DBT & Me

I’ve been on a list to take a Dialetical Behavior Therapy course taught by my therapist and got the call today that there is an opening. Part of me is like “I’ve been doing this for five years and have my self-help DBT workbooks, do I really need the course?” And the type A me is exited to relearn these skills which are helpful for managing not just my bipolar symptoms, but maintaing my sobriety. Because I am a dual-diagnosis dame in long-term recovery. I’m coming up on three years of recovery, from both of these illnesses, and I don’t want to go backwards. So forward I go with DBT & ME!

Sunday Sobriety Song – Day by Day

Mike Doughty is a musician in long term recovery. When I was first in recovery, I could not get enough of listening to him, and did not even know he was “like me”- not until the release of his memoir, Book of Drugs.

I also finally watched The Anonymous People this week, which I highly recommend for anyone in recovery or who advocates recovery.

A Beautiful Mind with Tits: In Memoriam, Jennifer Ellen Devich

  This is something I wrote four years ago in response to the death of my best friend. We had been friends off-and-on for 10 years. We both battled our mental health and addiction demons, and became incredibly close when we went through treatment together five years ago. I want to turn this into a personal essay but I can’t: it’s a time capsule of love and loss in early sobriety. She died on my old sobriety date, and although I wish I had not relapsed for four months two years ago, I am glad I have a new sobriety date. If I had not relapsed, I would be celebrating 5 years of sobriety today, and grieving her death four years ago. I try to keep in touch with her daughter, who now has a daughter of her own, but I am terribly human at it. But having a selfish day of suffering from the should-of, would-of, could-of’s will not bring JED back, however I can try to stay better connected with her daughter in the future.

A Beautiful Mind with Tits

I’m so sad and still wrapping my head around your loss. I am so blessed to have had you in my life. You were my closest friend this year. I hope you knew that. I got a year Jed! You should be fucking celebrating with me ~ with a Diet Coke. I have a roll of quarters; we could be at “The Big L” right now, raiding the pop machine, ensuring that there are no Diet Cokes left for the rest of the residents. And clear out the Reese’s Peanut Butter cups as well. I hope you know how much you meant to me. I wish you had called me one last time. You would not have been a burden. Here are some random memories of you from the past year:

  • When you arrived at “The Big L”: I looked up from my lunch and said “Jenn?” You were so happy to see me. I was hesitant about seeing you. You said “You know me as Jed, PURPLE!” Then would get pissed at anyone who did not call you Jed: “It’s Jennifer Ellen Devich ~ JED!!”
  • We talked about this so I have no problem posting it, but you had scared me for years prior to our time together in rehab. I was so afraid of being friends with you. Even though we hung-out off & on for the past ten years, I had always kept you at a distance. So I didn’t want you in my group, on my floor, or eating meals with me at my table.
  • But JED, you were a force that pulled me in. I am so glad we were in my group, on my floor, and followed me around like a puppy. And I got to know YOU; you let down all those walls you’d been hiding behind for so long!
  • Remember when we ordered out of The Victoria Secret’s catalog in rehab? Remember how scarred I was because I was sure it was against the rules? BTW, you never gave me my underwear.
  •  You’re constant, questioning, “Who DOES that?” Especially when I told you I was moving to Rochester.
  • After wanting to keep you at a distance, you and I manipulated our way into being roommates.
  • We both had chicks at “The Big L” that threatened to beat us up
  • You helped me when I entered that horrible halfway house. When I told you they took my crayons away you said “Why? Are they the new gateway drug?”
  • I helped you when you needed to flee your horrible halfway house.
  • Going to see The Flaming Lips together last September. You laughed when I gave “bubble Wayne” a kiss through the plastic.
  • One of our last conversations, you were so proud because you had an IQ test taken, which of course proved your brilliance. You proclaimed, “Who knew! I’m a “Beautiful Mind with Tits!”
  • It was you who I had present me with my graduation certificate. You gave the most wonderful, heartfelt speech. No one had (or will) said (say) such wonderful things about me. We cried in each others’ arms. I will always have this memory. I know how much you loved me.

Thankfully in my bed.

Today I am thankful that I am not homeless. After a meeting yesterday I gave a young woman, from a town an hour or so away, a ride to the Library. She was going to spend time there, like many without a place to live, until she could get into the shelter. Med City’s shelter is nice but only holds 22 people; I hope she was able to get a bed.

She is not the first, and will not be the last, person I’ve met in the rooms who is homeless. Addiction robs you of everything; no one wants you if you’re  drinking, drugging and stealing. She was in town awaiting an addiction assessment, hoping to get a long-term inpatient treatment somewhere. She appeared to be sober and willing to go to great lengths to further her sobriety.

