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

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Still Learning the Strokes

A quick back track last time concerning the eating disorder. I explained how the drinking started, very slowly and sinister in its ability to seep in without looking dangerous.  But it was.  That all started in 2008, so it has been three years.  The time it hit home with me was when she wrecked the car.  Fortunately, no one was hurt, including my daughter.  Also, no other cars were on the interstate at the time she wrecked, it was after she hit the guard-rail, that cars began appearing.  That is itself is amazing, since it was an interstate notorious for heavy traffic.  Yes, it was a DUI.  She did not do any jail time.  Since it was her first (an only) she was put into a program of counseling, and abstinence for one year, and it has been expunged.  That year was stressful, because although she was not supposed to buy alcohol, she did on 5 occasions throughout that year.  But no one found out, and she remained in the program and has moved on from that.  That time, though, is when I started noticing how God, despite our most crazy moments, is present, seemingly to save us from ourselves.  The most evident is that no one was hurt in the accident.  The accident took place in another county from ours, and so we had to travel there for court dates, counseling, etc.  Each time we traveled, during the winter months, we would avoid snow storms by a day, or the counselor for that day had an amazing message, things like that.  I know it may sound trivial reading about it here, but when I reflect on how much worse things could have been, to how they turned out, I know I see the hand of God holding ours.  Even the judge, who singled out my daughter over everyone else at the court hearing (people went up in groups because DUI's apparently are very common) had asked her to stay behind, and he lectured her, which I was thankful for.  I wanted something to sink in.  But it was going to be awhile for it to happen.  It was during this time, though, for me that I would have moments of truth, or some type of clarity in my mind about her habits and reading between the lines of what she was telling me and what was really happening.  I was beginning to not understand that I was an enabler, yet, but began that internal arguing with myself that was, I believe, the beginning stages.  Like the stages of confronting some one's death.  I was in denial, and now I was going to start bartering/arguing with myself, her and God, and anyone else who was seeing things differently than I was.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Learning How to Swim

By that point, I was swimming around and learning new strokes.  I would eat more myself, so that she wouldn't have as much to eat.  I became an expert in searching out hiding places (this would come in handy when the alcohol took over) I made up excuses to the extent that I was starting to believe them, myself.  And through all of that, I was still sure this would all go away, and things would be back to normal.  But they didn't.  It was so bad that at one point, she clogged the drain, and I had to have a plumber in to unclog it.  He asked if we had a garbage disposal.  (We didn't)  We were watching an episode of Intervention one night, and it was about a girl suffering from bulimia.  I cried through the whole thing.  I had no idea it was like that, even though I was living through it myself.  Denial can be such a strong cloaking device.  It was then that we both looked at us, though the distortion of tears, and she asked for help.  I started making calls.  I ended up calling the one shown on Intervention.  Unfortunately, my insurance company didn't feel that she needed to go there, so I had to pay out of pocket (I took out a loan).  Remuda, the place I sent her, did help reduce some of the fee for me, so I'm grateful for that.  She stayed there for 6 weeks.  When she returned, much healthier both mentally and physically, things weren't perfect, but she did eventually get a handle on it, and as of this writing, is still in recovery from that.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

So Far the Water Feels Cool

My daughter's eating disorder was the jumping off point of my education.  I didn't believe it was happening.  It was my son, and then my daughter's best friend who would point things out to me.  I was still completely clueless.  I wasn't even near that river of denial, let alone floating on it.  When my son pointed out what he noticed, I confronted my daughter, and she admitted to it but assured me that it would never happen, again.  Well, that was easy!  Life goes back to normal. Not so much.  It was a very long and isolating process, but I do believe that the pattern of addiction (lying, isolating herself, guilt) began during those years.  She battled bulimia for 5 years.  Once she finally had enough, I did send her to a rehabilitation place specifically for eating disorders.  I was so relieved when she was there.  It did help her, though, it took several more months after she returned home, for her to be established in her recovery.  Though, I must say, that although the drinking wasn't a problem, yet, it was developing on the fringes.  She still was able to drink socially with friends but I noticed her drinking more at home.  She always had a reasonable excuse, and she was legal.  No parties, just a drink here and there, and since I was concentrating on the bulimia, the alcohol wasn't waving any red flags with me.  Anyway, she was back at school, and doing well.  During her second year at school, her roommate committed suicide.  The next year, my mother died unexpectedly.  Both events took a toll on her.  That following summer, she had to stay at school to take some summer classes.  It was during that time that the alcohol was establishing itself as a problem.  It started because she was there, alone.  No friends, her boyfriend was not there, and she considered herself shy so it was hard for her to make friends and complete the amount of studying that she needed.  So, she would take a test, complete a project/paper, whatever.  After class, go get some dinner, and have a drink as a reward.  It relaxed her and calmed her thinking. And still, after all we had been through with the bulimia, I was still slow on the uptake.  I just didn't want to have anything wrong.  Life had enough problems, without my children having anything serious happen to them, especially something they were doing to themselves.  Too, I was praying a lot, and believed that God was hearing my prayers and would come to our rescue.  I believe in miracles, and who needed on more than us?  Well, this experience has taught me a lot about a lot:  People, God, myself, and ultimately, I have learned what it means to not judge others. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Pot Begins to Fill

