Tag Archives: moms in recovery

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Big News!!!!

It’s 4am, I can’t sleep. I keep thinking about a phone call I received yesterday. It was a call from a lady that oversees all the special needs services for the schools in our county. She was calling to discuss my son and where he would be going to school this year. She mentioned that he had done very well when he returned to school after being at an alternative school for six months and asked if I thought he would fine going to the school that his sister goes to, the school right around the corner from our house.

Holy crap! I couldn’t believe it. This is it, here is the chance for my son to be back in the same school as his sister. I told her that I had faith in my son and that I thought it was time for him to be given this chance. We agreed that this would be good for him. So what does that mean exactly?

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substanceforyou.com

If you’ve followed my story at all or if you know me personally, you know that it has been an uphill battle with my son and his behavior at school and at home. Our relationship has had some major obstacles, for many reasons. My son has been affected the most by my addiction. He’s been through hell and back right along side me as I struggled with alcohol, struggled to get sober, and with my relapse. He’s been in foster care twice. He’s seen me get arrested, he’s seen me put into the back of an ambulance, he was taken away from his home in the back of a cop car not to return home for a year. He’s been though a lot! He let everyone know he was suffering with his behavior. He was (and sometimes still is) always in fight or flight mode.

 

Fight-or-flight response: (Also called hyperarousal, or the acute stress response) is a physiological reaction that occurs in response to a perceived harmful event, attack, or threat to survival.

 

Before I relapsed in May of 2015 my sons behavior was in my opinion the worst it has ever been. I was being called out of work multiple times a week. He attacked the babysitter pulling a knife out, he attacked his sister, he threatened to kill himself and me. At one point I told my then sponsor that if he was awake I wouldn’t go to sleep because I wasn’t 100% sure I’d wake up. I believed he’d stab me in my sleep.  He would run from the teachers, he’d get up in the middle of class and just run through the school. They would have to block the doors so he wouldn’t run out into traffic. It was intense! I was struggling to balance all of it and my sobriety. I was drowning.

Luckily, before my relapse, I was able to get him into a different school that had a program and teachers that handle that type of behavior on a daily basis. That program turned out to be heaven sent. The teachers there have been amazing and will hopefully continue to be apart of my sons life.

My kids have now been home fourteen months almost fifteen after being gone for a year in a foster home. The past year has been full of its ups and downs no doubt. There have been inpatient stays, six months at an alternative school that is one step down from inpatient, and part time living arrangements with the previous foster parents. Some days he hates my guts, some days he wants to sit in my lap and love on me. There are days where he tells he wants to run away and live somewhere else, sometimes I’m able to put myself in and imaginary bubble and let it pass, somedays I tell him to pack his stuff and go. (I’m not perfect, what can I say?) Amends always follows.

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A few months ago I asked my son if he trusts me now. He said yes, he finally does. That’s a big deal. I keep showing up. I keep telling him I love him. I keep showing him that I am here regardless of what he says to me. I let him know that he can’t guilt me into doing things for him. Bringing up the fact that he was taken away twice no longer works on me, I don’t parent out of guilt anymore. Took a while to get to that place, let me tell ya. But, it does him no good if I am still beating myself up for the past. Does me no good either.

My son is SO much like me its scary sometimes. He pushes boundaries like no other! Nobody can push my buttons like he can. I think he enjoys it sometimes. Pisses me off and makes me laugh all at the same time. I’m shocked at the his defiance and stubbornness, it’s like me in a little boy body. I have to go to my room and shut the door sometimes because I want to laugh at how ridiculously rebellious he is. I have my hands full with this one. I continuously remind him that rules do apply to him, that he’s not an exception to the rules. Surprisingly enough, I just learned that myself in the last few years. Rules do apply to me too! Who knew!?!?! Now I have to teach that lesson to my kid. Well played karma!

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Next chapter!

We’re both kinda spazzing out about this next chapter. Will there be ups and downs? Absolutely! Can we do this? Hell yeah we can! Is it scary as hell for both of us? Bet your ass it is! But we’ve made it through hell and high water these past few years, I think we can do this. There will still be support for him at his new school, he’s not being thrown to the wolves but he’s also not gonna be coddled anymore. He can do this, I have faith.

Fourth grade here we come! 

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To be continued…………

 

 

 

 

The Bigger Picture

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Pic credit: 13 Reasons Why Trailer, Youtube.com

I feel like it’s been forever since I’ve written anything. Life is so crazy busy lately, I sometimes have barely anytime to breathe. It’s a good kind of busy. I can’t complain, my life is full today. When I finally get the kids to sleep and I fall into bed, the last thing I want to do is think or write or read. Most nights I don’t even want to watch tv, but I’m not gonna lie, I love me some Netflix.

