Ending Sunday Night

I’m watching the game and I’m watching my son. I had to run outside really quick to shut off the pump to the pool and when I got back my kid had plastic chair over him. I..don’t know what happen, other than I wasn’t there. Colt keeps jumping the fence. I don’t know from where, but he consistently jumps at least three times a day. He’s chipped and has tags, plus our address is written on his red collar. So at least one time a day my wife gets a call from a stranger telling her they have Colt in their car, if she can meet them to pick him up. I’m grateful for such nice people, personally I wouldn’t stop and put a dog in my car. But some people will, and that’s great. I wondering what I will walk into at work tomorrow. Coming off the weekend, our 9am staff meeting will have enough weekend staff reports that will take two hours to go over every client. I have a game tomorrow night, Friday career day and a game, and some time during the week I have to get a new drivers license since I lost mine. I’m making progress on my manuscript which is a good feeling. And now my wife is yelling, “go with daddy,” to Jaxson.

I’m tired of working hard for others.

Finally a second to breathe! I turned in my “final paper” last night and am done with class for this semester. There was a time, early in recovery where I was working hard as an employee and a student. Always feeling like I had to prove myself. Saying “yes” to everything even if that meant saying “no” to my family. Yeah there was a sense of, I am working hard for my family, but when does that end and turn into just not being around. It’s hard being mindful of that today, however I have learned to say “no,” I don’t want to do that extra thing at work or school. I don’t want to be away from my family when I don’t have too. Today, I don’t have to validate my self-worth, I am worthy today, no matter how the day unfolds.

Treatment Goals: 3 Things

It’s challenging as a clinician and someone in recovery when working with clients in a treatment facility. My personal story of recovery from drugs and alcohol should not be a tool I use to treat clients. Even though it’s my fallback if I feel a group or session is going not well. It’s hard some times. I want a client to be exactly where I am at spiritually, emotionally and mentally, however I forget that sobriety and recovery is a process, not a race. With that being said, what are a few treatment goals that are realistic and effective when one goes into treatment? Keep in mind treatment is just the first step in a life-long journey of self-discovery.

  1. To get physically and mentally well. The streets are brutal. Even if a person did not literally come from the streets, the body and mind need a break. Detox starts the process of physically healing. We don’t realize the amount of stress we put on our mind until we stop using. The goal should be clear up you mind and get some healthy food in your body.
  2. Another goal is to realize that the life you are living on drugs and alcohol, is not a normal and healthy life. Someone should be able to identify and accept, “hey, I do have a problem,” even though they are not ready to get sober, at least they admitted it. If you are lucky, this might take the entire treatment to accept. For some it takes decades.
  3. Realizing that some sort of change is needed. If a person who is in addiction can be willing to admit that something in their life needs to change, that’s a deep emotional acceptance that could very well be the start of their recovery.

Of course, these are just examples that I came up with, their not right or wrong, they’re just simple but effective goals or starting points for someone in treatment for substance use disorder.

Come up with a few treatment goals yourself and post them in the comment section.

The Morning After…

It’s a humbling feeling when you wake up in the morning after failing the day before. My failures today are not what they use to be, and the coping skill is 100% better than what it use to be as well. But failing for me today, is actually peaceful, if that makes sense. It’s like, yeah probably shouldn’t have high expectations in the first place, and I did do the best I could with the surrounding circumstances; and the reality is that my life is exactly the same as it was yesterday, which is amazing.

But it’s something in my chest that feels weird today. It’s not bad nor great. It’s just there. Calm, maybe. It feels like I failed and accepted rather than be in denial. I don’t know…

It was just a class. And I actually didn’t fail the class, but completely bombed my final. I was frustrated last night. One thing I did was when my professor asked if I wanted to work on my project some more and turn it in later this week, I declined. After a summer of two grad classes and work, I told her  when I walk out of class today, I’m done, I accept any grade she gives me. Which, I have an A, so at worst it will drop to a B.

I’m just tired, it’s been a rough week. But as long as I stay sober, it’s all good.

 

The Bridge Between Addcition and Recovery

It’s challenging when working with someone who is a couple of days clean from drugs and alcohol. That’s when the disease of addcition is most powerful. When someone is actively using and drinking, the disease doesn’t have to work hard. But when we collect a few days clean the mind will make up any excuse to rationalize a reason to use. Feelings and emotions begin to rise. The same feelings and emotions we use and drink over to cope. We have to get to the point to where we can sit with those feelings so we can make a choice. The choice is to use, or to get help. And that’s a decision that no one can make but the addict. I believe most addicts do not even reach that point. They feel uncomfortable in their own skin which someone once told me, “I feel like unzipping my skin from my body.” Which leads them back to rationalizing or justify return to use. Furthermore, when someone stops using and drinking, those feelings they use over don’t go away either, we just learn healthier ways to cope, rather than drink and use.

I remember when I got to that point. The feeling of misery and failure hit me hard. I was over 30 days clean and would rather stab my eye with a pencil than go to one more freak ‘in AA meeting. But for some reason that night, driving on I35 North I had enough and I battled with God.

I yelled, “WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME, I CANT TAKE ANYMORE!”

