Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Long Ago and Far Away

I suppose my presence at this web space is sort of summed up by the phrase, "long ago and far away," because there are so many gaps in time between my posts!

I've posted so long ago - and have been so far away - HOWEVER - I'm still clean and sober with no  relapse mistakes... 10 and a half clean-time years!

When I started this blog, I was pretty sure I'd stay sober a long time, but have to admit I'm still a little surprised at hitting the 10 year mark... what, with so many of my "temporarily clean" peers who relapsed around me during this past decade. I've had a lot of relationships "tank" and caused the end of a great many of these, myself... I've had to chose sobriety over friendships on a number of occasions.

Boundary setting has been my more difficult work,  however, I've "done the work" and allow very few individuals around me for any length of time who engage in social substance use.

I think some people assume that once a person is clean for quite a while, being around booze/social use of substances becomes tolerable... my weigh-in on that subject is...

Neh!    Maybe yes for some, but no, it's not true for me.

I understand that some peers of mine can drink or even smoke the green stuff occasionally without being called addicts, so I can tolerate a very short burst of watching someone else drink and have fun and then I still enact my "plan b" (escape the situation/leave) - not so much because I am temped to use but because the social drinkers start getting silly, louder, and I NOTICE this more than ever now. I just have limited tolerance now of being around people engaged in social substance use and I think that's okay - however I'll call back to what I said earlier,I've "caused the end of a great many" relationships.

All in all, at this 10 year point in my sobriety journey, I have finally stopped thinking of myself as "a drinker" - rather - An abstaining drinker or a person who can't drink when I am out, say, with a friend at a restaurant when the waitress/waitor asks if I'd like a beer/drink special with my food order... I actually say, in my head "no, I don't drink, I'm not interested" and reply to the server accordingly.

In a long ago, far away place and time during my early recovery, when in a similar social situation as mentioned above, my self talk was more like, "No! I'm not allowed to ever drink again," and "No, I can't let myself drink," or sometimes, "If the waiter forgets I said no to booze and he asks me about ordering again, I'm going to have to run out of here." Haha! I can still remember the fear of  relapse, fear of making a mistake, the worry that went along with going to eat in a restaurant that might be a licensed establishment... and I'm grateful that now, I truly feel in my mind, heart and spirit, that "No, I do not desire a beverage with alcohol in it."

There are actually a few alcohol free beverages I can not drink today because my taste-buds play tricks on me... lime cola and one of the tomato/vegetable juice mixes are beverages that are completely free of alcohol but I cannot drink them. I swear they taste like they're spiked with booze to me, so maybe this is a good trick my taste-buds are playing on me.

To anyone still in that fist-clenching, sweaty-brow, clean under 30 days stage of early recovery... YES, it does get better, being clean! Hang in there - take care of yourself. The days, months will add up (stop trying to count them too often - they will pass whether you count them or not!), and in a while, you'll be able to look back on things, in general and feel like your active addiction is long ago and far away - and it won't have a hold on you anymore...

Stay well, all~~

Monday, January 25, 2010

Unbelievable Case of Ecstasy Damage

I've just been reading a report on a case study involving MDMA (3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine or Ecstasy) use in a man only known as "Mr. A" from the U.K.

Now, the report isn't that new - it's from 2006 - but it still contains some extremely frightening information on the drug, Ecstasy, and its possible long-term effects.

The case study involves a man in England who quit using the drug after several years of steady use. He went to professionals at St. George's Medical School in Tooting, London England UK for help. He had quit using the drug several months earlier but still felt like he was under the influence of the drug when he was desperate to get help for his problem.

At the time of publication of this report, Mr. A. had not taken MDMA/Ecstasy for 7 years but was still suffering with severe mental health and physical health side-effects of the drug. Some of the side-effects listed were: paranoia, depression, hallucinations and memory problems. As far as physical effects, Mr. A. still suffered with severe and painful muscle rigidity at his neck and jaw - sometimes so pronounced that opening his mouth was impossible.

What is worse is that medical professionals (in 2006, anyway) believed there was a high possibility that these effects would be permanent.

Mr. A's MDMA drug use:

Started around age 21, whereby he would take approximately 5 doses per weekend, on average. He continued this way for about 2 years then started to increase the amount and frequency of drug use until he was ingesting approximately 3 and a half pills per day for a while. He increased this dosage further until he was, at a peak time of addiction, taking a whopping 25 pills per day! He took this dosage, daily, for about FOUR YEARS!

