Posted in Blogging, family, humor, kids, Learning, Life, Mental Health, Musings, parenting, random

Beautiful Human Machines

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I had intended to title this post “Stupid Human Bodies”, to be honest with you. I woke up this morning with only half of one nostril cooperating in my breathing effort. I have the kind of congestion that can be neither blown out, nor, uh…breathed in? I suppose the proper description would be “hocked up”, but that sounds so yucky, doesn’t it? Either way, if you are reading this, then you probably are saddled with one of these disease prone, periodically snot-addled, human contraptions we call “bodies” yourself, so I am sure you understand. The throbbing headache caused by sinuses that are malfunctioning- or is it hyperfunctioning? I am really unsure. The achy skin inflicted with fever. The goopy eyes, runny noses, dry, cracked lips. And this is only when we are dealing with the common fucking cold!

Don’t even get me started on the rest of the insulting things we must suffer through- the flaw in our design that put so many nerve endings in the places where we are most likely to ram them into things (think little pinky toes, my friend), the acne as teenagers (and adults), the metabolism that runs like a dream for so many years, only to leave us high and dry when our terrible eating habits are firmly ingrained in us…leaving us looking, bewildered, at the cellulite on our thighs and the rolls of blubber encircling our middles. Uncomfortably warm, permanent (seems like), hugs from the fat fairy. Yeah, life inside these bone and skin tents can be trying.

I was feeling all kinds of sorry for myself this morning, hobbling around with my achy, common-cold bones, hindered by my fat hug and the insurmountable mucus battle raging in my head…I was feeling whiny and bitchy and all kinds of pathetic. And then my daughter woke up. As you can see from the picture above, whatever is wrong with me is WAY less important than whatever the hell is going on with her. Yesterday, I thought she had a bug bite near her eye causing that swelling. Today, I am leaning more towards some type of cellulitis, perhaps conjunctivitis with a little something extra…I don’t know.

But it’s amazing, isn’t it, how quickly ones perspective can change? First of all, when I got out of “poor me” mode, and jumped into the impenetrable armor I call “Mommy Deluxe” (motto: don’t fuck with my kids, you hear?), my cold symptoms seemed to just float away. But, more importantly, I became acutely grateful for this wonderful machine that house our souls from day one through day…whatever you make it to. Because if this fancy contraption was not SO smart that it could send up distress signals you would need to blind to miss (ie: this eye is swollen even WORSE today, lady, so the Benadryl ain’t working! Help! Help!), how would I have known that something was seriously up with my kid? Answer: I wouldn’t have. I would not have known.

Our bodies are such precise and miraculous little systems. They are so complex, there are things even the most highly trained doctors, the most insanely educated scientists, are still mystified by. They protect us, they wage wars we often know nothing about, they suffer such abuses at our hands, and they still do their job, to the best of their ability, every single second of our lives. How cool is that? They find ways to communicate with us that we can understand, each body learning the language we will hear so that it can tell us how to help. And what do we do? We complain and whine, and get upset when things go wrong…Yet, how often are we grateful for all the many, many things that go right?

Today, I am going to stop whining, and appreciate this marvelous (if a little chubbier and snottier than I feel is totally necessary) temple that has been with me since the moment…no, since BEFORE the moment, even…I was born. Also, I am going to call the doctor for Cammy. That eye does not look good.

Have a beautiful day!

Posted in Addiction, advice, alcoholism, Learning, Life, Mental Health, Musings, People, random

Reservations (I’m not talking about dinner).

reservations

Not everyone who uses drugs becomes addicted- I mean, everyone I know pretty much did, but I hear there are people out there in the world who can use drugs “recreationally”, which means, I guess, in a fun way. Weekends, holidays, or something like that. These would be people that do NOT trade their family’s good silver and sexual favors for a twenty bag, I am guessing. I mean, not that I ever did anything like that, of course. My family never even had any good silver (that I am aware of. Good job, mom.) And I wasn’t smart enough to think of the sexual favor thing until I had already given it up, anyway. I never was very good at the whole hustle aspect of drug use. I basically just worked at a job so that I could buy myself whatever I needed, or I wheedled it out of people. I was a wheedler, not a hustler. Anyway, I have learned, even more thoroughly from being in a drug treatment center that caters to a…I want to say, more heavily insured group of people…that the “hitting rock bottom” thing that is talked about in the world of recovery looks very different for people who have a higher expectation of what their life should look like.

