my wish on this Mother’s Day…

memories of harsh words I regret are here once more

as I packed all my things and slammed the door

already fragile barely speaking to one another

completely destroyed us not hearing each other

devastated by your drinking I was merely a teen

why couldn’t you choose me instead of being stuck in between

it was this time of year Mother’s Day Weekend

you came home for three days but I wouldn’t bend

I was left on my own to figure things out

“what the fuck is wrong with you” were the cruel words I’d shout

how could I have known the plan for your life

only five years you had left and we lived them in strife

we had mended some though it was never quite the same

a constant battle of frustration guilt and even shame

the morning I got the call “your mom has just died”

I could’ve laid down right beside you as I sunk to the floor and cried

it had to be a bad dream this lady whom I was just getting to know

in all of her misery and struggles her love for me continued to grow

I knew your best was all you could give

because of you I was learning to live

it has been an amazing road with three sons of my own

on this day alone for the first time since they are pretty well grown

with lives they have all created we share a bond unique and true

built on the love you once offered that still carries me through

I think of you often mom you are implanted in my heart

how blessed I am that you gave me my beautiful glorious start

mom I always loved you I really need you to know

I cherish every memory when I think of you I glow

If only I had one more chance  just to say

would you hold me in your arms and take this pain away

I miss you more than ever your daughter with an empty space

letting your spirit go so I can get to a better place

I think you’d be proud of the lady I’ve grown to be

over bumps detours and struggles the rocky road I am set free

our small town’s huge celebration is forming in the warm sun

the beating of the drums fire trucks floats horses the rodeo such fun

more difficult to hold than the day you went to heaven

even when you were born

my heart on this day is still completely torn 

untying my guilt I have carried for so long as I listen to the sound

a new chapter in my life my feet firmly on the ground

uncomfortable in my aloneness deeply wanting to share in this day

with the Man that I love is all that I can say

to set the new tone for this time of year

toasting your life and lift you up by celebrating in cheer

 

 

 

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fear is just a lie…

The tears choked back her words, but she managed to get them out. Through the sorrow and pain from a deep, past hurt, she spoke as if thirty years were just yesterday. I sat in absolute silence as I heard my own sadness spewing from her lips. Reminded me again that I am never alone in this life. Whatever my problems, there are always those who have had some of them too.

With her final thoughts through tear soaked cheeks, she gave a deep sigh and thanked everyone for listening and holding her heart. From across the table, I looked deep into her eyes and gave a genuine soft smile full of compassion that said how much I understood. Her grief prompted what came from me next.

The topic was perfection, one of my least favorite subjects to look at because there is truth revealed. The all-consuming state of being that stole my ability to just be me. It robbed me of a higher self-esteem I once possessed as it birthed the fear that would direct my lack of confidence from that day forward.

Inside, my little (baby girl) was tucked deep away where she felt safe and hidden from the world. Inevitably, big was growing up right along with that fear while perfectionism was consuming her life. The deep voice over her shoulder, the constant procession of his cruel words stymied her from rising up to her potential. How long does a person exert such power over another?

As long as I allow it…

Fast forward to my next thirty years, “Why is fear your default place to go to with me?”, he asked me one day. I could not come up with the answer, but it gave me such great pain and anguish from childhood that I chose to look at that. How can you understand me when I can’t even understand myself, I soon would discover. Fear is the go to familiar hiding place that won’t allow judgement to seep in if I remain quiet. I can be invisible if I don’t go to the finish line where no one will tell me, I could have done better.

That is fucked up…

The ironies of three states of being, contradictions in a sense…

fear + perfection = paralysis

FEAR: an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.

PERFECTION: 1. The condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects. 2.The action or process of improving something until it is faultless or as faultless as possible.

PARALYSIS: the loss of the ability to move (and sometimes to feel anything) in part or most of the body, typically as a result of illness, poison, or injury.

awareness + acceptance + action

AWARENESS: knowledge or perception of a situation or fact.

ACCEPTANCE: the action of consenting to receive or undertake something offered.

ACTION: the fact or process of doing something, typically to achieve an aim.

 

Construction underway…

I find it amazing, the core of deceptions that have been taking up space rent free for most of my life without my consent. Yet until now, my eyes have been shut to their existence. Through love and concern, honesty and caring, support and encouragement, that fear is beginning to dissipate. In bringing it to light, my protective glasses removed, at last I embrace you, in order to rid myself of your lies and deceit.

Truth is my friend…

Underneath it all is this incredible human being, capable of all things she chooses. She has legs to stand upon, a spine to keep her straight, the ability to conquer what comes before her, confidence and courage that dictates authenticity, a heart that is filled with honor, a soul abound with mercy and grace, and an abundance of love that carries her through everything.

