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St. Patrick’s Day Over The Years

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! It’s March 17th, 2017. I’m sure there are thousands of people out celebrating today, drinking green beer and having a blast. I used to be one of them for years. These days my St. Patty’s Day consists of work and hanging out with my kiddos. I still wear the green, I just don’t drink the green beer anymore. And best of all, I won’t have a hangover tomorrow morning and I’ll remember everything that happens tonight. I’ll take that over a hangover any day. I had some crazy times I’ll never remember. Maybe it’s best I don’t.

Here I am trying to look sexy, but it kinda looks like I’m wasted and trying to make myself throw up lol.

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I lived in Dallas for years. My favorite day of the year was the St. Patty’s Day block party on lower Greenville. It was a blast and I looked forward to it every year. I would plan my whole weekend around the block party. Basically all it is is a bunch of people walking up and down Greenville drinking alcohol. There were house parties and bars to walk through.  It always started off innocent, as innocent as a block party full of booze possibly can. I’d wander through peoples houses drinking their beer, eating their food and using their restrooms. Then I’d head off to the next shenanigans I could get myself into. By the end of the night I’d be in a blackout and somehow make it home. That’s how I spent every year for about 6-7 years. Until I moved to Oklahoma City.

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The photo above is how the day started off. Coherent and having fun. We got in an argument and split up. He ended up in jail and I ended up at the apartment. We made up the next morning at Hooters while we washed away our hangovers with more beer. Gross!

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I thought I was so cool. But what I’ve learned over the years is that my alcoholism is progressive. It got worse and worse as the years went by. My consequences got worse and the” fun times” were replaced with needing alcohol to function. Fast forward to Saint Patricks Day 2016, my kids are in foster care for the second time and I get to have a two hour visit with my daughter while my son attends a camp for children that have parents that struggle with addiction. My “memories” on Facebook remind me where me and my daughter had lunch. We went to the park afterwards and then I had to take her back to daycare where the foster parents would pick her up. Here we are being silly. Wow, I remember wondering if the day would ever come that her and her brother could come home.

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Which brings me to today. March 17th, 2017. In two days I will celebrate 22 months sober. In two months my kids will have been back home under my roof for one year. Today I went to work in my green t-shirt and then I picked up my kids. I also picked up another little girl so she could come over and play for few hours. Her mommy is in recovery too. It really is crazy when I look back over the years and see how much has changed, how much had to change.

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I wonder how many people celebrating on Lower Greenville with their green beer will eventually find themselves in the same situation I was in, addicted and unsure how to function without the alcohol. I wonder how many will long for a better way of life, a life that doesn’t include blackouts and guilt that could cripple. If one person reads my story and finds hope, then the hell I went through was all worth it.

Death Becomes Her

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That is a picture I took of myself to show my mom just how bad I was feeling at that exact moment. I look like sh^t and felt even worse. I put on Facebook the only way I knew to best describe how I felt was, Death Becomes Her. I’ve never had the flu. I NEVER want to have it again!!!

When my son told me he didn’t feel well this past Monday I took him to the doctor and was surprised when they said he tested positive for the flu. He had just tested positive for strep throat four days prior and was still on antibiotics. Seriously?!?! While I was at the doctors office I got a steroid shot because my allergies had been acting up for a while now and it had been over a year since I’d had a shot. The doctor said she was worried about me getting the flu too and prescribed me Tamiflu. I looked at the doctor like she was crazy. I don’t need Tamiflu, I don’t get the flu. This is only allergies. Yes, I feel like I’m dying but it’s JUST allergies. Denial denial denial.

That was Monday, today is Saturday, and I’m finally starting to see light at the end of the tunnel. Finally. This week has been the worst. I never knew that laying in bed could actually be painful. It was impossible to get comfortable. Sleep did not come easily. I felt like I’d ran a marathon, my legs hurt like hell. My wrists even hurt, what is that?!?!

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Even though me and my son were down for the week, I still had my daughter to take care of and get back and forth to school. On Wednesday morning my daughter got herself up and ready for school and asked if I was going to take her to school. I laid in bed with 103 temperature dreading the drive two blocks away to her school. “You can stay home today baby.” If it had been my son he would have jumped at the chance to stay home. Not my daughter. She innocently shook her head and said “No mommy, I want to go to school.” So I dragged myself out of bed and got in the car. That was THE longest drive ever!

