Wednesday, February 22, 2012


So I had my individual session w/stupidface today. I have to say it was a hard one. I feel like I'm at a bit of a crossroads. Lately my individual sessions have felt a bit useless. It just feels like there hasn't been a lot to talk about. It also feels like my past issues are the giant elephant in the room that we're both dancing around. The thing is, we tried to talk about it one day and I freaked. I dissociated, couldn't look at him, etc. But they are definitely causing me problems right now.

I thought today was going to be different as far as having stuff to talk about due to the cutting episode. But stupidface wasn't real concerned about that. He also didn't have any sage advice about not letting the sabotaging monkey thoughts sneak up on me like they did, except for the stuff that I'm already doing. He says that he's happy with my overall behaviors these days, and that learning better ways to deal with the trauma memories will come. I said that I am really unhappy with what happened, which I am, and that I feel like sobriety should involve giving up cutting too. He agrees that cutting isn't a good thing, but he's not as anxious to make it a priority as I am. He says it's just a sign that I need to keep working on different way to respond to stressful situations, emotions, etc. and to strengthen the good responses that I know.

Anyway this all brought up some big questions about where to go from here as far as our individual sessions, dealing with the trauma stuff, etc. There's a few issues. The first is whether or not we should start focusing specifically on what happened. I'm not at all anxious to start picking through it, but I want to do whatever it takes to get better and not let the memories and flashbacks have so much control over myself today. If that means (slowly) telling someone what happened, then so be it. Stupidface suggested that he wants me to be stronger in sobriety before delving in to any trauma stuff...meaning at least 3 months (I hit 2 months yesterday, by the way. :) ). I understand his point...I don't want to be getting in to difficult stuff that's going to push me towards drinking. However the flip side of that is that it feels like the unresolved trauma stuff is a big driving force pushing me towards a drink. My "outside" life isn't all that stressful, but in my head a war is being waged and some days I'm desperate to shut it up. So stupidface suggested that I call this place in town that offers a SA support group. I'd heard of this place before (learned about it through school and my dr mentioned it) and thought it wasn't a bad idea, at least to look in to. Of course when I started reading a bit more in depth on their website (now that I have a better understanding of how group therapy works I wanted to read more of the specifics) I quickly reached the point of feeling like I was about to vomit, and shut it down. So for now that seems to say I'm definitely not ready! Anyway, when Stupidface was mentioning this he said that I should ask them if I was a good candidate for a group, and that maybe they'd put me in one or refer me to a therapist. Wait, what?

I asked him why I couldn't just see him. That got us in to a whole new discussion about whether or not he can be the one to help me through trauma stuff. He said he's not a trauma therapist, and thought i might be better off with someone specifically focused on that. (He also had another reason he mentioned why it might not be a good idea, which I can't remember now and it's driving me crazy!). He also said it might be a bad idea because he's male and that might make things harder for me. I'm wondering if that comment came from the time I freaked out when I told him I was mad at him for being male. I'm really regretting that whole encounter because I feel it's made him hesitant to push me for fear of upsetting me again. The thing is, I want and need to be pushed. Anyway, I told him that I wasn't sure about the other stuff, but that the gender issue didn't bother me because he was the first t I'd felt at all comfortable with in years of trying therapy. As soon as I said it I realized I'd "slipped." He got a sly smile on his face and said, "You trust me, don't you?" Yeah I guess I do. As much as I'm able to. That was pretty crazy to admit to him. He pulled out his humor then, which I do enjoy, and said "but we had a break-up so early on in our relationship!" (when he became stupidface to me). We had a good laugh about our getting back together and "rekindling the relationship"...

He is good at getting me laughing...which was especially good today cus I was in a bad place when I came in. I didn't think I was, but I'm carrying around a lot of extra anger right now. He repeatedly pushed me to talk about something I told him I didn't want to talk about (not because it was anything overly personal, I just didn't really see a point to discussing it) and I got pissed and refused to talk at all. When he asked me why I yelled at him about how the rule is supposed to be that I don't have to talk about anything I don't want to and how can I trust him on that with bigger issues if he won't stick to it for smaller stuff. Of course that goes back to the fact that I do want him to push me but yet being pushed scares me. He said he felt like I was wanting him closer and yet pushing him away all at once. Yep. Welcome to my world. Story of my life. I told him I didn't know what I wanted and he agreed. (Funny story...I've been watching Girl Interrupted for a project for school...there's a scene in there where the main character is talking to her therapist about the word ambivalent and what exactly it means, and how it doesn't mean not caring but actually means being pulled both directions. So today Stupidface was talking about how I'm ambivalent because I really want things both ways. Just a funny parallel cus I was just presenting this scene to my class last Thursday! lol).

Ok I'm realizing right now that I am never, ever going to write a short blog entry. This was supposed to be quick. I thought I had nothing really to say. Ha. And I'm only half way done.

The other issue that came up today was about moving on with the AA steps. To continue on from where I am now, the steps move in to digging into the past to bring up resentments. My sponsor has been saying through all my flashback stuff that we need to hurry up to get to that step because it's clear that my resentments are causing me major problems. Now Stupidface today said I should wait until I'm 4-5 months sober before I start in to any of that, because there's too much risk of it snowballing and getting too big for me to handle. And even if I try to take it slow, it's likely for one memory to lead to another and another and another. I totally agree with him, but I also agree with my sponsor who says that we need to keep moving so I don't build up more fear around it and build up my fears and resentments even bigger than they already are. They already control me, and they're too big to be swept under the rug. I also have seen good things happen through the step work....I definitely don't want to stop even though I know it'll be hard. My sponsor's answer to the danger of the snowballing memories is that that's why there's step 3 first, so you learn to trust a higher power for strength and support when you feel vulnerable, weak, and overwhelmed. I get where she's coming from, but I also realize that she doesn't understand trauma to the extent of mine.

So that's another big question mark right now. And it's another spot where both sides make total sense, but yet there could be bad consequences if I pick wrong. I have no idea what the next step is. I had really hoped Stupidface would give me some direction but he seemed just as confused as I am. Of course he said that it's up to me to decide what's right for me, but I think the honest truth is that he has no idea. I could be wrong, but that's my impression. For now the option I am somewhat leaning towards is going to an ACOA (adult children of alcoholics) meeting. There are a few listed for my area. I emailed the contact person for one a while back and never heard back. I get the distinct impression that it doesn't really exist. But today I found a new listing that's actually closer to me, and is at one of the local AA clubs so it seems more likely to be a current listing. I'm thinking maybe for now that can be a middle ground to everything else. It has the overcoming the past aspect, the understanding of the 12 steps, but not necessarily an abuse focus. I'm trying to get up the courage to get in touch with the contact person for this other meeting. We'll see.

For now...I guess I'm grateful to still be sober so I can have this dilemma.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

And I helped!

Ok so it wasn't shake and bake, but I did help! :)

Let me back up a bit. As you can see from my last post things are a struggle for me right now. I've been talking to everyone who will talk to me for as long as they'll talk to me, both for the distraction and to collect ideas on how to save me from myself. Everyone has a different perspective and different ideas, so I like to hear as many as I can.

Yesterday afternoon I'd called an AA friend of mine. This is the person that I met through the AA hotline after I had my relapse and had called in desperation. She got me to meetings on Christmas Eve and introduced me to some people. Basically she found me a place where I could park myself and stay safe from going out drinking more. I'm pretty sure that's the only time we've spent together face to face, but we've talked on the phone a lot since then. She's been amazingly understanding to me, and put up with me calling her almost constantly for weeks. Since she's a morning person, I would call her on my way to work in the morning and stay on the phone with her until I was safely past all the liquor stores and on the right road to work. (During this time after relapse the little voice in my head was constantly convincing me that calling in sick and going to the liquor store was a much better option than work).

