This Too Shall Pass

This too shall pass. 

I feel like I’ve been saying this for weeks.

My intention was to write a positive post tonight.  After all, it’s Mother’s Day tomorrow and my boys and I are going to the Sasha Farm Sanctuary to learn about the cruelty of factory farms, to cuddle some farm animals and to eat some yummy vegan food.

It’s been a really gross week.

My sister has been going through turbulent times with her boyfriend, who is also the father of her 5 year old daughter.  He did something no one could have predicted and completely snapped Tuesday night.  While my sister and niece were sleeping he set the house on fire.  The fire alarms were turned off, but somehow my sister woke up and navigated her and my niece out through the smoke.

I really liked him.  I am so sad for my sister and niece, who will likely never see her father again.  And we are mourning the loss of him– because no matter what he can and will never be a part of the family again.

So I’ve been feeling in a funk since.  And the weather here totally sucks– cold and rainy, nearly every single day.  And work has been stressful– with testing and teachers stressed because I can’t do all of the things I normally do- all due to these USELESS state mandated tests.  They are completely inappropriate for our students and so incredibly time consuming for everyone.

I started to feel positive this evening when I declared to my beef wanting nachos teenager, “I can’t buy beef.”  I used to cook us separate meals (me vegetarian, them with real meat), but recently told them I was no longer cooking meat– but they are welcome to cook it.   After digging deeper into veganism, I realize that everytime I buy meat, eggs or dairy, I am supporting a very cruel industry.  I. Just. Can’t.  I put in a grocery order tonight, but I told my family, “You are welcome to buy and cook meat, but I can’t support that.”

My positivity was drained quickly when hubby came in from mowing the lawn.  He has been upset at our new neighbors for mowing part of our yard and not on the lot line.  I think he said something to him before, but he continues to cut on our side.  Well, it wasn’t a pleasant conversation tonight and I feel like he just waged war on our next door neighbors.  I can’t tell you how icky this makes me feel inside!  And kind of irritated with hubby– WHY does he have to create such a conflict?  UGH– I just feel so gross about it.  I want to write them a peace letter.  I also want them to stay on their side.

It’s Saturday night, and I wish I could feel the joy of having a free night with a day to sleep in tomorrow and exciting fun day to look forward.  All this darkness is casting a shadow on all the good things.  My vibrations right now are so low, I know this will only cause low vibrations to come back to me and cause more friction.

I’m trying to just breathe, because this too shall pass.

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Here Comes the Sun

Today is Saturday and by all measures, I should be feeling so happy.

The sun is FINALLY shining.

I’m finally starting to shed the 10 pounds that I put on since the new year.

I woke up early to make it to my favorite specialty stores before they got busy.  I came home, put away and organized my new things and cleaned up the kitchen.  Then I juiced a bunch of veggies.  And all by 11 am.

My boys are all leaving later to go to a racetrack with scouts.  I have plans with my puppy to walk/run on the trails by the river.  Then… I don’t even know.  Massage?  Finally get my nails done?  Play with my cricut?  Haircut (long overdue)?  Work on some IEPs for work (nahhhhh)..

But I woke up feeling just SAD.  The sad thoughts won’t leave my mind.

I’m sad about my 5th grade students who will soon be off to the middle school.  They are SUCH a great group of kiddos.  They might get into fights with each other on recess and before school, but for me, the are absolutely angelic.   So much so, that when my principal asks if he can observe me 5 minutes before seeing their group, I know I have no worries.  The lesson is seamless, the kids are engaged and all wanting to read or answer my question.  It’s not like this with every group.  Last year, I had three boys and while they were nice kids, I just didn’t have a strong bond.  This group is different, maybe because 4 out of 5 are girls– I don’t know.

