Day 90 – Pregnant, PAWS or life?

These last days have felt like being on an emotional roller coaster. One minute I’m joyous and full of life, the next I’m anxious and paralyzed; I get easily irritated around other people and feel lonely when I’m by myself; I’m optimistic and glad for the changes in my life, then I get angry, sad and scared. I’ve become obsessed with certain matters needing resolution, and have blissfully ignored others…arguably more urgent and of higher priority.  What’s going ON!?!  I feel like I’m either pregnant, experiencing PAWS (post-acute withdrawal syndrome), or life.  Since medically speaking I’m unable to get pregnant – being a man 😉 – my guess is a combination of PAWS and life.

I’ve been told there’s a reason they give 30, 60, 90 day and 6 month, year and 18 month tokens. One often suffers from physical & mental affects of PAWS ( around those intervals. So, in addition to just giving stepping stones of success along the way, they are designed to give an extra “boost” to the recovering alcoholic or addict who is likely +/- a week hitting some of the symptoms of PAWS and beginning to wonder.  I hit it at 50 days…and around 85 days 🙂  These past days, it feels like I’ve been using again!  Friday night, I was basically up all night.  I was wired – partially anxious about my legal situation – but mainly wired.  I got about 2 hours of sleep…literally.  Finally, at 3:30am, I got up and did work around the house! I’ve been a bit edgy, distracted as if with ADD while also laser-like in single-tasking, and emotionally charged. Hmm…let’s look up side-effects of crystal meth…sounds like much the last 18 months of my life on meth!

I also think I’m experiencing some of the frustration of the “meth wall.”  

Meth addicts get over the acute effects of withdrawal fairly quickly. However, the “wall” period lasts 6-8 months for casual users and 2-3 years for regular users. (Some people never recover and remain unsatisfied with life due to permanent brain damage.) This is a period of prolonged abstinence during which the brain recovers from the changes resulting from meth use. During this period, recovering addicts feel depressed, fuzzyheaded, and think life isn’t as pleasurable without the drug. 

Although life is pleasurable and I’m feeling things once again, the depression and fuzzyheaded-ness is playing tricks with my mind.

Of course, then there’s life.  I have said I want to experience life on life’s terms…not on the terms of a meth addict! And I do mean that!  But with that comes – ups and downs; people, places and things that frustrate me; feelings and emotions. All that sh*& I escaped from…the loss, the grieving, the frustration, the emptiness.  It’s all here – in living colour – in hi-definition – in surround sound!  And sometimes, it gets to be overwhelming!  But, I know it’s better than the alternative…so I pray for serenity — look for the good — and turn things over to my Higher Power.  It’s sometimes harder said than done because it’s a new habit…I forget…I get caught up in old ways of thinking. But, when I do remember…or get reminded by those around me in recovery…it gets better.

The other thing I’m realizing is that for the past 90 days (!), I’ve largely lived in an either a sheltered world of recovery (in- and out-patient; twelve step meetings) or an isolated world at home, away from people and “life.”  Since I’ve lost my job, the extremes have compounded.  For the most part, I’m either in recovery meetings or at home…with some volunteering at church.  When I have been social, it’s been 1:1 with people I love, who care for me and who listen & share. Frankly, it’s been somewhat self-centered; to a certain extent, it has probably needed to be that way.  I’m learning to live & think differently – to wear a new pair of glasses, as the book goes.  So, to a certain extent, it’s been 90 days “about me.”  And that’s ok.  But now, I’m trying to expand that circle & return to reality — to go out with folks before/after meetings; to forge new friendships & get to know people; to face some pretty tough legal and employment challenges. And, that puts me “back in real life” — where it’s not all about me, where there are people who are bitter & angry as well as peaceful & joy-filled.  And simply put – I’m not used to that!  For the past 90 days of recovery – and the prior 2+ years of heaving using…it’s either been about me, or I’ve numbed myself from reality! 

So, I just put that out there for me to remember looking back.  I’m where I need to be… It’s ok to be human and make mistakes… I don’t have to get along with everyone… and life does have challenges which I can face with the grace & strength of my HP, through which I will grow stronger and survive — and be far better off on the other side. 

For that, I’m grateful.  

For now, I must slow down, breathe and give myself a break…

Good night.  Oh, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY to me!  By the grace of god…

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I see life as full of possibilities and the world full of beautiful people possessing unique and often untapped talents. I’m a learner and connector, seeking ways to leverage the abundance in this world through strong community.

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