Moving Along

My life is in disarray!

The house sold in 3 days. We had the condo we put money down on, but got freaked out that it might be too small for the duration. We looked at a house and put an offer in but we could not come to terms. Found another condo and its perfect for what we need … and that is where we will be resting out heads for the time being. It is a main level with a walk out lower level with a lot more space than the original condo. Only down side is we lost our money that we put down on the first condo – breach of contract. We are closing on the condo next Friday 10/30. It has been a whirlwind. Lots of anxiety and uncertainty.

My house is half packed up and half livable. We are doing a little bit every day – seems like we are always going for more boxes. We certainly have a lot of stuff and a lot to do! Movers are scheduled for 11/12 so we can get the condo ready and move some things ourselves.

In the midst of all we have going on, tonight we (Steve and I) are having dinner with my long lost friend. The one that I recently reconnected with over lunch and her husband. I am feeling a little anxious about this. We were a fun foursome and we loved to drink. They have no idea about my addiction problem and I don’t plan on telling them. The drinking situation could be tricky and I am not sure how I am going to react … I am sure there will be questions . A drink would help me relax in this situation – we all know though how that would end, so I am not even going there! I have been craving a drink lately, maybe it is all the anxiety, I am not sure. Better than a drink though, I think would be some Xanax. But that is not going to happen either. I still think I have that one Valium in my purse.

Best news is that Allie is coming home next week to see her childhood home one more time, to help us pack and just visit. I am really happy she is coming. It will be nice to have a full house for a few days.

And those who are wondering about the Whole30 Diet. I am totally off that bandwagon, but need to get back on some type of diet and exercise program – I have gone to the other extreme since the Whole30 thing. The key I know is moderation and food choices. With all the moving stress, I haven’t been doing it. But I gotta get my head in the game and just do it!

That is it ….. The Life and Times of Me.

Freedom

Pool day, fireworks and more fireworks ….. Yes it is the 4th of July ūüí•

The fireworks start going off days before the 4th at least in our neighborhood with the big city shows and crazy neighbor shows tonight. A lot of big cities and towns are closing shop again and having shelter in place rules due to an increase in the COVID virus A few cities even around here have required mask wearing. But in my small Ohio suburb, life goes on for the most part.

Even though things in this country are a little crazy with some unrest, I am still grateful to be living in the USA. Maybe because it is all I know, but from what I know, Yes … I am. Is our country perfect … not at all, but I am grateful for the freedoms we have and the life I have.

This morning at the AA meeting we talked about the Freedom from alcohol and drugs on this Independence Day. It was a great discussion and gave me pause to really think. Today, I have the freedom of choice. There once was a time when I needed and had to take the pills or have drinks. By the Grace of God, today I more often than not make good choices and there is a freedom in that. Freedom to be the person I was meant to be. With the pain pill incident, I had a choice and I chose well. In this Country we are free, thanks to the founding Fathers and those who serve and I am so very grateful for that too.

I have the choice to be the hand in AA to be there for others and to be of service to the group. I was asked to today to give the lead tomorrow morning. Not my favorite thing to do, but if you can do it, you should do it. I choose to be honest and say yes to be of service. I usually have a lot more time to prepare and I make a huge deal out of it, writing it all out, color coding and practicing. I am trying something different this time. I am just going to trust God will give me the words and speak from the heart. I know my story and can tell it as I see fit tomorrow. It is a little nerve wracking and out of my comfort zone, but I have to have faith. I have found a little freedom in going with the flow for this lead which is kind of amazing for this control freak. Freedom from worry and stress is a peaceful feeling. I just must not think too much about it. I will let you know how it goes. It may be good, it may be only 15 minutes long, I may stumble through it. I am just going to do what I can. These are my friends and they may laugh with me, but never at me. It will be ok.

Freedom comes in many forms. We should appreciate and enjoy each freedom we have been given …… Freedom is a Gift!

Quarantined

It is official:¬† The state of Ohio has issued a “Stay at Home” order.¬† ¬†Only essential services are open.¬† ¬†You can go out to work if you are essential or one can go out to get food … that is about it.

Today is officially the first day of the order.   I started yesterday, so today is day #2 of full stay at home mode for me.   We had been staying home quite a bit before the order so it does seem like it has been going on longer.   We are to be at home at least until April 6th.  which is about 2 weeks.

With my Ulcerative Colitis, even though I no longer have my diseased colon, I am considered an auto-immune patient.   With this coronavirus that is one of the population that should be more careful and may have worse systems of the virus if you should get it.

