Tuesday, July 31, 2012


I've had people ask me how I came up with the name Riverbird.  It's a bit of a story that I don't want to go in to right now, but part of it is that I love birds.

I love watching birds soaring high up in the sky.  Ever since I was a kid, when things have been bad I've imagined my soul/spirit flying away on the wings of an eagle.  I've imagined amazing flights, over mountains, rivers, waterfalls, etc.  It's always a peaceful experience for me, and a good way to escape when there's a lot of pain.  

I also love birds for the symbolism I see in them.  Have you ever watched a bird walk?  They are unbelievably awkward!  I mean look at this thing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLV-O2Rtcyk  They look totally off balance, their bodies look super awkward, their legs are just odd, etc. etc.  If birds only walked we'd consider them very strange animals.  But then a bird stretches it's wings out and takes flight.  Suddenly the awkward little critter is this amazing, majestic, soaring thing of beauty.

To me that defines life.  Some of you that know me from a certain message board know that my favorite quote is, "We all have wings, some of us just don't know how to fly."  Apparently I invented it.  I thought it was a song lyric but it's not actually in the song I thought it was.  Anyway, we're all funky little birds walking around looking and feeling off balance, not feeling like we fit in or we're in the right spot/doing the right thing.  But eventually we find our wings and we learn to fly.  Shaky at first but eventually, with lots of work, we can find ourselves soaring over the mountain tops...living a happy, healthy life, finding what we were meant to do, and having it feel right and beautiful.

I really needed all of this today as the flashbacks suddenly came back with a vengeance today.  It was like one second I was fine, the next I was fully in the moment.  I was fully back in the past in the midst of the horrors.  I could see it, hear it, and feel it, and my body hurt from it.  I really, really thought I was past flashbacks like that, but apparently not.  Most of the flashbacks i've had lately have just been moderate little intrusions that I can think my way through and shift my focus.  Apparently I needed the lesson that healing never stops, and there's always work to be done.  I'm also learning that even when things are good, i can still slip back into that old mode.  I have to admit it scared me.  I really didn't expect to go there...and it felt like there were no warning signs or anything it just happened.

The good news is, I'm ok.  I'm calm and collected.  It was awful, yes.  I've cried many tears over it.  But I'm not freaking out.  I'm not running out to get a drink.  I'm not overwhelmed and feeling like the world is going to end.  Mostly I'm pissed off that i'm having to deal with this, plus a little bit scared and a little bit sad.  But I'm calm too.  I know it will get better so I'm not afraid of it.  I'm just trying my best to be patient.  That's my gratitude for tonight.  I'm grateful for my coping skills that help me get through this, and i'm grateful for the ppl at the meeting i went to last night.  I hadn't planned on it but it's my tuesday group that i love and I decided I want to be around people who can relate at least somewhat and care about me.  I told ppl I was struggling and saying out loud in the meeting that they care about me was weird.  I'm starting to believe they really do but that's something I always struggle with believing.

Anyway that's all for now.  I've fallen asleep at least a few times while writing this, so sorry if it doesn't make sense.  Last time I wrote when I was this tired I ended up writing about how I was visting the Eiffel Tower, even though that definitely wasn't happening! lol  At least it looks like maybe I'll get some real sleep tonight.  Yay!  Off to bed.  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Just living

I had planned to write a longer post tonight but somehow it's already way past my bedtime.  There just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day right now!  So instead I just want to share a quick story from tonight.  Today marks 7 months sober for me.  I love that it fell on Tuesday because my tuesday meeting is my very favorite and a lot of my favorite ppl are there.  I got lots of really great cheers when I announced it and hugs afterwards.  Felt pretty awesome.

I was talking to a friend afterwards and saying how it seems like I just hit 6 months, which is true.  This last month just flew by!  Another friend there who has almost reached her first 60 days was listening, and she looked at me like I had 2 heads.  I thought back to when I was in early sobriety.  Back then, the days seemed to drag by and add up sooooo slowly.  But tonight I found myself telling this friend how I'm "just living" and the days "just happen."  And it's so true.  It's not an overwhelming obstacle to get through a day without drinking.  It's just a day of living.  That's pretty damn cool. :)

Sunday, July 22, 2012


So I'm sure everyone has heard about the shooting at the movie theater.  That's put a lot of stuff on my mind lately.

