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This Thing Ain't No Joke

Old 05-16-2022, 06:56 PM
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Hi O,

You sound really good, seems like you're sorting things out. Happy to see that.

I'm going to try that show out tonight, I've been looking for something to watch.

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Old 05-21-2022, 01:26 AM
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O,

How are you doing?
On my side, youngest is trying their best not to graduate from high school, company I do a lot of work for had their most important drug fail in trial (stock down by 50%, laid off 25%...), too much to do in too little time, etc etc.
In writing this, realised that I never once thought of drinking.
Maybe time does cure most things -- +7 years now or thereabouts.
Love you lady,
Drops
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Old 05-21-2022, 05:44 PM
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Yo O-- I'm also just checking in. I hope things are well. I hope your daughters have thawed out and are working toward forgiveness?

Dropsie. I'm sorry about the graduation self-sabotage. Parenting high schoolers in this day and age is pretty horrible. I'm learning this. What a victory, though, that drinking hasn't emerged as an option. I'm learning this, too.
Best wishes at work, too. Sounds like a lot going on.

Here's to doing the next right thing... I'm rooting for us all.
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Old 05-22-2022, 11:17 AM
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Well well well - would ya look at me? I accomplished two big jobs this weekend.

For quite some time, I've been toying with the idea of moving my bed and/or office to the basement during the summer. It's so much cooler and would allow me to reduce my carbon footprint just a little bit by reducing my use of air conditioning. But you know, middlest and her boyfriend left quite a bit of stuff behind when they moved out. I can't throw it out and (thanks to Hawk) I know I can't drive it over there for fear of sending the wrong message. So that was holding me back - maybe more than anything because of the feelings it brings up for having to deal with the stuff in the first place.

Anyhow, I shifted things around in the utility room and was able to transform a corner into a tidy storage area for everything that was already back there plus the overflow that was in the finished room. Then I set up a little studio. One half of the room is a small bedroom complete with a left-behind dresser middlest doesn't want, a twin bed, rug and tv. Another third of the room is an office that accommodates my laptop and a small but serviceable monitor that was hanging around from youngest's youth. I have a very simple open metal frame Ikea armoire/closet that will house hanging and standing plants for my welcoming Zoom backdrop. Nice.

I slept down there and it was glorious. Not just cool, but soooo quiet compared to the master bedroom which is on the front side of the house. I woke up bright and early per usual, and waited patiently until 745am when I figured it would be acceptable to run the lawn mower. And I did just that. I'm getting stronger; only needed to take one rest. Thanks to fini for helping me to think of keeping the lawn mover in my front closet instead of the basement! I really think the next time is going to be almost no big deal because I don't need to heave the thing up the steps and down again. (Of course I need to do a little closet work to make having the mower in my living room palatable, but that's not too big of a deal...)

Dudes, I know about the high school jazz. I vividly remember the day I dropped my expectations to a fervent wish that my girls would simply graduate high school without getting pregnant. That happened and I'm ok with it.

Work is busy, busy. We lost a person (not a huge loss, but a loss nonetheless) and have been running short by another body or two for the last several weeks. My manager continues to put her energy into lesser priority things (in my estimation), but I'm learning to just anticipate that and try to stay abreast of her most important project du jour. It's working out much better that way. I said matter-of-factly last week, "I sure can work on that, but it means I will need to put off this other high priority project again." She was very chipper in her response, "That's ok!" Ok, then... *chuckle* (Not ok, but at least I've effectively moved the accountability to her authority.)

No word from middlest. None from youngest either, which is less of a strain because... I don't know. I guess I think youngest is less manipulative - she's just consistently stayed away and I figure she'll be back when she's ready. Her distance feels more "fair" than does that of middlest, to whom I gave a lot of help over the past couple of years. I mean, I get it, she has every right to be disappointed, angry, bitter... I don't begrudge her any of that. On the other hand, I do feel like she can be a perfectly decent and charming person to me when she needs something but has no trouble slamming the door shut - hard - when she doesn't. That's not entirely fair to her, but it's not entirely untrue either. And anyhow, I never claimed that my feelings are rational. I'm thinking of writing her an apology letter... there's an awful lot to feel sorry about and I keep thinking of more.

I met with Daniel Tiger this week. We're going back to once monthly sessions. And I think that's just fine.



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Old 05-29-2022, 05:21 AM
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I kinda have nothing to say...

