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

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Back on the Bus

Well, we're back on the Merry-Go-Round. I have no idea why.  With the baptism, I thought that would help her stay motivated...it was her idea, after all.  I'm just mad, today. Okay, maybe there's one positive out of all of this. When I got home on Tuesday, that old feeling was resurrected (I can't explain it, a feeling deep inside my stomach or heart 'knowing' something isn't right.  To be honest, I was at work and that feeling just swept over me, I new something would be wrong when I got home).  I asked her if she had been drinking and she paused.  Instead of the idiotic denials to me, she said, "Yes."  I've asked her for honesty, so, I guess that's a plus. I wish she would have been honest about not drinking anymore, though. That's a better honest.  (I guess I should be more specific about what I wish for)

I'm just mad, today. Mad and frustrated that this is STILL happening. Though I'm happy that other people's children are living their lives successfully, there is a part of me, that is resentful.  My daughter was on that same road, once, not so long ago.  What happened?  I still go there, too.  What did I do wrong?  What could I have caught sooner?  When, exactly, did the slip start?  So, resentment and guilt are on board, I'm driving the bus, and we stop for anger, frustration and sadness at the next stop.  I try not to open the door, but they look so lonely standing there, I let them in.  I told them before I'm not driving this route anymore.  I'm done with that.  I'm thinking positive and letting God take over.  And here I am again, driving the bus. As I drive this bus, and keep going down this old, rotten, too familiar road, everything starts to annoy me:  This old house, who's drain in the basement is clogged.  (This happens every few years, so, I'm mad that I have to call the plumber, again).  The humidity. My clothes. That weed in the flower bed that keeps growing back. The new mascara I bought. That I have to go to work as if my life at home is good. Commercials on TV that advertise alcohol (I thought they weren't allowed to do that, anymore). And, I think there's a mouse in the basement.  Ugh.  These thoughts fuel the bus as I drive deeper around and around on this road that doesn't seem to have any ending.  I still pray, but my words are sounding dull.  I believe in miracles but don't see any out the window; it's so dark out there.

Well, that's it.  That's how I feel, today.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Home Run

I am trying to get out of the rut this addiction has put me in. The thinking and believing rut is what I worked on this weekend.  My daughter, as I've said before, is very clinically minded.  I think she is out of balance.  The spiritual side of her she has debated ad nausium to the point that, though I do think she believes, rather than just relax and let go, she feels the need to argue and recite the 'what ifs' of God and the teachings of the Bible.  That's why I was so pleased that she listened to Dr. Dyer that Sunday morning with me.  In fact, she remembered more specifics than I did.  I think a lot of that can be attributed to the fact that I was focusing on being so happy she was listening, I didn't listen as intently as I should have.  Anyway, after that in-service day at work, I did make an appointment with the reflexologist.  It was last Saturday.  I was a little afraid that my daughter would want to cancel, but she didn't.  The appointment was at 11:00.  From my house it is about a 30 minute drive. We left at 10:15.  We had to drive into the city because of the construction on the highway (that never ends, I might add).  Of course, I took some wrong turns and though I wasn't officially 'lost' I was behind schedule.  We finally found the right road to take us back in the right direction. It was 10:35ish, and we still had most of the distance to go. I was pretty sure we would be late, but we weren't.  We landed at her door step at exactly 11:00.

Her house was simple and clean.  Sparsely furnished, but comfortable.  White walls, white floors, white cushions on the couch and chair.  The walls were decorated with pictures of labyrinths she'd painted, along with butterflies, and some photographs.  It was very welcoming and calm.  There was a tall bed in the middle of the room. Enough for one person to stretch out on.  Comfortable blankets covered what looked like a small down mattress type of cover.  Somewhere, there was very peaceful, soothing music playing softly.  My daughter and I sat down while she asked us some questions. She gave each  of us a glass of water.  After the questions, she said there would be a meditation and then she would be working on my daughter's feet.  So, she instructed her to lie on the bed.  She did, and the meditation started.  I sat on the couch and closed my eyes.  A half an hour later I remember opening my eyes.  I can't say I fell asleep, I kind of was aware of what was going on, and heard her voice during the meditation, but it was all so comforting, I think I must have been in a half sleep/ awake state.  She had stopped the mediation and was only working on my daughter's feet.  I could tell by the heavy, steady breathing, my daughter was out.  I closed my eyes, again, and just sat.  Near the end of the session, she woke my daughter up, and gave some suggestions as well as another glass of water.   In the car, I asked her how she felt.  She said that she didn't remember falling asleep--it was like being under anaesthesia--but she felt refreshed.  The rest of the day was spent working in the yard. It was so pleasant. And I have to say that I didn't have any of my usual aches and my daughter looked refreshed.  So, not really understanding the process the end result was good and put us in a different 'place'; a better place. 

