Monthly Archives: May 2013

Others go out so that you don’t have to

One of the biggest trends I have noticed recently is the people in AA who do not follow the program fully, and go back out from alcohol or drugs. Sometimes, I’ve been surprised — at other times, I’ve been waiting for it to happen.

In a non-judgmental away there is truth and a lesson in their decisions. While it sucks to see people you love go back out, there is that immediate reaction of “Oh, SHIT!” but then it sinks in that ‘oh, that could have been me.’

By watching these unfortunate individuals, including my young sponsee, and I see them go in and out. Something that I had learned — I got sick of the ins and outs. I hope that my little one can learn from this. I truly pray for her. And anyone reading this, please take a second to pray for her. Regarding the lesson — these individuals, as much as it sucks, go out of the rooms and pick up again so that we don’t have to.

Nothing in AA says that relapse is mandatory and nothing in AA says that you have to drink again and again to be able to come back. I know that feeling of impending doom that strikes the minute that taste kicks in, the truth that there may not be coming back from a relapse.

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When the sponsee goes back out

As I had mentioned in an earlier entry, I have been sponsoring a young girl. The interesting thing about being a sponsor is the fact that I truly can tell when certain things are happening. My little one, the fifteen year old, relapsed the other day. Well — I knew this. But I needed her to tell me and she did. Because she is so young, I am not surprised. But also, I promised her that I did the same thing when I first came in, and that I know how she felt. I also told her that I was not quitting on her.

She said she was so sorry, and I replied with what people told me — be sorry to yourself. She only stands in her own way. While it does suck, it hurts too, I cannot get HER sober. The hopeful thing is that she said she’s ready now. Truly ready. I hope this is true. It’s just hard to see. Again, I knew it was coming but it was still a downer.

I can only hope that she trusts me and that she will fully do what I suggest. I know why she picked up again — she didn’t do 100 percent of all the suggestions that I made to her. And that’s okay. She’s back in a meeting tonight and said she’s processing a lot.

I also promised her that I won’t give up on her, because no one every gave up on me.

Part of the gig of sponsoring I guess. But I have faith in her. I still do and will.

Fear is self-reliance – Not relying on God

Fear is a gripping emotion that can paralyze you from head to toe. I’ve been very fearful lately to the extent of tears, feeling out of control and like doom will strike me at any moment. Recently I was hit with the news of my financial struggles. Being an independent 23-year-old journalist in treatment, living alone, and continuously working to stay well, I’ve had many financial bumps. Now, I am working to recover from that, since getting my dental work that costed me a large amount of money I don’t have.

Again, I was faced with the reality of how much I am loved. God provides.

While I am in the process of maintaining my debt and working to level it out, a handful of members from AA have taken initiative to help me with groceries, provide a car when mine dies (which will be soon because it’s a piece of shit car now), and just offering me anything I need while I try to get my head above water.

There’s no other explanation except for God working through his people to help take care of me. The only thing I struggle with, regarding this, is the embarrassment of needing help like this. I don’t care about money but I don’t want to be barely hanging on. I want to be independent and standing on my own two feet. It’s a little embarrassing feeling like I need the extra help because I want to take care of myself.

However, God provides and perhaps this is his way of helping me and reassuring me that I will be okay…

Memorial Day Weekend — Remembering tough times

Memorial Day has come and gone and I have learned a heavy amount of insight between the weekend and the actual day that is one I would rather forget.

While this may be a long blog post, I believe I must continue to document my life story — good or bad. One of the biggest things I must relay is that no one can truly recover from any trauma without love.

Memorial Day weekend, and into the actual day, is one of the only days of the year that I’d like to avoid. Four years ago, to date, was marked as the day I was changed forever. When I was 19 years old, I was violated and traumatized by something I would not learn to comprehend or understand until the past couple years. I was sexually assaulted by a customer at a store that I worked at for more than two years.

In brief description, this was a man that I knew and had crossed my boundary lines, broke my trust, and caused my heart and mind to fracture. For the past several years, I have been diligently working to recovery from alcoholism, drug addiction, self harm, anorexia, and bulimia.

With the trust of my therapist for the first two years of talking about this, I had learned to name it for what it was. Since, I have been stripped of a self-destructive behavior every year, making the actual date more and more difficult to manage.

This year, I was faced with the trauma sober, clean, and self-harm/purge free. That is some seriously scary shit.

However, the hope in this post is that I was able to move through the weekend with support and love from those around me.

For the first time this year, my mom was filled in on the truth of what happened — the full story. She not only validated my experience but shared some things from her life and encouraged me through remembering that through God, bad things bring good things.

That’s a hard truth to trust, but there is no other option, is there?

Beginning that weekend, my mom and a large amount of the women from her church gathered to share encouragement and experience. Not only that, I had women from AA who knew of this date and texted me throughout the weekend offering an ear and a shoulder.

Saturday night was one of the worst throughout the weekend, for I was hit with a frozen numbness that completely took over. I had spent the day down in the town that this all happened and coming back from that I could only stay as strong as possible. I spent the remainder of the day obsessively cleaning my house and would not leave until I was finished. I had some people from AA calling me to get me out but I refused to leave until I was done.

Finally finishing my cleaning, I ventured to the AA club house and simply sat on a chair, under a blanket, quiet. I had no words and I had no motivation. I literally just sat for an hour. Then my new sponsee came up and we did some step work. After, I went home, went to sleep.