Everything is ok while I sit through this part when the 'blah' comes around for a visit.

I have no real desire to do anything, but I 'do things' nonetheless. I'm never sorry that I did take a walk, answer the phone, prepare decent meals, write, exchange Wordle scores with my sisters, attend a meeting. Little moments of pleasant feelings arise out of these mundane routines. It's what I know needs to be done to maintain my mental well-being, and it's becoming self-reinforcing.

Reminder to self: that ain't nothing.
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Old 05-30-2022, 11:51 AM
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Something that I use for motivation now is future me. Like you said, you're never sorry you when you practice self care. The very first person I express my gratitude for is myself. If the day before I didn't do so good I still find something like just surviving and not dragging anyone else into it
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Old 06-07-2022, 08:14 PM
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Hi O and friends.
Hiw are you all?

checking in 💕
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Old 06-08-2022, 03:21 PM
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Hey-ho

I'm aright... nothing much to report, so we can chalk that up as success. It's really weird to think about being continuously sober for 'only' a bit over two months. I won't ever forget that last episode, but I do feel just 'as' sober as I did at two years. Not sure how that works, but I'm going to go with the theory that recovery is progressive, just like alcoholism is. Or, to put it in the words of some rehab lecturer, "it's zig-zaggy." I quite like that as it seems to synch with my history. It's been a long hard haul, but looking back, I do think the overall trend on the line chart is upward...

Eldest is going through her usual cycles of 'everything is fine' alternating with 'everthing stinks so much I hate my life what's the use.' I'm so glad I don't allow myself to go codependent with that stuff anymore.

Middlest and youngest still observing radio silence.

Wordle is fun. My sisters and I exchange our scores every day. It's just a little check-in so we all know each of the others are at least functioning. I'm getting better at my walking routine. I speak with my eldest sister every Friday, as I have every week since I came home in April. She calls me! This is miraculous on many levels, but you'd have to know her to understand why. She's her own brand of unique, that one. I'm getting along fine with the boss and am valued by her boss, so that's a good foil to how much some other peeople suck.

Y'all done with the Lincoln Lawyer season so we can exchange thoughts about how the Izzy character was written?
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Old 06-10-2022, 07:53 PM
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Wordle IS fun. My little nuclear does it every day and text one another our results.

I've found my eldest sister and I have forged a lovely little relationship, too, O. There are three of us girls, all born within three years, and the intense competitiveness between us (encouraged by my parents and the small town in which we lived-- think newspaper articles comparing our track times and our basketball stats) has taken years to overcome. The sister between us hasn't been able to get over or through it, and is still competing for some unseen prize. The elder and I, though, have overcome it, can discuss it, laugh at it, and then get on to the real work of being sisters and friends. I really like this part of the story. Earlier parts were painful and lonely.

Five years today, all. Good job to all of us for hanging in there with this sober work.
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Old 06-10-2022, 08:40 PM
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Congrats on 5 years FMN

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Old 06-10-2022, 09:00 PM
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Congratulations FMN on 5 years and the healthy relationship with your older sister—what a happy outcome!
Not much to report here—just chugging along on my many projects and really enjoying being sober right now. I am working to get organized with a little help from a clever friend, and I am seeing some real results from consistent effort cleaning an purging here on the farm—I got out 7 giant contractor bags of crap in the last two days and have been reorganizing to get more clear floor space.

I also am mulching the plantings I put in a month ago to clear my plant nursery of trees and shrubs, plus the tomatoes, herbs, and zinnias I put in the perennial garden / weed patch. My kind neighbor offered to not only mow my pasture, but bring me some water for the tank. I’ve been rationing since some jerk thieves stole the wiring from my well house. I have done well physically with all this despite my long-haul covid stuff. Sometimes I feel almost normal. I’m glad it happened when I had the heavy lifting to do here at the farm.


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Old 08-15-2022, 06:37 PM
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Hey O how’s it going?


I’ve lived in my house for 3 months and I’m only now finishing the inside work. It was a fixer upper and I’ve slowly replaced pretty much everything. Still need to splurge on nice countertops and figure out the landscaping, but it’s coming together..

I went to my cousins wedding in my home state recently. It was kind of awkward, as I haven’t seen that side of the family since getting sober. At least I’m not the only one with a weird past and baggage in that family (although I am the only addict, at least that I know of).

