Friday, June 29, 2012

Thursday, June 28, 2012


This is something I posted on a certain message board, so if you know me from there this might be a repeat...but I figured i'd put it here too...cus it's the emotional shit I referred to in the post below.

I told someone about everything that happened to me. I told my AA sponsor. I didn't really mean to, it kinda just got blurted out when we were talking about other stuff. She knew i'd been SA'ed as a kid, but she hadn't known the extent...very regular...multiple men...intense torture type stuff. At the time I just really really needed to get it out to someone. I felt like I was going to explode having it all in. It just felt like not enough for her to just know that it was SA...I needed her to know at least somewhat what it was like. 

She did what I think is an awesome job replying. She listened...she didn't freak out or run away...talked about how sick my parents and the others are...told me she cared about me...etc. That night I started freaking out again and couldn't settle down. I called her and she reassured me that nothing had changed between us, she didn't see me as bad or gross or anything because of what I told her, that she thought it made me stronger and more amazing, not less. The following morning she texted me to say she loves me (which is kind of a big deal cus it may have been the first text she's ever sent. She's older and not really the texting type). She tells me she loves me a lot, which is hard for me cus I really can't handle the word love, but it's ok. It was weird that she'd still love me after knowing everything.

That was all about 3 weeks ago. In the few days after I struggled a bit, but I moved through it and started feeling really good again. It felt so good to get it off my chest to someone and not have to have it be my constant secret. I felt like I finally had someone in my corner, and I was just so so wowed that a person could actually hear my story and still stick by me. 

But for some reason today the shame is coming back up bad. I am absolutely hating that she knows. And because of that, I don't want to see her, talk to her, think about her, anything. I'm so so mad at her, which is stupid because she really didn't do anything. I guess not really mad, I just feel disgusted thinking she must be disgusted just looking at me. (and listen to how stupid THAT is!). She asks me why I feel ashamed about it since it was something I have no control over. I hate that question because I have no answer. One thing that just came to mind as I write this is that a part of a lot of what happened to me was humiliation. Many times I was tied or held down naked and they toyed with me, laughed at me, etc. Even though logically I know my sponsor is not one of them part of me feels like she's going to be laughing and mocking too. Then I just feel so disgusting and I don't know how to explain that either. I know what happened wasn't my fault, but still my body has been a part of some very, very horrible things. I've experienced things that most of the world wouldn't even believe could really happen. Horrible, disgusting things. Sometimes I feel so gross I can't stand to be near anyone or let anyone touch me. 

That's how I feel today. Normally I talk to my sponsor every day but today I don't want to talk to her or even think about her. I just want to hide. I just want it all to be gone. 


I'm not doing so well right now.  I have a lot going on right now, and when that happens I tend to shut down.  I'm moving, which is freaking me out.  It's a good move, I need to get out of the current place I'm in, but it's a huge change.  The current place I'm in is fully furnished (very nicely I might add), in an amazing location around friends and walking distance to meetings, and i've just gotten really used to life here.  Unfortunately I need to move bc the landlord is selling the place, and I have some issues w/my roommate here anyway.  The place that I'm moving to i'll be on my own, which is good, but it's going to be stressful to readjust to.  I have absolutely no furniture or anything since I lost basically everything in the asbestos craziness.  Granted I didn't have much before, but now I have none.  I have some settlement money to buy new stuff but that's a huge stress.

My job wears me out.  I love it, but I come home every day absolutely exhausted.  I don't have the energy to focus on getting things done.

I have more stuff I'm supposed to be doing for my job from home.  I have to make a bunch of phone calls.  I hate talking on the phone so I tend to put it off.

I'm dealing with some emotional shit that seems to be coming out of nowhere.

I'm supposed to be planning a trip for a friend's wedding, but I haven't done anything because i'm so stressed.  If I don't get plane tickets soon I won't be able to afford to go.  I keep forgetting to do little things like that.  I need to get my renters insurance info to the new apt and I keep forgetting that too.

I have fun things softball games and hockey games and that sort of thing but right now they feel like obligations because I'm so tired and overwhelmed.

I'm not getting enough sleep since I'm still adjusting to having to get up at 5:30 every morning.  I feel like I'm always tired.  The good news is that I pretty much fall asleep the second my head hits the pillow (such a change from when it used to take me many, many hours to fall asleep), but I just can't seem to be able to go to bed early enough.

So I continue to be overwhelmed and things continue to not get done.  Today after work I got the last of my stuff that I was storing and took it to my apartment (all the things I'm not using right stuff and all that).  I'd planned to come home and start making phone calls, go to a meeting, and then maybe go to my hockey game.  Instead I got home and thought maybe I'd just play a computer game for a little bit to relax.  Suddenly it was hours later and I'm not sure where the time went.  I kinda just zoned out.

I'm super pissed at myself that I missed the meeting.  Partly because I need to go to meetings to get my head out of this emotional shit.  But there's another reason too.

When I first started looking for apartments I had this dream/fantasy/whatever that I was going to find one before my 6 month sobriety birthday and then have all my AA friends over for an apartment warming/6-month celebration.  As time went on and I couldn't find a place, I figured that wouldn't happen, but for some reason the thought stuck in my head as something that was going to happen.  Then, amazingly, I found the place I'm moving in to...right area, way cheaper than the others, everything right about it.  And the cool part was that I could move in to it the day before my 6 months day.  It seemed like a god thing...perfectly placed so it fit within my plan.  Obviously I couldn't have the party on the 6 month day, but I figured I could this weekend.  But then I realized yesterday that it was already wednesday and I'd done nothing to plan it.  That makes me really sad because it really seemed like something that was meant to happen.  I've never had a party.  I've never really went to parties.  I rarely have people over.  I've never really done social stuff.  When I was drinking I mostly drank alone.  I've never really had friends to rely on like I do now so I thought it would be a fun normal person thing to do.  Plus, like I said before, it just seemed like a god thing.  So I decided today at work that I'd just make it a super super casual thing and just mention it to whoever I happened to see at the meeting tonight and spread it around that way that ppl should come over on saturday.  I don't have anyone's numbers or anything...well only a few of them.  But I didn't get to the meeting so I can't do that.

So all i've done today is made excuses.  I didn't go to the meeting so I couldn't invite ppl.  I didn't make phone calls bc I was lazy.  And I didn't pack anything, which is what I said I would do if I stayed home from the meeting.  I feel lonely, sad, and stupid.  And angry.  And now I don't know if I should go to my hockey game.  It'd be good for me to get out of this stupid house but I'm so tired I could barely wake up this morning and it's a night game.  And my head is stuck on all this stupid other shit and I just don't know.  I just want to hide from the world right now.  Some days I feel so good.  Some days I feel so broken.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Back to the hospital...

But by choice this time!  Scared ya there didn't I?  lol  Ok hopefully nobody believes I need to be in the hospital at this point.  But anyway...

The AA club where I go to most of my meetings does a meeting every tuesday night at the hospital where I was inpatient.  This is kinda crazy because I didn't live anywhere close to it when I was in the hospital.  I lived way on the other side of town at the time but got sent to this hospital because I went there from school and because I flipped a shit when they tried to send me to the other hospital that has a horrid psych ward.  But that's beside the point.  (It was all totally meant to happen the way it did because I found my amazing IOP group that finally got me on the right track).  Sooo...when I moved a few months ago I ended up moving to right next to this club that does the meeting.  It's also the club where I ended up on Christmas Eve after I had relapsed and called the AA hotline in desperation.  A bit more than coincidence it seems everything just lines up like that.

