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.

e2272d1c-0f03-45cf-ac45-be825f61f5cb
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

15134589_2112736432285558_7531916297164103076_n

“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!!!

Learning To Stay


img_0438
Wow, I can’t believe it’s been six months since I wrote my one year piece about what I had learned my first year sober, the second time around. It feels like yesterday and at the same time it feels like many years ago. So much has happened since then and it hasn’t been all rainbows and unicorns. What I had pictured in my head of what life would be like once my kids came home full time is completely different than what life has been like. Truth is it’s been hard. It’s been crazy. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster. It’s been good and it’s been fun. But it’s been HARD.

Recovery is a journey not a destination, something I learned on this road I’m on. I will never know it all about recovery, motherhood, relationships, or life in general. If I ever think I have it all figured out then that’s when I’m truly in trouble. I had the privilege of spending a day in Austin, Texas this past weekend and was able to attend a yoga class lead by one of my favorite people Laura Mckowen Something she said in class struck me. She said this is when you learn to stay, even when the pose is hurting or it’s uncomfortable, you stay. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I don’t like to be uncomfortable. I don’t want to stay when it’s so easy to leave. I have a fight-or-flight response. It hurts, I anger or I run. It’s uncomfortable, I anger or I run.

I have worn out the highway between Oklahoma and Texas trying to run from being uncomfortable. I even moved to Chicago once to get away. There was alway an excuse for my leaving but truth is, I was running. Unfortunately everywhere I go, there I am. What has occurred to me since taking that yoga class is this part of my journey is about learning to stay. Learning to let myself be loved and to love without the need to run when it gets too hard. Learning to accept support from those around me without feeling like I’m somehow weak or failing. Learning to be kind but firm when I say what I need without the need to lash out in anger because they can’t read my mind.

When the conversation is uncomfortable. Stay.

When I am hurt and want to hide. Stay.

When I’m afraid the relationship will end anyway, might as well run. Stay. 

When I am scared to speak up for what I need so I decide it’s better to leave. Stay.

When I feel judged. Stay. 

When life gets too hard and giving up sounds best. Stay.

When I’m afraid I’ll get hurt and want to guard my heart. Stay.

When every ounce of my body says get up and run. Stay.

Feel the guilt. Feel the pain. Feel the uncomfortable.  Feel the sadness. Feel the shame. FEEL it all!!! Sit with it. Listen to it. Learn from it. Stay. The lesson is learned when I stay. The feelings will not kill me. Feelings will pass. Whether it is happy or sad, they will not last. The hard part is learning to stay with myself and feel it all. I drowned my feelings in alcohol for so long I never really learned to let myself feel. Even the really good times were drenched in alcohol. I always wanted to be somewhere else with someone else feeling anything other than what I was feeling at the time. I never learned to stop running and just sit with the uncomfortableness of life. Life on life’s terms, so simple yet so foreign to me.

When I started this journey eightteen months ago, the pain was so unbearable I wanted to quit, I wanted to give up. I wasn’t sure I would get out alive, my mom reminded me I could do it and I would do it, one day at a time. So I did. I was so busy doing life one day at a time, working to get my kids back, working to get my shit together. Then I got my kids back and it was amazing and then it was really hard and so I was working hard to help my son and I’m always busy busy busy. Now I think it’s time to relearn how to just stay and feel it all. Let the last eighteen months really sink in. Stay with myself. Say what I need. No apologies. Let myself be completely present for all of this beautiful life I’ve been given a second chance at.

On November 19th, 2016 I’ll celebrate 18 months sober. Today though, I celebrate hard work, never giving up, friends who are now family, new love, second chances, and a life that is so much more beautiful than I could have ever imagined.

 

img_0437

Fear Controls Me

I hate fear. I hate it with a passion. It seems to be the cause of so much anger and confusion and chaos. It’s behind every argument you have with your significant other. It’s behind every word that cuts life a knife and can’t be taken back.

