Our Recovery Continues…

Our recovery, 7 years next month, continues.  “We” are recovering from our daughter’s eating disorder.  I say “we” and “our” because, as anyone who has ever supported a loved one through the hell that is an eating disorder knows, it is not a solo act.  We suffered, we worried, we were beat up, beat down and financially overloaded.  We were treated, therapied, observed and minimalized…..

For the first 4 years, maybe a little more than that, every time I looked at this young woman who is my “child” I saw ED,  I scrutinized her eating habits, watched if she was drinking, wandered into the living room if she was in the bathroom….just listening…..I can not imagine how stressful that must have been for her, because as stealth as I thought as I was, I am sure there were red lights blinking all around me that said ” Im watching!”  She backslid a few times, as addicts are apt to do.  Alcohol became her refuge = and it almost took her down.  One last relapse, ugly and raw and painful finally seemed to click the button in her head that said “Stop this shit” .  

For the past three years it has been easier for me, and I think for her, to accept and celebrate the fact that she is not mentally ill.  She is not lurking in the hall with a disorder that will raise its head any minute and cause her to stuff her fingers down her throat.  She is healthy, happy, married and the mother of two wonderful children.  Last weekend, at her niece’s birthday party she climbed the monster maze with the kids, laughing and helping and exposing herself to the room as an athletic, strong woman.  My heart smiled.  It is so good to have her back.  Most of the time, when I say “have you eaten?”  its because it is meal time and I have food…not because I am worried that she is restricting, or binging.  And most of the time she responds “yes” or “no” and moves forward.  No more dirty looks, angry responses or denials.  It is so good to have her back.  Eating Disorders are getting a lot of attention currently.  It is “Eating Disorder Awareness Week” as I write this.  There is a lot of research on the “why” of eating disorders… is it social media, is it genetic, is it an emotional illness or a physiological problem?  I don’t know.  In our case there were signs that she had trouble dealing with stress, there was trauma in college and a roommate that was bulimic.  There was an abusive boyfriend and an overbearing mother…..

But now, there is health.  She was treated at a wonderful center, and came home to us on the road to recovery.  She chose to live, to thrive. I don’t know where that strength came from but I thank God every day that she tapped into it.  I am so glad she is here.

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Addiction sucks

Damn it.  Addiction sucks.  Bites.  Blows.  Lingers and harms. 

That little rant was preceded by a visit today to one of my former students — in the hospital watching her newborn withdrawal from methadone.  Easy to type that sentence, so very hard to absorb.  This is a wonderful young lady.  Hit hard, hit young by life’s unfairness, understandably  unable to cope, adored by family, worshipped by teenage boys, stunningly beautiful, compassionate and loyal. Very adept at lying. She turned, I think during her senior year of high school — to the dark side.  Aided by moms breast cancer, the illness of a favored grandparent, a less than stable dad…the perfect storm of excuses to need a drink, a cigarette, heroin.  Jesus.  Heroin. 

the next several years she faded in and out of my Facebook stream.  Whenever I saw one of my graduates I asked if any of them had seen her.  Some years the answer was yes, sometimes a quiet “no”.  And then she hit bottom.  Hard, I hear.  Courts and probation, treatment and halfway houses…And then health.  9 months clean, living with a group of young women….smiling and thriving. 

And then, pregnant.  then alone.  then relapsed.  Treatment, again.

So today she is clean.  Almost 3 months.  And her baby is beautiful , but so small. and in withdrawal.

Addiction sucks.

 

coffee on the coleman stove

I’m reading a book titled “Chasing Alaska”.  I enjoy historical books, and books about far away places, so this one fit the bill on both points.  Today I read a passage where the author woke in the morning to a cold boat.  Everything was a little damp, and there was ice on the inside of the windows.  He climbed out of bed, lit the stove and put on a pot of coffee.