I’m sad about my nephew who has a tough life.  He usually has a smile on his face and is  a pleasure to be around.  He lives with his grandparents behind us and I drop him off at school everyday along with my son.  Many Fridays, when I exclaim in the morning, “TGIF boys!!” he responds, “Oh, it’s Friday?”   I always thought this was odd.  HOW CAN YOU NOT KNOW ITS FRIDAY BOY????   Well, DUH….  for kids with a hard homelife, the weekend can be downright brutal.  I should have put two and two together, and finally did yesterday morning.  How sad.  He’s a great kid.  I pray that he continues to do well despite a hard home life.  I pray that when he and I have deep conversations, I can convey the message that he can be happy and successful, and can be strong despite the hardships he’s endured and continues to face.  And I cry for him.

I’m so grateful that he lives so close and spends a lot of time at our house and can goes on all the scout trips with my boys.  I dread the day that his mom gets him back and moves away.  My heart will always ache for him.

And it’s been a sad couple of weeks at work.  A retired teacher lost her adult daughter last week suddenly.  A former student of ours (who was now a 9th grader) passed away on Tuesday.  The rain wouldn’t stop falling and lunchroom conversations were political and depressing.

I was hoping that writing all this out would help– but I still feel like I need a good cry.

I’m thinking of the happiest memories throughout my life.

That time in my teens when I was going through a turbulent relationship and I would escape to Indian Springs and rollerblade the 8-10 mile track.  That made me SO happy.

That time that hubby went on a shake diet and lost a bunch of weight and started to run with me.  It lasted all spring and summer, and boy he was FAST.  I could never keep up with him, but I still loved it when he accompanied me.   It was the summer my mom died, but still I think of that time and those memories of us out together was so happy.  Especially up in Tawas on the new trail by our cottage.

Last spring brings back happy memories of waking up at 5 am to walk/run before work and then going for an evening bike ride with hubby.   It felt SO good to be out and moving when the sun rose and again as it was setting.  I never felt so alive- and going to bed with my Garmin showing anywhere from 12-20 miles of this earth being covered was so rewarding.

Do you see a theme here?

I think I’ll feel better after being in nature today.  Until then, I’m going to feel all the feels.

It’s ok to feel sad.

Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It’s all right

 

 

 

Stuck in this Relapse

This is what I wrote shortly after my last relapse 7/28/18:

The good news is that after drinking several days this past week, I am so incredibly excited to get back on track.  There is so much misery to active addiction– physically, mentally, spiritually.  I miss the AF me!  I cannot wait to get back to being physically active, strengthening my spiritual practices and living with that feeling of peace that comes from being substance free.  I’ve proven that I can do it and be happy and free ❤

It’s about 3 weeks later and I’m still not back on track.  Still drinking nightly, still not exercising, working mildy on my soul with readings and my 12 step workbook.

WHY is this important?  Because when you kill the momentum with a relapse it is HARD to get back on track, beyond hard.  It can make you do crazy things.

Like… here is something crazy stupid.  Two days ago I woke up with a new resolve to STOP the drinking.  I had a full box and a box 1/4 full of wine in the garage.  I could throw away the 1/4 box but didn’t want to WASTE the full box.  So — what did I do?  I gave it away on my local Buy Nothing Facebook group.  I did not want to throw away a whole unopened box and thought that a normal drinker may enjoy it…

The Buy Nothing site requires you to creatively gift items and not just give to the first person who responds.  So I had people comment with a number and the number closest to mine by 5pm won.  I felt slightly guilty for giving away something that I know is an awful toxin- but was hoping that a normal drinker would win it and truly enjoy it– not all one sitting.

The girl who won was ecstatic!  She had just bought a camper and had a girl’s weekend scheduled and said it would be the perfect addition.  I felt so good about it!  She asked to pick it up the next day.

That night the wine witch started screaming at me and I still had all that wine in the garage.  I should have dumped out the 1/4 box I had left but I didn’t.  I decided that I would drink that and then stop (that’s funny).

Well I bet you could guess what I did next.  I opened that box that was meant for the winner of my contest.  WHO does that?   The entire time I was thinking about it and then opening the box, all I could think is how INSANE the whole situation is.   Insanity is another name for my addiction.

