My Addictive Brain, Healthy Habits, and Making Changes for Good Health

I’ve written about this sooooo many times, and I have made a final decision (after talking with Robert who is a very balanced person and he agrees with me this time). I am doing something “black and white” (I’ve been … Continue reading

Doing Hard Work

Routine.  It’s so necessary for my mental health.  While I try really hard to implement it during the summer, it’s not built in so it’s hard. I tend to stay up too late.  Sleep too late.  Sit around drinking coffee … Continue reading

Remembering What’s Important

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Today as I was looking at my memories on Facebook of years past on the same day, I came across a blog that I wrote a year ago today (It’s Been a While).  It was exactly what I needed to read.

You don’t really have to read it because the important stuff will be quoted here.

A few reminders:

I am unable to work.  I have tried and tried.  I thought an at home, part time, computer job would be the dream job because it’s more simple than teaching, but it proved to be just as difficult for me as my previous jobs.  I have never been able to keep a job because of my mental illnesses, and I just don’t see that changing.  I have been denied for disability twice and am now working with a lawyer to try to get it.  It’s hard because I’m okay when I’m not working, but my anxiety and depression are terrible as soon as I start working!  It’s hard to explain that to social security!

I truly do have a sick brain.  My bipolar has been under control, but I’m still working on managing my anxiety.  I go to counseling once a week for cognitive behavioral therapy (for anxiety), take lots of medications (6 for my mental health alone, plus supplements and 2 other meds), practice lots of self care, daily prayer and Bible study, and go to AA (including meetings 3-4 times a week, step work, meeting with my sponsor once a week, and daily gratefuls) for my addiction to alcohol.  These are the only way I’m managing right now.  Without these, I would be really struggling.  It takes a lot of work!

I am back to the food freedom, body positivity, anti-diet life.  I wish I had stuck with that last year instead of ditching it and dieting again (for 3 months!).  For some reason summer is a huge trigger for me to diet.  I don’t understand why.  I’m hoping that doesn’t happen again this year.  I am now in several groups that focus on these things, so hopefully I’ll stick with it! I wrote this in last year’s post: “I am learning to finally accept my body the way it is.  I am finally DONE with diets and hard exercise programs.  I am learning to eat to nourish myself (and sometimes that involves a doughnut), move for enjoyment, and I am okay with the fact that I may never be the size I once was.  I have kind of become anti-diet industry now and am un-following everyone that focuses on that (especially the pyramid scheme marketing companies that sell stuff for “weight loss”) because I don’t need that un-healthy view of bodies staring me in the face.  It has brought me so much freedom.”

I’m back to this 100%.  Exactly the same thoughts and feelings, unfollowing people, the freedom it brings, etc.

 

My family has been and continues to be my support.  Without them I don’t know where I’d be.  Between being passively suicidal many times, dealing with alcoholism, and my severe anxiety, it’s been a very hard thing for us all to deal with.  I mean, my kids had to live with my parents for almost a month.  They were completely out of their normal routine, not doing much school, and missing me and home (not my parents’ fault at all, just not normal life for them).  Robert has stood by my side in sickness and health.  He supports me at my worst and at my best.  He loves me for who I am, not who I wish I could be.

One of the biggest things that I have been struggling with is feeling like my blogging doesn’t make a difference.  I do blog for myself mostly, but I want to know that I’m not just blogging for myself.  Yesterday I was reminded that I am speaking to people (I received a private message from an old acquaintance).  Even if it’s just a few, it’s worth it.  I want this blog to be full of authenticity.  I will always be open and real.  I may share things that I’m good at, and that’s okay too!  I’m learning to be confident in the gifting that I have.  I pray that it is all used for God’s glory and not my gain.

Last year I wrote: “This blog will never be what is viral out there, and I’m okay with that. If my blog never grows, then I’ll just know it is for the people who need it, when they need it. I trust God with it all. Numbers don’t matter to me. It’s authenticity and depth that I’m looking for. So, my hope is that you will always find that here. I may not always post about mental illness, but that is typically what I post about. Hope you’ll stick around!”

And now I post about alcoholism because I’ve finally come to terms with that (AA step 1!).

In the midst of it all, God is good and sovereign.  He has a plan, and He will be glorified through it all.  I am me, and I am made the way I am for a reason and a purpose.  I am thankful for the freedom that I have in Him to be that person that He created me to be.

Step 4, Step 5, and My Character Defects

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(Photo credit, Matt Vaughn.  Camp Eagle and Nueces River)

I mentioned yesterday that I met with my sponsor to do my fifth step (reading my fourth step to her).  She was here for 5  hours.  About 30 minutes of that was eating lunch, but the rest was doing my fifth step.  It was amazing!!

I learned so much about myself.  The “character defects” we came up with are pride (BIG one), fear, doubt, envy, impatience, justification, intolerance, control and impulsiveness.

Now the goal is to work through these defects and work on overcoming them!

For obvious reasons, I’m not going to talk a lot about my fourth step on my blog… but I’ll share a few things that I learned about my character defects.

The biggest thing is pride.  I care WAY too much about what people think of me… I care too much about others’ opinions of me… and if someone says anything negative about me, it greatly affects me.

Two other big ones that kind of work together are justification and intolerance.  This surprised me.  I always thought of myself as a non-judgmental and tolerant person.  I always thought I loved others just as they are.  But there are a few individuals that I have been intolerant of, and I try to justify it.  I’m going to have to learn to let some things go that bother me that shouldn’t.