Anyway, she wasn't there when I called her so I left a message. She called this morning, which was good since I'd planned on going to an early morning meeting but wussed out and stayed in bed. So, this friend's call got me awake and going. (She felt bad for waking me up but I was grateful). We talked for a while and then decided to meet for lunch. I was a little nervous since I didn't even remember what she looks like, but she's just one of those amazingly calming people. It's hard not to feel at peace around her. (Oh, and to combat the don't remember what she looks like thing I got there first and hung out with a book so she had to be the one to come find me! lol Granted her memory of the day we spent together is far less fuzzy than mine). We had a great time talking about anything and everything, and easily filled up her whole lunch hour. She was really reassuring to me because she told me that her first 9 months of sobriety were really rough for her and she wanted to drink daily. I know that doesn't sound reassuring but I was starting to wonder what was wrong with me because so many people talk about being relieved of the desire to drink as soon as they got away from the initial withdrawals/cravings and started working the steps. That has SO not been the case for me. I've had relief some days but some days it's as strong as ever! She was also really supportive about the success i've had, which is nice to hear. AA is big on tough love (and I do get it takes that to overcome addiction, because overcoming addiction requires really hard work) but sometimes it's just nice to have some lovely love too. It feels good to have someone say i'm doing well and just be understanding and supportive.

Soooo....I left lunch in a much happier place than I've been in a while. I walked out of the restaurant and there was a car stuck in the ice on the street near where i'd parked. (It seems the car had made itself a sink hole and the girl driving couldn't get it out). There were two guys pushing but they were sliding on the ice so they just couldn't get it out. I started to walk past because they seemed to have it handled but then I started thinking of what so many people have told me lately...that the best way to get out of your own head is to help someone else. I asked if they needed another hand and they didn't really respond one way or the other (except to say that it was hard because they were sliding on the ice...maybe they were trying to be manly). I put my stuff down and went over to push with the two guys. Within seconds we had it out. To my surprise the girl shouted thank you and the two guys walked off in different directions. I had assumed that the trio was together but it turns out the two guys had seen her struggling and stopped to help. I don't know if I would've been the first to stop...I don't know that it would've even occurred to me, but it was really cool to be a part of the end result. The girl was thanking everyone profusely, but I almost wanted to thank her for getting stuck and giving me the opportunity to be useful. I really, really needed it.

It also made me realize something. I've done a pretty good job of getting out of wanting to help for the recognition of it. I've been really enjoying picking up trash around my apartment building and doing little, silent things like that to make the world a bit nicer. But I'm not out of it fully. I could've cared less about recognition from the girl driving, but I instantly wanted to call my sponsor and jump around like a little kid and say "I did it! I did it! I helped! I helped!" I guess i'm looking for a new kind of recognition now. I want to share the good feelings i experienced with someone, and I want to tell the people who have been dealing with the whiney struggling version of me that at least for right now I feel worthwhile. (I have to wait 'til this evening to call my sponsor because she's not home yet, so for now I get to share it with you all).

The end result of this story is that afterwards I drove to campus and got one of the best parking spots...close, and right next to the pay machine so I don't have to walk far out of my way. It's the kind of spot you NEVER get in the middle of the day. (And it may sound silly but it's important to me since it's dark when I get out of my night class and I don't like walking across campus in the dark). I'm taking it as happy karma raining down on me. :)

I don't think I need to add a gratitude on the end of this because this whole post is pretty much a gratitude, but just to stick with tradition...I'm grateful that I stuck with sobriety long enough to have this day. I almost didn't make it last night. I almost lost it all over the bad thoughts. I'm grateful I made it through the crap and back into the sunshine.

Monday, February 20, 2012


So it was rough today. The memories are just awful. I'm not dealing well with this mom stuff. I can't get past the anger at her or the self-hatred. I missed IOP this morning due to sleep issues, which didn't help anything. The end result was a lot of terrible shit in my head and too much time to think about it. I didn't drink, but I did hurt myself. In many ways that feels just as much like a relapse. The thing is, it doesn't matter the substance. It's the concept of rushing to the quick fix when stuff gets bad. It's the subconscious excuse making that gets me in trouble before I even realize what's happening.

For example, I'd strongly sworn off cutting after the last time I did it in October. When I'd done it then it got really bad. It became an absolute obsession and I heard this voice in my head that didn't feel like my own just wanting more blood and deeper cuts. I covered myself with wounds that bled a lot, and even likely did some muscle damage, making it hard to walk without pain for a while after...and even longer to be able to run. This all made me realize how dangerous it was getting for me, and it was enough to say no more with a strong degree of confidence.

Even today I was convinced I wasn't going to cut. But these thoughts started creeping in to my head about how I'd never burned myself before, but that might be an interesting way to do it. I'd had these thoughts before, with no idea where they came from. Somehow I managed to convince myself that burning wasn't cutting, and was therefore ok. And that's what I did. And now I feel like crap about it.

The thing is, I know logically that burning is self injury, just like cutting, and that I don't want to do it. But that little voice weaseled it's way in there and the next thing I knew I was doing it. This is so scary because I also really don't want to drink but I often have that little voice sneaking in...if I just have a drink out of someone else's that wouldn't be too bad...i'm not like those other alcoholics, i can handle one drink....i've got friends looking out for me, they won't let me get in too much trouble...etc. etc. There's so many examples. I have to get a handle on it or I'll end up back where I was before I know it. I can't take the risk of being back in that horrible place I was in before the hospital. And I truly believe that going back to drinking will send me back there, because it takes away my will to keep trying and my ability to think straight enough to know what to do to fight.

I'm definitely on edge right now. I'm frustrated. I feel like I'm doing everything i'm supposed to...i'm going to meetings, I'm calling my sponsor, i'm doing what she tells me to, i'm doing my best to pray, etc. etc. and I feel like I'm edging ever closer to relapse. I know I'm not the first person with PTSD to ever get sober but holy hell it's hard. I also know that everyone has their challenges with getting sober and it's not easy for anyone. But when there's a war like this going on in my head, i don't know how to fight. The only way i've ever known is to reach for a drink or reach for something to hurt myself with. I'm doing everything I least I think I am...but I feel like I'm losing to these thoughts. Even when I think I'm doing ok these thoughts creep in and I'm afraid that soon they'll get the better of me.

Please say a prayer for me. I'm also open to suggestions if anyone's got any.


I'm thankful for Sonya, who is actually my friend's sponsor, but she was really there for me tonight. I wanted to say something about how much I was struggling during the meeting but I didn't have a chance to. There wasn't really anyone I could approach after the meeting either (one woman who is also relatively new talked about some big stuff during the meeting so a lot of ppl were talking to her and I didn't want to interrupt). I actually walked out of the meeting place and was on my way to my car when I realized it was a bad idea. More than likely I was on my way to the liquor store, not straight home. I walked back into the meeting place but didn't know how to start a conversation w/anyone. I putzed around for a bit and sonya saw me and asked how I was. She was talking to someone else too so i sorta just shook my head and tried to say not so good. She came over to me and I ended up sobbing my eyes out to her. She was amazing and comforting, and offered some really good suggestions. Turns out she really understands PTSD where my sponsor doesn't. My sponsor means well but she says things like "just leave it in the past" and "don't you see those are lies?" (when I talk about feeling at fault for stuff, or otherwise hating myself because of what happened). I had no idea Sonya would be able to relate to any of that, but it was clear from the time I first started talking with her that she could. I guess that makes it a god thing too, that I found my way back in to the meeting place, she happened to still be there and open up a conversation (i didn't want to interrupt her conversation when I just felt like crying), and that she happened to be someone who could really relate. So I guess I'm grateful to god too. (as much as i sometimes hate to admit it! lol)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Less glowy

I hate my mom.

