Tuesday, February 27, 2007

My recovery is my own responsibility

A few weeks ago I was contacted by a friend who I spent a lot of time with before I got sober. I lost touch with this friend when the drugs took control and I began my slalom ride downhill. She inquired about my life and I told her bluntly why we lost contact, how I got sober, and how wonderful my life is today. While summarizing the lost years and my recovery, I mentioned that my boyfriend at the time we knew each other was worthless. She replied with a friendly email about her life and expressed how glad she was that I was healthy again. She indicated it was my ex-boyfriend's fault I was strung out on drugs and I was lucky to be rid of him. I wanted to disagree, but I felt she would misinterpret my words as a tender heart rather than a woman owning her part in something. My ex used drugs. That was one of the things that attracted me to him. I begged him to let me try heroin and I watched him cry when I put needles in my arms. He was not an upstanding citizen or a healthy person at all, but he was also not responsible for my drug use. My abuse of drugs and alcohol was my responsibility, just as my recovery is my resposibility. I left him behind because he would have jeopardized my sobriety, but I am not sober merely because I left him behind. If I had not found recovery, I would have found another worthless man that fit my drugs and alcohol lifestyle.
My old friend lives many states away from me now. It was great to hear from her, but I am glad she is a distance away. My recovering friends won't let me pin the blame on an ex-boyfriend, an abusive parent, or a cheating spouse. It is my responsibility to live in recovery and I want my friends to hold me accountable.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Crash and almost burned

I had an uneventful weekend with a really ugly ending. I did some housecleaning and saw some old friends in recovery. I took Manther out to play a few times and was feeling very relaxed by Sunday night. My husband agreed to take Manther to an open talk with him so I could have some time alone. I was going to use this time to unplug and replug my CD and DVD drive on my home computer. I was hoping the drivers would reload properly following the replug and I would be able to reformat (I haven't been able to load software with my CD drive). I got interrupted part way through as my husband and Manther returned early and, when I returned to the task a few hours later, I tried to plug in the CD drive with the computer running. Sparks flew everywhere and our little shack of a house nearly went up in flames. After I was certain that the flames and sparks had subsided, I crawled into the bedroom. I nudged my husband part way awake and told him the computer was definitely cooked. He was uninterested and went back to sleep. When I told him what the price of a new computer was today, he got a lot more interested. To his credit, he is far more patient and even tempered than I am and he was very forgiving. I hope I am able to forgive myself as we tighten the belt one more notch.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Inappropriate gifts for 95 year old women

I am feeling much more healthy today and the sun is out and I am grateful again. I decided to take a vacation from blogging about recovery and talk about my grandma. I gave my Grandma a birthday gift this year and I feel like an idiot for not seeing why it just doesn't fit her life. She has very limited funds, so I bought her a gift card to Kroger. She couldn't figure out what it was when she opened it. She was grateful (of course, she's a classy woman), but very confused. She kept asking if it was a coupon. I explained it was like money. I told her to use it when she paid for her groceries. She nodded. The next few times I saw her, she asked me about the card again. We reviewed it again. Finally, she mailed the card back to me. She said that my small family needed it more than she did. I am pretty sure this is code for, "What IS this thing?" What's wrong with me? This woman has probably only owned one credit card in her life and never used it. Why in the world would I give her a gift card instead of plain old cash? I was just not thinking. I am going to write her a letter today and include some regular old money. I will probably also include an apology for assuming everyone lives in the same generation that I do.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

A little better

Thanks everyone for tolerating my ranting this week. I am feeling a little better today after going to a meeting last night. I am still frustrated, but I did get some peace from one of the ladies at the meeting. She asked, "If you have to choose between your husband's sobriety and increasing the family's income, which would you choose?" He has told me he is not ready to make a change and, although that is selfish, it is perfectly acceptable for someone to be selfish when it comes to their sobriety. I am still feeling a little neglected by my higher power. I am reminding myself that the bills are paid and that translates into my higher power taking care of me. The house repairs and car replacements will come eventually. I hope Manther can put herself through college. Meanwhile, I am working on letting go and letting God.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ash Wednesday

Today is Ash Wednesday and I am not going to church. I feel guilty about this, but I have to choose between church and a meeting and I really need a meeting. I have been focusing on a meeting for 3 days and I have been psycho, cranky, and had occasional using thoughts for 3 days and I desperately need to get right.

