Tuesday, January 31, 2012


There's a lot going on in my life right now. Some good, some bad, all more than I want to get in to right now.

I'm understanding why I worked so hard to block out emotions. Emotions are exhausting! And confusing! In a particularly frustrating time yesterday, this song came on the radio. It's a favorite of mine but I hadn't heard it in a while. It sums up how I feel right now so well.


I went to a really good AA meeting last night and everyone commented on how good I sounded. I know progress is happening, it's just so freakin' slow sometimes and with so many roadblocks. It feels like trying to ride a bike with no gears up the side of a giant mountain while carrying a 50 lb pack, with tons of boulders blocking the path. Every now and then there's an incredible view and a feeling of triumph, but between those it's being trapped in the midst of seemingly impossible work. But I keep pedaling. I keep putting one foot in front of the other even though some days I just want to hide and don't feel like I can pedal at all.

I'm talking to my sponsor a lot and she's helping me figure out what I need to focus on right away and what can be set aside. The big challenge now is learning how to successfully set those things aside so I can give my total focus to the challenges at hand without wasting energy worrying about what may be up ahead. Basically, I could have a brand new bike by the time I get to the really steep hills, so no need to stress now about how to climb them. Makes total sense in theory, but a really really hard thing to convince myself of in practice!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Something big happened to me today. I'm hesitant to write it here but I've gotta put it somewhere.

I went to my usual AA big book study meeting tonight. One of the stories we were reading was about a woman who was homeless as a teenager and turned to prostitution in order to get by. Let's just say it hit very, very close to home.

This is the kind of thing that I don't talk about. Even writing that here is just...yikes...

Logical side of me knows I was doing what I needed to do to survive. But there's so much shame attached to those kinds of decisions/actions.

Unfortunately my turn to read came up right in the midst of this part of the story. The woman before me had had some very judgmental comments towards the woman in the story (she said that there "must be something wrong with this girl aside from alcoholism. No one would turn to prostitution for alcohol, even as an alcoholic." Totally missing the line that she was turning to prostitution out of desperation and then drinking and drugging to try to forget what she'd had to do). Everything was way too close to home and way too intense. I tried to read (we take turns each reading a paragraph and commenting on it) but a few lines in I realized it was not going to happen. I said I needed to pass and then proceeded to start sobbing. I tried to hide it and debated running out of the room out of embarrassment, but forced myself to stay in my seat. We've been talking about not running from strong emotions in IOP and simply staying in the room when stuff gets hard, so I figured I'd try that.

This all happened pretty close to the end of the meeting, so after we closed I was sorta stumped about what to do next. I wanted to run out to the bathroom or out of the building or to anywhere else, but I didn't want to run out since we'd been talking earlier on about celebrating my 30 days. (Oh, by the way, I'm back to 30 days sober and got a new chip. Yay! :)

While I stood there stupidly, a woman came up to me and said it was ok to cry. She asked if I had anyone to talk to about what was bothering me (no). She then asked if I'd feel comfortable talking to her about it if she called me. I knew I wasn't going to feel up to talking about it later or over the phone (not a fan of talking on the phone anyway, but especially about this stuff. Too impersonal). I told her I'd talk about it then if there was somewhere private we could go. This woman is a pastor (at a very liberal church so she doesn't scare me like some pastors/churches do), so she's experienced with counseling ppl and she's very kind, so I did feel comfortable with her. (By the way, everyone at this meeting is substantially older than me...like 60's+...so it's an interesting dynamic. I call it my grandma meeting).

We went to another room and I ended up telling her about being homeless as a teenager and doing what I had to to survive. It was the first time I've told any part of that to anyone out loud/face to face. It was scary as hell and terribly embarrassing. As expected the woman I spoke to was very kind about it but I couldn't even look at her out of shame. She insisted on hugging me multiple times and told me repeatedly that she understands and doesn't think i'm terrible or anything. I'm not sure how I feel about all this except totally in shock right now.

The interesting part is that I'd just been saying earlier...first to myself and then to my sponsor...that some stuff from my past is sneaking up and really getting to me right now. I've been thinking that it's getting to be time to start to tell someone about it, but I have no idea how to do that. So as hard as it was, maybe this too was a god thing.

I've been having a lot of god moments lately. Like a lot a lot. I've moved on to step 2 with my sponsor (come to believe that a power greater than myself can restore me to sanity) and have been looking for and praying for god moments. I've had multiple surprisingly undeniable ones. I'll have to write about them sometime when I'm not quite so overwhelmed and exhausted. God is making himself really freakin' hard to deny though. I have a hell of a time coming to grips with the idea that god actually cares about what goes on in my individual life, but I just keep having way too "perfect" coincidences.

I have lots more to update but my eyes are starting to close on me. That's a good thing. I wasn't sure I'd be able to sleep after having something so huge happen/doing something so huge. Guess I should try to get some rest. More later.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Just need to vent

I was in the waiting area at the pharmacy today where I witnessed a frustrating scene.

A family was there with a 10 year old son and 2 year old b/g twins. I know their ages because they were having a very loud conversation with a woman at the next table over. The little girl was whining and crying a lot. The man who I'm assuming was dad but am not sure said to mom something to the effect of, "you gotta start popppin' their butts." She replied with, "Oh I do at home. Just not in public." Then she and the woman at the next table got to talking about how people are too nosey for spanking in public. Then the other woman said that she "often sees other people's kids that she'd like to grab and take in the bathroom." Suddenly it seemed like the whole room was talking about how kids need to be spanked. Dad eventually either hit the girl or just scared her...i'm not sure because I was turned the other way, but it was a loud noise and she started screaming. The 10 year old said something about it being a "good one." Before I go on I'll say I'm not 100% opposed to spanking. I'll never do it, but I do know some families can do it responsibly. But this situation was frustrating on soooooo many levels!

1. The crying 2 year old was strapped into a stroller with no one paying attention to her. If someone strapped me into a chair and made me sit there with nothing to do for 20 minutes or more I'd probably get a bit whiney too! And it's not like the parents were so busy they had to do it. The parents were just hanging out talking but apparently the child was too much of a burden to give any attention to.

2. Mom said that she spanks the kids at home so they behave at home but she can't get them to behave in public because "nosey people keep her from spanking." Gee, don't you think that might mean your discipline isn't working? That your kids aren't learning anything except how to be afraid of being hit? Maybe try not ignoring your child and teaching them something?

3. Everyone in on this conversation (it seemed to keep spreading) was talking about it like it was so funny. If you're going to spank your kids, fine, but do you really need to gloat and have all sorts of cheesy terms for it?

