Monday, December 31, 2012

Finding Inner Peace

Armed with the latest revisions to my common sense boundary agreement, I walked into my counselor’s office wanting her opinion to make sure I was being fair to Devin and myself.

The last few months in our home have become increasingly difficult and I have used all of the recovery tools I have at my disposal but still, my patience was wearing thin and I needed help finding my inner peace, detaching with love, and focusing on me.

Instead, I found I was engaging in petty arguments, worried about the mess in the spare room again, the papers in the bedroom, his hobby.  I couldn’t let go.

I knew resentment was building within me as he sold one item then bought another.  I felt the anger within me rise when he would bring home more DVDs or books or magazines and put them in the spare room then speak of money woes.

I wanted to set boundaries on transparency about his spending habits and broken promises about cleaning up the clutter, which is becoming a mess again.  My counselor quickly advised me against it once I told her about the purchases in greater detail.

Our last session with her had been a marriage counseling session.  Devin and I were able to discuss what I had just dumped in her lap and she had already seen pictures I had taken of the spare room and our bedroom.  While we were both in the session, Devin said he could see how the spending could become a problem but didn’t think it was at this time.  He could see procrastinating getting the rooms cleaned up becoming a problem but didn’t think it was at this time.  Sunshine and rainbows.

My counselor said the words I’ve said on here countless times and it has boggled my mind ever since she said them: "Denial" and "Shifted Addiction".  I knew it already but I suppose when it comes out of a professional’s mouth, well, it becomes real.  She feels he is having a problem living sober, like a dry drunk.  Without a good recovery in place he’s lost and has shifted his addiction and may be, Dear God this pains me to write but I know he can get help, OCD with the beginning signs of hoarding.  It’s attributed to depression, ADD, and FOO issues – all of which he has.  She feels he is in a precarious place right now.

The good news?  He started a medication last week and our counselor thinks this may help with the OCD in conjunction with his recovery.  She asked me to give him a few months before I make any decisions and that is what I will do. 

I will continue to go to counseling and my S-Anon meetings.  I will focus on my recovery work.  I will write my novel and work on not feeling guilty for not being able to work.  I will allow myself ME time.  I will continue to love Devin and remember I am not responsible for his recovery and I am free to leave at anytime if it doesn’t improve. 

As of now, I am finding my inner peace again, I am finding laughter and joy with my kids and with Devin, I am reaching out to friends and remembering, it’s one day at a time.  Progress, not perfection. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Slim Dyson Rides the Party Bus (Contest)

Today is the day to vote over at A Beer For The Shower on the Party Like Slim Dyson Contest I entered.  Please swing by and take a look at the other entries, they are quite good and I hope I can get earn your vote.

****REPOST FOR THE CONTEST (I have no shame)******
I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.  It was challenging taking on several of their characters but meh, why not?

For the Slim Dyson novel, The Sensationally Absurd Life and Times of Slim Dyson, click the link.  It's only $2.99 on Amazon and I'll be buying it the moment I wake up!  Check out Bryan on the cover!


I met Slim where he was staying at The West Chin Hotel in downtown Denver until he left for Hollywood.  I don’t know how he could afford this place, even being a millionaire.  They opened the door for me and I was glad I took the time to put on some mascara, eyeliner and lipstick someone threw away in the bathroom at the Diamond Shamrock.  People could be so wasteful sometimes. This makeup looked fabulous on me and once I wiped off the white film on the outside of the eyeliner and the mascara, they worked just fine.  Although it made my eyes itchy.  They were some nice folks at that Diamond Shamrock.  They even put a wooden block on the key to the bathroom so you wouldn’t lose it.

“Are you ready Slim?” I asked.

“Yes, ma’am. Thank you for this day out, Diane. I needed it.” Slim said.  Slim reached into his pocket and pulled out some nickels for the doorman and put it into the doorman’s gloved hand.  The doorman said, “No need, Mr. Dyson, your gratuities are included.”  The doorman quickly dropped the money back into Slim’s hand.  He was such a gentleman, Slim was, Emmy was a lucky gal. 

Slim was the nicest person I had ever met.  I had been on the streets for a year before I meet him and he took me under his wing.  I was really sad to see him go, but happy for his newfound fame.

