I am trying to sort out my experiences and thoughts to better understand how to move forward and not stay stuck in the past.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Motivation and Intention

Why are you really doing this?  What are you really trying to say? What are you hoping to accomplish?  These questions are like a sieve to me.  In my prospecting for mining the right words and actions, I first toss them on my intentions and motivations sieve, shake them, roll them around, examine them mentally, and when they shine with the meaning I truly intended, I carefully choose them and hope that my motivation will transfer the right meaning. I do that with everyone.  I started because when I did my internal readjusting, I noticed a few things about myself.  The first was that I spoke a code that I was assuming others could decipher. I assumed that they would understand that certain inflections and word orders would clearly state my intent in an otherwise opposite sounding statement.  I also discovered that I assumed people were mind readers and thought exactly the way I did.  (Why wouldn't they, right?)  The third thing I noticed about myself, and this was a little more ambiguous; I was hoping that I wouldn't have to show my negative emotions (frustration, anger, resentment) that my word choices would act as a bee's stinger would--stinging, injecting and making the receiver of my words have to figure out the cure or meaning, while I walked away relieved and somewhat less stressed.  Crazy thinking.  Selfish behavior.

I think what started my own inner house cleaning was experiencing those same techniques by other people.  Someone would say something to me, it could be well intentioned, motivated by guilt, or just a request that they were hesitant to ask, and it wouldn't make clear sense to me.  I started to ask myself, "Why did they just say that?"  "What did they really mean?"  It has taken awhile, but now it's pretty standard for me to sort through the words and realize the real meaning.  I started doing that with myself.  "Why was I saying this?"  "Did it matter that I made this comment?"  "What is my motivation for saying this, to help or hurt?"  In the beginning, when I was sorting out my own stones from gold emotions, I ended up saying less because I realized that I was directing some hurt on a person, making them responsible for 'working it out'.  I would be relieved for a little, but the hurt would creep back in and I would still have to deal with it.  Sifting through the rubble of emotions to find the golden intent, has helped me to understand myself better. I'm more clear about what I want and think. I talk less, and listen more. My words are more valuable, because I now choose their value more carefully. Words are powerful. They can give a richness and hope to life, or they can hold you back, like mud. There is a responsibility in choosing the right words and understanding why you're choosing them.

This Christmas was perfect. My son and daughter were here, along with my dad. It was happy, and fun and everyone was well. It was an answered prayer.  Yesterday, a package came from my ex for my daughter.  Christmas gifts. With the gifts was a card.  Here is what he wrote to her:  "Another year has come and gone. Another year that I wish we were closer. I was so looking forward to you coming to Pensacola.  At only 45 minutes away, you could have stayed with me.  Ah, well, I guess God has another plan for you." Sounds innocent and caring, right? (Bring out the sieve)  My daughter feels bad about withdrawing from school.  I'm thankful she did, but she feels guilty, as if she's failed.  She hasn't. My ex on the other hand, has never seen life from someone else's view. He views life as he feels it should be not as it really is. He can have a million 'do-overs', but will not allow the same freedom to others.  Reminding her of the past (she was going to do clinicals in Pensacola) and then the 'Ah, well...' statement, was so barbed with guilt, I could feel her inner remorse pricking her as I watched her read his card.  Of all the words he could have chosen, he chose those.  Not to help her, or show her how much he loves her, but to remind her that he's disappointed that she made the choice she did.  His motivation is guilt, his intention is to remind her of what he's going to miss out on, not what she has been going through.

Words can stir hope or crash dreams. What motivates someone to speak, what their intentions plan to convey, give the spoken words the ability to help someone live or they can add on another link that continues to bind them to their pasts.  We are accountable for the words we choose and the way they're used.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Becoming a Rose

I am never going to be the same as I was before my daughter's plunge down the rabbit hole of addiction. I'm never going to be totally at peace, totally worry free, experiences are not ever going to have the same total joy they used to have. Regardless of how wonderful an event is, I'm never going to be fully there because in the back of my mind, fear, worry, 'what if', and resentment hide, hunkered down behind some memory ready to pop up and yell, "What if she drinks, again? Remember...?"  I really hate that nothing will ever be the same as it was or could have been, had this addiction not seduced my daughter.  Life will be harder and I resent that.

That is what is on my mind every day. Not always in the front of my thinking, but floating around, a black butterfly amidst the beautifully colored ones.  My friend and I were talking about this on our way home, last Saturday, from Christmas shopping.  She picked me up, we went to breakfast at this cozy diner. I had a crepe banana walnut pancake with whipped cream--a perfect breakfast!  Then we shopped in this area of town that has various vendors tucked in along the street, outside of cute little shops and old, ethnic grocery stores. I love that place.  So many aromas, and sounds. It is so fun.  Anyway, on the way home, we started talking.  She is from a family who has had their share of tragedy involving addictions. She is a dear and trusted friend, and because of her experiences, so patient and wise.  Anyway, it was while we were talking that it hit me.  Before my daughter's addiction, I was like a bud on a flower.  My thinking was like that. Kind of tight.  But, because of the addiction, my thinking and attitude have blossomed into a rose.  All of the different petals representing the new understandings I have, about me, someone with addiction and applying that to other parts of my life. Though it still makes me angry, I am more understanding. Though I am living in the shadow of fear, my hope is gaining light, though I resent what has been delayed in life, I am able to see alternatives more clearly. The petals are still opening, but there are two that I think are the most important;  really understanding what it means to not be judgmental and loving more patiently.  I reflect on that, a lot.  So, through this process, as crushing and choking as it has been, there has also been healthy growth and maturing. Out of bad, comes good. In the darkness shines some light. Though there are thorns on the stem, a beautiful rose rises above.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Boundaries and Trust

My daughter and I watched the movie Crash last evening. Actually, I walked in on the last forty-five minutes of it.  She explained the characters and what was going on. It reminded me of the 'Lifeboat Scenario' where you're given a piece of paper with a list of seven people. They're in the middle of the ocean with one life boat. The quandary, only six people can fit into the boat. Who do you save?  Then they give short bios of the people. There's a stay at home mom with 5 children. A prostitute/drug addict who used to be a nurse and has an expert knowledge of cardiac care. It goes like that-severe traits of good and bad. In my experience when I was in school, the stay at home mom was usually the one who got tossed over board, basically because she had no visible 'skills.'  So, even the serial killer, who used to be a brain surgeon is saved over the mom.  It was very telling to see the thought process and reasons for eliminating an individual.  The movie last night was like that.  A car thief who frees Cambodian refugees; a policeman who murders a thief (the thief was changing his ways) because he reacted too quickly and then hides the murder.  Situations that gave fuzzy boundaries; is he good or bad?

I realized watching the movie that boundaries are vital for trust.  Offering such severe examples fuzzies the boundaries and if the boundaries aren't clear then neither is trust, and understanding, and a handful of other emotions necessary to establish good relationships. Without clear boundaries, you're left in a kind of limbo of 'what do I feel?'  In one of the scenes, Sandra Bullock's character tells a friend on the phone, "I'm mad all of the time and I don't know why."  I think a lot of people are like that in real life.  I think anger and confusion, desperation, comes from not having clear boundaries in a lot of areas of our lives.  As a society, I'm not sure how to change that, but as individuals setting up boundaries is necessary for mental clarity. I'm not for judging individuals. I do believe people can change, and in general are trying the best that they can.  I am for clear boundaries, though, as an emotional barrier to keep life clear. I think it can be scary not knowing how you should feel, or even worse, what should I feel?  Maybe the fuzzy boundaries are a reason addiction is more and more prevalent. Maybe, there are some people who are so frustrated and stressed by not knowing or understanding the boundaries, that 'checking out' and not dealing with it is better than sitting in that hazy, emotional limbo. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Communication Through Association

This is a real conversation that happened in class  (I have changed only the names).
We are still learning about ancient civilizations in social studies. I read them a story about Gilgamesh. We were reviewing the story.  Four of the students were sitting with me at the group table, and one student was refusing to participate in the group, so opted to stay at her seat.

Me: Okay, I would like us to review the story we read about Gilgamesh. Remember him?
All: (various forms of acknowledgement)
Me: Good. Well, remember in the beginning, the author told us something about Gilgamesh. A very important piece of information. The author wrote that Gilgamesh was  special.  Why was he special? What made him special?
Todd: I know!
Me: Okay.
Todd: He was a king.
Me: Yes, that's true, but there is something else that made him very unique.
Owen: He was mean.
Me: Yes, in the beginning, he was, but try to remember. Think about what made him so different from everyone else.
Todd: OH, I remember.
Me: Yes?
Todd: He was half and half. 
Me: You're close!  Half and half what?
Todd: My dad drinks half and half in his coffee.
Me: Okay, that's good, but what was Gilgamesh?
Jesse: (worried look on his face)  My dad's not going to get me anything for my birthday!
Me: Jess, you're going to be just fine on your birthday. You know how much your dad loves you.
Jesse: Yeah, but I think that box I found is empty and I don't think he's getting me anything for my birthday.
Me: Jess, I don't think you have anything to worry about. I think you know how much you and your dad love doing things together. I'm positive he's getting you something you'll love for your birthday (his dad called me to let me know he is getting him the gift he's been asking for).
Jesse:  Really?  Do you think so?
Me: Yes, I really think so. It's going to be okay.
Jesse: (relief settling over his face)
Me: Okay, back to Gilgamesh.  He was half what and half what?
Owen: I know. He was half man and half god.
Me: YES!  Good job!
Amy: I don't believe in gods. I just believe in cats, like the Warrior books.
(All of the boys start grumbling at this)
Jesse: What? She can't believe in cats! What's that mean? Cats? I hate cats!
Me: Jess, Amy can believe in what she chooses, and you can believe in what you choose.
Jesse: Well, I believe in God.
Me: Okay, good.
Amy: I believe in the Warrior clan gods.
Me: Okay, you can. But we were talking about Gilgamesh. 
Amy: Yes, but I don't really want to talk about that right now.
Me: Okay, then you're going to have to keep your comments to yourself, and just listen.
Jesse: Why does she say stuff like that?
Me: Because she's Amy, and thinks like Amy.  You think like Jesse. (big smile)
Owen: Ms. R....
Me: Yes?
Owen: I have a question.
Me: Okay.
Owen: How do you wake up Lady Gaga?
Me: (inward sigh) I don't know Owen, how?
Owen: Poker face (big smile).

