Sour City

No one wants to be in Sour City.

I ended up there by accident. My happily ever after seemed to be moving along nicely.

The road to Sour City was one I hadn’t realized I was on. The road was paved with apologies and grand gestures made by my addict alcoholic that distracted me from the mile makers (aka red flags) that indicated I was rapidly approaching Sour City.

I was living in an addict alcoholics world, two failed rehab attempts, bootleg suboxzone, drinking day and night while we were raising one very busy toddler, I found myself smack in the middle of Sour City.

It dawned on me as I was pleading, yet again to my addict acholic, “ I don’t want to live like this”. That I’d become sour and worn out. Bitterly unaware that I was just as out of control as my addict alcoholic was. I hated who I allowed myself to become.

I was the Mayor of Sour City and needed to be fired.

All my Moms out there raise your hand if you feel like sometimes your parenting your life partner. So not sexy. We all do it to each other from time to time. It usually doesn’t feel good so we stop. Now raise your hand if you are parenting your life partner who is an addict alcoholic. Now stand up if you can’t make it through an average day without parenting that addict alcoholic. Oh how it burns my cookies to even write that… Welcome to Sour City Moms, the place where we land when there isn’t anything more we can do to “help” our addict alcoholics.

I’m someone who writes stuff down. In an app, a note book, scraps of paper . I’ll write on anything. The urge to write compelles me. It was the reread of my own writing that slapped me with a reality check. I read everything as if I were my friend. Periodically asking myself “If I could help that woman how would I?” My writing spoke of a deep, unforgiving shame, loneliness, and isolation.

So there I was introducing myself to myself and wishing I could help me find my way out of Sour City.

This is the part where I started telling the world my story, even if they didn’t want to hear it. Often I found myself telling myself to stop talking, I didn’t of course. It was like I’d been marinating in Sour City for so long I just couldn’t keep it in anymore. I was a volcano of emotion that had erupted and I needed a safe, judgment free zone to share my story and ask for help. I took my search to google. It was slim pickings for Moms like me who had been supportive, supporting and raising my addict alcoholic. With free time being non exsistant I tried groups, one on one therapy, all sorts of 12 steps. I learned so much that first year. So so much. I also learned folks weren’t always great listeners and they were full of advice that didn’t apply to me. The deep loneliness was still there.

My addict alcoholic was in Rehab in FL, thrid round, when I connected with an acquaintance. As she told me her story I felt this strange feeling of belonging. She spoke of her addict alcoholic as if she was speaking of mine. She had the same battle wounds that had gone unattended because she like me was to busy raising her baby and surviving the day. It was so sad that our shared pain brought me the space I’d been looking for. In the months to come my friend offered up a piece of normalcy I hadn’t felt in my life with my addict alcoholic. That year she changed my life. Having that space I was desperate to find, having a sense of belonging, my loneliness started to let up. It was like being able to take a breath again.

A full, deep breath.

Today I’m passionate about creating a space for Sour City Moms to connect, to be heard, to feel the power of belonging and the potential for their loneliness to subside. And maybe, just maybe find their way back to the sweet life.

I’m Frozen With Anxiety

Today I’m frozen with anxiety. The tricky Part about anxiety is that it started days before it’s paralyzing effects took hold. I’ve lovingly labeled my malfunction as “the melt down”. These past few days I was just to busy to slow down and listen to my body tell me it needed to address something. The result is a full on war. It truly makes it hard to function.

My melt down looks something like confusion to the out side world. I walk aimlessly around my space hoping to find anything to ground my spinning top of a brain. I hold my breath then tap on my chest to remind myself to breath. The tools and techniques I have to bring my anexity back to a reasonable, controllable state are vast, but in the moment I feel alone and terrified. It’s a huge undertaking to talk myself out of the panic my brain is telling my body to feel. It’s exhausting to push back the running commentary that has me thinking of all theses horrible untrue things.

I sat down to write in hopes I’d find why I’m having this flare up, it’s been months since it’s been this bad. As of yet nothing is jumping off the page. Maybe sharing today will trigger an ah-ha moment for me.

Here is my must do, don’t think, list when my anexity takes over.

1. Sit in a chair, feet on the floor, and breath.

2. Drink a glass of water.

3. Write down the first things that comes to mind.

4. Make a plan todo something for myself.

Tonight acupuncture.

I will not let my anexity run my day. It just can’t own me today.

Screaming Profanities

I’m pretty certain the universe was shaking it’s hands at the sky in frustration because I just kept repeating the lesson. I hadn’t realized how quiet and sneaky my ego could be.

I was laying face up in the dark of night on a sheet of ice in the driveway, wrapped in blinding pain, screaming profanities. I was so pissed at myself. It was my first winter as a single working Mom and a solo homeowner. My ego had stopped me from asking my lovely neighbors on either side of me for help with the plowing, both had offered. Laying there on the ice luge my ego had helped me make, hating the garbage bins for sending me out into the freezing cold, the “what is wrong with me” recording started playing in my head. This time I knew, my ego was on the chopping block. Then the “please don’t let me be hurt” followed. Ego you are so fired this time. Finally the realization, difficult moments like these could be avoided if I just gave up listening to my ego. I flipped onto my belly, commando crawled to the nearest snow bank and made it to my feet. Relieved I was only bruised, stating out loud “must buy ice melt, must ask for help”. I felt a sense of pride, the message had finally clicked.

The next day after work I headed to the grocery, a busy afternoon yielded long lines at the check out. There was a young woman at the front of my line who’d run into a snag. The cashier had never processed a WIC check before.

For those of you who don’t know, WIC is an assistance program for Moms who need help buying food for their children. I know this because I was on the program till Hadley was almost two.