I was instantly transported back in time, 1972 probably.  Mom and dad and I were camping in our “pop-up” camper.  It was March, or April, or maybe even October, but we were on Ocracoke, and it was a cold damp morning.  Sitting here now I can smell the coffee, the odor of the Coleman fuel.  I can see my dad standing over the percolator pot and my mom wiping out the thermo insulated mugs, inlaid with a woven yellow and green pattern.  I can feel the damp canvas of the tent and see the little chips of ice on the inside of the plastic windows.  Mom and dad both had cigarettes dangling from their lips, and as much as I detest smoking,  I never gave it a second thought when it was them. Mom’s wearing a striped cotton robe over her sweatsuit and dad has on a shirt emblazoned with “Buddy Clough” across the chest pocket.  Later that day we would venture over the dune and mom would catch the biggest drum I’d ever seen, reeling it in through the surf, laughing with her bandana wrapped around her head, still wearing the robe. 

And we would make another pot of coffee.  That smell of coffee in the camper, that wet heat of the coleman stove, man, they are such strong memories.  So many problems were solved, voids were filled and plans were made, sitting across from each other at a formica table with thermo cups and a hot cup of coffee, from the coleman stove.  What I wouldn’t give for just one more conversation with the two of them, on our island, in our camper.

I am not having a good winter…

Never did like winter, but this one has been particularly draining….Today’s little moment of doom came when my boss told me there is no funding, NO FUNDING, for a project I have been working on since April.  Yes, April.  Talk about a deflated balloon….I retired from teaching last year and have been working in a variety of capacities for this non profit since then, still have some work committed, but this project was sort of “my” baby.  He alluded to the hope that the board will fully commit to the project at our next meeting, end of February, but Im thinking its time to look for a job.  Bummer.

Grammies conundrum

ImageYesterday I woke up with a bug.  Stomach churning bug.  (It may have been the three homemade pulled pork and cole slaw sandwiches I consumed during the superbowl, but whatever.)  I prepped for the arrival of young grandson Ryder, who I babysit on Mondays and Fridays — put the play mat out, the diapers…you know.  Then the phone rang.  Older grandson Jax was sick.  Jax has respiratory issues that flare in the winter, and he was just one week back in preschool after being home for 3 months with mom and new baby Ryder.  Had to go either to the doctor or ER….might need to borrow my 4wheel drive pathfinder since it was snowing AGAIN.  Two hours later Jax playing on a mat on the floor, Ryder cooing in his playchair, and me with coffee in hand, I smirked a little — Ive still got it. 

Then all hell broke loose.  Ryder crying, Jax refusing  to nap.  Woodstove ignored since I couldn’t figure out a way to get the wood and make sure Jax didn’t try to HELP.  Jax got mad at me for yelling — yes grammie lost it a bit and yelled “I am not happy with you right now” as he threw the trucks across the room.  My stomach hurt and I developed this annoying pain in the back of my head…Jesus, Im too old for this.  thirsty jax asked for a drink box.   Which he proceeded to squeeze all over himself….

 

So, when they all got picked up at 7 last night I put a heating pad on my neck and took a deep breath.  I have to work this afternoon which precludes my watching them today.  Daddy has to take up the slack ( which he is SO excited about…).  But then, I look at the play mat, the neatly lined up monster trucks and I miss my boys.  Can’t win for losin.

rambling

Before I start taking the medicine that should even out my moods I thought I should document that mess that is my head right now.  I go from triumphantly knitting a sock to crying at Remember the Titans.  I long for quiet, then fret when there are no grandbabies here.  There is a storm forecast for tomorrow and I am all tied in a knot worrying about my grandchildren, will the center be cold when Ava arrives, will Jax and Ryder be alright in Vals car, will Val be ok.  Will Drew leave early, intent on helping the world, and leaving my daughter and his children to fend for themselves…will Joe try the hill in the sebring?  Will Taresa be warm  enough in the house and will Gregg stay home, work on the computer and leave her to cope with 2 severely housebound toddlers.

Will I get enough hours in this week?  should I have retired or stuck out the hell that was my job? Does my new job need me or am I nearing termination.  Should I stay married?  Hell, what a mess it would be to divorce at this point.   Why aren’t I in the sewing room quilting?  I love to quilt, why am I avoiding  the sewing room?

Seriously, 3 minutes of rambling thoughts.  Im a mess.