Archive for the ‘Recovery’ Category

Something I Hope I Never Encounter

Friday, October 8th, 2010

I’m trying out this 30 Days of Truth thing. Today is day 6. You can see where it started here.

Day 06 — Something you hope you never have to do.

Eek. As yesterday’s post mentioned, I could probably fill this topic with pages of things. There are a lot of things I hope I never have to do – chiefly surrounding tragic events involving my family – that I don’t dare even mention.

Something that’s not quite as scary, yet still terrifying in its own right and something I hope I never have to do: tell my sponsor I relapsed. The thought of it sends shivers down my spine. I’ve even had nightmares where every detail of this scene played out in vivid, full-color detail before my dreaming eyes. I usually wake up in a panic, soaked with sweat, and filled with dread. Once I realize it was just a dream, relief floods in.

I know lots and lots of people have relapsed and lived to tell the tale. Most even share how it was the best thing that ever happened to them as it brought them to a new level of surrender and recovery. My fear is that if I go back out there – even if just briefly at first – I’ll never get back to where I was. I’m afraid that the 300-pound girl I left behind 8 1/2 years ago is just waiting for my return. Terror strikes when I think about going back to not being able to stop drinking, when my whole day consisted of nothing but thinking about how I was going to get that drink or that container of ice cream. I’m afraid the disease of addiction, once it gets its nasty claws around me again, will never let me go and I’ll be stuck in hell for the rest of my days on this earth. Dramatic? Yes. But, so painfully true.

Forgiving Myself

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

I’m trying out this 30 Days of Truth thing. Today is day 3. You might have noticed that it’s really day 5 or 6 from when I first posted. I decided that I most likely won’t be posting every single day, so you’ll get 30 Days of Truth, just not in 30 actual days. More like 30 Days of Truth in 90 Days. Or something. :-) You can see where it started here.

Day 03 — Something you have to forgive yourself for.

As I suspect most people who have been in a 12-Step program for some years would also say – I really don’t have a whole lot of work to do in forgiving myself any more. At least for the big stuff. I’ve made my peace. I no longer harbor ill feelings towards myself for all the grievous things I did in the past.

But, that wasn’t always true. I had to do a lot of soul-searching, writing, praying, and talking about my history. How could I forgive myself for marring my body beyond repair by stuffing it with unnecessary food & calories? How could I ever get over hating myself for treating people close to me like complete and utter crap? How could I sleep at night knowing I was really not the best mother I could have been to my boys for quite a number of years? Those were big questions. Hard questions. I’m thankful I don’t have to face them any more.

Today, most of my regrets or feelings of self-loathing center around the central theme of forgetting that I am human.

“Look at that mistake you just made! How could have you have done that?”

“You have a lot of harsh opinions and feelings about certain people. What’s wrong with you?”

“Wow. You really dropped the ball on being a good parent in that instance. You suck.”

In all of these – and many other – instances, I need to forgive myself for being human. I need to remember that I’m supposed to make mistakes. It’s how I learn. It’s how I grow. Of course, it’s not always easy to remember, or even believe, that my mistakes are okay. But, they are. And eventually, after lots of hindsight, I recognize just how okay they really were. It’s awesome when I get to the other side of things and see how my God was working in my life.

I meant to post this yesterday, but didn’t like how I wrapped it up. I wanted to edit and finish it last night, but never got around to it. And I was thinking about this post some and realized there’s another thing I need to forgive myself for: pushing myself too hard. I’m injured right now and going to physical therapy to recover. My tendency is to get mad at myself – and my body – for being out of commission. The truth is, it’s out of commission because I forced my body to do more than it was ready to. Hopefully I can learn the lesson I need to here and not do this again. In the meantime, I need to work on forgiving myself for treating my temple so harshly. Right now, I’m still kind of mad. Mad that I can’t force my body to do what I think it should be able to do. Mad that I think I can force myself to do more than I’m capable of doing.

It’s time to get quiet and still and start honoring my body and its limits in a mindful way. This weekend I’m going away on a retreat, and while today that feels overwhelming (packing, planning my food, getting to the airport, etc.), I know that it’s exactly what I need. Time for stillness. Time for reflection. Time for peace. My batteries are depleted and in need of a serious recharging. Hopefully that happens while I’m there.

Day 2 Truth

Friday, October 1st, 2010

I’m trying out this 30 Days of Truth thing. Today is day 2. You can see where it started (just yesterday!) here.

Day 02 — Something you love about yourself.

