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alcoholism anxiety bipolar life lessons schizoaffective schizophrenia writing

Welcome

I hope it is easy to find lorib.blog, or lorib434.wordpress.com

i have been blogging, more like journaling for years, but not for an audience. I have published on The Mighty, recently started posting on Medium and published on Psych Central.  The title there is Triple Winner.

I have a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder and social anxiety, along with overcoming an alcohol addiction. I plan to blog about those topics and other ramblings.

I will repost some but also have new posts here.

I will do my best to respond to comments.

where I can be found:

twitter lorib641

https://blogs.psychcentral.com/triple-winner/

https://themighty.com/author/lori-bernstein/

https://medium.com Lori Bernstein

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12 step AA alcoholism mental health mental illness schizoaffective schizophrenia sobriety Uncategorized

Hearing What I Needed to Hear

90 days sober!

I went to a zoom AA meeting and someone said that you don’t try to control things that are already under control.  That was what I needed to hear.

I had all of these rules and thought my drinking was under control because: I didn’t drink and drive, I only drank in the evening, I got chores done before drinking, although I was pushing even those limits.

But, normal people just need one rule. Don’t drink too much.

I listed in a previous post how my life was unmanageable. I have to refer back to it to remind myself. I still have cravings even though I logically have decided I don’t want to continue drinking. I just remind myself of reasons I don’t want to drink.

I have schizoaffective disorder and I don’t want to interfere with stability, and alcohol does not play well with my medications. And, I am not very productive at home if I am drinking. Also, I think I was walking around with a mild hangover. My head feels more clear, I feel lighter now.

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12 step AA alcoholism higher power sobriety

60 Days

I made it to 60 days sober. 

I heard someone say their higher power comes to them through meditation.  That is something I can believe in.  Some kind of intuition, or inner wisdom.  I can’t define my higher power.  I don’t think I have to.  I am finished with step 2.  My sponsor has me reading stories from the Big Book.  We go over them once a week.

I have bought a kindle version and paperback of the Big Book.  Neither of them match pages with the hardback,  I am debating getting another copy. The kindle is convenient because I can take it anywhere easily, but it is a totally different version.  Different stories.  The paperback has the same content, just different page numbers.

My mood has improved. I just had some sad days. I guess everyone does.

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12 step AA alcoholism depression Dual diagnosis mental health mental illness schizoaffective schizophrenia sobriety

Moods and Sobriety?

I noticed it in the tone of my texts. I am insignificant I told a friend. Another friend asked me to be on a podcast. At first I said yes, but now I am having second thoughts. No one would be interested in anything I have to say

My husband held me, the dog licked me and my son texted he loves me. I can’t feel it. I just feel sad 

I have schizoaffective disorder and take antidepressants and an antipsychotic.

Maybe it is a response to sobriety?  I am not going to drink  I will probably try to get sleep instead

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12 step AA alcoholism higher power mental health mental illness peer support schizoaffective schizophrenia Uncategorized

My head is spinning

I have been thinking of a higher power and talking with people and now I don’t know what to think. My sponsor says all I have to do is believe something, anything, outside of myself could, possibly restore me to sanity. That I can do, but choosing what to believe in is more complicated. I have trouble believing in a man in the sky. I started with the Universe or nature. I feel more connected with the world outdoors. But, I don’t know how the Universe could help me. They say you can have the fellowship of AA as your higher power but I don’t know about turning my will over to the group

I talked to.my therapist about my issue with psychosis and she reassured me that it is unlikely I will start getting delusional. It has been 15 years since my last psychotic episode. She thinks my issue is with religion I am getting support and staying sober. I don’t like going to meetings every day and calling my sponsor everyday. My therapist thought maybe I should cut back but do something with that time I have trouble expressing what I want. My sponsor said I don’t have to do anything and that they are suggestions.


The meeting tonight was on step 2 and our higher power. People spoke about their faith or issues with religion. One woman said she can’t define her higher power but it helps her. I have been reading “Untamed” by Glennon Doyle. In the book she listens to an inner wisdom that she calls God. I know my inner voice could help me, but that is not something outside of myself.


My friend does not think I have a problem and should not identify with an illness. That gets me wondering if I really need something outside to restore me. Is that something you can do on your own? I think my mind is shattered in a way and I have been searching for someone/ something to repair it.


So far I am staying with AA because it is not hurting anything and I am sober

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12 step AA alcoholism mental health mental illness psychosis schizoaffective schizophrenia

A thought on my higher power

The Universe is my higher power. I am tasked with describing how the Universe can help me. I had a point where I was seeing messages everywhere. I thought my therapist was suggesting things and guiding me by controlling the media and my environment. I imagine the Universe could guide me, but how do I trust it is not a delusion

ETA: I spoke with my sponsor about my concerns. She told me to stop for now.

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12 step AA alcoholism mental health mental illness Recovery sobriety Uncategorized

Gratitude

My sponsor has me send her a gratitude list. Five things I am grateful for every day, except when I forget. I have so much to be grateful for. My family, our dog, a home, food, furniture, our health and my sobriety, I am grateful my sponsor is understanding. I feel like my thinking is clearer. I have not had any other changes since stopping drinking that I have noticed.

