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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Your Addiction My Recovery: IF Her Addiction is a Disease

Your Addiction My Recovery: IF Her Addiction is a Disease: The last month I have watched two important people in my life lose a parent to cancer. Both were care takers, having their parents live with...

IF Her Addiction is a Disease

The last month I have watched two important people in my life lose a parent to cancer. Both were care takers, having their parents live with them so they could provide them with love and support every day. They bathed them, changed them, gave them their meds, and in the end they berried them. It has had me fighting with myself and questioning how to handle this unhealthy relationship with my mom. IF her addiction is a "disease" why am I going to meetings to learn how to detach from her. While my friends are bringing their sick parents closer I am learning how to push mine away. If my mom had cancer I would never look at her with such anger, resentment, and frankly at times disgust. I attended one of the funerals with my mom and driving from the church service to the cemetery I could no longer bite my tongue. I was weak and didn't use the tools I have been learning in Al Anon. I said "That was such a beautiful tribute to such a wonderful man. When you go wouldn't you want that. People discussing your accomplishments in family, life, career? People singing your praises and knowing that you did your very best instead of having a dark cloud of addiction over your life? Mom, I want you to want to be better. I want you to want more for your life." Her response was "I think I am doing just fine." I cringed as she reached to hold my hand. I crossed my arms and looked out the window as I continued to explain that I wish she could see that she can be so much more than her addiction. She has zero responsibilities. No Job, recently divorced (to an amazing man who stood by her through years of her abuse), lives in a dirty, over crowded condo in a really bad area purchased buy my grandparents and drives a car that was bought for her,  my grandma pays her bills, she just got on government assistance yet she tries to tell me she is clean and sober. No body who is clean and sober would be, or at least should be continent living that life. I just want her to want more. She said she has been looking for a job but no one is hiring which of course I responding with a list of places I have seen who are hiring.... CVS, Rite Aid, Raley's as a courtesy clerk, Starbucks .... she interrupted me "But Charlie I am not going to settle for a job I don't want!" WHAT!?!?! But you will settle for food stamps and your 90 year old mother paying for everything! She said I was being judgmental and mean and that I pick at her like before the funeral service I told her to remove the black from under her eyes and fix her hair which was hanging in her face. I snapped back at her "Mom I wasn't trying to be mean, I was trying to make it so you didn't look like a druggie!" We were going to see friends and some family that we hadn't seen in a while I didn't want them to see her as I see her. I know I have to learn that I am no longer a direct reflection of my mom like I was as a child. She was that mom wearing pjs to pick her kids up from school. She came to school almost everyday to hang out with me and my friends when I was in high school, trying to live through me and I was so embarrassed by her but I also had the overwhelming responsibility to protect her which is when I became an enabler. Protect her at all cost. Allow her to come to my school, hang out with my friends, come on dates with me. I tried to act like it was because she was such a cool mom, she was my best friend and I tried to pretend I wanted her by my side. So going to the funeral I went into protection mode and attempted to clean her up but instead of seeing it as me being helpful she saw it as me being mean. I was/am being judgmental and I'm having a difficult time apologizing for that. If I could see addiction as a disease instead of a weakness maybe it can make me understand her more. I have to say I have tried. When I found out she was an addict at the age of 17, I attended meetings with her regularly. I went to every family day at every recovery center. I wrote her cards to express the pride I had in her sobriety. Her recovery was my recovery. I was in it all the way with her over and over again. I'd attend meetings and tell her how proud I was of her just to discover she was still using and her attending meetings was all on act. Over and over I'd fall for it. Over and over I'd feel broken but too afraid of what would happen if I gave up on her so I remained her cheerleader until she made the ultimate mistake and involved a child. It was 7 years ago and it changed everything for me. Now I am trying to learn how to be me without her WHICH is why it's hard for me to see addiction as a disease. Again, one would never work on detaching someone who is ill. I've tried to see her relapsing and continuing to work her NA/AA program as "at least she is trying" but the more clear my vision gets through this healing process I can not buy what she is selling. She relapses about every 4/5 months, it's hard to see that as trying. Will power and being responsible for your actions is what makes it difficult for me to see her as sick instead of seeing her as weak and selfish. So my current struggle is deciding if I acknowledge that addiction is a disease then what? Stay, go, love, hate, protect, give in.... what am I suppose to do as a daughter of someone who has a "disease" that is so toxic!?! I have been able to detach her physical self from my life for the last month, focusing on the beautiful life I have created, but I struggle with detaching emotionally. The funeral I attended with her, the ride to the cemetery, her nonchalant approach to her not being an active member in society makes my heart ache. I do not believe my mother has a bottom I believe she will continue the sober/relapse/sober/relapse cycle until she passes and that makes me so sad and scared for her. I'm trying to do the "right" thing but struggling to know what the right thing is.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Your Addiction My Recovery: I Love Me More!

