Tag Archives: love

The Next Right Thing.

next right thing

When I was still in active addiction, my choices in life were pretty limited. As a matter of fact, I came to the conclusion at one point that being an addict is like having a real handicap- you just cannot live a normal life at all. Simple things, like going to the grocery store, are a major life event- there’s a fine balance between being way too high and not high enough, and lets face facts, I was terrible at finding that balance. Of course, it’s all just a bunch of lies that your fiendish mind is feeding you, 24/7, but when you are in it, it seems very, very real. So, if going to the store is a big deal, things like going out to dinner with your family or flying somewhere on a trip out of town are just off the table, pretty much. I mean, unless your drug of choice happens to be alcohol, because that shit is EVERYWHERE. I’m sure that comes with its own set of challenges though- I can only imagine the bargaining and idea of moderating that must go on for alcoholics who are still using. I’ve often said I have a deep respect for alcoholics who can stay sober- I don’t know how in the world I’d stay clean if amphetamines were sold at every 7-11 and Safeway I frequented. As usual, though, I digress. My point is, life is very limited for the addict in active addiction. “Well, what about the choice to just not use?” You might ask. And to that I say- “Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha! You don’t get it, do you?”

Not using is less of a choice and more of an event in the life of an addict. It is something we dream about, we begin to think about constantly, it’s a promise we make to ourselves, and it usually goes something like this- “Tomorrow, I am going to stop.” “After this last _____ I am definitely done.” Or, “Just one more, just one more, just one more.” It can seem hopeless, and the more hopeless it seems, the more we obsess over it. For me, personally, I knew that I needed help on many occasions, but I was so scared to ask for the help I needed. I was afraid of losing my daughter. I was afraid of what people would think of me. And later on, when I was well established in my career, I was terrified of losing my job. There is a huge stigma attached to addiction, and this can make it nearly impossible for an addict to reach out for the help they desperately need. I know it did for me. What finally pushed me into getting help the last time was the realization that I better beat “them” (them being HR/ the police/ any and all government agencies that my paranoid brain was living in fear of) to the punch line- if I asked for help FIRST, I was safe, right? Well…actually, kind of, yeah. My addled mind got it sort of right. Had my job intervened on my behalf and sent me in for a friendly pee test, I would probably be writing this from the backseat of the car I live in. Luckily for me, I took some initiative, and despite my overwhelming fear, I faced up to the fact that I couldn’t do it on my own, and checked myself into treatment.

So, what happens when the dust settles, and you find yourself living an entirely different kind of life without drugs? Well, for me, the first two-plus years I spent still dealing with my behavior- the very thing, the impetus really, that drove me to be desperate for help in the first place. I hated myself. I thought if only I could be done with the drugs, I would be back to my “normal” self, and life would be good. Unfortunately, I didn’t account for two things: One, that my brain was truly fucked up- those years of assault with heavy drug use had made a mess of me, and my emotions and thinking were distorted and volatile. Two, I had been using for so long that there was no “normal” me. From the time I smoked my first joint at 13, until the last narcotic entered my bloodstream at 39, with very small stretches of abstinence interspersed throughout, I had missed out on everything. I had no idea how to live like an adult, act like an adult, or even how I was supposed to cope with an adult life.

I spent a good chunk of time just climbing out of the rubble pit of my own mind. Once the residual drama and conflict and chaos of active addiction started to fade, I found myself with So. Many. Choices. Oh my God, you guys, the options I have today! I am not exaggerating when I say that I can do pretty much anything I want to do, within reason, if I so choose. The choices are so varied that it can be downright…paralyzing, if I’m being honest. Where do I want to go? What do I want to do? What kind of person do I want to be? What kind of parent? I basically bulldozed my life and started it over, from the foundation up. It is both incredibly liberating, and terrifying. I don’t generally know what the hell I am doing, and yet I recognize that it is imperative that I make the decisions for myself. I can ask for help and advice from trusted friends and family, but ultimately, I must choose the life that works best for me. And that is so scary, because I could mess up. I could RUIN EVERYTHING. Just look at where I came from! I have no business running ANYTHING.

