Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"Broken Promises, Mended Fences" by Richard Meryman

Feeling a little stuck on what to post about today, so I wandered the book stacks in the university library. I know where to find the AA books and that's where I went. I came across this book called "Broken Promises, Mended Fences" by Richard Meryman. It's a good book. Looks like no one has checked it out from the library in a long, long time. Copyright says 1984, but it covers a classic topic and seemed timeless when I read it. I am not going to check out the library copy, but I might pick up a copy on Amazon. Used copies are cheap. It's about recovery, alcoholics, an alcoholic mother, etc... living with the disease of alcoholism. And it's true, a real story, with real people.

The reviews on Amazon say this--

"By A Customer
This is not a book about Alcoholism. It is a book about Recovery. The true story of Abby Andrews is a unique and moving testament of hope ... an inspiring account of one woman's struggle for her life - and of her family's loyalty and overriding love - in her fight against alcohol dependency. Sometimes shocking, often exhilarating, it is the vivid odyssey of Aby's painful ascent from her own private hell to the small daily triumphs of recovery...
Comment Comment | Permalink | Was this review helpful to you? Yes No (Report this)

3.0 out of 5 stars Life Without Alcohol..., February 3, 2007
By Betty Burks "Betty Burks" (Knoxville, TN) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Broken Promises (Paperback)
This book about recovery from alcoholism appealed to me as someone I value is such a drinker and I wish he would seek help. Life without alcohol isn't dull like your senses are if you drink even locally made beer. It is not dark and gloomy. With clear thinking and not a befuddled mind, the recovered alcoholic will see that the world can be beautiful, people are better-looking (you can learn a lot by people-watching on the buses when you're alert and interested), and you can hold your head up and actually smile back. Some people will talk to you when you do that. This person I knows pretends to listen but his senses are dulled by a hangover, and he ofttimes doesn't even remember seeing you at all. He certainly can't remember what you said and gets on the defensive.

This story about Abby, a woman with alcohol problems, is truthful (not opinions) even though it sometimes hurts to admit the truth. Thoose addicted to any kind of drug can identify and receive hope that, with help from professionals, they too can lead a normal life. Throughout life, you will be the recipient of many broken promises; the longer you life, they multiply because older people still have hopes for love and affection. They're more vunerable to con men after their money, and the majority have no savings and must depend on government aid just to have a place to live. They're not like the homeless who want everything given to them. The poor elderly desire help from their successful children who lead a good life. Sons are too busy to visit, to help with health needs, to just "be there" for you.

Mended dreams is possible for anyone who will look for them. Life takes us in different directions and anyone can learn new skills such as expression, public speaking, networking, dreaming for reality fulfillment, as you concentrate on raising your children. Everyone dreams of glory, but not through the child's successes, in life to make it worth living. All we can do at times is keep up the good fight; something will come along eventually to make us see that what we did in all of life's seasons led us to victory over Satan's efforts to fool us into isolation from the world. Mended Dreams come to you without seeking help in a doctor's office. God in His Mysterious Ways works wonders for those who believe. "

Here's a link in case you are thinking about getting a copy for yourself, and if Better World Books has it, I recommend them. Great cause to support.

If that doesn't work, try this one--

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Taking Personal Responsibility- Setting Boundaries

Today's "Courage to Change" reading talks about taking personal responsibility. Al-Anon doesn't want to tell people to get out if their living conditions are violent, but at the same time, it is what needs to be done. How to say that gracefully? By stressing taking responsibility for yourself. It's not about the alcoholic being violent, it's about the Al-Anon member being safe. Usually for me this means I have to set boundaries with the alcoholics. It is my responsibility to keep a safe distance away from the alcoholic so that I don't get hurt.

My uncle had a retirement party just a few days after my mom had moved back up north. As soon as I saw my mom with an alcoholic beverage in her hand I took my cue to leave, and I made no apologies for it. We didn't need to wait for cake to be served. My kid was tired anyway. I did not want to witness any carnage from my mother's mood change when alcohol was added.

