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.  

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A little birdie told me…(you didn't think I was TOTALLY going away)

I've heard word that a certain folk thinks I stopped writing in this blog at my lawyer's advice.  Not true.  My lawyer doesn't even know I have a blog.  It didn't come up in our conversations.  I did it because you have all heard me bitch about Bob for long enough. I want to blab about the rage, anger, hurt, happiness, staying sober, and every single feeling I have during this process here, more than anything.  But I don't want to hurt my kids, because he is their father.

So I will keep the matters of this divorce to myself.  I'll be back when it is over.

Hopefully I'll be back sooner than later.  I hope this goes fast.


FYI-  I got a JOB!!  

Thursday, May 22, 2014


I have to stop doing this right now because I think it will be best for my family. Maybe I'll be back someday. Maybe sooner than later. Right now I'm not able to write honestly, or positively. So for now, thanks for reading, I appreciate it. 

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.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Since we are talking about Bob

Since I've been talking about Bob lately, (like, forever) I've been thinking about how this blog can affect my family. And…I'll probably bore people with my life for at least another year or so.  

So let's talk divorce some more.

No matter what our mental or chemical health may be or has been,  we would be in this situation with our marriage anyhow. We got married so young.  We have grown up to be completely different people. With different beliefs, different likes, different everything. Different is okay. Unless there is just too much different. 

It seems like when people get divorced, people get mad.  Not ALWAYS true, I know.  I'm trying to NOT get mad. It is very hard for me to not be irrational at times.  When it comes down to it, money, kids, houses, pets, cars, all starts to coming into play.   Even when you think it won't   And when we don't see eye to eye,  I am aghast.  I feel like it is so simple. So does he. But our simples are not matching so well. 

I just said yesterday, we would always be friends. Then things took an ugly turn via text message. And if you know me well, you know I handle those situations like a champion three year old.

I'm stuck for the moment. I don't understand why pain makes people get petty about money,  just to make it hard for the other person.  I thought we both wanted to set up a situation where we could both succeed.  I guess pain makes people use money against each other. I just want to have this house, and be able so support my kids. Maybe I'm being greedy.  But it is best for the family.

So, I will try to make the best of it. Stepford wife?  Please. I'll just try to stay out of his way and hopefully he will stay out of mine. 

The plan is to keep looking for a job, get into shape, and clean my house.  In that order.  

Also, I need to kick up my meetings and kick them up hard. I don't feel like using. But I am starting to feel hopeless. Like everything I keep trying to do just gets harder and harder. Yes, that is self-pity. I'm drowning in it. I have gratitude. But pity is winning. Meeting time. And a JOB!

Divorce is mean. I didn't want it to be. 

Now THAT was some dirty laundry, huh?

Friday, May 16, 2014

Just a photo

Bob got invited to the "Volunteer Breakfast," at the kids' school.  It isn't easy for him to volunteer, because he likes to be home. So I'm glad he's being appreciated.

That is an old photo in the bottom right. I love that one though. We will always be friends. I hope...:)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

It's my blog and I can post what I want to.

The other day, one of my sweet twins told me that a kid in their school has a mother who won't let him hang out with them because their dad is "psycho."

My guess is that she came to that conclusion because she must read my blog.

Welcome, uninformed person!

I am not sure where you would get the idea that my husband (who is my soon-to-be-ex) is a psycho.  And what a terrible word to teach your child.  If I were ignorant enough to use that word, I would direct it at a person who teaches their child to discriminate against people who are mentally-ill.

The media has done a GREAT job of making our veterans with PTSD look like savages.  I can tell you first hand, that this isn't true.  Yes, there is a higher rate of domestic abuse, divorce, drug addiction, and other nasty things that can come with people who have PTSD. In fact, as you may already know, we are getting divorced.  But importantly, we are IN RECOVERY from drugs and alcohol  And that man has never laid a finger on me.  He may say some things like "my money" or "how are you going to make it without my money" as a way to control me. Only because he wants to remain married.   BUT THAT IS THE WORST OF IT AT MY HOUSE.  I'm the mouthy one here.  For sure.

He wouldn't hurt a fly.  In fact, I have trouble getting him to kill flies.  He won't.  He won't even kill centipedes.  And lets face it, those things NEED TO GO!

