Monday, January 30, 2012

Some Days

Some days we do nothing in particular. Or rather it seems that way. We clean up, rest, read, and play games. This is just every day life around here. It seems things can run more smoothly with jimmy having more time off of work. He's finding his rhythm within the family. Although, I know it's hard with certain people, including myself wanting one on one time. Wanting to get to know him as he is now.
Jimmy still has memory issues, and I am trying to be understanding. It's rough when he can stop mid conversation, walk out of the room and forget we were even talking. I can not say I am saintly, about it. I try my hardest and he has even taken to putting small notes to himself on his iPhone. I love him and am in prayer that it's only a temporary side effect. He doesn't much like it when I remind him of things but, what's the alternative?
Some days are spent in your pajamas trying not to be sad.

Momma and her tribe

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Feels Like Spring

It was a warm day here in Southern California. It feels a lot like spring today. Warm days, cold nights make the desert come alive. We had a nice afternoon trip planned with a couple friends. We went to our city's local museum and water conservation garden. We have been to events on this property before, and the kids love it.

We got to see so many things in the museum. We found that the mission closest mission church is Mission San Luis Rey...I think we have a field trip in the works. We found out so much about our dusty little town (thanks Lisa Ling) that we had never heard before. Including that the infamous old west shootout happened a mere block away from our current home. Imagine that?!
We also found out a Russian plane on a trip over the polar ice cap landed about five miles or so from our current home, they were supposed to land in San Diego.

After a trip in the museum the children explored the grounds and chatted up our friends. The younger kids made leaf boats with small pebble people, to race in the pond. Such a wonderful way to spend the afternoon.

We are so blessed.
Momma and her tribe


Kids at Rancho Park

It was a nice peaceful Saturday! Morning meeting was a nice book study. We had a nice day overall. We are getting into a better rhythm, so much so...there has been no arguing between us and we are communicating quite well.
Jimmy's psychiatrist put him out of work until March 9th. We shall see if this leads to a new beginning in more than one way. In my heart I know it is. There is so much ahead of us and a day at a time we will live much happier lives. A life of peace, grace and acceptance.
We made a nice park trip yesterday and everyone but, momma hill rolled. That was so fun to watch.
We don't have a whole lot but, we have more than enough.

Momma and her tribe

Friday, January 27, 2012

Family Friday: Adventures in Astronomy

We had so much fun at Astronomy Nighty up at the Western Science Center. We are so loving that they are doing this once every other month. It's such a joy to see the kids just get so excited over things.
I am hoping to continue Family Friday's.

Momma and her tribe

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Everyday Life

Maggie's Horse

Life is beginning to get a rhythm, and is flowing better these days...or well as of today. There seems to have suddenly become a bit of "normalcy". Considering there is recovery going on and a child with an undiagnosed "mood disorder", the rhythm is not skipping steps.
The picture above is one of Maggie's masterpieces. She amazes me everyday with her artistic abilities. There seems to be no end to what she can do. Often I find that she is shy about showing it or if she does she is shy about speaking about it.

Part of Jimmy's rhythm is journalism. This is helping him and he has made a commitment to it. Obviously you can see Hezzie wants to journal as well.
This afternoon brought some nice moments of partnering. We worked on the long neglected backyard some. It has been a great source of embarrassment. He cleaned up a spot and I hung some laundry. It was nice as we both listened to our perspective music and podcasts. That was followed by enjoying the front yard on our metal lawn chairs while Jimmy strummed the guitar. We went to his recovery center's Alumni meeting and came home....
Life is slowly becoming what we had hoped for, we know there are more hills on this path. I think anything worth while does not come easy.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I Became Everything I Hated: My Story of Addiction

