The Pill Mill……….

When I was younger, I was appalled at how many pills my mother took.  She was extremely ill, emphysema, cancer, osteoporosis.  She died at 59, after the doctors mistook an ovarian cyst to be scar tissue.  I wish I had known then what I now know.  Mary Lou had every symptom of Ovarian cancer, the extreme bloating, constipation, pain and upset stomach.  When the doctor came in to the waiting room, I had to be held back by my siblings-the jerk never listened to her, I was there when he did an exam after her complaining: he felt her stomach and abdomen-she was fully clothed, why bother right? I was there when he told her she was “fine, absolutely fine.”

What shocked me, after her death, was the bottles and bottles of Ativan-she took 4 a day, and I thought that to be too much, too addicting, too sedating.  Now?  I take Ativan daily.  As a prn.  Ironically, the first time I ever took one was the day of her funeral.  Surrounded by friends, I fell asleep on the couch-and didn’t wake up until the following morning.  What addict is going to turn that away?  It was easier to let the melodic pull of oblivion take me away, to dreamless sleep and few cares, if any.

Today I take 200 mg. of Zoloft, 2 mg. Suboxyne for opiate addiction (down from 8 mg. and let me tell you, it was rough, really rough to taper) and one Trazadone for sleep.   My husband thinks this appalling, but I have fought hard to maintain an appearance of normality-in an increasingly abnormal world.

I can tell you that as a nurse, EMT and hospice worker, I could not get into the Suboxyne program soon enough.  I was in a dirty city, walking the streets of dilapidated houses, children in various stages of undress, and very scary men, who gathered on street corners to deal their goods, help a friend in “need.”  I asked a few of them, but as white on rice as I look?  They didn’t touch me with a ten foot pole.  Looking back, I think they thought me a cop.

I was working as a private duty nurse, and volunteering at a local hospice.  I was starting to face withdrawal from OxyContin, and I didn’t want to be the girl who steals patient’s pills.  My cousin by marriage (not a normal person in that family) ran a methadone clinic, and rehab.  I had attended that rehab until our fearless leader Tony called me out on missing a class, in front of the entire room.  When you quit drinking you are wired out of your mind, so many emotions coming from one heart-it’s maddening and exciting at the same time.  I told him off, asked why he allowed drinkers and cokeheads to use in our meetings (was this even remotely fair to the others who were serious about recovery?) and slammed out the door.  He wasn’t going to use me as an example when people were slumped in their chairs, or re-dusting the entire room, like the energizer bunny on crack.

Anyway, back to Scott.  I called him from my  locked car that very day.  I told him where I was, and I asked if I could come to the methadone clinic to talk to him.  He shut me down, but two minutes later?  I heard a commercial about Suboxyne: it has served me well, saved my career and, most likely, my life.  My advice to anyone starting the program?  Start at a really low milligram, that way you won’t have to detox every time you take a step down.  I ended up calling my girlfriend one morning, I literally couldn’t move, I was that weak.

“I can’t take it.  Would you please take me to the doctor?”

The good doctor had taken me off, cold turkey.  We had argued about my use of cannabis, and I stormed out-only to return a week later, begging for mercy.  And, thankfully, that is exactly what I was given.

What I would like to say is, don’t let anyone convince you to go off of any medication you may be taking for your mental health, especially if the plan is working.  Do I like having to take meds on a daily basis?  NO.  But one day, perhaps, the stigma will stop.  No  matter, because I have come to the point where I just don’t care what others think.

It’s not their body.  It’s not their mind.  It’s none of their business.

Slap Me With the Splintered Ruler

 

Good Saturday morning to y’all.  I need you to know that I only have a laptop on the weekends, as mine took a crapola last week.  Of course, my husband offered to take me to Best Buy this weekend, but I am not ready.  Very interesting…a week ago I felt like someone took my nubby-How Will I Ever Exist?  I won’t be able to write, go on Twatter, see the REAL news.  Yet God, in His infinite wisdom, had much greater plans.  Goosebumps….

