Come As You Are

Every single relationship in my life for a solid decade was toxic. My relationship with my parents was always a best excuse for self-harm in the form of reckless abandon. My friends, which is a term I used loosely, were a means to an end. I used people for what they could offer me whether it be validation, consolation, or simply a place to party. Every day I chipped away a little more at the person I wanted to be, knew I could be, but didn’t believe I deserved to be.

The SisterWives


There have been a few moments in my life when I have found myself at a critical crossroad. I find myself asking myself the simple questions:

Are you happy?

Is it worth it?

Unfortunately, a few of those times landed right in the middle of an alcohol and drug addiction, when I was already living in constant moments of weakness and my self-esteem was in the toilet. And so, I often stayed at the metaphorical party too long and the damage became very close to catastrophic.

Several times.

I was married to a man I met in rehab when I was twenty one years old. He was tall, gorgeous, funny, and had all kinds of fucked up just simmering below the surface. I found him the perfect match to my own brand of crazy, also lying in wait and doing pushups, waiting for the day I opened the door and…

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Can I Avoid Disaster?

I remember where I was and who I was at 23. I read the passionate plea from Sarah and know that this is not something that needs to be ignored. As a member of The Sisterwives, this is what we hope for. Not the pain..the reaching out. It is never an easy thing to do but when someone does, like Sarah, we don’t ignore it. We send in the troops and today the troops are led by Michelle whose emotional words of wisdom are honest and, with hope, heard loud and clear.

The SisterWives

It is too easy to get caught up in the process, sometimes, of what we do. We forget why we started in the first place. This letter, from Sarah, arrived for us one day, and we all wondered what we might have to say to someone who was so earnestly seeking advice.

Quite a bit, it turns out. Today, we will hear from Michelle, who wrapped her arms around it in the way that only she can.

Thanks, Sarah.For reminding us.


I’m Sarah. I’m 23. And I was wondering if you could help me answer a few questions.

Some background: I’m working on recovering from the frighteningly non-unique mess that is childhood sexual abuse followed by self harm. And I want to be beautiful, and strong, and kind. But stereotypically, early to mid 20 something’s are kind of the opposite of all of those things. I don’t want to suck…

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That Was Then, This Is Now

I am an alcoholic and an addict. I have made so many mistakes in this lifetime, some of which I can never make right. I have caused emotional and spiritual damage to myself and others that cannot be undone. I worshipped a devil and in the process a part of me is forever lost.

For years I walked a path of self-destruction and could never quite succeed in dying, the only thing I thought could bring me peace.

I was wrong.

This is part of a letter I wrote to myself as a part of my recovery from alcoholism and addiction. The full letter, the first part of which I wrote in 1997, is on The Sisterwives today.

I added to it just this week, almost 18 years later.

You can find it here.



Photo source:

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)

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/