Why Couldn’t We Be Grandmas First?

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Lately, all these gross parent fails have popped into my head. Last weekend my husband and I and another couple took a trip to the Rockies.  I’ve done the whole Rockies and Pike’s Peak trip many times.  It’s been some years though.  I believe the last trip with my kids I wasn’t drinking alcoholically yet, but if I had been paying attention warning signs were there.

So, while on this trip, I was remembering the time it was me and my girls exploring Denver and Boulder while my husband worked.  It was a really cool trip and we had a great time.  I think my girls were about 8 and 10.  Which makes sense because my boys stopped the boring family trips around then and they would have been 16 and 18.

I have no idea why, but a memory that had nothing to do with the Rockies got in my head and wouldn’t let go.  My oldest daughter, Sydney, was 7 and it was Christmas season.  Their school always had a Santa’s gift shop where the kids could get all their shopping done.  I gave Sydney some money to do her family shopping.  She came home all proud about her purchases.  She spent all of her money on me.  I was livid.  I remember thinking, “how am I going to give her more money for her family gifts, get all the gifts I still have to get, crazy Christmas thoughts, etc.”  I yelled at her and made her take back the gifts and spend her money more appropriately.

This thought of this image had me in tears for several days.  I crushed that little heart that was so proud of what she bought me.  I called her last night because I absolutely had to apologize.  She laughed and told me she appreciated the apology, but it wasn’t necessary.  She then gave me a blanket apology for her attitude past and future.

Sometimes while I am watching younger parents discipline their children, I want to grab them and say, “no”.  Let’s not crush their spirit.  I want to tell them we can teach with love instead of yelling.  Walk out of the room and take a breath.  You’re not angry with them.  You’re overwhelmed with bills and crap and being perfect.

When I was parenting my children in their formidable years, I feel like I was just a kid then too.  Good thing kids are resilient and they can get past our mistakes.  My kids have grandparents that believed they were perfect.  I know it’s all okay.  It does feel good though, to be able to call my adult daughter and tell her I’m sorry that I hurt her.  Funniest part, she doesn’t remember the incident.

I have some great friends that told me what I did was normal and we all shared angry mom moments for a second.  Always do your best.  Sometimes doing your best isn’t great, but it’s your best.  It’s okay to mess up.  I have great support these days.  It’s been there all along.  I just didn’t always know how to get it.

Those Freaking Memories Again

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5 years ago was my great vacation of embarrassment.  Of course, Facebook memories will never let any of us forget that.  There were some awesome times during this vacation too, but every picture I see reminds me of the total overindulgence on my part and I feel my face turning red.

I got up early every morning to walk the beach.  Then, I poured myself a glass of wine to start my day  (that’s funny because my glass held almost the entire bottle).  I started hanging out with everyone else after noon at the beach.  I went to the beach with  Mangoritas in hand.  I was usually passed out around 2 or  3 on the beach. Then, I would wake up sunburned and groggy.  Around 4 or so I would make my way back to the house to shower and get ready for the evening.  The evening was about Rum runners or whatever fancy drink we decided on that night.  I was downing  shots of swirl flavored alcohol or Fireball and if we were at the house, I was usually the first in bed.  Then, I did it again the next day.  I got into fights when I was awake.  My daughter, my cousin and my husband all received my drunken wrath.  This week was definitely me at my worse.  It was supposed to be so awesome.  This trip cost so much money and took so much planning, and I drank it away.

I needed help but I wasn’t ready.  My drinking prior to this trip had already escalated to an all time high.  I didn’t leave my house much so mostly only close family and friends were aware of how bad I had gotten.   The trip shone the light on my drinking for everyone.  I went home and didn’t drink for about a month.  I wasn’t supposed to be drinking so all of my drinking was done by myself at my house.  I think my husband gave up and we went back to “socially” drinking around March the next year.  I remember that time though.  Sneaking vodka in my room.  I had it hidden in my closet.  I would pour it into my diet coke and drink from morning until night.  I remember feeling like I couldn’t breath until I had that first drink.  I remember hating myself a lot.

Memories.  I can’t forget.  As much as it would be nice to go on and act as if I have always been the way I am now, I have to remember.   Sometimes that alcoholism tries to sneak into my head and tell me I’m not really an alcoholic, I was just depressed.  But those memories don’t lie and they don’t go away.  Maybe one day I’ll be able to look at the pictures without my face turning all shades of red.  Not today.

Not Fitting In

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When I listen to other addicts and alcoholics tell their story it almost always seems like one of the first things that drew them to substances was the fact that it helped them feel comfortable for the first time.  They felt that warm feeling and could suddenly talk to people and not feel awkward.  They felt like they had an in and belonged for the first time ever.

Maybe everyone who ever goes through adolescence goes through this.  You find that you can talk to the popular kids with a drink in hand.  You are suddenly funny.  Or cute.  Or charming.  The average age of the first use of alcohol is 14.  People who reported using alcohol before the age of 15 are 4 times more likely to meet the criteria for alcohol dependence at some point in their lives.