Yesterday, I had an epiphany. I don’t have to worry about the bigger picture all the time. I just need to have a general idea of where I’d like to be, and in the meantime, in my daily life, here is what I need to do: Act With Love. Choose kindness over impatience, whenever possible. Even in traffic, when half the population of this town appears to be driving with their heads up their asses. Practice the Golden Rule- treat others the way you want to be treated. Will they reciprocate always? Of course not, but I’ll try to do it anyway. It feels good. In NA and AA they often use the saying (among billions of others, trust me) “Do the next right thing” and this is what I am choosing to do- I may not be able to see what lies down the road ahead, but I can figure out the next right thing. I can do that. And yes, I have larger goals and bigger dreams, but…in the day to day struggle just to like myself and feel good about who I am becoming, I think acting with love is a really good place to start from.

**But don’t take my word for it, because I have almost no idea what the hell I am talking about, most of the time. LOL. **


My Girls


One thing in my life that it is never hard for me to be grateful for- even on the very worst days- are my daughters. Man, I hit the jackpot when it comes to kids! My girls couldn’t be more different…not only are they 13 years apart in age, they are just completely different personalities, and yet I relate to them both so much, in separate ways.

Yesterday, my eldest, Aisley, who is beautiful and complicated, came down off the mountain she now lives on for a short visit. She misses me so much now that we aren’t seeing each other every single day, and it’s been hard on her. So when she does get to come into town, she’s so excited to see me- she wants me to write down recipes for her, and she has so many things to show me and share with me. This daughter has always been my uber-affectionate little bear, and she still wants a million hugs and all my attention when she sees me. Yesterday, she planted a little vegetable garden out in front of my house for me. She put in little stakes with labels so that I would know what was what, and she made me promise to remember to water it. She has my dirty sense of humor, and we always make each other laugh, and I am so glad she belongs to me- that I get to be her mom. I’m so happy to call her mine.

And Cammy, my little one…oh, man. She is so smart and independent, with her giant vocabulary and the biggest heart. One of the great joys of my life is waking her up every morning. I always take a minute to watch her sleeping;  mouth open wide, hair in a big old knot on top of her head. She still lets me haul her into my lap for a quick cuddle most days, even though she hangs over both sides of me by quite a bit, and I can barely pick her up. I smiled this morning as I watched her lurch, half asleep, to her waiting bath, like a little drunk person. I know these particular days aren’t going to be around for too much longer…I am acutely aware of the passage of time, having been through this once already.

That’s all, really. I just wanted to take a minute to speak my gratitude for my children out loud to the Universe. I don’t know how I got so lucky- I definitely got so much more from this life than I probably deserved. But I am so in love with those girls, and feel so blessed to be their mom, still the most important woman in their lives. Every day I pray to be worthy of the task, to be the person they need me to be. Some days I fall short of the mark, but miraculously, they love me anyway. I don’t understand how that works, or why it’s true, but I’m sure glad it is.

Have a beautiful day. 🙂



I spent a good portion of last weekend cleaning my house. It needed to be done, and it always feels great having order restored, however temporary that order may be. But, when I found myself house-bound with a sick child both Monday and Tuesday, I was sort of at a loss for what to do. I could have folded the three loads of laundry that are sitting in a basket on my couch, but for whatever reason, I just can’t quite bring myself to deal with that. I did my normal avoidance routine, consisting of screwing around online, and binge watching yet another show (Mom this time, on Hulu- if you haven’t watched it, check it out. It’s pretty hilarious.). Eventually, though, I had to do something else, something productive, and I knew it was time. Time to deal with The Closet.

The Closet is in the hall, four doors, two on the bottom, two on the top, and I have been avoiding it for three years. Well, three years in March. That’s when I moved into this house, and that’s when I shoved The Closet full of bags and boxes of paperwork and keepsakes and God only knows what else, and left it to rot. I was still getting loaded when I moved into this place, and to be honest, I’ve been a little afraid of what I might find if I went poking around in there.

But on Monday, I put my big girl pants on and started digging- one bag and box at a time. There was a lot of junk, sure…things I should have thrown out eons ago. Printer cartridges for printers I don’t own anymore, file folders full of bills that no longer exist, insurance information for cars I no longer own. I filled up my recycle bin in the space of a few hours. I didn’t find anything to be ashamed of, though, and certainly nothing that put my recovery in danger. So that was a relief.

