Just like that, my mood can change. Usually after a good night's sleep, or even a nap, my curmudgeonliness can flip to joy and easy smiles.
The weather around my parts changed yesterday. It has been too hot and humid way past summer. Finally, the weather broke and cooled off and dried up. Thank god.
The weather affects our moods so dramatically. I don't mind rain. In fact, I like it. I like a good storm, too. Sunlight is delightful. Even heat for a little while. But incessant heat and humidity day after day, month after month was beyond oppressive. I can't take it anymore.
Alcohol has been beyond oppressive in my life, my body, mind and soul, too. I may not have control over the weather but I do have control over whether or not I will drink. Whatever it takes to get me to not pick up, I'll do it.
For some, it's doing the twelve steps and going to meetings. I think that the steps are great though I have a hard time with meetings and have had hard turns with sponsors. Of course, they've all only been people steering themselves away from alcohol and trying to help others do the same. There is nothing wrong with that. Me, I need a toolbox full of options.
I find that the main thing is to be with sober people. To be with people, period. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Isolation is death. Community is life.
Now this is tough when you're an oversensitive creature like myself who works independently for the most part and really needs downtime, alone.
But as with everything, we have to find a happy medium. One hot and humid day is balanced nicely by one that's cool and dry. One day of itchy mind and crawling skin is relieved by a good night's sleep and a relaxing day.
Variety makes the world turn. Day. Night. Light. Dark. Rain clouds. Sunny blue skies.
The trick is to ride the wave of weather, the emotional swings, and to appreciate the journey and find joy in being alive, breathing, and the wonder of it all.
Honestly, it's really great to have some project or to create some project for yourself in early sobriety. Work off your early days creatively.
I've had the fortune of a painting commission. I've been working at it for about four or five days interrupted by two teaching days. I think that it's complete now but I'm going to sleep on it.
I'm happy with it and grateful for the project. If you're in early sobriety and biting your nails or something, make a list of everything you could do. Draw, sing, make up a song, make up a dance, knit, leaf through a Martha Stewart Living magazine if your imagination is not in gear. Cook some great meal just for fun. Practice an instrument.
Get involved with a creative project for the sake of doing the thing not to be great at it. This is definitely not the time to be saying that you're no good at anything. Who cares? It takes a gazillion hours of practice to get good at something. Just start for the fun of it.
Pick up a pencil or pen and start making marks on a piece of paper. The marks don't have to look like anything at all. Start a doodle diary. There's an idea.
Watch your crazy thinking evaporate and your energy flow into making something. It's a good thing.
This morning I received word that my mother's last sibling passed away.
My tears flowed. Through two meditations. I looked at photos of my mother as a teen and somewhere near 70 years. When I could not stop crying, I called my best friend who was able to listen for a while. That helped tremendously.
It's the end of an era and really all that bound me to blood relatives except for blood. I cannot attend the services and the thought of seeing gangs of relatives, frankly, leaves me woozy. Especially so early in this phase of sobriety. No need to go into any further detail or explanation. This is neither the time nor the place.
Except to say that if felt good to cry, to let the water flow freely, to let myself feel released. Cleansing, detoxifying.
While preparing this post, I thought, my god, I don't want to go rummaging through a box of family photos and then thought of this song, The Parting Glass which is apt. I love the simple arrangement and especially the way Luke MacFarlane sings it.
Of all the money that e'er I had
I spent it in good company
And all the harm I've ever done
Alas it was to none but me
And all I've done for want of wit
To mem'ry now I can't recall
So fill to me the parting glass
Good night and joy be with you all
But since it fell unto my lot
That I should rise and you should not
I gently rise and softly call
Good night and joy be with you all
After the first few days of adjustment, you may notice that time becomes more available.
Sure, it is now possible to do more because you are no longer knocking yourself unconscious but even better,
you become more available.
When you start regaining consciousness, life opens up. You will be reminded of anxious thoughts that may have once made you want to knock yourself out. You will also notice more details in your environment. You may experience fatigue but you will also find a drive to do, to take little actions. Do take little actions. Don't try to conquer anything major.
About those anxious thoughts that arise... I encourage you to allow them to be. No, it's not always going to be easy.
Sit with those thoughts. Notice their images, texture, words, placement (if they're in the past or future). Notice how familiar they feel. Feel what is happening in your body. Where are they making you tense? How are they making you want to react?
