Take Inventory of Your Year in Recovery

Take Inventory of Your Year in Recovery

This is the perfect week to reflect on your past recovery and look forward to the year ahead.

The week between Christmas and New Year’s is a time of transition. We’ve left most of the hustle and bustle of the holidays behind, but have not quite started the new year and the new routines it will bring. This makes it a perfect time to reflect on your past year in recovery, and make goals for how to sustain and enhance your recovery in the year ahead. Read more @thefix

The “Crazy Years”

The “Crazy Years”

I thought my crazy years were when I was trying hard to get sober and keeping on the straight and narrow.  Well, I wish…my crazy years actually ended up being the years I was raising my teenage daughter that thought she knew more than I!  These years were so hard as my daughter knew I was in recovery and she did watch me when I was not so sober and used that to her advantage.  She was always able to throw the guilt and shame card on the table and get away with what she wanted to because I felt so awful.  She was able to get away with it until she arrived into her last year of high school and I had enough of being what I like to call “child bullied”.

I had been doing living amends for the better part of 8 years and I wasn’t about to let my child keep throwing things in my face when I was showing up, going the extra mile, providing, and giving her anything she needed! I felt like I had finally reached a point in my life where if I didn’t put my foot down and say enough is enough that I would start to believe everything she was telling me.  With the direction of my sponsor and everything I learned in the program of AA I had a sit down chat with her about all the things that had gone down in the last 4 years…and if any of you know what it is like to talk to a teenager about things that are serious it is NOT easy.  She took everything as I had anticipated, she went to live with her father….because hey, the grass is always greener.  RIGHT!!! She lived there for a year and then begged to come back after hours of apologizing.  I knew this would happen but I needed her to see the work I was doing and how I was actually being her parent not her best friend.

I don’t know what I would have done without the program of recovery, having to deal with this took so much patience and courage.  This program gave me a sounding board to talk raw about what I was going through as a parent and the emotions I was dealing with.  Most of the moms around me(normies) all said, oh I just drink a glass of wine and check out…well, that’s great, I can’t do that! I have to deal with the emotions and learn how to process them without liquor to help.  I can’t say there weren’t times that I wasn’t tempted to run down and grab some because man it would have been nice to check out.  That was the problem though…I would check out with no end in sight.  I worked so hard on the 12 steps during my daughters high school years to keep me sane.  At the end of the high school years I had moms come up to me and ask me how I did it.  I said AA, while they all gave me an odd look at first some called me years later because they then needed help themselves and I was there to do a step 12 with them!  If I had not been open and honest with these moms some may be still out there living in their closets with a bottle of wine clutched in their hands praying for the emotional pain to stop!

The teen years were hard in recovery but staying close to the program and being able to share this program with others had really helped me get through those years.  Stay strong, be open, be raw, and stay strong…nothing is worth that drink!

Written By: mom00soul

Healing

Healing

What year was hard for you in recovery?  I remember sitting in a meeting and a couple ladies next to me were talking about their 6th year and how hard that year was to get through.  I, of course was on my first year at the time not even thinking about “what year would be hard” I thought where I was could not get any harder.  Well, I was wrong…my hardest year was my 7th year in sobriety.  I struggled to keep balance and a lot of things happened to me that year.  I didn’t relapse which in and of itself was an absolute MIRACLE but as far as emotionally, I took a few hundred steps backwards.

I have heard so many people say if you emotionally relapse it is worse than an actually relapse, why…I have no clue.  Looking back now a year and a half later, I am better for it, so I consider it a huge step forward.  I truly believe that there is nothing wrong with being knocked down a few steps, it gives some amazing room for growth.  Growth can be super painful (painstaking, some may say) but can also make you a much stronger person in the end.

No matter how many meetings I went to, big book groups I joined, steps I went through, meetings with my sponsor or sponsees I had… there was no preparing me for a loss that I was going to experience in my life.   We all go through losses in life and the getting back up after them is a hard and slow process.  I know I smiled when I didn’t want to, I cried when I didn’t want to, got angry when I should not have, said things I should not have said, and maybe even didn’t say things when I should have.   It was a year of opposites for me.  I have never prayed so much in my entire life for the pain to just take a backseat and let me be.

So here you sit reading this wondering okay…well, what did you do about it?  I kind of laugh as I write this, I know full well what I did…I did NOTHING, nothing, you read that right, NOTHING. I can’t say I am proud of that, or that it is what anyone should do, this is just my story and my experience with grief.  I wish I had profound words to say about all the tools, the steps and crazy awesome words of wisdom to instill upon you…nope!  Now you may be thinking…okay this is so dumb, and maybe you are even going through a huge loss right now, it could be a job, family member or friend.

Here is what I CAN tell you, it will be okay.

