Saturday, February 11, 2017

I'm Baaaack (again)

One thing that happens when you don't check your blog for a year is a LOT OF SPAM. Dear lord there are some funny comments on this thing. I tried to delete them all, but then I got bored.

I want to get back to this, and I always think I am going to, but then I don't. If I have any followers left, or not, I still want to write. This blog was a big part of my recovery, and I owe a lot to it. I'm happy to say that I am 6 years, and five months sober. My marriage is on track, and my teenage children are awesome. My career as a counselor is fulfilling, amazing, CRAZY, and if I could legally share the things I hear on a daily basis, I would have a billion followers. Law says I can't, so I won't. It is an honor to work with people at their lowest, and watch them rise. Even when the rise might only be one tiny part of their lives, and not defined by what society says recovery is. It isn't easy, but it is worth it.

I feel like Forrest Gump, and all of the different experiences and lives he lived. I can tall you that as I move through this life, and all of life's ups and downs, I feel more at peace than ever. I struggle daily with depression, and have been battling (and not really winning) it hard this past year. I know you're probably like, "how do peace and depression go together?" But for me, most days, they do, because I'm learning to go with it, not against it.

I'm not saying that I don't have reactions to the absurdity of things like DONALD FUCKING TRUMP, because I do. However, painful or blissful, I have managed to find a middle with my reactions, and my thoughts. Most of the time. Especially at home.

My family is still hilarious, and we are very close. My husband, Bob, is still with me, and we are still working at it. Ups and downs, ups and downs. But still here.

I have a lot to tell you. I think I am going to begin my next post and tell you about the time in 2015, when my middle son contracted Bacterial Meningitis, and almost died, and go from there. You know, start with something light and easy.

Until then, peace.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Year Number Five

A lot can happen in five years. I've been a million different people from one day to the next and I CAN change (see what I did there?) Can you even believe this shit? My supervisor asked me what my short term and long term goals were during supervision this week. I was like...I'm already here! #RECOVERYWORKS

Monday, July 6, 2015

National Conventions and Rallies in DC

There was an AA national convention Atlanta last weekend and those who were priveledged enough to attend posted discreet-ish, humblebrag-ish posts about attending the event, which I'm sure was amazing. And by the way, I am pretty good at the humble-brag. Also just regular bragging.

Did that sound bitter?

Nah. But when I read those posts, or see people who always go to these huge events, my selfishly, ungrateful, evil character defective-y self can bust out and feel bad for those folks like me, who can't afford, have too many kids, or no vacation left due to sick kids and a hysterectomy.  And for a SMALL second, I feel like my recovery isn't as strong as it should be, because I can't seem to be able to put these trips as top priority, ever. I envy the commitment others make, to be sure they make it to these events. 

It's been a kick-ass summer on many levels. 

I would LOVE to feel the connectedness at those conventions and the power and presence of that big, strong group of incredible recovery. I'm so glad we can be seen (anonymous or not) out in full force, to show that recovery kicks ass. 

This October there is a rally in Washington D.C. called 10•04•2015 Unite To Face Addiction. And I want to go SO BAD!  But I've used up my vacation time this year and I've missed a lot of work. Plus, money is always an issue for this stuff. Can you hear the sad violins playing? 

So I'm starting a Go-Fund Me account so I can go.....

Nah, I'm just fucking with you. Haha!

I'm not going to make it to the rally this year. But it doesn't mean I'm any less passionate about recovery, removing stigma, or anything else. It doesn't mean I don't love the people who are able to go and anonymously-ish share on social media how they represent recovery. I'm GLAD they have these conventions and rallies. And I'm GLAD people can go represent, support and love each other. Because that's what it's all about!

You can bet if I got to these events, I would be posting it all over the place. 

Next year will be easier. (Do you say that every year too?) I am so grateful. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Helicopter mama

Raise your hand if you can relate. (Or just be fucking polite and pretend for me.)

A few months ago, my kids' principal wrote his own blog post (or newsletter article) on the "Helicopter Parent." Of course, I was certain this article was directed at me, because I am THAT important in my mind. 

Maybe it was?  Very doubtful...I think. 

After I stopped being pissed and stopped thinking about the lawsuits and shit (I told you I was depressed, skipping meetings, and getting pretty sick) I took a hard look at myself. OH MY GOD I AM!!

Once I figured this out, I began getting more pissed at my friends who didn't stop me!!

Oh...wait...not their job. (Again my healthy thinking took a hit).

I don't want my kids to suffer any pain. So when I think they are going to get hurt, or they do get hurt, I fly in with machine guns drawn, and attempt to destroy anyone in their way.  Anyone.  The school, their friends, their friends' parents, their coaches, even the POLICE!  It has helped sometimes, but it has also backfired in some major, embarrassing ways.  Not to mention, I robbed them of some problem solving opportunities. I also robbed them of an opportunity to build some healthy coping skills for when life gets ugly, which they desperately need. 

