My Name is Courtney, and I’m an Alcoholic

I haven’t been around in weeks. My life has changed completely. I don’t even know if this will post because I’m on a antique computer with really crappy internet, but I thought I’d try.

I knew I had an alcohol problem and was trying to stop on my own, but it wasn’t working. A few weeks ago Robert was out of town. I got drunk 4 out of 5 days. That Wednesday morning I woke up and knew that I had to do something BIG to overcome this… just going to Celebrate Recovery once a week and trying on my own wasn’t going to work any longer.

I emailed my sponsor (through CR) and asked her for information on local treatment centers. She immediately sent me 3 that she said are all really good. I tried one and found out that they were out of network through my insurance so I wouldn’t even dream of being able to afford it.

The next one I called was La Hacienda.

Everything looked good until they told me that the doctor would be billed separately from the center and it would be an additional $3400. I told them there was no way I could afford that, and he said… give me some time and I’ll see what I can do. About an hour later he called me back and told me he made it work, and all I had to pay was the rest of my deductible.

The next day (while Robert was still out of town), I packed my bags and headed for Hunt, TX.

I cried from Wednesday through the first hour that I was here. It was the hardest decision I have ever made. I knew I would be leaving my babies behind for 30 days and I hadn’t even seen Robert in almost a week by this point. Life as I knew it would never be the same. I wanted to stay home where it was comfortable, but I knew that if I didn’t make this decision, I would potentially start making some very dangerous decisions. Plus, as I’ve learned since I’ve been here, alcoholism is very deadly.

I am on day 17 now. And while it is very difficult some days, I actually love it here. I have made some really dear friends. We have lots of fun. I am learning SO much. And I am working the steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.

I had to make the very difficult decision about a week in that I would have to put the kids in school when I get out. The expectation is 90 meetings in 90 days when I get out of here and there was no way I would be able to do that and homeschool. It was a very difficult decision to make… but once I made the decision, everything fell into place and I got a lot lighter. The kids will start school in the next few weeks and they are SO excited!! I had no idea how much they wanted to be in school. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that maybe our family isn’t meant to be a homeschooling family. Anytime I try, the kids end up back in school… and they are always super happy about it. They will be going to Rocksprings Elementary. The bus picks them up at the end of our dirt road, so it’s not a ton of driving them to school.

I will be driving an hour and fifteen minutes one way, 5 days a week to go to AA. I will do AA online on the weekends. I will see a counselor twice a week to do EMDR (I’m not even sure what it stands for). I’ve been told many times that it’s one of the best forms of therapy for dealing with loss that I have been stuffing with alcohol for years.

The biggest thing that I’ve learned is that I CANNOT take another drink. In any form. It will immediately lead to a relapse, and I will end up back here (which I cannot afford, so it’s not an option! ha!). It’s also a disease that I cannot help. It’s part of my DNA. It started the moment I took my first drink. I am powerless to alcohol.

Please be praying for me and my family as I finish up my time here! I would appreciate it greatly!

List of Frugal Meals (with some recipe links)

I used to be much better at grocery shopping on a budget.  This was at a time in which we made less than our expenses and I had no choice.  Any grocery money we had was from side jobs… so we were forced to spend very little.  Over the years I have gotten lazy.  At one time I made everything from scratch.  Now I buy a LOT of pre-packaged foods.  Through deciding to live more frugally, I have come up with a list of frugal meals that I will stick to.

 

Breakfasts:

Eggs and fruit

Eggs and corn tortillas

Breakfast tacos with eggs, potatoes, and sausage (or bacon)

Muffins (homemade)

Pancakes (homemade)

Cereal

Homemade granola

Homemade biscuits

Green smoothies

Peanut Butter Baked oatmeal

Breakfast Cookies

Crockpot oatmeal

 

Lunches:

Leftovers

Sandwiches

Finger foods (lunch meat, cheese, veggies/fruits)

Mac N Cheese with hot dogs cut up in it, canned veggies

English muffin pizzas

Quesadillas

 

Dinners:

Burrito bowls (homemade pinto beans, rice, avocado, diced tomato, shredded cheese, sour cream)

Pasta and homemade sauce

pasta-sauce

Quesadillas

Roast with potatoes and carrots

Chili

Southwestern soup

Tomato soup and grilled cheese (with homemade bread)