Your Addiction My Recovery: I Love Me More!: It's amazing how much easier I can breathe now that I have taken the steps to detach myself from my mother's addiction. I believe th...

I Love Me More!

It's amazing how much easier I can breathe now that I have taken the steps to detach myself from my mother's addiction. I believe the two dark weeks I recently went through feeling sad and a bit sorry for myself was because I was trying to break down the barriers that have kept me from detaching... the guilt, shame, fear, all those "great things" that has kept me stuck in the web of my mother's addiction. Those two weeks of depression were caused by change and I've never been one to handle change well. I'm very comfortable  unhappy but comfortable) being the victim of addiction and being a crutch for my mom. I'm her go to when she needs someone to feel sorry for her and even those times I have attempted tough love I never actually change my position, it was all just words instead of me taking action. I have always protected my children from her addiction, she is welcome around them but has never and will NEVER babysit them. My sister and I used to drug test her randomly then it got to the point where the test would show she was using, she'd go into a recovery center, we'd fight & cry and promise we will never allow her to be around us or our children again then after a few months of her being sober things went right back to "normal" with her being an active member of our family. It was a cycle so I stopped the drug testing since it felt pointless. I never left her unattended with my children so even if she's high my kids love her and I wouldn't want to have them miss out on time with their Grandma. What the hell have I been thinking?!?! Who choses "ignorance is bliss" when it comes to their children?!?! I would never invite a person to come over and play with my children who I know is an addict so why is my mom an exception? I'm done. She supposedly has 7 months of sobriety but one can never be sure so the next time she comes over she will be given a drug test and if negative, great, if positive she will need to leave immediately. I feel the distance growing between us and at times I've been sad but I also have a sense of relief, like a the weight being lifted! Before this journey, and before my recent dark two weeks, mom would call me 5+ times a day, all day! Never thinking about the time she was calling like early morning as I'm trying to get the kids ready for school or dinner time or putting the kids to bed, she just needed to talk. She dominated the majority of our conversation discussing the drama within her recovery friends and talk about her life and I would just listen. I answered every time she called. I'd interrupt reading my kids a bedtime story to answer her call, I'd stop helping my son with his homework to answer her call. Nothing could get in my way of picking up the phone because "what if she needs me?" I was afraid of what would happen if I didn't answer. Is she on the verge of using and needs to talk? Did she just OD and changed her mind so she needs me to call 911? Is she stranded somewhere because she ran out of gas? All of these things have happened so it's not paranoia, it's my reality. The thought of her being lonely has haunted me my entire life. She put that on me as a child and it's been there with me ever since. Through this journey I FINALLY realized that her happiness is not my responsibility. If I don't answer the phone and she then decides to go take some pills well that's her problem. I have to understand that her life choices are hers and if she is lonely she can go to an AA/NA meeting, she can call her sponsor, she can walk her dog... whatever she does it does not have anything to do with me. I'm not cutting her out of my life but I'm changing my priorities. It's liberating to take control over my life. I haven't had her over to my house in a few weeks and I will talk to her over the phone when it's a convenient time for me to do so. I have decided that for me to live a healthy life I have to detach from her, she is her addiction at least that is how I see her, that's all she's really shown me. She's been an addict my entire life with moments of sobriety. I'm tired of questioning everything she says, I'm tired of trying to force her to want to be a better person, I'm just f#$%ing tired of it all. There's a saying that an addict will stop maturing at the time they begin their addiction and that's certainly the case with my mom. She is a teenager, self involved, financially dependent on her parents, fun yet dramatic, and loud. People seem to love to be around her, she's just a big kid. For my sanity I had to come to terms with the fact she will not change because I ask her to so at this point "it is what it is" and I'm making the conscious decision to walk away from the dream that one day she will wake up and be the mom I always wanted her to be. I have to understand that detachment doesn't mean I don't love her, it means I love me more! As the saying goes "one day at a time" and today I chose my life over hers!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Your Addiction My Recovery: Getting Back on Track

Your Addiction My Recovery: Getting Back on Track: The first month of attending a weekly Al Anon meeting, blogging, journaling, talking, facebooking, working on becoming a better me was excit...

Your Addiction My Recovery: Getting Back on Track

Your Addiction My Recovery: Getting Back on Track: The first month of attending a weekly Al Anon meeting, blogging, journaling, talking, facebooking, working on becoming a better me was excit...

