Rabbit on the Run

This song takes me back to King of Prussia and our local ice skating rink. I can smell the ice, taste the poignancy of the moment-now lost to time. Lately, as I’ve looked back upon my fifty seven years; I am amazed that I have such a propensity of good memories-you would think quite the opposite. The facts are I was pretty darn happy until anorexia. My closeness to my father had not yet threatened my mother to the point of narcissistic abuse-although Mary Lou died young? She became a loving and generous mother, whom I have completely forgiven. I seethed in rage for years and years, like any addict; popping any pill I could to change my reality-to just feel better for a moment or two. I pushed down my rage and grief, and the end result almost killed me.

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The anger had to come out some way: windows were broken, suitcases packed-even physical restraint because I had become violent from drinking. This all happened after mom died. You see, rather than dealing with the emotion, or addressing a concern with a family member-I took everything out on myself. Somehow, some way along the line, someone had taught me I deserved to be punished. That I was so unworthy that to this day I have to keep my reality in check.

If I was furious with Dwain? I drank myself to sleep. Smoked two packs of cigarettes. If I thought no one loved me? I would cut my skin, as if to say “of course, no one loves you because you are unlovable…,” the pain from the self harming soothed me, pouring over me like so much manna-in essence, the pain transcended the emotional trauma, serving to distract my shattered heart.

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One day an epiphany: I am not the predator. I don’t purposely hurt others. I had love and joy in my heart, Christ in my very being. Why were so many people, those whose job was simply to love me; why was I constantly in emotional pain? More importantly-why was I allowing them the opportunity? It took years of trusting, loving and following Jesus; before I could trust Him enough to realize the truth of the matter. I am a sensitive Empath who bleeds openly for others, especially animals as their nature is pure. I can’t sit through an SPCA commercial, for crying out loud. I am opinionated. I have made a few more enemies than I would prefer, but when I believe in something; when the Holy Spirit is telling me I am right on the mark? Well, then I am a rabid dog, biting at the chance to right the wrong. I don’t like authority, ignorance, condescension or bullies. It takes me an hour to get ready in the morning and I am high maintenance; meaning I carry seltzer, gum and mace wherever I go-it drives my husband crazy, especially on Sundays: I always oversleep, which means I have to bring my coffee and makeup along as well.

Through faith, and because I cling to His robes for dear life-I have learned that people who treat you with disrespect, violence or apathy; well, they don’t belong in your life. You are a beloved child of God. You deserve to be loved, respected and treated as others would like to be treated by you! It isn’t easy to end a friendship, but I have had to end my familial relationships, and if that doesn’t make you tough as nails, well, I don’t know what will.

And once you start treating yourself with love, dignity and reverence-others won’t even try messing with your heart. They’ll know you won’t put up with it; they’ll know that you are somebody.

A Backlog of Grief

 

This writing is for anyone who has or had an addiction to drugs, alcohol or any other means of escape from reality.  It is a warning and a note to self:  I never want to go back to those days of annihilation, of cramming every uncomfortable thought down my throat, of blurry acceptance of all things despicable or wanting in nature.  This is a known fact in the Rooms:  if you have been anesthetizing  yourself in order to feel better, escape the symptoms of trauma or even to get over your ex?  Chances are, you will experience sorrows beyond your wildest nightmares, you can’t push it down-grief will always have its way; there, I said it.

I remember the day I came home from my first rehab session.  I was given a pamphlet, The Grapevine (a publication that comes out quarterly from Alcoholics Anonymous, impossible to find if you don’t have connections) and a piece of paper titled A Backlog of Grief: You May Experience Some Discomfort………I remember phoning my sister, and reading this memo to her.  I remember being scared out of my mind, and I could not understand, for the life of me, why they would hand out such negative information to, well, anyone; especially someone with two days of sobriety under her belt.

The subject matter was grim-it warned that, out of nowhere, you may be overwhelmed with sorrow, remorse, pain, and yes-a strong desire to relapse.  You see, it works like this:  every negative emotion, every single feeling of despair, any loss you drank or drugged to be free of?  Well, they will reemerge, except for this time?  The pain is much worse as you are not sure where it is coming from, you don’t know exactly what fresh Hell has made its’ nasty appearance in your life, again, and let me tell you-it is so overwhelming and so nerve wracking that I spent days and days in bed, doing nothing but taking Benadryl and assuming the fetal position in my boudoir.

