Day 27. Nobody said it was easy..

I am totally digging AA. It’s very clear that the more you put into the program, the more you gain from it.

Keep coming back. It works if you work it.

Yesterday I shared and got a bit emotional. I get very anxious about sharing. I can end up spending the whole meeting with my mind racing, trying to build up the courage to open up. Willing myself to speak but finding myself unable to. However, in the past few meetings I have pushed myself to ‘get it out of the way’ and have been the 2nd or 3rd person to share. Then I get to relax and find myself able to properly listen to the rest of the meeting.

I’m aware I’m making it sound rather an ordeal. I’ll admit – it can be tough going! But as the old adage goes..

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Yesterday I gave the room a little background history of my drinking and drug use – a rough timeline starting at 14 until present day. I spoke about the drinking culture I grew up with. About my ‘recreational’ teenage years. Where it started to get out of hand. Times I tried to stop. Times my use went up a gear (or 10!).  I started out by saying that I was really battling with my anxiety and that I might lose my thread but that I wanted to start talking and just see where it led me.

To be perfectly frank, I’m not sure how long I shared for or what I divulged but when I stopped, I was shaking like a leaf, my face felt like it was on fire and I was crying. Not hysterically, but my face was wet. The person who was running the meeting called for a 10 minute break. Straight away I had arms around me. A woman whispered in my ear,

‘I can’t believe you just said all that! You did so well.’

She gave me her number. Then another woman gave me her number. Then a man gave me a big hug (after asking my permission ❤ ). Another man came up to me and showed me a particular passage in the Big Book (AA) that he thought was pertinent. Others offered supportive and kind words.

It blew my mind. So much so, I got up early this morning and went to another meeting. I plan to go to one tomorrow too.

I’m sold!!

These are my people!

At this morning’s meeting there was a man from California. He is on vacation here in Wales and sought out a meeting 5200 miles away from his home group!! Isn’t that brilliant?! I think it’s great.

I’m feeling a bit evangelical about it. Can you tell?

It’s difficult to go from the warmth of the rooms to the somewhat cooler atmosphere at home. Yesterday was better than the day before. Today was better again but still had some odd moments.  Same old, same old.

The bare minimum of what is required of me is to not pick up a drink or take a pill. Some days that has to be enough. Last week I could barely manage to get up and get dressed. I had physical, crushing pain in my chest and an upset stomach from the anxiety. I wanted to hide under the duvet and self-soothe myself with books and tv.

For the majority of last week I achieved the bare minimum.

The past few days I have written and exercised. I have gone to meetings and shared. I have spoken on the phone to my family. I have even baked!  Rob thinks I don’t see the correlation between my lighter mood and achieving these activities. He gets freaked out when he sees me stopping doing them. Last week I didn’t blog much. I didn’t run. I avoided calling my family on the phone. I was struggling to put one foot in front of the other after a panic attack earlier in the week. I didn’t force myself to run or write because all my energy was going into just about keeping my shit together.  Of course this resulted in him panicking and seeing all kinds of red-flags and signals to a potential lapse.  I totally understand why he is paranoid and anxious but his reaction to these ‘signs’ is to freeze me out. He shuts down and stops talking to me. I find this incredibly hard to cope with.

 

I was still going to meetings but because he’s not a witness to what goes on in those rooms, I guess it doesn’t make an impact as such. All he sees is inertia and lack of self-care. It was a ‘bare-minimum’ kind of week. The really sad thing is, I’m so sure it would be easier on both of us if he could support me more when I feel like that but his auto-pilot reaction is to distance himself in case he gets hurt (-i.e incase I did relapse). If I were to feel love and support at those most brutal and ugly times as opposed to pressure, resentment, fear and rejection..well..it doesn’t need spelling out does it.

I did go for a run and wrote a blog entry a few days ago, under slight duress. If it had been left to me, it’s unlikely I would have done so and I said as much in my blog entry.  Once he read that post and that thought was in his head – that I was only doing those important things for him and not myself– HE UNRAVELED! He shut himself away in the bedroom and barely spoke to me for 24 hours.

