Meeting the Past

I ran into a woman this week who I haven’t seen in about three years.  We did some traveling together on a project for work and got to know each other a little bit.  As we chatted (and over the last couple of days), I started thinking about who I was back then compared to who I am now.

Wow.  Hold on to your seats people – there are some whopper self-realizations coming.

I was very newly sober when I took this job in March four years ago.  Yes, you read that right.  I was 3 months sober when I took this job.  I was traveling with this woman in April and May.  Yes, you read that right as well, business trips that soon after I quit drinking.  It wasn’t pretty.  Lots of white knuckled nights in my room and desperate phone calls to the hubs.  Lots of cussing too – like the time I texted him that if they didn’t get the damn plane off the ground soon I was going to tear off the head of the first flight attendant that came by and piss down his or her neck.

I was a little stressed.

His response?  Just a simple text. 

“Oh my”

That’s why I love him.  He knew just what to say.  I burst out laughing right there on the tarmac and all the flight attendants made it home with their heads in tact and I made it home sober.

Anyway, this woman was very needy when I first met her and me, being the careaholic that I’ve always been, sought not to just be her colleague but her friend.  A friend who couldn’t just be but a friend who would fix her…because that’s what you do when you’re not happy with yourself.  You fix other people.  Who you barely know and who barely know you.  On business trips.  Which makes you feel good.  From the outside.

Mother-freaking-fucker.  Who does that?  Oh yeah…I did.

It’s funny because when I think back to our conversations and time together, I cringe at how needy I was.  How much I needed to be her savior.  How much I needed to be needed.  I’m not even sure she needed saving!  But I thought she did so that was good enough for me.

Look, let’s face it, there was no way I was well enough at the time to work on any of that shit that was making me do crazy stuff like this.  It was all I could do to stay in my room and not close down the hotel bar.  I couldn’t let myself be concerned with a bunch of psycho-babble when my addiction called on a regular basis (collect) begging me to pick up.  (Pick up…get it?  Pick up a drink…pick up the phone?  I slay me!)  So I did what I knew how to do…nuture and care for other people – whether they wanted me to or not.

I hadn’t realized how much of that part of me was gone until I saw this woman.  It’s been a real shock actually.  I realized that now I love people at face value and try to offer opinions and help when asked (or when I see desperation).  I try to only speak from my own experience (and my heart) and not psychoanalyze people because clearly, who the hell am I to psychoanalyze anyone?!  Up until about two years ago I could barely tie my own shoes let alone help anyone else.  But damn did I try!

Now here’s the kicker.  You ready?  I wasn’t.

I’m a better person now, a really good person.  Wait…what?  Me?  A good person?  Can’t be right.  Something must be wrong with that statement.  You mean my mother, and early childhood experiences and alcohol induced thoughts were all wrong?  No…something must definitely be wrong with that statement.

I’m a better person now, a really good person.

Nope…all circuits are a go.

Looking back has made me realize that because I’m not so preoccupied with the insecurities and self recriminations, the need to be needed, the obsession with solving all the world’s problems, the attempt to make myself feel better from the outside, and the rest of the batshit crazy stuff that I’ve been carrying around for-freaking-ever; I have a greater capacity to be a better friend-wife-mother-grandmother-aunt.  To solve some problems (not all).  To raise my self awareness and be kinder to me.  To respond when I am truly needed.  To recognize that I must do the work to feel better because no one else can do it for me.

To really, really like who I am.  In fact, maybe even love who I am.

Well fuck me naked…I’m finally growing up.

Namaste

Up All Night To Get Lucky

I am not a lucky person.  I typically don’t win anything.  When I was nine I won a new pair of shoes by calling into a radio station.  Once in awhile I’ll win a couple of bucks on a scratch off lottery ticket but that’s about it.  Believe it or not, that is a-okay with me.

See, it’s all in perspective.  My mother was a gambler.  She would gamble on ANYTHING.  She played bingo a lot (of course she did…we’re Catholic) and at bingo they had these tickets that resemble slot machines.  You tear open each little window and look to see if you get three of something.  Three lemons might mean $10 while three gold bars might mean $1,000.  It’s a poor man’s Vegas.  They were affectionately called “Rip Off” tickets which I always thought was the height of irony.

