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

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.