Friday, May 15, 2015


I've been feeling down for a while now, and I know some of it is stemming from my injury.  My life was starting to be slightly content after so much upheaval last year, and then bam!  Invalid.

(for anyone that doesn't know, I broke my left shoulder in March.)

I had started to rely on exercise to help keep me sane (and sober), and for the last two months I'd been unable to even take walks, because any sustained repetitive movement jostled my left arm too much and left me in pain.  Plus, feeling completely helpless in many daily routine tasks does nothing for the ego.

Thankfully, yesterday my physical therapist cleared me to start walking again.  So, there's that. But I still have many weeks, if not months, left of physical therapy before I'll have full use of my left arm again.

I find lately that old destructive thought patterns have begun seeping back into my brain and it scares me.  Back in March when I first injured my shoulder, the doctor wanted to prescribe me pain meds.  Of course my addict brain squealed in delight but I turned it down (how's that for growth?) knowing it would only end up with me spiraling out of control again.  I've relied on nothing but Advil and ice/heat to get me through this.

Going forward with physical therapy, it's going to get a lot more painful because the soft tissue around the bone and joint have become frozen and we're going to have to manipulate my arm quite forcefully to loosen things up.  So my brain has been trying to convince me that I NEED painkillers now.  Real painkillers.  Narcotic painkillers.  The kind of painkillers that I used to buy illegally and snort or inject.

This, of course, must not happen.  I know I'm not strong enough in my recovery yet to be able to take pills as prescribed.  Doesn't stop my brain from working in overdrive, though.  And the depression is intensifying those thoughts, looking for relief.

I don't think I'm in any real danger of relapse.....which means that I'm probably in trouble because it's always the times when I'm most complacent that I slip up.  So I'm reaching out to my sponsor and my support system to keep me in check (this includes you, dear readers).  I have no intention of diving back into that pit of hell, as appealing as it might be some days.

So that's what I'm dealing with at the moment.  Taking it day by day and doing everything I can to get this damn arm healed, which unfortunately involves a lot of waiting and patience!  (not things I'm good at, lol)  I want to get back into writing even if it's just word vomit.  I miss blogging.

Catch you on the flip side, as my lovely friend Tai says.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Blogophilia 51.7 Lessons From The First Year

As of today, I have been clean and sober for one year.  

It's been a helluva year.  If you're a friend or have been reading me for awhile, you can understand the significance of this victory.  

What does the first year of sobriety look like from the inside?  

1.  Expect to cry.  A lot.  If you're a man and think crying is for wimps and women, take note:  crying is a human thing, not a gender or a strength thing.  Man up, and just let those sweet emotions fly.

2.  The world, and your life, does not get better or easier if you're sober.  What changes is your ability to navigate the shit and make it through to the other side without completely derailing.  A lot of addicts think that if they get sober, life will automatically be rainbows and unicorns.....and when rainbows and unicorns fail to materialize, they give up and pick back up.  What they don't realize is that the rainbows and unicorns take the shape of staying employed.  Not having to take constant piss tests.  Waking up not hungover or shaking in need of a fix.  Not having to wonder how you're going to rob Peter to pay Paul in order to buy drugs that day.  Seeing that you actually have $20 or $30 leftover from your paycheck after all your bills are paid, and you can use that extra to put away, or pay for something nice for yourself, instead of heading straight to your dealer.  

3.  This isn't just some quadragesimal vacation, this is for life.  Yeah, we say "one day at a time" and "just for today" because the thought of never taking another hit of your drug of choice for the rest of your life is way too much of a mind fuck to contemplate when newly sober.......but deep down, we know it has to be for life.  There is no such thing as a "time out" for your addiction.  I tried to play that game for 20 years.  I went back and forth, back and forth, endlessly trying to pretend that I could control it, jumping from sobriety to using, sobriety to using.  Where did it get me?  Twenty years older, in ill health, bad finances, and suicidal.  After hundreds of attempts at staying sober, I finally committed to the change that needed to come from inside.

4.  Your friends aren't really your friends.  Addicts don't like to be alone, they congregate towards each other like a moth to the flame.  They become your new family.  You laugh together, cry together, and weather the storm together......but try and leave the fold, and they'll turn on you like a pack of rabid dogs.  They don't want you to get well, they want you to stay there in the pit, with them, because they aren't ready to make that change themselves and they're too selfish to want to see you succeed without them.  Especially if you're romantically involved with an addict that doesn't want to get clean with you.  Expect much drama, tears, sleepless nights, broken car windows, and being on the edge of giving in and going back.  Sobriety can be a very lonely road, until you make new friends.

