Saturday, February 25, 2017

Depression

Dear Readers,
I am at my favorite coffee shop, where seem to be able to write the best.
My home is too comfortable, and I can distract myself too easily.

I have suffered from depression for many years.
I take anti-depressants, use a happy light, exercise and do all of the things that are supposed to help.

I am also suffering from a lack of sleep, now going on for over 8 months. 
I think this is making my depression come back with a vengance.
I am seeing a sleep psychologist.
He has started me on a strict sleep deprivation cycle which slowly resets your sleep cycle.
I am up to 6 hours of sleep a night.
I was getting 4 to 5 hours of sleep, so I am going in the right direction.
This takes a lot of time, but I am very motivated to make this work.

It's hard for me to read social cues, and combined with my hearing loss, it makes any kind of social situation with more than one person very hard. I misread people, and I don't always understand how groups work, which also leads to depressed feelings and thoughts.

I also get depressed when I am sick, and I have been sick for over 2 weeks.

I am crying as I write this, because I made a fool out of myself at yoga today, due to my depression and inability to read social cues.
But strangely, I also feel better just writing about this.

Writing is healing. I must remember this, and write sooner when I am feeling this way.
I often think I must have a theme or something profound to write, but I fail to remember that by writing about my depression, I might be able to help someone else.

I know that my depressed thoughts are not reality. I think depression is a combination of body and mind not in balance. 
To help myself today, I will go for a walk in the sunshine with hubs.
(We have some today!!)

There are times I just can't seem to control this disease. 
I guess I have to accept that as well.

And so I pray for all of the people who live with depression.
You are not alone.

Much Love,
On Day 905,
Wendy

Unconditional Love

Dear Readers,
Life has been busy lately, and that is all good.
Mr. UT and I both have colds, which stinks, but we carry on as best we can.
I have been having bouts of depression, and I will write about that in another post.

I was thinking of a young man in my AA group yesterday, who had recently relapsed, and is sober again. He was in tears saying how grateful he was that he had a group of people who still accepted him. He also said he was honest with a therapist for the first time ever.

How much does unconditional love factor into getting sober?
I wonder where would I be, if my hubs hadn't stuck with me through my attempts to moderate, or quit.
If my loved ones had punished me for my drinking, I am not sure I could have gotten sober. If hubs had divorced me, and my family refused to talk to me, I would have felt a deep, deep shame, and more hate about myself, but would it have helped me get sober?
For me, their love, encouragement, and support was vital.
I was loved and accepted despite having an addiction.

More importantly, I needed to be brutally honest with myself, down to my very core, finding all the hidden dark corners where the bottles and secrets were hiding, and bring them to light. 
I wonder if honesty is another form love, where I love myself enough to do the work to be healthy.

I have so much hope for the young man, as he was working through the denial that is keeping him stuck in the pain of addiction.

Each day I stay sober, I am grateful.

Much Love,
On Day 905,
Wendy

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Protecting My Sobriety

Dearest Readers,
For the Beauty of The Earth
Mr. UT and I went for a walk when we FINALLY had a sunny day!
We really love, hiking, holding hands, talking about anything and everything, and connecting.
It really is the best way we listen to each other.
(Well, we can't escape each other when we are out, so if we fight it's a long way home!)

I was thinking about how I protect my sobriety, as I never take it for granted.
I love a holistic approach, where all of my body, mind, and soul are respected and love.

Physically, I keep going to my yoga classes, as I find exercise so important in keeping me sober. I walk with hubs. I find that the peace of mind I feel after being out in nature, or moving my body with grace, helps me stay calmer and connected to what my body needs.
It helps me think things through, like a form of meditation.

Connecting with other people in recovery, helps protect me both spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. I go to AA meetings, and at my meetings I hear stories of strength and hope.
I share my story at first step meetings and that reminds me of how far I have come and why I never want to go back. We hug, meet for coffee, and I see all of these wonderful souls struggling with the same human emotions I have. 

My blogging world has protected me, immensely. The joy and pain we share, shows we are all human, and we really need love and support. I thank you all so very much.

By volunteering in the recovery world of opioid addiction, I have found a community of people who remind me every day of the importance of and the strength of recovery. They are so joyful. This protects me as this little bit of helping I can give this community brings me gratitude many times over.



Spiritually, I protect myself by praying, keeping a gratitude list, reflecting on the vastness of nature, and being open to feel the touch of God though other people. I pray for all the people in recovery who are struggling, that they find acceptance. I pray for all of those people with disabilities, that they find comfort. I pray for all the people who have pain; mentally, emotionally, and physically, that they find the strength, support, and the love they need.

