Tag Archives: Alcoholism

Infidelity, Alcoholism, Recovery, understanding what happens!

Sometimes we go through things in our life and we feel as though we are the only one who must feel the way we do.  I like to research and read articles and blogs that others have written about whatever topic I want to know more about.  Something I have heard a lot about recently and have read about are the lingering affects of infidelity.  To throw a curve ball in there, let’s talk about alcoholism and infidelity.  Is it different than someone without an addiction problem?  I cannot answer that because I really don’t have an answer.  I am the wife of a recovering alcoholic and have dealt with infidelity so I can talk about what happens years later.

From everything I have read, I have normal reactions like others do.  At times you can feel crazy and be really hard on yourself.  I have come to understand that no matter what I am feeling, the emotions are real for me for whatever reason and it is up to me to explore why, because when I do that I get to grow and learn about what is really going on.  Sometimes all these years later there are things that trigger me about the infidelity and I find when I ignore it the emotions intensify.  It doesn’t happen very often but when it does it can be strong and I have to talk about it.  Other wise it eats away at my soul.  That isn’t always accepted openly by my husband which makes this part so much harder to heal from.  I understand completely that it isn’t something that the person who betrayed wants to talk about because it is also something that they have worked through and healed from.  However, I do believe it is different because here is the tough part to write about, this is what it does to someone, or a least what it did to me and how I felt when I found out………..

I heard the term once used “emotional murder” and that is really a good way to describe an infidelity because isn’t that what has happened?  Many people have no idea that anything is wrong in their relationships.  They go along believing that everything is fine or they question the other spouse because they may instinctually feel something isn’t right only to be told “everything is fine” or they are crazy!  That happened with me.  Then one day they are hit with this painful reality that they never saw coming and the worst part is they have no idea why it has happened.  In the beginning it knocks the life out of you, it brought me to my knees gasping for air because you are crying so deeply from a place you never knew existed. You never wanted it to be real so you go into denial.  I read in an article that it is just like loosing someone you love, it is that painful.  I know you go through your racing mind thinking so many questions you need answered but don’t want answered.  You go through so many emotions, your numb, angry, sad, depressed, suicidal, you loose weight, you scream, cry, it is hard to function and form thoughts, it takes all you have to get out of bed every day.

I didn’t know then what it felt like to loose someone but I have since lost someone very close to me who I love so much and I can tell you it absolutely is that painful.  Really if you look at it, didn’t a part of you die in that moment when you found out about your spouses infidelity?  You need details and it makes you physically sick but it is all normal and part of the healing.  You may have nightmares about it and just have these images running through your mind.  It will take everything you have at first to keep your feet on the ground.  I am telling you all this as dark as it sounds because I want you to know everything you feel, whether you are a man or a woman is absolutely NORMAL and it is how you heal.  No matter what you decide to do, to work things out with your spouse or leave you will SLOWLY begin to feel better.  For me it was like someone ripped out my heart, stabbed me a number of times stuck it back in my body burnt these images in my mind and left me to think about it day in and day out.  I did think about taking a handful of pills because it was so painful, it felt too painful to bare.  I didn’t want to really die though, I didn’t want to stop living, I wanted the pain to stop and I needed to know why my husband didn’t love me enough to not do this to me.  I needed to know the question that constantly went through my mind.  “Why wasn’t I enough”?  I stood by him through years and years of drinking and abusive behaviors only to be slapped in the face with this when he got sober………..my thoughts were “What the Fuck”, how could this happen in sobriety?

I can tell you this, when someone decides to get sober it isn’t about just putting down the bottle, pill, powder, syringe, whatever the drug of choice is, it is about cleaning out your emotional house from the inside out.  All you have to change is everything.  When someone you love and are spending your life with goes outside your marriage with another person on a physical or emotional level you have destroyed your wedding vows.  You have killed the life you shared.  For those that have been unfaithful if you still don’t get what happens to another person let me be clear, part of us has died!  We can and do recover but I am here to share some of the things I have learned over the past 5 years that have been helpful and what is damaging.

You must be 100% completely open to questions, talks, keeping electronics open as to not hide anything from your spouse. If you are rebuilding your marriage, it must be this way for the rest of your life!  Not just in the now.  I really want to drive this point to those who have betrayed their spouses……….we do NOT bring anything up to shame you, punish you, hurt you, embarrass you.  We are simply trying to reach out to you when we are triggered and something has set us off and the best way for you to deal with this is openness, compassion, empathy, and love.  Know that this is most uncomfortable and painful for us and if we could never ever think about it again we would do it, but we don’t control our emotions or what triggers us.  What we look for even years later in those moments is reassurance, safety, kindness, but most of all an understanding from our perspective, for our emotions.

