Category Archives: tips

Christmas Eve and the alcoholic

It is Christmas Eve. I am super tired and I had two cups of coffee back-to-back this morning. Still so sleepy. I just want to take a nap. I have to work today but hopefully I will get out of here early. I’m literally falling asleep at my desk.

I am driving down to my parents house tonight. I am staying over and then staying down all day tomorrow. After, Christmas evening, I am going to go visit the family that took me in when I was homeless for three months right after rehab.

My aunt is having her Christmas Eve party tonight and last year, the year before, and the year before, I had been drunk. Sloshed. And I know there is going to be alcohol tonight. I am going to a meeting on my way down to my parents.

Luckily, last night at my AA meeting, we read about going to occasions and it had information that was helpful.

Tips for avoiding drinking at social events:1. Carry your own drink with you at all times, don’t leave it unattended. If you carry your own soda or coffee around, you can drink it at your pace and no one will know what you’re drinking.

2. If someone asks you if you want another drink; say that you will get it. OR, tell them what you are drinking if they insist. Make sure you see them when they make your beverage.

3. Eat before you go to your event, something that will keep you full and not hungry. Snack throughout the night.

4. Call/text someone from AA, most likely your sponsor and close AA friends, before your event, during your event and after your event. Be in touch, keep your head clear and accountable. And know that you will have the support.

5. If you are being pressured to drink; do one of three things a) tell them you don’t drink, b) tell them you are allergic, or c) tell them they can’t afford financially to provide you with enough alcohol to last, and find a witty answer.

6. Hit up an AA meeting before you go and/or after. Locate ahead of time where there are meetings in the area you are visiting and at what times. I call this the escape route. If needed; leave and go to a meeting.

7. If you are going to be in a situation that you are not spiritually grounded and you could easily drink; OR are early on in sobriety: DON’T GO. Put your sobriety first. Make alternate plans, and assure your safety. There are also alcohothons ALL holiday long, on the hour, every hour.

Overall though, all I think about right now, in this moment is how I kept sneaking around the kitchen so I could get drunker faster without anyone knowing. So; yeah. Obviously, that isn’t happening this year.

Regarding my parents; I should be okay. They know I am an alcoholic and everything will be fine. Perhaps I will just sit and visit my aunts house tonight for an hour, and then if that means leaving and going back to my parents’ house early then, OK.

Happy Christmas Eve everyone. I hope you all have a blessed, safe, sober, healthy holiday. Merry Hannukawanzmas.Β  πŸ™‚

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Christmas is approaching β€” A plan

For many of us, the holidays can easily bring high vulnerability levels, off and on depression, mood swings, extremely high anxiety (food, food, food, everywhere!), and other stress causes such as family gatherings, financial issues, and even just memories and reflections.

For me personally, I get really sad around Christmas. It’s not so much the holiday, for we all know how important the “message” of Christmas is. Believe me, as a new born christian, I know the importance of focusing in on the gratitude of being alive, having a new life, being a child of God, and having amazing repaired relationships.

But it is inevitable for the other side of things to tag along. I think this year, for me, it’ll be important to allow both sides of the sad/anxiety WHILE being grateful and trying to be present and make new memories.

For one: this is my first sober Christmas. I know that my dad will have a holiday beer and my mom will have several glasses of wine throughout the day. And being that my brother is an alcoholic who can “stop with just three beers” he will probably have three.

Me: I will have ZERO. And that’s okay for me. Another thing to remember is that with food, in recovery or even struggling, it is important to go into any events with a plan. My plan, I will share with some tips for others who may need an idea:


1. Do NOT go all day without eating, thinking that all the calories you will take in at dinner, desert, and lunch, desert, will be enough for your intake. I need to make sure I eat throughout the day and stop when i am full. If I allow myself to go without eating in preparation, I will become so hungry and famished that I will NEED to keep eating and may not be able to stop. The past two years I spent hoarding food, then secretly purging or being in constant physical pain. It’s OK to eat mindfully throughout the day.

2. Set up support and resources AHEAD of time. Talk to friends, support, and accountability people who you can readily text throughout the entire day and night who can be available if needed to encourage, support, or help you through any urges. I will talk to several of my AA friends, eating group friends, and treatment team supports in preparation for Tuesday.

3. Have plans throughout the day to keep strong with urges and distraction when needed. I will have my computer with me so I can blog as needed, log onto AA online for constant meetings if needed, communicate with others, as needed, and journal.

4. When the sad memories come up, depressed thoughts, etc. (Which they will for me, for they are already here) reach out. This is not to say that you WILL have thoughts. But if you are prone to extreme sadness and bad memories during the season, it’s good to plan just in case of who you can reach out to, talk to, and how to manage the feelings instead of taking it out on your body or your food. And deal with EACH memory and EACH thought that rises IN THE MOMENT so it doesn’t pile up.

