My Rollercoaster of Anxiety these Past Few Weeks

Gosh.  The last few days have been ROUGH.  There were several things up in the air.  And I decided to re-address the idea of bringing the boys home next year.

I realized something yesterday.  Two weeks ago I was extremely anxious to the point of being on the verge of a panic attack for days.  I thought it was because I needed to be back on birth control (because it really does help with anxiety and mood… from past experience).  So I made an appointment with my doc to get back on.  A few days later, I felt better (I haven’t started it… the only thing is that maybe the pros/cons list about homeschooling the boys helped).

Fast forward to Tuesday of this week.  I found out that there was a small possibility of us moving to a different house here at camp, but it was up in the air.  Then I decided to think that maybe I CAN homeschool the boys next year and maybe I need to do a trial run over the summer and see how we handle it.

Yesterday was extremely rough for me.  I was processing it and still trying to make a final decision.  I was back to being extremely anxious and on the verge of a panic attack.  I couldn’t think straight, my brain was foggy, upset stomach, racing heart; I couldn’t think of anything else.  I told Robert last night that I needed to take a Xanax (which I’m not allowed to take anymore because it’s addictive, and I’m an addict).

Through my severe anxiety I realized something.  The last time I had this anxiety (2 weeks ago), I was also trying to decide whether or not I should homeschool the boys.  Then the same thing happened yesterday.  That right there gave me my final answer.  I’m just not ready.  As soon as I made my decision to keep them in school, my anxiety lifted.

Then I told the boys that they will be in school next year.  I thought I would get tears, anger, frustration, “whys,” but they just said okay and moved on!

Robert and I talked about how because I didn’t take Xanax, I was able to process why I was having such extreme anxiety.  If I were to take it, I would just be numb, and I wouldn’t have processed it.

Robert was happy that I came to this conclusion.  One of the big things that he wants is consistency for the boys and for me.  We have never had it… not one year has had consistency.  It’s been rough for everyone involved.  Next year will be one of routine and normalcy.  The boys will go to school, we will stay in our wonderful little home, Karis will be homeschooled, my focus will be on teaching her (she’s really independent so this doesn’t take much at all) and self care.  I will continue working on being sober (and AA), loving my self as is (continuing to focus on intuitive eating), having routine in my day, my blog, loving my family, keeping a clean home for my family (along with the kids’ help), counseling 2-4 times a month (including some EMDR mixed in), Bible study, prayer, being a good friend, serving here at camp, and more.  Just continuing what I’m doing now (and maybe being a little better at things as I start to feel better).  What I’m doing now is a full time job.  Any more is too much at this point!

Today has been fabulous.  I have zero anxiety.  I am joyful and full of energy!  I have motivation and a desire to do things around the house again.  I even dried my hair and put on makeup today.  I hardly ever wear makeup anymore.  It feels good :-).

I read while Karis read (on the porch).  This is my new routine.  I have a book a month that I want to read.

I learned so much!  I’m very encouraged.

 

“In recent years, myriad research projects have demonstrated unequivocally that diets do not work. Of those people who go on diets, ninety-five to ninety-eight percent regain their weight, plus some. Diets make us fatter. Diets turn us into compulsive eaters. Diets make us sick!
Why do we keep engaging in an activity that both harms us and fails us time and again? Why do we continue to cling to the promise of diets despite documentation that the more we restrict food, the more desperate we become, and the more we eat? Why on earth haven’t women put the diet industry out of business?”

Then a woman in a group that I’m in wrote this:

“It’s amazing to me that women (and men) continue to restrict their caloric intake to such extreme levels.

The diet industry thrives on failure and it’s perfectly set up for it. You restrict calories and your body goes into starvation, holding onto every calorie you eat. Then when you stop dieting your body is primed with a slow metabolism since it doesn’t know when/if you’ll starve it again. So you gain the weight back (and then some) and eventually begin yet another diet.

It’s such a brutal cycle. How awesome would the world be if we gave up diets, had things we enjoy in moderation, and made healthy lifestyle choices without restricting ourselves?”

I’m just feeling at such peace today and feel like I can move forward with life and be me!  I’m doing what I love!

