Sinking Deeper

Have you ever been caught in the ocean too far away on the other side of the rip tide?  I was once.  It was kind of scary.  The tide just kept pushing me further and further away from the shore.  I’m a really strong swimmer, but the ocean is mighty and I was no competition.  I tried not to panic and use everything I had been taught.  I could see the shore and people and people could see me, but they didn’t know I was being kept away.   I eventually figured out I needed to get under the water to get back to shore. I had to stop fighting.  It worked.  I let the water carry me to shore.   This was my depression.

I was going through my days and  trying to act normal and not panic, all the while I was sinking deeper into the depression.  Everyone was around me. I knew they loved me and wanted to help, but I just couldn’t get the footing to get to them.  God knows I wanted to.  The depression was mighty and stronger than me.

So, I drank.  I drank to try to feel normal.  I drank to try not to feel.  I drank to breathe.  The six months after we moved were so brutal to me.  The worst part is, I believed the voices in my head.  Telling me I was a loser mom, a terrible wife and a horrible sister and daughter.  The voices that convinced me that my best life was behind me and that I had nothing to live for anymore.  I believed the lies and I believed the fear.  Fear is a liar.  I know that now.  But in those days, I fell for the lies hook, line and sinker.

I had to go under in order to get out of the depression.  That’s how I got back to shore.  I feel like I really drowned during those months.  I had to stop fighting and acknowledge the fact that I was drowning.  Once I stopped fighting, I was able to get pulled back to shore.

I never intend to get caught behind a rip tide again.  I will take precautions and pay attention to what is going on around me.  And if I get caught, I will yell for help and I will not fight.  thumbnail (1)

 

The Big Black Hole

RNFetchBlobTmp_qn4ksd8uors4u6pc3vtakwSo, for years, I drank alcoholically.  I managed it mostly.  It didn’t cause tons of problems and I really only upset my family in a huge way only a few times.  I mean, relationships got strained for sure, but I pretty much kept myself in check.  Immediate family and close friends knew I had a problem.  Acquaintances and not so close friends really didn’t have a clue.  I could go for stretches without drinking.  I was willing to do this forever.  And so, it seems, was my family.  The thing about alcohol, it really doesn’t let you stay where you are.

April of 2015 was a turning point in my drinking life.  It was a turning point in my life.  Not to be all whiny and stuff, but we lost our business, lost our house and pretty much it felt like things turned upside down overnight. I was trying to be a trooper.  Not act like a spoiled brat who didn’t live in a huge house so I couldn’t be happy.  Our disposable income vanished, we were overridden with debt, my husband was suddenly travelling more than ever and I was basically alone to handle a mess of a new house and a mess of our financials.

We had lived in our new home for a week or so when our puppy got out of the yard.  It seems he was able to find every hole in the fence.  Our house backed to a major road that had a lot of traffic.  We searched for hours and couldn’t find him.  We started going door to door to ask our new neighbors if they had seen him  There was a family outside with their dogs so I stepped on their driveway to ask if they had seen our dog.  I never got an answer, two of their dogs jumped on me and the third took a chunk out of my leg.  I just backed up and got in my car.  My husband was driving.

“He bit me,” I told him, trying not to cry.  I pulled up my pant leg and there was this big hole in my calf.  My husband almost threw up.  Off to Urgent Care we went.  I got stitched up, prescribed antibiotics and was sent home.  Later my leg got seriously infected.  We didn’t sue or press charges.  I stepped in the dogs’ territory.  The dog was quarantined for 10 days, neither of us got rabies so all was good.

But it wasn’t.  A week or so later, we got a torrential downpour and the entire downstairs flooded.  Memories, my daughter’s bedroom, photos, just lots of stuff got ruined.  My heart was just hurting.  One Saturday morning, (my daughter’s prom) I got up and just couldn’t stop crying.  I didn’t even know why.   I took her to get her makeup and eyebrows done.  I took some pictures at home but I didn’t go to the place everyone was getting pictures taken.  I should have.  I always had in the past.  I sent a friend who took photos and I stayed home.  And cried.  And drank.

This was the beginning of the end.  The beginning of my 6 months in a black hole.  The beginning of not really wanting to exist anymore.

 

This year has been full of some crap we’ve dealt with.  There is such a difference in the way I handle the crap today as opposed to those days when I was in the dark.  Just going to say, I really prefer the light.

 

My First Intervention

 

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Yes.  We were on vacation.  A pretty expensive vacation in Destin, FL with a lot of people.  My entire family plus a couple of extras (that made 8 of us), my sister’s family, my best friend’s family, and 2 cousins and their families.  We rented this huge house across the street from the beach.  It was beautiful and it was awesome  I looked forward to this vacation for months.

