Skeletons 3.4 – My Resolution

Resolution (past & present): How can we possibly summon the resolution and willingness to get rid of such overwhelming compulsions and desires? – 12&12, Step 7, p.73 

Up until March 30th, 2012, I had made many attempts at quitting the drink for various stretches of  time.  I talk about my final relapses in Part 2 of My Story, but there were many more during my drinking career.  However, I would not have considered them relapses back then because, well, the intention was never to be done for good.  I was always motivated by a major binge weekend of poor choices or a preceding consequence of some kind, wanting to prove to myself and everyone else that I wasn’t really an alcoholic ; even though in my heart of hearts, I knew I was.

So all of my “personal detoxes” and “breaks” were in vain.  I’d stay sober just long enough, to feel good enough, to drink just enough, until there was NEVER enough.

I always.wanted.more.

Things were starting to look the same with the weed and as I mentioned the other day, that did not sit well with me.  While I hadn’t suffered severe consequences from my MJ use like I did my alcohol consumption, I still did not like that I had taken it beyond harm reduction and was using it far more than I ever intended.  It really wasn’t working for me the way it used to. I had heard that’s a very risky place for an alcoholic to be and I did NOT want to drink.

This THC break, it wasn’t the first time I made an effort to “slow my roll.”  My sponsor (S3) graciously reminded me of that and suggested I not leave it out.  She said that my saying that I accepted a challenge by my friend and just quit without sharing the rest was “flippant of me,” and she was right.  I realized I better make sure to tell you the whole truth, so when I was looking for something else in my older posts, I discovered that I HAD already told you about my last 3 THC breaks. Ha! Whouldya look at that? I had forgetten (face palm.) You can read about that in Skeletons 2.15 – My Recovery Returned.

But of course, those weren’t the only times. I made multiple half ass vows with no solid motivations or accountability. For an alcoholic like me, 1 of 2 things needs to happen for me to get off my fucking ass and change the things that I don’t want to:

  1. I either need to be backed into a corner with an ultimatum with no other options, or
  2. want something so bad, I’d do anything to make it happen.

This time around, I quit MJ for reason #2.  I still wasn’t ready to quit for good so I chose to reset my tolerance in order to build the momentum I need to get after what I really want out of this gift called life. I’m almost 40 years old and I’ve wasted enough time playing small. I have dreams and aspirations to pursue and I want to make them reality…BAD! Having reached official stoner status, I knew the weed would stand in my way if I didn’t do something about it once and for all.

Tuesday, May 21st was Day 30 and in the interest of rigorous honesty, I made it 29.75 days completely THC free. On Day 30 at 6:30pm, I chose to smoke simply to see how the first time would feel after that long going without. Before I did, I prayed…HARD. I prayed for the ability to be responsible and the willingness to quit for good if I couldn’t be. I prayed for the strength to use it the way I had originally intended or not at all.  I laid it at God’s feet and said Amen.

Then I smoked. From 6:30-11:00, I took a total of 4 puffs, stayed up way past my bed time and did not go to bed stoned.

How did I feel about myself the next day?

For a moment, I felt bad. The “committee” in my head started shaming me for not making it a COMPLETE 30 days. But then I said FTS! Excluding my pregnancies and post partum, I was 100% clean and sober for the longest stretch of time, for the first time, by choice, EVER!  I am beaming with pride and full of so much hope and I’ll be damned if I let anyone take that away from me, especially my own “stinkin’ thinkin’.”

My mindset has changed drastically and I have resolved that I never want to build a tolerance to THC ever again.  I want to be able to rely on it for the medicinal benefits or for emergencies, like PMS, should I deem it necessary. Or if I am in a social environment where it’s an option and I feel like being “a part of.”  None of that is a possibility if I go back to the way it was. I’m clear and firm on that. VERY!

Therefore, I have made a resolution: if I find myself using it beyond what I just stated above, then I will walk into a meeting and raise my hand high and proclaim with confidence that I am a newcomer, have the desire to never smoke again, and change my sobriety date. Never did I ever think I’d say that but I just did.  I can’t believe it.

There God goes again, doing for me what I could not do for myself. Does it get any better than that? According to “The Promises” of Alcoholics Anonymous, you bet your sweet ass it does!

#morewillberevealed

P.S. Today is Wednesday, May 22nd and I did NOT smoke weed today. Why? Cuz I didn’t feel like it. That’s why. To God be the glory.