Getting Back on Track

The first month of attending a weekly Al Anon meeting, blogging, journaling, talking, facebooking, working on becoming a better me was exciting, to say the least. I felt like I was on a high. Pumped, proud, energized. I stopped putting off the healing process and I was SO ready to begin my journey. I had a bit of a set back when I saw my past that night at my daughter's dance class. Running into a drunk mother of  two little girls with grandparents there to try to keep it all together. It was like I was visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past. It took me to a very sad, dark place. I've struggled with depression since I was in the 5th grade so I know me and I know when I'm needing to give myself time to get out of it however now that I am a mom it's very difficult for me to take the time I need to allow myself to feel sad, work through my pain, and move on. With the responsibilities of my job as a wife and mother I don't have time for depression yet I also don't have time for myself to prevent it.
I remember my last semester of college I took a beginners art class and there was a woman there in her early 50's. On the first day of class we all took turns introducing ourselves and I will never forget her saying how excited she was to be in this class. She said she had always wanted to take art classes, art was her passion, but she wasn't able to until now because she was a mother of two boys who have now both entered college so it's finally her chance to do something for herself. I remember being so happy for her and thought it was great that she was there but I also remember thinking it was kind of sad that she wasn't able to do something for herself until her early 50's. Of course in my mind I thought "I would never do that." But now, I get it. Your priorities shift once you become a parent and it's no longer about you, it's about your kids. In saying that I don't want to put off my healing process until my kids enter college because part of why I want so desperately to do this is for them. The handful of Al Anon meetings I have now attended I have been told numerous times "I wish I would have started my journey at your age instead of putting it off". Last week I had to remind myself of that when I contemplated putting my recovery on hold, indefinitely. I will not wait 18 years to become a better me.
After a week and a half I made myself find an Al Anon meeting. I had every excuse/reason why I shouldn't go but I am thankful I put myself in check and got my a$% to that meeting! I didn't share at this meeting and honestly I didn't have a huge "Ah Ha", life changing moment like I have experienced in the past meetings but I was there and the topic definitely got me thinking. The topic was "you can't force solutions" which of course I can relate to. I try to force my mom to be sober, force her to be honest, to not manipulate, to become independent,  to see things my way, to admit the pain she has caused. The list goes on and on! I've even tried to force my sister be on this journey with me. I can't force anyone to do anything! Everyone has their own journey, who do I think I am? The discussion was also about reacting to others and certain situations. If my mom snaps at me or takes a dig at me I have to learn that it is her issue not mine and I have to know that it's my pride that causes me to react by snapping back. I need the last word, I need to prove I'm right and she's wrong. It's our way of communicating and I'm so tired of the drama! I need to wait, not react until I have calmed down. This will take some practice. Someone said "I can be invited to the drama but I don't have to attend" which I loved that.
I'm feeling better, more level, now that I decided not to give up on myself. It's not always going to be easy to make "me time" but I have to do it. That doesn't help anyone. If mama aint happy aint nobody happy, right!?!?! This mama is happy, in general, and thankful for what I have. In saying that, I do want to be happy in my core. I want to relieve myself from some of that pain I carry.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I saw my past tonight

Tonight I took my daughter to dance class and I ran into an old friend. It was someone I almost didn't recognize for one we were friends in college which, I must admit, was over 10 years ago but also because she looked hard. She walked in and said "Charlie?" After a few seconds I was able to place her. She hugged me and the smell of alcohol was overwhelming. As I spoke with her about our daughters dancing in the same class, she introduced me to her parents who were going to stay for the class because her and her boyfriend had a couple things to do. Her sentences weren't clear. It was obvious she was doing her best impersonation of a sober person but she was no actress! I looked at her 2 daughters with such an ache in my heart. My sister and I were those girls. I saw my grandparents there to support us. I wanted to hug her parents and whisper in their ear to take their granddaughters away, gain full custody unless or until their daughter got sober. I wanted to tell those little girls that they will be ok, I promise. I wanted to hold them and say "You are going to have some challenges but stay in school, continue to be active in dance, sports, student government, music... anything to keep you focused. And most of all I wanted to tell them that no matter how bad it hurts at times, you will survive and be a stronger person because of it.  There will be times you don't believe you will make it through another day but I promise you can and you will." I watched my old friend stumble out the door and I could feel the tension of her parents. I could see the sadness in their eyes yet they smiled through it for those two little girls. I know my grandparents smiled through their pain in front of me and my sis.  I'm having trouble shaking this. I am fully aware it is not my place to say anything to the grandparents nor to the "mom"(unless the kids are in harms way) and I would never say anything to those little girls. I just tried to stay focused on my daughter. My kid's happiness is my happiness so when I found myself consumed by these people and those beautiful little girls, I had to just watch my daughter while she danced and the joy she had. Watching her pulled me out of my past and back into my reality but now my house is asleep and all I can think about is the situation. That "mom", those innocent girls, those broken grandparents.  I know there is a lesson for me in this somewhere but I must admit, right now it's hard to see it. Is this where detachment comes into play? This isn't my problem. I don't know these people so why am I allowing it to consume me? It's just another sign that I need to stay on this road to recovery.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