In the parking lot at school the other day, I was debating whether I should approach you and educate you.  One of my twins said, "DO IT!"  And one of my twins said, "Please don't mom!"  Pretty true of their little personalities.

The part that sucks is not so much of how you feel about my husband.  But that you would say that to your son, who is a nice kid, and he would repeat it to my kids.  My kids didn't deserve your opinion.  They have enough on their plates.  They are good kids, ask anyone.

One last thing.  We can say "Oh, he fought for our country, how could you say that about him?"  But really, mental illness for anyone, in any form, is awful.  And we shouldn't be talking about humans like that at all.  Using words like "psycho, crazy, nuts," doesn't do anything to help anyone.  Words like that spread shame, stigma, and are just plain mean.

Your son is welcome at my house anytime.  But I would be cautious of letting my children hang out with a kid who has parents that teach intolerance and hate.

It IS fun having a blog.

Monday, May 12, 2014

The plan is, a slow plan

Does there ever get to a place in a parent's life where they HONESTLY think," Hey, I know what I'm doing!"

I mean as babies, especially the first, we feel like we are dropped off at a different house, with an alien that we know nothing about, and we are supposed to keep it alive. With no instructions on how to raise that exact kid. People will give all kinds of advice of what worked for THEIR kid. But we want to know what the fuck works for OUR kid. Because every human is different. 

Then they cross issues when they get older, when maybe kids at daycare tell them too much about a topic, giving you a teachable moment you aren't ready for, like something racist or god forbid SEX.  And they get to school, and some asshole kid is picking on them. Or they get their hearts broken, or they start failing classes. Or they are sad about divorce. Or they have a brain disease called addiction. 

No one can tell us how to exactly deal with these issues, the right way, for our very own kids. Let me tell you, if there was a class to get me through each of these topics, I'd be signed up. Because every stage is hard. At least for me, it never gets easy.  And I never feel like I know what to do. It's a crap shoot every time. 

Just about everything I thought I would do for certain situations, has never worked out like I planned. So the plan is, to have no plan.  Sure, the basic stuff I stuck to like sex talks (I have always answered every question honestly, using anatomically correct description) with what I planned to do.  But most things like school night sleepovers, chores, no swearing, eating super healthy, stuff that was pretty important in my head, got thrown out the window.  

I feel like a lot of that has to do with the years I was using, and a co-parent who never wants to be anything but friends with the kids.  So there are no rules.  And if it makes them happy, than that is the plan.  I tried to implement rules, but as soon as I turn my back, they are ignored.  So I gave up.  

Now that I am going to have my own household, things will be changing over here.  I have already started it.  

I have a new plan.  And I am going to go slow with it.  We have to start with chores, because I'll go crazy soon if my house stays like this.  You see, they don't even unload the dishwasher.  No wonder my house is always trashed.  No one has held the accountable for any actions. And no one (well, sometimes my daughter) does anything around here.  Their fault?  No, they haven't been taught or made to.  

Last week we started with unloading the dishwasher.  Everyone takes turns.  I am going to do that for a few WEEKS.  Then we are going to learn how to LOAD the dishwasher.  Then we will move to laundry, dusting, sweeping, the vacuum, raking the yard, cutting the grass, and by the time they are 40-years old, they will have some basic life skills.  

Word to the wise:  Don't be roommates with my kids until I'm done training them.  

One thing at a time. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's day blues

I believe I am suffering from P.C.D, or Post-College Depression.  It is where you go from having even the time you take a pee planned out, to having nothing to do.  Like training for a marathon, and then being made to sit still.  I do well with chaos and structure.  I get depressed when I have nothing to do.

It hasn't even been two weeks.  My house is still an over-whelming mess, my kids are worrying me sick, and I have zero energy.  Zero.  I planned on getting SO much done during this time between when I get a job, and school.  All I want to do is sleep.  Fucking depression hits like bricks and messes up my life.  I look for gratitude, which is all around me.  I mean, my friends and my daughter threw me a surprise party with gifts and food and cake.  I have people who love me.  But I'm hitting a dark patch.  Which is normal for me sometimes.

I am weirdly sad this year that I don't have my mom.  I mean, it's been like 27 years since she died.  I've been a million different people since then.  But it would be nice to have her here, to help me through this next part.  To see my family and to be here.  I feel her here more, her memory, I guess.

