Posts Tagged ‘alcoholism’

I’m In!

September 19, 2018

And I’m writing this blog from my brand new kitchen table.

First new table kitchen table I have ever bought.

Ever.

I was reflecting on that earlier, I bought a new car last year, who am I?

I am very lucky.

Blessed really.

I just discovered someone who I knew really well as a child has passed of alcoholism.

My heart went out to her and the family, although to say it surprised me, it did not, just that I hadn’t known and she passed last year.

I am so grateful to be alive and having this experience.

Next time I tell myself that I am overwhelmed with school and work and the whole internship thing, I will remind myself that I am alive and for that I am beyond grateful.

Way beyond.

I am also moved into my new home.

I haven’t written my blog in days, or my morning pages either, not since Sunday Morning I think and I’m not sure when I blogged last but it’s been a few days.

Sunday was a flat-out run.

I was up early at 6a.m. to get myself ready and over to Alameda for a three-hour training for my new internship.

My God that shit is happening fast.

I have to get keys to my new office, close down my current client file (aside, another client is coming with!) and start-up my website, get a Square reader, get a phone number and get going.

I start with my new internship on October 1st.

Less than two weeks away, in fact, I see my first client two weeks from today in my new office.

Whew.

But I’m already ahead of myself.

Sunday.

A long three-hour training, then a dash back to the city and putting the rest of my stuff in boxes to move.

I had a dear friend come over Saturday in the afternoon and he basically just bossed me around and took apart my bed frame for me.  By the way, I needed the bossing around, I was so anxious that I kept getting distracted off task and he would get me right back on.  I was horrendously grateful for him.

Sunday I had another dear friend come over with his truck and help me move and he was a doll and put my bed frame back together again.

I actually got it all moved out and spent my first night here Saturday.

It was heaven to be in a bed, I’d slept on the floor (well, the mattress on the floor) the night before so I was really happy to be in a properly made up bed.

And I cannot tell you how nice it is to sit at a table tonight.

The last two days I have eaten breakfast and dinner sitting on the floor.

Which is fun now and again, I suppose, like a little indoor picnic, but I am so happy I have a new table.

A big table, a pretty table, a table that will do twofold work, my dining area and my work area, where I will be doing a lot of writing and very soon.

I have already actually written my first paper of the semester.

On Sunday.

Sitting on the floor.

I mean.

Fuck.

I moved out completely and I wrote a paper and I did a three hour training earlier in the day.

It was hard to make myself sit down and do it, I was so tired from the moving, but I had to, it was due at midnight.  I turned it in at 10:58 p.m.

And I just read my comments back and I did really well.

In fact, my TA gave me a huge thumbs up because I also put in a poem as part of the paper, a poem that was inspired by the time I was at the intensive and was also pertinent to the material that I was writing about.  I didn’t just use the poem to take up space.

I find this funny and endearing about myself, that I think that someone might think, oh, she’s cheating by using a poem to fluff up the word count on her paper, but most people who I know are intimidated by poetry and would prefer to just write the paper.

That’s not true either.

Most people I know aren’t interested in writing papers.

I, apparently am.

Although I still get good and nervous.

And that two-week thing?  When I start my internship, that is also the due date of my first big paper, an 8-10 pager.

So I have lots going on in the up coming weeks.

Getting the rest of my house together.

I have my couch (yippee!) getting delivered on Saturday along with the chair that goes with it, I have to set up the coffee table that was delivered a few days ago, I need a book-case and a dresser.

But I also unpacked, like I said, nearly everything, stored all my Burning Man things and notebooks and books that I’m not using in the basement, set up my shoe rack, hung curtains, assembled a rolling garment cart (my closet is small) and have set up my entire kitchen.

The only thing that is not sitting so well with me is that it’s cold in here.

I didn’t realize until my first night that there is no heat in the unit.

This has happened before, and it’s not a big deal, I’ve lived other places without heat, but I don’t want to live too long here without it, it’s cold out here by the beach at night.

So I ordered a space heater and that should be here in the next couple of days.

I’m just so happy to be sitting at my pretty table, listening to music, not worried about the noise, because my place is sound proofed, not that I’m loud, but you know, writing.

I have missed writing my blog.