Fear keeps us stuck in a comfort zone that no longer serves a purpose in our lives. Fear pisses me off! I’m angry. That’s what I tell myself. Anger is so much easier to express and to feel. Anger is safe. Anger is my comfort zone that no longer serves a purpose. Anger keeps me stuck. Anger. But am I really angry? Or am I fearful? Fear of getting hurt so I push the fear deep down because fear is uncomfortable. Anger is comfortable. I can be angry. I don’t know how to say I’m fearful. I don’t know how to say I’m afraid of something because if I do, what happens? I know what happens when I’m angry. I push people away and that’s easy to deal with. Easier to deal with than letting my guard down and taking a chance on getting hurt. If I push you away, you can’t hurt me. I hurt you first. I’m in control and I win. If you leave then my fear is confirmed, I was right all along, I knew I could make you leave.

Anger management issues? Is there such a thing? Do people walk around with happy management issues? No. Do people walk around full of fear, acting out that fear with anger? Yes. We stuff those hurt feelings so far down so we don’t have to feel them because that is too uncomfortable. Being vulnerable is uncomfortable. Anger keeps you at arms length, nobody can get to my heart. It’s been broken too many times, and I’d rather break my own heart than let anyone get too close. I must keep myself safe. Keep my heart safe. Misery is comfortable. Happy doesn’t last. Everyone will disappoint you eventually.

I don’t know why it’s so hard to let people in. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Happy, smile. Sad, frown. It’s simple yet so damn complicated! Why is it so difficult to ask for what is needed? I am not feeling loved, this is what I need to feel loved. Simple. My needs are not being met and this is what I need to have my needs met. Easy. Nope. Instead it’s so much more than that. Coming out and asking for what we need at the exact time we need it is too much. It’s not safe to say what we need when we need it, the need might not get met and then what? Our fear is confirmed, when I ask for what I need it won’t be met. I will not say anything then. I will push the feelings down and pretend it is fine. Until it’s not fine. Then I’m angry. Which is actually fear.

Life is so confusing. We crave companionship. We crave love. We need love. But it’s the most difficult thing to receive. Fear ruins it. Fear sucks. Fear complicates everything. Fear controls me.

 

Divine Intervention

img_0005

Divine Intervention- Direct and obvious intervention by a god in the affairs of human.

When something remarkable occurs in ones life. Divine intervention is mainly related to a miracle that would occur when you didn’t expect it. To look into this matter theoretically it involves God coming to dawn from the heavens and maybe stopping something bad that was just going to happen to you.                                 

www.yourdictionary.com

The picture above is me when I was 24 years old. I was in Grapevine, Texas and had just been arrested for my second DUI. My eyes are bloodshot and I’ve been crying. I seem sad and hopeless. And I was sad and hopeless, I just didn’t know it at the time. There was so much more going on that night that I would not understand until many years later. I like to think of that night as a divine intervention. My angels were looking out for me that night, along with many many other nights, but for today I’ll share two times that I am grateful things didn’t work out the way I had planned. Not many people know what I was doing that night, so here is the story behind the picture.

I think it was a Sunday, that was one of my favorite days to drink. I don’t remember how the day started out but if it was like any other day during that year, then I woke up still drunk from the night before. I have never been able to sleep in after a night of drinking and drinking was always the first thing on my mind when I woke up. What I do remember is sitting at a bar on Greenville in Dallas. It was one of those seafood shacks, lots of beer and lots of yummy seafood. I loved taking the Dart train all through Dallas while stopping to drink a few beers and downing a few shots before moving on to the next stop. That day though, like many other days, I was driving. My boyfriend was with me, I’ll call him ‘N’. He drank the way I did. I Always dated men that drank the way I did, too much and to often. I remember sitting at the bar, hanging with the regulars, downing beers and shots and having a blast. Somehow our conversation lead to marriage, we decided that we were going to Vegas that night and tying the knot.