I would be out for lunch with a friend, and have to excuse myself to run to the bathroom, and more often than not?  The friend would come in to see if I was okay (or drinking) and be caught unawares by the wretched sobbing, anxiety and fear of losing control.  You feel empty, nonplussed, even betrayed by God at times…..why, why am I so forlorn?  Take this from me, sweet Jesus, take this pain away……..

I forgot, and often, about the piece of paper sitting on my living room table, next to my bible.  The thing is, they didn’t explain WHY these feelings would sneak up behind you, wrestle you to the ground; an albatross around your neck-they simply said you may experience periods of great emotion and trauma.

I was given divine guidance on a number of occasions.  One day, as a hospice volunteer, I was given a book on grief.  As I was reading it, my brain reeling, I recognized what the author was describing-this is why we tell others to take there time and grieve as long and as hard as they deem necessary.  (Of course, this can become a problem in itself, but we’re not talking about that now.)

You cannot push down pain.  It will come back with a vengeance you never knew existed-a crippling, one two punch to the gut-and you will be left with questions, yet no answers.

Here’s my advice:  it took some time, but eventually I became better and better at putting my feelings, thoughts and memories in context.  I could discern where the pit in my stomach originated-and only then could I do the work of healing my heart.

So, you see, you can’t run, you can’t hide…….and I know you can smell what I’m stepping in when I tell you that you’d be so much better off getting the necessary help to get sober as early on in your addiction as possible.

Get thee to a meeting.  Call a friend.  Talk to your therapist.

The following information could save this from happening to the next person.   There is help, and financial aid for those in need.

PENNSYLVANIA ADULT AND TEEN CHALLENGE-WE CAN HELP! (844) 888-8085.

 

 

 

Cold and Broken Hallelujah

 

I would like to dedicate this writing to the late William C. Elkins, my uncle, who knew a thing or two about family and loved them any way.  Uncle Bill was a Baptist-I never got the chance to grow close to him-and I am well aware of the part I played in dropping the ball.

Is family even a thing anymore?  I see so much devastation in the way people treat one another-it crushes my foolish heart into billions and zillions of pieces. After a moving sermon in church yesterday, I found myself in the loving arms of my sister Ruth-and by sister I mean exactly what I say.  She is kind, and loving…nurturing and funny…and, like me, spent years and years self medicating.  We share the same dark memories of family abandonment-we understand the evil machinations of betrayal, and we love with our entire heart.  We bleed for those who deem us unworthy-and when we tire of the heartache, the trauma and denial?  We head for each other.

There is something to be said of putting on a brave and stoic persona-and then there are the people who can see right through that mask:  they understand fragility, despair and low self esteem.  These are the minions who love you-no holes barred, and these are-more often than not-the very same people with Christ in their hearts.

I put on that brave face yesterday morning.  In all honesty, I can pretty much handle anything when Dwain is by my side.  And, to give myself some credit-I am as strong as they come, because I have had to be.  Each morning, while working on my routine of laundry, dishes, et al, I weep.  I put my head on my golden, and he comforts me while I cry countless tears, raging at the heartless attitudes of those I used to call family and friends.

It is not surprising to me that I drove over my phone on Friday.  As I was returning to the jeep, I was stopped, dead in my tracks-as I noticed a woman in a Prius taking pictures.  She was pointing the camera in our direction, I thought it odd and disconcerting.  So much so that I left the Android on the bumper, and found it later-in pieces, cracked beyond repair.  To those of you I talk to on Messenger, please bare with me-it could be weeks until I see the new phone-hey, it’s inconvenient-but in a way?  I find comfort in the idea.  How many times have I been happily relaxing when my phone lit itself up like a birthday cake.

An article from the Onion about a woman who became so radicalized by her skin care blog?  Well, gee whiz!! Her family didn’t recognize her any longer!!  This from mon frère, not two days after he said these very words:

We’re good, Michele.  We are on different journeys, but we’re good.

Seriously?  The constant critiquing, loveless dissecting of my thoughts and opinions.  Convinced I have lost my mind because he is the Flying Monkey to my sister’s Narcissist.  At 57, I think it time to take my life back.