Walk  beside me…

The road gets narrow, sometimes the path is long, but keep looking ahead, forever onward uncovering and discovering every blessing along the way.

nothing changes if nothing changes…

 

How often I have heard this, expression I guess it would be called, and used to think what does that really mean. It caused me pause and many moments of contemplated thoughts. It seems like a fairly short and simple statement to grasp. However, one would need to be willing to change in order to understand and appreciate the value in these words.

Long ago when my life was a living hell, full of chaos and uncertainty, my attitude was all about change. If only he would adjust to my ways, life would work better. Why can’t she see my point of view and do things better. I expected the world around me to make all the sacrifices so I would be more comfortable. How well that worked out for me.

It all came down to choices I soon came to find out. You mean I can choose to live this way or that? These weren’t the lessons I was taught. I observed and learned from my first teacher to accept everything as it was. Changing things was not an option, enduring them was the only choice. What a grand way to start a life with these amazing broken tools.

Off into the small world I grew up in, I learned to isolate early on. It was safer to stay inside my four walls of comfort where no one could reach me. I needed be invisible so I could remain the same. The only thing changing was the natural process of me growing up, while my insides became more confused.

The small town I grew up in wasn’t very different from when I was a young girl to the time I graduated high school. I was content but as much as I thought I wanted to break out, I was afraid to leave. One day my best friend and I thought that a change would do us good. So we took a leap, packed our things and moved 50 miles away to the closest city. One with a shopping mall, fast food on every corner and a freeway.

Feeling quite mature and somewhat more free, we discovered there was more to life than working at a fast food chain, cruising the loop of our tiny little town on the weekends, sunbathing at our favorite swimming hole and hanging out with the guys because there was nothing better to do. Content yet bored, there had to be something better than this.

We both found new adventures waiting for us as we parted ways geographically, but remained best friends even still.  That would never change. Both of us got married within a few short years, one month apart. Added together we had five sons between us. While she stayed happily married and in the same home with her wonderful, little flourishing family, I was in a constant state of change. Oh the roller coaster this man took me on. What other choice did I have? I was stuck.

By the time we made a circle in all the different small cities over a period of six years, I found myself right back where it all began. The familiar smell of the pine trees, clean air, majestic mountains and now two stop lights, I was back home. A place I never wanted to return. Happiness was this place in my rearview mirror, for a brief moment in time.

Come to find out later, all this moving around was merely us running from ourselves, me escaping me, but everywhere we went, there we were, he was and I was dying inside. Back in my what once was my safe haven, I began to hide out once again. This is my life. Deal with it, and that I did. Miserable and breaking, angry and unsatisfied, I found ways to survive.

My sons became my only source for joy and a means to escape from the turmoil residing within. My focus completely on them while I waited for their dad to change so I might feel anything other than hopeless. obsessed with his comings and goings, the frequencies were happening more often now. His drinking consumed him and I was losing myself as I sunk deeper into the darkness of despair.

My best friend’s home was my only means of refuge, but it was now two and almost a half hours away. That required a skillful way of scraping enough gas money together to load up my three joys and run away, at least for a weekend. The ease I felt just being there. In the presence of what I could only imagine normal might look like. The tension I carried seldom allowed me to relax. The five little boys with all their energy, exhausted me, but my frustrations and tears were understood here.

Dread set in every mile I drove to return to that place I now called home again. What other choice did I have? I felt trapped, unloved by this man I chose to marry. After all, if he truly did love me, he would change. The play was a continuance of my childhood just with different actors now. I was destined for this life that contained people who were consumed by the drink.

A martyr was born. She was always in there, but now she had blossomed and played her role well. Forced to come out of the background when my oldest son started school, I actually made a few friends. How refreshing and at the same time, foreign to be in the company of some positive energy. Soon I couldn’t get enough and found ways to be around it more.

I wanted to be like these seemingly happy people, so I soaked up what I could and held on tight. Not knowing what or how it happened, but I felt a little spark inside that shifted something. I think it was the possibility of thriving instead of surviving. Maybe there is a way. For the first time, I began to hope.

Six homes, a one year separation, multiple disappointments, constant let downs, agony, defeat, his DUI and arrest, a brief period of homelessness, fearful and hopeless, many years later, ten to be exact, I came to a crossroad. I realized it had been me all along that needed to make a change if I wanted anything to actually be different. I chose life, but what did that look like?

I had only ever known misery and it was a demented, familiar comfort. I was petrified as I walked in the door. A room full of strangers in a make shift church, but in a strange way I felt at rest. “You didn’t cause it, you can’t control and you will never cure it.” I was hooked and relieved. Those three little “C’s” gave me the freedom I had longed for my entire life. Those that were consumed by their addictions weren’t going to change unless they wanted to. I was soon going to find out that no matter what I did, I was just not that powerful.

