There is currently a lot going on in my life. My husband’s kidneys have failed and he is awaiting a transplant. This means he is out on short term disability and his income has dropped by 50% so we have more financial stresses than usual. I was raised by my grandparents and my grandfather’s health is declining too. Add in being newly sober and I suppose it isn’t that surprising I’m having trouble coping.
As I go through it all, I have many people in my life telling me I should be “taking care of myself”. I’ve concluded I don’t really know what that means. I’m trying hard to be. I’m making about 3 meetings a week. I’m seeing a counselor once a week.
If I do what I really want to do now though it is withdrawing and doing little. I’m actually obsessively playing a couple of games. Is taking care of myself giving into those urges and relaxing and letting myself to that for now, or would it be pushing to do behaviors that are short term hard but I suspect long term more rewarding.
I’m still having trouble sleeping and bad dreams, so I’m tired most all the time.
I’m still crying more days than not. Often about nothing.
I’m still hanging in there and waiting for the “it gets better” part.
So I guess, I’m starting to “work the steps”. I don’t even know that that really means. I am starting to look at them one at a time reading up on them, reflecting on how they apply to me.
As I mentioned my sponsor gave me the book “A Woman’s Way Through The 12 Steps”. The introduction says the theme of them is living a life that is consistent with your deepest values. I’ve joked in the past that the only thing consistent in me is my inconsistency. I’ve also admitted many times (often in tears) that I know I don’t live consistently with my own beliefs. I think part of that is my standards are too high and I’m not always realistic or forgiving. I think a bigger part of it is my behavior isn’t what I would want it to be a lot. I excuse it by understanding it is driven by deep insecurity and hurts, but the reality is that the shame I feel about it hurts me more and sends me seeking something to “fix” or at least “distract me”. Often that is more behaviors I don’t feel good about.
If I were to have one goal in life is would be to consistently live in harmony with my values. It seems like such a big scary task though. So easily derailed. I don’t even mean the big things. I think it is easier to do the big things sometimes.
I mean things like valuing my family, but having part of me that has trouble letting people be close to me and really see me when I’m scared of judgment, so I do things like avoiding family social events, or not staying in touch. Things like not fibbing to get out of work when I’m feeling anxious and having focus issues. Things that I can rationalize for moments, but I don’t believe are right deep down.
Another book I have is “One Breath At A Time, Buddhism And The Twelve Steps”. It like the Woman’s Way talks a lot about the language of the program. I have a Big Book. I enjoy reading the stories in meetings. I’ve found snippets that resonate with me, but I haven’t gotten into reading it as much as I feel like I “should” be (My Counselor says “should”, “good”, and “bad” are words I should let go of but I can’t yet. I do at least notice when I’m using them now). Both of the other books I’m using talk about the language of the steps. That the words can be read in different ways. I think this will be helpful for me. I haven’t gotten a copy of “Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions” yet I probably should.
I feel like this is an abrupt stopping point but really covers what I have to say for now. I generally try to dive in and check things off, and I don’t think I can with this, so instead I’m going slow. I’m sure I’ll have a lot more to say as I get further in.
This is me being bad quiet. Not writing because my mind is in a grey space I don’t want to show others not because I’m too busy having fun.
I’m at day 31. I expected to feel proud and to be at the point where the positives were outweighing the negatives. I’m not there.
I’m having trouble keeping the motivation to keep doing the healthy things I need to.
I was distracted at yesterday’s meeting. I haven’t run in 5 days. I haven’t meditated in 4. I did start the anti-depressant last night and I did read the first step in “The Woman’s Way Through The 12 Steps.”
I’m withdrawing from talking to people. I’m feeling very insecure. I’m feeling like people are tired of having to deal with my problems.
I almost didn’t write this. I want to be cheerful and inspiring but don’t feel that way at all. I settled for being real. Maybe someday I’ll be in a good place and people reading this will see you can move from here to there. That is the only possible positive I can see coming from being here.
My soul hurts.
Things are going poorly. I tried to go spend time with a large group that was camping (Larping) and Saturday was a big party. I didn’t drink but my social anxiety and abandonment issues kicked in badly.
