Blessings and Miracles

There was a time in my life when I didn’t think very highly of the mental health profession.  Let’s face it, I held the belief that they were all a bunch of wackos whose main role in life was to screw with people’s minds and pump them full of drugs.  I thought all psychiatrists were nuttier than the average fruitcake and that counselors and psychologists weren’t worth the paper on which their degrees were printed.

To be fair, I was raised in a house FULL of fruitcakes who spent most of their time lying to, using and manipulating anyone who tried in vain to help them.  To them, all of their issues were the fault of others which included any mental health professionals to whom they were assigned, voluntarily or otherwise.  Since those poor souls were either denying them the drugs or the answers they wanted, they were ineffective quacks who should have their credentials snatched immediately if not sooner.

Let me state for the record, I was (gulp) wro…, um…not correct.  At least not entirely.  I still think the mental health system has a long way to go to meet the needs of the suffering.  From my experience, it’s the system that wants to either pump people full of drugs or send them to overworked and underpaid counselors without the proper training to meet the rapidly growing needs of society.

Please don’t misunderstand, I have personally met some whack job mental health people over the years whose offices I’ve left confused, disappointed and shaking my head in dismay.  But, to be fair, I’ve also met whacked out medical doctors, priests (lots of those), teachers, grocery store clerks and bank tellers.  I once had a creepy gynecologist who I couldn’t wait to get away from.  I’ve had hairdressers that chopped my hair making me wish I was bald and a masseuse once at Elizabeth Arden Salons that creeped me out so bad I complained to management.  But none of these had me telling anyone and everyone that would listen that the entire profession of massage therapists, medical doctors and hairdressers were all batshit crazy.  No – that particular classification was reserved only for shrinks and their brethren.

And then I became clinically depressed.

Don’t you love God’s sense of humor?  I sure do.

Over the last 20 years I’ve been through many psychiatrists and therapists as I’ve navigated this complicated condition.  I’ve learned to overcome prejudice and stigma while simultaneously opening my own mind to the possibility of an excellent relationship with those on the other side of the couch.  It’s been extremely humbling and very hard work but it’s also made me a more compassionate and empathetic human.  Definitely a blessing.

I now find myself in a relationship with a therapist that I’ve come to not only like, but to trust.  I like lots of people.  I trust very few.  I know part of the reason I’m feeling so good about this is because I was ready to hear what he had to say and do the work required to make myself well, but it’s also because he’s very good at his job and he’s exactly the personality type that I needed.  God and the Universe knew that it would take a very special combination of efforts to bring me to a point where I was ready to receive the message.  Another blessing.

One of the most important things I’ve learned in the last 20 years is that this work is required.  For the last 19.5 years it was because unless I took care of myself, my children were going to suffer.  Long time readers of this blog can tell you that shit don’t fly in my world.  My family is worth anything and everything I have to do to create an atmosphere of loving kindness. Besides…it’s not their fault mama’s a nutcase.  In fact, my own depression allowed me to recognize it in one of my children at a very young age and allow him to avoid a lot of heartache and difficulty.  More blessings.

In the last few months however, I’ve also learned that I’m worth the work required just because I breathe.  God created me and, I imagine, as my Father it probably made Him very sad to know how little I thought of myself up until this point.  In fact, it probably pisses Him off – if God can even get pissed off that is.

I’ve now come to the realization that my therapy time is my sacred space.  That hour belongs to me and me alone and what’s said in that room is strictly between me and JP.  If I choose to share it then I share it.  If I choose to keep it to myself that’s okay as well.  It’s one of the few places in my world where I don’t feel judged or like I’m going to make a mistake.  When I’m in that space I don’t feel fat, or ugly, or wrong, or clumsy or any of the things I’ve been carrying around most of my life.  I feel accepted and safe and like I’m worth the effort.

That’s not a blessing people…that’s a fucking miracle.

Namaste

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smh*

Recently I developed an eating plan for myself because I was tired of eating crap, tired of gaining weight and just plain tired.  It’s a very simple plan.  I call it the 4by3plus2.  Basically I made a list of whole foods that I like, scoured the internet for recipes and ideas and created a spreadsheet with meals and snacks.  4 meals a day, 300 calories or less each plus a 200 calorie snack at the end of the day.  I shoot for between 1200-1500 calories a day and with only two exceptions have stuck to it.

