Friday, December 30, 2011

The power of words - You didn't just say that did you?

I wanted to write another post to let you know I have identified the reason for my sudden depression after the holidays.

I thought it was strictly chemical but it turns out it has to do with something my sister said to me. I felt bad again today and couldn't shake it no matter what I did. I finally called my sponsor today.

I was telling her about my trip to my sister's house. She knows her because for years I wouldn't go there alone. When I would visit it was like I was invisible so I started taking my friend and sponsor with me. We played the tourist so it didn't matter if my sister made time for me.

Today I was telling her that my sister told me that the reason my husband left me 20 years ago was because I was too much work for him. Before she said this she said I know you don't want to here this but. I didn't react and brushed it off at the time. She didn't know me then or my husband and really had no basis for saying that.

I believe my husband was an alcoholic and an adult child of an alcoholic. I was equally messed up with my own stuff and didn't have a clue how to deal with him or his anger. I was in my 20's with no tools to work with. I did my best.

When I told my sponsor what she had said tears started rolling down my face. Evidently some part of the what she said I felt was true. I loved him so much and when he left it broke my heart. It also saved my life because I went to Al-Anon and learned how to see how messed up my thinking was. Was it my fault he left? No.

My sister's words weren't meant to hurt me. Most unsolicited advice isn't meant to intentionally hurt someone but it can and does.

I have done the same thing plenty of times I am sure. I think it is interesting how the words of someone you love can hurt more deeply even when you aren't close.

I have problems reaching out because I don't want to be a burden to anyone. I don't want to be too much work. Maybe this is why her words hurt and even when she said it I blocked the emotions until I was home and felt safe.

It is easy to see where others have made mistakes even when you can't see the ones in your own life. Maybe I am too much work. I know sometimes I am too much work for myself. But that is my own business.

The depression has lifted.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Why is my mind trying to kill me?

I am not sure why but since I got home I have felt pretty depressed. I was happy to leave the dysfunction of my sister's life and felt really good driving home but once I arrived I became really sad.

I spent yesterday doing chores and then went out with a friend for dinner. Today has been a struggle to stay positive about anything. The thoughts that were streaming through my head had to do with how I got here in my life.

This thought is a trap for me because I do blame myself sometimes for where I am. On my best days I can brush off those blaming thoughts but other times they take me down. Today I kept moving and didn't crawl back into bed like I wanted to.

The thoughts were still there telling me that this is how I am going to feel forever, so what's the point in living. This feels real bad and isn't rational. When I get into this place it scares me and I am not sure what to do.

Today I finished doing some things around the house. I got dressed and headed out. I ended up at the movies and saw The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo. It was violent but really well done and distracted my mind long enough to get me back on track.

On my way home from the movie I thought about what Eckert Tolle said about the ego and its only job being to keep you from being at peace. Why does my mind want to kill me? It isn't rational the ego mind and doesn't care that if I go it goes with me.

I get mad that I feel helpless on days like today and mad that I can't do anything about it. Will I be like this forever? Will I ever feel like myself again? The reality is my life is pretty good. But depression isn't about facts.

I have a lot of faith and know that this too will pass. One day, hopefully soon, my life will make sense to me. Everything will be revealed or maybe not.

Depression isn't something that is logical and you can't really talk yourself through it. You can say to yourself that it isn't real and it isn't permanent.

I will be with friends for the New Year. We are going to ashram for 24 hours. Cut off from the usual celebrations. Singing, meditation and yoga will be on the schedule. Yummy vegetarian food will be eaten and that should help my holiday expanding waistline.

Happy New Year. I will be glad to see this year go.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Flying by the seat of my pants - letting go

I decided to take baby steps this Christmas. First I went out to visit my cousins house, for the day, where my aunt is staying for the holidays. It is an hour north and I figured I could stall for one more day the decision on whether to head to my sisters.

My aunt has been great to me and really has made me feel welcome. While we were visiting the men saw my tire was flat and promptly removed it from my car and took it up to tire store and got it fix. It is weird to have people someone look after me.

It was a nice day and on the trip home I felt I was up to heading ever further north.

So I made the choice to do something different this year and be with my birth family instead of my program family. Saturday I hopped in my car and drove north to my sisters without expectations.

I listened to Eckhart Tolle's a New Earth on the way up. It helped me to see how the fear comes from my own ego. Taking me back to my story. The story of my childhood and my fear on not belonging anywhere. Learning to be comfortable not knowing where I belong. Really living without a label or an identity. Can I do that? Can I live without a label?

With every label comes expectation. I am the little sister and I have to carry all the memories that go along with that or do I? They are my stories from my perspect and the details are sckewed by my emotions at the time and since then. My baggage. All my insecurities relived over and over in my own mind.

I got to thinking what if I brought nothing to the table. What if I acted like this was my first visit and didn't try to read anything into the words being said. Left my baggage at home. Untainted by the past. Could I do this? I could try.

When I put my ego aside and refuse to let fear make the choices for me I can feel free. I can let the past go and live in the moment.

So I am with my family of origin for the first time in twenty years. It feels pretty good.

Today my sister, my niece and I cooked all day. It felt good to be somewhere different and not a bit weird. These are my people. I didn't feel like I had to give my opinion or do things my way. I put my ego aside and let things flow.

At the end of the day we got a call from a young couple they know. They wanted to stop by with their kids. I laughed as my whole family turned the house upside down looking for things to turn into gifts. A little re gifting here and there.

My sisters ability to fly by the seat of her pants never ceases to amaze me. In the past this would have made me nuts and I would have sat in judgement. I have changed and can see it doesn't really matter. Live and let live.

I did a little of my own flying today when I made dressing of a combination of odd things from the pantry and a few stalks of celery from neighbor. It was was a success.

I have had too much bannana pudding and feeling like santa himself. I am hoping he brought you the perfect gift like he did for me this year. My family.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Stockings - Lower my expectations

It can be hard to face what is especially this time of year. I sat on the couch last night and watched a friend of mine prepare stocking bags for her grown kids. The Christmas tree was lit and there was tons of presents under the tree.

I thought about a time when I put all my heart into the holidays. It seems so far away now and I couldn't help but ask myself, how did I get here?

I recalled a Christmas when I actually bought my ex something really special. A piece of art that we saw in a public place on our weekly bike rides. I hunted down the artist and had another made. It was the only Christmas moment I could remember after 13 years. When I was packing the house up it was the only specific thing mentioned that I could not take. I guess it did mean something.

I wish sometimes I could go back to the days when I was more unconscious and I celebrated the holidays with abandonment. The truth is most days I wouldn't go back for any amount of money because it was mostly just a cover for the pain I was feeling.

Now sometimes I feel I have lost my place in this world. I am not sure what my purpose here is anymore.

I don't feel a part of anything. I am going to see my family for a few days. The family I lost a long time ago. I don't know whether they really want me to come or not and part of me thinks I might be happier staying home. I am trying to do something different and trying to reach out but maybe it is too late.

I have made choices in my life that have led me to where I am today. It has taken me a life time to see my part in everything. I am grateful that I am not blaming others for my choices anymore and not waiting for others to make the first move.

I didn't mean for this to be a downer post because it isn't how I feel. I am just unsure of where I am going at a time when everyone seems to have a place to go.

I have places to go and I will act as if I belong when I get there. No one but you knows I don't feel as if I don't. Maybe everyone feels this way or maybe it is just a familiar place for me. The outside.

I don't take all these feelings too seriously but I can't help but but analyze them. I know they will pass and if I would just lower my expectations I would be happier.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Man selling his shoes - A way out - Moses

The showroom is in a rather depressed area of town. 40 years ago it was the up and coming area but now it is more industrial and backs up to a large neighborhood.

We have a lot of foot traffic and often have people come by sometimes for hand outs and sometimes for odd jobs. I have never been afraid. Once a guy came in with a staff like Moses and our receptionist quit the next day.

Today a guy came in selling his shoes. He had a big Target bag and said they were pretty nice. He said no one will let him work and that he needed the money. I said I understood but couldn't help him.

He looked a little glazed over and I did feel sad for him but I didn't give him money. I have on occasion given out a few bucks. I am never sure what to do and whether if I give him money will he come back again. This has also happened.

I am alone here today and was expecting a customer when I went to the front. I made a quick decision and decided not to help.

It is easy to dismiss those in need and think drugs and alcohol but as we all know the need starts before the abuse. Some pain so great that escape seems the only answer.

I didn't have an easy childhood but it was easier than a lot of people had. It has taken me quite sometime to get over the past so I can imagine if you had it real bad the odds of getting over it are against you.