As long as I continue to do what I have always done,

I will continue to get what I have always gotten

growth

Nothing changes if nothing changes…

 TBC…

 

 

 

 

 

part 2, continuance of possibilities…

…dawn was streaming in my window

out my window

I felt like I hadn’t even slept as I hit rewind on the hours that just passed. My mind was trying to start the rationalizing and debates of what direction might this be headed while my heart said hush, just enjoy the time. A good morning text chimed in to interrupt my trail of thinking. “Had a great time, was just thinking of you. Off to breakfast with my daughter now.” (heart~1, head~0)

By that afternoon my body begged me to rest. I decided a nap would replenish me. It was early evening when I unexpectedly,  heard from him again. “Just woke from a much-needed nap. What are you up to?” I revealed to him I had as well. We LOL’d one another and made a plan for dinner. “My place?”, he asked. My mind was reeling. The answer was of course yes. Vegetarian pizza and some old episodes of Frasier was on the menu. A perfect night in the making.

Not knowing what to think or rather trying not to think too much, an hour later, I arrived at his place. Both of us a little nervous at first, within the next hour we were eating and sharing memories of silly things. I can’t necessarily remember the content of it, but does it matter? The night soon turned to dark and we were both dozing on his oversized, sectional couch. Here we go again, it was after midnight and neither of us wanting the night to end.

“Let’s go to bed.” A phrase I commonly heard at this point in my few relationships of the past. That was what “normal” was to me. Why should this time be any different? However, I was about to find out, it was. My jeans trickled off by my own hands, while my panties remained on. He offered me a t-shirt of his, which I graciously accepted. I felt my chest pounding wondering and assuming what was coming next.

Into his oversized cal~king bed we climbed. We met in the middle, clothes intact, an arm wrapped around me, a second warm, soft kiss and a whisper, “good night.” I laid there awhile in awe of this man. So gentle and kind, am I dreaming? I told myself, this is not how this goes, is it? The battle began, I tallied it up, (heart~1, head~1) as I drifted off to sleep.

There we were, awoken my the daylight we were not ready to greet. To my amazement, our clothes were still on, as his arm found me again. “Mornin’ ” were the only words he uttered. A groan escaped my lips, “mmm hmm.” Back at it, right on cue, the challenge of my body’s nemesis was on. They were merely quiet long enough for me to sleep. (oh just shut up, my inner voice told the both of them)

At this time of my life, I had come to believe in God, but had not yet been saved. This man had been six years ago and was a faithful member to a church as well as the recovery rooms. Up until that day, I had never been involved with anyone on such a spiritual plane. He asked me early on if I was ever interested in attending a church. His back door way of inviting me. To my discomfort, I quietly declined, not knowing that had a deep effect on him. Frankly, I am certain he hadn’t realized it yet either.

After our first night, there were many more of the same. Soon we were up to three or four nights a week where I found myself pretzeled up with his body. As we explored without crossing over to a place I felt ready for, he held strong to his beliefs. At last a conversation came. This was a man who stood by his convictions about sex. He went on to share how in his life, sex hadn’t been sacred to him, but when he accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior, he changed his ways. His restraint was impressive to me and I wanted to know more of how he arrived there.

In getting to know him better, he divulged that he and his brother were raised by his single mom. His earthly father lived in the city, specifically in the Haight/Ashbury district back in the day. Living a life of multiple addictions. A man with no scruples in his son’s eyes, had fathered multiple children.

Devastated by this, his mom also turned to substance abuse, but by God’s mercy and grace, she found sobriety. He went on the explain how different his role became within this family of three. I learned from this man, that a son’s relationship with his mom becomes that of a protector in the absence of a father.

I was beginning to see that as truth in my own three sons. Another attractive quality of his was the utmost respect for how my sons viewed our blossoming relationship and the effects on us four. He once encouraged me to ask my youngest son, who was really the only one remaining at home, how he felt about my being gone and where I was. To my surprise, his reply was, “I just want you to be happy mom”. ((sigh and a tear or many))

Our time together remained the same yet growing with intensity while loving and tender, gentle and kind. There were hours of laughter, sharing and caring, fellowshipping and support. He quickly came to learn of my, back then, new choices of eating habits. This man was a model of fitness, playing on a men’s softball team for six years already and working out at the local MMA where he had his first competition during our time together. He was dedicated to his body; physically, mentally and spiritually. All the things I was striving for as well, a somewhat balanced triangle.