There are no hard and fast rules except that if it goes in my mouth I have to count it.  I try to only eat whole foods. stay away from anything processed (including lunch meat…yuck), choose whole grains, limit sugar (including sweetners like Truvia and Agave) and stay away from any and all fast food (which I already do anyway).  That’s it!  I still get my coffee with creamer, my diet sodas and, if I have a craving, I can eat it provided it falls within the 4by3plus2 range.

Essentially – I’m just making smart food choices.  It ain’t rocket science people.

It’s been awesome.  I’m in week 4 and I feel great.  I even lost a few pounds although I don’t really give a shit anymore.  If I lose some weight – GREAT!  If I don’t?  Fuck it.  As long as I’m on a healthy path, I’m good.

Here’s what makes me smh though.

Today I got caught short at work because I ate my yellow bell pepper after my salad when I should have saved it for my veggies and dip snack later in the day.  So when 3:30 rolled around and my stomach was growling I didn’t have anything to shut it up.  Hmmm…what to do?

We have a little convenience store on the first floor of our building so I went down and picked up a Nature’s Valley Protein Bar.  190 calories, 10 grams of protein – awesome!

I brought it back upstairs, poured my diet Pepsi and bit into my protein bar.

And I got happy.

I’m not talking about shut your stomach up happy or settle in for the last couple hours of work happy.  I’m talking about endorphins kicking in, first glass of wine, just after sex happy.  At that moment I knew that all was right with the world.

smh

Let’s get something straight.  I know I’m an addict and that particular part of me is also addicted to sugar…and this “protein bar” was loaded with sugar (6 grams).  I also went into it with my eyes wide open…I knew I was going to eat it and want MORE.  It’s just how I roll.  But this is the first time that I was able to actually pinpoint those happy hormones doing their dance in my synapses. 

It blew my mind and, to be honest, scared me just a little bit. 

So I’ll go back to avoiding all that processed, preserved and sugared up food and just stick with my healthy and whole foods and if I get caught short again…well…I’ll find a tree and chew on some bark or something.

Namaste

*text speak for “shake my head”

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Restless Feelings

I have a really bad habit of getting restless when life gets too mundane for my tastes.  As soon as things begin to settle or get comfortable and easy, I start looking to shake it up.  Redecorate!  Move!  Change jobs!  Go on a diet!  Join a gym! “Examine” my marriage  (code for “we have to talk” – every man’s worst nightmare).  For some reason, I’m not okay when everything is just…okay.  I’m impulsive.  Emotional.  A little unstable.  I crave excitement and change.  I worry that something is about to go terribly wrong.  I feel that if I’m standing still than life will just pass me by.  Carpe diem or soon there won’t be any diem to carpe!

Why?  What is it that makes me feel this itchy thing?  Why can’t I just relax and enjoy my life?  Why am I always looking for more?

Oh that’s right…because I have the disease of MORE.  Every once in a while that slips my mind.

Not.

Anyway, I’m beginning to understand (with a lot of help from the therapist) that feelings are only feelings and they are a part of me like my green eyes or my deviated septum or the fact that sometimes I snort when I laugh (see previously mentioned deviated septum).  My feelings, negative or otherwise, are part of what makes me a whole person and I have to learn to honor them and give them value.  They just ARE…no more and no less.  

This has been one of the most difficult life lessons I’ve ever tried to learn.  My natural response to a perceived negative emotion is to DO something about it.  I’m feeling <insert emotion here> so I must FIX it immediately.  Wine…chocolate…a new pair of shoes…a diet…a tattoo.  Anything and everything I can do to escape this feeling and make it go away.  Stuff that fucker down.  Because I only want to actually feel and experience the good feelings.  The less than good feelings need to leave…they are not invited.

