Alright, I know I’ve been AWOL for a while. All summer really. I took the summer off of school and was just trying to focus on work, family, gardening, learning to can foods, and THERAPY. Lots of therapy. It’s been going really well. I’ve done a lot of work learning new coping strategies for when the anxiety creeps up on me. Also focusing on paying attention to my self talk and working to improve it. I am way too hard on myself. I spent the whole summer locked pretty tightly inside my own head. That can be good sometimes. It can help you evaluate yourself. But taken too far it can keep you from moving forward.
Anyways, today is DAY 8 sober! Started last Monday. I’m getting back into writing because it is great way to bust out of my head. I can take all these thoughts that work their way around in my head in circles over and over and just dump them out.
Here are some of the thoughts that have been swirling around uncontrollably:
I need to lose weight. I’ve put a lot of weight back on over the last year. I don’t like it. I don’t feel good about it physically, or mentally.
Building on the first thought: I really need to reignite my passion for running. I felt amazing while training for a half marathon. I just don’t have the time to devote to that kind of training. I do have time to run though. I need a goal, just don’t know what yet
When I look at myself objectively, I’m pretty awesome. My life is pretty awesome. Why don’t I feel like my life and self are awesome?
I know that I can quit drinking for about 6 weeks. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve done that. What happens after that though?
I have taken on a very ambitious life plan changing careers and going back to college. What if I can’t do it? What if this one thing that is my life’s passion, is the thing that I fail at?
This isn’t everything. But these are the ones that seem to come to the surface most frequently. I guess that’s it for today. Peace.
Yesterday afternoon I had my first sit down with the woman is going to by my therapist and counselor for PTSD treatment and substance abuse counseling. I had no idea what to expect. I kept thinking of all kinds of different reasons to cancel the appointment. But I didn’t. I did however stop by my house between class and the appointment to ‘get some stuff done around the house’. Which I did. While a drank a quick glass of wine. I was pouring the drink before I even thought about it. So, I drank wine right before going to a substance abuse counseling appointment. Go me.
Quick little blurb to bring you up to speed. I had one appointment 3 weeks ago with a counselor who does ‘intake’ for this office. This place I’m going to is primarily a reference center. You go in, they do a quick Q&A evaluation, figure out what general direction your treatment needs to be in, you have a few sessions with a counselor there, and if you need more treatment beyond that they refer you to a professional somewhere else. They handle all types of mental illness. The only exception to this system is substance abuse treatment. There is no limitation to how long you can be seen there for out patient substance abuse treatment. They don’t have any in-patient treatment. If you need that you get referred elsewhere.
So, I went in 3 weeks ago and met Jim, the intake guy. He’s a 60-ish year old, bespectacled, balding man. Nice in a dry, humorless kind of way. He looked sort of like Lewis Black. But with out the yelling, or wit. He identified that I need treatment for PTSD and alcohol abuse (Not a surprise, but it was very weird to hear someone say it out loud to me). He set me up with an appointment with Linda. She is there ‘PTSD and substance abuse specialist’. It took 3 weeks for me to get in with her. That’s because of my crazy work/school schedule, not any fault of theirs.
Fast forward to yesterday. (Is that like going back to the future?) I meet Linda. She’s probably about 50 years old. Thin, with short naturally greying hair. Well dressed in a sweater dress with a belt and boots. Trying to paint a little picture. Her office is small and cluttered, which makes it feel kind of cramped. Also, it felt like building’s furnace must dump directly into that tiny room. It must have been 80 degrees in there. There are a bunch of motivational pictures on the walls, and you can tell that she definitely has a thing for the old ‘Peanuts’ comic strip. She apologizes and tells me that she is having trouble with her computer (which appears to 5-10 years old). She says that normally she would be typing things in on this first session on her computer, but she’ll have to just take notes on paper. The whole appointment took about an hour. She spent some time reviewing the report that Jim had filled out. She asked a few more in depth questions. We talked about how much I drink. What happens when I drink. Why I think that I drink. We brushed very quickly over what my past trauma was (Which is actually two separate things, but we’ll get to that another time). We talked a bit about how alcohol is my coping mechanism. And we discussed what my current life and schedule look like.
The point of all of this was to put together a ‘treatment plan’. What we decided was this: Weekly one-on-one counseling sessions. She is counseling against a ‘cold turkey’ cut off on the booze. She wants me to start diving into dealing with my trauma and developing new coping tactics before I do that. She did say that it would be great if I start working on slowly cutting back on how much I’m drinking here and there.
It doesn’t feel like much of a plan. I’m not really sure what I expected though. A timeline maybe? A Doomsday clock ticking down to the moment when I have to give up alcohol forever? At the same time it feels overwhelming. I’m going to have to talk to this nearly perfect stranger about the worst moments of my life. Things that I’ve only ever told my husband, and it took him months and years to pry that shit out of me.