I heard the doorman clearing his throat as we were walking away.  I looked back and saw him wiping his hands on his pants.  Poor doorman, he must be concerned about the flu.  I had heard at the shelter it was bad this winter.

We hoofed it towards the 16th Street Mall and talked about his stay at West Chin Hotel.  He said he liked it but he missed the comfortable green cots of the shelter and he wished he could bring one of those cots to West Chin Hotel.  He said that bed was like being strangled every night it was so soft.

 I asked about his shindig two nights ago.  They had thrown him some kind of publicity party.  Slim didn’t like to brag but rumor had it he met Sandra Bernhard and she wanted to take him home that night. “No thanks,” he had told her, “I already have a home at the shelter.” He also met Norm MacDonald, star of some new sitcom about fancy cars. I kept seeing the previews on the televisions through Everything Must Go Now's storefront window.  
I had planned the perfect surprise party.  All of Slim’s buddies from the shelter were going to meet on the 16th Street Mall Ride bus, ride it a few loops for old times sake and then present him with his going away gift.  We’d stay warm, we’d be able to gather the food left behind by the passengers because, golly, they left behind some of the best things!  Auntie Anne’s was my personal favorite along with the Starbucks coffee.  It was perfect.

The bus arrived, packed with holiday shoppers, and we boarded.  People were polite and gave us plenty of room as we made our way to the back of the bus.  I could tell the holiday spirit was setting in from the way people scooted in to be sure to give me space and I wasn’t even carrying my second duffel bag that day.  Although they must have had someone in front wearing to much perfume because I noticed some people were holding their noses as I walked by.  

I was going to have to make an exit from the festivities from our surprise party  to take me to the Visitor’s Center to visit our friend Jenny.  She could tell me if Officer Scronhole was on patrol today.  He liked to hop on the bus every so often and look for any regular riders to make sure they weren’t overextending our stay.  Jenny had been at our shelter for a short time and always informed us if he was on duty that day. I brought along some rolls and Jello wrapped in a napkin, her favorite, as a way to say thank you.

As I watched Slim walk towards the back of the bus, I realized how much I was really going to miss him.  He gave me my green Army jacket, the one he got after Milty died from that bad oyster he found in the dumpster behind the I-Hop.  Slim told Milty not to eat it because he didn’t think it was really an oyster but Milty didn’t listen.  The oyster wasn’t even in a shell, it was wadded up in a paper napkin.  Milty ended up dead soon after.  Since Slim was the one with Milty when he died, he got dibs to go through his stuff before the medics arrived.  If I remember right, Milty even had a pair of Keds that only had one hole in them.  Slim gave those to Martha.

“Stringbean! Crazy Al! Martha!” Slim exclaimed, as he worked his way towards the back of the bus.

“Shut the hell up and sit down!” Yelled the bus driver.  The poor man must have had a heck of a day driving the relentless loop back and forth past the mall, I figured.  It took mall shoppers up and down 16th street all day long.  The bus driver didn’t even charge us when we got on the bus.

That’s how nice all these bus drivers were, they let the passengers ride for free every single day. We even got to choose from four buses so when the driver got tired of seeing the same faces he could ask us to leave and we could get on another bus to visit all the fountains to take our quick baths and get some fresh water and some spare change, as long as it was nearing the police officer’s shift change of course.

“Sit down!”  He yelled again and put the bus quickly into gear throwing us into our seats.

“Yes, sir.” I said, hoping he would know we meant no harm.  We were crowded in back there.  All of us in our winter’s finest from the local Salvation Army or Goodwill.  We had agreed to get dressed up for Slim’s big day.

The next stop, I quickly got off and let Slim know he had a surprise coming and I’d be on the next the time the bus made the quick loop.  He seemed more than happy to stay on the bus and catch up with his old friends.

I found Jenny at the Visitor’s Center and she assured me Officer Scronhole was not on duty that day and the officers were busy with shoplifters and loiterers so we had nothing to worry about as long as we kept it down. 

I reached into my coat pocket and pulled out my package and carefully unwrapped it. I saw the Jello had seeped into the rolls and held back tears but Jenny exclaimed, “My favorite!” and reached across the counter to give me a big hug. Behind me someone cleared their throat and I knew I had to let Jenny get back to work.