This IS what I did, I let myself feel all those emotions, said all the wrong things, did all the wrong things…because I was in pain.  I did stay open and raw to those around me letting them know what I felt and said the things that were swimming around in my head.   Never underestimate the power of prayer, a hug, good chats over coffee/tea or whatever it is that you drink now.  Feeling hurts but I did not drink, I did not do drugs, I did not decide that life was too hard to handle so checking out was my option…no, I did nothing I let myself feel and I stumbled through the pain.  I really don’t have much advice but I do know what helped me was the act of doing nothing and letting my body go through what it needed to go through.  If you are going through a loss in life, I am so truly sorry, it hurts, it sucks (not gonna sugar coat it) and you will want to find a way to get rid of the pain…my plea, don’t.  We were given the amazing ability to heal, you do heal… don’t stop until you get to that miracle.

Written by: Heart2heal14

 

Drunk on Anxiety

Sobriety…rainbows, pink clouds, flowers, and unicorns…oh for the…yeah none of that, at least not all the time.  I don’t want you to get down on recovery or think it’s all bad.  It’s just not all good…because, life. I thought walking into treatment that my life would forever change to heck yes with a side of awesomesauce…yeah no,  it turned into dealing with life with eyes wide open! (Insert vomit emoji here.)

I remember that crazy day I walked out of treatment with all intentions of NEVER coming back because I had the cure and I was going to be AA’s number 1 poster child volunteer extraordinaire! I mostly laugh when I look back at that day but sometimes I get real  and cry.  I cry because I wish someone would have been kind enough to tell me…life is gonna hit hard followed with multiple what the…just happened?  Most people seem to have the “pink cloud” syndrome and good feelings…not me, I fell right off that cloud and splatted onto the ground coming out of treatment.

I got to my first meeting and got my sponsor(tough as nails 30,000 years of sobriety) who I thought would work.  I met her every week and did the “thing”.  Life started happening..finances, deaths, job loss, friends walking away….what the, I’m sober and things are falling apart.  I remember telling my sponsor I liked it better when I couldn’t see what was happening because then I couldn’t see the destruction my life had done. I liked being numb to the emotion that went a long with all this anxiety life was throwing me.

I got to work one day and got a message from my sponsor saying, stop being drunk on anxiety you are using this to rationalize and justify why you should use again.  Woman up, find a meeting tonight, get humble and call 30 drunks this week.  Holy molly batman the AA dinosaur knocked me back a few steps. I called her a dinosaur not because she was so old it was because she had been around the program for so long she might as well have written the Big Book or been there to edit the first edition!

After about two months of my sponsor working with me through this hard rough patch or just rough everything she finally asked me what I was putting my trust in.  I thought…what does that have to do with anything? She made me figure that out on my own.  I’m hear to tell you after 6 months of ugh, what a dumb question….I learned, I put my trust in God, His will…not mine!  I leaned on Him for everything I had going on in my life and I felt a feeling of contentment come over me that no matter what happened in this life I was going to be okay.  The friends, family and program have been the other parts of the program that have also kept me sane and on the right path and for that I will be forever grateful!  I will never forget my first sponsor she may have been tough and was old fashioned but I shut up and I listened and things started to happen…crazy how that works. If you do the work the promises happen!!

This program is not easy and no one said it was going to be but I know I get caught up in the assumptions and expectations of life and it can consume me.  Let the program do what the program does best…giving hope, answers, and millions of others to hold your hand when we fall!

Sincerely ~ Your Crazy Once Lost Friend

Parenting Hard

I knew parenting wasn’t going to be the easiest thing I have done but I thought hey…I’ve been through the ringer with drugs and alcohol how hard can it be?

Before I get any further one thing I must make clear, I am not an expert in parenting and cannot even begin to give advice but can only speak to my experience. I started my parenting journey over 8 years ago and what a ride it has been with three kids in tow.  This journey has been by far one of my most satisfying, gratifying and comical but not without its ups and downs. It’s funny how when I look back I don’t really remember the bad times only the good but with my using days I remember only the bad and deaths door.  For me when I do the comparison from my using days to kids I think to myself if there were good times during those days I would remember them and I don’t.  I remind myself when I think a glass of wine would be a great substitute for my anxiety of life with crazy schedules I know there were no good times (using)…the good times are with my kids even if I am stressed out and want to scream in my pillow.

I won’t lie, there have been days that I have felt sucked dry…dead inside because the kids have taken all my “go get em’” for that day.  I can barely get out of bed and I just don’t have anything left for anyone.  Alas I pour my cup of coffee and put my happy face on and keep going for my family because they need me.  As a mom we are on call 24/7 and the go to for everything in the home and outside.  The anxiety and the demand can get to you when the demand becomes the mundane of your everyday life.

This is where I get to tell you how blessed and grateful I am for a recovery program, my treatment centers and meetings taught me something…STOP, take care of yourself because if you aren’t taking care of yourself you aren’t able to take care of anyone else. Just like in an airplane when the oxygen masks come down they tell you to apply yours first before you do your children or anyone else, for good reason.  The reason is so simple but so hard to do when you are busy taking care of others all the time, if I am emotionally sound and healthy I am the best version of me to take care of others.