When we are young and fresh out of high school we have ideas, great plans of marvelous futures. My plans were to travel the world via the United States Marine Corps. and write novellas and shorts stories along the way. In my head I would be this chic literally in the enlisted ranks. I would travel with my composition book and fountain pen in hand. This unfortunately did not come to pass. I was enlisted in the military with less than a year of active duty service. My composition and book were always at hand but, no great world travels were made. My voyage took me from Southern California to the Carolina's.
When I reached my schooling in November of 1994 I was looking to start a new life, be a new person and leave my past behind. In all honesty, I thought my enlistment made me much more than the life I was escaping and avoiding. Avoiding falling into the traps of my family and the culture that surrounded them. I do love them, I just did not want to end up drug addicted, single with kids and have abusive relationships. In my mind, I was above that and beyond what had become a sad existence in my mind.
I left behind all my hippie and stoner friends in small towns that bordered each other. I left behind everything I had grown to know, love, hate and cherish all at the same time. The Anita of those places was an abused, raped, molested, controlled and not allowed to truly be who she was. This was my time to become the me hidden deep within and no longer be afraid. What I came to find out is that I would be raped twice more, I found the love who would stand be my, that my way of coping came in bottles and just giving in to men. Ashamed, I grew to drink more heavily, alone or sometimes with a friend.

When I was discharged I could not cope. Every bit of the life I had yearned for was ripped out from under me because of bad knees and flat feet. The physical and emotional pain was more than my heart could bear. As soon as I came I looked to escape my mother house. In the mean time and old flame came back into my life and his mental disorders weighed heavy on me. The up and down behavior coupled with my own self pity drew me into the bottle deeper. The the denial of medical care from the VA had me spinning out of control. The pain of walking to and from work almost daily left me few choices, and the one I chose came in a white powder. Nobody close to me knew because, I was so secretive and ashamed I was becoming what I had tried to escape.
One weekend when my roomates were off somewhere I looked in my mirror and thought to myself, I don't want me and nobody else ever will...if I do not change. I was only 19. I showered and changed my clothes. What were my choices, admitting to my family that I had become what they once were, suicide or just going at it alone, like I seemed to do everything else? Suicide was the most comforting thought to me. My roommates were genuinely nice guys, most whom I attended high school with so why put them through the joy of finding me hanging from our stairs. Ashamed, stubborn and broke...I lay naked in my room under a sheet that my skin nearly matched. I let my body sweat and tremble for a few days. I finally got up and showered up clean found a AA meeting in the paper, went a couple times and just decided it wasn't for me. NA same thing. In my mind I did not identify with "those people"....even though at heart I knew I was one.
I beat myself up for year, why the hell would I start any of this knowing what I knew. Addiction is hereditary and I come from the finest of them all. Lucky for me, they had all cleaned up and found Jesus.

A year later I found myself in a physically and mentally abusive relationship, we both were quite nasty to each other. I found myself drinking again and when I felt myself slipping...I would put down the bottle and swore it off forever.
Then I went to North Carolina to be with Jimmy. Occasionally I drank and stopped when we got married. That was not the kind of marriage I wanted, and that was not the mom I wanted to be for Stephanie. So from 1999 til 2010 I only had one or two drinks. In my mind the sufferings of my childhood would play like a slide show and this is what I wanted to avoid for my kids, meanwhile I was married to a daily drinking alcoholic.
There was temptation with drugs, they were all around our complex and readily available had I asked the right person. In 2010 I had had enough of the neglect of being married to an alcoholic and the shame I harbored from it. Talking to an old friend about all the things I had endured and thought I had overcome helped my hand reach for something I thought more classy, wine. I was assured that it was okay and that my husband would partake in a glass or two with me. My mind played the scenario in which I'd be drunk enough to upset my husband and maybe he'd stay sober so the kids would be cared for. This is far from what happened. As it turns out he only wanted me to pass out drunk with him, that never happened.
I saw myself slipping into the green bottle of red wine in an way unbecoming to a lady. I saw the tears of my oldest son when he was upset when he saw me drinking. I had again become everything I hate. The tears brought memories of my childhood....I had become to my kids what my mother was to me.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Frustration. Memory and Broken Trust