Anyway, she played these things so much that she knew how many of each winning denomination was in each row of each box they opened and dumped into the bin.  She would buy up an entire row because she knew exactly which winning tickets were left and she would make her money back.  Now mind you, on a good day she couldn’t remember her own phone number (before cell phones made remembering phone number obsolete) and had trouble finding her way to work, but give her a box of Rip Off tickets and all of a sudden she could do quantum physics in her head at record speed!  She considered herself lucky.  Often she’d be off to bingo because she was “due” .  Translation…the rent is due and we’re desperate and I need to win.

And guess what…she won.  Every. Damn. Time. 

Every time the rent was due (which was often) or the bill collectors were threatening to sue (even more often) or the power company was about to turn off our lights (even MORE often) she would go to bingo and win just enough to cover our shortfall.

She considered herself lucky.  I think we were blessed.

And that’s why I’m okay with the fact that I am not lucky…because I don’t have to be.  Anytime in my life that I’ve ever been without, God has always provided.  He’s got my back and I have faith that, no matter what comes my way He’ll be there…to hold me up or even carry me when I can’t walk any longer.

Yep…I’m okay with not being lucky.

Namaste

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to him and he will make your path straight. ~Proverbs 3:5-6

 

Inside Out

I had one of those home party things on Friday night and during it, I noticed some things about the ebb and flow of friendship and how it’s changed for me over the last few years.  Hmmm…maybe that should read how I’ve changed for it over the last few years.  Oh well…you can decide for yourself on the syntax.

For instance, one of my BFF’s was there (because I make her come to all of these things).  We’ve been close since she started working for me about 7 or 8 years ago.  We’ve been through a lot of crap in that short period of time but our lives are finally settling into a nice rhythm.  She’s (finally) found her soul mate and will be marrying soon.  We don’t see each other as much as we used to and while I miss it – I get it.  She in “relationship” mode now and is in the process of merging two families to form one unit.  That includes a totally new set of friends who share similar interests and have children of about the same age.  On one hand it makes me sad but on my much more dominant right hand – I am so proud of her and I am loving the life she is building.  It’s like watching your little sister grow up.  Like I said…ebb and flow.  Of course I’m still going to give her shit about it…hehehe.

I have another friend who I met when I sold Mary Kay.  We were very tight at one time and now kind of drift in and out of each other’s lives depending on what’s going on.  Right now we’re “in” but even when we’re “out” we’re not far away from each other.  We’re the same age and very much alike so it’s very easy when we’re together.  That’s nice. 

My third friend who was there I also met in Mary Kay.  Sometimes she’s like a fixture in our home and then she’s not.  It’s okay though because I know she’ll be back (or I’ll be reaching out to her).  Ebb and flow.

In the past, I would worry about changes like this…okay…maybe the word is OBSESS.  I would worry obsess that I’d done something wrong.  That I’d said the wrong thing or done the wrong thing or just plain fucked up in some way or other.  I would reach out not because I missed someone, but because I wanted to “test the waters”.  It felt desperate…hell…it was desperate.  It was sad. 

It was a little bit batshit crazy to tell you truth.

It just took up so much time and energy!  But that’s what happens when you grow up dysfunctional and then try to fix that dysfunction with other things.  When you fix from the outside in.  Whether it was cigarettes, or shopping, or food or booze it was working bass-ackwards to fix what was wrong inside.  You can’t fill up a hole in your soul from the outside – it just doesn’t work that way.  Try filling up a vase by pouring water around it.  You end up with dead flowers and a whole lot of wet.  But pour the water inside the vase and you end up with beautiful flowers that bloom and add life to a room (and yes…I know that eventually they die but so does everything so give me a fucking break and get over it…it’s my analogy okay).

The work I’ve done since I quit drinking (which involved a good hard look at ugly and history and ugly history) has helped me to fix what was wrong from the inside out.  To heal from the inside.  To solve from the inside.  To live from the inside.  As a result I can stop worrying about what I think people think and take them for what they say or what they do.  I can let people love me just as I am and stop trying to change myself so that they’ll love me.  I can just be.  I can let them be.

It’s really quite liberating to tell you the truth. 

And it cuts way down on the dialog going on in my head which goes a long way to solving for batshit crazy.

Namaste

Restless

I’m a bit restless today.  I think it’s probably the weather.  Two weeks ago the Carolina’s had snow and ice and this weekend it was 70+ degrees, no humidity and just plain gorgeous.  And they say people are bi-polar.