It seems we addicts are missing some key component in our spirituality that keeps us sick.  Keeps us needing to be altered in order to feel normal.  We, for whatever reason, cannot feel comfortable in our own skin. That’s a buzz phrase, but I find it to be true for me.

It seems also that this is where the depression comes in.  Not being comfortable takes its toll.  I had a pretty recent bout with it for the first time in a long time.  It was so sneaky how it made its way in.

It was slow. For a few days I just didn’t feel energetic or like doing anything.  I figured I was just tired or the fact that I had a lot going on was catching up to me.  I started binge eating bad foods also.  Replacing one addiction with another.  The bad foods, like the alcohol, are comforting at first.  But food takes its toll on you.  Not just your body, but your mind.

I belong to many support groups for depression and addiction.  It felt like the entire universe was having increased symptoms of depression.  It got so overwhelming for me I had to take a step away.  I literally felt like I was feeling everyone’s pain.  I left a lot of groups and stepped away from my  social media accounts for a bit.  It was really hurting me to see everyone hurting.  Almost like depression is contagious.

I’m saying all of this to say, I know why I used to drink. It was easier to drink and numb than it was to stay and feel.  I was running away.  The big problem with this is maybe I could keep the depressive symptoms at bay by drinking, but drinking was also keeping my happiness and even just my normal  at bay.

Those thoughts that find their way in during these episodes are sly.  I had almost forgotten how debilitating depression is, as I hadn’t suffered any symptoms in over a year.  I felt like I was in a boxing ring and I was losing.

So, what helped me get passed this bout without drinking?

Meditation and prayer first.  If I were depression and I wanted to get to someone, I would make sure they got too busy to do the healthy things.  I would always send distractions their way.

I started moving.  2 mile walks, hitting my Fitbit goal.  If you look at my Fitbit history, you can see where the depression started.

I surrounded myself with family and friends.  In the past, I avoided everyone.  Depression wants you alone so it can tell you life would be better without you.  Being with those you love negates those thoughts.

I spoke about it out loud.  Depression grows in the silence.

I took care of me. It’s not selfish to sleep that extra hour if you need it.  To get the massage, to do what is necessary to stay healthy.  Simple acts like washing your face are big signs that your symptoms are sneaking in.  Wash your face.

It was comforting to know I could get through a bout of depression without drinking.  It takes work, but the work works.  I survived.

66 Days

My son is home now.  I went and picked him up yesterday.  So, my son was in jail for various stupid reasons, but ultimately, he was there because of his lifestyle choices.  He is a heroin addict and sometimes in the middle of your addiction, reason doesn’t win out.  Actually, reason doesn’t show up.

66 days he was incarcerated.  Some of those days, I felt like I couldn’t breathe.  Some of those days I cried.  Some of those days I was just normal.

He missed his daughter’s birthday and his cousin’s wedding.  His cousin was his best friend growing up.  Had he lived differently, my son would have been in the wedding.  They were best friends growing up and inseparable.  Hopefully, as my son gets his life back, this is a relationship that can heal.

I was angry Sunday after the wedding.  I cried.  At the wedding we took family photos.  We did the classic mom/kids shot with me and my children.  We did the cousin shots.  We did the sibling shots.  In the moment I was okay.  The thoughts were there, but I stayed in each moment.  The wedding was incredible.  But man, I was just freaking hurting the day after. Angry.  Not sure at whom.  God? Addiction?  My son?  Family genetics?  All of it I guess.

I spoke with my cousin/friend about all of this.  In the middle of my ranting it hits me hard.  You see, she lost a son 12 years ago.  He should have been in that wedding also.  The 3 of those boys were just trouble and fun all rolled into one baseball.  They were about prank wars and building hideouts and playing baseball.  Amazing how a phone call with the right person can put everything in perspective.

I began letting the anger go.  My son is home now.  He gets to come back.  He gets to try again.  I get another chance to help him be the man he is supposed to be.  Somehow (I am sure through a lot of prayers) my son has managed to stay alive through his addiction.

There are so many freaking quotes and sayings about how to get through tough times.  Guess what???  Life is not a freaking meme.  Funny thing is, I have an Instagram page that publishes these memes.  I’m not feeling all that meme(y) today.

So, feeling my feelings.  A concept I’m still not that used to.  It is getting easier though.  When you drown your feelings in alcohol the way I used to, feelings are just strange at first.  Feeling pretty good today.  I have hope.  I have second chances (okay, probably more like 50 or so chances, but you know what I mean).  This mom is fighting with all she’s got and not giving up.

My son is home and working on his recovery and today he has 67 days clean.  Going to build on that.  66 days of incarceration.  66 days that hurt and gave me hope at the same time.  We’re all in and we’re doing this.happy-family-standing-beach-sunset-time-keep-letters-forming-word-concept-friendly-49113043

My Reasons

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I just finished 13 Reasons Why and I realize there is a lot of controversy over the rawness of this series.  But, guess what?  High school experiences really can be the way Hannah described.