We all have an imagination, put yourself in your spouses shoes look at the pain in their eyes in that moment and feel what they feel.  Love them through it.  No matter how hard it is for you take yourself out of it and know these are the consequences from your actions.  Put your spouse before yourself.  Don’t be nasty or cruel, they aren’t trying to hurt you by sharing something so upsetting they are looking for assurance and to hear from you that it isn’t the way we feel, that we are Ok, that these feelings are normal from time to time and that you are there for us.  You really have no right to get angry or be mean in anyway because you are suppose to protect your spouse.  No one is crucifying you, we need to continue to heal and in that moment we are reaching for you, looking to you to be there for us because we need that assurance.  Sometimes it can feel as those it is happening again and it brings up all those feelings.  I can tell you this with absolute certainty.

When you handle these moments with love and understanding from another’s perspective you create a deeper bond and a deeper trust that we have in you knowing and reiterating that what we have known all along, we really are safe, we can trust you, we just had a moment where the devil plays with your mind.  These feelings do pass, but it passes much easier with love rather than hate.  The same goes the other way too though.  IF you are cruel, call names, are not open, think of only yourself and don’t comfort your spouse and find some understanding in how they are feeling then shame on you!  You help create that pain to linger and you have showed us that we can’t trust you to care for us.  If you are in recovery then you absolutely know better!  There are so many tools for you to use to be that person that you need to be for your spouse in that hard moment for them.  Don’t let them go through it alone!  When you do that all you show is that you can’t be trusted and you really aren’t there for your spouse.  Making amends is part of recovery as well as the words “Don’t cause harm to another person” should be remembered more times than not.

I don’t know if being a recovering alcoholic/addict even matters as far as behavior goes.  Like if someone with an addiction acts differently than someone who doesn’t, but that is neither here nor there to me.  What I do know though is if you are in recovery and you are behaving in the same ways you were when you were drinking or using then you are clearly not embracing your recovery program and you aren’t working it in the way you are suppose too and you know that.  That isn’t a judgment it is a fact!  I can tell you that I see when my husband isn’t living in recovery because of his behaviors in the way he reacts to certain things.  If you go back to a time when you were able to talk openly and be that person that you spouse needs and you were working your recovery faithfully then you will be able to see where you are falling short IF you are honest with yourself.  I know people can feel it too.  The way YOU behave is NOT someone else’s fault.  We are all responsible for ourselves and how we CHOOSE to react to things happening around us.  Here is an analogy……..If you claim to be an actively religious person serving God and others and I see you driving like a maniac and flipping people off, well your kind of missing the point there.  See where I am going with this?  There are people that can be in recovery and actively go to meetings but are not actively practicing living a recovered life.  You can’t expect your life to be different if you are behaving in the same ways no matter how much sobriety you have.

I love my husband dearly.  He is the most important person in my life.  I have been committed and devoted to our relationship from day one 17 1/2 years ago.  That doesn’t mean I don’t make mistakes or say things that may be hurtful.   The difference is I don’t set out to intentionally say things or do things that I know will cause pain.  When you do things purposefully that cause pain for another person that is called being malicious, you are conscience of what you are doing yet continue to do it anyway.  The way to change things around is to think of your self LESS, that is called humility.  It is OK to put another’s feelings above your own especially when you know they are hurting a great deal and you have had a part in it.  You can heal and rebuild your marriage after infidelity.  It takes a lot of time and patience and commitment of openness between you both.  Know that it is also normal to have triggers years later and you will react emotionally to them and that is OK, continue to be open with one another, because if that stops you cause more damage.

We are human, it is a deep wound that we have forgiven but it still flares up sometimes, that is all normal.  It is easy for people to walk away from things but it takes strong people who are dedicated to making it better to stay.  The grass is only green where you care for it and there are different stages of your marriage.  Talk about everything openly and be able to receive whatever the other person talks about, sex, money, family, Etc.  The only way we grow together is respecting we are different and what one has no emotions too the other may feel deeply about.  Embrace your differences and try to understand, at least make an effort to want to understand.  This person is the person you want to spend forever with, why hurt them?  Why criticize them?  Cherish them, love them, love all they bring to your life.  Be the person you want your spouse to be for you.  Fall in love often, surprise them, do nice things for one another.  It isn’t about keeping score.  If one person initiates love making all that should matter is the intimacy itself.  I understand the need to feel wanted but we all go through different stages in life of low and high libidos and changes of life.  Open communication helps you feel closer.  A husband and wife should be able to talk about anything and everything hard and easy.

It is always a good time to do the right thing.  It is best to always be honest.  When you are kind and compassionate especially to our loved ones it gives us an opportunity to form a deeper bond with them and regain trust we have lost in behaving badly.  There is never a time or an excuse for being cruel to another human being and if you are behaving that way to your own spouse that is definitely not something to be proud of and you need to make right, right now!  I have learned that at anytime when we least expect it we can loose those we love.  To never have an opportunity to make things right or say those words you wanted to but didn’t thinking you’ll have another chance, don’t wait you may not get that chance.  If we can all remember to stop before we speak.  Think about what we are about to say before we say them.  If you look in the mirror and say “you fucking asshole, you are so fucked up” and you actually see yourself talking that way to yourself think about how that makes someone you love feel.  None of us are perfect but we can all do better, we can all be better.  We must be more open, and compassionate because this life we live and those who love us are a gift, but God will need them back one day remember that and live life being kind and loving!

