Friday, November 16, 2012

Thank you all

I want to say thank you.

Thank you to those of you who have said a kind, supporting word to me when I wavered about being completely honest.   To those who have sent messages, emails, called, helped me.  Those that have listened me talk about this stuff over and over.  Who watched me question myself and my motives.  The kind comments on this blog, the connections on Twitter and Facebook.  Thank you.  To my sponsor, my dear friends, my dad and my sister, thank you.

Thank you for reading this blog, and understanding what it is that I am trying to do. Mostly, just vomit my life upon my keyboard, because it feels good.  But also, I am trying to be a part of the movement where people start to see addiction as a public health issue, not a moral issue.  I forget that, when my shame takes over.  But we do not have to be ashamed.  (I know I sound like a broken record.)  Thank you for loving me even after I shared my deepest, darkest secrets.

After seeing people like William Cope Moyers speak, or Greg Williams who is making the film, The Annonymous People, or Sean Morrison who travelled around to collect and write about people's recovery stories, I know I am just trying to be a small part of that club.  To help remove the stigma and shame surrounding addiction.  And hold my head up while I help share the message of hope that we recover, and we can do anything.

Every kind word, or hopeful message is so important. (This gal still needs to be liked, right?)  And when I read to my children, what people have written to me, they are proud to be a part of this too.  They aren't really impressed by any attention I get though.  They see me as one big nerd.  My son says to me, "Hey mom, next time you are on TV, don't wear so much make-up.  You look like a New Jersey Housewife on Bravo."  Well, I am pretty sure my TV fifteen minutes are up.  That was fun though!

Let me share with you some of the amazing responses I have had.  Honestly, this is what makes me stay sober, and so happy about where I've been.

From Amanda after the newspaper article came out, she comments on my blog:

"I can feel your anxiety in this post. Please know that you are doing a GREAT thing here.
My parents never managed to find recovery. My dad was dead by 50 and my Step-mom is dying. We always had Christmas, and Thanksgiving- but only because the town would drop boxes of donated gifts-food at our door. 3 of my dads four other children dropped out of school when I left, becoming addicts themselves. 2 of the 3 are now clean, healthy functioning parents themselves. I never touched meth for that reason in and of itself. It tore my family to tiny poisonous bits. I carried so much guilt for leaving, even knowing that it wasn't my fault. 
I attempted suicide when I was 13 after some BS I went through with my parents (dad n stepmom). I just wanted them to listen. Even more, I wanted so badly to hurt them for what they were doing. As you can see, fortunately- thank God- my plan failed. Unfortunately they still didn't hear me. They didn't 'wake up'. They didn't 'open their eyes'. But I did. And I think I became even stronger and smarter for it.
Your children are so fucking lucky to have you. They may not see it now. YOU might not see it now. But I do. So many children in this world aren't that lucky. I've seen so many families ripped apart by meth, and even when its so clear to everyone else, they can't see it, they keep ripping deeper. I've seen my own cousins abused physically and sexually in foster care. I've seen them face worse in their own homes- foster care was a fucking vacation for those kids compared to their homes. I've seen them turn into users and abusers themselves, and I've seen them when its too late... In the county coroner van. Last year I lost my cousin to drugs- His baby will never know what his daddy was- who his daddy was- and my aunt is STILL FUCKING USING.
I can tell this newspaper is messing with your head. I can see your doubt. Think about it- then let it go- and move on. If people are talking shit- well then good. They can be ignorant assholes all they want- don't let them live rent free in your head. What you've done, what you're doing, is SO MUCH GREATER and they can't possibly take away from that. Ever. And one day soon, I hope your kids realize, the full extent of what you're doing for them now. I wish my parents had done it for me and my siblings. And I'm angry every fucking day that my aunt didn't do it for my cousin."

That is so sad and amazing.  I hope you find some peace with that. It sounds like you are. The disease is ugly.  The recovery is beautiful. I appreciate so much that you shared that with me. It helps me more than I can explain.

I have had people reach out on Twitter, and ask me how I did it.  How did I get and remain sober.  I've had people right here in my town contact me on Facebook, and I got to meet them at a meeting.  And some of them are still coming!!  I am not trying to take credit for saving anyone.  Because that isn't what I am doing.  But I am making connections with people who need it.  And I need these connections too, because it helps keep me sober.  We need each other.  

From that guy in the train station, to the girl on Twitter, who just wants to stop going to detox, to the addict right here who has to stay sober for herself and her family, we need each other.

The best part of my being in school and this whole journey is that I get to spend the rest of my life making connections with recovery and recovering people.  I never imagined that I would get to be a part of something so important and meaningful.  I never thought I would be here.  

An old family friend emailed me the following email.  We once did business together, and I imagine I was confusing to work with, since I didn't pay my bills and most likely lied a lot.

