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.

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!

 

 

 

 

 

How did it Start?

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I’ve been thinking about this lately.  A little angry with the fact that alcoholism came in and took so much from me.  Angry that I let it in the door.  I’ve been thinking back and trying to remember exactly when I let it in.

I was raised in a pretty strict home.  I never witnessed people binge drinking or “partying” until I started attending parties with peers.  I think it seemed so cool because my parents never drank.  So of course, cool would be the opposite of anything they did.  I had  always had too much to drink when I did drink.  I thought everyone did.  Looking back I realize, maybe not everyone.

After my divorce from my first husband I drank a lot.  I was 24 years old and scared and hurt and a lot of other gross feelings.  I went out a lot (this was pretty new behavior for me –  I was pregnant when I turned 21) and when I did it was always extreme.  To say my behavior was risky would be an understatement.  My sister says I was in self-destruct mode.  She may be right.  But, I had friends and family around me that helped me stay grounded.  I had 2 little boys that needed me and eventually, I got myself straightened out.  I worked 2 jobs, played indoor soccer and took care of my boys.  Life was busy but I was managing.  I drank some, but not everyday.  Again though, when I did, it was always too much.

I met my husband, we had two more children so I became a stay at home mom.  I was a room mother, a coach and all the other things that being a mom involves.  My husband traveled a lot and a lot of burdens of the house fell on me.  Bills, home maintenance, yard work and the kids.  I didn’t drink very often.  Occasionally, (once every 3-6 months maybe) I would go out with the “girls” or we would go out with other couples.  We drank, but not tons.

For many years I was just normal.  (er, well, drinking anyway) Then our social life started changing.  The kids were all older and our friends’ kids were older so when we all got together we drank more.  We progressed and drank a lot.  Friday and Saturday nights were always about going out and always about drinking. We’d have friends at our house and they would sleep there.  We’d go to my sister’s house and end up spending the night there.  Then we started going to the lake with my cousin.  Free-for-all with drinking.  We always started early and if we hadn’t passed out, we ended late.

This is around the time I stopped wanting to leave the house.  Since my husband would be out-of-town during the week or the entire summer, I started drinking during the evenings.  A couple of beers or a couple of glasses of wine.  This soon changed to vodka.  Then, I started drinking earlier and earlier. I would have a drink in order to leave the house.  Then, as alcoholism does, it started progressing.  So, I guess, this is how it started.

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday, Kamry!

 

nathan

So, today is my grand-daughter’s birthday.  I woke up so sad for my son.  Excited for my grand-daughter though.  Her mom brought her by my office and I got to play with her for a little bit.  Her big party was last Saturday and my son missed that as well.  I know 100% it is all his fault, as does he.  It doesn’t make it easier knowing where the blame lies though.

Reflecting on a few things, I realize we are really lucky that we have a good relationship with Kamry’s mom.  That doesn’t mean we haven’t had our challenges, but we always work it out.  One thing that my husband and I have talked about recently is how unbelievably nice Kamry’s other grandparents are.  They could be a lot of other ways towards our family and about Nathan.  Instead, they care.  “How is Nathan doing?”  They always ask.  They don’t judge us for having a son that is a drug addict.  They don’t hate Nathan for fathering a child with their daughter.  They could.  I’m not sure I would be as nice.  We really got lucky.

My heart hurts knowing my child’s heart hurts.  He talked about Kamry on Saturday when I visited him.  He spoke of her on Monday when he called me.  He sounded the saddest that he has been since he has been in jail.  I think he always believed he would be released before her birthday.  I did.  Now it looks like he will be there another month, possible two.  I can only hope that this feeling right here will be what it takes to help him get a stronghold on sobriety and staying clean.  And I really have to say, seeing him clean right now every week is kind of nice, regardless of the circumstances.  We talk about books, his plans and his daughter.  The last few months before he was arrested he was back to using and if I talked to him at all it wasn’t pleasant.

So, today I am a little sad. I give a little nod to the sadness and keep it where it belongs.  I am excited it is his baby girl’s birthday and that I get to help her celebrate.  I am hopeful that this will be Nathan’s big “aha” moment.

 

Happy Birthday, Kamry Anne.  You are so loved.

My Heroin Addict

I read comments about addiction and I keep my mouth closed. I see uninformed posts regarding narcan and I keep my mouth closed. I hear all drug dealers should be sentenced to death and I keep my mouth closed. I see horrible comments like “natural selection” and “let them weed each other out” and I keep my mouth closed. I’m not sure who people picture when they think of heroin addicts, so, I’d like to introduce you to mine.

My heroin addict weighed 7 lbs when he was born.

My heroin addict collected hockey cards and memorized all of the players’ names when he was 5 years old.

My heroin addict cried because his dad missed his 7th birthday.

My heroin addict held his baby sister for the first time and was in awe.

My heroin addict played 2nd base in the little league World Series. Twice.

My heroin addict broke up with a girl in middle school and was so concerned about her that he had me call her.

My heroin addict took his little sister to the father/daughter dance because her dad was out of town.

My heroin addict threatened to beat up a kid bigger than him for picking on his sister.

My heroin addict always noticed if I changed my hair.

My heroin addict was reading at a high school level in 2nd grade.

My heroin addict is loved by so many people.

So, maybe we should all remember, whatever state they’re in today, there is a mom somewhere, with knees bleeding from prayers, that just wants her baby back. Maybe instead of judging, we say a prayer. Maybe we become a bit more educated and help raise funds to help recovery facilities become more successful. Maybe we contact our lawmakers and request more useful laws concerning addiction.

Maybe we try to remember that every heroin addict is someone’s child.