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, 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.