Monday, June 10, 2013


I'm terrible at keeping this blog up-to-date.   What can I say?  It has been a busy couple of months.    But I am here now, and ready to update you all on my life these past few months.

My main focus has been on my recovery.  As you know, I started IOP in February.  Unfortunately I had a couple of relapses and had to start the IOP over.  And then at the end of April, I had a bad relapse that ended with a trip to the ER and a two day stay on the psychiatric ward. 

I honestly feel like the hospital stay was my rock bottom.  I had been using the entire time I was supposed to be clean, and when I ended up in the hospital, I knew I was done.  I couldn't continue to live like this.   The lying, sneaking around, pretending that everything was going well was all just too much.  I broke.  But thank God I was given another chance to put myself back together. 

While I was in the hospital, I spoke with my ACD counselor, C., and he informed me I was being kicked out of the IOP program because the treatment team felt I needed a more intense level of care.  So it was agreed by him and myself that I would do 90 meetings in 90 days and meet with C. every other week for counseling and drug tests.  

At first I thought this was going to be a huge hassle.  I had to rearrange my work schedule for my part time job and was afraid I was going to lose precious hours.  Once I spoke with my manager about the situation, I realized everything was going to work out.  I gave up my one weeknight, but was given longer hours on Saturdays and Sundays.  And actually, I like my schedule better this way.  It was exhausting to work both my full time and part time jobs two days a week plus work all through the weekend.  Now I am only working both jobs on Friday and can handle working through the weekend much better. 

Going to meetings everyday has been extremely helpful.  It has really helped me stay focused on my recovery and keep it my number one priority.  It is always great to feel so connected to so many people.   Going everyday has helped me to strengthen the relationships I had started to develop, and after 39 days of meetings I feel like I have made actual friends.  I truly feel like I belong for the first time in my life. 

I have also had two especially significant revelations, so to speak. 

The first occurred a few weeks after my relapse.  I was doing dishes at about quarter to eleven before I went to bed, and all of a sudden realized how nice it was not to be drunk or high all the time, and this almost physical feeling of relief came over me.  It felt amazing to have that realization and I felt like "the miracle" had happened.   It was the first time I truly felt that I could and would be able to stay in recovery from this disease.

The second revelation occurred just this past weekend.  I had seen my psychiatrist a week ago and had asked for a refill on my Klonopin prescription because I was going to a wedding and was extremely anxious about being around alcohol and out of town so far away from my sponsor and support group.  Dr. C. would not refill the script and made a comment that, to me, sounded like she did not believe I could stay clean.  I became extremely angry and stormed out of her office.  This past weekend I was reflecting on the incident, and came to the realization that she was right not to prescribe the meds to me.  I had gotten through the wedding without the use of anything and was okay.  And if I am 100% honest with myself, I have to admit that Dr. C. was right.  Then I realized just how much the substances were getting in the way of my growing as a person and being able to learn new things about myself. 

It was at that moment I felt something shift inside me, and could feel the acceptance of my disease.  The thought of never drinking or using again no longer bothers me, at least for this moment.  I can't say I will always feel that way, but I finally feel some peace inside myself.  I no longer feel like I am still fighting with myself, or that I have a resistance against doing exactly what I need to do to stay clean.  IT IS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!!!!  I cannot fully describe how I am feeling inside.  It is almost like a quiet happiness and contentment with my life.

I've slowly started to realize there are certain things I really truly like about myself, and that in itself is huge.  For so long, I've hated everything about myself and my life, and felt so completely miserable.  And now that I am working on staying clean, I've come to find I have some really good qualities, and a lot of blessings in my life that I am so grateful for.   I am funny, creative, intelligent, hardworking, responsible, organized, caring, and a good sister, daughter, and friend.  I love my piercings and tattoos, and that I am 100% uniquely me.  There is no one else like me, and that is finally a wonderful thing. 

I feel like I am on the right path in life, and am excited to see what the future holds.  I have a few goals I would like to accomplish, and can't wait to see how I grow as a person.

With that my friends, I want to wish you all a great day!  Lots of love! xoxo

Thursday, March 28, 2013

31 Things To Do While I'm 31

Hey there Readers!  I know. I know.  I am so bad at blogging consistently.  I've been really busy working 60 hours a week between my two jobs, going to my IOP group and NA meetings, and getting in every little bit of "me" time I can.   But I really wanted to write this post for you today.  Why?  Well, because Sunday is my 31st birthday, and I really want to challenge myself this coming year.  So I have made a list of 31 things I want to do while I am 31.  Enjoy!  And if you have any tips for me, I'd love to hear them!!

