Archive for the ‘Recovery’ Category
After coming home on April 4th from spending 3.5 weeks helping my stepmom with my father’s end of life care, my house was burglarized on the 7th. They got in through one of the windows of the garage and then into the house. Thankfully, they didn’t hurt my dogs from what I can see. They did, however, feed them raw bacon to keep them distracted. They took some electronics, costume jewelry, and Yankees memorabilia. All replaceable.
I would be lying if I said I was okay. I put on this public perception that I’m okay and I’m pushing through and I’m fighting it. That’s my public persona. In private, I’m a mess. I am afraid of every little sound. I’m sleeping with lights on and a bat next to my bed. I’m obsessively checking the locks on the doors and windows.
This quote is something I keep telling myself. I am unstoppable. I got this. I can do this. But in all honesty, I’m afraid to be here alone anymore. I am on edge and jump at every little sound. I need to get back into both jobs this week and I’m not looking forward to it. It worries me. I’m anxious. I’m not sleeping well. I’m not eating well.
I’ve rearranged the house where they ransacked it. Just by looking at it, you wouldn’t be able to tell that anyone was in here and that anything is missing. I’m looking forward to getting a new laptop (about another week) so I can do my regular and main stress relief – play World of Warcraft. No one understands the release it gives me (well, maybe another gamer would) and how relaxing it really is for me.
Until next time….I will keep moving forward and I will keep breathing and I think it’s stupid that we have to “remember to breathe” when going through anxiety attacks.
After my last post, I started reaching out. I’ve contacted my work EAP and have my first counseling/therapy session on Monday after work. The therapist answered her own phone and I got a great vibe from her after just a 1o minute conversation, I’m actually looking forward to it. I’ve also started a 9 week program online through the same EAP for my anxiety. It’s a Cognitive Behavior Therapy thing and I think it’ll really help.
I’ve rejoined a gym. I did cancel my membership at Crossfit the Ville per my doctor’s orders and I’ve gone back to the chain gym type. I joined Planet Fitness for $10 a month. I have 24/7 unlimited access to the equipment. Their cardio area is to die for as far as I’m concerned. They have treadmills (I can’t use those – too high impact); ellipticals, Arc machines and rowing machines. The rowing machines and Arc machines will be my best friends when I go. I tried the Arc machine and loved it, so I can see myself using that quite often. If I were to upgrade to the $19.95 a month membership, I’d have unlimited tanning each month (once a day) and unlimited use of their hydro-massage tables.
Did you know that working out is the least used anti-depressant there is and in order to save my feet, I had to go with the lower impact stuff. I’m looking forward to getting back at it as much as my feet will let me without trying to push myself to the brink of death, as I did with Crossfit. Don’t get me wrong. I love Crossfit. I mean, insanely love Crossfit. I’m hoping I can work my way back to the Crossfit box once my doctor and I get my feet under control.
I also got a new dog. This was a spur of the moment decision and I ended up getting him for free. A friend had to re-home her 5 year old Havanese because he got aggressive with their son. She posted on Facebook about it and I told her that if Zeevah got along with him, I’d take great care of him and spoil him rotten. I took her over there Tuesday evening after work so they could have a “play date” and they got along very well. I can’t blame her for doing it, but I know how heartbroken she was. So I’ve added a new four legged friend to my routine and I just adore him. He is so stinking cute, I can hardly stand it most days. The girls are getting along with him very well. Zeevah has a new play mate and Josie loves it because now Zeevah doesn’t aggravate her as much as she used too. It was a good decision and he’s turning into a great addition to the family.
So while I’m working through this depression and anxiety, I’m finding myself not having to force as much as I was. For months, I was forcing myself to act “normal.” I was forcing myself to pretend everything was okay and nothing was wrong with me, all the while isolating myself, not doing things that I enjoyed (except play WoW and shop). Now that I’m done pretending and I’m taking proactive steps to fix it and recover, I’m feeling slightly better. The road to recovery will be ongoing and possible a lifetime of work. And I’m okay with that.
