Ten Months…

Today I had my Groups: Recover Together meeting.  It’s basically weekly group therapy for opioid addicts trying to get clean, and in recovery.  I have been going to Groups now for over 6 months, and today got my 6 month token.  Its’ just a little pocket coin to fiddle with and remind yourself that you are in recovery and yes, you can do this!

2017-09-13 19.46.10I’m pretty proud that I have managed to kick my opioid addiction and stay clean for almost 10 months now.  Oct. 28th will be my 1 year anniversary.  It hasn’t been easy, I’ve had some really tough days and brutal nights.  I am currently in the Suboxone program. Suboxone is a drug used to curb the cravings and block the effect of opioids.  Basically, as long as I take my daily sublingual strips, which are paper strip that I put under my tongue and let dissolve for 7 minutes without swallowing — yeah, TRY to go 7 whole minutes without swallowing, it’s a real trick!  Anyway, as long as I take those I don’t have the hellish cravings for the drug, and even if I did do any dope it would be “blocked” by the Naloxone in the Suboxone strip.  Rendering doing it absolutely useless…I wouldn’t get high, so why bother?  It’s a phychological thing as well as a physical thing I believe.

Going to the weekly group meeting, where I am in a room with 8-10 other addicts all in the same boat, and all doing the same basic thing – trying to eliminate addiction from their lives.  We have developed a pretty tightly knit group at this point.  We’ve come to hold one another’s feet to the fire.  When you arrive at the office for the meeting you have to take a piss test, and they test it on the spot for any drugs.  It’s a 6 way test.  As long as you don’t test for any drugs except for the Suboxone (buprenorphine) you are good to go.  You go into the group meeting and when you are finished you pick up your weekly prescription from the coordinator on the way out.  You can test positive for marijuana also, it’s legal here so they don’t dock you for having it in your system.  Plus, many of us use it for pain relief, which is why many of us started using the opioid drugs to begin with.  Marijuana isn’t considered to be a problem in this program, and I don’t believe it’s a problem drug if used smartly.  If you test positive for any other drug you are pulled aside and have to meet with the counsellor before you can pick up your script.  You have to explain why you are positive and generally they will give you a break and a chance to continue.  If you habitually test positive, or have a “dirty” or “hot” result you can be tossed out of the program.  And no one wants that!  Going to these meetings in order to get your prescription, being tested weekly, and bein accountable has become pretty damned important to me.  I need the Subs, so I follow the program and it’s kept me on track very well.

The opioid crisis is a nationwide crisis affecting all communities regardless of age, race, gender, religion, social status, or wealth.  It doesn’t discriminate.  I know many very prominent people in my community that hide secret addictions to these powerful drugs such as Percocet, oxycodone, Vicodin, Heroin and Fentanyl.  Once the drug gets you hooked you are in a fight for your life.  Too many times I have seen that fight end in death.  I didn’t want to be another one of those statistics.  Maine has an unusually high number of addicts, and a very high over-dose rate.  It’s a rural state, and for some reason has become a very big state for the trafficking of these potent drugs.

Tonight on ABC television here in the US there is a show that’s going to be on that’s called “State of Addiction” which will talk all about the epidemic we are facing here.  I plan to watch it and have encouraged my family and loved ones to do the same.  I can tell them things, but I think that hearing them from people who combat this every day will be even better for them to understand.  I am very lucky to have a very good support network of family, friends and a very supportive and loving girlfriend.  Without them I don’t think I would have made it back to sobriety….I thank every single one of them, and especially my dear Mother who I put through hell and back with worry and angst.  I’m sorry for all of it, but an addict doesn’t see those things or the way they are affecting people around them when they are actively using.  It’s not til one gets clean that we can look back and realize the damage we have done, and just hope and try to fix it somehow.

Peace.  ~MB

 

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Solemn Memories of September 11, 2001

2017-09-11 13.41.52Today is Monday – September 11, 2017….the 16th anniversary of the bombing of the 9/11 attacks on America…US flags will be flown at half-staff today in remembrance.

I worked a few hours this morning and am home now…and I am remembering exactly where I was 16 years ago today when the first plane hit the Twin Towers in NYC…I was building a barn, and was standing up on the floor of the 2nd story or loft area, readying to put up the roof rafters.  Time seemed to stand endlessly still.  Then the second plane hit.  By this time I was in the house in front of the television watching it live…and I was crying.  All of those innocent people, on the plane, in the buildings…and then we hear that another plane has hit the Pentagon…more death and destruction…then the field in Pennsylvania…carnage.  Then the Twin Towers fell…this was hell.

I will never forget that day.  Or the weeks that followed as we tried to wrap our minds around what had happened, and why it had happened.  It was the our baptism by fire into the world of terrorism.  Pretty much up until 9/11/01 the citizens of the USA lived in a sort of world where we almost thought we were untouchable by outside forces.  We believed that “it would never happen here” in our own backyard.   No one would dare attack the United States directly….then it happened on September 11, 2001.  That very day our whole world changed; flipped completely upside down and would never be the same again.

For days I was glued to the television watching the live news casts for hours on end.  I couldn’t sleep, no one could.  People were missing.  People were severely injured.   And eventually we would learn that almost 3,000 were dead.  We were all devastated, as posters and notes to the missing were being tacked up all over NYC.  Families searched for loved ones, and some found them unharmed, some never heard from them again.  We heard about those trapped in the towers calling loved ones to say good-bye on their cellphones…unbelievably sad.

9/11/01 was a day that changed me.  It changed America.  It changed all of us.  We were not invincible.  We had been attacked; savagely attacked and cut to the core.  Everyone knew someone who was lost in the attacks, or knew of someone who was directly affected.  It’s an amazing thing, the way we are all so intertwined.  It’s the phenomenon that we are all connected within 6 degrees….or the 6 degrees of separation theory.  I’ve found it to be quite true in most instances.

Because of the attacks on 9/11/01 I have far more consciousness of living life in the moment, not passing up chances to learn new things, meet and know new people, and not to take it for granted that there will be a tomorrow.  I, like many, developed a deep rooted sense of prejudice against Muslims; one which I have worked hard to get over and change.  I admit it, at that time I blamed radical Islamic teachings and those who were part of that faith for the attacks.  Now, I know that it is a small percentage of Muslims that hate America and wish to attack us because of this hate.  I have worked to overcome my misguided prejudices, and to understand better.  I now have friends who are Muslim, and even a cousin who married a Muslim man and converted to his faith.  I no longer blame them all, but those 7 terrorists that carried out those senseless attacks on 9/11/01…I hope they are rotting in extreme hell.  And as we know, their leader Osam Bin Laden is DEAD, and hopefully he’s rotting in hell as well.

So, today, 9/11/17, I stop to remember, because we can NEVER FORGET that fated day in 2001, when the world stopped, and we all changed.  We must NEVER FORGET.

Peace.  ~  MB

 

Top 100 Lesbian Blogs Award??

I got the strangest email today from Feedspot saying my blog here was named one of the top 100 lesbian blogs on the internet…not sure if I believe this or not, but I am going to check out Feedspot.  It seems they do list a ton of lesbian blogs, I just need to learn how to better navigate the site. Has anyone else gotten one of these? How do you know if these kinds of email are for real or not?

Top blog award

Here’s the award that I am supposed to add to my blog page, and I am just not sure how to add it…another thing I guess I need to figure out!  LOL, I think I know JUST WHO to ask!  She seems to be quite the whiz with WordPress and laying out blogs.  I’m still trying to figure out how to add videos to my blog without having to upgrade to Premium with WordPress and pay the upgrade fee.  I know there is a way you can add YouTube videos, I just can’t recall how to do it.  Also I know you can add music, and again I need to learn how to do that!

Hope everyone is having a good night!  Cheers!  Peace!  ~MB

 

Personal Stuff, Updates

Hello my fearless readers! I hope you are all in the very best of health and spirits – wherever you are on this big blue marble we call Earth.

The weather is turning here in southern Maine.  It’s beginning to feel a lot like Autumn, or Fall as we call it here.  Morning temperatures are pretty cool, down around 50F and it does warm up into the 70F range by mid day, but summer is now behind us as well as her very hot, humid weather.  Personally, I love this time of year. I love the smells, like fresh cut hay, newly fertilized fields, pumpkin and apple pies being baked, and that crisp clean smell of the ocean as the tides roll in and out.  Yes, this time of year just feels good.  I like being able to wear my sweatshirts and flannel shirts, and dressing in layers is key as you want to shed some as the days warm up.  I  like that I don’t have to run the air conditioners in the house – and have actually removed them and stored them for the winter – yet, I also don’t have to run the furnace for heat either.  Living with the ambient natural temperatures is perfect.  Sleeping is great, the cooler weather makes it so for me anyway.  And days are just comfortable.

I’ve been doing all the regular stuff.  Working, keeping up with the house and taking care of the dogs.  Everything is going pretty well.  I get to talk to my girlfriend every day, and we are doing really well.  Thank goodness for Skype!  And messenger of course.  what the hell did we do in days before cell phones and computers?  Dating was very different back then for sure, you were relegated to dating only those you could meet in your local circles.  I’m really glad that’s not still the way it is.  I never would have met this awesome woman had it not been for social media – this blog specifically.  And I’m really glad I met her and have gotten to know her.  She’s planning to come here in late November.  She’s got a lot of work between now and then, thus we are waiting.  I’m really looking forward to us spending a week just hanging out together.  It’s going to be great.

I decided not to bounce the friend of mine, who is staying here, out of the house just yet.  After giving it some careful consideration I decided to make a rule that politics are not to be discussed and told him to please be considerate of the fact I don’t want to hear it.  I felt bad cuz I know he doesn’t have much choice other than moving back to the motel.  Thus my choice to give it another try.  So far so good…although I am having some issues with his excessive alcohol consumption.  I don’t think that he will be here very long, too many things tell me this.  He’s planning to head to Florida the second week of December, and I think I can deal with him until then.  We shall see.  Regardless, he won’t be coming back to this house when he returns to the Maine coast, and returns to fishing, in the Spring. I’ve already decided that definitively.

I’ve been feeling really good.  Met with my doctors, each of them, in the last week.  Been having some issues with my c-spine, pain radiating down into my arms and hands.  So I am on a non-narcotic pain reliever called Celebrex and I have a brace on my left wrist.  We think I may also have carpal tunnel in that arm, thus the brace.  Both have seemed to help, I am in far less pain now.  Then I met with my HIV specialist yesterday.  My current tests just came back from the lab and I’m doing great.  T-cells up around 790 and my viral load is remaining undetectable.  This makes me really happy.  It means the cocktail of drugs that I am on is working and keeping my immune system healthy.  I’m feeling excellent, although I still battle a little weight gain, but I’m not real worried about it right now.  I know it’s a result of healthier living and being on the Suboxone…got to give a little to get a lot, so I’m just letting it ride.  I’ll work on losing the weight along the way.

My dogs are doing great.  Here’s a cute pic of them invading my spot in the bed…

2017-09-02 13.25.44

Well, I’m off to Groups…my weekly check in is on Wednesdays.  Things are going well with it and I’m continuing the program.  Staying clean is pretty important to me right now.

I hope you all have a great night!

Peace!  ~MB

America in Crisis Mode…

It’s stormy here in Maine this morning, thunderstorms passing over one by one and lots of heavy rain showers.  My lawn is dying from lack of water, so I’m actually pleased that everything is getting watered.

I was woken up at 4am this morning by a call from work asking me to go in as soon as I could get there, seems one of the night shift workers had to go home early due to illness and they had also run out of coffee filters and had to send someone to another store to get some.  Our coffee business there is huge.  We sell over 300 cups a morning, and being out was going to piss off quite a few of the guys and gals that stop in regularly for their morning cup o’ joe to kick off the day.  Plus overnight the restock order had arrived and that was sitting in the aisles and behind the counter waiting to be put away. When I got there at about 4:30am it basically chaos.  One one person was there to ring out customers and to try to explain the coffee situation to some grumpy people.  I jumped right in and ended up working til about 8:15, when the first shifters all arrived and were able to take over.

I’m watching The View right now, and they are talking about Trump.  They have his spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee, on and she’s desperately trying to defend in indefensible man.  Saying he doesn’t lie…omg, the guy has been proven to lie 95% of the time!

Yestereday Trump announced he was ending the DACA program.  This program is where people who were brought here as small children, now most are around 22 yrs old, by their parents illegally.  These kids were raised in America, schooled in our schools, played with our kids, and grew up here.  They don’t remember the countries they were born in, some don’t know the language of those countries even.  DACA protects them.  As long as they are either in school, go to college or joing he military, stay registered with the program and pay $500 per year, they can stay and live here.  Ending this program means that they have to leave; they have to return to countries that they know nothing about and have never been back to.  Possibly making them return to nothing, no where to live, no way to make a living, where there will be language barriers and possible hostility directed toward them by the governments of those countries.  Ending this program without creating a pathway to American citizenship for the 800,000 DACA kids who are here is goin got destroy lives, tear families apart and it is just the wrong thing to do.  Anyone can see that it’s wrong.

for example, I wasn’t born in Maine.  My parents were military and I was born on a Marine Corps base in North Carolina.  What if I was suddenly told that I had to leave Maine immediately, and go back to NC?  Would that be fair to me?  Would it cause me great pain and trouble?  I would have to leave the home I have here, leave the friends I have here, leave behind family and go to a place that I dont’ know anything about and try to make it.  Maybe it’s not the perfect example, but just think about it…what if you were told you HAD to leave where you are immediately, leave EVERYTHING behind – including the house that you own here – and go somewhere you know NOTHING about and start from scratch there…with basically nothing.  And what if they didn’t really want you at this other place?  How would that feel?  And how would that affect you?

Ending DACA isn’t right. Creating a pathway to citizenship is what needs to happen for those in the DACA program.  These kids are illegal aliens only by fault of their parents who brought them here.  They did not choose to come illegally, and were not old enough to understand what was being done to them.  I’m sure most of these people brought these kids here seeking a better life for them, fleeing violent places, poverty and hunger.  I’m sure the intentions were good.  But now we have this population of young people who have grown up in America that are being told to prepare to be forced to leave the country at any moment.  How can ANYONE think that this is the right thing to do???

So, that’s just one thing that is happening here.  Of course, our country is a mess right now and Trump just HAD to throw the DACA question into the affray.

We have Texas and Lousianna areas in total disarray at the moment from hurricane Harvey’s wrath.  People are without homes, homes have been destroyed or rendered unlivable due to water damage, mold and pollution.  Some landlords are demanding rent from people even on homes that can’t be lived in.  Stores are jacking up prices – price gouging – for things like water, building materials, and food.   The Governor of Texas refused Canadian assistance, and has reluctantly allowed some Mexican assistance in to the disaster area.  He claims that they can handle this themselves.  He’s a fool.  He’s asking the federal government for $120Billion dollars, with the first installment being $7.8billion having been requested thus far.  This storm aftermath is horrendous, and I believe it will just get worse as time goes on.  People can’t go back to work.  They have no transportation if their cars were lost in the flood – Houston is not known for very good public transportation systems.  Thousands are still in FEMA paid hotels and shelters, with no place to return to because their places were destroyed or rendered unlivable.  Yes, it’s truly a mess.  I hope they can make it through this and find better times ahead.

And we have North Korea threatening us with nuclear weapons, which they claim they can now mount on intercontinental ballistic missiles and hit American shores with if they choose to do so.  The rhetoric between Kim Jong U n  and Donald Trump has been bombastic.  Both posturing and trying to prove who has the bigger balls.  It’s scary.  It’s frightening to think that we are one the brink of the starting of WWIII.

Then we have ANOTHER very major hurricane bearing down on the southeastern coast, mainly Florida.  Hurrican Irma is coming in at a Category 5 hurricane, with wind speeds of 185mph, and gusts of up to 240mph.  Just what we need here right now, more destruction and devastation from mother nature.  Another natural disaster.  I have many relatives and friends in Florida and am worried about all of them.  I can only hope they are all preparing for the worst, evacuating as needed and protecting themselves.  All we can do is wait and watch and see what the storm does.  It’s not like we can turn it off…it’s coming whether we like it or not.  Sadly.  And behind it is ANOTHER hurricane as well, Jose…which we don’t yet know what direction that one will take, that still remains to be seen.

Where is our leader in all of this chaos?  What has he got to say to calm the nerves of Americans?  He’s hiding, tweeting about stupid stuff and not doing his job.  He probably has NO IDEA of HOW to handle all of these crisis situation at once. We haven’t seen his ugly face in days.  He SHOULD be front and center; on television speaking to a very nervous, scared and anxious nation.  He should be FAR MORE concerned about the health and welfare of his citizens who are in crisis around the country.  From the flood zones to the many huge wildfires in California and the West.  Yet, he is in hiding and he can barely handle a single situation, let alone multiple things happening.   I truly believe he is hiding, has secluded himself in the White House and is hoping that the generals will somehow hand it all for him.  God knows he doesn’t have the foggiest idea of what to say, even his tweets don’t make a lot of sense.  No, we are on our own, we have no leader here.  Just a fake “president” who is very, very inept.

Pray for America…please.  We need it bad right now.  So much is happening, and happening very fast, that it’s hard to know what to worry about in any given moment!

 

 

 

The Insomnia Files

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I’m awake. I should be sound asleep, dreaming of sex or something equally as deviant. But, hell no, I am wide awake and just wishing I could sleep some more; hoping that maybe after I write a little and just chill that I’ll be able to fall back to sleep for a few hours.

The news in America is just so troubling. From Trump’s continuous blunders and embarrassments to the devastation from Hurricane Harvey on Texas and Lousiana, you just can’t escape it. Every news channel is focused on these points; these topics of communal interest.

I, like everyone here, am so saddened by what is happening in Texas/Louisiana and along the Gulf Coast of Texas. From Corpus Cristi to Houston, and every small town and city in between there has been so much loss and destruction. This hurricane is the single largest natural disaster that the USA has ever witnessed or experienced on her own soil. And my fear is that we are only at the beginning of the losses – there will be so much fallout from the storm in the form of human suffering, pollution, ecological disaster, more fires, massive loss of personal property and real estate, and more. Yes, I think things will get much worse there before this is all over with.

The water is still mostly there, stagnant and putrid. The rescues continue with people still being IN the water, standing in it, sometimes neck deep. Animals are still being found, some lost, some abandoned at the last minute, and all needing food and care. Humane societies from around the country are trying to help out; some even taking in many animals to care for and help find homes for. I am sure there will be dogs headed up to Maine, I saw where the Maine shelter was preparing for them. I might even have to find room for one more little fur baby in my home for one of them.

My employer donated half a million dollars to the Hurrican Harvey relief effort; $250K to the Red Cross for use specifically for their efforts in Texas/Louisiana and another $150K to our company employee fund that will be used to help employees of the company who are affected by the storm. I thought this was very generous of them. And it makes me a little proud. At work, we are asking customers to join us by donating their change to the cause. I don’t mind asking knowing that the company themselves have made this huge donation as well. Basically, I ask each customer that comes through my line to donate the change rounded up to the nearest dollar, like if the sale is $5.47 I would ask that they donate .53 cents to the relief fund, rounding up so that the customer pays an even $6.00. Most say sure and are glad to do so. The money we raise at the counter there will go to the Red Cross’s efforts in the hurricane zone as well.

