Wow. I just listened to a podcast on Recovery Elevator with a woman named Steph about her experience with alcohol. She’s a stay-at-home mom who had a vodka habit, too, and her story just resonated with me. It’s 1 a.m. but I almost shouted, “Yeah, me too!” THIS is why we share our stories. This is why every voice is so important. (Her blog is here.)
I am so proud of everyone who shares…even if we’re sharing our shame, or our failures, or our absolute worst moments, we’re lifting up others with our experience, our strength, and the hope of our futures. I am humbled by Steph’s simple approach to her reality, her bravery in opening up and sharing the more embarrassing moments of recovery.
As for me right now, I’m at day 116 and doing great. I’m still having crazy drinking nightmares every morning before I wake up, which is definitely not my preferred method of greeting the morning. I guess the silver lining to those is that they do remind me on a daily basis why I can never pick up a drink again.
The more I research it, the more I think I’m going to try to jump start a Refuge Recovery group here in the middle of Alaska. I know my AAA group is *amazing*, but I do feel like I would like a different platform for my recovery. Smart Recovery is awesome, but it seems more doable online, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the meditation portion of Refuge Recovery.
Let’s talk about pink clouds.
I know now that I was living in what is called a ‘pink cloud’ when I first went to AA in December of ’16. I loved being newly sober, and my life seemed to be coming together well. I was active in AA and was secretary for the Sunday meeting about 2 months into my recovery. I was working hard at home and trying to improve everyone’s lives and I was just doing GREAT.
Then I relapsed. I’ve written about that in several other posts. But the reason I relapsed was NOT that pink cloud. I still think that, if I’d had the tools I have now, that pink cloud–that feeling that everything is good and recovery is great and life is awesome–would have gently morphed into all the things I work on now without the heartache of a relapse.
I guess that’s one reason to be grateful for the relapse itself–the relapse led to the DUI which led to me entering the Intensive Outpatient Program. That IOP has changed my life and how I think about addiction and recovery. Who would have thought I could come up with a reason to be grateful for a DUI?
So pink clouds are a normal part of recovery. When we finally kick our addictions to the curb and gulp fresh, free air for the first time in forever, we feel buoyed, lifted, loved and loving. Our problems are still with us, but we are SOBER, and by gum that is the best feeling on this green earth when it’s shiny and new.
Then, after a while, the pink fades and sometimes our clouds turn grey. The days fill with things we’d forgotten or glossed over in our new pink sobriety: aches and pains, leftover shakes or tremors from our excesses, sleep issues that need to be dealt with, anxiety that we’re finding is still with us or is worse or also includes depression. We remember that a lot of life is just one foot in front of the other. A lot of life is just repetition and showing up. A lot of life is tedious. And we get mad. Or lost. Or frustrated. Or we get a major case of the fuck-its.
That is where, without all the tools in our toolboxes in working order, we are in danger of relapse. It’s truly a baffling thing to find oneself with a bottle in hand and a healthy measure already down the gullet…and not have a clue how the hell we managed to mess up that badly.
We need to educate ourselves about addiction, and how we dealt with life through the lens (the blurry, blurry lens,) of our addiction. If we can’t figure out why we were doing the things we were doing, we are in danger of doing them again out of sheer ignorance.
It doesn’t have to cost a ton to get schooled about addiction and recovery. Websites, blogs, library books, resources at your nearest sobriety center or church basement. AA is free to those who can’t afford anything, and there are lots of other self-help groups out there. There are online meetings of SmartRecovery and AA, and there are free podcasts and speaker meetings to listen to. You can go to a bookstore and look at the books there for free, writing down things to think about later or questions to research. Nutrition, exercise, sleep, medications and their application in recovery are all covered on the internet on free blogs and other websites.
When I was riding that pink cloud through the first 90 days of sobriety, one of the guys in long-term recovery told me that, “Nobody gets sober for good the first time they walk in the doors.” I almost cried. I still think that’s one of the MOST unhelpful sentences I’ve ever had the misfortune to hear. It makes me literally cringe to think about his saying that.
We have a chance to stay on that pink cloud and allow ourselves to learn and grow while we’re still flying high on sobriety alone. We can make it this time. We can find the tools.
Be good to yourselves in recovery. It’s one of the hardest, most rewarding, pissiest, best times of your life. You deserve this challenge.
In other P news, I’ve planted petunias and verbena that were on clearance at Lowe’s around the edges of the gardens. I am *really* squishing the most I can get into every square inch at this point. (And I feel bad about buying from Lowe’s; I try to buy locally, but they were 75% off and sitting out in the parking lot…calling to me…) 🙂
I’ve gotten into every art supply in our house, I think. I stabbed myself teaching my 4yo how to needle felt. SHE didn’t stab herself. 😛 I’ve been watercoloring, using acrylics, oil pastels, and inks. I’ve been folding kitepaper stars. I’ve been listening to Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin and Gracie Allen and George Burns’ old radio shows on OTR.
Lots of the crafts I’m doing are more suitable for elementary or junior high school. That’s ok. I love listening to podcasts or Harry Potter and turning out something(s) beautiful at 2a.m. It’s such a wonderful part of my day.
And on that note, it’s time to lay everything out to dry on the kitchen floor, so my husband has to hop over watercolors to get to the sink in the morning. 🙂
Have a great Thursday, everyone, and keep kicking addiction’s ass!