I have a lot of things to do the rest of the week but I am feeling a lot better about it all sussing itself out, getting myself into my new place was the biggest thing and it’s done now.

I just have to go back and clean my old in-law, which I will do tomorrow after work and then on Thursday I will be returning the keys and getting the other half of the buyout money.

So happy this is almost at a close.

Ready to move into the next phase of my development.

I better be.

It’s just hurtling its way towards me.

Seriously.

Speed of motherfucking light.

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Stalling

January 25, 2016

But not stalled out.

Although, I admitted to a person of mine that I did indeed feel like I wanted to bail, that I have had enough, I’m done, I’m not doing my homework, stamping foot.

Stamp.

Stamp.

Stamp.

But I did do a lot of homework anyway.

As I sometimes explain to the five year old when he doesn’t want to do something, “you can not want to do it and do it anyway, you get to do it.”

Most of the time not wanting to do something for him is not the horrendous nightmare of being fed kale or broccoli, rather it’s not wanting to stir off the floor to go out to the park.

“Come on, you love the park,” I cajole him.

“No.  I want to stay inside,” he will reply petulant.

I don’t know what’s up with that, I always wanted to be outside, out of the house, on my own, doing my bit, playing how I wanted to play, exploring, adventuring, sallying forth with no regard to time of day and when or how I would get back home.

I however, was escaping what were often intolerable home situations and experiences.

Being outside was my great escape, my first experience with God, or as I like to think of it, the G.reat O.ut D.oors.

I was talking with my person on the phone about a conversation I had with my mom recently, school stuff, and the ramifications of realizing how vulnerable I feel when I am reading about a psychoanalytical theory and how the manifestations of so many issues arise from my childhood.

It seems that I ache with every theory and postulate, I see myself, my experience, the things that happened, the way I choose to disassociate, or check out, if you will, the self-medicating I used to do.

Basic stuff that I realize I almost never do now.

Except when I do them.

And it will be a shock, a surprise, a moment of realization, oh, I’m doing that, what need do I have that I am not fulfilling?

How can I better take care of myself?

What do I need to do to bolster my own self-esteem?

Or self-worth?

I did not get the kind of primary nurturing and attending to that children need to grow up with a strong stable sense of self.

I am not blaming my mom.

I am not blaming society.

I am not blaming my grandparents.

I am not blaming the nature of alcoholism, sexual abuse, trauma, neglect, addiction.

I am not looking even for an answer.

If I had the answers would I feel any differently?

I am just accepting that things happened and that there is still work to be done and attention to be paid and actions to be taken.

I get to have this experience.

School reading, psychology theory, brings it up.

What’s wrong with client x?

He was abandoned, neglected, beaten as a child.

What’s wrong with patient z?

She was neglected, ignored, improperly nourished, as a child.

What’s wrong with patient, ad infinitum.

So much seems to stem from these early basic child hood patterns and seeing them, reading about them, recognizing characteristics and traits in myself, I am sometimes saddened.

Often times grateful.

I somehow made it out and through and beyond.

(My own creation of friends, family, fellowship which has nurtured me, raised me, really)

I will be literally struck by how challenging these things are to a young, budding psyche and be amazed that I am not curled up in a fucking ball somewhere, hiding under my bed.

Or.

In my closet under a pile of clothes.

Or anywhere I can have a wall at my back.

In other words.

I am resilient.

And I love that about myself and that I get to forgive all those things, that I don’t have to continue holding onto them, that I can let go, but down the boulder of shame and the burdens of other people’s guilt, they are not mine to carry and I am not interested in doing their heavy labor any longer.

I am, rather, interested in doing what makes me happy.

Going blonde.

What satisfies me.

Having dinner with a dear friend.

Oh my God, that sushi was awesome.

What fulfills me.

Working with a ladybug today and talking about defects of character.

Doing good self care, which included pulling out the chaise and sweeping up the dust bunnies in the corner and cleaning my rugs and sweeping and doing laundry.

Grocery shopping and buying food I like.

Cooking for myself.

And.

Yes.

Doing my taxes.

I laughed out loud though, when I realized I was doing my taxes to avoid doing my psychology homework.

So.

I made some calls and outed myself and when it was done and I had lunch in my belly, I sat and I read.

