Day 53.

(I got the days wrong on my last entry. I used my 9x table instead of 7 to work out my days sober! Doh!)

 

I thought I’d try vlogging today instead of writing. Counting down the days to rehab. Still don’t have a definite date but I’m expecting a phonemail on Tues with the main man. I had to have a blood test earlier in the week for liver function, kidney function, clotting and full blood count. That all came back good. (I’m SO grateful and relieved for that. My poor body has been so resilient. It’s more than time to start treating it with then respect it deserves.)

I have been getting anxiety that this will all fall through. Part of the referral form was information on past suicide attempts. I put down about last August and then got it into my head that that would go against me somehow. That I would fail some kind of risk assessment. Surely addicts have a far higher rate of suicide attempts? Anyway, I rang them up today to reassure myself and the lady on the phone said everything was fine.

Day 63.

I had to miss AA today because Rob is so busy with work. I made it to last night’s meeting and will be going to one tomorrow evening but I haven’t missed my Monday meeting in months. I feel a bit twitchy for not being there. Not because I really feel the need for a meeting today but because I have come to look forward to it so much. It’s my home group and I get a real lift when I am surrounded by these people who I now consider my friends. I am no longer so bothered by nerves and anxiety when it comes to sharing in these rooms. Infact, I have spoken in the last 4 meetings I have been to.  I just received a text from a friend asking where I am and saying that I am missed. That warms my heart.

The women’s only rehab that I was looking at also fell through last week but instead of getting overwhelmed and discouraged, with Rob’s guidance, I got back online and searched for somewhere else.   What I didn’t realise is that there are such a thing as addiction treatment patient brokers that are really not working in your best interests. I came away feeling naive and a little bit hurt if I’m honest. I thought I had bonded with one particular woman. It felt like she was going out of her way to help me but I came to realise that the company she worked for will only point you in the direction of facilities that they cover. I am not very skilled at navigating my way around google when it comes to weeding out such groups. Thankfully, Rob is. We found two places that looked promising and dealt with them directly. The woman from this ‘broker’ site has phoned me 7 times in the past week, leaving an answerphone message 4 times to get back to her. Plus several emails. I thought she was doing this to truly help me. I emailed her on Thursday to thank her for her time and guidance and said I’d get back to her.

The only deals she could offer me (after rescinding on the 28-day, women’s only rehab for £4000, which she was very sorry about but the place was no longer in operation. Okkkkk..) were 3 week rehabs for the same price. She just rang the house now (I can’t remember giving her my home phone number?) and I informed her I no longer needed her help, that I’d found a rehab within my budget that covered the full 28 days and she sounded so pissed off. She probed for details on where the facility was, questioned whether it was a proper rehab and asked for the exact price. When I refused to give them, she abruptly ended the call. I guess I shouldn’t feel so let down. It’s her job but she was uber friendly last week. She discussed with me her own past addiction problems. It’s not uncommon for people working in this field to be recovering addicts so I wasn’t taken aback by this. Now I’m questioning whether it was a ploy?

Anyway! This is the place I will be going sometime in the next 2 weeks – Brynawel.

I feel sick with nerves and excited. Eager to get on with my recovery. Rob even accused me of being excessively happy yesterday! Hahaha. It bothered me at the time but I understand why me being happy would raise red flags for him. I can’t use that as a reason to fight with him anymore. I do feel happy. It probably is weird to see me that way but at the moment I feel like I can take on the world. I try not to think about leaving Fable for a month, what I’m focusing on is the intensive therapy I will be receiving over 28 days – building on the lessons, skills and strength I have found in the last 7 weeks of AA meetings. I’m focusing on the possibility that my relationship with Rob will be stronger. That he will feel happier. I desperately want him to get as much out of this as I do. I’m looking forward to a time when our lives don’t revolve around my illness. I’m not a selfish person but addiction has made me extremely self-centred. The last 2 years has been all about me. I don’t want to be the centre of attention anymore! (Not for these reasons anyway!)  I want the trust and intimacy back with my lover.  I want the people in my life that I love, to be proud of me. I want to be able to look in the mirror. I want a job. Some independence. I want my children back!

I know I am on the way to this already. I feel stronger that I have in many years. I want to go to rehab so that my life can start.

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I’m very behind on reading your blogs. I must apologise for that. I will get on it!