What My Father Taught Me

I've been having a difficult time finding a meeting that fits my crazy life. With a husband who's schedule is ever changing and my kid's school, sports, homework, it's just been tough but I am determined to make 1 meeting a week. I have been to 3 different meetings now and after my second meeting a nice, older man approached me to welcome me and share a little of his story. He wanted me to know the peace Al Anon has brought him throughout his years of attending and hoped I would continue going to meetings. He also suggested that I attend an ACA meeting, Adult Children of Alcoholics, which I had never heard of before. The next day I tried to organize the week ahead then went to my computer to check the Al Anon schedule and see if I could squeeze in a meeting somewhere. It just so happens that the only meeting I would be able to attend was an ACA meeting. I couldn't believe it! I definitely think it was meant to be. As I drove to the meeting I felt confident. Sure I had never been to this meeting before so there were some nerves involved meeting knew people and opening up to "strangers" but it was my 3rd meeting and I had been there, done that so I was anxiety free this time. I walked into the beautiful church and found the room that held the meeting. There were at least 40 people sitting in a circle. It was the most diverse meeting I had been to.  I'd say the age range was mid 20's to early 70's. With all these different types of people we were all there for the same reason, all of our parents were alcoholics &/or addicts. This was also the first meeting where there was a Chair. The Chair, to my knowledge, is someone who attends a particular meeting regularly and they are to lead the conversation. The Chair is to tell whatever part of their experiances they are comfortable sharing and then come up with the topic for the evening. This person, who I will call Mark, was an older man who was extremely successful in his career. He was attractive, educated, and seemed completely put together and here he was talking about his "daddy issues". It really shows that the damages left by alcoholics/addicts can affect anyone and the damage will live on inside you unless you take the steps to repair your soul. I listened as Mark spoke about life as a child with an alcoholic father, he discussed the hardships but also shared what his father taught him and because of those lessons he is the person he is today. The topic came in the form of a question. Mark asked everyone in that room "What did your father teach you?" Mark asked us to think about it as something you gained from having a life with an alcoholic/addict father. For whatever reason, I wasn't expecting that. I don't know what I was expecting really but this was such a positive spin on a dark topic. I instantly began to think of what my father taught me. "Ok he taught me the prayer "Now I lay me down to sleep...", he gave me the gift of creativity (He's an amazing artist), and humor can sometimes get you through tough times." Listening to others share their lessons learned, I found that I could relate to every one of them somehow. I had my hand over my heart listening.  My eyes began to well up. I couldn't control myself. When it came to my time to share I didn't feel like I made a complete sentence. The tears were following and it seemed to take a lot of energy to speak one word. I was struggling to translate thoughts into words because this topic actually related to that exact day in my life. What I hope the people heard through my tearful, broken up words was "Thank you Mark for sharing and for the powerful question!" I then looked around the circle and said "I feel like I can relate to everyone of your stories. I would say the most important thing I learned from having an alcoholic father was what kind of man I wanted for my husband. I knew at a very young age that I wanted to marry someone who would be a great father, a present father. Not having a father figure that was there for all of my life events, both big and small, was difficult (to say the least) so I knew I would do what I could to make sure my children never experienced that kind of pain. As far back as junior high, when I "dated" a guy which at that age meant talk on the phone but not a school because you were too shy and never really going on a date just crushing on each other, I would think of the life I would have with him and more importantly what kind of life would my future children have with him. That's kind of heavy for that age when most girls are just dreaming of a wedding, the big white dress, the fairy tale,  I was dreaming of a father for my unborn children. Every date I have ever been on I imagined what kind of father that man would be and the answer would determine if I went on a second date with him or not." I began to sob at this point with the realization that I did in fact give my children the father I always dreamed for them . I continued "Earlier today I watched my husband teach our son how to ride his bike without training wheels. Instead of me really embracing that moment when my husband was bonding with my son, teaching him how to ride his bike, I questioned him on his teaching technique. I told him he was too hard on our son. I was, of course, cheering on our son and taking pictures but at the same time nagging at my husband. What was I doing!?!" There is truth to sometimes you don't see what is right in front of you. I was focusing on what he wasn't doing (in my opinion) verses what he was doing. The reality of that truly hurt my heart. I told the room I was really hard on my husband. Sure there are times he deserves it :) But not always. Maybe it's my fear of abandonment which causes me to prepare for him to leave so maybe I can help push him out the door??? Maybe it's the fact that in a sick way I am most comfortable in the chaos, drama, being a victim because dammit I am a victim, BUT I can not live a healthy and happy life that way. This meeting helped me see that. I literally have everything I have ever wanted in the man I married but instead of seeing that I tend to focus on the bad which will lead to a looonnnnnggggg unhappy marriage til death do us part! I don't want to sound like I never show my appreciation  for what I have because I do however I think I need to spend a little more time appreciating what I have. After the meeting I was given a list of numbers to all the members that attend the meeting if I ever just need someone to talk to and I had a lot of people hugging me, saying they understood me. Tears literally never stopped rolling down my cheeks. It was a constant flow and I was embarrassed by my emotions but everyone there understood the hurt one feels when you are healing. The pain was both good and bad but I needed to feel all of it. I walked quickly to my car where I sat in the dark parking lot for at least 10 mins sobbing. I mean the ugly cry. Loud, snot, tears, even a little talking to myself! I drove home knowing I was suppose to be at that meeting, that night! I hope to make that my go-to meeting but again with my schedule I might not make it every week but I have to promise myself to find time for me. It's, at most, 2 hours out of the week to better myself and sometimes bettering myself will hurt like hell but that's ok. I'm ready and willing. You better believe I walked into my house that night and hugged my husband tighter than I had ever hugged him before and I apologized for my actions that day. I'm thankful for him. So, my father taught me what I wanted out of a life partner so thank you Dad.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Detachment~ Al Anon meeting #2

