Monday, December 31, 2007

Leaps and Bounds

I can smell roast beef cooking as I type. Roast beef was youngest son's birthday meal request. As of today I am no longer the parent of any teenagers. I survived umpteen years of them. Probably of more significance is that they survived me. :)

I'm enjoying some solitude. James Taylor is playing on the computer. Well, he's not playing on the computer exactly; I'm listening to him as I sit here. He has a very soothing voice.

This day was a turning point in my journey 20 years ago. I nearly died in childbirth. I had something akin to a near death experience. I don't talk about it much but it taught me that we can never know the state of another's soul. Three months later, while youngest son was still making his beautiful newborn cry, I sobered up and turned my heart towards God. It felt like the biggest leap of faith - like there would be a foot or two more air space than I could leap. What I couldn't have predicted was how far God's arms are capable of reaching.

And here I am 20 years later.
Still being held.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Small Talk

Yesterday we gathered with dearest one's family for the afternoon and evening. He and his siblings take turns organizing the day, planning the menu, figuring out where we will all meet. I think at last count we had 35+ nieces and nephews on his side of the family ranging in age from preschool to 31. We've been made a great uncle and aunt several times over already, too. You can imagine when we all try to get together how many we are.

I haven't always been comfortable at these gatherings. Dearest one is the only sibling living in the community who is not part of his family's conservative church where the women wear head coverings and the men all have beards. They dress conservatively and live a simple life. No radio or tv. Often it seems to be more uniformity than unity. I tried for several years to be a part of the lifestyle and gained more acceptance than ever while doing it but I couldn't stick it out without a part of my soul dying. I will however, treasure what I learned in that time of my life. It wasn't for naught.

I have a reasonable relationship with nearly all of his sisters(5) and sister-in-laws(4). They have been most gracious to me over the years as my journey has had its twists and turns and my outspoken, often antagonizing ways have been more than tolerated. I try to connect with these women in our common roles as mothers, daughters and wives. A one on one conversation feels much more comfortable than in a group setting. I nearly laughed out loud yesterday when I was sharing with one sister-in-law about our new priest, Father Julien and his Indian culture. One of her daughtes asked who he was only to hear her mother spit out the word 'priest' under her breath as if it was a swear word. I wanted to say, "it's okay, saying his name won't contaminate you."

These women really know nothing of my story and I know nothing of theirs except that which is common knowledge. So we sat yesterday around a table and put together a puzzle, got up and chatted around the kitchen counter, made small talk during our meal and then worked together to clean up afterwards.
All done for another year.

It left me wondering what family is.
And what it could be.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Originally we were going to be just four
for Christmas dinner.
Dearest one, me,
only daughter and youngest son.

In the end
dearest one's parents
had no invite
so we invited them
and they came.
I felt privileged
to host them on Christmas
when they have many other children
in our community.

Years ago I used to make snide remarks
about the repetitive nature
of my father-in-law's meal time prayer.
He is deaf now. We asked him
to bless our meal.
Yesterday I found his prayer
a comfort.

Change is always possible.

At Christmas eve Mass we found
out that our priest had no invite
so he came as well.
He is from India. It was
interesting to hear of their customs
at Christmas and to get to know him
a little better.

It felt good to open our home.
A miracle, really when last year
and the year before that,
and the year before that,
my health wouldn't have deemed
any of it possible.

Another miracle was seeing my Mennonite
father-in-law and our Catholic priest
sit at the same table
celebrating Christ's birth.

"Where two or more are gathered in my name...."

Friday, December 21, 2007

Pajama Day

Today is my first pajama day since I came home from treatment three and a half months ago. After 20 days of getting dressed and showered I figured why break my record? Before treatment, pajama days were often a sign that I was disinterested in life around me. Since good self care is my first defense against relapse, showering and getting dressed motivate me to stay sober and abstinent. I was hesitantly open to the reality that good self care might one day be wearing my pajamas all day although I was scared to contemplate it. The day has come. Today's the day where good self care means I got up and showered only to slide back into my new fleece pajamas. I'm finding them warm and wonderfully comforting.

Yesterday I was up and out the door early after a night of little sleep. The kind of night where sleep comes an hour before the alarm goes off. It was still dark out when I pulled up in front of the sexual abuse center. The center is in a run down building in a scary part of town. Normally I park down the block and around the corner, praying between my van and the door not to piss someone off or get in the wrong person's way. On the sidewalk and parking lot across the street I often see people who make me really uncomfortable as I make my way into the building and they're still there as I make my way back to the van. I heard enough in treatment first hand from ex drug dealers to know there's good reason to be leery and alert as I walk in that part of town. After my last appointment I realized there were parking meters right outside the door and decided from then on I'd park as close to the door as possible. So yesterday I pull up in front of the building, knowing I was the first appointment of the day and there were 5 to 10 minutes to wait until I could be sure of an open office door on the second floor. As I was waiting an SUV pulled up a few parking spaces behind me and a young woman got out. With her hoodie pulled up around her face she came up to my passenger window and motioned for me to open the door. I rolled my window down a little bit and she asked in a voice edged with toughness, "What's up?" I thought to myself, "No, I don't want to buy drugs or anything else." I told her I was waiting for an appointment at the sexual abuse centre. She nodded and turned without replying. I watched in my rear view mirror as she got back into the SUV. I was feeling pretty vulnerable at this point so I decided to take a chance that the office would be open or at least the building would feel safer than my van. My fingers were a little shaky as I plugged the meter with quarters. As I type this I wonder what her story is that led her to be out on the street knocking on a stranger's window, under the cover of darkness.

Thankfully the office door was open and my counselor was ready to see me. Trust is an important issue in any relationship and I haven't been sure I would continue with this counselor. She is very young and I'm darn near old enough to be her mother. There are other counselors available who have 20 more years of life experience behind them and to tell the truth, I haven't been keen on her cutting her teeth on my healing journey. Yesterday I finally trusted that that she is who I need to see.

In the past several months I've remembered several more sexual abuse incidents. Or more accurately, I've labeled certain incidents as sexual abuse that have previously flown below the radar of my definition of sexual abuse. What the hell was I thinking? That an adult groping a minor was somehow normal and okay? That being shoved in a corner at school and groped by several people at once was normal and okay? That being asked as a 12 year old to sit on a grown man's lap (my mother went ballistic at me for complying after he left for reasons I discovered years later.)was normal? In the retelling of these incidents yesterday I started to physically shake. For the first time I connected the uncontrollable shaking as body memory. The fear and anxiety rising to the surface instead of being held in the very cells of my body. A good thing. With time I hope to honour the necessity of that happening instead of trying to squelch it. Previously I viewed getting these shakes - they only happen in counseling - as something to deny or try to stop. I hate how out of control I feel when they happen. Now I know my body is trying to tell me something I need to pay attention to that will aid in my healing. I need to let the shakes rise so that they can have a chance of disappearing for good.

At one point in our conversation we went off on a tangent and I told my counselor that I had been a responsible child. She looked at me and said, "That's an interesting way of putting it. I see you more as a child who took on responsibility that wasn't hers." At this she drew a diagram.

She drew a circle around the control 0 and told me that in every abuse situation I had told her of I had zero control. She then made a line from the zero in control to the 5 in responsibility and said, "Yet you took on all the responsibility." I started to shake. She then drew a straight line from the zero in control down to the zero in responsibility.
"This," she said, "is reality."
I covered my face in my hands and started to sob. She listed the ways in which I took the responsibility and then she placed the responsibility where it truly lay. With the abuser(s). Gently she added, "My hunch is that you have taken on responsibility that's not yours in other areas of your life as well."
Oh, God - the grief that rose up inside me. I still have tears to cry over that. A deep well of sadness for willingly yet unknowingly taking into myself the blame.

That sadness stayed with me as our session ended. With 12 minutes to spare plus a drive across town to my next appointment there really wasn't time to deal with it right then.

I don't know of many people who look forward to their annual physical checkup with their doctor (you are getting yours aren't you?). Especially with a familial history of premenopausal breast cancer (my mom twice and recently a first cousin) I take my obligation seriously to get the necessary tests done regularly. There was one aspect of my checkup that I was looking forward to (oh, that lovely pap smear. NOT!) I didn't wait for the nurse before I got on the scale and started sliding the weights. I slid the weight into the 100kg slot. Thunk. What a beautiful sound. For the first time in several years I slid it into the 80kg notch and started playing with the sliding counterbalance. I refrained from jumping up and down on the scale itself as the nurse punched the numbers into the calculator on the wall above the scale to reveal that I've lost 40 pounds since I stopped binge eating. Maybe now when I put on regular sized clothes I will relax into them instead of thinking there's no way they can be fitting. Seriously. Last night I put on a brand new pair of fleece pajamas and they felt the tiniest bit snug so I thought I must look like I'm poured into them. I turned to look in the mirror only to find I look normal. The pajamas look just fine.

Confirming my weight loss with a concrete number was the best part of the appointment.

The last time dearest one gave me injections for the calcifications in my shoulders it was such a negative experience - culminating in me begging him to stop - that I haven't had any since. Yesterday the doctor did them for me. It involves breathing like you're in labour to get past the pain. By nighttime I was in acute pain from the tiny muscle tears that getting the solution broadcast into an area of muscle involves. By tomorrow I should be pain free for another 6 or 7 weeks. But today I'm not.