Let’s just say that I had been way too preoccupied with the web, and with my addictive personality?  I had cut down on pc time, but still carried the computer with me, room to room.  True confession time:  I took it to the bathroom with me.  Don’t judge me, that room is the only room in the house with a door!  Sometimes a girl needs to breathe.  So, while my husband, friends and support network were extremely concerned (I have to say, my brother was probably ready to send for the men in white coats-haha!) Wouldn’t that be special?  My sister tried to have me committed to a facility the night I tried to take my own life-wise, you are saying to yourselves.  I just covered my ears until the social worker on duty promised me there would be no psychiatric institutions.  The very next morning they released me, gave me an Atarax (boy, if I could get my hands on some of those babies-but nah, just the drug addict in me) which allowed me to sleep my entire first day of sobriety away….giving my man time to drain the booze, and anything expensive was given to the neighbors. 

When I awoke that stormy October afternoon, back in 2007?  I went directly for the booze cupboard, searching for something-anything alcoholic-to my surprise I found a jug of white wine.  I sat that baby on the table and we had a talk, until Jesus intervened.

My precious child, when?  When will you say enough?  How much more of this life will you waste?

That did it.  I put the jug back where it belonged and waited it out.  This would be the beginning of years of cravings, big and small.  Relapses.  Drinking upstate without my husband’s knowledge-at the beautiful cabin we are gifted access to from time to time-I knew that was a big bowl of WRONG, yet I couldn’t, or wouldn’t give that once a year libation up-and one day, I thought of all of the miracles that Jesus had performed for me, personal triumphs, freedom from cancer, the very fact that I was alive and breathing spoke volumes to me.

What if I made a covenant with God?  What if in exchange for all He has done, I put away the thought of ever drinking alcohol again, and prayed for Him to give me the strength to do so.

That conversation took place a year ago.

Not.  One.   Craving.

 

I could not give up on the worldwide web, the loss was profound…and if I can tell you anything about myself, I can tell you that I am highly adaptable to almost any situation.  They say it takes two weeks to form a habit, and that is why I said “No thanks,” when Dwain offered to buy me a lap top.  I am perfectly content writing on the weekends, and once I am convinced my internet addiction is tamed?  Only then will I purchase new equipment.

It turns out?  I have a life to live.  I cannot fathom the chunks of time I wasted, sitting in my hidy hole, reading every bit of the Great Awakening news I could find… I went down Rabbit Holes no person in their right mind would want to travel.  And again, once I got the monkey off of my back?  I began getting things done.  Actually working on the farmhouse, baking, cooking, finding me again.

My husband drove out to New Hampshire for a business trip last week.  And so it was, on Monday evening, the house quiet, no music, no television-that I found a picture of me and my father.

“Wow.  I always hated this picture of myself.  Not so much anymore, huh dad?  Umm…it’s/been/hard…”  The words tumbled from my mouth, and before I knew it, I was crying-my body wracked with emotional pain, I sensed something huge was in the air.

Jesus spoke to me again.

Child, it is time to let go of your shame.

Was I hearing Abba correctly?  Why, I didn’t realize I still carried it with me, the deep seated self loathing.  It took some time, but everything came together, as if a giant piece of the puzzle had been found.  I turned the pain into gratitude, as I remembered why I had such shame to begin with.

As a child, I knew shame.  My mother would go for days without speaking to me, and for the life of me, I truly never knew what provoked her ire.  I stopped a moment to think about what deep shame could do to a child in her formative years.  Eventually, I would buy her a card or pick her flowers.  I came across one such card in my mother’s bible just a while back.

Mom, I just wanted you to know that I’m sorry, and I love you very much.

Your daughter,

Michele

In school I suffered total shame because of my weight.  The kids were cruel, and the taunting was so persistent?  It took me well into my thirties before I could jog or walk past a group of teens.  No matter that I had lost the weight, I still felt the shame.

In High School, considered a jock and oddball, (Varsity Crew Coxswain) I began to realize that this wasn’t going to resolve itself, but I had no idea where to begin.  At Villanova, my shame came from not having or being enough.  Surrounded by incredibly wealthy and beautiful people, I made up a story about being a Jontue model.  Unfortunately, people not only believed me, they spread the word.  I mean, who doesn’t want to be friends with a famous model, right?  In college I learned to reinvent myself, and the only person I was hurting was me.  Why wasn’t I enough?

