Monday, October 31, 2011

It just never ends!!

I was talking to a friend the other day about her life and her frustration with there always being more to do and people asking too much of her in her life. (Sorry, said friend, for the very basic paraphrase! lol) Anyway, I've been thinking about this same idea in my own life. My life is different than hers...I don't have a whole lot going on considering that I don't work and I'm only taking 2 classes...but it still feels like the shit never ends.

I'm working on so many different things in so many different parts of my life. It just feels like i'm rushing around to plug all the holes in the sinking ship. I'm trying not to drink...which is hard enough in itself. In many ways that's the idea of the therapy i'm in now. Learning how to function without drinking. I'm not really "supposed" to be working on anything else because I need to learn how to get through day to day life w/out drinking. But even that is so much.

I'm working on taking better care of myself physically...working out (SO hard to have any motivation for this), and eating better (again...lack of motivation). I'm trying to sleep better but that's a gigantic battle with nightmares as well as learning how to calm myself down without drinking. When you know that there's likely to be some really vivid, horrific things waiting for you in your dreams, it's really really hard to convince your body to relax and not fight sleep.

I'm trying to keep up with school. Some weeks are better than others with school. Sometimes I feel really good about school, but the reality is that i'm still SO FAR behind. Even when I'm doing ok I'm not catching up on the old stuff. So I still have a ton of work to do. Every time something else falls through with the panic or the stress, it gets nearly impossible to manage school stuff. I mean how absolutely trite does a school worksheet seem when you're dealing with very real nightmares and demons.

Speaking of stress and panic....of course the PTSD stuff never goes away. I can't turn my back on that, or give myself a chance to think that that stuff is going "ok", because it comes back to bite me every chance it gets. And of course when that stuff comes up it's nearly impossible not to drink. It's most of the reason I do drink, because sometimes I need to just turn those thoughts off. Sometimes they're just too much and I need to shut them out.

Unfortunately when I'm sober, a new habit that i haven't had to deal with much in a long time has come back. Cutting. I had mostly had that dealt with years ago. Every now and then i'd do a little damage with my nails or something, but nothing major at all. Now, over this weekend, I did extensive, bloody damage with a knife. Worse than I ever have. And then when that freaked me out so badly because it didn't help the way it normally does, I ended up drinking to stop THOSE thoughts.

There's always something to fight. Always. I don't get to relax because if i do one of these things will be after to me. Every time I think I'm doing ok I realize it's time for a meal and I have no food....or that I've forgotten a major assignment and I'm still way behind in get the idea. I'm just tired. I'm especially tired tonight because i've had a weekend long relapse. After I drank friday night I just kept going. Thankfully the antabuse kept me from drinking as much as I really wanted to, but it didn't stop me from drinking. I'm feeling really low right now because after 2 months of big effort i may as well be right back where I started...drinking, hurting myself, filled w/anxiety, etc.. Today I could barely manage to get through my grocery shopping trip because my thoughts were so all over the place and panic-like. Logically I know that as today's group facilitator said...the last 2 months haven't been erased from memory. There are still things I've learned from them...i'm just angry to have thought I was doing so well and am now back to day 1 with sobriety and (it feels like) everything else.

I'm attempting to go without drinking tonight...though a part of me is thinking I might as well since, if nothing else, i'll still have the same sobriety day come tomorrow. I know that's a lousy reason to drink, but it's stuff like that that goes through my head. I'm working to go back to what i've said before...that i don't like counting up days of sobriety. That's because now I have thoughts of "well i've blown 3 weeks of sobriety...might as well have a big more fun." I'm trying to get back to thinking "I'm going to stay sober for just this day," or even just this hour. And just this hour is the goal right now. And tomorrow I'm going to stay sober tomorrow. But that's as far as I'm going to think. I don't want to think about acquiring lots of time. I'm going to get back to one day at a time.

But yeah...easier said than done. All I want for Christmas...or Halloween...or whatever just some time to rest and not have to think. But that's not an option because I have to be on guard all the time. Prior to this meltdown I thought I was doing pretty well. Then seemingly out of the blue here I am...having cut badly and drank heavily and wondering how the hell that happened. There's not even a second to turn my back. And yet I expect myself to sleep? lol

Anyway tonight i'm grateful that there are ppl out there in the world that get the stuff i'm going through...people who I can tell that I cut and they don't say "You did what?! Ew! Why would you do a thing like that?" but instead just get it. Or people like those in my group today who could be helpful but also laugh with me at some of the ridiculous thoughts that went through my head during my meltdown and not judge...because they've had those thoughts too. People like that are just so so important for my ability to heal.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Not so good

Today was rough. To say the least. Not much to say about that but just wanted to drop in for a sec to say that i'm grateful for the amazing professors that i'm working with. i made it to half of my first class but knew I didn't feel well enough for the second half. This prof knows about why i was in the hospital bc I had to explain it to her to explain why the trip I was taking and missing class for was essential and not a vacation. Anyway, when I told her I wasn't feeling well she asked if it was that stuff or if I was sick. I said it was both things together and lack of sleep, and showed her how bad my hands were shaking at that moment. She told me not to worry about the 2nd half of class and to go to the counseling center instead. (I went, knowing that most likely my therapist would not be able to see me, but at least it got them knowing i needed help and she called me later.

2nd professor...i knew well before I got there that I wasn't going to be able to handle her class. I'd already emailed her once because I just couldn't handle the take-home midterm and I was really concerned with that because it's a test...not really an assignment you should be asking for extra time on. When I got to class I asked her if i could talk to her in the hallway. I told her what was going on and she asked me about coping skills and all that (she used to work in an inpatient psych unit...she knows all about the kind of stuff I'm dealing with.) She told me to leave and not worry about class...and to go get some cammomile (however you spell that) tea and try to relax. But before she fully sent me off she told me that I'm doing very well in her class and she thinks i'm a great student. She also said that the work I have turned in has been consistently some of the best in the class. Hearing this meant so so much to me because I hate being the student that's missing classes, not turning in work on time, always behind, etc. So I just love that she can see the good student in me underneath it all. I hate feeling like I'm using all this crap as an excuse for poor work and what not, but I'm just so lucky and so grateful to have these two professors as the ones I'm working with.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

There's no ease in PLEASE

So in one of my groups this week we discussed the acronym PLEASE as a foundation to taking care of our basic needs. Often times the basics get forgotten in all the craziness, but without them it is SO much harder to stay mindful and present, to focus thoughts away from the bad and towards somewhere safe, and just to keep from panicking all together. So PLEASE stands for

(Treat) PhysicaL Illness
(Balanced) Eating
Avoiding mood-Altering drugs

(And yes, it bothers me that the L doesn't have it's own word and has to share on physical. :-P )

As we went through this, I realized that the EASE part of PLEASE is the story of my life right now. I am having unbelievable struggles with all of those things. Thankfully I am not having to deal with any physical illnesses, but the rest are intense struggles for me. It's strange to think just how major they are.

In a sense, my experience in the hospital and now with getting sober have been like a rebirth. I have had plenty of down times before, but I have never been down in such an all-encompassing, scary, painful way as I was before I entered the hospital. I had made very serious plans to kill myself, and had thought through many of the "when I die..." scenarios. I had genuinely reached a point where I no longer saw a future for myself, and was convinced my life was over. Needless to say I cared little about doing much of anything or taking care of myself. After all, why bother?

But thankfully there was that little piece of me that wanted to fight, and was honest with people long enough to get to somewhere safe. From there I have been lucky enough to become a part of this incredible treatment program. This program woke me up to issues I didn't realize I had. I was convinced that my drinking wasn't a big deal....and that I was fully in control of it. But as the struggles in my life continued, it became quickly apparent (through my binging, lying, and getting completely and utterly sick when I quit for a day) that my drinking was far from healthy.

