Tag Archives: alcoholism

Luscious

 

When you’re depressed, “Luscious” is probably very low on your list of vocabulary words. But that’s what happened to me today!

Lemme ‘splain.

I was able to find freedom from my depression “just for today” by following the urge to do something, instead of just thinking about the effort it would take to do it.

Last night I started thinking about making one of my specialty cakes, and this morning I decided to do it! But there was a lot more to it than baking. For one thing, I had to go out in public and buy the ingredients! But, I was motivated! Because on occasion I give in to some sage advice that I’ve heard along the way:
“Life is uncertain – eat dessert first!

Needless to say, that means that Yes! I like cake! Are you kidding??

As I said in my previous post today, I have a habit of avoiding the holidays. But with the urge to bake something, I thought, it can’t hurt, and it might help! Not to mention, YUM!

A long time ago, one of our long-standing family recipes went missing, but lo and behold, apparently it was stolen by several cooks on the internet, and slightly varied so as to disguise it. But I am smart. Very smart to figure it out. And so, without further ado, I bring you — Hawaiian Dream Cake!

This recipe is almost guaranteed to earn you some ooh’s and ah’s! You will need:

  • 1 package yellow cake mix
  • 1 -20oz can of crushed pineapple, drained (Make sure that you reserve the juice and put it aside!)
  • 1 -8 oz package of cream cheese
  • 1 -3 oz package of instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 cup of cold milk
  • 1 -9 oz. container of whipped topping
  • nuts (optional)
  • coconut (optional)

Preparation (the basics)

  1. Prepare cake mix according to package directions, using the reserved pineapple juice. Add water, if necessary, to equal the amount of liquid called for in the directions. Bake as directed on the box (I use a 13×9 pan). Cool in pan (about 1.5 hours), set aside.
  2. Once it is cool, in a large bowl blend together softened cream cheese, pudding mix, and the milk until smooth. Fold in the well-drained pineapple, and spread the mixture over the top of the cake. Cover with whipped topping (unfrozen!), and sprinkle with nuts and coconut. Refrigerate.

Preparation (therapeutic style)

I noticed that while I was draining the pineapple I felt like a little kid “playing in the water.” There are several D.B.T. (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) skills that this involves. And so, “playing in the water” becomes a very adult thing to do. Well, let’s just say that it does. The neat thing about it is, no one is going to yell at you while you’re playing!

I know it sounds silly, but trust me, you can have fun while you bake! Just forget yourself and play!

So – cake all mixed up and poured into the pan, baking, and soon smelling dee-vine! Mm mm mm! Notice the sensations you are having – smell, sight, texture, and soooon – taste!

Once it’s cooled for 10 minutes, you have the option of taking the cake out of the pan to be frosted, or you can leave it in the pan, because it is quite messy to serve, and it also stands pretty high once it’s all dressed up.

One of the things I decided to do with the cake was divvy it up into portions for a couple of friends of mine. You know those plastic serving containers with lids you can buy at the supermarket? I bought some smaller square ones, and I used them upside down so that the lid became the platter, and the bottom became the cover.

But you can choose whatever size suits the occasion – individual sizes, or pot-luck-supper sizes. Don’t forget to write your name in permanent marker on both parts of your container if you don’t want to, ahem, “lose” them afterward.

O-tay! After the cake has cooled for about an hour, I’ve brought the cool whip and the cream cheese out of the fridge to defrost and soften. Once they have, and the cake has cooled enough, I mixed the “frosting,” which consists of the drained pineapple, cream cheese, milk, and pudding mix. Can you think of different DBT skills you can use while you are mixing the frosting? Me neither. I’m too busy salivating.

Supposedly there is a chocolate version of this cake that you can make. Now, I love chocolate. I can see using chocolate cake, and a frosting of cream cheese with chocolate pudding and milk. Maybe? You could use the whipped topping on top, or you could double how much of the chocolate frosting you make so you could … wait, I’m getting ahead of myself (wipes mouth on sleeve).

So, back to our original. After the frosting, add a generous layer of the whipped topping. Hopefully after mixing up the “frosting,” I’ll have made a gooey mess of the spoons and bowls and mixers so I can, um, take care of them (yum). Again, this is therapeutic only, using certain of the DBT skills you may have learned in class. If not, I’ve given you a free lesson in self-soothing, distraction, grounding, and whatever else skill you want to use. I think you could probably use all of the skills in the book, if you had enough frosting. Then again, you could remedy the not-enough situation quite easily if you wanted needed to.