I think it’s given me a bit of spring fever.  I’ve been clicking around on real estate sites, looking for a smaller house.  A house with more character and a lower mortgage payment.  One that has already been done the way I want it and all it needs is a coat of paint.  Or maybe we let the bank short-sale our home and we rent for the rest of our days.  Or maybe Brian and I just get our act in gear and knock out a window in my bathroom and put up shelving behind the toilet, install the window seat on my landing between the first and second floor, create the reading nook in my bedroom in the storage space, build the built-in bookcases in the family room in the space under the stairs, install the wainscotting, window trim, door trim and crown moulding all over the house…oh…and put the deck and fire pit out back.

Then we can repaint the whole house, install a backspash in my kitchen, recover my furniture, install hardwoods on the first floor, paint the cabinets, replace the hardware and frame out the mirrors in all three upstairs bathrooms, re-do my mudroom, extend the front porch and install outdoor ceiling fans.

Or I could step away from HGTV for about 30 seconds and just be happy in the beautiful home I already have.

Nah…

Namaste

rehabhotline.org

I received an email from a poor soul in upstate New York (poor soul because it’s so freaking COLD up there!) who asked if I would mention her organization on my blog.  I went to the website and poked around a bit and decided to mention it here.  I think it has the power to help a lot of people…especially those who feel they can’t afford rehab.

Rehab Hotline is a nonprofit organization that provides free counseling to help individuals find the right substance abuse treatment program. There’s no cost, and they walk people through the process and let them know what they can expect. They even provide a free benefits check to help callers find treatment facilities that accept their insurance. 

She also gave me a link to this interactive infographic that allows you to click state-by-state to learn more about the drug epidemic in our country. It’s incredibly eye-opening to see what is most used in each state:

http://rehabhotline.org/americas-addiction-epidemic/

It was kind of crazy to see how much we are using/abusing substances.  A little unsettling as well.  I figured if posting this helps even one person, then it’s worth it.

Namaste

The “O” Word

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Annual physicals are part of my DNA.  I’m really, really good about getting my annual check up complete with blood work.  I will admit that during the last part of my drinking career I might have postponed the visits, but eventually I would make the appointment, go, and then lie through my teeth about how much I was drinking. (If you’ve never lied to your doctor about your bad habits then I applaud you.) 

I’ve spent the last four years repairing the damage my drinking did.  Things like high tryglycerides, high “bad” cholesterol and low “good” cholesterol as well as high blood pressure and low liver function all had to be fixed.  I’ve been plugging away at it year after year, improving my numbers little by little with each visit.  This year I was actually excited to find out what my numbers were.  I’m new to this doctor so I was surprised when her office called yesterday to deliver my results (I usually get them in the mail).

The nurse starts off with “everything looks good” which is a good thing because the phone call itself had me worried.  Then she ran down my numbers which were all good considering where they were four years ago.  LDL (bad) was 100 and should be below 160; HDL (good) was 52 and should be above 40; Tryglycerides were 123 and should be below 150 (just after I quit drinking my tryglycerides were over 800 – I shit you not.)  Liver function, white blood cells, glucose, pap smear, thyroid, etc. all normal.  Yay!!!

Then she says, “The doctor recommends daily exercise to help with a weight loss of 1 pound per week.  She’d like to see you in six months to see how you’re doing with your obesity.”

Wait…what?  No…really…what?

Did you just say the “O” word?

Ummmm…

Okay, I guess technically I’m in the “O” range for my height and weight if you use those charts in the doctor’s office.  But let me be honest, I have NEVER been in the “healthy weight range” in my LIFE.  And that includes when I was wearing a size 8/10 and working out seven days a week!  So don’t be throwing around that “O” word lady or I may have to cut a bitch!

Here’s the thing.  All my life I’ve struggled with my weight because I didn’t fit some kind of predetermined view that advertisers and clothing designers had for what I should look like.  Even though I was healthy and not at all “fat”, I thought I was because of what I saw in magazines and on TV (and don’t even get me started on what this is doing to our kids…that’s an entire post all by itself).  No matter how thin I got, when I looked in the mirror it was never good enough.  Thankfully I like pizza too much to have ever become anorexic (and I watched it very closely) but it occupied my every thought all the fucking time!  It’s a wonder all that weight talk left any room to obsess about the booze.  Drinking, smoking and my weight concerns ran on a constant loop in my head like bad muzak in an elevator stuck between floors.

