Category Archives: escape

Safety

safety

 

As an addict, no matter what your drug of choice is, no matter whether you are using or not, one of our commonalities is that we generally crave safety. We crave it as much, really, as we crave whatever we are putting in our bodies, or whatever fucked up thing we are doing to change the way we feel. Because any addict can tell you that, eventually, you don’t really get high anymore. Nope, that rush from the beginning flees quickly. What we really want is safety. Distance from our feelings, some space from our self loathing, to shut up the voice inside of us that will not let us be- the one that tells us how stupid, and useless, and lacking we are. We just want some relief from whatever it is that haunts us, and the addict knows the fastest way to get there. Of course, this is WAY oversimplifying it, but in essence, this is the truth- you don’t want to hear about brain chemistry, genetics, and compulsive disorders, anyway, I bet. And if you do, you should probably talk to someone else, as I am just a drug addict with some experience, not a doctor.

Now, I know what I have said- that addicts are seeking safety- sounds completely the opposite of what an addicts life looks like. I realize that. But think about this for a second…all the stories of the way addicts lie, the way they manipulate everything in their environment. Yeah, that is terrible. And by the way, it’s exhausting, too. But what is that really, more than an attempt to create a world where we have some semblance of control over our surroundings? Sure, it is misguided and horrible, but when you are so helpless in every other way, the only thing you can do, out of desperation, is to try to create some type of order out of the chaos. To know what to expect. To have some feeling of safety, we manipulate. You have to remember, an addict in the trenches of their disease is desperate, and desperate people on drugs do not have the ability to see how insane their actions and choices are. They literally are not in their right minds. They just want to survive.

Now, here’s the thing: It doesn’t start off like this. No one starts off in this desperate state. I always, when thinking of my own story, refer to my disease starting up at the age of 19, but that isn’t even true. The truth is, I discovered my drug of choice at the age of 19, but I started putting drugs in my body long before that- sure, it was just smoking weed and drinking, but I was 13. I had low self esteem, I had a weird life, and I just wanted to fit in. The best idea I could come up with, having a limited set of options, was to get high. And it worked for me. I found no shortage of kids just like myself with whom to surround myself, and I created a persona out of all of that, so that I could fit in somewhere. I had no idea what kind of game I was playing. How could I have? And not everyone was destined to wind up like me, either. That’s the funny thing about it- you are rolling the dice, and you don’t even know it. Many of my friends were able to put it down and walk away. But a lot of them- a lot- were not.

Because I was so young when I started down this path, I had no experience with the way “normal” people lived. I didn’t understand how controlling I was, whether I was clean or not, or how emotionally volatile I was. I had no idea that my behavior was a major issue, preventing me from being happy, either on or off of drugs. I can tell you this, though- the minute I realized that my drug use had become nothing more than a symptom of a far bigger problem, my life changed. It took me a really long time to get there. A really long time. I went through treatment, well into adulthood, twice, and had years clean (after which I relapsed again and again) before I got it. On drugs, my behavior was terrible. Off drugs, my behavior was terrible, and it lead me back to drugs, to make me care less about my terrible behavior. I had to come to this understanding on my own. I just wasn’t hearing it from anyone, or any place else. I am not saying it wasn’t taught to me, that no one ever mentioned it. I just wasn’t able to hear it.

This is still a struggle for me. Even knowing what I now believe to be true- that my own behavior can make or break me- I struggle to break the old habits, to find new ways to deal with my feelings, ways that are not so damaging to me, or to others. I spent a lot of years being one person, so it makes sense that being someone else is hard. But I know it is vital that I do. I don’t want to use drugs anymore, but I still behave like an addict sometimes, whether I show it or not. That person is sitting inside of me, commenting on far too many things. I am, and will always be, a work in progress.

Addicts are also very contrary people. We know what we want, and we do the opposite. Our intentions don’t always match our actions. We want to do right, but often find ourselves doing wrong. We have huge egos, and low self esteem. We say one thing and do another. We are often very smart, and live stupidly. We dream of a safe, happy life, and do everything in our power to make sure we never get there. It makes no sense to you, and it makes no sense to the addict who is living it. That is the terrible truth.

Addicts, whether we are clean or not, want what every breathing person wants. To be safe. But our fight is a little different. We carry our biggest obstacle with us everywhere that we go. The face that looks back at us in the mirror is often our greatest enemy. The battle we fight is with ourselves, over and over and over.

