Thursday, February 28, 2013

Humbling and Wonderful Reminder

A few weeks ago, I was watching a great new show, Elementary, with my husband.  It’s a modern day Sherlock Holmes and I love it. It’s one of my new favorites of the season, right up there with Chicago Fire. 

(For anyone keeping track, my love affair with Honey Boo Boo is officially over.  I saw an episode of how they interacted with people outside of their home and they had no regard for others or their property, it was horrible and disrespectful and my daughter is no longer allowed to watch that crap.  Where was I?  Right, rambling, how unlike me.)

Sherlock was investigating the kidnapping of his friend’s daughter and the friend is also his ex-drug dealer.  The case turns out to be a bit more difficult than he anticipates and he begins to allow self-doubt to creep into his head along with his friend’s doubtful words. 

Sherlock’s friend tells Sherlock he isn’t as talented when he’s not high and not as perceptive and his friend brings Sherlock drugs to help him solve the case.  Sherlock is full of so much self-doubt and insecurity about his ability to solve this particular case without the help of drugs heightening his senses, we are left not knowing whether or not he will succumb to the pressure of taking the drugs until the end of the show.

As I sat on the couch and watched Sherlock’s struggle, I could feel my fingers gripping the armrest.  Twenty years.  It’s been twenty years since I’ve put cocaine up my nose but the way the show framed Sherlock’s inner battle, his insecurities, I felt like I was him.

I understand the inner turmoil of first seeing the drugs right in front of you and saying “NO!” not today.  Then walking away, sometimes literally running.  Then once sobriety is accomplished, the insecurities set in. 

Am I good enough to maintain life in this world?

A Life where I am not high? 

Am I really funny? 

Am I really pretty?  

Will I still be able to write well? 

Will I still be creative?

So many insecurities to overcome once sobriety is reached.  I think many people forget that.  I know I did and it’s a humbling experience, a humbling reminder, as I watch Devin maintain his sobriety for so long but struggle with his insecurities in life as he continues his journey through recovery.  

A wonderful reminder in my meetings as I listen to others, and share, I am again reminded of where I was, how far I came and yet I still wonder…

Am I?  Will I?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Add a Tool to My Toolbox

Here’s your chance my Hooligan’s, your chance to run to another blog.  This may turn out to be long only because I don’t know exactly where it’s headed.  It’s one of my “back to the roots” posts, where I allow my mind to journal and think.  At the end, fun!  I promise.

The other day, I did something I never thought I’d ever do.  I attended an AA meeting.  Wow, just wow.  From the moment I stepped out of my car to the moment I said good-bye, I felt welcomed, loved, and a sense of belonging.  It was truly amazing.

I don’t know why I feared anything different.  We treat newcomers to S-Anon the same way, yet I was still scared to attend.  I was afraid because I’ve been drug free for so long, they wouldn’t understand why I was there, but there was no inquisition.  No one asked why I was there. They simply accepted my need to attend a meeting.

I was greeted with a bright smile and hello in the parking lot and accompanied to the door.  I was welcomed to a table and invited to sit down.  The fear of cliques dissipated as I watched people go from table to table and hug one another, men and women alike greeted each other, introduced themselves, and got older attendees their coffee.  I was surprised to feel a smile on my face in a place I had been so nervous to be not even five minutes before.

For months I have been missing something.  Something inside me is no longer able to hang on to the peace and serenity I found after I worked my fourth step.  I lost my emotional sobriety and I miss it terribly.  I long for it back.

What is emotional sobriety?  For me, it’s being able to feel my feelings.  All of them and handle them properly, without a constant feeling of discontent and unsettlement.  It’s so hard to explain once you’ve reached a place of calm and that calm feeling has left.  It’s like having an empty pit within you.

I’m not running around screaming at people but the desire to do it is there.  It has happened a time or two with Devin where I’ve made snarky comments and that’s not healthy for either one of us.

I knew it had to do with Devin’s recovery.  He has reached a plateau, according to our counselor, and without a change in his treatment plan, he is in danger of another relapse.  His behavior has become erratic as he works his fourth step and while I understand this on a rational level, it’s hard to understand as the person living with him.  He understands the need for changes and he makes them but then reverts back to old habits. 

Instead of being able to distance myself, instead of finding the compassion I’ve had in the past as a fellow addict, I became frustrated and impatient.  I am more like Veruca Salt, I wanted it NOW!  I still stayed out of his recovery, I still stayed out of his collecting and buying habit but I no longer fight fairly.  I am allowing myself to be baited instead of walking away.  I am engaging in behavior that isn’t healthy for me.

I know I cannot change him.  Only he can change himself.  This meant something needed to be done for me.  There was something I needed to do, another tool I needed to add to my toolbox but I wasn’t sure what.  Then I realized I needed to address my core issues, sure, I was sober but I’m still an addict.

An addict who never addressed her addiction with any type of counseling or any type of program.  I just quit drugs cold turkey and considered myself magically cured.  It was through the S-Anon program that I realized it doesn’t work like that, not even close bub!

