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.

The Engagement and other Life Events

I haven’t written in long while, I am just out here trying to live life on life’s terms ….. which isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Sometimes it is a downright battle, but let us not go there right now.

Allie and Patrick finally got engaged. The official engagement date was 5/21, so it has definitely been a minute or two. With all her snooping, she was still surprised. It was sweet, They were at a park in Dallas with the dog – they were going to go on a picnic but forgot the blanket so they just walked around and he popped the question. He had a party with friends planned for after the proposal and even had her bestie fly in from Chicago to complete the surprise. We are truly excited to welcome Pat and his family into ours. We have no wedding plans as of yet. There is still the decision as to where the wedding will be …. Dallas or Dayton/Cincinnati. We have said our peace and given our thoughts, but it is their wedding and they must decide. We have an engagement party planned for a couple of weeks from now here as they will be in Ohio for a wedding. It is just family and very few special friends. I will update after their visit.

With it being summer and the 4th of July holiday there have been a lot of drinking events, but I am holding my own. There are moments when I wish I could drink ….. take part in the jello shots. It is such a drinking culture that sometimes it is difficult not to feel left out. I love my sober life and my sober friends – but ………..

Ok so the really big news, because we all knew that Allie and Pat were going to get engaged, that was just a matter of timing …… I finally got a breast reduction. it has been 8 weeks since the surgery and I am doing great. The wounds are almost healed and I am finally able to do things around the house and in life in general. It was a rough go not being able to carry, lift or push anything. There was pain, but it wasn’t anything like I thought it would be. I only took 2, well maybe 3 Percocet …… 2 that were desperately needed and 1 , well, not so much.. I just survived on Tylenol and Motrin for several weeks. The wounds were gross and took a lot of cream and gauze. The surgeon took out a total of 6.75 lbs of breast. I am getting used to my new size ….. now it is time to get rid of the love handles and old lady belly. I found it interesting and refreshing that the anesthesiologists asked if I wanted a different cocktail that wasn’t (addictive type) narcotics. My sober friends and I joke that anesthesia for a very few short seconds is the best, but anyway I did tell him to give me whatever would best and I could deal with it. I got 20 pain pills with this surgery. I still had my 18 from my kidney stone. Good news, I finally emptied my drawer of all the pain meds and handed them over to Steve to get rid of or hide, not sure which he did. I did say hide don’t pitch, but you never know. The pills after all this time were “talking” to me and I was really struggling. Taking that extra Percocet when I wasn’t sure if I really needed it scared me enough to take action, I have been seeing my surgeon every couple of weeks for post op. I am thinking only a few more visits and I will be good to go.

With the breast surgery my diet went to shit. I have been on a new program (that I paid a pretty penny for) it has a lot of accountability and pretty straight forward and kinda strict guidelines. I was all in before the surgery and losing weight but since surgery I have not been able to get in the right frame of mind to go all in. I am eating better, but half-assing the program. I am pretty discouraged with it right now and I hate going for my check ins because I am running out of excuses as to why my weight is staying constantly the same. It is rough. I want to eat and I want to drink like a normal person – ugh!

Well, that is the Life and Times of Me for the last couple of months. I am at a crossroads trying to figure out what my life is for and what I should be doing with it. Stay tuned, I may or may not ever figure it out.

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!

Good Choices

It’s Friday, Day #25 of my Noom change in eating adventure. I think I have lost 5 lbs so far. The damn scale keeps fluctuating and I get discourage very easily. I am eating so much better and less calories. Am I doing perfectly, uh that is a big NO! I like food and don’t love vegetables, but I am eating them and more of them then ever before. You could say that I am making good choices …. most of the time.

I do save a lot of calories since I do not drink alcohol, so happy hour isn’t an issue. I have gotten somewhat complacent in my recovery program. It ebbs and flows like everything else. I am still doing meetings, but I haven’t been all in. So I have restarted a morning program and I am trying to get back in the big book. I think I need to also switch up some of my meetings. I need to try something new and freshen up my program. I don’t want to drink, but I am just grumpy. So again, making good choices.

I have heard from several people in the program who are just coming back to meetings in person after getting the covid vaccine. Some have relapsed others just feel lost. All feel the need to get back in and start from the beginning of the steps and refresh their program. I have been going to in person meetings, but I understand the need for a refresh. It has just all been a little different.

At our club mask wearing is hit or miss. Some are crazy for the mask (and they mostly stay away) while others are very confident in not wearing them. It has been a constant battle that is hopefully coming to an end soon. Things are getting less restrictive again and covid numbers seem to be dropping.

