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.

My Reassurance

I had some major deja vu yesterday morning.

I woke up at 4:30 AM…again…as I have been every day for the past I don’t know how many weeks, for a while now.

I’m not complaining though, I love it! It is my absolute favorite time of the day. There is a woman I’ve watched in AA for years now…well…not so much recently but I still read her thought provoking texts every single morning. She always shares how mornings are her favorite part of her day. Of all the things she has said that I had rolled my eyes at, that was never one of them. I have always loved mornings too…well…when I wasn’t hungover.

Or a mom to two girls.

Their cries, fights, screams, whines and incessant demands have helped me see the value in silence, which has made me love the mornings even more. The sound of silence, oh how I savor thee.

So it’s 4:30 and I’m awake. I settle in to do my morning “spiritual fitness” routine which goes a little something like this:

1. Read devotional of the day from “New Morning Mercies” by Paul David Tripp. 

2. Read Bible verse noted at bottom of devotional.

3. Read daily reflections from the AA Spiritual Toolkit App.

4. Read daily meditation from “A Woman’s Spirit” by Karen Casey.

5. Pray

As I sat in reflection, I turned to H and mentioned just how much I loved getting up so early and then hit the deja vu: that exact moment felt strangely familiar and yet different at the same time. Wasn’t it about a year ago that I was doing the same exact thing?

I had to go look at my IG feed and by golly, it was! 1 year and 4 days ago to be exact, I was getting up around 4:30-5 every morning, on my own, no alarm clock and spending time with God with a fire blazing in the fireplace. I didn’t understand why then but I sure AF do now.

1 year ago, I was begging God to take over because, while I was still without a sip of alcohol in, at the time, almost 6 years, I was miserable on so many levels.

Confused.

Distraught.

Remorseful.

Scared.

Sad.

Tired.

Lost.

I prayed for a miracle.

I remember feeling the presence of God with me one morning as I was praying in the fetal position, face down in my hands on the carpet. I had this vision of him wrapping his arms around me and say “it’s going to be okay, my child. You are going to be okay.  Just keep doing everything you are doing. Don’t stop. You are going to be alright.”

It wasn’t long after that I wrote a blog post after a 5 week hiatus of NO writing.  It was only my 5th post published on New Year’s Eve and I was in a lot of fear.

Since then, the entire year of 2018 has been nothing short of mini miracles, one after another.  And this entire time, as I have grown in my faith and recovery, I still will hear in my head, “it’s all a lie. God does not exist. How can there really be a God who can do such miraculous things?”

It’s still hard for me to wrap my head around, it really is, but my faith is strong enough today to realize where that voice is coming from and what I have to do to make it go away: rebuke, read and reflect.

You guys, the last paragraph of my devotional started with the following sentence:

“So don’t let any evil enemy whisper lies into your ears.”

THEN the accompanying Bible reference was a story in 2 Kings and once again, God revealed himself to me like he always does; reassuring me that indeed He’s STILL here with me, He IS real and He IS at work in my life in miraculous ways.

And theeeennnnn the daily reflections (DR), OH. MY. GOSH. Look. Just look.

(FYI, if you can’t read the text but want to, the link to the DR is in the sidebar.)

If you only knew what the year 2018 has looked like for me, your mind would be blown just as much as mine is by this DR. It’s really quite amazing and hard to put into words but I’m going to try as this blog unfolds.

I have so much I want to share and I know it’s been a while.  Let me reassure YOU that I’m still here and I still haven’t picked up a drink.

I want to also reassure you..well..no, I guess this will be the first time I’m saying it: I really don’t care to talk about my marijuana usage any longer…for now anyway.  Is it still part of my life? Yes. Does it rule my life or my recovery for that matter? No. Will I mention it again? Probably. Why? Because it’s still a PART of the story. That’s why.

I’m still in the “what happened” portion of my story and I’m not done yet; there is still more to share. Before I get into “what it’s like now,” I invite you to visit Skeletons Part 2.12 for a little review.

Then I may or may not go into more details about the list of 12 things that happened in 2018 before I jump into 2019 and tell you more cool shit that happened when I accepted my alcoholism, surrendered my will over to the care of God as I understand Him and got honest in the rooms of AA.

Who knows, maybe my story will help you in your recovery too.

That IS how it works, after all.

#morewillberevealed

P.S. The 5th post I mentioned above is also worth a read because I talk about our Elf, Gidget, and how we do “Elf on the Shelf” in OUR house. You can find it by visiting the My Story page, titled Disclaimer. This is year number 3 and we are having so much fun with it; so much so that I decided to give Gidget her own page to showcase the shenanigans she’s gotten into and the notes she and A1 have been leaving for each other.

So much growth this past year…so much growth!