We left the seafood shack intoxicated and announcing to the bar that we were leaving to get married, we toasted with the regulars and drove to the Dallas/Fort Worth airport. There were no more flights out to Vegas by the time we got there, but there was a flight leaving super early in the morning. The plan was to drink some more that night, stay in a hotel by the airport and head out to Vegas early in the morning, and be married by noon. Crazy!!!! We rented a hotel room, drove to a restaurant that was across the highway from our hotel and downed some more drinks in the bar. How long we were there I have no idea, and why we decided to leave when we did I’ll never know. There was still a lot of people there when we left so it couldn’t have been last call, I don’t know, but we decided to leave. My car was parked facing the highway, I literally could see the hotel we were staying at.

This part I remember like it was yesterday. As I’m unlocking my car door, I look to my right, and make eye contact with a police officer. He was driving by slowly the exact moment I was about to get into my car. It was like time stood still as we looked into each others eyes. I knew in that moment that I was about to be arrested. I got in the car anyway. A few minutes later I was being put into the back of a cop car while ‘N’ was driven to the hotel.

I was pissed! I was defiant. I would not cooperate with the officer when we got to the jail. They had me read along with them as they read my rights out loud but I wasn’t having it. As soon as they would start reading I would put the paper to my side and glare at them. They were getting angrier and angrier every time I put the paper down and made them stop reading. I finally let them finish reading my rights and take my mugshot, the one you see above. I spent the night in a little jail cell, angry that my plans to wed were ruined. N spent the night in the hotel and picked me up in the morning, afterwards we would get my car out of the impound and go drink some more.

I have no idea what would have happened had we made it to Vegas, more than likely  it would have been way worse than what I went through that night. 

It would be 10 years later something like that would happen once again. I was 34, newly sober, had two kids with ‘N’ and on a pink cloud. Turns out ‘N’ was sober too. Our relationship after that night in 2004 turned toxic, at least more toxic than it already was. Lots of alcohol and lots of fights. After he threw my stuff off his third story balcony and then attempted to throw me off the balcony, I left Texas for good. Turns out I was pregnant with our son, a few years later after a lapse in judgment, would end up pregnant again. So when I found out he was sober too, I thought “Wow, this is it. We can finally have our family together without the alcohol”. 

Very VERY few people know this story, because who likes to admit failure? Or stupidity in this case. It was a Saturday night in 2014, my kids were living with their grandparents because they had been taken away in December of 2013 due to my son eating a pot brownie I had left laying on the counter while waiting for their owners to come get them.

Anyhoo, I had the wonderful idea that I would buy a plane ticket and fly to the Dallas/Ft Worth airport and spend the night at a hotel with ‘N’ so we can rekindle what the F^*K we thought we had and then take the train back the next morning. I called a cab and took it to the Will Rogers Airport in Oklahoma City. I called a cab because my windshield wipers didn’t work and it was raining. OH and my drivers license was suspended and my then sponsor said I was NOT an exception to the rules and needed to start obeying the laws. So I cabbed it to the airport. My friend who I confided in on the way to the airport asked me if that was a good idea and asked if I had ran the idea by my sponsor. My answer was the same as it had always been “Act now, deal with consequences later. Plus my sponsor would see how amazing it all turned out and be glad I went.”

I get to the airport and my flight has been delayed, I assure ‘N’ that all is well, a little rain wasn’t going to keep us away from each other. He sent me pictures of the beautiful sunset in Dallas and I was sure it was going to be the best night ever. Until my flight was canceled. I called my coworker and she picked me up from the airport. I said well SHIT, take me to the damn meeting. I walked in and sat next to my sponsor. I say to her “I did something that you’re not gonna be happy about, I don’t want to tell you but I’m going to tell you anyway.” Let’s just say she was wasn’t jumping for joy lol. I text ‘N’ and said well looks like I was meant to be at the meeting cutting cake for the people celebrating a birthday. He said he was watching sports and that is obviously where he was meant to be. Our relationship would turn sour after that. Mainly because I “got it”. I knew in my heart that there was a reason these things weren’t working out. I need to stay as far away from him as possible.  There will always be a special place in my heart for him, he’s my kids dad, but he’s toxic. He always has been toxic, just took me a really LONG time to finally really see it.

