Embrace the addict

Linking up with my favorite people again today for Five Minute Friday. The theme?

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I know. Writing about addiction again today.

Where, Momsie? Where is your funny self? Where are the cat pictures and endless throwing of children under the proverbial bus because they are maddening and adorable? Where ARE you?

Oh, don’t worry. I’m here. Hanging out with my inner addict.

We all have one. We do. You can argue with me all you want, but then I might say, very annoyingly, “Well, perhaps your addiction is control. Or being right. Or, God help you, some combination of both which we all know WORKS SO WELL.”

I wouldn’t say that to you because it would be rather self-righteous and, as I said, annoying, and we are friends. But you better believe I’d be thinking it.

I have an inner addict. I named her Esmerelda, and she likes to speak up at times when I am Hungry. Or Angry. Or Lonely. Or Tired.*

Sadly, I am any combination of these at about forty majillion times a day because life is not fair. Life is hard. Sing it with me folks. Oh blah dee, oh blah da… life goes on.

Yesterday Red had a total conniption because Blonde did not help him clean up EXACTLY EQUAL TO HIS CLEANING UP after lunch. If you have kids, you know. Anyhow, if I could have split the dirt and crumbs and smears of peanut butter down the middle with yellow crimezone tape, it would have helped, but … dare we go back to that wonderfulness that is:

LIFE IS NOT FAIR.

It was day four of our spring break together. Red was underslept and oversugared and basically? He lost his sh%T. Sorry. It’s a bad word but in this case – nothing else really suffices. I, as Mother In Charge of All the Things, had a few choices on how to deal:

  1. Smiting
  2. Timeouts with the Smiting
  3. #2 paired with a lecture, possibly a powerpoint presentation on Life Really is So Unfair.
  4. Run away.

I did none of these. I don’t know why. I was just… tired myself. So, I sat down on the floor, dusted away some crumbs to make room, and patted the floor for Red to come sit with me.

He eyed me, suspiciously. This was a different tactic. Perhaps I was gonna hog tie him when he approached and take him away to Military Unfairness School?

Nope. I just patted the floor, and when he came over, I grabbed him and held on. Then, I smushed his little fact in my hands (not too hard, but the good, Mom smushing) and I looked in his eyes and said, “Breathe. Just breathe in. Breathe out. I love you. It’s ok.”

The kid slowed down and looked at me, and remembered who he was.

And stopped freaking out.

I know. Perhaps he needed a timeout or some sort of discipline, but right then? I needed to hug him.

We behave badly sometimes. We grip onto things that are wrong. We rail and rant. We do things that are awful and unfair and shameful.

We want and want and want some more.

And… repeat.

It’s the whole bashing up against our sinfulness that is life, and did I mention? Not very fair.

But He is fair. And right then, He told me to hug my boy. Amidst his mess.

I guess what I’m trying to say, is be kind to the one who grips onto something too hard. He might just be falling apart with all the unfairness of it. Embrace him. Embrace yourself, if that’s who we’re talking about here. You better believe, I’m who we’re talking about here. (It’s my favorite topic, you know. Me.)

Embrace the addict. She knows it’s not fair. She needs a lot of love.

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*HALT. One of those acronym thingies I learned in recovery. If you start to fizzle out on your day? Are you HALT-ing? Or, if you’re me, are you SHALT-ing (sarcastic, hungry angry… etc)

Recovery has all sorts of those thingies. Like, One Day at a Time. And …Keep it Simple.

And, Be still and know that you are so not God.

I kinda made that last one up. But I did kinda steal it from a higher authority.

Banish Worry and Anxiety in Five Easy Steps!

Gotcha.

I hate to say it, but worry doesn’t go down that easy. It doesn’t do “steps.” Sometimes, it doesn’t even do logical.

And it doesn’t play fair. Does it?

Some of you know my whole story – the one that digs back behind the funny parenting posts and tells you that I am an alcoholic, in recovery. And here is the rub:

Worry was my THING.

And sometimes, it still is. The holidays are a time of festivity and lights and our Savior’s birth, but did you also know? For a lot of us, the holidays are fraught with fear, anxious thoughts, worry. Sadness. Depression. A whole cocktail of tangled thinking stirred with a cute little swizzle stick of “We SHOULD be totally happy right now! It’s Christmas! NO ONE can be sad at Christmas! It’s un-American!”

In some ways, worry is an addiction all its own. It can be picked up and put on, like one of those big puffy coats that make you look like the Michelin Man – it buffers you from all else. It wraps and constricts and, at the same time? It might just be what we think keeps us warm and safe. If we worry, that means we just might have a shot at fixing whatever worries us.