Skeletons 3.3 – My Recovery Reset

Well, per usual, I’ve sat on composing this post. I know exactly what I want to write about but I simply wasn’t in the mood to sit down and write the damn thing.

To be totally honest, I wasn’t in the mood to do anything because I was still stuck in the pits of depression and had zero motivation.  It takes a month (in my case, a little longer) for anti-depressants to start working.  I remember when my last Rx kicked in.  We had 2 bookcases in our play room needing to be assembled and I decided to build them both myself. I remember thinking “how am I doing this right now?”

I also noticed the change when I was outside with my daughters and was surprised at how chatty I was being with the neighbors. That’s how I knew the meds were working. I’m a people person and I love to talk but when I’m depressed, I don’t feel like being chummy with people. I just want to be invisible. I avoid eye contact, I ignore texts, I cancel or reschedule plans, etc.

Basically, I think my life sucks, therefore, I downright suck as a person.

Much like the person I was when I drank.


Today is Thursday, May 16th and I’m happy to report 2 things:

  1. On March 30th, I achieved 7 solid years of no alcohol entering my bloodstream.
  2. My new antidepressant kicked in a few weeks ago and I no longer feel like shit.

Those 2 things alone are worth sharing and celebrating but that’s not all.

Remember in my last post when I said I had stuff to talk about but I didn’t want to? And admitted that it WAS about the weed?

Well, truth be told, I became a stoner and I no longer want to be a stoner anymore.

There, I said it.

When the depression bitch slapped me into the pits of self-loathing, my MJ use escalated and my tolerance got super high.  It had stopped working for me the way it used to and that did not sit well with me.

So I quit.

That’s right, I did.

I accepted a 30 day challenge with a friend and today is day 25.

Out of these past 25 days, there were 5 days where I had the strong desire to “take the edge off” when my kids were pushing me past my limits.

And I didn’t.

You guys, that blows my f’ing mind!  Even when I was in the throws of my PMS that should have me locked up in a padded room away from all other humans, I didn’t want to smoke. “How could this be?” I wondered. I was dumbfounded but I guess that was God doing for me what I could not do for myself…AGAIN!

Does this mean I’ve been raising my hand as a newcomer in meetings and have changed my sobriety date? The answer to that is a definitive NO and here’s why:

  1. Tradition 3 of Alcoholics Anonymous states “The only requirement for membership is the desire to stop drinking.” I haven’t drank in 7 years, 1 month and 16 days. While I did not have the desire to quit drinking when I first came in, by the grace of God, I DO have the desire to never drink again. That’s why I keep going to meetings. I’m not changing my date. Period.
  2. I don’t have the desire to quit smoking pot for good. Not yet anyway. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll choose not to smoke after this 30 days is up…or maybe I’ll keep going until I feel like it again.  Or maybe I’ll smoke myself into an oblivion on day 31 and realize that I’ve been kidding myself this entire time and decide to raise my hand and change my date.  Honestly, I don’t know.

I don’t have to know.

All I know is, I needed to hit the reset button and I don’t feel like smoking today.

To me, that’s fucking rad and I’m proud!

So I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

#morewillberevealed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Recovery Retort – Part 2

When I first started this blog almost a year ago, I was hell-bent on changing AA and the minds of the recovery community surrounding MJ use.  It’s funny, on my About page, I specifically state the following:

“What I do NOT welcome is negative feedback or pursuits to “change my mind” on the path I have chosen to take.”

Ha ha, that’s my alcoholic brain in full effect right there.  Can we say hypocrite? I’m basically saying “I want everyone reading this to change THEIR minds but don’t want anyone to try to change MINE.”

While I still don’t want anyone to try to “change my mind,” I no longer want to change the minds of anyone else either.  I am who I am and they are who they are. I do recovery one way and they do theirs another way. I’m no longer here to defend my right to smoke pot as a member of AA nor promote it within the rooms of AA.

That being said though, if someone says that I am NOT in recovery or addresses me in a condescending manner, then yeah, I’m going to defend myself. Because it’s that kind of judgmental, self-righteous thinking that made me leave my former home group and almost leave AA altogether.

So yeah – I’m an alcoholic, I don’t drink, I smoke pot and I’m a mom.  Did you know that I wouldn’t even be a mother if I hadn’t quit drinking?   It’s true (in my mind, anyway.)

Did you know that I had a miscarriage 9 months BEFORE I quit drinking? It’s true (very early but still, it was a loss.) 

