Parenting after sobriety without mom guilt

I’m obviously not a parenting expert. If I’m being honest I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. My experience shows my that I suffer from something that most parents suffer from….guilt. Guilt is something that will chew you up, cause you to make decisions that will forever impact the lives of your kids. I thought that I was supposed to make my kids happy, especially after the past as it pertains to my own addictions and behaviors.

My son was a victim of my mom guilt on many levels. At the end of the day I had created a spoilt ass entitled brat out of him, why? Because I felt guilty if he was not happy.

I was actually afraid of him, afraid of what I had created with him, afraid of his future. Something had to be done. Was it too late? How would we make it through this?

We had already been through so much. He went from living a somewhat normal life to having parents who were strung out, to having no rules, nobody looking after him. Then having his mom, his main person, shipped off to treatment, coming back and trying to parent sober and both of us growing up together. Times were hard. Fear set in. Then I realized I had to do something different, and I’m still learning what that looks like 9 years later.

I think the scariest part of the whole scenario is that I have made a child who is genetically pre dispositioned to suffer from addiction, and he is already showing signs with small scale stuff.

In light of it all I find myself drawing closer to God, talking to God more, begging God. I’m not begging for his happiness. I’m begging to be the right parent for whatever the situation calls for. One would think in this case my home would be filled with chaos, a fearful mom, a rowdy kid.

That’s not what it looks like. It looks like a rational mom and a kid that communicates very well. He is not as dishonest as it seems he would be. I’m sure there is some manipulation involved but for the most part we have no secrets. He still gets himself up in the mornings for school, holds down a job, has good grades. He does not look like someone who can’t control what they are doing.

After an incredible Easter trip with all my boys though I became aware, pretty early on, that he was making really bad decisions and loosing the ability to care what I think. This lasted all weekend. My husband never noticed.

By Sunday morning, while he is hitting his weed cart right in front of us, I broke. I let him know that when we got home we would be having a discussion. There were a million things I wanted to say to him but I knew that only one thing would be said.

It went like this. “I don’t trust your decisions but they are yours to make. Tomorrow I’m taking the tags off your car, turning them in and canceling your insurance.” That was it. He will spend the next week in sulk mode and eventually it will lift and he will be more willing to have ore open dialog about the whole situation.

And here is the key, this is what I know. as long as I do what I say I will do then I no longer have to suffer more fear and more anger. I can trust God with the rest and let it all play out. His car means everything to him, his freedom, his ability to have whatever he wants and do whatever he wants. But that is not why I am taking it. I am taking it because if he chooses to make bad decisions then I can assume no risk. His liability is then his alone.

The parts of me that want him to have his freedom are the selfish parts of me that don’t feel like being inconvenienced by having to take him places and get him to school and pick him up. See I’ve grown accustomed to my freedom as well.

There is a lesson for me in this. If I cave to his wants, I get pissed off and scared again. That’s when I feel some type of way. When I cave I get emotional. And I always cave when things start looking better on the outside. So today I’m cancelling the insurance and turning in the tags. Because yesterday, I maxed out emotionally and I don’t desire this feeling anymore. I desire peace and nobody is allowed to take it from me, because nobody gave it to me.

I don’t know why I’m posting such vulnerability. I like it when my life looks perfect. I despise the enemy of addiction that befell my life. However, this is how I heal and this is how I think straight. Putting my problems on display only serve one purpose, to help those who are sick or suffering.

Behind this situation my son and I will have good communication. He will come to accept and understand that I have to do what I have to do to protect myself from his bad decisions. I know I can’t control him. I can’t lock in any outcome. I can’t force solutions. And even in light of my past I did not cause this and I can’t cure this. But I do know who can and will if I do my part and get out of the way. I don’t know what that looks like. For me it’s unknown.

Parenting will turn you out. It will cause massive amounts of worry and pain and I am not exempt from that and I know that. I can still hear a wise woman telling me though “Anything you do for them, they are hearing that you don’t believe they are capable of doing it themselves.” I believe that and I trust that. My days of enabling started stopping a few years ago and though I find myself making bad choices at times, still, I have the desire to keeping a forward motion. I do know enough to know this. If I don’t give consequences then the world will. That is something I can do for my son now. It hurts a lot more later in life.


Why fear should equal action

“When the shit goes down you better be ready” -Cypress Hill

Yesterday the shit hit the fan. I won’t go into detail but let’s just say that my son has a wild streak and sometimes he really shocks me. He is brutally honest too. At times he tells me too much but at times he tells me exactly what I need to know. Yesterday he told me exactly what I needed to know and I wanted to completely go into full on freak mode…but I couldn’t. It was not the right thing to do. Had I done that I would have woken up a fear inside of him that he did not need in that moment. He came to me in confidence and he needed confidence but he also needed consequence.