I'm not putting myself down, I do what I think is right. But as I keep parenting, making mistakes, and learning from them, I will do better. Hind sight is pretty damn close to 20/20. It would be nice if we had the information before we made the mistakes. And because this is true for me, I am not sure why I didn't trust it was the same for my kids. They need the same opportunities.  

What's that you say?  You tried to tell me and I didn't listen? ...Know-it-all.

Live and learn!  So now,  I will still help my kids, but I will also let life hit them in the ass a little when their choices call for consequences. Because my lessons don't hold a candle to what life can serve up. 

ONE Alanon meeting and look at me go…  Nearly cured.

Monday, January 5, 2015

That other meeting

Oh my god I went to another meeting for those family members and friends who have addicts an alcoholics in their lives. 

I go once every six months to a year.  I always intend to return the following week, but it never seems like a good idea when the next week rolls around. And honestly, next week at that time, I'll be getting my hair done. I have an unintentional ombré. And the top half is ashey grey/brown. The bottom half is fried and some other lighter color. It ain't cute. 

Anyhow, I have been meaning to go that meeting for MONTHS. Today I wasn't even feeling bad, or stressed, or anything. I just went. 

I can tell you that while I was down in the dumps the past few months, I skipped my regular meetings. I would come home from work and go straight to bed. I stayed in bed all weekend, and I was completely isolating. Which is a creepy place to be. The more I isolated, the harder it was to get up and out. Christmas was torture this year. 

But I got back to a few meetings last week, and I felt better. DUH. It's so hard to remember that I feel better if I just force myself to get up and get to my people. It's so hard to believe I'll feel better if I do the exact opposite of what I feel like doing. 

I am a naturally low energy person. (Hmmm...might be why I preferred the speedy types of drugs).  So when I get sucked in to that dark depression shit, I say to myself, "I'll get up tomorrow.  Not after Ellen is over, but tomorrow. It's just for today, tomorrow I'll be better."  And unless I force myself, I'll never get up. 

Life is stressful. It will never be free of stress. If I don't remain connected to my support system, I cope with it by shutting down. I think there can be some value to shutting down for a bit. Sometimes you just don't want to talk about things until you've had time to process, or you are just plain exhausted. Laying low is okay. I just did it for too long (except going to work). 

So I went tonight, I have yet to fall in love with this other program. I would promise that I'll make it back in 2 weeks, but we all know I can't make promises like that. 

I know, I know. Keep coming back. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Mantra: I Am Here.


What what what-what. What what what-what. 

How the hell ya been?  I am going to write one blog a week on a variety of topics pertaining to recovery and my really strong opinions. Well maybe just recovery. Or opinions. Maybe I will alternate weeks. And I will post Monday morning. Maybe more. We shall see. 

This being the first of this new schedule, starting on the wrong day,  I will bring you up to speed on what is happening in my crazy little life. 

1) Still married, still all together. 

2) Still working at same place, love the clients. 

3) Although it has been tempting, I haven't abandoned my kids and moved to a "deeelux apartment in the sky." 

4) I recently came out of the darkness of a deep depression, and I am not sure why exactly it lifted, but it did. So I'm going with that.

5) Still sober and still grateful for my life in recovery.  Who would have EVER thought?  Not me, that is for sure. 

6) I recently took one of those online "which_____ are you?" Dumbest things in the world, yet if feels like I NEED to know which _______ I am?  It was for "your perfect mantra" and I got "I AM HERE!" Except it wasn't all in caps with an exclamation point, yelling at me. I think it's perfect. Because that's where I always am.

 We made it through the holidays, We made it through the New Year. My older teenagers are not cool with me writing anymore stuff about their lives, and I will respect that. One won't let me even take a picture of him. 

Here are some photos. I'll see you next week!  I am in (or photographed) all of these!  AND I am (still) HERE.

My dad's first selfie on Christmas.  

I paid to run this 5K, but I thought I would
 be more useful to cheer these ladies on.

Went to Target two days in a row.
This was still on there the 2nd day.  My son is a jokester.

This is how I feel every day, and this is what I tell myself.

The one who refuses to be photographed, is.  

I got Influenza.  

I hosted Thanksgiving for my dad
 because he didn't want to cook.
He brought every part of the meal,
but allowed me to burn these sweet potatoes.

Our kitty got bigger, and our broken hand healed.  

Some lucky boys got great seats to see their beloved Vikings.
(And we actually won!)

I got the tree decorated at the last second,
trusted Bob to choose and buy the gifts,
 and pulled it all off without losing my mind.
(Well, I did lose it for a minute, but no one is goddamn perfect.)

Monday, September 29, 2014

The worst week I can remember

Today is my 44th birthday.  Which again, makes zero sense to me as I am still in my 20's, I swear.

This past week was one of the worst weeks I can remember, since I have been sober.  Let me run it down for you.

