Continued adventures of the recovering squirrel . . .

I wanted to check in with everyone and let you know how I’m doing these days.

Let me start off my saying that the therapist I’ve been seeing is absolutely wonderful.  She makes me feel like I can talk about anything that is bothering me, and I won’t be judged.  I feel like I’m in a safe place to talk about everything I’ve been through in my life, and that’s been a LOT.  I’ve already been illuminated to a lot of ways I act and feel that I wasn’t fully aware of, or even if I was aware of it I wasn’t sure how to really deal with it.

I’m working on self-acceptance . . . the idea that I am OK just the way I am, and I don’t have to change a thing.  This was quite the concept to thing about, since I’ve been so intent on CHANGING myself to not be an addict, to be a successful person, etc.  I always thought there was something I was missing, or something I needed to mold myself into.  I’ve also been working on being present in the moment, not dwelling on the past or wishing for the future, but that RIGHT NOW was a good time and place to be in with plenty of opportunities for success.

It’s amazing to have someone care about me in a way that is totally unconnected to any relationship – just someone who I can talk to and who will listen and has helpful suggestions.  I also get to talk about how I feel – and have been working on accepting that the emotions I feel are ok, normal, and healthy.  Instead of trying to squish them back down inside me for anyone else’s benefit, I can let them out and be alright with it.  I’ve already been able to talk about my feelings more with other people who would have before maybe just dismissed me as overly emotional.  Yes I am emotional.  Yes I am a male (squirrel)…  That’s another thing we’ve been talking about – cultural perceptions, whether verbal or non-verbal, about traditional male roles.

I don’t know why, but something (or someone) somewhere along the way caused me to want to squash my emotions down and suppress them for other people.  Maybe it’s because that’s what I watched other people do, at least until they erupted into a overflow of an outburst.

I’m a little bummed out my therapist was sick today, so I couldn’t go in.  All in all I feel ok, but was looking forward to continuing to explore and learn about ME.

Another thing we’ve been exploring is my propensity to put others needs, wants, desires, etc in front of my own, often in an effort to show them how much I love or care about them I will subjugate myself.  Why?  Not sure.  I feel like it’s always been that way, but we’re working on it.

Believe it or not we’re also working on my addiction too.  I love how she helps me to confront the reality of addiction without trying to make me feel bad about it.  She believes that addiction is a disease, but that no disease is bigger than any person.

In regards to not being on here and posting as often as I used to… there are two reasons.  First, my new job affords me LOTS of time to compose blog posts, but unfortunately also restricts access to the WordPress site.  So it’s difficult to get on here and read, write, and respond like I used to enjoy so much.  Second, I feel like this blog has helped me grow as a person.  I’m no longer the squirrel of over a year ago when I started this project… I was able to write, examine myself, and grow a small support system that has been there for me more than a few times (I’m talking about you Evil Squirrel, GentleStitches, and wonderful others!)  I’m pleasantly surprised at how this blog continues to live on despite my slowing down on new posts, and I hope that others who read will be inspired by watching my successes and motivated by my failures.  I’ve learned so much, and plan on continuing to learn as much as I can about myself.

25 days and counting!

This Pensive Squirrel is still at it – yes, still nut free after 25 days, and feeling pretty good about it too!

As far as one on one counseling, it was different than what I expected.  I’m not sure what I expected, exactly, but it sure was different.  It took me about a full week and wrap my head around what I was being told.  I have been so wrapped up in trying to figure out WHY I am the way I am, and it seems I should have been concentrating more energy on the present and future instead of the past.

I’m not sure if I 100% agree with that technique.  There is certainly something to be gained from looking at the past, but I suppose the point is that it’s nothing that is going to help me IMMEDIATELY.  Sure I might gain some perspective, but it’s not going to help in the short term.  I’ve already got plans to start talking to yet someone else about my deep-seated issues not related to addiction, but more to my life in general.  I’m scheduled to go back in a week and see this guy, so we’ll see how it turns out.

In the meantime, everything seems to be going well in other areas of my life.  I started my new shift yesterday evening, so I’m now working in the afternoon and evening hours as Technical Support.  I’m the voice at the end of the line after 4:30pm when you call for technical support for my organization.  Thing about it, most people go HOME after 4:30pm, so as you can imagine there haven’t been that many calls.  Perfect time for me to relax, meditate, dedicate some time to myself and my other projects of interest, and whenever the phone rings, I’m on!  I really enjoy helping people, and that’s what my job is now.  So that part of my life has been going fantastic!

I’m looking back and almost can’t believe it’s really been 25 nut free days so far – it feels like the time has flown by.  I’m certainly not missing all the cravings and ill feelings I had, or the dependency on those nuts to help keep my mood regulated.  Funny thing about that though, I thought they were making me happy and calm and relaxed, but I would seem to fly off the handle at any little thing, and in general I had a much shorter temper and was more easily aggravated with the nuts.  So, good riddance to bad nuts!

Hip squirrel

Don’t be like the squirrel on the right . . .

