An Ordinary Thursday

It is just an ordinary Thursday on December 1.

Tomorrow, December 2nd, I will celebrate 8 years of continuous sobriety. Each year, month, day, hour and minute is a miracle. It has been hard fought at times to get to this point. I am ever so blessed to where I am and the life I have today. Is it perfect …. hell no, but I am grateful. I plan to be with my sponsor on Sunday to receive my official 8 year token. I always reflect this time of year with Thanksgiving, My sober anniversary and the Christmas Season. I have been given a second chance that many do not have and I have so many friends in the fellowship, Doctors, therapists and of course my family to thank for it.

Now that December is officially here the hustle and bustle of the Christmas Season is ever apparent. I love the holidays, but at the same time it overly stresses me out. So many parties and gatherings and I usually feel like I have to go to them all. Nope! Not doing it all this year. I have declined several sober dinners and get togethers (and those are my people). I have a couple of work parties with the business and a neighborhood party I will show up at for as long as I feel comfortable. A friend of mine that I was discussing all this with said she has noticed that I have pulled away from a lot of these things since my sponsee, Kerry, committed suicide. It is probably true. She also said it was good that I do what I feel I need to do or not to do for me. I appreciated that and it sort of made it ok to say no.

Allie and Patrick will be home for Christmas on 12/17. We will make our traditional Christmas dinner on 12/22, Pat’s family will be joining us in our home 12/23-12/25. We will do my family’s Christmas celebration later on the 25th. Allie and Pat leave the 27th or 28th and then Kirsten’s 5 college friends come on the 28th to stay with us for a couple of days before moving on to Cincinnati for NYE. It is going to be a couple of weeks of chaos! It will be fun, but chaotic. Home is my safe haven and there will be no escaping.

I have done a lot of shopping, probably over shopping to control my anxiety. It could be another addiction. I swore it was going to be a small Christmas, I am not sure who I was fooling.

So stress is the name of the game for December. I am though proud of my sober accomplishments.

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.

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!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Original Care Team

I had a wonderful care team made up of my primary care doctor, my psychologist and my chiropractor.   Each one of these people were essential in helping me deal with my Ulcerative Colitis, depression/anxiety and in helping me to get sober.  They were an important part of my life and making sure I continued to live.

My primary doctor worked really hard in trying to control my Xanax intake and my obsession with self harm.   He referred my to my GI doctor who in return referred me to the Cleveland Clinic for colon removal surgery.   He took good care of me after that surgery and took my phone calls at all hours.  This physician really cared about me, was a family friend and went the extra mile to ensure my safety and health. He retired (2015)

My therapist worked with my doctor.   It was her who called him and said I needed treatment for the addiction to benzo drugs.   My therapist helped with so many mental challenges including my diagnosed clinical depression and general anxiety disorder as well as the addiction / alcoholism and the self harm.    She knew me most times better than I knew myself.    I always told her I would never let her retire because I needed her in so many ways.   She retired (2018).

My chiropractor who became a friend was a great help during my illness.  When I could not eat due to the effects of the Ulcerative Colitis she delivered supplements to my home.  When my mental health started getting wacky she referred me to the local psychologist who became my therapist for 15 years.   She has helped me through thick and thin.   It was my friend and chiropractor who I went to when I was told I had an addiction issue from my therapist to ask her thoughts and what I should do regarding going to treatment.  It was her who took me to my first AA meeting.  She helped me heal from my car accident.   She has taken care of me and my girls and has been a great asset to our health.   Today was our last appointment …. she is retiring.

The above care team was the best and they all went far above the call of duty to care for me.    I don’t know what I would have done or where I would be without them.   Probably not alive.   Even though I have grown and have a handle on my mental health for the most part and little problems with the no colon / Jpouch I feel like I am now left to my own devices.   I don’t do well with change and things have changed greatly and life continues to move on.

I have a new therapist who I can really connect with who I saw on occasion in past.  It is a good fit and she is very helpful to me.    She is always there to return a phone call at all hours and to talk me down no matter what the problem.   I have a new physician, I like her, but she doesn’t know me like my original doctor or my (real) history.  Medicine has changed and it is almost impossible to get an appointment when needed.  I will try the new chiropractor at the office, but it won’t be the same.    I retired so I can not complain when others do the same especially since they are older than I.

So really I have to put my big girl pants back on and embrace the change.   I do miss those from my original care team but it has been years since my surgery, my mental health diagnosis, and addiction.  They have all moved on and maybe I need to do the same.