Category Archives: healthy Living

Detoxing is Icky

To be honest, recently I’ve felt like this:

Except I’m at work and don’t really have a bug. I think I’m suffering from a slight head cold but it’s probably more that the raw food detox has decided to rear its ugly side-effect-ridden head this week. I will spare you the details, but just know that I feel gross. The good news is, today is better than yesterday. And unlike Monday and Tuesday, I have no headache today. Score! This is also probably because my acupuncturist is a wizard and I saw her last night! I know in recovery all we have is today but I think when you’re sick its ok to look forward to tomorrow.

Speaking of detoxing…detoxing is usually a significant stage in early early recovery for many people. I know daily drinkers end up getting shakes, etc. And for drug addicts a whole host of things happen that are far too gross to discuss. If you’ve ever detoxed, you know what I’m sayin. I don’t really remember having to ever detox from alcohol, and I never got the shakes. Usually a horrific hangover or close-call drunk driving experience would stop me from drinking for at least a few weeks at a time. I didn’t ever drink enough consistently to have some sort of physical ailment without it.

For me, my biggest “detox” phase was actually 6 months before I actually started going to NA. That summer, I had been using that C-word for about 2 months straight, every day, every hour. And for some reason I decided it would be a good idea to quit using before my final language exam (I was in summer school) even though I’d been getting straight As all summer, despite my habit. So for about 2-3 days before my exam, I detoxed. I slept for most of it, would wake up starving, eat and then go back to sleep. After months of use, I started to get really paranoid and I started seeing bugs all over my room…beginning stages of “cocaine psychosis” I believe. So I detoxed, it was pretty bad. I don’t remember ever feeling so sick in my life. Of course I could still drink and do other things at that point, so it probably wasn’t the worst thing I could have experienced. Also, I was using again within 2-3 weeks, after getting an A on my exam.

That was probably the last time I remember using the same thing so consistently that it required me to detox. When I got clean the first time around in March 2007, my “bottom” was much more psychological than physical, although I took up smoking to curb my cravings and it took me a few weeks to stop using completely. The worst of my disease manifested itself psychologically and emotionally. I wanted to kill myself when I came into the program, and even around my 1 year anniversary I was plotting my own demise. Today I know that being sober is the difference between life and death for me. If I relapse, I won’t lose my apartment, my job, my family, my friends, my money, etc. I will die. It’s that simple for me. So I get to choose…if I choose life, I choose to be sober, to go to meetings, to have a sponsor, to work the program. My other choice is death. That may sound crazy to some people, but that’s my reality today.

I have my first sit-down with my new sponsor tonight! I am very excited about getting started and since I’ve never worked steps the AA-way I feel like a newcomer again. It will be humbling for me to go through steps 1, 2 and 3 for the 80th time, but this time it will be a whole new way of doing things. Even after years of recovery, you have work to do and I seem to have more work than others, but I am 100% OK with that. It’s a process. And I appreciate it.

What do you feel like today?


Filed under Food, healthy Living, Recovery

Friday Roundup: Fun, Raw, Sober News

Another Friday has come, HOORAY! We all know my favorite days of the week are Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Because, let’s face it, the majority of the fun I have been having lately happens on the weekends.  Tonight Caron and I are going to see Bridesmaids (finally!). That’s right – we are finally seeing it. It got 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, so it should be hilarious. I am envisioning a female version of The Hangover. Let’s hope it holds up to our expectations.

It is extra-special of course since I was Caron’s bridesmaid a few weeks ago and I will be a bridesmaid again in September for my bestfriend from high school! I love weddings so much it’s hard to describe. And being a bridesmaid is not only an honor and a big responsibility it is incredibly fun. Luckily my 2011 bridesmaid dresses are both beautiful, check out those awful pink ones in the movie poster above!

Raw Foods Update: Things are going well. The best part about it is the fruit. Smoothies (sans juice and milk/yogurt) are so good I almost forget I can’t eat candy. Almost. I’ve been working on a raw chocolate bar for the past week or so that is a nice replacement as well. I also learned online today that there is such a thing as Raw Ice Cream!  The best part is that it’s available in NYC – I have to get to one of the stores this weekend to buy it.

I also found a fun restaurant called Pure Food and Wine to try – it’s fully raw, vegan, organic and in Union Square. Just need to get Leo to want to try it with me this weekend. If my proposal fails, they have a small version of the restaurant in Chelsea Market where his favorite Gluten Free restaurant is. I would love to buy a bag of raw macaroons!