I waited about fifteen minutes and Slim’s bus arrived and I boarded along with fourteen more of our friends.  We had kept our distance outside but once on the bus, we hugged and began catching up with one another as if we hadn’t seen each other in weeks instead of just a few days.  You never knew who was going to make it into the shelter or who was going to sleep by a bon fire. My excitement grew and so did Slim’s.  He exclaimed each and every person’s name as he saw them.  The surprise party was going splendidly.

“Keep it down, people.  I’m trying to think up here for Christ’s sake!”  Yelled the grey-haired driver, running his fingers through his balding hair and yanking his ball cap back down on his head.  I watched as he pulled some type of radio device from the wall of the bus and spoke into it before moving forward in his lamp-lit lane.

As the bus hit several more stops, I noticed more and more people beginning to exit from the front and wondered if there was another party in the mall we were missing.  Soon, it was our very own party bus except a lady or two up front. 

“Slim, you want some tunes?” Crazy Al asked.

“I would be honored, dear sir.” Slim said, bowing deeply.

“Hit it, Stringbean.” Crazy Al said, looking over at Stringbean who was busy cuddling up to Martha and looking a bit unsteady.  Stringbean pulled himself away, cleared his throat and started snapping his fingers, nodding his head, tapping his toes and soon, Crazy Al joined in suit along with Martha who hummed a low tune.

Just then, the bus stopped and another round of passengers embarked onto the bus, including none other than Ms. Emmy herself, being assisted by her friend, Elsie. Emmy was wearing a beautiful, purple dress that showed off her well-rounded figure.  Elsie was, as always, looking sexy as hell.

“Emmy!”  Slim shouted from the back of the bus and began running towards her.  Cheering erupted from the back of the bus.

“Hey, freak in the stained Armani suit, shut the fuck up.  If I have to tell you again, I’m kicking you and all your nasty friends off the bus.  You’re scaring what’s left of my decent passengers.”  The bus driver yelled.

I began taking a head count and came up with twenty-six people.  We were a full house.  We should have had twenty-seven but Amelia declined saying she had to attend mass or something, I couldn’t recall but it had to do with holy hell.  She curses a lot like the bus driver so she’s hard to listen to and I tune her out sometimes.

When I knew everyone was onboard the bus, I stood up and began to make the special announcement about the gift we had gotten Slim.  We had pooled together our money and gotten him such a wonderful, thoughtful gift; we knew he would love it more than anything he would get in California.

As I began to speak, I felt a tap against my leg and saw the Moonshine Crazy Carl likes to make had already begun to make it’s rounds and I gave Herschel, our resident drunk, a sharp glance, then noticed many of our friends were already quite drunk themselves and gave him a kick in the leg and told him to hide it.  I didn’t want the bus driver to see it and kick us off the bus.

“Oooooh Suuuusaaassssaaaannnaaaahhhh, don’t you cry for meeeeeeaaahhhh”  Stringbean sang with all his might.  I could tell he was drunk too.

Slim was clapping and smiling and so were the rest of the gang who joined in on the chorus.  It was getting loud on Bus Number 337.

Suddenly, I heard a scream from the front of the bus.

“Don’t touch me you smelly, wretched beast!”  A woman in the front of the bus yelled, clutching her oversized yellow pocketbook.  Her face was scrunched in a look of pure disgust.

Again, the bus driver was on that radio device but this time he looked a bit frantic and he pulled the bus over to the side of the road.

“I’ve had it!  You filthy animals ride my bus for hours on end, round and round and round, now you use it as some kind of party bus?  You make me sick.  Denver doesn’t provide this for you drunken hobos, it’s for shoppers of the mall!  Get away from her, you disgusting pig before I kick your ass.”

“Sir, her phone was on the floor, I just wanted to give it back to her.” Said Parlie, named after the cigarette always tucked behind his ear but never smoked.  It was worn and tattered, just like him. He looked hurt and confused as he walked towards the rest of us, who were also very confused, some were drunk, but still confused.  We may be homeless but we weren’t crooks and most of the time, we weren’t drunks either.  We appreciated everything given to us.

“Sir,” Slim began. “I assure you, we mean no ill will.  We are just getting together for old time’s sake.  I’m leaving for Hollywood and I’m a successful, published writer.  My friends wanted to say one last goodbye before I leave them, that’s all.  If there’s anything I can do to make things better?”  Slim began to take several steps forward, his hands out to show he meant no harm.