I chose that particular meeting because of the time and location and it was truly a God send.  I left feeling less empty inside.  My spiritual cup had been filled.  Not my religious cup, my spiritual cup.  There is a difference.  Again, hard to explain unless you’ve sat in on a meeting.  There is so much hope, so much love, so much understanding and so much compassion.  It’s like getting a giant hug and knowing you’re not alone.  Even though you don’t quite know what’s wrong inside, you’re not alone.

I’m not sure this made sense but I wanted to share it just the same.

Now for the fun stuff I promised.  I was watching my beloved Fox News and saw a highlight of the Harlem Shake.  Take time to laugh today, my friends, I did:


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Dear Me

I wish in several years ago when my world had collapsed upon itself someone could have sat me down and said, “Elsie, I know what you went through sucked but you are one tough chick and a shit storm is headed your way and you need to surround yourself with people who understand it not people who are toxic.”  I wish someone had done that.  Instead, God sent me a guardian angel and she sent me on the right path but I still strayed, I still went on my own stubborn headed agenda. I’m here to set the record straight and also try to help others avoid making the same mistakes:

Dear Me,

I’m sorry you just found about Devin’s online affair.  I'm sorry it wasn't just porn. But I’m glad you found that backbone of yours again because unfortunately you’re going to need it again soon.  Please listen to your guardian angel when she says Devin is a sex addict because he is, I’m so sorry. Elsie your world is about to be turned upside down but know you can handle it, you’ve been through some tough shit in your life but now is the time to stand strong and focus on you and your children.

Listen to your guardian angel, she’s been put in your life for a reason and won't be here long.  She is telling you about COSA and S-Anon for a reason.  Every fiber of your being wants to focus on Devin and his behaviors, his problems, soon you will want to focus on his affairs, yes there are more.  You’ll want to focus on the women too. Trust me, they aren’t worth your time and they sure aren’t worth neglecting time away from your kids.  They were objects to Devin, nothing more, nothing less and it is you that is making them larger than life while damaging yourself in the process.  Trust me, the images you see will come back to haunt you along with all the words and details you will learn.  They will pop up when you least expect it and at the most intimate moments and ruin far to many days ahead.

There is a piece of wisdom you don’t hesitate to share with Devin yet you don’t seem to see the wisdom in it for yourself.  You tell Devin if he spent as much time on his recovery as he did on his addiction he’d be so much further along by now.  Take a look in the mirror, Elsie.  After your second disclosure day, again, I’m sorry you’ll have another, you spend far to much time obsessing on the other women, then you move on to obsessing over Devin’s recovery.  If you spent that time working on YOU, you yourself would be a healthier person too.

I beg of you, give one of the 12 step programs a chance.  You walked in with such a chip on your shoulder despite your relationship with God.  You couldn’t admit your life was also out of control, you couldn’t admit you needed outside help from others because your massive pride was in the way – take help from others.  These women will help you.  They understand like no others can.  The programs work.  It’s not about “their” religion, it’s not a cult, there’s not some bizarre motive.  It just works. 

If you don't reach out to a program, reach out to a healthy place like church, a counselor or someone who doesn't bash your husband or being a sex addict.  He's a sick person, not a bad person.  Don't let people tell you otherwise.

Trust me.  I’m not going to lie, you’re in for some pretty fucked up times, but you’ll get through it and I think if you had a better network of friends, like COSA or S-Anon, you’d get through it much better.  Oh, and one last tid bit of advice…don’t tell your friends or your family.  You think it’s a great idea.  I assure you, it’s not.  It changes everything, even years later.

I'm happy to say things do get so much better!  You become a much emotionally, healthier person - through the help of a 12 step program.  As they say, it works if you work it.



Friday, February 8, 2013

Namaste Bitch


“Namaste.” I said, worn out from the workout I just completed.

“Namaste.”  The instructor said.

“Bitch.” I quipped, wiping the sweat from my forehead.

“Nice.”  My husband said from behind me and laughed. 

I turned and saw him sitting on the couch.  I hit the pause button on the Nintendo Kinect controller. 

“What are you doing in here?”  I asked and began laughing too.

“I wanted to see what kind of workout it was, see if I would be able to train on it with my bum knees.  You really enjoy it and it’s been a great stress reliever for you.  Poor instructor though, I feel bad for her.”  He said and laughed again.

It’s true, yoga has been a great form of exercise for me and I’ve really been able to enjoy it without triggering Migraines.  Remember when I tried Zumba and how much I loved it?  Unfortunately, it ended up triggering Migraines and I had to quit going but with yoga, there’s no jumping around like a maniac. It’s all stretching and deep breathing. I thought for sure I’d be bored or my mind would ping pong or I wouldn’t feel a burn but that isn’t the case at all. Yoga rocks!

In addition, we also have Dance Central and you want to talk about fun!  I think you guys will remember the fun I had on vacation when I played at my mother-in-law’s?  Now I can have that fun anytime I want, with just about any song I want – it’s so much fun and it’s great exercise too and well, yeah, that kicks my butt for sure!

Exercise is a great stress reliever and it’s also a great way to clear my mind.  After I’m done exercising, I feel great!  I have cleared a writing block, gotten over a grudge, released tension out of my neck, even come up with an idea for a book – yep…I think I might have a new book idea…non-fiction guys. 

So, go stretch.  And, even though I just used this on my other blog, I’m going to use it again here because, well, it just rocks and well, cause I can: