Detox Week

Fire heartWords could never adequately re-create this past week of my life. It was a week of excitement, fear, anger, pain, sickness, confrontation, negotiation, silence, gratitude, migraines, and reflection. The parallels to my alcohol detox are prevalent, but in more ways than I suspected.

In the spirit of “Competency Three: I can be navigated” I am shocked at my seeming hatred toward change, even when I know it is best. I am amazed at my resilience toward DOING IT  MY WAY WITH MY TOOLS.

The last words from my doctor as I left with my detox plan, “Don’t sell out on your long term goals for short term pleasure.” Until my recovery from active alcoholism this had been one of my themes. More recently I thought giving up the booze was enough. Again I am reminded that my problem is not the wine, cookies, or the diet soda.

It is me!

If I want something new I better be willing to do something new to have it.

In all honesty I didn’t want to be navigated or taught this past week. I did not want to follow the detox plan. Day one slow to start, but finished with vomiting and then pseudo-paralyzed on top the bed, because it was too challenging to pull down the sheets. Day two and three were migraines (actually it’s been one long headache). I could get my head to stop pounding if I stopped moving, but how much time can one spend immobile? The minute I arose to attend to life, it was as if a truck had slammed into skull. All I wanted was short term relief. I couldn’t see past the moment. All I experienced at these moments was pain, more pain, and then anger that it hurt to feel pain. And it was unceasing. I would have cried, but it hurt too much.

All that was left was to be quiet. There was nothing for me to think about. No Earthly thought could bring me relief. There was only me trying to find the silence. Some moments I had it, albeit brief, only to feel it vanish with my incessant chatter. I chased the silence only to find it was uncatchable. It was a thing I was simply to receive. It was in these moments that I realized, I am detoxing.

Whatever is within me is fighting to stay (ego).  It is my survival mechanism. It is what I have built my life upon and around. It’s not going without a fight. So I searched for the silence and let ues (unnecessary ego stuff) know it was okay to go when it was ready. I didn’t need this part of me living in me anymore. I thanked it for serving me and released it to the universe. (This was/is not a one time step.)

Did it appear again? Yes. Do I still negotiate? Yes, but I am learning the process. It’s almost like I am interactively watching my subconscious mind reprogram itself. I am conscious and actively in observation of me.

What I’ve learned: I turned to caffeine, sugar, and food stimulants to help me cope. They are my anesthesia. Without them I have been irrational and irritable. This is exactly the person that quit drinking a few years ago.

If I want something new, I better be willing to endure the short term discomfort of achieving it. Much, much, much easier said than done.

But nonetheless … doable!

What I’ve learned: There is so much more to me than I ever knew or imagined. And if there is so much more to me then there is so much more to you.

We are from the same creation.
Never give up hope that it can be different.
This is the only failure.
A good life is for us all.

“Don’t sell out on your long term goals for short term pleasure.”


p.s. Thanks for the encouraging comments, texts, and emails, you carried me through.   I am grateful.

No Responses to “Detox Week

  • You can do it… What strength! You have all my admiration! You’ll see, it’s so worth it, in the long run, keep it up 🙂

    • Love you. You’ve given me so much to lean on. Thank you. Truly. Thank you! xox Me

      • Maybe I have and I’m sure mighty happy but as someone close told me once when I said this or that was the trigger to the qualities I’ve found today in my life, I quote ” Bottom line, you are the one who did it, not the power of this mineral stone (bc that was one of the things I’d discovered) or that method, Only YOU used YOUR strength, your personality…
        It was your choice. So, don’t denigrate yourself by putting the credit on exterior factors”. That is what we usually tend to do. So from my experience and from your posts, I see that same will & strength in you to make of your life something better than what you already have. I always tell to those around me… “we have only one shot at life so we might as well live it well or improve its quality if necessary :)”

  • OMG-yes! I feel like I could have written the EXACT same thing!! Migraines-yes ma’am. Horrible. Nauseous. Bingo. Since ‘recovering’ I have turned to my other addiction of sugar, carbs, and diet soda to keep me functioning and human and someone who is ‘safe’ to deal with- without those things-approach at your own risk! But in the last few weeks I too have realized the problem has been me! Whoa. Having finally gotten rid of all the other junk-literally-has exposed the true-raw-self of me. It’s been tough and rough but needed. I’m right there with you. Thank you so much for this post!! Keep up the great work!!!!!

    • You have given me so much in the time we have communicated. It’s incredible … I remember people in meetings saying they were giving up sugar or coffee or ??? and I remember thinking, “why, why would you do that?” Now I know. Now I get it. I want more. I want more for myself. The more … I am … the more … I can give to others. It is that selfishly unselfish act. At nine years sober from alcohol I don’t think I could have made this leap one day sooner. All that being said, I’m still in today with the headache and it’s okay.