So at many of the meetings, they make an announcement about this Tuesday night meeting at the hospital.  And every time I think, "I should do that," and then immediately come up with a reason why I can't.  While I was in school I legitimately couldn't because I had evening class.  Well I could've, since it was close to school, but I would've had to go straight from class and that would be stressful and exhausting after 3 hours of class.  After that it was that I wanted to go back to my Tuesday night women's meeting.  It is a meeting that is super important to me.  There are some really, really amazing women there and it's a good place for me to be.  It's super calming for me, while the hospital obviously brings up a lot of stress.  But I've known for a while that this hospital meeting is something I need to do.

The hospital was my first intro to AA.  I only went to the meeting because otherwise I would have to be in my room.  I was in total denial of having any sort of problem.  I'd gone to a couple meetings before because ppl had pushed me to, but I was so freaked out by them/didn't think I had a problem/really just didn't want to be there that I wouldn't get much from it.  I'd sit in the hallway outside the room...and that was on a good day.  Lots of times I'd sit in the grass outside the building, or in my car at a somewhat nearby parking lot.  Occasionally I'd actually go to the meeting but show up late and leave early so no one could talk to me.  (And regardless of the approach I took, I almost always stopped at the liquor store on the way home as a "reward" for going! lol).

During the meeting when I was inpatient....even though I was so sure that alcohol wasn't my problem...(after all, I'm dealing with flashbacks, nightmares, horrific memories, etc. etc. wouldn't ANYONE drink over that?)...I started hearing so much of myself in the people who had come in from "the outside" to bring the meeting.  As they spoke I just kept thinking "that's me!  That's so me!"  But then they'd talk about finding peace in their lives, and things being good, and I felt like the connection was lost then.  I couldn't imagine my life being peaceful.  At that point the idea of staying alive another day seemed enormous.

But I think some peace of their message did stick in my head.  I transitioned almost immediately from inpatient into IOP.  Early on in the IOP program I went to an art group and got to do some watercolor painting.  I love watercolors because I can paint my feelings w/all sorts of colors and it doesn't have to actually look like anything.  It's how I've been able to express a lot of stuff, especially early on.  The painting I did that day was almost all gray and dark, with some lines of orange fire running through the middle.  In the bottom corner was a blue spot to represent me.  Across the top was plain white to represent peace.  The picture was symbolic of me, for the first time in a very very long time, believing there could maybe be peace in my life if I could figure out how to get out of the storms and the fire and everything.  In hindsight, I think a lot of that came from the inpatient AA meeting.  (And maybe meds the fact that they'd given me the good sleeping drugs so I'd slept like 12+ hours one of the nights I was hospitalized).

Now, here I am, bordering on the white part of that painting.  My life is more peaceful than I EVER could've imagined it.  So I knew I had something to offer this meeting.  I can come back and say that I've ben the current patients' exact spots, and that when people told me it could get better I didn't believe them but now I've seen that it can.  I've been wanting to tell that story, but I wasn't sure if I could.  I decided as a way to honor my 6 months of sobriety I would just go for it and make myself do it.

It was scary as all hell walking in to that hospital again.  The entrance area wasn't that bad because I'd go through there to get to some of IOP related stuff.  But as soon as I got in to the main hospital part I started to tense up.  When I pushed the number 4 on the elevator I felt my heart rate quicken.  When I got off the elevator and saw the big locked doors I nearly took off running.  I had to be escorted in by a nurse since it is a locked unit.  As she lead me in and the big locking door shut behind me I felt the panic come on so strong.  Thankfully I have a pretty decent relationship with the guy from the AA club that runs the meeting, so when I saw him it helped me calm down a bit.

I was able to do some good mindfulness stuff that I was pretty proud of in order to settle down.  I reminded myself of all the things that "proved" that I was free and not locked in.  I had shoes on instead of the stupid little sticky footie socks they always tried to make me wear.  I had my backpack, phone, etc. with me.  I didn't have the red "don't let me go anywhere" wristband that the patients had.  I got a little more comfortable when the meeting started because it was something familiar to me, but when it started to slow down again it was really hard to stay out of panic mode.  But I got to say what I needed to say.  I told my story.  I told them that 10 months ago I was a patient....that I was there on my birthday because I couldn't imagine living another day, much less starting another year.  That I never believed there could be peace in my life but now there is...and that it's hard for me to think back to when I felt I had nothing to live for, because now I feel that there is so much in my life.

I also was able to look around and see/realize how different I am now.  When I was in the hospital I spent the whole time wrapped in a blanket.  I was cold/shivery/shaky no matter what the temperature (though that got better towards the end).  I was in such crazy panic that I couldn't stand being anywhere when I didn't have at least my back against the wall....I preferred being in a corner so I could be very sure no one was coming up behind me.  I saw some people in that pose tonight.  Curled up and tucked in to the corner of a couch, wrapped up in a blanket.  Not long ago at all that used to be me.  Definitely a good reminder of where I've come from, and a reason to keep working to get better even when it's so, so hard.

As the meeting went on I looked out the window and watched the sun set behind the downtown skyline.  I'd forgotten what a beautiful view the hospital has.  When I was there I would just sit and watch the world outside for as long as they'd let me.  In a sense it kept me sane, but at the same time it drove me crazy because I am such an outside type of person and there wasn't even a window that could open for a single breath of fresh air.  But tonight, knowing I got to leave at the end, it was so much prettier.  On the other side of the building (where I couldn't see bc you'd have to go in a patient room to see) you can look down at the park.  I remember watching that park and thinking of what I'd give just to go sit in that park for a minute...just to go hug or touch a tree, sit in the grass, etc.  Many times during IOP I'd walk by or through that park and I would stop, count up to the 4th floor, and look up to acknowledge my freedom.  I hope that while the hospital becomes a distant memory in my life, that I'll never forget to acknowledge the joy of those simple things.  Tonight I rewarded myself with Taco Bell (total guilty pleasure there) again just to remind myself that I have the freedom to go where I want, eat what I want, etc.  That's the kind of thing you don't really think about until it's taken from you, but it's such a simple thing that nearly everyone can be grateful for on some level.  Unless we're already locked up, we have our freedom, and our choices.  Even in the crappiest of situations, we can be grateful that we have the freedom to make choices in how to deal with them.

Anyway, it was amazing, weird, crazy, etc. etc. being back there.  I'm amazed at just how vivid my memories are.  I thought I'd forgotten a lot of it because I was so in trauma mode when there.  But when I walked by "my room" and saw "my bed" it was almost like a reaction to head for it.  Or maybe I was just that tired from work!  Thankfully I didn't though, cus that would've been awkward.  The main room had been all switched around and I could remember exactly how it had been before.  I normally have a terrible memory so so weird that I could remember so much.  I guess my body knew that important things were happening and wanted to take note.

Anyway it's nearly midnight which is way past my bedtime these days (gone are the days of not sleeping til past 2am!  I think I've typed a tangent and a half here but hopefully some part of it somewhere makes sense.  And if not, well it makes sense to me and I'm the important one.  :-P  So not to skip the gratitudes, but I think it's pretty clear on this one what I'm grateful for...and it's A LOT!  Thanks for reading. :)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

That's half a year!