I’ve been taught consequence but the world. It was brutal too. But I didn’t get taught consequence until I was an adult and I do not want that for him. I also don’t want for him to experience a scared mam that covers his tracks and stays on his level. I knew that emotionally, I needed to level up. God brought me to this place. Surely I have what I need to get through it right?

Now I have an incredible life. There is not one single thing about my life that I would change if I could and that includes my son’s mistakes. They are his, not my property. It’s my job to walk with him through it. Not my job to carry him through it.

The thing about me though is this. When I’m fearful, everything around me tends to disappear. I get tunnel vision and all I can focus on is one problem. All the good in my life becomes invisible. It’s like I totally forget about it…..all I can see is that I’m scared. I’m like a cat that has been stuffed into a box or a bottle of coke that someone shook up and sat on the table.

The other thing about me is that I know what to do. First I journal. Get it out. Then I write down things that I am grateful for, so I can see it again. Then I reluctantly pray for other people because I am so self centered at times that I tend to forget that other people are going through things that are way more tragic than what I’m facing.

The first name that I wrote down was my friend Hannah. Her son was born with a jacked up heart. He had to have heart surgery when he was only a few days old and will face more. I was not even thinking when I wrote her name down. I just always write her name down. I heard it loud in clear in my head too. “Kristi that’s a scared mama”. Enter perspective.

My husband rated our situation on a scale of worry from 1 to 10. He gave it a 1. Yet there I was shrouded by fear, anger, anxiety and worry.

I scurried into action because I realized that I had just stepped into enemy territory. I was asking myself over and over “how and I supposed to feel and how am I supposed to act.” It hit me that I was so confused on my situation that I was tripping over my thoughts and reeling over scenarios in my head. Confusion is not meant for me. Confusion comes from an enemy that I can’t see but I experience all the time.

So I started calling the women. There are insanely incredible women in my life that have walked my path. They know where I’m at. God gave me these women because it was a known fact that I would need them. I got direction. I got clarity. One of them even laughed at my situation, which made me laugh at my situation.

I asked God to remove my fear at once. Refocus my attention on what he would have it be. From there my day got so busy that I couldn’t take the time to marinate in my problems anymore. And that was that.

The tools that I have been given again saved my life. Those women again rescued me from drowning. My husband took time to nurture my pain and comfort me with his calmness. God showed up and out as always. I’m so grateful for action.

The longer it cooks the better it taste – Not so instant Gratification

Todays society is so used to having what we want when we want it. It makes waiting take that much longer. In the past I wanted to change everything right now. I burnt up pretty quickly too. I wanted for things and people to be different so quickly that I tried to manipulate and control everything around me to be what I needed it to be right away so I could be ok.

I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday. She is in her 60’s so she is a bit older than me. She is a powerhouse. A prominent business owner with stellar reputation in my town. She is in the middle of every event that means anything and she looks her best even when she leaves the house for a loaf of bread. I have not seen her, to date, look anything less than a 60 year old bombshell smoke show.

She and I bonded over the addiction (or not, still undetermined) of her son. Now she knows I’m a safe place. Her husbands is extremely sick, receiving max dose chemo right now. Her parents are both needing medical attention with doctors appointments weekly. She is running a business. Her sister gets angry when she asks for help with the parents. Her son is suffering from something unknown rather it be bi polar, depression, or addiction. The answer to that question is either lost or hidden or denied. Who knows. Regardless he is 36 years old, close to being homeless and he really doesn’t care. She breaks down on the phone. Most likely she had held those tears back multiple times because she has to be strong for everyone. She is tired……stressed….terrified. Everyone needs something and there is not enough of her to go around.

My first question is “What are you doing to take care of you?” Crickets. That’s the time when you don’t words to answer a question. I can tell by her mental state that the answer is nothing. Her husband requires most of the attention that she has available right now. The easy answer is that she doesn’t have time to focus on herself because that is actually the truth.

She tells me that her generation of women were raised to be strong, not complain and handle the families business. I agree because that same generation of women raised me to be the same way. That’s exactly why she is the powerhouse that she is. It worked in her favor for a very long time as it did me.

I explain to her that admitting weakness to myself made me stronger. Telling myself that I can’t do it like this anymore, even though that’s the only way I knew how to do it, whatever it was at the time, did not serve me anymore. I had needs and when they bubbled to the surface I had to face the facts that I did not take care of me, and as a result everything around me suffered. She cried, promised to call back for coffee and let me go. It will probably be a while before she calls again and that is ok.

I kept driving and thinking about that call. She has a daughter. Her daughter is beginning to take on the same role that she has. And right now she looks like a powerhouse too, because she is. Then I look at my daughter. We were on a long drive so she had been sleeping for the better part of an hour. I think back over the weekend I have just shared with her and her “Bestie”. I think of the future that I want to see for her. I know that for her to understand the need for self care, I have to show her self care. And I’m grateful. Because that’s what I do. I realize in that moment that I have become a generational curse breaker. She will not have to suffer because my actions match my words.