1. Get my motorcycle license.   I have wanted one since I was 13 and obviously too young to even drive.   Of course, once I have my license, I'll need to get a bike!!  =) =)

2. Apply to grad school for my Master's.   Cleveland State has a Master's in Social Work program I would like to apply to and eventually obtain my LISW and do counseling.

3. Lose 70lbs and make exercise a part of my life.   This needs no explanation.

4. Find a volunteer position that either helps animals or people.   I know giving my time to help others would be not only good for others, but for myself and my recovery as well.

5. Run a half-marathon.  I am already registered to run the Cleveland Rock N Roll Half Marathon on Oct. 5, 2013 and I really need to get training.

6. Develop my blog.  I mean, duh right?  I am inconsistent with my posts and sometimes all over the place, but I am really determined to post on a regular basis and make this spectacular.

7. Learn to knit.  I bought myself a beginner's I taught myself knitting kit and am determined to make a baby blanket for my oldest stepsister, who is due in August.

8. Take a vacation by myself somewhere new.   How relaxing and peaceful would that be? 

9. Start writing my first book.  I have some ideas and I need to just start the research and writing.

10.  Take a cooking class.   After my ex and I split, I discovered just how much I love to cook and would like to develop my skills further.

11. Take a photography class.  If I am going to really develop my blog, I want to be able to post good pictures.  Plus I have always wanted to learn how to develop film.

12. Develop my relationship with God.   I have gotten so far away from Him in the past several years and I miss that relationship.

13. Find a church I feel like I really belong to and get involved.  Spirituality feeds my soul.

14. Get a passport.  Can you believe the only time I have been out of the country was when I went to Jamaica 7 years ago?  And I didn't need a passport at the time.

15. Read the Bible in its entirety.  I love the lessons I can learn by doing this.

16. Go skydiving.  I mean, really, how awesome would that be?

17. Learn how to snowboard.  I can ski, and have always wanted to snowboard.

18. Get a new tattoo.  Or several.  LOL.  No explanation needed right??

19. Start doing yoga.  It's supposed to be relaxing and I sure could use that!

20. Go fishing.  All my life, except the 5 years I spent at college in Kentucky, I have lived on Lake Erie and never once have gone fishing.  Crazy, right?

21. Fly a kite.  I still can't believe I have never done this.

22. Set a budget and stick to it.  I have a hard time sometimes managing my finances and I really want to get better at it.

23. Find a new place to live.   I could write a whole seperate post on the reasons behind this one, but for now all I will say is that it is time to move on.

24. Learn to sew and make a quilt.  I love being crafty!

25. Buy new couches.  Mine are hand-me-downs, and while they have served me well the past 7 or 8 years, they are pretty beat up.  I don't even have the cushions for the backs anymore and bought pillows from Walmart awhile ago for the backs.  Not to mention that when Hugo was a pup he did some nice damage to one of the arms on one.

26. Get another dog.  Because Hugo needs a friend.  Especially with me being so busy.

27. Refinish my dressers.  Another pair of hand-me-downs that could use a pick-me-up.  Plus how cool would it be to be able to refinish furniture?

28. Eat healthier.   This kind of goes hand in hand with losing weight.

29. Learn to play the guitar.  Another I have always wanted to do this goal.

30. Take an art class.   I love to draw and would like to develop my skills further.

31. Deepen my friendships with my new friends in NA.

So there it is.  Some big and some small, but all goals I would like to achieve in this coming year.  Wish me luck!!

See you soon readers and all my love!! <3



Monday, February 18, 2013

Taking Control

It's been quite awhile since I've blogged.   I apologize, readers.  Life has just been happening, and although I intended to keep you updated, there just never seemed like a good time to write.

Today is though.   Because today marks the beginning of what will probably be the hardest journey I am ever going to take.  

Let me back up a bit.   Without going into too many details that are too personal to share, my life has simply become unmanagable by drugs and alcohol, and I am an addict.   This is not an easy thing to admit, although it is the first step to my recovery.   My use has been going on for quite awhile, and was a contributing factor to my breakup with the ex.   He also is an addict, although sadly not able to admit this to himself or others.  
As you know, I have been seeing a therapist since the beginning of this past June.   At her and my psychiatrist suggestion, I am beginning an intensive outpatient therapy program tonight.   I went in for an assessment last week and was admitted to the program.  Normally it is 3 sessions a week, for an hour and a half, for 4 weeks.  However, because I work my second job on Thurday evenings, and cannot afford to give this shift up, the program director was willing to work with me and let me do 2 sessions a week for 6 weeks.   After these sessions, there are 2 months of aftercare in which the group will meet and I will meet individual with my counselor.   I will also be randomly tested for drugs and alcohol throughout the whole process.   I am also required to attend at least 3 NA or AA meetings a week throughout the entire program. 