After college, my drinking career became legend in some parts of King of Prussia.  I began seeking attention (love) through a series of promiscuous love affairs-and the reputation stuck.  I began doing cocaine as a way to lift my spirits and self esteem; what could possibly go wrong?

The day I found myself on the doorstep of my rented home, due to losing an eight ball of coke.  I had given my brother a birthday party, and while I had my back turned, one of my nearest and dearest friends (I had only invited people we were very close to) had lifted the bag I had hidden, way in the back of my closet, under a stack of love letters.  I had promised Ted, my landlord, that I would sell it all that night.  There are no words to express my horror at finding I had been robbed.  I had no money to give him, and that didn’t sit well, not at all.

Ted sold drugs for the Gambino crime family.

I went on the run.  My room mate and best friend, Mel, beside me-we drove away like bats out of hell, and didn’t look back, not once.

So, with my worsening alcoholism and drug addiction, there were reasons to be ashamed.  And as I sat in my bedroom, weeping between the litter boxes, I asked myself this question:

What is there to be ashamed of now?  Why do you feel unworthy?  Why do you punish yourself for simply existing?

Let me light my lamp, says the tiny star; and never debate whether it will dispel the darkness.

– Rabindranath Tagore

May you shed your shame like the cloak of darkness it has become.

You are special, unique and loved-let your freak flag fly, baby~

 

Rally Round the Family…

Before I alarm my readers, I want to say that I wrote this in December of last year.  If you are a regular, your eyes would be bugging, you’d be thinking –

For crying out loud?  Is she left unattended on a regular basis, and if so, why?

That reminds me of the time my step son was pulling into the driveway one day last Spring.  I was in the garden as he turned into the driveway.  And then, I wasn’t.  Yep, stepped on a rake-just like you see in the movies-and knocked myself into a concussion.  To this very day?  I mind my business around them, try not to get too close.  Sneaky bastards.

This is the season of my content.  And that is precisely what I was thinking as I stood in my garden and thrilled to the Monarchs and hummingbirds.  I was feeling pretty overcome with emotion, gratitude on a level that is hard to put into words.  This was all I had dreamed of and more.  Not just the garden…

And then, all hell broke loose.

I bent down to watch a particular butterfly, caught by her beauty and grace.  It took approximately three seconds for me to realize that a mother effing praying mantis was eating her head.  There were muffled cries, lots of cursing mother nature, and, inevitably?  The hysterical spraying of said praying mantis with dawn dish soap I usually reserve for my roses.

On that note, have a fab Sunday and hope you enjoy~

*********************************************************************

Life goes along at warp speed until something stops you dead in your tracks: As was the case Sunday morning, after a full weekend of loving and socializing, the enemy came to take his due-you don’t think he isn’t out there trying to devour everything good in your life? Au contraire, mon amies! But here’s the good news-call out to Jesus, and you are free. He can’t hurt you if you are covered in the full armor of God.

But what about those times when evil does strike? Well, Abba will protect you in ways you couldn’t imagine, and that’s why I’m alive and writing this blog-my Lord and Savior sent His angels, and they protected me from a massive head injury and internal bleeding.

Just out of Dwain’s truck, exhausted from a weekend of frivolity, I could barely pick up my feet. I had promised my husband that I would collect the myriad of dog toys that lay around our yard, at the whim of my golden retriever, who thinks he has to entertain the grasshoppers and blue jays with his cacophony of babies. It’s so sweet, until it isn’t.

I had my purse in one hand, my drink in the other, AND I was carrying six, that’s SIX dog toys to boot. We have concrete stairs, no railing, and the stairs are ridiculously dangerous. It did not escape my mind, while sitting in the ER, that I had traipsed up and down said steps while drunk, high on cocaine, and worse. Never once even tripped. But yesterday was different. My boots caught on Jesse’s blue elephant, and down I went. I had no hands to put out, and I landed on my noggin.

I immediately called for Dwain, who could hear me, but couldn’t find me. Pain so severe I thought I would vomit, I remained perfectly still until my husband arrived on the scene. I am an EMT, and a CNA-I have volunteered in the Emergency Room, with hospice and prison ministries-I have seen it all and maintained my composure. This is the precise reason I am prone to freaking out when I get hurt-I simply know too much.

