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    Dale Carnegie, posted by Cat Dancer
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Today is my 22 day sober and I don't know if I can make it to 23 days...my stress level is through the roof....not only is my semester ending at high school(which means I have finals next week), but I am taking two courses at a local community college and I'm still in Intensive Outpatient for drug addiction and being an alcoholic but I still have my normal volunteering going on and other activities...my schedule is insane...tomorrow for example I go to high school in the morning then I leave at 9:30 b/c I have group theraphy from 10-11:30, then I have a college course from 12:30-1:45, then I have big brother/big sister volunteering from 4-6:30 and then I need to get to my required Narcotics Anonymous meetings from 8-9...everyday is like that only some I have to do more things than that...I'm have a lot of homework and projects b/c it's the end of the semester and I have all of college reading stuff and papers to start to write and then I have an Advanced Placement class that starts next semester that I need to still read two books for and it's just to hard...plus all my coping mechanisms (drugs, alcohol and cutting) have all been taken away and I just wake up in the morning stressed out and if I do go to sleep at night I'm stressed...I'm getting physically sick from stress...i.e. chest pains and not eating and getting sick when i do eat...I just don't know how much longer I can continue to be sober when I just want a moment of relief...ok well I'v gone on long enough...not to mention that I need to go to theraphy in like five minutes :)...thanks for reading this and listening to me complain (I don't like to do that...sorry)
Kelsey
 

David Baxter

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kels said:
I am taking two courses at a local community college and I'm still in Intensive Outpatient for drug addiction and being an alcoholic but I still have my normal volunteering going on and other activities...my schedule is insane...tomorrow for example I go to high school in the morning then I leave at 9:30 b/c I have group theraphy from 10-11:30, then I have a college course from 12:30-1:45, then I have big brother/big sister volunteering from 4-6:30 and then I need to get to my required Narcotics Anonymous meetings from 8-9...everyday is like that only some I have to do more things than that...I'm have a lot of homework and projects b/c it's the end of the semester and I have all of college reading stuff and papers to start to write and then I have an Advanced Placement class that starts next semester that I need to still read two books for and it's just to hard...
You need to look at that list, kels, and take everything off the list that absolutely does not HAVE to be there, starting with the parts I highlighted in red. Just let them know it's not forever but you have WAY too much on your plate right now. Put everything on hold that CAN be put on hold and be ruthless about it - don't let misguided guilt get in the way. Consider whether you can do the same for those college courses - Are they necessary for anything that is truly important to you and your future? Could they be postponed? Can you get a letter from one of your therapists to indicate that you are experiencing high stress and require extra time to complete assignements, etc.?
 

just mary

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Kels,

I just wanted to congratulate you on 22 days of sobriety, great job! But remember it's one day, one hour, one minute and even one second at a time. Focus on the now. :)

And I also agree with Dr. Baxter, it would be a good idea to cut back on some things. Being so stressed and overworked may just backfire in the end. You have so much on your plate.

Please take care of yourself and I wish you all the best,
 

Eunoia

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I think the first time someone suggested I take off a term from school or drop a few things from my schedule to be able to focus on therapy if I were to go, I must have looked at them like they had just told me to stop breathing. I still don't think it's possible to take off time from school, I mean it is but I don't want to. it kind of keeps me going in a weird way... but I did start looking at my schedule and tried to cut out a few things here and there, that weren't absolutely necessary. why? b/c you can only do so much juggling in a day, and on top of that you're trying to focus on getting better but the environment you're in is toxic for that. volunteering is a great thing to do, but it's also one of those things that you can always do. it's not going to run away from you, where as your sanity or ability to keep going physically & mentally might if your stress level keeps being this high. if you want to volunteer, you can do that in the summer..or even at least do something twice a month or so but not all the time for that many hours... why are you taking college courses if you are still in high school? I agree, do you need to take them? I know you might think you need all of these things for your post-sec. education but you already got in! also, you're gonna need to be in one piece once you get to that point and maybe have to maintain your gpa this term depending on the conditions of the acceptance, so why risk those just so you can throw in a few volunteer comittments? it sounds to me like you're trying to help others, be there for everyone else, live up to that perfect image of a student, etc. but there's a lot at stake in exchange for those things.
 