Yesterday my mother left a message on my answering machine. She is trying to get me to go back to her apartment, and she keeps coming up with reasons why I should visit her. This time it was because she wanted my brother's clothes back. The ones she threw out on her lawn over a week ago. I refuse to give them to her. I'll give them to my brother, but not her. I held my ground, and even managed to continue the conversation after that topic had been covered to find out how my cousin's funeral had gone.

At some point I will have to confront my mother, and admit that yes, I am mad at her. It's not necessary or nice though, so I'm dodging it now. If push comes to shove when the holidays are closer, then we'll deal with it when the time is right. For now though I am just keeping her at arms' length so that I can keep myself and my family safe from her, and my reactions toward her.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Something different

Just for something different, I'm posting a YouTube video here... why not?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Letting go of expectations

Letting go of expectations is another one of the gifts that I get from Al-Anon. I have gained sanity by letting go of expectations every day. I'd like to do this and that this weekend, but those plans involve other people in my life, and they may not have the same inclinations as I do. If I expect to get things done, I'm going to be disappointed. I have to work hard to let go. It's not easy. Twice within the last two days I've had that point driven home to me.

Yesterday I thought I'd lost my wallet. My expectations of returning to work, having a normal day, and a normal day today, were vanished in a heartbeat. If my wallet was lost, I'd have a lot of work to do to recover all that was lost. Getting a new driver's license, new debit and credit cards, etc. would take a lot of time, energy, and probably be frustrating. My expectation about just having a normal day vanished. Then I found my wallet. WHEW!

This morning I was pulling out of a parking lot, and passing other parked cars. One of them nearly backed into me. For a few seconds I had images of a tow truck, maybe an ambulance, and definitely policemen in my head. Then I leaned on the horn, hard. The other driver heard me, and all was saved. But in those few seconds my expectations of getting to work and having a normal day ahead of me vanished, and if the car ended up "in the shop", then other things would be messed up too. I didn't like my expectations to be taken away. I did not want that car accident to happen. WHEW again!

The last example I'll give you is at home. As the parent of a 3 year old, having expectations can be tricky. My husband and I have an expectation that we'll eat supper at a certain time, food will be eaten in a timely manner, and all will be calm. My daughter has other ideas. SHE wants to get the ketchup out of the refrigerator. She's disappointed that she has smiley faced french fries instead of alphabet fries. She wants to do more and more things herself. Then she wants to lick a knife covered in butter. Sometimes these things can drive a parent up a wall. Picking and choosing our battles becomes exhausting, and often I am ready for bed before she is. Sometimes my husband or I will put ourselves in time out because it gets overwhelming. We just want to eat supper. We don't want to have a battle about how eating a half a cup of butter is not allowed. However we are fooling ourselves if we sit down at the kitchen table and expect dinner to go smoothly. It's not going to. Eating out will have it's own challenges too. We just have to accept that mealtimes are going to be rough, and remove any expectations we have otherwise.

None of these examples have an alcoholic in them. When I was a kid I had expectations that a holiday would be fun, cozy, and friendly. I looked forward to Christmas and Thanksgiving like every other kid. My mom would start drinking though, and way too early there would be fighting and tears, and everything would be a mess. I've stopped looking forward to holidays with her. My expectations were never met. She has never been sober during the holidays to my knowledge, and I am dreading having her around this year. It's best not to have any expectations.

So if "Let Go and Let God" or "Let Go and Let Higher Power" seems too much for you at first, then practice just "Letting Go" at first. Let go of your expectations and you will be a lot calmer, a lot more willing to go with the flow of things, and adapt to whatever happens. It's not always easy. And yes, sometimes I get bummed out because I don't get what I want, but at least I'm not frustrated by not having my expectations met in the first place.

I'd like to go to some fall festivals this weekend. Do I EXPECT to be able to go? Not one bit. I'm hoping to get to at least one of them, although I'd really like to go to 2 or 3. I don't have any expectations though. We don't have much planned because I know that truly everyone will have something different they want to do, and I'm not the only member of the family who gets a voice. The oil will get changed on the car, groceries will hopefully be purchased, and birthday cake or birthday cupcakes will be consumed. Those are expectations I can live with. The rest I just have to let go. If we get in a car accident on the way home today though, all bets are off, and that's just the way it goes.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Remembering to use the tools in daily life

I'm not even going to reach into the backpack today to find a quote. I had a very real experience this afternoon of NOT using the program when I should have.

