Too Much Thinking

It has been 7 months since my friend and sponsee, Kerry, committed suicide. She has been on my heart and in my thoughts a lot the past several days/weeks. So many things remind me of her. My heart lights up when I remember her smile and my heart breaks as I remember her despair. I still feel a little guilt over her death, I know it has nothing to do with me and what I did or didn’t do for her, but it is still there. I miss her.

I am doing well with my other 3 sponsees. I am trying really hard to be what they need. I am still not altogether ready to add any other women to my group of sponsees. I am still a little spooked by Kerry’s death as a friend so accurately put it. I often think I am not doing enough, but in reality I am doing what I can.

When I think about this world we live in I get very anxious. The current environment of the world is so unsettling. Sometimes, I think it is just scary to be alive during this period of craziness. I am frightened for the future and for kids today, they have so much pressure. People just need some common sense.

There is good in the world. I love the stories of people helping people. Kindness needs to be a greater force.

I have been working on some writing projects again. Mostly personal essay type stuff. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous is writing a 5th edition and looking for personal stories as is The Grapevine, so I am trying my hand at my recovery story. In writing and reading my story and how I got to active addiction, I often think, am really an alcoholic/addict. That high bottom and lack of consequences rears its ugly head and makes me question everything. I guess it is better to be sober and question than to be out there using and messing up life. It is crazy that these thoughts still pop up after over 7.5 years of sobriety. I know we can’t rest on our laurels as that alcoholic demon is always waiting and making us question things ….. every thing!

So when I sit and think and let my mind go, well it is not always a good thing. But the grief, the anxiety and the uncertainty is real. I have to feel the feelings so they can be processed properly. Obviously, today I have time on my hands and my mind is going wild.

In reality; I love my sponsees and helping others, I love this country and I love my sober life. It is just that too much thinking tends to cause that stinking thinking. They say going upstairs (in your head) alone is dangerous. So I share my thoughts here and with my dear friends, who by the way are recovering alcoholics. When sharing, the too much thinking dissipates ….. just a little. Have to keep living life on life’s terms and make the best of it.

Back at it!

When I say back at it, that applies to so so many things.

The main thing I am back at is life. Kerry’s suicide really took me down the rabbit hole. I found myself very depressed, anxious and just not myself for the last couple of months. I worked with my therapist (often), and am seeing a psych PA to manage my meds and she add a few more to the cocktail. I am feeling more like myself, but it definitely was a rough couple of months. I had to even take a break from sponsoring. I just didn’t feel equipped to help anyone …. could hardly help myself. I am back at actively working with my sponsees, I have 3 girls who are working a program and one who I have limited contact with, but she is still sober. I am grateful not to be so gloomy. I still think of Kerry often and especially her family. I miss her. I pray that she is at peace.

In my twelve step program I have stepped away from the board and from being the social activities and all things fun chair. It was time to step away and I really felt like it was time for someone else to take the reins . I also didn’t want to have anything to do with it all while I was processing Kerry’s death. So I guess you could say I am back at being just a regular member of the program.

I was contemplating quitting the blog, but I am back at it. I am not sure if I will stop when the next payment is due, only time will tell. I did go back and read everything I have written to date. It was very interesting and eye opening to note the changes in life and the world. Reading back, I do get the gloomies. It is very unpredictable cycle. I hope this new mood stabilizer will help that.

My A1C went down at my last dr appt, I am still pre diabetic but I am close to being normal. The diet and exercise paid off. I did get a little lax during my depressive episode, I did what I could. I am still with my trainer and she works me hard. I have a lot of accountability to her with my exercise and food. But I am back to a healthy lifestyle change. I joined a program with in person countability. It is changing eating habits and really concentrating on macronutrients. I meet with a dietitian and health coach each week. This is only day 2 of my changed eating plan ….. cross your fingers!

Getting back into the swing of life, being healthy and writing are all positive steps for me. Now I just need to get back to volunteering, which will happen soon. Life happens and sometimes it is hard, but we have to just keep at it the best we can.

