Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Seeing more clearly today....maybe

I am feeling better today. ( Mood swings anyone?)

A few things happened.....I have had two entire days off, I got to meet a friend for lunch, and another for coffee, I have gotten to cook and bake, I filled my bird feeders, little one and I walked the dogs and let them play in the lake. I went to a wonderful meeting where I heard what I needed to hear when I needed to hear it...the topic was concept 8. 

"The Board of Trustees Delegates Full Authority for Routine Management of Al-Anon Headquarters to its Executive Committees. " 

Who goes to meetings on the concepts?! Lol It just happened to be what we were talking about though and while that particular concept isn't what resonated with me.....it was all of my faithful co-travelers comments that poured over me like cool water on a blistering hot summer day. It led to a lot of discussion about control issues, and *delegating* responsibility, our own self-importance that we can't allow anyone to do anything without our involvement or oversight. I slip back into that space sometimes, especially when I am feeling a little fearful. A lot fearful. The strange thing is that the more I manage and control, the more afraid I become. The more I let go and trust the process (and my kind and gentle HP) the more calm and at peace I feel.

My trigger this time was helping my girl to make the appointment to file for SSI. We have put this off for years, hoping, believing, that she will get better. We haven't wanted to admit or accept that it might *need* to go this way. We have in no way wanted to convey to her that this is it, there is no hope for more or better living, that she is irreparably broken. As we filled out the volumes of paperwork, that she needed extensive help with filling out and getting back in the mail within the required time frame, it was like a slap across the face. What we have allowed to be our norm, accepted, was made glaringly apparent by this process, how limited she really is. We hang onto the idea that it's a stepping stone, a bridge, to something more. 

You know in this journey of addicted kids and mentally ill kids, there is a grieving process. I have gone through it at different stages as things evolved and changed through the years and I have had to let go of how I thought things would be....this was just another level of that. A much deeper, guttural, level. This is NEVER in my wildest nightmares what I envisioned as part of my mothering journey. 

I think the above, the aftermath lull of the wonderful wedding weekend, the political sh*t that is being flung all over our every waking moment, that our country has been reduced to these two choices as our fearless leaders, the God-awful videos of overdosing addicts and the observers laughing and saying such cruel things and *videotaping* rather than offering help....I feel like I am living in a world that has gone crazy and its weighing on me. All of it. It's oppressive, scary, and it all, every dot and tittle is.....OUT OF MY CONTROL. All I can do for today is fill my house with the wonderful smell of roasted vegetables and potroast cooking, listen as my little one practices her Japanese....she asked me to help her to make up flash cards. What a simple joy. One of my kids needs me, is requesting my involvement for something as simple as making up flash cards! THAT I can do. After Canada's ruling to not allow bully breeds and to euthanize all pit bulls we are studying breed discrimination and she is writing an opinion piece later today after we watch the movie Beyond The Myth. I can savor THESE moments, I can trust that God has a plan...even when I don't understand it or see it. It's there and I can trust and believe in its wisdom and perfection and not concern myself with having to figure everything out. 

Thank you for all of the very kind comments. You all are my people! I know that some of you are right here with me, you get this like many other's can't. Just know that I appreciate your words so so very much. 
Always praying....

My big boy "Jake" who would be illegal in Canada. The sweetest goofiest protector of all.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Co-occurring disorders

This month marks one year since I spent the day with my girl for her birthday and realized in a very conscious way that if someone didn't intervene, she would probably not survive another year as she was. She was in such bad physical shape. I offered a therapist, an olive branch, an open door for her to go through that would lead out and away from her toxic existence. 

So what happens when the drug use is drastically reduced, but they aren't really getting better? We've had several months of "near" abstinent sobriety....but she remains frozen, paralyzed in her abilities to cope, to head out into the world and create a semblance of a life for herself. Very minimal progress in the realm of life building, but significant progress in changing her substance use. 

I will be honest....this scares me. 

How long will this take? Am I just being impatient? Will it get better? We are only getting older. Maybe time will make things better....but that has not been the case in the past. 

