Sunday, December 29, 2013

Overcoming Paralysis

Ack!! I'm feeling paralyzed when it comes to blogging! I've been shying away from writing anything lately because I'm afraid I have nothing to say and that whatever I do say is lame anyway.

I know this kind of thinking is a relic of the depression, though. I have spent too much time in my life allowing perfectionism and lack of confidence to hold me back from doing the things I really want to do, and I can't allow this to stop me any more...thus, this post.

I am truly looking forward to the new year - to the fresh start, the clean slate that is the new year - the chance to rise above ourselves and to grow into the marvelous people we were born to become. That is what I like about New Year's Day and new year's resolutions in general.

Two of my goals for 2014 are to blog more regularly and to act in spite of fear, and I intend to chronicle the latter in this blog.

Also, if you have any suggestions for posts that you'd like to see, I'd love to hear about them! Feel free to post a message here or on the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pink-Hi-Top-Adventures/411429458973219?ref=hl), or drop me an email at pink.hi.tops@gmail.com

Hope you are all having a wonderful holiday season thus far! I promise to write again soon!


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Blogging Again!

Dear reader,

I'm sorry I have been offline for almost a month. I didn't intend to abandon you. As you may recall from my last post, I suffered a bad spell of depression. Fortunately, my doctor was able to tweak my medications, and I eventually got back on track. Having gotten so far behind in school, however, made the end of semester ridiculously busy!

Well, semester's over and meds are working, so...I'm back and ready to blog!

A couple of things coming up that I want to share with you:
  • Months ago, I started the The 7 Habits - an overview for those recovering from mental illness. I got as far as the introduction, but never went further. I intend to pick up that series next week. 
  • January 9 will mark the 1 year anniversary of this blog! In celebration of the event, I am going to run another contest* - details to follow soon. Here is a sneak peak at some of the prizes:
    A pair of Converse Chuck Taylor's Classic  - your choice of color!
    Retail value: $55.00




Filofax Metropol in red - to plan your new year!
Retail value: $54.00



Filofax Original in green - to plan for 2014! (Hey, that rhymes...)
Retail value: $100.00

A genuine Pink Hi-Top Adventures mug!
Retail value: priceless!




*Note: this contest is not sponsored by or affiliated with either Filofax or Converse. All prizes are purchased and donated by Pink Hi-Top Adventures.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Depression Sucks!

I hate depression. Did I mention that yet? Well I do. I'm sick of it! Done! I'm not doing this any more...like I have a choice...

Well, actually I do...sort of.

I can choose to let the depression win, or I can choose to do the things I need to do to feel better: 

  • take my meds; 
  • get 8 hours sleep each night, TV / computer / phone off and lights dimmed one hour before I sleep;
  • exercise 4 - 6 times a week (aerobic, strength, flexibility); 
  • eat 5 mini-meals each day - protein / carb-balanced diet high in fruits, veggies, and complex carbs; 
  • limit caffeine / simple carbs;
  • drink half my weight (in pounds) in ounces of water;
  • pray / meditate daily;
  • make a gratitude list each morning and night;
  • note my accomplishments each night;
  • find time each day for creativity and relaxation; and
  • make and keep commitments to myself and to others.
I just spent the past two weeks sick with a sinus cold and depressed; and now that I am coming out of the fog (yet again!), I am hell-bent on squelching any hint of depression in the future. I know it might not be possible, but I'm sure gonna give it a try!




Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Fog

I did not do well this week. In fact, it was the worst week for depression in a long while. Could not get off the couch (which became my bed) all week. 

I don't know whether it was a function of the change in medication, hormones, or a combination of factors, but it sucked. Laying there, I knew I had a million things to do, and I just couldn't do any of them. It was like wearing an invisible body suit made of lead. And the more I couldn't do, the more I'd beat myself up about it and the worse I'd feel.

With a couple of exceptions, I did try to stick to the new sleep habits my doctor taught me; but it didn't seem to help.

Then, this morning I woke up and the fog seems to have lifted. (Thus, I'm blogging.) I  hope I stay this way!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Adjusting Course

I was still struggling last week to keep out of the gravity of the Vortex...thus the lack of blogging. It finally got to a point where I had to see my therapist and psychiatrist. I simply could not un-rut myself.

Even though I am definitely better than I was a little over a year ago, my therapist says my thinking is obsessive and I over-analyze myself and my environment.