My head is a terrible place and I am alone with it right now. I work with a small group and everyone is out of the office for the day. Typically, I enjoy this situation. Today it scares me. This is the worst my head has been in the last 6-12 months and I am struggling to pull out of it.

I am praying, praying, praying and calling people. I am so self-centered right now that I can barely make conversation. I tell them I am in a bad space, they kindly encourage and suggest a reading, then the phone call ends. I do the reading and don't care much about what it says. I walk away and do it again later. Same result.

I have been here before and I know it will improve. I will keep taking the suggestions and keep telling on myself and do my best to stay focused on the task at hand and out of my wretched head.

I still hate my husband and I think he is a selfish bastard. However, I chose the selfish bastard, so whose fault is this really? I am mad at God because I feel like he is punishing us by keeping us in poverty. I feel like I have no faith right now and I cannot see God's kindness or benevolence and I am struggling to align my will with his.

I know. Third step prayer. Bondage of self..Do they will... blah, blah, blah.

Did I mention how screwed up my thought processes are right now?

I am going to do some work and pick up my kid and go to a meeting.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


I am so irritable I can barely stand to be around me. I logged onto my blog and I was irritated by the stupid dots layout, It reminds me of cheerleaders and dotting your 'i' with a heart and ponytails. Why the hell did I pick that? That's not me at all. I was going to change it, but it was too much work and the only thing I will be happy with is making my own and that's WAY too much work. So, I will bitch like crazy in my post and that will probably make me feel better than changing my template.

I love my husband, but I may have to kill him. He has a crappy job that he bitches about constantly. I have listened to and commiserated with him on what a rotten, drunken, self serving, low life bastard his boss is. It is not lip service. I truly feel this way about his boss. WELL, I guess the point that I missed is that my husband actually ENJOYS this abusive relationship in some perverse way. He had an interview a few months ago for a better job. He was apprehensive, but he went and told me he was glad he went. He didn't get a call back, but that's okay. What matters is that you are open to change and living in the solution. I guess the guy that was hired didn't work out because the job is posted again. I told husband and suggested he call and inquire about the opening and his chances. He told me he 'likes his job and isn't going to quit.'

What the hell???!!!!! He has worked 45 days straight between his crappy job and his side jobs to make $10,000/year less than the new job would offer. Last week he worked 7 days for this ass who vacationed in Arizona. He showed the ass the weekend sales (which he gets no commission for) when he returned on Monday and the ass brushed him off and said, 'Can I eat my breakfast, PLEASE?'


I don't want to control my husband. I don't want to 'fix' everyone's lives. I just want to live in a house where the kitchen ceiling doesn't have a gaping hole and I want to drive a car that has less than 150K on it.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Less than grateful

I have not posted in a few days and I am super cranky this morning. There is no real reason for it. I had what should have been a pleasant, uneventful weekend. Manther was healthy and I got the house cleaned and some other crap done. The only disappointment I experienced was that I couldn't get the CD drive to work well enough to reformat my home computer this weekend and I can't say that this was surprising. It is a hand-me-down piece of crap. I feel the pressure of not having enough money, but this has become an unchanging constant for us and most other young families I know. My husband has been doing everything possible to make extra money and his efforts have kept the bills paid. That's more than many others have in Michigan right now.
While I was traveling the course of planes, trains, and automobiles that is required for me to get to work, I tried some tricks to pull myself out of my terrible, mean, irritable state of mind. I started to make a list of gratitudes and it turned sarcastic very quickly (like, grateful God has given us enough to survive but not enough to live like decent human beings). I started to pray for help and then I got afraid. I was afraid God would show me how to be grateful for what I have by delivering some hideousness on someone in my life. Then, I imagined snorting heroin. I was sitting on the shuttle from the parking lot and my addict traveled to the place in my memory where I could re-experience the burn, bitterness, and euphoria. I got really scared and I shut my eyes and forced myself to 'play the tape through'. I sitting on the damp, cement curb in Detroit at 7:30 in the morning waiting for the dopehouse to start business. I was sick, homeless, and hopeless. I was staring at the gas station across the street and watching the normals gas up and go to work. I desperately wanted to be normal again and I promised myself, if I was ever able to get out of the craziness and get healthy, I would never take my employment or daily life for granted again. Then, I put myself in the present day and I saw Manther. As far as she knows, mommy will always be there and always be able to supply the food and attention she needs. I don't ever want her to know any reality aside from this. I pulled it together and I got my head screwed on straight enough to get into the office and start my day. God has given and continues to give me many gifts in this program and I have to continue to stay focused on this.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Another first for Manther