MONDAY:  My 11 year old son had surgery on his hand, which he broke by punching his brother in the head. The brother that received the punch, is fine.  The surgery went well, but it isn't easy to see your child scared, in pain, or any of that.  It is stressful and awful.  Not to mention, Bob and I were having a  very difficult time getting along.  Which leads me to…

TUESDAY:  I don't start work until 11:00AM on Tuesdays, as I run an aftercare group in the evenings, and I do an evening intake.  So I was home in the morning.  My son who had the surgery stayed home from school, his twin brother stayed home from school to help him because my 13 year old stayed home from school with a fever and sore throat.  SO, three boys home.  Bob and I were fighting again.  He has been having a medication change.  And I have been having a patience change.  And the two aren't going together well.  Bob has been doing some irrational thinking, and embarrassing behavior.  Contacting old friends of mine, talking to my family, trying to turning people against me.

So he was on the phone, and against my better anger management skills, I thought he was talking to my dad, so I tried to take his phone.  He called the police on me in front of my kids.  They came, were HORRIBLE to our family, and it was one of those days I wish didn't happen and I could erase.  How awful.

WEDNESDAY:  I had served Bob divorce papers in like April.  On Wednesday, I filed them.  He has no idea.  Well, maybe he does now that I wrote this.  Fuck Grad school.

THURSDAY:  My daughter had some peer issues, has been having school issues, we have family issues, and she threatened to hurt herself.  So, I drove her to the hospital and got home around 3:30 AM.  She was admitted.

FRIDAY:  I went to work, on 2.5 hours of sleep.  I felt like I had been kicked in the gut.  My daughter was transferred by ambulance to a different hospital. I felt incredibly sick to my stomach all day.  Worried about my whole family.  Feeling out of control.  Also, lack of sleep triggers me and makes me feel icky.  I honestly felt like I had been up all night doing meth.  It was hard to focus on the clients in front of my face, when I had all of that going on behind the scenes.

SATURDAY:  I was going to go up to my camper alone overnight, since tomorrow is my birthday and there are a few things I need to do before I close it down, but I needed to visit my daughter in the hospital.  I brought some of her friends.  She, of course, wanted to leave with us.  So she threw a bit of a tantrum.  It sucks to leave you kid somewhere like that.  It is a nice facility, but she doesn't want to be there.

SUNDAY:  Is my birthday, which is tomorrow.  I am sitting on my bed, writing this post that I most likely won't post, since there are two people in this that I didn't ask permission, and are very sensitive topics.

I don't feel steady.  Not in my sobriety, but in my life.  I feel worn thin.  I am struggling giving a shit about anyone around me, because they have bled me dry.

I wish I could run away.

I posted something last week, but Bob left a big long response.  I couldn't stand it, so I erased the whole thing.

I feel extremely broken

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Chicken shit.

A cop beheads a boy's chicken with a shovel. I think we can all agree this story is horrifying, awful, and fucked up.  He apologizes and will attend the city council meeting to propose change in the city ordinance regarding having chickens, so this mishap doesn't happen again and the boy can have a new chicken. 

A guy (black) gets off work and is going to pick up his kids from daycare. He waited too long, in one spot, in the skyway.  Some cops follow, harass, taser, arrest, take him to jail and take the man's phone for a long period of time, not to mention the trauma they caused him (I imagine having your rights stripped and being tasered is fucking terrifying), and they don't apologize, they show no remorse, and you can bet damn well they won't be going to any meetings to change policy or laws so that they don't repeat the same thing. And so far, are experiencing no consequences, that I know of.  Not as honorable as the chicken murderer's attempt to right his wrong. 

So far, the chicken wins.  This will result in the better treatment for chickens in that town.  Even if the charges were dropped for the man. That is fucked up. 

This post probably is best understood by Minnesotans and our local news. I know there was some kind of community meeting today regarding the man in the skyway.  The mayor of St. Paul promised that "police are there to protect and serve in the community without regard to race." And the head of the St. Paul Police Federation President left a statement that the police acted, "responsibly, respectfully and in accordance with the highest professional standards we expect from our members."

That response isn't an apology, it isn't change, and I am disgusted. I could have sat in that skyway all day.  I guarantee it.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Four years and counting.

Yesterday,  8-23-2014, was my four year re-birthday into this sober world without drugs and alcohol. I posted this on Facebook:

I posted this on Instagram:

And I posted this on Twitter:

And we went to our camper as a family. I thought it would be awesome and fun. I haven't had all of the kids there at once this summer.

Look at them swimming in Lake Superior, on a windy 63 degree day.  The only people in the water, but they had fun.  No arguing there.

Here three of them are sitting around the fire.  I think we were talking about how soon we were going to leave the next day.  Some of my kids asked this question, every five minutes.

I don't need a parade to celebrate my sobriety birthdays.  Although I'll post it on every social media site  I can think of, which is pretty much the same thing as asking for a parade.

My life in recovery is so much better than my life using drugs.  I can enjoy my friendships (when I can see my friends again). I can enjoy hanging with my kids, (even if some of them can't wait to get away.)  I can enjoy my new life, work, and path.  I am so proud and grateful to be where I am at.  It is more than I ever imagined I would get out of this life.  Thanks Y'all!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

My whiteness

My rant here is nothing you probably don't already know, but if you don't know, think about it.  