Just one thing? There’s so much to love! :-D

It really is a beautiful gift that I honestly believe there are a lot of things to love about me. I mean – I’m funny, nice, gorgeous, loving, generous, helpful, steadfast, determined, and pretty darn smart, too. Oh and did I mention humble?

Seriously, though, I think it’s okay to recognize and acknowledge my good traits. Lord knows I spend enough time obsessing about the negative ones!

The thing that is sticking out for me today when I think of something I love about myself is this: my perseverance. I know how to persevere, man. When I set my mind to something, “determined” is putting it mildly. Of course, this is something that could work for or against me – and definitely has done both in the past. But I’m choosing to focus on the positive aspect of perseverance today. I believe it’s one part of my successful formula to staying in recovery from drugs, alcohol, and compulsive eating. It’s not easy to completely change who you are at your core. Perseverance helps. A lot.

Perseverance has helped me in relationships, especially my marriage. We’ve been through some really rough times. I think a lot of people would have called it quits at various stages we’ve gone through. I was determined to keep at it, though, and I’m so grateful that I did. I should probably also mention here that my husband has some pretty awesome perseverance traits himself. :-)

My long-time readers know I’ve been through hell with pain from a car accident over 2 years ago. I’m still in pain, but it’s better these days – mostly due to a new hobby I picked up this summer: running! Getting through each day with loads of pain is an act of perseverance that I wish on no one. But running. Ah… running. My new love. I never dreamed that I would ever be a runner. I’m the most nonathletic girl in the world. Well, I was anyway.

My running adventures started with walking simply enough. During one of my walks I got the urge to run and I haven’t looked back since. Once I discovered that it helped alleviate my neck & shoulder pain, I was doubly sold. Now, if there was ever a group of people who knew how to persevere, it’s runners. We run through heat & humidity, through leg muscles burning from exertion, through side stitches, through minefields of bugs, through tiredness the likes we’ve never felt before, and through the sweet – oh so sweet – runner’s high. And we go back out again as soon as we can for more.

Alas, injury struck me. And so my perseverance will be tested yet again. I know I have the determination to get through the coming weeks of physical therapy, though. My past experience has shown me what I’m made of – and it’s some pretty strong stuff.

I’m grateful I was blessed with this trait, but perhaps a later day of truth will give me the opportunity to explore its darker side. Stay tuned.

30 Days of Truth

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Well, hello there, surprised readers! I know, I never update this thing any more. It’s mostly because I feel a little too vulnerable and open here; I no longer have the anonymity I once did and I find myself censoring so much that it’s not even worth the effort. But, I’m going to attempt this little project called 30 Days of Truth. I saw it over at Laura’s, who saw it at Joelle’s & I figured it would be a good way to get my feet wet again with writing. I might not be completely transparent with each day’s answers, but I’ll write something close to it.

Day 01 — Something you hate about yourself.
Day 02 — Something you love about yourself.
Day 03 — Something you have to forgive yourself for.
Day 04 — Something you have to forgive someone for.
Day 05 — Something you hope to do in your life.
Day 06 — Something you hope you never have to do.
Day 07 — Someone who has made your life worth living for.
Day 08 — Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like shit.
Day 09 — Someone you didn’t want to let go, but just drifted.
Day 10 — Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn’t know.
Day 11 — Something people seem to compliment you the most on.
Day 12 — Something you never get compliments on.
Day 13 — A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough ass days. (write a letter.)
Day 14 — A hero that has let you down. (letter)
Day 15 — Something or someone you couldn’t live without, because you’ve tried living without it.
Day 16 — Someone or something you definitely could live without.
Day 17 — A book you’ve read that changed your views on something.
Day 18 — Your views on gay marriage.
Day 19 — What do you think of religion? Or what do you think of politics?
Day 20 — Your views on drugs and alcohol.
Day 21 — (scenario) Your best friend is in a car accident and you two got into a fight an hour before. What do you do?
Day 22 — Something you wish you hadn’t done in your life.
Day 23 — Something you wish you had done in your life.
Day 24 — Make a playlist to someone, and explain why you chose all the songs. (Just post the titles and artists and letter)
Day 25 — The reason you believe you’re still alive today.
Day 26 — Have you ever thought about giving up on life? If so, when and why?
Day 27 — What’s the best thing going for you right now?
Day 28 — What if you were pregnant or got someone pregnant, what would you do?
Day 29 — Something you hope to change about yourself. And why.
Day 30 — A letter to yourself, tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself

I’ll go ahead and get started then.

Day 1 – Something you hate about yourself.

