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

Friday, 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.

Friday, June 14, 2013

An Observation

I had a talk with my daughter two days ago.  She is still drinking but this was in between.  I am finding that I can start out calm, but the more we talk the more my emotions start pushing through and I get revved up inside and then pretty soon, the gate I've trapped my emotions behind breaks open and all of those tangled emotions come racing through and then I'm either threatening, pleading or yelling and it gets ugly.  This was a calm moment.  We were talking about all of the therapy and places she's been to find help.  Actually, I don't think she took it seriously most of the time, but there were some moments that she latched onto and was able to glean some help.  However, when we talk, all she ever concentrates on is the negative.  The bad counselor, or nurse, or food, or just in general the lack of professionalism and sincerity.  But there have been a person here or there that was excellent and that she learned from.  So, talking to her about all of this, it finally hit me.  In all of our conversations, that's all she ever focuses on--the bad parts.  That focus makes those bad parts grow big and strong and they over shadow the moment of good.  So, I asked her why is she always focusing on and growing the negative?  Why can't she keep bringing up the moment of good and grow that in her mind?  Focus on that experience and let the negative, no matter how much it was, begin to fade away. Bury the bad and grow the good.  She didn't have an answer.  So, I left the room because I could feel my insides begining to rev up.

I was at work, yesterday, and in the office there are two secretaries.  Both kind, professional, caring, funny, good women.  In fact, sometimes I go to the office just to spend a few minutes talking with them because they are so nice to be around.  There were other people in the office and the secretaries were looking a little stunned (that's the best word that fits).  I asked them if everything was okay.  It turns out that a parent had called and yelled at them on the phone.  The parent was taking out their frustrations on them.  The parent made them feel as though they were cruel and thoughtless.  I know this parent. This parent has issues and is often ready to blame others. The parent even told the one secretary (they had passed the phone to each other while they tried to find a principal) that she knew she was only a secretary and that it wasn't her fault, but then continued telling her how unprofessional she was.  I told them both that they shouldn't let her words bother them. That it was one person, who by the way was not stellar as a parent herself.  I reminded them of how wonderful they were.  Even though they said it didn't bother them, periodically, as I was taking paperwork to the office (we are finishing up the year) I would hear them talking about it with someone else.  Regardless of the source, meaning that the parent's words were untrue and not worth remembering, they were focusing on it.  I believe it did ruin a lot of the day for them.

When we were at bus duty, one of the teachers was saying that she was worried about one of the students. Alone, he is a good kid.  With one set of friends he makes good choices, but he has this other kid he hangs around with and seems to follow him.  Of course, this other kid is trouble.  The result is that the good kid has been getting into trouble and the source is this other kid he hangs around.

I could go through about a hundred stories about me where I catch myself focusing on the negative and giving the positive very little if any worth.  Why?  Why is it so difficult to believe and focus on the good?  Why is the negative able to grip us so tightly?  Why doesn't good have the same strength and lasting hold? 

I don't have any answers.  This was just an observation, but I thought it was interesting that it didn't just happen here, at home. That it happens a lot with other people, too.  The positive is, though, that the conversation with my daughter shined the light on that observation and has made me more aware.  So, hopefully, I can apply it to me.  More importantly, I hope my daughter can apply it to her.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Respite from the Storm

My very best friend (I like to say sister of another mother) visited yesterday after I got home from work. I have literally known her my whole life.  Here is a little bit of our history.

We grew up on a dead-end street.  There were seven houses with children all around the same age (no more than three years apart).  On our street all of the neighbors knew each other.  The mothers played cards once a month, taking turns at each other's houses.  I remember when my mom would get read setting up the tables in the living room. Little sandwiches and desserts placed around the room on the good china.  Falling asleep to the mummer, like a bee's hive, of them talking down stairs.

Anyway, my friend was one of five children and they lived three houses up.  I love the pictures at my parents of us growing up then.  What a rag tag bunch.  Each picture, though, looks like we're having the best day of our lives.   I remember being at her house as much as I was at mine.  Her mom, who died several years ago, was like my second mom.  She made the best bologna and katsup sandwiches I've ever eaten.  These memories are of a very young mind because her family moved to New York when we were only five.  It still remains one of the worst memories I have.  I remember being so sad.  What would I do without her? 

Well, we ended up writing letters.  I still have them packed away in the attic.  When I read them it is so funny that that primitive communication kept us connected.  They eventually moved back here and bought a house about forty-five minutes away from us.  So, our parents would drop us off for weekend visits that stretched into week long visits as we got older.  Eventually, we learned to drive and didn't have to depend on our parents.  One of the funniest memories was when her dad bought her a used car.  It was small and a stick shift.  She had never driven one.  I went with them. Her dad signed the papers and left in his own car.  She drove it around the parking lot a few times and then out onto one of the busiest highways in the state.  That was the scariest and funniest ride I can remember.

She is married with two children my daughter's age and two more who are in middle school. She lives two states over. Her older son is here going to school and they were moving him into an apartment.  So, she came over with her son and husband.  Sitting around the kitchen table talking and eating took me away.  For a few hours addiction wasn't following me around.  I felt like I used to. It was so relaxing.  Removing all of my thinking from the collection of sick addiction thinking to healthy living thinking was so mentally healing. 

I hated to see them leave.