I found my own miracle in the program and I have seen miracles happen to others. It saved my life taught me how to unravel my distorted thinking. It made me realize that everything I thought was true was just my own perspective. If I was open to changing my perspective the possibilities were endless.

I had inadvertently labeled myself as broken and unfix able. Everything bad happened to me. This trapped me in my own story of sadness and abuse. I learned I could start over every day and prove that story wrong. I could change my words and eventually change my mind.

I still have problems but I don't accept them as just my lot in life. Everything is temporary and this too shall pass. I don't have to look for someone to blame or even turn that blame on myself. I can take responsibility when it is mine and let the rest go.

I am freer than I have ever been and wish for everyone to find what I have found. A power greater than myself.

Picture by Me

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Does it matter if I am ready?

I get the feeling everything is changing around me. Am I ready? Does it matter it is coming either way.

I get this feeling I am preparing for the next level in my life. The break through and breakdown over work made me see how easily I get stuck in my own thinking. My mind or ego goes beserk when I can control what is happening around me.

I went to my first real party last night in four years. I say real because there were strangers and mingling. The woman hosting the party lived on the same street I did in my previous life. Her relationship ended after thirteen years and she has a new apartment and a new life to rebuild. She has just started to put her life back together. Seeing her made me grateful to be further along in getting my life back together.

I remember the first months in my new house having my friends over every weekend filling every minute of my life so I could put off the inevitible wave of grief heading my way. It didn't work I had to go through not around.

Luckily not everyone has to takes as long as I do to get over things. She told me I thought it was forever. I said so did I. She said she was a relationship person and I said some am I. She said I hope to have another relationship one day and I said so do I.

That was two people at the same place in their lives summing up the whole heart break and hope of the situation in as few words as possible. We understood each other so clearly in that moment. Surrounded by loud happy couples but alone at the same time.

I don't know what the future holds for me. I know I am going to make it now even if I don't have someone to share my life with. It feels good to stand on my own again. I am not afraid anymore and that is the greatest Christmas present I can get.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I quit - God no longer needs my assistance

My horoscope today said I am at the end of my rope and I should act quickly before it is too late. I should face my fears and not retreat to my usual mode for comforting myself.

I took that as not to blog which is my normal escape. I guess I am not listening. I have come to the end of my rope, this part is true, I have seen the light and feel I must make some changes.

This year for me has been emotionally and financially draining. I was glad that I wasn't awake for most of it but now that I am I can't continue to deny what is before me. I knew I had been just surviving but when I looked at the numbers yesterday it all came to a head.

In my life I have always stayed until the bitter end. I am loyal to a fault and the last one bailing out the water in the bottom of the boat with a paper cup. It feels unnatural to do anything different. I have been abandoned many times so I don't want to do that to someone else.

Two things come to mind first that I am stubborn and giving up has not been an option. The second thing is that I don't really know how to truly put myself first. Even if everyone else is doing just that. I would rather suffer myself instead letting other people suffer. I think I am stronger I can handle it better, I have found that isn't really true.

That sounds like my ego talking, saying I am stronger. Maybe I am keeping someone from standing on their own and learning only what life lessons can teach you. Isn't that where I have gained the most growth myself?

Either you have faith in a power greater than yourself or you don't. Either you believe everything is in perfect order or you don't. You can't decide that god needs your help and let go at the same time. I have heard that you need to do the foot work, really? Is that true? It is a trap for me I can use that to justify just about anything I am doing. Does God really need my help?

Where is this all going? Well I am going to have to find a mortgage job. I year ago the thought of that made me cringe, but I am not the person I was a year ago. I don't feel so desperate to hang on to really any part of my life's dream.

I don't think that in order to be happy something specific has to happen. I can just surrender and let god take me where he wants me to go. This time I don't have to be responsible for everything, just my small part. I don't have to be the savior or the glue that holds this boat together. I am letting go.

I went to a friends house last night and just let my emotions go. The tears just flowed and I didn't try to control myself. They were not tears of sadness but tears of freedom. I can see that this is growth I can let go and be open to the endless possibilities instead of thinking my way is the only way.

I talked to my partner this morning and told her I was looking for a night time mortgage job. I found a few with hours from 5-10 M-F. This would give me time to transition out of the business or help build a new business. I could still work Saturdays if I wanted.

I think my unconscious self is really running the show and if I am honest the idea of being free excites me. Customers these days are demanding and are always trying to get your expertise without paying for it. It is human nature to try to get something for nothing and I don't take it personally. They don't have to get it from me anymore. I also want some relief from feeling so desperate to close every job and to keep things going. I have felt alone in my effort.

Send me your thoughts and send me your prayers, if you pray. I feel good today. I feel calm and in good hands.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Family Fun

I am driving to Atlanta tomorrow for a family Christmas dinner on my dad's side. I have been invited over the years but never went because I couldn't face the situation with my dad. Ironically now that he is gone I am attending for the first time.

In the past I didn't feel I could act like everything was just great and besides my step-mother was always their too. Too much to deal with and not really worth it. She might be there this time but now that I have found my adult self I can handle it.

She is really the final frontier for me. She was a mean an insecure person and her own daughters have issues with her. She planted some bad seeds in me about my looks and I can't imagine what it would be like to have her as your real mother.

Letting go of veiwing life from a child's perspective has freed me. I don't feel anyone owes me anything anymore. My happiness is my own responsibility. The child in me will only be used for playing from now on. No more longing for acknowledgement or waiting for someone to decide if I am worthy of love.

The void in me is gone for the most part, I never thought that was possible. I realize now that I will never get what that child wanted because the time has passed for that. I didn't get it because the people I wanted it from weren't capable of giving to me. My longing for it has held back. I have repeated it over and over with different relationships with the same results.

I have replaced that longing with love for myself. I have become that encouraging praising parent that I needed all those years. I am kind to that child within me and refrain from constantly criticizing myself like I did in the past. This has slowly helped me heal some pretty deep scars and I have moved on.

I stayed stuck because I couldn't see that I didn't need their approval I needed my own approval. Somewhere deep inside I didn't think I was worth loving. I had to earn love and I did, but it never lasted. When it was gone I blamed myself and knew there was something wrong with me. I was unlovable.

So I am a new person going to spend time with my long lost family. They have been there all the time I just felt more comfortable on the outside. I am sure it will be fun and the food will be good.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Frogs and Maturity

I took two full days off in a row. I made myself unavailable only missed one crisis and that I have resolved already today. I feel better physically and spiritually.

Yesterday I chose to stay in the house because I have a guy tiling my upstairs bathroom. I am replacing the vanity and the floor. I decided to splurge and get this done because I want to get a roommate. The bathroom was carpeted. Yuck.

This is a daunting thought,getting a roommate, because I am an introvert but we will have to see what happens and who shows up. I think I can handle the right person. We shall see.

I painted two pictures of frogs yesterday for my neighbors kids. I have one to go. They are really colorful and funny. They will love it and I promise to post them before I give them away.

After my second trip to Lowes yesterday I decided to head to the movies. It was around 5:00 and I had no idea what was showing. I got a ticket for J Edgar and on my way to the theater I saw that Midnight in Paris was showing. I decided to change my mind. I had the theater to myself a private viewing and it was fabulous.

It was a great thought provoking movie. He is unsatisfied with his current life and has the opportunity to visit what he thinks would be the perfect time period to live in. Life is never completely satisfying no matter what time period you live in.

This was the weekend theme a clear message for me I got this several times. No matter who you are it is human nature to get stuck in a rut. I realize now when I am in crisis mode I don't have time to become dissatisfied I am just trying to stay a float.

What to do when there is no crisis to attend to. I think I try to create one not consciously but un-consciously. Maybe something small to give me some sense of urgency. I was thinking this might be more prevalent in creative people.

Since I have realized I have spent most my life thinking like a child. Waiting for other people to magically care about what I care about, which is always me. I want to do something different with the rest of my life. I don't want to stay in this waiting and wanting place forever. Constantly looking for answers. I need to find what gives me joy.

My spiritual search and program led me to peace but I want more. I want joy. I don't want to just be grateful that nothing bad is happening. It is good, after a crisis passes, to rest and restore but I don't want to fill that space with another crisis or bad relationship. I want to fill it with something I want, so I better find something quick.

First step, I joined a meetup group for artists and went to my first event Saturday. We turned trash to treasures. I turned an old lampshade into a cool new lampshade. It was joyful and lots of laughter and we were all playing. It was spiritual but in a way that didn't require any thought on my part whatsoever. Yeah!

