Coming out of the Fog

It was an adventure, always an adventure. From the moment I opened my eyes at daybreak to the moment I closed them at night.

It was fun, it was exciting ;I was a warrior, a princess, a soldier in the military, I was a counselor, a teacher, a mediator, an actress and I was invincible! I was a child full of life.

For the first twelve years of my life I had built in boundaries; a safety net so to speak. My father was in the military so for the most part we lived on military bases.

For some reason no matter where I went I felt safe.

When my Dad retired, we moved, I mean really moved. We moved across the country, away from relatives, away from everything that was familiar to me.

No boundaries, my parents were done parenting (it was all they could do to adapt from living military life to the life of civilians), Dad facing surgery, looking for a job and my 12.5-year-old hormones were raging. The equation went like this; sense of adventure plus no boundaries, plus no parental attention plus raging hormones equals boys using drugs. So I became a girl using drugs with boys using drugs.

That was my life for the next 12 years. I was quite the functional drug user, I was. I was the one called on to hold the drugs, I was always the designated driver, even though I was as messed up if not more than my companions. I remember waiting about 20 minutes for the red light to turn green before I realized I was at a stop sign. But I continued to always be chosen as the designated driver. I was the CARETAKER. Imagine that. Perhaps it was due to all the years I watched the polished discipline and control of the Marine I called my father.

I could lie like nobody’s business and make up a story to get out of everything. I got caught at school rolling a joint (out in the open on the steps leading to the gym) and convinced the principal not to call my parents. I should have been arrested on more than one occasion. It was like I was a chameleon, I could become whatever color would make me blend into Normal and hide my addiction.

Sobriety came after I married my drinking buddy. It wasn’t until I stopped using that I realized he was an alcoholic. Again, I think it was the Marine that saved me. It wasn’t because he said or did anything; it was the example of being responsible that he set before me. Being responsible meant paying bills on time and cleaning up the messes that the alcoholic left behind.

My skill in lying came in handy again. Now I had to lie for the alcoholic and get him out of his messes. I couldn’t let him see how his abuse was slowly destroying me, slowly killing the adventurer, the warrior, the princess in me. I was polished, disciplined and in control. I was becoming a robot programmed to whatever the alcoholic wanted me to be. I was a shell void of life. As a result, I became whoever, whatever people wanted me to be.

When I finally left the alcoholic, I thought I would get my life back but it wasn’t very long before an addict came into my life. The addict now has 7 years sobriety.

I am coming out of the fog and realizing I need to find me and become me again.

I have been caught up in the crazy world that is a relative of addiction-it’s called codependency. To be quite honest-it has been harder and far scarier to consider leaving this world than it was to leave my substance abuse behind.

It’s messing with my mind and emotions on a daily basis.

 

It hurts down to the very core of my soul. I fight within myself everyday-it’s become like an obsession.

I reason myself out of it everyday. I try to convince myself that it isn’t true but the pain from remaining in it is just as painful as the steps to break free.

I heard some words from an old 80’s song the other day-it’s become my motto-my mantra. “We can take forever just a minute at a time” Bee Gees (More than a Woman)

Just do life a minute at a time-stay in the moment. It feels so similar to overcoming my addiction but it is SO different.

It’s so hard to explain but it also is explaining so much about why and how I became an addict at such a young age and why I married an alcoholic and why my life has been so, I don’t know, I just don’t know what it has been.

I am coming up out of the fog.

Perspective

Perspective

 

So having been verbally, mentally, and emotionally abused and rejected by people with addictions, you might think I would be inclined to write a blog bashing them.

Not only the above but lied to, manipulated and of course they stole things-valuable things.

I should be angry, bitter, filled with resentment towards them….but I don’t.

You might think that I am a fool or pathetic or that I’ve lost my mind.

That’s ok, that lets me know you just don’t get it. Today, that is ok with me.

I’ve learned passing judgment is a waste of time and energy.

Do you know their real story, what makes them act, react, use, abuse? Have you walked in their skin and in their mind?

I’m not saying we should accept their evil ways; the hurt, pain, and stress they cause us. It’s NOT ok.

Sometimes what I want to is explain addicts to a society that only knows how to judge them.

I don’t know but today that’s what I want to do.

I don’t want to tell you this so that you feel sorry for the addict but maybe that the next time you won’t feel the need to judge.

