60 Days Sober

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Yayyyy. Leavin’ the past in the rearview mirror like whaaaaattt.

Grateful to be moving on with life.

Otherwise, I don’t have much to report. My classes at the tech ended, and they’re not offering anything relevant to my programs or interests this summer, so …gah.

I guess I could start hiking.

I’ve been cranky lately, still don’t feel well and I’m just like, anti-social interaction right now. Once again, I have to figure out where I’m going to live…ugh, I don’t know why I don’t just get a car with a nice backseat and start living that parking lot/rest stop life again. Maybe go on a solo adventure this summer.

Oh, wait, there’s no way Tevye could handle that. Shit.

10 Cheapest Places to Live in the U.S.

PS: Got a surprise chunk of money today, and a surprise letter from the Wisconsin IRS…they want money from me…$20 :p. Apparently they’ve been trying to find me since the end of ’15.

Daydreaming

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Chris Christie, you’s a man beast
I love it when you yelling at me on the TV
With yo white shirt, is that a taco stain?
I’ll give you cookies if you promise that I’ll get laid

It’s like she knows the struggle of 30-ish dating, either I’m too intimidated and reject myself from his life, or I have to explain that, yes, I’m in school, and no, it’s not grad school, and yeah, basically don’t ask what I’ve been doing for the past ten years, either, or uh….basically, if it goes anywhere, he has a crippling drug problem or makes me super-insecure about our ability, as a group, to not need some kind of chemical to function.

Goddamnit.

That’s why they tell you not to date in early sobriety, probably.

I refuse to go back and try to fix my grammar, ’cause I don’t even know where to start.

Reblog: Hepatitis C Is Spiking Among Young People

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Be careful out there, Hep C has tripled in the last five years.

Cases of hepatitis C in the United States have nearly tripled within a five-year period, reaching a new 15-year high of around 34,000 new hepatitis C infections in 2015, federal health officials reported. Experts attribute the higher rates to more injection drug use during the ongoing opioid epidemic. The new report from the U.S. Centers…

via Hepatitis C Is Spiking Among Young People — TIME

Step One

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We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.

There’s really two sub-parts that need to be understood in this step- powerlessness and the resulting unmanageability.

Linguistically, the use of “we” is used here to give the individual taking the step a sense of belonging to the larger group and promote unity – addiction itself is deeply lonely, and here the individual is given a sense that they are moving into a group that has found a solution to their common problem.

When I first did this step, I understood powerlessness to mean that once alcohol or the addictive substance is consumed, the individual has given their power over to the chemical, and no longer has their normal rationality and control.

It seems to me now that we are inherently different than normal people in the sense that even when sober we are mentally obsessed with relieving our discomfort with a chemical solution. The Big Book refers to “mental blank spots” – even after a lot of study and sincere effort, I relapsed.

It is really as if parts of my brains completely ignore obvious warning signals at times…My relapse was initiated by my leg breaking (my left femur, while standing, no particular reason), which meant I had to leave the Oxford House I was in (bedrooms were upstairs, insurance reasons)…my best friend really saved me by letting me stay with her and helping me out for the first few weeks. I started to drift away from my sponsor when I moved three hours away from her, and I was in a wheelchair in a new city, so meetings weren’t readily accessible to me at the point. I moved back to my home town after a while, and what really drove the final nail into the coffin was getting involved with people from my past…even if they weren’t from the completely chaotic period of me life, it put me into an old negative head-space and I put other people’s needs above my sobriety.

Briefly relapsing didn’t cause me to completely unlearn everything I had learned, but it’s put me back into a heavy obsession with drugs and alcohol. I don’t have the physical cravings I had in early sobriety the first time around, but my brain seems to be dedicated to all the drugs, all the time right now. It’s uncomfortable, but I still have the tools I learned I don’t think it’s particularly important if we were born like this or “broke” an internal control mechanism.

Unmanageability manifests itself in different ways and different degrees, but this part of the step furthers the admission of internal chaos with a direct admission of its manifestation into all elements our lives. We are not in control of ourselves, and our lives are now controlled by raw, insatiable need.

By noting that we are in a condition of powerlessness, we open the door to allow a higher power and the strength of the group in our lives. I wasn’t aware that this step had this element of allowing in God until recently. It’s not a major part of this step, but it creates an opening for the next two steps.

I vaguely sensed I was not being any too smart…

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“Suddenly the thought crossed my mind that if I were to put an ounce of whiskey in my milk it couldn’t hurt me on a full stomach. I ordered a whiskey and poured it into the milk. I vaguely sensed I was not being any too smart, but felt reassured as I was taking the whiskey on a full stomach. The experiment went so well that I ordered another whiskey and poured it into more milk. That didn’t seem to bother me so I tried another.”