You may wonder why I come back to this subject again and again, why I identify so strongly with this part of me. And my answer is- because this is still the biggest part of me. Even though I am clean, the fight is the same. The person I am fighting, and the thing I fight against, and all of the little flare ups I have, they all come from the addict in me. I have a voice, and I want to explain it to the world, so that maybe you can understand an addict in your life, or yourself, a little better. But I am no longer afraid, and I am not sad, and I don’t feel sorry for myself. I feel glad that I have named my enemy, and, even if it is a life long fight…at least I have the tools I need to do my work against it.

And that makes me feel a little safer. I sleep better, knowing that.

 

Maui Dreams…

Napili Bay

 

For the past week, almost every night, I have been dreaming about being in Maui. I went, for the first time, back in November. The funny part is, it wasn’t even my big dream to go there- it was something my daughter wanted to do, and I just wanted to make it happen for her. I thought it would be cool, for her 18th birthday, to take her on her dream trip. I had never jumped on the Hawaii band wagon, probably because it was so crowded- the same reason it took me so long to read Harry Potter. I was so sick of hearing how great it was from everyone else that it killed my desire. Also, I am kind of a contrary person. I’m not bragging. This character defect of mine makes life mighty difficult sometimes.

Anyway, so Hawaii wasn’t about me. It was about Aisley, and making her happy, and getting to reconnect with her. It also didn’t suck to be able to talk about my upcoming trip, as I felt really grown up about taking an actual vacation. “Oh my God!” everyone sighed as we talked about it, “I am so jealous!” Or “Just wait until you get there…the air…it’s perfect…it’s life changing” and on & on. I was like, “yeah, I’ll bet.” and tried not to roll my eyes.

Well, silly me. I can’t count the many ways that I was wrong. From the minute I got off the plane, I knew the stories to be fact. The air really was special…I know, I know…how the fuck can air be special, right? But it IS. The smell, and the warmth, and the way it is always, like, the perfect temperature. How the heck is that even possible? I don’t know, but it is. I just felt like, the minute we landed, and that air touched me, tension I didn’t even know I was holding left me. There was nothing about Maui that I didn’t like. Except leaving. I really didn’t like leaving.

And ever since I have been home, I want to be back there. This past week, my subconscious has been putting on a show for me, every time I close my eyes and slip off into sleep. And when I wake up, I am homesick for a place I have only visited once, for a week. So I have done what anyone who listens to her dreams would do- I got online, I looked at jobs, I looked at houses, I discussed the possibility of moving, with everyone I know. I took a poll on Facebook.

What I noticed was, the more I thought about it, the more stressed out I was. What if I was making a mistake? What if I got there and hated it? What if the job I got there didn’t work out, and then I had left my great job here and couldn’t go back? What if the schools really suck, and the locals pick on Camryn? What if I RUIN MY LIFE and can NEVER FIX IT?! Dear God, by this morning, I was a total mess with the what-ifs and the imagined bullying of my poor kindergartner.  So I changed my mind. I thought- “what if I just stayed here, right here, for a while?” And all of the tension left my body like a fat breath of Maui air had just entered my lungs.

I’m not giving up on the idea that Maui might be someplace I call home someday. What I am giving up on is the idea that it is time for me to upend my life just as I have found some order and routine- this is something I am very good at robbing myself of. See, I don’t know what this is all about, but I can tell you that there is a pattern I can see to my life where I work like hell to create some safety and sanity in my life, to give myself a sanctuary somewhere…and then, the minute I can finally relax, I start tearing it all down again. I don’t know what that is all about, but I don’t think it’s really about me being bored. I suspect it may have something to do with me avoiding some scary truths about myself. And I KNOW that if I don’t allow those things to see the light of day, I will keep right on doing what I do, which, if I’m being honest, looks an awful lot like running, an awful lot like creating diversions.

What I am going to do is stay here, in my awesome little house, in my beautiful little town, and I am going to hang out with myself for a while longer. I am not going to make any big and life altering decisions until I am sure I can trust that I am making them with a sound mind, for the right reasons. And, in the meantime, another visit or two might be in order. Because that place really is Magical. What? It IS.

The Skinny

happy eh sad

I’m going to skip the apologies for not writing- you must know by now that I am always sorry when I can’t, for whatever reason, get to the keyboard. I mean, even if it was the fact that I was kidnapped, held for ransom that my family decided not to pay, then consequently put up for sale on the black market, where they couldn’t even GIVE me away, and so I was then, unceremoniously, returned to my dilapidated home. I mean, even if it was that, which it wasn’t, I would still be thinking about writing…Funny thing about writing, though. You can think about it and think about it, and not one damn word get written down by thinking. Anyway, no sorry here. You just need, as I said before, to know that I am when I am not writing. Sometimes I just cannot do it. This has been one of those times.

