I remember Momma…

My mom passed on November 16th, 2016. Just 35 days before her 82nd birthday. We’ve been back from Texas for about 2 years, living with her, helping to take care of her, etc.  She steadily grew worse over the last 10-11 months. Recently before she passed, we found out that in this time frame she had experienced two mini strokes and a mild heart attack.

shirley-kern
Nan and Leah

This was her with her great-grand baby a little under 6 years ago. She was a vibrant lady. I remember her going out bowling, to dances and everywhere. We took ceramic classes together when I was a ‘tweener. She raised my oldest daughter when I was lost and adrift on a sea of zombie induced heroin addiction.

jenny-1
This is my oldest daughter, Jenn.

She prayed and cried! She packed bags of food and would ride up into Baltimore City with her girlfriend “Marge” to drop off money or food. She would pray and pray and she was able to finally rest every time she accepted the collect call from the jail. She knew I was safe and off the streets! She knew I had enough to eat, had a shower, soap, clean clothes, toothbrush and paste and the glorious 3 hots and a cot.  Then, she could finally sleep through the night.

So would hope against hope that I would get myself together. And eventually I did. Thank God I was done with all that 15 years ago. Toward the end, when the dementia set in, she would call me Juanita. That was her brother, Bud’s wife. Juanita has been gone for a long time.  She would say, “I know you are Barbara, but what happened to Juanita”? Often she would ask, “What day is this?” or “Where is Tia?”-

img_1086
This is her with Tia for her Homecoming in Oct. 2016

she’s my youngest daughter (who is 16).  She always wanted to know where all of my children were.  Oh and even though towards the end of her days, she loved that great grand baby. My oldest daughter, and my brother Lenny and his wife, Jo Ann, well, let’s just say we weren’t her favorites.

She was mean as a snake one minute, and the next minute, she was as happy as a lark.  It was emotionally hard for everyone. I can honestly tell you there were days that I lost my temper! I mean I really lost it. And then I would pray and cry and ask both her and the Lord to forgive me. They always say take the bad with the good, because one day, they’ll be gone.

They were right! I’d love to see her give me the evil stare one more time! One more time, to here her say, “Where’s Juanita?” Or yell or laugh or what ever. I miss her. Alot! We thought we had more time. No one realized that 1 week after they put her on hospice, she would be gone. She was.

img_1118
my babies all grown up

My brother, his wife and my youngest brother Gene, decided it would be good for me to keep her house. My 16 year old could finish out her education in the High School she was going too. But that was a dream. According to the way she wrote her will, everything was to be sold and split between her 3 children, 3 grandchildren and 1 great grand baby. No way around it. So here I sit writing this 33 days after she had passed packing up her stuff and preparing to celebrate Christmas one last time. Surrounded by all of her stuff for 1 more go round.

I have 15 days to move into an apartment. We did get accepted but we still need funds to be able to pay for the electric deposit, rental deposit and the first months rent. I am asking that you send this link around as we are trying to raise funds on “Gofundme.com”

Here’s the link to the Go fund me page

If you can help, please help. If you can’t, please pray, send good thoughts and remember us as well gather for our first holiday without her. Cherish your family, friends, loved ones! Do it now because you don’t know when will be your last time with them. Give them an “I love you” every time you walk out, say good bye over the phone or text!!

Until next time,

Be a Passion Junkie by loving those around you and allowing them to love you.

me
This is THE passion junkie–ME!

How the seasons can impact recovery

Here’s an interesting article on how the changing of the seasons can effect us.

Click here to read the post from “The Addictions Help Center”

every-leaf-is-a-flower

Remember to celebrate the little tiny things that make each day a gift to be opened and enjoyed

Reflections

This deserves a press….what an awesome reflection on a past refection…new pictures of the family at the bottom….We are back in Baltimore Maryland awaiting the next assignment but loving time with all of the family…

ENJOY!

When I look back on the road that I have traveled, I rejoice at the choices that brought me to where I am today. I’ve packed up and moved my household 5 times in my life. Twice we moved to Gastonia…

Source: Reflections

BUILDING A SUPPORT NETWORK

What is a support network? Well, in recovery, it’s a group of people that you incorporate into your day to day to help you remain abstinent. Every person you include can help you deactivate your triggering events, be a person to vent to, cry to, laugh with or whatever.

Remember, who you add is up to you. Sometimes you need to watch and listen before you add ANYONE to your network. Keep this in mind, everyone in treatment or in the rooms may not be serious about recovery!  That’s why you have to watch, listen, screen, ask questions of the person you choose to include.  YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON ADDING WORTHY INDIVIDUALS. And this could include people that you would like to work 12 steps with, to mentor you, spiritual leaders or friends, therapists. . . Any person that you think will add value to your group.

