Posted in Addiction, Family, Health, Kids, Me, Vacation

End of Summer Update

Y’all, I’m sorry. I never mean to disappear over the summer, but it almost always seems to happen.

Looking at a week left until school starts (two seniors, a junior and a sophomore), I’m processing all that has happened over the course of the last 10 weeks. Like the rest of 2018, a lot of it didn’t look like what I had expected. Ethan went to Diller Vacation home, came home and immediately left for a four week program, IDEAL. Laura spent three weeks at Penn State’s Summer Academy. We spent 12 days away from home, 9 of them in Michigan and the others traveling to and from.

That was the expected.

Unexpected, well, that would include a plane ride off the island in Lake Michigan, a transfusion for Catie, a night over in a hotel just the two of us and a plane ride back. (by plane, picture a Cessna, and not a 747!). We still don’t have answers for WHY she is having this bleeding (a period since February except 3 weeks in June). The current course of meds is making it lighter, but has not stopped it. I’m trying to get an appointment at duPont instead of staying at the OB-Gyn’s. While they have been great with me, I’m not thrilled with the level of care with my 15 year old.

Unexpected would also include the death of Ethan’s best friend, the daughter of one of my closest friends. Which, even as I type that, brings tears to my eyes and hurt to my heart. I loved her like a daughter and don’t know how to live life without ever hearing her sweet, soft voice asking for Ethan on the phone. Or to see them, snuggled up on the hammock or a couch, talking and sharing time. If I ever (EVER) tried to picture him actually being romantically involved with someone, it was her. I’m trying to figure out what friendship with her mom will look like when it was our children’s special needs that brought us together. I WILL be her friend. I just don’t want to hurt her.

Unexpected has been my raging-out-of-control addiction. It started before Michigan, so I can’t even blame it on Devon’s death. It certainly helped me avoid grieving, though. And hey, that’s been GREAT. (that facetiousness, people)

Unexpected has been the decision to go forward with another round of SI joint injections on Friday. I’ll be sedated this time around, and have much better expectations of recovery and the pain involved. I flared last time; most likely I’ll flare this time. I have four full days of nothing planned, and then it’s driving the kids back and forth to school. I’ll manage.

Unexpected has been the washer breaking, the hall bath leaking, another spot on the ceiling today that we have NO idea where’s it coming from, and other financial woes. HOWEVER, unexpected has also been a promotion for my husband FINALLY. He’s been working towards this for several years and it’s amazing and wonderful for him to have the recognition that we as his family have thought he deserved. Yay for my husband!

So, yeah. The unexpected has mostly ruled this summer.

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Posted in Addiction, Marriage

Addiction and Marriage

A respected blogger in the field of female porn addiction, Beggar’s Daughter, had an interesting thing to say today:

“…It has opened up healing conversation after healing conversation. After the most recent, I realized that the fear I had of what the future might look like is a fear any female struggler is going to share. It’s not unique to me simply because I’m an author and speaker; it’s shared by all of us.

No one has been there. The leading female voices on female porn addiction are all still single. There aren’t resources for marriages where the wife is the addict/former addict. There aren’t counselors trained to handle this specific scenario.”

Now, I’m the first to admit that I’m not a “leading voice”, but I sure am an authority on it, being that I live it day in and day out.

A little background: Jim and I were friends for years before we dated. All that time the addiction was either brewing or being active. I hid it really, really well. When we dated, it certainly affected my life and our dating relationship, but I was utterly clueless about it. It wasn’t until after we broke our engagement that I figured things out and got counseling. Jim and I stayed broken up for a good 9 months and I was free to concentrate on my recovery unhindered. HUGELY important.

When the conversations about getting back together started happening, I was so scared. I had been so messed up. Although he had absolutely played a part in our breakup, I feel like a lot of it was my fault. I had given my counselor (which happened to also be his counselor) permission to talk to him about my addiction. That might have been a little unorthodox, but I had no clue where to start. After that, one day I gave him my recovery journal, where I had been utterly honest with myself. It was brutal, but I wanted him to see the journey I had gone through. I wanted him to know that the sobriety that I had fought so hard for was something I valued and didn’t intend to turn my back on.

Fast forwarding 22 years (actually almost 23 from when we started all this!), obviously from this blog I still struggle. Whether that will always be the case I don’t know. I hope not. Sometimes I struggle with being honest with my husband in it–or even after it. He is not my accountability partner. I DO have a woman accountability partner and she gets emails about my internet usage. Jim gets them as well. He also gets what I think are instant alerts (not a weekly digest) where if something looks really fishy they let him know immediately. It’s not foolproof. I think it looks for keywords, and that alerts him when I’m reading an article on a Christian lesbian talking about choosing celibacy. We roll our eyes and move on. I do think I will always have that level of “big brother”, that much I can say.