I was in 9th grade when the mob girls turned on me.  I remember telling a friend something because I felt guilty.  (I made out with a guy that had a girlfriend)  I believed our conversation was private.  I realized immediately it was a crappy thing to do.  But, I was 14, he was a huge crush of mine and he thought I was cute.  All it took for this 14-year-old hormonal teen to start kissing back.

I remember it was the last day of school.  I walked into girls’ choir and at least 5 of the most popular girls were there waiting for me.  They began telling me I was a slut and how horrible I was.  They would not stop.  Most of what they said wasn’t even true and they weren’t there when it happened.  That day went with me the rest of my high school years.

I got lucky.  I had friends who did stick by me.  I had a sister that was supportive of me even when I did stupid things.  I wasn’t a Hannah who just moved to the school and didn’t have real friends yet.  I wasn’t a Hannah that had things snowball the way they did for her.  But I could see how it could happen.  I can also see how the story line with Tyler occurs.  There were Tyler’s at my school too.  Luckily, if there was a Bryce, he wasn’t in my circle, but I have known plenty of boys/men like him throughout my years.

Kids are mean – but it really does begin at home.  When do we start realizing this?  If a husband is a bully to his family, his kids will be a bully at school.  If  a mom is neurotic and a perfectionist, her kids will be unforgiving at school.  We really all need to start being nice.  Start treating everyone the way we want to be treated all of the time.  Not just when we feel like it.  It spreads.  It spreads either way.  Can’t we make the nice spread instead of the hate?

Church, jail and Vampirina

Vampirina.  My grand-daughter turned 3 and had an awesome birthday party.  It was Vampirina themed and if you are not familiar with this spooky new character, look her up.  She’s actually pretty cool and tolerable.  I was a big part of the celebration and, unlike 2 years ago at her first birthday party, I didn’t feel like the pariah.  I was actively drinking at that time and not the family favorite.  This party, I heard, “go ask grandma” and “can you get that?” and other things that just made me so grateful to be sober and an integral part of my family.  Counting my blessings here.

Church. Sunday morning service.  I had stayed away for so long it still surprises me that I have this longing to attend.  I sat with my parents which made them really happy.  I got a lot out of the service.  It was about growth and taking care of our crap (my words, not the pastor’s) in order to be able to grow.  I find it remarkable how similar the church message is so close to the AA message.  Good stuff going in produces good stuff growing. Simple.  Not easy.

Jail.  I visited my son prior to church.  The visit was okay.  He is dealing with stuff.  He is in line to be sent to a state funded recovery facility and will be released from jail soon.  I am glad for this.  Still hesitant and hopeful at the same time.  I truly hope this is his turning point.  I am still so amazed that this is our life right now.  This is not how it was supposed to be.  Sometimes I am so sad about all of this.  Most of the time I’m fine.  Doing what is necessary to maintain my sobriety and hopefully aid in my son’s.  Sometimes I just feel like I have been gut punched.  The breath is knocked out of me and I just have to regroup.  There is nothing pleasant about having to drive to jail to see your loved one.

So, this is my new normal.  Birthday cakes, jail and church.  Somehow, they work.  This weekend it will be wedding, barbecue and jail.  That jail part seems to be our constant for the moment.  Ah well.  I am doing it.  I think I am doing it okay.VAMPIRINA - (Disney Junior)

 

3 Day Quote Challenge

Thank you to blogger Manc Girl Missing who has nominated me to do the 3 day quote challenge.  I follow her because she is pretty cool and someone I think I’d love to have a coffee with.  Or tea, she’s from Manchester. I would have said glass of wine but, you know, I’m an alcoholic so….. You can read her stuff here http://mancgirlmissing.com.

I’m late with this because my life has been pretty crazy.  Mostly good crazy though, so no complaints here.

My quote is not really a quote.  Just some words that sit on my desk.  My daughter painted this for me last year.  It meant so much to me.

thumbnail (2)“you are strong”

For a long time, I didn’t feel strong.  I felt like I was just existing and barely.  Funny though, I kept trying to prove I was strong.  I would sign up for races and things.  I ran a marathon.  I ran in an obstacle course race with a bunch of twenty somethings.  I was trying in all the wrong ways to be strong.

My real strength came with surrender.  When I gave up my demons and stopped fighting is when the strength came.  Admitting that I couldn’t take a drink was what held all of the power.

People say you can’t get sober for someone else.  I’m going to call bs on that.  I think initially you get sober for others.  My family is the reason I started going to AA.  I really did not want to.  But, I did not want to lose my family more than I didn’t want to go to meetings.  So, I went.  I think though, that I am truly staying sober for me.  And, for the first time in forever – I am strong.

 

The rules for this challenge are;

♥ Thank the person who nominated you.

🗯 Post a quote for 3 days, and explain why it appeals to you.

🙋 Nominate bloggers each day!

So, my nominees are:

The Girl in All Leopard

A Run At A Time

Walk the Goats

Thanks!