I met with my psychiatrist too, and he tweaked my meds. He reminded me about the importance of taking medication at the same time everyday, which I had not been doing. He also reminded me about the importance of proper sleep hygiene - turning off the TV, computer, and any glowing monitors/screens about one hour before bed-time, and settling down into quiet time before getting a full-night's sleep (8 hours).

Since, I met with him on Friday, I have been doing this; and dare I say, I am feeling a little better already. I wasn't tired and wiped out when I woke up this morning. I felt...refreshed!

I may have been blogging about this topic for almost a year now, but I don't think I had fully bought into the notion that I have a disease. My depression and anxiety is a psychological and physical disease that requires treatment and lifestyle modifications - much in the same way as heart disease or diabetes. I have said it over and over, but I am only now believing it. And now I'm going to make real progress in my recovery!









Sunday, November 3, 2013

Getting Un-stuck!

I am painfully behind in blogging. I just remembered I promised you all a 7 Habits of Mental Health series...about a month a go!

I don't know what my problem is. I've been down, but not all out depressed. I've been struggling to keep up with everything I say is important to me. I'm just in a funk!

My husband says I need to exercise. Maybe he's right. Maybe that's the missing piece of the equation. I have certainly not been doing any of the things that I told you all would help with depression; and where do I find myself? Stuck in a rut.

Okay. Today is Sunday. A new day - a new week. 

This week I am going to chronicle my progress in getting myself back on track with maintaining my mental health. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Anti-depression Rule #1

Did I mention in my recent post that one of the key ingredients for wellness is medication?

It seems I have forgotten this yet again. Today, I completely spaced out on taking this morning's big dose. This after having missed three nightly doses in the last week. 

By the evening, I knew something was off. I was unusually dizzy and very bitchy, bitchy, bitchy at the littlest thing! My husband pointed it out and then, only then did I remember the dose I should have taken 11 hours earlier!

Okay, Karen, press the reset and start again tomorrow!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Symptoms of Depression

So, what is it like when I'm depressed? Here are the symptoms of my depression:
  • Emotions: I usually don't cry; rather, I often find myself angry at the least provocation. Little things annoy me - society annoys me. Then, in time, I go numb - my emotions are depressed - suppressed, repressed, unexpressed. 
  • Cognition: Obviously my thoughts turn negative - especially thoughts about me and the future. These negative thoughts cycle in my head over and over and over, drilling down into my psyche. I also have more trouble than usual in remembering things. 
  • Behavior: I stay in the house as much as possible - in bed as much as possible - often watching reruns on TV.
  • Social: I isolate as much as possible. It is not a conscious thing, I just go into my cave like a hibernating bear. I avoid answering the phone, stop checking email, stop checking Facebook, and yes, even stop blogging!
  • Hobbies: I am no longer interested in things that previously interested me. 
  • Sleep: I sleep more than usual. Possibly as much as 12 - 15 hours a day. If that's not feasible, I walk around drained and exhausted in a fog. 
  • Food: I eat more sweets; and then, when fully depressed, I eat practically nothing. 
  • Grooming: I don't shower...for days. I don't care how I look and the very thought of having to go through the entire process of showering seems to me like having to run a marathon.
Though everyone is different, many other people report similar symptoms. If you or anyone you love show any of the above symptoms (or cries easily, sleeps less, or eats more), it could be depression - please seek help.

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For more information about depression, see:


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Depression...again

I'm sorry I haven't posted in almost two weeks.

I was doing so well, and then suddenly, depression crept back over me like a spider, draining me of energy, wrapping me in grey strands of hopelessness.

I can't say I'm doing well now, just doing better.

I don't understand it. I don't understand why it comes back. I'm on medication, isn't that supposed to be the cure-all?

"No", my therapist and my husband are both saying as they read this.

No, it isn't a cure-all - just a booster to enable me to do the things I need to do to stay well...the things that I haven't been doing:

  • exercise 4 - 5 times per week: aerobic, strength training, stretching, but especially aerobic;
  • consistent, healthy nutrition, metered out throughout the day in about five mini-meals that are protein/carb balanced and bolstered with veggies, fruits, lean proteins, and healthy fats;
  • 8 hours sleep each night - going to bed at the same time and waking at the same time each day;
  • prayer / meditation / gratitude daily;
  • making and keeping commitments to myself and others;
  • blogging - an outlet and hobby which I enjoy; 
  • and last, but not least, taking medication when it is due and not missing doses! (Yes, I've missed at least three doses in the past two weeks...)
These are my goals for the week then. I've got to get my self back!





