I really thought that when Liv left I could concentrate on getting better, and I would want to drink less… But I still want it every day, sooo yeah. Six months in and I’m not wanting it any less.
I pushed my shit under the rug, to look after her, and it has been good. It was a welcome distraction, and I think it has been good for her. I feel better knowing that she understands what is going on now, and makes her own choices. And I don’t have to live with the emotional ups and downs and constant worry. But I still want booze, all the time. I want to go to an AA meeting but I’m afraid, and I really wish I would stop getting triggered by things.
I can’t wait till I’m over him. I wish he had told me, he was so stressed out at Christmas time and now I know why. I kept asking what was wrong. He yelled and stormed off, he was about to go home and face some old demons.
Ending my relationship with him and asking Liv to get sober. What is my problem? Is it now I can only be around people who are sober? That’s not me… is it? I miss my friends, that drink and party, I miss being able to drink and party. This time around, I don’t think I’m able to be around it. Every other time I’ve quit I’ve been able to, maybe that’s why I always went back. 🙄 I don’t want to be some judgy bitch who has no tolerance, but maybe I am. I do notice I put up with a lot less shit now.
Struggling, struggling, struggling, I need to find an AA meeting. I look good because I’ve been walking for four hours every day. In the sun. The amount that I enjoy it, is not normal. I feel like Forrest Gump. It will get you in shape “tout suite” though, it must be the endorphins or something. The last time I got sober for any period of time, I won the Ontario Masters Powerlifting Championships. Talk about all or nothing with me, Christ almighty.
I would spend hours at the gym obsessing over how much weight I could lift. I loved that little gym. I moved to an apartment close to it and got new studio space across the street for my second salon. I have always liked my conveniences close by. When I was training for a competition I would be so sore every day and I thought about it all the time. I was obsessed with it. I have a whole Pinterest page on training from 2015, I was so strong, I actually deadlifted 405…that’s the back end of a small car. No girly wide leg stance either, floor to hips baby. I gave up smoking then too, on the regular..but as soon as I had a drink, I’d be smoking one or two a night, then right back to a pack a day. Nicotine, and caffeine …also completely addicted to those. Whatever, I love smoking, and cigarettes and coffee, and endorphins.
I just realized I’m going to have to actively manage my addiction I’ve been thinking about going up to AA for six months. My dad in his adorable accent said to me on the phone “look at it this way, you’re putting all feelings online, what’s the difference?” There really is no difference between being open in person or online. I don’t find it hard to be open anymore. At all. I think it’s harder for me to admit that I am a serious alcoholic and will never not be one. That hurts my heart.
Well, well, well, look who appeared in her bed at 5 am this morning. Rehab is still not an option for her. I told her she has to find somewhere else to stay until she gets sober. Her dad is coming to collect her tomorrow.
I don’t really blame her for not wanting to go. Being 23 and told to stop partying is a big fuckling wet blanket. That’s what I was doing at 23, probably a lot of us too. Some people get over it, some don’t. I wonder which one of her future therapy sessions this will be in down the road.
I’m glad I get the chance to talk to her again after Thursday, I understand why she keeps her lifestyle, I just know that I can’t live with it. How can she actually feel what she’s feeling while being fucked up all the time? You can’t process anything like that. Emotions like anger and sadness that come along with life are not as easy to process as the happy ones like being loved and experiencing happiness.
If we had to go through life processing our bad feelings at the moment of impact, we’d probably fucking die. Think of all the good memories, and how passionate we are about them, we must have the same passion in the bad ones…no wonder we all fuck off to the bar and drug scene. Being able to not process it, then and there is a natural defense mechanism. It’s only later we start to think about it and manifest some shit. . I guess Liv needs to recognize it’s affecting her daily life. And her ability to have healthy relationships. Kettle calling the pot black over here, I guess that’s what I will be working on too, creating healthy relationships.
My mum told me when I was 13, that she was a war orphan and had been adopted. It didn’t affect me in any other way except being surprised, and a bit sad for her. I asked her lots of questions about it, but she never really said much. Over the years, she shared she had been found under a table, in a rubble pile, and that she had a brother. I never found out when she knew she was adopted. Did she find out when she was 13? She never talked about her family in a bad way. I’m sure they treated her well, in fact financially they gave her everything. But even as a kid, it was obvious to me, that she was treated differently than her brothers. Whenever her parents would visit from overseas, it was a big production. The house was deep cleaned, all the good silver and china was brought out, and formal linens. Weird things like the toast rack would come out…who uses a toast rack? It was so unreal of what our actual day-to-day life was like. We had to be on our best behavior at all times. and keep the house as orderly as it could possibly be, even organized playtime. She never said but I imagine she was told she was different and told often so it was clear that she wasn’t the same. She was sent off to boarding school, and then to “finishing school” in Switzerland. She said she had wanted to go to university, but that her parents wouldn’t allow it. It all felt very strained, and I remember being terrified of my “granny”.
Carole was a very creative and artistic human being, and I bet she was a handful. She was about 23 when she ran off to Paris to pursue her dream of being a dancer, Paris lead to Las Vegas. Somehow I don’t think that’s what her parents intended with all her formal ballet training. Las Vegas was just beginning to build up in the early ’60s. Beauty and talent. Unstoppable, except for mental illness and addiction. She even pushed through that for a while.
I wonder how her life and experience growing up affected her ability to have healthy relationships. I think of my mum and our relationship every time I have some drama come up with my girls. How she looked after me when I was a teenager, all-girls trips spent together, we were all really close with my mum. She gave us a lot of love. She made a lot of mistakes and she was amazing. It’s possible for people to do and be both.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about just being a writer… what the fuck would I write about? When I’m very transparent and honest about my struggles people get it. But this feels different. What is it that feels that way? Not sure yet. I am gonna call it the Dry Drunk. Wait… how do I fit Cat Lady in there.
It feels guilty, not in the sense that I am telling all my dark secrets, in the sense that it is not what I went to school for, but I know that’s ridiculous. If I am, to be honest, my master’s degree is way too specialized to do me any good. I did that degree for two reasons, one, I was sick to death of hairdressing, and two I was so tired of Ontario. So really it was worth it, in that sense.
Hospitality and hairdressing are the same in that they are both a hard grind. And as anyone who works in those industries could tell you, to be good at it, you gotta love it. I do love both, but my nerves can’t take the pressure anymore. So I’m good with this as a creative outlet and keeping myself disciplined about it like a job. Of course, there is no money in it, and I spent a whack on my original business idea…so I’m gonna figure it out. My intention is to live a much lower-key lifestyle so I can live.