It’s like I’m serving tea and the “bad” feelings are made to stay on the porch while the “good” ones are held captive until they begin to rot.  I’m having tea with the continually fading good feelings while the bad ones pound on the door to be let in.  Once the good ones rot away and the bad ones stop pounding, I get bored so I run around trying to find the good feelings again while bobbing and weaving through the bad ones until I trip and fall and the bad ones engulf me while the good ones scurry away.

Oh yeah?  Well how’s THAT workin’ for ya?

Here’s the thing, there is no need to FIX anything because nothing is broken! My feelings are just emotions…no more no less.  They only have the power that I give them…no more and no less.  I don’t have to react to them or do anything about them no matter how much I am compelled.  All I have to do is acknowledge them and maybe talk about them with my therapist or the hubs or a friend.  

And then hold the door open when tea is over and it’s time to move forward.

 Namaste

“Each of us makes his own weather, determines the color of the skies in the emotional universe which he inhabits.~Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

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If I Had a Do Over

“I want to have another baby.”

That’s what I texted my husband yesterday from work.

His response?

Crickets.  Oh…and he probably now has the local psychiatric hospital on speed dial.

There seems to be an epidemic of pregnant women in my city this week and they all seem to be at that 6-7 month time frame where you look beautiful and all is right with the world.  Not the 1-4 month time frame when you’re not really showing and you just feel fat not to mention exhausted and maybe sick.  Or the 8-10 month time frame when you pee 400 times a day, you’ve developed cankles, you can’t catch your breath and every time you look in the mirror you see a big, sweaty, puffy faced pregnant woman staring back at you.

Still…

Maybe all I want is a do over.  Maybe I just feel the last of my kids slipping away into adult hood and I’d just like to go back and do some of it over.  Okay…all of it over.  Not just because I miss being their “mommy” instead of their “mom” (or “mother” when they’re exasperated), but because I really would do some things differently if I could do it again.

First, I’d slow the hell down.  I wouldn’t be so worried about being on time and I’d stop to appreciate them trying to dress themselves, or tie their own shoes, or cut their own food.  I’d stop and help them rather than just doing it myself because we’re late.  So what if we’re late, no one ever died because they waited for their toddler to figure out there’s nowhere to put his head if he tries to wear his pants as a shirt.  But oh I wish I had slowed down long enough to take a picture.

Second, I’d get messy more often.  I was never a mom who worried about how dirty her kids got or how much of a mess they made while doing a project.  I once told a preschool teacher who expressed concern over the fact that I hadn’t sent in an overshirt on paint day that I bought clothes for children not models and if they got paint on them then that’s okay.  It just meant that shirt needed a little paint that day.  But I would have had even MORE messy moments.  More erupting volcanoes.  More big leaf piles.  More mud pies.  More rain dances.

And speaking of messy.  I would have lightened up drastically about how clean my house was.  I never made them clean their rooms and I didn’t harp (too much) about putting things away but every Saturday morning for most of their lives I cleaned the house.  If I had a do over I’d let the house go and spend Saturday morning watching cartoons or eating cereal or playing video games with them.  Sleepy morning kids are the best and I missed a lot because my toilets weren’t clean enough for me.

Here’s a biggie – I wouldn’t be so concerned with what other people thought.  There were often times when they were younger that I insisted they do something or say something because I was worried about what other people thought. Times when another parent would tell me something my child did and I would immediately believe them instead of talking to my child first and really listening to their reasoning.  Those moments brought back feelings from my own childhood and rather than recognizing that and correcting, I reacted badly.  

I finally came to my senses once when another parent told me that she didn’t call me to pick up my son from a party because she was going to “break him” of his habit of fleeing social situations that made him uncomfortable.  In that moment I realized that I had been more worried about what she thought than what my own child was experiencing.  I won’t repeat what I said to that woman but I never, ever made a mistake like that again.  If I had a do over I’d have never sent him to that party in the first place…I would have respected and honored his feelings.  None of those times (there were more – not many but some) would have ever even happened.

If I had a do over I wouldn’t have worried one single moment about whether or not I had “mommy time” or whether or not dad and I had “date night”.  I would have spent every single second with them that I could.  When our kids are young we have no idea just how freaking FAST time is going to fly.  We become overwhelmed with everything we have to do and seek the peace that a little adult time provides.  Doing it over I would realize that there was going to be plenty of time after they’ve grown to have adult time.  In fact, there is way too much adult time now.  I would have savored every bedtime, every dinner time, every bath time, play time, tv time and mommy time and I would have stretched them out as long as they would last.

