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

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Lately, I've been a little like Dorothy looking out of my house as I spin around in a tornado.  Work (paperwork is not my friend), home (still good and bad days), my dad (he needs surgery) have all been pulling me in so many directions, that it was hard focusing on any one of them to feel as though I was doing a really good job with either of them.  Then, this weekend I got sick (I rarely get sick) and am still recovering but feel a lot better that I did on Sunday.  So, of course I'm two days behind where I want to be but, I'm not stressing about it. It is what it is.

In the back of my mind has remained my 'pilgrimage'.  I really wanted to exorcise those old ghosts.  During those moments when I had time to just be quiet and think, I tried to plot out a route to take.  On that route I would stop and maybe lay a flower, or take a picture and then burn it and spread the ashes, or just sit and say a little prayer.  I was trying to figure out how best to put those bad memories to rest. 

Then, one morning I was taking a shower (always my best place to think) and the thought came to me to change my thinking.  It came to me that I don't have to physically go through all of that if I don't want to.  The change has to come in the way I'm viewing those places.  So the question popped into my head, "Do I see those places as a time where she was drunk or do I see those places as a time that the Grace of God covered the situation making it one that could have been horrible, but instead, each time some little miracle happened that allowed the situation to pass without anyone getting hurt, or arrested or dying?"  My thought was not to see those places as reminders of all of the negative, but as places where God stepped in and, 'saved the day.'    Once I considered that thought, it was like a weight had been lifted from my whole being.  I think I may have even taken a deep breath, like the breath you take when you open the window in the spring on the first nice day and smell all of those sweet, fresh fragrances.  The fresh fragrance of clearer thinking.

Here is one of those miracles that really is not so little.  She was to run an errand for the place that she worked for on campus.  During the middle of a test I was giving, she called the phone in my room.  I could tell by her speech that something wasn't right.  Just at that moment, my principal walked into the room.  I'm not sure if I had a look on my face or what, but she asked me if there was a problem and I said, yes.  She asked if it was family.  I said yes (she knows nothing about my family). She then asked me if I needed to leave. I said only for a few minutes.  She told me to go, that she would administer the test for me (that never happens). So out the door I ran. I called my daughter on the way and found her sitting in the snow on the curb right as you enter campus.  To all others, it looked as though she had fallen.  I pulled over, helped her up, and took her home.  All in 45 minutes which is another amazing feat.  No one was hurt, no one knew, and I got back to work and all was 'fine.' 

That was just one of the insanities that occurred during those early years when I was trying to understand what this was all about. 

So, there in the shower, I had my pilgrimage. I decided to shift the focus of my thinking to the blessing not the curse, so to speak, and that heaviness in my heart, lifted.  Though I haven't had the time to drive past those places, yet, I know it will be different.  It is different already, here, at home, with the memories that have accumulated, here.  A lot of negative went on (still goes on) here, though I don't dread being here, anymore.  It's different, now. My view is different.  I was putting up Christmas decorations and the phrase, 'There by the Grace of God go I,' came into my mind. I have said it on occasion, with no real commitment to what it means.  I completely understand what it means, now.  They aren't just words to me anymore.  They are a declaration.

Merry Christmas and bountiful blessings in the New Year.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Unchained Memories

I still feel as though I'm in a transition of sorts.  No more of those panicked feelings even though life here feels a little like the waves when you're sitting on a raft in the ocean.  It's not a stormy sea, but it's not calm waters, either. 

Thanksgiving here was nice, though, because of work, my son couldn't be here (first time) so it was my daughter, my dad and I.  It was  a nice, calm and relaxed day. 

My daughter and I were out yesterday, walking through the stores, testing perfumes,  looking at clothes, admiring odds and ends.  It was fun begin part of the shopping crowd without that nervous feeling of needing to find the gift everyone else is looking for.  I stopped worrying about shopping for Christmas a while ago.  I take it slow, now, and things seem to turn out a lot better than when I was one of those frenzied feeling shoppers.

On the way home, we stopped at the grocery store and my daughter ran in to pick up a few things. I waited in the car.  I sat and thought about a quick comment that I made leaving the mall.  It had something to do with wanting memories of places we go to or things we've done that have nothing to do with a drinking memory. I don't want to look at some picture that was taken that on the outside looks 'normal' yet I know that she had been drinking.  Or, some place we drive past that has some memory of a drinking moment.  I did comment to her about it and we kind of joked about it, which feels like a good thing to me, because in the past anger could erupt with only a one word mention of drinking.  Progress.  Anyway, as I sat in the car, I started to wonder, how do you make new memories to overlap the old?  Those old memories feel like false ones, anyway.  That's not really how life should be or how it was supposed to be.  Those are not the memories that were supposed to be held onto.  Those old memories do not really reflect the life situations that my child should have been in.  I know it may not make sense, but that is what I was thinking, and pretty much how I feel about it.  I'm not resentful.  Not really remorseful, either.  More like going through my mental album of memories and wanting to remove the 'false' pictures and replace them with the mental photos that should be there. 

So, that's what I'm doing.  I'm toying around with the idea of revisiting all of the 'haunted' places with the false memories and doing something positive to recreate better memories.  I'm not sure that I will actually go through it with all of the places, but I do think I just may make my own pilgrimage to some of these places to  'set things straight' so to speak.  I don't want to drive past something (I've written about this before) and constantly see the ghosts of drinking past, waving to me or peeking out from behind a pole as I drive past.  I want unchanged from those memories. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Different Perspective

Life feels as though it is in a transition stage.  I have been going through some internal readjusting that in turn is effecting my 'outer world.' Though there are a lot of issues I want to write about, I just don't have that mental 'umph' yet.  I feel quiet and observant, but not motivated to 'move', yet.   After writing about egg shells, I stopped walking on them and talked with my daughter.  I expressed everything I was feeling, even the feeling of walking on egg shells.  It was done in love but spoken with determination. It was good to discuss this with her.  It feels so much healthier having it all out and everyone understanding what everyone is thinking/feeling. 

Something interesting happened at work, yesterday.  As I was leaving at the end of the day, two of the principals were in the office as I was checking out.  One mentioned to me about a meeting they had attended where addicts were talking about what parents should look for in their children if they suspected drug use.  My principal was talking about how manipulative their behaviors were as addicts (these are the persons with addiction talking to the audience describing their own behaviors while in active addiction).  Though I don't share my own experiences, I do share what I've learned.  Their concern was with a student that I have who's parents are in active addiction.  The are concerned about the manipulative behaviors the child is learning.  I agreed with how unhealthy it is.  What is concerning to me, though, runs a little deeper.  Adults who have participated in addiction and all the behaviors associated with active addiction, once they choose sobriety, have the appropriate behaviors to fall back on. Their behaviors prior to addiction.  They know right from wrong, etc.  Their foundation allows them to see how manipulative they were while in their addiction.  Once the choice to pursue sobriety is determined, they have a frame of reference for appropriate behaviors to return to.  Children who are growing up with parents in active addiction, though, don't have that same frame of reference.  The behaviors they have been learning by watching their parents (who are the foundation of the child's development) are behaviors of a person in addiction--the manipulation, lying, etc.  All of the negative behaviors.  Those children don't have a more healthy foundation of appropriate behavior reference.  Their behavior reference is the reference of behaviors of active addiction.  These children have no healthy, moral code to decipher or return to as they move through life.

{This has always been my concern.  A lot of times the adults feel sorry for how terrible the child's home life is and so they let them get away with a lot.  I agree, many times (and the situations are becoming more frequent) their home lives are terrible.  However, feeding into those manipulative behaviors isn't helping the child. It, I believe, hurts the child even more because it reinforces for them the idea that their manipulations does produce desired results.  I can't tell you how many times I have diplomatically tried to explain that they are not helping the child by giving in to them.  But, most of  the time people don't want to hear words that make them uncomfortable}. 

Anyway, when I told my principals that, they just stared at me.   I don't think they had viewed it from that perspective, before. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Egg Shells

My computer problems are finally over. My son graciously bought me a new one--something about a mother board not functioning. I probably should know more about the computers I use, but sometimes it's like if I have to think of one more thing I might have my own mother board meltdown.  So, if he is content to help with that part of my life, I am content to let him. 

I get like that sometimes, that I have so much that I have to do or remember that just picking up a dog toy and throwing it back into the toy basket is just too much work, so I let it lay there. 

It is like that with this addiction issue.  We are having some good days and some bad.  It is getting like that dog toy, though.  I just don't want to talk about it, deal with it, or live with it anymore.  I am content to just walk past it and leave it.  I am not ready to kick her out, but I am beginning to whittle off more of my enabling, for lack of a better word.  I've written about it before, but I've reached the point where I don't really care what the reason was for buying alcohol, because at this point in the game, all of the reasons sound so lame.  She's upset with her dad.  So what?  Who hasn't been?  She's shy.  So what, who hasn't been at one time or another?  She feels guilty wasting her gifts.  So STOP drinking.  She doesn't have any friends.  So make some.  Blah, blah, blah is what it is all sounding like to me.  I don't mean to sound uncaring or insensitive.  People who are hurting is a serious issue.  Having said that, if I cut my finger, I would get a bandage so that it could heal.  I wouldn't pour poison all over it and take a nap thinking everything would be better when I woke up.

