“At some point, you gotta let go, and sit still, and allow contentment to come to you.”
There’s beauty in waking up to face the mundane day ahead. There’s zen in the taking of a shower and doing my hair for work. A pleasure in making a sandwich for lunch, and grabbing fruits and veggies too. There’s serenity in listening to the dogs yap as I make my way out the door and drive down snow covered roads. There’s beauty in watching the sun come up, even if I’m on my way to work.
There’s no shame when I wake up these days. There’s no guilt from what I’ve done the night before. There’s just this sense of calmness that comes over me and let’s me know that I’m blessed to be alive. I’ve got 24 hours to make an impact. 24 hours to change a life, even the only life I change is my own. I’ve got 24 hours of reprieve from a disease that would like to kill me.
You know what I love? Not having one damn bit of drama in my life, and knowing that I am loved.
While I was in treatment I was given Recovery Workbook by my one on one therapist. There were many sheets on which to detail the progression of my disease. When I was in active addiction I would try to write, … Continue reading
My ex-husband asked me how when we suffer a relapse we are welcomed back into AA with open arms. I turned the question around on him and asked, why wouldn’t I go back to a place that would welcome me back even if I did falter? God knows my family wouldn’t do that. In most cases all they feel for me is anger. In the rooms I’m welcomed back because I’m just as broken as the person sitting next to me.
We are all just one drink or drug away from relapse and ultimately death. That’s what this disease wants to do, it wants to kill me. It wants to scream in my ear all of the bad things I’ve done to make me so covered in guilt and shame that I pour myself into a bottle and die.
A normal person doesn’t think this way. A normal person doesn’t drink this way. And a normal person can not understand the power of surrender in AA. Admitting to this surrender is the only way I can win.
I’m sitting at the laundromat and all of the machines are whirring, grinding and spinning while I sit in a molded plastic chair smiling like a goof. My brain is happy with all the chaos and noise. No one is speaking to me or even looking my way as I write. I can’t hear my heart beat in my ears, or the white noise static that is a constant in my brain.
I finally wipe the grin off my face and look up to see two little girls helping their dad use the large capacity spin machine. Dad must own a laundry business, because he’s washing tons of clothing that most assuredly don’t belong to him. Women’s clothes, large colorful blankets and more than one load of whites made sparkling by bleach. The kids voices and laughter mix with the other chaotic sounds and my brain becomes even more at peace.
I spy from the corner of my eye a man taking photos of the high capacity washers he’s using. I find it odd, but then rationalize what the hell difference should it make to me why he’s doing it? My hope is that he’s sending the photo to his girlfriend to prove to her what a good guy he is. He’s doing the laundry while she’s at work or something. Who knows, right?
The girls are using the large capacity spin machine thingy again and it’s super loud. It makes me smile my goofy grin again and I wonder if anyone is watching me. Probably not. We’re all here doing the same thing, but that’s the only parallel to our lives.
I’m just going to sit here and enjoy my quiet mind and heart for the time being. While the machines whir, grind and spin…
I knew I was depressed the day food no longer held any allure.
He told me that he’d met someone and of course I was jealous, but what struck me was when he said that she didn’t eat much, like him. That they both never ate much so he asked her to have dinner at his place.
Of course my mouth got the best of me, and I spouted off, ‘well fuck, she must be skinny, how lucky for you!’
He responded, ‘it doesn’t fucking matter if she’s young or old, skinny or fat, I just wanted to have dinner with a friend.’
I knew she was more than a friend. That it was a date, and he had moved on.
I lost my appetite and became an empty vessel. I felt nothing, except the iciness of anxiety as it crept into my heart and made a home where my sparkle used to be. Something inside of me broke and I shut down. I hadn’t felt like this in ages, but I knew what it was.
My old friend depression had returned, and it had put its cold, dead hand in mine.
I finally admitted it to myself, and then my daughter this weekend.
‘Mom, I don’t think your anti-depressant is working.’
‘Honey, I know it isn’t, but I don’t know what to do.’
