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Out there on the ice

Out there on the ice

The times you went for a drive because she was there.
All the times you showed up three hrs late, you were looking for her. Oh, it all makes sense now. It was her. The seductress you were in love with, the one you met way before me.
The one that you just can’t shake. The one who has her hooks in you.
The one who has legs for days, they say.
The ones wrapped tightly around you.
So tight, do you even know how much?
My love, she’s no good for you.

The Alcohol Experiment by Anne Grace

The Alcohol Experiment by Anne Grace

The 30-day Alcohol-free experiment is where I started in September 2020. Covid so all the AA meetings were online, plus I wasn’t really sure that was what I wanted to do. For the rest of my life I mean – never drink again? That sounded pretty far-fetched to me at the time, but I am actually ok with that now. I am really happy to have made it 105 days without a drink.
I got A LOT out of this experiment and the online support groups. There is a daily reading or video and a daily journal to complete, I just looked back at mine. It was pretty cool to see I have made some progress.
This book was really useful because it helped me recognize what was triggering the constant “fall off the wagon” or relapse.
I didn’t stop drinking after I finished this book and the 30-day experiment. I think I made it to 36 days or something like that. It’s best for me to “practice being sober”. The third time’s a charm, right? January 1, 2021, is my date.
Reading about different people’s experiences of trying to cut down or quit, was quite inspirational. It offers a lot of virtual support. I joined the social media groups and it was really great to talk to other people in the same situation in real-time.

Triangle, Triangle…Triangle!!

Triangle, Triangle…Triangle!!

I have been falling in and out of codependency my whole life. In and out of toxic relationships. All kinds of relationships, friends. lovers, family…in and out like waves. This is the first time I’ve really looked at it…not true, I’ve researched it before, and tried to work on it. But I actually really feel it this time. The more I read about it the more I learn about it, the more I recognize it.

Guess what? Classic behavior pattern for the child of an alcoholic.

People who knew my mom would say she was a creative, beautiful woman who was quick-witted and talented. Sing, dance, play the piano, act, sew, knit, cook, and do them all very, very well. People who really knew my mom would know that she was all these things plus, she was a troubled, sad, person, who couldn’t communicate and was a mean drunk. In all my therapy and reading, that is probably the worst, and most derogatory term to use, but it’s true.

She could be really difficult. I could walk into her house at any given time of the day, see her from the side and know, just know she was wasted. I would immediately go into caretaker mode, or rescuer role depending on what was going on, and then go into the suitable next step in the codependency drama triangle. She could hold her booze though, she never passed out on the couch, never vomited nor did she ever say or appear she was hungover, ever. Although I know from experience, the best cure for being hungover is just to not stop drinking. I could always hold my booze too, the first one to start and the last one to end. Apart from a few booze-fuelled fights with my most ex, I don’t really remember being mean to my friends or family. People liked to party with me, they always invited me on benders. I do have very specific times that I regret, some nights on the town. And some very fun ones that I don’t. Ever been to a party where people are not heavy drinkers? (regretful but fun). Or to one you’re not invited to but decided to crash it anyway in your dead mother’s fur coat? (Blackout regretful, not so fun)
I imagine my mom’s social life was like that, fun until it wasn’t and she’s calling me wasted saying she’s going to jump off a balcony. Not even kidding, the top floor too. The anxiety and depression that goes hand and hand with alcoholism is insane.

The one thing we codependents need to learn and to do is detach. Like mentally detach. It’s letting go of all the chaos. The chaos that goes along with living in a codependent state. You try to control everything, and in turn control, nothing, not even your own life…let that sink in, you get so caught up with what’s happening or “caretaking” (trying to control) your relationships that you ignore your own life.

Gross…. but that feels familiar doesn’t it? Here, let me relive taking care of my emotionally unavailable mother….forever, for every alcoholic and addict that I know in my life, (I live in BC…I know a few). Because it means I’m worthy.
Fucking upward reflection lizard brain. Brutal.

That is a really simplified version of my codependency, I have read a lot of academic papers and self-help books on this. The thing is, in codependency behavior caretaking is looked at as a problem. A negative thing, always ending in a victim role. Caretaking to the point where it turns the corner on the drama triangle into the victim role because “they didn’t listen to you” or do what you said, and don’t they realize how perfect their life would be if they just did what you said?! Then turn into the victim… oh poor me.