Hopefully we've all heard the statistics of the higher rate we incarcarete people of color, over white folks. We've all seen a documentary, read an article, something that explains it. Whether you believe it or not is up to you. 

Lately I've been thinking about those four times I was pulled over while wasted, and never getting a DUI.  Two of those four times, I was out of the car, doing field sobriety tests.  Touching my nose, following the lights, and whatever else they asked me to do.  

I was drunk, all four times, and I know two times I had cocaine in my pocket.  

When asked, "Have you been drinking tonight?"  My answer was always a solid, "Not at all."  I was pulled over for driving without my lights and/or swerving, or because they told me I smelled like booze, so they did the field sobriety tests on me anyway.  

Why didn't I get breathalyzed and why wasn't I arrested?  For a long time I had believed it was because I am the best drunk field-sobriety tester in the land. I knew how to beat them. I could have taught a class!

Then I figured it was because of my beauty. 

Since working in the drug and alcohol counseling field, in a facility that deals with all cultures, I can say for a fact it was because I'm white....and maybe super good looking. Both privileges that kept me out of real trouble.   Now, I know other white folks, good looking or not, haven't been so lucky and have gotten DUI's.  

But, if I had been a brown woman, you bet I would have been arrested, and sent to jail. 100%. And if you don't believe me, get your license and come on down and do assessments on people of color.  Hear their stories, and understand the HUGE difference in the way folks like me, are treated. It makes me cringe to hear the day after day stories. I often want to ask,  "Well, did you tell them to go fuck themselves?" Of course, that isn't the answer. 

Another thing I think about. While I was using meth,  mostly coming down, I used to scream and swear bloody murder at my family.  I even had a neighbor express his concern to my father-in-law (who lives on my street).  But no one ever called the police.  I can understand that it is probably uncomfortable to call the police on people you have been talking about gardening with for some years, when suddenly things change in their house.  And I can't say for sure if our family was brown, the cops would have been called.  But I bet they would have been.  Nothing against this particular neighbor, but if he didn't call, someone else probably would have. 

And someone probably should have. 

I am so grateful for recovery.

The stories I hear every single day, about the ticketing of homeless people for loitering.  Tickets they have to pay or they get arrested. People getting pulled over or stopped just walking down the street for no reason. Having some weed or something in their pocket, catching a 5th degree possession charge. And god forbid you are an addict, of course you are going to have weed or something in your pocket.  Being put on probation for that, and any mistake or ticket or anything, lands you in jail.  So you get more and more possession charges.  You do jail time for this, instead of treatment.  Your house gets raided.  Your dog gets shot.  You get harassed by the police. They roughly put you in the back of the squad.   And worse. 

Your kids get taken away.  Your license gets taken away.  You get a felony so you can't get a job.  You can't get an apartment.  You can't do ANYTHING but be on public assistance. If you don't lose that because of your addiction.  Not to mention, the regular shame that comes with that. The loss of pride, hope, and the feeling of safety. All because of color. 

I still don't have a good understanding of the way the laws work and what the punishments are.  It is a lot to learn.

I had to read this for my last practicum. I got it from iTunes to listen in the car, which started on Chapter Four, so that part sucked. I suggest you read the entire book.

I just want to attest to the fact that in my short time in the field, the pages of that book are absolutely true. It really happens. It IS happening. I see it. I've read about it and believed it happened, But NOW I see it in action. And I can't believe the pain it causes other humans, just because of color. It is a complete failure of our system.

I see folks trying to do the right thing, and they have so many more hurdles than you can imagine.  So many reasons to give up. I had EVERYTHING handed to me when I sobered up. I didn't have to find housing. I didn't have to get my kids back. I got to go to school. Save my house. I had so many people reach out and help me. (Thank you). I had my own hurdles and paid some here and there. Recovery can be hard at times. Stress can trigger relapse.  I have had nothing like what I have seen. 

Do you know that each application for a Section 8 house or apartment is a non-refundable $60?  That is a shit-ton of money for people who are broke. And the vouchers can take up to TWO YEARS to get. Can't get your kids back unless you have a stable home.  Until I started working in this field, I did not know this.  When I got sober, I was starting the Section 8 paperwork when my dad saved my house.  Where would we have gone while waiting for housing?  There is a very good chance I would have given up, and just got high.  Because, what the fuck.  

It is hard for an addict to do the right thing when the outside forces are in our favor.  It is harder when the outside forces work against us.  

Am I supposed to feel bad because I'm white?  No fucking way. But I understand that there is a lot of shit that comes with it which isn't exactly fair. I can't fix it alone. I can acknowledge it, and not contribute to it. Any chance I can help, I will. Maybe someday we can change it if we are more aware how our country still uses people.   

So yeah, I could have gotten "on paper" and under the radar of the county, state or federal authorities when I got pulled over those times.  Probation, random drug tests, maybe child protection, and a lot of hurdles and hoops to jump through. But I didn't.  And that is privilege. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Living in a month from now.

