Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Since I got home from my last trip to Charlotte, it almost seems like I have been going non-stop.  I know that isn't the case, but I have added several things to my weekly schedule.  I am not sure of dates, or even days that I have done some of this stuff, so I'll try as best as I can to keep them in order.  One of the big events that has happened is I received an email from Terry.  This email was brutally honest, and he highlighted things I needed to work on before we could continue any training.

I have been a little frustrated with the process, as I have said before, I felt like I was doing everything that was asked of me.  While this may be true, my lifestyle from a few months back to the present has not changed very much.  I still avoid anything that I even think will stress me out, and I have not made an honest effort to get out of my isolation.  One of the things that Terry mentioned in his email is that they are looking for me to let down some of my barriers.  I have surrounded myself with walls, have become emotionally numb, and basically run from anything that will cause me pain.  This hasn't happened since I returned from Iraq, I have lived my entire life avoiding and drowning out pain.  I have become very good at manipulating people, lying to people, and have always had a tendency to try and control each and every situation I have been put in.  This plan has obviously not worked for me.  The people I have hurt due to my addictions, and the isolation I have experienced due to PTSD and alcoholism has put me in my own little world.  That world is filled with a false sense of protection due to the walls I have surrounded myself with.

One of the things that Terry's email made me realize, was that I really am not too good at faking it.  Terry sees right through me.  This is really the first time that I can recall where I have not been able to do what I wanted, and get the desired results, and for that I am grateful.  If I truly want to heal, and truly want to integrate back into society I can not continue to live the way I am living.

Every counselor, therapist, psychiatrist, and psychologist I have come across, I have been able to fake my way through.  Well my card was pulled.  It was a serious reality check.  The thought of not receiving CAROLINE, even the mere mention of it, crushed me.  I am not going to allow that to happen.  So...what now?

I have added a couple more recovery meetings a week, I have started going to the grocery store at least once a week.  I continue to go to the Vet Center for individual, and group counseling, and will be adding a few more things to do to my schedule.  Since my last relapse, I have come to realize that one of the major factors in my recovery is to help people.  Recently I have gotten so much out of sharing my experience with others, hoping that they may be able to take something out of it.  There is a saying, "You have to give it away to keep it."  I completely understand this now.  When I share at group, or at a meeting, I can look around the room and see people shaking their heads showing me that they can relate to what I am saying and feeling.  Not feeling so alone is huge for me.  I am going to contact Ann, my Wounded Warrior Rep. at the VA, and see if I can start to visit some of the Vets that are there in the hospital.  I am going to meet with Terry, and some others from paws4vets after Labor Day, and we will be discussing the next few weeks/months of training. 

Pain and misery has always been my motivator.  I have never tried to fix a problem until it was just too much for me to handle.  I will stuff my feelings and emotions, avoid any conversation, and isolate to a point where I feel that I am going to fall apart.  That is what I call hitting rock bottom.  I have had several bottoms over the last few years, and feel that I have hit another.  I have to change, I have to make an effort, I have to do something different, because what I am doing now is not working.  Terry's email really made me think about that.  Do I want to continue to live the way I am living, or do I want to take small steps to slowly climb out of this pit I have created?  Talk is cheap, I have to take action.