Unsuccessful Success

Every time i start thinking i want to get on here and write, my mind begins to cycle. How does anyone, at such a time as this, make any statements about it all?About the situation, our feelings, or what we think the endgame is? It feels like one big mind circus…in which we are all being led by the nose..unable to trust anyone, helpless, and overwhelmed. A portion of my followers on here are in recovery ( mostly from alcohol) so perhaps i should lead off on that note.

If you have followed my blog for any length of time, you know that my one year of sobriety occurred on January 19th of this year. Like most of us, that milestone did not go uncelebrated for me. I posted my thoughts on that date- the good things along the way, the struggles, and how i felt about it. It was an awesome feeling- to do something i never thought i would be able to. Within a month of that however, i admittedly had a night after a particularly stressful event, when i drank a few glasses of wine and went “off the rails”.Since then, i have been questioning my true relationship with alcohol in the sense of how it came to be, what pushed it forward , and how i could reconcile myself with all of that. To put it in layman terms “What if i never really was an alcoholic but rather had just begun to respond to the triggers that had been suppressed for such a long time? And what if, finally figuring them out, i could re evaluate my relationship with alcohol in the present?”

So, in the time since then, i have to admit, i had two nights when i had a few beers ( nothing major- 3 one time, and 2 another night). I didn’t make a big deal out of it and honestly, the night when i had 2 was really nice. I felt relaxed , peaceful , had zero after effects and no regrets.So, of course , over the following few weeks this led me to question my ability to drink again. Last friday night, when i finally had time to go shopping i picked up two 6 packs of beer. There was a rationale to it- one was a regular beer and my roommates usual choice, and the other was my usual “light” beer. The store did not sell 3 packs( like the distributor) so, i didn’t have that option as was my intention.

Before i go on, as we all know , this past month has been just one endless cycle of uncertainty. Even as a registered nurse, i have no clue whats really going on. My stress levels have been at their highest peak since , well…since ever. I have been working lots of OT, trying to navigate this virus insanity and on top of it finding out about my brother. I could probably write an epic novel about the hundreds of other contributing factors but that wouldn’t matter. Bottom line was-I honestly thought that having a few beers would help after weeks of just going through the motions like a hamster on crack trying to stay one step ahead of ongoing hellfire.

Instead of the 2 or 3 i intended , i wound up drinking 6 beers that night. Once again, proving that if it’s there, i will drink it..and that i have no control once i am in the throes of it. (I have to insert here that we have had a good bit of wine in the house as well as liquor for months, but none of that tempted me in any way. In fact, i gave 2 boxes to my daughter last week, and the rest of the rum to my son for helping with my laptop friday.) But—

Beer. It’s my weakness. And here is how THAT played out.

It did NOT alleviate any of my anxiety. In fact, it made it way worse. I was up and still wired until 6am. I couldn’t fall asleep. I was supposed to have my grandson at 5pm that day for the last time before their family goes on complete isolation (for at least 2 weeks but likely a month) in preparation for my son in laws upcoming heart surgery. I finally fell into a fitful sleep but it only lasted for 3 hours. I woke at 1030 am and all the way until 130 pm i could not sleep. My anxiety and dread was through the roof. I had to message my daughter to cancel. I felt like the worlds most horrible person.I spent most of the rest of my night off in bed , feeling awful.

So, what have i learned? Obviously i no longer have that option available to me for any relief. Drinking will not numb me out, relax me, or help in any way- at least not in the way it seemed to previously . The effects were immediate and NOT in any way, acceptable.

All in all, after seriously doubting things for the past few months, i guess this was a good thing. Sometimes, we need a brick to fall on our heads. And when i read posts about how grateful most of us are that we have quit drinking and are no longer beholden to the bottle ( or can!) during this time especially, i have to say emphatically – YES. I am sincerely grateful. And while my little “excursion” cost me a few hours with my grandson that day, as well as a wasted day recovering, i learned that, without a doubt, i am not able to just say no if i know there is more. UGH. As they say, recovery is not a straight line. I am still proud of myself.I didn’t spend a week in misery and regret. In 18 months i have only been “drunk” one single time. I will not berate myself , just as i wouldn’t if it were anyone else.It also made me think even more about how horrible this must be for those who NEED a meeting regularly to stay sober and have very little recourse right now. I cannot imagine.

Fortunately, i was able to see my grandson the next day. And i had the 2 days to waste in a sense that- well hell- who has ANYTHING planned right now as far as appointments and such? Pure luck, really.

So, this is my recovery post in the time of Corona. I continue analyzing the data, discovering/rediscovering things about myself and making changes accordingly. My next challenge is figuring out what the hell i am gonna do for relief now since i know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the answer isn’t drinking.

Ps. at the moment- nothing else has been working either- not art, not writing, not exercise…no projects, binge watching or meditating. I am lost, floundering a bit, but managing to survive day by day. Prayers, hugs, blessings , love and light to all of you.

Namaste.