I try to learn from each relapse and setback.  I don’t think I ever wrote about the details that ultimately lead to my decision to open that first bottle.

My nephew was staying with us for the week before Boy Scout camp and the scene around our house was typically chaotic.  I was scheduled to go to scout camp and then up to Tawas immediately after for a girl’s weekend celebrating my sister’s birthday.  I was excited for the girl’s weekend and hubby kept remarking the week before that after having my nephew for so long and Boy Scout camp that it was a well deserved weekend of fun.  I was pumped!

Two nights before the girl’s weekend, while I was at camp, BAD things were happening.

At camp it was an ice cream social followed by a dance party.  My nephew (who is a part of the troop and who I was responsible for) kept disappearing and I learned that he was wanting to start a fight with another boy on the dance floor.  My own kid is very docile, I’m not used to dealing with this type of situation.  It was a highly stressful night– no fights ensued but I was on edge the whole time.

After the dance party we all got ready and went to bed.  As another parent said goodnight to the boys, we learned that my nephew was not in his tent.  It wasn’t a huge deal, he was sitting with the other troop that we shared the site with at the fire– but again, he was supposed to tell someone where he is at all times.  I had to have another stern talking to him and deal with some disrespectful actions.

As I laid in my cot my frustration grew.  I was annoyed with the disrespect that my nephew showed me and that I couldn’t enjoy myself because of the added stress.  I was also annoyed with my body.  I have rheumatoid arthritis and had been doing great (which I attributed to 100 days clean of alcohol) but my body was beginning to deceive me.  My shoulder and foot had progressively gotten worse throughout the week and were now throbbing as I sat in my annoyance.  WHY? I thought, WHY now, WHY here?

I wasn’t close to being ready for sleep so I reached out to my sister and let her know that I was SO excited for her birthday weekend.  Her text back let me know that there has been a change of plans.

Her daughter, who had just found out that she is pregnant, had most likely lost her baby.  My niece was beside herself with grief so my sister cancelled the girl’s weekend and arranged for us all to be at the cottage together to help console my niece.

While it made me sad and anxious, I knew that there was nothing I could do about it and accepted it.  As it turns out, by the way, she found out a couple weeks later that the baby was fine, but we had no idea of knowing that at the time.

I then texted my hubby, as we normally chatted before bed.  I didn’t like hearing what he had to say.

He had some news also.  His sister lost her kids for at least 12 months.  One of her kids is my nephew who was at camp with me.  My hubby had to get interviewed by CPS to let them know where he was at.  We were just so relieved that CPS didn’t come to camp to question my nephew.  I was so sad for him knowing that his life was about to change and he had no idea.

All this SHIT— WTF?????

I don’t know if it was that night, or the next day, but I made the conscious decision that after camp, when I got to the cottage, I was drinking.  My sisters weren’t too happy to hear (even though they are drinkers–they know my struggles and my journey).  I was completely ok with it– or so I said.  “People are losing their kids!” I shouted.  “I’m not going to stress over a few drinks!”

I knew it wouldn’t be a one night thing.  Hubby’s vacation was the following week and I thought, well I blew it– might as well drink on vacation too (because who doesn’t love hangovers, headaches, anxiety and the shakes when you are on vacation).   I thought after his week off I could focus on my sobriety.

And here we are, 2 weeks after his vacation and I’m still in this cycle.  I don’t even want to quit today.  I DO want to quit sometime soon.  Just not today.  Maybe I won’t be able to this time.  Maybe it’ll turn into day drinking and waking up with the shakes.  Maybe my liver will fail and I will die a slow and painful death eating my words about just a couple of drinks.

To my family, I am sorry.  I am doing the best that I can.

To anyone who is reading this, if you have clean time cherish the heck out of it.  If it’s 1 day, or 10 or 100– cherish every single day.  And if you are thinking you might relapse, think about how hard the first few days were.  The first few days are always the hardest and will always be so hard regardless of how much sobriety you have.  Folks, people relapse after years of sobriety and die from it.  This is real.

