Element Amenities

A weird, evolving website inspired by addiction and recovery.

Lifer

Lifer

I have a bad habit of going back in time because it feels comfortable. The fact that I just called it a habit feels like I’m not allowing myself to feel my feelings.

PTSD-I have a lot of patience for myself but sometimes, it feels very comfortable and intimate being in a place I know is not good for me. Intimate is a funny word, the person you are most intimate with is yourself. Your own thoughts, the ones that you keep to yourself.

When I’m walking around some days, but mostly when I’m at home I will start thinking about something that really hurts and notice a pervasive kinda lure there. I want to stay there, and I like to sink into it. Like a big, duck-down pillow that’s soft and full of feathers, It feels alluring because of the fabric and you know you spent a lot on it. It’s warm but the gamey odor and feather quills prick you every time you use it. I had a dream last night that I drank by accident. I had a dream I relapsed, and then it was full-on. I find it so weird how my body can create the exact feeling of being perfectly buzzed while I’m dreaming. It always lingers for a second before I really wake up.

I’m traveling next week. I haven’t been on a plane in a year and a half. All I keep thinking about is how I used to drink myself to the point of a little hammered in the airport bar then top it up to really hammered whiskey on the flight. I don’t have a fear of flying, I love traveling. I just loved airport drinking, it was a part of the ritual of flying…. Everyone goes to the airport bar when they’re traveling, for a beer or two, I’d go for as many as I could get down my neck before the plane. I could crush pints.

I’m excited but nervous. I made myself take some time off from work before the trip for the first time in my life. So I could get as prepared as I could. I bought a new coloring book to bypass the bar cart on the plane and I have three books I want to read during my downtime. I love to read about the places I’ve been to. I am very excited about that part. I love traveling. This, this right here is what I went into tourism for. This feeling of adventure and discovering somewhere new.

Travel is like somehow pressing a reset. I’m hoping I can recognize when I’m feeling insecure about something, and catch myself slipping into that old comfort habit. I will tell myself it’s ok to visit if it’s useful, but not to stay there too long. PTSD will trigger that comfort in pain in me always. I just have to know I’m doing it and move on. I mean I managed to make it around the countryside in south France with my brutal Ontario French, before any kind of easy internet access. I’m feeling pretty comfortable taking a plane without drinking. I’m just gonna keep telling myself. New normal. New normal.

Old ships on the Lake

Old ships on the Lake

I woke up this morning with the worst belly of my life – panic disorder suck. Good days and bad I guess.

I did it myself. I let myself get overwhelmed and didn’t give myself time to digest. I was worrying about the future for no reason. Can’t control it so why worry about it?

I’ve learned that if I get out of my present and write something it makes me feel grounded. And now that I’ve tidied my front porch, I’m sitting outside with the Bae, (on her leash) watching the world go by. I feel calmer already. I love being around people but I also love being by myself. I’m like the new Mrs. Kravitz on my street. I like my neighbors and my hood.

Its amazing what you learn when you work from home and don’t have a car. It’s nice, it slows your life way down. I like that. A lot of grandkids around right now – for the pool and the location. Lots of people live here so there is lots of action to watch.

I’ve realized in the last little while that I’m lucky to have had such a unique childhood. We grew up on Lake Ontario and spent many summers just running wild. There was a beach at the bottom of our street with an old concrete diving board and a creepy old raft. The diving board had been installed by some neighborhood boys years before us and was all cracked and split from the ice in the winters. In the summer the local teenagers would drag the raft out to its spot and secure it to another concrete concoction under the water. We spent so many years there I was young enough to play with the long furry seaweed, and then old enough to swim to the raft with my sister to smoke cigarettes. One hand to swim and one to hold our smokes and lighter over our heads. We’d scare each other with shark stories while we’d dry off and smoke our cigarettes then race to swim to shore.

I would spend mornings and lunch at my Dad’s parents’ house. (My father brought them over from Yugoslavia in the late 80’s). Dedo would take my younger sister and I to the park then and my nana would feed us the most amazing lunch, I loved lunchtime at Nana’s 😋 after I’d run off with my friends to explore the beach, we used to find these really cool pieces of dishware, and we’d pretend they were from the shipwrecks. A lot of the things probably were, the Great Lakes are a little like small oceans, but fresh water, they are massive. I learned over the years that Lake Ontario indeed had a lot of merchant shipwrecks in the 1700-1800s. Especially loading from Kingston, (where I’m from.)

Lake Ontario always scared me a bit, dark, wild foggy looking. Even on the brightest summer days, you couldn’t really see anything while you were swimming and there were always fish lurking.. or water snakes. Nothing worse than one of those things touching you when you can’t see it coming, I used to like fishing right off the boat launch next to the Kingston Penitentiary wall.

