Many of us lived too long in the slums of our mistakes. We lived in a gated community, that in the beginning, appeared to be both exciting and appealing. We roamed about freely in the fog of its deception, oblivious to the cost that it would eventually extract. In our false sense of euphoric meanderings, we stumbled over our broken promises, inflicted pain, and became burdens to those we professed to love. We abused ourselves and others and continued down a dangerous road without as much as a quick glance in the rearview mirror. We hardly noticed the retreating exits as they slammed shut behind us. Until that is, we were sealed in. Suddenly we found ourselves gridlocked, flailing about in our own crap.
Some of us searched endlessly for an escape route. We considered a variety of ways out. There seemed to be many options. Paths marked: You can do it alone; drink only on weekends, switch substances; only drink at home. Some of us traveled down each and every road but to no avail. It wasn’t until we were exhausted and beaten to a pulp that we saw off in the distance, a small crack in what had become our prison. It was just around the corner from the very last signpost. Unlike the others, it offered no excuses, led not to easy fixes, nor did it minimize the situation. It simply read recovery and attached to it was a key to unlock the gate.
For those of us who were willing to dump our false pride, box up our misery, and leave it behind in yesterday’s ruins, a new journey began. The road was less rocky, the scenery was paved with petals of hope, and we were never alone. Those who had traveled it before dotted each and every turn with outstretched hands and giving hearts. The journey is not a means to an end, but rather a never-ending path to enrichment that gets better and better, one day at a time.
Once clean and sober, we learn that in recovery we can participate in creating a brand new environment; one specifically designed to lift us out of the mire of our past and point us in a new direction. Suddenly, we discover that we have choices. A new future is spread out before us like pieces of a puzzle waiting to be fitted into the framework of our willingness to move forward.
Who would have guessed that we could move into a new neighborhood chock full of hope and promise?
She lay in her bed unable to sleep yet again, but this time for a different reason; Khanak was excited! She was impressed by how Shaan had come through on his word and so quickly and efficiently had got both their families on the same page. He was as he said a man of action, not just words. Things had happened in such rapid succession, she felt as if she needed to pause to catch her breath but then he always had that effect on her. She blushed with embarrassment and hid her head in the pillow, when she recalled the lessons he had planned for her. The funny part was, she knew exactly what he meant thanks to her education but was a novice when it came to the actual experience. It frightened and excited her at the same time. She closed her eyes tightly trying to wish away the images forming in her mind’s eye. It was to no avail.
Rituals, especially for those of us in recovery, can impact the quality of our sobriety. Established early on, mine has remained basically the same throughout the years. They require minimal effort on my part and include prayer and reading my daily meditations. They are my number one priority every morning. No matter how lackadaisical I might be in other areas of my life; no matter what kind of a mood I wake in, or no matter that I might be running late, I rarely leave the peace and quiet of my home without taking the time to gear up for the day ahead.
How many tools do you have in your toolbox? Is it time to add a few more?
In the beginning, I depended on just three essentials to lay my foundation: Meetings, sponsorship, and the twelve steps.
The meetings were the brick and mortar that gave me a sure footing in order to navigate the peaks and valleys that stretched ahead. They provided a temporary shelter that housed a support system, where my equilibrium could be restored. Inside the rooms of AA, reconstruction was soon underway. Old ideas and beliefs that tethered me to my distorted view about the disease of alcoholism were swiftly replaced by new concepts, ones that promised hope instead of damnation. I learned that recovery, once I had put the drink down would be a choice available even to me. All I had to do was keep coming back and listen to folks who shared with me, the heartache of their addiction, and more importantly the miracle of their recovery.
A young woman in the late teens called 911 after she swallowed a whole bottle (100 pills) of a common fever and pain medicine called Tylenol (generic Acetaminophen). She was depressed and despondent because her family didn’t understand her. She also took another bottle (more than 3/4 full, unknown quantity) of Tylenol PM (acetaminophen + diphenhydramine) a common OTC (over the counter) drug sold as a non-habit forming pain reliever and nighttime sleepaid. She said she wanted to end it all, but then got scared and called for help.
She had ingested these pills about 6 hours ago and had begun to vomit before calling. She admitted to vomiting some pill fragments.
When I talked to her, she admitted she had made a mistake, and wanted to live not die.
Fortunately her vitals signs were normal, she was alert and completely with it but her blood work showed an elevated acetaminophen level and signs of liver injury. Her EKG (electrocardiogram) was normal.