I mean, don’t get me wrong- there are people there that were living on the streets when they first came into the program, but it was more a matter of choice, meaning they had other options, than solely a consequence of their lifestyle. Like, help was available to them should they want it. Then, there are those who took their drugs as prescribed, but they felt their doctor was overindulging them and they felt terribly bad about this. My point is, only YOU know what the bottom looks like for YOU. I wasn’t really that messed up this time, by my standards. Not even close. But I can tell you this- I was tired as hell of living a double life. The burden of being that person was just no longer bearable. I sought help this time because I was too weary to keep going on anymore. It was not dramatic, there was no intervention- a lot of people didn’t even know what was going on with me. A LOT of people. You reach out for help when it is bad enough for YOU. And that is where it starts.

No one winds up in a treatment center feeling great and stable and mentally sound. There is no way that is happening. We wind up there after LOTS of suffering, many attempts to fix ourselves on our own, long stretches of battling ourselves, terrible battles, that go in internally. So the relief of finally getting help, of finally finding a safe reprieve from OURSELVES, is indescribable. You get into treatment willing, at last, to do anything to sustain that feeling of relief, of safety. It feels so good to wave that white flag, to surrender.

But, FUCK, we addicts are forgetful human beings. Given a little bit of time, a little distance, and we quickly forget the truth about who we are- who we JUST were. We feel so much better, and we already can’t believe it was that bad. We glamorize our old lifestyles, we joke about it, we don’t want to accept that this is our fate- a whole life without putting any substances, of any kind, in our bodies. Now, right here, for me, what I just wrote- that is how I know I am an addict. If you told most people- “hey, sorry, but you can’t ever drink, or smoke weed, and you should probably be highly cautious about even taking narcotic pain medication, even if you have had REAL pain.” They might balk a little, but, you know, if their doctor was telling them this- they would probably, eventually, shrug their shoulders and go. “Shit. That sucks. Alright, then.” For an addict, for ME, anyway, that is just grim. I get it, but I still have a lot of trouble believing it’s that big of a deal. Despite ALL of the evidence to the contrary, and there is plenty, my friends- I still have trouble accepting this.

Now, don’t get me wrong- I KNOW I can’t do my drug of choice. That isn’t what trips me up. My bigger struggle, the thing I have a hard time giving up, is alcohol. Or, it was hard, anyway. Until I got all sassy last weekend on a date, and drank half of a margarita. First of all, let me explain to you that since the day prior to this date, I was already ruminating, at great length, over whether or not I was going to drink. I don’t think this is something that normal people obsess over, is it? I finally decided I was definitely NOT going to drink. So imagine my surprise when I heard myself order a margarita! I seriously considered tackling the waiter as he walked away, begging him not to bring it. This is also not normal. Then, when it came, I wasn’t NOT going to drink it- it was a twelve dollar margarita, for Christ’s sake! How could I do that to my date, this perfect stranger whose opinion of me mattered far more than my recovery! I mean, that makes total sense, right? Oh, wait, no…it makes no fucking sense at all!

Long story short, I drank half, it was fine, I ordered a cranberry and soda, drank that instead, finished the date, went home, felt yucky, went to bed. Then, I woke up at midnight, chugged ten gallons of water, and lay in bed feeling really sick- almost as if I had ingested some type of poison, some type of tequila, maybe- and wondered what the fuck was wrong with me. But the good news is, that reservation I had, the battle in my head over whether or not drinking would be okay for me, was put to rest. I didn’t get out of control, but my thoughts certainly were a little crazy. Most people don’t get that nutty over a drink. Most people don’t put two days of thought into half a margarita. But more importantly, I didn’t like the way I felt. I am tired of not liking the way I feel. I’ve had enough of that for a lifetime.