Hot dogs

Hamburgers (on homemade buns)

Breakfast for dinner (Brinner)

Meatloaf

Sloppy Joes (on homemade buns)

Shepherd’s Pie

Egg Roll in a Bowl

eggroll

Sausage, peppers, potatoes, onions

img_6306

Sausage and cabbage (crockpot)

Spinach Enchiladas

Skillet chicken

Beef and veggie soup

Cheesy Chicken and Rice

Chicken and rice

Chicken and dumplings

Whole roasted chicken

chicken

Crockpot salsa chicken

Roasted/grilled chicken thighs

Grilled pork chops

Potato and ham cream cheese soup

Pan-seared lemon pepper chicken breast or fish

Black bean veggie couscous (or quinoa)

Black bean wraps and Lentil/Rice Casserole

Bean burritos

 

A lot of recipes that I use are found here (this is my old blog and it is NOT organized well… I will slowly move these recipes over… if I found it on another blog, it is listed):

Beef and pork

Chicken and Fish

No meat

Breakfasts

 

Homemade items:

Bread and buns

Flour Tortillas

Breakfast foods

Ways to save money on food:

  • Shop at HEB (NOT Walmart) because the quality of store brand items is better AND because I am less tempted to spend on items that aren’t necessary
  • Make most things homemade
  • Buy a block of cheese and slice/shred (vs deli cheese, shredded cheese, etc)
  • Meal plan and only buy what we need for the week (only having certain staples in my stock pile)
  • Eat very few pre-packaged foods
  • Store brand foods
  • Non-organic foods
  • For snacks buy bulk (in boxes) vs snack bags (for example, Triscuits, Goldfish, etc)

 

Foods to have in my stock pile:

  • Whole wheat flour (I use King Arthur Whole White Wheat… it’s made from Hard white wheat berries instead of red wheat… much lighter and fluffier with the same nutrients)
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Dry pinto and black beans
  • Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Sucanat
  • Canned beans
  • Canned diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste
  • Coconut oil
  • Olive oil
  • Rolled Oats
  • Steel cut oats
  • Frozen veggies
  • Frozen fruit (for smoothies)

Desiring to Live Frugally

budget

Since I had my first job, I have always been a spender.  I would get my (small) check and spend it mostly immediately.

Eventually I got my first credit card.  I saw it as more money to spend.  Very quickly I used all of my credit limit.  I ended up with more cards over time, only to use up any credit limit that I had.  I also ran out of money very quickly.

Fast forward to now.  I spend.  And spend.  And spend.  If I want something, I buy it… even if we can’t afford it.  And most of the time we can’t afford it.

I will say this… I am always good at paying bills.  Bills get paid before any spending is done.  But once bills are paid, the rest goes quickly.  We live paycheck to paycheck because of my spending habits.  We have a lot of debt because of my spending habits. It’s all me.  Robert is good with money.  He doesn’t spend… if he does, he sits on it for a long time.  I just buy things impulsively.

I worked through some of my Celebrate Recovery homework yesterday.  One of the big things that I’m working through is my spending habits (along with my alcohol problem).  I made some decisions while I was working through my homework.

I need to let go.  I need to hand everything over to Robert.  Not only do I need to hand over the bills and budget, I need to only grocery shop when he’s with me.  I tend to buy things that aren’t necessary out of impulse.  I make a grocery list and always sway from it to buy things that I want or that the kids want.  I mostly shop at Walmart and find things that I want that aren’t groceries.  I told Robert that I need a specific amount that I can spend and that’s it.  I no longer have access to credit cards.

Through this, I’m hoping to learn to think more frugally.  I want to change the way I look at money.

I feel a weight lifted because of this decision.

I lose sleep almost every night because I feel guilty for spending money and for not having money.  I struggle every day because I have very little self control in this area. I hope every day that I can gain control over my spending habits.

At this point I will pray and pray that God will give me self control in this area. You would think I could just decide to be better and be better.  Unfortunately that hasn’t worked, ever.  I have done the Dave Ramsey class.  I have read the books.  I use cash for a little while and use it all up, then go back to the card.  I have made budget after budget after budget.  I’ve never stuck with it.  It’s truly a self control problem.

My main goal with all of this is to develop a frugal mind.  I will get there; I believe it.  I just need help.  Anyone else struggle in this area?