I went to Target to buy a few things, on a long lunch break. I paid, returned my cart, loaded my car, hit McD's drive thru (free coffee), and headed back to work. Just as I neared my exit I realized my wallet wasn't on the front passenger seat. It's a big wallet, with ALL my ID in it. I panicked. I got off the exit, made a U-turn, and sped back to the store. I checked the trunk of my car quickly, and all around the front seats etc, but didn't find it. Then I RAN into the store. Panic was full on. I went back to the cashier where I'd checked out (Lane 8), then I went to Customer Service, and finally to the security guard who I'd handed the cart off to. No one had the wallet. I gave the guard my name and phone numbers, and left. I told myself as I walked out that if I didn't find the wallet in my car right now, then I officially had permission to cry, and I planned to really bawl because I was so upset with myself, and I knew my husband would be upset with me too. A simple little errand turned into a complete disaster. Credit cards, library cards, ID, health insurance, all my store cards, etc... missing. What a disaster! There wasn't any cash, just all that ID.

Then I got to my car, opened the trunk, and SEARCHED, and searched and FOUND the wallet in one of the shopping bags. I came back to work and called Target and let them know I'd found the wallet. Fortunately I didn't have to speak to the security guard personally.

I was so grateful that I had not called my husband and caused him to panic, or had him search the car and see his birthday gifts. However I felt like a complete idiot.

I should have used the program. Al-Anon is about US. It's about ME. It's not about the alcoholics and addicts in my life, it's about keeping ME sane, and I need to keep the focus on MYSELF. Al-Anon is not just for when I am interacting with the As in my life, it is for LIVING my life, always. It needs to be ON all the time. Losing weight isn't about dieting, it's about changing your lifestyle. Al-Anon is the same way. It's about changing your life style so you make the right choice every time, or try to anyway. And when you make a mistake, you forgive yourself.

I made two mistakes today, at least. I panicked because I thought I'd lost the wallet, and then I was really hard on myself when I realized it was a false alarm. I shouldn't have panicked in the first place. I should have stayed calm and searched the car better. Then, even if I had panicked and gone through all of that, I should have been more forgiving of myself for making the mistake. No one is perfect, not even me, that's why we have a Higher Power. Maybe, just maybe, my higher power had a reason for me to get back to work 45 minutes later than I'd planned. I'll probably never know.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

From "Hope for Today"

Today's reading in "Hope for Today" talks about the Al-Anon slogan of "How important is it?" The writer talks about growing up with an alcoholic mother and striving for perfection. I can completely relate to the piece. If I were to pour orange juice into my coffee, I would not laugh it off. I would wonder if I had Alzheimers' Disease or something. I am constantly apologizing for things that are not my fault. Or I used to anyway. I've gotten a lot better about the apologizing part.

Today I wasn't sure if I was going to have time to do my blog entries, and I was kind of upset about it. Even though I'm not even sure if anyone even reads this blog, except maybe Arlene when she's not too busy, I was still mad at myself. I had made a pledge to myself to blog 5 days/week, and I didn't want to break that for no good reason. Grandma dieing was a good reason, but today would have just been because I didn't feel like it, and that wasn't good enough.

How is important is it though? Hmm....

