Relapse

I have been here awhile. It wasn’t a good night, but we knew it was going to be a fight. Yesterday was a hard day. I am in physical pain that won’t let up. It is making me exhausted physically, emotionally, and spiritually. When I get low on reserves I get super raw. I also overthink. Super freaking fun combo! I leaned into the rawness yesterday. I know that when I shove things down they grow into dark voids that consume me. So I sit with it. I go for a long drive, turn up the music, turn the music up louder, double check the settings on the phone and turn it up even louder. Yes, my windows are shaking but so is my soul. I go to a place that brings me peace. I weep.

What’s wrong? Nothing. No, everything. I mean it’s been worse. Damn, I am not dead or anything. So yeah nothing. No, really, EVERYTHING IS WRONG!!

I contemplate cancelling my evening plans. Uh Beck that isn’t wise, but I look at it anyways. Screw it, I am going. I arrive early, because the ability to plan has left me. I tell the hostess it’s rough, but I am here, I cannot drink tonight no matter what. I nibble, laugh, rub my jaw, try to escape from my own personal hell, play cards. Eventually, I decide I have to go home. I simply hurt too much.

My friend stops me in the driveway. Why am I so worried about you?! My response, because this is what relapse looks like. Relapse is being frantic with pain, but terrified at the dance that opiates bring. Relapse looks like exhaustion with no real end in sight. Relapse looks like isolation and struggle all with a false grin plastered across the face. Relapse looks like wanting to escape this darkness and being willing to entertain the darkness of numb aka addiction. Relapse is standing 6 inches from a loved ones face and feeling 6 football fields of distance between us. Relapse never looks like what we think it does. Relapse is desperation. Relapse is running out of other choices and returning to the familiar of the abyss of numb.

I am vaguely aware of the offers that surround me to come stay the night, I can sit up with you, I am here, and please text me when you get home, have I mentioned I am worried?!? I arrive home. I send my text stating I am home. I receive back love, support, and encouragement. I pace. I send a PM to my person and say it’s bad. He reiterates that I have a place at his house too if I need. He listens. There is no magic wand, but there is the support of love that feels magic. I listen to a meditation. I ice my face. I sob. I take more ibuprofen. More oil pulling. it’s 3 am.

I stumble to my yoga room. Music turned up and I start to flow. I ask this container how do you need to move to release the pain? How do you need to move to make space for what is coming? How do you need to breathe to find strength in this moment? How do you need to chant to ignite that internal agni? What dear container do you need?

Yes, this is what relapse looks like. Yes, this is what it means to fight to be sober. Yes, this is what it looks like when I spill onto my mat time and time again releasing, refilling, replacing, rebuilding. When I say “Saved by Yoga.” Please know I wouldn’t be here this morning, or any day in the past decade, without my practice. Last night, I chose to fall into my practice and not into a bottle, a needle, or a pill.

Change is Possible

A couple weeks ago I had a birthday party with most of my tribe present. It was a wonderful night. The theme was unicorns and there was so much laughter my abs hurt the next day. The night made me heart break with gratitude and joy. It also made me reflect. Just a few short years ago the holidays and my birthday slipped by and no one really noticed, I didn’t even acknowledge they were special days. I was shrouded in the dark cloud of clinical depression and addiction. I had pushed everyone away…family, friends, my children.. everyone. I was suicidal, my Mum had just passed, and I was set on destroying myself. So how did I flip my life around to what it is today? I had one person consistently in my ear telling me to stand up. He walked with me as I crawled out of the massive black hole I was in. I got sober and went to therapy to change my thought patterns. That was truly the only drastic step I took. Everything else was a series of small steps.
1. I got honest, super honest. I became transparent with one person. Good, bad, ugly I shared it all. I never felt judged by this person and slowly learned how to live without facades, this was crucial. This honesty eventually spilled out into my daily life.
2. I started to address my negative monkey chatter with a series of affirmations and Byron Katie’s 4 questions. It was amazing how often I awfulized or ruminated on things that weren’t true or was beyond my control.
3. I moved every day. Running, yoga, walking something every single day. This helped the chemicals in my brain and helped me to heal.
4. I adopted the motto “the next right thing”. Instead of worrying about what might happen in 3 months or what happened in the past. I focused on what was the next right thing for me. I discovered the next right thing for me often didn’t line up to what society thought. That became okay.
5. I started to pursue my interests, regardless of what they were or how off beat they may be. I studied crystal healing, energy medicine, herbs, meditation, gardening, and more. This eventually became my path. Every new grain of knowledge slowly fed my being. It helped me create a life that I love, more than the craving for vodka and opiates. In this learning process I turned off the tv and read. This helped feed my soul.
6. I started tuning into me. For the first time, probably ever, I was in my body. I started to realize what made me authentically happy. What filled me up and what depleted me. This affected the foods I ate, the activities I choose, the people I hung out with. Truly it was revolutionary.
7. I made connections, authentic connections, from my heart. Life ceased to be about stature, what others thought of me, or chasing some facade. It became about love, joy, healing, being a good friend.

I am forever grateful for those dark days. They were the catalyst for the biggest change of my life. I now feel love and connection. I have real joy and I am living my truth. I am so grateful for my current reality and to have a tribe that I love and loves me. It didn’t happen over night, but it did happen. Change is possible. If you are wanting to create positive change in your life start small and be consistent.

 

There is a hole in my sidewalk

In rehab I was exposed to the most amazing quote. I came back to it daily for years. Now it sits in my journal and begs me to review it every so often.
“I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in. I am lost… I am helpless. It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it. I fall in again. I can’t believe I am in the same place. But, it isn’t my fault. It still takes me a long time to get out.

I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there. I still fall in. It’s a habit. My eyes are open.
I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.

I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

I walk down another street.”
― Portia Nelson, There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk
The thing is we have more control over our lives than most of us like to admit. We have some influence over what happens to us, especially the situations we put ourselves in. We have full control how we react to the situations that arise in our lives. We have control over our attitude.. Victim versus Empowered Survivor comes to mind. We have control over our daily habits: how much sleep we get, food we nourish ourselves with, the amount of self-care we partake in. Yes, we really have a-lot of control and choices in our lives. It takes a great deal of humility, maturity, and responsibility to see this. Let alone admit we truly do have something to do with where we are right now. Whenever I find myself in a situation that does not serve me, my first question is “what is my part in this?” If I got myself here, I can find my way to a better outcome, only after I identify my part of the equation. How do you approach the holes in your sidewalk? How can you go about avoiding them? Shine bright my friends, you are worth it!