Day 893 – F is for Family

Dear Sobriety,

img_7101You never realize how much you rely on family until you hear from a random member and they say exactly what you needed to hear to help get your head screwed back on straight.  You also never realize that a lot of your nieces and nephews are adults until they start giving you advice.  LOL!  It’s the truth!  I got a message from one last night telling me exactly what I needed to hear to get over this hump.  And to let someone more important than me get on the pity pot for a while and I am so thankful!  On top of that, taking a minute to realize that two days isn’t too long to stay on the pity pot compared to the weeks and months I used to spend there drunk claiming that the world owed me something that I couldn’t figure out.  But dammit if it I didn’t know I was owed something.  Probably a good slap in the face to get me out of it, but even that wouldn’t have helped if I was drunk.  Then it would be pissed off and pity pot Monica and that is not a good person to be around.

Speaking of that person I used to be (and can still be from time to time aside from the drunk part today), I want to take a moment to make an amends to all of my ex’s.  I’m absolutely not going to contact any of them (especially the one with the restraining order verbiage that was added in our divorce decree at my insistence), but I feel like I need to take a minute to reflect on the fact that the cracks in the foundations of those relationships were not only their fault.  The fact that they were in a relationship with an undiagnosed, improperly medicated alcoholic (that’s me, guys) is my responsibility.  Do I know if any of those relationships would have gone any other way if I would have been sober at the time?  I don’t know, but I think the end result would have been the same.

img_7323What I’m trying to say is while I can’t take back the hurt and pain that I no doubt caused on many, many occasions and knowing an apology isn’t going to cut it for a lot of that, I can take today and not drink.  I can take this moment and be kind to others.  I can say my prayers tonight and ask the ol’ HP to pass on the message for me.  I can’t promise that I won’t be a raging b!tch ever again, but that’s just not possible, but with sobriety, I have learned to pause.  The newly acquired ability to pause has saved my a$$ on many occasions from digging myself a hole.

While it has been a couple of anxious and slightly depressed couple of days wallowing in my own ruminations, I don’t have to beat myself up for that.  I just have to pull up my bootstraps and move forward in a positive direction from here on out.  Stop letting fear control my life and just work on being a kind, decent person to others.  Do I think that a another day or two or more won’t ever come back and hit me like these past couple?  Ha!  I am most certain that it will.  Cause… that’s just how life is.  It’s not all roses and butterflies and kitty kisses.  Sometimes there’s cat barf and poop to clean up too.  But once you clean up all of that, the kitty kisses will be waiting for you.

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Day 892 – Physical Pain

Dear Sobriety,

I think part of yesterday’s post was unknowingly written by my arthritic toe.  I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before in this platform.  I should give it a damn name by now because it has taken over my life more than once in the last couple of years.  Let’s call it… Hulk.  Cause when it hurts I usually want to Hulk Smash something.

maxresdefaultIt’s my big toe on my right foot.  Hallux rigidus is the medical term.  Here’s a magical link to a Harvard Medical School link about it.  The title of it is Big Toe Got You Down?  It may be Hallux Rigidus.  Doesn’t that sound like an amazing article??  It is.

I have had my fair share of pain in life which I think most of us can say the same.  But this toe… I’ve been getting cortisone injections in it for the past four years or so between two to four times a year.  About every three to six months give or take.  (side note: my little black fluff ball is currently standing over my hands while I’m typing this and now just stepped on my forearm… what an exciting life I lead!  Oh, she jumped off.  I swear that I must be made of trampoline fabric because of the springiness that she can get from me)

Anyway, so before my leave started, I was over the four month mark and starting to feel the pain to a point where I had begun icing the Hulk after work and soaking it in Epsom salts baths.  I usually do that when the pain begins to set in on a regular basis.  Well, by the time I figured I should go ahead and go to get an injection, my foot doctor was taking emergency cases only.  So this leave at home not going anywhere has probably been the best thing I can do for the Hulk right now.  I tend to get ~6,000+ steps during the work day, so while I may be at a desk job, there is a bit of movement involved in it.  Still, the pain has continued to increase and yesterday it rained all day.  It really is true when people say that they can feel the rain coming in their bones.  Yep.  I can do that now.  Notthor-ragnarok-hulk-banner-ruffalo exactly proud of it cause I’d rather Dr. Banner be hanging out with me instead of the Hulk most of the time.