I keep a gratitude list, and every night, I write one or two things I was so thankful for that day.
This is a powerful tool. It protects me by helping me see all the good in the world.

Nature always brings me joy, by seeing its vastness, beauty and even destruction it brings.
Here, I can feel the touch of God.

I have had several gifts this week, that I would describe as spiritual, or God working through people. They have only happened to me now that I am sober, because, I am open to listening, feeling, and accepting these gifts. People who have listened to me cry. Who have hugged me. Who have gifted me their wisdom and their stories. They touched me deeply.

Slowly changing my eating habits, is helping to protect me. My kidney doctor has helped me with this. As I have to eat way less salt, and drink way more water to keep more stones from forming, I am finally able to choose more protein, and stop eating chips. This keeps my blood sugar levels more stable.
And I have been eating an apple or other fruit for a snack. Of course, ICE CREAM has very little sodium!! 
The only problem with water is that I have to pee a lot more!

I am strong. But I am stronger with a huge support system around me.
If I am aware, I will receive many gifts. 


Today we had another day of sun. It was pure joy.
Laundry done, sheets changed, kitchen picked up, blog written, helping with a training for my volunteer job tonight, and coming home to lights on and hubs waiting to be sure I am safe.

These are my gifts today.

With so Much Love,
On Day 882,
Wendy

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

This is the Face of Recovery


Much Love Here!
Dear Readers,
I am one of the many faces of recovery.
The photo of Mr. UT and me shows the feeling I have of being sober.

People can and do recover.
I am no longer ashamed of myself and my drinking. I am very happy I quit, because if I had continued I know the consequences would have gotten worse.


Lately I have had some self-pity, feelings of being left out in a group, where I am not included. I acted out some of these feelings by crying and telling different people, (ones I felt safe with), that I didn't belong in the group. I felt ashamed of the feelings of being left out, and then felt more shame by crying to the other people. 


Dancing Sober is Super Fun!
It's hard to accept reality, and it's hard to let go of feeling like a victim.
But this has been a story I have carried for far too long, one I really want to let go of.

So today, as a strong sober woman, who is loved by many, I declare myself free of this story. 
I have decided to show my wonderful friends and family more love, to be less passive.

The dancing picture shows me at a music fundraiser for the Steve Rummel Hope Foundation, where I volunteer! I really enjoyed this night, and I even could hear the beat of the band so I could dance!

I am the face of recovery, one of many.
We are strong and courageous.
I almost forgot that during my self-pity time.
I almost forgot that my purpose is to show other people how great being sober can be, to help other people in recovery, and to just be happy.

I want to continue on dancing through this life, with all the ups and downs, with all the pain and delight, showing everyone that this is recovery.

With A Big Thank You for Your Friendship,
On Day 873,
Wendy

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Being Ready

Our Christmas Photo!
Dear Readers,
I was thinking about why I was able to stop drinking.
I think it all comes down to being ready because I didn't want the pain that drinking brought me.
All the tools in the world didn't help until then. 
I had tried to stop before, but I wasn't really ready.
I had to want to stop.

The pain of drinking became too much:

My depression was worse.
Hubs and I were fighting about my drinking. 
I started having blackouts.
I was driving drunk, and in constant worry about getting home safe.
I was crying.
I was falling down sometimes.
I felt shame when hubs found all my hidden bottles.
I felt ashamed of myself.
I had thoughts of suicide while drinking.
I went to yoga drunk.
People I knew saw me drunk in situations that embarrassed me.

In recovery language, I guess you would call this my bottom.
But whatever you call it, it was just too painful to keep drinking.

Now, I can honestly say:

I still suffer with depression, but it is very manageable.
Hubs and I now fight about who feeds the birds, or how to sort the laundry.
I have no more blackouts; I wake up knowing everything that happened yesterday!
I am driving safely, not putting anyone in harms way.
I cry only over real problems.
I fall down only when I run with my socks on the stairs.
My feelings of shame have left me, as I am not hiding anything.
I have no thoughts of suicide.
I am going to yoga with all my muscles intact, and I do need them all!
I just don't feel embarrassed anymore, except when I talk too loudly sometimes. 

I can make myself miserable over other things, but they pale in comparison to how miserable I was drinking.

Today, I choose not to drink.
I choose peace of mind.
I choose life.

With Much Love,
On Day 852,
Wendy

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

'Tis the Season

Before....
Dear Readers,
Mr. UT and I bought and put up our Christmas tree this past weekend, and I must say, it brings me a lot of joy.
One year, a long time ago, I just didn't feel like putting up a tree, as there are times no one sees it except us.
I never did that again.
This tree is for us to enjoy, and to honor the Christmas season.
It brings light into the gloomy December weather.