This week I’ve fallen deep into the show 13 Reasons Why and I’m hooked. It’s about a teenage girl who commits suicide but leaves behind tapes for all the people that had a part in what lead up to her death. It’s so good, and so creepy. It takes me back to my suicide attempt when I was a teenager in high school. I will write about that another time when I am ready. So, I’m watching this show and all I can think of are the parents, how incredibly difficult it must be to live on without your child, not knowing why. Always wondering what you could have done differently. I thank God my suicide attempt was not successful, although throughout my struggles with addiction to drugs/alcohol, I didn’t always feel so thankful.

Last night was Sunday night, a school night, the kids were exhausted and so I had them go to bed earlier than they normally would. Which left me a couple of hours to watch tv without feeling like I was up too late past my bedtime. I love my sleep and my early bedtime. I stayed up past my bedtime, I just couldn’t bring myself to turn off the tv. I was memorized by this show. Finally I made myself turn it off. I got up to turn on my fan and made a stop at the restroom before falling back into bed. I leave the door open with the bathroom light off.

My daughters room is directly across from the bathroom. Her lamp is on and her fan is blowing full speed (her choice) and a little piece of paper she taped to her door is lightly hitting it. I notice the paper flapping in the wind, I can’t see the color of it but I can hear it lightly tapping the door. Within seconds of noticing the paper, it falls. It floats softly to the carpet in the hallway. I think to myself “How strange”, it’s been flapping up against the door for at least two hours and suddenly now it decides to fall. Right as I’m watching it, it falls. I stare at the paper for a few seconds trying to make out the color. Maybe pink, maybe purple.

I go to her door and stare at her. She is sound asleep with her favorite Trolls doll covering her, pink sheets and pillow cases. She looked so peaceful. I suddenly felt like I was in another dimension. It’s so difficult to explain now that the moment has passed. I probably couldn’t have explained it even if I was still in the moment. I went back to bed and my mind was still wandering as if I was somewhere else, somewhere other than my room or my house, or even this world. I felt a strong urge to write what I was feeling and thinking, so I did. This is what I wrote with no holding back and no editing:

 

She has her troll blanket covering her. She looks peaceful. Suddenly I feel like I’m in another dimension. We are in two separate dimensions. I don’t see her as my daughter. I see her as a human being on her own journey, here for her own purpose, one that has nothing to do with me. Or maybe it does. I don’t know. But I see her separate from me. Her own thoughts, her own feelings, her own dreams and fears. 

I get into bed and I think to myself how in the morning I will wake her up and she will dress herself and it won’t matter it doesn’t match, it never matches. That’s who she is. And I want to enjoy this part of her that doesn’t care if people like what she is wearing because all that matters is she likes it. In her mind it matches. 

Then I feel my mind reaching for the bigger picture. It’s so close I can almost touch it. Where do we go from school? Where will the road take us? Where will this road take her? One day I won’t be here to hug her and tell her how much I love her. But, when will that be? The bigger picture is there. i can almost see it. I wish I could see it now. 

I always hear “Enjoy these times while they last” and I try to remember that when I am frustrated. One day the house will empty. Where will she be then?

I’m watching 13 Reasons Why. It makes me wonder, what if she is the first to go? What if this world is too cruel and she has to leave. Where will I be?

Tears roll down my cheeks. “I love you to the moon and back” I say before she sleeps. So much it hurts to think of us being apart ever. Ever again. 

The bigger picture is near. If I look hard enough will I be able to see it? It’s there in the corner of my mind. So close. 

The bigger picture is there. Somewhere. One day I’ll see it, know it, and touch it. One day. Someday. 

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I don’t know where the words came from. I don’t know the feeling I had or why I felt as if I was floating or sleeping with my eyes open. I can’t explain the experience, all I know is it happened. Maybe the show brought up so much emotion in me that it felt like an out of body experience.

What I do know is I love my daughter and my son more than words can explain and I couldn’t imagine ever being in this world without them. I say a special prayer for the parents living in this world with part of their heart missing. I say a special prayer for my dear friend Lisa L. who keeps a smile on her face when I know all she wants to do is hide in her bed and cry.

 

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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.

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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.

 

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


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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.

 

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Everyday I’m Just A Little Bit Better Than Before

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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.

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One Day At A Time


If you’re one of the millions of people on Facebook, then I’m sure you’ve received the daily “memories” notifications. I know I have, I get to see where I was and what was going on in my life on that particular day several years ago. Most days I think to myself “awwww that is so sweet” but some days I want to tell Facebook to go F^*k itself. Honestly though, I need to see some of the memories, I like being reminded of how far I’ve come. My life was a mess for a long time and I get to see all of it, thanks to good ole Facebook!

