Tag Archives: recovery

Self Care: The canary in the coal mine of crazy

22 Feb

I didn’t brush my teeth last night.

It’s been two days since I showered (but new underwear/socks today).

I haven’t had breakfast or lunch since Wednesday.

Why am I sharing these (some would say too) personal details?  Because one of the first things they teach you in rehab and recovery programs is to start with the basics; start taking care of yourself, really taking care of yourself – daily showers, changing clothes, eating three semi-healthy meals – and the rest will follow.

In my experience, it works.

I’ve also found a corollary to this approach; that signs of self care neglect should be seen as an early warning system, a canary in the coal mine of your mind. I’ve had my own experiences, and heard many more at church, when a harsh slide in mood – or substance relapse – follows on the heels of letting even a few self care habits slide.

At least I’m in new clothes today.  And I’m seeing a baby tomorrow so I’ve got to shower before then.

Fuck me: I just found God in Axl Rose

14 Feb

Well, not God or gods exactly; more like inspiration, faith (in myself), and like any religious text, prophetic words I desperately want to prove wrong.

After hunting it down with the six words I remembered from the lyrics, I was listening to a favourite song from my high school days, Estranged, by the metal rock gods Guns n’ Roses. It’s long one, deeply personal as metal ballads go, with lyrics I found both relatable and prophetic at the time. Predictably, I saw the song as foreshadowing the breakup I knew was inevitable with with my high school sweetheart:

When I find out all the reasons
Maybe I’ll find another way
Find another day
With all the changing seasons of my life
Maybe I’ll get it right next time
An now that you’ve been broken down
Got your head out of the clouds
You’re back down on the ground
And you don’t talk so loud
An you don’t walk so proud
Any more, and what for.

Now as I listen to it some 20 years later I still love the tune and find its lyrics moving…but in a different way. This time around I’m afraid they’ll be prophetic, not resigned to the fact. I don’t want to find another way. I don’t want there to be a next time. I don’t want to be out here drifting all alone:

Well I jumped into the river
Too many times to make it home
I’m out here on my own, drifting all alone
If it doesn’t show give it time
To read between the lines
‘Cause I see the storm getting closer
And the waves they get so high
Seems everything We’ve ever known’s here
Why must it drift away and die?

Today I hear these words with a mixture of fear, dread, drive and (I hope, just enough) faith. Faith in myself. Faith that I can stay on track to recovery and return to the real adult world. And most of all, faith that Estranged is a just words on a page, not a self-fulfilling prophecy.

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