And I read.

And I read some more.

I got a lot done.

I finished up the reading for one of my classes completely and got a good start in on the next.  I also ascertained a due date on a paper and started doing a little preliminary tabbing and marking in my text to make notes for the paper.

And when the reading got hard, it did, partially from the standpoint of this is new material and partially from the stand point, of ouch, damn it, I relate a little too much to this, can’t wait til I’m in therapy again, ouch, stop it.

I stopped.

I took a breath.

I went outside on the back porch and caught some sun.

It’s pretty sheltered so if the wind isn’t too blowy and the day is not overcast, there’s a nice little spot to get some sunshine on my face.

Or.

I made some tea.

Actually.

I made a lot of tea.

I was a tea drinking fiend today.

It’s a kind of self-soothing for me.

It warms me up, I feel safe, somehow, taken care of, it’s nurturing.

Granted I may go to the bathroom a bunch, but it does the trick.

And it’s much healthier than some other things I have tried to make me feel better.

Cigarettes.

Vodka.

Cocaine.

Donuts.

And it was literally something suggested to me as a way to self-soothe.

“If it gets bad, take a hot bath, and bring a cup of hot tea in the bath with you,” my therapist said.

Sometimes it was too hard to even get myself into the bath.

I am not at that place any longer, I have done the work to move forward and I shall continue doing the work that arises, but once in a while, it will sting, and it will reveal things about me and my life and I will be tender.

And that is ok.

I got to my place of being ok with it.

I got my small procrastination on and did my taxes.

Heh.

But mostly.

I just let myself be a student and I let myself be seen by myself with unconditional love and positive regard.

“You’re doing a good job, kid,” I said to myself this afternoon.

And you know what?

I am.

Saying Hello

December 15, 2014

Just to say goodbye again.

Goodbye papa.

I love you.

I kissed his cheek.

It was surprisingly warm, and the warmth and the prickles of stubble startled tears from my eyes.

I left his room.

I had said my goodbyes.

I told him what I needed to say, I wrote him a card, I held his hand, I stroked his arm, his knees, and the tops of his feet.

If he wasn’t wearing a helmet to protect his head, I would have stroked his hair, so like mine, still so dark, the gray is in his beard.

That was new.

I have never seen my father with a beard.

It was not a full fledge beard, but it was far more hair on his face than I can ever recall having seen.

“Does anyone know what happened,” the night nurse asked.

“No,” I replied, but the nurse who I checked in with on Friday read the intake notes to me and it sounded like he was assaulted for his wallet.

There was no need to say the rest of the story, my father’s body tremors spoke the rest of the tale, the bruises and scrapes and scars, the toughened skin, the cracked toenails, the hair, too long—another thing I had not seen on my father, long hair—the swollen hands, the alcohol withdrawal was hard to watch and bear witness to, but bear I did.

“You did a fine thing, you showed up as a woman of valor and strength and whatever happens this is between you and your dad, and you deserve to go out and experience every rich and wonderful thing that life has to give you, you let yourself have those things.”

Thank you Honey.

I needed to hear those wise words.

And so many others.

My darling boyfriend.

My dearest best friend.

My mom.

My sister.

My grandmother.

The worlds all convened in one spot for me in one fulcrum of pain and sorrow and grief and joy and gratitude.

The gift of my father.

I thanked him for helping me find closure.

I don’t know if he will come out the other side of this, but I do know that I will.

Breathe and pray.

She said to me.

Breathe and pray.

And that’s really what I did.

I prayed and held his hand.

I also cried.

But have I had a really good sob?

Not yet.

I did for a moment break down when I left the ICU, said thank you to the kind nurses; I lost it for a moment there in the waiting room.

Barren but for I.

I crumpled.

My face fell.

The tears scalded my cheeks and I let loose a wail.

Then I breathed in and prayed out and asked for a little more strength.

There was no one to hold my hand through the walking out of that waiting room, but I was held nonetheless.

My eyes so blurred with tears that I could barely respond to the texts from my boyfriend, then, the elevator, the intake desk at the ER, the cab called, the wait while the crazy of a busy ER bloomed around me.

“Please, sit, really, the driver will come and call out your name,” the receptionist kindly spoke to me.

