Day 866 – Three C’s with a Hula Hoop

Dear Sobriety,

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before (and I’m terrible at actually tagging what I write about), so I figure this is probably the best time to bring it (back) up.

The “three C’s” I first learned while going through an outpatient dual-diagnosis program.  Dual-diagnosis is essentially when you’re not only lucky enough to have a substance abuse issue, but also a mental health diagnosis tagged on to you.  Which, if we’re all being really honest with ourselves, can’t we all say that we’ve experienced depression, anxiety, mania, etc. at least one time in our lives?  I digress…

As I was still drinking while going through this program, I didn’t really apply the “three C’s” to anything; therefore, I was still angry (ie. afraid) at everything.  I popped the ie in there because I believe anger is a secondary emotion.  I digress again…

Let’s just get down to brass tacks, shall we:

The Three C’s:

  1. Didn’t Cause It.

  2. Can’t Control It.

  3. Can’t Change It.

I think I’m safe in assuming that most, if not all, of us are experiencing some sort of symptom that our mental health is not quite operating at optimum levels due to COVID-19 sweeping across the world.  The “Three C’s” help me, quite honestly, keep my sh!t together not just for day-to-day life, but also have helped immensely during times of extreme stress; therefore, assisting in lowering my anxiety levels and lessening my depression just by asking myself these three simple questions in regard to nearly any person, place, thing, event that is affecting my self-peace.

Did I cause this to happen?
Nope.
Can I control what has happened and/or what is happening around me?
Nope.  (see hula hoop rule below)
Can I change what has happened and/or what is happening around me?
Nope. (see hula hoop rule below)

Pretty easy, huh?  I have to keep things simple for myself because otherwise, I will get all sorts of twisted up in the details and go down a hundred different tangents which seemingly always end in some sort of negative circumstance.  Never a positive outcome in this lovely brain I have.

So what’s the hula hoop rule because it looks like you’ve added caveats to control and change?

So glad you asked!  I know that I am incredibly anal and nitpicky when people ask me to do things and while I was typing this up, I realized that if I can find an “out” in an exercise I’m doing, then I betcha others can too.

Go get a hula hoop.  Go on… I’ll wait here.  Don’t have one?  No?  Well, I don’t either.  I think I left mine back at my parents’ house in 1992.  If you do have one, lemme tell ya, I am a bit jelly over here cause they help with core toning like you wouldn’t believe.  Now I know why I was so tiny growing up.
Since I lack time traveling skills, I think we’re going to have to use our imaginations for this one.  Please put on imaginative, extraordinary, extravagant, insanely complex looking, sparkly time traveling helmet and tighten chin strap.

Side note: I just had to ask Alexa what the diameter of an average hula hoop is for those of us who need to include more details for their imaginations.  She told me it is 40 inches (1.02 meters for the rest of the world).

Ok, so step inside your imaginary, rainbow colored, glittered, sequined, tiny cat shadowed, 40 inch diameter hula hoop.  Look at all the things inside that hula hoop.  Yeah.  That’s going to be just yourself.  Everything inside that beautiful, iridescent, hula hoop is what you can control and what you can change.  Everything outside that most magical of hula hoops is outside of your control and you are unable to change it.  Simple, right?  Yes.  It really is that simple.

That’s it.  Now you know the “Three C’s” and the hula hoop rule.  I’m not going to go into anymore details about them because, well, in my opinion, sure you could talk all day about each of these, but that goes back to adding nitpicky, anal details that are completely unnecessary.

Go out.  “Three C” and hula hoop rule the sh!t out of your life and witness your anxiety begin to lower if you really believe yourself.

Love you all!  Sending lots of kitty kisses and good juju out to the world!

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Photo Cred: Amazon

Day 863 – The Wind

Dear Sobriety,

Just wanted to share something from the past few days of speaker recovery meetings I’ve been logging in to.

Person 1: Do you see the wind?
Person 2: Yeah. It’s really whipping through the trees.
Person 1: No. Do you see the wind?
Person 2: Well… no, I guess not.
Person 1: But you can see its effects, right? Just like with your HP (Higher Power). You can’t see it, but if you look hard enough, you can see everything it is touching.

Anyway, that’s just stuck with me today since it’s been mega windy here.

Sending love, joy and kitty kisses to you all!