You are going to be uncomfortable. Be uncomfortable. The discomfort will pass. It'll come back again. Then it will pass again.
In fact, you've gotten into a habit of being uncomfortably sick from alcohol. The discomfort you notice now is the weirdness of not knocking yourself unconscious when habits of thought arise.
Is that too convoluted? Basically, you're trading one way of dealing with discomfort with a different (better) way of being uncomfortable.
So what are you supposed to do about it?
Breathe. Just breathe. Then notice where you are. What's in your room? If you're outside or in the car, notice the trees or buildings. Feel your hands on the steering wheel. Connect to your immediate environment. Get into your body (and out of your mind).
See what that does for you.
Here's what you're doing. You are starting a practice of putting your higher mind (as in your pre-frontal cortex) in charge. Much, much more on that later. But for now, every time you have a thought that makes you want to react by reaching for a drink:
Notice where you are
Get into your physical body
Sit with the thought until it passes
It's a practice. Practice doing this.
Time will open up.
After a binge, it's going to take a few days to set yourself straight.
My last binge involved four nips of Jameson's, three glasses of red wine and a large pizza. By my third day sober, my body was still begging for good digestion.
But did I sip ginger tea, lemon water and eat cucumbers? No (although that would have been a very good idea.) I ate more bad carbs, drank coffee and ! smoked cigarettes. Now, I can only tolerate 3 cigarettes at the most without feeling like I've been hit by a truck in the morning but I am revealing my less than wise choices in the first few days of releasing myself from alcohol because I want to make a point.
AA rooms are often set with coffee and cookies and smokers outside. Common recommendations are often to allow yourself sweets and any sort of substitute of something, anything!, to put in your mouth instead of alcohol. So, okay. If you have to go with it, do whatever it takes to not let alcohol pass your lips. For just a little while.
On my third day sober, I ate a huge chocolate chip cookie. It took me all day to work my way through it because my stomach (which was still digesting pizza) was like, uh-uh. Don't do it. But I did. And I suffered a bit.
If you have to stuff something in your mouth instead of alcohol for the first few days, go for it. But do it with awareness.
Become aware of how easy it is to substitute one habit for another. Do you want to substitute over-eating for over-drinking? Probably not. You do not have to.
If you are newly sober, you may crave sugar and highly processed "foods". Just be aware that drinking alcohol causes your blood sugar levels to drop and when your body is adjusting to being alive without alcohol, it'll probably take a little while for your blood sugar levels to adjust. That's an educated guess. I'm not a doctor.
And there's probably no question about developing an addiction to nicotine just because you've quit drinking. Right?
In your first few days, your first week or so, your body is like, whoa! What is happening? The body is a magnificent instrument. It will learn to readjust and heal itself. With your common sense.
While this is happening, what your mind can do is notice your knee jerk reactions to the process of your body trying to right itself.
Give yourself a break. Do not beat yourself up. If you feel ugghish, sluggish, if your tummy is distressed and you want to stuff your pie hole with anything that fits, well, just become aware of what you are doing and how it makes you feel.
Awareness is half the battle. You became aware that alcohol was a problem for you. Now, you're going to expand that awareness. Get into how your body feels.
And, by the way, give yourself a happy pat on the back for not putting any alcohol into your mouth. And a huge round of applause.
You are righting your mighty ship! That is the ship of your soul.
My only wise words for today are these.
Alcohol abuse thrives in isolation. Especially for women.
Sobriety loves company. I want to be sober and stay sober. I want company.
If you do, too, I'd love your company. My journey to sobriety began a long time ago but this leg of the journey begins now.
The challenge that so many people have is not knowing how to take that first step of reaching out to another person for help.
Just sign up below, read about the Venus Retrograde challenge, or follow along in your own way. Whatever helps you the most.
Are you trying to heal yourself?
Are you depleted? Dry. Feel like you're dying but getting up to give more every day or wasted by what you've provided?
Are you angry? Is your anger masquerading or based in fear? Have you exploded recently?
Maybe you're suffering from chronic stress.
Maybe you're giving a little too much. Maybe you're not supporting yourself enough.
If you expect yourself to give, you absolutely must support yourself first. It's a universal law. It's a law of cosmic architecture.
If you do not provide yourself a good foundation, how can you build a structure that supports and shelters others?
If you are not healthy and strong within yourself, how can you support your family or your clients? That's a sincere question that I want you to ask yourself. Now.
More importantly, if you are chronically stressed, how can you support yourself?