So yesterday was a bit rough despite the fact that I was sitting for most of it.  There was a constant throb all day long.  It’s my big f**king toe.  It’s tiny!  Why in the hell is it so freaking painful?!

Anyway, so that’s that.  Another thing that has been on my mind lately is the phrase “if you spot it, you got it.”  Of course, most of the things that I “spot” are negative because who really thinks about themselves in a positive light the majority of the time?  So I’ve been comparing and contrasting things that I’ve heard, read, seen to myself because I keep finding other negative things to pull myself down with.  Imagine that?

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Obviously having the mega combination of mental, emotional and physical health being out of whack at the same time is not going to be good.  Thankfully Friday I had gotten to my breaking point and called to make a telehealth appointment with my therapist before I go back to work.  My coworkers didn’t do anything to deserve crazy Monica come back instead of regular day Monica (I was going to put “normal Monica”, but I abhor the word “normal” on an average day and since I’m living in trifecta mode right now, I super hate it now).

I don’t know.  Most of this has become gibberish to me by this point, so I must apologize if you’re still reading.  This is literally finger vomit you’re getting at this point and usually when I do that, I don’t go back and edit anything.

Day 891 – Anxiously Awaiting…

Dear Sobriety,

My voluntary leave is up on Wednesday, so I go back to work on Thursday.  My anxiety has started.  I haven’t really had to deal with much anxiety since I’d stopped drinking.  At least… until COVID-19 began rearing its ugly head.

The week before I went on voluntary leave, I installed two news apps on my phone with notifications enabled and every time a live press briefing came on, whether for the POTUS or local government, I was watching.  My hands had gotten to a point where they were flaking away because of how often I was washing them.  When I ran to the store during lunch at work, I had chest pains and was so anxious that I almost vomited in the store.  I had to get out of there.  I felt like the world was crushing me.  I am not looking forward to work because a lot of people were joking about social distancing.  And the people joking about it always seemed to be near me.  In my space and even touching me.  I felt like everything and everyone was infecting me.  It took everything I had not to scream, “GET THE F**K AWAY FROM ME!”

Sure, maybe things have been blown a little out of proportion by the media (when are they not), but there are some people out here *raising hand* who really have been staying at home because they are fearful of this craziness.

My leave started March 19.  I have left my apartment three times since then and that was only because you can’t get cigarettes delivered.  I’d run up to the gas station, grab smokes and head back home.  Probably gone a total of maybe an hour in all.  Groceries and other necessities were delivered.  It wasn’t until I got home on March 19 that I realized just how debilitating my anxiety had gotten (blog here).

My anxiety is absolutely controlling me right now.  The fact that it’s already kicked up this far ahead of return is not helping anything.  The fact that the quarantine order is continuously being extended is not helping anything.  The fact that the voluntary leave that I signed up for because of the fact that it would not be considered against me on my employment record will now be counted against me if I’m not back before xx/xx date and am being encouraged to come back earlier than that is absolutely killing me.  I literally just want to sit here and cry because I’ve got six in one hand and half a dozen in the other.  You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.  Either my mental health is going to suffer greatly or my job is going to suffer greatly.

This is one of those moments where I just “want to go home”, but I’m 37 and am at home.  Here.  With me.  And the cats.  And no alcohol.  Damn I need an escape hatch right now.  I feel like I’m running away from a madman while running towards a cliff.  And now my parents are going to worry.  I can’t win for losing.

Also, does anyone else notice they obsessively post to social media on days they’re feeling especially sh!tty?

