10 or so paragraphs

Hi; It’s me!

Yeah, it’s been a while, and I’ve been trying to put words to why that is, but the words aren’t coming. Yet, I must write. 

So far, 2017 hasn’t been a lot different from 2016. Hubby’s still employed, I’m working (2 part-time jobs), and the boy hates school. Nothing much has changed…and yet, some things have. 

I’ve been wanting to work on getting off of the antidepressants for a while, and apparently that time hasn’t arrived. As I sit here I think I am probably due for an increase.  

I haven’t gotten to get to any meetings to speak of, since I work so much on the weekend that by the time I get off (MAYBE) in time for Celebrate Recovery, I just want to get home and eat and then to bed. However, there are moments, too, when I think I’m squarely where I’m supposed to be, for now, even without gettign to church or meetings FOR NOW.

 I mean, I’m working at a “Home Improvement” store in the outside garden area on the weekends, and this week I begin my other part-time gig at the newly expanded Detox in a large town nearby. For the last 3 weeks, I’ve been in training M-Th, and the last 2 were spent earning a certificate that says I’ve been trained as a Peer Recovery Specialist! I’m only going to get 15 hours there, at the moment, but I am hopeful that it will turn into fulltime soon. 

I’ve been thinking about the impermanence in my life, lately, too… Why am I so used to letting go, of people, places, things, jobs, pets…? I don’t expect much of anything to last, really. It seems like that’s a symptom of PTSD, but I’m not sure. I notice the difference when I interact with folks who are more or less my age, and they’ve always lived within 100 miles of where they were born. They married once and  now,  20-30 years later, they have a family and are still happily wed. When someone talks about working in the same place for over 5 years, I get kind of lost. When they say 15-20-30 years, and they’re MY AGE, I just can’t wrap my head around it. 

 Anyway, I’m enjoying the people I work with at the Home Improvement store, and the customers are nice, too. The only real downside is that the lifting and loading of 20-50 pound bags of mulch, patio stones, and etc is making it difficult to ignore the scoliosis and the pain in my back. Being outside most of the day is good for me, I’m sure. I can’t remember the last time I was outside as much as I am there, and I like it! The flowers are all in bloom and the nursery is FULL, and I love seeing the incredible array of colors and shapes. The flowers range from the size of a pencil eraser to as big around as a softball, and the scent is almost intoxicatingly beautiful. Then there are the birds. 🙂

So, I think the problem I’ve had recently, which honestly began months ago, is that my insecurities about myself lead me to (or are caused by?) compare myself to others, and guess what? Yes, you’re right. They ALWAYS come out better than me. 

I have loved to people-watch since I was a teenager. Now I watch people to see how things are “supposed” to be done, like hair, clothes, makeup, social cues. I think it goes back to the idea of being a Pilgrim in this world that influences me to not get attached to trends, or celebrities, or…what have you. Does that make any sense? 

I’ve only begun trying to wear make-up again for the last yearr or so, after about a 25-year hiatus. Geez, the last time I looked in the mirror that often, there were NONE of the lines & wrinkles I see now. I am grateful to have lived this long, but I don’t know how I feel about AGING. 

So. That’s a lot of why I have been quiet of late. I don’t feel like I have anything encouraging or positive to say, so I stay quiet. Is that another result of the Social Media world – only showing our happy, and “UP” side? I know if I looked at most everyone’s Facebook pictures, I’d swear noone else has ever been depressed. I know that’s not the truth. Maybe a hiatus from FB/Twitter would do me good. I expect I’ll have some things to write about in the coming weeks…but for now, I’m just gonna keep on “working out my own salvation”, and see where He leads me next. 

I hope your Spring is bright and sunny. Here’s a picture of something from the Garden Center.  

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This could easily be you. Or me.