I attended my second Al Anon meeting this week. I wasn't able to go to the same meeting I went to for the first time so it would be my first meeting at this location. I had a difficult time finding a meeting that was at the right time and place for me. As I have mentioned I am a mother of 3 which means there is no "me" time. I don't even get to go to the bathroom by myself let alone leave the house! My husband works hard to support our family so I tend to put guilt on myself when I want to do something that is just for me and not for the family. It had been over a week since I attended my first meeting and I was getting annoyed with myself for putting it off so once I realized that attending this Al Anon meeting really wasn't just for me, it was to benefit my family as well, then the guilt was gone and I left the hubby in charge of the bedtime rituals as I went to work on becoming a better me! The anxiety level was much lower vs. my first meeting and I was really looking forward to it. I walked into the room a little nervous just because I was meeting new people but Al Anon is apart of my life now so here I am! As I walked through the door I hear someone shout from the opposite side of the room "O, yay Carly's here!" Then another woman's voice say "Carly, we were afraid we wouldn't see you again." It took me a second to realize they were talking to me. There were 4 people at this meeting that attended my first meeting. I replied with hello and was appreciative that they thought of me and I also let them know my name was actually Charlie but, hey, they were close! One of the people walked across the room, wrapped his arms around me and said "We are all so happy you are here. We were worried maybe you didn't feel welcomed by  everyone or something about the meeting turned you off and you weren't coming back. So happy to see you Charlie!" The idea that these four people had a conversation about me and were concerned for me, a person they met one time over a week ago made me feel like I belonged. As the meeting began we did the moment of silence followed by the serenity prayer. My first meeting I was just trying to hold myself together emotionally but this time I actually recited the prayer with everybody. It's the first time I have spoke the words of the serenity prayer although I've heard it over a thousand times! This meetings topic was detachment so a few people shared stories then there was a break for birthday celebrations which I didn't realize Al Anon had birthday celebrations just like AA & NA, celebrations for how many years you have attended. There were a lot of years in that room and they shared a lot of wisdom that I am grateful for. One particular member had 30 years attending Al Anon. She said that she attended one then it took her  3 years to go to another. She didn't like it the first time, didn't think she really needed it. Came back and 30 years later she is living her best life.
Once again, I found myself nodding while people shared because I could relate yet I couldn't relate once their story began to discuss how they were able to detach. Such a foreign concept to me. I can't detach from anyone's problems regardless if they are an addict or not. I allow other people's problem to consume me. It's such an unhealthy way my family lives. When mom has relapsed, we all relapse which shouldn't be the case. Learning the tools to make sure my mom's addiction remains HER sickness and not mine is the reason I went to Al Anon and here we are Meeting #2 and it's the topic. I think detachment is easier said than done. My family is so attached it's crazy. If my Uncle had a problem we all would make it ours, we would talk about it, try to help, allow it to consume us which didn't help anybody. Same goes for every member of my family. It's how I was raised.
 My fear has always been if I don't "help" with a problem then they will feel unloved therefore I take in their problems and try to fix them, partly in fear they will abandon our relationship if I don't and partly in fear that if I don't then I might make their problems worse. I have to be prepared that by detaching I might lose the relationship but my health and happiness is more important to me then theirs. Doesn't that sound selfish!?!? I have to look at it not as being selfish but as loving myself and value my life. If I'm not happy and healthy it's the trickle down effect. My issues become my husband's issues which my kids can feel. I have to make me my priority so the people I love don't suffer. Detachment is probably my biggest obstacle to overcome in this healing process but I knew healing wasn't going to be easy!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Your Addiction My Recovery: Daddy's Girl