5.  You aren't immortal.  When you get sober, you'll have to face the sad fact that you have abused your physical body to the Nth degree, and maybe possibly, to the point of no return.  If you're lucky, you will have done nothing more than simple time, abstinence, and a healthy lifestyle can't fix.  If you're not so lucky, then you need to live with the consequences...and still make the commitment to staying sober.  This can sometimes be the "deal or no deal" moment for a lot of addicts.....I'm going to die anyway, so why not use?  Thankfully I'm not at that point, but it was very, very close.

I don't have any Eureka! moments of staying sober this first year.  Mostly, if I'm honest, it's been a tedious, emotional, tiring slog.  I've been to five funerals of friends this year, and lost my cat Max in September.  I'm tired of death and despair.  But I am at a point that I am grateful to not have to slog through the kind of life I lived as an active addict.  Because I wasn't throwing all my money up my nose or up my veins, I was able to save up and buy a new computer.  I moved out of the slummy trailer park I had lived in for years and am sharing a house with a (sober) roommate.  I'm gainfully employed.  And I'm slowly beginning to see glimmers of real hope and happiness.  

I have a lot of shit to wade through and sort out from my life, but it is becoming a tiny bit easier for me to see the forest for the trees.  Even after one year, it is still one day at a time, sometimes still one hour at a time.  But I'm still here, alive and kicking, and walking forward.

Submitted for:  Blogophilia 51.7  topic:  Time Out
bonus (hard, 2 pts): use the word quadragesimal
bonus (easy, 1 pt):  incorporate a line from an Aerosmith song (Sweet Emotion)

Monday, January 12, 2015

Blogophilia 47.7 Across The Universe

Blogophilia 47.7   Across The Universe
(hard, 2 pts)  Incorporate a Taylor Swift lyric (Shake It Off)
(easy, 1 pt)  Use the word "saunter" in your blog

"Tap, tap, tap......this thing on?  (echos) Hello?  Yo!  Oh there we are."

*clears throat*

"Hello, my name is Steven, and I am a former Blogophiliac."

(Hi Steven!)

"Uh, hi.  It's been.....eight months since my last submission to Blogophilia.  *hangs head in shame*  But I want to change, I really do.  I just sorta got lost along the way.  Life hasn't been easy the last few months.  Instead of writing, I've been......watching tons of TV."

(collective gasp)

"I know, I know, but I just got sucked in and well, addicted to several shows that I just can't quit.  Instead of facing my own creativity, I took the easy way out.  I....even stopped reading my friends' blogs."

(horrific cries)

*chokes up*  "I have no excuse!  I'm sorry!"  *runs back to seat*

*Marvin Martian saunters up to the front*

"Now listen here Clarkster, I didn't come from halfway across the universe to hear some half baked excuse as to why you haven't been writing!  TV my Martian foot.  You get your Earthling ass back up here and tell me what you plan to do about it!"

*Steven slowly stands up and makes his way back to the front*

"What do you want me to say, sir?"

"I want you to shake it off man, and get back to writing!  Remember the steps?  Step 1:  when you feel powerless, pick up the pen.  Step 2:  come to believe that there is a group of people who want to read you (and want you to read them).  Step 3:  Make the decision to turn your will over to writing a little each week, even if you don't want to.  Step 4......"

"Ok Ok, I'll.......think about it."

"Don't think.  Just do.  And if you balk at writing, just remember WWSSD?"

"WWSSD?  Um.....huh?"

"What Would SassySue Do!"  You remember, your good friend in Blogophilia who was always badgering you to write no matter what?"

"Yes, you have a point, sir."

"Good.  My work here is done.  I expect to see you bright and early next Sunday when the next topic is revealed."

"Yes, sir, thank you sir."

*Marvin whistles to Commander K and hops aboard their spaceship*


Steven woke up, finding he had dozed off on the couch while watching TV.  He had a nagging feeling that there was something he needed to do, but the thought eluded him in the vestiges of sleep.  Something about W and S and K, oh and writing......yes, that was it, writing.  He looked at his new computer, all fast and sleek and waiting for him to put it to the test.  A gigantic yawn put to rest any thoughts of starting anything tonight.  Tomorrow.....I'll do it tomorrow, he thought, and went to bed, a faint storyline starting to emerge from the deep.