Tag Archives: Addiction

To drink or not to drink and how this relates to crohn’s disease

heart broken drawing by artist jessica doyle inside a fabriano quadrato artist journal

After a couple of weeks of reading too many self help sites and reminicing over what doctors, councillors, and other medical professionals and what family and friends have said or not said or suggested I find myself thinking back to when I was healing after a second surgery for Chron’s Desease which saw 11 inches of ileum removed, the right fallopian tube and ovary scraped of inflammation and one ureter put back into place. I weighed 95lbs at the time of surgery.

The doctors told me I would be sick for the rest of my life. That I would relpase within five years and most likely have another major surgery within eight years. That I’d be medicated on 5-ASA, Pentasa, antibiotics and/or steroids indefinitely that (in 1998) were costing me $300 to $400 per month. I really considered going on welfare so the meds were covered by the government.

With the support of a few close family members and friends I bucked the treatment after six or seven months and began seeking an alternative to the naysaying specialists who, yes, did save my life by removing the rotting intestine and gangrenous apendix but who, by no means offered any words of encouragement or even considered that there was an alternative to taking medications that were causing more side effects than doing good.

I’m happy to say I’ve been in remission of crohn’s since September 1997. That is 15 years. I learned that drinking a bottle of Bio-K and taking pro-biotics on a daily basis for one month straight was enough to ween myself off of the drugs after having followed a strict diet set out by a nutritionist. She first instilled positive knowledge by saying “try it out” and “introduce one food at a time and pay close attention to your body in how it reacts and adjust what you eat or don’t eat as needed”.

I learned that fast and processed food were what may have triggered the crohn’s disease to begin with. I learned that I can eat popcorn, raw vegetables, potatoes, drink milk, eat whole grain products and savour crunchy nuts and fresh fruit with seeds. And to this day eating excess white flour, white sugar, soy and processed or fast foods set me off and cause me to either vomit or have diarrhea which are hallmark symptoms of crohn’s! How odd. I still ingest Bio-K during a potential flare-up and take Natural Factors Acidophlis and Bifidus capsules everyday.

But, the biggest change of all happened on the inside after the surgery. I mentally shifted the hopelessness into repetitive reafirming positive thoughts followed by action.

It meant leaving a husband and his family behind, dissolving a legal business partnership and losing all the graphic design and illustration clientele after my hard drive was mysteriously wiped and moving back to my hometown in 2001. I never looked back.

I’m a fighter and will by no means let the disease of addiction ruin me. It may cause spiritual, emotional or physical pain for short periods of time during my lifetime, just as crohn’s does, but it also makes me sensitive, empathetic and courageous when faced with both adversity and this feeling of emptiness that comes along when you have nothing else to lose but yourself.

brain void drawing by artist jessica doyle inside a fabriano quadrato artist journal

In Saint John they don’t look at the fact that I was a social user of alcohol for five years after cleaning up from addiction in 2006 followed by one year of problem drinking that lead to detox this January. Whether I return to drinking or not is something I will decide on my own with the help of those who are closest to me. I guess if I can control and moderate eating only one peice of cake or one piece of white bread every now and then why can’t I moderate what I drink? The clean up process of addiction feels eerily similar to cleaning up from Crhon’s. You simply learn what works and what doesn’t and adjust accordingly or experience a relapse and need hospitalization.

I am a firm believer that this abstinence from alcohol is allowing me to think more clearly on whether I even want to test the waters or not, just as abstaining from certain foods gave my body, mind and soul time to recover from crohn’s to make healthy decisions on how to proceed.

Rest assured that if I began eating fast and processed foods on a daily basis that I’d likely need another bowel resection and that if I return to what I drank before I would need to detox again.

Tomorrow, on May 25th I’ll be four months sober.

The two drawings in this post were drawn shortly after being released from the hospital. they were drawn with coloured pencil and india ink.

Gulp – simple fish sketch

simple fish drawing by artist jessica doyle

You gotta swallow hard when what’s around you is changing more rapidly than you are able to handle. This is the point when you realize you can not go back, but are terrified to more forward, and more than that, numb to the present. For me this point hit on Day 4 while detoxing in late January.

You can’t breath and you can’t exhale.

1. Sobriety and Addiction
2. Yin and Yang
3. Alpha and Omega

I forced myself to draw while in detox for fear that if I didn’t I would not know how to afterwards.

Detox – Day 1

fabriano quadrato artist journal sketch by jessica doyle - day one detox

Sometime in January I knew things were not right and that a climax was on it’s way.

I phoned the local drug and alcohol detox facility on January 22nd, 2012 and self admitted myself three days later for seven days. For an entire week, I went through the rather uncomfortable detoxification process, and survived.

I’ve been sober off over-the-counter medications and alcohol ever since.

I didn’t think a relapse would happen this way. I mean… this coming August I’ll be seven years clean off hard drugs and five months cigarette free later this month… and now on the 25th I’ll be 90 days clean and sober off of everything.

And that feels foreign and most naked to me.

At this time of year anything is possible

Three Wise Men, Christmas Owls, Hoot Hoot, turquoise, red, cute art, wall decor, jessicadoyle

And at this time of year anything can happen.

Over the last month or so I haven’t wanted to talk about me or what is going on in my life online save for the occasional tweet or Facebook update. I’ve been doing my best to pay attention and more than that just to be present with what is happening around me and within the circles of people that I spend time with in real life.

It was a needed break from online activity and this change of pace gave me a chance to attend and sell my art at five live art shows and sales during the months of November and December. These shows were amazing and I got to speak to many people and fans and it made me feel very humbled to be able to create for a living but more than that break out of a stagnant routine that was ultimately killing me.