Can I be mature and accept that life is just life and it will never measure up to the imaginary life in my head? Can I be mature and look for ways to keep things interesting for myself? Can I see that creating a crisis is just a way of entertaining myself and ultimately hurts me?

Feeling free and looking forward to finding joy after peace.

Picture from

Friday, December 2, 2011

Fourth Step - Taking care of health

Things are a little crazy here and I managed to get sick. This is an old response to stress for me. I have to ask myself was it the sadness of the season or the fact that I never feel free to not think about work or both.

Since I have been in the program I rarely get sick. I learned it was ok to put myself first. Take care of my needs ahead of another. This is real maturity. In the fourth step Blue Print for Progress one of the questions is whether you go to the doctor or dentist for regular check ups. At the time I didn't do that I just kept pushing myself until I was so sick I could not function. I turns into an emergency.

My theory is that you don't really feel like you can take the time to take care of yourself. Especially when other people are counting on you. Your overbooked but you just keep pushing. Your body decides hey I need a break and takes you down.

You finally let yourself off the hook. You have no choice you have gone too far. It also evokes the sympathy of those around you and they cut you some slack. Pleasing others is a top priority for me in my business and I feel terrible if I can't do all that I promised.

I need a break more than just a day at a time. I don't really feel I can do that right now but I am getting to the point that I will have be ok no matter if I lose customers or not. I am not effective working like this and my creative juices are dried up.

Let go and let God a simple phrase that isn't so simple to follow.

Picture from

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Tug of War - With myself

I am little burnt out right now. I know this because I keep letting things slip through the cracks that I shouldn't. I am not my usual creative self and for some reason can't force myself to keep working.

It is good to be busy but I haven't been able to restore myself. I was thinking that going to my sister's house would give me an excuse to forget about work but since I didn't go that didn't happen.

Yesterday I had a tug of war with my inner child who refused to go into work. The adult in me refused to find something fun to do. At an impasse I sat paralyzed. I kept thinking if I catch up on my work I can get some relief from the stress I am feel right now. In my heart I knew this was not going to happen when the kid in me digs in no work that will be done.

So I sat there for a couple of hours refusing to work and refusing to have fun. I finally broke the stalemate between me and me and went to the movies.

I got in my car and just drove straight to the movies without any idea what was showing. Arriving a 1PM I had three choices Twilight, Hugo 3D and Anonymous. I opted for Hugo I figured it would be a little less stimulating than the others.

It is not really a kids movie. It was visually very interesting and the characters were likable for sure. It was a little slow and very quiet I couldn't imagine kids sitting through the whole thing. Even one couple in our theater just started having a conversation. I didn't care the kid in me was just happy I wasn't working.

It is probably progress to see that I really need a break right now. In the past it was easy to get lost in my work. It was all that I knew and didn't have much experience with joy or fun. I am working to find some balance now.

The truth is what I do most of the time doesn't feel like work. I still need a break though to get my creative edge back but the timing isn't good for that now. I will do my best and God will have to do the rest.

Picture from:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Today is the day

So this is it, the day I got dumped four years ago. Sometimes it seems like a million years ago and sometime like last week. I am over the bulk of the emotions but today there is something simmering just under the surface.

I was feeling quite good last night alone reading some new art books I picked up and watching my new favorite show Parenthood. The perfect couple having a fight he was talking and trying to use reason and she was in her own head not listening and talking herself.

We never fought, this is not a sign of a healthy relationship. A lot can go on between the lines when there is not arguing. Relationships can die from disinterest or apathy. I really can't tell you exactly what happened. Not that I was without fought because I let sleeping dogs lie.

I did for a long time try to keep the lines of communication open but I grew tired of using my interviewing skills to get the emotional temperature of our relationship. I always got I am fine we are fine and why do you always ask me that?

I stopped asking and put the focus back on myself and let it go. I guess without my efforts to keep us tethered together the relationship failed. Just like any long term relationship we go into a routine that made us feel safe and secure. That routine ultimately turned to boredom and killed the relationship. Secure but dead.

Along comes someone that is new someone that thinks your the best thing since sliced bread. Your a star again the apple of someones eye irresistible perfect in every way. How can you resist that? So you start seeing the flaws in the person you have committed your life to and all the reasons why you shouldn't be together. You made a mistake and now your long lost love has finally showed up. This is your one chance for happiness so you got to be free and you lower the boom.

The day before Thanksgiving. You didn't plan it like that it wasn't on purpose. It slipped out, I love someone else. Maybe the alcohol was to blame but maybe it is just an excuse because you want to start living the life you have always wanted. So what if you are going to ruin the holiday for the family. You got to get the ball rolling. It is all about you after all.

So that is how it all came down. Of course I don't really know the thinking that was going on at the time and I will never know. As you can imagine I tried to get answers but I never got them. There is no talking to the dead and that is what it felt like.

We stayed in the house together for the next few days. There was no Thanksgiving dinner even though most of it I had already cooked. It all sat out until it wasn't fit to eat. I couldn't look at it or touch it. It was spoiled just like the relationship.

I went into shock that night and didn't come out of it until a few months ago. In the beginning I summoned all my courage and all my friends and to take care of the necessities. In 60 days I packed, bought a house and moved.

My heart is heavy while I write this I can feel the pain of those 60 days. Life is not fair and you can't make someone love you or even talk to you if they don't want to. I never got the answers that I needed in order to heal faster.

It was harsh it was thoughtless the way it all went down. But it is the past and I am becoming the person I was always meant to be. Every day I feel stronger and more able to face life and my dreams are coming backing. Dreams that I have always had for myself.

I have shed some tears today but that is normal. It was thirteen years of my life. I wasn't happy for a long time in that relationship but I thought it was just me. I had it all in the eyes of others. God does for us what we can't do for ourselves.

Will Thanksgiving ever be the same for me? Who knows I am thankful that it is not four years ago.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Denial - What I am not ready to see - Step 1

I had a long talk with a family member last night and she is in a predicament. She young and her family has been living under the strains of addiction for most of her life. She wants her mother to at least acknowledge whats happening, but she refuses to admit there is a problem.

As they say and elephant in the room. She has reached an age where she can just choose not to come around anymore. To abandon her efforts and her hopes that that things will change. Her older brother has already made the decision to stay away. It is her mothers denial that makes her the most crazy, not the addiction.

I felt like I had to tread lightly because this is my family. I wanted her to know that addiction and denial go hand in hand and any sudden changes in assigned roles within the family can cause a fire storm. Maintaining an atmosphere where someone can continue to use perpetuates the disease. The habit of buffering someone from the reality of their choices just keeps things the same. If she decides to leave then she has to be prepared for upsetting the dynamics of the family situation.

I understand about denial. I was in denial about my husbands addition and how messed up I was from my own childhood. I was dead inside and didn't feel I deserved to be happy. I attracted my equal someone as self-loathing as I was and we were in misery together. I had been in survival mode since I was eight and it was the only life I knew. It was a perfect fit.

I think sometimes you think if you admit something isn't working then you have to be ready to do something about it. Maybe you just aren't ready to do the work. For me I just thought with time things would work themselves out. In the case of my husband they certainly did he packed his bags and left. Talk about being yanked out of denial.

Denial catches up with you or it kills you slowly from the inside. There is no getting around the what is there whether you acknowledge it or not. It is still there and with addiction it doesn't just go away. Even when someone leaves or you leave it has done the damage long before that happens.

Last night I felt I was listening to a sponsee and not someone so close to me. She is analytical and is sure there is a solution to this family problem. I thought there is where the pain comes from believing you can make people see what you see. Not if they are not ready.

So what is next. She wants an intervention where the whole family goes to counseling and airs all the dirty laundry. You have to actually admit you have dirty laundry for that to work.

I suggested counseling for her, someone with experience with addiction. Someone that isn't easily manipulated by a smooth talker with a quick mind. I said, start with yourself and then you can invite your mom to join you. A true Al-anon cannot resist the invitation to help someone else.

I didn't tell her that getting past thinking you personally can solve someone elses addiction is first step towards saving yourself. Admitted we are powerless... You have to experience this for yourself. I searched for a solution until I was exhausted and someone had the good sense to send me to Al-anon and I had the good sense to listen.

The miracle of giving up and focusing on your own emotional health. It is part of healing and taking the spot light off the person with the addiction. It gives you your life back and that is the true miracle.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Psychic - I can predict the future

I had to get up extra early this morning for an appointment 1/2 hour from my house then make it back to the shop and open by 10. I also had another appointment scheduled at 11 that I was feeling like wouldn't go well.