Today marks 6 months sober for me.  Hard to even believe it's true!  I had an amazing evening of celebration.  I'll post more about it all soon but right now I'm super tired and have to be up way too early in the morning for work.  Just wanted to make the announcement tonight though.  :)

"Tough Love"

So I seem to have started, or at least added to, some drama on another blog.  I don't want to go into detail because I don't want this blog to become a place where other people are talked about.  (After all it's all about ME here!  lol :-P )  But I do want to talk about something that came up through this drama, and has been on my mind anyway.  It's something that has the potential to be offensive if taken the wrong way (especially if you are a SA survivor), so please try to approach this with an open mind.  I am also very open to comments and discussion on this because it's something that I'm trying to make sense of.

Now then...I've noticed a lot of SA survivors, and especially CSA (childhood sexual abuse) survivors tend to get stuck very deeply in the victim role.  We tend to think that no one could possibly understand the pain we're in, and that nothing could possibly be as bad as what we've experienced.  Anyone who tells us different, we say "just doesn't understand."  I know I am guilty of this.  For many many years I wallowed in self pity.  I talked about how hard my life was/is, and how everyone else had it sooooo much better.  I was constantly angry, jealous, and bitter towards everything and everyone.

Obviously CSA IS bad.  Very bad.  These are people the child is supposed to be able to trust, often their own parents, committing horrible atrocities.  They are taking away the child's very core, innocence, ability to trust, etc.  Naturally some grief is allowed.  There's also issues of PTSD.  When you're actively having flashbacks to your trauma, there's not a lot you can do in the moment to stop it...especially not at first.

For me the victim thing came for a couple reasons.  For one, it just came naturally.  I was told all my life that I was worthless, good for nothing, etc. etc.  How would I suddenly come to believe anything different?  Of course I felt broken and like I could never get better!  Then on top of that, it was survival.  Playing the victim got me what I needed, both physically and emotionally.  When I was homeless I knew how to give the perfect sob story to get the cafeteria ladies at school to give me extra food for free.  I could convince the librarian to let me sleep in the comfy chairs because it was the only place I had to rest.  It was also the only way I knew to get emotional support.  I didn't really understand a difference between support and sympathy, or sympathy and love.  Well maybe I did, but didn't think I could achieve genuine support or love.  But I knew how to get sympathy.  I don't talk about my past much in my regular life, but I had places I'd go (mostly online) where I could go on and on about poor me, I've been hurt, I don't have a family, etc. etc. and people would be all over themselves to take care of me.  Don't get me wrong, these people were awesome and amazing, and I don't know what I would've done without them.  But I'm not sure it was helpful overall in my healing.  (This is a big debatable question I'm not sure I want to get in to right now....I was on the verge of wanting to die for a looooooong time, so maybe this attention was the type that I needed, who knows).

I really didn't realize there was another option until I started going to AA.  I was going through my resentments with my sponsor and one part of that is saying what my part was in each resentment.  (i.e. I was pissed at the school for screwing up my payments, but really I should've checked in to it early on when I didn't get the right confirmation).  Now obviously I have HUGE resentments towards those that hurt me as a kid.  When I first wrote about them I said I had no part in it because I was a child.  My sponsor told me that I had no part in it then, but my part in it now is that I continue to hold on to it.  I got pissed.  What the hell is that supposed to mean?  You think I WANT to hold on to this?  You think I want to think about all these horrors and all that pain?  If it was so easy to let it go don't you think I'd be doing that?!

As I ranted, she subtly pointed out ways that I was using my past as an excuse.  One example was my getting kicked out of IOP for showing up late.  I'd said, "well if they only knew what I go through to get myself there they'd understand!"  She pointed out that probably everyone there goes through crap to get out of bed and get there, and even if they don't, who cares.  I am now an adult that gets to make my own choices, and I get to choose whether to give in to the pain or suck it up and get there on time anyway.  She pointed out that even though the flashbacks aren't in my control, that I have the power to fight against those thoughts.  I can distract myself, I can try to change them in my head and take my power back, I can stand up to them and tell myself they're in the past, etc.  Or I can give in to them because it's hard and they're scary.

It took a while to get past the anger I felt about this idea of it being my fault for holding on to the pain.  But the more I thought about it I realized it wasn't mean, it was empowering.  All the sympathy givers, wonderful as they were, had been giving the message that I couldn't really be expected to be successful, show up to places on time, form relationships, work through/overcome my trauma memories, etc. etc.  I don't think that's what they'd meant to say, and I definitely hadn't realized it's what I was hearing.  But suddenly here was this person telling me that I could be more.  She was telling me that even though it hurt like hell, I had the power to do better.  I was capable of becoming so much more than the broken blob I had defined myself as.  She told me that not only could I overcome what had happened and be a "normal," functional member of society, but that she expected me to.  She BELIEVED in me that I could.  If she hadn't believed it was possible for me, she could've just given me a little pat on the back and said, "it's ok, you're doing your best."  But she didn't do that.  Instead she said, "you're doing ok, but you could do better if you're committed and you work for it."  So I tried.  I moved past "how could you say that?" and in to "ok, I'll give it a shot."  And she has supported me all the way through, and continues to.  She does something truly amazing for me.  She supports me 100% unconditionally no matter what, which in itself is amazing.  It took some time for me to really believe her in that, but I keep expecting her to run away or start to hate me when she hears about things i've done and things that have been done to me, but she's always right there.  She listens, we talk about how sick those who hurt me are and how wrong it was, and then she asks me what I'm going to do about it.

A year ago I never believed I could heal.  I was in a place of ultimate misery.  I could make it to work, just barely.  I could manage to eat lunch (and maybe a little breakfast) at work because it was the only time I felt that horrible feeling in my stomach go away long enough to get food in.  At night I would shut myself in my room and drink til I passed out.  I believed that was all the more life I could ever have, because I believed that I couldn't handle and couldn't overcome the newly recovered memories of what had been done to me.

10 months ago I was locked in a psych ward, taken there literally kicking and screaming and tied to a stretcher because I was fully ready to die.

Today, while I can't say the past doesn't bother me, it doesn't control me either.  I struggle with the memories.  I grieve for the childhood I wish I had.  I feel huge amounts of rage towards my parents and the others for doing what they did.  But I also have fun.  I smile and enjoy myself.  I make it to work every day, I eat good meals, and i take care of what needs to be done.  When the bad comes up, I know it won't last forever, and I look for options of how to deal with it rather than curling up and saying it's too much, it's too hard, etc.

I can't even describe what an incredible change this has been!  If you had told me 10 months ago that this is where I would be now I would've laughed in your face.  Or possibly punched you.

Now the problem I'm having is when I go back to these places I used to go and I see so many people trapped in the sadness.  I see so many people saying they are bad, they can never be ok, they're worthless, etc.  I see people believing that the only positive interaction they can have is ppl feeling sorry for them, or relationships where the other person doesn't truly care for their feelings.  It breaks my heart.  I know that pain so so well and I want to help bring people out of it like my sponsor did for me.  But not everyone is ready for that.  The healing I've been through is HARD.  I had to be truly willing to give 100% and face things I swore I'd never face.  I now not everyone is ready to do that, and some people never will.  At first I told my sponsor I couldn't do it, and she said that that was ok but that it meant she couldn't work with me anymore.  She said to come back when I was ready.  That first got all my abandonment craziness stuff goin, but I managed to not drink over it and eventually found the strength to call her and talk to her about it more.  When I was ready to work, she was ready to support, because that's the way she does it.  She doesn't let me sit in self pity, and she calls me on it when I do.  And yes, it still pisses me off some times because self pity is easy.  But it wasn't helping me feel good.  It wasn't helping me get better.