Storytelling has always come naturally for me, although I do worry I will run out of stories. If I do, I will stop, I guess. I doubt that will happen, I could write something every day it seems. I like writing, it’s something I’ve always done. I have no idea how fast blogs are supposed to grow, and mine is a bit darker than some. 😐 I am a numbers geek however so google analytics is fun for me. Like a video game, I like getting numbers and analyzing. Currently, I am building this ereader, with the hope that I can lend my Ebooks out. But what I really would like to happen is the website not be a vanity piece, but something a little more meaningful.
I keep thinking about that bus trip from Long and Mcquaid. I don’t know, and my most recent experience with Liv, and with me. I started looking up addiction, mental health, and all that dark shit. I want to know what it actually is. Do we actually know how to treat it? Not really, AA and abstinence treatment says the success rate is 20% to 30%. That’s shitty, and we have so many resources available. I think we should legalize it all. JUST SAYING. Stop half-assing it with cannabis.
Picture the cannabis government store model… but selling all heavy drugs. Essentially all government manufactured, approved, and regulated. The cannabis stores out here look like candy shops. The government stores are beautifully done, the staff is educated, they know what to recommend as far as dosage amounts, they know the effects, they know the risks. They are licensed. The stores themselves are discrete from the outside. So when I say candy shop I mean for adults. I picture an illicit drug store like a gentrified old west saloon.. Dark wood walls, raw tobacco smell, low lighting. Cleans lines and backlit glass display cases behind the heavy wooden counter. Think – Decriminalizing 2.0 – Take it 1000 steps further. Accept it as what it is and embrace it, maybe if we could take the criminal and the shame aspect out and make it safer. All around. I wonder where we would be in ten years from now.
Fucking amaz balls – she will go. It was not me, and I don’t think it was her Dad either. I think she has figured out she put herself in a pretty precarious situation. Forced to live with your mother and sister, sucks. And she had to deal with the toxic situation she had left on the mainland, which meant asking for help. She does agree that it takes time away from a situation, to see how it affects your life. I don’t think she can get sober here as an outpatient, not just in this house, but in this environment. The “pretty, hot girl” scene in victoria is a wee bit toxic. It seems like a lot of binge drinking, drugs, and creeps. I had another vomitous episode this morning after yesterday, and if Seroquel keeps my anxiety down so I don’t vomit, I am taking it again starting now.
I have just started to research and looking at rehab websites makes me wonder, is it just a marketing tactic, or what is going on… the websites are so gentle. I didn’t get a sense of urgency, or how they treat people who are addicted to everything. Why don’t they have up-to-date information? Do they not want to scare me? Weird and probably. I don’t even know, I just know I don’t trust a place that does not have current information on health issues. Recovery and self-awareness in 7 weeks. That’s ambitious and expensive. $31 000.00 we got quoted. That’s the cost of a degree – boo-ah-ygie.
They do make it sound like a picnic. Maybe that’s why all I wanted was an afternoon scotch and soda. That seems like a huge societal disconnect. What about the little people? A regular family, that doesn’t have $31 000 on hand. It just doesn’t seem realistic.
Besides that, I realized the whole situation has been hard on a dry drunk like me. It was me telling me to drink up and celebrate. Liv managed to organize her belongings from the mainland to here. Woop! She’s making steps! Relief.. (drink, drink, drink) then I saw sour beer and wanted them so bad, (drink, drink, drink) A nice little six-pack, chilling so innocently, deliciously in the fridge. Nice neat packaging, shiny silver, top with a matt black label. It’s so much work to keep it at bay. And really I just wanted to get numb. Sneaky, sneaky addict brain. Get behind me Satan, (Steel Pulse). I didn’t drink, and I don’t think if I went to a private treatment center it would change at this point.
I am looking for the right program vs cost ratio, I will take coffee, weed, and cigarettes over a box of wine any day, well no, I will always prefer to drink. But I know what happens when I do, and right now I’m not letting that happen.
She’s a happiness goblin
Living with her is like living with a goblin, she gobbles up all my happy energy with her bullshit and constant partying. And it’s so teenager-ish, god help me. She is acting like a fucking child.
Was she always this much work? It’s exhausting. She gets drunk and high, sleeps in, misses job interviews, appointments, or we roll in with seconds to spare. When she’s not busy destroying herself with substances, she’s sulking and scolding Jackie and I. This last situation that she had got herself into, is just a long line in a pattern. Olivia destroys herself, mummy runs in to save her. I locked her out of the house last night.
I mean actually fuck off. Go find someone else to take down with you. What, she’s mad at her tinder date for canceling? Fuck off. She scolded me yesterday for buying her the wrong strain of weed. That “she knows her body, and the weed strain makes her anxiety peak”. Yes, it’s the government weed strain… not the booze, Ritalin, and mushrooms you have consumed over the last month. Or the lack of sleep. Must be the strain, Damn it mother how could you be so stupid? Fuck off. Yes, yes, the booze and the drugs are manifestations of all the mental health issues she has been trying to get addressed. But…you know what doesn’t help mental issues Liv? Drinking a bottle of OV malt liquor. Fuck me…diabetes in a bottle.
It’s this constant circle, she is not taking steps forward, only back. She doesn’t like it that I’m feeling better, more like myself, and happy that I walk outside for work a few hours every day.
I’m feeling frustrated. She is so unhappy, she needs to go today. I had this sneaking suspicion that when she agreed to go to rehab, she would change her mind. I told her right off this morning. Sorry…. After her nap, she was hungover this morning. She doesn’t see the irony in the fact that she was hungover for her Dr.s appointment? Then she called the Dr a quack and said no one listens to her (…we can’t stop listening to her). His opinion was rehab. I wonder what his first clue was. MIne was listening to her yell at her sister. Yelling at someone and telling them to respect you or you’ll slap them is an oxymoron IMO. I literally sent her to her room, like she was 15. This is the tenth time in a few months she has screamed at me from outside the house. Thanks but no.
How does she not want to go? She is so sad all the time, it’s detox and therapy. Maybe if she clears her head she will see clearly that I just am at my wit’s end (thanks Mum.) I would always wonder how parents could kick their children out of the house. Now I get it. They needed a fucking break. I feel stuck in this weird, co-dependent abuse relationship and it’s confusing and hard. She’s my daughter. But also an asshole
Dry Cat lady is gonna stick I think. Ever wake up in the middle of the night with gripping anxiety and cat pee on your bed? Oh just me? Awesome. Fucking melatonin, knocked me out and then make me wake up with a start. I changed my sheets, had some tea, a glass of water then vomited. That never fucking happens to me. The only time I vomit is when I’m wasted or pregnant, (no chance of either) so that’s a new thing, I hope it’s from anxiety and not trying to come off of Seroquel. If it is anxiety, I got this. I cried then felt better. Nothing like a good cry.