I started drinking when I was around 12 or 13. I've stopped drinking many times since then, but this time is different. Before, I just stopped, and I did what I could to resist drinking more. It was a battle of wills. Now, I'm quitting "for real." By that I mean that I am working with people who can help me, going to groups and talking to people, and reassessing my life. This time I'm willing to do the work. I'm not just stopping the drinking, I'm building a healthy, sober life by finding and fixing the internal damage that causes me to need it so badly. I feel that this time i'm in right now is my rebirth into this new life and away from the old. And, as is the idea, everything about the new life I'm learning how to live in a brand new way.

So...back to the original point of this...the basics no longer feel basic. I don't know how to eat well anymore. As my life took it's downslide over the past 6 months or so, I began to isolate more and more. The more I isolated, the less focus I put in making sure that I ate well. Add to that evil roommate over the summer who left me with even less desire to cook because I didn't want to be close to her, and I progressed from eating crap to hardly eating at all. By the time I went to the hospital, I was going most days with little or no food. I had reached a bizarre point of feeling I didn't deserve it, or that I didn't want it because it represented life which I didn't want, or many other things. Not to mention I was too depressed to care. So I ate on rare occasions and drank heavily to fill in some of the extra calories. Post hospital, when the suicidal thoughts had lessened, I started eating more by allowing myself to eat anything that sounded even remotely good. I didn't care if it was greasy fast food every least it was food. Then...I quit drinking...which added all sorts of new fuel to the fire. For one, my body craved tons and tons of sugar to make up for the sugar I'd been getting from alcohol. Copious amounts of sugar was often the only way to keep those first major cravings from doing me in. Also, for some reason my appetite started coming back in epic proportions. Suddenly I was not only eating McDonalds, but I was eating giant meals, way bigger than I would normally eat, without a second thought. I don't really know what that's all about, but another girl I talked to in group said she was doing the exact same thing. So I went from losing weight and not eating to eating tons and tons of crap and comfort food and gaining a ton of weight back. Now i'm somewhere in the middle. I'm starting to slow down with the mega food binges, and the alcohol cravings have become manageable to the point that a few bites of sugar works rather than downing half a box of cookies. But it's still a daily fight. Well, I don't want to say fight because I don't want it to turn in to one. I guess I should say it's something that is still easing it's way towards balance. Yesterday was a really good eating day because I had 3 meals of real food. I ate oatmeal in the morning, Taco Bell for lunch, and macaroni and cheese with broccoli for dinner. So maybe not the model of health, but a big success for me because that's where I'm at right now. Today was a bit more of a struggle. I managed cereal for breakfast but I could only handle a few bites of popcorn before feeling sick at lunch. But more about that later. (Because yes, this story needs to be LONGER! lol Some day I'll figure out how to get to the point. :-P )

Avoiding mood-altering drugs. This one is pretty obvious. Not drinking is the most important priority right now. I'm trying to watch what I eat, but if gorging on a giant bag of candy is what I need to keep from drinking then so be it. I'd rather mess up the eating for a bit then risk a big backtrack on my path to getting better. Of course, looking at the PLEASE thing as a whole....losing the healthy eating will cause other struggles that will need to be dealt with later. But one thing at a time.

Sleep. Sleep is my nemesis right now. I recently started on new sleeping meds that seemed to be working wonders. I was getting on a good sleep routine and sleeping relatively regular hours and getting a consistent 5-6 hours/night. Again not perfect, but a huge success for me! Then I had a bad reaction to another medication I was on that ended up causing major sleep issues. It made me jittery and horribly paranoid, so I would end up up at night with these crazy being convinced that there were mice running all over the floor of my living room so I couldn't touch the floor. Clearly not relaxing. So not only was sleep not happening but instead I was spending the whole night in this crazed feeling. Got off of that med and instantly saw improvement. The sleep didn't come back right away, but I was once again able to let my body relax. This all took place last week. Sleep last week was off and on. Until Friday afternoon when I took a nap and ended up having a horrific nightmare. It was the type of nightmare that I couldn't get out of my head for a long, long time after. It was so vivid, and I was right back in that horrible place in childhood. When I woke up I felt all the feelings as though it had just happened. This ruined all chances of sleep on friday night. Saturday was better and I was able to sleep well. But since then it's been nearly non-existant and I have no idea why. Sunday I slept from about 4:30-7:30. I went to bed LONG before that but for some reason I don't start to fully be able to get to sleep until around 4 or 5:00. My suspicion is that that's when the first signs of morning light appear, making it no longer night time. Night time scares the hell outta me. In the morning I can relax. That's the theory anyway. Monday night I slept from about 5-8:00. Last night I didn't sleep at all. Nothing. Even though yesterday afternoon I was literally so tired it was painful. My eyes hurt from having to hold them open. My body just didn't want to move anymore. But no matter how tired I get, I just can't cross over into dreamland. I think of it like rocking a baby to help her fall asleep. In theory you don't want to let her fall asleep in your arms. Instead you want to put her in the crib when she's almost asleep so she can learn the feeling of falling asleep on her own. I feel like I can reach that almost asleep place no problem, but I don't know how to let myself fall asleep. When I begin to hit that point something in my body snaps. It's like my body is actively fighting it. Suddenly I am wide awake and alert. My eyes pop open like I'm expecting something to happen. I'm guessing this is a combination of lots of changing chemicals inside me, with losing the boos and adding the meds, being so used to drinking to fall asleep that I've lost all other methods, and the horrible things in my head that connect to laying down in a bed. I think the nightmare on friday really really set me back. I don't feel scared when I lay down, but I think I'm subconsciously very very afraid of giving in to sleep and risking going back to that place. If i'm awake, I can fight it off. Or maybe it's purely the trigger of laying down and a flashback of sorts. My issues with laying down cause more problems because I can't just lie down and close my eyes and wait for sleep to come. That only works if I am very, very tired. Otherwise, I lay there and begin to feel the creepy crawlies of the horrible memories coming back. I begin to see the bad things and can't seem to make them stop. Obviously not conducive to sleep. So yeah. My nemesis. I am so tired right now I can barely think straight. I wouldn't be at all surprised if this post is really just a hodge podge of random words and I only think I'm typing an entry. I'm about as tired as I've ever much so that it's been making me sick all day long. I've been having horrible headaches, and feeling nautious, even when I wasn't actively feeling tired. It's become almost impossible to concentrate on anything, which is especially sucky because I have a ton of homework to get done for my class tomorrow...including studying for the midterm and doing the part of the midterm that's take-home. Which is actually a lot of it. Good except that right now I can't make sense of it one bit.

Oh and exercise. This is actually a place where I'm proud of myself. I've known for a while now that I want to get back into exercise...especially considering that my clothes are all getting tight again and I've lost the great progress I made years ago in de-couch-potatofying myself. I also remembered how much it helped my mood to work out regularly. But it was hard to get going because 1.) Detox gave me horrible headaches that lasted well past the first 3 days where the other detox stuff seemed to stay. They hurt like migraines, and any jostling of my head was enough to make me want to cry. Walking was a struggle sometimes and I'd have to move very slowly. Running or fast movements were out of the question. 2.) I put SO much work into progressing from out of shape couch potato into successful triathlete 4 years ago. It was an amazing and life-changing experience, and it kills me to think that I've made it pretty much back to where I started. At least I have more knowledge this time, but my weight is up, my eating is crap, and convincing myself to move is hard. I went back to visit the online forum that supported me in my first weight loss/become a triathlete endeavor. (Really I just wanted to borrow their "couch to 5k" training plan and become runner-like, but through a few random twists in life...and the fact that this happened to be a triathlon website, I ended up going not just for a 5k but a full triathlon. And then 3 more triathlons that summer because the first was so much fun.) I reintroduced myself on the forum and got a ton of support and welcomes, which was huge for me. It means so much to me to know ppl have my back in all of these struggles/attempts to change. I told a bit of my story and where i'd been over the last 4 years. Everyone was very supportive and again reminded me to take it slow...the thing I seem to struggle with most in all areas of life right now. I still get frustrated (and a bit embarrassed) by how much fitness I've lost, but yesterday evening when I got home from my appointment I went for a walk. I talked myself in to walking just far enough away from the building that when I walked back it'd be 15 minutes total. But once I was out there it actually felt good. It was this amazing, relaxing time to gather my thoughts. I ended up out for 30 minutes. Today I was ready to blow it off because it was cold and snowy and I didn't feel good, but when I pulled in to the parking lot I suddenly wanted to go (i've come up with the great plan of leaving from my car rather than coming to my apartment first. That way I can't get cozy/distracted and talk myself out of it). So I went out again aiming for 15 minutes. Hit 20 this time, but only because I ended up on the lost sidewalk to nowhere and had to backtrack quite a bit. But it just amazes me how even after one little walk, my sickly, crappy feeling body suddenly had a burst of energy to go do it again as soon as I pulled into the parking lot. I think once I can get the exercise into a really good routine it will solve a lot of problems.