 Now I don’t know if you believe in miracles or angels or anything of that nature, but after everything I’ve been through I KNOW someone is watching over me and thank goodness for that. Thank goodness for all the times things didn’t work out the way Melissa had planned. 

fullsizerender

Everyday I’m Just A Little Bit Better Than Before

image

Today is one week since I stood in front of a mental health judge to discuss my son being in a mental hospital. I have never met this judge, nor has she ever met my son. She asked me why I thought I had had such a problem getting and staying sober, I was caught off guard, I hesitated before answering with “I don’t know.” She asked a few other questions about my past and then proceeded to tell me: I’m not looking at the bigger picture, I’m not well, how everything that I’m doing is not enough, and basically my son is not well because all I’ve done is remove the alcohol and not dealt with the underlying cause of my addiction. Seriously? She just met me.

If only I could explain to her for as long as I can remember I have felt uncomfortable in my own skin, even the thought of going to the grocery store sober would make my skin crawl and only alcohol made the discomfort disappear. I wish I could somehow make her understand how the voices in my head that tell me I’m not good enough and never will be were so loud, so unbearably loud, alcohol was the only thing that could give me some peace and quiet. And that I would chase that quiet, no matter how temporary, to the ends of the earth regardless of the consequences. If I could explain to her that the consequences thrown at me never hurt me enough to stop until I saw how bad it hurt my children, maybe she would see that I am serious about my recovery and I am serious about doing what’s best for my son. If only I could make her see that I wake up everyday and tell the voices they are wrong, I look my dis-ease in the face and say I will win. I wake up everyday and choose recovery because I know I’m worth it and so are my kids. I could have explained  when I got sober in May of 2015 God removed the voice that says “you can have just one drink, this time will really be different” and replaced it with “share your story to help others” and that every time I share my story, a piece of me heals.

I get it though, she’s jaded. She’s seen her fair share of parents that could care less about their kids. She’s seen too many moms that will not or can not take responsibility for their own actions. She’s watched people come in and out of her courtroom struggling with mental illness and addiction refusing to seek the help they desperately need. She doesn’t really see ME, in her eyes she sees an alcoholic mother whose actions have caused her son to be put into a mental hospital. She sees a lost cause. At least that’s what it felt like. It wouldn’t matter anyway. She already had decided who I was, what my problem is and why my son is struggling. Nothing I could say would make her see me any differently. Although, I can not take back the past as much as I would love to but I’m also not my past mistakes. I am not this sick person that she has made me out to be in her head.

I asked God to help me nod and just walk away with my tail between my legs. My prayer went unanswered and I “No, I wasn’t looking at the big picture before which is why I relapsed, I See the big picture now, that’s why I ask for help from the foster parents, my caseworker, my friends, I am not trying to do this alone like the last time this happened.” She wasn’t impressed.

It takes a lot for me to get up there and say maybe I’m not what my son needs right now, maybe he needs help that I am not able to fully provide at the moment but maybe the foster family can. Maybe we can all do this together as one big family unit. It takes a lot of courage to push my pride to the side and say I can’t do this alone, I need help.  If that’s not looking at the bigger picture then I don’t know what is!  

My friend and sister in sobriety, Holly Whitaker creator of Hip Sobriety, posted something on her Facebook that I keep going back to because this is how I felt when I was being attacked by the judge. At least it felt like I was being attacked. No, it wasn’t coming from another woman in recovery but it felt the same regardless. Doesn’t matter how comfortable in my own skin I am now, that shit hurt.

“This morning I had that weird thing happen, where someone I didn’t really know projected their recovery all over me. And let me just tell you that it doesn’t matter how strong I am in my own skin and path, it never fails to shake me when someone has the audacity to tell me how my process should be going, what I should and shouldn’t feel, or make assumptions about me and my health, mental well-being, and self-love based on 3 sentences. 
Nothing feels more destructive and unsafe than being judged for how we heal, or where we are in our process.
Nietzsche said “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.” 
Remember that. Just because something is true for you, worked for you, doesn’t mean it’s true for another human being. And conversely, if anyone ever tries to tell you that your way is wrong or invalidate what is true for you, remember it’s just their shit.
If we are ever going to make progress in this space, it has to start with us, and it has to taste like tolerance for all ways. Supporting someone never looks like thinking we know better about how a human should live her life than that human herself.”
-Holly Whitaker

