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Ralph last won the day on June 11 2016

Ralph had the most liked content!

About Ralph

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  • Birthday 03/18/1977

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  1. Ralph

    current events - Trigger

    Thanks, IJ. I did see my therapist on an emergency basis last week, and following up next week. I have supportive friends who have already offered to help if needed, which is something I am truly grateful for. Finding, that is what I am struggling with as well. I can see myself in just that situation, because it could have just as easily happened in my home town or anywhere. I lived in Colorado through Columbine HS and Aurora movie theater shootings, and each time there is another mass shooting I feel a little more sick. When I picture how I would respond to such an emergency, I feel like I would not be very brave, and that bothers me. What else bothers me, is that I have to even think about how I would respond in the event of a mass shooting in the first place. Human beings have a fundamental need to feel safe, and I don't even feel safe leaving my apartment anymore. It's as if the social contract has been broken, and I can't expect society to behave in any predictable ways. However I can see that as a distortion - it's not really chaos in the streets. I just don't get it. I can't even put it into words because what happened is unthinkable to me. I know these are just my emotions, though, not reality. I don't feel like I can find "real" reality though. I think I need to mainly sit through this and just (gasp) feel my emotions, even though they are very uncomfortable.
  2. So, after starting to think I was doing so much better, the shooting in Orlando happened. I haven't dealt with that very well. I'm still in a bit of shock, as I can't even fathom the loss of life that happened that night. To be honest it's thrown me back into a state of depression. I can feel all those old thought patterns starting up again. Taking everything personally, black and white thinking, perfectionism, all those habits I've worked so hard to undo are back. This time will be different, though, because I know how I did it before. Doing the exact same thing may not work this time, because I have changed as a person, but I now know my mind better and I know how to work with it, somewhat. The urge to drink is intense. Not for one or two, but to get so blacked out drunk that I don't wake up for 3 days. I've never dealt with an upset like this before without drinking, so the urge is understandable. I don't see how my self destruction would help anyone, though, so I keep going, hoping to get better at some point. This is my personal blog, so I have talked about my own reaction, but I want to be clear this issue is not all about me. I wasn't directly affected; I know some folks in Orlando but all are safe, but as a gay male I can only see this as an attack on "my" community and of course I take that personally. If you were affected by the shootings, know that my heart is with you and so are those of the rest of the community including straight allies.
  3. Ralph

