Posted in family, friendship, inner peace, Life, Mental Health, Musings, People, relationships

Yesterday

connection

 

God, yesterday was gorgeous. Not just the weather- although that was gorgeous, too, but…it was the content of the day that left me, at the end of it, feeling loved and valuable and as if I truly have places and people to whom I belong, where I am wanted.

I didn’t know that I was feeling like that wasn’t true. I didn’t know what that emptiness was or why it was there until it started to fill up again, and then I got it. I’ve been lonely, and I didn’t even know that’s what it was. I thought loneliness felt a different way, I guess.

I know that I spend too much time alone. I thought that I preferred to be alone, and it’s true- I do value my down time. But, as with all things in my life, I tend to overdo anything that feels good…and too much of anything that feels good will eventually morph into something that doesn’t feel so good anymore. Balance- I have never been very talented at that. I could use a little bit more moderation in most things.

I attended a celebration of life for my friend Che who passed away a few months ago. He was only 46- just a few years older than me- and he had a heart attack while surfing. I was nervous, as I usually am before any type of gathering, but I pulled myself together and I got in the car and went. As I drove over the hill to Carmel, the sun was shining, and the world was so breathtaking, and the tears started coming…yesterday would have been Che’s 47th birthday. He was too young. What else is there to say? That is just too young.

I got to meet his mama, and give her a big hug. He was her only child, and I don’t know how…I don’t have any idea how one survives something like this. I didn’t know anyone there at first, but then a few old friends of mine showed up, and God, it was so good to see these people. One in particular that I hadn’t seen in…gosh, probably almost 20 years! We were over the moon to see each other after so much time. There was more laughter than tears, lots of love and warmth in that place. I’m so glad I went.

I had to leave a little early to head over to a baby shower- my daughter’s best friend since 5th grade is due in November, and I couldn’t miss out on celebrating with her. We had so much fun! I adore Kristina, although her mother and I despaired over our two wild girls many, many times throughout their teenage years. We laughed about how often we plotted to keep them apart, all of it always amounting to nothing. Kristina has been a steadfast and faithful friend to my daughter, and it’s so wonderful to get to watch her life progress. Oh my goodness, we laughed so much yesterday.

After that, I got a surprise phone call from a friend who NEVER calls me, and we talked for almost an hour. She is trying to cope with the terminal illness of another friend of ours who has very little time left…he has made her the medical decision maker, and she is doing the best she can. I offered to help any way that I could, and we talked…oh, she is one of the good ones, we get to talk about the deep stuff, and I love it so much.

Finally, just to cap off my day, I loaded up the car with Cam and Lucy the lab, and we headed to the beach. We made it just in time for a beautiful sunset, and I…what can I tell you? My heart was so full.

In one short day, I celebrated the too-short life of a friend I’ve known for over half of my life. I celebrated the coming birth of a brand new life. I reconnected with friends I haven’t seen in years, had some deep conversations, reminisced about a past that might not have been as awful as I’ve let myself believe. I witnessed the full spectrum of life, didn’t I? And at the end of it all was a stunning sunset with more people (and pets) that I love.

I dumped the sand out of my shoes last night, and fell into bed exhausted, but, for the first time in so long…I was content.

I want more days like that. Of course I do. Maybe without having to lose anyone else, though. That would be even better.

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Posted in Addiction, family, friendship, Goals, inner peace, Life, living, mindfulness, Musings, People, social media

I Forget…

disconnect
courtesy of google AND Tanmay Vora, as listed above. Thanks!

I forget that living a full, happy life involves leaving my house. I get lazy from sitting still and want to keep sitting still. I spend way too much time in this house, by myself, and I think it is bad for me. I need to push myself a little harder to get outside, and to interact with real people.

One of my best friends showed up at my door yesterday (because she knows that’s pretty much the only way to get a hold of me- I can ignore phone calls, texts, refuse to make plans, but you can almost guarantee to find me at my house) and at first I was annoyed. I didn’t want to see anyone! But after a few minutes, we got to talking, and by the time she left after my lunch was over, I felt happier than I had in a while. I need to be with my friends. So why is it so easy for me to forget that?