I read a post by someone that I truly admire in the recovery community and as a writer and just as a woman in general, she’s a badass. Her name is Laura Mckowen I love her. Her post discussed jealousy and she posted pictures that make it look like her life is amazing but told the story behind the picture. My first thought was yeah right, Laura jealous?!?! No way! Her life is amazing! How could she ever be jealous of anyone? 

But, then l looked at the pictures and read the stories behind them and thought WOW. That’s what I used to do, actually I’m guilty of that now too. I used to try to make my life seem SO amazing and make it seem that I had no cares in the world. I don’t know if I was fooling anyone in reality, but it helped me to feel somewhat a normal human being when I got a “like” on a picture that really had a whole other story behind it. I mean come on, who wants to put out there that life sucks and it’s difficult and it’s a struggle to get out of bed somedays? I catch myself getting so jealous of people on the internet  and their “amazing” lives, that I forget that there is a story behind the picture.

I got a notification this morning from Facebook telling me that I had memories that I needed to look at. There were some funny things that I had posted in the previous years but then some pictures came up that look like everything in my life was going beautifully. But, it wasn’t. Life was a mess. So I decided to copy my friend Laura and do a pictured/not pictured post also.

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Pictured: September 8, 2013, three years ago today,me looking all happy with a beautiful horse. Life is grand and all is well in world.

Not Pictured: I was super hungover. I had worked that day and rushed home to get some beers in me before me and my kids did a photo shoot out on a farm. I needed someone to take us to the photoshoot because I couldn’t start my car, my interlock prevents me from starting my car if I have been drinking, my biggest enabler took us to the photoshoot and had a cooler in the car for me with more beers. I couldn’t wait for the photoshoot to be over so we could get to the restaurant so I could down some wine before going home and finishing off some more beers and putting the kids to bed.

Three months later dhs would come to my home and remove my kids and put them into dhs custody.

The photographer sent me a CD with all the pictures from the shoot on it, I never printed them. I couldn’t. I felt disgusted with myself. All I could see was a drunk mom who was so uncomfortable in her own skin she had to drink before a photoshoot with her kids. I couldn’t even stand to be sober for a few hours to take photos with my kids. It makes me sad to look back at that day, but also makes me grateful that I don’t have to live that way anymore.

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Pictured: September 6, 2016, me looking all happy spreading HOPE and wearing my “I Am Enough” shirt I so kindly received in the mail from my friends at pluspproductions I talk about having my kids home again and how we are all growing everyday.

Not Pictured: My son was throwing one of his tantrums, he straight up refused to do anything that was asked of him. He destroyed his room, after he said really hurtful words and packed his bags like he was going to move back to the family he lived with for a year.  I got sucked into his tornado. He drained every ounce of energy I had in me. It was a long night and an exhausting morning. I cried all day the next day. I had to dish out some extreme consequences that hurt me to do. I’m a lover, I want to love him up all the time and hope that it works itself out but he doesn’t work that way. His consequences gotta hurt, they gotta punch him right in the gut (not literally) before  he’ll GET IT! Just like his momma!! Always learning the hard way!

Thank God I have a support team that walked me through it, but damn it I was determined to make it look like I was good and life was grand. When I was in my funk yesterday I had to keep off social media as much as possible, I was dishing out F*^k you’s left and right! I had to stop myself and remember that being jealous of what people post on Facebook is not healthy, plus who knows what the story is behind the picture.

Pictured: Today!! September 8, 2016, I have not cried at all today. I have not felt jealous of anyone today, not even once. I have only a little mascara on, I’m sweaty from a walk, I listened to Glennon Doyle Melton on the HOME podcast.  I had an amazing morning with my kids. It’s a good day.

One day at a time.

 

Merry-Go-Round

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Have you ever been in a relationship that feels like a merry-go-round? You’re on this ride that feels like it will never end, you keep spinning and spinning and you never go anywhere. At times it’s all shiny and pretty and so much fun! Other times you feel dizzy and sick, and you want to just STOP already. Just when it feels like you’ve got both feet back on steady ground, you’re pulled back on and you’re off the races again. Just spinning and spinning and spinning. You think to yourself HOW.  How am I still going round and round with this person that is so obviously toxic for me?

I’m on steady ground now. I hope to stay here. I am done going round and round with a person that I’ve been riding the merry-go-round with for way too long. 