Happy Monday and Grati-Tuesday

I realize it’s Tuesday, but I didn’t have a chance to blog yesterday so I’m going to share some things today.

Yesterday was a long, exhausting day, but it was great in a lot of ways.  I have made some decisions to possibly help with anxiety and my own digestive issues.

After Karis’ doctor told us to eliminate wheat, reduce dairy, take probiotics, and increase water and fiber for anxiety and her digestive issues, I talked to my counselor about it and she asked why I wouldn’t try it as well.  She read me some studies that point to lowered anxiety and depression with eliminating gluten.  And dairy makes my stomach hurt.  My counselor has been doing this for 30 years so I trust that when she says it works, it works.  Then I talked with a friend here that is gluten free and she said it decreased anxiety, panic attacks, and depression.  So we’ll see!

I talked with my dietitian about it and she said we can try it for a month (well, she said 3 weeks but I think a month is better) and see how I feel.  I can then add them in one at a time and see if it affects me.

So that’s what I’m going to do.  I’m eliminating dairy and gluten, adding in fiber and probiotics (also encouraged by my dietitian), and drinking lots of water (mainly because I’m taking lithium now and you have to drink lots of water with it).

Yesterday I ordered some good probiotics and fiber (Garden of Life brand) as well as probiotics for Karis (just Vitacost brand).  I also take fish oil and a whole foods multi vitamin.

Now the question that I asked myself and my dietitian has been very adamant about is that I don’t view this as a weight loss diet, but as a way to feel better.  I don’t think I’ll lose weight… I’ll still eat intuitively (eat when I’m hungry until I’m comfortably full).  I won’t focus on eating “good foods” vs. “bad foods,” but just foods that make me feel good.  I’m not planning to lose weight at all.  My goal is health.  Lower weight does not always mean good health (lots of studies show this!).

And now that Karis is home I will be better about hiking.  It was hard to convince myself to go alone.

I also did EMDR and wow it brought out a lot of things that I can work on and process.  I have decided to not go into details about these sessions because it’s very personal.  Just know that I think this will also help my anxiety and increase emotional connection with my family and friends.

I’m trying to be the best me that I can be.  Closer to Jesus, positive body image, healthy, feeling good, lower anxiety and depression, better mom and wife, etc.  And I’ve gotten back to my daily routine which helps so much.

I’m soooooo grateful for spring!

I’m grateful that Karis has been so excited about school.

I’m grateful for a way for Karis to study God’s word at her level.

I’m grateful that she got up on her own this morning, got dressed, made her bed, brushed her hair and teeth, and filled out her planner for the week using my lesson plans!

(Yes her handwriting and spelling aren’t great…)

I’m grateful for coffee (even when it’s decaf with almond milk), water, spring scented candles, and my new Happy Planner!

I’m so grateful for the Bible study that I’m doing.  It is more in-depth than any study I’ve ever done, as you can see by my marked-up Bible.

I’m grateful that she’s enjoying school (mostly… she hates writing and it brought her to tears today).

I’m soooooo grateful for a neighbor that is loaning us so much!  We are using her math DVD’s, fraction overlays, and blocks (Math U See); history (Story of the World); and now writing (Writing with Ease).  She is saving us so much money.

Along those lines, I’m learning to do this homeschool thing much cheaper this time!     Instead of spending the $400 that I originally told my hubby I would need to spend (to get all of the stuff I wanted), I have only spent about $125 (Math U See Delta student books, Apologia Astronomy notebooking journal, Easy Grammar and Daily Grams, and some Teachers Pay Teachers stuff).

I’m currently creating a Geography unit based solely on free stuff that I found on Pinterest!  This is fun!

What It Looks Like to Work with an Intuitive Eating Dietitian

(this picture came from her website for Month 1, Week 3)

Have you wondered what I mean when I say I’m working with a dietitian that focuses on Intuitive Eating and positive body image?  Keep reading.

I have been working pretty closely with my dietitian and have been learning so much.  I thought I knew everything I needed to, but I’m finding I know and understand very little.