Every bout of sobriety is like this for her. She does not get sober and feel release and free and hopeful. She feels miserable, frozen, uncomfortable in her own skin, and afraid. I totally get that early sobriety is fragile and painful and uncomfortable. I know this... But can she stay sober long enough to get past the discomfort? I don't know. I just don't know. Can she ever get past the discomfort? 

Mental health care in America for the uninsured is non-existent. Mental health care for people WITH insurance is terribly lacking. I am not feeling hopeful for our future today. The dad's and mine and our girl's. I'm sure things will get better, more progress will happen. It has to. I can't fathom it not. The eternal optimist has hit a speed bump and it's thrown me head over heels catapulting down our pathway. 

Pray for me. 

PS: Things I'm doing to take care of myself:
1. Raising my antidepressant 10 mg! 
2. Going for a walk today with my big dog Jake to look at the fall colors all around where I live. 
3. Reading a real book.
4. I bought my favorite custom scented lotion.
5. Praying. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

"The Wedding"

I think most of my readers are friends with me on FB so you have seen my inundation of photos. It ended up being a wonderful weekend that included so many dynamics and things to think about. For me at least.....I think the dad, while so very happy with everything, would say, "What? We went to our son's wedding and then we came home." Lol  While I have to dissect everything and look at it from every angle.

So first things first.....I was able to wear my first and smallest dress purchase, the dress I really wanted to wear, and be totally comfortable also. I forgot my wedding sandals and had to wear my Oofos flip flops....but my dress was long, so who cares.

Everything was beautiful. The venue, the feelings, I had all four of my children there with me and all were committed to each other and being supportive of one another where they were at. It was one of those wonderful "mom moments." The succulents that my girl had spent months propagating were a big hit for the wedding favors. The flowers that my wonderfully eccentric florist friend had put together and sent up with us were exquisite. Eucalyptus garlands for the arch and the head table, flower center pieces, that we set out on top of the wooden rounds that the dad had cut from our fallen trees, surrounded by candles and more eucalyptus. It was truly stunning.

Miraculously, I had no anxiety about the flow of alcohol. My long time readers will remember the wedding I went to three years ago that triggered some God-awful reaction of panic and crying for days and days after the event. It just touched something in me and it took me a long time to recover from it. I went into this "wedding of all weddings" feeling quite nervous about it all... I DID NOT want to lose it at my son's wedding. I wondered to the dad if that part of my heart has healed, or am I just numb after all of these years of substance infused events. My son, bless his heart checked in with me several times..."You doing ok mom?"

My girl. My girl did well. It was uncomfortable on some levels, but she worked her way through it. There were several old childhood friends there that she got to re-connect with. I think it was enjoyable, but I think too that it probably posed some challenges. They have all moved on, graduated from college, have careers. And she doesn't.

So while the weekend was a success, it was the thing we had all been anticipating and working toward, creating plans on how to successfully navigate and take care of ourselves and our own unique needs in the middle of a crowded and busy weekend. Once back at home, there was the natural lull,, the let down, and my girl had her old boyfriend pick her up. It's disappointing, unfortunate, but not totally unexpected. I am viewing these things as "bumps in the road." We will see how it all plays out.

I appreciated the dad so so very much this weekend. I watched him walk around talking to everyone and socializing. Even when some guests were so obnoxiously drunk he was friendly and didn't treat them any differently. That would have been a challenge for me.....drunken slurred affection makes my skin crawl. He gave his toast and he was funny and sweet. I just thought of how reliable he is. I trust him completely and I can count on him for anything. After we got back to our room I said, "I'm so glad that you are my husband." He said, "I'm SO glad that you are my wife too! That was wild out there!" LOL

Overall, it was a wonderful bonding healing time for all of us. Not without its bumps, but all was navigated in kindness and calm. Thank you to those of you who reached out to me through text and private message to let me know I was in your prayers. There are no words for how much that meant to me. I was surrounded by care and I could feel it. 

