Trust God, Clean House, Work with Others: A Recipe for Sobriety?

They say the recipe for sobriety calls for three main ingredients: to trust God (as we know him), to clean our house (take inventory, make amends), and to work with others (fellowship, community). As someone who loves to cook, I’m usually inclined to follow the directions exactly as they are. But lately, the more time I spend in the kitchen, the more I’m tempted to improvise. Cooking is, after all, an art of sorts – is it not?

You begin with a vision. You choose three bases: starches/grains, proteins, and produce. You gather together a bundle of ingredients, all different in color, texture, taste, and smell. As you experiment with the various combinations of foods, your vision may begin to change. And that’s okay, because art is free. There are no rules, there are no limits. The plate is your oyster. As your basic mold begins to form, you notice something seems to be missing…garnishes! Scavaging through your pantry and/or garden, you choose some spices and herbs to give your masterpiece the final touches. And voila! There you have it. Your finished work.

Life is a lot like cooking, I’m starting to see. Or, for a more accurate metaphor: The world is your kitchen, and cooking is a lot like living. The ingredients you choose are the decisions you make, and your final product(s) are the consequences.

The way I cook reflects the way I live, quite a bit. I’m actually pleased with how well this metaphor is working out right now. Ha.

I always begin with a recipe. I ask for guidance. I try to follow the rules. But I’m a rebel – what can I say? So I end up winging it. I’ll take the basic format of a recipe and make various tweaks, both major and minor. Whatever floats my boat, really. Much like life, I’m desperate for guidance. But it’s difficult for me to follow rules that don’t line up with my beliefs or lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for an open mind, and am willing – always – to try something new, something different. But if it doesn’t work for me, it doesn’t work for me.

Over time, as more and more ‘recipes’ have ended up not working out for me, I’ve learned to let go of the idea of conformity. Holding on to it ends up hurting me more than it does serving me. I’ve always felt like a disappointment whenever I failed to conform to some norm, idea, or belief – especially if it’s highly appealing to me.

Take, for example, sobriety. I tried. I mean I really tried this week. But the longer I went on without a drink or a toke, the more miserable and isolated I felt. Even more than I did using. I know, I know. Everyone feels that way when they’re in early recovery. It’s just the drugs leaving your body.  But I’m the type of person that puts constant pressure on herself to be perfect, and the pressure I put on myself to conform to the rules of sobriety weighed heavily on me; the guilt that built up was more than I’d ever felt when I was high, drunk, or coming down. And that’s just it. The guilt. It eats me alive and I’m fucking sick of it. Why must I ALWAYS put that type of pressure on myself to change? Why can’t I just leave myself be, accept who I am, LOVE who I am, and let myself enjoy all the wonderful things in life – including those that I let for so long bring me down because I felt I needed to change, to be someone who, quite frankly, I’m just not. My mind is screaming at me to change, but my soul is begging for acceptance.

I am my own chef, and you, my friends, are in my kitchen. I don’t need to follow a recipe to make a good meal. I can pick and choose what I want to include, and omit those ingredients I feel serve no purpose for me and my tastebuds. It’s all about moderation.

What am I saying, there’s no such thing for an addict. That may be so, but I have to give myself a little more credit. Despite my impulsivity and lack of moderation, I’ve made a lot of good choices in my life. I’ve known when to step on the breaks, and when to gas it. I’m a lot smarter, wiser, and stronger than I give myself credit for. But even so, I am weak, frail, and easily broken. I’m a balancing act. Life is a balancing act. Despite my BPD, life is not all black and white. I am not either strong or weak, smart or stupid, and addict or not. Some days I’m better, stronger, wiser, and more balanced than others. Some days I’m a fucking mess. I have to learn to accept that. I’ve always been a bit back and forth, moving from extremes, ever since I was a child. I can’t blame that solely on drug abuse, there’s more to it. But that I shall leave to a psychiatrist to figure out.

My point is, I can be who I am, do what I like, and still be a good person. Still live a good, meaningful life.