It's 10:42 PM on a Friday night and I'm doing what any 43 year old mother does. I'm in bed, in the dark, crying because my youngest boys are going to middle school in 4 and 1/2 weeks. 

I cried with my oldest. I cried with my middle boy. And I'll cry with these guys even more. 

Because I know the changes that happen when they are sent into that building. I know how they come out. They go in sweet, nice, friendly angels who want to hang out with their folks. They come out bitter, angry, snotty, know-it-all kids who don't want to be seen with their folks. 

I know they come back to us when they are older and done with this stage. But I'll sure miss them when they are gone. I'm not ready. It feels like the school is coming to abduct my babies. I fucking hate it. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Extreme guide to parenting.

The best feeling in the world is learning your 11 year old kid is at a friend's house and gets a text from his own dad, quoting a not-so appropriate scene from the Dave Chapelle show, word for word, because they watch it together, and then the friend's dad sees that said text message. There is no explaining your way out of that one. 

Anyone relate?  Of course you don't. Because that shit is insane and only happens in my family, I think.  

I can't take Bob's phone away because he is an adult.

Please just know we would never let your kid watch that show, and no kid should watch it.  It is no good for anyone.  Dave Chapelle would agree, and I think that is why he quit.  No, only my kids get the pleasure of having a dad as a friend who will always choose humor over appropriateness.  But don't worry, they have heard me freak out about this stuff and know to keep it to themselves. 

We embarrass our kids in very different ways.   

I'm Rick James, bitch…  

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I spend a lot of time getting into arguments

You can look for the bad, or look for the'll find plenty of both.

My last intern supervisor would say that to the clients on the mornings she was in charge of the spiel of doing a daily 10th step. I loved it every time she said it.

I don't practice it.

I was going to say "I don't always practice it," but that's a fucking lie. I constantly forget. 

If you caught my last post and the comments that were left, and my response to those comments, you can clearly see where I need work focusing on what is good. Or at least ignoring what I think is wrong. I could have easily let that go and realize that it's not my job to correct, fix, or get people to agree with me. But I see what was wrong with what is said, and defend, defend, defend myself. 

She did have a valid opinion. Any opinion is valid. I DO freak out when people disagree with me. Even shit that doesn't matter. Sometimes I focus on it like crazy. And every time, instead of keeping my big mouth shut, I make it worse. 

I've gotten to a point where I've defended myself so much, that almost every sporting, school, any event I go to, there is someone to avoid. Everywhere I go!  If you tell me something I don't like, I'll let you have it. Who wins?  Not me, that's for sure. 

There is a point where I need to stick up for myself or my family. And there are many reasons to defend what is right or unjust.  When people don't understand the illnesses. When people are being mistreated and controlled.  These are reasons to get angry and do something.  But there are times to accept a situation for what it is, who it is coming from and keep my big trap shut.   If I think my kids are being treated poorly, watch the fuck out.   Or if people don't see me how I think they should. I always have to have the last word. THIS HAS NEVER WORKED OUT FOR ME!  And if it does work out, I usually don't feel good about it.  

I try to keep my cool. But I'm a raging, passionate bitch at heart (sorry for the degrading "bitch" word ladies. But it fits here.). So it is hard for me to keep my cool. 

There is some of that which I need to balance in there. I certainly don't want to get walked on. But I don't need to be the one who loses her cool. I can decide I am right about anything.  But I don't have to make everyone believe it.  Lord knows I have tried.

You see people doing these "100 days of happiness challenges" where they post something that makes them happy in their day. I'm just going to try and start living that way. There is so much truth to counting your blessings. Living with gratitude.  Focusing on the good and changing your thoughts. 

I pledge more than 100 days. But I'll start with today. Just today. I erased all of those comments from my last blog post that were negative. 

In the time it has taken me to write this post (three days) I have contacted the head of the LaCrosse association to complain about the coach who gets under my skin, argued about how a deck should be built, (two topics I know nothing about) and nagged at Bob and my daughter more times than I can count. What the fuck have I learned so far?

I'll start today over and try again.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

I'm normal

I've arrived. Graduated, employed, chaos gone, normalcy in place.

I'm bored. 

And this is how I know I am still addicted, because this is the feeling that is most unsettling to me, and my biggest trigger. I've got my ducks in a row. My kids are busy with friends, sports and a bunch of other shit that will work itself out. I've worked on letting go of so much, that I worry about little. I don't have a significant other, but a roommate. I have a life like a lot of people, some who are healthy. 

My time is still filled up. This is the first evening this week that I didn't have something going on. I saw my friends last weekend. But that balls-to-the-wall, stress-filled wonder-life that I had when I was going to school, with all the pressure of homework hanging over my head, while my family went through crisis after crisis, is gone...for now.

I am not suggesting that I will create a crisis, (which is what I COULD do). And I'm not going to start using drugs, or have plastic surgery or get a boyfriend to create some drama...although the last two could be fun!  I just get incredibly bored with normal. I still haven't worked out being comfortable with with it.