And then…and then I found some other stuff. I’ve kept boxes for each of my children- those fancy, pretty banker boxes- not the plain brown kind, but the ones you can buy at Marshall’s or Target with the beautiful designs on them? I’ve kept them for my kids and for myself for quite some time. I never really thought about how long I’ve kept them, and I don’t know if I’ve every thoroughly, soberly, gone through them since I started, but…I’m really glad I did.

Although I am working hard on my opinion of myself as a mother today, in the present, my opinion of the kind of mother I have been in the past has become rather concrete. I was a horrible mother, I decided, with no redeemable qualities, and my daughter would have been better off with anyone else. I was heartless and unloving and drug addicted, and I can rarely think of a time when I didn’t suck, heartily, at the task of parenting my eldest child. But her box of mementos tells a different story. I have every art project, every note to Santa and the Tooth Fairy, every report card and hand-made note she ever made for me- so many that I might need a bigger box. This “horrible mother” wrote things my daughter said to me on sticky notes and kept them, all these years. There are pictures of us that I had forgotten about, and we are laughing and playing, and clinging onto one another with love. My mind, my awful, lying mind told me a story and I believed it, and I have carried it around with me for all these years, without question. The things in this box tells me that maybe there is more to that story, more that I need to remember.

In my own box, I found cards and letters- real, hand written letters- from people whom I love, and who love ME. Letters from my best friend Grace, and letters and cards from my grandparents and mom, and a whole bunch of letters from Joe, my friend who died in August. You can’t imagine, you really can’t begin to imagine, how much that meant to me. Reading through all of those words from people who cared so much about me, not just when I was clean, but throughout the worst parts of my life, reminded me that I still had value, I was still worth so much, even when I believed myself to be worthless. I may not have been well, but I was loved, and I was worth something to all these people.

It blows my mind that living the crazy, chaotic life that I lived for so long, having lost nearly everything I owned on more occasions than I can remember, I managed to save these amazing items. I lost households of furniture and closets of clothes, but I have the discharge papers from my daughter’s birth in 1997, and all the cards from the people who visited me at the hospital. I lost everything, except the most important things of all- the slips of paper, the glossy cards, the letters that could fill in for me the memories I lost along the way. The story of a girl who wasn’t all dark, who always had a little light, a little more worth, than I could have remembered on my own.

The Closet is nearly done now- just one more shelf to go, and it will be neat as a pin. I put those boxes away after shedding a few tears, and I sat down on the couch full of wonder and feeling so much lighter. I am not exactly who I thought I was, and for once, I was so glad to be wrong…and anytime I start to forget, or start listening to the lying voice in my head, I know I can just pull one of those boxes down out of that closet, and find all the evidence I need that I’m not all bad. That there was something worth saving in me all along.

Most of the Time…

miss you


I am fine, most of the time.

And then, some days, like today, I miss you. I miss you being in the world, and I miss knowing you will be by, eventually, to check in on me. To check in with me. I miss the possibility of you. I miss that so much that it feels like the wind has been knocked out of me, and I want to double up and protect myself from the hurt, the physical pain of your absence.

I feel guilty for missing you so much. I have lost grandparents and friends, and I miss them all, of course I do. But this longing has legs, and it keeps creeping back up on me. You were…you were YOU. There is no one else that I looked at the way I looked at you, and I can’t help that. I’ve never known what to do with that information, not when you were alive, and even less now that you are gone. My love for you was almost embarrassing while you were here, and it is inescapable now that you’ve died. I keep bumping up against the truth of it, the way my heart won’t allow me to deny it, not to myself, not now. You may be somewhere else, but this weird relationship lives on. Not that it feels unusual for me to be in it alone- I spent a lot of time this way. But you always showed back up, always. Not this time.

What can I say? That you never had any business messing with me? I was so young, and you should have known better? Yeah, it’s true, but…I’m so glad you did. Should I say that I am sorry that I loved you, and I feel so bad for the hurt my loving you caused? I am. I’m sorry for the hurt I caused, but I’m not sorry that I loved you. I will never be sorry for that. I have so many regrets about my life, but that has never been one of them. I have loved others after you, and I will probably love others still…but I know that I will never love anyone the way I did you. You only get one love like that.  And besides, I will never be a nineteen year old girl again, able to love with reckless abandon, able to invest so much time in her devotion. I wouldn’t want to.

