2018 and What’s Left of It

What a day it’s been. Never mind this year. Today was challenging. There’s stuff happening and I can’t fix them. There’s also things that I can fix so part of what happened today was out of frustration with myself. I won’t go in to detail because that’s my personal business but I can happily report, I chilled the fuck out.

When I think back to this year and where I’m at today, it’s been a roller coaster for sure. My mental health has taken a beating, and still there’s down days, but they’re fewer and farther in between. I’m thankful for that. I wouldn’t wish anxiety and depression on anyone yet I am sure 1000s of people go undiagnosed every day. I think back to a year ago, when I left my job of 4 years and what a mess I was in, refusing to succumb to such a thought. “Me? Depressed? But I’m not! I’m just stressed. I’m not sitting around crying all day.” That’s what my thought of depression was. Little did I know, every symptom I had was exactly what depression is. Hmmph.

I’m ok to talk about it now. I’m not ashamed of it. It was years and years of built up stress, trauma, grief, addiction, shame, guilt, everything!! Pushed down and pushed down until I couldn’t stuff anymore down that it caused me panic attacks before work, shaking, nervousness, headaches, and emotional roller coasters. Add to that a troubled work environment and the thought of my son graduating and leaving home and my husband being at camp, I wonder how I wasn’t hospitalized, seriously. It was madness.

Now, just over a year later, I am the owner of my own business, still doing what I love to do on my terms. I have more time to get things done, in a time that suits me. I’m grateful for my husband’s endless support and love, and for his compassion and patience. I am thankful that my kids were patient too. I was a real asshole some days. Surprise right? Ha. The three of them will read this and probably think, “some days?!”

I had planned to talk of my year but I guess that sums it up. It was eventful to say the least. Mental health issues puts everything into perspective for sure. I am so grateful I can talk about the issues and support those going through similar issues. I get it. Every situation is different and I’m not a medical professional but sometimes just talking shit out helps. I’m thankful I have people in my life who would drop everything to just listen. If I can do that for one person than I will. Sometimes all we need is a friend.

I’m looking forward to 2019 with my eyes and heart wide open. To that, cheers! Let’s make the most of these last weeks of 2018.

Love always,

R

Surrender. You’re Not in Charge.

I can’t sleep. Suddenly so much on my mind, like this blog. I haven’t forgotten about it, I just struggle to write when I’m not in the right frame of mind. Go figure. Can’t sleep, tossing and turning, thinking of all the things that need doing and then I think “perfect time to blog!” It is what is is, I guess.

My husband is at camp, our son at college, our daughter made B honour roll and picked out her grad dress and I’m operating a small business from our home with two dogs by my side all day long. There’s a lot happening these days. A lot of changes happening quickly. Sooner than we’d like, both kids will be out on their own, then it’ll be just me, since Dad is always away at camp, working hard as he always has for us. It’s a lot to take in. Acceptance.

Surrender. I started meditating a few weeks ago now and heard that word during one of the meditations and it really resonated within me. Surrender. Go with the flow. Let life happen as it will. I guess that word ‘surrender’ applies at this moment since I’ve decided to write instead of tossing and turning. That’s a good word to remind myself that it’s ok to surrender and let life happen. Whatever will be will be and it’ll all work out in due time. We are, after all, just along for the ride.

As much as I struggle with our kids growing up, I trust. I remind myself that we’re taken care of by powers greater than ourselves and we’ve done the very best we could do as parents and that any wrongdoings in the past are lessons learned. We’ve grown and learned from our pasts and get to see all the great things the Creator planted before us come to fruition for our kids and us. As much as I get mom-crazy, I know it’s all going to work out. I surrender.

See? Writing is healing. I am tired now. I guess I had something to say even if it makes no sense at 1:30AM. It’ll be ok. Good morning.

R

One of the many Good Vibes I shared on my Facebook business page Warrior Way. Check it out!

Coffee & Sunshine

The sun is coming up and I see it shining on the tops of the bare poplar trees. I hear and smell my coffee brewing. I am still tired from a late night. I didn’t go to bed until 4AM because I napped yesterday afternoon. I really need to stop that, it messes up everything.