The ingredients for sobriety: trust God, clean house, work with others. I can do all of these things all the while indulging in the list of allergens that I am so often told to avoid by the FDA (Forgo Drug Addiction).

All of my life I have shamed myself for not being the ideal me. If, after years and years of trial and error, maybe it’s time to accept that who I am might not be so bad after all. The mediocre casserole that I’ve made of my life doesn’t taste too bad, though it might need a little salt.

Self-Improvement vs. Self-Acceptance

My boyfriend said something to me the other day that really stuck. I had just confessed to him, in tears, how hard I’d been trying to become a good woman. He then said, “You already are an amazing woman. You never give yourself enough credit.”

He was right. I always gave credit where it was due, except when it came to myself. No matter what my achievement, I could never seem to feel successful. I could never seem to feel alright.

I let that thought sink in for a moment, and wondered to myself why that was. The answer didn’t come to me right away – in fact, I’m still working on trying to solve that mystery, but it did lead me to another realization, or more so another question to ponder:

Why am I constantly trying to change who I am?

Is what I really need self-improvement, or self-acceptance?

I’ve been soul-searching for some time now, always trying to better myself. But is self-improvement really an appropriate term considering that I’ve never really learned how to be the self that I am? I’ve never once felt comfortable in my own skin, in my own mind – so I always try to change. And I mean a change of revolutionary proportions. Instead of working with what I have (with who I am), I feel the constant need to completely redefine myself.

This self-criticism that so often haunts me has brought nothing positive into my life, only more reasons to despise myself. And I wonder why that is, so blind to the obvious: Because it’s coming from a place of self-hatred, instead of self-love. Because my goal is to become a new person rather than the best person that I can be.

And let me tell you, it’s exhausting – debilitating, really, to constantly nitpick every single thing I do, every thought I think, every word I speak. The little girl inside of me whom I’ve neglected and abused for so long will never grow into the woman I want to become because she’s dying, withering away. There is no water to feed her roots, no sun to give her light, no love to help her grow.

So this morning, I take a step back from the changes I’m so helplessly trying to make. I’m taking a step back from the fascist attitude I hold towards myself and instead letting myself live – letting myself be. Flaws, bad habits, and all. I am a wonderful human being. I am an amazing woman. I don’t need to completely transform myself and become this “ideal self” that, in reality, doesn’t and will never exist. I’m only human, perfectly imperfect. And it’s time I start living my life, instead of overanalyzing it. I can be who I am and still work to become a better version of myself, but first I must get comfortable with the uncomfortable. I must be one with myself.

It’s time I get out of my head. I am my biggest critic, my worst enemy, but I am also my own savior.

Let’s Talk Meds

One thing I’ve found that most 12 step programs lack is the discussion of medication. I, myself, have been suffering from mental illness since as long as I can remember. I believe the first time I ever self-harmed was at the age of 11 or 12, and everything seemed to go downhill from there. I like to blame my mental issues on the fact that when I was 12, I was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a progressive, hereditary, and potentially terminal illness.

It’s usually diagnosed at birth, and the child grows up learning how to cope with the various physical, emotional, and social tolls that come along with chronic illness. But not me. My diagnosis came right as I was beginning to blossom…as if that wasn’t stressful enough, right? So my teen years consisted of a lot of blame towards my parents, hatred towards myself, self-harm, alcohol poisoning (age 13), drug abuse, and promiscuity. Not to mention an eating disorder that nearly killed me when I was 15. It was a rough decade for me, to say the least.

But as I look back now, I wonder if that diagnosis was really what caused my suffering. Surely, it triggered whatever underlying mental illness I had, but was there something else going on that I’m not remembering?

They say mental illness runs in families. My family is from the ex-Soviet bloc, so psychiatry isn’t (or wasn’t) a huge thing back in the day. No one in my family is diagnosed with any sort of mental illness, but that’s not to say that they are not ill.

On my dad’s side: My aunt, a (somewhat raging) alcoholic, has been depressed nearly her whole life. My father has anger issues. As do their father, my grandfather.