So what did help?
*Making a list of what I was grateful for.  I used to say I have nothing to be grateful for but that's so not the case.  There's things like the grass and the beautiful shade trees that give me a safe, comfortable place to sit and think.  That exists no matter what's going on in my life...same with sunrises, sunsets, etc.  And the fact that I'm no longer living in the hell I grew up in.  That's something to always be grateful for.

*Noticing the world around me.  Yeah there's things in my life that suck.  There's things in lots of people's lives that suck.  Before I only noticed how things affected me.  But starting to see that maybe ppl who were mean to me on a given day were having a bad day that had nothing to do with me, and that I even had the ability to make someone's day better based on my actions.  It started to become more important to me to think about how I acted and do the right thing, rather than let my anger, frustration, sadness, etc. get the better of me.

*Finding people I can help.  I started volunteering and realized I have something to offer the world.  I also started to do little things where I could, like picking up trash or helping bring grocery carts in from the parking lot.  Little things that allowed me to make the world a bit better through positive energy, rather than taking from it with my negative.

*Learning that my emotions weren't going to kill me.  I used to panic every time I had an emotion and race to do something to stop it.  Now I'm learning that I can stop, take a deep breath, and figure out my next step.

That's what's worked for me.  It may or may not ever work for anybody else.  But it feels wrong for me now to go back to the old ways and tell someone, "It's ok, you don't have to worry about it, we understand."  (Hence the drama on the other blog).  I don't want to add to excuses for why it's ok for someone who has been abused to behave poorly.  I'm working on figuring out a method of support that works for me.  I want people to see the incredible change and freedom I've experienced, but I'm also learning to accept that not all are ready for that and some might never be.  The last thing I'd want to do is hurt someone, especially another survivor.  Just like with my sponsor, I would only give this kind of "tough love" to someone I cared about and really believed could do better.  Just like with the little boy with all the fears that I mentioned last post.  I could've just let him sit out and skip all the activities.  But I cared about him and I wanted to see him succeed so I pushed him.  He got mad at me, he yelled at me, he cried at me, but eventually he had success.  And he came home to his mom smiling and proud.

For years I was the queen of, whenever someone pushed me to do/try something, saying that they were mean, didn't understand, etc.  So I know that this kind of stuff will often not be well received.  So I guess, for now, that's where I struggle.  But I will be forever grateful to my sponsor for truly caring about me, and not just taking the easy way out and saying "oh poor baby it's ok."  She let me get mad at her so I could heal.  Not a lot of people would be willing to do that.  I'm also grateful that I was able to see her message and stay on track.  And I'm grateful to my higher power for bringing her to me at just the right time.

One last thing and then I'm going to shut up because this is getting super long and very circular.  I just want to say to whoever might be reading this and thinking yeah right she doesn't know what the hell she's talking about, or wanting to call bullshit, or thinking it won't work for you or whatever...when I described my whole story to someone online she told me it was one of the worst she'd heard.  Everyone experiences, survives, and heals differently, but I've seen some pretty dark depths.  I'm not saying this all from happy la la unicorns and rainbows perfect happy life land.  As cliche as it sounds, if it worked for me I really genuinely believe it can work for others.  And it's so so SO worth it!  I never thought I could have a life like the one I do now.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


If someone told you to write a list of everything you're afraid of, could you do it?  How long would your list be?

Part of the AA steps is to write a fear inventory, which is just that: a list of fears, their cause, and how they've affected you or caused you to do.

When the topic of fear comes up in meetings, a lot of people say that when they came into the program they didn't think they were afraid of anything.  That was not the case for me.  I knew I had some very real, very intense fears.  But I really didn't realize just how long my list really was.  I told my sponsor it would be easier to list things i'm not afraid of!  When all was said and done I had a list of nearly 70 individual fears, with some broad ones like the "worst case scenario" fear of whatever could possibly go wrong happening.

The idea behind the fear inventory is that a lot of the way we act in life is based on our fears.  For example, my fear of rejection causes me to shy away from potential friends and not allow myself to get close to anyone.  My fear of being hurt causes me to get defensive around ppl, start fights, etc.  These used to always lead me to drink because they were so overwhelming.  Now I'm starting to be able to see them for what they are and not get too crazy overwhelmed.  It's actually been an amazingly freeing experience to read through all my fears with my sponsor.  I've started feeling a new sense of calm and a new ability to deal with struggles/fears when they arise.  It's another really amazing transition.

This fear inventory writing happened about a month ago.  Fast forward to this week and some of it's coming up again in an interesting way.

I work at an outdoor adventure summer camp.  This week we had a little boy (8 years old) who's medical information listed "mental illness: anxiety."  His mom didn't give us much more information except that he's worried about rock climbing (which lots of kids are so that's not a big deal).  From the very beginning this child was acting out like crazy.  He refused to do anything we asked of him, said he wasn't interested in anything about the camp and that all our games were boring.  We knew we were in for a long week.

But as the week wore on I realized that pretty much everything he was doing was out of fear.  Just like my fear caused me to be mean, manipulative, clingy, etc., his was causing him to be what we were considering difficult.  He was refusing to do things because he was afraid.  This really came out on our rock climbing day.  We were getting harnesses and helmets on and I realized that he had disappeared.  I turned around to see him hiding in the van.  I sent my co-instructor ahead with the other kids and I got in the van with him.  He told me he wasn't going, and finally admitted that it was too scary for him.  I told him that by getting a harness and helmet on he had already taken his first small step of bravery.  I promised him that I wouldn't make him do anything too scary, but we were going to spend the day taking more small steps.

I got him out of the van, and even the hike up to the rock climbing site was scary for him because it was on a hillside.  He stopped a few times and told me he wanted/needed/was going to, go back but I kept him going talking about taking more little steps until we eventually accomplish our goal.  We made it up and I found him a place to sit and had him be group photographer while others climbed.  Eventually I got him to help with the back-up belaying jobs (we run it as a rotation so the kids help out first with jobs and then get to climb).  When it got to be his turn to climb he said no and I said I'd just show him the knot to tie in and we'd see how that felt.  We got him tied in and I gave him my hand and asked him to step forward towards the rock.  He grabbed my arm with an unbelievable death grip but he did it.  I asked him to put both hands on the rock and I did, and we took his picture.  I asked him if he wanted to attempt a step up on the rock and he said no so we stopped there and congratulated him on his climbing.  Because really, that's what he did.  It may not have been climbing like the other kids were doing, but for a kid too scared to step out of the van in the parking lot, it was pretty incredible!  I know how scared he was by the grip he had on me, but he faced his fears enough to reach out and put his hands on the rock.  Later on you could see the pride in his face as he told ppl that he'd tried climbing.

