- Experience, Strength and Hope needed and welcomed

Experience, Strength and Hope needed and welcomed

Alcoholics and Addicts sharing their personal recovery story with us to help others who want to recover.

Experience, Strength and Hope needed and welcomed

Postby DebbieV » Sun Jul 22, 2007 6:35 pm

Hi, I'm Debbie and I'm an alcoholic,

I wasn't going to write this in the forum because it felt like an outside issue, but I realize today that it is directly related to my drinking. I also learned that almost ever thing I think about is directly related to me having a drink ( if I don't use my tools I have been taught in AA) So my sponsor "suggested" ( that is another way of saying " just do it" and I thank God for my sponsor's ability to talk to me the way I need to hear. ) that I post this on the forum, what a novel idea, go to people with experience strength and hope. So here I go:

Last week I was told for the forth time that I had to have a bi-lateral mastectomy. The first three times I went and got drunk and blew it off. I cant go drink or blow this off, One, it does me no good to do either because both ways can kill me. Two, because of the program I do have a little happiness, joyousness and freedom today and I don't want to loose that anymore than I want to loose my life. For anyone who knows or can imagine, going thought this surgery ( and I have to stop smoking before they will do the surgery) at a month and 1/2 is scary as hell. I think it would be at 20 years, but It is scary as hell for many reasons for me 1. pain pills, I like them a little too much. 2. loosing a very big part of me 3. new in sobriety, and the number 4, I use to be, or still am, I don't know how to word that yet, a cutter, I use to go get drunk for a reason of your choice and come home and cut my wrist, not to die but to cut, never went too deep, just a typical cutter, I don't do that anymore and I want it to stay that way, but any signs of a cut or a scar sends my mind into a bar, or a issue sends my mind into a bar and then I cut, when I decided that I was going to have the surgery all I could think about was the scars after they were done doing all the cutting and it freaked me out bad. I did a " mini 4th step" on this last week and I was feeling real good until today when I got on the computer to see what I need to ask the plastic surgeon tomorrow, then my alcoholic brain kicked in and I had to go to sights with pictures, and I was off and running, full blown panic attach hit, never had one before and for those who do I'm truly sorry for you, they are not fun at all. I called my sponsor ready to hear all the AA things like, let it go God will handle it or did you pray about it or read the big book and see what it says, but what I head was "of course your scared and having a panic attack, this is a scary thing", followed by a lot of talking and even more listing. Sooo what I'm wondering is if anyone can relate to the fears I have with being this new, loosing my brest, and seeing the scars. Need all the help I can get on this one.

Thanks all for being here for me,
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Postby rockingchair » Mon Jul 23, 2007 10:41 pm

It sounds like you have a really good sponsor. Fear was my middle name when I came to AA - and like a crying baby - I learned that it is important to recognize that I am afraid, examine what I am afraid of, acknowledge it and own it. We do this in regard to our alcoholism in the first step - "we admitted we are powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable."

Sharing your fear by talking about it to your sponsor and writing about it in this forum literally cuts it in half. Already you are doing something positive to reduce your fear. You are no longer alone with your fear.

And I agree with your sponsor, it is reasonable to be afraid of all the things that you have listed. Anybody would be afraid.

While I have never had to face having a bilateral mastectomy, I have had to face many other devastating things in my sobriety. Take strength from my experience that you can get through it without taking a drink.

Probably one of the most valuable things that I was taught to do - other than prayer - was to just take it one day at a time - even one moment at a time.

Look at what is happening right now - what are you doing? Sitting here reading what I have written. You can handle this one little moment of time. Do not race ahead to what the surgery will be like - how will I handle pain medication and scars - stay in the moment today.

When you get to that time in the future when you have the surgery, you will be given the strength and courage to face whatever is to be - one moment at a time. But, that is not happening today. Trust that when you get to that moment, you will get through it.

Stay close to that sponsor of yours. You've got a winner!

- Rockingchair
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Postby anniemac » Tue Jul 24, 2007 8:41 am

Hi Debbie,

I'm glad you shared what's going on because I've found that when I let things swirl around in my head without putting them down on paper (or the computer) they can take on even larger proportions. Writing or typing it out makes my thoughts concrete and definable and therefore more managable.