Don’t let an event– or series of events out of your control make you think that you have the right to give in.  That is your addiction taking advantage of you– and he/she will!  I’m quite certain that with every piece of bad news I received, Betsy was doing a happy dance in my head.

The only thing that I can promise is that I will always be open and honest about my journey, no matter how ugly the truth is.

I do have hope that better days are ahead.

drug_rehab_recovery_more_successful_if_treated_for_30_days_or_more

 

 

 

 

Kicking Negativity to the Curb

It is Friday morning and we are getting hit with A LOT of snow.  Therefore, my entire family is home.  They closed the kids’ and my school district and hubby is working from home.

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This was a very happy snow day because they called it the evening before– so all alarm clocks were turned off and we relished the thought of a three day weekend.

Only, as I stood in the kitchen making dinner, I didn’t feel happy.  Do you know that nagging thought in the back of your head when something is bugging you greatly or when something has gone wrong?  I had that thought & it overshadowed any joyful thoughts.  I consciously wondered why I felt like that– nothing major is going wrong in my life– maybe just an accumulation of small things.

For instance, I’m in a situation at work where I have to have an uncomfortable conversation with another adult.  I’m not looking forward to it and have been putting it off all week.  It’s something that I really shouldn’t have to deal with, but my principal is slightly lackadaisical, so some of these issues fall on my shoulders– at least if I want them to get resolved.  Now I’ve put it off another day and will have to anticipate it going into a new week.

There are a few other things going on, similar to this but not work related.  I won’t bore you with details– they’re nothing major– just little things that create stress.  They should get resolved soon but I don’t have control over them and that itself is creating stressful feelings.

There in the kitchen, as I thought more deeply about these things that are bugging me, I gave myself a pep talk.  That did help my mindset.

I fell asleep ok, but woke up around 3 am and my mind was running.  My body was exhausted due to a month long cold/virus I’ve been fighting and some insomnia this week– but my mind was wide open.  Sometime in those early insomniac hours I realized what my big problem is: Mind. Body. Spirit.

Folks in recovery talk about the healing of the mind, body and spirit and how each is essential to overcome addiction and to live a happy life.  I couldn’t agree more and usually do conscious and unconscious routines and rituals that support each of these areas.  I realized that my mind, body and spirit were all in a state of negativity and distress– all three of them, and all at once.   No WONDER I’ve been in a state of negativity– not just while making dinner– but for the past 2 weeks.

This cold/virus that has limited my energy, lack of exercise, not walking outside (due to the weather and my cold), not sleeping well (lack of exercise and not feeling well), not going to my 12 step meeting (due to family conflicts that were unavoidable), dark and dreary weather, cold and itchy skin, lack of fresh fruits and vegetables (produce choices have been awful at the store so I’ve been buying and eating less of the good stuff), work stress, and feeling disconnected with certain family members have all contributed to this state I’m in.  And as I write this out, it is CLEAR how the mind-body-spirit health is ALL connected.

Now it’s time to kick negativity to the curb!

I researched this morning to find out how to grow and strengthen each area.  This is what I NEED to do:

  1.  Exercise.  I’ve always known that this keeps me sane.  I have to accept the fact that if I can’t run outside with my dog, I can still do a 20 minute treadmill walk/run and/or yoga routine.  I HATE doing the treadmill because my pup just looks at me sadly the whole time and I feel like I’m betraying him.  I will try to get out for a walk as soon as possible (when they clear the street after this storm) because there is great value for me to be outside.
  2. Meditate.  I’ve failed at this many times.  Each time I vow to spend even just 5 minutes per day, there just doesn’t seem to be time.  I will make time–even if just 5 minutes!
  3. Diet.  As spring gets closer, the produce will get better and it will be easier to eat whole foods.  Until then, I will either get produce from a specialty store if I have the time or buy frozen if not.  I NEED to get more produce into my diet– or at least start juicing again to get some of those nutrients.
  4. Vitamins.  I will continue to be sure to take my daily regimen of vitamins and supplements.
  5. Meditative Writing.  I just learned about this while researching this morning.  This sounds like a fascinating idea to me.  I think it will be beneficial and therapeutic– especially if it helps to get some of the negative thoughts out!
  6. Spirituality.  I don’t plan on missing any of the 12 step meetings in the near future.  Missing two in a row was hard.  This meeting and discussion helps my spirit grow.  In addition to this, we have two Scout Sundays coming up in February (at different churches) and my youngest and I have a “God and Me” scout class for the month of February.  I don’t attend church regularly, but am excited for all of these religious events this month.  I would eventually like to find a church to call home.
  7. Build Connections.  I need to make more time for family and friends.  I DO have some events coming up with family and friends to look forward to.  I need to make sure to continue making plans after this busy month.