The couple older but newly married doing their first renovation together. He wants to please her and she wants to be pleased. I went to their house last Saturday after a lengthy visit in the showroom. In the showroom he said very little and smiled a lot and when I got to their house he didn't really engage with me at all.

My spidey senses were tingling and I surmised that they wouldn't want to pay for the quality product and finish they selected. I do try to qualify people ahead of time by getting a budget from them and seeing what their expectations are, but with them I didn't. I find that it helps to prepare them for the cost. He just kept saying what ever you want honey as she kept picking the higher priced doors.

I think my ability to read people has helped me in the past, but maybe not. It seems like a good skill, but how do I know? I am just writing them into the story in my head and I could be completely off base. Maybe my egos need to feel I have special powers is really holding me back. Maybe I am just dismissing perfectly good customers on a hunch. Self-full filling prophecy.

The skills I learned as a child to avoid getting in trouble when my mom was sick. Knowing how to test the emotional temperature of the room before asking for something. What would happen if I didn't do that and just went about my own business and stopped using that emotional antenna?

This morning on the ride in I started to project how they wouldn't like my design or the price and I stopped myself. I ask God to let the meeting unfold naturally without me putting my expectation on it. I would do my best without worrying about the outcome.

What a surprise it went very well. They loved my ideas and actually weren't shocked at the price and then added some stuff.

Have I been wrong all my life, that it is an advantage to be able to read people. Maybe I can just wait to see what happens instead of trying to be psychic. It is a hard habit to break.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

My first drink - A piece of my story.

I talked to my sister last night and I don't think she was too keen on me coming for Thanksgiving. I didn't take it personally and was actually a little relieved to be free from obligations.

We have had an estranged relationship for many years both suffering alone without each others support. She left for college when my Dad remarried and didn't really stand up for me when the emotional abuse started. This is really behind us now and we both made our amends during our last visit.

I have built my life around the story of being the outsider. That is why I fit in with Al-anon. It feels like a room full of outsiders. I liked alcoholics because they seemed to fit in better than I did.

I realize now that we really aren't that different. I think they drink to fit in and to quiet the same ugly voices that us Al Anoners have.

When I first came to the meetings I was the victim and felt superior to alcoholic in my life, then I felt sorry for him. Then as I matured in the program I really started to see we were the same people. I just didn't have a liquid escape route. I was just as sick without any excuses at all.

I don't know why I am not an alcoholic but I can definitely relate to the need to escape. In the beginning when I attended AA meetings to summoned some empathy, which was in short supply at the time, it made me think about my own first drink.

I was 15 and life was unbearable at home my co-workers at Long John Silvers offered my a ride home. They really wanted me to buy beer because I looked the most mature. I purchased it at Kroger and we drank in the car.

I can still remember now the relief I felt at the moment the pain of my life dissolving away. The stress of trying to make my stepmother happy, she is still not happy. It felt good to let my guard down to fit in just for a few moments.

I don't know why I didn't become an alcoholic. The grace of god I guess, I had plenty of reasons to escape and after leaving home at 16 I had plenty of opportunities to become one.

In my younger years I worked in restaurants where there was free drugs and alcohol for anyone that wanted them. I did drink a lot and dated bartenders and cooks. That is how I met my husband. Once we were married I decided we needed to get out of the business, it was a bad influence on him. This is where my Al-Anon story starts.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Filling and killing time

Acceptance is place I want to be these days but I can't seem to get there. The angst I feel has to do with thinking I should be somewhere else other than where I am now in my life.

Isn't this an age old human problem, never being satisfied. It is a luxury I know. If I had to spend my days hunting and gathering I would be too tired to think about what is lacking in my life. But with a protein bar in my stomach and work piling up on my desk I am taking this moment to feel unsatisfied with where I am in my life.

I know this is a time of thanksgiving and gratitude but I am just not there. I really don't want to make a gratitude list or think of all the hungry people in the world. Please don't tell me I need a gratitude meeting.

Don't get me wrong I have am thankful for a lot of things. But I am restless right now and nothing seems to sooth my spirit. Is it because at this time of year everybody seems to have a plan. I use to be the plan maker but I gave up and for that I am grateful. Ok, maybe I should start a a gratitude list. Yuck.

So I am drifting and waiting for these feelings to pass. My greatest fear is they won't and I will feel like this forever. I know I will get over it it is just that time of year for me.

My friend says just accept that I am going to feel crappy until this month is over and she is probably right. So I am riding it out and trying not to take my feelings too seriously.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I don't know you - Heroes and illusions

I watched the end of Face the Nation and they mentioned the scandal at Penn State. I don't keep up with the real world much but the idea of someone held in high esteem doing something so low made think about how we really don't know anyone.

We only know our version of that person who we want to believe they are because that is all we have to work with. When we have heroes we somehow expect them to be better than average instead of worse than average. They are setting the example they are keeping our dream of perfection alive for us and we want to believe everything is exactly as it appears in our own mind.

We are all the same no matter whether our picture appears on the screen or not. We wake up and face the day. We feed ourselves and fill our days trying to get our needs met. Some of those needs are not so healthy and hurt the people we know.

I think about the people who know that something awful is happening and can't bring themselves to tell. I imagine the first thought is, what about me? How will this affect my life my family? They might tell someone or just let it eat away at them. Justifying they need more time to decide what to do.

You might say it is about the money but I think it is more about not rocking the boat and wanting to stay in denial. The bigger you are the bigger the ego and the more you have to lose.

You think you know someone because you work with them or even live with them every day and then you find out they are doing something really bad. You don't want to believe it because in your mind it is out of character. Obviously not since it happened. So you do nothing and hope by magic it stops. Meanwhile more children get hurt.

Lets face it no one likes a whistle blower. History has shown that it is usually the end for them as well as those they have turned in. We don't like our heroes tarnished because we need them to prove there is perfection out there.

In this case there are victims as we all know abuse has been around forever. Is it worse because in our mind we thought he was a hero? Are we mad because we were fooled. There are no heroes just people just like us with wants needs and desires.

We get up each day and listen to the voice. If it is a healthy voice we can do great things and if it isn't we can damage people for life.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Will I be missed? Fat chance

photo by

I have a lot going on in my head these days, so what else is new? The difference is that before when I was down and out I couldn't really feel the emotions. I was in a state of denial and so the emotions were never dealt with in a healthy way.

I was sad and in a lot of pain but it was swirling around constantly I couldn't face what it was really about. I was dumped, after 13 years I was left for someone else blah, blah, blah .... Hey I am not saying it wasn't a big deal it rocked my world. It has taken me four years to come back to the surface.

This week I had a couple of epiphanies. First I took an personality test. I can't help myself I love that kind of stuff more insight. Anyway, my highest score was self-sacrificing, no big surprise really, but what it did say was that that is how I get my fulfillment in life. Anticipating the needs of others is second nature. I give but it is extremely difficult for me to receive.

Two things that stood out to me was that this type of person can be easily overlooked because they are stealth in actions. They do it because it is their nature and enjoy pleasing others. When they are gone they leave a surprising large hole behind. The other thing is that in their personal life they can attract users people that need to be taken care of, not a big surprise. It isn't personal just a good fit.

As a sat on my friends couch, the other night, looking at the street light outside I started to recall the moment of the break-up. What I felt at that moment and tears started flowing, in a good way. I could handle the truth and pain of what happen to me without censoring myself or trying to be brave. It felt like I was in a trance looking at that light and seeing every detail of that moment while the pain drained out of me.

When I love I love big. I put everything into making it work and it is my nature to take care of things and people. The sadness I realized just this week is that it feels like with all that I put into that relationship it didn't matter, I didn't matter.

The sadness is from thinking that I am not missed. That only I suffered from the loss. My own feelings of self-worth is really where this comes from. I don't matter to me.

The truth is I do make a big difference where ever I go. Whenever I put my heart into something, things change for the better. Sometimes in a big way. I was always taught to be humble and God would reward me in the end. Never toot your own horn. Pride goeth before the fall. But it is healthy to know your own self-worth and not depend on outside sources for confirmation. God given talents, right?

The truth is every body makes a difference. Do I think so little of myself that I can't imagine anyone missing me from their lives. I think I just want someone to say so. Fat chance.

I just want some fantasy call that says hey I am sorry I didn't realize just how much you were worth to me. That is not going to happen. I wouldn't be willing to do that either. Pride again. Even now for me to admit there is anything about that relationship I miss, is too much for me.

So will I be missed? I have to know in my heart that the answer is yes. That is what is important for my survival. I bring a lot to the table I commit heart and soul to everything I do. I can't wait for validation that will never come.