I don't know where to begin without sounding like an intolerable hag. I love my husband, I do so very much. No, I am not saying that to convince myself that I do...I honestly love every broken part of his being. All those puzzle pieces face down...I am trying to help him piece them together. It's a slow and frustrating process.
We have had some "conversations" recently about a couple things. He on his own volition promised he would not contact a certain rehab friend but, would respond to her and be nice. No problem on that, then he did. This morning first thing my trust was crushed. It's a sticky situation and his memory is so bad...sometimes I don't know if he honestly forgets things or is being a jerk. Another situation is that, there are rumors going around that facility about us and two young people who walked out of rehab. We helped one of them get to the sober living home, retrieve her medications and personal products. Now it's going around that we have them living in our home and that drug use it happening. Ummm no this is not at all what is going on. Both are very nice young people, we love them and if there was suspect of use we would ask them. Because, of said rumors Jimmy was told it was not a good idea for him to volunteer there. He contacted a few people, he told myself and a friend if and when the air was cleared he would not spend his time in a place that basically perpetuates gossip. Then today he was gung-ho about it...and I went over the edge. Yes, you might think that is crazy. But, after this morning it was just too much. Broken trust twice...over two things he did not remember saying.
His memory is so bad, and I have learned could take years to return. So, I get to decipher when he breaks my trust is it intentional or is it memory loss. If he could see why the frustration and hurt occurs without thinking I am crazy, life would be so much easier. But, nothing amazing in my life has come easy...nor his.
The poor guy is going through so much.(I will blog on that tomorrow) He is doing his part, making meetings, working his steps and he has a sponsor. Where's mine? Oh wait Al-Anon was crazy. With all of this going on his has numerous people reaching out to him and I have people walking away. Isn't life grand?
If I had one wish it would be for him to have memory, good memories, bad memories whatever just so he'd remember and not get frustrated.


Monday, January 23, 2012

10 Things I Gave Up Being Married to an Alcoholic Part 4/3

(I know this was supposed to be a three part went into something more.)

Faith is not just an Album by the Cure or a song by George Michaels. The dictionary defines faith as "something believed in with strong conviction." I had that. My faith was so strong and I held on to it. No, I was not religious I was spiritual and had a close bond with the Creator. That bond was forged strong just before the birth of my oldest son and slowly faded away over the last few years.
It went to the way side as I tried to reconcile how after overcoming so much in my youth, I could again be going through so much. If He loved me, why was I hurting in the midst of what should have been a great loving relationship. Didn't He know what I had already endured in my childhood and in my previous relationships? Why would the Creator allow me to attract such broken people if I myself had already been broken so many times? One of my previous relationships was with a schizophrenic who had issues with addiction and another who suffered deep battles of depression. In my heart I knew Jimmy was covering up a multitude of issues but, it fell on deaf ears. His alcoholism was just the icing on the cake, the sweetest part not exactly the core.
When things began to get bad, I just surrendered my faith. After all, prayer and faith did nothing except make things worse. We eventually left our church due to a disagreement and never found a new one. Situations became more tense as eggshells lined the floor of a once loving home. I wondered why would go put me in the home I tried to avoided, why would he allow it. Then I realized I had chosen this.
When Jimmy and I married I knew he was an alcoholic and my choices lead to this life. So, I have nothing to question the Creator about...if He did indeed exist anymore. My heart closed off to what I held so tight and so close for so long.
As Jimmy gets more days sober and comes more into himself, I still question the validity of my faith. If he was indeed healed through his treatment, why is there still so much chaos within himself? He has surrendered fully and yet he is not whole.
I don't know if things will ever be as strong or as fervent as they once were, I know that He has a plan but, at what expense?
I gave up my faith, I gave up a big part of myself and I am waiting for a sign.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Cuddles, Chess and a Date

I woke up early this morning, showered, got dressed and went back to bed. While Jimmy went to AA, Waylon snuggled with me...Go Team Orange. It was quiet and very peaceful as we lied in bed listening to mediation music.

When Jimmy returned home he played chess with Dexter. The kids are in a chess club on Friday evenings. After their match Hezzie wanted a go. Dexter taught him how to place the pieces and the names. He periodically took out the board and pieces
to try and set the board up. I find this very adorable.

Jimmy and I had our first monthly date. Something he promised himself we would do. It was simple and lovely. We went to Subway and the to a nearby Starbucks. We chatted and played tic tac toe. We had hot drinks and read On The Road. It was pretty uneventful but, was a good time.

Subway and Starbucks make a great date!!