That brings me to another BIG one… control.  I try to control everything.  I want to control others, and if I can’t, it deeply affects me.  Others’ decisions (if they aren’t great or if they aren’t what I think they should do) affects me.  Deeply.  I want to be able to control my kids, my husband, the outcome of situations, my friends, my parents… the list could go on and on.

As I mentioned in my list, there are more.  But these are the ones that affect me (and others) the most.

Changing these character defects is going to be a long process.  But I know that many of these cause me anxiety (pride, intolerance, control, fear, etc).

I’m looking forward to the work that is coming up.  It’s hard work, but it’s good work. AA is an amazing program.  I am so glad that I’m part of it.

I was thinking last night that being part of AA and eventually becoming a sponsor is almost better than becoming a counselor.  I will be able to truly affect others’ lives as I meet with them weekly, talk with them daily, and go through the twelve steps with them.  AA has changed my life (and my sponsor is so amazing)!  I want to do be this for others.  The twelfth step is to carry the message to other alcoholics.

I keep thinking I want to learn more, I want to grow.  I can do that by studying more about AA, the Big Book, and The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions book.  I can also learn more about addiction, alcoholism, and mental illnesses that often accompany these.  Things are just beginning for me.

I have full trust that God is going to use me and be glorified through my work with AA (I love that God is throughout the whole Big Book!).

Beautifully in Over My Head

In Over My Head

I have come to this place in my life
I’m full but I’ve not satisfied
This longing to have more of You
And I can feel it my heart is convinced
I’m thirsty my soul can’t be quenched
You already know this but still
Come and do whatever You want to

I’m standing knee deep but I’m out where I’ve never been
And I feel You coming and I hear Your voice on the wind

Would you come and tear down the boxes that I have tried to put You in
Let love come teach me who You are again
Would you take me back to the place where my heart was only about You
And all I wanted was just to be with You
Come and do whatever You want to

And further and further my heart moves away from the shore
Whatever it looks like, whatever may come I am Yours
And further and further my heart moves away from the shore
Whatever it looks like, whatever may come I am Yours

Then You crash over me and I’ve lost control but I’m free
I’m going under, I’m in over my head
Then you crash over me, and that’s where You want me to be
I’m going under, I’m in over my head
Whether I sink, whether I swim
It makes no difference when I’m beautifully in over my head
Whether I sink, whether I swim
It makes no difference when I’m beautifully in over my head
I’m Beautifully in over my head
I’m Beautifully in over my head

Gosh.  This is one of my favorite songs, and I feel that it is more relevant now than ever.  This song was in my head most of the time I was at La Hacienda (as well as another song… that will come).  I have stepped out of my comfort zone more than I ever have.  I’ve stepped off the shore into the unknown.  He has been there from day one, and I feel his presence more than I have in a long time.  I am beautifully in over my head right now as I do step work, share about my addiction and sobriety, continue to share about my mental illness… and most of all, living with these.  I wouldn’t say it takes a strong person to live with these because I am not strong in my own power.  I am strong because God gives me the strength each and every day.  And He has led me to different ways to overcome.  The most important thing is that I am worshipping Him, spending time in His Word, and praying to Him every day.  Without Him I am nothing.

I will definitely serve God through becoming a sponsor through AA eventually (once I get through the 12 steps myself), but I don’t know if that’s enough.

I feel that God has allowed me to have mental illness and alcohol addiction for a reason and a purpose… to help others and to glorify Him.

I am currently praying about going back to school… either to become a licensed chemical dependency counselor or a mental health counselor. God has taught me so much about what I’ve gone through, and I want to serve Him in a way that brings Him glory and brings other people to a place that I am at right now! Free from alcohol/addiction, free in my mental illness… all because of the resources He has sent my way. I don’t know if my mental illness will allow me to work, and I’m currently working with a lawyer to get disability because of my work history. But I’m not sure if my time in the work force is over. I think I can work part time. We’ll see! Robert is all for it if I think I can handle it.

I feel that God will use the suffering that I have gone through to glorify himself.  He has a plan for it!

“Not only is all your affliction momentary, not only is all your affliction light in comparison to eternity and the glory there. But all of it is totally meaningful. Every millisecond of your pain from the fallen nature or fallen man. Every millisecond of your misery in the path of obedience is producing a peculiar glory you will get because of that. I don’t if it was cancer or critiscim. I don’t care if it was slander or sickness. It wasn’t meaningless. It’s doing something. It’s not meaningless. Course you can’t see what it’s doing. Don’t look to what is seen. When your mom dies, when your kid dies, when you got cancer at 40; when a car careens into the sidewalk and takes her out. Don’t say “it’s meaningless!” It’s not. It’s working for you an eternal weight of glory. Therefore, do not lose heart. Take these truths and day by day focus on them. Preach them to yourself every morning. Get alone with God and preach His word into your mind until your heart sings with confidence that you are new and cared for!” John Piper

I have been through a lot in my life. I have been through the gruesome suicide of my brother. Postpartum depression and anxiety. I have been diagnosed with bipolar 2 and severe anxiety with general, panic, obsessive/compulsive, and social. Alcohol addiction. Hospitalizations (inpatient and outpatient), treatment center for alcohol, and lots of doctors appointments and counseling appointments over the years. I have had many suicidal ideations myself. Life has been difficult, but I am finally in a place in which I am free (one day at a time!), and I want to share that with the world through service!

Please be in prayer with me as I make a decision.  It may be a while, but I will keep praying until I feel at peace with a decision.