repost: a down week

Searching for Hope

I have had a very low week. I feel like the honeymoon phase of my sobriety has worn off and my meds have either not kicked in or need to be increased. I have an appointment with my psychiatrist on Tuesday. I would like to increase my dosage of Sertraline. I’ve been at 50mg a day for six weeks now. I know it takes quite a bit of time for it to really kick in. Sometimes longer than eight weeks. But I’m not feeling good. I felt positive when I ditched the booze but that has waned. I spent all day in bed sleeping a couple days ago. At least I’m not waking up with a hangover.

I’m back from my trip and the anxieties of my work have come back full strength. I was stressed before I left. Now there is an additional two weeks piled on my desk…

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repost: a day in the life of my PTSD

Recovery Round 2

So I’m currently suffering worse than I have in a long time with my PTSD. I’m working nights and mornings so I think I’m hiding it well but everyone expects someone with PTSD to be a quivering mess, I function, sometimes better than others but it’s still hard.

When I’m finally free to sleep, after all my work is done I check the doors and windows twice before going back to my room. I’m currently sleeping with a knife near my bed, I know that this is more dangerous should something happen but it makes me feel more in control. I leave the light on or one of the hall lights, something so I’m not in complete darkness, I need to know my surroundings. My heart will be racing and I try to calm myself for sleep. I lie there for a long time before I can sleep, i listen…

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post from what…me sober? on grieving brings back some fond memories

Since stepping through the doors here March 28, 2010, at the tender age of 60, I’ve been to more funerals than previously in my entire life. Years in the music industry showed me a lot of stuff; I saw some folks make unbelievable stupid, breathtakingly dangerous decisions with their brains and bodies… and sometimes they paid the full tab with both.

My take on death has been a little different for me, to my way of thinking. I left an alcoholic home when I was young because I couldn’t stand being around an angry, drinking father. It made a lot more sense — and my odds seemed a lot better — to be out on my own. It didn’t make life better; it simply got me away from the house.

I didn’t get any deep healing to speak of with my father until he was on his deathbed in 2007 and I had been called home to care for him. Long story very, very short: No, there were no scores evened. Instead, I bathed him, made sure he took his meds properly, wiped him when necessary, fed him, and helped the nurse change sheets on the hospice bed.

Dad was 90 and suffering from testicular cancer. He was in and out a lot, but when he was in, he was really in, and he knew I was there. And he knew I was there to care for him. And to this day, I hope he knew I’d rather be there next to him doing all that I could for him than be anywhere else. I need to keep telling myself that because on Sept. 25th at 1:30 a.m. when I was drinking yet another Blue Moon and watching Don Henley being interviewed on Charlie Rose (with the sound down), Dad slipped away very peacefully.

I sat there very still and just watched him for about 10 minutes and then quietly said, “That is so like you to beat closing time. Some things just don’t change.”

On the flight back to Indy, my now-Higher Power made a point of nudging me and letting me know my going back to care for him had been The Plan all along. Everything I had in mind prior to that — and apart from that — was just jibberish. I was so deeply comforted by that nudge. Just sayin’.

Bill at the wonderfully readable What…Me Sober? has an excellent post on the mechanics of grieving. Here’s just a sample:

Grief is a strange thing – totally normal, but much feared and even more misunderstood. It comes in stages: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and finally Acceptance. They are not negotiable. We go through them or we suppress them. If we suppress them they’ll haunt us for the rest of our lives, keeping us from developing a healthy emotional balance, and we may never know the reasons.

Children may grieve the loss of a parent, loss of parenting, loss of a normal childhood. Adults may suffer the same things, as well as loss of a loved one in later life, loss of a relationship, even such seemingly mundane things as loss of a job. In each case, we need to work through the stages in order, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, but the choice is not ours. It happens as it happens.

Those stages go something like, “Oh, no, it can’t be! It’s something else!” “Dammit, if those doctors had only___, or “If she’d just caught the later plane!” “God, if you’ll save him, I’ll___ (fill in the blanks), or “Don’t take them, take me!” Then come the feelings that things will never be right again: I’ll never, we’ll never, this unhappiness will never go away. And, finally (if we allow ourselves to grieve fully), “It is what it is.”

This is good stuff. Seriously. Go read the whole thing. What’s important to keep in mind is to know how we’re grieving, what we’re grieving, who we’re grieving, and why we’re grieving. That’s all part of the healing process.

repost from don’t drink and don’t die: spiritual axiom (page 90 12 and 12)

From Lydia (whom I profoundly respect despite her impressive character defects) at Don’t Drink and Don’t Die comes a deeply reflective consideration: How our desire for serenity is a reflection of our intention for recovery.

I’m sure most of us are familiar with this, uh… bondage of self for which the 12 and 12 is setting a context: “It is a spiritual axiom that every time we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with us.”  Lydia starts off by simply putting everything on a very personal level:

When there’s something wrong with me, there’s something wrong with me.

This idea has been a linchpin of my sobriety, something absolutely vital.  The Twelve and Twelve goes on to explain that even when I’m all right, and the other person or circumstance is completely wrong, I still need to get over it and find serenity in order to practice the program and live well.

. . .

… This spiritual axiom (which means, by the way, something that is true) appears in Step 10 and is meant as part of the spot check inventory taken when daily events cause negative emotions.  

This is just  tempting bits and pieces. Please go read the whole excellent piece.

rachael wurzman on how social isolation leads to relapse

What do Tourette syndrome, heroin addiction, and social media obsession all have in common? They converge in an area of the brain called the striatum, says neuroscientist Rachel Wurzman — and this critical discovery could reshape our understanding of the opioid crisis. Sharing insights from her research, Wurzman shows how social isolation contributes to relapse and overdose rates and reveals how meaningful human connection could offer a potentially powerful source of recovery.

has seasonal affective disorder, um… got you down?

It’s that magic time of the year in this part of the magical forest. Despite the incredibly mild — some would say, ‘non-existent’ — winter wonderland we’ve managed to enjoy so far this season, today marks the first truly ‘winter-like’ day we’ve had in Central Indiana since, oh… last year. Really.

I guess the strongest indicator was the temperature high today was an Arctic 24 degrees F  with snow flurries all day long. So it’s worth noting that along with the onset of genuine winter weather comes something even more grim that has a profound, bleak impact on those it overwhelms. I am, of course, referring to a form of depression known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Back in the eighties, SAD was officially recognized and categorized as a form of depression with an annual recurrence, a condition far more debilitating than your average “winter blues.” Today SAD is considered a diagnosable (and insurable) disorder. Treatment ranges from psychotherapy to antidepressants to light therapy — large boxes that look like tanning beds filled with lightbulbs for your face.

So… all that to say this: Victoria B. at 800 recovery hub blog has a brief, easy to read, but nevertheless superb overview of four steps to challenge and control SAD. Now that we are actually heading into winter, it pays to be equipped to deal with the Old Man with everything we have to bring to the table. So go read it. You’ll be more content that you did.