Here is my Motley Crew now (from left: Josie, 15 year old Yorkie; Zeevah, not quite 2 year old black lab/GSD mix; and Beck, 5 year old pure bred Havanese)
Thousands of people have been diagnosed with – and some have not been diagnosed, but suffer from – depression. Whether it’s mild or major, the depression lives within a lot of us. There is a project going around, called “The Semi-Colon Project.” This project is about tattooing a semi colon. You can find out more here . The author of that blog post puts into words things I have never been able to say out loud to anyone. Except one or two people in my life.
A semi-colon is a place in a sentence where the author has the decision to stop with a period, but chooses not to. A semi-colon is a reminder to pause and then keep going.
There’s been a rush to get semi-colon tattoos somewhere that you can see everyday. It brings awareness to depression and I think it will be a really good thing. Also in this blog post, the author says, “You cannot spot depression because you become depression.” And it rings very true for me. My doctor recently told me that he felt my health issues I was having was my depression and insomnia playing tricks on me. I poo-poo’d that idea right out the window because I ALWAYS recognize my depression. Right. I see how well that has gone for me lately. So when I re-posted the blog post, I also posted this; “This project intrigues me. On many different levels and taking a little nudge from the author of this blog post; I am depression and I’m an educated, successful, independent woman. I am depression and I am a college student who made the Dean’s List with straight A’s last semester. I am depression and I have successfully worked in public safety as support personnel for the majority of my adult life. I am depression and I am not ashamed to tell you that.”
Several weeks ago, I posted about an old friend who died suddenly of acute liver failure. We had not been friends for a long time, but I thought of her often and missed her friendship. She passed before I could tell her I missed her. I struggled with guilt for a while and then I think I settled into a depression that I haven’t quite gotten out of yet. I feel like crap all the time and when I sit and analyze it (as I am prone to do), I realize a lot of (actually most of) it started right after she passed and I went to Indy for her funeral (which was beautiful by the way). I have felt an overwhelming sadness ever since then I haven’t been able to shake it. While I’ve moved forward and continue living, I find myself wanting to do nothing but sleep. I have had several anxiety attacks (as a matter of fact, I am in the middle of one right now waiting for the Ativan to kick in) and instead of posting on Facebook that I’m feeling this way, I post it here. I’ll probably post this link onto FB later, but for now, this is where I need to talk about it.
We got a new EAP again this fiscal year as of July 1, so I’m trying to register on their website so I can utilize some of their services (they are free), and I somehow locked my account out. *sigh* This just set me deeper into that funk. So I emailed their webmaster and I’m awaiting a response from them on how to unlock the thing.
In the meantime, I think about things going on and I have to say I am blessed. I have a good job (even though I get frustrated and overwhelmed a lot), I have a beautiful roof over my head (I love this house even after 10 months), I have the love of an amazing family and amazing framily. My GA family, my blood family, my work family. I have a TON of people who care about me. So, it’s time for me to come clean. I’m struggling with my depression, which seems to make me struggle with my physical health too and the two together are nothing but shit sandwiches back to back.
And to help me feel even worse, some Douchebag decided to put some raw meat in my trash can outside so I spent an hour or more on Saturday bleaching the shit out of my trash can and killing thousands of little white maggots that made my skin crawl.
So while I wait for my account to get unlocked with my EAP, I thank you for letting me share and for being there for me as usual.
Until next time…
Yesterday marked a week since my old friend passed away. In that seven days, I experienced a myriad of emotions that left me exhausted and extremely sad. The first thing I felt was guilt/regret. Guilt that I never reached out to mend those fences, regret that I would never get a chance to do so in this lifetime, face to face, physically. I let the guilt and regret consume me for several days, including the day of her funeral in Indy. I felt devastated that I would not get the chance to tell her to her face that I love her, forgive her, and hoped she felt the same. Fear of rejection is a horrific thing to feel and we really need to learn to work through all of that.
I’ve been in recovery for more than a decade and while I’ve struggled every now and then, one thing I’ve always done is work the steps. I live by those steps in all things I do. And I forgot Step 9. I forgot to work Step 9 and I feel guilt over that. However, forgiving myself is something I must do; otherwise I will be miserable and it will eat me up for years to come. Step 9 says “Made amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.” Whether that amend is positively received or not, the amend must be made to give myself inner peace and forgiveness.