The one issue that still robs me of my freedom in this situation is the emotional issue.  What I just wrote up there, I haven't said bluntly to her.  I dance around the emotions.  I'm still walking on egg shells where the emotions are concerned.  I don't say what I really mean fearing that she will get upset or sad or mad and go drink.  Has my waking on egg shells ever prevented the drinking?  No.  But somewhere in my brain, I haven't yet been able to fully live the fact that I can't control some one's emotions let alone their actions.  All change comes from within and for me to still be walking on egg shells means that I am still in the grips of enabling even with all of the positive realizations and changes I have been able to make in my life.

Emotions are draining. I work with children who have emotional issues.  Trying to figure out why they do what they do is exhausting.  There have been days when I needed to go to the grocery store after work and I was so mentally exhausted that I actually tossed around the idea of just sitting in a corner and closing my eyes for a few minutes.  Now, I would never do it, but for a few seconds the idea sounded comforting.  So, I had to make some changes at work as to how I worked with those students.  Ironically, my experience with addiction and everything I've read and lived through has helped me distance myself from their emotions.  It has really been helpful. I can clarify their issues better and give them the tools to be more accountable, and it has been successful.  I don't walk on egg shells there.  I still do at home, though.  The final frontier. 

Well, that is the issue that I have been addressing, here.  I feel as though I've been rambling but it feels so good to write about it, I think I just needed to get it all out. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Serpents and Doves

When I was in my third year of college, a friend of mine got engaged and then married.  They were renting an older, cottage-like home near my parent's house.  When we were growing up we had a relationship where sometimes we were close for a few years and then we'd grow apart, then get close again, then grow apart and at that time we were close, again.  She had a very electric personality. Energy all of the time.  Time spent with her was always fun.  It was summertime, in the early evening.  I had just got home from a summer job at a local park (my favorite job of all time).  She called and wanted me to come with her to run some errands--nothing that needed me to dress up, so I showered and changed into my jeans and a t-shirt.  Pulled my hair back and sat on the porch and talked with my mom until she pulled up.  It was an easy time in my life. 

When I got into the car, as usual, she was already talking about everything.  One topic I remember was about a girl who worked with her husband.  They had been on a company picnic that weekend apparently this girl had annoyed my friend.  I remember, as she was driving, she was complaining about this girl. She felt her personality was 'weird.'  "How so?"  "She's always in the conversation."  "I'm not sure how that's bad."  "Well, she thinks she knows it all."  "Oh,"  I said, nodding my head, understanding how annoying that can be.  Me agreeing with her seemed to fuel her justification for not liking this girl because then she started in on how she looked.  "Yeah, and she never wears make up, she always has her hair in a ponytail. Always wears glasses and she never dresses up--she always wears the same thing.  Pants and a shirt."  I took a quick, mental assessment of my own appearance--no make-up, hair pulled back, my standard jeans and a t-shirt.  I remember smiling and looking over at her, "Uh, Cath...you just described the way I look right now." She quickly took her eyes off of the road to glance at me.  Then she looked me in the eyes and we both started laughing.  "Well, you look good, it looks different on her, besides, I think she even has a mustache, and you don't have that."  "Right."   I giggled and she laughed and the conversation moved to another topic.

Funny what you remember.  In fact, I hadn't thought of that conversation for a while, not until recently when I was thinking about how people judge persons with an addiction.  I was at work and there is a family who's parents are active in their addictions.  They have children that attend our school.  When we, as professionals, are at meetings talking about this family, you can see the disgust in their expressions and the lack of understanding in their words.  This isn't the only family like this.  A sad fact is that more and more children are living with one or more parent who is addicted to drugs or alcohol.  I have been to several meetings with parents who's slurred speech, and gingerly movements cause a lot of glancing around the table and then a lot of talk after the meetings.  Once or twice I've smelled alcohol on a parent, but their actions seemed normal, so the meetings progress normally. 

It's tragic.  However, my point here isn't about how tragic that is.  It is about how people can find one thing not to like about someone or a situation, and then build on it.  Like my friend did.  She didn't like how that girl acted like she 'knew it all' and when I agreed that that was annoying, she began adding other traits, that she had apparently forgiven me for or had even overlooked, because she liked me.  At these meetings with the parents who are struggling, my colleagues (some of who are counselors)  grab onto the 'addiction' and lose the person. No one seems to take into account all of the parts that are involved.  My suggestion this week was to address the elephant in the room, but no one wanted to do that.  "We can't.'  "Why?"  ""Legal issues."  "Really? What?"  "There isn't any real proof, just our suspicions."  "Hmmm."  It goes like that.  Then they start talking about the parents, again.  I did speak up a few months, ago. I spoke up, again, yesterday.  All I said was that,  "If you dehumanize the parents because they have a problem, you will never make any progress.  I don't think anyone is happy that their life has gone down this path.  Keep the children safe, but I don't think we should forget that the parents may need just as much compassion and help."  I think I heard about fifty crickets after I said that, but I felt compelled to say it, so I did. 

"All things work together for good to them that love God."  I wish this hadn't happened to my daughter, but I can see how there is good in all situations.  I am clearer on how not to jumble every personality and trait into an excuse to justify my judgment.  My view of the person is becoming clearer--as is the mess that may be around them.  I understand Matthew 10:16 better, "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves."  I'm wiser to the behaviors and boundaries that are needed, but more gentle to the person.

Sunday, October 13, 2013


I'm tired of this addiction. I'm tired of thinking of everything that has happened regarding the addiction. I'm tired of trying to figure things out, sort things out, and understand the reason for all of this.  I just want it all to be over.  I just want the life that I imagined for my daughter to start up, again. That simple life that you imagine day by day.  They come home from school and you aren't thinking any huge accomplishment other than, they had a good day and were positively active in life. I talked to my daughter who is struggling right now and told her that if she decided to never work, again, or just spent the rest of her life reading every book she can, or if she used the rest of her life to volunteer, that all would be so much better than what she is choosing, now.  I said that to her because I think she sets such high standards for herself that are pretty unrealistic. It's as though if she feels that she isn't going to be the best, then why try?  Sick thinking.  Anyway, I'm tired of it all. I want her to be tired of it all, too. 

I'm not mad.  Though, I think I should be regretful, I'm not.  I do get sad, but even that emotion is fading.  I don't feel weak.  On the contrary, I find that my mind is becoming clearer.  I'm not moping around in a fog, anymore.  The last time she drank, I didn't fly into a rage.  I didn't even want to be angry.  I'm tired of that, too.  Anger is exhausting. 

I have changed.  I have spent a lot of time 'talking' with God. I have made it a priority to spend at least a half and hour a day meditating on bible passages and just being quiet.  Being quiet is so important.  There is so much outer noise and the inner noise was becoming so deafening, that waking up in the morning and trying to think about the day, was becoming mentally painful. I found during the day, when I was planning a lesson or doing paperwork, that I was clenching my jaw so hard that it was starting to ache.  So I stopped.  I think that is a tentacle of involvement with an addict. You too start developing an over active mind and your own form of sick thinking. You can discern their sick thinking but your own sneaks in through the back door.  I have locked the back door.

I guess I'm writing here, today, because I don't want to write about addiction. I want to write about how much better I'm feeling even though the storm is still raging all around me.  This isn't over.  Though my daughter says that she hates this and doesn't want to drink anymore, she did.  I'm not okay with it, but I'm not enraged over it, either.  I think I just had the 'ah-ha' moment on boundaries.  I think my mental boundary just kicked in and that boundary is what is most important.  I can be physically distant from someone, but if my mental boundary isn't established, I'm still just as involved and entangled only from a distance (I went through that when she was away at school--what a nightmare that was, being so far away and yet so enmeshed in her madness at the time).  Now, she's in the same house but I'm able to distance myself.  I can love her and talk with her and be her support and still not be attached in the way where I am flailing and getting knocked around with each of her bad choices (only six years to figure that one out--better late than never, I guess).

The mental boundary is hard because the sick thinking encourages you to believe that disconnecting mentally means that you don't care.  Not true.  In fact, I think that it may be the moment that caring becomes clearer.  Like when the plane is coming down and you're in the seat and that oxygen mask pops down.  Before the mental boundaries I was trying to adjust her oxygen mask while mine bounced around above me.  Recently, I learned to reach up and grab onto my own mask and I have to tell you, those first couple of breaths are the most refreshing and freeing I've ever taken. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Winner

I am a different person than I was six (really, six?) yes, six years ago.  I know I would be a different person, anyway, we all grow and change, but with this experience, I have been on the fast track to change.  Sometimes that change felt like something I initiated.  A lot of the time that changing felt so unnatural for me that I couldn't help but fight it every step of the way.  I have analyzed myself and our situation here until everything is now starting to look unfamiliar and new all at the same time.

There are days that I am so happy and hopeful on the inside that if feels as though I'm glowing.  I really feel radiant on those days.  I'm not sure why I feel like that because the world around me hasn't really changed much...I guess it's the world within me that has been changing.  Then there are the days that I have felt so alone and lost that I can barely make it out of bed.  That every movement I make is like lifting a five hundred pound weight.  On those days, I used to almost find comfort in wrapping myself in my anger and resentment.  In fact, I think that when those days passed, I was mentally tenderly folding that 'blanket' and tucking it away, though not too far away, because it was becoming too comfortable for me to feel angry.  Almost as if I were secretly, though never actually admitting it to myself, looking forward to that angry, pouting nest I was feathering and keeping warm with that blanket of anger.  Thankfully, I have thrown out that blanket. 