Wishing you Peace & Serenity,  Harmony

 

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How Do Other People See You When You Have An Addiction Problem But You Are In Complete Denial About It?

This is an interesting topic because I know my husband was in denial and would blame everyone else me, his family, a stranger, the dog across the street….(LOL) You get what I’m saying!  However, at other times he would sit down with me when he would hit what I thought was his bottom, (but it was just a bad drinking day).  He would admit to me that he is an alcoholic and say he needs to stop or that he needs help.  However, that is short lived because when he felt good enough again he was right back to drinking, right back to the denial of “I don’t have a problem, you’re the problem just let me drink”.  You cannot reason with addiction because their is no truth in it.  It is living in an altered reality of what the drugs and alcohol create for you.  When you see the world through beer goggles it isn’t the way we see it.

Sadly I believe this is how we loose so many people.  To me addiction is like the devil whispering in your ear telling you how sweet this is, and no matter what loved ones say it doesn’t usually penetrate that evil because the addiction has consumed not only their body but also their mind, heart and soul.  My husband has been sober for almost 5 years now and we have heard of many people passing.  We have been to many celebrations of life and it never gets easier to see the broken families, the heartache and pain of not understanding, Why?    There is NOTHING good that comes from addiction as far as I am concerned.  It takes a person who was once kind, innocent, and loving and turns them into a self destructive monster who ruins many lives.  I have been part of that collateral damage and let me tell you, it’s no picnic it is devastating!

When my husband was drinking and we would go out, he would consume mass amounts of alcohol and make a total ass out of himself and I was just along for the humiliating ride.  I have had people ask me if he has a drinking problem and in the beginning I would make excuses not understanding exactly what I had gotten myself into saying “Oh it’s the weekend he’s just having fun”.  When he would become rude or fall all over or embarrass me people would look at me with disgust at times, but mostly I got pity looks like they felt sorry for me.  They would just shake their heads and walk away, it was super fun (I say totally sarcastically).  There wasn’t an event we didn’t go to where I wouldn’t cringe at the thought of because he would start drinking at home or he would fill up a back pack and then when that ran out buy more alcohol where ever we were.  It is a very expensive bad, bad habit.

One time a good friend of ours went with us to see KIZZ in concert.  She and my husband are both alcoholics.  They came up with this plan to sneak in their booze because drinks at those events are so expensive so they would buy one and fill their cups with the Rum and coke they put in a giant Ziploc bag that my husband hid in his pants……..Yes folks alcohol smuggled in your pants is where this disease can take you and they have absolutely no shame, and she just had surgery 7 days earlier so I had to wheel her in a wheelchair.  They were hammered by the end of the night, it sucked! 

I can tell you after years and years of disappointment and heartache for not only myself but for our kids, our family, even for my husband I saw him as a disappointment.  This is what I would see.  My husband, the man who was in love with me, and paid so much attention to me and made me feel so special sharing life with me was gone.  He was a shell of his former self.  As the years went by and the alcohol starts to take a toll it doesn’t come without health concerns.  He was unreliable, lazy, cruel, selfish, (SO SELFISH), judgmental, verbally abusive, not accountable or responsible for ANYTHING, egotistical, careless, wreck less, he abandoned our family, he was a liar, a cheater, and a thief, and I could go on. 

You basically become addictions puppet and what it tells you to do you do!  Recovery is the only way to change these things.  You simply cannot put down the bottle, needle, pills, powder, you have to clean yourself emotionally from the inside out if you even want a shot at changing your life.  Without addiction controlling your life, the world has endless possibilities for you!  My husband went from being a total monster to a decent person in society who is now reliable, caring, works hard, kind, responsible, ETC,  my husband may always be an alcoholic but today and for the past 1,700 and some odd days he is a recovering alcoholic and he has chosen to live a new life outside of the bottle.  He has his family back, our marriage has been renewed, he has mended many family relationships with our children and others.  His addiction is no longer an addiction that controls him, but the desire to thrive in life as a whole person, not just one that lives drunk in the shell of a body and merely exists.  He is a part of life and gets to remember things and enjoy things.  Life isn’t perfect but he tackles every thing life throws our way sober, without addiction as a tool.  Really, all the alcohol was doing was telling him a lie, it was killing him!  Now he can see that being on the other side and he has no desire to go back.  I am so proud of him everyday that he found the strength within himself and others to beat his disease.  Everyday he knows it is right there wanting to pounce on him and take him back but my husband’s will is much stronger than to allow it to ever ruin his life again. 

Today we are all grateful for his recovery, we live everyday trying to give back and be better than we were the day before.  He knows he has to stay on top of his recovery to be the best version of himself and to continue to be the man he wants to be, because he knows he never wants to be the person he used to be ever again.  As his wife, his recovery has been such a blessing because we were given the opportunity to rebuild our life together and today we are solid and unbreakable.  I know alcohol will never be a part of our lives again, but the memory is always there to remind us of what can happen!

Wishing you Peace & Serenity………….Hamrony

 

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