We pulled up to the school twenty minutes late. I hunched over the steering wheel trying really hard not to puke. I watched her eagerly run to the front door, purple dress and pink tights, tie dye Little Mermaid backpack, hair flowing. Her little legs running as fast as they could. I had a moment right then. An overwhelming wave of gratitude washed over me. There I was feeling like death but all I could think about was how grateful I am for my life, for my babies, for the fact that my daughter chose school over staying home. That was a sweet moment. 

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One morning (not sure which one, the whole week is a blur) I sat on the couch with my son in the dark, tv off, drinking pedialyte from the bottle. Unable to sleep, I just sat there feeling worse than I have in a long time, I had a flashback. I went back to to the time I thought it a good idea to mix rum and pedialyte together in hopes of not having a ridiculous hangover. I went back to the many times I sat in the dark hungover and unable to sleep, guilt and shame consuming my every thought.

Damn flu! Damn flashbacks! Snapped out of that real quick!

Anyway, that’s been my week. My first experience with the flu and hopefully my last. My kids are well and I’m seeing light at the end of the tunnel. Thank goodness! As my friend says, this was my body’s way of telling me I needed to slow down and rest. My body doesn’t have to be so damn dramatic to gets it’s point across lol. Now excuse me while I go put onions in my socks.

 

 

 

Addicted To Drama

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I sat at the dining room table across from my boyfriend a few weeks ago and listened to him tell me that he thinks I’m addicted to drama. I was shocked. Disgusted. How could he say such a thing. Me?!? Addicted to drama?!?! Absolutely not. But, for some reason I couldn’t get those words out of my head and I am still thinking about it. I’ve learned on this journey of mine that when I am that disgusted and irritated by something I must look into why it bothers me so much. This is what I’ve come up with.

I AM ADDICTED TO DRAMA

Yep, I’ve decided that the reason his words hurt me so much is because they are true. The truth hurts sometimes. What I couldn’t understand though is why. Why am I addicted to drama? I’ve thought about this day and night. Night and day. In fact my mind has gone crazy wondering how this could be.

I AM A PROFESSIONAL AT MAKING MESSES

I have been making huge messes of my life for as long as I can remember. I’m good at making messes. I make gigantic mistakes, I create drama in all areas of my life, I cause self inflicted pain, I create chaos. Then what do I do? I fix it. I put it all back together. I make it all better. I get tough and I make a plan and then I take action to fix whatever mess I made. I know how to get my kids taken away and get them back. I know how to total my car and still get around with ease. I know how to lose everything I have but somehow make it out better off than before. I know how totally f*^k up a job and have another one a few days later. I know how to create drama and fix it. You know what I don’t know how to do?

I DON’T KNOW HOW TO BE NORMAL

A few years ago I sat in a meeting and listened to a friend of mine explain how her day was going really well, in fact everything in her life was great, there wasn’t anything to talk about and that it didn’t sit well with her. The normalcy of life didn’t sit well with her. I’ve never forgotten those words.

If I don’t have a mess to clean up or chaos to calm, then I don’t know what to do with myself. I don’t know how to do NORMAL. My life has been a series of fuck ups followed by my incredible ability to put it all back together. My life is pretty normal these days. My kids are both home full time, they drive me nuts with their whining but nothing major going on with them (knock on wood). All my legal stuff is fairly simple, nothing to stress over. My jobs are going great as well as my nonprofit. I have some really cool stuff going on in the next few months. Plus a boyfriend who loves me and my kids. You’d think I’d be floating on cloud 9. But I’m not.

Why?

I remember years ago before I had kids sitting alone in my north Dallas apartment snorting lines of coke and texting a friend of mine that I’d known since high school, that boredom was my worst enemy. I hate being bored. After observing my behavior, it seems I’m causing drama in my relationship to fulfill a need to avoid boredom. A need to have a problem and fix it.

What I am also figuring out is I have major anxiety. One year ago, with the help of the doctor, I got off anti-depressants. I had either been drinking, drinking and on meds, sober and on meds, but never sober and off meds. I wanted to see how I am without alcohol and anti-depressants. What I used to call “breakdowns” were actually anxiety attacks. Walls closing in and feeling as if an elephant is sitting on my chest is normal to me.  My anxiety is at it’s highest when I’m not in control. When I drank my anxiety melted away. Self medicating. But with the alcohol came problems, problems I was a pro at fixing, as long as it meant that I could still have my relief from the constant mind racing. Alcohol is not an option today. Instead I try to control every person, place or thing to keep the anxiety down.  Mainly I’m trying to control my relationship.

