Posted in advice, alcoholism, Blogging, faith, inner peace, Learning, Life, recovery, twelve step

The Courage to Face Yourself

courage

I remember the exact moment that it hit me. The moment when I realized that the only reason I was still using every bit of energy I had, every resource I could scrounge up, to come up with some pittance of dope day after day. It wasn’t to get high- I couldn’t get high anymore if I wanted to, that ship had long since sailed. It was to keep myself one step ahead of what was constantly nipping at my heels. The truth. The truth about who I had become, and what I had made of my life. The truth about the wreckage I had caused, and the collateral damage…the pain I had inflicted on everyone around me.

I was in my living room, in a shitty apartment in Reno, Nevada, and I was stalking around the way I always did- restless, agitated, trying to figure out my next hustle. Half out of my mind from lack of sleep and fried brain cells, and it hit me. A moment of clarity that I really wasn’t looking for.

“You’re going to have to face yourself, eventually.” The thought came out of nowhere, and it was one of those weird moments where it sounded like my own voice in my head, but it didn’t feel like it came from me. I didn’t want to hear it, but I couldn’t help it. I remember that I stopped my pacing, and considered what my head had just told me. I wasn’t ready yet, not at that moment, but something had happened. A seed had been planted, blown into me from somewhere- maybe it was God, maybe it was just my own desperate psyche, trying to save me. I don’t know.

After that, weird little moments kept cropping up- I would be in the bathroom, brushing my teeth, and catch sight of myself in the mirror, and find myself thinking “Can I even get back to the person I used to be? Does she even exist anymore? What if she isn’t real? What if all I am is this nightmare of a human being?” Or, at two in the morning, I’d find myself nodding off on the couch, thinking “What if I can’t change? What if this is just who I am?”

I didn’t realize it at the time, but looking back, I can see that all those questions were more than just idle thoughts. They were the very beginning of my escape plan. The very idea of doing something different was so absurd, so foreign to me, that at first, all I could handle were these tiny little thoughts. Eventually, they grew and grew, until I had worn myself out enough that I had no choice but to drop from exhaustion. My first surrender was pure exhaustion, so complete that I couldn’t even wave a white flag. I just gave up because I had nothing left in me to keep going.

My first spin through recovery was more of a reprieve. I made it two years, I relapsed for one day, then made it another year. I went through the motions, learned all the acronyms, went to meetings, thought I was getting somewhere. But after all that time, when the opportunity to use came along again, I jumped at it, and it wasn’t long before I was right back where I’d been before, with the exception that I was now employable, responsible, and really good at faking my way through life. In short, I was a functioning addict now as opposed to the totally dysfunctional one I had been before. Progress, right? Yeah, I don’t think so.

When I got clean again almost three years ago, I had no idea how different this time would be for me. I had no clue that I was finally ready, and that the work I was about to embark on would be painful, hard and the most life-changing thing I could do for myself. Thank God I didn’t know! If I had, I never would have had the courage to start. I have unearthed things I never wanted to look at again, I have told the truth about things I hadn’t even known I was lying about all my life. It has been gut wrenching and frightening at times- to see myself in the most unflattering of lights, to realize what a mess I made, not just of my own life, but of the lives I was responsible for. My kids definitely carry the shrapnel of my battles in their skin. There are some things I will never be able to fix, unless someone figures out how to build a time machine.

But even so…what could I do? My past mistakes are so intrinsically linked to the joys of my life, they could never be separated. I had to be who I was to make the choices I made to get to exactly where I am. If I went back in time and changed one thing, I would not be this person sitting here, writing this, right now. The framed pictures of my children that I can see would not be there, because they wouldn’t be here, none of it would.

So, if I couldn’t change any of it, and if it was so painful to face, why do it at all? You might ask. Why not just leave the past in the past and move forward, leave all that shit behind you. The only thing I can tell you about that is, there is no peace in burying the truth. The moment I found the courage to face the ugly truth, the moment I took responsibility for who I had been and what I had done, the past lost its power over me. I still have moments, nearly every day, where I feel remorse or regret over something that happened long ago. But they are just twinges now, they don’t feel like a punch in the gut anymore. And that really IS progress.