My dad has been talking a lot about her lately.  Which worries me.  Isn't that what people do before they die?  I think he has finally put enough time between him and the last of his four other wives he married after she died (not all at the same time)  to remember how much he loved her.  They were high-school sweethearts, and she died way too young.  So her memory got shoved aside.  He is feeling her more.  I like to see that, but it makes me sad.  

Her death fucked me up good.  The aftermath fucked me up too.  I had not a skill to cope.  And now, I cannot imagine what it would be like to have her here.  Stopping by, calling on the phone, I'd ask her stupid questions, probably getting annoyed with her advice.  

I want her back.

On that happy note, Happy Mother's day to you. Whether you have kids, don't have kids, or are a guy.  Have a great Mother's day.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Graduation day

Hey haters, I graduated!!  (My haters live in my head) It meant a lot to those who love me most.  I know my kids are proud (well, almost all of them) and I know the ones who saw this as an inconvenience will get it someday.  It means a whole lot to me.  

Here are my babies.  I'm so happy they came.  With my personal shit that's going on between Bob and I, and also my 13 year old (mouthy and misinformed about who is in charge because of physical strength, and stuff I'm not willing to share yet), I had a VERY hard time feeling excited, but I got there.   My dad couldn't come. He has his reasons. And none of them really matter much, it's cool. I saved him the pain of long speeches, and about 900 people walking across the stage and shaking all the higher-ups hand He will give me money. That usually helps heal that wound. I slightly wish he wanted to see me do it, but he is proud of me.  He did call me during the ceremony, because he forgot it was going on. Also, his breathing isn't great.  He would have had a hard time walking all the way to his seat.  Don't smoke, kids.  He is very proud of me and that is fine with me.  

I wasn't even going to walk the ceremony, because I thought I was way too old, and that it might be nerdy.  Because I am so cool in every way.  (My own instructor called me a nerd)  Then I decided that I wanted my kids to see it.  That even though I'm middle-aged, this type of thing is possible, especially IN RECOVERY. There was a part of the ceremony (which was LONG) where one of the many speakers asked the supporting family members to stand up, so we could applaud them.  Bob was the FIRST on to his feet.  Fastest I've seem him move in a long time.  (He wanted to come to the ceremony and see me graduate, which is nice.)  I do thank them too.  I have been absent this last semester, and it shows in my kids.  Bob did the best he could and I was grateful for that. 

And these ladies in the photo here, are my rocks.  They are like band-aids that always make me feel better.  I couldn't ask for better friends.  I love them so much.  They love me too because they sat through that long ceremony, just to see me do it.  My beautiful sister was there too, but I didn't get a shot with her.  She also supports me and is always there.  I'm pretty lucky.  

Some brilliant and hilarious STRONG folks I graduated with.  Honored.
In this last three years, I have  met some life-changing, amazing people who trudged through this journey with me. We had a lot of laughs, achieved little goals at a time with each other, and then finished.  (I want to say, "that's what she said," but how unprofessional.) We all come from different places. We all are going into this field for different reasons. Some of us are in recovery. Some are not, and don't need to be. Some went to AA. Some went to church. Some just decided enough was enough. Are they "dry drunks?"  No. There is no such thing. 

I've met so many healthy, happy, goofy, fun folks in this educational journey who have opened my eyes to a whole new world about what recovery is. It is so many things. And education can be a big part of that.  This wouldn't have been possible for me, obviously, if I wasn't' in recovery.  Education is a part of my recovery.  

Congrats to Metropolitan State University's class of 2014. What a ride!

Now to find a job as a drug and alcohol counselor.  I can't wait to start!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

What is in a name

Because I am me and I fucking hate when people don't like me (I don't think I will ever be able to really handle that) it DOES bother me that Bob's family didn't ever want to know the real me, and like me.  I know, I KNOW, what other people think of me is none of my business.  I use that line on people constantly.  I never, ever listen to it.   It is hard when you are in a family for 22 years and you can't crack their code. 

