Monday, February 28, 2011

The zaps and the heat flashing are the pits

Paxil Withdrawal symptoms from ONLINE.

If I could impress upon you only one thing, it would be this: The symptoms of paxil withdrawal will end. They can't go on forever. They can't.

You will survive!

* * *

The paxil withdrawal symptoms include (but are not limited to):

  • Dizziness, which can be quite extreme at times.
  • Shocks, called the 'zaps'; usually starting in the mouth or head, and extending out through the body.
  • Sensory sensitivity, especially sounds. Any noise can become a painful experience. Also, being under florescent lights can create discomfort. Touch, motion and even smell can be painful.
  • Nausea, very common with paxil withdrawal.

  • Confusion, memory problems, and difficulty with concentration.
  • Severe insomnia and/or nightmares, (now there's a winning combination).
  • Extreme mood swings, such as intense grief and intense anger. Plan for this in advance!
  • Suicidal thoughts. If the urge to kill yourself becomes too strong and the argument becomes too logical, think of those who love you. Think of the thousands of others who have or who will go through a similar agony. Just don't give up!
  • Headaches, sometimes quite severe.
  • Reduced motor skills, such as difficulty walking or talking.
  • Reduced or no appetite.
  • Intense fear of losing your sanity.
  • Depersonalization, where nothing seems real; it's like you are outside your body.
  • Panic attacks, even if you've never had them before.
  • Sweating, sometimes profusely.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Muscle cramps and stomach cramps.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Chills/hot flashes, part of the 'paxil-flu'.
  • Fatigue.
  • Painful, swollen eyes or mouth.
  • Fainting.
  • Hard to swallow.
  • Grinding teeth.
  • Numbness.
  • Itching.
  • Trembling.
  • Hallucinations.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

I'm double dipping with post tonight

My thoughts and emotions are all over the place. If I weren't 4 days into detox from Paxil, I would start back. I want to scream at people then collapse into a weeping pile of silver hair with love. If I can just get sleepy I know i will wake up in a better mood. I just went through my facebook friends list and deleted a lot of them. There are people I like, and have to run in the same recovery circles but I quit trying to like someone just because we recover with the same program. I am open to the real possibility when i become myself again post detox I may feel differently.
Perhaps eating will fill the gap between now and sleep time.


It's day four of operation antidepressant reduction. I'm at the point where I really feel the side effects are out weighing the benefits. The meds block me from feeling other things besides the depression. There is a level of laughter that I haven't felt in over a year and I never feel like sex is interesting at all. At just 43 I'm too young to give up on funny sex. lol

I've been experiencing some electric zaps while detoxing from the Paxil and it made me remember that when I STARTED the treatment it made me have the Zaps.

My sister is leaving for Canada tomorrow and not a minute to soon. I think I should be thankful to have a first row seat to the weird , bizzare shit that addicts do when they are using. I know she is on a mix of Xanax, Ambien and Pot these days and sometimes the smoke form of coke, but there is this weird stupor that exist even when the shit has worn off. Last week when I broke the water heater pipe and the washroom was sprayed with water. a big old suitcase was soaked and set out to be thrown away. At some point yesterday she took a knife and removed the outer covering of the suitcase and trimmed it down to the frame and the handle.????????? When mother asked her if she did it and why, all she could come up with this morning was she thought she might need to use the handle to replace another one sometime and she could use the the fake leather big pieces to "cover stuff up" (WTF)
I know I do shit just as bizarre when I use, but to see this lunacy from the side of the non using person is aggravating, frustrating and sad when I let myself remember what it feels like from the inside too.

I'm having to be a loving human with a person I am related to by blood. I'm trying hard to acknowledge my frustration but to remember she is sick like me. IT"S HARD. Did I mention THIS SHIT IS HARD!

This is my life today though. February 28 , the final day of the month and I don't have a choice (B). So I am going to recover REGARDLESS, try to be of service to another and not use. Life, the world and the goodness of the universe are to fantastic to miss, and I grateful to know that down to the very cellular atomic structures of my physical being. I had my ass sufficiently kicked to get here and today, we don't go backwards. WE DO RECOVER.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

How Facebook is setting me free.

