Day 1,168 – Part Deux

Dear Sobriety,

Thank goodness we’re still talking. Yesterday… ugh. I feel like I’m still recovering from it. If you’d like to read about the 7th layer of Hell, feel free to over here. Thankfully the rest of the day wasn’t as terrible. I had my follow up with the neck doctor and he’s decided to hold on my PT sessions until further notice. Thank goodness! Do I think they’ve been beneficial? For my shoulder, yes. For my neck, f*ck no.

Got a call from the imaging office and have an MRI scheduled for Friday! Follow up to review results the following Tuesday! I think there’s some light at the end of my vertabraeic (real word) tunnel! All I want to do now is get my oil diffusers running, snuggle cats and wrap myself in a blanket with a mega cup of hot tea. That sounds absolutely magical.

No way I life by myself

Aside from my parents and sis, I’m so freaking thankful for Butthead right now. My parents get to see me at my worst, but Butthead gets to see me three levels beyond that. Hey, guess what? Just because you get sober doesn’t me life stops for you. Sh!t continues to hit the fan and blow back on you. You’re still gonna have crappy days. Sometimes multiples at a time. But you’ll be better apt to deal with them. It’s still going to suck big, hairy balls, but think about it: if I was still drinking on top of the amount of pain I’m in, I’m fairly sure I would not be alive. For serious. Between pain, depression from pain, pain increasing depression because I feel like I’m not living my best me right now topped off by a bit more pain, I would have made a super f*cking bad decision that doesn’t allow me to hit the reset button afterewards.

For today, I’m grateful I have such a strong support system surrounding me. There’s no way I would be able to get through this without them. Non-alcoholic beverage of choice cheers to those you put up with my nonsense on the daily. You guys are freaking rockstars!

Take a minute today to thank your support system. And if you don’t have a reliable one, I’d highly suggest putting in the effort to build one. You never know when you’ll need a shoulder to cry on and I know, for me, I need multiple.

Day 1,167 – Vacation Day from Hell

Dear Sobriety,

It’ll be a miracle if we’re still talking later. I took the day off today to go for my annual primary care visit as well as a follow up from my neck doctor. I assumed I would be getting a blood draw, so prior to my 9:30a PCP appointment, I guzzled about 85 oz of water. (That’s 10 oz over my daily goal of 75 oz). I’ve learned it’s easier to draw blood from me when I’m water logged, so I make it a point to do this prior to every blood draw that I know about. Seeing as how I’ve had some white blood cell count issues, I’m used to the drill.

Also, you might need to know that most women will schedule one doctor appointment around the time of their period. That would be the OB-GYN because there’s going to be some action happening in that area and, for me, I feel better and less gross when she doesn’t have to deal with blood when she’s already dealing in my hoo-ha area. I do not schedule a PCP appointment around my period, so it was just dumb luck that I happened to be on it today.

9:27a arrive at PCP office, check in, update my insurance card on file.

9:32a go back to patient room, blood pressure check, chit chat with the overtalkative nurse going over my meds with me. I had my shoes off to get weighed. When I sat down after my BP was checked, I started putting them back on and the nurse told me that I need to keep them off and strip down to my panties and put the gown on that has been so nicely set aside. My first thought is, “wtf kind of appointment is this?” I had previously seen this doctor twice. Neither time have I been asked to derobe. I do it anyway.

9:38a awkwardly sitting on the exam table in the gown. Pain shooting through my body from my neck and trying not to bleed on anything.

9:40a it is so freaking hot in here and that is not helping at all. Start sweating and breathing erratically through my face mask.

9:45a hear someone making a phone call… is that… is that my doctor doing a telehealth call with a patient when I’m already 15 min over my appointment time sitting naked in her office trying to stop squirming and fearful there’s going to be a spot underneath me when I get up.

9:50a it is a Telehealth call. Oh that’s wonderful that that woman is a vegetarian. I have got to get up and move around. Stiffness is soaking in everywhere. I get up and rearrange my clothes that I had haphazardly thrown on the chair when changing into the robe assuming that the doctor would be in shortly and I sit on the side chair. No blood spots so far. Thank goodness it’s a light day.