I am already trying to manage and cope with the bad feelings, memories and thoughts that are surfacing. Especially since my parents live in the town I was assaulted in along with so many other bad things.

But, it’s my first sober Christmas, and if that needs to be the only thing I can focus on and be glad about, then that’s okay.

Still progress, not perfection, right?

Continuing on with my attempt to withdraw and abstain from laxatives, I am on my second day. I’m fighting a pretty bad cold and my appetite is extremely low due to that, so I have to find ways to get in calories, and usually once a couple days pass, I then start wanting laxatives again.

Like I’ve said a lot recently β€” I have never had a laxative addiction until recently. It’s a really hard habit to break, and I am trying to stop the cycle. My therapist had me do a pro and con list of laxative use. Here is what I came up with, to the best of my ability right now:

Short term cons:
1. I always end up needing more.
2. Gets in the way of work and daily life having to run to the bathroom frequently or at inconvenient times.
3. False sense of security.
4. I still don’t eat as much as I should.
5. I feel sick if I don’t use them/cramping if I don’t use them, bloating if I don’t use them.

Long term cons:
1. I will have to initially keep adding more and more because my body will adjust and stop working right.
2. Dehydration, heart palpitations (recently experienced this)
3. Eating disorder gets stronger and I risk returning to purging behavior.
4. I now have another addiction to fight.
5. If I don’t get control and quit, I will never be able to rely or trust my body.
6. Long term use will damage irreversible internally. Will end up needing them for the rest of my life.
7. Could aid in a full relapse.
8. Avoiding emotions and painful items then causes avoidance and empowers denial β€” never fully facing things, nor fighting anorexia, and I won’t get better.
9. Decrease in health.
10. Withdraw, detox is painful emotionally, mentally and physically.
11. If I keep using them, I keep staying in the problem, not the solution.
12. The longer I use them, the deeper the addiction, and the harder to come off of them in the future.

Now I guess the best thing I can do is work on it. And make it through one day. Someone told me in AA, choose, one day at a time, “Today I will choose life, not laxatives.”

Also, in an effort to be proactive in relapse prevention, I was told to list a bunch of acceptance statements, and here is what I have.

Acceptance Statements:

1. I have anorexia but I am taking steps to work on it and prevent a spiral or relapse.
2. Although I have anorexia, I am no longer purging. This is improvement.
3. I am getting better, but I am not better yet.
4. Using laxatives will only intensify my anorexia, causing vulnerability factors
5. When I think I need the laxatives, I don’t need them. I need support instead.
6. Right now I am struggling, but I am not where I was.
7. Using laxatives is a problem because I have a laxative addiction. It is NOT okay to use them.
8. If my weight is dropping, and my fat image is increasing, something is not accurate.
9. I do not see what other people see.
10. I need to learn to trust other people’s perception and honesty regarding my weight and self-image because they see things accurately.
11. Even if it is hard, I need to trust my team that I am underweight, and eating food will not make me fat. If I need help challenging ED statements like this, I need to tell someone so they can speak the truth.

So I guess currently, my biggest struggle is continuing to stay off laxatives and work on acceptance. it’s hard to see it in print, that I am still battling my anorexia, and in fact, my body image has gotten confusing lately. I am not sure if my lists will help anyone else struggling, so I posted them. That’s about where I am at right now after my doctor appointment this morning.

Recoop

I woke up earlier this morning around 6:30 a.m., naturally, which I haven’t done in a while. I hope that is a good sign. I am going to attempt to get on a good sleep schedule so I can get back to early rising so I can get to morning AA meetings β€” they always upgrade my day!

I feel a little better today. Last night, I was fighting really hard to not go back out and load up on laxatives. It was crazy. I was craving and yearning for it like I used to when I was using hardcore drugs.

I have never experienced this type of behavior with laxatives. My stomach feels a lot better today than the past two days, and I think my body is starting to regulate again. So, by the grace of God, I went to an AA meeting and then went home.

Last night, I did my fifth step and today I am doing my Step 6 and 7 today. Wow. I remember when I first came into AA. I will have a year on Jan 1. I had just started this blog not long after I first came into the rooms.

My mood is pretty level. Last night I talked to my dad and was able to set up my new budget and it’s totally doable so I have a lot of relief. And I can start paying everyone back who helped me and my treatment bill. Yes. Oh, and I colored Disney Princesses last night.

Other than that, I need to do laundry and pick up my prescription. I am also going to make a skills page for distractions with urges. It will list everything I do for distraction and ways to push through strong urges. Additionally, perhaps I will list other skills in using your voice and getting through other situations. Yes, I think I will.