I'm 43 and I unfortunately carry around much pain for childhood and growing up in rural East Texas. I lived at such a heightened state of awareness trying to watch out for monsters on the attack, it seems to have burned many more memories in my mind than my friends don't have. I remember all the painful bullying as if it were yesterday. I remember everyone in my classes from growing up. I've been paralyzed with mental illness and substance abuse and they have been frozen in time in my mind.
One by one I have seen their photos on Facebook and seen them talking about having kids and it's so hard to believe this middle aged chunky man was the hot shot quarterback. I've sort of followed the bouncing ball using the "Friends List" and I have found more and more of my torcher'ers now are average looking older men and women and I feel embarrassed that I have given them free space in my head where they don't age. One monster has a photo of him and his two sons. He was handsome in high school but now his outward appearance is that of a very not good looking man. It was as if seeing him, made it a little bit easier in letting it go. It has made it easier for me to let go of the hurt with many old faces. For over 20 years they have lived in my head and their voices have continued to haunt me, tease me, bully me. I doubt they have ever even thought of my name since graduation, but I have brought them with me everywhere I went. I'm letting go. Letting go of feeling powerless against them and feeling frightened of them. Letting go of using their echoes to beat myself into a state of complete depression.
Time has went on and I see that when I try to see their original faces. I'm very thankful Facebook came along because I could have died with these Mean Girls and Boys, in my head.

The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.

Clinton Rolen Gandy All over the planet, there are people just like me who have begun the work of becoming themselves. Completely different circumstances bring us to the same place, the jumping off place. Letting go of the idea of perfection and sinking into the the pleasure of being what we were put here to be. There is such beauty in the fact the apple trees make apples and tomato plants produce tomatoes. Can you image the silliness of one trying to produce the other? I'm big, clever, funny, compassionate, empathetic, philosophic , loving and slightly bent. I like those things and I can't imagine me trading those things to be you today or worse some version of me that exist in someone else's warped fantasy. All I can be is me. A lot of peace came when I accepted that. I also nearly died leading up to the decision. It wasn't a leap of faith so much as a giant foot in the ass shoving me forward.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

You know, I was present for a radical shift in thought and perspective. I don't remember exactly where I was but I remember the awe of realizing, OH< I can't take pills. I can't take just one pill, it is impossible for me to take "a few" from a new script and have any left by morning". This new understanding took place while I was in the company of 2 people who were just like me. It was so fantastic to identify with them on such a level of breathing , living comprehension. There was something that looked like a pill under the table in the group room at the hospital and I looked at it and mentioned to my friend Wanda, "You know that looks like a pill underneath the edge of that table. She turned to me and said "It's a piece of paper and I thought the same thing til I finally got up and looked." We understood each other in that moment and it was funny and warm and I knew for the first time, I wasn't alone. I'm an addict , my first response may always be, "cool, a pill" but with a sponsor, some days clean, 12 steps and the amazing freedom to find a power greater than myself, my action regarding that pill is to "pass it by." I'm not confounded or befuddled regarding my addiction. I found A WAY OUT I'm not on the outside looking in to my own life, as a narrator in a movie or play. My favorite sentence in all the literature is "We could no longer live as humans, with or without drugs. When I heard that sentence from the reading "We do Recover" I was changed from a patient attending a mandatory NA meeting to a full fledged willing member of Narcotics Anonymous.
"The ultimate weapon for recovery is the recovering addict. " I keep thinking about that sentence. It doesn't say it is a viable weapon, or a nice weapon or even a strong weapon. The authors of this book said the recovering addict is my ULTIMATE WEAPON. So, I totally have to get over my fear of people and start bringing more recovering addicts into my recovery. I'm actually better with newcomers mainly because people in recovery have started to have lives again and i always feel like i am keeping them from something. Newcomers have more tt BUT, I am better than I was at it and willing to push through the fear and the stupid obsession with myself. lol If I want clean time with peace in it, I will get over it. It's what the book states.