On my mom’s side: Both my mother and her mother, my grandmother, suffer from anxiety. My cousin has also suffered from bulimia when she was younger, something I did not learn until after I had recovered. It blew my mind.

It’s pretty easy to put the puzzle pieces together. Even though my entire family will deny that they are mentally ill. They don’t even believe such a thing exists. “Just get over it,” they’d say.

As for me? Well, my shit insurance is keeping me from seeing a much-needed therapist, and my phsychiatrist won’t actually diagnose me with anything, just hand out meds like its candy. How does that even work? So I’m a self-diagnosed borderline. With that comes depression, severe codependence, and anxiety. Though as I educate myself more and more on mental illness, I’m finding that I portray many of the symptoms of bipolar II. Either way, I’m being treated with antidepressants, and that is the focus of this post.

So let’s talk about meds, shall we?

Starting with Zoloft: I’m 15 (2011), have just been diagnosed with major depression, panic disorder and anorexia/bulimia, and am prescribed antidepressants for the first time. Supposedly the start-off drug is Zoloft. What a freak show. A month into taking it, I was having very creepy lucid dreams…the best way I can describe them from my memory is demonic. And I, too, became demonic. I became OBSESSED with gore (if I were to look at anything even remotely gorey now, I’d probably pass out). So much so that I created a Tumblr (that was the thing back then) dedicated just to gore, where black and white photos of death, blood, guts, porn, hauntings, demons, etc. covered my feed and blog from page to page. I also felt an overwhelming need to harm, myself or others. When I’d be out in public, I’d imagine people’s deaths – how they could happen right then and there (and trust me, it wasn’t a peaceful passing). I even starting carving weird satanic shit into my hands. What the fuck is right.

I told my therapist at the time that I was losing it. I mean really losing it. So we switched to….

Prozac: at this time of my life (still 15), I managed to work my way up to 3 pills a day (60mg). It was a lot. But I felt good. My depression seemed to be lightening up, but I was still a bulimic. I also started smoking pot heavily aroud this time and to be completely honest, that entire year is kind of a blur…a big fat blur. So I can’t really say much here, but the pot did help me overcome my eating disorders, as it calmed my mind and made me realize I can eat and NOT binge….these days when I smoke though all I want to do is binge. Ha. So after about a year or so, I slowly tappered off the Prozac. I didn’t need it anymore, so I thought.

Years roll by untreated, with only my self-medication of pot and the occassional booze.

Enter Prozac once more: Last year, 2016, I’m 20 years old. Just moved to Berkeley and really starting to feel the depression set back in, as I’ve no friends here but my boyfriend who works all day, and frankly nothing to do as I wait for the school year to start. So I get myself another prescription, a low dose of 20mg. After a month and a half or so I hit a plataeu, a strange one. I felt somewhat okay, but also somewhat empty. So I decided to cut it off. I didn’t need to taper if I’m on the lowest dose, right? Wrong. Within two weeks I nearly kill myself. Episodes of hysterical crying seem to be a daily thing and I see no reason to keep on living in the misery I’ve made for myself. Once I tell my doctor about my almost-suicide, she scolded me and told me to get back on it. Made sense. So I did, and I stuck with it for a while.

And then I relapsed.

Mia, my long-lost visitor came back for me. It had been 5 years since I last B/P and my recovery was so difficult I got a tattoo to symbolize the struggle I’d gone through, promising myself to never land in that situation again. But I did, and it was devastating. I had already relapsed, so I fell back into the habit for two months. It was hell. Fucking hell. I’m so lucky I stopped when I did because let me tell you, that is one SLIPPERY SLOPE.

I told my psychiatrist and we decided I needed to try a new medication. So as I began to tapper off the Prozac, we added in the mix

Wellbutrin: some would say it’s magic. Me? Eh, I wouldn’t go that far, but it has seemed to turn on some of the lights that have been out in my head for so long. It was an atypical antidepressant I’ve never tried before, a norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI). Because I also have ADHD (though, to be completely honest, I’m pretty sure this was a consequence of all the amphetamine I abused, as I managed my entire childhood without medication for it…even though I was a hyper little shit), Wellbutrin seemed appropriate, as it has a mild stimulant effect. I’ve been on Wellbutrin for around 5 or 6 months now but how can I say for sure whether or not it’s working when I’ve never had a sober day on it? I still feel depressed, I still feel unmotivated, and I still feel like I want to die sometimes. I told my psychiatrist this and she decided to add on yet ANOTHER medication.