Head injury? I was out of my mind hysterical. It didn’t help when my husband picked up my head and his eyes bulged out of his-

“My GOD, is it THAT bad?,” I wail. He didn’t answer, he was too busy putting my ample white behind in his truck, grabbing ice and driving like a bat out of hell, towards the ER I had recently walked out of-after calling out the employees no less. As I walked in, I immediately placed my eyes on Dawn, who calmed me as she directed me towards the door. I knew where to go all right. I just didn’t know if they would help me, or hurt me. They had so much power at that moment.

A friend of mine, Katie, was the charge nurse, praise God. She gave me a hug and an ice pack, told me the doctor would soon be in. As Dwain sat on the bed, this came over the PA System:

ATTENTION: SEPSIS ALERT IN THE ER. SEPSIS ALERT IN THE ER.

“Fabulous,” I murmured. And then it hit me, we were the only people there, aside from an 83 year old man with a dizzy spell. What the Harry???? They were talking about me for crying out loud! I couldn’t figure this out as the knot on my head was the size of a peach, but the wound wasn’t bad, it bled very little.

Dr. Ammons didn’t waste any time checking me over. I was told it would hurt like hell for a few days, but that I was extremely fortunate as if I had hit one inch below, I could have had serious eye trauma. If my cranium had hit a few inches lower? I could have knocked out my front teeth. But I knew about head trauma, and I was frightened. I kept what I knew to myself, forgetting that my man is a first responder.

And so it was, that I woke this morning with a shiner the size of Texas, and a headache to beat the band.

And because of His love? I’ll be strutting my stuff, sooner than you can say the words accident prone.

Tightrope

I live out in the country, way out: but that doesn’t mean I have no neighbors. I think Jesus made it perfectly clear, but I am not the one to judge. I have issues, too. Just recently? I was doing a bit of ruminating about my sin, and I came to the horrifying conclusion that all of my friends are “beautiful” people. I am actually a bit surprised at my prejudice, as I assumed that I had a big heart, for all people. I do, however it seems to me it’s a whole lot easier to love attractive people. I am deeply shamed by this, and will work on it ASAP.

About five years ago, I found myself embedded in a screaming match with my neighbor, Jeanne. I stopped walking my dog around our neighborhood after this incident, and I have her to thank. Jeanne and her family had recently moved to our tiny burb, and I never would have known if not for her dog, Cujo; who promptly scared the life force out of my golden retriever. After calling for immediate restraint, I heard this:

“Oh, for crying out loud, it’s just a German Shepherd,” came her response, loud and clear. You don’t know me, or how I get when people get in my face. I am a Gemini, through and through. I am simultaneously the nicest and meanest person you will ever meet-just depends on what you’re dishing out on that particular day.

Years later, I am standing with Jeanne.  Who, indeed, proved to be a horse’s ass.  But this particular day, back in February, she caught me while hunting sheds, in the field below her farm.  We took up talking and I told her I was going through a bout of Lyme.  She, in turn, told me to come up to the house, to hear about Essential Oils!!!  I must have been gravely ill, because I actually went, thinking that she was trying to help me.  What. On. Earth. Was I thinking?

Anyway, the neighbor who lives in between myself and Jeanne, is a 90 year old, Pennsylvania Dutch, busy body extraordinaire.  She knows all of the gossip in the neighborhood.  We don’t get involved, ever.  So, I haven’t been close to Ruth in years, as I knew she wasn’t fond of me.  How did I know this?  I have it on good authority, it came from the horse’s mouth. Apparently, Ruth said this to my in laws:

“You can say a lot of things about Michele, but she sure does take good care of her animals.”

So, there’s that.  And a whole bunch of other stuff I have already flushed down the commode.

Here’s the thang:  we cannot wrap ourselves up in others’ perceptions of us.  Ninety percent of the time?  They are going on gossip, unearned reputations-not the Holy Spirit or the love of Jesus in their hearts.

So, I would like to wrap this up by saying this to anyone and everyone who delights in being in my bizness:

You people are the human version of menstrual cramps.

He is~A Reblog

Ladies and gents, may I introduce the man God used to restore my sanity-Mr. Richard Gannon.  Although we’ve never met, I feel a solid closeness to this man as I’ve watched him go from traumatized and triggered to victorious and free.  I love him, adore even, and I find his videos a panacea to those of us who have been around the block a time or two with a toxic, dehumanizing relationship.

