Archive for January, 2008

Thanks to everyone

Friday, January 18th, 2008

I hope sharing our story can help someone else going through a similar thing and if you are not I hope you find this story just what it is a real story about a real family and one woman fighting her way back to living again. Thanks

Life is a Gift

Monday, January 14th, 2008

The only way I can describe the last nineteen years is a gift from God. AA has shown me how to live a life of making my own choices, letting people into my life and finally understanding the difference between religion and spirituality. For me the spiritual part of my life is who I am now. There is a reason why I lived through a life of addiction and self-abuse.

My family became the innocent victims but we came together and fought and are still fighting to learn and grow. We have been through a lot of counseling over the years individually and as a family. It hasn’t been easy at times. We all have had our own individual pain to deal with. What I have observed is not one of us has given into whatever has gone on in our lives and not worked to make it better for ourselves.

I am so unbelievably proud of both of my daughters. They got themselves through college by working hard and during those years they had to face their own demons. There I was all the time wanting to jump in and save them and fix all their problems. Today I can say that it is not my job to do and that is not what they want from me, they want support and encouragement. It took me a long time to accept that and at times I struggle still.

My love for them is so strong that at times it’s difficult to manage. Boundaries have also been difficult to maintain in this family. We have been so intertwined in each others lives, which has caused many problems—bigger than they should have been. We all knew it and identify with it, we went to counseling to try and fix it; as I’ve learned many things are easier said than done. With the help, support, and guidance of the people in AA I’ve learned that it’s okay to be wrong, it’s okay to need help and its okay not to be perfect.

Missy went through a very short, unhealthy marriage but was able to see when that unhealthiness wasn’t benefiting her, her ex or her son. She went through a lot of pain and it broke my heart. All I wanted to do was make it better and take away her pain; but I couldn’t. At the same time Sara was suffering through an eating disorder that scared me, and continues to scare me to death. But eventually she saw what she was doing to herself and she has been getting the help she needed for a while now. I wanted to take that away for her too. Those all too familiar feelings of guilt continue to eat at me. I try not to beat myself up for everything that doesn’t go right for my family, but it’s very difficult. I often think that if I had made some different choices, then the paths of my family would have been different. But dwelling on that thought gets me nowhere.

I am in awe of the way my daughters coped with their pain and the choices they made to get through it. I used alcohol and drugs as a kid to cope with my pain and continued to use until I was so physically and mentally addicted I felt trapped in a world with no doors. Then I experienced a miracle. I did find a very small door but I had to reach out to a lot of people to get me through that door. To all those people involved with me, who stuck with me, and from AA who showed me the right direction I am incredibly grateful.

I thank God that Missy and Sara did not choose the path I did. The tendencies are there for both of them which they discovered the first time they took a drink of alcohol and it scared them. Today Missy remarried to a great guy and Sara is getting married next year to also a great guy. They are happy in their careers and are successful. They are hard workers, which is something that must run in our family.

I truly believe that my husband has dealt with his own issues. Today he does not drink or use drugs and with many years of practice he has become a good father. Things have been difficult between him and the girls because they had become so close to me. They love him and can now see him as a faithful and loving man. He is definitely one of the hardest working individuals I have ever come across. He has worked hard his whole life to achieve his dream of becoming a restaurant owner and today he owns two. We have not become monetarily rich from our success, but we feel rich in many other ways. Our lives have taken the paths they did for a reason, a reason we sometimes can understand and sometimes become very frustrated with.

I’m fifty-five years old and suffer a lot of physical consequences because of my addiction over the years. This past year my health has gotten much worse. I have been diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s. It started out as just being very forgetful and then moved to feeling disoriented during familiar activities or tasks. I began finding myself in places suddenly not knowing why I was there. I began having difficulty recognizing familiar people in my life whom I’ve known for years.

Since my mental state has begun to worsen, I’ve once again been seeing pain and fear in the eyes of my girls. They have been helping my husband fight through the denial of this diagnosis. Curtis and I have been married for 32 years and this past year he has by far been the most supportive, loving and loyal than I’ve ever seen him. There are days when I cannot even get out of bed and I don’t know why. I’ve lost my independence, which was very important to me. I cannot drive nor do many things alone; however that stubborn streak in me comes back when I am having a good day and I feel like no one can hold me back, yet in a flash I feel weak, insecure and scared. I don’t even ask why anymore because I know why; taking drugs, over 100 pills on some days and drinking alcohol everyday for 25 years. I truly believe, as well as my Dr., that this abuse has contributed to the early onset of this terrible disease.

My husband and I cry together, afraid of the unknown but also knowing that God has a plan for me. Part of that plan, I believe, is to write this book and share with the world the plain fact that if this can happen to me, it can happen to anyone. If this book touches just one person’s heart and mind and helps them in some way, then I achieved what I set out to do. That pit in my stomach rushes back every time I know of or think about the people suffering from addiction of any kind. It gets a hold of you and manipulates you, toys with you until it has you hooked. My heart goes out to all of you experiencing this.

As a family we have discussed the repercussions. Of writing this book and being so brutally honest about what has happened in our lives. People are judgmental and they will judge me and that’s okay.

AA was and is my savior, but for some people there are other ways. Find what it is that works for you and don’t be afraid of it; just dive in with everything you’ve got.

I cry a lot now and I believe it’s all of my years of feelings just pouring out. I don’t want things to end now for me. I want more grandchildren; I want more years of love with my family. Things are moving too fast but I’m going to a great Alzheimer’s research clinic and if there is hope for me it will come. We just keep praying because I feel like I have a lot of life left in me. At times, I’m just a bit goofy is all. That is how I see best to describe myself, especially at this stage of the disease. Everyone is different and their symptoms vary.

Today I pray that I’m able to have many more wonderful years with my family and friends. I have had the opportunity to work for and meet great friends in my life. They are supportive and I believe I have said before, its hard for me to believe I am worthy of having such caring people in my life after the pain I have cause so many people over the course of my life. But I work every day to pray for the courage to forgive myself. One thing I have learned about myself is that I really am a good person and it’s easier for me to forgive others, be less judgmental of other people and be there whenever I am needed for someone else. My goal for today is to be as kind to myself as I am to other people.

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