My relationship with alcohol was a toxic relationship. An abusive relationship is what I compare it to, although I’ve never been beaten and bruised by a boyfriend, I imagine the hopeless feeling I felt is somewhat like that of a woman being hit by a man she loves. I would want so badly to stop, but when I tried, there it was reminding me of all the good times we had together and how it would go back to that if only I would give it one more chance. And it would be good for a little while, but then there I would be, broken and in despair wondering how I got there once again. It’s a sick viscous cycle that I’m grateful to have gotten out alive. Many do not get out alive. If it’s not the damage alcohol does to your body that kills, it’s one of the many horrific accidents that alcohol causes that takes us down. Worse than that is the stigma around addiction that causes many people struggling to stay in the shadows and not seek the help they need. I sometimes consider myself lucky that I’ve been in as much trouble as I have, if not for the law breathing dow my neck over the years I don’t know if I’d be sober today. What about the ones that don’t have the legal issues like I do but still need help? God has called me to be a voice for them, to help fight the stigma, to stand up say F*^K YOU, I’m no less than you just because I can’t tolerate alcohol the “normal” way. What the f*^k is normal anyway? Society says drinking is good but saying you have a problem is bad, you must be able to ingest this drug that causes more deaths than any all other legal and prescription drugs combined otherwise something is wrong with YOU.

This sad story is another reason we have to stand up to the stigma, maybe this teacher would be alive today.

“70% of us drink. Which means, 70% of us gamble to see whether we’ll be one of 30% of drinkers that abuse it, or one of the 10% that die from it. 3 out of 10 drinkers abuse, 1 out of 10 die. It’s not just some rando woman who couldn’t keep her shit together. This is the picture of us. This is our story. Some of us get out alive. Many do not.”  -Holly Whitaker

Thankfully I know me and I know my recovery well enough to know that regardless of what that judge may think of me, I know that I’m doing one hell of a job taking care of what needs to be done for me and my kids. Her words could have easily sent me in a downward spiral, but what she actually gave me was a gift. The gift of motivation and determination. I’m already determined everyday to kick my addictions ass but I’m also hard headed and stubborn so when she spews her judgements at me without actually knowing me or my story, it only motivates me more to be better and do better.  Everyday I am just a little bit better than yesterday. Grateful for everyday I wake up sober.

fullsizerender

Guest Post: Rose Lockinger- Most People Are Doing The Best They Can

 

image To a very a large extent the compassion and understanding that we show ourselves is extended to others.  This also includes the manner in which we talk to others and the self-talk that we extend to ourselves. Meaning that if we are incredibly hard on ourselves we will be incredibly hard on others.   So much of how we think and feel about ourselves is extended to the world around us.  In a sense we create the world we live in by how we think and feel about ourselves.

Why this is I am not sure, but I have found it to be true within my own life. Whenever I am being harsh with myself, thinking I should be further along in my spiritual practice, or be better able to handle the problems of my life, I always become a lot more judgmental of others. I’ll find myself listening to a friend’s problems and I’ll sit there silently judging them, thinking they are ridiculous for what they are doing and they should know better than this.

This is never really a place that I like to be in and when I find that I am no longer extending love and compassion to others I have to take a look at my own life and see how I am treating myself because in reality, everything starts with the self.

Knowing this I have tried to adopt a new belief system within my life, one where I view myself and others as doing the best that they can at any given moment of the day. Doing this means that whenever I offend myself or others offend me, I am able to see that they are not doing so intentionally but rather are just doing the best they can.

This is not always an easy pill to swallow and sometimes I still want to look at people and judge them for their actions, believing they are just absurd. Something that helps me with this is the understanding that I have never once woke up in the morning and thought, today I am going to be the worst that I possibly can be. Even thinking about that thought is sort of comical because I don’t think it would ever have actually come into my conscious mind. Even on the days when I woke up on a tear, hoping to seek revenge for something, I wasn’t thinking about being an awful person that day, but rather just trying to do the best that I could.