I obviously can’t speak for how he feels about it. He’s seen me at my worst and he’s seen me when I’m not struggling at all. I think part of the wonder of marriage is he’s seen both, loves me as I am, and will be with me ” ’til death do us part.”

Posted in Addiction, House

No News is No News

Things are just as they were. The perc test is next Mon/Tues, so there’s literally nothing going on right now. Oh, funny, the sellers asked if they put money in escrow for the septic if we could do settlement earlier. Oh, how I wish that was an option, but the mortgage company will not give us a mortgage without a working septic. So, yay, we are all stuck.

All the “up in the air” is making my addiction flare. I HATE this. I hate the feeling of utter powerlessness and the not knowing anything of when we will make settlement. Some days I want to run shrieking from this apartment and just curl up in a quiet space ALONE. I miss SLEEPING. I miss having a space to myself. I miss having a place that’s OURS, that we can know if the dog makes a mess on the carpet it won’t jeopardize our whatever-it’s-called-that-you-give-the-apartment-complex-in-case-something-bad- happens fund.

So, yeah, addiction. I’m feeling all the feels and overwhelmed and my brain DOES NOT LIKE THIS, NO IT DOES NOT. I hate that I still go to it for my security blanket, but there it is. I emailed my accountability partner and am trying to be honest with both her and myself, so hopefully, hopefully, things will even out a bit.

All that to say, things are just as they were and I wish things were different.

Posted in Addiction

Thumb Sucking Security Blankety Blank Blank

We’re going to put our house in the market this year. I’ve mentioned it a time or two.  It’s a LOT of work. And change. And a lot of unknowns.

  1. Will someone actually want our house?
  2. How will we swing school/selling/buying/dogs all at the same time?
  3. Will we be able to find a home that
    1. Works for our needs?
    2. Is where we want it to be?
    3. Is affordable?

I’m nervous. And a little daunted by all that needs to be done in our home, not to mention all the packing and going through of STUFF (because we have a lot of it).

And what do I do when life becomes somewhat difficult for me to cope with because I’m stressed and overwhelmed?

Yes, folks, let’s hear it for my addiction.

Ugh.

I didn’t want to “be good”. I didn’t want to stop. Easter morning, I grabbed my phone and MADE MYSELF text my accountability partner and tell her. Which I hadn’t done for more than two weeks before because if I did, I knew I would have to stop. And it felt too good to wallow in it.

Double ugh.

Easter is about renewal, resurrection, Jesus’ winning over death and sin and CRAP. Our awful, ugly CRAP.

I deleted apps off the phone, deleted books that I had downloaded–that’s the mostly-easy part. (yeah, mostly because it’s just so darn comfy in my addiction and I really DON’T want to delete them). But the brain, well….that crap is now in there. Some of it will be forgotten. Some will, unfortunately, stay there forever.

Sigh. No, really, I just sighed. I texted my AP with “Will I ever stop struggling with this? Will I ever stop running to it when life gets difficult?” With more than 22 years in recovery, one would hope it would be easier. But no, no it’s not.

“How deep the Father’s love for us, how vast beyond all measure. That He should give His only Son, to make a wretch His treasure.”

 

Posted in Addiction

It’s Still Hard Talking About It

Two days ago I was driving my daughter home from her med check. We see a psychiatrist once a month (this is our third visit), trying to get the right medication and dosage to help with her anxiety. And she sees a counselor once a week to talk about said anxiety, to try and help her work through it and cope with it. Both treatments are necessary at this point for her and we are hoping that the med she is on right now is the right one (our third med). As we were driving home, she picked up my phone to look at something and asked “Why don’t you have Safari?”. (Safari is the default iphone internet app)

I don’t have Safari because I use an internet app provided by Accountable 2 U, which I absolutely need.

Does my daughter need to know this? I never, EVER intended to talk about my addiction to my children. EHHHH-VER. That was my private issue, my deal, and I didn’t have to talk to anyone about it unless I chose.

BUT.

Laura is dealing with a lot of stuff this year. She confides in me after her counseling sessions and in between about her anxiety and thoughts and difficulties, of which I have no comprehension because anxiety is not something I struggle with.

I sat there in the van, driving, heart pounding and thoughts racing. Yes, it’s my private stuff and no one needs to know. That’s true. But the deeper questions is: is my addiction such a horrifying, shaming secret that I need to keep it a secret? Because, yes, I still feel that way.

