Sunday, June 30, 2013

"Move on!" Says the one who continually fucks you over....

“The past must be examined closely, I believe, before we can leave it there.” ~Alice Walker

Addicts can’t understand that they’re ill

“Like many schizophrenics, many addicts can’t understand that they’re ill because the part of the brain that’s damaged by the disease is the same part that’s responsible for self-awareness and self-analysis. Their impaired insight explains addicts’ denial.”  ~David Sheff, Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Recovery is a circle

Oh where to start....

I have not written about my ex-husband's girlfriend before. I was trying to give her benefit of the doubt, but the benefit of the doubt has gone out the window.

My daughter has come home with multiple injuries that neither of them seemed to be aware of. Whenever I ask about them, I am told I am "sick" or "need help."

We had a full-on falling out earlier this week on the phone when I was unable to reach my kids all day.  Given the history, I am not OK with not talking to my kids at least once per day when they are in their dads care.

This morning, my kids called me scared because they woke up alone and couldn't find any adult cars.  They had no idea where anyone was and asked me to come pick them up.

I texted my ex, and as I was getting ready to leave received another phone call from my son worried that if I came his father would be mad.

I waited it out here while exchanging pissy text messages with both my ex and his girlfriend.

She told me her daughter, who is 11, was babysitting.  My kids had already told me that she was sleeping.

They arrived at 11am starving. No one had fed them all morning.

I know my kids.  They wake up starving before 7am.

I proceeded to feed them plate-fuls of pancakes. My son, who suffers from serious allergies went on to tell me that no one had given him his allergy medicine all week, with the exception of 2 occassions where he was given 4 times the amount he takes. He grabbed the bottle and said, "Oh thank God."

Then, my daughter told me that the 11-year-old "babysitter" got mad at her for some reason and ordered her younger brother to "beat up" my daughter.  My son chimed in and said that he had tackled her to the ground while the "babysitter" did nothing but watch and he had to pull him off her while she cried.

When I asked about this, I was told "Can you get over your sickness and pay attention your children?"  His girlfriend told me to "stop interrogating my children."

My husband's observation is that no matter how crappy they are with the kids, they continually try to blame me instead.

The only thing that is apparent to me at this point is that the girlfriend is as sick as my ex and that her home is not a safe place for my kids.

Later in the day, my daughter told me that the "babysitter" asked her if her mom ever bought her clothes.  Earlier in the week, the girlfriend had told me that my ex-husband, who she claimed to be a "good father" could not show up for his parenting time 90% of the time because he had to support everyone.

I reminded her of the minimal amount that he pays in child support and the fact that he admittedly cheats on his income so he can pay less.  So she told me that he "pays for everything", mentioning clothes.  At which point I burst into hysterics internally while trying to stay somewhat cordial.

Upon my daughter replying that, Of course I buy her clothes, she was told that the shirt she was wearing (which I bought her) was a "Mexican Junker."

This goes beyond just today.  They apparently have some issue with Mexicans, which makes my skin crawl.  My kids repeatedly tell me stories about how they are cautioned against "Mexican kidnappers" and all sorts of other nonsense.

And, the "N-word" is used "constantly" according to both my kids.

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that my kids would spend time with racists of any kind.  I did not grow up that way.  It goes against everything I believe in.  It literally turns my stomach.

The moral of this story: for those of you who are in the process of divorcing an addict, you can not be too clear or too cautious when drafting your parenting plan.  Think ahead.

Recovery is a circle .  Some days/weeks/months are better than others.  Sometimes I feel like I'm over something but then I deal with the same crap over and over again.

As my husband says, you can't forgive someone when they keep doing the same things.  The behavior has to change first.

I feel very tired from all this.  My life is 3000% better divorced. I have the best husband in the world. My kids are terrific.

And yet.

There is not a moment I can sit still and enjoy the time my kids are away with their dad.  I am constantly in fear.  I have no reason to trust him.

And despite her initial attempts to tell me how trustworthy she is, the reality that I have seen does not give me any reason to believe her either.

I wish I had a better end to this post, but today I don't feel hopeful. I just feel sad. I am tired of the same shit.

So I will end with a quote a dear friend sent me during another time I felt this way.

“We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.”

