Posts Tagged ‘alcohol’

Bullshit

January 15, 2019

I keep expecting someone to say that when I say, “thank you for 14 years.”

It sounds so surreal coming out of my mouth.

How the hell did that happen?

Really?

Fourteen years.

Nights and weekends, nothing in between, nothing to take the edge off.

As if anything really could.

Using or drinking for me over an issue or a problem would just be pouring gas on a bonfire.

I would burn it all down and I don’t actually think I would die.

That would be the easier, softer way.

No.

I think I would live a miserable, dire, soul less, ugly life.

I have so much in my life I cannot imagine ever going back.

I do see it happen though.

So here’s to having more commitments and suiting up and showing up and doing the deal no matter what.

My life is really wonderful and it was with much sweetness that I picked up some metal last night in front of my community who witnesses me with so much love.

It really awes me the amount of love I have been given access to.

Most of all, the love I feel for myself.

The level of compassion and forgiveness I have for myself really is so vast.

I didn’t have it growing up.

Occasionally I would have a moment where I thought I might have something worthy in me, I was certainly smart, but how many times does it take for a person to hear that she is “too smart for her own good,” before she begins, I begin, to think the same.

I used to also wonder.

How come if I’m so damn smart I can’t figure out my life or what I want or where I’m going.

I mean.

I had some idea.

I knew I wanted out of Wisconsin and after multiply failed attempts I made it out in 2002 to travel all the way across the country and cross the Bay Bridge in my little two door Honda Accord.

I still remember what it felt like crossing over that bridge.

I was definitely crossing a threshold.

I had no idea.

Sometimes I think it’s a good thing that I didn’t know all the things that were going to transpire.

Who knows if I would have made it out.

I do certainly remember that.

I had a feeling of dread that my time was soon to be up in Wisconsin and I needed to leave, there was a constant low-level thrum of anxiety, a beating drum of doom that throbbed just below everything.

I was in constant fear.

I had no name for it though.

I had no idea the anxiety I was under.

I knew the depression.

That I had at least been seen for, once when I was in my early twenties and when the therapist wanted to medicate me as my insurance wouldn’t allow her to continue serving me unless I was prescribed meds, I bounced.

I didn’t understand then what depression meant.

All I knew was that sometimes it was terribly hard to get out of bed.

Or bathe.

I remember my boyfriend once made a comment about it, that the sheets needed to be changed or washed and I knew I had to get out and wash the bedding and myself, but getting into the shower was so damn hard.

I can remember how sunny it was too and we lived really close to James Madison park, literally just a few blocks away on Franklin.

I can count the number of times I went to the park on a sunny summer day on one hand and have more than a few fingers left over.

I could not get myself out of the house.

I knew it would pass.

It always did.

But it started to get longer.

And longer.

I might have a day of it once in a while and then nothing for sometime and then it would just snake back in.

For some reason it happened (and can happen for me now, there’s sometimes a feeling of dread during the longest days of the year) during the summer when there was lots of light and no reason to be caged up inside.

People think depression and they see rainy days and grey skies.

I saw sunshine and couldn’t bear to be out in it.

I worked nights.

I slept days.

Sometimes, in the dead of winter I would not see the sunlight at all.

Unless it was the sunrise coming up as I was coming home from closing the bar where I worked.

I was diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder in undergrad.

Turns out that some folks, about 10% of the population that has the disorder, actually experience the depression in the summer.

I remember one year that was really bad.

I was in between jobs, I had just given notice to the Essen Haus where I had been the General Manager and was transitioning to my new job at the Angelic Brewing Company as their Floor Manager (still the worst title ever, how about Queen of Doing Everything, that seems more apt).

I had two weeks off.

I was supposed to have taken those two weeks off to go on a road trip with my boyfriend, but it didn’t come to fruition due to the Angelic needing me to start before the trip had been planned.

I postponed it and planned on doing it the next year which never happened either, but I digress.

My boyfriend went to work in the morning and I sat in the living room of our apartment in a rocking chair.

I sat there all day long.

I might have read books.

I would sleep as long in bed as I could, then get up and sit in that chair until he came home.

