Saturday, May 31, 2008

Baby Stepping My Way Forward

I don't think I can stand another post about the radio documentary, can you?. I'm obsessing about it and that's not good. So for today I will change the subject on purpose. Tomorrow I'll try and do the same. No guarantees.

Today was a birthday meeting at AA. The guy whose birthday it was we've been wondering week to week when he'll show up for his cake. His sobriety birthday was last month but work took him out of town. He showed up today sans cake and so the chair of the meeting handed me the chair duties while he went and bought a cake. I had a wedding to go to right after the meeting.

About a year ago when I was getting ready to chair my first meeing I said how nervous that made me. My sponsor asked, "What are you afraid of - making a mistake?" Um, yes. Definitely yes. Her question simmered me down and gave me perspective. If there's a safe place to screw up it's in a recovery meeting. Well, except we alcholics/addicts tend to be perfectionists, but at least we can laugh about it and recognize the insanity of it.

So I didn't fret when the meeting ran over time. I just handed the chair duties back to the cake buyer and ducked out to go to the wedding. I have no appropriate clothes to wear to such a celebration. I didn't realize that until I went to get dressed this morning. After a nearly 60 pound weight loss no wonder I have no fancy schmancy clothes to wear. The only semi appropriate dress in my closet was too big so I opted to get back into my jeans. We're pretty casual at the little church in the wildwoods that I go to so I wear jeans every Sunday. And flip flops some days. Or thongs, as they used to be called, before thongs got hijacked to describe a different pary of the anatomy. Doesn't that just crack you up?! I have a pretty pair of lime green thongs on my feet.

Anyway the birthday fellow is one of my favourite AA people. He speaks wisdom every time he opens his mouth. Because I chaired I didn't get a chance to tell him how his journey has impacted mine. I have his phone number in my wallet though so I may just call him later on tonight. We have similar years of sobriety but he was the one who I watched at meetings and said to myself, "he has what I want." I listen hard when he shares at meetings.

Best thing I heard at the meeting today was that it takes baby steps to get where we're headed. Those baby steps add up but we have to be patient for them to do so. It made me make a mental note to ask myself every day what baby step can I take forward today?

For today it was not to write about the radio documentary.

Friday, May 30, 2008

My 15 Minutes of Fame

The radio documentary has an air date. For those of you who requested I'll be sending out an email with the details soon. There is at least one regular reader I'd love to pass the info on to so [if you're reading from southern Ontario] email me [writerchick62 AT yahoo DOT ca] if you like and I'll let you know the details. Otherwise, you may have figured it out from my posts and I'll leave it at that.

This week I had to speak up and share a few concerns I had about the piece with the producer. It's much easier for me to take the well worn path of "everything's fine" than risk god knows what by speaking my mind. I did speak my mind and then carried on. And the one line in the piece that was causing me no small amount of angst got edited out of the final mix. I've decided not to let my parents know when the piece airs. The first go round where I spoke to them about the abuse was hard enough. Hearing the piece will simply open up those wounded places again for them. So unless they ask when it's going to be on I won't be offering any information. There was a time when I would have enjoyed being in their face and forcing them to pay attention. Those days are gone. It sucks energy from my own healing journey, which is the only journey I have any control over.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


It's time for a nap.
But before I go do that here's a link to a post
I thought was too good not to share:
the story of a friendship.
As a kid I was often looking for a friend in the adults around me.
Wanting someone to notice and invest time in me.
Which is probably why this story made me really teary.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Fear, Hope and Everything In Between

My head's been in addiction land the last few days. Mulling over not only my own story but the story of others. Two books I've been reading In The Realm Of Hungry Ghosts and Love Sick have been fodder for my thoughts. Today I have 18+ months of abstinence from sexual addiction and almost a year of no binge eating. Some days both addictions nearly feel like a thing of the past and others they hound me, begging to be let back in. Fucking things.

Today I wrote an email and then followed up with a phone call to someone I was wanting to 'play nice' with instead of being honest and risking offending them. Fear is such a shitty motive for not being true to myself. One I don't want to live by so I wrote the email and then picked up the phone and said what needed to be said. No offense was taken, either. So there you go. Risk it.

