Tag Archives: Intervention

Whose mental health are we talking about?

4 Aug

1:58 pm

Lately, I’ve been sort of offline; I just haven’t had the time or ability to wrestle with my thoughts too much these past few days…

A quick life update is that, no, I didn’t get the job I applied for–after a long series of interviews (gah!)–but, that’s OK since there are other jobs out there. I’ve been on the hunt in one way or another since mid-June, and um, I am at the point where I feel like it’s OK (slash, necessary for my mental health) to sit back and let it be for a while. Let it percolate. Enjoy the fact that I was fortunate enough to collect a bit of unemployment, remember that this is just a phase and the economy will rebound, and put some faith in my network. I have worked with a lot of great people over the years, many of whom are still looking out for me, I have no doubt.

Anyway, I’ve got some time to re-focus on this blog and my “e-book project,” which is simply, to compile my posts and self-publish a version of this blog. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while, and it’s a way for me to sort of close one chapter, as it were. A lot of what I post these days–and will continue to post–isn’t really related to getting sober, and I want to re-read some of my past posts in order to get more of a grip on who I was then and who I am now. It’s a process–and there are probably a LOT more “important” things I could be doing right now and/or thinking about–so I will keep you posted!

What else has been going on? Well, as I think you all remember, I have posted about my parents’ mental health a few times. And, I remain committed to not writing that much about it and them on this blog since it’s not my mental health I’m talking about. However, not writing about it does not mean I don’t think about it a lot–especially as I watch my father devolve, as it were, into what seems to be a worsening mental health “situation.” I mean, if I knew nothing about his past and his personality, and was confronted with only his behavior today–I’d probably avoid him, and then I’d forget about it.

I know from my own experience with alcoholism that MOST people don’t want to know (or admit that they know) about your mental health disorder, or they oversimplify it because they can’t (and don’t want to) delve deep. I like to wonder, I like to ask questions, I like to look for patterns; MANY folks do not.

That being said, I just don’t know what to do about or for my dad–and, if I should do anything? He’s a grown man–in his 70s–yet…from what I can tell, he’s just getting worse. I have to assume that untreated mental health disorders only get worse as you get older. I fear that it’ll all come crashing down, sooner rather than later. Yet, you can’t convince him that there is anything about his behavior he should change–and, a lot does need to change. Lately, I’ve come to the conclusion that there isn’t anything I can do at this point; he won’t hear reason, he won’t hear truth, and even if he acknowledges that things need to change, he won’t choose to change. Yet…there is this feeling of, If something happens to him, well, it’s my fault, I should have done more.

It’s probably the feeling one has trying to get an addict into recovery before they’re ready to get sober–and then, who dies from an overdose or suicide. It’s my fault for not forcing them into recovery. I should have done more.

All I can do is let it go, let him go, let his mental health be HIS mental health. What more can one do? I probably think more about his mental health–and how he’s hurt me and others–than he ever will, which is sad, but probably true.

On that note, it’s time to get outside and enjoy some of this sun!

How to not drink…

10 Aug

8:04 pm

It’s a question I’ve been asking myself since I quit…nearly 60 days ago. Yup, true story! Woot woot. GO, ME.

How do I not drink? Well, I’ve come up with a variety of ways to — as I still see it, rather bitterly — trick myself into thinking and actually believing that drinking four Diet Cokes a day is better than drinking red, glorious red wine. Here’s my running list:

1. Stay busy. Real busy. I’ve realized that the more I do, the less I want to drink, have time to drink, and think about my “need” to drink. I try not to let myself get bored or allow myself too much time to spiral from “thinking” to “thinkin’ and drinkin’.” There’ll be plenty of time to think and ponder, and sometimes, you just have to Turn It Off.

2. Turn it off. Your computer, your work, your TV, your friends, your emails and Facebooks and Twitters and all the fucking rest. Turn it off. You can allow yourself to do that. You NEED to. What do they say in AA? Don’t get too tired, too hungry, etc.? Well, don’t get too thoughtful, basically. Unless, of course, it’s good thoughtful, and not bad thoughtful…

2. Surround yourself with nondrinkers. YAWNS…But, it’s true. Luckily, I have a very supportive boyfriend (Hi!) who happens to not drink, but who also realizes the benefits to me of his choosing not to drink around me. I’ve sort of “abandoned” friends who just want to get drunk…not like I’ve got a huge circle anywhere at this point and anyway, most of my besties are mid-to-late-30s, and we’re all sort of over the shenanigans and blackouts and hangovers.