I am trying to wean myself off of Seroquel. For two reasons, one I am feeling better, getting out more and actually talking to people helps. And two, Liv didn’t have any to get by, I have been giving most of what I have to her for the last 2 months. We have tried, we really did to get her her own prescription right away, but it is a pretty serious medication, and we had an appointment booked with the Dr. yesterday, we ran out a week ago. I don’t know, I may go back on but I don’t want to be addicted to it. So, yeah the two of us without medication over a weekend? Her dad came to see the girls on his way to Ontario, and almost walked back out again when we told him. Lol. She and I have had quite the week.
I started looking into rehabs for her last night. Not on her request, more on her refusal to consider it. Part of me is pulling a big old Ljuba circa 1987. But part of me knows that there is no way she will go till she sees it herself. The booze and the drugs for her, like me, are coping mechanisms. She had a rough fucking week man, her 23rd birthday, and her Poppy’s funeral. I’m giving her a bit of time to think about it. It seems like it’s the best first step, detox and then start thinking about getting better. We discussed it pretty thoroughly…I only stomped off once. I was clear and not that mean, but the truth hurts sometimes, and I have taken a lot of truth the past two months. Maybe the temperance movement had a small point…
I guess it’s because my brain is still pickled. Dry/wet brain, when you’re still a bit boozy on the inside but think you’re not, that’s me. I feel like it’s taken me a while to get here. And I’m not done yet.
The treatment centers…the websites look a little bit scary. I’m really nervous about what is available in the public sector. There are a lot of treatment programs, they all offer different things, all of them are based on abstinence, god, or criminal behavior. I’m not sure she fits into those. I wouldn’t fit into those. However… it is the fastest way to get mental health.
I am scared of the one size fits all approach. How up-to-date are these programs? I mean I clicked on one random treatment center here and the links on addiction were three years old..really? No new Canada statistics on addiction, that’s surprising, there was one that had BC in the title but not actually in British Columbia…what?
What’s the expectation? I feel like so many people who don’t live it, expect the addict to go to rehab, and be instantly fixed. I assumed that before I actually lived it. Even while I lived it. Or, am I enabling her.. she is my child, so I don’t know. I guess the only thing I can do at this point is to point out the negative effects of the lifestyle and how it affects me until she changes it. I don’t even know if that will work, that sounds like guilt and blame.
I don’t know how to distinguish it, But I’m also not going to put up with the lifestyle anymore. If it affects me and I’m letting it continue, am I enabling her?
Tidal sounds like I was romancing drug addiction. Then I re-educated myself on prohibition. I guess I want to prove my point, I am trying to be realistic. I think it’s really important and it’s useful. Besides, marketing for liquor and cannabis are both very romantic. Lots of romance over wine, lots of romance over weed and playing music. It makes sense to me.
I’m afraid of it also. I am afraid of my friends’ addictions, and of him as an addict. I have a chain on my door now. There is a lot of lying that goes along with addiction. Especially an expensive one. Have you ever seen how small these drugs are, or read about how addictive? It’s actually shocking. It seems like it’s all fentanyl, or scramble (heroin and fent mix), or comfort medication for trying to come off of it. It shocks me how something so small can wreak so much havoc. There still is a community, one that looks after and supports each other it seems.
We should be afraid of what comes with criminalizing something that humans want or need.-
History is repeating itself. Alcohol evolved into something stronger over time…whiskey. Addiction, destruction, and family devastation followed. Prohibition seemed like the best solution. Maybe for the criminals, because demand did not decrease. Al Capone? Organized crime. That’s how they got started. Producing and selling prohibited spirits, because people wanted it no matter what, and with the criminal aspect came violence, death, and corruption.
The temperance movement for prohibition was based on the idea that we as humans could be closer to “our natural state of perfection” sober. Being sober meant you were closer to perfect? Bullshit. Life is much better for me sober, it is a choice, not because society thinks I’ll be closer to perfect. But whatever gets you by man. You still make the choice.
I’ve been following the safe supply program Victoria introduced last March. It is a program that gives addicts access to prescription variants of street drugs. Or in this comparison alcohol to alcoholics… alcoholics took what was available to them. Jamaica ginger – sometimes lethal, made by amateur chemists and bootleggers. Sounds very much the same with street drugs today. Then LCBO 1927 / BC Liquor distribution branch 1921 started with reasonable regulation, and now well, drink up friends.
Safe supply has worked so far. It still has the “tisk tisk”, and “shame the criminal” part though, I’ve seen snarky pharmacists. Also, some people on the program are selling their safe supply for other drugs or money to get by. There is that criminal behavior that comes with the prohibition of a substance. The economic shit show that happens when people become dependent on something they can’t get, (organized crime?).
Government legalization and regulation is the best thing to happen I think. I don’t know if addictions choices you or you choose it. But alcoholics exist everywhere, with or without it being prohibited. So I am on board.
I love to preach about how I’ve been sober since January first. It is true I haven’t had one drop of alcohol since then. But, I was still using speed daily for a while after that. I have no regrets. It worked. I’m not taking it anymore, I used weed to get off speed. Poly addiction…humm.
Yes, that is what I really used to get off the booze. Before I started with speed, every morning I was having an eye-opener. Half a glass of juice with a splash of wine. I would get up, my depression would kick in and by the time my coffee was brewed, I would have already drunk my first one. I had a box of white wine and orange juice in the fridge at all times. Then as the day progressed the orange juice would get less and less, until it was just juice cups full of wine. Speed helped a lot with my depression. Nothing like amphetamine to lift your spirits. I bought it online.
I have had this obsession with the darker parts of the internet for a few years. Little did I know it would lead me here. I started researching and a whole new world opened up for me. I’m not going to describe how I did it. There are lots of sites online that will tell you exactly. I visited the onion fields and saw anything you could want. Speed, speed is what I wanted.
When you drink alcohol, it causes your “reward system” to release happy dopamine. The more alcohol you drink the less and less dopamine your brain releases. You grab another drink to get more dopamine, but it never goes back up to where it originally was. In fact, it’s lower than before, so you drink more to get more. Same goes for addicts like me, long-term use depletes dopamine over time, so I drink just to feel normal, buzzed, then drunk. Forever chasing that little happiness. In the book wasted, I read about Micheal Pond’s (psychotherapist) journey of trying to stay sober in a system that does not work. He is based in Vancouver. At the end of his book, after trying every ‘treatment’, (jail, rehab, sober living) he talks about alternative treatments for alcoholism and going over to the states to get monthly Vivitrol (naltrexone) injections. To stay sober..forever? This spoke to me, Vivitrol is a drug treatment mainly for opioid use disorder. It works the very same way for alcoholics. It blocks opioid receptors (the reward center) in the brain, and alcohol can’t get to it. Vivitrol is available in Canada only for research purposes. Or a special access program with Health Canada. And the physician has to apply for patient treatment care.