Sober News: After almost a year of being in two fellowships I have decided to fully transition from NA to AA. My life has been in AA for a while now and I’ve found it hard to go to AA meetings and do service in AA but have an NA sponsor and do NA stepwork. I was torn for a while because I really identify more as an addict than an alcoholic but the real solution in NYC (for me) is in AA and as much as I like the NA literature better, I knew I couldn’t continue to have one foot in each fellowship. So my plan is to work all twelve steps in AA, continue to do AA service and someday have AA sponsees. I even have an new AA sponsor! I am incredibly grateful that she offered to take me through the steps! I better go buy an AA Big Book…

I will always be grateful to NA, I’ll still call my NA friends and I will still hit up NA meetings every now and then, but I know that if I want to get through my stepwork and be of service to those newcomers who show up at the meetings I go to regularly, I need to be fully in one program. It’s been a long and tough decision making process but I am excited for the journey I am embarking on.

How’s your weekend looking?

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Filed under Food, Fun, Gluten Free, healthy Living, Movies, Recovery, Studying

Life on Life’s Terms

SATC Life on Life’s Terms Update:

Relapsing addicts make me sad. I saw a friend/neighbor last night on my block who has been chronically relapsing for a long time now. I really hope he gets this thing soon. For me, it is an issue of willingness when someone doesn’t stay sober. You have to want it, you have to work for it, you have to be willing to go to any lengths. It’s not an issue of can vs. can’t. Everyone can get better if they are willing to, one day at a time. He knows that. He just has to want it. I will keep praying.

My one day old niece is 100% healthy and beautiful. I can’t wait to meet her on Saturday! Unsure of the baby anonymity at the moment, so pictures TBD.

Raw food diet is getting easier. For those of you who don’t know, I’m trying to go raw to detox my body to see if that helps with my chronic horrendous headaches. I had a raw organic vegan “soup” today from Organic Avenue via Norma Kamali. The soup itself was really good and much easier than eating a salad with no dressing. It was really filling though, so I left about a fourth of it in the fridge for later. Sorry I couldn’t turn this picture upright for some reason!

The only downside is when I turned the label over it said about 35 grams of fat. YIKES! But it’s the fat I don’t get from anything else I eat with this diet, so I suppose that isn’t awful for a days worth of fat. Only 350 calories. I also picked up a raw snack: Date Almonds Cherries Orange Zest via BluePrintCleanse. I have yet to try it.

Who knew I could get these delicious raw vegan snacks/meals/juices in my neighborhood? So thank you Caron for the awesome tip! I will be returning tomorrow to get some green juices!

Acupuncture last night was fantastic. I felt quite amazing during/after the treatment and H said it was working since I wasn’t as nervous and crazy as I was last week! Thank you, insurance company, for paying for all this. At the end of the session I got more tips on eating and combining food:

Tip #1 Pray before eating it makes the food less acidic. Mmmmm…I have forgotten to do this until now, but I will try it with the next thing I eat!

Tip #2 Never drink and eat at the same time. Check.

What’s new in your life today?


Filed under Food, Headache, healthy Living, Prayer, Recovery, Service

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?


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

The Worst Massage Ever

Morning kidlits! Another fabulous story from my weekend is about to unfold…

A month or two ago I bought two Groupons for 75% off a 60 minute massage at a place in my neighborhood that a friend raves about. Last week I decided to make an appointment for Saturday afternoon. I was so excited because A. I love massages and B. It was so inexpensive for NYC. So after I finishing another practice exam (30 points lower than last week – sadface) I headed over to the spa.

I get up the stairs to the reception area and wait for about 10 minutes. They had snacks on the table which was nice. Other people came in with their Groupons as well. Sweet! My appointment was with a man and although this doesn’t make me entirely comfortable, I am secure enough to know that I’ll be fine and he’s probably somewhere along the lines of… gay. He takes me up another flight of stairs to the treatment room where birds were chirping over the soundsystem. Very soothing.

He tells me to get undressed except for my underwear and lie on my stomach under the blanket and he would come back when I was settled. It felt like I was lying under there forever. Finally he comes back in and starts to warm up my back. It was ok, but I’ve always had massage therapists that would do things symmetrically: start with the whole back, along the spine, do each shoulder, each arm, each hand, etc. He was not following any pattern whatsoever.

