PSA: I Didn’t Get Sober For This Shit

via PSA: I Didn’t Get Sober For This Shit

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The Impact of 24 Hours and a Winter Sunrise

“At some point, you gotta let go, and sit still, and allow contentment to come to you.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

 

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.

Watch Your Fucking Language and 5 Minutes to Change the Next 50 Years of Your Life

Fucking Beautiful.jpg

When we were little girls we were told to be ladylike. Don’t talk too loud. Don’t draw attention to yourself. Let the boy come to you. When we were grown, we were told to find a man to take care of you. Be a delicate flower. Be thin. Be anything but yourself. Don’t eat on a date. Don’t drink too much. Blend in. Be the wallflower. Be demure. Be, be, be, but don’t be you.

I was never the quiet girl. I was never the one to follow the crowd. I was the unicorn. The girl with the big boobs that weighed 150 lbs. and was thought of as fat. The one that decided rebellion was a good thing. I laughed too loud. I swore a lot. I drank, smoked cigarettes and weed, but I was the good girl too. And did I LOVE boys! I wore clothes to reflect my mood for the day. I didn’t belong to any group or clique. Just flitted from clique to clique like a butterfly lighting on the blooms in a garden. I belonged everywhere and nowhere, and that was okay.

As I get older, the butterfly that flitted from group to group is tired and looking for a home. I still belong everywhere and nowhere. I think part of it is because I was adopted and might still be feeling lost from that. It’s not healthy to be feeling abandoned at this age. I know that this thought is of my own making, and I have to be the one that steps away from that sorry and into the light.

So today I say fuck the fuckers, and use my loud voice. I’m the girl with the big boobs. I’m the girl that is not the typical beauty. I’m not a delicate flower, nor do I want to be. I want to be the girl that rages against the dying of the light. It’s time for me to be, be, be and to the real me. I am a goddess rising, a butterfly and a unicorn. I’m not just a manic pixie dream girl, hell bent on being the sidekick.

I’m the dreamer and the dream, in charge of my own destiny. So what if I say fuck, a lot!?

I No Longer Hunger

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.

The Day the Music Came Alive

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.

 

 

A Letter of Forgiveness

angel

‘Let us be willing to release old hurts.’- Martha Smock

Dear Renee,

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 peace.

Find joy.

Find love from within, and the brilliance of it will flow to everyone you encounter.

Forgive yourself, and put your trust in the future.

Love, Renee

(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.)

My Soul, Born in the South

Werther-porch

Tonight my favorite movie is on and though I’ve seen it a hundred times, I’m watching it again. I was one of those that watched the movie before I read the book, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. I read it from cover to cover in one sitting, as my little kids played around my feet. While they ate their meals. While I changed their diapers. While I bathed them. And after I put the to bed.

The children grew older, and as they did, we bed shared. For comfort, yes, but also for closeness and for me the possibility that I might get a full nights sleep so I could function at work the next day. Often, the cats and a dog or two would crawl in there with us.

After the little ones settled and fell asleep, and before I’d drift off, I’d grab my dog eared copy of Fried Green Tomatoes and devour a chapter. I knew every word, yet the story continued to resonate within me. Was I born in the South in a previous life? Why did the story of Ruth and Idgie effect me so deeply?

I began to know every word of the story, yet I couldn’t put it down. The book fell apart, yet I continued to read it. I would jump from story to story without missing a beat. I felt the promise of new life when Buddy was born, and the sadness of love lost when Ruth died. I felt anger so intense when there was racism, and when Idgie was accused and tried for murder I cried.

As my children grew older and took to their own bedrooms, I continued to read the book. It was now in pieces and I had to tape most of the pages together. I swear to you some nights when I read the stories, I could feel the heat of the day on my skin, while tendrils of my hair blew in the humid Alabama air. Train whistles blew and sweat poured down my back. I was dressed in white cotton, sitting on my front porch, and drinking sweet tea. When I’d finally fall asleep, I’d dream I was as tough as Towanda, that brilliant woman unafraid to bait her own hook and love the woman that was meant to be hers forever.

The kids are grown now, and the copy of my book is long gone. I think about replacing it, but something always sidetracks me. Maybe it’s the fact that I can’t get that time back. Or maybe it’s the fact that I want to write like that, but can’t. Or maybe I can write like that, but I’m afraid to fail. All I know is I’ll watch Fried Green Tomatoes tonight and it will make me feel all the things I used to feel. Maybe I’ll finally start that book. Or maybe, I’ll just know that my soul, it was born in the South, and it will have to be enough.