GONE

This post is an update post from an entry titled “No Words for This One”, November 3, 2021 about a sponsee in a domestic violence situation. 

Kerry is her name and her (husband) has destroyed her. Those that I have spoken to who knew of him described him as a monster … some say he was worse than a monster.  He was manipulative, controlling and in his own eyes all powerful.  These things I only know of from what I have been told.   She was a victim, stuck for too long in a bad situation.   She was scared to leave and scared to stay.  She had a psychotic breakdown, was hospitalized and finally free of his abuse.  She also had the problem of addiction / alcoholism.   With years of his abuse, she also had some mental issues; severe depression and anxiety with PTSD.   She moved in with her parents to try to heal and get her life back. Her so called husband has had custody of her 11-year-old twins.  This alone broke her heart.   

Wednesday of this week I got a phone call from a friend while I was on vacation in Florida.   Tuesday (February 8th), my dear sweet Kerry committed suicide.  She hung herself.  There are no words for this one.  I am devastated and heartbroken beyond words. There is sadness mixed with anger mixed with guilt. I know I am not responsible, but a part of me still wonders what I could have done differently and if I could have helped her more. I am making myself crazy with all those what ifs.  My heart hurts for her family and all those who knew and loved her.  It is sad that she felt no hope, no way out and no peace.  We had a text exchange on Saturday.  We were starting to work a little bit on small steps of gratitude.   I wanted to give her hope, I wanted to give her light, I wanted to give her peace.  I was always so worried about her and what she may or may not do. I knew she was hurting, but I did not really expect this.  Mental illness is real, domestic violence is real, being over medicated is real and suicide is real!

I am having a hard time processing this all, I can’t imagine what her family is going through.  I am lucky to have a great support system and fellowship in recovery.  I have been surrounded by love and support.  Being a sponsor to someone is a special sort of bond that is hard to explain. Kerry called me Mama, even though she was 41 and I am 54. 

I am just sad. There have been a lot of tears. Sometimes out of nowhere the tears will flow.  It felt unreal until I saw the actual obituary.  I feel anxious and sick.  I know I cannot undo what has been done, but those what ifs will continue to haunt me.

Thanksgiving Eve Reflections

The house is quiet and it gives me time to reflect. I have had some ups and downs, but I have so much to be Thankful for. We will gather tomorrow with family at my brother’s house ….. 14 of us. Allie and Pat will be home for a couple of weeks at Christmas time, so I will be missing them. This time of year I like to tell the people who have made a difference in my life how much they mean and how they have helped me overcome. Mostly my recovery sisters, but also some special friends received a I am Thankful for You letter in the mail.

I have been thinking a lot about where I have been and where I am at now. I am scheduled to give my lead at the AA meeting on Sunday. It has been about 1.5 years since I have done this. The more I try to organize my thoughts, the more anxious and flustered I get. I am just going to have to “let go and let God” speak through me. In the past I would write everything down, sometimes I would use the notes, sometimes just a glance at them. It was more a control issue …. being in control and knowing what I am going to say. Last time, it was short notice and I did not have time to prepare. I just told my story and it worked out beautifully. I am going to try it again this way, but right now my thoughts are all jumbled. I was hoping since it was Thanksgiving weekend, the crowd would be smaller, but I have a feeling the opposite will be true. I am nervous. My mom wanted to come, since I don’t always share with her all the gorey details, but I am not ready for that yet.

I am also about 8 days away from my 7 year sobriety anniversary, which is also cause for reflection. 7 years is a big deal. I first went to treatment in 2007 and it took me 7 years to finally surrender and admit to my innermost self that I had a problem. My sober day is 12/2/14. I will get my token on the following Sunday from my sponsor.

Sometimes life does suck, but as one of my AA friends says …. “You sometimes have to embrace the suck”. But really despite the crappy days, life is good. I love life sober. I love the fellowship I belong to. I am grateful for all I have and my wonderful family and friends.

Happy Thanksgiving ….. Be Grateful!