What are you first doing to support yourself so that you can support yourself and support others? Again, tell us what you're doing in a comment below. Help everyone with your own experience.
Here's what you need to pay attention to if you are not serving from a strong and healthy foundation.
Are you experiencing
Are you addicted to anything?
Are you sabotaging yourself?
These are major signs that you are not fully supporting yourself or, better yet, that you are not allowing yourself to be fully supported by the universe at large, the great creator, the word, the light of creation, god, or however the all of eternity expresses itself to you.
• Sit still.
• Allow your heart to open.
• Consider the option of trust.
• Ask yourself, "What would it feel like to trust that the great creator has great creator has my back? What would it feel like to know that I am here to serve for the greatest good?
• What would it feel like to know that I am present, here, in this moment. Always?
• How fertile can I make the ground I am standing on?
Consider these tips. Seriously. What do you think? Leave comments below to help yourself and to help others help others.
I have a long "to-do" list to help you with chronic stress (coming soon) but that won't do you any good whatsoever if you don't first sit still, breathe, and ask yourself to do and answer the above.
Remain in light.
Loads of love to you...
Gosh. I remember the first time someone said that to me.
It's not just about you!
I'd never heard that phrase before and I reeled in reaction to someone saying that to me. It was meant as a snarky tease but it felt like a blow. Freaked me right out. (Do I really think that it's all about me? Yikes!)
It's true, though.
Especially if you are an entrepreneur, healer or teacher or in any service profession. The fact is that you are serving others. What you do is critical. Especially for your fellow humans at this moment in time.
You are serving humanity. You are serving the earth. You are serving our collective evolution.
In case you haven't noticed, we are in desperate need of your help.
This is the time. You are making a difference. You are moving people forward.
I challenge you to double down on the positive work you’re doing. You are in a position to help people. Get out there and do even more good.
Heal yourself to help heal others.
I am not a doctor. However, I've enjoyed a lifetime of learning how to heal myself and keep myself relatively healthy. It's fun for me. Herein, I'm sharing the healing measures I've taken for my own foot and ankle fractures with hopes that some or all of this information may be of help to you.
I am somewhat of an expert on ankle sprains but, after a recent fall, not only did I suffer a massive ankle and foot sprain but also a fracture of my 5th metatarsal (a Jones Fracture), a cracked my medial tibia from mid-calf straight through the ankle bone, and cracked something on the outside ankle bone. I did not have any displaced bones and did not require any surgery.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, you have my sympathy. My recommendations follow.
Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevation. Stick to this tried and true formula for the first 48 - 72 hours to which I'll add...
Immediately apply Arnica Gel or T-Relief. or Traumeel. Begin taking Arnica Tablets internally. Take the recommended dosage of any pain medication. Apparently, Ibuprofen is "off the list for mending bones" (it interferes with process) but helps to reduce swelling in sprains.
Ask for help. Have x-rays taken so that you know what's injured. Ask for a ride to the E.R. Bring a good book. Ask for print copies of your x-rays. Why? A succession of doctors did not notice, for one month, that my medial tibia and ankle were fractured. I had to tell them that I thought I had additional breaks and ask them to re-check the x-rays.
Do not try to walk on your foot. I mean it!
Your Healing Regimen
Attitude is crucial. So, first off, count your blessings! Fractures and sprains are temporary. Become aware of any whining or complaining. Whining and complaining do you no good whatsoever. You will find that engaging in this crankiness will probably make you feel worse. People will expect you to complain. Surprise them. Be of good cheer. You won't always be able to feel chipper but make a go of it anyway. It'll make you feel better. All things considered, you're experiencing a rather minor issue. But if you do not properly care for yourself, you'll make matters worse and add to your recovery time.
Do not walk on your foot. I still mean it! I am off my foot for 12 - 14 weeks. When I first sprained my ankle at age 11, it was placed in a plaster cast. Within a week, I'd removed the cast with my father's hammer and chisel. I know you want to walk as soon as possible. Do not do so until your bones can support you. Deal with it.
Do not smoke. Trying to walk on your foot before the bones, ligaments and tendons are healed and smoking are the absolute worst things you could possible do. Frankly, I was a closet smoker. Just two or three cigarettes in the evening. When I broke these bones, and I smoked... I could feel myself compromised at the cellular level. I don't know how else to express it. I have not had a cigarette since, nor have I desired one.