― Ana├»s Nin

I am whole. I am complete. I am

"I am whole and complete. I am the mountains that reach up into the sky and the streams that run from the snow. I am the fertile valley watered by the streams and the fishes that swim within. I am the soil that goes deep into the earth. I am every living creature that walks the earth. I am every bird in the sky. I am the sky itself.

I am the moon and stars and the circling planets. I am as vast as all that is and as small as the atom. I am the broad, bright strokes of sunset and the delicate veins on the smallest leaf.

I expand into my completeness with absolute certainty. I am certainty, faith and conviction. I am the sum of all that I am, the sum of all that is. I am whole and complete, a perfect circle of light and love, all held within my heart and yet expanding out into infinity.

I am beauty and wonder, intelligence and wisdom, grace and compassion, love and light. The wind is my breath and I am the wind.

I am all that has ever been and will be, all contained in what is, right now, right here, in this precious unending moment.

I am whole. I am complete. I am."

~Carrie Hart

Painting by Elisabeth Slettnes

Friday, June 28, 2013

Their fathers’ humiliations

“When an abused child, a rejected adolescent, or a humiliated man if finally able to deny his desire for acceptance and love, he can become a man obsessed with power and an abuser of others…The quest for power is not just instilled in men who seek revenge for their own or their fathers’ humiliations or ambitions. Power is what is valued most in patriarchal systems of all kinds, and when power matters more than love, there are terrible consequences.” ~Jean Shinoda Bolen, MD, The Ring of Power: The Abandoned Child, the Authoritarian Father, and the Disempowered Feminine

Thursday, June 27, 2013

She could die.

"Don't deny addiction,
don't enable it,
and don't wait for an addict to hit bottom -
S/he could die."

~David Sheff, Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America's Greatest Tragedy

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Settling for Power

“I am convinced that we enter the world seeking to be loved and that we settle for power when we are not loved.” ~Jean Shinoda Bolen, MD, The Ring of Power: The Abandoned Child, the Authoritarian Father, and the Disempowered Feminine

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Let all the hurt inside of you die

"Love is a bird she needs to fly, let all the hurt inside of you die, you're broken, when your heart is not open."

~Nusaybah Khalil

Art by Arna Baartz

Monday, June 24, 2013

Suffering from Power

“Power is the ruling principle in patriarchy, and where power rather than loves rules, freedom and justice also suffer.” ~Jean Shinoda Bolen, MD, The Ring of Power: The Abandoned Child, the Authoritarian Father, and the Disempowered Feminine

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Wrong is not my name

I am not wrong: Wrong is not my name
My name is my own my own my own
~June Jordan

Painting by Elisabeth Slettnes

Friday, June 21, 2013

Ending America's Greatest Tragedy

I started reading Clean yesterday.

Let me begin by saying there is no end to how much I love David Sheff.  I read Beautiful Boy during my ex-husband's relapse, and it helped me feel so much less alone. I wrote him then and have a letter back from him that I treasure to this day.

Clean begins:

"The view that drug use is a moral choice is pervasive, pernicious, and wrong."

I struggled through the preface. I was in tears most of the time.

The truth is, Clean s the book I would want if, Goddess forbid, either of my children became addicts.

I've always thought, particularly when sitting through Al-Anon meetings, that the hardest thing in the world would be to have a child that is an addict.

I can't compare that to my struggle whatsoever.  Because knowing my love for my children, I know, it would devastate me completely.

What is difficult for me as a parent is to watch how their father's addiction has hurt my children, again and again.

This week, he missed his parenting time again. I'm so tired of this addiction that he pretends not to have but that is so painfully obvious to the rest of us.

I read books like Clean because I worry about my children. I worry about the genetic component of addiction, but I also worry about how their father's actions will ultimately affect them.

The other day, my son was helping me in the yard. Midway through, he turned to me and asked, "Hey mom....Do you think I will end up being like dad?"

I asked him what he meant.

He wondered if he would turn out to be an alcoholic like his dad.

I told him that he could choose who he wanted to be like.

I usually devour books - typically around 4 a week.  I have a feeling Clean will be a slow, and healing read for me.  I do see hope in the book, particularly after hearing David speak about it here locally.

I still have many frustrations around addiction because I am still living with it. The truth is that even though my ex has long been out of our home, he will never be out of our lives.  When you have children with an addict, you have to deal with addiction - for "the children's sake."