Enter Lexapro: The devil. I was hesitant to take two antidepressants at once, but I decided to give it a try anyway. I started with half of the 10mg for a week, and then took the whole thing. It’s only been about a week and a half and I’m so sleep deprived it’s not even funny. My mind races like I’m on speed, but only at night when I’m trying to sleep. At first I thought it was because I was told to take it at night, so I switched to the morning, but I’m still struggling to stay asleep. I wake up about 30x during the night and I flop around like a fish out of water trying to get comfortable enough. It seems like this medication allows me to only partially fall asleep. I mean I’m EXHAUSTED, but my mind won’t shut the fuck up! I’m so desperate to fall into a deep snooze but it’s only allowing me to float in a shallow sleep. And let me just say, when I don’t get my beauty sleep…there is hell to pay. I need that shit to function, man. Also strange about this medication is the dreams I’m having, again extremely lucid. It seems as though I begin to dream as soon as I close my eyes…and because of this, I’m having a very hard time differentiating between dreams and reality. And it’s starting to fuck with me a little. So today I begin tapering back off of the Lexapro until I cut it out completely and will only be taking the Wellbutrin.

Then who knows, maybe I’ll cut that out too. Someone from my AA meeting the other day said something really interesting to me. She said “a lot of people I met in recovery were taking medication for depression/anxiety/borderline, but when they sobered up they realized they really didn’t need the medication at all. It was the substances that made them ill.”

Maybe that’s the case for me. But maybe not. I had never been sober during the years I was left untreated, so I can’t know for sure. But I am in the process of sobering up. I need to get my life together – no, I need to create a life for myself. This is a very critical time for me, I finish university in a year and I have no plans lined up after that. I can’t afford to fuck it up and make the wrong choices that will then dictate my future just because I was in a haze the entire time.

I need a nap.

Recommended Books

I consider myself to be a self-help queen. Here are a few books I found to be helpful during my recovery journey (which, to be completely honest, hasn’t exactly started yet).

“Sane: Mental Illness, Addiction, and the 12 Steps” – Marya Hornbacher

Discusses the 12 steps in the context of dual diagnosis (addiction and mental illness).

“12 Smart Things to do When the Booze and Drugs are Gone” – Allen Berger

Discusses emotional sobriety.

“I Want to Change My Life: How to Overcome Anxiety, Depression & Addiction” – Steven M. Melemis 

Pretty self-explanatory. Comes with a one-month program/plan of action.

“Being Sober: A Step-By-Step Guide to Getting To, Getting Through, and Living in Recovery” – Harry Haroutunian

Discusses the 12 steps and includes various strategies.

“Living Sober” – Alcoholics Anonymous 

Discusses tips on living a sober lifestyle.

“Living Clean: The Journey Continues” – Narcotics Anonymous

A more in-depth version of the book listed above.

& of course:

“Alcoholics Anonymous” (Big Book/Basic Text) – Alcoholics Anonymous 

The literature that started it all!

 

My First AA Meeting

Two days ago I attended my first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. I had been to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting once, though I did not like it much. I’m not sure what it is about AA, but I find it a much better program for me personally.

I walked in and instantly noticed the various posters of quotes, prayers, and sayings, as well as (of course) the 12 steps and 12 traditions. The word “God” was mentioned in most of them. I didn’t know how I felt about that. I knew this program was based on spirituality, and lately, I had been open to the idea of God, but I’m still shaky on the concept. I’ve yet to find my Higher Power.