There are lots more reasons why it isn’t a good idea for me to drink, but right now, I only need that one- because I don’t like how it made me feel. They talk a lot about reservations in twelve step programs, and why they are dangerous. You have to do what you have to do to resolve them in your own way. I am grateful today that mine didn’t have to be uglier than it was. That is was simple to resolve. Today, I am going to allow myself to remember the truth about who I am, and how I wound up where I am. Because people who forget their own history are doomed to repeat it, right? And that is not something I really want to do. Not at all.

Have a great Thursday! 🙂

Posted in Addiction, humor, Learning, Life, living, Mental Health, Musings, People, random

A Few Things I’ve Learned in Rehab

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For the sole purpose of writing SOMETHING, because I just cannot seem to get my inspirational juices flowing, lately (God, that sounds so much grosser than I intended for it to), I figured I would write about my stint(s) in drug rehabilitation centers. You normal folks are probably curious, anyway, so why not? Please keep in mind, due to my family circumstances (I am the primary breadwinner for my kids) I have never been to an inpatient facility. I mean, I have been to them, but never lived there. I am talking about OUTPATIENT treatment centers.

Here goes:

1.) The more money the program costs, the better the food is going to be. My biggest regret over going from full days (what they call partial hospitalization) to intensive outpatient (half days) is that I no longer got to eat the fantastic, gourmet, lunches from my current place. Quite frankly, this could be a trick to get you to stay full days longer. One thing every addict has in common is this: We are HUNGRY when we get off drugs. Starving.

2.) Addicts of every age are generally pretty upset with their parents. This seems to be a common thread among us.

3.) No matter how much you like to talk, you get to a point when you have had ENOUGH fucking talking about your fucking FEELINGS. It’s exhausting.

4.) Even if, somehow, you do not know the Serenity Prayer when you get to treatment, by the end of the third day you will have said it so many times that it has forever lost all meaning to you. You might as well be doing the Hokey-Pokey. It means nothing at all.

5.) There will be at least one person in your group who hates everyone. They don’t really hate everyone, they just really want a stiff drink.

6.) There will be several people in your group who have no idea why they can’t still smoke weed. Weed is not  why they are there. They are there because they wanted to stop snorting Oxy’s.

7.) There will be at least one person there who makes you want to jump out the window every time it is their turn to talk. You get to the point where you start exhibiting odd behavior, such as slapping your hands over your own eye repeatedly, or rude behavior, such as tapping your foot impatiently on the floor, while glaring at them. They will not give a fuck. They will continue to talk and talk and talk, usually about the same fucking thing they talked about yesterday. And the day before that, and the day before that.

8.) There is a reason most outpatient programs are only thirty days. That is the length of time one can tolerate this kind of stuff before becoming increasingly hostile.

9.) Most addicts get really weirded out over discussions about God. This is why we refer to a “Higher Power” instead. It goes down more easily.

10.) There will be one person in your group that doesn’t get that, because he is a total Jesus freak, and he will offend everyone else by quoting the bible and talking about how Jesus Christ is the one truth, etc. Everyone else will offend him by arguing, well into lunch, over this. Your entire next process group will be awkward because the counselors will force you to discuss the “incident.”

11.) “Anxiety” is an addicts favorite word, followed closely by “fuck”.

12.) There is no way to tell, when looking around the room, who will actually make it. The ones you think are definitely going back out are sometimes doing great in five years. The ones who seem to have it all together often don’t last a week.

13.) Heroin addicts think tweakers are the devil. Tweakers think heroin addicts are the worst. We don’t trust one another at all. The funny part is, the end result, all the way down to how horrible one looks, are exactly the same.

14.) Treatment centers are terrible about getting paperwork done.

15.) No matter what I have said in the words above, getting help when you need it, checking yourself into a treatment center, is the best thing you can possibly do. No matter how rough it is, or how annoying, you find out that being in a room full of others trying to get right, you are with your people. You have found your tribe. These people know what you are talking about when you say “I hate who I have become.” or “I feel so ashamed of myself.” in a way that no one else could ever possibly understand.

I am phasing out of my treatment now, and I am ready. Ready to go back out into the land of the living, and actually get some living done. Not that I haven’t been doing that already. Oh, for the love of God, I am just not very entertaining right now, outside of my lists, am I? Oh well. It will come back.

