I Called It The Event Horizon

I wrote a book – a memoir.  I called it Saturation because, during my 3rd treatment center stay, I had to visit with a counselor who also had a part-time job outside the center as a medium.  That’s right – she was a psychic.  During my first visit with her – about a week into the program, she asked me what I thought about the alcohol poisoning I’d done to my body.  I was well past physical withdrawal so I knew there were no traces of alcohol in my system, but I also knew that wasn’t what she meant.  I told her I didn’t feel very well, which was true – residential treatment is depressing – no matter how nice the facilities are.  But that isn’t what she meant either.

“You are completely saturated.”  She said.  It sounded so much more powerful under the influence of her Irish accent.

I knew exactly what she meant.  My tolerance for alcohol was extraordinary.  In my book, I describe the mental and psychological sensations of withdrawal and compare them to what I imagined my mind being warped and stretched slowly over an Event Horizon might feel like.  The precipice of insanity where the fall endures time – and the rush can be felt mingling with the fear in one’s mind – that’s the mental anguish of withdrawal.  Often times I wondered how I would survive if I had to live forever in that mental torment.  There’s no better description of hell and I get it when I read or heard about someone going nuts as they got clean or sober.

To speak about the mind/brain and body as though they’re apart from for a moment; they’re extremely unhappy campers when it comes to having to recover from substance addiction.  They know how to scream without taking breaths or breaks.

The terror and anguish are almost beyond words and they are the main reason I continued to drink.  There were only three ways I ever got through withdrawal – unconsciously, medicated, or drunk.

via Daily Prompt: Precipice

The Pink Cloud

The pink cloud is a term for a temporary sensation some people experience when they first get sober.  I experienced it. I had an overwhelming sense of euphoria and a sincere commitment to sobriety.  The idea of relapse was a resounding, hands-down “It’ll never happen” no.  I was not only on the wagon, I was steering it – hitting at least two AA meetings a day.   To say that I was “Pumped UP” accurately reflected my enthusiasm.

pinkcloud

As I remember it, I woke up really happy one morning – ready to take on you and the world.  I felt joyous and free – clear headed and ambitious.  But I didn’t feel dim.  And boy, was I dim.  I know now – 12 years later – long after the cloud puffed itself out – that its manifestation was the (logical) result of my saturated emotions airing out and coming back to life.

As in metaphor so in life, the pink cloud evaporated and storms returned – as they always do.  And when the first one hit, I felt as though I’d crashed to earth from the heavens.

So I drank.

Life has been a series of difficult lessons.  I am not the kind of person who follows advice.  I might ask for it, but that’s only because I want to compare my idea to it. I’m still going to do things my way and my way has usually equated to the hard way.  However, as a result, I now have first-hand experience with all that stuff and first-hand experience is valuable.  Some of the advice given to me might have saved me a lot of grief.  Some of it – not so much.

Either way – advice is always about someone else’s path.  Something to think on before running off with ideas that belong to other people.

If you’re wondering whether or not you’re on a pink cloud, I suggest that you do your best to observe your reactions to life.  That includes your reactions to yourself.  I suggest that you pause to consider your choices and options before making decisions. Because here’s what I know about clouds

They aren’t permanent.

So if you are up there – bouncing and flitting around – understand that at some point, you’re going to fall through.

via Daily Prompt: Pink

The Evolution of Happiness

Addiction is the pursuit of death.  Painful death.  What are the odds of having one of those anyway – – without the help of an addiction?  No one wants that!  I bet 9 out of 10 people would choose to die in their sleep – just pass in the night gently.  Peacefully.  Sweetly.  Of course, there’s always the crazy foo’ who loves the idea of martyrdom or dying in an avalanche on the way down Everest.  But sane people don’t chase death.  Sane people pursue visions of successful, happy lives.

I consider myself sane today.  Yes, I know that crazy people don’t know they’re crazy, but I feel quite convinced that crazy town in but a speck in the rear-view mirror of my life.  I know that my pursuits are of sound mind – things like physical fitness, healthy friendships, a career in the field of recovery coaching, understanding the mind of God, and my last amazing boyfriend (Oh, woohoo! Hi there!  :)) – these are all sane things that normal people go after.

Right?

EIN

What I most enjoy about sanity and the pursuit of success and happiness is that it isn’t feeling like work and therefore, it doesn’t feel like I’m pursuing anything because nothing is elusive.  I have everything I need even though I haven’t reached all of my goals – yet.  Every day provides the relief that is not alcohol poisoning and this alone is a rush.  Each day, I continue heading in the direction I’ve chosen. It’s a journey.  Impatience happens, but outside of that – I look around me and concede that everything is alright.