“One more step, asshole,” In an instant the bus driver pulled out a gun from his waistband and held it pointed at Slim, then unsteadily waved it at all twenty-six of us.  “The cops are on their way. Don’t move.”

At the jail, Slim finally got what we wanted to give him, what we managed to pool our money together for, all $3.52 of it.
Even better, we all got served a hot meal and they let us spend the night together like the good old days!  Fame really does have it’s perks.


“Sebastian?  Sebastian Sellers, the famous director, is that really you?” Slim called, as he walked past the last holding cell after we’d all been released the following morning.

“Slim!  Get me outta here!  I’m supposed to be on set!  I didn’t steal anything from Brookstone, I swear!”  Sebastian pleaded through the metal bars.
What do you guys think of my cool, new banner over at my other blog?  It was designed by none other than my dear friend Dezz.  He surprised me on Friday and nearly moved me to tears with such a beautiful and giving gesture.  Thank you, Dezz, you are one of a kind!

Today is the day to vote over at A Beer For The Shower on the Party Like Slim Dyson Contest I entered.  Please swing by and take a look at the other entries, they are quite good and I hope I can get earn your vote.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Slap on the Wrist

I deserve a good ol' slap on the wrist.  I've been lax in enforcing my common sense boundaries and yet I speak of the importance of boundaries all the time.  I speak of the importance of setting the boundaries  to keep yourself feeling safe, not as a way of punishing the addict.  I speak of setting a reasonable, enforceable consequence for the addict and while it may be difficult in the home once enforced; it's not impossible.  These are things my rockin' counselor was proud of me for setting into place, both in my original Boundary Agreement and in my common sense boundary agreement.

Yet, my common sense boundary agreement has managed to become outdated, collect dust and now, I'm ashamed to say, I've even allowed a boundary to be breached without consequence.  Anyone dealing with an addict knows it only confuses the situation and when the boundary agreement is enforced once again, things can become ugly, which is what they became over the last week or so in my home.

The original violation was Devin not telling me he working with a female as soon as it happened.  The way he told me was half ass at best and rather than fight about it, I decided to find out how long they'd been working together.  I fell into the roll of investigator.  He answered the questions honestly and his reward?  No consequence.  The problem?  He should have had a consequence for not being open and honest.  The co-worker didn't work there for a day or two; it has been months.  That's not being transparent and goes against our Boundary Agreement in a big way and I allowed to let it slide.

Why?  It was in the midst of Disclosure Week and I mentally couldn't handle it.  I know that now, but it's still not a valid excuse.  I should have been strong enough to stand by my Boundary Agreement.

The next violation was a simple one.  He missed his check-in text.  Oh, c'mon, Elsie, really?  A check-in text?  How tight is this leash?  It's a text to let me know he's at work. It provides me assurance which is his job in our marriage now.  It's two-fold; it alleviates the whole, "hey, I don't have another dead husband" thought from forming and the "hey, he's not off cheating on me" again thought from forming.

That one I enforced last Wednesday and let him know it was being enforced once I heard from him later on; he was not pleased.  The best way to describe it is having a child who is grounded but has the ability not to come home?  I put a question mark because that's not quite right.  He came home, but he just had a lot of Christmas shopping to do during the duration of his consequence. It was typical conflict avoidance or in this case consequence avoidance.

 If it weren't for the fact that it just happened, I'd laugh.  If it weren't for the fact that we just had a  rough, albeit productive, counseling session last night, I'd laugh.

I do know it's gotten my ass in gear to rewrite my common sense BA.

Let the slapping begin!

Ow!  I said wrist, damn you people are mean!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Forgiveness & A Strong Heart

It was a long rough path to find my way towards finding forgiveness.  It's something I've written about before and I find it's still a work in progress for me.  I sway in the breeze of forgiveness both for myself and for Devin.  I still find anger at people for small things they might do, promises they may make in passing and then fail to keep.  My expectations can be held to high at times.  I've had to examine the reasons why I've allowed them to become this way.  Why I've allowed myself to be let down by others time and time again.  When a person says they are a friend but then their actions show me otherwise.  I must learn to release that anger, to forgive, to let go.  Once I do that, I can find that place of compassion for them as I did for myself and Devin and even the affair parters.

Finding forgiveness replaces those feelings of anger, resentment, hatred and bitterness with peace, empathy and love.  It's like a breath of fresh air after having lived in such a deep turmoil for so long.  At least it was for me.