Diabetes, Kidney Stone and a Crooked Finger

Happy Fall. The weather has definitely changed and Halloween is right around the corner. We have our annual Halloween party coming up at the recovery club. I have once again delegated a lot of the details and it is still hard to let go of the control of the event. Being on the board and in charge of social events I feel it is also my responsibility to let others get involved and be part of the process.

My mood has been all over the place as of late. Some depression, some happiness and a lot of whatever. I have had many needed conversations with my therapist. I have been too out of sorts to even write.

I found out at my physical in September that I am pretty close to being diabetic. I have started monitoring my sugar and it has been all over the place. I have been taking better care of diet and exercise and really working it, but it gets discouraging when it really doesn’t seem to change anything. My weight is also up and down but for the most part the scale is moving in the right direction. I am really being careful with my carbs and sugar intake. I have been working with my trainer and walking and working out at home in between. I have met with the diabetic nurse and have an appointment scheduled with the dietitian, which I hope can help me even out this sugar issue. My dr. has given me 6 months to get things under control. With the fluctuation in my sugar readings …… I don’t know.

At that same physical, blood was found in my urine. That lead to an appointment with the urologist, which lead to the discovery of a kidney stone. It was causing pressure, but no pain. Surgery was scheduled, but it thankfully passed before the scheduled surgery …. that was painful!

To top it all off, my pointer finger that I had surgery on in July is still slow to heal. The tendon was weak and healed and now my finger is crooked for good, unless I want another surgery ……. not!

It was a few weeks of so many dr. appointments and not great news and many ups and downs with my psyche.

Steve and I also had our annual babysitting stint with niece Caroline.during all that. She added a light to a dismal mood. She is now 5 and we thoroughly enjoy having her with us. We had her for 5 days and she kept us on our toes. She is a very busy, creative, sweet girl.

So I guess this is my new normal. I will just keep trying to live life on life’s terms.

Weight

Well ….. I am currently doing not so great with my weight loss. I have been stagnant. I lose a couple pounds and gain a couple pounds. This has been my lifelong struggle. I should be happy in that overall I am down 15 pounds (if I am on the right side of the scale) since March/April. It is just that I am not consistent in my efforts. I am doing really well with my trainer 2X’s a week (she is really pushing me) plus 1 workout on my own over the weekend and I am supposed to be walking on days off – that is hit or miss, but I am trying to get it in …. it is just so dang hot right now!

I think I have gained approximately 100 lbs since I was deathly ill with the Ulcerative Colitis. I had the surgery to have my colon removed in 2005 and I weighed close to 100 lbs. Everything I ate before that surgery went right through me. It wasn’t even worth the effort to actually eat. I practically lived in the bathroom. I had to drink protein and calories to sustain. After the surgery it was still difficult to eat as my internal JPouch needed a lot of time to heal and start functioning properly. I was forced to eat a little something every couple of hours. My friends brought my family dinners and brought me the highest caloric foods they could find. But still I could eat very little. I think because I was close to starvation mode at this time in my life, my body and metabolism are wonky ….. still! There were a few years before I was really really sick and a few years after when I was healing that I was at a good skinny weight and I liked it. But alas, it was hard to maintain! The weight kept piling on as the years went by.

In high school, looking back I was a good average weight. I thought I was super fat (I would love to be that “fat” again)! I was a member of the drill/dance team. We were well known around the area and it was a very strict and disciplined activity. We had to weigh-in every week. If we were not in the range we would get a tik – too many tiks and you get a demerit, too many demerits and you are off the team. I always struggled. I was right on the edge of my weight range. Before weigh-ins I would not eat day of and very little the day before. I took laxatives before weigh-ins and diet pills to maintain. The day after I would chow. A vicious cycle. I did not have a healthy relationship with food.