And so I knew when I got up this morning that the most caring thing I could do for myself today was to let the cozy warmth of my pjs comfort me and stand as a reminder that there was nothing I needed to do today other than stay in the day and acknowledge the the pain.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Her voice had a catch in it...

This afternoon the batch of fudge just about ready to put in the pan when the phone rang. As I raced to pick it up before the answering machine did, I thought to myself I'll just have to ask the person to wait a few minutes for me to call them back. I picked up the phone to hear her voice catch as she said my name and then there was silence. I asked her what had happened. This good friend, who I may have heard cry once in the last 20+ years, sobbed and sobbed. I have not heard her so broken. Broken in a way that makes a person pound the table and cry in agony. I'm not at liberty to share her name or her source of grief but it's up there just under the death of a child. If you could pray for her I'd appreciate it. There was little I could do on the phone today other than listen. I promised to pray. For those of you so disposed, asking for Mary's intercession on her behalf would be especially appropriate as this friend consecrated herself to Mary on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception earlier this month. When I am burdened with things that break a mother's heart I ask Mary to intercede for me. Whenever I do my prayers get swallowed up in big gulping tears.
Thank you for praying.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Leaning Tower of Conversion

A few weeks back I picked up my Bible to read in Romans and the whole way through I felt condemned....preachers from my past echoing in my head as I read. Their message often carrying an undercurrent about how we, as Christians, just don't quite get it right enough. I don't willingly put myself in situations these days where I have to listen to condemnation in preaching. There's too much goodness inside oneself, just waiting to be discovered, to live out of a paradigm of condemnation. I am not saying we don't sin, that we aren't capable of atrocious attitudes and actions. Lord knows I am. But I don't define myself anymore as if that ability and reality is the whole of who I am.

Youngest son and I got into this discussion the other day. He looked at me and said, "Well you know people are inherently evil." No they aren't I said. We are created in God's image and what God created was good. "Ya, but that was before the fall," he replied. I countered that our created in God's image was still there. Sometimes it's just buried under a lot of muck and my place as a believer is to affirm the presence of goodness in people. All people.

Condemnation, being reminded that I don't quite get this Christianity journey right, does nothing but weigh me down. I refuse to see others that way anymore, either.

Except when someone pisses me off.

Yesterday I was looking for a conversion chart that would help me figure out how many ml are in an ounce. I was cooking up a storm for a church potluck and the recipe I had was in ounces while my can of tomato sauce was in ml. I asked for dearest one's help. He opened the cupboard where my leaning row of cookbooks reside and started looking. He wasn't quick enough for me. So I pushed right past him to reach for the cookbook I thought might help me. I didn't cut off the circulation in his arm as I bore down with my own, but our arms looked like a perfect X in our reach for the perfect cookbook. Don't you know the world is going to come to an end if I don't get the right book instantly? Dearest one patiently asked me to wait a minute. Patience my ass. I yanked my arm out of there so fast, turned on my heels, and walked away.

He shut the cupboard door, put the right cookbook on the counter and went outside.

I stood there and thought all sorts of nasty things. Wanting more than anything to blame my bad attitude on dearest one. In a nanosecond I was acting like a mirror image of my mom. Her exasperated sigh that if only my dad would read her mind and do it her way then all would be right with the world. Uh huh.
"Most people try to live by self propulsion. Each person is like an actor who wants to run the whole show; is forever trying to arrange the lights, the ballet, the scenery and the rest of the players in his own way. If his arrangements would only stay put, if only people would do as he wished, the show would be great. Everybody, including himself would be pleased. Life would be wonderful..........What usually happens? The show doesn't come off very well. He begins to think life doesn't treat him right.....he is sure that other people are more to blame.... Is he not a victim of the delusion that he can wrest satisfaction and happiness out of this world if only he manages well?" ~ pg. 61 Alcoholics Anonymous

I read that part of the big book daily. As I stood at the counter wouldn't you know it filtered through to my conscious mind. Damn. For all my internal stuttering of "it's your...your...your fault!" I didn't have a hope in hell of blaming my pissyness on dearest one. As I turned the can opener on the tomato sauce I realized when dearest one asked me to be patient it was as if the fog cleared and I suddenly saw how rude and inconsiderate I was in my haste to have that cookbook in my hand. I wanted to pretend it wasn't my arm in that cupboard. Until that moment I didn't know why I always reacted that way when dearest one asks me to have a little patience as I'm reaching past him or shoving past him without saying excuse me, or saying excuse me but not meaning it with any manners; both regular behaviours of mine.

The realization didn't magically cure my attitude but I was thankful for the clarity. Hopefully one day I'll have the humility in the moment to say, "oh that was rude of me, I'm sorry." Even better would be to stop being rude.

I decided when dearest one came into the house that I would apologize for my rudeness. I would explain how he has this canny knack of inadvertently pointing out my character defects and I'm really okay with knowing them if I find them. I'm not so gracious when others show them to be true. I was going to admit I needed to work on that, too.

All would have been fine except when dearest one came back in he told me how he felt about the little scenario before I could get a word out of my mouth. Which was non typical behaviour for him. He shared how he wasn't going to shove his feelings down in order to keep peace. He wasn't having any of that anymore, remember? I wish I could say I warmly received his thoughts. What I really wanted to do was make him shut up because he was wrecking my shining moment of humility. And God knows it might evaporate before dearest one was done talking. Lord have mercy.

Suffice to say we made it through. At one point I got so lightheaded and dizzy(maybe the result of letting some air out of my ego?) when I was apologizing that I started to resemble my leaning tower of cookbooks and nearly fell into the stove.

Today I don't have to beat myself up for being human. I am thankful for the clarity to see what's really behind my pissyness. Progress not perfection means the next time I act rude and inconsiderate I will hopefully stop midstride, humble myself and apologize.

Humility learned through the pages of a cookbook.
Gotta watch out for those conversion charts.

Friday, December 14, 2007

For Mich

I just put my peppernut dough in the fridge to chill and Mich asked for the recipe so here it is if you'd like to try it. Peppernuts are often a like-em or hate-em kind of food.


1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
4 tbsp. ground anise seed or 1/2 tsp. anise oil
1/4 c. light syrup
1/2 c. molasses
1/3 c. water
1/3 tsp. baking soda
6 cups flour

Cream shortening and sugar thoroughly. Add beaten eggs, spices and anise seed. Combine syrup, molasses, water and soda. Add to creamed mixture. Add sifted flour, 2 cups at a time. Mix well. If dough is crumbly add 1/4 cup of water. Chill in fridge 4 hours or overnight. Mold into long rolls 1/2" in diameter. Lay on cookie sheets, cover and chill in freezer until ready to bake. Cut into 1/3" pieces. Place cut side down on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 400F for 8 minutes. Store in airtight container.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Let It Snow

It's a white wonderland out there today. Makes me thankful to be able to be inside. I've been slowly clearing out clutter this week and it's getting easier as I go. I'm throwing away stuff that surprises me. It feels good. We live in a small place and the more stuff, the more claustrophobic I feel, especially in winter. I'm even getting ready to go through my books and pare my collection down. Not too long ago dearest one was moving containers of books from one shed to another (books that won't fit in the house) and complained I must have a thousand books out there. The only ones I'm really adamant about not getting rid of are the books I read to my kids as they were growing up. I made the mistake once of getting rid of some of them and had to eventually replace them. Some of them I haven't been able to replace and I regret it. Dearest one has been after me for a long time to write down my internet book browsing notes in a notebook instead of on the multiplying bits of paper piling up on my desk. This week I did just that. Those bits of paper offered the titles of 60 books just waiting for me to order from the library. It still makes me smile to think of it. And I can see the desktop for the first time ever in ages.

This week I had two counseling sessions. I'm down to monthly session with my after treatment counselor. January and February appointments are already booked with her. I'm thinking I won't need to book any more after that although she will remain available if I need some help sorting through my sometimes warped thinking. I am just starting the counseling sessions at the childhood sexual abuse survivors centre. I came away from there this week with several revelations to mull over. I have homework to do about those things before I see her again next week.

Christmas baking will start in earnest this week. Peppernuts are one thing I make every year.....a legacy from dearest one's family. Butter tarts, fudge and squares of several kinds will round out the rest. In the pantry is a box of pot of gold chocolates....a tradition I grew up with and am continuing. The tree has been decorated for a while - our first year of having an artificial tree (thanks to freecycle). Norwegian flags decorate it's length.....a tradition my grandparents passed on to me.

Life is good.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

You Can Look Back But Don't Stare

Today's title comes as a direct quote from my addictions counselor.

Three years ago today I created this blog. If you've ever wondered how I came up with my blog name you can read about it here. I started the blog to prove to myself that I could show up and write. At the time I read two different blogs and had no idea there was an abundance of blogs out there. I don't remember how I came across your blog, do you remember how you found mine?

What a lot of life in the past three years has made its way to these pages. You have been a big part of my recovery journey. In a few days I will celebrate 6 months of abstinence from binge eating, and 13 months abstinence from sexual addiction. Your prayers, encouragement and acceptance have helped me along the way.

The post that got the most comments (when I used haloscan) was when I came clean about my struggle with sexual addiction. I had many relapses before I was able to get more than a few months of abstinence behind me. By the grace of God today is day number 388. You held me up in prayer when I went to treatment this past summer. 19 years of being on a dry drunk came to an end with my reaching out and asking for help.