This is not me and I did not look this happy

All the sudden it felt extremely hot, like he was rubbing burning lotion in streaks on my back. I realized after a few minutes that he was using hot stones. I should have realized this earlier, but I did not request a “hot stone” massage. It actually felt pretty good when I realized what it was. But then he ran a hot stone all the way down my left arm and left it in my hand. It felt like a fireball was burning layers and layers of skin off my palms. I panicked. I could just see the red hole of burning flesh that I would find after he was done. I am one of those people that hates to say anything when I am having services done – pedicure, manicure, even when waitresses serve me the wrong food. I always feel bad about complaining – I am SUCH a people pleaser. So I stayed quiet and politely moved the stone to the table and out of my burning palm of flesh. Of course I realized he was going to this with my other hand and took that thing off right away.

I wanted to do this.

When he moved to my legs, I think he actually washed my feet with what felt like some sort of squeegee. Sanitary I suppose, but totally gross feeling. So the leg part was pretty awful and I felt like he wasn’t keeping enough blanket on top of my… down under region. He did manage to work out some tension in my calves I didn’t know I had.

Suddenly I felt the blanket come completely off me. Granted, I was lying on my stomach and all necessary items were covered, but I didn’t know what was happening. “Time to turn over” I heard him say. I peered up and saw that he was holding the blanket in front of him like a shower curtain so he couldnt see anything. Phew. I turned over and he laid the blanket across my frontal region. He did his top-part-of-the-leg routine. It was possibly worse than the back-part-of-the-leg routine.

Then, the worst part of the whole 60 minutes happened.

He moved over to the side of the table and uncovered my stomach. My pelvic and chest region were still covered.  He then started to massage my stomach. WHAT??! I have never in my entire life had anyone massage my stomach. What tension do my organs hold? Ugh, it was so incredibly uncomfortable I can’t even describe to you how awful it was.

Plus, my abs do not look like this.

To finish off the worst massage ever, instead of rubbing my T-zone and temples on my head he just pressed super hard into like three different spots. I was so relieved when he was done. I got dressed with all this grainy lotion all over me, checked out at reception and ran out of there as fast as I could. Immediately after my appointment, I had to  meet a fellow bridesmaid for the September wedding for coffee for the first time . I felt so out of sorts because of the massage she probably thinks I’m a nutjob. Ok, more of a nutjob than usual.

I can’t believe how awful it was. I am hoping that it was just a bad experience with the specific massage guy and not a reflection of the Spa itself. My friend raves about it, so if I dare go back to use my 2nd Groupon – I will make sure to schedule with the woman she normally sees and hope for the best. I decided not to name the spa directly, so they don’t get any bad press. I really am a people pleaser. 

Have you ever had an awful massage experience?


Filed under Anxiety, healthy Living

Answers, Answers and No Answers?

Hey kids, it’s Friday! That means it’s almost the weekend and you are looking for advice as to what you should do that’s fun and what will help you stay sober. I am going to a sober bachelorette party which will be fantastic and a good meeting called Straight 12! The rest of the weekend I will be studying with Leo. Sorry I don’t have much else to tell you. Oh wait there’s going to be a cool flea market in Hell’s Kitchen this weekend so check it out!

For those of you who don’t feel like reading about my headache drama anymore, you can stop here and check back in next week for some fun insights. I still love you so here’s a nice parting gift:

For those of you who are interested to hear the outcome of yesterday, read onnnnn!

I’ll give you the punchline first: I have Chronic Sinusitis and may need Balloon Sinuplasty (aka surgery)

My rheumatologist looked at my CTScan first (since she works at the same hospital as my ENT) and told me I had a cyst in my sinus cavity but that it probably wasn’t the cause of my headaches. So of course when I got to the office I started googling sinus cysts and every website I read was describing my symptoms. Sometimes I wonder if googling health issues is like reading horoscopes – a horoscope is going to resonate with everyone on some level no matter what it says.

Then I had to wait until I saw my ENT in the afternoon, so that’s what I did. At 2:30 I skipped over to my ENT’s office to find out my fate. She decongested me with these huge Q-Tips and I sat there with chopsticks sticking out of my nose for 10 minutes. When the nurse came in to put supplies in the room I swore I saw her snicker. Finally the doctor came in to tell me the CTscan showed that my sinus cavities are extremely narrow and that the pressure is the cause of my headaches. She went all medical on me and then basically said I have Chronic Sinusitis and that I would benefit from having balloon surgery. SURGERY???

What the eff????!?!

Ok, I’m calmer now. It’s minimally invasive surgery and I could even have it done in her office while remaining awake. Um, no thanks. If you’re going to break bones in my face I’d rather be asleep for that. It sounds incredibly painful, though she claims I’d have 3.5 on a pain scale of 1 to 10. The other option is to do it in a hospital with a tube down my throat. Either way, I can be back at work the next day with no problem.

So last night I was weighing my options, thinking about getting a second opinion and/or jumping off the


Hi! Kidding!

