Monthly Archives: April 2011

Time to Clear Out the Toxins

Gratitude week is coming to a close today as I will be out of town tomorrow, Friday, for my bestfriend’s wedding!  Last but not least: Today I am grateful for my own openmindedness and the knowledge/experience of others.

Caron has been raving to me about her strong belief in eastern medicine for the past year. She sees our friend H frequently for acupuncture and has suffered no chronic health issues since she started. Now that I have endured these headaches for months and months and western medicine has failed me one doctor at a time, I decided I was ready to go to any lengths.

Turns out making an appointment to see a friend in sobriety for acupuncture treatment wasn’t hard at all!  Last night after work I headed over to H’s office and we got started. I admit I was nervous, but because I know H personally I felt way more comfortable than maybe I would have with a stranger. We went over my medical history and my diet and she could tell just by looking at me that my head felt heavy, my eyes were tired. She explained to me all sorts of fun earthy ideas which I would botch if I tried to replay them for you here, but they made sense to me last night. It is very much about the balance of energy in the world and in our bodies. She pointed out my imbalances and said that basically my body has a lot of built up toxins, and that the headaches are most likely caused by excess phlegm (yum), which in turn causes the sinusitis and other issues.

She said this can all be cleared up with a simple, yet completely radical change in my diet. I have to flush all the toxins out of my body. It made perfect sense to me. Who knows what toxins are still in me from my using days! And to do this: Eat a Raw Foods Diet. Holy crap in a pita! I started to watch all my favorite foods being dropped off a cliff like anvils in Wiley Coyote cartoons. 

Lucky, H explained that my transition to raw foods would be a gradual change in my eating habits and by the summer I would be fully raw.

Then she went ahead and did all the fun acupuncture things with needles and such and let me tell you: it felt amazing. I got to lay in the dark with these tiny painless needles sticking out of me for 20 minutes, listening to the sound of waves, meditating by focusing on the path of my breath. So calming. When I woke up, the headache I walked in with was barely noticeable.

I called Leo to tell him the news of my new diet and he just laughed and said, “Well, watching you attempt this is going to be entertaining.” I am really nervous I won’t be able to do it, but I believe in H and I want to feel better, so I am willing to do it. And to put it in perspective, I gave up drugs and alcohol which I believed I couldn’t live without, so it shouldn’t be hard to give up…all things white, bread, sugar, chicken, cheese, basically 98% of what I currently eat today. Raw veggies and nuts here I come!

To say goodbye to all foods that scream Clarissa, I had a BBQ Chicken Pizza for dinner after my session. Sorry, H, I had to go out with a bang. My task for the next week: eliminate bread and all things bread-like (basically gluten-free), replace one meal with raw veggies and one with raw fruit and do what I please for dinner.

Have you ever gone raw?

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Filed under Food, Fun, Gluten Free, Headache, healthy Living, Recovery

When Life Gives You Lemons…

TODAY I AM GRATEFUL FOR LIVE MUSIC!

I know I said I don’t have a ton of time this week to devote to SATC this week but I’m putting life on hold to tell you about the Atmosphere concert last night because it was epic.

I fell in love with Atmosphere during my using days – my junior year of high school to be specific. I had a running buddy who introduced me to drugs I’d never tried before and Atmosphere as an “underground hip hop rap group.” Underground they were as I was convinced nobody knew who they were except us. Of course that wasn’t true. There are Atmosphere fans everywhere. But, I held them close to my soul – Atmosphere was my secret band, sounds unlike any other group I listened to. You’re so beautiful from the hair to the soul.

Years went by, I got clean and Atmosphere kept making albums. A day rarely went by that I didn’t hear an Atmosphere track on my iPod. In the summer of 2009 I got tickets for two friends from high school (running buddy and dorm roommate!) to see them live at Webster Hall with me. The two girls are practically clean themselves these days, but still drink in small doses. We all had our own path to clearmindedness, but it’s nice we all came out OK on the other side. The concert was great and I knew I would see Atmosphere again.

 A few months ago I bought two tickets to the April 2011 show. Up until about 4pm yesterday I had no partner-in-crime for the concert. Leo couldn’t make it, and requested I bring a girl instead of him. I asked multiple girlfriends, but it was really hard to find someone who didn’t already have plans and had heard of my secret band. I almost resorted to going alone and maybe selling the other ticket. Then. Lightbulb. I sent a mass email to Porsche’s list for the Maiden Voyage practically begging for a date and low and behold, I got a one! The fun thing was I’d never met the awesome lady who emailed me back. New sober friend AND a concert? The night could not go wrong.