What I’m learning:

  • She (Tracy) is helping me work through so much more than eating “healthy” (everyone has a different view of healthy)
  • She is helping me determine when I’m hungry and when I’m full… trying to start at a 3/4 and ending on a 7/8.  0/1 is starving… shaky, faint, tired, etc.  9/10 is extremely stuffed.  Also on this journal I discuss feelings, self care, movement, what my intentions are for the day.  She has told me that I am not eating enough (I’m still restricting) and that the amount I’m eating doesn’t make me satisfied enough.  It’s been eye opening.
  • There is a reason for my constant drinking of coffee and Coke Zero.  For me the main reason for my Coke Zero intake is that I am replacing the alcohol.  The main thing I drank when I was drinking was either beer or Coke Zero and rum or vodka.  I pretty much drank most of the afternoon/evening; not every day, but most.  Also, it is helping me numb out some feelings that maybe aren’t pleasant.  So she is having me journal those feelings.  Coffee is mostly because I’m home most of the morning, and I’m just used to always have a drink of something.  The main thing that she and my counselor want me to do is reduce/eliminate caffeine.  My counselor wants me to eliminate it because it affects my anxiety.  Tracy wants me to reduce it because it affects my hunger and satiety cues, which actually means I don’t eat enough.  This is interesting stuff.
  • The main things that she said I should do for my health right now (besides working on reducing caffeine through sodas and coffee) are to add some more fiber (through supplements or through food), take a multi vitamin and fish oil (which I’ve been doing since I was in rehab), and move my body regularly (doing what is joyful for me… no extreme exercise right now).  Joyful movement for me means hiking and walking.  I love being outside in nature, but I don’t like running here because of the hills and rocks.  So hiking and walking it is.  I don’t like anything indoors (like videos, weight lifting, etc).  And I’ve learned that’s okay.  I need to do what I enjoy so that I actually do it.
  • She’s helping me learn to give myself grace with food and drink.  Reducing caffeine, coffee, and soda is going to be a process.  She wants me to give myself grace when I feel like I’m not doing this right.  There is no right way.  Also, I have been conditioned a certain way about food, and I need to let that go in order to learn to eat intuitively.  I have a history of restriction and she says that I’m still restricting (I fill out an intuitive eating food journal).
  • She is helping me pinpoint more areas of self care that I can pick up to help me through my day.  There’s a whole week in the program in which she pinpoints things that we can do for self care.  She also told me yesterday to take time every day to just enjoy something without doing.  Yesterday I sat on my porch without electronics or anything and watching the birds and squirrels while listening to music that makes me happy.  It was so nice.
  • One of the biggest things that she’s doing is helping me work through fat phobia and why I fear gaining weight.  I can tell that I’m still gaining weight (and will continue, possibly, because of my medication), and it is causing me anxiety.  She is working through the whys.  Why do I fear that?  What has society taught me about weight gain that makes me think being bigger is a bad thing?  What will happen because of weight gain?  How will it affect me as a person?  I am so much more than my body.  What things do I have to offer that have nothing to do with my body?  Emily Wierenga says in her book Almost Anorexic, “In a society that equates thin with beauty and beauty with love, we long to be thin, and so we hide. Beneath layers of guilt and shame, not seeing ourselves for the royalty that we are.”
  • “Each person has a ‘natural weight’, the weight at which the body is and feels healthy and is free of risk factors within our control.”  Lower weight doesn’t necessarily equal healthier.  I had high cholesterol even at my lowest weight (it’s hereditary and one of my medications causes high cholesterol).  I know people that are thin and have diabetes and high blood pressure.  I also know over-weight people that are completely healthy.
  • “We have a set point for the number of fat cells in our body and how little fat those cells can contain. Body fat is not intrinsically unhealthy tissue and does not lead to death.”
  • Healing happens in a relaxation response… focus on self care and reducing stress and anxiety first
  • We have different feelings when our needs are met vs. when our needs are not met.
  • I could go on and on!

Through all of this, I am taking better care of myself.

I wasn’t sure if this program would be worth the money, but it has already been worth it and I’m only on Month 1, Week 3 of a 3 month program!  I can’t wait to see what I continue to learn!

Learning and Growing with Every New Day

From the chapter of the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book, “How it Works”:

“Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves.”

“…self-seeking…”

“…self-centered, egocentric…”

Selfishness-self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles.  Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity…”

“Above everything, we alcoholics much be rid of this selfishness.”

“We had to have God’s help.

