It’s a hot month for everyone so why not stay inside (or somewhere cool) and read?
May “The Force” be with you while reading this review!
Title and why I chose this book:
It’s April, and there’s a day this month that breaks my heart when I think of Jake. I am not a “Star Wars” fan, but I chose “Wishful Drinking” because he and his brothers grew up watching the movies. Carrie also had bipolar disorder, as Jake did, so this was another reason for the pick.
Who do I think this book is intended for?
If you are a fan of Carrie’s work, then this is a good read. Again, I am not a “Star Wars” fan- I’ve never watched a minute of any of the movies. I was a bit lost on some of the references, but I read the memoir with full knowledge that it would be mentioned. If you like memoirs, like I do, this can be an interesting read.
What did I like about the book?
I liked that Carrie wrote this in a conversational tone and in a way that most people can understand. It is very lighthearted and funny. I wasn’t expecting such a tone. I did like that she listed others who shared her struggles with various substances and bipolar disorder, and even those who had ECT as treatment. That’s pretty cool- readers can see that and know they are not alone. Some of those people listed are F. Scott Fitzgerald, Lindsey Lohan, Mark Twain, and Britney Spears.
Carrie told her story honestly and in her own way. That’s the way memoirs should be written.
What I didn’t like:
I was hoping the memoir would be a little longer, but then, I didn’t write it.
The book actually starts right when Carrie finishes ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy, which is commonly used for severe depression when other treatments aren’t effective.) and she basically jokes on herself about her faulty short-term memory.
If you want to learn more about this treatment, please read A Brief Look at ECT
I do the same. Short-term memory loss is not fun, no matter how you end up with it.
Carrie starts her story at the very beginning of her life- her parents were Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, two very popular actors at the time. She grew up with her brother in California. As she got older, she struggled with hyperactivity, or so that is what her first psychiatrist thought she had. Her second one, years later, finally diagnosed her with bipolar disorder. Carrie was 24 at the time.
She became angry with this one and stopped seeing him because he wanted her to try medication along with therapy- she got married a month later. Two years later, she overdosed. After this, she got sober, had a few relapses, and finally got serious about her life and mental illness with her third psychiatrist.
I won’t ruin the ending for you, but as we all know, Carrie died in 2016 at the age of 60. Her mother died the next day.
Quotes that I loved:
“If you have a need to be comfortable all the time- well, among other things, you have the makings of a classic drug addict or alcoholic”
Carrie was not far off with this thought. Life isn’t always comfortable and happy- at least mine isn’t. Is yours? If so, please send an email and let me know your secret! Feelings are meant to be faced, even though they can be excruciating. When you’re using drugs and/or drinking, those feelings are numbed, but only for so long.
I numbed a lot of pain for about 4 years until I got sober. I had to re-learn in therapy to face difficult feelings again. I had to finish grieving without drinking and that was not an easy task. When we feel like things are too hard, of course, we want to escape it. There are better ways of doing so without using drugs and/or drinking.
Happy reading and come back for next month’s pick!
I wrote a post a while back about having chronic illnesses and being a mom. Chronic Conditions and Momming was written before my rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis.
1. My older sister has lupus and we had the same rheumatologist at one point. Once we discovered this, we thought it was hilarious. There’s a lot of rheumatologists in Louisville, and we ended up with the same one?
2. My grandfather had severe RA. He died in 2016 at the age of 83. His hands were curled up from the severe joint deformities. He took medications for it, but still had issues that weren’t able to be reversed.
3. I am currently taking a mild medication daily. I had to wait for my thyroid meds to be regulated before I could start RA meds. That sucked but things are good in this area. (Short version: I’m on Levothyroxine due to a partial thyroidectomy in 2017.) Joint pain is REAL.
4. My biggest issues? Joint pain in my hands, knees, and hips. Like many others, I’m super stiff in the mornings and it takes at least an hour to loosen up. Hot showers help. Moving around does help but also hurts. Eventually, the stiffness goes away. Usually. If it doesn’t, then it’s a bad pain day, which leads me to #5.
5. I don’t like taking pain meds. They make me tired and nobody has time for that mess. I usually won’t take them unless I can barely move. I’ll use a heating pad, massage, stretch, etc. The pain meds I do have, however, are non-narcotic.
