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Saturday, July 22, 2017
I sit here right now........ and I wonder where the real me has disappeared to.

Warning - this is a message written in a moment of sadness.  I am wholly aware of that.



I have been privileged enough to share my story with a lot of people over the last week.  Maybe 8 or 9.... therapists, nurse practitioner, intake people in Mental Health Services and Family Stabilization Services, my case worker, etc..  

It just so happens that my appointment with my Primary Care Physician fell on the same week that I started Mental Health Services with Calworks.  I've wanted therapy services for awhile and am now, finally, going through the intake process through both insurance and MHS.  I also have been connected with affordable couples counseling through Calworks.  I should go full swing into actual therapy next week, including a couples session with O, hopefully a group therapy session, and one 1:1 (maybe two). The calworks system really expedited everything!  

I've had a few epiphanies during the telling on my story, not all of which I'll go into.  Most of the epiphanies came while I was telling my story to a kind, to the point, male therapist, who was evaluating me through my insurance.  He would have been the person to refer me for medication.  He did not at this time, but prescribed deep breathing exercises and physical exercise as my daily medicine.  Out of the professionals I've seen thus far, he impressed me the most.  This also includes the therapists I saw before leaving O, as well........ with the exception, perhaps, of my therapist who specialized in partners of sexual addicts.  She was also superb, in a different but equal way.  

He reminded me:
1) To keep a clear mind regarding my mom.  He saw the situation as black and white.  While talking to him, I used the phrase "Monster mode" to describe my mom when she is overwhelmed or angry.  I tried to retract the statement, it just popped out, but he told me not to retract it.  He encouraged me to keep a very clear mind, in regards to my mom and to hold onto that "monster mode" phrase.  It was interesting how he could see the situation so clearly, with so little information.  He also reminded me that the living situation with my mom is not safe for my kids, considering how she treated me and my sister emotionally, when we were children.  

Sigh.

That's not what I wanted to hear.


2) He reminded me that all of the issues that I've had with O are related to the chaos of my upbringing.  

3) He encouraged me to truly do the exercise and breathing like medicine, so that I get out of a reactive state.

4) When I told him my concerns regarding my short term memory, he responded that was "par for the course, when going through a life transition like this."

He's also going to hopefully get me set up with a therapist by the end of this week.  Wow!  Things have truly started happening.  I even got an acceptance from childcare I've been on the waitlist for since January/February (can't remember exactly).  We already have childcare, at this point.  But........... also, I have childcare.  So, I can work on my business.  And since I have all this support now, and will be more proactive about getting myself out of a reactive state, I'll hopefully be able to stick with it.  





I'm glad I'm writing this out.  It helps.  One of the things, I have been waiting for a regular therapy session to talk about is the loss of identity I feel and just overwhelming loss for having a life plan.

One thing, which I haven't come to terms with......... is what happened to my animals.  (deep breath).  When I adopted these animals into my home, I did it understanding the lifetime commitment I had to them.  I made intentional choices for them, bought them collars, trained them, researched what food to feed them.  They were part of my family.  

Through our split, they have been through very bad times.  ET died.  Tipsy and Snowball were happy with O, at his old house.  But, then he got evicted.  They are at C's again.  They are in O's room... but, he's not there half the time because he's commuting for work.  They aren't ridiculously unhappy, but they aren't happy.  It's not a good setting for them.  It's probably better there, then separating them again.  But, you see....... not only do I miss them.  I do.  But, I do not recognize myself as a person who would ever put them in this situation.  I try not to think about it.  It is too much to take.  

And Oso.................I miss him dearly.  I think he is fairly happy.  But, I, also, adopted him into a family that would stay together.  Every decision was so intentional.  And now, I have no say over those decisions. It is a part of me missing.

And being a person without a path, without a home, without a plan.  Who is this person?  She's not the person I know.  

I used to have all these ideas about school districts and buying homes and, you know, future life.  All that is gone.  

I suspect it will not be this way forever.  

But it is now.  And.............. yes.  Getting to know other moms, leaves me at a loss of words.  

ex: 
Them - "I live over by ________.  Where do you live?"  
Me - "Oh, I don't have a home.  But, I'm on a wait list for a local shelter.  I'm living with my mom, but I don't want to be here and she doesn't want me here."  