A memory sparked my heart the other day, reminding me that I am such a girl and love every bit of being one. We stood in line at the grocery store one evening, purchasing an array of healthy treats and dinner fixin’s, when I looked up to find his back to the cashier, he was just staring at me. I felt the blood rush to my cheeks as barely a sound left my lips, “what?” A grin formed on his as he leaned over to whisper in my ear, “You are so beautiful.” With a brush of a kiss upon my warm, red cheeks. I let out a sigh, still in wonder what was happening then a quick check on the scoreboard. (heart~2, head~1)

We were seemingly a good fit. Compatible, spiritually connected to a degree, both working on the broken parts of the partitions of our hearts, enjoyed each other’s company, respected the others boundaries, difficult at times lying so close on those special nights, practicing new behavior, and oh yes, fun! So what happened?

Over the somewhat brief period of time we had together, he came to the conclusion that in fact, my lack of Christianity, or at least being a strong believer, was creating a hindrance in our growing together. There was no blame involved on one or the other, but something was lacking now. This would be my first introduction to partners who are unevenly yoked. Only that time it was I who lacked the faith needed for strengthening on my end. Final tally time (heart~2, head~2)…

head and heart

It was a graceful parting of ways although not what either of us really wanted, yet it felt necessary at the time. Likely more for him, story of my life, but I carried on. As most endings, time was needed to heal the emptiness that now existed and when it did, we were able to salvage our friendship. Though we didn’t spend time together anymore, our paths continued to cross in the hallway once again. He no longer warmed a seat in my room, but remained faithful in his own.

Then one day we saw each other in a new light. Both of us had moved on. I was at the beginning of something that was new to me, unsure of what was happening really so I felt fine about conversing with him. He had attempted to rekindle his prior relationship. Just as before, he realized she was still not the girl for him.

I had gone to a concert at a local vineyard one night with a girlfriend and had received two texts from these two men, each asking for some time later that evening. Choices! Oh my, what a predicament. My friend was in both disbelief and awe of it all.  Excitedly she asked me, “what are you going to do?!” “I am going to dinner with you first and then I will ask God what to do!” She giggled, “I wish I had this problem!” This was a first for me. A little unsettling, but at the same time, power retrieval for all those old times I had endured in my life. These two men, unbeknownst to them were a deep part of my healing that night.

power

As promised, I asked God for His guidance and when I felt the peace wash over me, I knew. I made a choice to see if a reconnection was there. It was as if no time had passed, though plenty had. I was not the same girl I had been the last time we spent time together. Though his house was different, the routine we had established was the same. Immediately upon arriving on his front porch, I felt comfortable. After about an hour of catching up, to my surprise, he revealed that he was moving six hours away. Is this why the Lord had guided me here? To go back and leave again under new circumstances?

Once more I found myself in his t-shirt, my panties and his big comfy bed with all the cozy pillows and those arms that held me so safely. As we drifted off to sleep, it was clear to me that this was our final goodbye. I had no regrets or even sadness around this, I was in complete acceptance that we were exactly where we belonged.

It was summertime and he was moving ocean side where he had gone for his annual softball tournament for the last seven years by that time. I was genuinely happy for him. That Christmas he tried to coordinate time with my schedule for me to come visit for four days, but no matter how hard we tried to move things around, there was no solution. We decided to quit forcing it, then came to understand when and if the time is right, it will work out smoothly and easily. That was a few Christmases ago and now we only check in with each other once in a blue moon, or in our case during a full moon.

There were multiple lessons and growth that flourished from that relationship. He was indeed a special friend and teacher that crossed my path on this wonderful journey called life. I took every opportunity to tell him how special he was and still is to me. The amazing thing to me is, he voices the same blessings back because that is the man he has become.

How grateful I am to have found the Lord and continue to seek in Him as my number one relationship in my life for without Him, I am nothing. He is the One who has softened my heart and smoothed my edges. Through Him I have learned tolerance and contentment. He has taught me about forgiveness and love and that at the end of His day they are all that should ever matter.

love and forgive

 

 

 

possibilities…

peace

As I walked in the side door, he stood there at the drinking fountain. There was a long pause as he looked up at me, water still pouring out, a smile emerged from his face, “You always look so peaceful”, were the kind, gentle words he uttered. “I do?” Slowly I made my way down the cold and quiet, yet serene hallway. The grin never left his lips. “Thank you”, I said and found I could not stop smiling back.