And did I mention that I got to wear my smaller dress?! 😉
The "MOG" (mother of the groom) 

Monday, September 5, 2016

Wait for the Miracle

In my Alanon program we have a saying, "Wait for the miracle." Hang on, don't give up, keep coming back... Until you begin to live out your miracle. It really does happen too. It's amazing and the word "miraculous" is the absolute best there is to describe it. 

I am working with a woman right now, who is about 20 years older than I am. I am writing about this with her permission. The first time I met this woman was at a meeting. She came in with the perfect colors on for her skin and hair and was so well put together and lovely. She has a big warm smile and oozes warmth, and care and confidence. I just loved her from that first moment. She is one of those people that you are immediately comfortable with. 

About a year after attending our weekly meeting together, she asked me if I would be her sponsor. I was honored. We set off on our journey of working through the 12 steps together. She has shared her heart with me, so bravely, so boldly....each week she has journaled and worked through questions that we have discussed, she has faced some difficult painful memories and deep hurts that have affected her for many years...with such courage and willingness to examine them from every angle. She forges on ahead to her place of freedom. 

As we walk together on this journey of the spirit, as we drink coffee and talk, and often cry....because this stuff just makes us do that, I can see the changes taking place. I watch the healing flow through her, over her, to all of those dark and hurting places....and I listen as she tells me she feels different. She is doing life differently, she feels better, lighter, free, she has options today that she didn't know were available to her before working her program. I am watching the miracle unfold. 

I have been allowed to watch these beautiful transformations take place for many women through my years in Alanon. What an incredible blessing to me. To be able to walk with another, to get to witness a woman finding her freedom after many years of external and internal oppression that she felt there were no answers for. It always starts the same... Broken, in pain, hurting, feeling lost with no options, hopeless. As we begin to meet week after week and talk about what we can control, what we can't, and what to do with the issues and people that we carry in our heart that we have no power to change or heal...I watch them begin to smile more, we laugh more, there is hope in her voice. They aren't alone with their pain and fear anymore. 

I recently met with a second sponsee who is also quite a bit older than myself and she is so surprised at "the miracle" that is unfolding in her life. She is doing some very hard work, looking inside at what has tripped her up for a very long time, and making different choices today. I love hearing her talk about it and watching her face as she talks about how unexpected it all is to really feel better and hopeful. 

What these women give to me is invaluable. They show me that it is never too late to find a new way to do life. A new way to be whole and healthy and happy and at peace with one's self. I receive so much joy in watching their lives unfold. I get to live out the miracle of sponsorship and the 12 steps. What an honor to be allowed to accompany a sister on her journey to serenity and peace. 

I too experienced my own miracle and someone, bless her heart, walked me through those early years. I can assure you that sponsoring me was not for the faint of heart either! I was given solutions to problems that I thought would plague me forever. I spent so many years being angry and hurt and afraid...but desperately doing everything I could to camouflage my character defects, to not let anyone see. I have been given the courage to live an authentic life, free from any cover-ups, from shame, from hiding....I get to stand free in all of my imperfect glory, knowing that I am a work in progress and that its ok. The icing on the cake is getting to share that with other women. Being able to say "me too" when they share their hearts with me. 

It's all this beautiful circle of service...someone gently took me under their wing and shared life with me, now I do it for other women and continue to find my own healing in the process. Eventuall they too will one day offer their presence for other women and they will find even more miracles through that process. Don't ever underestimate the power of an extended hand to a hurting soul. For both parties. 

Bless us all....we keep walking forward, even when it's scary and painful and uncomfortable. Eventually we discover that we have been walking out our very own personal miraculous healing. Just for today. 

Much much love....

PS: "The wedding" is 12 days away. Did I mention I bought a bigger dress? LOL Little one tried cinching me up in some form of elastic that was supposed to be flattering and said, "Oh Mom, just buy the next size up! You want to be comfortable for this day!" So I did. 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The dad and the dogs

This has been the wildest ride. I am mostly just a bystander but just watching is like sitting through an action movie. Early sobriety is filled with so many ups and downs and emotions and our girl is all over the place. The dad and I feel like we are in a little boat hanging on to the sides, soaring up into the big waves and wind and then crashing down.....just hanging on until we can get to smoother water. Early sobriety is messy and tumultuous. There is nothing neat and tidy and polished about it. Our communications are precious...until they aren't, but even then she is able to articulate...." Don't take anything I say, my moods, or any nastiness to mean I don't want this. I do. I'm just crazy most of the time right now, but please don't get discouraged and give up on me. I don't know if I will make it back out if I go back in again."