We think we can fix, with worry.

Instead? We only damage more.

Lately I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing this:

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Here is a bit of wisdom (in the form of a list! You KNOW how I love lists!) from the author, D. C. Berkel, CPA:

Worrying has never:

  • Paid a bill
  • Turned around a failing relationship
  • Made a sick person well
  • Improved anyone’s physique
  • Changed anyone’s mood to one more positive
  • Made a job more fun or secure
  • Taken out the trash
  • Mowed the grass
  • Painted the house
  • Or kept the mother-in-law away

Now, not all mother in laws are worry-inducing. But, this list? It makes sense. We worry. We worry about all sorts of things. And Christmas? Sometimes, in all this joy and celebration, it crashes up against us and makes the worry hit back. This workbook? It has a lot of help to offer. It defines anxiety, and worry, and tells us why we sink under it. It gives us some very practical advice, in a written workbook format, step by step. It takes it slow.

And that’s how we deal. We need to take a breath, do some writing, some thinking about our past, some work. Maybe because we owe it to our future.

I still worry. But, I don’t let it control me. And I don’t suffer from it, like I used to. It doesn’t cloak me, and my life, like it once did.

Did you know? About six years ago, every time I got in a car with my family to go on a road trip, I would envision our little vehicle ending up in a terrible crash. I would see it, the metal on the road, the ambulances, the terror. I would breathe deep and clench my fists and pray like crazy, but that, my friends, is some palpable, evil anxiety to deal with. So, today? I do every thing I can to work on it. I gather my tools and I keep them close. God asks us pursue wisdom, and knowledge, and live right.

This book is one of those tools to live right. I highly recommend it.

If you are interested in getting a copy, click here.

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Momsie’s Annual Top-Ten Thankfuls!

Here’s what you have been waiting for, all year!!!!! I know you have. Me too.

Gratitude is the best reset button EVER. I belong to a facebook group where we post, every day, five gratitudes, and did you know? Every time I do it, I feel better. Even on the no good, very bad, worstest days ever. Gratitude is a multi-vitamin for the soul, I tell you.

So, here goes. My annual Thanksgiving Day Top Ten Thankfuls:

(In no particular order, because I’m doing this right after I had some coffee and a Clariton and I am totally squirreled out right now):

  1. Squirrel One and Squirrel Two. Might as well keep it in the rodent family right now. img_57831
  2. Also, of course, head squirrel, the hubster:

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4. Lemon Bars. I know. Kinda random. But really? Everything has been all pumpkin spice all over the place and I’m so over it. Let’s start a new thing – Lemon Bar Season! It could happen.

5.  That The Force Awakens did not rely on bad CGI and there was no Jar Jar in it.

6. My mom’s oyster dressing. I know that I mentioned this before, but it bears repeating.

7. That Black Friday will be over soon.

8. This guy:IMG_5652He has hopes that one day he will be able to FIT in that box. But, as he keeps getting fatter, and the box stays the same, I admire his optimism.

9: This:

 

10: Also, God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  And he is good.

Amen?

Amen.

 

Bonus #11:

Sober Momsie. I just am who I am supposed to be when I don’t have alcohol in me. I operate better.

I know, some would say, “Really?” But, if you knew me before you would not argue, believe me.

 

Happy Thanksgiving.

 

 

I Went Away and Came Back Again. Episode #34

I think I’ve written about this before. But you guys. It is SO exciting! I went away!

And! Double bonus! I came back!

Last weekend I went away to write.

Does that not make me sound like Zelda Fitzgerald? I mean, without all the booze and angst about her husband and all. But still. It sounds so… writerly, doesn’t it?

Ok, so I packed my stuff:

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Important! Always include incredibly soft Netflix shirt (jammies) in blog post as Shameless Plug.

Also, I didn’t read Big Magic at all. I meant to. It is a great book and I will… but really, all I did all weekend was write or watch You’ve Got Mail. And Jaws 3. Which is in 3D, may I remind you, and has some really awesome acting in it. Basically, people shouting “Get out of the water!” and staring at horror as a gigantic fake shark slowly 3D’s its way towards them. I had forgotten how good that movie is. The shark was a little stiff but perhaps he just needed to work on his motivation.

Anyhow. I also wrote. I went to a hipster coffee shop, plunked my stuff down, and wrote my hands off.

I wrote. I wrote like the wind.

