Brief Observations

I guess I don’t ask enough questions of other people.

I don’t want to know too much about their situations, well because I remember what is was like to want no one to know what was going on with me and my life.

When someone seems – off – I just accept it as their eccentricity and work around their temperament. I make sure they have essentials, but don’t pry because I just don’t want the conflict in my life. I don’t care what you do with you as long as you don’t bring me into your mess.

After a decade of being neck-deep in a mess I put my big girl panties on and jumped ran out of this mess. Although at times I still feel like resolving it consumes all my energies.

I got burned – bad – but I’m recovering, so I’m cool.

Only I’m not.

Just when I think things are normal they revert to “Megan normal.” My problem is that I don’t know how to say no. Not the reason’s in the song “Can’t say no”

I simply have a soft spot for people in the mire.

I think everyone deserves a chance no matter where they come from. I think I have automatic faith in others, but once that is broken I kick myself.

“Why couldn’t I have seen this coming?”

“Why couldn’t I see the signs?”

This isn’t just with my ex-husband. This is with anyone.

To me this is how we should be. We should have faith in the rest of our species to do what they are supposed to do.

Only they don’t. Then we get mad. We shut ourselves down, and we build iron barriers between us and the rest of the world.

As a person who is codependant I have to work extraordinarily hard to maintain boundaries. I regularly forget they exist and I know that I need to consciously reconstruct them all the time. It’s like this constant thing I have to logically think through. I can do this. I can’t say that. I can see this needs to be done. I shouldn’t do this or that.

For most of the human population this is normal behavior, but for me it’s not.

It’s attachment issues. Totally acceptable if the attachment is to solid, stable individuals, but normally it’s to twisted, addicted, drama driven idiots. This includes friends.

I am a born listener and fixer. Try as I might I can’t fix everyone. When I was 17 years old I was driving in a car with my great uncle’s new wife and she just started pouring her heart out to me. I just stared straight ahead and listened. I didn’t know my uncle really well, in fact I hardly knew him at all. I had just met the woman going all stream of conscious on me that day.

When she was done it’s like she woke up. She apologized for telling me all the gory details, but she felt I could help her.

I couldn’t.

Honestly – I had never even been on a real date at age 17. I didn’t know the first thing to say. So I whispered a prayer and gave her a hug. I don’t know where she is now. Her marriage only lasted a short while after that, so maybe that was her answer to her problems.

That was the first time someone had ever done that, but it’s been repeated thousands of times, besides the friends that I grew up with – which in itself had gotten me into trouble. I was a bit of a gossip, until this one time a parent confronted me and I don’t think I have really gossiped again.

It’s one thing to hear a story – it’s entirely different to repeat it. I am still reminded of this when I hear something juicy and want to share, but then I remember how that felt so I don’t.

Can you tell I am trying to figure this whole codependant thing out still? I’m told it’s like alcohol or drug addiction. There is not a defined recovery pattern. There is only the day-to-day.

Each choice I make to spiral or to soar. Each relationship, real or imagined, a step to recovery.

I long for a relationship, a lasting, healthy relationship, but almost two years I still wonder if I will ever be able to let someone in. Well, maybe not let someone in, but let them in and not become everything.

This is a delicate balance that is foreign to me.

My delicate balance – Solid ground vs. a Free Fall

Advertisements

Home is not a Location

Yesterday I asked…What is home to you? Is it a person, a place, a thing?

I have always thought like Pumba…”Home is where your rump rests!” I was 15 when The Lion King came out and since we moved so much as children I found truth in it. Home really is wherever you make it.

Or so I thought at 15.

Now at 31, I am reconsidering. I think, like a commenter yesterday, that home is the feeling of comfort that you have in your soul. A wholeness not brought on by location or surroundings, but grown to fruition within ourselves…or at least I’m starting to think anyway.

I’m not there yet. I learning. I’m growing, but I’m not there yet.

I have been researching my own past to try to determine when life changed so dramatically for me that it creates tension where there should be none. Since it is February 21st is doesn’t take long for me to understand when that break happened.

When I became a shell and less of myself.

By this I mean that I have spent the last 15 years trying to fill a void that can’t be filled by anyone but myself or God. I believe I have a strong faith in the Lord, but it is today and this day for the last 15 years that makes me know I am weak of faith.