My New Journey

startofanewjourney

I feel like I’ve been doing really well in the past 4+ months.  No depression, my anxiety got a lot better after some med adjustments, and no hypomania.  I have really enjoyed homeschooling… more than I ever thought I would.

Problem was… I was still drinking.  Too much.  Too often.  More than what is considered normal.

Since I stopped drinking (which, it’s still really hard some days, and I’ve given in a couple of times), I’ve started to feel more and realize that I’ve been in a spiritual valley.  I didn’t realize how deep that valley was until last night.

I have been using alcohol to help me in the areas that God has wanted to help with all along.  I’ve used it to help with possible impending depression (this time of year is hard for me in general), numb feelings, help with me anxiety (that I didn’t realize I was having), and help me in social situations (which I don’t do well apparently).  I didn’t realize I was still struggling with these things… but not drinking has shown me that it’s still there.

A few weeks ago I tried a Celebrate Recovery in our “town” (which, is over an hour away… but that’s our town).  It was a complete fail.  I knew when I walked in that it wasn’t going to work.  I left about 20 minutes into it after no one talked to me.  The people just seemed to be there because they had to be, not because they wanted to be.

I called the leader a few days later and asked if they even had a step study open because that’s the whole reason I would go.  He told me no, it would be a while before a new one would open up.  He did tell me about a CR in a town about 30 minutes away from there, so I decided to try it out last night.

It was everything and more that I was wanting in a CR.  I walked in and the leader looked at me and said, “you’re new, aren’t you?”  She immediately introduced herself and gave me a hug!  For some people that might scare them, but that’s exactly what I needed.  I needed to feel wanted and important.  The rest of the night went so well.  Worship was kind of cheesy because it was done through YouTube, speakers, and a screen.  But it was music that I knew, so that was good!  Then she spoke, teaching a CR lesson.  It was something I have heard before, but it was a good reminder!!

Small group was fantastic, and I realized in that moment that I’m not alone!  Lots of ladies were there for alcohol or drug issues as well as anxiety, depression, etc.  One lady also has bipolar.  In some ways it was uncomfortable because being around drug addicts was somewhat new (I’ve been around drug addicts in the hospital), but knowing that any substance is really used for the same reasons reminded me that I’m not alone.

I found out last night that there was a step study still open!  It just started last week and would be open until next week.  Thing is, it’s on Wednesday mornings… and I homeschool… and my husband works.  So the only way to make it work would be to enlist the help of friends.  A few of my AMAZING friends stepped up and said they would help!!  I’m so incredibly thankful for this community.  They love me and know that this is something I need, and they are able to serve me in a way that goes beyond and above anything I would ever ask of anyone.  But.  I knew I needed this.  It’s about living again.

I went today and it was amazing!  There were only four of us, but I’m glad.  It was a safe place to be real about issues.  The leader (who leads the CR there) is a counselor and a former addict herself (long ago).  She gives lots of hugs, which I love!  She gave me her card and told me to call her anytime!  I realized a lot of things as we worked through the second lesson.  I need to go back and answer all questions in lesson 1 and 2… plus lesson 3 for next week, so I have a lot of homework ahead of me!

The biggest thing that was helpful today was to be told by a substance abuse counselor that I do in fact have a problem.  It is helping me to step out of that denial that I have been living in for several years.  I just always justify it because it seems like everyone drinks (according to Facebook)… but the problem was how much/often I was drinking.  There are probably many people out there that have a drinking problem and they don’t know it because it’s a social norm now!

The true test was being alone today and passing our “local” store where I often buy Blue Moon.  I knew that Robert wouldn’t be home till late evening, and I had enough time to drink before he got home (I have never kept it from him, but sometimes I would drink it before he could tell me no… ask forgiveness, not permission kind of thing).  But I thought/prayed about it and realized I have so many people helping me to get sober, so why would I mess that up?  So I just drove on by!  It was ALL God!  The urge was strong.  I knew that urge was temptation from Satan and God gave me the way out!

I texted Robert about it, and he was so proud of me.  This is big!

Why do I share all of this?  I feel that God has called me to it.  No other reason except that.  He has called me to “live out loud,” and I will do that!  I feel that He has a reason and a purpose for who He has called me to be, and I pray that He uses it for His glory!

img_6343