Day 862 – Learning Something New

Dear Sobriety,

COVID-19 has affected nearly everyone around the WORLD.  If you aren’t infected by it or recovering from it, your lifestyle has been drastically altered because of it.  I know mine has.  This pandemic had increased my anxiety to a point where I felt like I was walking around in a haze with a brick on my chest.  The moment I decided finances be damned because me and my sobriety are worth more than a regular paycheck was the moment I was able to take charge and start being me again.  Sure, it’s just me in my apartment with my cats doing some creative accounting, reading, attending virtual all day AA speaker marathons (I’ll have info on that below) and following the CDC guidelines in order to hopefully slow this virus down.  But when I think of how that brick felt on my chest felt, do I need anything more than that right now?  I’m going to answer that with a vehement Hell no!  Like I’ve mentioned before and have heard many time over from others:

You must take care of yourself first before you are able to care for anyone else.

One other thing I wanted to mention to those of you quarantined with your partners: take advantage of this time.  Sure, you’re going to get on each other’s nerves from time-to-time, but doesn’t that happen when the world is operating “normally”?  Think outside of the box.  Here are a few ideas that I’ve used during past relationships:

  • Go for a picnic.  We’re all encouraged to get outside right now (and socially distance ourselves, of course), so go visit a park with a lake.  Take a picnic basket, camping chairs or blanket, a couple of books or camera or whatever you’d like and just enjoy the amazing nature that is happening outside.  It’s Springtime in the States, so birds are singing, trees and flowers are budding and while the humans are quarantined, the world outside is becoming more alive!
  • Take any ol’ game (poker, Twister, Battleship, Monopoly) and give them the adult twist by adding “strip” to the beginning.  Change the rules.  Make your own games.
  • Write notes to each other.  If you’re the early riser and get the coffee going, leave a post-it note on the coffee maker for your partner to see when they get their morning cup ‘o joe to start their day off on a positive note.  I was going to say “start their day off ‘right'”, but there’s no “right” or “wrong” way to start a day, in my opinion.  Leave a note under their pillow before you go to bed.  If you’re like me and can’t keep a secret to save your life, then when you two go to bed, you’ll be all smiles and giggles waiting for them to crawl in next to you and find what you’ve left.
  • If you need some personal space, communicate that to each other.  You’re only hurting each other if you’re sitting there seething about your partner being around “all the time”.  Communicate that, set either time boundaries or household room boundaries and quarantine yourself from each other for a minute and respect this time/space.  It’s not like you or your partner are really “going” anywhere.  Also, if you’re like me and you’re the one who requested the space, you’re going to manage to do this for five minutes before giving in and realizing how much you enjoy having that other person around not only to talk to, but just be with.

Enjoy this time and enjoy each other.

Back to sobriety… Check out this link (www.recoverytapers.com) for a whole slew of free, online speakers.  All of the zoom meeting info I’ll post in pics below may also be found there.  Also, all the zoom meetings I’m posting will be recorded and available at the link above for free.  Miss a speaker you’d like to hear?  It will be available.

This is an amazing time for people in recovery.

Be safe.  Be kind.  Be you.  Sending loads of love and good vibes around the world!  ❤

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Day 861 – Need Hope?

Dear Sobriety,

Just wanted to pop on here to share with you all my plan for the day. Mega AA speaker series all day today. This is a crazy time to be in sobriety. I know my head has gone down paths that it hasn’t in a bit, so I’m using my voluntary leave as an opportunity to get back to basics and ramp up my program of sobriety.

It’s been a bit since I’ve been excited about being sober. Sure, I’m content living this way. Most days I’m not resentful and most days I’m grateful that sobriety is a requirement for me to keep living; however, after a Zoom AA meeting yesterday, I started getting excited about sobriety again. And here’s my plan for the day! Feel free to join me!!

Sending much love and good vibes to you all out there!!

Monsy 💖💖💖

Day 860 – Voluntary Leave

Dear Sobriety,

It’s you, me and the cats now.  I mentioned in yesterday’s post that my place of business is considered “essential” which means I’ve been one of the still gainfully employed and working individuals out there during this insane time.  Today I made a decision.  I decided to keep my sanity.  Yep.  Because that’s what I felt this anxiety was taking away from me.

My work sent out a memo mentioning voluntary leave being available due to the county where it’s located currently being on the quarantine list.  I called HR to talk about it and get more info today.  I knew a little about it, but not everything.  After I talked with HR, I went over a list of my personal finances as well as a pro/con list and I decided to exercise the right to take this leave.  I truly feel that – while I may be a bit more strapped for cash – this was the best decision that I could have made for myself and I am incredibly grateful to have been given this choice by my workplace.