Your Addiction My Recovery: Daddy's Girl: I remember the exact moment I became a fatherless daughter. The exact moment when my Daddy became a stranger to me. I was 5 years old. After...

Daddy's Girl

I remember the exact moment I became a fatherless daughter. The exact moment when my Daddy became a stranger to me. I was 5 years old. After that day I would never again see him on a regular basis and the time between visits became longer and longer. I never expressed my heart ache to him with fear that if I did I would never see him again so I continued to set my self up for disappointment. I continued to look for him in the stands at a game knowing the odds were I wouldn't see him. I continued to wait on the curb with hopes he would pick me up when he promised he would knowing the odds were that he wouldn't be there. I was told at a young age that my dad was sick, he was an addict. I was told he was living the life he was raised with, so he didn't know better. As a child, and let's be honest even as an adult, I couldn't relate because I felt like if you had a difficult childhood wouldn't you do everything in your power to make sure your children had it better than you? If your father wasn't there for you, wouldn't you make sure you were there for you children? The last time I set myself up for disappointment was when I was 26 years old. That was it for me. I waited for him at a restaurant to discuss my upcoming wedding. I wanted to tell him my fiancĂ© & I had paid for a tuxedo for him to wear and I wanted to explain that although he would not play a role in my wedding I still wanted him to be there. I waited in that restaurant for 30 minutes and he never showed up. I went from being a 26 year old woman to a 6 year old little girl who was, once again, waiting for her daddy. I walked slowly out of the restaurant then ran to my car where I sobbed and yelled at myself because I was so mad that I allowed myself to feel this way as an adult. As I child I didn't realize that my expectations were too high for him to reach because of his disease but as an adult I shouldn't have known better! For most fathers, meeting your daughter to discuss her up coming wedding would be a no brainer but for my dad, I believe, he was afraid to hear what I might have said so he didn't come. That was the first and only time I expressed to him my feelings. I called him at work and he tried to say he was there at the wrong time so he waited for me and then had to get back to work which could have been possible if I didn't arrive 1/2 hour early and speak to the hostess about the man I was waiting for which she in returned said nobody had come in with that description. He had multiple excuses but this time I didn't want to hear it. I just told him all I wanted from him is to show up. I wanted him to want to be my dad for one time in his life. I was crying and speaking loudly, passionately. Trying to make him hear me that I don't need much, I just need him to want to know his daughter. In the end he yelled in the phone "I hope you have a nice F#$%ing wedding and a nice
F$%&ing life!" then he hung up. So my fears which kept me from expressing my feelings in the past came true. If I try to tell him how I felt, I would never see him again. I didn't speak to him for 6 years until he found me over the internet. In those 6 years, I married, had 2 children, and began to heal the wounds he left me with. I now see him as a man that gave what he could and although he didn't fulfill my needs, I believe he loves me. Its been a process and will continue to be but most importantly I had to learn that I can not set myself up for disappointment again. No, I will never get the chance to be a Daddy's girl and it's ok if I mourn that from time to time but I can not dwell on it anymore.  He's not a bad man he just wasn't the best father therefor I have to see him as a man vs my Daddy, otherwise I will never heal. I speak to him from time to time and I'm really proud of him for the new life he has created and wish him nothing but happiness. What makes me happy and has filled that void he left is watching my daughter with my husband. My daughter is a Daddy's Girl and the joy that brings me is greater than any pain brought on by the fact that I didn't get the chance to be one!
 