I met Kay* at Terminal 5 around 9:30 and we hopped in line. First we had to show our IDs to get wrist bands for the bar. I hate doing this because it takes up time and Excuse me, Mr Bouncer Man, I AM NOT GOING TO BE DRINKING! Then, something magical happened.

At the next station they check your purse for…who knows what. This girl was riffeling through my bag, shaking my contact lense case, opening an empty travel bottle of advil and then she stopped, looked up at me and asked “Are you a friend of Bill’s?” Shocked and confused I go, “Yeah?” She smiled “Oh, no problem, go on in.” WOW! She must have been searching for drugs to confiscate, saw my three-year AA anniversary coin in the bottom of my purse and let me in. For all the normie’s out there – Bill W was the founder of AA, so a polite way to ask someone if they are a recovering alcoholic is to ask them if they are a friend of Bill’s or if they know Bill. I told Kay the story when we got inside and it set a fun tone for the rest of the night!

Terminal 5 is standing room only, except for couches around the outskirts of the balconies. It was a sold out concert and we had a tough time getting a front row balcony spot for the first half of the concert. Instead, we sat on the floor and watched Slug do his thing through the legs of some tall guys. If you look reaaaaaaaally closely in the picture below you can see Slug doing his thing.

The second half we had a great view, enjoyed the beats and danced around. It felt so good to be sober. I am so incredibly grateful that I made a new friend last night and that we could enjoy an epic show together – no substances involved! So remember, when life gives you lemons…paint that sh*t gold.

*pseudonym to protect anonymity

What are you grateful for today?

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Filed under Fun, Music, Recovery

Dunkaroos and Community

For anyone who is just tuning in this week, it’s Gratitute Week here at SATC! As a busy blogger who wants to keep up daily posting, I’ve decided to write about one thing each day that I’m grateful for. Gratitude is a very important part of my recovery and it’s good to keep it up front!

Tuesday’s Gratitude Item:

A few weeks ago, Sable over at Squat Like a Lady wrote about Dunkaroos! Ever since reading her post I have been craving them and then this week at the grocery store while I was picking up some fruit roll-ups I spotted them!

Cinnamon c0okies with vanilla sprinkled icing!

I am grateful for junkfood from my childhood that still exists but more importantly I am grateful for my newfound blogging community. Everyday these women teach me new things, make me smile, make me laugh and remind me of things I have forgotten about. I’m a sober blogger and I do read sober blogs, but I also love to read about what I don’t know: Food ‘n Fitness. And thanks to some kickass ladies, I feel very welcome in the Food ‘n Fitness blog community! It’s always nice to feel like I am a part of.

What are you grateful for today?

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It’s Gratitude Week!

Hey everyone! I have been overwhelmed with life these days, mostly in good ways. Needless to say, my time for blogging has temporarily decreased, but I want to keep posting until things even out again. On my way home from work today I decided I would post one thing each day that I am grateful for! Then in the comments section you can tell me what you are grateful for today!

Hopefully you will enjoy my short posts as much as the reasonably long and thought-out ones.

Today I am grateful for small things.

Last night when Leo returned from being out of town he brought me two lottery tickets instead of flowers. I love when he presents evidence of actually listening to me. So many men out there don’t listen! It was just a few weeks ago that we were watching a show called The Lottery Changed My Life and I expressed a desire to start playing! Of course I haven’t bought a ticket yet, since deep down inside I know I’ll never win and that it would be a waste of a dollar. So today, I am grateful that the boy listens – even if it’s about something small.

I’ll let you know on Wednesday if I win!

What are you grateful for today?

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Easter!

 Overheard in NYC:

Little girl to babysitter: If there’s one person I would want to eat in this whole world it would be Santa Claus. I bet he tastes like mint… and candy. Or maybe the Easter bunny. He probably tastes like prizes.

–72nd St & 3rd

Hey kids! This coming Sunday is Easter – you know that holiday with colored eggs and candy in baskets and people dressed up as bunny suits? Oh shoot! You thought the Easter Bunny was real? My sincere apologies for ruining your childhood. I still remember the day I found a drawing I’d left for the Easter bunny in a drawer in our kitchen two weeks after the big day. I was six years old and pretty upset and I never told my mom about it.

