Thursday, April 29, 2010

just a word or two...

One of my mates in treatment was a perfectionist—her assignment—“you may not make your bed for the duration of your stay”.

My defect?—I could not express emotion—my assignment—“tell three people each day how you feel”. It was horrible. It was hard. After I had exhausted my repertoire of, “I am depressed”, ” I am angry”, ”I am fine”, “I am mad”, “I am tired”, “I am hopeless”, and “I am scared”, I was told that I needed new material.

Fortunately Merriam-Webster was available and able to provide a word or two (actually more like thirty some odd words for that is about how many days this assignment lasted). I’ll never forget the day that I came across the word ‘amethyst’ in the dictionary and I was able to say, “I am feeling like an ‘amethyst’. Of course the dictionary spoke of, “a clear purple or bluish-violet variety of crystallized quartz” blah, blah, blah… but, more importantly this dictionary told me that amethyst also meant, “Un-drunken”. Hence, that very fine day, I was able to assert my voice with confidence and announce to my peers that I was most assuredly feeling “un-drunken”. Here let me prove it—

am•e•thyst [am-uh-thist]

Well some habits once established are hard to break. I find myself each day trying to come up with a new descriptor of just how it is that I am feeling. For example just a few days back the ‘word of the day’ was ‘pendulous’. I can hear you all exclaiming, “Doesn’t she know that ‘pendulous’ is NOT a feeling?” Well let me tell you—I was PMS’n—I can assure you ‘pendulous’ IS a feeling…

“I feel ‘pendulous’, as in my boobs are hanging, my butt is hanging, even the
gut is hanging”. I feel droopy and sad both physically and emotionally—it is
most definitely a ‘pendulous’ kinda day…

Anyway—I am taking a meandering path to my point. The point being that I no longer need to fear my emotions—for if I ignore them they can overwhelm me. It seems as though a feeling once spoken is stripped naked of its power and can be examined in the confines of reality not in the expansive free for all of my imagination. So each day I will choose to continue to tell at least three people just how it is that I am feeling…

So here it is—the ‘word of the day’—are you listening?

“Grateful”-- the word is grateful...

Monday, April 26, 2010

A confession...

“Even when preoccupied, distracted, or salivating, we each have a dream, a vision of life that corresponds to our convictions, embodies our uniqueness, and expresses what is life-giving with-in us…the dream gives definition to our lives, influencing the decisions we make, the steps we take, and the words we speak” (Manning, A Glimpse of Jesus).

I still struggle with this notion of having a vision for my life. I still struggle with that nagging question, “what am I to be when I grow up?” I still dream, still plan, still strategize. This ‘dreaming’ is distracting. This ‘dreaming’ is unsettling. I am 45 years old. When will what I am right now really be enough? I keep thinking that there has to be more to life than this…

Lately, I find myself telling people that, “When I grow up, I want to be a greeter at Wal-Mart”. But that is a lie. It is a diversion of sorts. I think when I make this proclamation others will think of me as unthreatening, friendly, even funny. It has seemed to me throughout the years that being an ambitious woman just gets you into trouble. When people discover that you want more, they distance themselves from you as if to say, “Well ‘Honey’, you’re not getting any of mine!” And in that distance I found loneliness—it just became easier to hide the real me and choose to talk smart of one day wearing the coveted blue vest!

So if I come clean, I have to confess that for most of my life I have struggled with the desire for intellect, pleasure, security—my personal sacred trifecta of sorts—always looking for more, never satisfied and forever discontent. While recovery has taught me much of humility; I still struggle with the incessant inner drive for more and more and more. I’ve been promised that “self seeking will slip away”…seriously, is that really even possible?

Until then, I will dream of blue vests, yellow smiles and the promise of roll-backs…

That’s all folks,
The CoD

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

in my spare time

In my spare time I look for Whiskey plates... It’s my hobby...

(Noun): license plates given out by the state of Minnesota when you have multiple DUI's. They start with a "w" and suck in the most awful of ways, as it causes police to stop you more frequently to see if you are boozed up.

I am not sure how or why I acquired this hobby. But, I do find it entertaining, a good way to occupy my mind during a long boring drive or while searching for parking. My husband thought me nuts(er) one day when I asked him if we could cruise the IKEA parking ramp in search of cars with whiskey plates. But as with most things in my life, there probably is more to this strange past-time than meets the eye. I am thinking that maybe whiskey plates are a homing beacon of sorts guiding my search for other misguided yet kindred spirits. When I meet a vehicle with whiskey plates I have the strangest urge to wave or tip my hat in effort to acknowledge that I understand their humility and somehow encourage the driver in all their efforts to remain sober and safe.

Anyway, on to my story… About a month ago I almost had an accident. I was on an adventure searching for the elusive W-plate. In this altered state of mind I became a hazard to myself and to others. I was distracted. I had a camera phone. And I was on a low-speed chase.