Sometimes I feel I have nothing to say- when I feel this way (as I have been feeling recently), what is really going on is that I have too much to say, and I am trying to bury the feelings that are provoking the “too much”. As if, by not acknowledging whatever I am going through, it will not actually be happening. Of course, this is not only not realistic, but it is dangerous- I have gotten to a point in my life where I don’t want to talk about my problems with people, because it is always the same people, and it often feels like it is always the same problems. I am tired of going through the same old things, but I am more tired of burdening people with these same old things. So I keep stuff to myself now. But lucky, lucky you- I have had a couple of drinks and decided to vomit all over you guys. Not literally, of course, but in a WAY, literally, because, you know, I am writing this. Literally.

So I have a couple of bummer things to say, but I then plan on tempering those with a few awesome things. Bear with me, if possible. Tonight, tragically, is my very last night in my little beach shack. A little while back, I woke up to find a 60 day notice on my door (which was an extra big bummer because I had  a) just paid rent, and b) my landlords live next door to me, so close that if I spit out the window, I could hit their dog. Not that I would ever spit on a dog. Intentionally, anyway.) and I was understandably upset. I thought I must have done something terribly wrong to have been asked to leave THIS dumpy old place, and I couldn’t figure out what it was. Of course, I had several things to choose from, one of them being BECAUSE my landlords live RIGHT NEXT DOOR, and are therefore privy to all my private horrible moments (don’t act like you don’t have them, too. None of us are angels.). I freaked out for a good while, until it was a decent enough hour to call over there and speak to someone. Turns out that their dad needs a place he can afford,, and what better place than this one, owned by his own kids? And the reason they stuck it on my door was because they felt so shitty about the whole thing. Still kinda chicken-shit-ish, but in a much more acceptable way. I have known these guys for a good portion of my life, and most of theirs, and I must admit, I am pretty fond of them…and the bottom line is, whatever the reason would have wound up being, the fact of the matter is, it’s their home, and they can do whatever they want with it. So, there I was.

I felt terrible, rejected, and preemptively homeless- as if the house had also rejected me, like a bad kidney, and it wasn’t my home anymore. I have been on quite a little roller coaster of emotions these past weeks, and none have been quite as bad as tonight. Because tonight is my last night, and this is the only home my littlest child ever remembers living in. This is the place where she had her second, third, and fourth birthdays, four Christmases, all of that. This is the last home where her parents will have lived together. This is actually my first ever HOUSE. So I am sad, and down, and generally feeling poorly tonight. To make matters even more intense, my children are both gone tonight, and I am alone with the dogs. I could use a little distraction from my melancholy mood, but none is available. So, here I sit.

Now, to the good stuff. The good news is: 1) I got a much better house, in a much less desirable neighborhood. I guess those two things cancel each other out, so that is really a neutral bit of news. The house is the part I will actually be residing in, though the neighborhood is all around it…still, much better. 2.) I had my very first short story published twice this past year- once in a magazine, and once, just two days ago, in the “Best Of” book put out by the magazine! So now I am in a book. 🙂 That is very good news, I think. Here is the link to the book on Amazon, if you are interested:

Here’s the Amazon link: http://bit.ly/BWRLetItSnow

And finally, I was nominated for the “most inspiring blogger” award, I think, or something like that. I don’t really know how fucking inspiring this has been, but I am not going to get to that tonight anyway. i’m not 100% that any of THIS has made sense, so I am not going to fuck that up, too. I will get to it tomorrow…assuming that I am not kidnapped again. Not that I ever actually was. 🙂

The “Tired” Trap

yawn

I think I have mentioned this before- that people tend to get the impression from me, because I am animated and expressive, that I am just brimming with energy…well, let me tell you, NOTHING could be further from the truth. I am the girl who once fell asleep in a bowling alley- while it was open for business, and PACKED- across several hard, plastic, bucket seats. When I am tired, my day is over, period. There is nothing anyone can say to talk me out of sleeping, and no place that I cannot fall asleep at, if necessary.

