Skeletons 2.15 – My Recovery Returned

**Disclaimer: First of all, this post is SUPER long. SNS. Second, I know I said I didn’t care to talk about my MJ use “for now anyway” but I take that back. This post was next in my saved drafts and I need to post it in order to move on.  Third, I also know I said F it when it came to sharing the rest of the “what happened” but I take that back as well. Too many noteworthy things occurred to go unmentioned. Lastly, I had yet to share that 1 of my New Year resolutions was to not go so long between posts and publish one every 3 days.  But that didn’t happen either. Mother Nature rendered me useless. Thank goodness I hadn’t tossed my flower like I said I would. WHAT?! You read that right. Read on.**

Returned: “You gotta give it away to keep it.” – AA idiom


A while back in 2018, I handed my tokens over to the secretary of my former home group. She was present at that home meeting where I had “confessed” my dark little secret prematurely and I wasn’t sure what she was going to think or say. This chick scared the wits out of me.

“What if she thinks I’m leaving AA?”

(I wasn’t…anymore.)

“What if she thinks I’m wanting to be a newcomer again?”

(I wasn’t. I never will.)

“Is she going to ask me why I’m turning them in? Is she going to say anything to me about my little secret?  What will I say?”

Per usual, the worrying dialogue inside my head was for nothing.  I walked up to her, handed her my little bag of tokens and she said “donating tokens? thank you!” And that was that. It was very anticlimactic.

As it should have been and it felt good.

You may be wondering “why the paraphernalia?”  Well, when I originally took this picture, I meant to use it another way but something inside held me back. So I didn’t. But now I am.

The joint represents the first puff I took on July 4th, 2013, just 3 months after I took my 1 year token for complete abstinence.  The pen represents where I was in my recovery 4 years later – using the MJ recreationally and no longer taking tokens.

I no longer have that pen.

Or MOST of those tokens.

img_7623That’s right, I kept 5.

I dedicated all of my tokens a year ago in a series titled My Recovery Rewind (6 Parts).  But why did I keep these 5?

In My Recovery Rewind – Part 4, my two 9 month tokens represented my 2 pregnancies and I state:

“I sacrificed my entire body for 18 months growing these little humans and if you add the 3 months of maternity leave for both, you’ve got 24 months.”

That’s 2 years, people.  I earned those two 1 year tokens and I don’t care if I WAS pregnant and nursing. I still could have drank and I didn’t.  So until someone asks me to give them a year token, or I run into my friend you will read about shortly, they’re mine and I have zero guilt keeping them.

The other 3 were dedicated to my mom, dad and sister in Part 6. I kept them because they represent my recovery today: I go to meetings not because I’m scared I’ll drink if I don’t.

I go for my serenity.

I go for peace.

I go to be of service.

However, today, I now have 4 tokens left. Why?

“Each day, somewhere in the world, recovery begins when one alcoholic talks with another alcoholic, sharing experience, strength and hope.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, Forward to the Third Edition, page xxii.

I have a friend I met in the neighborhood shopping center down the road where he hung out day in and day out with nowhere to call home.  He once asked me for $4 so he could “get to the doctor to get his pain meds for his knee” which is code for “buy my medicine for my addiction.” I said no and offered him Advil instead. He respectfully declind and I bid him farewell. Then one day, he disappeared.

He no longer was greeting me with a wave and smile every time I drove in to the shopping center. I asked around and found out he had been found face down in a ditch, barely alive. I was thrilled to know he was alive and figured I’d never see him again.

Months later, he returned.

Sober.

Some months passed and we had more encounters with full on conversations and he was sober for all of them.

So I gave him a Big Book and a token. The man earned it and I SO wanted him to keep it.

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No I never shared my BBS with my friend here. I speak freely about it here and in the right social environments but I don’t promote or talk about it in the rooms of AA. But I’m glad I did that third and final time because had I not, I wouldn’t have my amazing sponsor who I KNOW God hand-picked just for me; and He hand-picked me for her too!

