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?

 

No Hangover

We went to a concert the other night at a small outside venue.   It was a great show.  what I noticed though was the very long lines at every beer / wine stand.   The world drinks and I don’t and sometimes that is a lonely place.

On the way out an older lady needed help out to the car, flanked on both sides by friends…. she was wasted.   My thoughts went to several places.  I felt pity for her, sad actually.  I also felt a tinge of jealousy.   She obviously had a lot more fun than I did at the show.   While I enjoyed myself, it is hard for me to let loose under any circumstance.

When I was drinking I was fun, the life of the party.   Sober, I don’t think I am as fun.  I still get social anxiety with no drink or pill to calm it.  But I didn’t always drink like other people drank and normal drinkers don’t obsess about the drink and where and when the next one is coming.   Normals can sip the wine and make 1 glass last awhile, I couldn’t.

The more I thought about it, especially the next day, I was grateful to be sober.   That drunk lady was probably pretty sick.   I felt great and got to enjoy a wonderful day with my AA sponsorship family at the park.

No hangover for me.

Mother’s Day

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

Its a good day to recognize those women who have mothered us and helped us grow.  Our Mother’s, Mentors and Friends.   I love my Mother so much, she is an awesome Mom.  Sometimes I wish I could be more like her … spur of the moment, love of travel and of all things and very adventurous.  She is a free spirit (and sometimes these traits drive me crazy).   I on the other hand am more careful, conservative, a planner and a homebody …. more like my Dad I would say.   My mom and I have a wonderful relationship, she is my biggest supporter.    I don’t think though she understands my addiction issues and recovery very much and we rarely talk about it, but she is proud of me for getting sober and for the Mother that I am.

I love being a Mom.   I am grateful to be the Mother of 2 wonderful young women.   My girls have really turned out to be good people and I couldn’t be prouder of them.   They are both on their way to becoming self sufficient adults.    I feel like I have done my job in raising them.  I miss having them around, but I have had to let them leave the nest and fly.   It is different being a Mother to adult children.   I sometimes miss those days when my kids were younger.  I still worry about them, even though they are adults.  I worry about that addiction gene, I pray they don’t have it.    They like to have fun and drink, but don’t seem obsessive about it or to have that addictive personality …. yet.   My girls seem well grounded and mostly responsible.   I am grateful that my girls have a close relationship with my Mom (in fact my oldest daughter, Allie, is just like my Mom) and had a close relationship with my Grandma, their Great Grandma, who passes away only 4 years ago.   We all live(d) in the same area and got to enjoy each other as family.

Life keeps going.   I am so happy my girls were home to celebrate the Mother’s Day weekend with me and spend some time with my Mom.   I do miss my Grandma, but she is definitely here always in spirit.

I am honored to have so many wonderful (older) women in my life who may not be my Mother, but who have helped shape and mold the person I am today.   This is especially true of the women I know and love in recovery.    I am a very lucky Girl, Daughter and Mother.

Sponsorship

Today day is the day one of my sponsees hit the one year sober mark.   My first one to do so and I couldn’t be happier.    I have had 5 girls over time and 3 or maybe 2 that I am actively working with.     I am so proud of this girl, she is doing the deal.   She came in to AA and sobriety and never looked back.     I wish I could have done it that way, but that wasn’t my journey.

One of my girls is actively drinking.   She got her 30 days a couple of weeks ago and then a 24 hour token last week and is back in the bottle.    I wish I could help those in active addiction more.   I just want to shake her and tell her there is a better way to live.   All I can do at this time is let her know that I am here for her when she is ready and pray for her and her son that is caught in her web of addiction.   I feel so helpless and it is not a good feeling.   As a sponsor, I feel a little bit like I have failed her even though I know it is her choice.   I can’t make her drink and I can’t make her be sober.

My other girl is doing well.    She had a relapse in September so she will be coming up on 9 months.    She has had some challenges that we have worked through and I think she has finally found some peace in her situation.

But as for my 1 year girl … I get to give her a special 1 year token on Saturday at the big meeting.   I hope I can find the words to do her justice.   1 year is a big deal.

I love being a sponsor even though it is challenging at times, I love helping others in the best way I can.    Sometimes though I feel like how can I help them when sometimes I can’t even help myself.   They keep me sober and honest with myself.    I don’t want to fail them, I want to be the best example of sobriety that I can be.

April 19th

Today is the anniversary of my first surgery to create my JPouch due to the disease of Ulcerative Colitis.    It was April 19, 2005 … 14 years ago.   It is hard to believe how sick I was in 2003-2005.   I couldn’t eat, I definitely couldn’t drink alcohol.   I was tired, irritable, very thin (says the now fat girl) and always in pain and in the bathroom.    I look back on those days and it was complete misery.