Before they came, I had had a 'discussion' with my daughter.  She was between drinking and I threw some past history at her because it upsets me so much to see her like that.  I guess I was hurting her right back.  Nothing I told her was false, however, I'm not sure how much got through to her. 

Though I wish she could have been present and enjoying the evening, I didn't let the thought of her choices interfere with my happiness.  I wrote before that I feel guilty experiencing life while she romances her addiction.  I usually do, but not last night.  I was totally in the moment.  I think I needed to be in that moment because I can feel myself fading away.  Last night was me taking shelter from this storm. I was nourished spiritually and mentally and given back a little of the inner strength that has slowly been drained from me.  It felt so good.

Monday, June 10, 2013

A Bad Dream

I had the worst dream last night.  It was short but powerful.  I had just gone to bed.  I was lying on my right side. In the dream I had my phone in my hand (I never sleep with my phone).  Anyway, the phone started to ring and at the same time, I felt my daughter come into my room.  In the dream I could see a dark shadow come into the room and walk around to my side of the bed.  I felt her crawl in beside me as the phone began ringing louder.  I felt her put her arms around me and I knew if I answered that phone it wasn't going to be good news.  I started to scream in my dream.  Close my eyes and just try to scream.  Trying to scream in my dream woke me up.  However, I could still feel someone next to me.  I could still feel my daughter in the room. 

She has been drinking.  Facebook was the path to her bottle this time.  She found out her ex-boyfriend is getting married.  That relationship was never good.  She would complain about him and they would argue constantly.  She complained how he never did anything.  Never made a decision.  I didn't like him.  My son didn't like him but I think she was with him to have someone to be with.  Then, after four years, she felt it was all for nothing because of the time spent.  (I hate that excuse).  Anyway, that is why she has been drinking...a lot. 

Lying there, waking up in the middle of the night, my heart shot a burst of adrenalin into my brain.  "Did she just die in the next room?"  "Is that what that dream was?"  I was afraid to move.  What do I do? What would I do?

Finally, I decided to go into her room and check.  Thank God she was breathing. I went downstairs to get her a glass of orange juice to drink.  I woke her up and held the glass for her.  She drank, willingly.  She hasn't eaten in a week.  I've made her some soup to sip this morning.

That is the bad dream I had in this nightmare I'm living. 

Please, God, make it stop.  Take her into Your arms and hold her. Release her from this addiction. Put her back onto the path You intended. Bring back the strong, courageous, determined little girl that is being held captive within her.  Amen.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Internal Assessments

We had a great weekend. Saturday morning, a friend and I went to the Strip and shopped then to that church with the marble steps. Later, my daughter and I went and planted flowers at my mom's grave. It is a two hour drive, though there were detours this time. No one got upset. We just enjoyed the company and drive.

Sunday, my daughter, friend, and her two daughters went to this huge community yard sale that happens on the first Sunday of June every year. I love it. Not only is it fun searching the 'treasures' but the houses and yards are so old and beautiful that the whole experience is enjoyable.

Having said all of that, I've noticed more tenseness in me. "Was my daughter okay?" (She looked fine). "Is something going to upset her and send her to a bottle?" (She didn't seem upset). These two thoughts are always in my mind, because I know she has not really worked hard on the core issues that cause her to run to alcohol. So, what could (or used) to be 'colorful' experiences are a little more faded because addiction is never far away.

Because I don't seem to be able to stop thinking about addiction, I have been doing some internal assessments.  I have been trying to kind of stand outside of myself so that I can better understand the new me.  I miss the old me.  Yes, I'm wiser and more understanding of others, now, thanks to this experience with addiction.  I also feel as though, in general, I'm probably more patient with people. I also understand anxiety a lot better, because I think that anxiety is my new companion. 

I have noticed that I'm fearful/anxious about the future even when things are going well.  I have started to 'plan out' the negative that will or could happen.  I realized that I am not enjoying the good times because I'm thinking that too many days of good only mean that the bad days are drawing nearer.

I have noticed that stress is causing some physical symptoms that I never noticed, before.  I have had the 'usual' symptoms of stress, for me that is an upset, queasy stomach.  Recently, I have noticed that the days that stress is more intense, I'm starting to ache.  My muscles are actually starting to feel kind of pulled on the days that my stress level is higher than usual.  I'm pretty sure that is not a good sign.

I'm failing in emotional health.

So, this standing outside of myself is me trying to assess the situation, my reaction, and a better solution.  Most of it is just trying to breathe more steady and not let my internal self get so 'churned up.'  I do notice, though, that the internal churning does bubble out into verbal comments that I would normally keep to myself and  I'm swearing more.  The worst I used to say was s**t, and that wasn't all of the time, either. Stress has advanced me to the 'F' word.  I know I sound immature saying this, but I don't think that's good to allow the first thing out of my mouth (in a whisper, I'm not shouting it--yet) when I'm frustrated or upset is the f word.  I think reacting like that kind of weakens me spiritually.  Words are powerful, and if swearing is the word that is commanding my thinking, then I don't feel that is going to help me grow as a person.  So, I'm working on that.  I clench my jaws, a lot now.

I just don't feel good.  I feel like the days have no flavor.  I feel like I'm just plowing through the day, blinders on, just to get to the end so that I can go to bed.  I feel guilty enjoying anything because my daughter still struggles.  I feel guilty enjoying anything because I'm still struggling with resentment, anger, frustration, all of those emotions that are now apart of who I am because of this addiction.  Ugh.  I just hate this change in me.