I thanked her, looked at the melee in the waiting room and withdrew to stand by the doors.

I am done with this place, this space, this ER, this ICU; I just want to go home.

Home.

San Francisco.

I met so many kind people while I was here, was helped immensely by the fellowship, welcomed and hugged, picked up and brought places, asked to read and share, drank many, many, many large cups of coffee, and cried in the safety of rooms that I knew would hold my tears and keep them safe.

I am so thankful, grateful, and in deep debt to these rooms and the amazing people I met, especially one lovely lady who really stepped up to help and be of service, may I have the graciousness within me to play that service forward.

I have thank you cards in my bag, which of course, I did not find a mailbox to mail them from, but they are there.

I bought them as well as a postcard and a refrigerator magnet at the Anchorage Museum.

I got out a little today in between the church basement and the hospital.

My new friend took me to a museum and we talked and laughed and shared our experiences and then went to a café and I had a big old green salad, oh San Francisco I do miss your lovely food, and it was so wonderful to connect with someone.

I met her just yesterday morning and she feels like an old friend.

Just one of the many gifts I am sure will come of this experience.

The gift of seeing my father and finding my way through to an adult experience to deal with the being there for my family and to also find a small space for myself to have my own experience and interaction.

My heart hurts.

I am tender.

I am wrung with tears.

“The Christmas lights are so pretty in the snow,” I texted my boyfriend.

The Christmas carols in the hallways of the hospital, the crying child, the mountains capped with white, the blue sky, the blaze of golden orange at 3:30 in the afternoon as the sun began its fast descent, the mix of cheer and pain and sorrow and joy.

The richness that is my life that I can hold more than one emotion at a time and allow space for all of them.

I am a vessel of love and I found that the depth and parameters of my heart are far bigger than I suspected.

That’s what happens.

God breaks open your heart to fill it further.

A split open heart has more room, more area, a cup, a chalice, and a field of blazing aurora borealis against the deep indigo sky, to hold love.

It’s a feeling I have not gotten used to, but it is not unfamiliar and in the feeling I know that the rendering of it will only make me love harder and more if I keep my heart field open.

That’s the best I have.

I let go.

I let God.

I surrendered.

I accept and am loved.

I was brave and will continue to honor my family, my friends, my love, myself, and most of all this wilderness that I have come through to another pivot point in my life, and that, that is the choice for me.

Life.

I choose to live.

Thank you, my father for my life.

I will live it well and full of love.

I promise.

 

 

 

In Blackwater Woods: Mary Oliver

Look, the trees

are turning

their own bodies

into pillars

 

of light,

are giving off the rich

fragrance of cinnamon

and fulfillment,

 

the long tapers

of cattails

are bursting and floating away over

the blue shoulders

 

of the ponds,

and every pond,

no matter what its

name is, is

 

nameless now.

Every year

everything

I have ever learned

 

in my lifetime

leads back to this: the fires

and the black river of loss

whose other side

 

is salvation,

whose meaning

none of us will ever know.

To live in this world

 

you must be able

to do three things:

to love what is mortal;

to hold it

 

against your bones knowing

your own life depends on it;

and, when the time comes to let it

go,

to let it go.

 

The Kindness of Strangers

December 13, 2014

And those not so strange.

Perhaps I should just entitle this blog, “The Kindness.”

It has been a strange run of hours, surreal, be-spattered with rain and heavy tears.

Sorrow and grief and shock and then sleep and more tears and more rain.

My father is in the ICU at a hospital in Anchorage, Alaska.

A hospital I am on the way to.

I’m writing this blog from 10,000 plus feet on my connecting flight from Seattle to Anchorage. A flight, the kindness of strangers, that I should not be on.

“Stop, you don’t need to say more,” Rebecca at Alaska Airlines said to me, as I struggled to get out the words.

I had gotten off the plane from San Francisco and used the bathroom in the Seattle airport and figured I would find a snack or some dinner in the airport before connecting to my Anchorage flight.

However, the flight I was supposed to be on was showing a delayed boarding of more than two hours, add that to the two-hour layover and I was suddenly stranded in Seattle for four hours.

I’m only going to be in Alaska through Sunday night, I thought to myself and I walked in circles with my mom on the phone nattering about this and that and trying in her way to be supportive of me and my actions.