10:00a F*CK THIS SHIT! I cannot breathe in this mask. The telehealth call is STILL going on. I give her 5 more minutes. Pain is literally shooting through my body. I’m don’t even want to amuse myself by looking through the cabinets.

10:05a I start putting my clothes on. Throw the gown on the sink where I got it. I have to get out of here. I cannot breathe. Everything hurts. F*ck this. I’m out. Dressed and out the door. No one notices. I’m 15 minutes into my drive home before I get a call from the doctor’s office. They must have noticed I left finally.

I’m so glad I left. I ugly cried the whole time home. I probably shouldn’t have driven at all. I was literally convulsing from how strong the sobs were being retched through my body.

Finally at home. Called mom and dad. First thing mom says is, “Do you want us to come over?” God I love my parents. Always there no matter what. They talked me off the ledge and I finally calmed down. The kitties got wet food and I’m about to head out the door for the neck doctor. If it’s anything like the PCP, there will most definitely be a part two to this.

Forgive me for the horrific grammar. I just needed to get this out.

Oh and just realized that I have been pushing out of my mind that my very favorite teacher in the world passed away from a short bout with cancer. She was such a beautiful soul.

Jeeze louis. Here’s hoping part two is much better than part one.

Day 1,163 – Dumpster Fire

Dear Sobriety,

I don’t think I had heard of the term “dumpster fire” until last year, but what an appropriate phrase! My emotional / mental health is a big ol’ stinking dumpster fire right now. And I hate to write about this again (I wish I had some amazing, positive, encouraging, helpful topic to write about), but it’s really dragging me down. Word vomiting the other day seemed to help get the crap out of my head a little, so maybe that will help again.

Wednesday was a no pain day. I didn’t even realize it until the afternoon when I noticed I hadn’t felt or heard myself grunting throughout my movements during the day. FYI, grunting is a bad sign for me currently. My body apparently needs to try and exorcise the pain by giving it a voice. Just so you know, this does not make it any less unpleasant. When I realized there had been a severe lack of noises escaping my mouth/throat area, I go so excited! But I limited activities because I already done f*cked that up the last time I was feeling well.

The first day I was on the steroids, I ended up washing my curtains and stretching my arms/back to pull them down, put them up. Not the best idea for my current physical state, but I wasn’t hurting, so I felt cured and actually didn’t even think I needed to limit myself until I put the very last panel up. As I did I thought, “Huh… I probably shouldn’t have done this.” Of course, this is after I realized everything at this height level in my apartment needed a serious dusting, so I did that as well.

Also on Wednesday I went for a follow up with my shoulder doctor. He pushed and prodded and had me resist against him in multiple directions. No pain! No pain! So continuing PT for neck and got a renewed Rx for shoulder to continue strengthening. Woohoo! Such good news!

Yesterday (Thursday) was PT. I am still so knotted up in my neck and traps. For example, my PT runs her fingers along my neck and just down my spine and back along my shoulders and it’s like a mini machinegun is rat-a-tat-tat-ing with the amount of knots that her fingers are running over. As she was working on the sides of my neck, there was a pull on the freaking front of my head and so she started working harder. At least 45 minutes of a 60 minute session was spent working to dig knots out of me. This has been the same each time.

When I got home… I tested my limits to see where I could stretch without pushing myself… and I screamed. I literally screamed from the pain. There’s an almost constant state of dizziness that I’m fighting through. Thankfully it hasn’t been strong enough to bring on any actual nausea. Every time I turn my head, there’s creaking and cracking sounds that reverberate inside my skull.

I’m just so done. I am just so done with this. I went to Fresh Thyme yesterday to get some new essential oils cause I didn’t think I could wait for Amazon to deliver (also, Fresh Thyme actually has some store brand oils that are great quality and a very decent price). When I walked out, I had a bag with three different oils (two blends and a patchouli), patchouli incense, single use bubble bath stuff, chapstick that I grabbed at the checkout, a dark chocolate maple syrup candy bar at the checkout, a premade salad and a pint of mint chocolate chip gelato. The salad and the gelato are gone. And I don’t even give a flying f*ck. I ate that entire container while watching the new Pet Sematary and felt a little better mentally and didn’t even feel guilty at all.

