Proclamation of Addiction Rehabilitation Graduation

~~>  I “graduated” from Townsend last night,  <~~
~~>  and tonight’s my last night of required Group sessions.  <~~

with the above opening alone, there’s so many directions into which I could go:

  • I gained a lot of valuable lessons from my 10 weeks in the program.
  • I gained insight from things that were said to me last night from other patients.
  • I’ve decided upon my future approach to alcohol: <insert decision here>.
  • I’ve still yet to decide as to what the fuck I’m going to do about my drinking.
  • I respect myself more for getting into the program.
  • I respect myself more for enduring the extension.
  • I respect myself less for allowing myself to be persuaded into the extension.
  • this was overall a beneficial experience.
  • this was overall utter bullshit and a complete waste of time.

I mean, not only are there many options, but numerous of them even contradict others.  I guess what I can say I’ve definitely gleamed from this is: I’m not really sure about anything.

things I can say are probably true are that I overvalue the opinions of others, that I’m not as strongly in Control of myself as I would otherwise like to be, that I had a serious drinking problem, and that I’m impressive on the shore front.

I don’t know if I’ll never be able to control it, I don’t know if I will work on not drinking at all, I don’t know if I’ll stay in “recovery”, I don’t know wtf “recovery” even means to me.

I spent a lot of years trying to outrun or outsmart vulnerability by making things certain and definite, black and white, good and bad.  My inability to lean into the discomfort of vulnerability limited the fullness of those important experiences that are wrought with uncertainty — love, belonging, trust, joy, and creativity, to name a few.
~ Brene Brown ~

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part of me says the trick is to journal when I am in each of the three main forms: anti-drinking (never drink again), moderate-drinking (or controlled drinking), and fuck-it-all (ready to Quit at everything).

at the moment, for example, I would be in the moderate category: I don’t need or even really want a drink right now, nor any of my other addictions (over- or under-eating, self-injury, pills, speeding, etc.), but I don’t think that I need to give it up for all times forever and ever; moreover, I’m not running through my Suicide Plan in my mind at the moment.  I’m just kinda … hanging loose.  I mean hell, I’m even coherent and motivated enough to write a blog entry.  this is an improvement!

but conversely, not being in the pits of despair, I’m not sure just how far I’ll go in a given situation to stop Hurting — how much I’ll drink, how deep I’ll cut, how many I’ll swallow, how fast I’ll go….  but does any of us ever really know how far we’ll go until we’re actually pushed there?  and even then, how do we know that’s our limits?  aren’t there times that we think, “oh man, this is the worst!”, only to later admit to ourselves, “ahp, we were wrong; this is the worst!”?

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there’s a seedling in me that says I should be making this decision about drinking now, while I’m moderately level.  because when I’m sad, I’m distraught; when I’m happy, I’m manic — we Crazy blokes have no middle ground.

similarly, though, that means the rare middle ground is very foreign.  I’m not commonly here; so why would I make a decision about Situation C when it so rarely occurs?  that’s like saying, “we’ll always keep a bucket of water in the library for fires, because it’s the safe thing to do, even though there’s so rarely any fires here.”  …okay, so that was a shitty simile.  but you get my drift?

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so then here we are.  back at the starting line of the What the Fuck Do I Do Now race.  and even though I’m the key competitor and judge, I still feel like I’m going to lose….

gravity

re·lapse
 /'rə-laps/

verb (used without object), relapsed, relapsing
 1. to fall or slip back into a former state, practice, etc.
 2. to fall back into illness after convalescence or apparent recovery
 3. to fall back into vice, wrongdoing, or error; backslide

noun
 4. an act or instance of relapsing
 5. a return of a disease or illness after partial recovery from it

Gravity
is working against me.
and Gravity
wants to bring me down.

I started the seven-week Townsend intensive out-patient rehabilitation program on November 6th, 2014.  my last day should could have been this Friday.  but instead, it’s been extended three weeks to January 15th.  why?  because I’ve relapsed many times since I started.  for example, one relapse lasted three days.  another occurred just this weekend at the Bowl Game.

oh, I’ll never know
what makes this man,
with all the love
that his heart can stand,
dream of ways
to Throw it all away.

so Brian and I met with the counselor (yes, the same one from a previous post) about the question of extending my treatment.