Again, before making these choices, complete a pros and cons list for the people. Act like you are hiring these people. Ask serious questions about their lives and their recovery. Ask how long they have been clean, who is their sponsor or mentor, how are they staying abstinent.

Here is a hand out that you can print and use for building your own group.chart-for-support

And yet again, you can use this one as a guide to create your own flow

mentornetworkmap

Hope this helps…drop me a line!

Save

Save

Coping Skills

We’ve talked about a lot of things…now it’s time to look at triggers and coping skills.  A trigger or triggering event is anything that starts you down the path to a relapse.  The rooms stress changing people, places and things. While that is a good start, it’s not the only things that can trigger an addict in recovery. Smells, objects, a song, a neighborhood, a needle on the ground, a lighter, and the list goes on and on. Don’t forget times of the year, payday, Friday, Christmas, New Year, hell any day really, depending on your mood.

Here are a few lists that you can read through that can help you deactivate your triggers once they go off in your head.

This first sheet is from boys’ town and was pinned on Pinterest (My favorite place)

coping skills from boystown

Hope this helps. Please let me know what you would like to talk about.

TRUST AND RECOVERY

Trust and the recovery process.

It took my oldest daughter years to forgive me for my heroin addiction.  When she was between 6 and 7, I started using morphine (in Baltimore, we call it raw dope). Everything was okay for the first 5 years. Then I started losing jobs and going to jail. As I slipped farther and farther into my addiction, my mother and step-father had to take over the parental role as her guardians’.

While I am thankful for all they did for her, it actually allowed me to slide farther down the rabbit hole. They were my main enablers. They took over the responsibility for her allowing me to run the street and do what I wanted to do.  I knew she was well provided for and I took advantage of their love for her as I steadily got worse.

I didn’t realize the impact that my addiction had on that precious little girl. She was so beautiful and bright! JENNY 4 YEARS OLDI thought that I had done the right thing by letting my parents step in. But in the end, she wanted her mom so desperately and I was unavailable to her. I was dead to all but the call of my lover, the one who numbed all of my pain; heroin.

When we get our lives back, one thing that we cannot do is make up for all those years of hurt and pain. We can only ask for forgiveness. Sometimes it is given freely and sometimes it takes years of hard work to earn back some semblance of trust. Between my daughter and me, well, it took years.  Now, it’s 16 years later and I can say that we have a good relationship.

But, hon, the first 5 years was hell on earth for me. Every time she felt hurt or slighted in any way, she would lash out with the fury of a woman scorned. Her words were weapons, and she was a master at arms. I would try to remain calm, but we all know that sooner or later, when we are reminded of the heinous acts and lack of action, we snap. While we can start at the point of our recovery and try to build from there, don’t expect to earn their trust over night.

teenagers

 We were both raw, sensitive and when the dust cleared, we were both broken and bleeding. The good news is that eventually, we came to an understanding. The knock out, drag out fights happened less and less and a truce arose.  One thing that we both learned was that we were a lot alike. We feel things deeply and powerfully. We know that we can’t talk about things that we disagree on, because that opens the door for war.

She learned over time, that I had really changed. I could be motherly, a shoulder to cry on, a cheerleader, an advocate and someone she could finally trust. I learned that if I needed an ear, she would listen….mostly. She still aggravates me when I call and think she is listening only to find out she’s not. I get mad and hang up. But should she need me, I come a running.

So, yeah, it took years and years of me showing up in our relationship. It took me walking out my recovery before her eyes, in word and deed. I had to put the work in. I had to prove to her that I was worthy of her. Eventually that mother daughter thing took root and began to grow into a beautiful and living thing.hard work from freeimage.net

But make no mistake, I had to earn that trust. Was it easy? Hell to the no it wasn’t easy. Was it worth it? Yes!!! Every argument, every derogatory remark, every knock down drag out, every tear, every “I’m so sorry” all of it. I wouldn’t change one thing about it, because it has made us stronger, better mothers and women in general.

If someone she knows is struggling with addiction, she is confident in my ability to counsel, give advice and just listen. I love that too! I look at it as her ultimate stamp of approval of what I have evolved into…that drill sergeant that can whip a recruit into a lean mean recovery machine. So….this is for my miracle baby that allowed me to gain the trust of those wretched years! This is a tribute to my Jennifer Marie.

JENNY 5
my beautiful Jenn

Because of my kids, I fight on! I show up every day 24/7/365! It’s a lifestyle not a profession. And I fight on for your kids, your moms and dads, husbands and wives as well as your brothers and sisters. I take a stand in the trenches so that one day, you will have the opportunity to gain the trust of all those that prayed and cried over you as you did your dirt.

As always, press in, hang tough and just do it! Until next time.

Let me know what you think!