Other than that, and not including some work drama.. life has been pretty calm and stable lately. Hope everyone else is doing well
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Old 08-16-2022, 03:59 PM
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Hey Cos and Everybody!

I've been remiss in posting due to the advent of a sparkling brand new yellow lab in my life! Her name is Lola and she is 30 pounds of solid energy. She knows when it's time to play, does pretty well when I'm working, and may have finally succeeded in (mostly) teaching me how to get her to do her business outside rather than everywhere inside. I got her at the end of June and she is now 4 months old. This is my very first dog of my very own and the experience is growing on me. She gets me outside on the regular and motivates me to take walks in different places so that she can experience new sights, sounds, smells, and most of all - people. She is one friendly pup and we've only encountered one person so far who wasn't in the least bit enchanted by her charms. Sleep has been a little rough, but it's getting better. A few times, she's slept six hours overnight, and that is a blessing. Overall, I am much more healthy than I was just a few months ago. I'm pretty sure I've lost a pound for every one she's gained, so if we keep on that trajectory I'll be lithe by the time she's full-grown.

My basement habitat has worked out perfectly for this new puppy situation. She can be running around down here under my semi-watchful eye while I work and is actually fairly well-behaved. Sleeping down here provides quiet space for her and allows the cats to have the run of the rest of the house. They are not on board with this puppy situation, but they keep showing up for meals, so I trust they'll adjust.

I have considered drinking, sometimes way more than I like to think about, but haven't done it. I've learned to actually talk to people who will understand what's eating me or what I'm feeling, and by golly, that Brene Brown is right. If you pick the right people as confidants, it really does help to unload on them from time to time. In a strange way, I feel like the less confident I am about staying sober, the better off I am. Which isn't quite what I mean, but I think you might get it? Being alert and paying attention to what's going on inside of me seems to be way more uncomfortable than the opposite, but it also seems to help me to ride out the storm. It's working so far, anyhow.

Cos, just about everyone has weird past baggage. We just don't let it show for some reason that sort of baffles me. Wouldn't it be such a relief if we could let go of the need to put on a good face at all times? I think we'd all be healthier if we weren't trying to hide behind our own images... Are you living on your own in that new rehab house of yours? Sounds like that's been a very engaging project for you. I'll bet you love it. It's so so good to hear "calm and stable." Who would have ever believed that's what we would aspire to? I totally dig that nowadays.
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Old 08-16-2022, 04:55 PM
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good to hear from you Ob

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Old 08-16-2022, 05:49 PM
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Dear Obladi. Well done. You made it home by your self. By your own efforts, including choosing a charming dog to walk with.



It is good for us that you share this.



Many happy returns. With loving kindness, Grymt
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Old 09-25-2022, 06:44 AM
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A former boss/mentor/benefactor died early this year. My primary mentor was his wife. She (or someone) tracked down my physical address and so I received an invitation in my actual mail box to a remembrance gathering that is today. This was remarkable for a lot of reasons, not least of which is that the surviving spouse seems to want to mend a bridge she burned twenty years ago. I'd been thinking quite a bit about them, particularily him, over the few months preceding the arrival of the invitation. So I had no hesitation at all; I decided on the spot that I would fly back to my home state to attend this event. Upon receiving my 'yes, I will attend' response, her son sent me a message that she was GREATLY looking forward to seeing me.

It's gratifying. This bridge she burned was over a professional decision I"d made without consulting her first. I knew at the time that I'd done the right (personally and professionally appropriate) thing in not involving her, but it still hurt terribly when she cut me off. You know, like it does when people do that to me - gut punch that makes me feel sick to my stomach, literal pain in my heart, the weight of grief pulling on me night and day, obsessive thoughts about what I coulda shoulda woulda couldn'ta done... I finally let go of that pain/guilt/shame more than a few years back, so if everything works out well (and I've no reason to think otherwise), this trip will have been in service of my long ago mentor - her need to heal the rift. And that's really all I desire.

If you've 'known' me for any amount of time, you know that travelling back to my home state has historically been a major stressor. So to prepare, I had an extra session with Daniel just two days before the trip. We talked through my plan, we talked about potential opportunities for the beast to take over and strategized over how to seal those gaps. We talked about contingency plans should the plan and the gap-sealing fail.

I arrived Friday morning; it is now Sunday morning and I fly back home in the wee hours tomorrow morning. I've not had a drink, not been tempted to drink, and have no intention to drink in the future. I am never drinking now.

