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Holiday Rant

Old 12-19-2019, 05:14 PM
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Holiday Rant

It's really hard for me to go back to my home state. I've been slowly easing into it over the last few holidays, only agreeing to see immediate family. When I left I was in really bad shape. I was mixing pills with alcohol.. first amphetamines, drinking at least half a liter of vodka a day at one point. Then I slowed down with those, drank less but started sometimes mixing with oxys or benzos. I was also in a physically abusive relationship which was highly intertwined with the rest of my dependencies. Jail or institutions, if not death were not far down the line.

Somehow, I got on my feet financially and transferred to another city. Left the relationship, stopped the pills, and found a whole new group of enabler "friends". Thought things were looking up, left for yet another new city. Getting free of booze was still a 2 year so painful and humiliating battle after leaving my home state.

Now.. I'm the one and only alcoholic (that I know of) out of all my blood relatives. And I have a lot, my dad has 7 siblings. My ex step dad was an alcoholic, my mom was oblivious, and the definition of co-dependent. My step mom at the very least has a problem with it, but she's the breadwinner so who cares. If anything it's glorified. Both my parents are highly medicated.. but it's all anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds so that's totally " normal and acceptable".

Getting to the point here.. about 2 years ago I had a falling out with my grandma. She means well but her anxiety is off the charts and she for whatever reason has a "special affinity" for me and has clung onto me like a life raft in the past. I'm talking about non stop calls and texts, hand written letters, telling me every single thing I'm doing is wrong and is going to lead me to grave harm. I had to go no contact for my own sanity.

However she's obviously getting older, and it would break my heart to not "make amends" with her before she either passes away or starts totally losing her memory. So I'm going to be seeing her this Christmas. But my own anxiety is hard to deal with. I told my sister I was considering bringing xanax... and she said oh yeah you definitely should! I take anxiety meds every day and there's nothing at all to worry about, it's a great idea! This is coming from someone who lost her ex to an overdose, and still does not seem to understand addiction.

In fact last year she gave me ativan (or something similar, can't remember exactly) and I spent at least a full day pretty out of it. And I know my own propensity to "check out" with xanax as I've done it at least once on my own. So.. I'm not really looking for advice as I know everyone here will tell me to definitely not do it. And in all honestly I most likely will. I guess this is more of a "confession". To get out the guilt and hear the judgment and condemnation.

Thanks for reading this ridiculously long post.
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Old 12-19-2019, 05:24 PM
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Hi Cosima - I know you said no advice but honestly...I think any situation that you feel you can't get through without self medicating is not a healthy situation to be in.

I'm not sure its even necessary?
I understand your grandmother is getting older but that may not mean she';s any less toxic..

I communicated by phone with my family for several years. Even today when I'm back in the fold, I have an answering machine to screen incoming calls because some days I just can't deal with the dramas.

I really believe that's always an option where toxic relatives are concerned.

D
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Old 12-19-2019, 07:30 PM
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Cosima, this is a no-win for potential responders here now, as you have pre-defended against everything. when no-one has attacked or judged or condemned.
Dee makes such a good point.
and you speak of guilt for something you havenít even done yet, so: why put yourself in a situation where you are likely to do something that will leave you condemning, judging yourself and have you already pretty much decided to use drugs.?
is it because you want to?
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Old 12-19-2019, 09:07 PM
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Both Dee and Fini hit the nail on the head there I think Cosima - don't put yourself in an avoidable situation and do something you'll regret later. Ranting is fine, but this is a lot more than a rant...it's boxing yourself into a bad situation. There is always another choice in every situation.
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Old 12-19-2019, 09:34 PM
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Sorry it's a no win position but I guess I'm mostly just venting my frustration, and anger.. Anger at the lack of understanding from basically all corners of my family. Which isn't really their fault.. but it creates some very awkward and uncomfortable dynamics. And I do think it's necessary to see my grandma as my twin cousins are graduating high school this year and I don't want them to think I have some sort of grudge against my mom's entire side of the family.

If anything, my friend who I've written about a lot in other threads (was a serious alcoholic and has now switched to meth) is now in sober living and might be coming to stay for part of the time I'm in town. That would/will without a doubt keep me from taking anything. To be there as support for him..