Monday, October 14, 2013

Heading Home

Here's a mental health tip for you: every now and then hit the road, get out of town. It really helps and heals to leave your everyday surroundings and expose yourself to new sights, sounds, smells, and tastes and mingle with new people from other areas of the country and world.

Though it rained all weekend in southwest Virginia, we made the most of it. We briefly visited Smith Mountain Lake, but it poured. On our way back to Roanoke, we stopped for lunch at the Mayberry Diner - a diner in the middle of a field...featuring a drive-in theater. 




The ambiance was fun - 1950s America. The food was great. I had waffles with strawberries and whipped cream, eggs, bacon, and of course...coffee.







After we ate, I had my fortune read. (This is a first for me!) Apparently, what I lack in success, creativity, and luck, I make up for with friends, health, and...romance!













Next, at the request of my youngest daughter, we visited the Mill Mountain Zoo. The zoo sits atop Mill Mountain, adjacent to the Star, overlooking Roanoke. It is a small zoo, but a nice place to spend an hour or so...even in the rain.  





I couldn't resist...






After the zoo, we drove around town; and I really liked some of the neighborhoods!




This morning, we dined at Thelma's Chicken & Waffles for brunch. By the way, if you are ever in Roanoke, Virginia, you must stop here! The chicken is so juicy and fried in a batter that is out of this world! And the waffles are fab!!!




After Thelma's, we headed home...




...via the Blue Ridge Parkway. Yes, in spite of the absurdity in Washington, DC right now, one can still drive on this gorgeous National Park highway.









On the ride home, the clouds parted and the sun finally came out. It was a gorgeous end to a fun and relaxing holiday weekend!






Hope you all had a nice weekend too - and hope you have a fabulous week ahead!








Saturday, October 12, 2013

Roanoke

Today was a good day, even though it rained off and on.

We started off the day at Roanoke College - my youngest is in high school and we like to stop by colleges when we come upon them to give her a flavor for what is out there. The last time we were passing through the area, we stopped by Virginia Tech and James Madison Universities.

Roanoke College, actually located in Salem, Virginia just outside of Roanoke, is a liberal arts college that was founded in 1842. The college is small in comparison to Tech and JMU, but the campus is very pretty. 

Next we headed to downtown Roanoke. We strolled around the Center in the Square taking in the sights. There are a lot of cool restaurants and shops around the square, as well as the nation's oldest outdoor farmers market. In addition to produce, the farmers market also features local artisans selling jewelry, pottery, soaps, etc. My daughters and I made a bee line for a jewelry stand while my husband checked out Thelma's Chicken and Waffles restaurant.





This City of Roanoke has a long history as a railroad town. Unfortunately, passenger service to the city ended in 1979. Currently, however, the town is a hub for the Norfolk Southern freight rail system. 



Our day ended at the Roanoke Star atop Mill Mountain. The star, symbol of the city, is the largest, freestanding illuminated star in the world.  



I couldn't get my daughters' buy-in on a photo to share with you on this blog, but here is a picture of me and the husband - on Mill Mountain, the city below.




All in all, today was a great day to be alive! I was happy to have shed yesterday's fears about depression and dive into life feet first!

Rain Clouds

Headed out of town in the pouring rain yesterday for a holiday / birthday weekend getaway with my family. On the way down, I was reading Noonday Demon: an Atlas of Depression, by Andrew Solomon, and of course it got me thinking again about my own depression.

Now that I am doing well, I worry that I could have another relapse. I remember the first time suicide popped into my mind. It seemed a real solution and it brought me peace of mind...then just as quickly as the thought came, I became terrified when I realized how close I was to death. 

I am terrified now that I will ever go back to that place; and I am afraid that the next time, I will not be able or want to stop myself from acting on the thoughts.  

Alright, on a positive note, we are heading into Roanoke today to do some sightseeing. I'll be sure to post some pics!

