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.

We Are Both Learning

I’m seated in a very tiny room in front of 6 professionals filling me in on procedure and guidelines. My brain is working hard to comprehend what they are saying. I’m working so hard I can’t even glance to my right to look at Kevin (my super supportive boyfriend).

I’m fighting with my mind not to drift, stay focused, don’t panic. My cheeks are on fire from anxiety. I want so badly to understand whats happening with Hadley at school.

I have several, processing disorders that fall under the learning disability category. Diagnosed in elementary school I was given little to no help. It was the 80’s, enough said. The lack of understanding and empathy from the people in my forty hour school week broke my self esteem, leaving my self worth holding on by a thread. I believed I was stupid, a lazy disciplinary problem. My own family was often frustrated and disappointed in me. My brain doesn’t see numbers and letters like most folks. It doesn’t retain and commit things to memory as an average mind would. Years of hard work with experts (work that will never end) has me living a fully functioning adult life. Exhausted, but fully functioning adult, lol.

My sweet Mo has had a front row seat to the deconstruction of her family. She’s witnessed her father spin out of control with alcohol/drugs. She’s had major surgery (not life threatening). She has felt the harshness of mean people, yes adults. She didn’t back down and still gravitates to kind people. Amazing! She met the challenges she faced while watching her Momma’s heartbreak unfold with curiosity and love. She learned to handle situations that she couldn’t begin to understand, confusing even for grownups, with honesty. I’ve learned many things from watching her navigate our lives.

Resilience. Courage. kindness. Equality. Eight years old, these qualities are the ones she carries with her. These are her foundational pillars she shares openly with others (sometime she shares to much, lol). These are the super powers I know will help her work through the school stuff. School could be the thing to take her out. Self esteem, worthynesss, creative problem solving, are at stake in a system built to help our children grow. Scary stuff.

The massive number of children overwhelming our public school teachers leaves my little lady vulnerable to lossing the part of her she doesn’t know to keep safe. The part of her she should know how to keep safe. That part of me that no one showed me how to keep intact. I’m learning how to show her how to keep her self worth safe and intact. It’s our daily conversation about life that guides me to the things she needs from me.

This meeting has served me up a big ah-ha moment. I’m feverishly writing notes in the meeting. So much information. I write myself a note “rise to be the person who fills in the holes for her. Be the Mom that takes responsibility for the things the school can’t give her. Do what you do best, problem solve, get creative. Reach out to your tribe”. I have the most marvelous tribe.

I’m told she’s struggling in an average second grade way and improving with the extra help. She’s in third grade. It’s my understanding there isn’t a enough data todo a full accessment at this time. Ok. I exhale thank them, say our goodbyes.

Now we wait and see what the next 45 days will bring. They are going to look into it and meet with me again.

I’m sacred. I’m sad. I’m a mother with her hackles up. It’s my job. She’s my kid. I’ve started the conversation with school. Her classroom teachers are champions for her, I adore them. No need to sit on my hands waiting though. If I’m unsure about the way the school is working with her it’s my responsibility to keep her moving forward. So many wonderful people in our school. So many wonderful kiddos, but I’m in charge of just one.

This is another life shift… A life lesson for me. I won’t let this be the hole Hadley trips in on the path of growing up.