When I first stepped into the recovery world I wasn’t sure how things were going to end up but God blessed me with the will to keep going and I am so grateful I continue this journey every day.  My meetings, sponsor and friends in recovery have taught me to be raw and vulnerable with what is going on inside my head. I am able to talk about when I have a bad day and not have any shame in that!  I am not God, I can pretend to even stand on that platform but I feel like sometimes as mom’s we are asked to play that role and keep up the facade that everything is just fine!!  My sponsor once told me “fine” is just another term for Freaked out, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional, I know if that is how I’m describing myself I need to talk to someone.

Recovery has helped me with my parenting and I see that more and more as I watch my friends struggle quietly with emotional rock bottoms and they don’t know how to use the tools that were given to me in recovery. I have had multiple moms say they wish they had a recovery program to go to so they could go vent for free in a room of others who get it.  I laugh because once it was to get me from one day to the next free from drugs and alcohol and now it gets me through day to day life as a parent.  While my meetings aren’t exactly what they were at first, I repurposed them to help whatever is trying to get me down at this phase in my life…isn’t that what is trending, take what it is old and repurpose it, remake what is old and make it new!! I get to be made new every time I go to a meeting or talk with others in recovery, my heart is full of gratitude. Recovery was a blessing and continues to prove that it will be for the rest of my life!

Written by:

A Grateful Heart – Volunteer Blogger for Myrecovery

About me: I just want to spread hope to other mom’s out there trying to make it in this world who may be dealing with drugs or alcohol…it works it really does, I’m living proof!  Keep coming back!

Be Still

Do you remember the day you walked into treatment, first AA meeting, first meeting with your sponsor or just the first time the word “recovery” was said? I remember my first walk into treatment and the way I felt as if it was yesterday, it has almost been 8 years now.

I didn’t know what “still” meant…my life was all about next fix, next time, where am I going, how will I get what I want, how much do I need to get to make it to the next day or even next hour…my brain was the Gravitron ride at the fair that everyone puked on, round and round at high speeds. I could not find calm in the chaos!

My life was a hurricane full speed ahead to the next fix…what a sad way to live.  I see this now but 8 years ago I could have told you that was normal! NORMAL! That was “still” for me…I didn’t know what being still meant. My brain was constantly scrambled with fear, shame, guilt and sadness.  I was just sad and lost.

I sat in the intake office in treatment and the nurse asked me to be “still” so she could take my blood pressure, you want me to be still?  My brain was mush and I couldn’t even think of what that meant…be still?? I did my best impression of “still” and my legs were still jumping up and down.  That was the moment she called in the doctor, the doctor took one look at me and got down on her knees and looked at me in the eye.  Her words have still stuck with me…you are loved her no matter what happened out there, I’m going to hold your hand and I want you to feel the warmth and care.  I melted when she grabbed my hand, human touch, who knew!  Her eyes, her voice and touch were all it took for me to be still.  I remember taking in a deep breath and just letting it all go.  I cried for a long time after that but it had been a long time since I had felt anything and the human touch from one person stilled my soul.

I can be still now that I am in recovery and what a gift that has been.  I get to enjoy moments that I would have missed if I was still using. I realized being still and being in the moment, for me, is the most incredible part of the journey.  If you are out there using and wondering if it’s all worth it…it is so worth it!  It’s the small things that I missed when I was using because I was so numb.  Now I get to feel it all and experience it all.  I have a sign that sits next to my bed that says “Be Still My Soul” as it reminds me that I finally get to appreciate the gift of being still.

Written by: I’m Still Standing

Alcoholism in the US Is So Much Worse Than We Thought

Alcoholism in the US Is So Much Worse Than We Thought

A recent study has brought to light some seriously concerning data
One in eight Americans is an alcoholic. One in eight.

Under the radar, Americans have been drinking way more, sliding silently further down a slippery slope of alcohol addiction. Some are even calling it an epidemic — shocking, since few Americans were even aware that the condition was on the rise.

Two surveys, conducted 11 years apart, found that dangerous alcohol consumption is increasing in prevalence across all demographics in the United States. The second survey was conducted from 2012 to 2013, and according to a report in the JAMA Psychiatry Journal, the results showed that problematic use of alcohol rose sharply in the 11-year interim.

Populations with the most risk include women, older people, and ethnic minorities. The surveys included Americans of diverse backgrounds to ensure a representative sample, revealing the disparities between ethnic groups.

High-risk drinking, which is characterized by drinking that has the potential to severely impact the health of the drinker, increased by nearly 30 percent. And even more terrifyingly, the prevalence of alcoholism skyrocketed by nearly 50 percent.

We know this seems dramatic. But the proof is in the pudding:12.7 percent of the entire population interviewed — from a large, representative sample of 36,000 people — had been diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder. That means that one in eight people interviewed were medically confirmed alcoholics.

This number did not include those who may have been suffering from alcoholism but either did not report or had not been diagnosed.

This is one of the more dramatic health crises that has afflicted the U.S. in quite some time. Alcoholism is nothing to laugh over and nothing to brush off. The condition is severe and affects the mental, physical, and emotional health of those afflicted. Alcoholism in the long term can cause irreversible liver damage, brain trauma, and even cancer.

So why hasn’t the spotlight been on alcoholism? Read more…