Depression

It has been almost a month since I wrote about being gloomy, well that gloomy turned in to full blown depression.   The definition of depression “feelings of severe despondency and dejection” …. I can’t explain why or how, but that self-doubt is ever present. Feelings of misery, unhappiness, melancholy, loss of joy and energy is just the tip of the iceberg.    I can minimize the symptoms and act as if all is well …. usually, but that takes a lot of energy and that energy is hard to come by.     

I have seen my doctor who doubled the dose of my antidepressant and have been talking often to my therapist.   I have clued few others in on my despair and even fewer on the darkness.   I had to take a leave from the gym, even though I know work-outs help with the endorphins and is a good thing,    I haven’t been to my volunteer “job” in weeks or really gone out with friends since last time I wrote.   I have no desire.

The one thing I am doing consistently is going to AA meetings.   I have realized to drink or use would only make this thing much worse than it is.   I am reaching out to my sponsor who has been very helpful with little kind words, advice and love.     I have tried working with my sponsees to get out of myself, it works maybe a little bit, but it is mostly annoying.  I am doing what I can in that area.    The AA club is where I feel the most comfortable right now, being with my peeps whether I participate in the meeting or not is just where I feel most secure and can just be.

My husband is trying to be understanding and comforting, but he doesn’t really understand the tremendous amount of energy it takes to just exist.  He tries, but also worries because last time I went down this path it was really ugly.   I get it and am trying to be understanding of where he is coming from.  I have forced myself to go out more than once if just out to dinner or the grocery store.

I don’t know if it is hormones, the gloomy weather or just my mood cycling around in a bad way, but whatever the case depression is no joke.

Is there light at the end of the tunnel?

It’s a God thing

Well I must admit, I have been a little gloomy lately and for no apparent reason or maybe a lot of reasons.  My life is good and for some reason I was getting a bad case of the F-its and that is fuck everything including my recovery.    I was just sick and tired of it all including my AA meetings and the club which I usually love and just bored with my life in general.  So what does one do … I was starting to skimp on my meetings and reaching out.   I preferred to just sit home on my pity pot.  I cancelled my workout trainer, I did not go to volunteer and blew off friends.   To begin to isolate is never a good sign, at least for me.

I spent a Saturday night last week with some (non alcoholic) friends.   We sat at a bar at a wine restaurant for 3 hours, it seemed harmless at the time, but in reality it might have been a trigger for the desire to take a drink and a bout on that pity pot.   Watching the bartender sling drink after drink especially lots of wines was difficult, but at this point in my sobriety should have been harmless as it usually does not bother me.    My state of mind was not spiritually fit at the time and it probably was not a good choice.

Thank God, I have a strong recovery and that I am connected to the program and the club even when I don’t want to be.   It saved me.    It has been a difficult week.   My God always has my back though and is consistently doing for me what I can not do for myself.    I begrudgingly went to a meeting and lo and behold I got a new sponsee.   Just the thing I needed to get out of myself.    Service work always keeps me sober!   Starting to the work the steps from the beginning with a newcomer and getting back into the big book will be good for me.    My other sponsees ….. well lets see;  One is currently out drinking, and one doesn’t go to many meetings,  another has been procrastinating on step 3, and one is working a program.   None call me.    So getting a new girl to start fresh puts some life back into my program.    I will be picking up my meetings again to see her, be accountable and to set a good example to my new sponsee and for my own sanity.   I really do know what I need and what I need to do.

Saturday night this week, I had a group of sober girlfriends over for a game night while my husband was out of town.   At first I was a little put out that I had planned this and just wasn’t feeling it, I just wanted to sit home alone.  But again, it was just what I needed when I needed it.    There were about 10 of us and we laughed until we peed our pants,  ate, drank (no alcohol of course) and were merry.   Hanging with my peeps was just what my soul needed.

I am going to shake this gloominess off and get on with my life and listen to my God’s will for me.   I don’t always know what God’s will is, but I do know it is to be sober, be of service and to be happy, joyous and free!

I thank God for my sobriety and for doing for me what I sometimes can not do for myself.

Our Old Puppy

Our puppy, Sadie Belle, a tan/blonde beagle lab mix, is now an old dog.   We have been through this before, but it is never easy to watch your beloved pup age.   They can not tell us what is wrong and what hurts, we can only take the cues.    Sadie has been on medications for arthritis, is lumpy with fatty tumors and with skin tags on various parts of her body and a growth of sorts on her leg.

Sadie went in for surgery today to remove the growth ( I am not a vet and can’t remember what it was called) and several skin tags.   While she was under we had an X-ray done to check the arthritis.   Sadie is home and doing well.   Her limp on the right side was getting worse, so there was no surprise when arthritis showed up, the severity is rather alarming though.   She also has a bone spur in the area.   We were sure it was her shoulder, but it is all in her elbow.

I too am experiencing arthritis (in my hands) so I understand the discomfort.  But what do we do next for Sadie?   There are several options.    Surgery is not really one of those options because of Sadie’s age.  There is laser therapy and the better option of a lubricant type of shot.    The shot has to be given monthly at the vet clinic, a pain to do yes …. but our dogs are part of our family and she is worth the expense whatever we decide.

