A day in the life …..

So I survived Covid. In terms of how Covid goes, it was a mild case, not a pleasant experience, but it could have been so much worse. I am grateful. About 12 days of feeling crappy. I still don’t have my taste or smell back and I get tired. It is annoying! Now we just wait and see what type of long term residual effects there might be. There are so many variables to this virus.

The presidential inauguration is tomorrow. Not who I voted for. I believe both candidates had a lot to be desired. I had to vote on policy not personality. What was best for our business and my family. I just hate all the hate that is going around this country right now. I don’t understand the far left and the far right – they are just crazy people. I do believe in parts of both parties platforms. But some of the things have just gone too far!!!! I just like to stay in my own little bubble – it makes me so anxious to think about it all. But I do pray nightly that this country is restored to sanity …. no matter who the president is.

I am getting back to meetings and the fellowship. I did not like zooming while I was sick. I need to be in the rooms for my recovery. I miss so many of my friends who are not coming out because of Covid and health issues. I can be hopeful that this new vaccine will help and I hope soon things will get back to our “normal”.

Not much is happening these days …. just a day in the life!

Letting Go

Like I said in my last post, I was to give my lead (my addiction journey) at my Sunday AA meeting.   Well ….. I am proud to say I did it!

I was surprisingly calm.   I am usually a basket case before a lead.   I didn’t have the time to worry about it with only 1 days notice.  I usually would have not accepted a last minute offer or I would have spent the 4th of July at home practicing and writing instead of enjoying the holiday.  I was not a bit nervous and had no anxiety.   Very strange for someone like me who is an anxious person to begin with.    

In the past, I would practice practice practice, make notes and write down word for word what I wanted to say.   This time I decided it was time to let go of the control and give it over to God.     Just letting go of the outcome had a peaceful affect on me.   I like to be in control.   Letting it go is not my usual way.

I have been doing much better of giving over control of other things as well.   There is an upcoming picnic for our club, planned by my social committee.   I have given over control and am letting others help.   Things may not match perfectly,   the cake not be decorated as I would have chosen and I am letting folks bring whatever they choose.   I like things to be a certain way when I am planning something.    Life as we know it will not end if things aren’t perfect, in fact I will probably be the only one to notice.

Back to my story or as we call call it my lead ….. it came off well.   People in the rooms laughed with me when appropriate, they listened with open ears and the comments afterwords were encouraging.    I talked for approximately 40 minutes with no notes, no practice and no idea of what I was going to say.  I let God have control over my words and it worked.   It took away the fear and anxiety and I just spoke from my heart.  When it was over, I was not sure exactly what I said, but all the feedback was quite positive and it felt good.   I felt relieved that I could get out of my comfort zone and do this.     Who knows now what I will be able to do next.

It has taken me years to loosen the reigns of control especially in giving a lead.   I have given several during my 13 years in the program, but not once I have let go until this last time.   I know I am finally making progress, I am learning more about myself and I am trusting the process.    All good stuff.

So instead of just saying the words; Let Go and Let Go, I have to practice what I preach!

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!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meeting Time

I have been feeling a little isolated from my tribe during this time of quarantine.   I had been doing zoom AA meetings and some meet ups with friends.   It is not the same in any way shape or form.   I have been missing the personal interaction, the hugs and the fellowship that takes place before and after meetings.

With that being said, I had been getting complacent with my meetings.   Zoom was just not getting it done for me and I have been getting irritated with the technical difficulties and with everyone looking to me to get them fixed.   I was getting nothing out of these meetings … I just could not pay enough attention, so I quit logging on.   We all know that no meetings is not the correct answer.  I was getting very irritable and just feeling out of sorts being “off schedule”.     I think a lot of the state and country is getting sick and tired of the isolation.   We want to stay safe and healthy, but we also want to get back to life outside of our homes.

So I made the bold decision to go to a meeting in person.   I have mentioned before that our club is still open for meetings.   I had not been to an in person meeting in over a month.  It felt good just walking into the room.   The chairs are socially distanced, we don’t hug one another or hold hands during the Lord’s Pray.   But still … some people just got too close. No one wore a mask (including me).   I loved being in a meeting, but at the same time did not feel totally comfortable with it.    I think the media and everything has everyone so scared of contacting the coronavirus we just can’t relax while we are out, I know I couldn’t.   It doesn’t help that I am one of those people they talk about that need to be extra careful due to the auto-immune disease.