Today, I am trying just to be healthy, but I want to look good too. I was going to try a new weight loss program, it was based somewhat on meal replacements. As soon as they realized I don’t have a colon, I was told that the program would not work for me as I do not have the same absorption as others … it is always something! When I was sick, I was barely functional. I had severe clinical depression and an anxiety disorder (hence my love of benzodiazepines) along with the Ulcerative Colitis. I should be grateful that even though I am fat, I am somewhat healthy and I am much happier than I used to be. Of course I am still on a cocktail of antidepressants but hey, whatever takes. I will keep working with my trainer and keep using her as a coach. She keeps me accountable, I just have to willing to be willing to do what it takes. But sometimes you just have to eat!

My Miscellaneous Life

I really don’t know where to start ….. life surely can come at you in many different directions at the same time. But it is all good.

We just got back from a quick weekend visit to Dallas, Texas to visit my oldest daughter, Allie and her boyfriend, Pat. It was a wonderful weekend full of fun, family and food. 3 plane flights in 3 months for me is huge and I didn’t even panic much. Steve, Kirsten, my Mom and I all enjoyed some quality Texas time. Allie and Pat seem very happy, but in no rush to move things along in terms of an engagement. I also got the feeling that they aren’t coming home anytime in the near future to put down roots. I loved having my grandparents close by while growing up and loved my kids being close to my grandma and their grandmas. But I am definitely getting way ahead of myself. So I will just try to stay in today.

We were in Dallas only Friday early thru Monday afternoon and that was the perfect amount of time. A lot of drinking happens when my family is together – not like alcoholic drinking …. just drinking and I was for the most part just fine with the whole thing, I did get a little jealous when they got the cold Chardonnay on the warm day on the rooftop bar. But I guess I am finally realizing my place in the world and it doesn’t include alcohol and sometimes that is just unfortunate.

While we were in Dallas, Steve and I celebrated our anniversary. 29 years of being married. It is a miracle. I am so grateful that we made it through a very rough patch with divorce on the table several years ago. We are good partners and happy.

As you know we are temporarily living in a condo while we build a home in town. Well the universe seemed to be against us doing that. So many roadblocks, couldn’t land on a design or stay within a budget. We found a house we loved in the next town over and jumped on it. Looked at it on a Sunday, got all the bank stuff and preapproval done on monday and now we are moving into an existing home on 5/17. It just felt right the moment we saw it. I think it was meant to be. So we are busy packing up again after only 6 months in the condo. Luckily we have a lot of stuff still packed up in the storage room and the storage unit we rented. It will nice to “find” all our stuff again. I am tired though of living in the half packed messy chaos of a condo. We will need to get out, get it cleaned and on the market. We bought it thinking we would be here for 18 months or so.

I strained my back and shoulder walking the dog – much pain. Been sucking down the Aleve and Tylenol for over a week. Got a medical massage to work out the kinks and it helped. Got some good advice and exercises to do to strengthen the muscles (which I have been very bad about doing). I finally went to the doctor and got a muscle relaxer. He gave me a prescription for 90 pills! It wasn’t my regular doc so he doesn’t know my drug abuse history, I had a rough couple of hours thinking about those pills and the oxy I picked up and delivered to a friend. It makes me crazy that my mind still thinks like an addict. I took only 1 pill as prescribed, but it didn’t do much and my addict brain is thinking 2 pills may be better to help the pain and sleep issues better. I did have a nice long chat with my sponsor and now Steve controls the pills. The thing is I am allowed to have to 3 a day, but he will only give me 1 per night. Damn.

We got our second Covid vaccine this week. I still debated on whether or not to go through with it, but again family pressure. I feel fine this time and it is Steve who got sick from the 2nd dose. It is just weird that we have no history on these shots and what they may or may not do to us in the long run. We are totally trusting the system and I am not sure if that is wise.

So, the trip, moving, and the pain / pills and shot is what my life has been these last couple of weeks. It is all a little stressful, but it is all good.

The weekend is about to start and it is full of plans that also will include those around me drinking. That is just life! I am just living life on life’s terms and taking it one day at a time.

A day in the life …..