What a Mess

Its been 6 days since my last post…Have still been having a tough time reigning in my thoughts on the daily enough to write anything solid or substantial. I wake each night between 6-8p (to pack a lunch and go back to work ) and the world has once again changed. It seems there is no consistency or honest believable information. For those who do not live in the U.S. , to give you an idea of what it has been like:

  1. ( beginning of March) at first we are told to just keep groups limited to less than 50, travel should be limited, and wash our hands
  2. a week later; groups of less than 10, maintain 6 ft of distance, limit travel
  3. next: stay at home orders started in hardest hit areas( mostly a few counties per state) , this quickly extended to the entire state.Schools went from shutting down for 2 weeks to indefinitely; it can now be transmitted not just through coughing but also touching, lives on surfaces for 3-4 hrs.
  4. businesses were told to shut down, with ongoing discrepancies about which are “essential”. Many lay offs, then people going back, then laid off or furloughed again. By mid March,we are told NOT to hoard food or TP. And to save medical masks for medical staff.
  5. unemployment keeps changing polices and rules about who can file and how much they will get, lines and websites are clogged and many cannot even get through to begin the process
  6. then we have the blow up about everyone getting a “stimulus” check. It sounds like now, after a few weeks they may start actually sending checks out in rounds each week beginning with those making 10,000 or less per year and capped out at those making 99,000. Its super confusing as to whether this is a loan, a taxable income or just relief. Plus it is a one time check from 500-1200 depending on income and dependents, nothing ongoing.
  7. Next we have videos of medical facilities with eerily empty parking lots alternating with ones showing mass hysteria, hoards of bodies being hauled out and just chaos. All kinds of theories from “they are closed to prevent the spread” to ” they are so full they cannot accept any new patients”.By now we are being told it has been “aerosolized” and we can spread it through breathing and talking as well.
  8. in between all of this the all night stores are closing at 10pm.This sucks for us night shifters with limited time to even shop. In my state we are now recommended to wear a mask ( of any type) in spite of the first few days hearing how only N95 masks will block the virus. But of course they are not available to the public. So people making masks with anything from socks to underwear.
  9. People are starting to wear gloves everywhere, but touching everything multiple times without changing them, so ??? I saw today someone telling us to wipe out the inside of our own cars each time we go out & come home.It’s ridiculous.
  10. There have been news articles of people getting pulled over for being out and about , fines and citations issued, yet we are NOT under martial law. So, we can go get groceries, but NOW not supposed to go get groceries for the next 2 weeks.We shouldn’t have hoard anything, but if we didn’t, we now running low and worry about getting any or even being out…will i get fined if i am not wearing a sock mask? Do i have to show my receipt from groceries if i get pulled over?

Suffice it to say, America is a mess. I try to follow the rules each day but it is impossible to keep up. I am getting low on food and yet watching a ton of people posting their seemingly endless supply of gourmet food made at home and i have to ask- did they hoard when i didn’t? I look at our state and federal leaders and note that none of them are wearing cloth masks, if any at all.Will they be wearing masks? If so , will they be homemade? Its extremely frustrating. How long will unemployment last if this goes on indefinitely ? and will there be anything left for those of us who are mandated to continue working out there if we wind up getting sick as a result? If we are working in healthcare and have proper masks at work, but none at home, how are we not transferring it when we go back?

I have a million questions. And just as many conflicting answers. All i can say is, i WILL be going out to find food soon. I cannot keep working like a dog and then starve on top of it. and deep down , i am angry…very angry ( full confession) that it seems we aren’t deserving of some consistent truth, that those who have less are expected to do with inferior protection than those with money, and that we are being made to feel guilty no matter what we do. Trying to find some solid ground and sanity…

Grateful

The Typical House in St Lucia outside of the tourist area- from my Missions trip in 2010

So, it’s been a few days and my last post had only one comment. I suppose no one really knows what to do,or maybe my usual crew missed the post or perhaps there are just so many varying feelings about the whole thing no one wants to express anything.

So, let me take a guess based on some of the things i have been seeing people saying online related to it all ( not my post specifically- which they haven’t seen)

  1. “People should be grateful to receive a check during this crisis.”
  2. “People should be grateful to have a job when others are losing theirs.”
  3. “People should be grateful to not have to go to work”
  4. OMG..the political bashing and blaming…enough said
  5. “People shouldn’t be taxed on this check, it takes away the point of helping”
  6. ” I’m not gonna listen to any of it. I’ll do whatever i want, go where i want, when i want”
  7. “People need to stay at home.Period”
  8. “People need to stop panicking”

It goes on & on.

Here is my take. At this time, it is UNCLEAR as to whether the check will be taxable down the road. It is also UNCLEAR when we will be getting it. It is UNCLEAR if there will be any consequences down the road such as added items in the bill. We just don’t know. Hell, we don’t even know for certain if we will be getting anything , as individuals. So in spite of my previous rant, i will now acquiesce to letting things just run their course. I will not continue to make assessments and statements when obviously , ultimately- NO ONE KNOWS for sure where all of this- the virus, the longterm affects, the money, the jobs,etc.- is going. I have no crystal ball.If i get the money, i get it. If i don’t , i don’t. And whatever the end result, it is what it is.

