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.

Reunion

I graduated from college in 1989 …. 30 years ago.    It seems like a life time ago.   I went to Ohio University in Athens Ohio and have very found memories of my time there.   I was in a sorority and thanks to Facebook, they are planning a reunion in Chicago in September.

I would like to see some of the girls from the sorority and I am sure I could have some fun, but I am an alcoholic / addict and it looks like it is going to be a party time weekend.  Why wouldn’t it be?   Your average person doesn’t have a substance abuse problem.   I don’t really want to disclose my personal business to this group of people, I am really not close to any of them at this time in my life.  I think all I need to know about these “friends” I learn from Facebook.

One of the events is a mini pub crawl …. the Court Street Shuffle (going to all the bars for a drink in one night and there were many) is a staple OU activity.  It doesn’t really sound like a fun way to spend an evening to this addict.  I am pretty sure if I go I will either be miserable or I will drink, neither of which sound fun.   So why am I so conflicted about this?   I think I am feeling left out because I know I can’t do certain things.   If this event were in Athens I could go up for a day, but going to Chicago is a commitment and I would be stuck.   I know it is a choice … I can go or I can not go, up to me.   I just know it is not in my best interest to put myself in that situation, but I don’t want to miss out – conflicted!

College and the sorority were some great times, I would love to be able to relive some of that with the girls I shared my life with for 3 – 4 years.  But if I want to stay sober the answer is obvious and I don’t like it!

Mother’s Day

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

Its a good day to recognize those women who have mothered us and helped us grow.  Our Mother’s, Mentors and Friends.   I love my Mother so much, she is an awesome Mom.  Sometimes I wish I could be more like her … spur of the moment, love of travel and of all things and very adventurous.  She is a free spirit (and sometimes these traits drive me crazy).   I on the other hand am more careful, conservative, a planner and a homebody …. more like my Dad I would say.   My mom and I have a wonderful relationship, she is my biggest supporter.    I don’t think though she understands my addiction issues and recovery very much and we rarely talk about it, but she is proud of me for getting sober and for the Mother that I am.

I love being a Mom.   I am grateful to be the Mother of 2 wonderful young women.   My girls have really turned out to be good people and I couldn’t be prouder of them.   They are both on their way to becoming self sufficient adults.    I feel like I have done my job in raising them.  I miss having them around, but I have had to let them leave the nest and fly.   It is different being a Mother to adult children.   I sometimes miss those days when my kids were younger.  I still worry about them, even though they are adults.  I worry about that addiction gene, I pray they don’t have it.    They like to have fun and drink, but don’t seem obsessive about it or to have that addictive personality …. yet.   My girls seem well grounded and mostly responsible.   I am grateful that my girls have a close relationship with my Mom (in fact my oldest daughter, Allie, is just like my Mom) and had a close relationship with my Grandma, their Great Grandma, who passes away only 4 years ago.   We all live(d) in the same area and got to enjoy each other as family.

Life keeps going.   I am so happy my girls were home to celebrate the Mother’s Day weekend with me and spend some time with my Mom.   I do miss my Grandma, but she is definitely here always in spirit.

I am honored to have so many wonderful (older) women in my life who may not be my Mother, but who have helped shape and mold the person I am today.   This is especially true of the women I know and love in recovery.    I am a very lucky Girl, Daughter and Mother.

Sponsorship

Today day is the day one of my sponsees hit the one year sober mark.   My first one to do so and I couldn’t be happier.    I have had 5 girls over time and 3 or maybe 2 that I am actively working with.     I am so proud of this girl, she is doing the deal.   She came in to AA and sobriety and never looked back.     I wish I could have done it that way, but that wasn’t my journey.

One of my girls is actively drinking.   She got her 30 days a couple of weeks ago and then a 24 hour token last week and is back in the bottle.    I wish I could help those in active addiction more.   I just want to shake her and tell her there is a better way to live.   All I can do at this time is let her know that I am here for her when she is ready and pray for her and her son that is caught in her web of addiction.   I feel so helpless and it is not a good feeling.   As a sponsor, I feel a little bit like I have failed her even though I know it is her choice.   I can’t make her drink and I can’t make her be sober.

My other girl is doing well.    She had a relapse in September so she will be coming up on 9 months.    She has had some challenges that we have worked through and I think she has finally found some peace in her situation.

But as for my 1 year girl … I get to give her a special 1 year token on Saturday at the big meeting.   I hope I can find the words to do her justice.   1 year is a big deal.

I love being a sponsor even though it is challenging at times, I love helping others in the best way I can.    Sometimes though I feel like how can I help them when sometimes I can’t even help myself.   They keep me sober and honest with myself.    I don’t want to fail them, I want to be the best example of sobriety that I can be.

Meet Ollie

IMG_6111So this happened this weekend …. my husband and I were bored and took a trip to the local animal shelter, the next day we brought our new 8 week old little boy puppy home.  Crazy?, yes!  But we couldn’t resist.   We think his name will be Ollie.   We have tried out several names and this is the one that seems to fit the best, at least so far.

Our current dog is getting on in years and we have been toying with the idea for awhile, but not seriously and we were wanting an older dog, not a puppy.   Funny how things work out.   Our older dog, Sadie, is not overly thrilled with this new addition.  Hopefully in time she will grow to love him as we do.   Right now she is totally trying to avoid him.

Spring/Summer will be the perfect time to get this puppy trained.   I am not working and Steve is in between jobs and taking the summer off to really explore different opportunities and what he wants to do with the rest of his life.    We are blessed that we have the means to let him do this and the chance to spend some fun time together.

It is a crazy world we live in …. you never know what is going to happen when you wake up in the morning.

Empty Nest Again

Back on my beautiful back patio, chilling, listen to the birds sing and letting my mind wander some more.    I am blessed with my family and friends and the life I have despite the obstacles of addiction and at times mental issues.

This past weekend we celebrated Easter.   Both of my girls were home at the same time, the first since Christmas.   I had not seen Kirsten, the Chicago daughter since then.   It was so wonderful having a full house …. the two girls plus 1 boyfriend for a long weekend.   It is different with adult children our relationship has changed to an adult relationship.   Steve and I really enjoy our adult children, we had a lot of fun just hanging out with them and being together. We did the family Easter thing at my Moms house celebrating with my brothers and family … 14 of us in all.   And though it was very loud and chaotic at times, it was still wonderful.  I love having everyone together, the kids ages 2.5 to almost 24 enjoyed the Easter Egg Hunt, it was fun to watch the little ones and the big kids act like little ones.

Now it is Monday.    Allie and Patrick are back to work in Columbus.  We took Kirsten to the airport this morning for her flight back to Chicago and school and Steve left for an overnight business trip.   I went from a full house to just me sitting at home alone contemplating life. I am back to having an earache and sore throat  and sinus issues … which is making me more self aware that I am now alone and feeling a little sad.   I miss having my kids around, but they are spreading their wings and I am proud of them.    They are great kids or I should say they have turned out to be great people.

Really I should have nothing to complain about, I am truly blessed.

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