There aren't many places in the book that are that direct and pointed where they crown a weapon or tool of recovery as "THE ULTIMATE". It gets my attention every time.
"We constantly let go of what has served its purpose, and let our Higher Power guide us through the current phase with what works here and now." BT10

My garage is a great example of not letting go of things that serve me no more. Right now, there is an old computer monitor, an old vacuum, 2 old air filters and an mini fridge that line one wall. None of it can or will be fixed, it take up useful space and frankly that collection of broken crap is an eye sore and a metaphor for my family's life. Afraid of letting go because we might need this broken shit.
The Narcotics Anonymous Ecosystem, It's all good and anyone is welcome. lol
by Clinton Rolen Gandy on Wednesday, February 16, 2011 at 7:37am

I caught a nature program on TV and I was struck by the similarities of all these different ecosystems in nature and how they rely on all of the individual parts to perform the task they were born or created to carry out in order for the whole system to survive, and how Narcotics Anonymous was just like the system they spoke about in the rain forest and the wet lands.

The definition of an Ecosystem is....The interacting system of a biological community and its nonliving environment.

I depend on others to do what they know how to do, and I add my skills to the group and together we are a part of a living breathing system that sustains life and offers safety and sanctuary for newcomers until they get well enough to identify and add what they bring to the system. It's ever evolving and at no point can it stop allowing new members because they bring us the energy to exist as a whole. What better way for a power greater than ourselves to assure that we don't become exclusive than by making the ecosystem depend on the influx of new life to help grow and sustain the existing forms already present and we don't consume them we fortify them.

This system relies completely on love, compassion, service, patience , tolerance and forgiveness to feed us all and to keep us fortified for each other and the newcomer.

Something that the program has given me, or allowed me to do as long as I practice it, is to see myself as part of life, living, nature, humanity and the spirit world. I have felt apart from, less than and not good enough all the way back to the first day I came to consciousness. Being apart of the ecosystem of NA gives me both purpose and hope which are the very two things I nearly died from not having.

In the hall, in the love of the fellowship I am safe, loved and needed. I ask you this, how did I get so lucky and when did I win this compassion lottery of spirit. It can exist and thrive without me but I for sure add to its flavor. Without it I don't stand much of a chance other than "Jails, institutions and if I was lucky, death.

Color me grateful!
When I hear people say "I'm a chronic relapser" I just cringe because it's so hard to use the terminology without having some level of shame attached to it. It's like the scarlet letter inside the hall that some people feel they have to bear in order to make their shame level validated. I relapsed a lot when I was in the other program and I couldn't let myself off the hook for being sick. Anyway, I decided the other day mid-sharing that I had a new term to replace the shaming one. My new term is "a Recovery Intrepid". Hell, I got to the other program really really early and I made a lot of solid attempts but I just hadn't done enough research to stay. I'm very proud to be an intrepid because for me to keep coming back after I failed in front of you, is the least likely thing you would ever see me do but I did, i have a lot. Therefore, I am intrepid.
My two cents and then some. If I find myself obsessing on what someone else is doing "wrong" then the issue is clearly mine and not theirs. We all vary in degrees of sickness and recovery rates. Every single addict is ILL and on any given day at any given moment all of us are only as "well" as we can be. Your recovery is none of my business unless it affects the recovery group as a whole, even then I don't need to go in the the lone ranger and right all the wrongs. Our strength is in our singleness of purpose. If you are compelled to take others inventory, don't share it with other people when you finish. Am I sowing the seeds of hope and recovery or am I just trying to build my non exist sense of self up by tearing someone else down. Trashing someone's program is the easiest thing in the world to do, it takes no skill or or talent and any newcomer who has memorized a single sentence from the literature can do it.
In the end, what I think of myself and the strength of my program and surrender is the only thing that matters. The fabulous thing about trouble makers and instigators is though don't stay around long. They either get better by working with a sponsor, working the steps and becoming a whole human thanks to the unconditional love of the program or they disappear.
The funny thing about all the of slings and arrows is , it's like shooting fish in a bathtub. Of course we have shortcomings and issue, look where we are. Pointing the obvious out does not show how clever you are, rather it shows how unoriginal taking another's inventory is.
I can save us both time and email my list of shortcomings and defects of character to anyone hell bent on making my shot at recovery the most difficult.

I will promise you all this, it is a truth written into every religion on the planet only worded differently. The jail you plan for me, IS THE ONE you will rot it. The seeds you sow, so shall you reap. Karma is real, and sometimes in is REAL Fast.

