Tag Archives: marriage

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

 

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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

 

ALCOHOLIC OR NOT AN ALCOHOLIC THAT IS THE QUESTION…….BUT WHAT’S THE ANSWER?

18b45a890e2a86f9a0e2e4a3beb915f9[1]Is that a mouthful for a topic or what! I am not an expert in this field per say however, I feel like having a husband who is a recovering alcoholic that I have been with for over 16 years gives me the experience to speak my mind on this topic. It can be a confusing question though. According to the Medical News Today online it states that “while there is no unique definition for alcoholism, it can be described as a physical compulsion, together with a mental obsession. An alcoholic is a man or woman who suffers from alcoholism, they have the distinct desire to consume alcohol beyond their capacity to control it, regardless of all common sense”. An alcoholic is the person and alcoholism is the illness”. I know people believe it is an excuse and not really a disease but it is! Read the photo above about the difference between SOBER and DRUNK this is exactly the way that it works and denial is a Big part of it all!

There is also alcohol abuse, which generally refers to “people who do not display the characteristics of alcoholism, but still have a problem with it-they are not as dependent on alcohol as an alcoholic is: they have not lost complete control over its consumption “yet”!  In our life my husband admits and knows he is an alcoholic, yet there are people that try to say that he is NOT an alcoholic and has no problem. This we do not understand at all. People like this clearly have no understanding about alcoholism and are in serious denial. My husband has almost 4 years of recovering sobriety which isn’t the same as being dry and sober. When you use any addiction as a crutch most of your life it is difficult to know how to live without it. It becomes foreign to you on how to handle stresses and problems that come up in your life when before you masked it all with alcohol, now you no longer have that crutch to numb you thru it.

My husband and I attend AA meetings together on the weekends which has been so amazing for us because we get to be around people that understand what we have gone thru and continue to go thru because they have lived it too. My husband was once the biggest master manipulator, liar, cheat, thief. He would do anything he had too so he could go out and drink. He would hide booze out in the shed. He was very verbally abusive which trickled down to the children. In his words “his next drink was what was most important”. His reality of life was no where near the truth. He told himself lies to make himself feel better for what he was doing. The way the family suffers at the hands of the alcoholic is just something awful, terribly devastating the way addiction tears people apart and destroys so many lives.

I myself abused alcohol and drugs when I was younger so I was confused whether or not I was an alcoholic. I am not. I never had the mental obsession, only during the time of drinking and using did I NEED that stuff. When I chose to quit and move forward with my life that was it for me I left those friends and that life behind me and I never struggled with it, so I know I abused alcohol and drugs but that was the extent of my addictions.

The most important thing to know is that if you are questioning whether or not you have a problem. If you feel you are spinning out of control. If you feel you NEED that substance to function. If it has caused any problems with your job, family, or personal life in any way, then chances are you do have a problem. Whether or not you are just abusing or addicted I can’t answer that, only you can seek out the help you need and choose for yourself. To be a witness to the amazing transformation in my husband tells me that recovery programs do work IF you work them, because they don’t just work themselves. If you are willing to SURRENDER (that is the key word here) then your life will change. You can’t go to a meeting or program and expect that alone will change things for you because it will not, you have to do the hard work ,and what’s the reward?……..A brand new wonderful CLEAN life for you and your loved ones!

We have lost people to addiction. We have watched marriages and families fall apart. We have watched people struggle. There is so much destruction within the walls of alcoholism it is truly amazing when you start to recover and heal to look back and see just how sick and how evil addictions really are! My husband and I talk about it all the time. Addictions take over your mind and hold you prisoner and tell you everything you want to hear. You see addiction will convince you that it is everyone else with the problem and not you! The truth is it takes over your life until it controls your life and sometimes it will take your life.

13466028_10206986273871321_4545967841221518694_n[1]The reason I wrote my book “MARRIED UNDER THE INFLUENCE” BY Harmony Rose is to share it with others who I know felt ashamed and isolated like I did. I couldn’t tell people for many years what I was going thru because I was told that I was the crazy one and it wasn’t his drinking that was the problem it was me! That is what alcoholism does, it drives that person to believe a false sense of reality and convinces them that the alcoholism isn’t the problem it’s everyone else. Truth is addictions can take the most amazing person you know and turn them into someone you do not know. It is such a debilitating disease that without help I believe you will suffer. It is just as debilitating to be dry and sober than it is to be drunk and clueless! 9781480810501_3c016[1] - Copy (2)

Whatever recovery program works for you reach out and get help today. The most important thing to know is that alcoholism/addiction of any kind is about so much more than just putting down the bottle, the needle, the pills, the pot, Etc. it is about working from the inside out. People use addictions to escape things but the problem is it will follow you until you face your demons whatever they may be. Once you begin to face your challenges being sober in recovery you will see them start to resolve one by one. Each day you will feel better than the day before. But life happens, there will be big challenges that happen in sobriety as well but the best day for you will be when something big happens and before when you use to grab for the bottle to make it go away you will find yourself not even wanting to grab that bottle because the tools you have now are much more powerful than any bottle could ever be and one day at a time piece by piece your life will get better and you will wonder how you ever lived that way feeling as good as you do now ,nothing could ever replace that peaceful feeling knowing “YOU GOT THIS”!!

Wishing you Peace & Serenity……….Harmony