“First of all, we had to quit playing God.  It didn’t work.  Next, we decided that hereafter in this drama of life, God was going to be our Director.”

“He is the Father, and we are His children.”

We read half of this chapter on Monday in the AA Women’s Big Book meeting and these bold words stood out to me.  I have been stuck in this for a long time.  I am self-centered, self-seeking; most of all I have had a lot of fear and self-pity.  I sit and focus on my illnesses and difficulties in life.

I posted this on Sunday:

“This describes me 100% right now. Mental illness, EMDR, counseling, alcoholism, AA, fighting cravings, taking care of my family, just getting through each day… takes a lot out of a person. I feel that I am a strong person (thanks to Jesus), but I am worn. Starting a new week tomorrow with hope in Jesus, knowing that I can get through the week because He’s with me.”

While all this is true for me, I was really hoping for pity… I was acting in self-pity and I wanted people to encourage me.  This is self-centered.  I wanted attention because of my issues… and in reality, this is me trying to make them my identity.

I want people to see me as strong.  I want people to see me as brave, courageous, and honest.  I don’t want people to see me as having self-pity and being self-centered.  I want people to see my love for others.  I want to be known for my love for Jesus.  My identity is in Jesus first and foremost.  Without Him, I am nothing.

Something else that’s really important is the reminder that I need to get my butt up and outside moving.  Not for weight loss, but for time to commune with God and for mental/emotional health.  I hiked Tuesday… I took it slow, took pictures, noticed the flowers, listened to the birds sing, listened to the river running, and was just in the peaceful element of nature.  It was perfect.  I talked to my counselor about it Tuesday night and she really wants me to make this a priority.  It’s hard in the moment when I don’t feel like doing anything, but it is so stinkin’ helpful that I need to do it even when I don’t feel like it.  My counselor that I had in Frisco would tell me that when I can’t think my way into acting, act my way into thinking.  So in other words, even when I don’t feel like it, just get up and do it and it will help me mentally/emotionally.

It was a beautiful day.  Sunny and the perfect temperature.

I used to exercise obsessively when I was dieting, and definitely not for mental/emotional health… mostly to try to lose weight.  I counted steps, calories, etc. I would exercise to be able to eat or I would exercise to make up for what I ate.  This is not healthy.  I sold my FitBit because I was tired of feeling guilty if I didn’t reach my 10,000 steps a day, and when I hiked, I would obsess about getting as many steps as I could, not enjoying it.  I now use Map My Walk, only to see how many miles because I’m curious.  It’s not something I have to keep up with every day.  And I can hike without the app… it’s all about curiosity.

The program with my dietitian is called Attuned Eating for Attuned Living.

Every week I have audios to listen to, worksheets, and lots of readings (including some books).  She also goes over my food journals most days and we have a weekly Zoom meeting so we see each other and talk to one another.  Sometimes there are one or two more ladies in the meeting.

Today we talked about something that I have been struggling with… my coffee and Coke Zero intake.  She thinks it’s keeping me from being able to listen to my hunger and fullness cues.  I drink so much coffee in the morning that I have a hard time eating breakfast… then I’m shaky by lunch time and over-eat.  She also pointed out that there is a reason why I feel the need to have a lot of coffee and Coke Zero (only drinking those and drinking very little water).  She thinks I have a habit to the process.  Also, I’m using my drinks to replace alcohol, which means that I’m still trying to not feel certain things.  It’s an emotional crutch.  She wants me to be journaling about how I’m feeling when I drink coffee and Coke Zero.

We’re also focusing on my eating breakfast every day so that I’m not starving and shaky by lunch.  The most common thing that I’ve been eating is breakfast tacos.  Potato, bacon, and egg with salsa and cheese.  It keeps me comfortable until lunch.  Today I had homemade Greek yogurt and steel cut oatmeal.  I’m pretty hungry now, but it’s almost lunch time so I’m fine.

The most important thing that she’s doing is helping me to learn to love myself just the way I am.  She told me that gaining a little bit of weight is normal as my body overcomes the constant dieting that I did for so many years.  My body is trying to find it’s set point.  Where it’s supposed to be without dieting.  I may end up losing weight eventually.  But the most important thing is to not weigh myself at all because it changes my emotional state big time.