This sounds like a dream come true (hahaha) to insomniacs, I know. The problem doesn’t seem like much of a problem at all when you would LOVE to be able to sleep. But, on the opposite side of the equation, you have me, Rip Van Winkle’s love child, who can’t resist the Siren’s call of sleep, even when it’s like, I don’t know, five o’clock in the evening. The time change this year, and the shortening of the days has destroyed me. The minute it gets dark outside, my body is like- “Okay, time to roll it up for the night.” Meanwhile, my kids are like “Mom, we haven’t had dinner yet.” I have coined a new moniker for myself lately, as a direct result of having to stay up later than my body clock thinks is just, and so my body trudges on while my brain sleeps. It is “Mombie.” See? Like Zombie, only with “mom” in the front.

On Friday, I went to bed at 6:30 in the evening and slept until 8:30 the following morning. Now, that is just ridiculous by ANYONE’S standards. My four year old went to bed with me, and watched TV until probably 8 before she fell asleep. I don’t know what time I went to bed Saturday night, but last night, after Camryn’s birthday party insanity, we both passed out around 6:30, only she woke up at like 8, woke me up by pulling my hair, and placing a cold, empty bowl over my face (she has gotten creative, I guess). I got her whatever she needed and then promptly went back to sleep. With her, of course.

The thing is, I used to be able to just take a nap, and then move on with my day. Now, I know, ideally, if you are going to bed as early as I have been, taking a nap at 6:30 is not very smart- any naps should be taken by like noon, at the latest. But it seems to me that, lately, I can’t ever wake up from a nap, not completely. I usually just go with things until they start to bug me, and this is starting to bug me. I am sleeping my entire life away. I am up right now, but I could totally go back to bed and continue to sleep, indefinitely. As a matter of fact, it seems like the more I sleep, the tireder I get. Which makes no sense at all, except that it is what happens. Hmm…

So, first and foremost, I am going to strike the words “I’m tired” from my vocabulary. Sometimes, I say things so much that I start to believe them.  Second, no more naps. I am going to push through- God knows there are plenty of things I could be doing around here besides sleep. ( On a side note, I think that may be precisely WHY I am slinking off to sleep all the time. Total avoidance of other, less enjoyable chores and things to do). Third, I notice again and again, that when I am exercising, I feel a thousand times better. In the build up for Camryn’s party, I wasn’t able to find time to walk or go to the gym, but I am going to do both today. I guarantee that I will feel less exhausted by the end of the day. I don’t know why that works, as it seems to be the opposite of what a tired person would do, but it does work. There is also the whole general nutrition side of things, which I have written about before,  and I know that the foods I eat effect me greatly. I think it was Saturday night that I caught myself musing “I have not eaten one thing that was good for me today.” And it was true! It wasn’t even challenging to eat like I had a total death wish, either. Easy as pie. (hahaha, I am just full of unintentional jokes today)

So, here is the plan- walking, working out, if not NONE, then at least LESS crap food. No naps. Oh, and water, water, water. And finally, no more saying “I am SO tired.”

UGH.  Just talking about it is making me…less energetic. So, how about you? Have you, or are you now, stuck in the tired trap? How did you get out? How do you plan to get out? Are there any tips you may have for me? Seriously, please share, because this whole situation is just BUNK. I need your help!

Sometimes, Obstacles are the Best Thing Ever.

Apparently, you can stop without completing the circle. Barely.
Apparently, you can stop without completing the circle. Barely.

I write about all sorts of things on this blog- really, whatever I feel like writing about when it comes to me. I know, now, that maybe that isn’t the best way to approach a “successful” blog venture (whatever the hell that is supposed to be), that if you want to attract a huge following, you should find an angle, find a particular “voice”, and then stick with that. Well, just so you know, I have no intention of doing that, at least, not today, and not in the foreseeable future. I started this blog because I love to write, and I wanted to write about things that I felt like writing about, in a place where I could share those thoughts with other people.

What is funny, though, is that I have been going through something recently that I haven’t wanted to talk about with anyone at all, not even myself. The last two days have been particularly bad, and the last thing I wanted to do was write about it here. Which is ridiculous, because what I am going through is real, and scary, and something that needs to be talked about, because I know that someone out there is going to relate. I haven’t wanted to talk about it because I didn’t want to upset or worry anyone, or have people think I am weak or stupid, or somehow less awesome than I am. But that is foolish, and I am not going on with the charade.

I have come so close to relapsing in the past two days, it is kind of a miracle that I didn’t. I don’t really have any explanation for why I didn’t, other than God must really be looking out for me. That is the only thing I can come up with. I had that anxious knot in my gut that told me I was on the ride now, and I couldn’t get off until I had seen it to it’s logical conclusion- which is always me, getting loaded. I have never before been so far gone and managed to escape without putting something altering in my body. Only this time, I did,

I made phone calls to people I shouldn’t have called. By the time they (invariably) called back, I couldn’t follow through with my mission for one reason or another. I visited places I shouldn’t have gone, and, by nothing other than the grace of God, or someone looking out for me, there was nothing there that I was looking for. I felt sick every time I got in my car, because I knew that I could not be trusted, that I was out looking for trouble, and this time, I might find it. I don’t know how I made it through, I really don’t.