I can’t even bring myself to comment on Trump’s actions and behavior during this whole crisis. Let’s just say I believe it’s just plain – using one of his own favorite words – SAD.

Hopefully, our government will not make this a huge political battle to get funds to assist the victims and to rebuild the area.

Of course, the immigration debate and the government’s threat to deport all illegal immigrants will directly affect the rebuilding efforts. Ten percent of the population there is illegal, and most of them are construction workers. It’s just a shame that it will all become such a political battle that will severely affect so many innocent lives.

It’s turned very cold here at night. Temperatures are dropping down into the 40’s at night, brrrr…chilly willy! I wake up mornings and I’m damned near freezing! But I have yet to turn on my furnace! I refuse to start burning valuable oil, which has now skyrocketed in price because of the hurricane. They shut down all of the refineries in the Houston – Corpus Cristi area, which is where most of our heating oil and gasoline fuels come from. I ordered a load of heating oil this last Tuesday and got it at a price of $1.90/gal. Today, just a just 4 days later it’s up over $2.30/gal. And gasoline, OMG, that has gone crazy high! I paid $2.11/gal at the beginning of the week, and last night I passed the station where I usually fill up and it was at $2.67/gal.!!! That’s one helluva increase in just those few short days!!!! So, burning oil right now is a commodity that I can do without. I’ll just wear extra layers in the mornings and shed them as it warms up. The daytime temps have been up around 70-75.

With Fall coming in so early the leaves on the trees have even begun to change. It is pretty early for this to start happening here, which means that peak leave change and peak colors will be fairly early as well. I’m hoping to take a drive up to the White Mountains this season to see the foliage there. Maybe go over to Cathedral Ledge and check it out from the cliffs.

I finally got to the doctor for the pain in my arms and neck. And now I have a brace on my left wrist, immobilizing it pretty much. That seems to help. That and the addition of a non-narcotic pain reliever called Celecoxib. Between the two I’m considerably less pain and discomfort. The doctor ordered x-rays of my c-spine area, and I haven’t heard back on those yet. We’re not sure if the pain is being caused by nerve damage in the c-spine, or if it’s carpal tunnel type stuff that’s happening.

Also had my blood drawn for my quarterly level testing to make sure I am staying healthy and my medications are working properly to keep my HIV suppressed. I meet with my specialist about that this week. I’m feeling just fine, so I am not worried as I am sure the tests will show that I continue to be healthy and my virus is being kept in check.

I’ve been spending a good amount of time online and on Skype with my sweetheart. She was out of the country for a little while, traveling for her work. We managed to stay in touch thanks to Facebook’s messenger even during that time. I’ve really gotten spoiled by being able to Skype video call with her quite a bit. She’s really become the Rockstar in my life, and I’m so friggin happy about that!

Alright, it’s dawn here in Maine. Looks like it’s going to be a nice clear day, not much for clouds in the sky that I can see. I’m not sure what the day will bring, but probably some garden work and a run to the post office to mail a package to start off.

Here’s a new pic of the front of my house with the freshly painted porch and some new flower baskets and hangings.  The old place is looking pretty good!   Peace!  ~MB

2017-08-27 18.47.47

The Good Thing Harvey Washed Away

My Best Laid Plans

There’s not much in the world I can truly say I hate. But I hateHarvey.

We have been sitting here for more hours than I can begin to count being brutally lashed by his seemingly never ending fury. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t scary…terrifying…at times, but we are among the lucky ones. We are safe and dry.


Harvey has taken so much from so many. Homes, lives, hopes, jobs–all washed into the Gulf of Mexico by his relentless anger. As the horrifying images and desperate needs flash across my screen in endless and quick succession, I sit here with tears in my eyes. Where do you begin? I have never felt so helpless. My neighbors are in dire straits and I can’t do anything but pray. It’s a terrible feeling.


Pregnant women and their toddlers stuck on roofs waiting hours upon hours for…

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