In any case I guess my AV just doesn't see taking a few xanax or whatever it may be as that big of a deal? But if I wouldn't want to tell my newly sober friend about it I know I should't be doing it either. Basically what I've realized this year is that in future trips to my home state I'm going to be an adult about it and just rent a car and get my own hotel room so if I need to "escape" for whatever reason I can and I'm not just at the mercy of whoever is driving me around.
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Old 12-19-2019, 09:40 PM
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Ya gotta do what you gotta do - but I agree that any behaviour you're not prepared to make public to some one else in recovery is probably not a good thing.

There is no valid excuse for me to self medicate - I sometimes have to do hard things and be around toxic people (I will be again this Xmas) but I manage it all, clean and sober.

If you feel you must go - ok - with a decent plan, I believe you can stay clean and sober too Cosima.

D
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Old 12-19-2019, 09:48 PM
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I know people are telling you not to see grandma, but itís really hard to do that when you feel pulled to it, sometimes if it just wonít let you be, itís something you might feel you need to do.

Iíve had my own situations in sobriety that produced a heck of a lot of anxiety, but I felt I needed to do them. As you all know I too used anxiety meds once for the hardest one for me (the plane trip) which aroused all sorts of responses here that I knew Iíd get, ultimately it seems pills just donít fire me up (or even work all that well: was still crazy anxious) but if they do for you, Iíd watch it. If you know you like it too much, and you know it fires up other cravings like alcohol, a hard line approach with it with your own self talk (ďIím not touching that stuff, etcĒ) might be best, as you go into situations like this.

Now that I think about it, when I did use Valium on that plane, I had some pretty strong alcohol thoughts before, during, after the flight and during the vacation, so for full disclosure I have to say I donít know. Vacation may have sparked cravings....or maybe the inflight Valium is what made sobriety harder. The decision not to drink is always there, but sobriety is sometimes easy, sometimes hard. And often itís what Iím doing at the time that makes it easy or hard. In the end, is it worth it to tempt fate?

Needless to say Iím not too excited to go on vacations at all....and honestly, holidays are the same. Theyíre just hard sometimes. They can have really bright spots but there is stress there too, and I think thatís why itís become a cultural obsession to drink too much, and also eat too much, around this time.

If you need to see your family, see your family. But protect yourself. Make a plan to escape in small ways. Meditate. Exercise. Call a friend in the next room. Go outside for a brisk walk by yourself. Whatever it takes to distract, soothe, and/or remove yourself from the situation if you feel pulled to use or drink.
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Old 12-19-2019, 11:53 PM
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Cos,

Are there practical things you can do?

You say rent a hotel room and car next year, why not this year? If you have comitted to staying with someone, why not at least a car?

For me, being able to "get out" is often key to getting through situations like the one you describe.

Also about your grandma, I believe in scheduling and then sticking to it like my life depended on it. So, agree when you will see her, make that as short as you can, and then go and do not even discuss longer options, off the table.

About the xanax, for me, does nothing, no light me up, nor does it make me more likely to drink. But you be you.

Now I am going to say the obvious because we love you - not drinking is the most important thing and if going, or staying, ever threatens that, you gotta go. Hotel room, early trip back, drive in the country, whatever. Your sobriety comes first, second and third -- grandma, your friend in recovery, the cousins, they all come behind always.

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Old 12-20-2019, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Cosima11 View Post
Sorry it's a no win position but I guess I'm mostly just venting my frustration, and anger.. Anger at the lack of understanding from basically all corners of my family. Which isn't really their fault.. but it creates some very awkward and uncomfortable dynamics. And I do think it's necessary to see my grandma as my twin cousins are graduating high school this year and I don't want them to think I have some sort of grudge against my mom's entire side of the family.

If anything, my friend who I've written about a lot in other threads (was a serious alcoholic and has now switched to meth) is now in sober living and might be coming to stay for part of the time I'm in town. That would/will without a doubt keep me from taking anything. To be there as support for him..

In any case I guess my AV just doesn't see taking a few xanax or whatever it may be as that big of a deal? But if I wouldn't want to tell my newly sober friend about it I know I should't be doing it either. Basically what I've realized this year is that in future trips to my home state I'm going to be an adult about it and just rent a car and get my own hotel room so if I need to "escape" for whatever reason I can and I'm not just at the mercy of whoever is driving me around.