Daily Prompt: Pursue

‘Unpleasant’ Doesn’t Do the Word Justice

via Daily Prompt: Panicked

“Have you been on vacation recently?”  The cashier asked as she rang up my orange juice and wine.  “No.  Why do you ask?”  I had to avoid eye contact with her, so I tried to look interested in the disposable cameras just below me at the counter.  We were waiting for the credit card machine to kick into gear and to my horror, she was making small talk.

“Your face is so red.”  She blurted just as the little machine hummed to life and spit out my receipt.  I smiled and shrugged as she pushed the tiny piece of paper forward with a pen for my signature.  My hands were so shaky that I didn’t even bother trying to sign my name.  I scribbled a few lines, offered her a half smile, grabbed my bag of goodies, and walked out.  I hadn’t needed the OJ, but it was 9:15 in the morning.  Walking out with only a double bottle of wine that early would have looked bad.

Because it was so early – the store had just opened – the best spots closest to the front door were available.  The only closer spot was the handicapped spot. I’d parked right next to the handicapped spot.  And when I walked out, a police car was parked in it.  It was between me and my car – and the cop was still sitting there.  Now, had I been sober instead of in withdrawal, it wouldn’t have mattered that a cop was there.  But had I been sober, I wouldn’t have been at the store in the first place.  The police car was a huge problem for two reasons and as soon as I saw it, I panicked.  I was already going into severe withdrawal – I needed alcohol – immediately, but I was also on probation.  I wasn’t supposed to be in withdrawal because I wasn’t supposed to be drinking – and I was carrying wine.

I had to walk behind the cop car to get to my car – where my dog waited attentively.  About five feet outside the front entrance, my legs began to give out.  I’d never experienced anything like it.  My thighs felt weak.  I only had about 30 feet to go, but I honestly didn’t know if I was going to make it.  And if I collapsed, the cop was right there and I’d be in a shitstorm of trouble. So, I told myself to take tiny steps and focus on my dog.  “One step, one step, one step, one step, look at Rumi, look at Rumi, get to the car, one step, one step, almost there, almost there.”  That’s how I coached myself to the car.  Each step was absolutely terrifying.

And the cop watched the whole time.  I was walking funny and we both knew it.  But I made it and practically collapsed into the driver’s seat.  Why had he parked in the handicapped spot when the lot was nearly empty.?  And why was he just sitting there?  I forced myself to reach into the back seat to pet my dog and as I did, I looked at the cop.   We made eye contact for an instant before he looked down and went to work on something in his lap.  I opened the OJ and took a long gulp before starting the car.  I knew I couldn’t give the officer a reason to pull me over and I only had a mile and a half to go.  I remembered that I still had Colorado tags on my car so I backed out instead of pulling forward so that he couldn’t pull me over for those.  I made it home.

I was so shaky and my legs were so trembly that I had to scootch down the steps – all 20 – to the front door on my butt.

Replacing NONE With IT

When an alcoholic decides to start traveling the sober path, it isn’t as easy as just putting one foot in front of the other.  It’s not the same thing as just – not eating chocolate anymore. If only.  Our journey is one of nearly constant activity – especially in the beginning – coming at us from the bushes.  As we venture forth on the path, we are bombarded by countless thoughts, sensations, and emotions.  Sometimes it can be hard to remain upright.

I’ve fallen down hundreds of times and just stayed there; crawling in an attempt to gain some kind of headway.  It didn’t work.  It’s never worked – until now.  And I haven’t had to crawl this time. My intentions were always good.  I went to AA, got a sponsor and worked the 12 steps, but it never felt authentic – any of it.  It never resonated.  And now I know why.  Those 12 steps weren’t mine.  I was following someone else’s path – literally – their 12 steps.  I didn’t know then that I ought to learn to speak the language of my heart and develop a relationship with it.

That looks really cheesy, doesn’t it … DEVELOP A RELATIONSHIP WITH MY HEART.  Why is it so corny to talk that way in our society? 

We don’t talk about stuff like that.

I wonder why …

heartpath

My heart has the map to my success in sobriety.  It’s been keeping my path for me all along.  Waiting.

This relationship I’m forming with my heart is replacing NONE – as in alcohol AND drinking (because the act of drinking was part of the problem).

It’s a quiet, strange, a little bittersweet – unfamiliar correspondence I have with my heart. But I trust it.

It’s safe.

gold heart

via Daily Prompt: None

Happy = Strawberries

If I had to guess, I’d go with maybe 98%.  That’s how much of my body I don’t control.  It has a mind of its own and does what it wants – when it wants.   It grows my hair and nails at a pace that’s convenient for it.  It tells me when to go to the bathroom, when to go to sleep, when to eat, and when I’m happy or angry.  It tells me when I’m sick and when I’m horny.  I don’t have a say in any of this stuff and the list goes on.