I just laughed and moved on to the next question. 

That's how things go in class a lot of the time.  The kids hear what is being said, but it's as if certain thoughts are lined up, waiting to be called and any word that is close to what is on their minds, ushers that thought forward, and nothing can progress until that thought is taken care of.  Those thoughts are usually concerns or worries. Sometimes, they are just arbitrary thoughts, like lone bees that fly into the room when the windows are open.  They buzz around for awhile and then back out the open window.  Most of the time, however, the pressing worries and concerns take precedent, and need the most attention before their fragile brains can cope with anymore new information. This type of 'discussion' has helped me retrain my thinking. I've had to take those mental blinders off so that I can see all of the possibilities that might arise from one simple question.  Especially those possibilites that have nothing to do with the question but have everything to do with if and how that child is going to learn.

I carry that technique into my life outside of school.  I've notice in converasations with my daughter, especially when she is sad or influenced by alcohol, our conversations go like that.  I will ask her a question, and her answer diverts down a path that has been overgrown with such distorted thinking that the origional thought (event or memory) is nearly indistinguishable.  Cleaning off those memories or thoughts, I believe, is vital to getting to the root of her feelings. Finding the root to a feeling that is causing her sadness is helpful to understanding why she feels the way she does, and hopefully, help her to realize that thoughts are just that, thoughts; their power comes from the type of focus you put on them.  Once she can face those thoughts, and realize that she is in control, I think she will be able to  either place them away for safe keeping or discard them as 'lesson learned.'

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Life is the Special Occasion

My daughter and I went Christmas shopping on Saturday.  It was such a nice day. We took our time, we didn't have a set plan, just went to stores we liked.  Finished up with a late lunch, and then home.  In one of the stores (TJ Maxx) we went to, there was a small purse I caught her looking at. It was pale blue, with sparkles and a diamond bow for the clasp.  I asked her if she liked it.  She said that she really did.  I told her to get it.  Her response was, "When would I ever use it?"  "Well, negative Nance, when you go out. When you go to the store.  Anytime."  "Mom." Said in the tone that is harboring a feeling of  'my life isn't like that anymore, and doesn't look like it ever will be again'  hopelessness.  That kind of response always brings up a slight swirl of panic in me.  I'm always afraid of the unknown piece of anxiety that might taunt her into hopelessness, and then drinking. So, I pointed out something else, and then, when she wasn't looking, put the purse under a shirt in my cart.  Yes, it will be in her stocking. (These stockings for my kids. I am not a seamstress. One year, however, when the kids were small I decided to sew them each a stocking. I went to the fabric store, bought festive material, and sewed two stockings. They were so narrow, I could fit maybe two candy canes in them. So, I went and bought more material, and made two more stockings. That time, they ended up so big, that it would take me most of my time thinking of things to get to fill them with.  Now, that is pretty much what gets filled. It's a fun tradition).

My daughter's response to the purse, though, got me thinking of my mom.  In my parents' house there is a closet in one of the bedrooms. In that closet my mom stored 'the good sheets' for when company would come. A few 'good' nightgowns for trips she would take. Special towels, to go along with the sheets for when company came. Those items are still in the closet, almost in pristine condition.  My mom is gone.  What is also in her closet are some 'special' outfits, shoes, jewelery that she would only were a few times a year.  For 'special occasions.'   The good china is still in the dining room china cupboard, along with the stemware, that was rarely used.  I'm not sure what company she was waiting for.  When we would visit, we got the everyday sheets, and towels (soft and comfortable). We ate on everyday plates, and drank from the glasses I remembered as a child. Though I was content with that, as I look back, my mom should have been using the china and stemware everyday.  She should have put a new set of sheets on every week.  She should have worn her good jewelry to sit on the porch, because Life is the special occasion. 

Now that I'm on this journey of trying to understand addiction, I feel as though I try to sift through every thought that used to be common, to find something uncommon or unique to apply to why someone gets sucked into addiction.  Maybe it's because life as a special occasion has become such a far away concept.  We can get so caught up in routine, and day to day sameness, and the stress of being someone else's success, that the special, Divine quality of life gets lost and we're left with the perception that there is no meaning to life.  What's it all for?  If there is no meaning, then there is no reason for hope.  So, my conscious effort is to keep life as the special occasion I believe it was meant to be.  Not to allow myself to get caught up in dull routine or become blind to the glitter and shine that resides in each day and the people we love.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Simple Successes

I am a teacher. I teach children with emotional problems. I have done this for fourteen years.  So many of my friends and fellow teachers have said to me that they don't know how I do it.  I tell them, I love it.  Those children are an enigma to me.  One summer during college, I worked at a summer camp for children with emotional problems. It was my first experience with that population.  I volunteered to be one of the people to ride a van that went to pick up the kids from their homes in the morning, to take them to the camp, and I rode it back with them when camp was done for the day.  During those rides, I sat and listened to their conversations, or watched their responses to what they saw out of the window.  I smiled at their enthusiastic waves good-bye until the morning.  I learned so much from just watching and listening. During the day, I was paired up with a girl, who at the time, was not much younger than I was.  We talked a lot. She had been in several foster homes, and for a 15 year old she had seen more tragedy and sadness than should be allowed, yet she was hopeful and positive in her thoughts, but her behaviors and actions reflected her skittishness toward trusting people.  She relied on her survival skills when she felt threatened or scared, and would have to be calmly talked to, in order for her to relax, and see the situation for what it was and not what she perceived it to be (some shadow version of a nightmare experience of hers).  I was hooked on helping those types of children when I was talking to her one day, and listening to her chatter on about the music she liked and where she would like to travel to, when it dawned on me--she and I had similar interests and, though my experiences were not nearly as horrible as hers, we did have the same fears and hopes.  So, why was I able to cope and she couldn't?  On this emotional tight rope that we all walk on, why was I able to stay walking while she was tumbling down? 

That question still remains elusive to me, today.  How can someone face tragedy after tragedy, and still glide through life with hope and high spirits, while another person has a bad hair day and it causes them to crash and burn?  The allotment of each person's inner strength is like Mary Poppins' bag; some people can keep pulling out endurance, and positive outlooks almost endlessly, while others can only manage a dusty Kleenex. 

The students I teach have all been like that.  Most have come from homes where their emotions have been neglected. Physical abuse is common, but emotional and mental abuse is more common.  Parents don't always realize how tragically a sarcastic comment or criticism can effect a young, trusting mind.

So, the school day in my classroom is not like a typical classroom.  What I feel is a smooth day, is chaos to someone else.  That happened, today.  A friend of mine (another teacher) wanted to work on something, and came into my room to work at this table I have in the corner.  I had a class going on. We were reading about Hammurabi and his code.  It took us 15 minutes to get everyone to say the name correctly.  It took us the rest of the class to talk about the laws he made, especially the 'eye for an eye' law.  Was it fair? Why? Why not?  It is a struggle to keep them focused (they were a sixth grade class).  There was a lot of talking and regrouping.  At the end of the day, she came up to me, gave me the sign of the cross (lol...it's a public school) and told me the usual, "I don't know how you do it."  Her next question, though, kind of threw me a little.  She said, "I couldn't do that.  I...wouldn't...how do you feel, or do you feel, that you accomplished anything at the end of the day?"  I smiled and laughed a little.  She said some more, not meaning to be mean (which she never is).  I told her I understood what she meant, but I answered that, yes, I did feel accomplished at the end of the day. Here's why:  I'm a big academics person, but it took me a while to realize that academics mean nothing if your emotions don't make it meaningful.  If you're hungry, hurt, feel afraid or nervous, adding fractions won't seem to have much value.  But, water those emotions, and an interest in learning seems to blossom.  That those students were focused enough to finally say, 'Hammurabi' correctly was a big plus.  That they know he developed fair laws is an even bigger plus. That they trust me enough, and  were able to express themselves openly without fear of being ridiculed, or yelled at was the biggest plus. 

Sometimes success is a simple thing.  I appreciate simple successes. A name said correctly, trust where there was none, and another day of sobriety here at home.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Anchor

I read Annette's latest post. My interpretation of it was that some anger was present because of a feeling that she is the one  jumping through hoops, when she is not the person with an addiction.  It got me thinking, and I kinda feel the same way.  Racking my brain to see what I said or did wrong.  Did I bake enough cookies, go to enough school plays, comfort enough bad dreams?  We have become a society that has been forced to tolerate a lot, and made to feel guilty if we don't.  I have to tolerate individual differences, ideas, life choices.  Most of the time I'm okay with it.  Sometimes, I'm not.  Sometimes tolerating isn't the right choice and there aren't always clear boundaries as to what should and shouldn't be tolerated. For instance, I will not tolerate murder, or child abuse (or abuse of any kind for that matter), or cruelness, or bullying, there is a big long list of what I will not tolerate.  But society wants me to tolerate certain school curriculum that goes against my ethical code, or be okay when a jury clears a person for murder just because they had a savvy lawyer who made people feel guilty for not being accepting.  My point is, tolerating can break down normal if you're not careful, and there has to be a normal. 