Get it together people. UNITY UNITY UNITY.

"Come on People now, smile on your brother
Everybody get together
it's time to love one another
right now
right now
right now"

Peace on earth begins with me. Be the change you want to see in the world.
You know that warm rush of compassion and love you get when you watch a baby learning to walk and it falls and gets up. Do you know the swelling of connectedness I feel when I look into the soulful eyes of the dog I adopted. When you see an expression on an athletes face on tv who has just done what he had always dream of doing, the feeling of identification, love, compassion , empathy and recognition and you are moved deeply?

Yesterday I got in the car and the rear view mirror was adjusted to the wrong angle. The only the that appeared in it was car interior and my right eye. I started to reach to adjust it when something caught my attention. I realized it looked like I had my first real line forming underneath my eye. As I looked at it I was swept with the feelings of pride and compassion. Gratitude came out of no where I knew I earned that line. It was a better than a Scout Badge for selling cookies because the birth of this crease in my face was earned by managing to fucking survive when my contemporaries had all mostly perished before they became willing to change. I had nothing but deep deep love, respect and compassion for the person behind that brown eyeball and for a moment I fully realized that not only loving and forgiving my self was possible, it had begun. That is very exciting to this addict who is last usually to notice the change in myself.
The steps and meetings allow me to use living in the moment to actively monitor what is going on in my brain and what I am thinking/doing/feeling. The now is the only time I can actively choose to do something different,,,,it has to being happening "now" for me to have a choice in doing something different. Great post Kyle! It's something I try to have a living consciousness about. Fear can really only exist when I project into the future. The now is like the the calm of the see in the center of the storm.
Identification. Attraction rather than promotion.... The only time in my entire life I was OVERTLY hit on, turned out to be someone wanting to be sale AMWAY under their management. I heard a birthday Celebrant last night mention the only sentence in the literature he wants removed is the sentence about "We only have ONE Promise" . He went on to list many many "unconfirmed" promises that mean a lot to him. This mornings Just For Today is that very sentence he had a problem with. I guess it's really splitting hairs by even discussing what is a promise and what isn't but as I read the reflection I was made thankful that I wasn't bombarded with a list of "promises" of what my life would transform into when I came back to the 12 steps in earnest. I need things as simple as possible and I think the promise of Freedom From Active Addiction was all I could wrap my brain around. Any other "promises or non-promises are just icing on a really really tasty cake".
I"M really really thankful I didn't get met with the "Amway" "Up with the People" sales pitch when I came home to NA.
Just for Today One Promise, Many Gifts

" Narcotics Anonymous offers only one promise, and that is freedom from active addiction..."
Basic Text, p. 102

Imagine how it might be if we had arrived at the doors of Narcotics Anonymous, desperate, wanting to stop using drugs, only to be met by a sales pitch: "If you just work the steps and don't use drugs, you'll get married, live in the suburbs, have 2.6 children, and start wearing polyester. You will become a responsible, productive member of society and be fit company for kings and presidents. You will be rich and have a dynamic career." Most of us, greeted with such a heavy-handed spiel, would have shrieked and bolted for the door.
Instead of high-pressure nonsense and frightening predictions, we are greeted with a promise of hope: freedom from active addiction. We feel a blessed relief come over us when we hear that we never have to use drugs again. We aren't going to be forced to become anything!
Of course, after some time in recovery, good things start happening in our lives. We are given gifts-spiritual gifts, material gifts, gifts that we've always dreamed of but never dared hope we'd get. These, however, are truly gifts-they are not promised to us just because we become NA members. All we are promised is freedom from addiction-and it's more than enough!

Just for today: I have been promised freedom from active addiction. The gifts I receive are the benefits of recovery
I just saw a photograph on the net and it was pretty gruesome, but it made me see once again, that I have so far, always been protected by an invisible velvet rope that kept me back from going as low as I was willing to go. I kept lowering the bar of what was acceptable by me. I absolutely was willing to to to the final dark place and hopefully never return. I was held up by whatever force there is in the universe from the bottom I was headed for, secretly wished for. I was spared, so far. I'm well aware that the dark end I stalked, is just a pill, a drink or a hit away.