In reality, I’ve tried to quit drinking for 8 years, I mean, I have known in my heart that I had a problem eight years ago. I denied it for so so long. I have been told I’m an alcoholic more than once. I didn’t really think about it until this year. And who knows if this will be my final time? That’s the power of addiction. I have to think about it every fucking day. The perception is that alcohol addiction is not as bad as drug addiction. In my case, it’s bad, destructive. addictive, and always lurking. Speed made alcohol very unattractive to me and made me feel sick when I tried to have both, So essentially being on speed got me off alcohol. Quick wrap-up? Booze/speed to speed/weed to weed.
Liv and I took the bus home from downtown along the Gorge. I watched the dudes standing next to us at the bus stop drinking, and the addict lurking around us with a Narcan clip pack or me buying speed online. It’s pretty clear the system we have in our country and in our heads around addictions, poly-addictions, whatever needs some fucking attention and change. Taking speed daily is not ideal.. (think classy meth head?). The darknet is super creepy and scary. My days on those sites are done. I destroyed my burner laptop. Lots of fraud, street drugs, and seriously scary research chemicals like fentanyl analogs. I mean we as a society can hardly keep up with the latest thing, let alone the addiction to it. Speed worked for me for now. Addiction is here to stay and it’s not getting any better with the current system. I don’t even know where we would start.
All week I’ve been tittering on drinking. Warm weather and backyard smokes? Oh… how I miss day drinking. Thing is, if I give into that thought, well let’s just say I don’t want my life to ever look the way it did when I quit. Trouble ahead, trouble behind. – Grateful Dead
Liv introduced me to an Instagram page. Survivor Stories Project, there are two posts on there, about a young guy I used to work with. I didn’t know him that well, we were in different departments, but I certainly heard about him. And I’d gotten really wasted at a staff Christmas party and told him off. He was acting really inappropriately, forcing himself on wasted girls, right at the bar. I never felt guilty about telling him off. Fucking preditor. This is playing out right now, so I will be keeping a close eye on that.
I have been hearing so much about violent sexual assaults lately, it’s heartbreaking. These are young women. Innocently living their lives and then prayed upon. What is it about these dudes with major fucking dark triad traits? Girls are sexually violated …like on the daily.
It’s a BIG trigger for me, so I’m heading into the long weekend, with designer coffee, government weed, and putting this out to the universe so I can stop thinking about wine. I am going to talk about my rape. My aggressor was my intimate partner Rae.
Verbal aggression was his thing. He once refused to perform his part of a song, on stage because his co rapper had not texted him back. The two of them are performing, nightclub, lots of people. They had just released their album. He stood there, arms crossed, and let the music play without his rap. Afterwards he aggressively berated and verbally threatened his partner. Rae’s narcissistic personality was threatened, so he felt justified in his reaction. Of course, I was frightened and mortified at the same time. I knew that personal interactions like that were taken as a transgression against him. Narcissistic prick.
The sexual violence I experienced from him was not surprisingly that different. He never took “no” to sex as an answer. He would just take it. I had to give it to him twice a day or the pressure would be relentless. Until I gave in. That morning, he had gotten home from an overnight work shift. I was still up when he got home at 7 am, from the whiskey and cocaine I had consumed that night/morning. Feeling guilty I made him breakfast and put a movie on for him. He went and showered and then started in on me. He told me I was fat, dumb, and useless.. and stretched it out into a 45 min aggressive rant. Yelling and throwing his arms around. Then he got into bed with me and forced me to have sex. I was crying at this point and said no, three or four times. He pulled me over on my back, held my wrists, and raped me. He used my body to jack off into – while I was crying.
He looked down and shook his head making a “pffff” sound with his mouth, and rolled off me. Three attacks continued over two days, my days off. He felt justified in his behavior. I only let him rape me twice. I fought him off the third time. I had snuck down to sleep on the couch and he came down. He’d been watching porn and had a gross hard-on in his basketball shorts and was all over me. I fought him off, got dressed, and burned up the Pat Bay. Calling a crisis line as I drove. I think… some parts are not easy to remember. Trauma blocking. I told two friends at work when I got in. They both told me it was rape. We went to the police. He was charged and removed from my life. Although the charges were dropped some months later, I was not going to fly across the country to testify. I bet Rae is doing the same dark, narcissistic bullshit, with someone else. It’s dudes like him, who get caught but don’t actually see anything wrong with what they have done. “Narcissistic with reactive hostility,” quite literally. That ‘grandiose sense of self is fucking unstable when it’s faced with a situation that threatens it. My denying him sex was the ultimate ego blow, he had to prove he was as great as he thought he was.
The Fall Out –
As the dust begins to settle, (in my mind) and I start to get better, I realize it’s hard to deal with the fallout. The consequences. How does one go down memory lane, relive the feelings and look at the consequences of one’s actions? Bad ones I mean, we all make stupid choices at some point, and bad ones too. In my case, choices that lead to loss of friendships and trust, and bring embarrassments and humiliations for myself. A lot of asshole-ery.
My dad, as sweet as he is, believes I have ‘had a bit of bad luck.’ I think what he means to say is choices. I can say it. Dad, I have made some bad choices.
In relationships, I’ve made a lot of choices- manipulative ones too. Ones that hit right below the belt. You show me once, I go right for it. Sometimes I catch myself before I do it, sometimes I don’t. I have this cutthroat ability to swim around like a shark and wait for it. Mark used to say, he was the pufferfish – and I was the shark. Is it useful? sometimes, I don’t know, the only thing I can think of right now is it’s a defense mechanism, I am not sure from what, but I usually end up in the shit. I’m trying to figure that out.
I’m tired of beating myself up over it though. I can not work through it with my goblin hanging around. The depressing goblin that sits on my shoulder and smokes cigarettes with me. My evil little twin, ‘hey remember that thing you did that one time? Yo, that’s fucked up’..ok, shut up. Yes, I’m a dick. Is this the part in AA when they say you have to apologize for all the things you did wrong?
I think this is what they call taking a fearless moral inventory. It feels sticky and thick. And long.