I had seen this man for some time now in the building, but never really had a conversation with him outside the rooms. Still hanging my lace teddy on his compliment, I walked through the door to my room that held the source where I found that peace and comfort he spoke of.
As I settled in, the door opened and closed, one by one the chairs began to fill up. I had my back to the empty one next to me for a moment and suddenly I heard a familiar voice ask if this seat was taken. “Only by…” I stopped mid sentence, I didn’t finish my thought and he sat down. The meeting was starting and my mind was racing. Did he belong in here? Anyone is welcome to qualify themselves to attend, but still I wondered. Is he another meeting hopper here to pick up on someone? God, not him too.
Sitting there, listening to the preamble begin, first the welcome, then the steps, traditions and obstacles, followed by announcements, introductions and seventh tradition. Now I know his name and he knows mine. My mind drifted back to a few years before where a similar situation occurred, minus the drinking fountain encounter and the tender moment, something was familiar just with a different actor this time.
Back then the scene was me alone, already in the room,  wondering if I was the only one showing up that night.  When suddenly a man my age entered and immediately took the seat next to me. Two more ladies showed up and we began just as we did on this night. After the closing, this man asked me where I had been hiding. I thought, if we weren’t at a recovery meeting, this would have been a weak pickup line. I politely answered and two nights later we found ourselves back in the same room, only this time he had brought a friend. Afterwards, he tried to introduce me to this other man, but I immediately let him know he and I had already known each other for a long time. Before I knew it, I was being swept away to dinner to spend a very pleasant evening with these two wonderful men.  Life was becoming fun again.
By the end of that evening, phone numbers were exchanged between this new man I had just met two days prior and by the end of the week, we had gone on our first date. Within a week’s time, we had become inseparable, introduced our children to each other and vowed we were “going to do this differently than either of us had in the past”. What we meant by that was, we won’t rush into anything. We will take the time to get to know each other. Until our humanness got the best of us and the marathon sex began. I think we lasted almost two months, but to this day we have remained friends.
“Would you like to share tonight?” I heard the words and was nudged on my arm by this new man sitting next to me, “your turn”. Quickly I was brought back to the present moment, “yes,  hi my name is…”. I can’t recall the topic that night or even what I spoke about, but when I was finished, he was next. As he spoke, I heard more than words coming from his mouth. There was wisdom and a surety in his voice that was refreshing to hear. I thought to myself, now this is a man who is working it and walking it, not faking it and talking it. All my preconceived notions of his motives and intentions disappeared.
He stayed on this side of the wall for the long haul. His dedication to recovering himself was very attractive. He was getting it and it showed. I saw him more often as he became a grateful, faithful member who warmed a chair weekly and shared his heart. I found myself looking forward to not only hearing what he had to say, but seeing him across the room.
At some point, the flirting began, but we didn’t take it beyond that. Could this truly be a divine connection? Is this actually how a healthy relationship is formed? I had no idea and I was starting to think neither did he, but the attraction certainly was there. This man was not coming at me, sexually charged or playing any games to fuck with my head. Week after week it was apparent he was showing up, same as I to dig deeper into the process of healing and healthy choices.
He was offered the phone list, which also contained email addresses. It started with an email. “I hope you don’t mind, I just wanted to say hi.” My heart raced. He took the time and effort to reach out and connect with me. “I didn’t want to use your phone number without first asking you if I could call you.” I was hooked. It had been a long time since a gentleman had stood in front of me.
The emails while he was at work quickly transitioned into regular daily texts. “You make my day float by.” “I love to soak up that peace and serenity you have.” They went on from there. We were now getting to know each other on a personal level outside the place where we share ESH, pain and the like with others. Were we establishing a friendship? Maybe this is what Mr. Dreamy, as I so affectionately called that last one, were wanting to try but failed at.
This was all strange to me because I only ever knew what it was like to jump right in and be in a relationship. He had me at, “You always look so peaceful” and I was willing to wait this time to see what we could really be.
There was a big speaker/potluck meeting coming up and we both wondered if the other was attending. For whatever reason, we didn’t make a plan to go together, but instead committed to going. This taking it slow arrangement, though it was unspoken, seemed to work for us. However, I was becoming impatient, as my old behavior would dictate. We saw each other and immediately hugged, because that’s what everyone in the rooms do.
The night went on as we listened to the shares of the presenters tell their stories of what it was like before recovery, how their lives have changed and what life is like today. I almost felt like I was back in high school, waiting for the cute boy I had my eye on, ask me to dance so I could go home, dream of him and write his name all over my binder at school.
Well, there was no dancing this night and it was quickly winding up, while I had hoped we might make a coffee date to end the evening with. The large crowd soon thinned out and we found ourselves outside with a few lingering bodies. It was in that instance I realized this man is more timid than I imagined as he approached to hug me goodnight, I thought, “that’s it?”
He got in his truck and I in mine. I saw he had a friend with him to take home and I did too. There I was, sitting in my truck wondering what to do. I decided I had nothing to lose and maybe something to gain, so I shot him a text, “coffee after we drop our obligations home?” Without a hesitation his immediate reply came, “I’ll pick you up in thirty.” Now I really did feel like a school girl again.
Just short of kicking my gal pal out of my truck at the bottom of her driveway, I raced home to freshen up, just as I saw his headlights pull up. By now it was ten o’clock and I couldn’t have been more excited. Was this finally our first date? I had no idea what to expect and I didn’t care. Here it was again, fun to be had.
We kept up the pretense of getting that coffee and then went for a drive. Talking for hours as he continued to drive across the county line and back again. By now it was midnight and we stopped in one of our small towns to walk around. Gratefully we found one open bathroom and as we got to the door, he insisted on checking the stalls to be certain no one was in there. I got the green light and while I was in there, I couldn’t help but think how amazing he was and how safe I felt.
He opened the door for me and we climbed back into his truck once more. “Where to now” I asked. “I don’t know, but I don’t want to take you home yet”, he said, and we drove into the night. We had stopped for gas and before we knew it, the clock struck three a.m. Regretfully he announced he was meeting his daughter early for breakfast and should probably get some rest. A walk to the door, a big hug goodnight and there it was, a warm soft kiss. Walking up the stairs to my room I thought once again, is this what healthy looks like? I’m sure I don’t know, but I had hoped to find out.
healthy relationship
TBC…