When I landed on the photo with a person displayed in the LEAST sexiest way, I remembered how I wanted someone or something to validate that I was worthless. When you mix addiction and non existent self esteem, you get a line forming to the left of people who will be more than happy to eviscerate your waning spirit. In the AA program they mention INCOMPREHENSIBLE DEMORALIZATION and I get that totally totally, on a cellular basis.

In NA, relief is quick but recovery is methodical, steady and above all else, "god damn Daily".

I can't be anything but grateful when I take stock or an inventory of my health and surrounds, because I certainly put it all on the line in my addiction but so far I haven't given or lost anything that I need anymore or can't replace. I am really thankful for internal organs that work and the fact I don't have to drive to a dialysis clinic several times a week to get "Cleansed".

Years ago I knew a girl in recovery at the Lambda group in Dallas. She relapsed and tried to kill herself and shot her leg off at the knee by accident. When she gets to the point in telling her story where that comes up, she remarks, "I shot my leg off trying to kill myself and I STILL ended up having to get sober, only now, I only need to put on one shoe to go to a meeting".

Friday, February 18, 2011

What a sweet surprise.

You know that warm rush of compassion and love you get when you watch a baby learning to walk and it falls and gets up. Do you know the swelling of connectedness I feel when I look into the soulful eyes of the dog I adopted. When you see an expression on an athletes face on tv who has just done what he had always dream of doing, the feeling of identification, love, compassion , empathy and recognition.

Yesterday I got in the car and the rear view mirror was adjusted to the wrong angle. The only the that appeared in it was car interior and my right eye. I started to reach to adjust it when something caught my attention. I realized it looked like I had my first real line forming underneath my eye. As I looked at it I was swept with the feelings of pride and compassion. Gratitude came out of no where I knew I earned that line. I had nothing but love, respect and compassion for the person behind that brown eyeball and for a moment I fully realized that not only loving and forgiving my self was possible, it had begun.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Just For Today Meditation and my response

Living In The Moment
"We regretted the past, dreaded the future, and weren't too thrilled about the present." Basic Text, p. 7
Until we experience the healing that happens when we work the Twelve Steps, it is doubtful that we can find a statement more true than the quote above. Most of us come to NA hanging our heads in shame, thinking about the past and wishing we could go back and change it. Our fantasies and expectations about the future may be so extreme that, on our first date with someone, we find ourselves wondering which lawyer we'll use for the divorce. Almost every experience causes us to remember something from the past or begin projecting into the future.
At first, it's difficult to stay in the moment. It seems as though our minds won't stop. We have a hard time just enjoying ourselves. Each time we realize that our thoughts are not focused on what's happening right now, we can pray and ask a loving God to help us get out of ourselves. If we regret the past, we make amends by living differently today; if we dread the future, we work on living responsibly today.
I've done a lot , a LOT of studying about the "Moment' even in addiction I was reading and talking with some very spiritual people. What I have found for me, is, the reason the moment is so important is because it is the only place where we can instigate change. The steps, the program, the friendships all allow me to monitor the chatter and misdirection in my head and act on it accordingly. It brings me PRESENCE of mind. I am present in my mind. I can see old behavior patterns trying to cycle, I can see that this tiny thing I am about to rage at, isn't what I am mad about at all. In recovery my thoughts MUST be monitored by me. I have to catch it in the act to correct it.

I tell myself things when I think I am not listening, recovery helps me listen to what pain, hurt, anger or disease is telling me and it lets me detect, direct it or deflect it. The moment also is the only place that I may experience joy, beauty and love. Sometimes someone's touch or hug can bring me back into my body and my moment.

Every single morning I get a diet Coke, a smoke and turn my computer on. I go to NA.Org and I scan the literature chapter list or the IP list and I click on something I am directed to. I read and smoke and drink my Diet Coke until something I read connects me to myself again. The process of remembering who I am in the program of NA puts me directly in the center of my moment. That sets me up in the only spot that I can feel, love, learn, correct behavior patterns and my favorite , see beauty. I spent my life running from the moment because that was where the pain lived. Now I know it is where my capacity to love, forgive and change is-in the moment.

I've read a very book on NOW and if anyone wants to check it out just email. It's isn't NA literature but it has certainly enabled me to let go of old ideas and guide me to the place I am teachable.......

