Wednesday, July 17, 2013

My Primary Disease

It is ridiculously hot in my unairconditioned home in the summer. (My spell check did not like that.)  And I spend most of the summer being ridiculously exhausted from the heat. I can't stand it. I was told when I was diagnosed with Chronic Depression (which I won't be able to confirm for another 2 years whether or not that is just the affect alcohol had on my brain or whether it really is a separate diagnosis) that sunlight was good for my depression. My experience has told me that at least in my case the opposite is true. I'm happier in the winter than I am in the summer. I don't handle heat well and when I'm out in the sun for long periods of time (like at camp) I start to get crabby. That is definitely not an improvement in my mood. And it's not dependent on what the activity is. I could be doing manual labor or I could be playing in the water with my girls. Either way I get crabby. The happiest I usually have been this summer is in my cabin doing my bible study and reading other materials and journaling and things like that. My favorite things. In case you hadn't figured it out I like to write :)

I have to come to the conclusion (and this may change at times) for the moment that I don't have to hide publicly that I'm an alcoholic. That is my business. Again, I can't tell you who else I know who is. I can refer to recovery, but not to particular programs. I stick with what I know and most of what I know is the 12 steps and the principles behind the 12 steps regardless of what program I am doing. There are some 12 step programs that do not object to publicly saying you are a member and those I might mention when and if I participate in them. Others insist on anonymity at the public level and I must respect that. Those who read this blog and know me on a more personal level (pretty much all of you so far) already know what those groups are. However, this is a public blog and therefore technically at the public level. Anyone can read this. I do post sobriety coins on facebook sometimes, but those who have access to that account already have a personal relationship with me. Contrary to popular opinion if you set the highest security settings on your facebook account only those who are your friends can see that. In fact, I just had someone try to access my facebook account recently and she could only access my former facebook account, which I haven't used since 2009.  There are no sobriety coins on that one. I was a part of a recovery program at that time, but I didn't consider the "time" I got to be a big deal at that time, because I wasn't in recovery from alcoholism. I was in recovery from depression and anxiety and I wasn't succeeding. At a couple of points I decided I might be a problem drinker and that I should probably not drink as a result. Did not believe I had a disease. In fact, I did not believe it to be a disease. I thought that was ridiculous. I hadn't experience enough progression in my disease to be able to see it for what it was. I introduced myself as an alcoholic at certain types of meetings, because that was the norm, but I didn't know what that word meant, nor did I believe I was one. So sometimes I did celebrate time without putting a drink in my body. At one point I managed to do that for almost a year. I think about 10 months if I remember right. The most time I ever honestly got a coin for, when it came to alcohol, was 9 months. My life wasn't better and I still didn't believe I was an alcoholic. Never mind that even when I knew I probably shouldn't drink I couldn't go a year without drinking. That should have been a clue. And drinking without getting drunk seemed truly pointless to me. Still does as a matter of fact. But anyway, it meant nothing to me. Now the little bit a time I manage to get at times means the world to me. I hope always for permanent sobriety, but from where I'm sitting today it still seems like an impossibility, so I'm not thinking about permanent, just today. I haven't wanted to take a drink for a few days, but that can change in the blink of an eye. I hope nobody will shun me or judge my program on the day I have to admit I would like to take a drink, cause the reality for me is I'm going to have to admit it, at least to one person, who is another alcoholic. Probably to many of my friends in recovery with me. I had to get to place where I would actually listen to the people who know alcoholism, the disease, and to accept that I have it and it is a disease and I will never be cured. I know this is the first step toward at least not drinking, but hopefully also to losing the chronic depression and anxiety that I continually suffer from. My primary disease is alcoholism and that must be dealt with first, before I can take care of anything else.

Redefining My Blog

I really need to pray about what this blog is going to be about now. Clearly it cannot be about alcoholism, an incurable disease that none of my readers can even begin to understand. It cannot be about abuse, which I've actually experienced very little of. I tried to make my abuse bigger than it was, cause I needed an explanation for why I was so messed up inside. I was too crazy for someone who'd only been hit a couple of times by her dad and been exposed to porn as a child and had an attempted rape on her as a teenager. That's it. That's all I've experienced, truthfully. What I was dealing with was untreated alcoholism. It is a mental, emotional, and spiritual disease and alcohol is only a symptom. The rest of it is a lot of depression and anxiety. Most alcoholics have had multiple other diagnoses before finding out that all they really are is an untreated alcoholic. Some alcoholics do have those other issues. Most find they don't. They find the depression and anxiety disappear as the affects of alcohol start to leave their brain and they learn to behave and think differently. And yes, the behavior does have to come before the thinking. I never believed that, but the 12 steps have been based on that idea and have worked for longer than I've been alive! It may be backwards from other issues, but that's the way it is for alcoholics. We have to act our way into a new way of thinking, not think our way into a new way of acting. I tried it the other way and it didn't work. The acting my way into a new way of thinking was working until I decided to give up on myself. If it's worked for longer than I've been alive, who am I to argue?

