Friday, September 30, 2011


Yesterday I had the chance to make amends. I am still blown away by how welcoming and calm this woman was. She "forgave me" easily because she was never really upset with me to begin with. My mother is the one who harmed her, and I will not defend my mother's actions one bit. So the tears keep coming. I feel like I am maybe experiencing some PTSD. Since I work in a library it was easy for me to go up to the stacks today and browse. I went through the ACOA stuff again, and picked up familiar books and then put them back again. Then I went to the non-fiction stacks and picked up some books at random. I found myself led to a few and then others I just let find me.

Later today I will see my doctor about my asthma. I am confused whether I should mention the PTSD or not. On the one hand I feel like Al-Anon has giving me the tools to cope with these flashbacks, but on the other hand I am not sure of my own stability. I also worry a little about the "what ifs"... what if something bad happened in my life and I lost my balance. Would I end up back in that horrible place in my head? Even though I feel like I do a good job of staying in the present, it seems like I was pulled back into the past pretty easily.. well maybe not so easily. That was a pretty well buried skeleton that just got pulled out of the closet.

So today I am going in circles. Trying to use my Al-Anon tools to cope with my PTSD and all the ACOA stuff. I am also reminded of the FOG that I think I blogged about some time ago.. Fear, Obligation, and Guilt... I am never really free of the FOG I guess. I just somehow MANAGE it, and cope with it as best as I can.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A chance to make amends

Today I had the chance to make amends to someone I felt I had harmed as a child. For over 25 years I have carried the guilt around with me that I had not helped someone when I should have. I felt responsible for my mother's actions. I know that honestly it wasn't my fault that my mother abused this child, who is now a woman, but I carried the guilt with me. Therapy could never really erase the guilt. It has simply been part of my baggage tucked away in the closet somewhere.

 Today, thanks to the wonders of technology and some searching on Facebook, I was able to reconnect with this woman. She was kind enough to let me into her life and I was able to send her messages telling her how sorry I was for all that I had done. I hope that I was also able to share with her that the abuse she suffered was not her fault. She was one of many in a long line of victims. It is unfortunate that my mother has victimized so many, but I hope that my words today let this woman know that it never was her fault and that I have always carried her in my heart. It may have helped me therapeutically more than her. I don't really know, but I am glad she messaged me and that we were able to communicate. Maybe now I will finally be able to let it go after holding onto it for so long. I don't know.

Today I am grateful to my Higher Power for the chance to make amends with this woman. No one will really understand just how I am feeling today. The tears have flowed over and over again. I know there is some PTSD mixed in with all of this too, but wow.... thank you God/Goddess/whatever higher powers that there are... thank you for today!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Letting go of Expectations

I have always "known" that when I had a child (or children) that I would send her to Sunday School. I went to Sunday School as a kid. It was the "right" thing to do. I went until about the age of 12 when things started to fall apart and I was allowed to make choices on my own. As a teenager I realized that I didn't believe exactly everything I had been taught. My minister was okay with that though. As I attended the adult church his sermons spoke to me. He would substitute "person" where something might have said "man" before. This was just the beginning. As a teen my biggest issue with the church was the sexism.

As an adult I found the Unitarian Universalists. This suited me much better. A sort of mix of things, that kind of lets you believe in whatever you want to believe as long as you believe in something. It's tolerant, it's accepting.... but is it Christian? I don't know. I don't usually care.

A few years ago I married the man of my dreams. This man was raised without religion. He was raised by parents who were professors. His mother later became "Born again" or something, but as a youth this man had no religion. He found it on his own. He found it on late night television. He read the Bible on his own. He never went to church. Still, he found God and he feels that God has spoken to him.

So here we are with a five year old child. The time is finally here when I have always "KNOWN" that I would send her to Sunday School. I have spent the past year researching the local churches. Searching websites, sending emails, visiting Sunday School classes, talking to neighbors and other parents... trying to find the right place. After all I have been PLANNING this for years...

so now.. guess what? I have to LET IT GO! Yup. We might have found ONE that MIGHT work, but my husband isn't interested in it, and my daughter doesn't really want to go. I found one that I liked, but it was a Unitarian church and they don't teach the Bible stories like my husband wants. Many of the churches near us are Baptist. They are against homosexuality. Neither of us can support this point of view so those churches are out. The list goes on as to why each church fails to meet my criteria.

Doesn't matter what the reasons are though. It all comes down to this... we will teach her about God ourselves. We don't need to send her to Sunday School for her to learn religion. This is a tough message for me to swallow. I don't always trust myself, or trust us. I am not sure if we can do this, but I know somehow we will.

I am Letting Go of my Expectations. Everything will be okay. I am Letting Go and Letting God.

Peace be with you.
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Saturday, September 10, 2011

keeping the focus on myself... transitions

"She laughs so she won't cry"... I have been going through the motions for the last couple of weeks getting my daughter started at kindergarten, changing my work schedule, and seeing my husband less and less. My daughter misses me. She won't eat during the day and when I come to pick her up after school she is a wreck. She yells at me, cries, and nothing I can do is right. Meanwhile I rarely see my husband anymore. I guess this is how MOST marriages are normally. This is what "NORMAL" is. I'm just not used to it. 

We used to carpool so I would see him in the mornings, then we would drop daughter off at preschool and I'd have him to myself for a few minutes while we rode to work. I'd see him again for the ride back to pick him up and the three of us would go home together. That's not happening anymore. There are days when I wake him up at 6am and then I don't see him again until 12 hours later. 