Part of me suspected that there was something very soothing about the rocking of the chair, I used to self-soothe as a child when I was upset by rocking back and forth, I can still slip into it if I’m really freaked out.

I don’t remember much of that week, but one particular scene is always in my head and that is of the shadows growing longer and longer in the apartment as the sun set.

They would crawl slowly across the floor and I would watch them inch up the walls until the apartment was muddled in twilight and I would only get up to turn on the light five minutes before I thought my boyfriend was going to get home.

There were many nights of sitting in that chair in the dark by myself alone.

I told no one.

Wowzers.

I had no idea that was going to be what I wrote about tonight, but hey, there it is.

In addition to the SAD, I have depression.

Hahahaha.

Sigh.

Major Depressive Disorder is the clinical diagnosis.

I managed it once in early sobriety with antidepressants but after a few years I got of the meds and deal with it through writing daily in my morning journal, I use a light therapy box every morning, I write affirmations, I get outside as much as I can, I eat really, really, really well, I do my own therapy work, I cultivate relationships with my fellows and I have good damn friends.

And I don’t drink.

Alcohol is a depressant you know.

I didn’t.

Not for years.

And for years I have been pretty free from that great ocean of doom and for that I am so grateful.

My life is lovely.

Challenging, sure.

But absolutely lovely.

Thank you for 14 years!

You know who you are and I love you, very, very, very much.

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A Good Cry

July 12, 2017

And then back to living.

I saw my therapist today.

Yes.

A psychotherapist has a therapist.

Especially since I am a therapist in training, although, let me tell you, I felt like a therapist today, seeing clients, filing paperwork, checking all the boxes, circling all the things that needed to be circled and doing the work.

I can get super caught up in how much longer this road is and how the hell am I ever, I mean, ever, going to get 3,000 hours, but I can’t, I just can’t focus on that.

One hour at a time.

Fortunately I have some practice living a day at a time and when I reflect on how those days add up and all my accomplishments have come in small increments, but come they have, then I don’t have to get too caught up in the numbers.

It’s just a numbers game and I’m doing it the best I can as fast as I can without killing myself in the process.

I mean.

I still have to process all my own stuff, plus carrying around my clients in my head.

I do that now.

I have them in my head and sometimes I will think about them and once in a while I have a momentary flash, a connection, a thought or feeling and a little aha moment, that feels pretty special.

But.

Yes.

I do have to process my own stuff too, I have to look at my own emotional life sift through the chafe and dander and see what is needing to seen and what is needing to be let go.

I knew.

For instance.

I needed to titrate my social media intake today.

I woke up a bit emotionally hung over.

I cried a lot yesterday.

On and off all day, with one really big cry in the evening when I was talking with my person on the phone and going over the shock of what had happened and how the death of my friend had not just hit me, but many others, the numbers of people who showed up to be present for each other and for the family of the deceased was extraordinary.

Not to mention all the people in so many other places he had affected, who’s lives he had touched–Portland, Seattle, Memphis, New York, Los Angeles, Austin, Oakland.

Gah.

I can hear him saying “West Oakland” in my head and such joy at his goofiness suffuses me.

For he was joyful.

Oh sure, sad and fucked up and scared and young and insecure, who hasn’t been those things, but also bright and kind and funny and so there for you and warm and sweet and musically talented.

Oh the music the world has lost.

So.

Seeing all the pictures, all the photographs, all the expressions of heartbreak, my social media feed was just awash in tears and sadness.

I really had to not look after a while.

And I knew when I woke up having felt puffy eyed and sluggish and a bit off kilter that I wasn’t going to allow myself to wallow in the emotionalism of social media.

I needed coffee, some ibuprofen, and a good breakfast.

Sounds like a hangover, right?

Except instead of booze or blow it was emotion.

And as I expressed to my therapist today after plopping down on her couch and telling her I was going to cry and then immediately doing so, I also realized that some, a lot of the emotion I had in my body, on my heart, in my head, was not mine.

It was the communities.

And I’m grateful.

Really grateful.

I got to feel it and touch into it.

But.

I could not continue swimming in it any longer.