There I said it. I hate her.

I'm sure that's wrong on many levels but it's where I'm at. I don't know what started these thoughts but they're definitely here now.

She was extremely emotionally abusive. Not quite as involved with the physical stuff, but she was never a mom. She used to hold me down while my dad beat me with a belt. I remember crying to her, mommy please make it stop. I was so young then. She'd look down at me...she could actually look me in the eye and say this...and tell me I deserved what I was getting. That I was a stupid little bitch..a disappointment. She'd yell horrible things at me. That they never wanted a child but especially not one like me. Mostly it's stuff I still can't repeat.

She knew about everything that was happening. She not only knew but she saw...and watched. She was a part of it sometimes. I just wanted her to mother me. At all. I dreamt of having a mommy. I couldn't get that dream out of my head so I let her shit keep hurting me again and again. She'd see me hurting and say "What'd you do this time? You can't do anything right." She was a part of all the control and the torture. One day when I was so young she beat the crap outta me for a stupid mistake...something lots of kids would've done under the same circumstances. She was always horrible to me, and I so badly wanted love from her. And for that, no matter how wrong it is, I hate hate hate her.

But then, I sort of wish I could hate her more, because I can't keep the anger up for long. The thoughts shift to, "What was wrong with me that my own mother couldn't love me?" Isn't the mother/child love thing supposed to be a natural, automatic thing? And yet my mom hated everything about me. From the time I was small she wanted to be rid of me. This is why I believe I was born somehow innately broken, evil, or just plain wrong inside. I wasn't good enough for my own mother, how can I be good enough for anyone else? And then it shifts from hating her to hating me. I hate myself for being dirty/broken/whatever. I just hate everything I guess.

It's not all bad...i'm just overwhelmed by these thoughts right now. I had more I wanted to say but I can't think of I guess that's all for now.

Friday, February 17, 2012


Something amazing is happening to me.

It starts back on Wednesday evening when I went for a walk. I was watching the sun set over the mountains and this amazing feeling of peace came over me. It felt like my cares were being lifted and I could finally think clearly. I had this beautiful thought that even though I was stressed, somehow everything was going to work out ok. It came to me that this is what giving things over to my higher power is all about. I felt like I didn't have to worry because it wasn't up to me. How cool that this loving, caring, presence was going to deal with the stressing for me. I think it may have been the best I've ever felt before. I was able to just be there in the moment and enjoy that sunset. I felt happy, and it wasn't chemically induced and there were no caveats. I wasn't "happy, except for..." and it wasn't "this would be so nice if only I could stop thinking about..." As corny as it sounds, it felt like my heart was smiling. My smile was coming from deep down inside. I felt, I decided, glowy. I was becoming one of those happy, glowy people that generally annoy the crap outta me. But at this moment, it felt so good to glow.

I had some incredible thoughts during all of this. I realized that I have power in this world. I live in a place where there is a lot of sadness around me, but I have the power to make it better. I can't fix it, but I can be a bright spot rather than a source of further darkness. I realized that I've spent my whole life telling myself that I'm no good; that I'm worthless. But now as an adult and in a safe place, I have power. I don't have to be defined by my past. (If you'd asked me a week ago if I was being defined by my past I would've said absolutely not, but I realize now that I was). I picked up trash all along my walk back home. It took me maybe 30 seconds extra and a little bit of dirt on my hands, but it was badly needed all around my building. It may not have made any huge difference, but I know it made a change, and it felt good.

I'm starting to understand why AA talks about service so much. I'm also starting to see what they mean about getting out of your own head, and out of self pity. I have to stop telling myself I'm worthless, and I have to stop thinking that the world needs to take care of me because of what happened. (Ok I'm still learning to accept care from the world, but I mean in the sense of "well how could I help anyone else when I'm still broken? I'm the one that needs the help.)

This glowy stuff is changing my whole mindset and outlook. You know my neighbor across the hall who always leaves their trash in the hallway? (Ok you may not, it's been a while since i've mentioned her). Normally her trash annoys the crap outta me and gets me grumbly every time I see it. But on wednesday I started thinking, "Wouldn't it be fun to take her trash out for her? She wouldn't know what to think!" Ironically she hasn't left any trash out since then, but what a totally different way for me to think about things. Normally it would be, "Why would I take HER trash out? I have enough of my own crap to deal with!" And then probably go on with a few "This place just drives me crazy sometimes!" or "I just hate these people I'm stuck living next to!" I'm starting to see them as people and realize maybe they have their own struggles, and maybe I can do something nice for them.

Thursday was another glowy day. the clear-headedness stayed with me and I was able to get so much homework done. Usually I really struggle with homework because there's so much else going on in my head that it takes me 10 times as long to focus and think through even easy stuff. But suddenly I found myself focused, getting right to work, and getting stuff done. Thursday night I made cookies for IOP. I have a "secret" recipe that people in iop really like. So I used the free time I had after my meeting to make cookies, just so I could make people smile.

Today during my art group, I noticed that someone had poured paint down the bathroom sink. This is a big no no because there's only one sink set up to deal with paint. The result had left the nice white bathroom sink all black and gross. My first thought was, "ugh..stupid for whoever has to clean THAT up!" But then I had a thought. I took the paper towels I was drying my hands with and thought maybe I'd just wipe up a bit of the paint. That went well so I got a few more and finished cleaning up the sink. Likely few knew that the mess ever existed and fewer will know that I cleaned it...and that's ok with me. I'm not bitter towards the person who did it or about "having" to do all that "work." I got to spend a few seconds to make the world nicer.

Wow...weird perspective when you're glowy! lol


I'm slightly less glowy now because I'm dealing with some stressful stuff, but I'm trying to keep the underlying glow going. I'll probably explain the stressful stuff on another post, but it's just too much to get into now. For now, I'm grateful that Becky was back at IOP today. Turns out she only drank the one night when I was there, so even though it was a relapse that's HUGE progress that it didn't take her in to anything long-term. She's still having a very rough time, but I'm grateful that she's come back to handle it sober and is doing ok. I also have to say that I'm grateful that she called me and thanked me for my help. I felt so useless that night but she said that I was her "anchor in stormy seas," and the only part of her life that wasn't chaos. it's always nice to be reminded that you mean something.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Don't worry, not my relapse.

I ended up with a front row seat to a friend's relapse this week. Wow. It was rough. Had I known what was going on I probably wouldn't have put myself in the situation, but with the way it happened I didn't really have the opportunity to step back.

Remember my friend Becky in iop? I've mentioned her before here. She called me for help one night, for someone to talk to, and other nights i've called her when i've been freaking out and feeling worthless. (she's about the nicest person in the world and helps me feel like I'm worth something when I'm feeling lousy).

Becky lost her mom over the weekend, so needless to say she's got a lot going on. It was expected, as her mom had been sick for so long they'd even been praying for her death to let her out of her suffering. But of course that brings up all sorts of other emotions as well. Becky told us about all of this at IOP on monday, and I thought she was surprisingly and impressively together. She was being very honest about her feelings, positive and negative, which struck me as a very good sign. However I was also wondering in the back of my mind if she'd really be able to get through such a huge thing sober. (She's been sober for about 4 months now which sounds like a hugely long time to me but in reality is not long at all).