Still working on the concept of making a life where it’s easier NOT to use – so far so good.  There have been some trying times where I felt like it would be easy to slip back into the comfortable numbness that the nuts provide – but that wouldn’t be a SOLUTION.  Sometimes things in life that we have to face are uncomfortable, unpleasant, or upsetting.  But they are never permanent; life is fluid and ever changing.  I feel I gained a lot by being able to work through my problems by facing them head on, and was able to resist the urge to just cover up the issues (and make more problems) with nuts.

Thanks for reading everyone!  My new job keeps me pretty busy but I’ll try to keep everyone as updated as I can! =)

P. Squirrel out!!

Creating a new life…

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Here are some amazing words of wisdom.  I don’t know why, but I never really looked at it this way before.  Gives me a whole new perspective.

You don’t recover from an addiction by stopping using. You recover by creating a new life where it is easier to not use.

Just For Today – Freedom to choose

“Enforced morality lacks the power that comes to us when we choose to live a spiritual life.” – Basic Text, p.45

In our active addiction, many of us lived our lives by default. We were unwilling or unable to make choices about how we wanted to act, what we preferred to do, or even where we would live. We allowed the drugs or other people to make our most basic decisions for us. Freedom from active addiction means, among other things, the freedom to make those choices for ourselves.

Freedom of choice is a wonderful gift, but it’s also a great responsibility. Choice allows us to find out who we are and what we believe in. However, in exercising it, we’re called on to weigh our own choices and accept the consequences. This leads some of us to seek out someone who will make our choices for us-our sponsor, our home group, our NA friends-just as our disease made our choices for us when we were using. That’s not recovery.

Seeking others’ experience is one thing; abdicating personal responsibility is something else. If we don’t use the gift of freedom we’ve been given, if we refuse to accept the responsibilities that go along with it, we’ll lose that gift and our lives will be diminished. We are responsible for our own recovery and our own choices. Difficult as it may seem; we must make those choices for ourselves and become willing to accept the consequences.

Just for Today: I am grateful for the freedom to live as I choose. Today, I will accept responsibility for my recovery, make my own choices, and accept the consequences.

Copyright (c) 2013, NA World Services, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Just For Today – The simplest prayer

“…praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.” – Step Eleven

How do we pray? With little experience, many of us don’t even know how to begin. The process, however, is neither difficult nor complicated.

We came to Narcotics Anonymous because of our drug addiction. But underlying that, many of us felt a deep sense of bewilderment with life itself. We seemed to be lost, wandering a trackless waste with no one to guide us. Prayer is a way to gain direction in life and the power to follow that direction.

Because prayer plays such a central part in NA recovery, many of us set aside a particular time each day to pray, establishing a pattern. In this quiet time, we “talk” to our Higher Power, either silently or aloud. We share our thoughts, our feelings, our day. We ask, “What would you have me do?” At the same time we ask, “Please give me the power to carry out your will.”

Learning to pray is simple. We ask for “knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.” By doing that, we find the direction we lacked and the strength we need to fulfill our God’s will.

Just for Today: I will set aside some quiet time to “talk” with my Higher Power. I will ask for that Power’s direction and the ability to act on it.

Copyright (c) 2013, NA World Services, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Just For Today – Choices

“We did not choose to become addicts.” – Basic Text, p. 3

When we were growing up, all of us had dreams. Every child has heard a relative or neighbor ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Even if some of us didn’t have elaborate dreams of success, most of us dreamed of work, families, and a future of dignity and respect. But no one asked, “Do you want to be a drug addict when you grow up?”

We didn’t choose to become addicts, and we cannot choose to stop being addicts. We have the disease of addiction. We are not responsible for having it, but we are responsible for our recovery. Having learned that we are sick people and that there is a way of recovery, we can move away from blaming circumstances-or ourselves-and into living the solution. We didn’t choose addiction, but we can choose recovery.

Just for Today: I choose recovery.

Copyright (c) 2013, NA World Services, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Just for Today – Eyeglasses and attitudes

“Our best thinking got us into trouble…Recovery is an active change in our ideas and attitudes.” – Basic Text, p.55

In active addiction, the world probably looked like a horrible place. Using helped us tolerate the world we saw. Today, however, we understand that the world’s condition wasn’t really the problem. It was our ideas and attitudes about the world that made it impossible for us to find a comfortable place in it.

Our attitudes and our ideas are the eyeglasses through which we see our lives. If our “glasses” are smudged or dirty, our lives look dim. If our attitudes aren’t well focused, the whole world appears distorted. To see the world clearly, we need to keep our attitudes and ideas clean, free of things like resentment, denial, self-pity, and closed-mindedness. To insure our vision of life is in focus, we have to bring our ideas in line with reality.

In addiction, our best thinking kept us from clearly seeing either the world or our part in it. Recovery serves to correct the prescriptions in our attitudinal eyewear. By stripping away our denial and replacing it with faith, self-honesty, humility, and responsibility, the steps help us see our lives in a whole new way. Then the steps help us keep our spiritual lenses clean, encouraging us to regularly examine our idea’ our attitudes, and our actions.

Today, seen through the clean lenses of faith and recovery the world looks like a warm, inviting place to live.

Just for Today: I will view the world and my life through the clean spiritual lenses of my program.

Copyright (c) 2013, NA World Services, Inc. All Rights Reserved