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

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

I have nothing to say......but here is some of my nothingness. :o)

I read this blog most days. There is no therapeutic value in it in regards to recovery or figuring out how to do life, other than Mr. John Gray makes me laugh, his stories make me feel calm and I like reading there.

I read this blog too and Mary just shares her life, her days....she is a recovering person, but there are lots of things that she focuses on in her blog. Her faith, health and fitness, her work, depression, interpersonal relationships, and recovery. I love reading about the rhythms of her life.

We have a snow day today but the snow is only falling but not sticking. Its like the perfect snow day. Little one said, "this is the school's April Fools joke on us." lol We stayed in bed until 9, all snuggled and warm. I got up and made coffee.....its a really perfect morning, other than I have no motivation to do anything.

Which brings up my next point. I am so tired. If I wasn't taking my full dose of anti-depressant already I would swear I was battling a depression. But I refuse to give into that idea. Instead I think my time off of work has run its course. I need a routine. I need to have to get up and be somewhere. By the time I go back it will have been a month break. A month is a long time and now we are having to supplement hubs checks with money from our savings which is not very big to begin with.  Fortunately for me, he is fine with that and has not one time insinuated "Why don't you get your growing behind back to work?"

My new schedule is really perfect for being available for little one, but it won't be enough money and it has me set in a couple jobs that are fine, but not where my heart really is, which is palliative care. I was thinking about this....and I came to the conclusion that that is ok for now. Its not forever. That being available to my little one is more important at this age than anything else I could be doing. She needs to be the priority for now. She is 13 which is such a prickly and fragile age. She needs to just see me close by and know that I am there.

My floors are a mess and I'm not cleaning them until all of these ridiculous dogs go home. Oh wait....5 of them live HERE.

My girl....is pushing forward. I don't know what else to say. She's still in the game, still working at sobriety, doing out patient, counseling, suboxone, seeing her sponsor, but I think its like slodging through thick mud for her. 

And I will leave you with this thought....did you know that Suboxone is constipating?!  Last night we were talking about how opiate users are usually constipated. I never even thought of THAT....but yeah, at work I use a lot of opiate medications with my dying clients and bowel care is a huge part of that because they get constipated. Something about the idea of all of our opiate addicted kids being unable to poop just struck me as so funny. Not in a vindictive way....Noooo. They have their own crosses to bear.

Bless us all. Our beautiful (constipated) kids are all in my prayers every day.
Annette



Thursday, March 27, 2014

Reoccurring patterns

We have been doing this journey for right around 12 years. The thing that has amazed me this time is how the dad and I know exactly what to do, what our roles are, and how to act, now that my girl is home.

Whether she is using drugs or not is not the deciding factor. Well wait....that is a big factor, but I don't think that is a factor in our current situation for today. I don't think, actually I know, that she doesn't have to be in active addiction for her dad and I to be freaking out and acting like hand wringing worriers. The potential for trouble is enough to set us in motion.

That she has ever used drugs, that all of us have ever been afraid for her life, felt the crushing need to save her life, wondered what she is up to, where is she at, what is she doing, is she high, maybe she's just happy, how big are her pupils......on and on and on it can go, my obsessive thinking churning away.... that any of those things have ever taken place at all, can take us right back there.

I guess its progress that I used to justify all of those wonderings. I used to feel like it was a normal response.....and it is, until you learn a new way to live *your* life. Today I just see it as falling back into.old.unhealthy.patterns.

I don't want to live there.  I see it in each of us. We each react differently. The dad wants to keep the peace. I want to make sure we aren't being played...and I spend a lot of time cramming chocolate easter eggs into my mouth, as fast I can unwrap them. Which is always a humbling reminder that she and I are not really very different from each other. Yes, of course sticking a needle in your arm is way way different than eating too much chocolate....but the root is the same. We are both uncomfortable, we are both not knowing what to do next, so we numb ourselves. We will deal with "that" later....pass the candy.

Since I KNOW that I don't want to live in that obsessive thinking place, I am making daily choices to go on with my life. *Choices.* It doesn't come naturally even after all of this time and all of the work I have done on learning new ways to live my life.

I have to get out of my head and live in what I see, what is real each day in my world. I am getting ready for my half marathon so I walked 11.42 miles today with a program friend. Good freaking God I am tired! 10 miles last week didn't take it outta me like today did! I shopped for a special gift for my best friend who just had a birthday and we are meeting for lunch tomorrow at a restaurant we have both been wanting to try.  I am slowly putting my work schedule back together again... as it stands today beginning the week after next, I will have 3 half days, 2 fulls days, and 1 overnight.... 3 different families. I have turned down anything that I didn't really want to do. I am all about self indulgence right now and I'm only sort of kidding. lol I am cooking and baking and having a fire in the afternoons, going to bed early, going to as many meetings as I want to and not going if I would rather be at home with my family and my fire and the rain coming down outside...without guilt. :o)

So I guess its safe to say that we are all battling our way back to where we belong.

Much much love to you all as you do the same.
Annette