30 Years ❤️

4/25/92, 30 years ago, I married my best friend and soulmate. It hasn’t always been easy and we have definitely had some challenging times together, but I wouldn’t change a thing. All those things; good and bad have made us love each other more. Despite the challenges we have had a good life together these past 30 years, I am blessed and grateful.

We have two wonderful daughters who are doing amazing. I think they might have been a little traumatized, but my life altering colon surgery and a little miffed by my spaced out persona during my addiction (but I never failed to support them, cheer them on and volunteer … I was a very functional spaced out mom). Allie starts a new job next week and turns 27. She never did really go into teaching. The pandemic had a lot to do with that. She is in sales and has been kicking ass! Kirsten is working in a lab duing quality control and such. She is interviewing and has a 4th conversation with the company this week. It is more of an environmental science job that she will be well suited for. Both girls live away from home and are functioning adults. I am very proud of both of my girls and the family that Steve and I created.

It is hard to fathom that it has been 30 years since our wedding day. I remember a time when I thought we would never be together. I was young and in love and so desperate to marry the love of my life. 30 years ago it finally happened! Through sickness and in health we have weathered the storm. I am one lucky girl!

Back at it!

When I say back at it, that applies to so so many things.

The main thing I am back at is life. Kerry’s suicide really took me down the rabbit hole. I found myself very depressed, anxious and just not myself for the last couple of months. I worked with my therapist (often), and am seeing a psych PA to manage my meds and she add a few more to the cocktail. I am feeling more like myself, but it definitely was a rough couple of months. I had to even take a break from sponsoring. I just didn’t feel equipped to help anyone …. could hardly help myself. I am back at actively working with my sponsees, I have 3 girls who are working a program and one who I have limited contact with, but she is still sober. I am grateful not to be so gloomy. I still think of Kerry often and especially her family. I miss her. I pray that she is at peace.

In my twelve step program I have stepped away from the board and from being the social activities and all things fun chair. It was time to step away and I really felt like it was time for someone else to take the reins . I also didn’t want to have anything to do with it all while I was processing Kerry’s death. So I guess you could say I am back at being just a regular member of the program.

I was contemplating quitting the blog, but I am back at it. I am not sure if I will stop when the next payment is due, only time will tell. I did go back and read everything I have written to date. It was very interesting and eye opening to note the changes in life and the world. Reading back, I do get the gloomies. It is very unpredictable cycle. I hope this new mood stabilizer will help that.

My A1C went down at my last dr appt, I am still pre diabetic but I am close to being normal. The diet and exercise paid off. I did get a little lax during my depressive episode, I did what I could. I am still with my trainer and she works me hard. I have a lot of accountability to her with my exercise and food. But I am back to a healthy lifestyle change. I joined a program with in person countability. It is changing eating habits and really concentrating on macronutrients. I meet with a dietitian and health coach each week. This is only day 2 of my changed eating plan ….. cross your fingers!

Getting back into the swing of life, being healthy and writing are all positive steps for me. Now I just need to get back to volunteering, which will happen soon. Life happens and sometimes it is hard, but we have to just keep at it the best we can.

GONE

This post is an update post from an entry titled “No Words for This One”, November 3, 2021 about a sponsee in a domestic violence situation. 

Kerry is her name and her (husband) has destroyed her. Those that I have spoken to who knew of him described him as a monster … some say he was worse than a monster.  He was manipulative, controlling and in his own eyes all powerful.  These things I only know of from what I have been told.   She was a victim, stuck for too long in a bad situation.   She was scared to leave and scared to stay.  She had a psychotic breakdown, was hospitalized and finally free of his abuse.  She also had the problem of addiction / alcoholism.   With years of his abuse, she also had some mental issues; severe depression and anxiety with PTSD.   She moved in with her parents to try to heal and get her life back. Her so called husband has had custody of her 11-year-old twins.  This alone broke her heart.   

Wednesday of this week I got a phone call from a friend while I was on vacation in Florida.   Tuesday (February 8th), my dear sweet Kerry committed suicide.  She hung herself.  There are no words for this one.  I am devastated and heartbroken beyond words. There is sadness mixed with anger mixed with guilt. I know I am not responsible, but a part of me still wonders what I could have done differently and if I could have helped her more. I am making myself crazy with all those what ifs.  My heart hurts for her family and all those who knew and loved her.  It is sad that she felt no hope, no way out and no peace.  We had a text exchange on Saturday.  We were starting to work a little bit on small steps of gratitude.   I wanted to give her hope, I wanted to give her light, I wanted to give her peace.  I was always so worried about her and what she may or may not do. I knew she was hurting, but I did not really expect this.  Mental illness is real, domestic violence is real, being over medicated is real and suicide is real!