A do over would allow me to seek out a job that didn’t require travel.  I spent a lot of time when my kids were little on the road for my career.  If I could do it again I’d make different choices about my job so that I would be home and not tucking them in via cell phone.  I’d be sure I was there for every recognition ceremony, every play, every game, every performance.  I would never let a “career” get in the way of my family.

Which brings me to my next point.  If I had a do over we would have led a simpler life.  I would have been an English teacher with crappy pay but great hours.  Following that dream I had would have allowed me summers with my kids.  I would have still sent them to camp but I would have been the one driving them and picking them up.  I would have been the one taking them for Slurpees after a hot day on the soccer field.  I would have been there to put ice on an arm after a baseball ran into it. 

For the record, I have awesome kids and a great and unique relationship with all six of them.  When the holidays arrive they all want to be at our house which I take as the highest compliment a parent could ever receive.  They are confident in the fact that they are loved with a fierceness unparalleled in the Universe and they wear that love everyday in the form of self-confidence, happiness, pride and self-esteem.  They come for guidance and advice now and my husband and I try our best to provide it while still letting them grow.  They are just plain good people and I’m proud to know them.

So if I had a do over would they be better people?

No.

But I would.

Namaste

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If I Have Gay Children: Four Promises From A Christian Pastor/Parent

sherryd32148:

Awesome blog post by an awesome man, pastor and father.

Originally posted on john pavlovitz:

KidsFiltered


Sometimes I wonder if I’ll have gay children.

I’m not sure if other parents think about this, but I do; quite often.

Maybe it’s because I have many gay people in my family and circle of friends. It’s in my genes and in my tribe.
Maybe it’s because, as a pastor of students, I’ve seen and heard the horror stories of gay Christian kids, from both inside and outside of the closet, trying to be part of the Church.
Maybe it’s because, as a Christian, I interact with so many people who find homosexuality to be the most repulsive thing imaginable, and who make that abundantly clear at every conceivable opportunity.

For whatever reason, it’s something that I ponder frequently. As a pastor and a parent, I wanted to make some promises to you, and to my two kids right now…

1) If I have gay children, you’ll all know it.

My children won’t…

View original 949 more words

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In Search of My Next “Universe Moment”…Uh…Book

God has a way of dropping books in my path just when I need them.  When I’m feeling like I am now, I find a book store and just browse.  Usually I end up staring at a bookshelf, having no idea how or why I’m in that particular section (whatever section that might be) when my eye lights on a book.  I pick it up.  I read the back.  Something clicks and I go home with the book and spend the next several days reading, still unsure as to why I’m reading it.

And then it changes my life.

I remember once being in a Barnes & Noble near work.  I thought I was killing time at lunch but I suddenly found myself in the “self-help” section.  Just at eye level was “Will I Ever Be Good Enough?: Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers” by Dr. Karyl McBride.  I didn’t even know what a narcisssist was at that time in my life but the description on the back did something to my heart.  So I bought it…and read it.  It’s hard to put into words what this book did for me except to say that it helped me tap into and begin to heal wounds I didn’t even know I had.  I recommend it to any woman who’s ever had issues with her mother even if mom isn’t a narcissist like mine was. 

During my final relapse, I found “iWant: My Journey from Addiction and Overconsumption to a Simpler, Honest Life” by Jane Velez-Mitchell.  This is from one of my former posts…

“During the time I was struggling with getting sober (in other words I was chronically relapsing), I saw Jane Velez-Mitchell on Oprah (I think) talking about her book, “iWant: My Journey from Addiction and Overconsumption to a Simpler, Honest Life“.  The more she spoke, the more I knew I had to read that book even though I didn’t want to read that book.  I really, really did not want to read that book.  I read it.”

This is the one that solidified in my mind that I HAD to quit drinking.  I still had no idea how I was going to do it…but this book nurtured the seed that had been planted with “Dry”.  I knew I had a problem.

