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.

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