It was that miscarriage that sent my alcoholism into high gear. My excessive drinking jacked my reproductive system so badly I couldn’t get pregnant for another year. I wasn’t ready to be sober and I didn’t realize at the time but I really wasn’t ready to be a mom either. But, as always, God knew what had to happen. Less than a month after my final relapse, A1 was conceived.

6.5 years later and I now have 2 daughters – ages 5 (6 in January) and 3 ½. Being a mom of two young children is fucking hard; add work, domestic, social and family duties/commitments and life can feel like an utter shit show. And guess what, the alcohol industry capitalizes on that.  

Have you heard about the “mommy wine culture?” Yes, no, maybe so? Well, it exists and women are blogging about that too. In fact, another writer posted about it today as well! What a co-inki-dink! Check it out HERE.

She and I aren’t the only ones talking about it either. Here’s another post talking about what’s wrong with the “mommy wine culture.” Click HERE.

Alcoholism is on the rise among women and if the last links I just provided aren’t convincing enough, THIS should really drive it home.

I said one of my main reasons for not drinking today is because I am a mom and it’s also a reason why I smoke weed. Counter-intuitive? Yes, and I’ll explain more in Part 3.

#morewillberevealed

Skeletons 2.13 – My Reasoning

Reasoning (past and present): “Our sound reasoning failed to hold us in check.” (BB, pg 47.)

When it comes to marijuana use BEFORE getting sober, it’s been my observation that there are alcoholics who either: a) love marijuana and “fantasize” about smoking in sobriety or b) hate marijuana and more often than not, had only smoked when they were drunk…which…if I were them, I’d hate it too.  Surely there ARE those that have never smoked as well but I personally have only met one.

Some time after I “claimed my seat” in my former home group, B3’s sponsor reached out to me. She said she had some questions and wanted to explore the possibility of sponsorship. In our conversation, she mentioned that she had never smoked pot before so she didn’t know what it was like and wondered what I got out of it. So, of course, I told her. She asked how often I smoked and of course, I told her. I spoke honestly, holding nothing back and I felt zero judgment.  She didn’t end up becoming my sponsor but she still doesn’t judge me and if she does, she sure doesn’t show it. She is a gem of a woman and has helped MANY women get sober. B3’s sponsor, if you are reading this, you know WTF you are and I love you!

So, why do I smoke weed and what do I get out of it?

Well, for starters, as previously mentioned, my marijuana use was more of a harm reduction tool in the beginning.  I was a bitter dry drunk who did NOT want to be done drinking forever and being in social environments where alcohol was present was a big trigger for me.  Socially, pot allowed me to still feel “a part of”: they drank, I smoked. Sometimes the people that drank, also smoked, so I was not alone and that’s all I cared about – that I wasn’t alone. Had pot not been an option for me, I guarantee you I would have succumbed to the obsession and drank at one or more of these occasions. In fact, 2 years ago at 4+ years sober from alcohol, I came very close.

We were in New York for a wedding. At the reception, I barely knew anyone, my weed was in the hotel room, it was an open bar and the hubs had disappeared with his buddys. I can’t say that I was mad that he had left me alone, after all, he DID tell me where he was going. No, my high had long since worn off and I was mad that I didn’t bring my stash. So it wasn’t long after he was out of my sight that I thought “well? It’s gonna happen. I’m going to say fuck it and drink.” It was decided. The bar was screaming my name. But I just couldn’t do it. I knew I’d regret it immediately. Or worse, the phenomenon of craving would instantly kick in and more “unthinkables” would occur. Neither outcome was one I wanted to experience and I can tell you right now, it would more than likely have been the latter.

Today, I don’t care if I’m the only one in the room not drinking. And I don’t have to be getting high in the those environments to have fun or feel “a part of.” Do I still do it? When the occasion calls for it, you bet your sweet ass I do, discreetly or not.

I did use it for recreation as well.  H got to unwind with some beer and I had my, what B6 refers to as, “leafy greens.” I should also briefly mention another medicinal purpose it served for a new mother whose baby literally sucked the libido right out of her whilst breastfeeding. MJ served as an aphrodisiac, straight up. Mama Pixie had “gotten her groove back!” It was a win-win for all!

It remains ONE of my tools and aids in other areas today:

  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Mood enhancer
  • Insomnia
  • Being a mom

I drank for all the same reasons above, except for one of them: being a mom.

At the end of my drinking, I drank for only one reason: I wasn’t a mom.