The most important thing that I have learned this week is that I need to make God’s word and fellowship with His people priority.

I got very behind on my Bible study because of dietitian homework, driving to and from town, and being depressed and anxious.  It’s been a rough few weeks.

I was going to skip Bible study since I was so behind.  Robert did everything but push me out the door.

We had technical difficulties so we ended up having Bible study at my house, watching the DVD on my tv, and having coffee and discussion.  It was really great!  From now on the Bible study is going to be at my house.  I’m so excited about that because it’s built in accountability.  I also love to host women in my home… especially since I’m alone most of the time!

We decided to start fresh next week (turns out, I wasn’t the only one behind), so now I’m right on schedule!

I started it as soon as we finished!

This book (1 Peter) talks a lot about trials and suffering.  It’s just right for what I’ve gone through and continue to.  The good news is that it says “for a little while.”  That’s hopeful!

 

So… through struggle comes strength and growth.

Between AA 2-3 times a week, step work, meeting with my sponsor weekly, working with a dietitian that wants to teach me to love myself the way that I am,  my counselor working with me on my self worth, daily time in the word, constant worship, church (becoming members), and so much more, I’m growing so much!

Through working hard, I’m learning more about myself and my calling.

Intuitive Eating, Body Positivity, Anxiety, and Sobriety

worth

I remember being 4 years old, a tiny thing, and thinking I needed to lose weight.  I remember lifting cans as “weights.”  Fast forward to junior high, and I remember my body going from tiny to “big” when I hit puberty (in a junior high girl’s mind).  I was bigger than a lot of girls around me.  Then in high school I was “overweight” and knew I was bigger than my friends.  I remember looking at magazines thinking I needed to look like them.  I remember feeling like I needed to go on a diet.

When I got to college, my high school sweetheart (and fiancé) broke up with me and I assumed it was because of the way I looked (among other things).  I decided at that time that I had enough so I was going to lose weight.

I went on a diet and lost 25 pounds very quickly.  I felt very proud of myself.

Fast-forward a few years and I met Robert.  We got married very quickly.  I put on a few pounds, but nothing extreme.  I ended up having 3 kids with-in 4 years (starting 2 years after we got married).  I didn’t put on a ton of weight with them (very little, actually).  After Levi was born, I gained weight because of postpartum depression.  But I easily lost the weight when I was working at a charter school because I went up and down lots of stairs multiple times a day.

I ended up fluctuating a lot between then and a few years ago (between dieting, stopping the diet, dieting, and stopping the diet).  I would also have moments in which I worked out a lot, then I would stop, etc.  I have been on an upward trend the past 3 years, starting with my first bipolar med.  It hasn’t stopped.

The last diet I tried was last summer.  I did THM (Trim Healthy Mama) for 3 months.  When it wasn’t working (and it was a LOT of work… I also had digestive issues because of the alternative sweeteners), I stopped.  I then gained back the few pounds I had lost plus a little more.  Then I went to rehab and gained 6-8 pounds in a month.

Since then, I have been trying so hard to eat intuitively (as best I can), have body positivity, and learn to love myself as is, but it has been an uphill battle.  Most days, most of the day, I’m thinking and obsessing about my weight and the fact that I’ve gained more weight.  I think about it every time I get dressed, when I’m sitting (because pants are tighter when sitting), when I eat (it affects my eating a lot… I often just don’t eat until I’m starving, then I eat anything and everything), when I see pictures of myself, when I look in the mirror or see my reflection on a window.  I don’t know how much I weigh because I threw out my scale, but I know I’ve gained weight based on how my clothes fit and it affects me all day, every day.

This causes me a lot of anxiety because I feel very out of control.  When I eat “healthy,” I feel as though there’s no reason because I won’t lose weight anyway.  When I eat “unhealthy,” I feel guilty.  I have a lot of shame around food and my body.

A few weeks ago, a stranger from a body positive group asked to be friends on Facebook (after she commented on one of my posts).  Usually I don’t accept strangers as friends, but she seemed to be safe.  I’ve been watching her on Facebook including posts, videos, and blogs that she has written.  She is a registered dietitian and she specializes in somatic nutrition and body image coaching.  I finally decided to message her and tell her how I’ve been feeling.  She messaged me a link to sign up for an appointment to have a phone call with her.  I scheduled an appointment for the next day.