Normal is necessary.  If we didn't base situations on being normal, we wouldn't be able to diagnose medical problems.  There has to be a normal blood pressure so that we know when it's too high or low.  There are normal growth patterns in children so that we know when there is a problem.  Normal is necessary.  However, when it comes to people and family behaviors, all of a sudden, that  normal gets so stretched and pulled out of shape, in defense of individual differences, that the normal behavior of parenting and knowing how to raise your own child, is distorted into controlling and selfishness; when it's the child who is still too emotionally immature and selfish to understand how to maneuver in life, so the parent, who has more experience and wisdom, is there to guide and discipline them (discipline as in teach not hit, I don't believe in hitting).  That's what parenting is!

I don't like that because I didn't know how to deal with addiction and its insidious nature that I'm considered the 'sick' one because I was enabling.  I don't understand how I got to be the one who needs all of the internal analyzing when I'm not the one in hot pursuit of ruining my life through addiction.

I think that addicts who point the judgment finger toward the people in their lives who are upset with the addiction are  a variation of enablers in their own addiction.  My daughter will say to me when we're arguing, "You don't understand! You don't have this addiction thing! You don't know how hard it it!"   True, I don't have an addiction.  But I have gone through hard times, and I have seen what addiction has done and I do know the difference between the destruction it is doing verses the much better life that could be had if you worked harder at not giving in to the addiction.  The very fact that I don't (and a lot of us enablers don't) have an addiction is the very reason we should be giving advice.  Often during our arguments, my daughter has said, "You just want to control me!"  One day it hit me, and I commented back, "Yeah, I do, because if I did control you, you wouldn't be doing what you're doing!  So, obviously I'm not controlling you because you're still giving in to your addiction!" 

Addiction makes everyone crazy.  It not only ensnares the mind of the addict, it sends out tentacles to the minds of the people involved with the addict.  I think a big, important step for the 'enabler' is to pull free of that tentacle, and know that you are the normal. You are the plumb line. Your experience, strength, vantage point of sobriety, and life wisdom is what makes you the stable normal.  So, rather than running here and there, trying to reestablish and rethink and reset yourself all of the time, I think the answer is return to who you are with all of your experience and wisdom and nurturing, stay steady, keep those boundaries and remain the anchor--the boat on the surface might be tossing and turning, but you stay secure and planted and fixed on what you know to be true.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Ordinary Days

There is a beautiful movie, I've mentioned it once before here, called The Magic of Ordinary Days.  It's usually on the Hallmark channel and if you get a chance to watch it, I highly recommend that you do.  It's quiet, slow, and ordinary, but so well done that you begin to see the magic in your own ordinary days.  I find it so reassuring and affirming especially with the nonsense and ego-centered shows that are the usual t.v. offerings.  That's what we had here this Thanksgiving break...beautiful, ordinary days.  My daughter kept her word and stopped drinking. She is 6 days sober.  We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with my son, daughter and my dad.  The day, my favorite cooking day, was perfect and very ordinary.  We were all at the table and no one rushed or argued.  We enjoyed the present and it was nice.  Friday, we watched some movies, and cleaned the house, getting ready for the Christmas decorations. Saturday, we raked leaves.  My daughter crawled out on the roof to do some yearly maintenance so that there are no leaks (the house was built in 1910 and if you don't keep up with daily small maintenance, it grows to be, 'call the insurance company to see if they cover this' maintenance). I caught up on news with my friend (and neighbor) who I don't see often once the weather gets cooler.  When we came inside, I made Shepard's Pie for dinner and for dessert, we had Dutch Apple Pie and ice cream.  Yesterday, we went to JoAnn Fabric's and bought some supplies for refreshening the decorations, stopped by the grocery store to get ingredients for crab dip my daughter saw in Prevention magazine.  At home, my daughter sat at the kitchen table and made her dip, while we talked and  I made mashed potatoes and barbecued ribs for her and butternut squash ravioli for me.  The dip was delicious.  The day was magically ordinary.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Annette, Barbara, Dee...Thank you.  You've had me thinking, I mean really thinking, about life here, especially, 'Why don't I kick her out?'   It was a layered thought process, trying to peel back all of the emotions.  Emotions are interesting to me, so many can tumble around in a few seconds, and you can feel each one.  It's sorting them out that is the challenge. 

Fear--probably the emotion that is neck in neck with love right now.  Fear of what might happen to her.  I know from talking to her how sad and regretful she is about mistakes that she's made.  So, we talk and each time my thinking is getting clearer, so that I focus on zeroing her in on what she says.  Kind of like making her see the absurdity of what she's saying.  I don't have specific times and dates of discussions, but just recently when she makes a comment and I can take her down the direct path of, "That was caused by her choice to drink,"  and not some bunny trail that she uses as an excuse, she has been able to see that point and then we discuss.  Granted, the discussions end in crying on her part (those emotions coming up) but I think that is a good thing.  Back to the fear on my part.  I am afraid that if something worse would happen to her (rape, more abuse) then it would be over for her.  Her sadness and hopelessness would be too much for her.  And I know I couldn't forgive myself for that.

Hope--I am so hopeful that she will get over this and be able to move on with her life.  I have been ready for her to be out on her own.  She has always had a job.  Always helped me both financially and with the  around the house stuff.  She was always in school until now.  She still helps out financially, and with everything else, when she's not drinking.  She goes about life, and then wham, some memory bump throws her off the road, and instead of backing up and continuing the drive, she stays stuck on the side for a week, and then decides to start, again.  I am hoping that with each talk and restart, she will finally see things clearer.  She says it is a choice, she knows it is wrong, she is resentful that she has this addiction problem, she knows it all, except how to deal with her emotions. That's what we work on, here.

Sad--She is alone, and that makes me sad.  I watched as her friends slowly stopped calling and stopping over.  As she slowly stopped going out with them because she felt different not drinking while that's all they do when they go out. Drinks at dinner.  Drinks at the clubs. Drinks at their homes. Drinks when they went skiing. She has to find a new set of friends, and that scares her because she feels she is shy (yes, she is but not overly), and so I feel that I am here to center and encourage her until she gets the courage to move on with that search.

Love--That's the biggest.  One of my favorite verses is 1 Cor. 13:4  The definition of Love.  Love is patient, kind, doesn't judge...Love is patient.  My walk with God used to be like a football game.  I'd run a couple of yards, feel good about the gains, and then bam, I'd be tackled and pushed back and argue with God like he was the ref.  I could never get a touch down.  I blamed it on bad calls.  Though we have been through hell here, and this summer was by far the worst of it, even when I'm tackled, now, I don't go screaming at the ref. I have picked myself up, and looked to the side at God the coach not God the ref. (Touchdown!)  I think that is the peace.  I have to say that this is one of the few things that seems to have happened over night, though I know it has taken four long years.  (Though, it feels over night.)  It feels good.  I believe in God, and if this journey has helped me get closer and now my daughter is beginning to fight her way to Him, then I can't be too resentful.  I have to believe that it is going to work for good, and regardless what happens, we'll be given the 'tools' we need to handle it.  The most important relationship is that one with God, and family next.  So, I'm working on my Love, because unconditional love has been so hard for me to practice, but very easy to say.

There is a woman in my AA group that tells these crazy stories of all of the things she did when her husband was drinking.  She commented that her driving record was horrible, and she never drove.  What would happen is that her husband would be driving drunk on his way home and crash the car.  He would call her and tell her to hurry up and get over to where he was so that she could take the blame for the crash. She said the police would come, ask her how it happened, she said she didn't know (not a lie) and that was that.  She didn't kick him out because he worked, and she needed to support their children. He wasn't mean, but it was a burden that she was willing to carry because she wasn't ready.  But, she said that when her children drank, she told them not in the house or they were out.  She was ready for them because she had mental practice with her husband. 

After sorting out all of this, the conclusion is I'm not ready, nor, in all honesty,  do I know if I ever will be.  There are boundaries here, that she does follow.  What I've learned from AA is that they will drink or not drink at their choosing, at home or away.  I know she is as safe as it gets, here.  I don't want someone coming to my door telling me they've found her.  I don't want her in an unfamiliar place, alone with her thoughts tormenting her.  I want to be an intersessor for her.  Pray over her. Talk with her. Support her in her good choices, not enable her in her bad. When she drinks, I rarely interact with her, for several reasons; it makes me sick to see her like that, I don't want to argue, I don't want to show support for that.   She makes the choices, and when she's ready to get back in the car and drive, I'm there ready to step back into her life, and hand her the map. 

You are all in my prayers and I am thankful for your courage.