This post should not be read by those who are seriously grossed out by body fluids (I know this does not apply to most parents who had to overcome being grossed out early on in their child's life). Manther is trying to recover from a hearty cold virus she picked up at daycare. Today we were driving into daycare/work and she was doing some productive coughing. She hocked up a big lugee and started to cry. Naturally, she was uncomfortable with the slimy thing in her mouth and wanted it out. It was difficult to do while driving, but I dug out a baby wipe and held it over the seat and in front of her in the carseat. She couldn't figure out what to do and she was looking confused and fishing around in her mouth with both of her hands. After a few minutes, the crying subsided and, although the lugee had not been removed, I resumed driving with both hands. It was unusually quiet for the next 10 minutes so I adjusted the rear view mirror and checked out what was going on behind me. Manther was exploring the lugee by moving it around her mouth with her tongue and chewing on it every once in a while. I am her mother and thought I could not be grossed out after all the body fluids I have seen here expel, but this turned my stomach a bit. We arrived at daycare and I crawled into the back seat to try and remove the nastiness from Manther's mouth, but I guess I was too late because I couldn't find it. I hope the next time this happens we are at home so we can practice the proper technique for spitting those things out.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! I've heard a few people say they don't like this holiday. I can understand that. For years I felt left out on Valentine's Day because I didn't have a significant other in my life. Today I feel a part of, but not because of my husband. I feel a part of because of my life in recovery. I celebrate Valentine's with everyone and I hand out big pink and red cards and eat/share a lot of candy. I made Valentines for Manther's friends and caregivers at daycare (they have Elmo on them, of course). I got to deliver them into homemade paper plate mailboxes hung on the wall and I really enjoyed it. Then, I shared a cup of coffee with a couple of daycare moms and wished them Happy Valentine's, too. Happy Valentine's Day to anyone who reads this and don't miss out on the chance to celebrate a holiday.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


I had a meltdown yesterday and I can't say it was surprising. We (my little family) have been battling winter weather and daycare viruses and crazy schedules and I got really tired. I was hoping my husband might make it home in time to take Manther to story hour at the library. I was exhausted and I wanted to stay home and she has cabin fever and needs to get out. He called me at 6:15 and told me he had another 1 1/2 hours of work. I lost my temper and, after the fact, I felt terrible. He has been working so hard for a boss that is impossible to please in an economy where he has no choice to leave and take another job. Not only is he working himself too hard at this job, he is taking weekend jobs because the pay is crap. I apologized several times, but he woke up sick this morning and I felt terrible all over again. I told him I would do my best to allow him to come home and go straight to bed for the 5-7 days it will take for this virus to pass. I felt like a selfish ass, but I am only attending one meeting a week so I can expect some craziness. I think there's only 7 more weeks of winter left and I am anxiously awaiting spring.

