Saturday, February 19, 2011

Home Is Where the Heart Is

I'm leaving on a jet plane
Don't know when I'll be back again
Oh, babe I hate to go

For those that do not know, this is from the song written by John Denver while he was in the Washington airport in 1967, which is now known as Dulles International. I'm humming this tune as I will be flying out of Atlanta this afternoon heading back home to Michigan. I am holding back the tears that just beg to flow.
I want to live closer to my family. I would love to be able to see my parents and be there for them and help them out more. I have been away for so long now. I have to trust in God that if it is His will then it will happen. Dave and I have to provide the action but He will provide
the way.
I read in one of my daily meditations the other day that we should not ask God for what we need but trust and believe in Him to provide. Something to that idea. I took it to mean that we should not assume God's will for us but to trust that he knows what is best for us and WILL take care of us. It made perfect sense. I pray every day for God's will for me but then go into specific details of what I want Him to do. Pretty sad, huh? Somedays I think I am getting this and then, wham! I get hit in the head with a 2x4. I guess that is why it is progress not perfection. Man, I just love it!
Honey, turn the light on, I'm coming home!

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Drama & Trauma

Comedy and tragedy masks. I call them drama and trauma. I relate so much that I had them tattooed upon my body. I won't say where but it is above the waist and not on my arm. I did this about 13 years or so ago. I was manic and this woman from the hospital that I was a patient with suggested we go get them together. She even offered to pay which sealed the deal with me. The damn thing cost $75.00 back then. And it is not real big.
The reason for the drama and trauma masks; I relate them to bipolar disorder. If you're not laughing hysterically, you crying uncontrollably. That was the story of my life. I was just diagnosed with bipolar disorder and struggling with my sobriety. My doc was trying to find just the right meds that worked with me. It would be years down the road before I would find stability. I was rageful, hypersexual, would go on spending sprees, and cry at the drop of a hat. I drank off and on for 8 years with as long as 2 years of continuous sobriety until I went out in 1999 for 10 years.
I have finally reached some semblance of normalcy since I have stopped drinking almost 1 1/2 years ago. My moods don't swing as bad as they did back in my early days of diagnosis. The right meds and absence alcohol have done wonders for the bipolar. I also quit smoking over 3 years ago and started an exercise program recently. I no longer have a death wish for myself. I care about what happens to me and those around me. I care about the world I live in. I attribute this to working the twelve steps of AA.

If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it. ~Mary Engelbreit

Thursday, February 17, 2011

If you always do what you did, you'll always get what you got

Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Momma! Momma! Momma! Momma! Momma! Ma! Ma! Ma! Ma! Ma! Ma! Mom! Mom! Mom!
Speaking of moms....being home is such a blessing. I am so comfortable around my parents and the ability to just blend in together. We can just hang out all day and not have to worry about entertaining each other. No one has to "put on the dog" so to say. Or in plain speak, to make a big deal. Ahh, the comforts of home!
While I have been here, I have been in my comfort zone. I don't have any real responsibility. No actual schedule to maintain. I feel like a total schmooze. I don't like that feeling. It scares me. I can used to this. The warm weather, the hanging out on the computer, reading, watching my taped shows, eating when I feel like it. It's like vacation. The only thing missing is the alcohol and it would be like the vacations of old. Oh yeah, and the beach. But it is ok today. I have walked through this sober before. I have set down patterns. I know what to do. Pray, get to a meeting, call my sponsor.
It is back to reality on Saturday. I need to get back into my routine before I get lazy. Walking every morning at the mall with friends, going to meetings and my volunteer work. Oh yes, I can't forget! Getting together with my sober friends for lunch and coffee. I miss meeting with my sponser and my sponsee. I am going to be alright.
I noticed on Yahoo Sports this morning that Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers was arrested late last night in St. Lucie County Florida for a DUI. He had a previous alcohol incident with a domestic disturbance in 2009. According to the AP "Police say Cabrera repeatedly refused to cooperate, saying, "Do you know who I am, you don't know anything about my problems." Reading the police report that they had obtained is really quite disheartening. Cabrera took a drink in front of the police officer from a bottle of scotch. He also kept walking into the roadway. I say all this not because he is a major league ball player but that this disease knows no socio-economic boundaries. It doesn't care how much money you make or who you are. This behavior shows the insanity of the disease. I like Cabrera. I like the Detroit Tigers. They have grown on me in the 13 years I have been in Michigan. It's a damn shame they will probably lose a good player. The sad part is that he may lose more than just his job.

"Alcohol doesn't console, it doesn't fill up anyone's psychological gaps, all it replaces is the lack of God. It doesn't comfort man. On the contrary, it encourages him in his folly, it transports him to the supreme regions where he is master of his own destiny."
Marguerite Duras

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What? I am Not the Most Important Person in the Room?