I’ve spent over $300 on copays since the last week of December. I’ve got two more PT appointments scheduled for next week; a follow up with the neck dr; annual visit with my PCP. I don’t budget for this kind of expense. But did that stop me from spending the f*ck all on essential oils yesterday? No. I got one called “emotional rescue”. Obviously that was calling to me.

I just… there’s absolutely nothing positive I can say at this time.

So I will share my favorite Bernie Inauguration Meme:

Day 1,159 – Fear…

Dear Sobriety,

Today I have the day off work, so why wouldn’t I wake up at 4:00a and get my walk in before journaling? Yeah. I’ve done both of those already. Figured I might as well be productive on my day off as yesterday and the day before I won the award for most naps taken in a two day period. Woohoo! I love naps. I think as an adult, I’m trying to make up for what I missed out as a child (sorry, mom!).

Yesterday I started digging into a book that has been gathering dust on my shelf for a bit now: Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies. I am in love with this book already. My previous boss suggested it to me and I am so thankful she did! Wait wait wait… after typing a couple of sentences, I realized how out-of-whack this post was going to end up being, so instead of starting in the middle, how about I start at the beginning? And end at the ending?

“Growth”

I love calendars. Calendars and clocks. I don’t know why, but they make me happy. I ordered my 2021 wall calendar from Nicole Piar (she created the Oracle deck that I purchased last year). Of course it’s more Spirit Cats because Spirit Cats make me happy. When I put it up before the end of December, I noticed that on January 1st, there was a small note, “Declare your word of the year”. I was immediately hit with the word “growth”.

Year one of sobriety was essentially me learning how to adult on my own as an adult. That sh!t is not easy either. The majority of my time was spent just trying to figure out things I actually enjoyed doing because I realized at 36, I had no f**king clue who I was or what I liked. I still have limited knowledge, but I’m learning more every day.

Pulled from Oprah.com

Year two of sobriety was a continuation of figuring out who I am, but was so freaking tumultuous with real life being thrown in my face (new apartment, identity thievery, the ‘rona, new job), that most days I was just happy to have made a conscious decision to not drink that day. I removed the excuses from myself and, while I may not have always moved forward in a continuous motion, at least I didn’t step back. I must have prayed for patience. Heaven help you if you ever pray for patience because your patience levels will be tested.

Year three of sobriety has been interesting to say the least and we’re only… hmmmm (mathing in my head) Good Lord! Only two months in; however, I feel like Years One and Two have prepped me to make Year Three a year where I make positive changes for myself. I’ve had a lot of sh!t bombs explode in my face and I’m still here to tell the tales. I’d even venture to say that I’m no longer just surviving… Dare I say living?! Dare! Dare!!

Now we’re caught up. So yesterday I started reading Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies and I am absolutely in love with this book! For one, the author love glitter just as much as I do and two, I think it’s serendipitous that I picked this book off my shelf when my word of the year is “growth”. So far I’d describe it as a very constructive, real-life how-to guide at creating a more positive version of yourself. My motto on life is if I’m not learning, I’m not living. With the lovely double negative there, I think you get my point. Anyway, Tara Brach is mentioned in the midst of one of the exercises, so of course, I had to get my Googles on and find out more about her.

Pulled from Oprah.com

This morning while walking, I queued up the most recent podcast by Tara Brach. It’s about “cultivating a courageous heart”. This is something I needed to hear. I am still having a lot of very reactive feelings when it comes to Butthead’s family. And as much as I hate being the “bigger person”, I know it does me no good to sit and wallow in negative feelings. I think one of the things that is holding me back from digging in to root causes is because I am 99.756493658% sure that I won’t have to see these people in real life for at least a year. The thing is, despite that, I’m still hung up on it. That’s only holding me back from being a better version of myself.

What would I really like to do? Yell, scream, cuss at them and try, in some very condensed way, to make them feel like I did when sh!t went down. What good would that really do? Nothing. In fact, if that ever actually happened, I’d prob pop an artery and that wouldn’t be good at all. The podcast today was about finding compassion and handling the reactivity from negative people, places and things. How perfect is this??!!! See? Serendipitous.