Shortly after that call I jumped on a teams meeting for work. One that I really didn’t think would go anywhere because this deal has gotten drug out over time. Basically I’ve become disenchanted with the entire conversation all the way around. I’m having small talk with my boss on the phone because I don’t even think the customer is going to show up since he didn’t accept this weeks invite. 5 minutes later I’m watching the customer sign the DocuSign that I sent him on March 10th, it’s April 3rd and I’ve closed my biggest deal of the year. This will bring a paycheck that would have taken me half a year to make less than 5 years ago. There was a time, not long ago that this was how I measured success. But not today. In fact I felt nothing about it. I am aware that it does measure success on a professional level and I am grateful for that but in that car all I could think was “Thank you God for this woman child.”

I took time to heal. I took time to work on me and I still do it. When I need a minute I take a minute. I listen to my body, my emotions and my needs. Because I do that I teach her to do that as well. When she was little she would make a remark and follow it up with “Ain’t that right mama”. Now she is 21 years old and she still listens and takes suggestions.

My second thought was how much I’d missed my house, my husband, my son and my dogs and how exciting it was to be going home to my life.

When payday comes I’ll be happy for my big deal. And it won’t take long that I be moving around looking for another. For now, just for today I’m just happy that it doesn’t mean everything to me anymore. It pays the bills. The rest is Gods business.

Now here is a picture of my dog.

Because the Era’s Tour deserves its own post

Last night, I took my woman child to see her 3rd Taylor Swift concert. To say the concert was incredible is an understatement, but the memories! The last one we went to she was about 11. The one before that she was about 8.

When she went at 8 years old, it was probably Taylor’s first tour. Back then, she would come out into the crowd and hold people’s hand and sing her songs, which she did with my daughter. My child came home with a memory.

The second concert, a few years later. My daughter talked all the way to Texas. That’s not unusual. She kept telling me she was going to get Taylor’s autograph. I tried to explain to her that the concert was huge and the chances were slim but she was adamant so off we went. We went to the merch line to buy a CD, and the lady says “here she can get the last signed copy that I have left.”

I learned then to just roll with it when it came to her. Last night was very different. Standing there with what was once a little girl, now a grown woman. I watched her more than the concert. She smiled, danced, sang, and recorded her best friend who had started crying. All I could do was just be present, be grateful, and just be. Were the tickets and the trip expensive? Yes. Was it an entire weekend geared around a concert? Yes.

The point is to take the trip. Spend the money, take the trip, and make the memories. I’m always looking at ways to save more money when I should be looking at ways to take more trips. Because the memories are priceless.

I hope one day we get to see Taylor again because at this point, it is something we have done our whole lives. I have to keep in mind that my daughter is getting ready to start living her own life in a few years, and time is all we have left.


“Girl you have to do things on purpose. Willingness doesn’t come by sitting on your ass” -wise words from a wise ass

My first understanding of the term willingness looked something like being beat into submission. It felt terrible to have to become willing. First of all that was because I thought willingness was a feeling and I waited and waited for that feeling to get here and it never would. It felt like a chore, like a big pile of laundry that I really did to want to do.

I wanted change in my life. I had wanted to change all my life. But willingness, in my experience came in small burst and was extremely fleeting, kind of like happiness.

Someone told me that if I didn’t start doing things on purpose, living with intent , then I would never see the change I craved. I’ll never forget the epiphany that followed that conversation. Up until that point I had sat back in my life and waited for things to happen, things that would never happen. So I sat and sat and sat and waited and waited and lost faith that anything good would ever happen because God didn’t give a shit about me. Looking back it seems like I had no motivation, no drive and no discipline. I wasn’t raised that way. It was a lifestyle I had cultivated all by myself.

Sometimes, in this life, you have to find a way to be your own damn hero. Nobody is coming to save you. Nobody can force change. I understood. I had done many things in life with intent. God knows if I wanted to get drunk I would set out on a mission to it when I was as young as 13 years old. If I wanted to see my friends in the middle of the night I would sneak out with my stealthy ninja skills and go do just that. I would beg, barter, steal, and hustle to get what I wanted and when that would no longer work I would lie and manipulate.

Yet here I was on the right side of life waiting for miracles to fall from the sky and plant me in pretty pastures.

Then I understood what it meant to be the change I want to see”.

I wanted to have a closer relationship with God so I needed to act like it. I started talking to God more, looking for God more in my life. I began to see God.

I wanted to be healthier. I started eating better, working out and acting like I cared for my body. I looked at it as if I was making amends to myself. After all the hell I’d put my body through, she deserved it.