I was watching Monday night's showing of Intervention yesterday. I was reminded of how selfish I was in my active addiction. There was a particular part where the woman was asked if she would go to treatment and she says " On my terms". I almost had to laugh. You're about to lose your child, your marriage, and most of all your life and you are bargaining? What terms could you possibly have? That just shows how cunning, baffling and powerful addiction is. It all made me think of the Toby Keith song I Wanna Talk About Me

I wanna talk about me
Wanna talk about I
Wanna talk about number one
Oh my me my
What I think, what I like, what I know, what I want, what I see
I like talking about you you you you, usually, but occasionally
I wanna talk about me (me,me,me,me- background singers)
I wanna talk about meeeeeeee (me,me- background singers)
(I wanna talk about me- background singers)mmmm me me me me
(I wanna talk about me- background singers)mmmm me me me me
You you you you you you you you you you you you you

I wanna talk about ME!

I'm not selfish but I am all I ever think about. I have to pray every morning and ask that God help me stay sober and relieve me from the bondage of self, that I may better serve Him. I do this because how many times during the day do I think about me? What I want, what others think about me, what will please me, what am I going to do. I don't naturally stop and think what I can give back to life.
I have realized from working the steps that pride and self-importance are character defects. I have to continually watch for these to crop up and work Step 7, Humbly ask Him to remove our shortcomings. Sometimes I get tired from trying to do all this in a day. My head spins from all the thoughts going around, trying to work the steps, not be selfish, help others, what do I have to do today, yadda yadda yadda. Then voila! It dawns on me. I am BIPOLAR also. Slow my dumb ass down. Rome wasn't built in a day.

“To remove the evil of egoism, service is the most efficient instrument."

Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

If You Can Claim It, You Can Name It

Just because you give up a substance doesn't mean you are well. You take a drunken horse thief and get him sober, you still have a horse thief. I have had to face some of those issues as I have grown in my sobriety. For one, I am still bipolar and I have to continue to take care of myself which means medication and in my case, therapy. I, gasp, have to continue to work at bettering myself. Second, having worked most of the steps, I have found that some of my character defects are addictions in themselves. I have had to take a good look at my shopping habits. I have a fondness for online shopping. I look for sales and bargains and justify it by saying it's too good of a deal to pass up. Other times I just happen to "need" the particular item in my repertoire. The problem is, I end up with a few things that do not fit, are way too young for me, or I end up not liking anyway.

Another sore spot is the computer. I can wile away time to the tune of several hours and not get anything productive done. One area I spent my time was Farmville. I started it with nothing particular in mind and before I knew it, I was racing home to harvest my crops. Then came the dog. She had to be fed or she would run away. I did lose one dog. I just couldn't let that happen again. So I scheduled my time to be there to feed her. But that wasn't the worst. I set up multiple Facebook accounts to get more neighbors. That way I could send myself stuff and also get a bigger farm. I have since extricated it from my Facebook.

Now I am here at my parent's and my mother is on Frontierville. She scares me. She makes me look like a mere peasant. She has had my sister have all her Mafia Wars friends to friend her so they can be neighbors. She now has 80 neighbors. There are hardly any family functions to speak of. You know where to find her now. She is in the computer room. My father has had knee surgery while I have been here and Mom took her laptop to the hospital. She had to feed her animals and harvest her crops. I even signed on to Frontierville so she could get gifts. I said I won't keep it but she asked me to just to send her gifts such as chocolates and lunch baskets. I am watching Intervention so that I know what we must do in order to save her from herself.

From Facebook FAA Discussions 9/15/2009:

My name is Stacey.
I am a Farm-A-Holic.
I thought I had it in control. But the need/ obsession took me over. I admit that I have neglected my friends and family. Being a housewife has enabled me to get my Farm fix multiple times throughout the day. I have added perfect strangers to my friends list in the quest for more neighbors. I have harrassed my real friends to play. And yes, I have even created multiple accounts so that I can gift myself the good gifts. I can't eat. I can't sleep. All I can do is farm. I know that I am sick. But I have no intention of stopping.

I know it may all sound like hooey but I think not. This reminds of some of the behaviors I exhibited during my using. The excitement, the camaraderie, the need for more, the craving, the let down. When I see these patterns emerging, I know that I am heading down a familiar path.
I then know what I have to do. STOP, recognize, realize I am powerless over whatever it is at the moment and practice the principles in all my affairs. I am truly grateful today to my Higher Power whom I call God and my program that I no longer have to be a slave to my addictions. I am not perfect by any means and I don't practice perfection everyday but I'm getting better at living it.

"Every evening I turn my worries over to God. He's going to be up all night anyway." ~Mary C. Crowley

Monday, February 14, 2011

Only For Today

Happy Valentines Day!

