The Ripple Effect

Did you ever stop and think that whatever you do affects the universe in some way, it is called the ripple effect.   What I may do may have an impact on what someone else does and so on and so on to infinity.   It is weird to think that one little action could play such a role.

We are currently watching “13 Reasons Why” on Netflix.   I know we are a little late in the game to be watching this .. but it is about a teenager who commits suicide and the actions of others and how it relates to and affects all.   It has really made me stop and think about life and death.   I would be lying if I said I never had thoughts, especially during active addiction, of just leaving this earth …. suicide.   When you are in that state of craziness, I don’t think you realize the effect of that action on the world around you.   I know of many in my 12 step program who have thought about or even tried to kill themselves.  So as I wrote in my last post, I wonder sometimes what is the point, death is inevitable and life does go on.   But there is a point, there are many points!   This world needs each and every one us for one reason or another no matter how long we are here.

For me today, I am grateful for life.    I am glad I didn’t give in to those moments of despair.   I am glad the drugs and alcohol did not kill me and that I have a chance to always choose and hopefully I choose the right action.   My higher power, who I choose to call God, has a plan for me on this earth.

The ripple effect happens no matter what you choose.  One must remember that it is not all about one person, but how that person interacts (whether it be good or bad) and how it effects the people in their life and the world around them.

Just don’t forget about the Ripple Effect!

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?

 

Amends

I have been around recovery for many years …. I first got sober in 2007, with many relapses under my belt I have 4.5 years of continuous sobriety.   Working the steps is important when you first get sober and continuing to not only work them but live them as you stay sober is just as important.  When I first attempted to get sober living the steps, I did not do.

I recently made an amends that crept up in my mind a couple months ago.   They say more will be reveled as you go through recovery and it is true.   This was something I had not thought of in many years.   It came to me while working steps 8 and 9 with a sponsee and then again as I helped a friend through a difficult situation at home.    After a couple of months of struggling with this thought I knew I had to follow my heart and talk to my friend who I needed to make amends to.   It was quick and easy as it was not a broken relationship as we were and are still friends.   We talked and I realized even more how much this friend helped me through my dark times and I am forever grateful for her.  She remembered clearly some of my craziness that I had no recollection of.    I am sorry that I took her too far into my wrong doings.

It felt good to make this amends, even though like I said, it was something that eluded me for many years.   I think Gods timing is good and things are reveled as they need to or are able to be dealt with.

Making amends is good for the soul!

Podcast

I have been getting a little out of  my comfort zone lately.   The biggest thing that I did was today, I was interviewed about my recovery story and my thoughts on addiction for a podcast.    I have decided being totally anonymous really isn’t helping anyone.  I do have this blog where I discuss my issues with addictions, but doing this podcast takes it to a whole new level.   I was really nervous about doing this and sounding like a dork, but luckily I get to hear the final edit before it posts.  I really hope it turned out well and that it will resinate with someone who listens.  Being uncomfortable for a minute is worth it if it helps someone.

Turns out it wasn’t so bad doing it after we got started.   It was just like talking to a friend.  I did stumble some but hopefully that will be taken care of in editing.  I am anxious to hear how it turned out and totally trusting my interviewer, Nick.

Nick has a great website called Open Discussion Movement and I think you should check it out at https://ODMovement.com.   A lot of great stuff on addiction issues and he has a wide range of guests on his podcast with different experiences with addiction.

Getting out of your comfort zone every now and then feels good.   It is definitely a growth experience.    My sponsor told me just the other day how much I was growing and changing … and that  my friend is a good thing.

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.

Great isn’t always great

So I have been feeling a little out of sorts as of late.   It doesn’t help that I have been fighting the ear / throat / cough stuff that has been going around.    I am still working on the anxiety, though I have found some relief.    I am not sure what has me feeling a little crazier than usual.

Everything seems to be going well.    I gave my AA story (my lead) a few weeks ago and that definitely caused me a lot of anxiety, but it went well and I got a lot of positive feedback from the group.    I also got a new sponsee so that puts me back at 3 since one of my girls did not last long.   I planned a fun St. Patrick’s Day party at the AA Club that I am involved with and there was a great turn out.   To read this and to see what I have been doing it sounds like things should be good in the AA world.   I just feel in my head that I am not feeling the AA way.   Stinken Thinken.  I am getting tired of being sober.   I want to feel and practice what I preach.   I love the program and my sober peeps so it is not logical that I feel this way.  I really don’t have any plans to drink,  but a shot of Wild Turkey always makes me feel better when I am sick.

My sober friends and my sponsees do keep me busy and usually grounded.    I probably need some gratitude …. I know my sponsor would make me do a gratitude list if I complain and maybe thats what I need.    I know what to do and I know how to do it.  I just don’t want to.   So I will sit in this discomfort until I realize how silly I am being. There are just so many drinking events and sometimes it just sucks being the one drinking water or worse being the one who can not go at all because its all about drinking.