Oh god…does this mean I have to make a list? That’s terrifying. Actually, I’m feeling kinda fearless about it now. Fuck it, man, really. I’m already having the mid-life crisis part and am living my personal life out online in a really weird way…what have I got to lose? My booze bone that’s connected to my drug bone?
Cathartic- providing psychological relief through the open expression of strong emotions; causing catharsis.
The idea that my blog is cathartic is true and actually inspiring. One of my best high school friends reached out to me last night. From the beautiful island of Bermuda. I love Bermuda, one day I will do a review of the beautiful resorts that I have experienced there. We face-timed for an hour, and laughed about our party days, getting old and raising kids, with grey hair.
My girl is as funny, and truthful as ever. She has four boys and swears all a man has to do is look at her sideways and she’s pregnant. She tells me she’s still taking birth control, “with a side of low dose aspirin.”
The middle-aged women’s drug cocktail. A little birth control, low dose aspirin – few antidepressants, and a couple anxiety meds to keep it all under control. The perfect blend. We should name it. Can I get an amen?
She says this is the weirdest time of our life … a time where we feel 25 on the inside, but we really are not. She said, “mom guilt is real babe”. With what Liv is going through right now it’s hitting hard, although I am really happy things for her have calmed down. She’s looking after herself and doing the work she needs to do to manage her symptoms. And she is creating music again, which I love. We are still at a crossroads for care options. Nothing has really changed as far as what I can do. But we are following through with the options we have available for now- counseling and medication.
I started thinking about this early this morning, the way I grew up. The way my girlfriends and I grew up together. It was the late 80’ early 90’s man, massive hair, Faces 59, and parents that partied. For us, it was lots of stealing booze, cigarettes, and credit cards when they weren’t looking. They didn’t even notice. Privileged, fast white girl existence.
One thing, I asked myself over my cigarette, as an alcoholic/addict how do you break the fucking cycle? So many of my friends are dealing with similar things with their kids. Family, addiction, and mental health all go together, man. A nice little package of shit storm.
I imagine my brain will continue to vomit up traumatic experiences, and shitty choices made. And by helping my child go through some serious stuff. And realizing where I have had a part to play. And sitting with that feeling. And then forgiving myself. The last one is the hardest. But I want to sober up…like really sober up and be present. There are probably easier ways to do it, but I love taking a long way around.
Six months in and all the shit I’ve been suppressing with booze and drugs and work is hitting me like a blinding white light. The kind you see when you hit your head really hard.
It is very cathartic. In a BDSM kinda way…hurts so good.
My intent is to tell this story with compassion and feeling, and not to conjecture up judgment or scolding from anyone else. I am ok with recreational drugs, I smoke weed every day. Sometimes a lot. It’s not the same, but it keeps me off the booze. The hardest part I find about writing these pieces is I have to go back there. To the memory, to the feelings, it feels like ripping your guts out all over again. My heart burns, and I cry every time I try to write this one. I’m glad I can just step outside and sit and smoke. It’s hard but necessary. This is what I do in my spare time when Jackie and Liv are asleep. It is so quiet and peaceful when the kids are sleeping and the birds are chirping. Just me, my lazy cats in the yard, and my old computer. I’ve wanted to write this piece for a long time. And I am still processing parts of it. Well, parts of it don’t have the ending I want.
I fell in love with a man, who couldn’t love me back the way I wanted. I still love that man, he still loves me also. We are not on speaking terms right now. I did something I’d never thought I’d do. I gave him a hard ultimatum. It was cruel. I ripped his feet right out from under him. I honestly felt and still feel, it was him or me. Fighting for my life, his life. Rehab or me. He chose neither and is now in the wind.
We have been in a relationship for a few years. We got on like a house on fire from the moment we met. He’s hilarious, smart, and handsome. He can play guitar, drums and is also good at a lot of sports. We could talk about anything on the earth. And we pretty much have. The only thing we couldn’t talk about was his secret life as an addict. We talked about drugs. In fact, we did lots of drugs together for a while. He is very good at hiding it and refuses to honestly talk about it but it’s not so secret…I think a lot of people suspect that is what’s been going on. I outed him last summer after I cleaned out his car. I told one of his close childhood friends. The friend wasn’t surprised and reached out to him but I don’t think they are that close anymore. He wasn’t an addict when I met him. Or maybe he was. My gut told me at 6 months in but he denied it, so I did too. I denied it for a long while. To my and his detriment. I don’t deny it anymore. He still does. He would rather let people think he is lazy, unreliable, and just a general jerk. He is not those things when he’s sober. Denial is a very real thing.
Heroin is a ‘seductive mistress’ – Seductive because you can’t stay away, a mistress because it steals all your time and eventually consumes you. Many people have said it, but I actually see it. It strangles the person inside you. It offers warmth, protection, and an emotional release to those who use it, and It refuses to let anything or anyone else in. Maybe that’s the point.
From a loved one’s perspective, it kills you slowly without you even knowing it. A very lonely and scary place to be. I feel like I’m the sober addict, with him gone from my life it feels flat, uninteresting, hollow. I am like a ghost, floating from room to room, waiting for the real me to come back. I go through phases of being angry and then sad. I know removing his chaos from my life is the kindest thing I could do for myself, but the way I had to do it it feels so sad, sneaky, underhanded.
Opiate withdrawal is so bad, it sounds like death is better. And that saying, the one about the addiction brain doing push-ups waiting to take over the sober one. His took over before I even knew what was happening, and him too, I think. A controlling, manipulative being appeared that lived like a savage. The person I love is not the person who I last saw, wearing sunglasses at night and disappearing for days at a time. Not the person who passive-aggressively punishes me for telling him to slow down, rest, sleep, eat. Not the person who is constantly on the hunt or next shakedown.
He is the person who cares about Jackie. He is the person who makes me laugh. He is the person who said he admired me. He is the person who inspired me and helped me get sober. He is the person who said he couldn’t wait to see what I would create. He is my best friend and I miss him terribly. He is probably the strongest, most resourceful person I know. He tried to clean up, stop using it many times. But only enough to stop the questions, only enough to continue more secretly. Part of my motivation to write this? My secret desire is he reads this and rushes to rehab.
I don’t think he is even thinking about me anymore. I think he is in survival mode.
And you can’t make people do what they don’t want to do.
Regardless, I pray every night. And I still mean all the things I said; I love you, your lifestyle is out of control. For you and me, I want you to go to a long-term rehab facility. I want you to tell your family, I want you to tell your parents. I will help you. Please don’t let it be none. Your lifestyle with this cunty little mistress scares me like nothing else.