It’s hard to find compassion for others when you’ve been hurt so badly by them. And I know it’s something that’s going to take a lot of time to heal still. My therapist and I have already discussed this ad nauseum, so it’s been on my mind since Butthead and I started seeing each other again. For me to heal fully, I am going to have to take action.

After journaling today, I think I’ve pinpointed where I’m hung up: my anger stems from fear. Fear of being discarded without a second thought by people around Butthead. They’ve influenced him before to this level, so in my opinion, this is a very rational fear. I’ve lived it once. How do I allow myself to be vulnerable in order to find compassion?

Looks like this one is going to need some thought…

Sending love and light!

Pulled from Oprah.com

Day 1,153 – Dr. #3

Dear Sobriety,

After PT last Thursday, the therapist suggested the pain and crap going on in my body is being caused by what she thinks is a bulging disc in my neck. When I got home I immediately called the office where I got the 2nd opinion on my shoulder and scheduled an appointment with a sports medicine doctor. That appointment was today.

I have to say that the office that I’ve been going to is pretty incredible. Excellent customer service and the fact that I was able to get in so quickly was a bonus. Neck xrays this time. More poking and prodding and it was a heavy pain day, so that was fun. I actually thought that I was starting to get better as I had tried some at home DIY traction. There wasn’t immediate relief with it, but by Saturday I had NO pain. NONE. Stiffness and a little sore, sure, but compared to what I have felt like for the past year, that was an absolute walk in the park. Yesterday my neck started getting a little more stiff and today… back to square one.

The arrow points to where most of my pain lies

The appointment went as well as can be expected. I do like the doctor who was treating me. Xrays came back negative for a bulging disc, but may have to investigate further with an MRI. I’d never had an MRI in my life until June 2020 and now it looks like I may have my second one here pretty shortly. My neck is slightly curved in the opposite direction, but that’s apparently due to the amount of inflammation that’s going on inside me. If we can get that under control, it should go back to normal. He prescribed a steroid to throat punch the inflammation followed by a Rx grade anti-inflammatory to keep it on the ground. Note to self: do not take ibuprofen for a hot minute. I really don’t want to add a hole in my tummy to the list of complaints I have currently racked up. Continuing with PT and hopefully between Rx and PT, this thing will be knocked on it’s a$$ soon enough. What’s another couple of weeks when I’ve already made it this far?

The cool thing about today is that when the Dr. was rattling off the Rx that he was starting me on, I stopped him and asked, “Are either of those PAIN medications?” He looked at me and said no and the entire time Drunk Monica was screaming in my head, “JUST ASK HIM FOR THEM! HE FREAKED WHEN HE FELT HOW KNOTTED YOU ARE AND HE CAN LITERALLY SEE THE PAIN YOU’RE FEELING IN YOUR FACE!! YOU DESERVE THIS!!!” Had he paused for any longer than he did between saying no and starting up with some more info, Drunk Monica would have won. Luckily, I was able to keep her in her box and re-gag her before she completely broke free.

Evie loves helping with my PT @ home

All day long as the pain continued to mount, she was right there and I was able to keep her at bay. So for me, today is a win in regards to sobriety. This is not advice I would recommend on a regular basis, but I believe it’s appropriate for today: sometimes the best way through a difficult situation is avoidance/ignorance. I’m referring to Drunk Monica and her committee in my head. That crew never takes a break. In a way, I just pretended I didn’t hear her and she didn’t mention it again. Thank goodness…

So… back to square one with my orthopedic issues, I suppose, but this is the first time I’ve been prescribed any meds (cortisone injections in my shoulder not included).

In other news, I just renewed my apartment lease again!! Never thought I would be able to say that based on my apartment hopping history. This is the beginning of my third year at this beautiful little place the kitties and I call home and we’re super excited.