Realizing that every day of my life I have truly tried my best, even when my best was awful, means that others are doing the same and so if I believe this about myself then I have to extend the same courteous to them.

This truth is especially important for people who have hurt or are currently hurting me. To clarify this statement, this does not mean that I have to take their abuse in any manner because that is just masochism, but it does mean that I have to believe that they are doing the best they can. I do this for my own sake, not for theirs, because if I wander through life believing that people are setting out to knowingly hurt me out of ill will, then I am bound to be afraid and angry all of the time.

I’ll take this thought a step further and say that even people who are setting out to hurt me intentionally are doing the best they can. If they could do better, they would do better, but operating under their own worldview and the information that they currently have, they decided that the best they could do that day was hurt me.

This may sound strange and it may sound like I am extending too much compassion to others, but I disagree. If you look at the world today it is filled with hurt. People lash out at each other for seemingly no reason at all, and while I can do nothing to fix the entirety of the ills of the world, the best I can do is extend love and compassion to people in my sphere.

Like the saying goes “to err is human, to forgive is divine” and as I am a person who is attempting to grow in the image and likeness of my creator I have to forgive. I have to or it consumes me and draws me away from the peace that my connection with God brings.

I don’t want to come off sounding like I have mastered this ability to walk through my day to day forgiving people instantly for their transgressions because of a superhuman ability to understand, but it is something that I am striving for. It is something that I have to cultivate in myself and in learning how to forgive myself for things that I deem to be unsavory is where I start. I try to be gentle with myself and understand that some days the best I can do is not great. By understanding this I am then able to look at others with this same compassion and believe in my heart that they are doing the best they can.

I’ll leave you with one last thought. I remember that when I first got sober I stopped believing that there was evil in the world. I started to believe in God and ultimate goodness but could no longer wrap my head around the idea that there was an intentional evil. I started to think that even the worst men throughout history were doing the best that they could and they were simply human and not some otherworldly evil that entered onto this earth. Looking at the most atrocious men throughout history as people and not elevating them to something other than human, allowed me to see that in each of us we have a capacity for good and for bad. Any given day this capacity fluctuates and those who do not have a connection with something greater have less of a chance at creating good with their life. This does not mean they are less than me, but simply that they are doing the best they can and so am I.

image

 

 

 

Rose Lockinger is passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.

You can find me on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Instagram

Guest Post: Rose Lockinger – Why I’m Uncomfortable With Being Comfortable In My Own Skin

 

Changing the meaning of word. Uncomfortable into Comfortable.

 

For so many years I hated myself. I hated the way I looked. I hated the way I felt and I hated the way I acted. It was almost as if I had some innate hate machine inside of me, never allowing me to be comfortable and driving me towards self-destruction. I was filled with resentment and anger towards many people in my life.  I wish I could say now that I am sober I no longer struggle with resentments.  Unfortunately this is not the case, however what I can say is that I now have a way to deal with them

If you look at it, no person who actually loves themselves drank or used drugs the way that I did. The two things could not coexist with each other and so my self-hatred fueled my alcoholism and in return my alcoholism fueled my self-hatred.

This changed though when I got sober and I began the long process of self discovery and acceptance that has lead me to where I am today. I no longer abuse drugs or alcohol in order to deal with reality and I no longer feel the need to run from myself because I feel like I am a terrible human being.

That being said though, I still find the idea of being comfortable in my own skin uncomfortable. That may sound confusing, but it isn’t really. I basically just mean that I am not always comfortable with the idea of being okay with myself. I still sometimes today find that when I am feeling good about myself or when I look in the mirror and like what I see, I am afraid that I am being arrogant and so I attempt to cut myself down to size in order to not become overly egoistic.

I am not really sure where this came from. The best explanation that I can come up with is that I have some how managed to pervert a thought from recovery to an extreme. See humility is something that we are taught to strive for. We are taught in Alcoholics Anonymous to not get too full of ourselves because if we do we run the risk of relapsing and so I find that I am always on the lookout for my ego and its shifty lies.

