After having a seizure and falling down a flight of stone stairs – I went home from the hospital the next day and blew over $2000 on shit I didn’t need. Clothes, food I don’t eat, I stocked up on crap as though a civil war was going on and behaved as though my last days on Earth were upon me.
They weren’t. I’m still here.
This small chunk of my history happens to be the most coherent single regret I’ve ever had. Nearly all my regrets follow black-outs or something having to do with being intoxicated and/or going through withdrawal. This experience of blowing through a chunk of cash is different. This one sinks low and feels even lower. I really wish I hadn’t spent that money. I didn’t need one thing I bought with it.
That $ was my head-start savings for a new jeep. And – well – – – SHIT! Now I’m wearing a dress I bought with that money that looks like something an 8 year old would like. LOOK AT IT! It’s ridiculous!! But instead of allowing myself to throw it away, which I nearly did, I’m forcing myself to wear it and use it as a nightgown so I at least get my freakin’ $’s worth.
I reached 50 and realized that the exit sign of my life is closer to me than the entrance sign. When I’m gone – nothing is going to change and everything is going to change – over time. I never used to consider things like this 20 years ago. Twenty years ago – because I was blitzed out of my mind – I was going to stay 31 forever.
How much longer do I have to live? I drank through nearly my entire adulthood. And not one brilliant scientist has figured out how to move time backwards. Not one! What’s UP with THAT?!!
Someone needs to figure out how to work that out!
I wonder how much it’d cost to go back in time 25 years? Could I choose a different life path? Make different choices?
So – I’m left with now and today and getting my groove on the smartest way I can manage. Learning to follow my instincts and intuition is something I’m still learning to do when I could have easily caught on to these things during my 30s, but nooooooooooo. I chose to drink all day every day instead. Drinking fucked up all sorts of possibilities. I took advantage of time, energy, money, relationships and opportunities that were – each and every one of them – gifts. I took my life for granted. Big mistake.
At least I’m sober today. I caught on before drinking killed me – or worse – turned me into an idiot. I’m still here, so that’s cool.
Some folks catch their over consumption before it gets out of hand. Some catch it before it kills them. Some learn from treatment and groups. Some get signs from the universe and some get taken out by it. Alcoholism is a bumpy and confusing and painful ride – in every way. No doubt.
If you think you have a drinking problem – you probably do. If you let IT take you too far – it will.
Nip it before it’s too late. Don’t wait. Learning to know yourself and learning to hear what’s tugging on your heartstrings is why you’re on the planet. Do something meaningful TO YOU with your life. 👍
Does the word ‘trigger’ suggest that addicts sometimes act unaware of emotions that are driving their behaviour? Unfortunately – yes. Does this mean addicts are powerless over their drug of choice? No – it suggests they’re temporarily powerless over their ability to control themselves. There’s a huge difference.
But I don’t think this happens very often. My opinion is that most relapses are not the result of a ‘trigger’ – they’re the result of a conscious choice/decision to drink or use again. Keep in mind that not everyone understands the word ‘trigger’ to have the same definition. I’m not particularly fond of the word because being awake (not to be confused with being aware) is all it ever took for me to choose to drink a glass of wine. I never needed anything external to cause me to want to drink.
Becoming sober is one act. STAYING sober requires something else entirely. It requires staying in a constant and diligent position of self- awareness. This feat alone is just that – a triumph of epic proportions. Not easy to do. Addicts are faced with the challenge of ultimate self-control – at all times. And this requires tools. Tools like intense patience, compassion and forgiveness – all things that take time to acquire through the process of practice.
It is possible that sometimes an addict will relapse over something so unsettling for him/her that their emotions (unconscious emotions beneath the obvious intense ones they’re aware of) drive their behaviour before they’re even conscious of them? Yeah. It’s weird and a little scary.
So then, what kind of internal control does it take to lasso these intense unconscious emotions that result in unhealthy and harmful behavior toward self and/or others? Especially when/if we’re not even aware of them in the first place?