One of the things that I had continued doing was my 12 step meetings.¬† Now that the virus is starting to spike in Ohio and we are asked to stay home …. I am going to have to join the virtual meeting crowd.¬† ¬†Our club is still open for those who choose to go in person.¬† ¬†I personally think we should not be open, but I understand those who need the in person aspect.¬† We have spoken to our local police department and they are aware of who we are and what we are doing and why we are still open and they are ok with it.¬† Being on the board, I feel like I am abandoning the club and the people, but I also have to look out for myself.¬† ¬† I had a really hard time coming to terms with the fact that I shouldn’t be going to in person meetings.¬† ¬† This is another good lesson for me in giving up some control of my responsibilities.¬† ¬† I am not the only person in the program that can do what I do.

Our business is still open and Steve is still occasionally going into to the office to help navigate this new normal for the company.   I hope and pray he does not bring any of the virus home and that our employees stay well.   They are taking a lot of measures to keep everyone safe and well.

So day #2 of me being home, I am doing what I can to keep myself busy and entertained. It will be interesting to see how this whole thing plays out.   We all hope it will be quick with a low number of deaths and those affected, but only time will tell.   If everyone would heed the words of the government and stay home we could get over this a lot sooner.   I am trying my best to keep taking it one day at a time, but it is still scary!!!

 

 

 

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.

Our Old Puppy

Our puppy, Sadie Belle, a tan/blonde beagle lab mix, is now an old dog.   We have been through this before, but it is never easy to watch your beloved pup age.   They can not tell us what is wrong and what hurts, we can only take the cues.    Sadie has been on medications for arthritis, is lumpy with fatty tumors and with skin tags on various parts of her body and a growth of sorts on her leg.

Sadie went in for surgery today to remove the growth ( I am not a vet and can’t remember what it was called) and several skin tags.¬† ¬†While she was under we had an X-ray done to check the arthritis.¬† ¬†Sadie is home and doing well.¬† ¬†Her limp on the right side was getting worse, so there was no surprise when arthritis showed up, the severity is rather alarming though.¬† ¬†She also has a bone spur in the area.¬† ¬†We were sure it was her shoulder, but it is all in her elbow.

I too am experiencing arthritis (in my hands) so I understand the discomfort.¬† But what do we do next for Sadie?¬† ¬†There are several options.¬† ¬† Surgery is not really one of those options because of Sadie’s age.¬† There is laser therapy and the better option of a lubricant type of shot.¬† ¬† The shot has to be given monthly at the vet clinic, a pain to do yes …. but our dogs are part of our family and she is worth the expense whatever we decide.

We got Sadie as a nine month old puppy from the humane society.  She has been there with us through thick and thin.   I will do what it takes to make her comfortable in her senior years, it is the least I can do for all the love and loyalty she has given us for the past 12 ish years.

We go back to the vet to get her stitches removed in a couple of weeks at that time we will make our plan.   For now, we have pain meds and a few other things to make her more comfortable.

We don’t know how long anyone, human or animal will be on this earth.¬† ¬†We just take it one day at a time and love with all we have.

 

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One Last Winter Break

Winter break is in full swing for my college senior.    Mom here, is having mixed emotions.    This will be the last time she will be home for any length of time.   After graduation, her and her roommates are planning to stay in Chicago.   Chicago is a 5 + hour drive, not hateful, but not very close to home.    My oldest, is talking about moving from Columbus, Ohio (a 1.5 hour drive from home) to Dallas TX.    She has a couple part time jobs in Columbus, but has not settled in with her career.    I am proud of my independent girls, but I also love it when they are home.

I will have Kirsten home for a little less than 4 weeks and Allie for 4 days.¬† ¬† I will cherish the full house.¬† I don’t know when we will all be home under the same roof again.¬† ¬† The empty nest is getting emptier.¬† ¬†It is real world time for my girls.¬† ¬†I am not sure what that is going to look like.¬† ¬†2020 will be an interesting year, but exciting.¬† ¬†There are so many unknowns that we will get to watch unfold for our children.

It is definitely a bag of mixed emotions that I am trying not to dwell on.   I will live in the moment and enjoy the Christmas / winter break season with my husband and my girls as well as extended family.   This may be the last year for all our family traditions.   I can not project what the future will bring so I will not worry or stress about it until next year.

As I have learned in my 12 step program, I will stay in the now, be present, take it one day at a time and have gratitude.

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.