Tag Archives: marriage

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

JUST A BUNCH OF BABBLING #2!!!!

img_6748I have had many requests for another “Just a bunch of babbling blog” so here we go……. Once again there is no topic I just Babble 🙂 I have to say that the one thing I am least educated on and dislike is Politics.  I must say, this election no matter who your voting for, is this really the best we could do is these two?  Oh good lord, it’s like watching two five year olds on the playground fighting, he said, she said.  I can’t wait for it to be over.  I have seen so many nasty comments online to one another.  I have heard and seen people “unfriend” one another because of their political beliefs.  So once again just like racism you are judging someone because of what they believe in.  I don’t think people know how to have a difference in opinions and beliefs without getting all pissed off about it!  People, being different is OK, you can actually respect someone if you are republican and they are democrat.  All right, enough about that topic.

Fall is definitely in the air around here!  I love this time of year.  The colder weather, the holidays are my absolute favorite.  Along with that comes a little bit of sadness for me. My Dad lives in long term care because he has MS and has had some serious health issues the past 3 years so that is the best place for him to be cared for at this time.  He is with us often for the holidays but he misses some too because he becomes too sick. 😦  His memory and thoughts are starting to become jumbled and he loses focus easily.  He hasn’t walked in 3 years after a terrible fall that almost took his life and the chances of him walking again are not very good.  14725736_10207859379378413_6357739666080334962_n1Some days when he struggles to hold his fork and feed himself I feed him.  It is In those moments when I look at him and I feel so much empathy and realize getting older is much like becoming a child again, there simply are things you can no longer do on your own.  My husband and I went to visit him this weekend, he said he wasn’t feeling very good.  So I took out my phone and leaned in to take a picture with him and he looked at the camera and he said “oh that is a nice picture” then he said “look at me I look good!”  He’s always got his confidence in check 🙂  I love it!

For the first time two years ago my husband and I dressed up in Halloween costumes.  We had so much fun, we even won a costume contest at an AA party that was going on, this was so exciting for me!  In the past when my husband was drinking he was either at a bar getting drunk or home getting drunk, but he certainly was never interested in dressing up with me.  Another blessing of recovery………he continues to be present everyday and I don’t have to worry about him drinking or what mess I will have to clean up later.  We get to enjoy having fun together, sober!  We just decided what our costumes will be this year,(SHHHHH it’s a secret, I can’t share that with you just yet) BUT I will share our last photo with you all, we were “Grim Reaper & Tortured Soul.”  I didn’t realize how much fun it is as an adult to dress up, I haven’t dressed up in years.  10659193_10203204572811158_7331229131609537701_n1These are the fun moments in life.  I tell my kids and friends, take lots of photos throughout your days, you never know when looking back on a memory will bring such joy to your heart.  I am the girl who has thousands of photos, and photo albums, and albums online.  What can I say I love to take photos, I love memories they really warm my heart! 

I feel like so much has changed in my life these past few years.  I have noticed a change within myself as well.  I am more calm than I use to be, I mean it didn’t take much to set me off before (it’s the Italian attitude in me.)  Don’t get me wrong I can still get pissed off and raise my voice but I am finding that the feeling I feel most is sadness.  When things happen instead of anger I am deeply upset (I suppose that could be the menopausal women inside too) HAHAHA, hey, you have to laugh at yourself sometimes, but seriously she is super emotional!  The biggest changes have been with family ,and not in a positive way.  I responded to none of it.  My husband said his peace and walked away from it.  I kept talking to my husband about it and I was kind of pushing him a little to continue to reach out and talk to them but his response was “I don’t want those people in our life, if they can’t be respectful of me and my wife then I want nothing to do with them” so I followed his lead for the first time and let it go.  Knowing he is right, sometimes people just don’t want to hear you and they only believe what they want to believe. 

A few weeks ago while having a family/game night I received an e-mail that our book has received another award!  I enter the book into contests because you have to continue taking chances.  Our book is a Finalist winner in The Book Excellence Awards.  This is the second Finalist award we have won for our book, it has been out for two years now.  Our message is what is most important, keeping the discussion of alcoholism open so those still suffering feel like they are not alone.  This is a lifelong disease and one we all as a family will heal from for the rest of our lives, (yes it can be that destructive.)  To be able to call myself “an award winning author” is freaking awesome you guys!  If I was a Kardashian or Ellen we would be selling millions of copies and we would make the NY Times best seller list.  Although I have said it before, that would be another dream come true but the reality is, “it is what it is!”  I am an average everyday woman who wrote a memoir about my life as the wife of an alcoholic.  My hope is that it helps others, period, that is my goal. 

We have expanded our chicken flock slightly and our Rooster still scares me a little.  Sitting outside on our swing watching the ducks and chickens is such a peaceful feeling.  They are also comical to watch sometimes.  14199766_10207536047175310_655796656316940909_n1 14572758_10207744413904348_2345146785985644179_n1We have a few younger ones now that are super friendly.  They like to jump up on my lap when I’m on the swing.  I have these rain goulashes that I put on to clean out the chicken run/coop I call them my “chicken shit boots.” 🙂  Our chickens are so spoiled!  I read about them and then I act on the info I read.  So I make them oatmeal mixed with pumpkin, applesauce and Greek yogurt.  They get Kale most days of the week.  In the summer they get watermelon and cantaloupe.   They love spaghetti squash.  I want our animals to be as healthy as possible.  Someday my ultimate dream of dreams is to have a GINORMOUS animal sanctuary for all kinds of rescue animals to live out their lives in a loving serene place.  Now if I could just get #EllenDeGeneres to read my e-mails and help make my dreams come true for all animals then it’s a win, win for all!  You know what I saw in the freezer section at the grocery store last week Deep Fried Twinkies……WHY?  Sorry to those who like them but to me it’s just a Twinkie gone very wrong.  It’s like a sponge taking an oil bath, Uh no thank you. I love clogs, they are the most comfortable shoe but yet the ugliest shoe.  I told my daughter that I go for comfort now, she tells me I’m old, HAHAHA gotta love her.

If I was stranded on an island if I had cheese and my Chai Tea I would be a happy girl, oh but I have to have something crunchy too.  I don’t know what it is about the crunch of things but I really like it.  My husband and I are so opposite it makes us laugh.  When I like something he doesn’t and vice versa all the way down to our taste in music.  I am really a country girl at heart and my hubby, well he’s all rock n roll!  Together though we compromise, that is what a marriage is all about, giving.  Sometimes we end up at an Ozzy concert for him and the next we are rocking it out with Florida Georgia Line for me.  We balance one another really well.  See, there is no topic what so ever for this blog except for Blabbing!  I will say this though, I can’t wait for the election to be over for several reasons but two of the biggest are #1 every friggin TV ad is about the election, I mean who cares if Donald Trump ripped off his mattress tag, (just kidding bad joke I know) and #2 I want the damn election phone calls to stop, they start as early as 7:00 A.M. and go as late as after 9:00 P.M. it is ridiculous.  On a serious note, I would like to encourage all of you to start everyday with a gratitude list.  We can be quick to forget all the blessings in our lives when the storm clouds seem to keep rolling in, but I can promise you there is a rainbow hidden behind those clouds and if you look deep enough soon you will see the sunshine even through those storm clouds of life!

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