I have had so many different feelings in the past week about this program.   It is completely my decision to participate, so you might think it is odd I feel angry and resentful that I have to do this.   But no matter who I might be feelings those feelings toward, it is ultimately myself I am angry with.   I am angry I have let my life get to this point.  I am angry I am unable to stop using without this kind of help.  I am resentful towards my ex for introducing me to the drugs.  I am resentful I made the choice to use.   HOWEVER.  I am also RELIEVED!  I finally feel a glimmer of hope.   For so long, I have felt pain and desperation, shame and guilt.   I felt like my life was nothing, that I was nothing.   And although those feelings are most definitely still there, there is now a feeling of hopefulness.

I came clean to my mom a few weeks ago about my use, and that really began this whole journey.   Opening up and finally telling the truth was a weight lifted from my shoulders.   I also told some friends and other family members, and everyone I have told has been incredibly supportive and loving.   Not once was I made to feel like a failure.  I was told that I was strong and capable of overcoming this disease.   I was told I was loved and that there were people there for me.   I was even told that people were proud of me for being honest, and wanting to get help.   These were not the reactions I expected, yet they were what I needed in order to be able to keep moving forward.   I started to attend NA meetings last week, and instead of sitting back and just listening, I talked with other addicts.  I exchanged phone numbers, and I USED THEM, when I needed to this past week.   I even have a sponsor already.  

NA is definitely going to be one of the most helpful tools for my recovery.   Just about everyone I talked to said something that I had been feeling and thinking and living.  To see so many people who have succeeded in getting clean and staying clean gave me hope that I could do it too.  In fact, I know I can.  Because this is my life, and I want it to be a happy, healthy life.  I don't want to live in shame and guilt, pain and desperation.  I want to wake up in the morning looking forward to the day ahead and know that I can get through the day without drugs or alcohol. 

I know this is not going to be easy in any sense.  But I also know I have a network of people whom I can lean on for support and love.   My friends, my family, other recovering addicts, my sponser, my therapist, and my psychiatrist are all going to be people I depend on to help me through this journey.  And I am thankful for them.   But above all, I am thankful and grateful to God for His support and love.   I know without that, this would not be possible.   He is giving me a second chance at life, and I plan on taking full advantage.

Well friends, that's all for now.  Until next time.....

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Thankfully, Thursday

It's been quite awhile since I've blogged, and one of my resolutions for the new year is to get into regular blogging and really see what my little slice of the web can become.   And I promise I will update with a longer post this weekend when I have some time, but for now I wanted to post what I hope is to become a weekly entry: Thankfully, Thursday.   Each Thursday I will make a post with five things of which I am thankful.  So here goes.

1.  I am thankful for my dog, Mr. Hugo.  He is by far the best friend I could ever hope to have and is a constant source of comfort during the darkest days.  I love him so much my heart feels like it could burst! 

2.  I am thankful for my ability to draw.  I have not sketched in a really long time, and a few weeks ago I decided it was time to start again.  Here is a drawing I did of Hugo.

3.  I am thankful for both of my jobs.  I may not like them much at times, but they allow me  the ability to take care of myself without relying on someone else's help.

4.  I am thankful for books.  I love to read with an insane passion and don't know what I would do if I couldn't escape into a good book.

5.  I am thankful for my best friend, Sarah.  She has been there for me through some of the toughest times, and I know I can always call her for advice or a shoulder to cry on. 

See ya this weekend!


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Dinner Menu

Tomorrow is the beginning of a new month so today I wanted to share something I like to do for each new month.....The Dinner Menu.

The dinner menu was something my mom did when I was growing up.  Each month she would create a menu for dinner for every night of the week.  Instead of having to listen to six kids ask "What's for dinner?" every night, we could just look at the posted menu and know, well beforehand. 

I started to consistently do my own dinner menu back in January of this year.  I love reading through cookbooks and magazines, and browsing the internet, looking for new recipes to try.  And creating a menu seemed like a good way to organize a tiny part of my life.  My ex never really understood the reasons behind the menu, and would often complain about some of the new dishes I wanted to try.   It has been much nicer in the last three months creating menus full of food I enjoy or would like to try and not having to listen to anyone else's opinion. 