Monday, November 21, 2011


It  has been horrible here, this week.  I don't know why she is doing this, especially after the beautiful weekend we had last week.  I check on her to make sure she's breathing, try to give her healthy things to drink. She drank some chicken soup, yesterday.  Though she did say she was stopping today.  I hope so. But from past experience, if I call an ambulance, they won't take her if she doesn't want to go (it could be looked at as kidnapping). Once, I tried to 302 her, because she was saying that she wanted to die.  That was this summer. (fyi, Dante didn't include enough circles of hell-- obviously he was not a parent of a child with an addiction).  They didn't accept that, because it was alcohol realted.  (what?)  If you call the police, they just say it's not illegal to get drunk and fall asleep in your home.  And I can't kick her out.  So, there is no one but me, and though I can distance myself mentally, now, my heart literally aches seeing how sad and pathetic she looks like this.  I am relying on God. There is nothing else.  I painted my living room, though.  I think the color is called 'pure earth.'  So calming.  I have to keep make good changes forward, because running in this hampster wheel can make you crazy.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Working for Good

I am still calm, and I shouldn't be.  Here, another week of my daughter's life spent in an alcohol bog and I'm still calm.  The only time it changes is when I go into her room, and start to talk to her.  I can feel the anger begin to simmer around the sides,  the more I start talking and thinking, the more the bubbles start rising. They they start popping and within a few minutes, I can feel a raging boil about to splatter.  Yesterday, when that happened, well, before the final splat, I turned my head to the ceiling and yelled, "God, she's in Your hands, I'm leaving before I say something I'm sorry for!"  (I'm glad the windows were closed).  So, I left the room and came down to the kitchen; in my opinion, the most comforting part of the house.  I sat at the table and closed my eyes, and that verse that says, "All things work together for good to them that love God,"  came to my mind.  ALL THINGS.  Wow.  So, this little bit of hell we're maneuvering through is included in that, the only stipulation is that you must be loving God.  Well, I do. So, (out loud, again) I started confirming to God (okay, a little sarcastically at first--I was still cooling down from the boil) "So, this must be working toward a lot of good! This waste of a life, this cracking of a family, this ripping out of my heart...this is all working toward some amazing good! (pause...a little calmer) "Okay, I can't see it all, I can't make out the true future yet, good could come out of this. That's what it says."(calmer still) "I trust you will hold my daughter through all of this and help me confront whatever I have to...it's all Yours."   I sat there in the quiet for a few minutes, and then, I was okay, again. Life went on.  I think I'm going to paint the living room.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Blown Away

I just don't understand.  First a blessing.  I can't tell you how nervous I was about this weekend.  I was scared that my daughter would back out at the last minute for whatever reason, fear mostly, I guess.  Anyway, she didn't.  It was truly a break through weekend for us.  So spiritually filling.  I'm still trying to take it all in; all that we learned and heard.  Like when you're hot and trying to gulp a cool drink, some of it spills down your neck, you're drinking it in so fast.  I'm trying to gather up every last drop.  My daughter and I had some good discussion and at the conclusion of the weekend, she was making plans to follow up on the readings we were given.  Ironically, her prayer partner was a woman who's son was struggling with a heroin addiction, and she was able to direct my daughter to this program called Celebrate Recovery.  My daughter said she might like to go.  My heart was fairly bursting with joy at the change.  I woke up at 5 this morning organized and clear headed, full of belief and hope.  I almost skipped out of the door to my car.

Then I came home from work.  I could tell the minute I came into the room.  She had been drinking, and I don't know why.  She asked me if we could talk, so I went upstairs and changed and came back down, and sat on the couch with her.  She wanted me to read the 'Day One' selection that she was given from the retreat to start this week with.  I did. It was about truth.   We talked, and she began to cry and then she quit making sense.  I suggested she go upstairs to lie down, and she did.  She is sleeping now.  The same routine.  The only difference is I'm not feeling that panic or rage.  I'm just calm.  Go figure. I stood at the back door, and felt the warmer than usual fall breeze, and watched the brown and yellow leaves swarm up and over the fence and with them went some of my joy and hope.

What to do.  I don't know.  I feel a little stunned, like someone knocked me in the head when I came through the door this afternoon.  When in doubt, just plod forward, again, I guess.  Staying calm and maybe going outside to rake up some lingering hope.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Still Thinking

I've been thinking about thinking.  I've been comparing how I used to think to how I think now.  Used to referring to life before my daughter fell down the rabbit hole.  She is climbing out, again and I'm grateful.  She stopped last Sunday (four days ago).  Again, out of nowhere, I went in to see if she was breathing and she looked at me.  I asked her if she was done, and she nodded her head.  "I don't like this," she whispered.  I sat down next to her, and laid my hand on her, "I don't like this, either."  So, we're back to soberity, and praying that it sets up shop in my daughter's mind, and decides to stay.
I could have sworn that last weekend was a weekend retreat  (not over night, but for three days a few hours at a time) at our church.  So, I leave Friday after I watched my friend's daughter.  (My friend's father passed away suddenly).  After she left, I cleaned up and got into the car and headed for church.  I was very sad that my daughter wasn't going with me, but I decided to keep the boundaries and push forward with me.  There were a few cars when I arrived.  I was curious why because this retreat they have usually draws a big crowd. I go in, small coffee in hand (it was a long day and I wanted to make sure my brain was clear).  There are tables and chairs set up, but no one is there. I looked at my watch. 7:05. Hmmm.  Finally, someone walks out of an office and I ask them if there is a retreat somewhere.  The raised eyebrows gave me the answer.  Gentle smile, "That's next weekend."  I smiled back.  "Oh, okay.  Thank you."  I walked away, tossing my coffee in the trash.

You would think I would have been embarrassed.  Well, not so much anymore.  That senerio has become more common than uncommon for me.  My thoughts are like a kaleidoscope of butterflies, free of the net that usually kept them secure and organized.  Though, I'll have really clear, organized days, a lot of the time I write down the wrong date and time, or forget completely.  Work is pretty focused and fairly organized (my focus energy is used up there), but outside of work...if I don't have a notebook with me at all times, to jot ideas, times and places down, well, what happened last weekend is pretty much a sure thing.  Ironically, I haven't missed anything.  Mostly, I'm early.  Usually, I'll call to verify.  A lot of the time I feel like one of those toy cars that drive and bump into a wall just to turn in another direction.  I don't like this.  But, I'm adapting.  Going to those meetings helps.  I go to work every day, so I need a schedule, but for some reason, knowing that Saturday meeting is out there waiting, gives me a focus point, and now I weave my week around that.  Usually, it works. 

Chalk it up to more resedue of being a boiled frog.  Even though the water is not boiling hot right now, the luke warm is still enough to keep my thinking murky.  I think maybe because fear is still connected to each and everything that I do and think about, it stunts my thinking and focus.  I used to be too mentally tired to do anything, so I didn't.  I'm changing, but that change requires me to make some changes.  Life is funny. 

So, trying to work on releasing the fear, my daughter and I are planning to attend the retreat this weekend, starting tonight from  7-9.   So, a blessing; she is sober, willing to try and we didn't miss a chance to experience something new and good, together.

Monday, November 7, 2011

You Are What You Think

You are what you think.  That is a scary thought to me. Much more dreadful than, 'you are what you eat.'  I can control what I put into my mouth.  Thoughts come out of the dark and spring themselves onto you so quickly, like some manic Johnny Appleseed tossing seeds about.  And with the mind being such fertile ground, who knows what seeds will take root and be fed by some arbitrary experience. It's scary to me and very stressful, trying to control everything you think. Staying positive.  That is my goal, though, to make staying positive and harvesting hopeful thoughts, my mental crop, rather than continually plowing through the negative and choking on those cores. 

My daughter is a good example of becoming what you think.  Each person she has come into contact with, who had a behavior trait that she didn't like, she has assimilated into her own.  Two examples are her dad and a counselor she had at a treatment place, once.  Her dad's behaviors can be so negative, selfish, thoughtless.  She is not like that.  As her own person, she is kind, and helpful.  But she has been so hurt by him, angry and resentful, it's like she has focused on what she resents about him so much, that she now acts like that at times.  The same with that goofy counselor, who made the statement that, ' not everyone will recover from addiction.'  Well, my daughter (I think she was scared by that thought) couldn't let that fear go, and now is afraid she is one of those.  Regardless of the amount of reassurance I give her, or examples of dire cases that do change, she hangs onto those fears.  The fears of becoming what she hates the most cause her to become that which she hates the most. 

I believe with all of my heart that who you are as a child is who you are as an adult.  Some of you may be hidden, some of you may have been distorted, but the essence of who you are is always there waiting to be cleaned off, fluffed up and shine as the person you were intended to be.  The person you truly are, until life got a hold of you and you weren't prepared so, instead of facing it with full armor, you threw some rocks and didn't have adequate protection when the boulders came flying back.  You may be bruised, and have some healing fractures, but who you are is still alive and well, ready to blossom as intended.

So, for my daughter, and anyone else who's been choked by the weeds of negative thought, there is hope.  Not a clean sweep, but a methodical pulling of those weeds and letting that ground rest. Then replanting with better, more healthy thoughts.  Church, good books, good friends, there are as many good choices as bad.  It's all about choosing the right seeds, tending them with passion, and then taking in that good harvest.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Taking Notes

I am teaching fourth, fifth and sixth graders to take notes.  We start by watching a video and I will pause it and ask if anyone heard anything important, and the students will say what they heard and felt was important, and then I help them refine their choices and as a group, we write the first note.  It's interesting to listen to what they perceive as important.  At one point in the video (it was about ancient Africa) there were people walking with donkeys.  When I paused the video, I asked what was important, and one of the students raised her hand and answered.  She then went on to say (she is obsessed with horses and anything related to horses) that she saw the donkey, and explained how a horse and donkey mate to produce a mule.  That thought led into the 'other' name for donkey.  She commented that they say it in the Bible and, "my dad had a late birthday card that showed two people on ***es (she would nod her head, instead of saying the word--thank goodness)  and the card said, 'sorry we didn't get off of our ***es to get you a card."  Afraid that she would say the word asses, I kept telling her thank you, and telling her she could tell me later.  As I did that, another student blurted out, "Ms. R, you don't have to tell her to be quiet. I know what she's talking about.  I'm not stupid. I know what a mule is!"  I laughed out loud and assured him I didn't think he was stupid.  We moved on.