"I have known your family since I was a kid. Tom, Nancy his sister, along with you and Bob. When I read that you opened your heart to all of us in the newspaper a week ago, I just wanted to drop you a note and tell you that I believe you have the right attitude about life, addiction and its illness. My family has suffered greatly from the same situation and my brother, who was 22, at the time is forever gone. You have a wonderful family. With your perseverance for solid ground, know that children are resilient and will be O.K. .
I wish you and Bob all the best.
None of us will ever become the perfect souls for which we strive."

Those are just a few that meant a lot to me.  There are many more where this came from.  I know that what other people think of me is none of my business, but when people think good stuff, it is hard not to be glad.

And F.Y.I., this is my 101st post!  I should run out of shit to say any minute.  Or I'll just keep repeating myself.  I cannot believe I'm still doing this.  Thank you.


  1. Betsey,

    You really are a very strong individual. You have learned from your past and are living right now for your kids! You are truly an inspiration to all of us who read your blog. Keep up with the posts - we will all be standing behind you.


    1. Thank you Lorri, that means a lot to me.

  2. Betsey - this touched my heart, as many of your posts do. I'm so proud to have you as a friend. Thank you for your honesty and humor.

  3. No. Thank you. For sharing your story. You are brave and honest and stronger than I could ever imagine. And it is through your stories that give other people hope. As I wrote in a previous post (albeit about a very different topic), scars don't form on the dying. A scar means I survived. Thank you for showing us yours.

    1. I like that bit about scars. It is very true. Thank you for saying those supportive words.

  4. OMG! Betsey, this post is *so* what I was tweeting about: gratitude in action. Thank you for carrying the message in such a poignant manner. Your gratitude doesn't just speak, girlfriend. It freakin' roars. {{{hug}}}

  5. Thank you for your honesty! Have loved your blog from the moment I started reading it. xo

  6. Betsey- you're just precious! I felt that the second i found your blog almost a year ago. I'm so crazy proud of you and you will go on to do great things! I've said that before but i mean it. Look at the lives your touching. :)
    Oh and damn your tall!! When i saw you on Ricki lake - you are beautiful. I'm barely 5'2.

  7. I have been lurking on your blog since I found it thru ScaryMommies. I really connected with it. Your honesty, well, I must say, I want to have your courage. I have been dealing with an addiction to pain killers for over 5 years. I crave it, dream of it, have lost friends and respect from it. Bills have not gotten paid, and we have gotten by on the skin of our teeth. But I don;t feel ready to quit, and that scares me. I don't want to quit most of the time, despite my extreme shame. I am scared of quitting. I do have MS so pain is an issue that needs to be controlled, but the painkillers are a crutch. And when I blow through my scripts, I go elsewhere. Sometimes I will take anything I can find. I feel that nobody will understand, or accept, or most importantly, forgive me for all the evil things I have done. But I want to get clean, for my family, especially my son. But I don't feel ready just yet. I don't want to use that as my excuse forever. But I really don't feel that I want to quit yet. How did you handle that? I know that you had a "rock bottom" inccident that made you realize there was no other choice, but is that what I need to do to make my sobrity in check? well, what I mean is, in your experience, does hitting rock bottom make you feel like you have a more successful chance of staying clean long run?
    I have never opened up to anyone about this. I am sure people suspect, but addicts are good at keeping the lies and secrets going.

    But don't mind my rambling. I really do want to say that your story inspires me, and I am thankful that you are so open and raw and REAL about what this is like. So many people are just so cut and dry about the whole cycle. I spent an entire night staying up and reading your entire blog. Thank you, Thank you so much.

    1. Wow Dawn. It is very brave of you to open up about this here and to me. That takes a lot of guts. I am thankful that you did.

      Rock bottom is relevant to everyone and their life. I know many people who have very high bottoms, and very low bottoms. It is just a matter of being ready, open and honest.

      I will ask you to think about a few things. How far down do you want to go? How much are you willing to lose? And finally, the medication you are taking is deadly when it is misused. You may not think it will happen to you, but I have a dear friend that died last year from this. She went to sleep that night, not thinking she wasn't going to wake up. And she didn't.

      Last night CNN did a special called "Deadly Dose" It was a great example of how people die every day from pain medication, and they don't mean to. Google it and see if you can watch it. It is important information.

      I have no experience with chronic pain. But there are people that do know how to manage it and there is help for you. You know I'm not going to judge you. I know a lot of your shame. It is scary as hell to quit your drugs. You might feel like you don't want to say goodbye to them. It is like losing a best friend. You don't have to think about doing it forever, you only have to think about today. Because I worry about your safety, I suggest this. Get some help. You don't have to quit these alone.

      Your life is worth it. For you and for your son. We have all done things that seem "awful" when we are using. We aren't bad people. This life on this side is wonderful. I know it doesn't seem possible to be wonderful without your best friend (pain pills) but I promise you, it is.

      You can contact me anytime. Thank you for sharing. Peace to you.