God is doing for me what I could not do for myself.

This is a common AA statement that is hard to believe as a newcomer. I have had 10 months of sobriety, the first of this month and now, I totally believe it.

God is restoring everything I lost in my life by making the choice to give it all up and go away for treatment. I am blessed and grateful. So if any of you are struggling with a decision or need to go away but you find yourself saying things like “I can’t go, I will lose my job,” or “I can’t go, I won’t be able to pay rent,” or “I can’t go, I’ll lose my insurance,” or “I can’t go, I won’t be able to finish school,” listen to me when I ask you: What good are finishing all those things if you are not alive to live it?

First hand, I gave up my apartment, my job, and finances–all of which have been restored thanks to support and surrendering. My job took me back because I took a medical leave, I found an apartment in such a better place, and I can now start to enjoy those things as I recover.

So, if you have to ask yourself these questions, stop…and reach out and get yourself the help you need. In the moment it’s horrifying and seems impossible but when you get to the other side, it saves your life and everything is still there for you when you return, alive.

 

Love them, always love them

I’ve been sensing Β bit of sadness or a vast emptiness inside my stomach. Things are a lot different in many ways and things are also the same. It’s interesting how those things contradict each other.

Last week was really, really rough. I was in a hole of depression and I couldn’t get out. I’ve spent my entire past 2 years reaching out in crisis, begging and needing help to get through such painful urges of purging, getting me to eat, preventing myself from cutting, not picking up that first drink.

But something this week, having had a massive increase and stability with my mood, that stood out to me was this feeling of loneliness, walking in my shit all by myself. Fighting things, dealing with things, facing things, surrounding myself in things, all those “things” I’ve felt abandoned in.

Here’s the thing; I did pretty damn well on my own. The problem is, I feel forgotten because just because I am not acting on behaviors and managing it doesn’t mean I am totally OK or that I don’t need help. These are the moments, I just need to be loved, supported, encouraged, and surrounded. I felt like I was taking care of everyone else, and even tried helping ME. But, there was a sadness inside because I was doing well but still needed love.

So, always, always, give them love, no matter what: bad or good, struggle or victory. Love them–they will let you love them.

Post-op

I’d like to be more diligent to my blog posting and responses. I have received tons of comments and support through all of you readers and I am extremely grateful for your dedication to reading my words, listening and taking your own precious time to offer words of kindness or support.

I think it is important to take a few minutes to write about my experience with oral surgery and offer a few words to any new sober alcoholics or addicts:

While my experience with drug abuse was half a year, I believe that it is safe to say I became dependent on the substance, it impacted my daily living, and I emotionally needed it to function. Additionally, struggling with my recovery from an eating disorder and the occasional self-harm incidents, I am definitely an addict. Throw in the cigarette smoking and caffeine addiction, anything that consumes my every day living and replaces life, in my opinion, defines me as an addict.

It’s not about the amount of time I used. It’s about what happened to me as a person when I was using. And I’ll tell you, the time I spent the first time withdrawing and getting clean was one of the hardest and difficult things I had done. Not only because it affected me, but because my best friend was on suicide watch all day and my health became overwhelming for her.

There were times I abused over the counter cold medicine just so I could get out of my body and experience.

Within the next week, I will hit the milestone marker of 6 months of sobriety. I cannot believe or fathom that I have gone half a year without a drink. But it’s bigger than that: It’s the fact that over the past six months, I have established a more stable life and began healing inside. I began changing things in my life and leaning on a HP I call God.

During my oral surgery this past week, I was put under with general anesthesia and then prescribed pain killers. I must tell you, the most stressful part of surgery was the post-op self-care with pain medication. I have never been more terrified to use any kind of a narcotic. I do know that there are other options for strong non-narcotic prescriptions, however, due to this type of surgery and with the OK from my sponsor and therapist, only for the day and a half, I used the pain medication.

I feel so guilty about this. While I was not abusing to get high. I did not get high nor did I want to get high, I was terrified of this possibility.

  • The best thing to do in this situation is to try non-narcotic meds first.
  • Be honest with your sponsor, friends from AA and therapist. Rat yourself out and announce when the pain is no longer so extreme and you can get by on strong headache or pain medicine like Excedrine or Tylenol.
  • Hold yourself accountable and get others to help you through. If you must, get rid of any extra pain medication after you no longer need it so you aren’t tempted.
  • Pray on it. Pray, pray and pray.

This was a test for me, and it shows how much I have grown in my on sobriety– to have a fear so strong inside, to cling to my sobriety, and to want it so, so bad. And for that, I am grateful.