Yesterday I stopped by his office to bring him breakfast but he hadn't come in yet because he stopped to get his own somewhere. So I tried and failed. I'm tired. I'm supposed to be enjoying the new "me" time but I'm lonely. 

Lonely...tired... frustrated. I've been frustrated with my marriage for a long, long time... but the tiredness and loneliness just make it worse. I don't have ANY close friends. Blame it on being an "adult child of an alcoholic" or whatever.. but it doesn't change the fact that I'm a 40 year old married mother of one with no close friends... and I could really use a shoulder right now (like a best friend)... and it can't be my husband because he's already stressed and doing everything he can do. It's not his fault. It's not anyone's just is. 

Instead of feeling sorry for myself I am trying to exercise more, eat better, focus on myself somehow. I want to do some writing but I'm scared to do it because I just feel like I have so much bottled up right now... ugh. I know we will get through this. I'm just tired of it all right now. 

I got some new clothes, I ordered an exercise dvd, I am talking to my husband as well as I can.... I am doing the "right things" so save the advice. I just needed to vent a bit I guess. I can't change my husband, my daughter, or our situation so I am trying to focus on myself and do what I can for myself. That's all I can do.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

practicing in all our affairs

Many thanks to the blogger over at Calm Acceptance today. Patty gave me the words I was looking for a few days ago. I am trying to use what I have learned in Al-Anon by "to practice that principle in all my affairs"..

Thank you Patty!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

"Keep Coming Back"

"Keep Coming Back". Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Keep showing up. In AA it's one day at a time and you put those days together. In Al-Anon we keep coming back. I went to one group one day when I was in a crisis mode. I think it was my first ever Al-Anon meeting. The topic that day was "balance" and I cried. I couldn't always get to that meeting, but I've gone off and on since to that group. I might try to change my work schedule AGAIN when things settle down a bit with my daughter so that I can go to that meeting again some day. The trick is in figuring out how to get it approved with my boss. Hmm... something to think about.

Anyway, I have been applying the "Keep Coming Back" thing with my weight loss. I use a website to track my calories and fitness. I participate in "teams" and I try to check in daily on the "chats" and "huddles". I "keep coming back". Some days I go over my calories. Some days I don't do my exercise. Some weeks I don't lose any weight (I even...gasp.. gain weight occasionally)... but I KEEP COMING BACK. I've been doing it for a year now. I'm not where I had hoped to be, but I've lost about 30 pounds that I've kept off. So I know that for me it works. If I skip a day or two I feel "off". Consistency matters more than perfection.

This is something that I learned in Al-Anon. I may not be perfect, but if I keep going back I will get better.

one day at a timeImage by happy_serendipity via Flickr

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Sunday, September 4, 2011

I think I might be back here for a while...

Hi everybody!! I hope some of you are still with me. It's been a few months since I last posted.

If you've been in a 12-step program like AA or Al-Anon for a while then hopefully you have figured out that this 12-step stuff follows you EVERYWHERE!!! At least I hope it does!

I thought I would end this blog when my alcoholic parent moved away. It's a lot easier to maintain boundaries and detachments when I don't drive by her apartment on a weekly basis. However I have been aware that the concepts I learned from Al-Anon are helpful for me in other parts of my life as well. So I've decided that I am coming back to blog some more. You probably won't see me posting as much about my mother as I used to, but hopefully I will be able to post about how I am using the coping skills I learned from Al-Anon in other parts of my life such as my marriage, my job, parenting my child, losing weight, and whatever else I feel the urge to tie in.

A week ago New England, and elsewhere along the East Coast was hit by a storm named "Irene". I was fortunate. We had been camping in the White Mountains of New Hampshire before the storm hit, and decided to come home Saturday evening. We drove through Vermont and came back to Western Mass. The rain was already starting when we pulled into our driveway. We never lost power although we did lose internet for a while. From the comfort of my living room I learned of the devastation that hit near and far. Campgrounds that we had camped at last summer, covered bridges that we had photographed in July, the highway that we had traveled on just two days ago... and then closer to home, Shelburne Falls and the Bridge of Flowers nearly destroyed, my old apartment building in Greenfield, MA flooded! The current tenants are in a hotel now I think.... but I was spared. I said the Serenity Prayer a lot. There was little I could do. I was told to stay home, stay off the roads, and stay out of the way. I still haven't gone to see the damage in person. I'd like to, but I am also trying to be respectful to those who are doing the work and those who have lost their homes, businesses, farms, and streets. Although most of the power is back on there are still many who are homeless, and many roads that are closed.

My husband has detached. He knows he is powerless. I know I am powerless too, but I am still saddened by what has happened, and quite a bit awestruck too. I want to help. I want to get to those places and take pictures to show my child for when she gets older. I am curious... but it's not my problem. I can't control it. I can't fix it. I am remembering my Cs... so I am staying out of the way for a little longer. These things will take months to rebuild. There is time later to talk to folks and in the meantime I say my thanks and say my prayers to my higher powers.

Next week fittingly enough I plan to go to a church service. The congregation is doing something on water. It will be 9/11, but the focus won't be on that history for that service. The focus will be on coming together as a community because they have all been on a summer hiatus for a few weeks. I will bring my daughter and introduce her to new people. I hope that she likes it and will want to return in the weeks that follow. In doing this I hope to introduce her to a greater sense of a higher power. I know she has a small one, but I want to help her build on that now that she is starting Kindergarten. So maybe I will have something to say about all of that some time too.