I think that this is a pretty comprehensive list.   I don’t want to make a schedule or regimen because I lack follow through.  What I want to do is to journal each night with reflective thoughts of things that I did that day to strengthen myself and things that I plan on doing the next day– or anything differently I would do the next day, etc.

Notice that all of these things are written in the DO form.  There is nothing that I can’t do when implementing this plan.  I am simply adding practices to my life– not taking away anything.

I am confident that the more practice and habits that come out of this will cause the negativity energy to get pushed out and more positivity will get pulled in.

I am ready for a healthier– and therefore happier journey ❤

What are your go-to activities when you feel like you need more positivity in your life?

Update:  Right after writing this I began to make breakfast.  Immediately I felt lighter & happier.  My clothes even seemed looser 🤔.  The power of the mind is an amazing thing & just mapping out a plan for change had a positive effect 💜

For more information on improving body, mind and soul health, visit:

https://www.motion-effect.com/personal-growth/how-to-strengthen-your-mind-body-and-soul/

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/kate-snowise/3-ways-to-deepen-the-conn_b_8905658.html

https://www.doyouyoga.com/25-simple-ways-to-balance-your-mind-body-and-soul-17694/

 

Two Against One

Saturday February 3, 2018

This has been a gross week– all of it.  On Monday I was looking forward to my women’s twelve step book study group after work.  As I was getting ready to leave, I found out via hubby’s text that it was our son’s Court of Honor at his scout meeting that night and I was going to be given a pin (so there was no way getting out of it).

I was bummed, this meant I would have to miss my weekly meeting.  I don’t always deal well with the unexpected, I am a planner– and this was definitely unexpected.  The scout events had been on our family’s Google calendar, but I had recently deleted all of the events off of my calendar because my boss let me know that he could see my events. (I am still trying to figure out how to keep my family and my work calendar completely separate– Google is not always a friend of mine!).

SO…  I got home, did chores like a crazy person (because going to scouts meant I’d be gone for most of the evening) and took my laptop so that I could get some work done during downtime there.

On a positive note, it was a very nice ceremony and I ended up getting all of my work done while there 🙂

During the drive home, Betsy started yapping at me– straight out of nowhere.  I’m not sure if it was partially because I missed my meeting and/or just stress of having to change plans at the last minute– but she was ON it.  I would have totally stopped if I didn’t have my whole family in the car.

Tuesday was fine and Betsy kept quiet.  The urges from Monday were gone!

On Wednesday, it was another busy evening.  My oldest had a swim test and lifeguard lessons at a school an hour away.  I had to rush home from work in order to meet my hubby in time to get him there.   On the way back, I stopped for a quick dinner with my youngest.  Betsy started her nagging again.  Wine sounded good.  The whole time we ate dinner and during the ride home it was a tough mental battle.  I was determined not to stop for wine with my kid!

We got home– where I thought I was safe because I was home for the night.  I finished my chores before 8:00 and the mental battle was still going on.  Finally I said F-it!  Loaded the little into the car and drove to CVS and picked up a box of wine.

I didn’t even want to drink.  I kept telling myself that it didn’t even sound good and I didn’t want to wake up with a hangover, but the mental battle was too much.