So, it starts like this – my husband was working on a job in Jacksonville, FL at the time, so my daughters and I drove down to start our vacation a few days early.  I hadn’t seen my husband in a while, he traveled a lot, so I was really excited.  The first night we’re there we have a get together with his crew and start drinking.  Vodka and Red Bull.  I didn’t want to drink beer, so I drank something with fewer calories.  Sure.  That’s why I was drinking vodka.  Needless to say, my husband and I end up in a fight.  I don’t remember why but I remember him telling me I was mean when I drank vodka.  This just made me mad. He was drinking it too.  Anyway, we made up, enjoyed the next few days in Jacksonville and headed to Destin.

First night we were all drinking heavily and I got mad at my cousin.  I thought she had slighted me by leaving me out of a round of shots.  It’s stupid, I know, but, hey, I was drunk.  So, I grab my sister and my other cousin and we go walk on the beach.  I hurt my cousin’s feelings because I was being a brat.  Great way to begin the week.

My husband was travelling back and forth between the job and the vacation house.  So I had a lot of time to drink all I wanted.  I started each day with a big cup of wine.  (like 3/4 of the bottle fit in the cup).  By the time we got to the beach I was already on my way to a good drunk and there we just drank beachy drinks.  One day I passed out in the sun and had the worst burn imaginable.  Served me right.  On Thursday night of the trip, my husband took me to the beach alone and told me they were all worried about my drinking.  That my youngest daughter was the one who initiated the conversation.  At first I was so mad that they were talking about me behind my back.  Everyone was drinking a lot.  But truthfully, not as much as I was.  I cried.  Hard, ugly tears.  I told him I had a problem but that I would take care of it.  He told me if I quit drinking, he would quit smoking.  I talked to my kids.  Apologized for my behavior.  We left a day early and my daughter went to my sister’s instead of coming home.  My stomach felt sick.  I did quit drinking that day.  For 2 whole weeks.  Then I started sneaking vodka whenever I could.  As a couple we began drinking again in February of the next year.  We lasted about 6 months or so.

Here’s one I wish I could do over.  Hopefully, we’ll get the chance.

Thoughts that I woke up with

5 Ways to Make Collateral Amends

We’ve all heard of collateral damage. Unintended consequences that occur when we think we only were hurting ourselves. I remember the thought ,”I’m not hurting anyone, it’s my business how much I drink.” Boy was I wrong. I left a whole wake of damage behind me. Of course I have made direct amends to those I had harmed, just like I’m supposed to. But, just as  the damage spread like a virus, amends can be made collaterally as well.

  1. Smile all the time. Seriously. It sounds simple and it is. If you are smiling, people smile back at you and then they are smiling at the next person and you have just spread smiles. It is really difficult to be down when you are smiling. Spread that crap all over.
  2. Give compliments. Not just to those you know. Give a compliment to the cashier at the gas station, the girl at Walmart, or your teller at the bank window. You really aren’t aware of the lasting impression this will make on someone. It’s like the smile only more. You are leaving drops of glitter in your wake.
  3. Load someone’s groceries. Be intentional about it. Every single time you go to the grocery store, find that elderly woman or couple and load their groceries. Not only are you making their day, you are creating great karma for you in your elder years. We really need to lay the groundwork now.
  4. Give someone random a scratch off ticket. I met this 70 year old woman at a prison conference. She taught English in the prison system. I watched her on this Saturday give at least 6 scratch offs to random people. Our instructor, someone who held her door, and the girl at Dairy Queen who took her order. I asked her about it. She kept about $20 worth of $1 scratchers on her at all times and just gave them away. Sometimes people won, sometimes they didn’t. But it was her way of saying “thanks” “have a great day” and “you’re awesome.” It is now my single most favorite thing to do. Spread hope everywhere you go.
  5. Pay it forward. I know you have been in line at McDonald’s and you tried to pay for your meal, but the cashier told you your meal was paid for by the person in front of you so you paid for the next person. That’s all good, but everyone is paying until that one person that just says thanks and breaks the chain. It’s sweet, but kind of silly really. Take it to the next level. Pay for someone’s groceries. Or a family’s meal at a restaurant. Stay anonymous. Do a good deed and leave it there. Don’t post about it on FB to be told how awesome you are. Just do a good deed for the sake of making someone’s day. You will be surprised how much it makes your day.

If we all go around trying to create collateral amends, because really, even if you didn’t drink like I did, I know you were an asshole at one time or another, life gets just a little bit better in the little space we take up. Go be awesome and spread that awesome to everyone you touch.evan-kirby-101570-unsplash

“I’m sorry you had to go through that”

“I’m sorry you had to go through that”

This is the response I’ve been getting from many lately that read my story.  Yes.  I was depressed.  Yes, it sucked.  Yes, I tried to commit suicide.  Yes,  I was pretty dark before I got better.