 

my own ESH (experience, strength, hope) or (extra special help) your choice…

lost

Self abandonment is something I am all too familiar with. We go way back, abandonment and me. For most of my life, I would put myself, needs, wants and desires on the back burner. It may even be safe to say that rarely would I be found on the stove. Growing up in a dys~fuck~tional home of dis~ease and addiction, I often had to find my own means of support, both emotionally and spiritually.

When I was two, my daddy had left us (me) and by the time I was seven, I knew mom had succumbed to her allergy when she became a full-blown alcoholic. Albeit still loving, slowly but surely her dis~ease robbed me of yet another parent. I typically found other means of seeking out comfort that I lacked now from both a mother and a father. A whole new description of abandonment developed.

I quickly learned I had to start growing up and fast. Try as I may to remain a child that I deserved to be, it was clear that I had to start learning to take care of my own needs. That meant that at ten, I babysat for extra cash so no one could tell me what I could or could not spend my money on. At that young age, I didn’t need materialistic things. The bonus was that it got me out of the house and temporarily away from the madness. Mom was a good provider in that our basics needs were met. She wasn’t incapable of sustaining employment. In fact, she was “highly functional” in her state of sickness and successful as a state employee. I did know she loved me, because she told me often.

So where was the lack and neglect? When she remarried I was seven and suddenly all her focus and attention was on this new man she expected to be my replacement daddy. Soon after is when the mental and verbal abuse started. The sting of abandonment, now enhanced. Mom cowered down to this man and never protected me. Her choice was evident who was more important and the burdens of an adult were now placed on this child. Suddenly I was now expected to carry them and take care of mom’s emotional state. I witnessed the demise of this lovely lady whom I once proudly called mom.

By the time I was a mid~teenager, I had been working for nearly six years and had the maturity of a young adult. I had responsibilities placed on me that were never age appropriate, but I lived up to them to the best of my abilities. This is the precise period of my life where I began to lose touch with my own self. It was as though I was forced to abandon my own thoughts, for fear of the ridicule and demeaning attacks that came with making mistakes. The message sent, received and delivered was, YOU are not good enough. Do better and MAYBE you will be loved, but only if you earn it.

Well, fuck. Order the party hats, hang the streamers, blow up the balloons and bring the popcorn, welcome to my lifelong pity party! What a party it was. I remember it starting at about age seventeen and lasting until maybe six years ago. No wonder I am exhausted keeping up those appearances that served me well for a very long time.

Let me back up quite a bit to my late teens where my own dys~fuck~tional relationship patterns were born. As I sought outside myself, seeking in others for my emotional fill-up needs, I was always led to the most unavailable sources because that was all I knew. I was drawn to and gave a free pass to those who would make me work harder for their love and attention. It was the system I witnessed that my mom created and we lived in. It seemed to work for her, it was familiar to me, so how was I to know any better? I continued to endure the verbal abuse and eventually even some physical. By now the pity party was in full force. Remembering often the message, “YOU are not good enough, try harder, be more, then maybe you will be worthy of love”. It was ingrained on my brain. Dance little princess dance.

Alright, I managed to escape my LTR from high school, but only because the next white knight flattered me enough to lure me away from my current abuser. The blood hadn’t even dried on the back of my head that went through the wall when I announced it was over and I was onto the next chapter. More balloons, streamers and cake please. This one is the one I can count on. He rescued me after all. He must love me for me. So he drinks more than I am comfortable with, smokes pot and snorts some white shit “once in a while”. I would never partake in that nor was it allowed at my pity party. However, I was determined that this guy was all I dreamed of and he would not be like the others because he would change for me. I AM that special and powerful, no matter what the old tapes playing in the background keep repeating. That is actually comical as I think of it now.

