Friday, July 26, 2013

Catching Up....

We've moved!  And, boy am I sore and tired.  But, I am so very thankful to be in a new home.  We started the process of selling the old, moving to an apartment, buying new almost three years ago and while I still have to shampoo the carpets at the apartment, mop the tile floors and unload what's left of our storage unit, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Our girls are moving to a new apartment this Saturday.  The old one was well....old, without a washer/dryer hook up.  The new one is in a better area and has not only a hookup but the washer and dryer too!

The Son is still in his apartment.  He has continued to pay his own rent and utilities.  And he went back to his apprenticeship program to see if they would let him back in.  He is waiting for their answer.

I went with the Dad to a speaker meeting the other night.  I listened to a man that is in my Al Anon group who is a "double dipper" as they say.  He struggled with his own issues with drugs and alcohol for years and now comes to Al Anon because of both parents and a daughter.

He described the process of coming to accept his powerlessness over drugs and alcohol.  It reminded me of how I am many times in regard to food.  He decided that as long as he gave up this substance or only used on weekends, it would be alright.  His talk really made me understand why so many must relapse time and again before finally coming to that place of surrender.

I'm thankful for the men and women who get up there and tell their stories.  They help me so much to understand the battles of the addict and alcoholic.  Understanding helps me to back off and allow things to happen naturally.

I'm entering a writing contest.  I've never done that before but I'm very excited to put a little piece out there and see if anything comes of it.  It is time to try all of those things that I wanted to try before I am too old!!  I'm also teaching not one but two classes at the jail this fall.  I'm very excited.

Just a catch up.  Still praying for Henry and all of our loved ones who struggle......

Friday, July 12, 2013

Everyone Has a Story....

Henry  was my fraternal grandfather.  He was a raging alcoholic who died in his recliner with a bottle resting on the floor beside him.  His disease affected all of the members of the family.  My dad was unable to get an education because my grandfather provided for his drinking habit instead of his family.  Henry was a great source of embarrassment for my dad.  In the 1940's they didn't talk much about alcoholism.  They probably hadn't studied the family disease concept.

In the 1980's I was in high school.  My oldest brother is seventeen years older than me.  He was my favorite.  His wife is now a recovering alcoholic but during that time she was an actively drinking.  I remember saying to others that my sister in law was an alcoholic and my brother's drug of choice was her.  At the time I didn't know the term codependency or understand it but I knew what it looked like.  I was so angry with him for such a long time.  I could not understand why he didn't get it and just get out. 

My sister's husband is a recovering alcoholic.  He has been sober for a very long time now but before he had his spiritual awakening, my sister did what many of us do early on....she became a bit of a lunatic pouring out beer, throwing out his supper.....locking the door.  They have a son who is a recovering addict which only ratchets up the insanity to new levels.

It was easy for me to judge others in those days.  I was perfect you see.  I knew what not to do.  Those kinds of things would never happen in my life because I would not be that stupid.

Dr. Phil says that what you fear, you create.  I guess he's right.  I remember going to my very first AlAnon meeting.  My son was in rehab and there were two ladies there from our small town.  One lady went to my church and just a few weeks earlier her husband had blacked out right there in the pew and the Hubby helped to get him outside and call for an ambulance that he later refused.  The other lady had some mental issues from a childhood trauma.  In small towns we know a lot about our least we know enough to label them.

When I saw these two ladies at the meeting, I thought to myself, "oh my goodness, I am in trouble here...I need professionals and look who is here."  That was a long time feels like it anyway.  I am a bit ashamed of that judgmental girl.

But, life has it's way of taking care of most things.  I've had a slice or two of humble pie.  And, quite frankly, I am thankful that I have.  I am a much happier and healthier person now.  The best advice that I got from Al Anon was to mind my own business.  I learned that what others have going on is not my affair.  I was a bit shocked to learn that maybe I was sticking my nose into all of their problems to avoid my own.   It is true.  I do seem to have enough to keep me busy right here in my own back yard. 

And, who am I to judge the choices of others in their journey?  What do I know about Henry?  Well very little.  But my brother who stayed with my sister in law.....I guess we have a lot in common.  My sister in law grew up with an alcoholic mother and her parents divorced.  I never had to deal with either of those things.  I can't judge her.

My sister got married at eighteen years old and had a baby at nineteen.  I can NOT imagine that and the fact that she has hung in there worked her whole adult life, raised two kids and respected her marriage commitment is quite commendable.  My brother in law lost his mother to cancer at a very young age and then watched his father drink in an effort to cope with the loss of his wife.  Today I am humbled by these two. I think the saying about it's not where you are but from where you've come certainly applies to those two. 

The one lady from Al Anon whose husband passed out.....the one who I thought was clueless...she has started more AlAnon groups than anyone I know.  She volunteers at the local jails and is leaps and bounds ahead of all of the "perfect" families that I know.

The lady that was traumatized as a child....Her father slit her throat as a child and left her to die.  She always has a hug for me and asks about my son.  She always has something wise for us to hear. 

Everyone has a story.  Everyone.  This journey has taught me to start to look at souls and to ignore the packages they come in.  They are only an indication of how difficult the journey for them has been. 

I wish that I knew Henry's story.  Instead, I will pray for his soul and for those of all of our addicted loved ones. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Just Another Step in the Slog

Hopefully one week from today, we will close on a house.  We thought that we would close thirty days ago but that fell through as we could not get the low rate we tried to get.  Now it looks as if every I has been dotted and every T crossed and every inspector or appraiser has looked at every possible liability and turfed it to the next expert in that field and maybe we are at the end of the line....maybe.  And, this is a new house....I expected it on my old one!

I have been living (at least partially) in boxes for 2 1/2 years.  I am so tired of it.  I'm also a little sick of hot flashes.  Our old dog, Moe (almost 14 yrs Lab mix) got up on Friday and started to bleed from his rectum.  It was a significant amount of frank red blood.  We took him to the vet (yes, I know that I am married to one but he has only worked with horses since 1986) and he has anal gland carcinoma.  The Dad and I have agreed on no heroic treatments or invasive diagnostics.  We will celebrate his 14th birthday on August 24th, if he is still comfortable at that time and wait for him to let us know when he no longer is.

Big Sister has a friend whose family are avid scuba divers.  She took the class last semester in college and was certified so she is in Grand Cayman diving with them.  I can't believe what a wonderful opportunity that is for her.  Little Sister is considering going off seizure meds if her EEG comes back clean.  We have done this before and she had a really big seizure before her 16th birthday.  It is a little nerve racking before her first semester of nursing school.  But, it is her decision and she'd really like to get off the meds if possible.

The Son is still working.  We are trying to connect with him as much as he wants within the boundaries we've set.  Figuring out how to keep connecting was exhausting so I am waiting to see how things play out organically.  Unconditional love is a hard thing to figure out in practice. I finally realized that I was still in fixing mode as I worked so desperately to decide what route to take.  Maybe I will learn to wait on my son and the plan God has for him....maybe.

Praying for the soul of Henry, your loved ones and mine.