I am having a hard time processing this all, I can’t imagine what her family is going through.  I am lucky to have a great support system and fellowship in recovery.  I have been surrounded by love and support.  Being a sponsor to someone is a special sort of bond that is hard to explain. Kerry called me Mama, even though she was 41 and I am 54. 

I am just sad. There have been a lot of tears. Sometimes out of nowhere the tears will flow.  It felt unreal until I saw the actual obituary.  I feel anxious and sick.  I know I cannot undo what has been done, but those what ifs will continue to haunt me.

Covid Christmas

Day 11 in quarantine ….. day 4 of Covid for me.

The kids are all headed back home and to work. Steve is back to work, and here I sit …. me and Ollie, the dog.

Covid went through the whole family …. Pat, Steve, Allie and then me. Kirsten is the only one to get through the holiday unscathed. She stayed away for awhile, but gave up and just came home, but so far she has been ok, fingers crossed!

It was a long 11 days with all of us at home, plus an extra dog. The mess was piling up, the Christmas decorations were becoming annoying and we were all getting bored with each other. I have to say, I was ready to get my house back … but at the same time I loved having everyone under one roof. I have mixed emotions as I sit home alone in the quiet of the house. I have started the cleaning process and putting things away – including Christmas, but my energy is low. I am still feeling the effects of the virus.

I can not say that Christmas was ruined. We were all stuck together at home. No running around, just us at home. I did have some fun excursions planned that didn’t happen, but we watched movies, played euchre and various games. Watched marathons of Netflix and enjoyed each other’s’ company. Stuck at home with all of us together doesn’t usually happen. I am grateful for the special stuck at home together time we had. It did suck with us being sick, but it was mild cases and only lasted a few days …. I think mine is lasting the longest!

I will miss my kids, but it is different now that they are adults and have their own lives to live. Steve and I, too, are in a different phase of life …. empty nest. We are all on our own journeys and must part ways. But not for long. We will all hopefully meet up in Florida in February for Pat’s moms birthday celebration.

It is not what I had planned, but sometimes what you don’t plan is better! Now if I can just make it a few more days to feeling better and getting out of quarantine and joining the world again ….. all will be good.

Change of Plans

Tis the season! The season when all the best laid plans for family and friend fun goes astray. Covid has reared its ugly head on my family again this holiday season.

My daughter, Allie and her boyfriend came from Texas on Saturday. By Monday, Patrick was sick. Tuesdays home covid test came up positive. Now we sit and wait for the regular test results to come back and hope it was a false positive. Steve, Allie and I did the home test too and they were all negative. And of course now all home tests are on backorder so Pat can not retest at home. We just wait …… 2-3 days of quarantine before the test comes back.

I hope it is negative. We just had my Mom and Tom and Pat’s family over for dinner on Sunday before all sickness broke loose. I hope they all didn’t get exposed and that it is just the other crud that is going around.

In the meantime, we will miss our annual bracoli making tradition for Christmas dinner with the extended family. Last year, each family made their own since we couldn’t all get together because some had the virus. Kirsten is staying away at her apartment in Cincinnati, but she was here Sunday too. I hate to think of her missing all this family time, while we are all stuck home together. She will go to bracoli making and stay with my mom, depending on the test results. I am missing dinner with friends while we wait. We are unable to go on planned family activities this week while we wait. I won’t be able to help set up and attend the Christmas activities at the AA club. The worst is I hate the wait.

I know the best laid plans often don’t happen. Having the Serenity Prayer in “tool kit” helps. I have to remember to “accept the things I cannot change.”. The last couple of evenings while we wait, I have enjoyed having Allie and Pat here, watching Christmas movies with Steve and I. I do miss Kirsten. I was so excited to have everyone home and under one roof. I know we aren’t the only ones in this waiting game. I am grateful that Pat is feeling better and that so far we are all fine. I just hate to have this damn covid mess up another holiday season. Last year I tested positive on New Years Eve as did Allie and Pat. We are all vaccinated and I believe that helps.

The best thing now is not to dwell on what we are unable to do and concentrate on what we still may be able to do. The best laid plans aren’t always your plan.