You supported me as I struggled to learn how to manage my spoon supply. I still marvel that spoon counting is not the driving force in my days now although as life would have it, today is one where I have very few. I've progressed from being able to walk to the end of the driveway and back (and that on a good day) to walking 7 to 10 miles a week. I thank God every single day I can go for a walk. The ability to do so still makes me giddy with joy.

You've listened as I've processed sessions of spiritual direction with Fr. Charlie. You've often left comments or written emails that have spoken to the deepest parts of me. Ones that have evoked everything from tears to laughter and deep reflection.

You've walked with me as I navigated an empty nest and the challenge of having adult children. You've journeyed with me as dearest one and I continue to make our way through married life together. We are ever growing and changing in our relationship.

All this to say thank you.
Thank you for reading
and commenting
and walking beside me.
I am richer for it.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Thinking Out Loud

Today would've been my brother Rodney's 47th birthday. I wrote about him here last year. He died two days after his birth. I wrote about him in my journal this morning...always wondering what life would have been like had he lived. That maybe he would have grown into a brother I could be friends with as an adult. My other two brothers don't communicate with me other than my older brother calling me once a year on my birthday. I realize Rodney could very likely have chosen to do the same but still I wonder.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Cold or snow, which would you like? Both? You got it. Pretty soon we'll have to use a tractor to plow the driveway to get out. Today I did venture outside though and go for a walk. Scarf up to my eyes, toque down to my eyebrows, but I did it. I was walking along thinking I need a balaclava. I had looked for one when I bought my scarf but couldn't find one. At the time I thought to myself, maybe they don't make them anymore because bank robbers use them so much. Dearest one is home sick today. I told him I'd gone for a walk when he was sleeping in his recliner. He asked about the cold and I told him I needed a balaclava. He didn't bat an eye as he said, "Oh they don't make them anymore because bank robbers use them." His face had just a hint of a smile. I looked at him and said, "I'm not that gullible." Then I laughed and told him I had thought that exact thing when I had been on my walk. Somehow I don't think that surprised him.
I can be so predictable.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Going Home

Week day mornings at 10 AM you can find me listening to the obituaries on the radio. Having spent several years with elderly women from a neighbouring community in a weekly Bible study I worry sometimes that unless I listen to the radio I'll miss hearing of one of them passing on. They were such a joy to spend time with. I was a mother of youngish children at the time and they had much to teach me about life. I remember wondering one day what the magical age was that a parent reached when what their children did didn't faze them or necessarily rule the day. At that point in my parenting I was very much enmeshed with my own children - could not see that there was and needed to be a separating line....the one where I ended and they began. I sat there and wondered how old these women were before they stopped worrying that their children's behaviour was a reflection on them.
Maybe they never did in the first place.

One of my favourite memories of that time was when one of those women shared the story of falling and breaking her arm. She was in her early 80's then and she told us when she fell she lay there and was grateful it wasn't her hip that she hurt. She spent many weeks with her arm in a cast and when it was removed it had that look of skin that hadn't seen daylight in a very long time. She went home, held up her arm to her husband and said in horror, "it looks like the arm of an old woman!"
Perish the thought!
She recently celebrated a birthday in her 90's and is still going strong.

This morning as I listened to the obituaries there was a woman mentioned who died on the weekend in her 99th year. I remember Marie well. We shared a hospital room 10 years ago. She had fallen and broken her hip. I had had a biopsy gone awry and was recuperating from emergency surgery and a blood transfusion. After lunch most days the staff would have her sit in a recliner at the end of her bed. My bed faced hers so this was a good time for us to visit. She was curious about the world around her, she was a great conversationalist and I liked her spunk. We shared a Norwegian heritage and one evening she joined her daughter and friend in singing a Norwegian song. It sounded beautiful.

One afternoon Marie rang the nursing station and asked for help to the bathroom. A nurse came and told her she had to get up and walk to the commode. Marie insisted she couldn't. The nurse got right down into Marie's face and with a harsh tone insisted she would. A physiotherapist stood by and supported the nurse's demand. I listened and watched this power struggle go on for several minutes. As Marie tried to maneuver her walker to the commode she was still insisting she couldn't do it. Her voice had a plaintive wail to it. One step towards the commode and her bowels couldn't wait any longer. The power struggle was over instantly. The staff left the room and called housekeeping to clean up the mess. No apology. No compassion. They just vanished. Today I would have no problem speaking up and defending the powerless. Back then I was still one of them.

That afternoon as Marie sat in her recliner she looked at me and in a small voice told me how humiliated she felt. She was a bit teary and she shrugged her shoulders as if this was her place in life now that she was old. I remember thinking how that nurse would not have spoken to a younger person that way. She wouldn't have got away with it.

I went back and visited Marie the day she was going home. That morning she was up and dressed, a smart jacket and skirt, nylons and makeup. With a sparkle in her eyes and a touch of red lipstick she looked beautiful.

This morning I learned she's gone home now for good.
May she rest in peace.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Hope Confidential

A letter marked confidential arrived for me in the mail yesterday. How weird it was to see my own name on an envelope in my own handwriting. Confused yet? When I was in treatment one of our last assignments was to write a letter to ourselves. A letter that would be mailed to us around 90+ days post treatment. My letter came yesterday. I let it sit on the coffee table beside me for several hours before I opened it. I couldn't remember what I'd written. Eventually I did open it and my smile grew bigger the more I read. I share it with you for whatever it may have to offer you in your journey today:
"Dear Hope,
I hope this finds you sober and abstinent, still looking in the mirror and saying "Thank you for being you." I hope that today you were present in your body. That you were aware of stress and anger and dealt with them in a healthy way.
These past months may have been hard but I'm hoping you've discovered what true intimacy is.
I hope you've been gentle with yourself. Remember there's always more positives than negatives to be found and mistakes are part of our humanity.
Good self care is a way of saying thank you to God for this body he's blessed you with. Shower, dress well. Feed your body wisely. Have some daily exercise program. You're worth it.
I really hope your relationships have deepened. Remember that you are responsible for getting your needs met, either by yourself or by asking for what you need from others. It's okay to have needs. No one can be expected to read your mind or do for you what you can do for yourself.
For this day only - that's all you have to concern yourself with.
My smile grew bigger the more I read because I was nodding in affirmation the whole way through. What I had hoped would be my reality 3 months post treatment has come true. Some of it is still baby step by baby step. Some of it is solid habit. And it thrills me to pieces to realize that.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Who's Driving Your Bus?

I'm sick in more than just my body today. My thinking is, too. It was just last week when I said to dearest one that we sure didn't get sick very often. Maybe one cold/flu a year at best. I was preening a bit at the thought, as if I was in control of life so much that I could ward off sickness by sheer willpower. If life was a game show, a big buzzer would have just gone off at the insanity of my thinking.

My head is throbbing, my appetite has left me and the mucus is like a dripping faucet down my throat. I'm not sick enough to be in bed but not well enough to do more than sit in front of the computer or lay on the couch.

However that reality did not stop me from looking out at the new coating of snow on the deck and seriously consider not only shoveling it away again, but doing the whole walkway and then going for a walk. I miss my walk. Oh, and while I'm at it why don't I clean the kitchen, sweep the floor and vacuum the livingroom, too. You get my drift. Only a person sick in more than just the body would sit here considering such options while feeling as if their head is going to explode if they stand up.

And what's driving my insanity is that I want something to show for the past few days dearest one and youngest son have been gone. Not that they expect it, I do.

When I was in treatment I learned I had this silent mantra driving most of my action. That mantra was I need to justify my existence.

There. I knew if I just started typing I'd at least get this off my chest and it's ended with me figuring out what's driving my insanity today. Like Earnie Larsen says, "Who's driving your bus?" Today it's been my 5 year old self who always felt guilty that she lived despite her premature birth, while her brother Rodney didn't. Who felt like she owed the world an explanation of her days in order to justify her living.

I just kicked her out of the driver's seat.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A Shovelful of Character Defects

I came face to face with my not knowing when to quit character defect again today. I woke up in the night with a painful sliver infested throat (that's what it felt like) and by mid morning had a fever and headache, too. The weather has been cold and snowy so dearest one and youngest son stayed over in town last night and will again tonight.

Late in the afternoon I ventured outside to feed the animals, looked at all the snow piled up and picked up the shovel to attack it. I love shoveling snow. I haven't been able to do it for several years now because of my chronic health issues. Going to treatment this summer has changed that. Tonight I'm reminded that having a fever and headache is not the time to rejoice in being able to pick up a shovel and attack anything.

I also love shoveling out a barn. Dearest one and I spent some time working on dairy farms when only daughter was our only child. I happily shoveled shit as often as I could. We'd put only daughter in a walker on the dairy barn parlour floor and go to work milking cows and cleaning the barn.

Thank God there wasn't a dairy barn in sight today. :)

Grains of Sand

"Sometimes that mountain you've been climbing is just a grain of sand."~ from Carrie Underwood's song So Small

Monday, November 26, 2007


Life is good.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Creature of Habit

My sponsor celebrated her AA birthday today. It was fun to see her receive her card and medallion for 17 years of sobriety. The cake was good, too! This woman has been a Godsend in my life and I thank God for her. I trust her in a way I trust few people. She's honest, compassionate and kicks my butt when necessary. I'm blessed.