Maybe it’s just this day in particular that makes my faith weak.

February 21, 1997 is the day we confirmed and found my grandfather’s body in Lake Buchanan. He and our pastor had been fishing and got caught in a storm on February 19th. They suffered hypothermia and drowned.

I cried for days, weeks, years even.

At first I had the rest of high school, my activities and my job to fill the time. To fill the void.

I thought little but of the schedule and what had to be completed for the next goal to be reached. For the next accomplishment to be met. As good a show as I could put on I found no happiness in any of this. I finished high school in 1999, without a plan. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. Go to school. Don’t go. Get a certificate in a profession. Just go to work. I had no freaking idea.

June following graduation I watched my 2 year-old niece. Just me and her for the whole month. I stayed busy, we went places, we did stuff. July I went on a trip to Europe. The first week planning, two weeks there and the last week of the month I had a decision to make.

Go to the recruiter and become a military private or go to school until I figured out what I wanted.

I chose school. Then I got bored. Some people just aren’t built to sit and learn in a class room. I’m one of those…but may still go back. I’m deciding that now.

When people ask if I would repeat high school again…go back in time…knowing what I know now I respond immediately with a yes. I would go back because I would have knowledge of the accident that was to come and I would spend more time with my grandfather. I would listen to his words and take notes on how to do things. I would want to be near to him. I miss him. Even now as I write this out the tears flow…and yes I’m at Starbucks. Receiving stares from people who know nothing of what I write.

Each of us have an adult that we are close to in our youngest days. For me it was him. I know he wasn’t perfect, but I worshiped him.

I lived with my grandparents from age 12 until I was through high school. The first years we were there I could be found, when I wasn’t at school, helping my grandfather. We had a garden, we built a shop, we made a bigger garden, we fixed up the house, plumed a sprinkler system, and I learned more than I can ever remember. I was his shadow.

The gravity and immediacy of this loss have haunted me. My dreams. My fears. My life.

I feel myself getting close to people and then immediately recoil knowing that some how I will lose them and I don’t want to feel that kind of pain. The pain that rips your soul from you…even if just for a while.

I can honestly count the number of people I have allowed to get close to me since high school on one hand. The people I still depend on for emotional support don’t need me to dig into those feelings. They have always been here and they don’t need me to mention it.

I am trying to open up to people. Trying to not push as much as I want to, I know sometimes I am an utter failure in this, but I’m trying.

I have tried to fill the void of his loss with rebellion. Yes…I rebelled, but I’m not much of a rebel.

I have tried to fill the void with a marriage. Terrible idea.

In my need to be whole I try to patch up the broken. I try to fix the other people I see in need. I can recognize the pain in their eyes because I feel it in me. I recognized that pain in my ex husband’s eyes and made thousands of failed attempts to help him. Ending with the realization that you can’t fix what doesn’t know is broken.

Behaviors learned from parents are the hardest to break. For me it’s chocolate, coffee, and delicious food, for my husband it was vodka,  prescription drugs, and ignorance. If there is a problem take something…it will disappear.

Only it doesn’t.

The problem is there for the partner – the true partner – in a marriage. They are forced to handle the situation and eventually because they are broken themselves they just learn to tolerate the experience. The life that would drive a normal person from the relationship becomes their link to wholeness.

I was happy because I was making him happy. Innocence and inexperience are tragic flaws in the hands of an addict.

Relationships with everyone I was close to became secondary to the relationship I had with him. He became my home because together we were one.

It is a tolerable existence when it is just two people living life together. You know there will be ups. You know there will be downs. You learn what will fill the downs to make them come back up. You live life as they teach in AA, “one day at a time” but nothing is ever normal to the world on the outside looking in, even if it seems normal to you.

Then the two create a third person. A child, helpless and innocent. A person that needs protection. A person that needs your constant attention.

Eventually you recognize all that is broken in your life. I had the realization that I was still broken.

Broken of spirit.

Broken in soul.

Broken to the point of not remembering who I had been. I tried to leave…but the hole would tear back open.