I look forward to the day when all my scale quits fluctuating and stays down and I look forward to the day we go maskless and not have to worry so much about covid. I miss the parties and the large group functions. Especially the sober ones we used to plan at the Club. I miss my tribe. Until then, I and hopefully others will continue to make good choices,

Miracles

52,624 hours, 2,193 days, 72.03 months …… 6 Years!

By the grace of my God and the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous I have 6 years of continuous sobriety today. I am grateful I did not quit before the miracle happened, because yes …. it is a miracle.

I started this journey in a treatment center in 2007. For years I felt I was defined by all my relapses and inability to stay sober. That is one reason each additional year is a miracle ….. each day is a miracle.

It took a long time for the drink and pill obsession to leave me. I spent a lot of time white knuckling this sobriety thing. I believe all the difficulties and relapses taught me what I needed to know to become the person I am grateful to be today. Is life perfect? Definitely not! I do know today how to handle the things that used to baffle me. I have tools to help me navigate this life and all its challenges.

2020 has been a particularly challenging year with Covid, quarantine, all the political crap and social unrest along with my personal anxieties and issues. AA meetings are different. The world is different. My tribe in the AA fellowship have remained tried and true. I may not get to see them as often or give hugs, but there is still something special and unwavering about the fellowship.

I am happy and blessed regardless of the adversity and difficulties of this year.

December 2nd is just another sober day. It may be 6 years today, but it is just one day at a time …. 24 hours at a time.

To Be of Service

I have had a number of sponsees in recovery over the years. Some stay, some go back out, some move on to other sponsors. I am actively working with 4 ladies and sort of another and 2 are MIA. Regardless, I remain available to each and every one of them.

I recently got a new sponsee. Someone who has been in the program for a few years, wanted a change and really wants to put more effort in her recovery program. I am super excited to work with her. She did have 15 years before a relapse. We are on the same page about a lot of things. I think we can help and guide each other.

The same week I got a text from a sponsee that has been out “working on her lead”, who I had not heard from for at least a year +. She had had some consequences and was ready to give sobriety another try. We have just started working back on step 1. She is touching base every day and is definitely on that pink cloud of recovery. She seems ready, able and willing. I just need to get her to see the benefit of more meetings.

I have a coffee date planned with another sponsee later this week. This one does not go to meetings at all, but seems to be able to stay sober in spite of herself. I don’t her from her too often. Hopefully she will show up and I can catch up with how she is doing.

I have also had lunch and coffee dates recently with some program friends who needed an ear. I am happy to oblige.

Today I got to go to a friends house with a group of women in recovery to just sit outside and fellowship …. cookies and lemonade included. It was a wonderful afternoon with some ladies I don’t hang out with too often.

My husband asked me what I really wanted to do in this next chapter of our lives and I told him that I thought I was doing it …. at least part of it. I love my friends in recovery. And I really love being a sponsor and of service to others.

I am grateful that today friends can count on me. It feels good to be needed and helpful. This past week I have seen, helped, listened to someone in recovery each day. These women and men too are my life line. I have my tribe and I love each of them dearly.

Thank you God for using me to help others.

The Overdose

Some people can drink alcohol and others can not.    Those who have crossed that invisible line will never be able to drink like a normal person.   We have an allergy.   A disease of the mind, body and soul.    The obsession that only an addict / alcoholic knows.  We were once spiritually empty and now we are full.   Recovery is a beautiful thing.

I have a dear friend in my 12 step program who lost his son this week to an overdose.  He lost his daughter 10 years ago to a motorcycle accident.    Sometimes life just doesn’t seem fair.  Why do some of us make it to recovery while others do not?  There are so many people out in the world who do not know how great a sober and clean life can be.

My friend is not the first one I know to loose a child in this program.   A few I know have lost children to this disease and another to murder.   Brothers, Fathers, Mothers, Sisters, Friends have all been lost,.  Despite these heartbreaks losing a child has to be the toughest (though I can not be the judge of that).    Amazingly, these friends of mine have been able to remain sober and lean on the fellowship, their higher power and the 12 steps to see them through.    I have the upmost respect and awe for those who can remain sober and steady in the face of tragedy.     I don’t know if I would have as much grace, I can only pray that I would.

We feel the pain of the death of another addict / alcoholic.    We know the struggle, the pull, the obsession.   We think of ourselves and but for the grace of God it could have been us, it could have been me.

We went over Step one and powerlessness at the meeting today.    The deceased young mans best family friend was there (along with my friend, the Dad)   She realizes now how close death can actually be if she does not get clean.  It was heart wrenching.    We or I must never forget how close death actually was and can be if I choose to go back to pills and alcohol.    We, the alcoholic / addict are powerless over  people, places and things.   We must change everything in order to survive.