I wanted to restore my smile, my teeth. I started saving and budgeting and doing what it took. Today I have braces on teeth where I used to not have teeth.

I wanted to be disciplined in how I live, how I journal, how I keep up with my thoughts. I’m blogging, right here, right now.

I wanted better relationships with women, I started listening more than I talked and learned to be a better friend.

I wanted better finances. I downloaded credit karma and got to work.

This was all intentional. The list goes on.

I wanted to be a better parent so I stopped trying to be my kids friend.

I wanted to be a better human so i started being kind and compassionate even when I wanted to be intolerant.

I changed my actions and at some point, my actions changed me.

Willingness showed up out of the blue like the sun on a rainy day. These things became who I am. I don’t really have to seek willingness on a large scale anymore, it’s just there. I desire more of course I do. Because I like the results. I like how it feels to be willing to change and grow. I like what my life looks like when I focus on that. I like being disciplined and I like having joy.

They told me “God does for you what you can’t do for yourself. Don’t expect God to do for you what you can do for yourself”. They were right.

Submission and Surrender

We came to believe a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

I had a real problem with God. I had such a problem with God that actually rebelled against God, at time navigating towards the darkest places I could find. That was reflected in my lifestyle, my decision making skills, my relationships, my image and in every other corner of my world.

I don’t even know if I was sane enough to understand at the time that underneath it all, sobriety, in my case and in the only journey I could find, was directly related to God. Had any other option been available to me at the time I would have taken it because I truly believed that the God I know had abandoned me as a little girl and left me in the world to handle myself. To boot, if I didn’t do what he wanted then I would go to hell when it was all over with but because I didn’t have a relationship with him then I couldn’t do what the wanted. I knew what church ladies looked like and I damn sure didn’t want to be a nun. It’s kind of funny because someone wiser than me had to literally sit me down and tell me the truth. “Kristi I really don’t think God wants you to be a nun”.

I’m told think of God in the way that you would want God to be. I was shocked. That was too simple and my mind was too complicated. All I had ever know was a church God, the one who didn’t like me. I have never thought of God as anything else. But even the church would say God is everything. I couldn’t surrender to the church God. Believe me I tried. Got baptized a few times, went down to the alter for prayer, filled out the prayer request cards, never heard a word back from God or the prayer request cards.

I have a cousin named Cinda who seemed to check off all the boxes for church lady. I loved her but I did not want to be anything like her. I did compare myself to her and found that I fell short with each checkmark. I couldn’t be like her if I’d tried. I couldn’t surrender to her God. I couldn’t surrender to the God that allowed me to be beaten as a little girl. I couldn’t surrender to the got who still let me rapist walk free and live a life when I was consistently in environments where I felt unsafe, unsteady and unworthy.

So surrender to a different God (jokes on me, same God). Surrender to your own understanding of God. Not the God you put in a box that you spent your whole life avoiding. What would you want God to be?

Lets See:

To start I just wanted God to love me. I just wanted to believe in something. I just wanted to be sober.

6 months later I’m watching the sunrise and really feeling like God painted that masterpiece for me while I slept…..and I was still sober.

9 years later as I type this I’ve seen God take my life and spin every part of it to match stories that I didn’t believe could be true. Still today I wax and wan with God. I take my will back occasionally. I feel the burn of the consequences when I do. So I grow some more.

I’ve come to learn that it was never my destiny to find God in church (although I attend regularly now and I quite enjoy it). My destiny was to find God, using my experience to help other women. My journey was to find out how much God adores me by helping other escape misery and heal from the trauma that got them there. And the grace of God has been poured out on me like I’m standing in rain. These women need me, and I need them.

“This painful past may be of infinite value to other families still struggling with their problem. We think each family which has been relieved owes something to those who have not, and when the occasion requires, each member of it should be only too willing to bring former mistakes, no matter how grievous, out of their hiding places. Showing others who suffer how we were given help is the very thing which makes life seem so worth while to us now. Cling to the thought that, in God’s hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have – the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them.” – Alcoholics Annonymous

My life is a story and my story is my prayer. This is how I connect with God. I write about it.

As I sit here typing at 7 in the morning I get a text from one of the women in my life. She tells me she is thinking of me and wants to let me know how great I am. She says go spread your magic everywhere today. Do you know how many messages I got like this in my past life? I’ll let you guess.

My property, your property

Not my monkeys, not my circus

It used to be that as long as everyone around me was happy then I could be happy. If anyone had a problem I immediately assumed responsibility for fixing that problem. To boot I put my own problems on the back burner.

When I got sober I found out that not only did I have a serious case of hyper-dependence, but I also had a serious case of codependence. I was amazed at how two things that seems so different could be so closely related. When it came down to it I didn’t need anything for myself but I needed everything for everyone.