Yah..............  That wouldn't go so well.  So, I say, "I'm living with my mom, since I split with hubby."  Then I get pity.  

Or, they say what their husband's do or what they do, or talk about school districts or vacation or something that's a part of a stable life.

And..........I don't always feel like going into the fact that my life is unstable right now.  It's too raw, too vulnerable for a first meeting or second.  J mentioned a friend she made awhile back as one of her friends and I haven't arranged a play date.  I feel so bad that she is being affected by my desire to self isolate.  Sigh.  

Anyways................  It is getting late.  And it's time for my body to rest.

Thanks, Blog, for a wonderful vent.  I think next time, I'll probably have some positive recovery quotes.

Warmly,
F
Friday, July 14, 2017
J wanted to cuddle last night and I ended up falling asleep with the kids until the morning.

L wakes up and instantly says, "Where's J?" in toddler speak.  Kind of sounds like "/way/ /joo/?"  With the best question intonation (despite the fact that their bodies were literally touching each other).    She sees her sister and throws her body on her in a huge hug and a gigantic smile.  "/joo/ /joo/ /joo/!!!!"  She is elated to see her sister.  She is kissing her and hugging her.  J wakes up and says, "That's enough, L." in a groggy voice.  I mean, it is 4:50am   But, then she sees how excited L is and asks if she wants a hug and kiss.

It is clear that there is no place that J would rather be.    

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What an amazing way to wake up!!  She was so grateful to be with her sister.  And I am so grateful to have each of them in my life.  I feel they are perfect additions to my family tree.  As, we often say "perfectly imperfect."

Instead of just doing gratitude lists.  I have been trying to very intently focus on being overwhelmed with gratitude in the now.  I have been just exclaiming things I'm grateful for and ecstatic about, when in the car, especially.  And I've started saying to the kids, "There is no place I'd rather be, but here with you."  And meaning it with all my heart.

I am embracing the quote from Oprah, "Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough."

I have spent a lot of time focusing on what I want and don't have.  I want to get in the practice of focusing on what I have.  And despite being especially emotional the past few days, it's been working really really well.  And it is a vital principle that I want to pass on to my girls.  


Tuesday, July 11, 2017
And I just realized that I'm in pain (that's going to make me feel bad).

How can you forget that?? I don't know.  But, I have an issue with a tooth that I really probably need to take care of tomorrow.  But, possibly sleep comes first. I feel a mess.  Thank God, I know that I will be better tomorrow.  One day at a time.  and first things first  First thing right now = sleep .
HFT
One of the oddest things I learned in recovery was to develop tolerance and even desire for feeling good. At first I didn't connect much with other people. I didn't let anything approximating intimacy occur. Later, I noticed a paradox. When someone accepted or cared for me, I felt pleasure and pain. I was perplexed. Why would I feel pain in the same time as happiness? I asked an Al-Anon friend about this. She wondered if experiencing the good feeling I yearned for as a child might stir up some pain. She said the "receiving might, for a short time, bring up the "not receiving."

Her words proved to be true for me. I did go through a recovery phase during which receiving others' love, approval, and respect almost instantly recalled deeply buried sadness at not having received those things from my parents while I was growing up. In fact, I often didn't know such pain was inside until someone was nice to me. Then I would pour it out into my sponsor's loving ears and arms. Eventually I learned that my parents couldn't give what they didn't have, and I was able to feel compassion for them. 

Practicing "Easy Does It" helped me. I sometimes chose to leave meetings before they ended. I had received as much "good stuff" as I could handle on that particular day. Sometimes I had to limit the number of hugs I accepted. I'd share my thoughts and feelings afterward with my sponsor. Gradually, I began to like, and even love, getting the "good stuff" that leaves me feeling serene and happy.

Thought for the Day 
If recovery feels too painful, maybe I need to slow down and practice "Easy Does It." 
"Easy Does It" and "First Things First" help us to keep moving, but remind us we need only take small steps." From Survival to Recovery. p. 95



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This is really a great message for me today, when I'm feeling some pain on the verge of good changes happening.  
Feeling really low.

I'm tired of letting myself down and letting my kids down.