Ok...ironically I had planned for this to be a short entry because i'm so tired. But alas my tiredness makes my verbal diarrhea run rampant! lol Sorry bout that.

The point to all this is that these "EASE" things are the major struggles I'm facing right now. My life has been, by necessity, simplified down to, Have I eaten? Have I slept? Have I moved/done anything active today? etc. The successes to these things are the major successes in my life to celebrate. That goes back to what i've said before about appreciating the little things. Sure it sounds silly to celebrate the fact that I had 3 "real" meals in a day, but that was a big new step for me. Same with the fact that I went out and walked. Each of these things are worth celebrating. In a way it's kind of a neat place to be because it really does feel like I'm building this amazing new life from the ground up. I picture myself placing these support blocks at the bottom of what will one day be a beautiful structure. And it feels good, because the EASE things are things that I can control...or at least begin to. They are tangible goals. Again another HUGE thing for me. When things got so bad, part of my frustration was that I felt like I was trapped in this horrible sea of darkness and I wanted to badly to fight but had absolutely no idea how. I didn't want to let the bad stuff win, but I felt too small to fight it and I couldn't find a therapist or anyone to work with me and to give me guidance on how to make my way out of the darkness. (Not to mention I was also lacking the meds that clear my head up enough to make it possible for me to act!) So, I love these goals that likely seem so silly to anyone on the outside. I love them because I have something to work towards, and something active that I can do every day and see real, visible, concrete progress in. And I so so so love that visible progress. Others see more progress in me but its hard to make that tangible. So yay for results and accomplishments that no one can take away! But regardless of the acronyms, there is no ease in EASE or PLEASE. This stuff is hard work!

Tonight I am grateful for: The amazing blue, purple, and pink (with just a hint of yellow) sunset reflecting over the beautiful snow covered pine trees that I can see from my living room window. I love the look of new fallen snow. It's like the earth has stood still, for just a moment. Soon it will turn into snowmen, foot prints, and melted slush, but for now it is a beautiful blanket atop the trees and ground, turned into such an incredible color by the color-changing sky. There's many reasons I love winter, but these moments on their own are enough to make it a wonderful season for me. Ok, done being sappy now!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


As I mentioned, part of theme for IOP on Monday was being grateful. I've never been good with grateful. At all. I used to get so pissed at people who would tell me to find things to be grateful for. I'd think, "Yeah great there's a pretty blue sky and the sun is shining and I'm healthy and yada yada but EVERYTHING ELSE HURTS INSIDE!!" But lately I've been learning a lot about being grateful. Thing is, appreciating something good doesn't mean having to minimize what's bad. Some people seem to believe that, and drive me crazy in the process. They say stupid things like, "How can you so upset when you have so many things going for you in your life?" or "You really shouldn't complain so much. There's plenty of people out there that have it much worse than you." Yeah. Those comments still suck. I get where they're coming from, but when you're life is falling apart, you have deep pain inside, or you are battling a mental illness, it's not a matter of just appreciating or getting happier or "just dealing with it." Those kinds of thoughts have caused a lot of trouble in my life. I've been very ashamed of what's inside of me for a very long time, and have felt like a failure because I can't just be happy and enjoy and appreciate what I have. It added to the issues because I got convinced that something was wrong w/me because I couldn't just snap out of it.

But through all of my recent therapy, I'm learning a different way to be grateful. I'm learning to see that it's not all or nothing; that even when it hurts so much it's not all over. There's still something good to hold on to. And recognizing and appreciating those little things, those moments, helps bring the light back into an otherwise dark world.

Today I had my midterm for one of my classes. Leading up to it I was not doing well. I was panicking like crazy. My hands were shaking, my head hurt, the world was spinning. I'd already maxed out on any meds I could take. But the panic wasn't related to the test. No, it was related to some entirely unrelated life stuff, which made it all the more frustrating. Life and my crazy brain was officially getting in the way of me being able to function at a very important time. I realized as I was walking to the classroom building that this just wasn't going to work. There was absolutely no way I could go in and take a major test in the condition I was in. The sun was shining and felt good on my face, so instead of going in I found a nice grassy spot and lay down. I thought about the AA meeting I went to, where multiple people had talked about giving things over to god. Now if you read my god post you know my thoughts on the spirit/higher power/god thing but we're just gonna go with saying god for now to keep it simple. Anyway...I decided that if there was ever a time that I needed to give things up to god this was it. I couldn't handle this on my own, and I didn't have the strength to fight it. So I laid there, sun shining on my face and I said Ok god...i need you here. If there's any way you could slow my heart rate a bit and get me calm enough to make it through these next couple hours and through this test I'd really really appreciate it. As I was saying this the word grateful popped in to my head. I started thanking god for holding out the warm, sunny weather long enough for me to have this moment to feel the sunshine and regroup...since there was a winter storm warning for this afternoon/evening. As I thanked god for the sun, I went on to thank him for the grass to lay on and the beautiful world that surrounds me. Before I knew it I found myself saying "and it doesn't matter how this test goes because whatever happens I still have this beautiful world to live in." Yeah. Wow. I shocked myself with that one. But I realized then that I had calmed down enough to face the test and be ok with the outcome. My breathing came back and my dizziness had gone away. I was able to walk calmly into the building and into the classroom, amazed at the transition that had just taken place in a matter of minutes.

The test went well. There were only a couple of things that I really didn't know. My brain did get a bit "lost" at times, so I'm just hoping the prof. has a sense of humor when she grades it! I was really struggling to stay focused on the essays so I started writing them in narrative form. Meaning, a question about describing the ethical decision making process turned into a story about a caped hero out to save the world. It had all the information in it...just with a bit extra On another I did it almost completely stream of consciousness style...meaning that I wrote down every side comment that was in my head along with the essay itself. This test was extremely difficult for me to study for because there were tons of lists to memorize...the 5 steps of this and the 6 standards of this and the 8 aspects of this...etc. So on the essay asking me to recreate this list of 8 factors that I could never remember no matter how many times I studied it....I wrote out my attempts to remember it. Things like "Well I think _____ is one, and gosh this is a long list. But I think _____ goes on it too. And maybe ________. But really it's all about _____(lots of descriptions here because I couldn't remember the right terms). Oh and there's totally ______!

At the very least I made myself laugh, which made it easier to get through. I used every minute I had...the full 2 hours...and just barely finished the test. (Maybe cus i was busy adding silliness to the essays? lol) Anyway..I survived and I did it. And I made it to my therapy appt after that which went decently well.

Anyway...the moral to this very long story is that by really focusing on something that was good and that I was grateful for, I was able to turn my thought process around, calm down, and refocus.....which, frankly, is HUGE! A potentially disastrous situation turned out ok. So my new commitment is that every time I write a blog entry now, I'm going to conclude with at least one thing I'm grateful for. It may sound trite, but it's important to me. There's a big list tonight.

