Step 1 – We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable. (BB, pg. 59 )
It’s been one month and 2 days since I posted and I should be over 30 days without a cigarette. But, of course, I am not.
In the past month, I haven’t been able to go longer than 2 days without breaking down and satiating the cravings. I have purchased and thrown away several packs; as well as purchased and smoked several packs. I’ve reset my quit date in my quit smoking app a gazillion times and wouldn’t you know, I just did AGAIN! I made it about 20 hours before the opportunity presented itself and I was lighting up.
What’s wrong with me!?!?!?!
HA! I’m kidding. Nothing is WRONG with me, I’m just an addict.
I’m an addict who normally needs to be backed into a corner before taking the steps necessary to make a serious change.
An addict who walks the line as long as I can until something really bad happens and I am forced to change.
An addict who has been in recovery long enough to know NOW that there is no “easier, softer way” to drastic change. I MUST be willing to do whatever it takes and as I said in my last post, I want to 12 step this bitch, so let’s get on with it already.
But before I do, I need to let another skeleton out of the closet because, well, this is the “Recovery Relapse Series” and I’ve hit another milestone not many people know about and that is this:
Today, September 16th, 2019, marks 1 whole year clean from Adderall.
You guys…I so want to talk about this right now but I can’t. It’s late and it’s not on topic. We’re talking about my cig addiction right now, the one I’m still fighting to quit! But my Adderall addiction is a huge part of my story and if I’m being totally honest, this blog wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for Adderall.
Sooooooo, yeah, I gotta talk about it. But, like I said, later, ok?
I gotta go smoke ANOTHER final cig, destroy ANOTHER pack of cigarettes & change my date AGAIN before hitting the hay.
Step 1 – I am powerless over cigarettes and my life has become unmanageable.
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:
On March 30th, I achieved 7 solid years of no alcohol entering my bloodstream.
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:
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.
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.
Have you watched the show “Tidying Up” on Netflix yet? It’s a reality show with tidying expert, Marie Kondo, helping families and couples “purge” their homes of any and all things that do not bring them joy. When all is said and done, her clients have developed new habits in maintaining tidy, functioning living spaces AND have reignited joy, happiness and harmony in their homes.
For me, finding this show was a game-changer. Because, see, I am more or less a fucking slob.
That’s right. I am.
That’s not self-deprecating language either, it’s the truth. I’m not even going to try to blame “part-time working motherhood” because the fact of the matter is, I’ve been this way my entire life. I have always played “catch up” with the messes I have created for myself to clean up.
The worse my house gets, the more daunting the task of tidying becomes. I find myself paralyzed, not knowing where to begin; cursing myself for even allowing it to get so bad. Beating myself up for not “maintaining” like I said I would do.
When that negative self-talk takes my mind hostage, I accomplish nothing and the house gets worse. It reaches a point where I cannot take another day living in such chaos, so what do I do? I attack and I attack HARD. I’ll spend the entire day putting my house “back together” and feel a massive weight lifted.
Until it goes to shit again and I’m back to where I started.
Disaster → Fix → Relax → Repeat.
Since obtaining valuable tips and tools from the show, my home has become more manageable. However, with young kids in the house, I gotta stay on top of it. I MUST implement daily tasks to keep my home from “falling apart.”
And THAT my friends, is the story of my life when it comes to treating my alcoholism. While I haven’t drank in (ALMOST) 7 years, I’m still an alcoholic. I always will be.
I no longer have a drinking problem but I will always have a thinking problem and thinking problem can make or break my day. Every.Single.Day.
Just like my home, if I get complacent on my spiritual program of action, things go down for me real quick. I don’t drink but I engage in other thinking and behavioral problems that make life…well…unmanageable.
If you’ve been reading for a while, you’ll know that this blog was conceived in my closet and that my closet represents my life as a dry drunk and alcoholic in recovery. I have spent the past year and 3 months transforming both : purging, organizing, and holding onto things that I am not ready to let go of yet – in my closet and in my recovery.
In Skeletons Part 1, I talk about what my drinking and recovery was like before deciding to take my life back.
In Skeletons Part 2, I talk about what happened to land me in the rooms of AA and my desire for change in recovery.
I was 4 months shy of 6 years without a drink when this blog was born and a LOT has gone down – leaps of faith, secrets revealed, therapy and lots of “getting honest with myself.” And here we are now in Skeletons Part 3: What (by God’s Grace) it’s Like Now.
And let me tell you…
…I LOVE the changes so far.
But there is still work to be done. There will always be work to be done.
Recovery is a lifelong journey that I am so grateful to have finally embraced: striving to be a better human being than I was the day before.
Rebirth (past and present:) “Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.” (BB, pg.59)
Did you read the Daily Reflections today. If you didn’t, click here. (Reminder, I also have the link in the sidebar.)
WOW, what a God shot!
A year ago, I set out to be “reborn” from the inside out. I wanted to start fresh and live authentically. I ceased coloring my hair after doing so for 20 years. The longer it grew out, the shorter I cut it. I’ve never been huge on make-up but I stopped wearing it all together unless situations called for it. My face went “naked” as often as possible.
I was still purging my closet and set out to purge more throughout the house. One room, closet, and cupboard at a time. I started purging my email inbox and decided it was far too overwhelming and opened a new email account…2 actually because, well, you know, one is never enough. Haha.
Seriously tho, I thought it would help me get organized. It didn’t. But it did help make things more manageable.
The purging process has been just that, a process. It’s not getting done perfectly but I make progress every time I put in the effort. The same can be said for my recovery.
Progress, not perfection. That’s a not a new year motto, that’s a LIFE motto. And I didn’t make that up either, I got that from AA too!
I set out to “rebirth my recovery” and live authentically in the rooms of AA, which meant I also purged my brain, right here on this blog. If this is the first time you are visiting, welcome. I’ve shared a lot about my drinking and recovery in the past but not so much in the present or future. You can get an idea of what it has looked like and what happened in the past by clicking on My Story, which can also be found in the main menu.
If you CBB, ZFG. This is the perfect time to start following because it’s time to leave the past behind once and for all and live in the present and look forward to the future with Part 3: What (by God’s Grace) it is Like Now.
P.S. Reminder: I’m on IG as @pixiedustorm & @myrecoveryrevealed. If you don’t already, go follow me there too by clicking the link at the top of my page. I’ll be posting on both of those pages more frequently AS WELL!
**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?”
“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 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.
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.
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. I made it 13 days. 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:
Rapid heart beat
Muscle or joint pain
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:
But it’s a new year and things have changed and so has my motto:
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.