Archive for March, 2012


Question of the Day…#1

What if you ONLY had what you thanked God for?

...aonde você for...

Image by ...anna christina... via Flickr

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Charlie The Caterpillar…

The Brown Bottle by Penny Jones

Once there was a caterpillar named Charlie who lived in the Valley of Promises.

Gypsy moth caterpillar Category:Lepidoptera

Gypsy moth caterpillar Category:Lepidoptera (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There was nothing observably special about Charlie. He was an average looking caterpillar amidst thousands of others. Like them, he spent the majority of his time crawling from leaf to leaf, eating as much as he pleased, & dozing in the warm sunlight. Life was good & Charlie was happy.

As you know, there is something very special about caterpillars. From the time they are born, they are aware that something beautiful beyond imagination will one day occur. It is called The Promise.

Charlie was a believer. For as long as he could remember, he had loved The Promise. Its mystery filled his days & nights with dreams of anticipation.

In this way, Charlie was special, for his love of The Promise by far exceeded that of any normal caterpillar. He grew more & more impatient in his intense desire to receive its gift.

One day, as Charlie was exploring the valley, he was attracted by a bright, shiny object lying in the meadow. It was a brown bottle. The sun’s rays danced on the glass & gave it an aura of golden splendour. It seemed to beckon Charlie. Filled with excitement, he hurried as fast as he could go.

Charlie was a bit scared when he reached the bottle, for it was something entirely new & frightening. As he explored it, curiosity soon overcame his fear. He traveled its surface from end to end & top to bottom.

When Charlie entered the bottle, something magical seemed to happen. A soft mellow glow enveloped him in the warmth of a false utopia. After a time, he was lulled to sleep by the gentle voice of the bottle whispering pleasures yet to come.

At first, Charlie spent most of his time leading the normal life of a caterpillar with only occasional trips into the brown bottle. But as the days passed, he longed more & more for the mellow glow it offered & his trips became frequent. He began to venture deeper & deeper into the bottle to find the utopia he sought.

bubble of beer on a bottle Bierblase auf einer...

bubble of beer on a bottle Bierblase auf einer Flasche (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes, Charlie’s friends came to visit while he was in the bottle. As he moved about within its glass walls, he appeared to be different than he really was. Pleased with all of the attention he received, he would do silly things to make his friends laugh. Charlie loved being the centre of attention & his friends’ laughter made him feel important. Then, the bottle seemed to whisper, “Charlie, when you are with me, you are a very, very special caterpillar.” And Charlie felt, that indeed, what the bottle had said was true.

By the end of the summer, Charlie seldom left the bottle. It had become more important to him than the warmth of the sunlight, more important than the companionship of his friends, even more important than the Valley of Promises itself. He began to depend on the bottle for all of his needs. It had become his home.

With the coming of fall, the world outside the bottle began to change. Cold winds swept down from the north. Green plants turned brown & died. There was a rush of activity among the caterpillars for they knew that they, too, must change with the seasons & prepare for the winter to come.

On the final day of preparation, Charlie’s friends went to the bottle & called to him, “Charlie, please come out before it is too late. We must get ready to receive The Promise.”

Surrounded by the warm glow, Charlie gazed out upon the barren valley. “I would be foolish to leave this warm, safe place & go out into the cold with you. I could leave if I wanted to, but I would rather stay here.” Laden with sorrow, Charlie’s friends turned away from him in hopelessness & returned to their tasks.

One day, as Charlie gazed out upon the snow covered valley, the bottle again spoke to him, “Charlie, you have seen your friends suffer from the cold in their quest for The Promise while you have remained here, warm & safe, with me. Surely by now, you know that I am better for you than an empty promise.”

And Charlie knew, that indeed, what the bottle had said was true. On that day, Charlie deserted his belief in The Promise, & surrendered his dreams to the control of the brown bottle.

