Today, I celebrate nineteen years of sobriety. A friend reminded me that’s a long time. At first I thought about the fact that it’s only a string of single days all put together, but you know what? It is indeed a long time, and it’s a big deal.
It’s easy to live through the single successive days and lose sight of the larger picture. In that string of single days, I’ve built up a lot of really good stuff. A lot has happened that was truly good. There was some bad, too. I remember the bad, but today, I feel the good more.
The best is that I healed. I drank because I was broken. Sobriety helped me know how important it was to reach out and get the help I needed to heal. I did that, and it worked. Read some of the past posts on this blog to understand how I’ve used therapy, medication, meditation, exercise, and sleep in my recovery from mental illness and substance abuse.
And today I celebrate nineteen years! Hooray!
I was reminded this morning during my meditation that I have a lot of energy swirling around me. There’s a lot happening in my life, and it’s bringing up a lot of past energy. I released a lot. I can only say that it feels really good.
It’s not as hard as it sounds. Sit and breathe in and out a few times. Try to feel wherever you may have discomfort. Imagine it as a solid object. What shape is it? Does it have a color? Is it hot or cold? How heavy is it? Now, very gently, pull it out and release it to the Universe. If it’s heavy, ask an angel to help you pull it out. Fill the space it leaves with light.
Do it with just one thing for now. Do it lovingly, gently.
Release one thing at a time. Releasing a lifetime of pent up energy will take time. Start with one.
This afternoon, I get to go to the state psychiatric hospital and tell my story to a group of nurses. I’ve done this before, and I’m looking forward to it. The nurses there are always very receptive. One of my sisters is a psychiatric nurse, so I have a special love for them.
Each time I tell my story, I’m reminded where I’ve been and where I am now. It was a long road, but I’m glad it happened. Now, I get to share recovery.
I get to share what happened to me. AA taught me and mental health recovery teaches me that my story is the most valuable resource I have. Sharing my story helps others living with mental illness that recovery is possible.
There’s a whole class taught in our Certified Peer Specialist training about igniting the spark of hope. We do it by guiding a peer through their own realization of having a goal, and we use our stories as part of the guide.
The most exciting thing about it is that no goal is too small or too big. All goals have value. All of them.
I have a goal for today: to share my hope with the nurses.
For about the past 4 or 5 days, I was feeling really good. I was having to concentrate hard on staying “in the now,” but it was working. I could meditate and concentrate on walking through my day until I would have another chance to meditate and refresh. At that next meditation, I could do the same thing.
Yesterday, I woke up agitated. I was not in the mood to allow life to flow. I wanted answers to my questions. I wanted to know the outcomes of present situations. I wanted. I needed.
I was not in a good mind space.
My strength is that I recognized it. I knew I needed help, so I reached out for it. I called my therapist, and he happened to have an opening. I jumped on it. I saw him late in the afternoon after work, and I was able to talk about what was going on.
There are a lot of changes happening in my life. I’m dating as I’ve written about here, and it’s the first time I’ve been dating in an extremely long time. There’s lots of new energy surging through my life. All this affects my equilibrium, and I know how important it is for me to stay on an even keel.
I am so grateful for the tools I have as part of my recovery. Yesterday, I recognized I was off balance, and I used a tool to help me regain it. It worked. I left the psychologist’s office much calmer.
My life is changing. Normally, that’s scary. Right now, I’m walking through it.
I only have to do one thing.
I don’t have to feel completely better all at once.
I don’t have to completely heal all at once.
I can take just one small step toward feeling better and healing.
I don’t have to be cheerful and bubbly if I don’t feel like it.
I can choose to smile for just one second. I can choose to feel that smile on my face for just one second.
This morning I get to take one step forward.
Just one. That’s all I have to do right now. Just one.
Taking care of our recovery as people living with mental illness is the single most important thing we can do when we are faced with large tragedies in the news. It is vital for ourselves and our families and our communities and our nations that we continue to recover so that we can help our friends who are hurting.
My recovery is based on
- Keeping in close contact with my psychiatrist and taking the medicine that has proven to me it works
- Keeping in close contact with my psychologist who gives me a safe place to explore my experiences and my reactions to them
- Eating healthy food
- Getting good sleep
- Exercising regularly
- Making a dedicated time for meditation
Our recovery does not have to be complex. All we need is a few simple things to keep us on the road to feeling better and being caring members of our communities.
I had disembodied anxiety this morning. I couldn’t put my finger on where it was coming from.
I found myself using ineffective coping mechanisms to try to lessen the anxiety.
During my morning break at work, I went to a nearby cathedral where I sat for a short meditation. In that state, I realized this is the energy of a new kind of dating life that I’m wanting to experience. There are a lot of unknowns around my dating life at the moment, and my body was reading this ambiguity as anxiety.
I now recognize the energy as the creation of this new dating life. The energy is still there, but it doesn’t feel like anxiety any more. It’s just a kind of rustling in my stomach. It’s a little pleasant actually.
All of us have moods. We have to realize they’re not permanent.