The hole that had been left by the death of my grandfather had been filled by this man, although I didn’t understand this fact. So, I would go back. I allowed myself to go back because he made me feel whole. He made me feel like I was home. I found comfort in the pain because it gave me a reason to be where I was…I was home.

It’s funny how so few letters it takes to change hole to whole to home.

Where is home for me?

I now understand that it is not in location. It is not in the people that surround me.

I have to find it with in me. I thought I had found it within me, but days like today…or maybe just today…I recognize my void is still here. Still waiting for me to fill it. Still waiting for me to understand what I have missed all these years.

If you seem to be in a holding pattern, as I explained yesterday, what do you think you are missing?

I think if we figure out the source we can find the resolution that will create wholeness.

Where are you? Your roots?

Recovery Part II

Today is Valentine’s day. My friends keep telling me it’s Singles Awareness Day. I keep telling them, no it’s Liberation Day. The newly single have a bit of a different perspective even if we’ve been working on it a while.

Part of recovery is the acceptance of yourself. Being comfortable in your own skin. Being happy alone with a movie and an empty room. This is a slow road. It’s one of those roads that is different for everyone, in length and in topography.

Imagine you are on a road trip. You gas up, you load up, you’re ready to go and excited (or at least built up the edge to go.) Let’s say your setting out for the three thousand mile trek from Houston to Seattle. Every now and then you have to stop for gas. You have to stop for food. You have to stop for drinks and for breaks to stretch your legs. You leave the jungle of this massive city and hit a few bumps about four hours out. You hit the hill country, you survive and now you’re out in the plains. Smooth sailing for a long time. The road is pretty straight. you have a few bends, but on the whole you’re feeling good. You’re making great time. Then you have to stop for gas. Then you have to stop for the night. The next day you arrive in New Mexico, passing through the mountains which can sometimes be treacherous. Eventually you’re back in a plain, or at least a valley. You’re tired of sitting in the car but you know that it will be worth the pain. This pattern repeats for a few more days. You get excited, you get bored, you get disgruntled, but you power through and eventually you reach your destination. It’s there sparkling in the sun (you happen to arrive on a sunny, warm day.)

This is recovery.

Starting the journey (even if half forced) you get excited. You gather your resolve. You know what you are looking for and you go after it. Sometimes though you get lost or you reach a point that is bumpy. Sometimes you have giant mountains in your path, but you must conquer them. You must go forward. You must put this one choice in front of you. You have to make a conscious effort to reform your world. You must change your way of thinking, of coping, of loving, of living. You and no one else can take this road. It is a lonely road.

It’s the goal that you’re after though and you have to keep that in your mind. Somewhere in your subconscience you have to remember what you are seeking even if it would be easier to numb out or ignore the world. When you get that way you turn on some music. Begin to clean the house, because while you cleanse your home you cleanse your mind. Buddhist monks (I think) teach you that your surroundings are a reflection of what is going on internally.

If you are surrounded by disaster that is the reflection of self.

Even if you have to start small, you have to start somewhere.

Take it.

Own it.

Part of recovery is finding good support. Whether that support is from family, friends, a community group, church or Al-Anon, get support. If the people you turn to do not support you drop them like a hot plate.

They don’t deserve the best of you if they can’t accept the worst of you. (I believe Marilyn Monroe said something to this effect.)

I know some that may be reading this may believe recovery is only for addicts. But it is not. It is for anyone who is surviving something in their past. Anyone who has been to their own hell. Anyone who is the victim of abuse, violence, a crime. Anyone who is hurting from the choices they have made on their own. Labeling the process seems trivial and many times it is not given this name, but really that is what we are doing. We are recovering.

Below are some resources from the web for any number of possibilities you would need to be recovering from.

Depression Alcoholism Abuse – Mental/Physical Eating Disorders

There are so many more. A base website for anything that you may have encountered is HelpGuide.org.

If you are simply at a point in your life where you need to change something reach out to friends. Call your EAP and set up to see a counselor. Work through it, life is so much better once you work through everything that is going on inside.

One of my favorite things to do is listen to music. Over the last year my favorites have been (and not in any particular order)

Foo Fighters – Wasting Light

Eminem – Recovery (He speaks to exactly what we are all going through…if bad words bother you don’t get the explicit version.)