I am attempting to write an articulate piece about urgent care. I’ve calmed down a little. I’m feeling guilty about trashing the RCMP, but not really. How does anyone get anything noticed if you don’t say anything?
Over the past three weeks, a lot of front-line workers have lacked the knowledge to recognize urgent mental health issues… In my opinion. Not just the RCMP.
My 10 ft angry mother is not pleased. How would you feel if it was your child, sister, mother?
The triage nurse at the mental health ward in Jubilee had security escort her out two weeks ago. Olivia was in full psychosis. She was having auditory hallucinations and threw her food tray. They put her out on the street. Literally. The RCMP. They have been at my house three times in the past week. Nothing was solved. (Well, I felt better after blasting them.) The receptionist at the walk-in clinic, who couldn’t wait 2 mins for me to grab her health card. Two minutes. It’s so frustrating.
My nosey neighbor from three doors down got a good show. I should tell her to read my blog if she wants the real story.
This is the time one says if she had a broken arm, she’d get taken to the hospital right away, Despite her age and mental health capacity.
Mental health is not something we can see. It’s invisible on the outside. It doesn’t bleed, it doesn’t split, it doesn’t need stitches. Because it’s something you can’t see, people suffer. A lot. No, she didn’t succumb to her suicide attempt a month ago. She regretted it immediately and went and had her charcoal milkshake, nevertheless, nobody tried to contact me.
The paramedics didn’t even get a chance to assess her. They were parked up the road waiting for the o.k from the cops. So the RCMP … (who last I checked are good at fighting crime not assessing patients) decided she didn’t need to talk to the paramedics. And again she is 23. And stubborn. I mean I just don’t understand. She was obviously not ok.
My darling child can be charming, and quite convincing… apparently, even when she is spiraling about a conspiracy against her, and clutching random papers to her chest. Her evidence.
She gave the officers the whole story. They must have known… no?
I was asked to wait outside.
All I had to do, was look into her eyes. It’s so hard when your child reaches the age of adult but can’t actually make rational decisions. And you have to stand by and rely on some 25-year-old white kid from around the corner to make the decision for you. I really don’t mean to be so disrespectful. Langford is picture-perfect, and most of my dealings with the RCMP have been positive. They helped me so much getting Rae out of my life. I mean it’s the system, right? But I also think the system needs some tweaking.
To be clear, she still has not physically seen a Dr. yet. A month… a month since she started showing crisis symptoms. And no medication actually prescribed to her. For a month I’ve been trying to figure something out for her. I am the one who has figured out immediate care. I am the one who decided to give her my insomnia medication, to make sure she sleeps, I am the one who has explained to every support person and Dr. what was going on, looking for suggestions. I am the one who is trying to make sure she doesn’t go down the drain with her intrusive, racing thoughts. I am the one who is taking her on four-hour walks so she’s exhausted, and doesn’t have the energy to think. This may be obvious care for a mom, but I am not a nurse, dr, or licensed health care person in any way. It’s scary man, and it’s hard!
The RCMP’s last suggestion? Basically wait for her to commit a crime, get a charge, and be arrested. Great, let me give her back her computer so she can continue to alienate herself from all her friends on social media. Maybe one of them will call the police, and you guys can come out here again. Not the ideal ‘last straw’.
So now what?
*A little housekeeping here, my blog content moving forward is for 19 years and up. To protect myself and my family, I will be adding a membership login to this part of my site. Your support means a lot to me and thank you 🙂
So it’s close to midnight am I am just going over my day. Recollecting one’s thoughts…as we do.
In the past three weeks I have;
Had her speak with my Dr, telephone appointment.
Gotten referrals set up for a mental health intake assessment – for this week.
Got her on a schedule, for sleep and food. – For some this may be hard to believe, I need sleep as well. I also unfortunately don’t have restraints on her bed to force her into submission…(oops I mean sleep.)
Nor do I have any actual prescription medication to give her. Ya, that Benadryl really does the fucking trick. (I being sarcastic.)
Removed her phone and computer many, many times.
Unplugged the internet. That’s so great. That’s been really helpful to my younger daughter, online school, friends, entertainment, distraction, and all. (fuck off.)
Today we have;
Called the paramedics twice and the RCMP (they are always first.)
The RCMP has acknowledged – she is delusional and very unwell. Awesome help me, get her into the hospital.
Nope, nothing they can do because she is 23 and is refusing to go to the hospital.
So I’m lying in bed fully clothed waiting for the next fit to take hold so I can spring into action.
Her dad is sleeping outside the house in his truck.
The stupidest thing I heard today? “you know her sleep is really important..” – RCMP officer
Ohhhhh…Is that before or after I peel her off of the recycling bin she has climbed up on while screaming in a manic state? Or is it when she’s done telling me about the hackers that are listening and watching every word. Hmmm, maybe it’s after she verbally assaults and spits venom at us, her parents?
Yea, thanks Pillsbury doughboy. Fuck off and go suck an egg, you useless twat.
Run back to Langford and direct some traffic, you Ass Hat. Go live a fucking life.
Next time you try to offer to advise in your condescending tone. Consider this, have you ever actually left Vancouver Island? Have you ever actually worked a fucking shift in tent city?? Do you know anything…about mental illness??? Fuck you.
Go home and eat some more vanilla ice cream and lose the fucking hair gel, before I punch you in the fucking neck.
I love the spring. I love watching it come alive.
I went for a walk this morning, it was so nice to move. Lately, I’ve had a thing about leaving the house. I have a touch of agoraphobia.
“Mom, you can’t just have a touch,” says Jackie thrusting her phone in my general direction. “It’s hereditary…read this, plus Granny had it.” Jackie, my younger, intellectual GEN Z daughter declared after medic googling this morning. Thank-you Jackie.
I can’t imagine the person I used to be. I’d just jump in my massive truck and burn up and down the highway, hair and cigarettes flying. Not just the Pat Bay, Trans Canada, the 401, 416. With no problem every day for years. The person I am now? Hell no. The world is a totally different place now. One so very virtual, I’ve always done labor jobs, so I’m not so sure where I fit in. I am teaching myself skills so I can work online from home. I am honing them nicely.
My friends say “you have done so much” … I guess I have. But I don’t really think of it that way. I have reinvented myself more than once I guess. I have lived a fun life. I just applied for a job that requires a kind of background check. As a joke, my sister asked if I had passed. As a kid, I stole from the corner store, hid people in my closet, snuck the car out. Once in my teens, a girlfriend had a stolen credit card and we went shopping…straight to le Chateau for cute outfits. She was fearless and got a big old diamond ring. I wonder what happened to her? I remember seeing her on Geroldo Rivera ten years later, I don’t remember the details but was absolutely impressed and not at all surprised that she had made it onto his show.