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I’ve worked hard to get mentally healthy and stop the crazy voices that kept hammering on and on about that shit.  I quit smoking.  I quit drinking.  And in this last year, I quit the obsessing about my weight and started focusing on being healthy.  The Whole 30 I completed last year really helped me to focus more on eating whole and clean and just let my body do what it’s going to do.  I even declared that I would not step on the scale this year as a protest to letting a number on a little box dictate my thoughts, mood and life!  And guess what?  I kept that promise.  I didn’t even look when they weighed me in the doctor’s office AND I wouldn’t let them tell me what the number was.

Until last night.

After that woman dropped the “O” bomb on me, I went home and thought, “Well fuck me naked…I guess I’d better at least see how bad it is.”  So I got on the scale…and I looked down…and guess what?  My weight was down.  The hell of it is that I knew that!  I knew that I was on the right track because my clothes were looser and I was feeling so good!  I was also happy because the voices in my head hadn’t quite shut the fuck up yet, but they were learning to be still.  AND – and this is a big AND – for the first time in my life I was starting to look in the mirror and see what was good instead of the flaws.  I was beginning to look in the mirror and smile…to recognize this body as the body of a warrior!  A warrior who has birthed three children and fought off disease and molestation and smoking and alcoholism and found herself a healthy and happy place both mentally and physically!

So I am not about to let a “word” send me scuttling off into the corner to eat myself happy or to weigh myself obsessively or to just give up.  I am not about to let all my hard work go flying out the window because of a poor choice of words.  In fact, I’m not going back to see her in six months.  There’s too much at stake.  

What I will do is realize that, like with cigarettes and booze, I am not a normie.  I will continue to watch my portion sizes and calorie count.  I will continue to walk…and walk…and walk.  I will not jump on and off that stupid box and let a number determine my day.

I will recognize myself for who I am, right now, in this moment.

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A Mother-Fucking-Sober-Warrior-Ninja-Lady!

Namaste

Growing Up Sober

I’m reading a lot of new blogs lately and most are written by the newly sober.  I try not to comment too much because I think sometimes it’s better to hear from those that are feeling the same things you are feeling at the same time.  Does that make sense?  Anyway, sometimes I chime in with encouragement while trying to keep it to my story and not get all preachy about it.  No one likes to be told what to do.

I’ve also been thinking about what I have to offer to this sober community and where my voice should live now that I’ve passed from newborn sober person to preschool sober person.  So many of the bloggers that started out with me have dropped from the bloggersphere and “gone dark” so to speak.  Many just don’t need the experience any longer and I soooooo get that.  Sometimes you just don’t think you have anything left to say.  Been there…done that…got the t-shirt.

It didn’t fit.  So I write.  And I grow.  In fact, I’ve grown from a newborn to a toddler who’s off to preschool. 

As a newborn mother fucking sober ninja lady, I needed the same things a newborn baby needs.

  • Lots of sleep.
  • Permission to cry, loudly until I got what I wanted.  Until someone picked me up. 
  • Lots of cuddling and cooing.  Babies need to feel warm and loved and safe and so to the newly sober.  I needed hugs and kisses and “atta girl’s” and “you go girl” and “I’m so proud of you.”  Even when it felt uncomfortable to hear, I needed to hear it. 
  • Encouragement to do the things that others take for granted.  Things like walking and talking and learning to exist in the big bad world of grownups and scary things…like sobriety.  The sober world can be a scary place when you’ve never been there.
  • Spoon feeding (and I mean that in the literal way as well as the philosophical way).  I needed to try new foods and the experience was so much better without the booze.  I also needed to be spoon fed the way to be and act as a sober person.  I needed patience and understanding as I worked my way through each phase of my sobriety.  Each time I reached out and grasped a new concept or experience, it felt like a baby reaching out and grasping a finger that’s placed in its palm.  At first it’s just reflex, but then, over time, it becomes as natural as breathing.
  • Applause.  You know how a baby is taught to clap, or do “so big”, or play “Patty Cake” and everyone says “Yay baby!” and claps and smiles and laughs?  Well I needed that too.  I needed people to laugh and smile and clap when I announced 1 week and 30 days and 6 months and 9 months and 1 year sober.  I needed people to applaud when I managed my first sober wedding, first sober birthday, first sober holiday season, first sober funeral, first sober anything.  I needed confirmation that I was doing it right and that although it was hard, it would get easier…with practice and love and patience.