That morning I thought that I couldn’t deal with one more thing right now so I canceled it.  She didn’t get the email (it was right before our appointment), so she called me.  We had an almost hour long conversation.  I knew that she would be able to help me, but I didn’t think I could afford it.  I decided that maybe we could use some of our income tax refund.  I didn’t think Robert would agree, and he was out of town, so I emailed him.  After explaining how I felt about everything, he agreed.  So, I ended up deciding to do the program.  I kind of went back and forth through the day yesterday because I felt guilty for using money for my health again.  Between counseling, doctor appointments, gas to and from town, and medication, a lot of Robert’s check goes towards my health (we get some reimbursed, but it comes out of our pockets initially).  I can’t work, so I can’t even contribute to this.

tracybrown

From her website:

Today is the beginning of the end of your struggles with food and body image concerns.  Do You…

  • Think about food (how much, when, what) 24/7?
  • Feel you can’t stop eating?  
  • Struggle to manage your weight even though trying to?
  • Want to learn to eat from hunger and fullness?
  • Need help learning to like your body?
  • Want to discover your healthy weight?
  • Feel confused about how to eat well?
  • Sick of counting calories (fat/carbohydrates)?
  • Tired of exercise being a should and feeling guilty about how much/little you move?

All of these describe my struggles.

There will be 9 group meetings (3 per month for 3 months), 4 one-on-ones (one initial, then one per month), lots of online readings and videos, 4 books, worksheets and food logs (to learn my hunger ratings, emotions, etc); I will have access to her every day via email and phone if need be.  She will review my food logs as often as I need her to.  Part of her services also include meditation, personal growth, and help with anxiety.

These are the books that I will be reading:

Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program that Works

When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies: Freeing Yourself From Food and Weight Obsession 

The One Thing Holding You Back: Unleashing the Power of Emotional Connection

Eating in the Light of the Moon: How Women Can Transform Their Relationship with Food through Myths, Metaphors, and Storytelling

So how does my sobriety fit into all of this?  Simply… I’m often so anxious about this that I am driven to want to drink.  Anything that causes me so much anxiety that I want to drink needs to be addressed.  I know it doesn’t seem big enough to make someone want to drink, but it is big to me.

I’m hoping that this is one step towards what I tell everyone all the time!

loveyourself

What Being an Alcoholic Looks Like… Who I Am Now

factors-that-contribute-to-alcoholism

129 days ago I hit my rock bottom.  I was at my parents, and I planned on not drinking before I went, but that didn’t happen.  That Monday I drank a six pack with-in an hour, then drove to the store to get more.  Yes, I was already drunk and I drove to the store.  I drank another 6 before I went to bed (I drank all of this with-in a few hours).  My kids were with me and was I paying any attention to them?  Absolutely not.  I was paying attention to me, myself, and I.  I was paying attention the wanting the next drink (a daily thing).  The next day I drank a lot, too, and ended up vomiting in a large bowl next to my bed.  You see, this wasn’t an uncommon thing.  I knew to get a bowl before it happened, so luckily it didn’t land on my parents’ carpet.  Being this drunk was an almost daily thing.

My mom tells me that I had a panic attack that night, but I barely remember it.

In the middle of the night (completely hungover), I was feeling shameful.  I couldn’t believe that I had driven drunk and just kept drinking.

I decided I was tired of vomiting multiple times a week because I was drunk.  I was tired of the room spinning as I went to bed every night.  I was tired of having to sleep on the couch because I couldn’t make it to the bed.  I was tired of passing out and not remembering what happened the night before.  I was tired of having to check my Facebook in the middle of the night to make sure I didn’t post something I shouldn’t have (or checking conversations with friends).  I was tired of not going to camp community events because I wanted to drink OR going to them drunk or buzzed.  I was tired of obsessing about my next drink.  I was tired of trying to quit drinking and not being able to, which brought on feelings of guilt and shame.  I was tired of spending my whole day either hungover or drinking.  I was tired of getting up at 10:00 each day (even though I was homeschooling) because I was hungover and dreaded the day ahead.  I was tired of being irritable and/or allowing the kids to do anything to get them out of my hair.  I was tired of putting them to bed every night hoping they didn’t notice the smell on my breath (um, they saw me drinking all day… I think they knew).  I was tired of not being able to be the person I wanted to be because of alcohol.  I was tired of being sneaky and hiding alcohol so Robert wouldn’t know that I was drinking.