Rest. And I don't mean for one or two days. You must plan on resting more than usual throughout your recovery. Your body needs to direct energy towards physical healing.
Do your research. Educate yourself. Ask your doctor as many questions as you can think of and then learn about your particular injury or set of injuries. Learning is interesting and empowering. Make it a creative project! Go crazy on Google. You're not going to be able to do much else for the first little while.
Expect a few pitfalls. Immobility, crutches, and slow going can be a pain. Like the learning curve, the healing curve is not straight up. You can pretty much plan on having a few sets of downer days. If you're mentally prepared, you can work your way through them more easily. Just relax and let it all wash over you. You are not always going to be lying around.
Accept your situation. What's done is done. Surrender. You are healing now. It's going to take some time. Be brave. You can do it! You are not actually healing your foot and ankle, you are creating the optimal conditions under which your bones and tendons and ligaments can heal at the cellular level.
Exercise. What? Yes. It's really important for your body but also for your mental state and general well being. You'll be much happier during and after recovery because of it. Swimming is your best bet and non-weight bearing yoga poses are wonderful.
Swimming: Find the schedule for your nearest pool and plan at least two lap swimming sessions per week. Ease into it. Don't force your injured foot to do anything it doesn't want to. Start with a kick board if you have to. Make it a game to increase your number of laps and time in pool per session. Be very careful with your crutches on the wet floors! Ask for whatever help you need to get in and out of the pool.
Yoga: Find non-weight bearing yoga poses or modify some positions to accommodate your injured foot and ankle. Don't try anything you are not already secure with. Challenge yourself to create a sequence that will give you a basic routine to use daily.
Soak in Epsom Salts.
(or Comfrey Leaf to make a poultice)
Grampa's Garden Therapeutic Massage Oil
Garlic and Ginger Capsules
A good multi-vitamin, Calcium supplement, Vitamin C and B-Complex.
Epsom Salts (but, of course).
Does this seem like a lot to buy? Most of these items should live in your medicine cabinet or kitchen at all times. They are fundamental ingredients of first aid and you should be taking the supplements anyway (imho). Think about doctor bills.
Regarding the matter at hand (or foot!):
Arnica acts as pain reliever and anti-inflammatory. Application prevents or hastens healing of bruises and reduces swelling and works especially well if applied immediately after trauma (though is helpful to prevent pain and inflammation throughout healing period). Homeopathic Arnica pills and tablets taken internally have same effect.
The main active ingredient in Comfrey is Allantoin which generates cells and promotes cell replacement. Bones knit themselves back together on the cellular level. An old folk name for Comfrey is "knitbone".
Juniper (especially), Rosemary, Wintergreen and Peppermint help to promote circulation. Circulation helps to promote healing on a cellular level. So does massage. Healing on a cellular level helps to knit bones. Foot bones (especially the 5th metatarsal) have limited circulation (they're far from the heart), therefore, trouble healing.
By the way, I only recommend what I consider superior products at good prices that I, myself, use and love.
My triple threat treatment!
3x per day:
Slather a thin layer of Arnica Gel over your fracture and sprain areas
Drop Comfrey tincture on fracture and sprain areas and massage into skin
Gently massage adulterated* Grampa's Therapeutic Massage Oil into foot and ankle for 15 - 20 minutes (or as long as you can -- some time is better than no time!).
*Add additional Juniper Oil and Olbas (contains juniper, rosemary, peppermint oils) to Grampa's Garden Therapeutic Oil to help further promote circulation.
I slept with a comfrey poultice on my foot and ankle during the first ten days. I could actually feel it working but the whole thing was a bit time consuming and messy so I switched to the tincture which I think is less effective but still very helpful.
Steer clear of sugar and caffeine (especially coffee).
Do I have to tell you to not drink alcohol?
Eat well. Fresh vegetables and fruit. Real food. Drink pure water. You'll feel better.
(They couldn't hurt!)
Click here for a list of semi-precious stones thought to benefit broken bones and here for a general list of healing stones.
You can find these stones in new age shops, ask a massage therapist where to buy, or check eBay. You can sleep with these stones under your pillow and carry them around in a small pouch on your person as you go through your daily life.
And one more thing! Buy yourself a good pair of knee pads. Sometimes you might have to climb, foot and knee (careful!), and sometimes you might just want to crawl. I recommend Fiskars Contoured-Fit Knee Pads. I've been using them all along and they've really helped.
©2011 Suzanne McDermott / All Rights Reserved
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