Up until fairly recently, the only thinking I did about death was about how much I wanted to die.  I remember first wanting to die when I was about 9, so it's been a lot of years of that kind of thinking (though I wasn't suicidal for all of that...there is a difference).  Anyway, I didn't get sad when people died.  I met death with 2 emotions: jealousy and anger.  The jealousy is fairly obvious...I wanted to be the one getting to die.  Most of the time I didn't want to kill myself but I begged for some kind of natural causes to take me away.  Which brings us to the anger part.  I hated that good people who want to live are dying all the time, when my useless self was begging for death and couldn't have it.  During one of my very worst times, a friend of mine's 6 year old daughter was dying of cancer.  I felt like such a horrible person for nearly killing myself just a few weeks before she died.  Why couldn't god have given me her cancer and let her live her happy life with her family that loves her?  That is still something I struggle with...I wonder how my life was saved so many times.  Even when I wanted to die and tried to die my life was continually saved.  But that's a topic for another post I guess.

My life has changed in this last year.  Especially in the last 7 months or so.  Now I actually want to live, and I have different feelings about death.  The theater where the shooting took place, and the guy's apartment, were within a 4 mile radius of where I used to live a while back.  Thankfully I don't live there now, but I've talked to friends who know ppl directly involved.  As far as I know I don't know anyone that was hurt or killed.  The closest I know of is a friend's friend's coworker's daughter was shot and at this point may or may not make it.  Another friend was working the late shift at a restaurant just a few blocks away, so she saw and heard a lot of the chaos.  And frankly this stuff is all scaring the shit outta me.  Now that I want to live, the thought that I could be heading out to a movie some night and not make it home is terrifying.  I figured I was living a pretty safe life these days...not drinking, not doing anything crazy, being an overly safe driver, etc. etc.  But going to a movie should fall under safe things to do, but yeah.  This is the first time a shooting or anything like this has really bothered me to be honest.

When Columbine happened I saw the shooters as somewhat heroic.  Not that I would ever do that, but I loved the idea of getting back at the people who hurt me with that sort of magnitude (I was bullied and always an outcast at school).  When September 11th happened, a friend and I danced around laughing and singing "It's the end of the world as we know it."  We at least on some level thought it was the end of the world and found that rather hilarious.  (Kind of horrible to think about now).  Those are just a couple of examples but you get the idea.  Now I have to say I'm feeling kinda scared.  I never understood before why ppl got scared of things after a shooting or terrorist attack or whatever else.  But now that I value my life so much more I'm a little scared of things like this happening.  Ok more than a little I think.  Tonight as I was driving home I saw 4 cop cars gathered in one area with flashing lights on and I got scared.  It's probably nothing big but I was surprised at how nervous it made me.  It doesn't help that I've always felt like karma is going to come back to bite me and as soon as I start to value my life then all those prayers for cancer or some other way to die will finally get granted.  I'm sure that's a very self-centered thought, but it's there.

I thought I had more to say about all this but I guess that's all.  I'm just really overwhelmed right now thinking about death and all the dangers out there.  Now that I've started to value my life I'm realizing how fragile it is and I want to protect it.  I'm afraid of losing it and I'm going to have to process this in a way that I haven't before with other such events.  (Speaking of which, how horrific it is that these days we have multiple shootings and mass death type events to compare this stuff to in our supposedly peaceful country).  This one just hit a little too close to home, even if it was a former home.  I don't want to let fears about it get the best of me.

All that said...gratitude...I'm grateful that I survived this last week w/out a drink.  It was a great week.  I got to go out of town for a friend's wedding, see lots of great people, etc. etc.  It was also unbelievably intense.  There were a lot of ppl I used to drink with there, lots of pressure, and lots of temptation.  But even with all of that resisting the drink wasn't a big deal.  It was hard, frustrating, and quite the struggle, but I knew I wasn't going to drink.  I just knew, and for that I'm grateful.