Winter passed slowly & Charlie lived in a hazy world within his glass confines. During his long stay, he had not eaten or taken care of himself. He began to grow frail & thin. The warm glow was slowly fading. The bottle’s walls were becoming cold & uncaring.

On occasion, Charlie tried to reach the bottle’s opening in an attempt to again find the outside world. But now the voice of the bottle was cruel & commanding, “Charlie, you cannot leave!” Weak from hunger & filled with despair, Charlie would slide feebly back into the depths of the bottle. At these times, he would utter quietly to himself, “I could leave if I wanted to, but I would rather stay here.”

The mellow glow was completely gone now & there was nothing special about Charlie any more. His good feelings about himself had gradually been replaced with guilt & hatred. He had become nothing more than a sad, frightened little caterpillar, trapped in a brown bottle.

Spring came. The valley was filled with beauty beyond compare. The sky was a rainbow of color as thousands of butterflies tested their wings for the first time in a never ending flight of freedom.

… THE PROMISE HAD BEEN FULFILLED …

On the day of The Promise,
Charlie died.
Alone,
in silent desperation.
No one knew,
no one cared.
Least of all, the brown bottle.

THE PROMISE

Alcoholism, if not controlled, is a deadly illness. It is the silent thief of hopes & dreams, the destroyer of families & love. It robs its victim of pride & dignity, offering guilt & self-hatred in return.

Hope does exist for the alcoholic. With proper treatment & sobriety, alcoholism can be controlled. The alcoholic is then free to live a rich & rewarding life. Achievement of one’s greatest potential is once again possible … The Promise can be fulfilled.

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We will try to respond to all emails as quickly as we can.  I have been suffering a lot more lately with migraines, so I have been a little slower at checking the inbox or even posting here.  Yesterday I posted about an article I had read.  I will from time to time share information that I have read about.  Not everything here is purely just my ramblings about things.  But even when I post information on a subject I will chat about it.

That’s what I am here, to share my thoughts, hopes, experiences and faults in the hopes that maybe it will bring a bit of help to someone else.  I know how it feels when I hear someones feelings and know that they are so close to my very own feelings.  It’s nice to know that I am not alone!  Trying to find other couples who are in the same situation that we are is sometimes difficult.  Some of our friends don’t understand, some still want to burn the late night oil and drink till dawn.

It’s not that we don’t want to be around drinkers anymore, but its nice to be able to hang out and have a fun-filled night without alcohol getting in the way.  I was told a story about these guys in a bar having a good old time.

Laughing and joking, tears running down their face from it all.  A man at the bar who had gone there to have some fun, yet really wasn’t yet asked the bartender “Hey, what are they drinking?  I must have what ever it is.”  SO the bartender brings over a glass of water.  The man at the bar is puzzled, this could not be right.  “don’t believe me, go ask them.”  The man soon found out that indeed these men we simply drinking water or tea, yet having the time of their life.  They told the man about living sober and a new life they had all found.

I might not have gotten all the words in there but that is what I can remember of the story.  I like that story cause it’s kind of what I tried to tell my hubby when we would go to parties.  I don’t mind being the DD cause I don’t like to drink in the first place and it was funner to sit back and watch everyone else.  I think he now sees what I was talking about before.  We can both have just as much fun, if not more not drinking.  The only thing is we can not stay up as late anymore, and that’s fine with me.

How Common Are They?

I have been wondering about the lack of sleep we get and the increased chance of abusing a substance.  So I did some googling and found a few articles on this.  Thought I might share one with you.

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2766287/

Sleepy

Sleepy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sleep Disorders in Substance Abusers

Youssef Mahfoud, MD, Farid Talih, MD, David Streem, MD, and Kumar Budur, MD

Youssef Mahfoud, Dr. Mahfoud is an Addiction Psychiatry Fellow from the Department of Psychiatry, University Hospitals, Cleveland, Ohio;

Contributor Information.