I don’t know…I will tell you this, though. I spend way, way too much time on Facebook. This has come up again and again, and lately I have been fantasizing about how good it would be to break free of that site. I don’t want to know so much. I want to know the bare minimum about people again. I don’t want to know how different we are, and how bad your spelling is. Please, God, take me back in time. I think being on social media so much makes me think I don’t like people, when the truth is, I LOVE people, I just love real people. People who, in real life, aren’t so eager to vomit up every little dark corner of their heart. Trust me, I do it too. I’m just as guilty. So I am signing off of Facebook, again, for an indeterminate amount of time, and I am going to try to get out in the real world.

I want more laughter with my friends. I want to go to the apple orchard and pick apples with my kids. I want to fall into bed at night, exhausted but happy. I want to sit outside around my fire pit and talk to people I love about things that mean something to us personally.  In other words, I want to change the way I have been living. It is time. It is way past time.

Now I just have to figure out how to invite people over without using Facebook…shit. I might have to use my phone to make a phone call. That will be interesting. 🙂

Posted in Addiction, alcoholism, anxiety, family, Life, recovery, twelve step

Things I Forgot to Remember

Death has been an unrelenting presence in my life over the past year, which is very, very unusual for me. Beginning with the loss of my beloved friend Joe in August of last year, then his dear friend Che, just a few weeks ago- Che, who spent countless hours on the phone with me after Joe’s death, listening to all of the stories I have to tell about Joe, that I suddenly needed to re-tell to someone who knew him… and sharing his own with me. Then, in the late hours of July 5th, or perhaps the very early hours of July 6th- we don’t know for sure yet, but oddly enough, every member of our family found themselves awake at 3:30 in the morning on July 6th- my darling uncle, Louis Earl Fulton, passed away. His life was not an easy one. One day, I will tell his story properly, but I want to do it right, and I want to have all of the facts straight first, though I will tell you this- due to an accident with a drunk driver when he was just starting out into adulthood, his lot in life was hard. He suffered, for the bulk of his years on earth, with a busted up body and what I would guess as being trouble from a traumatic head injury. Over the past several years, his health seriously deteriorated, and he had many falls, broken bones, and other injuries. He suffered from seizures, and I think he even had a stroke recently, but honestly, there was so much going on that I would have to ask my mom to be sure. The fact is, he wasn’t doing well. So you would think that his death would be less of a surprise, and maybe in some ways it wasn’t shocking, but…when someone just dies at home, and they haven’t been in the hospital or particularly sicker than usual, it really is a shock.

This blog is not going to be about him, because like I said, I would rather honor him by writing his story correctly, and I can’t do that without getting some help from my mom-she was alive when his accident happened, and I was not yet. I will tell you this- his given name was Louis Earl, but I haven’t heard anyone call him that since my grandmother was alive. His nickname (one of them) was Fizzle, because he was born on the 5th of July (get it? He fizzled out! My grandfather had a strange sense of humor) and, coincidentally, he died, near as we can tell, on the exact same day, many years later. There will never be anyone like him- there will never be anyone like any of the people I have lost this past year- and nothing I know brings a person into sharper focus than their death. And nothing slaps you out of your own miserable funk like the loss of a life that belonged to someone precious to you.

For the past month, or maybe even longer than that, I have been struggling like crazy with myself…upset about things like: hating my job because it is boring, hating myself (low-key) because I am not perfect, wishing I had better friendships, wondering why I am still single, wishing I could connect in a more meaningful way with my youngest daughter, and…this is the one I didn’t even want to write about or admit out loud to anyone who could talk some sense into me…wanting to quit being in recovery. I wanted to quit. I wanted to start drinking again, and I was really, really close to throwing the towel in. Closer than anyone but me knows. I felt like I was missing out on something. That my life wasn’t fun enough because I couldn’t go out and have a drink. That maybe it would be easier for me to deal with men if I could just relax a little bit, like everyone else does.