This story was from February of last year. 

http://wishtv.com/2016/02/04/addicts-discouraged-by-lack-of-options-for-uninsured/

And a year later, almost to the day:

http://whtv.com/2017/02/08/mother-of-fatal-od-victim-shares-story-in-hopes-of-helping-others/ 

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I’ve had people look at me strangely, even people who are in recovery, when I talk about how it disturbs me when relapse is treated like “no big deal.” Of course, it happens, but it DOESN’T HAVE TO. “Everybody relapses” is something that just makes my blood boil. Addiction is a progressive, fatal disease. 

When I got clean/sober, it wasn’t unheard of for a recent relapser to be told to SHUT UP during the meeting. “You obviously don’t know how to stay sober, so sit there and listen. You may hear something that will save your life.” I’ve heard of much “worse” things said or done, and the people who took suggestions eventually learned how to quit and STAY quit.

I was told similar things in early recovery. They hurt my feelings!! (Insert pouty emoji here) The truth will do that when you’re not used to it. That’s where I learned about caring enough to tell you the truth even if it pissed you off. I can live with you not liking me. If there’s a way that I can prevent or at least help to postpone that next drink/drug, I will do it. Like me or don’t.

The Old-timers weren’t there to make friends. They weren’t there to pat me on the butt & tell me everything was gonna be OK (if I wanted to hear that, I could get it at the bar). The Old-timers were there to carry the message. 

Thank God there were crusty old farts sitting in those smoke-filled rooms who cared enough to confront me on my bullsh*t. If they hadn’t, I may still be lying to myself. 

So, don’t smile & joke about people relapsing. Not around me. My friends whose kids are dead aren’t laughing. The kids whose Mom will never kiss them goodnight again, they’re not laughing…

Do me a favor, will you? Say a prayer for those left behind when addiction claims another life, and while you’re at it, pray for the still suffering alcoholic/addicts. God loves them, too, you know. 

Facebook, I’m breaking up with you.

I don’t remember exactly when we met, but you instantly brought a new dimension to my life. It was like I’d found the perfect conduit for almost anything I wanted to know, and anyone I wanted to connect with. I was in a pretty sad and lonely place when you came along,  and you listened, you gave me bits of encouragement, and you helped me to find my smile again. And I felt much better with you around. You were there to bring old friends back into my life, and you even suggested people that I might like to be introduced to. Slowly but surely, I began to think of you as my go-to for any problem, or just to relieve boredom. I know you thought that all of these things were what I wanted, and for the most part, they were. 

But there was a thought in the back of my mind, nudging me toward things that I used to enjoy. Things that enriched my life and made me the kind of person that I’d only dreamt of becoming. 

Your “helpfulness” weighed on me. Your demands for attention drained me. Sure, you had good qualities, and you still do. But the scales have tipped to the negative, somehow. 

I feel like dealing with you and your incessant need to occupy my every moment has become a larger problem than I want to admit. 

We had some good times, sure, and I appreciate your being there when I needed someone. But I’m cutting the leash. The strings that kept me tied to you are not going to manipulate me any more. I just can’t afford to spend my life keeping up with you. I have responsibilities, and I have a Power much greater than you to answer to. I want to grab ahold of what’s left of my time here. 

I’m breaking up with you, Facebook. I don’t want to see you around. I have no interest in hearing about your escapades. They no longer work for me. Don’t call me. Thanks. 

3 Truths Recovery Taught Me ~ a guest post by a Recovery Rockstar ~ Rose Lockinger

   When I first got sober the only thing that I really wanted was to figure out how to stop drinking and get my life back. It was the driving force behind entering into treatment and if that was the only thing that I got from sobriety that would have been enough. But sobriety has offered me so much more, so much that I didn’t know I was going to receive.

 

Being sober and involved in Alcoholics Anonymous has given me a new way of life, with new principles and a better understanding for who I am in relation to the world around me. And it has taught me some important truths that I probably would not have learned otherwise.  Recovery has also helped heal from trauma that haunted me for so many years.