Tonight I'm grateful for:
*More than 2 hours of being fully content sitting here on my beanbag listening to music
*Going for a 30 min. walk in the freezing rain
*The hot shower after the walk
*The potential for snow tonight
*Successfully eating 3 meals of "real food" today
*Friends who care about me
*A therapist I feel comfortable with
*My squishy stress purchase EVER! So nice when I get panicky and during the test
* very favorite get rid of alcohol cravings candy. I usually always have a bag with me in my backpack, and just a few to munch on can work miracles! They also help me to stay focused and grounded at important times when I start to get lost in bad thoughts


So the volunteering thing last night was great! It was weird to be back there after being gone so long....and a little frustrating too. Back when I used to volunteer there I was a go to person. They knew I could handle the difficult kids, so when other volunteers were struggling or there was an issue they'd come grab me. When the volunteer coordinator couldn't be there, they'd have a replacement there somewhat for show, because I would basically run it. I knew all the staff so I'd hang out afterwards and talk with them. They were great ppl and always interested in what was going on in my life and very supportive of me. When I had to leave for a while bc of a job, they gave me this super nice card signed by all of them saying how I was appreciated and they'd miss me.

Last night I was introduced as, "This is River. She's new."


I guess I am new, but I don't want to be new in the place that used to be so big in my life....the place where I was important and respected and valued and looked up to and all that. I know I can get that back eventually, but it's just so different.

I told the new volunteer coordinator that I would be happy to work with any age group but I really miss my baby nephew and would love a baby to hold. (I should be using this to build experience with older kids for resume stuff...but I really needed a baby fix. Not to mention I was way too tired to be good w/older kids). Back when I came before I was well known as the baby expert. The moms would tell me that they loved to see me there because they knew they were leaving their baby w/someone trustworthy and reliable. It was common to see me dancing with a baby in each arm and another couple toddling along behind me. The new coordinator first said she'd need me with the older kids, but decided to put me with the babies instead. Yay!

It was great. It was so fun to escape into baby world...even though one latched on to me and screamed in my ear if i put her down or did anything that she perceived as me not giving her my full attention. Ok maybe because of that. It was great to immerse myself in baby world, and so fun to be a little one's everything for the night.

There was another little baby far the smallest. Most of them were around a year old and walking or very close to it. This little girl was 6 months old and VERY small for her age. When she started crawling around I was shocked because she looked like she was only a few months old. But she had this great little army crawl scoot...and she'd scoot over to you and give this big smile and then scoot away to someone else.

Towards the end of the night this little one got very tired. So I sat down with her and my little attachment in the rocking chair and rocked the two of them. After a little bit of setting each other off and making each other cry, they both settled in. Attachment was a little grumpy still (she was SO tired) but she managed to cuddle up a bit. The little one completely konked out in my arms. I'd forgotten just how magical it is to have a little baby fall asleep in your arms. It's that great feeling of trust and comfort to see her settle in and drift off to sleep. She even snored a little. :)

Last night was a tough night, but I thought about baby J a lot. I'm grateful to her for giving me that moment. My little attachment got picked up before baby I had some time to just relax w/my little sleeper. It was a moment of letting the outside world go and just being there with this beautiful little girl.

Yeah I guess I'll probably be going back there again sometime soon. :)

Monday, October 24, 2011


Those of you that I talk to regularly know that I have a strange relationship with the whole god say the least. I don't want to get into a religion thing here at all, but I've had quite a few spiritual moments lately. I'm talking about the kind of moments where things just happen in a serendipitous kind of way.

AA talks a lot about God, or another Higher Power. This is a bit of a struggle for me, but not impossible. I'm not an atheist. Far from it. I'm actually a very spiritual person. A big part of the reason I love to be out in the mountains is to feel that incredible feeling of looking out at the giant, amazing world we live in. From the top of a mountain the people look like ants, and the houses and cars like toys. Trees come together into one large blanket of color. Many artists and photographers have been inspired by such a view. But then you think further into it. Each piece of that blanket of color is an individual tree with animals living in it's branches, fruit growing for the animals to eat, and perhaps even a vine or two hanging from it. It's roots stretch deep in the ground, helping to prevent erosion of the soil. Deeper still. Every tree, every animal, every being, is made up of cells, molecules, atoms, etc. I've never quite understood why so many people see science as a sort of opposite to religion. For me, if science proves anything it's that there's some kind of higher power behind all of this. The world works together in such an indescribable symbiosis. I just don't see any way that that could be an accident. Yes, there's scientific explanation for it all, but the fact that it's happened, and that it works with such amazing balance, is nothing short of miraculous to me.

And that's why I love the feeling from the mountain top. I love to breathe the fresh air and feel the breathe through my hair. I love to just "be" out there as a part of everything. Such a small part, but somehow a part of the great balance. And I feel a presence there. I don't believe in the god of the bible (for many reasons not to be discussed here), but I don't believe for a second that we're alone. I guess I believe something similar to the Native American Great Spirit. I believe that there is a spirit inside of everything and everyone, and it's what connects us. I see this spirit as the traveling wind, or the sunshine emerging from behind a cloud.

And wow that was not the tangent I meant to go on! lol

Anyway...I don't know about prayer and all that other stuff, but I do feel comforted by this spirit out there. And I believe that this spirit is behind some of these amazing "coincidences" taking place in my life right now.

The biggest one of late is from last monday. I was not doing well last monday, and didn't make it in for any of my groups. I was especially disappointed that I'd missed the DBT one which seems to really be helping me deal with the flashbacks and panic and all that. Kind of ironic that the excessive flashbacks and panic kept me away from that group, huh? But today I made it back to the group, and found out that apparently something big had gone on last week. It wasn't my place to ask for details (the girl at the center of it was giving an apology for it, so I got only what she offered and bits from how people responded). What I gathered was that the woman's abusive husband came in and made quite a scene in the group. Since then he was apparently angry all week, hit her multiple times, the cops have been involved, etc. Now obviously I feel terrible for this woman, but I have to say I am so so SO glad I wasn't there to witness this. Like I said I don't know what happened, but being anywhere close to an abuser and his ways would've set me back a hundred million miles...especially with all the panic that was already taking place in my head. Last monday I told myself that it doesn't matter how crappy I felt, that I needed to get myself to that group and get the help. But for some strange reason I just couldn't do it and couldn't get myself there. Things kept coming up instead. In a sense I think that was the spirit keeping me safe.

I started Antabuse today. Antabuse is a medication that has no effect other than to make one very sick if that one is to drink. My therapist has been suggesting for a while that I go on this medication so I can take my energy away from fighting cravings and instead towards focusing on the healing I need to do. My pride has been keeping me off of it. "Lots of people quit with no medical help. Why should I be any different? I can do it myself. I just need to be strong." Etc. etc. But today I made the decision to start it. I told the dr. that I didn't necessarily think that I needed it to be successful, but more that it was my way of giving up that security blanket ("Well if it gets TOO bad I'll just drink") and really going all in on this program, no matter how hard I know it's going to be. It was a much more emotional decision than I had expected it to be. I actually cried. It was like a final good-bye to the friend that's been there with me through it all. Yes, as my IOP group mentioned, also the friend who has messed up so much of my life, stolen all my money, made me sick, etc...but still the one thing that has repeatedly worked in the moment. At this same afternoon group, I found out that this girl I have felt strangely connected to from the start though I couldn't say why, also just started on Antabuse today. She described the same thoughts as me of the pride issue, as well as a lot of the same symptoms during detox and early sobriety as I've had. She has almost the exact same amount of sobriety as I do (though she did have a 2-day "oopsie" in the middle of it). Anyway I just felt even more connected with her today. It seemed like the spirit was there for that too. She's going to come w/me to the art therapy group on wednesday. She's been wanting to come but has been hesitant to try it.