      You are a wonderful friend. Thanks for the love and encouragement. It’s always nicer to walk together than to walk alone. Lots of love, Me

  • I have to say that it’s hard to read what you’re going through for two reasons: 1) I can identify with the feelings of ego battling and the damn difficulty of releasing what no longer serves us. 2) I can see myself doing what you’re doing…in the not too distant future. Not perhaps to the extent to what you’re doing (or maybe yes) – but certainly some sort of detox. I read this with guilt as well, as I have been binging on the very things you have been removed from. Ugh. And I can feel it in all ways – physically, of course, but in the way of “why am I doing this? This serves me in no way”.

    So I see myself in you at this moment – and seeing myself, like you, struggling with the negotiations, the last second Hail Mary from my ego to try and disengage in this process, to get back to brass tacks and just gorge out on poisonous goods, in a way to detach from seeing and feeling things. Booze may have been tricky, but methinks this kind of stuff is harder, Lisa. I don’t know why, but perhaps it’s because it’s “safer” in terms of how others see it, and how we see it. Harmless really. What’s a nice coffees, a delicious piece of cake or some well deserved Oreos? Stinkin’ thinkin’ kind of stuff. Rationalization. It’s the “why” not the “what” in this case.

    I am sorry to hear about the physical stuff. I pray it slows up and passes on by. I can only imagine what it’s like. But you’re here and letting us in. I appreciate that on so many levels, Lisa. Brave stuff you’re treading on. Long term goals…….


    • “Safer” … love that word. It is true though. My goodness, my family was here for my niece’s b-day (Sunday night) and I served cake without eating any. My whole family felt the same pang you speak of … the same pang we’ve all felt when we knew we were playing small. Playing small in a big world. A big world that needs leaders. Not the kind of leaders that tell you what to do, but the kind of leaders that “do it” and bring you along. We live in a world that lacks integrity. (not just recovering alcoholics) And, Americans are at the forefront of this offense. This over indulgence in the material aspects of living. No wonder addiction is on the rise. According to popular culture and media our needs will never be met until we purchase the latest/newest/bestest XYZ. (My goodness, is this post even about sobriety anymore? teehee) Anyway, I love to write with you because you play big with me. You encourage me to push the envelope just a little more. Funny, I have found that one tiny push often sets in motion a snowball I couldn’t stop if I tried. I have a feeling my writing and life are about to become very intense. You’ll make the leap when you’re ready (redundant, I know) It took nine years post sobriety date for me to change my ways. I think you can cut yourself some slack. (But not too much) As always, you get me thinking in the best of ways my friend, my love, Lisa

  • What you’re doing is so inspiring. I had some health issues that forced me to cut out wheat, sugar and caffeine for awhile so I know a little about the unexpected emotions and resistance. I’m always amazed at how deeply rooted my defense mechanisms are and where they show up. I’m really excited for you and the huge gift you’re giving yourself! You’re so supportive of all of us. I’m sending you a big hug!

    • Karen, Thank you my friend. Thank you for the big hug. I want it too. I just wasn’t ready to do this any sooner. Even watching so many of you walk through this. I am again reminded we are ready when we’re ready. It really does shed light on detox from alcohol because we really do forget what that was like. It feels like it will never end—that long, drawn out drama of getting sober.

      But it does. One day you are just sober. And you fully expect to stay that way. But many do not. I think that’s why I took this step. Time to evolve.

      I feel so fortunate to have so many great people to support me. I never, ever want to drink alcohol again. I hope to feel this way about some of my current ex-habits. I don’t feel that way yet, but I have learned that many things are possible when I am in alignment with “the loving choice.”

  • Katherine
    11 years ago

    I too have thought about you this week, while I drank my beloved cup of coffee in the morning or ate my reward bowl of ice cream at night. I imagined how hard it must be for you and could I do it? I probably could, but I think I would not WANT to do it.

    I once went to an ashram in New York for a week’s spiritual intensive. The hardest part of the week was giving up my american cuisine and caffeine vices and my routine. I was so irritated from the withdrawl that I became so angry inside myself. I felt so trapped (yet I was there by my own choice) almost like a ‘fish out of water’. My ego was so upset. My body was craving. As the days went on that week some things got easier to let go of. I learned WAY more than I thought I would about myself. It sounds like you are too. I admire your strength and self-love! You will be so much healthier both physically and emotionally from this personal long term quest!

    I wish you much peace and love Lisa! Hugs!

    • You described me exactly. When faced with not getting what I want, when I want, I am a fish out of water. As much as I hate this whole thing and negotiate options for quitting … I will not, at least for today. I realize I was “enough” a week ago, before it all started. And I am no more “enough” today than I was then because I am detoxing. This self love thing can be tricky. It’s in the accepting where I am now that allows me to move forward. A principle I had little to no reference point for prior to sobriety. Thanks for the hugs. Sending some back. xoxooo

  • As Scott notes in one of this week’s articles on our site, “people do succeed in sobering up on their own sometimes, but we often hear that even though sober, they don’t find much real enjoyment in their lives.”