4. Obviously my own issue but I just couldn't handle hearing repeatedly taking a kid out to "whoop 'em" or whatever else. I did everything I could to keep myself buried in my book, and I was glad to have it for a distraction. Unfortunately they screwed up with my prescription (it had to be this day of all days there) so I ended up there for a long time in the midst of all this. By the time I left I was super triggered and super pissed off. I wish stupid shit like this didn't trigger me so bad. I tried not to let it because I know there's a big difference between a spanking and what I went through. But I just kept thinking about the things my dad would say before he beat me....the same sort of crap about teaching me a lesson or whoopin my ass. I guess it's becoming time for me to deal with some of this crap because it seems to be in my head all the time now (along with so much else), now that I have nothing to numb myself with. I wish I could just let the little stuff go, but it's all in my head and messing w/me now.

So yeah. I left in a really crappy mood. And then I had to go to walmart which always puts me in a crappy mood. Hmph. Glad to be home now. I tried to call my sponsor but she's not home. I think she's at the AA club but I'm just not up to going to a meeting. I'm getting sick (just a cold, but still sucky), so my body is uncomfortable and I'm just really not happy right now.

Sorry for the whining...just that kind of day. Still grateful to be here and sober.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

It's about to get interesting!

No wait, I take that back...it's already gotten interesting.

My life has calmed down A LOT lately, but there's still some major craziness going on. I get the feeling that school is going to be intense this semester. Not just because I'm taking more classes this time, but because some of the classes will pose some big challenges. There is one especially in which the prof. said today (first meeting of the class) that the counseling center on campus is available and free and that she highly recommends people check it out. She said that this class tends to really stir stuff up for people, and that if you're not currently seeing a counselor you should probably start. Yikes! She did say that part of that was for the experience of being on "the other side of the couch" as she put it, but this is also going to go in to some major life issues, trauma, etc. I'm also guessing she said that because it's the kind of class and field that tends to attract a lot of people who have been there, done that, and now want to come back to help others.

It's a very interesting group of people in the class. This is an introductory class in human services so it can lead down a lot of different roads. Some people were more open than others during introductions, and some shared a lot. There are a few recovering addicts/alcoholics that are taking the class to become substance abuse counselors. One woman was working towards a domestic violence concentration bc she is a survivor of DV and is living in this city and state because she had to flee for her life. Multiple women are foster moms or former foster moms (some of troubled teens...I have to wonder if they know any of my foster parents!). One girl talked about wanting to work with at risk youth because she grew up in a series of different shelters. I could go on and on with this list. I kept my stuff to myself...I'm not that brave! We did do another game type thing later where we introduced ourselves to just one other person at a time. We were supposed to find at least 3 similarities and 3 differences between us. I got to talking with one girl and it turned out we had a lot in common. I mentioned to her about my crazy history and it turns out we share that too. Later when she took her sweatshirt off I noticed SI scars on her arm. Even more in common... Again, it's gonna be interesting!

I'm not sure what to make of this kind of class. On the one hand I find it awesome. I've been a bit frustrated with the classes I'm taking for my degree, because while I still believe the degree is right, the classes aren't quite getting to the meat of what I want to do. This class is for my newly added minor, which will allow me to focus in specifically on kids with behavior issues and kids who have been abused. So, this seems to be a very good sign that I'm headed in the right direction because of the intense focus of the class. No beating around the bush here. I am well aware that in order to work with kids who have been abused I'm going to need to take classes that talk about things like child abuse and resulting issues. I know it's going to be hard, but it's worth it to me because it's what I want to do.

The flip side of this is that I have to take care of myself. I don't want to put myself in a situation that's going to be too much for me. It's a question I'm going through with AA too. On the one hand, I'm finally starting to feel good and I want to jump in and keep going. My sponsor says it's great how I'm diving in and doing the work. However she and others are also telling me to take it slow and take it easy, and I know they're right. There's only so much you can do in a day or all at once. I can't wear myself out trying to be everything to everyone right now. I have to build my sober, healthy self up slowly. The last thing I want to do is put myself under too much stress or stretch myself too thin and end up back to drinking or needing the hospital.

I had a very intense drinking dream last night. I'm wondering if that's a sign of anything. The last drinking dream I had was that I was being chased by alcohol and trying so hard not to let it get me. This time I just went out and drank and then found myself sitting there drink in hand wondering "wtf? how did I end up here? Why did I agree to this so quickly? I didn't even give it a second thought!" It scared me because it was SO easy to take the drink in the dream. It was kind of funny though because I didn't realize I'd had the dream 'til later in the day. I was sitting in class thinking about what a bummer it was that I drank last night. Then I realized it was a dream, and woohoo I didn't! lol

Things are mostly going ok in regards to recovery. The little sabotaging monkey on my back is doing his very best to thwart me. I've been getting all sorts of thoughts like "This juice sure would taste better with some vodka in it!" Or I start to think "Why not just stop at that liquor store?" though it's totally different from the physical craving/obsession that I was having before. I brought it up at IOP yesterday and we talked about having a fear of success. Basically, I'm not used to doing well and I have no idea how to handle it. Feeling crappy is where I'm comfortable. Also, I'm terrified of success because I feel like the longer I enjoy it the worse the fall will hurt. That's where the little sabotaging monkey comes in because, "It'll be much easier if I pull myself out now. At least then I'm in control of it. At least then they can't hurt me."

Stupidface described me as someone that "has a lot of great starts." I absolutely love this wording and it's so true. I'm great at venturing out into the world. I've travelled all over and taken tons of crazy, fun jobs that most people wouldn't consider. Many people are impressed when I start to list them. Every time I get to a new place I'm at the top of my game...social, meeting people, having fun. After I've been there a while I always transition back to somber, quiet, isolated, alone. Lately it's gotten bad enough that I'm so ready for the alone part that I gloss over most of the social/happy part. So now this extended time of working on being happy and working on having real relationships that require my trust is really really scary. Most of my relationships these days are superficial. It's not that I don't care about people...my smiles when I talk to ppl are genuine..but I don't let them get close enough to me that I would feel hurt if they quit talking to me. I keep that separation there so I keep my power. But now I've started actually trusting and talking to ppl through AA and it's terrifying. When I think too much about it the sabotaging monkey gets bigger, louder, and stronger.

So that gets back to the slow it down and keep it simple. What I love about AA is that all I really have to do is keep breathing and don't drink. It used to piss me off when ppl said that because I felt so worthless and thought I needed to do more to have worth. Now though, in the midst of the craziness, I know I'm doing at least something right. I love that I can break it down to its simplest form and always have some action to keep me going in the right direction.

I'm struggling to find any one thing that I'm grateful for today, as everything just feels like a mismash of good and bad and everything in between. I will say that I'm thankful for the progress that I've made and this ability to care about myself and the world around me. I've been talking to a friend that's been having a rough time, and she's reminded me of so many of the awful feelings I was struggling with not that long ago. It's also a reminder to me that I could always end up right back there if I stop trying to fight (not to say AT ALL that this friend isn't fighting...just that it gives me more motivation to keep working on what i need to do). While I'm at it, if you could say a prayer for said friend it would be a lot to me. She's a very strong person and has been a huge positive influence in my life whenever i've needed her. I care about her a lot. Thanks!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Back to school...