While sitting in the meeting today, a meeting I've never been at before, I realized what a creature of habit I tend to be. I'm not much of a risk taker. This meeting was much larger than what I'm used to. My home group has a handful of members and a big meeting there is 10 people. The meeting I was at today had 3 times that many at least. But there were familiar faces among them and for that I was glad. For the fourth time in a week or so I had someone who hadn't seen me in a while tell me, "You're glowing." Today they added, "Whatever you did at treatment worked because it's showing in your face." My smile just got bigger.

I got home in time to go to Mass where there is on a good Sunday, 10 people. How can you tell I'm not much of a crowd person? This new priest we have cuts through it all to preach Jesus again and again and again. I'm being challenged every week and am still mulling over his homilies from 6 weeks ago. I like being challenged like that.

I spent the rest of the afternoon watching the Grey Cup (go Riders!!) and a few of my favourite tv shows. There again I have my favourites and Sunday is really the only day of the week when I call dibs on the TV remote.

In between I phoned my mom and made an amend for something I said to her last night. Well, it was more like a clarification. I had spoken a truth about someone in a rather blunt way. Speaking that bluntly is breaking the unspoken rules in my family. That part didn't bother me a bit. What did bother me was that I let the comment stand as if that bit of truth about the person was the WHOLE truth about them. As I listened in the AA meeting today and heard people talk about what it used to be like, what happened and what it's like now I thought of this distant family member I had spoken about (who died just over a week ago) and knew I hadn't been fair in letting my comment stand as if it was the whole truth about them. Without the fellowship of AA I wouldn't know there was another way to look at life. Including my own. For if I'd let that comment stand I would be saying I'm also characterized by my screw ups, and God knows I've made my share. I'd like to say it was easy to call my mom and clarify it but it wasn't. The good news though is that I did it. And for that I'll sleep easier tonight.

Snow is falling outside so dearest one and youngest son have plans to stay over in town until Wednesday night at oldest son's home. Being alone is one of my greatest times of temptation to relapse. Thank God I only have to do this one day at a time, one minute at a time, if necessary. That I know enough to pick up the phone if need be. God grant me the grace to make good choices.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Unwrapping The Day

It's been a beautiful gift of a day.

When I first went back to AA I chose a home group called Gratitude 24/7. At the time I thought people must be faking an attitude of gratitude and what they really needed was a dose of reality. I had no idea I'd been on a dry drunk for most of my sobriety, no idea what recovery looked like and no idea that gratitude was mine for the choosing. A dry drunk is not a rut I rest in very long these days. Most days on my walk I thank God for the ability to be grateful. Naming what I'm grateful for comes easily and that nearly makes me giddy. I realized one day this week as I was walking that what I was feeling was joy. I've spent so many years as a cynic. To find cynicism replaced with joy is pure gift.

None of this is possible on my own steam. I show up, I'm as open, willing and honest as I can be while my Higher Power works. I want God's will to be done in my life more than my own most of the time and when I don't I don't beat myself up for that anymore, either. Accepting my humanity has been so freeing. I can hardly fathom that progress is much more attractive to me these days than perfection. I know when I'm aching for perfection in myself or others that fear is the driving force behind it.

This month I've been chairing the meetings, getting there early to help set up when I can, and staying afterwards to visit. It's a concrete way to give back out of gratitude for someone else having done it before me, for making sure the door was open when I needed it. I used to dislike chairing meetings until my sponsor kidded me one day saying, "What's the matter, you scared of making a mistake?" Dang. She had me pegged just right. I don't take myself so seriously today and there's never a safer place to be human than in an AA meeting.

Today as the promises were being read I wanted to get up and dance. I wonder if I will ever get over the miracle that these promises are coming true in my life. I hope I never take them for granted.

Before I went to the meeting I finished up nearly all my Christmas shopping. That I could do that is a gift in itself. One I don't take for granted. We keep a fairly simple Christmas so the process is painless. That it's even an option is a gift. After my meeting I took oldest son's fiancee out for her birthday. She is a gift in herself. We had a nice lunch in a nice restaurant and a great visit. That taking her out for a meal was an option is a gift, too.

Dearest one chose more patience than not today when I accidentally hung up on him and then looked at my cell phone as it vibrated in my hand and thought, "oh it must do that when it's being turned off." Um, nope. It does that when someone is calling me. Like the person I accidentally hung up on who was done his class early and was stranded without a vehicle. The vehicle I was in when he phoned. And he chose to have more patience than not while in the midst of a wretched nicotine withdrawal fit.

Driving home later dearest one shared his reality in the face of nicotine withdrawal. If you only knew how much I have nagged him these past 25 years about his on and off smoking. How much I took it personally that he smoked. How much energy I've spent being resentful. Then you'd know what a gift it was that today I did none of that. I was more concerned about his quitting smoking cold turkey without a plan to deal with the stressors in his life than I was happy about his quitting. Addiction is addiction is addiction. And we set ourselves up to fail if we have no plan in place, no healthy coping mechanisms to deal with the issues that addiction temporarily relieves. So I was more relieved than not when dearest one stopped and bought a pack of smokes. Quitting will come in its time and accepting that I'm not the one who dictates the timetable is really a miracle.

It's been a beautiful gift of a day.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Intense Shades Of Blue

There is a beautiful winter blue sky out there this morning. I guess that's the price of cold weather - because that intense shade of blue only comes with the cold! It was -17 C this morning and some of our windows were frosted over. I plan on enjoying a walk outside today. Yesterday was almost a write off - I had to go back to bed and sleep for 4 hours before I could function. I was tempted to panic because that kind of exhaustion was par for the course before I went to treatment in August. But I didn't. I simply listened to my body and chalked it up to the emotional toll of two separate counseling sessions the day before. This too shall pass.

Here are a few posts I've read lately that are worthy of a second look:

This one made me realize I would use an MP3 player if I had one: Of Richard Rohr and Parker Palmer. And with only dial up and no MP3 player I'm envious of those of you who can go ahead and listen to the links!

This post made me laugh out loud. I do love a good chuckle: A Silly Poor Gospel. Her whole blog is worth the read.

This is another post from A Silly Poor Gospel which I've gone back and reread several times: Covered Dish.

And in a different direction here is a post that might be offensive to some so consider yourself warned. I like the woman's honesty and humour.Beyond Blue. A totally different kind of blue than a winter sky.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Going Down That Road

Two separate counseling sessions, coupled with a pre dawn drive to town, made for a long day yesterday. Good self care was my goal for the day, especially after I opened my journal to realize I hadn't written in it since the kerfuffle with dearest one last week. For me, avoiding my journal writing is the same as avoiding reality. Combine that with one day of no shower, no walk, no getting dressed (not to mention having two meals in a row where one serving of caramel dumplings was the only thing on my menu)and it's a short hop and a skip to the slippery road called relapse.

And I'm so not going down that road.

I processed the day's counseling sessions with dearest one last night. We ended up having a great conversation about where we're at and what's possible for the future. Well, first we had a minor kerfuffle where he tried to put his shit on me and I nearly accepted it as my own. We're both so good at trying to escape responsibility for our actions and usually the other one obliges, taking it on themselves in that moment. After a quarter of a century living in this sick dynamic the flu season is coming to an end. Baby steps toward health are slowly edging it out.

Yesterday my after treatment counselor reminded me that 25 years of behaviour is not going to change overnight.
But change is happening.
And for the ability and grace to go down that road
I am so very grateful.

Friday, November 16, 2007

You Shall Know The Truth And The Truth Will Set You Free

"I leave you free to be yourself: to think your thoughts, indulge your tastes, follow your inclinations, behave in ways that you decide are to your liking."
from The Way To Love
I wasn't in treatment very long before my counselor suggested joint counseling for dearest one and I. As in "let's get the two of you together in one room to talk about some things". My initial reaction was NO! She asked me to dig deeper into what that 'no' meant. Eventually I told her that getting healthy was my thing. I felt threatened by the thought that dearest one might get healthy too. I wanted to be able to lord over him my new found health.
Spoken like a true addict.
Like one who needs it all under her own control
in order to be right with the world.
Uh huh.
I felt embarrassed admitting it because
it sounded just as sick to my ears as to hers,
yet it was the truth.

I was barely home from the treatment centre when I confronted dearest one about the most painful issue in our 25 years together. The one that prompted my counselor to suggest couple's counseling. The one that I was sure was all his fault. I confronted him in a loving way where both of us had our dignity intact by the end of the conversation. Although the outcome was not what I had hoped for I stood my ground while he tried to manipulate his way out of the situation. I managed not to swear, attack, or engage in any of my long standing sick behaviours as a form of retaliation. It hadn't been all that difficult either. Which surprised me and yet, didn't. I really was a different person with a new set of coping skills. I felt good at the end of the conversation even though I wasn't going to get my way. What was really important was that I had spoken up. Had said my piece. Had known that my freedom, my liking myself at the end of the day, was more important than being nice and smoothing things over. I told him I was moving forward no matter what the cost. For the first time in my life I knew what it felt like to have my integrity intact after a difficult conversation.

In the end that conversation did prompt dearest one to go for his own counseling though. Since then he has been doing the most grueling work as he confronts his past. He's been generous in sharing with me the conversations that take place in his sessions and often they've given me things to think over in my own life. Such as realizing the issue I confronted him about, the one I was sure was all his fault, I have my own baggage in that area. Which was news to me. I'd been convinced (and convinced him) I was totally healthy when it came to that. This past weekend he opened up his heart, made himself vulnerable and shared with me his deepest thoughts about this issue. I told him he was never more beautiful than when he bared his soul to me. Even though the original issue had not righted itself I felt peace that I could trust the process. That he was on a healing journey that would lead him to a healthier place. What I didn't realize was that I had healthier place confused with my particular point of view.