I sobbed while we talked, and I think I used about 25 tissues in about ten minutes. Meg kept reassuring me that I was going to be okay, but all I could say was I knew that I would be without a partner for the rest of my life.
The whole thing with K had devastated me. Here was this man that I was sure I loved already moving on.
Sure, he has his demons, but so do I.
There’s addiction, of food and alcohol that continually sing their siren song into my ear. There’s the nagging feeling that I’ll be alone for the rest of my life. That I’ll leave no mark. That I’ll have been brave enough to save myself from insanity, to only die alone in some hospital bed while machines whir and measure my heartbeat till I’m no more.
The pit of depression is a deep one and I’m at the bottom of it.
To begin clawing my way out, I sent a text to my therapist. I’ve contacted my closest friends and I’ve told my sponsor the work I need to do. I think I need to make a call to my addiction psychiatrist, because I think I need a stronger medication to battle this. Meditation is great and prayer even better, but I know that I need it like a diabetic needs insulin.
I want out of this abyss, and I want to be loved. I want to love myself first, but that may never happen. There are women like me that feel love for those around them, but will never feel their worth until they are loved by someone else.
Tomorrow, I will get up early, and prepare for work. I’ll go through the motions of life and I will take time for self care and meditation. I’ll force myself to take care of myself, until it is no longer a battle, and I can do it with ease. And even if I’m never held in the arms of man again, I will find something in this life worth living for.
“I remember that feeling of skin. It’s strange to remember touch more than thought. But my fingers still tingle with it.”-Lucy Christopher
My pulse quickened as Matt enclosed his left hand around my right. The intimacy of his actions brought a blush to my cheeks. Confused, I wanted to pull away but I craved the contact. Instead of retreating, I allowed his hand to engulf mine. My mouth went dry, as his thumb repeatedly caressed the palm of my hand.
I yielded to his touch, my heart slowed its thready beat, and I allowed myself to enjoy the closeness of my dear friend. He asked for nothing but my hand. He told me he loved me and how glad he was I came into his life. We grew silent, as his thumb continued to make lazy circles on my palm.
His was the first intimate touch I’d felt since I’d become sober. It wasn’t a sexual touch. I wasn’t sure how to label it, and honestly, I didn’t care to. In that five minutes, I felt more protected and loved than I had in a long time.
With our hands clasped, my friend silently asked nothing of me, but to love every broken, raw and damaged part of him. And in return, I asked him to do the same for me.
I am 32 Flavors and then some
I’m nobody, but I am someone
The last year of my addiction to alcohol had killed my love of music. Every time I listened to any song I would feel it so deeply that I would be left sobbing. If I couldn’t listen to music, I damn sure couldn’t write either. So in the last six months I fed my need for words by listening to NPR and the great Dave and Chuck the Freak morning show on 101.1 The WRIF in Detroit.
During detox and rehab we weren’t allowed to have our phones, so I was starved for information, morning radio shows, and finally, music. The few songs I did get to hear during that time made me cry, but there was no longer any deep seeded pain connected to it. The pain I felt was the itch and burn of healing to my tattered and war torn soul.
On the day I walked out of the Brighton Center of Recovery, the sun of early fall was shining. It lit my hair and my spirit on fire and I knew I was on the path to rebirth. I threw my suitcase in the backseat, and placed my ID and insurance card back into my wallet. I slid the keys into the ignition, turned the engine over, and rolled the windows down. As I drove out of the parking lot, I turned the radio up to 11, the wind caught my hair and I sang the words to whatever song that was playing on the radio.
I finally felt at home in the music, no matter if it was upbeat or a ballad. The words helpd incredible power! Not to hurt me, but to help me heal. Everyday I get closer to fine with the help of my IOP group, my AA community, my other Brighton alums, my friends and family and my music. Oh my fucking God, I am so incredibly blessed!
May you find peace and serenity today, and may you find joy in the little things in life.
‘Let us be willing to release old hurts.’- Martha Smock
The last three years have been especially harrowing, yet you’ve persevered. I always knew you were a strong woman.
I want you to forgive yourself for the last ten years of drinking. I want you to love and accept yourself and know that you are a beautiful spirit.