IT’S NOT WORKING 

I’ve never had a “normal” relationship. All my past relationships have been either soaked in alcohol or with men way older than me or both. Either way both types of relationships had lots of drama, I was never bored. I was either in control or I was drinking away the need to be in control. So now I’m in this normal relationship and I’m sabotaging it. I drive myself crazy! I’m not saying my relationship is boring. It’s not. At all. I make sure of that! On a serious note, my relationship is good, it’s exactly what I want when I’m not making things difficult. It’s crazy how well I can have my life together expect when it comes to this relationship stuff, I’m like a high school kid still. And I guess I kinda am in a way. I never learned to have a “normal” relationship without mixing alcohol into it.

I guess this part of my journey is learning or re-learning how to let things go. Let go of the need to be in control. I need to remind myself that expectations are premeditated resentments.  I don’t always have to have my way, that was a tough one to type out. I have to remember that I’m still growing, I’m still healing, I have a long way to go and so much more to learn. In this case I have so much I have to unlearn. Like, I’m not the center of the world and relationships are about give and take not just take take take. I have years of toxic relationships to heal from, it won’t happen over night.

I have to remember to breathe into the anxiety. Recognize it and sit with and not let it control me. I need to remember that I am only human and so is my partner.

Two Years Ago Today

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Today is January 31, 2017. Everyday I go onto Facebook and I see my “memories”,  I click on it and I get to see what I posted on that day in the previous years. Sometimes the memories are fun to see and some not so much. This day two years ago is probably a day I will never forget. It was the beginning of a downward spiral that would lead to my rock bottom. On January 31, 2015 I posted this:

“It’s a bitter sweet morning. I have been asking for prayers that my son get the help he needs and last night those prayers were answered. Yesterdays events was the last straw, he had become a danger to himself and others, especially his sister. I don’t know what’s going on in that mind of his, but the help that he will be receiving is exactly what he needs and I’ve been working on getting for him. The process was just sped up yesterday. He is in an inpatient behavioral health program that is for children 5-12. Although I know this is what he needs, it was so hard to leave him there last night. I am so thankful for all of your support and prayers. I wouldn’t be able to make it through this difficult time if it wasn’t for such supportive friends and family.”

That was a really difficult time, to say the least. I would celebrate one year sober a few weeks later on February 10th. I kept a smile on my face but I was struggling mentally and emotionally. He was released unexpectedly and too soon in my opinion from the hospital eight weeks later on March 31st. Nothing had changed. I was still at the school every other day and slept with one eye open afraid of what to come if I let my guard down. I tried to keep it together but by the middle of May, just days after I came home from my first She Recovers retreat,  I hit a wall. My kids would be removed from my home after a relapse that lasted twenty four hours. That was my rock bottom.

So when I read that “memory” this morning, all of those feelings of despair, hopelessness, and frustration came back. I’ve been in a funk all day. Besides not feeling well physically, I feel weighed down and overwhelmed. Why? Because I’m still dealing with the same stuff as I was that day! Maybe not to the same extreme, not really, but definitely close! I keep wondering when and if this craziness will ever end. Will there always be this weight on my shoulders? This time though I know that I don’t have to keep a big smile on my face when shit sucks but I have to remind myself of that. Out of habit I will give the smile along with “I’m fine”. When really I want to lay up in my bed and hide out.

Today I know that self care comes first. I listened to my body today by canceling  an appointment because my body told me to STOP.  Today I will write what I am feeling because then those damn feelings don’t have so much control over me. Today I will breathe deep and know that bedtime is coming soon. Today I know that I am not alone even if my mind tries to tell me that I am and even if it feels like I am, I am not alone. I will not make the same mistakes I have in the past. I won’t let it get to me. I won’t let it bring me down.

Tomorrow I will make time for a yoga class. Tomorrow is a new day. Tomorrow I will put one foot in front of the other just like I did today.

Today I breathe. 

37 Years Old

IMG_1534I turned 37 years old yesterday, January 29th 2017. It was also 621 days sober for me. Longest I have ever gone without a sip of alcohol.  It’s really is crazy to think how different life is these days. Had it been four or five years ago I would have been at the bar, kids at the sitter and I would have drank til I blacked out.  Of course the next morning I would have to piece together the night before and nursed my hangover, which more than likely included more alcohol. So grateful I don’t live that way anymore.

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Instead I woke up and went to work. My boyfriend and my kids surprised me at work with flowers, cards, a balloon and a cupcake. I waited on friends who tipped me well and to top it off my boss and my coworkers got me a $50 gift certificate to my favorite yoga shop. I finished off the day with a nice dinner at a yummy steak house.