The Darling Buds of May

Darling buds of May

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed,
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimmed:
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st,
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Sonnet 18-Shakespeare

I stood outside with a purple dog leash wrapped around my left wrist. I patiently waited for the dog to finish feasting on the fresh crop of green grass that I was sure he was going to pee on. My mind wandered back to last spring and how I had missed out on getting the chance to watch the barren trees bud and begin to sprout leaves.  It was also impossible for me to even see my favorite flower the lilac, bloom. I missed their radiant scent permeating the air around me.  I missed walking barefoot, branch cutters in hand and cutting off as many branches as my arms could hold. I missed stealing them from other people’s yards and placing them in vases all over my kitchen and living room. Oh how I missed my favorite season, the one of rebirth. 

While Eddie continued his inspection of the yard, I looked above my head at the branches and saw the darling buds. It wasnt May yet, but I was so thankful for the unseasonably warm weather we’d had and the early burgeoning of said buds. The green, brown, red and gray of them too. I reached up pulled the branch closer to my face and took in the scent of new and dirty life. 

To my right and  down the drive, there are lilac bushes. I won’t get to see them bloom again this summer, because of another ankle surgery that will leave me housebound. But at least I get to see the darling buds of May, only they are out in April. It seems that God is giving me back my favorite season only a little at a time. Maybe it’s His way of making sure I don’t take it for granted ever again. 

For now I will love the scent of spring and the buds of new life. I can’t say that this is the beginning of life for me or if it is the end. All I can say is that it is spring and I will rejoice in it. Dear Reader, go outside, and smell the scent of spring. Revel, in the light and life of newness. Revel, in this thing we call life. 

Amen. 

Pain is Fear Leaving The Body

The therapist raised the table up so that she could slowly jerk my stiff ankle from side to side. It didn’t hurt, but the sensation was definitely uncomfortable. When she was done, she pushed her fingers into the outer ankle bone and lifted it up for a few seconds at a time. The pain I felt was on the inside ankle bone. It was excruciating and I cried out. Amelia asked if she should stop, but I told her no, that pain was needed to heal. She then palpated the inner ankle bone and I felt the tendons crack. When she was done, she shook my ankle from side to side again. It felt good, even though I knew it would ache a few hours later. Physical therapy is a special kind of torture that needs to be administered in order to heal. Now that the ache of it has finally settled in, I must remember that this pain is merely fear leaving my body……

Meggie called during her lunch break and asked me how I was doing. I explained that my ankle ached and I was bitchy because of the pain. Her comment was she didn’t feel sorry for me since all she’d been doing is throwing up for the last 3.5 months. Yes, my lovely daughter is going to make me a grandma in June. That gorgeous blonde haired, blue eyed wild fire that I gave birth to 24 years ago is going to grace us with another living soul to walk this planet. So how can I complain about learning to walk again, while she’s growing a new life within her body?

We hung up while she let her dogs out and hoped they’d come in quickly so she’d get a chance to take a good nap with all three of her Huskies. I latched the leash on Eddie the Rat and took him outside, and he lifted his legs on the bushes just outside my apartment entrance. Because of the pain, I couldn’t walk very far, so we headed back inside. My text alert went off and I entered my password into my phone. Meggie informed me that she’d thrown up before she could get the dogs outside. I replied that I was so sorry and wished there was something I could do to help her. Unfortunately I couldn’t but she knows if I could, I would. After all, I am her mother. And what mother doesn’t want to take care of their child, no matter what age they are.

Meg’s final text to me told me that she was going to take a nap. I told her I was going to wrap Christmas presents. I hate shopping, and I’m not very fond of Christmas, but I figured while I still had my gym shoes and brace on, I better get as much wrapping done as I could. I knew the pain from my therapy session would settle in before too long, and the tears would flow.

My friend Lori has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Her battle is much more in depth than mine, because her’s is for her life. While mine is for the chance to be able to not walk with a limp. I watch Lori’s battle closely and I cheer her on every single damn day. I know she has watched my battle closely and though she’s got her own fight, she cheers me on. I’ll fight for my chance to walk without pain. But I’ll fight for Lori too. And I’ll also fight for Megan’s struggle too. We are in our own kind of pain. We can’t discount the hurt. We can only fight through it.