A Recovery Blog

This blog is about my continuing recovery from severe mental illness. I celebrate this recovery by continuing to write, by sharing my music and artwork and by exploring Buddhist ideas and concepts. I claim that the yin/yang symbol is representative of all of us because I have found that even in the midst of acute psychosis there is still sense, method and even a kind of balance. We are more resilient than we think. We can cross beyond the edge of the sane world and return to tell the tale. A deeper kind of balance takes hold when we get honest, when we reach out for help, when we tell our stories.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Five And A Half Days Quit

Beautiful day out right now.  Late afternoon sun on bare trees, snow on the ground with patches of grass showing through in spots, shadows and light, peaceful, safe, blue sky with a few clouds, the sound of a car passing by on a country road.  Got up to 40 degrees out today.  I went out briefly twice to feed the birds and squirrels and to get the mail, but otherwise indoors.  Was feeling depressed last night and today, sleeping a lot, but I wasn't craving cigarettes.  That's a blessing.  

I need to change my negative way of thinking these last couple of days.  One of my voices reminds me with one word - "Gratitude."  And the voice is right.  Feeling down, hurt, sad, confused then be grateful.  I am grateful that I can breath and walk, grateful that I haven't had a cigarette since Friday night.  I make the list in my prayers nearly every morning and I think how hard it could really be for me with no shelter, no food, with physical and mental ailments.  But I do have shelter and food and heat and clothes and a functioning car and my health is fairly good considering I've been punishing my body with cigarettes for years.  Many blessings.

Compared to most people, I live with a strange orientation within my mind.  I continue to believe that I'm connected to another person's mind, a person who wants no contact with me.  If it were true, it would be a groundbreaking discovery:  telepathy proven in at least two humans via some supernatural force or beings.  But how painful for me that another human being would withhold from me the confirmation of such a truth and let me live day after day in isolation.  And yet, this person has transformed in the last couple of years from a defensive, puerile, sadistic manipulator and liar into a more detached and more balanced, kinder being.  A strange friend.  I would like to meet this person, but without his permission I will not.  

And so I feel depression because of this situation within my mind.  But with a shift of perspective I could find a happier outlook.  Part of me wants the voices to leave and let me be with myself.  It would be easier to start fresh.  But since the voices still remain, I have to push on and keep working at taking care of myself by encouraging myself.  That I am not smoking cigarettes is a big thing.  It shows that I'm willing to come out of the denial of thinking it is okay for me to smoke.  It is not okay and never has been.  I say that I love and respect myself, but I need to show myself that I do by committing each day to not smoke.  

If you are an addict and can acknowledge it to yourself and another person, you know what it feels like to be vulnerable and in need of help.  Getting so sick in addiction and wanting not to die from it, wanting to heal, is that first step towards self care, self love.  Fear is wrapped up in it, but more there is a desire to change towards rebirth in health and not sickness.  And people do get reborn like some kind of phoenix when they practice daily recovery attitudes and behaviors.  Those attitudes and behaviors are nothing really strange to someone who is healthy:  get enough sleep, eat right, get some exercise, take your medications, brush your teeth, bathe, wash your clothes, be honest, be courteous, apologize when you've been hurtful, help others --- but to someone who has a pattern of low self esteem these "normal" healthy things are not so normal to them, but come and go depending on the stress levels of the day.

The psychological aspects of addiction are mental illness.  Addicts are mentally ill, especially when they use and often when they are abstinent, unless they are in a strong recovery program connected to others in recovery.  The 12 Step program is a strong one for those of us who suffer from the mental illness of addiction.  The basic rule of the 12 Steps is love and respect the Higher Power, love and respect yourself and love everyone around you to the best of your ability.  Perhaps loving the Higher Power and others is easier that loving and respecting oneself, but I have found that it is essential to love and respect yourself no matter what you have or haven't done.  One way to show yourself that you love yourself is to stop the addictive behavior.  One day at a time or one moment at a time, don't forsake yourself.  

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