Code Yellow

Content Warning: This is a series that follows my journey using art while going into recovery from alcoholism. So there will be mentions of alcohol-related thoughts and behaviors.

I started my intake for outpatient rehab this week and I have been so relieved to finally be here. The past couple of weeks has been agonizing.

Prior to that, I had seen my primary doctor and osteopathist, who informed me that there is a block between my heart chakra and solar plexus chakra. “That the solar plexus deals with the stomach and liver area, so something must be going on spiritually for you to have such a wall that is preventing you from having properly functioning energies.”

So I went home and started reading up on chakras. Chakras are defined as energy centers that connect with certain nerve bundles and organs; they also help with emotional regulation too. Each chakra is associated with a color and has various functions. When I looked into the solar plexus, its color is yellow and is the third chakra. It deals with fire, power, autonomy, will, energy, metabolism, transformation, and self-esteem. It’s located between the navel and solar plexus. When it’s not functioning properly there could be problems like ulcers, diabetes, and even digestive disorders. Not really a surprise since I had so much self-hate and fear that I ended up with precancerous polyps in my stomach and had to have a sleeve gastrectomy. I also have had liver issues off and on most of my life.

I decided that while I waited for my intake appointment to explore what could possibly be blocking this chakra, what I could do, and if it had any correlation to that part of myself that I have been trying to connect with via painting to start an inner dialogue.

To get into it, I did play a few songs on the yellow theme: Yellow by Coldplay, Mellow Yellow by Donovan, and of course, Yellow Submarine by The Beatles.

I painted a color study using only acrylic colors that were in the yellow family to help me connect with the energy in my body. As I painted and worked on it for days, I began to feel a hardness at the very end of my breastbone, and it spread into my duodenum area. By about the fourth day, I felt this hardness fluctuate and could really feel a lot of emotional agony rising up. I had an automatic response of needing to shut it down as it was too much pain. Yes, I drank. Only my alcohol intake was getting worse, and I recognize very fearfully I couldn’t escape this anymore. And, since it was so overwhelming, I stopped working on the color study painting and completely ignored the canvas that was representing the part of me that needed alcohol.

I changed gears and looked into the physical nature of the yellow chakra and to keep it healthy that was meant core strength exercises and core yoga techniques. Made sense. Naturally, I didn’t do any of those either out of fear.

Photo by Karen Eifler, KE Photography

Meanwhile, I have been going to 12 Step meetings in person, and meetings online (barely). I was baffled how I could do my 4th step inventory and give it away in my 5th step, then go home and drink again. My reasoning was alcohol wasn’t food, so that didn’t matter as it was a different program. But it wasn’t really. At the end of the day, addiction is addiction is addiction no matter the substance. It’s all for the same reasons that start the addiction behaviors. By the time I got to my 6th step, I began to struggle with extreme amounts of fear. Was I really entirely ready to surrender it all to my Higher Power? I couldn’t, it was too scary letting go of the devil I knew, not trusting God to protect me from the devil I don’t know. It finally got to the point this past Monday night where I drank 2 bottles of wine in under 4 hours and didn’t have a buzz and drowning in fear. I recognized that I was totally powerless and had to apply the first 3 steps of the program to that 6th step, and I became entirely ready. So I said the 7th step prayer and this peace just came over me, the fear left, I felt calm and could breathe easier. That would be the last time I had a drink and started me on my path of true, God-centered recovery of addiction.

A few hours later the detox began, and it hasn’t been all daisies and sunshine. Shakiness, vomiting, nausea, dizziness, sweating at odd times, and due to the acute withdrawal, an even worse craving for alcohol. I had to really lean on my Higher Power to get me through the next 2 days to my rehab intake appointment.

The evaluation took over 2 hours and it was concluded that I needed medication to help with the cravings brought on by the receptors in my brain so I could get through detox. I needed to attend as many 12 Step meetings as often as possible, and that the drinking was brought on by severe trauma so I would need both an addiction counselor and a therapist that specialized in trauma recovery. For the addiction counselor, I was actually assigned to an art therapist, so I am looking forward to nerd out but also have these experiences for my own personal healing.

By the end of the week, a few things I heard in meetings and strong nudges from God, meant I had to revisit my 4th step inventory and really complete the resentments and fears inventories since I was drinking to avoid looking at that part of my life. And God also nudged me to get back to understanding the ties to my solar plexus chakra and start breaking down those walls. God would help me through it, and I wouldn’t be so alone.

incorporating yellows

I discovered that the majority of my life, the choices I made came down to fears of loneliness, rejection, and various forms of safety-related issues. Not a surprise on the fears but it has been shocking and deeply humbling all the different ways I have reacted throughout my life based on those fears.

I know the next step is to start that inner dialogue and explore other chakras in whatever they come up that ties in with this wounded part of my psyche.

I wanted to end this post with what the medical code yellow means: to prepare for a major emergency, multi-trauma, etc. Not much of a coincidence there as that even shows me that my chakra system was sounding the alarm that much needs to happen to deal with the traumas of my life and had been running from for decades.

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