I am at a place in my life where I can be around alcohol and people who drink moderately.   When friends and family get drunk and silly and stupid, well that is where my tolerance ends.   I know for me what I can and can not handle with others and the drinking …. its all about the people, place and things.   Some we can handle others we can not.

For my friend, I am really sad.   His son had been to meetings at out club.   My friend tried tirelessly to save his son from those demons.  In the end though he had to save himself …. both my friend and his son.

Meeting Time

I have been feeling a little isolated from my tribe during this time of quarantine.   I had been doing zoom AA meetings and some meet ups with friends.   It is not the same in any way shape or form.   I have been missing the personal interaction, the hugs and the fellowship that takes place before and after meetings.

With that being said, I had been getting complacent with my meetings.   Zoom was just not getting it done for me and I have been getting irritated with the technical difficulties and with everyone looking to me to get them fixed.   I was getting nothing out of these meetings … I just could not pay enough attention, so I quit logging on.   We all know that no meetings is not the correct answer.  I was getting very irritable and just feeling out of sorts being “off schedule”.     I think a lot of the state and country is getting sick and tired of the isolation.   We want to stay safe and healthy, but we also want to get back to life outside of our homes.

So I made the bold decision to go to a meeting in person.   I have mentioned before that our club is still open for meetings.   I had not been to an in person meeting in over a month.  It felt good just walking into the room.   The chairs are socially distanced, we don’t hug one another or hold hands during the Lord’s Pray.   But still … some people just got too close. No one wore a mask (including me).   I loved being in a meeting, but at the same time did not feel totally comfortable with it.    I think the media and everything has everyone so scared of contacting the coronavirus we just can’t relax while we are out, I know I couldn’t.   It doesn’t help that I am one of those people they talk about that need to be extra careful due to the auto-immune disease.

I don’t think it is time yet for me to be at in person meetings, but I am not sure what to do now to get a meeting.   I am probably going to have to continue to suffer through those zoom meetings, it is better than nothing at all.   I also think I need to try some other zoom meetings away from the club …. ones I am not in charge of.    What I really need to do though is pay attention during the meetings and not get so easily distracted.

The million dollar question is when will all this be over?    When will we find our new normal way of life in light of this pandemic?    Everyone is getting anxious, I know I am.   I really need to reconnect with my people and I look forward to when we can do that … in person!

At Home …. Still

Well, we are going on close to a month of this stay at home order.   I have been keeping fairly busy with various tasks around the house.   I still have not really been anywhere.  Going out each morning to the little coffee shop in town to get my chai tea latte and coffee for Steve and Kirsten is usually the highlight of my day.    I have met up with a couple of friends as we sit in our cars at a distance to chat.   Face to face interaction with friends is very much needed.   I especially miss my in person sober tribe.

I have been doing the zoom AA meetings quite regularly, but it is starting to get old.  I have not been able to totally pay attention in the zoom meetings.  I have been very easily distracted in those meetings.   I desperately need to get back to the in person meetings.   Though our club is still open and operating, I am just not comfortable at this time in light of the virus and the stay at home orders.    I miss the fellowship of the meetings.   I have had drinking dreams and using thoughts and desire, by the grace of God I have not acted on those thoughts.   I do know that nothing good would come from it.   But too much idle time is not good for this addict and there is a lot of time with not much to do!

I have been trying to stay in contact with friends from the program and staying in touch with my sponsees.   I did a 3rd step with one of my girls via Facetime and I have another step meeting scheduled.  Working with others and getting out of self for bit is very helpful during this time of quarantine.   But still it is not face to face so it is a very different kind of step work.

I am trying to do some little task from home from where I volunteer.   We had a volunteer zoom meeting the the other day and it was nice to see some of the ladies I have been working with.    I have also done some virtual get togethers with my sober peeps, just to chat.    We are all trying to do the best we can to stay connected.

There are a lot of zoom meetings in the recovery community from all over the country and the world that one could join.  I have been sticking with my clubs meetings, but maybe need to try some others for something a little different.   I love how everyone in recovery is trying to help those in program stay the course.

I am still trying to find the gratitude.   I have everything I need.   We still have money coming in, we have food, we have a nice home to be isolated in and we are healthy.   I am trying to choose to find the good.   I am not going to say it is not difficult, because it is.  There is still fear, fear of getting the Covid19, the fear of the economic impact and just fear about what is happening in the world.    So many things that I can not control.

Life especially right now is so unpredictable and I have to stick with taking it one day at a time to try to keep my sanity while I am staying home.