We got Sadie as a nine month old puppy from the humane society.  She has been there with us through thick and thin.   I will do what it takes to make her comfortable in her senior years, it is the least I can do for all the love and loyalty she has given us for the past 12 ish years.

We go back to the vet to get her stitches removed in a couple of weeks at that time we will make our plan.   For now, we have pain meds and a few other things to make her more comfortable.

We don’t know how long anyone, human or animal will be on this earth.   We just take it one day at a time and love with all we have.

 

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One Last Winter Break

Winter break is in full swing for my college senior.    Mom here, is having mixed emotions.    This will be the last time she will be home for any length of time.   After graduation, her and her roommates are planning to stay in Chicago.   Chicago is a 5 + hour drive, not hateful, but not very close to home.    My oldest, is talking about moving from Columbus, Ohio (a 1.5 hour drive from home) to Dallas TX.    She has a couple part time jobs in Columbus, but has not settled in with her career.    I am proud of my independent girls, but I also love it when they are home.

I will have Kirsten home for a little less than 4 weeks and Allie for 4 days.    I will cherish the full house.  I don’t know when we will all be home under the same roof again.    The empty nest is getting emptier.   It is real world time for my girls.   I am not sure what that is going to look like.   2020 will be an interesting year, but exciting.   There are so many unknowns that we will get to watch unfold for our children.

It is definitely a bag of mixed emotions that I am trying not to dwell on.   I will live in the moment and enjoy the Christmas / winter break season with my husband and my girls as well as extended family.   This may be the last year for all our family traditions.   I can not project what the future will bring so I will not worry or stress about it until next year.

As I have learned in my 12 step program, I will stay in the now, be present, take it one day at a time and have gratitude.

5 Years Sober

I made it!!!!  A few days ago I got to celebrate 5 years of continuous sobriety.   It is by no small miracle that I can make this claim.   I came into recovery in 2007, with a lot of unwillingness to take the actions required to remain sober.   By the Grace of God, I kept coming back to the program of AA after each relapse.    I had to continue to pray for the willingness to be willing.   After 7 years of half measures, the willingness finally came.

One of the things that changed for me was finally getting honest with myself about my addiction issues, getting my side of the street cleaned up, following direction as well as being of service.   After my last relapse …. my sponsor told me to stop the “keep coming back” and just stay!    Just staying in the program, WOW, what a concept.   That one word had a great impact on my current progress in recovery.

I am truly blessed and grateful for the life I have to today and the people in it.    The fellowship of AA is my lifeline.    I have a wonderful group of women who are my biggest cheerleaders and best friends along with my loving husband.

I got my token last night at my favorite women’s meeting with a lot of my special friends in attendance.   That support, friendship and love is what it is all about.    The kind words from my sponsor were inspiring, the congratulations from friends, gifts and cards all made me feel good and like I am finally embracing this thing called sober living.  There were a few tears from those who have been with me since the beginning.  Everyone was truly happy for me and in my corner.   I was overwhelmed and humbled by all the celebration for sober me.     I do not necessarily like being the center of attention, but it was a wonderful evening with the meeting and a celebratory dinner with 12 close friends from my tribe.

On this day I am happy and grateful to be able to say I am in recovery.     Life is good, I hope and pray I can continue on this path.

 

Accidental Drink

I am coming up on 5 years of continuous sobriety … to be exact, I have 4.94 years, 59.37 months or 1,807 days clean and sober and I got served an alcoholic drink Saturday night at a restaurant.

I was out with my husband and some friends and ordered my usual club soda and cranberry, but ….. it came with vodka (a lot of vodka)  Not knowing this, I took a really big sip of my drink and OMG.  I immediately felt that warm and fuzzy feeling.   That feeling that makes us want to drink more.    It would have been easy to continue to drink it, but my immediate reflex was to recoil from it as if it were a hot flame, like it says in the AA big book.  (Wow is that me, sort of quoting the big book!)

I will not lie, after just taking that one gulp … I have had some obsessive thoughts about drinking.  It is amazing how fast your head can get crazy with just one taste of alcohol.  You see I liked the taste of alcohol,   I liked the way it made me feel. With that one drink, I remembered all the wonderful things about why I liked alcohol and the way it made me feel invincible.    But all I have to do is play that tape all the way through and remember in the end how it really made me feel along with the pills and how it could have destroyed me.   The thing is, a few days later, I can still remember that taste of vodka in my drink with just that one big sip.    But I am in recovery and I have to remember I am in recovery and how good my life is today; mentally, physically and spiritually.  I am grateful that the urge to drink didn’t take over and that I have my tools to get through this.   It is not totally over yet, but I will get through this and in 20 days I will, by the grace of God,  have made it to 5 years!

Control Freak

It is that time of year when the weather starts getting cooler and the leaves are changing color ….. the best part of fall though is Halloween!