Thanksgiving Eve Reflections

The house is quiet and it gives me time to reflect. I have had some ups and downs, but I have so much to be Thankful for. We will gather tomorrow with family at my brother’s house ….. 14 of us. Allie and Pat will be home for a couple of weeks at Christmas time, so I will be missing them. This time of year I like to tell the people who have made a difference in my life how much they mean and how they have helped me overcome. Mostly my recovery sisters, but also some special friends received a I am Thankful for You letter in the mail.

I have been thinking a lot about where I have been and where I am at now. I am scheduled to give my lead at the AA meeting on Sunday. It has been about 1.5 years since I have done this. The more I try to organize my thoughts, the more anxious and flustered I get. I am just going to have to “let go and let God” speak through me. In the past I would write everything down, sometimes I would use the notes, sometimes just a glance at them. It was more a control issue …. being in control and knowing what I am going to say. Last time, it was short notice and I did not have time to prepare. I just told my story and it worked out beautifully. I am going to try it again this way, but right now my thoughts are all jumbled. I was hoping since it was Thanksgiving weekend, the crowd would be smaller, but I have a feeling the opposite will be true. I am nervous. My mom wanted to come, since I don’t always share with her all the gorey details, but I am not ready for that yet.

I am also about 8 days away from my 7 year sobriety anniversary, which is also cause for reflection. 7 years is a big deal. I first went to treatment in 2007 and it took me 7 years to finally surrender and admit to my innermost self that I had a problem. My sober day is 12/2/14. I will get my token on the following Sunday from my sponsor.

Sometimes life does suck, but as one of my AA friends says …. “You sometimes have to embrace the suck”. But really despite the crappy days, life is good. I love life sober. I love the fellowship I belong to. I am grateful for all I have and my wonderful family and friends.

Happy Thanksgiving ….. Be Grateful!

No Words for this one

The halloween party was fantastic. We had such a great turn out and a lot of creative costumes and yummy chili. Of course some things weren’t as I would have them, but it was okay. I am still learning to let go of control. I would love to post pictures, but it is an anonymous program.

So many things in life our out of our control. I want control, I want to be able to take care of those I love and i want to fix things and make life better. I have to remember that serenity prayer for acceptance, courage and wisdom.

I have a sponsee, my very first. We started working together about 6 years ago. I was just over 1 year sober myself. She reminded me of myself in terms of having a hard time staying sober. We had a lot of friends in common and just clicked. She moved, we tried to stay in touch some, but we all know how that goes. She has always though held a special place in my heart. She is a lovely person.

She recently came home to live with her parents. She had to leave everything behind. Even her 11 year old twins. She was in a domestic violence situation. Her story is like so many others that we hear of, one of control, manipulation and violence . The kids are okay and she sees them a couple of times a week and talks to them daily, but they are 2 hours away in another state and they want their mother.

Her (husband) has been planning, controlling and running the show for years. He has documented her alcoholism and the psychotic break she had when she could no longer take the abuse. He is trying to paint the picture of an unfit mother. She is anything but. His actions have destroyed this lovely lady.

My friend is broken. She is void of happiness and life. She has no self worth, she is depressed, she is isolating, she is scared. She is currently sober despite everything. We met the other day at my house. I just needed her to get out and she needed reassurance that she was okay. We talked, we cried. My heart is broken for her and her kids. I want to control the outcome of this, I want to fix this for her, but there is nothing I can do except, I can be a friend, I can love her, I can pray for her and I can listen. I want to be able to do more. But this has to just play out. She only has supervised visitation with her children at this point because of the ugly picture her (husband) has painted. They meet at the end of the month in court for unsupervised visits and the custody hearing is not until next June. A year after she fled the abuse. She doesn’t think she can last that long in the current climate of things.

I needed to write this. I am trying to process. I can’t imagine how she is trying to process. I am afraid for her. Her children are her life and without them she has no will. It is hard for me to imagine someone that is supposed to love you to do the things he has done to her. I can see her desperation and despair. Her eyes show it. The thing I did tell her is that I still see a spark and we have to use that spark to fight. I will be with her every step of the way. I am grateful she has a loving parents who are helping her and taking care of her. She is getting outside help, but nothing seems like enough.

I have no control in this situation. My friend doesn’t have much control at this time either. The (husband) holds the cards and I can only pray that that will change in time. The children have seen some of the abuse and are witnesses to the truth. God please help this woman and her kids and help me to have the right words to comfort and support her.

My heart is shattered.