You know what I find interesting about Easter? It marks the Christian celebration of the day Jesus rose from the dead. How the heck does that equate to hiding eggs all over your yard and eating chocolate bunnies and marshmallow peeps? Easter is actually the name of a pagan goddess and eggs are the pagan symbol of rebirth. The traditions started a long time ago in Europe somewhere, but they simply have nothing to do with a dead 33 year old man mysteriously disappearing out of a tomb blocked by a huge boulder. Just a few of the  many reasons why I think there is something a tad off with organized religion…

Woah – sorry to get so political on you there. I don’t want to get controversial, but after playing a scholar of western religion on TV when I was in college – my youth group days were over. I grew up in the Church but through all my personal trials, tribulations and formal studies, I can honestly say I don’t believe in it anymore. My parents are what Leo deems Super Christians. Leo apparently has never met a televangelist in person…or heard people talk in tongues. Thanks Mom and Dad for being regular Christians and still scaring the boyfriend 🙂

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Although I wouldn’t consider myself Christian today I am certainly not an atheist. I have a relationship with my Higher Power (via the 12 steps) and not with the Christan God. Whether or not the Christian God exists is really irrelevant for me. Luckily for me, AA and NA are spiritual programs, not religious ones. My number one pet peeve is when someone closes a meeting with The Lord’s Prayer. Um, that would be an inherently Christian prayer and in no way represents a non-religious spirital bond with HP.

STOP SAYING THAT PRAYER, IT IS RELIGIOUS!

Ok, just had to get that off my chest. I realize that the 12 steps are very much rooted in Christianity as the founder of AA, Bill W., was a Christian, but this ain’t the 1950’s anymore and AA is not in any way whatsoever affiliated with the Church. You don’t have to find God to get sober or to be a member of AA. You just have to be open to the possibility that there is something out there more powerful than yourself that cares about you and is helping to keep you sober.

Now, that is not to say I don’t like baking gingerbread cookies, decorating pine trees in my parents’ living room, leaving said cookies on the fireplace for a large fat man in a red suit to retrieve them, dying hard-boiled eggs pastel colors and putting stickers all over them and microwaving peeps until they explode, but please, I can’t in good conscience associate these things with any sort of religiosity. To me, these traditions are familial in nature and represent the fun I’ve had with my family since I was born and I will continue to enjoy them!

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Big plans for Easter?

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Filed under Food, Fun, Prayer, Recovery

Wednesday Winners

It’s only Wednesday? This fact saddens me to no end. However! I have this Friday off work so technically tomorrow is like Friday for me. Excellent. As this post appears in blogworld I will be at some crazy doctor’s office getting my brain looked at. That’s right, I finally found a neurologist who could see me in less than 2 months time! Also – I am making an acupuncture appointment with a friend from the program. Kickass.

So lately SATC has been hijacked with Recovery and Health issues. Where have all the cowboys fun times gone? That is a very good question, well let’s see if I can show you some of the small things that have been making my life less miserable lately…

Have I told you how much I’ve been enjoying the Girl Scout Cookies from my lovely friend at Maiden Voyage? Having friends with school-age children is really paying off in more ways than one!

This Friday I might be going to the Bronx Zoo with my sister, brother-in-law and nephew. Last time they were here we went to the Central Park Zoo but the little tyke was too small to notice the animals and/or stay awake very long!

Leo and I went to The Coffee Shop in Union Square on Saturday night and it was tasty! It’s the one restaurant in this city where I actually order off the “specials” menu. They always have delicious daily quesadillas – this weekend’s included lamb, carmelized onions and mozz cheese!

Last night I went to a get together for my all-girls sleepaway camp on the UES. Pizza and cake! And wine, but of course no wine for me. I got the cake from Magnolia Bakery down the street from my office. If you ever come to NYC, please find a Magnolia’s! It’s mainly a cupcake place and oh so tasty. I also recommend Crumbs.

Ok, there’s not too much else that’s fun going on with me lately except for A WEDDING AND A NEW BABY in the next three weeks! Don’t worry…neither of those things are for me, but I get to participate and they will both enhance my life immensely!

What’s making you smile today?

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Filed under Food, Fun

Scripts and Sobriety

Thanks for listening to my medical gripes a few weeks ago. I know they were not fun and barely related to recovery either, so I apologize for going off course.

One of my biggest obstacles with medical issues, whether it be my knee or my mysterious untreatable headaches, is that I can’t do much to soothe pain. I am an addict and that means that I should not ingest any narcotics. Ibuprofen is fine – but most things you need a prescription for are no good. Any 12 step program will tell you that as long as you are under a doctor’s care and you discuss it with your sponsor, you can make your own choice about taking prescription medication as prescribed. Let’s get serious though, I bet if you went to any doctor and told them a story they would prescribe you anything what you wanted. This is not a suggestion, friends. I’m just saying that a lot of doctors push medication on their patients when there are most likely alternatives. So be careful even if a doctor prescribes you narcotics.