It’s not everyday a girl packs up her suitcase to see her father who she hasn’t seen in twelve years.

I finally saw a free agent at the airline and asked him for suggestions, he told me to head to gate 16, tell them that I needed to fly standby and see what they could do.

“My maiden name, Martines,” the woman at the airline counter said, followed by, “I just lost my father last month.”

We both teared up.

I had nothing in common with this woman, yet I had everything in common.

“I’ll get you on.” Rebecca said, “Go stand over there.”

And she did.

In effect saving me not only the two-hour delay on my flight, but gaining me an additional two hours to be in Alaska.

It’s not as dire as my blog sounds.

And it is.

I received a message from my uncle, as I was, irony? Heading into General Hospital, the locked down psych ward, with my boyfriend who does service there once a month.

I was going to assist and be sharing that evening.

As I reached for my phone as we headed into the doors, I heard a little ping.

Normal behavior?

Ignore it, turn off the phone, I have things to do, places to be, experience to share.

But as the doors locked behind us and we headed to the secured elevator, something prompted me to check the message.

“Emergency, call now.”

Followed by two numbers.

I called my uncle.

My father was in surgery, it didn’t look good.

Fact is.

My father hasn’t looked good in a while.

“Where’s my sister?” I asked him as he stood leaned against her apartment door building the winter of 2002, I had come back to surprise my friends and family in Madison from a recent move to San Francisco.

“I’m babysitting for her, she’s out,” my father said, sheepish in the light coming from behind him. My heels crunched in the snow, I felt the slip of ice under my feet, I had already lost my “snow legs” after just a few months in California, the ground wasn’t holding firm.

He smelt.

Beer.

Sweat.

Cigarettes.

Pot.

Fear.

And under the rank and file odor, he smelled like home, like my papa, like my dad, but I hadn’t called him either of those monikers in a long time.

He was Michael and he became that to me at an age when most kids are fostering a relationship with their fathers, not wondering where their dad was.

I have since grown up a lot.

However.

I have not sustained a relationship with my father.

He has been too active in his disease, that of alcoholism, and whatever else that has served to numb out the pain of existence.

I stopped engaging a long time ago.

I cut him out.

I cut him out with a machete.

I dropped a wall.

I said, I don’t ever want to see you again or speak to you unless you are sober.

He has not ever gotten sober.

But I did.

And in those moments of clarity when I look back I can see I was protecting myself, but maybe, just a little too fiercely.

Maybe just a little too hard.

“He thinks the world of you,” my sister said last night, sobbing when I told her the news that I was going.

Insert the kindness of those not so strange.

My employers.

They gifted me their frequent flyer miles.

I did not pay for this airplane ride.

I am still in shock at the largess of the gift.

“What! You have to take it,” she said to me over the phone as I sat numbed out (but warm—oh the loveliness of a car seat warmer) in the passenger seat of my boyfriend’s car.

“They want you to have it, they really do.” She continued.

And I realized, right then, right there, she was right.

And I wanted, no, I needed, to go.

I also decided, at that moment to grow up.

I called my grandmother, I got the name of the hospital, I called the hospital, I talked to the nursing staff, and I got the news.

The doctor was smiling, but the news wasn’t good.

He was alive.

But they don’t know, they wouldn’t know the extent of the brain damage for a few more days, he suffered blunt head trauma, they had removed a large clot and stopped several other bleeders, but “your dad’s a very sick man, he has a very sick brain,” the nurse said.

I think he may have been referring to more than just the trauma he had suffered.

I don’t know how the injury happened.

I have some suspicions.

Suffice to say, that’s not important now.

My dad came out of the surgery alive, with the brain swelling alleviated, they took off part of his skull to let the pressure go down, he was in a coma that from what I understand was medically induced to help with pain (but folks, I may be wrong about the details, the fog of grief makes distortions, it does).

He can track with his eyes; he can squeeze the doctor’s fingers.

I don’t know what to expect.

My heart aches.

I have hope.

One small sliver of hope.

He’ll recognize me and know I forgave him a long, long time ago.

That I love him.

Always have.

Always will.

And maybe

Just maybe.

He’ll squeeze my hand too.


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