During my monday night meeting Becky called twice. I'd wanted to step out to answer but i'd suggested the topic for the meeting so i figured it'd really look bad for me to then step out. So I waited until after to call her back. She didn't sound good at all. She was crying and I could barely understand her. I asked her if she wanted me to come over and she said yes. I had hoped that having someone to sit with her for a bit could help her out.

I got there, we sat down on the couch, and she pretty much instantly collapsed on me sobbing. She sobbed and sobbed for what seemed like forever. When she finally started to calm down and we started to talk I realized she wasn't making much sense. I didn't want to ask if she'd been drinking, because I didn't want to offend her on top of everything, but I was getting suspicious. I asked her what she'd been doing earlier and she didn't tell me anything. She started saying repeatedly that she'd fucked up. I eventually did ask if she'd been drinking and she said no, but that she'd wanted to. To add complication to this, Becky has a seizure disorder. She had a seizure last week when she'd been sick (apparently from throwing up her meds) and has some pretty intense bruises from falling during it. So...I was becoming somewhat convinced she'd been drinking but I wanted to believe her, and also felt like the strange behavior could be coming from grief or seizure related stuff.

In the midst of all this her friend from out of state called. Becky refused to talk to him and kept putting me on the phone with him. This friend was very concerned and kept asking me what was going on. I kept having to say I really didn't know, since that was the truth. The friend started getting a bit upset with me, mainly out of concern for Becky I know, but it added stress to the situation. The friend wanted to call Becky's brother, who lives in town, so I got his number for him. I thought that that would be the perfect solution. Brother would come over and know what was going on, comfort her, and we'd move on from there.

Well. That's not the way it worked out. At all. Brother calls, and from a few feet away I can hear him screaming through the phone, "You're fucking drinking again aren't you?! What the fuck are you doing getting all these people worried about you?!" etc. etc. Becky passes the phone over to me so now brother is yelling to me. He says she's obviously drunk, this is what she does, that I should just put her to bed and leave and "if she drinks herself to death then so be it." Then he asks me if i'm her friend from AA and I say yes. Then he starts yelling at me saying how I should know better and be able to see through her bullshit and why can't I just handle it and yada yada. Grrrrrrrr. Suddenly I'm right in the midst of family drama, plus feeling that i'm alone and responsible for all this because i'm the only one physically there with Becky. Brother goes on to say that every time she drinks she has a seizure, but doesn't give me any advice on how to deal with it. Just says that it's "the ugliest fucking thing you'll ever see." The friend had also expressed concern about the seizures. I'm obviously concerned about the seizures. I don't want to leave her alone to have a seizure, but what the hell am I gonna do if she has one with me there?

Becky and I talk a bit more after I hang up with her brother. She admits she has been drinking, but no details of when/where/how much/etc. Our talking is going around in circles and pretty much useless. So I put on the tv hoping we can just relax and watch tv while she sobers up a bit. After a few minutes of that she's back to freaking out and crazy emotions and such. I finally decide there's not much more I can do there, and my presence may just be causing her to freak out more. So I get her to drink some water and then put her to bed. At least that way I knew she made it up the stairs to bed without falling down them. She seemed to settle in but as I left she started screaming for me again. I really didn't feel like going back up to her room was going to do anything other than rile her up again so I left, even with her yelling for me. I felt like a horrible person for doing so.

Sorry to be so long-winded here, but it was a really intense experience for me. I was terrified that i'd done something wrong for her, and that something really bad was going to happen to her and it would be my fault. I planned to call her the next morning but she beat me to it. She asked if I'd dumped out her booze. I told her no I couldn't find it. She told me she couldn't either. lol She said she was wanting to find everything to throw it out so she wouldn't be tempted. That at least sounded promising.

I'd really hoped to see her today at iop but she wasn't there. I told Stupidface everything that'd happened, and he went to call her during one of the breaks. He couldn't get a hold of her so he called the police to do a welfare check. They eventually called back and said they'd spoken to her face to face, she wasn't intoxicated, she wasn't a danger to herself, and she checked out medically. So at least as of this morning she was ok. She's not returning my calls, so I'm having to just take a step back and accept that for now. I'm realizing that this is a very very hard part about this disease. You bond with people in recovery. You have to. But holy crap it hurts to see them fall apart. It was so sad to see Becky in such pain. Scary too. And it's just so painful and frustrating to see that happening but not be able to do a damn thing about it.

It was a small group at iop today so we talked quite a bit about this and relapse in general. Everyone told me I did the right thing, which was reassuring because I felt like I must've done something wrong. Stupidface said I could've called him tuesday, and maybe i should've to have someone check on her sooner, but I was really hoping I'd see Becky today and everything would be more or less ok. Stupidface and my sponsor both said that what I did was a 12 step call, and you should never do that alone. Well for one thing I'm nowhere near ready to do a 12 step anything! I'm on step 3 here! But at the time I had no idea that's what I was doing. I had no idea she was drinking. Once there I really didn't want to be alone. I was actually rather pissed about being there alone because it was all falling on my shoulders. I wanted someone else to be there but I didn't know who to call. Becky doesn't really have any local friends that I know of aside from her family who was useless...and the people we know mutually through iop i didn't have numbers for and i wouldn't have felt comfortable calling them anyway. My sponsor told me I could've and should've called her. Live and learn I guess.

I'm grateful for my own sobriety, but a little overwhelmed I guess. It's a reminder of how close we all are to that first drink and descending down a bad path. Such a crappy, horrible disease we fight.

Other than all of this craziness, things are actually going decently well. I had a good day yesterday, and actually got some stuff done. My sponsor gave me an awesome compliment yesterday evening about how well I'm doing. She's someone who went through hell in early sobriety (I truly don't know how someone could go through what she did and stay sober) so a compliment like that from her is a big deal. It feels really good to hear. Since my class was cancelled yesterday I also got to go to my favorite meeting yesterday evening. I saw some people I haven't seen in a while, and they were also commenting on how well I'm doing. I've never managed to share at this meeting cus it's big and that scares me, but I did last night. Yay! :) So lots of stuff is going right for me and i'm feeling pretty good. It's a good thing too because there's a lot of challenging stuff going on around me. (There were only 3 ppl at iop this morning...and we realized that we're the only 3 out of the usual 7 who haven't relapsed in the recent past).

One last thing...something I've learned lately. Last week was absolutely crappy as far as flashbacks and everything else. It wasn't even one day at a was one minute or even one second at a time. I had to talk myself through every action and I just had no idea how I could possibly get through it without drinking. Flashbacks are a time when I always reached for a drink, and they're so so hard to deal with because you can't fight what's in your head. But the exciting news is that eventually all those seconds added up into minutes, hours, and days. Suddenly it hit me that I had in fact made it through. Even these days that felt like pure hell...I survived. That shows me that I can do it. Even when it's so so bad it really will pass, and I can do it. And that's something that no one can take away from me. I have my sobriety, including that week. I'm up to 54 days now...just a week aways from 2 full months. And from all that chaos comes the knowledge...the fact...that I succeeded despite it all. No one, and nothing, can change that or take it away. That's what I shared in the meeting last night too. My sponsor said afterwards she was surprised to hear me speak. I said yeah, so was I! lol

Friday, February 10, 2012


Something interesting happened to me today.