On the hike back down we had more issues.  There were some steep spots, and you can't avoid looking down when you're walking downhill.  For the whole first part he insisted on holding my hand and we slowly made our way down.  We continued to talk about little baby steps.  I slowly eased my hand away from him where I could, without ever making him let go.  By the end he was actually running and jumping over things!

The change I saw in him in just that day was incredible.  You could see that some of the fear was gone from him and he was starting to feel confident.  That was on Wednesday.  For the last 2 days of camp we didn't have any issue with him refusing to go.  When he did get scared I could talk to him about it and help him come up with a plan, see that we were safe, etc.  It was just so amazingly cool to see this transition.  But the coolest part was on Friday afternoon when his mom came to pick him up.  She thanked us and said the camp had been amazing for him.  She said that he's always getting scared about everything at home too, but now he tells his mom "Ms. River says I can do anything as long as I take baby steps!"  Totally melted my heart to know I was really having an impact on him.  But then his mom went on to say that he's now verbalizing his fears more, and becoming more willing to talk through them.  Holy shit!  That means I did something life changing.  I gave him tools that will stretch way beyond summer camp.  Or at least the start of tools.  He really did change so much.  By the end of the week he was sitting with and interacting with the group and making friends.  He was far from perfect, and still a very difficult camper, but the change in him was very real.

I couldn't have done all of that for him if I didn't have so many fears of my own.  My co-instructor really struggled to do anything with this boy and just got frustrated.  But I knew how to talk him step by step through a fear because I know what it's like to feel that way.  I know that feeling of lack of control, lack of safety, etc.  His fears come from a very different place than mine, but our fears gave us a connection and allowed me to be in a position where he could trust me.  My fears are lessening these days as I begin to develop my new life and trust in my higher power.  I love that I also now have the ability to use my experience to help someone else.

I started this week of camp angry/frustrated to have another difficult, "bratty" kid, since I'd had a super difficult one last week.  But now I can look back and be grateful.  I'm fairly certain that this boy's week would not have been nearly so good without the right instructor.  Most would've written him out as just being difficult, as I almost did.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I can't believe it's been almost a week since I've posted.  Time flies!

Things got a little crazy around here.  That evil, horrible,annoying day last Sunday got to me.  I'd thought I was going to be able to get through it w/out too much issue but I was very very wrong.  I kept trying to convince myself that it wasn't a big deal.  But it was there subconsciously anyway.  I was angry all day.  Angry at everyone over nothing at all.  I'd literally look at someone and feel like punching them in the face.  Even as I thought I was dealing with it, it was creeping it's way in.

Some time in the afternoon it all hit and I just sorta melted.  I've been doing pretty well at staying in the present and not letting my past shit get me down.  But all at once the past invaded and I was back in the thick of it again.  I was just overwhelmed by it the hell I went through.  By the fact that it was all so insane that I can barely believe it could be real.  The fact that a human (or group of humans) could do that to another....especially a child, and one they're supposed to protect.

I had a meeting with my sponsor that afternoon though I really didn't want to go.  I just didn't feel up to anything.  When I got there I told her I was feeling really deflated and overwhelmed and she said she could tell.  I tried to explain all these crazy thoughts and feelings to her...about trying to process all this craziness.  The thing is, I've moved past the intensely terrifying flashbacks and such.  I can separate the past and present now.  I'm not afraid of my past nor am I controlled by it.  But I also don't know how to put something so gigantically huge behind me.  A person should not go through what I did.  "Normal" people would be shocked to hear what was done to me.  I hate that I carry around a secret so ugly and shocking.  I hate that there's a part of me that would leave people horrified if it were to escape.  It's not that I want to tell people or anything, it just feels like being normal and living a normal life is somehow living a lie.  I mean how could I really be normal when there's so much crazy inside me.  These days I go to work...I talk to my coworkers like a normal person...I go home at the end of the day without feeling body memories and flashbacks and all that other's just weird.

Anyway I tried to explain all that to my sponsor and she sort of got it but neither of us are exactly sure what to do with it.  Basically what it came down to was that I'm feeling a need to make what happened to me more "real," because I'm feeling like if I move on and be happy I'm letting down the little child version of me who was hurt.  I'm sure that sounds really, really, backwards, because it does to me the more I think about it.  Logically, the best thing I could do for little me is to go on and be happy, because that's all little me ever wanted.  But somehow it feels like moving on to normalcy is saying that what happened wasn't that bad.  I also felt like that's what my sponsor was saying, because she was telling me to be grateful because some ppl go through "really bad" abuse.

Now I KNOW that many people are hurt much worse than I am as kids.  Sadly, there are many, many stories of that out there.  But I don't want my story to be minimized either.  It's not about comparing, I just need to be validated for my own pain.  My sponsor suggested that I write it out so I have a "real" copy of it, or that I find someone I can trust and tell them my story.  I've really never fully told my story before.  I've told it online somewhat but never out loud and face to face.  I told my foster mom a little bit, but nowhere close to the whole of it.  Anyway, between my sponsor saying that and my wanting to her to know the extent of it, it just started spilling out.  Well sort of.  There was a major internal war going on.  I was raging inside with so much hatred for the bad ppl and everything that happened.  I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs about the evil fuckers that hurt me.  I wanted to scream and I wanted my sponsor to hear.  But the still terrified part of me wouldn't let the words come out.  But eventually a soft, shaky little voice came out and I just started talking.

I closed my eyes and described what I saw.  I sorta dissociated but not in a bad way.  I just forgot where I was, forgot who was there, and just spoke what happened and what was in my head.  My sponsor asked a few questions but mostly just listened.  When I "came to" I was a bit in shock that I'd really just said all that, but it felt ok.  My sponsor was shocked I think.  She compared it to nazi germany.  Not because of the actual events, but because of the total dehumanization...that my parents saw me as an object for torture not a person/child.  She said they were "sicker than she thought."

I left her house, got in my car, and sat there in shock.  I couldn't believe what I'd just done.  Thankfully I talked to a very supportive friend who helped me focus enough to at least get my car moving and heading home.  I talked to another friend later that night who was helpful as well.  But I was still freaking out so I called my sponsor later to tell her so.  My sponsor proved herself to be amazing yet again.  She said she was honored that I'd chosen her to tell, that she wouldn't tell anyone else, and that it doesn't change anything between us.  When I'd asked her if anything changed she said "what would change?"  I told her very honestly about my fears that my craziness and my horrible stories are going to scare her away but she promised me they won't.

The next morning at work I got a text from her.  Now keep in mind this woman is a bit more than twice my age and definitely a different generation.  She almost never uses her cell phone.  She uses her land line almost exclusively, with no caller ID, call waiting, or any of that.  Oh and dial up internet so I get busy signals from that a lot.  So seeing a text from her was definitely a surprise!  The text said, "I love you."  She tells me that a lot, and it's always weird for me.  I struggle a lot with the l-word because it's meant so many crazy things in my life.  It was always used in very twisted ways growing up, in order to get me to do things.  Even when I am close to someone, and am pretty sure I have all the feelings that would constitute love, I've never been able to tell someone I love them and feel ok with it.  So when she tells me she loves me...which she started doing fairly early and it kinda weirded me out...I never know what to say and usually say "ok" or "thanks."  I'm like the guy from a bad chick flick! lol  Anyway, for some reason this text really meant (means) a lot to me.  I looked at it a lot throughout the day and I still have it saved on my phone.