Just when we think we know what is going on, someone says something or clarifies it and a whole new picture arises.  That is how I feel trying to understand addiction.  Just when I think I have a grasp on it, some other issue arises and turns everything into a new meaning and picture. I'm finding that listening helps a lot more than lecturing.  My daughter decided to drink, again.  Almost three weeks, and for reasons I don't understand, (though I suspect it has something to do with a guilt she's feeling or a memory she can't let go of) she made this decision.  We were going to go together on a retreat this weekend that our church is holding.  I was so hopeful when she agreed and even filled out the registration form.  But, it's not to be, I guess.  I'm still going. That is the other thing that has changed.  I'm not feeling rage (though I did cry) and I'm not angry at God (though I am still confused and hurt).  I have a history of yelling and pouting with God when this happens but not now.  I sat beside her and leaned over her, put my arms around her, and prayed over her.  Then, I cried, again. 

So, I'm back to my own mental video, trying to rewind and take notes on what I may have missed, new signs, editing to see if there was any new change inching toward sobriety. My mind works like that, trying to see the reasons for experiences or watching for patterns.   I'm trying to see it for what it is (or was), and not assuming something that isn't (wasn't) there.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Kneading it Out

My grandmother was a gifted cook.  I say cook and not chef, because she was never formally trained, though she could make a seven course meal out of a chicken, potato and some broccoli.  I admire those people who have the same talent with food as a composer has with musical notes.  They seem to have the same ability to orchestrate with herbs and various vegetables and meats, a symphony of tastes, much as a composer can see the notes in their minds and create a musical master piece.  I'm not that gifted.  I need a recipe to produce a good meal.  Another example of my need for a plan. 

I remember visiting my grandmother on Saturday morning and like clock work, she would be making fresh dough, for the weekly batch of homemade cinnamon rolls she would nibble on and serve to guests during the week.  Often there would be enough dough for a loaf of bread, and some rolls.  Those rolls, hot out of the oven, spread with butter and jelly, would literally melt in your mouth.  I believe she's serving the cinnamon rolls in heaven as we speak, to the delight of the saints and angels.  I loved watching her work and talking to her has she methodically scooped flour, kneaded and rolled the dough.  She was a master.  I, on the other hand, not quite so skilled.  One Saturday, she asked me if I wanted to try, again, to make a loaf of bread.  Sighing, I told her, "Sure.  I'll try, again."  She passed me the utensils and I mirrored her every move, though I was not as graceful at the kneading as she was.  And, again, we were both stumped when out of the oven came her typically perfect, golden brown loaf of bread.  And mine, another door stop.  It was a baffling experience.  But, completely made null and void, once we cut into her loaf. 

I was thinking about her last week.  Her temperament was as sweet as her cinnamon rolls.  Patient. Kind. Giving. She had been through a lot in her life.  Raising four children alone.  Her husband died unexpectedly at a young age.  Life was hard for her, but to look at her, you would never know.  Then I though about her on those Saturday mornings, kneading that dough.  And I thought about me.  How during this experience with my daughter I have run the gamut of emotions from numbness to rage; until recently.  I think I have kneaded my rage out.  I still teeter on fear and worry, sadness and anger but there is also a calmness that was never there, before.  A calmness that, from a logical view, shouldn't be there, but it is.  I have kneaded my anger into calm, and am currently forming my emotions into a more palatable menu.  All of the crying, and yelling and calling to God has begun to inspire in me an understanding that I am truly helpless in all of this; the  anger and rage does nothing but hinder whatever process has to take place. 

So, now I am praying that we are all on more sure footing, as we walk this path.  I am also praying that as each of us kneads out our emotions and experiences, we are all continually blessed along the way with golden servings of contentment and success.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Best We Can

Last Sunday, my daughter and I went to the cemetary that my mom is at to plant bulbs for next year, and a few mums for the remaining fall weather.  Because of the situation here, I hadn't been able to go up there for a year and a half.  It is about 2 1/2 hours from here.  An old, country cemetary were all of her people are buried.  'Her people.'  That reference has always made me laugh.  I heard it first from my grandmother.  "Their people, our people"  It makes me think of tiny humans carried around in a little purse.  Anyway, as morbid as it may sound, I love cemetaries, and the one my mom is in is lovely.  She is on a hill near her mom and dad, some aunts and cousins, and her grandmother and grandfather.  If you sit by her stone, and look across the road, on the other small hill lie more cousins, and neighbors, and grandparents.  Everyone there seems to have related names. A lot of the stones are old. Someone's history.  There are big, ancient oak trees scattered all over. Some were still  in various stages of deep reds and gold.  Some were bare. As far as a cemetary can be, it is homey. 

We stopped at McDonald's and picked up lunch (my mom loved their grilled chicken sandwiches) went to the cemetary, and placed a blanket next my mom's stone.  We had a picnic before we started planting.  It was a very still day, sunny, no wind, sapphire blue sky.  My daughter and I talked, and then I said out loud, to my mom, that I missed her and wished I could talk to her.  At that moment, a swril of wind blew up in front of us, carrying with it a few fallen leaves.  That wind, rushed over us and then stopped.  It felt like a hug and kiss on my cheeks.  My daughter said, 'Mom did you notice that the wind blew when you were talking to grandma, and then stopped?'   "Yes."  And I smiled. 

I told a friend of mine yesterday, and she said, "That was your mom answering you.  She was doing the best she can to answer you with what she has to work with."  The best she can.  Even the spirits are doing the best they can.  An interesting thought. 

My daughter is one week and two days sober.  A blessing.  I miss her when she's passed out.  When I ask her why she continues to do that, she tells me, 'Mom, you never see all of the times I don't drink when I want to.  I am trying.'  She's doing the best that she can with what she has.  I think we all are.  We get frustrated, fall down, sit and cry, brush ourselves off, and try again.  Hopefully, the trying and the strength to do so, lasts a bit longer each time until, this parasite called addiction becomes weaker and weaker and someday falls off.  Another example of  why we can't judge others.  You can't see into their minds and the battle that is raging there.  We can only see the winner.  I think one of our jobs entails not only loving them, but when our children win, provide them with nurishment (soul, body) to keep them strong for the next fight,  and if the enemy wins a battle, be waiting with supplies for the time they're ready to battle, again.  Their choice, I know, but I'm still on her side when she decides to fight for herself, and she's fighting now.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Walk Away

Last week in church, the pastor talked about forgiveness and what it does.  He started by saying that your spirit is not intended to carry bitterness.  (I like that)  He also said that you choose to forgive you don't necessarily feel like forgiving.  After choosing, you release your offender, and third you tell God that you trust Him to see you through this because forgiving is hard.   He also said, that after you forgive someone (or yourself) you can walk away.  You can draw those boundary lines and not cross over them, again.  He said that, "Forgiveness is for the present and the past."  People often feel that right after forgiving someone, you have to trust them.  He said, "Trust is for the future.  It takes time."   Forgiveness is less about the offender and more about the quality of the soul of the person doing the forgiving.  

I thought about the person I need to forgive the most, and am pretty good about doing that, letting it go, until something from the past comes up or something in my present reminds me, and I can feel that old hatred beginning to burn.  It is really hard to forgive other people.

It is harder to forgive yourself, I think, because you have to take yourself with you everywhere you go.  You can't really 'walk away' as easily.  So, how does that work?  I've been thinking about that.  How do you separate yourself from yourself?  I was reading, "Because of Winn-Dixie" to the class. It's a fifth grade book, by Kate DiCamillo.  I want to quote a passage because it helped me with the answer.  This is from pages 94-96.

     "Look at this tree," Gloria said.
     I looked up.  There were bottles hanging from just about every branch.  There were whiskey bottle and beer bottles and wine bottles all tied on with string, and some of them were clanking against each other and making a spooky kind of noise.  Me and Winn-Dixie stood and stared at the tree, and the hair on top of his head rose up a little bit and he growled deep in his throat.
     Gloria Dump pointed her cane at the tree.
     "What you think about this tree?"
     I said, "I don't know.  Why are all those bottles on it?"
     "To keep the ghosts away," Gloria said.
     "What ghosts?"
     "The ghosts of all the things I done wrong."
     I looked at all the bottles on the tree.  "You did that many things wrong?"  I asked her.
     "Mmmm-hmmm," said Gloria. "More than that."
     "But you're the nicest person I know, " I told her.
     "Don't mean I havent' done bad things," she said.
     "There's whiskey bottles on there, " I told her.
  "And beer bottles."
     "Child," said Gloria Dump, "I know that.  I'm the one who put 'em there.  I'm the one who drank what was in 'em."
     "My mama drank,"  I whispered.
     "I know it." Gloria Dump said.
     "The preacher says that sometimes she couldn't stop drinking."
     "Mmmm-hmmm,"  said Gloria again.  "That's the way it is for some folks.  We get started and we can't get stopped."
     "Are you one of those people?"
     "Yes ma'am.  I am.  But these days, I don't drink nothing stronger than coffee."
     "Did the whiskey and beer and wine, did they make you do the bad things that are ghosts now?"
     "Some of them," said Gloria Dump. "Some of them I would've done anyway, with alcohol or without it.  Before I learned."
     "Learned what?"
     "Learned what is the most important thing."
     "What's that?"  I asked her.
     "It's different for everyone," she said.  "You find out on your own.  But in the meantime, you got to remember, you can't always judge people by the things they done.  You got to judge them by what they are doing now."
When I read that, it was like part of the puzzle for me to understand how to better talk to my daughter.  She has a hard time forgiving, people, but mostly herself.  She has hunkered down, and burrowed herself  into a stagnant hole.  Like her bunker, only she invites the enemy in instead of battling it (The battlefield truly is the mind).  I think it is important to have a physical representation of what you're forgiving, because thoughts are so abstract. You need something more concrete.  Gloria's bottles.  It might be a letter that you write to the offender.  Stones in a jar.  Something to hold the past, I think, may help you face the past and once that's done, it's just an empty bottle,  or a stone you threw in a lake,  or a letter you burned in the fire place.  Let the past go.  After that, start judging yourself on the present.  Each day a new way.  And if you mess up, start fresh the next day.  I have written on one of my walls, "Blessed is the life that finds joy in the Journey."  I think that's how you find joy in your life's journey.  Walk away from the past.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Joy and Sorrow

As of 6 years ago, this day is always going to be a day of joy and sorrow for me.  My son was born on this day, and though it was scary at the time, it was the biggest day of joy for me.  I can still 'feel' in my hands what it felt like to hold him for the first time.  I can remember how easy it was to make him laugh and giggle as he grew up.  He was the one who taught me that learning never stops and how to 're-see' the world every day.  He has grown into a wonderful man. He's a gentle giant (he looks like a Viking). He's funny, and smart.  Kind and an incredible writer. Each day, regardless of the stress involved, is a comfort knowing he's in the world.  He is a blessing.