I know I need to want my own recovery. I KNOW it will only work if I want it, NOT if I only do it for others. I KNOW THIS. BUT, I was having a particularly hard week.

A partner who I am totally dependant on that can barely look at me or be in the same room as me. (After reading this he may accuse me of using language that makes me out to be a victim and likely resent that I paint him in this negative way so I remind you readers, that you are only hearing one side to our story and that he didn’t ask for any of this. I wrote this hours ago but have been reluctant to publish because I don’t want to give him any reason to be cold towards me. I have waited until I have come to bed and spent another half an hour editing it.)

I have also been really missing my children and being apart from them for prolonged periods can make my anxiety unbearable at times.

I am feeling much better than I was a few days ago. Not brilliant, but ok. And that run that I went on because I felt under pressure to? Well, maybe that was ok! Maybe it was ok to go for resentful run because the next day I went for myself. And the day after that!

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This recovery stuff is hard. For everyone involved.

I’m looking forward to AA tomorrow.

 

 

Day 25.

I feel like I have to sit down and make myself write something but I’m really not feeling it. I have nothing much to say. Or maybe it’s that I don’t feel like sharing? I have come to feel a little resentment at having nothing private. I am doing a fair amount of sharing at AA and with my sponsor and this feels like it should be enough!

It baffles Rob that I don’t share like a typical woman. That I don’t spend hours on the phone moaning or gossiping but that’s just not me. He thinks it’s counterproductive to my recovery but I just feel increased pressure from him to act in a way that makes me anxious and is not natural to me. I do not enjoy speaking on the phone! I am fine talking with a friend over a coffee or in a meeting and I am doing these things.

My lack of writing worries him because without it, he struggles to get me to express how I’m feeling. I’ve tried to explain that talking and sharing with him is difficult because 75% of the time he appears hostile to me. Why would I want to confide in someone who can barely be in the same room as me? It’s a vicious circle. He pulls away emotionally but wants me to communicate to him how I am feeling. How is that supposed to work?? Sitting down in the same room as me at the end of the day and asking me how I am (usually without looking at me) does not inspire me to open my heart.

So I guess this post is for him. Because the more days that go by without me writing, the more anxious he gets and the more anxious he gets, the more anxious I get.

I have really had a hard time with anxiety this week. I have a constant low-level chest pain and uneasy feeling which has made it impossible to run. So I haven’t written or ran since last weekend  – until today.  I also haven’t drank alcohol or consumed a substance so I really feel like I could do with a pat on the back. I wont get that at home. I do get it from my AA pals as they know what a miracle a sober day is when your mind is trying to fuck you over.

My appointment with the substance misuse team is on Weds. Same day as Fable’s 2nd birthday.  Before that, I have a meeting tomorrow and Monday and I’m seeing a friend for coffee on Tues. I have homework to do on Step 2 which I’m getting through before next week.

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Day 20.

Hi guys. I feel like writing today and THAT makes all the difference to the quality of my blog posts, I reckon.

I’m sat in the garden on a sunny Sunday morning with a coffee and biscuits (cookies), watching Fable eat dandelions and dirt and this is the time I feel inspired and like I want to share.

We had a difficult day yesterday. Nothing I said or did was right. Nothing Rob said or did was right. Fable was our only saving grace. In conclusion; it was a shitty day with lots  of bickering. Rob called it disheartening. I argued that it was normal – then we fought about what to feel about it. Yeh – it was one of those days.

I have been to a couple of AA meetings since I last wrote. I really am getting a lot out of them. I’m still feeling anxious about sharing, it’s purely a nerves thing. I over think it. I find I share more easily in my ‘home’ group on a Monday. The Saturday group I’ve started going to, there’s more unfamiliar faces and I get stage fright!

I miss my kids. The longer that goes by without seeing Sylvie and Sonny the more uneasy I feel. Rob asked me the other night how I felt and the only way I could describe it was;

It feels like there’s something not quite right, all of the time.