Yep, it's that time again, and I've had the damn Billy Madison song in my head all day. Good old Billy Madison...

But back to me. It's weird being back in school again. It seems like break was a whole year all by itself because so much happened. After all, the last day of last semester was the start of all the chaos. (If you don't remember, read here: http://riverbirdsplace.blogspot.com/2011/12/what-day.html )

But it's also weird because it's reminding me of where I was at the start of last semester. I remember going to classes, getting the syllabus, but being barely able to comprehend what they were saying. It was taking all of my energy just to be physically present in the world. I was miserable. I didn't want to talk to anyone or do anything. I wasn't sure why I was in school because I really didn't care. I was pretty sure that soon I would either be leaving the state to go live (hide out) with a friend, or dead. I didn't see any future for myself at all. As most everyone knows, within the first week of classes I was being taken out of the school's mental health center in handcuffs to go to the hospital. I spent the entire second week of school in the hospital. By the time I got out and started going to classes again I was already 2 weeks behind and in no place to do current work, much less start catching up. Again it was all I could do just to show up, and many days I didn't.

But here I am today, clear-headed. Sure there's still a lot going on in my life, but the difference is unbelievable. When I really think about it, it's almost impossible for me to believe that just a semester ago I was so, so miserable. I have a long ways to go, but I'm making real progress. Last night I was even looking forward to starting school.

I am excited about being in school again, but there's a lot of fear there too. While I was excited last night, I couldn't get myself to pack my backpack or anything like that. This morning, though I woke up in plenty of time, I just couldn't get myself out of bed. I felt totally stuck, and I think because a part of me is very nervous about starting classes again. Unfortunately between leaving late and then having traffic/parking issues and issues finding the building/classroom (it's on a part of campus that's generally only used by the other school that shares the campus area), I was almost 30 min. late. Yeah a little embarrassing. But at least I was present. Tuesdays are going to be weird for me because I have class from 9:30-11 and then from 5-8. That's a big chunk of time to fill there in the middle. Today I went to the bookstore, sent a couple of emails, and have now been just hanging out (and blogging! lol). I also did my AA "homework" for the week. Lucky for me I'm an excellent time waster, and it's actually going by pretty fast (its 3:30 now). I think as the semester gets going this will be a good time for doing homework since I'll be here anyway. I don't focus well at home but if I go to the library I can usually get quite a bit done. I'm also going to check out the school fitness center. Apparently they have a workout area and a pool that's free for students. If that's true that would be GREAT for me for midday! (Though might get complicated to bring all the right clothes...lol). Today I had planned on running errands but I got so frustrated with the parking situation that I don't feel like moving my car. I may still make some of my pain the butt phone calls (mainly trying AGAIN to get any help from the stupid apartment manager people).

On a COMPLETELY unrelated note I wanted to mention a revelation I had the other day. I've been working with my sponsor on the first step (We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.). Right now, we've mainly been looking at the second part, my life being unmanageable. She had me write out all the ways I feel my life is unmanageable (easy...it's hard to come up with anything that is manageable!). We also read some of the big book that talks about how desperate a situation alcoholism is and how little hope there is without major intervention. All in all it was pretty darn depressing when we met! (We're meeting every sunday now to work through this stuff). I said how depressing it was and she said that it's not meant to be depressing, but just to be a reality check of how serious this is and how important every bit and every step is. The idea is, if you don't fully accept that you are powerless and your life is unmanageable, you'll eventually come up with some kind of excuse of why "this time will be different."

Anyway, on my way home that evening I was thinking about the other day when I'd been really emotional after some bad nightmares, and having just a generally crappy day. I'd called my sponsor and left a message (she was still at work) saying that I really wasn't doing well and that it was this kind of stuff that would push me to drink because I just so badly wanted to be numb. In that message I remember telling her that I wasn't going to drink, and I knew that, but I felt that I was "holding on for dear life." I felt terrified of what was going to happen with all these emotions, so I was just holding on and doing what I'd been told to do (namely, not drink). What this last meeting with my sponsor made me realize is that, in the big picture, I'm holding on for dear life all the time! One of the things I wrote when writing about how my life is unmanageable is that when I really think about my life it still feels like suicide is the only way out of what i'm buried under, so I try not to think about my life. My life, as a whole, is chaotic and scary. As I said above i'm only 4 months out from nearly losing my life. All I know for sure is that right now doing what the folks at AA tell me to do makes me feel a whole lot better, and even happy. Not doing that stuff, and especially when I drank...leads down bad paths. So they seem to know what they're talking about. I remember telling someone from IOP that I don't really get it, but when I do what they say I feel good so I'm holdin on for the ride and doing what they say. What's really clicking for me now is the concept of willingness to go to any length to get through this. That's something that's talked about a lot, and people often say "oh yeah I'll do anything," but this is different. I'm not just saying it, but I'm feeling it in my heart and soul. I'm here and ready to be guided. I'm in a terrible place, but I've been thrown a lifeline. I have to keep climbing because as soon as I stop I'll be back in the pit. As soon as I stop climbing, I begin to slip. There isn't time nor space to rest and relax.

It's not all bad by any means. I get to feel good, better than I have in a long time, after putting work in, but I can't let myself get complacent. I don't want to go back to the darkness and the horribly crappy place I was in. Looks like i've learned what I was supposed to out of that first step after all! lol

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Don't have much to say tonight, except that today was a much better day than yesterday. As much as my job stresses me out sometimes, I really do like my Saturdays. Saturdays are different because I have my little ski team kiddos that come each week. I have a group of five 5 and 6 year olds, and today was the 2nd week i've skied with them. The kids are just fun. I think I might've mentioned it here, but last week they helped me discover my laughter again and made me laugh so hard I fell over. There hasn't been a lot of real laughter in my life, but if anyone can bring that it's 5 year olds. As annoying as they can be sometimes they can also be incredibly funny.

Last week was a little stressful because it was forming the groups, getting to know the kids, and also doing a lot of the beginner type stuff that's just hard to make all that exciting. To a kid it just feels like work because it's repetitive, and then they get bored/frustrated/grumpy/whatever else. This morning started that way too but I finally got them on the lift and doing some more fun stuff and they were SO excited. They went from barely wanting to be there to completely forgetting about our afternoon hot chocolate break. It makes my job so much better when they're excited and begging to ski more rather than whining about when they get to go home. Also I was so proud of my kiddos because they did awesome on the harder hills from the chairlift. I watched a lot of other classes really struggling but mine skied it like rock stars. I felt redeemed too for keeping them on the easier ("boring") stuff longer, to make sure they were ready for the challenge.

I have to brag a little bit here. I'm realizing I'm really good at what I do. I should be...this is my 6th winter doing it after all...but it still feels good to realize. In the sense of what runs they've skied my class may not be improving as fast as the others, but I can see the skills they're developing and I know it's all happening safely and in a way that will develop good habits for later.