I have been faithfully trying to live as 'me.'  I have taken that challenge seriously and am finding that I'm enjoying life more.  I am not a loud person or an 'in your face' person, but I have made a conscience effort to say what I'm thinking.  For instance, when we were on strike, there was a union member who felt that his fifteen minutes of power entitled him to dictate how long, when and where people walked the picket line. He followed us when we took breaks.  He was annoying and a little creepy. He was being a bully.  A lot of us complained about it to each other.  Now, I don't like confrontation but if I'm confronted, I don't have any problem speaking my mind.  In this case, I decided to do the confronting.  It was kind of funny.  We were talking about it and I said I was going to say something and my group of friends were like, "Really?  What if he says something?"  "Then I'll say something back."  I didn't yell or say anything hurtful,(okay I may have had a butterfly or two) but I just confronted him on his behavior.  I was direct, said my peace and walked way.  And the bully wouldn't even look directly at me when I was talking to him.  He also stopped following us. I felt energized.  I didn't hold back.  It was a small step that I have advanced into a comfortable walk. Ironically, I find myself calmer inside. 

Learning to be comfortable with me is oddly a new experience for me. I really never took the time to notice all of the opportunities that I let pass buy because I held back.  I am committed to not doing that anymore.  It's ironic to me that the experience of a strike--fighting for a cause--helped me to stand up for my own inner cause, and I won.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Tired, again.

I'm tired. 

I'm tired of a lot of things, but mostly, I'm tired of this addiction thing.

I'm tired of being patient and understanding and sympathetic. 

Those most recent two sober months made me realize how wonderful life can be.  Even when situations aren't perfect, the fact that your children are okay makes any other little pitfall, just that--little. 

We had gotten into such a healthy, good routine.  She was working during the day. In the evening she would exercise and read or watch a favorite show. On the weekends she would run in the mornings and then read.  Later she would help around the house or we'd go shopping or on a little day trip.  I had slowly begun to open those shades that had been making life so dismal here.  I was letting the light of a normal life shine though and it felt so good and warm.

I had (actually we had) also started listening to a pastor on T.V. who I had heard several years ago when I was visiting another state., but only rarely could find him on T.V. here at home.  His name is Joseph Prince. He is from Singapore. His accent is heavy at times, but his message is amazing.  I like how he analyzes the bible and explains the Greek and Hebrew words, the symbolism and connecting the old and new testaments.  He has helped me begin to change my thinking. I credit his teachings with my lack of anger and resentment this go around with her deciding to drink.  I am calmer and not  angry.  Truly, I can't really say what emotion I'm feeling.  I just know what I'm not feeling.

Anger and rage are gone, but I'm still tired of all of this.  I'm even too tired to ask her what caused her decision to drink, this time. 

In the past, some of the reasons she gave for drinking were boredom, stress, anger, feeling lonely, feeling overwhelmed, feeling as though she's wasted time, feeling as though she's ruined everything, feeling, feeling, feeling.

I don't care about the reasons anymore.  At least not today.  Today, if she told me a reason, I would have to tell her that that reason wasn't good enough.  All of those reasons and excuses aren't good enough to rob you of your life. She will tell me that I don't realize how much she's trying.  My answer is try harder.  Is there really a limit to how hard we can try?  I can get tired of trying, but if I'm honest with myself, I can always try harder.  We all can. I want her to.  When it comes down to it, I can't think of one excuse or reason why you can't just keep trying harder and harder.  My thinking is if you can do it for one day, you can do it for another day.  If you can do it for two months, you can do it for two months and a day.  I have heard from several counselors that there will be set backs.  As if giving her permission to slip up.  I didn't like that idea then and I don't like it now.  I decline the permission to slip up.

I get that alcohol is everywhere. You can't turn on the T.V. or watch a movie where alcohol isn't involved.  There are commercials about alcohol.  What do you do when you go out?  Go drinking.  I get it's everywhere.  So what?  So are cakes and donuts and cheesecake, but I'm not eating those every chance I get.

Is it unfair that she can't drink?  Maybe.  But a lot of things aren't fair and life is still good.  It is what you make it.  Attitude is everything.  Grow up.  Just stop it already.  That's what I want to say, but I won't.  Mostly, because right now I'm just too tired.

Saturday, September 28, 2013


A lot has been happening since I last wrote.  My daughter finished her job, but she hated it. We had two months of sobriety and it was heavenly.  I truly did almost forget what all of the madness was like. Life felt so normal and healthy.  She did start drinking, again, shortly after I'm not sure why and once she was finished I was too exhausted finding myself treading water in those old emotions, that I really haven't talked too much with her about it.  Honestly, I just didn't want to think about it anymore. I'm so tired of this aspect of life--addiction.  I just want to say, "Get over it already! Move on! Quite whining! Grow some! Grow up! JUST STOP IT!"   But I don't.  I'm not sure why, though.

Another thing that happened was that we went on strike here for two weeks.  My first time walking a picket line.  It was amazing to see how a little power can affect people.  Some of it was a good experience, some of it was not. The whole thing was a learning experience. 

My computer broke and that was frustrating.  The irony of all of that was that when I first was introduced to a computer, back in the day, I wasn't too enthusiastic about it.  Now, I pout when it doesn't work the way it should. 

My dad turned ninety-one and we had a fight.  I hate that but I was trying to give him a small party and he was making it difficult.  Why?  Who knows, but that is how he is.  The good thing about that was that  when I called him on his birthday to wish him happy birthday, he apologized to me. First time ever that I think he apologized to anyone as far as I know.  It was nice but he could have prevented it all by just letting the situation be controlled by someone other then him for once. I guess that might be hard at ninety-one, though.

Last Saturday morning I got a call from my bank.  Someone had made a purchase with my card numbers at an electronics store in Oklahoma.  They wanted to know if I approved it. No, I didn't so they cancelled my card.  After I hung up, I left the house and drove to the bank to try and understand what happened.  Apparently there are people out there who are just constantly running numbers and when your sequence of numbers randomly pops up, they make a small purchase (mine was 5.74) to see if it goes through. If it does, a bigger purchase is next.  Fortunately they caught it before that happened.  My question to them was how would you know to catch it.  The answer is that my spending habits are profiled.  Somewhere in computer land some entity has been tracking what I buy, so that if something like this happens it is red flagged and I'm notified.  I'm not sure how I feel about this.  On one hand I'm happy that they caught it, on the other hand, being a private person, I'm not happy that some unseen entity is following me when I'm shopping. Which, I don't do haphazardly. This has been a big inconvenience, though.  You can't just run to the grocery store unless you have cash which, good or bad, I've become accustom not to have.  So, I stew inside for a few minutes a day about invisible, selfish people who have effected my life in a negative way trying to make their lives easier.  Grrrrr.

So, that is what has been going on.  My mind feels as though it has not had time to settle down.  We have only been back to school for 11 days and it feels like three months.  I am a person of routines and I feel off kilter right now.  I feel unsettled. I feel as though I have had an overdose of emotions and now, I'm just mentally unable to push my thinking any further.  Though all of this, though, I have been doing some internal adjusting, especially with my thinking and spiritual attitude.  I'm trying to figure out how to write it down.  I think it helps me when I do that.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Good Filter

I started this post over a week ago. On that Friday morning, I woke up at 5:00 am.  Plodded downstairs with the dogs following close behind.  I poured beans in the coffee machine and turned it on, then went outside in the backyard with the dogs and walked around in the cool air as the dogs sniffed around the yard and finished their morning routines.  As we all trooped back into the house, I could smell the aroma of the brewing coffee. Yum.  When I went into the kitchen, to my dismay, the coffee and grinds were spilling all over the counter.  I quickly pulled out the plug and threw a near by hand towel on the creeping coffee before it poured over the counter and onto the floor. What the heck happened?  I opened the filter section of the coffee and found that the filter was not there, it was still sitting in the dish rack.  I cleaned up the mess, put the filter basket in with a clean filter and started the whole process over again. 

A good filter.  If you don't have one, things can get messy.  Just like a coffee machine, your brain needs a good filter.  If you don't develop one, your thinking can spread in all kinds of directions, most of them unhealthy.  If we don't filter out all of the negative talk we hear and the talk in our own minds, we can lose track of what is truth and start believing a lot of untruths about ourselves and others. 

Life is still on track, here. It will be two months next week. It seems wonderfully longer.  She is still working at the job she hates. She is not a telemarketer, but she is on the phone a lot (that's all she does) verifying addresses for the company she works for. A lot of the time people are mean to her on the phone. She really hates that and I can hear in her voice when we talk at lunch, how sad it makes her.  But I am so proud of her for sticking it out. I think in the long run, that will help her repair her inner filter. I know words are powerful, however you give them the power.  Learning to not let everything someone says to you burn holes in your confidence is important. Especially, people who don't know you.