I deleted my last writing as, turns out?  That happened to be the one he did read, and three times at that.  His Reader’s Digest version?

You told the world I was a satan worshipper.

No, I am not the only half of this couple who has a vivid imagination, and he does have a knack for missing entire points of conversation.

Post argument I spent my days busy, looking for apartments, and praying/sleeping.  Jesus always combines tragedies for me in a way I can’t quite describe, as if he is killing two birds with one stone.  I discovered a swollen lymph node last evening, which means I either have Lyme or I am down with the ship sick.  Almost every argument we have had?  It coincides with the absolute necessity that I slow down and heal, emotionally and physically-something my nervous energy does not allow, ever.  I also think there is a self-attached stigma to my boudoir, as through depression and illness I’ve done my time there.

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If I feel as if my inner child is being attacked? It’s not going to be pretty, for anyone.

So, today I feel so punk I call it a day, and head right back up to bed after skimming the headline news.  I am drained, dehydrated and dangerously depressed.  I phone my husband, there is a small breakthrough.  Misunderstandings are corrected, words taken back for prosperity.  BUT, there is the reason I was triggered (the full moon, my period and being under the weather only added to my veracity) and that reason had years and years of build up.

I would have thought my temper would have been calmed by now, but interestingly enough?  I find that I am more ferocious, fiery that ever before.  It’s as if the Holy Spirit is fighting with me, or for me, I can’t say.  I can literally feel the Lion’s head rearing, and a force much stronger than me takes over from within.  The result is animalistic, intense and frightening.  Here’s the rub-I don’t get angry like I used to, I’ve been there and find it does nothing for one’s tendency towards migraines.  I know a thing or two, and I consider myself to be a calm and loving force of nature.

Alas, then it happens, I am T R I G G E R E D, a wound from childhood or even years ago will surface, along with a trauma memory-and Sara doesn’t live here anymore.  I have prayed about this phenomena, and it turns out it is healthy for those of us who have been abused, to feel the emotion of anger.  In other words, rage is good.  It means you respect yourself and in my case it also means I am defending the little girl who had no way of defense.

My war is not with my husband.  Nor my monster in law.  My war was with powers and principalities unseen, yes, in the spiritual realms.  However, I will not dine in the presence of mine enemies.

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Jesse and Maybelline pile on the bed. I slowly succumb to the nurturing only Jesus can orchestrate.

Cried out, I did a bible dip for relief.  I say a prayer, and flip to a page to find His wisdom.

The comfort I received was read from Isaiah, a book I read from often.  My kitten snuggled close, kissing every centimeter of my face, tickling, delighting. Isaiah speaks to the reality that as Christians, we will be persecuted.  God will use these trials and heartbreaks to refine us, to strengthen us.  No, we will not be spared sorrow in this life.  Yet we can live this truth with certainty-Jesus will see us through safely, each and every step of the way.

He alone has the victory, and if you are His you will feel this in your very bones.

No one ever said that picking up your cross would be easy.  God assures us that it will be well worth the tears, and that He is carrying us-each and every step of the way.

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Rally Round the Family…

Before I alarm my readers, I want to say that I wrote this in December of last year.  If you are a regular, your eyes would be bugging, you’d be thinking –

For crying out loud?  Is she left unattended on a regular basis, and if so, why?

That reminds me of the time my step son was pulling into the driveway one day last Spring.  I was in the garden as he turned into the driveway.  And then, I wasn’t.  Yep, stepped on a rake-just like you see in the movies-and knocked myself into a concussion.  To this very day?  I mind my business around them, try not to get too close.  Sneaky bastards.

This is the season of my content.  And that is precisely what I was thinking as I stood in my garden and thrilled to the Monarchs and hummingbirds.  I was feeling pretty overcome with emotion, gratitude on a level that is hard to put into words.  This was all I had dreamed of and more.  Not just the garden…

And then, all hell broke loose.

I bent down to watch a particular butterfly, caught by her beauty and grace.  It took approximately three seconds for me to realize that a mother effing praying mantis was eating her head.  There were muffled cries, lots of cursing mother nature, and, inevitably?  The hysterical spraying of said praying mantis with dawn dish soap I usually reserve for my roses.