I feel uneasy. I feel guilty. I feel sad. I get prickles of shame when I think about them.

Louis C.K says something about being a parent which keeps popping up in my mind. Something like, it’s nothing more important that just being there. Just showing up. I keep torturing myself that that’s the one thing that I’m failing at. That when my kids think back to their childhoods it will be their Dad that they remember being as the one constant in their lives. It’s not a good feeling.

After my AA meeting yesterday I went for coffee with 3 other AA women. It was really nice. Tonight I am meeting with my sponsor before a meeting to go over some worksheets on Step One that I have completed before a Sun evening meeting which I yet to attend. I plan to go to my usual meeting tomorrow afternoon too so I feel like I am trying hard. I’m going to mow the front lawn today. Maybe go for a run. Finish my book.

I feel like today will be better that yesterday.  ❤

Things I have achieved today..

I feel like I’ve really done well today despite waking with a resentful and agitated heart and I want to make note of it so here’s a list of the things I have accomplished today on top of the day-to-day undertakings of looking after a toddler i.e- feeding, entertaining, bathing etc..

  1. Mowed the lawn. Including adjusting the blade on the mower to cut the grass shorter.
  2. Returned an email. Yes, just one single solitary email but it counts.
  3. Completed 2 pages of worksheets on Step One, given to me by my sponsor.
  4. Answered a phone call from a woman from AA and had a conversation with her- (as opposed to ignoring phone and anxiously looking at the voicemail notification all day.)
  5. Wrote a blog entry.
  6. Took Fable to the park.
  7. Went for a run.
  8. 8,446 steps by 6.45pm.
  9. Read a few chapters of The Psychopath Whisperer.
  10. Watched the new episode of Veep. NOTHING makes me laugh harder than that show. WATCH IT.
  11. Wrote another blog entry.

So that’s it folks. That’s what I’ve done so far today. When I think back to some of my worst, most depressive days this would have more than I could have got done in a month.

Day 15.

I wrote yesterday morning’s blog entry on a bit of a natural high. I was feeling strong and like I can do this – whatever this is. Then Rob got up and confessed that he didn’t he could this anymore. I honestly thought for a minute he was ending it there and then. I felt every cell in body seize up and my blood run cold.

He’s so afraid that I will back out of rehab or that I will play down my necessity for it at the assessment so successfully that they will pat me on the back and send me on my way. We’re both living on a knife-edge, swinging from resentment to pity, rage to sorrow and back again with sporadic hugs and shared meals. It’s not a good place to be. He fully accepts the mood of the house falls to him the majority of the time, with me testing the waters and reading each room I walk into.

He’s trying.

I’m trying too.

It’s 2 weeks until my initial appointment with the Substance Misuse Service and then who knows how long until I know anything about a confirmed place at rehab, if indeed I get a place. I’m terrified I wont. What becomes of me then? I have thought maybe I should exaggerate my drug use to ensure a place? Probably not a good idea but desperate times and all that…

Just before leaving for my AA meeting yesterday lunch time Rob mentioned that he was considering going to stay at his mum’s for a few days with Fable. Not leaving leaving – just a break. A few days to catch our breath. The sad thing is I didn’t think it was a terrible idea. I want him to do whatever he needs to feel better. I have to admit though, it kind of plunged me into such a downer I have yet to resurface. He hasn’t gone and I don’t know if he still plans to.  Last night we talked about it briefly and he said the thought of it makes him feel guilty. That taking Fable away from me doesn’t feel good to him. I don’t know how I feel.

AA was really good. I am feeling so enthused about it. It had been suggested to me that helping with setting up and washing up and packing away tables and chairs at the end is a good way to immerse yourself within the fellowship and to make friends. That the conversations you have in those 10 minute sessions may end up being the words that stick with you. I gained another phone number and spoke to 4 more members one-on-one. I really wish I could get to more meetings. I am feeling frustrated by that. (I can’t quite believe that I said that!!)

