Sunday, April 20, 2014

Who is going to budge?

Warning:  Rant ahead.

As you may know or not, my beautiful daughter went to treatment at Hazelden, over 60 days ago, and is still going strong in her recovery.  It is such a awesome thing to watch her make such good, sound, choices. She is an amazing kid. Like, the coolest kid in our town. WAY more mature than her peers, and especially me, at her age. I beam with pride daily. 

You heard my rant before, when I couldn't get her into treatment. Not just at Hazelden. But anywhere. I had to beg, borrow and beg. I'm lucky. I know people (sort of) because of my big mouth, and I was able to get her in (with the help of a recovering person with great pull, who I didn't ask permission mention here and, who walks, runs, cartwheels the talk of recovery.  You should read her book, Guts.  It is a GREAT book for anyone, hilarious, relatable, and totally helpful.), and the rest on loan until we can pay. 

Without her help, my daughter couldn't go to treatment, and probably wouldn't be making the great choices she is today.  There are many people in my insurance situation who don't get to go to treatment.  Especially one like Hazelden.  There are many good treatment centers, but Hazelden is supposed to be one of the best.  I got LUCKY. 

It was explained to me that ChampVA (our insurance) pays $0.10 on the dollar for treatment. Which explains why NO treatment center will take it. I get that. There is something totally wrong with the fact that I can tell them (with one fibroid tumor) that I'm bleeding too much and get a hysterectomy, (I haven't), but my kid is blacking out every time she drinks, and they don't pay for shit.  

And also, the really nice treatment centers, such as Hazelden, don't take county funding either. My guess is that it is for the same reason. 

Now a friend of mine, who has GOOD insurance, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, went to treatment for the first time recently.  She was asked to leave treatment, because her insurance wouldn't cover anything past eight days. As soon as she was safely detoxed, she was asked to leave.  I know why this happens. The insurance covers the detox part, and then says," I bet even though you've been drinking yourself blind for ten years, you'll do great in outpatient. So pack your bags, and carry on."

She was taken aback when she was asked to leave, she quickly relapsed, but says she is still trying every day. If she fails in outpatient, THEN maybe her insurance will cover the cost of inpatient. Will it be too late?  By that time, she could lose that job she has that pays her insurance. Because she couldn't get the treatment she needed. Then she would humbly get county funding, which the really well-known treatment centers, won't accept. 

If you had cancer, would you want the BEST treatment, or the half-ass treatment for your loved one?  Before this happened to my daughter, I would have said, "you can get into recovery from anywhere." Which I totally believe.  But since it was MY family, I got scared and I wanted the best for her.  Addiction is a deadly disease. But like so many things, the care isn't evenly distributed to the different "classes," and it sometimes isn't distributed at all. 

If so many insurance companies won't cover the costs of the amount of treatment people need, and treatment doesn't accept the low payments of assistance or these insurance companies low-ball payments, who is going to budge?  How will it get done?  How do we tell insurance companies that treatment works?  How do we get more people, more help?  

Just keep talking. Take some action. Share your success stories. 

My daughter got the 28-days that she needed, because I slightly know some extremely connected, piss and vinegar-filled people who know that treatment works and recovery is possible. And my kid is doing so great.  But many folks who don't have any strings, don't get help. If we are trying to change this, then let's do it.

Let's hope my friend gets the help she needs before it is too late and she loses too much.  It isn't fair.  

I'll be ranting about divorce soon.  I've got a LOT to say about it.  Graduation too.  Man things are changing!!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

I used to smoke cigs

I started smoking when I was YOUNG. Like kindergarten young. We would take three quarters either to the gas station, or the bowling alley and get them from the vending machine. We told the clerk it was for our moms. Then we would go down to the creek and smoke them, one after another, until we were sick. 

I didn't really get a great habit until I was about 12 or 13. Then I really started huffing away. We could still buy them from the same places, but we may have forged some notes. It wasn't hard to hide because my dad and my sister smoked. 

Not smoking here, but probs did soon after taken.
One day, when I was walking around Phalen Lake, my cousin saw me and told my folks. I thought he was the BIGGEST asshole ever.  I was terrified my dad would be pissed, but I don't remember if he was. He made my brother EAT a cigarette once. That fear didn't stop me.  I don't really remember what my consequences were.  

I smoked from that age on, until I was pregnant with my daughter at 27. I was able to quit, just like that, when I was pregnant. I smoked in the house before the kids came. Probably a pack a day. It never bothered Bob and he never asked me to stop. He didn't ever smoke cigs. He was pretty tolerant of that. 

When I wasn't pregnant, I couldn't stop smoking to save my life. I always seemed to have a job where smoking was either allowed inside (even at my desk, like on Madmen) or where smoke breaks were a vital part of the socialization of the job. 