I get this daily email with a reading in it, about recovery and my disease. It gives me guidance and ideas on how to deal with whatever it is I’m feeling. Yesterday’s seemed to be fitting since it had been a week since she passed:
June 16 Reflection for the DayThe Ninth Step of the Gamblers Anonymous Program is: “Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”To make restitution for the wrongs we’ve done can be extremely difficult,to say the least;if nothing else,it deflates our egos and batters our pride.Yet that in itself is a reward, and such restitution can bring still greater rewards. When we go to a person and say we’re sorry,the reaction is almost invariably positive. Courage is required,to be sure,but the results more than justify the action.
Have I done my best to make all the restitution possible?
Today I PrayMay I count on my Higher Power to stop me if I start to crawl out from under my Ninth Step responsibility.May I feel that blessed,liberating wash of relief that goes with saying,out loud,to someone I have harmed,”I was wrong.I made mistakes.I am honestly sorry.”May I not worry about cracking that brittle,cover-up crust of my ego,because the inside will be ?more mature.Today I Will RememberRestitution is blessed.
If you watch Game of Thrones, you’ll know who Tyrion Lannister is. He says something in the first season that I just love and it has stuck with me since I read the book and watched the TV show. He says “Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor and it can never be used to hurt you.”
The entire scene between Tyrion and Jon Snow was amazing to me because there were two outcasts, sitting together.
The “meat” of the scene is here:
Tyrion: Let me give you some advice bastard. Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you.
Jon: What the hell do you know about being a bastard?
Tyrion: All dwarfs are bastards in their father’s eyes.
I just love that. “Wear it like armor.”
What do you wear like armor?
Here are a few things I will never forget:
- I am a compulsive gambler. I cannot gamble normally. I cannot try to win things on the radio, I cannot enter raffles or play the lottery.
- I used to do dishonest and not so nice things to ensure I could keep gambling.
- I was not a very moral person.
- I am in recovery. I am a better person today than I was 14 years ago when I was gambling.
- I am courageous and brave.
- I am a woman of integrity.
- I am honest and forthcoming.
- I have a great sense of humor.
- I’m a hard worker and am very conscientious in my work.
- I am growing and go through an evolution pretty often.
- I like change. It keeps me on my toes and keeps me active and aware of what’s going on around me.
- I am a college student with hopes and dreams of my future.
I’ve had my past thrown in my face and used against me in order to hurt me. And it worked. Until I didn’t let it, until I started wearing it like armor. No one can hurt me with that information unless I let them. I refuse to let them anymore. My past is exactly that, my past and I don’t live there anymore. It helped mold and develop who I am today. I’m grateful for my past, as it shows me where I don’t want to return or don’t want to repeat.
Until next time….
Do you know what a compulsive gambler looks like? Do you know what an alcoholic or drug addict looks like? With some drug addicts, you can tell by their teeth or the marks on their arms. With some alcoholics, you can tell by the rosy red nose and veins that are prominent on their nose and around their cheeks, or with a “beer” belly protruding out from their front. For a compulsive gambler, their are no physical symptoms. There are no physical attributes to show that we are, indeed, addicts.
Drinking, drugging, gambling, shopping, over-eating, sexing. Addictions. Several of these addictions have no physical manifestation to show the world. It doesn’t make the addict less of an addict. It doesn’t make the person less of a person because their addiction is not to a chemical dependency. My addiction can kill me just like an alcoholics’ addiction can. It may take longer, but it can.
I went to an annual conference this weekend in Lexington, KY. It was all about the steps. Every workshop was step work related and how it makes us feel or think. While I was there, I ran into an old friend from Vegas and thought I had died and gone to heaven. It was absolutely the BEST gift I could have been given this weekend.
This friend and I were having a conversation about the “face” of compulsive gambling. We don’t really have one. There are a few of us who are out and open about our addictions and recovery. There are a few of us who can say that our entire network of family, friends and co-workers know that we are recovering. While I don’t go out of my way to talk about my recovery, I do not shy away from it either and if it somehow comes around to it and I feel comfortable with the people/person, I will discuss it.
Compulsive/problem/pathological gambling is out there and the more attention brought to this addiction, the better. If by me talking about my addiction and recovery to one person helps them realize they or someone they know, needs help? I’ve done my duty for the day. Sharing the experience, strength and hope is just one of many things I love about my recovery. I put hope in italics because that’s the key word in this sentence. There is hope. People do not have to fight this addiction alone, but without the hope of getting better and quitting gambling, people will not reach out.
