  It can be difficult to function sleepyday by day when I’m not getting enough of a rejuvenation sleep.  When we are running on empty our thought processes and ability to cope are severely comprised.  I become more sensitive.  Little things will bother me and my feelings get hurt easily.  This can make our daily lives very difficult.  I know this personally.  Sometimes we just need to take a day off work and sleep.  We need to be aware when we overly tied and its best to relax, put our feet up and just take care of ourselves and sleep as much as we need to so we can get back to normal and handle our responsibilities once we get the rest we need to do out best.

H.A.L.T. can serve as a reminder to all of us that we need to take care of our basic needs every day. For an addict, that is even more important because neglecting your wellbeing can lead to relapse. So, take a moment each day to stop and check in with yourself. Ask yourself, “Am I hungry, angry, lonely, or tired?

There Is More To Life Than Drinking

flower

Life can still develop out of something that appears dead

As the years went by and I continued to make alcohol a major part of my life, I had many, many years of inner turmoil and negative consequences.  Close to death on 3 occasions, many visits to the local jail, rehabs, detox centers, drunk tanks, counseling centers, probation…..ugh.  The list goes on.  It’s ridiculous.

The majority of crimes committed today have alcohol or drugs involved.  Whenever I was arrested, there was alcohol or drugs in my system.  I think the most horrifying time was when I woke up in a psych ward strapped down to a bed with 5 point restraints on my legs and arms.  I had no idea how I got there.  I remember being in a bar and remember taking a bunch of benzos.5 point  I remember meeting a guy and going back to his place to go swimming.  I remember he had a really nice house and swimming pool.  That’s all I remember.  This poor guy had no idea what he was in for when he met me that day!!  I probably scared him half to death and he called the paramedics.  I was later told I was punching and kicking the paramedics as they were trying to help me.  Horrible.

I woke up with all this black charcoal all over me.  The nurses told me they put charcoal down my throat because they weren’t sure what I had taken.  They said when I “behave” they will unstrap me.  I stayed calm for an hour or so and they removed the restraints and allowed me to get up and walk around.  I went to the nurses station and asked them, “Where am I?”  They said “You are in the psychiatric unit of the hospital.”  I remember when they said this I was very confused.  “What?  Are you kidding me?”  She had a look of disgust on her face.  From there I was put under a “Marchman Act”, which is similar to a Baker Act but it is put in place by police and medical professionals.   I am in custody, not allowed to leave but I am not arrested or going to jail.  I’m going to the looney bin.

coocoonest

One flew over the coo coo’s nest

They sent me to a Crisis Stabilization Unit (CSU).  This is a place where people who are suicidal, as well as people with severe mental disorders are sent.  Some volunteer to be there, some don’t.  The doctors and nurses at the CSU know me.  When they saw me, they said “Hi, Michele I see your back again.  What happened this time?”  I was humiliated and embarrassed.  I had been sober for 4 weeks before this terrifying incident took place.  The night before this happened I had attended a NA meeting, met with a recovering addict, and felt good in my sobriety.  Relapses can hit you like a punch in the face.  Out of nowhere.   After the CSU stay I volunteered to go to live at a halfway house.  I stayed sober for 3 months and relapsed after losing my job.  That relapse also sent me to the hospital (almost died again) and I was sent back to CSU….but I will save that story for another time.  Perhaps I will later write a post titled, “My trips to the looney bin”.  Smile

You may be thinking, when is this girl going to learn?  Well, that’s what all my family and friends were saying.  I was a hard case.  A really hard case.  The other “hard cases” I have met in rehabs and jails, are dead now.  Seriously.  I have met many girls just like me and much younger who have died from this disease.  I remember seeing a girl at the entrance of a rehab who was desperate to quit using.  We both were on our way in to get help.  We  sat outside and she cried for an hour.  I gave her comfort and encouragement as best I could.  We both got sober and went to outpatient treatment.  Within 2 weeks, I heard she died from overdose.  I couldn’t believe it.

I share this story with you because I hope to show those who are unsure about where their drinking can lead that it does get worse.  This is a disease that kills people!!

God had a purpose for my life.  He didn’t want me to leave the earth that day.  I have given God way too many chances to take my life and yet He keeps me here.  I want to see what He has in store for me.  It’s obviously not a life or drinking and using drugs.  I don’t know what the purpose is yet but I have to remain sober to find out! 

My life now can be actually pretty boring and normal.  I love it!!!!   I love boring.  I love remembering the previous day.  I love that people don’t have a “look of disgust” when they look at me.   I love that I can get up every day and go to a job.  I love that I don’t feel like crap every day!    I love that I can pay bills and not spend all my money on substances that will kill me.  What a difference!!  God has made this possible.  Not me.  He gets all the credit.

Today I will keep things simple, trust God and not pick up.  It’s that simple.