Monday, February 12, 2007


I have just had one of the stupidest mornings ever. Typically, my sister-in-law babysits Manther on Mon and Tues. She commutes from Chicago to Detroit to babysit, a very generous but also insane act on her part. She loves Manther dearly and claims she wants to do this. She has been sick the last two weeks and could not handle the commute, so I have asked my parents to fill in. My mother said 'yes', however, my raging alcoholic father decided not to come. If we were a normal family, a decision like this would be acceptable. However, my mother is totally unnerved wondering if he will kill himself or get arrested while she is babysitting. I assured her she could stay home if that were easier. She insisted she would come. I left for work this morning with a light dusting of snow on the ground. As I drove in, it became a lot heavier. I called my parents house to see if my mother had left yet and she had not. My mother has a serious problem arriving places on time and I knew the snow wouldn't help. I looked at the clock and realized she could definitely not get to my house in enough time for my husband to get to work. So, I told her the roads were bad and she should stay home. She refused. I left work and returned home. My husband jumped in the car to race to work and my mom pulled in the driveway 15 minutes later. I then returned to work (why I don't know, it's lunchtime by now) to try and squeeze something productive out of this day. This is all very stupid, but it gets stupider. The snow is still falling and I initially requested a babysitter for Mon and Tues. My mom could just spend the night at my house and avoid the snowy roads drama, however, she has parceled out enough alcohol to keep my Dad drunk for one day. If she does not return home, he will venture out (on foot because we can't leave him with a car)and buy vast amounts of alcohol. He will, of course, drink everything he buys and probably end up in a snowbank or jail. I love them, but it's really hard to do anything normal with then. I am going to finish the most necessary things at work and refuse to let my Mom babysit tomorrow. I need a break from the insanity.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Sleepless nights

Before I became a mother, I listened to many parents joke about not sleeping after you have children. I knew that I would not sleep when my child was an infant, but I assumed I would get a few nights of rest when she became a toddler. This has not happened. At first, I didn't acknowledge that Manther never sleeps through the night. I poo-pooed it as occasional restlessness and I ignored the frequency of her middle of the night wake-ups. However, she is quickly approaching two years of age and, if I were going to be brutally honest, she only sleeps through the night about once a month. I think I know what the problem is. She can't breathe. She is constantly congested and 5 months of the year green goop oozes from her eyes and nose. Daycare told me three times this year she had pink eye. She never had pink eye, but she did have disgusting gunk in her eyes. Many folks (myself included) jave suggested she has allergies. My husband and I have replaced the dryer exhaust and many furnace filters and torn out the carpeting in the house, but it doesn't really seem to improve anything. It is probably time to seek medical attention. I dread this. I will have to make repeated appointments (lost work time) with the primary before she and whatever resident happens to be filling in that day actually believe there is a problem. Then, we move onto a series of all day appointments with specialists(lots o lost work time) while they assess the situation and determine how to treat. Treatment is a hit or miss thing. They may find one that works initially, but the chances are just a good they won't find one that works. So, you go through a few treatments and Manther improves. Most likely, she has just outgrown the allergies, but the docs will have a theory on why this course of treatment is relieving some symptoms. I don't really see the point, but I hate to see Manther shuffling around the house sniffling all the time. Springtime is just around the corner, so I think I can put this off until next winter and maybe she'll outgrow this without 25 doctor's appointments.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

I saw myself across the table

I went to an AA meeting last night (every Wednesday if possible cuz Dada watches Manther) and I saw so much of myself in the 20 something girl across the table. In my twenties, I was searching and insecure and I couldn't get happy. I wanted men to want me and I would sacrifice almost everything for the attention of one. They were the ruler that I used to measure my self worth. It was stupid. I had a good job and loving family, but I regularly compromised both for the attention of a worthless man (and I definitely picked the worthless ones). At one point when I was about 26, an older coworker looked at me following some destructive behavior I had displayed and sighed, "Your 30's will be better." I thought she was full of it and didn't know how to party. In reality, she was quite a bit wiser than I. My 30's have been so much better than my 20's. First of all, I got clean and sober and that made it possible to grow. Next, I got my own apartment because my sponsor told me to rather than take up with a man. Then, I built friendships and they are really good ones that exist to this day. I became comfortable with myself and my space and I wasn't looking for satisfaction through the opposite sex. That is when God chose to introduce my future husband to me. He was cute and fun, but I remained independent and did my best to be honest about what was going on in my relationship with my friends in the program to guard against compromising myself. After a few months, he wanted to get engaged and move in. I loved my little apartment and I didn't want to share it. After prayerful consideration, I agreed. I still cried as he moved boxes into the space that had previously belonged to me alone. He moved in gradually because I think he saw how difficult the change was for me. Things grew from there with wonderful good experiences and terrible bad experiences. I was able to share these with my friends and I don't regret the decision I made.
So, when it was my turn to share last night, I did my best to relate. I watched as the 20 something girl dismissed what I had said, just as I would have done, to close the meeting and run out the door with her friends. There are so many lessons in life an alcoholic has to learn with hard knocks rather than sound advice.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Grateful for Mom

