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

Friday, November 30, 2012


I am always amazed at how someone else's addiction can change me.  I'm not a loud person. I'm not mean. I'm usually pretty quiet and calm.  Not last night.  I didn't have a bad day. I wasn't feeling bad, but when I got home (yes, my daughter is drinking, again) something snapped.  I confronted her and just said the most horrible things. I called her a liar, weak, told her I hated her when she was drinking. I'm not going to say everything, because I'm ashamed of all of the words that I threw at her and that I blew up like that.  I even kicked this chest I had made her that was on the lower shelf of a bookcase, and down came several other trinkets.  She sat there looking at me like I was deranged.  Well, I guess I was. 

I haven't felt like this in awhile. I was feeling so calm and resigned to the situation.  I was letting hope go like a child's balloon in the wind.  And then, all of a sudden this rage rumbled up and I'm screaming like a banshee. 

I'm drained.  Part of me wants to take it back and apologize.  Part of me doesn't because some of it I meant, but not in the way I said it. 

I feel so drained and isolated inside. 

Trying to be so strong and rigid, I guess I crumbled.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A New Car

I bought a new car.  Well, it's a used-new car.  What I had been driving was a 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee.  It had 192,000 miles on it.  That car drove me to a lot of good memories.  On the outside, it still looked good. No scratches or dents. Paint still in good shape.  The age of the car, though, was starting to effect the workings of the car. The first to go was the back windshield wiper.  Then the air conditioner, which has been broken for several years.  I could tough that out in the summer, though.  About two years ago, the hatch stopped opening.  Nothing gradual. I used it one day, and the next it wouldn't open.  After that, little components of the car started to flicker and fade.  The dash board lights, the CD player wouldn't play on cold mornings, little things I could live with.  Then, this September, I was driving and went to make a left turn, the the blinker was out.  So, I have been making the left turn with my arm because no one could change the bulb because the hatch wasn't opening.  I could live with that.  Work wasn't far away.  Other little noises started. Metallic dinging, inside the car was starting to sound like some off-beat, tuneless street band (I turned the radio up).  As long as nothing was falling off, I could live with that. Then it started getting colder, and there was frost on the windows.  I turned on the heater and defrost, and it didn't start with the same gusto it used to.  There was a puff of warmth and a lot of steam on the window that never went away.  So, I started carrying a cloth with me, to wipe the windshield periodically as I was driving.  It was annoying, but I could live with it. 

I had told my dad about the car and he suggested I take it to this place near him to see what the mechanic would say.  So, I went with my dad, and talked to the mechanic.  Bad news.  The heater would be at least nine hundred dollars to fix, they couldn't open the hatch either, so that would be a few more hundred to guesstimate that, the only good thing that happened was he found the replacement fuse, and got the back windshield wiper to work!  Woo hoo! 

I am not on a tight budget, but it is a pretty rigid one.  I'm still paying medical bills for my daughter.  We're working without a contract, so things are up in the air.  I didn't want to have to make car payments, but the money needed for the repairs was providing me some stress, that was getting hard to live with.

My son was home for Thanksgiving and we talked about the car.  He hadn't driven it for awhile.  He looked it over, and discovered that the four-wheel drive wasn't working, either (great).  It doesn't snow a lot here, but when it does...it does, and that four-wheel drive has become a necessity.  Anyway, he said that we were going to look at new cars, so he called around, and we went out Friday night and Saturday.  He brought his girlfriend.  They sat up front.  I sat in back, directing the updated version of how to drive the car.  "Remember when you make a left, you have to use your hand out the window."  "We should probably drive with the windows down, so the windshield doesn't fog up."  "Use that cloth to wipe the window when it gets foggy."  "Mom, what's that rattling sound?"  "I don't know, turn up the radio."

It was getting dark and colder. We had been to look at several cars, but didn't see anything promising. We got back in the car. He put the defroster on (kids, will they ever listen?) and the windshield fogged up so much, he couldn't see out.  I told him to use the cloth.  He couldn't live with it.

Saturday, we went to another dealership.  We did find a car. A 2010 Toyota Rav.  It was perfect. He provided the down payment and will help me with the monthly payments until the contract is negotiated.  Though it was stressful signing the papers, Sunday and Monday, driving a car where everything works was like crawling out of a dark hole.  I took my dad for a ride.  It was fun watching him think of places to drive to.

