When Things Don’t Go … Our Way

Tattered and Torn
Tattered and Torn (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It will be a short post today.  My lovely internet is down at home.  So yeah, I am posting at the office.  This topic isn’t even in my list! But…

I had a situation happen over the weekend that had potential to turn pretty toxic.  We’ll just call it, “people who can’t let go.”  Anyway, there just comes a time when we have to say GOOD-BYE.

When we try to beat the square peg into the round hole, the square peg becomes worn… tattered… exhausted.  The round hole has moved on and so should probably the square peg.

For whatever reason, sometimes people who really want to be together just cannot be together because the relationship is toxic.  Maybe there is drugs involved, alcoholism, abuse, mistrust… the list goes on as to what could make a relationship toxic.  What makes it worse is when neither party recognizes the toxicity.

What makes it worse than that is when only one person recognizes the disaster masked with the word “love.” One person is desperately trying to hold on while the other is subtly trying to move on.

We will be touching on this topic in the coming months. Have a great week everyone!  Regularly scheduled blog posts will resume tomorrow.

Peace…

 

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One Day at a Time

Image: givecourage.net
Image: givecourage.net

One day at a time.  Isn’t that really the only way we can live?  When we were in our addiction, we were caught up in our past aches, resentments and fears.  But that wasn’t enough.  We had to worry about the future!  What will tomorrow bring? Will I still have my job?  What about a place to live?

Since I am inherently skeptical, this whole one day at a time thing puzzled me.  After all, I was a being who only thought about what would become of me along with all the crap of yesterday.  Well, I couldn’t change yesterday and had no control over tomorrow.  Still don’t.  Never will.

Before I got sober, I remember thinking about never being able to drink (or drug) again.  That thought overwhelmed me to the point of anxiety.  How would I function?  Where would I hang out? What about my friends?  All of these are serious questions to the still sick and suffering alcoholic.

The first couple weeks of my sobriety were a rough lot.  I lived one minute at a time rather than one day at a time.  I could not think about the future.  Again, it was entirely too overwhelming.  And holding onto the past was what got me in such a shit storm.  So I focused on keeping my brain occupied.  I should have kept a journal, but I didn’t.  Instead I consumed mass quantities of Pop Tarts and watched the Military Channel.  I only left my apartment to get cigarettes.

But it worked for me.

Of course these days, I do think about the future and there are times when the past creeps in or I see something that brings back a fond (or not so fond) memory. But when it comes to not picking up, one day at a time, one minute at a time, even one second at a time is the best way to live.

How do we live one day at a time in recovery?

We go to meetings.  We get a sponsor.  We read approved literature. We talk to people in recovery (this is so important). We share at meetings (this is something I need to do more). We keep our minds occupied with things besides drinking (or drugging).

I have met so many creative people in the rooms of AA.  I have met many artists, writers and generally people who are doing what they want to do with their lives.  How cool is that?  Maybe they were always creative or maybe they found their creativity while living one day at a time.

Pushing Through

Image: faithoncampus.com
Image: faithoncampus.com

Once we realize that we are powerless and cannot get through sobriety (or anything for that matter) without a higher power, we are now in the position of knowing what to do.  There is a saying (and I am ad-libbing here): “Once you know, you can never not know.”

This picture above is also a magnet.  I saw it at Barnes & Noble one day and snatched it up.  It is on my refrigerator as a stark reminder to do just what it says. And I live by this rule in a selective way.

I’ll explain.

There are times, of course, when we need to give up.  If my car isn’t starting and I am about to crank it for the umpteenth time, I need to give up.  When drinking and drugging are leaving you feeling beaten down repeatedly.  Because doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is insane.

Ya hear what I’m sayin’?

If you or someone you know is struggling with staying away from a drink or a drug (or any other addiction) the most important thing to remember is “just don’t pick up.”  Because picking up is giving up.  Picking up is giving up on your sobriety, giving up on yourself, giving up on the potential that you have!

This is something I think about from time to time. Of course, being an alcoholic, a drink will flutter across my mind like some deranged, chaotic butterfly.  It is a fleeting thought and it flutters out as fast as it entered.  Behind the thought of a drink comes all the memories of the insanity I called life at one point.  That is what keeps it green for me.  Going back to the life of hell I once lived would be insane.

Here are some ways to push through:

  • get to a meeting.
  • call someone.
  • go for a walk.
  • write.
  • listen to music.
  • pray.
  • draw.

How have you pushed through?

Asking For Help

Image: lostandtired.com
Image: lostandtired.com

Asking for help is difficult.  It means swallowing our pride and admitting we cannot do it alone.  There are many places to get help for the still sick and suffering.  The most effective is the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous.  I must be careful talking about that, because it is Anonymous.  Although these days with social media and Facebook Group Pages, there is no longer much anonymity.