After sleeping on it and getting some advice from a family nurse practioner, I think I will try to get a second opinion. I also may see my eye  doctor, get a neurologist involved, etc. Basically I am not convinced that the sinuses are causing my headaches and although I could take the easy way out … I’ll probably try to seek more advice. In other news…I am officially done with Enbrel now. I can have my immune system back! It better not attack me anytime soon…

What would YOU do?


Filed under Anxiety, Fun, Headache, healthy Living

Ask For Help When You Need It

Oh my goodness, where has all the fun gone? Don’t worry, it’s not gone for good. It’s just gone until my life gets back to a healthy state and I can think straight! So why don’t we chat recovery for a bit? Today I have two doctor appointments so I’m going to discuss how recovery has taught me how to ask for help.

I never asked for help with anything before recovery. For as long as I can remember I did everything myself. When I was a child I did my own homework, picked out my own clothes for school and I made my own lunch. The only things I couldn’t do was buy things and drive myself places. My parents were happy to help with those things of course. I was so independent. Too independent. My psychiatrist in college told me my independence was a huge detriment and that I used it to actively push people away. I wish I could remember the term she used. 

The only reason I went to a psychiatrist was because my team doctor wouldn’t clear me for athletic participation if I wasn’t seeing a therapist. My parents and coach knew I had major depressive disorder, but that was all they knew. So I reluctantly went to therapy where I proceeded to lie my ass off. Every week. I couldn’t even ask for help in an environment where I was supposed to be getting help!

Mostly I had simply resigned myself to the fact that I was depressed and that I would always be depressed. I didn’t believe anyone could help me, especially not some crazy quack doctor who compared my substance abuse issues to her love for chocolate. Seriously? I would go high to sessions and she had no idea. That woman was so dumb I told her she lost her mind, and she started looking for it. Come on, don’t tell me you forgot about Yo Mama jokes…Ok, ok, she wasn’t all bad – that’s just my resentment talking. Afterall I should be grateful – she was the one who suggested I go to my first NA meeting and where I learned that I have the disease of addiction.

Today my problems are less severe than active addiction – headaches and swollen joints – but unfortunately AA can’t directly help me with those problems. These are problems only a doctor is qualified to solve. However, I would never have thought to go to a doctor if it wasn’t for AA. First of all, I probably wouldn’t even have noticeable headaches with all the pain pills I was popping.  But more importantly, I would not value myself enough to seek help. Being in recovery has taught me that if something hurts, I do something about it because I’m worth it. 

In active addiction/alcoholism most of us would just ignore medical issues. Many people I know in recovery figure out they have serious dental issues years into recovery because they just weren’t responsible about yearly visits when they were using/drinking.

We ignored even the most obvious health issues too. Oh, this? All this blood streaming out of my nose? Don’t worry about it – I’m sure it’ll stop… some day. Your disease wants to you stay sick and miserable, spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically.

Case-in-Point (warning: this gets gorey): One night in college I was cleaning out my bathroom because I was subletting it for the semester while I studied in the UK. I was very high on that stuff and the bathroom door was shut while I disinfected everything with all sorts of chemically cleaning supplies. I was light-headed but determined to see myself in the tile floor. I must have been in there with no air flow for an hour or so.

After scrubbing the floor I went to deal with my trash can. I lived in the basement of this house and my roommates only came down to do laundry so for the most part I had the whole floor to myself. I was embarrassed at the amount of beer and wine I had been drinking so I hid all the recycling in my bathroom instead of adding to the community bin in the kitchen upstairs (I learned later that this is typical behavior for an alcoholic). For some reason I decided to be a good citizen and separate out the aluminum cans from the trash. I grabbed a Bud Light can (I was classy like that) out of the trash but I accidentally jammed my right ring finger into the lip of the can and the metal tore through my finger tip with vengeance. Blood started gushing everywhere. I wrapped it in huge wads of toilet paper but it just kept bleeding. I went through three full rolls of TP. Finally I took a bath towel and wrapped it up and held my hand above my head. The blood was still streaming. Where were all the vampires?? I knew I should get to the hospital but I was so scared/paranoid someone would find out about my drug use. I sat up in my bed with my hand up in the air wrapped in the bloody towel until I passed out. When I woke up my finger had stopped bleeding. I cleaned it and put a huge bandage on it. It took years for the scar on my finger to heal.

Now what person in their right mind wouldn’t have gone to a hospital? Or at least called a friend or a parent for assistance?  I probably needed stitches! But I refused to ask for help.