An extraordinary sense of awareness and internal perception. And this is totally possible for every and anyone to attain/become/do…
Not a fucking one of us. But for the record, here is a short list of some of the causes:
Genetic changes that run in families
Trauma or injury to head
Medical conditions that affect the brain, for example, brain tumor or stroke
Infectious diseases of the brain such as meningitis
Damage or injury to the brain during birth
Developmental disorders of the brain such as autism
Detoxing from alcohol and/or drugs
For the detoxing addict, the absence of the addict’s drug of choice coursing through their brain sends it into shock. Humans are little electrical beings and our cells use electrical signals to send messages to each other. It’s how they communicate. It’s how our brains communicate to us that we’ve just stubbed our toes. It’s extremely cool except when we do stupid shit to our bodies like take drugs, drink excessively on a regular basis or starve it from our drug of choice. Our brains get used to having our drugs of choice over time. When or if we suddenly take it away – our brains freak out. The cells go into panic mode and shoot off signals haphazardly like fireworks rather than softly like a light rain gently tapping leaves as it falls.
This brings up the subject of attempting to detox on your own. It’s not smart. But if you insist, not only do you have to be EXACT about how you do it, as in record amounts and times of consumption, the amount of time you take to taper alongside the slow decrease in consumption is critical. Most people who choose to detox on their own taper too quickly. And for those of you not in the know – tapering means to cut back slowly on your drug/drugs of choice. Tapering or cutting back too quickly is just as bad as not doing it at all and it can and often times does lead to one or more seizures.
The last time I had a seizure, I fell down a 17 stair stone staircase. It wasn’t pretty and I had to spend the night in the hospital. I was lucky that I didn’t break my neck. Apparently, my time on the planet is not yet complete and I still have more work to do. Go figure. Not everyone would have survived with just a few bruises and cuts like I did – so I’ve been told.
Anyone with questions about detoxing/tapering and/or addiction, whether you’re an addict or a friend/loved one of someone who is, is welcome to email me with questions. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Imagine an apartment complex with hundreds of units. Each unit has a key. Right? AND – the leasing office has ONE key that fits all of the units. The skeleton key. It has only one component to it that fits every unit. Cool.
Apply this skeleton key to the addict that wants to get clean or sober.
All the units and their keys represent options that can be helpful. Options like meetings, prayer, sponsors, community, books, etc… But what can a person REALLY do to GET and STAY clean/sober?
They can stop reaching for their drug of choice. That’s the skeleton key. It’s a choice followed by a behavior. Everyone has this key – they just don’t know it.
I got trashed around my kids when they were young. And today – I’m paying for it. We communicate, my kids and I, but our relationships are strained. More-so with my oldest who remembers things clearly. Today my kids are 25 and 31. I really put my drinking on the starting line when my oldest was about 12. My timing couldn’t have been more off.
When I first got sober, more than anything, I wanted to mend my relationships with my kids. And this didn’t mean shit to them. Yeefuckinghaw, Mom got sober – again – for the 401st time. Now, it’s been over a year and while I plug away at my own life they’re doing the same thing with theirs.
It’s not always easy to leave them alone to do their thing, but I learned real quick not to impress myself on them. Their healing timeline has NOTHING in common with my sobriety timeline. We communicate and to me – this is priceless. And they know where to find me 24/7. They reach out when they want to and I respect that regardless how little I adore it.
I’ve never been an ‘A’ student when it comes to employing patience. My kids are excellent teachers.
Ever been? Ever even HEARD of it? Me Neither! And I’m so bummed. I look at all these amazing countries around the world and have to acknowledge that I’ll probably never get to see them – not in person.
Life is so fucking short – not to mention that part that none of it is guaranteed. And I drank away 23 years. Gone. Poof. Never to get them back no matter what I do. Even if I had billions of dollars, I can’t buy back my history and change it. What a bummer!!
Yesterday I was watching World War Z with Brad Pitt. I’d seen it before, but I was drunk back then so – I wanted to see it again because I didn’t remember any of it. Half way through the movie I get this fantastic idea that I’ll hop on my rowing machine and multi-task. I’ll watch the 2nd half of the movie AND exercise. Sweet idea, right? Except I dropped the remote and it hit a button that changed the channel to CNN. This wouldn’t ordinarily be a problem – just change it back, right? WRONG. I had restarted the movie and if the channel gets changed during the restart, it won’t go back to the program it was on. I lost the 2nd half of World War Z. Gone. And I was pissed OFF about it.
Brad Pitt is not my favorite actor and anyone can guess how a freaking zombie movie starring him might turn out – especially when he’s the hero, but NOOOOOOOO – I had to get really worked up about it anyway. I tried to find something else on Netflix (Netflix blows) and finally gave up after rowing for half an hour. I went to bed at 7:00 where I played Words With Friends for a couple of hours. I didn’t know what else to do with myself. Go to bed, I said. So, I did. How depressing. I felt depressed.
