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.

IMG_1546Looking forward to many more sober birthdays!!

Tomorrow Is A New Day

 

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

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

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

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

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

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My 2016 Year End Review

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

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

 

This is ME! Perfectly imperfect.

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

 

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

Here’s a few things that happened this year! 

I got this thing off!

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

I started a nonprofit!!!

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

I was asked to share my Survivor Story on Addictive Designs 

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

 

Me and the fosters have a great relationship now!!

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

 

 

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

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

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Is Your Child Struggling?

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

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

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

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

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

  • Ask For Help

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

 

  • Take Care Of Yourself First

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

 

  • Search For A Meeting

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

 

  • Have A Support System

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

 

  • Call Local Mental Hospitals

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

 

  • Guilt And Shame Won’t Help Your Child

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

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

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

 

Paying It Forward

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finish The Story To The End

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

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

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

Craig Groeschel 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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Fear Controls Me

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

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

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

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

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

 

Divine Intervention

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

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

www.yourdictionary.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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