Being on the board at our local recovery club, my position is all things social. Last night was our annual Halloween Party …. The Monster Mash Chili Bash.  I am proud of the parties and activities that have taken place in the last 18 months since I have been planning social activities.   Before our club didn’t do much, but now we support many fun activities.   I have planned parties, a picnic, and a night watching our local baseball team among other things.

I can not take all the credit, I have a great committee that is ever evolving.    I have never been a leader, but this is now all under my direction.  I have taken control, doing most of the planning, foot work and gathering of supplies.   I am a control freak by nature ….. I want things to be a certain way, and I certainly want to control outcomes.   The definition of control: The power to influence or direct peoples behavior or the course of events.  Not having control causes me a good amount of anxiety (and not just with party planning).

This last party, I let go of some of the control and let other members take the reins.  While some things might not have been done the way I would have done them, it was all ok.   I had less work to do and more help and those other members felt valued.   That is a win all around.    It was a growth opportunity for me to let go of some of that control.    I still had anxiety, worried that everything wouldn’t be perfect and that people would not have a good time.   You know what … people really don’t expect perfect.  I have to know that I can not control whether or not they have fun or not.   I have to remember that I can not control the outcome, that I can only do the footwork.

No one really has control, we have to Let Go and Let God!

 

Freedom to Choose

I was at a twelve step meeting the other day …. I forget the topic, but we were reading from “As Bill Sees It, The AA way of Life” and we read a passage on the Freedom to Choose and it really got me to thinking more about the choices we have in life.

When I talked with my sponsor (in the past) about really wanting to drink or other things with a possible negative outcome, she would always tell me in part that the choice was mine.    I didn’t like that or understand it, but now I do.   In the past while in active addiction, I really didn’t have a choice.  Sober,  I always have the choice to do what is right or to do what is wrong.   My journey, my choice.

In the “As Bill Sees It” reading it says:   “Looking back, we see that our freedom to choose badly was not, after all, a very real freedom.    When we chose because we must this was not a free choice either, But it got us started in the right direction.   When we chose because we ought to , we were really doing better.  This time we were earning some freedom, making ourselves ready for more.   But when, now and then, we could gladly make right choices without rebellion, hold-out, or conflict, then we had our first view of what perfect freedom under God’s will could be like.”

For awhile I felt trapped into being sober, like I had no choice because of my commitment to my sponsees and my position on the board at our local meeting club.   In reality I chose to do things to help keep me in line and to keep me sober and doing the next right thing.    I always have the choice to give up those things and return to a life a despair.     My journey, my choice.

Today, I like the choices I have made in staying sober and my commitment to helping others.   My life, my family, my friends are all better because of the choices I have made in the past several years.

Today I choose to be sober …. Happy, Joyous and Free!

The Ripple Effect

Did you ever stop and think that whatever you do affects the universe in some way, it is called the ripple effect.   What I may do may have an impact on what someone else does and so on and so on to infinity.   It is weird to think that one little action could play such a role.

We are currently watching “13 Reasons Why” on Netflix.   I know we are a little late in the game to be watching this .. but it is about a teenager who commits suicide and the actions of others and how it relates to and affects all.   It has really made me stop and think about life and death.   I would be lying if I said I never had thoughts, especially during active addiction, of just leaving this earth …. suicide.   When you are in that state of craziness, I don’t think you realize the effect of that action on the world around you.   I know of many in my 12 step program who have thought about or even tried to kill themselves.  So as I wrote in my last post, I wonder sometimes what is the point, death is inevitable and life does go on.   But there is a point, there are many points!   This world needs each and every one us for one reason or another no matter how long we are here.

For me today, I am grateful for life.    I am glad I didn’t give in to those moments of despair.   I am glad the drugs and alcohol did not kill me and that I have a chance to always choose and hopefully I choose the right action.   My higher power, who I choose to call God, has a plan for me on this earth.

The ripple effect happens no matter what you choose.  One must remember that it is not all about one person, but how that person interacts (whether it be good or bad) and how it effects the people in their life and the world around them.

Just don’t forget about the Ripple Effect!

And the Point Is …..?

Does anyone ever really think ….. What is the point?

I often ponder why I was put on this earth and what I am supposed to accomplish.   It is a heavy question and a burden.

I know I am supposed to be a good person of faith, love and compassion.   But is there more?    Was I put on this earth to suffer with my disease of Ulcerative Colitis, addiction, depression and anxiety so I could help and be of service to others?   Surely I didn’t go through those things for no reason …. the outcome of those issues is that I am a stronger more compassionate understanding individual.  Maybe it is all to help me grow into the person that I am supposed to be.   I don’t know.

For awhile I thought my purpose was to be a Mom and it was, but my children are grown and on their own now.   Yes, I am still their Mother, but in a different capacity.

Maybe there is no point after all and it is just life and then we die.

But I have to believe there has to be a purpose to this journey here on earth or there wouldn’t be a point to be here and to participate in this life.

I often pray to know God’s will for me and the only thing that I know for sure is that He wants me to be Sober and of Service …. maybe that is the point and the only point and I  have to let that be enough, but is it enough?