Professionals have calculated the number of pills Mr. A. probably took overall and come up with an astounding sum of 40,000 pills!

You can read the rest of the article yourself from the link below:

The strange case of the man who took 40,000 ecstasy pills in nine years This article is from guardian . co . uk website.

Mr. A. was also a heavy cannabis user. A few of his symptoms became a little less serious when he acted upon doctors' suggestions to stop using cannabis - but overall, his memory and concentration difficulties persisted. Some of the hallucinations and paranoia were stopped or lessened by his avoidance of cannabis.

He started treatment with specialists in brain injuries and, for a while, went on anti-psychotic medication but unfortunately, Mr. A. discharged himself prematurely from treatment (according to a Dr Kouimtsidis). Mr. A. went back to cannabis use and the doctors and specialists 'lost him.'

Here's a statement (remember, this was published in 2006):

"Unfortunately, he discharged himself before we were able to complete the assessment," says Dr Kouimtsidis. "We continued to support him. But he started to use cannabis again and he dropped out. We tried to re-engage him but we lost him about a year ago."

The Guardian site where this article is published attempted to find Mr. A., as well, in order to re-connect him with treatment, but The Guardian couldn't find the man.

This article shocked me in its entirety because I've known people to have overdosed and ended up in the hospital for taking just less than 25 tablets of ecstacy! This article tells of a man who, quite regularly, dosed himself up on 25 pills on a daily basis.

Obviously, not without extremely harmful - probably life-long - damage...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

eCourse Temporarily Unavailable

I apologize for the delay in announcing that the eCourse offered in the sidebar is not available right now. I'm acquiring some different webspace over the holidays (the old site is gone) and will arrange to place the lesson mailers on the new space. The lessons should be available early in the New Year.

Thank you for your patience.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Stampede Craziness 2008

Well, it's Stampede time again in Calgary! This means

The booze is flowing freely. Not to mention all the GAMBLING that comes along with midway games at The Calgary Exhibition and Stampede.

A few tips if you're trying to stay clean and sober during the Stampede 10 days of festivities:

* Check in with (clean) friends often - to jog the 'accountability' part of you
* Don't be afraid to break certain plans during Stampede week - if you're simply not up to an appearance over on the grounds and Midway, it is better not to push your luck
* Go onto the grounds and midway EARLY in the day before partiers start up in full force
* Go to evening events with someone you trust to also 'stay clean and sober' - the added support and understanding will be very helpful
* Remember that The Stampede offers every kind of beverage, so if you get stuck in a situation with booze/drugs all around - SAY NO to the booze and ORDER something safe
* If someone buys you something 'unsafe,' simply return it!
* Be well rested before you ever set foot on the Stampede site or at a Stampede activity where booze/drugs might be present - remember H-A-L-T...(Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired - these 'states' of being are when addicts are most vulnerable)
* On the same note as above - eat properly before you attend Stampede events - and try to CONTINUE to eat decent foods while on-site at the Stampede

These are just a few things that might be helpful - protect your sobriety!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Coupla Jokes

I was needing some 'comic relief'

Here are some jokes I found when I searched online for some comedic 'distractions' in my life.

You may or may not find these 'cute' but I like 'em!

1. An Alabama State trooper stops a guy in a pick-up truck over on route I-90. The officer asks the driver,

"Got any ID?"

The driver responds,

"ID 'bout what?"


2. A couple of tourists were driving through Louisiana until they approached a sign that said the town of Natchitoches was immediately up ahead. Upon trying to pronounce the name, they got in an argument. Since they couldn't decide who was right, and it was lunchtime anyway, they drove into the town to have lunch - still arguing about the pronunciation of the name.

At the restaurant, as the travellers waited at the counter, a waiter seated them at a table - and STILL - the tourists argued. When the waiter returned to take their order, one of the travellers said,

"Before we order, could you settle a disagreement we've been having? Could you pronounce the place where we are, and pronounce it very slowly so we can catch the name properly? We've been arguing about this ever since we saw the sign along the highway."

The waiter, with an extremely puzzled look on his face, said,

You say it...


Saturday, March 15, 2008

No Thank You - No Green Beer For Me

St. Patrick's Day is almost upon us!

A lot of people, Irish or not, celebrate this special day by having a few drinks.

What's more - pubs and restaurants put colouring into the beer to make it GREEN, the obvious colour dedicated to St. Patrick's Day items.

On St. Patrick's Day, once it fully rrrrrrrrolls around, I will be having a couple of cups of Green Tea, instead of Green-spiked alcoholic beverages and beer.