Ruthie (Rockingchair) said something that I've found to be crucial to my recovery when fear creeps in -- at this particular moment in time, everything is just fine. Right now, at this second.

I'm not trying to minimize what you are going through, but know that many women have had this surgery. I personally know 5. There are certainly a bunch of emotions that go along with it, but please know that all of these women that I know are all fine right now. They all opted for reconstructive surgery and noone who didn't know about the surgery would know they had the surgery.

Walking through this sober may be frightening, Debbie, but when you walk out the other side you will have gained so much strength and foundation in your recovery and will come to know that you can get through anything without picking up a drink. Feelings aren't facts. I used to HATE that expression. Your fear alone won't kill you.

As for the cutting and the scars, I don't have any direct experience with that so I can't offer a solution. Like other things, though, keeping your head where your feet are and putting one foot in front of the other, I'm thinking you can walk through that too.

Keep talking, rely on your support group, and I'll say a prayer for you.
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Postby DebbieV » Tue Jul 24, 2007 11:54 pm

I want to thank you guys for all the great feed back and the show of support, it DOES mean a lot to me. I was going to share with you how I am doing but I think it will change by the time I finish typing :o
I can say that there is more ups than downs now because of people like you guys on here, my sponsor, GOD, meetings, and friends in meetings. I also have a feeling that I need to get off my butt and go help another alcoholic, still trying to figure that one out. I do what I can in meetings but it feels like I need to do more. Doing a lot of saying "Right Now", trying to stay out of my head and that helps, I sometimes yell it out in my house or driving down the road " RIGHT NOW" just stay in the now and do the actions, talk to God, keep in-touch with my sponsor, go to meetings, try to help others, that all takes it away for a while, it does come back (the fears) but I try to just keep doing the next right thing. I do feel like I am BSing a lot when I go out with a smile on my face and people ask how I am, some times I want to say, I hurt like hell how do you think I'm doing? but I smile and say it's getting better, and it is at some points. I have this thing like I need to be strong for people around me so they think I'm fine, and that is not a good feeling and I'm working on it. Kind of like if I say, you know this sucks and I dont want to deal with it anymore, that means I'm letting down AA, or not putting enough faith in God. I may be rambling so I will just say some seconds are good, some suck bad and some are the most wonderful I have ever felt.
Thanks again Ann and RC for you words of wisdom and you ES&H
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Postby Dallas » Wed Jul 25, 2007 11:27 am

When I was new -- besides the shaking :lol: when I look back now, I can see that I only had two real problems. That's it. Just two.

I was a thinker and a feeler -- and I kept on thinking and feeling. :lol:

And, those were my two problems. :wink:

Half the time I didn't know what the heck it was that I was feeling. I was feeling something, but it had been so long in my life since I had a variety of feelings -- I had no labels or names for what I was feeling.

It was like waking up one morning and discovering that I was sober and had feelings, for the first time! Imagine that.

It got to the point that when the old-timers would ask "How you you feel?" my stock answer was "with my hands!" :lol:

While I was having all those feelings without having names for them -- I didn't know if they were good or bad feelings, and I didn't know if I should be having them! I had spent most of my life trying to numb my feelings and to live life without feelings.

Feelings were like relationships. I had no control over them and they scared the heck out of me! So, I tried not to have any. And, I did a little drinking, too! :lol:

When I was real new at being sober -- whenever I had any kind of feeling, it was hard for me to remember that I wasn't supposed to reach for a drink if and when I had a feeling -- if I wanted to stay sober!

It took me some time to get used to having feelings and sensations -- while sober.

Eventually, I started to enjoy having feelings and sensations -- while sober. :lol: And, it didn't scare me as much to have them.

I remember once, having about six months sober -- and discovering that I wasn't feeling like I was going to drink.

It was about 3 a.m. in the morning, and I had been up all night doing what newcomers do -- thinking!!! :lol: :lol:

Discovering that I wasn't feeling like I was going to drink -- scared the heck out of me!!! I had never had that feeling before!