As the meeting began, newcomers were asked to raise their hand, and everyone applauded after we’d introduced ourselves. Instantly, I felt the rush of love, acceptance, and support that filled the room characterized by a diverse crowd of people, ranging in ages, sexes, and ethnicities. I was the youngest one, though. There was one girl at the end that came up to me, her name was Heather, and she was the sweetest. She circled a bunch of meetings I might be interested in, and even bought me two books. It warmed my heart in such an amazing way. I also met another girl after the meetings, Molly, who was a few years older than me but we really kicked it off. It was nice to have friends.

Also instantly, I felt the stares of old men directly on me. It was an extremely uncomfortable feeling as I was very vulnerable at that point and the absolute last thing I needed was sexual predation. But I carried on.

There was a speaker that morning, 9am. Her name was Lee, she was old, and she looked a bit like Hillary Clinton. She spoke of her life in her earlier years, full of booze and drugs and promiscuity. It mirrored that of mine, I thought. She also smoked pot back in her day. Maybe I could get her to be my sponsor, she seemed like a badass grandma. Her story was inspiring. She spoke of her alcohol abuse in such a way that I could, for the most part, relate. Same goes with the others who shared at the end of the meeting about their past with alcohol.

I realized then that maybe I was an alcoholic. As with the others, I didn’t feel as though my drinking was a problem, I felt I could stop at any time and since I hadn’t gotten into much trouble, I didn’t hit rock bottom and thus didn’t need to crawl my way up out of it. But the truth was that I had gotten into trouble. Just the other day. And I couldn’t stop at any time I wanted, because I didn’t want to stop. And even if I did, as soon as I decided I would drink again, I’d fall right back into the same old habits….keep drinking till I’m drunk. And then drink more. On a regular basis.

Let’s talk about the other day, because I’ve been repressing it in the back of my mind and know this is unhealthy. It was Wednesday, the 5th. We had a mandatory menu tasting at work, and that included drinks as well. I had about 3 cocktails and a shitload of wine. I was hammered; smashed; fucking wasted. So much so I had to go to the bathroom and make myself puke to get some relief. And then I went on to drink more.

I was loving life. Everything was great. Until it was over and we had to leave. I left my car in the parking lot because I knew better than to drive home, though I had considered it. So I got a ride home from Ismael. Big fucking mistake.

We had been innocently flirting for a while now, with absolutely no intention of ever acting on any desire or temptation (I’d learned the consequences of cheating the hard way, and promised myself I’d never hurt a man like that ever again). As we drove to the gas station, I was sitting in the passenger seat hitting my vape pen when Ismael walked over to my window and just out of nowhere kissed me. It was completely uncalled for and caught me off guard. All I could think about at the time was my vomit breath, which I had hoped was masked by the food I had eaten after purging. I pushed him off and told him that wasn’t fucking cool. He seemed to understand.

So we continued on our journey to my house, I was anxious to get the hell out of that car. I can’t remember the conversation we had, because like I said I was fucking wasted, most of this was a blur and I’m trying my very best to put together the parts of the afternoon I do remember. But I know I told him that I didn’t want this. That I couldn’t do this to my boyfriend and that I loved him. He seemed to understand. But then he pulled over, and my stomach jumped. I thought he was going to rape me, but I couldn’t imagine Ismael ever doing something like that. He just kissed me again, and once again I pushed him off of me. Multiple times, but he kept throwing himself on me. I finally yelled at him “JUST DRIVE!” and we left.

At this point we’re almost to my house and then he puts his hand on my thigh over my jeans and starts moving it up, I slide it off, he places it back on my thigh, takes my hand and puts it over his crotch. I’m nearly in tears. Horrified by what’s happening right now. Flashbacks of the numerous times I cheated on Dylan played in my head, and I imagined the pain Drew would feel if he ever found out what was happening right now. I was devastated. Ashamed. Scared. Every time I took my hand off of him he put it right back. Why would he do that? He has a girlfriend.

We pull up to my house, and he gives me a goodbye kiss(es). Really? Are you fucking serious? Have I not made it clear that I am not interested? That I don’t want to cheat on my boyfriend and that I’m freakin terrified of what’s happening right now? That must not have been apparent to him because he just kept on kissing me, even when I would pull back.