Since then my mind and my subconscious have been going crazy trying to make sense of all this.  I'm back on the emotional roller coaster...rage, grief, pain, gratitude (at having survived), etc.  I had really intense nightmares again last night for the first time in a while.  But as things progress it feels different this time.  I feel like I have a partner in the battle.  Someone else is fighting with me.  Someone else knows, but is on my side.  Up until now, the only face to face people who know what happened are the ones that did it.  The fact that someone innocent of it all is now with me to fight is kind of amazing.  Slowly the emotions seem to be settling down.  The intensity of everything is lessening.  The question in my head now is just what to do with it all.  I so badly want this new life, but I don't know how to let the past go.  Plain and simple...when it starts to go away too much I pull it back because letting go confuses me.  Mostly I just want it to me something.  I don't want to have suffered for nothing.  I want it to mean something somewhere.  It just seems too big not to.  I mean does shit like that really just happen and then we move on?  My sponsor had a few different answers on this:

1. When I get through the 12 steps and am ready to help others, I'll have the ability to reach out to others who have been through what I have.
2. It means something for me and my life that I can't see/understand yet.
3. Stop thinking about it, the asking will drive you crazy!

My mind knows she's right on all 3, but my heart struggles.  Maybe I just want some closure on all of this.  Some day maybe I'll put more of my story up here, but it's just a whole long line of crazy.  Maybe I just need some sort of "end" to the crazy so I can feel ready to move on.  But of course I have no idea what that end would be, or if it could ever exist (aside from me dying which I don't plan to do any time soon).  But for now I'm about to fall asleep so I guess I'd better stop the rambling.


I'm grateful to be alive.  It's taken me nearly a year from being in the hospital to be able to say that but I am.  My sponsor was telling me about a story of a man who had killed many young women, most of them runaways.  We talked about how lucky I am that I survived living on the streets as a 14/15 year old.  It's one of the many things in my life that don't make sense.  It seems god wants me here for something, so I'm hoping I'll find that reason somewhere.  Otherwise I would've died at the many opportunities.  Can't imagine he'd spare me through so much just for a random mediocre existence.  I just looked at my nightstand and got a glimpse of a painted rock my sponsor gave me very early on when we started working together.  She'd made it with her grandkids but decided to give it to me.  It says "believe," and she's always telling me that's what I need to do.  I'm working on it.  For now, I'm grateful to be alive and grateful for "believe" rocks. :)

Thursday, June 14, 2012


I'm exhausted.  I'm having a really rough week for a bunch of different reasons I don't have the energy to list right now.  There are a lot of things I could've/should've been doing this evening, but I decided that more than anything I needed to give my body a chance to recuperate.  I made the conscious decision to shut myself in to rest.  It's important to me that I make it clear it's a decision and not me isolating and going back to old ways or any of that.

But in this evening of rest, 3 different people have called me (ok one was an IM).  3!  I didn't have to seek them out they came to me.  And that doesn't even include my nightly conversation w/my sponsor.  (Counting her it would be 4.  Ooooh)  How amazing is that?!  My life is so different now.  There are people out in the world that care about me and reach out to me.  Tonight, in the midst of the crap that I am buried under, that makes my heart feel good.  I have friends.  And people care.

One friend tonight told me that she'd been impressed by my ability to get a life.  That may be one of my all time favorite compliments. :)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

A big FU to father's day!

I'm sure there are a lot of great dads out there who take wonderful care of their kids and deserve a holiday and Hallmark cards to tell them so.  But right now, if I hear one more commercial about, "tell your dad how great he is," or "doesn't your dad deserve the best?" I'm going to strangle someone!

I fucking hate father's day.  Ads on tv, on the radio, displays at stores, etc. etc. all celebrating the man who not only hurt me but allowed many others to do the same.  The man who chose his drug addiction over me.  And the man who never seemed to give a shit about me for anything other then sex.

I realize the "holiday" (I hate all the bs hallmark made holidays anyway) wasn't created for dads like mine, but that doesn't stop what jumps in to my head every time I hear about it.  Some of it is downright creepy when you read it from my, "remember the special times you had with your dad," or "A daddy is a special part of a daughter's life."  And then there's all the guilt trip shit going around on facebook about "share this if you love your dad and are so glad for his part in your life" and all sorts of crap like that.  Sooooo....I get what the holiday is about, and I'm happy for those that enjoy it, but for now I just need to say....






OK I feel a little tiny bit better now.  Is it June 18 yet?


I'll still add a gratitude because it's still good to have one in the midst of a rant.  Actually it might be more important in the midst of a rant.  I'm grateful for my foster dad who allowed me to see what a dad's love is supposed to look like as he cared for all the little kids, but especially my baby sister.  And I'm grateful for the fact that he understands that I can't handle father's day and doesn't get upset or offended when I refuse to acknowledge it for him or celebrate it with him.    

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Last night's meeting (my most favoritest women's meeting) was on the topic of letting go of anger and forgiving those who have hurt you, especially those who hurt you as a child.  Needless to say it was a rough one for me.  Good, but rough.

I felt ok after it, but there's been a lot of emotional fallout today.  The cool thing is though, I've been upset, pissed off, and generally wanting to break things, but I haven't had a single desire to drink or to cut.  I recognized the feelings, knew where they were coming from, and didn't feel the need to run from them or push them away.  I went to a meeting today but that didn't really help.  I couldn't focus because I was antsy and annoyed with everything to the point of feeling kind of sick.  My softball game helped a little but I knew I still needed to get some energy out.  So when I got home from my game, before even going in the house, I went to my friend/neighbor/IOP/AA buddy's house and asked if she'd go for a walk with me.  We'd planned on going but she'd been saying she didn't want to.  Thankfully she was easy to convince.  I cried a bit when I started explaining to her what was up, but not for long.  She has some of the same past issues as me (we don't know details of each other's pasts but we know enough...) and it was like she was finishing my sentences.  It felt so good to be with someone who got it, and to be moving and getting that adrenaline out, that after just a few blocks we were talking and laughing about fun stuff.  There was more serious talk too, but it had a positive spin on it and I didn't feel so lost in the emotion.

I remember in a meeting a while back a woman said that she felt she was really struggling because she "still gets angry sometimes."  I said I thought it should never be the goal to not get angry.  I tried stuffing away my feelings or denying them for a long long time and it only got me in trouble.  The trick is figuring out how to deal with them.  I have legitimate stuff to be angry about.  What happened to me should not have happened.  The trick is not letting that anger destroy me.  A lot of times I don't know what to do with the anger, especially when it's really intense.  But today I thought through it and I chose to take a walk with an understanding friend.  I didn't go inside and stew, and I didn't freak out.  And for that I am proud, and very excited.  Progress.

As for gratitude...I think most of this post has been gratitude...I'm grateful for being able to work through stuff like this.  But to add a "formal" gratitude, I'm grateful for my awesome neighbor.  She keeps me honest in going to meetings (she was struggling to go so I told her I'd go with her anytime she's been very good for me!).  We also go for walks almost every night which has been a great way to relax and process things.  Plus when we go together it's less scary so we can go for longer walks even if it's starting to get a bit dark.  We met by chance in IOP...probably never would've known our similarities otherwise even though we live just a few houses down.  We were also in IOP together for weeks before we ever learned how close to each other we live! lol

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


So I realized that I've been forgetting for quite a while now to end my posts with what I'm grateful for.  It's definitely not from lack of gratitude.  I've never been more grateful in my life.  But to make up for my forgetfulness, I thought I'd add it in here.