All these memories I have…you were the only one who knew, besides me. The way we would laugh about the crazy, stupid things we did. I never thought when I was with you, I was never afraid. I just knew you’d keep me safe, and you did. Now I remember alone, and it’s all tinged with sadness. What fun are memories you can’t share with the person you made them with? It’s just me, crying like a dummy in her kitchen, running to change the song that popped up on shuffle because it hurts too much right now to hear it.

I’m sorry it’s over. I know your life was not what you imagined it would be, and I know it wasn’t how you wanted it, and I know you wanted to change. I’m sorry you didn’t get what you were after. I hope wherever you are, you are happy and peaceful, and with your mom and dad, your sister. I hope you hear me when I talk to you, and that you know that I pray for you every single day. I hope you don’t get annoyed when I am weepy, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

And I’m so glad I chased after you, the last time you visited, and demanded one more hug. I don’t know why I did, but I was just so happy to have seen you. It was a good hug, and the expression on your faced stayed with me- amused and maybe a little baffled, like you wondered why I still liked you so much, after all these years. The answer is easy…because you were you.

You were you, and tonight I really miss you.

Down the Rabbit Hole I Fell…

rabbit hole
courtesy of pinterest

I woke up this morning in a fine mood- excited to be going to spend the day hiking with my older daughter, looking forward to doing something different and fun. Then I grabbed my phone off the charger, and was met with this all-too-familiar warning: “iphone storage is full-manage storage in settings.”

Well, shit. I would like to first say that I have just about had it with this stupid phone. I don’t know what is going on between my phone, my laptop, and my cloud. I don’t even think I really understand my cloud at all, to be honest. But with previous phones I’ve had, and previous laptops, you can upload all of your photos into your computer and move on with your life. I don’t know why, but my photos on my phone don’t want to go onto my computer. It’s a whole thing, and it pisses me off, and I just can’t deal with it.

Anyway, I knew I was going to want to take a lot of pictures today, and there is nothing worse than grabbing your phone to snap a shot and getting that stupid message about not having space on your phone. Ugh. So, I tried messing with my cloud. I tried figuring it out, tried seeing where the hell my pictures were going. I backed up my phone. I went through my phone and manually deleted about three hundred useless photos- horrible selfies, pictures of food, pictures that are already on Instagram. Then, I went into my Kindle and deleted books that I have already read. I went into my podcasts, and deleted downloaded episodes. I cleaned my phone. I deleted a couple of apps that I never use- literally, a couple. I use all of them, daily.

Then I went into my messenger app. This is when all the trouble began. Did you know that you could delete messages in there since forever? I apparently did not know that. I have messages dating all the way back to 2009, and to be honest with you, I wish I hadn’t gone into any of them. I am just sitting here feeling so many uncomfortable feelings right now, thinking about things I haven’t thought about in so long…

You know, my ex, he cheated on me. More than once. One of the things I did to figure out the truth was, I liked to reach out to the women he cheated with and try to befriend them, to get information out of them. I would find out all the awful things he said about me to them, and confirm that all of his lies to me were…well, lies. I would figure out a way to get them to divulge stark truths to me, and it was like a compulsion for me- I needed to know EVERYTHING. What did he say on this day, and where did he take you, and what did you do? I got screen shots of text messages, and full on letters back and forth. I had forgotten about so much of it, and it still really hurts.

I’m not mad at the women- not by a long shot. I am grateful that they shared what they knew with me, not that it wound up helping me very much in the long run. I continued to stay with him, for what reason, I couldn’t tell you. Maybe I have low self-esteem, maybe I needed to prove that I could, that I won, who knows what my reasoning was. I feel a lot of sympathy for that person that I was then- I know she was in a lot of pain, and I know she knew better on a certain level. Leaving was too hard at the time. What I know now is that staying was much more destructive than leaving would have been. I never forgave him, and you can’t make a relationship work when all you want to do is punish the other person. That isn’t even a relationship anymore. It’s something ugly and hard on everyone involved.