I am still working on my own filter.  Though I couldn't be happier, it is still a work in progress for me. It comes in waves, the hint of fear that this may all change. But then, deep inside is that inner voice that whispers to me that everything is on the path as it should be.  So, I readjust my filter so that I can discern the fears from what is actually happening.  Those fears of 'is she thinking of buying alcohol...maybe I should ask her,"  get tossed.  I've learned to not blurt out every thought that comes into my mind.  I have been learning that I don't need to revisit the past or that I don't need her to clarify a moment in the past when something happened when she was drinking.  Why would I even think to ask her that? Why would I want to resurrect those memories?  But I do.  Something inside me always wants clarification when in reality, it doesn't always happen and often takes the form of beating a dead horse.  It's over.  The past.  Done. Gone.  Even if I did get the answers, what is the point of reliving that hell?  Why drag her thoughts back there?  That is how worn down my filter is, so I'm mending it day by day.  One day at a time works for me, too. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Runaway Thinking

We were sitting in the living room after dinner tonight.  My daughter was looking at a site on the ipad that has retro clothing as well as interesting and unique jewelry pieces and other accessories.  Occasionally, she would make a comment like, "This is pretty,"  or "What do you think of this?"  and show me a picture of a ring or dress.  At one point she casually said, "If I was still drinking, I might order this,"  and showed me a picture of a flask with a saying on it about a mermaid. 

Prior to that I could feel myself relaxing and getting sleepy.  When I heard that, I think a  little jolt of adrenaline shot through my body and my eyes flew open. Initially, all my brain heard was 'drinking' as I turned to look at the picture on the ipad, and tried to comprehend that I was looking at a flask.  It only took that split second for my heart to skip a beat and panic to start that rumbling in the pit of my stomach, BUT then my brain started pulling the reigns on my runaway hearing and thinking and slowly (only seconds, again) my rational brain collected ALL of the words she had said and it registered the, "If I was still drinking...." part.  I played that part over and over in my mind. As my heart was settling, I quietly watched her lounging and casually gliding her thumb across the screen, the panic that I had momentarily felt, thankfully, never registering on my face. 

I closed my eyes and smiled in my heart as I said a little prayer of thanks.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Who Am I?

This is the end of week three and I am finding comfort in this new position. This weaning back into society and life is a slow process, but it feels so healthy for both of us.  I will start back to work next week, though the students don't come until after Labor Day.  So, I can still talk with her during lunch breaks.  She is scheduled to work there until September 13th, but isn't sure she will.  I did tell her that she can respectfully resign, give her two weeks notice, if she feels it is impossible for her to continue there.  All days she really doesn't like it, but some days she seems to be able to tolerate it better.  In my heart, I am hoping that she can stick with it, though I won't be disappointed if she doesn't.  She has come a long way in a short time and I'm proud of her either way.

During that first week when I had difficulty leaving the house, I was lying on the couch watching Wayne Dyer speak on the public television station.  I have always enjoyed listening to him.  I think what he has to say is very helpful and true.  During his talk, he introduced a woman named Anita Moorjani.  She has written a book entitled, "Dying To Be Me."   The book recounts her journey from sickness, to coma, to near-death and the experience she had there, and then coming back.  She seemed so serene as she spoke.  I have not read the book, but her story seems miraculous.  Her message from her sister (I think it was her sister and father who met her in heaven), that it was not her time, though she could have chosen to stay.  But if she went back her job was to have the courage to be her--to live her life boldly as herself (I'm paraphrasing but that was the main message that she spoke of during that lecture).

I have been thinking of that 'command' for three weeks.  Though it sounds easy--live as you--it has been kind of hard for me.  What does that really mean?  I know what I like, I know my thoughts, I know what I don't like.  Those basics have been easy to understand.  What I've found difficult is to filter out all of the outside influences that have an effect on me.  My appearance, coming to terms that I'm no longer in the body of a 35 year old.  My joints are aching more and I am more than I want to weigh.  I found another white hair on my head yesterday.  The influences of a youth crazed society can play havoc on the confidence of any woman. Then there is the 'path' that society pretty much dictates that everyone at each age level should be on, regardless of obstacles that may arise.  Even babies are gaged by percentiles.  The anxiety of measuring yourself by the standard of others starts that young.

So, who am I?  I can easily say I'm a believer in God. I have a moral and ethical code that I live by. I try to learn from my mistakes, though admittedly it may take a few tries. I love animals. I love working with children. I am a good observer. Those are some of the clear and easy to claim cinder blocks of the foundation of who I am.  Who else am I?  I'm someone who likes to dance, though I rarely do.  I like interacting with people, though sometimes I don't say the comments (good or bad) that I would like to say but know I should.  I love connecting with nature, though life gets so busy that I don't always connect as often as I'd like.  There are times when I would just like to take my camera and drive, no specific destination, and take pictures when I see something I like, but I haven't done that in a long time.  I hold back, a lot.

Those are just some of the pieces of who I am.  As I was writing it, though, I realized that I was a lot more like me when I was younger than I am now.  It seems that the older I grew the less of me I brought along.  For most of my adult life, 'me. has been in storage.   This may take some time, finding and dusting off all of those pieces of who I am.

I'm not giving up.  That concept has given me a new perspective.  I seem to be more alert to that outside junk thinking that I used to just allow to flow into my thoughts.  I can honestly say that I didn't think I cared about what other people thought, but I guess, I really did.  Anyway, that is what I've been working on.  I am leaving you with a quote from Anita Moorjani:

"I detach myself from preconceived outcomes and trust that all is well. Being myself allows the wholeness of my unique magnificence to draw me in those directions most beneficial to me and all others.  This is really the only thing I have to do. And within that framework, everything that is truly mine comes into my life effortlessly, in the most magical and unexpected ways imaginable, demonstrating every day the power and love of who I truly am."

Monday, August 19, 2013

Missing Children

It is the third week of her job and day thirty-seven of her sobriety.  During the second week of her job, I could leave the house.  That first Monday, I made quick trips in the morning, hurrying to be back by her lunch at 11:30.  She has a half an hour lunch and after she eats her sandwich and banana, she walks around the building outside.  I think she said that four times around may be a mile.  Anyway, while she is walking we talk on the phone.  Each day last week, I made an effort to run errands while she was away.  I am letting go of my fears.  Having fears really means that you're not letting go of the past, so I am actively trying to leave my fears behind.  I am working on focusing on the now not the then or even the what ifs.  Today is good enough and I'm finding contentment in that. 

As I was running my errands last week, I was in a store where they have pictures of children who are missing stapled on a bulletin board.  At the top in big, black lettering is, "Have You Seen These Children?"  I stopped and looked at all of the faces.  Some have been missing for years and have an updated, this is what they might look like picture beside their original one.  Others are a few weeks old.  I thought of my daughter.  Thirty-seven days ago, my daughter was missing.  The happy, confident, sweet-natured child I raised, now grown, was missing.  She was missing for two years.  Though she would 'show up' for a while, she would also 'disappear' and go missing for days.  Anyway, that's what it felt like.  Looking at those smiling faces of missing children, that is what I thought about.  I thought about the pictures that were chosen for those fliers.  When the picture was taken, it was obvious by the child's expression that it was a happy time.  School, family experience, the expression of the child had no hint of the tragedy that was eventually going to take place.

Addiction in the family is very similar. Life is happening.  Everything seems normal and right and then a stranger--addiction--creeps in, hiding and waiting, ready to snatch way the person you love, and then your child is 'missing'.  They may come home okay.  They may come home weaker and damaged.  They may never come home leaving the family worried and wondering, "What happened?" 

I left the store grateful for having her back, again.  Though my guard has not left, it is not front and center and my hope is more present than it has ever been.  I am appreciating spending time with her.  Laughing with her.   Watching her make her lunch in the evenings for the next day. Buying bananas for her.  Making plans for the weekend.  Watching her develop a healthier routine.  We were driving to pick up my brother and take him to the airport on Saturday and there was someone telling her story of recovering from drugs on a Christian radio station I had on.  The girl said how the Holy Spirit had convicted her and one day she took one more shot and then flushed the rest down the commode. She has been sober ever since.  We talked about that. She made the comment that if the Holy Spirit had convicted her, why did she take one more?  I suggested that maybe human nature and old routines may have been an issue.  There was silence and then I asked her what made her stop?  She said,"I don't know. Something inside just turned off." 

Praying that something inside just turns off for all of our children lost in this struggle.  

Sunday, August 18, 2013

A Slow Process

Letting go is hard.  Letting go disrupts a routine of understanding and familiarity.  Sometimes that routine is not healthy but just being a routine makes it comforting, for lack of a better word.  No big surprises await you around some unknown corner.  You know the corners and boundaries and it gets comfortable. 

The first week that my daughter went to work I could hardly move.  I didn't leave the boundaries of my house.  Even going out into the yard was difficult for me because my fears, that had roots in the past, had grown and vined their way through my brain to such an extent that mentally I was having difficulty separating the past memories with the clean, new present circumstances.  Her taking those first steps back into life seemed to push me down a well of my own where I could see  the light of our 'safe' routine fall further away from me as I fell deeper into the well of my past thinking.  The first day for me was almost paralyzing.  Almost.  I did little things around the house, but found that I spent a lot of time just sitting and rationalizing my thoughts.  An unrealistic thought would pop into my head (she has alcohol) and I would have to go through steps to tell myself that it was not true.  The phone would ring and my brain would slam me back to those crazy calls of two years ago where she called me from work and I could tell she was drinking, so I would find a friend, make an excuse and have them drive me to her work so that I could wait in her car and drive her home.  But the call would be benign this time and I would be so exhausted from the built up fear (which amazingly only lasts seconds) that I had to go back an lay on the couch. 

