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Somewhere Over the Rainbow

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the house began to twitch

It really was no miracle. What happened was just this.
The wind began to switch – the house to pitch and suddenly the hinges started to unhitch. Just then the Witch – to satisfy an itch went flying on her broomstick, thumbing for a hitch.
I am in the last few days of my house of 11 years. There are boxes everywhere, a storage unit is secured, a post office box as well, an apartment in the house of a friend is on standby, the moving van reserved, and some physical labor assistance promised.
I have been avoiding too many feelings around all this as I hold my breath that no shoes drop. Keeping myself busy and trying not to stop. This way I won’t be able to grieve as much without being busy. The goal is to keep busy and continue to move forward.
Tomorrow the closing of the sale of my home is scheduled for the morning. The afternoon I am scheduling lunch with a friend and getting ready for the move scheduled Thursday.
Overall, 2017 has been a very crunchy year. Beginning with a surgery that knocked me for a loop until now, I find myself systematically reviewing what I think I know, letting go of some of that as illusion, and trying to redefine what I believe my strengths are in order to start to lean on those.
Whatever happens, it promises to be a wonderland adventure. I am ready for some technicolor around me.  Wish me luck. I’m following the yellow brick road.  I wonder who I’ll run into along the way.

 

a new foundation

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reconstruction

In just under 3 weeks, the framework of my former life will get reintroduced to a new foundation and home. There are risks involved with this kind of effort, but the possibilities outweigh those risks in my mind.

It certainly not the first time I’ve started over. The political, financial, and emotional climates are influencing this decision. I am nervous about something going haywire. I hesitate to put this to paper as to jinx the glory that is my life today.

But part of me knows that resilience has become my overcoat. It has kept me warm during trauma after trauma, during debacle after debacle, and helped me stay dry as i have fired PTSD as my chauffeur.  Somehow, my faith will take me through. And I am glad to have this old shell of a building to set down anew and build a new life.

i  believe in movement. I believe in that lighthearted balloon, the world.I believe in midnight and the hour of noon. But what else do I believe in? Sometimes everything. Some- times nothing. It fluctuates like light sitting over a pond. I believe in life, which one day each of us shall lose. When we are young we think we won’t, that we are different. as a child I thought I would never grow up, that I could will it so. and then I realized, quite recently, that I had crossed some line, unconsciously cloaked in the truth of my chronology. &ow did we get so damn old? I say to my joints, my iron-colored hair. now I am older than my love, my departed friends. perhaps I will live so long that the New York public library will be obliged to hand over the walking stick of Virginia Woolf. I would cherish it for her, and the stones in her pocket. But I would also keep on living, refusing to surrender my pen…. Patti Smith- MTrain

 

Pack it Up Pack it In, Let me begin

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After 11 years, the time has come to make a change. Looking towards the future, it seems inevitable that i need to reel in expenses and plan for the next decade. I will miss this little townhouse. It has seen me through quite a lot.

I am very interested in what is to come.  I have hopes of helping to create a network of recovery support throughout some of the state. I am not “connected” in the way that this type of many entities seem to be as I resemble a maverick rather than part of the herd. Not forgetting that I am part of a larger movement and proud to be so.

The 2018 working plan is to begin developing coaches in several counties throughout Colorado. Training, providing support, offer supervision, provide consult if asked, and to start to piece these coaches into a network that can share ideas, efforts, and resources- all of which come in handy during the more drought-like times.

I will be conducting fund-raising efforts for a judicial district’s clients, developing an accreditation training track to fulfill the State’s Peer Credential requirements, and hopefully taking part in an effort to plug in recovery coaches into emergency room settings for outreach when folks are vulnerable.

This is no small effort. My team will not be doing this alone. We encourage you to volunteer and help us get this freight train of change going. Coloradans are dying daily who need some of this help. Get on board. Pack it up. Pack it in. Let me begin. Jump Around.

lucky 13

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birthday

13 years ago I definitely hit my bottom. I became too weary of putting things back together that a new direction was the only option. It has certainly been a journey. I have had so much help along the way. Never could I have done this alone. Sober date 9/28/2004. Some of the chapters of my recovery story include….