Oh poor me,  poor me …. Pour Me a Drink!

Death and Gratitude

I was texting with my oldest daughter and she told me that a friend of hers had passed away, when I asked her what happened it only took one word …. Fentanyl.

The drug culture today is so scary.   I had met this young man on a couple of occasions and I do remember him.  He took Xanax laced with the Fentanyl.  It took me back and shook me to my core.

Xanax is my drug a choice and what ultimately led me to treatment and sober living.  I never bought it off the street, I always got it from the pharmacy.   But had I gone much further in my addiction, I could see myself going to the streets.  Things were getting that serious.  I did look at getting drugs from the internet.  I even went so far as to pay the “sign up” fee, but I never went through with it.    I am so grateful I didn’t quite reach that point.  I am grateful that I got the help I needed, even though it took me several years and many relapses to get to this point of sobriety.

This young man who died is my daughters age … 23.   To young to die.  Drugging in todays society is so much more intense than in years past … It is deadly.  I feel for the family and friends of this young man who was really just a kid.  I am really sad for a life lost.   But I can find gratitude for how how my life has turned around.

Recovery is a beautiful thing

Anxiety Issues

So I have been experiencing a lot of anxiety lately.   I can not pin point one exact cause.  I think there are many.    I am an anxious person by nature and have been diagnosed many years ago with Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

I have been having some panic along with the anxiety and the usual symptoms of racing mind, racing heart, pain in the chest area, sleepless nights and that feeling of doom.  With the symptoms you think the worst … heart attack.   But I have had enough anxiety over the years to know it is not, but it doesn’t stop the anxious thoughts.   I have been to my therapist who suggested some reading materials and deep relaxation breathing.   I have seen my doctor who confirmed I was not going to stroke out and suggested some of the same things.     The thing is I get so caught up in my anxiety that I am too  paralyzed to do anything.     I try to ignore the symptoms, but they are always there.   It sucks!

I follow the Cleveland Clinic on Facebook since that is where I had my UC surgery and this ironically popped up on my page today …. Anxiety 9 ways to keep it at bay:

1.  Think of yourself as a firefighter putting out the flames of anxiety with cool breaths

2.  Cool down anxious thoughts by thinking about what you can and cannot change about the situation.

3.  Get some perspective by considering how the situation will impact your life in 5 minutes or 5 years.

4,  Sooth your system – try some yoga stretches or find some other gentle ways to calm your body.

5.  Talk it out by sharing your feelings with others.

6.   Don’t ignore, something needs your attention.

7.   Rule out other causes that may be medical issues.

8.   Wait it out, ride the wave as this too shall pass.

9.  Be mindful and stay in the moment.    The game of 5 ….. name 1 thing you can taste, 2 things your can smell 3 things you can touch right now 4 things you can hear and 5 things you can see see in the immediate environment.

I will try, especially the breathing that was suggested by my counselor and doctor while I ride the wave waiting for this to pass.

Due to my addiction I can not take benzodiazepines especially since Xanax and Ativan were my drug of choice.   That leaves me with Buspar and Hydroxyzine.  If I take enough it will kind of take the edge off, but what I really need is a healthy dose of Xanax,  Even my Dr. said that nothing was as effective as the benzos.    But it is not worth the possibility of another addiction crisis.   The odds of me taking them as safely as prescribed are not in my favor.    So like I said above I just have to ride this one out and do what I can to minimize the effects.

Anxiety sucks and is not for sissies!

Snowy Day

The holidays are over, the kids are gone, it is mid January and we are having our first major snow of the season.    It has been a long day and mostly lazy with the exception of shoveling the driveway.   Yes we shoveled our very long driveway as our snowblower is tucked away way in the backyard in the shed … of course!    The snowflakes are large and they keep coming, our clean driveway is no longer.

It is cozy with the fire, the football game on the TV and a book within reach.   Something though is missing ….. the kids.    Allie has been gone for a couple of weeks and Kirsten left yesterday.   It is quiet.   The kids have been out of the house for awhile, but it is always hard when they leave after having them home for month, well at least one of them was home for a month.   The other is a real adult with a teaching job she had to get back to.

So with the kids gone, the holidays over and Steve’s travel schedule picking up, it is time once again to find myself.    I find myself in that lull between being super busy with the holidays, vacation and entertained with the kids to getting started again with finding my purpose.  I started volunteering some in November and I need to pick back up on that,  I have to get myself back in gear to getting healthy and loosing some weight (I have lost 13 lbs so far with gaining just a couple back over the holidays) and I really need to be connecting better with my sponsees (but that is mostly on them).    I look at the calendar and see many empty days.  What will I do to fill the time?  The days of running kids around or even having them home is over.   I have to fill my time with me.  Volunteering, AA, my Trainer and various appointments and of course girlfriend time .. is it enough to fill me?

Snowy days when you are stuck inside sure do give you a lot of time to think.   As they say in recovery; we will just take it one day at a time and enjoy each moment … even the snowy ones.

 

img_5768