I am still fighting and ear infection. I have had garlic in my ears, so my eyes have been no makeup today. This is our mandatory date photo.

When we came home the kids were all napping. We went into the room where we sat upon our queen size bed. Jimmy played his guitar and sang to me. It was like we were still on our date til kids started coming in. They gave us hugs and kisses. Life is good.

Jimmy played his guitar over FaceTime on the iPhone with Maggie. She sat up my iPad so she could hear Jimmy sing about how much she loves Sonic and drawing wolves. She danced.

Sunday we good, it was peaceful and a wonderful way to start the week.

Momma and her tribe

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Do I Know You?


You never know what to expect when you marry someone, the future is uncertain. We all have our ideals, of a life full of joy and ecstasy. Even when we know we are marrying someone who had the disease of addiction. Sometimes you can sense what is hidden beneath all the masks. When the masks are shed and the person who lies beneath comes to surface, it can be hard to swallow. You have known the other person so long, and loved that person and now love starts a new in many aspects. This is not an easy process for the addict nor for his family. You think to yourself "Who is this person?" This happened a lot during the latter part of his recovery when I met people telling me how amazing and awesome he is. Not that I don't think he is, or we would not have married but, I had lost that. When people would say he was a good listener and a good friend I wanted to cry. Again questioning, "Who is this person?" Then I resigned myself to "waiting my turn" to know this person.


He was thinking, "How do I find myself?" While treatment brings out a lot of pain it also bring unexpected joys. Long lost talents and passions resurface. For my alcoholic they are things I have tried to nurture in him, things he pushed aside for a can of beer. Slowly, as the old skins shed and fall to the floor the new skin slowly comes together like a puzzle picture sides down. It's not fast, nor is it easy but....with a little help it can be achieved.


Right now, my husband also known as my alcoholic is in transition. He was able after three days back to work to get two weeks off. He went from an all day social healing experience to mostly solitary work. This gave his mind too much volume. Something that was masked by years of drinking, along with underlying depression. Yesterday, I learned that even though he is 36 years old he is mentally and emotionally 15. His heavy drinking began at 14. He never learned to be a teenager or adult properly.
I do get frustrated because his memory and concentration is that of a much older man. He can not remember many of our past, even recent past conversations. We have been working on communication because, without proper explanation I tend to end up in tears and he ends up frustrated. It's become almost like a parent and child relationship. Me making sure he understands and him thinking I should just know. However, I know he is not my child and is in fact my husband, lover and friend. But, his mind will not function normally for 2-5 years or so it's been said. So a lot of prayer is at hand as well as a lot of patience.


reblogged at If Drinking Didn't Kill Me

Friday, January 20, 2012


Yesterday was filled with so many doctors appointments, or so it seemed. Maggie went to see her psychiatrist. That went well,s he was awake this time and even talked to him. This was a big step for her. She is adjusting well to her medications, I have to say we are blessed she didn't have to switch them so much.
She is so fun loving and energetic now. She is much more happy and full of life. So glad these steps were taken.

Jimmy and I had appointments. This is us waiting. So glad he came along....I am not fond of pap smears and have been known to get anxious. I know I am 35 and I still need my hand help, and possibly a lollypop

Can you see how scared I was? For good reason, that lady poked at my rectum without my permission. How dare she? Is this something new? It's only been five years since my last one.

We had a good laugh after it was all said and done. Now we have the daunting task of fasting bloodwork.
How was your Thursday?

Momma and her tribe

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Hezekiah had some weird stomach issue and was vomiting most of the morning. Nothing beats a fried egg and oranges coming up. I spent most of the morning catering to him and reading a book about Noah's Ark to Maggie.
While Hezekiah went back to sleep, Stan Lee watched over him...or looked up at him. The dog knows when his people do not feel well and tries to comfort them. He is such a good pet.

When Hezekiah took one of his naps I cleaned up and put out the Valentines Day kitchen garland. I need to take a picture of it when it's lit up at night. It looks so pretty. The kids loved lights at night.

I took Dexter to youth at Calvary Chapel San Jacinto. While he was there I went to Starbucks and grabbed a Caramel Apple Cider. I then went to pick up Heather, Allie and Vince from the bust stop. They were supposed to stay here for a few days but, one of them is afraid of mice...we have a field mouse who alludes us. Maybe it's time to find the catch and release trap we had. I hope I get time to visit as now they are at a hotel.