    Posting Dilemma

    I know I have not been very active on this site lately. There was some discussion of this in the Announcements thread introducing me as a new moderator, but I thought I would add more detail here. The blog feels like a more appropriate place for this, and that way I don't feel like I'm cluttering up an announcement thread with a whole wall of text. I have made massive progress in the past year or two in learning to stop beating myself up. I'm starting (just barely) to accept who and what I am, flaws and all. As a perfectionist, I find this to be a difficult thing to do, but I prefer it over the alternative, which is rejecting myself until I meet some artificial standard that I set up for myself in the hope of gaining approval from others. I'm also experimenting with not giving a lot of weight to what others think of me. That does not imply that I reject social norms (I'm actually rather conventional from most points of view), but rather I am allowing myself to be me, rather than trying to make sure everyone likes me. If someone dislikes me, at least the are disliking the genuine me, rather than being kind of meh with some fake version of myself. This is so freeing, but nonetheless I still drop back into my comfort zone of being invisibly neutral whenever I forget to consciously work on it. I wish I could share this with others, but I had to do a lot of hard work to get here. It took many months of practice and hours of sitting with discomfort, trying out new behaviors (along with new medications, yuck!), and disputing irrational thoughts. I am still not a master of this skill, but I am gradually learning to make friends with my own suffering, and not add to it by layering on additional meanings which are only projections of my reactions to past events I can't let go of. I definitely have improved, but there is still more work to do. I'm not a good enough writer to be able to package this up in a way that communicates to others how to do what I did. That's why I don't really post that much, which on reflection probably shows I've still got some perfectionism left to deal with. However, I don't want to say something that causes more harm than good. Given my personality quirks it is easy to take something I say the wrong way, and hear something unkind when I did not mean it that way. In 3d land, (aka IRL or "outside") I am also very quiet for the same reason. OTOH I don't see how my silence helps others, so I could experiment with being more active. Just writing this out literally made me sweat, so this causes some degree of nervousness on my part. I could view this as a good thing, another opportunity to get out of my comfort zone. If you have managed to read all this, thank you. I would love your input as to this dilemma. What would you rather see from me - more postings that potentially could be taken the wrong way, but potentially could offer support or understanding, vs being quiet and only stepping in to "referee"?
  4. Thanks, smallstar and sed. Yes, I have been around a while. I think I started here around 2010. I do come and go, as sometimes I feel like I need support, and it helps just reading other folks' posts, but then other times I want to push my mental health problems into the background and pretend I am doing fine. I have made a ton of progress in the past couple years or so. I'm just not sure how to help others with what I've learned, so I continue to study. More on that in a soon to come blog post. What this has to do with moderating is that I'm going to experiment with being more active. I'll probably make some mistakes along the way. My ask of the community is for charity (give me the benefit of the doubt when interpreting what I say), but with feedback. Please understand I'm just a neurotic human being like anyone else. I am no better or worse and hopefully I don't come off as making myself out to be any better or worse. If I say something that comes off as aggressive, harsh, or judgmental, then let me know. If possible I would prefer feedback that focuses on the behavior rather than on my inherent traits as a person, but I don't demand that. I hope everyone who reads this has a good day.
  5. Hi MorbidOrchid, I don't know enough about your parents to suggest how to approach them, but I can tell you about my situation. I had depression and suicidal ideation (making plans but not following through on them) since I was 8 years old, possibly earlier. My parents (well Mom, really, Dad left us alone after the divorce) didn't want to believe that I had issues. I didn't know how to talk to my mom about it, and back then I had an attitude anyway which would have prevented me from receiving help even if it were offered. So I just escaped. It wasn't a conscious decision; I was desperate to change the way I felt, and I found that certain activities did so. This got me through until I was old enough to take care of myself, at which point I started to realize I needed professional help. I was in college at the time, and went to the University student services to get help finding a therapist etc. They even had students who were learning that did therapy under supervision, for a reduced fee. Eventually I started to get better, but it took many years of trying different therapists and different treatments. That is what actually happened. However, looking back, it would possibly have been better if I got help earlier. Using my now adult understanding, I think if I had written a letter out telling my mom exactly what was going on, then that might have gotten through to her. I'm even thinking of writing a letter to her now, with the hopes of explaining some of my current behavior that is the outcome of having a persistent mental health problem. I think written communication can help with serious matters such as this because we can organize our thoughts as we write, and delete stuff that comes out wrong. So even writing a letter that you don't send can help. That is what works in my situation, but my point is to keep trying different ways to communicate until you get through to them. If nothing else they will eventually notice that you are trying to tell them something, and possibly approach you to talk about it. If they are flat out not receptive to anything, then it may be possible to find ways to cope until you are able to get help on your own. That would not be the ideal path, but it beats doing nothing and letting the illness take over by default. Trying something new, whether it works or not, can increase our feeling of self efficacy. Self efficacy is the opposite of feeling powerless, and at least in my case paranoia about what others are thinking about me is usually caused by my feelings that I am powerless and others are powerful, therefore they have control over me. So anything that reduces this reduces thoughts and feelings that eventually add up to paranoia. I also noticed that you said you think people are spying on you along with the fact that you have a history of concealing the truth about little things. Is it possible the two are related? If so, maybe deciding to be fully truthful going forward, even if it means bad consequences, would help lift the feeling that others are watching you. This could be tried out as a thought experiment; just see how it feels to try on a commitment to tell the truth without making a full commitment. Or, you could try telling the truth in a circumstance where you might conceal things, and see how that feels. I know this is a lot to read, so thanks if you did get through it. If not, just focus on the last two paragraphs above. I hope you can find something useful there. Also you could keep reaching out on the forums here. Who knows, maybe someone will say something or you will pick something up at random that points you to a solution. It may take a long time, but I believe it is always possible to get better as long as we are willing to try something new.
  6. Small, I'm not here to set an example. I just want to help out in whatever ways in which I may be able. I hear the concern that, as someone with a substance issue, I may be impaired and on the site at the same time, which would affect my judgment as a moderator, or even as a participant in forum threads. I assure you I have awareness around this and have no intent of coming on this site unless I am sober at the time. However, what I reject is the implication that, as someone with a substance issue, my credibility must be suspect, even when I am not using, because of the danger that I may relapse at some point in the future. This is a non-sequitur as far as I can tell, unless there is a tacit assumption that all people with substance issues have poor judgment, even when they are not actively participating in their addictions. My life experience has provided me with evidence to the contrary, so I cannot accept that assumption. It seems clear that you would prefer someone who has his or her "shit together," but I would submit that in this world there is not one person who truly meets this criterion. No matter how much one may appear to have their shit together on the outside, you can always find struggles if you peel back the veneer. It's the human condition. I did not ask to be a moderator, I was asked. I accepted on the grounds that this site has helped me in the past, so if I can offer some assistance back to the community, then I want to do that. I am not active on the forums right now because of where I am at in my journey. I don't need help with my own emotional issues right now as I have been self managing successfully, yet I do not feel I am far enough along to help someone else, so I keep quiet. In accepting to be a moderator I want to help support the team that keeps this community up and running. If I am successful in this, then you will hardly even notice I'm here. At least, that is how I view things. If the community desires something else from a mod then I will adjust my behavior accordingly, or happily step aside for someone more skilled in the role. I hope that offers more clarity about who I am and why I accepted to be a moderator, and I am glad for this discussion as it shows people care about the community.
  7. Thanks! ... I think... Now to figure out how to moderate
  8. Ralph

    Sober.... Not sober(?)