When I would drink or do drugs, I would chain smoke. One after the other. If I was home, I would blow it out the window. My kids were so young, they never said anything. But they knew. And I would lie and say, "no and stop asking."  Because I thought if they knew I smoked, they would think it was okay and someday smoke themselves. I basically taught them to lie. Which, by some great stroke of luck, they don't really do too well or too often. Or maybe they do. 

When I sobered up four summers ago, smoking didn't taste good anymore. I would buy a pack, and smoke them to and from meetings, if I went out with sober friends (of which few smoke anymore) and when I started school, I would go out on breaks and smoke to socialize. But it didn't taste the same to me. They were always a little gross. And I smoked them anyhow. Addiction is odd. 

I noticed that my packs would get stale, because I would FORGET to smoke, and I'd end up throwing them away.  So I started just bumming them off of people. It seemed like most smoked menthol (fucking disgusting). I even swiped my daughter's ecig, but that is nasty too. 

So guess what?  I don't smoke and I didn't even have to quit. I just stopped. I forgot to keep smoking. I haven't smoked normally since I sobered up. It annoys people that I CAN have one and be done. I will say this. If I step foot into a casino, I smoke. But I throw or give them away before I walk out the door. But I go to one of those 3-4 times a year. 

I am so glad that I don't  smoke anymore.  And it didn't have to quit.  It quit me.  

Sunday, April 13, 2014

D.A.R.E me.

I've mentioned this in a few places like Facebook.  And then Facebook again.  Maybe Twitter.  No Instagram though.

A few weeks ago, my son's essay was chosen as one of the two to be read at the fifth grade D.A.R.E. graduation.  Did I feel pride?  Well, of course I did.  He read that essay that I helped him write, (if you are reading this as faculty of our elementary, I only helped a little…) VERY well.  Like a true speech professional.

So, my soon-to-be-Ex and I went to watch the graduation, like we did for our seventh grader and our daughter (who, by the way, had an essay which was ALSO chosen to be read at the D.A.R.E. graduation ceremony.) So half of the DeGree kids, have written such great essays, they were chosen to be read to a whole audience of people. (The other two wrote great too. Smart kids, I create.)

Don't get me wrong, I am so proud that my kids get to have the experience to read in front of an auditorium of people.  But I felt like a total poser because D.A.R.E. SUCKS!!!  And I should have had the brains to tell the school that my kids aren't going to be apart of it.  But I didn't think about it, and the twins came to me at 9:30 PM the night before their essays were due, so I panicked to get them written. (I mean, they get them written)  I was so busy with my own school, I didn't even realize we had started D.A.R.E again.  Mom of the year shit.

I sat in that auditorium beaming with pride for my adorable kids, while the disease of addiction was shamed by the police officer (honestly, the NICEST woman), who teaches D.A.R.E.  She and the principal talked about choices.  And staying away from people who made bad choices. There is some truth to that. But, then I thought to myself, wait a second…they are talking about me!  I didn't choose to be an addict or an alcoholic.  I didn't know until it was too late.  I get drugs are illegal.  But I was far into my addiction to give a shit, and choices weren't always mine.  I was too sick.  This program shamed and stigmatized every parent in the school, who has a problem with drugs and alcohol IN FRONT of their children.  How awful.  I felt that way.  My kids felt that way.  They made us feel like we were bad guys.  

The WORST part is they treat a medical condition by bringing the POLICE in and having them teach about drugs and alcohol.  Why don't they bring in SOME ALCOHOL AND DRUG COUNSELORS AND PREVENTION SPECIALISTS??  Because the criminalization of addiction starts in 5th grade.  If you have a problem, you are a bad person.  They teach them young.  Since 80% of people in prison are there for drug offenses, AND addiction is a brain disease for which no one asks for, D.A.R.E. makes total sense to keep the bullshit running smooth.

I have learned that it is a federally funded program, and the schools get money to teach it.  How the hell do we make THAT stop?  There are prevention programs that work.  But we HAVE TO KILL D.A.R.E.  (I've used a LOT of caps in this post, RIGHT?)

My daughter was the winner of the D.A.R.E. essay contest, and she just celebrated SIXTY days of sobriety this week.  THAT is what they should teach. How to recognize if you might have a problem with drugs and alcohol, and then how to get help.  What can happen when you are able to stay in recovery.  And what can happen if you need more help.  So people don't feel ashamed to ask for help.

Of course, I sent a LONG email to the Superintendent of our school district.  And I encourage you all to to do the same thing if your district teaches D.A.R.E.  It isn't going to go away if we let them keep teaching it.  Google D.A.R.E. and see how it DOESN'T work. There are studies to prove it.  Shit, I have a D.A.R.E. winner in my house, fresh out of rehab.  It is a family, genetic, brain disease.   It only shames the addict for a disease for which they have no control.  If 'just say no' worked, we wouldn't have so many people incarcerated for drug offenses.  We need to teach about addiction and recovery by professionals in the field.  Not the cops.