This is a guest post by Sonali Dhir on the current times and how it has changed us and our lives:–
I have lived and worked in New Jersey my whole life. Covid-19 changed our way of life drastically here since mid -March of this year. Pre-Covid-19, if we did not feel like cooking, we could head less than a few miles from home and find a fast food joint or restaurant open to grab a bite to eat. Our waiter or waitress would ask us what we wanted and we would simply order what we liked on the menu. It was not just the food but the experience that led us out of our homes. It was normal, it was a break from the usual routine of work, school, running errands and then returning home. However, post the eruption of Covid-19, the new normal is cooking at home, going out for essentials, working from home if possible and homeschooling children. There were closures of beloved small businesses we used to frequent when it was actually safe outside or to go somewhere when we felt the need to go. Now everything must be meticulous planned prior to going anywhere. Want a haircut or nails done? Make an appointment. Want to go shopping? Wait in line six feet apart until there is enough room for you to enter.
It was at one of the five star hotels, Marriott I think, the fancy one in Juhu. Thank heavens it wasn’t at his home.
The room was cavernous and daunting with creepy shadows all over created by the hidden lighting everyone is so crazy about nowadays. I was led there by two of my new husband’s giggly cousins. I’d have loved to smack their pretty faces but that’d have invited a ruckus. Besides, I was preoccupied. I was terrified. Terrified of doing it with someone I didn’t know anything about. What little I did could be googled on the web. But then was my lot different from other women. Examples were all around me–my mom, aunts, cousins, friends.
Maybe it was because everything had happened so fast; because I had no clue of the future; because the ghost of Rohan still clung to me like my own shadow. Because. Because. Because.
It was close to ten in the morning. Last night I’d come back to the room quite late and had found both mom and baby fast asleep. It was tough to get comfortable on the recliner but somehow I’d managed to fall asleep and woke up just a few minutes ago. I’d chosen to remain in my position and watch the play of expressions on my wife’s face as she interacted with our little one. I found them delightful as they were all brand new.
“Don’t you think the bump is smaller today?” Ruhi asked when she realized I was awake. I tossed aside the thin blanket the nurses had provided and loped over to the bed. I caressed the little head with my hand. It did appear less prominant. I could feel the slight irregularity, it was soft, cushion like, as if there was fluid inside. It didn’t appear to hurt the baby at all. She was wide awake, her clear black eyes drifting around, coming to pause for a moment on our faces then drifting again. I wasn’t sure if she could see us, or make out our faces. If she could, (which was highly improbable) did she know who we were? Regardless, I was sure she knew she was safe. She was going to be beautiful, just like her mother, and brave and strong. I saw Ruhi was waiting impatiently for my assessment. “She’s going to be just fine, jaan, she’s her mother’s child afterall.”
“And her father’s.”
“Yes, she’s our child. Congratulations my love.” I leaned forward and kissed Ruhi. It was a kiss of reassurance and love; a promise that we were in this together no matter what. For godsakes why was I having such morbid thoughts.
The lobby was deserted. The automatic sliding doors of the entryway were locked. The Afterhours Exit is to your Left—a sign pointed toward the ER. I saw lights flashing outside and people running. Curious, I walked over to the doors. A helicopter had landed on top of the hospital. A few EMTs rushed out with a stretcher. I guessed they were ferrying someone to another facility. Someone very sick. It was one thirty in the morning. Just like babies, sickness too arrives unannounced. The thought left a bad taste in my mouth.
I turned to the vending machines and scanned the repertoire—chips, salted peanuts, sunflower seeds, trail mix, fat free popcorn, pretzels, power bars. They even had one dispensing hot sandwiches. Yuck!
I was engulfed by a sudden craving for homecooked food. Ruhi’s parathas; mom’s baingan bharta—If I closed my eyes, I could smell the aroma, almost. Mom–the word stirred a flurry of emotions. I felt my heart squeeze inside my chest. What would she be doing now, I wondered. Lunch would be almost over if things still operated as they did before. After I’d left home all those years ago. Of course they did. Why would anything change?
And so, it was. Never ever, even if I wished for it. But why would I? I thought, as I looked at her delicate little self, fast asleep, cocooned in her doting mother’s embrace. So tiny, yet so perfect. I couldn’t tear my eyes off her. What an entry she’d made. Her cry echoing through the halls of the labor and delivery unit making me smile and tears of joy sprout from her exhausted mother’s eyes.
Her poor mother, my wife, was beat. After almost 24 hours of ineffective pushing and perspiration, when our baby girl began showing signs of distress, Dr. Shepherd didn’t like the way her heart was reacting– speeding up and slowing down; so, she decided to force matters. She talked us into something called a vacuum device, to pull our baby out. I had my doubts, it sounded quite medievel, but there was no time for questions or research. It worked like a miracle. The baby slid out in seconds, but she had what looked like a big bump on her head. The doctor assured me it was nothing. “It’ll be gone in a couple of days;” she said. Ruhi, though, was oblivious to this slight inconsistency. The little bundle in her arms had hijacked all her attention. I don’t think she was even aware she was bleeding. The blood gushed out of her like a river. The doc had to stitch her up. I doubt anyone realized how much she’d lost till they sat her up in the wheelchair to transport her to another room and she promptly passed out. They had to give her two pints!Continue reading →