We’re handing in our notice for our home too. I really struggled with acceptance on this. It made me snappy and irritable every time Rob brought it up. I am resistant to change at the best of times but especially so when it comes to where I live. My living arrangements being insecure make me sick with anxiety. Moving here last year really threw me but I have worked hard to accept it. Rob is not happy here. We moved here when we had 2 incomes and Sonny needed space. Now, it all the finances fall on Rob and he can’t afford it anymore. The plan is for me to get a job but I have rehab to think of first. This is also the place where Rob found me near dead only 6 months ago. We have only lived here a year but it has been a miserable year. It looks like we will be moving in with his mother for a couple of months so we can recoup the money he is spending on my rehab. Not ideal. It means Sonny still wont be able to come and stay for a while longer which is upsetting but I am in no position to resist.  We are only moving in the first place because of my addiction. Once I have completed rehab and we’ve saved maybe 2 months of rent and found somewhere smaller and cheaper, we can really move on. I want to be able to contribute. I want a home for my family that doesn’t have such trauma attached to it.

Ok, it’s beautiful outside. I’m going to take my little goblin to the park. Have a great days you guys xxxxx

 

Day 42.

Woah, it’s been over a week since I last blogged!

I’m still feeling really positive about AA. Things have been pretty unbearable at home though. I feel like I can say that today after spending the weekend away from Rob and taking some time out to reflect. It’s very hard when you’re in the thick of it to feel anything other than resentment. I had nothing good today about the situation and didn’t want to share it here. He reads this blog with my blessing and I didn’t want to make the situation even more fraught for either of us. Maybe I just needed a little time to accept where we are. The concept of acceptance is such a big part of AA. I’m beginning to get it, albeit slowly.

The meeting 2 weeks ago with the substance misuse team did not go how we wanted. I went into it playing up how chronic my problem is but I did say that I was a month clean and sober. The assessment went ok but the next day they got back to me to tell me I wasn’t a suitable candidate for any kind of rehab they could offer. Rob even phoned them back to beg/plead/curse them out and all they will do is refer me back to the mental health team to deal with my underlying anxiety issues.

As you all know, Rob only came back after my last slip because I promised to attend rehab. Well now we were having that option taken away from us. He knew it wasn’t my fault but things went from bad to worse between us.

This weekend I went to stay with our good friend Rachel for the weekend. I took Fable with me because Rob trusts Rachel implicitly. Plus, on the Sunday I was going to visit my kids in Builth. Rob confides in Rachel. Rachel is a great listener and she can really talk the hind legs off a donkey. In the car journey home with her on Friday she really spelled it out to me how Rob is not coping. I was already beginning to suspect some kind of PTSD from finding me after my suicide attempt last August. All communication between us in the last 2 weeks had all but ceased. So to have someone neutral to us tell me exactly how it is gave me fresh insight.

Because I have been feeling stronger I was beginning to get impatient with how messed up Rob was over everything. I resented rehab being the sole topic of conversation. I was frustrated at his inability to let things go or see that I am feeling different about things.

It’s not enough for him. He’s seen it all before. So were trying to get together the money for a private women’s only rehab in Cardiff. A 28 day program. It’s £4000. Rob can cover half of it. I asked my parents for the rest. My mother says she can’t help which shouldn’t have surprised me but it did hurt. It looks like my Dad will help. He just wants more information.

The other thing that’s been causing us grief is our finances and living arrangements. We moved into our current home with two incomes and more benefits. When I lost custody of Sonny, we lost a big chunk of monthly income, plus my car. We’re now living pay cheque to pay cheque in a house that is too big for us. We’ve only been here a year but there really are no happy memories here. I’m SO resistant to change, whenever Rob brought up the subject I would panic. I hate moving. I love this house and location but for Rob it’s the house he found me near-dead.

So I have to ACCEPT that we will not be living here much longer. I really wanted to forgo rehab and get a job to help with the bills but neither of those options – me not going to rehab and us staying in this house – will work for Rob.

I’m handing over to my higher power and accepting the big changes a’coming. I can do this. Things can not continue the way they are and I don’t want Rob to suffer anymore. I love him. I want us to be a happy family. My disease has caused us so my pain. I am getting there, so what does a little more upheaval matter? I need him to be able to feel ok about leaving Fable in my care. For him not to be worried sick that I’m unconscious in charge of her. I need to feel trustworthy. I want to bring the people in my life joy, not despair.