I bit the bullet and started with “Did I ever talk to you about the guys I grew up with?” and went from there. She actually asked at one point something like “Is this an addiction for you?” and I said yes. We talked basically the whole way home (30+ minutes). I did not go to places I didn’t feel comfortable talking about, but the general ideas I was trying to get across were:

  1. We ALL have something. Everyone. We may hide it and try to look like we have it all together, but it’s there and it’s real.
  2. You, as my daughter, have trusted me a lot this year with your emotions and problems. I want you to know that I trust you with mine.

I cried at the end. It was REALLY difficult to talk about–even after 22 years!–and I think I view it as a step in the direction of an adult relationship with Laura. She put her hand on my shoulder and assured me she wouldn’t talk about it with anyone. I came home and told Jim that I had told her.

Life is weird. Never say never!

Posted in Addiction, God, Me, Parenting

Pulling Up The Edges of the Sticker

Awhile back I posted about Being Stuck. Addiction. God. Parenting one of my children. Those three things had me mired in a place where I just couldn’t move. Not an inch. I couldn’t seem to get out of where i was but I HATED where I was.

So I started counseling.

And put a sort of block on my cellphone. Because, people, even 20 freaking years into this recovery I still cannot handle unaccountable time on the internet.I MUST have someone looking over my shoulder. Really. MUST. For September and October and even most of November I was what I’ll call unwillingly sober. Forced because of my accountability software. Somewhere in late November something switched. Whether my brain chemicals finally caught up with the fact that hey, you’re sober! Or I’m far enough on the path towards God that it cleared my brain, but I finally WANT to be sober. If thoughts come into my brain I shoo them away instead of lovingly caress them and call them my precious. If a plot from a book floats into my thoughts, I put my thoughts onto something else. It’s GOOD people! Really GOOD.

God and I are back on speaking terms. That, too, is GOOD. We’re going to church, somewhat regularly. I’d like to make some friends there, but hopefully that will come in time. I don’t automatically blow Him off when something crosses my mind that’s difficult (i.e. Connor’s passing away). It’s good. I LIKE being on better terms with God.

The parenting thing…well…2 out of 3 ain’t bad, right? Just kidding! I’m still going to her (although taking a short break for the holiday craziness) and am still working on the parenting thing. I’m really struggling with one particular child right now–which has happened in the past and has ultimately passed–but this time it’s lasting longer and seems to be more difficult. So I’ll keep working on it…and the sobriety and the God thing and….life is work, Highness. Anyone who tells you differently is selling something. Right?!

Posted in Addiction, Counseling, God, Me, Money, Parenting

State of the Blogger

We’re already almost done October. How the heck did THAT happen? I’ll be 46 in a few weeks (my children’s English teacher last year is young enough to have been my child. I’m getting OLD!).

Life has been very busy around here of late. The new school schedule, with driving to one or another child’s school each day has taken a toll on me and the house. I’m more snappy with both my husband and my children. I’m frequently overwhelmed. And shutting down because of it. My addiction, while not actively RAGING, has been on the front burner for almost this whole freaking year. And I’m sick of it. Not sick enough to stop, obviously, but sick of it nevertheless. *wry smile

I’ve been in counseling for about a month. I don’t know that I’ve seen any major changes, but it’s really nice to talk to someone about stuff that’s going on–parenting, addiction, God…all are difficulties now. She gives me homework (which Jim finds endlessly amusing). One of the things is to be more social with friends and family. Being that this is my birthday month I’ll have birthday money and am meeting with not only my mother and sister for lunch, but four other gals for lunch/dinner all on separate occasions! It’s a banner month for me, being that I can go literally months without seeing anyone outside of Jim and my next-door neighbor.  And I definitely need that adult-recharging time.

This past weekend was the annual Queen for a Day, which I love and look forward to all year. Worship time, brunch, visiting with other caregivers (moms/wives) of special needs individuals, spa things like massages, nails, foot rubs, satin hands, and a lovely tea room with a harpist and treats. I come away refreshed and feeling wonderful. And wanting more information for and about Ethan.

Financially we’re keeping our heads above water. Just. August stunk (triplet’s birthday!). September stunk (back to school). October stunk (Jim’s trip to Beaver Island, MI). November SHOULD be ok, and there will be that magical 3rd paycheck in December that will pay for Christmas. Thank goodness!

Have any of you “wandered away” from God and come back? I’ve done it before, but am not sure how to get back. Honestly. Any input from you would be welcome.