When she came home that evening sober and tired from a day working in an office, my senses were on high alert searching her face and voice for any signs that my fears were right and thankfully, there were none.  She was good.  This went on for a week, though I must say that each day got a little better.  I had to talk myself--rationalize with myself--that she was okay.  And in the evening when she came home, she was.  We were establishing a new routine.  A healthier routine, but my mind was so stuck in fear, that I wasn't able to appreciate the more positive change.  I never let her know about what I was thinking.  I didn't ask questions.  I just let it happen and dealt with my own issues on my own. 

I do believe prayer has allowed us to get to where we are now.  What frustrates me, though, is that it is not a smooth path for her.  She hates the job.  It is mundane and boring for her. She sits in a cubical and makes phone calls all day to verify information.  Sometimes the people on the other end are nice.  A lot of times they are rude and impatient.  We have talked about it but I was afraid that this negativity on their part would cause her to want to drink.  It hasn't or if it has, she has been strong enough in herself that she has moved past the thought.  On Friday, she she thought she would be paid, but she wasn't so she called the company that she works for (it is a temp agency) and though they gave her the direct deposit paperwork that she filled out, they did not give her the time card she needed, so for two weeks, she has not been paid.  She made calls and has the time cards and will see the HR person on Monday to clear things up.  Again, a stressful situation that I was afraid would make her want to quit, but she handled it all well, even though she is angry about it.  The third issue is that she is only supposed to be there for a month but no one has given her a specific end date (I have to say that this company is not very professional, at least the women with whom she's had to deal with aren't).   So, I told her to explain this to the HR person and settle it that way.  Frustrations.

Why can't it be easy for her, at least in the beginning, so that she can build inner strength?  There is a lot about this experience that I don't understand.  Spiritually, that is one I'm having some trouble with. I know life isn't perfect and I'm not saying that I want it to be, but it could be a little easier, at least in the beginnings.  She has handled it all well, though, and I'm very, very proud of her.  This letting go is a slow process.  Slower this time than the first time I let her go. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Letting Go

When my children were young, there wasn't a day that went by that I didn't know where they were, what they were wearing, eating and who they were playing with.  I knew when they went to sleep and when they woke up.  I was the guardian of their young lives and I enjoyed every minute of it, even the  illnesses and injuries, though I wasn't happy that they happened, I was glad to be the one taking care of and nurturing them back to health.

At the appropriate times, as they got older, I started letting them go.  It wasn't sad to me, though I must say on that first day of school my heart did ache a little as I watched them get onto their first school bus.  But I allowed it to happen, knowing it was the right and healthy thing to do for them as they learned to navigate their little lives on this new life path. 

As they grew older, I knew a little less about their lives.  I knew what they were doing at home, but once they were in the company of friends, their lives were less visible to me.  My 'watch' was shifting.  I was no longer in direct control.  Sometimes, now, I was in the crow's nest, watching from a distance. 

It was all good and natural, that letting go.  They were moving into their lives with very little upset.  Life was on a good course, until addiction pulled along side my daughter and pirated her course.  There was a lot of shifting and confusion and madness  until I understood how the enemy maneuvered.  That took ten years total.  I have to say that through those ten years, there were successes and life did move forward, but as the addiction continued to manipulate and sabotage, that forward motion began to stall. 

After the summer of hell, these past two years have become more 'settled'.  I understand the situation a little better.  I have accepted that I can only control me and no one else.  I am not being tossed around as I was in the beginning. I now have a firmer hold on life.  These past two year have provided a routine--not a healthy routine in many respects--but a routine that has allowed me to stop my mind from being tossed around by the storm of addiction.  I can think now.  In these past two years my daughter has been home.  There have been times that she was working on her health and there have been times where she decided to submit to her demons. It has been hard, but I knew where she was. We had a routine and like when she was little, I was hoping she was learning to re-navigate her life, here in a safe environment, with me standing guard.  Honestly, it helped me to feel more in charge, again, and allowed my own mind to begin to settle from the storm.  I think, too, using home for two years as a mooring place for her life, was helpful for her to finally mentally slow down and dock.  Get out of the storm and find some rest.

Well, happily, it is the beginning of the second month of her sobriety.  The day of going to see, The Little Mermaid, was her last drink.  I can't tell you how happy I am. She has a job, that she doesn't like, but the frustrations that it is bring, she is working through.  I didn't realize, though, that I would be going through the  'letting go' process, again, only now I have horrible memories that are attached and making the 'letting go' more difficult than the first time.  I do think PTSD has something to do with it, but I am working through it.  Maybe that will be the topic of what I write for awhile...how hard the second letting go can be.  In the meantime, I am thankful for the prayers because I do believe those words are what helped to clear the fog here.  So, thank you.

Monday, August 12, 2013

In God's Time

I love yard sales.  Items I love and I'm not really sure why are bowls, rustic, hand-thrown pottery, and tables.  I like to look for other items, but for some unknown reason, those are the three subjects that catch my eye, first.  My house isn't congested with a dozen tables stacked with pottery and bowls.  But if it were a bigger house, there probably would be a table or two in the additional rooms and yes, some pottery would find it's way onto the tops.  I used to buy small tables (end tables, tables that you can put a flower on) and paint them.  I would either find a room to put it in or give it to a friend.  Two years ago, I found an older coffee table that I had no room for and really no time to do anything with, but that little voice was telling me 'buy' and so I took out my five dollars and bought.  After several unsuccessful attempts at finding it the 'right spot' in different rooms and the front porch, I ended up putting it in the basement.  I never forgot it was there and every time I went down would glance at it and toss around the idea of painting it or making some tile mosaic on the surface.  It never happened.

Around that same time, I was at another yard sale and bought for $20.00 this beautiful leather reclining chair.  It is not huge, but just right for the small living room and because it reclines, it allows for more space.  I wanted to replace this black leather chair that my mother had bought from her sister-in-law many years ago when they (her in-laws) were moving to a smaller apartment.  She gave one to me and kept one.  It was a nice chair but I had to buy a small ottoman so that you could stretch out in it and that took up some needed extra space in the living room.  So, when I found the other chair (that was in excellent condition) I was really happy.  The new chair looks great, but I had to find a place for the old chair.  I put it in the dinning room turned study until I could find it a home.  When my son found a place, I asked him.  He said that he didn't need it.  I had offered it to another friend when their son moved out.  He said that the new place was already furnished.  So, that black leather chair sat in the dinning room for two years. It made the space cramped but, there it sat. 

Last week, a friend of mine's husband who has found work here, rented an apartment and needed furniture.  He sent a text out to friends and family.  They are on a tight budget now, with two households and didn't want to spend a lot on furniture.  Of course, when she called me I knew what pieces he was going to get.  I cleaned up the table and had both sitting in the foyer waiting for him.  He picked it up, yesterday.  He wanted to be assured that I didn't need them and I told him that I think I bought the table and chair for him two years ago and have just been storing it for him. 

That's what I felt like.  As though God knew this was all going to be needed in the future and had me store it until the right time.  God's time.  That kind of thing has happened before to me, where I buy something and don't use it right away, almost forget I have it, until one day, it is the perfect solution to some problem.  It doesn't happen a lot, but it has happened.

It has been that way with my experience with addiction.  I have been so anxious, worried and stressed through this whole ordeal.  Trying a lot of the time to control outcomes and get life back on my terms/time, not seeing the bigger picture.  I will never know why this all had to happen.  Having said that, letting go and letting God work in His time has made me realize and see what good can be harvested from bad.  God's time has allowed me to become more aware, more understanding and a little more patient. It is still a work in progress, however, understanding that I don't know the big picture and that I'm not 'steering the ship' but am only a passenger has given me the opportunity to stand with the wind in my face and appreciate the ride and what it has had to offer.  I'm still working on the acceptance of it all and the whys still pop up, but as long as I remind myself that, "All things work together for good to them that love God..." I can reset my watch to His while I watch and wait.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Our life here continues to be good, one day at a time.  I really do try not to look any further.  Not out of dread but out of trying to learn to appreciate what I have at the moment I have it and not worrying or trying to calculate how long it will last.  I am expecting it to last forever.  Each day, now, spans my forever.

I don't remember if I've read any blogs addressing this issue I'm going to write about.  I have been thinking about it though and doing some half-hearted research. 

My daughter applied for a job a little over a month, ago.  It ended up that it was for a temporary agency.  The first time they called for a job for her, she had been drinking and never answered the call.  Once she stopped, she asked me if they would be mad or if she maybe had lost her chance (I still think she has issues with self-sabotage and I can't figure out why).  Anyway, I told her to call and find out.  What's the worst that could happen--they fire you?  So, you look for something else.  Life will go on and it will be okay.  I can't remember exactly when, but the company ended up calling her and offering another position with a different company, no questions asked. She filled out the paper work.  I drove her to the interview.  Today, is her first day. It is a data entry job that she is not interested in permanently, but for a month, she said, it will do.  She said to me that it will get her back into the job world, give her experience, and money.  She has not had a job for two years.  In fact, it was two years ago, this month, that the summer of hell was coming to an end.  During that time, life seemed so out of control.  She seemed possessed.  My brain was whirling with it all and it felt as though nothing was ever going to feel right, again. 

