Monday, June 29, 2009

Death and Recovery

My mind is swirling with ideas of death lately.  My dearly beloved grandfather, champion of my childhood, kindest person I've ever known, who performed my christening and my wedding ceremony, has been ill for several weeks now.  He has been in and out of the hospital, and every time something seems to improve, something else starts to fall apart.  He is currently being kept sedated and having a little difficulty breathing as he fights off yet another infection.  The majority of my family is on vacation, and D and I are supposed to meet them on Saturday--which leaves me in town to drive my grandmother around and sit with her at the hospital during the day.  It is painful to watch as they both struggle--he with getting well, she with the possibilities of what may happen.  It is painful to think of the idea that he will probably not come home as doctors discuss the idea of placing him on a ventilator, and it is hard to balance keeping my family up to date vs. keeping their vacation as worry-free as possible.  

I came home from the hospital this afternoon grateful for the chance to recharge, but even more so for the fact that things I have learned in my recovery are guiding me through this experience.  Before, I would probably have been panicking by now, but today I am simply focused on the fact that what will happen, will happen, and I must accept that I cannot change that.  Part of me wants to skip through this nasty stage and either hurry to a point where he is better or to the point that his death is past and we can move on from this waiting game--but through recovery, I know that all I can do is be here, where I am, and all I can do is all I can do both for myself and my family.  

I am--we are--taking things one day at a time.  And that fact is as great a gift of recovery as any. 

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A moment of gratitude

As a follow-up, our anniversary was lovely.  We exchanged gifts, played a board game (which I gave to D--he loves board games), and went out to a lovely dinner.  We drove around shopping (fantasizing) for expensive cars we can't afford and talking a lot about where we are and where we've come and where we're going--perhaps to a future where I can drive a BMW, perhaps not, but certainly to a future I look forward to.  Sometimes I am so amazed by this gift we have found in remaking ourselves and our relationship that I can't fully grasp it.  

Sometimes it is easy to look past all the little things, the tiny everyday experiences that are so utterly changed since we both started recovery.  This past week, since those lovely anniversary conversations, I have noticed more and I am practically brimming over with gratitude.  It really is just the tiniest, silliest things that make the biggest differences and are the lasting mark of health in our lives--things like the fact that D is on time to work every day.  In active addiction, he was late everywhere he went, usually because he could not physically pry himself away from his computer without great effort.  Now we are on time--even early--almost everywhere we go.  Things like the fact that I was able to communicate my needs about household chores, and D agreed, and I am committed to working on loosening my expectations about other people's timelines in exchange for a little mental health and relaxation for myself.  On Monday, D came home from work and with no complaint we went outside together and did yard work.  The grass is still tall and un-mowed because my dad wanted to take us out to dinner, but it will get done and I am ok with its imperfection for the moment.   Things like the fact that I haven't checked the phone records in months and have no urge to do so.  

Life is not perfect.  I still have my moments (lots of them) of codie craziness, and I still battle with my incessant need for control and perfection, but those feelings seem to have taken a backseat position instead of hogging the wheel all the time.  At the very least, when they pop up I am (mostly) able to talk myself back out of them long enough to tell someone, and I have a best friend in D who understands and can often help me see reason.  It is moments like these when--though I cannot say I am happy about going through this pain of addiction--I am so, so thankful for everything we have gone through that has brought me to this point.  

Saturday, June 20, 2009


We are celebrating our first wedding anniversary today.  It's not actually our anniversary--that's later in the week--but since we are both off work today we are taking the time to go out to a nice dinner tonight and be together all day.  

It's been a good year. Last September I wasn't sure if we would make it.  Today I could not be happier about the results of almost 9 months of recovery and the people we are both becoming.  It hasn't been easy--in fact, at times it has been maddening--but I look at where we are today and I am grateful for everything that has happened, for the relationship we are building that is finally the one I thought we would have from the beginning.  I am grateful for my higher power who has helped me become the person I envisioned myself to be.  

Happy anniversary to us. 

Saturday, June 13, 2009


It's a lazy Saturday morning, D is at work, and I am sitting around in bed thinking about various things.  First on the list:  gifts.  Next weekend marks our first wedding anniversary, and the day after will be 9 months of sobriety for D.  This past year has been one of the craziest of our lives, but also one of the best, because it has brought us so much closer and happier and saner since we started our roads of recovery back in September.  I want to get him something more than just a book or a game like I would for a typical birthday or Christmas. Additionally, not two weeks later is D's birthday, and buying gifts in succession like that has never been my forte.  I'm currently trying to conspire with my family and his family for all of us to chip in on a larger present that I know he'll enjoy--a new game system.  He loves video games and has especially gotten into them since he no longer uses a home computer for entertainment.  We'll see how that one works out.  