Suddenly night broke, and the Sun came with such force the ground began to shake!! So, that didn’t really happen, but I did go to a meeting and get a sponsor and have been sober ever since. But I needed to get to that point. And in addiction, family can take away or stop enabling which will help someone get to that experience, but the choice is still ours. There’s no “quote” I can read, or story I can share that will wake someone’s spirit. And even if there was, and even if they were ready for recovery, it’s just the first step, which is the most important step of all, at least in my recovery.

The House Next Door

I dreamt again about the house next door. In addiction, the house next door was reoccurring dream. When I got sober, it abruptly stopped. Now five years later, the dream is back. In my dream last night, I asked the owner if I could take a look inside, since he was selling. The house was in shambles. There were rooms, with two or three additional rooms added on to them. The hallway was long and narrow. The walls were painted a dark blue. The two of the rooms were not connected as one. The master bedroom had additional showers. Inside, the house next door looked nothing like how I remembered it.

Why I drink and use.

I remember one time while in active addiction I had some how managed to get hired for two jobs. I have no idea how I passed the drug test. I did drugs the night before and part of the interview process for the second job was an onsite drug test. So I passed the test, got hired and from no job, went to having two jobs. I guess I as reflect back, in a weird way, I was always trying to get my life together. But I didn’t stand a chance against the forces of addiction. That night, I went out and celebrated and bragged to all my friends that I had two jobs! And I celebrated by drinking, then which led to a 3 day cocaine binge. Needless to say, I lost both jobs that night. My senior year of college I could not find a job anywhere. I even applied at fast-food places and didn’t even get called for an interview. I’m assuming it was because of my arrest record. The only job I could find that summer was washing cars on commission. The anger built up inside was like a volcano getting ready to erupt. It drove me insane. I drank over that feeling. A lot.

I only bring this up because for the first time in my life, I am employable and company’s have sought out my employment. And that feels good. Waking up and feeling ok with life, to waking up and feeling good with life, is the by-product of hard work in recovery. But the real challenge is to just sit with the “good-feeling.” Not to feel guilty or overconfidence. Not to try to enhance the feeling by purchasing or eating. Just sit with the feeling until it passes. I believe

I drank and used to cope with my feelings and emotions.

Three myths that Family members believe that can hurt their loved one’s recovery.

So I’m writing this on the fly, I have a ninety-second presentation due tomorrow for Comm Skills class and of course I just started creating the outline. I started with a new company and still technically with my old company, so my schedule is freak’in crazy right now. (However, I do my best work in chaos!) Anyway,  coming off facilitating a “Family Day,” last Saturday where clients invite their loved ones to spend the day at treatment, I came up with this idea for class, as I would present this to family of someone suffering from Substance Use Disorder/Addiction.

Three myths that Family members believe, that can hurt their loved one’s recovery.

  1. The Happily Ever After Myth: Families get the impression that their loved one is going to be fixed and the end of 30 days in rehab and when they get home, life will be perfect! Not to discourage anyone, but that’s not the case. Recovery is a long-term, life process commitment. And yes, as long as your loved one stays sober one-day-at-a-time life gets really good. But it’s a process, and just like addiction didn’t happen over night, recovery does not either.
  2. The “I’m not the one with a problem” Myth: I often get a surprise reaction when I encourage meetings not only for the client, but for family as well. And here’s the thing, yes addcition is a family disease. It could be in the form of enabling, co-dependency, or just in the way “we” live around someone in their active disease and how we tolerate things that pushes our moral compass, just to keep the peace.
  3. The Myth that it’s “our fault” are loved one is addicted: This one unfortunately comes up a lot. Family honestly feel they are at fault and they caused their loved one to become an addict. This is absolutely not true. “We” are not that powerful to make someone become an addict. And on the same token, “we” can’t get anyone sober either.

I’ve been doing this for awhile. The more support in the form of family, groups, sober communities, peers, and professionals, the greater a chance for your loved one to get and stay sober.

So whether your addicted loved one chooses to stay sober or go back and use, you can still have great amazing life in your own recovery.

It’s experiences like these, that help me reflect on my past, and keeps me sober today

I told her she was going to die. And it’s the truth. She is going to die if she keeps drinking. But on the drive home and this morning it bothered me. I believe in meeting people “where they are at” and taking “whatever they are willing to do” to get sober. And creating a daily plan that is reasonable enough that they can achieve. But Jill isn’t 20 years old trying to get sober for the first time. Jill is 40 and looks horrible. She is six days sober, (so she says) and coming off another relapse. She’s experienced multiple seizures while detoxing this time as well. She has no money for treatment this time around, reason being she was in my group. I am not that “hard-ass , rogue-counselor that doesn’t play by the rules but somehow his tough love and unorthodox techniques for getting people sober work. That’s not me, however as I wrote that last sentence I admit that would be a pretty cool character on a YouTube Red series. I’m more of, “let’s work with what we got.” But I feel Jill is running out of things to help her get sober, the greatest is time. Jill is running out of time. That’s why I felt I had to be honest about her situation. And that’s why I said she is going to die, if she doesn’t stop drinking.

“I know, this isn’t my first rodeo,” she said.

“Exactly,” I said, “That’s why I feel this is not going to end good for you.”

So I doubted my approach. I mean, it could turn Jill into self-pity, and rationalize her to say screw it, I’m going to die I might as well drink. But I just feel that the sense of urgency and motivation to get sober isn’t there for her. She wants to put everything and everyone first. I feel like there is no time for her.

I hope I’m wrong.

 

*This story is real, however the name has been changed to protect our anonymity