Stress Management

ImageI have gone back to counseling. Recently, I realized I was sinking into a hole of depression and I wanted to head it off before I was buried in it. The counselor gave me one of those stress-scales. If you’ve ever been in therapy or studied psychology you will be familiar with this (curious? click here http://www.actsweb.org/stress_test.php).  You check off the events you’ve experienced in the past year and then score your stress. I believe 300+ meant high stress and I scored close to 400. I think I would have scored that high for the past three years running. 

Reasons for my stress from the past two months alone:

  • Surgery: I slipped on my garage floor and broke my knee-cap in half, had surgery, have no insurance, don’t get paid time off from work, and can’t drive myself to work due to my inability to bend my knee to get in the car. I’m almost healed from that, but you get the idea: in the house and fairly immobile for six weeks.
  • I’m a GRANDMA!  The same day I broke my knee, my first grand-baby was born. It’s a GIRL! She’s healthy and beautiful. But you know what? Significant life changes produce stress whether you experience them as positive or negative. Also, due to my injury, I have not been able to travel to see her yet. So a little stress has accompanied this blessing.
  • My own grandmother passed away. Yes, within a month of my becoming a grandma, my own grandmother – my last surviving grandparent who was/is one of my heroes, joined the heavenly choir. I’m happy for her. She lived a good, long life and was ready to join her friends and family on the other side. Still, I grieve the loss. (And no, I was not able to travel to be with my family at her memorial service … see above).
  • My son re-entered rehab. This is Al, the new dad. Apparently, after his surgery some months ago, they gave him Vicodin for pain and despite his telling us otherwise, he just revealed that he’s never been off them since. He’s doing a two-week stint in rehab and heading back. He and his girlfriend are having troubles. They both love their baby, but they are both unsure about their future as a couple. And so it goes.

In the middle of all of this, and through these few counseling sessions, I have found life lessons:

  • Appreciate the little things (like taking a shower or being able to get into your car).
  • Reach out to the home-bound (I know it’s obvious, but I’ve never had a physical injury before and so I just didn’t fully understand how isolating that can be and what that isolation does to a person)
  • Always be willing to start again
  • Learn to ask for help even when you aren’t sure you need it – it blesses you and the other person as well.
  • Trust in the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul and strength – because when you are not able, God’s strong hand will lift you up for another day.

I’m learning stress management over and over and over again. And that’s okay. I woke up this morning – another chance to get it right. God bless you all.

Missing Someone

ImageLast week I was feeling so happy and filled with gratitude that my boys had birthdays and are doing well. How is it that a week later, I’m feeling despondent?  I’m filled with grief. Stress. Worry.  I don’t expect it to last. But at this moment, as I’m writing, I’m deep in it.  I miss my boys so much. In a way, I still feel like I’ve lost them.

They are at the age when it’s right for young men to move on from their parents and make their own lives. That’s not quite how it happened though, is it?  They didn’t graduate high school and go to college and get a job out of town. I want to go back two years and erase it all and re-write the script and replay it the way it was supposed to be.

I feel selfish even writing this. There are parents out there who’s children are on the street or in hospitals or  who have died. My boys are in recovery and they send me birthday cards, give me a call now and then.

I miss them. I miss them so much. And I miss being able to hug my daughter who is right here in this house with me but stopped letting me hug her after the whole addiction mess played out. So the boys are now 20 and 22, and my daughter went to prom last night and will graduate high school in a couple of months and won’t let me hug her. And here I am.

I guess I can be sad and grieving and grateful and blessed all at the same time. That’s it then. That’s what I am right now – all of those things. Figuring out how to be “One Mom Talking” all on my own.  But, oh yes, you all are here. Thanks for that. Thanks for listening. God bless you.

The Happiest Birthdays!

Both of my boys have birthdays this month.  One turned 20 last week and the other turned 22 today.  I’m not close enough, geographically, to hug them.  But I cannot be more grateful to God than I am right here and now, being able to call them and wish them the happiest of birthdays.  Either God is real, or I am the luckiest person alive – having two sons with opiate addictions both in active recovery.  Amazing.  I choose God.

Haven’t Got Time for the Pain

So I’m driving home from NYC the other day, listening to a CD of 70s songs that my sister put together for me — so I’d have plenty of singing time on the 12 hour drive back to South Carolina.  This song came on.  I’ve always been a Carly Simon fan, and I started to sing along.  Then … wait a minute.  I started it over and really listened to the words.  I had never realized that this is a song about coming to know God.  This is a song about recovery and meditation and the peace that passes all understanding. I never heard it that way before – always thought it was about a person. 

So here you go, everyone.  A message for all of us.  Let’s open up to our Higher Power and choose healing.  I hope you have a blessed day.  Although I’m not here very often, I continue to keep you in my prayers.  God bless.

Permission

On facebook, I “Like” a page called “Positively Positive.”  I love the encouragement and plain ol’ good attitude this lady spreads to others. I particularly loved this blog entry called “Your Permission to Slip from the Universe.”  I am sure you will appreciate this, especially if you’re feeling like you need a little something *just for you*.  Click here: http://www.positivelypositive.com/2012/03/19/permission/

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by onemomtalking: I took this photo recently at Brookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet, SC.

 

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Every Breath

Every Breath

I saw this on someone’s facebook page today and it resonated deeply, so I thought I’d share it here.

Prayers to you all, always.