I got out of the car, walked inside, and burst into tears.

I had just cheated on my boyfriend, and that’s something I couldn’t take back, no matter how much I wanted to.

It wasn’t fair. He took advantage of me. Yet I still blamed myself. I couldn’t help but feel guilty. If only I had been more stern with him, if only I had just hopped out of the car and called an uber, if only I had screamed instead of spoke. There was nothing I could do about it now.

I don’t know what to call it. It certainly wasn’t rape, but it felt like it. This had been the second time I’d been “raped.” First by Al in high school, and now by Ismael.

This experience had been a wake-up call. I can’t control myself around alcohol. And I certainly can’t control myself or my environment when I was drunk. Maybe it was time to get sober.

The Unmanageability That Is My Life

Can you pinpoint one time period in your life when your life began to become extremely unmanageable? If so, describe that period of time and what was happening.

This past year I became a student at the University of California, Berkeley. Quite an accomplishment, indeed, yet it hardly feels like one now. Before coming here, when I was still in community college, I had it all figured out. I was killing it in all my classes, transferring with a 3.9 GPA. I had a plan: study political science at a UC, maybe get an internship, go to grad school, work for local or state government, and help improve society. I genuinely enjoyed my major and was excited for all that was to come.

And then I got to Cal. Everything seemed to go downhill from there. Although I believe it may have happened prior to my first semester, during the summer when we first moved to Berkeley. I had a lot of free time – more than I knew what to do with. I managed a pretty healthy routine for a while – wake up, coffee, yoga, run, read. Soon enough, however, I broke that routine, as I always do eventually. Then I would just get high, from sunrise to sunset, and then hours after that. Every day was spent in a haze – it still is. I decided to get on Prozac for the second time (first time was 5 years prior) since I now had medical insurance that covered mental health. As I hit a plateau with the med, I stopped taking it. Within a week or two I nearly killed myself, it was that bad, so I got back on it and slowly weaned off of it (and eventually got on Wellbutrin). But nothing has been the same since that summer.

My first semester was awful. I mean terribly awful. I ended the semester with decent grades (B average, with one A-), but I felt like a failure. My second semester was the same, though I ended it with all As (yay me!)…still lacking the sense of accomplishment though. I failed to make friends, I failed to connect with professors, I failed to join clubs or get involved in any way at all, I failed to go to class (I stopped going completely after midterms…it’s become my new norm), and I failed to have the experience I was looking forward to so dearly. I hated my major, I hated being at the school, I didn’t dare go to grad school anymore, and I’d rather die than work for the government. It was a complete blow; a disappointment of epic proportions. I nearly dropped out because I was so miserable, convinced that maybe college wasn’t for me. I am still convinced of that, but I’m pushing through my final year.

Anyway, things got out of control. I felt helpless; hopeless; completely lost and alone. I was ready to die.

In an effort to combat my deep emotional disturbances, I relapsed into bulimia, twice, and then anorexia. All briefly, but nonetheless extremely detrimental to my spirit. It had been 5 years since I had B/P or starved. All of that strength, all of the work I had put into recovery (MAN was it a lot of work), all went down the drain. I now felt like even more of a failure, unworthy of the recovery tattoo engraved into the back of my neck. I didn’t think it would happen, but it did.

I also got myself an Adderall prescription (thank God, because I was spending way too much money buying that shit off the street), and basically had a semester long binge in the Spring of 2017. I was popping up to 2 a day, every day. Of course, to counter the dreadful comedown of the amphetamine salts I would smoke/dab for hours on end into the night, as well as drink. And this was on a daily basis: antidepressant, Adderall, cannabis, alcohol. At one point I became desperate to find painkiller and Xanax, to no success.

My life had become unmanageable. My eating habits turned to shit, I sat on my ass all day every day (God forbid I go exercise), the apartment stayed a pigsty, and my mental and spiritual (even physical) health were deteriorating at a rapid pace.