I would skin myself daily trying to protect or take care of others who usually weren’t taking care of themselves or their responsibilities. I thought that meant caring. I know now that when I’m trying to do everything for everyone I’m really just taking away their dignity to make decisions for themselves. What I think is that I’m helping but what I’m showing them is that I don’t think they are capable of doing it for themselves. That’s actually what they begin to think.

I tried it out on my son to start. I always did his laundry for him. I would get all of the laundry finished and then he would bring his down and put me back where I started. I would get so pissed when he did that too. Me, sitting around complaining, mad at the world because this kid just dumped all of his laundry in my clean laundry room. So I sat him down. “From now on Z you are responsible for your own laundry” I said. He looked me right in the face and said “Mama I can’t. I don’t know how”. It was not his fault. He had spent the last 15 years depending on me to do it for him. Well it’s not rocket science so I showed him once and we were off. I don’t do his laundry anymore.

On a larger scale I believed, when I got sober, that I needed to make my kids happy after all that I had put them through. It never occurred to me to teach them how to cultivate their own happiness or that they were responsible for their own feelings and actions. I took that burden on as my own because I felt guilty. My girl was always healthy, somehow. My boy was a spoiled ass brat because I was suffering from mom guilt and my wounds were bleeding all over him, trying to make him happy. When I realized what I was doing, all in the name of trying to be a better mom, I changed it. I’ve harmed my kids enough. What they need is accountability and true wisdom, just like me.

So how do I do this was my questions. I establish what is my property and what is not. Carrying anyone through a hard time is not my property. Being kind and honest is my property. Forcing change on someone is not for me. Forcing someone to see a truth that they are not yet ready to see for themselves is cruel. Lying to someone is obviously not for me but neither is tiptoeing around my truth because I’m afraid of how they will respond.

I found out real quick that I had many times in my life hidden my truth and lost my voice. I was quick to be kind but honest was harder for me because I was fearful. I did not know how to communicate with anyone because I wanted everyone to be happy with me. What a prison.

If someone was having a bad day then I took it personally. My marriage is incredible but if my husband has a bad day I do not try to pick up and carry his burden. That’s not my property. However, if he wants to vent I allow him to do so and if he wants my suggestion I give it to him. I do not give him my opinion if he doesn’t ask for it. That is not my property. In fact I confirm that he wants my opinion before I give it. This alone make my marriage free of many troubles that my first marriage was plagued with.

I have family members who chose not to live a sober life. I wanted to smack them over the head with a big book every time I saw them. It was constantly me trying to change them. It wasn’t fair to them. They were ok with their lives. It was me that had the problem. So one day I stopped. On day I just decided to love them where they are. Why did I feel as though I needed to try to make them feel shitty every time I saw them. Why did I feel the need to show them how great my life was all the time. It was hurtful to them. Again I was causing harm all in the name of help and caring. In that time things changed. Today I have healthy relationships with people who aren’t living the lives I wish they would live. We can take trips together and we can spend time together. I found out that we can actually be close as we are. Nobody has to change anything. I have my own boundaries and so do they. Coincidentally they consider the idea of sobriety now that they don’t have me pissing them off and rebelling.

God can do what I can not. When I’m trying to force solutions out of fear I am not trusting that. And if I am not trusting that then my life, my thoughts and my emotions are in total chaos.

There are others who do need and want the help I have to offer. And they are plentiful. Life is so much easier when I trust those around me to do what they need to do and I do the same. I have freedom in this. I hope this helps you have freedom too.

I don’t need anyone or anything

I grew up on a beautiful farm surrounded by a beautiful family. I was the only little girl, besides my grandmother on the farm. My parents split up before I can remember and my first friend was my brother, who was 11 months younger than me. I spent most of my early childhood swimming in ponds with cows or roaming the 500 acre farm. We milked dairy cows, grew corn and soybeans and mostly lived off the land.

I can remember the first time I ever got to taste a twinky. Our farms hands grandkids gave it to me. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I also remember that my mom would record MTV videos for me and I would take them home and watch Axle Rose and daydream. I was a dreamer then, that would change.

My mom had moved about an hour away from us so I saw her every other weekend. I cried every time she brought me home. I would beg to call her every week and if the line was busy then I would dial zero for the operator to interrupt the call and tell her I had an emergency so she would get off the phone and take my call.

My dads side of the family were devout Methodist, my moms side were just good old country folks with their own sets of problems. My dads side didn’t really openly discuss our problems, moms side raised hell about most anything. Somebody whooped somebody else’s kid or somebody needed help and it was time to step up and help. Either way the reaction was the same.

Depression ran rampant on one side and chaos on the other. My uncle would always talk to me about God and I think that when I was little I wanted to be faithful to God but I just didn’t know how.