 

But I’m not sorry.  Before my addiction and depression I was a mom and a wife and a daughter and a friend and a sister and all the labels that one has that I thought made me.  I lived my life letting life happen to me.  I got up and I followed the rules of society doing all those things that a mom, wife, daughter, etc. is supposed to do.  I existed.  Life happened to me.

 

Since the moment I started really trying to heal, I started working on me,  on my spiritual life, on my soul.  I started trying to fill my life and be better from the inside out.  I woke up to purpose.  First, I took inventory of the things I felt made me.  I made a list.  I began getting rid of the things I didn’t like about me.  I began fixing the things I could.  I try to leave every person I come into contact with feeling a little better than before.

I have purpose.  I live with intent.  Each day I wake up with a renewed intention of being awesome.  (and funny – I really am funny)  Prior to my breakdown, life happened to me and I responded to life.  Now, I happen to life, it responds to me.

Oh, yeah.  I almost forgot.  I’m happy.   So, while I appreciate the sentiment, I’m glad that I had to go through that.  I found me.

 

Had a bad day

I mean, we’ve all had bad days.  But dang, this one wanted to do me in.  It was about a month and a half after my suicide attempt.  I was drinking again but trying so hard not to.  I just couldn’t walk out the door.  I kept trying.  I had to get to work.  I kept circling the family room.  The really sad part of this, we had moved, and I hated this house.  It felt alive and like it was always squeezing me.  Yet, I couldn’t get out.  I finally took a deep breath, walked down the stairs to the front door with purpose and ….fell in a pile of dog crap at the bottom of the steps.  I kid you not.  Down I went.  Landed in it.  Purse on my shoulder, phone in my hand and I just sat there.  Crying.  I didn’t move.  I didn’t get up.  I just sat there.  For about an hour or so.

My husband called.  Work called him because I didn’t come in and they couldn’t get in touch with me.  I answered the phone sobbing.  I just couldn’t get up.  I didn’t have any alcohol and that was usually how I managed to get out of the house.  But I was trying so hard not to drink.  I felt shattered.  Like a mirror that fell off the wall and every part of me was in slivers that couldn’t be pieced back together.   My husband was at a loss.  He tried being gentle.  I think he got in touch with my cousin and my sister.  They started texting me.  I got myself back to my kitchen.  I cleaned up and stayed in.  I took a lot of deep breaths and I made it through the day.

People loved me a lot.  That’s how I made it through the depression and the bad days.  I feel like I was loved back to health.  Speak the truth in love.  You get heard that way.

 

Sparkling Facets

“You’re way more than your name! Way more than one label. I challenge you to find ten positive labels for yourself.
You’re a precious diamond, concentrate on all your sparkling facets”
Someone commented this to me a few days ago.  She’s pretty funny actually, I’ll see if I can figure it out and leave her blog info here.
I know.  Man, I know.  I am more than the label.   But the truth is, for close to ten years, even though I was doing all the right stuff, that label was eating me from the inside out.  It wasn’t big, like, oh my gosh I have to drink right now or I’m going to die.  I would have seen that and gotten help right away.  It was slow and steady and progressive.  If a train is coming at you – you jump out of the way.  If a car is coming around the corner, you might get hit because you didn’t see it.  I got hit by the car.  Little signs were there, but I didn’t see them.
10 positive labels
Well, first, I’m not much the sparkly type – so we won’t concentrate on that.
1.  Funny – seriously.  I am freaking funny.  I tell people all the time.  My husband says if I have to tell people, I am probably not really that funny.  That’s not true.  I’m hilarious.
2. Giving – even in my darkest times – I have always been about everyone else.  I love taking care of people – it makes me happy.
3. Loyal – for real.  If you are one of mine or a part of my “tribe”  you are mine.  I will fight for you no matter what.  I will sit with you and hold your hand or listen while you talk about nothing.
4. Smart – okay, I’m not the smartest person in the room, ever.  But I think being aware that I am not makes me a little smarter already.
5. Consistent – I think this is important.  I am consistent in my actions, I am consistent in what I believe.  You know what you’re getting because I’m not all over the place.  I haven’t always been, so it’s important for me to practice this.
6. Reliable – goes with consistent.  I do my best to show up if I say I am.  That means so much right now because for so long I wasn’t very reliable.
7. I don’t know, I’m kind of stuck now.  What I really am though, for the first time ever, is at peace.  Peace came when I stopped fighting so hard to find it.  I go back and remember the incidences because I never want to forget how bad it got when I stopped keeping God first.  I never want to forget how close I was to losing everything because it helps me appreciate the peace that much more.
So, while I don’t have sparkling facets,  I have peace.   So, while I might not be leaving fairy dust behind me, I really hope I am leaving peace.
Check out the britchy one

She’s pretty awesome