Have a great weekend everyone. I just bought a new fridge online. LOL How glad am I that I live in the internet millennium and that Home Depot Delivers.

We may be loved tomorrow but we can only feel it right now.


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Wow, huge huge understand shift tonight at meeting.

The topic was respect. I shared that it is one of those things that when I give you respect , I in turn gain self respect and that it was one of the many many paradoxes of the program, the more I love you , the more I love myself. The more I understand you the more I understand myself.

I commented that since these paradoxes were so plentiful in recovery it shows me the we are all way more closely connected than we think. Then just as I finished sharing the shift occurred. There is no separation between us. We are fucking ONE. That is why the jail I plan for you would be the jail that I myself rotted in. Loving you IS loving myself. What fucking trip.

The day that you put in the work for.

Maybe it was the sunshine that finally came out and illuminated the world that began reappearing as the day grew on , or maybe it was the meeting I got to make at lunch yesterday. I am in full peace mode and it is ridiculously sublime. I got in two meetings yesterday and I had an early and extended meal with 3 of the men I am just crazy about. There all three professionals with much longer clean time and they totally let me play their reindeer games. I spoke once and I realized that all three had their eyes on me and they all 3 gave me their attention. It was thrilling, because I was raised with a dad who said "Children are to be seen and not heard'. So to hold the attention of these professional, smart men made me feel like I might actually be someone and that I had thoughts and things of value to share"
One of the most valuable things we can do to heal one another is listen to each other’s stories.

— Rebecca Falls
I slept great and I went to the grocery store and sort of floated through the isles taking in the colors and checking out new products. I saw a couple from my 12 step group and they were just miserable. The lady had no light in her eyes and she looked like a corpse. Like she forgot she was alive. It just made me all the more grateful for the string of peaceful moments I've strung together.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Why so desperate to Label?

As much talk as made about being yourself and being and individual every time I turn around someone is offering me up another label to slip on. Like a girl scout that can't resist a good merit badge for herself, we just keep labeling ourselves.

I don't believe in the same understanding of god that my cohorts do, yet I am NOT an atheist and I am not agnostic. Frankly and thankfully there isn't a word for my understanding. I know someone who is neither gay nor straight but wouldn't say she was bisexual either. We like to find our niches and others love to know what cubby in the shadow box to place us.

In Longview you are either a Lobo or the other one. Democrat, Rebublican, Libertarian seriously why would anyone want to claim one of those labels they are all pretty vile most of the time.

Good or bad. Things can exist and stand alone just fine without calling them good or bad because with our very short term vision, we don't know ultimately if the "good" with turn on us and the "bad" eventually save our asses.

I'm in a program that is about opening me up to an existance that is larger than labels. We in the program are in perpetual change and evolution. Something you might say I am or even I might think I am, may only be near the truth for a moment before I evolve.

Forest fires started by lightening look bad, but nature needs them to cleanse and start over. So they are neither bad or good. A young guy overdoses, goes to the ER, and is shipped off to a psych hospital. He get's introduced to a program that revolutionizes his way of life and he helps others do the same.

I am just going to practice the art , the fine art of "JUST BEING", no labels or judgement. Just for today and see what happens. I am neither a tragedy or a triumph, I am just a rather enigmatic fellow trying real hard to feel worthy of the breath I snatch and also tries real hard to be a positive impact on others.

I do see others who are able to get behind a label and work with it. They tap into an identity by being a part of something bigger than them. Remember when Saturn Cars had the Saturn Club for members to talk about how the "LUV their Saturns"? What I have found out me myself is , it is more important for my soul or spirit to identify that you to.

I would like to say the other way certainly looks easier from where I stand, but it never worked for me. I've never met a label that satisfied me for longer than a minute.

If Chanel or Prada or Ralph Lauren labels could change you and make you happy, we wouldn't have the number of Lindsay Lohans and Charlie Sheen's publicly spirally into madness.

I've even seen people in twelve steps programs get lost in the label of alcoholic or addict to the point they never really tried to live a big life outside the rooms.

Labels are deadly for me. If it fits, I slack off , if it hurts, I want to medicate the pain. BEING is freer and BEING is easier. Fuck the labels.