I just couldn’t do it anymore.

I had been going to a Celebrate Recovery in Fredericksburg, but it wasn’t sufficient.  I decided the morning of October 12th that it was time for me to go to treatment.  I emailed the leader of the CR and she gave me the names of the local treatment centers.  After a lot of work, I got the okay to come into La Hacienda to get checked in.

128 days ago (October 13th) I went into my appointment at La Ha.  My life hasn’t been the same since.

It took me a while to finally say the words

problem-drinking-vs-alcoholism

It took a lot of learning and understanding what an alcoholic is.  Now I can say these words with complete understanding.

Alcoholism is a mental illness.  It’s in the mental illness diagnostic book.  It’s called Alcohol Use Disorder.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism says Alcohol Use Disorder signs are as follows:

  • Had times when you ended up drinking more, or longer than you intended?
  • More than once wanted to cut down or stop drinking, or tried to, but couldn’t?
  • Spent a lot of time drinking? Or being sick or getting over the aftereffects?
  • Experienced craving — a strong need, or urge, to drink?
  • Found that drinking — or being sick from drinking — often interfered with taking care of your home or family? Or caused job troubles? Or school problems?
  • Continued to drink even though it was causing trouble with your family or friends?
  • Given up or cut back on activities that were important or interesting to you, or gave you pleasure, in order to drink?
  • More than once gotten into situations while or after drinking that increased your chances of getting hurt (such as driving, swimming, using machinery, walking in a dangerous area, or having unsafe sex)?
  • Continued to drink even though it was making you feel depressed or anxious or adding to another health problem? Or after having had a memory blackout?
  • Had to drink much more than you once did to get the effect you want? Or found that your usual number of drinks had much less effect than before?
  • Found that when the effects of alcohol were wearing off, you had withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, irritability, anxiety, depression, restlessness, nausea, or sweating? Or sensed things that were not there?

I had every single one of these signs.

 

So much has changed.  My life looks completely different now.

A few days into my stay there, my case manager made it pretty clear that homeschooling wouldn’t be possible for a while because my whole goal in life would be to stay sober.  I have since realized that it’s best for all involved that the kids are in school.  It has definitely helped me to stay sober, and it has decreased my anxiety significantly!  I was wanting to homeschool and had so much anxiety just thinking about it.  That helped me to know that it’s not something I should consider for a long time.  I have a lot of work to do still.  The kids are thriving more than they ever have.

Since I’ve gotten out, my only goals are to stay sober and take good care of myself.  This used to bother me so much, but I have found that I’m a much better mom, wife, friend, and daughter for it.  I can’t believe the difference in my parenting since I stopped drinking.  I’m a completely different mom!  My love for them has grown and my desire to take good care of them/show them how much I love them has grown.  And I’m much more attentive to my husband and desire to love him better.  I am learning how to understand my emotions, and I’m learning that I need to take care of past trauma that I have been ignoring.

I desire to go to church every Sunday.  I desire to spend time in the word every morning.  I desire to read to the kids every night and spend quality time with them.  I desire to talk to the kids about Christ most days and Ethan and Levi have accepted Him as their Savior!

I love waking up early and getting the day started.  I plan my day and stick to it for the most part.  The house stays clean and laundry stays caught up.  I’m learning to delegate to the kids what they need to do because that’s healthy for them.  Our family is just so healthy now!

On another note, I’ve also discovered:

riots-not-diets

And:

intuitive-eating

This is intertwined in my self care.  I am no longer focused on the next diet, and I’ve become more balanced with my eating than ever before.  I am learning to love myself for who I am, even though I’m not at my thinnest.  I’m learning to embrace my body for what it is.  I’m learning that dieting doesn’t work and there’s no point.  I am starting to wear more fun clothes, even if I wouldn’t wear them before because I thought they made me look fat.  Just so much change in how I view myself and others.