You are not your past, and it does not need to define you. Your future and your community are the sober people, the perfectly broken.
Your children love you. The longer you are sober, the more their trust will return.
Do not look for love until you can find it within yourself.
Go to meetings.Work with a sponsor. Keep busy. Dive into work and become a stellar employee again.
Be kind to yourself and know that you alone are enough.
Let go of your past. Let go of love that is not evenly returned and move forward.
Find love from within, and the brilliance of it will flow to everyone you encounter.
Forgive yourself, and put your trust in the future.
(This is a letter I wrote to myself the last night of my stay at the Brighton Center for Recovery. My addiction counselor told me to save doing this section of my homework after everything else was done. I read it to my community the day I ventured out of the Brighton Bubble into the sunlight of new future. I’ll share of my journey when the time is right. For now, I have another story brewing about a wheat farmer and his wife. I hope to post it soon. This girl is getting her sparkle back for sure. Thanks for following me on this journey.)
Yesterday I watched from my sliding glass window, five young men wearing the same color suit. Four of them wore ties folded in Windsor knots. One of them wore a slick bow tie. There was a sixth man. A photographer wearing khakis, took candid shots of them as they changed from gym to dress shoes, straightened each others ties and goofed off, like young men do. My guess was, they were the groom and attendants for a wedding. Or maybe they were an a cappella group. Who knows?
My apartment complex is set back in a wooded area, so the photographer took them behind the building to get more shots. They left their gym shoes and back packs resting on the hoods of their vehicles. Their doors were left wide open. When they returned, they grabbed all their crap and jammed themselves into their vehicles. They and the khaki panted photographer headed off to parts unknown. I was excited to observe them as they smile radiantly and wore the same color suits. Four of them with ties folded in Windsor knots. The other, maybe the groom, wearing a slick bow tie.
Often, my observational posts begin on my personal Facebook page. An idea hits me and I have to write it down. I’m sure it drives many of my friends crazy because my posts can get a little lengthy. Whatever, then take me out of your news feed! On second thought, please don’t, because I want you to read my observations. Looking at my window is about the only place I can draw inspiration right now. I’ve kinda been stuck in my apartment for 70 days.
My focus waned and I didn’t write much more till I arrived home from My Trivia last night. At 1:00 a.m I began writing a lengthy email to a friend, when the following quote popped into my Sparkly little head:
I wanted to know that he would be okay if I did. I wanted to not be a grenade, to not be a malevolent force in the lives of the people I loved.–John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
I wrote to my friend, I am a goddamn grenade.
I realized that in my married life and when I was raising my kids, I was a grenade. I was a malevolent force that ruined everything in my path. I was an F5 tornado or category 5 hurricane. And I was hell bent on self destructing. The self destruction included being a horrible drunk, a slow suicide with food and conversing with men that I had no business talking to.
I don’t want to be a grenade, anymore.
My ultimate goal is to try to find peace within my stormy, passionate and romantic heart. My ultimate goal is to not judge others and somehow rise above the transgressions of my past. I’ve sought forgiveness from God. I can’t go back and change anything. I’m not looking for sympathy. I’m not even looking for forgiveness from Roger Darling, Meggie or Adam Boy. All I can do is keep my mouth shut, my mind clear and try to be happy.
I wish for the three I’ve hurt the most to be happy, because I don’t want to be a goddamn grenade, anymore.
I talked to my mother today and I asked her when I should stop saying I’m sorry for all the havoc I wreaked? Her response was as soon as put down the bucket of guilt I continued to carry around. I may never be completely forgiven by my children or the man I shared 24 years of my life with, but I’m going to put down that bucket. I’m sure there will be times in my life that I will pick it up again. There will always be a part of me that knows that I fucked everything up.
I’m also acutely aware that I will probably be alone for the rest of my life because of what I’ve done. I have to be okay with that. I have to realize that there is no such thing as unconditional love, except for the love we give our children. On this journey to myself, I’ve discovered I am a child of God. I am a sinner, but even sinners need to forgive themselves.
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches over me…
He watches over Meggie and Adam.
And I know, He watches over Roger Darling.