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I’m not sure how my cats are taking the news that mom is going to be home a lot more for the near future, but we’re a family and family works together through good times and bad.  Plus, they know that I am the one who controls the food.  And she who controls the food controls their world.  And right now all of our worlds are in a safe, clean one bedroom apartment.

I know prayer and a belief in a HP can’t fix everything, so I am doing my part to take a step back and hopefully one less person out circulating in the world will help slow this virus down.

My hopes, good juju and love go out to all of those in the “real world” during this time of crisis!  Be well, be safe and take care of yourself first because without that, you can’t take care of anyone else.

Also, please keep in mind:

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Day 859 – Not Sure How to Title This

Dear Sobriety,

It’s been a hot minute since I posted last.  Mostly due to laziness and not really feeling like I need to.  Part of my program of sobriety is writing and I’m grateful to say that in the past minute (months) there really hasn’t been much craziness which has inspired me to jump on here.  Oh how things have changed…

I don’t even know what I’m going to write about or if I’ll even post this, but I feel words coming through my fingers, so I shan’t stop them.

Whiskey.  Tango.  Foxtrot, my friends.  First of all, let me say my prayers and good juju goes out to all of those dealing with COVID-19.  Which, let’s just be honest, is all of us.  Also, as far as I’m aware, I am not physically afflicted with this, but damn if it isn’t on my mind all the time.  Aside from some pretty nasty allergies I’m dealing with, I’m physically ok.  But mentally and emotionally I am beyond spent.

I’m one of those people who tends to do well in times of stress.  I’m, on average, good at meeting deadlines and dealing with “fires” that pop up at work and at home.  My fight or flight response tends to lean towards fight, but only for myself and usually in an extremely logical and sound manner.  It’s almost like an invisible checklist is put in my head and I manage to go through the items in a calm and collected way checking each one off in the proper order to ensure whatever crisis is happening is taken care of in the correct order in order to achieve maximum success (or however you want to define it).  Mad props goes to my second ex husband for making me realize this.  Ever since then, however, (and especially since I’ve been sober) I’ve noticed a continued trend.  But… being this type of person is only good for short spurts.  Being on “high-alert” is only a positive for so long until it starts to viciously fight back at you.

I work for a company that is currently considered part of the “essential businesses” allowed to continue operations during this terrifying pandemic and right now I am having a terrible quarrel with myself over it because I’m beyond exhausted.  I’m absolutely grateful that I am one of the few who, today, still has a job to go to and money coming in the door.  At the same time, I feel so distracted that I know I’m not performing to the best of my abilities.  But then you go back to the fact that if I didn’t have work to keep me busy and out of my own head, I would essentially be forced to be my single, sober self in my home with two cats and a no other physical interactions with other humans for an undetermined amount of time.  So far, I don’t like how that last scenario plays out in my head.  I don’t think I would relapse, but I’ve also never been put in that situation yet.  Too many unknowns are flying all around that.

I had a panic attack inside the Wal-Mart last Friday.  I ran out to lunch during the workday and volunteered to see if any of the stores had hand sanitizer to refill the bottles at work while I was out.  Mistake.  I haven’t had a full on panic attack since before I got sober and I had forgotten how scary they are.  I walked in to the Wal-Mart and felt like everyone was going to jump on me and get me sick.  I swear everyone was walking straight towards me.  My chest tightened up and I started taking extremely shallow breaths.  I was terrified of breathing someone else’s contaminated air.

This all happened so quickly.  I was already feeling uncomfortable since I had gone through Target and another store to see if I could find any.  But this… this was a million times worse and came on so fast.  I ended up making only a partial lap through the store before I had to turn around and get the f**k out of there.  NOW.  By the time I was in the parking lot, the chest pains were terrible.

However, with the bad comes the good.  I was able to call my psych dr. and do a telehealth call with him immediately.  I explained what happened and he called me in a non-addictive, non-controlled substance prescription to take if/when these come on or before I know I’ll be in a situation like that again.  So I learned about telehealth calls and it was super easy.

I don’t know when things will be back to “normal”, but I could really use a break.  If anyone has any ideas on how to get your zen back in freakish times like these, I would sure appreciate any suggestions!

There is some good that is coming out of all of this.  I’ve heard that some smog has cleared and other natural things are getting a break from human waste.  Also, the telehealth thing is super cool.  But the thing that I have most needed and appreciated has been the amazing humor that has popped up all over!  Sure, this is terrible, but this woman still needs to laugh.

Here’s my fave.  Hope you enjoy!  Sending more love and good thoughts!