We have a new girl in IOP. I'll call her Mel. She started wednesday, and I'm not sure what to make of her at this point. She's a heroin addict, but she says flat out that she uses every night and "can't" quit. She considers herself doing well because she's using a smaller amount, using it regularly, and it's keeping her from going crazy. That said, she's also on probation as well as on a methadone program that requires regular UA's. So she has plenty of potential to get herself in trouble. But that's not important to this particular story.

Today Mel said that the reason she can't quit is because she's haunted by memories of stuff that happened starting when she was very young. She didn't say what exactly happened, but from what she said I get the distinct impression it's similar to what I experienced. She said it was stuff that started when she was 3, and that she's had many people tell her that she should be over it because it was a long time ago. I knew I wanted to say something to her, even though my past is not something i generally talk about at iop. They know in a general way that my childhood was "not good", that I'm not close to my parents now, and that I have "ptsd like" issues.

Anyway, I told Mel that while I didn't know what she'd experienced, I had a suspicion it was similar to what I'd been through. I told her that I had memories from when I was 5, and possibly earlier but I'm not sure, and that I too have had people tell me I should be over it by now. I said that I thought I needed alcohol and other addictions to block it out, but what I didn't realize was that while I thought I was blocking it it wasn't gone. It took me ending up in the hospital after nearly killing myself to realize it was killing me inside. Now I've made a commitment to sobriety, and yes sometime's it's hell. It's been hell this week. But the difference is that now i'm clear-headed enough to separate myself from it and remind myself i'm safe in the present. I also told her that while it always makes me crazy when ppl say it to me, I think it holds true here that if I can do it, she can do it. This was right at the end of the time and Stupidface ended the group right after I said this. Mel was crying and we were able to hug. She held on to me for a long time. It seemed like it meant a lot to her. I checked in with Stupidface afterwards just to make sure what i'd said was ok, since it was a lot for me to put out there (and very monolouge-y for my usual tastes). He said he thought it was great and that it showed a lot of strength from me.

I've had ppl in different contexts tell me that it's a gift that my past allows me to help other people. (It even says something like this in the big book). It's always really pissed me somehow it's ok that I went through all the horrible shit I did because it helps someone else. But there were aspects of this moment that absolutely were a gift.

1). It allowed me to use my past for something good. With all the flashback hell my past has been putting me through lately, it's nice to get to use it for something good.

2). It gave me a chance to feel important because I could express something to Mel that no one else in the group could. I also felt like a worthwhile person again for being able to help someone else.

3). It forced me to reaffirm my own reasons for sobriety. There's been A LOT of temptation to go back to drinking this week. Even though I know in the long run it will make things worse, I so badly want that brief moment of feeling good. It's hard not to be tempted by that when everything feels so so bad. But, by explaining why my sobriety is important to me to Mel, it reaffirmed for me that I am where I want to be and doing what I want to do.

4). In a similar vein, it made me stronger in my sobriety by defending it. When the temptations came up after IOP, I could very strongly say no after speaking passionately about it. It also helped to see Mel in such a bad place. She reminded me where I'll end up if I give up and go back to drinking. Our methods of numbing are different, but an addict is an addict. I've reached a place where I'm not so desperate I can't see hope. I don't want to give that up.

The other plus to all of this is that in my Human Services class we've been talking about how to work in a field dealing with others' suffering but being able to separate from it and take care of yourself. While I do care about Mel, I feel very peaceful tonight that I did what I could, spoke from the heart, and now I can leave it to her to make her own decision. She said she was going to call me tonight. I didn't really expect her to, but hopefully something somewhere sinks in for her. She won't change overnight, but maybe she'll hear enough to start pushing towards a new path. Or something she hears now will sink in months just never know.


In addition to the gift I received today, I'm also grateful for the amazing night I had last night where....wait for it...I SLEPT!! AND I DIDN'T HAVE NIGHTMARES!! YAY!! I woke up to my alarm going off and I was still cozy and warm in bed. I didn't wake up with a start with my heart pounding. It made the morning so much nicer and the entire day just so totally different because I wasn't spending it all trying to get out of that yucky, panicky place.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A little hope?

A few things are going on today. First, I went to my AA meeting last night and people were happy to see me. They actually clapped. This is a very small meeting in a retirement community. I happened upon it just because it's close to me, and had no idea where it actually was when I first went. So the meeting is generally me and 5-8 others of grandparent age. They've all been sober for years, many for longer than I've been alive. It was the first meeting I ever actually felt comfortable talking, because how threatened can you really be by a group like that? Soooo...I've continued to come every week even though it's an odd dynamic. I figure everyone can use a little grandma love in their lives. It's a big book study, and I skipped last week because I was so triggered by the story they'd been reading the week before, as well as people's responses to it. Apparently when the meeting was starting last night and I wasn't there they got worried and started calling me (I was a couple minutes late but in the parking lot wondering who this strange number was that was calling me). When I came in they all said "Yay River's here," and a few of them clapped. It was nice to have a welcome like that, especially when feeling so shitty. During the meeting the meeting a few of them seemed to be directing a lot of stuff at trying to give me advice. I think they were worried i'd been out drinking or something. Kind of annoying, but I know they mean well. I got some good hugs at the end and all that though, and I'm sure it was much better than what I would've been doing sitting at home!

So that's the first bit. Second, after sleeping on it (and I really did sleep...still nightmares, but not the crazy super intense ones) I realized that Stupidface was right. He's annoyingly good at being right. I'm thinking that like he said, dealing with the chaos in my immediate "outside" life will help settle the chaos inside. I'm not sure which causes which, but they sure don't help each other! When I'm stressed inside, all I want to do is hide away from it all or do anything possible to distract myself. Of course that means that none of the daily life stuff gets done. End result of that is more stress, which causes me to feel shittier, which makes me frustrated with myself and it starts the cycle anew. I can't really blame myself for my reaction to the inside stress...especially when it gets so bad like last night. How can a person be expected to do homework while seeing horrible images, dealing with pain and fear, and feeling like the world is coming crashing down. But the lack of doing homework definitely doesn't help anything. I was a little pissed at Stupidface when his answer to everything was "do your homework," but it makes sense. If I can find some way out of the shit storm long enough to accomplish something, I'll get a boost of confidence rather than additional stress.

This morning I woke up early to try to get to an early morning meeting. I didn't make the meeting but at least I had time to get stuff done. Or so I thought. I had hours but somehow barely managed to get myself showered, dressed, and my laundry done (not put away, but done). It felt horrible. I had homework to get done for my class today and wasn't able to really do any of it. The time just flew by and I was more angry and upset about it. Plus I kept looking around at the absolute chaos of my apartment. And it really is chaos. Stuff everywhere. Trash everywhere. Piles of things. Dishes in the sink. I just can't get it together to clean or stay organized. That's one of those things that just seems menial. But I'm thinking maybe for a while my prayers should be focused on getting the outside chaos under control, rather than just praying for the inside stuff to go away. Maybe ya'll can help me on that. I'm so tired of being surrounded by chaos. I'm starting to hate my apartment because it's so uncomfortable and unwelcoming to be there. I've never felt super comfortable there because it's always been the reminder of the one I lost and the stuff I lost, but it's especially bad now and that sucks. I need to find a way to stop hiding.

In the meantime, I'm still exhausted. Not drinking is taking up a whole lot of energy, and my sleep still isn't great because of the restlessness of the nightmares. That's another reason why cleaning and such seems way over my head right now. I just feel physically and mentally dead. I'm going to work on pushing myself to at least do something productive, even in the midst of the dead. That's the goal for now. Something.