3. Eat chocolate. And ice cream. Doesn’t matter if you put it on your list or not, you’re gonna end up doing it! Cravings for sugar, HELLO?

4. Remember the aforementioned shenanigans, blackouts, and hangovers. Remember them very clearly and, however painful, try to keep them accessible if not at the forefront of your mind. (One of these posts, I’ll include a list of “shit I’ve done” in order to have it written out, for you and for me, to refer back to whenever the urge to drink hits.) Like, I know this is cheesy, but as Candy Finnigan said on an episode of Intervention when one of the weepy victims asked her how she quit drinkin’, she said simply, “Well, I had had enough.” I’ve had enough. And I sure as hell don’t want to black out and do or say something that, once again, I can’t take back. So over it. So, SO over it.

5. Remember that:
a. Drinkin’ doesn’t make a problem go away, it’s just a vacation from it. BUT:
b. Drinkin’ is NOT a vacation. Bummer.
c. Drinkin’ is NOT a reward, it is a punishment — mentally, emotionally, spiritually, not to mention, physically. You’re awesome and you deserve BETTER.
d. You will black out, and you will be hung over. (And if you’re not, then it’ll be the first time in like, EVER. Accept that the experiment has failed and your experience has succeeded…in allowing you to see this pattern rationally, from an objective standpoint. You’d get an “F” in Statistics if you actually drink after tallying all this data up!)

6. Find something to distract you from the craving, and then convince yourself that it’ll be better, way more of a sustained (longer and more nourishing) buzz than drinking. Read. Watch a movie. Walk. Run. Write. Paint. Look at the sun or the clouds or the moon or the myriad of life and animals and plants around you — just look, they’re pretty distracting. Do yoga. Meditate. Whatever takes you out of your head, even for a minute, is another step toward re-building your mind, toward *practicing sobriety.*

At the same time, I can hear the call of red wine, even as I type this. So, once again, I have to check in with myself. Seems like I spend SO much time going back and forth in my mind, mainly cuz I guess I still haven’t accepted that I cannot drink. Le sigh.

I love me some Intervention!

9 Jul

2:18 am

And, cuz my best friend, insomnia, just showed up, here’s a short and sweet post to lull at least YOU to sleep.

When the chips are down, I like to turn to my go-to shows and web sites that make me feel less like a loser:

A&E’s Intervention — The granddaddy of addiction documentary shows! Granted, it’s pretty old school and the shows have become really formulaic, but I can get sucked in, watching six or seven episodes in a row. (Talk about an addict!) Candy Finnigan ROCKS.

TLC’s My Strange Addiction — Bizarre and quirky addictions that are so…bizarre and quirky that you totally forget to crave what you’re addicted to. At least while the show is on…

The Fix magazine — Wish I had thought of this and had the resources to publish it!  One day… Lots of great articles and first-person accounts of everything addiction-related.

PubMed — Yes, I’m a science geek.  Seriously, I look to PubMed not only for genetics-based research (when I’m actually working, which hasn’t happened for a while), but also when I get a story idea.  Generally speaking, there are so many studies YET TO DO re: addiction research (especially co-morbid addiction, like alcoholism and an eating disorder at the same time), it astounds me!  Time to get that MPH and start cookin’!

Two of my favorite consumer science magazines that highlight addiction are:
Pyschology Today — They have a “Get Help” section, which is how I found my counselor!
Scientific American Mind — Just good stuff, and answers some questions tangential, perhaps, to addiction, but always related. Shit, it’s the brain, it’s the source of our addiction problem!

And here are a few shows that I’m looking forward to checking out:

HBO’s The Addiction Project — Never seen, but looks worth a shot…

A&E’s Hoarders — Not sure I’m into caring about this addiction, but people rave about this show…

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