Ads on the blog

I caved and added Ad Sense to the blog. I am not sure if anyone is reading this anyway, so I'm not sure if even matters, but I'm trying to get the blog to show up in searches and get more exposure, and I was hoping that by adding Ad Sense, Google might move it up a notch somehow. Right now the blog just seems so invisible. I feel like I'm writing to myself, and I'm starting to lose my motivation to post here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

First Things First

I just looked into 3 of my books for some inspiration, some great quote that would help me express what I want to say here. Of course I couldn't find anything. Putting "First Things First" is on a basic level it means putting your Higher Power above all else, but on a more constructive level it means getting organized and prioritizing my life. At 3pm I was handed a stack of work to do, and I was already in the middle of 2 other projects. I felt overwhelmed for a few minutes. Then I took a deep breath, and set it aside. It will be there tomorrow. First I need to do the things I've already started. This is not easy for me. There was a time when I would rush through everything so that my desk would be empty by 5pm. "First Things First" also means I take time for me, to write this blog for example, so that I can breathe and not feel like someone is stepping on my chest. It means that I put myself first because no one else is going to do it. Once I've done that, I can move on, and get things done more efficiently.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Random Thoughts

Yesterday's "One Day at a Time" page reminds us to separate the alcoholic's disease from the alcoholic as a person. I'm supposed to remember that my mother's disease makes her crazy, but she still has a lot of good qualities. This is true, and I've spent a lot of my life saying "Well to me she's a b****, but professionally she's a great person. Look at all the people she has helped..." Um yeah, but you know what? She's not my boss. She's not my coworker. She's my mom, and if I don't detach myself from her and set boundaries, I destroy myself. So for me, I have to remember that although she has the ability to be a great, generous, gifted person the side of her that I'm most likely to see is the one that destroys families and friends, and rips lives apart. Doesn't matter how wonderful she is, to me she's poison.

Another Al-Anon thing that I was reminded of today, probably on someone else's blog or in another AlAnon book, is that we need to keep the focus on ourselves. I shouldn't be focused on the crazy things my mother has done recently. I should be focused on myself and how I work my own program. This is very true. It doesn't matter that my mother threw my brother's stuff out onto her lawn in a cheap plastic bag. It matters that my husband and I decided to go and get my brother's things, and attempt to make contact with him. Rather than ignore the situation, which was my first impulse, we decided to take action to help the other Adult Child of an Alcoholic in my mother's life. I don't know if my brother will appreciate the gesture or not, but we tried to rescue his military uniform at least. When my mom quizzed me about it on Saturday though, I dodged. I couldn't tell her yet that we had taken the stuff. I felt like I was stealing, not rescuing, although I know it was the right thing to do. I just wasn't ready to be on her bad side yet.

For some reason I am still trying to get her approval in some weird way. I haven't seen her since the funeral, but I've spoken to her on the phone, and she's as crazy as ever. So why am I "kissing up"?

During the week my mom called repeatedly asking me to return grandma's earrings that she'd given me. On Saturday I sent my husband to drop them off since he was passing her apartment anyway. Turns out they weren't what she was looking for. She accused me of holding out, called me up and said "where is the rest of it?" I reminded her that she hadn't given me anything else. That she had in fact refused to give me any other jewelry. She backed off pretty quickly and admitted that she hadn't looked through her stuff yet, she just assumed I had it. Then she asked me how to clean a jewelry box. How would I know that? I've never owned one. So things are edgy.

Now I have a name and phone number of an acquaintance who said she'd be willing to give my mom some doctor's names etc. locally. Do I call my mom tonight with the info? Or not? We'll see. She probably won't be very grateful for it, but I tried to help her out.

Keeping the focus on myself. My mom will always be crazy. How I interact with her is my program. Or how I detach myself too. It's too bad that things can't be better between us. When it comes time for her funeral some day, if I outlive her, I will manage to stay positive and say good things about her. Right now though, it's hard to separate the addict from the addiction. Now that my grandmother is gone, walls will probably go up and my mom and I will be playing some sort of game as we get near the holidays. Neither of us quite saying what we really want to say. Sad, but true.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Courage to Change

I don't have much time to post today, and my coworker is being loud on the phone so I'm doing this quickly...

Reach into my backpack where I have probably 3 Al-Anon books. Grab one at random and it is "Courage to Change" and go to today's page. The last part is a quote by James Barrie, but when I searched the internet I found 2 different versions. Here is one:

“God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December.”

Rectorial address, May 3, 1922, St. Andrew’s University, Scotland

And the one in the book is "God gave us memories so that we might have roses in December."