Six years ago, I was at work.  I never check my messages during the day, but for some reason, I did that day at 11:30.  My heart sank, and I could feel my cheeks begin to tingle when I heard my dad's voice (who rarely calls my cell phone) saying, "Signe, this is the call you hoped you'd never get. Mom's gone."  The rest of that hour at work was a blur.  What'd he mean, 'Mom's gone?' She was coming home today.  That Wednesday, she had gone in for an asthma treatment, she had done that before, and was to come home on Friday.  I had just talked to her the night before and she was fine, a little tired, but fine.  I didn't understand.  The woman I work with took over, and I just remember being kind of 'packed up' and readied to go.  One of the principals had asked me if I wanted him to drive me, and I said said no, that I was fine.  I remember getting into the car.  It was raining (how appropriate) and driving 1/2 hour to the hospital, where my mom was on a ventilator.  My dad looked so lost and confused. It was the first time I had ever seen him cry. The doctors explained that her brain had shifted, a bleed of some sort.  She was on the ventilator until Sunday, when my brother flew in. It was all so surreal.  It all seems like a bad dream.

My mom was amazing.  A little powerhouse.  Quiet, and calm yet so determined to reach her goals. She had polio as a child and fought through that.  Her father died when she was 19, and she quit school (she wanted to be a nurse) to go to work and help her mom and 3 brothers. She was beautiful, and kind and generous. She gave piano lessons to the kids in our neighborhood growing up. She was an artist. She loved to garden, and play cards. She liked Bun candy bars, and shopping at Marshall's.  She read everything she could. She ended up going back to school and for seven years, I fell asleep to the muffled tapping of the type writer (yes, type writer) as she did her homework, downstairs at the dining room table.  She ended up graduating magna cum laude with a degree in Library Science, and three days after graduating she got a job as a school librarian and worked there until she retired.  She loved working with children.  She loved decorating the library. She was so precise in her work.  When she carved a turkey, it was with a surgeon's precision.  She was such a mixture of talent and personality.  I miss her every second. 

She loved her grandchildren.  She loved watching them grow and learn. She would be proud of both of them, today.  Thinking of her makes my daughter cry sometimes.  Not only the missing of her, but her feeling that grandma would be disappointed.  Of all the people in the world, she was not one to judge.  For her, love was a fortress, and once you were behind that fortress with her, nothing could take you away,  and she would fight for you forever, so regardless of your circumstances, you were loved.  Sometimes, I believe that if she were still here, her love would be the final pull that my daughter would need to stay sober.  At any rate, losing her, has been a lesson in so many things.  Most importantly, never, NEVER end a conversation with anything but 'I love you,' because you don't know if it will be your last words.  Along with that, anger, and resentment are pointless.  The only thing that matters is love and forgiveness.  I don't think about money, or house or clothes when I think of my mom.  I think of how much I love her, and how grateful I am that our last words were, 'I love you.'  No regrets.  I want my words to my daughter and son to only carry love.  Life carries enough hurt without me adding to it.  So, my mother's legacy is to be kind, work hard, never give up, enjoy a candy bar now and then, and never forget to say, "I love you."

Monday, October 17, 2011

Anxiety at 6:00

I have been thinking a lot about how did we get here concerning addiction.  I know times have always been tough, and I know that there have always been struggles with addiction, but it just seems that it has such a huge membership now, and I can't figure out why.  Through watching various shows (Intervention, Dr. Drew), Documentaries (PBS station),and listening to the news, it just seems as though there are so many hurting people.  The common thread with the majority of programs I've heard, concerning people with addiction, have to do with some emotional hurt that happened.  The degree of hurts vary, but emotions seem to be the seed to all of this.  So, what has happened to stir so much emotional unrest?

In Al-Anon, we went through some readings.  Each of us read one, and commented on it.  One of the women there read reading #8 that had to do with less stress and pressure.  That we're supposed to pace ourselves and not let stress overwhelm us (I'm paraphrasing).  It started me thinking.  A few weeks ago, I heard on the news (actually, it was the alarm in the morning, so I woke up to this) that people are losing approximately $750.00 a day waiting in traffic.  What!?  I heard that and felt a little surge of panic shoot through my body (remember, I was in the fog of waking up), even though it only takes me 15 minutes to drive to work.  As my head became more clear, and I continued to listen, the announcer explained that because people are waiting in traffic for so long, they are losing that amount of time that they could be working.  So, that added up to around $750 dollars a day.  They didn't specify the amount of time in traffic, just that dollar figure.  But that opened another door in my thinking and I began noticing how much we, as individuals are allowing other members of society to feed our stress.  The news goes without saying.  Even the little blurbs between shows produce anxiety about what you can view during the 6:00 news.  We are being conditioned for doom. 

There are too many examples to list, but I bet I can tally at least 10 during one day.  Even when the stress isn't announced, I have noticed I'm beginning to anticipate it. For instance, the first time I saw the movie Babe,  the farmer was doing this dance for Babe (Babe wasn't feeling well) when he jumped into the air, I thought, "Oh, he's going to have a heart attack."  He didn't.  The first time, I watched this BEAUTIFUL movie called, The Magic of Ordinary Days, Livy was pregnant and pulling a huge gas can out of the truck, and I though,"Oh, she's going to loose the baby."  She didn't.  But it's instances like that, that I have become so accustomed to anxiety and dread, that even when something lovely is happening, that little bit of anxiety begins. 

So, could that be why addiction is the new growing epidemic?  These sensitive souls are being bombarded to be the best, be successful, doom is coming, you're too old, your too something else, and my daughter's anxiety, "It's (your?) never good enough." 

Feelings lie.  But all of the stress, and the isolation that technology brings, is hard to struggle through on a daily basis.  It didn't used to be this way.  When my parents were growing up, it was a slower, more dignified time.  Life has gotten so fast paced, and isolating, that if you don't keep those plates spinning, it's all going to crash down around you.  And somehow, more plates keep being added. 

Everyone is different, I get that. Everyone handles emotions, experiences, life differently.  But something has happened to cause people to want to escape from the hear and now.  Something has shifted from, "Tomorrow is a new day"  to  "Tomorrow may never come."

Friday, October 14, 2011

Do Over

I'm struggling.  I'm trying to find God in all of this.  Almost a month of sobriety, and bam, we're back, again, to drinking.  I don't get it.  I know all about free will, but a toddler has free will and I wouldn't let them walk across the street alone, or drive a car.  Even though their free will was telling them that is what they wanted to do.  So, why, then does God, who could pull my daughter and everyone else's child away from the terrible rush hour of addiction, as they run headlong (head strong) into on coming traffic, allow them to continue that stupid, harmful choice? Why can't He pull them back?  Scold them, and put them in the time out chair to help them rethink their choices?  When you think about it, in the big picture of us and God, we are infants-teenagers at best-in this spiritual family we are a part of.  God the head of the family.  The Holy Spirit like a loving mother.  Our amazing and loving big brother, Jesus.  Who wouldn't want to belong to that family?  Then why this feeling of such abandonment?

I don't get it.  I sound like the whinny kid sister.  Maybe.  But tell me where my logic is wrong.  So, feeling once, again, that I've missed something, some spiritual clue, I'm racking my brain, again--what did I do wrong???  What is the key to this mystery?  I feel like a spiritual archaeologist, trying to dig up clues as to how this all works.  I just don't get it.