That night, I remembered that two weeks before at church, my daughter had mentioned that she wanted to get baptised.  (Our church has a huge foyer and at certain times of the year, they have a water baptism in there).  It's out of my comfort zone, putting myself in front of a group of people doing something I'm not comfortable with, but I wanted to support her, so I said I would if she wanted to. That was supposed to be at 6:30 in the evening on that same Saturday.  Well, I remembered at 9 that night.  (oops)

Sunday morning came and I asked her if she wanted to go to church.  She shrugged her shoulders and said, "If you do".  I have to admit, I really didn't but that inner voice started nagging, so I said that maybe we should go.  We dragged our feet but somehow made it on time, again.  There was the pool they had set up.  And as we walked in, a women who knows us and is in a position of getting things done at the church, came over to us, hugged us and reminded us we weren't there last night and, "didn't we sign up to be baptised?  You know you could do it this morning!" (said with a big encouraging smile).  My daughter: "I will."  Both looking at me now.  My stomach starting to churn, I can feel my heart beginning to beat faster.  "OK"  not really wanting to say that, it just popped out.   We sat through church, my palms sweating. Occasionally, my daughter whispered to me that we didn't have to do this.  I assured her it was okay (thank goodness I shaved my legs that morning).  The church was supplying the shorts and t-shirt if you forgot to bring one of your own.  I was praying for a black set.  When church was over those who had made this choice were ushered out to separate rooms to get changed.  I was handed a bag of clothes and thank you God, black shorts and a top.  (I'm somewhat conscience about what I look like, not being the weight I desire...but I'm working on it, just not in public).  Anyway,  we are given name tags. We line up. The woman in charge (the one who greeted us) instructs my daughter and I to wait until the last--we're going together. Long story short, I really don't remember what was said. I remember getting into the water, holding her hand (my choice not her's) and then being dunked.  Hearing cheers and climbing out of the pool, someone handing me a towel.  I heard so many, "God bless you's"  and 'Congratulations' as we made our way back to get changed.  My daughter commented to me, "I feel like we just came back into the dugout after hitting a home run."  I laughed but that's just what it seemed like.  Getting changed, I couldn't find my name tag. I put the wet clothes with the others and my daughter and I walked out, hair wet but spirits high. 

In the car there was a different feeling. We talked about how this seemed as though it was meant to be, and it wasn't one person's actions. It was a team effort.  She didn't really want to go to church, but I said we should go so we did.  The woman who greeted us suggested the baptizing.  My daughter made that decision and as a result we were all better off for it.  Sometimes, a decision gets made with help.  Sometimes, even if it doesn't feel comfortable or good, it is the right decision.  We stopped at the store and picked up some groceries.  When we got home, my son was there doing some work for me.  Another plus getting to see him.  Walking into the house, my daughter asked, "What's that on your butt?"  "What?"  I have no idea how it got there, but my name tag was sticking to the back of my pants.  Out through the church, into the car, into the store, and home, "SIGNE" was loud and clear from behind.  Who said God doesn't have a sense of humor? :)

Monday, May 14, 2012


Sometimes, early Sunday morning, before I decide to go to church or sit in the backyard, or take a walk, I turn on the TV to the PBS channel.  Sometimes, on Sunday mornings they will have an author giving a lecture. The topics vary.  Yesterday, it was Dr. Wayne Dyer.  I have read some of his books in the past, and I always enjoy listening to him.  I turned it on midway and he was talking to a woman who wrote a book on her near death experience.  I don't remember the book title. I don't remember the woman's name. I do remember what she said and it made powerful sense to me.  She had been diagnosed with cancer. Her organs were shutting down and she was in a coma. She told of how she could hear the people around her. She told of how her father had meet her on the other side.  She told of the unconditional love she felt. She was able to 'know' thoughts and feelings.  She didn't want to leave but was told that, 'it wasn't her time, yet.'  (Knowing her situations; cancer throughout her body, systems shutting down and in a coma, if not that time, then when?  That was kind of inspiring in itself--it 's never too late to NOT give up)  She said that she decided to return. She did. Woke up and eventually, the cancer left. She went back for several tests and no tumors could be found. 

When I hear about stories like that I have always felt that, if they were spared death, then they are meant to be someone substantial:  famous, a healer, something bigger than they were.  That was not her message.  Her message was more astounding to me.  Her message was to come back and have the courage to be herself.   Don't live for someone else. Don't worry about what other's think.  Don't be something or someone others want you to be. Be true to who you are.  Be yourself. 

