To the Man Who Broke Me

I saw you.

Leaving the football field after a Sunday afternoon game, you were leaning into the back of a Jeep,

you still drive a Jeep

putting something in the back. I didn’t see what it was. All I saw were your eyes under the ball cap. The eyes that met mine for only a few seconds when you did a double take. Did you recognize me? Or did you just think I was pretty?

you did twenty five years ago

I knew it was you. It is very hard to forget the eyes of the man I once thought was the love of my life

you broke me

and ended up being the person I feared most in this world.

I don’t remember when the switch flipped and you started saying the most vile things to me, or the first time you hit me. I hated lying to people about the bruises, especially my own parents,

did they believe I really hit myself in the eye with the car door

but I did. Every time.

We should never have started drinking again. Life was good when we were sober. But then we were never sober and life was bad.

so very bad

I don’t know why you didn’t trust me. I don’t understand why you acted as if you hated me.

I loved you

Do you remember slamming my head into the dashboard,

I do

driving down the highway like a mad man, threatening to beat the shit out of me when we got home because it was what I deserved?

Do you remember screaming at me, so close to my face the hate in your spit burning my skin?

I do

Do you remember the day I left you?

I do

And still we continued with the insanity of coming and going, drinking and drugging, loving and leaving, both of us inflicting pain on one another, vengeful and sick. Until the day came when the papers were signed

the damage was done

and I was broken. I stayed broken for five years.

that felt like eternity

Did you recognize me?

I hope so

Did you see that I survived?

I thrived

The man walking next to me across the lot? He is the love of my life. He found me

and I found him

and taught me that love doesn’t hurt. It doesn’t leave bruises and it doesn’t bring shame.

this is what I deserve

These children walking with us? Yes, they are ours and they bring light to my life every single day.

no more darkness

As I stood at the open car door I looked up one last time and know I was not the only one broken.

I forgive you.


photo credit: Broken Heart via photopin (license)

Emotional Chaos

Originally posted on July 17, 2014

I know when the emotional chaos of panic and depression is coming. I am well aware of this mayhem peeking up over the horizon of my mind. There is a shift that I can’t explain.

It begins when I  wake up in the very early morning hours, disoriented and in the throes of panic. My heart is pounding and I am disoriented. At times I can’t feel my limbs and find myself unable to swallow and gasping for air. I have no idea why it happens in the middle of the night. There are worse feelings than waking from a dead sleep in the middle of a panic attack but at the time I would be hard pressed to name one.

During the next couple of days, I will know there was an episode of anxiety but it is cloudy. My mind only allows me a vague memory. It’s just a short reprieve for the real fun that’s about to begin.

It usually takes a couple of days before the depression takes hold. When it does, I feel completely powerless. The rational part of me tells me that all I need to do is take a bike ride or a shower, do something normal and keep putting one foot in front of the other and my thinking will return to normal. I can resume my life.

Sadly, the irrational demon that lives within me has other plans.

These days between the panic and the depression are as normal as any other and I function as such. I will regale my husband with tales of the day with exaggerated, yet genuine, vigor. I will have seemingly boundless energy. I will laugh loud and love hard.

Then the agitation begins. The smallest of things will irritate me. Social media becomes an enemy. I can’t read status updates without feeling an anger that sometimes borders on rage.

Writing is impossible since I can’t keep a coherent thought in my head and everything is tainted with and edge of anger and resentment.

My patience with my kids hits a low and even a goodnight kiss that feels like the flick of butterfly wings on my cheek makes me shudder. Anything my husband does makes me clench my jaw and bite back hateful words that aren’t a true reflection of my feelings, just the beast trying to create a foe, provoke a fight.

I will stop in the middle of flipping through the mail and slide to the kitchen floor because suddenly I am terrified and it feels like a safe place to be.

A drive to the grocery store because I am out of coffee seems to take Herculean effort and everyone in my path irritates me. I hurry, needing this chore to be over because those few moments exhaust me beyond reason.

I feel an overwhelming urge to cry. Let me release the havoc. Please!

But I can’t. Not a tear will come.

I want to give in and give up. These are the days I want to get in my car, drive away, never look back. I want to walk away from everyone and everything. I don’t answer my phone. I don’t interact. I simply shut down, going through the motions of every day life with no enthusiasm and forced interest.

I just want the peace to come.

Finally, thankfully, it does come and there are no casualties. Unless, of course, I count the part of my soul that has been beaten to a pulp and is now cowering in the corner, licking its wounds, waiting for the next round.