Now I’m older.  I’m no longer a newborn or an infant.  Now I’m a toddler.  As a toddler mother fucking sober ninja lady, I find I need the same things any preschool toddler needs.

  • Encouragement and permission to make mistakes.  I’ve just begun to know myself and I screw up…a lot.  My foot has been in my mouth so much that I’ve thought about painting my toenails with toothpaste to save time.  I’ve over extended my self more than once by assuming I could handle an experience, only to learn that there are some activities that, because I’m sober, I’ve outgrown.  More importantly, I’ve learned that it’s okay.
  • Just like a toddler learns to make friends in preschool, I’m learning how to make new friends in sobriety.  That doesn’t mean I’ve lost my old friends (although I have lost a few), but making friends without alcohol is, well, different.  It’s more authentic.  I feel more vulnerable. I don’t rush to make friend commitments because I’m feeling insecure.  I’ve learned to just be and let the relationships happen as they happen.
  • I’m figuring out who I am in the world the same way a child who has left their home and entered preschool for the first time learns who they are.  It’s no longer about my safe little cocoon of family and close friends, it’s about functioning in society as a sober person…as a real person for the very first time.  It scary.  It’s also a shitload of fun.
  • With that, I’m building self-esteem from the inside out for the first time in my life.  Like a toddler, I’m a little wobbly in this regard.  Small children have gravity to contend with when trying to do things like walk, ride a bike, swing or play on the see-saw.  They also have to contend with other children who want to knock them down to get what they have.  When it comes to my self-esteem and inner heart, I have things to contend with as well.  Things like an inner voice that jabbers on and on about how awful I am, or ignorant people who say or write things about addiction that are just plain stupid (I’m talking to you Margaret Wente), or time that continues to march on and take me to another phase of my life…like it or not.  I’m learning what I can control and what I can’t and that what other people think about me is none of my business and has no reflection on who I am as a person.  I’ve learned that I get to decide who I am as a person.  That’s a freaking powerful experience. 
  • Also like a small child I’m learning to share and play nice with others.  I’m learning to ask for what I need and not feel guilty about it.  I’m learning to share openly and honestly and to love unconditionally regardless of the circumstances.
  • I’m learning that while I don’t always want to take them, naps (breaks, meditation, yoga) can be a good thing because I don’t always make the right decisions when I’m tired.  I get grumpy and throw hissy fits when I’m tired.  It doesn’t look good on a four-year old and it sure as hell doesn’t look good on a 52-year-old. 
  • I’ve learned to take things at face value and trust that things will work out.  To live for right now…today…this minute. 
  • I’ve learned to keep an ear out for the ice-cream man because a treat can be a good thing.
  • Most importantly, I’m learning to look in the mirror with the eyes of a four-year old who’s been loved and nurtured for all of her four years.  I’m learning to gaze upon the reflection and notice the good things, just as they are, staring back at me.  Four year olds who have been nurtured and love see only what’s there.  They don’t see what others have told them to see.  They look in the mirror and see love.

Namaste

 

 

Nighty Night…

So FYI – I’m really liking my new digs here in WordPress land.  I’m beginning to get used to the format and it plays much nicer with my work computer.  I spend most lunch hours reading and commenting and when the platform acts up, it fucks with my zen and that is not good for the digestion.  For a long time people commented on how hard it was to comment on my blog and now I know why…the WordPress reader doesn’t play well with all of the Blogger settings.  I’m having trouble getting to some of the blogs to comment but no worries…I know where you live…I’ll hunt you down.

I spent the last week in San Francisco and, if you read here regularly, you know how much I love that city.  But DAMN it was good to be home.  I got home about 10:00 PM on Friday to about 8 inches of snow (in the Carolina’s!), crawled into my comfy bed and slept like a baby.  There’s just something about being in your own bed – especially after my amazing husband took the time to put clean sheets on the bed because he knows how much I love that! (Sorry ladies…he’s all mine.)  After about 10 hours of good, hard sleep, I woke refreshed and ready to catch up on family time.  In other words, recharge my batteries.

I’m still amazed at how much I love to sleep now that I’m sober.  It’s not like I sleep a lot – probably about 7 hours a night – it’s just that the sleep is so GOOD.  It’s real sleep.  Sometimes it’s like someone knocked me out and I wake up and wonder where the night went; and sometimes I dream and wake up and go right back to sleep and that is a miracle.