It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged but so many words, so little moments to write them. I have to be “in the mood” or right frame of mind to write. Maybe a half-asleep state it is, like now? Who knows. Shrug. Anyway, I love to write. I love putting my thoughts to screen, that’s the cool hip version of paper. Writing is healing for me. I really ought to do it more often. Today just felt right to write.

My coffee is done and that is my cue to end this short but sweet post. I wish you a good and fulfilling day wherever this post finds you. Peace!

R

I’ll even share a selfie. It’s what the cool kids do these days.

A New Year, New Beginnings

Today is my birthday. Or was birthday. It’s almost day 2 of a new year being a new age as a new journey around the sun begins. I had a good day. It’s been a while since I’ve blogged but here I am. Starting this year off right.

I started my own business, so I’ll be busy growing and working that. I found that I love painting rocks so I’m going to make that a priority, too. Our son left to college in September and our daughter is graduating this year so this year will be about change and adjusting. I love writing and that is definitely going to be on the list of things to do also. It’s a gift I have to nurture because it’s helps my healing journey. I’m going to make this year about living simple and with gratitude.

I have so much to be thankful for. I have a good life. I have a loving husband, healthy kids, a roof over my head, clothes, clean water and food. We have our health. We have our sobriety and that is everything. We are living the life our ancestors wanted for us.

I came across this post from The Language of Letting Go and I thought I’d share it. It’s some food for thought going into a new year and a new journey (and it doesn’t just apply to family but everyone and every thing too):

“There are many paths to self-care with families. Some people choose to sever connections with family members for a period of time. Some people choose to stay connected with family members and learn different behaviors. Some disconnect for a time, then return slowly on a different basis.

There is no one or perfect way to deal with members of our family in recovery. It is up to each of us to choose a path that suits us and our needs at each point in time.

The idea that is new to us in recovery is that we can choose. We can set the boundaries we need to set with family members. We can choose a path that works for us, without guilt and obligation or undue influence from any source, including recovery professionals.

Our goal is to detach in love with family members. Our goal is to be able to take care of ourselves, love ourselves, and live healthy lives despite what family members do or don’t do. We decide what boundaries or decisions are necessary to do this.

It’s okay to say no to our families when that is what we want. It’s okay to say yes to our families if that feels right. It’s okay to call time-out and it’s okay to go back as a different person.”

I look forward to this new journey and the year ahead, free of the past with nothing but sunshine on the horizon. I will make it a good one that’s for sure. Let’s do this!

Peace!

R

I’m Sorry for What I Said During Election Time

An apology is owed.

IMG_1332

I have said many things and participated and done many things that have played a part in the negativity and division in and around our community. I want to apologize for my part. I do not speak on behalf of anyone but myself – not my family, friends or acquaintances. I am responsible for my actions and for that I apologize.

I have thought about this for the last little while, since the forum really, and have gone back and forth about whether to even bother with this post but for my own peace, I am saying sorry for my part in all of it. Sorry to anyone I hurt, affected, or who felt bullied and harmed by my words and/or actions. I am sorry.

IMG_1331

There is no excuse for my actions and words. I can’t take back what I said. In the moment, I meant them. I had to have; I don’t just randomly say things for nothing. I was angry, frustrated, resentful and outraged at the actions of people and events, but in looking back, it was more than anything they’ve done. It’s many things piled up over time but again, no excuses, I said them and I meant them. What kind of apology is that you ask? I said them and meant that at the time, BUT I could have handled things differently. I didn’t have to go online or talk shit about people with people.

Do I hate the things that go on in our community? Yes. Do I dislike some people and/or their actions? Yes. Do I disagree with council actions and outcomes? Yes. Do I have a right to hurt others privately or publicly? No. I have said hurtful things and really, none of it should have gone further than my own thoughts. I can feel things, even think things but I don’t have a right to post them about or say them out loud. Why pass on my shit to others? Why put that negativity on anyone? Why do I think others need to hear my thoughts about so and so and what they’re doing or not doing? Why is my opinion the right opinion? It’s not and I know that. I have the right to feel the way I want about issues in our community, but I do not have the right to hurt others with my words or actions. I was foolish for taking sides and believing that what I was saying and doing was ok. It was never ok.