In the very beginning of this relationship I had lost my mom to a tragic, fatal car accident. I was twenty-two and devastated. She was my mom and despite everything, I loved her. By the mercy and grace of God, whom I had no relationship with, we had been mended with paperclips and scotch tape, but at least we “liked” each other again. That was my first introduction to detachment with love and acceptance. She was a beautiful soul who was caught in the cruelty of a horrific dis~ease. I stopped blaming and forgave her.

A year passed and I married this man after committing myself to complete self abandonment and promises to live in denial of the truth. Eighteen years and three amazing sons later, I filed for divorce after a tumultuous relationship with this alcoholic. The skills I took away from that chunk of my life were those on survival I had fine tuned. I became an expert in control, manipulation, managing, shaming, blaming, overcompensation, perfectionism, and oh yes, the party continued as prescribed by me. Except now, I began taking hostages in order for the celebration to carry on. Since all of my needs failed to be filled by any and all outside sources, my master skills were now serving me well.

The next one was on deck prior to the soon to be ex husband vacating the premises. This new man was simultaneously going through the same motions as I was. A match made in heaven, yes? Oh Lord I prayed this one was my final hero and savior here on earth. By this time I had come to terms with a lot of emotional pain and effects from a lifetime of abuse and neglect. Not only from those who were supposed to love me, but myself included. If I could not treat myself with the love and dignity I deserve and cherish all the blessings bestowed upon me, how could I be worthy of receiving more?

It was at this moment in my life I had found the rooms of recovery. A saving grace that welcomed me with open arms. I stumbled in, broken and shattered, depleted of all my self-worth, value and love. An empty shell that had been emptied over the course of nearly thirty years at that point. Pieces of me now strewn about, so scattered and left behind, hopeless and full of despair, how would I ever be put back together again? Angry that I was in this place where dys~fuck~tion forced me through the iron doors. Confused and frustrated why I was the one in need of changing and fixing. After all, I was not the one with an addiction problem that fucked up the lives of everyone they touched. Or so it seemed.

The newest man I was sure to be Heaven sent, scolded me and said he would not be able to see me as long as that husband was still in the picture and the house. That was enough incentive to light the fire. A few short, but long agonizing weeks later, he was out of the house I was happy to report. Done. Now will you love and cherish me? Five months later, we too were done. Meanwhile, I continued to show up in “those rooms” I was so resentful to have to be in. Little did I know, the message was seeping in my stubborn skull. It leaked in with every word I heard as it sounded like my own story. For every ounce of wisdom I allowed to creep in, I cried a bucket of tears. I knew where I belonged and I never left.

The balloons slowly deflated, streamers and hats disappeared one by one and the candles were finally blown out. A new party was in the works as resentments lessened and gratitude slowly replaced it. At some point I told my pride and ego to take a hike as they were no longer of service to me. I was becoming empowered and equipped as my faith grew and was humbled by the ESH of others. I came in because of them, the sick ones, I stayed for me, the real sick one. That was nearly eleven years ago. I have been asked why do you still go there? My answer is always, my life and emotional sobriety depend upon it.

As I dove head first into this new discovery that was teaching me a better way to live and love. I finally reached a point in my life that I began to make sense to me. I could admit I was a walking wounded, but not beyond repair and certainly worth every bit of work I willingly put into it. I found hope and courage, but more importantly, I established the two most important relationships I never thought possible. One with myself and the other with the God of my understanding.

In February of 2011, my beautiful, once filled with life twenty year old nephew died of a heroin overdose. He was as close to me as my own three sons. I thought my heart would never recover. I was again devastated by another loss. I hit my knees like never before. Lord, how much more are You going to remove from my life? I cannot fucking take one more tragedy. Enough, I yelled to the sky! It was in that depletion from my heartbreak that as I became angry at God, I drew closer to Him. I quit fighting and resisting His comfort and chose to walk with Him. I became devoted and fully trusted Him for the very first time. At that moment I obediently turned my will and my life over to Him. I was saved.

By this time I had suffered enough pain and loss that I was not willing to open my heart for another to come in and risk damaging the repairs that the Lord had mended. I continued to seek Him out in everything and relied on Him solely. My life began to change. The healing was coming from the inside out. I poured myself into the spiritual world of recovery and found balance for the first time in my life. Relationships were also being healed and brought to fruition because I have learned to cultivate them with God’s blessings and my offerings. I prayed for His wisdom and guidance for my life. Then one day shortly after losing my nephew, there was a new brokenness presented in my life. It came in the form of a human man.