Life is much calmer, now.  We did get into a routine, here.  She would be sober for awhile but then for some reason, a thought would bubble to the surface of her mind or she would take a trip to the past, and then would drink for a week or more.  We established boundaries.  When she was sober, she helped around the house.  It is not as though she was doing nothing.  I suggested books, she started to read. We worked on developing a more healthy routine.  It was start and stop but we did establish a routine that seemed to have had some good come out of it. 

A lot happened in that two years both good and bad.  Today, as I've written before, things seem different.  More grounded and less panicked. We can talk about more without getting into a fight.  She doesn't seem as desperate, today.  So, here is the issue I mentioned in the beginning.  Could I be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? 

We have talked about her drinking.  She said that she isn't going to buy alcohol.  Not, "I don't plan to" but "I'm not going to."  She did say that, once before, but (I don't know how to put this into words) it was different. Even though she did buy it, it didn't last as long and she didn't buy as much.   Anyway, that was our conversation.  It has come up sporadically (only because I've been keeping my mouth shut because if I let fear take over, I'd be following her around all of the time asking questions and trying to get something in writing).  Each time the conversation was civil.  So, I felt as though I shouldn't say anymore about it.  I can't control it, we both know the issues, so just be quiet, is what I would tell myself.  It was okay, until yesterday.  We had a good day, but ALL day all I wanted to do was ask her, "You're not going to buy alcohol, right?"  I wanted to keep telling her that the job wasn't worth stressing over if she felt that coming on.  I wanted to remind her about what to do if she felt the urge or started thinking about it.  I could have talked about it all day, but instead, I kept quiet.  The cause of that, though, was that the memories from the summer of hell were bubbling up for me.  Thoughts I haven't allowed into my brain were taking formation front and center, waving flags and shooting fireworks.  It was going against everything I'm trying to do.  Pray, stay hopeful, believe that God is in control. 

Saying good-bye this morning was bittersweet.  The hopeful side was thinking how wonderful this was.  She was once again, a participant in life as it should be.  Simmering beneath my real thoughts, however, were the memories of what has happened in the past.  I am trying to 'think them away.'  The way I'm feeling though, is that because of PTSD? Could not just the remembering but the churning stomach, difficulty concentrating, and general feeling of a lack of focus be a form of PTSD because the scenario (having a job away from home) is the scenario of that summer from hell?

It is a new day.  She has taken that first, healthy, courageous step back into the world of the living.  I am so proud of her and want this to be the first day of the good rest of her life.   All of this time I've been telling her to let go of the past.  Release, forgive, move on.  It seems as though she really is working on that.  Now I guess, I need to follow my own advice.

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Impatient Sort

One day at a time, it has been good, here. Though I don't know what the future holds, I do feel my hope coming back a little more each day.  It 'feels' different, here.  Where it used to feel like there was some dark force enveloping our home, like some black blob out of a science fiction movie, it now feels lighter.  Not in the physical lighter, but in the mental and maybe visual lighter.  Conversation is less strained.  Smiles come more frequently.  Attitudes seem to be shifting to a better place.  I do believe people can change in a day if they choose to.  I know it is hard work whenever someone chooses to change, but it is still possible, I believe.  It is a choice, as always.

After work a few days ago (summer school is over at noon) I came home and we went to a zoo.  Not the big zoo, but one that was about an hour away. (My daughter has always loved tigers and this place has a pair that includes a white tiger). This zoo was smaller, more personal, with the option of feeding certain animals.  I was pleasantly surprised.  It was clean, the animals were very healthy looking and if you took your time, it was about a two hour walk. 

As we were walking through the park, the animals who were allowed to be fed by the visitors, were never far from the fences.  For the animals, like the zebras and others that were more wild, there was a PVC pipe that reached to the path.  People could pour kibbles down the pipe, that sat on a slant.  The kibbles or carrots would then roll down the pipe and land in a metal bowl where the animals could then eat them.  There were some animals who were impatient, knowing the treat came down that white long thing so they would position themselves at the bowl and just wait, trying to make sure that any other animal that came near was not given enough room to share in the profits. 

Other animals (mostly the wild horses) were even more impatient and determined to let everyone in the park know.  They knew good things rolled down that pipe, and they would pick up the end of the pipe and let it snap back making a clinging noise that produced an clanging sound that echoed throughout the park.

There were the animals who went about their business (the otters, sheep, kangaroos), playing, sleeping, stretching in the grass.  If someone came to the fence, they might get up and eat or they might not.  They had other business to attend to.

It made me think about people and God.  There are some people who are impatient to learn something, hear from God, and get information. So impatient to try and understand, that they keep 'banging and yelling' to get some results.  There are other people who just wait, nervously hoping something 'comes down the shoot' that will be able to help them.  Then, there are the people who just go about life, living it,enjoying it, having the faith that they will be taken care of and that allows them to live and appreciate what has been given to them.

Being put to the test in the confines of addiction, I realized I am the banging and yelling sort.  Impatient at times and sometimes so focused on my issues that I don't see or truly appreciate the life and situation in which I've been placed.  I learn lessons but don't realize how much it really has 'filled' me and so I keep banging, demanding a more immediate response. 

I'm trying to change, but realize that the idea or decision to change is only the first step--that can happen in a day.  The real change occurs everyday after that.  This is another day and another chance to continue to change.  I choose to take advantage of another chance.

Friday, July 26, 2013

A Perfect Day

Today was a perfect day. 

It began with cooler temperatures and the humidity not as high.  I was able to sit out on the back porch this morning, drink my coffee, and watch the dogs roam around the yard.  No one else was up.  The sun was barely up.  It was perfect.

My daughter had a job interview, she scheduled it in the afternoon, so that we could go and look at a house.  Though, the house was almost perfect, the experience was a good one I am learning not to settle.  We left the showing and drove to the interview.  We were early, so we stopped for something to drink.  We sat and talked.  There was no stress.  No worrying (yeah!) just easy conversation.  In plenty of time, we drove to the building where the interview was to take place.  I waited in the car while she went in.  I listened to the radio, filed my nails, and then stepped out of the car to stand and watch the brightest yellow bird I have ever seen, eat berries in the bush behind my car. The interview  took about a half an hour.  She came out with the paper work she needed to take it to the next step.  (Things are looking good).

After the interview, we went to lunch, shoe shopping and picked up some other odds and ends.  We drove past this candy/bakery shop and decided to stop.  It was so cute in side and the baked goods were amazing.  So many to choose from.  I bought a scone. She bought little doughnuts with toppings like salty pretzel and bacon. 

Not feeling like cooking, we decided to pick up some sandwiches for dinner. 

She is doing her yoga now and I am here.  Feeling happy and content.  I remember this feeling and I am welcoming it with open arms. 

Thank you, God, for this blessing of a day!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Reminder

I am still worrying, a lot.  Though it is not evident from my outsides, sometimes on the inside it feels as though I have electrodes connected to every thought and that causes everything that I think about to turn into some type of worry.  I worry about the jobs around the house I want to get finished--painting, cleaning the attic, cleaning the basement, getting rid of some paperwork, are just a few jobs I want to get done.  I'm not going to list all of the things I worry about, but the list is becoming endless.  My stomach can start churning at a sound that  reminds me of a thought that then reminds me of either a memory or job I have to do and then, wham, I'm in worry mode, again. 

I was sitting in the living room on Sunday morning. It was quiet. Early morning is one of my favorite times of the day.  I wasn't worrying. I was sipping coffee (another favorite time is that first cup in the morning).  At some point, I decided to turn on the TV. (I changed TV and Internet service companies and I am still playing around trying to rediscover what channels align with what stations).  Anyway, I landed on a channel where someone was talking about worry.  He said that you can't serve two masters--worry and God.  He went over Matthew 6: 24-34.  I know this passage, though obviously I haven't been applying it to my life.  I am trying to read this once a day so that the words embed themselves in my subconscious.  While I was reading it,  "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness..." was a part I was stumbling on.  So, I decided to research some places to see what other people had to say about it.  I read one site where the author, using Romans 14:17 explained 'the kingdom of God"  as the, "righteousness, peace and joy in you."  because of the Holy Spirit. I hope this isn't sounding too mystical, but this whole journey with addiction has also been, for me, a journey into how my faith and beliefs are working.  Kind of like a walk of proof.  Do I really believe what I say I do?  When things get bad (and having your child sick and destructive and sad is a 9.5 on a scale of 10 of how bad things can get) do I toss my beliefs for something else or do I stand firm (though a little shaky and worn)?

Well, I am shaky and worn out. I think the worrying is a sign of this, so I have to shift my direction, again, to get back on the more healthy path.  This time spiritually.  It's a daily struggle for me.  But I have to say that  along the way there have been amazing signs, shown in sometimes the littlest and least expected ways, that I'm not alone in this.  That there is some supernatural, benevolent, unseen presence that is never far away.  Last night, I was reminded about that in an unexpected way.

We were in the living room.  It has been hot and humid and rainy here.  I grilled some chicken and steaks last night.  The grill is on the back porch.  There is a large tree back there whose branches provide shade over the porch, during the rain, they are not much help.  So, I was outside, with an umbrella, grilling.  After the meal was cooked, my daughter put the umbrella on the front porch to dry off.  The front porch has a roof. 