So I talked it out, processed it, linked it to other things, made traverses, expressed emotions, cried a lot in the beginning, but by the middle of my session I was going other places.

Oh.

It was all interconnected.

I am good at making connections.

And it was honest and insightful.

I am pretty good at those things too.

Not always.

I am a work in progress, people, don’t expect perfection, I am far, far, far from perfect.

But.

I am loving and kind and sweet, I would hazard.

I am compassionate and more importantly, I am empathetic.

Sometimes too much and I get overextended and I give too much, I have been trained well in that way of life, being my mom’s caretaker, taking care of my sister, my oldest niece, an ex-boyfriend of five years who might as well have been my mother for all the caretaking he required, but I have grown a lot.

Oh, so fucking much.

And I know when I need to caretake and when the other person needs to do the job their own damn self.

And there’s no irony that I am in the care taking profession.

A. I am a nanny, I care take all day long.

B. I am a psychotherapist.

But it’s not my job to care take as a therapist and that’s a really intriguing thing for me.

I am also not there to make my client feel better, to sugar coat, or to shoo away uncomfortable feelings.

Uncomfortable feelings need to happen.

There’s nothing wrong with them.

I like to look at them as signposts, directions, “hey this thing you do, it doesn’t work for you.”

For instance.

There’s nothing wrong with anxiety or depression.

They are signs that the way things are going, the tools being used for living, well they might not be working so well.

I mean.

Booze was one hell of an amazing solution for me.

Until.

It was not.

So was cocaine.

My God.

I remember the first time I did a line of good blow.

It was like I had all the answers.

ALL of them.

And I was fine with the way those answers were conveyed and I rather scoffed at a friends warning that perhaps I like that drug a little more than was perhaps healthy.

Um.

Yeah.

But when those solutions failed I had to find a better way, a different way and there was depression there and there was anxiety and all sorts of other juicy psychological terms and conditions.

And slowly.

One step at a time.

I got to change what I did.

What I ingested.

What I thought and felt.

For something else.

I was given a significant solution to my problem.

Of course.

I won’t tell that to a client, they have to find their own way, I think that I am a mirror, an attachment figure, a person who can and will have to withstand the disappointments and anger and discomfort of others so that they can learn how to use that information and devise their own solution.

Therapy is not for symptom relief.

Just like alcohol, ultimately, and every other drug I took, weren’t for symptom relief.

I had to find a different way.

And I did.

And today when I walked out of my therapist office I felt a lightness and a joy.

I am alive.

I am not guilty for being alive

I have so much joy and passion in my life, such happiness, I felt light and though there is still sadness for the loss of this beautiful person, I have also a deeper connection to how alive I want to be and how alive I am allowed to be.

To be alive, in this moment, sober, and free.

It is amazing.

Happy.

Joyous.

Moved beyond words for my experiences and this amazing place I have been lead to.

Grateful.

So very grateful.

Thank you for being a part of my journey.

May it bless you too.

Promise You Will

December 18, 2015

She said as we parted ways, I to hop on my trusty stead–that one speed whip that has been getting me around so well for the past few years, and she the other direction down Church Street.

I had just met with my person and she was giving me some parting suggestions.

“Promise me you will do it before you leave,” she repeated, and gave me a great big hug.

“I promise,” I said.

I made a lot of promises tonight.

Actually, I committed to a few things tonight.

Things that will help me to travel.

Things like committing what I am and am not going to eat while I am in Paris.

I have other issues beyond the alcoholism and drug addiction in my life.

Food.

My number one, my first, my always.

And since it’s not necessarily something I can do without.

No one ever says, “Oh, I definitely need more cocaine in my diet,” at least not with a straight face.

Or.

“I could certainly be healthier if I had some more whiskey in my meal plan,” I mean, everybody knows that alcohol is empty calories anyhow.

But no one.

No one that I associate with anyhow.

Has said, I sure could stand to just not ever eat again.

See.

I can say I’m not going to use or drink today, one day at a time for a really fucking long time, like, fingers crossed, the rest of my life, which is going to be long and amazing, but I can’t say I’m never going to eat again.

I have to do that.

So.