Life is good today. I have so much to be grateful for. I’ve come a long way from where I used to be. Heck, life this time last year was completely different. On my 36th birthday I was only allowed one hour with my kids in a counselors office for a therapeutic visit. One hour!! Talk about coming a long way!

Life is FAR from perfect though. My relationship has it’s ups and downs (mainly because I can be a huge pain in the ass), my son has his own issues, life is crazy busy I barely have time to breathe at times, but overall I’m a lucky girl. None of this life would be possible if it wasn’t for recovery. If I didn’t wake up everyday and choose my kids, choose sobriety, choose LIFE, I wouldn’t have any of it. I have to make the conscious decision to keep going, even on the hard days. Because even on the hard days, recovery is always worth it.

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Tomorrow Is A New Day

 

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I’ve been on the verge of tears the whole day. My mind is crazy wondering what I could have done differently. I try to remember this isn’t my fault. Or is it? All I know is I wish I knew how to help my son.

I walked through a cemetery yesterday morning with my son looking at children’s graves wondering aloud what happened to those kids. Young boys. A  little girl. I told my son I bet their mom misses them. He didn’t seem impressed.

His cries echoed through the halls as I signed him into the hospital. How could we be there again? Why is this happening again?!?! Why? 

I went to a yoga class this afternoon to quiet my mind. At the beginning of the class the teacher says to set an intention, or dedicate our practice to a person. I’ve never had an instructor suggest dedicating a class to a person, but I knew it was meant to be for my son. I held back tears throughout the class. I let them flow when the lights went down at the end. My son is on his own path and I will always be by his side, but I have to remember to be ok even when he’s not. Easier said than done.

My dear friend who lost her son to suicide a little over year ago showed up on my door with a card and flowers. She’s one of the strongest women I know, if not the strongest. I think of her when times get rough with my son. My phone has been going off all day with kind words from friends. Thank God I’m never alone.

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My 2016 Year End Review

I tend to compare myself to others in the blogging community and I feel less than, I don’t feel like I quite measure up to all the others. I don’t always know where to put commas and I know my grammar isn’t the best, I don’t have a way with words and I’m not an expert at anything. So when I see others doing so well with their writing I kinda feel less than. Stupid I know but I’m human, it happens.

A few weeks ago I asked a friend if she thought I should stop writing on my blog. Her response was no. She explained that one of these days someone may need my help and how it would help for them to be able to read about where it all started and how I got to where I am. Because one of these days I won’t have a probation officer breathing down my neck, I won’t have to breathe in a machine in order to start my car, and the days when DHS visited my house will be so far gone it might be difficult to explain to a woman struggling that “Hey, I’ve been there done that and I made it out alive”, so to have the proof from all the blog posts could somehow someway help someone. And who gives a F*^K about my grammar and punctuation anyway!

 

This is ME! Perfectly imperfect.

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I have seen so many blog posts about how to make it through the holiday and they are all great, so I didn’t see any need to add another to the long list of “How To’s” instead I decided to do a 2016 year end review. I went back through all my photos and posts from 2016 and holy shit I’ve come a long way. It was such a great reminder of all the freaking amazing things that have happened this year. Maybe years from now someone can look at my blog and see that I’ve gone through hell and come out the other side better than before and think to themselves “If she can then maybe I can too!”

 

This time last year I had no kids, a not so great relationship with the foster parents, an ankle monitor on me, a curfew, and I was scared to death I’d never make it out the hell I called life. Today things are so different. I made a list of some of my favorite things that happened this year. No particular order.

Here’s a few things that happened this year! 

I got this thing off!

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Holy shitballs, wearing that thing sucked! I had to wear it for four months as part of the punishment for violating my probation. I had to drive two hours to the place that took it off and I made it there before 7am. To say I was ready to get it off would be understatement. Thank goodness I had to wear it during the winter months! It’s the little things.

 

I was asked to share my story on the HOME podcast!!

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I mean if that’s not cool then I don’t know what is! Holly Whitaker creator of Hip Sobriety sent me a text asking if I’d be interested in telling my story on her and Laura’s podcast and that I could think about it and let her know. There was no thinking about it, hell yeah i wanted to be on it. It was so healing telling my story to them and to so many others. I look up to these women and there they were asking me to tell my story, my messy ugly story. *MIND BLOWN*  The episode came out one year to the day my kids were removed from my home. It wasn’t planned that way but God works in mysterical ways. The picture is of me and my daughter on Easter at my house on the porch. She had to go back to the fosters house that day but my dear friend Melissa took this picture while we had a special moment. I’ll never be able to thank Melissa enough for taking this picture. I’ll cherish it forever.