Although some people don't make too big a deal out of this festive day, a whole lot of people do, and for many, St. Patrick's Day celebrations don't happen WITHOUT alcohol being present. For this reason, St. Patty's Day is often a difficult time for recovering addicts. Many of their friends and family members will probably still celebrate by drinking green beer or green cocktails, and recovering addicts will do well to steer clear of festive individuals if this is possible, unless a safety plan is enacted.

There are a couple of posts already on this blog about "safety planning," so if you don't normally plan ahead and you're a recovering addict who has wondered how to deal with celebrations (I mean, you can't tell all people that they can't drink because YOU no longer drink, right?), scroll around a bit. If you've been trying to figure out how to get through festive events and occasions more smoothly, where alcohol will be present, just remember that you can plan ahead and be prepared for the fact that alcohol might literally be placed in your face during holiday and celebratory situations.

There is still no need to drink/do drugs, no matter how much people coax that you share in the celebration.

Just say, "No Thank You - No Green Beer For Me."

If this will be difficult - practice before the day hits!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

According To The DSM-IV

According to the Diagnostics and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fourth Edition),

Addiction is recognized by 3 basic stages:

1. Preoccupation/Anticipation

2. Binge/Intoxication

3. Withdrawal/Negative effect

The following characteristics are typical of each stage:

1. Preoccupation/Anticipation:
Cravings (sometimes constant) and preoccupation with acquiring drugs/alcohol
2. Binge/Intoxication:
Using more of a substance than is necessary, using a substance beyond
experiencing slight intoxicating effects (using beyond calming down, socializing,
or relaxing, and actually getting stoned or drunk instead)
3. Withdrawal/Negative effect:
Experiencing intolerance, withdrawal symptoms, losing motivation for normal
activities in life (hangovers, shakes, planning on partying instead of spending
quality time with family and friends - selecting friends and family who party
while rejecting or ignoring those who do not)

It is believed that addiction has a biological as well as psychological basis
(some will go further and say addiction affects the person and body wholly, also in spiritual and emotional ways - and also that addiction and addicts affect the community).

There are varying opinions, of couse, however, no discipline that I am aware of DISCOUNTS addiction as partly out of control of the addict at advanced stages.

For this reason - it is important for addicts (and those who want to support addicts and see
them recover from addiction) - to realize that a change of behavior (behavior correction) as well as change in thinking/perception will have to occur, on a long-term basis, in order for the addict to get better.

This is not a matter of simply taking away the booze/drugs/substance/habit, and with addictions like food addictions and shopping addictions, it is particularly difficult for some people to improve quickly. Food needs to be eaten, shopping needs to occur, therefore a concerted effort must be made to change habits on many levels.

If you recognize yourself or a loved one who fits one of the stages above, please educate yourself about addiction and recovery. It doesn't matter if you notice someone (or yourself) at only 'stage one' preoccupation/anticipation. Without correction, behaviors, habits, and addiction itself only progresses to the next stages.

On the right side-bar, about half-way down the blog, are recovery organization links, including links for 12-step sexual addiction recovery, phobics, gamblers and other recovery.

Any habit that gets out of hand can become a behavioral and mind problem called addiction.

Please, take care of yourself.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Interesting Clips From TV Show "Intervention"

I was browsing around YouTube and found that a fan of the TV show, Intervention has put together a series of clips from the show.

There are some graphic clips, so if you're worried about being affected by these, move along...

...the clips are just over 5 minutes about the 3 minute mark, the images aren't quite as graphic and involve scenes of the addict being brought to a counselling room to discuss treatment intervention.

The reason I have posted this video, graphic and all though it is - is because I was quite overwhelmed as to the number of YouTube videos on-site that are labelled 'Intervention' but are actually making light of the topic of addiction and addiction intervention.

People need to see the REAL effects of addiction - on both the addict and families. I realize the graphic nature of the video above might be 'triggering' to some, but I did place a warning to go along with the video so that those who don't wish to see everything in 'raw' form can wait 'til part-way through the video to see how the intervention 'meeting' was performed in this situation.

This clip is from a television show that A&E Network airs, called "Intervention."

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Try This

I'm evaluating a multi-media course on blogging from the folks at Simpleology. For a while, they're letting you snag it for free if you post about it on your blog.

It covers:

  • The best blogging techniques.
  • How to get traffic to your blog.
  • How to turn your blog into money.