Ray LaMontangne – Gossip in the Grain

The Civil Wars – Barton Hollow

Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More

Blue October, Christina Perri, Adele, Cee Lo Green (When I am in a mood I love F— You…it sets all right with the world), Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan, Florence + The Machine (Bury that Horse), Kings of Leon, Journey, Chevelle…I could go on and on.

I simply find music that speaks to me. Find yours but make sure it sends you a positive message. Reinforce what you are trying to do, don’t hinder progress because you’re not really listening to it. The brain hears everything even if we are being passive.

Surround yourself with positive energy, positive people, try to be a light in the dark for others. It is a fact that if you help others in your darkest hour it will help light your own way out of the darkness.

Above all remember that we are all struggling with something. It may not be right there on the surface, but it is there. It is very real to them.

Live in peace, love, and kindness to all.

Recovery

It’s late. I am at my mother’s and my kids are asleep on the couch. I am left in the dark to my thoughts. I am thinking about a great many things. One the fickleness of life and the surrender of ourselves to fate.

Then I hear about Whitney.

It is sad I think that the first thing that sprang to mind as I read on twitter that her publicist announced her passing at 3:30ish this afternoon was the drugs. I wonder what will come in the days ahead. Will we learn that this was drug related?

We are all thinking that…but it really doesn’t matter, she is gone so young. 48 really isn’t all that old. If you think it’s old…then you’re too young to really understand the impact drugs can have on your entire universe. This is what I have learned in my years married to an addict.

We are ALL in recovery.

We may not realize it but we are all overcoming some point in our past that made us make this choice or that to bring us to our present point. We have issues with our childhoods, some real, others imagined. We had the teen angst of the 90’s and the apathy of the generations that have followed. We have mommy and daddy issues, we have abandonment issues, we have sibling rivalry and frenimies.

We are all on some level having to figure out how to get over something.

One of the main problems with addiction is that emotion maturity stops at the onset of the addiction. You aren’t learning sober coping mechanisms; you are learning to numb yourself to your feelings. Pills, Coke, Pot, Alcohol, Food, Sex…the list could go on…these are all addictions that we turn to when we just want to feel happy.

Who doesn’t want to feel euphoric 99% of the time?!

I know I do. I think the difference between my exhusband and myself though is that I learned proper ways to cope and stay in control from a very early age. But I had to…life didn’t really hand me all the good cards. His life was easy and carefree. Yes, he had a stepfather, but he was pretty great. D was always a bit of a rebel.

My personal belief is that it’s in the struggle when people find strength. You have to fight for something to truly appreciate it.

Not everyone’s struggle is the same, some people never will struggle with addiction or with finances, that doesn’t mean that they have fewer problems than the next person, that just means their struggle is different. You might never know what they have been through. It might be just below the surface. It could have been in their past. It could have been surviving cancer as a child.

We never know what another person is struggling with but we do know our own struggles. If you haven’t had a struggle, just know that eventually or really inevitably something will happen that you will have to deal with the emotional roller coaster.

Even as I say that I still know that even the person who has the best luck out there is in recovery. They still feel slighted for some unseen injustice.

We are all in recovery.

Whitney’s passing makes me sad. She has been in recovery, she has been in and out of rehab so many times. People look down on her for her struggle when really she should be praised for trying. She knew she was better, but the addiction was stronger than her spirit. Something was broken inside that she wasn’t allowing to rise to the surface. She squashed it down where it wouldn’t blemish her public persona. Some people would rather be seen as addicts than whatever they really are, so when they get treatment and don’t discuss the core problem. When they don’t allow the therapist to do their job, it festers like a wound earned in battle.

No matter how much time, money, and energy is put into becoming the best you can be if you have a festering wound it will eventually need attention. It will demand your full attention and might kill you.

To be continued…

Thinking about a book

As I am preparing to change my stars I chose to take this morning and revisit some of my past. I drove out of my apartment complex aiming for the nearest Starbucks, instead I turned right and followed the street to the bay. Turning up Boulevard I saw it, this place that I called home for so many years. From the outside it looks the same…from the inside there are only minor changes. They no longer use old beer boxes to hold the condiments, they have added a side bar. There are all kinds of little changes…but the biggest change are the people. Most of them haven’t changed which is perhaps why I love it so much. (And I say it is the biggest change because turn over is so high in most restaurants and offices these days.)

