Tag Archives: Alcoholism

HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN YOUR SOCIAL STATUS IF YOU DONT DRINK?

I saw this photo quote online and thought it would be a good topic to discuss.  I have heard people say things about how they feel like they “have to” drink to fit in.  My husband is a drummer so when he is playing in a band it brings us into the bars because that is where the local bands play, or if there is an event happening in town.  I got to thinking though that I have heard people of all ages talk about this and how they feel they have to drink to fit in.  To me I think that is just absurd and I feel that more people need to stand for what they believe in and not feel so pressured to do anything just to be accepted by people who are probably not true friends in the first place.

I take alcoholism very seriously because I live that life.  I am the wife of an alcoholic and the last thing I want is for my Daughter, Step-Children, or friends  to walk that same path.  When I hear my daughter tell me about her and her friends going out and drinking I have to admit that I sometimes kind of stop breathing for a moment because I have concerns about her ending up with a drinking problem.  I can hear her right now saying “Oh my God Mom, I don’t have a problem I don’t drink all the time, I rarely get drunk”!   And she is right, she doesn’t have a problem, I tend to over react at times, BUT because her Dad is a recovering alcoholic and she grew up in an alcoholic home and her biological Dad is an addict I can’t help but feel that overprotective Mom inside just praying that she doesn’t get caught up in any addiction.  My daughter is an independent young woman with a great job, and a good heart.  She is good to her family and friends.  She thinks before she makes choices and weighs what the consequences will be and that is simply by learning from past mistakes and lessons life has taught her.  I am a very proud Momma, she is an amazing beautiful person, a great role model for her nieces!

My husband and I have had people (men and women) ask us HOW we don’t drink in a bar. My husband tells them he is a recovering alcoholic and breaks out in hand cuffs when he drinks HAHAHA (a little dark humor there).  They will ask me why I don’t drink and my response is…… simply out of respect for my husband, and I don’t need to drink.  Some people are just amazed and just don’t understand how it is possible and believe we have such will power, (these are usually the people who have a drinking problem).  They say how envious they are because they wish they could do it.   Yet others judge us, and will give us these weird looks.  It is OK judge away, I know that they are miserable and addiction is in control of their lives so they can’t see past themselves and believe that somehow we are missing out on a “fun” life.  That would be where they are wrong, FUN didn’t start for us until recovery came into our lives.  Now it is all real and honest and we remember things we did and my husband doesn’t have to wake up in the morning wondering what he did the night before to hurt everyone and wake up with regret.

My concern though are the ones that do it to fit into a social standard.  The ones that do it even though they don’t like it and then they begin to crave it.  The ones that believe that if they drink or do drugs like their so called “friends” they will be liked.  The ones that do it for a guy or a girl.  I hear younger people being allowed to have a drink or two at a BBQ or a dinner event.  I do not agree with this.  I believe that this type of behavior that parents allow when they have teenagers just creates a pathway to some form of addiction and bad choices.  Maybe it is judgmental but I do not think it is OK to allow your underage kids to drink, they are not your friend they are your children, you are their parents and role models.  If you make bad choices like drinking and driving what do you think they will do?  Have a drink with your kids when they are grown adults and are of legal age.  I feel like we have enough troubled children in this world due to a lack of parenting with boundaries, structure and consequences. This of course is just my opinion I am not a doctor but I am a Mother, Stepmother, Wife, Daughter, Etc. so my feelings about this I will tell you I am biting my tongue right now to say more about it, but think before you act and do what is right long term for your children and family.

In our family there is a lot of addiction and it rips families apart.  It kills people, it causes terrible health issues, it destroys relationships, it is truly a devastating disease that you can actually do something about!  Get your ass to recovery, check into rehab don’t leave because it is tough because you know the saying “no pain no gain”.  It will be harder emotionally than anything but I can promise you this, your whole life will change in ways you never imagined were possible.  Nobody is blowing smoke up your ass it’s real, miracles do happen.  I mean it isn’t all unicorns and rainbow’s everyday but you will have those days too.  There isn’t just one way to recover but you must do it right.  Being dry isn’t the same as recovering!  Do the work and watch your life unfold before your eyes. Life isn’t going to give you everything you want, your marriage may be too damaged to save, you may have lost your job and everything you had, some of your relationships with family will be destroyed and you may never get that back, but you might, it may not be today or tomorrow but months and even years from now people do come back.  Have faith in yourself, when you are right and healthy you attract that back into your life.  If the best thing that happens is those people accept your amends and forgive you, then that in itself is progress. 

Sometimes we have to loose everything in order to appreciate just one thing!  Sometimes you have to start from the ground up all over again to live a life that is worth living.  Living drunk and strung out is not a life,  you are merely existing, it is not a way to live.  Stealing from families and innocent people, hurting others to get your next drink or your next high is not OK.  You may believe that the only person you are hurting is yourself but let me tell you that as the wife of an alcoholic and a mother to the children involved, you hurt your loved ones way more than you are hurting yourself and that is part of addiction, you can’t see past your own nose.  Trust me when I say to you no matter what age you are……..Be true to yourself, don’t drink or do drugs just to fit in because if that’s what you have to do to fit in then THOSE ARE NOT YOUR PEOPLE!  Your people are the ones that do not judge or criticize you but want to help you reach your God given potential to be all you can in this world.  We all have a gift, a divine purpose, find it, embrace it.  Get to know who you are without medicating and running from your issues nothing will stop that pain until you deal with it and allow yourself to heal.  Drugs and alcohol do not allow you to heal.  Recovery is work, hard work and it is something you have to choose to do every day for the rest of your life but it will be the most satisfying intense work you have ever done and the payment will be living an honest life that you can be proud of full of good honest people!!  Have a safe Memorial Day, make good choices!

Wishing you Peace & Serenity, Harmony

 

 

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE???

Someone recently asked me what advice I could give to others in the same situation or thinking of getting into this type of situation.  I can only speak as the wife of an alcoholic and I can only share from my own experiences.  I have come to find that there are commonalities in every person who has an addiction problem no matter what the substance is.   Which outside of alcohol and drugs can also be food, shopping, gambling, and so many other things.  I can’t tell someone whether they should stay or go.  We all think and feel differently.  I can share some things that I learned along the way…………as the photo quote above states “I still loved him through it all”.  Not everyone will make it out together!

Alcoholics can have all or some of these behaviors, manipulation, lie, play the victim, blame, twist words, be emotionally and or physically abusive, leave for days at a time, loose a lot of money, infidelity, SELFISHNESS like I have never seen, broken promises, secrets, steal, and there are so many more; but you get the point.  It is so hard to separate the “alcoholism” from the person.  Addiction is just pure evil!  People try to escape their pain by numbing it and pretending it doesn’t exist but it follows you wherever you go, and until you confront and resolve it in some way there isn’t a drink or drug in the world that will make it go away!  Alcoholism isn’t a choice, it is a sickness of the mind!  It isn’t an easy life loving an alcoholic.  I can tell you that no amount of begging, yelling, or crying will change the alcoholic.  Until they are ready to seek help for themselves and admit they have a problem there isn’t anyone or anything that can get them to stop drinking.  It is a very heartbreaking life to watch someone you love slowly kill themselves and destroy their innocent families.