A Mother’s Prayer

Here is a prayer I said every morning and every night for months. It really helped me remember my connection to God while I was struggling to find some peace and recovery:

God, I give thanks to you forever (psalms 31:12)
You cover me with your feathers;
    Shelter me beneath your wings. (Psalms 91:4)
Your promises are my armor and protection (Psalms 91:5).
You are my strength and my song —
     You give me victory! (Isaiah 12:2)

Christ makes His home in my hearts as I trust you
My roots grow deep in your love,
     You keep me strong. (Ephesians 3:17)
Christ lives in me, and you assure me that I share
     in His Glory (Colossians 2:27b).

I pray that you continually grow me
     to use my freedom to serve others
     in love. (Galatians 5:13).
I pray and thank you that I share in your abundance
     as you send one blessing after another (John 1:16)

Thanks to Jesus for revealing God to us (John 1:18).

God, I lift up my children to you.
Love them.
Protect them every day,
And draw them closer and closer to you.

I pray for the resources to provide a home for my family.
And above all, that your will be done.

Send your Holy Spirit to all who long to know you
     and to all who suffer.
Renew our spirits, God.

Amen.

The Mourning Shall Rejoice

So my last post was a mournful one. Self-pity. Whaddya gonna do?

This post is rejoiceful!  My son, Dan, now 21 years old, completed his 1.5 year program in Recovery Court!  Yesterday they had a court hearing for all the Recovery Court people. And when it was Dan’s turn, lo and behold, he was greeted by: his current judge, his original judge, his parole officer, his counselor, his NarAnon sponsor, the people who worked in the jail when he was there, even the prosecuting attorney.  Even the judge’s clerk … and it was her day off.  They all came to congratulate Dan on a job well done and to give testimony, on the record, of what an inspiration it has been to watch him grow and heal.

I wish I could have been there. But his dad was there, which is good. I’m tearing up just writing it.

In this case, for my boy, “The System” worked.  The system I often railed against came through, partly because the program is a good one – a real example of the “it takes a village” philosophy.  So I hope that program continues to be supported.  But the program only works because of the people who run it.  They did their jobs with heart, and they — plus the hand of God — saved my son’s life.  And he has touched theirs as well.

I’ll write an official letter to someone there to express this, but I want to say it here: Thanks to all public officials who are in their positions for the right reasons, doing the best they can for everyday citizens.  Whatever I end up owing the IRS…it’s nothing compared to the gratitude I owe to all the people who walked beside my son at a time when I had to walk away.

God bless us all.

Venting

Hi Friends. Mind if I vent?

I did a first run-through of my taxes this morning and it looks like I’m going to owe money. Owe money?? Oh yeah…I didn’t plunge head-first into poverty for the right reasons.  Let’s see, first, I got divorced. Then, I worked part-time jobs so I could be home as much as possible for my kids. Of course, I did overuse credit at that time so their lives wouldn’t change too much. Then I took money from my retirement account to pay the credit….

OHHHH…then my boys became heroin addicts. Rehab. Stolen goods. Stolen money. Oh yes…then moving cross-country to help my daughter – I took a loan from my remaining retirement funds for that. Couldn’t find a job. Tried real estate. Bad timing. Took a low-paying part-time job. Still couldn’t pay the laon on the retirement account so … I defaulted, making all that money = to an early distribution = taxes and penalty taxes because … I’m not 55 yet, I didn’t take it to make mortgage payments (oh yeah, the house I didn’t buy because I knew I couldn’t afford it), I’m not a displaced *this* or unemployed *that*. 

The result is, I have $400 total in my bank right now, and I just might end up owing the IRS $1500, and the state of South Carolina another $350.  Great. I make $950 a month.  Awesome.

I’m going for a long walk by the beach to pray about this, but right now, I’m feeling the vibe of the Volcano!

p.s. Thanks, just needed to vent. I know that this too shall pass and someday this will be history. But I’m not feeling the love at the moment.

A Community Affair

I believe in the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you. Love they neighbor. Be Jesus to the world. But can I help everyone who asks? Can anyone? The situation in my old neighborhood challenges me – and moreso my ex – to ponder this.

When my boys used heroin, it wasn’t just them. Almost their whole group of friends (not the girls as far as I know, but the guys) became addicts. I can easily name eight of them … maybe ten. And it probably reaches further than that. We’re talking about a middle- to upper-income suburban community; the place where people move to get away from this stuff.  But I digress.

Recently, my ex came home from work to hear a phone message from the mother of one of my son’s childhood friends.  This young man is now in the court system for charges stemming from his drug use. The mom has seen how well my son, Dan, is doing, and she asked my ex if he would be willing to meet with her to talk about it all.

Here’s the thing: This young man has been trouble with a capital “T” ever since we first met him (which was when the boys started kindergarten). He was in the court system before they were out of middle school … before any of these kids were using drugs of any kind. And the family has always had a reason why the things he did were not his fault.  There is a deep root of co-dependency there beyond what either me or my ex feel able to step into.

So my heart aches for these people, but I’m going to be honest: I pray for this young man and his whole family but if I did not ever see them again, and if my boys did not ever know this young man in their lives again, I would be fine with that. I feel heartless! I’m not heartless … I’m just a little bit afraid. I’ve been lied to by this boy way too many times – before heroin and after. And they’d all have to show me that they are honestly and wholeheartedly working a serious recovery before I could reach out in any way. My ex feels the same. And yet we struggle with the decision to stay detached from them because we know how important it’s been for us to have people give Dan a chance, you know?  I guess it’s all in God’s hands.

Heroin.  Addiction.  Lord knows it’s a communty affair.