I'll let you know what I think once I've had a chance to check it out. Meanwhile, go grab yours while it's still free.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Sober Through The Holiday Season

One of the hardest times of year for people to stay sober is during the Christmas season. It's the biggest holiday of the year, with no doubts, and people 'full of good cheer' tend to:

* Take more time off since 2 stat holidays are in close succession (New Year's added)
* Feel obligated, through media ads, commercials, etc., to be 'in the spirit' of Xmas
* Spend more money at this time of year
* Visit family for the occasions of "Christmas Celebrations" and "New Years Parties"
* Have parties both with family/friends but also through workplaces

There are a number of other things that we see ONLY AT CHRISTMAS time and, unfortunately, most of the activities around this time of year don't actually MIX together well to make for happy times...

The fact that there are 2 holiday occasions a week apart - 2 of the most SIGNIFICANT events of the year, hands down - means that:

* Finances are rough for almost everyone
* People overspend
* Often the 2 holiday occassions are connected with each other on peoples' schedules and if one is stressful (Christmas) the tension simply carries over to the next (New Years).
* People often spend much more time with family at this time than at other times of the year, so family tensions invariably run high - it's not always that people don't LIKE their families...but when we grow up, move away from home and do other normal life activities, we get used to "our life" and often don't have the familiarity and patience with family that we used to when we lived at home. THIS IS NORMAL. But almost everyone says, during the Christmas Season - that is IT IS NOT RIGHT to have differences of opinion during this season...
* People EXCUSE the behaviors of family and friends (and employers and co-workers, etc) during this time of year, noting that we are all supposed to be partaking of the 'holiday spirit' of kindness, forgiveness, etc (blah blah blah)...IF we are not practicing these things YEAR ROUND, all the time, then a WEEK OF THIS ACTIVITY during Christmas and New Years is STRESSFUL AND UNCOMFORTABLE for most of us!

...slide youself some slack this Christmas season - Take care of yourself - especially if you have decided you want a sober life.

Here are a few things you can do to protect yourself and your sobriety this season:


This is in case people buy you drinks or coax you to drink.

This is in case people around you drink too much this season, even if you don't.

This is in case there are family or social tensions during the season, which might make you feel like you need to drink to calm down.

This is JUST TO BE SAFER THAN PEOPLE WHO AREN'T MAKING PLANS to look after themselves, because - even if they are not drinkers, many people IGNORE their basic needs of sleep, standing up for themselves with family, saying 'no' to the extra cost of things related to Christmas and New Years. If you are a recovering addict, you have to THINK SAFE more than some other people do, that's all.

Here are a few things that I have done as a safety plan.

* Created 'scripts' for potentially uncomfortable situations
* Selected a 'stressbuster' friend to call when things are going rough
* Planned decent sleep times and EXTRA NAP TIME (excitement and visiting is hard on the system)
* Located meetings - of any variety, so that I could attend if stress became an issue
* Made "enough" points to stick to ("have had enough excitement - time to go lay down," or "have had enough of being around a person who is drinking, so I am going to watch TV in another room," or "have had 'enough' Christmas visiting for the day and evening, it's Midnight and it's time for bed)
* Selected a secondary 'sponsor-like' person to call if my first was unavailable - or just in case I needed two support people
* Mandatory visit with sober group of people just prior to visiting family, just to reaffirm that there are A LOT OF PEOPLE who do not drink in this world

A bit on 'scripts' and then I'll close out this post:

* I created 'scripts' for my first sober Christmas - for family situations that seemed to happen every year. This way, I had a response ready and didn't have to think about responding. Sometimes this was just to say "No" to family members who asked me to get drinks for them during the holiday season.

* You know that it's time for a script in situations where people have said "Hey, grab me a drink on your way back to the room," and you nod, without thinking, and plan to fill the request. In early sobriety, this can actually be a dilemma, and people may never have heard you say, "No, I won't do that - please get your own drink" before. And sometimes, people won't even accept this small difference of response from you, do be prepared to have someone look at you like you just grew an ear on your chin and a second head from your elbow lol. Even for something this simple, a 'script' helps YOU. However else someone ELSE reacts to YOUR new, healthier response is really their choice.

This scripting is really helpful and is mainly just thinking AHEAD OF TIME about how to react to situations you are quire sure will occur.

--don't go overboard with this and try to develop a response for EVERYTHING or you'll worry yourself needlessly, but if there are situations that seem to occur every year or some expectations that you know that family members (of friends) had of you when you were a drinker...these are things you can make 'scripts' - new responses - for this season.
eXTReMe Tracker