I have a hard time controlling my appetite and the amount of lip I give. I find it challenging to control my speed behind the wheel, my shopping online, and I used to have a huge issue with controlling the amount of alcohol I drank.  Couldn’t even remotely pull that one off.

Today, I’m focusing on controlling myself from tossing a bag of M&Ms into my cart at the grocery store.  And when the craving for them comes on – as it is right now – I’m controlling myself from running to the mini-market by keeping my fingers and mind busy on something important.  Like blogging.   And today is the 356th day in a row that I’ve controlled my drinking.  I haven’t had a drink today.  Controlling my intake of alcohol has reduced the number of times I go through withdrawal each morning to ZERO.  Things are looking good these days.

It turns out that the stuff I can control – some of it is stuff I wasn’t even aware of.  For example – I can control how to live my life in a way that addresses – on a daily basis – the things I need and value; like quiet, space around me, nature, and time to be creative.  Doing this makes me happy.  Go figure.  Happy is a big deal.  Most everyone has this freedom, but plenty of people would argue with me.  They would argue for their limitations and then get angry with the driver in front of them on the highway – the guy going the speed limit.

?

Go figure.

But I get it because I used to do it.

It’s insane.

And the stuff that I can’t control in my body – thank God I don’t have to.  My body is just so smart.  It’s never late for work and it never asks for a day of and it never complains (unless I treat it badly).  I’m happy to let it run the show (usually) so that I can focus on living in alignment with my heart.  Listening to it and learning to speak its language is how I’ve become aware of my needs and values.  That’s what is bringing me bushels of happy these days and I’m discovering – and this is super cool – that happy is related to CONFIDENCE!

WHO KNEW?

  It’s like opening the refrigerator door every morning and finding a fresh bowl of strawberries each time!

Happy!

strawberries

via Daily Prompt: Control

The Dawn Of Recognition Is Here

No one ever told me in treatment that I would have to learn to sit through uncomfortable feelings.

~

Just let that marinate for a minute.

~

Am I the only one who feels a little miffed about having to do this?

~

My history is comprised of either getting drunk or getting through withdrawal.  Was I able to do other things during these episodes?  Yes – sometimes.  But sitting through uncomfortable feelings like irritability wasn’t one of them.

Recently, I have started to experience uncomfortable feelings – irritability and impatience most significantly.  I’m experiencing sensations of not doing anything important or maybe that I’m not accomplishing things fast enough.  Regardless – this uncomfortableness is making me uncomfortable.  Now – there are probably several good reasons to explain this – which I feel is important to do because these uncomfortable feelings have got to be originating from something.

My period is here and it’s had a shaky comeback over the past year.  I’ll be celebrating one year of sobriety on 11 May and my dad is coming out to celebrate with me.  We haven’t seen one another for over four years.  Okay, so some big things are happening or about to happen that could be logically contributing to my mood swings.  THAT SAID – what I’m having to learn is that I can NOT allow my moods to run my show – and I always have.

So this is weird and new and awkward.  And I don’t like it.

I had a dream last night that while I was driving in the dark, the steering wheel popped off.  It wasn’t scary, but I woke up anyway and knew EXACTLY what the dream meant.  In the dream, I am the car.  The steering wheel  popped off because I am allowing what I WANT and what I DON’T WANT to do – to run my show.  When I don’t want to do something – I don’t FUCKING WANT TO DO IT.  PERIOD.  And in the past – that was the answer.  But that is NOT OKAY anymore.  Whether I want to do something or not is beside the point.  AND – this want/don’t want issue is getting in the way of my ability to accomplish my goals.  Exercise for example; I’m having a hell of a time making myself exercise when I don’t want to.  Why would I exercise when I DON’T WANT TO?!

Ooooh.  Riiigghhhtt.  BECAUSE I WON’T GET IN SHAPE IF I DON’T.

(I am not a dumb shit.  I am not a dumb shit.  I am not a dumb shit.)

Sigh.  Why didn’t anyone teach us in treatment that we’d have to teach ourselves what it looks and feels like to persevere through uncomfortable feelings?  Through feelings of I DON’T WANT TO?

As a coach, explaining this will be one of my missions!

I SWEAR IT.

It’s an extremely valuable bit of information.

The dawn of recognition is here!

I started this blog to keep myself accountable, but I didn’t ENVISION a real theme for it.   I had goals – getting in shape, creating new habits, expanding my – whatever needs expanding, but I didn’t have a vision.  Today, I’m beginning to form a vision for this blog and for my future – things/outcomes I can actually see.

I recognize the value and importance of creating and focusing on a vision – something that I can actually see in my head – something that I can manifest.

I CAN DO THIS!

  I think I’m going to take you – my readers – on a life coaching journey right here.  This idea seems to be sitting well in my heart.  I still have another 11 1/2 months to go with this blog, so – I’ll bring it  – you all can see what I’ve got – and then we’ll all see what happens!