Either one is good. Having lost my grandmother and buried her last Friday, I am still feeling sad a bit. Relations with my mother and my brother are strained now too. My husband thinks this is the time to detach from my mother now that my grandmother and grandfather are gone. I'm reluctant to let her go completely. It saddens me that my daughter will not have a grandmother like the one I had, but no matter what I do my mother will never be as her mother was. To continue a relationship with my mother or not is a big elephant in my room right now, and ultimately I am to some degree powerless over what happens because I cannot control my mother either. I just need to turn it over to my Higher Power and see what happens next.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Another tough day but grateful anyway

Work conditions today have not been wonderful. Construction noise, lack of heat, power outage, computer problems... etc. Fortunately my morning was full of meetings away from my desk area, and this afternoon I've really had very little actual work to do. I'll count this as a blessing.

My husband has to come in to work in the middle of the night to do a computer repair. This will make it impossible to get any real sleep tonight, and I know tomorrow he'll be miserable. I don' t know how he does it, but I'm grateful that he does. Without his paycheck I'm not sure where we'd be.

A cousin of mine died. I knew it was coming, and honestly I wasn't close to him. I think my mom might have been. I read some news online about what a hero he was, but I could not locate the actual obituary. New Hampshire paper said I needed to be a subscriber. I called my mom and asked her if she'd be willing to go to her local store and find a copy but she didn't seem interested. So maybe she wasn't that close after all. I'll choose to be grateful for that since it means she probably isn't mourning much. Heroes die every day, and it's sad that this one has passed, but at least he isn't suffering anymore.

So there's my motto for the day== Attitude of Gratitude!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I'm back, and discovered "Prayer Girl" and more

I just discovered Prayer Girl's blog, and she quoted something I had just read in one of my Al-Anon books. She said :
"I pray for the tolerance and the wisdom to
avoid reacting to what other people say and do."
(From "One Day At A Time In Al-Anon" , Sept. 15, p. 259)

This is perfect for me right now. I had to practice this last week with my family. As I said in my last post, my maternal grandmother passed away and I knew I'd be putting my Al-Anon tools to the test. I don't want to give you all an hour-by-hour rundown of my last week, but I will give you a highlight that I haven't shared with many.

My mother is still actively drinking, I'm pretty sure. My brother has his addictions too, not sure what they are, but I'm pretty sure they are there. So... the funeral was set for Friday. My brother and I were both to be pallbearers.

I worked on Tuesday, and spent all day on Wednesday with my mother. On Thursday I still hadn't purchased shoes so I told my mom I'd be over to her house as soon as I found some. I have big feet so this isn't an easy task. One saleslady told me I was a "specialty size" and she wasn't very nice about it. Anyway, it took a while, and traffic wasn't on my side. I finally got to my mom's apartment around 2pm. I left her at 4pm, to go get my daughter from preschool and my husband at work since we only have one car.

My mother told me that she wanted my brother at her house at 5pm on Thursday, not because she needed him there, but because she was afraid if he didn't show up that he would blow off the funeral on Friday morning. Sometime between 4pm and 6pm, my mother and my brother had a big fight. When I got home at 6pm, with my daughter and my husband, there was a message on my answering machine full of 4-letter words that I did not want my 3-year old to hear. I took the phone outside and called my mother back, and calmly told her that while it was okay to talk to me like that in private, it was not okay to leave that kind of message on the machine. She was already on fire, and didn't like the fact that I wasn't responding to the actual message itself. She told me that if my brother showed up at the funeral she would kill him. Then she said she just wouldn't go to the funeral herself, it would be better that way somehow. I stayed calm. I didn't call her back. I asked my husband for some guidance and he said "Let it sit. It's between the two of them." Of course he was right. So I didn't react. We made dinner, and did our stuff, and I waited for the phone to ring. It didn't. We stayed calm.