Not drinking this holiday season has been way easier than the last two.
The first year was very hard, and my feelings were all over the place.
Last year was better, but I still thought I was missing something, especially at parties.
This year, I have no desire or wish to drink.

I am finding that although I still like an occasional party, I don't need to go to a party to be happy.
After!
I like the connections with people, but I find that need taken care of in other ways.
I now like to leave parties early. 

I am ever so grateful I do not drink.
If there is ever a time that I wish I could, I think back to my life when I was drinking.
I was a mess. My depression was deep, and though not just due to drinking, it was made much worse by drinking.
I was driving drunk, putting myself and others at risk.
I would wake up and feel like a failure over and over, because I couldn't say no to wine.
Mr. UT and I would fight about how much I was drinking.
I would wake up with night sweats and so thirsty.
I had some yucky digestive problems.

One time, at a Christmas Party, I made Mr. UT take me out early so I could get some drinks before going. Then at the party, I drank a lot of red wine. I got so drunk that I threw up on the way home, all over the cute skirt I was wearing. I passed out at home.

Was that fun?
I can't drink. 
I am thankful I came to that understanding before my life was ruined. 
I am a "yet".
Many horrible things have not happened to me, due to drinking..."yet".
But if I start drinking again, all bets are off.

Today, at my AA meeting, I once again heard stories of faith, courage, and love.
It takes a tremendous amount of faith and courage to get and stay sober.
I had to have a lot of faith that I could live without drinking. Courage to speak up and get help. I had to learn to love myself, and pass along that love to other people trying to get sober. 

I now realize that I must be grateful every day that I am sober.
I can't take this for granted.
This is my life, and today I choose a life full of hope, rather than a life filled with fear.
I choose a life filled with peace, rather than one filled with turmoil.

With a Warm Heart on Day 824,
Wendy

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Emotional Hangovers

Dear Readers,
Lately, I have been re-learning how to deal with all my emotions. 
I never really learned as a child, and got stuck in my teenage years.
Almost like I had teenage glasses that colored how I dealt with the world and people as an adult.
Which doesn't work so well.

Anger, self-pity, resentments, fear, and jealousy are a few of the emotions I am learning to see though my adult eyes. 
How do I deal with these very strong emotions without drinking?
How do other people deal with them?
I have noticed that the longer I am sober, the better I am able to handle these emotions.
I have a chance to hit the pause button, and not just lash out or react.
Talking through issues calmly really helps, especially with someone who will listen.
Sometimes I even find the best advice on-line.

I am learning to challenge myself when it comes to these feelings.
I am learning to look a little deeper.
What are they telling me?

I know the negative feelings will pass.
I know I have to sit with them just for a minute.
I don't have to act on them right away, and maybe not at all.
Not drinking means I don't act out in the drunken e-mails, crying over the phone, and drunken anger.
I might have to take action on something, but only after my calm has returned.

Comparisons make me feel bad about myself. 
I tend to see all that I lack, or wish I was more out-going, or more popular, or a better writer, and on and on. I want people to like me. I know that most of my negative feelings stem from feeling not good enough. I sometimes seek constant reassurance.
On my emotional fragile days, I have a little bit harder time dealing with these feelings.

I come back to gratitude, because that is the one true thing that helps me change my focus from the negative to the positive.
I have so much.
I have a home and a loving husband.
I have a loving family and friends.

Taking positive action is another thing that helps me feel empowered.
If I feel left out by a friend, the best way I feel better is by texting a positive note to another person. Almost instantly, I feel better.
If I find myself always focused on one person, or one situation, it often means I am not living my life. I am living their life. 
Volunteering, reading and commenting on sober blogs, are other positive actions that help me feel better about myself. 

Self-compassion, self-acceptance, love and reaching out, are the hallmarks of my growth.
This is an on-going learning process, just as learning to stay sober is on-going.

This was my third sober Thanksgiving, and it was wonderful.
We went to my sister's home, and had a yummy dinner with some of my darling nieces and nephews!
There were ten adults, one baby, and five dogs!
Happy Thanksgiving!
The dogs were so funny! They were running around under the tables, popping up once in while, looking for a little snack. 
The really cool thing was, no one talked about political things. 

I love my sister and her children, and this was the feeling I chose to focus on.
There was wine, but there were AF drinks as well.
I had no feelings of wanting a drink and so happy I am not drinking.
I didn't get that yucky feeling of being tired and hungover.
I was downright perky!!

Today Mr. UT and I went for a walk, as it was another gorgeous day here!

With a Warm Heart,
On Day 814,
Wendy