My dad inherited the depression. I don’t know that he was loved and nurtured the way he should have been as a child and I don’t know that he had a voice in any decisions about his life. I think he is better at times and at times I believe he still struggles. My mom’s mother had a stroke when she was young so my mom and her sisters never asked anyone for anything. They had to do what they had to do to take care of themselves and their mom while their father, who was tough as nails, worked hard to provide.

I was never a stellar student. I made C’s and that was fine with me. I still not a stellar student and I’m still fine with that.

When I was 6 years old my dad married his second wife. His wish was to have a family. He never wanted to raise children alone and he was dependent on his parents help. He was not able to make any decisions for us either. The only problem was that he chose a woman who beat her child and ultimately beat me and my brother too.

I lived in constant fear of the next beating. I was told if I got an F on my signed papers that I would get 5 licks with the belt once. I brought hone all F’s, 9 total. I’ll never forget that day. I was beaten in the bathroom with my dads belt for what felt like hours. When it was over I stayed there in a ball as long as I could.

Another time I was forced to stand with my nose in the corner with my hands lifted in the air. If I got tired and dropped them I would have to take a lick so I stood there, terrified.

Anything that happened in my house scared me. I don’t think my dad ever really realized that the abuse was taking place as he was out working on the farm most of the time. My lips were sealed too. My mom found signs of the abuse on my brother once and all hell broke lose. My grandmother marched her ass across the street and went ham on everyone. Then the scariest thing happened of all. My step mom convinced my dad to pack us up and move us to town where there was no protection across the street.

I don’t remember living in that house in town. I don’t remember anything about it at all. It’s probably Gods way of protecting me. I do remember the last day that we were there. I had made my bed and there was a piece of sheet hanging out of the comforter. She was getting dressed for church and I was begging to go with her. I think I had some form of Stockholm’s syndrome because even though she abused me I still loved her. When she saw the sheet hanging out she walked up to me and backhanded me on my face. I was a little girl, very small, but in that moment I can remember never feeling smaller. That day my dad packed up while she was at church and we got the hell out of there, returning to the farm.

I cried for a few days. She was a crafty person who loved country blue and geese. To this day I hate country blue and geese. She did teach me to make wreaths from vines, I still do that. So that’s something. I can remember it was not talked about on dad’s side. We were just back. However on my mom’s side it was openly talked about even more than it should have been perhaps. Some things kids should hear, some they shouldn’t. I clearly remember one thing I did hear someone say. “She is Pentecostal. That’s what they do”. So that was it. God.

When I came out of the grief I became that girl. The one who didn’t need anything or anyone. I would eventually leave the farm that I never could appreciate. I would eventually move in with my mother except by then I would have more reason to be filled with anger and rage. For the remainder of my time on the farm though, I was never the same.

The hyper dependence was a survival skill for most of my life and mostly it worked in my favor, until it didn’t. For the fact that I needed nobody, even the men I had kids with (yes, men, plural) or the man I eventually married, never did anything for me. I attracted that with my hyper dependence. In fact it usually meant me taking care of them. I became a stock broker and a commodity broker at the age of 23, bought a home and a car and had excellent credit. But my hyper dependence had morphed into codependence. The only way I was happy was if everyone around me was happy. I thrived on others feeling safe and loved, never paying attention to my own needs. I simply did not give my own needs an ounce of thought.

Fast forward 10 years I’m junked out in a bedroom in total isolation where not one persons needs could be met including my kids.

My mom and her sisters were helicopter moms who would burn up the planet if someone hurt their kids, yet I couldn’t even make sure mine were fed.

The shame I felt was like a giant ball that lived inside of me, threatening to burst at any moment. I had not cried in years but I felt as though I was full of tears.

Finally one day something broke in my heart. I had been wanting to die for quite a while but on this particular day I thought about doing it myself. I surrendered that day. Total rock bottom. Went to treatment, joined AA and started a journey. For a few years I kept my distance from making real connections with the the women, although I had no problem making superficial connections with the men. I didn’t know how to trust women. I didn’t know how to have healthy relationships on any level. I kept bumping heads with the women who were giving me suggestions because it didn’t line up with my desires and I felt as though they were condemning me. I know better now. Now I am one of those women.

The 12 and 12 book says that we tend to hold onto people who are toxic for us because we still enjoy that. It was the truth. I was no better at forming new positive relationships then as I was when I first got sober. It wasn’t long before I hit my first wall in recovery. I knew the women were right. That if I truly wanted change the I had to be willing to change.

So I made a commitment to stop dating people, since that was were I found value, and surround myself with the women. They forced me to look at me and how I viewed myself. This is what I saw.

I had no college education therefore I would never be able to have a solid career. Today I extremely successful in my career.