Recently someone commented on the hope this post had given them: No Fear
That key fob is long gone. Dearest one recently bought me a silver one with the word hope engraved on it.
Which is what I keep doing, one foot in front of the other, day by day. This day.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Belly Down, Standing Tall

I've spent the last few weeks
travelling back and forth
between stuck and unstuck.
Some days find me belly down in the rut
and others have me standing back up tall again.
One afternoon when I was home
doing the radio documentary
I followed a well worn cattle trail
from the middle of the farm
back to the barn yard.
Those trails always lead home.
I'm trying to trust that the path I'm on
is headed in a good direction as well.
It means being present in the now.
Being present sometimes feels like being stuck.
Other times it means unstuck.
Being present.
I hope it won't always
be a place of fear for me.
A place I often avoid
even though I know it's the only
sane place to be
despite what it feels like.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I'm healing.
I can handle drug free
childbirth better than
a gash to the knuckle.

There was a light mist of rain overnight.
It left a beautiful fresh scent in its wake.

The energizer bunny and the stray
came-back-from-the-dead cat
have become fast friends.
Watching a pug trying to learn
how to rub up against a cat
makes me laugh.
I did wish yesterday
that the pug could purr.
She seemed so content.

Dearest one and I planted
the garden last night.
Being healthy enough
to take on the responsibility
of a garden is a gift.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Painful Edges

I'll be offline for a day or two.
Call it a lost battle
with a plastic wrap sharp edge.
I got a gaping hole
alongside my knuckle,
middle finger.
Dearest one is a nurse.
Not much fizzes him.
I'm hopping around in pain,
freaked out by the sight.
He calmly tells me ER would
just put steri strips
on the cut instead of a stitch or two.
So he bandaged it up for me.
I can't bend that finger.
Typing was never meant to be painful.
I would never make a nurse.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Rough Mix

Today's mail delivered the rough mix CD of the radio documentary.
I listened to it by myself.
I'm not good at new things in front of others.
Even if I had already read the transcript.
It still was scary.
I'll know at the end of May when it will air.
I got paid for doing this and that feels like a bonus.
My first paycheck for creativity in 20 years.

I feel vulnerable with my story out there.
Very vulnerable.
I will let you know when it will air.
But I might go hide for awhile afterwards.
My older sis told me my dad will forget when
the air date is and my mom won't listen.
I hope that is true.
I really do.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Ain't She Sweet?

I like being home. It's been nearly a month since I last had several days in a row at home. It suits me. It suits the energizer bunny, too. Isn't she cute? I don't have much to say, just wanted to show you a picture of the energizer bunny. I'm content to have regular days again with a normal routine.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Don't Analyze That

Despite spending most of my blog time analyzing life to death I'm getting better at not doing so every waking moment. Sometimes when I catch myself living in my head I think, "Don't analyze that, just [enjoy, accept, let go of, deal with] it." And amazingly I'm able to for that moment. As someone who excels at living life from the neck up, this is progress.

So bear with me while I continue to hash out the feeling-like-I'm-drunk-post-sedative-episode I had earlier this week and stuff that's old news but is still rattling around in my head. I've shared the sedative incident twice at meetings this week and with my after treatment counsellor. I think it takes a fellow addict to appreciate how very scary it was to love that drunk feeling and experience a 20 year time warp as if my sobriety had never been. One of the things I had to not dwell on this week was how seductive that drunk feeling was. There's a clarity now - knowing if I ever take a sip it will take supernatural help to sober up again. Oh, who am I kidding - it takes supernatural help to stay sober today, every day. My after treatment counselor told me she knew several people who had lost their sobriety from experiencing what I had with the sedative at the hospital. It was good to get confirmation that scared shitless was an appropriate response to loving that drunk out of my mind feeling. She recommended that I talk to my doctor about never getting that particular drug again. The risk is too huge. I know me too well. I'd look forward to another colonoscopy if it meant getting that drug again. Cunning, baffling and powerful is the voice of addiction.

My AA meeting today was incredible. Lots of laughter, incredible sharing and an all around good time. I am so thankful I could share honestly. I have a hard time doing that. I tend to feed my ego little slips of miracle grow and end up wanting to impress someone with where I'm wishing I was at instead of sharing where I'm really at.

When I was at my parents a few weeks ago I went to an AA meeting in a scary, not safe part of the city. It was the only meeting I knew how to get to. I like routine, comfort zone, small meetings. This meeting met none of those criteria. The first guy who shared that night left his ego behind and I am always in awe when I hear someone share so freely just how it is with them. I have much to learn. I look forward to the day when I'm not out to impress someone, including myself.

I had a neat experience after the meeting today. One of the members recently celebrated 20+ years of sobriety. The thought came to me awhile ago to buy him this little book I read all the time. Because it comes from a Christian perspective I wasn't sure I should buy it for him. I didn't want to offend him. I happened to find a copy of it in a book store in the city I grew up in. It took two trips to the store before I bought it. Today I was able to give it to him. I slid it across the table to him before the meeting was over and he looked at it, looked at me and mouthed the author's name with a question mark expression on his face. I nodded yes. After the meeting he told me that author had been recommended to him for a long time but he'd never read him and looked forward to doing so. Cool, eh?