As I went through the weekend at the conference, I realized there are not enough people who even consider compulsive gambling as a real addiction. There are still shameful and guilt-ridden thoughts and actions associated with it. I’m not ashamed. I’m not guilt-ridden anymore. I am a recovery compulsive gambler and I’m proud of that.
When I moved from Vegas to Kentucky, I was in awe (read: shocked) that compulsive gambling was still treated like such a horrific, shameful thing. It’s very common to know many compulsive gamblers and not even know it. It could be your co-worker, it could be your boss. It could even be you. Just know that there is hope. Hope for a better way of life, hope for healing, hope for happiness.
If there was one thing I could say about this weekend, I would repeat what I told a friend earlier when he said it sounded like I had a great weekend….”It was fantastic. I loved it. I love everything about my recovery and those conferences remind me how far I’ve come and how much better I am today.”
Until next time…
Having no money leaves my days wide open to read, clean, watch TV, listen to music, etc. I’ve spent the day reading the 2nd book of the A Song of Ice and Fire series, A Clash of Kings. I can’t wait for season two of this show on HBO in the spring.
I’ve washed every sheet and towel I own. I washed every piece of clothing that was out in the open in my bedroom. I’ve vacuumed, dusted and rearranged the bedroom furniture (majority of which was done last night before bed).
I’ve read a lot of GA and addiction literature, as well. I found this one that I want to share with you. There is no author listed, but I found it in GA.
I’m Your Disease
I hate meetings.
I hate a Higher Power.
I hate anyone who has a program.
To all who come in contact with me, I wish you suffering and I wish you death.
Allow me to introduce myself, I am the disease of addiction. CUNNING, BAFFLING and POWERFUL, that’s me.
I have killed millions and I am pleased with myself.
I love to catch you with the element of surprise. I love pretending I am your friend and lover. I have given you comfort, have I not? Wasn’t I there when you were lonely? When you wanted to die, didn’t you call me? I was there.
I love to make you hurt. I love to make you cry. Better yet, I love to make you so numb you can neither hurt or cry. When you can’t feel anything at all, this is true glory.
I will give you instant gratification and all I ask of you is long term suffering. I’ve been there for you always. When things were going right in your life, you invited me. You said you didn’t deserve these good things, and I was the ONLY ONE who would agree with you. Together, we were able to DESTROY ALL THINGS GOOD in your life.
People don’t take me seriously. They take strokes seriously, heart attacks seriously, even diabetes they take seriously. Fools that they are, they don’t know that without my help, many of these things would not be made possible.
I am such a hated disease, and yet I do not come uninvited.
YOU CHOOSE TO HAVE ME. So many have chosen me over reality and peace.
More than you hate me, I hate all of you who have a Twelve Step Program. Your program, your meetings, your Higher Power, all weaken me and I can’t function in the manner I am accustomed to.
Now I must lie here quietly. You don’t see me, but I am growing bigger than ever. When you only exist, I may live. When you live, I only exist. But I am here…and until we meet again, if we meet again, I WISH YOU SUFFERING AND DEATH.
How powerful that is. My disease sits inside of me, waiting for me to have a weak moment. Waiting for me to feel sorry for myself. It sits and watches every move I make, every thought I have. It looks for that loop hole that will cause me to go back into my addictive behavior. I stopped drinking on July 16th, 2011. I stopped gambling July 30, 2001. I have the disease of addiction. Not only am I an addict, but I am the adult child of an alcoholic – an active one. I have no room for error when it comes to my recovery.
I need to stay diligent and aware of my own behavior and actions. I cannot become complacent with my recovery again. Ever.
It’s only through the Grace of God I am here today. It is only through the gifts I’m given that I live and survive. I have problems, I have a lot of problems. Some of my problems are of my own doing and consequences of actions I’ve taken before. Some of them are not within my control and I had to adjust and adapt to those problems. I may have a shit ton of problems that I have no idea how I’m going to fix, but I don’t have to gamble OR drink because of those problems.
Until next time…
As I sit here this morning writing this post, I think of all the things going on in my life and how truly blessed I’ve been, even in those struggles.
