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.

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.

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.

Terrified

When I’m in the thick of my personal tragedy it is hard to see a future with out the looming repercussions of said tragedy.
I’ve spent many hours filling my head with banter, talking myself into or out of what ever bull crap that was slapping me in the face at the time. Telling myself to just keep going, things will get better. They usually always have gotten better.

These last 3 years wore me down, wore me out, and burned me out. Any love I had for humanity I started to question. Chewed up and spit out seems dramatic, but that’s how It felt.
Last year I looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize myself. I had become my tragedy. Whatttt!!!!! I was terrified and slightly horrified.
I actually hated myself, disgusted that I’d let it take me over. That I had lost the ability to process it and move thru it. I’d been working so hard with my therapist how could this be?! Well you weren’t working on you Ange, you were working on your addict/ alcoholic. Mother of God!!!! (shaking fist at the sky) No one to blame but me.
I lost sight of my foundation, the place I come back to when I’m knocked off my game. Why?

I realized it I hadn’t nurtured or cared for my core foundation. I hadn’t done the work to keep myself standing in my values as I grew and aged. Result… one big tragic storm came along and knocked me on my ass. Holy hell.

Emerging from this tragedy I actually like myself. I’m comfortable again in my skin. The work I’m doing to care for myself and Hadley has me at peace. My heart is open, my head is clear and my foundation strong again.

I will forever be great full that the people I hold in my heart who watched this ugly process and we’re nothing, but kind, understanding, and most of all loving.
With my newly built, intact foundation I’m ready to help carry the weight of our lives again. It’s nice to be back:)

My Holiday in France Lifted a Fog

Grappling with the practice of calm and present has me realizing I’ve lost that piece of me that use too shine, that bit of je ne sais quoi that made me bright and vibrant.
Heading to France, I was worried I didn’t have it in me too relax and just vacation, too just be me. That I’d be unable to take a break from worrying about the things I can’t control. This anxious worrying often causes me too miss out on just being.What I’ve taken away from my trip is this, Don’t get hung up on where you think you should be, start living where you are.

Many kinds of conversations took place in France, shedding much needed light on my perceived state of limbo. Quietly reminding me through his conscious, kind choices, my friend unknowingly flipped a switch for me. Ah, yes, there is a space I can be apart of that has no expectations of me. That in that space I matter. The Door opening, (I can not work a door in France to save my life! This includes bathroom doors, lmao) bag carrying, inquiries of my preference… all things I forgot that are an important part of life. These selfless acts of small kindness flowed without shame or ridicule. With out a whisper of wanting anything in return from me.
As I taxi out on the run way saying goodbye to a lovely visit, I’m writing this with truly a new lease on life. Leaving limbo behind.

Am I a Passenger or am I a captain of the life I live?
Captain.