It's amazing how many ways I can be like a boiled frog.  I can 'live with it,' little by little.  When I look back on all of the things that were wrong with the car, it's a miracle that it didn't break down somewhere.  That car was a lot like me.  Still looks okay from the outside, but on the inside, things are breaking down.  I don't mean with age, I mean with stress, addiction, hopelessness.  This experience made me realize the internal repairs I still have to make.  I just won't 'live with it,' anymore.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Okay, thanks to Annette who so kindly emailed me the process, I have (hopefully) been able to show pictures of my dogs. 

This is Sophie.

This is Nissa, the food addict, who is 'pointing' to the treat jar-her tail wagging.  She does this everytime she comes into the kitchen until someone tells her, "No," or she gets the treat she's pointing to.

This is Dexter and Nissa who are always together.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone.

Monday, November 19, 2012


This is an example of how I believe God intervenes.  I want to say that this was not a big intervention, but then again, it was.  Here is what happened.

I live in an older section of my area.  There are a lot of places like this because back in the day, this area was known for its mills.  It amazes me that even the 'ordinary' people owned these huge, beautiful homes.  They are close together, with small yards.  Everything is within walking distance, post office, a butcher shop, hardware store, other little small beginning shops.  It's a town in transition.  There is a brick alley that runs behind my street, so, it is behind my backyard.  My yard is fenced in.  Before we bought this house, the previous owner put in a garage.  The one side of the garage is along side the backyard. I got tired of looking at a cement block wall (it didn't go with the flowers and plants in the rest of the yard) so I decided to paint the wall.  Several years ago, I had painted it all one color and then tried to make mosaics in each of the brick outlines.  I liked it, and it was okay, but it needed a change, so this summer, I bought paint (three different colors) and decided to make a design.  I started but then it got so humid, that I stopped until this fall.  (If I knew how to put pictures on here, I'd take one to show you).  Anyway, the warm, fall weather is winding down, so last week, my daughter said she would finish the wall.  It took a day, but she finished it, all but five bricks because the paint ran out.  So, we went and got more so she could finish it last Friday (3 days ago).  She has been sober, it would be 9 days, but she bought alcohol and finished the wall. 

I came home and recognized the change in her.  She took me out to see the wall, it was beautiful, but she was talking goofy, so I encouraged her to go inside, she went in and fell asleep.

I have three dogs.  All of them were rescued.  I have a doberman-lab mix. Sophie. She is such a good dog, after having been abused so terribly.  She is gentle, and loving.  I just love her.  We got her when she was a year old, and she has never really needed a leash.  She just stays with us.  Our second dog, Nissa, is a beagle mix.  She is cute and loving.  She 'talks' a lot.   She is a food addict.  We have to make sure there is no food near the edges of tables.  She has pushed chairs aside, to jump on them and to the table to get a piece of bread. She's pretty tenacious. Though I love her, I'd never get another beagle.  They are cute, but hard to house train and they bark at everything (There is a woman in our neighborhood who I see walking three beagles.  Every time I see her, I think, 'there is a special person).   Our third dog is a miniature pincher. Dexter.  I really never thought I'd like a small dog.  He, though, doesn't give you any time to do anything else but love him.  He is all over the place.  He thinks he's a mastiff.  He's comical and sweet. He is the man of the house, with four females totally enamored with him.  He gets along with my older dog and the beagle, but he and the beagle are buddies.  They play together, hang around outside together, sleep together.  It is so cute to watch.  Again, if I knew how to post a picture. 

Sophie doesn't run out of an opened door. She will wait until you are out the door, and invite her to come with you.  Nissa and Dexter, on the other hand, will zip out invited or not.  And they will run.  When we first got Nissa, someone told me to always keep her leashed because their sense of smell is so controlling, that unleashed they will just run.  Dexter has escaped three times.  Fortunately, he needs to stop, sniff, and pee on everything so I was able to catch up to him before he ran too far.  But really, I didn't even see him bolt out of the front door.  I just happened to turn around, see him pause to look at me, bark and run. 