The situation in Vegas is coming to a close (legally) and I’ll have some more stuff I need to take care of and pay for, but it’s finally winding down to the point I can move forward with things and get shit done. I’m sure I’ll stress over the finances of it all, since that is my weakest link in my life right now, but at least I’ll be moving forward instead of sitting in one spot – the unknown.
I’ve learned a great lesson in my trials and tribulations of the last 6 months. Things about myself and things about other people. I’ve been blessed with many good friends who support me emotionally and encourage me to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I’m blessed with family who encourage me and let me vent and let me know they are praying for me. I cling to those people, as I’ve also been blessed in seeing the true character of some people in my life and it makes me feel blessed to know I don’t have to own their behavior.
I’ve grown and I’ve digressed. I’ve moved forward and I’ve moved backward (all emotionally speaking, of course). I’ve also found my way to some new discovery of self. While I sometimes don’t like what I see in the mirror of self awareness, I will always be grateful for it.
God’s grace is unearned. While, as a Christian, I believe we all deserve it, I also believe it is unearned and when God graces me, I feel truly blessed.
I was recently talking to The Trainer after my workout and we were discussing me going to a concert and he said to me “don’t drink and drive!” I laughed out loud and said “I don’t drink anymore, so it’s not a problem.” Ten minutes later, I was chewing on that statement and trying to remember the last time I drank any kind of alcohol. It was in February, Lexington to be exact. After THAT weekend, I think I know why I haven’t been drinking at all. lol
So I chewed on the statement I made some more and I realized I have no desire to drink. None. I have a bottle of wine in my fridge that I received for Christmas – never opened. I have a six pack of beer in the fridge that has been there since before I went to Vegas – never opened. I don’t even know that I’d want to do a shot of tequila (and anyone who knows me KNOWS that is shocking! Hahah)
As this new evolution of self starts and winds it’s way through my life, I can’t help but to be grateful that I’m on another one and that I am blessed to be here.
I’m taking my car in to be repaired Friday. It’s going to be expensive (not as expensive as I originally thought though!) and I’m not looking forward to being out of that money. But it’s going to be fixed, it won’t make the noises anymore. I work with some pretty awesome people cause one of them said he’d pick em up from the shop and take me back to the office. He also said he’d take me back down there when it was done, or if it wasn’t done that day, he’d take me home.
Thanks for letting me share.
A few months ago, I suddenly felt unsafe in coming to this blog and expressing myself. I felt judged and I felt hate coming from some of the people who live in my computer. I felt vulnerable and if anyone knows me, I *hate* feeling vulnerable. I hate it so much, I sometimes block myself off from people so that I won’t feel it. At all. I build a wall up and I make it so high and so thick, not many people can break it down or are willing to even try. I block my thoughts, emotions and opinions down so deep, when I finally take part of the wall down, it’s like a gusher spewing forth.
The core of who I am is that I am honest, I am compassionate and I am courageous. I will never lie about what I’m going through – self inflicted or not. I will never beat around the bush on this blog. I express myself and I tell you exactly what I think. I take from my personal experience, I learn from it and I express myself. At least, I used too. I stopped doing that for awhile. I’m done with that. I’m back.
This is not only my safe haven, but this is my way of writing down the things that I go through and think so that I can go back later and see how far I’ve come. I’ve come a long way, a very long way. I grew up in a single parent household where my mother taught me the integrity, honesty and compassion I would need to trudge forth in my life as an adult. She gave me her wisdom and her ideas and her love. She also gave me her respect. She respected me enough to know that whatever I go through, I will end up landing on my two feet stronger and smarter than ever. My mother and my brother have always been the two biggest supporters I’ve had in my life.
I grew up the child of an alcoholic. I grew up without a proper father figure. I’ve learned and grown from this information. Yes, I let it sometimes lead me down the unhealthy path, but I always find my way back. I always end up learning something from that unhealthy choice I made six months or nine months or five years ago (whatever the case may be). I am a compulsive gambler. I started gambling illegally at the age of 16 when I was in high school. I would go to the Sundance Casino (now Fitzgerald’s) and gamble until security carded me and I’d pretend I left my ID in my car. I wouldn’t go back for weeks.