“what do you think?” the counselor asked me while we were alone.

“I think I’d like to call Brian in here.”

“that’s fine.  but why?”

“because if it’s just up to me, I’d say no, that I’m done with all this.”

“done with it?  relapsing this weekend doesn’t sound like you’ve completed the program.”

I said ‘done with’, not ‘succeeded’, you dumbass, I thought.  but instead, I said nothing and simply shrugged.

oh, twice as much
ain’t twice as good
and can’t sustain
like one have could.
it’s wanting More
that’s gonna send me to
my knees.

Brian talked about wanting me to be happy, about how I should really give the program a chance and do it correctly.  all very good points.

oh, Gravity,
stay the hell away from me.
oh, Gravity,
has taken better men than me.
(how can that be?)

but I don’t know where I stand.  Brian mentioned how he truly believes I want to get Better, but he doesn’t know/understand what I exactly I perceive to be Better — sobriety, controlling my addictions, etc.

just keep me where the Light is.
just keep me where the Light is.
just keep me where the Light is.
c’mon, keep me where the Light is.
c’mon, keep me where the Light is.
c’mon, keep me where, keep me where the Light is.

but honestly, I don’t even know if I want to get Better anymore.  I’m tired of fighting.  depression, addiction, borderline, OCD, anxiety, eating disorder, self-injury, bipolar, so many fucking physical ailments too … I’m feeling really outnumbered in this Battle.  and the more I fight it, the more I’m realising I just don’t care if I Win anymore.  I’m ready to Surrender just to be done with it all…

From birth, man carries the weight of gravity on his shoulders. He is bolted to earth. But man has only to sink beneath the surface and he is free.
~ Jacques Yves Cousteau

AA: Step One

Step One:  We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.

 

Alcoholics Anonymous – Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions

“Few indeed were those who, so assailed, had ever won through in singlehanded combat.”   ~ p22

 

Joe McQ – The Steps We Took

“When I’m trying to put something together, I may be trying to drive a tapered be into a hole wrong end first.  I keep hammering and hammering, but the thing won’t go.  I drive and force and maybe I’ll finally look at the peg and say, ‘This peg won’t go that way.’  Then I’ll turn it around.  But I can’t turn it around until I admit that I’ve been trying to do it the wrong way.”   ~ p20

“We humans are not meant to depend on our individual selves; we are meant to rely on each other.”   ~ p20

“[…] we will never be everything or know everything.  When we realize our powerlessness, we can seek a source of Power.”   ~ p22

“We’ve got to learn the value of saying ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I made a mistake’ or ‘what I’ve been trying doesn’t work.'”   ~ p23

 

Joe McQ – Carry This Message

“Bill Wilson reminds us in the Big Book that suffering alcoholics are very sick people.  We are dealing with very sick, undisciplined people.”   ~ p27

“Step 1 is the foundation of the principles.  The second Step is believing, the third Step is deciding, and Steps 4 through 11 are action.”   ~ p32

“In Step 1 we don’t really know what we are going to do next.  We just have to say, ‘What I’m doing is not working.  I give up.'”   ~ p33

 

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

“To the practicing addict with mental illness, a life up there in the light seems almost as frightening as a life down her in her own private hell.”   ~ p2

“When I first came into the program, I found the idea of admitting defeat insane.  I already felt defeated, by my illness, by my addiction, by my entire life.”   ~ p2

“[…] we aren’t admitting powerlessness as an end in itself.”   ~ p4

“Sobriety is not something that can be found alone; we need the help and company of our fellows.”   ~ p7

“Neither mental illness nor addiction can be willed away; they both require serious action proportionate to the  seriousness of the disease.”   ~ p8

“Step One does not tell us we are failures; it shows us that the way we have been doing things has failed.”   ~ p9

 

Marya Hornbacher – Waiting

“That uncertainty may be the most painful part of not knowing a God; no one is there to reassure us that a God will take the pain and confusion away.”   ~ p6-7

“The notion that we are powerless is powerful, and for many of us painful.  We have suffered under the delusion that we were in control of our addiction for a long time, and the realization that are under its control is very hard to accept.”   ~ p7

 

What I’ve Learned

I’ve tried all sorts of things to control my Addictions — only one drink per hour, not drinking alone, no cutting when I drink, speed no more than 15 mph over the limit, call Brian before I cut, must eat at least 400 calories a day, only speed during the day, only speed during the night, can’t eat more than 2000 calories a day, drink only beer, etc.