 

The first major truth that being sober taught me is that I do not have to be perfect. I am not sure if other people learn this quicker than I did, but for me perfection was always the goal, whether conscious or not. I’m not sure where this need for perfection stemmed from but my ability to accept my failings as a human being has always been lacking. For most of my life, I have been extremely hard on myself, and anything that did not measure up to the level of perfection that I was seeking was deemed a failure.

 

This thought process is not unique to me, and one of my favorite principles of the program is that  of progress not perfection.  This has helped me combat to some extent this type of thinking, but accepting this was always difficult for me. It is one of those strange dichotomies of being an addict or alcoholic that doesn’t seem to make sense. In one regard I ruined pretty much everything during my addiction, yet I always sought to be perfect. If I couldn’t be perfect I didn’t bother trying at all. Once I got sober and learned that seeking perfection was a fool’s errand, my attitude changed.

 

I learned that all that I could expect of myself was my best effort and that if I could honestly say that I tried my best then the outcome was good enough for me. This is not always easy for me to accept but being sober and understanding that I am not perfect has helped greatly in this aspect.

 

The second major truth that I learned in sobriety was that I actually am a good person. A little over two years ago you could not have convinced me of this, in fact, for the most part, I thought I was one of the worst human beings on the planet. I felt as if I could never be forgiven for the things I did. This changed however once I got sober and I began to see that many of the actions that I took during my addiction were not me, they were uncharacteristic for the person that I actually am.

 

Learning this truth took some time but when I finally began to see that I actually do care about people and their feelings and that what I want most out of life is to help people and see them succeed, I began to reevaluate my own appraisal of myself.

 

This was a huge truth for me to learn and going from thinking I was the worst, to thinking that I was actually a good person completely changed the way that I interacted with myself and with others. I found that I no longer berated myself as much, although I still can from time to time, and I also found that I was more forgiving and accepting of others as well. I don’t always operate in the mindset that I am a good person, but for the most part, I am aware today that this is the truth.

 

The third major truth that I learned from being in sobriety is that I, of myself, am enough. I don’t need to pretend to be anyone else, I don’t need to try to please you so that you will love me, and I don’t need to feel less than every other person on the planet. When this truth truly entered into my understanding my entire world changed.

 

For most of my life, I felt like the outsider. I felt like there was something wrong me and there was some fundamental lacking that I had to make up for through other’s acceptance. No matter how much I tried to acquire the knowledge that I was enough through other’s opinions, it never brought me the fulfillment that I craved. It was only after I came to realize for myself that I am enough that I began to be at peace with myself.

 

If you think about it from a logical standpoint, being enough with what you currently are makes sense. I mean why would God, or whatever you choose to call your high power, create a being that was not enough? What sort of cruel joke would that entail making a person, who locked within the essence of their being was not enough for the world? When I realized this, I realized that I no longer had to strive for approval and while I could continue to try to grow as a person, my growth was not contingent on my ability to be loved.

 

Behind almost all of these truths is the fear that I was not someone who could be loved. I believe that it is most people’s greatest fear: that they are too terrible, too broken, or too lacking to be loved. Getting sober showed me that none of this was true and above everything else I was worthy of love because I was worthy of love. I didn’t need to be anything other than Rose and understanding this, took some of the pressure off of me that I felt throughout my life as I tried to figure out how to be someone else.

 

I know that if you get sober you will find your own truths and that these truths will transform the world that you live in. This has been the case for all of the people that I have met during my sobriety and I am excited to hear what truths a life of recovery will bring you.  
 

Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.
 

You can find me on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/rose-lockinger-6a0a23109?trk=hp-identity-name), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/rose.lockinger), & Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/rlockinger/ )

Stinkin’ Thinkin’ 

I have learned many little tricks to assessing where my head is, I mean, whether I’m thinking like I did in the Old Days or thinking with my “right mind”. I was taught early on -maybe you’ve heard this, too – that my mind is like a bad neighborhood at night: I don’t want to go there alone. I knew intuitively (?) from the get-go that I could not trust my own thinking. 