Cosima, fwiw I’ve been very depressed and my husband has suggested it have some edible marijuana from time to time. I’ve considered it.

I don’t like marijuana or the effects, so it’s just not really something that gets me excited. I think I’m a “quick fuel” kind of junkie....more of a metabolic addict as it were, sugar lights me up hard as does alcohol and I’ll go to town on both, but drugs never have....

Anyway the last time I did an alcohol quit in 2016, I used marijuana. The quit lasted only 7 weeks before I relapsed on alcohol. I have it in my mind that mj is my gateway drug. That may or may not be true... but what I do know is the high frustrated me (it would get me sort of there but not really) and that frustration of an incomplete high could have very well led to my relapse.

For that reason I avoid it, and treat it like a dangerous substance in sobriety.

You really need to know yourself and take this seriously. Please don’t let A.V. control this situation, consider this carefully. Of course we are not the ones to make the decision about the benzos for you. I regularly get high on sugar myself (which is a serious problem for me) and it’s impacted my life in various and sundry terrible ways, it’s a known problem substance for me and I’m finally facing the courage to quit, probably for good, possibly just for six months until my insulin levels have normalized, I dunno...on 12/27.

Point being...you know yourself. Take it from me and don’t give yourself a problem substance you end up having to plan to quit. It’s not fun. Through the new year, I’m going to be irritable, sleeping 15 hours a day, digestive problems, headaches you name it as I detox from sugar. Don’t be like me and add a new problem to life.

Make the right choice for you, and enjoy your family. Spend good time with them. The time you spend with them can be peaceful and lovely or it can be stressful. Sometimes, that is also a choice.

Happy holidays my dear.
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Old 12-21-2019, 03:22 PM
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Cos,

I think you might already know this, but going back to my home state is a sure-fire trigger for me. And I'm not sure about you, but if I rent a hotel and a car, you can bet that's because the beast has a plan to drink and I will provide it with the legs and arms to facilitate it's desires.

This has happened so reliably that I've decided there's no way I can go there until I've got at least six months sober. It's just too risky. (Not that this prevented me from relapsing right here in my own back yard, of course. So you know for sure there's no finger pointing here!)

I wouldn't dream of giving you advice as I'm pretty much the least qualified person to know what you "should" do. Well, that and also you didn't ask for it. However, I will remind you that we're told that amends need not necessarily be made in person and we are also excused if doing so would cause harm. My understanding is that this potential harm includes yourself. In my book, you are the most important person in this equation and you deserve to do what's best for you. Seems like an awfully big risk to go there for anything short of anything like a needed stem cell donation. At least at this time.

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O

p.s. Pre-emptive confession. Not sure I ever thought of that one. Sort of like early voting, huh?
You know I love you, right?
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Old 12-21-2019, 07:00 PM
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It didn't even occur to me that I could get a car and hotel room initially. When I'm there they see me as a child, I tend to act like a child.. the whole thing can just be awful. I was planning on staying at my sister's as a neutral location but she forgot to mention she's moved back into the other portion of the duplex my dad and step mom own. So I'll be staying there. The last time I saw my grandparents I believe I was like 2 months sober, it was supposed to be a trip with just my mom and sisters but my mom "forgot" to tell me my grandparents would be showing up too. In reality she blatantly lied about it and then insisted I must have forgot.

I was angry then too because although it's of no concern to her, I could've easily drank over that in such an early stage. That's why distance from my family has been essential to my recovery. If I won't agree to what they want they'll do whatever it takes to force, control, manipulate, blindside me..

In any case there are skeletons from my past that need to be dealt with, and not just with the amends. It's almost a weird form of dissociation, dealing with trauma.. it's like there's a before and after and my entire life along with all my memories from my home state are defined or heavily tainted by those 2-3 years. I don't think there's a way to get through the re-immersion without inflicting some amount of pain and/or discomfort. I have tools to deal with that now but the knee jerk reaction is still there in a way..

It's a pre-emptive confession but also post-emptive (if that's even a word?), because I couldn't do it last year (seeing my dad and step mom for the first time again) without benzos either. If I'm really honest, my AV knows this is the last remaining "avenue" it has because I can do it as an isolated incident and then stop. It doesn't make me want to drink, and I can pull myself out of it before anything catastrophic happens. But yeah the parallels with drinking are undeniable. Although I don't so much get "fired up" about it as I know it's a guaranteed "escape" with some mild euphoria. I actually have nothing against weed per se and see it as less similar to drinking for me, but I also just don't really have any desire to do it at this point.