I had a history that included drug addiction and alcoholism so no normal man would ever want me. I’m married to a non alcoholic man who is a medical director at multiple treatment centers for addiction

I had been rapped in my youth so I was damaged. So many woman heave been helped hearing my story. It is my testimony to the the women who are struggling.

I had two children with two different dads, neither of which were in their lives so I had baggage. My husband is an incredible step father.

If my sins were patchwork I will have a quilt so big to cover the entire planet. I’m forgiven. Period.

This was a big one. Because of my past, I needed to make sure that my kids were happy every moment of every day. In reality I was harming them with spoiling them.

Then one day I woke up and my shame was gone. For the first time in my life I wanted what I had. I had always wanted something else somewhere else. I remember the moment it happened. I found God a second time that day. I realized that day that I took simple truths about myself and twisted them into lies about myself. I beat myself to death with it. When I stopped doing that I not only started wanting better for myself but I started demanding better for myself. I had worked so hard for my peace that it became imperative that anything that threatened it had to go, so much that I almost turned down a date with my now husband.

And it hit me. I owe that to the women that I kept at a distance for so long. I realized that without their guidance I would have never stepped out and learned these things about myself. Without them I would have never been able to change.

I realized how much I need those women. I need their experience. I need there hope. Most of all I need their strength and the accountability that comes from them. I need their friendships. And……they need me too.

I’ve come to find that every woman I meet has some story I can learn from. I’ve taken this concept into my career as well and it’s proving to be as fruitful.

I couldn’t trust women because I couldn’t trust myself. When I became better so did the relationships around me.

Today I can’t do it all by myself. I don’t want to do it all by myself. Woman are such a strong force when together. I think that’s why the enemy works so hard to keep us apart.

If I died tomorrow….it’s too early to be so deep

At 7:50, on Monday morning in Louisiana. Sometimes gratitude comes hard and I have to force myself to sit down and write my reasons to be grateful. I have a beautiful life but I’m also a true blue alcoholic crack pot who takes things for granted when in reality I should clean the feet of Jesus every morning.

Today isn’t one of those days and I think that deserves to be captured as well.

I haven’t always had a nice life. In fact at one time it was just the opposite. I lived in a home, one that I had bought myself at the age of 23, that was in foreclosure. Between myself and my husband at the time we couldn’t bring ourselves to keep up with a $500 house payment. Every bridge I’d ever built or crossed was burned. My car was totaled and I couldn’t hold down a job. Spiritually I was totally bankrupt. I wanted to believe that God loved me but there wasn’t a damn bit of evidence as far as I was concerned. My children were hurting. They did everything they could to survive as well. My daughter was 13 years old, trying to find a way to cope she would lock herself in her room or stay gone with friends from the neighborhood. My son was 8 and he was living in total anarchy. If I’m being honest I was afraid of him and what I had let happen to him. My girl had a good head on her shoulders, always. My son was wild and untamed. I weighed 97 pounds and I had a feaux hawk. Not that there is anything wrong with that but when I’m cracked out its not a good look. It adds to the crackiness. I had no self esteem, no self worth. I only felt pain which made me stay high. I could not draw one sober breath.

I had started seeing a doctor who had a specialty in the field of addiction. He tried to treat me for a few years and then told me I needed rehab. I didn’t see him again until years later when I was sober. I married him last June.

The big book says “How dark it is before the dawn.” That could not be more true. How I ended up in that there will be saved for another post because it’s too damn early to go down that wormhole.

There is a story in the book (Alcoholics Anonymous) called “Freedom from Bondage”. The last paragraph says this.

This morning I woke up and while folding the perpetual pile of laundry I realized how true this was. I live in the most beautiful house I’ve ever seen with the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen. Our marriage, although new, is the most stable relationship I’ve ever known. My daughter is now a college student. With honors she will graduate in the top of her class in May, one year early, and go back for her graduates degree. She wants to specialize in addiction. My son is still wild and untamed is some of the best ways. He is responsible and we are close. He is in the 10th grade and he respects me and my journey. He sees me putting my words into action and he is learning that nothing else is acceptable. I in recovery I started out doing yard work and painting, very humble beginnings for an egotistical person like myself. I took the first real job I could get. Because of all my hard work in the cold and heat I was willing to work my ass off. I learned as much as I could. I rose to the top. Another company recruited me based off my performance and last year I was #1 in the company. Life is crazy. AA taught me how to live and God made the way. I am a woman who respects herself and those around me. When I realized my value in this world I began less likely to have anyone in my life that would take my peace. My life got good and so did everything around me. Without that part non of this would exist. The woman (who I use to loath) became so important in my active recovery. Those relationships hold me accountable in every way. We clap for each other and support each other. All women in this world have a message to offer. Either I want what they have or I want nothing that they have. Either way there is a message.