Have a great day yourself, dear reader!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Depression


Today is National Depression Screening Day. If you or someone you love are experiencing any symptoms of depression (e.g., feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and / or emptiness; crying with little provocation; feeling lethargic; changes in the amount of sleep  you get and / or appetite), take this test:

http://www.helpyourselfhelpothers.org/


According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI):


Major depression affects about five to eight percent of the United States' adult population in any 12-month period; which means that, based on the last census, approximately 15 million Americans will have an episode of major depression this year. Depression occurs twice as frequently in women as in men, for reasons that are not fully understood. More than half of those who experience a single episode of depression will continue to have episodes that occur as frequently as once or even twice a year. Without treatment, the frequency as well as the severity of symptoms of depressive illness tend to increase over time.


Once again, if you or someone you care about are suffering from depression, know that there is help available. Just reach out. If you can't do it for yourself, have someone do it for you. Depression is a potentially fatal disease; and thus early detection and proper treatment are imperative.

For more information about depression and treatment, check out the following resources:

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): www.nami.org and http://www.nami.org/factsheets/depression_factsheet.pdf

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
(Suicide hotline:  1.800.273.8255


For Pink Hi-Top Adventures' posts on depression, see:

Notes from the Vortex (2/11/13)
Life (3/7/13)
Lifeline (3/8/13)
Grey veil...again?! (3/16/13)
Overcoming...inertia! (3/19/13)
Can't sleep (4/23/13)
Do the next right thing - part II (4/25/13)
The daily struggle (6/6/13)
Taking down the wall (6/7/13)
Contained emotions (6/13/13)










Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Today is...

...my birthday! I am 47 years old, and for the first time in a very long time I am really excited about a birthday! Too often we shrink down and wince at birthdays as we get older, and lie about our age. I say, to hell with that! I am 47.  I made it this far, and by God I'm gonna celebrate!

I remember my last birthday. I was still in partial hospitalization. Only a month before, I wanted to die and was beginning to plot how to make it happen. Now, for the first time in years, I am really happy and grateful to be alive; and that is something to celebrate!



Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The 7 Habits: Paradigms and Principles

In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the late Stephen R. Covey says that, rather than concern ourselves with becoming more productive with our time, we should concern ourselves with being more effective as people; and in order to be more effective, there are seven basic habits we must practice. These seven habits were a culmination of his graduate research. He studied the most successful people in history, and came to see a pattern emerge in how they lived their lives - seven basic habits that they all practiced. 

Over the course of the next few weeks, I will present here, The 7 Habits - an overview for those recovering from mental illness. Keep in mind I will only scratch the surface, and I highly recommend you read the book! 

May I present the first post in the series: The 7 Habits: Paradigms and Principles

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There are three constants in life...change, choice, and principles.

                                                                                      - Stephen R. Covey


Before we even begin to discuss Covey's 7 Habits, and how it can be applied to those who are dealing with mental illness, we need to understand two concepts: paradigms and principles.

Paradigms

Paradigms are the mental lens through which we view ourselves and our world. They are formed by  our upbringing, personal experiences, and personality. When the lens is correct, it gives an accurate lay of the land; but when it is off, it can be like looking into the fun house mirror at a carnival - what we see is distorted.

In his book, Covey shares a personal story to illustrate. I paraphrase here:

Once on a trip to New York, Covey was riding the subway. At one stop, a man and his children boarded the car. The man slumped down in a chair apathetically while his children proceeded to run up and down the car disrupting the passengers. After a few minutes of watching this and getting more and more upset, he finally said something to the man, "Do you think you can control your kids? They're disrupting everyone on the train!"

The man looked up at him and said, "Oh yeah, sorry. I guess they don't know how to handle it. We just left the hospital where their mother died an hour ago."

Covey immediately saw the situation in a different light and proceeded to console the man for the remainder of the ride.

That shift in Covey, and in us as we read the story, is an example of a paradigm shift - a change in the lens through which we analyze a situation or perceive the world.

Okay, so how do we know if our paradigms are correct or if they need shifting? We continually strive to improve and learn from our experience. We study the wisdom literature and thinking of the great leaders / thinkers throughout history and from our own spiritual path / religion and align our paradigms with the principles that emerge.

Principles

Keep in mind, principles are not the same as values. Values may be things we cherish like health, money, and close relationships. Principles, on the other hand, are deeper and universal. They are changeless laws of character that exist whether we choose to acknowledge them or not. To illustrate this point, here is an excerpt from the 7 Habits in which Covey shares a story by Frank Koch, originally published in the Naval Institute's Proceedings magazine:

Two battleships assigned to the training squadron had been at sea on maneuvers in heavy weather for several days. I was serving on the lead battleship and was on watch on the bridge as night fell. The visibility was poor with patchy fog, so the captain remained on the bridge keeping an eye on all activities.