I feel so free these days getting the last bits of grief out of my system. I am closer to the person I was at eight before my mother got sick. I can see all of life's possibilities and everything is an adventure. I am going to be ok. I am going to make it.

It has a been a long journey back to my real self and I can't wait to see what is next.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

In the weeds

Artwork by

I am writing right now in hopes that it will help me get settled. Things are all over the place and I really in the weeds. I first heard the term when I was in the restaurant business in the 80's. It means when you just can't keep up with the volume of orders coming in.

One of my first jobs was at a golf and country club. I had the breakfast and lunch shift and started work at 7 AM. We were all in our twenties and would stay out all night and come to work still half lit. The room held about 20 tables and within 20 minutes the whole place would fill up.

Breakfast is hard on a waitress (server). What kind of juice? What kind of toast? What kind of meat? How do you want your eggs? Decaf or regular? Hash browns or grits? I remember one time a man ask me three times for ketchup and that night I woke up from a sound sleep and thought, he never got his ketchup.

My roommate worked with me and in the middle of the rush she would sneak off and sleep in the women's locker room. This made me furious and it sent me over the edge when customers ask me if she could wait on them instead of me. One time I told them they could go wake her up that she was in the locker room. It only bothered me.

I have always been an over-achiever in my work life. Self-sacrifice is in my dna and I always loathed people that got away with doing as little as possible. You know the type always leaving early and still being loved by everyone. Flying by the seat of their pants and having so many adoring fans to cheer them on.

If your in Al anon your are probably not one of those people. I know it is just a generalization but this is my post and I can do what I want. The hard working Al-anon has their nose to grind stone and longs to be one of those care free fun loving folks with the cheering crowds. More generalizations.

Since I can't that person I now settle for being near that person. I find that is better to have them as friends than as lovers. One is amusing the other can drain the life out of you and leave you with an empty bank account. I use to worry about how they would make it but I have learned some adoring fan is waiting to help them out. I am glad it doesn't have to be me anymore.

So now I try to have fun myself instead of living through someone else. I can do it, really! Ok, it is still work for me to have fun but I can do it sometimes. I have realized that I am not an extravert or a thrill seekers and I don't really like loud parties.

I like to do things and learn things while I am doing it. I like movies and shows that make me laugh or make me think about the big picture in life. I live in my head and it can be very fun sometimes and more like a horror flick at other times. This is who I am and I don't feel guilty about that anymore.

I have also realized that I like to work. I like to accomplish things and it feels good to see a finished product. I love what I do even if right now I am in the weeds.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Chocolate and other therapy

So I have done no work today so far. I had such a great day off yesterday and was so excited I couldn't sleep last night. I got up and roamed around the house looking at all that I have accomplished in the past couple of days. I even commented on a few blogs at 2 AM.

I am foggy today and can't seem to get motivated. When I am in that mode I end up writing. I produced a very dull post and decided to ditch it and try again.

After I spewed forth my weaknesses with Saturday post I got over myself and decided to do something different. I have gotten into the habit of going home every night and curling up in my bed and watching TV. This past week I added to the routine eating Hershey nuggets. Purchased on the slim chance of having trick or treaters. This was unlikely since I didn't turn the light on. This was not a good addition to the routine.

Lets just say a bag of chocolate and millions of hours of TV can bring you to a place where you are having an out of body experience. Luckily I am not clinically depressed so the low really was good for me and I thought to myself, you have to stop doing this. Really I mean it this time.

Saturday after work I ate the last piece of candy and turned the TV off and went to my studio. A few hours later I had three new paintings which I will post if I can figure out how to send them from my IPhone. It is hard to get out of a rut it feels so good so comforting and familiar. But a rut can slowly eat away at you and put on weight on you at the same time.

Sunday I got up and cleaned yet another disaster area in my house and then worked on a puzzle for an hour or two. Very funny puzzle with a million different cartoon characters.

Everything feels right today. I have a job, which I apparently do not want to do today. I have a house that is perfect for me which even has a studio. I am exactly where I need to be today even if I could have used a few more hours of sleep.

Even if I have to stumble back into the past occasionally I don't stay too long. The promises say, we will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. I guess it is the only way to see just how far we have come.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Never satisfied - tweaking and breakups

The hard truth I have discovered on the journey of recovery is that I am never quite satisfied. With life, myself or the people around me. Over the years the latter I can usually cut some slack but with myself I never really let off the hook.

When I stumbled upon the 12 steps for the first time they didn't really mean much. I was a zombie in those rooms with pain so heavy that I wonder now how I managed. I had so much baggage that no one could get close to me.

I blamed myself first for not being good enough to keep my marriage from ending. I came there to make myself a better person. I needed to understand why everyone left me. I used the program as yet another way to acheive perfection. Working towards a more lovable and worthy person.

In my mind I was never good enough for the people in my life but I just kept on trying to figure how to be better. Be more like the person they wanted me to be but I failed. Over an over again people left. In my mind where there is smoke there is fire.

Whats wrong with me? My therapists assured me that it wasn't me but secretly I didn't believe them. I had to work harder use my intelligence to root out my flaws. I was constantly trying to improve to shield myself being booted out. No matter what I got the shaft in work and in my personal life. I was replaced with someone more worthy.

I always felt sucker punched. The last time standing eye to eye in the hall me thinking, you got to be kidding me, are you sayings it is over? It was a drunken conversation which gives courage to the lips. I took it from there. You don't want me then I don't want you.

I have been reviewing my story the past couple of days. Both of my significant relationships ended at Thanksgiving. Even though I am over it the little person living in my subconscious brings it up around this time every year.

What is different about me now is that I realize that I can let myself off the hook. I don't have to constantly chisel away what I think is a fault or unattractive. I can be satisfied with the person I am. Really.

What I do know now is that, in the past, I would do anything to be loved. I was controlling the situation and thinking in order to be loved I must be who you want me to be. It was second nature to me. The only time I was true self was when I was alone with nothing to lose. Once I was in love I wanted to make sure nothing changed so I started tweaking myself to suit someone else.

My ex's would probably disagree with last part. This is where the passive aggressive part of me stepped in because the things I did were not authentic they had strings attached. If you didn't acknowledge and appreciate the sacrifices (tweaking) I made I shut down or rebelled in subtle ways. Just no fun at all.

Wow, what a confession. I have been a child most of my life. I have acted and reacted in the way a child would. I didn't know better. I was trying to secure the love and security I lost early on. I have been the chameleon that I have accused others of being.

Did I get anything from all the work I have done on myself? The Steps and beyond. The answer is yes. I now have to give of the search for perfection and work on just being happy with myself and what I am doing today.

You can't be who someone wants you to be because you don't live in their head and besides what we want changes minute by minute. So this time I am going to be myself whoever that is today.

It is harder than I imagined being myself. Not looking for others to validate me or give me answers. Learning to do only things for the right reasons. A different kind of tweaking this time one without strings.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I wonder - Live and Let Live

I had a conversation with my sister the other night. She was exhausted and said that she has let everyone in her life know that she can no longer keep up. She has taken responsibility for the lives of everyone she knows and things have gotten out of control.

She is like me and very hard headed and thinks she can influence and possibly help steer other people in the right direction. I wonder if you can really help people or is it just a way to meddle in the business of others. Even with the best intentions is it really my business?

I find it difficult to keep my mouth shut when I see someone clearly heading down the wrong road. Did any one ask me? How do I know that the person doesn't need a train wreck to motivate them to make changes for themselves.

It is trap for the ego because a few successes perpetuates the need to do more.

It might be like those movies where someone changes some seemingly minor thing and it inevitably changes the course of history and the world comes to and end.

These days I have been trying to live and let live. This is what I want for myself and maybe I should let others have the same privilege. It isn't easy because it puts the focus back on me and that takes all the fun out feeling superior.

Don't get me wrong I still know what's best for everyone, I just don't tell them anymore. Just kidding, before I get too far down that road I try to remember God has a plan for them and he just hasn't informed me of the details.

Judging others is just a distraction from what I don't want to see about my own shortcomings. For example the other day I was complaining to myself about the office mess and I thought about my own office. Maybe I should start there it was just as much as a disaster but it was easier to see how messy everyone else was.

No one will ever live up to my expectations including me. My goal is to just be at peace with things the way they are right now. How to enjoy the moment and let the rest go.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

H.A.L.T. - Finding balance

I have been so thrilled to have my energy back that I have been over doing it. I have so much I want to get done that I can hardly sleep at night. Three years of depression and forcing myself to do even the smallest things I just want to make up for lost time.