There isn’t a lot of information on the goodness of caretaking, or the compassion that goes along with it. I have helped a lot of people, who asked for it and wanted it. I feel good about it and they are happy about it. I actually love looking after people and caring for people. I guess the key is offering it for good, not evil. I am working on giving my relationships space to allow people to live their life or “truth” completely opposite of mine, while still having love and compassion for them.

Shutting off the chaos I am putting myself through. I mean, how many nights have I stressed and worried and thought about other people, and not my own thing. Work, relationships, kids, family, … honestly it is exhausting.

This apocalypse is probably not the perfect time to live out my life online, but I can’t help it.
I literally can’t stop. It’s hijacking my creative ability to do anything else! Stories are pouring out of me in big globs. Some are actually happy stories too. A few people like my writing and I like doing it. I am trying not to think about the people who may not agree with this, (and let’s face it I need to get back to actual life at some point). But for now, this is happening and helping me. And maybe getting some perspective might help other people too. A kinda social experiment on myself, that I didn’t really mean to start.

Karpman, S. (1968). Fairy tales and script drama analysis. Transactional Analysis Bulletin, 7(26), 39-43.

Poked the Bear

Poked the Bear

Well, I had a spectacular breakdown this week, it started with my new job, I thought I could handle it.. I thought it would be fairly easy and uncomplicated. It was …turns out I am not so easy and uncomplicated.

I have been working hard on my mental health, staying sober, exercising, meditating. But at the moment I feel like a crazy person. Let’s start with the panic attack I had at my new, now old job. After about three days of training, I mean really remedial training. I sat down to complete the corporate training online. It was pretty standard, lots of ethics preaching, be like us, Canadian Tire for a career and live a happy life. Middle-aged women, whose soul had slowly disappeared as their asses had slowly expanded. Lifers…lifers, That term seems extreme but the staff room felt like a prison cell, dark, dated ripped furniture, no joy, random people sitting eating their lunch with no conversation. No life, no joy, no ….nothing. I thought I can get through this, just eat outside, once the garden center opens I won’t have to train with Pete, the kind, older gentleman who was hired with me and could just not grasp the merchandise handheld computer. I was already helping him use the damn thing, It took me about two seconds to get it. I would be able to get outside, work with the plants and it would be ok.

My PTSD had other plans, you see PTSD is sneaky… it’s like that mean friend you have in high school, everything is great until she undermines you by stealing your boyfriend right from under your nose. And suddenly everybody hates you.
I think it’s under control but then I have these very dramatic explosions. Paranoid thoughts that I can’t control and that I actually believe …at the time. Racing thought, and physical pain in my body. That travels…one minute my elbow hurts, then it’s my hip, then my shoulder, and …and to top it off …a beautiful migraine, which will only be soothed with deep cold analgesic gel on my face…that shit is not meant for your face, But the stinging and smell is enough of a distraction along with a couple extra-strength Advil’s to make you forget about anything for an hour.

So I’m sitting down at the computer in the equally drab “conference” room at one of the two computers, following along with one of the other new hires. And it happens…I get a third of the way through, and I start to get this feeling of …no, nope…no…I couldn’t sit there for like one more second. The screen goes blurry, my heart starts racing in my chest. My ears start buzzing. The room is closing in. All I can think of is how to make my escape. Do I just bolt? Do I say something to someone? Which stairs will get me outta here the fastest without anyone noticing? I get my shit together for 2 secs. Got up from the computer, put my handheld computer on the conference table, and walked into the GM’s office. I told her it wasn’t for me. I gave some bullshit story and walked. I felt ok, I felt relieved, I thought whew…that’s over. I walked to the grocery store to pick up something for dinner and basically don’t remember that part. I know I came home with super random items because I was like a zombie.

Now I did not realize this at the time, at the time I thought it was just another spectacular fail, a walkout in true Louisa rebel fashion, It took me a week….a week to realize what had happened. I was thinking about it and guilting myself about it because I felt that I have been on EI long enough and it was time to join the land of the living. My mind had other ideas. You see I’ve been a bit of a hermit since I left Brentwood. I haven’t seen anyone except one other person, my daughters and Peter Pan. I’ve been walking, but by myself mostly, and the only other people I speak face to face with are the grocery store clerks and that’s it. In six months. That in itself isn’t so far-fetched with Covid restrictions going on. But it’s not great. And I have no desire either. I have been perfectly happy to sit in my house for days and do my own thing. I know I need to tell my Brentwood story but I’m not ready to process that yet. There are a lot of emotions involved and I’m not sure I can go there.
After crying and sulking for a week and getting some medical help, I feel a bit better. But not really. I’m afraid, I’m afraid that I won’t ever get better. I’m frustrated that I’ve been working really hard on inner peace and finding the self-awareness and strength to look inside myself. I feel stuck. And broken, unrepairable. I’m afraid that the people who love me will stop because I can be such a monster and say such horrible things when I’m having a crisis. I can’t think straight, my head spins and my mind races with unreasonable, paranoid thoughts and I believe them.
I’m so afraid.

Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast

Soooooo, … being house poor sucks

“Hey I know… let’s start a really specific business during covid, in a sector that is sucking and will continue to suck for a while!!” – High pitched upward reflection girl

I have been second guessing myself for awhile now. Probably like any Canadian, (or any person in the whole wide universe) knows, Covid is no fucking joke on our economy.

We need to rethink this thing. Not stop, just shift…Slow the fuck down and pay attention to the climate of the economy, and what is going on around me…you know in actual life? I have to consider what kind of life I’m creating for myself and my family. Peter Pan (the alias thats suits my bff) and I have talked about this a lot, and when he first brought it up, in my mind I thought crap, crap, crap… this feels familiar, and not in a good way. How many times have I done this? I have been here before. I decided I wanted to go back to school at the same time as opening a second salon. I worked at my salon, was a single supporting parent and went to school full time. I also took a job at Clinique to make it possible. Clinique was dead easy. Great products, set hours, and great commission on sales.

However….

“OMG…lets open a second salon AND go back to school full time!!” – High pitched upward reflection girl.

This is the part that feels familiar. all go, go, go, not a lot of think, think, think. I see a pattern, I just love taking the long way round… (eye roll)

How are we shifting the business? I’m working on that… we’ve decided to start by slowing down, and taking more time to source the ingredients I want. Not compromising. We want to keep it local, we want to contribute to our community in a useful way. It is after all, a labour of love, and brings me joy. Peter Pan is a very patient “product tester” and gives me lots of feedback. This tattooed gentleman is a gruff mans’s man, and doesn’t know much about spa products, that makes it really fun and also useful.

And fuck it, I am going to be myself.. write my blog and mess about about with the products.

Getting back to my deep hatred of being house poor, I am also feeling a little bit stir crazy in the house, so I applied for a job in my neighbourhood. I will now be working in a garden centre. I am actually pretty stoked. I am very interested in keeping my life uncomplicated. I’m happy with the way things are now. I get to look after my house, my family, my cats. I can walk there, walk home, I get to be outside and lift heavy stuff..two of my favourite things. I have spent so much time and energy rushing from one thing to the next, now that I’ve got my energy back and my spirit, I don’t want to mess with that.

I have worked hard to get to this spot. A place where I feel ok. I haven’t had a drink in three months, but as the weather gets warmer, I have thoughts about it a lot. I am trying to consciously stop and smell the roses even if they have thorns. I am mourning a little, mourning the loss of my addiction. Or the finding of it. The thought of starting a new job next week, and where I was at in my mind after my last job ended, is scaring me. My lizard brain … meaning that sneaky little fucking voice that weasels inside my head to say, “omg its not like you could never drink again” is persistent. Peter Pan says my addiction is doing push ups, just waiting to get up in there and take over.

I think lizard brain and upward reflection girl probably date, and it’s one of those train wrecks that you can’t look away from. A tele novella but without the romance. A lot of drama and someone always gets fucked, usually me.

I have caught myself getting ready to drink before, but not like this time. I think most recovering addicts know, when we fall off the wagon we actually plan our relapse. Start making plans to drink using any excuse. This wasn’t like that, this just snuck up on me. A few weeks ago I almost made myself a drink, I pulled out the vodka, glass, even had orange juice. I looked at it. It felt so natural, so right… I was kind of shocked at how it just snuck up on me, I didn’t even think about it… Until I did. I put the glass away and immediately went for a walk. That doesn’t usually happen. I don’t always feel the need to get wasted. Booze can sit in the house for days and I won’t even think about it. But it happened again, a couple days ago. All I wanted was Prosecco. I would have done pretty much anything to pick up a couple bottles for the night. Writing about this is keeping me accountable.

I just have to stay sane and keep up with my routines. I am creating products, writing, drinking lots of water with lemon…eating health food, tea coming out my ass. Exercising every day, long walks… Just thinking about walking makes me feel better, calmer. More in control of my mind and my more at peace in my soul. If anyone wants to join me even better (pm me on FB!). This week my daughter walked with me twice and even Peter Pan walked with me once, and he normally flies.