Yesterday my sexual abuse counselor helped me see that feeling like I'm stuck in a rut, falling backwards, and having an incessant need to talk about the whole radio documentary process is most likely because I'm preparing to face fully forward for the first time in my life. What will I grasp at once I leave behind me the identity of sexual abuse victim/survivor? There will always be residue from experiencing what I did, it's shaped who I am, but it's not the whole of who I am. It needn't define me. Do I have the courage to truly own my choices in life? Even as I type that I can hear a sputtering "But..but....but" in my head.

For today I can do this.
I can even live it from my heart.
Celebrate progress not perfection.
Enjoy taking baby steps.
Continue to grow up.
And they all gathered 'round
and said,
"Amen. Amen. Amen."

Friday, May 09, 2008

What Is

One thing I've realized lately is
how I am is how I am.
There's no faking it.
I've expended so much energy trying
to be somewhere else on the journey.
Not able to accept myself as is
whatever 'is' happens to be.
People I haven't seen in a while keep telling me
I look peaceful.
Yesterday a woman I haven't seen in six months
said I had a brightness about me.

I can't take the credit for it.
Sure, I show up
and am willing for
I sit in prayer and ask God to scrape
the womb clean.

How transformation happens
is a mystery I'm content to let be.
This is where people try and write books about how they got from here to there as if a journey prescription can be written.
And while I feel different inside
than I was a year ago
there isn't a formula to follow.

I've been thinking then that maybe
I can learn to be comfortable
with where I really am
because where I am shows on my face
no matter how conivnced I am
that no one sees but me.

Sometimes I feel foolish for only realizing this now.
I could have saved myself a lot of energy
being content
with what is.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Jumping Off The Cliff

Below is a letter I wrote to the producer this morning in response to one from him. The raw mix of the radio documentary is in the mail to me. As far as I know it will air within a month, maybe a little later than that. I don't want to post the link here to where you can listen to it so if you would email me [writerchick62 AT yahoo DOT ca] then I will create a mailing list and send the information when I know it. It will be streamed live and will be available afterwards to listen to online. And then there's the old fashioned way of actually listening to it on the radio.
For some reason this morning tears are close to the surface.

Thank you Radio Producer.
Thank you.

I feel like I've somewhat fallen apart this week.
A combination of the sedative on Monday (that's the first time
in 20 years that I felt drunk and it was more than scary afterwards how
good drunk can still feel. God help me never take that first sip or I'm sunk. I know that at a deeper level now. That I didn't relapse right then and there,
considering the emotional upheaval of this past while,
tells me my recovery is solid.
For today, by the grace of God, I can do this.)
and finally being still enough to process the stress
of the past month while doing this piece.

In the end it is worth it.
I'm still humbled by the process.
And by the healing.
Not many people get to see me
at my most vulnerable.
I've only learned to feel my feelings
in the past 8 months since
I came out of treatment.
So I'm still new at it.
It's a testament to you as a person
that my walls didn't go up while taping.
I tend to think of my walls going up
being like the electric windows in a car
except mine move with lightning speed.

I'm glad that you are pleased with the
final mix. I know how satisfying it is to
write something good.
If there was anything to be cut I'm glad
you cut the packing scene.
That was most uncomfortable for me to tape.
Cutting it doesn't take away from my story.

I'm quite sure I'll be fine with the final mix.
For all my earlier panic, while the sedative was wearing off,
I do trust your instincts.
My biggest fear was that I would turn in material that
was crappy and not worth using. That you'd all roll your eyes
and wonder why my pitch had been accepted.
I have my own insecurities.

The scene with the peas in the garden.
I haven't even gone back during my therapy sessions
and relived anything.
That was really brutal.
The hardest part of the whole process.
Had I gone with my gut that day I would have pushed
myself back from the microphone,
turned my chair to face the window
and screamed all the pain out of my body.
But I remind myself that I not only survived the initial incident,
I survived the retelling, too.

I sent my mom a Mother's Day card last week.
This is only the second year in my life that I haven't stood
in the Mother's Day section seething with anger over
the pathetic cards portraying mothers who don't exist.
I found a card this year that fit really well.
That spoke truth.
I talked to my mom yesterday.
She said, "Thank you for the lovely card."
She cried when I told her to remember
that what the card said was true.
This is the first year she was accepting
it might really be.
And that wouldn't have happened without
taking all the risks this piece
gave me the chance to take.
So there you go.
Thank you.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Beyond The Swamp

I read this guy's daily message often. Today's hit the spot for me:
"The story of Beowulf is an ancient story about the King of Denmark who sent his best officers to kill the monster, Grendahl who kept eating the children. Finally the monster was killed and all rejoiced. But later that night an even greater monster came and laid waste to the land. The greater monster was his mother.