Which meant dearest one turned ugly in my eyes yesterday.
Right when his grueling work meant that he found freedom.
From me.

I felt threatened enough at his freedom to whip out every sick coping skill I had in storage and use them as ammunition. In the midst of my little hissy fit words from my counselor rose through my attitude: "Your family will want the old you back. They will try to swing the pendulum back to centre, to something they knew, even if it is sick." Oh God, I was trying to swing dearest one's pendulum back to centre, back to something familiar because the thought of breaking new ground in this area scared me. Scared me enough to shove my counselor's words out of the way so I could continue trying to swing dearest one back to safety.

In the midst of trying he said to me, "I've tasted freedom and I'm not letting go of it. Even if that means confrontation."

Oh shit.
My gig as chief controller was up.
I knew how exhilarating that freedom felt.
It had been the one thing I had been unwilling to give up
since coming home from treatment.
This man who absolutely hates confrontation and feels sick to his stomach at the thought of it, found the freedom to live his own life.
To choose his own boundaries.
To stop letting my insanity define him.
And he's unwilling to give it up.

I knew that place he found himself in was the most freeing, wonderful, peaceful place because I'd experienced it too. It had sunk right to the core of his being. My gig was definitely up. But I wasn't going to give up without a fight.

In the space of a half mile drive he managed to say to me basically what I had said to him way back in that first confrontation. He was moving forward whatever the cost.
I felt panicky hearing him speak with such emotional health.
I. did. not. like. it. one. bit.
Logic told me his freedom was a good thing.
But logic be damned, I was trying desperately
to manipulate him back to my way of thinking.

So I kept picking at him.
It didn't work.
It didn't matter what kind of insanity
came out of my mouth
he held his ground.
I couldn't wear him down.
Holy Mother of God pray for us.

I told him I felt farther away from him than ever. He said all that really happened was that the gulf between us was now exposed for what it had always been. That up until now there had been a thin level of ice covering it and so we thought it wasn't there. That we were really two separate beings with different life experience. I asked if I could shove him into the abyss between us and hold his head under. That's how scared I felt at losing control.

Nothing was going according to plan. It didn't matter how diligently I picked away at him he kept coming back to truth and reality. Eventually he told me he wasn't going to be backed into a corner. At that point I turned and headed down the hallway muttering fuck off under my breath. Which is my default setting when I'm not going to get my way. A setting I hadn't used in the 83 days I'd been home from treatment.

What's a girl to do?

Oh, I flipped him the bird behind the slammed bedroom door.
Jabs in the air like a boxer in the face of his opponent.
Only my opponent was still in the kitchen.

I crawled into bed where the tools and skills from treatment rose above the insanity.
I had finally shut my mouth long enough to remember them.
To dearest one the gulf between us, the abyss, simply meant we were two different people, with two separate histories, whose life experience had brought us to two different conclusions in this area. It wasn't a bad thing. It was normal.

Normal?!! WTF?
His acceptance of that truth was mind boggling. Honouring our differences meant life was going to become so much more unpredictable. I hate unpredictable. I could hardly believe how badly I wanted to pummel the freedom right out of him. And I would have done so except the centredness he was living was so good and true and right, made him so very beautiful, that it messed up all my plans to harm him.

When dearest one crawled into bed I told him how proud I was of him.
He replied that was rather a paradox wasn't it?
"How so," I asked.
"Well, two seconds ago you wanted to hold my head under water."
"Oh, ya, that."

I crawled into his arms and sobbed.
I let go, feeling my fingers uncurl
from their frozen grip on control.
Admitted my powerlessness.
Apologized for my behaviour.
Chose to embrace his freedom.
And in doing so embraced my own.
In that moment I hated knowing
there was another way.
A healthier way.
The only way if I wanted emotional health.

There is nothing to lord over him anymore.
Maybe there never was.
Dearest one is moving forward
despite me.
Not to spite me.
But in spite of me and my sick attempts
to hold him back.

This morning I bypassed beating myself up for behaving so miserably last night.
I looked dearest one in the eyes and told him I was choosing to trust the process
to take us to a much healthier place together. Surrendering to the reality that a healthier place is not synonymous with my point of view. Accepting that the abyss between us is simply a description of where I end and he begins. Learning to let go of trying to blurr the lines.

Yesterday as he was on his way to counseling I phoned dearest one to tell him I was praying for him. I prayed especially for healing. Uh huh, I did.

Thank God we are on a healing journey
that can take us both
to a healthier place.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Freedom From Insanity...... For Today

Today is a milestone worth celebrating. One year, 365 days, worth of abstinence from sexual addiction. There have been many tears, slips and falls since I published this post about my struggles nearly 2 years ago. That post took many hours of thought and hitting the publish post button felt akin to voluntarily getting naked in a room of fully clothed people. There have been many struggles to keep putting one foot in front of the other since then. For a while all I did was look backwards at the 120 days of abstinence that followed that post and beat myself up for not being able to reach 121. Repeatedly getting up and trying again has been one of the biggest battles of my life. My motivation for doing so was my yearning to be free of shame. To embrace truth instead of being bogged down in the lies.

In my counseling sessions I've been asked to define my sexual addiction - as in what behaviours are you referring to, they ask. At first I was ashamed to tell. I know I'm not the only one to struggle with those behaviours and today I'm able to be matter of fact about naming them. No, I don't offer it as small talk in social situations, after all there'd be spewed coffee and choking coughs to follow if I did, but if one asks me, I tell. Our human need to know we aren't alone in our struggles motivates me to be forthright about it when appropriate.

By the grace of God and my willingness to surrender - well I think that is a grace in itself, too - here I am today. It feels beatiful. Looking backwards and forwards is not the norm anymore. Staying in this day feels more comfortable. It's less of a strain on the neck, too. I'm not doing any of this perfectly and that's finally a comforting thought instead of ammunition to beat myself up with.

Never have Anne Lamott's two favourite prayers been my constant companions more than in this past year. They sum up my journey. In the morning, "Help me, help me, help me" and in the evening, "Thank you, thank you, thank you."

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

It's Tuesday, Right?

One thing about spending three days without a timepiece in sight (they ask that you voluntarily give up all watches, cell phones,etc. for the duration and they cover up all clocks) is that I not only lose track of what time it is but what day it is, too. The only way I seem to be able to know today is Tuesday is to look at the calendar.

It was a wonderful weekend, spiritually refreshing, fun, loving and life giving. I feel blessed to have been a part of it. My spoon supply was adequate, which still seems miraculous. Not that I'm not weary today, but it's a manageable weariness not an overwhelming one. For that I am grateful.

It's a winter wonderland out there this morning. It looks beautiful. Hopefully tomorrow the roads will be driveable because I'll have my last sesion with Fr. Charlie in person for a while. We both drive between one and two hours for our spiritual direction sessions now and I'm not keen on winter driving so after tomorrow we'll talk on the phone until after the snow melts in the spring.

The nightmare that I alluded to in my last post; it's meaning was revealed to me during the weekend. It was the first time I had a dream where I didn't wake up until after the scary, heart stopping scene was finished. Anyway, the meaning went from murkiness for clarity and for that I am grateful. When that happened I acknowledged that scary things don't always have to be pushed to the recesses of our minds.

5 months of no binge eating as of yesterday. Thanks be to God. My session with the counselor from the sexual abuse centre has been rescheduled for next Monday as she forgot it was a holiday yesterday when we booked it. I can wait.

The thought that has been reverberating in my heart from the weekend came from one of the spiritual directors, a priest. We gathered for team Mass before the candidates arrived and he talked about how we didn't know where these women were in their spiritual journey and how our place was not to judge. He said we aren't called to tell people they are lost but rather to be there with them when they feel they are lost. What a freeing perspective.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Sleep Deprived

Tired. Not a good way to start what will be a sleep deprived (I almost typed depraved) weekend. I woke up from a nightmare in the middle of the night last night and my sleep was haphazard after that. I may just go back to bed instead of packing my suitcase.

There's a light dusting of snow on the ground this morning. It looks like a baker took a sieve and sprinkled icing sugar over the land.

Dearest one and youngest son spent a night in town this week rather than risk freezing rain two mornings in a row. Two mornings ago dearest one passed a Greyhound bus about 5 minutes before that bus rolled, killing several passengers. After experiencing several traumatic deaths in our family whenever I hear of an accident I think to myself, "Their nightmare is just beginning."

I'll be gone until Monday night, spending the weekend with 80 other women. I'll be giving a talk on putting our faith in action on Saturday afternoon. Monday morning I have my first appointment at the agency in town that offers childhood sexual abuse counseling. Pray for me.

Here's my favourite posts from the blogsphere this week: tears and laughter in one post. Goodbye.

Have a blessed weekend. Covet your sleep. Hug your loved ones.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

From Darkness To Light

I've had this link bookmarked for a while now. It's worth checking out.

Advent Conspiracy

Back To The Present

My procrastinating ways are going to catch up with me today. Tomorrow I'm off to a women's weekend. Today will be laundry, lists and packing. I'll be one of a dozen speakers over the course of the weekend. I look forward to that. This weekend is one of great love and fellowship. In many ways it's life giving for me. In others it's a challenge to my recovery.