Until then, have a wonderful day. 🙂

Posted in family, friendship, Life, love, Musings, parenting, random, relationships

The Tangled Web We Weave…is Actually Pretty Rad.

tradition

So, the other day, I went on my first date in…I don’t know, like, forever. It was super casual, an afternoon, after the workday but before I pick up the kids kind of date. We took a walk together, got some ice cream, walked back, chatted. Oh yeah, and I met his ex-wife and all three of his kids. Yeah, that happened. It could have been awkward- I’m not going to lie, there was an element of awkwardness pervading the scene. Here we are, innocently chatting in line for ice cream, and first one, then two, then three of his kids barrel into him, followed by, in a much less (thankfully) exuberant manner, his wife. I mean, ex-wife. Thankfully. Anyway, as usual, my desire to end awkwardness at all costs won out, and I found myself chatting with his ex about places my older daughter could start modeling locally, and I was showing her pictures, and we were the next best thing to chummy by the end of it all. Okay, maybe not that, but it wasn’t awful, and it could have been. It’s not the best situation for starters, but we did great with it.

Then, last night, I went out for appetizers and drinks (my drinks were Shirley Temples, of course) with my sisters…except, they aren’t REALLY my sisters. They technically belong to my ex, many times removed, also referred to as my daughters father, or “baby daddy” number one. Yeah, they are the siblings of my first offspring’s spermatozoa contributor, and I just sort of barged in and snapped them up. He has seven brothers and sisters, and I couldn’t decide, so I hogged them all. I love these people as much as I love my own people, and there is no distinguishing that love from the love for my “own” family. We have so many memories, and so much history, I feel confident in claiming them as family.

I would like to think that this phenomena I am experiencing in my life is a wonderful side effect of the breakdown of the traditional family unit. Perhaps it took a while, I don’t know. I don’t see the same things playing out in the lives of my mom (who is not friendly with her husbands ex-wife, to say the least), who modeled her life very much after the traditional family that she had with her folks- I’m not saying it worked out very well, I’m saying that is what she was going for. However, I do see it playing out in a myriad of ways in the lives of those around me. The ability to let go of the ideals we may have concerning what makes family family, and choose to love one another, and accept one another, instead. I cannot see the down side of this. I don’t know where I would be without my stolen brothers and sisters, and I don’t even like to think about it.

Last night, at dinner, I listened to one of the girls talk about how she went bra shopping with the current girlfriend of her daughter’s father. “I just love her!” she said. How can this be bad for anyone? The other day, my daughter and I were talking about a man we know who is raising his girlfriend’s son as his own, which isn’t all that unusual, except that he was the product of what you might call…a pause in their relationship. Yeah. Say what you want about it, I think that is the most noble and loving act I have ever seen. How awesome that he could swallow his pride completely and raise this boy with all of his heart! That, to me, is what love is all about.

A couple of days ago, I had this bright idea to set my brother up with this girl I adore- she is smart and artistic, one of those bubbly people that you enjoy encountering. No big deal, except that she is also the girl that my ex had an affair with years ago. Oddly enough, we have this bond now, forged through confession and pain, and finding out that, whatever else may be wrong with that dude, he has EXCELLENT taste in women. It didn’t happen overnight, that is for sure…but here I sit, trying to finagle her a place in my family. Hahaha!

I am not saying that everything about having a traditional, well functioning family is bad- far from it! If you can achieve that, Jesus, good for you! I know how hard it is. What I am saying is, if things have to be the way they are, what a wonderful discovery we have made around that fact- that the truth is, love is more prevalent than ever, even in these fractured and confused roles we play. That we are not bound by some imaginary sense of honor, or by pride, to disdain those that we may very well come to love. And that family is, really, more than blood. They are the people that you choose along the way, or that choose you, and how you nurture one another. I don’t see anything wrong with that at all.

Have a lovely Sunday. 🙂

Posted in aging, beauty, family, inner peace, Learning, Life, love, Musings, random

40 Looming

40

I’m excited to turn 40.