Here's the miracle.  On Friday, after I had looked at the painted wall, I never checked the gate. The backyard is fenced in.  It was garbage pick up and the recycle bin needed to be taken in.  My daughter apparently had thought about it, but then didn't and forgot to latch the gate.  Friday night I let the dogs out without walking out with them. They came in.  Saturday morning, I did the same thing.  Saturday afternoon, I went out to rake leaves, and went down to get the recycle bin, and (with the dogs out there with me), saw that the gate was standing open about five inches.  All three dogs were in the yard, in fact, Dexter was at my heals.  My heart stopped. And I have to say, that for a few seconds, I looked at Dexter wondering if that was really him sitting there looking up at me. I was shaken.  I locked the gate, picked him up, unlocked the gate, got the bin, and then locked the gate.  I was dumbfounded and the only thing I could think of was, "Thank you God."  Because there was nothing else keeping them in the yard with an opened gate. 

Small miracle, to look at, I guess. But to me, a big one.  I would have lost them, I'm sure.  Hit by a car, taken by someone.  The way he and Nissa run, and bark at the gate if someone walks past...
So, of course I am thankful, but then my reality brain starts thinking, why a miracle here?  My spiritual brain kicks in, maybe because it is one less thing for me to worry about.  Maybe because they are so dependent on me, that since I was oblivious, God stepped in.  I don't know, I just know it happened and I'm still in awe. 

I'm not even going to say what my next thought was, because it will sound like a complaint and that I don't appreciate what happened.  And I do.  I guess I wrote to show my thanks and to admit that I don't know the way God thinks, or why things happen the way that they do, but I do want to say that I'm grateful for miracles, regardless of their size.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


A good therapist is very hard to find. I think a lot of times, they come with their own opinions, prejudices, and baggage. At least in the field of treating addictions, this seems to be how it has been for my daughter. There are the therapists who think they need to 'get down to their level' so that rather than being someone that persons with addiction can look up to, they become someone
'just like them' seemingly, anyway, and rather than being able to show the person or group a new way, the therapist-buddy becomes just another peer with authority and nothing changes.  Then there is the therapist with an opinion, and that opinion has been that the person struggling with an addiction is less of a person.  They go through the mechanics of therapy, but fail to reach the heart of the hurting that is helping to fuel the addiction.  This type of therapist, because they are so locked in the mechanics of therapy, will also fail to filter what they say, and so in a group of people who are searching and hoping for help, they announce that, "Unfortunately, some of you will never recover."  Do you know what kind of a poisoned worm that is for a person struggling with an addiction and hopelessness (and excuses) to be lured to?  How easy that statement is to swallow when there are so many issues swimming around in their brains in those early stages of help before they can clear that murky thought process?  Then there are the therapists who have a grudge, usually a family member who struggled with addiction-a person they still resent deep down inside, and now here in front of them are a group of people all representing an aspect of their (the therapist's hurt) sitting around a circle--fish in a barrel for this person who quietly lashes out with stinging comments further confusing and injuring people who are trying to find healing. I hate the damage that these people do and have done. In a process that is so fragile and intricate--unravelling the human mind--they are careless and hurtful and selfish and yes, I'll say it, stupid. 

So,  I've talked to my daughter about finding other sources of therapy.  There are some very good books to read. Journaling. Painting. Exercising. Talking. People can discover and recover on their own as well as with someone leading them.  When the leader isn't available, that's no excuse to not start the journey.  Building a new routine of good health. Forcing yourself to step off of the path you've been trudging, and making a new path.  Yes, it will probably be hard, you may have to cut down some weeds, and you may trip over some stones, but as the new path becomes more walked and worn, it will be smoother and more familiar.  If your mind is able, regardless of the hurts of the past and the fears of the future, you can begin to heal. 

I need therapy, too.  I think anyone who has watched and participated in a loved one's addiction process needs rehabilitation.  Of all of the commercials and programs on rehab facilities, I have yet to see one specifically for the family members.  So, I have to do it on my own.  I have found several different therapies that help. Listening to other people.  Talking to other people. The anticipation of the first sip of coffee in the morning. Smelling fresh air. Getting rid of excess around the house. Working in the yard. Reading. Watching a movie. A nap on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Sitting in the yard on an autumn afternoon and just breathing in all of the fall aromas. Journaling (blogging) and reading other people's journeys. Even if the blogs don't talk specifically about the addict or addictions, the other aspects, hiking, cooking, opinions, all of it, help someone who's making a new path, see all of the other options that are out there. Other people's stories and opinions help to cut a new path. So, keep writing because our thoughts have value, our opinions have healing, we have a story. 