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(Me with my 5 kids and my son’s girlfriend on the left)

Day 33. “Hold back nothing”

Today’s daily reflection.

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I was given this to read out loud at today’s meeting. It puts into words what I’m beginning to feel, so succinctly.

Witnessing others share their innermost thoughts and feelings, their bitter resentments and absolute joy is profoundly moving and I come out of every meeting so humbled whether I have shared or not.

I get it!

Hold back nothing! 

To be able to share your true feelings without reproach, in a room full of like-minded people, well, it feels like I’ve found the cure for my cancer. It’s not easy. My disease can create resentment out of anything so I often feel anger that I have to share but actually I don’t have to. I can go to a meeting and listen. Baring your soul every meeting is not a prerequisite.  I gain just as much from meetings where I don’t say a word.

I wish I could take notes!!  I really do because I struggle to remember all the connections my poor brain makes in the thick of it. I get such a rush hearing people say out loud the words that are often jumbled up in the back of my mind. When I first started attending AA, and previously NA, I would see other people nodding and agreeing with the person sharing and now I find myself doing the same. When I feel low – a meeting helps without fail.  When I feel positive – a meeting reinforces that positivity.

I get it!

I have made friends that could very well be life-long. I look forward to meetings and wish I could get to more. It’s beginning to dawn on me that I have a new addiction and this habit is one I can immerse myself in without it killing me.

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“It’s an inside job”.

This phrase came up a few times this afternoon from 2 different people. Meaning;  your emotional well-being is an inside job. *Taps side of head*

They spoke of fear, of anger and resentments. How getting dry/clean is not that difficult. Staying sober is the hard part. Life isn’t suddenly all rainbows and unicorns when you put down the bottle. We all still have the same shit going on – unpaid bills, clashes with loved ones, stress at work or home. Anxiety, depression. We still lose people we love. Hearing people share about these things and adding that they didn’t ‘pick up’ or even want to, hit me like a ton of bricks today. I see the proof right in front of my eyes that this program works. Here are these people, once hopeless drunks and drug addicts  – just like me – coping with their lives and emotions without their crutch. Without numbing themselves. They are feeling their feelings, and some of those feelings are bloody hard to feel. These people – WE – have often spend decades doing things a different way so of course breaking a habit of a lifetime doesn’t come easy. If it did, none of us would need to be there!

Step 2 – “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

I had been stuck on this concept for months. My sponsor pointed out to me that it says ‘came to’ believe. That as long as I was open-minded and had a willingness to believe that that was the most important thing.  I’m letting go of my pre-conceived ideas about AA and religion and opening up my mind.

Every time I hear someone share in AA about how hard their week has been, or how down they have felt for whatever reason, and yet they got through their day or week without picking up a drink – I feel a higher-power.

When I see the tranquility of the ‘old-timers’ as they speak about 10/20/30 years of sobriety after a previous 10/20/30 years of drinking.  How they were so entrenched in their addiction they never believed recovery was possible for them but now they lead happy, fulfilled lives – I feel a higher-power.

These same people who haven’t consumed a drug or drink in decades, still enthusiastically attending AA several times a week. Giving people lifts, turning up early to help set up and staying behind at the end to give a few words of advice to the newer members of the fellowship – I FEEL IT.

Ok, enough about AA – for now.

It was Fable’s 2nd birthday on Wednesday. I love this little girl so much. I want her to grow up being able to depend on me. One of the hardest things for me to deal with right now are my emotions surrounding how I view myself as a mother.

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I’m visiting my other kids this coming weekend. I miss them so much.

There is more to tell you but I have to stop here for now. I wanted to write a positive blog entry because I’m feeling positive but there is some shitty stuff to share. I’ll try to catch you up later.

 

Edited to add. Great book to read – Mad Girl – Bryony Gordon. Check it out! She has also begun a new mental health podcast called Bryony Gordon’s Mad World which recently got a lot of press because her first guest was Prince Harry. I found episode episode 3 with Mandy Stevens really interesting.

One last thing – watch Mind over Marathon on BBC iplayer. It’s about 10 people with various mental health issues who take up the challenge to run the London Marathon. Compelling viewing!