Finally, we add the washed and dried berries and dress the top of the cake. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to make it like an American flag (after all, that is the point of the whole thing), but by this point I’ve pretty much run out of steam, so I will randomly throw the berries on to the cake. I suppose you could also add a sparkler or two.

You can make this cake for many holidays and occasions, using colored sugar, candies, pretzels (yes, I used pretzels for Easter one year, making a cross on the cake), or whatever you like. You can color the coconut …

OH! I almost forgot the coconut!

And you can use nuts…just be careful if you are going to a group activity because many people seem to have developed allergies to nuts. Maybe you could put them on the side in a little container.

One year I used red and green colored sugar for Christmas, and added maraschino cherries (make sure you’ve dried them well!). In this photo you can’t see the red sugar very well, but it’s there. Sorry it’s kind of messy. I must have been in a hurry.

One Christmas, on one side of the cake I put nuts and coconut, and on the other side no nuts or coconut, so that my guests could choose their preference. Again, I used a pretzel – one of those big giant ones – to separate the two sides.

Pretzels actually taste GOOD with “frosting” etc. Sweet and salty. It’s not so odd. You take care of two cravings at once. One of my sister-in-laws serves cake and ice cream with chips. Now it is almost “normal” for me to have them all together.

Do you get the idea? This is what I mean by playing.  🙂 Use your imagination! You can even use food coloring in the whipped topping if you want!

Et Voilà! Ze cake, ze cake!


I kind of ran out of steam here, so the berries are scattered, and I messed up on portioning pieces of cake first. But – whatever. It

still

tasted

luscious!

*************

The bottom line here, friends, is this  … This is not just about baking, or eating, or my voracious appetite because of my stupid meds. If you get an urge to do something, there is a possibility it will get you out of that brown funk (never mind the blues!). When you’re depressed and you don’t want to do anything … do SOMEthing! It will make you feel better, and if you share the results, it will bless others! A win, win, win, and we aren’t talking Charlie Sheen!

Why did I say win 3 times? 1. You are less depressed, 2. You get to bless others, and 3. The best win? You get to eat cake! 🙂

Happy Happy Joy Joy!

Hope you have a wonderful day today my friends! Independence Day whether far or near, freedom from lack and freedom from fear. Big hugs! I have had so much discouragement lately, and so hungry, and blowing up like a balloon! Time to take the doctor by the neck and say ok, my Friend, time to get me off this stuff and onto something that works! And preferably something that makes me LOSE weight! THAT would make me “happy,” lol…

As usual wanting to avoid holidays, partly habit, partly just so dog-gone depressed. Lord please help me! Here’s to a good rest-of-the-year, whattaya think? And no I am not toasting with alcohol. Been “independent” of that since December 1985, all glory to God!

For those who have freedom in Christ, a wonderful song today. God bless you! For God hath not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind! 2 Timothy 1:7

My Jesus Addiction

I just read a blog post written by someone who struggles with pain management. See: Do you recognize your addictions? By: All Things Chronic. After I read it, I responded in the comment box provided, and as I thought, I wrote, and I wrote, and I wrote. And … well, you get the gist.

Then I realized that my thoughts would be better expressed in a blog post of my own. Never mind that my comments took up half a page! So, in that endeavor, my post blossomed into the eloquent mess below. And it growed and growed!

Now I’m just kinda thinking out loud and with no animosity, as far as I know. In response to the question, “Do you recognize your addictions?” I would answer that my greatest addiction is to the computer. And editing blog posts. And food. Honestly, food feels like pain relief sometimes. But I will address that in another post. Maybe.

In regard to pain management, that’s another story. I say, hopefully without pride, that I only take Tylenol®, and occasionally Ibuprofen, for relief of pain in my neck. (See my previous blog entry on Spasmodic Torticollis and Botox® treatments). This also helps with the various aches and pains of middle agedness. The decision to avoid anything stronger is due to my history of alcoholism. I was told early in my recovery that if I began to use tranquilizers and narcotics, I would likely become addicted to them, in the same way that I had been addicted to alcohol. Whether I would truly have this propensity, I don’t know, but understandably I am very cautious. Recovery from alcoholism was hard enough.

There are exceptions to my rule. I do take Xanax pre-procedure when I get my Botox shots every 3 months. I do love the feeling of sedation, I admit, and I often think, ohhh, if I could only feel this way all the time. Relaxed; “normal,” even. Which only tells me further that I could easily rely on it too much.