    It's hard for me to get out in nature because I don't have anyone to go with, but I made a new friend recently so maybe that will change this summer. There is a park nearby that has a duck pond. I find that to be quite soothing. I sometimes feel self conscious out in public alone, though. I worry that I look like some kind of creep being at a park without a family in tow. I could dispute that thought, though. Why should I think that anyone is even noticing me in the first place, and if they are, then who cares what they think about me? That is the attitude I would like to go out with.
  9. Ralph

    Sober.... Not sober(?)

    Thanks, and good job on 5 months off the sauce! I definitely do not have clarity of mind when stoned. That's what I like about it. I can still function in terms of walking talking, doing dishes, what have you, but I wouldn't want to be high at work. The reason I like it is I feel my mind goes way too fast at times, like an engine revving that is not in gear. So depressant drugs like alcohol or weed work to slow that down so I can get a rest. I don't like using drugs to do that though. I feel like I should be able to calm down through meditation or other techniques that don't mess with my brain chemistry quite so much.
  10. Ralph

    Sober.... Not sober(?)

    So life has been going pretty well for me. I am on the right combo of meds and taking them as directed. I am taking steps to become more socially engaged in life. My job is very high stress but I do love the work, plus working inside is nice. I'm grateful to even have a job in the first place in this economy. I have some first world problems, most notably addiction. I haven't drank in over four months now, but two months ago I started smoking weed because: a - I qualify for a medical card, meaning I can do it legally under state law if I follow the rules, and b - I don't have a "problem" with weed. I don't increase the dose until I pass out the way I do with alcohol. I still feel like it's an addiction, though. I have yet to list out the pros and cons, but on the surface it bothers me that I haven't gone one day without it in over two months. I try to just skip it, but when night time comes around and I can't sleep, that bong is just too convenient to leave alone. Even just thinking about it now I am having a hard time imagining going without it, but I don't want that to be the only outlet I have for relaxing and getting to sleep. I'm also dead scared this thing is going to spiral out of control the way my drinking did. I guess I'm a little gunshy. I know weed isn't necessarily addictive and I think there are folks who use it for spiritual purposes and don't have any bad effect from it. I am starting to doubt that I am that type of person - it's more likely that I am just using it to escape and that is a path to addiction. I wish I could just be present with myself. This shit would be so much simpler that way.
  11. Ralph


    Thanks for the note, IJ. It took me a little while but I found the settings. I'm still feeling about the same as when I wrote the original post unfortunately. Things are pretty good; I have a lot to be thankful for. I can't seem to be able to enjoy my own good fortune, though. I feel so much fear and pessimism although things have gone pretty well for me, with a few significant exceptions.
  12. Ralph


    Maybe this is just normal ups and downs, but I am way down right now. Keep thinking about suicide although I have no intent of going through with it. Wondering if I should call a crisis line anyway. No particular external stressors, actually things are going fine for me, nonetheless these feelings make it like I am going through some intensely distressing times.
  13. Ralph


    smallstar I would say that depends on how likely a relapse is at this time. If I was already stable in my sobriety and had made the lifestyle changes necessary to sustain it, then I would most likely not need it. However, in my case I was relapsing repeatedly and needed something extra to get me out of that pattern. It worked for me and the cost is more than returned to me in alcohol purchases I haven't made due to taking this course. As always, YMMV I've done more work on the course in the past week and my urges are now almost non-existent. I may have a thought about alcohol, but it isn't an attention grabbing craving that makes me want to think about the good times I had with drinking and ignore the consequences. I have been logging my urges and I'm noticing that I'm not even logging one urge every day, it's more like 2 urges every 3 days now, which is the most peace I've felt with sobriety in a long time.
  14. Ralph


    Finding, the web course is overcomingaddictions.net. I haven't been using it as much lately and I have noticed my urges coming back. Still not strong, but more than they were when I was using the course every day. I guess it would be good for me to get back into it.
  15. Ralph


    I'm doing well. I'm hoping to keep my momentum with sobriety going. If I think about drinking, it does tempt me, but then I remember how bad things got, and I don't want to go back there again. I never experienced any drastic consequences from my drinking but I had seen some mild ones that I knew would only grow after time if I didn't listen to the wake up calls I had been given. My depression is still an obstacle to deal with, but it's at least something I can work with instead of an overwhelming monster that I can't handle.
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