My uncle died on the day that my daughter was going out of town with her father for the first time in over a year- so I was already incredibly anxious without the addition of a death in the family. I took the rest of Friday off, and I cried and cried and cried. I cried so much that by the time I went to bed, my head was pounding. I woke up on Saturday morning with eyes that looked like they had been bitten by mosquitoes, or injected with saline. But I had made plans with a girlfriend earlier in the week to go hiking and hit a morning meeting, and she is notoriously hard to pin down, so there was no way I was cancelling. I pulled myself together, worried that I would be too somber to be any fun, but I went anyway. I needn’t have worried. We had a nice hike, and plenty to discuss, and it was just what I needed. We almost didn’t go into the meeting afterwards, but we did, and again, it was perfect. I came home afterwards, ate a massive amount of food, and fell asleep the way you can only when you are grieving and exhausted- face down on the mattress for four solid hours. When I woke up (which took a good hour of just sitting, staring into space) I knew instinctively that being still would be a bad idea, so I grabbed my dog and went for a long walk on the beach. That night, I went to another meeting.

Over the course of my 48 hour weekend, I managed to hit four meetings, hang out with two good friends (one of them twice), go to the beach two different times, and take two solid naps. I did something I had never done before in the course of my recovery- I doubled down on what was good for me, and sidestepped an almost inevitable relapse. I was reminded that both life and recovery require my active participation in order to work the way that I need them to. I can’t just sit here and cry about what isn’t working- or, I can, but it isn’t going to do me any good at all.

I’m sorry if this is sort of all over the place- I don’t feel like I am explaining myself well at all, but there is so much to what I am feeling, and it’s all jumbled up. The bottom line is, my uncle’s death helped me to remember what I had forgotten- that life is so precious, that while I am here, I need to rejoice in the gifts that I have been given, and they are many- my health, my beautiful children, my job which provides so well for me, and my recovery which is the only reason I have all of the other things. I will not dishonor myself or my wonderful life by giving up on that. I have all of the ingredients, but it is up to me to make something worthwhile out of them. Today, I will choose to do just that.

Posted in adventure, family, friendship, Learning, Life, love, Musings, People, relationships

Best Friends are Forever

I am, despite my hermit tendencies (these have not always existed, by the way- I used to go out almost every single night when I was younger) the kind of girl who is friendly with just about everyone. I live in a smallish town, and lived here throughout high school and the bulk of my 20’s, and, after moving away for a while, I’ve lived here for most of the years after that as well. So I know a lot of people. I can’t really leave my house without running into someone I know, at least marginally. There are no end to the familiar faces around here.

But I have always had a best friend, and that was the friend I could be my realest self with, tell all my dirty secrets to, and be as God-awful as I needed to be, knowing they would still love me. I have been so lucky to have these women (well, they are all women now) in my life, and I can’t imagine what that life would have been like without them. It certainly would have been lonelier, and a lot less fun.

I met Grace when I was 15, on a camping trip that I’m pretty sure I had lied through my teeth to get to go on. I had met this guy, and I really wanted to hang out with him, so I thought that spending the night with him in the woods was a pretty safe bet. Anyway, luckily, there were a lot of other people there, so when he got super drunk off tequila and had a fit because I wouldn’t sleep with him and started chasing me around in the middle of the night, I was able to hide in a car with Grace (She was there with her big sister) and her friend Danielle. I remember they were eating salami and cheese, and I just hunkered down there with them for a while. I don’t remember what else happened that night, but I know that I survived it, obviously.

A few weeks later, I ran away from home (again) and wound up at the home of an older friend named Robert who sort of took in strays- stray people, I mean, not animals. It just so happened that Grace was staying there too, with her sister Mindi, who lived there but didn’t ever stay there, and she offered to let me bunk with her. From that moment on, we became inseparable. We smoked cigarettes together, and starved to death together, praying that Mindi would stop by eventually and bring us Taco Bell. We annoyed everyone around us (we were always the youngest) and we bickered like sisters. Grace once broke up with a guy because he didn’t like me. I named my oldest daughter after her. When she fell in love, finally, with a man that she would go on to have a very long term relationship with, it was traumatic for me…obviously, this did not end our friendship, but it was the first time she had chosen someone else over me, and it was hard. On both of us. Of course, we went on to have many, many other adventures, but things changed, as they do, and so…

I met Vera. Vera was a close friend to a guy I was supposed to be roommates with but ended up hooking up with, and yeah, that wasn’t a total mess. I think I was 25 at the time? Anyway, Vera was (and is) just captivating and beautiful, like, seriously, and the coolest thing about her is that she is incredibly modest about the whole thing. Like, if she knew how gorgeous she was and acted as such, she would be unbearable, but she is totally like “eh, whatever, shut up”.  You have never met a more approachable, accepting human being. She is cool with EVERYONE.