Wow. Starting with the “h” word right off the bat. It’s such a strong word, isn’t it? An intense feeling of dislike.

It’s so easy for me to jump right to physical characteristics with this. For so much of my life, I hated being so tall (5’11″), but I’ve mostly gotten over that. Which wasn’t hard once I suddenly found myself the shortest person in my household with fast-growing teenage boys. I also used to really hate that I was born with a pretty major hearing loss in both ears. Again, though, that’s something I’ve made peace with and honestly – at the end of a long day, there’s not much better than taking out the old aids and listening to pure silence.

The physical trait that I do still have a hard time getting over, though, is the loose, sagging, stretch-marked skin that materialized as a result of losing 140 pounds without much exercise. I’m painting a pretty picture, huh? I’ve had plenty of people tell me that it really isn’t *that* bad. And I’ve seen worse. Way worse. But I have this inner perfectionist who doesn’t like to keep quiet for very long. She likes to point out that my upper thighs aren’t perfectly toned, that my stomach is nowhere near washboard-ready, that I most definitely don’t look like the women in my Runner’s World magazine. That inner perfectionist is right; I don’t look like a cover girl. But you know what? I also don’t look like the 300 pound miserable girl I used to be, either. And even when I was that heavy, I was still beautiful. I know because my husband told me so. :-)

As easy as it is for me to pick a physical trait to showcase as my most hated feature, what I really intensely dislike is the inner perfectionist.

The Judge.

My quality of life would improve beyond imagination were I to shed that characteristic. It’s something to work on – a goal to aspire to – and something I hope I conquer before I’m reduced to dust.

Don’t Be A Nancy

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

This weekend we were at Wal-Mart purchasing a new microwave. The cashier was having a hard time ringing the appliance up – every time she scanned in the bar code and serial number, the register gave her an error message. At first the cashier decided she was scanning in the wrong bar codes, so she tried different ones on the box even though the ones she were scanning were clearly labeled. It wasn’t long before she got frustrated and after each error message on the register, she’d go back to the machine and start hitting the clear button furiously. She was hitting the button so hard it apparently sent a notification to the front line supervisor who came out with a portable device in hand to remedy the situation.

The supervisor saw the cashier beating on the register and yelled out, “Nancy! Don’t hit the keys so hard! You’ll break the register.” At this point, I got the giggles. I actually spent the rest of the day periodically mimicking the supervisor by yelling out, “Nancy!!,” for no good reason. Each time, I would crack up laughing at the incongruity of the whole situation at the store earlier.

The next day, though, it dawned on me: I’ve certainly been guilty of “being a Nancy” in the past. It’s easy to see where I’ve used brute physical force repeatedly in misguided attempts to make something work. I’m not the most mechanically-inclined person in the world, so I’ve definitely had my share of those actions. But there are other emotional behaviors I saw paralleled when I took time to reflect on a deeper level.

The main idea, of course, is the whole definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. How many times have I tried a diet thinking this was the one that was going to work? How many times have I tried to change people by repeatedly saying the same things to them? How many times have I procrastinated, telling myself that it would be no big deal to get it done later? Lots and lots and lots of times. Thankfully I’m engaging in those behaviors less and less these days and my life is being restored to sanity.

As an outsider, it was easy to see Nancy’s behavior as insane. She clearly was not going to get a different result the next time she scanned both bar codes then went to her register to abuse the keyboard again. I’m not sure how much longer she would have kept trying the same method if a supervisor didn’t intervene, but I think she would have stopped and reassessed the situation to think of a new solution before long.

It’s not as easy to see when we’re engaging in this type of insane behavior emotionally, though. Especially when we’re the ones doing it. I can spot this pattern pretty quickly in others, but not always immediately in myself. It’s not fun or easy to notice ugly behaviors about ourselves – and I think that prevents a lot of honest self-appraisal. Who wants to admit they’re participating in emotional insanity? It’s not usually one of my favorite things to do. Thinking about the metaphor of Nancy banging on the cash register, though, makes it a bit easier for me to admit my own faults. I can catch myself trying to control someone through my words or actions and then visualize Nancy attacking her machine to make me smile. For me, it’s a kinder, gentler – yet powerful – way to remind myself to take a step back.

Today’s lesson for me is: Don’t Be A Nancy. I want to recognize when I’m trying to force an outcome or repeating a behavior that is clearly not beneficial to me or anyone else. I don’t want a “supervisor” to have to come and correct my actions, so I’m going to hold the Nancy image close to my heart as a loving reminder lesson.