Shortly after dark, the lookout on the wing of the bridge reported, “Light, bearing on the starboard bow.”

“Is it steady or moving astern?”, the captain called out.

Lookout replied, “Steady, captain,” which meant we were on a dangerous collision course with that ship.

The captain then called to the signalman, “Signal that ship: We are on a collision course, advise you change course 20 degrees.”

Back came a signal, “Advisable for you to change course 20 degrees.”

The captain said, “Send, I’m a captain. Change course 20 degrees.”

“I’m a seaman second class,” came the reply. “You had better change course 20 degrees.”

By that time, the captain was furious. He spat out, “Send, “I’m a battleship. Change course 20 degrees!”

Back came the flashing light, “I’m a lighthouse.”

We changed course.

According to Covey, “principles are like lighthouses." They are natural laws that are permanent and steady. We cannot break them, "we can only break ourselves against them."  

You see, we can do whatever we damn well please, but we cannot control the outcome which is ultimately determined by principles.  If we work with principles, we find that we become happier, more effective people. If we work against them, eventually things fall apart.

Okay, so now you have two basic concepts: paradigms and principles. In the next post in this series, I will discuss Habit 1: Be Proactive and see how we can apply this habit, even if we are dealing with mental illness.








Monday, October 7, 2013

Mental Illness Awareness Week


I just learned that it is Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW). Check out the the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) at www.nami.org for more information.

According to NAMI, "MIAW coincides with the National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding (Oct. 8) and National Depression Screening Day (Oct. 10)." I find this ironic because sandwiched in between is Oct. 9 - my birthday!

One of the reasons I started this blog was to help shed light in dark places - to help contribute to the destigmatization of mental illness. 

In honor of the week, I will post everyday - beginning tonight (after my internship ;) ). I will begin the "7 Habits of Mental Health" series as well as post a few other essays to shine the light even further. So stay tuned!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The 7 Habits

Good morning (or evening) dear reader!

The nice thing about a new day is that it is packed with promise and hope; or at least that is how I see it with my mental goggles today! The other day, my head was full of regret and all that I can't control. Today, I'm ready to focus on that which I can control.

This reminds me of a WONDERFUL book on the topic: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by the late Stephen R. Covey. 

In The 7 Habits, Covey says that rather than concern ourselves with becoming more productive with our time, we should concern ourselves with being more effective as people; and in order to be more effective, there are seven basic habits we must practice. These seven habits were a culmination of his graduate research. He studied the most successful people in history, and came to see a pattern emerge in how they lived their lives - seven basic habits that they all practiced. 

Over the course of the next few weeks, I will present here, The 7 Habits - an overview for those recovering from mental illness. Keep in mind I will only scratch the surface, and I highly recommend you read the book! 

In the meantime, this week for the first installment: The 7 Habits - an Overview.








Thursday, October 3, 2013

My Regret

With most things in life, we learn from our mistakes and are able to apply this learning again in the future. The one area in life where this is not the case is parenting. You learn from your mistakes along the way, but unless you have 12 kids, you can't apply this new knowledge again. Once childhood passes, it's a done deal. No going back!

I find myself lamenting all the years when I was actively alcoholic and dysthmic*. I was never an abusive parent, and I did the best I could, but I was not as present as I am now. Now that I am recovering and moving in the right direction, my children are 23 and 15 years old. I know better, but I can't do better. I can't re-do their early childhood years, and that is my biggest regret in life!

I know, I know. I need to let go and accept that the past is unchangeable, and that the only thing I can control are my actions in the present...but still, it makes me sad.




*Dysthymia is a low-grade, long-term depression. For more on dysthymia, see: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dysthymia/DS01111

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

About Pink Hi-Top Adventures


The Far Side®, by Gary Larson

For those of you new to this blog, I thought I'd give you a little background. Pink Hi-Top Adventures is my first blog ever! I started it back in January 2013 as a chronicle of my ongoing recovery from depression, anxiety, and alcoholism. 

Almost eight years ago, I entered treatment for alcohol addiction. At the time, I thought it would resolve whatever it was inside that was stopping me from moving forward in life; however, it only drained the pool and uncovered the disease within.