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Day 891 – Zoomin in Recovery

Dear Sobriety,

Need some recovery this weekend? Curious about history? Questioning yourself? There’s a sh!t ton of sobriety happening online! The best way to dip your toe in is right now! 🥰🥰🥰🥰

Crazy 8’s and a Spiritual Journey

Dear Sobriety,

Day 888!!!  Wha wha what?!  One of my favorite parts of counting my days sober on my calendar is watching them increase.  Maybe a little bit of pride popping out with that, but of course I’m going to be proud!  Today is now the longest length of sobriety I’ve ever been on!

60918720881__965a4e69-faaf-440f-9daf-b33cd948b59cSuper excited to share the Spirit Cats Oracle Deck I just received in the mail.  Art and wording created by Nicole Piar.  I’ve got pics of them scattered about this post.

First of all, what is an Oracle Deck?  Feel free to click on over here to see the differences between an Oracle Deck and a Tarot Deck.  I am by no means an expert in this area.  Here’s a quote pulled from the link above:

An oracle deck can essentially be whatever the creator of the deck wants it to be — they pick how many cards are in it, what sorts of imagery it’ll use, and what purpose it’s supposed to serve.

While I was bebopping around on Etsy one day I found the most amazing deck of cards 60918722085__051bc26c-1e63-41fe-8b7e-2fd84df10918with watercolor cats and beautiful sayings.  I knew immediately I had to have it, so I went ahead an put it on order.  A few weeks later they arrived in the mail and I definitely have no buyer’s remorse for this random purchase.  These cards are meticulously handcrafted and just looking at them makes me happy.

Why would I want an Oracle Deck in my life?  My plan for it was to shuffle the cards before drawing a random card to use as a positive focus for my day.  When I received the cards, there was a note inside with Nicole’s website and info to sign up for a free 13 day guided quest.  I immediately signed up for the quest #VisionSeekerQuest because, let’s be honest, I have no idea how to “use” these cards.

The great thing about Oracle Cards is that there is no wrong way to use them.  There are suggestions in the emails Nicole sends out on how they can be used and ideas on how to add them into your life.

I’m considering this “quest” a way to add spiritual journaling into my life.  Let’s face it, since this whole COVID-19 has started, I’ve gotten a bit lackadaisical on my spiritual side and I need something to get it pumped up to where it needs to be, so this is what I’m doing!

I want  to look at all of the individual cards on their own, but am saving that fun for day 14.  For now, I want every day to be a surprise.

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Day 884 – Jump to the Left

Dear Sobriety,

If you’ve ever thought, “sobriety is never going to be as much fun as drinking,” I have got to tell you what I did last night safely from my quarantine of cats: watched a sober drag show followed by an online sober shadow cast perform Rocky Horror Picture Show.  Yep.  You read that right.  I stayed up until 2:30a this morning!  Good lord what an amazing time!  Kinda makes me actually want to get involved more in the YPAA (Young People of AA) community.

A lot of people would probably describe me as an extrovert, but really, I wouldn’t describe myself that way.  I’m much more of a homebody.  If I have a choice between going out and staying in, I’m probably going to stay in.  That is why I am loving the sober community right now.  I’m hoping that after COVID-19 gets under control that there will be just as much activity in the online world of sobriety as there is today.

There’s a conference going on this weekend hosted by WEBYPAAClick here for more info on that.  You dig deep enough into this pit of sobriety and you’ll start finding the gems that keep you coming back for more!  They did an amazing job with RHPS!!!!  I think the sky is the limit for this group of people!

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Day 877 – If It’s Not Scottish, It’s Crrraaap!

Dear Sobriety,

I love speaker meetings.  I think they’re my favorite type of recovery meetings.  It’s where one person gets up and shares their story with the group.  I’ve actually done this once.  The first time was at a random meeting that I was invited to by another sober person and it was all sorts of a hot mess (click here for more).  The second time was actually at my home group and I think I wrote about that, but can’t find it.  Needless to say, it wasn’t as insane as the first time.