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The poor focus on this picture is not because I am a bad photographer. It’s symbolic. It’s showing you, dear reader, the very writerly PROCESS I struggled THROUGH to try and make this book something with some SORT OF FLIPPING POINT BECAUSE MY GOD PEOPLE I AM SO STUCK. I HAVE WRITER’S BLOCK. IT’S NO LONGER A BLOCK IT IS MORE LIKE A BOULDER. HELLLLP.

 

 

 

So, then I administered about six cups of very strong coffee:

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And after a lot of flipping back and forth between my writing timeshare with the Facebooks, I then spread my crap out even MORE (All the while muttering: “I don’t CARE if it was annoying fellow coffee shop hipsters, this is IMPORTANT. I am a WRITER, people. THIS IS MY CRAFT.” Which really worked because people kept moving away.)

AND VOILA!!!!

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It’s my book, see! SEE! In post-its!

And also, then:IMG_5709.JPGI celebrated with carbs.

I now notice that Porters, next door, was offering nachos and a pitcher AND hiring… which I could always pursue, you know, if I can’t make it as a writer.

IMG_5724.jpgAs I had not had carbs in over a week, it’s possible this was a mistake. But I only at ONE. I promise. (Lower right, lemon cream. Oh my goodness. Heaven.) The rest of the box I faithfully shlepped home to mah babies.

Yes. I did come back to them.

And now the book is well underway, the blockage is over, and I am just spewing writing all over the place. Lovely analogy, isn’t it? Really has great imagery, doesn’t it. That, my peoples, is what we writers do.

We constantly attach too much meaning to everything and end up with poop metaphors.

It’s our thing.

So, The Second Book is on its way. I now I am thinking of some possible titles. What do you think?

All about MEEEEEE!  Part 2.

I Know I Have a Lot to Say, Don’t Leave

or maybe?

Being Me is Very Difficult Let Me Tell You Why

or my favorite:

Bottled in THREE D. THE SAGA CONTINUES.

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My Time Was Running Wild

Hooking up with Kate Motaung today on Five Minute Friday. The theme is:

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I still don’t know what I was waiting for
And my time was running wild
A million dead-end streets
And every time I thought I’d got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet
So I turned myself to face me
But I’ve never caught a glimpse
Of how the others must see the faker
I’m much too fast to take that test…

Time may change me
But I can’t trace time.

Changes – David Bowie

I have changed a lot. Time has changed me. God has changed me. I have allowed it to happen, and I have worked at it too. Some of the work has been relentless. Painful. My heart would break. I would sew up the rest of me and try again the next day, and time marches on.

When I finally turned to face me, the real me, the sober me, I also saw the faker. She had survived for a long time, and really, sometimes I miss her. The wild girl had a lot going for her. She always had to win, after all. And she did, a lot of the time. But her soul?

Oh, it always comes back to the soul. Isn’t that just the way?

I miss the sweet toast of champagne, sometimes, on a late Friday night, with my husband. A small celebration of a long week, parenting on, the mighty momma soldier keeping my house afloat, my children fed, the life rolling along. The champagne just kept me moving. But also, it put me to sleep. A long sleep. Like, for twenty years.

The taste of life is so much sharper now. The soul of this girl is intact, a little battered, and often times very, very tired.

But I am still standing. I can look at myself in the mirror. I know who she is now, that girl that stares back at me, battle worn, but alive.Very much alive.

No more dead-end streets.

Change is good. Scary as heck, but good. I cannot go back and trace the path I took, it is a tangled mess. But God got me here and I am forever grateful.

 

“Maybe we have to exist and live on the idea that we have one day at a time to live—and can we do that? Because if we could do that, we may be serving some really great thing.”[David Bowie interview with Guillaume Durand, 2002]

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Life Sentence.

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Something lately has been really really really bugging me.

No. It’s not the coffee cup thing. Don’t leave the post.

Here is my issue: Lately I had a review of The Book (I wrote a book. Did you know?) in a local paper. The review was really nice and well written and we had a great interview prior. It was, all in all, great press and great information about the book.

But.

The final paragraph or so was about my brother. This was a fitting place to end because his story intertwined with mine is really important. He died from alcoholism. I didn’t.

Well, there’s a lot more to it than that – but that’s not the problem. The problem is the final line of the article. It says something like: “After what happened to my brother, I was cured forever.”

No. Just. No.

I don’t think I said it, but to give proper credit to the writer who did a good job (I am not trouncing him – interviews are tough and he did a great job of fact checking and making sure most was copacetic prior to print.)

But, no. I am not cured forever. Chris would certainly understand that.