So there are small glimpses of hope. Not a lot, but something. I can't look beyond the right now because i'm too exhausted to care, but my little bubble is getting just a little bit bigger.

Still holdin on....

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Bad bad day

I'm scared out of my mind today. I started to tell t (stupidface) a bit of past stuff. I actually expected him to push me to tell more, but he says he's worried about pushing me too much since it clearly puts me on edge. Which it does. I hate where I'm at right now. Everything puts me on edge. I hate talking about it but I hate not talking about it too. Today what we did talk about is how they told me if I ever told anyone they'd kill me, and how that's stuck with me well into adulthood. I can separate the logic out...I know that realistically the chances of them finding me, or even having the desire to find me at this point are very, very small. But it doesn't stop me from getting very scared sometimes. When I first started looking in to therapy, just going to my first intake had me hallucinating ppl coming to kill me. Even though I know the likelihood of someone who has chosen to be in the helping profession also being connected to the network of ppl who hurt me is small...I can't help but think sometimes that maybe somehow they're connected. Maybe somehow they'll tell someone who will come kill me. Again the logic part of me knows this is crazy. Unfortunately the rest of me IS pretty much crazy.

We also talked about my belief that I'm unlovable, and the drive to cut that it instills in me. Every time someone says something good or nice about me it makes me want to cut so badly. Every time he said I was lovable, I dreamt very vividly of the knife would feel in my skin...drawing blood...etc. It's hard to explain exactly, but it's such a strong vision and every piece of it just sounds amazing...the knife going in...cutting the skin...going deeper...blood spilling out...etc. Sorry, prob. shouldn't add that part...probably sounds stupid or disgusting to everyone.

I don't even know what I'm talking about right now. T is considering referring me to a SA specific support group but hasn't decided yet if he thinks it'd be good for me to have ppl to relate to or if it'd be too much of a risk of making me want to drink. I don't know how I feel about that either. We both took both sides of the debate. lol Otherwise his recommendation is to focus on what I can control in the immediate. He thinks the nightmares and everything get bad when I'm stressed, so I should focus on keeping up with homework and other life stuff. I am having a HORRIBLE time keeping up with stuff that I need to do. Even though I'm only taking 2 classes now I can't seem to keep up at all. I'm behind on everything and my life feels like a chaotic mess. And it's terrifying. I get scared and overwhelmed just thinking about it, so I guess he's right that it's a big stress for me.

All the way home after my appt...i thought I was ok but I had a major flashback/panic attack. I didn't realize how far in to it I was but when I pulled in to the parking lot I realized I was barely breathing. It was shallow and hard to get a breath in. That's kinda where I'm at now. The memories won't stop. I haven't done any homework yet, so I haven't managed what t told me to try. I guess I'm failing in that respect. I just want to curl up and cry. I'm feeling lost. But when I tried to say this stuff to t it just sounded like stupid whining. grrr.

I'm supposed to go to a meeting tonight but haven't decided if i'm going. It's the grandma one that triggered me so bad a couple weeks ago. I didn't go last week cus they were still reading the same story and i knew it would trigger me. My sponsor said she would go with me tonight but now she says she can't. she also was too busy to talk to me. that's the problem with relying on one person....when it's bad and she doesn't have time for me it's killer.

Anyway that's enough whining for now. Sorry to be so lame.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Step 3

So apparently I've been dreaming about blogging or something. I really thought I'd posted more since my last post. I guess the problem is that I have A LOT in my head right now but it's hard to sort it all into anything organized enough to put out here. Instead it just stays as chaos in my head, which is frustrating. Unfortunately I don't have a lot of good news to report. Well that's not true...I'm still sober and going to meetings and haven't hurt myself or anything like that, so that's all good news. It's just that lately my subconscious seems to be saying, "You will deal with all of this NOW!" The nightmares are bad right now. The scary stuff is on my mind a lot no matter how hard I try to separate from it. I'm feeling exhausted all the time.

Oh I guess that is the other piece of good news though. I feel exhausted, but not hopeless. I still feel an underlying current of good. I went to an AA meeting last night (one that's quickly becoming a favorite, though I still miss the tues. one that I can't go to anymore cus of class). Anyway, I went to the meeting and told multiple ppl about how crappy I've been feeling. That in itself is huge for me because I'm not a talker. They all assured me that this is part of early sobriety, and our brains figuring out how to handle the stuff we've been blocking out for so long. It was reassuring to hear from others that they've experienced this kind of thing, and just to have people to know that i'm struggling. That always amazes me. For so long I've stayed quiet and kept everything to myself. Now it's so different to have people know that I hurt. It doesn't take the pain away but it does remove a lot of the isolation, which multiplies all the pain.

Speaking of AA....what I really wanted to talk about on this post:

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of god as we understood him.

This is the step I'm currently working on with my sponsor. I'd thought it was going to be an easy one but it's proving to be anything but. I have no issue believing in some kind of higher power out there...the world is too incredible and there's too many coincidences for there not to be something...but going from there to a god that actually loves and cares about little ole me is a whole different story! Then from there the idea of turning my will and my life over to anyone or anything else is just mystifying. In the big book there's a prayer that goes along with step 3. It says:

"God, I offer myself to Thee--to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy way of life. May I do Thy will always!"

This prayer is meant to be an example, or a base to go from, not mandatory that you say it exactly like this or anything. But still the thing freaks me out. If nothing else it's that first sentence, "do with me as thou wilt." I don't care how loving this god is, to me that sounds like "have your way with me" and I'm not ready to say that to ANYONE! Thankfully my sponsor, who I've learned is also a SA survivor, understands this. She's given me the assignment of rewriting this prayer in a way that makes sense to me. After all when you dig through the thou's and thy's there is some decent stuff in there. I don't know where to begin as far as rewriting it though.

The more I think about it, I'm realizing I'm pretty much afraid of this step. I mean if this god character loves me and is always with me, that means he/she was there watching when I did a lot of really terrible stuff. Believing in him/her involves facing a lot of shame i'm not ready to deal with. By the way, I don't think god is male or female...I think god's way bigger than human gender ideas...I just stick with he/she to keep my higher power separated from the christian god.

And that brings up another issue. Nearly every use of religion in my life growing up was somehow a means of control. My apologies to the religious folks out there, but the christian god and the religion behind it was one of the many ways to keep me afraid. I don't want to go into detail now, but as soon as a person says god (big-G god as my friend says) I get tense, upset, and angry. For me to be able to trust a higher power, which is necessary for AA, I can't let my higher power be the christian god. I'm not sure if that makes sense to anyone else, but it's something that's really causing issue for me.

The other issue i'm having with all this is just the basic trust that it requires. Like I said above, I don't want to turn my will and my life over to anyone. I feel like I'm just starting to get my will and my life back! I know god is different from a human, but still the idea scares she shit outta me. People say, "well just think of him as the ultimate loving father." Ok fine except that I didn't do too well in the father department. While I can imagine what a real, loving father might be like (and even saw it in my foster dad), trusting my life to a father figure just isn't something i can do. (Another part of why I want to keep god genderless, but parent figures in general just aren't my favorite).

What it comes down to, is that I've tried and tried to picture this loving god that wants to care about me and love me no matter what, and all it brings up is fear and anger. I try to picture a loving spirit and all I can think of is wanting to push it away. For most of my life, any love that's been offered has had some major strings attached. So when someone does something nice for me I tend to question what their real motives are and what's in it for them. Maybe I'm just afraid that god has some sort of hidden motive and any willingness to trust is going to come back to bite me.