I sought treatment for my problems and the therapist referred me to gambler’s anonymous. In 1998. It took me 3 more years and a family member to get me into the rooms and to consistently go to meetings. I learned about who I am and what makes me tick. I learned how to accept myself, even with my defects of character and not beat myself up over them. I learned how to accept people for who they were and love them despite their defects of character. I’ve learned courage and serenity and wisdom. I’ve learned how to live on my own and enjoy it, for the most part. I’ve learned who I am, what I stand for, and what I believe in. I stand in my own truth. I am not perfect. I’ve never claimed to be.
When Todd died, I sought treatment for anxiety and depression. I still seek help for these two things. I don’t know if it was his death that just brought it all up and forward or if I’m just still stuck in a rut sometimes. But I get help when I need it – it just may take me awhile to finally get off my ass and do it. Thankfully, because of the GA program, my Higher Power, and some of my friends, I know when I need a little extra push to get off my ass.
I’m not happy all of the time. I don’t know anyone who is. I do know that though, for today? I am happy as I can be. Could I be happier? Hell yes. I could be living within an hour or two of my family. I could be sitting in my mother’s living room or my brother’s house with my nephews fighting over who is going to sit next to me. Those things would make me happier.
The core of who I am has not changed. I still have the same sense of humor. I still have the same amount of compassion for people in my life; past and present. I still believe in myself and have learned to give myself room to grow and room to make mistakes.
I am 100% accepting of the fact I am who I am. I am comfortable in my own skin, I am still honest, I am still compassionate, I am still a woman of integrity – even though I do make some bad choices. I have learned how to forgive myself, which in turn, makes it a little easier to forgive others. I have learned it’s okay to make mistakes. I have learned it’s okay that I still miss Todd with every breath I take. I’ve learned it’s okay to miss friends I no longer talk to. I have grieved, cried and sobbed over some lost friendships. And I’m okay with that. I’ve made new friends and I’ve learned to be me again. The core of me.
The core of me and my personality has remained the same, yet changed and grown and evolved. I’ve gone through so many different evolutions, I’ve been worried about losing who I really am. Through the grace of God, I have not lost the core of who I am.
If I had one wish for everyone reading this? I wish you love, happiness and I wish you the fortitude to never lose the core of who you are. No matter what.
Thanks for letting me share my inner most thoughts with you and for allowing me to let my vulnerable side show.
Until next time…
I’m working through that whole “not feeling safe” thing from my post yesterday.
I made this list up a few weeks ago when I was feeling kinda whiny and petulant.
- I am faithful and love my Higher Power, deferring all major decisions to Him.
- I am compassionate
- I am loyal beyond reason sometimes
- I forgive easily and without regret
- I love my family and friends
- I love my recovery – no matter how shaky it gets sometimes
- I am good at my job
- I am a great listener
- I give great advice (if only I could follow my own advice….)
- I may struggle financially, but I am in a good place for my current bills & living expenses.
- I may not have the highest IQ out there, but I am smart and intuitive
- I am stronger than anyone (including myself) gives me credit for
- I approach every situation with love and compassion – whether it backfires in my face or not, I do not let that stop me
- I have not once made judgment on someone without knowing both sides of the story – and sometimes not even then.
- I have never made someone choose sides in a situation and have never considered doing it.
- I complain a lot, even when my life is good. I think it’s just the woman in me.
- I no longer enjoy just sitting around drinking. I’d rather go out and dance it off or shoot pool while drinking and have a designated driver there!
- I no longer enjoy gossiping maliciously about people, places and things. It’s not who I am so I am working on not doing that anymore.
- I no longer enjoy blogging as much as I used too or even using Twitter like I used too. I do, however, still absolutely adore Facebook and everything on there!
- I do not lie about who I am, what I was or what I did while I was gambling (and even after that).
- In the last 9 years, I have not thrown someone’s past in their face or used it against them in any way.
- I do not like my supervisor for work stuff, but outside of work she’s fun and a hoot to hang out with.
- I do not enjoy being in school but I know that the long term goal I’ve set will benefit me and I keep trying to focus on that end result.
- I no longer lack integrity and strive to do the next right thing – whether anyone is watching or not.
- I no longer cry for attention when I’ve done something good for someone else.
- I keep to myself more today than I did a year ago and I’m okay with that.
- I’m kind of digging where I’m at right now.