So many nights you spend alone.  You become their caretaker, you are responsible for everything.  You are a two parent home yet only one of you actively participates in raising the children.  You keep secrets from other people about your life.  You make excuses for your alcoholic.  You lie for your alcoholic.  You live in shame due to their addictions.  Somehow with as often as they blame you for everything and even though you know it isn’t your fault, you start to believe that somehow it really is YOUR FAULT!  The whole family gets into this dysfunctional cycle and soon it’s like you are on a hamster wheel and the cycle repeats continuously with no way out and the entire family becomes so sick from one persons addiction.  I believe the spouses and families of alcoholics suffer so much worse than the alcoholic does, in different ways.  The spouses try to take the blunt of everything, they hide and protect the children and the rest of the family from their alcoholics behaviors.  The spouse allows the alcoholic to beat them up with their emotional abuse to save the children.  You try and make life “normal” for your family.  You become an enabler and you don’t even realize that is what you are doing, sometimes they even get the children to enable their behaviors too. The family becomes just as sick as they are!

You find yourself slipping away into what feels like a black lonely hole of HELL!  You feel your soul being crushed from the inside out.  You feel your heart breaking everyday because no matter what you try your alcoholic doesn’t see things the way you do, they don’t have the ability to see things the way they really are.  They see things through the eyes of the alcohol bottle, through a false sense of reality, to escape what is really happening due to their alcoholism.  Which is why when you try and paint them a picture of what it is like from your perspective they will blame you, they will tell you that you cause your own pain.  They will crush your sprit, they will emotionally cripple you and use that as an excuse to drink!  They will twist your words to suit them because an alcoholic will not take responsibility or accountability for anything bad, it will always be someone else’s fault…..and it is usually the one closest to them…….their spouse!

I know by now you are saying “why in the hell did she stay with such a monster”?  Because the truth is he isn’t a monster the “ISM” is.  The addiction takes over their body and mind, they become a shell of the person they used to be before the disease set in.  There is a person connected to the alcoholism, they are in a great deal of pain that they felt nothing in life could help cure until they got lost in the bottom of a bottle.  One drink felt good enough to make him relax so three could really help numb the pain and before you know it those few drinks turned into bottles of the harder stuff.  Sometimes they blackout and that is much better than dealing with what drove them to drink in the first place and the cycle quickly gets out of control because when they feel the pain they drink to stop it and before long they are drinking everyday throughout the day because their tolerance is building and one drink just isn’t enough anymore.  It is too painful to face reality so they become a victim to their own circumstance as does the family.  

 Know you can’t ever control an alcoholics behavior and until THEY hit their own personal bottom and THEY realize for themselves that THEY want to change and THEY want to live a different life and THEY choose to get into recovery nothing will change, it will get worse!  In your life together when they are actively drinking you will see them have moments of clarity and they will see themselves for a moment through your eyes and they will be apologetic for all the pain they caused you and the family and they will promise to stop and do better.  And they are better for a while, but it is always short lived because the hold the addiction has on them is far greater than their strength at this point.  Suddenly you have all the HOPE in the world.  You believe them and just know that THIS TIME it will be different, until it’s not.  I believe in those moments they are fighting the disease within themselves to get out of the prison they live in, in their own mind and that is how the alcoholism keeps them coming back.

One blog post just isn’t enough to share everything about this topic but I can tell you that it is not an easy life.  It has been my journey and I chose to stand by my husband through it all.  There were years of hell and serious heartache, a lot of damage.  Although he is now in recovery going on 5 years in October he has to stay on top of his recovery.  My husband will always be an alcoholic, but now he is a recovering one, but the disease is always within him waiting to come out and take over again.  As long as he stays present in his mind and uses the tools and the program to keep his life on the right track he will be OK, we will be OK.  We have rebuilt our marriage and we have to work on it everyday.  Life still goes on and bad shit happens all the time.   People we love die, you get behind on bills, loose jobs, family gets sick, the list can go on but I have learned that if you are not able to be grateful for what you have in your life at every moment then you are not eligible for anything more until you are!  Here is an example…….if you live in an older home and the area is less than ideal and your roof leaks but you don’t have the money to fix it just yet and all you can say is “I hate it here, I hate my house, I wish I had a nicer house” well you are missing a great life lesson my friends!  It’s called GRATITUDE!!

You see I learned a long time ago that you have to give more than you get.  You have to pay attention to your loved ones when they are hurting.  You have to find the positive in even the worst of situations (because I promise you it’s there).  If you are always being negative then that is what will come back to you.  We all do the best we can and other times we fall short of being the best version of ourselves.  If you choose to stand by your alcoholic just know it isn’t an easy journey and it’s a lifelong one at that, BUT sometimes even in the darkest moments if you close your eyes and listen with your heart and soul the answer will come to you.  Life isn’t always easy sometimes it straight up sucks, sometimes it is so painful you feel like you just can’t go on.  In those moments hang on tight don’t let go, don’t give up, there is always a better way, reach out for help!  There is always someone out there that needs you, that needs to hear your story, your voice.  Not everyone can and will be saved, lives are lost everyday to addiction, it is truly heartbreaking.  You may be the person who helps save another person, even a stranger.  You may never even know the affect you have on someone and how your presence in this world changed their life, but they will know.  You never know who is listening and why.

Know this…….no matter how long we are here on this earth we all have a divine purpose. I believe we all make a difference to someone.  Life is a gift, and for those that are struggling with addictions, my hope for you is that you find help.  That you change your life to become the best YOU that YOU were meant to be!   We can’t make someone with an addiction problem get help but we can be there when they reach out for help.  For those of you that chose to leave your alcoholic please know this……. you have nothing to feel guilty about.  You did nothing wrong, sometimes you have to save yourself because an alcoholic will take you down with them.  Please don’t take my words wrong.  I am not bashing alcoholics I am the wife of one, I am simply being honest about it, and my husband would tell you the same thing.  He supports everything I write because it is all true.  I am not going to paint a pretty picture when it can be an ugly one.  I am the friend that tells you that your outfit looks awful.  Sugar coating a lie doesn’t make it easier for someone because those lies eventually all come out at some point.  As hard as the truth may be to hear at times I would rather know than not know. 

Although recovery is a lifelong process for both the alcoholic, spouse, and family it is possible to rebuild.  It is possible to start fresh and heal.  I get to see and hear miracles everyday in meetings.  Not everything is rainbows and unicorns!  We are all human we struggle at times, an alcoholic can fall back into old behaviors without picking up a drink.  People sharing their stories and their everyday problems with others helps to create healing for all.  It helps us to stay in reality and not get caught up in all the bullshit life can throw at you.  Relapses can be part of an alcoholics story but they have recovered from it time and time again.  Not everyone gets it their first time around but wanting it to be different and to keep showing up to try is what makes all the difference in the world. Never loose HOPE and hold onto believing that one minute, one hour, one day clean, sober and most importantly in recovery is better than a lifetime using!!