I often wonder how much that is really in their best interest.

Someday, perhaps I will write a book on my perspective as a former spouse of an addict. It is easier to walk away from a marriage. No one can walk away from their child.

Perhaps Clean will also give me some more empathy for my ex.  Afterall, everyone is somebody's child.

I can not identify with his "parents" whatsoever. But I am trying, really trying, to understand this "disease" and make sure to protect my children the best I can.

Most posts to follow....

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

For Women, Alcohol Dependence Twice As Deadly

By 10/17/12

Study after study has shown that alcohol affects women differently than men, but a new German paper finds that alcohol is particularly devastating for women who struggle with addiction.

Alcohol dependence, it concludes, is twice as deadly for women as it is for men.

According to the study, started in 1996 and published online Tuesday in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, the death rate for alcohol-dependent women was more than four times that of a sample of non-addicted 18- to 64-year-olds. The death rate among alcohol-dependent men was about twice that of the general population over the 14-year study period.

On average, the alcohol-addicted men and women were about 20 years younger than members of the general population at the time of their death, explained study author Ulrich John, director of the Institute of Epidemiology and Social Medicine at University Medicine Greifswald, Germany.

He and his colleagues relied on a sample of more than 4,000 respondents, identifying 119 men and 30 women who met the criteria for alcoholism in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health (DSM), which psychiatrists use to diagnose psychiatric illnesses. For alcoholism, signs include drinking more than intended and having an ongoing desire to cut back on drinking but being unable to do so.

When the researchers followed-up with the study participants after 14 years, they found that 23 percent of the alcohol-dependent women had died, compared to just 18 percent of the men.

"Females are much more vulnerable to [many] toxins, such as alcohol," John told The Huffington Post.

Gender-based differences in vulnerability to alcohol are reflected in government recommendations about how much men and women should drink.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture dietary guidelines classify moderate alcohol consumption as up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. Women who have three drinks on any day or more than seven per week are considered "heavy" or "high-risk" drinkers; for men, it's four drinks on any day or more than 14 per week.

Susan Foster, CASAColumbia's vice president and director of policy research and analysis, said the new findings were in line with an existing body of research that shows the impact of alcohol on women "is particularly harsh."

"When using the same amount, or less, women experience more health problems, more dependence and more hospitalizations than men," Foster said, explaining that women's bodies contain less water and more body fat than their male counterparts. Water dilutes substances, such as alcohol, while fat helps retain it in the body. Thus, women end up with higher concentrations of alcohol in their blood stream.

"On average, one drink for women has the impact of two drinks per men," Foster said. Alcohol consumption has been tied to increased risk for breast cancer, while alcohol-dependent women have a greater risk of developing alcohol-related heart disease, liver disease and alcohol-induced brain damage than men.
Foster also cautioned that the new study has limitations. For example, it found that detoxification and in-patient treatment for alcoholism did not have an impact on death rates for men and women. But many of the programs people check into are not evidence-based, she said, and the new study did not control for that. In addition, detoxification alone is not a form of treatment; rather it is a precursor to treatment.

Nonetheless, she told The Huffington Post that the new findings highlight an important bottom-line. "Women need to understand that their risk is different than men's when it comes to addictive substances," she said.

Read original article at

Friday, June 14, 2013

Love saves us only if we want to be saved

“To return to love, to get the love we always wanted but never had, to have the love we want but are not prepared to give, we seek romantic relationships. We believe these relationships, more than any other, will rescue and redeem us. True love does have the power to redeem but only if we are ready for redemption. Love saves us only if we want to be saved.” ~ bell hooks, All About Love: New Visions

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Addicts are master-manipulators.

I have to constantly remind myself that I can not treat my ex like a "normal" person, and that's very hard.

In most of my life, I like to collaborate and cooperate with people. I enjoy working together with people, and the majority of my projects are based on collaboration.

However, when you try to interact with an addict this way, it only creates chaos. And no one is hurt more by that than children.

So after my ex cancelled his parenting time yet again at the last minute, I started creating a list.  I can't tell you how many of these lists I have started and stopped over the last 5+ years.  Usually, once he seems better for a few weeks, I stop.  But this time, I am not going to stop with the list.  Because black and white facts do not lie.