Here is what I didn’t do- I didn’t call my sponsor. I didn’t reach out to anyone in recovery for help. I didn’t go to a meeting. I didn’t use any of the tools that I have learned over many, many years. Because I didn’t want to be talked out of my feverish quest to fuck myself over. I wanted to self destruct. Or, at least part of me did. There was also another part of me that was in there FREAKING OUT, begging me to stop, please, please stop. I wasn’t listening, though.

I want to share this with you now because maybe you can relate- I know people without problems with addiction just can’t get it, and that’s okay. I mean, it even sounds crazy to me, when I am feeling exceptionally well- like “why the hell would you want to mess up everything you have going for you?” I forget just as easily as if it had never been me. Then, one day, you go from going along just fine to total inner chaos. I didn’t want to wreck all the peace and happiness I have found, I just wanted, for a minute, to be who I was. Just for a day. But it is never a day, it is always more, and thank God, I didn’t have to go any further to remember that.

I don’t know if I am out of the woods yet. I woke up this morning just feeling incredibly grateful that the knot in my stomach had lessened, that I was still clean, that I didn’t open my eyes still determined to ruin my own life. I kept thinking “I am going to ruin Camryn’s birthday if I get high, there is no way I can pull this off.” and it’s true- even though her birthday isn’t until Sunday, in my heart, I knew…if I gave in today, Sunday was no longer going to be about Camryn. Nothing was going to be about anything but me, because that is how it goes.

So this morning, I thanked God profusely for the obstacles he put in my path over the past few days. I am so grateful right now for the phone calls that went unanswered, and the returned calls that I missed. I am so grateful that there were no drugs in the places I shouldn’t have been. I am so grateful to be sitting here, still feeling…everything.Thank you, thank you, thank you God. For the obstacles in my path that kept me clean, and for getting me through this. I am more grateful than I can adequately express.

The Life You Choose.

This may be the best quote ever.
This may be the best quote ever.

Do you ever have moments of clarity, where the truth about things is so clear to you that it is startling? Or, maybe, the thing that is revealed to you, simple as it is, is not at all the truth you were hoping for? I think it is pretty human, and therefore, normal, to want a certain thing, or things, to be true, to hope for certain outcomes…and it may even be normal to grapple a while with reality before the pain of that struggle becomes hampering, and we can relax enough, usually out of exhaustion, for the true nature of things to be revealed to us.

I don’t know. Every once in a while, I have these reality checks that come floating down from…somewhere, and they invariably tell me some glaring truth that I missed, while I was busy complicating things with my own over-thinking. The latest one was probably the worst so far. “You know,” my head whispered to me, “If you don’t take care of yourself, no one is going to make you, no one is going to fix you, and no one else can save you. If you don’t do it, no one is going to do it for you.” I mean, yeah, obviously, but I don’t think I was thinking that way. I think I was still trying to ride the wave of “Well, I don’t do drugs anymore.” Which I don’t want to downplay- not poisoning myself on a daily basis is, and always will be, a big deal. But it isn’t everything. There are other things that must be tended to.

The fact that I haven’t been tending to those things becomes evident when I start to slip into despair and depression, like I have written about recently. I don’t want to get dressed, I don’t want to get cleaned up, I don’t want to clean my house (well, I never want to do that) or open my mail, or go outside. I know that doing all of these things will make me feel better, but I don’t want to do them. I want to drop out of life. Not die, I am not suicidal, don’t get me wrong. I just don’t want to participate in the parade anymore. Because I am burrowed down into my little “safe” spot, miserable as it is, and it seems like an awful lot of effort to get going, to get up there on the level with you other humans, and stretch my legs, start to feel better again.

So, the other day, I was standing in my kitchen, and that is when I thought that thought- that “Yeah, go ahead and stay in your little hole, but life is going on all around you, and you are missing it. Stay here, but no one is going to drag you out into the light. You have to do it. You have to be responsible for you, and your happiness, and the fact that you are missing out.” It was like my subconscious was giving me a stern talking to. I was not very receptive. I went and lay on my bed in protest, in my pajamas, at four in the afternoon, and drooled into my pillow while watching some horrible reality show on MTV.