Addicts sort of fall in an obscure dimension.

They aren’t considered mentally ill (although many of them do have a mental illness) or physically ill. They aren’t considered to have a disability.

If the addict comes forward and admits to their addiction, it often comes with shame and fear attached to it.

The shame comes from the judgment and the stigma attached to being an addict.

The fear comes from the ensuing pain as they withdraw and everything they have to face that they have been avoiding.

They feel trapped, alone SO LONELY.

It’s almost like they are stuck in a programmed autopilot; destination-self destruction.

What exactly is it that they really need

A friend would be good. I mean a real friend that knows how to love in a healthy way, with healthy boundaries. One that is willing to speak the truth in love (not anger). One that is willing to share life and not impose it. One that will never leave, forsake, or abandon them. One that will not tolerate abuse, manipulation, lying or any of their other unhealthy antics but will expose it when it is happening-again in love and not anger.

They have to know that you are safe.

They want stability.

Most of all they don’t need you to judge them or assume that you know what they are feeling, thinking, or what they want or need.

Believe it or not, they know what they are doing is wrong and most likely know what they should be doing but struggle with that on a daily basis.

I was married to an alcoholic, a VERY abusive alcoholic.

I didn’t know anything about alcoholism. I tried al-anon but I didn’t understand the program and no one there offered any information. I was so embarrassed, lost, confused. I didn’t know what to ask and by all appearances I should have known what I was supposed to do. I sat in a room where I saw women knitting, saying negative things about their spouses…same thing every meeting. I didn’t see that it was helping me at all so I stopped going. I tried another recovery program but my husband tore the workbook up and threatened me if I went back.

People don’t understand why women keep going back to their abusers. That’s a blog in itself and I will visit that.

I’ve learned a lot since that marriage. Yes, I did leave him eventually. It was more to protect our children. I knew they deserved better and feared for their future.

But, I’ve learned a lot about addicts and addictions.

As I’ve said many times about many things…I wish I knew then what I know now.

Maybe I can help some to never have to say that.

Tragedy should not be expected

 

So sad, so very sad!
When we read about someone that died from a drug overdose.

It didn’t have to happen’
Those that knew the one that overdosed will say they tried to stay in touch and offer their support.
Isn’t that what we all say about the addicts in our lives…we try to stay in touch and support them.
Stay in touch makes sense; we naturally stay in touch with friends so our addict friends should be no different –right?
The support part, well that’ a bit different with addicts isn’t it?
We tend to support from a distance; a safe distance. If we get too close we might get pulled in by the tremendous magnetic force that addictions can have. It’s sort of like the same effect a strong ocean current has on you when you desperately want to get to shore but it keeps pulling you farther and farther in its direction. Farther out away from the safety of the shore. So we support from where we feel safe.
For some addicts it is too far away.
Ok, so we hear all the same stuff…they have to want it before they will stop.
Let me ask you a question-do you REALLY think they wanted to become an addict.
Do you REALLY think they are enjoying the lifestyle of an addict?
Do you REALLY know what that life is about?
Have you ever searched obsessively for money and even considered stealing; breaking into houses to steal just so you could get your next (whatever you needed)
I mean really (stop using or, go to jail for theft or burglarize a home and maybe get shot and go to jail)
They will lie to you, steal from you, and manipulate you with their stories (they are master story tellers aka liars)
They will sell their children and their own soul.
But, you see, addicts don’t think about those things. They are obsessed with only one thing. So why do they choose all the risky behaviors. Why do they spend their days where every other thought is about the object of their addiction?
Do you REALLY think living like that is more DESIRABLE than living a life full of well, life? Why do they continue to live such a miserable life? They, very SIMPLY put, have lost control.
How did they get there?
It can start by the desire to fit in.
Maybe they were forced in to it.
Maybe it was an initiation rite.
Maybe it started out recreationally.
Some people are more prone to becoming addicts.
Some chemicals have a greater potential to be addictive.
The farther you get pulled in to it, the harder it is to get out.
I would like to propose a challenge to you. Think about your favorite thing to eat or drink or your favorite activity. Try stopping it for a week.
Try not eating ANYTHING with sugar in it for a week. (Almost everything has sugar in it). Are you a coffee drinker? Try it-no coffee for a week. And remember, addicts can’t start back up after a week.
Now that you have stopped-don’t hang out with the people that are still doing those things.