Wishing you Peace and Serenity……….Harmony

What Happens To A Family After A Loved One Get’s Into Recovery?

c5ec80dba6ee0a5cfb223e18878dfd021 The photo quote to the left speaks volumes.  When an alcoholic/addict are using THEY come first and everything else comes after that.  We heard this topic for the first time in a meeting last weekend about “the family after”.  I thought what a great topic to write about.  I know it is what I talk a lot about but you don’t hear about it being a main topic in an AA meeting.  Hopefully the answer for you is a lot of healing for your families………and watching miracles happen in your own life.  So much happens once they get into recovery, and for us it wasn’t a great start.

Some people when they first get into recovery can become dry and that isn’t the best way to live a life of recovery.  Some people believe if they put down the substance of choice then that is sobriety, and while that is a good first step if that is all you do then you are dry and before long it will be worse than when you were using.  Stopping isn’t recovery.  Recovery is all about digging deep, getting to the root of the pain and confronting the demons you have been trying to run from and numb all these years. 

What happened to our family after recovery began was a lot more pain for the first 10 months and then the change began.  I have seen first hand the grave difference between being dry and true sobriety.  A lot of communication began, a lot of change in behaviors, a lot of healing.  My husband has been accused by people of “not being an alcoholic”.  Some people have even said that in my book I portrayed him as a monster!  My husbands response was…… “I have to be real honest with myself and others, I have to hold myself accountable for the pain and damage I caused to myself and my family”.   He said “I AM AN ALCOHOLIC, I WAS A DESTRUCTIVE MONSTER TO MY FAMILY AND DID UNSPEAKABLE THINGS THAT CAUSED ALL OF THEM, ESPECIALLY MY WIFE, DEEP PAIN”!  That is my husband taking responsibility for his alcoholism and owning it!

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I believe not only is it a lifetime of self discovery and recovery for the alcoholic but also for the loved ones affected by it.  Sometimes it takes years before the damage done by an alcoholic shows itself. Recently, our oldest Granddaughter shared with us that we haven’t been around very much for her.  I do blame my husbands alcoholism for that.  Not that we aren’t accountable for our actions because we are, we own that.  It broke my heart to know that while I was so busy trying to protect our kids at home from this evil addiction it was also leaking out and affected the next generation.  Until we were confronted with this pain we never realized that it had such a painful effect.  Now we have a better understanding and we know what we need to do to help heal and make it better.  We are blessed to have the opportunity to heal things with our kids and family that have been hurt by it.  So we can build a closer relationship with our Grand children too.

Everyone including myself is collateral damage by his alcoholism.  It is a terribly debilitating disease that takes lives every single day.  The only way to come out of it alive is by getting into recovery.  No matter how many years people haven’t spoken to you or tell you they want nothing to do with you because of the way you acted while you were drinking be patient, miracles happen everyday.  We have heard people in meetings talk about their children who wanted and had nothing to do with them for so many years (one guys son it took 18 years) but in the end when you show you have changed.  When people see the example you are setting they will come around.  Others though sadly will not.  Not every marriage can be rebuilt.  Not every family member will be a part of your life.  You will loose many people that you thought were “friends”.  Life works itself out and I can tell you that my husband has removed toxic people from our lives, in spite of my persistent suggestions of trying to make contact and work things out……..he wants nothing to do with certain people and that is his choice.  I support my husband and I understand the reasons why. 

Today the only people we surround ourselves with are kind supportive people who want to be in our lives.  We have so many different types of people in our lives.  Today we are closer than we have ever been.  Even our bad days, are still great days.  We have been together almost 17 years.  We have learned so much on our journey so far.  We have so much more to learn and grow from.  We appreciate the simple things in our life like our chickens and ducks.  We would never have been able to enjoy that before.  We have learned how to communicate and express our feelings with one another.  We talk about our problems instead of screaming or walking out.  We aren’t perfect we don’t always do things right or to the best of our ability, but it is different now in the sense that we don’t hurt each other.

12373375_10205683961314321_5452186814230665007_n1  We live our lives to be the best version of ourselves that we can.  We spend most of our time together because we spent so much of it being apart.  We absolutely love our crazy life that can get chaotic at times with the animals but we wouldn’t have it any other way.  We have the most amazing life because we got through it together.  Our support system of people is incredible!We have learned how to be grateful for all we do have.  We know that everyday we need to show our love and respect for one another.  We are best friends, we protect each other and we aren’t afraid to call each other out on our bullshit (mostly I do with him) 🙂 life today is the best it has ever been, we wouldn’t change a thing because we know this life and our time together is a precious gift.  Today and everyday we get to rebuild our family and strengthen the relationships we have with our loved ones.  Life is beautiful. 

My hope is that if one person still struggling reads this and realizes that there is a beautiful light at the end of the darkness you have been living in, all you have to do is reach out your hand and do the work, know that you too will be a miracle and your life will begin to transform before your eyes, you just have to believe it to see it and never ever give up HOPE!!

As always, wishing you Peace & Serenity……..Harmony

 

MY “2016” YEAR IN REVIEW!!!

merry-christmas-happy-new-year-20171 Here we are at the end of another year! It really is true, the older you get the faster time goes by.  I believe it is good for everyone to reflect upon their own lives because sometimes in the moment you can’t see things for what they really are, but when you look back sometimes you see things differently.  I don’t make resolutions anymore I believe all year through when you need to make changes that is when you should set goals. Otherwise there’s too much pressure and when we don’t complete them we feel worse.  I heard on the news yesterday that only 28% of people still do resolutions.  You do what is best for you!  Every year seems to be so busy for us, here are some of our high’s and low’s…………

Two of our rescue dogs began having some health issues this year.  One of them started having Grand Mal Seizures (vet thinks maybe epilepsy) but we don’t know for sure.  The other one just a month ago was diagnosed with Addison’s Disease and he was born with a birth defect in his front leg called “ELECTODACTYLY” nick named (Lobster Claw) because his paw looks like one. 15326444_10208312593908493_744804841266261232_n115036643_10208066796163703_6915914277773987160_n1-3 Both of our boys are young and otherwise healthy dogs.  They have so much energy.  They love to run around, chase balls, play tug of war, and at the end of the day sleep on the bed with Mom & Dad.  They are the best of friends, it is adorable!  They both require daily medication and once a month one needs an injection.  It breaks my heart to watch him having a seizure, but I am glad that I have been here when it’s happened so I can comfort him.  We got this though, I know the boys will be OK. 🙂  Addison’s can be dangerous, so we watch him closely because they can have what is called an “Addison’s Crisis” which is what happened a month and a half ago when we found out what was wrong with him.

I have mentioned before that besides writing my other passion is animals.  We have cared for over 100 homeless Feral cats on our street for over 13 years now.  I happen to have a lot of extra canned cat food recently (I can’t use it very much it attracts too many predators like coyotes) I mainly use dry food for them.  Also in the donation were a few bags of dry dog food.  I put a message out on FaceBook for anyone in need of food for their pets. Below are a few of the photos from my husband and I distributing that food.  We were able to help about 10 families feed their pets.  This time of year especially is my most favorite time but when you give anytime of year you get so much more in return!

