Just Words

Well, I completed the first week of Blogging U’s Photography 101 course.  I’m not having nearly as much fun as I did with poetry, but the prompts are still providing a welcome distraction.  Anyway, I figured I was long overdue for a recovery post.  That is, after all, what this blog was created to be about.  So, for anyone following along because of their interest in that topic, here you go.

I am about two weeks into my seventh month of sobriety and I hardly think about a drink at all any more.  The price I would have to pay for any momentary experience of relief is far too great for me to even entertain the idea.  That does not mean, however, that I don’t crave something—anything—that might soothe my frazzled psyche.   All it means is that alcohol is not a viable option.

At this juncture, I’d have to say coping with life on life’s terms has been the greatest challenge in my recovery so far.  Aside from admittedly laudable success with my day count, I haven’t had much to celebrate.  I would even go so far as to say these last six and a half months have been the most difficult of my life.

As those who have been following along know, going into rehab cost me my job.  I still have painful moments when I wonder if there might not have been some other way, but there’s no going back.  The past is one of the many things I cannot change.  I continue to try to stay focused on “now” and putting one foot in front of the other.  It’s just hard to imagine I’m making any real progress.

Things aren’t getting better.  In fact, I dare say (aside from not drinking, of course) they keep getting worse.  Just this past week alone, I received notice that my disability benefits had been terminated as of February 28, 2015 (I will appeal); I found out I have neuropathy in both feet and learned that neuropathy is always progressive; I underwent ultrasound and nuclear testing that determined my kidney function (I only have one) has deteriorated significantly; AND I received a bill from my rheumatologist for $17,772.

No, that last point is not a typo.  My doctor started me on Benlysta infusions for my Lupus/Rheumatoid Arthritis, which the insurance company promptly deemed medically unnecessary.  While the doctor’s office proceeded with the appeal process, I continued to receive treatments.  I suppose I should have asked more questions along the way, but I cannot, for the life of me, understand why a doctor would allow a patient to rack up over $17,000 in debt when the insurance company has made it clear it is not going to pay.  Geez.  Anyway, short of taking out a loan, there’s no way I can come up with that kind of money, especially without any current income, so I’m going to be riding out that storm probably for the rest of my life.

Otherwise, my “journey in recovery” has been wonderful (perceived sarcasm intended).

I wish I could say the hardships of these last months have brought me closer in my relationship with God, but that would be a lie.  I don’t need a refresher course on the book of Job to be reminded that good people suffer and that doesn’t mean God loves them any less.  And, although it is tempting, I do not think I am being punished for my alcoholism.  But I have joined the throngs of skeptics who wait for a sign—some tangible thread of hope that The Divine is present and at work behind the scenes.  Maybe the circumstances of my life have become like a refiner’s fire, making something out of the scrap of my life that I am not yet able to imagine.  Great.   Only, right now, all I know is that it really, really sucks.

On a somewhat flat (after all that) but still positive note, I actually feel pretty good; my sleep, although frequently interrupted by panic, is far better than when I was drinking; and it is awesome to not have to worry about driving, or answering the phone, or what I said or did the night before.  More and more, I’m recognizing there are hordes of people who do not drink (although the alcohol industry spends billions trying to persuade me otherwise).  This has been news to me.  There are also all sorts of interesting and fun free-or-almost-free sober activities even a physically compromised middle aged woman like me can enjoy.  Life circumstances aside, I have become a strong advocate for sobriety, especially for alcoholics.  Trust me.  Inebriation is highly overrated.

So there you have it.  I’ll be back with more pictures next week.

10 thoughts on “Just Words

  1. Thanks for sharing, and sharing with such honesty. I am glad I “bumped” into you during the poetry writing course. You are a spectacularly great writer. Your current difficult journey reminded me of a letter from Screwtape to his nephew Wormwood.

    “He will set them off with communications of His presence which, though faint, seem great to them, with emotional sweetness, and easy conquest over temptation. Sooner or later He withdraws, if not in fact, at least from their conscious experience, all those supports and incentives. He leaves the creature to stand up on its own legs– to carry out from the will alone duties which have lost all relish. It is during such trough periods, much more than during the peak periods, that it is growing into the sort of creature He wants it to be. Hence the prayers offered in the state of dryness are those which please Him best. He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles. Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”

    I am presently also going through one of those “trough” periods. Sometimes seems my prayers bounce back off the ceiling. But I have started down this road, which I know is true, and I pray I finish the journey, even if I arrive in pieces. 🙂 Thinking of and praying for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I read a great book recently you might enjoy. I wrote a review on it here: https://mbbendt.wordpress.com/2015/02/28/book-review-sober-mercies/ Her background is in Christian publishing and she has a fascinating and page-turning story about her journey into recovery. Including some wonderful insight into how her thinking and spirituality shifted through the process.

    (hugs) and great job on all those days sober. Everyone of them is a little tiny miracle.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m sorry things are going so poorly. All those things sound hard. Appealing the ending of your medical insurance sounds important. Lupus is not something you can ignore.

    The only bright side I can call upon is that at least you are sober and able to deal with the physical issues without the addition of booze. I know I avoided doctors when I was drinking. At some point that becomes dangerous.




  4. Thanks for your report. What I most appreciate about your journey is that you don’t sugar-coat things. Right now things going on in your life do suck. And you are the only person who can go through your particular refiner’s fire. Hugs for now. ❤


  5. Wow, that is some tough stuff.
    I know for me, I don’t stand a chance of having any great insight into the lessons of difficult situations when I’m in the thick of it – I can only look for the ways through it.
    Then, sometimes, if I’m lucky, I might get a glimmer of understanding some years after the fact…
    Bon courage!, as they say in French – big heart, big courage.


  6. Have you tried a gluten free diet? Gluten sensitivity is often cause of peripheral neuropathy, joint pain, lupus, and a host of autoimmune conditions. I don’t know a single person who has eliminated it who hasn’t years better in a few short weeks. Yes, there are stories indicating the opposite, that it’s all hype, I personally tested negative for celiac, but doesn’t change the fact that when I eat it my body aches and when I don’t, I feel 15 years younger.


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