Rigorous Honesty and a Day Count Reset ☹️

rigerous honesty

I have finally owned up to the fact that I can no longer say that I have 1213 days of sobriety.  This has been a tough one for me.  Since I quit drinking on 11/30/13, I have taken opiates four times, an addiction I don’t readily own up to. I took them for the same reasons I used to drink, to not feel something that was painful.  It is the same behavior as drinking to mask my feelings,  I took the pills to make something less of a THING. To make it go away, however briefly.

I have gone back to AA and am giving it 100 percent effort this time around. When I first got sober, I did it online for the first three months, white knuckling it with the WordPress sober community.  I then decided to try an AA meeting. I found one where no one asked anything of me. No coffee making, no greeting, no commitment. Also no offers of sponsorship, nor did I asks. I just went one night a week, sat in a chair, said nothing, then went home. Just going through the motions.

I had a sponsor, but she lived in a different state, so we weren’t connected geographically, and were unable to attend meetings together. We weren’t able to get together in person and discuss my new sobriety the way I can with my new sponsor.

My current sponsor is tough, she expects a daily telephone call, and she expects me to show up at meetings, regularly. No half assing it this time.  I have been doing that, because there has been a hole in my sobriety. Without the meetings, I was back to white knuckling it, and just going through the motions. I wasn’t drinking, but if given the chance or the opportunity, I would happily gulp down a pain pill.

What I have found by attending meetings for the last three months is that  I was missing was the rigorous honesty. When you don’t have to be accountable for your behavior, you give yourself a pass and rationalize away anything.  And I have. I have done that four times when I have chosen to take opiates.

I have attended a lot of meetings in the last few months. I have been listening, and I have heard people tell on themselves repeatedly. I kept hearing the phrase rigorous honesty. It has stirred something deep in me, I have not been honest with myself, or within the program, and now it was time to own up to it.

In my mind I had kept my two addictions in separate places, never admitting the pills were as bad as the alcohol. I was sober because I didn’t drink. I kept up my day count. Nothing was going to stop my streak. Somehow, I discounted the pills, they weren’t my REAL addiction, so I kept going after each pill relapse as though nothing happened.

Except this time it was different, I had a new sponsor, I had to tell on self. That is what we do. When I first asked her if I should reset my day count, she said she felt that I was a bit too fragile and new at the program to do that, and we could let it go. But I can’t. The more meetings I go to, the more I realize that I have to reset my sobriety date. As I have relapsed, not once, but four different times. The pills and the alcohol are the same, they are both an addiction and they belong in the same bucket.

This morning I told my sponsor that I felt I needed to reset the date. The continued talk of rigorous honesty was getting to me. I am not being honest, I am a liar. I have not been sober for 1213 days, I have been cheating.

It is time to own up to it. I don’t want to, in fact it makes me cringe and cry. I can’t even think about getting another 30 day, 60 day, 90 day chip, it just makes me so sad. I am told I will feel better once I admit this. It will be a weight off, it will be the beginning, again, this time with rigorous honesty.

 

 

 

Opiate Relapse, Story #2

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I relapsed with opiates was in December 2015.

Christmas Day of 2015, I received a call from my step-mother. My father was in ICU in Bangor, Maine with pneumonia, can I come please? The next morning, I caught the first ferry off the island, and headed to Maine. Along the way, I stopped at Logan Airport to pick up my brother who had gotten the same call, and had flown in from Saint Louis.

For most people, pneumonia is not a deadly disease. For my father it is. My father is a two time cancer survivor. In case you were ever in doubt, smoking does cause cancer. The cancer first started in his mouth, under his tongue. He had radiation, which killed all his salivary glands, and compromised his jaw bone. In later years, he lost a lot of his teeth. Two years later, the cancer was back, in his lungs. The doctor’s removed the top lobe of his left lung. They caught it early, so he didn’t need any further treatment, and has been cancer free for 20 plus years.

That being said, pneumonia is deadly for a person who has a compromised immune system and has diminished breathing capacity to start with. The doctors also could not identify the strain of pneumonia, so they had no idea how to treat him. My step mother thought he was going to die. Both my brother and I went to Maine.

My brother was also suffering. He had fallen off a ladder and had done something horrific to his neck. He was using the neck hanging traction apparatus, but was in a lot of pain.

When we arrived at my father’s home, my brother said he was in agony. He had taken the last Vicodin that the doctor had prescribed him. I said, “I know that Dad has some pain pills, he never takes them after an operation.” I strapped on my running shoes and made a bee line to their bathroom, lightning speed.

I took a couple of pills out of the bottle and handed them to my brother. I took the 3 bottles I found there, and stashed them in my room.

I was in Maine for a week,  most of the time alone. Spending time in the ICU, and spending a lot of time at my father’s house. I popped pills like a mad woman. Every night I would watch TV, have my seltzer, and take a few pain pills. Every morning I would wake up, feel like shit, and tell myself to flush them down the toilet. Yet, every night, I would repeat the previous evening’s cycle.

When it was time to head home, my true addict surfaced. I emptied the bottles and put the pills into a baggie, which I hid in a compartment in my bag. I threw the empty bottles into my handbag. As I headed south, I stopped for a coffee and bagel. Along the way, at a rest area, I took the empty bottles, put them in the bag of trash from the coffee shop and threw them in the trash can at a rest stop along I-95.

I was sneaky for sure. At the time, it all seemed perfectly normal, in hindsight, it looks like what it is, a drug addict, stealing drugs from family members.

After a few days at home, I came clean to my husband. I had flushed the remaining pills down the toilet, and had, once again, determined to get sober from opiates.