I know they don't feel let down.  And I do a lot of intentional and wonderful things for them.  But.............. J started talking about a sponsor's child today........... and I isolated myself from the sponsor (hence the child, too).  And I haven't talk to her (sigh).  It weighs on me occasionally that I would feel relief if I contacted her.  And then another potential friend of J's............. they wanted to continue to be friends after she left her past preschool.  And I isolated.  I just didn't feel comfortable talking about my life issues.  And when we got together, we talked a TON while the kids played.

And I'm planning my birthday party, as my birthday is coming up.   And more people I've isolated from.  Ugh.   Or the people I'd like to come are stretched across the country.  Last year, when I turned 30, I had 4 mommy friends, who had become very good friends, go out for dessert with me.  As of today, one of them is in Texas.  One is about an hour away from me, one is two hours from me and one I haven't kept in contact with.  These were real relationships.  They all knew about my current issues in my marriage (to a certain extent) and I was authentic with them.  Gosh.  I had so much more support a year ago.

Now, most of the people I've isolated from can be reconnected with, with a single text.  And it would bring relief to me, to a certain extent.  But, I still don't really feel a huge urge to socialize with them.  Just today, I responded to an old friend with an apology.  I want to be good friends for them when they need it.  But............. a lot of these people just aren't my "safe" people.  And I don't yet know how to be authentic to myself and not share too much or not enough.  If this makes any sense.

I'm just getting all this out.  My hunch is that I'm tired..........  I'm in a time of transition.  And........... I'm acutely aware of my weaknesses.  I know that I don't always feel this way.  And I don't believe I'll feel this way tomorrow.

I've been doing some really nice things that I can feel proud of lately.

I'm just going to post a reading or two and then be out for the night.


Monday, July 10, 2017
I'm so excited because it's my lovely J's first day of her new "preschool"/home daycare setting.  There are things to work out.  L loved hers at first, but has now been serious and sad "ish".  I'm going to see if I can group them together, possibly.  I can't decide if I want them apart or together.  But................ for today..... I'm excited!!

And we have a schedule today.  I do love schedules.  6-7am family exercise time.  I'm hoping to include a stretch session where we do gratitude and I want to do this every day before school/work.   Then breakfast, then drop off.  Then I do job search activities, then pick ups, etc.

Actually, I have to go get ready.  Oh and mindset work is coming into recovery too.  So so much to work on.

Too do loo!



Strengthening my Recovery - July 10th 

Codependence

"As adult children from various families, we focus on ourselves for the surest results.  We gradually free ourselves from codependent or addictive relationships."  BRB p.60

Before we entered recovery, it seemed like our relationships were codependent or addictive.  It's what we were used to; it's what we grew up with.  If anyone wanted something different from us, we were uncomfortable because we didn't really understand what that "something" was.  We could keep up the act for a short time, but the walls eventually went up.  We had no role models for healthy give and take.  

As we learn to focus on ourselves in ACA, at first it seems awkward.  Most of us are not used to taking care of ourselves emotionally.  Gradually we begin to see that we can walk away from those who still abuse us and we feel a sense of freedom that's new, because we don't feel guilty.  

We gather strength from those who have come before us in the program.  We hear how they have faced difficult changes with faith and trust in their Higher Power and those they share their journey with.  We see the promises of this program being fulfilled in others, and we now have the courage to ask for the guidance that's available.  

On this day I release my codependent and addictive relationships in favor of those based on mutual respect.  I will learn a new "dance" that fills me with life.  

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There is so much truth here for me.  I love the GRADUALLY freeing ourselves from codependent or addictive relationships.  It respects the process and also hilights my process, which has been extremely gradual.

I want to be a role model for healthy give and take with O and we are working on it.  I still want to tell him what to do, but there are many many many things I can control in myself.

1) Not correct O's parenting in front of the kids ever (unless it's an emergency).

2) Support his parenting decisions in the moment (and talk it over later, unless it's a huge huge deal).  No signs of disrespect, including facial expressions, if I disagree with the route.  Be kind, compassionate.  And realize that I may know the kids better because I'm with them all the time.  He can't be expected to with just a few hours a day.  And that would be the same if he was working full time.  That's no reason to be cruel about it.  :(

3) Follow my intuition.  And if things are not comfortable, make a plan to do it differently next time, instead of get unregulated or stressed out.