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This summer we also took in and are fostering a neighbors Chihuahuas.  They would be the best pets for someone BUT their worst flaw……They pee on everything.  UGH! So frustrating, but they haven’t known anything else for 6 years so it isn’t their fault.  We have tried breaking them of the habit but no luck.  We hold onto the hope that one day some amazing person will adopt them and work with their issues and love them unconditionally! (Fingers Crossed) The man is slightly disabled but the bigger battle was fighting alcoholism, he became very sick from it.  He and the dogs were living in filth.  The dogs never went outside and were living in their own feces and urine.tims

While he was in the hospital/rehab my husband and I cleaned up his house and his sister gave us a budget to get him some new things so when he was ready to come home it would be clean & livable again. Interestingly enough she lives in Washington and we never met her until months later but through all of this we have a friend for life!  What a beautiful soul she is for all she did to help her brother.  We finally got to meet her for a quick lunch.  She was so grateful for the friends we have been to her brother and how we have helped him not only transform his home but for my husband to help sponsor him and help him on his journey into sobriety.  He has 6 months clean now and we are all very proud of the lifestyle changes he has made.  He never thought it was possible since he needed to drink every single day as you can see in the photo below.  Miracles happen everyday in recovery.img_811113879295_10207305800939298_5536569181499535808_n1

We felt pretty good about helping someone in need.  We knew in fostering the dogs that they might not find a home because of their bad habits, so we built a kenneled area outside next to the chickens and found them a nice insulated dog house.  During the cold winter months though we have a kennel in the house for them.  They seem so happy.  They got to feel sunshine on their little bodies for the first time, they felt fresh air blowing on their faces.  They get to talk to the chickens and run around on dirt and feel grass on their paws.  Something they have never had before.  We knew we were doing right by them. These are the “Chi’s” sporting their winter sweaters! 🙂 14610971_10207959081270898_337457973864164160_n1

My dad had a very rough year.  He had five surgeries, he was very sick a lot of this year.  November he has been living in long term care for 3 years now and he also hasn’t walked in 3 years either.  We don’t believe he will ever be able to walk again, but we remain hopeful.  It is very heart breaking for me to see him live in a hospital setting.  14725736_10207859379378413_6357739666080334962_n2

While I am grateful there are places like this to take care of people like my father I am also saddened and disgusted by the fact that to live with some independence in an assisted living facility for someone like my father to have his own little room would cost between $6,000-$8,000 per month and of course there are more expensive places.  Medicaid and Medicare don’t cover assisted living in case you didn’t know that fun fact.  So unless you have a lot of money saved from a 401-K or someone who has the ability to care for you then this is it.   I love my Dad dearly, I have so much empathy and wish I could do so much more for him…..Maybe someday when I hit the lottery (Wink, Wink) or they turn our book into a movie then I can buy him that independence he needs so bad.  We just celebrated his 76th birthday! 🙂

My book won another Finalist award!  It is so exciting to enter these contests and wait to hear what happens.  I have another seal for my book which is really an honor for me.  I am just an average everyday woman who took a chance, and although it sells very little here and there all that matters is that I did it for me and my husband, and also hoping in sharing our own story that it may help others along the way too. 15170753_10208157361947791_6714566461664445748_n1

We also added a few more chickens to our little flock and then one of our older girls decided she needed to have babies.  Although we discouraged it and tried to stop it she kept going broody so we finally said “let her have a few babies, OH it was so exciting for us to countdown to hatching day, so adorable to watch.  We only let her have three and of course one of those is a Rooster!  We have one of those already and he’s kind of a jerk!  Ya he still scares me…….just a little 🙂

13529241_10207031685446582_8579442950087798395_n214601066_10207982228489564_8331658687392700990_n113315558_10206850614519922_2781466732497271036_n1Well the other Rooster is his son but so far he has a good temperament he hasn’t tried to attack me like his daddy but I keep an eye on him!  We also found a two day old chick with an almost severed leg in our ducks area, so I took her to the vet they made her a splint and I nursed her back to health and saved her.  We named her “Chicken Noodle” other than a few curled toes she recovered completely!  Then we had a neighbors chicken who kept flying into our yard no matter how much we put her back.  We decided to just let her stay.  Then there was a chicken just a few days ago on our street, a few of the feral cats were watching her.  I caught her so she’s also here with us now. 🙂

Our Daughter graduated from College this year.  Although my Dad was not very well during that time it is one thing he had prayed he would be here to see so it was a very special and emotional day for all of us.  Her Uncle came into town to see her and her Dad and I helped fly her other sister into town as a surprise. img_2869

Some of her closer friends celebrated with us and one just had a baby a few weeks earlier.  This was the greatest thing that happened this year for our family!img_2797img_2737  img_8443Such a proud Mom moment!  She is an amazing young woman and I’m enjoying watching her journey unfold!

img_2813 img_2909img_2795 img_2915Every year it seems I learn how to continue to be the most giving loving person I can.  How to help others.  How to be compassionate and empathetic to others.  The lessons life continues to put in my path are blessings to live my best life.  It has removed people from my life by showing me who they really are.  Life has taught me it really is better to have just a few close people that you can trust in your life.  Let’s be honest, I have a lot of people that say “I am here for you” then when you need them to talk or meet or whatever the case may be they just don’t have the time for you.  True friendship and love is about time not existing…….meaning 2:00 AM is the same as noon when you have a person in need of your help.  At least that is how I see it. 

15554667_1763164234006083_1518869815_n1 img_0999Other highlights are we celebrated our 3rd Grand babies 1st Birthday!  I helped my Aunt raise enough money so her beloved dog could have surgery to save her life.  My husband found a Siamese mix kitten in our yard this summer in some weeds and she was very sick, she almost died, we think she had heat stroke.  She survived and her adopter fell through so she made her home here with us (Of course)! We named her Mystique. 13495058_10206968928317693_795035537876207467_n1

I started getting more into writing my 2nd book that I have put off for too long because I have taken the personal attacks on me to heart and I let it prevent me from moving forward with my writing, but not anymore like it or not I am moving at a fast pace and nobody will stop me!

My husband & I celebrated his 4th year of sobriety!  It is so amazing to watch someone who couldn’t drink enough be able to not pick up a drink for 4 years and to have no desire too!  Sobriety doesn’t mean a perfect life because life still happens.  We still have our own problems sometimes.  It is hard for him to not fall back into acting the way he use too when confronted with something that makes him angry.  However as he said, he knows that he has the tools to react differently but sometimes he feels stuck.  So when you remember where you were, the person you use to be and who you never want to be again it lights a fire under your ass to change your thinking and dig into that recovery tool bag.  After all,  you didn’t come this far to go backwards.4-yr-1

As long as you are moving forward and not backwards then mistakes or not you are making great progress.  It isn’t easy for anyone to change alcoholism or not but I know that if you have your mind set and focused on being the best version of yourself and you continue to live a life making amends and being kind then you are in a better place than you once were.  My husband and I continue to go to AA meetings every weekend because it is so important to his recovery.  The friendships and people that have become a part of our lives and have made us part of theirs has been a true blessing.  To walk in and have people greet you with a warm hug because they are genuinely happy you are there is so touching.  We always hear something in meetings that we relate too and that make us think or touch us.  We can feel it when we have to miss our favorite meeting.