As a result of over doing it I had a little bout with the crazies this morning. I didn't sleep much last night and got up early then I fed my neighbors dogs, got dressed and went to work. I hit the door running.

First I started cleaning the mess I made yesterday. I had a bunch of cabinets torn out and everything that was in them was sitting in the middle of the office floor. I am not good with too much visual stimulation. I had to get things in order but where to start when everything is upside down. It is like moving trying to decide what stays and what goes.

I was feeling a little manic an decided to call a friend. I couldn't find my purse. I panicked, had I left it on top of the car? Did I leave it at home? Did I leave it on the front counter and someone came in and took it?

I closed the store and got in my car and drove home. To my surprise it wasn't there. On the way back I started thinking of all that I would have to do to replace the loss. The time the money on and on. Then I told myself to get at grip it wasn't the end of the world. Then it occurred to me that I should have called my phone while I was at the office.

When I got back to the office I did just that and lo and behold there it was sitting in a chair facing the opposite direction. Relief flooded my mind. Why was I acting so crazy?

In the program there is an acronym H.A.L.T hungry, angry, lonely or tired. Covering most of the reasons for crazy behavior. I think I am 4 out of 4 today. The angry flared up when a mosquito was following me around the office biting me. I haven't seen him in an hour he must be on a break right now.

I am out of balance. This is always the problem when I have a problem. Old behavior for me all or nothing. It is a character defect sometimes and an asset at other times. I can get a lot done in short amount of time but sometimes I don't know when to quit.

I am going to leave here and get some food. Then go home and take a nap or watch some tube or both. I am taking tomorrow off to re-group and see if I can find something fun to do. The dog sitting ended today so I will be free to sleep in and take care of myself.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Getting rid of excess - From the inside out.

Since I have awakened from my slumber it has occurred to me that I am behind. I really want to get my life in order. I have done the spiritual part and now I need to tackle the physical world.

It seems everything needs to either cleaned or fixed or thrown out. I was looking at my clothes and thinking, have I really been wearing this stuff? Everything is dingy and worn and the whites aren't exactly white anymore. Where have I been and just how long was I gone? It is hard to believe I am really back for good this time.

I am also working on cleaning a organizing the showroom and office. I went in on Sunday to tackle my office and one display. I am clearing out the almost 40 years of accumulated stuff. The former owner never threw anything away. Everything has the potential to be re-purposed. I get that I am like to re-purpose things myself. But some things are just trash.

We have a huge attic full of scraps and old cabinets. Once while he was on vacation we took two dumpster full of stuff out. Moved the newer stuff to the front. He never noticed. I felt bad for about a second then got over it.

I was feeling a little bit like a martyr on Sunday but it was my choice and since I have been asleep so long it feels good to just work hard. I was exhausted Sunday night and had some aches and pains. I took yesterday off and decided not to have any agenda.

I made a big pot of soup with dumplings and invited a friend over for a quick meal. I knew he was headed to a class and wouldn't stay too long. I wanted to be alone and enjoy being awake in my new house. I am so happy to myself again and to be comfortable alone. I can't really say my old self because that person is gone I am really a new and improved version.

I not scared or scarred anymore. I feel light as a feather and stronger than ever. When your walking through the dessert you aren't really sure just how long the journey is and since it all looks the same you can't image there is an end. But I am here to tell you to just hang in there nothing last forever.

I feel gratitude and abundance today. Since I surrendered the work situation I have had non-stop customer. Sunday while I was working I turned the open light on and a couple came in that needs a new kitchen. I looked pretty grungy but they didn't seem to mind.

Life is good.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Everything is coming together

I like this time of year. I will miss the daylight as the days get shorter but I always feel energized by the changes in weather. I don't feel guilty for staying in and tackling long over due chores.

I started today with an early customer appointment before opening the showroom. I had another appointment scheduled for noon that I knew was going to be a handful. I called the owner and ask him if he could come in for a few hours as back up. He agreed.

When he arrived we did a little catching up and I told him that I missed our long spiritual talks. I also told him that I was much more productive without all the jawing. Truthfully there is no way I could have kept up with the work load and entertained him like I use to.

We are a like in many ways and sometimes that scares me. He has worked hard most his life and I think is finally happy to turn the business over to someone. He will be 80in a couple of weeks. I hope I will not be working until I am 80. I want to have a more balanced life.

He told me he got a call from a woman he has been helping on an off throughout the years. She is in and out of AA and rehab her husband the same. He had a stroke a few years ago and is in a wheelchair. She called him recently to say she is having terrible dreams about demons and ask him to take her confession and pray for her. He did and then told her to go back to AA.

I told him I didn't know if I believed in demons but I do believe in negative thoughts and the energy that goes along with them. It seems to me that every time I am about to have an spiritual breakthrough I go as low as I can go.

The day on the porch when my depression lifted. The voice said to me you are doing this to yourself. An inner battle between total freedom and wanting my life to be over. Is it that simple? Is it chemical? Something inside of me did not want to let go of the pain even if it meant my life was over. Is this a spiritual battle with ones own ego. The self with the self or something else.

I was telling him this story and my eyes filled with tears. Recalling the grace I felt that day which seems like a million years ago now, even though only a few months. I chose life that day on the porch a spiritual awakening that saved my life. The god of my understanding freeing me from the hell my own thoughts had created.

Since that day everything has been flowing in my direction. The universe is conspiring to fulfill all my dreams. Work is busy and two of my friends that are designers have called me and want to come work with me. I talked it over with my partner and she seems open to it.

The owner is happy being at home watching football and coming to the rescue when we need him. It all seems to be coming together for us. I feel it took letting go to finally get it. I am free today and enjoying every minute of it.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The future meets the past

I watch a lot of TV it is a habit sometimes good and sometimes not. I watch shows that I record mostly about design or other creative things. I am a night owl and have a lot of time on my hands. Lately this habit of watching TV has become monotonous.

Sometimes I force myself to shut it off and see what happens. Mentally the thought of actually taking on a project or even focusing on a book seems like too much effort. Occasionally in the wee hours I practice some yoga stretches to pass the time.

The other night I decided to turn the TV off and sit in my studio. I put on some old music by Lucinda Williams. I heard one of her songs on a show I was watching last week and I missed her.

Her music is pretty dark and I listened to it a lot when my marriage ended more than a decade ago. I saw her live a few years ago and she was so wasted she was reading the words of her own songs from a book on the podium. She kept starting over. The crowd was supportive and most were just as wasted. It was sad.

I could relate to the pain in her songs back then. Songs about people she had lost in her life. I felt addiction had taken my husband from me. Those wounds have long been healed and it actually made me feel good to not be affected by that music anymore.

That night I was feeling free to began again a fresh start. It reminded me of when I was 17 and rented first studio apartment. By that time in my life I had already lived in my friends garage and my alcoholic uncles spare room. The latter ended when he hocked my clock radio and stero to buy booze. He said the neighbors came in a stole the items. Nice.

The apartment was about the size of my art studio is now but it was a refuge from the crazy people that had been in charge of my life. I didn't even have electricity the first few weeks but that didn't matter I was free. I knew I was gonna make it. I didn't know how but I knew I would. That is how I feel now.

I have been afraid for a long time. I had lost the confidence I had in myself for awhile. I had gotten use to thinking I knew what the future held for me and when that changed suddenly I couldn't accept it.

I went down into that black hole of resistance and stayed there until I was sick of it. I didn't want to start over. I felt I didn't have it in me. It wasn't fair I didn't deserve it. Who does? It happens all the time.

When I look back on my life I can see I have had a strong spirit. I have faced many challenges and nothing ever stopped me from moving forward. I just didn't want to do it again. I don't know what I thought I could do about it as long as I was breathing what choice did I have?

You can't ever know how things will turn out in life. Just when you think you got it all figured out something happens. If we want to live rolling with the punches is the only real choice we have.

Digging in doesn't change the facts of the situation. Letting go of something we have no control over anyway, isn't much of a sacrifice when you think about it. The time it takes to let go is up to us and in the end it is quite humbling and freeing at the same time.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Suffering - Passing it on

I have had some tough times in my life and I always think once I come out on the other side I wonder what was the point? Sure I learned something a huge growth opportunity but is that it?

Yesterday I had the opportunity to use my experience to help a friend. My depression mixed with instant menopause took me to places emotionally I had never been before. Walking around day after day not wanting to be alive is hard to explain to the average person.

Usually you can trace the sadness and suicidal thoughts back to a specific thought. I am familiar with grief we are old friends but what I felt was more like I don't want to be in my body. In the mirror was a total stranger nothing familiar and the physical pain that went along with it is was unbelievable. No trace of the person I was before.