By the way, that particular post has a list of the books that helped me in the early days in case you want to take a look.  There are some raw, honest and very brave authors out there who do really good work.

Anyway, that feeling I get when I know there’s a book out there just waiting for me to find it, is back.  I’m doing some really profound work in therapy and I think that might be why I’m feeling this itchiness since it usually comes along just before I have a really life-changing “ah-ha” moment. 

I’m also really restless when it comes to reading right now.  Usually I devour books and lately I’ve been feeling…well…meh about them.  I have several in my Kindle that are either unread or half read and every time I try to read them I get bored and detach.  Which is weird because when I read a book I ATTACH.  I dive head and heart first into them and soak up everything they have to give, barely coming up for sleep or sustenance.  I do not side glance at them and think, “Yawn…ugh…maybe tomorrow.”

So I guess it’s time to get my ass to an actual bookstore and see what the Universe has in mind for me.

I hope that whatever it is…it’s in paperback.

Namaste

UPDATE:  In searching for a picture for this post, I Googled “books on a path” and up popped (among other things) a picture of Jack Kornfield’s book “A Path With Heart”.  I have no other words except to say that it happened again…so I ordered it. 

In paperback.

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Turning Point

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how and when I began to know I had a problem with alcohol.  I guess it’s because my youngest are “about that age”, or maybe it’s that I’m “about that age”.  Who knows? But the thought has been rolling around up in the old gray matter so you know what that means?

Yep – Imma be writin’ about it here.

As I’ve mentioned before, my very first alcoholic drink was Sloe Gin.  I have no idea why that vile substance was even invented and why it remains on the market (does it remain on the market?) but I was dating a guy who wanted to get in my pants and he thought the best way to do that would be to get me drunk.

Yeah I know – class act.

Fortunately his brother was the more virtuous of the two and he volunteered to take me home AND I wasn’t so drunk that I would have consented – but something tells me that consent was the last thing on this guy’s mind.

So ANYWAY, from my very first drink I didn’t know when to stop.  I was 16.

Go figure.

In my twenties I remember the thought popping up in my head from time to time (as I recall I was either very drunk or very hungover at the time) and I even voiced it on occasion to either my husband or some very close friends. Those concerns were always met with, “Don’t be silly! You’re fine!” Or, “Oh stop! You’re just having a good time.” Or my personal favorite, “You can’t have a drinking problem because if you do than I do and I KNOW I’m okay.” Really.

So I would file it in the back of my brain until the next time things got out of hand when I would begin to think about it once again.

As the kids started getting older and I began to really drink again, and things with my mom went to shit and then things at work went to shit and I started doing even more stupid shit when I was drinking, the thoughts went from whispers to full out screaming in my head. I was usually able to quiet them by getting them drunk or just sticking my fingers in my ears and singing “lalalalalalala”…you know, mature stuff like that. Sometimes I could even manage to ignore them. For awhile anyway.

They’re persistent motherfuckers.

Then. Then one day I was reading “Dry” by Augusten Burroughs. It was my first real “Drunk Book” and I thought I was reading it as a follow up to “Running With Scissors” cause I’m OCD like that when it comes to books. What I didn’t know was that the Universe brings you what you need if you just pay attention.

There I was, minding my own business when I find myself reading about August’s first AA experience. There in the middle of a perfectly harmless meeting some woman gets up and starts telling her story.

And her story was my story.

As I recall she was a highly functioning alcoholic who held down a job and all the responsibilities of life without anyone outside her own head knowing she had a problem.  She had never been arrested.  No DUI’s.  No job lost.  Some of it’s fuzzy in my memory but what I remember most vividly is the her saying that she was always the first to arrive at a party and the last to leave and that she always drank the most.  Ouch.

I read that little part of the book over and over trying NOT to see myself in those words. I did not want to be her. I did not want to be reading about me in this book about an alcoholic coming to terms. But it was too late. You can’t un-see something.

I think I read that book in 2004. I didn’t quit drinking until 2010.  Those inbetween years were filled with many starts and stops. Many late night discussions. Much soul searching. Lots of tears and even more prayer.