On that note, have a fab Sunday and hope you enjoy~

*********************************************************************

Life goes along at warp speed until something stops you dead in your tracks: As was the case Sunday morning, after a full weekend of loving and socializing, the enemy came to take his due-you don’t think he isn’t out there trying to devour everything good in your life? Au contraire, mon amies! But here’s the good news-call out to Jesus, and you are free. He can’t hurt you if you are covered in the full armor of God.

But what about those times when evil does strike? Well, Abba will protect you in ways you couldn’t imagine, and that’s why I’m alive and writing this blog-my Lord and Savior sent His angels, and they protected me from a massive head injury and internal bleeding.

Just out of Dwain’s truck, exhausted from a weekend of frivolity, I could barely pick up my feet. I had promised my husband that I would collect the myriad of dog toys that lay around our yard, at the whim of my golden retriever, who thinks he has to entertain the grasshoppers and blue jays with his cacophony of babies. It’s so sweet, until it isn’t.

I had my purse in one hand, my drink in the other, AND I was carrying six, that’s SIX dog toys to boot. We have concrete stairs, no railing, and the stairs are ridiculously dangerous. It did not escape my mind, while sitting in the ER, that I had traipsed up and down said steps while drunk, high on cocaine, and worse. Never once even tripped. But yesterday was different. My boots caught on Jesse’s blue elephant, and down I went. I had no hands to put out, and I landed on my noggin.

I immediately called for Dwain, who could hear me, but couldn’t find me. Pain so severe I thought I would vomit, I remained perfectly still until my husband arrived on the scene. I am an EMT, and a CNA-I have volunteered in the Emergency Room, with hospice and prison ministries-I have seen it all and maintained my composure. This is the precise reason I am prone to freaking out when I get hurt-I simply know too much.

Head injury? I was out of my mind hysterical. It didn’t help when my husband picked up my head and his eyes bulged out of his-

“My GOD, is it THAT bad?,” I wail. He didn’t answer, he was too busy putting my ample white behind in his truck, grabbing ice and driving like a bat out of hell, towards the ER I had recently walked out of-after calling out the employees no less. As I walked in, I immediately placed my eyes on Dawn, who calmed me as she directed me towards the door. I knew where to go all right. I just didn’t know if they would help me, or hurt me. They had so much power at that moment.

A friend of mine, Katie, was the charge nurse, praise God. She gave me a hug and an ice pack, told me the doctor would soon be in. As Dwain sat on the bed, this came over the PA System:

ATTENTION: SEPSIS ALERT IN THE ER. SEPSIS ALERT IN THE ER.

“Fabulous,” I murmured. And then it hit me, we were the only people there, aside from an 83 year old man with a dizzy spell. What the Harry???? They were talking about me for crying out loud! I couldn’t figure this out as the knot on my head was the size of a peach, but the wound wasn’t bad, it bled very little.

Dr. Ammons didn’t waste any time checking me over. I was told it would hurt like hell for a few days, but that I was extremely fortunate as if I had hit one inch below, I could have had serious eye trauma. If my cranium had hit a few inches lower? I could have knocked out my front teeth. But I knew about head trauma, and I was frightened. I kept what I knew to myself, forgetting that my man is a first responder.

And so it was, that I woke this morning with a shiner the size of Texas, and a headache to beat the band.

And because of His love? I’ll be strutting my stuff, sooner than you can say the words accident prone.

My Weapon of Choice…..

Scrolling through videos this morning, waiting for inspiration. This video caught my attention, and it is just perfect for the topic. What is your weapon of choice when the haters are getting you down? How do you escape the bullets shot in your direction? What do you do when cruelty and evil darken your door?

Of course, my weapon is the full armor of God. At least that is the first place I go…….for strength, love and compassion-wisdom, grace and peace. I
submerge myself in the scriptures, and there I find truth, a rare commodity in this day and age: but always on pointe, never changing-it comforts me to know that Jesus knows my heart, inside and out. I have faced challenges this past year that would break Hercules, yet I am stronger by the minute, so much so that I am not the same person I was mere weeks, months or years ago.

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He keeps me strong. On the straight and narrow. Do I slip up? Often. Does He forgive me? Indubitably.

And after I come out of my bible-induced trance? Why, I dance…..of course!