My worries right now are just speculation. I worry about the reactions of those who are not in any way prepared for isolation. I worry about people getting desperate ( mentally, emotionally, physically).I worry about the alcoholics/addicts who are unable to get their fix.I worry about increased criminal activity due to financial or material lack. i worry about the entirety of what this will mean for the economy for years to come.

BUT

I cannot do anything about any of this. What i can do is go to work, pay my bills, stay healthy( sleep, eat, meditate). I can keep going through the motions and not let emotions take over. I can be grateful for the things i do have, and not ruminate about what i don’t. I am not in a third world country. i still have electricity, clean water, heat, food, a car, a job. Our country ( U.S.) in spite of all its cons , has a lot to be grateful for.Many countries do NOT have money for unemployment compensation, food reserves, or basic life essentials. We take so many things for granted.And when i see the immediate, knee jerk reactions to the day to day news, i can remind myself that things could be a LOT worse. The photo above is one of the typical structures used for housing on the island of ST. Lucia outside of the tiny little port/tourist area most of us only see. The is “home” for most families. It’s one of my own personal photos, not from google. The poverty is real.

I hope again that all of you are safe, feeling well, and have what you need. Big Virtual Hugs!

Common Sense

During times like this it is always helpful to take a look back through history. History is and always will be , our most useful teacher. So, in that vain, i give you the following from my own experience as a nurse, as someone who went through the last economic crisis, gas rationing( as a child- i remember it well!) and as a former city resident.

  1. Are your hands suddenly dry? With every flu season and epidemic, people start washing their hands like they alone hold all the germs on the planet in their palms and need to wash every 5 minutes. Thats fine..no one stopping you. But make it a point to carry moisturizer( along with the hand sanitizers) and use it each time as well. Cracks in your skin are open portals for infection. In fact, use it even more often than you wash your hands.
  2. Be sure to eat all of your perishable foods first. I know some of you know this but there are also some digging into the non perishables too soon. Think ahead. For me right now i want my comfort food and really have to discipline myself to eat those fresh produce items first so they don’t go bad. The frozen and canned stuff can wait till later.
  3. Watch gas prices. I expect them to rise over the next few weeks. I know this may sound pre emptive but again, you have to be smart and see the logistics. If you do have to keep driving for work, or even get to the store, be sure to fill up as soon as you are half empty at the latest. You just never know when it may become less available or a bigger expense.
  4. It is allergy season in many parts of the country. Chances are, your sinuses will be telling you somethings up. This does not necessarily mean you have contracted the virus or flu. More people are simply suffering from seasonal allergies. If you don’t have fever , you likely do NOT have the flu. Don’t panic. Try some OTC meds first.Also- don’t hoard flu meds.
  5. The medical field is overwhelmed right now and will become increasingly so. Try to be patient. Appointments will be cancelled if they are not dire. Surgeries will be rescheduled..and this IS for the best MOST of the time. Hospitals are petri dishes.. Better to wait if possibly can rather than risk unneccessary exposure.
  6. If you are a parent who has rarely ever had to spend this much time at home and alone with your children it can strain your nerves no matter how good of a parent you are. You don’t have to constantly entertain them, nor should you be spending hours neglecting them( example on your phone) OR yelling at them all day. Use restraint, take breaks for yourself and realize this is stressful for them also.Hot baths, meditation time, a small dessert alone( in a closet if you have to) or just keeping a routine helps.
  7. Don’t read this one if you are prone to panicking. This is a time when criminals are very much aware of the vulnerability. Dont fall for scams- they are on the rise. Be aware of your surroundings when you go out. Keep lights on outside at night, especially if in the city. Don’t tell all your neighbors or post online how much TP food or supplies you have. Be smart.
  8. Don’t be afraid to take care of others if you have weighed the risks. Many of the elderly and medically fragile need supplies, medications, etc. You CAN pick up scripts and items and drop off packages at their door -then text them when you have gone. People need gloves, masks, and hygiene products. DON’T HOARD.If you have the ability , health and means – try to do what you can for the less able. Check on your friends through text, messaging and phone.
  9. Be prepared for massive drops in your mutual funds, stocks, etc. We went through the bail outs before. If you recall the few years afterwards( housing market ,etc.) do as much as you can to prepare. By this i mean – save money , stop spending on things you really don’t need, and conserve energy. Don’t look to your neighbors and friends to do this, or spend any time judging what they do.. It starts with YOU.Be the example.
  10. And, finally- use this time wisely. There’s much being said out there about that and i won’t beleaguer it. ( art, reading, time with family etc). There are a lot of positives that can come out of this for our environment and our awareness of the human race in general. Strive to find the good.

Namaste!