So the dad....through all of this. The dad has an engineering mind, logical, practical, makes his decisions based on facts, not emotions, he has ADD in spades, very routine oriented... We say it's a little OCDish, but that might be because we are the polar opposite of him. Emotional, scattered, squeezing more into a minute than it can contain with no pattern or method. There has never been a more faithful life partner though. This man would step in front of a bullet for any of us without a hesitation. He is very private and wonders why on earth I would want to lay myself out here for all to read about and critique...so I don't write about him very often. But today, I must. I am so touched (understatement....there are no words) by his commitment to us and to this journey.

Last week was challenging (another understatement) and emotions and feelings were being lobbed back and forth all over the place. Once things calmed down he said, "I needed you to remind me of what we are doing. I can keep moving forward. I forgot for a minute what the goal was and could only see that current minute." I get that....it's so easy to get lost in the moment and the chaos and forget what we are working toward with her. Sometimes we both have to remind each other where we all started 9 months ago and where we are now. There is progress. Huge substantial progress...and for today that is enough to let us forge our way into the next day.

So the dogs.....we have 5 dogs. Total craziness. 2 of them were Molly's that she adopted with an old boyfriend and then they broke up. She was going to find a new home for them when she moved out, but the dad said, "We can take them....don't you think Annette? They are small, how much more work can they be?" So Ruby and Annie, who have been together all of their lives, are ours, in addition to Rosey, Jake, and Maizy. Whenever they all feel like too much to me (it's the barking when someone drives down our driveway that gets me) I will say that we can find a new home for Ruby and Annie and Little One says, "Ohhhh, I don't think dad will let that happen."

The dad takes care of ALL of them! While I am out running around like a crazy person he is here keeping things steady. This man who would be fine with no pets, takes care of all of these dogs, feeds them, picks up after them, washes out food and water bowls, and talks to them....and they all love him. He has created a routine for them all lol which he likes us to stick to verbatim if he has another obligation and can't be at home. The conversations we over hear between he and the dogs are so amusing and endearing. I think that the dogs are therapeutic....we live in a situation that we really have very little (any) control over the outcome....but we have the dogs who snuggle on the couch with us....yes we are *those* people.....who greet us at the door, who go walking with us and lay at our feet when we are studying and writing. Who adore us no matter what is going on, no matter how defeated we may feel at times. They sit and look at us like, "What now dad? Tell us what you want us to do." They make us laugh. We joke about being reduced to gaining our feelings of "being in charge" by owning a pack of dogs.

I wish I had a picture of all 5 of them sitting together.....but that is almost impossible! Anyway, here we are finding joy in what we can. For today it's "the dogs" and each other.  For today it's the progress that we watch unfold in a very complicated journey.

I'm praying on the fly these days but you all are still on my list and still get thought about and lifted up each day. I haven't been to my Adoration service in a couple months and I miss it terribly. But none of you are forgotten in my busy-ness.

Bless us all......

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Losing my mind

Not really. Lol Well, maybe. I have so many ideas of what to write about.....until I sit down. Then they are gone. I have so much going on every single day I can barely keep track of everything. I think menopause is stealing my brain away which doesn't help anything. I'm sure I have an essential oil for this....I just need to take the time to apply it.