Don't get me started about what the curriculum is for drugs in our high school health class.  More of the same.  Ugh.

Off soap box now.  

Sunday, April 6, 2014

They are all, but one, pissed at me

The only ally I have right now under my roof is my daughter.  The boys, all of them, are angry with me.

I am never home.  I try to plan stuff with them, but they never seem to want to do anything when I have time, only when I don't. 

My 13 year old acts like I am the biggest bitch on the planet, and the twins aren't that happy with me either. 

Unfortunately, their dad isn't helping the cause either.  I am going to school as he PAYS FOR EVERYTHING, you know. 

He won't be able to say that to me for long.  I can't wait until he can't say that to me.  I won't make much, but it will not come from him. 

I keep telling them.  Four more weeks.  Three more weeks. And now, two more weeks until this ugly classwork is over, and I'll be back.

They say, "You don't do anything around here.  Dad is better because he brings us to the gas station.  All you do is complain how messy the house is when you come home."

I wouldn't say dad is better because he gets their meals from the gas station, but the rest is pretty true.  I cannot do one thing about it.  I cannot write at home because there is no place for me to do it.  The mom guilt is huge, but I know I'm doing this for the better.  To better myself and so I can be by myself.  There have been sacrifices for this degree.  Some might think it cost us a marriage.  I can tell you it was ending anyhow.  My kids will hopefully forgive me. 

Two more weeks of this one class.  Fucking hell.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Bitter sweet

As I'm winding down with this last and final semester, I am ever reminded of the promise that I made myself over and over.  Or I should say a goal I've been working towards. 

When I graduate, I will get a job and I will get a divorce. 

So here we are. Less than a month from graduation. And I'm ready. 

I've told the kids. Bob's looking at townhouses. I don't even have a job yet, but I'll get one. I take my licensure test on April 24 and I will be ready for employment. 

I don't think anyone is shocked by this news. We have been cohabiting for years. We don't sleep in the same room. We have grown up together, and so far a part.  

I have tried, in this past few years to accept things as they are and I have come to the conclusion that there is no way for us to stay together. We both agree. Thank goodness. I was so worried he wouldn't want this. He does. He's slightly angry about it, but I'm no peach to live with when I'm unhappy. So he is done too. 

The guy I married is gone.  And he's not coming back.  The girl he married is gone. And the people living in this marriage aren't making each other happy. We are just making each other miserable. 

The kids are sad. And scared. Bob is looking at places with pools, so that should be cool for them. We will get through this. 

I know I have said this a million times before. And you probably are like "yeah SURE you are."  But this is going to go down. And do you know what a great part is?  I don't want to drink or use over it. I know it won't help. Thank god. Because this could be the perfect reason. This time, it isn't crossing my mind. 

Well... okay, NOW it is because I said that. Haha. But still, no way. I am feeling really strong inside of this stress. My coping skills have grown with me. My reaction is no longer that I need drugs or booze. I just feel my feelings. 

So let's make sure we send test- passing vibes to me (and prayers to you praying folks) that I pass my licensure test on the 24th. I SUCK at multiple choice. So let's hope I get it!  So we can all get moving on. It's going to be an amazing year. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

You down with O.P.P.?

I'm not asking you to raise your hand if you want to cheat on your mate, but tell me you didn't dance your ass off to that song in da club years ago?

I'm talking about talking about Other People's Posts.  Every last homie. 

I'm asking  if anyone would ever what to write a blog post here about their recovery, parenting, or whatever. I may edit it a bit, but I would give you full credit (obviously) and also an intro (that you could also write) and a direct link to your blog, if you have one. I get some good traffic, so you might connect with some new people. 

Obviously other bloggers do this too, I'm just starting it now. 

Send your writing to, Betsey dot Degree at gmail dot com. (I've seen other people post their emails that way, so I thought I should too. I'm a follower.)

Maybe we can build a recovery community right here that is super helpful for us and others!  Plus then you don't have to always listen to me all of the time!! 

It can be one of your favorite posts from your own blog. It doesn't have to be a new one. I'll link it back to you!

Thanks and hope to hear from you!

Friday, March 28, 2014

I'm going to bitch a bit about life, okay?

This is the deal.  I am not home much.  Like, I intern all day, and I'm at school in the library most nights.  This is due to this one last class, which is a fucking killer.  It should mean when I'm finished with it, I should have my PhD and be the president of the united states.  I can be slow on homework and it takes me longer.

What fucking INFURIATES me is the guilt I am getting from my family.  Not only Bob, because he is angry mess anyhow.  And I understand my kids, because they miss me.  But the rest of the people in my life.  Not only is this the most STRESSFULL part of my life so far, I get guilted, because I'm not home with my family much for the moment.