Getting the notice from the apt office did cause a bit of stress though, but after careful consideration and putting my needs first, I believe I made the right decision for myself and Butthead. I thought about including him on the conversation, but he wasn’t available to talk when I was, so I just decided that the healthiest thing for the both of us is for us to continue having our separate spaces. The fact that he’s on a work assignment out-of-town through Summer helped. The other factor is that his 20 year old son is still living at their home. Definitely not ready to jump back in to that pond yet. Especially without checking to see if the water is warm.

#Truth!

This is the first time I’ve put myself first when it comes to a living together situation. To be honest, it is really bad timing for us to move in together; at the same time it’s nice to know that I’ve gained enough respect for myself to truly value my own opinion. That sounds absolutely ridiculous, but it is 110% true. Any other time in my life, if a lease was to expire and I was in a relationship, there was no question of what the best option was. I was full-bore running naked off the edge of a cliff into the depths of the unknown without hesitation. Needless to say, I saw it as the only option because it was the most unhealthy one and Drunk Monica digs sh!t like that.

That’s all I got for now! Sending love and light out into this world that truly needs it right now. Prayers for peace for all.

Day 1,148 | 0 – Aye Caramba

Dear Sobriety,

My motivation app knows me too well

Well, this is what honest sobriety is all about. Smoking won yesterday, but the good thing is that I’m still sober and I have regained what little sanity I have left. This pain… I found my max and went beyond it yesterday. Call it an excuse, if you’d like, but the fact that I’m not drinking is a freaking miracle right now.

Fourth session of PT was today. When I had started going to this PT, she had asked me if this was truly all rotator cuff or if I’ve ever had any neck issues. I assumed based on where the pain was located and what the two doctors and one chiropractor had told me that it was rotator cuff. Welp. After talking with the PT today and her once again working on all the mega knots in my neck and shoulder area, she suggested I see someone who will take a look at my neck. She thinks I have a bulged disc in my neck. That explains a lot. The shoulder pain may be referring from the actual injury(?) point. And the fact that this is not getting any better – in fact, it’s gotten worse – is suggesting that my body is trying to hide an injury. So now I have another appointment made with another doctor to look at my neck. Now do you understand the title of this one?

I’m so beyond my limits right now. There’s only so far that NSAIDs, essential oils, hot showers/baths, ice packs, easy stretching and praying will go. After taking a handful of Advil, a dropperful of cbd oil and turning on all my oil diffusers with calming oils, I just couldn’t do it anymore. I needed something and, Heaven help me, I needed it RIGHT NOW.

Between frustration of dealing with excessive chronic pain for too long and anxiety of trying to do the “right” thing, I could almost feel my head trying to blow off my shoulders. The committee was working overtime yesterday trying to get me to find some quick relief in something ANYTHING (aka alcohol) and that was where I had to draw the line. Sure, smoking isn’t good for me, but the chances of me doing something incredibly stupid (ie. self-harm, getting fired, damaging a relationship) are much less with smoking than with drinking. So the lesser of two evils it is.

I really abhor reading a constant stream of complaints in blogs. To me, complaining does no one any good. Does it fix anything? No. Does it make me feel better? No. It usually makes me feel worse, to be quite honest. Is it taking an active role in changing whatever it is that is bothering me? Nope. It just makes me feel sh!tty cause I feel like I’m handing out full bags of vomit to my friends and family that I complain to expecting them to do something brilliant with it. Which… after typing that, I realized that I have actually handed a bag of vomit to Butthead when I was in the ER after my mega binge. And handing a bag of your own vomit to someone else because there’s nothing you can do with in on your own is not a good feeling. So I can confirm that it is not a pleasant experience for anyone involved. Neither the hander or the receiver of the vomit.

I really am doing my best to stay positive about this. What is keeping me going right now is the sheer fact that I haven’t lost hope. So… one more day to grin and bear it. Thankfully, I have two floofs of love to help distract me.

Evie, “Don’t tell him we’re snuggling. His booty is so warm and fluffy!!!”

Day 1,147 | 4 – Flibbertigibbet

Dear Sobriety,

I’m going to start adding my days smoke free after my days alcohol free in my title I think. I haven’t decided firmly yet. I think it’s going to be mostly based on whether I remember. I do love consistency, but I don’t consistently remember to be consistent. Got that? Ok.