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ok...so things have not been going well...first of all I can't really decide what to cut out of my schedule...I mean everything is so importatnt to one person or another...secondly and more disturbing is that one of my ex-dealers/ex-boyfriends dropped vicodin off at my house two days ago...he just put it where he always does and he knows I'm in recovery and I haven't had much contact w/ him but i was kinda glad he dropped it off...except for now it's sitting in my room tourmenting me...I know, I know I should just throw it away, but it's like a safety net for me...like i'm going to try my hardest to stay clean but if things get bad and I fall I will fall on vicodin(safety net) and not have a full out breakdown...I have been clean and sober for 24 days now, but believe it or not everyday seems to be a little harder right now instead of a little better...I'm just so stressed...I've been having extreme chest pains and I was at my doctors today and my blood pressure was through the roof and i don't think an 18 year old girl should be having chest pains or high blood pressure...I just need everything to just go away...i just want to run away
 

Diana

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You said that everything is important to one person or another, but right now I think you have to figure out what's more important for you. I'm sure that helping other people is also very important to you, but I mean what is going to help you. You're going to need to allow yourself to slow down, especially if your blood pressure is high. Some of the things that you're doing now I'm sure other people could do or take over. I'm sure if you just explain to others that you have too much to deal with right now, they'd understand. I think David pointed out a few things that you could at least look at and consider lessening or dropping all together. I don't know what your ex-boyfriend is thinking. Maybe he really thinks he's being nice and helping you by giving you something to fall back on. Or, maybe he wants you to end your sobriety to get closer to you again. I really don't know, but I hope you realize that despite his intentions he's really not helping you at all. You've achieved so much already. Maybe you should ask yourself what's better - Making your schedule easier so you can take care of your health, or falling back on the very thing that has caused you so much pain?
I just hope that you can find a way to make things easier on yourself.
 

David Baxter

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You said that everything is important to one person or another, but right now I think you have to figure out what's more important for you. I'm sure that helping other people is also very important to you, but I mean what is going to help you.
Exactly!
 

Eunoia

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honestly, this is where the problem is.
I mean everything is so importatnt to one person or another
You can't please everyone else, nor should you have to, and I highly doubt all of those people expect you to. The point I was trying to make about volunteering for ex. was that not only can you always get involved again once you're better, but you also have nothing to feel bad about- b/c as much as many org's depend on volunteers, there also tends to be enough people who are willing to volunteer. It's not the same as leaving a job where no one else can fill in- and even if that were the case your health is more important than any other obligation. Why are you doing all of these things? For yourself? Your own pleasure, satisfaction- maybe it's a passion of yours to help others? Or are you doing them to please others, to gain approval or b/c you feel like you have to ie. school applications? Even though you can't really go 'wrong' w/ volunteering, I think a lot of people volunteer for the 'wrong' reasons. you're stressed b/c you're caught in this limbo, trying to make decisions on which way to go, whether to choose old habits that feel safe or fight your way through the difficult stuff in the hope of finding something better at the end. You don't need your ex-b/f in your life right now, you don't need to use your little amount of extra energy for things that you are not obligated to do nor really have a reason to do in the bigger picture. What you do need is to take time out for yourself. Be selfish (personally, I don't even think it is). It's your life, your time, your health, your happiness at stake. Why make others 'happy' when you're suffering as a result?
 
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Today I think I took a positive step towards reducing stress...I dropped one of my college classes...I dropped my english class which would have been a TON of work...so now I only have to go to high school till 10:35 and then on mondays and wednesdays I have my psych class from 11-12:15...so that will really help b/c my psych class is just four tests and keeping up w/ the reading plus this is intro to psych and I have already taken a psych class at my high school...hopefully this step will help me in my recovery..I've been skipping groups/theraphy and NA....I'm just trying to hang on till finals are over next thursday
 

Eunoia

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finals are tough but you'll get through them. hopefully, then you'll be able to focus even more so on your recovery and attending all your meetings etc. I'm glad you made the decision to drop that one class, it sounds like a huge load off your shoulders. keep in mind that you still have a lot of other activities you're trying to juggle and do reevaluate what's working and what's not, maybe after finals are over?
 
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