MONEY $

I got a message the other day from a lady I used to sort of sponsor. She never really embraced the AA recovery route. She wanted to talk and had a question for me. Well, we know where this is going, right?

She had called a few weeks back just to check in and give me an update on her life. She seems to be doing well. She called at the perfect time as I was feeling low and like I had no purpose in life. She told me how much I have helped her and that I am always there for her and for that she is grateful ….. wow, wasn’t expecting that, but it made me feel good. We ended the call with the promise to get together to further the conversation. She is sober and taking another route to sobriety. I know everyone has their own journey, some can do it without a twelve step program, I am not one of those people.

We aren’t really friends, I think of us as more like acquaintances and maybe from her point of view I am a little bit like a mentor. But I rarely hear from her. We met from a mutual friend, and my goal was to help her get sober.

Fast forward to this week when I got the text ….. “I have a question, can you call me” As soon as she opened her mouth and started talking I knew where this conversation was going. It is always so awkward when some comes right out and asks for money. I have loaned money or I should say given money to an “acquaintance” friend in the program and got burned. I have also loaned money to a great friend in the program with no problems. The thing is, I feel guilty not helping out. I have money. But I don’t have the trust in this person and that there is the difference. She is not my friend and I feel a little used and angry.

I don’t know why I have so many mixed emotions about this. I can not be the bank for those in need this way. I do donate money and time to organizations that I believe in. We have worked hard to get to the place we are in life. I am grateful to have what I have and to be able to do the things we do. I won’t mention the fact that my husband would not be happy if I loaned money to another miscellaneous friend. He is okay with the loans I have given my real friend, as she is his friend too.

I have got to know I did the right thing, and move on. What are your thoughts?

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,

Insurance

Something in my medical or mental health records is coming back to haunt me. I am having some difficulty getting regular health insurance. We had COBRA for 18 mos when Steve went to self employed and in October it was time to move on. I keep getting denied for various reason. So I currently for the last couple of months have had sort half coverage. My family doctor and GI doctor both sent letters stating that the health issues they were originally concerned with are non issues. What does that leave – the mental and addiction issues.

I feel like my past is coming back to cause me trouble. Because I sought help for my addiction and mental health issues am I now considered a flawed person to risky to be insured ….. WTF. I got help, and proceeded to get better. I don’t understand the problem.

My insurance guy is looking in to what the underwriter is “afraid” of, in the meantime I wait. There is another insurance option, there is always a more expensive, not so great option. At this point that is what I a going to have to consider.

To say I am baffled is an understatement. I have worked hard to become healthy from addiction and better equipped to handle life. I guess this is my reward – Ugh!

Sometimes it doesn’t pay to be honest with your doctors and have that past follow you into the future.

Stay tuned. It will be interesting to see what the actual problem with me is.

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.

Thanksgiving 2020 ūüćĀ

Thanksgiving looks a lot different this year due to Covid. Our Thanksgiving table will have 3 chairs instead of 14. We have zoomed with family members and have spent most of the day relaxing, watching TV and hopefully we will get a walk in.

I am happy to be with Steve and Kirsten. Allie is in Texas this year, but looking forward to her and Patrick coming home for a couple of weeks over the Christmas holiday.

We are all moved into our condo. A lot of our stuff is in the storage room and in the storage unit. It has been difficult to stuff everything from our big house into this smaller space. We have settled in the best we can amongst the clutter.

Our Thanksgiving dinner has been ordered from the neighborhood grocer. Turkey and all the trimmings. A lot of people I know are doing the same …. carry-out instead of cooking. It is just a weird and different kind of Thanksgiving.

I still have so much gratitude for what I have and the people I love. I am a blessed woman, I hope I will never take for granted all I have been giving. By the grace of God, I have my health, family, friends, home and sobriety in the midst of this crazy pandemic.

So even though Thanksgiving looks very different this year. I will count my blessings and I pray that you can find the gratitude I have.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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!

Life and Death

Breast biopsy can back normal ….. what a great relief that was!!! My family Dr. was awesome and got the news to me bright and early via MyChart so it was great news to wake up to after a somewhat sleepless night.

I have to admit the procedure was not as bad as my imagination let me to believe it would be. The Dr and the tech who took the biopsy etc, were very kind and wonderful. I was a little sore, but really had no side effects. I am thinking that the procedure was more tolerable because of the drugs – I didn’t get my favorite (Xanax), but did get a prescription for Valium. 10 mg before the procedure and all was well. I still have one 5 mg tablet riding around in purse. What I will do with it, not sure. I am an addict – it is very difficult for me to just throw it out. But one pill will do nothing for me except ignite my craving. I am too far along in my sobriety journey to do something stupid.

