Category Archives: Motherhood

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Grateful For This Beautiful Messy Life

Hello! It’s September 18, 2017. Exactly 28 months to the day my kids were removed from my home by dhs for the second time due to poor decisions made when drinking. Tomorrow marks 28 months sober! Wow, can’t believe it’s already been that long!! 

I remember the days and weeks after that horrible evening I watched my kids be put into the back of a police car as I stood on the sidewalk and cried my eyes out. I remember wondering how I would ever be able to put my life back together. It seemed impossible. How could I come back from that? I was hopeless. I wanted the pain to end. I thought about suicide.

A couple days after that night I was at a friends house and I was saying to my mom that I didn’t think I could come back from this, the pain was incredible. She said I could do it and I would do it, one day at a time. That night my friends would not let me be alone, unsure of what I would try to do, I had to sleep on a friends couch. She gave me a daily reflections book because I didn’t have one and she thought I needed one. I opened up the book to the day and the message was titled “One Day At A Time”. I remember having a tiny tid bit of hope in that moment. I remember feeling like spirit was sending me a message. I remember thinking that I would make it through and I would do whatever I had to do to get my life and my kids back. And I did.

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But, I’m not talking about that today. It’s Suicide Awareness Month so today I’m talking about my suicide attempt when I was a teenager in high school and my many dark moments in the years that would follow that made me wish I had been successful. I don’t talk about that night much or ever. The night I impulsively downed a bunch of pills, the night I tried to escape this life forever.

I was always a rule breaker. Rules never mattered to me, I was an exception to the rules anyway. So I thought. When my mom and step dad went out for an evening of adult time I thought it would be a great idea to invite my boyfriend and his friend over to hangout. We didn’t do anything other than sit and talk. My sister was there too, she’s two years younger. It was harmless really when I think about it. But to my surprise, my parents showed up earlier than I had expected. I sent my boyfriend and his friend out the back door. My parents knew they were there becuasue duh, their truck was parked outside the house. My parents were obviously pissed off, for good reason.

I don’t remember what was said but I do remember feeling like I needed to escape. I had messed up, I got caught, and I was in trouble. I didn’t want to deal with the consequences, I didn’t want to look in my parents faces and see the disappointment, I didn’t want to deal with the reality that I made a bad decision. I was upset, I was irrational, I was impulsive. I grabbed the first bottle I could find and without even thinking twice I downed over 60 pills and went to my room. The next morning my parents went grocery shopping, there was no communication between us. When I woke it was me and my sister in the house. My heart felt like it was beating out of my chest. It was difficult to breathe. I couldn’t focus, I felt like I was in and out of consciousness. I knew that if I didn’t call 911, I was going to die and in that moment I knew I did NOT want to die. I had to act fast.

I remember seeing the look of fear on my sisters face as she sat on the couch with officers and paramedics in our house.  My parents were contacted, I was put in the back of the ambulance. They were talking, I don’t know what they said but I do remember their tone. They were irritated with my poor decision to end my life. We arrived at the hospital. The door flew open and the gurney was pulled out. There my parents stood at the hospital door and the look on my moms face I. Will. Never. Forget. Ever.

What had I done?!? 

I was told by the nurse had it been tylenol or aspirin I’d be dead, if I remember right I took allergy pills. Thank goodness. I had to see a therapist after that, but told my parents that I didn’t want to go anymore, I hated it. So I didn’t go anymore. I didn’t want to talk about, I wanted to pretend it never happened. I didn’t think about suicide again until years later when I tried to drink myself to death, because pills didn’t work and I wasn’t about to go through that again. The hospital, the charcoal, the disappointed looks of everyone. No, this time I would drink enough to get the balls to jump out of the high-rise building I lived in downtown Dallas.

Why can’t I do this?!?!

I looked out my bedroom window that looked over downtown Dallas, a drunken mess, I hadn’t breathed a sober breath in days. I was taking shots in the morning and puking it up because I was still sick from all the drugs and alcohol I had done the night before. I was done with myself and with my life. The alcohol only numbed me out for so long and then I was alone with the shell of a person I had become. I hated myself and the decisions I made while drinking yet I couldn’t stop.

Why couldn’t I stop?!?!

My window didn’t come with a screen. I was way up there in the high rise building and I thought if  I could just drink enough of that tequila I could end the pain. I could jump. But, I couldn’t do it. I hated myself for not having the courage to climb out of the window. I hated that I couldn’t drink enough to end the pain. I hated that I couldn’t drink enough forget all of the bad decisions I had ever made. I felt a loneliness only someone who’s been that low can understand. It’s indescribable.

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How did I make it here again?!?!

Ten years later that I felt that same hopelessness watching my kids being taken away in a police car.  Thank God I decided to pick myself up an keep going even when I couldn’t see light at the end of the tunnel. I can’t imagine where my kids would be today had I chosen differently. Things are good today but it’s been a rough road for me and my kids. When people used to tell me my son was just trying to get attention when he said he wanted to kill himself, I said I don’t give a shit, he’s too much like me to not take it seriously. He doesn’t say it anymore. As far as I know he doesn’t feel that way anymore. I do check in with him occasionally to see how he’s feeling about life. I keep a close eye out for old behavior.

Then I think about my dear friend who lost her son to suicide almost two years ago, he was 22. I see her pain. I can’t imagine that pain. I almost caused my mom to feel that same pain, the hurt that never goes away. I hurt for her. I hurt for everyone out there that is struggling.

I spent many years trying to escape. Escape reality. Escape fear, feelings, consequences. What I found is the only way is through. And escaping all the “bad” things in life also prevented me from enjoying the good times in life. Because when I came down, all those feelings that I was trying to escape, well, they were still there. Those consequences that I tried escaping from? Yep, those were still there too, except they were worse. Figuring out that feelings pass and that I don’t have to act on every single emotion was mind blowing. I can feel the feelings and let them pass! I don’t have to self destruct every time I’m uncomfortable. Wow.

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As my friend Lisa aka The Sober Hipster says “You Matter, Your Story Matters”. I can’t help but wonder if I made it to where I am now so I can share my story to help others. Maybe sharing my story will help one person feel like there is hope? Maybe. I don’t know. But I do know I am extremely grateful for this beautiful, difficult, crazy, amazing, sober, fun, wonderful life of mine. I’m grateful I’m here today to tell my story. I’m grateful I get to see my babies smiles every single day.

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If you are struggling please know you are NOT alone. Never alone! There is help. Don’t give up. Reach out. Ask for help. You mater. Your story matters. You are loved. You have a purpose. There is hope. I promise you, life can and will get better.

First the pain then the rising.

Crisis Resources

  • If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call 911 immediately.
  • If you are in crisis or are experiencing difficult or suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273 TALK (8255)
  • If you’re uncomfortable talking on the phone, you can also text NAMI to 741-741 to be connected to a free, trained crisis counselor on the Crisis Text Line.

 

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Proud Sober Mom

I started this blog back in September of 2015, just 3 1/2 months after my kids were removed from our home by DHS for the second time due to my actions while drinking. I believe my first post was on September 1st, I typed up the “About Me” section, which I have NOT looked at since I posted it. I had no idea what I was doing when I started this blog and I definitely didn’t know why I had to share my story out loud for the world to see. But, I did know that before I went to sleep and when I woke up and every  hour of the day I had this voice in the back of my mind telling me that I HAD to do this. So I said screw it, and went for it. I was scared as hell! I had no idea what the reaction would be from my loved ones and from people I don’t even know.

Let me tel ya, it’s been nothing short of amazing!

I basically taught myself how to start up a blog and how to do blog posts and everything else. I had no idea what I was doing. I still have NO idea what I’m doing. I haven’t updated my blog, I don’t blog as much as I used to, I am not going to save the world with my little posts here and there, and honestly I’ve thought about letting it all go because well, there are SO many others out there that ARE writing posts that are changing lives and inspiring thousands so why do I need to write.