The next morning the three of us headed out for the funeral. We passed my mother's apartment on the way and knew she hadn't left yet. I wondered if she was coming, but I didn't stop to ask. We needed coffee and breakfast and I knew there would be a line at the Dunkin drive-thru when we got there. So we went on. We got to the funeral home before my mother did, but she did show up. My brother did not. People asked where he was, and I explained that my mother had fueled the fire and it was between them. Myself and 3 of my cousins carried the casket with the help of 2 men from the funeral home. I sat next to my mom during the funeral, but we didn't hold hands. We did what we needed to do. At the reception afterward, I visited with my relatives, and talked to my dad. My mother made the rounds too.

When I got home later in the afternoon I called my brother's father to see if he had heard anything, and he hadn't. I let him know that I was not mad at my brother for being absent, and I explained what I thought had happened. On Monday I sent my brother a note, and we had a few messages back and forth. I told him that I loved him always, and knew that he was just avoiding our toxic mother. I also told him that if he had shown up, he would not have been dragged away by the police or hurt one bit by our mother. I had his back, and so did everyone else. We are all familiar with my mother and her moods. He would not have had to deal with her alone.

I am sad my brother missed the funeral, and I do blame my mother for that. However, it's done and I have to let it go. I am proud of myself for defending him, and letting it be known that it wasn't him being irresponsible that caused his absence, but rather my mother's desire to try to control her 29 year old son who did not want to be controlled. I hope I used my tools well, and did the right thing. If not, I just have to let it go. It's done.

Rest in Peace Grandma. May Faith always be with me.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Rest in peace Grandma

My maternal grandmother passed away yesterday afternoon. My mother was the last family member to see her alive, and I was the first relative to get the news of the passing. My mom had left the nursing home just a couple of hours before my grandmother passed, and I arrived just a few minutes too late. It's going to be a difficult week.

My mother is really hard to be around for my husband and I, and of course she will be in the center of attention this week. It's going to be very hard for me dealing with her. The funeral isn't until Friday. I've made it through today (Tuesday) at work, but I've decided to take the rest of the week off to spend with my mother, and some time for myself. Friday will be long I'm sure.

My husband has been really great both in supporting me, and in keeping me grounded. This morning I was letting our daughter get away with too much, and he waited until she was at preschool before he reminded me of my parenting duties. I was cutting the kid way too much slack, and undermining his attempts at reigning her in. He was right, and I know it. He has also been there to listen, to hug, and to take the kid away from me so I could cry in peace. He's a good man, and I know that I have been blessed to have him in my life. He is proof to me that God listens, and grants miracles.

Don't expect any more posts this week as I grieve, but know that I will be putting all my Al-Anon resources to the test. I loved my grandmother a great deal, and was very close to her. Amen.

They say that death comes in threes. I've been informed that one of my mother's first-cousins is very ill, and not expected to last the week. I'm waiting for the other shoe to fall now, and wondering who the third one will be. Sad, but true.

Friday, September 4, 2009

First Things First

A long weekend is ahead of us, but before I can get there, I still have an hour left at work. I have a "to do" list at work and at home, and it is nagging me. I have to keep reminding myself to just take things one step at a time, and do "first things first". It's going to be a challenge. Usually writing lists helps me with this, but so far I haven't had time to put things down on paper so most of it is still in my head. Phone calls to be made, bills to be paid, friends and relatives to visit... in the meantime, I have a pile of books to sort and process before the day is over.

The weekend does involve visits with both my parents, separately, a trend I am going to be faced with over the holidays as well. Scheduling things in a way that does not overwhelm my husband or my daughter is tricky since their thresholds are low. Patience from everybody will be key.

First the tape, then the lines, then take things one at a time, and with that my sanity will be restored.

Have a good weekend all! I might not post again until Tuesday.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I'm confused about this blog

Okay this isn't a really on-topic I admit. I'm wondering why this blog isn't showing up when I do searches. I think I have my settings set correctly, but for some reason it's invisible in Google Blog Search, and I'm not sure why. I want it to show up in searches for Al-Anon, ACOA, and recovery things, but it's not. Any clues?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

between sanity and insanity

This is a rough time for me. Yesterday I saw my grandmother, and all of that. Last night after we got the kid to bed, my husband told me he wasn't feeling well and was going to the doctor (at 9:30pm he was going to Urgent Care clinic). So off he went, with our only car. A while later he called me back and said he was being sent to a real hospital in an ambulance. I was POWERLESS. I was home, with a child, and no way to get to the hospital. Our car was at the doctor's office. So I asked his permission to call a friend of his. I couldn't quite let go, not yet.