All these little things keep working in my favor. It seems like the spirit is there, and the universe is supporting me in this endeavor. It's helping me to believe that the decisions I'm making are good ones. I ended up talking in the DBT group about wanting to quit "for real this time," though I had a hard time describing what I meant by that. I think this is what I was trying to say. I'm not just stopping drinking this time...I'm working with people and getting help. I don't feel like it's me against the world this time. Instead it feels like i'm finding a new path, and it seems to be in harmony with the universe and the spirit. (And did I just sound like a hippy there or what??!! lol)

One last little piece of nice-ness. I had to miss most of IOP today bc I was dealing with the dr. and getting the Antabuse stuff underway. Apparently because there weren't many people there, or something, they quit early and were wrapping up right as I came back in. I got put on the spot to answer the questions for the day, which were what was working well in recovery, and what am I grateful for. Now remember I'm coming off a hellish weekend with tons of flashbacks, and basically locking myself in my apartment because the cravings were so bad I was terrified of what I would do out in the world. The only coping mechanism that had "worked" for me for the weekend was cutting...a habit I thought i'd been done with a long while ago. I said I didn't know, and that nothing seemed to be working too well for me. One of the guys said "Is IOP working for you?" And I realized that yes, it is, and that I am so grateful to have this place to go where people understand me, and notice and miss me when I'm gone. These are people that actually worry about me and want to make sure I'm ok. I have very few of those in my face to face world so it's a very big deal to me.

After IOP I stayed and talked to Stupidface (IOP facilitator) because I needed to know how big of a deal it was that I was going back to cutting, another addiction, while attempting to quit the drinking. What he said was just so nice, and so what I needed to hear in that moment. He said he didn't want to minimize the pain I'd been in that caused me to do the cutting, but that he really thought it was no big deal. He said I'm doing well by continuing to fight and continuing to show up everywhere I can. He went on to say that he thinks I have an amazing heart in that I so genuinely care about those around me even though the world gave me something I should've never had to have gone through. He said he's been impressed by my willingness to be there day after day and be honest and open about what is happening with my world. (Oh, and he also said that he liked my story. :) Anyway, it just meant a lot to me that in my moment of feeling like such a fuck up, he told me that I am ok and that I am doing well. He said he wants to help me come up with a plan for this friday night so I can start next weekend on better footing (friday evening/night seems to be when everything goes to hell), and then asked if there was anything else he could do for me.

So yes, I'm grateful for this new amazing world where people know me and are concerned for me and won't let me slip away. I'm grateful to have somewhere that I can turn to, even in my low moments. I'm grateful to have this new little world full of people who seem to have decided not to give up on me. And, I'll admit, I'm grateful for IOP ending early so I had some extra time to study for midterms this week. Eek!

Tonight I'm starting a new old volunteer job. This is a place where I volunteered very regularly in college part I. I haven't been there in about 4 years but I'm really excited to go back. It's an amazing place that helps struggling single parents get back on their feet. I volunteer with the childcare in the evenings while the parents take life-skills type classes. It's always fun because I get to play with kids (and I so need some good quality kid time right now!) but I think now it will mean even more to me because I'm just rebuilding as well. Thankfully I don't have kids yet, but I think I have a much clearer sense right now of being where many of these women (and occasional men) likely are. I think it will be all the more meaningful for me to help others rebuild when I am working so hard to rebuild myself.

It's been a hellish weekend, but for right now, in this moment, the world is ok. I know there will be plenty more bad and plenty more good, but for now i'm just stopping to smell the roses. That's what I'm learning right now. To take these moments of peacefulness as they come, and appreciate them for what they are. And just breathe. And feel the Spirit.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A few good things...

It's been a very, very tough weekend. But in an attempt not to dwell on what I can't change, I'm just going to mention a few positive things that happened.

1. I got to talk to one of my very best friends in the world. I have never met this friend in person, but the connection I feel towards her is stronger than any I've ever felt. She's the one person that knows my full story. Unfortunately she has a story that's very similar. I never want to say that I'm glad someone else has felt the same pain I have, but I am so so glad that we found each other. Her presence is instantly calming to me because she just gets it without me having to explain. Even if we just sit together, I feel peace in being there with her. I talked to her on saturday night and I finally calmed down enough to sleep...which leads me to #2.

2. I slept almost 12 hours on saturday night! Pure bliss. I needed it BADLY! Sleep has been a big issue again lately. But my friend calmed me down and I was able to sleep nightmare-free. It's funny bc I fell asleep with the tv on and an episode of flash forward came on. I've never watched that show but it was in my dreams big time. I had a very vivid dream involving lots of ppl and what they'd seen in their "flash forward". lol

3. I went to an AA meeting. Being in a room full of ppl I don't know, especially when it's related to a stressful topic for me, is horrible for causing me panic attacks. Many times I have planned to go to a meeting, gotten all the way to the door, and then turned around and gone home bc I couldn't bring myself to actually open the door and go inside. Before today, I'd sat in many parking lots near meetings. I'd sat through one meeting from in the hallway. And I'd made it in the door for 15 minutes of one before needing to go outside and collapse into a sobbing mess. But today I made it in and stayed through the whole thing. It brought up a lot of thoughts in my head, but for now I'm just going to be happy and proud of myself for going and staying. There were no seats available in the back or close to the door so I got sorta stuck in the middle. Was good for me though that I made it and didn't panic. Partially thanks to the wonderful power of new addiction! lol They seem to help keep me present and calm. Whatever works! lol

Friday, October 21, 2011

Still full...

I'm struggling. I'm still going but I'm struggling.

Yesterday was tough. I'm not sure why...I was just jittery and panicky and yucky feeling. By the time I got home my head was so full of stuff I could barely make sense of driving and rules of the road and all that. It was a bit scary and I had to stop a couple times to regroup. Just bad.

Anyway...I was so miserable but I finally managed to settle enough to sit and watch a movie. I couldn't sleep at all but suddenly this peace came over me. I was up for most of the night but I didn't feel stressed and anxious like I normally do when I can't sleep. I was just enjoying the quiet and the peace of the night (which usually scares the hell outta me...but anyway...).

On wednesday in my IOP group we were talking about I decided during this peaceful time that I wanted to print a story i've written and bring it to the group today. I went to the 24 hour copy place to print it and bring it in. It was nice, though a little overwhelming, to have ppl read it and comment on it. It is one I really like though...I'll have to see if I've posted it here...can't remember. It fits very well with what i'm going through right now, though I wrote it before I went to the hospital.

So this morning started good, even though I was on basically no sleep. Group went pretty well...I was smiling and enjoying ppl's company. Then I went home in the early afternoon and the tiredness was catching up with me. Tiredness is not a good thing for me right now cus i seem to lose the ability to get out of my head and out of the yucky stuff. Oh, and I had to do a UA after my group...which is a big trigger for me because the bathroom is video monitored. Ugh. It's a requirement for my program to prove I'm staying I get why it's there....but if I think about it too much it just really gets to me.

So that started me out in a bad place...and then the tiredness put me over the top. I finally fell asleep but ended up having horrible nightmares. There's just something about having these horrific nightmares in the middle of the day that just drives me crazy. It's weird to wake up and hear the world going on as normal outside.

This was one of the worst nightmares I've had in a long time. So so so real. I woke up feeling very sick to my stomach, and had to spend a long time convincing myself that I'm safe, that I'm not a child anymore, that the bad people aren't really here, etc. etc. I'm still feeling really sick and gross. I managed to force myself to eat a bit, but that was all I could manage. Now I'm just sitting here feeling disgusting like I did after the stuff would happen. I just can't shake the feeling of being dirty and everything just being wrong. Can't really fully describe it but I'd give anything to make it go away.

There is some good news though. For one, I have internet in my apartment now! Yay! That is really helpful to have such a great distraction. Sucked dealing with the internet ppl with all this in my head but at least I got it done. Also, on wednesday I got an absolutely incredible massage. I needed it so bad after all the stress i've been under plus all the physical issues from detox (I shook so bad for so long that my arms would ache!). The massage was amazing, but I also got to talking to the massage therapist about drinking. I remembered she had mentioned in passing last time (months ago) that she was annoyed w/her daughter bringing alcohol into the house when she doesn't drink. I didn't know if she was an alcoholic though or if she just didn't like to drink or what. Turns out she had been sober for 6 months and just relapsed, so she and I have almost the exact same sober date. She also has similar abuse history to me. This is good news bc it's another person on my team...and we're both dragging each other to a meeting tomorrow. Neither of us want to go but it should be good for us. I'm a little irritated w/her right now cus she's not answering my texts but at least i'll have her support tomorrow. I hate to celebrate in ppl sharing my pain, but it's nice to have ppl to lean on who can relate.

