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Sitting down at my laptop to post after a very long time of not posting, and actually a little break from writing, feels weird. I ashamed and disappointed in myself. I am going on “well you have to start somewhere”, so here I go again.
The break was mostly because I was less ruminative and more out there actually living my life. I started to ride my bike to work, I became more active at church, I even went to a few social events. I was going to write about Bad Days, Benders and Balancing out. And I did balance out quite a bit. I am, like a lot of dysfunctional people, a perfectionist in certain ways. I am also very much all or nothing, on or off, hot or cold, there or gone. You see, I got no middle. Chaotic, absent, addicted, injured parents don’t raise well- balanced middle of the road children. They raise kids to be just as wacky as themselves. This is not a healthy way to live. I know this. During my time writing less, I spent a heck of a lot of time finding the middle in other areas of my life.
Time was spent training myself to adhere to a few simple rules on the premise that once you break the small ones (rules) then larger ones follow. I got this idea from Charmed. Phoebe burned at a modern day stake for killing someone in the future, but the real problem started with dog doo-doo.
I have serious self-care deficits. One of my problems, now solved by a “small rule” is I don’t allow myself to spend quarters. Nope. No quarters go out, only in. Why? Because I will run myself out of my roles of quarters and then not be able to do my laundry. No laundry, no clean uniforms for my j o b . The roles come from my bank which is not easy to get to (because I also don’t have a very good sense of time) and I try my best to get at least one role each paycheck, if not two. However, routine is difficult for me resulting in ending up without quarters. Hence a stash. This week I did indeed use my stash and then got my ass to the bank. Small rule upheld, no laundry emergencies, routine reestablished, one win for self-esteem.
Another small rule. When shopping, acquire a few singles for tips and the ACOA basket. Also, never ever spend all the money in your change purse. If you can’t afford a decent tip in cash, no restaurant meals. This has really reigned in my spending. Go home and cook for yourself. Twelve step groups are free and self-supporting. They are THE best group therapy for me personally. Show gratitude, feed the basket. Resisting the coffee, pop, and treat stops because you may-not-empty-your-change-purse is good economy. Good for the bank account, good for the waistline, good for emotional addictions. I have to stop and ask myself why I want that treat. What am I soothing? Can I do it in another way? I do plan a Starbucks run about two Mondays a month, just to keep from getting bitter.
On payday I fill my gas tank. I have a horrible history of running out of gas. This is rude, inconvenient, dangerous and entirely avoidable. The last time I did this, my car also required a jump start because the battery needs to be replaced. I live in a major city. This is a dangerous rule to break.
Some things are not rules, but “best weekly practices” for the care of me. I absolutely MUST socialise two to three times a week. I live alone. I am an only child. I am not dating anyone. My child is grown and lives in another state. I am not close to anyone in my family. My best friend also lives in another state. I am prime pickings for loneliness, isolation, depression and suicide. This is an ongoing battle for me. I must go to therapy, 12-step, and church weekly. My church has things going on 2-3 times a week so this is easy. Therapy and 12-step is work schedule dependent but it usually works out.
My ACOS meetings have been positively amazing. My growth has been in leaps. What I do is whatever happened in the week, I process it though the issues of recovery and share what I learned. The good and the sucky. And there has been a lot of sucky lately. The other members have been unbelievably recovery oriented as well, and I think as a group we are fabulous at promoting healing.
Life is humming along. My car still needs some work, but it stops when I apply the breaks. It didn’t for a long time, so this is nice (huge one for the self-esteem- $800 in cash). I have a stock up of Viva paper towel and Charmin toilet paper. I have back-up shampoo/conditioner, dawn dish soap, toothpaste, deodorant, furniture polish (my studio is very dusty), and am up 50lbs of rabbit pellets. I have never, in my life, had stock-ups.This is huge for me. Since July I have NOT lived paycheck to paycheck. I have consistently had $300-1000 going into the next paycheck. This time it will be about $200. I have almost never not lived paycheck to paycheck. Back in May, I had 24 cents until I got paid. While working on my last degree (yet to finish), I never even made it close to the next paycheck before going onto credit cards.
Next month is my two year anniversary in my studio. This anniversary also marks the beginning of the end of my decline. The end of a life I could no longer lead. By the end of January I could no longer go to work or school. In November I gave up financially. On this two year anniversary, I will celebrate one year of “truth in spending”. One year of mostly making budget. I will have had 4 months of meeting my needs, paying my household bills complete and on time (maybe slight slippage, but very slight), giving to others, some play and books, and money saved.
This is not to say that I don’t still have problems or giant financial issues out there; just that strides have been made in the right, sane, safe, recovery oriented direction. This was largely possible due to an abundance of hours available to work at my job. Without the extra hours this would not have happened. At some point fairly soon I will need an additional job. Even as I type this, I know how far I have yet to go. I know how one expense can and will erase this nice four month success story. The laptop calls me back to share my journey out of depression because this success comes with a very high price.
She is my inner child. She is my addiction to Co-dependency. She is the rouster of the fear of success. She is the Big Bad Wolf raging to blow this house down. She is clothed in shame, with a basket full of “not good enoughs”, “who do you think your ares”, and “but I-I-I needs”. She is the reminder of kindly garbed people who bit me. She is the one who was first bitten. She will never forget. She refuses to let go.