 

 

My kids saw their new house and new rooms for the first time!

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The picture says it all. After they were taken away I realized that it was time to move and start fresh. I loved the other house but too much had happened there. Too many nights spent intoxicated. Too many hangovers there. Me and my daughter shared a room, my son felt like it was us against him. Plus that was the house that DHS had come to take them away two times. It was time to start fresh. I fixed up their rooms knowing they would come home eventually but also worried they never would. These are the pictures I took of them as they toured our new house. The perfect house for just us three.

 

 

I bought a car for the first time ever in only my name!

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I drove illegally for many years. No license, no insurance, no tags.  And I definitely wasn’t working towards getting a car of my own, I always had a cosigner. This past summer I signed the papers for my own vehicle and a freaking minivan at that. Craziness. The van was super clean except for this little movie theater ticket stub from the movie Miracles From Heaven. As I stood by the van alone I picked up the ticket, looked up and said thank you God. Today I get to drive around a million kids and I love it!

 

 

I celebrated a year sober on May 19th, 2016!!!

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My kids came home full time May 11th, 2016 and on May 19th I celebrated a year sober. As I stood at the podium and the room full of people sang happy birthday to me, my beautiful daughter walked down the long isle with a cupcake and a lit number one candle. I was crying my eyes out. I got a few words out but speaking wasn’t easy as tears of gratitude ran down my face. Makes me so emotional now thinking about it.

 

My recovery Facebook page was page of the day on the SHE RECOVERS page!!

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Holy shitballs is all I have to say about that!! What else is there to say?!?!

 

 

I started a nonprofit!!!

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It’s called Clean Life.Clean Home. and it’s my way of spreading hope and shining the light on the other side of addiction we so rarely see, RECOVERY. I know I’m only one person but I can still make a difference, even a small one. I hope by doing this the stigma around addiction will fade away and people in recovery can hold their heads high instead of hiding in the shadows afraid of being judged. Plus I get to meet some really awesome ladies like Bonnie who is in the picture above. God put her in my life at the exact moment I needed her. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for 2017 and I can’t wait to meet so many more incredible people living life one day at a time.

 

 

I got to go to Austin to meet some really amazing ladies!!

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Recovering out loud and sharing my story has connected me to some really really cool ladies in recovery. Here are some of my new friends that I’ve met on this journey. Love you ladies!!

 

 

I was asked to share my Survivor Story on Addictive Designs 

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Heidi Smith creator of Addictive Designs asked me to be one of the 25 people to share their survivor stories on their page to help raise money for the women and children at the long term facility in Vancouver. 25 stories in the month of December to help provide Christmas gifts for the women and children. What a blessing it is to be apart of an amazing cause. How crazy it is to be asked to apart of something so far away. Just shows you never know who you’ll help by sharing your story.

 

Me and the fosters have a great relationship now!!

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If you had told me a year ago we’d all be taking a picture together I would have said YEAH RIGHT!!  But here we are. All together.  Christmas 2016, fosters, bio, grandmother, boyfriend, and all the kids we all love so dearly. Amazing things can happen when you put your pride to side and work together as a family. The way it should be. Blessed!!

 

 

Well there ya have it!!  My 2016 year end review. When people say don’t leave before the miracle happens, don’t leave before the miracle happens! You have no idea what is in store for you if you choose recovery. It’s so crazy how things can work out.

I hope one of these days my kids will read this and see their mom may have screwed up, she may have screwed up a lot and big time, but she got up and kept going. Most of all, I hope they see how much their mom loved them with all her heart. Here’s to 2017 and all the blessings it has in store!!

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Is Your Child Struggling?

It’s 3am and I am having a difficult time sleeping, I can’t stop thinking about the conversations I had with some friends tonight and over the last month. I’ve had four different people reach out to me wanting to know what to do for their child or to let me know that their child is struggling  just like son has struggled in the past. I have been open about my struggles with alcohol but I have recently spoken out about living with a child that deals with anger issues along with what I believe is severe anxiety. These boys are angry, they are suicidal, they are violent, they are depressed and anxious, they are cutting themselves. And these boys are not even in high school yet. It’s a scary thing to hear your own child say he wants to kill himself. Or as my son has said in the past “I want to run in the street and not look both ways.”