All of this stuff I'm saying seemed a lot clearer in my head, but I can't seem to make it come out right on "paper." So I'm going to stop there for now and maybe come back to this later. I really should be doing homework anyway. Thanks for reading!

Friday, February 3, 2012


So I went to IOP today, even though it involved driving through a snowstorm. It was a tough decision, but I decided with this crazy week I needed something routine regardless of everything else.

I actually made it there early, and because of the snow I was the only one there. (They had also moved us to a different room bc of a pipe that had burst and flooded our room, so I was starting to wonder if the group was even happening). The extra time gave me a chance to talk to Stupidface, and I let him know I was upset with how Wednesday was handled. He said, "Oh really? Why?" I told him that I felt I had been there at 9:00, not after. He said, "It was about 9:08, you were almost 10 minutes late." I told him that I had checked my phone right as I was coming in to the room and it said 9:00, and that Becky had confirmed that with me when I'd talked to her on the phone. I went on to calmly and rationally explain the issues that I posted about here that bothered me about the situation...that I'd said on monday that this was something I was really working on...that it was a new rule...that I was intimidated and still feeling shaky after tuesday...I got it all out without getting emotional at all. He said he could see why it bothered me, and had he realized it was 9:00 and not 9:10 he would've handled it very differently. He apologized to me and later apologized again in front of the group. Yay! Granted today was a very small group because only 2 others made it through the storm, but the thought is the same. It also just feels good to have handled it calmly and rationally and gotten a good result. This doesn't take away the lesson of should've been there at 8:45 and made it a non-issue, but it still feels good to have been heard.

The other funny part about group today...a new guy was there...he's actually been a member for a few weeks now but has only actually shown up a couple of times even though he always says he'll be there. I think after he heard stupidface apologize to me he wanted an apology too (he'd come in after me on wednesday and was sent away as well), and went on and on about how he was trying so hard only to be turned away. I had already had my turn and talked about the stuff my sponsor has been sayin to me and the ass kicking she gave me, and someone commented that her advice worked for this guy's situation as well. I ended up saying something about how he's gotta just do it, because "if you only knew..." really doesn't work in the real world. He reminds me A LOT of how I was when I first started IOP though...only coming now and then, showing up way late, making excuses, etc. He also had a very visible desire for us to all give him the "poor baby..." treatment for everything, which isn't so much like me now but definitely was not that long ago in my life. It's always interesting to see someone who has a lot of your former bad habits (ok they're not totally gone, but definitely reduced). It helped me a lot to see how much I've changed. My priorities have shifted, as well as my willingness and ability to work hard for this. I worry about this particular person, but after today i doubt we'll see him back in iop again. He is really unhappy with it for multiple reasons (mainly that it involves waking up early 3x/week and that he's being told he has to quit smoking pot in order to stay in the group since it's a total abstinence group) and today stupidface told him basically that that's how it works and if he doesn't like it he can find a different group to go to. Again not what he wanted since he was clearly in search of the poor baby type sympathy. He's young, and has a lot of potential so I hope he finds something that works for him before he has to go through another bunch of years of pain first.

I got to go out to dinner with Katie tonight. Katie is my friend I met at an AA meeting a while back. She and I both came in to the program around the same time and have lots of stuff in common. (She may have been mentioned previously under a different name but I don't remember what name I used for her and don't feel like looking for it. Maybe I should start a list. lol) Anyway, It's always a lot of fun to get to spend time with her, and a nice break from everything else. I'm definitely thankful for Katie tonight, because she's always a bright spot in whatever else is going on. Even when we're struggling, we always seem to get each other's struggles which makes it easier to manage.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A night of normal

I had a rough day today. Nothing earth shattering happened, more just a lot of little things going on that are frustrating the hell outta me. My wonderful schedule that I put together...where school, work, aa, and therapy all fit together like nice snug little puzzle pieces, all managed to fall apart this week. Today I realized just how chaotic I feel. I was doing so well and feeling so good because I had routine. I just needed to show up at the right place at the right time. Now I have extra time and tend to get stuck in my thoughts, and my thoughts are not so good. Anyway, now is not the time to go into detail about this. I talked it out w/a friend earlier who helped me feel better about it. I don't want to get worked up about it again.

So...normally tonight would be volunteer baby holding night, but that isn't happening this week so I had a free night. I went to a meeting that I've been to once before. It had seemed ok and I like the girl who told me about the meeting so I figured I might see her there. (If anyone remembers back, she's the one I had my first post-meeting social time with a month or so ago). Anywho...she was there...the meeting was decent, and i ended up sharing and saying how crappy i felt. I cried my eyes out...again. It's truly amazing my eyes have any tears left. Afterwards Jane, the friend like person, said she was going to Village Inn and invited me. (She has somewhat of an obsession w/Village Inn...she's invited me to go there after almost every meeting i've seen her at!) This time it was the two of us plus 2 other guys. One guy was someone she'd known since high school. The other was a new guy who was 2 days sober.

It was so so nice to go out for dinner. For one, I was just plain hungry, but this was the first time in a while that i've had a "normal" social outing without stress. I basically have zero social skills. I wasn't great at it before but could at least pretend while drunk. Sober, I'm clueless and I really really struggle with making friends. So tonight I got to escape from all the crap in my head and just enjoy a relaxing meal. Since we were at a diner there was no alcohol around, and of course no pressure to drink or anything like that. Just a nice time. I think it was a perfect night really, all things considered. I got the release of telling ppl at the meeting how I was feeling (I hate to do that when I feel crappy, but they always say you gotta let ppl know where you're at, cus if you don't speak up then no one can know). After that I was able to relax enough to have a good time and have some laughs. (It's hard not to laugh around Jane). Jane also reaffirmed for me that all the crap I'm feeling is normal, and that it's just part of this whole thing. I think deep down I know that, but to hear her describe what it was like for her was a huge help because it was exactly what was in my head coming out of another person. It just makes everything seem a lot less terrifying and a bit more hopeful.

So that's my night, and i'm grateful for it. I'm still pretty stressed about everything else, so if you wouldn't mind floatin' a prayer my way I'd really appreciate it. Thanks!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

If you only knew...

I got kicked out of IOP this morning. It was because I was late. Except that I wasn't really late. Well I kind of was. Let me explain.

IOP starts at 8:45. Lately a lot of us have been having issues with getting there on time, and the group has been starting later and later. (Seems the prompt ones have all graduated recently). So, as of Monday Stupidface said that he would not be allowing anyone in after 9:00. Today I arrived at 9:00. In my eyes, at 9:00 is not after 9:00. Splitting hairs, yes, but I still felt that it was rather extreme. I was pissed. On day one of the new rule it seemed that he could help me out a little, since I wasn't technically late yet, but he wanted to make an example of me. There were a few other issues going on as well that made it that much more infuriating.

1). Yesterday at our individual session we got into some difficult stuff that caused me to dissociate a bit and feel like I was back in the bad place. A part of me knew I was still in the therapy room, but it was like a surprise to look up and still see him there. I got very uncomfortable and felt like he'd seen little me being hurt and that scared the shit outta me. I wrapped up in my sweatshirt but still felt like he could see through it and was looking down on me. It wasn't anything that he did, but he knew I was uncomfortable, and for the first time the fact that I'm seeing a male t became really weird to me. Because of all the shame I'd felt during this session, I was really flipped out about going to iop and having to face him again. Even though I knew we wouldn't be talking about that stuff, just being in the same room w/him was going to be roughed. I would've thought he'd understand that I was really in a shaky place and needed his understanding, but instead felt like I was shamed further in front of the group by being asked to leave.