I woke in a bad mood today. I don’t feel secure at home. I feel agitated and restless. I feel completely at Rob’s mercy which is making me resentful. I feel like he could turn around at any moment and say ‘that’s it, no more’ even though I am winning at controlling my demons. I feel like I could never put a wrong foot from here on in and still lose.

I need some certainty from somewhere.

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Can I just tell you though…I haven’t had the thought about buying or taking pills in days!!! It’s a fact that I shared in AA and those people truly appreciated it for the miracle it is.  So despite all the poop I just dumped on you, I’m still winning you gays ❤ ❤

 

Day 14. All good under the hood.

I’ve had a few days off from writing this blog. To be honest I don’t feel like writing it today but I know it’s preying on Rob’s mind so I feel like I must. To him, my lack of words signifies a lapse, the beginning of the steps to relapse. This blog has become one of the ways in which I communicate to him how I’m doing. So when he asked if I’d stopped blogging yesterday, (it’s always that most extreme version – have I stopped? Not, are you taking a break from it? Or how come you haven’t written for a few days?) I knew it was going to be a tricky day. He’s clearly having a difficult time but, and here’s the thing, I am not. The reason I haven’t bothered to blog in 5 days is because I’ve actually been feeling at peace. And I have been talking to actual, real-life people, from my actual real life. You know? – the thing that I find really difficult AND the thing Rob has tried to encourage me to do over and over.

I have had a couple of long talks with Ruby, my eldest daughter which have been good for the soul. I went out with my friend Lesley for food and to the cinema last week. I talked to my auntie Meg for a while on the phone. To Rachel – my good friend, also on the phone. I met up with a friend on Friday that I had never met in person before. We ‘met’ online over 13 years ago on a internet baby forum. She was on holiday here and we spent the afternoon together. Just us. I was anxious about it beforehand but I refused to give in and cancel or make up a reason not to meet and we had the loveliest time. I talked my little head off to her about everything and went home feeling good about myself for acting like a normal human for once.

On Saturday I went to a AA meeting with my new sponsor and actually looked forward to going! I’m beginning to feel like I belong somewhere and I’m making friends without feeling like a fraud. I’m not hiding any part of myself from these people and it’s liberating. After the meeting (which was the best one I’ve been to so far!) I went back to my sponsor’s house to start work on step one. She had printed out some worksheets which we briefly went over but we spent most of the time just talking non-stop.

I am sure that Rob is finding things more difficult than me because to him, nothing much has changed. In fact, it looks like I’m doing less to help myself because I haven’t been writing this but I am feeling so strong. He seems to have worse days when I go off by myself (without him). I guess those are the times when he dwells on what I could really be up to. It’s understandable and I’m reminding myself that it is fair. I have told him before that I am ok when I haven’t been so why should he be reassured now?

I have felt a renewed interest in running which is pleasing although I ache like crazy today after running for the last 3 days in a row. I am sleeping better. My anxiety feels manageable. My mammogram gave me the all-clear! I find I can concentrate much better – this is so underrated and so pleasing to me. I couldn’t even concentrate on making a cup of tea before now, often putting too much sugar in a cup because I’d forget I’d already put one in.

I have AA later today which I’m glad about. It’s good to feel wanted.

Day 9.

It’s 6pm here and I feel like I’ve actually achieved something today despite not getting dressed or leaving the house. I have gotten through another day without acting on my intrusive thoughts. Rob said to me earlier that I looked spaced out. It’s natural for me to immediately feel defensive at that kind of comment. I can’t help but view it as an accusation but he was right. I have felt a little dazed today.

After every relapse or slip that I have had,  I would have,  by now,  been unable to ignore the voice in my head telling me to leave the house and buy pills. I may not have gone through with actually buying any pills but I would already be walking past pharmacies,  torturing myself. I would already be waking up in the morning and devising a plan on how to persuade Rob to be ok with me taking Fable out. This morning I woke up and went back to sleep twice before being woken by Rob which rarely happens.

I’m still having unwanted, intrusive thoughts throughout the day but I’m able to let them go which still feels like a miracle to me. I have listened to music, gardened, written, read and played with the baby, all without the constant background noise whirring in my head, pleading with me to obey.