Just for the record my mother thinks I am crazy for loving this place, but I do.

Driving down 646 I thought of a book I should write…not saying it would sell, but for the right audience it would be a hilarious endeavor.

“The Tales of an Aging Partier”

I can’t say that I was a partier, although I have done my fair share in this life, but I could write my stories and the stories of some of my favorite people. I would be a shocking read for some and the Southern Baptist Convention would surely protest. Because the first line would be…

“I’m a Baptist. A closet drinking, Bible thumping, Southern Baptist, who happened to fall in love with a place called Noah’s Ark.”

Then I would go on to tell you tales of the cook from Southern Louisianna who I could only half understand when he got good and drunk. His girlfriend we called Goldie, who isn’t so Goldie since his over dose. The other cook who exuded danger, only to find out that he was a convicted felon. Convicted for manslaughter, but it should have been self defense…if I am to believe the tale. He was amazing and troubled and kind. Unbelievably kind, until he drank Jack Daniels…then he wasn’t very nice and I was never there for that. I only witnessed the aftermath.

Then there were the B’s. We each had a name Baby, Queen, Baby Girl, Princess, Mama, etc…all different kinds of B names. B standing for ehem…a female dog…Not that I have been opposed to cussing on this blog, but I don’t agree with the term for these women.

These just happen to be very strong, independant women who have been hurt. They chose husbands badly, are defending what they have…sometimes by the skin of their teeth. It is an unforgiving existence. Always on your feet, always smiling, always seeming to be carefree…all the while wondering am I going to make enough to cover rent this month? Are the kids fed? Will the new babysitter walk out and leave my kids like the last one? Will my crazy ex show up and start something?! (None of this was ever expereinced by me while I was here…but I was a witness in the lives of many.)

Sitting here I remember the parties, the alcohol, the poker runs, and I think of the smiles mine and everyone elses. When you think of a bar you think of fun. I think mostly about the misery. This is not a life that 99% of the people reading this post have ever experienced. I hope you never do.

To imagine briefly what it is like listen to songs like “One Bourbon, One Scotch, and One Beer,” “Highway to hell,” and “I love this bar.”  See you didn’t know you would get a play list today. 🙂 Oh a film you could watch is Patrick Swayze’s “Road House.” Okay, so not quite as violent, but just as lively.

It’s a biker bar, for lack of other terms…for some it was featured in films, and for others…it is hell.

Still I love it here. I love the dysfunction, although I don’t ever want to be part of it again. I love the smoke, the atmosphere, the wild banter between barmaid and patron. In my day we kept riding crops behind the bar.

Now that you have read all of that…imagine being an extremely innocent 20 year old girl just moved in from a land where there were no bars and working here. I had worked for elegant bed and breakfasts to that point, quiet time between guests consisted of cleaning up and making the inn’s shiny so that other people could fullfill their dreams. I witnessed fantasy weddings, elegant buffets, learned practical tricks for preparing breakfast for a 100 guests with just a staff of three. I learned how to fold the impossible fitted sheet!

What I should have done when my mother said take this job at $9 an hour and stay in our hometown, I should have taken her offer. She was the head of HR for her company…I could have learned to budget. At the time I didn’t think it was enough to live on…oh what I learned…

We move down to what I have (over the years) refered to as the armpit of America and then found this job, working in this bar. “Coyote Ugly” had just been released and I admit I had this romantic perception of what it would be like. For the record, that movie only released the romantic parts.

Wow – my experience here opened my eyes to the fringe.

I learned too much about life here. I learned that people can be cruel and heartless, but that those same people will fight to the death if someone outside the circle tries to injure their circle. I learned a bit about bikers, a bit about rebels, a bit about gangs, and way too much to tell you on a blog post. I was an outsider from a world they hadn’t known and I got my education from the School of Noah’s.

Coming here I feel like I am at my Alma Mater. We talk about the old days. We lament the friends who have passed through over doses and accidents. We have seen many tragedies through drug use and even more because our friends ride Harley’s and refuse to wear helmets.