When it comes to my MJ use, she fully supports whatever I do.

At the start of 2018, months before finding S3, I took a break until my belly button birthday. 12 days weed free. It was easy.

I did it again during the summer to support 2 of my birdies Bs 1&4 who wanted to quit. That wasn’t AS easy.

Let’s be honest, quitting anything enjoyable, good or bad for you, never REALLY is.

Fast forward to just a week ago and I was about to do the same thing: take a break. Not a  “I’m only quitting for x amount of days” break. Just a simple “I’m quitting for now and I don’t know if/when I will smoke again” kind of break. Why?

Because I have things I want/need to do and I felt like it was holding me back. I was also still experiencing some extreme highs and lows, and varying degrees of irritability. But was THAT because of the MJ?

I discovered the answer to that is NO!

About a month ago, my teeth were hurting and I was convinced I had a mouth full of cavities and that my teeth were falling out. I went to the dentist only to find out that my teeth were NOT dying; I was consuming too much caffeine and clenching my jaw 24/7. I had a case of TMJ and needed to make some adjustments.

When I told B1 this, she told me the same thing happened to one of her friends and the reason? The anti-depressant Wellbutrin. The same Rx I had been on for a year. So I read the side effects for the first time and OH.MY.GOSH. I was suffering from many:

  1. Agitation
  2. Insomnia
  3. Rapid heart beat
  4. Tinnitus
  5. Muscle or joint pain
  6. Difficulty swallowing

I contacted my doctor and told her I wanted to get off it ASAP so she prescribed me a lower dose with instructions on how to taper off. Then I came up with my 2019 motto:

Getting Clean, Lean & Serene in 2019.

Since I’m a rebel, I picked up the Rx but didn’t start taking it. I quit cold turkey. Oh well. I feel amazing.

I said I would quit the MJ and I did that too…for 2.5 days. I felt amazing.

Then, my once a month 3 day headache arrived. I have an Rx for THAT too but I left it at work so I basically felt hungover off and on for 3 days.

When I was drinking, I couldn’t get anything done hungover.  The same goes for these headaches, at all levels of intensity.

When I was hungover, like most seasoned alcoholics, I would “bite the hair” to try to ease my suffering, only to suffer even more OR lay in bed with a bowl to catch every last drop of bile my body needed to eject (sick!) Alcohol, it’s literally poison for me. It NEVER made me feel better.

But I wasn’t hungover, I was PMSing! I’ll be 39 on the 12th, this mama’s clock is tick tockin’ bitches and I swear, the older I get, the louder that clock ticks, the harder my head pounds and the meaner I can be. There’s no “hair of the dog to be bit” and I can’t lay in bed all day – I need SOMETHING to take the edge off!

So 2.5 days into 2019, I felt like ass and decided to partake of nature’s medicine. Then I went to sleep and woke up feeling AMAZING. MJ, it’s literally medicine for me. It helps me feel better.

AA does the same for me: it helps me feel better AND be a better person.

So does hanging with my sponsor (S3).

Or poloing with my sponsee (B7).

Or befriending new birdies.

Bs 7, 8 & 9, you know WTF you are.

Thanks for joining me on my recovery transformation journey and allowing me to be a part of yours. The fellowship of AA and recovery in general has been such a gift this past year. A total surprise and another miracle. I mean, this image right here basically captures my attitude about AA when I first started this blog just a little over a year ago:

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But it’s a new year and things have changed and so has my motto:

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“God Box” – Daily Inventory – Inspiration

#morewillberevealed

P.S. Just a reminder, and not that you care, but our Elf Gidget returned in 2018 and I chronicled HER entire 2018 Christmas journey on the blog. If you can’t wait for my next post to read more of my musings, click on her page “Gidget the Elf” in the top menu for more. You may find it to be entertaining or you may find it to be really annoying. Read it or don’t read it; love it or hate it, it’s alllll good with me.

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 2.10 – 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