Seeing all of this now, it’s no wonder to me that I am hesitant as fuck to start dating again. It’s no wonder I would prefer not to be vulnerable, and just stay to myself. No big surprise that I have no interest in opening up to anyone, that I have real issues where love is concerned. I made some really bad choices, and now I am left with what I have- some serious baggage.

And here’s the funniest part of all- not ha-ha funny, but what the fuck is wrong with me funny…I can’t bring myself to delete the messages. I still want to have proof. Proof that I was right, proof that he lied, proof that love is a gamble I should not take again, maybe. I need to do it, I know. I need to get rid of it, because it’s over, and it’s in the past and it doesn’t even matter anymore. It shouldn’t even matter anymore.

But it does.

Anyway, I have enough room in my phone to take some pictures today. So I guess that’s good. 😦



surfacing by chuck aves
art credit: Chuck Aves

I decided I better write this out before I do my usual blog reading session this morning, because I know there will be a million stories from my fellow writers about the year behind and the year ahead. I want my words to at least feel original on their way out! So here we go:


This year has been one of the best years of my entire life, and I am not exaggerating. It has been a year of incredible self examination and change on a deep level. I am not the person I was 365 days ago, and I like this version of myself so much more. I put another year between me and the worst of my past, and so much of the fear and doubt and self loathing that I didn’t even know I was lugging around with me for so long, it has diminished. I am ending this year so much lighter than I started out- both lighter, as in carrying so much less, and lighter, less covered in darkness.  This year has been HARD, but it was work I needed to do, and I’m glad that I did. There is a calm place inside of me that I can almost always reach now, and there is a brake to slow me down where there never was before. I don’t have to escalate. I can hear myself. I am learning to mind my responses, that I don’t always have to react.

I lost someone that I love this year. It has been four months and four days since he died, and I think about him every single day. I thought about him every single day when he was alive, too. I don’t know what else I can say about this that I haven’t already written about here or here . A little bit of my heart, the only one who shared a lot of my favorite memories, and a really valued friend left the physical world, and I miss him. But I survived it, I stayed clean, and I learned how to grieve deeply, and that you can grow that way, too.

I feel like in 2017, I dived into the depths, and did some much needed exploration and learning. I brought light to places that had been dark for so, so long. I found places that had been forgotten, and brought them back into order. I have seen parts of myself I didn’t know existed, and know myself so much better now. I can look at myself from a different and kinder perspective, and it’s such a relief. But you can only stay under for so long.


Surfacing. Open. Curiosity. Interest. Joy. Inspiration. yes.

These words are the theme I have chosen for the year ahead. Of course, these words are MY choice, which means, if I get a vote, this is what mine will be. We don’t always get to choose.

If I do get to choose, however, I will have a year that is mostly lighthearted, and filled with love. I will have a year filled with appreciation of all that I have already, and all of the new things that will come into my world. There will be road trips, and plane flights, friendship and laughter. I am open to the possibility of love (you guys don’t even know how embarrassing that was for me to write. Definitely need to do some work in that area!) if it is easy and it fits- and if it is not easy, then it has to be worthy of working for.

My choice will be a year of connection, and togetherness, and bonding. I feel like I did so much solitary work this past year- it was good, and it SO needed to happen. But I am ready to venture out into the light of the great big beautiful world, and learn how to play with others. I want to go hiking, and to the flea market, and on day trips and weekend trips, play board games, get dressed up for dinner, and sit around in living rooms that aren’t my own, maybe, laughing until my sides ache. That is the kind of year I see for myself.

Now, don’t get me wrong- I have all of the usual resolutions, and maybe I will write more about them tomorrow. But today, I needed to state my intentions for the year to the Universe.

Last year was amazing. This year will be the best one yet. Happy New Year’s Eve, everybody.

This Christmas…



I am sitting here, at 5:24 a.m. on Christmas Eve, full of excitement and nerves. In just a little while, my oldest daughter and her boyfriend, who may as well be my third child, are going to be here to spend the night and wake up on Christmas morning with our little family (EXCITED!). Tomorrow, my mom, stepdad, and uncle are coming here, to MY house, to spend the day and have Christmas dinner…HERE. With ME! (NERVOUS!)