Anyway, I went off on that, but I'm telling you, most of you are going to find you cannot relate to me at all, now that I know what my real problem is. When I wasn't drinking I didn't think my problem could possibly be alcoholism, because the church did not teach me anything about alcoholism other than alcoholics drink too much. That is an extremely inadequate description of an alcoholic. Lots of people drink too much who aren't alcoholics. That does not define our disease and I can't use this as a platform to explain to non-alcoholics what does define our disease. I have to find something else to write about and I'm sure I will when I'm not so tired as I am tonight.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

That's My Story And I'm Sticking To It!

I want you to know I still have a ton of respect for what the church does do. The only people I really have a problem with are the people that think that you can only get help in the church and that people who are non church members and in some cases not even Christians, have nothing to offer. God speaks to me, sometimes, even through non-Christians. My sponsor is a Christian and I find most in my outside recovery groups are, but not all, and that's okay. Not my job to tell anyone else what to believe.  Personally, I am just in a place right now where I am not comfortable around non-alcoholics. I find that it isn't true that I have much in common with them. I definitely think differently. I've proven it by the way I am able, even as what they call a high bottom drunk, to shock non-alcoholics with my stories and even my just general thinking, which only made me feel more isolated and alone. They told me in my church groups, if I shared honestly I would find that I wasn't all that different from other people and what I found was exactly the opposite. I found myself more isolated and alone, the more I shared and so found it safer not to share. If I can't have real relationships there, I don't see any point in going, so I don't. That is all. If I thought they could understand me at all I would go, but they can't and I don't diss them for that. The one's that really bug me are the ones that think  they know all about alcoholism and have never studied the disease of alcoholism and treat it the same as any other addiction, which by the way, everyone has. Everyone has an unhealthy coping mechanism of some type unless they are perfect, which I only know One who holds that title and I have not received nail holes and I haven't met anyone else who has them either, besides Jesus. I have come to firmly believe that I did not choose this disease. It chose me. I was born with it and alcohol had a very different affect on me than it does others. From the very first drink. Other people drink and do not become alcoholics because they don't feel the way I felt when they drink. Even my husband admitted the one time he got drunk that he didn't see what I got out of it. He didn't feel any different. It did nothing for him. It isn't even  that I just felt numb. I felt awesome! I felt like I could do anything and do it way better drunk than I ever could sober. All the insecurity that I feel goes away when I drink. I know lots of other people who suffer from insecurity and other emotional issues that alcohol just did not have that affect on. I loved it. It just didn't love me. I may have felt amazing on the inside, but my behavior was horrible, and I never want to wake up again the next morning having no idea why everyone's mad at me, cause I have no idea what I did the night before! I didn't always blackout, but when I did, it was awful! That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Still On The Road To Recovery

Hi there! No, I have not fallen off the face of the earth! Far from it! I now have close to 6 months sober and have done it all without the help of the church! (Gasp! How dare I suggest they don't have all the answers!!!!) In fact, I have recently quit going to church at all. My meetings are my church! Unbiblical you say? Really? Let's look at the record. Without even looking I know the verse you're going to quote. It's the one that says to not quit meeting together as some are in the habit of doing. I'm not. In fact, I meet with other believers every single day, not just a couple of times a week. We go there for fellowship, which I get in my meetings. We go there to serve God, which I also do in my recovery groups. I chair meetings, occasionally help with coffee and many other little things like turning off lights and locking doors. Also, I reach out to newcomers and listen to others who just need someone to talk to. I take time out of my day to go places with friends in recovery who just want to be with a friend. That sounds like service to God to me. And that's in addition to continuing to raise a family. Phew! No wonder, I find so little time to blog...and facebook and tweet, etc., etc. I often find myself in conversations with people outside of meetings about the bible. One even mentioned to me the other day that he thought of me as he was reading John chapter 4, cause I had mentioned it's one of my favorite stories in the bible. Go ahead and look it up! I dare you! It's the woman at the well for those who are familiar. Who else, but Jesus, could tell a sinner everything she ever did and leave her completely unashamed?! I've never met one. If you have, let me know, cause only Jesus has ever done that for me. The cops sure didn't. The school didn't when I'd get in trouble and neither did the church. Only Jesus Himself could point out the truth to me and leave me unashamed. Sometimes someone else had to point out my faults to me before I could see them, but I always felt that overwhelming shame when it was brought to my attention. Only when I then brought it to Jesus, could I lose the shame I felt. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you either need to read it again or for the first time! And if you've never experienced the way Jesus can bring your failures to the light and still leave you feeling completely unashamed just ask Him to show Himself to you and hang onto your seat, cause if you're sincere, He WILL show up! I guarantee it! And yes, I do have people in my life who point out my faults. I do have accountability. And really, that's a choice each and every individual has to make for themselves, in or out of church. If you don't want to allow people to get close enough to you to really know you well enough to know when you're off track, you're not going to! Only person who can make that decision for you is YOU! I have what we call, in 12 step programs, a sponsor, which is sort of like a mentor, only her main job is to lead me through the 12 steps, which if you don't know those, you can look them up online, too, I'm sure. They are the greatest way I have ever found to learn to trust God and clean house! That's the process I am in right now and it's not easy. I have completed my 4th step, but have yet to complete my 5th. I have not been real good at staying in touch with my sponsor the last couple of weeks, I must confess. There are a couple of reasons for that. I have gotten a little distracted from my program, but not my fellowship and service work, thankfully. Those reasons are a little too personal to share with you right now, but my closest friends in my recovery groups know where I am and what's going on. I just wanted to check in with all of you and let you know a little of where I'm at. I'm going to quote another friend, because I just can't think of better words, "Thanks for tolerating me while I grow up."