I meant to write about this the other day, but completely forgot until I pulled an affirmation card today and so here I am! Also, after just writing a couple of paragraphs already, I should probably note that since quitting smoking, my attention span is about on the same level as a goldfish; therefore, there is going to be even more jumping from topic to topic than on average. Sorry about that. While writing that goldfish bit, I finally came up with a title to this blog and I so love the fact that “flibbertigibbet” is a real word and not just something Meg Ryan came up with on the fly in Joe Versus the Volcano.

Affirmation card for 01/06/2021

Pulling this affirmation card today reminded me that I had intended to write the other day. The pain level that I’m dealing with on a daily basis is outside of my comfort zone. I like to think that I have a pretty high tolerance for pain, but I’m starting to learn that I do not have any tolerance for chronic high level pain. I could use some chronic to get me through this pain. Jiminy Christmas.

How many other people have image searched “horse tranquilizer meme”?

I do really like the physical therapy office that I ended up choosing. The therapist that I’m working with is funny and seems to like her job, so that’s a bonus. But I’m about at my max. I don’t know how much longer I can stand this before I start running to an urgent care crying for some narcotic pain meds and muscle relaxers. I just need… something. Is this something non-addicts think? Do they ever think they could use something stronger than Advil, but slightly less than ketamine? I’m assuming a non-addict probably doesn’t know what ketamine is actually. I’ve never actually tried it and that’s only because it’s never been something I’ve searched out, but I do believe something categorized as a horse tranq would probably get me where I’d like to be. As my papa bear says, I might still hurt, but I’m not going to care.

Saturday and Sunday were pretty decent days, but Monday something happened overnight. I don’t know if my cats had a disco party on the bed, but a sharp pain woke me up from a dead sleep as I was turning over in bed. Since then, there’s been fitful sleep at best and just a constant ache spreading all across my shoulders/neck/back/anything attached to it/headache. Needless to say, I am not in the best of moods. Pain + quitting smoking is giving me ample ammo to start fights with the people I love. And they’d probably all give me free passes to be an a$$hole currently, but I don’t want to be. Like… for reals. I don’t want to be an a$$hole. My tolerance level for life is just at a supreme low right now.

I’m just… I’m just stuck right now. I’ve been continuing my walking in the mornings because cardio is a mood elevator and, if nothing else, I feel like I’m able to honestly say I accomplished something positive today. Right now I’m not craving pills and/or alcohol. Actually def not alcohol, but I am craving relief. It’s been over a year of this continuing to worsen and I am over it. OVER. IT.

From my Motivation App

So I got this ping from my motivation app the other day, “When you feel terrible, your life still goes on; just do what you need to do and you’ll be proud of yourself for pushing through a bad day.” Serendipitous? Yeah. I thought so too. And I am proud of the fact that I keep pushing. I might be pushing standing still, but at least I’m not being pushed backwards by someone/thing else.

For as sh!tty as I feel, I am proud of the fact that I am actively working on getting better. With PT, walking and, in general, not giving up, I feel like I am still trying at least. But F**K. I’m looking forward to that day when I wake up and realize I haven’t complained about my neck and shoulder in a month. That’ll be a good day and make all these craptastic days worth it.

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?

dd1a7e4e8956d9b23dc359c19d5f0f39

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 791 – What a Pain!

Dear Sobriety,

f0eccec3c036c275ba0ce6b1daec7352The last few months I’ve been dealing with shoulder pain that has gotten progressively worse.  I’ve been working with my chiro on it for a while and while he’s been able to help a bit, this sucker has continued to go down hill, so I finally sucked it up and went to a shoulder specialist on January 2.  X-rays showed nothing, so it’s got to be tendonitis or something along those lines.  He gave me a sheet with exercises and said to take Aleve and if it’s not better in five weeks, come back and he’ll do an MRI.

What did I do?  I wish I had an incredible story to tell you.  Something involving unicorns, trolls and a great treasure that I went on an amazing and treacherous quest for, but unfortunately, I’m thinking it’s just really bad posture and too much cell phone play.  It’s my right shoulder which is my dominant side.  I can definitely notice the pain spikes when I’m at my desk mousing around at work or bebopping on my phone.  It hurts worse with smaller movements rather than larger.  I have great range of motion and really haven’t lost any strength, but dang!!  Doing nothing with it is a killer!