It’s definitely a personal choice. I don’t knock people for doing what they need to do to take care of themselves, but I know that personally I could not handle taking narcotics as presribed if I was given the option. I’ve never followed a doctors orders with narcotics before, so what makes today any different? Even though I’ve been clean for a few years I am not cured and I have to be very careful. I could end up in pretty bad shape with one wrong decision. With my knee last year I told to tell every new doctor I saw that I was a recovering addict and not to prescribe me narcotics. If you tell the doc that up front they won’t offer it to you later and if they do, you should get a new doctor.

If I can manage the pain on my own then I will, but if I was put in a situation where I could get nerve damage from tremendous pain, I would do what the doctor suggests and take the narcotics. There’s no need to be a martyr in recovery. Yet, I would take precautions such as having someone close to me hold the pills and dispense them to me when necessary.

I am writing about this today to say that although I rarely have cravings anymore for anything other than sugar and nicotine, during my recent extended headache episodes I really wished I could have used something to numb the pain. I try everything I could think of to safely make the pain go away and I just can’t. Luckily I did not give in to any desires and I do get some headache-free days.

Sometimes I feel like the pain I am experiencing today is like life’s retaliation for my abuse of narcotics when I wasn’t in physical pain. I know that’s not the way it works, but I took the easy way out when I was an active addict and it didn’t get me very far in the long run. Today I have to take the rockier road and I know it will be more rewarding this way even if it doesn’t feel like it in the moment.

What’s your view?

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Sober Celebrities

Ahh, the beginning of a new week. Well I don’t have much to report on the weekend, except that I saw Arthur  on Friday night with two sober friends who are about to tie the knot, FUN, and the movie was HILARIOUS!

Russell Brand has grown on me over his last few movies. Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the Greeks and now Arthur. I think I pretty much love him now since I know he’s one of us. Don’t worry I’m not breaking his anonymity or anything – he’s very public about it. It all makes sense now too since in FSM he was clean, in Greeks he clearly plays a party animal and in Arthur he’s a drunk who lives like a child and has to figure out how to grow up. I now follow him on The Twitter – @rustyrockets!

I think it’s pretty great when celebrities get sober. It’s great when anyone gets sober. I just can’t imagine all the pressure famous people are under when I feel it’s pretty tough to be a regular member of society. Plus, all the parties and free stuff…I’d be a basketcase if I were a celebrity, that is for sure. I haven’t seen a ton of famous people at NYC meetings, but I also don’t go to the hip meetings downtown. Plenty of my girlfriends see celebs at their homegroups on regular basis. I’m not sure I’d go all star-struck if I saw someone famous at a meeting, though. It would just be another person trying to stay sober one day at a time, like me. I’m not going to lie to you though…my ears would perk up if said celebrity were to share and I might wet my pants if they were to hold my hand during the closing prayer, or you know, look in my general direction.

I’d totally want to hang out with Dr. Drew

There are celebrities who haven’t quite gotten the 12 steps though: LiLo, Charlie Sheen, etc. Some try harder than others and some clearly don’t want the help. It’s not for me to say whether someone is an alcoholic/addict – you can only diagnose yourself. It’s hard to ignore the patterns of others though. The thing about getting sober though, is you can only get help if you really want it. Not if your agent wants it or the judge want it, YOU have to want it. No amount of DUIs or nights in jail are going to make someone stop drinking/using if they have zero desire to do so. 

So until someone has that desire can we all just ignore their shenanigans? Why are we cheering on people who are clearly about to hit rock bottom? Charlie Sheen getting his own tour because he’s a sick and suffering individual? That makes no sense to me and he’s making a mockery of himself.  It’s sad and pathetic if you ask me. I just hope he doesn’t end up dead like the countless other individuals who die from this disease.

If you know someone who acts like a crazypants and ingests controlled substances more than the average Joe… suggest they get to a meeting before they end up dead or on the stage of Radio City Music Hall embarrassing themselves in front of thousands of people. Plus, if I were famous, and a man, I’d want to be more like Russell Brand. He’s married to Katy Perry!

What do you think?

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Filed under Movies, Recovery

Friday Focus

Happy Friday Everyone! I’m super busy at work so I didn’t have time to write anything stellar. Instead, I’ve posted the Just for Today meditation for your reading pleasure. Luckily, it’s about FUN! If your latest life issue hasn’t been drugs or alcohol swap in whatever you’ve been struggling with lately and swap in your friends for the fellowship!