You cannot heal and hide at the same time. Anyone can run away from the truth, or bury it- but you can’t bury it deep enough to keep it away. The truth ALWAYS finds a way back to the surface. The most courageous thing I have ever done in my life wasn’t getting clean- it was inviting the truth up to meet me, seeing it for what it was, and finally, setting myself free.

via Daily Prompt: Courage

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Posted in advice, Blogging, Learning, Life, Musings

The Perfect Word For Me

Candid
I have yet to participate in the daily prompt, but the word today is “Candid”, and I can’t think of a better word to describe me and my blog. Of course, now that I have repeated the word a few dozen times in my head, it has stopped making any sense to me at all, as is the norm. Dammit. Okay, hold on.

So, according to my Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary (be still, my nerdy little heart) Candid means: frank, outspoken, open and sincere. Straightforward, free from reservation…Well, I don’t know about free from reservation. Definitely have had my moments of “Should I really talk about this?”

But here is what I have figured out- when I write about (or talk about, which I also do) things that no one wants to write or talk about, people are so relieved. They are so happy to hear that they are not alone, that they are not the only ones thinking or doing or living with whatever set of circumstances they’ve been feeling so weird about.

I figured this out long, long before I started blogging- long before blogging was even a thing- that no matter how weird I thought something about me was, when I talked about it, other people invariably laughed and looked surprised, and said “Me, too!”. There have been no exceptions, or, if there were, I don’t remember. What I learned was, I am incredibly average- there is nothing that weird about me at all, except for maybe my propensity for discussing things we normally do not discuss. Those are my favorite, and I think the most important, things to discuss.

Okay, so maybe not everyone struggled with years and years of addiction. But I can guarantee you that everyone loves, or at least knows, someone who does have this struggle. So maybe for them, this is eye opening. Maybe they can understand a little better because I choose to be open with my struggles. Not everyone who has kids wonders if they aren’t the best parents…no, actually, probably everyone with kids wonders this at least a little. Hey, I am here, writing about my own deep love for my kids, and wondering if it’s enough.

Being candid in the world we live in now is more difficult than ever- it has become scary as hell to offend someone, and there is so much PC bullshit, you never know who the hell you might upset. My advice is to say what is on your mind. I mean, yeah, don’t be a racist weirdo- as a matter of fact, if you think what you want to say is racist, just don’t talk. We don’t want to hear that shit. But if it’s real, and true for you, say it. When someone asks you what you think, tell the truth. Be candid. That is a valuable asset these days- my friends seek me out when they need an honest assessment of something troubling them, because they know I will give it to them straight.

Be kind, but be candid. Be careful, but honest. There are enough fake people in this world, who will tell you what you want to hear when that will not help at all. Don’t be one of those people.

via Daily Prompt: Candid

Posted in aging, family, inner peace, Learning, Life, love, People, relationships

Rest Until You’re Ready Again.

hurt

 

I wrote a blog last night. It was really long, and I was really tired. I decided not to post it, but to read it over in the morning…I am very glad I showed some restraint, there, because I surely did not in what I had written. I know you are dying to read it now, but you will just have to wait until either I am dead, or someone hacks my WordPress account. And let me just say, how bored would THAT person have to be? Also, it was a bit hard to read, as I changed the subject about twice a sentence. Yeah, not everything I write is fantastic- unlike this little gem is already proving to be. Ha!

So, let me tell you about my week- the one that just passed. My older daughter got thrown into Juvenile Hall, I have probably removed five years from my life thanks to my blood pressure remaining around stroke levels for a record amount of days due to seething rage and hatred, and, the tattered remains of the “relationship” I was hoping to salvage, were found to be utterly unsalvageable. I say “relationship” because, truly, it has been less than that for longer than I care to admit. Way longer than I was willing to stop pretending. Plus, we do not relate to one another in ANY manner, so how can it be called a relationship? I think what we had was more like a fiascoship, or a nightmareship, or something. Okay, I better stop, or I won’t be able to post this one either.

You know what? I am fucking exhausted. I am tired of working like a crazy person to keep so many things going, for so many people, and getting very little appreciation for it. I am tired of defending myself to selfish teenagers and selfish men who couldn’t make it a day in my shoes. I miss my daughter like crazy, and I wish that she were home, but it would be pretty nice to have her treat me kindly when she didn’t want something from me. I tried as hard as it is possible for me to try to make things work with the little one’s dad, and I know I did. I also know that there are no more ways I can trick myself into thinking I have found a solution, a way for us to soldier on until a more permanent fix is found, down the road.