Bottom line. If I died tomorrow , if God decided tomorrow that my ass was finished here, I would go having lived a life I never even knew was possible for someone like me. Every dream I could have ever had has come true so far. Short of watching my children grow up, get married and have kids of there own (that time will come and I’m here for it) I have experienced success, love, wholeness, culture, life on life’s terms and so much more.

If you need help please get it. I will be happy to take time to speak with you directly. There is so much to experience in this life.

There was a time I wished for death to find me. There was a time I wished to fall asleep and never wake up. So I thank God that some of my request were denied. I would have missed all this.

How being a junkie got me to Cabo

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This photo is my and my new husband in Los Cabos last week. How I ended up in Los Cabos is as much a mystery to me as the language that the Navajo speak. To get here, not just Cabo but in life is something I would have dared to even allow myself to dream before yet here I am typing this out and posting a photo, which indicates that it did happen, even though it feels like a dream.

I guess I need to work backwards. In 2014 I was a junkie. A real junkie. A woman who did not care about herself, her finances or her children. Hell even the dog got arrested. Short version, my life was a mess and so was I.

This trip was paid for by my company. Because I was not only over my yearly quota but I was the #1 rep in my segment. That beautiful man standing next to me was once the doctor who was trying to help my overcome my disgustingly devastating drug habit. The children (who are not pictured because I left their asses at home) are thriving and don’t doubt their moms ability for one moment.

Recovery from drug addiction has swept through my life just like the drugs did. There is no doubt that without my addiction, I would not have the life that I have today. My goal is to share that story with anyone willing to read my blog. I was hopeless. I was lost. Everyone around me was hurting. I could not draw one sober breath.

Going forward I will share myself so that someone, anyone, can gain hope. For now, however, I will share some things here about Cabo that I never want to forget as long as I live.

The local residents in Cabo San Lucas are some of the kindest, accommodating people that I have ever met. While it seems that Americans are spoiled, they are the opposite. It appears that the more refined they are and the more English they know, the more the chances are that they will have success. Upon further review I believe that (knowing no Spanish at all) I would fall in the category of the ultra poor. They walk around the beach all day in the heat trying to sell things like jewelry, shirts or bags. They are basically desperate for you to buy something. Their lives truly do depend on visitors buying there items while laying out and playing on the beach. With my drug history, my lack of college education, my inability to speak any other language than my own and my inability to act like a lady most times that would be my destiny. I can relate to them. I too have been desperate. I know all to well how desperation tastes in my mouth.

At the tip of the Baja Peninsula is where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific ocean. You can swim in the sea. You can not swim in the ocean. But you can get sprayed to hell in back by the oceans waters crashing into the rocks (which will get its own paragraph. There are rock formations going out to where the sea meets the ocean. The tour guides will point out certain things about the formations. One is called the Scooby Doo rock. You guessed it. The damn thing looks like Scooby Doo. One formation catches a break in and there is a sand dune in the middle forming beaches on both sides. One side is called Lovers Beach (Sea of Cortez) and Divorce Beach (Pacific side). Obviously the water is calm on Lovers Beach and rocky on Divorce Beach.

Then at the end is the arch, which is famous. This is the place where the sea meets the ocean. This is where the whales can be spotted during whale season, which is currently taking place. Whales all over the damn place, flipping, jumping, feeding and swimming with their babies. Incredible. They love to take pictures of visitors and make them kiss.

Mexican Crossfit

Sail on a catamaran

I got to see the waves crashing into rocks. I had no idea that I needed to see the strong rocks standing in the waves. They don’t budge. They don’t yield to the ocean. They are however shaped by the waves. I felt that.

I toured the cities, went to the spa, sang karaoke with my work friends, enjoyed bonds with my work family and when it was over Michael and I went straight to the Waldorf for a honeymoon where we got to eat at the most romantic restaurant in the world.

As I type this I still can’t believe I have ended up here. This is my life and I’m so full of gratitude that if I don’t type it our I may burst. I have to seek growth and growth comes. I have to do shit on purpose and I gain purpose. Active recovery has shaped my life in such a way that one day at a time small goals become big dreams. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Without having been who I was I would not be where I am. I would not be who I am. My message to you is clear. We are capable of big things. This post was about my Cabo trip but in reality my life is a trip. One that I intend to share with you. Don’t be fooled by the Cabo pics. Life isn’t easy. I struggle, I grow, I unlearn, I learn. I still get afraid at times and anxious at other times. I try to control shit that my hands should not even be touching. I will use this tool as an outlet so that I may reach others who go through what I go through.

Being a woman is hard. Being a mom is hard. Having a career is hard. Being his wife is pretty easy but it may get hard! Here is the deal though. None of it is as hard as being a junkie was. I do this shit with intent. Intentions for a better life for myself, my husband, my kids and all you women out there in the world who need support and encouragement.