I made it a year and a month.Last week I relapsed. My problem was, I didn’t get help. I did what I always do, I stay sober through sheer determination. I am a competitive person, even with myself. This worked until last week.

In December, I had a realization that I can not power through my addictions by myself.I was struggling, mentally. No matter how many miles I ran to clear the noise from my head, it kept coming back. I needed help.I half- assed a few AA meetings in November. In December, I got serious, I got a sponsor, who I speak to every day. I am a work in progress. I am working on rigorous honesty, with myself and my sponsor, who had no idea how deep my opiate addiction was until last week.

This is the first time I have told on myself about this side of my addiction. This has been my dirty little secret that I have not acknowledged to anyone, and most importantly myself.

Now it is out there, it is with my sponsor, and it is with you. Rigorous honesty isn’t always pretty, this is down right ugly, and it has made me completely uncomfortable to share. I was just getting used to calling myself alcoholic, now I need to add addict.

 

 

 

 

 

 

500 DAYS

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That is 500 bottles of wine, give or take a few.  That is $5000.00, give or take $10.00 or $20.00 bucks.  That is something I never though I would see or be able to do.

I never imagined on 11/30/2013 when I decided to quit drinking that I would still be sober 500 days later.  I had had enough.  I was tired of feeling crappy, hating mornings, hating my relationships, hating the world, hating myself.  I was sick of sitting on the couch night after night, deep into a bottle of wine, wondering what “normal” people do.  I was tired of looking at people doing wonderful things,being successful, and questioning whether they drank a bottle of wine every night too.  I was sick of myself.  I was sick and disgusted at what I had become.

I have no idea what clicked in my head on that day in November, or why I have been successful this time around.  I often spend time trying to put my finger on the catalyst.  Why this time, what was different?  I still do not know.  I imagine the Universe had a different plan for me, and decided that it was time for it to begin.

The past 16 months have had a lot of challenges.  Life is challenging, but it seems as though mine got more so once I got sober.  Maybe I was just more aware of it because I was sober.  In the past I would have used any challenges life threw at me as an excuse to drink excessively, but I didn’t, I stayed sober.  It wasn’t easy, it still isn’t at times, yet here I am, still sober after 500 days.

That being said, and hopefully not to be too boring, here is another list of the things I have learned thus far:

  • The first three months of sobriety suck.  They really, really, really, suck, suck suck.  At least that is my personal experience.
  • The above is what helps keep me sober.  I do not want to have to EVER feel that way again.
  • I have to BELIEVE.  Believe that it gets better, because it does.  Believe that AA works if you work it, because it does.  Believe that life is better sober, because even when it isn’t, it really IS.  I continue to listen and believe, because so far everything I have been told has been the truth.
  • I don’t have to drink when bad things happen.  I may WANT to drink, I may think I NEED a drink, but I really don’t.  Drinking never made anything bad better, it actually made the bad things worse.  It is just easier to see that now with a clear head and heart.
  • If you go to AA, you really should read the Big Book.  I read most of it in early sobriety, not all of it.  I thought is was outdated and couldn’t help me.  It may have been too soon in my sobriety to have seen it, but the book has a lot of important information in it.  It is all how you interpret it.
  • Sober people are some of the nicest, most giving people out there.  That said, be careful who you choose to confide in,and get close to, not everyone is pure of heart, and it hurts real bad when you find that out.  Especially after sharing intimate details of your life.
  • What you hear hear, does not always stay here.  That sucks, it is shocking when you find out you are being talked about outside the room.  Unfortunately this happened to me, and I still can’t get my head around it.
  • Life is a marathon not a race, and so is sobriety.  Cliche, I know.  I am a runner, so I am always about racing to the finish line, getting it done, being first.  I can’t do that with this process.  Things have unfolded over time, on its own.  It doesn’t matter how much I want it, it comes to me when I am ready for it to be revealed.
  • I often wonder if people who aren’t addicts work on themselves as much as addicts do.  Or do they already know all of this stuff?  Do they have this life thing figured out?
  • I am much more sensitive to people being assholes than I was before.  Probably because I was an asshole too.  I am far from perfect, but at least I am trying.  When I find that I am being and asshole, I apologize immediately.  Something I have learned in sobriety.
  • Sobriety is like a see-saw.  It has its highs and lows.  Anything else is unrealistic.  I was unrealistic frequently.  I thought, I am now sober, bring on all the great things.  It doesn’t work that way.  It is still life.
  • I started out being a non believer.  No higher power, no spiritual guidance, nothing, just me, powering through it all, all alone.  That has changed.  No one is more amazed by this than me.  I still am not comfortable with some of the verbiage,especially the word God, but I sincerely believe that the wind that is in my sails is not by chance.
  • Having an attitude of gratitude is a much better way to live.  Instead of negative thinking, I work hard at finding the good in any situation.  (Although I am still stymied by the fact that my mother is dead, I have found nothing good there.)
  • I freaked out my home group when I told them I wanted to drink.  I didn’t really WANT to drink, I wanted to not feel the way I was feeling, and the go to has always been to drink.  It was nice to know how much they care about me, and how much support they really give me.
  • I don’t know if I put my sobriety FIRST every day, I am not sure what that really means.  I do have a sobriety counter on my phone that greets me each morning with how many days I have been sober.  That has worked for me so far.
  • I am still uncomfortable with sober firsts.  I guess that will continue until there are no more firsts to be had.
  • I no longer need pats on the back or accolades about how well I am doing.  The only person I am doing this for is me.

500 days sober.  All strung together in one row.

And on I go.