If it were Bob working late every night, do you think anyone would say shit?  No.  But because I am a woman, I have to feel guilty on top of feeling stressed, tired, and not hardly having the time to pee during my day.

So why do I take the time to write this little uplifting, good natured blog you say?  Well, I have to bitch to someone, or I'm going to explode.  And frankly, the friends in my life are probably sick of hearing it. 

So to all of the women out there who do it all, and are made to feel guilty about how they are doing it?  Let's let go of the guilt.  Tell anyone who is trying to put guilt on top of your stress to shove it up their sweet you-know-whats.  We have every right to have careers and school and not have to make sure there is food in the freezer for the fucking guys to cook.  Are you kidding me?  I am NOT that girl. And I am certainly NOT going to feel guilty about it.  I'm fucking working. 

Thanks for listening.
The end.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Raise your hand

The older I get, the more I love my big mouth. I think this happens with a lot of people. You just don't give a shit and will say what's in your mind, especially when you are passionate about it. 

Sometimes I get my big mouth into debates with folks about issues that I am passionate about.  And sometimes I debate, passionately,  on Facebook.  Once again, because I'm mature.  I mean, who even really does that anymore?  That is soooo 2010.

This last round was regarding Papa Murphy's pizza accepting EBT cards. (Food stamps).  People were a little annoyed by this. Poor people should NOT get take and bake pizza.  So of course, I opened my mouth.  That was followed with a day and a half of back and forth debating.  I got called a liberal, "I bet you voted for Obama" and it is obvious I am not a Christian.  I said some good stuff back too. 

Did I change any one's mind?  Probably not. But I did get to correct them on the fact that it wasn't Jesus who said "give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach him to fish and he eats forever" but a Chinese proverb. That was an amazing feeling.  Besides, who really knows what Jesus said anyhow.  He has been quoted by so many.  

This next part is important so listen up. 

The reason people believe that welfare recipients are low life's, who live off of the taxpayers is because the only people we hear about who are on welfare,  are the ones who are cheating. Which in fact is less than 2%.

The reason the non-cheaters on welfare are afraid to say they are on it, and that they need it,  is because they are afraid people like the yahoo I was debating yesterday.  Who wants to admit they need help, when with that comes the sneers, the blaming, the name calling, the shame, the fear and the embarrassment?  So you don't get to see the REAL faces of welfare, because they know what you will say about them.  (You know who you are.)

I didn't admit we were on welfare until I was well off of it. But you know what?  I'm STILL on government assistance. 100% permanent and total, forever. It's just through the VA and Social Security Disability now. Not through the county. And all he had to do was fall apart and lose everything.  He just happened to be a veteran who served and has struggled since.  No different from anyone else falling on hard times or who have experienced trauma.  

So why is that not shameful?  Because it doesn't have a stigma. We love our veterans.  But our vets are on welfare too.


So just like working on removing the stigma of addiction, we need to remove the shame and stigma of poor people who need help. So I encourage anyone who is, was or is applying for public assistance to tell people. Be proud and grateful it's there. Don't let people define who you are. Fucking show them you are a normal human who needs help, and are lucky enough to live in a country that offers it. 

I think you should share with others what you get (I know…kind of tacky, but still), and what it takes to get off welfare.  What kind of education benefits have you been offered so you could improve your situation?  (None. There are none.)  And tell people how hard it is to get by.

If we don't talk about it, they will keep defining us a mooches, lazy and losers. 

People say shit like, "I worked two jobs to put food on my table."  I bet they had a car,  gas, the right clothes that you could wear and a babysitter. What if you had none of that?  (I understand people take the bus and work three jobs too, I'm just throwing out examples.)

It's not easy man. So just like they said in that movie The Anonymous People, we cannot leave it up to them to define us.

Maybe no one reads this anymore besides robots.  But if you would share your story here, about how it helped you, how you are on it, what it does for you, or how you got off of it.  Because what people like the folks I argued with yesterday don't seem to realize is that we are people.

Please don't post anything here about your cousin's girlfriend's aunt who received assistance in three states.  I don't want to hear that shit.  I want to hear the ones who were helped.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Hopefully when the next 4-5 weeks are over, I'll have my life back and the constant pressure in my chest will subside. 

And I'll be able to blog real, positive, maybe sad, maybe funny, shit again. 

Until then?  Keep my chest pressure in your thoughts. My plate is full of good and bad. And soon, I'll be able to clear a lot of it off, and walk lighter. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Getting things off of my chest.

First item: 

I don't know why it is that I over-share just about everything, to everyone. I don't feel better about stuff unless I tell everyone. I like to be the center of attention, duh. But I also process my issues, by bouncing them off of everyone. Maybe it's my own insecurities about making decisions. Maybe I'm just a big mouth. 