So I survived Covid. In terms of how Covid goes, it was a mild case, not a pleasant experience, but it could have been so much worse. I am grateful. About 12 days of feeling crappy. I still don’t have my taste or smell back and I get tired. It is annoying! Now we just wait and see what type of long term residual effects there might be. There are so many variables to this virus.

The presidential inauguration is tomorrow. Not who I voted for. I believe both candidates had a lot to be desired. I had to vote on policy not personality. What was best for our business and my family. I just hate all the hate that is going around this country right now. I don’t understand the far left and the far right – they are just crazy people. I do believe in parts of both parties platforms. But some of the things have just gone too far!!!! I just like to stay in my own little bubble – it makes me so anxious to think about it all. But I do pray nightly that this country is restored to sanity …. no matter who the president is.

I am getting back to meetings and the fellowship. I did not like zooming while I was sick. I need to be in the rooms for my recovery. I miss so many of my friends who are not coming out because of Covid and health issues. I can be hopeful that this new vaccine will help and I hope soon things will get back to our “normal”.

Not much is happening these days …. just a day in the life!

Stupid Covid

Yep … I got it!

Stupid Covid that is destroying and changing so many lives.

I pray that my case stays mild. I am scared of being hospitalized and having to be alone. So far it is just like a bad sinus infection with some added symptoms. It is a weird not being able to taste anything and my smell has been diminished. I still get hungry, but it is all about mouth feel and what the food looks like as to whether it is good or not. I don’t like the thought of shortness of breath. I feel it a little bit with all the stuffiness when the sudafed starts to wear off. It is scary what can happen with this virus and it is causing me some anxiety.

I feel very guilty that my Mom was at our condo on Thursday …. the day I started showing symptoms later. I don’t know what I will do if she gets a bad case of it. She has been pretty careful and is pretty paranoid about it all. Only time will tell.

Kirsten got her results back and has tested negative and has no symptoms. They still want her to stay home from work for a couple of days to make sure she stays symptom free. Steve is still waiting his results. He also does not currently have symptoms. We should probably separate ourselves more. Kirsten is pretty much staying downstairs, but Steve is generally nearby, I told him to sleep in the guest room, but he has not. I am pretty much on the couch or in bed.

Allie and Pat went home to Texas. Allie is not feeling well and said she will test tomorrow while Pat is feeling fine. It is odd how the virus and who the virus hits being as contagious as it is.

I am only on day 3.5, but I am bored. I don’t have the mind to do much. I try to read a little and have been zoning out to the TV. That is about it and it makes for long boring days.

So I will continue to lay low and say my prayers.

Stupid Covid!

Crazy Days

Life is crazy and is getting crazier by the minute.

Moving is totally stressing me out. There just isn’t enough room or cabinet space for all our mountains of stuff. Sometimes I wonder why in the world we are doing this. I have to remember in the long run it will be good. I also wonder why do we have so much stuff still, when we got rid of so much. My whole body hurts, but we still have a lot to do before the movers come next week.

On a national level …. this election for President of the United States is a mess. So many different opinions and hatefulness for the other side. It is very disheartening. To have to board up your home and business because of the outcome of the election is so wrong. I really just don’t understand some people. I just hope that whoever ends up winning that there will be acceptance. You don’t have to agree, but we need to accept without going crazy mad. I have my opinion and a strong belief in that opinion and of course I hope my guy wins. Both of my girls are for the opposite and I have to let them have their own opinions. I am not going to hate or disown them as I have seen some do. I have heard it said if you vote for X, I don’t want anything to do with you …. what is that? I feel that this country is at a breaking point. Personally I hate confrontation, I just want everyone to be happy, joyous and free as we like to say in AA. All this violence and discord scares me.

Through all this my sobriety remains good. My sponsor just celebrated 30 years of being sober, which I can not fathom. A month from now I will have my 6 years. As far as my sponsees go, I am actively working with 3 women as of now. They all actually contact me and are working on the steps. So many have fallen by the wayside.

Well, I have to get back to the packing thing – the Tylenol has finally kicked in.

God Bless the USA!