My previous post described my “why” for letting my addictions go, this one is going to tell some of the story of how.
You see it wasn’t as easy as one day I just decided to stop and life was amazing after that. No I usually do things in a way that makes one scratch their head and wonder why… it’s just who I am and how I work. I had to sabotage myself a bit more, I couldn’t just end one vice and get on with life. No. Not me. I had to take a longer road and learn the lesson a little bit more before I was truly ready to let it go…
I had tried using an addictions counselor in the past and obviously that did not work for me. I looked into intake programs and day programs but they didn’t feel right for me either. Group sessions didn’t appeal to me with the fear someone local might find out my secret, when I wasn’t ready to share. There were a few in Dartmouth but I didn’t want to make that drive into the unknown to me, in the dark winter. Not leaving me with many more options…
If I am not working on my recovery, I am working on my relapse…-AA
I attended a 12-step program years ago, I am not knocking it, it is a amazing program that has helped many many people, but it wasn’t my jam. I was too much of an introvert at the time. Although, recently I have reopened a book from when I started this journey over a year ago with the 12-steps and I am completely open, welcoming and ready to incorporate this into my life now. Realizing my addictive behavior and how it kicks in every damn day and I have to remain stronger than my triggers, I constantly need to be on top of this and have a plan in place. Always. If I am to remain successful in this battle.
I have a counselor who I have been using for years for personal issues, raising kids, marriage, etc… She does not specialize in addictions but she is in her 70s, she has lived life and she tells it like it is. No bullshit. Just what I need. I bounce things off her and she tells me either to suck it up and get over myself or knows when I need gentle guidance and is constantly teaching me how to love and go easier on myself. I love her. So I saw her on a regular basis in the beginning and she helped me deal with things/emotions/traumas that came up, now I go when I need a “tune up” which sometimes is often and sometimes I’ve got it together.
I also filled my plate. I started taking riding lessons, working out, learning to track my nutrition, reading everything I could get my hands on about addictions, healing and self help. I spent time crying and healing. I wrote in my journal, started a daily (well, as daily as I could fit in) yoga and meditation practice, I took up kickboxing, running and bicycling. Whatever I had to do to keep my mind busy and not have a moment to crave a drink.
There is also something else I did, that I didn’t mention in the last post..
I used marijuana..
At the time, I believed;
- That it helped me sleep and I do have to admit, I had some pretty damn deep sleeps when I used it.
- That it helped with my anxiety, which it did to an extent.
- That I didn’t feel like an outcast if we were to go out with people and it did help me “fit in”.
- It kept my booze cravings away, it was the lesser of the two evils for me.
Why can’t I just be “normal”?
I do believe marijuana is a wonderful, natural cure/aid for so many many things and that many people live a better life because of it. However, if you are me and you tend to “depend on” external things too much, you can’t even use marijuana in moderation!! Ugh!!! What started as a weekend thing, soon became every evening and little by little it became several times a day. God, I loved that high. I knew in my heart I had to stop this as well if I were to be completely true to myself and the people I loved.
I felt like such a loser.
To be honest, I don’t know that I could have stopped drinking without depending on my daily toke. I really do think it helped me and it was the first time I had succeeded at being sober for an extended period. But now I had to get clean of this. I wasn’t ready to admit to anyone that I had become depended on this amazing plant. I felt like a failure and a fraud, telling people I was sober while I was high. I did have some very close friends who knew what I did and some enjoyed it with me. We had some good giggles and munchies in those months!
How could I just stop this? Well I found the perfect reason to quit and not have to admit I was addicted to it… Marijuana was a banned substance in the competition! This was my out. This was my “excuse” to stop. Not sure why this is a banned substance for body building? It certainly did NOT enhance my performance. It only enhanced my desire to lay on the sofa, eat and sleep lol.
If you are going through hell, don’t stop….
December 25, 2018 was my last high before my competition. The following 2 weeks were rough. I had nothing to fall back on. I was emotional, not sleeping well, bitchy and lost. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I went in the barn and cried with my goats many evenings. By the time December 31st came Neil, who is usually patient, had enough and was now snapping back. It was one of the worst New Years Eve I remember. I cried in my bed all night. (god I sound like a whiny ass bitch but it doesn’t last forever) Then I got angry. I was angry at the hold I let this have on me. I was angry that we had let it get to this point and hadn’t talked about this white elephant in the room. The white elephant being my bat shit craziness.
So the next morning, I got up really early, worked out my anger with my weights, prepped my food for the week ahead and was feeling much better.
By the time Neil came downstairs, I was ready to have a chat with him. We hashed out what was happening, I confessed I didn’t think I was capable of using my favorite plant for quite a while, maybe never again. Neil agreed and offer whatever support I needed. I love that guy…
Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations…-unknown
Next I absolutely threw myself into my workouts, nutrition and whatever else I could do to occupy my mind and body. I had stopped drinking I could stop this too.
The month of January passed by and I had a year of being sober and month of being clean under my belt. Damn that felt good. I was on a high but it was natural and it was beautiful. I was sleeping so deep and waking feeling rested and energetic. I was coping with things so much better and with a clear head. My anxiety had improved and I was even attending social events. I was looking people in the eye, having conversations with strangers and smiling. I was also becoming productive with my days, not feeling like I had ran in circles getting nothing done and extra bonus, my memory was so much better. Neil had gotten so used to telling me things 3-18 times before I remembered, this was a new world for us lol.
If it were easy, everyone would do it, wouldn’t they?
I am not trying to say that quitting bad habits or addictions is easy. It isn’t just a matter of deciding to do it and it magically happens or that you are given this power to stop. It is hard. But nothing amazing ever comes easy now does it?
You have to be ready. If you aren’t ready in mind or spirit to stop or have found your “why”, then it won’t work.
Even when you are ready, it’s hard work, discipline and dedication. Whether you use a 12-step program, counseling, detox, or like I did pour yourself into physical fitness and well-being, you have to work hard at it every minute of every day for the rest of your life.
It was by no means easy, but it was worth it.
My competition came and went. I am happy to be able to say I am truly, honestly sober and clean. I have triggers everyday some are worse then others. Sometimes I can ride them out and sometimes I crumble and feed my emotions with food but I know that as long as it is “sometimes” my body and mind can deal with a food overindulgence, rather then tipping that bottle or rolling that joint, that’s another post….
In Light and Love….