Like at this moment, it is KILLING me to not be able to share what's going on up in my house. There is a lot going on in my life, and my natural response is to blab and share here, there, and everywhere. But I can't. Not to mention, it's really great stuff to write and share here. But I can't share now, because it's too personal to other people in my life. 

So being unable to publicly display my feelings and reaction to other people's stuff, feels like I have tape over my mouth, and I want to scream. 

Second item:

I have never been so overwhelmed (I know I've said it before) in ALL of my life. Ever. I feel like my chest is caving in and I want to quit, every day. Not my internship, just all of it. 

Sounds pretty doomsday-ish, doesn't it? I feel like there is a perfect storm of stress  and pressure, coupled with the personal shit that makes me want to get into my super sweet, white mini-van and run the fuck away from here.  But I won't. 

Well...I might. 

Third item:

And this one is for the bloggers. 

I allow people to post anonymously on this blog because maybe they don't want to say their name if they are asking for help, or writing about addiction. 

You'll notice I never get a ton of regular folks commenting. Just a few loyal folks and once in awhile some new folks. 

It hasn't been a problem, until lately. I get SO MANY SPAM COMMENTS!  And they seem to be on the same few posts I've written. The weird news is that it puts my blog at about 30,000 views a month, but I know most of those are robots, right?  

How do I stop that, or don't I? 

Thanks for reading this. May is coming. I'll graduate, hopefully be employed, and be able to tell you whatever the fuck I want. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

My morning conversations

I was curling my hair this morning (I'm a child of the 80's, so don't judge)  and my son came in to get into the shower. 

"Close your eyes, mom."

"Totally planning on that, dude."

After he's in there he says, "I almost burned the house down yesterday."  

"WHAT?" I of course freaked 

He says, "Yeah, it was close."

"Do you have burns on you?" I asked because he would hide something like that. 

"No, I was wearing a bullet-proof vest,  so I'm okay."  

Yes, he owns one. Don't ask. 

"Well tell me what the hell you were doing?" I asked him, thinking of pouring ice water over the shower. 





"I was spraying Axe on me (chick repellent) and lighting it on fire."

"Well let's wait to do that again when you are a homeowner and you are positive you paid your insurance bill, okay?"

"Yep, it was pretty scary."


I blame Johnny Knoxville.

So what do you talk about before you start your day?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

What anonymity might have brought to this blog

I could have just been known as Mom off Meth, never revealing my first and last name. And by doing that, I would have saved some grief for my kids and also myself. Also, I might have been able to be MORE honest, because I could say what I wanted, about who I wanted, and no one would have to know who I was talking about or what I was talking about. I can only be as honest as I can be, without hurting people. 

I think about that a lot. There might be a topic, or a person that I want to talk about. Maybe even bash (sometimes I still do.)  There are things that go on in my internship, I could (shouldn't) talk about.  

If my blog didn't have my real identity attached to it, there would be a whole other level of honesty. I could talk more about that parent hell, I could talk about my parent. I could talk about my kids in a different way (tell embarrassing stories or complain more about them) and I could tell how I honestly feel about their school, their friends, everything. I could talk about Bob, my in-laws, my own sister if I wanted to. And it might feel really good. Or, it might keep me in a place where I dwell on what bothers me, instead of trying to move forward. 

I know I talk about all of these things. I'm just saying I could talk about them even MORE! 

Not to mention, my whole deal for writing here is to show my face and connect with other people in recovery, need recovery, or just to be a place where people can see what it means for me to be in recovery. Also parenting, marriage, mental illness, and whatever else my fingers write about.

If I hid my name, I wouldn't be doing what it is I'm really trying to do. The main purpose for me is to not be ashamed, or hide behind this addiction disease. It is to put light on the whole life of it as myself. And if that means I need to be mindful of who and what I talk about, it's probably better. This is the most honest I can be. I think the initial sting or hurt of who I am to people has worn off, and we can all just be friends.

I do allow people to leave messages as "anonymous."  Which creates a TON of spam and people trying to sell Viagra in the comments section. You can't see that. But it is a little annoying.  

And although being out there stunts my writing at times, I can't turn back now!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

You can't choose your treatment unless you are rich.

I'm doing this. So here goes.

I've recently been put into a position where I needed to find treatment that would do an assessment for a 15 year old.  This young person has insurance, the kind of insurance you get when your parent or parents are disabled  veterans. 

Unfortunately, if I'm reading it correctly, that insurance, called ChampVA, only allows 21-day inpatient stays. It allows THREE in your lifetime. Nine weeks of treatment for substance use issues on your life. Your whole life.

In Minnesota, each county has Rule 25 funding, if you are poor enough to qualify, that will cover the extra week, and maybe more stays. This would also fund group residential for sober living, but only if you are poor enough.  These are for adults, I've never checked for youth. 