Good thing, because man I'll tell ya - booze is ubiquitous here in my home state of Wisconsin. I was at the gas station at 0630 yesterday and noticed a woman (who coulda been me, not long ago) purchasing a 6-pack of some alcoholic beverage. I thought, "holy crap! How early can you buy beer here?" Answer: 6am. So one only needs to make it from 12am-6am without the ability to purchase more fuel for the beast. I went to my favorite (due to its ridiculous size) food store to get provisions; I know the attached liquor store opens around 9am because I went there several times when I last stayed in my mother's apartment. (The first time I went, I figured the enormous bottle of booze would last me the weekend. Nope, I went at least twice more to restock.) Booze and wine are available at Walgreens - right there on the shelf to just grab and pay for along with your antabuse prescription. The fancy food store mom and I visited had a fancy liquor area built right into the center of the store - dividing the expensive deli/bakery/prepared meals from the aisles that looked like a regular person grocery store. And of course everyone knows that Milwaukee has some ridiculous number of corner taverns per capita. There's one at the end of the sleepy street where my sister lives. That's not unusual - it's the norm.

Oh and also, middlest has a big problem - much like my own. The demons are the same. She's been over to my house for respite a couple of times in the last couple of months.

And also, my brother (the one who is still alive) sent me a very long rambly text message two days before my trip. Last time I got an email or text message or any direct communication from him? Oh.... I dunno. Let's say 3 decades? I think it was meant to give me an opening (and there were many offered, the way I read it) to communicate with him. A more generous person (or naive person) might look on this as some sort of apology or recognition of... I don't even know what I'm saying. He did do some generous things when I was in my middle-late 20s and I did think of those gestures as some sort of apology, but obviously that didn't 'work' for me in the longer term...

Daniel Tiger said, "How do you feel about that?" And I said, "I don't know and I don't want to feel anything about it until I'm back from my trip." He said, "Good choice."

Plus also, youngest has cracked the door open on communication. Actually, the door is a little more 'ajar' than it is cracked. Talking with her reminds me of how witty and intelligent she is and also how... BIG she can be in her righteous presence. Wonder where she gets that from?

That's not all the news there is, but it's enough for one sitting, I think.

Here's the best thing about today so far: I am not drinking.
This will likely be the number one overall highlight of my trip; that I never felt the need to drink then (or now).

O
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Old 09-30-2022, 07:05 PM
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Hi, O,
I have a weird relationship with my brother too. I haven't heard from my brother in a decade. Our last conversation he screamed his guts out at me. For nothing I could identify I'd done. Accusations, name calling... you name it. I was stunned and silent and speechless. With time, I've come to realize I think he was drunk and doesn't even remember... and it's easier for him to be mad at me than admit he doesn't even know what happened. Another reason I'm glad I don't drink anymore. It ruins everything.

When you say middlest has your demons, do you mean with alcohol? Is she okay? How is the eldest doing?

And my goodness... how is the puppy!?!?!
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Old 10-01-2022, 09:01 AM
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Hey, FMN. My brother is a drunk, too. Mom told him (with my permission) that the reason I was hospitalized last time was due to me being a drunk battling my way into recovery. In his long rambly message, one of the things he said was basically, "Hats off to you for stopping - that sounds like a life sentence to me." He was my abuser when I was a kid, so that's what I was referring to when I wrote that his message seemed to maybe sorta kinda be an apology. As I grow, I am coming to realize that he likely had his own demons, perhaps even more insidious than mine. I'm sad about that if it's true, but also am glad to have a way to start reframing the situation. Nevertheless, the thought of communicating with him in any way sets off panic alarms deep in my gut, so... yeah.

Yes, middlest has all of them - depression, anxiety, and now is losing (has lost) control over alcohol.

Puppy is great - more on her later - I've got a thing right now.


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Old 10-01-2022, 03:32 PM
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Hey Obladi,

Thankyou for this thread. So rich and so good to read your recovery. Have been away from SR for awhile and come back recently - so was not aware of what had happened for you this year.

I am just so glad , so grateful you are here.

A similar thing happened to a very close friend with over a decade sobriety about a month ago. She also made it back, thankfully. this disease really is no joke.

Your relationship with your brother sounds somewhat familiar to me. Recently , my brother - who also was the source of some of my childhood trauma , has been very mentally unwell.