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Then, this morning about 5am it occurred to me, I started sharing my story in the middle of my shit. I started sharing my story smack dab in the middle of the most difficult times in my life. I was sharing the shit in REAL TIME. I didn’t wait til it all passed and everything was OK, NOPE,  I shared as the feelings hit me, I wrote as the hard stuff was happening. My kids can look back at all of this one day and see what was going on and that I was fighting all along. I wasn’t there with them but damn it I was trying to be.

It occurred to me that this was never about “them”, it was never about how many lives I can change or if my blog is read/shared by hundreds of people. No. This is about my kids. This is about me. This is about being able to go back when it’s all long gone, the days of DHS and probation officers are never even thought of anymore. This is about my kids being able to go back and see that their mom had her demons (lots of demons) and she fell hard, but she got her ass back up and kept going. She looked her demons in the face and said “No, this is NOT how my story is going to end.”

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Because it could have ended there. It very well could have! I could have ended my life when things were so hard I couldn’t see an end. It crossed my mind more times than I’d like to admit. I could have sunk deeper into my addiction because sobriety is SO damn hard and scary. But I didn’t.  I kept going when it felt like everyone and everything was against me.

Not one damn day goes by that I don’t hear of a drug over dose or a drunk driving accident. Because I’ve chosen to recover out loud, I’ve been able to connect with so many people around the world that are on this path too. We’re all seeing it everyday. Overdose after overdose. Parents burying their children. Children parentless. Everyday I see it! I look at my kids and imagine them without their mom. Where would they be, how would they be? How did we get lucky? How did I make it out? Why!?!? Answers I may never know the answer to but I thank God everyday that I’m here with my babies. I thank God everyday that I chose to walk through the fear of the unknown. I thank my God everyday that I am sober and that my kids don’t have to feel the pain of losing their mom to addiction.

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Today life is good. Stressful, busy, full, overwhelming, amazing, beautiful, fun, frustrating, BUT good.  My son is in regular school now with his sister. Hopefully the days of mental IMG_3144hospitals and special schools are long gone. He is off all of his meds and doing amazing. My daughter is doing well also, attached to my hip, I am starting our conversation around addiction when she turns 7 in a week. We’ll be going through the same kids camp that my son and I went through for kids that have parents that are or have struggled with addiction. It helps them to separate the addiction from the parent and helps them to have their own voice and recovery. Just because she was littler doesn’t mean she doesn’t know what happened. I want to keep those lines of communication open.

 

We still have our hard days. What family doesn’t? It’s taken a while for my son to really trust me. He’s finally opened his heart to me and I do NOT take that for granted. Took a lot of work to get here. I keep showing up and showing him that I am not leaving. We’re in this thing together. Yes, we want to rip each others heads off at times but at the end of the day it’s all hugs and “love you mom”.

So although my blog posts aren’t gonna be shared and read hundreds of times, that was my goal at one point lol, I just don’t care about that anymore. This is proof to my kids and to me that we can make mistakes and we can go through hell but we’re so much stronger than we give ourselves credit for. Maybe one day if my kids are struggling in their own lives, or when I’m gone,  they can go through this and see that their mommy loved them so much and she turned her life around for them. And for her.

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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…………

 

 

 

 

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She Recovers NYC 2017

I remember reading A Year Without Alcohol by Kelly Fitzgerald, now Kelly Junco, and thinking “Holy shit, this girl has some balls”.  It was 2014 and I was around three months sober when I read her blog sharing about her year without alcohol and how great she felt now that she was sober. She even posted pics of herself all wasted. I couldn’t believe someone could be so brave, I was shocked and inspired. She was the first person I saw that was recovering out loud, like REALLY loud. There was no way I could ever do that, but I thought she was amazing and I wanted to be just like her. Except for the recovering out loud part.