In the past – I would have drank a liter of vodka over that injustice. I’d have already been drunk in the first place, but I would have taken that experience personally. Now that I’m sober, not getting drunk is still sort of new to me even though the thought of drinking is repellent. The enormity of my disappointment caught me a little off guard.
What to do with feelings? I get it – they need to be experienced and even expressed, appropriately, but they sure are heavy sometimes. And I really hope I figure more of this shit out before I poof out of my existence. Maybe I shouldn’t have watched the movie in the first place… It seems sort of silly now that I’d get so T. O’d over not being able to watch the 2nd half, but in the moment – I felt saturated with dismay. Maybe I’ll never get to Mauritius. That’ll suck because I think I’d really like it there. There’s only so much time, and so many things that can get done or seen or accomplished within it.
I don’t know. I can’t get to Mauritius today so I guess I’ll just go on a bike ride. I could buy the movie I lost last night, but today – I no longer give a shit. Go figure.
Like – what’s in there? What’s inside blackness? It can’t be void of everything. It has to be composed of AT LEAST whatever it is that’s making it black in the first place. So – what the hell is that?
Is it fear? Pain? Suffering? Is it just a color or the lack of color? Is it all things negative? Are all things negative feelings and sensations? What about perceptions? Can those be colored in blackness? Hm. What about behaviors? Is it possible to act or behave without thought first? I don’t think so.
I was thinking earlier that it would be so cool to be able to offer the planet and all things on it – a hug. Even the bad guys (and gals). I’d just spread that feeling that comes with a hug all over the planet and to every living thing. Just because I can – if I could. And then I wondered about blackness and evil. What penetrates those things? If a light is shined on blackness long enough – will the light ever seep in. And what’s light anyway – besides the light that comes from my lamp?
Is light love and compassion and kindness and hugs? Is it airy? Hm.
My hug offer still stands. Hug someone today. It feels good.
I’ve decided that strict routines are a recipe for mental disasters. They make me crazy. But, when I mix up my routines a bit, this changes my groove for the whole day.
I make small changes in the direction I take to get places, I change what I eat and where I eat it, I complete stuff from the bottom of the list first and go up instead of from the top, I wait to shower at the end of the day, I exercise after lunch instead of after breakfast, or I get up earlier just so I can read before I start my day. I switch up random stuff all the time, and small changes are all I have to do to make life more interesting.
And it’s all free. I’m not doing anything differently – I’m just coming at things differently. Small changes, like the small stuff in relationships, make big differences.
Granted, adventures out of town are the best, but we can’t all do that everyday. I’m just talking about not going to bed every night feeling like there’s got to be something MORE. Repetition is B O R I N G.
I see a lot of folks offering things like: “Pray about it.” Or “Connect with your higher power.” Or “Have you asked God for help?”
What I don’t see a lot of – and I’m talking about activity in rooms for addiction and/or recovery – is, “What have you done to try to fix this?” Or “What have you tried that didn’t work?” “What have you tried that DID work?” Or “What WILL you DO to address this?”
At some point, I think that in addition to prayer or outside of it altogether – we have to take responsibility for and ownership of whatever is going on that we’re praying about in the first place – and DO something about it. Usually, I see that people are praying for either help or answers. But even when we get an idea that we think might have come from God – don’t we have to act on it before it becomes something more than just a thought or idea?
I could be off here, but I don’t think God is in business of assisting some folks – in whatever way someone needs assistance – while NOT offering it to others.
Think about it.
Why, for example, would God help some child abuser avoid arrest/punishment while allowing the child to get hurt in the first place? There are loads of examples like this and it makes NO sense that God wouldn’t help people – vulnerable people – that are weak in the face of the more powerful. So – I conclude that God doesn’t work that way. We have choices and therein lies our power. And we are responsible for the things we do and don’t do – and for the things we say and don’t say. Making choices and our power to act on our decisions are our birthright.
When we’re on the right track in life – something inside us tells us. We just – KNOW.
And when we’re NOT on the right track in life – somehow – we know that too. And we’re given opportunity after opportunity to do something about it.
Listening to ourselves, making right choices and follow-through are key. When we stop over-thinking things to death or waiting for something from the outside to happen, and we starting doing something – a new reality is born. We change what was into something that IS. Like, for example, I used to drink and now I don’t. I stopped swallowing alcohol, no one did it for me – including God, and everything changed. Actually, my perception is what changed. But because of how monumental that is – it feels like EVERYTHING changed. It’s pretty cool.