I am a working mother and frequently I feel like every day is scheduled. As I complete one task, I am already thinking about and assessing the next. When I get up in the morning, I am planning the daycare dropoff. As I do the daycare dropoff, I am shifting focus to my morning at work. As work progresses, I am thinking about the daycare pickup and getting dinner on the table. After dinner, I'm preparing for the next day. I don't think I am unusual. I assume that this is how the day goes for most moms. This week, my mom came to babysit on Mon and Tues. I don't really know how to express how wonderful that is. I feel like it adds three hours onto my day. On Sunday night, I started to plan meals for my toddler the next day. Then, I realized Grandma would be here and there was food in the fridge. Good enough! I came home Mon prepared to jump into supper and it was on the table and several loads of laundry had been done. I played with my daughter that evening and was so grateful for the time together. Similar things happened on Tuesday and that night I actually sat on the couch by myself (that never happens) because Manther had been occupied with Grandma all day and was calmly playing by herself (again, that never happens). Of course, I dozed off because I have lost the ability to be still with out falling asleep. Grandma had to go home yesterday and I was very sad. She's coming back in 2 1/2 weeks and I am already looking forward to it.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

The curse has been lifted...maybe

My husband and I bought a used car 2 1/2 years ago and it was a mistake that we continue to pay for. We had (have) no money and desperately needed a vehicle, so we paid $500 and financed the remaining $3000 on a 1998 Mercury Sable. Twenty four hours after the purchase, the engine light came on and the transmission had to be replaced. We were upset, but the dealer we purchased it from agreed to pay for it. We were still optimistic that everything would be okay. In the next 6 months we replaced the power steering pump, alternator, oil pan gasket, about 75% of the heating and cooling lines, front brakes, and starter. Over the next two years, the repairs continued at a slower, but steady, pace. We spent $500 on the brakes on the back of the car, $300 in tires, and $1000 on the suspension. About 3 weeks ago, the car began to shake at high speeds and I thought, "Here we go again." I took it to the tire guys first, but I was not hopeful. I was just certain that it was another $1000 in suspension work. For the first time in 2 1/2 years, the car gods smiled on us. It was a bad tire and the tire was under warranty. It cost me $8.50. I left the tire place feeling victorious. I actually thought that maybe the car wasn't such a crappy bucket of bolts after all. I parked it in the driveway and hurried inside to share the good news with my husband. We both felt warm and fuzzy. The car gods must have heard us and decided to punish us for celebrating a near miss at the mechanics. We had a cold night last night and my husband decided to try and start my car this morning. No luck. So, Manther and I are worshipping with Elmo videos this morning instead of church. Only 8 more payments to go!

Thursday, February 1, 2007


Last night I went to my AA meeting and there were a lot of newcomers there. I have 6 years sober and the next closest to me was 4 months. I haven't led a table since I relocated because I have been struggling to get cozy with my new AA community. There was no reasonable way to worm out of it last night so I did it. I didn't do very well. I guess I should expect to be rusty after not doing something for a long time. I waited until the tables were clearing out before I got newcomer pamphlets and started passing them for signatures and phone numbers. I was focused on trying to share my experience, strength, and hope on the first step and I forgot to talk about sponsorship, working the steps, and what to use those phone numbers for. Fortunately, the girl with 4 months cleaned up behind me. I was really glad she was there. I always think that I will never forget what it was like for me starting out in this program, but I seem to have forgotten a lot about what information a newcomer might need to stay sober until their next meeting.