So you might be asking. What’s the point?
The point is that I can tell you that NO ADDICT is enjoying being an addict. They have so much to hide from; all the secrets they have and all the lies they are telling.
You may think it is as easy as choosing say, to go to a movie or not, to stay in your job or get a different one, to buy a new outfit or wait for a sale.
It’s not that easy at all.
Well , you say, when it gets bad enough they will stop-they have to hit rock bottom. Sure that helps but when life gets more manageable after they stop then the desire for that feeling comes back. It can haunt you and beckon you like an old lover. Taunting with old pleasurable memories. The pain of the addictive lifestyle fades and the temptation to use again is hard and heavy desperately trying to pull you back in. Then other stresses of life start to create a pain that you want to escape from and you start to think that it was so much easier being an addict. At least you could get away from the pain.

In all honesty as much as addicts are such liars, once they allow you into their heart, which is imprisoned, you will find an incredibly sensitive person with an amazingly beautiful heart. Maybe you just might be the one that can be the difference in their lives.

Are You Kidding Me

“It hits you in the stomach. The feeling fills you up-that gut-twisting hang wringing anxiety that is so familiar to..… It is what causes us to do much of what we do that hurts ourselves. It is the substance worry and obsession feed upon. It is fear at its worse. Fear usually comes and goes, leaving us in flight ready to fight, or just temporarily frightened. But anxiety hangs in there. It grips the mind, paralyzing it all but for its own purposes- an endless rehashing of the same useless thoughts. It is the fuel that propels us into controlling behaviors of all sorts.. We can think of nothing but keeping the lid on things, controlling the problem, and making it go away.” This is an excerpt from “Codependent No More” by Melanie Beatty.

I used to have these dreams where I would be under water and I was struggling to get to the top so I could get air. Somewhere in my desperation for air I would take a breath and I could breathe; I could breathe water. I was no longer struggling to get to the top for air. I would just swim around and enjoy my surroundings. I knew I still needed air but there was no urgency.
I think recovery can be sort of like that. When you are involved in the addictive behavior you are desperate for air. You spend time seeking alternatives to air because the struggle for air is too painful and scary. Are you going to survive-make it. It takes up mental energy that just isn’t to be found. When you quit, its like being able to breath under water, you know things are still not right but its better than using and its kind of nice to hang out there awhile. I think the second part of recovery is like the journey to get air after you’ve found you can breathe under water. It’s necessary to sustain life but it’s still a struggle to get there. So you can kind of avoid the struggle for a bit until it starts to get you in trouble again. The second part of recovery is emotional healing and learning healthy life skills or unlearning all of the unhealthy, destructive behaviors/ attitudes, etc. Sometimes we can believe that stopping the addiction is all that is needed.

Personally, I went from being addicted to a substance to trying to survive being married to an addict and then to having a family member that was an addict.. I learned how to act like everything was okay. I learned how to clean up the messes. I learned how to fade away. It was no longer me that lived in the body suit that used to house my soul.

I love reading. I love everything about it.
I love the smell of a new book; the feel of the pages; the way the binder creaks.
The first day of school was always exciting to me because I couldn’t wait to see what new books I would be getting.
Having said all of that, I am currently reading six books.
The 6th book I added to my current reading list is one I swore to myself that I would never read. In my mind the book was for other people; it had nothing to do with me. The people that recommended it to me just really didn’t understand me
It’s about a topic that makes my stomach turn when I hear the word. Codependency.

If I had the choice to be called addict or codependent, I would much rather be referred to as an addict. I mean they are both pretty much the same thing. It’s just that one is less obvious. So, I have to rationalize the similarity because I am just not ready to come completely out of denial yet. The mental image I have in my head of a codependent just doesn’t fit me.
Its kind of crazy but I won’t hesitate to tell someone that I was once an addict but to say that I am codependent.  Are you kidding me?  I don’t think that will ever call myself codependent. I’ll come up with a new word.
I will admit though that I do have MANY  symptoms of a codependent.
I was shocked at what gave me the realization.
I read a chapter about attachment issues in Melody Beatty’s book and it was all about ME.
So, I have discovered that I am still swimming around under the water and I need to come up for air – I need recovery from all of the unhealthy ways of living that have kept me so empty of myself.
I now know where the addiction hijackers took me. I have been living in the basement of codependency for a very long time.
I am going to start swimming up out of the water to get air and get life back in me.
To be honest, I think it will be much harder than it was to stop using. It’s quite frightening.