I was 100% completely dependent on drugs. If I didn’t get my Adderall, I couldn’t get anything for school done. If I didn’t smoke, I couldn’t eat, sleep, or basically carry on with my day. If I didn’t drink…well then I would have to smoke even more (at this point I was ingesting like 3x my usual dose of cannabis). It was a vicious cycle, and when the semester ended and I was due for a much-needed detox, the struggle was REAL.

I don’t want my next (and final) year at Cal to be like my first. For the past 5 years I’d worked SO hard on reinventing myself. I became a better person (well, tried to). I prioritized my health and had finally created a good work ethic. Within one to two semesters here everything went to shit. It seemed like all the work I put into myself had just been for nothing, because I was exactly where I had been 5 years prior: tweaking, bulimic, suicidal, desperate.

Control…it’s a funny thing, isn’t it? I restrict and/or purge to control my weight. I take drugs to control my mood. Yet by doing so I had fallen so terribly out of control. Life was unmanageable, I was unmanageable.

When would I just grow up and face life like an adult? Sober.

Sobriety…Is It Really For Me?

Why am I doing this?

Putting myself through such a transformation at such a young age…I mean, getting sober at the age of 21? What the fuck, right? I just became legal to drink and now I want to give it up? Do I really want to do that?

Part of me doesn’t. As I look around and see my fellow peers, friends, coworkers, and the numerous randos that come in and out of Trader Vic’s, all of whom drink liquor like it could be water, I question if what I’m doing is the right move for this time in my life. The worst thing about all of this, I think, is that alcohol is not my culprit – pot is. Drugs are. Anything that’s mood altering, really. I just like to escape reality, via whatever is available. But mainly, it’s the damn pot. Pathetic, right? Who gets addicted to pot…? Um, about 10% of those who use/abuse it. I happen to be part of that 10%, unfortunately. But still, pot is harmless, right? Some would say so, yes. And I agree, for the most part.

Even so, another part of me believes that I must abstain from all drugs (which IMO includes alcohol as well) in order to fully have a spiritual awakening and become the woman I know I can and want to become. Because let’s face it, I’m extremely unhappy with myself and most aspects of my life – to no one’s fault but my own, of course. And maybe, just maybe, the only way to truly get my shit together is to get sober – entirely. I couldn’t even tell you the last time I had a truly sober day. But I don’t want to be straight edge for the rest of my life. Not that there’s anything wrong with that….if you are happy with your life and your reality, with your circumstances and just with yourself generally, then good for you – sobriety is treating you well. But frankly, with my history, I couldn’t imagine a life for myself free of booze and/or drugs. It’s become a part of my identity. But maybe that’s problem.

I keep imaging a life inside my head, one where I am out with friends (at a club, or a bar, or what have you), having fun, getting drunk, and just enjoying the thrill. When I play this scene inside my head it’s comforting for a second – why should I give up the fun when it’s only just begun (supposedly), I mean COME ON! I JUST turned 21!

But in reality, that scene is just an illusion. I don’t have friends (at least none that I actually see), I don’t go out (what even is nightlife? I tried it once in Vegas and it was an epic fail, to say the least), and I’ve never even been to a real club, or bar, really. In reality, I stay home and drink, either by myself or with my boyfriend. I drink, I cook dinner and usually end up burning myself, and then I PTFO for the night. In reality, this is my night life. And it’s anything but glamorous. What makes me think this will ever change – at least in the near future?

When I reflect on my expectations vs. reality it becomes clear to me that I have yet to complete Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol/drugs and that our lives had become unmanageable.

I am still in denial.

Update: end of semester, amphetamine detox, necessary changes

The semester ended on Thursday, and so did my adderall binge. This is day 2 of my amphetamine detox and I feel like death. All I want to do is sleep. Waking up in the morning is a mission, and I don’t have the mental energy to even visualize myself doing anything – let alone the physical.

My mental health has deteriorated substantially. I can’t get anorexia out of my head, all the while continuing to eat like shit. It’s making me want to go on a violent binge and purge spree, but I can’t get myself to do that. Not again after relapsing a few months ago.