And a lot more denial.

But those words never left me. They stayed with me and nibbled away at my resolve until I was strong enough to battle what was left and put down the wine bottle.  Even though I was that woman at the AA meeting, I didn’t have to stay that way.  I, like she, could get sober.  I could be THAT kind of woman.

Even today, at almost five years “dry” those words cause my stomach to lurch. They still have impact.  I can still see “her” image (the one I conjured while reading) in my mind when I think about it.

I am so grateful to the Universe for putting those words in that book in my path.  I think I’ll read it again and see what my stomach does this time.

Namaste

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Think Pink

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month and all of those other wretched diseases that lay waste to our loved ones and their families…

pink hair

Consider giving your time, money or prayers.  (Or just do something stupid like dye your hair pink for the month to raise awareness.)  There are so many ways to fight these ugly and heartbreaking diseases (which includes alcoholism and drug addiction to name but a few).

Namaste

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Demonizing the Wino in Me

A friend and I had an interesting conversation yesterday evening about how people drink.  She’s not a drinker because both of her parents are/were alcoholics (her father has passed away but mom continues to drink).  We started pondering all the reasons people drink and how and why it affects so many people in so many different ways.

She stated that she doesn’t mind being around tipsy or even drunk people who are happy but that people who are mean or sloppy are no fun at all.  She asked me about my experience with alcohol and did I identify as an alcoholic or did I just decide to quit drinking.

Let’s see…do you have a month for me to explain?  Nevermind…here’s the link to my blog.

Just kidding.

I shared some more of my story with her and my feelings about why I quit and that sometimes I call myself an alcoholic and sometimes I bristle when I hear the word.  No matter because the facts are that I will not drink because I value my peace of mind more and that, if I drink, one is NEVER enough and I will always end up shit-faced.

If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck…

Quack.

She asked if it was always this way for me and I said yes but…and here’s where it may get controversial…I had a crap ton of fun before everything went sideways.  And when I say a crap ton…I do mean a crap ton.

In my youth (my 20’s) the hubs and I drank like fish.  We traveled and partied and had parties and went to formal functions and a whole host of other activities and all of it included alcohol.  I didn’t ALWAYS get drunk (most of the time but not always) but we had a really really good time.  Most people who drink have a period like this in their lives but they grow up and passed it.  They know that life is about more than where the next drink is coming from and whether or not there will be enough.  They can have a glass of wine once every two or three weeks and then not think about it for months.

Me?  Not so much.

Here’s the thing though, I refuse to deny that I had a good time.  I refuse to believe that just because I can’t drink that no one on the planet should drink.  I won’t demonize alcohol just because it bit me in the ass.  Honestly?  I should have known better.  It’s not like I didn’t have enough data.  I did – I just chose to ignore it and fall face first into a bottle of wine.

The farther I am into recovery, the more I realize that the blame lays directly and completely on my shoulders.  I was fully aware of the risks, I was “of age”, it was legal and taxed, and no one held a gun to my head and told me to drink.  It was the same with smoking.  I knew the risks and I did it anyway.  My bad.

If I blame that bottle of Chardonnay, then I turn over my power to the bottle.  Alcohol only has power if we give it power.  When I put down that wine glass and entered recovery, I chose to take back my power.  I’m not letting go of it ever again.

Don’t get me wrong.  We have issues in this country (and the world for that matter) that are alcohol related and need to be addressed.  According to the National Institute of Health on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism,  in 2012, 87.6 percent of people age 18 or older reported using alcohol and of those, 24.6 percent engaged in binge drinking in the past month and 7.1% reported that they drank heavily in the past month.

Even more frightening,  the study states that approximately 17 million adults over the age of 18 had some form of an alcohol use disorder in 2012.  This included an estimated 855,000 youths between the ages of 12-17.  Almost 88,000 people die from alcohol related causes annually in the U.S. which puts it up there as the third leading cause of preventable deaths.  DUI’s?  They accounted for over 10,000 deaths in 2012 which was 31% of all driving fatalities.