I also got to thinking today how every year I've worked a program like this (the last 2 before this one) I've always had a really good group. I was thinking I was just lucky, which is part of it, but I've had some tough kids in there. I think my groups have been good because I've known how to make them good and taken the time to do so. I'm pretty good at getting kids excited to learn something, teaching them, getting them to work together, dealing with discipline type issues, etc. etc. as well as generally being liked by kids. I've turned very challenging groups in to great groups. That's why I like the week to week programs like this, rather then the random kids there for the day classes.

Ok that was a lot of rambling on something that probably no one but me is interested in. But I just have to celebrate having a good day and realizing I'm good at something. The more I felt good about what I was doing, the happier I became. I actually got smiley and was starting conversations with random other employees and just generally enjoying myself. A HUGE difference from yesterday when I felt so disgusting I couldn't even look at myself in the mirror much less have a conversation with anyone. At the end of the lesson day I got to take a few runs on my own. I think skiing is really good for me because it's absolute freedom. After so many years of teaching I'm as comfortable on skis as I am walking, so it's like I can just fly down the mountain. I get to go up to the top of the lift and enjoy a beautiful mountain view, and then cruise down the hill, leaving my cares behind for at least those few minutes. It doesn't always work, but usually no matter what else is going on I squeeze at least a few moments of bliss in there. (It's the lift rides back up that get to me...too much thinking time! lol).

Ok gotta stop this rambling no one cares about. I'm just so glad to have had a better day. I'm grateful for my job and the opportunity I have to ski. Skiing is not an easy sport to get in to so I was very very lucky that I've had the opportunity to do so.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Dear world,

Dear world,

I’m struggling today. I just want you to know. I knew going in that it wouldn’t be happy days all the time, but it doesn’t make this any easier to deal with. I’m still climbing my way out of a very bad spot, and the hard days are really freaking hard. To put it mildly.

I had a nightmare last night. I knew it was coming because there were a lot of bad thoughts in my head at night. I tried to calm/distract myself, which worked somewhat, but the thoughts were still present. It’s an unfortunate thing, knowing that if I go to sleep I will most likely head to nightmare land. In the past I likely would’ve just stayed up, but I know I need sleep.

I don’t remember the nightmare exactly, which is nice, but I woke up feeling horrible. All the past voices were back in my head. I felt worthless, dirty, disgusting, and all that other stuff they called me. I literally could not look at myself in the mirror. I just couldn’t take it. As I became more awake it kept getting worse and worse. I tried to ground myself but to no avail. I felt gross and desperately wanted to get out of my own horrible skin.

The drink cravings came back with a vengeance in the midst of this. It wasn’t that I wanted a drink really, I just wanted to be numb. I wanted the horrible thoughts and pain to stop. Thankfully I had agreed to give another IOPer a ride to IOP this morning. Otherwise I’m not sure I would’ve gone. The battle was on in my head. Logically I knew I needed to get to somewhere safe ASAP, but of course there’s that other part of me that’s desperate for numbness. It’s a hard battle to fight.

My logic also tells me that what the voices say are lies, and that that was in the past and has nothing to do with now. Unfortunately the rest of my brain can’t seem to go with the logic. I’ve been hurt so bad so many times by those words, it’s nearly impossible not to believe them.

I’m angry. I’m tired of having to replay those scenes in my mind again and again. I’m tired of having this haunt me. I’m shaking like crazy as I write this. It makes me feel like the small child again because it’s just too much to handle. I feel like I’m under attack.

I did the right thing though. I made it to IOP. After IOP I had to talk with the doctor who pissed me off a while back because he’s now going to be in IOP on Friday’s and I don’t really feel comfortable with him. (He basically told me to “get over” thinking about my past trauma stuff because it was a long time ago). I mentioned this to Stupidface on Wednesday and he said I should pull this doctor aside and talk to him. It took and unbelievable amount of courage to do it, but I did. That was exhausting but I felt a little better. I think we came to some level of agreement, and he even gave me some advice to help me get through this current situation. Then I got to go to art, and paint it out, which again helped.

I’m holding on for dear life to this AA thing that it’s going to work. Everyone keeps telling me if I keep coming back and keep doing the next right thing I’ll get through. I want to believe that, but in times like this it’s so damn hard. But it’s been decided in my head that I will do whatever it takes to heal. I’m not going to drink because of this. I’m just not. I don’t know how the hell I’m going to get through it, but I’m not going to drink. I’m going to have to figure out how to face this shit without being numb. Holy scariness!

So world, friends, I’m telling you this because I need you to know I hurt right now. I’m terrified; far more so than I’d like to admit. I’m going to fight, but I feel like a small child lost in a great big grown up world. I don’t feel ready for this on my own. I’m not ready without the “support” of alcohol or cutting or something. Please just be with me through this. I don’t need anything special, I just need to know you’re here.

Thank you for listening and thank you for caring.


PS A few minutes ago I was able to offer help to a man who clearly needed it. It was a very small thing for me to do, taking only a minute of my time, but it meant a lot to him. He called me an angel. That did wonders to lift my spirits. Again and again I’m seeing that being able to help someone else really is magical. It makes me important in that moment. It makes me not worthless. I’m grateful for every opportunity like this I get to be important and have worth.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


So apparently the universe misunderstood on New Years when I attempted to call a truce.

Last night my car was broken in to. Ugh.

I started off today feeling pretty good. I was all set to head to my dr's appt and then had lots of errands planned for afterwards...only to come outside to find one of my car's windows smashed in. The weird part is that very little was actually stolen. They left my camera and CD's behind. The one obvious thing missing was the jack.

I was walking around the car to check for other damage and saw something silver and shiny on the ground behind the car. I picked it up because it looked important. I eventually realized that it was a lugnut, but all my wheels had theirs. As I was joking about how the thief must've had a flat tire to steal the jack, I thought to check the spare tire. One lug nut gone, one significantly loosened. So I just have to laugh. I thought I was kidding about the flat tire thing, but it appears the thief took the jack and was half way to getting the spare too. Alcohol had to have been involved in this situation. As upset as I am, I really really wish I could've been a fly on the wall to this whole operation, or seen video of it or something!

Even more entertaining, the glove box was ripped out and all the console stuff scattered everywhere. Ok that in and of itself isn't entertaining. What is, is that the jack in my car is very hard to find. It's hard enough to find that I had it in the shop a while back and the shop guys couldn't even find it. So, perhaps the thieves had to dig out the manual in order to find the jack to attempt to change their tire with my spare! lol Again just can't help but laugh to picture it.