A lot of things washed up on those beaches over the years. We were surrounded by history, and limestone buildings, big enormous government institutions. An old military town with forts and prisons, and a dark ominous lake. The last time I was there the old building for the criminally insane was still there sitting empty and creepy as hell. I don’t know, I guess I was thinking of home today. I’m glad I wrote this and did some strength stuff. Farmers carry for mental health 🏋️‍♀️💪. Tomorrow’s plan is to cook some nana food. 🥘

40 mile

40 mile

I am such an empath. I’m a sucker for any costume dramas, especially BBC take-offs. It’s the people stories that I love. The romance, the passion, the outfits, and ending with heartbreaking treachery or misunderstanding. It’s so true, I love it. When I was a girl my dad’s younger brother used to call me Passion Pot. Our cool Uncle Neni…he would fly over from England in the ’70s and 80’s to visit us until he was able to move to Toronto. He was an actor in London and smoked cigarettes in bed. I just thought he was the bee’s knees. I have always been a bit European that way, my nana (my dad’s Mum) and I were really close and similar. In a ‘very emotional and very affectionate’ kind of way. I used to be embarrassed really easily, and try to hide my emotions, but I don’t anymore. I don’t really get embarrassed easily anymore, obviously.

So much has changed in the past year, I can’t believe what a different place I am in. I’m glad the world is opening up again. Holy fack covid was hard. Being unemployed for almost a year was hard. For someone like me, a people person, a tradesperson, I talked to people like a job my whole life …it was not good. People-watching is one of my favorite activities, and right now I tour around town and people watch all day. I love it. It also makes me appreciate myself for who I am. I spend more time now being happy than sad and it’s taken so long to get here. 7 months and ten days, to be precise.

After I had a wee mental breakdown earlier this year, I had no idea if I would ever get out of it. When I was first diagnosed with PTSD, I didn’t really think it was as bad as it is, was, can be, or whatever. I didn’t acknowledge it as something that can get better at times, and not at others. I honestly thought I’d never work again. I don’t know how many people were reading my blog then but if you had been following me making all the changes on my site you may have experienced a little crazy 😜 ha! I should have documented it for youtube- god I’m so glad I did not do that. Ah speed, that shit will make you crazy.

One day I will tell the story of the three-day-long interview, I was put through that got outta hand. When I think back about it, what a disaster. There was a comment made about my hair. Most of my day was either spent outside or running after housekeeping. Sorry, my hair is massive and messy. (not sorry it’s massive, I like my hair.) Anyway, now I have a whole new opinion about BC tourism businesses with foreign owners. Brutal.

Not trying to wreck my vibe today 🙂 🚬☀️☕️🍉🚶‍

I have short bursts of interaction with people and lots of exercise in between. I love my days right now, perfect for an extroverted empath. I guess I’m starting to like myself again. It’s been a while.

Rail Trail

Rail Trail

I didn’t go to AA. I googled it, stalked/walked by it twice, and saw the meetings coming and going. Nope, not doing it.
I still feel better every day. It sounds so weird. Enjoy it, be thankful for the things I can get done. I got up this morning on a Sunday had coffee, and cleaned my house. And loved it. It’s the simple things you know? It makes me happy. I can go for a swim or walk or both, or sit in the sun on my back deck and listen to music. Or write.

When I was drinking I would never clean the house without my “Oj”. It would get done in two hrs flat. Now it could take me a couple of days. I was a very high-functioning alcoholic. Drive after a few, always. Manage my career, businesses, and kids as a single mom. Yes. Until I didn’t, and I didn’t care. I put so much pressure on myself and all for what? To drink myself to death? No thanks.

The point is, I know what I need to do to stay sober and I’m going to do it. I’m not giving in for anything. That’s how I feel today.
I am going to force myself to do self-care every day. For me, that means physically looking after myself. (eating, sleeping, exercising, working). Then worry about everything else. Living in the present. It sounds so cheesy, but if it keeps me out of those depressing-looking meetings I’m doing it.

My fear of leaving the house is gone, Maybe my dad was right and it was PAWS. My snoring is gone… I used to sound like a train. Smoking and drinking every night. I am absolutely sleeping better. No more intense sleeping medication for anxiety. So weird how I was covering up mental health issues with booze then health issues with medication. No doctor actually told me to stop drinking. I imagine because they knew I’d lie anyway. And drinking is socially acceptable. They were probably gonna go home and knock back a few themselves. I’m still smoking but not killing weed every day like I was. Just doubling down on coffee and walking. Its is working so far 😂

Mail and a Mercedes

Mail and a Mercedes

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.

Carole Leslie

Carole Leslie

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.
Being human.