In spite of MADD and other organizations designed to educate the public on the dangers of alcohol, alcoholism and over indulgence, a study by Gallup performed in 2010 found that 67% of adults over the age of 18 reported using alcohol and 58% of 17 years and younger used alcohol.

The numbers are going UP not down.

I think that instead of blaming it on the bottle, or the bar, or the brewery, we should be educating on the effects of alcohol.  Educating on genetics and how alcoholism runs in families.  Removing the stigma of mental illness and addressing a host of other conditions that exist and have people looking to the bottle to help the take away the pain.  In other words, let’s uncover and treat the causes of our alcohol issues in this country rather that transferring the blame and then treating the symptom or result.

Of course I can only speak to my own experience but I have six kids, four of whom are of legal drinking age and the other two are only two years away.  I fear for their alcohol use.  I’m afraid I’ve passed down the gene.  I worry.

But what bothers me the most is the lack of truthful information that would help them make informed decisions.   AA remains shrouded in mystery and, many time unfairly looked upon, “rehab” remains a dirty word or something celebrities do to get out of trouble, mental illness and alcoholism are spoken of in hushed voices with the proverbial “tsk-tsk” clucking of tongues.  My kids still picture an “alcoholic” the way I used to, that of a skid row homeless person who had lost everything and was lying in a gutter.  No matter how many times I call myself an alcoholic, they persist in thinking I’m some kind of “exception”.  Let me assure you, I’m not.

In fact, if the sober blogging community is any indication, I’m in excellent company.

Namaste

 

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Slow Down, You Move Too Fast…

Slow down, you move too fast,  

You’ve got to make the morning last,  

Just kickin’ down the cobble-stones,

Looking for fun and feelin’ groovy,

Feeling groovy  ~Simon & Garfunkle, 59th Street Bridge album

That has always been one of my favorite songs…I can’t tell you why but when I hear it, it just makes me feel good.  It’s a happy song, and we all know how I feel about my happy. 

As I’ve gotten older (and sober) it’s taken on new meaning.  Life moves so fast.  Don’t blink.  (I love that Kenny Chesney song too.)  Slow down.  Breathe.

Yesterday my son sent me this text…

“Do you realize that there is a point at which you and dad put us down as kids and never picked us up again?”

Wait…what?

So I sent him this text…

“I hate you so much right now.”

Followed immediately by…

“Seriously.”

Here’s a fact.  I live to embarrass my children and they live to make me cry sentimental tears.  Well played my son…well played.

These are the times when I feel blessed that my drinking didn’t interfere with the time in their lives when I could pick them up.  Snuggle them and make it all better.  Run to greet them when I returned from a business trip and swing them around in my arms.  Turn them upside down and listen as they screamed with joy.  I was present then and when I read a text like that, I thank the good Lord that I was.

I just didn’t realize how quickly time was passing.  I was too busy being in it.  I tried to slow down, to make memories, to capture moments.  But it was hard.  When the girls were young it wasn’t too bad.  Two young girls, one I only had part-time, the other an old soul who never gave anyone a moment’s concern.  Then the boys came along.  All of a sudden I had a house filled with Legos and Pokemon and things moved very fast.  Some days it was all I could do to fall into bed, exhausted, only to wake and do it all again the next day.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

I’ve never regretted one single second of time since the day the first one came into my life and I never took it for granted (okay, maybe a little with my “old soul girl” but I was young and really stupid).  When people would stop me and say, “Wow, you’ve got your hands full,” I would reply, “Yes and they are filled with love.”  I meant it too.  But time still went way too fast.  It marched on in spite of the roadblocks I put up.

Now I sit, as an almost, empty nester, shaking my head and wondering how I missed that moment.  If I had been aware that it was the last time I would ever put them down, would I have done it differently?  Would I have held on just one more minute and savored the moment just a little more?  Tried to stretch the time?

No.  I would have put them down and stepped away and let them stand on their own – because that’s my job.  And I’ve done it well. 

Still sucks though.

Unless you’re my husband.  When I read him the text yesterday his response was, “Oh yeah and when I put them down I said thank God you can walk by yourself and I don’t have to fucking carry you anymore!”

Sometimes I hate him so much right now too.

Seriously. ;)

Namaste

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