Monday, July 16, 2012


Wow.  Apparently god had a message for me today.  I ended up watching Dr. Phil this afternoon.  I shouldn't have been...I should've been out doing laundry, but it's been a while since I've had tv and it's hot outside so I got lazy.  Anyway, the story was about a girl who had been kept locked in a closet for about 6 years until someone found her.  They would take her out long enough to abuse her and put her back in.  A lot of the abuse she went through was scarily similar to mine.  But she was so starved that at 8 years old when she was found she was the size of a 3 year old.

So here I've been, thinking about how invisible I was as a child...and how tough it was for me to have to go to school every day and pretend things were ok.  But here is this girl so much more invisible than I was.  No one even knew she was alive.  Truly, no one knew she existed.  She didn't have the chance to go to school.  She developed her vocabulary from a country radio station that was played to muffle any sounds she might make.  I loved to bury myself in books to escape the pain of my daily life.  I would hide under my bed and read and hope those around me would forget about me.  I can't imagine not having that escape.  I remember being devastated when my parents would leave the house and leave me locked in my room.  But constantly locked in a tiny closet?  Wow.

I was so blessed to go to school and learn to read.  With school lunch I was guaranteed at least one quality meal per day.  These things allowed me to be the functional human that I am today.  The pain of my invisibility is so huge, but this girl is showing me how much I had.  And here she is at 18 telling her story on national tv, and talking about wanting to help other kids.  Wow.  I'm in awe.  I'm grateful for her courage both to survive and to tell her story, and show me how much I have to be grateful for.  She really is incredible.  

Sunday, July 15, 2012


Invisible child.
She mattered to no one.
Silent cries
Alone in the darkness
Hiding; in plain sight.
Did they even know her name?
Her life a secret
Her existence unknown.
Slowly she fades,
Fades away into nothing.
Will anyone notice?
Will the world be changed?
Invisible child,
No one there to hear her cries.

(Clearly I'm processing a lot of stuff right now.  It's been a bit rough.  I'll try to write more about it later.  On the gratitude side of things...I have internet!  Yay!  I also got my furniture delivered so I have a real bed now and a couch.  I'm really excited about both but especially the couch because I've never bought a couch before so it was kind of a big deal for me to pick it out and get it delivered. :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


On the lobby computer so not much to say right now, but as long as I'm online I might as well say hi.  It's 7/11 today so you can get a free slushee at 7/11.  Yay!  Good stuff. :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


I just noticed on my lil ticker on the side that I have 200 days sober today.  That's pretty cool! :)  I had no idea since 200 isn't really a milestone you notice since it's not any number of months or anything.  But yeah...it's a cool number.  And it looks big.  I like it.

Still Alive

Hi everyone,

Just wanted to let you know that I'm still alive and doing ok.  Actually doing better than when I wrote my last post.  I moved on 7/1 and I don't have internet set up in my new apartment (which is driving me CRAZY but that's another story).  I have internet access in the lobby of my apartment but the hours are limited.  I have lots that I want to say but don't really feel comfortable typing it on a public computer.  So for now just know I'm doing ok, staying busy working, staying sober, and just doing the day to day thing.  Hopefully I'll have internet by next week, and then I can be back to my usual annoying self. :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Sorry I haven't been in touch much lately.  I just moved to my new apartment and I don't have internet set up yet.  Not to mention moving is just so freaking exhausting.  You'd think I'd be good at it by this point in my life, having done it so much, but it still seems to throw me for a loop every time.  I just need my structure and routine.  It's starting to get better but things still feel a bit off.  I'm just tired from having my stuff everywhere, not knowing where anything is, etc.  Plus my sleeping is just crazy.  I'm actually sleeping decently well, but strange noises and things keep waking me up.  This morning I actually got up, took my morning meds, and started getting ready, only to realize that it was just after 3am.  I have to get up early now, but not THAT early!  The street light had caught my eye and my body had decided it was light out and therefore time to get up.  I fell back to sleep and had a pretty awful dream/nightmare.  Maybe I should've stayed awake. 