I’m doing my best to stay positive, but it’s getting really difficult to not try and beg pain pills from a doctor somehow.  The little addiction monster was sitting right next to me during this doctor appointment.  It took all I had to keep it from screaming for some type of meds to quiet this pain.  Unfortunately, if I had some, it surely would quiet the pain (temporarily), but that monster’s voice would grow epic proportions with each dose.  Then each dose would get closer and closer together until I was out of a month’s supply in a week. Been there before.

By the time that prescription bottle was empty, there’s a much higher chance that some other bottle would be in my hand trying to chase away the pain.  By that time, guilt, depression and anxiety would be through the roof and then some.  It’s really scary for me to even think of it.  But it is the truth.

Funny thought I just had: when I was in my first marriage, my ex would dole out my psych pills to me each day (I was taking a lot at the time).  He literally had them locked in a safe that I didn’t know the combination for.  It’s funny because he would keep them all locked up except the Xanax which I had a bottle of in my purse and in my bathroom.  You never know when you might need to put yourself in a fog, ya know?  Sure, some of the psych meds you could overdose on, but the amount of alcohol I was mixing with my normal psych meds plus the amount of Xanax that was actually prescribed to me daily… it is amazing #1 I’m still alive and #2 my liver is doing as well as it is.

There was a time that I daily mixed alcohol, Xanax and ambien.  Wow…

So right now I feel like this shoulder pain is kinda a test of sobriety.  Is something serious wrong?  No.  Not really.  Is my HP (Higher Power, if you’ve just started reading) taking this time to test my patience and will to see if I will actually commit to making a positive change?  I think so.

Positive Change Word Cloud, Made With Text Only

I started seeing a new General Practitioner (GP) on Tuesday.  I decided to change docs cause my last one had a terrible, dead fish handshake (yes, I will judge you immediately by the way you shake hands with me) and while he was fine, he wasn’t the right fit for me.  I did a little research and found a younger, female internist and made the switch.  She immediately called me out for smoking and while she gave up trying to encourage me to quit during that appointment because she could see that scare tactics won’t work on me, I have to admit that she planted a seed.

I’ve quit before in the past.  The longest was five years during my first marriage.  It was a choice between smoking or get bitched at on a regular basis, so I quit.  As soon as the decision was made that we were separating, I started up again.  Because that’s “who I am”.  Well, I’ve learned a lot in these last 791 days.  Alcohol doesn’t make my decisions for me anymore, so maybe it’s time to take the leap and kick the cigs out too?

Obviously, I know smoking is terrible for me and it’s just another emotional crutch.  I’m not quitting today and probably not tomorrow either, but the seed has been planted and I’ve thought about quitting more the last two days than I have in a long time…  We shall see how quickly it takes to take root…

Sending love and good vibes to all!
Monsy & the Cats

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Day 580 – Naps and Such

Dear Sobriety,

Isn’t it hilarious the things we thought were torture as children compared to our appreciation for them as adults?  For example, naps.  I’m not sure how I reacted to naps as a child, (although, the fact that I was an amazing, well-behaved example of a child will probably give you the answer.  Please disregard any comments from my siblings) but as an adult, I love naps.  Most of the time, I only truly get to enjoy them on the weekends.  Tonight, however, the kitties allowed me to completely crash out when I got home.

My work task was completed a whopping 30 minutes or so before it was due.  I like to call that “just in time” manufacturing.  Thankfully, everything turned out fantastic so I can mark that task, which took up 100% of my work brain the last few weeks, finito!  Unfortunately, my desk looks like a paper bomb exploded on it and now all the reference material needs to be refiled and put back in its proper home, but at least it doesn’t have to be done right now.