We have a little min pin.  He is 12 pounds of energy.  We have to keep the screen door locked because if the door is open and he hears something in the front, he runs and literally slams into the door. If the door was not locked, he might unlock it and get out.  After dinner, while we were in the living room, there were several times that he jumped off of the couch, growling, because he must have heard something outside.  Kids walking by, another dog being walked,  anyway, he didn't do his normal jump, run and slam.  He jumped off of the couch and didn't leave the living room entryway.  He just growled a little and then jumped back on the couch. This happened a few times.  At one point, I walked to the front door to watch the rain coming down, and noticed that the screen door wasn't closed.  The lock was locked, but sticking in a way that the door was resting on the latch.  If he had run at the door, he would have been out. 

I sat and thought about it. I thought about Matthew 6.  God is in control. Don't worry about anything.  And I thought that as long as you are doing the right thing (my daughter did lock the door but it didn't latch correctly) that God will watch over the rest. 

I know this doesn't seem like a big event, but for us it was.  We worry about him getting out. He's done it once before and it was a BIG stress.  I don't know what was stopping him from leaving the living room and running to the door.  But the three or four times that he jumped down, he just stood there, looking around, and then jumped back onto the couch.  Not scared, not crazy barking, just quietly turned around and jumped back onto the couch.  That NEVER happens.  Well, until last night. 

I choose to believe that God was watching over us and that last night was an easy reminder that we are not alone in this.  I have had other reminders, too, if I take a walk down nightmare lane and remember all of the times that situations could have been much, much worse. 

So, I sit here and am grateful that I was given another reminder that we are watched over.  I will probably need several more in the future, but for now, this will do.

Monday, July 15, 2013

A Melody of Hope

My daughter loved(s) the Little Mermaid.  As a child, when we lived in Alabama, after we saw the movie in the theater she was smitten.  She wanted me to dye her beautiful, golden hair red and change her name to Ariel.  I said no to both, but bought a red wig and my mother made a mermaid costume that my daughter loved.  She had two close friends and every day (no exaggeration) they would play the music and 'preform' in our living room, rearranging the furniture as best as they could to create the bottom of the ocean.  I kick myself for not video taping it, but the memory of my girl directing and singing, dressed in her red wig and costume is locked in my heart forever. 

Several months ago, my daughter read that The Little Mermaid was going to be preformed on stage in the city and so she bought two tickets.  I won't lie.  I was worried at first that maybe we wouldn't get to go.  But then I was hopeful that it would be motivating for her to stay sober.  Well, she didn't stay sober.  Last Tuesday she started drinking (I mentioned it in my last post).  On Friday, I went into her room, and reminded her what day it was and that Sunday was the Little Mermaid.  "Are we still going to go?"  The look of confusion and concern in her eyes made my heart sad.  "Yes."  She finally said.  "Well, if you are still drinking, we're not going.  I'm not going anywhere if you've had any alcohol.  I'm not risking you passing out or needing an ambulance."  She looked at me with a frightened and confused look (my heart ached, again).  "But..."  "No.  Drinking or not is your choice.  If you choose drinking, we're not going. If you decide to get sober, then we can go.Do you understand what I'm saying?"  She seemed to be struggling with the thought for a moment.  "Yes."  She finally answered.

Well, she continued to drink until early Sunday morning.  When I went into check on her, I asked her if she was done.  She said yes.  I have to tell you, she didn't look good.  She had had a lot to drink in a short period of time.  But, I made her some soup with bread and butter.  She ate and took a nap.  Around three, she was able to take a shower.  I helped her with her make-up.  She got dressed and we left the house at 6:15.  The show started at 7:00. 

The theater is an old, historical, beautiful building.  I was surprised at how may people where there of all ages.  Our seats were on the second floor. She had to take the stairs slowly, but we eventually found our seats.

When the lights went down and the music and singing started, I started to quietly cry to myself.  I had to wipe tears away several times.  All I could see was my electric, happy, courageous little girl dressed in her red wig and costume singing her heart out in our living room, perched on the ottoman just like Ariel was perched on her rock in the middle of the ocean.  What happened to my girl who had so much...spunk and confidence?  I looked over at her and saw a more fragile person sitting next to me.  Someone who seems more afraid and hesitant.  Again, what happened and when?  It all seems like such a jumble.  I know that the little girl I raised is still inside her. I just don't know how to unlock the mental cell she's being held captive in. 

Even though she didn't feel good, she made it through the two and a half hour performance.  We talked about it on the way home.  Though she was still not feeling well, I think that she was happy that she was able to go.  I know I was proud of her for making the healthier choice.

As I sat next to her, during the performance, I laid my had on her knee and said a prayer. I prayed that she was reminded of who she really is.  That she begins to believe that and not the lies of addiction. In the darkness of that theater surrounded by the beautiful music and costumes, I prayed that my daughter recognize the melody of who she is and what she can be and that she allows that song to begin playing in her heart, again.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Turning Away

Matthew 7: 1-2 says, "Judge not, that ye be not judged.  For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged..."

I don't think there has been anything more than this experience with addiction that has caused me to demolish so many of my own 'walls of thinking'.  I am in the process of rebuilding those walls (boundaries) only the mortar I'm using is a little more gentle and the stone not as heavy. 

Don't misunderstand me, I don't think judging is wrong.  I've written about this, before. It's important and necessary to make judgments every day.  A right action from a wrong action. Is this idea a biblical one  or not?  Judgments help to maintain standards and boundaries.  Judgments become an obstacle when you don't read further into that passage in Matthew where it states that you need to look at the log in your own eye before the speck in another's.  You have to make sure you're making the judgments for the right reason (making sure you have cleaned up your act) before you can help someone else see better choices to make.  As with most of the directives in the bible, I don't believe them to be written as a finger-wagging warning, but as a gentle, loving parent advising you on how to best live your life in order to help others, and yourself, get closer to God.

I'm not a loud person.  I'm not an in-your-face person.  It always amazes me when I hear people have commented to strangers on their weight, actions, etc.  I have never done that in the negative.  I have gone up to someone who I just observed doing something good or kind and told them.  Good behavior should be encouraged.  Having said that, I did make judgments in my own mind.  My thoughts would go something like this, if someones child had to leave school (college) unexpectedly and there were hints of drug or alcohol use my face would show sympathy, but my mind was judging.  "They should have made better choices."  "Must have something going on at home."  I was a bipolar judge.  On the outside sympathetic on the inside I was pointing my finger in all directions. 

If you can find good in any situation, a good out of this situation is that nothing phases me and I understand more completely how fragile people really are and how messy life can be when you are not being sheltered by your loved ones.  Once you get out into the world and are on your own, the past emotional baggage, experiences and all of the idiosyncrasies that make up you as a person get dragged along with you.  They are the tools you reach for when life starts breaking down.  Sometimes those are the right tools.  Sometimes you end up using a screw driver when you should have used a hammer.  But, you do the best that you can even when that best drags you down a path you would have never in a million years, dreamed you'd be on. 

Life has so many paths to chose all with their own set of consequences.  Some consequences are cause by our actions, some by other's actions.  Regardless of what the consequences, we are required to keep forging  ahead.  "All things work together for the good to them that love God." (Romans 8:28).  All things.  So, regardless of the spot you've landed in a field of roses or a pile of poo, it can work out for good.  The possibility is there if you're focused on the right.

My very best friend in the world called me last week to tell me about a choice she had made in the distant past.  The consequence of that choice showed up last week.  She was afraid that I would judge her.  Me.  I can write a full two page, front and back, single spaced list of the goofy stuff we did as kids, yet she was afraid that I was going to love her less because of this one choice she had made. 
I listened to her story. Heard the pain in her voice. The fear.  When she was done, we talked and the bottom line for me was you did the best you could with the choices you had at the time.  I asked her if she was happy with her life now.  "Yes."  Does she have a family she loves and who loves her?  "Yes."  Then why would you be upset now about a choice made so long ago? 

What we experience, if we learn from it, makes us who we are at this moment.  If you learn from your choices and strive to make better ones (even if you get weak along the way) then how could you fault yourself? Who's so perfect that they never make mistakes?  (Of course, I'm not considering extremes like torture or purposely hurting someone...I think Hitler has a lot to answer for) I'm talking about the general, normal human that most of us are.  When Lot's wife turned back to look at her destroyed city, she turned to a pillar of salt.  You can't keep reminding yourself about the choices of your past. It's over. Done. Bury it and move on.

The past is where my daughter has chained herself. For whatever reason, when things are going their best, she chooses to turn around and review every mistake, postponed decision, lost friendship.  Every bad experience is the result of alcohol, YET what does she turn to after she flails herself with memories of the past?  Alcohol.  I don't understand it.  Why is it so hard to forgive yourself? Why is it so hard to let go? Why is it so hard to turn away from the past?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Where's the Cauliflower?

Life has been good, here.  Hot and humid, but good. I have seen good changes in my daughter.  She seems happier.  More positive.  She doesn't get upset as quickly. And I have been practicing letting her get upset.  That is still one of my 'forbidden zones' trying to avoid her getting angry or upset.  I have a lot of experience padding the way so that people don't get angry.  I learned it from my mom, who was always trying to avoid an argument with my dad.  And being married to a controlling individual, I refined those skills.  Since this addiction has been following me around, I have learned that emotions that are too intense--mostly the negative ones--literally drive my daughter to drink, so I have adapted to the situation and have worked hard to make sure life isn't too frustrating for her.  It's exhausting work!  So, I gave it up. 