I understand this: I am an alcoholic. After all this press and marketing and “Wow, I read your book” from my small town peeps, I still have a hard time saying that, ‘out loud’ here for you. After all this time. Still bugs me to say it. Still kinda bugs me to have people say, “Yea you! Good job! You’re awesome! You are in recovery! Woo hoo!” I know. That isn’t quite the way they say it, and I KNOW it’s not quite the way they mean it, but humility is really important in my program, and sometimes all the pats on the back can be a way to forget.

That I’m an alcoholic.

Forever. It is a life sentence. It can be a death sentence if I forget. And it’s a sentence that has given me more freedom than I ever thought possible.

So. Nope. Not cured.

But, forever grateful.

Thus is the essential paradox of my situation. If I think about it too long, I get a big wonky, so most of the time, I just mutter the Serenity Prayer and get a coffee and do the next right thing.

Thank you for listening, readers. Does it sound mushy to say I am grateful for you? Well. I am.

And now, I’m gonna go get a Starbucks and while I stand in line I’m going to lay hands on the barista and speak and pray to Jesus to save her soul.

This should go well.

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Conference Calls Make Me Twerk

Linking up with Five Minute Friday today!

The theme?

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So, there are moments in my life where I am astounded by the simple fact that I have made all the way here. For all this time. For this long. I mean, I’m not gonna get all mushy or fatalistic or weird on you (insert obligatory eye roll from the lawyer here), but here is the deal:

GOOD GRAVY I AM AN ADULT. IT IS TOTALLY SHOCKING.

Here’s what I mean for all you poor slobs out there who are reading this thinking, “Well… uh… yea. She’s surprised by aging? By how the days go by and then, uh, birthdays? This blog. I give up.”

No, I mean it. I really am surprised sometimes that I am not still 18.

And I am also very VERY grateful I am not really 18.

It’s a strange paradox. Being me.

Anyhow, I KNOW there are some of you out there who get this, right? For example:

  1. You get the mail. Inside the mail is a letter from the IRS.

Adult self: Opens letter, maybe even with silver letter opener thingie like they use in soap operas, reads contents, and goes on with your day.

Surprised That I’m Not 18 Self: Gasps, sets letter down as if there is a spider on it, looks around. The IRS is hunting you down. By MAIL. You are in trouble. Walks away quickly to eat a Snickers.

2. The phone rings.

Adult Self: You answer it.

Surprised by… you know: Gasps. Looks around. You are probably in trouble OR someone has died. Walks away quickly to eat a Snickers.

3. Someone is at the door.

Adult Self: You answer the door. LIKE A BOSS.

Surprised Loser Self: Runs and hides with Snickers.

For some reason my lack of adulting always reverts back to chocolate? This is good and bad.

Anyhow. Lately, I have had to do a number of things called: Conference Calls with The Big Kahunas At Central Recovery Press.

These people are wonderful and lovely. They are smart, and really good at what they do, and also, I think, super cute.

But they keep making me do CONFERENCE CALLS. THESE ARE HARD.

You have to listen to others, and not interrupt too much or breathe too heavily or snicker at them (laughing, not eating) because no one really gets why they are all talking business stuff and you’re over there chortling at something someone said like two minutes ago.

Also: they use words like “marketing” and “talking points” and “live radio interviews” and all this makes you feel rather jangly.

Oh, and there is a teensy bit of time delay with conference calls. So things like this happen:

Boss at CRP: Let’s talk again soon.

Me: I’m fine, and how are you?

So last week I had another conference call with my publisher about The Book*** (I wrote a book.Did you know?) and it went rather well, actually. And here is why:

I twerked before it. While waiting for my other conference callers to get on the line, I stood, in my pajamas in the kitchen, with my dog and some coffee (I had the coffee) and listened to the Muzak version of “Hips Don’t Lie” and my hips, they just could NOT lie. They had to get down. So, I walked around my house, rumping up against things and confusing the hell out of the dog, but it was HOT, I tell you. I was on FIRE.

No, not really, but it was good for my 18 year old soul to shake what my momma gave me (thanks, Mom!*) and get over myself for two minutes before Big Important Business.

Sometimes? You better twerk.

And then, totally slip on the linoleum because fuzzy slippers, and spill coffee on the dog** but you know, you managed to recover with hair flip and no groin pulls.

*My mom is mortified by this thought.

** No sweet pweshum doggies were harmed by the making of this post. At least physically. I did catch him on the phone with his therapist later asking if he could get in for an “emergency appointment.” The twerking. It’s gonna cost him.

*** Yes, I wrote a book. Bottled: A Mom’s Guide to Early Recovery.

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Want to order? Click here or here!

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The twerking. The horror.