I give spelling tests on Fridays.  One of my students (a fourth grader) was upset that he missed a word. He still got an A, but was upset that it wasn't a perfect score.  He was getting so frustrated.  I was patiently telling him that he did extremely well.  Top speller.  He couldn't be consoled.  He was quiet for a minute, and then he looked at me, gritted this teeth, and said, "I want a do-over."  I couldn't help but smile.  "Sweety, we don't have do-overs for spelling tests, especially when your score is so good."  (Teeth gritted, and cheeks getting red) "I want a do-over."  It took several minutes before I could convince him, and he could accept that his score was wonderful.  He took a deep breath, exhaled, and with pursed lips, he nodded and walked away.  On my way home, I was reviewing the day, and thought of him, and  I understood how he felt.  I don't feel my score is that good.
 I want a do-over, too.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


I don't know if it is the full moon, too much humidity, a bad hair day, or fear of repeating the past, but I have mentally argued with God all day.  This is all just SO UNFAIR.  I was driving home, and saw a mother waiting for her young daughter to get off of a school bus.  That used to be me.  I see the female students in school, and think, once, that was my daughter with so many exciting unknowns in her future.  Where her biggest worry was who was she going to sit with on the bus.  She used to be so alive. Honor role, honor society, a ton of friends, so much ahead of her.  And now, this.  A life of rehabs, and worry and horrible memories. Sometimes when I think of the things I've been through with her, and the situations I've seen her drunk in, it makes me physically ill.  When I think of the insanity of her reasoning concerning the past, it is so frustrating.   This is so unfair.  Why?  Why us?  Why can't we know that either the prayers will be answered or they won't.  Why drag on a situation if it has no hope of getting better?  Why, why, why?  I want this all to be over.  I'm craving my normal, again.  I am just so overwhelmingly sad, today.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


My daughter went to an AA meeting while I was at my Al-Anon meeting. They meet in the same building. This was last night. I am so hopeful.  Today, on the way to church, we talked about what was discussed at our meetings.  One issue that was discussed at the Al-Anon meeting was the idea of alcoholism being a disease (all addiction, for that matter).  The woman who heads the meeting called it a disease of choice.  I raised my hand, and said that I wasn't sure it was a choice.  Another woman said that she agreed, that it was a difference in brain chemistry.  I said that I agreed more with that. It was explained to me once, in a more scientific way.  I explained (more simplistically) that imagine that there is a bridge in your brain that connects part of your brain with the section that aides in feeling good/content, where the serotonin is stored.  In non-diseased brains, that bridge is strong and can handle a lot of traffic, so the serotonin is always able to be carried across the bridge to other parts of the brain.  In brains of people who have that addiction disease, that bridge is not so strong.  And if they drink alcohol or take drugs, pretty soon that bridge gets worn away and depends on the alcohol/drug to transport the serotonin, BUT it does not transport the good serotonin. It kind of substitutes itself and tricks the brain into thinking it is working but really it isn't.  When a person sobers up, and stays sober, the miraculous healing of the brain, rebuilds the normal/natural bridge.  BUT if they would start using, again, that artificial substance (alcohol/drugs) tears the bridge down, again, and begins substituting the harmful poison of the alcohol/drug instead of the healthy serotonin.  That is why it is a disease.  When I was done with that explaination, the woman in the meeting said, "Maybe it isn't so much of a choice." 

As my daughter and I talked about it, she said it is a very insidious disease because it creeps up on you.  You don't realize what is happening.  She said it is like Type 2 diabeties or skin cancer. With both of those diseases, you can have remission (just like with substance abuse). With Type 2 diabeties, if you eat right, and exercise, you can pretty much stay healthy.  But, if you decide to eat cake and ice cream and not exercise, then the disease takes over.  Same with skin cancer. If you get it taken care of, and then stay out of the sun and wear protection when you are outside, chances are you will be okay.  If, however, you decide to continue going out into the sun unprotected at the worst times of the day, then you risk getting cancer, again. 

The choice in alcoholism and addiction, is to choose  to abstain. But being sad, and wanting to feel good (happy) are strong motivators.  Alcohol is all over movies, commercials, picnics, parties, socializing events.  It is hard, once you have the disease, to readjust your life. So much interfers.  Socializing, the stigma involved, shame, guilt, all of those horrible feeling emotions.  But it can be done.  It takes committment to yourself and a shift in thinking and, I think, an understanding of what the disease is about.  And the true happiness comes with sobriety.  I haven't heard on person say, my life is worse being sober.  I have only heard from those who have reached soberity say how blessed they feel finding soberity.

I am praying for recovery for all of those fighting addiction.

Friday, October 7, 2011


I believe in God.  I believe in what the Bible says.  I believe in supernatural healing. I believe in the power of Love. If God felt it necessary as part of the plan for you to physically move a mountain, I believe it would happen. I believe all of it.  I just didn't believe it worked for me. 

I was (and still am) always amazed and awed by the people who truly love and believe in God.  They seem so accepting of everything. They seem so strong. They radiate that 'peace that surpasses all understanding.'  It's inspiring to witness.  I always felt that if there was a table to feast at with God, I was sitting underneath it frantically picking up crumbs that fell.  It's as though I could hear everyone laughing and talking and enjoying the presence of God all the time, but my experience was hit or miss, and crumbs at that. 

Every day, I would put on the 'Armor of God', but I'd begin battling God.  When something happened that I didn't think was right, I'd argue with God. When I was feeling hurt, or upset, I would argue with God.  It got to the point that if I was in a hurry and I didn't get a good parking spot, I'd send a small grumbled complaint to God for that, too. I was beginning to wrestle with God as I was praying.  I was becoming the champion of the WWF technique of communicating with God. Each time I started a prayer, in the back of my mind was that voice yelling, "Are you ready to rumble!"  I stopped going to church.  On Sunday mornings it progressed from finding someone on T.V. to listen to (and there are some very good pastors there) to deciding I'd just go walking, to reading something to just sleeping in a few extra hours.  My taking to God--my prayers--continued to slowly deteriorate.  A lot of this happened because of what my daughter was going through.  My son, too, was having some issues, and there were other things like my mom dying suddenly.  All of it was getting to be too much, and who else to blame but God? 

Then something happened, I can't say exactly when, or how or what I was doing, but one Sunday, I was so tired, I just decided to go back to church.  It is a good church. It took me awhile to find it. The pastor is an excellent teacher. He explains, unravels and applies the teachings. I take notes.  So, I would get up each Sunday and force myself to go to church.  When my daughter was sober, she would go with me.  When she was passed out, I went alone.  I honestly don't know why I did go other than, I had reached that point I'd heard about where I was totally empty.  So, I would go and just sit there and listen.  Pretty soon, I started feeling the stirrings of a calmness, and I started feeling stronger.  Not all at once, and I'm still not completely there (and by there I think I mean that peace that surpasses all understanding), but I'm getting there. 

I was plodding in one Sunday, and a women who greets people, asked if everything was okay. I started tearing up.  (I was doing that a lot there.  People I didn't know, even the pastor at one point, would say hi, and ask me how I was and I would just start to cry, so I had people praying for me almost every Sunday. I was starting to get embarrassed because I didn't know how to stop that). Anyway, she asked me, I told her about not feeling that it all worked for me, and she told me it was because I was believing my feelings and not the truth.  I had to believe the Truth of God.  So, I had to not only recover from being an enabler, I had to recover from believing in feelings. (Which, as I think of it the two are kind of intertwined).

It is getting better.  I am loyal to my meetings and church.  I am learning a lot.  Before my daughter came home, I was praying all over the house. In her room, especially.  I wanted a supernatural healing in this home so that the same memories wouldn't entice her to fall back.  I was cleaning a few days before she came back, and I found a stencil that said, "Believe."  I had bought it about a  year ago at this colonial festival I went to.  The thought came to me to stencil it on her wall.  So, I did.  I continued to pray, and the Monday she was to come home, when I was at work, I was starting to feel those twinges of worry.  I was beginning to crawl into my mind's attic and unpack that suitcase of old feelings I had packed away when she had left.  I was walking around the room, and happened to look over at one of my students, and on the back of his shirt was with word, "believe."  I couldn't help but smile (and yes, got a little chill).  So, I started to relax, again.  I had to believe that God was in this and my prayers were in the process of being answered.  Fast forward to my daughter getting home.  We had talked, and she told me that she had made a plan for staying recovered here (thank you), and, oh yeah, she had made a mug while she was there.  So, she went and got it and showed me.  On the mug, she had written the word, 'Believe.'  I laughed.  I told her to go up to her room.  She did and when she saw the 'Belive' stencil, she looked at her mug, and we both smiled at each other.  I told her about my student's shirt.  God communicates in many ways. 

So, I am believing.  I am still weak, relying on feelings at times, but I am forcing myself to believe the Truth of God.  I am believing that God does love me (even though I still feel awkward saying that). I am believing that whatever may occur, God is working in all of this.  This time, I am truly believing it all.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

God's Maneuvering

Good can be gleaned from any bad situation.  This is what I believe.  Sometimes it takes time (even years) to see the good, but it is there.  Seeing the Hand of God move and shift people and situations always amazes me.  Here is how He worked with my daughter during her visit to Crazy Town.

Of course, she didn't know anyone when she arrived.  She is shy to begin with, and her not knowing anyone or anything about the situation was causing her anxiety.  She was afraid to face the unknown.  She arrived at night, so she was placed into detox and stayed there for the next day. (By the way, they only gave her a vitamin, nothing to prevent seizures, just a vitamin during the detox)   During lunch, the next day, an older man who was there came over to her and started talking to her.  He was genuine, kind and a recovering alcoholic like her.  The next day, another older man, also a recovering alcoholic befriended her.  They were like loosely choreographed tag-team.  Because of their company, she did not feel isolated.  In addition, they had some good life advice and encouragement.  The one man was a professor, and they ended up having some very good conversations. He gave her a book to read, that she really enjoyed.  Then he gave her a reading list!  (teachers)  Anyway, one afternoon, when the weather was nice, there was a break and my daughter was working on this packet she was given about recovery.  She needed the NA book, so she asked one of the men, I think she said his name was Chris, if she could borrow his.  He said yes, and then told her she should go outside and sit at the picnic bench to write because the weather was so nice.  So, she did.

When she was out there working on her packet, one of her roommates came over and sat with her. She was writing a letter to her boyfriend.  While they were there, another man, (this big guy as she described him) came over to her.  "What are you doing?"  My daughter looked up.  "I'm working on my recovery packet."  "Really?"  "Yes."  He said, " I have never seen anyone working toward their recovery during break like this.  That's impressive."  My daughter smiled and he walked away. 