I don’t drink today for a lot of reasons but there’s one MAIN reason: now, I AM a mom…

…of 2 girls…

…and they are watching me.

If I was drinking today, wanna know who else would be watching me?

CPS. That’s who.

#morewillberevealed

Skeletons Part 2.12 – My Recovery Relaxed

Relaxed (past) – “Don’t quit before the miracle happens.” – phrase used in AA.

I distinctly remember the first time I decided I wasn’t going to go to meetings for a while and didn’t know if I was going to come back after I gave birth..  I was VERY pregnant, sitting in a meeting with my legs spread wide open and a human being beating the shit out of my insides. I was done. I was done being pregnant and I was done with AA.

My meeting attendance in early recovery was relatively consistent due to the fact that I needed signatures. After A2 was born, I went on my terms. I was now 3+ years without a drink and back to my recreational usage of MJ. I still harbored the same resentments towards AA and remained one foot in, one foot out. I simply wasn’t ready to work on myself because I didn’t think I had to.

I was self-will run riot and unwilling to accept what I couldn’t change (people, places and things) or have the courage to change what I could (myself!) and God wasn’t having it. My relaxed recovery was about to get an overhaul and I had no idea it was going to look how it does today.

But God did and stuff had to happen first.

In August of 2017, I hit a wall that brought me to my knees, only this time, I wasn’t drinking. In the months that followed, I was living in a perpetual emotional hangover that gave me the desperation I needed to hand my will back over to God.

You wanna know what happened, don’t you? I know, I know, I would too. Fine, I’ll tell give you the condensed, vague version in the form of…that’s right…a list:

  1. Certain aspects of my existence had become unmanageable.
  2. I started to pray and meditate like my life depended on it…because it did.
  3. I saw the need for change and decided it was officially time I defect from AA, announced it in a private recovery group on social media, and sought professional help for my outside issues that had nothing to do with drinking.
  4. Considered drinking AT my issues a couple of times and went to a meeting right away instead.
  5. One of those times was when I decided to tell a bunch of strangers my BBS and walked away with a glimmer of hope for my place in AA.
  6. Confessed to women I DID know in a house meeting and walked away with even more hope; enough to compel me to seek out a temporary sponsor while I “figured it out.” The woman I asked said yes under conditions I wasn’t willing to adhere to.
  7. Attended meetings off and on, getting more and more annoyed at the “all or nothing” mentality, suggesting that people in recovery are not really sober if they are using marijuana – medicinally or recreationally – and that they would need to start their date over if/when they decided to quit.
  8. Started this blog and was doing recovery without a sponsor or meetings, using all the tools I had learned in AA the past 6 years (as of March 30th, 2018) and was still in therapy.
  9. Found a private FB community and support group for people who also use cannabis in recovery – recreationally and as a harm reduction tool.
  10. Things happened that would not allow me to close the door on AA for good. For example, I found out that the maid of honor I talk about in Skeletons 1.9 had been reading my blog and that she’s ALSO in the program. Are you kidding me!? She instantaneously became Birdie #6. B6, you know WTF you are.
  11. Was met with nothing but support when I told her about my BBS. That same day, B3 strongly encouraged me (again) to stop judging myself and come back to the rooms.
  12. 2 days later, after a long sabbatical from meetings, I got honest in my former home group and claimed my seat; offering to be of service in any way that I could and that I was praying for a sponsor.  

Can you guess what happened next?

I’ll give you a hint…

..a miracle.

#morewillberevealed

P.S. Oh, yeah, I should probably mention what else happened these past 12 months: I smoked, vaped and ate cannabis products the entire time. I also cried…a lot!

Skeletons 2.11 – My Remorse

**Disclaimer: This is an unusual recovery blog. I am presently in the “what happened” portion of my story, which focuses primarily on my drinking and recovery in the past. Whether this is your first time here or you are a returning reader, I encourage you to visit my About page before reading further.**

Remorse (past) – Our friend is still victimized by remorse and guilt when he thinks of yesterday. (12 x 12, Step 3, pg. 39)

Like most problem drinkers and alcoholics, I did and said things I would never do sober.  There were always consequences – big and small – but the ones that did the most damage were the guilt, shame and remorse. Why?

Because that was the cycle – drink, do or say things I would regret, wake up, feel bad for said things and then drink the bad feelings away.