We ended the night watching The Brave Little Toaster goes to Mars with Waylon and Hezzie. Around 130 we pulled the papasan in the room for Waylon to sleep on and we fell asleep. The kids had late naps.

It was a good day.

Momma and the Tribe

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Cleaning House and Spelling Games

I moved my couch and cleaned so much. I think this opens the living room up so much more so we can be fully engaged. I can not wait to find a picture for the wall so we can take that broken TV off of it. Woke up one morning to lines, no cracks just lines.
Apparently the cold day was reason for bath tub swimming, this is why Hezzie and Maggie are in their swim clothes. The played in a warm bath for a bit and then came out to dry off in the sun coming through the living room windows. I love when the kids do things like this. They tend to try and make the best of everything.

This guy right here, he has tried for a week to patch numerous holes in our air mattress. We have guests coming for about a week or so. They will be getting a new one for their use. We didn't want to have to do that.
Jimmy played his guitar for a bit as we all winded down for the evening. We had some good conversation and I got a few things off my chest. That was rather nice.

I snapped this photo of Maggie playing Words With Friends against me. She loves words...

Hope you have a great Tuesday.

Momma and her tribe

Monday, January 16, 2012

Visiting the Doctor and Tacos

I took Joaquin to his regular normal doctor today AKA Dr. Jennifer Keith. He had to get his blood pressure checked. It goes up and down a lot, so far no meds. Thank God for that miracle. He has lost one pound and grew about and inch. Go Joaquin!
She is trying to get him into his neurology appointment sooner because of his facial tic. Hopefully that pans out, April is a long ways away for this sort of thing.
While we were there he decided we should take some photos. Something we had a hard time doing with him for most of his toddler years. I think I like the lighting in the room, my skin looks amazing without any editing.

Joaquin kept talking about how much he loves tacos...tacos...TACOS!! I need to find a gluten free corn tortilla recipe. He even had the doctor smiling, perhaps she will have tacos for dinner.


Momma and Joaquin

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Dex Parade

Merriam-Webster defines adolescence first as " the state or process of growing up". The oldest boy is in that stage...adolescence. He is 12 going on thirty-five. Well, not really but, he is at the "Life sucks" stage a little too early for me. I do know with all that has been happening, and has's pretty normal. However, I want him (all the kids really) to know life is what you make it. Just like me, he tends to throw pity parties from time to time. In my old age I have learned to not do that so much.
A couple Christmas' ago Dexter bought me a book called It's Not Easy Being Green: And Other Things To Consider. I picked it up this morning just to skim through and found a quote. I had Dexter read it out loud a couple times. He smiled and went on with his morning a bit more cheerful. Jim Henson and the Muppets do that to me as well. Here is the quote.

"Usually adolescence is a time when kids feel that the world is doing it to them, whether it's their parents doing it to them or their teachers doing it or their other friends doing it to them, and that they are the victim of all of this. Somewhere in here, you have to learn you are not this victim, but instead you are the one doing it. That moment is sometimes a long slow realization or sometimes it's turning on a light switch. All of the sudden you realize you are the person who has control of your life.

This is what I want my kids to know, in the end it's up to you. Make yourself happy and live joyfully with a purpose. Everything else, is water down the drain.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Why We Chose Unschooling

I was asked this today and really wish I had the whole clip of our interview with Lisa Ling. It boils down to one person...Joaquin. Joaquin is our now nine year old son. He was born on a hot August day in 2002. I was so ready to have this little boy, two weeks earlier they stopped my labor with him.
Joaquin was so different from his older brother when he was born. He was the polar opposite from him. I knew in my heart, he would forever be so different.
Joaquin had been diagnosed with Autism, Epilepsy, Sensory Integration Disorder, and some digestive issues. He is also, heat sensitive. But, if you look at him you'll just see a sweet boy, thank you goodness you can't see the meltdowns.