I have watched a close friends life completely change in an instant.  I have watched almost daily on the news someone being shot.  I am so disgusted at what has happened to our society.  Road rage because someone is driving to slow so you pull out a gun and shoot and kill an innocent 3 year old child.  Really….. is it worth it that not only did you take a child’s life and destroyed a family but you also destroyed your own family because you couldn’t control your anger and now you spend the rest of your life in prison or are put to death all because people lack patience.  Trump is our next president…..I did not expect that but I embrace change.  I am one of those Americans that are remaining supportive and hopeful because no amount of violent protesting or burning of the American flag will change that.  To me it just makes you look like a big Asshole!

It has been a bit of a crazy year.  I continue to do the best I can for myself and my family.  I talk to my daughter almost daily.  My youngest stepdaughter and son-n-law got orders to move to Belgium for 3 years, they just left last month in November.  No matter how old your children may be you always worry and want the very best life has to offer for them.  We hope they have it easier than we may have had it.  The Millennial’s have there own challenges though, but I am hoping this generation straightens up and starts getting more serious about life.  I have noticed that the younger kids today are being brought up in such a different way than we were.  I feel like there are a lot of self-entitled spoiled brats feeling like life owes them everything.  They are lazier and slower to grow up and mature.  It may just be me, but from what I have seen with our children’s generation and even our grandchildren’s generation that is my take on it!  It’s really OK if they work for things and if they have consequences and are not allowed to run around stores screaming.  I mean some people really need to take control.  It doesn’t help your children to be that way, it really doesn’t.  I have witnessed for myself that as adults it creates a sense of loss for them because they don’t really know how to be adults and it’s very sad.

8a67f16822a74c9f838896571c0acaf71New opportunities may be possible in this New Year for us we have to wait and see where the cards fall.  I know that no matter what happens it is the way it is suppose to be.  I may not always understand it or agree with it but all I can do is learn from it.  In this New Year work on yourselves be the very best you can be.  Be more patient, listen to hear not to respond.  Don’t take anything for granted because everything is a gift and can be taken away at a moments notice.  Always give more than you get.  Help others when you can.  I always try to encourage people to help animals in need.  Get involved instead of turning away in any situation that may be harmful to someone else.  Every night when you go to bed ask yourself this question………have I done the best I could today?  Did I hurt anyone?  Be quick to right your wrongs and continue to do the best you can.  Give yourself a break, don’t judge yourself by your body image, the money you make, the home you live in, or the car you drive.  If you haven’t found recovery yet but are sick and tired of being sick and tired then it is my hopes that you get into recovery, I promise it is life changing and in the best ways possible!  You know what they say……….When one door closes another opens, it is up to you whether you step through it or close it.  There is just so much more to say but I would like to close with this……..  As an unknown author trying to make her place in the world by sharing our personal memoir of our battle with my husbands alcoholism and the devastating effects it has had on our family, I appreciate each and every one of you that take the time to Like my author page, follow me on all social media, and buy my book.  Those that follow or take the time to read my blogs.  It is a daily struggle when your name isn’t Ellen DeGeneres Or Oprah but it is what we love to do, write and share and hope to make a living or a difference.  So, from the bottom of my heart, I am grateful to all of you and as my husband and I continue on our own journey we hope you will come along with us.  We couldn’t have come this far without your support!

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year my friends!  Be safe, stay sober!  See ya in “2017”  Wishing you Peace & Serenity………….Harmony15622756_10208404080275595_1863052595413846279_n1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marriage, Blended Families, And Alcoholism!!!

2d8a0ff6dc0ff13e393b53241faf0e811Is that a mouthful for a title or what!  I have had people ask me through the years about being a blended family.  There are blended families everyday all over the world so I thought it would be a good topic to talk about.  All I can do is share my own experiences and thoughts about what happened in our situation.  Recently I had a friend reach out again about her blending family situation and there seems to be one theme that happens all too often with step-parents.  The parent of the child or children create a dislike or hate against the step-parent and they put that on the children.  Children are mostly loyal to their parents and will do things even if it feels wrong to them.  Unfortunately parents use their kids as pawns and believe me it causes so much damage to them.

I had someone say to me that they no longer like or want to be around their step-daughter because she is causing so many problems.  That is a normal reaction I think.  What I say is think of it like this, kids are sponges, they soak up and will act in ways that their own parents act.  If Mom or Dad doesn’t  like the step-parent and has disrespect for them or a down right hate towards them, the kids will follow what they see you do.  To me that is the saddest part.  For us it was even more difficult I think because my husband, his ex, and her husband are all alcoholics, and me, I’m the only one who doesn’t drink.  Parenting can be tough enough, so throw alcoholism in there and you have a chaotic nightmare!  I know my husband loves the kids and he did the best he could.  The truth of the matter is that, he wasn’t present enough in our lives when they were growing up.  Each year the alcoholism got worse.  He seemed to be out drinking more than he was at home.  When he was home and there were issues with the kids how he handled it depended on how we were getting along at the time.  If we were OK then he would listen and parent with me, if we were arguing then he would go against me and if something needed to be dealt with he would just ignore it, let it go, or turn it into a joke, so that was the message the kids got.  Dad is the buddy that will let us do anything we want, he’s the cool one.  Mom, she is the tough one, she will say no, she also gives us consequences, she’s mean.  They had no idea what I was dealing with.

I am far from a perfect parent, but I take great pride in being a good Mom.  That doesn’t mean I didn’t make a shitload of mistakes because believe me I did, However, I sacrificed myself for the sake of protecting the kids from their dads alcoholism.  His oldest daughter had already been affected by his disease because she would say he was always at the bars drinking when she was growing up.  I tried to raise all the kids the way I felt was right, you have to raise them all the same.  You cant have different rules for each kid.  It doesn’t work that way.  Of course their mom would undermine us at every turn.  If we sent them home with a consequence she would just ignore it.  If there was a problem with them that should have been addressed she did nothing.  I remember one time my step-son failed every single class and his mom and Aunt got him a dirt bike, what the hell kind of parenting is that?   One time in middle school he hit a kid and fractured a bone in his hand and had to have a cast on and him and his mom told us he fell on a rock playing basketball.  Years later he told us that his mom told him to lie.  So what kind of message do you think these things send to our kids?  You simply don’t reward bad behavior, period! 737e6c1817fdeab61a9791eb6da3e27c1

Trying to parent with an alcoholic was so hard.  I was everyone’s punching bag basically, but I tried to never lose my step in being a parent.  I always put the kids first.  I know that it was so stressful for me that I had developed a bad attitude & at times I was harder on the kids than I needed to be.  It was like I was expected to care for the kids but not tell them what to do but then when they did something it was why didn’t you punish them.  It was a roller coaster of ups and downs and do this, don’t do that.  You know how difficult it was to raise four children the same way when the person you are parenting with separates depending on their mood?  When kids are young they don’t know any better, it is our job as parents to teach them right from wrong.  Listen, I do not like my husbands ex at all, however, my job was to raise respectable kids that would grow into amazing adults.  My step-son would be on the phone with his mom and he would talk so nasty to her and I would say to him “I don’t ever want to hear you speak to your mother like that again, you have respect for her.”  I was not going to allow my dislike for her to change the way I raised our kids to be. 