I didn’t tell many, but didn’t really keep it a secret … I just don’t like people to worry about me (especially when it turns out to be nothing). But the prayers, care and concern by those who did know somewhat helped to calm my anxieties. Talking with my sponsor and my therapist were a tremendous help

It is crazy were your mind can go. Mine went to; I am not ready to die. This is interesting coming from someone who at one time wanted nothing more than to die. In my prayers, I found comfort and was ready for whatever the results of the test may be. I knew in my heart that I am not done here yet.

One the subject of addiction and death, one of the younger girls that has been attending our women’s meeting for the last month or so O’D on heroin. It is really sad. One of my dear friends was her sponsor and she is beside herself. Molly, was her name and she was supposed to get her 6 month token on the day she died. Addiction and alcoholism can be a fatal disease (as can breast cancer). It is cunning, baffling and powerful. I have been thinking of my own mortality with the biopsy and the death of Molly.

Life is fragile and I have learned we should not take it for granted and I hope that I never do.

Living Life on Life’s Terms

Life sure has gotten busy and interesting.

Most pressing in this thing called life is that I have to have a breast biopsy. I had a diagnostic mammogram that showed changes in a small area that they want a closer look at. It is so small I am amazed they detected it. Not looking forward to this procedure to say the least, but you gotta do what you gotta do. I go on Tuesday next week. What I am most concerned with is laying on my stomach for an hour + with my left breast hanging out. The nurse that scheduled this said I might need to talk to my Dr. about something for stress and anxiety for the procedure. My ears sure did perk up. Here is the possible chance for my favorite drug …. Xanax! You can be sure that I will call the Dr. tomorrow to see what they can do. As a side note I have taken Xanax as prescribed for procedures since my addiction issues. I am not going to lie, the idea of the possibility of getting to take Xanax excites me. I am a pill addict after all. Of course I will talk to my sponsor and do what I am supposed to do if the situation arises. My sponsor, Ann, has been through this and breast cancer so I know she is someone I can count on. She has already sweetly offered to go with me for the biopsy. I really don’t know what to think about this whole thing. I do think about the what ifs, but I also try to remember that it could be nothing. I also know that I can handle just about anything with my support system.

We have decided to put our current house on the market to sell. We have found some land nearby to build on, but it is going to be a long process. The development has not been started yet. We decided to strike while the housing market was hot and go ahead and list the house now. We have lived in this house for 19 years. Saying we have a lot of stuff is an understatement. Each day we have been busy getting this house in order. I think we have everything just about scheduled that needs to be done. We hope to be market ready in the next two weeks. Now if we could just get the painter to call us back we will be in good shape. It feels good to go through everything and purge. It has also been heartwarming to go down memory lane as we box things up. We have taken many trips to Goodwill and have ordered a dumpster to dispose of a lot of things. We are looking at buying a condo for the interim. It will be at least a year if not longer. I can’t believe we are actually doing this, we have been talking about it for a long while.

My writing course has started off well. I have gotten some great feedback. I feel like I am getting a little bit behind with all this house and health stuff. I really want to make sure I do this course right and get something out of it.

Last but not least the sponsees are keeping me busy. One went out on a drinking binge, but is now back at wanting to be sober. Thing is she doesn’t have “time” for meetings. Two of my girls are really working the program and I see them often. The other has been having some health issues so our step work was put on hold, but I think she is ready to get back to it. Then there is the lady who only reaches out every once in a blue moon, I have not idea how she is doing at the moment.

I definitely can’t say I am bored. Health, house, writing and recovery seems to be all I have time for. Sometimes I don’t know whether I am coming or going. All I can do is just take a deep breath and live the best life I can live ….. one day at a time.

Letting Go

Like I said in my last post, I was to give my lead (my addiction journey) at my Sunday AA meeting.¬† ¬†Well ….. I am proud to say I did it!

I was surprisingly calm.¬† ¬†I am usually a basket case before a lead.¬† ¬†I didn’t have the time to worry about it with only 1 days notice.¬† I usually would have not accepted a last minute offer or I would have spent the 4th of July at home practicing and writing instead of enjoying the holiday.¬† I was not a bit nervous and had no anxiety.¬† ¬†Very strange for someone like me who is an anxious person to begin with.¬† ¬†¬†

In the past, I would practice practice practice, make notes and write down word for word what I wanted to say.   This time I decided it was time to let go of the control and give it over to God.     Just letting go of the outcome had a peaceful affect on me.   I like to be in control.   Letting it go is not my usual way.