I had been trying to "follow directions" -- so, I picked up my phone at 3 a.m. to call my sponsor and let him know how I was feeling -- I thought it was important for him to know -- because it was scarry -- and I thought "If if feel like I'm not going to have a drink -- then, I'm probably just about ready to have a drink! This must be that alcoholic insanity that they talk about!" Besides -- my sponsor used to ask me things like "Why didn't you pick up the phone and call me?" :oops: :oops:

So -- I called him. At 3 a.m. -- I woke him up (and woke up his wife with my call) -- and told him what I had been feeling!

I said "Look. I hate to call you so late at night... but, you told me to call you." And, he said "What's the problem? What kind of problem are you having?"

I said "Well. I haven't been able to sleep. I've been up all night --- and, I've been thinking." :lol: I said "I've discovered that I'm not feeling like I'm going to have a drink -- and that probably means that I'm going to get drunk -- because that's probably me having the insanity of the first drink. And, it's scaring the hell out of me!!! I don't want to get drunk!!! And, if I'm not feeling like I'm going to drink -- that probably means I'm going to get drunk!!!" :wink:

He asked "Are you drinking now? Or, do you have a drink in front of you?" I said "No." He asked "Do you feel like you're going to go get a drink?" I said "No. That's my problem. I feel like I'm not going to have a drink!!!!" He said something like "Dummy! That's what you're supposed to be feeling!!! That's normal. You're not supposed to feel like you're going to drink!"

And, I said "I thought this is the insanity. Aren't I always supposed to be thinking about not drinking and feeling like I'm going to drink -- so that it will remind me that I'm alcoholic and I'm not to take the first drink?"

I guess I must have bothered him -- and his wife. I could hear his wife in the background, but I couldn't hear what she was saying. But, I was just sure it was "all about me." :lol:

He said "Look. Call me in later in the morning. This is not late. This is too early morning! You need to go to sleep and stop thinking!!! Now, go to sleep and stop thinking! And, call me later! You're not supposed to be feeling like you're going to drink -- that's why we do what we do -- so that we can feel like we're not going to drink! Now go to sleep!" And, he hung up the phone.

Well. I still couldn't sleep. I was sure that he didn't understand what I had just told him. How could he understand? He hadn't had a drink in 17 years! How could he know what I was feeling? Or, thinking? Besides... I'm different! :lol:

So.... I stayed up the rest of the night.... thinking! :oops:

Last edited by Dallas on Wed Jul 25, 2007 11:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby rockingchair » Wed Jul 25, 2007 11:29 am

DebbieV wrote: so I will just say some seconds are good, some suck bad and some are the most wonderful I have ever felt.

I loved what you shared about yelling out RIGHT NOW to yourself. Way to go! You're on the right track --

Whatever you have to do to remind yourself to stay in the moment is OK. Keep working on it -- it will take a while but it will become more automatic -- and the more you stay in the now -- the less fear will drive you.

Also, I'm glad you are recognizing that your feelings are all over the place. Welcome to early sobriety! Focus on AA principles and your moods will level out.

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Postby anniemac » Wed Jul 25, 2007 12:19 pm

One tool I use to bring myself back to Right Now is deep breathing. I just stop what I'm doing and take 3 very deep breaths from as deep in my belly as I can. It's calming and brings me back to Right Now. Keep breathing, Debbie, and turn over that fear to God.
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Postby DebbieV » Fri Jul 27, 2007 4:01 pm

