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A Problem Shared is a Problem Lessened, by Ashley N.

A Problem Shared is a Problem Lessened, by Ashley N.

I’ve been pretty grateful over the past 14 years to not have experienced a ton of adversity.  Sure, I lived paycheck to paycheck in early recovery.  Sure, my partner had a hard time staying sober early on in our relationship.  Sure, things didn’t always go MY way, but I was managing my stress and staying clean, so I can get through anything, right?  That’s what they’ve always told me!

I swear, about 2 years ago, something changed.  My problems felt less manageable. My anxiety was much higher. The days started to feel shorter. My job got harder. My friends started to leave the program. My dog died. We sold our house (yay!) but had a lot of trouble finding a new one. Then Coronavirus hit the globe, making buying a new house even harder. What in the actual hell is going on here?

Truth is, life is hard. Sometimes, it is just harder than others. It is important for me to remember, though, that my problems are important.  They may seem like Cadillac problems to some (a few people have actually said that to me lately and it pissed me right off), but they are my problems, nonetheless. There is no way to know what problem (Cadillac or Pinto) may open the door to thoughts of using. I never want to use again, so identifying my problems and knowing how to deal with them is key.

For me, what works well, is talking to other people in recovery.  Sometimes I just need to vent.  Sometimes I just need someone to listen and tell me that things will be ok.  Lately I have been really leaning on one of my sponsees for support.  I can always count on her to give it to me straight. With everyone having to physically distance themselves from their friends, loved ones and co workers because of COVID19, actually seeing people in person and receiving a hug is not a possibility.  So, for now I’ll have to pick up the phone more often.

Isolation can be a dangerous place for an addict, like me, to spend a significant amount of time. I am not, by nature, a person who isolates. I am a bit of a social butterfly.  Right now, however, we are ALL pretty much staying home, avoiding crowds of people and not attending in person support groups or meetings. It has been very important for me to stay in touch with people the best way that I can, and right now, that is either by phone or online in a virtual meeting. I don’t love any type of video chat, but for now, that is my only option, so I’ll take it. I’ll take it, because again, I do not want to welcome any thoughts of using into my personal space.

Today, my problems seem very overwhelming.  I am currently living in a house with about 80% of my belongings locked up and off site in a moving Pod. I’m worried about running out of toilet paper because I’ve stood in line at Target, Publix and Walmart and seen the empty shelves.  I am concerned about my grandfather who is in the hospital and because of COVID19 I am not allowed in to see him. The Cadillac is on fire! BUT, I acknowledge that I am powerless to change things out of my control. Today I focus on changing what I can, like my mood and my perspective. Just for today, I can give myself a break.

Thanks for letting me share 🙂

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