But the conversation (that took place only in my head) wouldn’t stop playing over in my head. I knew it was the truth, and at the bottom of that truth was that I was hurting no one more than myself, by refusing to get on the ride. I was missing out. That is what life IS- the motion, the action, the discomfort, sometimes. It brings with it laughter, and joy, and happiness. You can’t just pick and choose which experiences you will have and which you will skip over- that is not really living. By leaving my sweats on for days, and refusing to get outside or do anything, I was refusing ALL of it. Not just the hard, boring, uncomfortable, scary stuff, but the great part, the best parts, too. And it was up to me.

So, I went on a few rather grudging walks. The light started to inch it’s way closer. I took a bubble bath and put on clean clothes. A little closer. I took out the garbage and answered the phone when it rang. I felt better. Then, the day before yesterday, I really WANTED to take my dogs for a walk after work. I couldn’t wait. The minute I was off work, I was out the door, and we walked and walked, and halfway into our walk along the beach, I realized I was doing it- I was taking care of myself, and I felt better.

Yesterday, the need for a nap was, like, gone. I just didn’t need one. Just like I didn’t need a pill, or a therapist (although I do have one, don’t get me wrong) or a cheer squad to get me through it. I had the answer, right in my own head, or heart, or soul- wherever the truth about ourselves comes from- it was in me, all the time. I just needed to be willing to listen. I wish I didn’t need to be in such a sorry state before I can hear my own inner voice, and I guess that is something I will work on. Anyway, I just wanted to share that with you. Now, back to writing the novel. Have a wonderful Friday!

Some More Whining From Me. Enjoy.

Stressed man and laptop

I have been dealing with a lot of anxiety, lately (which probably means I should be meditating rather than writing this, but whatever), and I know I have written about this in the past. Unfortunately, I don’t remember what I wrote, so there is a good chance I will be contradicting myself. If so, please forgive me. I am a really wishy washy human being, and my ideals pretty much change with my mood. This isn’t so bad in real time, but when you write a blog, and state certain things as facts, then forget about them and write something totally different later…you look a little silly. I guess I am alright with that. I mean, I’m not really alright with it, but I simply don’t have time to do the research, and make sure all my stories jibe. I’m not a liar, I’m just subject to my own whims.

Anyway, about my anxiety. Yeah, it sucks. I am having a really hard time at work again, and it seems like I can only hold up for a really short period of time these days, before I am back in the realm of lousy productivity. It’s no great mystery why this is- I am painfully, incredibly, horribly bored. I know I have said this before, too. I don’t know why I would expect it to change. The worst part of all is that I love the place I work for, and I love the people I work with, and I make really good money…wait, maybe that is the best part. What I am trying to say is that there are these great things about this job, but the bigger part is always the work, and the work has become intolerable, and how do I possibly go on? How do I possibly leave? What would I do then? I know so many people who just buck up, knuckle down (is that even an expression? I think it is, but it is still very early, and those words make very little sense to me at this point) and do what they need to do, to the very best of their ability.

I am just lousy for that, though.  I am the kind of person who just fucking suffers when faced with a task that holds no interest for me. It feels an awful lot like lying, which I am also intrinsically untalented at. So, like much of the rest of my life, I am just sort of bumbling along, hoping something makes sense, eventually. I know for a fact that I have said before that happiness is a choice- and I really believe that to be true. But sometimes the choices you have to make to really be happy are not readily apparent, or easy choices to make. The thing is, I don’t want to do what I do, but I don’t know what I do want to do. I mean, writing, obviously, but what are the odds that some magazine or weekly periodical is going to come banging on my email, offering me a starring role in a great new column, because they heard…nothing, ever, about me? And when you are the single mother of two beautiful daughters, you just don’t walk away from THEIR security so easily…if it was just me, I wouldn’t give two thoughts about it, but it’s them, and I like them, and want to keep them, so…so, off to work I go, I guess.

You can see the source of my anxiety, right? I believe happiness is a choice, but I am not happy, so I must be making the wrong choices. I am a huge fan of gratitude, and I am grateful…for some things, but not others, and I feel guilty. I crave security, and I have it, but I can’t stand the price of it. And worst of all, I realize how these are just top shelf problems. I have so much, how dare I whine about it? There are so many people, people I know, who are struggling in ways that I haven’t had to in so long…shouldn’t I be ashamed of myself for complaining? I don’t know. There is a lot to puzzle out here, and I will definitely revisit this until I find an answer.