Of course when it happened I wasn't laughing. I went on a big ole rant to myself about how "damnit, I've already lost everything once and now I have to lose stuff in my car! I can't have a dishwasher (dishwasher in temp apt is broken and they're taking their sweet time to fix it) or a microwave (they were supposed to order me one but again taking their sweet time) or now even a car that I can actually use!" Funny how being pissed about one thing brings out everything else you're pissed about! I'm proud of myself though. I got over my rant pretty quickly, and was able to think logically about what needed to be done. I called the police (who basically said "ok, that's nice..."), I talked to my apt. manager to file a report with them, and I called my insurance. My insurance set up an appointment for the mobile glass service people to come out and fix my window. They said they'd come sometime between 12 and 5 (it was a little before 11 by this point) so I was pretty much stuck at home for the day.

In a perfect world I would've used this extra time to clean, do laundry, make phone calls, etc. that I've been needing to do. Realistically, I think my brain was pretty well done at this point. I'd persevered and done all the stuff I had to do to take care of business, and now I needed to just chill. I spent most of the rest of the day watching tv and playing computer games, but at least I didn't flip out and I didn't drink. (When I talked to my sponsor later and told her this story she was very proud of me for how well I reacted and that I didn't drink. That was fun to hear. :).

Of course the glass ppl didn't come until 4:59, and only because I yelled at them. When I called at about 4:30 because I was getting nervous they said "oh we'll be there at about 5:30 or 6." Haha no. I stood up for myself and said I have to get to work, you told me you'd be here before 5 and i've been sitting at home waiting for you all day. I really did need to get to my volunteer job. Thankfully they were able to rush someone out who got it done very quickly and i was able to get to volunteering.

Anyway, the moral to all this is that I have more shittiness to add to my shit list, but I continue to get better in my ability to handle things. I'm not going to say anything along the lines of what's next, or what else could go wrong, because I know better than to tempt the universe further. I will say that I seem to have become an expert at decluttering. Amazing what a little asbestos and theft can do in that department! lol

The one sad thing that I realized later is that they took the toy that I had bought for my baby nephew. I had been putting together a package for him, but most of what I was planning to send ended up in asbestos-land. Pretty much all that was left was the toy. The toy was a little bulky though and was going to be hard to ship, so I think i'm going to give up on the care package idea and just order the toy online and have it sent to them. I've been doing a lot of praying for whoever it was who did this. If alcohol was behind this, as I imagine it was, I've been praying that this person will be able to get the help he needs. AA says often to pray for the alcoholic still suffering so I am following that logic. Any alcoholic could get to doing all sorts of stupid shit if they don't get help. So I'm praying that my thief/thieves get help. I'm also praying for help out of whatever desperate situation they might be finding themselves that would cause them to go to such levels. And finally I'm also praying/hoping that there is a child out there who is happily playing with my nephew's toy. Maybe they just needed it more.

I'm not sure why, but while I started out feeling anger towards the thief and the situation, I now just feel sad for them. Of course I'm not real excited about my $200 window replacement bill, but I'm glad i'm not in a position where I feel like I need to do something like that. I'm grateful that I have my basic needs met, and that I'm sober tonight rather than drunk and lost out there in the cold. I think this is the first time I've been able to say it and mean it, that I'm grateful to be sober.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Full moon CRAZY!

It must have been the full moon. Today was just absolutely crazy and unexpected and here's why. It was the best day I've had in a very long time, and maybe ever! What happened, you ask? Very little, and that's just it. Today I felt content. That's something that's been a dream of mine for a long, long time. Long before I was even able to put a word to it or realize that was what I longed for.

When I was in the hospital back in August I remember thinking repeatedly that all I wanted was to be able to just be, without distraction, and feel content. Sure happiness and peace and everything else would be nice, but more than anything I just wanted a break from the constant pain, misery, and internal wars being waged inside. I couldn't picture that actually happening though. I didn't believe in it as a reality. But today, it happened.

I woke up this morning happy. I don't remember the last time I woke up happy. I smiled at the early morning sunlight peeking through my window. I'd woken up before my alarm after a very restful night and a happy dream. I smiled my way through the morning and just kept smiling. I didn't turn in to one of the chipper, bubbly, isn't the world wonderful happy types that drive me crazy, but instead just felt this subtle peace and happiness from within. The world looked different. It felt different. It was warmer, and cozier, if that makes any sense at all. The edges seemed a bit softer. While sitting in iop this morning I remember sitting there completely in aw of this comfort that surrounded me. Everything just felt ok. I felt that subtle smile again and it stuck with me all day. I was able to look at people differently, and more lovingly. I was able to appreciate the little things around me without a struggling effort. I probably sound like I'm on drugs or something trying to describe this but it was like nothing I have ever experienced. Most days I hear screams from the past in my head. I feel intense pain that hurts like nothing I can describe. I can barely complete a thought some days because of all the "noise" inside. It's a constant fight just to keep those thoughts that want to harm me from getting too close to the surface. Maybe that's what it was that made today seem so magical...there was silence. The crazy interstate full of angry honking motorists was closed off for the day so I could hear the birds chirp and the wind rustle through the leaves.

I made it until about sunset feeling this way. I noticed today that as the sun went down my mood began to as well. This is a good piece of insight because lately i've been having some pretty intense flashbacks and can't figure out the trigger. But as I think about it they've all been happening in the early evening. The good news is that even though my mood went down, it didn't get bleak. It just became a bit more of a fight again to keep myself in a good place. I wasn't wrapped up in the bliss anymore, but at least I knew it was there and if I really worked on focusing my mind I could stay in it or close to it.

I don't know what caused this incredible day (aside from the full moon! lol). My theory is that it comes from having started working the steps with my sponsor and making real progress towards doing something good for myself. I told her things that I've never really told anyone before (and especially not face to face) so I'm sure the release was good for me. (The things I told aren't that big in the big picture but they felt HUGE to me). I think the good also comes from putting in the work in iop and therapy, as well as really making a commitment to healthy living and sobriety after my relapse. I thought i'd done that before, but I realize now that there's so much more I could've been doing. I thought back then that I was really committed, but then I allowed my semi-rational, excuse-making brain to win out as soon as things got bad. I understand now that it's a much much bigger fight, and I much better understand the meaning of a 100%, whatever it takes, commitment.

What I do know about today is that it scares the hell out of me. Yes, I realize how strange that sounds after talking about how wonderful it was. But through work w/my therapist I've started to see that for many years now I've defined myself by taking a victim role. As much as I've thought I was independent (and in many ways I am), I've never known how to get attention, friendship, or to get people to care about me. The only way I know is to turn myself into a tragic case of some sort or another so someone will take pity on me. It goes back to when I was a little kid and would turn on the tears on the playground to get people to notice me or get what I wanted/needed from teachers. Now it's much bigger and more intense. I tend to sabotage things as soon as they start to make me better because I want/need to be the broken one sitting in the corner hoping that someone will come to my rescue. I think I even blogged about it a while back that I was scared about being successful in AA because i was afraid I wouldn't be able to get the support I need once I was no longer a newcomer. There's a lot more I could say about this but suffice it to say I just don't know how to deal with feeling good. As content as I felt today, there was a part of me that was absolutely frantic. That part was racing around grabbing at everything it could to find something solid (aka misery) to cling to. Happiness is unfamiliar territory, and that part of me is waiting in fear for the bottom to drop out. I'm looking forward to seeing my t on wednesday to see what he has to say about all this.

