Sunday, September 11, 2016

More stories to come

I drove to Canby on Friday to make lefse with Mom, a sister-in-law, and two cousins. We had a great time and lots of stories were told. I took a walk Saturday, past the places I remember from my youth. Like this one. 

I'm typing this on my phone at the music festival. I am not a one-finger typist, so this will be short. 

Rock Bend Folk Festival

It's been a wonderful weekend. The weather is perfect, the mosquitoes took a vacation, the music is great, and the park is filled to the brim with happy people. 

Yesterday, we collected almost twenty stories.  Some about water, but we had no rules. I think there is one entitled The Fart Heard Round the World. And so it goes. 

We'll be here another day, soaking up sun and music and magic. 

Friday, September 09, 2016

Testing email blogging

It's going to be a busy weekend with a road trip then Rock Bend Folk Festival where our project, 600 Words, will occupy a booth to collect stories. The weather forecast is glorious so what could be better?

I'm testing my ability to post pics and text via email so I can post "from the road"! See you on the inter webs.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

update, as i promised

Update Saturday, September 3

Today is my 60th day of sobriety. 

I went to an inpatient program on July 5th and spent 30 days there learning about addiction, reflecting on my experiences before and after my addiction reared its head, sharing things about my life and sharing in the revelations of others, and developing a 30 day foundation of sobriety. It was a profound experience in many ways.

For the most part, sobriety has not been difficult for me, so far. It might get more difficult, certainly, but at this point I am grateful that I have had few urges to drink and those have been fairly easy to deal with.

Yesterday, I subbed in a special education classroom in the same school where I taught for most of my career. At the end of the day I went home feeling a little out of sorts and at loose ends. What do I do with a sober Friday afternoon? I settled on 30 minutes of hatha yoga with a DVD and then a nice dinner out with my husband. I had planned to make dinner but I thought the late afternoon being in the kitchen trigger might be just too much! After dinner we went for a walk as the sun was setting.

Exercise has been an important part of my recovery plan. I walk, swim, do yoga, and I think I might do some biking this fall.

Speaking of which, I learned that a recovery plan is often quite fluid and will not look the same at six months that it did at 60 days. Mine certainly has been fluid. It doesn't look anything like the one I developed in my last week of treatment. As I read about the ideas of massive action and overwhelming force that are required for success, I am developing my recovery plan based on what I think that means. Massive action = daily habits that support recovery.

After much reading, I have decided to use the five areas of holistic recovery to plan my recovery plan's daily habits:
1. Emotional health- Includes AA meetings, Women for Sobriety, family support, and my after-care program
2. Physical health- Includes exercise, healthy diet, regular check-ups with oncology and primary care to monitor over-all health and especially liver functions and red blood cells
3. Mental health- Includes volunteer activities, recreation and hobbies (writing, exercise, reading, cooking, education, music, and art
4. Social health- Includes contact with sober friends I have met through inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, AA, and WFS as well as any family and friends who support me in my sobriety (Third Thursday Potluck, Friday afternoon friends, coffee group after yoga)
5. Spiritual health- Includes meditation and prayer, yoga 2-3 times/week, daily walks, journal and blog, happiness practices

Some categories are very broad and some activities overlap two categories. The thing I like about this is that I can use it for flexible planning of daily activities to support recovery and I can also use it as a way to assess throughout the day if I am doing things in each category. As the day winds down, do I need work on my spiritual health or my social health? Do I go for a walk or do I call a supportive friend?

In September, I can go down to two times a week at my outpatient group. The counselor told me I could pick the days, Monday, Tuesday, or Thursday but I think what I will do is make a monthly calendar so I can be flexible. If one week, I have Digital Photography Club on a Thursday, I can attend group on Monday and Tuesday. I don't want to skip a night of group with nothing to replace it.

This week, I wrote a relapse plan. I watched the documentary Memo to Self and learned that it's good, when I am strong, to plan for when I am weak. My relapse plan has a 1-10 scale of risk of relapse with ten being active drinking. At a couple places along the continuum, there are people to call and things to do. The relapse plan is not negotiable. If I am drinking, this is what we will do immediately. It's a little bit like an insurance policy.

I made it through some difficult things this week- the death of a friend, the serious illness of a child I know, working two days with the subsequent feelings from that, news of several relapses, and some health disturbances without drinking.

I am enjoying my sober life and I am grateful for each day.

P.S. And of course, I have binders for this information. And file folders, dividers, plastic sheet liners, charts, and checklists. It's what I do.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

morning miracles

I've been going for walks regularly with Gus and Regis. Regis likes to be out the door so I have to set my alarm for 5am. Not a bad schedule since I have always enjoyed the early mornings and it helps regulate my sleep to have a schedule like that. Not to say that some mornings, I am not cranky at 5am. Just a little.

I love the first picture. The cloud bank that looks like mountains, the hazy sunrise, the geese. Beautiful.

The sunrises this past month have been spectacular. Looking out over the valley as the sun peeks over the horizon is a wonderful way to greet the day. It's hard to be cranky looking at this.

Last night we went out for a Mexican dinner with Tom and Betty. Good food and good company. We told a lot of stories and had a lot of laughs. We ended the evening by sitting on the deck at Westwood which was enjoyable until the mosquito battalions moved in. 

I subbed yesterday in the school where I used to teach. It's always a nice experience being in Joanne's middle school age classroom...until the middle school sense of humor kicks in re: farts. It happens every time. I always tell them I was raised with four brothers and I have heard enough fart humor to last me the rest of my life. And then I laugh.

I have walked with Regis sporadically over the past four years since we got Gus. Gus is a dog who appreciates his exercise which means that one or both of us much learn to appreciate it, too. Regis is dedicated to walking Gus...most days they are out two times for at least a mile each time. Sometimes I am lazy. I am not so fond of the same path every day so I am waiting for the bugs to subside and the paths in the woods to dry up so we can head out into the woods.

Our friend, Tom, died on Sunday at his home at 63. We were stunned and saddened to hear the news of Tom's passing. He and Mary owned Lone Star Barbecue in St. Peter, one of our favorite haunts. From the first time we went there, Tom and Mary remembered us, always came to chat, and made us feel welcomed. This afternoon, we'll attend the visitation and memorial service. Such a sad, sad thing.
Life is short. As Warren Zevon said: Appreciate every sandwich.

Make it a wonderful day, my friends.