I tried to go to sleep early but it was too loud. I got really wound up and couldn’t get back into a good space.
I’ve had crying spells all yesterday and today too.
It was a dumb choice. I’m pretty mad at myself.
I’m not writing much because holding it together is hard right now.
So I have a counselor I’ve seen since 2010. At times it is weekly. At times I’ve gone months without seeing him. We’ve been on break, but I like to keep him in the loop on my life, so if I need to go back we don’t have to start from scratch. So I went last night.
I knew he is actually an addiction specialist. We hadn’t talked about it before but he apparently has been sober for over 25 years and had to go into rehab before he was able to maintain sobriety.
We talked about a lot of things, but the most significant to me short term is that I will statistically have a higher probability of successfully not drinking if I do a combination of weekly therapy, meetings, and taking a low dose anti-depressant. That MANY people self medicate for anxiety and depression with alcohol and it can be too dramatic to go from that to nothing for those that are, and it is good to have a “stepping stone” (Robyn’s phrasing I really liked).
He said we won’t see my real baseline emotional state till I’m sober about 6 months to make a decision on what I need, but that at a low dose there is not enough of a downside for there to be a real reason to not take them.
He also noted the stress level I’m under (new house, husband getting kidney transplant, parental figure w/declining health, looming financial issues, new sobriety) and indicated I might not be being realistic about my stress level/how those things were effecting me. He implied I should prepare myself to stay healthy even if the worst happens, Jason’s surgery doesn’t go as smoothly/well as we’d hope.
He also thinks I should go back to once a week appointments.
Up this point, I’d been feeling like I was dealing well without them and pretty firmly set that I didn’t want/need them.
But the reality is the main thing that has kept me from saying yes is pride and stubbornness. I also feel shame about having issues with alcohol in the first place. It makes me feel weak. Needing a pharmaceutical crutch makes me feel even weaker and more shame. I need to stop making decisions from a place of pride though.
It is stupid because if I pull back and think of how I’d feel if it were one of you, I’d be proud of you for dealing with problems. That would completely overshadow having them, and I’ve known plenty of people who’ve taken anti-depressants and it has never changed how I felt about them. So I’m not sure why it changes how I feel about me. I’m TRYING REALLY hard to get over that.
It is Day 27
The above is my new tattoo. It commemorates my 180 mile hike last June. It took a full year to get in to see the artist I wanted to do it.
I had some emotional bouncing. I always notice the people who aren’t there/don’t call more than the ones that do on birthdays. I tried to let that go but still had moments of sad for relationships lost.
One of my good friends came and hung out with me when I got my tattoo done. Her and I had a good talk about my drinking and sobriety. Far more frank and detailed than I expected. I teared up at first telling her but she was awesome and not at all judgmental. She did say she has seen my drinking and understands why I am making the choice to stop (more confirmation that my drinking isn’t normal).
Went to a meeting after. My temporary sponsor spoke. She also gave me a book, “The Woman’s Way Through The Twelve Steps”. too tired to look at it much tonight or to write more.
Wanted to let you know I’m still here, still sober (and show off my new art) though.
Joined an online group for support. Found it a little too much tough love for my current fragile state. I completely get that I need to take responsibility for my actions, but if I feel like I’m completely worthless for things I can’t undo, I don’t think I’d keep trying. So I left it. Interestingly I didn’t get over sensitive/emotional about it, and I don’t have hard feelings. I just recognized it as not healthy for where I’m at now.
Also had one of my best friends (who sadly is often unreliable due to migraines) who was supposed to be my birthday buddy for tomorrow, cancel coming down tonight. She was supposed to sleep over than go with me when I got a tattoo in the morning, then we were going to go kayaking. She is saying she is going to meet me at the tattoo place. I’m not sure that will really happen, but I’m (for now) taking it much better than I usually would and not equating it with a lack of caring.
We’ll see if I can continue with these healthy feelings. Not confident but hopeful.
Tomorrow night my sponsor is the speaker at a meeting and we’re supposed to talk about me starting to work the steps.
On a non sobriety note, I discovered Ingress. I like having non sobriety notes. I like my emotions and drinking to not be all I’m thinking of.