This is what I found…

I thought to myself—“Oh, how cute. I love Volkswagens. When my Passat croaks, I’d like to get a Bug. I love that shade of green... I should look at the license—maybe it has a whiskey plate”... (Honestly, I hate to confess this, but I do really have thoughts such as these). So believe it or not I actually swung a U-turn to get a good look at its tail-end.
Although I did not find Whiskey Plates, I found something almost better…

The butt end of the cute green bug had this to say--

(‘I drive a Volkswagen…’)

(‘I am a Christian…’)

(‘Keep your distance…’)

The message on this car had me transfixed. I wanted so much to get a picture. So I drove with one hand, shifted with the other hand and tried to take a picture with my other hand…I am out of hands you say?
Well that’s where the endangering self and others comes into play…
The pursuit ended but my thoughts did not. I am sure that the message I received was not the message the owner of this car intended—at least I hope not. But it has made me think of a quote I once read,
“Some of the biggest barriers to Christ are Christians”.
(Author long forgotten—apologies to whomever I am plagiarizing)

And that my friends is all I have to say

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Out of sorts.
Not quite right.
Off kilter.

All these words, however appropriate, can not compare to my mothers one word description of my current mental state...


Yes that is it--"I am feeling twisted"

It has been one of "those days", that followed a series of "those days" that followed one of "those weeks". I feel dissheveled and scattered.
I just can not find where I begin or where I end.
Life feels...weird...wrong...twisted.

I found myself talking to a friend today and telling her that I just feel like I am digging myself into a hole and I wish that someone would please, please, please take my shovel away from me. But knowing me, I would just take off my gloves and glory in getting dirt under my nails as I dig, dig, deeper even without that cumbersome shovel...

Life since treatment is often confusing. A whole new set of rules was thrust into my face. I call these rules the "Thou shalts of Sobriety"
  • Thou shalt be social
  • Thou shalt go to AA
  • Thou shalt be Honest-- Open minded--Willing (HOW)
  • Thou shalt be accountable
  • Thou shalt maintain regular contact with a sponsor
  • Thou shalt see a counselor
  • Thou shalt relinquish control
  • Thou shalt cultivate a relationship with your "Higher Power"
  • Thou shalt do all of the above while maintaining marriage, family, home and employment
  • Thou shalt KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid)--yea right!

I would be a fool to proclaim mastery of these "commandments", and I do see their merit; however, I feel that one important "thou shalt" was ommitted:

Thou shalt be tired and twisted--

cuz that is how I feel...

Well, I am trying to follow the rules and something still is not right. And I hope you can appreciate the precarious situation I am putting myself in by admitting that my serenity crown is cock-eyed and sits askew on my head. To those of you who love me, I assure you that I am fine, there is no need to intervene. 100% serenity is not realistic. A bad day. A bad week. That will happen. I really am okay. I am just not always that comfortable in these new clothes that I wear. They sometimes feel stiff and scratchy. To be honest, these new garments don't always cover as well as the old rags did. A 'wardrobe malfunction' is my biggest fear. I also feel fairly certain that this uncomfortable twisted sensation that I have comes from these brand new duds. I pray that I will one day grow into them and I pray, pray even more...that someone picks the wedgie out!



Thursday, April 1, 2010

progress not perfection...

In my "real life" I work as an RN in a very small 25 bed critical access hospital. In a nutshell that means that I do everything--Pediatric, Surgical, Medical, ER, etc... Needless to say, it is a very interesting and at times a very stressful job.

As an active alcoholic, I use to use my job as an excuse to drink. As a recovering alcoholic, I now use my job as a measuring device of sorts to indicate where I am at in my recovery. However, instead of using a nice, tidy lichert scale and rating my performance on a 1-10, I now sift through and categorize the emotions, mental images and "rogue thoughts" that arise during emergent or critical situations.

I found this entry in my journal--it is from a few months back...

I can see though where there has been some improvements in my alcoholic disposition. I remember that a few weeks after I had returned to work after CD treatment there was a code in ER (Yup--CPR, intubation, drip, drugs, flight crew on the way kind of deal). All during this crisis situation tears kept clouding my vision. My most predominant thought..."I am not going to be able to go home and drink this stress away"...and I was crying because of it! How incredibly selfish. Someone is dying and I am most concerned about having a drink. And tears--not for the dead; but for the the drink.

Well perhaps progress has been made. This week--another code. However, this time--not until the very end, after the patient was safely packaged and loaded on the helicopter, did that first tear tumble. This time--not until the very end, did I have that very same selfish thought, "...and I can't go home and drink this away". I was sad. I cried. I went home. I did not drink.

Well, the nature of life is such that I will at some point find myself a participant in a similar scenario. However, perhaps next time I will not have those awful thoughts and sad tears until I am in my car and on my way home...and perhaps the time after that, I will not have those awful thoughts and sad tears until after I arrive at my home... and perhaps the time after that I will not have those thoughts and tears until the day after...and perhaps...perhaps someday I will no longer have those awful thoughts or sad tears at all...

" I was taught that the way of progress is neither swift nor easy"

~Marie Curie~