The feeling of remorse was a constant. The longer I drank, the worse I got, the worse I felt, the more I drank. I was even remorseful for drinking when I DIDN’T do anything stupid. I knew I had crossed the line into full-blown alcoholism and made many vain attempts in getting my shit together. Chapter 3 of the BB offers a list of some of the methods people try in order to gain control of their drinking so they don’t have to quit for good. Here’s the list, what I tried and the result (over an approx 10 year period:)

  1. Drinking beer only – nope, didn’t drink beer unless it was the only thing available.
  2. Never drinking in the morning – yep, failed.
  3. Drinking only at home – nope, in fact, I far more enjoyed drinking socially even though I did most of it at home.
  4. Never drinking alone – yep, failed.
  5. Never drinking during business hours – yep, failed.
  6. Drinking only at parties – nope, refer to #3.
  7. Switching from scotch to brandy – literally speaking, nope. But I DID try using MJ to help me drink LESS and that DID work…for a little bit soooo, that’s a fail.
  8. Drinking only natural wines – nope, wine is wine and my drink of choice. I never discriminated.
  9. Agreeing to resign if ever drunk on the job – nope, I was never put in this position but should have been fired a gazillion times for how alcohol affected my job performance.
  10. Taking a trip or NOT taking a trip – nope, taking a trip meant uninhibited alcohol consumption and the only reason I wouldn’t take a trip is if I was told I couldn’t drink on it.
  11. Swearing off forever (with and without a solemn oath) – yep and yep, failed.
  12. Taking more physical exercise – yep, failed.
  13. Reading inspiration books – yep, failed.
  14. Going to health farms and sanitariums – kinda? I went to a holistic nutritionist at one point. I tried. But not hard enough. So, yeah, fail.
  15. Accepting voluntary commitment to asylums – yep and you can read about it in Skeletons 2.3 – My Reckonings.

The book says next “we could increase the list ad infinitum” and that is most definitely true for me.  Here are a few (and very common) other methods I personally tried to manage my drinking:

  1. Limiting the number of drinks I would have in a social environment – “I’m only going to have X many drinks tonight.” More often than not, I failed.
  2. Only drinking on the weekends – always failed.
  3. “Personal detoxes” – Swear off alcohol for a determined or undetermined amount of time. I (almost) always succeeded, felt amazing, and slowly fell back into the same patterns once I started drinking again.
img_2219
The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 30

It was a deathly cycle that I simply couldn’t change on my own and I needed help but didn’t WANT to ask because I was for too prideful to admit defeat.

So God did for me what I couldn’t do for myself. A “concerned motorist” called me in, the cops were already looking for me. I ended up in handcuffs for the second time.

I felt total guilt. Terrible shame. Tremendous remorse. Remember what I did when I got home the next day? Yep, that wine from the night before was calling my name and I answered.

Today, I still feel remorse over things I do or say sober – I am human after all. I just don’t drink to run away from it anymore.

I don’t use MJ either.

#morewillberevealed

Skeletons 2.10 – My Recovery Revealed

Revealed (past): It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol is a subtle foe. (BB, pg. 85)

I remember the first time I learned that smoking pot was a no no in the rooms of AA. I was sitting in a meeting watching a woman take a 1 year token after “smoking a little weed” when she had 11 years of sobriety. I distinctly remember a part of her share when she received the coin and it went SOMETHING like this:

“I really don’t want to be taking this token but my sponsor is making me.”

I thought it was ridiculous that a woman with long term sobriety would be “told” she had to start over.  I still do and that’s why I kept my “marijuana maintenance” a secret for so long.

Revealing my chosen recovery path here isn’t the first time I have “outed myself.”  I came clean to 3 friends a few years ago and their response was this:

“So? The only requirement for membership is the desire to stop drinking.”

I couldn’t believe my ears and was really happy they were so accepting.  It was a game changer for me and I started going back to meetings. But not regularly. Even though no one else in the program knew, I still felt like an outcast and “not worthy” to be an active member of AA. Down deep, I really did want to be “a part of” but I was convinced I wouldn’t be accepted if I fully “got honest.” I felt like a fraud and it was killing me inside. I could NOT let go of the idea that I didn’t belong because I WAS doing it “my way” and if they knew, they’d shun me. Why?

MY ego.

MY pride.

MY will.

I was IN self and entering the danger zone, distancing myself further and further from the program.

I’ve heard countless times that people who smoke weed in recovery end up leaving AA altogether and eventually turn to the drink when life gets really hard. And guess what…

…it did. I left AA and then shit got real. And guess what…

…the thought to drink DID occur to me a handful of times. But did I?

#morewillberevealed