I have been doing much better of giving over control of other things as well.¬† ¬†There is an upcoming picnic for our club, planned by my social committee.¬† ¬†I have given over control and am letting others help.¬† ¬†Things may not match perfectly,¬† ¬†the cake not be decorated as I would have chosen and I am letting folks bring whatever they choose.¬† ¬†I like things to be a certain way when I am planning something.¬† ¬† Life as we know it will not end if things aren’t perfect, in fact I will probably be the only one to notice.

Back to my story or as we call call it my lead ….. it came off well.¬† ¬†People in the rooms laughed with me when appropriate, they listened with open ears and the comments afterwords were encouraging.¬† ¬† I talked for approximately 40 minutes with no notes, no practice and no idea of what I was going to say.¬† I let God have control over my words and it worked.¬† ¬†It took away the fear and anxiety and I just spoke from my heart.¬† When it was over, I was not sure exactly what I said, but all the feedback was quite positive and it felt good.¬† ¬†I felt relieved that I could get out of my comfort zone and do this.¬† ¬† ¬†Who knows now what I will be able to do next.

It has taken me years to loosen the reigns of control especially in giving a lead.   I have given several during my 13 years in the program, but not once I have let go until this last time.   I know I am finally making progress, I am learning more about myself and I am trusting the process.    All good stuff.

So instead of just saying the words; Let Go and Let Go, I have to practice what I preach!

The Pain Meds

I love being sober.   I love the life I have created, the friends that I have made and the people I may help by being sober.   The gifts of sobriety are too numerous to count.

The disease of addiction though, is cunning, baffling and powerful.   It wants to see me use, it wants to see me dead.    My diseases recently reared its ugly head that made me questions everything I know and love.

It started about 10 days ago, with a medical procedure.     I had my no colon version of the colonoscopy, a pouchoscopy.   A test to take a look at my Jpouch that is sort of the same monster of the colonoscopy.   In the past when I had my check ups at the Cleveland Clinic with my surgeon no anesthesia was used.   New hospital and new surgeon, a lot closer to home and the use of anesthesia.   Yay!!!  because the other way in my opinion was barbaric.  I am an addict.   I like anesthesia.    My drug of choice was a sedative.   The all day sleep I got after the procedure and that kinda groggy feeling was all too familiar.  Ok, so it really was no big deal.

That was a Friday,¬† fast forward to the following Monday and I had my hand surgery for carpal tunnel.¬† ¬†I just had a local for that one – numb hand and fully aware and awake.¬† ¬† But that one came with pain pills, though it is not my drug of choice it is still a good drug!¬† I took one as soon as I could with the still numb hand as directed by the doctor and took a nice nap.¬† ¬†Took another one for the next 3 nights.¬† Good sleep.¬† ¬† Ok, so no problem, I am taking them as directed.¬† ¬†It is when the pain isn’t enough to warrant the pain meds that the problems begin.

When do you stop, how do you know the pain is really over?¬† ¬†I believe you know, I knew.¬† ¬† But those damn pills where still there and they wanted me to take them.¬† ¬†They never stopped singing that sweet song as my sponsor said.¬† ¬† Spoiler alert:¬† ¬†I did not take the pills.¬† ¬†I struggled, I fought with myself, I obsessed, I stressed.¬† ¬†I held the pills, I counted the pills, I even tried to smell the pills.¬† ¬†All this and I was just a little bit stronger than the disease …. this time.¬† ¬† I talked to my therapist and I emailed with my sponsor.¬† They both told me to do what I knew to do – hand over the pills to Steve to get rid of for me.¬† ¬† God knows I could not throw them out.¬† ¬†But I did not want to.¬† ¬† Why I felt the need to hang on to them and torture myself with their presence is beyond me.¬† ¬†I finally caved and slightly mentioned it and before I knew it they were gone.¬† ¬†I had so many mixed emotions, relief and anger both.

Later I come home to an empty house and searched high and low for those meds.¬† ¬†I have had a moment of the fuck-its. Steve is good at hiding things … too good and I am angry and grateful.¬† ¬† This disease plays you …. the you that is sober and the you that is still an addict.¬† ¬†It can be very confusing and all consuming.¬† ¬†It is exhausting.

I know the pitfalls of addiction.  I know the benefits of being sober.   The disease of addiction will rear its ugly head whenever and however it can.    I know I could easily fall for it.  It is cunning, baffling and powerful as it showed it self to be this past week.

I am still not sure if I am over it yet.  Yikes!!!