This however has resulted in my inability to be totally comfortable with myself. For instance I know that I am a good person at this point in my life. I know that I care about others and genuinely want to see people succeed, but I cannot fully accept the fact that I am a good person. This may have something to do with the fact that I still carry guilt from my active addiction, but I believe that it more so has to do with my fear that if I really accept the positive things about myself, I will be unable to control my ego and then I will fall back into the pitfalls of addiction.

I can understand how this may sound like over thinking and you may be correct, but I also believe that it is something that a lot of people in recovery suffer from, an ability to truly accept themselves and be comfortable in their own skin. You hear it at a lot of meetings, just said in different ways. People will say things like I am not okay when everything in my life is going well, or I don’t know what to do when I get praise from people. Most of the time this is chalked up to operating under calamitous conditions for so many years, but I have begun to think that it is because a lot of us are just afraid to be alright.

We sort of feel like we have to continuously remind ourselves of how awful we were in our active addiction because we feel like we still need to pay penance, and while this may be true to a certain extent, it really does nothing but hurt us in the long run.

I was thinking about this the other night when I was having trouble sleeping. My mind instantly went to the fact that I must be having trouble sleeping because of something that I did. Almost as if God was punishing me for some unknown sin that I had done throughout the day. This is not the first time that I have had a thought like this before, but this time I realized how false it was. I realized that God just wants me to be happy. He would want me to sleep, and that more than likely my insomnia was caused by me and only me. After this I fell quickly to sleep and didn’t wake up till the morning.

The longer that I have stayed sober the more I have realized that I am the problem. I am my own worst enemy and my sobriety is really a battle against myself. One way that my alcoholism attacks me is that it tries to keep me from truly loving and accepting myself. When I get too comfortable it tells me I should feel guilty about this and that I am not really as good as I think I am.

The reality is that I should be comfortable in my own skin. I do my best on a daily basis to be a good human being and what’s more, I like who I am today. There is no reason why I shouldn’t be able to voice my mind and stand up for who am I and as long as I trust in God and keep doing the things I need to do for my program, I shouldn’t have to worry that accepting myself will lead to an overinflated ego and a drink.

I think it’ll be interesting to see where these trains of thought go over the next year and I am excited to become more and more comfortable in my own skin. I hope by this time next year I will be writing how I have come to accept and love myself and I hope that the same comes true for you.

 

image

Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.

 

You can find me on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Instagram

Dear God, Help Me. My Son Is Just Like Me!

image10:30am this morning I look at my phone, it’s ringing, it’s my sons school again. My heart sinks into my stomach. I sigh as a wave of anxiety comes over me. Again?!? I answer it and it’s his teacher, one of his teachers. He’s throwing things and threatening to run away from the school. The principal is not there and they need me to come asap. I say I’ll be right there. I’m working. I clean houses part time during the week, I work for myself, so I can just leave when the school calls me. I look around at what is left to be done and for a moment I think to myself “maybe he can go back to the fosters parents home, I’m sick of him.” I don’t mean it. I clean up a few things and load up my van and head to the school.

I’m pissed. I’m so over it. I’m exhausted. It’s only been three days since the last call from the school. Why is this happening again? I text a few close people to let them know what’s going on. And I say a prayer that one of them has suggested I say. I say it loud as I hold back the tears.

 Dear God, I don’t know how to help J, but I know that you do. So I now ask for you to intervene on my behalf. I ask that you give me the words and the actions that are in his highest good so   that I may guide him to a place of well-being. I now see J as emotionally healthy and happy. I see him thriving, smiling, and joyful. I know that he is safe and he is well. And so it is. Amen”                       

I get to the school and it’s the same scene as it has been over the last few years. He’s angry. He’s defiant. He’s refusing to do anything asked of him. He’s destroying school property.  But, I have decided before I enter the school that I will not let him and his emotions inside my personal bubble. Easier said than done, but I’m able to do it. He refuses to get in the car and refuses to go in the school.  So instead of leaving with him we come to the decision that I will stay at the school.   For the next 3 hours I stay with him through lunch, recess, and we get lots of his work done. The sweet little boy is back and when we are finished I check him out of school. I feel drained, but grateful it all ended well.