I always told the kids that I would never try and take their moms place because that is their mom.  I told them that I just want to be their step-mom, a 2nd mom who loves them and is trying to find my place in their lives and in our family.  It was a very heart breaking time for me.  I cried a lot alone in my bathroom where the kids couldn’t hear me.  I just wanted my husband to be home and for us to do more things as a family like playing games, watch a movie, eat dinner together, Etc.  In an alcoholic home it is anything but normal.  We all just kind of learned how to live a sick dysfunctional life, because alcoholism doesn’t just affect the one with the problem it affects the whole family in a very destructive way. 

My oldest step-daughter moved out at 19 with her daughter who was 3 1/2 at the time because of a disagreement her and her dad got into.  My step-son stopped doing visitations at 16 years old because he mostly lived with his girlfriend at the time and he was doing drugs, in and out of jail and his mom thought he should decide for himself, so my husband kind of separated himself from the situation because his ex just catered to this kid, she never let him learn the lesson without coddling him.  The worst thing you can do with a child.  My youngest step-daughter we gained full custody of at 15 because of the deteriorating situation at her moms house.  So I was closer to the younger girls all through the years.  I feel like I had the most impact on my youngest step-daughter out of my step-children.  Even through all of this my husbands alcoholism still kept hurting our family.  So much so that when our girls graduated from high school right after that my youngest step-daughter got married and I wasn’t allowed to go to the wedding.  It was just his parents and her parents but step-parents should have been included so that was terribly painful for me. 

 and was here for everything from beginning to end.  I do feel a lot of guilt about that but that is a whole other story.  Once they read the book they each called me and apologized for how they treated me over the years.  Sorry they accused me of things that I never did.  Thanked me so much for taking such good care of their dad and standing by him all these years.  Also thanked me for all I did for them and the ways I protected them.  My step-son is still struggling with a lot of issues in his life and I wish I could mother him and know it would make a difference but all I can do is pray for him and hope he finds his way.

For me being a step-parent was honestly heart breaking and rewarding.  I loved three other children from two other women as I loved my own daughter and did my best to be a positive role model.  I was as consistent as I could be.  I tried to teach them right from wrong.  To have manners, morals, and values.  How to give to others.  How to have compassion.  Love with all your heart, don’t be afraid to make mistakes, don’t intentionally hurt someone else.  Finish school, go to college.  How to be respectful.  I taught them how important family is.  I gave my whole heart to our kids.  I loved children that I didn’t have to love.  I took care of them and provided for them.  All I ever hoped for was that they would someday grow to love me and look at me as a mom figure and let me know that something I did through the years made a difference in their lives.

Family isn’t always blood related, and lets be honest;  it isn’t always blood that becomes our family.  These four kids always meant the world to me.  I gave all my heart to them even when all they gave me was hate.  I know now in the ways my three daughters have expressed to me that I have made an impact in their lives.  So for all you step-parents out there all I can say is this……….If you are not in it for love then get out.  Times will not always be easy, sometimes it will be a friggin nightmare but you don’t let that stop you!  If you can’t treat a child with kindness and respect and be a positive role model in their lives even if the ex is against you, then to me you have no business being in that child’s life.  Some blended families have it easy and they have no problems, I envy those people I wish it would have been that way for all of us.  Two wrongs don’t make a right.  Never put a child in the middle of a domestic dispute whether you are a biological parent or not.  Kids model what they see and hear.  Your children are a mirror image of you.  If you don’t like what you see in your children, take a good look at yourself.  Sacrifice and do all you can to raise great children.  Sometimes we do all we can and kids grow up and make their own choices that may be heart breaking ones but when you do the best you can then know that you did all you could and you had nothing to do with the bad choices they may make in their lives.

If someone asked me now with all the hell and heartache I went through with these kids would you do it again?  My answer would be, you bet your sweet ass I would!  No matter what this is My family and these are My kids.  I love them all and pray for the ones that still struggle in life and hope that they come out of it OK.  Life isn’t perfect but I know that this is my place in life.  Maybe someday I will know the impact I had in each of their lives.  Whether it was things I taught them, something I said that stuck with them, the way I treated them, The way I cared, the way I sacrificed, the way I listened or said No, the way I called each one out on their bullshit, whether they remember a special gift I got them, the way I pushed them in school, the way I stayed consistent, the way I loved their dad, the way I took care of them when they were sick, Etc.  As a Mom it is my job to raise them and what they do when they are adults is up to them.  All I can hope is in some small way I am a part of each of them & they carry me in their hearts where ever they go. And when they think of me they smile and say “that’s my mom or my step-mom” and they know they are always loved.  Be good to your step children and your kids.  Sometimes when you least expect it, the smallest things can make the biggest impact in their life and change that persons life forever, and you may never know it, but they will!

Wishing you Peace & Serenity……….Harmony

 

 

TODAY WE CELEBRATE MY HUSBANDS 4TH YEAR OF SOBRIETY!!!

4-yr-1 Today is October 6, 2016 and the 4th year my husband has been sober!  That alone is a miracle In itself.  My husband has been drinking and using since he was a very young teenager.  I am so proud of him for maintaining his sobriety.  Every year I find a special coin to represent that year because it truly is an amazing accomplishment!  The coin to the left is this years gift.  Sixteen & a half years ago I never expected my husbands drinking would affect our lives in the ways that it did.  Four years ago when my husband called me from jail at 2:00 A.M. to tell me he got arrested for a DUI I was thanking God for answering my prayers but completely scared at the same time feeling like our lives were headed for a huge change.  Not knowing if our marriage would make it, if he would have to spend time in jail,  if he lost his job we would lose our home and everything else.  It was a very unstable time.

4-yr

I think the worst part of my husbands alcoholism is how it affected our kids, our marriage, & me.  What I mean by that is he always hid behind his disease and used it as an excuse.  He played a “victim” role very well.  Recovery takes the desire to want to stop drinking and to change your life.  It means you are sick and tired of being sick and tired and you finally take that step to do something about it!  I cried, yelled, begged, my husband for years to get help for his drinking but he never saw it as a problem. To him someone else was always the problem.  That is a classic alcoholic behavior…….it is always someone else’s fault.  Believe me over the years he has blamed every family member or stranger for the problems he has caused. 