I saw this floating around Facebook today and I thought, hell yeah, I'm strong.  I may have had a rough trigger the other day but I am one tough chick.  I have been hurt like nobody's business and now I appreciate my marriage even more and so does Devin.  We are by each other's side this weekend making sure we are replacing the crappy memories from disclosure week with better memories.  

After his doctor appointment yesterday, we went out to lunch and then went Christmas shopping and then spent the afternoon wrapping gifts and watching movies.  Today we took the kids out to lunch and he fixed the key fob on my car - Go Him!  On tap for tomorrow - duh...Football!!!  

As for our anniversary - we haven't gotten that far yet.....

Monday, December 3, 2012

Tools in my Toolbox

I walked into the familiar room and began setting up.  The smell of stale coffee hung in the air, paperwork from yesterday’s meeting from a different group laid upon the table.  I picked it up and placed it neatly back in it’s display rack for them.  I grabbed our group’s cloth bag and walked over to the small wooden table located in the center of the room.  The table was surrounded by a tiny, worn loveseat, a matching equally worn chair and half dozen metal chairs.

I laid out the brochures, as I had done week after week, month after month, adding to the stacks as our little S-Anon group had grown in size, and one brochure caught my eye.  It was about a sponsoring and being sponsored.  I picked it up and re-read it. 

I ran through its message in my mind about paying it forward, being a service to others and allowing others to be a service to you.  One person helping another person. Being instruments of God and being a helpful tool in someone’s toolbox.   

As I read through the literature again, the door opened and a new person walked through.  I welcomed her, showed her the brochures and listened to her story until other members arrived and we began our meeting.  The topic for the meeting was taken from the daily reader: the gift of sponsorship, the gift of service, the gift of having tools in your toolbox.

I shared that I had just been reading through sponsorship material before the meeting started and as I spoke I realized that wasn’t what I was meant to be sharing.  I knew I was meant to share my need for my tools in my toolbox instead.  That although I was one of the veteran members of the group, I still had a need to reach into my toolbox and use those tools; my sense of humor, my blog, a journal entry, phone calls to S-Anon members, service work, prayer, talking to Devin, Affirmation Cards, Steps, just to name a few, when my life became unmanageable because of triggers.

I had become complacent and hadn’t set up my own precautions for the upcoming passing of the two-year mark since my Disclosure Week. I have changed that now and I will keep working on not becoming complacent again.  I reached out to friends, family, God and most of all, Devin.  We spent another weekend communicating by our chiminea.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

How Do You Unplant A Seed?

How do you unplant a seed?  One that has already grown roots into well-nurtured grounds?  The roots extend so deeply that the plant sprouts it’s festering, annoying twigs and twines in the cracks and crevices of the most dark and unexpected places.  Loving care to the topsoil has been applied.  It’s been cultivated and tilled.  It’s even begun to show signs of new life as flowers of beautiful new color begin to bloom.  Yet, unexpectedly and without warning, up springs the weeds of doubt and fear.  Strangling the flowers, bringing the flowers of hope to their knees.  Causing them to cry out in pain, causing their heartbeat to flutter ceaselessly.  Tears of panic dampen the soil giving the weeds a chance to spread and grow.  Relational PTSD has left its mark on the flower’s leaves.  The hurtful words will not darken the sky. The unknowns on the screen will not cause old fears.  The flowers reach for the sun, breaking the hold of the trigger.  Blooming they become stronger, prettier, healthier than ever before.

November 26, 2012.  Trigger. Prompted from argument/text from guy crossing boundaries

Background info 

(As always, I understand it can be difficult to find the right words to comment on a post like this, no worries.)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

My Gratitude List

My Gratitude List

God; I know I am never alone even during dark times

Our children; my inspiration and they continue to make me proud

My husband; my soul mate, lover, best friend, confidant

My health; while it’s not the best, it could always be worse

Our home; not a mansion but it’s filled with love and light

Living near the beach; My place of serenity

Writing; the ability to put my thoughts into words

My program; it’s helped me learn and heal

Having a sense of humor; I am blessed to see humor when others do not

Being together with my family; soon this will no longer be possible

Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends!  I’ll be cooking and enjoying time with my family, I hope you’ll be doing the same.