That did not sound grand enough to survive terminal cancer and be allowed a second chance.  But as I listened to her talk more, it became more and more clear that her message had a core that was very powerful yet simply stated.  I thought about myself.  I do go (and have most of my life) through life concerned about what people might think.  Not taking chances when I should have.  Worried about feeling 'stupid' in front of someone. Where if I had been more confident in who I was, perhaps my choices and accomplishments would have been different.  What if someone was positioned in my life to learn something, but my hesitation to be who I am in favor of  worrying about what someone might say, prevented me from participating in that chain reaction kind of event.  I say/do something, someone sees it, then they say/do something someone else sees it, and lives are affected positively.  (Let me explain it more specifically like this.  We are all a part of God's plan. Each of us has our unique and specific talents and personalities.  Just like in a car, the brakes are used to stop the car, the gauges explain the workings behind the dashboard, etc. Well, if you are afraid to be who you are or if you are trying to be like someone else, then your specific purpose is muddled.  If the brakes don't work on the car, there's a problem. The same applies if you're not working properly. If you spend your time dressing for someone else or trying to be someone else, the impact that was intended for you to make isn't made, at least not to the fullest, because you have held back or felt yourself not worthy. Sadly, our society enforces the idea of being like someone other than yourself.)  I'm more comfortable with who I am now, but growing up because of a lot of reasons, I was very shy and held back, a lot. 

What a wonderful message to learn, especially when you're young.  But any age is good to improve and retrain your thinking toward a more positive outcome. 

My daughter was watching it with me and we talked about it. A lot of the lecture (there was more after her story) was very good. My daughter was open to it. (She participated in an answered prayer that I'll write about later).  I'm glad she was there to hear it. 

So, yesterday I vowed to have the courage to be me, really me.  When that inner voice encourages me to talk to someone, or do something, I am going to follow that without hesitation.  Well, maybe some hesitation but definitely with follow through-change can be scary, you know.  What a wonderful challenge: to really be the person God intended.

Friday, May 11, 2012

A Good Book

Growing up, I never liked talk radio. Everywhere we went, though, my dad had the radio turned to a station that had only news or people talking.  I remember sitting in the back seat of the car, listening to those voices and wondering how my dad could stand listening to all of that talking. But, I never asked to turn to a music station because that would mean opera or some kind of classical and at that age, that was just as bad.  So, I either fell asleep or stared out of the window watching the scenery flash by.

It's funny how as you grow older, your parents' actions become more understandable.  I love music, but there are times that I want to hear something else, so, now I listen to talk radio.  Usually, I listen to it at night.  There is this station that has a lot of talk radio.  I'm so tired at night, I am usually asleep shortly after my head is on the pillow.  This one program comes on very late at night. I have never listened to much of it.  I click on that button that lets you listen for an hour and then the radio turns off by itself (I don't know the technical term).  This show has some crazy stuff on it.  I turn it on if I wake up during the night (I guess it's really early morning).  If I lay in the quiet, I start listening for all of the noises an old house makes.  Then I start thinking. Then my mind wakes up and I can't go back to sleep.  If I click on this station, I'm back to sleep in no time.  I remember bits and pieces of what they talk about.  Usually topics like UFO's, ghosts, angels, some topics are interesting some scary some just weird. I keep a note pad and pencil by my bed because in the past, some of the guests on the program have some information that as I'm drifting off, sounds interesting, so I try to write it down, because I can never remember it in the morning if I don't.  My handwriting during that half sleep/awake state is funny to read.  But most of the time I can decipher it once my brain is awake. 

Anyway, I have written down three good book titles from that radio show.  I'm reading two of them now.  I don't usually read more than one book at a time, but these have to do with the brain, depression and realigning your body/self, so I'm reading them like I would a text book trying to get as much information from them as possible.  The first book, I think, is called, Quiet, or something like that. I suggested it to my daughter because she's always using her being shy as an excuse for a lot of things and the author of that book writes about all of the good qualities and contributions of people who've been quiet in nature--as opposed to loud and out-going. 

The two I'm reading are called, The Code to Joy, and The Instinct to Heal: curing stress, anxiety, and depression without drugs and without talk therapy.  It's been slow going reading them, but they are very thought provoking and different from anything else I've read.  I'm hopeful they can help me retrain my thinking and help me to feel like myself, again.  I'll keep you posted. :)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Home Repairs

I'm still changing, especially in my thinking. I was driving home two days ago and decided to turn around and stop at Home Depot. Those kinds of stores and places like Office Max and Joann Fabrics lift my spirits--so much potential is around you when you walk in.  All of the tools to change and build are lying around waiting for you to pick an idea and then start gathering the supplies to make that dream come true.  I have control in Home Depot. 

I don't feel I have control at home all of the time.  The situation has been good, here, for the most part.  Some relapses (I still don't understand why) have happened, but I haven't fallen mentally into that black tunnel I used to fall into .  My heart still gets sad and I still worry and grit my teeth when I pray, but life has gone on. 

