Life-Changing Apps, The 1980's: Well again and sober now

Taking Emily to Detox

When we lived at Hidey-Hole, Fred and I were active in AA. Well there was a woman who was not able to ever stop drinking and since I was the ‘expert’ I decided we would drive Emily to detox, which was over 2 hours away in Portland. Fred had never done anything like this so I explained all the things that could go wrong and what we would have to do and watch out for. Even though I had called ahead for a bed 

in detox I told Fred there is a 50% chance they will mess that up etc. And that we had to buy a pint of booze to feed Emily during the 2+ hour drive so she would not go into withdrawal/seizures in our car! I explained every possibility….ok I was showing off my knowledge…..and Fred listened carefully.
The ride to detox was a living hell. What with the booze smell coming from the back seat into the nostrils of two recovering alcoholics…….to Emily trying three times to open the back doors of the car while it was moving. She attacked Fred from behind and got a choke hold on his neck, I pried her fingers off and got her settled down.

 Then she began to scream as we drove thru downtown Portland. I think by that time she was beginning to figure out what we were doing with her.

Finally we arrived, pulled into the circular driveway and pulled/carried a very drunk Emily into the admitting room of detox. When the man behind the counter told me they didn’t have a bed for her because she was TOO drunk……..I started climbing over the counter trying to grab the front of his shirt. I was tired.

Then I heard this god-awful scream behind me that quieted even the counter guy. Fred had hold of the back of Emily’s shirt as she kept trying to jump up from the bench and get away out the door. All the while screaming, “We are in a fucking cop-shop! We are in a fucking cop-shop!” Unfortunately two policemen had walked by and she had seen them.

As I watched the sweat pouring down the face of my dear, new husband…. I finally  got detox to take Emily.  I finished the paperwork and I helped Fred wobble out to the car. I offered to drive back home. As he sat slumped in the passenger seat, I got a little testy with him, asking what was wrong? I had told you in detail what might happen on this journey Fred.  Why are you surprized?

He looked at me and said, “Yeah you told me. But you didn’t tell me how it would FEEL.”  I sat there in the booze-smelling car with him and thought about that.  I always relied on my fine-tuned intellect.  I seldom took into consideration how I would FEEL doing what I had decided to do.  I had only used one part of my brain and thrown away the very valuable tool of ‘feelings’ in making good decisions.

I tell you that taught me one of the best life lessons. I have the ability to picture any and all circumstances in all it’s details and how-to’s…..yet I seldom gave any credence to emotions. What emotions would happen? How would it all FEEL? Because all the research and list-making in the world while making a decision is pretty worthless unless I take into consideration my own personal nature and how I may respond to actually doing and living the decision.

Now I tend to take a minute and think past my physical plans and check ‘how will this feel’ for a few minutes. Just to make sure at least I have introduced myself to the possibilities of having emotions while making the change or decision.

Life-Changing Apps, The 1980's: Well again and sober now

Self-Will Run Riot

Not built for self-will run riot

The very first time I got a strong glimpse of how self-will could run riot and how that affected my life, it was raining.

 Well yeah, I lived in Seattle. Anyway, I sat in my car in the driveway really ticked off. I didn’t have my house key to get into my own home because my stupid, selfish new roommate had not made a copy yet … there I sat tapping my high-heeled shoe on the car carpet.

As I fumed, I thought about the fact that I had the right to get into my own home exactly when I wanted to ——I should not have to wait. It wasn’t right. I had plans and did not deserve to have to wait around in the cold car in the rain.

Then I remembered the back sun deck, a story up from the grass in the back yard. I gathered my wool poncho around me, swung my high-heeled feet out into the rain puddles and walked around to the backyard. Perfect. I was sure the sliding glass door off that sundeck was not locked. I pulled the huge plastic garbage can over the sopping wet grass and lined it up under the sundeck. I lifted my right leg onto the garbage can’s wet lid, grabbed the edges of the wooden sundeck floor and began to pull myself up onto the deck so I could get into my own house like I deserved.

I don’t know whether it was the oversized poncho or the extra-high heels I had on, but something began to slip in the pouring rain. I lost my grip on the wooden planks and as my body began to go over backwards…………I thought to myself, “Ah….so this is self-will run riot!” The crack of my ankle and my blood curdling scream brought my new roommate racing around the corner. Oh great! Just in time to drive me to the ER….but not to open the house door.

Ok I will give that experience over to self-will run riot. But it did not run my life very often at all.

Except maybe the summer experience in 1978. My two kids were going to be with their Dad all summer long in California. I had great plans for that summer without kids.  I deserved it; I had a right!  That summer seemed to develop a life of it’s own and it did not follow my plans.  But that is, again, another story for later.

Always a Mom, The 1980's: Well again and sober now

The Brown Paper Bag

On the July 4th weekend that was her 7th birthday, Sarah packed her stuff and drove off with her Dad and brother for a big weekend.

Mom had a quiet time at home and with friends so when they came home on the night of the 6th, we gathered in my room to talk about all the stuff they did.  Her brother went off to his room with a snack but I noticed Sarah still hanging around with her hands behind her back.

“What is it Sarah?”  I asked.  She got tears in her eyes and said, “I brought this brown paper bag to Dad’s to put all my birthday presents in but he forgot my birthday.”  she sobbed.  She held up the wrinkled, many-times folded brown paper bag to show me how empty it was.

Inside me I raged!  Against the thoughtless father……….against my daughter having to experience this heartache…….I wanted to scream out nasty names for the drunk father that forgot everything always!

I bunched my hands into fists to my sides for a second then reached for her and pulled her into my arms.  “Oh baby!” I cried.  “I am so sorry that happened to you.  But Sarah, never bring a brown paper bag with you to put your gifts in.  When you get gifts, you will always find a brown paper bag to bring them home in.  Ok??”

So we just hugged and rocked together, absorbing another life-truth she was learning.

The 1980's: Well again and sober now, Women

Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf

My marriage is based on Virginia Woolf  writings I guess.  Didn’t plan it that way; it’s just that what she wrote or said soooo  fit who I am.

My favorite book by her is “A Room of one’s Own”  from a speech she gave in the early 1920’s.  It caused quite a stir; the men of that society hated it.

Her premise in the book was that each woman should “have a room of her own and six pence”.  What a scandal!  The idea that a woman should have money of her own??  That her husband didn’t control?  I mean in those days women were not even allowed to own property or keep her own money even if inherited.  When she married everything went to her husband.

When I thought of marrying again for the second time I knew that I had to have a room of my own to survive.  I need my alone time; my own space and place.  And the money went without saying.

Luckily I married a very strong man who was ok within himself and understood and didn’t throw a tantrum or ask if he had done something wrong if I told him I was going in my room for 24 hours.

I repair and restore myself by being alone.  Yet I loved this man.  Thank goodness he has similar needs and so 29 years later it is still working.

Thank you Virginia!

She also wrote this:

“Nothing has really happened until it has been described.  So you must write many letters to your family and friends, and keep a diary.”  Pain was relieved and pleasure doubled, by recording it”   . Virginia Woolf