PLEASED

Pleased to meet you.

Pleased you have taken the time to visit.

Pleased that you are you who you are.

Pleased for what you offer to this world.

Pleased that you have chosen to continue with life and be a part of this puzzle we call life where every life matters because every life is a piece of the puzzle and if one piece is missing then the puzzle will never be complete.

So pleased and so grateful for every life, even for the ones that have yet to be birthed into this world.

Pleased for all the colors and elements of life.

Pleased!

Surprise“Creativity is  continual Surprise” Ray Bradbury

Nature promises new surprises everyday. It almost appears as if the IMG_0420Stamin are suspended in water and the petals appear like feathers.IMG_1243

Who I am and why I’m here

I am currently discovering who I truly am meant to be. I hope to share my journey so that others that may have been or are currently involved in the world of addictions can maybe find a way out or be inspired to get out and get healing. I would love to start a new kind of treatment program but other responsibilities would prevent me from that at this time. I want to do what I can do now, which is to write. Maybe it will evolve in to being able to start that program.

A Different day, a different time, the same feeling

 

 

I had someone rage at me yesterday

It doesn’t matter who or why just that they raged while I sat calmly but inside me I was quickly curling up into a fetal position.

I wanted to escape. I wanted to get up out of my chair and run just run as fast as I could to nowhere. Where none could find me.

But I sat and first tried to reason but that brought on more rage. So I curled up on the inside and hid my face from the arrows that were flying out of the mouth that was raging. They were pointed straight at my heart. I tried to squeeze up on the inside into a tight ball to protect my heart but some got through anyway.

Just be quiet I told myself and it will end soon.

And it did end and it was over but I knew it was only the end for that day.

The next day as I tried to accomplish a very simple task-the frustration of the whole automated phone customer service black hole created that same rage inside of me. But I don’ t rage outwardly. It’s all inside and I want it to get out. I want to escape to nowhere and never come back. When rage becomes physical and/or verbal it gets out and it’s gone. The emotional rage in me has nowhere to go-it stays. I am not a violent person but I want it to get out of me-out of my heart.

I want to thrash about and make it get off of me but there is nowhere to go to get it out.

I want to go to a beach and feel the sand make it hard for me to walk. I want to go in the ocean and have the waves knock me down so I can get up and thrash and hit the waves as they come at me. I want the water to impede my motion so I have to use all my effort to move against the waves. I want the water to exhaust the rage within me so it gets off of me and out of me. But I don’t live near the ocean so I sit as the rage bounces and boils within me. I feel like a prisoner in my cell of rage with nowhere to go to get away from it. The door to freedom is locked.

I used to drink and drug and that was my escape but I learned that was only temporary. When it was over, everything was still there and sometimes it was worse.

This subjection to rage was my life when I was married to an alcoholic. Every night I went to sleep I wondered if I would be alive in the morning. When I woke up, I couldn’t wait until he left. My heart would begin to pound and race when I heard his truck drive up in the afternoon. I never knew what to expect. But, I learned very quickly how to slow my heart and be calm and cheery and hope that would prevent the rage that I knew would soon be walking through the door.

And so I learned a new way of surviving. I learned how to act and hide and clean up messes. I learned how to plead and beg lenders to give us, “one more chance”. I learned how to be and play the part of a victim, happy wife, happy daughter, daughter in law, and mother. I learned how to hide me. And later…I lost me.

It’s been about 27 years since I left that alcoholic but I still deal with post traumatic stress and I still haven’t shed many of the behaviors I learned during that time.

But I continue to recover and I am letting go of the persona I created for survival little by little, day by day. It’s a hard walk just like it was to quit using. And honestly, I just recently realized how much of me was still locked away. I still have so much fear that if fear were a color I would be the darkest shade possible.

I will tell you this. Even though I am older, I know this journey to find me will be amazing

I have so much hope for me and I have it for you too!

Whether it’s to stop the addiction or stop letting the addicts in your life consume you or recover from the post traumatic stress of the world of addictions or all of the above…please walk this journey with me. Hand in hand, heart to heart.