I spent the day with a friend who is going through the same thing. She said she was staying away from other people because she couldn't put on a brave face. She said her body ached so bad she has started taking pain pills. I told her at one point I hurt so bad I thought I had bone cancer. Every night I had heart palpitations and I finally decided to get my heart checked. Nothing showed up on the test.

This is the part of menopause that no one really tells you about. Sure you hear all the stories on women doing crazy things or being angry all the time but no ones says that there is sometimes a lot of physical pain. Joints ache to be specific. It feels like you coming down with the flu.

The pain I experienced was mostly at night no matter how I layed on the bed it hurt. This along with the bazaar thoughts not wanting to be alive really makes you unsure of everything you thought you knew about yourself. You will do just about anything to escape how bad that feels.

My friend said she went to the doctor and he told her to up her anti-depressants. I told her to go get her hormones tested. I would have done this if I had known but I was lost in what I thought was grief and that was partially true. Even though it wasn't the grief I was familiar with but I am hard headed and didn't want to ask for help.

I didn't want to tell her my pain lasted three years and hers won't because I am making her go to a hormone doctor. When my mind started to clear I realized that sometimes that the bad thoughts coincided with a wave of heat in my body. This was helpful because I knew the thought was not real and not to take it seriously.

Since this started in my mid forties no one thought it could really be "the change" and thought it was the break up. Hind sight is always 20/20.

I do think that this is a time in a woman's life for evaluation. You have no desire to play by the rules even if you are the one that created them. Your emotions are right on the surface and survival is the only thing on your mind.

My neighbor said his wife up and left him practically overnight. She came back a few years later and apologized and wanted him back. It was too late and he had moved on.

I say all this to help anyone out there that feels they might truly be losing it or they know someone close to them that seems like a stranger now. It tested everything I thought I knew about myself. I felt like I didn't belong anywhere and there was no escaping those feelings.

The contractor that told me that I seemed like a totally different person than I was six months ago, was right. I am not the same person.

Being able to pass on my experience and help someone else does make me feel a little better.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Resentments - Resolutions - Responsibilities

In the program I have learned a lot about my part in every situation. When I got here I was a martyr a victim of every situation in my life. I had no choice but to go along with whatever life dished out to me. But now I know every moment I can choose again. I can look at just about any situation and see the possibilities for growth.

I resolved the cleaning issue at work this week. I went out to lunch with my partner and she was telling me all she does at home is clean house. She and her husband and child moved back in with her parents when the economy tanked.

I asked her if this was why she didn't feel she needed to help me keep the showroom clean. She said yes that was part of it. She said we should pay someone and I ask her what she thought it was worth each month and she said a $200.00.

I said great I will pay myself $200.00 to keep the showroom clean. I am doing it for nothing now and this will eliminate the resentment I have thinking she should be helping.

Resentments only happen when we are doing something we thinks someone else should be doing or we think no one sees or appreciates what we do.

For me this is really a need to be validated. My worth is based on how valuable I am to other people. Then I get all indignant when people are caught up in their own lives and aren't paying me any attention.

I have to do things because I want to them or because it is the right thing to do with no strings attached. If I get my self worth from opinions good or bad my life will be a roller coaster depending on the moods of the people closest to me.

If they are having a great day and feeling generous giving me all kinds of compliments I feel high as a kite. If the next day someone cuts them off in traffic and they take it out on me then I feel low. I use to think this was always about me.

This is why I ended up in the spot light of the alcoholic in my life. In the beginnig I was the star and center stage and it was fantastic. It filled me up because I was empty and needed constant validation. But the light moved on and I was devastated. I did everything to try to get it back.

I blamed it on the drinking but really it was because the drinking took the spot light from me. I wanted to be the main attraction and I lost my place. I did crazy things to try to bring him back to me. When the pain reach epic proportions I had no where to go and ended up in my first meeting.

I have learned that it is good to be valued and loved by others but not as important ant a valuing and loving ourselves. If we can do this it takes the pressure of the people we love to do what is best for them and eliminates resentments. It has taking me a long time to grow up and see that I can only know what is best for myself and everyone else is entitled to do the same.

It is possible to live and let live. It is possible to finally see that I am not the center of anyone elses universe but my own.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The last of it - Shredding the past

I spent Monday cleaning my office and going through yet more paperwork. Old Wills, old emails, old bills, receipts and pictures. This is the last of it though. The final big push. The past is being cleared out one piece of paper or one picture at at time.

I took some joy in discovering yet more old pictures of me and my ex. We were both too fat and I could see I was miserable. I shredded those pictures one by one and it felt pretty good. Then towards the end of the day the voice in my head started down that path. You know the one that says it is your fault and look where you are now. Alone.

I kept moving and when I felt I couldn't do it one more minute I called my sponsor. Of course she said to let it go be grateful for what you have learned. I have never wanted to go back but I have been too afraid to really move forward either, I wasn't ready until now. This is what the cleaning is about.

I remember this same feeling before. You just want to be done with all the pain and suffering. You just want to start over with a clean slate. I have changed my looks and I am starting to change my house. I feel really strong again a new me.

I packed up three boxes of books to donate. I thought, did I really buy those books. Maybe I did who knows. Books are my weakness so it is nice to make room for more.

So it is the end of a really terrible time in my life and I am relieved to do a little spring cleaning in the fall. Looking at all that stuff really brought home just how sick I was for nearly three years. It seemed like a decade.

I thought, what a waste of time. Time that I can never get back. I guess I had to be there for as long it took. Maybe in the future I will look back and understand better. I am free to start over now and that is what I plan to do.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sleeping Beauty - I want to lay down

I was wondering about Sleeping Beauty if after a few years of being awake did she think it was worth it. Maybe she had a house full of kids and Prince Charming was off doing what he always did. Traveling throughout the kingdom being admired by his fans. His fans didn't have to pick up his dirty socks every day.

Life is never how we think it will be and even if it is we aren't always as happy as we thought we would be when we got there. Why is that? In my old life I had everything most people wished for. I didn't complain ever but I wasn't happy. I didn't even know I wasn't happy I thought I just needed more gratitude.

Day by day year by year I began to disappear. The things the once brought me joy started to feel like heavy chains around my neck. I tried to create a family with someone else's family and mixed in my program family for good measure. I seemed like it was working but then I realized I was more like cruise director than a family member.

I would often find myself alone in the kitchen after cooking a big meal cleaning up. I didn't even mind that I enjoyed the solitude of the cooking and the cleaning. It just wasn't what I was trying to achieve I wanted to feel the connection of family. I thought I could create that bringing us all together.

When the relationship was over I never heard from any of my ex's family and my friends from the program were happy they didn't have to deal with them anymore. It was my dream I was trying to create and everyone was just going along for the ride.

My search for this connection has lead me to the same type of relationships over and over. The addictive relationship or something similar. When I was the bright shining star in some one's life for a time, but my shininess always wears off and something more shiny catches their eye.

I understand this type of personality because I am like that too, but I just change jobs or find a new hobby. It is loyalty that makes me stay whether I am happy or not. I don't want to be the bad guy.

It is the intensity of the start of those kinds of relationships that filled my own void and the fact that I wasn't enough, just as I am, in my own heart. The void cannot be filled from the outside and it is a lifetime commitment to fill it from the inside.

You can never go back once you have been awakened to the truth that only you can make yourself happy. Only you can make yourself feel secure no matter what is going on.

I now find that a comfort and it frees me to just find something to do today that brings me joy rather than trying to create whatever I think will make me happy in the future and the future never comes. Isn't that ironic?

When I think of sleeping beauty I know the only truly perfect moment is the one when their lips touch and she is not quite awake yet.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Resentments - Who is gonna take out the trash?

Work is busy and we are closing jobs left and right. I have been talking to my partner about sharing more of the mundane responsibilities like cleaning the showroom, among other things. She always agrees to help but then it never happens. This is a familiar issue for me and I was hoping not to deal with again.

I struggle with wanting her to change. I want us to work as a team and not end up being the one who gets things accomplished. This is a relationship that I have repeated many times in my life and want to learn what I need to learn and not do it anymore.

Is that possible to co-exist and with someone else and not want things to be different. Some days it is easier than others. I do believe you have to address what is bothering you or the resentments will pile up pretty quick. After you address your issues, then what? What if they just say deal with it or worse say they will work with you and then don't.

When you are dealing with someone completely self-absorbed (takes one to know one) it isn't personal. They are just doing the stuff on their list and not even thinking about what is on your list or that you even have a list. Can you live with that?