2). On Monday I had said very openly (before there was any discussion of this new rule) that I was really struggling with getting out of bed and getting to places when I need to. It's not just a sleep issue either, because I seem to get "stuck" and can't get going regardless of what time of day it is. It's like the transitions from one thing to another are just really hard for me. Anyway, I put it out there that I was really struggling even though I was working so hard on it. Today rather than getting any credit for working on it I was just told flat out to leave.

So yeah...I walked out super pissed. Now logically I understand that I did screw up here, and really I should've been there at 8:45 so it wouldn't have been an issue. I get that whether it was 9:00 or 9:01 is not the real issue. But I can't stop the emotional reaction. One piece of very good news though...

At the end of October, when I was still really struggling with getting to iop at all, one day I showed up over an hour late and was asked to leave. I was soooo pissed even though stupidface said he would be right out at the break to talk to me that I tore up all my papers related to the group, I shut off my phone and ran out of there straight to the liquor store. I drank myself stupid and proceeded to cut myself probably worse than I ever had before (lots of blood, muscle damage, that kind of thing). I had so much emotion wrapped up in the idea of going to this group at all, combined with rage at everyone there and at myself that I just lost it completely. Thankfully I managed to stop the cutting after the one incident, but from that Friday morning I continued to drink until the following monday afternoon when I needed to sober up to get to my drs appt to get my meds.

My point is that comparatively I did much better today. I yelled in my head and I cried a bit...said a bunch of "well fuck it"s in my head, but that was the extent of it. I thought, "I could drink now. That would be one way to react. But I don't want to drink at him. He's not worth that." For the most part I stayed impressively level-headed. The biggest issue was what to do with this whole day suddenly free. I was supposed to have gone to art group after iop so I would've been there from 9-2:30, but I didn't want to hang out to wait for art. That left a big gap to fill. So I came home and got back in pj's and got out the computer games, as well as talking to a couple of ppl online. At least that way I knew I wasn't going to do anything crazy without giving myself some time to think about it.

Eventually, my sponsor called. I'd left her a message earlier on my drive home, because I felt like part of my attempted rational reaction was that I needed to tell someone, and she seemed like the right person to tell. She started out with all the i'm sorry that happened nice stuff, but then she kinda kicked my ass. (I get the feeling from what I've learned in aa thus far that that's what sponsors do).

The first thing she said was an aa favorite saying about how we have to "live life on life's terms." I've heard that before but always thought, well what the hell does that mean? She explained that basically there are things in life that are facts, and we just have to suck it up and do it without letting emotion in. The group starts at 8:45. That's the terms. If I'm gonna be in the group I gotta be there at 8:445. End of story. It doesn't matter if I've gotten exceptions before, or if he said at least by 9:00. The group starts at 8:45 and it's something I have to do...just the same as I have to eat. If I'm going to do something, I have to do it.

As she said this I realized that the thoughts that kept circulating through my head were that if I go back and I show up on time then I have to admit that he's right and he wins and I'm doing what he tells me to, and that I don't want to give him that satisfaction. Now the logical side of me says well what a ridiculous thought that is! But again I can't deny what the emotions say. Seems I want to be in control and not let anyone be any kind of authority figure over me. The first "ugh" of the conversation.

She went on to tell me that for a long time she walked around with a chip on her shoulder, thinking that since she got screwed out of what she was supposed to get in life that she deserved and expected more and more. (She hasn't told me what she got shortchanged on specifically, just that she had issues w/her dad growing up and that he wasn't nice, but I don't know if that's what she was referring to or not). Anyway, she said that she was out to prove that she deserved what she hadn't gotten and that she wasn't going to let anyone stand in her way of getting it. She expected people to give her extras, let her get away with things, and give her special treatment.

This got me thinking of a phrase I catch myself using a lot in my head: "If you only knew..." When I'd get in trouble at work for being late I'd think, "If you only knew how hard it is for me to get out of bed, and how hard I have to fight just to focus through the shit in my head to get here!" When I was struggling with getting a rent bill in on time: "If you only knew how hard it is for me to keep this job and make this money you'd understand." If I'm really honest about it and really think about it, it goes all the way down to thinking that things should be provided for me. "If you only knew how hard I had to fight just to stay alive, you'd be rushing to give me food, clothes, etc. You wouldn't leave me here struggling for them. If you only knew!" It's like I constantly want to scream, "I went through hell! I have flashbacks of my hell! Stop expecting anything of me! Leave me alone!" And yet I also say I don't want to be defined by my past, nor do I want to use it as an excuse for holding me back. Fuck. And double ugh.

This is one I'm going to have to give a lot of thought to. The fact is, the stuff I go through from day to day IS hard. Sometimes I have to fight through a lot of shit just to get by. Sometimes the monsters in my head really are more than I can bare. But is it really that different or that much worse than what anyone else has to face? I know I'm not the only one that's been through tough stuff. It just takes looking around an aa meeting to see that, as well as knowing the incredible ppl I've spoken to online about it. And if everyone started their days and their actions with "If you only knew..." would anything ever get done? The reality is that we can't cater to everyone's issues because at some point we have to have expectations and we have to be able to count on each other.

As far as using my past as an excuse, the example I tend to go back to is from the Casey Anthony trial. I remember her at one point saying essentially, "Don't blame me, I was sexually abused as a child." I wanted to vomit when I heard that. I also wanted to reach through the tv and smack her. Lots of people were sexually abused as a child and go on to be productive people in the world! I said, "Well I would never say a thing like that. I'm going to go for my dreams. It doesn't matter that I was abused." And in a lot of ways, that's exactly what I've done. I've lived in some cool places all over the country, I've worked some incredible jobs, I've gotten to travel, and now I'm back in school on the path towards what I really believe to be my calling in life: to help other kids who have been abused and tossed out by society. So yes, in many ways I'm overcoming, but in all these little ways it seems i'm not moving on. I'm still using the, "if you only knew..." and I'm expecting a handout rather than putting in the work. I'm expecting to be let in to group 15 minutes late because at least it wasn't 16. I'm allowing MYSELF to be ok with my own mediocre performance, saying, "You were abused as a child so you couldn't be expected to be somewhere on time. You shouldn't expect to do as well as other people."

Damn. I can't tell you how hard that is to hear/realize. I think it's true though. I think I've been holding myself back and telling myself I'm less than because sometimes it just hurts too much to fight. Or maybe it's because I'm scared I can't be as good as others so I don't want to try. Maybe I'm just used to telling myself I'm a piece of crap and not worth anything, because that's what I've always heard.

Now then, wonderful, faithful, blog readers of awesomeness, this is where you come in. (See what I did there? I gave ya a cool name so now you have to listen!) I know there's some survivors out there ya'll deal with this? Even if you're not a survivor, I need some outside perspective here. Does this make sense or does it sound like bs? It's hard to be impartial when I'm drowning in the midst of it so I need ya'll to do it for me. Please help me gather these thoughts and figure out what to do with them.

In the meantime, it looks like I'm going to have to do the humility thing and go back to iop and apologize and show up on time...which just annoys the shit outta me cus the "fuck it I just won't go back I don't need them anyway" route sounds so much smoother and easier. And yes...we'll still do a gratitude...I'm grateful for my fucking sponsor. It's her job to piss me off and she has, but in a good way. If she didn't make it hard I wouldn't get anywhere (this exact thing came up in a meeting just a few days ago...that its not a sponsor's job to be your friend) so I'm glad she really cares enough to be willing to do the tough love. As much as i'm hating it right now, I think this is all good for me.