One last bit of humor, as I'm still entertained by myself as a happy person. Today during iop one of the questions was to say something we are grateful for. When it came to my turn I started talking about how I am so grateful for all the people in AA who have supported me while barely knowing me...the people who sat on the phone with me for so long to keep me from completely freaking out...and the people who loved me and hugged me and welcomed me even when I was terrified. And then I caught myself going in to a long-winded soapbox-esque speech about how amazing AA is, how great the program is and how important it is to have a sponsor and work the steps. Not long after I had to look at that and laugh at myself. For so so long I rallied against all things AA. I got so irritated with people telling me that AA is the answer or how great it is or what it can do for me. Basically, people saying exactly what I was saying would make me crazy. Then again, until just a couple of days ago anyone talking about any of this fuzzy, happy type stuff would've driven me crazy!


Since it's pretty clear what I'm grateful for today, I'd like to end this post with a few very important prayer requests rather than a gratitude. If you're so inclined please send prayers, good thoughts, etc. to these people:

Frank: An older man I met at the first AA meeting where I felt comfortable enough to actually sit through the whole thing and not hide or leave early. He's had a reoccurrence of his cancer, which started as skin cancer but has now spread to multiple areas. He's starting chemo and radiation soon. It's not looking good for him.

John: A member of my IOP group who is really struggling right now. He's a heroin addict who recently relapsed and now just can't seem to string together more than a few clean days at a time. I worry about him because he says he really wants to get clean more than anything else, but won't seem to put in that last bit of fight to do it. He reminds me of me because though he insists he's not afraid of or uncomfortable in 12-step meetings he refuses to go. Stupidface has now required he attend at least one 12-step meeting per day in order to stay in IOP. He's who most of my "yay AA" rant/speech was directed towards (though I'm guessing looking back he was probably rolling his eyes on the inside just like I always was when ppl would give that speech to me).

Alexis: A girl about my age that I met at the meeting I went to tonight. This was a heavy meeting with lots of really tough stuff being shared (by far the most intense I've ever been to) but Alexis's story really got to me. She had been in a serious relationship with someone she met when they were both in recovery, but after a couple of years clean he went back to using heroin. He tried to drag her down by blaming her for his using, but she found the strength to leave him and keep her own sobriety intact. Then not long after the father of her children shows up again after having taken the kids and moved across the country years ago. He apparently has his own issues going on and drops the kids with her. While happy to have her kids, she's never really been a mom to them and is now suddenly having to be the full time single parent while the father acts controlling and offers next to no help. She's terrified at this new responsibility she's facing with 3 kids (8, 6, and 6) with no help, support system, or vehicle. She only spoke for a few minutes but I was absolutely wowed by her. Here is a woman in tears facing so much and being so open and honest about how much she is struggling. I kept thinking how scary it must be for her kids to be going through all this change, as well as for her. Just an impossible situation all around...and with so much riding on it! I felt so totally drawn to her that, in going with my recent "go with my gut" theory I've been working on (will have to blog about that later), I went to her afterwards and gave her my number and told her to call me if she needs a ride somewhere, an insanity-preventing break from her kids, etc. I think it was the first time I actually approached someone after a meeting and introduced myself. I hope she calls me...I'm really excited about doing stuff to help people after my night with Becky last week...and I really want to see her succeed.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


I've had a really good weekend. I never thought i'd hear myself say that, but it's true. Granted, while on break from school my weekends are the busy time and weekdays are the too much downtime days, but still...

Saturday I met my team of little skiers that I get to coach for the next 6 weeks. These lessons are way less stressful for me because I go in to the day knowing what to expect and I can make a plan in advance. Other days I have no idea what age, ability level, etc. i'll be teaching until it's time for the lesson to start. It also snowed all day saturday so I had some amazing snow for the runs I took after work.

Today I went to work but they had enough instructors that I wasn't needed. I probably could've worked if I wanted to, but I was tired and my calf cramp/injury thing seems to be acting up again. So instead of work I got to spend the morning out enjoying the new snow again. Then I got to do the drive back in the daylight (it was a little scary the previous day because the road was a sheet of ice and accidents had traffic backed up so far I did most of the drive in the dark by the time I got through). In the afternoon I met with my sponsor and went through some of the stuff I wrote with her. I did take out the foster care part and just left a very vague "moved out of my house" sentence, since the move part was important to the story. I think she knew there was more to the story there but didn't push me. It was scary as hell to read it to her (I had her read the first page and then I got brave and read the rest out loud to her) but in the end it felt good to get it out. She was impressed and said I'd done a good job taking the time to really think it through and get to the heart of it. In the end I think it felt good to get it out to her. She reassured me a lot that she's not there to judge and I'm slowly starting to believe that. We also read some of the big book, and then once the "work" was done we had some time to just hang out and watch football (yaaaaaaaaaay Broncos! :). And what a great game it was. Super fun to watch! I then came home to hang out, have dinner, and watch all my favorite cartoons. (Is it weird that the only tv shows I watch on a truly consistent basis are cartoons? lol) Now here it is bedtime and I'm feeling genuinely good. I've caught myself often tonight just sitting and smiling. That may sound simple, but it's something that was a very distant dream just a few months ago. I remember very clearly wondering if I would ever feel anything other than misery ever again. I didn't believe that I could smile "just because." But here I am feeling content inside. I think it's a combination of a fun couple of days combined with putting in some work towards a healthy future.

Something else I've noticed lately is that my laughter is returning. It's not that I didn't laugh before. I did. But before it was a quiet haha or a chuckle. Now I'm rediscovering a belly laugh. On Saturday something funny happened with my kids I was teaching and I actually laughed so hard I fell over. And it was genuine too! A little bit of that stress inside of me is starting to let go. I don't feel totally trapped under the misery, and I don't feel completely terrified all the time. I still have plenty of stress, but I feel the tightness and the gripping terror loosening ever so slightly. It feels so good to smile and laugh. I'm feeling a bit of warmth, light, and hope making it in to my cold dark world inside.

When I started this process 4 months ago in the hospital, I stated my goal as the ability to feel content (and to find peace, but that comes later). I'm seeing fleeting glimpses of contentedness and am really liking what I see. I'm not there yet, but it's enough to tell me I'm on the right path. And for that, I am grateful.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Well that was unexpected

I've been doing some writing for my sponsor for when we eventually meet up to get to work. (We've been trying to meet up for days now but something keeps getting in the way for one of us). It's not meant to be anything super personal...just writing out my experiences/history with alcohol. But of course, alcohol winds itself into every aspect of my life, so I end up writing about things that are less than fun to talk about. It's probably healthy for me to be writing it, but then when I think about going over it with my sponsor it scares the hell outta me. So then I go back and edit and remove the stuff I'm too afraid to have out there. I know I should be trying to be open and honest, but I figure it's better to have something I can actually share than write more but be afraid to show any of it.