I know this is a issue for people in early recovery.  And it can be a issue for us all the way through.

Since I've been sober, this is the most "normal" (I hate that word when used to represent a life) I have been. This is the most normal I've ever been. And the most free. So THIS is the test for someone who has that little nasty addiction illness living in her brain. If one wanted to NOT practice "one day at a time," one could wonder how am I going to proceed normally, without fucking it up?  

I look at these a lot:

(I couldn't get them to show up very well.) But these are scars in between my thighs, right above my knees. I was smoking meth out of a glass bubble (sorry to trigger the tweakers) and I dropped it and tried to catch it between my bare legs. Needless to say,  it burned me really bad. And the scars are still there. BUT I didn't break the bubble, so it wasn't in vain.  I have those scars, and my faint scars on my arms from my mad arm picking days. I can look at those and remember what the wrong kind of chaos can bring. 

The folks I work with come in drowning in the wrong kind of chaos. I can smell the fumes of their addiction. I can see the sad, sick, desperate twinkle in their eyes. I get a rush from that. I don't know if that is good or bad. But it certainly is a reminder that although my "normal" might seem boring, it is so much nicer than quitting again.  And most certainly better than the wrong kind of chaos. 

And that is how I get through "normal."  Besides, I'm sure a storm is a-brewing right around the corner. 

And it's name is grad school...if I get in, that is. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Meet Chelsie Charmed!

I have my first guest blogger. How cool is that?  Meet Chelsie Charmed.  Her blog is at The Life Of A Recovering Addict.  She is a young woman in recovery.  And she is on her journey of sharing what that looks like in her life, and describes herself this way:

"Hey there, I'm a 24 year old University Student studying in psychology which I absolutely love.  The human mind and behavior fascinate me.  I have a great curiosity about how it all works.  Why we do the things we do?  I'm hoping to become a counselor once I'm done.  I have a great compassion for others and I'm always trying to put myself in someone else's shoes to understand them better, some might say I'm an empath.  I love reading, writing and drawing.  I want to eventually write a book and be a successful author.  Also, I love music.  I dream to one day travel all over, but mostly to Paris, Rome and London.  Animal Rights is a cause close to my heart.  I have an amazing bond with my mom which means the world to me.  All in all, I'm definitely a caffeine driven Blogger."

And here is her most awesome post that she shared with us:

I often put myself down like I'm not good enough and I forget how amazing I really am. This is something that affects so many aspects of my life. I tend to get hurt easily by others criticisms and I cant openly admit anything negative about myself without it impacting my self esteem in a bad way. So let this be a reminder to myself of just how far I've come. Their are times where I still catch myself in awe of how much my life has changed in the last 5 years and this really helps me realize I'm not a nobody but that I am a strong independent survivor.

This is a list of stuff I've gone through and made it on the other side since getting sober and doesn't include all the shit I went through that drove me to drug abuse in the first place. I've been sober over 6 years, well I think, I don't really keep track of that anymore. Anyways after I got sober I got a part time job to afford my own place again, I went back to high school and graduated with an 85% average and then got accepted to all the universities I had applied to. As amazing as that was that meant I was going to be alone for the first time and although I had moved out when I was 15 for a couple years before moving back to my moms, I had never truly been alone. My boyfriend had been with me ever since I had moved out at 15. We were together for 6 years, imagine that but we ended up growing a part, just like that. Lovers one day strangers the next. Well at least that how it feels. I decided to quit drugs and got sober but he didn't and then lied about it, after so much of trying to help him and stick it through I kinda gave up and became distant. Leaving for university meant I was going to be alone for the very first time and that really terrified me. All on my own in a new city, the idea was absolutely terrifying, but I did it. I made the choice and followed through with it. I made it all on my own and it was so liberating. It boosted my confidence and proved to myself and everyone else that ever doubted me that I could make it and that I DID!

After 8 months of being on my own I met someone who I ended up spending 3 years with. The damaged he caused to my confidence ran deep. He made me feel like I couldn't make it without him and I couldn't see a life beyond him. I thought I'd never ever have the strength to leave him. I had tried more than once but I always ended up going back. After trying to leave a couple times and it not working I had finally given up on that idea completely when I reconnected with an old friend at Christmas. All the while thinking that although this man was amazing and perfect for me I doubted I could really leave my boyfriend. I just couldn't see myself living without him. It wasn't just about not wanting to be alone anymore (I had the opportunity to not be alone and be with someone else plenty of times), I was emotionally invested and I knew leaving him would really hurt and it ended up hurting more then I thought it would. But I did it, I packed my stuff and left. I made the plans to go through with it and although I kept thinking I'd back out any minute, I didn't. I stayed strong and followed my instincts. The pain afterwards was almost unbearable and it took an enormous amount of strength to deal with and not go back.