I believe people have the right to stand up for themselves but how you do it is something else. I could have handled things differently. This apology and post is in no way saying we should accept things the way they are if we don’t like them. What I’m saying is, there are better ways to deal with them and make our voices heard. It’s also up to us to decide how much energy we want to put in things that could possibly never change. It’s all about thinking things through. Something I’ve not done clearly, obviously.

I’m not sure if I’m being clear because I don’t want to try to justify an apology or excuses for my behavior, words and/or actions. I’m saying sorry because I know what I said and done was wrong. That is not who I am. I’m not a hateful person nor am I willing to waste any more time or energy on politics and other issues that are not my business or that do not have a direct impact on my life. What people do with their lives is none of my business. My focus is my life and my family. All the other stuff is secondary and is not owed my time, attention or energy. Politics will always be a hot topic in our communities and frankly, nothing will change. So, that being said, I’m letting go and moving forward. Releasing the beast that is politics and other related issues.

IMG_1334

The saying rings true: if we want respect, we must give it. I know that’s easier said than done especially when it comes to rez politics but it is what it is – people vote, people get elected, people are happy or complain and then it happens all over again come next election time. I remember reading a Facebook memory of mine and it said: “I have a deeper appreciation for those who serve on Council because I can now say I know what it’s like.” Well, come election time, those thoughts were lost on me but the reminder prompted in me, the right thing to do. Apologize. Thank you for your service, Councillors. We may not see eye to eye on things but you did the best you could, just as we all are. I wish the next council luck and success, too.

I don’t expect people to forgive and forget or even accept my apology but so long as I clear my head and heart of the wrongs I’ve done against others, that is all I can do to make things right in myself. I’ve come too far in my life, my journey, my healing to allow hatred, negativity and my opinion to hurt others and get the best of me. I can and will control how I voice my concerns. Sure, things slip, I get heated, I forget but these little reminders of who I am pop back up and remind me to do the right thing. I know who I am and that is not who I was raised to be. Love life and it will love you back, even if you don’t agree with people, places and things.

Mahsi.

Renee

Treatment and How to Get There

Reading this post may help you or a loved one get the help they need or want.

It’s been 9 years since I went to Kakawis Family Development Center on Vancouver Island. Some years after I completed the program, the center moved and changed their name and now they’re in Port Alberni, operating under Kackaamin Family Development Center. From what I’ve heard, the program still operates a great family program and some of the same great staff is there but I couldn’t tell you for sure, as I’ve not been there myself.

I woke up a night after partying in early 2009 and realized I didn’t know how I got home due to a black out so that was it, plus I was tired of doing the same shitty things to my kids, partner and parents. I was getting older and had no real life plans, I just existed, and that was no life at all. Of course, specifics are more blurred now because of time, but I got in touch with a counselor and said I was ready to go to treatment. Knowing full well, “just quitting”, was impossible. I tried lots of things, like an in-community treatment program, moderation, stopping cold turkey and yet nothing helped me.

Fast forward to the day I left with the kids in my car, headed south to the island, with lots of fun stops along the way, trying to stay positive for them and not talk myself out of turning back around. There were so many things going on in my head like change, fear, unknown, strangers, different people, places and things, missing the party, my kids’ feelings, and everything else under the sun. You name it, I felt it, but away we went. We made it a few days later and soon enough we were there.

After 6 weeks, several of my family members came to greet us at Kakawis for our graduation ceremony and I tell you, it was the most emotional day of the whole program. Leaving my treatment community to come home to the same things, people and places that I left to get sober was scary and parts of me didn’t want to leave the safety and security of my sober family. I did, though, and my family went on a little vacation to Victoria for a few days before heading home and well, the rest is history. In 2010, my husband sobered up and we’ve never looked back. Our kids deserve so much better than what we’d started them off with.