Anyway, the move has only been one part of my life that feels chaotic right now.  I'm dealing with the backlash of having told my sponsor way more than I've ever told anyone else (well except one very special online friend) about what really happened in my past.  She's handled the info really well, but all the what if's are in my head.  I just don't like having it out there.  It flipped me out so bad that the other day I told her I didn't want to do the steps anymore and I didn't want to work w/her.  It was really scary because I could see myself doing all the wrong things but couldn't seem to stop it.  I know myself well enough to know that as soon as I get back into those dark behaviors it goes downhill really, really fast.  So I knew that I was putting myself at huge risk, and yet I kept doing those things (isolating, avoiding ppl, not going to meetings, refusing to talk to my sponsor, etc.).  I actually ended up cutting a bit, and that was the sign that I really had to make a change.  The good news is that it wasn't really cutting.  I meann it was but it was more just playing around with a knife.  No blood or anything.  Enough to leave marks though.  Not a huge issue in my eyes but obviously healthy ppl don't "play around with knives" so it was a sign.  The funny part is that even while I was isolating I was still talking to ppl...i was just freaking out and crying and getting mad at them.  But thankfully one of my good AA/IOP friends told me yeah it's hard, it sucks and it's horrible and recovery is not for wussies, but you have two choices: go back to the old darkness which leads to nothing good and eventually pain and death, or suck it up and get back on track.  So i'm currently in the sucking it up process.  Some things are definitely different for now.  Where I'd gotten to the point that I really liked hugs, now I'm back to where I hate being touched.  I dread the end of meetings where ppl hold hands.  Last night I ran out of one of my favorite meetings early, even though there were ppl I would've liked to talk to here, because I was so afraid of hugging them.  I know my peace with that will come back, but I'm not going to push it for now.

My sponsor said if for now I need to leave meetings early or rush out right at the end then just to do that.  She also said not to go to any more of the hospital meetings for a while because the really bad downward spiral stuff seemed to start then.  I guess she's right, but it's hard to accept.  It's not that I loved being there or anything (it was pretty awful really), but I want to be strong enough to go there without issue.  I want to be able to put all that behind me but I guess I'm not ready yet. 

I saw my dr (psychiatrist) yesterday and ended up talking with him for a long time.  I told him about all this stuff and he said he thought i'd handled it well.  Kinda cool to be complimented even after a breakdown.  He said he thought my reaction to finally telling is pretty typical, and the fact that I didn't drink or anything is a really good sign that I have the tools to actually deal with stuff now.  He said we can start weening off of some of the meds...starting with one of the night ones.  Of course I took the lower dose of the nightmare one and then had a nightmare last night so maybe i'm not ready after all.  Then again that might've been due to weird sleep, weird noises, taking morning meds in the middle of the night, etc.  That's another story for another time though.  The point is just that my dr. still has a lot of confidence in me despite the recent craziness. 

I also talked to him about a side effect I'm having from the meds.  (Well not sure if it's a side effect but it could be).  He said the only way to know for sure would be an ultrasound of my ovaries.  I told him unless I'm dying (which I'm not) I'd much much rather just have the side effects.  Even if I was dying it'd be a tough debate.  That's a fear i'm NOT ready to deal with yet!  He started dealing with that kind of dr. and I was ready to run out of the room!

Anyway, things are slowly getting better again.  A friend of mine is getting married this weekend, which is really exciting but sad too.  She's one of my last few hold out single friends.  I'm reaching the age where it's kind of weird to still be single.  Also next month she and her husband are moving out of state which is just crushing to me.  She's the friend I stayed with after I got out of the hospital.  I've known her for 10 years now (we met in college) and she's stuck with me through multiple hospitalizations and other such craziness without judgment or anything.  When I called her from the hospital this last time she immediately invited me to stay with her as long as I needed no questions asked, helped me find an apartment and feel safe in it, etc. etc.  I know we'll still be able to stay in touch, and most of the time she's lived here I've lived out of state so it's not a huge different, but it's still so sad because I've loved being back so close to her. 

That's all for now.  Running out of time on the apartment office computer internet.  Can't wait 'til I can get my own set up!