Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Little Inspiration From The Television

So, it doesn't happen often that I write down a line from a t.v. show that inspires me, but the last sentence spoken in last week's episode of Grey's Anatomy has been my motto lately:
Maybe we have to get a little messed up before we can step up.
I feel like I'm on a stair climbing machine I've been stepping up so much lately. But it makes me wonder...If we weren't going through this time in our lives, would I be stepping up this much? Maybe I've been stagnant for too long & this is exactly what I've needed...hmmmm. I'd like to put out a personal challenge to anyone who reads this passage to think about ways your struggles can make you stronger and how you can use those obstacles to make a positive change in your life. Step up friends.

Monday, March 23, 2009

25 Days & A Breakfast (& Counting!)

We all feel it in the air...spring is here! I find that the seasons & their characteristics have been especially significant to our family over the past year. Last spring marked the beginning of new life when we learned I was pregnant with Gage. Our summer was filled with exciting adventures: going to France, our 1st wedding anniversary, road trips to visit family & friends, and (of course) my expanding belly! As fall approached, we embraced the new changes of turning our other bedroom into a nursery, remodeling our bathroom, and welcoming our son into the world. To view it from the outside in, our life looked like it should be pretty perfect. But scattered among those seasons were lies, fear, distrust, lack of communication...a family falling apart just as it was beginning.
And then winter came.
Rich's behavior was changing...he was forgetful, tired all the time, became defensive very easily, started gaining weight...strangely enough, they were all things happening to me while I was pregnant, so I excused them away as stress from having a new baby. Then I discovered a large stash of Rich's empty alcohol bottles just before Christmas. That was the moment I realized that Rich didn't just have an "issue" with drinking, he was an alcoholic. I felt a rush of more emotions than I may have ever felt in one moment. "How could he do this to himself? To me? To our family!?" Ironically, winter brings about feelings of depression and restlessness for many people...so does alcoholism. The beautiful thing about life is that God gives us spring.
I can not only see the changes happening in Rich, I can feel them. We are communicating more openly, laughing more freely, and enjoying the rebirth of our relationship. I married my husband for better AND worse. I look forward to growing old with Rich...through all the seasons of life.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday the 13th

Speaking of an emotional roller coaster...For the past few days I have felt pretty down & angry. Today, however, was the bright spot in my week that I've been needing. I (nervously) went to my first Al Anon meeting. It was a fairly large meeting of at least 30 people...so big that they never even got around to me in the circle as people were sharing. I actually found that to be o.k. with me for my first meeting...to sort of sit back and take it all in instead of feeling compelled to share. I also told a few more friends about our situation today and was so touched by the positive support they extended. When Rich first entered rehab, I emailed a couple of his friends to let them know about what was happening, and I was so disappointed that one of his "close" buddies has yet to even respond. I think that fear of abandonment has kept me from continuing to share with others and reach out for help. Today's experience taught me a valuable lesson: I have to show others respect by giving them the chance to experience & feel their own set of emotions about this process of recovery. Thank you to all of you who have been praying for our family...no words could ever express how much we have been blessed by your love.


So, I was talking with my mom today, and she suggested that I use this platform as a way to express how I’m feeling…about everything…not having Rich around, trying to keep my house in order, wondering how I‘m going to pay our bills, etc. I’ve fallen into a habit of writing about only about CLM for fear that if I try to express myself at all, I’d sound like the spacey, sleep deprived mom that I am! But I think she is right. My goal with this blog was to share our journey, good and bad. So here it goes…
I have to say I wish I didn't have to experience this role as a "single parent" for these 11 weeks. My house is a wreck. I forget everything (literally everything!). I don’t know what I’m going to wear tomorrow it’s been that long since I’ve done laundry. I have no idea how we are going to survive financially. I cry a lot. I don’t pray enough. And I’m trying to stay sane enough to take care of our beautiful baby boy. But this is life, right?
Tomorrow I’m going to go to my first Al Anon meeting. I’m hoping that participating in these meetings will help me understand and get a grip on the emotional roller coaster I’ve been on. I’ll let you know how it goes…

Monday, March 9, 2009

Ebenezer Heap

In front of the CLM building is this rock pile known as the Ebenezer Heap. Each stone in the pile represents a student who has graduated from the program. Students have creative freedom to decorate their rock and place it among the others in the pile. I was curious about the meaning of the word Ebenezer, & I found that it is a combination of two Hebrew words that literally mean "stone of help." I think it is very fitting that this pile of rocks is a focal point for the students because it not only reminds them of the hundreds of students who came before them, but it also showcases the individuality of each person. Below is a picture of one of the recent graduates from Christian Love with his decorated stone...it's a great addition to the "stone of help" pile, don't you think?!? :-)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Words of Wisdom

In the kitchen at CLM, there is a dry-erase board where one of the employees writes a daily quote/joke/whatever. I thought I'd share these every so often. Here was one of the quotes on the board when I visited last:
It is what you learn after you know it all that counts.
28 days into the program, Rich is doing great so far. When I talk to Rich in the evenings, it's awesome to hear how he is (gradually & cautiously) opening up. He has found the daily AA meetings very helpful & the classroom material is furthering his understanding of substance abuse. He's been there long enough now to have seen several students graduate as well as new students enter the program. I think he's glad not to be the "new guy" anymore, but he understands that he has a long way to go & is glad he entered a longer program & not a typical 30 day program.