Monday, August 19, 2013

She is not a failure

As I was watching Oprah interviewing Lindsay Lohan, I hear her say she has entered rehab 6 times. This interview made me replay a conversation I had with my in laws regarding my mother. It was the last time my mom relapsed and as she entered rehab AGAIN. I was sitting with my in laws explaining my disgust with my mother and my mother in law, who I will call Sue, said "you know she loves you". I looked her in her eyes and said "Sue, I don't believe that anymore." My father in law, who I will call Jack, then something that completely changed my way of thinking. He said "At least your mom keeps trying." It was like he slapped me across my face and told me to wake F#$& up! Every time my mom has relapsed and entered another rehab facility I have looked at her as a failure but the words that came out of Jack's mouth made me realize she is the only alcoholic or addict who is in my life that has actually tried to get clean and sober. She is the only one who has gone to rehab and yes she has been many times but instead of looking at it like as a failure why don't I see it as it is!?! Which is she is fighting this disease with all that she has and every time it defeats her she gets right back up and tries again. I realized in that moment she was the one person who I am the hardest on, I throw her shortcomings in her face every chance I get because the anger and resentment I have in my heart. Every time she relapses I have let her know the disappointment and my lack of confidence I have in her that she will ever stay clean. The words of my in laws during that conversation, almost a year ago, have never left me and those words made me begin to look at my mom with respect which I never did before.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Your Addiction My Recovery: My first Al Anon Meeting

Your Addiction My Recovery: My first Al Anon Meeting: I arrived at the location of the of the Al Anon meeting and my heart was pumping. As I took my first step onto the stairs that would lead me...

My first Al Anon Meeting

I arrived at the location of the of the Al Anon meeting and my heart was pumping. As I took my first step onto the stairs that would lead me to the conference room where the meeting was being held I felt a lump in my throat. I had to shake it off. I can't cry before I even enter the room! What's wrong with me!?! I took a couple of deep breathes and continued up the stairs and into the meeting. I made it! After many years of fighting the idea of Al Anon followed by a couple of years of putting it off, here I am! The meeting began with a moment of silence. That moment felt like an eternity! My throat was once again burning from holding back tears. The overwhelming feeling of emotions was because I am proud of myself for going, I am proud of myself for recognizing that I need help, and I am proud of myself for taking the first step towards becoming the best person I can be. There was no shame in this room. I felt a sense of relief. The moment of silence was followed by the serenity prayer then the meeting began. They asked all of the new people to introduce themselves which caused my heart racing. O God, I have to talk! I can barely keep myself from crying in silence what am I going to do when I have to speak to this room full of people!?!  I felt all the eyes on me which was my cue. "Hello my name is Charlie" I was welcomed with one big "Hi Charlie" from everyone. I continued "Sorry, I'm an emotional person" as tears are now falling down my cheeks. "I have been to many AA and NA meetings to support the alcoholics and addicts in my life but this is the first meeting I've come to for me." The warm welcome was appreciated then the meeting continued on with reading and members sharing. I found myself nodding in agreement with some of the words people spoke. It felt good to hear that we had similar struggles and to hear them explain their process of working through them. At the end of the meeting they asked all the new people to say a little something. I tried to quickly go over a rough draft of my thoughts. What am I going to say? Once again, all eyes on me and all I could do was be honest. "Hi I'm Charlie. For a long time I fought the idea of Al Anon. My entire life has revolved around alcoholics and addicts so why do I want to go to a meeting where I talk about them? But now my oldest child is old enough to create memories and I don't want his memories to be of his mom having emotional break downs because I don't have the right tools to work through my issues caused by my parents." Of course I was crying as I spoke and it was as if for that moment I wasn't the "new girl" at the meeting, I was just one of them. They were nodding as I spoke, in agreement with my words as if they had similar reasons for being in that room on that day. They were there to learn how to live just like I was. I will be going back next week!