Anyway, one day I got in a terrible fight with the guy I was living with, and I didn’t know where to go, so I went to her house- remember, I didn’t know her all that well, but she knew him, so maybe I was looking for some insight, who knows. She made me feel better, and we just bonded, and once again, after that we were inseparable.

What you should know about me and these friendships is that in both instances, when I say “inseparable”, I mean REALLY. We saw each other every single day, pretty much. Grace and I slept together in a twin sized fold out bed for the better part of a year. Vera was in a serious relationship when I met her, and she got in trouble all the time because we were constantly running around together well into the wee hours of the morning. On the days we didn’t physically see each other, we talked on the phone and made plans for the next day. I’m sure there were times that we got busy with our lives and did other things, but I honestly don’t remember that as much as I remember our constant togetherness.

Eventually, I moved away for a few years, and in that time Vera and Grace became best friends with each other. So when I moved back, instead of it being weird, we all became a little clump of best friendship. And then Vera met someone new, and moved away. Then Grace met someone new, and became very busy with that. And I was sort of left here, with this hole in my life, sometimes missing them so very much, but it wasn’t like we weren’t friends anymore, it was just…life happened.

About three years ago, I met a girl named Cinamon (yes, I spelled it correctly, and yes, this is her real name) at one of my meetings. Let me be clear- this was the first time I had met her, but I had been hearing about her for YEARS. She and her twin sister had run in the same circles as I did, but we just somehow had never crossed paths. When I walked into my meeting that night, I knew exactly who she was and I was like “finally!” because I knew I would meet her one day. She said she took one look at me and knew we were going to be friends.

She had a tiny newborn baby when I met her. By the time Delilah was 4 months old, Cinamon was my roommate, and she lived with me for about a year. Somehow, we not only managed to stay friends through that (I am AWFUL to live with) but we grew even closer after she moved out. She is the person I want to call every time there is anything going on in my life that I want to dish about. She knows exactly who I am, and she still thinks I am awesome. I think she is the most patient, kind, loving human being I have ever met…and she’s still super fun and weird and silly.

The other day, she called me and said she was on her way over, she needed to go through my closet and find a shirt, and it hit me- she filled the spot! How lucky am I? To get to have not just one, but three best girl friends in my life? I may not see Vera and Grace as much as I once did, but you can bet your ass, when we do get together it’s like not a minute has passed. And now I have Cinamon, and I am so grateful for her.  One TRUE friend is worth fifty kind-of friends, in my book, and I get to have three that I would do almost anything for.

I’m really counting my blessings for them this morning. I love you guys. 🙂

Posted in Addiction, Blogging, friendship, fun, Life, recovery, writing

The Blogger Appreciation Award

blogger-appreciation-award

I was excited to have been nominated the other day by The Non-Alcoholic Student for The Blogger Appreciation Award. I needed a few days to properly accept the award, mostly because I am challenged when it comes to things like figuring out how to insert links properly…hey, I’m here to write. The technical aspects can be a little intimidating. However, I did figure it out (it actually wasn’t all that hard), and now here I sit, feeling all appreciated and shit. Thanks for thinking of me, kid! Anyway, you should check out her blog- the title is pretty telling, but just in case you don’t get it, it’s a blog about a University student who is choosing the rare path of not drinking, rather than passing the time as a drunken mess.

Now lets see…what else do I have to do? Let me refer back to the rules…gimme a minute. Okay found them. Here they are:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their site.
  • Write a paragraph on something positive about yourself
  • Nominate and notify as many bloggers as you wish
  • Use the award image

Okay, I think I got the first part out of the way! Now let’s see…something positive about myself.