ADDRESS CORRESPONDENCE TO: Youssef Mahfoud, MD, University Hospitals, WO Walker Center, 10254 Euclid Ave., Suite 3200, Cleveland, OH 44106; E-mail: youssef.mahfoud@uhhospitals.org

This article has been cited by other articles in PMC.

There are some interesting things in this article.  I will post a few things and then talk about it a bit.  If you would like to see the full article please see the link above.

Abstract

Substance abuse is a major public health problem with high morbidity and mortality. Comorbid disorders are suspected to cause a high relapse rate. Subjects with sleep disorders tend to self medicate with alcohol and tranquilizers to promote sleep or abuse stimulants to stay awake during the day. Substance abuse can, in turn, cause sleep disturbances, which can result in relapse. No studies have systematically studied the prevalence of various sleep disorders in these subjects.

Methods: This is a cross-sectional study conducted at the Alcohol and Drug Recovery Center (ADRC) at Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio. Subjects with active substance abuse and the ability to consent were recruited to complete a comprehensive sleep disorder questionnaire, including a general medical, psychiatric, and substance abuse history as well as validated scales (e.g., Insomnia Severity Index, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), Berlin Questionnaire for sleep apnea and restless legs).

Results: Thirty patients completed the survey so far. The most commonly abused substance was alcohol (80%) followed by narcotics (40%); about 66 percent were polysubstance users. Forty-six percent of the patients reported using substance to self-medicate sleep problems. The prevalence of various sleep disorders in this population along with the prevalence in general population in parenthesis are as follows: Sleep impairment (PSQI>5) was noted in 96 percent (15%) of the subjects, and 56 percent (10–15%) had insomnia of moderate-to-severe degree. Symptoms suggestive of sleep apnea were reported in 53 percent (4–6%) of the subjects and restless leg syndrome symptoms in 33 percent (10%).

Conclusion: Substance abuse is on the rise and affects every aspect of society. Our study has, for the first time, systematically evaluated various sleep disorders in these subjects who seem 5 to 10 times more likely to have sleep disorders. Diagnosing and treating sleep disorders will have a huge impact in inducing remission. However, this study has significant limitations, including a small number of subjects, subjective data collected via questionnaires, and no long-term follow-up, which makes it difficult to draw conclusions.

 

sleepy fairy

sleepy fairy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had a feeling that there would be a link here.  I know on many nights my hubby would say that he could not get to sleep unless he had a bit to drink.  Well that “bit” kept getting bigger and bigger.  It’s the self medication that some times can make the issue at hand worse and if we are being treated by a Dr for the condition, taking the RX meds and still self mediating we could be causes the medication from the Dr to not work, or making even work in a negative way.  We might just be over all making the situation worse.

The sleep aids is a big grey area with me.  I take some over the counter ones once in a while if I can not sleep.  Most of the time it is either stress related or migraine induced.  I play a game on my lappytop or read a book to help unwind my brain, but if my head is pounding the book is not going to do me any good.  I try not to take them very often and sometimes I wait till it’s too late to take them.  I have to be able to drive to work the next day.

Introduction

The relationship between substance abuse and sleep is emerging as an area of great interest for researchers. According to the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 7.6 percent of Americans older than 12 years met the criteria for alcohol abuse or dependence, and the prevalence of illicit drug use in the same year was as high as 14.5 percent.1 Similarly, sleep disorders are also very common. The National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep in America Poll, 2008, showed that about two-thirds (65%) of working adults reported experiencing sleep problems at least a few nights a week within the past month, and 44 percent reported this occurring every night or almost every night.2

I am part of that group that has an issue getting to sleep more that a few nights a week. 