 

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Kelly aka The Sober Senorita

I followed her though out my first year sober all the way up to my relapse on May 18th, 2015. It was soon after my relapse that I knew in my heart and mind that I had to share my story. It was the scariest thing I had ever done, being so open and honest, how would people respond? What would they say? But, I remembered Kelly and how she did it and if she could, maybe I could too. On October of 2015 I had the chance to meet her In Washington D.C. for the Unite To Face Addiction Rally. I kind of felt like a groupie lol.

 

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Holly creator of Hip Sobriety

I found that after I started sharing my story openly I began to connect with so many other women sharing their story too!  I found Holly Whitaker creator of Hip Sobriety and I knew I had to contact her. We had a brief phone conversation where she assured me I was on the right path and if I needed anything from her to call her but that I was already doing an a great job. Who would have guessed a few months after that conversation she  would ask me to be on the HOME podcast! Craziness!

 

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Marianne Williamson

Since then I have connected with so many women, some in recovery, some still trying to figure out their path and some have just been there for me when I was struggling. The online recovery community has been such a huge part of my journey. Not only do I have friends that are near by but I can go to any part of the country and have a friend that would probably make me coffee and let me sleep on her couch if I asked. And I would do the same for them in a heartbeat!

 

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Dawn Nickel creator of She Recovers

So when I heard that there would be a She Recovers conference in New York City I knew I had to be there. 500 other women like me?!?! As Dawn Nickel the creator of She Recovers says “We are all recovering from something” and she’s right. We are all recovering from something, we just don’t always talk about it. But here was our chance to come together as one, to talk about the hard stuff, to be with others that truly get it. To finally meet the ones that we’ve only connected with and admired from afar.

What A Magical Experience It Was!!

I got to see Kelly again and this time I didn’t feel like a groupie, it felt like old friends catching up. And I got to finally meet Holly. I got to meet Laura Ward of Quit Wining another mom in recovery that I follow and look up to. I met sober bloggers that I’ve been following and admiring finally IRL! I met Heidi Smith creator of Addicitive Designs, another one that I totally love and look up to. I met so many of the women that I’ve only chatted with on Instagram. In case you didn’t know, there is a HUGE recovery community on Instagram. It was incredible! I had multiple women ask how my son is doing, and they genuinely care. It felt like a room full of friends that had know each other forever. Not only that but we got to hear Glennon Doyle Melton, Gabby Bernstein, Elizabeth Vsargus, Elena Brower, Marianne Williamson, and a few other amazing ladies.

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Sober Bloggers

I’m still amazed by it!!

 

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Heidi of Addictive Designs

One of the best parts of the conference was on Friday evening when it had just began, I was filling up my water cup when a woman slowly walking by asks me if I’m Melissa. I told her I was and the look on her face makes me cry just thinking about it. She goes into saying how she has followed my blog and listened to my episode on the podcast and how much it has helped her. I wasn’t expecting that and I’m at a loss for words to describe how her words made me feel. Full of gratitude.  That right there is why I do this, if my story helps even one woman have hope then it’s all worth it. My biggest fear when coming out with my truth has been the fear of being judged, but when I hear someone say the things she said,  I know I’m on the right path.

I’m never alone! 

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Sober Bloggers

There just aren’t enough words to describe the experience. The conference reminded me that I’m never alone on this path, ever. None of us are ever alone. And when we speak our truth, we give others the courage to speak theirs too. Just like Kelly (The Sober Señorita)  did for me. I will be forever grateful for the women that came before lighting up the path letting women know it’s ok to own our stories and tell it like we don’t give a f^*k what others think.  Can’t wait for the next conference!!

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.

 

Death Becomes Her

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Two Years Ago Today

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

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

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

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

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

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

Today I breathe. 

37 Years Old

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

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

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

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

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Tomorrow Is A New Day

 

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

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

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

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

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

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My 2016 Year End Review

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

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

 

This is ME! Perfectly imperfect.

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

 

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

Here’s a few things that happened this year! 

I got this thing off!

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

I started a nonprofit!!!

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

I was asked to share my Survivor Story on Addictive Designs 

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

 

Me and the fosters have a great relationship now!!

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

 

 

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

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

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