Posted in Addiction, alcoholism, anxiety, family, Life, recovery, twelve step

Things I Forgot to Remember

Death has been an unrelenting presence in my life over the past year, which is very, very unusual for me. Beginning with the loss of my beloved friend Joe in August of last year, then his dear friend Che, just a few weeks ago- Che, who spent countless hours on the phone with me after Joe’s death, listening to all of the stories I have to tell about Joe, that I suddenly needed to re-tell to someone who knew him… and sharing his own with me. Then, in the late hours of July 5th, or perhaps the very early hours of July 6th- we don’t know for sure yet, but oddly enough, every member of our family found themselves awake at 3:30 in the morning on July 6th- my darling uncle, Louis Earl Fulton, passed away. His life was not an easy one. One day, I will tell his story properly, but I want to do it right, and I want to have all of the facts straight first, though I will tell you this- due to an accident with a drunk driver when he was just starting out into adulthood, his lot in life was hard. He suffered, for the bulk of his years on earth, with a busted up body and what I would guess as being trouble from a traumatic head injury. Over the past several years, his health seriously deteriorated, and he had many falls, broken bones, and other injuries. He suffered from seizures, and I think he even had a stroke recently, but honestly, there was so much going on that I would have to ask my mom to be sure. The fact is, he wasn’t doing well. So you would think that his death would be less of a surprise, and maybe in some ways it wasn’t shocking, but…when someone just dies at home, and they haven’t been in the hospital or particularly sicker than usual, it really is a shock.

This blog is not going to be about him, because like I said, I would rather honor him by writing his story correctly, and I can’t do that without getting some help from my mom-she was alive when his accident happened, and I was not yet. I will tell you this- his given name was Louis Earl, but I haven’t heard anyone call him that since my grandmother was alive. His nickname (one of them) was Fizzle, because he was born on the 5th of July (get it? He fizzled out! My grandfather had a strange sense of humor) and, coincidentally, he died, near as we can tell, on the exact same day, many years later. There will never be anyone like him- there will never be anyone like any of the people I have lost this past year- and nothing I know brings a person into sharper focus than their death. And nothing slaps you out of your own miserable funk like the loss of a life that belonged to someone precious to you.

For the past month, or maybe even longer than that, I have been struggling like crazy with myself…upset about things like: hating my job because it is boring, hating myself (low-key) because I am not perfect, wishing I had better friendships, wondering why I am still single, wishing I could connect in a more meaningful way with my youngest daughter, and…this is the one I didn’t even want to write about or admit out loud to anyone who could talk some sense into me…wanting to quit being in recovery. I wanted to quit. I wanted to start drinking again, and I was really, really close to throwing the towel in. Closer than anyone but me knows. I felt like I was missing out on something. That my life wasn’t fun enough because I couldn’t go out and have a drink. That maybe it would be easier for me to deal with men if I could just relax a little bit, like everyone else does.

My uncle died on the day that my daughter was going out of town with her father for the first time in over a year- so I was already incredibly anxious without the addition of a death in the family. I took the rest of Friday off, and I cried and cried and cried. I cried so much that by the time I went to bed, my head was pounding. I woke up on Saturday morning with eyes that looked like they had been bitten by mosquitoes, or injected with saline. But I had made plans with a girlfriend earlier in the week to go hiking and hit a morning meeting, and she is notoriously hard to pin down, so there was no way I was cancelling. I pulled myself together, worried that I would be too somber to be any fun, but I went anyway. I needn’t have worried. We had a nice hike, and plenty to discuss, and it was just what I needed. We almost didn’t go into the meeting afterwards, but we did, and again, it was perfect. I came home afterwards, ate a massive amount of food, and fell asleep the way you can only when you are grieving and exhausted- face down on the mattress for four solid hours. When I woke up (which took a good hour of just sitting, staring into space) I knew instinctively that being still would be a bad idea, so I grabbed my dog and went for a long walk on the beach. That night, I went to another meeting.

Over the course of my 48 hour weekend, I managed to hit four meetings, hang out with two good friends (one of them twice), go to the beach two different times, and take two solid naps. I did something I had never done before in the course of my recovery- I doubled down on what was good for me, and sidestepped an almost inevitable relapse. I was reminded that both life and recovery require my active participation in order to work the way that I need them to. I can’t just sit here and cry about what isn’t working- or, I can, but it isn’t going to do me any good at all.