LEAVE THE HOUSE. 

NO! STFU. GO AWAY! 

*intrusive thought slinks away*

I find it really difficult to listen to music. I know that’s weird but bear with me while I try to explain.

When my brother was ill I stopped listening to music. Even shit music. Anything that could stir any kind of emotion was a no-go. I couldn’t risk feeling anything. It took me years to be able to listen to a whole song again and I still struggle with it.

I always know when I am doing well in recovery when I get the urge to listen to music. Old favourites that deliver that delicious dopamine hit and inspire euphoria. Today I revisited some of these..

“Wake Up”

Somethin’ filled up
my heart with nothin’.
Someone told me not to cry.But now that I’m older,
my heart’s colder,
and I can see that it’s a lie.Children, wake up.
Hold your mistake up
before they turn the summer into dust.If the children don’t grow up,
our bodies get bigger but our hearts get torn up.
We’re just a million little gods causin’ rain storms,
turnin’ every good thing to rust.

I guess we’ll just have to adjust.

With my lightnin’ bolts a glowin’,
I can see where I am goin’ to be
when the reaper he reaches and touches my hand.

With my lightnin’ bolts a glowin’,
I can see where I am goin’.
With my lightnin’ bolts a glowin’,
I can see where I am go — goin’!

You better look out below!

I’ve also texted my AA sponsor today and another lady I met at AA without feeling like a burden or a nuisance.

Tomorrow I have a mammogram. Fun, fun. ;P

Rehab

Yesterday I went to see a rehab facility.  I spent a little time there and talked to one of the people in charge. He himself used to be an addict and used to be a patient there. It was a ok. There are only 7 bedrooms, a couple of small communal rooms and a big kitchen as well as staff facilities. Everything about it was welcoming. The only thing that really freaks me out is the average length treatment. It’s 3 to 6 months! I can’t imagine being apart from my baby and away from my home for that long. Even 3 months.

There are visiting times at weekends but still. If there’s one thing that will make me want to pack it in it will be homesickness and missing Fable. I feel trapped. I’m not against rehab, I know I need it and all of me wants to be better. Rob basically spelled it out to me – don’t go to rehab and lose your family and home anyway.

Ty’n Rodyn / Cais

 

 

Day 7. Storytime.

It is 1992. I am 14 years old and member of one of the most successful youth theatre groups in the UK. There is a fair amount of buzz about us. The previous year we had won an award and performed on the National Theatre of London. I was not part of the as I’d joined after the fact but I most certainly wanted a piece of it.

I’ve told you a little about acting throughout primary school and then that YT was my everything. I knew it was what I wanted to and be part of for the rest of my life, or at least until I could begin a family. I’d worked it all out in my head.

First of I would flourish at Drama school. Go swiftly from little to biggest fish. Get noticed at end of year performances by several top-level casting agents. I would be the ingenue of the theatre world. Destined for big things.

So YT was the stepping stone but one I absolutely loved.

Back to ’92 and I would spent a fair amount of time with our company director Reg∗ who was 36 and his girlfriend Sally∗ who was 19. They became a bit of a surrogate family to me. They knew my home life was the pits and took me under their wing. I kind of felt like their 2nd child. You see, Reg also had a little boy Teddy∗ who was about 6.

One Saturday night Sally was going away for the night. There was no issue about me hanging out at their house with Reg whilst she was away. After all I was this child of 14 that, as a couple, had been trying to provide me with at least short periods of stability. I loved being in their home. I feel safe. I loved their family life and the good company. I felt special and included. But , for some reason deep down, that fact the Sally was going away for the night excited me. I idolised Reg. I hung on his every word and thought him the wisest man in existence. I still live my life with much of his values although stopped thinking him an infallible man god, many MANY years ago. (More of that later…)

So here I am at Reg’s house on a Saturday night. Just us. His son is away too, at his mothers. I can’t recall there being any plan for me to go home.  This is how I remember the evening going; excuse me whilst I cringe in the corner here.