When Joaquin became school age, we were homeschooling Dexter through a charter school. Joaquin had a hard time with the reading curriculum as he had mastered one the summer before. We had a very strict daily schedule for the kids, as we were told this was best for Joaquin. We adhered to it as if life itself could not exist outside of it.
There were times when we had to break from this schedule, appointments, field trips or mom wanting a park day. The melt downs were horrible and he was uncooperative. Something had to give. It was heartbreaking to think, he would never learn that sometimes you have to break from the schedule, and life would be okay. Thoughts of, how would he be as an adult or even a teenager when life was even more out of his control, for work and play. We had to break from the schedule completely.
We had a pocket schedule on the wall, times and subjects on it. We took it down and put it up. He kept bringing it out, we left the charter and ventured out on our own. It was a bit scary, the unknown...but, nothing is ever certain. We had him throw the schedule into the dumpster and move on to a new life, where he could learn what he wanted (really all of them) and no day was the same....and that everything would be okay.

Today, this is Joaquin...happy, healthy and full of life. A lot less meltdowns and able to go at a whim (most of the time). He plays, he laughs and he is still very shy around new people. I won't lie and say he warms up to everyone he meets but, he is open to meeting new people. He loves animals and wants a bird.

He is why we chose unschooling...and he is why, it's be so so wonderful.

Momma and Joaquin

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday van came home...

Momma and her tribe

Thursday, January 12, 2012

An Open Letter to Dexter (and Daddy)

Dear Dexter (and Daddy),

First, I want to say how much I love you both. Granted the love of a child and the love of a lover is different, they are both very strong.
When Dexter was born, he was lucky enough that at that time Daddy was sober. He was in what seemed a clear head. I remember when he held you, his first son, his second child in his arms. His eyes glistened and relief was on his face. He vowed to show you a life of love, laughter and everything he thought he was missing. Everything, we thought we were missing growing up.
When we had you, we thought we'd just have you and Stephanie. Doctors had told me when I lost "baby Gavin" that, I could not have kids and so you were that miracle. We watched over you like a hawk or we became "helicopter parents". We were that precious stone I never wanted and all I wanted at the same time. It's no secret up until I was told I could not have kids, I had no desire for them.
We had a song for you when you were a baby....

As they years went on, you wanted to be more like daddy. We had more kids and Daddy spent more time one on one with you. I always had Joaquin and Maggie was a baby. When Daddy started to dress like a cowboy, you did, too. It was the cutest thing ever, despite my dismay for hate with overly curvy bills that reminded me of a baby bonnet.

dex daddy

We did a lot of family things in your early days. As daddy began working more you fought harder to be like him. You listened to the music he liked, read the books he recommended and was happy when he came home. For awhile, it would be days you would not see him. His job at the time had him gone from before sunrise and home well after sunset.


I remember during times of sobriety we'd get into things fast and hard. One of the things was Star Wars costuming. I honestly wish we had not given it up. Those costumes were a common thread that held us together.
You started noticing more, just how much your daddy was drinking. You saw him passing out and vomiting. I tried for years to be strong. I tried not crying over it
and put my focus on you and your siblings. But, it scared me how much you wanted to be like him. Even pretending your rootbeer was beer...and your dad getting mad about it. Wondering why on earth you'd do such a thing.

It's because, you were watching him. You were idealizing a man you thought you wanted to be. A man, you later grew to despise. A man, you would scream and yell at when he'd get a drunk. A man whose beer you'd dump out when he passed out. A man who made your momma cry. A man you already had to babysit if I went somewhere. A man who broke promises. A man who lied. A man despite it all I know you still love.


But, you can't think of the bad things. Yes, you remember them and perhaps on day those memories will fade. But, that person you saw was not your dad in control. That was a man whose disease had taken over. A man whose choice became a need greater than anything else in life. He was "James" not Jimmy during that time. You need to forgive and look ahead at what's to come. He never stopped loving you, he just could not convey it. He brain was taken over and his body and heart suffered greatly.
Who you see now, is that dad you had when we went to Comi-Con. Remember that guy? The guy who laughed and dressed silly? The one who gave you your first guitar and showed you your first chords? The guy who took you to see Buzz Lightyear in person? That's your dad. Remember that, hold on to that and look at him in the eyes and see.