I quit smoking five weeks ago. Passing that one month mark last weekend was almost more than I could stand. The moment was surreal as I was prepping for my fifth and final art show of 2011 in a neighboring city, planning a first date with a man (whom I’ve since been on two more dates with BTW) and fighting mental exhaustion from producing enough stock to bring to the shows to sell.

And shit has happened over the last five weeks and people have been mean and things have occurred that would have easily made me smoke in the past but for some damn reason I don’t care about any of you who want to see me fail or anything that wants to undermine my health or safety. I don’t wish any of you ill or harm or anything bad I just need the space from the negativity and harsh judgements that you seem to have.

I began the year 2011 talking about not being afraid and I must say this year caused me more angst and fear than any other in recent memory. But what a beautiful year it has been and what a wonderful time it is to be alive and to be not afraid.

I am fortunate to have not have lost my house this year.
I am fortunate to have regained my health.
I am fortunate to have conquered the last addiction that I had.
I am smart enough to know the difference between a good a guy and a bad guy.
And I am so lucky to have family and friends who love me.

I wish you all a safe and happy holiday season. I’ll be transitioning into blogging and working online more over the coming weeks. I miss talking with you all.

Merry Christmas from Missy two the cat, Little Orange the cat and myself!

xo

The Three Wise Men are available matted in the shop!

Eleven Days After Qutting Smoking and how I tricked my brain to stay smoke free

Artist Jessica Doyle goes crazy while quitting smoking

Somewhere in between determination, heart palpitations, lethargy and giddiness I stopped smoking cigarettes eleven days ago. Oddly enough I feel more level headed than I’ve felt in a long time, albeit a sleepy time.

I slept 16 hours per day during the first three days of the quit and sporadically puffed on a Nicorette Inhaler and on a nicotine-free electronic cigarette. I also thought about bookmarking a national directory of treatment centers on my browser in case I needed further help quitting.

The constant dizziness from quitting didn’t subside until day four and it’s still lingering today. And I can’t beleive the manufacturers of the Nicorette inhaler want you to use 12 cartridges per day! I’ve been using one per day since my quit and puffing on an electronic cigarette five to six times per day. And now, eleven days in, I’m weaning off both the Nicorette and the e-cig.

I’m not really sure what prompted me to stop smoking on November 19th, and can’t really say why I feel good or how come I haven’t gone crazy or regressed back into smoking again. I guess when the time is right you just do it and say frack off to everyone and everything else that gets in your way of completing the task at hand.

There are numerous reasons this quit is sticking…

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Finding passion without becoming addicted or why six years on it’s not any easier

2012 calendar desktop monsters handmade aliens pretty whimsical etsy

I wrote this blog post earlier this year in May but hadn’t published it. This seems to be a common occurrence as I write a lot but don’t publish them. And with 95 blog post drafts sitting anxiously I thought well, now is the time to edit and publish. Anyhow, I recently celebrated six years sobriety of off hard drugs on August 26th so while perusing the drafts I re-read this one and thought it appropriate to share with you.

For the last six years I’ve been searching for something that doesn’t exist. A something that perhaps exists in everyday life but doesn’t exist in the nether regions of one’s psyche. One can never return to the past nor can they return to the future.

While I may think of chemical drugs almost everyday I know that if I consume them it would spell the death of me as I’d fall so far down the rabbit hole that I would not return as the drug means more to me than life itself and more than everyone and everything else in this world. I knew this, and understood this, when cleaning up from addiction in 2005.

And I miss the freedom of living in a larger urban center and of being free to not wear a bra and being free to not look like the rest of the population surrounding me. While it seems tuff at times to live in a small town… yes, Saint John is a small town even though it is officially declared a city… it is still a small town by modern standards; and a very conservative small town at that. And to see fashions that were in style in Vancouver in 2007 rearing there head here right now is mind boggling as it’s nuts to think that it takes four to five years for fashions to make their way from West to East.

I was talking with my cousin a few days ago who is four years older than I. We are both relatively single and do not have children. We are also both self employed and creative although her creativity is a hobby while mine is my main source of income.

I can remember at age 12 or 13 visiting with her and her showing me the many drawings that she drew and being inspired by them. I don’t know if you know that Rochelle. But I’ll never forget the amazing ink drawings you rendered as a teenager and how you told me to keep drawing even when I didn’t feel like it while we stood in your bedroom. I’m fortunate to have had people in my life who inspired me creatively at a very early and tender age.

As I near middle age now, I wonder if this is how it’s supposed to be. While I don’t enjoy being single, I do long for savageness and wild abandon. I miss it to be honest. I feel repressed here in Saint John and while I have sex on very rare occasions, I do miss the damn connection that comes when you finally meet the right person. I’m sick and tired of dating. And this isn’t to say that I’m looking to lay just anybody. I’m not addicted to sex but I am human and I hunger for physical contact but MUCH more than that I want a life long commitment with someone.

I may never have children and that is not okay. So six years on it’s not any easier. And that is the truth people about addiction. It never goes away, but you can use it to your advantage and work with it, molding it into inspiration to continue living and striving for the life you want.

Handmade by me 2012 Desk and Wall Calendars are listed and ready to ship in the art shop now. Pictured above are the 12 months from the desk calendar.

Fast and processed foods need to be taxed at the same rate that cigarettes are taxed in Canada

cut up cigarette - trying to quit smoking

I wish the Canadian government would begin taxing fast and processed foods as much as they tax cigarettes immediately. And don’t even try to argue with me by saying it’s food, and a necessity. It’s not food. It’s a manufactured multi-national addiction too, brought to you by multi-national corporate marketing and advertising jingles combined with scientifically proven perfect amounts of fat, sugar, genetically modified soy and salt to make you want to consume it, more and more and more.

Fast food is next on the list for outrageous taxes. The day of the $20.00 Happy Meal is coming quicker than you think to Canada. Continue reading