Well, I’m a pretty decent human being. I’ve been working hard on myself for a while now, and I seem to be making some headway. Having spent the majority of my youth deeply under the influence, it’s been interesting to see who I actually am under all the debris I am slowly clearing away. The answer, so far, is exactly that- a pretty decent human being. I am neither as awesome nor as repugnant as I had imagined. One thing I am continually surprised by is how good of a mom I am! I REALLY love making my kids the primary focus of my life- and yes, I know, that’s how most moms generally are, but…well, I wasn’t always this way. So I am really happy and proud of this. At two years and eight months in, I am still at the very beginning of a journey that I hope will last the rest of my life. I have a feeling that as I evolve, and continue to work hard at bettering myself, I am going to grow into exactly the woman I have always dreamed of being.

There, is that positive enough? Okay, on to the next thing. Nominating other bloggers I appreciate. Man, that is rough…I appreciate all of you guys. So, I am just going to pick three, but please know that you all bring something I love to the table, and that is why I follow you! Here goes:

My True North

Out an’ About

Hurrah for Coffee!

I hope you click on each link and give these bloggers a look! The last part asks that I use the award image- I am going to try to do that at the top of the page. We’ll see how THAT goes. Once again, I am so grateful to receive an award in appreciation of my blog. I pour a lot of my heart into this thing, and it feels great to know I am being heard, and reaching people here and there. I think that’s all any of us really want.

Talk to you all soon!

Posted in Addiction, friendship, Goals, inner peace, Learning, Life, Mental Health, People, recovery, relationships

Facebook Fast, Day 7

facebook

 

You might have noticed that I have been posting a LOT this week. I think I published three blogs more than I intended to, but…well…you see…the truth is, I think I may be suffering a little bit from Facebook withdrawals. I don’t think I mentioned here that one of my New Year’s resolutions was to do a detox from the social media site so many of us love to hate. So, starting December 31st, I have been FB free.

The first few days didn’t bother me a bit- to my surprise, I hardly even thought about it. If anything, I just felt relief, and maybe a sense of freedom. By day five, the relief felt more like emptiness- I had the nagging sense that I was supposed to be doing something, but I couldn’t remember what it was. “What IS it?” I kept thinking to myself, wandering around the house, looking for the…the thing, whatever it was that was missing.

Yesterday was rough. It was Saturday, and I had a lot of free time- more than usual, actually, since I am kind of on a self imposed quarantine. Not because I am sick, but because pretty much everyone else here on the peninsula seems to be. I didn’t go to my Saturday morning meeting, I didn’t go to the gym…come to think of it, I didn’t even leave the house once yesterday. Whoa. Anyway, I was home, alone aside from a seven year old who just wanted to be left alone with her Roblox game (I think that’s what it’s called), with a lot of time on my hands. This would be the time when I would normally jump onto Facebook and start scrolling away.

Okay, wait, I just lied. The truth is, there was never a time when I wasn’t jumping onto Facebook, scrolling away. That was part of the problem. The thing is, and you may not agree, but remember, I am talking about ME right now- the thing is, my addictive behavior can manifest itself in a myriad of ways. It goes WAY beyond drugs, into all sorts of compulsive BS. Listen, not only was I blessed with the gift of addiction, but I am also a genuine, medically diagnosed ADHD “sufferer” (I say this only because I think the people around me suffer from my ADHD way worse than I do!), with the added bonus of not being able to take medication for it because…well, because the medication they give you for ADHD is a LOT like the “medication” I had a big problem with. To put it mildly.

So Facebook lights up all the synapses for me- I can satisfy compulsions, it’s fast and sort of gratifying, I can go back to it again and again and again, I can post funny little snippets of my life and get the reward of “Likes” and comments, kudos and agreement. Yuck! Definitely an element of narcissism in there too, isn’t there? Yeah, it just started to be bad for me. No, it was bad for a long time, actually. Not only was it bad for me in that way, but it really fired up all my character defects, too. I judged the fuck out of everyone on there- for their level of interesting (“Oh God, you are so boring, no one cares!”), for their number of selfies (I literally have NO BUSINESS saying shit about this one- didn’t stop me from thinking it, though), for their “If you agree, type AMEN” posts (Um, no.), and for their spelling. I mean…how do you mess up so badly when spell check exists? Look, we all make mistakes at times, but I have seen posts that were indecipherable, and I don’t get it. Facebook started to make me feel bad every time I went on, and I went on about a million times a day.