I don’t think it is time yet for me to be at in person meetings, but I am not sure what to do now to get a meeting.   I am probably going to have to continue to suffer through those zoom meetings, it is better than nothing at all.   I also think I need to try some other zoom meetings away from the club …. ones I am not in charge of.    What I really need to do though is pay attention during the meetings and not get so easily distracted.

The million dollar question is when will all this be over?    When will we find our new normal way of life in light of this pandemic?    Everyone is getting anxious, I know I am.   I really need to reconnect with my people and I look forward to when we can do that … in person!

At Home …. Still

Well, we are going on close to a month of this stay at home order.   I have been keeping fairly busy with various tasks around the house.   I still have not really been anywhere.  Going out each morning to the little coffee shop in town to get my chai tea latte and coffee for Steve and Kirsten is usually the highlight of my day.    I have met up with a couple of friends as we sit in our cars at a distance to chat.   Face to face interaction with friends is very much needed.   I especially miss my in person sober tribe.

I have been doing the zoom AA meetings quite regularly, but it is starting to get old.  I have not been able to totally pay attention in the zoom meetings.  I have been very easily distracted in those meetings.   I desperately need to get back to the in person meetings.   Though our club is still open and operating, I am just not comfortable at this time in light of the virus and the stay at home orders.    I miss the fellowship of the meetings.   I have had drinking dreams and using thoughts and desire, by the grace of God I have not acted on those thoughts.   I do know that nothing good would come from it.   But too much idle time is not good for this addict and there is a lot of time with not much to do!

I have been trying to stay in contact with friends from the program and staying in touch with my sponsees.   I did a 3rd step with one of my girls via Facetime and I have another step meeting scheduled.  Working with others and getting out of self for bit is very helpful during this time of quarantine.   But still it is not face to face so it is a very different kind of step work.

I am trying to do some little task from home from where I volunteer.   We had a volunteer zoom meeting the the other day and it was nice to see some of the ladies I have been working with.    I have also done some virtual get togethers with my sober peeps, just to chat.    We are all trying to do the best we can to stay connected.

There are a lot of zoom meetings in the recovery community from all over the country and the world that one could join.  I have been sticking with my clubs meetings, but maybe need to try some others for something a little different.   I love how everyone in recovery is trying to help those in program stay the course.

I am still trying to find the gratitude.   I have everything I need.   We still have money coming in, we have food, we have a nice home to be isolated in and we are healthy.   I am trying to choose to find the good.   I am not going to say it is not difficult, because it is.  There is still fear, fear of getting the Covid19, the fear of the economic impact and just fear about what is happening in the world.    So many things that I can not control.

Life especially right now is so unpredictable and I have to stick with taking it one day at a time to try to keep my sanity while I am staying home.

It’s all Virtual

Zoom virtual meet ups have become the thing that is holding everything together during this time of stay at home orders and isolation.

The key for me is the virtual 12 step meetings that I am attending almost on a daily basis.  It is helping me to stay somewhat sane.   It is important to connect with my tribe, my peeps, my friends even though it is only virtually.  It is comforting to be among like minded folks and the fellowship.     AA Zoom meetings are taking off like wildfire across the country.  But AA’s aren’t the only ones meeting virtually.

Friends are getting together for virtual happy hours and meet ups.   I was in a virtual happy hour conversation with some of my old sorority sisters the other night.  There were 6 of us.   They are drinkers, I was a drinker – they don’t know I am now in recovery.   I haven’t seen some of them in 25 or so years except for Facebook interactions.   I will admit it was fun to see them and catch up some.   But of course the conversation turned to alcohol consumption – where they drink, what they drink, who threw up last from drinking, when we would all get together for the next drinking event, even my beloved Xanax was mentioned  ……. I was starting to get that stinking thinking and triggered by all the “fun” drinking talk and memories.  I had nothing to add to the conversation and I felt awkward.   It was pity pot time, why do I have to be different?

What I realize today after the fact, as much as I love those girls from college, they are no longer my people.  Sure I could join them in a drink, but that is not who I am today.    I am not going to lie, I would love to be able to hang out with them and be part of the group that I once was.   But I have grown and I have evolved into a different person from what I once was.   I hate that drinking is the bind in some relationships and such a part of our culture.    More than anything with the drinking conversation I got annoyed.  I excused myself from the virtual group and conversation and went on my merry way, to call those who are now my friends, my peeps, my tribe and that was were I belonged.