    He didn’t say it, but the words “dry drunk” loomed in my mind when I read that bit. Yes, getting sober or abstinent is the prerequisite necessity for staying alive, and for every improvement thereafter. But we want more than just not being arrested, not making that practical suicide plan, not feeling like a forcibly-revived corpse when we wake up in the morning, not being afraid to look other people in the eye.

    Life IS a banquet, and (as Auntie Mame says) “most poor suckers are starving to death.” Including many of us overly well-fed and self-indulgent food abusers who have traded the experiential banquet of living for the gustatory satisfaction of temporary rewards from our brains. Not to mention us tobacco addicts, us shopping addicts, us other-self-defeating behavior addicts. “At least we’re not drinking” is not enough.

    The only way to get there from here is to re-direct the passion our addicted brains load into sick, short-term sensory gratifications, towards the more complex, lasting, life-enhancing rewards of LIVING RECOVERY.

    Can’t do it alone. No easier, softer way.

    I keep reminding myself of that as I face the daily struggle to undo small habits that my body and brain have colluded on for years, that are finally catching up with me. It’s the little things that drive me nuts, again and again. Having to be mindful of how I sit, stand, walk, lay down for sleep.

    Can’t do it alone. No easier, softer way.

    Thanks for this site, Lisa. I am getting so much encouragement and insight from reading your posts, and the focus on LIVING RECOVERY.

    We cannot stop at abstinence, necessary as abstinence is. There is so much more, if we have the courage to keep going.

    • Cecile, I love that you shared Auntie Mame. This seems to sum up my week exactly. I sometimes wonder if I’m even blogging about sobriety anymore. I think a newly recovered addict would run from these pages. But for me, it is about continued sobriety. Like you said, “Living Recovery.” It really boils down to “Living.” How big do I want to play? How far am I willing to push my limits … or my perception of my limits? You are a joy for me. I do nothing alone and I love that you are here supporting me. I hope I do the same for you. I am a big fan of RecoverySI. I always do a reframe on some aspect of my thinking when I login over there. So thank you for enriching my life. Love and peace, Lisa

      • I’m not sure a newly-recovered person would run from your pages, Lisa. My hope would be that they’d say, “OK, this is possible for me if I stick with it. If I can get from the challenge of just not drinking right now, this hour, this day, to the next stage. This is what’s next. And it looks pretty good!”

        Recovery does come in stages, and we navigate them at our own pace and needs and readiness. Sometimes a step forward, a step back, two forward, one back, rinse, repeat, for a while.

        But as long as we keep wanting something better, it’s encouraging to know that “better” is not only waiting for us, but there’s plenty of company on the trip.

  • Wow this is very powerful thought provoking stuff. I thank you so much for sharing. You are incredibly brave and strong and inspiring. That’s all I have to say! xxxx

    • Mrs D, Thank you for the kind words. What is so great about all my blogging friends is that you help keep my strong. So my thanks goes to you. I didn’t think I had this type of courage. But you all are helping me see that I do. I have a lot of untapped “stuff” … my job is to find it. Because when I find it in me I can help another find it in them. Lots of love, Lisa

  • Oh Lisa, I am sorry to hear you’re going through this difficult detox readjustment period but even so your post is inspiring. It is clearly a period of big growth and, as you well know already, that growth can be painful. But so, so worth it.

    Thinking of you and hoping things begun easier and even clearer soon that said.

    Lilly xo

    • Lilly, Lilly, Lilly, I have been feeling better each day for a couple of days. Not 100%, but better enough. I have so much admiration for you all that are going through alcohol/drug detox. I’m right there with you. Your support means the world to me. Know that I am here for you too. I am so glad to know you and walk this path with you. We find our strength in each other sometimes. xox Lisa

  • Oh man, sorry you’ve suffered the migraines, and I hope they end soon. This knowledge that you’re enduring detox hopefully gives you strength, as you know it will end. We’re never out of the woods, but on to better living from here.

    • 3B,
      I love your pragmatic approach to life. You always manage to keep it simple. As of the writing of this, I am already feeling the pain release. I’m on my way. Thanks for the encouragement and love, xox Lisa

  • Lisa, I hope this week finds you better physically, and I can’t thank you enough for chronicling this journey for us to witness. Like Paul, I fear myself in the exact same situation, and I pray for the willingness to turn my food/caffeine/etc. choices around before I am forced to do so (like I was with alcohol), but so far, I seem to have no luck. Your blog is putting it front and center in my life, and for that I am grateful!

    • Miracles,
      Give it a some time. It took me 9+ years. In the meanwhile spend today loving you and the progress you’ve made. Oh wait, you already do that … You’re a superstar in my book. xox

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