Her assessment is not until Friday. She hopes her Grandmother, from her hometown, will pick her up and she’ll spend Thanksgiving with her. I  hope this happens, but have the feeling she will be in limbo until she goes to treatment. If she is in town, I hope she finds her way back to the club on Thursday. They have a wonderful, all-day Thanksgiving celebration. Addiction does not judge. It can take anyone to low depths. But for the most part, the people in the rooms do not judge either, for they have been to those deep dark places themselves.

To My Six-Year-Old Self

Age 6, small yellow pad and pencil in hand, observing and writing.

Age six, small yellow pad and pencil in hand, observing and reporting.

This is your golden year, girl. You began writing because it surprised you how little adults remembered about their lives. Grandpa reveled nothing about growing up in Iowa. In fact you believed he was from Mesa and Colorado because those are the places you knew him to live. Life was in the present and you wanted to remember every moment. You reigned as resident princess mermaid in your backyard. You lived your life in moments. Good and bad would quickly fade. A jump in the pool solved all your problems. Self-assured and self-involved, others actions had yet to affect you.

Your stoned and violent brother was the norm, as was your drunk and belligerent mother. But these incidents happened in moments, ones you did not write down so you thought the memory of them would disappear. The memories remained. You should have kept writing.

In two years something awful will happen. Your innocence will be taken from you. It will change you from an outgoing child to a broken spirit; actions will not be taken to make you whole until 30 some years later. Everyone will act like it never happened. You will act like it never happened. It will happen, my dear six-year-old. You should have kept writing.

You will find other outlets as solutions to your problems. You will stop observing. At six you don’t know what an alcoholic is, you just know your mom slurs her words, walks funny and is mean to you and your sister sometimes. You know your brother can punch holes in bathroom doors when your mom buys the wrong type of soda. You don’t know why. You just avoid them when they are like this. You just keep writing.

Six will become your favorite number. It will take you years to figure out why. Once you do, you will keep writing.

Blogging 101 Today’s Assignment: publish a post for your dream reader, and include a new-to-you element in it.

Dating. Isn’t it ironic?

“Dating is so exciting!” she said, ironically. And by ironic I mean the definition which states “the use of words to express something other than, and especially, the opposite of the literal meaning” (Merriam-Webster). I have found that there are as many types of dates as there are forms of irony (dramatic, Socratic, tragic); exciting just has not been in the mix lately.

It was exciting in the beginning of the dating experiment with the first man I dated; a year after a tumultuous three year relationship had ended. He was all charm. It was summer and everything was warm, fresh and new. We had so much in common; music, recovery…..well just music and recovery. But at the time it seemed perfect. Things rushed along quick. So fast that I asked for things to slow down a bit. And they did; to a grinding halt.

The need for slowing down came from that voice within saying “something’s not right here” and “Watch out! You’re co-dependent!”  It went from talking and texting a few times a day to absolutely no correspondence. That was not what I meant by slowing down. And I thought I was bi-polar! It drove me to that “what did I do wrong” and “what if he was the one” crazy-making shame spiral. Until I realized he was a toolbox. With a whole bunch of destructive tools. Excitement has its downfalls.

I’ve dated three guys on exactly three dates since then. None of the dates were what I’d call exciting. All three men are “normies” in the addiction world, but of course no human being is normal.

I’m partial to the first, who we will call “Bass”. He’s five years older than I, has all his hair, and is pleasing to my eyes. We have a lot in common. He’s a sound and light engineer, and I was a sound designer and have run light and sound boards. He plays bass in a band; I like to date guys who play bass in bands. He has a very busy outer life; I have a very busy inner life. We have only been able to date once. Our second date was to be on Halloween but I had Ebola the common cold. As I said he is busy, and we only have talked on the phone a few times in the past few weeks. We will go to a movie this Friday. Unless I die or am put in quarantine before then (that was sarcasm, irony’s cousin).

The second man we will call “Misogynist”. Worst. Date. Ever. But it was coffee at 11 a.m. and I was clear, but not rude, that we would not be dating again. The third date was today, again at a coffee shop. We’ll call him “just joe”. He was fine, but we had nothing to say to each other after an hour passed. Exciting it was not. Was not bad either. Just was.

So I am looking forward to my Friday date with Bass. He’s different from the others because I feel this calm come over me when we are together or on the phone. Our first date lasted three hours filled mostly with talk. Thrills are not necessary any longer. I am a bi-polar recovering alcoholic who has created all sorts of excitement. As well as chaos. And destruction.

When people hear I’m going out on a date I usually hear “Good for You” or “How Exciting”. Since October it has yet to be exciting, and two out of three times has not even felt good. However, calmness has its charm. I’m unsure if I am going to continue dating other men or just stick with Bass. I may find out on Friday, because dating is so exciting!

<a href=”http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_writing_challenge/oh-the-irony/”>Oh, The Irony</a>