My first response to this news when my mother rang me to insist I help him , because she didn’t know what to do , was a quiet , internal - “good”. About time he suffered. (Then guilt , of course for having such an ugly thought.&#128514

But that gave way quickly to empathy for the little boy who I know suffered plenty of trauma too , right by my side - even though he has dedicated a lifetime to denying it had any effect on him .

and maybe also a duty of care thing. I mean how could I - a person who literally works in a field where I talk to suicidal people most days, refuse to help my own brother .

But as I attempted to help him, I was shocked at how quickly the wheels fell
off for me . How difficult it was
for me to do this. How the old dominant patterns of childhood - where it was my responsibility to “fix it” was just so very triggering to act out . Because if he was unwell, if he was suffering, that would mean one thing for little me - punishment . he would take it out on me. He would use me to fix himself . As he did back then.

And even though we are just two adults talking on the phone from 1000 miles away in different damn continents , my inner kid could not feel safe.

So for weeks I tried to talk to him, mostly by chat as he wasn’t taking calls . When I did speak with my suicidal brother , it was with a base level of terror - not just about him potentially completing suicide- but “old” terror deep in my veins . It triggered flashbacks, a total emotional shutdown that went on for weeks and all kinds of fun trauma stuff for me.

And all this happened after years of therapy on trauma for me. 😂😂

Can totally understand why facing this kind of stuff is generally just a bad idea for us lot unless we really have no choice.


My former psychiatrist once told me that if people manage to get through most of their life without facing their trauma she would never suggest they do any of that kind of work.

Let the dogs sleep.



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Old 10-07-2022, 10:01 AM
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Well, Tanky - how good it is to read this, which resonates with me. I'm glad you are here, too.

Sleeping dogs are gonna have to lie for a bit around here. As long as we're waxing metaphorical, I guess I can say there are bigger fish to fry at the moment. Manager problems (she literally lied to me recently, followed up by a bit of gaslighting on another topic altogether) that need to be managed. This is not a safe situation for my mental health and so I'd best confront it one way or another. I've survived enough cheating, lying and deception to know there is zero to be gained in addressing falsehoods with a person who is bent on manipulation, so the choice is to escalate or leave.

Kid problems, with middlest top of the heap today. She agreed to let me take her to detox Wednesday - a long ordeal involving 10 hours of waiting for her to be admitted. Her saying, "I don't want to be here;" me saying, "I know you don't." Her saying, "I just want to go home;" me saying, "I know you do." So so sad to see this happening to her. She in turn is heartbroken that she understands now what it was like for me - for herself and for me too. Bittersweet in the worst way. She will be discharged tomorrow, and so we shall see what is next.

I'm doing my level best in both situations to resist the impulse to control. It's easier with the manager because well, you know - it's impossible to deal with a liar. But my control in her case is acribing feelings/motivations to what she is doing. I may be 100% certain that I know what's going on here, but what does that get me? Nothing but a mind-reading. What's most important is to be clear with myself on what is needed for my own mental well-being. And so I will ask her boss (a person I believe is somewhat kindred) for advice.

In middlest's case, harder. Harder because I know she may have set out on a very rugged and potentially long journey that I can't walk for her. I know the trail well, can give her a map and point out the landmarks, but I know full well that it's completely up to her to commit to the way out. Harder because I've been communicating with her spouse who does not have an addiction like ours. Try as he might, he will (God-willing!) never understand what it's like for us. That part is fine - supporting him, I mean. But I need to take great care not to be trying to 'manage' her, especially not in cahoots with him. There's kind of a fine line there, but I'm finding out where it is by tripping on it, then making corrections as best as I can.

Middlest was alarmed when I told her on the drive to the hospital that I would likely stop at an AA meeting on the way home. She was fearful that the situation would somehow trigger me to drink. I was able to tell her with confidence that really, thinking of going to a meeting was the opposite of being tempted to drink - it's a sign of my health. By the time I was leaving, I just wanted to go home, and that was fine too. I attended a meeting last night that really stunk. That's ok - sometimes it be like that. I'll give it another shot today.

There are good things, too.

First, I never drink now.

Youngest and I had a good talk where she said, "This is the first time I've ever thought you actually understood what I was saying. I never thought you'd get it and I never thought you'd get sober; and here you are doing both." We're not all cozy now, but that's ok. The door is actually open now and she knows I respect her need to be the one who controls the lock.

What more could I ask for, really?
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