A few minutes later, one of the female techs came over to my daughter.  This made her nervous, because this particular tech was hard to read.  The tech asked my daughter what her name was.  She told her.  She wrote it down, and informed my daughter that she would be attending 'Big D's' group at 6 that evening.  "Who's Big D?"  "The big man who was just talking to you.  Consider yourself honored.  Everyone wants to be in his groups."   (Big D had also picked the friend of my daughter who was writing the letter, thinking that she was also working on her recovery)  

(So, there is the first had of God, Chris suggesting my daughter write outside.  The second had of God was the roommate sitting next to her and writing her letter). 

My daughter went to the group and said that it was the most powerful group she's ever been to.  What he talked about and got them to talk about was very moving and my daughter said that she was crying most of the time.  My daughter's roommate also got a lot out of the group.  There were about 9 people  picked to attend.  After the first session, Big D, said that he had felt God was working here, so they were going to have a second group the next night.  And they did.  After that group, he said he wanted a third group (the second group was apparently unheard of since so many people want to be in his group, he usually has only one per group).  It was that third meeting, however, that she had to miss because of the 'whole unit' acting up incident.  That was why she was so mad.  (See how evil also has a plan and how people can also be used to carry that out?) 

It is always a choice to do right or wrong.  Good or bad.  I believe we are in a spiritual battle--always.  The choices are there--always.  Who's side we pick is determined by our intentions.  Do we intend to help or hurt?  Do we intend to be faithful or fearful?  It's all about choices. In this case, the choices are clear:  Big D-Man of God.  Supervisor on the unit-works for the other side.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Plan

So, my daughter and I talked most of yesterday and last night. She came home sick, with a temperature of 102. She said that four people had been diagnosed with pneumonia while they were there. She said to see a doctor, you had to put in for a medical slip. She did that twice, and was seen once. She was feeling achy, sore throat, headache, chills. The doctor looked in her mouth, and listened to her back. Never took a temperature. Never gave medicine (not even aspirin). Just told her to drink some water. It was this kind of treatment that was hard for me to hear. Her being denied treatment both mentally and physically. The more we talked, the more this was sounding like One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. I think the supervisor of her unit fit the nurse Ratchet role like a clone. There was an underlying cruelness to the facility. For instance, though my daughter's drug of choice is alcohol, most of the patients there were struggling with heroin or other drug addictions. One night, for recreation, they showed the movie Basketball Diaries.   This is a movie about drug addiction.  My daughter said that after the movie, several of the patients commented that they had just relapsed.  Whether joking or not, I think it makes no sense to show a movie like that to people who are trying to get away from that life style. 

There were a lot of instances like that, where the supervisor or the general 'rules' were not in support of recovery.   It's all very sad for me.  It's as though the people who are supposed to be in charge of the healing of people with addiction, themselves don't respect those struggling with this. They don't respect the steps to recovery. They don't respect the trauma that began the addiction. They don't respect that this is a person, not a number or a thing, but a human being who deserves the time and compassion to be helped.  The stigma of addiction was shadowed in the attitude of the people in charge and routine of the place my daughter was staying.  So frustrating. 

I'm a letter writer.  I write letters when someone has done a good job.  I write letters when someone does a bad job.  If I  can't find the address, I make a call.  I have done this for a long time.  My inspiration was a quote I had seen on a church marque once.  Ironically, I had been working at a school that took in adjudicated students.  Even though they were a hard group to work with, they could be worked with!  Yes, it took time, and energy, and a ton of patience, but they could be reached.  However, not everyone had this same experience or view.  There were some people who were not helping, and I was so frustrated driving on the way home.  I happened to be at a red light, and looked to my right, and there, in big black letters was the quote:  "Evil Prospers When Good Men Do Nothing."   That has been the motivation for me to speak out when the time calls for it, good or bad.  I'm not an in-you-face type of person.  Once, someone used the description Velvet Sledgehammer.  I like that.
So the plan is to write some letters.  To the man who went to see my daughter, because apparently he didn't listen too hard to her and he misquoted me to her.  Then, I found the CEO of the whole medical group that this place is tucked into.  For what it's worth, he'll be getting a letter, too.  Will it have an effect?  I don't know.  I hope, though, that my putting these concerns forward, with the intention to clean it up and get the help snowball rolling, will throw out some good in the universe.  I think God works that way.  Anyway, that's what I feel motivated to do. So, I'm following that.  I don't want to end this, though, feeling like all was horrible.  God did place people in my daughters path while she was there that helped keep her motivated and did inspire her.  Prayer is definately a powerful tool.  And God surely does work in amazing ways.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Recovering from Recovery

Well, my daughter is home.  It seems like she's been away for a lot longer than she was.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but I'm happy to say that she seems different in a good way--calmer and wiser. That's the result.  This past week, though, has been wild and unsettling.  There are so many emotions and thoughts I have been trying to sort out.  So, here was the process.

First, about me. I want to make an observation.  The first week my daughter was gone, it took me about a week for my emotions to catch up with my brain.  I would go to work, and come home, let the dogs out. Let the dogs in.  Put on the sweats, and lay on the couch.  Sometimes I would fall asleep.  Sometimes I would watch some T.V. and then fall asleep.  Most of the time, I would watch T.V., take a nap so that I would have the energy to go upstairs to go to bed.  It was like I couldn't focus on how to function without worrying.  All of my energy went into work, I couldn't push my brain anymore when I got home. Then, the next week, the week I was packing up my daughter's box, my brain kind of did a fast forward, like they do in the movies where the character goes through five years of life and zip, is in the present.  That was me.  As I was packing her box, my thinking just go clearer and clearer.  From that day until today, I was on time, laundry didn't sit in the basket for days, papers didn't get pushed aside.  I cleaned out 2 closets, the dinning room (turned into 'study'), I worked in the yard, and was not only on time for work (I am always) but I went in early to work ahead!  It didn't take me years to re -find myself.  It took me a week.  It felt great.  Even with the crazy situation that happened at the facility she was in, I was having my own self-rediscovery recovery. 

Her recovery:  My daughter had called me the Friday before the box, and she wasn't happy.  She said she wouldn't be able to call me until the following Friday. I recieved a letter from her on Monday that pretty much told of a place similar to House on Haunted Hill. I didn't know what to think. Well, Tuesday night, around 6:30 the phone rang. My daughter was angry and panicked.  She was telling me she was going to leave AMA (against medical advice) She had demanded to use the phone, even though it wasn't her day.  I told her to calm down. She said that someone in her unit had stolen a key from one of the tech's and so no one could go to group.  She was upset because she had said that this group was actually helping her.  (Even in her panic, I felt hopeful because she said that something was helping her, but it made me angry, too, because she was being denied treatment for something she didn't do).  So, I told her to stay there, and don't go anywhere I was going to make some calls.  We hung up and I started to panic because I had no idea who to call.  So, I went on line to look up names from the facility.  I left a few messages, but I didn't feel satisfied.  Then I remembered Diane, the Angel of Mercy who had helped us, before.  So I called her and left her a message.  Well, by now I was worried and worked up, so I started dusting.  Diane called back around 8:30, and she sounded madder than me!

I explained to her, again all that my daughter had said, and her exact words to me: "You get on that G** D*** computer and type all of this up!  I will give you a fax of the guy in charge of all of this and you send it to him! I'm so fed up with these counselors!  People have complained to me before, but no one says anything!"  Me: "Hold on, Diane, do you have a number?  I'll call the guy."  Diane: "Yes. You'd do that? That's even better.  I'll text him right now and tell him you'll be calling him tomorrow morning."  When I got off of the phone with Diane, I was happy that she was there, again, ready to help.  Then I started wondering why she sent us to a place where she felt the counseling was sub par. (hmmm).

So, I wrote it down, had my daughter's letter and waited until the morning.  Before I could call this guy, Diane called me making sure I had all of my paper work ready.  I assured her I did, and then I called.  On the phone, this man, Mr. B, sounded sane. In fact, he was in the car on the way to the facility that was two hours away from his office.  I was feeling hopeful.  He listened to what I had to say and then assured me he would talk to my daughter, make sure she was safe, and get to the bottom of things.  After all, this facility was where he started.  His statement: "I built that place."  (hmmm).

He said he would call later that afternoon. I had to go back to work, but called Diane to tell her about the conversation.  After I was done, Diane said that my daughter was no longer there.  That someone said she had left, AMA.  "WHAT!?"  She told me she would make a call and get back to me.

Five minutes later, the phone rings.  It ends up being the supervisor from the facility.  The very woman who denied the treatment.  She introduced herself, and said that she understood that I had a question about my daughter's treatment. (How did she know so quickly?)  "Yes.  Is she getting any?"  She then read me the daily schedule.  I said, "That sounds very nice, but is that schedule followed EVERY DAY?"  Pause.  "Well, it wasn't yesterday because the unit was 'acting up.'  Me: "The WHOLE unit was acting up?   (silence)  "Well, I find that hard to believe."  (silence)  "Are you still there?"  "Yes."  "Okay, well, I don't care what the whole unit is doing, you can't deny my daughter, or anyone else there, treatment because that's why they are there."  "Well, she sees her counselor every day."  (that ended up being a lie, by the way)  "Great.  She needs the other groups, too.  Especially the one that is helping her. Make sure she gets there."  Her: "Do you have any other questions?"  "Yes. Is my daughter there?"  "Yes."  "Let me talk to her."  So, she put her on the phone.  I asked her if she was okay. She was. Then I told my daughter that a man would be coming there and she was to tell him everything.  She said that she would.  I told her I loved her and hung up the phone.

I called Diane to tell her about that conversation, and that my daughter was okay.  I went to work.

That is part one.  I wanted to wait because my daughter's view on what happened is my guide to how this will be resolved. We talked when she got home, so, I'm back to trying to put my thoughts together. This recovery business really does take some time...and a lot out of you.