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!!!

 

 

 

My Corona

With the whole world in an uproar with the coronavirus – everyone is trying to find their new normal while staying home in quarantine and/or social distancing.   It hasn’t been easy for anyone and everyone has had to sacrifice something.

I think this is a good lesson in common human decency.  Some people have it and many don’t.   Who are those people who are hoarding all the goods, being rude to store employees doing their best and selfishly going about life possibly spreading the virus?  I can’t say I have totally stayed home.   I have gone to the grocery, AA meetings, restaurants for carry-out and of course I have been out to get my daily chai tea latte from the local coffee shop.    I don’t think those activities are too hateful and we are being mindful of others and ourselves while doing these activities.

My girls both are at a pivotal time in their lives.   Both are in limbo.   Graduation is postponed until August.   Jobs will be hard to find and moving may be impossible.  We are all having to sacrifice, this is just how it is affecting my family.   It is a small inconvenience when you look at the rest of the world and what people are going through.   We are lucky that we have what we need and that we have the means to help our children through this should they need it, for that I am truly grateful.

I know it is going to get worse before it gets better.   We all have to be prepared and be willing to hunker down at home as much as possible.

AA has been a challenge.   Our club is still currently open.  I am sure it is only a matter of time before we are mandated to close.   Recovery fellowship and meetings are so important to the recovering addict / alcoholic.   It is amazing how this recovery community from across the country and the world have come together putting meetings online in different forms.      We have set up virtual meetings at our club.   I think we finally have it set up and ready to go.   Some people are still going to meetings in person while others are opting for the virtual type.   I feel it is a personal decision.   I somehow got “elected” to put together the virtual meetings for our club.   With the help of a couple others, we did it!   It was a lot of trial and error.  But I am proud that I figured it out as I am the least technical person I know.   I think I am ready to go to virtual meetings, but being one of the point people for the virtual, I also feel I have an obligation to be at the meetings in person to “broadcast” via my computer to those at home.  The state has asked that no more than 10 people gather, our meetings have had more lately.   We have a board meeting tomorrow and I believe we are going to need to set some parameters to limit numbers of people in the meetings in the midst of this virus outbreak.   We too need to be careful of not spreading the coronavirus among us and to others.

Our family restaurant and manufacturing business is still open – we are mainly delivery and carry-out so we are allowed to still operate.   I pray for the wellbeing of our employees and am grateful that our doors are still open and that we can provide jobs to many.   As a company we are doing what we need to to keep everyone safe.

These are very scary and uncertain times for everyone across the world.   I mostly anxious about the economy and what is going to happen.    My mental state has been surprising better, but the anxiety is real.

All we can currently do is take one day at a time and practice love and tolerance … and Pray!

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.

New Day Gloominess

Some of the gloominess lingers, but you would not know it.   It is a feeling way down deep inside of me.  I am certainly not as bad off as I was just a few weeks ago, maybe the med change and therapy has helped …. I don’t know.    I have an appointment with my therapist tomorrow and a follow up with the Dr. about the meds.   Not sure what to say or do.

It is hard though to be too gloomy, I just got home from a week of warm sunshine and beaches in Siesta Key.  It was good to get away with Steve.   My Mom and her husband, one brother and sis in law and my 3 year old niece were also there.  Caroline really made the trip more enjoyable and exciting … everything is exciting to a 3 year old.  She is such a good girl and a lot of fun.    Some of the time though all the family and activity was just too much for me to handle.    I did get an afternoon alone while everyone else went off on an adventure.   It was much needed and helpful, although I could have used more.

I didn’t really feel like drinking while I was away.   I was around a lot of alcohol.   My Mom had about a dozen bottles of wine and alcohol just sitting on the counter.    It would have been easy to have a slip.    Who doesn’t want to have drink on the beach?  I miss it and I don’t miss it.   It is hard to explain.

I really miss my routine and my recovery peeps when I am away.   I am such a creature of habit and a homebody.    Though I do enjoy getting away on occasion, I mostly like being at home.    I did not go to any recovery meetings last week and that makes me a little antsy.   We got home yesterday and I have already been to 2 meetings to make up for lost time.

So will the gloominess continue to linger or is a new day dawning on my funky feelings.  I guess only time will tell.     Today though I can find the gratitude and good and that is progress!