Several studies have reported sleep problems associated with the use of several illicit drugs, and the vast majority of alcoholic patients entering treatment reported insomnia-related symptoms, such as difficulty falling and maintaining sleep.3,4 For example, the prevalence of insomnia ranged from 36 to 72 percent in patients admitted for alcoholism treatment, depending on sample characteristics and instruments used to measure insomnia.46 The polysomnographic features after drinking alcohol, during withdrawal, and during abstinence are well defined. Alcohol intake increases slow wave sleep and suppresses rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. During periods of acute withdrawal, sleep latency (time taken to fall asleep) is increased, total sleep time is decreased, slow wave sleep returns to baseline while REM sleep either rebounds or returns to baseline. Sleep fragmentation and REM sleep disruptions can sometimes persist for 1 to 3 years after achieving sobriety.7 Similarly, opiates, despite their sedating effect, interrupt sleep by increasing wakefulness and decreasing total sleep time, slow wave sleep, and REM sleep.8 Some researchers debate the cause and effect relationship between sleep and substance abuse disorders. Sleep problems might predispose an individual to alcoholism.9 Sleep problems can sometimes be severe enough to reverse alcohol or drug treatment success and precipitate a relapse to addiction or dependence.10 Disturbed sleep is a significant predictor of relapse even after controlling other factors, like depression, and the severity of alcohol dependence and relapse was greater in individuals with alcoholism who had insomnia versus those with alcoholism without insomnia at baseline.11 However, paucity of information is noted regarding the prevalence of sleep disorders in subjects who abuse other drugs, and very little information is available on the prevalence of other sleep disorders even in subjects who abuse alcohol. It is in this context that a cross-sectional study was conducted to determine the prevalence of various sleep disorders in subjects who were admitted to the ADRC at Cleveland Clinic, a tertiary referral center.

I remember that when my hubby was detoxing he said that he hardly slept.  He went to bed very late and was up very early.  Now that is a much different story.  Mind you we are both in the 28-34 age group and yet we are ready for bed at like 9pm at night and more than willing to sleep in, till 7am.  Yes, 7am is sleeping in for us when we are used to getting up at 5am during the week.

Hubby has said a few times lately that he remembers being about to stay up sooo late when he was drinking or right when he got sober.  I remember having to stay up till 1 or 2 am and having to drive home from a friend’s house or my Brothers.  I would still get up at 6am most Saturdays to go out with my mom and then come home, take a quick nap and then start it all over again.  Sundays I would be so dead that I could not do anything.  Most of the time from the lack of sleep I would have such a bad migraine that I would stay in bed all day.

I've had a migraine/headache for 6 days straig...

I've had a migraine/headache for 6 days straight. Today was so bad I couldn't concentrate on what I was saying. I'm not even sure I knew WHAT I was saying because of the pain. I even mixed up two people's names and felt really dumb afterwards. Anyone got a migraine cure? 🙂 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Discussion

The results from our study show a very high prevalence of sleep disturbances among subjects with substance abuse or dependence, with almost all of the subjects reporting impaired sleep quality. Also, more than half of the subjects had moderate-to-severe insomnia. This is much higher than what is found in the general population (17–30%) or in a general medical sample (16%, severe insomnia; 34%, mild insomnia over the prior 4 weeks).18,19 More than half of the subjects had a high pre-test probability for sleep apnea, which is again higher than in the general population (4–6%).20 Of note, the prevalence of symptoms suggestive of restless legs syndrome was also very high (33%) compared to the general population (10%).21 Almost half of the subjects admitted to abusing a substance to promote sleep, and this is consistent with the findings in the previous studies wherein subjects reported consuming alcohol to help them with insomnia.

This study has several limitations, including a small sample size, collection of data from self-administered questionnaires, and lack of objective sleep metrics, which reduce the ability to apply the findings in clinical practice. A follow-up study with a larger sample size and with objective sleep metrics, such as Actigraphy, Polysomnography and Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT), is warranted to further elucidate the findings of this study.