In closing, I want to quote something I read while looking for prayers and help on the Internet during a time my daughter was drinking.   The title is Making it Happen. I don't know who the author is, but I like how they clarify the word 'try'.

          "...there are two types of people in this world: Those who try and those who make it happen.  Many of us have negative behaviors or addictions we've tried to over come and if we have failed, the harsh truth is that it's usually because we are satisfied with just trying.  Our reasons for trying are generally selfish.  We try because we don't want to feel guilty or because we want recognition from someone else.  Trying is one type of consciousness, and often those of us who try are not successful.  But there's another type of consciousness--one of conviction.  That's when trying is not an option. Overcoming challenges requires a commitment to never give up.  Success comes from seeing what we want to change or accomplish and deciding that until we cross that finish line, there can be no turning back.  Those who merely try, usually don't really want to make it happen. They just want to feel a little bit better about themselves. Making it happen means making a transformation in our consciousness to actually care about something or someone more than we do our own comforts.  At the end of the day, whatever challenge we are facing, we have to choose if we're going to be someone who tries, or someone who makes it happen.  As long as we are here in this world, anything is possible and anything is changeable.  As long as we keep on pushing and persevering, we can overcome.  We can never, ever give up."

Saturday, November 3, 2012


I came home so sad and mad yesterday, that I stopped off at the grocery store, bought a container of chocolate pudding, brought it home and ate the whole thing.  It didn't make me feel any better.  In fact, each chocolaty spoon full made me feel more sick to my stomach.  The combination of a week's worth of dark, gloomy, rainy weather, stress at work, stress at home, all of it, made me think chocolate pudding would help.  I have never been an emotional eater, so I'm not sure why I chose to do that, other than maybe I was too tired to do anything else.  I fell asleep on the couch.

This afternoon, I watched the movie Eat, Pray, Love.  I read the book a few years ago; a lot of it as I waited for my daughter to be finished with class. I read a lot of books while I waited to pick her up on the days she didn't take the bus.  I loved the book.  The movie isn't as good, though, I still enjoy it.  Anyway, a phrase from the movie stood out like neon glitter: "Ruin is the way to transformation."  Initially, that sounds enlightening and hopeful, because the assumption is that the 'transformation' will be a good one.  Well, it hit me like a handful of glitter in the eyes.  I have gone through ruin: a bad marriage, the struggles during the divorce, the emotional issues that followed with my children, and then my daugther's engagement to addiction.  It has transformed me, but not in a good way.  I am a more bitter person, less hopeful, less happy.  I have turned from someone who enjoyed a challenge to someone who hits the snooze alarm as many times as I can to avoid the challenge of getting out of bed.  I used to look forward to time with friends, now I hope they don't call because wearing the mask of 'normal' has become so exhausting, I just don't want to put it on anymore. I feel old and worn out, even though I'm not. Many years ago, I went with two other friends to the Pocono's to meet with a woman who does past lives.  The one friend I went with wanted to 'unclog' herself and wanted us to go with her.  We did.  It was a memorable weekend.  Something the woman said to us when we were in her living room, talking, was that you know that you are spiritually healthy if the sage you are growing (the herb) is deep green, and healthy.  This summer, of the three sage plants I planted, two died and one could only muster three shoots (I should have heeded the warning).

I started thinking of one of the pastors at the church I go to (though I haven't been in awhile).  He was on vacation at the beach in September.  A wave knocked him over. He hit his head and was unconscious in the water for a time before anyone saw him.  He was rushed to the hospital, never regained consciousness, and three weeks later he died.  This was a man who relished his relationship with God.  He made you feel good about being in church. He was kind, giving and outgoing. He had a good family, with a grandchild on the way.  And God chose not to heal him.  If God chose not to heal someone like that, how on earth can I believe that he would heal someone like my daughter who is having doubts about God?  The whole church was praying for a miracle of healing and one never came; The same prayer I've been praying for five years.

Well, today I am still bitter.  Though I understand and acknowledge all of the things I should be grateful for, the dismal and waning life of my child still casts a shadow on all of it.  I'm just so sick of all of this. I'm so resentful and angry. Today, I can't keep it in. Today, I'm letting it out, here.  I just feel so bad.  And yes, she started drinking again, and no, I'm not buying anymore chocolate pudding.