Here is the deal- I believe in my true heart that the man I spent the past five years of my life with is a really messed up person. I know he reads this, and I’m sorry if this offends him, but he really is. The level of deceit that goes on in his daily routine, and the volume of negative, unhealthy energy he carries around with him is so unusual that I honestly couldn’t come to terms with it. The ONLY thing I have seen him do well is be a dad, and even then, that extends only to our child together. His other kid, who is really a great person, has been mostly out of sight for FIVE years. So I can only wonder how our experience will go. I have never before felt the way I do when I am around him- like I could really harm him, or anyone foolish enough to upset me further than he already has- and I never, ever want to again. I don’t like myself at all when I am near him, ninety percent of the time, and I don’t want to continue to be with someone who I can’t like myself around. My kid, I can’t get rid of ( and I love her, I really don’t want to), but I don’t have to do this anymore.

I know that I need to start making better decisions. I knew this a long time ago, when I kept choosing to stay when, inside, I KNEW it was a bad idea. I didn’t understand how high the stakes would end up being- now we have a kid, and I am older, and I am scarred from all of this shit. Not to mention, I have plenty of my own issues to deal with, aside from this. Ack! I am getting overwhelmed just talking about this, right now…which brings me to my point:

I spend a good portion of my day, every single day of my life, questioning myself, condemning myself, and doubting myself. I worry that I am not a good mother, that my kids will grow to hate me, that I do everything wrong, that I do not love them enough, or let them know how loved they are. I worry about my job, about not liking my job, about losing my job even though I don’t really love it, I worry that I don’t deserve my job. I worry about this relationship bullshit- that he’s right, and it’s me, that I am too harsh. That I have stayed too long, given up too soon, that I am making a mistake. I worry that I will be alone forever, and that I might have to go through this again. And those are just THREE parts of my life! Can you imagine?

I am going to try to be kind to myself. After he leaves, I generally have this wretched feeling of mean-ness and failure, and this is no different. I am not going to allow myself to continue punishing myself for where I am. I didn’t want to be here, but it’s where I am. I need to be okay so that I don’t have to stay here, right? I am NOT going to think about what’s next, nor dwell on what has happened. Today, I am just going to do what I told my toddler to do, yesterday, when she was getting frustrated, trying to learn to hop on one foot-“Rest a minute ’til you calm down- just rest until you’re ready.”

Posted in family, friendship, inner peace, Life, love, People, relationships, Uncategorized

Dilemma

now-what-slideI haven’t felt like writing, the last couple of days. Or, I haven’t felt like writing the stuff I want to write about. Okay, that makes no sense…I guess I don’t feel able to write about the stuff that would make the most sense for me to write about right now, because it is personal, and writing personal stuff has become an issue. Not for me, though- I have no problem with it at all. It’s that, unfortunately, my personal problems nearly always involve at least one other person, and that other person, no matter who it is, gets upset at me for writing about them. My mother thinks I portray her as a horrible person. My best friends somehow interpreted a blog about them as me calling them alcoholics (I re-read this very carefully, and there is no credence to this whatsoever). And of course, the man with whom I share my most recent child…he gets very upset.

The biggest issue he has seems to be that I do not fairly represent his perspective…well, yeah! Most of the writing I have done about him has been in moments of anger, despair, and frustration, and most of the time I was utterly baffled by his behavior. Kind of hard to describe a point of view you are incapable of seeing. Lots of times I wrote as a means to give order and sense to a confusing set of circumstances. Or just to blow off steam. That’s how I always wrote before I had a blog, for the same reasons. I realize that this is a public forum, and if I wasn’t such a praise junky, I’d have made it anonymous and kept my stuff somewhat private…but I am, and here we are.

I resent having to censor myself. Part of me thinks people should just act right and then they’d have nothing to worry about, right? Part of me thinks people are overly-sensitive and not very honest with themselves about what is and is not true about their character. Most of me just feels frustrated that I am worried about speaking my mind, and allowing this to affect my writing, the one thing I have one hundred percent freedom with. A small part of me thinks I would not like someone else writing about me. Ugh.