In my most recent relationship we fought about cleaning too. Not fighting really, either I did it or it didn't get done. End of story. In the program they say if something bothers you more than it does someone else just do it yourself. The drain of resentment far out ways the energy it takes to take of the problem. But if you do it with resentment you just end up resentful with a really clean house.

In my first marriage before the program I learned a lot about resentments. I knew doing something while thinking it was someone elses responsibility can turn you into a crazy person. Worse it eats you alive and you don't even know it. One day you just snap. I have often thought this might be the reason nice people end up on the news shooting people from the top of a building. When they interview the neighbors they always say how the person seemed so nice. Resentments.

I solved the problem in the my last relationship by hiring someone to do the cleaning. A luxury yes but also a life saver. We won't say just whose life at this point.

So I am entering into another partnerships with someone that is just as self-absorbed as I am. Imagine that. Some part of me wants to believe that somehow I am better than she is more thoughtful just a wee bit less self-absorbed but the fact that I am writing about here makes me think otherwise.

Darn, why do we always have to see our reflection over and over. I am working on acceptance and remembering it isn't personal when I am not the star of someone elses show, just my own.

I will probably hire someone when we have the money or I will start paying myself. I really don't mind emptying the trash it is only the fact that she doesn't think is important that bothers me. That it really my problem and I will just have to get over myself.

Monday, October 3, 2011

A skirt that doesn't fit anymore - Meltdowns and more

I am at work today catching up on things. I hadn't planned on coming in but someone wanted to sign a contract and bring me a check. I couldn't put that off.

My partner is in the middle of a meltdown and can see no good in her life. She had a computer meltdown and her step daughter stayed the weekend. It is really more than that it is a combination of thinking how did I get here and I don't want to be here.

I had those same feeling yesterday home alone with the huge task of cleaning my upstairs. I am getting a free bed for my spare room so I had to face organizing and getting rid of things. I have tried this before but swimming through the past made me run before the job was finished.

In my depression I abandoned the upstairs. I really have no need to go up there so I don't it was dusty and littered with boxes of photos and things that were once important to me.

I came across a Christmas tree skirt that my ex's mom made. She made one for each of her children and I guess it got mixed up my stuff. What should I do with? The child in me said burn it. The adult in me said send back. It is in my past and has nothing to do with me today. I don't even decorate for the holidays.

I stopped mid meltdown and decided to write. What came out was am I where I am (alone) because I made bad decisions or is this just how life is? The flip side is that I know a lot of people that have the family and children and there not happy either. It just goes to show that you just got to keep moving and not dwell on what you don't have or what didn't work out.

The writing brought me full circle and made me see I can dwell on the past or work with what is in the moment. I don't know how my story ends and I expect that I will not be alone unless I want to be.

The upstairs is sparkling clean I rallied the committee in my head and we got the job done. As far a the Christmas tree skirt is concerned I left it laying on the couch. I can make that decision another day when I am not so emotional.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Forced to let go of the past. Like it or not.

I have returned from my trip to Denver. The work part was exhausting and the personal part exhilarating.

The night before I left for Denver I was working hard to finish up some of my work when my contractor called. The screen on my phone went blank and cut us off. We reconnected and then it did it again. That was the last time it has worked. At 7:30 pm I jumped in my car and sped to the nearest ATT phone and got myself a phone.

I found out that none of my numbers were retrievable because they weren't being saved to the sim card, just to the phone. I didn't know that. I guess it ask you this the very first time you save something and that is the only time.

I stood there for a moment and it reminded me of the day I was locked out on the porch. My mind taking in the information keeping panic at bay. Then thinking I am still here nothing life threatening has happened. Maybe.

So in one fell swoop I have wiped out my past. You know those numbers of people you would never really call, unless you were on your death bed and only if you had thought of some clever last minute jab as you take your last breath. Hey I am human after all.

I was the one who wanted to get rid of my story, right? Just to reinforce this idea of getting rid of my story I had a second opportunity. While up in the mountains (see picture above) I ran out of space on my camera card and the only way to take new pictures was to delete the ones on the card. It was the last trip with the ex and the ex in-laws.

One by one our happy little faces disappearing from the screen. I was forced to do this over and over because I wasn't willing to delete all. Facing the past again and again always opting for the beauty of the present over the memories of the past.

I felt a twinge of sadness. That is not my life anymore. I can say now I am really happy about that. Whats 4 years of of grief in the scheme of of things. Looking at it and re-living all that has happened since that trip doesn't change a thing. I don't want to do that anymore.

I believe we are exactly where we need to be no matter how long it takes. There are no accidents. I got an opportunity to test my feelings and see if my desire to move on is real. I am really there.

A coincidence? I don't think so. I will be fine without the numbers the people that love me now have my number and have been calling me. The clients numbers I can get from the files and anyone else that I have made contact with in the recent past will be on the detail portion of my bill. Anything older than that I can live without.

More details and pictures from the trip later. Happy to be hom.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Locked Out - At least I had my clothes on

I have been working a lot and preparing for my trip to Denver. I leave tomorrow and haven't started packing and have several deadlines to meet before I leave the office tonight.

It is weird I haven't flown for a couple of years and besides a trip to my sister's house I haven't left town in awhile. I am going alone. I have a conference for 3 days and then the rest of the time I am on my own. I have never done that before so we will see how comfortable I am with leisure time on my own in a new city.

I do have a funny story to tell. On Sunday I slept really late and woke up groggy and decided to take a shower and get dressed. This is unusual for me since I normally do chores and hang around all day so getting dressed is optional.

I made a sandwich and went out on the porch and closed the door behind me. When I finished eating I turned to go in and the door was locked. I stood there for a moment in shock. What are my options. No phone, no phone numbers, no car, no shoes and no hide a key.

I did feel grateful that I had showered and put clothes on. I checked the windows and of course they were locked. I went next door and knocked, no one answered. I could hear them so I yelled out it is your neighbor.

The door opened and two dogs, three kids and a bewildered mom greeted me with enthusiam. Like a long lost relative. I have only seen the kids a couple of times. The twin girls will be three in December and their older brother.

Evidently their mother talks about me all the time to them and they know I dog sit. The were so excited and showed me all their toys one by one. I was quite exciting for everyone.

Once I got to the phone I dialed the only number I had memorized my first number in the program. The hub of communication for our program family. Can you call so and so he has a key an so and so to help break into the house.

The latter showed up first. He has done it before and I don't want to know where those skills came from. In the program this is a clearly don't ask don't tell situation. Within minutes I was back in the house.

It wasn't a crisis and didn't ruin my day, if I had been in my pj's that would have been an even funnier story and one I wouldn't be so happy to tell. I have learned over the years that not everything is a crisis unless I decide it has to be one.

So I better get back to work or I will be here all night. I will be sure to take some pictures to post when I get back.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Miracles happen sometimes it just takes awhile.

I had my belated birthday dinner with my sponsor last night. We met about 20 years ago when I kept seeing her following me to the meetings. We were instant friends and she never gave me too many rules. She was real patient with me and always positive.

She is still the most uplifting person I have ever met. Even though her home life wasn't too uplifting and her husband spent his evenings standing by his pick up truck drinking beer from a cooler. I guess he didn't think she would catch on after a few decades.

I always really liked him he was a large bearded man with a sand paper personality. Very smart but pretty mad at the world. We always got along because I can be pretty scrappy too when I want to be. He never intimidated me with his mean exterior.

In those days they never went anywhere together. He worked and then stood by the truck most nights. I remember for years she cooked him something and left it on the stove and we went to dinner.

With what she learned in the program she started creating a life of joy for herself. She started traveling the world with friends and let him stay where he was for as long as he wanted to be there.

A few years ago something changed. He stopped drinking and started attending mass each week. Six months ago he started a diet and has lost nearly 100 lbs. This week they joined a gym together.

Last night we all went to dinner together. He talked about love and forgiveness and letting go of past resentments. Living in the moment.

Just writing this has brought tears to my eyes. It is a miracle and one that is a mystery to me and her. When he left the table she said that she has no idea what woke him up. She said it certainly wasn't anything she did. She just lived her life and let him live his. Maybe it was something she did. She let him live his own life.

So miracles do happen. People can get sober without us Al-anons pushing them along. Everyone has to find their own way. It is hard when you love someone to just sit and watch while they destroy themselves. This is why the program works. It says you have to take care of yourself and let the other person do the same.

We want to help someone be somewhere before they are ready. I think when you push people they push back. I know I do. The child in me says I don't want to do it if you want me to. I want it to be my idea not yours.

Just sitting across from him last night I thought wow is this really happening? I am still amazed that even when we give up, God's grace is endless.