I’m trying to dig deep down inside to find the strength and willpower to get better. But I’m suicidal as hell. At this point, I feel very hopeless. Not to mention helpless – I still don’t have a therapist. And my meds suck. Yet another antidepressant I can cross off the list. Fuck you Wellbutrin.

I want to get better. I want to want to get better, but I just keep slipping into self-destructing thoughts, behaviors, and lifestyles. It’s like I can’t help it. I want to destroy myself – I already feel defeated.

I am so tired. I am so fucking weak. We will see if I experience any serious symptoms of withdrawal, as I’ve quit the amphs cold turkey.

Drew and I are going camping next weekend and I’m really looking forward to it, but I pray that my mind and body and strong enough for the trip.

Mia Came to Visit Again 

7 AM. Woke up heartbroken from my dreams. What else is new. I constantly dream of being cheated on, being harassed, and having no friends or anyone on my side. It used to happen so often that I would wake up EVERY morning with my clothes and sheets completely drenched. Today was one of those mornings.

They leave me suicidal, introspective of myself and all my character defects. Hyper aware of the extent of them all.

I relapsed yesterday, once again. Stuffed my face with pizza and coke at work and then felt so fucking fat, disgusting and uncomfortable that the tears that began to form around my eyes rushed me into the bathroom to purge it all out. And once again, it felt right.

Until I got home. Where I began to feel as if my relationship was going to shit. Though I have been feeling like this a lot lately. As if Drew and I are growing apart. I think my relationship might actually be a huge cause to all the stress I have been feeling lately – and knowing me, this type of stress is much more consequential than others. I’m feeling abandoned. Drew works all day, every day. I’m glad he is driven and enjoy what he does, but I feel like he is investing in his own future more than ours, and that depresses me to an entirely new level. Because I thought we were moving forward, together. Sometimes I also feel like I don’t know who this man is, and like he doesn’t know nor wants to get to know who I am. Who would? I’m nothing but baggage, drama; I’m just a burden. He makes me so mad sometimes when he shows apathy about things that light such passion in my heart. And I get angry. I start to devalue him (here’s one way my BPD comes into play). So I begin to picture my life single, and for a moment, I like it. But as soon as he begins to act distant or rude to be, I’m back by his feet begging for his love. And I hate myself for it. I don’t even know who I am anymore, what I want.

I also find myself thinking about Dylan when my BPD acts up, he was the only person who understood me. He was in my dream last night. I wanted to crawl back into his arms and have him love me again, the way I need to be loved. Because I am not getting anywhere near enough love or affection from Drew. And it’s tearing me apart. Why can’t I just love myself the way I need other to love me? That is the root of all my problems. The answer? Sobriety. God. But as I’ve tried countless times, it’s impossible. And that makes me feel 100 times worse. I’m a big fat fucking failure and I deserve to suffer, to die.

Suicide sounds so right. It feels so right. The temptation to pull the trigger is burning in my soul. Every day I am finding less and less to live for and feel as though the woman I want to be is getting farther and farther away. And here I sit, hopeless; helpless; desperate for love. Desperate for answers. For happiness. For a reason to live.

Yet I cannot think of a single one.

Time to get ready for work. Happy Easter.

Letting Go of the Past

“It is not where we were that counts, but where we are going.”
Basic Text, p. 23

When we first find recovery, some of us feel shame or despair at calling ourselves “addicts.” In the early days, we may be filled with both fear and hope as we struggle to find new meaning in our lives. The past may seem inescapable and overpowering. It may be hard to think of ourselves in any way other than the way we always have.
While memories of the past can serve as reminders of what’s waiting for us if we use again, the can also keep us stuck in a nightmare of shame and fear. Though it may be difficult to let go of those memories, each day in recovery can bring us that much farther away from our active addiction. Each day, we can find more to look forward to and less to punish ourselves for.
In recovery, all doors are open to us. We have many choices. Our new life is rich and full of promise. While we cannot forget the past, we don’t have to live in it. We can move on.

Just for Today:
I will pack my bags and move out of my past into a present filled with hope.

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