I haven’t really felt the same attraction to narcotics, however, because most often they will trigger a hypomanic episode. Weird, huh? And so, I use Tylenol®, even post-op. Even after dental work. Even after my C-section. Hypomania, which almost inevitably leads to a dangerous manic episode,  is not worth any amount of pain relief I might experience.

ANNNyway. That is neither here nor there. I wanted to answer the question about addictions, but I’m digressing from the primary thing that I wanted to discuss.

From a paragraph in the original blog post, written by All Things Chronic:

Since we seem to be in a never-ending political cycle, perhaps we should put more scrutiny on the addictions of our politicians.  I mean, if someone running for governor goes to church every day, ignoring the demands of the other areas of his life so he can worship his god, I think that would be an example of someone who is addicted to religion.

I bristled, because I would be considered by many to be a religious person. Perhaps I am even “addicted” to my religion. Because of my relationship with Jesus, I essentially attend church daily. I have even experienced withdrawal symptoms, so to speak, when I have backed off from practicing my faith for short periods of time. By that I mean that I experience more difficulty in my life, emotionally and even physically, and definitely, spiritually. My hands can even shake more (I have a tremor). I experience more anxiety, and I “need” my “fix.”

I rely on Jesus for many things – including my tolerance of pain. He helps me to bear it, to function, and even to bless other people when I am suffering. Whether it’s physical, spiritual, or emotional pain, He is there for me. He’s also provided a Book, the Bible, that gives me peace, and even – pain relief. “When all else fails,” there’s prayer. Of course, that should be my first defense, but I’m stubborn. .

Do I practice my “religion” to the exclusion of other areas in my life? Well, I suppose that depends upon your perspective. Matthew 6:33  says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” All these things, to me, means “the demands of the other areas of [my] life.” Without Jesus, I will have no victory in anything else I seek to accomplish.

And, far above sustenance, there is the knowledge that there will come a day when Jesus will take me out of all this. The pain, the suffering and anxiety, the discouragement, and those days of mania. The stigma, the lost relationships, the confusion. Ooh, how often I long for and pray for that day! My hope is in eternity, where I will live forever joyous and pain free (physically and emotionally) with Jesus!

Revelation 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away .

I am reminded of the conversation that used to go around AA: “People say that I am brainwashed. So if that is true – that I’m brain washed – I am all for it – my brain NEEDED washing!” That’s even more true since I have come to know Jesus. My thinking process and behaviors as an alcoholic, and as the “natural man,” do not serve me any longer. And there are far more areas of my life that need work.
So I need a different way of thinking. And AA helped me with some of that change. But it did not provide for my eternity, and it was a different kind of dependence. For me, it was basically a band-aid. AA did start out as a program based upon Jesus and the Cross, called The Oxford Group. However, Alcoholics Anonymous became more secular, more humanistic, so that people would find it more palatable. A member in one of Maine’s local AA groups used to say that he would pray to a doorknob he named “George,” so that he was technically praying to “something.” Talk about idolatry! Apparently this “power greater than himself, as espoused in the AA program, kept him sober. He was unable to pray to a “god,” so this “god of his understanding” served him. How, I don’t know.
I think it’s a shame that the help so many desperately needed was dumbed down to the point of removing the hope of eternal salvation. Does AA serve any purpose? Oh yes – I was not ready for churchyness, and it kept me sober for a long time. Maybe God knew that I couldn’t stay sober and alive by conventional means. However, I shudder to think that I almost missed out on the whole point – Jesus!
I am still a whiny old brat sometimes in regard to my “hard life,” and I say that because in comparison to His suffering and dying on the cross for me, my angst and my pain are nothing. Isaiah 53:5  says: “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Who can say that they have suffered like Him? I am not saying that I don’t have pain and suffering; I’m just saying that there are times when I do need to buck up and live. When I can’t, I can’t, but I can seek Him, and eventually I can crawl out of my misery. Or He drags me. Always. Suicide is not an option!
I’m certainly not saying I’m perfect, just because I am “religious.”  I’m not even wonderful, yet (lol). But I am better than I was, thanks be to God, and not by anything I have done! Ephesians 2:8-9 says: “For by grace are ye saved through faith;and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” And Romans 6:23. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” It is a gift, not something I can earn.
I  have hope, even on my darkest days, even on those days when I push away all things “religion.” Thank God He never leaves me, even when I think I’m leaving Him!
And if that’s addiction, I’m all for it!