Today, I know how to ask for help. When something hurts, I pay attention. I don’t ignore the pain just hoping it will go away. I take action. I wish I could do that more often in other aspects of my life, but hey – it’s progress not perfection right?

Is it easy for you to ask for help?


Filed under Beverages, Headache, healthy Living, Recovery

A Wizard is Cleaning My Apartment

Medical Update: I may have discovered that my beloved Enbrel might be the cause of my headaches thanks to some informative online forums. I shall find out on Thursday what my rheumatologist plans to do with my online evidence! I also will get the results from my CTScan on Thursday with the ENT. Fingers crossed I am not in need to brain and/or sinus surgery and it’s the darn drugs that are causing me pain! That’s my life story anyway, right? Haha…

In other news…I hired a cleaning service to do a thorough cleaning of my apartment! I am not a dirty person by nature, but with all these health problems I have started to think that allergies might be playing a role in my slow and painful demise. I am willing to try anything! Plus, wouldn’t cleaning myself just make matters worse? 😉 So I have hired a Wizard to do a deep clean of my apartment:

No, I’m not kidding. Ok, I’m kidding about Harry Potter. I have hired Wizard of Homes cleaning service! I read some pretty fantastic reviews online and the Wizards are pretty reasonably priced compared to the muggle human cleaners I’ve read about. When I scheduled the cleaning the lady told me that I get my own personal Wizard! How fun is that? My Wizard is even going to be nice to Crazy and The Dark One when she comes. My furry little girls hate even the sight of my vacuum, but hopefully they will enjoy the cleanliness when she’s done! Let’s hope they don’t vomit on the floor before I get home. Or shed.

I’ve never had a professional clean my apartment before and I have to say I’m pretty nervous right now. It’s a good thing I’m not there right now for her to judge me on my lack of OCD! Apparently I lack elbow grease. After the deep clean I will likely hire them to come back every few weeks and keep up the good work. I am looking forward to coming home to a dust-free apartment!

Have you ever hired someone to clean your home?


Filed under Fun, Headache, healthy Living

Sun Warrior Fun

The only downside to last night was that I had a pretty terrible headache when I came home from work. I ate some Ramen (oh heeey cheap eats!) and then took a nap before chairing the 10:30 AA clubhouse meeting.Thanks to A for speaking for me at the last minute!! I am so grateful for service – I wouldn’t have gotten to a meeting otherwise.

I went to bed with a headache and woke up with one but guess who came over night??


As many of you know I read a lot of food and fitness blogs (check out the blogroll – these ladies are awesome!) and through my daily reads I am becoming more and more motivated to live a healthier lifestyle. Caron, the bff, tries all sorts of fun health foods and she said I should try Sun Warrior Protein. It’s pretty expensive (~$45) but you get a ton of the protein mix for your money. And when I researched on the website I saw the nutrition facts and figured I had to give it a shot!

80 Calories and 16 grams of protein? I’m in.

It comes in three flavors – Vanilla, Chocolate and Natural. What the heck is Natural flavor? I didn’t want to find out. Caron recommended Chocolate so that’s what I ordered via Amazon! Caron also recommended I get a blender bottle to mix up my shakes in. It came earlier late last week!

I was anxiously awaiting the Sun Warrior to test it out in my $6 blender bottle! When I woke up there was an email from my apartment building saying I had a package! It came at 2:24am?? That USPS man must be a nightowl…hoot! I picked up the package on the way to work and the walk to my office felt longer than usual. When I finally got to the office I ripped open the box like a five year old on Christmas morning. Tada!

Isn’t it beautiful? Ok, it’s not, but I was excited to try it. The instructions on the bag just say “1 or 2 scoops with [insert your favorite liquid here].” I opened the resealable bag and didn’t see a scoop inside. Oh no! I decided to make a shake regardless and just estimate with a spoon. There is no almond milk (the recommended liquid) at my office so I used water. Whatever I did – it came out really gross. The instructions were really very helpful at all in terms of a suggested protein to liquid ratio.

I decided to try again with cow’s milk. I filled the blender bottle half way with skim milk from the fridge. I got a new spoon and dug around in the bag. I found the scoop! Decided it was too chocolately to use at the moment but I left it on top of the mix for tomorrow. I estimated a bit better with the spoon this time and with a little shake, shake, shake: IT WAS DELICIOUS!

Looks like I have a new breakfast plan for the forseable future. Much better than the sugary cereal and junk I usually eat! I’m going to dig around online today to find some fun recipes to try with my SWP (“Sun Warrior Protein”).

Sometimes fun comes in small packages.

What are you doing for your health today?


Filed under Food, healthy Living