After those three days of not being able to get out of bed, my daughter, returned to school and life went on.  And it went on, well.  She had a lot of friends, active in school, home life was fine.  My son was starting to go through some of his own stuff.  I didn't then, but do now, realize that divorce is hard on everyone no matter what the age.  But everyone has good and bad days, and I just thought we were experiencing the normal ebbs and flows of a family relationship.  Apparently during this time, though, my daughter's self image was being chipped away.  At one time in her life she had be very comfortable in her own skin, and now, she had to be a certain weight.  She was on a school rowing team and over heard some of the boys on the team make negative comments about some other girls they saw in the spandex suits the girls had to wear. And so, she became very aware of her body, and very structured in here eating habits and exercise.  A comment she made years later was that it was at this time that during health class, the students were introduced to several mental and emotional health problems that girls might experience, and eating disorders was one of them. She commented to me, she would have never thought of anything like that had she not been exposed to it. She thought it was 'gross' and 'disgusting'.  Two cups of water into the pot.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Choosing a Pot

Still trying to summarize the early stages of this experience.  Up until my daughter was in high school, she was fine.  What wasn't fine, was my marriage.  So, after 18 years of marriage, I asked for a divorce, and that process was even more stressful than the marriage.  It was during that time, I think after looking back and talking with my daughter, that her emotional 'pot hole' began to develop.  One morning, in 2001, I was telling her to hurry to get ready for school, and she was in the bathroom, sitting on the bathtub, crying.  She didn't know what was wrong, but she couldn't finish getting ready.  This from a girl who rarely missed school, straight A's, involved in activities.  I didn't know what to do, but thought that maybe it was stress, and I told her to stay home.  I went to work, and when I came home, she was still in bed, and still very sad.  This lasted for three days.  During that time I talked to a friend, and she told me to have Amanda try to write down her thoughts.  On the fourth day, Amanda went to school, and I thought things were back to normal.  I realize now, that during that time, somewhere deep inside her, the darkness had taken hold.  On the weekend, when I was stripping beds to wash the sheets, I saw the book she had written in.  I read what she had written.  She wrote that she was afraid.  That she didn't know what the purpose of everything was, and then talked about her brother and dad.  She felt that they had abandoned her.  She felt abandoned.  I realize it was at that time, that she and I had begun to design the pot.  Anger, feeling abandoned, fear, doubt, and sadness blended together, is a stronger material than steel.  It can cut with more precision than a diamond into a person's soul. And so, without any understanding, because I thought things were back to normal, and resumed the normal routine and mindset, I chose a pot.  Very deep, sturdy and dark.  I also didn't realize at the time, but I was on the rim of the pot, getting ready to take a dive.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Before the Pot

I did everything right as a mother. We did everything right as a family.  I was able to stay at home with my children, my husband had a very good job. We did things as a family. There was no alcohol in the house. When the kids got older we talked to them about not drinking or taking drugs, and how to respond if someone tried to tempt them.  We did it right.  Both of my children were successful in school.  My daughter had a lot of friends, was involved with sports, on the honor roll and in the honor society.  This was a life that the word addiction was never considered.  Never in million years did I expect life to take the direction that it has.  I have reviewed the past over and over and over, trying to see what wasn't right, and I come up with nothing.  I read to them, I baked cookies, they had birthday parties, we spent a lot of time together, yet they weren't smothered.  We went to their games. Carved Jack-O-Lanterns. We had arguments, but we made up. They were loved to over flowing.  I remember one morning my daughter came into the kitchen and said to me, "Mommy, I love you as much as flowers smell sweet."  Life was sweet. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Hello From the Pot

I'm a boiled frog.  I didn't realize it until three days ago when the lightbulb finally clicked.  I had heard of that expression several times before, but never applied it to my life, because I was living in a fog.  I get it now.  It has taken me three years to come to this point, so I will be writing backwards.  The clarity of the situation is unfolding from this point, and like a sunrise, it is lighting the past so that I can begin to see what happened to get me to this point, and hopfully, save time for anyone who may read this.  Regardless, I need to talk about it, and this seems like as good an outlet as any.  My story:  I live with an addict.  My beautiful, talented, funny daughter is developing from a binge drinker, into an alcoholic.  I never believed it would happen to me, and that unbelief is what kept me in the pot as the temperature slowly, steadily, and sadly continued to rise.