I have moved onto Step 2. We read about agnostics and spiritual experiences in the big book.  She gave me an assignment but I will have to think about it.  I am not religious so she had me choose a higher power. I chose the Universe.  She wants me to write about how the Universe can help me.  I don’t know.  I will blog once I figure out what to write.

Today is Thanksgiving. I was invited to a relative’s but I have a cold, and my daughter wants to stay safe from Covid so we stayed home. I went to an AA meeting about gratitude by zoom. I am grateful for zoom meetings.I missed everyone but hopefully we can see them sometime soon.

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alcoholism anxiety Co-occurring Dual diagnosis mental health mental illness peer support politics Recovery

What did I sign up for?

I volunteered to lead one day in my AA group. It is not very complicated. They have a format and I pick a passage from AA literature to read, talk about 5 minutes and then open for discussion. But, I have social anxiety. It is much better than in the past but I am still nervous. On top of that, I told my friend I would speak on her podcast in January. That I am a bit terrified about.

I picked a chapter from the Big Book, More about Alcoholism, and will talk about doubting we are alcoholics. I think it will be good for me to hear others experiences. I just finished step 1- We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.

In my youth my life truly was unmanageable. I had rules for myself about when and where I could drink, by the time I stopped, to keep my drinking from getting out of hand. It is hard for me to see my life as unmanageable. I made a list and will continue to add to it, about being powerless and my life being unmanageable. I will refer to it when I have doubts.

As far as the podcast, I am going to be talking about myself, my experience with mental illness. I had an older brother who has passed away, who had a psychotic break in the 1970s. I am going to talk about his story, too.

My friend called to discuss the podcast with me. I froze on the first question. She asked me about being a mental health advocate. I think of myself more as my job title, a peer support specialist, or someone with lived experience. I have written letters for certain bills but am not very politically involved. We are going to talk again and hopefully I can relax. She can talk enough for the both of us. I just want it to go well.

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12 step AA alcoholism Recovery sobriety Uncategorized

1 day at a time

I made it past 30 days of sobriety. My sponsor mailed me a chip. It says 1 month on the front and the serenity prayer on the back. I just see her on zoom or talk over the phone because of Covid-19. I am still working on the first step. I wrote down reasons I am powerless over alcohol and my life is unmanageable in my last post.

Everything I wrote is true, but I still have trouble. I identify as an alcoholic in the meeting, but I don’t completely agree. They say all you need to join is a desire to quit drinking, which I do. So, I am part of AA day by day. Today I will go to a meeting and call my sponsor. I won’t worry about tomorrow until it gets here.

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12 step AA alcoholism anxiety Co-occurring Uncategorized

Powerless and Unmanageable

I am starting to work on the first step of Alcoholics Anonymous. My sponsor has me writing down how I am powerless over alcohol and that my life has become unmanageable.

It is hard. I like to think that with enough willpower I can do anything, but I have tried quitting on my own and that did not work. I have gotten sick, saying “never again” to go out the next night and drink again. I am endangering my physical and mental health, but I did not stop until very recently.

I considered the bottle to be a friend. It was always there, never let me down. I think I was developing a tolerance. I was having trouble getting a buzz. I was letting daily activities go to the wayside. I am terribly shy and needed a drink to socialize.

I was talking with a friend who is very involved in aa. She started telling me rules. You aren’t supposed to make changes the first year and I should be journaling were a couple. She was scaring me. I wondered what I was getting into. I called my sponsor and she said those things can be good but not required.

The meetings I have been going to are over Zoom. I can’t wait to meet people in person. I have just been going to women’s meetings. The ladies have been nice. I have 25 days sober. I am still a newcomer.

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12 step AA alcoholism mental health mental illness peer support schizoaffective schizophrenia

Giving AA a chance

I had gone from abstinence to trying moderation with alcohol. I started having drinks after work, alone. The problem with that was I was letting other things go. My husband was walking the dog alone and I was not even showering as often. I have fatigue issues which only became worse.

I went to a zoom NAMI seminar and a psychiatrist I admire, Luis Sandoval, was talking about schizophrenia. Someone asked about substance use and he responded, You take medications to help you think clearly, why would you take something that interferes with that? Logically, I have known this, but for some reason this time it hit me. I decided to go to a zoom AA meeting afterwards.

I found a woman’s meeting that meets at the same time every day and have been going as often as I can. My start date is Oct 13, so I only have a week of sobriety so far. I have a friend who is very involved in AA and is giving me pointers. I asked a woman to be my sponsor and she said yes. She has me calling her every day and we will zoom once a week. I ordered the big book on kindle and have started to read.

I am not religious. My mom is Catholic and I recognize some similarities. Prayers, confession, etc. they asked me to end the last meeting with a prayer and the only one I know is the Serenity prayer, which was fine.

There are other options, as far as groups go, but I want to give AA a try. My sponsor says I can choose my higher power. I have not figured that out yet.