When I arrived at treatment, I had gone through everyone I’d known and come up with the following:

• I couldn’t trust my parents

• I couldn’t trust women

• I couldn’t trust men

…and finally…

• I couldn’t trust myself.

So it was easy for me to grasp the concept of “I no longer have a drinking problem. Now I have a thinking problem.” I definitely needed to re-learn how to think.

You can’t think your way to sober living…

While I was in treatment, IOP and residential, I began to learn about the different styles of “Unhealthy thinking” (ie Stinkin Thinkin). The list is fairly long, so I’m just going to touch on a few, here, followed by an example or explanation of my understanding of what it means. 

1.    Personalisation – also known as hypersensitivity – This involves blaming yourself for any and everything that goes wrong, even when logic tells you that you’re only partially responsible, or even not responsible at all. This kind of thinking has you feeling guilty WAY too often, and apologising when you have nothing to apologise for. One common example of this is when you blame yourself for someone else’s poor choices. 

I am responsible for everything inside of my skin. I can’t control anything outside my skin, with the possible exception of my kids, and, really I’m pretty powerless over them most of the time. 

2.    Catastrophising – this is when a person makes mountains out of molehills.  Another way of saying it is “pole-vaulting over mouse turds.” Teenagers are great for this sort of thing, and since we tend to stop growing emotionally when we begin our addiction, that can cover we in addiction recovery as well. This reminds me of a boyfriend who always told me I was too dramatic. I had no idea what he was talking about, but now I do. The best way I have come up with to stop this kind of thinking is to take my emotions out of it, and look at the situation with only my mind/logic/intellect.  (I do this at times with sarcasm, I think. Probably not the best approach, but it helps ME.) After that, I usually will go to the EXTREME possible outcome, which is just ridiculous. For example, I work with a woman who does this. Last week she had a hangnail that she’d picked, and although it wasn’t bleeding, it was (a hangnail, remember, so pretty tiny) raw-looking. She showed it to me and did her hyperventilating act, and asked me  in her trembling voice if it was going to be alright. I told her we’d probably have to take the finger off.  Sarcasm might not have been the best response, but I think you get the point. I put a bandaid on it and she is still alive as far as I know, and still has all of her digits. 

3.    Black & White thinking – Also known as All-or-Nothing thinking. This style of thinking is where you see everything as good or bad,  wrong or right, with no in-between. The word “moderation” just doesn’t exist in an alkie/druggie’s vocabulary. When me Dad got sober he would talk about how he used to say “Moderation is for wimps!” The example that comes to mind is the way an alcoholic drinks. If you’re going to offer them one, you’d better be ready to share the rest with them. The sad and funny thing about that is, many of us relapse because we convince ourselves that we can have “just one.” How crazy is that? I never wanted one of ANYTHING, before, and now all of a sudden I was going to calmly moderate? One of anything just irritated me. The thing that helps me to avoid this kind of faulty thinking is that I force myself to imagine the thing in a gray area. My instinctual thought was “he’ll either be dead or he’ll recover” (in the case of my Dad’s surgery to cut out the cancer), well, guess what. I forgot to consider that maybe he wouldn’t die right away and he wouldn’t be healed. I hadn’t ever imagined for a second that what would happen was actually in the middle of those two things. So now I force myself to remember that gray is a perfectly possible outcome, most of the time. (Just not where addiction is concerned. Period.)  

4.     Magnifying and Minimisation – This often is a go-to for a person not actually ready to quit. You’ll hear things like “I had X, Y, & Z, but I didn’t have my favorite drug!” or “I relapsed part of Monday, part of Tuesday, and part of Wednesday.” or “He gave it to me.”From the tone of their voice, I am pretty sure this seemed like a perfectly good comprehension of the events. The reality of the situations was A), you relapsed, and it doesn’t matter on what, because any of those things could kill you or send you to prison and B), You only relapsed for “part of” those days because you didn’t have money to buy more? Or because when you were coming down you don’t consider that to be the same as being high? and C), He didn’t hold you down and force you to do it.  