Not something you hear a lot, I don’t think, at least not honestly…but I mean it. I mean, sure, it didn’t just happen. I was very upset a few weeks ago. Perhaps I will be again when the day comes (May the 8th, if you want to send me a card with money). But this morning? I had a vision of my future, and it looks so good.

For one thing, I am not really worried about what anyone else thinks about my life anymore. Do you know how fucking exciting that is? All of the energy I dumped into making my life appear the way I thought other people needed it to look- that is exhausting. I think, the day I decided to check myself back into treatment without a whole lot of conversation with anyone about what I was doing, or why, I kind of took my power back. I don’t need anyone to understand. I don’t really care what anyone thinks about the fact that I still struggle with addiction issues “at this age”. This is my story, my life, and it just is this way. I am handling it. If I need support, I know where to go for it, but I no longer need the approval of the masses to feel okay with where I am.

And as much as I can be okay with however anyone feels about anything I do, the best part is- it no longer has to affect the way I feel about who you are. Let me give you an example- there is someone I love a lot who absolutely disapproves of my inability to hold my shit together. They don’t always say it directly (although they do at times), but it is definitely out there, clear as a bell. In the past, this persons judgement and opinion of me would predetermine how I felt about them. But that is not true today. Today, I can love anyone completely separately from their opinion of me. This is incredibly liberating. I feel as though I have arrived somewhere I didn’t even know existed before.

Another thing? Forty does not feel old at all. Like, at twenty, forty seemed just hopeless, didn’t it? I thought it would be so different than it is! I feel pretty amazing, actually. My health is perfect (thank you, God), my wrinkles are minimal, my body, while a little, um…sturdier than it was at thirty, is still holding up just fine. At forty, you can be just as beautiful as ever, with not nearly the amount of effort you may imagine.

While we are talking about beauty, lets go a little deeper- Do you know what I think is beautiful? The way I have learned the value of family, and of my girl friends. I think it is beautiful that the idea of a fairy tale romance has faded, but the idea of being with a man that I can be great friends with, that I can laugh with, is front and center. It is beautiful, the things that have lost their power over me, and the things that have revealed themselves to be greatly important. I am so okay with this. It is beautiful to look at someone and see beyond the exterior- I am now at an age where I can look at someone older and see the person inside, and this changes a lot for me. Perhaps I was more shallow than I ever dreamed I was before, but whatever. I can’t change the past. I can, however, be excited about who I am becoming.

Someone who can laugh at herself. Someone who catches herself when she is behaving in a way that is not okay, and corrects it. A person who is interested in everything, most of all, what you have to say when you are talking to me. I am learning how to really listen. I am learning the true value of kindness, period. That the only thing that really matters, in the end, is love and compassion. Not my opinion about anything. Just love, just compassion.

When I look ahead, I see lots of nature. I want to spend more time outside, doing everything. I want to see new places, and I will. I see a woman who is embracing life, and all of her many, many blessings. Yeah…I think forty is going to be great.

Have a great day!

Posted in Addiction, fun, inner peace, Learning, Life, Mental Health, Musings, random, recovery

New Things

new things

So, this whole waking up at four in the morning thing- it isn’t really new. It’s new again, but not really new. I guess this is just how my internal clock wants to work. Perhaps it means I should move to the east coast? I don’t know. I’m not ready to do anything that drastic.

But here I sit, it’s six in the morning, and I have been up for two hours already. I am on my third cup of coffee. I will probably want to take a nap sometime today. Whatever. If I lived in a better neighborhood, I would walk my dogs, since the incredible ex is here ( I can hear him snoring away in my room- my room, by the way, being NOT where I slept last night, for you nosier types. No nookie for the ex. Not that I didn’t think about it, its just…not a very good idea, you know?) and I actually have a little freedom.

I am experiencing some new things, however. For instance, I had some people come over and bless my house yesterday. I still smell like a hippie. There was lots of sage, salt, and water involved. I had a pretty creepy dream about demons (which, by the way, I don’t even believe in. But had you had this dream, you would have reconsidered your entire belief system as well) and thought it might be a good idea to have this done. There was prayer involved, and I’m pretty sure some chakra fondling. I learned that I hate the smell of sage. I am, however, very appreciative of the effort, even if I felt a little like a weirdo fake while the thing was happening. I’m pretty sure my neighbors think I am a witch now. There will be many prayers for me in Baptist churches all over Seaside this morning, and probably at least a couple of Catholic ones.