One of my old hairdressing clients reached out to me yesterday, as a hairdresser I could relate to so many people. Hairdressing was good training for my practitioner license in the interpersonal human relationships field. I’m kinda badass now that I have both.
My little Liv.
My oldest daughter has moved home with me for a bit. She is creative, funny, smart, and very beautiful. She is also, in sharp contrast, very uncomfortable in her own skin. Twenty-three now must be a totally different place than it was for me. For one thing, I was married, for another, I did not get a cell phone until I was 32. Cell phones were around but not in any capacity as they are today…social media is so insidious.
It took me a week to get her here. She was living on the mainland. I asked her to come home more than once over the last month. The first two or three days she was here, she was manic…I mean so worked up she would not stop talking. She talked and talked and talked. She did yoga, for 36 hrs straight. She wouldn’t sleep and would spiral into self-hatred, fits of rage and tears soon to follow.
She has moved in and out of my home more than a few times. We have had our issues like any mother-daughter. I feel a lot of blame towards me coming from her, and pain and frustration at herself. She is very angry with herself. She’s so angry at the world. She finds it hard to listen and finds it hard to take accountability…I guess to make sense of the life that she can’t make sense of.
She and I have been doing a lot of therapy over the past two weeks. She’s come to realize a few things. She realizes that she feels invisible. And that she wants validity from people that will never give it to her. Last summer she was diagnosed with BPD, I’m not sure I understand or agree with that. Once when she was being what I thought was particularly irrational, I told her she was behaving just like my sister Dani. This “acting out”… is so much more than one’s personality or “throwing tantrums”. She may be bipolar- and I think we need to find a better therapist than she has seen. The symptoms are scary and familiar.
Dani was my first best friend. We did everything together when we were growing up. She is a hippy through and through, I love her to death. After a few years of not looking after her health- she was diagnosed as bipolar. Looking back, I remember very clearly her manic episodes when we were growing up. Anger, deep depression, and creative highs, filled with music. No sleep makes Dani a genius. She can sing any song, play any instrument she picks up, and write a song. Dani was not diagnosed till later in life and misunderstood. Just like I feel Liv is sometimes. She and Olivia were very close until about 10 years ago. Dani and I lost the closeness of our relationship. I really want it back. I think it happened in the confusion of our grief and addiction when my mother died. We were all a mess. She was on pills and smoking weed, I was drunk and high all of the time.
Dani and I loved our weed when we were teens, Olivia loves her weed as well. There is a lot of concern and blame from our family about Livs choice to smoke weed. Some research shows that weed and psychosis go hand in hand with adolescence. I have been reading about it to see what I can learn. The best defense is education when it comes to fighting for your own health care, right? Otherwise, it will slip through. I have read alternative studies that claim weed doesn’t have any long-term effects and after stopping use, any issues generally clear up. I am undecided about it yet until I read more.
The issue at hand is finding something that will actually work for Liv, like the individual she is. I have so much faith in her, if I taught her anything it’s to be strong when you need to be.
I met Rae in a bar after I had just finished a really emotional breakup with my husband. It was during my divorced party girl phase. He was beautiful. He had perfect teeth and a perfect body. He liked to party, but would never admit it. We were both heavy drinkers at that time and continued to be during our 9-year relationship. I was never head over heels in love with Rae, but we were good party buddies. He was a complete pothead and drank a 26er of Bacardi a couple of times a week. The salon was busier than ever, and I was partying hard.
My perception of him when we first met was that he was not the smartest guy, but handsome, kind, and quiet. In reality, he was a jealous, vain person and he never got any smarter.
He had a grandiose fantasy that he was this huge, Latino rap star. And he took it sooooo seriously..helping him take a photo was an ordeal. When we had sex, he would never look me in the eye. He would watch me, but when I looked at his face, he would look away, with no emotion in his eyes. Shark eyes.
Processing my last experience with him is a little like trying to move through the stone wall that’s built out front of my house. Without hands. A lot of pushing and shoving. Peter pan asks me where do I stop digging. I guess now. When I admit how much it has affected me.
He played many narcissistic mind games and would accuse me of the same. To the point where I thought, I was crazy. I used to get these really intense physical reactions when he was with me, he was suffocating. My chest would get really tight and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. We often had fights about my friends and family, he would try to isolate me from them. This particular fight was about my oldest daughter moving back to BC. He did not want her here, not just the house, the province. He shouted at me, and told me she was using me, and to not talk to her. During this fight he was standing over me, lecturing really intensely. He told me to not get up from the chair, I did not…I remember verbally disagreeing. Fuck….who knows. I was scared. I was physically paralyzed with fear, although at the time I did not realize it.
We broke up and got back together several times. This would be the same pattern over and over again for 9 years, I’d break up with him then get sucked back in with his stupid accent and his love bombing. Once I moved without telling him. He found me. During our last breakup, I left the province and did not ask him to come. Again, found me. Until finally, the abuse got so bad the RCMP was involved and he was arrested. He was escorted out of the house and sent packing back to whence he came. I have these really intense questions around it, how did I get there? Why did I keep going back? How did I let it get to that? My family was shocked, I had hidden all of it so well.
I haven’t seen Rae since that day, but it sticks with me. Sometimes I hear the things he used to say to me in my head. I hear it in his voice. I know I’m not done talking about him, but I’m done for now.
I love a juicy memoir!! Caitlin Elizabeth Marnell is an American writer and socialite based in New York City. She was a beauty editor at Conde Nast, wrote a column for vice and now offers alternate lifestyle advice on Patreon. How To Murder Your Life is a very fun read. It’s also really relatable. She describes growing up in an affluent lifestyle in upper New York State, who became addicted to Adderall as a teenager then moved into the life of “party girl” in NYC. She tells the story of a pretty serious poly addict. Stimulants are really her drug of choice, but she did it all. Codependency, enabling and the lonely chaos that goes along with addiction.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
I have always hated the winters in Ontario. For a lot of Canadians, winter starts in October and lasts until April. That’s like 7 or 8 months of harsh, freeze your nose hairs, cold. Huge snowstorms coming off the lake, and freezing rain if the lake warms up. Nothing like chipping your car out from under ¼ inch of ice, a few times a day.
A lot of people who live in southeastern Ontario and Quebec travel south to the Caribbean and Southern Mexico during the winter. Its easy to get too, and there are tons of options for resorts packages. There really is something for everyone (pre Covid of course). I have been to resorts were all the guests are either from Alberta, Ontario, or Quebec. I can’t imagine the pain they feel this winter with Covid restrictions. One thing I love about living in Victoria is the short, mild, winter. Today is sunny, warm and it’s the 3rd of February. Glorious.