While I am not a professional in the field of alcoholism I feel like my daily experience living with an alcoholic allows me the ability to give you a pretty good account on what it is truly like from a personal perspective not a professional one.  To me sometimes that speaks more to the heart than anything else because you talk about things that really happened.  What I can say is it is NOT an easy journey to be the spouse of an alcoholic.  I have learned that no matter how much sobriety someone has there is always the possibility of relapse.  I have learned that no matter how much sobriety one has sometimes they can behave in old comfortable “alcoholic ways”  rather than the new “recovery ways”. 

14225521_10207575434159960_5021262811259626430_n1If any of you saw the Elizabeth Vargas interview about her struggle with alcoholism they asked for other people who struggle with alcoholism to send in their photos for a collage to be shown during her interview.  My husband is the man in blue to the left holding up his 2 year coin.  The most amazing thing I see in this photo is all these people from all walks of life struggle with alcoholism and are putting their faces to the disease.  My husband is one of those people that is not ashamed to tell someone he is an alcoholic.  My husband feels if he can help someone by sharing his story then he also helps his own recovery.  Helping others is a big part of recovery.  Not everyone understands what alcoholism means.  Some think that you simply put down the bottle.  Some people still go against my husband and even though he says “I am an alcoholic” they insist he is not an alcoholic.  I am not sure how someone else can tell you that you don’t have a problem but believe me it happens.  I know alcoholism is still not talked about enough openly.  People and families still hide it in fear of what others will think. 

I have to tell you the biggest difference in our lives now is that my husband is able to be present in our lives.  Not just physically be somewhere but he is mentally and emotionally available.  My husband and I have an amazing life together!  We love our life and we choose to spend our time together doing what makes us happy.  My husband and I have learned that not everyone is supportive of us and not everyone understands our journey nor do they want too.  My husband is a recovering alcoholic and I am the spouse of a recovering alcoholic.  The biggest misconception is that alcoholism only affects the person drinking but that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Alcoholism is devastating and so painful for the families of alcoholics.  People have a hard time understanding that.

My husband has a great job now that he enjoys and he is finally appreciated for the work he does.  We have a great amount of gratitude for those that have loved us and supported us, encouraged us, and have given us both their friendship.  The biggest change in my husband is that he is humble.  I look at my husband now and I admire him for his accomplishment to remain sober.  We have gone thru some very tough times in his sobriety and before he would have drank over it.  Now he has no desire and he chooses not to live his life that way anymore.  He doesn’t want to live in a bar being oblivious to life around him.  He missed so much of our family life that now we get to spend a lot of time with family and friends having fun laughing and building back those relationships.  This life wouldn’t have been possible if he was still drinking.

What I have learned the most is that the terrible person my husband was isn’t who he is it is what the addiction does to someone.  It is this dark energy that lives inside the person and literally sucks the life out of them.  Like a poltergeist (I know a bit extreme) but really addiction has no angelic qualities what so ever it’s all evil.  It trickles down to the whole family and everyone is infected.  You spiral out of control and it feels impossible that your life will be anything more than it is when you are drinking but my husband and so many like him are living proof that miracles happen every day. 

There is so much life to live.  I can promise you that if you get help you will be blessed with a whole new life you never imagined possible.  When you live a wholesome, honest life with values, morals, integrity, character, compassion, love, kindness, you will see things you have never seen before.  You will feel things you have never felt before.  You will finally feel all the bad too but the beauty of that is you get to heal, you get to forgive, you get to make amends, you get to be the best version of yourself when you choose to lose the addiction that keeps you wrapped up in chains and imprisoned in your mind and body!  Truth be told happy people with no problems don’t usually have addition issues it’s those that are running from things they don’t want to face and drowning it with the bottom of the bottle.  The answer is not in the bottle and it never will be.

My friends free yourselves from the addiction that holds you back from the most amazing life that awaits you!  You are never alone there are millions who understand and have been where you are just reach out your hand; there will always be someone to help guide you and the rest is up to you.  My husband is in his 50’s so let me tell you that you are never too old or too young to get into recovery.  As for my husband he is an amazing human being.  I would take our worst day with him sober than his best day drunk!!  He is a good role model for others, he has helped people and he continues to work on his own recovery and stay on the path that he believes is best for him.  AA meetings are an important part of our life there is so much inspiration in those rooms, so much positivity so much support.  However, you also have to bring that attitude with you no matter where you go, no matter what hard life situations come up remember all you have learned and put it to work in your everyday life!

My husband, I am so proud of your 4 years of continued Sobriety, CONGRATULATIONS!!!   And Congratulations to us too!  Many people had said to me the first few years of his sobriety that it is as much my celebration as it is his.  Ever since I thought that is true because I am a big part of his sobriety.  So I view it as a beautiful day for US!  It is a BIG milestone and one that amazes me each an everyday.  Your mind is clear, your soul is no longer dark, you have a positive energy, you have love in your heart, you have a smile on your face and everyday when you walk thru that door I see how happy you are to be home and how grateful you are that you no longer have to run!  You have learned the importance of making amends, being a man of integrity, living an honest life, being grateful & appreciative for all the little things!  With all that I am and all that I have I Love you deeply and unconditionally, Always!!

Wishing you all Peace, Recovery, & Serenity………….Harmony

 

PART TWO……….CAN TRUE FRIENDSHIP SURVIVE ALCOHOLISM?

funny-friendship-quotes-a-good-friend-would-offer-you-an-umbrella1This little photo quote cracks me up!  My friend and I laugh so hard at these stupid little minion quotes. We have weird sense of humors, sometimes dark sometimes just crazy! You have to learn to laugh at the shitty things that happen in your life at times. When you put a twist on it, it can change your whole outlook. There is a silver lining even in the darkest cloud….Look for it! Anyway on with the story. We had just done a half ass intervention on her Dad’s 70th birthday (still feel like a jerk for that) but there is no good timing to help save a friends life.  The other friend and I talked for a short time after this happened, she had a very hard time accepting that our friend wasn’t speaking to us. I tried explaining that we went in knowing this could be the end of the friendship for a while. I kept telling her to stop calling her, give her time to digest what happened just let her be for a while when she is ready she will talk to you. As for me I had already decided to walk away until she got help for herself. I wasn’t judging her but what had happened is our friendship was me being the friend and her not so much. When I really needed her she wasn’t there for me and I was going through my own hell with my life that I would put aside to be there for her and it just became too exhausting.

So she buddied up with this other woman and started posting all these photos of them on FaceBook and ALWAYS with drinks in hand. I remember one in particularly that stood out to me a few months after this happened. They were in a pool at 9:30 A.M. drinking and appeared to look drunk already. Her caption was “Hanging with my BFF” I thought “good lord she has really gone off the deep end”. One thing about me to know is I am an absolute animal lover and will rescue any animal. They are part of my family! Our Rottweiler had battled breast cancer for 3 years and was nearing her end of life and my friend always knew when that happened I would need her. Well all this drama with her happened in July of 2011 and our dog passed away a few days after Christmas that same year, I was devastated. I assume Her daughter told her what happened and a few days later I found flowers and a card from her on my front porch saying “how sorry she was that we lost her”. I sent her a message and told her how shocked I was that she took the time to do that but also how much I appreciated her thoughtfulness. We sent a few casual messages back and forth and that was it.