One of the biggest hurdles for me this weekend will be no bingeing. I've binged my way through this weekend before. There is food. Lots of it. Everytime one turns around it's either meal time or coffee break. There's candy on every table throughout the whole day. And when the bowl gets empty they refill it! Social situations are one of my biggest triggers for bingeing. I'm not a social butterfly, I prefer one on one conversations. In social situations food can seem a safer companion than the person next to me.

On Monday, by God's grace, I'll have 5 months of no binge eating. I don't miss the insanity of it. The inability to stop shoving food into my mouth while my head is screaming at me to stop right this minute. My inability to listen to the voice of reason. My refusal to surrender to a power greater than myself until after the binge is over. I don't miss the shame, the guilt, the self loathing. I do miss the instant gratification.

There are certain foods I avoid today because to taste one bite of them will take me down a road I don't want to go. I can have the greatest intentions while plotting ways to get around my own boundaries. Because one has to eat my food addiction seems harder to navigate than alcohol. Yet in action it works the same way. Deciding to have just one drink when you know the whole bottle's going to call your name until it's empty is the same kind of relationship I have with junk food, candy and pop. Give me a little bit and I want it all and I don't want to share it either.

Today. That's all I have to live. I'm getting ahead of myself yet know I need a plan in place, too. In treatment we came up with a relapse prevention plan. I need to take a copy with me tomorrow and read it every day. I can't do any of this on my own strength. God help me. I can feel the anxiety between my words.

This little excerpt from Be-good-to-yourself-Therapy speaks to me right now:
"19. When you feel anxious, let yourself know that in your head you've moved into the future to something scary and your body has gotten up the energy for it. Come back to the present."
Come back to the present.
It's all you have.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Making Saints and Snow Angels

Winter weather is in the forecast for today. Dearest one barely made it to work on freezing rain covered roads early this morning. He'll stay in town overnight rather than risk the roads two days in a row. Snow is expected tonight and tomorrow. And so it begins.

I'm fine with winter but I'm not a great fan of winter driving and do it only if I have to. That means some weeks I get feeling stir crazy and house bound but really, that's temporary.

Nothing lasts forever.

I try to remember that especially when I'm miserable. It took me several hours to figure out just what was irritating me last night. Turns out it was myself. I'd spent the evening yapping at dearest one, having an answer to anything and everything he told me. Eventually I looked at him and told him he was irritating me. Ha. Projection at its finest. It took until we were snuggled in bed last night to realize my own yappiness was the issue. And then I proceeded to yap at him about that while he was trying to get comfy and sleep. He really is a saint in the making. Courtesy of moi.

Nothing lasts forever.

Dearest one whispers, "Thank God." I chime in with "Amen." Okay, okay, I'll be quiet now. I promise.

Monday, November 05, 2007


A new week.
A new day.
A new beginning.

Over the weekend I realized I was trying to hold in my grasp the feeling that life is more than good. As if clutching it tight was the same as the power to make it last forever. As I became aware of what I was trying to do I knew it's more important to accept reality, whatever it is, for this day only. My worth is not dependent on my state of mind. My attitude however, is fully mine to choose. My humanity a reality that's better to accept than deny.

In 10 days, God help me, I'll be celebrating one year of abstinence from sexual addiction. Sometimes I get upset that recovery can only ever be a one day at a time reality. A year ago I didn't decide I'd be abstinent forever but I hoped this time I would be. It wasn't long before I ran smack dab into a for this day only reality check. I find myself cussing a bit about that from time to time. Usually when I am in the midst of struggling and resisting the urge to chuck all recovery out the window. This 24 hours is all I have to deal with. Wrapped in God's grace it's possible to live in this day only.

Living in recovery is akin to living in awareness. I still have these ideas of good and bad feelings and find myself repressing the ones I deem bad. On the weekend I found myself telling dearest one and youngest son I wasn't mad about a situation that involved me setting boundaries that affected them. I must have said it three or four times in a 5 minute conversation. Methinks thou does protest too much surfaced in my mind like a drowning man coming up for air. Ya think? The more I protested I wasn't mad the more I realized oh yes I was. Why was that so difficult to admit? Because I still see being mad as being less than perfect and a bad thing. Oh, this is a journey Hope, stop getting your knickers in a knot about the destination. I need those reminders. They help me relax, take a deep breath and accept reality. Reality often means accepting my humanity instead of trying to outrun it.

Enjoy your journey today.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Grateful Reality

No snow. Beautiful sunshine. Frost on the grass. A new day.

My AA meeting yesterday was uplifting. So good to have a place to go where I can be human without apology. No fear of judgement. Just the nod of heads because we all know we can be just as human and messed up as the next person. To be in a place where I know I'm going to be loved and accepted for who I really am.

As I drove up to the parking lot I felt grateful. Then I felt grateful that I was grateful! It only gets better. Before recovery I was only capable of being grateful if life was going my way. With all my ducks lined up in a row, none falling over, then I might feel grateful. That's the insanity of addiction, being grateful for an illusion.

Being grateful for reality is so much better.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Saturday, Saturday

Saturday, who sang that song? I'm thinking Bay City Rollers but I could be wrong. Remember plaid sewn into jeans for a cool cuff way back when?

A new day. A gift. I'm learning I just need to stay in this day. That seems so simple. To type, I mean. It's getting easier to live. I'm making baby step progress in doing so anyway.

I'm off to town for my AA meeting this morning. If it works out I may be going shopping with a loved one later on. I do most of my shopping solo so to go with someone will be a treat. I zipped up size 16 jeans this morning and could do more than hold my breath and stand like a mannequin in them. I didn't even have to do that lie on the bed to get them done up trick, either. That's progress, too. I mean not that I could actually sit down in them without feeling like I'd been cut in half but at least now I can breathe. Without a scale they're my progress chart for eating healthier, walking regularly and not binge eating.

I often still want to eat to deal with my feelings and sit on the couch all day. I have many days of wanting to do just that. By God's grace I don't. My gang eats a fair amount of junk food in my presence. Lately I've asked them if they could put the remains away once they're done. Going around and picking up half full bags of chips has the same temptation as if I had to pick up bottles of beer with a swallow left in them.

Usually when I want to binge I'm craving something deeper than food. And no matter how full I stuff my face that empty, craving feeling remains. So I practice asking myself what it is I really want. And often I don't know but asking is a step in the right direction.

In my parent's house eating is the pinnacle event of the day. My mom still cooks fabulous meals and she has ingredients in her cupboards I can't even pronounce. It's my parent's 51st wedding anniversary today. While I don't have the greatest respect for their marriage journey I am grateful they are still together. They had a double wedding (my mom is an identical twin) and every year they get together with my aunt and uncle and have a great meal together. Most likely they'll be cooking up a storm today.

On weekends here dearest one and youngest son do the cooking so I'm off the hook for today. All I have to do today is stay in this day. I can do that. I can. I will.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Pick a number, any number

I've seen this around on several blogs and it started my brain running on overdrive. What memories to pick from my life 10, 20 and 30 years ago. Let's see what I can come up with.

10 years ago: 1997. 35th birthday. The year I had two lumpectomies to rule out breast cancer. My mom had breast cancer when she was 33 and again at 51.(she turns 69 next week) One of my maternal first cousins, who's in her early 40's, recently had breast cancer too so lumps must be checked. With the second surgery I hemorrhaged at home and had to have emergency surgery to stop the bleeding plus several units of blood afterwards. On the way to the hospital I swelled up with blood so much that I often joke I got to be Dolly Parton on one side for onle day. I don't recommend it. (You could poke someone's eye out) The good part of it all was this experience started doctors checking into the bleeding issues in our family and ultimately ended with the diagnosis of Ehlers-Danlos Type III, a connective tissue disorder, a few years ago. Generations of weird medical issues were finally answered because of that lumpectomy gone wrong.

20 years ago: 1987. I was 25. Very pregnant with youngest son while oldest son is one year old and only daughter is three. Not yet sober. Less than a year from sobriety and faith. One of the rockiest years. Nearly left dearest one. That episode brought him to his knees and back to God. We still get teary when we talk of how close we came to splits ville that day. How it would have boiled down to pride for us to have gone our separate ways back then. How grateful we are that we didn't. We've had lots of rocky times since but thanks be to God, we celebrated 25 years of marriage this past winter. My going to treatment has probably been the greatest threat to our marriage yet. As we both work through our issues and the layers get peeled back, we are beginning to see how beautiful true intimacy could be.

30 years ago: 1977. 15 years old. The year dearest one and I stopped being pen pals. I was heartbroken. He was raised in a conservative Mennonite home where church membership meant no dating, no girlfriends. Never having heard the term Mennonite before, I had no idea what it meant. Isn't that like, uh, me being Norwegian? Not. His immanent baptism meant he had to stop writing me. The night before his baptism he got drunk instead and opted out of the plan. With a few years we would reconnect and by the time I was 19 we were married.

And in the vein of dreaming dreams I'll add:

2017: I'll be 55. Best word I could hear in that year would be "Hi Nana" That would be what I'd hear when they knock on the door of my writing cabin. A place of sanctuary for young and old alike. Not that 55 will be old, but I will be fully grey by then. Heck, I'll probably be fully grey long before that.

2027: Retirement age. Knowing and living what is really important. Fewer words. More meaning. Deeper loving. Strong hope.

2037: 75. What a gift to reach that age. Family. Relationships. Faith. Passing the torch to the next generation. Love. At the end of it all, love is what matters. "God is love. And he who abides in love abides in God and God in him." What better legacy could one leave?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Navigating The Journey

I turned a corner yesterday. Simply and with gratitude.