By the time I was in my 7th or 8th year of being self-employed, I was able to really start traveling. Somewhere hot, were I could go to do nothing and make no decisions for a week. I loved perusing the web sites and looking at all the venues a resort had to offer. And, of course, which spa treatments I was going to book first. Every vacation always had a spa treatment or two. My type of resort is a five-star, adults only where it has full spa services, and gives me a nice suite right on the beach.
The design of the resort and spa are always a big decider. I like to visit destination spas for two reasons. First, I always liked to feel out how the estheticians are in that particular spa or country. What did they do differently that we weren’t doing? Second, spa treatments are so good for your mind and body. Honestly so good. Most of the destination spas I have been to are pretty amazing. Not your run of mill day spas. My choices always have outdoor hydrotherapy pools, private for the spa guests. Often if I booked a long enough treatment, I would get the outdoor pool and the hydrotherapy area all to myself for an hr. Mineral water, spa treatments and get in a little sunbathing?? Yes please…. I am googling spas on the side as I write this, lol. Combining travel and beauty, my two big passions for a long time
Yes…I’m addicted to spas and travel, it’s what I’ve known my whole adult life. I guess I’m a lifer. I have been to destination spas all over the place, New York, Germany, Las Vegas, Bermuda, Bahamas, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Dominican Republic… Fairmonts, Wynns, MGMs, Boutique Resorts, Bathhouses, (that’s a good story) Spa Cottages, all kinds. I’ve written a quite a few academic papers on it as-well.
In the spirit of a blog, I am going to add a little beauty show story here. This happened in Vegas, you know what they say. For years I went to the massive Las Vegas International Beauty Show. I would always drag my best friend along, not that she minded… she is a lover of spas, plus she grew up in the hotel industry. Her family had owned hotels since she was small. If anyone appreciated a good hotel it was her. This friend and I have known each other for 30 years. I think at this time we known each other for about 15 years. She has a wicked sense of humour, and we get along like a house on fire. We always had a blast in Vegas. We would start drinking the minute we got on the plane. Actually, we would start the night before, and fly from Ottawa or Toronto, I think one time we flew from Montreal. Anyway as most beauty show goers know, they have all the latest innovations in beauty. All the big beauty companies offer educational classes, and most of the hair companies do platform shows. That basically means working on stage on a model and demonstrating a technique.
My girlfriend was a client at both my shops, as was her mum. She has super fine, very curly hair. Pretty challenging for me, and I was a classic hairdresser. Everywhere I went I brought my styling gear and I always made sure I did her hair, I loved it! We were walking through the show, or should I say staggering by…we been up gambling and drinking the whole night before and then topped it off with a champagne breakfast that morning. We were there to party but to also see the whole beauty show, three floors of the conference center at Mandalay Bay, a huge resort…massive.
So we were at it from 9 am till 4 pm every day, and parting pretty hard every night. I’m telling you Vegas pumps oxygen into the casinos, just for this reason. We were pretty continuously buzzed …but not like fall down drunk, considering how much we had consumed on very little sleep. On this particular morning we stopped to watch an artist, he called my friend up on stage. I think she was heckling him, this girlfriend has a way of getting a good banter going with anyone, so he called her up.
And there she sat for the longest 15 mins of our lives… he proceeded to flat iron and grease up half of her hair.. But only half, and not from the nape of her neck up either. He flattened it from one side of her head up, starting by her ear up to her part, then left the other half super curly. Then flamboyantly and swiftly moved onto the next model on stage. Before we knew what was happening, she was back beside me with a half-done hairstyle mad as hell and bitching as much as she could … I was laughing my fucking head off. Platform work is like that, never know what you’re going to get. She eventually calmed down, laughed and for the rest of the day too and told everyone who would listen. I love this girlfriend. Anyway I think we fixed it up but I honestly don’t remember much of that vacation.
Did I mention I’m sober currently? LOL
I started this journey at the beginning of summer, leaving my resort managing job because I was very unhappy. I was drinking a lot, like every day, all day. After a pretty dramatic departure, I continued to drink heavily for about two months.
I have been a beauty industry entrepreneur for 20 years. I sold my two businesses and went back to school in 2015. I needed a change and I thought getting a Masters degree and a job in the corporate world was the way to go.
Not for me…wow, so not for me. I didn’t realize how burnt out I’d become managing several departments. I felt overwhelmed and frustrated by closing and re-opening a resort during the Covid Pandemic, with a skeleton crew.
I was struggling, a lot of people were struggling, and a lot of co-workers were struggling with me.
After lots of sulking and drinking on the couch, I decided to start walking. Sometimes I walked and drank. I walked A LOT during that time. It helped me think. I still walk a lot to clear my head. Eventually the drinking stopped, and while the walking continued, this business idea I had been mulling over for years came together.
Before I started working on Element Amenities I felt stuck, stuck in my career, stuck in my relationships and defeated. I had high expectations of going back to school, which at this point it didn’t seem like it was worth the investment and life change. I had dreams of opening another business but I just couldn’t come up with something viable. I knew I didn’t want to own another brick and mortar beauty business.
I launched the first phase of this business in December. I had no idea if it would get any traction. I was and am still scared..my professional reputation is on the line. Could I actually make this idea work?
I have wanted to launch a beauty company for years, I have been researching it for a very, very long time.
I am ALL in.
Recently I met with one of my “esti” friends for a walk (an esthetician). She is so excited for me. Having a professional of her caliber excited about something new feels amazing. She and I have always had a lot of respect for each other. My closest friend and confidant supports me 100%. He acts as my sounding board, gives me good feedback and most importantly he helps me get out of my own way. For that I am so, so grateful. Also the support and recognition I have received so far from industry professionals has given my confidence a real boost.
Flash forward 6 months later, my life has changed significantly. I feel very alive. I am looking after myself. I walk every day through my little neighbourhood for life supplies, (“The Beast” which I affectionately call my truck, has died, RIP) I drink herbal tea instead of wine, hang out with my cats and am creating something I love. I’m even down to one pack a day!
This business is starting to gain traction. I love this part about building something new, I’m on a total high, better than any drug. I realized yesterday, (while walking) that this is a familiar feeling. I felt this way while I built my last business, and with my first business – although I didn’t recognize it at the time. All I knew about starting a business at 28 was working “balls to the wall” to keep the bills paid.
I love it when an idea comes together.
A good friend once told me I have a unique skill set. She was right.