I was anxious, I was clinically depressed.   I was on so medication to treat the UC that nothing worked to help the depression and anxiety.   That is really when my love affair with Xanax started that I eventually would be come addicted to.    I was on high doses of prednisone which made my mental symptoms worse, but it was the only thing that would remotely control the pain and bleeding from the UC.   At the time it was a pitiful existence.

I had my surgery at the Cleveland Clinic which was tops in treating bowel disease.    I was so apprehensive to have this surgery.   It scared the hell out of me, in fact I was pretty sure I was going to die having this surgery or die if I didn’t.    If you don’t know what a JPouch is look it up, it is complicated, but in a nutshell they remove your diseased colon – which was all of it and create an internal pouch for waste from you small intestine.    In 2005 it was an open surgery where the cut you open to remove the large intestine, today it is way less invasive.   I had an illeostomy bag for 3 months and another surgery in July to remove that and connect everything.

It is the most painful and traumatic thing I have every been through.   With both surgeries I would say it took about a year to fully recover to my new normal.

During this time I became very spiritual.   Praying the Rosary, Novenas and just talking to God.    I felt very close to my higher power during this time and probably would not have survived with out my faith.   I even had the anointing of the sick before the surgery.   It helped me cope.

Even after I recovered the anxiety and depression lingered.    The Xanax usage continued to increase and the drinking was a problem, because internally my make up was now different and I had the brain of an addict.

Today, 14 years later, I am healthy, I am sober and I can eat just about anything (and obviously I did to make up for lost time).    I am grateful for the healing this surgery has brought me.   They say you are not cured after you have the surgery.   Problems still can arise, but they are few and far between.   I thank God for the miracle of medicine and all the people who took care of me and my family during that time.

I always remember April 19th.

 

Now What ……

I am sitting here on my beautiful back patio enjoying a the warming weather of spring.  Just thinking and letting my mind wander.    My life is good … on the outside.  No seriously it is good and I feel guilty for not been happy and joyous.   It has been about a year since I have quit working and I am still trying to find myself.   I volunteer, work with my sponsees go to AA meetings, see my trainer and hang out with friends and family.  What is there not to love about this life.   I just don’t know, I need more purpose.   I am feeling what is the point of all this life stuff and know there has to be one.

My therapist suggests that maybe taking a class would help keep my mind busy so I am thinking about what I want to do.   I do enjoy learning and a class would give me something to focus on … but what?    I am researching online courses and it is overwhelming.   I did find an inexpensive site with a lot of options of work at your own pace classes which might be a good place to start, I could just dabble in something and see if it goes anywhere.    Steve and I are also contemplating a yoga class – which could be helpful with our anxiety and stress and overall lack of flexibility.   I am starting a bible study class this week so that is something too.   There is also a “class” of sorts I want to take about breaking the barriers to exercise, diet and health (since I have done very little in that arena as well).  I have got to do something more with myself.  I have  just got to get up and do it!

So obviously I am still in this funk.   I am not sure what it is about, but it is making me crazy.   I just don’t want to feel this way and it does make for some crappy days.  I don’t want to drink and/or drug, but it would sure take the edge off.   I just have so much to loose if I choose to go that route.   Like I said before, I have some great friends in recovery that I love with all my heart and I do not want to loose that.   I also (usually) enjoy working with others in the program.

I guess I just have to feel the feels and keep acting like life is as good as it is, because I am sure it will be again soon.   I just seem to cycle through these down and anxious periods.  I really am blessed and grateful, I know I have it good.    Lets just be Happy, Joyous and Free.

Adventures with Caroline

Once again this year I had the opportunity to watch my niece while her parents were away.   Caroline who is now 2 1/2 is an utter delight and I really enjoyed our time together.  She is such a good little girl and did not mind being away from home one bit.

She was here for a little less than a week.   My Mom came over each day for a new adventure.   We went to parks and the museum, out for pizza and just played at home.  She is very busy and plays well by herself.   The weather was great for our trips to various parks for play, hiking and picnic.     I also enjoyed the time with my Mom.     We just had a really good week and being retired now, I had a sense of purpose.

Caroline really likes hanging out with her Uncle Steve.    In fact, I think she prefers him.  Unfortunately he was working during the day, but was hands on in the evenings and she loved every minute of playing with Uncle Steve.

I think it is great that her parents can get away for a little bit for some R&R and not have to worry about their little girl.   Sure they missed her and we texted, sent pictures and face timed daily.   If I was still using my daily intake of Ativan, this would not have been possible.

I cherish the memories of this past week, it is amazing to me to watch and care for this little girl.    I am not sure how well I would have done if she was bratty and had tantrums all the time … I am older now and even though I have learned more patiences in recent years, I can’t handle screaming kids for long, been there done that!  She did have a moment or two, but that was not the norm.    My brother and sister-in-law are very lucky to have such a special little girl and I am lucky that I get to be a part of her life.

Stay tuned for more Adventures with Caroline.