“I woke up a night after partying in early 2009 and realized I didn’t know how I got home due to a black out so that was it, plus I was tired of doing the same shitty things to my kids, partner and parents. I was getting older and had no real life plans, I just existed, and that was no life at all.”

Ok, so the actual reason why you read this post; getting to treatment. What do you need to do?

Like I said, my memory is vague but with the help of Lynda Gwynn, I came up with this list of things you need to do to get yourself to treatment:

  1. Decide you want to go to a treatment center. I’m sure there are many across Canada, but for the sake of this post, I’m focusing on centers in British Columbia. Here’s a link to some centers in BC. Do a bit of research on them to decide where you want to go, keeping in mind that status medical pays for some and not for others. Decide if you want to go alone or if you want to take your kids, like I did. There’s a lot to consider and it will seem overwhelming but remember the end goal and how worth it will be.
  2. Once you’ve come up with some ideas of places you’d like to go, discuss this with a counselor. You will need a counselor to complete the center’s treatment application process. If you don’t have access to internet or a computer, you can discuss best options with a counselor, too. Libraries have free computer use, too.
  3. According the most treatment applications, you must have at least 6 sessions with a counselor before attending the center and many like you to be drug and alcohol-free for at least 2 weeks but it could be longer depending on each center’s requirements.
  4. As part of the application process, you will also need to get TB testing done. This can be done at your local clinic or health center if there’s a RN available.
  5. Once your entire medical is done and your family doctor completes their portion of the application, you and your counselor can send off the paper work. In most cases, the counselor will fax it off for you.
  6. Now you wait. You wait for an intake date from the center.
  7. Once you’ve been accepted to a center, you can plan your personal and family affairs accordingly. Ensure finances are in order, that bills will be paid while you’re away, and that you have a few dollars for any items you may need. Talk to your Nation’s patient travel to secure funding to travel to and from the center. Talk to Social Assistance to see how they can assist, too. I’m not sure how that works but your counselor may be able to provide more around that.
  8. Now you wait some more. Ensure all your sessions are completed before going to treatment, that you’ve abstained from drinking and drugs and that you’ve got all your affairs in order, so that when you pack up and go, you’re all ready. The time between you getting your intake date and the time you actually leave your community can be trying, hard and scary. You have a lot of time to talk yourself out of going, so find sober family and friends who will support and encourage your healthy choices. Of course that is always easier said than done but remember the end goal; you made this step for a reason, you want to be sober and healthy.
  9. You can and will complete treatment! Remember how good it will feel to be free of addiction. Remember how sick you were the last time you got wasted or high disgusted you felt after that high. Remember how impacted your kids are. Remember the end goal – You! Sober! You can do it!

Lastly, remember you are worth it. Our kids are worth it. Life is worth it. Life is too short to live in misery and drown in addiction. We’ve lost countless loved ones and friends because of alcohol and/or drugs and I choose not to be a statistic. I choose life. I want to live. I hope you do, too.

In good faith and healing,

Renee

 

Oh, wait! There’s more. Talk to other community members who went to treatment. More often than not, members are happy to help and tell their story if it means helping someone else have what they have or who are working to improve their life. I get healing from telling my story, so thank you for asking. I wish you well.

A Reminder for You and Me

Some reminders for living life…

  1. Step up.
  2. Shut up. If it’s not your business, don’t involve yourself.
  3. Again, when you want to speak up about things that are not your business, don’t.
  4. Stay off Facebook.
  5. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
  6. Creator is always watching. Yup, that thing you did last weekend…he was watching.
  7. Be yourself.
  8. Life is short. As cliche as it is, it’s true. Today could be our last day, who knows?
  9. Tell the ones you love, that you love them because see #8. Also, do one better – show them with your time and attention.
  10. Let go of people, places and things that serve you no purpose. See gif. You can do it, Brucey! I believe in you.

giphy

Have a super day. Treat yourself.

R