God was who I first asked for help.  When I got sober in May 2006, I started in the basement by myself.  I had detoxed off of pain meds and quit drinking along with other substances.  I can honestly say God was with me the whole time, even though I felt like hell, I knew he was there.  There is no way in hell I suffered through that agony alone.  Alone in body, maybe, but not alone in spirit.

The second person I asked was my kids’ social worker at Bucks County Children and Youth.  After the detox, I called the County and they got me in an outpatient group.  I had one counseling session a week with a guy who never had a drug problem and was slightly condescending.  Along with that, I had three outpatient groups a week.

And so it went.  I would ask people for help at the group.  The caseworker always picked up the phone when I called.  For me to reach out my hand was difficult being a woman always hell bent on self-will.

Swallowing my selfish pride and asking for help was the best thing I could do for myself.  There are many places to ask for help.  Visit www.aa.org to get started and find a meeting.

We Admitted We Were Powerless

Image: sabacooperative.org
Image: sabacooperative.org

“Step One: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable.” This is taken from the Big Book and the Twelve & Twelve.

This is the only step we have to do perfectly.  To have an attitude that we “can drink once in a while” or “take a break” is dangerous.  Of course, this is something we alcoholics find out the hard way.  We have all at one time or another, woken up in the morning (or maybe we hadn’t even been to sleep) and said: Man, I am never doing that again! Only to be right back where we were, less than twenty-four hours later.

And let’s face it: admitting we are powerless over anything is tough for us humans.  We have this thing called “pride” that whispers in our ear that we can beat anything.  It whispers that giving up is for suckers and wimps. Our egos and pride tell us that people will laugh at us if we admit we cannot drink (or drug) anymore.

We had come to realize that once we put a drink in our bodies, we could not stop. That first drink rendered us helpless every time.

We tried to drink successfully.  We made empty promises (with good intentions!) that we would only drink beer, or that we would only drink on the weekend or that we would stop drinking at 11 pm. It may have worked for a little while, but ultimately it didn’t work at all.

We could not drink successfully.  We could not stop after one drink.  The minute we put that first drink in us, our bodies and minds crave more and we drink until we are either passed out, puking, in jail or in a crazy situation.  And yes, these crazy situations may make great stories (if we live through them) but they leave us with shame and regret.

The unmanageability of our lives may be that we keep showing up late for work (or not showing up at all), we aren’t paying our bills, we are cheating on our spouses or partners, we are getting in fights, driving intoxicated and ending up in jail.  It is one or some or all of these things.  We could not manage our own lives, we could not manage our drinking, we could not manage anything.

Step One is the only step we have to do perfect.  If we do that one step perfectly, we will begin the road to recovery and our lives will begin to change in a positive way.

Darkness Before the Dawn

Image: hal-pc.org
Image: hal-pc.org

There comes a point in each addict/alcoholic’s life when they feel like there is no way things could get worse.  Whether they are in deep debt, being evicted, homeless, selling sex for drugs/money… the list goes on.

The darkness swallows us, like that giant monster we swore was in our closet as small children.  Only this monster is real.  It is real and it is ugly and it devours us every day making life worse while we try to drown or numb the pain.

My darkness was in a basement in Bucks County, PA.  I had lost my children, was unemployable and was living in the same house as my enabler (my ex-boss).  He and his wife had let me stay with them after I had been evicted from a house in Philadelphia.  I was in debt, could not find work and lived there under the prerequisite that he would give me drugs and money and I would repay him accordingly.

All of my “I never’s” were coming true as I sat in that basement listening to him lumber around upstairs, praying to high heaven he wouldn’t come down those steps.

My two daughters lived there with me and slept in the room on the other side of the basement.  Their precious little faces looked so peaceful when they slept.  My God, what had I done?

No one could tell me about my darkness.  I had to figure it out by myself.  That is the sad truth about addiction and alcoholism.  We always have to find out the hard way.  All those interventions, the threats, the promises the deals… none of it works.  I mean, it may work for a short while, but we just have to feel like there is nothing left.  We have to get sick and tired of being sick and tired.

It is that moment in time, that darkness before the dawn, that loss of hope, that are you freaking kidding me…. that is when we look at ourselves in the mirror and beg God for help.

Ultimate Blog Challenge!

January
January (Photo credit: Deadly Tedly)

The Introduction

Happy New Year!  Welcome to the The Daily Woman.. a blog dedicated to living sober and giving life all you got!  I signed up for the Ultimate Blog Challenge just in time for 2013… The month of January is dedicated to living life sober, getting help, working the steps and tons of other useful information and links.

My goal is to post each of the 31 days.  😀

A lot of us wrapped up in alcoholism and addiction have made resolutions (or goals) of sobriety for 2013.  Most of these will be broken if the right help is not sought.

Now, I am not a doctor and I don’t even play one on TV, but I do know what has worked for me and hope to do some sort of twelfth step work through my blog. I have reached a point in my sobriety that what keeps me sober is doing the next right thing and putting my hand out to the next still sick and suffering alcoholic/addict.

Thanks for climbing on board and Happy New Year to you all.