Well that is all that I will post from that article, if you would like to read more of it please check it out. I know that with my migraines having a sleep schedule that really don’t change is what I need to make sure that I am giving myself the best chance to avoid a migraine for that day.  It seems that might be a clue towards substance abuse as well.  It seems that when I was told that a lack of sleep messes with your whole system, they were telling the truth.  So if it be migraines or substance abuse, we need to try to get to bed the same time every night and get sleep.

I know easier said than done.  Most nights I spend a long time looking at the fan in the bed room.  I found that having the TV on low helps me, if it is too quiet in the room the ringing in my ears is too much for me to handle.  If the room is too warm I will not be able to stay asleep at all.  If I have clothes on that are too tight or restrictive in any way then I can not get any rest.  I hope this might shred some light on what might be keeping you awake at night.

One day we will know the serenity of falling asleep shortly after laying down at night.  God bless you my friends.

If no one has told you they love you today, I love you and God does too!

what is serenity?

Gardens of Creebridge House Hotel Peace and tr...

Gardens of Creebridge House Hotel Peace and tranquility in Creebridge. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So Thursday night at the AA meeting they read the promises (my hubby read them as a matter of fact) and it was like hearing them for the first time.  I am still amazed by the things my brain picks up on when its ready. One of the promises was:

We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.

Wow – I never thought of the true meaning of it, I say the prayer all the time, but never gave a second thought to what the written definition was.  So what is the official definition of serenity?

1. a disposition free from stress or emotion – steadiness of mind under stress; “he accepted their problems with composure and she with equanimity”

tranquility, placidity, tranquility, repose, quiet calm, calmness, composure, equanimity, ataraxis – peace of mind

2. the absence of mental stress or anxiety – ataraxis, peace of mind, peacefulness, repose, peace, hearts-ease, quietude, quietness, tranquility, tranquility – a state of peace and quiet

“what does it mean to you Court?”  Well that’s a good question, what does it mean to me?  Hmmm, well I know that at the end of the day, if I can say to myself that I did the best I can and I made amends right away if something happened.  It’s that spot in my mind that is peaceful and calm, where I can slip off to sleep and not regret the events of the day.

If no one has told you they love you today, I love you and God does too!

let me hear you sound off!

OK – since it’s Friday – I want ya all to sound off with what you are grateful for.  I am grateful for the gift of another day, I am grateful for the tools I have to better deal with life’s ups and downs, I am grateful for the ability to start my day over any time I need to.  I am grateful for the friends and family who have stood by my side day in and day out.  I am grateful for a loving husband who came back to me while on the brink of hell.  Any moment I get with him I am truly thankful for.  I am grateful for my three furry kids, they bring joy to my life!

 

If no one has told you they love you today, I love you and God does too!

 

 

 

what a day…

Serenity

Serenity (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.  Please protect me with an arm around my shoulders and a hand firmly over my mouth!

Ever have a day where the slightest thing can make you want to go homicidal?  I really have no idea why, but just felt like something snapped and I no longer had the ability to keep my big mouth shut.  So I took a walk – splashed some cool water on my face and said the serenity prayer a few hundred times till I felt better.

I am still angry, but at least now I no longer want to hurt someone.  It has taken me a while to get to the point where I am able to do this.  I still snapped off a few not so nice comments before I was able to calm down, but at least I was able to get a handle on myself.

 

If no one has told you they love you today, I love you and God does too!

Tonight at our meetings, my hubby gets his 9 month coin.  I am thinking about not going to Al-Anon tonight and going into his AA meeting.  I was also thinking about maybe getting some cookies or a cake to take in – but that might have to wait till his one year – I will be bringing in a cake for that night for sure!!  I am very proud of how far we have come.  He has made a lot of changes.  There are things that are still hard, but we will both always be in recovery.  This is something we will both have the rest of our lives.  I was co-dependent and thought I had to give up my spine.  But I have learned how not to feed off of the negative and how to thrive as a strong women.