Diabetes, Kidney Stone and a Crooked Finger

Happy Fall. The weather has definitely changed and Halloween is right around the corner. We have our annual Halloween party coming up at the recovery club. I have once again delegated a lot of the details and it is still hard to let go of the control of the event. Being on the board and in charge of social events I feel it is also my responsibility to let others get involved and be part of the process.

My mood has been all over the place as of late. Some depression, some happiness and a lot of whatever. I have had many needed conversations with my therapist. I have been too out of sorts to even write.

I found out at my physical in September that I am pretty close to being diabetic. I have started monitoring my sugar and it has been all over the place. I have been taking better care of diet and exercise and really working it, but it gets discouraging when it really doesn’t seem to change anything. My weight is also up and down but for the most part the scale is moving in the right direction. I am really being careful with my carbs and sugar intake. I have been working with my trainer and walking and working out at home in between. I have met with the diabetic nurse and have an appointment scheduled with the dietitian, which I hope can help me even out this sugar issue. My dr. has given me 6 months to get things under control. With the fluctuation in my sugar readings …… I don’t know.

At that same physical, blood was found in my urine. That lead to an appointment with the urologist, which lead to the discovery of a kidney stone. It was causing pressure, but no pain. Surgery was scheduled, but it thankfully passed before the scheduled surgery …. that was painful!

To top it all off, my pointer finger that I had surgery on in July is still slow to heal. The tendon was weak and healed and now my finger is crooked for good, unless I want another surgery ……. not!

It was a few weeks of so many dr. appointments and not great news and many ups and downs with my psyche.

Steve and I also had our annual babysitting stint with niece Caroline.during all that. She added a light to a dismal mood. She is now 5 and we thoroughly enjoy having her with us. We had her for 5 days and she kept us on our toes. She is a very busy, creative, sweet girl.

So I guess this is my new normal. I will just keep trying to live life on life’s terms.

Weight

Well ….. I am currently doing not so great with my weight loss. I have been stagnant. I lose a couple pounds and gain a couple pounds. This has been my lifelong struggle. I should be happy in that overall I am down 15 pounds (if I am on the right side of the scale) since March/April. It is just that I am not consistent in my efforts. I am doing really well with my trainer 2X’s a week (she is really pushing me) plus 1 workout on my own over the weekend and I am supposed to be walking on days off – that is hit or miss, but I am trying to get it in …. it is just so dang hot right now!

I think I have gained approximately 100 lbs since I was deathly ill with the Ulcerative Colitis. I had the surgery to have my colon removed in 2005 and I weighed close to 100 lbs. Everything I ate before that surgery went right through me. It wasn’t even worth the effort to actually eat. I practically lived in the bathroom. I had to drink protein and calories to sustain. After the surgery it was still difficult to eat as my internal JPouch needed a lot of time to heal and start functioning properly. I was forced to eat a little something every couple of hours. My friends brought my family dinners and brought me the highest caloric foods they could find. But still I could eat very little. I think because I was close to starvation mode at this time in my life, my body and metabolism are wonky ….. still! There were a few years before I was really really sick and a few years after when I was healing that I was at a good skinny weight and I liked it. But alas, it was hard to maintain! The weight kept piling on as the years went by.

In high school, looking back I was a good average weight. I thought I was super fat (I would love to be that “fat” again)! I was a member of the drill/dance team. We were well known around the area and it was a very strict and disciplined activity. We had to weigh-in every week. If we were not in the range we would get a tik – too many tiks and you get a demerit, too many demerits and you are off the team. I always struggled. I was right on the edge of my weight range. Before weigh-ins I would not eat day of and very little the day before. I took laxatives before weigh-ins and diet pills to maintain. The day after I would chow. A vicious cycle. I did not have a healthy relationship with food.

Today, I am trying just to be healthy, but I want to look good too. I was going to try a new weight loss program, it was based somewhat on meal replacements. As soon as they realized I don’t have a colon, I was told that the program would not work for me as I do not have the same absorption as others … it is always something! When I was sick, I was barely functional. I had severe clinical depression and an anxiety disorder (hence my love of benzodiazepines) along with the Ulcerative Colitis. I should be grateful that even though I am fat, I am somewhat healthy and I am much happier than I used to be. Of course I am still on a cocktail of antidepressants but hey, whatever takes. I will keep working with my trainer and keep using her as a coach. She keeps me accountable, I just have to willing to be willing to do what it takes. But sometimes you just have to eat!