I remember before my kids were taken away in May of 2015, it had gotten to the point one night I told my then sponsor “If my son is awake then I won’t go to sleep” I was literally afraid of what my son would do to me if I was asleep and he was in one of his angry fits. I had pictures in my mind of him stabbing me in my sleep. He was 7. By May of 2015 my son was not allowed to be at the school past 1030am because his fits at seemed to escalate by mid morning and the school he attended wasn’t equipped to deal with his behavior. I was exhausted trying to hold down a job and be at the school every time they called to tell me to come get my kid. I walked around on eggshells trying not to upset him, anything I could do to prevent a fit. Anything would set him off though, it was like a ticking time bomb. I had to take everything out of his room, not to punish him but so that he couldn’t hurt himself with it, sharp items HAD to be taken out. It was insanity. I was doing it alone and I was about to break.

I was tired. I was exhausted:mentally, physically, and emotionally. I hit a wall and I relapsed. My kids were taken to live with a foster family while I put my life and myself back together. My kids came back home full time in May of 2016 and I thought that things were going to be great this time, that we had worked out our issues and that this time would be different. I had worked hard to build up my self esteem so that if there were any issues I’d be able to handle it. Five months later I was having a breakdown outside a mental hospital on the phone with my caseworker wondering how the hell we got here again. “I am only one person” I remember saying while hysterically crying to her as my son sat in my car refusing to get out, strapping himself to the seat yelling to me how much he hated me and wanted me to die. You can only hear “I hate you” and “I want to kill you” so many times before you breakdown. All my hard work on self esteem destroyed by an 8 year old.

I can’t help but wonder what is going on with our children that causes them to act out in such hurtful ways, is it the schools and the way we expect all kids to fit into a one size fits all box? I believe it has something to do with it. In this article Schools Putting Too Much Pressure On Kids, Kay Mcspadden says “Sadly, the rewrite of NCLB rushing through Congress reaffirms that commitment to testing. Despite the harm to our children, as long as the education reformers – and the testing industry – have a heavy hand in influencing public policy, time for play will be all too rare.”

What I do know is if you live with a child that is struggling I promise you aren’t the only parent going through it. I felt so alone before, I felt like I was the only one that had a child that behaved this way. I am grateful I know different now. A few things you can do if you’re child is displaying some of the behavior I am speaking about:

  • Ask For Help

    This is huge! Asking for help in this situation could mean the difference between sanity and a mental breakdown. Trust me I’ve been there! You don’t have to lose your damn mind before people finally see that you need help and are struggling, you can ask for it before shit hits the fan. If you ask someone for help and the answer is no, it doesn’t mean that the answer is ALWAYS no, keep asking! I tend to forget that everyone is fighting a battle we know nothing about so I don’t need take everything so personal. One NO doesn’t mean always a NO. That make sense?

 

  • Take Care Of Yourself First

    Have you heard the saying, when the plane is going down you put the oxygen mask on yourself first, otherwise there is no way you can help anyone else? Especially if you are in recovery and dealing with child that has special needs, you HAVE to take care of yourself and your sobriety first before you are any good to your child. If I’m not careful I will push everything to the side to focus on my son and his needs, even my other child. I will put everything on hold just to make sure he is fine and his needs are met. Not a good idea!! I have to put myself in check sometimes when I feel the tunnel vision creeping up.

 

  • Search For A Meeting

    There is a meeting for everything these days, it’s a good way to get out of your head and build your support system. Find support in your area on the National Parent Helpline and Mental Health America. I have attended multiple meetings for parents that have loved ones that suffer mental illness and I’ve made some friends that I can contact when I need help, I know they “get it” when I tell them what’s going on. It helps.

 

  • Have A Support System

    You need to have at least four people you can call on when trouble hits. These people need to know what’s going on and I recommend they be close by. Obviously the more people in your support group the better but have a few that are close by and can be there quickly if an emergency arises. I have at least three to four people in my neighborhood that could be at my in minutes if I need them. I am blessed to have people that have seen what happens when things get crazy and are willing to be there if and when I need help. Like I said asking for help isn’t easy but worth it. Attending local meetings with people that understand is a great way to build that support system. Situations get real ugly real quick (at least in my house) and having people close by could be a life saver.

 

  • Call Local Mental Hospitals

    I know the thought of having your child go inpatient is scary but it could be what saves their life. Know where your local hospitals are and have their numbers saved in your phone. When it’s your child’s life that is on the line you can never be too safe. If your child says he wants to kill himself ,BELIEVE THEM! Maybe it’s out of anger and frustration. Maybe they mean it. Do you really want to take that chance? Let the hospital know exactly what’s going on, if they know the whole truth then your child can get the help they need.