His friend showed up at my door a while later, and I had to choose between panic & insanity and sanity and detachment. I hated to do it, but I choose the later one. My husband is not an addict, and I didn't really want to detach, but my gut told me that it would be a waste of my energy to wake a sleeping child, install a car seat in the dark, and go out. So I stayed home and sent the friend instead. Hours later, more phone calls, and the verdict that the hospital could find nothing wrong. So I finally went to bed. I woke as soon as my husband came home, at 2am. He's fine. I don't think this is the last time that this scenario will play out in my house though. It's certainly not the first time he has run off to the doctor's office late at night. So I have choices to make. I want to be compassionate, and I really do care, but having lived with an alcoholic who was always "dying" from one crisis to the next, I don't want to live that way in my marriage, and I don't want to raise my daughter on that roller coaster ride either.

I'm GRATEFUL that it was nothing serious. I think I handled the situation in a good way. I sent a friend, who was not burdened with a sleepy preschooler, to be by his side. The same friend who was at his side when other crisis's have occurred. I need help with coping with this in the future though. It's tough territory for me.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

"I believe...."

There is a lot of talk in recovery programs about "believing". Believing in yourself, believing in a higher power or God, believing that you can make a difference... and if you don't believe, then some will tell you to pretend to believe until you really get it.

There is a lot of talk about "acceptance" too. It's the end of the day, and I'm still not sure where I want to go with today's post. Both of these words are weighing on me today.

I believe.... I believe that when I visited my grandmother today she was glad to see me, and she knew who I was. I believe that. I believe that she knows I really love her with all my heart, and wish I could do more for her.

I also know that when I asked her "Is this where you want to be?" and she said "No", that there were layers and layers of answers there, and I know in my heart some of the places where she would rather be.

And this is where acceptance comes in. She does not want to be in that nursing home, and she does not want to be parked in front of the nurses station for an hour before lunchtime after I leave. However, she accepts it. She would like her son and daughter to visit more often than they do, but she accepts their absence and their excuses. She does not know, and maybe does not care any more, that my mother has lied to her repeatedly and in fact, is not visiting her more often because she doesn't have a car.

This is where it gets hard for me. I suspect that my grandmother feels neglected by my mother. She did a lot for my mom over the years, and she is probably hurt and confused by the fact that even though my mom moved back up to Massachusetts 2 months ago, she's not visiting grandma every day. My mother, and my uncle too I guess, never told my grandmother about the DUI my mom got in Florida in October 2007. I think it was 2007, I might be wrong on that. Anyway, my grandmother does not know that the car she bought my mom got totaled and that my mom lost her license etc, etc. When my mom came to visit from Florida when my grandmother was ill once, she did it in between probation visits. My grandmother has no clue. They think she doesn't need to know, and it's not my job to tell her.

Still if she knew that stuff, if she knew that my mom's alcoholism had done this, and that my mom was now without a car, then she'd know why my mom doesn't visit every day.

If I was retired, and lived nearby, I'd visit my grandmother every day. I hate seeing her the way she is, and I know she is lonely. In some ways she reminds me of my daughter. People really do thrive better with some love and affection, and if grandma had some 1 on 1 love from my mom or my uncle, for more than just an hour or two here and there, I think she'd be less depressed.

I can't do it though myself, and she knows it and accepts it. I'm not retired. I have a young child, and a job, and my husband and I share a car. She and I both have to accept this. So today I tried to tell her with all my heart how much I love her, but really she'll never know. I've been mourning her declining health for years, and I can't do anything except that we all get older, and she's 91 years old now, and that's just the way it is.

"It is what it is." as some people say, and we don't have to like it, we just have to accept it.

And with that, I'll sign off until tomorrow.