Not only does creating a menu take all the guesswork out of what I will make, it saves me a ton of money on groceries each month.   I usually take an inventory of what I have on hand in the freezer and pantry and will plan meals around those items.  Then when it is time to grocery shop, I only need to buy a minimum amount of items.  Unless it is a stock-up month, of course, like October was.   Most times, my grocery list will consist mainly of fresh produce, bread, eggs, milk, cheese, ect.   And if there is ever a night when I don't feel like making what is scheduled, I am free to move meals around, since I usually have the ingredients on hand.  I also schedule a few nights where nothing is planned that I call "Make Whatever I Feel Like Night".  On these nights, I can cook whatever I want or order pizza, chinese, whatever I have a taste for.  I can also use these nights to make a meal I have previously planned to make that I skipped in favor of something else.

Here is November's menu.  I am always willing to share recipes if anyone is interested in any of the planned meals.

Dinner Menu November 2012
Butternut Squash & Pumpkin Soup
Rolls with Garlic Butter
Strawberry French Toast
Sausage Links
Orange Slices
Bacon Cheeseburgers
Beer Battered Fried Pickles
Truly Texan Chili
Chicken Piccata w/ Angel Hair Pasta
Garlic Breadsticks
Bowling Night
Crispy Parmesan Pork Chops
Scalloped Potatoes
Mexican Pizza
Roasted Tomato Basil Soup
Grilled Cheese
Make Whatever I Feel Like Night
Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken
Spanish Rice
Hamburger Steaks w/ Brown Gravy
Mashed Potatoes
Bowling Night
Italian Style Soup w/ Turkey Sausage
Bread and Butter
Lemon Walnut Chicken
Basmati Rice
Make Whatever I Feel Like Night
Crock Pot Ranch Pork Chops
Oven Roasted Potatoes
Columbus for the Day
Loaded Potato & Buffalo Chicken Casserole
Bowling Night
Chips with Guacamole & Salsa
Happy Thanksgiving!
Crock Pot Honey Sesame Chicken
Fried Rice
Egg Rolls
Make Whatever I Feel Like Night
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Garlic Bread
Cheesy Potato Soup with Broccoli
Crescent Rolls
Bowling Night
Sausage Gravy & Biscuits
Scrambled Eggs
Fruit Salad
Lemon Thyme Chicken
Basmati Rice
Make Whatever I Feel Like Night

On to some other things.   I am really looking forward to this weekend.   Not only do I have some really good meals planned, I have the whole weekend free.   Friday night is bowling, and Saturday I have to clean the house and a therapy appointment, but the rest of the weekend is completely unscheduled.  I would really like to get my closet and dresser drawers cleaned out.  I also found some knitting videos on Youtube I plan on checking out, and am going to spend some time watching my shows, reading, and drawing with my new pencils and sketchpad.   I hope it stops raining so Hugo and I can go for a couple of walks.   I think I am also going to make myself a fancy Sunday morning breakfast of waffles and eggs and sausage.  It is little things like these that I am beginning to find true happiness in.  They are small gestures, but they make me feel like I am really taking care of myself, and really trying to make a happy life for myself.  It has definitely not been an easy road for me, but by starting to do these little things, I am building a life I can enjoy. 

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Searching for Happiness

I feel like a complete failure this week.   I didn't work out at all and I didn't abstain from drinking.   What a bust.

I saw a quote recently that said "If you're tired of starting over, stop giving up".   I am making this my new motto.   I'm really tired of telling myself every week, this week will be different.  I'll go to the gym every morning and I won't drink at all.   These words have been on repeat in my head for months.   And frankly, I'm getting sick of hearing the same old thing.   And I'm tired of making the same old excuses.   I keep thinking that things are magically going to change.  That one day I will wake up and won't be so damn depressed with my life.   Obviously, there is no magic and if I am so unhappy and want things to change, I have to do it myself!  I mean, I know this.  

So.  Here it is.  My declaration.  I am DONE making excuses.  I am DONE with starting over.  Tomorrow morning, I am going to get up, clean my house, go to the gym and workout and go to my therapy appointment.  I am going to clean my car out.  I am going to give myself a manicure, a pedicure, and a facial.  Maybe pampering myself a bit will help me feel a little better about myself.  I am going to take Hugo for a nice long walk at the Metroparks.  And I am going to watch a movie I checked out from the library.   I am going to go to Mass at 4 PM.  And I am going to work on my vision board.