I managed to make sure I was awake in time for church, and it felt so great to be back. For me, connecting to my spirituality and God is key and important, and church helps me do that. It was a great morning, filled with lunch and fellowship.

Throughout the evening, I was struck with another panic attack due to some financial issues (which I will write about in my next post) and then went to my sponsor’s Big Book meeting. The topic — fear. Now, I’m pretty positive that my higher power — GOD — had bigger plans. The meeting was really beneficial and I connected with the concept that fear is a blockage that keeps God out — it’s self-reliance not relying on God and faith is courage.

That evening, I managed to get my laundry done and I stayed over one of my best friend’s house and we baked cookies and brownies for the AA Memorial Day BBQ.

That morning, we picked up my little sponsee and drove to the BBQ and it was a lot of fun. But then, a girl can only handle so much. After doing everything I could, I finally went home for the night after running my Monday night meeting and shit hit the fan.

My anxiety was the worse it had been all weekend. Suddenly I was overcome by this extreme terror and fear, anxiety, and no matter what skills I used, how much I prayed, it would not ease. I finally fell asleep and since my anxiety has been very edgy. But I’m working on it the best I can.

The support I received this year from family to my church family, to my AA family was remarkable and their love is the only way I survived this year without hurting myself in any way.

Stepping stones

I must say that these past couple weeks have been the most structured and stable I have been in a while. While I remain battling the voices of my eating disorder and learning new things about my anxiety and obsessive compulsive behaviors, dare I say that I have been able to see changes.

After reflecting on where I am now, I have learned that I no longer need to purge. While I have previously mentioned that I had a handful of slips in the past year, I have been able to regroup and bounce back after every one, successful avoiding a relapse.

Today, I get angry when I think about purging because I miss the effects it gave me, but at the same time I don’t want to do it anymore. That need to do it has passed and I’d like to say that I am in recovery from bulimic behaviors. I never thought I would see this day.

Of course, that leaves me one behavior down, and one more vulnerability, but I thought I might die bent over a toilet. There’s a sense of freedom in being separated from the behavior — there’s also a sadness, an anger and a mourning. Recovery gives back so much, but also takes away so much. But I am grateful that today I have the choice to keep my food down and say “No” to Mia.

However, I still fight my anorexia. It’s very difficult right now to be in this in between of critically underweight to only halfway weight restored. It’s constant anger toward food, wanting to eat, obsessing about it, constantly twirling around the tastes and flavors that I stay away from and yet, I can’t keep away. I’ve been told that I’m still under-eating, however, it’s not as extreme. But, it’s not the worst thing I could be doing. My weight is stable, for the first time in my life and while I feel trapped in a body I can’t control, I can see that maybe I am starting to get better.

I feel different. I’m sober. I once read on different occasions how long it takes to fully recover from an eating disorder — a road which includes relapse, slips, struggles, and constant fight. It takes many years to heal and recover from something so gripping that many know as being one of the most fatal of mental illness.

It is really difficult for me to accept, currently, that I have an eating disorder. It feels that without my bulimic episodes, that the disorder is gone and yet I am told it still manifests in my restriction, not fully restored weight, and anxiety controlling behaviors. How do I continue to accept that I still have an eating disorder? Especially when I have lost a large part of me by moving through the bulimia.

I’m not dead. I’m physically alive and my spirit is in the process of being mended. Like the saying goes, “I am far from where I’ve come, but not close to where I am going.”

I still have my compulsions, my trauma to work through, my rituals, my food obsessed restriction, calorie counting, and anorexic mind to release — but it’s not easy. I believe that because I am human, it makes me stronger to admit that I am struggling right now. Not critically, but humanly.

In the rabbit hole

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Today I feel like Alice in the rabbit hole, spiraling down into the dark of the unknown. Like the well-known classic, Alice is faced with many options that impact whether she grows, or shrinks and comes across many characters who are mad or insane. With trippy aspects of that creepy cat and then the evil Queen of Hearts there is a similar story to be told in my life.

I am at a place where one year later, almost, I reflect on the past year. In mid-July, it will have been a year that I stepped on that plane to travel across the country. I didn’t know what to do, where I was going and how I’d manage. The rabbit hole.

This past year I have learned what it is like to feel things, how to manage emotions. I’m not there yet.. I still get hit with an overwhelming feeling I have yet to experience or address. But for the majority I’m feeling things and managing and it’s scary. But it’s progress.

I stopped purging, for the majority. With the occasional few slips the past year, I can honestly say that in a year, I have not purged more than 10 times. Holy shit! I was so sick last year that I was purging day in, day out. All hours of the night, I was in that endless cycle. Today I get angry – I get mad that I can’t have the same effects purging gave me when I am abstinent.

It pisses me off that I hate my weight right now and that I’m still not even close to my target. But I choose not to purge. Today, I am constantly battling, to grow or shrink. What will I eat, I can’t eat that, I won’t eat that, I must eat that, insert that self-loathing guilt.
So now I am lost in wonderland trying to figure out this piece of my recovery.

Exposed: My Story (Update)

Eating. Drinking. Smoking. Snorting. Weighing. Hurting. Burning. Cutting. Starving.
Purging. Praying. Stripping. Weighing. Binging. Dying.

These are words are verbs, actions. These words are not who I am, but things I have done. These things don’t make up a person or even describe a person. They are things that people DO. Why? (Read more…)

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