Also, I am probably going to go on a date with a really nice guy this week. He reads my blog, and I hope he doesn’t get a big head over this. I am looking forward to spending some time with him, and getting to know him better. He seems to like food as much as I do, and he also seems to want to be outside, which are both major bonuses. Most exciting of all, though, is that he seems to know how to be a grown up without being a total stick in the mud, which I appreciate. He has been exceedingly patient about waiting for me to get okay with going out, and he has actually seen me in person a few times and STILL wants to go out with me…so that is encouraging, lol.

I hope what I am about to say next does not kill the whole damn thing, but then there is this other guy. I won’t be meeting him any time soon, because he lives in another country. I may never meet him at all. He is…hmm. I don’t know the right way to say it. He piques my interest on many levels, lets just say. He has a very different belief system than I do, but he has a sense of humor about it. He is smarter than hell. He is great to banter back and forth with. We discussed never meeting at all to avoid disappointment (he feels I will be, and I feel he will be. I don’t know why I needed to explain that, since, if it were the other way around, I highly doubt we would continue this…whatever it is) . It is just fun to revel in such an easy, non-threatening, connection. I mean, I am definitely not running into this dude at Rite Aid in my pajamas, you know?  You don’t need to suck in your stomach on messenger. He is helping me find my flirtation legs, whatever the fuck that means.

I am going to meetings again. Somewhat grudgingly, the first one, but I went to one yesterday alone. It was 6:45 in the morning, and it was AA, which I appreciate for their organizational abilities and peacefulness. I like that shit. NA can get a little rowdy and crazy sometimes, but it will always be where I most identify. Drug addicts are my people. So are alcoholics, whether they like it or not. I like the quiet feeling of an early morning meeting.

And I like the quiet feeling in me. I like that I am looking out at the people in the world again, appreciating what is happening all around me, instead of always focusing in, on myself, like I was. I realize the disease of addiction is selfish and self centered, but when you are in it, you forget how true that is. I am looking out again. I feel the light coming back to me. I am happy to be where I am, and who I am. This is a good thing, indeed. A very, very good thing.

I hope you have a beautiful day.

Posted in Addiction, inner peace, Learning, Life, Mental Health, Musings, People, recovery

I Have a Bad Gratitude

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I woke up pissed off this morning. My dog, who has probably a few fleas, but a major dollop of nervous doggish-ness, sat next to me on the floor and scratched, ALL NIGHT. ALL FREAKING NIGHT. I can’t seem to stop being all sweaty, and my sleep, with these two elements in full force, made my night suck balls.

Also, my oldest daughter decided she wanted to move home, so while I was gone, she switched our bedrooms…sort of. What I mean by this is, half the stuff that was in each room is now in my living room. The living room, by the way, being where I slept last night, because when we tried to put the TV in my “new” room, the cable doesn’t work in there. It took me forty five minutes on the phone with comcast to figure this out.

So, I woke up pissed off. My house is a mess, and my life is turned upside down, and I don’t like it.

Except, I realized I am looking at it all the wrong way.

1) I have a dog that LOVES me, and, in spite of her misery, sat next to me all night long to protect me.

2) I am sweaty because I am sweating shit out of my system, which means I am healing.

3) My daughter chose to come home. She loves me, and she worked her ass off all day long on her day off, to move back home with me.

4) I don’t need cable in my room anyway.

5) I made best friends with the cable lady, and she is sending me five free pay per view movies because she couldn’t resolve my problem on the phone.

6) I don’t have to go to work today anyway. I get to go talk about my mental health with a bunch of like minded people people in a similar situation.

7) my life is pretty darn good. I am done complaining.

So, see what I did there? I turned my bad attitude into gratitude. Not bad for one point five cups of coffee. I am off to shower and meditate. Have a fantastic day. 🙂

PS- I’m going to get Lucy her flea medicine today.