Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Facebook is the devil!

I was all set too have the sort of Easter that was before me. I started the morning off by walking 5.3 miles with some Alanon friends. It was a beautiful morning and I love those girls. I was making a cake, but had no real plans for dinner...it was just going to be "us." The dad, little one, my girl and me. I decided at the last minute to buy a ham on my way home and cook that for dinner.

I was busy accepting that this holiday was going to be "simple." We have no family in the area and Molly was working and big brother is the next state away and spent the day with his bosses family. My girl is busy accumulating "clean" hours to make it in the door of the rehab. This was our day....imperfect, not an Easter Lily in sight, but its what we had and to be honest, I did not have the energy to try to make it any bigger and better that what it was.

Then I looked at Facebook.

A dear friend posted pictures of her Easter....long tables outdoors, Easter Lily's placed all along them, food and smiling faces through out, extended family all around, a beautiful sunny day. It was a postcard Easter celebration. And I was ruined by it. Even before I knew what was happening, I was wrecked.

Let me be clear that I don't begrudge anyone, and especially not her, a happy family life. Somehow she was able to pull it all together and I wasn't. I failed. Not just at Easter, but at the years it took to create that yard full of people who love each other and enjoy each others company. I know this is not a perfect family, they have their stuff like we all do....but its different stuff than I have. Better stuff....from my perspective at least.

What I saw in those pictures was my plan. Back so many years ago when we began to create our family, THAT was what I had in my vision, in my heart. I was going to right the wrongs of my violent alcoholic family members, I was going to do it differently, I was going to be better, do better, and I have in a lot of ways.... but it apparently wasn't enough.

So I have been fighting my way through this awful low spot. Molly and I were able to talk about honesty and how we don't live in a place of denial. We tell it like it is when appropriate, even about our own ugly stuff. My wise girl said, "most people don't live there mom. They put on a happy face and present like everything is perfect because they are afraid to let anyone know the truth." We talked about how nice it would be if we COULD set all of the yuk aside and act like it wasn't happening and everything was perfect. She said, "I don't know if we are even capable of living in that kind of denial anymore." Once you have pulled your covers back its very hard, if not impossible to go backwards. To pull them back up and over and start shoving your secrets back under there. They seem to start bursting out the tops and the sides....like big boobs in a too small bra. We talked about how we need to accept people as they come to us and circumstances as they come to us, but be true to ourselves and NOT let any of it rob us of our joy.

I went to my meeting last night and we are reading "In All of our Affairs." It was such a good meeting. One friend spoke of a daily step 10 personal inventory, what is my part? We talked a lot about the loss of our dreams and expectations for how we thought things would be. Another friend spoke of hearing what other families are doing for fun, trips, get togethers, and she said, "Thats not us." We agreed...we are just trying to survive. So I am not alone.

I think this last time of sobriety was so nice that I let myself hope. I let myself go back to all of those dreams I have had for my family and thought maybe, just maybe this time.....

But no. The statistics for a heroin addict ever finding long lasting sobriety are not good. Something like 2%. BUT God is limitless....that is the only hope I have. God is limitless and bigger and better than a statistic. But I need to step back. I have let myself get into the middle of everything this time. Not physically, but in my head. I have hoped so hard this time and I am crushed that we are still here, still fighting this same battle. Still trying to go against nature....a mother letting go of her sickest child in hopes that they will find their way. I feel like, "God, only you could have thought that up!" My experience tells me that the times in the past when I have been able to let go of her, *I* have felt better. I have lived in a place of peace and serenity. She felt the loss of her family and sought help.

I'm worn out people...and maybe that is exactly where I am supposed to be. More of Him, less of me.
Pray for me please.
Annette




Saturday, April 19, 2014

Pope Francis

I am not Catholic so have never really given much thought to the pope. However at work on Thursday, my client's mom had on a recorded show of 60 minutes and there was a big segment about Pope Francis that we all sat and watched.

What a humble regular man. I think he is speaking to the world through his normality and his humility. There was a portion where he went into a youth detention center and washed the feet of the troubled kids. It was beautiful and it made me cry. He chooses to take the bus with the other priests when they travel together, he drives a regular car or rides in a regular car rather than using a limousine. It reminds me of the pastor of a church we used to go to....I showed up during  the week one day, unexpectedly, and found him pulling a bucket and a mop out of one of the bathrooms.....he had been cleaning.