I commit what I am going to eat and what I am not going to eat and that is super helpful.

It’s also super helpful that I have lived in Paris before and know how to shop, even in the winter season when the foods are not as fresh, and I know how to order in restaurants.

But.

I also was on a slippery slope in Paris and I had a major relapse in my eating behaviors about three weeks after I got back from Paris.

I am committed to that not happening and I laid out a plan of eating to help me through.

It will look very similar to what I already do here for breakfast–oatmeal with fruit (that’s my sweetener, fruit) and a hard boiled egg and coffee.

I will go to the market, buy breakfast stuffs and cook at the studio every morning.

I will have snacks, which will be fruit.

I will have lunch out or dinner out and that is cool.

I will have steak, oysters, roast chicken, vegetables, and lots of salad.

I will NOT have bread, crepes, sugar, chocolate, croissant, baguette.

Or.

Le sigh.

Les pommes frites.

French fries.

They are my slippery slope.

They were last time I was in Paris and I don’t eat them here, so I’m not going to there.

Bring on the fucking steak tartar though.

Oh yeah.

I will eat cheese.

But in moderation.

I rarely eat it here but I do once in a while.

I committed and made a plan and talked about self-care and it was suggested to me that I focus on what I need.

Not anyone else.

Just me.

To take a good look and talk to my God and make sure that I was taking care of myself and having a good time for me and not worrying about taking care of anyone else.

I am a care taker.

It is what I do.

But.

I know.

I know deeply.

That I can better take care of others when I am taking care of myself.

So.

Yes.

Some thoughtfulness around my food.

Which, truth be told, will be when I am in the airport.

That is always the challenge.

I have go to’s, but I have learned, the hard, hard, hard way, to bring food with me.

Because when you say no sugar and no flour and no potatoes they look at you like, “you crazy.”

Especially if you wave off the free cookie.

And.

Ain’t nothing free anymore on air travel, it seems, anyway.

I’ll have some apples and raw carrots, I always buy a packet of almonds, I let myself eat bananas and Naked Juice smoothies, probably the only time I do, when I travel, I prefer to eat my fruit not drink it, but sometimes it’s all I can gather.

Anyway.

I still have a couple of days here and really what my person most wanted was to hear me say that I would write my last paper before I left.

“Oh, that totally does not work for you!” She said with great emphasis.

I told her that I had two papers left.

One of which I am almost done with.

In fact, for all intents and purposes, I am done with it, I finished it today before work–I’ve been working on it everyday before work since the Monday–but I have to proof it, which I will do in the morning and send out before I head into work.

Then, one last paper.

But it’s not due until December 28th.

“You have to do it before you go,” she said, “otherwise you’re going to be thinking about it the entire time you’re there.”

Don’t I know it.

I thought about even just writing it on the plane, but frankly, that sounds fucking awful.

I am going to write it Saturday.

Tomorrow.

I am not doing school work.

I am going to let myself off the hook on my birthday.

Yes.

That’s correct.

Tomorrow is my birthday.

I will be 43.

I have one hour and 27 minutes left of being 42 years old.

It’s been a good year.

Ups and downs, that’s for sure.

But overall, a year of much growth.

Oh.

Jesus god, so much growth.

Sometimes it astounds even me that I have space for all this growth, that it just keeps coming, that I have yet another growth opportunity in front of me.

Again and again and again.

Anyway.

I digress.

Tomorrow.

No homework.

Work, yes, can’t get out of that, but it will be a fun day, my last day with the boys for a while and they have a half day at school, so we’ll do a big park adventure.

And then dinner with friends.

Easy.

Sweet.

Light.

I am grateful for it.

My present to me is that I won’t worry about papers or schoolwork and I’ll do it all on Saturday.

I promise.

 

Act Like You Are Single

January 8, 2015

What would you do?

I asked myself this question when trying to decide on a course of action involving planning for an upcoming anniversary.

I am throwing myself a little sobriety party.

Yeah baby.

Dancing.

I will be here.

Disco party at Public Works on Saturday, January 17th, around 10 p.m. or so, it would be lovely to see you and I will be shaking my geriatric ass.