I am reminded of the persecution my main man Jesus endured.  How a prophet is never accepted as such in their own town.  Yes, Jesus upset his family because even they had no sense of His purpose, that’s why he left his home town-to spread the Good News as far and wide as he could-until the day the Pharisees put an end to His life, thereby removing any competition.  To this very day I skip over the crucifixion-I become completely unhinged.  I am well aware of the fact that he died on the cross for our sins-a Savior  who had not sinned in his entire time here on planet earth.

They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Me thinks I have a chance at winning the Festivus Feats of Strength this coming Christmas.  (Seinfeld)

So, the moral of the story?

Run fast, far and wide…from anyone who hurts you, who cannot love you as you are, or treats you as if you are less than them.   These are the boogey men, the Jezebels, the narcissists.  They have convinced the entire world that you don’t have a voice.

Don’t believe them.  Not for one bloody second.

 

 

A Backlog of Grief

 

This writing is for anyone who has or had an addiction to drugs, alcohol or any other means of escape from reality.  It is a warning and a note to self:  I never want to go back to those days of annihilation, of cramming every uncomfortable thought down my throat, of blurry acceptance of all things despicable or wanting in nature.  This is a known fact in the Rooms:  if you have been anesthetizing  yourself in order to feel better, escape the symptoms of trauma or even to get over your ex?  Chances are, you will experience sorrows beyond your wildest nightmares, you can’t push it down-grief will always have its way; there, I said it.

I remember the day I came home from my first rehab session.  I was given a pamphlet, The Grapevine (a publication that comes out quarterly from Alcoholics Anonymous, impossible to find if you don’t have connections) and a piece of paper titled A Backlog of Grief: You May Experience Some Discomfort………I remember phoning my sister, and reading this memo to her.  I remember being scared out of my mind, and I could not understand, for the life of me, why they would hand out such negative information to, well, anyone; especially someone with two days of sobriety under her belt.

The subject matter was grim-it warned that, out of nowhere, you may be overwhelmed with sorrow, remorse, pain, and yes-a strong desire to relapse.  You see, it works like this:  every negative emotion, every single feeling of despair, any loss you drank or drugged to be free of?  Well, they will reemerge, except for this time?  The pain is much worse as you are not sure where it is coming from, you don’t know exactly what fresh Hell has made its’ nasty appearance in your life, again, and let me tell you-it is so overwhelming and so nerve wracking that I spent days and days in bed, doing nothing but taking Benadryl and assuming the fetal position in my boudoir.

I would be out for lunch with a friend, and have to excuse myself to run to the bathroom, and more often than not?  The friend would come in to see if I was okay (or drinking) and be caught unawares by the wretched sobbing, anxiety and fear of losing control.  You feel empty, nonplussed, even betrayed by God at times…..why, why am I so forlorn?  Take this from me, sweet Jesus, take this pain away……..

I forgot, and often, about the piece of paper sitting on my living room table, next to my bible.  The thing is, they didn’t explain WHY these feelings would sneak up behind you, wrestle you to the ground; an albatross around your neck-they simply said you may experience periods of great emotion and trauma.

I was given divine guidance on a number of occasions.  One day, as a hospice volunteer, I was given a book on grief.  As I was reading it, my brain reeling, I recognized what the author was describing-this is why we tell others to take there time and grieve as long and as hard as they deem necessary.  (Of course, this can become a problem in itself, but we’re not talking about that now.)

You cannot push down pain.  It will come back with a vengeance you never knew existed-a crippling, one two punch to the gut-and you will be left with questions, yet no answers.

Here’s my advice:  it took some time, but eventually I became better and better at putting my feelings, thoughts and memories in context.  I could discern where the pit in my stomach originated-and only then could I do the work of healing my heart.

So, you see, you can’t run, you can’t hide…….and I know you can smell what I’m stepping in when I tell you that you’d be so much better off getting the necessary help to get sober as early on in your addiction as possible.

Get thee to a meeting.  Call a friend.  Talk to your therapist.

The following information could save this from happening to the next person.   There is help, and financial aid for those in need.

PENNSYLVANIA ADULT AND TEEN CHALLENGE-WE CAN HELP! (844) 888-8085.