What if we all lived in humility and forgiveness with one another, letting go of our conflicts and our need to prove that we are right or that we have been wronged? I am as guilty as anyone of those things....but what if. What if none of us felt above a chore or an act of service? The interviewer was speaking with the popes good friend, a rabbi, and asked about why the pope always wants to be clear that he is a sinner, "the chief of all sinners?" "To show the world that they are not alone in their sin and that Christ came to forgive us our trespasses."

I am just fascinated with this man who is in a position to shine a message of humility and Christ's love so brightly....even to those who least deserve it but are in need it the most. All of us.

Last night at my meeting we talked about Concept 4... "participation is the key to harmony."  When I really think of what that means its remarkable. Participate, don't isolate. When we all work together there is more harmony than when one person carries the full load alone.

I thought of when I was a kid....my parents as you know were alcoholics. They isolated and drank. They had no friends, they didn't entertain, they just stayed home and drank. That is what was modeled to me. Of course in my quest to do it differently, I became the Rachel Ray ( I could never aspire to be Martha Stewart!) of our little entertainment world. When the kids were little, our house was the hub of all things fun and crafty and yummy. There were always extra kids around and those were wonderful years for me. I loved it!

Then addiction began to weave its way through our family and we began to do what I knew to do....isolate. We have hidden out at home. It is beautiful here and it is our sanctuary, but I don't feel free to share it with my friends. I don't have the energy nor have I wanted to risk revealing *us,* the real us, to everyone.

I think in the spirit of tending to my own life, that is something I am going to begin to work on. I have had 6 days of making really healthy food choices. I had a bite of little one's Easter chocolate last night, but only one bite....not the whole damned rabbit which is a good chunk of progress. I have attended meetings all week. I am working on doing what I can for myself. I realized that the bottom line is that I am very afraid of the choices we may have to make pertaining to our girl. It all looks so impossible to me....but God is limitless.

I spent this morning planting some flowers in pots for the deck. We are under water restrictions because of a dry winter....so I am not planting veggies this year. I will buy from the farmers mkt. I will use a watering can filled with recycled water when I can and water my pots. I bought a lovely succulent basket that hangs on the wall....I just couldn't resist it.

When I look at my life and I look at some of the things going on in the world, I realize that I have so much to be grateful for. I have been following the S. Korean ferry tragedy. Just devastating. Those poor families, the vice principal who felt so responsible. : (

There is still room for miracles in our situation and for that I am grateful. In the mean time I will watch my flowers grow and try to keep the succulents alive.

God bless us all.
Annette

Friday, April 18, 2014

Its not so bad...I keep telling myself.

Good Friday morning! I have really been so busy getting back into my work routine and I apologize for all of those unanswered emails. I appreciate each word sent to me though. More than you know, and I will answer personally soon.

I have been struggling so much with negativity in my attitude, my thoughts, my spirit. I have been angry, not caring that this is a "disease," or that she is sick, or that she carries shame and remorse. This is not the usual place that I live in....and its very uncomfortable. Angry people carry a heavy weight in their spirits I am here to tell you.

A few days ago I began to think of the choices I have. I can stay there and be miserable or I can climb out so I have been working on climbing out. I went to an Alanon meeting each day for several days in a row....it was really an act of desperation. I didn't know what else to do to get myself going other than to put myself somewhere safe and filled with the principles that I knew had led me out of dark places in the past. So I went and I sat and I listened. I didn't share.... I just let their words and their stories wash over me.

Its better but I can still feel the heaviness of this relapse. I can't help it. Its just been awful...

I keep reminding myself that there are others who have it so much worse than we do though, in a myriad of ways. My girl is in full blown relapse mode, she is headed back into treatment on Monday if she can pass their drug test. But she's alive and where there is breath there is hope.

Hattie said in her comment to me on my last post that God is limitless....I have repeated that over and over and that has been part of me getting myself back on track. God is limitless...what a comforting thought. As far as my thoughts can carry me, as far as my hope can sustain me, God can do more and go farther....beyond what I hope or think. I am counting on that.

Each day my girl had an assignment to contact a dr.'s office and ask them what she needs to do to get her medical records.....she didn't do it. Even once. And of course I can't request them so I decided to let that go for today. We can try again later once she has some sober time going on. It was making me crazy....my fear about the health insurance, SSI, what were we going to do, and how long it all takes. So maybe in a couple weeks we can try again. You all sent me a lot of good information that I didn't know about. Thank you so very much. The bigger thought here is that SSI and health insurance are MY concerns. Those are the things that my eyes see as immediate issues. In my limited understanding these are crisis issues that need to be resolved right now. But maybe there is a different plan that I don't understand, that I am unaware of. Maybe God has all of that under control and is working on more pertinent issues. In my *experience* things usually fall into place without a lot of obsessing from me. So I am giving it a couple weeks to settle and see what unfolds.

I am leaving for a 24 hour Hospice assignment in a couple hours. The mother is so close to the end and the daughter in law who is the main caregiver is so afraid. She has been there 24/7 for 6 weeks and has made it very clear that she's not leaving. Her sister in law said, "She can't let go." I could see that and I feel like I am walking into a situation that I will need to navigate carefully. She wants to be in control of everything, so I will give her the control. I am thinking of how I can do my job and but still respect her position because she isn't going to scoot over to make room for both of us. She is so tired though. She told me, "Once I train you and know that you have caught on, I will go lay down for awhile in the back bedroom." :o/ So I will let her train me. I will let her do whatever she needs to do to feel comfortable in this sad and scary time for her. Sometimes I go in knowing I am there more for the family as a whole. The family member is on their way, traveling their journey and they are usually at peace and accepting by the time I get there. I meet their physical and emotional needs but they are pretty much settled into their path.  Sometimes I connect with a particular family member who needs some extra loving attention....and this time I think it is for her that I am being allowed into this family. So she isn't walking alone.

Poor thing.

Happy Easter everyone and much love.....
Annette

Saturday, April 12, 2014

If I only knew the future.....

I could plan accordingly. Does that sound familiar to anyone else?

If I knew she was going to get well someday, I would know that I should keep hanging in there and which direction to hope in.

If I knew that her life was going to continue to be these same sets of struggles and troubles, I would be able to settle down and stop hoping and just let it all play out.

But, I don't know the future. Living this life of unknowns teaches us, forces us actually...to live in a place of faith unlike any other. I jump into predicting, planning, and thinking. I am having to constantly pull myself back into the moment and trusting in God, accepting what is, and loving unconditionally. 

I will admit that I have been resentful this time. Mad. I resent that I am pushed into living a life of faith when I feel so unsure of so much and want something concrete to stand on. I want what I want.

Last night a friend said, "I think this is an inside job and your really mad at yourself." I am mad that I am in this same situation, that its costing us a fortune, that YET AGAIN I am put into the position of making horrible, difficult, life changing decisions, and I am tired of doing that and feeling trapped by it, like my options are all so yukky, that I really have no choice at all. I hate it.

My friend said, "but you don't HAVE to do any of that if you don't want to." Technically she is right. But I can't let go of the idea that I have to do these things. I feel like I need to do these things. I feel like my daughter's life is at stake and how could I even consider not doing whatever I can.

However, I am also at a point of not knowing what to do next. I have tried everything. I have done everything I have known to do.....and maybe this is exactly where I need to be. Tired and done so that I am willing to once again scoot over and let God back into the drivers seat.

My friend said, "Remember the pigeon story?"

From Courage to Change, March 14:

One beautiful day, a man sat down under a tree, not noticing it was full of pigeons. Shortly, the pigeons did what pigeons do best. The man shouted at the pigeons as he stormed away, resenting the pigeons as well as the offending material. But then he realized that the pigeons were merely doing what pigeons do, just because they're pigeons and not because he was there. The man learned to check the trees for pigeons before sitting down.

Active alcoholics (addicts) are people who drink (use drugs.) They don't drink (use) because of you or me, but because they are alcoholics (addicts.) No matter what I do, I will not change this fact, not with guilt, shouting, begging, distracting, hiding money or bottles or keys, lying, threatening, or reasoning. I didn't cause alcoholism (addiction.) I can't control it. And I can't cure it. I can continue to struggle and lose. Or I can accept that I am powerless over alcohol and alcoholism (drugs and addiction) and let Alanon help me to redirect the energy I've spent on fighting this disease into recovering from its effects.

Today's Reminder: It's not easy to watch someone I love continue to drink (use,) but I can do nothing to stop them. If I see how unmanageable my life has become, I can admit that I am powerless over this disease. Then I can really begin to make my life better. 

So for tonight, I am going to go to bed and I am going to sleep well. Tomorrow I have a walking date with friends, then shopping for gate building supplies with the hubs, then shopping for new shorts with little one and her best friend....and for those events, I am going to choose to be present. To not think about SSI, medical insurance, medical records, + drug tests, counseling appointments, psychiatrists....tomorrow I am going to be with my people and enjoy it. Savor it. Just for tomorrow. Then the next day, I might try it again.

Deep breath....
Annette

PS: Thank you so much for all of the emails and comments from yesterday. I will be answering everyone soon. Lots of good information shared. I am so grateful.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Here we go round the Mulberry Bush......

right back to treatment. Just sayin.....

Her entry date is next week sometime. The stories weren't matching up, we knew, but we were hoping we were wrong....but we knew we weren't. Then her therapist called and asked for a family meeting. This is her last chance with this rehab facility and her therapist had to fight to get it for her. Its a 1 year program that she has been in for almost 2 years. Lots of fits and starts....but she keeps going back. That tells me she wants to be healthy, she just can't figure out how to get herself extricated from the quicksand.  If she relapses again, they will refer her to a long term methadone maintenance program that will not be covered by insurance. They are recommending long term Suboxone use.....years.

She will age out of our health insurance in a few months......I don't know what to do about that. I will admit that I am really very concerned with the idea of all of her meds being discontinued simply because of no insurance.

I have always had health insurance.....my entire life. I don't even know how you do anything without it. Please feel free to share if you know anything about this.

 I feel like these past weeks I have been chasing after crumbs hoping for the whole pie at the end of the trail. Seeing some positive behavior and that could be as simple as a smile, she's awake before 8:30am, she put her dishes in the dishwasher, she was pleasant....those were my crumbs and I followed them wherever they led me...hoping against all hope that they would lead to something substantial, some real evidence of change or that things were really not going in the direction that I knew they were.

When I realized what I was doing...hanging onto any perceived hope, I was kind of disgusted with myself. How pathetic. I know better than to scramble along hoping to the point that I am almost begging for things to be ok.

I am just a person though. Just a plain old human mom who wants her girl to be ok. I got tripped up for a minute....I guess thats just how it goes sometimes.

On to more trivial stuff.....me. I started back to work this week and I love my new jobs. I think this will be such a great schedule for family life and for me to be able to take better care of myself. I really need to get back to that. I have gained a substantial amount of my weight back....not all, but its creeping up there! I do not want to be big and fat again! Getting ready for this half marathon shows me how hard the extra poundage is on my body. Everything aches and I am tried a lot of the time.

On Saturday morning Molly and I meeting at a lake in the city for a coffee/walking/talking date. I am so looking forward to seeing her. Oh gosh.....I have a big story about her!

Remember about a year ago when she tried the Adderall for her ADD and was allergic to it and had to call 911 and it was a big drama that scared the beejesus out of her? Well it took her all this time to get up the nerve and go back to the psychiatrist. They talked it all over, notes are in her chart that she is anaphylactically allergic to Adderall, and they decided on Ritalin. She only takes it before school and she said its not a miracle drug, and there is only a short window of time where she can tell that she is really focused......BUT she studied for a midterm by herself and got a B+ on it with a perfect score on the essay part of it! This has NEVER happened for her before. She was so happy and felt so empowered she has been talking about changing her major and rather than being an addictions counselor, working with special needs kids. She is also interested in getting her art degree too just because she loves art. The big deal is that she feels like she has choices and options. She doesn't feel limited academically for the first time in her life. Exciting stuff! I am just so very happy for her. She is out there living her life and really happy. What a joy that is to watch.

Ok, so I have shared everyone's private business here on the worldwide internet.....I really try not to do that. Molly doesn't care and I have her permission to write about her as I see fit. I try not to tell my girl's story because its not mine to tell....and today I am breaking my own rule because I selfishly feel the need to sort through all of this _____. You can fill in the blank with any word that seems fitting. I have several running through my mind.