Wanting to believe the best in someone can be a killer when they are an addict.  For someone who only has his kids 25% to be unable to consistently pick them up when he does them on time or at all is telling.

So here it starts:

5/10-12 – I took kids his weekend
5/15 – missed parenting time
5/24 – did take kids
5/29 – missed parenting time
6/5 – did pick up kids
6/7-9 – missed parenting weekend
6/12 – missed parenting time 

"Any man can be a Father but it takes someone special to be a dad." ~Anne Geddes

Friday, June 7, 2013

Parents Underestimate Influence Over Teens' Substance Abuse

1 in 5 thought child wouldn't listen to advice on the issue, but research suggests otherwise

By Mary Elizabeth Dallas
Friday, May 24, 2013
(HealthDay News)

About one in five parents think they have little control over whether their teens take up smoking, drinking or illicit drug use, a new U.S. government survey finds.

That's too bad, say experts at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), since new research shows that parents are actually one of the most influential forces helping to shape their child's views on these issues.

"Surveys of teens repeatedly show that parents can make an enormous difference in influencing their children's perceptions of tobacco, alcohol, or illicit drug use," said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela Hyde in a news release.

The new findings are based on the agency's most recent survey of more than 67,000 Americans ages 12 and older. The survey also found that one in every 10 parents has not talked to their teens about tobacco, alcohol or other drugs -- even though two-thirds of these same parents believe such a talk might sway their child away from these substances.

"Although most parents are talking with their teens about the risks of tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs, far too many are missing the vital opportunity these conversations provide in influencing their children's health and well-being," Hyde said. "Parents need to initiate age-appropriate conversations about these issues with their children at ALL stages of their development in order to help ensure that their children make the right decisions."

According to SAMHSA, prior studies have shown that when teens believe parents strongly disapprove of their smoking, drinking or trying illicit drugs, they are much less likely to do so. In one survey, just 5 percent of teens who thought their parents would strongly disapprove of their trying marijuana had actually used pot, compared to 32 percent of teens who thought their parents might not have that level of disapproval.

SOURCE: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, news release, May 24, 2013

Read Full Article Here

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Very powerful letter from addict

Letter from an addict: What Addicts Do

My name's Jon. I'm an addict. And this is what addicts do. You cannot nor will not change my behavior. You cannot make me treat you better, let alone with any respect. All I care about, all I think about, is my needs and how to go about fulfilling them. You are a tool to me, something to use. When I say I love you I am lying through my teeth, because love is impossible for someone in active addiction. I wouldn't be using if I loved myself, and since I don't, I cannot love you.

My feelings are so pushed down and numbed by my drugs that I could be considered sociopathic. I have no empathy for you or anyone else. It doesn't faze me that I hurt you, leave you hungry, lie to you, cheat on you and steal from you.

My behavior cannot and will not change until i make a decision to stop using/drinking and then follow it up with a plan of action.

And until I make that decision, I will hurt you again and again and again.

Stop being surprised.

I am an addict. And that's what addicts do.

The Junkies' Wives Club (really GREAT resource if you are living with a partner with any sort of addiction, past or present)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Power Struggle

 “Often men who have been emotionally neglected and abused as children by dominating mothers bond with assertive women, only to have their childhood feelings of being engulfed surface. While they could not 'smash their mommy' and still receive love, they find that they can engage in intimate violence with partners who respond to their acting out by trying harder to connect with them emotionally, hoping that the love offered in the present will heal the wounds of the past. If only one party in the relationship is working to create love, to create the space of emotional connection, the dominator model remains in place and the relationship just becomes a site for continuous power struggle.” ~bell hooks

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Wounded Child

 “The wounded child inside many males is a boy who, when he first spoke his truths, was silenced by paternal sadism, by a patriarchal world that did not want him to claim his true feelings. The wounded child inside many females is a girl who was taught from early childhood that she must become something other than herself, deny her true feelings, in order to attract and please others. When men and women punish each other for truth telling, we reinforce the notion that lies are better. To be loving we willingly hear the other’s truth, and most important, we affirm the value of truth telling. Lies may make people feel better, but they do not help them to know love.”  ~bell hooks, All About Love: New Visions