The PTSD and abuse stuff has been incredibly isolating lately. I'm finding myself more and more around ppl who can relate to the drinking and the struggle to stay sober....but very few understand the panic attacks, flashbacks, nightmares, etc. that I face while sober. I know everyone has their own shit they face in sobriety, but I just don't have anyone I can talk to about that stuff in my face to face life. I'm considering joining a survivors support group but I'm not sure if that's healthy for me right now or not. My therapist keeps saying to do what I can not to delve very deep into the past crap cus I need to practice staying grounded and focused on the present in order to stay sober. I'm not yet strong enough in sobriety to really start workin through past shit. I get that...but at the same time the past shit is there whether I like it or not...and I need ppl who can get that. I need ppl who don't look at me like i'm nuts when I talk about it...because i'm starting to talk about it whether i like it or not.

Anyway...I know this post is kinda crazy and convoluted but that's where my head is right now. One other interesting thing that happened....for a big chunk of today I really really wanted a hug. With everyone I was around I imagined them hugging me. (And I did actually get one real hug). That may sound like nothing but I've had a MAJOR touch aversion thing goin on for months now. Since the memories have gotten so bad I can't stand the feeling of having ppl touch me. But for some reason today I just so badly wanted touch. I don't now since the nightmare, but the feeling was there for a while.

Anyway gonna shut up cus not sure this makes much sense as it is. Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My head is full...

I've been trying and trying to come up with a way to put my current thoughts and life into words but have come up with basically nothing. Except that my head is full.

I've also come to realize that I do way too much analyzing and trying to see the bigger picture rather than living life as it is.

I saw my therapist today and he basically said just that. We talked about how it's good that I have a vision for the future and a passion for something....but that sometimes I worry so much about the bigger picture that I don't give enough focus to today. Or I get too stressed out today worrying about things in the future.

For example, after my recent renewed energy after the site visit thing I mentioned in an earlier post...i've been talking to my professors for ideas about other classes to take and that kind of thing to point me towards that goal. I've gotten some great ideas, but am also starting to see that it's going to take YEARS to get anywhere close to being in a place to reach where I really want to be. That makes me sad because I'm starting to feel old. I realize that being into my 30's isn't that old...and not too old to be starting a career, it just stresses me out when I think about it.

So my therapist told me to keep my eye on the ball but focus on the day to day.

We also talked about celebrating my accomplishments and trying not to think about where I "should" be or what I "should" be doing. For example, I've started cooking meals in my apartment. Now when i say cooking...we're talking mac & cheese and that sort of thing...which "should" be easy for any adult and even for a lot of kids. But when you consider that for the last loooooong bit of time I've either not been eating, eating fast food, or eating crap that doesn't require cooking. It's been a very, very, very long time since I've actually gathered ingredients and made a meal for myself. So rather than feeling bad that it's not some 3 course meal, or that it's not as healthy as how I used to cook (I used to eat very little processed food)....I need to see it as progress and as success for me right now. I need to be less afraid of failing and stop trying to rush it. Instead I need to celebrate the little things and keep taking baby steps.

So that's the plan for now. And as my therapist always throws in there....first and foremost, don't drink!

I'm also thinking I may start recording what I eat my t things that might be part of my mood swings. I've been eating a ton of processed sugar bc it helps make the cravings go away, but that can result in a big spike of energy and then a crash...which is what i've been feeling a lot lately. I think it goes a lot deeper than that, but i'm sure the sugar is a part of it. It's also just not a habit i want to continue. I also am going to start exercising more now that my detox/stress headaches seem to be mostly gone. I remember from in the past that the more I exercised the less I wanted the sugar because trying to run on a belly-full of candy sucks! Also working out made me crave better food just by nature.

Anyway...lots of goals...and maybe I'm not as confused as I thought I was. These actually started to make some sense after writing them out. Yay!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A bit harder...

I remember back in the day when I really liked weekends. I looked forward to having a break from the stress of day to day life during the week. I loved having time to just chill out and do nothing. That was then. Now weekends are less than fun. There is soooooo much in my head that downtime just isn't good. I think about drinking...about past stuff...just about stuff in general. Plus I have time to notice how crappy I still tend to feel. I don't know if i'm getting sick all over again or if this is related to alcohol or meds or what.

The stupid thing is...i'm well aware that there is plenty to do around here. Today I actually did manage to go pick up a table and chairs and a shelf thing from a friend and get it moved in. I went to the store and bought dishwasher stuff so I can start gettin the dishes i got out of storage clean again. (Oh...I got my old microwave out of storage...which may or may not have been sitting w/exploded food in it for the last um 5 years or It may not be that old...and may have been used by family since then. Or maybe not. I really don't know and don't want to know! lol I also got laundry soap but haven't done laundry yet. I've done a bit of apartment rearranging plus just the amount of time it took to bring everything from my car up to my apt. So it wasn't awful...I did do some stuff...just not that much. A lot of feeling groggy and struggling to move. But my point is...there shouldn't be nearly as much sit and think time as I leave myself.

I had the option to go shopping w/a friend today but I turned it down because I wasn't feeling good. I'm really not feeling good, but it prob. would've helped my brain to go somewhere. Problem is when I don't feel good I tend to be angry and not a very nice person/good friend. Anyway...there's also tons of walking/running trails around my house and nothing stopping me from using them. I could take my bike on a short drive and have plenty of room to ride. There's lots and lots of things but I don't do them. Couldn't tell ya why. Just overwhelmed by the weight of the world I guess.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Positive, empowering, etc.

Yep...this is going to be a positive post. Because there ARE positive things happening in my crazy world.

On wednesday afternoon I had to do a site visit for one of my classes. That means I had to visit the local children's home to take a tour and learn about their programs, services, funding, etc. Well, I could've chosen any agency, but I'm in school to help kids who have been abused so I had to stay true to that. This particular children's home is an amazing program. It has both residential and day kids and it's basically a very therapeutically intensive school that will take just about any behavior issues. It's pretty much exactly the kind of work I want to do. They take the truly difficult kids...those who are violent, sexually act out, etc. They said that most of the residential kids have been in at least 2 out of home placements before coming there. So yeah you can see why this would hit a little close to home I imagine?

I was very nervous going in...and it was hard to be there...but it also brought up this amazing feeling of passion in me. I was sure like I've never been sure in my life that that is what I'm meant to be doing. I remember being that scared child with no adult to turn to and no one to trust. I want to be that adult for another kid....that one that stays when everyone else turns their backs. I became so so sure that i'm doing the right thing by being in school again and that that is going to be my purpose. I suddenly just felt like I'm meant to be there.

With all the "floating" I feel like my life has been doing lately...not sure what's going to happen next...where i'm going...overwhelming idea what's right, etc....this was amazing. It was also a struggle. After I left and the adrenaline wore off I was majorly triggered. Tons of past memories came racing back to me. But I practiced some of the mindfulness exercises I've been learning in my therapy groups....telling myself that i'm safe, that those are in the past, and narrating what i'm doing in the present...and I was actually able to get them to go away for the whole drive home. I had this amazing drive home where I was just totally in the present, calm, and peaceful. My mind wasn't wandering. I was noticing all the fall colors, noticing the different cars, etc, but keeping the memories away. That may sound silly to a lot of you, but it was incredible to me.