Also when I found out I was pregnant I got really scared that I'd have to give up on my dreams. I was scared of my life changing in ways I wasn't really ready for. I had just moved in with that old friend I had reconnected with (and absolutely fallen in love with) and I needed time to grieve my past relationship, adjust and rebuild my new relationship (still kinda do need those things). I needed, and still need, stability. I was so worried about losing everything I had invested in my education, all the money and the time. It was a pretty significant amount but I pulled my big girl pants on and decided to face the situation head on (well not without some groaning and moaning on my part, lol). I sat down and figured a way to make my education work with this unexpected surprise on the way. Not to mention that after I got over the fear of losing things that were important to me at the time I got pretty excited when I realized exactly what I was gaining. Now I even have this fierce determination to protect and give this child the best life possible, its not so much about me anymore. Its weird how my way of thinking changed all of a sudden and I can only just imagine how much more that feeling is going to set in once my baby is actually born. Its hard and scary but I'm making it work because I'm strong, determined, resourceful and caring. So this will all work out, I'll make sure of it!

I would also like to add that all these accomplishments wouldn't of been possible without the support from the people closest to me. It made all the difference and I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart <3<3<3

So if you want to read more of this and other posts, GO TO HER BLOG!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Grad school

I have applied to graduate school for my MA, LPCC. This stands for a masters in Licensed Professional Clinical Counseling. 

Why?  Because I love my job. I absolutely love it. But we drug and alcohol counselors don't make a lot of money. I am sick of being broke in my life. As I was figuring out how I was going to work full time, with child support, and I would have less money than he gets from his disability, I decided to make a change. 

Because I am still married to Bob, and he is 100% permanently and totally disabled from the Marine Corps, I get money to go to school. EVEN grad school. So...I called off my divorce, and applied as soon as I could fill out the forms to start this fall.

Yeah...I know. There might be something really sick about it. Sick and wrong. Or brilliant.  

I can finish in three years. So I have decided to put myself into a better financial position before I'm on my own. Let's face it, I'm lucky to have this opportunity. And he is willing to go along with it. 

As for our relationship, it's friendly. I'm not angry, he's not angry. In fact, since I started my job, he has stayed out of bed and been with the kids, or running errands, or small projects. MORE than dishes and laundry!

And guess what?  He feels better. He doesn't rock back and forth as much.  He is more his old self. He is sleeping better. I've noticed a big change, and so have the kids.  I am so happy for him.

I had to CHEW my tongue until it bled as not to say, "I told you so!"

Okay, I totally fucking said that to him. You know I did.

Please don't say things like, "I'm glad you are working it out together!" Because that is not what this is about. It isn't a romantic up and down love affair.  He gets a benefit for his service that extends to me, and I'm going to take it. The kids will be older when we do finally divorce, and I'll be in a better position, which will put him in a better position. As long as we can be friendly, which has a lot to do with my tolerance, it will be fine. After 22 years, what's 3 more?

And as for those of you who might be disgusted or even devastated by this news, oh well. It is, what it is. I'm excited.  I was going to wait until 2015 to go back to school, but I'll be FORTY-FOUR this year.  My clock is ticking.  I'm going for it. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Living wage

My dad has always paid a living wage at his small business. In fact, he starts everyone out at roughly $15 an hour, with zero experience. And they get raised up fast. Most of his employees make around $20.00-$22.00 an hour. Pretty much matches the starting wage of my field. Is my work more important?  Hell no. Everyone's work is important.

Always working.
Many people have called him overly generous for paying that much. Some even call that act stupid, or a bad business move. He has only taken from that company what he needs. And not one cent more. Ever. He lives in a decent house on White Bear Lake, not the fanciest or most modern, but nice. We grew up comfortable. He rarely takes trips anymore. He has a really nice truck. But nothing outrageous. He has made (and been robbed of,  including by me) more money than I'll say. But he bounces back, and keeps the business going for his employees. 

So to hear that the big businesses like IKEA and others are going to start raising their minimum wages is great, although they still aren't living wages. 

In my dad's situation, the problem with paying workers a living wage, who are in a field that normally doesn't get a living wage, is that they get used to a standard of living which isn't at extreme poverty level, and the way it should be. So my 73 year old father feels as though he can't retire, because what will happen to his guys?  How will they support their families when wages are so low everywhere else?  His has a unique business that offers knowledge in unique skills. Not transferable to anywhere which will come even close to the same pay scale. 

So he has been trapped with a decision to keep going so these families can keep going, or close up shop and say, "good luck."  He wants to find them work first.  

He will also tell you that he's working because he doesn't want to quit.  Which is total bullshit.  He doesn't know HOW to quit, because he can't leave people hanging.  

So for personal reasons, (I'd be glad anyhow) I'm thrilled to see greedy companies raising their pay for their employees, even though it isn't enough.  My dad needs to retire and enjoy life for what he has left. Maybe if more places do this, he will be able to rest easy knowing there are places out there who offer better pay. And his guys will make it without him. 

There are some hardcore codependency issues my old man has. And he has relationship issues with family members that would shock the shit out of you. But there is this side of him that sets an example of being a business man, who cares more about his employees than he does the years he has left. That is admirable to me. And very sad. 

