Sunday, April 21, 2019

4/21/19 (Sun) - How bad it was

I just went back and read my posts from last April.  Geez! I was a mess.  I was terribly stuck in the "I don't want to drink but continue to drink" loop.  I wanted so badly for last spring/summer to be different. I desperately wanted to do 40 days or maybe even (don't dare to think it could be possible) one year sober! I went on to also have a terrible, mentally ill, addicted May until I called for help June 10.

While I am still not feeling great, but I am so glad I am not where I was last year.  I have over 10 months under my belt and know I will make it a year. As uncomfortable as I may be feeling now, it is nowhere near the devastating misery I was feeling last spring.

I went to therapy on Thursday. I so badly wanted to cancel but knew I would be disappointed in myself if I didn't go bc I would have broken a commitment I made to myself.  It was fine. It's just kinda weird to not be able to go when you really need it and then when you do get an appointment, you feel better so don't really want to talk about anything.

We talked a little bit about ACT (Acceptance/Commitment/Therapy) which I found interesting. She said to try to disconnect from my thoughts.  Just because I am thinking something doesn't make it true. I thought of it like - instead of being in the middle of a tornado of bad thoughts with everything swirling around me, overwhelming me, think of my thoughts as a bank of storm clouds.  Take cover, take care of myself, notice they are there but just wait and watch them pass by.  This was a pretty interesting metaphor for me. She is having a 6 week ACT support group on Thursday evenings. I think I will go. It may help me get through this first ever sober spring.

I also went to the Lifering meeting I have been wanting to try out.  It was weird that I wasn't at all scared or nervous to share my story, unlike IOP last summer when I was terrified and having a panic attack about it.  I didn't really get much out of this group. There were about 6 people sitting around sharing their week and any struggles they have coming up. I suppose it is supportive for them as some have been attending for years, but it just didn't do much for me. I like it better when that kind of "go around the circle and share" is accompanied by an actual topic or something new to learn about - a new perspective. This is why I am going to try out the ACT group. It will cost me $25 every week, while Lifering is free, but it is worth it. I was spending that much last spring on alcohol.

When I start feeling sorry for myself because I can't drink, I am going to come back here and read how miserable I was last I would have given anything to be in my shoes this spring - 10 months down 2 to go until I have made it to one year.  I need to remember how bad it was so I can appreciate how much better it is.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

4/13/19 10 Months

Well, truth be told, this month has not been easy. Previously, I had been overwhelmed with obligations at school and a flooded basement. I was very busy. I seem to actually do ok when really busy. I miss having a couple drink on the weekend to unwind and relax but am usually so tired I just go to bed.

What is harder for me is when everything becomes calm and I am not so busy. Then, it seems, all of my emotions come bubbling up, I get depressed, anxious, and really just despondent to life. We went on a vacation over spring break to Alaska to see my daughter and while I love being there and seeing her, it was really hard. It wasn't because I wanted to drink. Sure, I thought about it constantly...what would I be doing now? how much more fun would Mario Party be with a few drinks? etc. but I really didn't have much of a craving. In fact, I really noticed that it was way more relaxing than when drinking while on vacation.

What was difficult was my lack of anything to do...not much to do in southeast Alaska in spring. While spending my days sleeping in, walking my daughter's dog, playing games, etc was very relaxing, it also did something to my mood. It is hard to explain. I just got this whole - what is life all about/my life kinda sucks/why am I not happy/what is wrong with me/questioning everything/ever sensitive/down in the dumps/emotional kind of feeling. And then I had this feeling of if life is going to suck anyway, I might as well drink and enjoy it once in a while...get some relief from my depression/anxiety/boredom. We got back home and it took me a solid 5 days to shake the feeling. I still don't feel great but better.

Confused by my feelings, I started researching (I know shocker) and found something really interesting in an article about PAWS. This article said that PAWS can hit you up to two years into sobriety and it talked about the stages of relapse. I know I have written about his before, but I seem to have forgotten it (maybe my addicted brain wants me to forget). I had always thought that relapse was when you have that panicky/ I have to drink/go get one now before you change your mind/ hurry anxiety attack that I get right before I hastily slam a beer down my throat before I can talk myself out of it. I know that to deal with those I need to quickly distract myself, eat something, drink something (other than alcohol) call someone, etc...just power through until it passes.

What I had forgotten about were the reliable, predictable stages that lead up to that. Stage 1 - Emotional Relapse. This is exactly where I was in Juneau...depressed/sad/not enjoying life (but should be)/anxious/just feeling crappy. Not really wanting to drink but starting to think that if life is going to such anyway.....just thinking about getting some relief.  Stage 2 - Mental Relapse. I was close to starting down this road...trying to convince myslef I wasn't that bad, that I could try harder, that I don't want to live the rest of my life like this - without being able to drink (I all of a sudden need to stop writing about this becasue I can feel it waking something up in my head!).  Stage four - the physical panic attack that leads to drinking.

I know that I need to deal with my shit well before it gets to the physical stage. That is why I have an apt with my therapist this week, am making an apt with my dr and am going to a local Lifering meeting. I do not want to drink but am not super happy sober at the moment....jsut being honest.

Monday, April 1, 2019

4/1/19 Struggling

I am really struggling right now. I have no idea what is wrong with me. I feel like I am losing it...on the verge of a mental breakdown.

Is this is some sort of PAWS episode? I don't think I want to drink but am in such a bad emotional state that the thought that drinking would give me some relief has popped into my head. At least when I drank I could choose to not look at things. I would just focus on getting through until the weekend when I could have fun and not worry about things. 

Is this some sort of mid-life crisis? I have spent the last 25 years focusing on my kids and they are now all grown up. My daughter is thousands of miles away with a great boyfriend building a life for herself. My son is still in college but needs me less every day. I am so grateful that they have turned out so well, are doing a good job "adulting" and are happy. I just wonder where that leaves me.

Am I in an unhappy marriage that I have tried to end at least four times in the past but have either chickened out, changed my mind, decided I didn't want it, and for sure didn't want to hurt everyone else? Now I have no more distractions such as drinking and kids to keep me from seeing how unhappily married I am?

Do I have a mental illness such as depression, anxiety, bipolar? Do I need to be taking medication? I thought all of that was caused by my drinking and here I am 9 months sober suffering mentally and emotionally as badly as I did in active addiction.

Are my hormones off? Do I need to get my estrogen level checked again as I am having terrible night sweats, insomnia, exhaustion and sadness again? Maybe my HRT needs to be readjusted.

I feel so lost and don't know what to do. I am so sick and tired of trying to analyze myself, fix myself, figure out what is wrong with me. All of this obsessing over what is wrong with me, trying to have some insight and then trying to do better, be better, feel better is exhausting. I don't even know where to start. It all just feels so hopeless and pointless. I almost feel beyond the ability to function and I have no idea why.