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.