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.

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.

Forgiveness is Tricky 

“I forgive you” it just rolls off the tongue. To forgive goes much deeper than words. Forgiveness is an action driven by emotion. To practice forgiveness takes mindfulness, dedication, and a willingness to move forward.

With our 5 month old in tow we headed to an ENT. His infection had spread through his sinus cavities and was threatening to enter his brain. He needed surgery to figure out his diagnoses. I had no idea what was about to unfold.

Surgery day, that hallway where I got the news, is burned into my memory. Hearing the surgeon say the words “he’s lucky he isn’t dead” started a serious of events that changed our lives forever.

A rush of thoughts and reactions exploded all at once in my head. Then it felt as if someone had karate chopped my throat. I fell to my knees that morning, everything went dark, my ears were ringing so loud I couldn’t hear, my chest was pounding, my stomach in a knot. When the hot sweats left I caught my breath, I called my best friend. He showed up pronto. His hug was the kind of hug you never forget.

As my bestie and I talked it out I explained how I thought I was losing my mind. That it was a relief to know I was dealing with a man who had an addiction. He encourage me to seek help. Scared, broken and feeling like I couldn’t even trust myself, I went for that help. I did not know what I was in for.

First thing the therapist said “Be sad, be angry, have a pity party. Get your self to a meeting. But figure out whether or not you are on this journey with him. (Great advice) I was forced to really look at myself and figure out where my place was in our mess, cause hell ya I was angry, so angry in fact that I was stuck. I just wanted to punch him. It felt like I’d never be able to move on. As I worked through those emotions my therapist said “When you are ready to forgive, I’ll introduce the tools of forgiveness. But you need to be ready.”  I never would have thought learning and practicing forgiveness would be the hardest part of the recovery process.  She later shared “Your heart has to be in it and willing to do the work.” Mind blown! So I began to learn how to forgive.

I sat in a room full of mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, wives, husbands, sisters and brothers. Horror stories being thrown around like war stories. The devastation caused by their loved ones was awful, unspeakable acts of pain had been inflicted. I found comfort in these people’s stories. To have someone know your shit show with no explanation was nirvana. It was in these meetings I found an understanding of my love for my active user and I found my will to forgive.

To forgive is to let go of the pain and replace it with hope.  Forgiving offers up so much more than another chance. It opens your mind to the compassion your heart wants to give. To forgive him has been the single hardest task I’ve faced next to birthing our daughter. The act of forgiving him has given me inner peace an awareness I’m not sure I would have found otherwise.

Faced at forgiving him a second time I realized I now need to learn to forgive myself. What a wierd turn of events. Not sure there are meetings for this. Lol

It’s Not About the When It’s About the How

When will I learn… I’ve asked this question a thousand times. I realized if I stop asking myself “when” and start asking myself “how” I can avoid heading down the self deprecating path to shitsville. I hate shitsville, it’s a terrible place. Shitsville only offers up stress and self doubt.

Instead of defaulting to time (when) to fix my issues I reach for actions (how) to resolve them. Asking myself “how can I problem solve” instead of “when will this end” has helped me move past my troubles. As I turn my when’s to how’s I’m able to figure out solutions that keep me moving forward. I don’t want to be stuck, I just can’t always find the words to move past my stuck.

Asking with a “how” instead of a “when” changes the conversation. In changing the conversation we change our out come. “When will I start to live in the moment?” This is like waiting for a day and time for our problem to be solved, not leaving room for problem solving, this keeps us stuck.

“How can I start living in the moment?” This demands us to act, puts our minds to work finding solution that keep us moving forward. (Wish I had figured this one out in my youth)

How to love, how to forgive, how to be happy. It’s all in the doing not in the waiting. Life can be difficult at times, learning to let go of “when” will it be better and focusing on “how” I can make it better seems to be the piece of the puzzle I’ve been missing.