So you all know I live in the Ca. Sierra mountains. Im sure you have heard that we have had a drought for the past 5 years. This past winter, there was a lot of rain...and my conspiracy theorist friends think it's was due to geo-engineering....I don't have the time to think about those kinds of things, so I really don't know. I just know we had a wonderful wet winter in 2015/16. However, our trees are all dying. Through out the entire county. The bark beetle has come in like a plague and within days can kill a hundred foot Ponderosa Pine. We lost 7 trees from our little 2 acres.....but some of my neighbors have lost 32 trees, one lost 54...they will have to practically clear cut her property. When we go hiking we see huge swathes of dead trees across the lake. It's devastating. I have wondered what one does if they can't afford to have a tree service to come in and take down 54 huge towering trees.....that would be thousands of dollars. Who is prepared for a hit for that? I have a lovely picture, but am having trouble posting it for some reason. You can google "bark beetle infestation" images if you are interested. It is very sad.

I got a new car. I had driven my old Mercedes station wagon into the ground. It creaked and squeaked and the air conditioner didn't work anymore and it had 260,000 miles on it. We still have it... and I have to admit it, I miss driving it. Although one day a couple weeks go we had a heat wave....I was driving all around in the city in 108 degree weather and I was a lunatic. I was honking at people, and wanting them to hurry up...my girl kept looking at me and finally said, "I've never seen you like this." Lol I am usually a very calm driver, nothing bothers me. We will get there when we get there. Not that day. I was Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. I texted the dad to complain to him and he immediately asked where I was and he would come and trade cars with me....forever if I wanted him to. Anyway, he heard of a dealership that had this amazing sale on Jeeps.....so we got a bare nothing car. No electric anything. Crank Windows, no power locks, no clicker, a stick shift, but it does have an air conditioner and Bluetooth and it only had 6 miles on it when we bought it. So I'm good to go now. I drive about 30-35,000 miles a year. I always said a broken air conditioner was a first world problem. I changed my mind.....well it is, but as Molly said, "Me not having an air conditioner in my car doesn't do one thing to fix the world's condition, so I'm going to always have one!" That's my girl!

School starts tomorrow for little one. We haven't gotten our books yet from our charter school so we are winging it. Doesn't that fill you with confidence?! Raising up the next generation! I have an old algebra book so she can do some review in that, we are reading to Kill a Mockingbird together, she can do some writing...I'm hoping she will want to write a blog, she will draw and we can study some artists, we can go on some field trips. She is taking ballet and Pilates, still teaching herself Japanese, and in a couple weeks her biology, algebra, and US History classes begin. She will be fine.

My girl and I went shopping yesterday for a dress for her to wear to the wedding next month. She can only last for a short time when out doing errands or shopping. I understand. It's like the world, the crowds, the visual and auditory stimulations, just breathing sometimes, is too much for her raw senses. So we plan short trips and I go into everything knowing we might have to cut things short and I might have to come back later by myself to finish. I feel like God's grace is all around me because I can do this and not be mad or irritated for the interruptions to my flow of accomplishing all that I feel is so crucial to accomplish. I can let all of that go and just do what we can, accept her efforts to come out with me at all, as enough for today. This is the hardest most difficult path of her life....and all I get to do is walk along with her so she's not alone. And keep my mouth shut. Lol

The wedding is going to be here in a month and a few days. Sweet Jesus. I have lots of little things to get done. It will happen.

Ok, that is my update for now. More as it occurs to me. Thank you for being here with me.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

So this happened.....

On Sunday I was blessed to be able to meet *in real life* my friend Sherry, who I met through blogging several years ago. You can check out her blog here at Oh For the Love of...Me. She has ended up being such a good friend to me. Very supportive to me in many various ways during some really hard events. I am so grateful that our paths have crossed.

So the way it happened, was that she had to be in the city for business....because she is a big shot. Lol I told her anyone that is paid to fly across the nation to do anything is a big shot in my opinion. She rented a car to come and meet with me and when we met it was as if we had known each other forever. So comfortable and easy. After lunch we walked and walked (in the heat....sorry Sherry) and drank watermelon/lemonade and sat in Adirondack chairs along the river and talked until she had to head back.

You know when you meet someone and you just know they are safe, their hearts are pure and kind.....that was how this was. Such a kind humble soul.

So this was us standing together on the big golden Tower Bridge overlooking the Sacramento River after our lunch at the Rio City Cafe.
Thank you Sherry for making the trip.....the highlight of my month! I loved this day!