Some private insurance might help with the extra week too,if you are lucky enough to have that kind of job. But if you need (and most do) transitional living (sober or halfway house) it is going to be self-pay. Insurance doesn't think alcoholics or addicts are worth it. You are on your own

Back to the young person who needs an assessment. Her family has ChampVA, AND qualifies for Rule 25. Her family wants her to go to the Hazelden's adolescent program, in Plymouth, MN. 

Hazelden is the beloved Mecca in Minnesota for treatment services. Well...for many people in recovery. Not everyone. 

Her family has had experiences at Hazelden, that have changed their lives. So why wouldn't they want to share that experience with their loving child, if she needs it?

Guess what? Hazelden's adolescent program not only won't accept the insurances that cover families of disabled veterans, they also won't accept Rule 25 funds for their young clients. 


So people without money or good insurance? You don't get to go to Hazelden. And families of disabled veterans?  You're not welcome at Hazelden either. 

For a non-profit, that sure seems like a bunch of horrific bullshit. 

Hazelden has done a lot for me personally. I had great insurance when I needed to go there and it was almost completely covered. I have enjoyed their retreats, their speakers, their second-Sundays, their music festival last summer (for which my tickets were complimentary), their help in our community for advocacy, their research, their publications. But this seems to go against their vision of "all who seek recovery will find it."

They make a shit-ton of money. But they don't serve the poor, or maybe even the middle class. And that sucks for people who need help. It's right here in our state, but not for everyone in our state. 

Shame on ChampVA, and shame on Hazelden. Everyone deserves treatment, right?  Clearly not so. 

They wanted their daughter have the assessment at Hazelden.  But Hazelden doesn't help families like theirs.  Which breaks my heart. And scares the shit out of me. 

As you can probably guess, this family is mine.  I have taught my family not to be ashamed to ask for help. And that is what is happening.  I've never been more proud of them.

I, of course have permission to discuss this. This shit is real, and we are not ashamed.  The more we talk, the more can be changed. The more choices we will be given to recover.  I won't be quiet. We, as a family, won't be quiet. 

We have other choices.  But we don't have many.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Look what happened!

I meant to post this awhile back, but I've been busy. 

Remember this blog I wrote about "If I were Famous."???  If you haven't read it, read it.  It's long, but worth it.

I have noticed lately they have changed all of their billboards.  They all say the same thing.  "Dirt Alerts."  I am not saying that it was my email that did the trick.  But my email might have helped, with whoever else wrote or called in, to make the change they should have changed in the first place.  An apology would have been nice, but we will take what we can get.  

I know I have a LOT of photos stuck in my phone.  Don't judge. 

I'm not the only one who wrote to the station or even blogged about it. William Cope-Moyers did write something about these billboards (I couldn't find it to link it, but if you do, I will link it) and hopefully a lot of other people did as well. 

What this did, even though they still use unflattering photos of the stars, was give them the chance to think and to change their language about people who are sick.  They no longer have the Charlie Sheen "Fucking Crazy" one up.  Shoot, they even took the Justin Bieber's "Puberty Problems" and changed it to "Dirt Alert."  I'm still don't listen to this radio station, only because I think it is obnoxious.  But these little victories for us is a step in the right direction. 

So this just proves that our voices DO matter. We can make change. Even if it's something like a radio station's billboard. Hey, I was a part of that. And I'm pretty proud. 

Keep it moving forward. And let's change some shit!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

What a difference respect gives us.

In my life, I never imagined that I would be working (well...interning) at a hospital, in a mental-illness, chemical dependency, LOCKED unit. I never thought I'd have a hospital badge clipped onto my shirt that makes the door open on that locked unit. It also let's me out. 

What I have learned since January 13th of this year, has blown my mind. Remember recently I wrote about trying not to be angry at men?  And how angry I sometimes felt about the abusers?  And how I want to teach my boys different?  Well, my perspective still holds to what I will teach my kids. But I'm working with men now, something I didn't think I EVER wanted to do. 

When I started school they would always ask us, "what population do you want to work with?"  My answer was ALWAYS "in a residential woman's treatment facility."  

Well my eyes are opening to a whole new world. And I LOVE it. Not so much the people's situation, but what I have learned about myself in this short time.  I can look at someone who in society's eyes, and my own eyes, have done some pretty violent, scary stuff, and still deal with what is in front of us at the moment.  Not what they did, or where they came from, but what we have now.  And that is addiction.  That is my part.  

Maybe they are court ordered to be there, or nodding off from some kind of drug maintenance or taper, but I see them. And although, I'm not sure it's going to be this time for them, it might be. And I'm able to have compassion and root for people who have not only been abused, but are abusers. 

There are many mental health professionals on this unit to help with this process, and they have their part, and I have mine.  It is like a one great big team where everyone is concerned for the patients. I have only seen respect from staff to patients.  Never shaming or criticizing.  No matter what.  They just don't do that at this facility.  It is absolutely patient centered.  Humans deserve that. 