On Thursday, I saw my therapist.  I was 100% honest about my week, drinking and my thoughts.  I told her that I would drink every night until the point of passing out and that it would last until the box of wine was gone (about 3-4 nights).  She was empathetic and told me that many people who stop drinking DO go through periods of drinking and sobriety in the beginning.  My mind heard that I had her blessing to keep drinking that box of wine, so Thursday night I drank again.

These nights of drinking were not great nights.  The wine tasted bad and I isolated from my family.  Both nights I didn’t even really want to drink, but it did keep my mind quiet.

On Friday at work I considered not drinking.  I thought I could take a break and just let the box be halfway full for a night or two.  I gave myself a list of reasons why my Friday night would be so much better if I didn’t drink.   By the evening hours, Betsy wasn’t going to let that happen.  I gave in, thinking that I would be done with the box soon and could accomplish another sober stretch.

I went out to get some wine and my box was turned backwards.  I thought that was weird.  I picked it up, expecting it to be half full, but it was empty!  WTF– did I drink THAT much the night before?  Then I noticed a note on the front.  It said “I love you! ❤ ❤ ❤  What should we do tonight?”

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My hubby always complains that when I drink, he loses me.   He is right.  And you might think that this situation made me really mad.  It didn’t.  I felt happy.  I suppose if I had REALLY wanted to drink (and like I said early, I didn’t but was just giving in to that voice), I would have been upset and probably would have driven up to the store to get more alcohol.  I don’t remember Thursday night, but am guessing that I had a conversation with him telling him how miserable I was drinking– but HAD to finish the box..

Well, I thought.  I guess I’m not drinking tonight.  I sat next to him on the couch after that, and told him he had better shut off his computer and give me some attention, lol.

For the longest time, I have been fighting this alone.   Talking to people at meetings is great, but they aren’t there when I’m at home and a mental battle is going on in my head.  It’s like I have two voices– me and then Betsy, my inner alcoholic voice.  For the first time ever, I felt like it was US against Betsy– two against one.  It was an uplifting and empowering realization.  My hubby is a normal drinker and I spilled my guts to him via my blog last month.

He listened.

That was part I of Friday night.  Part II was really weird and felt like a sign.

We were chilling in the living room when we heard loud meows.  It sounded like one of our cats, so we were looking all over to see if he was ok.   We discovered a black cat on our porch.  The weather has recently gotten really cold and I had never seen this cat before.  I went out and he was shy but came to be when I called him.  He wasn’t even close to being a feral cat– he was extremely affectionate.  Surely I couldn’t leave him outside to freeze!

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I locked my animals in a room and let him inside.  I offered him some food and he gobbled it up– all of it.  He was cold and starving!  Knowing he needed shelter for the night, I set him up in my oldest son’s bedroom with food, water and a litter box.  He was a little ancy when we went to bed, but settled down and was snuggling with my son in bed.

Around 4 :00 am, this cat (Sylvester– the boys had started calling him) got REALLY wild.  He was clawing at the shades trying to get out.

I let him outside– hating myself for it.  Knowing that he would probably be lost in the cold.  I watched for him and listened for his meows– all morning and all day long.  He hasn’t come back.

So, it’s been a sad Saturday leaving me wondering why this cat came into our lives and then left so quickly.  It felt like a sign last night that he found us– but now what does it even mean?  He reminded me of my childhood cat, all black and affectionate with scabby ears.  Was he a sign, sent from someone?

I wonder too much about the WHY.  I used to question my journey with alcohol and how it relates to my life constantly– trying to find the purpose.  One late night, I was in a meditation prayer.  I received a message, I believe from Him that was very clear.

“It’s not your job to wonder why.  Just trust.  Trust.”

That message DID help me not worry so much about the why and just trust the path.

I am trying to do the same thing with Sylvester.  Maybe it was just by chance he wandered onto our porch.  I have to trust that I did what I could and that’s all I can do.

I hope you find your way, precious little kitty soul ❤