I just want him to retire and have fun. I don't want him to go from bending over a table, welding a handrail together, to a wheelchair. I'll push him around all day if he'll let me. But I want him to have some years with good quality of life. He deserves it.

This HAS to be his last summer working.  My codependency can't handle it another year.  

And so that is my personal reason why raising wages is important. Because we've been doing it for years. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Feeling shamed and a Kitty

Hey Y'all!  

I had a impromptu dinner tonight with a friend of mind who is also in recovery. I was talking to her about my latest endeavors, and how I feel about this and about that. I didn't have a particularly good day today, so basically I was bitching. 

She kindly and wisely listened to me for a bit and then she said something that threw me off. She explained that many years ago, her therapist told her husband that every time he pointed out a mistake she made or a correction she should make, she felt shame, which came back to him as fear and anger. Because she's alcoholic, she looked at life through lenses of shame. 

I have been thinking about this HARD. 

Is it because we have this brain disease?  How we were raised?  Is it because we are trying to recover the shit that is done to us as women? Or is it just the way some people are?  There is probably some truth to all of this.

I'm really going to start paying attention to this. Because I can be having a great day, or a great relationship with someone, and someone will say something simple to me, like, "you didn't fill out your application right for this, you missed THIS whole section," and if they don't say it to me with rainbows and butterflies shooting out of their orifices, I assume they think I'm stupid, and I feel shamed. So guess how I respond?  I write an email. Or a text. Or I talk about them behind their back, and of course, OF COURSE, I blog about it. 

What good has that gotten me so far?  Zero good. Because MOST of the time, that person has said a TON of nice stuff to me that would lead me to believe they don't think I'm stupid.  I can hear thirty compliments and one put-down and that put-down will get me spinning for days from feeling shamed.  

Like a broken record, I will again remind you that I still operate in a world where I need to feel liked.  It just didn't occur to me that it stems from a shame issue.  It totally makes sense. 

Forever a work in progress. 

Thanks, dinner buddy.

By the way, I got a kitten for my daughter's birthday. His name is Atticus. A.K.A., Kitty. He is a goof.  

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

24 hour rule

Bob is a lot of work. Or should I say, taking on his shit is a lot of work. 

One thing you need to know about Bob is that he isn't quiet. He yells when he talks. It doesn't matter what he is talking about. The weather, sports, parenting, whatever the topic. Not in a mean way. Just LOUD.  I am not quite sure WHEN this started, but he yells on the phone, when he talks to anyone, every time. It is so annoying. Really. Not to be insensitive, but it drives me nuts. I'm forever shhhhushing him. 

Last night at a function, (I had already gone home), where my twins and Bob were, one of the facilitators (not understanding his disability) came up to him, in front of our kids, and other people, and told him to stop talking so loud, that she could hear every word he was saying down the hall. He was talking about stamped concrete (don't ask me) with some other dads.  

I'm sure they thought he was drunk or something. But really, it's from anxiety. He can't sit still or talk quiet. It is annoying, but HARMLESS. 

He left that place immediately, humiliated. Didn't they understand what it takes to get him out of the house?  How self conscious he is about is disability?  How scared he is all of the time?  It makes him talk loud, which is better than sleeping in my book. 

Once he got home and told me, I rushed back up there to have a word with her.  She said some other people were reporting that they could hear him complaining about doing a volunteer trip he had participated in twice, when all he said about it was, the weather was freezing, both times he went. That's it.

Who reports stuff like that?  

She said she would apologize to him, but our conversation was cut short.  So, I emailed her. Then I emailed her again. And then again. Then I emailed her boss. 

You see, I know exactly how to play it cool. 

So I've decided, from now on, even when I believe my point of view is right, I'm waiting 24 hours before I react to anyone.  Sticking up for yourself and your people can be necessary  Not allowing yourself to be walked on, bullied, or put down can be important. But if it can wait, and most things can, I think I would have sent less emails had I given it the 24 hours. 

I don't think I handled it wrong, rude, or mean. I just could have maybe written ONE email. Not three. Makes me look a little weird. Well...let's face it. Maybe I am. 

I'll take it as another opportunity to learn and practice good coping skills. I'll let you know how it goes. 

Another thing I noticed about myself is that I can say whatever I want about Bob. But you other folks had better not. Because even during a divorce, I will defend him and his illness. Being sensitive should always be present. Especially in a helping profession. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

I put my sports bra on

I put my sports bra on yesterday.  I wore a t-shirt and some yoga pants.  I had my sneakers on and was looking sporty.  I had every intention of going my first day back at the gym.  I even made good food choices.

"We" are timing which salt melts ice the fastest.
But then, there was the science fair shit that is due today.  So, instead of taking time for the gym (or having a REALLY great excuse to NOT have time) I didn't start, on the first day back.

You know how I get. Remember last year's science fair?

So my first day back to the gym, will actually be my second day back, because I skipped my first day.  Remember, getting into terrific shape, is in my top three goals right now.  And my goals are big, so this is no bullshit.

Watch out.  There is a LOT of pretty here.  Big or small.