In the meantime, there is just enough time left for me to meditate before I have to leave for work. Sigh.

Everything That is Right With Me.

negative-self-talk-picture

 

I’m feeling rather chipper this afternoon, and thought I would sit down here for a second and write. Nothing special has happened, no great new career has fallen out of the sky and into my lap. I’m still chubby. My house is still kinda messy. I am still struggling with these goddamned cigarettes, goddammit.

But yesterday and today, I have really asked the Universe, or God, or whomever it is out there listening to me, to help me be okay with it- “it” being the many, many things that are, whether I have a hand in it, or any control over it, or not. Whatever “it” is, God, can you help me be okay with it? That is the big prayer I am sending up, day after day. And it seems like I am getting my answer.

Because every time that cruel, hypercritical, mean, awful voice in my head starts to verbally abuse me, another, WAY more believable voice says “NO.” This kinder voice shuts that mean voice DOWN. As I am pulling on my jeans, the mean voice goes “What the fuck, porky? Are you kidding me? ” And the kind voice goes “You are beautiful. It’s fine. Go take your walk, enjoy your life.” And the mean voice, it just sort of fades away.

I think to myself “I should really put some make up on before I go outside.”  And this gentle voice pipes up, before the mean voice even has a chance- “Look at yourself. There is nothing you need to cover up…get out there and take in the afternoon.” (in case you are confused, yes, there are three voices happening here- Me, the mean voice and the kind voice. If you can’t grasp that, you are probably a man. So go hug your girlfriend, because she is probably having a hell of a time with HER voices.)

Do you guys have any idea how wonderful it feels to have someone sticking up for me? I mean, even if it is just me, it’s about damn time. Because let me tell you something- I am a pretty good person. I love my kids, I show up every day, I try like hell to do the best I can. I am nearly forty, and my life sure doesn’t look the way I thought it would, but it’s a good life. I am making the most of it, or at least trying to. I sure the heck don’t appreciate this critical voice that no one else hears busting my balls twenty four hours a day. I am tired of it. I am sure I am not alone.

So you know what? I took my walk, without any makeup, and I had a wonderful time. My dogs were thrilled, and no one stopped their car to point at me and laugh. I saw woodpeckers and Monarchs, and stretched my legs, cleared my head.

I have spent years and years beating myself up for my shortcomings- I am far harder on myself than I would ever be on anyone else. That needs to stop…because I am lovely (said the kind voice.)

Restless

restless

 

You know that feeling, that one where you wake up in the morning, already stressing about something that could or could not be happening later that day? Already worrying about that weird, and totally rude, letter you received from the IRS, or about the paycheck that you already spent, even though it won’t be deposited into your bank account for over a week…you know, that feeling? Or how about, even worse, that awful feeling that you woke up in the middle of a life that is a total mystery to you, and you suddenly understand that Talking Heads song, where he’s all “Where is my beautiful wife?”, except you are a woman, so…you get the picture.

I am all about being grateful, you guys, I really am. But there are some days when it feels like there is a very fine line between being grateful and settling, and I think, at least for me, it is hard to discern one from the other. I wake up three hours before I need to start work every day, just so I can be me for a little while before I force myself into my role as a responsible member of the working world. Even with all those hours to myself, I am nearly crushed with despair when I must log in and get started. Like, I literally feel as if I cannot bear to sit and do my easy, well paying, job for the next eight hours. I feel like a trapped animal.

Then I feel guilty for feeling that way. I mean, MOST people would (or at least say, and probably believe they would) love to have my job. I make decent money (not that it matters, it’s so freaking expensive to live where I live, not to mention have two kids and get no child support), I get to work from home, I have great benefits. The truth is, I love the people I work for, and the people I work with. It’s the work itself that is a problem. I am so bored I could just sob. I have tried every thing I can think of to make it interesting, setting daily challenges for myself, taking on different tasks, learning new things. After seven years, I am out of ideas. And I feel really guilty about not being grateful, because, on a certain level, I am. I know without this paycheck coming in, I’d be in big trouble…right? I KNOW it would be hard to go back below the poverty line, after having it somewhat better for all these years. But there is a little part of me that wonders how bad it would really be.