I’m sorry if this is sort of all over the place- I don’t feel like I am explaining myself well at all, but there is so much to what I am feeling, and it’s all jumbled up. The bottom line is, my uncle’s death helped me to remember what I had forgotten- that life is so precious, that while I am here, I need to rejoice in the gifts that I have been given, and they are many- my health, my beautiful children, my job which provides so well for me, and my recovery which is the only reason I have all of the other things. I will not dishonor myself or my wonderful life by giving up on that. I have all of the ingredients, but it is up to me to make something worthwhile out of them. Today, I will choose to do just that.

Posted in Addiction, escape, Learning, Life, Mental Health, Musings, random, recovery

Sometimes, Obstacles are the Best Thing Ever.

Apparently, you can stop without completing the circle. Barely.
Apparently, you can stop without completing the circle. Barely.

I write about all sorts of things on this blog- really, whatever I feel like writing about when it comes to me. I know, now, that maybe that isn’t the best way to approach a “successful” blog venture (whatever the hell that is supposed to be), that if you want to attract a huge following, you should find an angle, find a particular “voice”, and then stick with that. Well, just so you know, I have no intention of doing that, at least, not today, and not in the foreseeable future. I started this blog because I love to write, and I wanted to write about things that I felt like writing about, in a place where I could share those thoughts with other people.

What is funny, though, is that I have been going through something recently that I haven’t wanted to talk about with anyone at all, not even myself. The last two days have been particularly bad, and the last thing I wanted to do was write about it here. Which is ridiculous, because what I am going through is real, and scary, and something that needs to be talked about, because I know that someone out there is going to relate. I haven’t wanted to talk about it because I didn’t want to upset or worry anyone, or have people think I am weak or stupid, or somehow less awesome than I am. But that is foolish, and I am not going on with the charade.

I have come so close to relapsing in the past two days, it is kind of a miracle that I didn’t. I don’t really have any explanation for why I didn’t, other than God must really be looking out for me. That is the only thing I can come up with. I had that anxious knot in my gut that told me I was on the ride now, and I couldn’t get off until I had seen it to it’s logical conclusion- which is always me, getting loaded. I have never before been so far gone and managed to escape without putting something altering in my body. Only this time, I did,

I made phone calls to people I shouldn’t have called. By the time they (invariably) called back, I couldn’t follow through with my mission for one reason or another. I visited places I shouldn’t have gone, and, by nothing other than the grace of God, or someone looking out for me, there was nothing there that I was looking for. I felt sick every time I got in my car, because I knew that I could not be trusted, that I was out looking for trouble, and this time, I might find it. I don’t know how I made it through, I really don’t.

Here is what I didn’t do- I didn’t call my sponsor. I didn’t reach out to anyone in recovery for help. I didn’t go to a meeting. I didn’t use any of the tools that I have learned over many, many years. Because I didn’t want to be talked out of my feverish quest to fuck myself over. I wanted to self destruct. Or, at least part of me did. There was also another part of me that was in there FREAKING OUT, begging me to stop, please, please stop. I wasn’t listening, though.

I want to share this with you now because maybe you can relate- I know people without problems with addiction just can’t get it, and that’s okay. I mean, it even sounds crazy to me, when I am feeling exceptionally well- like “why the hell would you want to mess up everything you have going for you?” I forget just as easily as if it had never been me. Then, one day, you go from going along just fine to total inner chaos. I didn’t want to wreck all the peace and happiness I have found, I just wanted, for a minute, to be who I was. Just for a day. But it is never a day, it is always more, and thank God, I didn’t have to go any further to remember that.

I don’t know if I am out of the woods yet. I woke up this morning just feeling incredibly grateful that the knot in my stomach had lessened, that I was still clean, that I didn’t open my eyes still determined to ruin my own life. I kept thinking “I am going to ruin Camryn’s birthday if I get high, there is no way I can pull this off.” and it’s true- even though her birthday isn’t until Sunday, in my heart, I knew…if I gave in today, Sunday was no longer going to be about Camryn. Nothing was going to be about anything but me, because that is how it goes.

So this morning, I thanked God profusely for the obstacles he put in my path over the past few days. I am so grateful right now for the phone calls that went unanswered, and the returned calls that I missed. I am so grateful that there were no drugs in the places I shouldn’t have been. I am so grateful to be sitting here, still feeling…everything.Thank you, thank you, thank you God. For the obstacles in my path that kept me clean, and for getting me through this. I am more grateful than I can adequately express.