I am grateful to be strong enough to know that this is a war I may never win but that the battles eventually end. I used to self medicate with alcohol but that is on longer an option for me. By the grace of God, I don’t even consider it when the demon comes to call.

I am grateful that the episodes are sporadic and short-lived.

I’m grateful that my husband recognizes these moments and is quiet, but present. He knows and surely it irritates him to lose me during these days, perhaps even makes him a little sad though that isn’t his nature. On the rare occasion I take a step or three too far he doesn’t hesitate to let me know it is enough.

I have come to realize in the past year that writing can work much like therapy. I have met other bloggers that deal with depression and other mental health issues and do so bravely. We seek interaction, validation, and support….and find it.

I know that someone will read this and understand it. Still someone else will read this, see themselves and feel less alone.

While I have written about my anxiety and panic, this is the first time I have ever written about my battle with depression. As a recovering alcoholic and addict, I am well aware of what it is and why it comes and I accept that.

Alcoholism and addiction tried to destroy me. They didn’t. Panic and depression won’t either. These things are part of me but……

they are not all of me.



Photo credit: Zahira via photopin

Down the Rabbit Hole

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I originally published this post in April 2014 on my first blog, Mother of Imperfection. I decided that it would be a fine introduction to who I am, although it doesn’t define me completely. I am an addict but I am also many other things. The one thing I am not…..a saint.

I wonder how far I’ve fallen by this time……Oh! I think I see the bottom. Yes, I’m sure I see the bottom. I shall hit the bottom, hit it very hard, and oh, how it will hurt.

Hitting bottom.

It is a phrase so many who live with addiction, any addiction, are familiar with. It is the depth you must reach, the landing spot where you fall squarely on your ass and the pain in your body, your heart, and your soul requires you to do one of two things: live or die.

Sounds dramatic, doesn’t it?

My bottom, my final bottom, was in a motel room. All alone. I remember very little of the day or events that led up to this moment. I have scraps I can piece together that are probably very inaccurate from the reality. It began with a sad song and a bottle of scotch and the promise that I would only have one.

I stopped trying to put the pieces of the day together a long time ago. The details are not important and I learned the hard way that trying to make sense of it only frustrates me. I remember very well how it felt.

I also remember forming a plan of action. I was all alone. I had nothing left. In my stupor, I decided I would call a taxi in the morning, be taken to the nearest pharmacy where I would buy every sleeping pill they had on the shelves. I would come back to the disgusting hole I was in and I would wash them down with warm beer. Then I would sleep.

Ever the selfish addict and alcoholic, I simply wanted my own peace and found this to be my plan for salvation. For myself. It never occurred to me the pain I would be inflicting on others in order to make mine stop.

In the early morning of October 28, 1997  I picked up the phone. I called the taxi. I gave the driver an address and I walked up the drive to do the only thing I could to make the pain stop. I knew it was going to hurt just a while longer as I stepped into the arms of a friend who ran a halfway house.

I knew some of the other women here already and they knew me, welcomed me. The first few days were excruciating and it wasn’t the physical withdrawal, the night sweats, or the dreams that made it so. It was the palpable loneliness. Imagine being in a room full of people, bleeding and screaming at the top of your lungs, and no one hears you. No one sees you. Believe me when I tell you that mental and emotional pain can be felt physically. Bruises moving from the inside out.  It was the knowing that I had no thing and no person left in my life that could help me.

There was just me. I had just found the bottom and yes, it hurt.

Painful as it is, the bottom can glorious. For if it is life that you choose, then you will stop the pity party that others in your life left long ago. You will stand up, and feel your way through. Yes, feel your way through. You read it right. Bottling the emotion is what an alcoholic and addict does and unless you are ready to feel it, accept it for what it is, and ultimately let it go, you will relapse. You will relapse. It just bears repeating.

Action is the answer. I did not stay sober by sitting around thinking about it. I literally left the girl I was behind. I said goodbye and wished her luck but I’m pretty sure she’s dead now. I stepped slowly forward just like others who had gone before me told me to. One day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time. Until it didn’t hurt anymore.

I know it is customary to start a story at the beginning but this really isn’t even the end. Getting sober is a beginning but it doesn’t excuse you from the realities of life as an addict. It simply arms you with the means to fight. Often times, the fight will not just be for yourself since addiction is a stealthy opponent and if it can’t have you, it may turn its greedy, cunning wrath on someone you love.

This story has many, many twists, turns and truths. So, see this as you will: the beginning, the middle, or the end. It is, in fact, all three.


Photo credit: Dominik Martin/