My doctor is pretty smart- probably not a good idea to prescribe a recovering alcoholic hardcore narcotics. She probably enjoys having a license to practice.
Rheumatoid arthritis sucks. I hate missing out on things because I’m tired, hurting, or both.
It’s possible to live life with chronic conditions. I have two. Some days are just worse than others. I can get through them with humor and my support system.
If you have a chronic condition, how do you get through it?
I’m here, and I’m sober.
Two years ago, I woke up from drinking for the last time- I drank until Sara and her husband, Paul, were worried that I had alcohol poisoning.
I was a bit hungover.
Not at all surprising.
I was used to this- so were Matthew and the kids. I’d been drinking steadily since 2013 and after Jake died, it only got worse. I had to escape the pain. Even with therapy, I still had a hard time seeing the days ahead of me.
I cried constantly. I was still trying to move forward from the grief. Losing a man I loved so deeply was something I never saw coming. Drinking took that pain away, if only temporarily. I didn’t realize, however, the internal damage I was doing to myself.
It’s a well-known fact that I have RA and hypothyroidism. The journey to detect and solve both issues began with blood testing in late 2016. I have a great PCP- she later found the nodule that was removed from my thyroid in 2017, along with other issues. She knew I had been drinking but not the whole story.
I’ve met many alcoholics and addicts and not one has been super honest with their PCP if they have one.
Dr. Tobe called me herself- not her Medical Assistant, Stacey.
I don’t remember the conversation verbatim, but let’s just say my labs looked pretty interesting, especially my liver enzymes.
You see, the liver is an interesting little piece of your body. It can grow back from being removed, injured or otherwise messed up.
In my case, as Dr. Tobe explained, if I stopped drinking right then, I could stop the damage and not end up with cirrhosis.
I saw that as a hard pass. Matthew’s best friend’s mom died from cirrhosis, and it is a terrible death.
I thanked Dr. Tobe and hung up.
I’ve got kids, y’all. Nobody is grown yet and somebody’s gotta be here to get Julian to adulthood. This isn’t saying Matthew couldn’t but he knows he would be lost without me.
I don’t think I’m quite done living, so I decided to have one last night of drinking and be done. I did just that.
I also discussed this at great length in therapy. I won’t say sobriety is easy, because that would be a huge lie.
My liver gets tested every few months thanks to Plaquenil because it’s known to affect liver functioning. So far, it seems to be getting slightly better. This process can take years.
I read The Big Book cover to cover once and part of my plans for this year is to read it again. I’ll be tracking that reading in my bullet journal.
The 9th step talks about amends and making then except when it would hurt the person to hurt more. This one has been hard. I’ve apologized to my kids, Matthew, my friends and even my mom.
Jordan is that one person I hurt terribly. I wasn’t sober when I attempted to apologize and I am almost certain he wouldn’t hear it now. He’s Jake’s younger brother, the one whose now ex-girlfriend I seriously upset.
I never meant to hurt him- you couldn’t pay me to. I’m hoping one day he realizes that and maybe we’ll speak. I haven’t seen him since Sara’s mom’s funeral in May.
This is the kind of thing that happens in alcoholism and addiction. I know I’ve tried and that’s the best I can do. I also know he’s okay and that’s enough for me.
I struggled a lot with apologizing to my kids and not feeling like a good mom. I’m a lot more present these days. They’ve brought me all kinds of stress, but that’s how parenting works.
Relapse is part of recovery. I’ve come close. I’ve had horrible days in which all I want to do is go to the closest store and grab a bottle of vodka, but I’m able to talk myself out if it.
I remind myself of the progress I have made. My kids haven’t really said it but I know they’re proud of me. I would lose that progress the minute I opened the bottle or took a shot. That would be heartbreaking.
I also know one wouldn’t be enough because I would become horribly depressed.
Also, I’m pretty sure that alcohol doesn’t agree with my meds.
I recently joined a 12 Step Yoga for Recovery class and I love it. I realized that I needed a bit more support, plus, yoga is great for me. It helps a lot and I look forward to each class.
Two years has gone by so quickly! I still take this one day at a time- it’s what works best for me.
Photos courtesy of Pinterest
Other pics are mine.