When I was driving to the store, a little pang of worry or guilt started nagging me.  Rather than acting on it and turning around (the guilt comes from my thinking I need to be home just in case something happens) I started picking it apart.  Why do I still get that angst?  Well, I think it's because I read or heard once (I've read and heard so much that it's kind of blending all together) but it was a reliable source or I wouldn't have bothered to remember it.  Anyway, the person said that at whatever age the addiction started, that's the mindset of the individual.  If the person is now 25 but the addiction started when they were 15, then you're dealing with the emotions and thinking of a 15 year old who happens to be in a 25 year old body.  That makes sense, to me.  When I read or heard that I started noticing with my daughter her behaviors were still stuck in high school (I start my counting when the eating disorder began, not the drinking).  How she reacts to situations is where I see it the most.  She's always been intelligent, so that hasn't really changed, but that emotional maturity is what's still lagging behind.  What complicated out situation is my thinking was lagging, too.  Lagging in the sense that this was all new to me and I was so caught up dealing and trying to understand what was going on, I didn't realize that part of her was being held captive in the past (My Civil War thinking).  That's what the addiction does, holds people in the past, emotionally.  So, I've been trying to understand this addiction and the whys and how's but not changing how I treated my daughter.  Still acting as a mother of a high schooler and not a grown woman.

So, now my thinking is like this old coffee can full of nuts, bolts, and washers. In order to find matching pairs you have to dump the can out and methodically sort through the different sizes and shapes to find the pairs that fit together. It can be tedious work, but once the can is organized, things work much more efficiently.   I catch myself, now, when I want to respond like the mother of a younger person. When she acts like that younger person, my response--my mantra-- has been, "I think you can figure that out."  I need a mantra sometimes, to stop me from over explaining and then arguing.  Also, addicts can manipulate and I think that 'a mantra response' also helps me to stop the manipulation from that part of her brain that wants to remain a teenager.

So, there in Home Depot I had my therapy.  While I was meandering thought the aisles, I was thinking of all of this.  I gathered some items to help with some projects I have going on here.  I also gathered some clarity of mind and boosted my own will so that I can continue to readjust the situation here to a more structured course.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Civil War

In the spring during the last nine weeks of school, I like to teach a unit on the Civil War.   I really enjoy learning about the Civil War.  I've been to Gettysburg several times. It is really an amazing battlefield to walk. Being in a place where so much history took place and so many men died is humbling. One of the most memorable experiences is taking the two hour battlefield tour on horseback.  Riding the horse and listening to the details of what happened in the area that you're riding really puts you back in time. It's both a solemn and exciting experience.

When I was in eighth grade our class took a field trip there.  When we got to Pickett's Charge (a section of the battlefield that is basically an open field where the Confederates were slaughtered running toward the waiting Union army who were hunkered down behind a stone wall with cannons and rifles).  Our teachers lined us up and told us to run up to the wall.   We were all young, in jeans, t-shirts and tennis shoes and by the time we made it to the wall, we were hot, tired and sweating. Image running that with a flannel uniform on, carrying a pack and rifle during hot and muggy July.

The whole battlefield is impressive but Pickett's charge stands out because of how clearly it shows the thinking of the Southern military mindset verses the Union preparedness.  The thinking of  General Lee was still in the 'old ways' of battle.  One of the tour guides once explained that while weaponry was becoming more sophisticated and precise, the structure of how to battle was still in the antiquated thinking of the old military schools were the two armies would line up face to face.  Guerrilla warfare was not yet the standard way of thinking.  So, when Pickett decided to command his army to run that fatal charge, they were basically running toward their death. The Union soldiers were just firing at the men running toward them. The field was red with blood because the thinking of the Southern generals had not caught up with the modern weaponry.

Of course, this scenario made me think about people with addictions and living with them (pretty much everything I think of now, I end up finding a link of some kind on how to view or handle my situation). I realized I have been a commander in my own Civil War.  I was the Confederates-lining up my thinking in uniform rows expecting the same routine thinking from 'the other side'.  My daughter's addiction was the Union army with new thinking and 'weapon' usage.  Each time she would drink, I would fall back to the only thinking I knew; thinking that was logical and rational from the point of view of being sober.  Her thinking had changed as did her viewpoint.  Being on different 'battlefields' (thinking fields?) is what caused us both more stress and faltered progress than the drinking, I think.  The addiction is bad, don't get me wrong, but not being able to change your thinking to meet it head on and more appropriately did a lot of damage. Not only in relationships, but in memories and reactions. 

I do think I am almost caught up to speed.  I still falter but sometimes learning a new strategy takes time and practice.  I'm not running fully exposed, hot and unprepared toward a hidden enemy anymore.   I understand 'the enemy' a little better and have an updated book of strategies.  We have made progress and though the battle hasn't been won, yet, we have been able to call a truce.