What surprised me today as I was thinking through it was my very strong desire to edit out mention of foster parents and foster care. It surprises me because I want to be a foster mom someday and I don't want to think of being in care as being something shameful. I'd rather be helping to get rid of that stigma, not perpetuate it.

But I think the fear has little to do with foster care itself. I think it's more that it involves having to admit that my parents gave me up.

My parents were horrible, cruel people. I've often wished they'd given me up at birth, and wondered why they hadn't since they clearly didn't want me around. Over the years I did everything I could to get away from them. And yet, when they denounced me and said officially/legally that they wanted nothing further to do with me, it was some of the most awful pain I'd ever experienced. Even in my teens I still longed for their love and compassion. I should've (and maybe did) know better than to really expect that to come from them, but the heart wants what the heart wants. And even today it hurts to admit that that love wasn't there. And as much as I know that's because of them and their inability to parent, I still, even now, believe I somehow failed as a daughter. Had they sent me away as a baby or young child it would've been different. That would've been a decision realizing they couldn't handle parenting or something like that. But they had me, saw me, knew me for 15 years and couldn't find anything in me that was worth keeping me around. Nothing. I should be grateful that they gave me up. I had the chance to live with amazing foster parents and learn about love and what a real family is meant to be. And I am very grateful. It's just hard to admit and accept the reasons behind it.

I haven't decided if I'm going to mention any of this to my sponsor. Right now the foster care stuff is written in there only vaguely...basically just that I went to live w/a foster family at 15. That's not such a big deal but I worry about the potential can of worms it could open. My sponsor seems nice and like a good person and all, but I barely know her. I'm not ready to know if she's a safe person to tell this kind of stuff to.

For now I'm falling asleep writing this so it must be bedtime. I'm grateful for a fun day at work.

Friday, January 6, 2012

You don't have to drink over it

It's funny how sometimes seem to suddenly make sense long after our first encounter with them. We think we get it when we first see or hear it, but the real meaning doesn't click until later. I had one of those moments today.

Every wednesday I go to a big book study meeting. For the non AA'ers out there, the big book is basically the equivalent of the bible for AA. It lays out the program in detail and then has a series of stories of different people's experiences with drinking and recovery. Pretty much everything that goes on in AA is based out of the big book.

This week we were reading a story of a young person who starts going to AA after getting in trouble with drinking while away at school. He ends up opening up to a man who had been in recovery much longer, and for the first time spills everything that's going on in his life. When he's done, the man simply says, "You don't have to drink over it."

For the young person telling the story this was a revelation. It was the first time he had really thought about reacting to events in his life without alcohol. For me it seemed a rather strange statement, and unfairly dumbed down to say to a person who had just poured out his heart.

But I found myself randomly thinking about this statement more today. I've been under a lot of weight recently from past memories and pain creeping in. I've been on the emotional roller coaster, mostly between anger and fear. I've felt consistently overwhelmed at the mere thought of eventually having to face all this shit (which will have to happen for me to remain truly sober). The reality is hitting me that all my life I've been doing everything I can to push all this pain away, hide from it, or numb myself from it. Now I'm giving up my last layer of defense. Yikes. Then add to that the intense amount of rage i've been feeling for having to be in this situation in the first place. It's not right what happened to me. So much was taken away from me and while I know life wasn't meant to be fair, it's just so so so unfair.

At a particularly difficult point in all of these thoughts today, this phrase suddenly leapt back in to my head. This time it was a holy shit kind of a moment. Suddenly it hit me. Smacked me in the face really. What I went through was horrific, but that doesn't mean I have to, or get to, drink over it. I wasn't at fault for what happened. I couldn't have stopped it. But drinking because of it now helps no one. It doesn't give me any revenge. It doesn't help me feel any better. And it most definitely doesn't change the past. By using my victim role all I am doing is taking away my own chance to heal.

And boy have I been using it! Maybe not outwardly, but in my head I've been trying to convince myself and the world that no one should tell me not to drink (or not to act on any other addictions) because they don't understand how bad I was hurt. They don't understand what's in my head. It's not fair for them to expect as much from me because I got a rotten start in life.

But drinking hurts me. And deep down I know that. I know drinking doesn't make me feel good like I want it to. It magnifies my problems and makes everything that much more painful. It's not that I deserve to drink. I deserve to live sober and live in a way that I'm not hurting myself. I didn't have control back then but I do have control now. I get to make the decisions and I can choose to be healthy and safe. And as I type this I feel like the dramatic movie music should be coming in behind me! lol This really is huge for me though. It probably sounds stupid to anyone reading, but the idea that my drinking (or not drinking) can be totally separate from the events of my life is huge for me, just like it was for the person telling the story.

As long as I've gone this far, here's the section from the story:

"When I had finished talking, he told me something simple: "you don't have to drink over it." What an idea! I had thought that situations made me drink. If I was angry, I drank. If I was happy, I drank. Bored or excited, elated or depressed, I drank. Here was a man telling me that, independent of my life situation, I did not have to drink. If I stuck with AA, I could stay sober under any and all conditions. He gave me hope, and in many ways, he symbolized the door through which I finally walked into Alcoholics Anonymous."

So yeah...that. My past still sucks. Flashbacks and all that still sucks. There will be times in my life with intense emotions of all sorts. There will be good times and bad. But no matter what is going on I still will always get my choice to drink or not. No situation, past, present or future, can make that decision for me. Very cool. And empowering.

In other news, it was a strange day at IOP today. Molly, who I have mentioned before as the person I have been closest to in the group and the first person I really connected with, graduated today. It's really tough to imagine IOP without her, and I hate to think about not getting to see her so much. She will still be coming to art group so she won't be gone entirely, I just won't get as much time with her. Iop group is going to be strange now too, because another guy just graduated and with the two of them gone the dynamic is going through a pretty intense shift. Aside from Becky and I, the others are all young "tough guy" type males. They're all very nice, and good people, but it just makes the conversation take on a different tone when they're the majority.

And on that note, I'm still grateful for Becky. She thanked me profusely today for last night. Near tears again she told me she believes I saved her life. I'm not sure how to respond to that, but it is meaningful to be me to be important to someone. I told her that after talking to her was the first time I was able to be near a liquor store and not feel that obsessive pull to go in. She was glad to hear that and it was nice to be able to "celebrate" together the successes we'd had and what we'd been able to overcome that night.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

What I got to do

People in AA say often that helping someone else is the best thing you can do to help yourself and get out of your own head and your own issues. To me that's always sounded rather obnoxious, trite, and cliche-like. When I would need someone's help they would always tell me that I was helping them by being there and letting them help me. I thought they were saying it to make me feel better or something like that. Tonight I learned different.