April 15th, Keep coming back

“We have come to enjoy living clean and want more of the good things that the NA Fellowship holds for us.” Basic Text, p. 27

Can you remember a time when you looked at the addicts recovering in NA and wondered, “If they aren’t using drugs, what on earth do they have to laugh about?” Did you believe that the fun stopped when the using stopped? So many of us did; we were certain that we were leaving the “good life” behind. Today, many of us can laugh at that misconception because we know how full our life in recovery can be.

Many of the things we enjoy so much in recovery are gained by actively participating in the Fellowship of NA. We begin to find true companionship, friends who understand and care about us just for ourselves. We find a place where we can be useful to others. There are recovery meetings, service activities, and fellowship gatherings to fill our time and occupy our interests. The fellowship can be a mirror to reflect back to us a more accurate image of who we are. We find teachers, helpers, friends, love, care, and support. The fellowship always has more to offer us, as long as we keep coming back.

Just for today: I know where the “good life” is. I’ll keep coming back.

Copyright © 1991-2010 by Narcotics Anonymous World Services, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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A Diner Saved My Life

Ok, so it was more the people at the diner who saved my life. Any good recovering addict knows that in order to recover, it requires letting people into your life. This does not simply mean showing up to meetings and spewing out all the crap that has been bottled up inside you for many many years, it means really allowing another human being to connect to you. I told you about my first sponsor yesterday. She is the one who first suggested that I begin fellowshipping. What the heck is that?, the normies are asking themselves. No, no it’s not church-related. Fellowshipping simply means hanging out with the winners outside of meetings. You mean I have to socialize with these strangers in addition to the 60 minute organized timeslots everyday? Yes, in my humble opinion, it is imperative to fellowship.

A lot of people get help fairly quickly because they embarrass themselves in front of their friends or family or they end up getting arrested or ODing or something horrendous (hi, every celebrity addict). I was a devious one – only a few people knew that I used and none of those people saw me on a daily basis. My parents had no idea. My fantastic talent for lying, manipulating and hiding my problems kept me sick. As a middle-class college student athlete doing lines in the bathroom stall during German class every day, I was leading a double-life. Not surprisingly, I never managed to find any friends who really “got me” if you know what I’m sayin’. The friends that I did have, I lied to constantly. Sure, I drank boys under the table at college parties and eventually I found some drugged out mall employees to hang out with, but in the end I was alone in the small world of self-destruction known as my basement. And when I did choose to not be alone, I met some pretty shady people.

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The bouncer I was sleeping with  using with at the end of my active addiction cut me off before I got clean. He had tattoos up and down both arms, his sister had killed herself a few years before and he didn’t keep booze in his house because he knew he would drink it. He was a part-time bartender though and somehow it was OK for him to drink while not at home. He also did a lot of blow. Even he recognized how incredibly screwed up I was when he was clearly fighting his own demons.  He was a sad soul I had latched on to, determined to save him, when in fact I was the one who needed saving. We haven’t spoken since he cut me off. His memory still haunts me sometimes. I hope he’s in the rooms somewhere, getting the help that I got. Needless to say, before I came into the rooms even disastercases didn’t want to hang out with me.

I had gone from having no one to suddenly having a room full of people wanting to take me out for coffee. Desperate for help, I accepted the invite. The Villa was a local diner and the hostess knew our crowd well and had the smoking section reserved for us every night. Yes, you could smoke in restaurants back then. We took up about two or three booths and would sit there for hours drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes and sometimes we would eat or play cards. I learned that eating french fries dipped in ranch dressing is quite possibly the best thing in the world.

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In the beginning, certain people sat with me at The Villa every night for weeks, sometimes until 2am because I was too afraid to go home. As the clock struck 12 they would watch me say goodbye to another day clean and welcome in a new one. They made me laugh, they let me cry.  They taught me how to to be honest with others and with myself. I cannot explain in words what it was like to have a 100% honest conversation for the first time after lying through my teeth to everyone I knew for 7 years. They beat me at Spaids and Uno. They called me on my bullshit. They were never surprised when I told them some of the horrible things I had done. For the first time in my life, people understood me and they liked me, the real me. It was earth shattering. More importantly, these people were successfully staying away from drugs and were going to teach me how to do the same.  I will always be grateful for nights at The Villa.

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Today my post-meeting diner visits are less frequent, but we do have a requisite AA diner on 9th avenue. I should probably go more often than I do, but I try to see my sober friends for coffee or dinner as much as I can. I should be making the same effort with newcomers. If you know someone who is new or struggling, take them out for coffee or some french fries with ranch dressing. You never know how much it will mean to them.

What’s your favorite diner?

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