Because even if you’re not an alcoholic and just an occasional drinker, chances are you’ve tried to sleep after a night of drinking.  You fall asleep (pass out) only to wake up several times in a sweat, with sweaters on your teeth, a sour stomach and a pounding head.  Not exactly restful.  Now multiply that by every frickin’ night and add the terror that comes with “what the fuck did I do?” followed closely by the resolve of “I’m never going to drink again” and you have a really rotten sleeping regime.

For me, one of the earliest benefits of sobriety was a good night’s sleep.  In fact, I relied heavily on this in the early days.  I slept A LOT.  I looked forward to crawling into bed the way I had previously looked forward to that first glass of wine.  And with very few exceptions, it never failed me.  I’ve been sleeping well ever since.  Even a restless night that leaves me yawning the next day (like I had last night) is far better than any night I had at the end of my drinking career. 

My dreams are back too.  I’ve always been a very vivid dreamer.  In color, with lots of emotion (sorry honey for waking up mad at you all those times) and copious amounts of detail.  I really love recounting a particularly impactful, confusing, weird dream to the hubs and having him dissect it (he’s really good at it).  Sometimes it’s deep and we can get to the root of what’s been bothering me for weeks, and sometimes it’s just plain weird and no amount of analysis is going to get to whatever my brain was trying to tell me.

Toward the end of my drinking days however, the dreams had stopped.  Occasionally I’d have one but hell, I couldn’t remember the night before so I certainly wasn’t able to remember the dreams.  I realize now that part of my sanity is heavily dependent on my brain being able to throw up its contents so that I (and the hubs) can look closely and figure out what’s happening.  Without that ability, not only was I not sleeping, I wasn’t processing properly either.

But now I AM sleeping, and dreaming and loving every minute of it.  So maybe Elmo should try to explain why, in last night’s dream, he was refusing to marry me even though he SAID he loved me AND he was trying to find a car to get away from me.

Elmo’s got some explaining to do.

Namaste

“There are all sorts of dream interpretations, Freud’s being the most notorious, but I have always believed they served a simple eliminatory function, and not much more – that dreams are the psyche’s way of taking a good dump every now and then.”  ~Stephen King

An Open Letter to Margaret Wente of The Globe and Mail

Dear Ms. Wente – 

I read with interest your article published on February 13th with regard to Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death.  I haven’t commented on Mr. Hoffman’s death in this blog because so many of my fellow bloggers have done so rather eloquently and I didn’t feel I had anything to add to this tragic event.  In addition, I didn’t want to make it seem as if his death, because he was a celebrity, was any more tragic than the death of any other addict that passes due to their use of something to excess.

Until now.

See, after I read your article I became…let’s see…what’s the word?  Oh yeah.  Royally pissed off.  Not only am I pissed off, but I feel very sorry for you and your seemingly well spoken husband because Ms. Wente, one day you will likely be touched by addiction (more so than your friend who fell down the stairs and died) and you will know what it is like to suffer from the affects of addiction. You will understand the deep ache that comes with a helplessness matched only by the sorrow in your heart…whether it is because you are the addicted…or because you love the addicted.  When that happens, I hope that you are treated with more compassion and understanding than that which you have given Mr. Hoffman and, by association, his family.

Here’s the deal, I don’t give a rat’s ass what you want to call it.  Perhaps it is a habit.  Maybe it is a disease.  A condition?  A mental illness?  Really…who cares?  Call it whatever you like but I can assure you without a shadow of a doubt in my highly intelligent mind that it is most assuredly NOT a choice.

No one chooses to live this way.  We don’t start out casting aside family and friends, destroying our bodies and minds and slowly killing ourselves.  We don’t start out drinking ourselves into oblivion, night after night.  We don’t start out with a needle in our arm.  Most of us start out just like you.  Most of us have jobs, families that we love and that love us, dreams, goals, hopes and a very clear opinion of what addiction means.

Many are like you, clear in their opinions and firmly seated on the side of ignorance.  Others are like I was, fully aware of the danger due to my family history, but sure that I was not going to let it happen to me.  Most sit somewhere in between…somewhere between ignorance and bliss.  Until they don’t.  Until they wake up one morning and realize that the pain they’ve been trying to escape is still present and no amount of alcohol or drugs or food or sex or gambling is going to fix it.  That they are in the grips of a disease that sat dormant until the day it didn’t.  Until the day they lost control.  Until the day the “thing” took control.