Friday, January 11, 2013

Me & God: Getting Real!

My posts will be very short. More like facebook posts than blog posts for a while, because I have to type them on an iPad, which is a pain. Our computers both croaked shortly after moving here. Finally tired of Windows problems Josh is finally going to buy us a Macintosh! Also, after noticing that our iPhones & iPad have survived lots of problems without any costly fixes thru many costly fixes on our Windows based computers! So come March when we get our taxes back, Apple.....we're all yours!!!!!!No more Windows in this house! We're sold!!!!!

You'll also notice a lot more txt-like typing bc of the pain of not having a real keyboard, so those of you who enjoyed my "nearly perfect grammar & spelling", sorry! You'll have to bear with me for a couple of months!

Some of you may know I was supposed to go to inpatient treatment this month for alcoholism as I have been unable to stay sober for more than 82 days since moving to Spokane, which I believe to have more to do with the progression of this disease than the move. I had been drinking in Moscow almost every day for a year & had even managed to lie to myself about it! Cause cough syrup isn't really alcohol, right?! Yeah, right! 10% alcohol content, actually! Way more than even beer!!! I had not fully accepted that I was an alcoholic at the time I got a bad cold & took Cough syrup for several days. It triggered the allergy & obsession that alcoholics have & I couldn't stop & eventually needed more & more. Could not understand why I suddenly wanted so badly to drink. It wasn't until faced with the hopelessness of having to wait even longer to get help for my depression & abuse issues that I gave into the desire & drank "real" alcohol & that's when I discovered I'd been drinking all along! I knew then I had this disease, not just a tendency to like to drink to drunkenness occasionally, when others were doing it. I've been turned down by the state for alcohol treatment for 2 reasons, either of which would disqualify me by themselves. 1) I have kids at home, 2) We have income. Didn't matter how much that income was. The state won't pay for you to get help if there's any money at all coming into the home. & yes, you did hear that correctly, they wouldn't have helped if we were both unemployed, because we have kids at home. I know! You'd think they'd want to help even more with kids in the home. It's alright. I'm sure God has a plan, even if it is to get me to talk to Him more & to get away from Christian fundamentalism which was only destroying any hope for me to have an honest & true relationship with God!

Okay, so this didn't end up being that short, but this is a pain, so I probably won't do this much!:)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Counseling and How I Love Spokane (Or should I say shopping?)

Just so you all know I am also seeing a professional Christian Counselor, who I am seeing today! I really love living in Spokane and cannot wait until I have time and have the money to go to some of the great Christian conferences and CONCERTS they have here! I was born to live in the city, I swear it!!! Why I was born to a farm family I will never know, but I love all the PEOPLE in the city! Not to mention the malls, and little shops, and thrift stores, galore! I swear Spokane has more thrift stores than I've ever seen in my life!! Not that I've been able to take advantage of it much. Moving and all the extra expenses of living here have left us with so little money, I haven't even been able to shop at thrift stores!!! Yikes!!! That, and, of course, for a time Josh took away my debit card. I also didn't have a checkbook or cash or anything. I mean, I could have gone to the bank to get money, but I would have really had to go out of my way to defy him to do that. He did that to keep a roof over our heads instead of letting me drink us out of a home!!!! Anyway, I'm looking forward to the shopping when we have some money for such nonsense! We're spending the money for counseling even though we don't have it. They've given us a great deal, but it's still hard. ANY amount of money would be hard at this point, but they can't afford to see me for free. I'm grateful for it anyway, and AM NOT going to throw it all away again with another drink...or 10...or 20...or 50,,,or....You get the idea. Anyway, hope you all have a great Monday!!!

And obviously I've had my coffee since earlier :)


Monday Morning

Ugh! It's Monday morning and I have to get the kids up in just a few minutes! They have something here in Spokane called "late start day" and you would think it would be on Monday or at least Friday! No! Of course not!!! That would be too logical! It's on Thursday! They start school on those days a half hour later than on the other days. That morning is a welcome blessing by the end of the week, but it's followed by one more normal day before the weekend. Sort of crazy if you ask me! Can you tell it's early in the morning? For those of you who know me well, you know I'm NOT a morning person!!! When I've been drinking Vodka really helped, but I don't do that anymore. At least not today. And for 40 days in a row now. I need to be grateful! Gratitude is a very important part of my program, so I'll think of some things to be grateful for....after I've had some coffee. There's something to be grateful for. COFFEE! And another day of sobriety! Thanks for indulging me for a moment! I'm going to go get kids up now!