Thanks all for your input, I'm not going to say I for sure won't take any, but I will say I'm committing to working through more things in therapy and I'll make it through this trip without dying or having a meltdown.
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Old 12-21-2019, 07:17 PM
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If I'm really honest, my AV knows this is the last remaining "avenue" it has because I can do it as an isolated incident and then stop. It doesn't make me want to drink, and I can pull myself out of it before anything catastrophic happens.
I went out one night in 2004 to a high school reuinion - it was a one night only deal I made with myself.

I didn't stop drinking again until 2007.

Alcoholics don't have control over their drinking.

You don't know that you can get back to recovery for a fact - and coming from the AV thoughts like that are made of crud anyway.

Its going to be difficult and the AV will use that difficulty on you, regardless of how you feel now.

There's not much about this visit that seems like a good idea to me Cos but I'm trying not to be negative - there are some really handy ideas here that could help you stay clean and sober through this visit.

https://www.soberrecovery.com/forums...val-guide.html (Social Occasion Survival Guide)

D
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Old 12-21-2019, 10:06 PM
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I do think you should go and see your grandmother. Family, even the toxic ones are part of us. You have made plans to cope. That is good. I hope all goes well.
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Old 12-21-2019, 10:50 PM
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Perhaps just write a very sweet letter to your grandmother, re-assuring you are doing well, etc.
Then maybe a visit to her when holidays are over and you aren't so stressed?
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Old 12-22-2019, 11:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Cosima11 View Post
In any case there are skeletons from my past that need to be dealt with, and not just with the amends. It's almost a weird form of dissociation, dealing with trauma.. it's like there's a before and after and my entire life along with all my memories from my home state are defined or heavily tainted by those 2-3 years. I don't think there's a way to get through the re-immersion without inflicting some amount of pain and/or discomfort. I have tools to deal with that now but the knee jerk reaction is still there in a way..
I validate this
I validate this
I validate this

For me, it's not "almost like," it [B]is[B] dissociative to deal with trauma. Or at least has been. Turns out that's the only way I knew how. That or drinking. Or both.

I'm hoping there is a way you and I can learn to get through the re-immersion without any discomfort, but know that's going to take time and effort.

My first concern in your going home situation is you because I care about you. You already know what my unsolicited opinion is and you've already made up your mind about going. So off you go then with a hug and a kiss.

Come back to us safely.



O
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Old 12-22-2019, 11:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Cosima11 View Post
In any case there are skeletons from my past that need to be dealt with, and not just with the amends. It's almost a weird form of dissociation, dealing with trauma.. it's like there's a before and after and my entire life along with all my memories from my home state are defined or heavily tainted by those 2-3 years. I don't think there's a way to get through the re-immersion without inflicting some amount of pain and/or discomfort. I have tools to deal with that now but the knee jerk reaction is still there in a way..
I validate this
I validate this
I validate this

For me, it's not "almost like," it is dissociative to deal with trauma. Or at least has been. Turns out that's the only way I knew how. That or drinking. Or both.

I'm hoping there is a way you and I can learn to get through the re-immersion without any discomfort, but know that's going to take time and effort.

My first concern in your going home situation is you because I care about you. You already know what my unsolicited opinion is and you've already made up your mind about going. So off you go then with a hug and a kiss.

Come back to us safely.



O
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Old 12-23-2019, 12:07 PM
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My advice would be to avoid any situation where I feel it's necessary to take drugs......I have one shot at sobriety and it's life/death for me. Add to that you never need to take any drug.
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Old 12-24-2019, 09:39 AM
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For an alcoholic, taking benzodiazapenes is not a viable solution.

I have suffered from generalized anxiety disorder for my whole adult life, and I take meds which manage the problem.

It doesn't mean I don't still get situational anxiety, though.

I would go see your grandmother, make amends as best you can and be done with it.

For me, there are no valid reasons for me to ever take those kind of meds.

You'll be fine, Cos - anxious probably, but you'll survive that .

I drank and took benzo's to numb feelings, including anxiety, but all I did was get addicted to them.
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