I am going to have a house full of the most important people in my life, and I could just cry over how happy it makes me. Every single year before this, I either had to drive three hours to spend a hurried Christmas at my late Grandparent’s home, or I opted out, and stayed home, missing everyone. I know that not every year will be this way- sometimes I am going to have to go to them. But this year, I made my mind up to stay home, and I wasn’t going to budge. And I am so happy that everyone is coming here. My uncle never goes ANYWHERE, so this is a really big deal!

I want to make it as special and warm and happy as I can for everyone, and lets be real- I am not exactly the hostess of the year. I’ve been known to run and hide in the bathroom when someone unexpectedly shows up at my door. Or stay very, very still until they go away. So I keep finding myself getting bunched up with anxiety, worried about the state of my home (i’ll be cleaning like crazy for most of today) or how small my house is, or how shoddy and fur covered my couch is, or…but you know what?

None of that stuff matters. If it matters to certain other people (cough-my mom-cough) then I need to remember that that is her shit, not mine. My job is to do the best I can, but more than that, to enjoy my family. So that is what I am going to do. I have managed, for the first time in my life, to make it through this hectic season with love in my heart and a smile on my face. I have been as generous and thoughtful and kind as I know how to be- even when no one was around to witness it. I have kept my program of recovery in mind, and tried to behave accordingly because I want to be a good example- this one fell flat many times, but the point is, I am trying. REALLY trying. Because I want so much to have a happy life, not just a happy Christmas.

But really, what it comes down to is this: I have decided I WILL have a wonderful Christmas, so that is what I have set about creating. I can’t absolutely control the outcome- first of all, no one ever can do that, and secondly, control is the very thing I am working on relinquishing- but I have done all the things I can, both inside of me and out, to invite the best outcome. And I have made up my mind to enjoy whatever comes.

One thing I know for sure is that my family has given me the best gift of all just by agreeing to show up. I feel pretty freaking loved.  Which makes it SO much easier to get into the Christmas Spirit, you know? It stopped being about what was under the tree for me a LONG time ago. Sometimes, it wasn’t about anything, and I couldn’t feel much besides stress and irritation, relief when it was all over. But this year- this year is very different. I think for the first time ever, my head is clear enough, my heart healed enough, that I can access the things that matter most of all during the holidays- Love, Family, Peace, Hope.  It’s been such a long road for me, but I wouldn’t change a thing. It’s so nice to be right where I am.

I hope all of you get to have something like this feeling I have today. If not today, then very soon. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays.

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.

First Times


I think you get to a point in life, a certain age, when you think most of your “firsts” are behind you. At 42, with the life I have lived so far, I certainly felt like that was true. And then something happens, out of the blue, that knocks you right the fuck off your feet, and you realize how wrong you were. How wrong I was, I mean. Yeah.

I’ve started this before, and had to abandon it, because it turned into something I didn’t want it to be. You see, I lost someone I cared about the other day, and it was sudden, and awful, and I was not…because you cannot ever be…ready. I was GUTTED. I couldn’t get my shit together. I have never in my life fallen on the floor because I literally could not stand up beneath the weight of what I had just learned, but I did that, I did it when I heard about this death on Monday morning. I fell right on the floor. The tears did not waste a moment in coming, and the sounds that I made for the next two days were feral and weird and would have been embarrassing if I gave a fuck. Which, by the way, I did not.

I missed two days of work, but I have been checked out all week. I can’t seem to get my thoughts to move too far past this event. “Joe is dead.” my head keeps reminding me, as if I could forget. “Psst- Joe died.”

And here’s the thing: I don’t really cry. It’s been a concern of mine for a while, like- is something wrong with me? Is something in there broken, that I never cry? This has been a real worry I’ve had, one that I have discussed with friends and even with my therapist. I’ve thought about getting acupuncture, or that kind of massage that unblocks your fucked up energy, whatever it’s called. I honestly thought I had problems (Oh wait, I do. But that’s not what I am talking about, thanks). What I had was just a bunch of little shit not important enough to cry over. Because I have cried this week. A lot.

I don’t really want to write about Joe. I just don’t. I will say this much- anyone who knows me well, knows that I loved him. I’ve let a lot of friendships fall to the wayside as my life has changed, but I held onto his. I am having a tough time imagining my life without his visits for coffee, or playing cards with my six year old and I. I liked talking to him so much. He made me feel like I should be proud of my life, as if he were proud of the life I have made for myself. I can’t even put it into words without making it sound so paltry, and it wasn’t, so I’m going to stop. The point is, I will miss him.