Anyway, I love speaker meetings.  I think that’s why I’ve been enjoying all the Zoom meetings so much.  Most of them are set up like speaker meetings.  The speaker is either sharing his/her story or his/her ideas about a certain topic.  If you’ve been in the rooms of AA, you’ll probably have heard about sharing “experience, strength and hope” until your ears bleed.  While, yes, I agree that those are all great things to share, sometimes I want sex, drugs and rock and roll.  Of course, if you’re going to the fun meetings, you’ll probably hear all of the above.  I just rolled my eyes at myself because in just this paragraph, I feel like my ideas are bouncing back and forth faster than the aliens in Space Invaders when they get closer to the bottom.google-space-invaders

***Taking a deep breath***  And let’s try this again.

Speaker meetings are my favorite and least favorite type of recovery meeting.  They’re my favorite when I connect with the speaker and lease favorite when I can’t.  Yesterday I was on another meeting and the first speaker was a Scottish man who got sober in the 80s.  When he started telling his story, I literally felt like he was telling mine.  I think it’s so amazing that despite our differences in sex, age, sobriety dates, continents, I was able to associate all the tiny, weird details.  Click here and scroll down to #143, Ivor to hear his625d1198f411f602d059a33d79a0c0f0 story.  I was literally on the edge of my seat picking out the chapters of my life he was speaking to.  So awesome.  Plus, he’s got a Scottish brogue which is always fun.  Oh and my apologies to anyone I’m offending, but my knowledge of Scottishness began with Mike Myers doing the If It’s Not Scottish, It’s Crap skit on SNL (video).

I’m still always so amazed at how similar and different addicts are.

I can’t remember if I mentioned Hiro yet.  He’s #70, Hiro S at the link.  His share was filled with so much positive emotion that I couldn’t help but smile the entire time.  I couldn’t find a lot of personal similarities, but the joy he exuded through the computer was absolutely catching.

This post has been up and down and side to side.  I think it’s best to end it here.

Day 875 – Healthy Fear

Dear Sobriety,

After my last post, I called my parents for my daily check in with them and mom wanted to make sure that I was doing ok because despite the fact that I’m 37, she’s still my mom and I love her for that.  We talked more about what I was feeling and she said she supported me no matter what decision I made (re: thinking about contacting my ex-boyfriend).  I told her and dad that after I posted that last piece, I started “playing the tape through”.  That’s something I was taught in AA.  When you’re drug of choice is starting to sound better than sobriety, “play the tape through” and don’t stop at just the good parts.  Essentially meaning, stop romanticizing and remember all the sh!t that went along with it and where it got you every single time before.

The thing with me now is that every romantic relationship I’ve ever been in has been unhealthy to some degree.  And I’m not just pointing fingers at my ex’s.  When you point a finger at someone, take a look at your hand and you’ll see that there are three more pointing right back at you.

Addiction has led me to some very dark places.  The thing I know now is that addiction has also led me to where I am right now.  Writing on my couch after my homegroup AA meeting this morning while the sun is rising and listening to one cat take a bath while the other one is snoozing.  And this place that I’m in – literally and figuratively – is a good place.  It’s a healthier, happier and more content place than I’ve ever been in in my entire life.  However, at the same time, it has created a fear of romantic relationships and opening myself up to another person that way.

I’m not a gambler.  I swear that’s the one vice that I don’t have.  So at this point, today, I am not willing to “gamble” with my life and allow another person in just yet and I’ve made my peace (most days) with that decision.  Now I do know that my HP enjoys practical jokes and I would not be surprised if a situation is somehow thrown in my lap to lead me in a different direction away from my choices.  By that I mean, I’ve realized I’m not the one who is in control of my life.

HOW (Honesty, Open-mindedness, Willingness) along with acceptance, gratitude and adaptability have all played big parts in getting me to where I am today.

Oh hey!  If you’d like to listen to the Emotional Sobriety deep dive that Polly P. shared the other day, click here and scroll down to track numbers 130 and 131.  Incredibly eye-opening.

