I am safe in my little home with water and electricity. I am crying because some are not. I was going to drive along the McKenzie Hwy, maybe take some flowers to a friend who lost her mom last week Now, she may have lost her home and the McKenzie Hwy is closed as fires move swiftly through the area razing homes and small towns.
My back is killing me, with moments of relief. I call a recommended chiropractor. He is concerned for my back pain, concerned that he is unable to see me. He was evacuated from his home last night at midnight. “Screw my back” I want to say, we need to be concerned for you. He is on the other line looking up the number of someone he recommends.
The windshield repairman came to my home to replace my car’s windshield that was busted out due to a break in. There was a rash of break ins and theft in the neighborhood. People gotta fund their meth habit somehow. The repairman was cheerful as he masked up, replacing the glass as a shower of ash fell from the sky. Have a nice day, he said handing me the bill. I gave him a tip.
I see online, another friend’s home was spared (near Ashland), while all the homes around her are black rubble.
I am comfortable in my little home, but I am crying.
Before the pandemic, I was part time nannying for twin two year boys. One with straight hair and cowlick, other one all curls. I am going to starting helping out with them again. Yesterday was good medicine taking care of these energetic, curious, precious boys, playing in their garden, chasing them around their property to pick blackberries, grapes and tomatoes, hanging out in the pen with the goats and chickens. Then back inside to throw some legos around, then back out for water play. All the while making sure no one needed to sit on the potty, doling out snacks and assuring they were safe at all times. They didn’t want to stay in any one place for too long.
One thing is clear, I need to start doing pilates and other forms of strength building exercises. By the end of my time with them, it was hard to get up and down. I’ve been on the heating pad, alternating with ice packs since yesterday afternoon. Today is probably all about rest, some stretching, and an acupuncture appointment. I did get to go by a friend’s yesterday evening to meet a new female corgi puppy. I can not wait to pet sit for her! So glad I meet her, I almost turned around while driving over to get back on the heating pad, it was painful. I’m new to back pain. Thank you friends who loaned out your heating pad and gave me arnica gel. We get by with a little help from our friends. Keep your core strong.
Happy three year sobriety birthday to me. To what do I owe this sobriety? As they say, definitely something bigger that me, AA, dear friends (it doesn’t hurt when one of your best friends has been sober for 20 something years), lots of therapy, and Neurofeedback.
My father was an alcoholic, went to treatment maybe five times. A couple of times he went to Hazelden. When I was around ten years old, my three older siblings and I attended a family week at Hazelden. I loved it and learned a lot. I really got that alcoholism is a disease, it’s not the person. It can be treated as most medical conditions can. Any idea I had that I could get my daddy to quit drinking went away. I learned that was not in my control.
I began drinking in high school. Drinking was kinda a social norm in the group I ran with. It was definitely a social norm for my parents and their friends. Drinking was our fun time, ha. Water skiing with Gar and snakes on the Pearl River was the other fun time. I drank to excess. Not daily. I did have some blackouts. Attending the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss, a derogatory name that should not be used) was like going to the country club, it was one big party. My boyfriend, Tayloe, was a Pike, a Pi Kappa Alpha. I was initiated as a Pike little sister. It may have been the number one party fraternity on campus. I hardly remember attending classes. Passing grades would show that I did though.
When my high school, college sweetheart, Tayloe and I broke up, I moved to Missoula, MT where my brother taught at the University. I finished college there. Excited to actually be studying. But yes, continuing with the party mode, finding the right friends to continue that habit with. That’s how I met my daughter’s father, partying. I got pregnant, we married. We moved to the east coast with no stability in our relationship, jobs, etc. That didn’t last long. The final straw was when my then husband, went out to a party with friends and volunteered me to stay at home with their kid and ours. My reaction helped fuel the premise he liked to claim about me, that I was crazy.
My two year old daughter and I went back to Mississippi. I realized my drinking was problem. My parents agreed to take care of my daughter while I went to rehab at the Mississippi hospital program right in Jackson where we lived. It was a really good program. When I got out, AA was my life. My daddy and I shared some good talks and of course he was supportive. Truthfully, I can’t remember when I started drinking again. It was sometime when I was working at Lemuria Bookstore and met my next husband to be. He was a good drinker, charming and a good dad to my daughter. Later, I discovered what it’s like to be married to someone who is passive aggressive. That made for a good reason to drink during our marriage! No one “makes” you drink, but as an alcoholic without good coping skills, it was easy to give in to drinking. After 11 years together, we divorced. I was blamed for asking for the divorce and breaking up our family. His love affairs outside our marriage and lack of taking responsibility for anything that might make him look anything less than a nice guy had nothing to do with our failed marriage! He did a great job of playing my daughter against me. All this was even more reason to drink and to attempt suicide. Hence, my second period of recovery and abstinence. I was sober for many years. Started to drink again, and again don’t remember exactly when or why. This go around, I drank alone, not all the time. When sadness struck, such as a failed attempt for my daughter and I to enjoy each other, it would send me to the bottle. That would be a wine bottle or two. Many didn’t realize I drank, some were probably highly suspect that I did. Once my daughter cut me off completely and I lost contact with my grandchildren, the sadness came often. After a night of drinking, alone, I impulsively poured a bottle of Xanax down my throat and woke up to a handsome paramedic standing over me.
That was three years ago. That’s my story as they say in AA.
I honestly, think and feel that sobriety is going to stick. I say this while remaining humble. However, there is nothing in me that wants a drink. The physical craving is not there as it was before. I think that is a benefit of the neurofeedback. Emotionally, I’ve come a long way, have greater insights and tools. And last but not least, I have surrounded myself with the people who love me and I love them. Many have been there through the thick and thin with me. Thank you, may I be there for you in times of joy and trouble.
Today happens to be Tayloe’s “birth” birthday as well. He is deceased, I think of him often. That’s another story.
Last night, my musician friend, hosted a live performance via facebook. I was able to invite friends to the “party”. For about an hour, I was able to imagine us sitting in a public place and feel the connection the music created. Then it was back to Netflix, along with a little ice cream.
This morning I am hesitant to go on social media. I need a break from some of the information on there, but it was such a treat in these times to have a party last night.
I have been humbled. The earth seems a little more pleased with how things are. When we get back to daily lives, I do hope we remain mindful of this time, and not take all we do have for granted.
A few months before social distancing, I was in a group doing Contemplative collage. A method used to help create writing prompts. It reveals symbols and insight. Thank goodness I have a stack of National geographic. This afternoon, our group is sharing via conference call. I’ll share my latest collage.
Getting ready to leave the Eugene cocoon. In fact, I delayed leaving by a day. It’s been so comforting and good for the soul to be here. After living here before for 20 years, some strong authentic friendships developed. Friendships were made from different places of work, from the childcare I ran for several years, from raising my daughter in this community and from the women’s theater group I took part in for several years.
The women’s theater group, Get Down with Your Sweet Self, created theater pieces from personal story. In a safe space, we shared life stories that were heart warming, heartbreaking and sometimes comical. Tight bonds were established. With many of these friends and friends from other areas of life here, we reunite and it’s as if no time has passed while getting to the heart of the matter. We’ve held each other up during hard times and created some hysterically fun times together. During my stay this week, they have held me in my grief. The grief of losing connection with my daughter and my 3-year-old twin grandchildren. A choice my daughter feels is right for her. So I am honoring her choice and honoring my own loss of her and my grandchildren.
Tomorrow, I’ll travel to Ashland, Oregon for the night. Then ease myself out of this cocoon with a stay in San Francisco with my dear friend, Marian. Stay tuned, probably a week away from crossing the border.