Now on to thursday...which is generally a very difficult day for me because I have school from 12:00-8:00. I don't do well with evening classes (or evenings in general) at all, so it's nearly impossible for me to focus and not let my thoughts drift. The evening class is also the one that is really challenging because it's actually working towards learning about the population I want to work with (kids who have been abused), programming for them, and general therapeutic type activities. It can be very intense for me, and earlier in the semester I had one class session where I cried almost the entire time. Nearly every time I have to go for walks at least a couple times to refocus, and I usually end up playing computer games on the side just to keep from getting totally lost. And I always want a drink afterwards!! But this time I had to/got to share about my site visit. I ended up talking quite a bit because the professor kept asking more questions and bringing up more different things related to child abuse and its after effects, foster care, etc. I got to share so much knowledge and tell the class all about what abused kids go through and all that. They don't know about my past (though they're probably starting to guess....especially since I shared my collage I made that talked about kids no one believes in and I mentioned how I was a kid no one believed in) but it was still so empowering to get to say everything I did. I felt like I was using my past to do something good in person (I know i've helped ppl online in that kind of thing, but it's a whole different ballgame doing it face to face!). We were all sitting in a circle so I had no escape, but I stayed strong and was able to answer all the questions and discuss the different topics and everything. At the end of the class I felt absolutely exhausted but not as overwhelmed and panicky as I normally am. Instead I felt proud...and maybe a bit of happiness sneaking in there. Or at least non-worthlessness.

I talked to the professor after class, because the site visit got me wondering if my major is right for me. I'm studying therapeutic recreation, because I really want to work with kids out in nature and use more nature/adventure/recreation focused techniques, but the place that I visited no longer offers the therapeutic rec program because of financial stuff. I asked who they would hire and they said maybe someone with my degree depending on coursework. Anyway I talked with the professor and we discussed some different options...but the cool part about it was that she commented on how I'm really getting it and I'm really doing well in the class. She said she's been very impressed with my work and that I'm "definitely on the right path." I can't tell you how good that feels to hear considering that this was a class that I started out almost 3 weeks behind due to various issues. It was a long time before I could really participate and I still struggle to. But the prof. sees the part of me that is putting in the work and she's working with me. Between the two of us I'm starting to see success.

And I'm seeing a lot of successes in my life right now. Most are little things...I finally got all the paperwork done for my apartment stuff. That feels good because I'm taking care of business on my own and getting things done. I bought a matching shower curtain and bath mat, which just feels good in such a silly way because i'm decorating my place and making it my own. I'm working on other decorations. I'm just really starting to feel human again and feel like I'm on such a good path.

I talked about a lot of this in group this morning and stupidface (group facilitator) congratulated me and called me the optimist for the rest of the time (something i'm NOT generally associated with! lol). Everyone was really supportive too, which was cool. Then I had to go talk to the payment guru to figure out some issues w/him and he commented on what a good job I'm doing and how he knows i'm working hard and doing everything I can to get better. (He's actually going above and beyond in a way that's difficult to explain here in order to keep this affordable for me because he can see change in me and see that i'm working at it.

It's just amazing to be recognized for positive things right now, and to have so many people say that i'm doing right. And better yet, to really feel like I'm doing right. I'm able to celebrate all these little accomplishments in a way i've never been able to before. I really hit the bottom this time but now I'm on my way up and I can feel each and every little building block accomplishment. Not to say it's easy or anything...not at all...but I'm seeing and feeling potential for success. And after the dark place i've been in for so long...that's HUGE!

I'm not sure I'm ready for "life is good" yet, but it does seem to suck a great deal less right now. I'm doing everything I can to hold on to all these positive feelings and drink in every little bit of them so I'll have them for the next dark place. The weekend will be interesting...lots of unstructured time...but here's hoping for more along the positive path. Thanks for reading! :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Life is crazy right now. I really don't know how else to put it. It's funny though, because very little is actually going on. But everything feels huge right now.

I met with my new therapist. I already know him from the BFI from way back when. Already I like him A LOT better than the previous one (stupidface). New t started out with a written treatment plan for me to sign, and discussed w/me what his plan was, what he wants me to focus on, where we're going to go, etc. Sooooo much better. He's also an alcoholic sober around my age and has now been sober for a whole lot of years (35 I think someone said). But he knows where I'm coming from and how scary it is.

The issue right now is that being sober is bringing back soooooo many memories that I can no longer hide from. It comes in flashbacks, hearing past voices in my head, body memories, etc. Just generally awful stuff all the time. It is so so so tempting to drink right now. Every liquor store calls my name. All I can think about is how one drink could make all this better...stop the pain. I know that it doesn't work that way...that the drinking has bad consequences and the crap never really goes away...but I'm so tired of struggling just to breathe and just to get through the day. I'm tired of scheduling distraction after distraction every day to keep from doin something stupid or panicking or whatever.

Oh, and I'm also tired of distractions...coming back to this after like 20 min. of leaving it open and forgetting I was working on

Anyway, new therapist wants me to go on a medication called anabuse (i think that's how it's spelled). Basically, it makes you really sick if you drink. I'm on meds that are supposed to lessen the cravings but my cravings are through the roof so it's apparently not doing much. Or if it is doing something than wow it'd be bad w/out it! lol Anyway...when the dr. brought up anabuse I thought that was crazy talk and that I didn't need anything like that. But back then I thought sobriety was going to get a bit easier...or that i'd at least get some more confidence in it..after i'd racked up a few days. Instead, it seems to get worse day by day. The physical stuff is mostly gone but holy shit are the emotions and cravings present. The last few nights I've spent curled up on the floor crying my eyes out dealing with flashbacks and all that. Last night I couldn't sleep for most of the night because laying down was too much of a trigger. That was a nightly battle pre-hospital but something I haven't dealt with a whole lot since. I told everyone that that's what would happen if I didn't have drinking to calm myself down at night. At first I was refusing to quit but then I went on my big binge and realized I don't have near as much control as I like to pretend.

So anabuse would take away my safety net. Right now I can think well if it gets TOO too bad I'll just drink and slow it down. i know drinking is a bad idea and all that jazz, but it's so freakin tempting to just have a break from the pain. It doesn't have to be long...but just a moment of peace to breathe. That's what alcohol gives me. And then a whole lot of shit after that. So basically, agreeing to the anabuse would be going "all in" to their program. It'd be agreeing to really trust them and fight this...which is scary as hell.

But stupidface had a great point about it today during iop (he's a very good group facilitator, just a crappy 1 on 1 therapist). He said that anabuse takes the decision of whether or not to drink out of my hands. It makes drinking not an option. Period. Right now i'm putting a ton of energy into debating whether or not I want to drink, resisting the drink, etc. On the anabuse i'd have more energy to put in to figuring out how to heal because the drink question would be gone. He's got a point there...and a part of me does want to be all in. That part is bigger or smaller depending on the day or hour it seems. But there's also that terrified part of me that just wants to say fuck it and curl up with a bottle. I think what it comes down to though is that I fought for so long to find ANYONE to help me...and now i have a whole team...therapist, psychiatrist, groups...i'd be stupid to waste it. If I wasted it by drinking instead of taking the help I'd probably regret it for a long long time. I don't want to give alcohol that control or power over my future. Then again...holy shit. lol

Monday, October 10, 2011

No longer homeless! Yay!

It's true...I have an apartment!

After a HUGE panic attack I made it in to sign the lease late sunday afternoon and got the keys. It's mostly empty right now, but I've surprised myself by how much I like it. I expected to be very scared to be there alone...especially since I really haven't been alone since the hospital over a month ago...but it felt strangely peaceful to be there. I made it through a night there totally on my own.