I would love to go to junior highs and high schools and teach the kids tell them….you see this path? I know this path looks like fun. I know this path looks exciting and charming and like something you would like to do…but don’t. Even if you don’t go on to be a doctor or a lawyer or wildly successful you owe it to yourself to be more.

I learned that…eventually. I quit here about three years later. Scarred and scared and hindered by a husband…not aware of the potential that existed. Still trying to work through all the experiences.

I think a book that tells the stories good or bad would be something many would read. I couldn’t add pictures. I would probably have to give someone here a cut of my percentage, but it would entertain.

Lightbulb

My sister-in-law had a moment of clarity today that I am loving. 

“Just because someone needs you doesn’t mean they love you.”

How true is this?! My goodness! How often do we fall for the wrong people? How often do we look at what they can do for us instead of at the quality of their character?

I seem to think that if you say “I love you” in the first days and weeks of a romance you’re really saying “I need you.” Sure it could blossom into something more, but you are really just reacting to the things that they have done for you.

Need and love can feel the same when you are infatuated with someone. I don’t want to think that I am with someone out of need. There is something crippling about that. It just seems to me that you wouldn’t have anywhere to grow if you were in a relationship based on needing what the other has got whether that is monetary, emotional, or psychological.

I have been in a codependant relationship for my entire adult existence. I know what it is like to be the person needed. I know what if feels like to feel inadequate. I know what it’s like to want to try to be what this person needs but falling short; and being blamed for their shortcomings. This is not a relationship that I recommend. This is not a relationship that I want to continue, ever, no matter the phone calls of anger, desperation, or uninhibited sorrow.

I have grown.

I think that if you are not allowed to grow you will die. There are many styles of growth personal, interpersonal, professional, and mental. As we age and have experiences we evolve. We follow different paths and make choices and learn from all of it. How are you going to remain the same if you go through all this?

The expectation to remain the same at 30, as you were at 20, is unrealistic.

This reminds me of one of my other favorite quotes from Lillian Gershwin. “People change all the time and forget to tell each other.”

That is something that in a codependant/alcoholic/addictive relationship you don’t understand. You must communicate with your partner, and if your partner is in a stupor for 90% of your time together there is no communicating. One day 10 years later they wake up and expect you to be the same person. It’s just not reality.

I was writing my story down the other night just so that I can have a reminder of the hell I have gone through, and it is so ridiculous that I even stayed for as long as I did. (No this isn’t meant to slam him.) This is just a statement of fact. So many times I should have cut my losses and left and yet, I couldn’t.

I didn’t see that all that was going on was him NEEDING me. He needed me to pay the bills and make sure life was in order so that he could live in his unconsciousness. I was pathetic thinking that was all I deserved out of life.

This leads me to my lightbulb. This leads me to thinking my sister-in-law’s moment of clarity was just amazing today, because I have been thinking about that relationship a lot lately.

I don’t want to be needed. I want to be loved. I deserve to be treated with kindness, respect, and gratitude. For that person, who ever they may be, I would give the world. I would take care of them better than they could comprehend.

Don’t we all deserve that though? Don’t we all deserve to be treated with kindness, respect, gratitude, and love?

I hope that my little lightbulb helps you examine your own relationships and see if there is some way that you could improve them. Either improve them or understand that there is nothing you can do that will improve them. If you are where I was a year ago realize there is so much more out here.

There is life. There is love. There is hope. There is happiness.

Love and hugs to you this Wednesday!

Walk through the Storm

Today I saw “Walk the Line” in its entirety for the first time. I am moved. It made me think about all of the events that make us who we become. Each decision builds on another and another until one day you are looking and you are changed. Something inside just clicks and we become different people. Sometimes we grow and become better people, sometimes we do not. We disappoint ourselves, our loved ones and there is no way to mend the fracture. Today’s blog is going to be deeply personal. This is my fair warning to anyone who is reading. If you don’t want to hear the agony of defeat then click the little X in the top, right corner of your screen.

Now back to the movie, I can relate to Johnny Cash and June Carter. I can relate because I have felt like both of them.