Though I had been anxious and depressed but functioning for years, I finally imploded a year ago. I spent about three weeks in bed - unable to work, unable to shower, unable to function. My thoughts were turning darker too. I fantasized about death and hurting myself; and for the first time ever, it felt comforting and logical.

When I shared this with my {wonderful!} husband, he reached out to my therapist; and I was admitted to a partial hospitalization treatment program {PHP}. There I was diagnosed with major depression, dysthymia {long-term, low-grade depression}, and generalized anxiety disorder. Fortunately, I was treated by wonderful doctors and therapists; and, though I've experienced periodic set-backs along the way, I've been doing better overall since.

This blog is a chronicle of my continuous recovery and progress toward achieving my goals - one of which is graduating from college with a psychology degree. {I've been in college - on and off - since September 1984; and graduating would be quite an achievement indeed!} I also hope to inspire and inform with personal stories, resources, and a little humor!

The blog title is inspired by my favorite pair of Converse Chuck Taylor’s that I wore when I last felt my happiest and freest. 

And finally, Pink Hi-Top Adventures is a place for you too. Please feel free to comment and discuss - either in the comments section of this blog, or on the blog's Facebook page!

Thanks for reading!

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Here is an overview of some of my favorite posts from the past six months:

Addiction:


Thoughts from my addiction (2/27/13)
Alcoholic or problem drinker? (3/14/13)
How do you help and addict (6/19/13)
Take me out to the ballgame! (8/12/13)

Anxiety:

Obstacles (5/22/13)
Social Anxiety (5/29/13)

Depression:

Notes from the Vortex (2/11/13)
Life (3/7/13)
Lifeline (3/8/13)
Grey veil...again?! (3/16/13)
Overcoming...inertia! (3/19/13)
Can't sleep (4/23/13)
Do the next right thing - part II (4/25/13)
The daily struggle (6/6/13)
Taking down the wall (6/7/13)
Contained emotions (6/13/13)

Stigma:

"Nervous breakdown" (3/6/13)
Depression is not a character defect (3/27/13)

Wellness:

Never underestimate your own power! (2/26/13)
Acceptance (3/1/13)
Recovery step #2: sleep, damn it! (3/5/13)
Rebirth (3/30/13)
Wellness part I: physical (4/26/13)
Change is possible part II (6/27/13)
Seven steps to mental health (8/2/13)
Take me out to the ballgame! (8/12/13)
Climbing back up (8/18/13)




Pink Hi-Top Adventures Blog Planner

Okay, so I'm doing a "happy dance" right now! I just received in the mail a planner that I had purchased from Erin Condren (www.erincondren.com).

It is a beautiful, personalized planner that I will be using to plan out this blog and record the adventures about which I'll write; but that is not the sole reason for my happy dance. 


I also just received a message that Erin Condren just posted my planner cover to their Pinterest "Wall of Fame!" Yippy!!!!!

Okay, I know, I know...a lot of people get posted there, but shazaam! Pink Hi-Top Adventures is on a nationally-known Pinterest Board! Only last month, Erin Condren was on the Today Show!

Okay, okay...that's all I wanted to share. :)




Monday, September 30, 2013

The Dragon

It has been almost eight years (November 18) since I took my last drink of alcohol; and still, to this day I occasionally have a craving for it or have some crazy dream about it.

Last night, I dreamed that I was at a party at my house where everyone was boozing it up. Feeling put out that no one respected my addiction and the need for an alcohol-free home, I became disgruntled. At some point, I snuck myself a glass of red wine {my old lover}, and thought, "That didn't hurt me. Maybe just one more." By the third glass, I had a buzz and then the remorse set in. I began to cry because I thought I'd have to start my AA coin collecting all over again with a 24-hour coin instead of an 8-year coin next month.

In fact, the dream felt so real, I awoke this morning worried that I had actually drank. I felt relief when I realized that I hadn't; and yet, still...somewhere deep, deep, deep down inside, there was still this desire - an insatiable dragon of craving and need - a cavernous mouth that just wants one more drink...just one more drink...

It's times like this when I know I need an AA meeting. I need to hear the war stories of former bar-flies, house fraus, Hell's Angels, college kids, CEOs, et al (all of whom are my kindred spirits) to remember why it is I cannot have "just one more drink".