These types of episodes happened daily before my kids were removed from my home in May of 2015. Although they aren’t as often now as they were back then, they are still as exhausting and emotionally draining as I remember. I cried in front of his school just last week to a group of amazing ladies at his school. I cried to the foster dad. I told him I didn’t like my son. The truth is I DON”T like him sometimes! He makes me want to pull my hair out. He makes me want to pull his hair out!!! How can an 8 year old be so freaking exhausting? How am I going to stay sane while trying to raise this child that is fighting me every step of the way?!?!

How do I raise a child that is exactly like me?!? 

I remember being picked up in Louisiana, many miles from my north Texas home, a teenage runaway. Me and a girlfriend of mine had hitchhiked, yes I said hitchhiked from north Texas to Louisiana so I could see “the love of my life” we were picked up at a truck stop, thank goodness we weren’t killed. We were sent to a girls home where we were stripped searched and waited for our parents to pick us up. I understandably was sent off to live with my dad in Oklahoma, hopefully they could handle me there. My mom looked at me and said she loved me but she didn’t like me. It hurt to hear those words. But the truth is, I wasn’t likable. Honestly I don’t see how I was at all lovable. I hated myself. I wouldn’t be able to begin trying to love myself until many years later after many more self-sabatoging decisions. It would be years before I felt my mom loved me, let alone liked me.

 Now here I am years later with a child just like me. He is entitled, he is anxiety filled, he is easily overwhelmed, he is easily angered, he’s manipulative, he’s full of self doubt and self pity. He’s defiant, he doesn’t think the rules apply to him.

He’s ME to the T. Although I pray he doesn’t make the same bad choices I made in the past. Time will tell. 

In the meantime I have to figure out how to raise a mini me. Like wtf??

 After I had my kids were removed from my home for the second time, a friend of mine who is also in recovery, asked me if I was relieved that my kids were gone. This may seem like a strange question to ask, but he knew all the details of the previous months leading up to my relapse and knew how much I had been struggling. It was an honest question. My answer? YES!!! Yes, I was relieved they were gone! I felt like I could breathe again. I felt like I could sleep again. I felt like the sun shined brighter and the stars twinkled so much prettier since they were gone. I felt a huge weight off my shoulders. I felt lighter. I was more than relieved, I was ecstatic. How can a mother say such things?!? At least, how can a mother say those things out loud, right? Moms aren’t supposed to feel that way and they sure as hell aren’t supposed to say those things out loud. What kind of mom are we if we actually admitted that sometimes we do NOT like our kids and the thought of them going to live somewhere else sounds like heaven? What kind of mom am I for feeling that way? NORMAL?

I wish I had some amazing check list of what to do when dealing with a difficult child. I wish that there was some happy ending to all of this and I could say that my pity party and my anxiety is suddenly gone. But I have no answers. NONE. I can cry. I can breathe. I can call every single person that can offer some kind and helpful words but the truth is, this is fucking hard! I feel alone sometimes. I feel like staying in bed somedays. I feel like every other mom out there has it figured out and I’m here just waiting for the school to call again telling me to come get my child. I love my kids. I freaking adore them. I’m so grateful they are home. I wouldn’t change that for the world. I refuse to ever do anything that would have them taken away again. Doesn’t make any of this less difficult.

Florence Shovel Shinn’s words from her book “The Game Of Life And How To Play It”  ring in my head constantly,

No man is your friend, no man is your enemy, every man is your teacher” 

If I can look at my son as my teacher and figure out what it is that I’m supposed to be learning instead of wallowing in self pity and stop feeling like a failure of a mother, maybe it would make this a little easier. I wish I had the answers.

For now I will go make dinner. I will go to bed knowing that I did the best that I could today and that is all I can do. Tomorrow is always a new day.

 

image