Ok all, I am still praying and believing.
Annette




Saturday, April 5, 2014

Stories of redemption

I was feeling so depressed earlier today. We had some my girl drama, nothing horrible, but just tiring, mundane, needing help, typical chaos that seems to go with the territory.

I drove by a French restaurant in our area....the only one in our small town....and saw couples going inside and it just made me so sad for a minute. People are walking around living their lives, going out to eat dinner, meeting friends, while we are not. We are doing a million other things, but they are survival things. It feels like life is a lot of work most of the time. I was feeling like we don't fit in anywhere, we are downers, we don't know how to have fun, we are losers and no one likes us. I was sinking fast. lol

Tonight was an Alanon speaker meeting and then an open AA speaker meeting immediately following. I was determined to go and I was so glad that I did. I felt so much better afterward. The stories I hear there of grace, of surrender, of working through fears, of being alone and then finding "our people," of forgiveness, of miracles, of redemption and hope, change me. I heard such powerful shares tonight....I saw my friends, people who are dealing with many of the same things I am dealing with on a daily basis, who understand. The Alanon speaker shared about feeling sometimes like she doesn't really fit in even with her Alanon family.....she said, "But thats just me working through my fear." I needed to hear that simple answer tonight. I needed to hear the AA speaker's story of forgiveness, faith, and honesty tonight. I needed to see God's grace working and alive and well in all of these people's lives tonight so that I could be reminded that its always there for me too, even when I feel like a loser.

I am always touched so deeply by what I see in those rooms....broken people being made whole. Its a beautiful thing.

Annette

Friday, April 4, 2014

How close is too close?

I have always wanted a close family. I didn't have one as a child, so my goal as an adult was to create my own close family. Thus the hubs and 4 kids. I have always wanted my kids to feel like they can talk to me, that I am for them. Nothing shocks me anymore so they know they can tell me anything. I want to be approachable and comforting to them. For the most part that is what we got. Molly tells me A LOT, sometimes I wonder if I should be putting my fingers in my ears and humming to myself....."I can't hear you!" Big brother calls for recipes and dog advice and just to say hi at least once a week. My girl is quiet and doesn't talk to anyone about her most private thoughts, but every now and then, when we are driving in the car together, and I least expect it....she will start to talk...and I listen. Little one is like her big sister....doesn't like to talk a lot or for me to ask questions. When she is ready, she will spill it all out and again, I listen.

Today a friend and I were talking about living with addiction and how I do not have the answers for my girl. The thinking was that if she is turning to me for advice, we both are in dangerous territory...for a couple reasons. 1. I would love to fix everything for her and get it all neatened up into a tidy little package and present it all back to her, ready for her to live it out.....if the truth be told. No matter how much Alanon I have in me, this may always be the deep dark truth about me. Do I act on those wantings and thoughts......no. Well, not always. Do they  pollute my words and my actions with my girl.....probably, a little bit. I would love to have the answers for her and she would love for me to have them too. But I don't. 2. If she is turning to me and my vast fountain of wisdom (that contains nothing for her.....because I have never struggled with the issues she struggles with) because that is what is comfortable for her, then maybe I am getting in the way of her seeking answers from people who really could share their wisdom with her. Maybe I am enabling her to stay where she is comfortable vs. seeking help outside of her comfort zone.

I hated this conversation when I was in it. I felt defensive and mad almost. I explained that I have always wanted my kids to be close to me. How do I have a close relationship with my girl, but not let her talk to me about her life? How do I shut that door on this child who I have tried to maintain some form of connection with for so very long?

Then my friend said it....."it might not always be this way." I always forget that! I forget that my girl and I both have a Higher Power that is working on our behalf, that we both have our own programs, that we both have our own journey's, that being close is not the same as being enmeshed. That I can let go and still love her. When she does talk to me, and I would never tell her to stop.....I can listen. I can respond with the thought that I don't have the answers for her, but I am confident in the fact that she knows where to find them and how to apply them in her own personal life. I can step back and love her fully and be close to her while showing her that I can be trusted to not step on her autonomy, on her free will, or the consequences of her choices.

Its a lot of work to learn new ways of relating to one another. A lot of work! But I do think its worth it. It feels better than the old ways that I used to do things.

Annette