I will have to work on my resentment I have about feeling as if they never supported me when it came to him and his illness.  They were happy when I got out of the picture.  It was always very "me against them" mentality.  If you asked them, they would (I imagine) passive-aggressively tell you that I'm out of my mind, but it is true.  Never did they come to help him get out of the house (except to eat lunch with his dad), help him start some yard work, offer to help him with a project here to get him engaged.  I could have used that help.  He needed the help.  We as a family, needed that help. I asked. But no one ever values anything I said that would support us as a team. It was them against me. His dad did help him, if he would ask.  

I am not blaming them for our divorce.  There is so much more than Bob's disease or my inability to handle it that lead cause to the end of this relationship.  There is a list a mile long why we will be better off as friends than as spouses.  I am, however, a little pissed that I never won them over.  I always felt left out.  

Some of the females in the family would always go to Black Friday to shop.  Never once, was I invited.  My daughter was invited.  Never me.  It drove me nuts. I think I asked to go once and was told there wasn't enough room. 

If they read this blog, which I doubt they do because they have NEVER mentioned it to me, then they'll know how I'm feeling.  I am slightly blasting them right now.  But here is why:

I am sitting here stewing about this today for what I think is good reason.  First of all, because I have some time on my hands.  And second,  Bob told his dad that I am changing my name back to my maiden name.  His response?  "Good, because I would sue her if she didn't."

22 years with this family.  

What the fuck?  Are you serious?  Who do you think has kept this family together this long? And why did Bob even tell me that?  I think he thought it was funny, which I get.  But we were having a nice day actually.  Went to our son's LaCrosse game together.  It was good.  And he has to tell me that shit?  So I just let that permeate my brain like a disease and it has resulted in my brain feeling very pissed off.  

NO SHIT I'm going to change my name.  Why would I keep the name of a group of people have who never tried to like me? Who hate me?  Who sit and talk shit to my kids about my own dad and family?  About me?  They have no idea how difficult this has been for me, because the never even tried to find out. Their only concern was him. Which I get, but we were a family.  And helping us, would have helped him.  

Do I expect anything different from them?  No.  

To me, that is one of the most exciting things about this divorce. I no longer have to be around people who don't like me. I wish them well. 

How do I really feel about it?

Dicks. (oops)

Day 2 of this is starting off a little maddish.  Probably won't be the last day of mad. I will let it go by noon.

Heading to a meeting now to get help with my insanity. 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

It's the end of the world as we know it

And I feel okay.

I am getting divorced, right?  We are all clear on that?  You have been listening to me go back and forth on this issue for the almost two years I've been writing this blog, and those who know me personally, it has been going on since I got sober. Are you sick of it yet?  My indecision?  Well, it isn't a decision that should be taken lightly.  This is serious shit.

I will blog about it. With respect and honesty. And without hurting the kids anymore than this already does. They don't read this blog. But they could if they wanted to. I might get a little mouthy at times, if I'm angry.  But I plan on sharing it here, so I can get support, advice, and hopefully, sanity. 

I've signed the initial papers, and today they were served to him. I was here.  A little awkward, but we went over it together, and I think he is cool with everything that is on there.  I don't want to do anything unfair, cruel, or mean to spite him.  I want us both to be able to afford living, have the kids (mostly with me, but with him the every-other weekend and every Thursday thing) and remain as kind to each other as we can.  So far, so good.  There will be more to come. 

Also, I PASSED MY LICENSURE TEST, finished my last class last night, and will be walking in the graduation ceremony next week!!  Finding the job so I can support myself and keep my house is priority one.  He is already approved for a town-home, where there is a pool, work-out room and other fun things for the kids.  They are really nice.  

I've been thinking about this for years.  And always, the reality of it hurt more than I could breathe.  I couldn't actually go through with it because of the pain.  But now, it doesn't hurt.  I waited until I was ready. Then I waited until I finished school.  I was mostly afraid of being broke and alone.  Which is funny because I have been broke and alone many times throughout this marriage. 

This time, I'll be on my own, making my own money, paying my own bills, and making my own decisions.  Not like I wasn't doing that before, minus the "my own money" part.  And he didn't really ever let me forget that he "pays for everything."  It will be awesome.

I am surprised at how well this divorce is beginning.  I am hopeful it will stay on this track and we can do it with respect and peace.  As peaceful as this goes anyhow.  

People say, "I'm sorry" when you say you are getting a divorce.  My response is, don't be.  This was a good marriage at times, a really shitty one at times, and now, it has run its course. This is the best for both of us.  

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.