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Maybe

Tomorrow is set to be a big day. I am to attend my first Al Anon meeting! I have been contemplating going to a meeting for the last 2 years knowing I can benefit from it but just never made it a priority. Before that I was NOT going to attend an Al Anon meeting, period! I have lived my life with my world revolving around addicts and I was not going to give them any more of MY time! My thought began to shift when I watched a made for tv movie about how Al Anon got started and it got me thinking. To put it simply- the alcoholics would meet inside a house while their wives would just sit in their cars for an hour . They wouldn't communicate with each other, mostly out of shame and embarrassment until the wife of one of the AA founders realized these woman were out there so she invited them in for refreshments and they began to share their stories.  A support group for those who live with an alcoholic was created. A place where"victims" of alcoholics &/or addicts can feel safe and know they are not being judged. A place where their peers understand. For a long time I was too embarrassed to talk about my mother and father's addictions. Especially my mother's because my father wasn't a constant in my life but my mother was. So having a single mom who was abusing drugs was embarrassing. I now realize as she continues to work on herself I too need to work on myself. I hope that Al Anon can help me understand addiction as a disease because I have always struggled with that thought. I can't help but feel that is more an excuse. When an alcoholic/addict describes addiction as a disease all I hear is the blame being put else where, no responsibility for their choices/actions. Maybe Al Anon can help me understand addiction, maybe??? If I can understand the idea that addiction is a disease then maybe I won't have so much heart ache. When someone you love is an alcoholic/addict you, or I, tend to feel like they don't love me enough. As I mentioned in my first post, I hope that Al Anon will be helpful with removing the triggers that take me back to being a broken child. Someone can say something that has nothing to do with me but if I can relate it to my life with the alcoholic/addicts I become flooded with negative memories. I try to shake it off but there are times I can't which usually causes me to lash out. Maybe Al Anon can help. I don't want to yell at my mom, start an argument with my husband or someone close to me, or just be in a really bad mood because of something that happened years ago. I try to calm myself but some times the emotions are too strong. For example, recently I was in a car with some friends. One person mentioned their childhood pet which made me think of a puppy I had once, named Tuck who I loved! That led to me thinking that I had to get ride of him because, once again, we had to move. We lived with one of my mom's ex boyfriends because she had just left her fiancĂ© and now we are moving into an apartment which got me thinking about thinking about 2 other puppies  and 3 cats I had as a child that ended the same way. We had to get rid of them all because of another move and these were all different instances. I had to interrupt myself while sharing about Tuck because the memories in my head were upsetting me too much so I had to just end that conversation. I don't want that any more! That is just one example, I have thousands and I need to either learn to control my thoughts or learn ways to ease the pain from my past and maybe Al Anon can help.













Your Addiction My Recovery: Living Inside the Box

Your Addiction My Recovery: Living Inside the Box: For me, breaking the cycle was easy. I don't remember it being a conscious decision to "Just Say No" to drugs, it was just som...

Living Inside the Box

For me, breaking the cycle was easy. I don't remember it being a conscious decision to "Just Say No" to drugs, it was just something inside me. Fear of becoming an addict was always in the back of my mind and I knew you can not become a drug addict if you never try drugs. Recently I was talking with a couple woman. One being my mom, a recovering addict, and the other my mom's friend. We were talking about how some people live their lives inside the box and others live outside the box. I expressed how I was a little envious of those who dared to live outside the box. Some times I feel self conscious of the fact I've never done drugs, including pot, or even smoked a cigarette. I feel like maybe I'm looked at as being a bit boring. I even lived in another country for a while, where nobody knew me. I wanted to create a different person like I wanted to get a tattoo and try weed and live a life of a girl in her early 20's trying to figure out who she is BUT the craziest thing I did was cut my hair! I have always lived "inside the box". As I was talking to the 2 women I was interrupted by my mom's friend and she said "You had to live inside the box to make up for the fact your parents didn't". That was an "Ah Ha" moment for me. She's right. I had to create my own stability. Every child needs stability and some have to create their own.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Ready to Begin!

Before I was a wife and mother I was a daughter of alcoholic/addicts and a grand daughter and a niece to alcoholics. Most of the adults in my life that were not battling with addiction were enablers. I unknowingly turned into a an enabler as well. I began life as a victim then an enabler and now I am someone who is ready to gain complete control of my life and release all control from the addicts. This blog is not for me to dwell on my past (although I will share stories) or point the finger at the addicts. It's about my journey. I plan on attending my first Al Anon meeting soon. I have long battled with the idea of Al Anon but I have now decided that I need help and maybe Al Anon will be a great tool to help me remove the triggers that randomly occur in my life which takes me right back to being a broken child. I don't want that for myself and it's not fair to my husband and children to have to witness. I promise to be an open book, to be honest while telling my story. I also promise to respect my family, friends, and the AA, NA, and Al Anon programs by being anonymous and not using my name or the real names of those in my life. I would love to share with you my identity however this is my story and my decision to tell it therefore it would not be fair to my family and friends.
I am excited to begin this new adventure of discovery by launching this blog, Your Addiction My Recovery. The name says it all. I want to heal the wounds that were inflicted by the alcoholics and addicts in my life. I'm a work in progress and ready and willing to openly discuss my life. I hope through sharing my story you will feel comfortable to share yours. This is a safe place for all of us who have suffered heart ache at the hands of an alcoholic/addict and together we can heal!
I'M READY TO BEGIN!!!