I don't understand when emotions and feeling your feelings became such a dreaded experience.  I understand the pain of breaking up with someone.  I lived through many break-ups.  I survived it and moved on.  Those heroic men, women, and children who pioneered our country, left their own familiar surroundings to find their American Dream, lived daily hardships.  Death, hunger, sadness, loneliness, adventure, and they lived through it.  They kept plowing ahead and found their futures.  They built a life.  Life is not easy.  It can be messy.  But it can also be amazing, even through all of the junk that is put in your path, you find treasures if you keep looking and don't give up. 

I am working at summer school, now.  I had two weeks off and we began on Monday.  It is hard getting back into that routine, but it is also fulfilling working with the kids.  I am teaching a social skills class this year.  My first time and so it is a work in progress.  Anyway, everything was going great here.  I had even begun to forget about the drinking.  Really, it was starting to feel like a distant memory.  I'm so tried of thinking about it anyway, that when my daughter promised (yes, I said promise which hasn't been said before.  In the past it has been, "I don't plan on..."  This time it was I promise I'm not buying alcohol)  I was more than willing to 'forget the whole darn thing!'  All six, nightmarish years, gone in the puff of a promise.   My promises mean something, so my assumption is that all promises  mean something.  Well....

I came home today and my daughter was making Shepard's Pie, only it is the detoxing recipe that uses cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes (you really can't tell the difference, it is that good).  Anyway, I noticed something wasn't right in how she looked. Subtle, but a familiar change. BUT, she promised, so I pretended I was seeing things.  I told her I was running to the store.  She said that she was going to finish cooking the cauliflower and then bake the casserole.  Okay, so I left.  When I came home, she was asleep on the couch.  (I wasn't concerned, it is so muggy and hot here that I could sleep most of the day).  I walked into the kitchen and as it goes every time she drinks, I have a mystery to solve.  On the counter is the food processor, empty.  There is broccoli cut up in the pan, but not cooking.  Half of it is in the pan, half on the table.  The chicken is cut up in the casserole dish, sitting on the table.  The pot that the cauliflower was cooking in was in the sink.  Something was missing.  Where was the cauliflower?  I looked in the oven.  Nothing.  The refrigerator.  Nothing. The garbage. Nothing.  I went into the living room and woke her.  "Where's the cauliflower?"  She blinked at me.  "The cauliflower...where is it?"  She furrowed her brow.  I waited. She stood up and went into the kitchen, looking in the same places I did.  She looked at me, "How can you lose cauliflower?"  "Good question! Only I'm the one who should be asking it!"  After a few more minutes of watching her look (which was starting to really frustrate me)  I told her to go upstairs. She did.  She's there now.  I cleaned things up.  Put food away, however, I still haven't found the cauliflower. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Old Habits

I am still going through a kind of internal, self-analysing that I wrote about, before.  Not liking the current me ( both physically and mentally) I'm trying to figure out how to get back the parts I liked while maintaining the life lessons that are making me a more complete and understanding person. 

I've been spending the mornings, quietly reading on the couch.  Once I let the dogs out and get them fed, I go open all of the windows that let the cool morning air in, pick up my book and lie down on the couch and read.  It's quiet and comforting.  I just finished a few chapters before sitting at the computer.  I get up early (5ish) still, even though it is summer break. I am a morning person.  I love the early hours of the day. 

When my daughter wakes up, she quietly pours a cup of coffee and slips onto the other end of the couch and quietly begins to read, too. She's on book three of the Game of Thrones series--very thick books.  Anyway, it is a beautiful routine that I find healing and calming. 

Sometimes, when I'm sitting there, before she wakes up, I try to do an inner assessment of how am I really feeling?  The one word that pops up most often is stressed.  I find that I'm on a kind of stress/worry overload.  Where before my experience with addiction, I would worry or be stressed at the appropriate times, there would be long sections of time that the unhealthy, gut churning stress wasn't there.  That's not the case, now.  I realize that I am on a 24 hour stress watch.  I worry about everything now, big or little.  I worry about my kids, my dad, my friends, my brother, my bills, my house repairs. I even realized that I am beginning to worry that I worry too much.  You can eat all of the right foods and exercise until you're near exhaustion, but more stress than is necessary to go through a normal day can cancel all of that out and do damage to you physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.  I need to get a handle on it.

Trying to figure out a problem, I always try to find the root.  I know it is the experience with addiction that has thrown me off on the inside.  I think it breaks so many internal boundaries that eventually, if not stopped and harnessed, the stress thinking begins to flood into every experience and emotion, where even being happy can't be fully appreciated because the stress causes you to be anticipating some unseen catastrophe to occur. 

I looked up cortisol and how to control it because that is what is released when you're stressed and too much of that hormone coursing through your body can eventually cause damage. 

What I really wanted was a pill (easy and simple).  But what I found as the best ways to control it was to listen to music that you love. Exercise.  Drink tea.  Meditate. And my favorite, laugh more.  So, I have to make that forward movement and effort to control my stress.  I did use to do all of those on a daily basis, but not any more.  Today, though, I get another chance to live it the best that I can and so, I'll make that effort to get back to my old habits--the good, old habits.

P.S. In one of the books I've been reading, the author shared a quote by Paracelsus, "The most famous physician of the Renaissance,"  according to the author.  Here it is:
     "There is only one source of health:  the irresistible, wise, limitlessly powerful healer within us.  This healer has the ability to cure all things.  The only reason that someone becomes sick is that the inner healer has been weakened and obstructed through careless habits of living.  When I want to treat a person, the only thing I attempt to do is to restore the healing power within."

I love that.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


This post is not about addiction. I'm not sure if it is about learning a lesson, either.  It's something that happened that made me smile at life and the good, unseen, unpredictable moments we can be a part of if we choose to participate.  I feel good about what happened.  I know you're supposed to do your good works quietly and in secret.  Normally, I do that.  But this was just so simple and made me (and my daughter as well) feel so happy (satisfied?) that I just want to share the experience.

My daughter is going to work on sobriety, again.  I am grateful for that spark inside her that is not giving up.  I believe that is the Holy Spirit and I'm thanking her daily.  That is the first good thing.

The second good thing is that Father's Day was wonderful.  Everyone was here.  My daughter, my son, his girlfriend, my brother and my dad were all here. My family. We ate lasagna and salad (my dad's favorite meal besides pizza) and had brownies and butter pecan ice cream (my dad's favorite) for dessert.  Then we spent the whole afternoon and evening visiting. No stress. No arguing. A bubble of happiness floated down and encased this house and everything was perfect.

Third (and the good something that happened) I was going to take my brother to the airport Monday afternoon.  So, I went earlier that morning to run some errands and decided to stop and pick up some groceries.  I was going to pack him a lunch.  Normally, I just pack him a sandwich and some fruit.  But this time, I thought I'd get him something to drink, too, so I bought two individual fruit fusion drinks.  Fast forward to Monday afternoon, and my daughter and I pick my brother up at my dad's house and off to the airport.  As he's leaving the car and getting his luggage, I remind him about the lunch and he says that he's not going to take the drinks. "Okay," I reply.  We say our good-byes and my daughter and I drive away.  Because it was my first day of summer break (yeah) and because life was going good, my daughter and I went to dinner. It was nice.  We each got a basket of seafood. Yum!  It was probably the messiest dinner I've ever eaten but it was so buttery, lobstery good that it was worth it (that happy bubble was still with us from Sunday). 

Where I live there is always construction going on, on the highways.  Roads that you swear they just finished repairing a year ago, are once again, littered with orange cones and blinking lights.  Needless to say that traffic is never 'light'.  If you don't know 'the long, more scenic way' to anywhere, be prepared to sit in traffic.  So, we were sitting in traffic.  There are usually several homeless people with signs standing along the highway (traffic moves so slowly that it's as safe as being on the sidewalk).  We were coming up to a man with a sign that said, "Homeless...anything will help."  So, I looked down at the two juice bottles that my brother refused.  I looked at my daughter.  "Give those to him."  "Really?"  "Yeah.  Give those to him.  His sign says anything will help."  So, as we slowly inched closer, my daughter rolled down her window and as we came up to him, she reached out with the juice bottles and asked him if he was thirsty.  He smiled and took the bottles, while saying "Thank you" and "God bless you."  She closed the window, again, looked over at me and smiled.

The rush of good feeling that you get when you participate in life like that, make a connection like that, is always so filling to the spirit.

Okay, so here's the lesson or whatever you want to call it that I thought about.  That morning, when I was buying the juice, I was intending it for my brother.  But by a collection of circumstances, that juice was intended for someone else.  All I did was participate in a forward motion.  Driving past, we could have done nothing, but we didn't.  We completed the connection by making the effort.  Everything that day was moving forward. Reaching for the juice on the shelf. Paying for the juice. Giving it to my brother. Him giving it back  and then finally, completing the circle so to speak, make the decision, opening the window and giving the juice to that man. 

It reminded me of a light-bulb moment concerning a sermon I listened to once.  Asking God into your life doesn't mean that you just sit there and God will start working. You have to participate.  You can want to watch television, but if you don't commit to  the movement of clicking that button, the TV will never come on.  A connection with God, I think is the same way.  With anything, for that matter.  If you want that connection, that progress, that spiritual healing, you have to commit to being a participant not a by-stander.