 

 

 

Everything’s Fine…

I don’t know where to begin, but I’ll try.  I had a girlfriend over to watch this movie on the big screen, as I had taped it and she watched it on her iPad.  Sharon has been my friend for years, and our time together began when I became sober, and actually visited my mother in law’s pool.  I wasn’t sure I liked her at first, she seemed to know it all-but that ended up being one of the very reasons I love her-she knows a lot.  🙂

Sharon and I stopped getting together, right around the time my in-laws decided to “adopt” her.  She has a dysfunctional family, and no relationship with her parents; thus the reason to take her under their wings.  My in-laws took her everywhere-out for lunch, to flower shows, church events.  It silently killed me inside, and I admit-I resented her.  I mean, their daughter in law lives right across the street and they never even call me.  Not that I’m begging for trouble, I could care less.  But at one point I cared too much, and we didn’t get a chance to bond.

Then the unspeakable tragedy.

Two years ago, I was in my kitchen baking when my phone rang.  Seeing it was my MIL, I took a deep breath and answered.

“Sharon’s son Justin is dead.”

WHAT?  Her only child?   He was only 27 years old!  He was her world!  My GOD NO!!!!!

The details began to surface.  While Justin was an expert motorcyclist, (he also had a black belt in the martial arts) he was found by a truck driver, his new Harley overturned, down in the embankment-he was dead on the scene.  There was no snow.  No rain.  No wind.  The best we could figure was that possibly someone ran him off of the road, or he swerved to avoid a deer.

I was devastated for her.  I didn’t know what to do, we weren’t close enough that I could call her, yet I needed to do something.  I drove to the JOY bookstore in town.  I asked about books about grieving.  JOY is a Christian book store, and if you need to find anything Jesus-that is the place to be.  The manager pointed me in the right direction, and I found three, that’s correct three books on the subject, in the entire store.  As a woman trained in hospice, as a woman who has grieved deeply, I felt such sorrow for her.  Her one and only child.

I looked at the books, and one popped out-as the Holy Spirit would have it-I hesitated as this had to be the perfect book for her.  Later on she would confide that this very book is what got her through the rainy days, the searing pain, the funeral.

Watching her enter the church from the balcony, I dug my nails deep into my poor husband’s leg.  On my mother’s grave I almost let out a scream, and I know for a fact I had my hand over my mouth.  Almost crippled from late stage Lyme, as thin as a rail, her husband held her up as she walked down the aisle and into the first pew.  She looked so wracked, so broken and frail.  I felt m y heart expand and the Holy Spirit whisper:  allow her in to your life.

Today we spent the day in my full sized bed, giggling our fool heads off; talking a mile a minute and ignoring most of the musical.  It had been so long since I had seen her, as their winters are spent in St. Croix.  Too many memories at Christmas and the holidays.  She was clinically depressed for a long time.  So, we caught up and one thing led to another.

“Tom and Dolly don’t call me any more.  They haven’t phoned in six months,” she felt me out.  I tried not to give my feelings about them away.  I rarely spoke with her about them.

Just then the dog began to bark-Dwain was home.  I called for him and when he entered the bedroom, his face red, well, I knew something wasn’t right.  The words were falling out of his mouth at such warp speed, the movie in the background and Sharon interjecting here and there….I couldn’t understand what he was saying.  I paused the television, spew it, I said.

“I just stopped in with the neighbors (our name for his parents) and they aren’t too pleased with me,” he stammered.  “They told me I can’t disown my son.  They talked to Bud and he denied most of it, lied about the rest.  They said they can’t sleep, that I have to do something.  I think the five of us need to sit down…..”

Hold Up!  The five of us?  No way in the world do your parents need to be involved in our business! My stomach fluttered, my heart beat wildly, I looked to Sharon, her eyes big as saucers.  I knew I couldn’t go through one more minute of their interference.  

“We’ll talk about this later, enjoy your movie.”

Sharon patted the bed beside her.  I sat down and wept.  I had already clued her in on the Bud situation.  We exchanged stories about my in-laws.  I learned that they think she has “grieved far too long” for Justin, and that if she tried to bring him up in conversation, that Dolly would turn the dialogue back around so that she was the focus of attention.  I learned they lie about me, which I long suspected.  She was actually flabbergasted when I told her I had made a Mexican dish last evening.