I have studied Alcoholics Anonymous and experienced a spiritual experience, attended my sponsor’s memorial service,  been the subject of a Westword cover story about recovery in 2006,  studied A Course in Miracles, Buddha, Pema Chodron, William White, Marianne Williams, Louise Hay, Duane Dyer,  become an addictions counselor, a recovery coach, a peer mentor, a recovery coach trainer, developed several programs. I have left wreckage in my sobriety and discovered a better way to manage my trauma.

I bought a house, 2 cars, leased another, had 3 full time jobs with a part time job going the whole 13 years. I remember losing a job while trying to live through PTSD for the first time sober. I gave up friendships and support along that road. I couldn’t trust anyone to ask for help because I had never trusted anyone. I’ve learned a little more about this since then.

The cost of sanity is definitely balanced out by the gifts of recovery. Learning to cope has been challenging, but coping without doping is its own reward. I love my life today. I am happy joyous and free. I am not a body. I am still as God created me.  Here’s a little Pema for the road.  oh yeah, I’m still working on eating only 1 piece of cake.

“nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know
…nothing ever really attacks us except our own confusion. perhaps there is no solid obstacle except our own need to protect ourselves from being touched. maybe the only enemy is that we don’t like the way reality is now and therefore wish it would go away fast. but what we find as practitioners is that nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know. if we run a hundred miles an hour to the other end of the continent in order to get away from the obstacle, we find the very same problem waiting for us when we arrive. it just keeps returning with new names, forms, manifestations until we learn whatever it has to teach us about where we are separating ourselves from reality, how we are pulling back instead of opening up, closing down instead of allowing ourselves to experience fully whatever we encounter, without hesitating or retreating into ourselves.”
― Pema ChödrönWhen Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

Prayers for the Refugee

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Firstly let me express deep sympathy and concern over the souls in Southern Texas and the trauma that my fellow citizens are going through. I am sending prayers and support in my daily meditations. before and duringThere is little doubt in my mind that a new era is already in motion. Weather changes,  icebergs breaking, overdose epidemic, conservative mafia, the new Russian bank virus that seems to affect so many, money laundering, hacked elections, white supremacists,  border walls, reversing EPA guidelines, ice agents, alternative facts,  all add up to creepy science fiction to me.

My interior life feels as if it is mirroring the dissonance I see in the world and it’s a bitch to maneuver gracefully. My pride is being revealed as a real sense of power drain. This is a source of regret for me. I know that my tough makeup has been my companion for almost 50 years. It has sadly come time to retire it though. Heaven knows how I will operate without my scout always checking out the territory before I settle in.

I approach 13 years of recovery with no alcohol or drug use and I have found ease and comfort certainly. But the challenge now is to have my exterior life match my interior views. I would rather let go of the dancing I do when I am challenged by circumstances in life. I continue to shut down emotionally as I always have. I notice it now and change the course, but it’s all draining and takes time. Although it is better than just shutting down.

I am obviously wrestling with emotional sobriety on some level. It will work itself out no doubt. I leave you with an excerpt from a William White blog.

I have been closely observing the addiction recovery process for half a century. I have been struck by two extremes: people whose fragile recovery is forever frozen at a primitive stage of development, and people who go through metamorphic changes that transform their character, values, and the quality of their interpersonal relationships. In the former, drug use has ceased or radically decelerated in frequency, intensity, and consequences, but this change remains nested within the same self-centeredness, resentfulness, dishonesty, and intolerance that often characterizes active addiction. This former pattern has been referred to as the “dry drunk” syndrome. In the latter style, the radically altered person-drug relationship is accompanied by dramatic enhancements in global health and functioning, as well as changes in character and identity—changes AA co-founder Bill Wilson characterized as “emotional sobriety.”

It is easy to cast these widely varying styles of recovery into the boxes of bad and good, but time and experience have softened that view for many of us as we have come to see how each style can exist within the same persons (and within ourselves) at different stages of the long-term recovery process. Also of note is that the executive brain functions of some people may have been severely and even permanently damaged from addiction, precluding tolerance of the ambiguity and more complex decision-making of the transformative style of recovery.