Johnny Cash didn’t have a great childhood. It was really bad, but he made his way out of it. His drive was for the love and affection from the one person he wanted it from most, his father. Being told you are nothing can either make you or break you and I think for Johnny it did both. I think for me it does both. There is only one thing that I want right now and that is one kind sentence from one person. A kind thought, an “atta girl, you’re doing good,” except I don’t get that. I get the why didn’t you do it this way or why can’t you do it that way. Similarly to Johnny I find that this is all I want and when I don’t get it I get destructive. I scream and yell and world may you watch out, because for me the words hurt deepest. I am a words person, a wordsmith. If I am slammed with harmful words constantly I feel broken down. I feel worthless, like there is nothing I can possibly do to make this person say SOMETHING positive. After two long discussions with two amazing women I find that one, I hope things change before it is too late, and two the only person that can allow them to bring me down is me. (A great thinker somewhere said that better, but I can’t remember who at this point in time.)

As for June, it was like watching an episode of “This is Your Life”. Only I didn’t have the courage to help. I guess maybe you could say I was a little more like Johnny for a few years, but after seeing where the self-destructive path could lead I changed course. This is probably where a solid role model could have come into play, but I didn’t have one. I had Linda. Linda was a woman who befriended me and guided me down my bumpy path. She was a Christian woman and a survivor of an alcoholic husband. Together they were able to walk through the fire. Together they were able to work out their problems, and I had hopes that I would be able to do the same. I think it was at this point in my marriage where things turned. Really I turned and embraced the idea that the only way to go through life was sober and that I wanted the partner I chose to embrace this new life with me.

Perhaps I should have either asked my partner or done what June did every time she came to the rescue. Flush it. All of it. Out of sight, out of mind. Perhaps I could have if I had someone to help like she did. June was able to turn to her parents and they helped her, they supported her love for someone who was broken and damaged and they helped. Sadly I know what it is like to be on the other end of the spectrum where you are in a room full of people screaming and no one is hearing you. To feel such love for someone and no one can see that you both need help and need a guide through the storm. As the wife of an addict I was always told that the only way to help was to let them hit bottom and let them crawl their way back up. But where is bottom for someone who doesn’t know they are falling? Where is the bond of marriage for an addict if that is your line of thinking? So, in the midst of my storms I found the flint and I tried to light a fire to guide us to a better path, but I didn’t have anyone to show me how to light it.

We stumbled on for years, tangled in the weeds, waiting for one of us to fall.

As we stumbled I would occasionally prop my spouse against a tree to rest. To rehab he went basically out of my forcing him to go. Twice in our time together we separated so he could sober up. The first time, I probably knew deep down that I would try to work it out with him. He was my husband; I said until death do we part. I meant it. After nearly a year, occasional visits to the center, I went through a few therapy sessions, and I thought we were ready to get on with our great sober life together. It was still not time…so a year and a half later it was like I hit a repeat button and we were pausing again so that he could go back to rehab. This time I did not want to work it out, but fate had other ideas and through a series of events, we ended up trying again, this time without being surrounded by naysayers. So, I tried and I failed. Again.

I should have waited, like June. Waited to see if it was possible for my husband to sink or swim, but I felt yoked with the desire to be a supportive wife. I felt like if I didn’t do this my life was a miserable failure, but it wasn’t. My life has barely begun. I am only 30 years old and according to one of my best friends I have lived enough to fill several volumes. I have seen fabulous, wonderful days and days that should never be repeated by anyone, not even the devil himself deserves some of those days. I have met incredible people all along the journey. I have met kings and thieves and murderers and politicians, each of them having a story, each of them just trying to live for the love.

It was in New York that I found myself. I was sitting there waiting by the hillside. I found that as a human I am going to fail. I am not perfect. I cannot be that it is Jesus who is perfect. All I am able to do is try my best. I guess what I am trying to say is that no matter where you come from or what trials you have seen you will make it. If your family loves you and supports your every decision that is wonderful and amazing, but if not stand up straight, shoulders back, put a smile on your face and realize that you are enough. If your marriage fails, it’s okay because you are enough. If your lost in a storm, its okay because one day the clouds will part and you will feel the sun on your face.

Someday I hope to feel like June and Johnny did at the end of the movie. Like I finally have my made it through the storm. Like I can be happy and content, with all the people that I hold dear. I just hope that is sooner than later, but I guess we will see what God has in store.