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[personal profile] rachg82

I got six months clean this week from all non-prescribed, mind-altering substances (and from abusing any prescribed ones, which was perhaps even more difficult), and my sponsor surprised me with flowers again to celebrate. It was kind of funny, because she gave them to me at a meeting for queer women, so I got a few "is that her girlfriend???"-type looks. But it definitely made the day more special. As pathetic as it may sound, she is actually the only person who has ever bought me flowers.

I also finished step 4 this week (cue chorus of Hallelujah), and I'm pretty proud of that because it wasn't easy. Writing down my resentments, fears, and relationship history (basically all the could have beens since I've never truly had one), and actually analyzing them, turned out to be super depressing & anxiety-inducing. And, ironically enough, pretty triggering as far as urges to use or self-harm go. But I got through it, and I'm ready to start processing its millions of pages of hot-messitude with my sponsor, starting next week.

Also, now that I have a bit of sobriety under my belt, I'm going to look into what they call "H&I", which is where you bring meetings to people who otherwise couldn't make it to them, such as treatment facilities & jails. I really appreciated the people who did that for us when I was in detox, and I'd like to do the same for others. After all, as they say all the time in recovery, you can only keep what you have by giving it away. (Slogans like that sound super fucking cheesy, I know, but they are true in my experience)

Anyway, moving on to some other RL stuff:

-My trip to visit Jen & Kevin (& the fruits of their loins) is happening for sure now, and I'll be flying out to Pittsburgh entirely on their dime next month. It's been eight years since we've seen each other, so I'm pretty excited, albeit also slightly nervous. Not about seeing them, of course -- just unavoidable shit like being trapped on a plane for that many hours, or trying to fall asleep somewhere besides my bed. I'm gonna talk through it with my counselor ahead of time though, so I'm sure it will be all right.

-I've had a lot of health concerns the last couple weeks, and it's definitely stressing me out. First, I found out I need tons of expensive dental work done, including possibly two or more root canals, and several crowns. Moreover, once you're awarded disability, you have to switch your primary insurance from the pretty-great Medicaid to the suck-ass Medicare (and you can't even have Medicaid as your secondary unless you get less than $735 a month, and I get $1,070 -- which seems pretty unfair to me, since I'd normally qualify for Medicaid based on that income if it didn't come from disability), so I don't have any dental coverage AT ALL. That being said, I did find a place that might be willing to bill me & work out a payment plan instead of expecting the full amount at the time of service (about as rare a thing as a llama on a pogo stick), but I think they might expect you to pay off one bill before adding on a second one, and that will take me literally forever. So I don't know how I'm going to work that out. I'll just have to take it one tooth at a time, I guess, but in the meantime they fucking hurt & it sucks.

Secondly, something has been wrong with my right knee for weeks now, and I really hope it magically heals before I'm supposed to go on my trip. Part of me thinks it might be arthritis, since it has hurt off & on for years (though never like this), but it's more likely a sprain based on what Dr. Google has to say. I do plan on consulting my actual doctor, but until then I'll just be limping around & obsessing, basically. Fun!

Oh, and did I mention I have another ingrown toenail which I'm pretty sure is infected AGAIN? Because yeah.

Thirdly, I need to get my hormones checked (specifically my thyroid), as I've been gaining weight, feeling constantly weak & fatigued, and losing hair. In particular, I've been losing hair--ahem--down there. Like maybe 80 to 90%. It's not nearly as dramatic on my actual head though, which is confusing. Like why only down there? I don't get it. But hopefully my doctor will. Ugh. Why?

-To help me manage my stress--and ongoing, periodic symptoms of anxiety & depression--I've also been looking into other things besides just 12-step meetings. One of course would be yoga, which--if my knee is in fact sprained--is probably how I unknowingly hurt myself, so going forward I will have to be more careful. Another would be a depression/bipolar support group they have for members of the lgbtq+ community, which I've attended a couple times. It can be kind of triggering with all the talk of mania (too many bad memories relating to my mom), and somewhat alienating due to the fact that I'm one of the only non-bipolar people there, but it does make me feel slightly less alone as far as having mental illness in general goes. Then there's a grief support group I looked up, but haven't checked out yet, and another specifically for anxiety disorders. Aside from groups, I also found a few donation-based Tai Chi classes I can attend, and a free meditation class based on the IRest method (essentially yoga nidra for people recovering from depression, PTSD, & addiction). I tried out the latter this weekend, and it was pretty relaxing & helpful (oddly enough, more so than the actual yoga nidra classes I've done), so I will likely go back. The rest I hope to try out soon as well.

I'm still taking piano lessons, too (being paid for by my stepdad), which I enjoy a lot. He attempted to repair my violin so I could play that also (not that he knows anything about string instruments, but he was convinced anyone could fix it based on information from the internet), but I think I need to take it in somewhere because it just doesn't seem to play right. That, or it's been so long I don't even remember how it's supposed to sound -- a distinct possibility considering it's been 17 years. I tried playing it the other day, and I was so terrible that it left me feeling awful. Despite how long it's been, I played it for almost ten years growing up, and I always thought it would come right back to me if I picked it up again. I knew it would take *some* practice, of course, but I thought the muscle memory at least would immediately return, and it turns out that's not the case. I couldn't even play an open A string without accidentally hitting the D or E strings. Being able to play the violin always remained part of my identity, too, so realizing that I may have to relearn it so completely was pretty terrible. I was so upset with myself for letting it happen. But my sponsor pointed out how brave it is for me to even have tried playing it again after all these years, and that was somewhat comforting. I also found a teacher at The Portland Music Collective who is willing to let me take one half-hour lesson a month for only $10. Normally she charges $25 for 30 minutes, which is still less than half of what would be considered average for most teachers, but I explained my situation to her, and she said it was doable. In the future, if I return to part-time work (something I'd like to do within the next year, if possible), I'll double that to two lessons a month, and to pay her more if I can, but for now that's all I can (barely) manage. It will at least give me someone to run my questions by, though, and to help remind me of technique & such. So it's not much, but it will still be greatly appreciated. However, since I don't even have an extra dollar to spare right now, I won't be able to start my lessons until May. That's a bummer, but I'm trying to be grateful it's going to happen at all.

-Finally, in OMG!what? news, my stepbrother (the same one who stopped speaking with his father & the rest of us when I was eleven) reached out to me & my sister on facebook recently, asking for us to pass his number along to Joe. Even once he added us on FB a while back, he never spoke to us or responded to the messages we sent him, so that makes it feel even more sudden. But apparently my post about the anniversary of my mom's death had an impact on him, and he said it made him feel like life was too short not to at least give resuming contact a try. He also told me she had the biggest influence on some of his choices in life, and how sorry he was that he never told her that while she was alive. That meant a lot to me, and I know it would've meant a lot to her. I'm not sure how it will go, him talking to his dad again, but I guess we'll just have to wait & find out.

Last thing before I go: thanks to a $35 arts tax I had to pay this month (which I didn't know to expect, having always lived outside of Portland before), I only have $20 left until the end of the month. I'm pretty stressed about it, and I'm not sure what I'm gonna do, so I thought I would at least ask for help. Even $20 would be a big deal right now. So if you can help at all, even if it's less than 20, please just follow the donate link below (and thank you in advance!).

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