So much of it is hard to even put into words, but I know ppl who read regularly can see how wonderful things have turned for me.  I'm so grateful to have feelings again, and especially to have the chance to experience this amazing internal happiness.  I never thought I was a person that could experience happiness.  I never even knew what happiness was.  I had learned a bit about having a good time, and I thought that was the best I could hope for.  But this lasting happiness thing is beyond incredible.

I'm grateful for real, honest, fun that I can remember the next day, I'm not ashamed of, and I'm not sick from.

I'm grateful that I can see the bigger picture now.  I don't see each thing that goes wrong as a potentially earth-shattering tragedy.  I don't race to block out emotions before they begin.  I know that good or bad, events are part of a greater whole.  I don't have to be terrified of every moment because I can see beyond and see that good will come back again.

I'm so so grateful that my fear is gone.  Well not gone, but not as paralyzing as it used to be.  It's amazing. I never realized how much fear I carried around with me all the freakin time until it lifted.  I can breathe better, my shoulders hurt less, etc.  I'm becoming less afraid of social situations and more confident because I'm realizing I am a person of worth.  I have just as much right to be alive and be happy as anyone else does.

I'm grateful for my sponsor.  She told me the other day that she'd heard someone say that "if your sponsor's not on your resentment list she's not doing her job."  The idea is that a sponsor is supposed to challenge you and frustrate you because she makes you face what you don't want to face and mine absolutely does that.  But I don't resent her for it because I can see how much she cares about me.  She cares enough to listen to my problems, big or small.  She's patient when I tell her about things that happened to me.  She doesn't judge or shame, but also doesn't let me keep playing the victim.  That's been one of the hardest things for me to swallow in all this.  As part of writing out resentments you have to write your part in them.  She agreed with me that I had no fault with the ppl who hurt me as a child, but said that my part in it is that I continue to carry it with me every day....basically, that I was going through life with an attitude of, "How can you expect that of me?  How can you expect me to (show up on time, follow rules, make it to classes, get homework done, etc.) when I was (abused as a child, have no family, lived homeless, went hungry, etc.)?"  I wouldn't say it out loud, but I used it as my excuse for everything.  I have so much respect for my sponsor because she loved me enough to tell me that.  It's so amazing that I found this woman basically by accident (or more likely through a higher power "accident"), but she is so perfect for me.  I know I wouldn't be anywhere close to where I am now without her.

I'm grateful for AA.  As much as I used to hate meetings, I now often go twice/day.  Of course that's going to change once I'm working, but it's just so cool to have so many ppl who support me and want to hear from me.  I've never had that experience of walking in to a room and being welcomed and having ppl excited to see me.  But now I have it every day.

I'm grateful for everyone that's been a part of my path that's gotten me to here.  Today I am so, so blessed.  I never thought that would be something I would say but it's true.  Sure my life has a lot of things that could be better, but I have this amazing feeling of peace and joy inside my heart.  I think if a lot of ppl knew my past story they might think it weird that I feel so blessed by my life now.  The old me would've thought it weird too.  But i'm finally beginning to separate from my past and have a real life for the first time.  And there just aren't words for how grateful I am for that.  It doesn't mean that all the past shit is gone, and it takes hard work every day to be able to continue to experience this good, but the good is there.  And now because of how I grew up, I am able to appreciate the good a lot more than most.  Many might say that they are grateful for food to eat, but that gratitude goes deeper when you've been hungry.  Same with a warm place to sleep after you've been homeless.  I used to be so resentful of ppl who didn't appreciate what they had...or ppl who had the things I wanted but couldn't get.  But now I'm just so grateful for this new life that I've been given.  I'm grateful to be safe, healthy, and have ppl who care about me.

I better stop there, I'm about to get all teary-eyed again!  

The bad turning to good and the job that almost wasn't

How's that for a cryptic title?  lol  This all might be a little random at first, but trust me, it's going somewhere.  I think.

Sleep continues to be one of my biggest issues.  I have seen vivid, wake up in a panic type of nightmares are almost non-existant now.  where I used to sleep maybe a couple of hours/night and 5 would be a miracle, I'm now averaging about 5 hours/night.  In that sense I don't have much to complain about, but it's still a struggle.  I have so much fear at night that it's so so hard to get to sleep.  No matter how much I try to convince myself I'm safe, the closer my subconscious feels me getting to drifting off the more it'll start to fight it.  My whole body just gets terrified of sleep and night and darkness.  Once I finally do get to sleep I sleep really well and really deeply because I'm so tired.  When I get in to sleep like that, a freight train couldn't wake me up (which makes me more scared of going to sleep, because that little voice in my head reminds me that if someone came in to my room and I was sleeping like that there's no way I'd hear them right away).  I think my body feels safer sleeping in the daytime, so my bedtime will start to shift later and later into the night and I'll start sleeping later and later into the day.  I hate that because the daytime is the time I can enjoy without the fear, I'd much rather be awake for all of that and sleep through the darkness which I still hate.  But over these last few weeks where I haven't had work or school, it's gotten pretty bad.  Some nights I can't even fall asleep until it's already starting to get light.

Sooo...the problem with all of this is that I'm now starting in to my summer work at a summer camp.  My summer job requires me to wake up at 5:30.  For someone that often can't fall asleep until 4, that's not a good thing.  Yesterday (Monday) was supposed to be my first day of full time work after a couple of days of training the week before.  I did everything I could to fall asleep early.  I did ok all things considered, and managed to fall asleep by about 1:00.  Unfortunately I forgot to set my back up, across the room, noisy alarm and the 3 alarms from my cell phone were not enough to wake me out of sleep through a freight train mode.  (When I have everything set, there's 6 different alarms that beep at various times, patterns and volumes....that generally works but I've still slept through all of them!).  Unfortunately yesterday I woke up to a phone call from my boss, 20 min. after I was supposed to have been at work.  Ugh.

Thankfully I had laid everything out the night before so I raced out the door as fast as I could.  Even still it took me 25 min. to get there (which is impressively good for me since I'm so not a morning person), so I was 45 min. late all together.  Not a good way to start.  I went to the camp director to apologize, and she told me one of the other director type ppl was waiting to talk to me in the office.  Ruh roh.  So I go in and she tells me that since they weren't sure what was going on with me they'd call someone in to replace me for the day and they were sending me home.  Ok sucky but not a big deal.  Then she added in "Oh and Mark wants you to give him a call.  Sorry."  Mark is one of the head owner guys (this camp has multiple branches throughout the city, so having to talk to Mark is a big deal.  The addition of "sorry" at the end of the sentence made it that much scarier.

I went home and called Mark right away.  I wasn't sure if he was waiting for my call or what.  He didn't answer so I left a message.  I was actually pretty proud of the message I left.  Short and simple, and I took responsibility.  I just said I'm really sorry, I screwed up, I forgot to set my backup alarms, it won't happen again.  Then I spent the next few hours staring at my phone waiting for him to call!  I didn't want to do much else cus I wanted to be ready when the call came.  What amazed me about all of this though is that I never freaked out.  Yes I was frustrated and upset.  I cried, and I shut myself in my room and I didn't want to talk to anyone.  But I never had that omg the world is ending what am I ever going to do type of panic attack.  Even when my sometimes overly lovey/supportive roommate came and wanted to talk and hug me and whatever I was able to tell her calmly that I just needed time to process everything and be pissed.  But I didn't panic, and I never once had the thought that drinking over it would be a good idea.  I didn't get the fuck its at all.  One of my very first thoughts was that drinking clearly wouldn't make anything any better, and I was glad to be sober to work through it.  I didn't have the desire to cut either.