It isn't just the patients that I'm enjoying working with. The staff at this place rules. My supervising counselor is the BEST.  Look what she did when I had my uterus scalded on the inside.  Which, but the way, STILL HURTS.  

I only knew her THREE DAYS at this point and she had this waiting for me when I came back. Every day when we part, she thanks me for my help. Every single day. I feel so appreciated there. And I am learning so much from her and all of the staff.  

I'm a lot to handle.  I have trouble shutting my mouth and still struggle with professional boundaries.  But it is okay here, because they are forgiving, and they are helping me see where the lines are.  Have I crossed them?  Um…it's me we are talking about here.  But I'm getting it.  And we do have a lot of laughs.  Mostly appropriate. Hospitals are a FUN place to work.

It feels great to be in a place that not only respects me, but shows respect for all people who get walked through those locked doors. Because everyone deserves to feel that way.  It has done a ton for my confidence to be able to work in this field.  Because I was beginning to doubt myself.  I won't do that anymore.   

Also, watch this from Jane Fonda.  I think she says it so well.  

I think I have 150-200 pages or something to write this semester. Don't even get me started on how hard this is going to be for me.  I most certainly can't sit here and blog much. But I will when I can.  

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The truth? Again?

Today is a "I'm getting that divorce" day. I go back and forth every day. I change my mind a lot. Mostly with what I think I can stand for the rest of my life, and what I can't. I'll think "well, I can live with or without this or that."

I've noticed that Bob's "anxiety" increases when I am busier, or unavailable to do things around here. If I have to intern all day and go to school at night, he is snappier, crabbier, and treats me like shit. Of course he doesn't do anything to help me out more during these stressful times, and every single thing he does do, I hear about it like I'm supposed to take the time to say "thank you," for each thing. 

I ain't got time to thank him for making waffles. I'm one person. How about thanking me for working hard at this fucking degree?  Nope. I should be happy he's paying for it. 

Fast forward to this minor procedure I just had. 

Nothing cuter than before and after pictures of the scalded uterus.
Well, it knocked me on my ass more than my gallbladder removal did. I've basically been sleeping a lot.  I don't even remember yesterday, and I wasn't on any pain meds. 

So when I'm busy, or unavailable, I get attitude. From everyone. Especially Bob. 

What does this look like?  I get a full list of what he did for the kids. And then I get told that he pays for everything. I get told that he pays for my school, my health insurance, and all kinds of shit. Even though, he spends 80% of his day in bed, I should be appreciative. Because he pays.  

I get why he does that.  He feels bad about himself, and that money coming in is all he has.  So he holds it over my head like a carrot.  I could love him more, try harder, be better, but I don't feel like it.   Because the money gets us by, but it isn't a marriage.  

And that's a bunch of fucking bullshit anyway. It is controlling and abusive. I won't take it one more second...well until after I get my degree.

Bob will start volunteering at the VA (hopefully) in a few weeks. Maybe he will feel better about himself and get off my ass.  This week he will be gone on a 3 night field-trip with the twins. He can add that to the long list of shit he does.  I hope he follows through with the VA thing. 

I won't go into this much, because it's me being a broken record. Just know that this last semester is going to be a bitch. I'll have to keep my wits about me. But mostly, I'll need a GOOD job at the end. 

And then, I'll be free to decide. 


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Maybe a brain transplant would get me attention

Tomorrow, I am going into the surgery center to have done what is called an ablation. Apparently, because I'm in my 40's, I bleed like death should immediately follow, and at times, I cannot leave my house without worrying about bleeding on your couch. 

Turns out, I have fibroids. Normal as can be, but mine are fucking up a few days of my month more and more. I would just have a hystorcomy, but who has time for that?  My doc seems to believe this ablation (they are going to scald the inside of my uterus with hot water inside of a balloon until it scars) will work. And I'll be put to sleep a little. Sounds beautiful, doesn't it?

Not a huge procedure. I should be fine within a day or so. But I want my family to treat me like I could die during it. Bob completely forgot he had to pick me up, and has his VA appointment. Well...that is okay. My dad can pick me up. I'll just leave my car there. Whatever. 

My kids couldn't give a SHIT that I have to be there at 5:30 in the morning and that I can't take Excedrine for my headache. They just keep coming to me with requests for more homework help, different lunches, etc. 

Bob has already gone to bed downstairs. No surprises there. He is being a complete ass. He loves to remind me that we live off of his money and he pays for everything. Every fucking thing. Even the insurance that will pay for 80% of this procedure. 

Okay dude, I get it. But I AM having surgery tomorrow and if I die, you'll get less money, jerk. 

No one cares.  I take offense to that. I want them to be worried. My needy ass, needs that. 

My expectations will forever fuck me up. 