Sunday I am going to workout in the morning and take Hugo to the dog park so he can run around for a few hours.   I am going to catch up on my shows and work on my fitness notebook.  Sunday afternoon,  I have a raffle to go to, and I will not, WILL NOT, drink while I am there.  I will use every single ounce of willpower I have in order to stay away from alcohol, but I will do it.   Right now, I feel like my whole life depends on staying away from drinking. 

Come Monday morning, I will be in the gym at 5:30 AM.  And I will be there every single weekday morning at the time.  NO MORE EXCUSES. 

Now that that is off my chest and out in the open, I feel somewhat better.    The best thing I think I can do is to put these declarations on the fridge where I can see them every day.   I am just so tired of feeling bad about myself and my life, and I need to make these changes.   Going to church will hopefully help, because I definitely need God's help to succeed.

I think that's enough of the heavy stuff for today.  =)

Now, on to the exciting news.  I got a new piercing Wednesday night!   I have been wanting my industrial pierced for so long, and I finally got it done!!

I was really surprised that it didn't hurt like I thought it was going to.  In fact, it didn't really hurt at all.  I liked the place I had it done, and plan on going back there for my skull and crossbones tattoos that I am planning on getting done.  Hopefully that will happen soon!

Time for some work now!  Happy Friday!



Monday, October 15, 2012

Stocking Up

Saturday was quite the busy day this past weekend.   Despite not getting home from bowling until 12:30 am and going to sleep around 1 am, I forced myself to get out of bed at 8:15 Saturday morning and get my day going.  I did laundry and cleaned the house all before 10 am.   I went to therapy, and then spent a good three hours or so grocery shopping.   After I finished shopping, I had to rush home, unload and put away the groceries, make my taco dip, and then it was off to Mom's boyfriend's house for Lib's 18th birthday party.   After the party, I met up with Bri at the Eagles for some drinks.   It was a fun, productive day, and I am very glad I decided to skip Cedar Point on Sunday so I could lounge around the house and relax.

Grocery shopping took so long Saturday because I was doing my big stock up.

My freezer is now completely full.   I went to BJ's and bought a big pork tenderloin, a beef eye of round, and a 6 lbs package of ground beef.  When I got home, I cut the meat up and put individual portions into freezer bags.  I got about 10 freezer bags worth of each type of meat.  I also bought a 5 lbs bag of frozen chicken breasts and a bag of frozen chicken leg quarters.  I already had a bag of salmon fillets and a bag of large shrimp in the freezer.   Plus, I have several containers of vegetable and lentil soup, potato broccoli soup, lasagna, and pot roast with veggies frozen.   All homemade, of course.  =)  I am completely set for the next 4-5 months, and won't have to buy meat for quite awhile.

I also stocked up on canned goods, frozen veggies, snack foods, and cleaning and bathroom supplies.   All in all, I don't see having to buy anything besides milk, bread, and fresh produce for the next, hopefully, 5 months.  Like I said in my last entry, my goal is to only spend $100 a month on groceries throughout the winter.   The challenge begins now.

Sunday was spent mostly on the couch, lounging around and catching up on some of my shows.    I also had a nice afternoon nap, snuggled up to Mr. Hugo. 

Today it is back to work.   I woke up this morning feeling kind of icky.  I have a sore throat, a headache, I am congested, and feel just plain old tired.   I have been drinking tea and water, and plan on going to bed early tonight to hopefully fight off whatever seems to be taking over my body.

Now it is on to a few more goals.   My goal for this week is to work out at least four days.  I didn't make it to the gym this morning, but I plan on getting up tomorrow morning for a workout.  My alarm is already set up 5am. 

I also am abstaining from drinking this week, although I may make an exception Friday night.  I bought a ticket to a ladies reverse raffle and it is open bar.  As long as I drink in moderation, I will be ok.  I have an appointment at the gym with my trainer Saturday morning so I can't get too out of control.

A new goal I am going to focus on is teaching myself how to knit.  I have yarn and needles at home, and I plan on getting some books out of the library and checking out youtube for some how-to videos.  I think this would be a great hobby because it is time consuming and something I can concentrate on when I am feeling down.   For the same reason, I plan on getting back into writing poetry and drawing.  Both of these are things I used to do all the time, before Nick and I started dating.  They both have fallen to the wayside in the past several years, but it time to tap back into that creative side of myself.

That's all for today.  I hope you enjoyed reading!  <3