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Celebrating small victories three weeks later

27 Oct

This dispatch from the Better Late Than Never Department. It’s been 3 weeks since I started my medical leave from work, and predictably, there’s good news and bad. 

The good news (aka celebrating small victories) is that I’ve gone:

  • 3 separate days without drinking, spread out over 3 weeks but still more than I’ve racked up in the past 3 months (maybe years?)
  • 2 weeks without any hard drugs – not my main concern but it was a decade ago so, yeah…small victories
  • to 2 AA meetings so far, and actually looking forward to two coming up this week
  • written – handwritten, not posted here – 3 more journal entries than what I’ve posted here
  • Made dinner for the family 4 times this week – yes one was delivery, one leftovers, but hey…small victories 

I was going to get into all my mistakes since my last post but I’m already too good at that. I’m ending this dispatch on another celebration…of those beautiful small victories. 

A new start…day 2

13 Oct

64815888-reset-calendar-day-date-change-new-start-3d-illustration

In the spirit of celebrating small victories on the road to recovery, kiss my ass because it’s party time! Yes, I’ve made it another 36 hours and I’m still committed to my latest new start.

Have I been sober? No.

Did I just get back from grabbing one last 1/2 gram of blow? Maybe.

But is tomorrow another day? Yes.

Tomorrow’s not just another day; it’s the day I’ve marked on my calendar with a big, circled red X. It’s the most recent day I’ve decided is my first day of a new life of sobriety. It’s the day before what in theory is going to be my first AA meeting.

48 hours from now it’ll be Monday nearing midnight and, if I’ve succeeded I’ll have accomplished at least 2 out of the 3 following things:

  1. Drank my last drink and snorted my last line of blow
  2. Gone 36 hours with neither narcotic nor alcohol passing into my body
  3. Going to my first AA meeting ever

Will I make it? Will this time be different?

Stay tuned, not just for a progress report but also my love/hate relationship with AA and why I make such a big deal about it. Meanwhile, wish me luck and I hope to back in touch soon.

Thanks for reading.

 

A new start…again

11 Oct

New Life Chapter One Typewriter

Here I go again, repeating a now-familiar pattern:

  1. Melt down mentally and financially, avoiding work, bills, friends, etc.
  2. Finally quit whatever substance I’m using to self-medicate (and/or numb)
  3. Days/weeks of bed-ridden depression, anxiety and absence of self-esteem
  4. Slowly get back into basic personal routine – sleep, moderately healthy eating, etc.
  5. Revisit long-neglected doctors – mental and phsysical
  6. Start some form of group therapy – finally trying AA this time*
  7. Build on healthy routine – including household chores, writing and exercise
  8. Reach critical mass of healthy routine, lifestyle and mental state
  9. Begin new job hunt – and/or in this case – return to full time role
  10. Secure quick, early wins and build from there…but not f–king it up this time

I’ll give you one guess where I am now. Hint: if you’re at 3, you’ve gone too far, again.

If all goes well, you’ll learn more, and I’ll have progress to report, the next time you check in, including thoughts and progress on AA. This may be the key to not screwing it up again; I can barely afford to do it this time, let alone another. Too many loved ones, kids and dollars at stake, and not being the dad, husband or man I want to be.

Thanks for reading…

So far so good…so far

2 Mar

I’m pleased to report that I’m on my third consecutive ‘successful’ day this work week. It hasn’t happened in a LONG time but that’s three successful days in a row which – for better or worse, after years of trying otherwise – in my mind is a direct function of my productivity. 

Theee lessons come to mind from this week’s track record:

1. Accept Who You Are: As I’ve said before, years of trying to change it, my beliefs remain as strong as ever; that a productive day = a successful day = a happy and satisfying day. There’s a Theory X vs. Theory Y Management story here for another day. 

2. Celebrate Small Victories: Three days in a row (in a 5 day workweek) may sound like a small victory, but celebrating those is just as important as larger ones, and far more valuable than stewing over my shortcomings or missed goals. 

3. Stick to What Works…Religiously: Each day this week I stuck to a formula that seems to be working:

  • Getting up as soon as my alarm goes off and showering right away
  • Spending little to no time watching the news over morning coffee
  • Taking my meds (Vyvanse in particular)
  • Just doing instead of thinking
  • Getting out of the house and into the office as soon as I can

What do you think? Apart from exercise, what’s missing from my morning routine? And am I the only one who finds this a morning victory and not just a routine?

Being in the Right (Head) Place at the Right Time

26 Feb

How often does this happen to you?

After hours or even days of depression, procrastination and self-loathing, you finally find yourself with the energy and mood to do what you want/need to…but by then you’ve run out of time to do it. 

A couple cases in point, just from my last week:

At Work: (Not) Tackling a Mountain of Tasks

I spent one morning hungover (a story for another day) in meetings, struggling even to pay attention, let alone participate. Then a few more hours stressing over my workload, going out for smoke breaks and ruminating over my lack of productivity. 

Only when I had less than an hour left before I had to leave did I “snap out of it” and kick into the high gear I needed right after my morning meetings. In that last hour I got more done than in the previous eight…but I left with a mountain of unfinished tasks I promised myself I’d tackle over the weekend (not going well so far). 

At Home: Household Chores

Today I had the house to myself for five solid hours, and a manageable list of chores to go along with it. I spent half of it at the bar at the end of the street, and another hour watching Bill Maher, before doing the only productive thing I did all day – putting away a single hamper of already folded clothes. 

After another trip to the bar for a quick couple pints, and with 20 minutes before having to leave for my kid’s hockey game, it happened again. Only when I didn’t have the time to do it did I snap out of my rut and feel almost enthusiastic about tackling even the most onerous chores on my list. 

Sometimes it’s as if the only time I’m in the right mood to get something done is precisely when I don’t have the time to do it. 

What’s Your Secret?

I know I’m not alone so I want to hear your stories. And what I want to know just as much is, how do you align your mood with the time when you need it? 

Or…how do you end up in the right (head) place at the right time?

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