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!

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.