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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Have a super day. Treat yourself.

R

Monday Vibes

It’s a Monday morning and just Jonni, Cash and I are home. Laundry laundering, windows open, fan running, hot coffee in my cup and I am grateful. Although things seem to be a bit of a struggle right now, we’re going to be ok. We have a good life and I sometimes forget that. We are ok.

The hubby and kids are at work and I wanted to share this short post with you. In the happenings of life, things sometimes become overwhelming and chaotic and we get stressed or worried, but I believe they all work out for the best. We’re always taken care of.

As I mentioned previously, I’ve not been one for socializing but seeing my cousin Crystal’s kids Nevada, Slim and Korianka after a few weeks makes everything better again. They remind me how loved I am and how happy life is. They come running every time I go to their house yelling out my name and giving me hugs, and just say the best things to make me feel happy inside my heart and head. I love those kids. Kids are great. Kids remind us how carefree life should be and how much happiness there is in this world. Mahsi, kids.

Yesterday, I got to go boating with Jason, Crystal, Greg and Ashton courtesy of Jason and Crystal. We spent a few good hours on the river just miles from our homes and it was everything I needed to refresh my outlook on life. No worries. No stress. Just beauty. Thank you, Jason and Crystal. I love you guys. I really needed that and as always, Creator took care of it. I appreciate you both.

Check out this short video I made of our day.

Have a good one, friends.

Renee

Stop This Crazy Train, I Want to Get Off

Stop this crazy train I want to get off. This post is long overdue. I’ve not been myself for a very long time, or at least that’s the way it feels. Aging is hard. Life with teens is hard. Being happily married is hard. Shit is hard or so it seems. In reality, it’s only hard because I’ve not been myself as I mentioned.

I know, I know many people have it far worse than I do and that’s why I should shut the fuck up and be grateful. Don’t get me wrong; I’m so completely grateful for every day, my life, and my family, all of it. It’s just hard to deal with when you’re not feeling yourself and I’m not afraid to admit that. Sure, it’s selfish but that’s ok too. I’ve come to a place in my life where I need to be selfish. I need to take care of me first, so I don’t go completely off the deep end. Cue the crazy train.

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I’m not sure when or where it started but one day I felt good, the next I felt ‘off’. Misery. Whatever you heard about misery loving company is a lie. I hate people. I hate noise. I hate people, places and things. I just want to be left alone. I’m not even joking. Socializing makes me sick. Who knew that was even possible right? Well, now I know. It’s been a while since I’ve felt like this. There were days where I felt literally crazy, like I was losing my mind, scared of what was happening to me. This is not the Renee I know. Oh but it is, naïve Renee. It is fully and completely you and you are ok, I learn to tell myself that after many days and months of feeling like shit.

Why am I telling you this? Why should you care? You don’t have to care and I don’t have to tell you but if I’ve learned anything about healing, it’s that talking about it helps and who knows? I just might be helping others to learn about themselves, too. I learned that these feelings, anxiety and depression happen to everyone and I’m not unique by any means. Shit right? We all want to be ‘the one’ hey? Well, tough shit.

If I could pinpoint a time when this started, it would be way back when I worked at my previous employer. That being said, it could have been earlier and just not noticed, so there’s no real way to say for sure. Anyway, I was in the shower one day getting ready for work when I felt like I couldn’t breathe suddenly, like the lights started to go out and my heart rate increased at a rapid pace. That morning I went to the emergency room just to be safe and learned I had a panic attack. What? Where the hell did that come from? I felt fine, though!? I was only getting ready for my usual day. What I didn’t know or understand at the time was that my work environment was causing this stress. Naturally, I blamed myself at first until a really awesome and supportive doctor helped me to understand that it was indeed linked to work and it wasn’t my fault. It just so happened that every morning before work I’d feel ‘funny or off’ but I didn’t realize that until much later and by talking these events through with medical and mental health professionals. Ok, so all better right? Nope.

Add the much earlier passing of my Grandma, my son’s graduation, his pending college departure, leaving a job I enjoyed and financial security, taking on two puppies, financial burdens, losing so many loved ones in such a short period of time, and I ask myself, how did I actually not go completely off the deep end? Thankfully I didn’t and I got help in time. I took care of my health and took time to recover. Some days I slept for two to three hours and would still get seven to eight hours of sleep at night. Even up until recently, I still felt ‘off’ and out of sorts but with talking to great supports, I am feeling alive again. That’s not to say, I won’t get in those funks again because it’s possible. Anything is possible, one day at a time, though. Focus on the good.

So what’s my point? My point is that I believe many people suffer in silence. I believe we need to take better care of our mental health. If we break something, we go to a doctor. If our hearts are broken a hundred times, we don’t. We ought to. If you repeatedly hurt or break something in some way, there’s going to be serious damage and sometimes we can’t see that damage but it’s there and it hurts us in other ways like what I mentioned above. Depression kills. Stress kills. Pain kills. Suffering kills. We’ve lost so many people in our community that it’s impossible for everyone to be perfectly ok. That alone is enough to do serious damage to our people and I think that’s prevalent if you just look around. Today, I am ok but I still have deep wounds that need healing, too. Remember, you’re worth it. You matter and your mental health is just as important as any physical health issues. It hurts to look deep inside and open old wounds but what’s on the other side is nothing short of beautiful. We are worth it.

Today, I choose to enjoy this beautiful day and live life on my terms. I’m not crazy, just dealing with healing, that’s all.

 

Renee

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