Well, I’m not that old and I have been told a lot recently that I look younger than my age.

Thank you.

“You had a natal birthday recently, didn’t you,” she said to me in her lilting British accent.

“I mean, I had no idea.” She paused.

Had no idea about what, I thought.

“Oh!”

I laughed, you mean that I am 42?

Yes.

That.

See, it’s called good clean living.

Almost a decade of not drinking or using, not imbibing extra dirty vodka martini’s on the rocks with Sierra Nevada Pale Ale PINTS as my beer back (that was my regular at the end, that and a couple of grams, oh who am I lying to, double the couple of grams, of cocaine and a pack and a half of cigarettes), plus five, mostly, with a three-week relapse into the insanity of consuming sugar (for me, not many folks have an issue with the cookies, but just keep ’em away from me, ‘k?), of not eating sugar or flour, on top of riding my bicycle all over the city, and yeah, I look pretty good.

I also have good genetics, let me not belabor that.

But I chalk it up to the not ingesting the naughty stuff as the primary reason for my general attractive looks.

I am a lucky girl.

I am also having a little tea party for those folks not able to make a late night on the dance floor, at the Samovar Tea Lounge in the Castro.

I am quite excited for both events.

I really had to ask myself, though, what it is that I wanted.

Not what my friends wanted or what my boyfriend might want, but what I wanted.

I kept getting the run around from the staff at Samovar about booking a private event for ten people

That was the original invite, ten folks, some ladies that mean a lot to me, and my boyfriend, and one gay “uncle”.

But the lounge wouldn’t break me off the room for under a certain amount of money and I figured, man, I just want to have some tea and a nice salad after getting my new tattoo.

Oh yeah.

I like to celebrate significant anniversaries by getting inked.

I will be adding a piece to compliment the 9 stars I have on the left side of my neck.

I will be getting one larger star on the right side of my neck, 10 stars, ten years, but since it feels a bit more significant, double digits and all that, I am getting a larger star on the right side.

Plus it will be a slightly different design than the ones on the left.

I am going to keep the colors, baby blues and soft pinks, and I am going to keep the style of the star the same, but the interior will be a replication or interpretation of Van Gough’s Starry Night.

I want a star with swirls of stars within it.

I will also be celebrating my ten years by making sure that  I have me application to CIIS completed and turned in.

I have two folks lined up to write letters of recommendation and I have my transcripts ordered.

I wrote a six page, 1800 word autobiographical essay as the writing requirement.

I have a one page statement of intent to write and then the $65 processing fee.

I want to have that all tied up before or on my anniversary.

Which is not next Saturday, but Tuesday of this upcoming week.

Tuesday, January 13th.

It still boggles my mind when I think about it.

So, here’s to not thinking.

Here’s to just being.

And continuing to learn that I have to take care of myself.

I mean, I have some practice and all that, but I have noticed a pattern of waiting to see what the boyfriend is up to before making plans and that was not on the menu today.

When I realized that I knew exactly what I wanted to do, I had to do it.

I also realized that I would be imminently more desirable and datable to my boyfriend if I am doing the things that make me happy.

Like writing my blog or my morning pages.

Or making a tea party reservation.

I did laugh when I realized that he would be the only straight man there, but I figured he’s going to be able to hang just fine.

Or that I wanted to go dancing.

That I sort of need to go dancing, and then I saw that Public Works was having a Fleetwood Mac Disco dance and that was it.

I bought a couple of tickets and set up the event.

I invited 175 people.

I have thousands of “friends” on Facebook.

I suspect about ten people will show.

I don’t care if no ones comes.

Well, maybe a little, but I am over the moon that I advocated a little dance party for me.

It’s important for me to be available to my guy to do things, but it is also important for me to be available to myself and my friends too.

I was asked out by a girlfriend this Saturday for a little lady time dinner action and catch up and I said yes, it’s been too long.  I need to continue to cultivate my friendships with the women in my life.

I am happier for it.

And I suspect that the happier I allow myself to be, the better I will be in this relationship, heck, in all my relationships.

So, just for today, “pretending” to be single is the way for me.

It’s a good thing I have had a little practice with it.

Ha!

 


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