There is a certain amount of sacrifice involved in joining the grown up world. You lose a lot of freedom, the possibility of what may be next dwindles, you begin to worry about what you could lose now that you actually have something. Sometimes, you get everything you worked for, and then figure out that you never even wanted it in the first place. You did the thing that would make everyone else feel better. So,  now your mother is sleeping peacefully at night and you, my friend, are fucking empty inside. Or am I just projecting? ( 🙂 )

As I was writing this, it occurred to me that perhaps I am thinking of this incorrectly, in that black and white manner I have that has no place in reality. Here I am, thinking, “life that is killing me, OR, life of destitution”. Hmm…thoughts like that are the very reason I have a therapist.  The only fact about my thoughts, sometimes, is that they are really, really messed up.  Maybe there is a middle ground? Maybe I could, I don’t know, continue pursuing my other dreams while simultaneously keeping my job? I mean, I’m a writer, it’s not like I need to go anywhere…I don’t even really need to change chairs, to be honest with you.

I am really glad I wrote this, this morning. You may not get a damn thing out of it, but I certainly needed to map out some way out of my miserable thinking. Little change of perspective, Court. One foot in front of the other. I may not know exactly what my options are, or exactly how to get from where I am to the life I want to wind up in, but I do know this much- right now, I have a better chance of getting there than I would without ANY resources. I may be restless, but I can deal with that. Restless, with a direction.

Well, I guess I need to start my “real” job now. Say a little prayer for me.

Miracles

everything-is-a-miracle

I have been very busy this past two months, with vacation and then getting settled back in, then the first of July came, and I have been pouring all of my energy into writing for Camp Nanowrimo. I have sat down here a time or two and started to write something, and then, every time, something happened to pull me away from it.

That’s a bit of a miracle in itself, you know, speaking of miracles- (Um, the title, in case you missed that. 🙂 ). You see, a few months ago, before I decided that it was time to start living my life right again, people weren’t exactly knocking my door down to come visit. My phone didn’t ring much, and I got the impression, when I did talk to people, that I made them very tired, or nervous, or both.

What has happened since I got clean is that I have gotten a real life again, and with all of that, it can get a bit overwhelming for an addict who isn’t using. We tend to be a little extra touchy about shit, anyway, to be honest with you- lots of times, it’s what got us into this whole mess in the first place, the fact that we feel things a bit more intensely than other people, and have fewer healthy coping skills. Sometimes, we didn’t start off that way, but years of abuse to our poor nervous systems leaves us frazzled. Anyway, for people who have lived in addiction for years, even the good parts of life can be overwhelming and upsetting.

I forgot about that. I forgot how disheartening it can be, to see how easily other people seem to navigate their lives when every day can be such a struggle for me. I am as disorganized, mentally, as I am literally, and it gets frustrating. Simple things can make me want to throw the towel in because I get so overwhelmed. Cleaning the house makes me unfailingly angry, because I am always floored by how bad it is, while living in a mess in also intolerable. I have to take a lot of breaks throughout the day just to talk myself down from ledges, mentally. My impulse control is just wretched, sometimes, and it takes a lot just to keep me from lashing out. I am telling you all this because I know I often expound on all of the positive, great stuff, and I want to be clear that I have just as many bad, embarrassing, lame issues as everyone else. Perhaps even a few more than average.

But I STILL believe in miracles…and you know why? Because, in spite of all of this, all of the outbursts, instability, and frustration, I still don’t use drugs. In spite of the fact that I could probably make quick work of losing these 20 nasty pounds that I have packed on, and have my house spic and span by tomorrow morning, I still wouldn’t do it, no way. Even though I am going through some really sad, uncomfortable, and painful stuff with my ex right now regarding our daughter, and it would feel really, really good to feel NOTHING…I have finally been able to grasp that dope is not a viable solution for me. That my children deserve better, and so do I. That if I were to give in, I would be losing before I ever got started. If that isn’t a miracle, I don’t know what is.

I have lost this battle so many times. The fact that I still keep trying is a miracle. I have hurt the people I love more times than I could ever count. The fact that they can forgive me, and love me anyway, is a miracle. I have abused my body beyond what it ever should have had to endure. The fact that I am still healthy, intact, and, amazingly, not a hideous, toothless old hag, is a miracle. I have a great job, beautiful children, a house by the beach, two dogs, three cats, a mom and a dad and a brother and sister who love me…I have friends who value my opinion and want to spend their time with me. Every one of those things is a miracle.

I could choose to focus on the things that I suck at, that I am inept and inadequate at handling. I could spend all day long listing the shit that is wrong with me. I don’t know who would wind up feeling worse, me or you! But if I had to tell you just one thing that is right in my life today, I would tell you this- I am a miracle. Whatever force you choose to believe in, that thing is working in me right now, helping me write this to share with you. I will never regret my past because without it, I may never have been able to see THIS- that my life is beautiful exactly the way it is.