I've been feeling as if I'd learned nada, nothing in treatment. Felt like I was navigating life from that old place, without a clue how to get back what I'd gained. I was trying, with little success, to accept where I was.

Yesterday during my time of prayer and reflection I read something that reminded me I wasn't God. What a relief. To be reminded, I mean. Grateful that my automatic response wasn't, "What do you mean I'm not God?!" I've had more than a few of those in my day. Recognizing I wasn't God brought me right back to step one (I can't), two (God can) and three (I'll let Him) and with that came surrender and serenity. Thanks be to God.

Monday, October 29, 2007


Monday, Monday. No snow. One year ago we had a foot of snow and the official start of winter. Over seven feet of snow and six months later it gave way to spring.

Today I have an appointment with my after treatment addictions counselor and then on to buying groceries. My commitment today is to buy good groceries. To honour my body with good choices. I'm grateful I have that privilege. Hopefully I'll find a $5 bouquet of pink roses to take home as well.

Small things give me the most pleasure. A cup of tea. A pretty flower. A comfy bed to crawl into. A shower. We spent years hauling every drop of water we used so to have a well that works better the more water we use, makes a shower a glorious event. A simple meal. A library book to read. A warm blanket for my lap.

It doesn't take much to make me happy. Sometimes I wonder if that's because I'm not much of a dreamer. Or if life's struggles have taught me to be thankful for what's right in front of me.

Whatever the case I'm grateful to be going to town today and receiving nourishment for body and soul. Life doesn't get much better than that.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Last Night I Baptized A Book

I was getting settled under the bed covers the other night, my latest read and a cup of tea occupying both hands, when a few teaspoons of golden hot liquid spilled onto the book. As I reached over to get a Kleenex to soak it up a sentence popped into my head:
"Last night I baptized a book."
"Well, that's weird," I thought, "Books don't need rebirth." At that I wiped the tea away, opened my book and began reading. The sentence kept circling my head like an airplane in a holding pattern, though. "Excuse me, I'm trying to read here!" I murmured. By the time I went to sleep the sentence was still in orbit. It was the first thing to break through my consciousness when I opened my eyes 9 hours later, too. It still didn't make any sense.

Yesterday I met with Fr. Charlie. I arrived late and found the front door locked. I yanked on the doorknob once last time, not knowing that if I would've moved my fingers an inch to the left, they would have pressed the door bell to let them know I was there. Sometimes the solution is so simple. Fortunately, when I walked around to the side of the building, someone finishing up dishes from lunch saw me through a window. She opened the side door, told me the front door was always locked, and led me through a maze of hallways and staircases where I eventually ended up in Father Charlie's office.

I miss the serenity of the sitting room in his old office. The one with comfortable furniture and peaceful paint colours. It felt safer there. In this new space there's high ceilings, institutional white paint and two uncomfortable wooden chairs. They're meant to sit facing his desk but when we meet he comes around the side and sits in one while I take the other. With barely enough room to navigate, the chairs are turned to rest against adjoining walls. We turn them slightly to face one another. If only ceiling height could morph into floor space when needed.

But it doesn't and so ensconced in our chairs we began. Back and forth. Probing questions. Tears. Silence. Unbelief that I could find myself in such a state. Again. Not that he was taken by surprise, mind you. I look forward to the day when my humanity no longer slaps me across the face with a ferocity that stuns me. I covered my face with my hands and cried when he reminded me to honour whatever I was capable of on any given day. That good enough was indeed, good enough. I looked at him through the tears and told him I'd forgotten such a simple truth. Celebrate the here and now. Accept myself as is. As is is good enough. Always.

Later on I shared this recurring feeling of having a cry inside me that was begging to be let out. That it came from my core and the thought of giving it a voice scared me. Made me feel out of control. For now all I could do was open my mouth wide and practice without making a sound. He wondered aloud what the cry was trying to tell me. What was behind it. I hadn't felt like this in nearly 20 years I told him. Back then I'd been angry with my mom. Really angry. I'd recently shared my story with someone for the first time. The pain that followed was nearly unbearable. I was in the midst of sobering up and when the pain got too much I would lie on my bed and fantasize about how a six pack of beer would make everything better. Except I'd already been to Al-Anon by then and knew beer wasn't going to solve a thing. It was all my mother's fault. And if she phoned I was going to let out this primal scream to let her know it.

Yesterday though, the cry didn't feel angry. When I sat with it long enough to feel its breath I told Fr. Charlie it was a wailing cry. Deep and painful.

"Like new birth?" he asked.

At his question I turned to look him right in the eyes. Facing him I said out loud, "Last night I baptized a book." At this he sat up a bit straighter. We sat in silence, the sentence making figure eight loops as it circled between us both now. I then shared the story of how this sentence had popped into my head the night before. How this particular book was taking me to raw, painful places.

From there our conversation took several turns when he asked me if any pictures came into my head. So I shared with him that the day before I'd pictured myself as a little girl running into caves. I wasn't very discerning about which I ran into. Some of them were full of fire and some were calm and peaceful. It didn't matter to me, I just wanted a cave to hide in. Once inside it's doorway I sat hugging my knees, rocking back and forth.

Further into the conversation we talked of altars built of stones. Places that marked significant events in one's journey. As we talked I pictured a huge boulder set on my path. One I put there by choice. As a person walked the path that was all my yesterdays, one saw the word RECOVERY painted in white across the middle of the boulder. To get that far you had to navigate chaos, stones, pebbles and obstacles. And my mother. On that side of the boulder I was the little girl who hid in caves and rocked back and forth. As I made my way around the rock I became a woman. Strong. Capable. Facing forward. And my mother couldn't come with me. No one got past the boulder without my permission. As I looked before me I saw a calming white that reached into infinity.

As my session came to a close Fr. Charlie shared what had come to him as I talked. As he reflected on the tea stained book he said the book was where I was in my baptismal journey. New birth, if only I would wail the wail and let it out. Caves and boulders both symbols of resurrection.

A surge of peace enveloped me as he spoke.
New birth.
Wailing the wail.
Deeper conversion.
Cries of my heart.
"Okay," I said, "I can do this.".

Suddenly honouring my story in whatever way its sentences form morphed into the path before me and became something to celebrate, not fight.

The circling stopped.
The plane landed.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Purging My Story

"9. When you feel like running away, let yourself feel the scare. Think about what you fear will happen and decide what you need to do." ~from Be-Good-To-Yourself Therapy by Cherry Hartman
Yesterday I wanted to numb the scare right out of my consciousness. To hell with all this recovery work. I wanted to throw it far away from me. But, damn. A person can never go back there whole heartedly. It's like wanting to stop for a lobotomy before committing the crime so one can plead insanity instead of guilty. Well, other than where I was yesterday in my thinking was pure insanity as understood in recovery talk. Knowing there is a better way rains on a parade real quick. So I skirted the fringes, dipped in my toes and eventually made a phone call to ask for confirmation that I was lying to myself, wasn't I? We are only as sick as our sickest secret she replied. So I opened the door and told mine. I made a commitment to stop dipping my toes in; behaviour that will lead to a full blown relapse if I continue. It feels like my recovery is slipping right through my fingers.

Pay attention.

Two words.
So easy to type.
Much harder to live.
They're the price of sanity.

I've been reading a book this week Writing To Save Your Life. I thought it was a book on journalling. That seemed harmless enough. I've journalled for years and a new book on it wouldn't hurt anything. At first I read and thought wow and by the end I was thinking fuck, so much for living in oblivion. The author takes one on an inner journey so raw, so true that to put pen to paper will purge my story right out of my body.

That is my big scare right now.

So I've been journalling short and sweet and mindless all week. Not much different than my grandma's diaries of the 1960's where Monday was wash day and Tuesday ironing. Safe, without revealing anything of myself.

I fear my own story.
I need to purge it anyway.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Tea and Talk

It's a drizzly Monday afternoon. A curl up on the couch with a good book and a cup of tea kind of day. I have several good books to read right now and more on the way via the library so that suits me just fine. I find having a cup of tea an occasion. Dearest one drinks coffee on the go but tea seems to me to be a slow down and enjoy the moment drink.

We have a new priest at our little church and as a community we are slowly getting used to each other. He comes from India and when he came to us he said his bishop had given him a three year vacation in Canada so he was at our disposal for the term. He is devout and deep. He looks much younger than his 63 years, his countenance one of bright eyes and peace. He preaches without notes and my head is still full of things to ponder weeks after every homily. He cuts to the quick with every gospel reading, leaving little wiggle room. Being in relationship with Jesus is his constant theme. Living this life from the heart, authentic in every way is there, too. Grace, mercy, compassion, the call to a continually deeper conversion get woven in amongst it all. As much as we mourn the changes, (we've petitioned the bishop to bring Fr. Charlie back after his term is up in the other parish) one woman whispered to me the other day, "God hasn't forgotten about us" in response to my question as to how she liked this new priest. We feel blessed to have his years of wisdom and his gracious spirit ministering to us.

We missed the way Fr. Charlie had invited us around the altar for the Lord's prayer and communion. We felt a little bewildered the first time we stood in our pews and said the Our Father and then lined up for communion. After a few weeks I approached the new priest and told him what we were used to. He wanted to honour what our tradition was so he now invites us up at those moments as well. Our church is so tiny that to line up for communion causes a traffic jam. Some Sundays we have to stretch out our arms while coming nearly right up against the altar so that we can all hold hands for prayer.