Meanwhile my husbands alcoholism had gotten so bad my life was just falling apart. My fathers MS was progressing and his health was declining. It was all a mess and the one person I could talk to daily was gone, I could no longer trust her, I felt so alone. My husband ended up getting a DUI in 2012.  It was a crazy year. I had heard that she met some guy on the internet and married him six months later. I knew that was a huge mistake. We didn’t talk for 5 years. One day in March of this year 2016 some photo memories came up from years ago on FaceBook with my dad and the rest of the family and her having a game day at Mom’s and something compelled me to send her a message. I reached out just to let her know that I never meant for anything bad to happen that day I was just trying to look out for her and do what was right and that I hoped life was good to her. That led to a few messages back and forth and then a meeting at Starbucks. I learned to listen to that inner voice of mine!

friendship-quotes91We are those people that just seemed to pick up where we left off. It was as though those 5 years went by in the blink of an eye, yet in the moment it seemed like forever. I told her I finally got to write and publish my book and she told me she is with another guy who has addiction problems and she isn’t happy. Part of me thought “oh no she’s the same”.  She started to tell me about her life and what had happened since we last spoke.  She always said she wanted to marry a man with money. I always told her how superficial she was and how that isn’t where true happiness will come from. She finally found that man and she was miserable. In fact so much so that even living in Barbados she was in HELL! She told me that he was lazy, lied, drank all day just wanted to sit in front of the TV, manipulated his boss & hardly worked, he wasn’t the man she thought she had met. She said she was drunk everyday just to cope and took Xanax. She had the ocean for a backyard and she was miserable! She said she always felt if we were friends during that time that she would have NEVER married him. I told her that I didn’t believe that to be true because as much as she thinks I could have “saved her” from making that choice in her life the truth is it was all supposed to happen. And not to long before that I tried throwing her the life boat she just kept popping it she didn’t want to be saved. There is a lesson in everything we go through and if we look really hard we will eventually feel the meaning behind it.

I brought her a copy of my book Married Under The Influence because she wanted to read it. She read it all in 3 days! She said she could not believe even though she was always around us and we talked all the time she could not see what was happening in my life with my husband and kids. She said she didn’t know how bad it really was. She genuinely apologized and that was all I needed to feel from her to know she was sincere.  I told her that’s because she herself has a drinking problem and it’s hard to see past the alcoholism.  She explained to me that her drinking got so out of control she convinced her parents that we exaggerated.  She had told me that she wasn’t working at one point and the female roommate she had is also a problem drinker.  She said for a long time she would wake up and start drinking, drink all day then go to bed drinking.  She said I have no idea what the hell happened to me but it became such a serious problem I couldn’t stop drinking and I didn’t want too.

Then about 3 weeks before we met her son had asked her to see if she can go just one week without a drink. She said it really opened her eyes and made her think so she stopped. She was trying to do it on her own though and she lives with someone who has their own addiction problems so by the time I saw her she was struggling to keep it together. She wanted to stay sober but didn’t think she could because she had no support from home. She started going to one AA meeting a week with my husband and I but she wouldn’t go to any other meetings. The thing about my friend is she is a follower, she likes to fit in and be accepted, she is afraid in a way to be her own person to stand for herself. She remained alcohol free for about 3 months but then when friends would come over if they asked her to drink she would. She has a few other friends that she always drank with and that is all their friendship is about. I had explained to her that when she becomes truly sober and stops drinking and is around old friends who want to continue their addictions she will see that the friendship doesn’t seem to have that bond it once use too. I explained that it is the alcoholism that they have in common not necessarily a true friendship. It Doesn’t mean that it isn’t a true friendship either that is just what I have witnessed so far. I told her that a true friend will not pressure you to drink, get mad if you don’t drink, and will support you in what you want and what you need to do to take care of yourself. However another alcoholic will not be able to see this reality because they themselves are fighting the same evil demons she is and they want company.

So we have had our family game nights again, we get together for lunch, we talk often. She and her kids are family they have always been family and always will be. Right now she has fallen back into the trap of “I don’t want to be the only one NOT drinking”.  My response was “do you want to drink”?  Her response was “No I don’t but I feel I have too”. I understand that vulnerability that people have. When you are afraid if your not doing what the other people in your life are doing because they will judge you or not be your “friend” anymore you are giving in to the demonic part of alcoholism, the disease that will control your life and take it if your not careful. You know the one that convinces you that you don’t have a problem! Now she wants to get out of her living situation with this man who also has the addiction problems but she has become “comfortable” in her words. It would be almost impossible for someone like her to become sober and get into recovery living the way she’s living. It would almost be like a crack addict living in a crack house trying to remain sober, it just wouldn’t work it isn’t healthy.

I have learned that every friendship is different and every person is different. In my own opinion I think a true friendship may be able to survive alcoholism but not without serious changes, or time away from one another.  Once a person finds recovery and is serious about it and seeks the help they need they will change.  As the poison that once filled their minds and body begins to detox reality starts to creep in and for the first time in their life they are able to see things the way they really are and not the way they wanted to see them. It certainly doesn’t happen over night but what I know is this. My friend had 3 months of sobriety and during that time she had one foot in recovery and the other hand on the bottle. She has God in her heart, a little AA on her mind and the devil somewhere in between.  She wants to take a step onto that right path but I believe she is afraid she will miss her old “fun life” not realizing that it is all a façade it is the addiction convincing you it’s all real everything is fine. That couldn’t be further from the truth.  When you can take a look back at the trail of destruction alcoholism leaves behind you, you’d never want to live that life again!

I will always help her where I can but I have to be careful not to get so involved in her problems that they become my own. I have learned with our time apart how to separate myself out of her problems and know I am just helping guide her to the place and person she is fighting so hard to be. I literally can see the alcoholism eating away at her. She tries to please everyone by being the type of people they are when she is around them, but that isn’t who she is. I encourage her all the time to be true to herself, to really find the true essence of the person she is inside not to worry about who she loses along the way because if they leave they were only meant to teach her a lesson. She has a very strong faith to God, she goes to her favorite church every Sunday. But even today I saw her for lunch and she is struggling so hard with her current situation because of the addiction home she lives in, she says “I know it’s wrong and its hurting my heart everyday I know God doesn’t want me to live like this”. It then follows with “but I’m comfortable” what that means is she is terrified of the unknown so even if “comfortable” means bad she will deal with it.  We have all been in that dark place and it is no fun to be.  All I can do is be her friend, not judge her, be honest, communicate and help her the best way I know how.

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Like I said to my friend today. “Remember God may have a plan for you but it won’t happen if you aren’t willing to listen and take that first step to put it into action”. I have my friend back in my life and Even if I don’t always agree or like the choices she makes they are hers to make. When she needs me she asks and what I give her is complete honesty and she respects that. I have learned no matter how much time apart we may take, we will always be friends, we will always be family and that will never change!

Wishing you Peace & Serenity…………Harmony Rose