Probably the biggest thing that I have learned is how to love.  Myself and others.  I have a new appreciation for the struggles of people and want to love them through those struggles.  I pray for people more, I share God’s love, and I accept people for who they are.  Many of my new friends from La Ha have dual diagnosis (like me) and need to have lots of self care to stay sober and out of treatment.  I pray that through my loving these people that they would feel the love of Christ through me and they would come to know Him or grow closer to Him.

God is love.  The end.

What Body Positivity and Intuitive Eating Means for Me… Loving Myself

riots-not-diets

I have been spending a lot of time thinking and learning about this.  I am in several groups that promote body positivity.

As I’ve learned, the main way people lose weight is dieting, and there is only a 5% chance that with dieting you’ll keep the weight off.  I mean, you may lose weight eating intuitively, but the reasons to eat that way have nothing to do with weight loss.  You may or may not lose weight eating that way.  I’ve learned that our bodies have a set point and it’ll always go back to that.  I’ve seen this time and time again.  So many of my family and friends will lose a good amount of weight, only to put it back on and sometimes more.  So, the science shows this to be true and it’s true in my life as well.

So for me, I know that I can’t do much about my weight long term.  Between medication, metabolism slowing down, and just coming to my set point, I have gained 30 pounds in 3 years.  I also cannot lose it (even with dieting) and have only gained more back when I have dieted.

I have learned that weight doesn’t necessarily measure good health.  I had high cholesterol at my lowest weight.  I have normal cholesterol at my heaviest.  I know people that are thin that have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.  Thin-ness doesn’t necessarily mean that you are healthy!  I know plenty of thin people that drink lots of sugary soda, eat whatever they want, and they don’t gain a pound.  Robert is super thin and doesn’t gain no matter what he eats (he’s been known to eat 8 tacos on Taco Tuesday).

And on the flip side, I know people that are heavy that are super healthy.  I’ve read about so many women who run marathons, lift weights, exercise a lot each day, and not be thin.  Exercise doesn’t=weight loss either.  I have been known to exercise 2-2 1/2 hours a day (when I was hypomanic) and not lose a pound.  Many women that are heavy don’t have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or type 2 diabetes.  Movement actually helps this.  No matter your weight.

I am learning that body positivity means to love your body no matter what body type you have.  Whether you’re thin, or whether you’re not.

nowrongway

Now, on to intuitive eating.

intuitive-eating

I’ve shared about this before, but what does it mean?

intuitive-eating

For me, this means:

  • Eating vegetables every day because they make me feel good
  • Eating pizza sometimes
  • Eating lots of protein (because of blood sugar)
  • Eating my favorite meal at my favorite Mexican restaurant
  • Eating whatever is served in the dining hall because it’s free food and it allows us the chance to hang out with our community (and I refuse to eat just salad…)
  • Drinking as much coffee as I want with half and half, 1 tsp sugar, and 1/2 tsp Pyure (I love the flavor of these mixed)
  • Eating what sounds good, and what I want (sometimes vegetables and sometimes cookies)
  • Having green smoothies (or scrambled eggs with spinach) or Pop Tarts for breakfast
  • A balanced approach!
  • Food freedom!

This means I move my body how I want, when I want… for me, this means hiking on this beautiful property that we live on, but not feeling guilty if I choose not to!

 

On another note… taking steps to loving myself is finally doing something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time and have put off for fear of what people will think.

I’m going to finally be getting the tattoo that I’ve been wanting for a long time.  It’ll be on my forearm.

It will be of this tree (a painting in my house, by a friend of mine).

img_8483

And it will have this scripture reference: Jeremiah 17:7-8

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

I’m also going to have my nose pierced again.  I’m going to try it in hopes that it doesn’t do what it did last time (got infected and I had to take it out).  We’ll see what happens.  I’m going to get a small hoop instead of a stud.  I think that will make it work out better.

All of this, of course, with our income tax refund after we pay off debt.  We wouldn’t be able to otherwise.  I’m grateful for the income tax refund!!!

One thing that really helps me is learning to spend my time focusing on what I’m grateful for and what I love about life.  Every single day I share with my sponsor 3-10 things I’m grateful for that day.  It helps keep things in perspective.