I’m coming up on 16 months sober from a long time struggle with alcohol. Not only am I in recovery from the booze but I am also a recovering people pleaser. I like to please people. I like people to like me. It’s taken me a long time to be able to say no without dwelling on it for days, wondering if “they” will still like me. It’s taken me a long time to be able to stand up for myself without my legs shaking and my stomach turning, wondering if I might die from disappointing someone. My need for others approval has kept me from truly growing up, from truly becoming the woman that I was meant to be.

I’ve had sex for “his” approval. I’ve had sex for money. I’ve had sex for alcohol. I’ve had sex for drugs.  I’ve had sex to feel loved.  I’ve had sex for a material things. I’ve had sex because I felt it was expected of me. I’ve had sex I regretted.  I’ve had sex because I felt obligated. I’ve had sex that I don’t remember saying yes to. I’ve had sex because I wanted “him” to be happy. I’ve had sex because I didn’t know I could say no.

Too. Many. Damn. Times. I’ve had sex because I thought the other persons happiness was more important than mine. Too many damn times I said yes when I REALLY really wanted to say no. Too. Many. Times. It hurts to think about it.

This merry-go-round of a friendship slash relationship slash toxic friends with benefits slash whatever the f^*k you want to call it has lasted for so long, mainly because every time I try to end it, I’m guilted right back into it. I’m reminded over and over of all the things he’s done for me and how I basically owe him my life, my body, my self respect. His “no strings attached” are in actuality invisible strings that keep the old me and the new me still hanging on by a thread. They keep me from fully moving into the new me and my new life. Yes, all of the material things are awesome. Yes, they do make me feel happy, but it’s always temporary. All the things he does for me and my kids “out of the kindness of his heart” he makes mental note of so he can throw it in my face every time I try to move on. And I’m tired.  I’m dizzy.

I look back at my years of drinking and the relationships I participated in. Toxic relationship after toxic relationship. Same type of relationship just different faces. All based on what I could get out of it, what was in it for me. How much money and stuff could that person give me. Me. Me. Me. I wanted all you had and then some, and I was willing to give up my self esteem and self respect just as long as I got the “stuff” whatever the stuff happened to be. Money, cars, shopping sprees, trips, alcohol, cocaine. Anything that would fill the void, anything that would distract me from what was really going on. What was really going on was my job was sex. It wasn’t fun or pleasurable, so lots of alcohol had to be put into me before I could be comfortable in my own skin, before I could make “him” happy. The “him” of the moment depended on who was giving the most stuff to fill the void in my heart. Merry-go-round after merry-go-round, get off one and hop right on another. Same story different person.

I went to church last night where I had the privilege of hearing a man  very close to my family preach. He was my kids foster dad for a year while I put myself back together after a horrific one day relapse that ended in my children being taken out of my home. They are no longer the foster family, they are just family now. His words spoke to me in so many ways but one thing stood out. He spoke of a broken woman who was living with a man and exchanging sex for rent, then she meets Jesus. Jesus did not judge but instead he offers her something better. He offers her a new way of life. Eternal life. I relate to this woman. 

I am not a religious person. There are so many things that I can’t wrap my head around when it comes to God and Jesus and the bible. I’v been looked down on by people that call themselves christians. I have been judged because I had kids out of wedlock. I do NOT understand that way of thinking. But like his experience that he preached about last night, I’ve tried reaching for the next drug, the next drink, the next relationship and the next material thing but it never fills the void.

I have always loved being taken care of and I have always loved for people to do things for me. I’ve always needed a knight in shining armor to come save me from my self destructive ways. I have always needed someone to be there when I fell, which was actually quite often. I always needed an enabler. Or at least I thought I needed all of that. But what I was actually doing to myself was prolonging the “becoming an adult and taking care of my own mess” part of life. Instead I became a selfish and entitled brat that wanted everything handed to me, and it was all handed to me, but it came with a price. It came with strings. It came with fear of doing things on my own. It came with the fear of letting my walls down and letting true love in. It came with the fear of failure and it came with self doubt. It came with the feeling of being owned by “him” with all the money.

So today I am choosing to let it all go. Let go of the fear, the worry, the doubt, the stress, and just see what happens. I’m choosing to have faith in the unknown. I’m willing to open my heart to the possibilities. I’m willing to let go of what is not serving my higher self. I’m willing to consider Jesus. I’m willing to consider. 

Maybe, just maybe, I can have a life beyond my wildest dreams. Maybe I can also feel the peace that the preacher talked last night about having.  Maybe I can have the same type of beautiful relationship that he has with his wife. Maybe just considering I can have all of this is the first step to receiving it.

Maybe it’s already here……