This week has been exhausting. Group on Monday was different. Our usual counselor wasn’t there and the energy of the person who filled in was nothing like what I am used to in that intimate setting. There was something that was pointed out and it made me think a lot. I had been having a really hard time with the fact I am still having crazy strong cravings. No matter what I do, or how many tools I seem to be picking up and using, they are just still so strong. It’s been so frustrating to me that I hear everyone saying it’s getting easier and here I am still tasting vodka, or coconut rum, or Crown….the list goes on. The counselor pointed out that I am looking at my world with ‘should’ visions. It should be a lot easier by now. I should be having less cravings by now. I should be stronger. He said I needed to try and stop this, so that I can look at my life as still molding, not yet set in stone by wasteful ‘should’ ideas. I liked how he said that our lives are like clay, and it’s forever being molded. So, even though I was having a tough time, and the dynamic of that group wasn’t as comfortable and open, I am thankful for the ‘a-hah’ moment I got out of it.

I also feel like maybe this ant-depressant has begun taking more of an effect or maybe I am just more emotional lately, but I am constantly on the verge of tears, more than what is normal for me. It is hard to talk about anything at all unpleasant without having to choke back the flood that is waiting. I wonder if that’s just going to be my new norm. I have always cried at the drop of a hat, but this feels different. I realize there is a lot going on right now, I am so busy at work and these weeks in recovery have made for very little room to get anything done at home, I have a million things I’d like to get done and no time. I know that can’t be helping with my emotions, but there is something more it feels like. The want to float down into a body of water and take a deep, silencing breath is real. Just close my eyes, and be swallowed by the abyss. It seems peaceful.

Last night, family night, I took my oldest with us. Figured it would be a good thing for him to get a glimpse of what I am doing and maybe he would walk away with some tools. The topic was perfect for the company. We discussed significant events, what is involved with them, emotions, and coping methods. A couple of things that really resonated with me. If my coping method has been to drink, whether dealing with joy or pain, I can’t just take it out and assume that will work. If one decides to remove a coping method, they need to replace it with something.  The counselor had us write down two actions we could think of doing to cope and we all shared them, the idea being that as we listened to others ideas, we could write them on our list and try them as well. I added quite a few to my list. I had written that I want to try working and creating art with resin, trying a new art medium, and that I wanted to work on my meditation and mindfulness. I added to my list things like exercising, hiking, and taking my coffee outside in the mornings or evenings to enjoy it. These all seem to me, to be great ways to deal with life. The other thing that struck me had to do with emotions. We had made a list of emotions that we would be feeling before we chose a coping mechanism. The counselor pointed out how so many times when we feel an emotion we don’t particularly like, or that doesn’t seem like the right way to respond to a situation, we tend to want to just take that emotion away or learn how to ‘not be angry’ or ‘not be sad.’ She explained how dangerous that thought is, to want to ‘learn how not to be a certain emotion.’ She referenced a Simpsons episode as an analogy for dealing with emotions where Homer was driving along and the check engine light came on. Instead of acknowledging the light and getting the engine looked at, he simply took a piece of electrical tape, covered up the warning light, and kept on driving. This struck a chord with me as I have spent most of my life covering up the warning lights. I have felt very guilty, for a very long time, about so many different emotions and I used alcohol as my electrical tape. Out of site, out of mind. Covering things up for so long that finally, I ruined my engine and things stopped running. This program, all the doctors I’m seeing, and my therapy, are the mechanics that I have finally taken my car into.

Also last night, as we were doing introductions, the question being who was your hero, my oldest surprised the hell out of me and told everyone I was his hero. He said it was because I had been through a lot and I always keep my head up and keep going. I was so shocked and touched. It is so hard for me to think of anyone putting me in a hero category, particularly the kids I feel I have been neglecting for so many years. I was so grateful and touched by his response. And yes, I cried.

Tonight was horse therapy again and I just can’t express how much I love these nights. Horses are such mirrors in the way that they react to what energy you are putting out, it’s amazing what they can teach us about ourselves. If you are uptight, stressed, sad, the horse is going to be jittery and on edge. They can feel your elevated heart rate and state of mind. A horses reaction to you as you spend time with them, can tell you a lot about how you are doing. They are such beautiful, intuitive, gentle creatures. We brushed them and cleaned their hooves and took some time building trust. Then the counselor gave us the task of creating a sort of ‘room’ we were to lure the horses into. The room was recovery and the horses were us in the analogy. We created a big circle with a lot of entrances and exits and worked to move the three of them into it. We encouraged them and surrounded them, slowly walking them to the circle, some of them simply followed us in, some took more coaxing, and one, slowly went backwards into it. We all laughed so hard at the horse going in backwards. Most of us feel like that’s how we went into detox or recovery, totally backwards, very slowly, and incredibly trepidatious about it. We created a safe circle, full of ways to escape on purpose. I for one, need to know there is an escape route any time I am in a place that I am not sure of. This exercise was just what I needed tonight. I am going to need to find a way to be around horses more.

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