Thought I would share with you guys what has been going on in the last few days.
I had all of this ' stuff ' inside and I tried to my 3rd step on it over and over and just wasn't getting there, I heard in a meeting about being humble and something clicked inside and I knew that was what was missing, I realized I wasn't coming to God with all of me, just the bits and pieces I wanted to give to Him. I still wanted to run part of the show, and not give Him all the hurt and fear. So Tuesday night I got on my knees again to try to ' turn it over ' and I got pissed and started hitting my fist on the bed saying something like ' OK God you can have all of me, good and bad, just take it all. I don't want anything, I surrender.. I surrender.. ' that went on for awhile and when I was done I felt emotionally drained. I went to bed and woke up the next day and did it again without the anger this time, it was more like a plea. All day Wednesday and Thursday I felt a real peace about me that I had never felt, sort of freaked me out, so Wednesday night I called my sponsor and said something is wrong with me and I went over what I did, and said I had a peace but almost a depressed feeling in a way, the ES&H I received was " your having true feeling for the first time, God is putting in you new things because you gave up the old, go be alone for a while, enjoy the peace and don't think about it too much or you will screw it up" I love that, that is so true for me. I can take any good feeling and think about it and screw it up. So today when the cat poops on the rug, I don't want to kill it, when my son wakes up pissed off I just ask him whats going on, I don't have fear about the surgery or scars, I don't fear my forth step because I know ( KNOW ) that God will do for me what I can not do for my self, and for me there is no greater peace than that. I know this wont always be the case, but I do have something to go back to ( tools ) when I get upset and give it to God quick.
Thanks for letting me share,
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Postby garden variety » Fri Jul 27, 2007 4:43 pm

God bless you girl. You're doing all right.

Here's something to help you keep it simple. Think of the third step in a single word: "CONSENT".

"Surrender" is OK, but it kinda has the notion of a struggle or a fight. Also, today I can surrender because I have something to surrender. I have "things" and "assets" along with my will and my life. When Japan and Germany "surrendered" to the Allies, they had people, places, and things leftover that were not destroyed by the war. There were assets left that were useful.

Not so for me when I hit bottom. I didn't have anything like "assets" to surrender. I didn't have anything that God could find useful, except for my arms and legs. Never mind this head that holds the "broken thinker" (like yours) - a useless piece of nearly destroyed merchandise - that was back then. But its all been transformed now.

When I first did the 3rd step, I was insane from the damage of alcohol, and I was incompetent - I could not manage even simple things from my life's affairs. I needed a "CARETAKER". I heard and watched how turning to God changed things for the better. So I became CONVINCED that God, whoever that was, would be a good enough "caretaker" for me at least for a while. So when I'm in that kind of physical, emotional, and spiritual mess, there's not much to fight about or surrender.

I could only CONSENT just like someone insane, disabled, or incompetent CONSENTS when they need someone to take care of their life's affairs. Saying that 3rd step prayer for the first time was just like "signing on the dotted line". It was my contract with God as I understood Him. All I could do was agree or "consent" to Him and let Him begin by taking care of me and my life's affairs. As I recovered, He thought enough of me to let me join the ranks of his "Company". Like the book says, "we found a new Employer". He's the Director and we're His agents.

I'm happy you found some peace Deb. That shows you the program can work for you too. Don't worry much about getting mad with God - He's heard it all before. God is still the best Caretaker you or me will ever need.

(Yay for the "Edit" button)

One more thing. What your sponsor said is 100% correct and true. Its something I learned from a couple longtimers. They taught me that "In Spirit there is no empty space." Now that might sound abstract or hard to follow, but you just showed us how it works. How do you like that? You helped me to understand better.

Whatever it was you "let go" of absolutely, as soon as it was gone, God put something from His spiritual realm in its place. You let go of your anger and he instantly put Peace in its place. It happened so fast it gave you the creeps. But that's what it means. "In Spirit there is no empty space."

God bless!
garden variety
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Postby DebbieV » Wed Aug 08, 2007 12:38 am

You know I have read that post at least 10 times Paul and some thing kept stoping me from posting back. I love and can relate to everthing you said, I think it is the word CONSENT. I dont think I understand what you mean, I try to re-read it so maybe it will sink in, but no luck so far.
I like the message you carry and I learn from them. So if you dont mind could you go into the word CONSENT a little more.

Whatever it was you "let go" of absolutely, as soon as it was gone, God put something from His spiritual realm in its place. You let go of your anger and he instantly put Peace in its place. It happened so fast it gave you the creeps. But that's what it means. "In Spirit there is no empty space."

That is so true for me and I love the way you put it, and boy do I feel it being filled up inside, with peace. More and more every day, some days more than others, but it doesnt stop, unless I stop doing the actions.
Its cool that no one gets me like another alcoholic.

Thanks for your E,S&H Paul,
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