I’m not really sure if I truly believe that my addiction to alcohol is a disease, but I would like to address some of the claims made in your article because, by my calculations, your correlations simply do not add up.

First, I don’t think that anyone really cares whether or not you felt sorry for Mr. Hoffman.  I don’t think anyone really cares what you think at all except that you are blessed to have a public forum to voice your opinions.  But does it really matter whether or not someone dies in a “particularly degrading” way?  Which is more degrading?  Being found in your underwear, surrounded by heroin with a needle in your arm or laying in your own filth in a medicare nursing home at 80 years old with no family to care for you?  Both are degrading to say the least – but I’m guessing you’d feel sorry for the 80 year old.  Why?  Perhaps his choices have resulted in his condition too.  But there is less stigma attached to just being old than there is to addiction.  We’re supposed to feel compassion for the elderly.  Would you have us stigmatize those that are old and poor too?  Perhaps then someone will do something for them?  Sorry…doesn’t add up for me.

You state that no one gets Alzheimer’s because of something they’ve done.  How do you know that?  How do you know that something they’ve chosen to eat, or the fact that they stopped exercising their body and brain, or any number of reason is why they were unfortunate enough to contract Alzheimer’s.  If you found out that was the case, would you feel the same about them?  Would you then suggest we stigmatize them too?

And I vehemently disagree with you about support groups that pledge to avoid heart disease, or diabetes, or asthma.  They are called education and we try harder and harder every day to convince people to eat better, to exercise, to avoid second had smoke.  But people still die every day as a result of these DISEASES.  Why?  Partly genetics and partly because of the CHOICES they make in their lives.  I’m guessing you think all diabetics should just walk away from carbohydrates and sugar and that all overweight individuals should just push away from the table.  I’m sorry, but that also just does not add up. 

While we’re discussing genetics, let’s also talk about the big “C”.  Cancer.  No, changing your behavior won’t get rid of pancreatic cancer but more and more we’re finding that there are genetic markers at work in cancer patients.  That some are predisposed to cancer based on their family history, their geographic propensity, and, dare I say it…their CHOICES.

Guess what?  Research is also finding that addicts are predisposed to their addictive nature as well.  It’s no coincidence that my father and his father and my mother and her father and my sister are all addicts in one form or another.  Yes…I guess I should have known better and perhaps made better CHOICES but before I was old enough to make those good decisions about my life it was too late.  Because as soon as I took my first sip of beer at 16, I was addicted.  

Were all your 16 year old decisions good ones?

Think about it…please.

And finally, Mr. Hoffman did not DECIDE he needed the drugs more than he needed to save himself – of that I am sure.  His addiction took over and before he could gain control again it took him.  I hope to God that his children do not stumble upon your article one day (because everything lives forever on the Internet) and live the rest of their lives believing their father loved heroin more than he loved them.  THAT would surely be the worst tragedy of all.

And THAT would be your choice.

And THAT would be your fault.

Here I am…

If you’re here it means you’ve followed me…for that I am humbled and extremely grateful.  Thank you.

I thought long and hard about making this jump.  As many of you know, I been over here before and then jumped back to Blogger, but this time I really weighed my options and I ultimately decided that I couldn’t take the spam any longer.  Plus my work computer (where I do most of my reading and posting) is making it more and more difficult for me on Blogger.  And finally I didn’t want to do the word verification because I think it’s a royal pain in the ass to be quite frank.

So I imported most of my posts, tied it to my Twitter and Tumblr and FaceBook accounts (just search for sobermomwrites if you’re looking for me on any of those apps), and jumped ship.  I only hope I haven’t jumped the shark.

Part of me is hopeing that I’ll figure out what’s been wrong with me lately.  Not only have I not have much to say but I haven’t felt much like commenting either.  I’m reading…I can’t miss of day of my therapy (which is what you people are for me) but actually putting fingers to keyboard has been a challenge.

I’ve written about this before but sometimes I have a hard time figuring out what I want to write about.  I don’t feel like I’ve got much more to say about the whole sobriety thing unless something bites me on the ass – which we all know happens from time to time – but I try to stay current on the newly sober and their blogs because they are so important to keeping me sober.  I never want to forget what that’s like and I want to offer support whenever I’m able.

What that leaves?  Who the hell knows?  But I’ll sure have fun figuring it out!

Namaste