 

  • Guilt And Shame Won’t Help Your Child

    Maybe  your child has been through a lot with your addiction, but beating yourself up for the past does no good for you or your child. Forgive yourself and move forward. Easier said than done I totally get it. But in order for the family to heal, guilt and shame can not be control.

I understand the pain a parent is feeling when they reach out and tell me their child is hurting themselves. It’s a pain I would never wish on anyone. Knowing you’re not alone is a big deal. I wish I had known before I hit bottom that there were other parents out there dealing with the same thing I was, maybe speaking out will help another parent from hitting rock bottom. If you’re child is struggling and you need someone to talk to I am here for you. I understand. I get it.

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Me and my daughter hugging on my son after his basketball team lost their last game.

 

Paying It Forward

Every month I go to court for the program that I am in called community sentencing. It’s basically like drug court but I only have to go to court once a month instead of once a week. It’s a pretty simple program as long as you do what you follow the rules. Don’t drink or do drugs, pass your UA’s, don’t miss any of your therapy appointments, show up to court and office visits. Simple, yet so many people have a difficult time with it and end up back in jail. I’ve been in the program a year now and have had no sanctions. Less than a year to go!

Today I had court. 575 days sober, the judge always asks when we go to the podium how many days we have sober so I have to check my sober app before I go in. I don’t keep track of the days anymore. I don’t count the days, I make the days count. Cheesy but true! Anyway the judge called me up to the podium and says “So I hear you’re famous! I saw you were in the paper!” I just laughed and he told me to talk about my nonprofit Clean Life.Clean Home. I told the judge and everyone in the court room all about my nonprofit I started back in May of 2016. Talked about how I clean for moms and dads in recovery as a way to give back and to shed some light on the other side of addiction people rarely see, RECOVERY.

My probation officer and the judge gave me a gift card to Walmart for all my hard work. It was a proud moment for me. Just a year ago I stood in front of the same judge while he explained to me that I had run out of chances and that if I screwed up again I would without a doubt spend some time in prison. Years! And there I was today being congratulated and rewarded. What a great moment! I am proud of myself!

I had no idea what starting this nonprofit would be like and I’m still kind of going with the flow. I’m super excited to see what 2017 has in store. It’s a really good feeling to be giving back to other parents in recovery. It’s just a good feeling overall to be doing something nice for someone else. Plus I am meeting some super amazing women that are kicking addictions ass! I don’t know if I would have met these women had it not been for sharing my story out loud and starting CLCH. Grateful for all these new friendships.

Sobriety delivers all the things alcohol promised. Happiness, inner peace, self respect. All the things I searched for many years in the bottom of a bottle. Life is good today. Happy.

This is Lori, she’s the sober mommy I cleaned for this morning. I absolutely love her! Here’s her story shared on the website and on Facebook

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“This is Lori. She is the next person in recovery to receive a clean home. I had the privilege of sitting down with her this evening to hear her testimony of redemption. Her story breaks my heart and inspires me at the same time. After a long horrific addiction to meth she is now five years clean. In the middle of her addiction she became pregnant by the man she is newly married to, but at that time she had only just met him and was still heavily addicted to meth. She decided to give her baby up for adoption. She cries as she tells me about her daughter who she has only seen five times but never sober. Lori says “I broke my heart so I didn’t have to break hers”. She knew she wasn’t ready to give up the drugs and didn’t want to expose her daughter to that kind of life so she gave her baby up to a very loving and forgiving couple who still lets Lori have contact, even though Lori has decided to let them live their lives and let God decide when the time is right for her to see her daughter. Lori is now an active member in NA and sponsors 4 women. Her and her husband just got married October 30th. She works with the homeless, helping them get benefits and she is working to fight stigma on #mentalillness Her husband owns his own business and has been sober for over five years too. Jail, prostitution, meth, abusive ex husband, giving up her daughter.. but an unwavering faith in God has brought her to where she is now. Sober, happy, and full of hope. Lori is a beautiful soul and I’m so grateful to have met her. She is a true example of what recovery can be if you just give it a chance. Doesn’t matter how far you’ve gone down, #recoveryispossible

Finish The Story To The End

fullsizerenderHere it is Wednesday December 7th, 2016 and I can’t stop thinking about this past Sunday. It was just an ordinary Sunday, I happened to be off work and had plans to go Christmas shopping with my boyfriend after church. We take the kids to the same church they went to for a year while living with their foster family. We are all basically one big family now so whenever we are able to see them we take the chance. I am not a big church person and don’t necessarily consider myself religious, although I do like the feeling of community when I attend. I always hear something that I relate to when I go, so when I have a Sunday off we try to make it.