mission accomplished

This morning when I woke up, my pain threshold for my shoulder had reached its max and was steadily climbing over into the red zone.  That, coupled with my lack of sleep and stress levels from trying to get everything for this project put together perfectly, enhanced the pain over where I was comfortable with and I tried getting in to see my chiropractor earlier than my scheduled appointment.  When I called to see if I could get in today, I was informed that he’s out of the office this week and I started to see dark storm clouds creeping in around the edges of my eyes.  Ugh… like I said, I believe my pain tolerance is pretty high, but steadily worsening pain + extreme work stress + lack of sleep took me over my limit and I gave in and went to the Urgent Care to get checked.  I mean, your shoulder is not supposed to feel like there is a tiny cave man living in it stoking a fire that finally grew out of his control and burned down his village, right?  Yeah.  I didn’t think so either.  Of course, I also had last night’s post in the back of my mind and immediately started fixating on the what if’s and possibilities of pain meds.  This is what it’s like for me living with addiction despite the fact that I am in recovery today.

I’ll fast-forward to the end of the appointment: Yes, I have a strained shoulder.  No, I was not prescribed any pain meds, nor did I encourage the nurse practioner to “write me an Rx for the next couple of days to get me through until my scheduled appointment”.  Yeah.  I’ve used that one before.  Now, however, I do have an Rx waiting to be picked up in the morning for steroids to help kill the inflammation. Yay!  The light at the end of tunnel.

The most important thing that I have to remember as an addict living in recovery is that I’m never going to be “cured”.  There is no magic pill I can take or treatment I can go through to completely remove my addiction from of my brain (or wherever it lives).  One of the scariest things about addiction is that when you enter a life of sobriety, the addiction continues to grow even though you’re not feeding it on the daily.  The best way to describe this is how I heard in rehab, “Addiction doesn’t go away.  It’s a patient disease that sits in the corner of your mind doing push ups waiting for you to give up on recovery.  It waits quietly in sobriety and never gives up on the thought that one day, you’ll give it another chance.”  Isn’t that terrifying?

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I don’t have a lot of physical cravings any more, which is quite the blessing, but every once in a while the thought to drink slinks in without me fully realizing it.  I have heard people in meetings say that occasionally they’ll think that “just one” will be fine.  Well, when I realize that my addiction is starting to give me a nice, soothing back rub, it’s not to have “just one”.  It says, “Girllllll, you live alone.  No one will ever know.  You and I can hang out and get completely f**ked up!  It’ll be awesome!  You can get the evidence out of the house and no one will be the wiser.”  It’s never about “just one”.  It’s about let’s get f**ked up right now and start living lies again.

I honestly never believed people who lived by themselves were sober.  Seriously.  You know why?  Cause every time I was by myself, I was drunk, so if I can’t do it, there’s obviously no way that anyone else can.  I thought all of those people were really good con artists and that’s probably one of the many reasons (excuses) that I went through such a long series of relapses.  My two other main reasons (excuses) were:

  1. I wasn’t getting sober for myself.  I was always trying to impress someone else.  Or at least stay off someone’s sh!t list.
  2. I felt extremely unworthy of sobriety.  I have allowed my lengthy list of “failures in life” to drive the thought that since I’ve screwed up so much other stuff, why would anyone, including myself, ever think that I’m good enough for sobriety.  Please note: I now think of my “failures” in a more positive tone in my head.  They were lessons that I needed to learn.

I truly thought that no other person could get sober if they lived alone because I was not being honest with myself.  When I started becoming truly straightforward with myself, not only did I begin to start believing that there’s a chance that I can do this without adult supervison, but also, I made the serious realization that this would be (and is) the greatest thing I’ve ever accomplished and thus, I started getting some self-worth back.  I find it fascinating that one positive will connect to another and another like dominos being knocked down.

This has not been an overnight process, but I really feel that it started with one positive thought.  One belief in myself.  Now where that belief came from, I feel, was from my HP.  When he saw that I was starting to become truly open to the possibility that I might be able to do this he yelled, “Hey, Monica’s Guardian Angel!  Yo, take this belief and just slip it without her realizing it (that’s what she said).  That’ll be our cornerstone to build this sobriety sh!t off of for her.”  (Sometimes my HP has a New York accent.)

One inkling of a belief, lots of prayers, honesty with myself and not giving up one day at a time has gotten me to today.  I wonder what tomorrow will bring!

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