“You cook?,” she asked, as if she had just learned that I moonlight on 13th and Arch, or ride buffalo bare back, naked.  “I was told that Dwain does all of the cooking.”

She listened, she comforted, she cared.

I walked her to the door, and she leaned in to kiss me goodbye.

“Whatever you do, sweetheart, keep the neighbors out of it.”

God blessed me with an ally, and one who knows the whole story-on both sides.  She understands my grim reality.  She knows grief.  And she and Jesus have come a very long way in healing her heart and soul.  Her name is Sharon, and she is my friend.

And right now, at this very moment, we are two women who have lost their sons, a road far too difficult to navigate alone~

Be cheerful.  Keep things in good repair.  Keep your spirits up.  Think in harmony.  Be agreeable.  Do all that, and the God of love and peace will be with you for sure.                                                                                                       -2 Corinthians 13:11 MSG

 

 

 

 

 

A Backlog of Grief

 

This writing is for anyone who has or had an addiction to drugs, alcohol or any other means of escape from reality.  It is a warning and a note to self:  I never want to go back to those days of annihilation, of cramming every uncomfortable thought down my throat, of blurry acceptance of all things despicable or wanting in nature.  This is a known fact in the Rooms:  if you have been anesthetizing  yourself in order to feel better, escape the symptoms of trauma or even to get over your ex?  Chances are, you will experience sorrows beyond your wildest nightmares, you can’t push it down-grief will always have its way; there, I said it.

I remember the day I came home from my first rehab session.  I was given a pamphlet, The Grapevine (a publication that comes out quarterly from Alcoholics Anonymous, impossible to find if you don’t have connections) and a piece of paper titled A Backlog of Grief: You May Experience Some Discomfort………I remember phoning my sister, and reading this memo to her.  I remember being scared out of my mind, and I could not understand, for the life of me, why they would hand out such negative information to, well, anyone; especially someone with two days of sobriety under her belt.

The subject matter was grim-it warned that, out of nowhere, you may be overwhelmed with sorrow, remorse, pain, and yes-a strong desire to relapse.  You see, it works like this:  every negative emotion, every single feeling of despair, any loss you drank or drugged to be free of?  Well, they will reemerge, except for this time?  The pain is much worse as you are not sure where it is coming from, you don’t know exactly what fresh Hell has made its’ nasty appearance in your life, again, and let me tell you-it is so overwhelming and so nerve wracking that I spent days and days in bed, doing nothing but taking Benadryl and assuming the fetal position in my boudoir.

I would be out for lunch with a friend, and have to excuse myself to run to the bathroom, and more often than not?  The friend would come in to see if I was okay (or drinking) and be caught unawares by the wretched sobbing, anxiety and fear of losing control.  You feel empty, nonplussed, even betrayed by God at times…..why, why am I so forlorn?  Take this from me, sweet Jesus, take this pain away……..

I forgot, and often, about the piece of paper sitting on my living room table, next to my bible.  The thing is, they didn’t explain WHY these feelings would sneak up behind you, wrestle you to the ground; an albatross around your neck-they simply said you may experience periods of great emotion and trauma.

I was given divine guidance on a number of occasions.  One day, as a hospice volunteer, I was given a book on grief.  As I was reading it, my brain reeling, I recognized what the author was describing-this is why we tell others to take there time and grieve as long and as hard as they deem necessary.  (Of course, this can become a problem in itself, but we’re not talking about that now.)

You cannot push down pain.  It will come back with a vengeance you never knew existed-a crippling, one two punch to the gut-and you will be left with questions, yet no answers.

Here’s my advice:  it took some time, but eventually I became better and better at putting my feelings, thoughts and memories in context.  I could discern where the pit in my stomach originated-and only then could I do the work of healing my heart.

So, you see, you can’t run, you can’t hide…….and I know you can smell what I’m stepping in when I tell you that you’d be so much better off getting the necessary help to get sober as early on in your addiction as possible.

Get thee to a meeting.  Call a friend.  Talk to your therapist.

The following information could save this from happening to the next person.   There is help, and financial aid for those in need.

PENNSYLVANIA ADULT AND TEEN CHALLENGE-WE CAN HELP! (844) 888-8085.