When I was in a program for the mentally ill homeless in the Los Angeles area–in Panorama City to be precise–I passed on a recovery tip to a fellow patient. She was trying to quit smoking unsuccessfully.
I told her I had heard that if you have an addiction, including to cigarettes, and you pray the Lord’s Prayer when you have a craving and even before you indulge in it and you keep doing that no matter if it does not seem to stop you from giving into the craving, eventually you will be delivered and quit.
I do not know where I heard that and I wished I remembered so I could give credit, but it worked for my fellow sister in recovery. She quit smoking!
That was long before nicotine patches or any of the other tools they now have. It was 1988 and took place at the Harbor, which was a bare-bones type of place in a rough area where my car had gang markings scribbled on it in the dust. That was alright. It was a great place and they really cared there.
I write this in memory of my neighbor Roger, who recently passed away. He was on oxygen and a smoker. Maybe if I had written this sooner, he might still be alive. I keep to myself and have to spend a lot of hours praying in order to maintain any type of recovery. I did not know he had passed and it grieves me that this might have helped him. People do not want to hear me tell them what to do, but maybe if he had been able to read this, it could have saved him. I will never know.
I do know I needed to write this and it may help someone some day–or not. I am not cut out to be an addictions counselor but this is my way of passing on what I have learned. I have been sober from alcohol since the treatment program and for that I am grateful. While I am not an alcoholic, (I requested an in-depth chemical dependency evaluation from a licensed addictions counselor as well as a sponsor in recovery from alcoholism to determine if I was an alcoholic or not and both said I am not) I still have a dual disorder of severe mental illness and addictions and now possibly a brain injury as well from shock treatments back in the 90s.
I have a trifecta of disorders–an unholy trinity of illnesses, so this may be what I can contribute. Sobeit. I am very grateful to be alive and I wish I had been able to help Roger but it may not have been meant to be. I cannot force recovery on anyone and I do not know of anyone who wants to do what I have to do. That, too, is alright. The addictions counselor once said she did not know of anyone who worked harder on her mental health than I. Believe me, it is not because I am a better person–it is because I am forced to or I will be back to lying on the couch all day hoping and praying for energy to get up to go to the bathroom. That is my choice–interspersed with being so wired and out of it that I have to be confined in a psychiatric ward to contain my energy and force me to contend with reality while living in a waking nightmare of illusions.
I have been blessed with a stark choice and by God’s grace I choose to strive for full recovery through my sponsor “Dr. J.” or Dr. Jesus, who administers His path of prayer and meditation as well as working through medication, as needed. I am only on PRN meds now and have been on that basis for some time. My range for the antipsychotic Zyprexa is from 0 to 40 mg., for any professionals who may read this blog to give an idea of how severe my bipolar/PTSD is. If the psychiatrist who administered shock treatments were to ever know that I am not on daily meds of any kind and only take them PRN, he might not believe it. He once said he took me through the whole PDR, trying me on every medication in an attempt to manage my illness.
He did not acknowledge my trauma history but that was not his specialty. He was a Medicine Man. What his M.D. could not accomplish, the Faithful and True can through the hearts of Thoroughbreds, helping me become what I strive to be: a stable nun, and even more precisely, a Zen Macrobiotic stable nun, because my current psychiatrist who is also a psychoanalyst has written a letter stating that he has observed that my adherence to a macrobiotic way of eating has helped me and should be supported. It is also the method of prayer and fasting Dr. J. prescrbes as did the Ancient of Days in the Bible to Daniel the prophet. I am fortunate indeed and He has blessed me with the ability to live and eat that way. All Glory be to God!