So, I stopped, and yesterday was the first time I missed it, but then I realized something. I didn’t miss Facebook at all, not really. What I missed was the false sense of connection, of involvement in people’s lives, that it gave me. Yes, this year, one of the things I am striving for is connection, but not like that. Not pretend connection, and me sitting at home, judging the spelling and choices of others. I want real connection, with people in real life…and I think I may have forgotten how to foster that. I was actually a little bit lonely yesterday- that’s what was going on.

Today, I am going to practice reaching out- I have been doing that a little bit lately. I left an incredibly awkward voicemail message for my friend recently, and I can’t help but laugh just thinking about it. He still hasn’t called me back, either, the jerk, but he’s an old friend, so I’m not worried. It’s kind of weird even picking up the phone and calling someone these days, in this world of texting as the main form of communication. But this year, I want to hear voices, and see faces. I want to get together IRL, you know?

Oh, and the Facebook Fast is only supposed to last through January, but who knows? Maybe I’ll keep it up even longer. Then again, maybe I won’t last the month.

No, I totally will. Thanks for putting up with all my chatter this week! I’ve found a lot of new blogs to follow, and have connected with a few new bloggers, which is great. I’m really curious what your experience and habits with Facebook are like, so please feel free to fill me in in the comments!

Talk to you soon! (You can pretty much bet on that)

Posted in Addiction, advice, friendship, Life, love, Musings, recovery, relationships

The Fleeting Nature of Life

I have changed by leaps and bounds over the past two and a half years. Some of it was just by nature of staying off of drugs and letting my brain heal, but a lot of it was intentional and through hard, hard work, deep soul-searching, and honest reflection about the kind of person I am and who I want to be.

I am doing the recovery stuff- working with my sponsor, doing step-work, going to meetings. I am doing spiritual stuff- daily prayer and meditation. I have a therapist, I pay attention to my behavior, and try to reign it in when the way I am acting doesn’t jibe with the person I know I can be.

But nothing- and I mean NOTHING- can shake you up, nothing can clear the cobwebs out of your eyes, like the sudden loss of someone you love. I have never been more heartbroken in my life than I have since last August. That was when I lost my friend Joe, whom I loved so much more than I can even begin to explain, and even if I did, it wouldn’t make sense. That’s okay, though. Love doesn’t need to make sense, right? I always think about the way that most people get on my nerves, their frail human side is always coming to light, ruining everything. His never did. He never got on my nerves, like, not ever that I can remember. I am not trying to say that he didn’t have a bad side, that he never disappointed me or hurt my feelings, because he definitely did. He was just so easy for me to forgive. I wish I could love more people that way, but I haven’t yet (aside, of course, from my kids, but that is a different kind of thing altogether).

Anyway, he died. And it was one of the hardest days of my life, one of the worst phone calls I have ever survived. I remember that my knees just buckled, and I fell on the floor, the tears came in a torrent, and the grief was immediate and overwhelming. There have been lots of tears since then, and lots of times that I am totally fine. I can think of him or talk about him, and it makes me smile or laugh, no tears at all. As long as, you know, I don’t think too hard about what I am saying.

But what has happened as a result of him dying is, I have changed. I thought he was invincible. I know how stupid that sounds, but if you’d ever met Joe, you would understand why.  So, now that he is gone, I guess I view everything with more urgency, through the scope, I suppose, of someone who understands that life as I know it could change in an instant.

You might think that this would make me fearful, or hold on even more tightly to everything than I already do, but no…in a way, it has been a gift. Because I have had to face the fact that there is absolutely nothing I can do about some things. When it is your time, it is your time, plain and simple. Rather than making me cling to everything, I find myself learning to let go. Life is short. You had better enjoy every beautiful moment that makes itself available to you. Tell people you love them. Dance, be present, look up at the stars and the moon in the beautiful sky. Slow down. Say yes when you want to, and no when you should.

Don’t waste a bunch of time on petty anger, rushing through your day, always trying to get to the next thing, the next thing, the next thing. Take a moment to realize that this, right now, is your life. It is happening NOW. Maybe you are lucky, like me, and you are still relatively young, and your whole body works the way it is supposed to, and you can basically do anything you want to do. Do you realize how lucky that makes you? Don’t waste it. Don’t waste a single minute of it.

And that is all I have to say about that today. Carry on.