I was blind to his presence in the early days as I was in turmoil and grief. My blinders were on, heart guarded and I remained obedient as I waited on the Lord to keep filling me up. At some point, this new man very subtly found his way through a crack in my heart. For the very first time in my new life, I didn’t seek out a man to fill my emptiness. I talked to God often about His intentions and will for me. Did You send this man for a reason? The answers revealed were, yes and I was to pour into him the abundance of love the Lord now fills me with because He has promised me an everlasting supply.

Over the course of our friendship and relationship, I have never given up on the man who God instructed me to encourage, support, lift up and love. He has taken my brokenness from me and undone what has harmed me. He has restored my heart a multitude of times. He never gave up on me and always waited patiently for my cooperation. Because of Him, I am more complete than I ever thought possible. My Heavenly Father made me perfect in His image and it is in Him that I seek forgiveness for disparaging His creation of me. I am the blessed one, granted new mercy and grace every day. 

 rumi 2

 tbc (to be continued)…

My reflection as I glance back…

reflection

This month I celebrate ten years of emotional sobriety. A triumph I had never allowed myself to dream of. It’s because of my struggles that I began to grow up when I finally learned to do it differently.

“Choices” noun~ “a range of  possibilities”~
I never knew I had these in my possession. As a child I watched both my mom and grandma endure the obstacles life handed them. The message I received while observing them was, we are all dealt a set of cards and to accept them with grace. This is ones lot in life, make it work. There was no opportunity to lay a card down, ask the dealer to hit me and hope for a better hand. So, life continued to happen.
While others were seemingly happy, I was constantly trying to figure out where I fit in. I certainly wasn’t an outcast, a geek, homely or even, God forbid, a cheerleader. (no offense to any of the aforementioned, just painting a visual of self) I simply lived a day-to-day existence.
Home was a typical string of dysfunctional events. This was excruciatingly normal to me, but still I hid behind my four walls of shame. It was safer than explaining to friends why mom was always drunk and the creepy stepfather just seemed inappropriate with his leering ways and oh so subtle innuendos. I did well in school by my standards, but far from it for that stepfather. I had friends at school and stayed away from home as much as possible by getting a job as soon as I was old enough. I began counting the days until I could move far away from these crazy people who made my life miserable.
Then the day was here, one month before I graduated from high school. Ironically  it was Mother’s Day weekend, I picked a card from my deck, packed my things and left my home. It hurt my mom, this I know, but at seventeen my pain was more important to me than she was. After all, she constantly “chose” that man over her children for twelve years. That resentment laid the weakest foundation for an already broken, wounded, young lady.
With holes in my heart and no direction of what to do with my life, again I pulled a card from my hand and played it into the next chapter of what was finally my own life. I tried to break up with my high school boyfriend, but instead I succumbed to peer pressure and stayed in that abusive relationship for two more years. Alas, my white knight did come to rescue me. I could escape the evil that I’d suffered with for so long.
The cards were dealt, what else could I do? So I accepted things as they came, just as my first two teachers taught me. At least this guy appeared to be a man. He didn’t hurt me and I could ignore his occasional pot smoking, snorting of some white substance accompanied by a 40 ounce. Deep down I knew he’d quit, for me.
Denial kept me safe, so I just ignored my reality. If I didn’t look at it, it wasn’t real.
Three years later we were married and within six years we had three beautiful sons. They became my reason for living while their father climbed farther into the bottle. By then I had turned over my third card in my hand of five. I held tightly to my last two for fear of losing everything. I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. My course was set, but I lacked the willingness to participate in this thing called life. Still in survival mode, my sons were growing up so fast and I was missing it. My focus remained on the insanity which came with the alcoholism I married into. I couldn’t help but hover over my children. I was hell-bent on protecting them, unlike what my own mom allowed, they weren’t going to know pain. Oh but they did. I was not that protector I set out to be.
Sixteen years later, I was forced to play card number four, only this time it felt different. When my sons father bottomed out, so it’s said, I already had both feet out the door. I had finally found that place I had been seeking for a lifetime. I felt a sense of belonging from the first time I walked through the door. The spiritual rooms of recovery, “for those who’s lives had been affected by others addictions”. It became my safe haven where I found hope, peace and serenity. That was the day I heard for the very first time, “you have a choice”! I laid card number five on the table and never again picked up a new deck. Instead I chose to live one day at a time.
This reflection comes every year at this time as not only my belly button birthday approaches, but my serenity birthday as well. Today my life is filled with blessings from my obstacles I’ve walked through. I have gone from not feeling worthy of love, to learning how to give and receive it. My expectations ride on low while my gratitude is on high. Regret and remorse are no longer welcome. Anger has been replaced by detaching with love. Courage gives me strength and hope gives me breath. Each day brings a new beginning. I cherish every moment as I string them all together in this new-found way of being, I now call life! I welcome myself to mine…
alanon