Yesterday a little boy, maybe 3 years old, was a joy to watch as he went around the altar and shared the sign of peace with everyone there. I love how the Mass is not a spectator service but a participatory celebration. This little guy has been sharing the sign of peace since he was old enough to toddle around. No one has coached him, he's simply observed what we do and wants to be a part of the community. After Mass yesterday his older sister brought him up to the front to blow out one of the altar candles. We all watched with big grins as he tried many, many times to blow out the candle but was not big enough yet to manage it. What was really special was that another boy, older by several years, had raced up to do this as well. He did one side and as he turned to do the other he saw this little guy being lifted by his sister and he encouraged and celebrated his attempt as the rest of us did.

This morning I had an appointment with our family doctor. He is a good, patient man. I have never felt rushed through an appointment. He listens well and is a teacher at heart. He has a quick sense of humour that's a little different. One time I ranted to him about a pharmacist in the community that I really disliked. I went a bit over the top calling the man an a**h***. A week or so later I felt prompted to write my doctor a note apologizing for my comments. I met him in the grocery store shortly after that and we talked. When I worked my next women's weekend he wrote me a note of encouragement and added a PS at the bottom that told me to consider the weekend a sabbatical from annoying pharmacists. That made me laugh outloud.

Every time I see him I want to proclaim that my body is falling apart yet again. Last night my knee locked up on me and that has put an end to my daily walks for a while. Between that and plantar fasciitis I'm in pain. But both are treatable so it's really more annoying than anything.

The couch is looking good right about now. Wish you were here to join me in a cup of tea and a good chat. That's my favourite way to spend time.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Stubborn Will

The end of a tough week.
Well, not the end yet.
But almost.
another counseling session.
where's my purpose? I cry.
Tears pool
and spill over.
A deep cry
from my core.
It brings
New self awareness.
An awareness I thought
I'd mastered.
Guess not.
More work.
Deeper work.
PSFD (my acronym full of swear words)
One day at a time.
One step at a time.
I can do this.
I can.
I will.
God help me.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

My Heart Knows

I can't stop crying this morning. I find that a comfort when I think of all the years I spent numb to their presence. I can sit here and let them be today. This past summer I remember someone telling me that she had cried all the way home from work. I remember envying her ability to do that. To let them out as they rose up in her. My tears were reserved for the big deals of life. The kind where anyone would be in tears. Other than that they were few and far between. So to simply sit here and cry is a good thing. Only daughter has talked about honouring the tears, especially the snotty nose, give me a box of kleenex kind of tears. I think of that every time the tears spill over and it helps me honour them, too.

What started them rolling was this post. I still can't explain why the tears spilled over at the reading of it. They simply did. I'm not even going to try to figure it out. I don't need to. I need to let them be; accepting that my heart knows what my head doesn't need to.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Grace, Grace... God's Grace

The talk I'm doing for the women's weekend is about putting one's faith into action. A good half of my talk is about a woman who put her faith into action by reaching out to me when I was a lonely, young mother. This woman loved me right into the arms of God. The more I wrote the talk, the more I missed her.

Two years ago this woman abruptly cut off all communication with me. My only inkling that she wasn't talking to me came when I tried calling her and she never answered her phone or returned messages. I had seen her do this with a mutual friend for reasons that were immature. I was sure I was in the same boat. I felt angry, sad and more sad. After several months I left a message on her daughter's message center and that went unanswered as well. Eventually I gave up. I was pissed at her most of the time by then. She had mentored me for 18 years, and the void her absence created was very painful. There were many key milestones in my life without her presence these past two years.

Sometimes I wondered if it would take a catastrophic event to reconnect. Or that one of us would have something serious to deal with in the interm and miss the opportunity to support one another when we needed it the most. She has never been good at staying in contact at the best of times. What she has been good at is being present when in conversation with me.

She is one of two women who have known me through everything (the other one is my college roomate, Liz), who has stuck by me when I was in the pit. She also modeled over the years what it looked like to walk the walk.

Well, until she didn't.

I give my talk this Saturday to the team who is working the women's weekend. I pictured someone raising their hand afterwards and asking me about my current relationship with this woman. "um, she's no longer speaking to me."

So, yesterday I picked up the phone once again and called. She answered.

What followed was a three hour conversation full of confession, repentance, grace and forgiveness. Both of us sobbed more than once. I was able to communicate my hurt, and pain at her rejection. My insecurity that I wouldn't know what to do if she did this again. Honest words flowed between us. Things got said that needed to be said.

She had been in a spiritual desert and had been unable to reach out when she needed me the most. Her life long habit of isolating when in any kind of pain kicked in and despite her knowing she needed me, she curled inward even more. Her two years in the desert, a time where her whole faith journey seemed to be nothing but platitudes, left her feeling dead inside. She had nothing to give. She had no words to even tell me that. Hence her silence.

She's been out of the desert for a little while now. Her faith is deeper. Her words more honest. Our relationship restored. Thanks be to God.

Laughter, Thought and Reminiscing

Do you need a laugh today? Here's a post that made me laugh from the blog: Boobs, Injuries and Dr. Pepper

Here's one that made me think from the blog: Shoved To Them

And finally here's one that took me way back in time to my own days of doing something exactly that stupid: Overdue Letter

Monday, October 15, 2007

Perfectly Okay

11 months abstinence from sexual addiction today.
That addiction and food bingeing are
my default setting
when I'd rather not deal
with life
on life's terms.
When that happens
I get so mired in shame
that alcohol calls my name.
Today I choose
to be aware.
Ask for help.
To accept life as it is
not as I would like it to be.
Although how it is, is good.
Very good.
For today I can handle anything,
with God's help.
It's no longer about life being
a certain way
for me to be happy.
Well, I can say that easily
because I'm happy today.
But you get my drift.
I can't do any of it perfectly.
And finally that's perfectly okay.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Doing The Bunny Hop

Second night of insomnia. Not sure what's up with that. Yesterday was a good day. I went to my women's meeting and was blessed to hear story after story of redemption. I get to share some of my story next week and I look forward to doing that. I stepped out of this meeting for a while to go to my AA meeting. There were only 4 of us there, all of who know and trust one another. The sharing was good and deep and we laughed, oh we laughed. It is so very good to have a place to go where I can be totally honest about my humanity and not take it all so seriously, you know? What a paradox. I take my recovery very seriously but myself much less so these days. I don't know if I'm ever going to get over feeling like looking in the mirror and saying "Is that really you?"

Dearest one and I came home and went for a walk down our road while a combine went back and forth in the field across from us. At one point I did a little hop in the air, not unlike a rabbit, and dearest one looked at me as if he didn't know who he was married to. I grinned and said, "Oh, I'm just happy." After several years of having to weigh every step against stored energy I am still so thrilled to be able to go for a walk. Walking is our favourite way to spend time together so we mourned a lot the loss of that these past 4 years. I had two days this week when a walk was going to take up too many spoons so to walk last night and have reserves of energy left over was a gift.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Star Bright, Star Light

The stars are beautiful all nestled in the inky darkness. Our bed is such that I can lay there and look out at them. I find that comforting. I even saw a falling star tonight.

I was laying there thinking about how life has changed for me since treatment. I find myself continually amazed at the changes within and grateful that change is always possible. Dearest one is doing his own hard work in counseling now too, and we are very slowly learning how to dance a different dance together. One where we get naked while keeping our clothes on. "This is who I really am" we whisper as we slowly let our guard down, revealing our inner pain, frailties, and hope to one another. There's a rawness to the revelation that is gritty yet soft. I can only risk it because I like who I really am, all of me. I have never embodied the word hope like I do these days. Dearest one has never looked so beautiful as he does when he trusts me with who he truly is. For the past 25 years we've spent so much energy hiding our beauty under masks and defending it with weapons. The pain of shedding our defences is worth it.

At one time, this was the time of night when I'd either give a drunkalogue or hear one. Gah. I've given some doozies. The worst one was when I asked a traveling salesman if he cheated on his wife. We'd been married 5 days and dearest one had no idea yet that I had a little alcohol problem. That night I had my one and only blackout. The traveling salesman was probably glad. Wait. A blackout is where I can't remember what happened next. The poor sap wasn't so lucky. Don't worry I didn't ask him that question so that I could sleep with him. I was just being my nosy self. Dearest one just about choked on his drink when he heard me ask the stranger that question. Between that and thinking I talked some kind of fabulous French it was(n't) a night to remember. So I didn't miss much.

I'm still as curious as ever but now I know the difference between what is my business and what isn't. I'm still not comfortable in social situations but I can get through them without embarrassing anyone these days. Social situations and peer pressure are my two biggest triggers for relapse with booze or food. There was this nifty test we did in treatment where based on our answers they could give us an idea of when we were most likely to be tempted to use.

Dearest one and I rarely, if ever, go to a social event where there is alcohol but there is often food. And yesterday was 4 months since I've binged my way through stress or boredom. One day this week I found myself wanting to binge and I made myself sit with the urge and decipher what was behind it. There was an issue I was avoiding. I decided that spending my energy trying not to binge was just as exhausting as avoiding the issue so I picked up the phone and cleared the air with the person I had the issue with and that was that. I sat there and looked at the phone in my hand afterwards thinking, "wow, that wasn't so hard." So that was a baby step in the right direction.

I didn't wish on the falling star tonight.
My 'one day' is now.