As far as addiction goes, regardless of what the focus of the addiction may be- with the possible exception of food addiction, there is no middle ground. You’re either clean or you’re not. You’re either living in an addict’s brain or you’re living in a recovering person’s brain.  

OK, that’s probably enough to chew on for now. If this has been helpful to you in any way, or if you think it could help someone else struggling with an addict or an addiction, please share.  
     

Taking a Break

I’m thinking of taking a leave of absence from Facebook. I know, I know, many of you are saying ” good idea!” and the rest, well, you’re busy looking for stimulating new posts on your news feed. Yeah. That’s how I waste so much time, every day, as well. It’s been a while since FB really gave me that first rush, and I’m feeling like I’m chasing the dragon. I know the signs.And the thing is, I can only ignore them for so long before it begins weighing on my mind. 

There are, in ANY given day, SO MANY things I could be doing, instead of scrolling, scrolling, always scrolling…

A friend of mine advised me recently to “just write”. I’ve traded that sacred time for getting a  FB fix. I have things around the house that won’t get dealt with unless I do them. They’re waiting for me to re-prioritize. 

It’s interesting, that I didn’t have much problem cutting back on tv. I suppose that might be related to the impersonal nature of the all-seeing eye in the living room. I mean, occasionally, there are things on Facebook that are specifically for ME. But how often does that actually happen? Not so often. 

I’m not going to deactivate my account, as I’ve done before, because that takes everything of mine down, I think. But I have taken the FB icon off of the front of my phone, and I am going to be aware of how much time I’m giving to that time-suck. Really, what if there was another way that I could get info from ONLY the people that I want to hear from? And just the things that pertain to me? 

Oh, you mean like email? Or, maybe, text messages? 

I’m not going to say how long this will last, because really I’m not willing to commit. Posts here will still show up on my feed, so I hope you’ll come by here and let me know what you think of them. 🙂 

But, for now, just for today, I’m taking a break from Facebook.  I have a Book that I need to be spending time reading. I need to spend more time in conscious contact with my God.

What about you? Do you ever feel like social media is ruling your life? Have you ever taken a break? How did you feel? 

Depression? PTSD? Whatevs.

I went to my Mental Health Dr. yesterday. I like him. Of all the men I have been in a room alone with, I think I’m the least uncomfortable with him. I don’t know how much of that is him, and how much is me, but regardless, I’m truly grateful. 

Several weeks ago, Dr. G added a medication to the one I have been taking for a while, with the intention of eventually dropping the first. My (dream?) is to stop taking the other, as well, but that may or may not be realistic. But, I trust him to make the call.

Here’s the part that stands out to me about yesterday’s appointment:

He said he doesn’t think I am depressed- clarified with the word “remission” – but that we’re just dealing with PTSD, now. I told him I can see that being the case, as the trauma began pretty young. I had a Dr. tell me years ago that I’d likely been depressed since I was 7-8. In the context of yesterday’s conversation, I wonder if I’ve not been wrestling with PTSD for that long? I know that many of the symptoms, for me, have been similar. Or maybe they just overlapped. Either way, I will gladly accept that the (not “my”, I refuse to claim ownership) depression has been arrested. There’s no question that there are occasionally triggers for PTSD that pop up. After so many years, God has allowed me to talk myself through them for the most part. 

I feel a return of hopefulness and a reduction in despair. I see the beauty around me a bit more clearly. 

Ah, Recovery, you give me gifts that I’d never have imagined. 

Have a groovy Friday y’all. Or at least, if ya don’t, find someone to talk with about it. Even if it’s your Cat.