Can I live without him? Yes, where as before I thought I could not.  The key thing now is, I know I CAN do it, but I would rather not.  I would rather have him in my left and share with me all the ups and downs than to be without him.  I know I can do it now, so what is keeping me with him is love not fear.  We both know that now and it has helped.  He has told many people, even so I can hear it that he knows he can not bowl me over.  He said I fond my spine within the walls of Al-Anon and he is happy I did.  I had a very overbearing moth growing up, it was her way of the high way, nothing wrong with that, but it made me a little more timid about standing up.

I still have an issue with it sometimes, but I have been able to walk away from something, but go back and say “Hey, that was not nice.”  I have learned that not every comment needs a response, so I can keep my mouth shut when it’s not needed.  (Most of the time)  Has life been hard, you bet!  Has it been hard on us having to pay for all of his court stuff, you bet!  But we would have been in the same boat paying for his drinking too.  Do I wish we had more money, hell yes!  But I also want health more.  Everyday I wake up and have another healthy day, another day on this earth, another day to share with the love of my life and grow and learn together – well I am blessed for everyday I get.  I am just trying to get through one day at a time, cause well how can I fix tomorrow when today is still a mess.  All I can do is right at this very moment.  I can not change the outcome of things.  I can not control everything.

I used to have to feel like I had control over it all, but guess what – I don’t!  I need to work on my letting go and letting god still.  There are somethings I still have an issue with on letting go of.  I need to step back and re-look at everything.

“A New Door” – LENNY KRAVITZ

I can see that look in your eyes
You’re in need of something you can’t find
You’re tired of holding on to the pain
You haven’t got the strength to hold the reigns
You are out of lane

I know you can’t take it
I know you can’t take it anymore
I know you can’t fake it
I know you can’t fake it anymore
Now it’s time for you to open a new door

You fool yourself when you live a lie
You spend all of your time getting high
But drunken nights won’t bury your fears
All the drinks you had just turned to tears
For too many years

I know you can’t take it
I know you can’t take it anymore
I know you can’t fake it
I know you can’t fake it anymore
Now it’s time for you to open a new door

When you think that nobody cares
Close your eyes and know that God is there
And if you reach out He’ll do the same
Just ask for what you need in Jesus name
Don’t be ashamed

I know you can’t take it
I know you can’t take it anymore
I know you can’t fake it
I know you can’t fake it anymore
Now it’s time for you to open a new door

Now it’s time for you to open a new door

 

the Third tradition…

The AA 3rd tradition:  The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking.

The one for Al-Anon is a bit different.

The Al-Anon 3rd tradition: The relatives of alcoholics, we gathered together for mutual aid, may call themselves an Al-Anon Family Group, provided that, as a group, they have no other affiliation. The only requirement for membership is that there be a problem of alcoholism in a relative or friend.

I love going to my home group meetings, they really help me out.  I am sometimes asked what you need to be able to go to a meeting.  An open heart, an open mind and the want to get better.  But when they say you must have someone in your life, a family member or a friend who has a drinking issue – well that’s almost everyone.  Anyone who is a heavy drinker effects everyone in their life.

How many of us went through all the pain and suffering of watching a loved one fight their demons and not be able to offer any help?   It consumes you, it fills all of your thoughts and your time, the disease now becomes ours as well and we start our denial.  I know, cause I have been there – I thought that the only way to love him was to take care of all of his short comings.  I had to help him fix everything, I had to help him cover up things, I had to continue with the lies he started.

I sit in my home group and hear everyone’s stories, spouse, best friend, parents, children – who ever it is that has the issue – it consumes our lives juat like it did theirs.  Even if their addict isn’t getting better, or is not in program, they are still getting better.  My addict is getting better, he is in program and we are recovering together.  Our marriage is recovering, our lives are recovering, I could not imagine going back to they way it was 9 months ago.  Heck, even 6 months ago we were still not really sure what was going to happen between us.

 

If no one has told you they love you today, I love you and God does too!

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