Back to first times- so, this is the first time that I have ever tried to go through something like this without putting a drug or a drink in my body to change the way I felt. I have to say, it really sucks. I mean, Jesus, the FEELINGS I have had to FEEL this week. Oh, Lord. It’s like the difference between turning on your kitchen sink, and smashing open a fire hydrant. I realize that if I want to hold onto my clean date, intoxication is not an option for me, but man, a stiff drink would have been really welcome at a few points these past few days.

There is a reading in Just For Today that talks about loss in recovery. I always skip over that one, because it seems so morbid and jinxy to me. I hate that reading. It just came up not too many days ago, and I skipped over it again- such a downer. I think I should probably go read it, now that I am feeling less volatile. What I really feel like is this: I’m glad I got to grieve this death clean. My friend deserved all those tears, and that grief, for the loss of his life. That probably sounds so weird, but I know what I mean. I’m not trying to put down the way anyone else copes with grief, not even. I’m just saying, for me, I’m happy to get to be fully present for it. If it had to be this way, I want to show up all the way.

It’s Friday. I have to go into the office today, and be around people for the first time all week, and I think it will be okay. I think everything is going to be okay. I am just going to keep doing this because that is what we all have to do, right? Life really does go on. The world stands still for a beat…and then it just goes on. Rest in Peace, Joe. I love you.




broken heart


There are few things that can bring the past back to me quite as viscerally as music can. Memories I might grasp for another time come sliding back to me, unexpected, with the right (or wrong) song playing in the background.

When you have the kind of past I have, it can be painful, sometimes- even the happy memories. Today, we were listening to the Dixie Chicks, a CD that once had permanent residence in my old Camry’s stereo. Cowboy, Take me Away came on, and I remember driving around, with the song turned up loud, the windows down, the sunlight streaming in- and this little tiny dark headed girl in her car seat in the back, singing along with me.

She’s all grown up now. Our lives were such a mess back then- well, my life was, and hers, by association. Any happy memories I can find, I cling to, because there just aren’t that many of them. It was a dark time for me, and I was very, very deep in my addiction. I didn’t know how to be a mother, or what it meant, or what, exactly, I was robbing her of. Oh, if only I had known. You know, my heart will very probably never heal from that. I know, I know- we are supposed to learn to forgive ourselves, to leave the past in the past…but I think there is a part of me that honestly doesn’t feel like I ought to forgive myself.  Like maybe punishing myself for the rest of my life is my penance for robbing my daughters childhood of the joy that was hers by right. I don’t know, but I do know this: However it is I feel, I won’t be talked out of it. Trust me, it’s been tried.

Heartbreak Town. I remember listening to that on our way to Reno, where I ran off to, to escape myself. There she was again, that little person in the back seat…always in the back seat. If you are curious, I didn’t fool myself into being someone different just because I crossed state lines. I was still me, still sick, still not a mother anyone should have had. Sometimes I try to imagine what it must have been like for her, but when I do, it hurts too much.

It is only recently- maybe just since she has been sort of a “grown-up”, or maybe it is because I am raising another daughter now, in such a completely different way- that I have started to sincerely wish there were some way I could go back, and do things differently. I know that kind of thinking is useless and foolish. I know I would be better off trying to make my amends to her now, by being the best mom I can NOW, and I do that, I do…but still. If I could just go back, just for one measly little day, and be tender with her. Give her my undivided attention. Just hold her, and love her, and do all the mommy stuff I have learned to do now…I would just really like to do that, that’s all.

This is a lot of stuff to carry around inside of one small heart. The memories, and the worry about what you may have inflicted upon another small heart, one that you created. To look back and see all of the time, and the chances, and the love you wasted. It doesn’t feel very good. I’m glad to say I don’t sit in this shit every single day, but when I do, I don’t even try to deny myself the opportunity to cry about it anymore. It’s a sad and terrible way that I chose, and if it didn’t make me cry, I guess that would mean I haven’t changed much, wouldn’t it? But I have. So at least there is that.