I had a rough day today. Some difficult stuff has started to come up in therapy. After talking to my t yesterday afternoon I've just been in a weird spot. I've been uncomfortable with what I said, dealing with resurfacing fears from the past about what would happen if I told, and just so overwhelmed with all the stuff i'm realizing i'm going to have to face substance- (and other types of numbing) free. For my sponsor I've been writing about my drinking history, which is starting to feel like making a list of all the awful shit I've done. That's been weighting on me as well. I had big plans today of stuff to accomplish but instead ended up hiding under blankets all day in my pajamas. I just couldn't face the world. I had that horrible feeling inside and I just couldn't deal. I was frustrated with myself because of all the things i'd really wanted to accomplish, but couldn't turn it in to action.

This evening I got a call from an IOP friend I've gotten close to. We'll call her Becky. Becky didn't sound good when she called. She said she was ok but that she was thinking about drinking. I asked if she wanted to go get coffee, and we met at a coffee shop. She asked multiple times if I was sure it wasn't an inconvenience. I was excited to have a reason to get out of the house and have some human contact, and it just felt like what I was supposed to do. It meant a lot to me that she'd asked me for help, and that she'd called before she, as she put it, "cracked."

When I saw her at the coffee shop she didn't look good. She looked shaky and like she'd been crying. I've never been all that good at listening to ppl having a hard time and knowing what to say, so I was a bit nervous. But we sat down and started talking about random stuff and almost instantly we both were laughing. We talked about hard stuff and fun stuff and didn't stop for almost 2 hours. She told me that she'd been inspired by stuff i'd said in group and that's why she called me. It turns out we have a lot more in common than either of us realized. She said really nice stuff to me about how she's really glad she's met me and how amazing I am and together I seem to be (ha if she only knew!). At the end before we parted ways she got teary again. She started talking about how bad things got when she was drinking...blackouts and it stealing every part of her life away. She had some intense stories to tell, and said that that was why she called me: because she was so terrified she was going to end up back there again.

The whole situation was just amazing to me. She came to me because she felt connected to me and inspired by something that little ole me had said. For someone that feels worthless more often than not, and was feeling especially puny and worthless today, that's huge! The fact that I was able to be there for her, and really do something tangible to help her makes me feel like there's a purpose to my existence. There was a reason I was there tonight, and who knows what would've happened without me. Who knows if she would've had someone to reach out had she not met me and had I not been willing to open myself up and be honest with some of my pain during IOP. Not only that, but I'd actually done something right. Even though I was afraid about whether or not I could say the right thing, I think it ended up being meaningful to us both.

Afterwards I stopped to get food on my way home. There happened to be a liquor store right next to where I stopped, but for the first time in quite a while I had no desire to stop. I saw what alcohol was doing to Becky, and I felt like I had worth as a sober person. My cravings, for that moment, were actually gone.

Just yesterday I was telling my t about how I couldn't remember the last time I had felt good from the inside. When I'm distracted by fun or good stuff in my life I can feel good, but I haven't been able to find that good that starts from the inside. The outside good is nice, but it goes away as soon as whatever is happening is over and I'm back on my own. The inside good isn't attached to any activity and can be carried beyond. I was wondering if I'd ever feel that kind of good again. Tonight I felt it. I've been back home on my own for almost 2 hours now and I still feel good. My heart is warmed. I have worth. I did something meaningful.

I'm grateful for you Becky. You helped me more than I ever thought anyone could. I feel good tonight because of you. Thank you for honoring me by asking me for help. And thank you god/goddess/HP for giving me this opportunity when I needed it!

(And now the new question...does this make me totally selfish to be celebrating how good this makes me feel? lol I do think this will help me be able to ask for help a little better when I need it).

Monday, January 2, 2012


I've had a lot going on these days and have really wanted to post/update about it, but exhausted only begins to scratch the surface of the way i've been feeling lately. It never occurred to me just how taxing a long-commute winter job would be. The days are just too darn short! I leave my house when the sun is just barely coming up, and by the time I make it back it's already dark. Literally on the go from dawn until dusk. Add to that that my job is very energy intensive, both mentally and physically. I'm responsible for chasing a group of small children on skis around a mountain. I have to make sure they have enough instruction to be safe and sometimes chase them down to keep them from killing themselves or someone else when they're out of control (and kids have NO concept of starting slow in order to keep from getting out of control, and tend to not realize it's going to be an issue until it's WAY too late). Then I have to be energetic and make sure the kids are happy and having fun, deal with the emotional issues (fear, missing parents, etc.), and at the end of the day explain it all to the parents and answer their questions. So yeah...the days are long. They go by fast, but I find myself often wondering where's the "me time." Thankfully tomorrow is my last day in the marathon run of days. Granted I didn't work all the days that I was supposed to but it's still been a lot. Add the sobriety issues on top of that....plus the physical issues (my body being very out of shape and the set up of this mountain requiring a lot of additional physical labor, leaving me sore from head to toe)....well yeah, exhausted. Oh, and I haven't really been sleeping too well.

But. That's where the good news comes in! I slept last night! I had 8 hours of absolute bliss! And I even had a funny dream...not a scary one!

My new years was...odd. Because of sleep issues I wasn't able to make it out to do anything (either sober events or non). I ended up staying home in my pajamas and reading. Never thought I'd see the day THAT happens on new years! ( happened to have been reading the AA big book, which I think makes the irony that much more amusing).

The situation I mentioned in the last post with the laundry didn't resolve well. Because of more sleep issues and falling asleep way too late I slept through my early morning alarm. I woke up having to rush to get ready...except that some time during the night the water had come back on and the machine had decided to run my load. So all of my work clothes were wet. Ended up calling in and crying...telling work ppl I was in the midst of a crisis and couldn't make it in. I didn't cry on purpose, but I didn't put a whole lot of effort in to stopping the tears either. I was fairly certain if I missed another day I was going to lose my job, since I've already been lectured about it. They never called me back though, and when I went back the next day it wasn't brought up. I think they recognize that I'm a good instructor and they want me there...despite some of the issues I've had.

This job has been a huge source of stress. I almost ended up quitting that day. I had already decided that if they even hinted at wanting to fire me I would go with a mutually agreed upon need to quit. As I said from the start...it's a lot. I think it's better than me not working, but it is quite the trying experienced coupled with everything else going on. After tomorrow I'll go to just weekends and possibly wednesdays as well depending on how they want to schedule me. I have a feeling that will work a whole hell of a lot better than this 7-8 days in a row crap. Also very soon I'll be starting working with programs where I'll have the same kids every week which removes a lot of the stress because at least I'll know what to expect (and because the first day is the hardest to teach and lately almost all of my lessons have been first day groups! At least if I get a never-ever group for the long-term programs it'll only be there first day on the first day!).

Ok...bed time...hoping to sleep again tonight.

And in case you weren't sure...sleep is absolutely 100% what I'm grateful for. It's amazing to have a real, restful night of sleep.