I had made it back home a little before 9:00, and by noon I was already out of the house and at an AA meeting.  The topic of the meeting was what has changed for us in sobriety.  I was able to speak and say that I might be losing my job, but the change was that I felt strangely at peace with it.  I was upset about it (which was obvious cus i got a little choked up while talking), but I felt in my heart that somehow things would work out.  Either I would get to keep the job or maybe it wasn't the path I was meant to be on and that god was directing me towards something new.  Even as I said that it was weird to hear it coming out of my mouth.  The more I think about it, I think that peacefulness is the definition of faith.  Faith is something I've always struggled with, but I really felt secure in that somehow things would be ok.  So that was the first bit of good that came out of the bad: I realized that I have the ability to be calm and not panic under stressful situations.

For the rest of the day I panicked about the phone call, but mostly because I just needed to know one way or the other.  I had already determined that neither answer was going to define me as a person.  About ten min. til 5:00, when I was dialing the number to call Mark again, he called me.  Gulp.  He said that I had really let ppl down because I was one of the few returning staff ppl at this particular location, and that they'd really needed me to be the voice of experience and help out the new staff.  I told him I felt really bad about this, and was bummed that I didn't get to be a part of showing the new staff around as I'd been looking forward to it.  (I really had been excited to be in the position of knowing what's going on since I'd worked there last summer, rather than one of the ones walking around confused like I'd been before).  Mark went on to say that everyone had talked about it, and that some of the higher ups just didn't want to deal with me anymore.  But Mark had fought for me, because he's seen how good I am with the kids and the parents, and what a hard worker I am, and he didn't want to lose me.  See Mark and I also worked together on a project last fall and I think we bonded during that (I needed hours for a class so I ended up helping run this event with the two owners of the camp.  Talk about nerve-wracking!).  It was really cool to know that he had stood up for me.

But here's the part that really wows me.  While yes we came together well on the fall event, and it did go amazingly well, I almost blew it completely just a few days prior to it.  I was supposed to have picked up a bunch of the materials that had been made.  Instead, on that particular day I was passed out drunk on the couch in the middle of the day.  Mark didn't know it was because of drinking that I didn't do what I was supposed to, but really it doesn't matter.  I'd had a whole day to do something that was my responsibility and I didn't do it.  He ended up having to rush out and do the pick up since he was much closer to the place, even though he had a ton of other stuff to do.  So it really is just so so amazing to me that someone will still stand up for me and give me a second chance even when I've so blatantly screwed up.  It's hard for me to trust anyone for anything, so to know that someone has seen me mess up and still fought for me to have another chance brought tears to my eyes.  In my eyes Mark had every reason to be done with me...after the event last fall, then calling in sick to training last friday (I really was sick but I can see how it would look bad), and then being so late to the first full day of camp.  It's just good for my heart to see somebody look beyond that and still value me.  It really just amazes me and moves me.

So the official deal now is that the guy who was called in to replace me yesterday is going to continue to replace me for the week.  We get a different group of campers each week and it doesn't make sense for him to bond with them the first day and then put me in there.  Also, if I'm even 5 min. late to work again for the rest of the summer that's the end of my employment.  Ugh.  I have to say this is absolutely TERRIFYING to me!  It's not just the sleep issue either.  Punctuality has always been a struggle of mine even when I wake up on time.  I think it's an anxiety thing, that I subconsciously put off going out anywhere because everything scares me.  I really don't want to let Mark down, and I want to show him he's made a good choice in keeping me on staff.  But I just feel like there's so much pressure on me right now to do something I'm really not very good at doing.  I know how to be on time in theory, but for some reason stuff gets in the way.  I'd set my alarm yesterday so I could be there early and was going to bring a book and read.  Yeah, oops.  I had planned on getting up every day this week like I'm going to work so I can practice, but I already blew that this morning.  I didn't get to bed until really late so I decided to again not set the back up alarms.  I realized later that that was stupid bc it's training my brain again to not have to wake up when the alarms go.  At least this morning I vaguely remember hearing them.  Monday I don't remember hearing at all though I remember there being weird noises in my dream!  To show you how ridiculous the sleep thing is for the time I woke up this morning the sun was fully up and it comes straight in my window in the morning.  It was so hot that I was literally drenched in sweat but even that hadn't been enough to wake me.

Anyway, as I was driving to my Monday night meeting I was thinking about what an amazing day I'd just had.  I'd learned that I have the ability to be at peace, have faith, and see the bigger picture.  I saw that ppl will stand up for me even when I've screwed up in the past.  And I saw that work I put in is noticed and respected, and does have meaning.

And best of all...I still have a job.  :)  I never lost a job while drinking, I'd like to keep that true in sobriety too, even though I almost lost my winter job!  (For the same issue of showing up late and calling in sick for lots of days....though I was dealing with a ton of shit with getting sober and it was at least an hour drive to get there.  Bad decision making on my part taking that job, but there wasn't much choice then!)

Friday, June 1, 2012


I was telling a friend earlier today about how happy I've been feeling lately.  It's true.  There's been a lot of happiness in my life.  And it's cool because it's happiness that's coming from inside, not from external events.  That means that I don't have to depend on everything around me being super duper for me to feel ok.  (Of course I like the super duper, but that's another story).

What I realized tonight is that it's not just that I'm feeling happy.  It's that I'm feeling.  I've always been a pretty emotionally closed off person.  For example, on 9/11 a friend and I danced around singing that REM song, "It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine."  Yeah totally oblivious to the fact that lots of people were dying in a huge scary tragedy.  (Sorry, don't hate me!).  I learned early on that feeling was dangerous, and caused things to be more painful, so I stopped doing it.  Really as I think about it I'm not sure I ever learned how to feel because I was never given the chance to express anything.

Regardless, that's all different now.  I'm feeling things, and wow is it intense.  Last night I was so overwhelmed with how good my life was becoming that it brought me to tears.  Now tonight I was driving home from my hockey game and thinking about how amazingly beautiful the city lights are at night.  Then it jumped in to my head that some of those lights might be the homes of families that can't afford food to eat.  And then I was suddenly so so painfully sad for all the people going hungry in the world.  It was so overwhelming I almost had to pull over and re-group.  It's not that before I didn't know there were hungry ppl.  It's just that now I'm experiencing things on this new, deep level.  The good, the bad, the everything.  I'm feeling it.  It's intense, terrifying, and so exciting all at once.  I'm not sure if this makes sense to anyone else because it's something inside that's so strong but I don't really have words for. I'm just in awe of the world right now.

(Now, in answer to the other questions that may have arisen from this post:  Yes I play hockey.  Ice hockey.  Yes really.  I love it.  It's fun, and it's my legal opportunity to hit people.  No we don't check, but I still get to hit people and be physical.  No, we lost our game but it was close.  2-1.  I almost scored. :) )