This time I heard exactly what I needed to hear and the pastors words are still running in my head.

“Your life is too short and your calling is too great to live offended”

Craig Groeschel 

I sat in the third row listening to the pastors words and this sudden urge to have a drink hit me. I had a vision in my head of me drinking a cold beer in a crowded bar, no worries and no where to be. I pushed to the side and kept listening to the message, forgive others just as we have been forgiven. Me and my boyfriend sat next to each other, all I could think about was our huge argument the night before. Hurtful words were said but nothing that wasn’t true. Sometimes the truth hurts, sometimes I need to hear it. And there I was listening to a talk about forgiveness and rising above negativity and hurt. I felt the tears coming. I held it back. I felt my heart open. I heard everything I needed to hear.

After church we went to lunch, a nice restaurant in the city, alone with no kids was nice. I apologized for my selfishness and self centered ways. I asked for forgiveness and it was so kindly given. The restaurant had a bloody mary bar, I had looked away as I went to the restroom. I sat in the stall wondering what the hell is wrong with me? Seriously a drink? WTF?!? Why now? I haven’t felt this way in 568 days. The last time I felt this way was a Sunday. Sunday used to be my biggest drinking day. Back before I had kids my Sunday mornings would start off with a hangover and a beer, followed by day drinking that usually ended with jail or a big fight with whoever I was with.

I started a blog to talk about all the difficult things that I have gone through and still go through, I questioned whether or not to talk about this  because I didn’t want to worry anyone, but then I remembered My Truth Starts Here and so here it is. I wanted a drink on Sunday. But truth is, I didn’t actually WANT a drink, I wanted the sense of ease that comes along with the first drink. That relaxing feeling like everything is right in the world, no worries and no place to be. I remember hearing multiple times in a meeting an old timer saying in his early days of sobriety he sat in a meeting about to jump out of his skin so he jumped up and said “I want a fucking drink so bad I can’t stand it!” and suddenly the urge didn’t have so much control over him.

So, I sat at the table with my boyfriend and said  “I want a drink and I don’t know why.” He was so calm as I explained to him that when I get things out of my head the thoughts don’t have so much control over me. Then I did what I have been taught, I finish the story to the end. Out loud.

I take the first drink and I feel relaxed. For a brief moment. Then the obsession begins. I immediately think about the next drink because it has NEVER been one drink. Ever. I now have lost all control over how many drinks I will have, where I will end up, who I will be with and what happens. I will drink until I blackout, forget about all responsibilities, I will start a fight with someone, pass out, and then wake up with the horrible dreaded knot in my stomach. Guilt and shame will consume me. I will have to clean up whatever mess I made, apologize for things that I said and did, and pray I don’t have more legal issues. I will feel the disappointment from friends and family, but most importantly I will feel the intense anger towards myself wondering how did this happen again. 

I know that story so well, I lived it many times. Over and over again I would tell myself that I was done and this time would be different, only to find myself at day one once again. My last day one was so painful that I won’t go there again, but I do know that I have a disease that tells me I don’t have a disease. It doesn’t care how well I’m doing, it’s still there lurking in the corner waiting until I let my guard down. It is patient and it is deadly. I know that I am lucky to have made it as far as I have, so many others don’t make it out alive. I have to stay aware.

I sat with the feelings, and I listened. The argument the night before bothered me. I was in the wrong. I don’t do well with being called out, I am very prideful. The holidays are supposed to be a joyful time of year but this time of the year is stressful to me. I’m anxious. My kids weren’t home this time last year so I want things to be perfect. Money is tight and it hasn’t been the last few years. I put too much pressure on myself to make everything perfect just like all those people on social media. Resentments. Resentments. Resentments.

I need to just let it go. I will drive myself crazy. I don’t need to control everything. When I try to control everything, me and everyone around me is miserable. Everything always works out better than I expect anyway. What a relief it is to remember that I don’t have to have it all figured out.

After I finished the story to the end, sat with the feelings and figured out what all of this was about, I reminded myself that “Life is too short and my calling is too great to live offended” Life is too short to hold on to resentments. My calling is too great to give in to the urge. Life is too short to be mad all the time. My calling is too great to sweat the small stuff. Life is too short to ever go back to day one. My calling is too great to not stare my addiction in the face and give it a big F*”k you!!!