I have addiction.  it is a disease, a mental illness just like depression or OCD.  and just like those, I can’t control it based solely on willpower.

I will start with my alcoholism, as that is the most severe; it is my MER — most effective reward, or drug of choice.  but as I work through this program, I will keep in mind everything.

I really do think I want to get better.  at least, for now.  maybe down the road, I can learn to manage it again.  but for right now, I can’t.  right now, I have become powerless against alcohol and addiction, and my life has become unmanageable.

“5 Things Nobody Tells You About Quitting Drinking” (via Cracked.com)

5 Things Nobody Tells You About Quitting Drinking” is a beautifully informative and hilarious article written by the wonderful John Cheese.  for anyone who’s wanting to support my efforts of going clean, I suggest you read it.  for the lazy folk, I’ve provided a summary with excerpts below, as well as my personal comments.

 

summary:

5]  The Stench: “How bad is it? Another Cracked writer on the wagon (who posts as Yowhound) was actually kicked off of a public bus because of this … in Europe.”

4]  The Nightmares:  “That’s when you get some of the most frequent and realistic nightmares you’ve ever experienced. Intense feelings of dread and anxiety thump through your sleeping mind, as if the stench demon decided to drift into your cerebral cortex.”

3]  The Poop:  “The point being, have you ever shit an antler? Because that’s what it feels like. The intestines extract an insane amount of water from your feces, leaving you with a bowel full of granite.”

2]  The Urge to Murder:  “The smallest things would irritate me into a full-blown rage. Little annoyances, like the person who was sitting at the same picnic table as me who wouldn’t stop tapping his leg up and down, shaking the whole contraption. I wanted get a gun and murder him and all of the other people in the world who had failed to murder him up to that point.”

1]  The Blissful High:  “For a few days after a person becomes completely detoxed, his body will get an unexpected dose of oxygen, real food and natural chemicals that will put him on a natural high. It’s just a symptom, just like the pooping, and likewise it won’t last. Truthfully, you don’t want it to.”

 

my comments:

5]  The Stench: well, this will be just great.  I already get the sweats at nights because of my meds.  now I’ll just have them all day.

4]  The Nightmares:  I’m not worried about the nightmares as much as the insomnia.  I already have nightmares; how much worse can it get, really?  and drinking would help me sleep more than any meds have.

3]  The Poop:  I can vouch for this.  during my past attempts to dry up some, I noticed a harden of it.  ugh, the pain.

2]  The Urge to Murder:  great.  I’m going to be even more irritable and pissed off than usual.  this is one reason I’m cancelling almost every social event I have planned in the near future.

1]  The Blissful High:  well, I’m not feeling it yet.  I’m just feeling cravings and urges and desires and anger and resentment and guilt.  no “blissful high” here.  :/

 

John Cheese has other great articles on addictions and sobriety.  Here’s two more and their points:

  • 7 Things You Don’t Know About Addiction (Unless You Quit)
    • Alcohol Turns You into George Lucas
    • You Will Lose Most of Your Friends
    • Current Alcoholics Just Piss You Off
    • Boredom Changes Everything
    • Any Conversation About Alcohol Is Now Awkward
    • You Are Not Prepared for the Guilt
    • You Will Still Have Cravings Like It Was Day One Again
  • 5 Things I Learned About Addiction After 5 Years Sober
    • The Addicted Min Searches for Anything to Be Addicted To
    • People Only Accept Your Commitment After a Certain Amount of Time
    • People Want You to Diagnose Them
    • It’s Easy to Burn Out on Your Hobbies
    • When People Stop Giving a Shit, It’s a Good Thing