Alcoholics Anonymous

It’s been a while since I’ve really been in the Big Book, I’m just re-reading There is a Solution and More About Alcoholism right now as I’m re-doing my first step, but this is might be my favorite snippet. This is identical not only to how I relapse, but how I get myself in trouble with pretty much anything.

The Idiot Part of My Brain: This could be interesting, and if it works out it’ll be great!

Normal Part of My Brain: Oh, Jesus F***, not again….


Three hours pass, and the Idiot Part of My Brain is once again celebrating it’s victory. It’s probably waltzing around inside my head with a Burger King crown on…

If you’re interested, here’s Chapter Three/More About Alcoholism, the story I’m referencing starts on p. 35 with: “Our first example is a friend we shall call Jim.”

Coffy

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 Howard Brunswick: You’re upset, you can see that don’t you?
Coffy: I can see plenty! I can see how every time a kid rips off a car or an appliance store to get a fix, you get your cut.

This movie is a total hidden gem. Pam Grier stars as Coffy, a nurse who seeks revenge after her eleven-year-old sister is sold bad drugs. She moves up the supply chain until she takes out a couple dirty cops and a politician.

Female empowerment, dude.

 

#2 Idiot-Proofing

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A.If you’re prone to severe depression, don’t own a gun.

B.If your friend is severely depressed, don’t sell her a gun or go gun-shopping with her.

C.Dear God, if you’re both deeply depressed, why are you two looking at a gun magazine together?

 

In a way, this is a continuation of #1, but this is more focused on being aware of your own vulnerabilities, and how your friend’s vulnerabilities interact with yours.

 

C. How Your Vulnerabilities Interact with Others:

 

  1. If you’re diabetic, don’t own a bakery. I didn’t do this intentionally, but at the time I was doing meth, most of the people who majorly into meth distribution in my area were pretty freaking scary. I found that going through a person that mainly used heroin was pretty good harm reduction. Problematically, this is really what got me into needles, which either would have taken longer to happen had I gone the other route, or not happened at all. Unsure, let’s just say everything has it’s trade-offs. At various points I was around people that manufactured their own and hooked me up, but I was never allowed completely unfettered access to my drug of choice, which probably would have killed me. I strayed from the point here, really, but if you have this one weird kryptonite in your life, don’t have a stockpile of it in your basement and hang out with people that collect it.
  2. If you actively have a problem in your life, don’t exclusively surround yourself with people in the midst of the same problem. Weird stuff starts to seem normal, and you develop this weird homeostasis where if one person improves, the rest of the group drags them back down, and you all go downhill, at best slowly.
  3. I “only” did this twice, but I tried to help two people get clean without outside intervention. I’ve encouraged other people, but I mean this is on the level of completely putting my own problems on hold and making this person’s lack of drug use my entire life ambition.

 

Lessons learned:

  1. I am less skillful at being an on-call nurse, substance abuse counselor, therapist, and support group than a team of trained professionals and a support group. Know your limitations.
  2. The first time resulted in the most severely screwed-up romantic relationship of my life, and the second time ended a friendship. If something seems like a bad idea, it probably is. Try to think about the end result of something is going to be before you do it.
  3.  Ultimately, I relapsed both times. (There were other factors involved both times, but being in this situation didn’t help me either.) Again, if something is probably not going to end well, puts you at risk, and additionally won’t directly benefit you in any way, ffs, don’t do it. You are many things, but not a saint or martyr.

 

How this is meant to translate into your life is that you should try not to put yourself around people that are likely to screw you up. If the deepest tie the two of you have is something negative, and especially if y’all have been basically going over the highlights of it for the last couple hours, it might be a good time to excuse yourself.

B.I feel this isn’t one of those things that need to be said, really, but if someone is vulnerable to something, especially if it’s probably going to be a disaster for them, don’t help them get it or accomplish whatever they’re trying to do.

Yes, even if you might derive some benefit from it, you little sociopath, you.

In fact, if you can encourage them not to do it, that’s pretty cool. However, it’s not your responsibility to keep them under lock-and-key, either, especially if this involves missing work and screwing up your own life.

A. (Related to the other points, but bears repeating) Don’t put yourself in situations that in all probability are going to end badly for you, even if you want to do it on some level, or have convinced yourself that you can handle it. I think we all have this weird little part of our brain that’s actively trying to kill us, and it’s worse with addicts/alcoholics.