Every passing minute is another chance to turn it all around.
– Vanilla Sky

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Day 872 – Feeling a Bit Low…

Dear Sobriety,

The past couple of days have been a little low for me.  My mind, with the ample amount of time it has currently, has repeatedly wandered back to my ex boyfriend.  Thoughts of reaching out have been sitting in the back of my head only to be beaten down by the thought of “what if I do and he is with someone?”  Then a heart that was broken once would be again ripped to shreds.  Obviously, my lovely ego peeks its head out once again and is only thinking of me.

Needless to say, I am truly, truly, truly looking forward to the deep dive on emotional sobriety tomorrow via Zoom.

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Also, got my Nikon out and took a couple pics of the birds nesting and singing in the trees next to my balcony.

Sending out love, light and happiness to you all!!  Be safe and if you have a human in your home, hug them for me.

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Day 869 – Community

Dear Sobriety,

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Mtg ID: 974954423 | Pword: 427827

If you would have asked me 869 days ago if I was grateful to be an alcoholic, the answer wouldn’t have just been “no”, it would have been a violent “f**k no!”  Today, however, the answer has done a complete 180 degree turn and it is a “yes!”  My gratitude level for my alcoholism has actually increased since COVID-19 hit.  I am one of the blessed few to be part of such an amazing, powerful, creative community.

It’s funny to me because when I was drinking, I am the last person you would have called on outside of work to help with something or be on time for an event.  My assumption, based on hearing other people in recovery share their stories, is that they too often shirked responsibilities.  Now?  I have been able to be a part of couple of worldwide recovery conferences that were not only thrown together last minute, but organized so well and always run on time!

Being an administrative assistant by trade, I have sat in a fair share of meetings and I wish that the corporate world would take a look at what the people in recovery do and mimic that!  Dear goodness, what a difference it could make!  Schedules would run on time.  Cross-talk would be a thing of the past.  And dare I say that respect for the presenter would return?!  Such a wistful thought!  And all coming from a major binge drinker who found a better way.

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Mtg ID: 993297382 | Pword: 126470

The unity I’ve found in the conferences is due to the fact that each time a new speaker shares, I hear my story over and over again.  One major thing I’ve learned in recovery is to “take what I need and leave the rest”.  Therefore, I feel more able to “connect” with the speaker and actually pay attention more when someone is sharing.

The other day while on a Zoom meeting, I realized that I had tuned out and was meticulously picking apart what the speaker had shared because I disagreed with what they were saying.  When I realize what was really happening – my ego was being bruised because someone wasn’t saying what I wanted to hear – I was able put some duct tape over my ego’s ever running mouth to listen to them share the rest of their story.  Did I still have an opinion about something they said?  I did; however, I was able to let that go and hear the rest of the message they were sharing instead of getting stuck in my head.

Someone mentioned in another meeting – I’m fairly certain it was Judith R. talking about Emotional Sobriety and you can listen to that audio here, click #22 – that our feelings aren’t the things that are being hurt; it’s our ego.  That was the first time I had heard it put that way and I wholeheartedly agree.  Becoming aware of yourself makes it easier to realize this when it’s happening.  If I’m self-aware, I’m able to stop my head from spinning and going off on 27,396 different ways of building myself up while tearing the other person down before it happens.  Self-awareness is FREEDOM!

Not drinking is the easy part of my program now.  Keeping my ego in check is much more challenging.  I have to put others before myself and, being the baby of six siblings, that is a bit out of my comfort zone.  When I’m uncomfortable, however, I’m growing and making myself a better person.

That’s all I’ve got today!!  Sending love and socially distanced kitty kisses to you all!

Oh!  Before I forget, if you need a meeting this weekend, I’ve posted some flyers throughout this post as pics!  Super looking forward to the Emotional Sobriety deep dive on Tuesday, April 7!

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Mtg ID: 710182109 | Pword: 347417