Other thoughts:  I am currently working on improving my communication skills, including being a better listener, but also (and more importantly for my own recovery) being less afraid to voice my wants and needs--even if they might make someone else upset.  One of the most pressing issues where this particular point has become a problem lately is the area of household chores.  I do them.  Honestly, I do most things around the house--grocery shop, cook, clean, vacuum, pick things up, laundry, mow the lawn, do the yardwork.  I do them, mainly because if I don't they simply don't get done in a timely fashion.  It isn't entirely D's fault--when you work 60-80 hours a week like he has been lately, there just isn't much time when you get home at 8:00 at night to do things like this.  What has become more and more annoying, however, is the fact that when D does have free time--on the weekend or when he has a day off--he wants that time to be free time for him to do what he wants.  On the whole, I don't have a problem with that idea, since he works much more than I do and therefore has much less time to himself, but I am becoming frustrated by the fact that when I have time off, I do the work, even if I don't feel like it at the moment.  I do it because the lawn cannot go another day without being mowed due to impending rain, or because there is no more clean underwear available without my doing the laundry, or because my anal-retentive self just cannot stomach the dog fur on the floor for one more second.  D always tells me he will help and do things, that I should sit down and rest and he will get to it later--but later just doesn't happen as fast as I want it to, and so I end up doing everything anyway.  

Seeing this pattern, I realize that part of the problem is my own expectations--I define when his "later" should be, and when his definition doesn't meet my expectations, I give up on the idea and my codie self just takes charge.  On the other hand, he is also (for the most part) unaware of my needs in this area because I have not been good about communicating them.  And so that is my goal for today--to communicate the fact that I need him to help out a little more so that I am not stuck doing everything, and to accept that just because he may not do everything to my standards does not mean he cannot do it all just fine.  

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Good Day

You know it's a good day when you find a pair of shoes you've been eyeing forever for 1/5 of their normal price at a discount store.  

For those who may not know (read: everyone), I am obsessed with the quest for the perfect shoes.  I'm on my feet a lot, have horrible joints, and generally resign myself to the idea of wearing tennis shoes with dress pants if I'm ever going to live to the age of 50 without a hip replacement.  Enter Cole Haan, which has teamed up with Nike to make some heels.  Like the bastard child of comfort and beauty, they are a fabulous pair of shoes that look like your typical high heel, but feel like a running shoe when you put them on.  Seriously, this was a pair of shoes I was planning on splurging on when I got my first "real-life" paycheck after I graduate from grad school and have a real job--and rather than paying the upwards of almost $300 they're charging at the department store, I paid $50.  I think I'll wear them around for the rest of forever.  

Friday, June 5, 2009

In which I catch up on the past weeks

Wow, I haven't written since when??  Oops.  Things got uber-busy the past few weeks. 

The drug test situation ended up working out fine, as I knew in my heart of hearts it would--D got hold of the office, spoke with the appropriate people, and got it rescheduled for a day when he is normally able to leave work early with no problems.  I took away from this situation a deeper realization of my need to trust my HP and leave D's stuff for D to worry about.  Which is nice, because when I have such realizations, I usually do a lot better not only in those scenarios, but in others as well.  Right now I'm focusing more on communication (my biggest weakness) and spirituality--making meditation time more of a priority.  Recovery is going well, and a beautiful thing.  I think one of the greatest gifts I have taken from my recovery thus far is the fact that there are still very rough times (see previous posts)--but they seem to pass so much more quickly now, rather than being a source of obsessive worry for so long.  It's easier now to remind myself that the hard times will pass just as the good ones do.  

The reason for the lack of posting has been that my littlest sibling graduated from high school a week (or so) ago, and I was called in to help support the family in all of the craziness that accompanied the final week--including, but not limited to: awards day, awards night, other sibling's other graduation from tech school, littlest sibling's birthday, graduation, and graduation party.  Then, the day after all that finally wrapped up, I started my internship and have been busy with that all week this week.  Good news:  I love the job so far.  I was nervous at first, unsure of my exact responsibility and requirements, but now things are feeling very natural and I feel like I'm doing a good job.  I'm learning a lot, and I enjoy my days (which fly by!)--it's nice to experience the feeling of something being right, being something I was meant to do.  I feel empowered when I come home each day, and I can't wait to actually work in this field in another short while.  I'm also able to get up when D does, which gives me extra time to get ready, relax, eat breakfast, meditate, etc. before leaving, which makes me feel more balanced overall, and I get home at a decent hour with time to spend on my own and with D in the evening.  

Wishing you all a happy weekend and a positive start to the summer!