Reg and I were sat on the couch just pretending to watch some show or film. He was reading a paper I think and I had my head resting on his lap. I could try to tell you there was nothing unusual about that but it was unusual. I’d never done that before – with him.  My mind was racing but I’m sure it was wanted so I didn’t move. I just intensly watched the tv, not taking in a second of it.

He began to stroke my hair and I could feel what was happening having an effect on him. I turned over and we kissed.  I felt like we’d orchestrated the whole evening, with Sally and Teddy being away. I have the overconfidence of a young teenage girl who was kissing her YT leader and not being pushed away.

He got up to go to the bathroom and I quickly took off my bra and stuffed it in my bag.

When he didn’t come back downstairs I took that as sign to go upstairs and find him. I found him sitting on his bed. I began to walk in but he quickly stood up and begged me to stop. We kissed again. I was trying to persuade him. He used sentences like;

I’m us using all my will-power here!

This can’t happen.

I’m too old for you (Never you’re too young for me)

He never mentioned his family.

He made me go and sleep in his son’s bedroom for the night.

Please Kelly, you’re killing me here. I’m a weak man. Blad de blah.

I didn’t sleep a wink. I was fired up.

In the morning he made some breakfast and I decsended the stairs with the confidence of a much older woman. I wouldn’t even be a woman legally for 4 years.

Reg apologised for the night before and said it couldn’t happen again. I smirked at him and replied; ‘It’s inevitable’.

Later on he would tell me that was the moment he knew his was fucked.

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(to be continued)

Day 7. I got me a sponsor!

I went to AA this morning with some trepidation. I hadn’t drunk alcohol for this slip to happen so would I be discovered as a fraud. Banished to the dismal NA down the road?  I needn’t have worried. After the opening readings, a gentleman shared a really positive story of his history of AA. I won’t elaborate as it’s private but for much of it I was thinking – Why is he wanging on about his lovely weekend? I know that some shares take a while to get where they’re going, and I’ve never seen anyone share without at least one person in the room make a connection or taking away one good idea, but this guy – I just wasn’t getting it.

I usually have to build myself up to share at a meeting. I get horrible anxiety just before and fear I will lose my thread or go blank. I way overthink it. Anyway, after listening to this lovely fellow talk for a good 20 minutes, I jumped straight in!

My name’s Kelly and I’m an alcoholic.

Hi Kelly!!

Well, I’ve had a bitch of a week so rather than overthink it, I’m just going to start at the beginning of last week.

I didn’t hold back about the past week. I explained that I feel that pills are my main intrusive thought but that drinking in every way lowers my defenses. As it happened last week it didn’t happen that way round but I certainly thought about getting drunk in the immediate aftermath.  I spoke a bit about how my actions have impacted other peoples lives, especially my children being unable to visit at Easter and naturally Rob and mine’s relationship. I confessed that every group meeting I have been has left me in awe of the people who have gone a year/2/3/55/66 without taking a drink.

I didn’t speak for long but I had the most amazing response! The next guy to speak after me. An older guy, been coming to AA since he was 66 and now I think he’s in his 80s. He was having a bad day but he felt it been really important to see the contrast of the good and the bad. What he meant was hearing the benefit of 2 sides of life from opposite members. An old-timer and a newbie (me). It benefits us both.

As soon as we hit the break I was bombarded with hugs and stern advice. people begging me to choose a sponsor. I felt so put on the spot. The only lady there I’d really bonded with the lady who’d offered me her number previously . I asked her and she said Yes! As simple as that. Straight after the meeting she took me to her house up the road and gave me her own copy of the big book. She’s arranged to meet me at a weekend meeting and had given me a little homework.

I told her, it feels so alien and uncomfortable to have strangers that seem REALLY seem to care. I want to be a part of it more than anything right now. I had 2 more contact numbers from other women which was cool. A ton of hugs! So much kindness and understanding.

Despite the good day, I feel a bit low. Im feeling super sad about not seeing my older kids over Easter.