Today’s guiding mantra is “whatever it takes—recovery by any means necessary under any circumstances.” While we can deeply admire those in recovery who have used the recovery experience as a catalyst for personal transformation (via humility, gratitude, tolerance, service, etc.), we can also admire those who must tenaciously cling to those crude early defenses as a way to “keep the plug in the jug.” Both are deserving of respect and admiration…. William White blog

Overdose Awareness

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shoe drive hrac 2017

I know its a little late for the National Day of Awareness but since we have a Recovery Month Event 2 weeks later, we are taking liberties with the day and building an Overdose Memorial at the Recovery Music Fest on Saturday September 16, 2017 at the Colorado State Capitol. We will use old shoes tied to balloons to represent the 914 Coloradans who lost their lives to overdose in our state in 2016. That number rose from 872 in 2015. Our purpose in this is to create a community intention that reverses this trend while sending a visual picture to our lawmakers. The event information can be found at  www.pcasurrounded.com

All these Souls passing on and so little attention is given them. Our airwaves and newsreels are rife with happenings on other continents but so little focus on stopping this steady bleeding of love between our own shores. And with that 914 lost souls are an average of 3 other Americans left with grief and stigma and little else to speak of. Addressing this glaring criminal hypocrisy is another agenda of the September Awareness effort. We want family members to feel welcome, to feel seen and heard, and to feel loved by our communities who have personal and lived experience with feeling outcast and unloved. Let us love you up.

PCA is proud to be holding a fund raiser that day for “Harm Reduction Action Center” which is an organization working at ground zero with the IV drug using population. Their impact saves lives on a daily basis. Join us in supporting their efforts.

IMG_0899

if you have been affected by overdose, please join us at the Capitol on September 16, Join our effort to raise our voices for change. Bring your conscience and your heart, tie a balloon on a pair of shoes and place them on the Capitol steps. Make an effort to open your heart. This may be the only way change can happen.

‘This is an issue that all Coloradans can come together on. Let’s stop our neighbors and friends from bleeding love.

Following Our Hearts

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Sound logowww.pcasurrounded.com

 

The train has left the station. It hasn’t been without stops and starts, but it has been steady. This creative part of my psychology remains a mystery somehow. The power of filling an empty space with ideas, concept, strategy, and implementing them is perhaps my favorite high. I have learned over time that this ability and this process is a strength for me.

I so love the process of putting it together. As Sondheim said ” piece by piece, bit by bit” . Never have I indulged myself to the point of considering this art. It seems so much more like business. But it’s really not business if it’s not commerce and it’s certainly not commerce to me.

The Surrounded Event will :

  • Feature at least 5 live musical acts to perform and share some of their recovery.
  • Recognize Community Beacons whose work has impacted Colorado culture.
  • Celebrate Recovery Month in Colorado
  • Bring more attention to the overdose epidemic in Colorado
  • Celebrate the 5280 Recovery High School’s approval in 2017
  • Spotlight 18th Judicial District Problem Solving Courts- ( DRG can network with Amanda Myers – PSC Coordinator) at the event.
  • Raise awareness and funds for Harm Reduction Action Center using the shoes and balloons.
  • Interface with the Reel Recovery Film Festival with CeDAR at SIE.
  • Create and display a photography installation titled “Putting a Face on Recovery” which can be utilized to educate all year.
  • Utilize an Event App to create real-time interaction and data collection from attendants.
  • Enable sponsors to offer giveaways live during the fest to draw people to your booth.
  • Enable participants to pre-register people for the Fair Chance Job Fair at DU the following week.
  • Have a Dental organization to be present to offer screening and opportunity for care.
  • Include outreach and resources for Families affected by Substance Use and Mental Health.

Last year we asked churches and methadone clinics to participate in a shoe drive for the event. It seemed to engage and ignite some empathy with the clients at the clinic-

We would like to ask more if they will participate this year.

www.universe.com/surrounded17

Please let me know if I can be of any help or answer any questions.