It is not the thing that we fear that drags us down but the mother of that which we fear. The point of the story for those of us on the journey is that we start off thinking we know what the problem is, we think we know what the fear is, we think we can probably create a box strong enough to contain the fear. What we find out is that it is something much deeper that we must face. As we journey towards the light it takes lots of courage. The ability to accept that we are loved, that someone will stand up for us, to truly believe in our heart that we are loved and accepted and treasured for who we are is courageous work. But behind this work is far greater light. Beyond the swamp, is peace."

Feeling the Feelings

The medical procedure I had yesterday
went well.
No tumours.
Good, good news.
The sedative they gave me
left me feeling drunk
when I woke up.
I couldn't walk straight.
I couldn't concentrate.
I didn't make the greatest of sense
when I talked.
When I got home there was a message from the
radio producer.
I called him back.
It's just as bad to call when you feel
like you're drunk
as when you are drunk.
He asked if I had read the transcript
of the documentary yet.
So I opened my email and read it.
I started typing replies.
As in multiple replies.
I open my inbox this morning
to an email from him
basically telling me to calm down.
I was always a happy drunk.
I felt happy last night.
Telling youngest son that
this is what he could look forward to
if I ever relapsed.
Eventually dearest one
suggested I go to bed.
I slept 10 hours straight.
Rationally I know it was the sedative
producing the irrational behaviour in me
But I feel the exact same shame
as if I'd been drunk.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Fetal Positions

It's Friday. Don't you just shake your head when you read such a silly sentence as if you don't know what day of the week it is? It's more for my benefit than anyone else's. I'm still really tired. I've been battling nausea on a daily basis for quite a while now. Also an increasingly painful area in my abdomen. On Monday I'm having a medical procedure to see if they can find the cause. Let's hope they don't. Let's hope they do. Does that make sense?

Before I write anything more please know how grateful I am for your prayers while I was gone. The week could not have turned out like it did on simple human willpower. Something bigger than all of us was at work. Well, doesn't that sound so trite. Something bigger than all of us is at work always. Last week I was simply very aware of it.

My trip to finish up the radio documentary was both grueling and good. My parents met me more than halfway. My mom softened instead of getting defensive when I spoke of the abuse. I don't think I'll ever wrap my head around that. And while it was an uncomfortable conversation - the producer told me later I sounded like I was hyperventilating the whole way through - we all got through it with our relationship intact.

In the radio studio I relived on tape an incident from my childhood. It set off every alarm bell within me that I was really crossing the line. As a child I was told point-blank-to-my-face by my mom that I was never to talk about what happened in our home. [Let alone do that on national radio.] My older sister consoled me by saying if I tell my dad when the program airs he will forget and miss it and my mom will never listen to it anyway. Small mercies of the aging process. After a 2 hour taping session I left for an AA meeting. Later that evening I was trying to cryptically tell my older sister - my parents were sitting right there - how intense the taping session had been. Eventually she came and stood in front of me and told me she could tell it had been intense because I looked about 12 years old to her.

The last day of taping the producer and I drove to the land hoping to tape me finding some closure. I had no idea if that would happen. I don't remember what he asked me but all of a sudden the little girl in me was standing within my body. I saw her step into me with her feet in my footsteps. It was as if we were one except the top of her head only reached my knees. Then she started to grow and she grew until she fit my adult body. Her arms grew and touched to my fingertips. Her head reached the top of my own. At that point I started to cry and talk. That any kind of closure happened was a bonus. That it happend on tape - I feel a bit pissed about that because it was so private. But that's what I signed up for and I'll work through it yet. The producer was sensitive and left me alone after that. He walked back to the vehicle while I slid down the hill and had the moment I wrote about previously.

Later on I went back to the land with the buyer and his family. The most poignant moment in that conversation happened when he yelled out to one of the kids asking what he saw as he crested a hill. The little boy held up his arms as if he was a body builder posing and yelled, "Mother Nature." I was quite teary while I watched the buyer's kids and their friends explore the land with all the exuberance that childhood can hold. It felt right. I chose to walk across country to get back to my parents' house. I followed old cattle trails until I saw landmarks I recognized. I stopped at my sister's house to share my afternoon with her. My pocket held some prairie sage and a crocus. That little crocus dried in a fetal position which is ironic because I finally feel like I'm no longer frozen in that position.