I took the next two days off of my internship. WHICH I LOVE, by the way. I think I found my place. I love the hospital. I love the patients. I love the professionalism. I love the woman who is training me. I HOPE they hire me. It's a great place. WHEW!  I love it. 

Anyway, wish me luck for tomorrow. It's seriously like NOTHING. But I would like to be treated like I'm having a brain transplant.  

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The beginning of the end, and new beginning

It's Sunday. 9:18 in the morning. I'm still in bed. And I'm smelling the coffee that Bob is brewing. I have these little eggheads crashed out next to me:

Is there anything more wonderful than having these moments with our kids.  To me, no.  

And here is Bob, bringing me coffee in bed.  That is how this vacation for me has been.  

I didn't really accomplish much, since I've been out of school since December 3rd. I got through the holidays in one piece. I didn't see my friends as much as I would have liked to. I didn't work on a book I'm trying to write. I didn't get my house cleaned from top to bottom, all at once. 

I didn't go to Water Park of America. However I did go to Mall of America with ALL of the folks that were visiting their families in town. HORRIBLE fucking move.   I didn't see my BFF, Stacey, from NYC while she was visiting. In fact, I had that nasty flu, and spent a lot of this vacation at home, in bed. 

Kind of boring for the kids, but wonderful for me. I love nothing more than my bed.  

I am SO exited to start my new internship.  I don't feel exactly prepared for it, because I didn't learn enough from my last internship, but I am ready to learn EVERYTHING I can.  I've got the clothes picked out for the week, I've got the shoes, the socks, the tights, the nylons, the backpack, the lunchbox, and I already shopped for the food to put in my lunchbox.  New pens, new highlighters, new everything.  I am ready to roll.

I am even going to take the bus there.  I cannot tell you how cool that makes me feel.  Really, I'm doing it because parking downtown is so expensive.  But I will TELL you I'm doing it to help save the earth.  So I'm a real advocate for mother earth.  I am riding the bus.  

So I will most likely not be here as much.  Which might be good.  Because as you may have noticed, I've been pretty self involved with some nasty shit that I need to get my head out of.  I think going back to school and my internship is perfect timing.  My eyes have been opened up.  My trust was broken by some folks, and I learned a lot.  I am ready to focus on something positive.  Like back to recovery.  And to hopefully be a positive mark on someone's journey.  

And at the end of this, I get to graduate.  I'm as excited for my kids to see this as I am for myself to graduate.  What a gift for all of us.  

I should probably buy some snow boots.  This is Minnesota, ya know.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Codependent still..

When I started writing this blog, it was my (then) friend Beth's idea that Thursdays would be a day where I would make jokes about being codependent. 

I even titled that section, "You might be codependent if..."

Then I would ramble on about a way that I might be codependent, and end it with something like this: 

You Might Be Codependent if...

You feel like you owe everyone an explanation for what you want to do with your life.

You feel like you have to persuade everyone to agree with you.

You forget that everyone has a right to their opinion, its not your job to change it.

You read my stuff and still think I am responsible for how other people feel.
You feel you can't do enough for people to act how you want.

Like I have said before, I have been suggested Alanon by quite a few people in my day.  And I just don't have the time.  I can tell though, that by listening to others who are Alanon regulars, I HAVE been able to let go of a lot of stuff I can't control, and accept what I can.  My life is much more peaceful that way. 

I can, however, see the folks that need Alanon, clear as day.  Every time I suggest Alanon to someone, I laugh inside.  And when I tell my friends at AA that I suggested Alanon, they get a huge laugh out of that.  But those who don't know what is in their control and what isn't, stick out to me like a sore thumb.  And as much as I try to help these folks, THAT isn't my job.  I am codependent of the codependents!!  That is sick.  
Letting go doesn't feel good. It feels like I lose whatever it is I'm trying to control.  I feel like a loser.  I feel really angry and hurt.  I thought letting go meant you let go of the person all together.  But letting go means not allowing their actions hurt you.  Letting go of feeling responsible for their actions.  They may still do shitty things, but I don't have to feel bad about it.  
Sometimes I LIKE feeling bad.  

Having kids, a mentally ill husband, and a world of people to interact with, has taught me that if I just let go of how they live their lives, and keep my kids and myself as safe as I can, I can live a somewhat peaceful life. When people are making me feel bad, and I can't let go of how their actions are making me feel, it is time to cut them out.

Does any of this make sense?

People are going to hurt my kids, and I can't even do anything about that.   God knows I have tried with FORCE to right the wrongs people have done to my kids.  I can only teach my kids what I know.  We are only responsible for us.  And no one else.  Just like they are responsible for them.

I may repeat this throughout this blog.  But it is something I learn over and over again, fuck up, and learn again.  I appreciate those, even when they have to go out of our lives, who teach me this again.  Practice makes progress.

Oh, and today is my son's 13th birthday today. Another teenager is in the HOUSE!