Why I Don't Drink Anymore

Story in an alcohol forum posting:

"How come you don't drink anymore?" a renewed acquaintance from long ago asked the other day.
"Anymore than who?, I asked.
"I mean any longer. How come you don't drink anything these days?"
"Drink? I, milk, juice, tea, soda pop, water..."
"I mean drink" he said. " you know, booze."
"Oh, booze, No I don't drink booze any more, you're right," I said, "I couldn't trust it anymore. It turned on me. Once my friend, it became my enemy."
"Maybe you got a bad batch." he said.
"No the sauce is the same. I changed. Because I have this illness of alcoholism, my tolerance weakened. Alcoholism doesn't come in bottles, it comes in people."
"Sounds pretty confusing" the fellow said
"You think you're confused," I said, "You should have seen me. I drank for happiness and became unhappy... I drank for joy and became miserable... I drank to be outgoing and became self centered... I drank for sociability and became argumentative and lonely."
"I drank for sophistication and became crude and obnoxious...I drank for friendship and made enemies... I drank to soften sorrow and wallowed in self pity... I drank for sleep and wakened without rest."
"I drank for strength and felt weak.. I drank medicinally and got sick.. I drank because I thought my job called for it and I lost my job.. I drank for relaxation and got the shakes.. I drank for confidence and became uncertain.. I drank for courage and became afraid.. I drank for assurance and became doubtful... I drank to stimulate thought and blacked out... I drank to make conversation and it tied my tongue... I drank for warmth and lost my cool. I drank for coolness and lost my warmth... I drank to feel heaven and came to know hell. I drank to forget and became haunted. I drank for freedom and became a slave...I drank to erase problems and saw them multiply... I drank to cope with life and invited death ..or worse... I drank because I had the right and everything turned out wrong."
"Gosh!" My friend exclaimed, "That must have taken a bunch of booze to get you in that shape."
"Just one" I told him, "The first one. For me one is too many, and a thousand is not enough."
"So that is why you don't drink anymore...?"
"Yep, I make it a rule, I DON'T DRINK WHILE I'M SOBER!"

I can relate to this story. I drank in addition to quiet the racing thoughts and to slow myself down. I didn't know that with the medications I was taking, alcohol was like putting fuel on a fire. I would plunge into depression and then drink for the depression therefore starting the cycle all over again. I was in a vortex that I couldn't get out of.
Eventually, mania would rule once again and I would be free to drink as a "normal" person therefore setting into motion the pattern that my life had become. The truth to the matter was that I had become an alcoholic and no matter what the reason, I could not pick up the first drink. I was powerless over alcohol. As they say in AA, it is not the caboose that kills you.
By the way, one reason I say I don't drink anymore is I met my quota.

"Let love flow so that it cleanses the world. Then man can live in peace, instead of the state of turmoil he has created through his past ways of life, with all those material interests and earthly ambitions."
Sai Baba

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentine's Day Eve & Balance

Yin Yang, in it's simplicity, means perfect balance. Often times we hear people say "you are the yin to my yang." According to Cha Cha, powered by people,

The yin and yang represent all the opposite principles one finds in the universe. Under yang are the principles of maleness, the sun, creation, heat, light, Heaven, dominance, and so on, and under yin are the principles of femaleness, the moon.

So in relationships we should find balance. We cannot always have perfect situations but we can strive to find that middle, that balance. If you are working in your own life to better yourself and work toward goals you will be emotionally ready to be there and cheer on your significant other. In our relationships, we will then want what is best for our loved ones. We will want them to reach their goals and to be happy whether we are there or not.

I will not be home for Valentine's Day this year but my husband understands the circumstances for which I am missing it. I missed our Anniversary last year but it is important to us that I spend time with my dad during these surgeries and recovery time. We always celebrate when I get back. My husband has my best interest at heart. He gets this balance.

My sis-in-law, Mom, and I were talking about the traditions of Valentine's Day yesterday. It's not whether you get a card, flowers or a card, dinner, and some extravagant gift. It is a day of love and affection. My Mom says dad isn't into all that tradition. She says it would be nice once in a while. Maybe he feels so bad most of the time he doesn't think about it. Possibly he/she isn't into all the frou frou. I look at the big picture. What's your SO like the rest of the year? Do they help at home, pay the bills with you, do a load of laundry, wash up in the kitchen, work hard, relax with, remember your birthday, go shopping with you, sit and talk, exercise with you, play with the kids, and so on? If not any of these things, I'd take a look at my personal mission statement. If so, show some love and affection. Don't wait for them to be first!

I am in my balance today. I was feeling a little squirrely last night. I had some anxiety over the possiblity that Dad may get worse with his gastro problems. I am supposed to leave next week on Saturday. I can find a ticket out on Air Tran on the 26th for $198.00 but that is the only ticket for days. I need to breathe and give it to God. He is in charge today. I have to remember there are things I have to do everyday to stay in balance. Pray, read devotions, talk to another alky, meeting, pray. Throw in some meds and food and I am good to go. I feel better just for reminding myself of this.

Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast,
it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking.
It is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil,
but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts,
always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
~I Corinthians 13:4-8~