Watching the young women struggle reminded me of the embarrassment I felt using WIC checks. I remembered the stares and the remarks from the folks behind me in line. I hated it.

The big mouth old lady, behind the young woman and in front of me, was letting us all know how upset she was about the form of payment. She repeated several times “don’t you have another way to pay”. I could feel my blood boil. The old woman would not let up. “F off lady” sprung from my lips. “no one wants to hear your mouth” she spun around with a look of disgust. “You want the line to move faster than dig deep for some kindness and pay for the ladies groceries yourself”. Her mouth now wide open, her face bright red with rage. Her hands clinched in tiny fists.

“Did your parents raise you to be this awful?” She growled waving her tiny fists at me. There it was… there was my ego getting in the way. Of course my parents didn’t raise me to swear at folks in the grocery check out line. They did however raise me to be understanding and patient but in this case my past feelings of hurt didn’t allow me to convey my message in a productive, civil way. My ego lead me straight into shitsville. Damn it! Hadn’t I learned anything from my fall on the ice?

I acted like an ass. The night before and that day. For different reasons but both out of ego. Loading my groceries into the car, chuckling to myself about the spill I had taken on the ice. I mentally shook the hand of my ego and told it to head to the back of the line. Good bye ego! When we meet again I’ll be ready and aware.

I Filled the Dumpster

Figuratively I got rid of my emotional garbage. Literally got rid of garbage. Both were clogging up my life and stopping me from moving past my past.

As the full dumpster pulled away this morning a rush of joy filled calm is with me. The painful, humbling journey I’ve been on, that has often left me paralyzed, has come to a close.

The work I’ve done I’ve had to do alone. No one else can do this type of heavy lifting for us. It’s work that is overwhelming and scary. To realize my own life choices got me to a wonderful place is a big win for me. All the tears, all the sweat, all the self doubt, worth it!

6 weeks ago I called a friend, I asked for help. (That’s huge for me). To say it out loud “I can’t hang on to my tiny home.” was devastating.

I was stuck, spinning my wheels, couldn’t breath. She showed up with advice, guidance, solutions. Most of all empathy and love. No shaming or guilt was handed out. In that moment my world shifted.

I’ve learned to forgive (so hard to truly forgive) but was missing a very important piece, actually letting go. I hadn’t realized till Chloe was leaving that day that I needed someone to give me permission to let go. That there was nothing left in my old life. That the proverbially “come back” had started (and I’ve been crushing it) so get moving to a better thing.

Let’s recap…

Fell apart, check

Phoned a friend, check

Asked for help, check

Got said help, check

I’m thrilled with the results, check

OMG! Happiness!

I did the work, I filled the dumpster.

The emotional dumpster and the physical dumpster. I did it alone because I needed too. Asked for help at a crossroad and now I’m moving on to greater things.

Woot woot!

These past few years have brought me to my knees, knocked my on my ass, and punched me in the gut.

To stand on the back porch of my sold home, watching the dumpster pull away, smiling, not crying, feels amazing.

I wish us all to know such joy over something so simple.

You Will Always Have Love

I was 28 when a women next to me at a bar turned abruptly to me and said “You’ll birth a baby girl”.

“Who me?” Little did she know that wasn’t medically possible for me.

“I’m a bit drunk and I’m a medium. There is this nagging something that wants you to know you’ll birth a baby girl”.

I thanked her, I smiled and walked away with my delicious drink. I remember thinking she should slow down she’s had way to much of the good stuff.

I was 35 when the ultrasound tech announced I was having a girl.

Really…

How in Gods name did you get that info from all that fuzzy stuff on that tiny screen and holy hell that lady was right!

Instantly the conversation with the drunk lady in that bar played in my head like a movie.

How did she know!!!!!!

I was rocked to my core. Plenty of drunk strangers have said weird things to me… this one was different. This lady was right.

Last year I came across a lovely women while looking for insight and answers into a long drawn out battle with myself, stay in my marriage or leave.

I had exhausted self help books, therapist, support groups, a local pastor, and all sorts of other traditional “please help me get right with my life” stuff that I could come up with.

Kim was a breath of fresh air. She is a spiritual advisor, she has the ability to channel different energies that show her information. Skeptical right, I know I was, but I was open to anything at this point. The universe literally put her in front of me at a friends house. I won’t go into a ton of detail, but know this, she knew nothing about me. I had never met her. She spent less than 5 min. talking with me before she started her reading with me.

The first thing she said is your first child is always with you. What!!!!! How could she have known I had a miscarriage. Parlor trick?

The second thing she referenced was the “how I found out I was having a girl” situation.

Wait what? I sat still and silent as she tried to explain what the energy/spirt was showing her. “A blonde in a bar who knew before you did? Does that sound right?” She said. My mouth dropped…. there is no way she could come up with that!!!!

I have never included the color of the women’s hair when I retell that story.

Kim, I have got some questions for you!!!

I met with Kim 3 times over the last year. She is lovely. Soft spoken and unobtrusive.

At the end of our last session together she said “they want you to know, no matter what, you will always have love. You will always love and be loved. You won’t be alone”.

It wasn’t till she said it that I was aware of how scared I really was of losing one of the greatest loves I’ve known. Even though it had gone south. I was scared I’d never love again. It was in her words I found the peace and strength to remember “better to have loved and felt loss than never to have loved at all.” With Kim’s final words that day she completed a puzzle that had tore me up for years, stay or leave. Leave because I love myself, leave because I love Hadley, leave because I love him, leave because we all deserve a life less tortured. Leave because we all deserve to be loved in a way that brings us joy.

I’m thankful to have known love and be afraid to lose that love.

Imagine never knowing love… I just can’t.

I believe we’d be lost without love.

I’m driven by my love and am hopefull I’ll find it again.