It's a weird feeling. I'm very excited to have my own space and not have to rely on others for a place to stay. I'm also so relieved to have my own breathing room. I'm generally a very independent and relatively solitary person. I know the level of isolation I reached before the hospital was very unhealthy, but my alone time is very valuable to me. I was and am very afraid that with all this space and time I'm going to end up drinking....I mean what's to stop me from filling my big new fridge w/alcohol....but the more time I spend there it feels like a very visual, physical fresh start. This is going to be the change in my life for the better. It's the first step on my path to health. It's the first step to a safe, healthy, real life. I'm very protective of it already, and excited to get some more stuff in there and make it my own. Even with nothing in it right now I'm still very proud of it. Though I do need to get some extra blankets in there or something for padding. The carpet is SO not soft enough for sleeping on. Eventually I'll get a's just hard to find one that's affordable. I don't want to spend a ton but I also definitely don't want to buy a used one. Ew. I'm excited to get my tv back and see if I can get my video games back from my brothers. They know they're just "borrowing" them, but they're rather attached! lol

My IOP group today was a rough one. A couple people were talking about having their parents looking over their shoulder all the time and watching to make sure they stay safe and sober. At first I was thinking just that I could relate to having ppl checking in on me all the time. It's a good thing...but it can get overwhelming and frustrating. But then I just started sobbing because it just hit me that I don't have a mom and dad to look after me and I never have. I am very blessed to have LOTS of amazing people who do care about me...but it went back to that primal hurt of my biological parents never caring. Instead of worrying and protecting me from hurt, they were the ones that caused the hurt. That just hit me all at once and I couldn't help but cry. I'm still on the verge of tears. I have another group to go to in an hour....the one about mindfulness and staying present. I think that's just what I need right now because my brain is getting lost in all sorts of places.

I guess I'd better go find something to eat before the next group....though all the stress and memories is making me feel like I'm going to throw up. I'm hoping that soon my body will start to actually be hungry again. I am able to eat regularly now and eat pretty much anything, but food never sounds good. I kinda have to force myself to eat when I know it's time, because my body wants it but seems to tell me by getting sick. Ugh.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

And then there was one...

First exciting announcement....this is my 100th blog post. Yaaaaaaay for loving to write/talk, regardless of whether or not anyone is reading! lol

Just a quick update...tonight is a tough one for me cus the friend who has been stayin w/me for the last 10 days went home. Now, for the first time since the hospital at the end of August, I'm on my own. I've been dying for some alone time and space, but now that I've got it it's scary. It suddenly feels like the drinking temptations are everywhere, and I'm very scared of being able to make it through even a night on my own. I just keep thinking how easy it would be to do something stupid.

Also, I've officially found myself an apartment. I can move in starting tomorrow. That is very exciting but also a bit scary because that's more of me being on my own. I used to be a very independent person, but since all the hospital stuff and the drinking it's scary for me to be solo. I have a much better support system now but it's very hard to convince myself that I can do it.

As always, if you're reading I'd love to hear from you w/an email or comment....especially now as I could really use the support with staying sober and staying strong even w/out someone immediately with me all the time.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Giving up...

But in a good way! At least I'm trying to keep reminding myself it's a good thing.

I gave up all of my alcohol stashes to my friend who is staying w/me.

As ya'll know I have been trying to quit, but I haven't been willing to fully give in to it. I've always had some little bit around, that for one reason or another I wouldn't get rid of. Tonight I gave it all over. And then I cried, and wanted to jump up and get it all back again. I made her hide it from me and i'm really struggling with not going hunting for it while she's in the shower. I didn't realize just how emotional it was going to be to give it over. But my dr. pointed out today that I wasn't really ready to quit if I was holding on to some of it (for stupid reasons like I paid a lot for it). I know that what he said is obvious for others out there but that was a hard bit for me to swallow.

He did prescribe something to help with cravings. Something called naltrexone that I'm still learning about. It's strange but it really bothers me to have a prescription for this. I guess because I don't feel like I'm "that much" of an alcoholic....or that It's admitting defeat by taking medical help and not just doing it on my own. But dr. said this can be especially important for ppl who have the genetics for addiction...which I definitely do. I can't come up with a single biological relative that isn't addicted to something or has been in the past! Anyway, I guess it feels a little like the easy way out....and a tough realization that I'm not as in control as I thought I was....but I guess crying over giving up my alcohol should cover that too. Honestly, after that experience I'm much more ok with taking the meds.

I have another group tomorrow morning, and then what happens after that is still up in the air. The dr. is recommending the IOP but I haven't heard back about getting in to it. I called the guy that I did the intake with about seeing a new t. I called him tonight after business hours so I could leave a message and think through what I wanted to say. Not sure what's going to happen next in that department.

I guess that's all for now. Just feeling very overwhelmed by the world....but I guess this is progress or something.

Oh...and I went to the movies in an attempt to distract myself...saw Moneyball. That 2.5 hour movie was about 2 hours too long! Yikes! At least it gave me something to do other than search for alcohol....and I got to eat

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Not OK

I'm not ok tonight. I just need to say that "out loud." I'm actually dreaming of the hospital. I liked it there. Ok I hated it there...but it was safe there. Maybe if they saw me like this they'd help me more.

I know this is a long, slow, battle, but I just wish someone could take the pain away for a while.

It seems my body has decided it's time to really come to terms with stuff. The memories are everywhere and constant. EVERYTHING reminds me of what happened. And I'm seeing/hearing/feeling everything so vividly. And there's nothing I can do right now to make it stop. My friend is here with me but I still feel so alone. There's nothing she can do to stop it. It's in my head. There's no distraction that can stop it. I can't handle anyone touch me so she can't even give me a hug or anything. This is when I start to feel so, so alone. I know there's ppl out there supporting me....and I know there are ppl who have been through what I have and can understand what it's like....but in this part of the fight it's just me.

It was a decently good day. I actually slept well last night (scarily well...I slept 12 hours!! I've needed it after lots of stressful days and very very little sleep. I went out to brunch w/my friend and we did a few other errands. Suddenly while we were out the panic just hit and I couldn't shake it. I had to get home and just curl up and hide from everything. It was like that all afternoon until I was finally able to start to focus a little. I'm doing better than earlier now but it's still there and hurting.

I've been on edge ever since seeing the dr. last thursday. I had to try to explain to him what caused the start of this recent breakdown (new memories coming up last spring) and that put more of the memories in my head. They were there before seems my body/mind have just decided it's time to face it and come to terms with it. i'm not happy with that decision but realistically I want to fight it. I've wanted to fight it for a while but I've been fighting just to get someone to help me. But I don't want to live like this anymore...I want to find a way to live for real....not just trying to block the bad stuff enough to get by. I want to do this but right now I'm not ok.

I see the dr. tomorrow. I also have the DBT group. I think the DBT group will be good for me but I'm still terrified of it. After all I can't make myself go in to an AA meeting, and that's way less threatening then a therapy group.

Speaking of therapy group...I called the support group here for ppl who have been through the stuff I have. I called them late in the evening so no one answered....which was the plan...but just calling the number was a step. The dr. suggested finding a therapist/group to work on the trauma specific stuff cus the program I'm in isn't really designed to deal with major trauma (it's more about dealing with day to day and bein safe and that kind of thing it one explains real well what this program is, but at least ppl are helping and hearing me so i'm sticking with it! lol) Anyway, this place says they won't turn anyone away fro inability to pay, but that's just for the groups. They can help you find a therapist but the resources they list on their website are all places I called over the summer and turned me down. But maybe with this group's help i could find someone good.

I don't think a group would be good for it yet...the mere thought scares the hell outta me. I can't even really go to my online support group anymore because just being there gets me thinking about the reason we're all there....the thing that we all share....and it's just so vivid for me right now. But again I want to fight this. Not sure if i'll manage to call the place during business hours. I'm sure I will one day, but it may be years from now. I sent them an email and they said I would need to call them. I think it's for confidentiality stuff....they don't give out any specific details on their location info, they don't tell where the groups are, etc. which is awesome for me. But sucks cus it means I have to suck it up and call them. But they say (or someone says that once you feel bad enough...when you hit rock bottom...then you'll do what needs to be done. Maybe I've reached that level of ultimate shittiness that makes me miserable enough to reach out and do the things that terrify me.

After all, trying to push it back down and pretend it doesn't exist nearly killed me a month ago, so I've got that incentive to keep pushing forward.