I could write it out in a private word document, but what would be the fun in that? I am hooked on hitting the “publish” button, then checking my stats every three minutes for the next 24 hours. WordPress has ruined me.

So, I am not going to tell any of you anything. At least not about this, not right now. I will do what the other 98% of the world does when something is eating away at them-keep it to myself, stew, take it out on innocent bystanders. Have some road rage. Take Ativan on a weekend morning, in protest of my insufferable thoughts, and as a flagrant act of passive-aggression. Can’t piss me off if I’m unconscious, that’s my motto. Eh, if only I still had some Ativan…

I’m unhappy. I was so happy just recently, and so this unhappiness is unexpected, and doubly upsetting. I know how to be happy, but I don’t like thinking about what I must do to get there. But the answer has always been the same, I just keep finding new ways to side-step it. I think I am out of ideas. If that is not vague enough to make you want to throw a shoe at me, I don’t know what could be. And I’m sorry. One more thing I just don’t know how to get around right now. Goodnight.

Posted in family, Life, writing

Write Like No One Is Reading…

Yesterday, my mother was upset with me. She said that I make her look “Like a monster.” in my blog posts…Although I tend to disagree, for the record, I would like it to be known that my mom is anything BUT a monster. She’s my mom- she’s tried her hardest to be there for me, she’s suffered a lot watching me suffer, she’s loved me no matter what. The last thing I want is to give the impression that she’s been a bad mom.

That being said, I did not have a perfect childhood (who has?). I did not have perfect parents (who did?). There was a lot of ugly stuff that went down, and I can’t pretend it didn’t. When I feel like I need to write about it, I’m going to. Let this serve as a blanket disclaimer, then- I don’t blame anyone for anything. I’m sorry if I write about you and it makes you feel bad- if I’m bothering to take the time to write about you, I must care for you an awful lot. Otherwise, I wouldn’t waste my time.

One of the things I think people appreciate about me is that I am an honest girl. I think the best way I can honor myself  and the people that read the stuff I write is to continue to be myself, which means to be REAL. I like to talk about the things that I don’t always hear people talking about, because I’ve learned that people really, REALLY want to talk about it. They just don’t always know how. So I’m going to write like no one is reading, the way they tell us to “dance, like no one is watching.” I’m not trying to upset anyone. I’m trying to have a conversation with whoever wants to chime in.

In the last three months, I’ve told you that I feel middle aged and fat. I’ve told you that I smoke. I’ve shared with you that I am a recovering drug addict. I told you how much I yell, how much I eat, how much my teenage daughter hates me. I shared with you that I had a miscarriage three years ago, and that I wasn’t that thrilled (at first) to find myself pregnant at the age of 35. Looking at it THAT way, I’d say I’m not exactly painting myself in the grandest of lights, eh? But you guys told me you relate to that! That is reality for a lot of folks (hopefully not ALL of it, for your sake) and it’s the stuff we keep inside of ourselves…it’s the stuff that makes us feel different and shamed and apart from other people. My suspicion is that we ALL are just alike, we all have that stuff- and if we don’t, we just don’t YET.  No one goes through life unscathed.

The point is, I want to connect with people. I have always been this way- I never leave a grocery store without making a new friend. I’m the girl in the  office that you can talk to about ANYTHING, who will share right back with you. Nothing makes me feel better than connecting with another human being on a deeper level. When I write this blog, I want to connect with whoever is reading it. I may not be able to look you in the eye, but I do get to read your comments, here, and on Facebook, and I know that I am doing that.

If it means that I do it because we both had shitty parts of our childhoods, so be it. We made it anyway. If you relate to me because you have struggled with addiction, too- great! We are surviving, right? If you have a brother who is an alcoholic, a daughter that is a nightmare, a puppy who only eats your most expensive shoes, or a boyfriend who cheated on you, broke your heart, and you loved him anyway- guess what? If you read my blog, you will know you are not alone. I am proof positive that ALL of those things can happen in one – not -even-that-long-of-a-life, and happiness is still within your reach.

That is what I want you to take away from my blog. So I’m going to keep writing it, exactly this way. Sorry mom.