Sunday, September 23, 2012


When you are an adolescent being flexible means that you are limber. Like a gymnast. Like the splits kind of flexible. In your twenties you are flexible in a way that keeps you at work late and on weekends. You are flexible in your social life. Always ready and willing to have fun. Even on week nights.

In your thirties you are flexible in your ability to fit in yet one more school or church function. You are able to volunteer professionally. Practically full time. You are flexible when your child is sick and you need to change plans on a dime. You are flexible when your spouse works overtime.

And then your forties happen. No amount of stretching will keep you in gymnast form. You work diligently and whole heartedly. Your employer will feel your loyalty. But you will be home to have dinner with the family. You still are able to have fun if you are home and in your pajamas by 8 p.m. on weeknights and 10 p.m. on the weekends. You are flexible enough to say no.

I would change none of my decades. They have all served me well. They are the fiber of what makes me who I am. And I am still flexible. Not in the splits kind of way, but in the way that makes me recognize what is most important. I am flexible in the drop everything and enjoy this very moment kind of way. This is by far my favorite kind of flexible.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Hi, My Name Is Ann...

And I'm a codependent. For those of you that don't know what that is, here goes. To be codependent is to be involved in a relationship with someone who is addicted to something. The addiction can be to drinking, drugs, gambling or even work. As the codependent you are consumed by the activities of the addicted one. You are controlled by their actions. And in turn you do everything in your power to control everything else. For example, the codependent will make every effort to have their family seen as normal on the outside. Even when it's far from that.

I would like to believe that I was too smart to fall into the trap of codependency, but I wasn't. Our family had experienced so many changes in a short amount of time. We sold a house in Appleton and bought a new one in Madison. Scott had changed jobs a few times. All for promotions, but stressful all the same. Then I started working full time. And Scott's health problems. I fell into the pattern of thinking that I should cut him some slack. There was a reason he wasn't himself. Look at all that he's been through. But my gut told me something else. No, this is not right. I exhausted myself trying to make the house and the family seem normal on the outside. When inside I was spinning out of control.

I must say that we as a family are fine. We are getting better. But some families are not able to do so. Sometimes the history is too painful to get over. There has to be a level of trust within the family. And certainly the willingness to move on and feel whole. And there is the necessity for hope. When all of these things are present life can be good once again. There can be balance and evenness to the family. We can all do our best and take care of ourselves. It's a wonderful thing to be part of a family. An active part. Not a reactive one.

So these past few weeks my posts have been pretty deep. Next week I'm thinking of tackling the less serious topic of flexibility. Think what you will and stay tuned...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Day 15

It's day 15 for our family. Fifteen days of us taking care of each other. Scott is a third of the way through his treatment. What an accomplishment. I am so proud of him. This is a new lease on life. For all of us in this family.

It feels like a step in the right direction. We are all being cared for. We are learning new boundaries. We are learning about ourselves and others. We have felt love in written word. We have received phone calls of support. Hugs are appreciated.

Probably most importantly what we have learned is that life is what you make it. Living is surrounding yourself with people that have similar values. Forgiving is not forgetting, but remembering differently. It is stepping outside of a situation and viewing it with a sound mind. This is not easy to do.

These are baby steps. In the right direction. We are letting go of things that we have no control over. We can only be in charge of us. Individually. And as a team. We have learned to take a day at a time. Not to plan too far ahead.

We have rediscovered things that we already knew. People we love are precious. Time together is special. Relationships should not be taken for granted. Standing up for yourself is a right. People make mistakes. How we react to those mistakes defines us. On to day 16.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

There Are Angels Among Us

A week ago I told you that our family was broken. Oh what difference a week can make. Please don't misunderstand. We have work to do. Boy, oh, boy do we have work. But we are headed down the right path.

A week ago I was nervous. I was nervous because for the first time in a really long time, I wasn't feeling very optimistic. My husband was in the hospital. Going through withdrawal. The next day was my birthday. It wasn't feeling very joyous, but at least I knew he was safe. And that was a gift in and of itself. Two days later he was released.

Part of me was excited to get him home. The other part of me still feared for his life. There was more treatment that he needed. It could be four weeks was what we were told for him to get into the center. We went into survival mode and started dreaming up plans for him to have to fill the days and keep his mind and body busy.
We were scared. Four weeks can fly by if times are good. If times are stressed this can feel like an eternity.

And then a miracle happened. A friend asked a favor of another. And the next day the love of my life was on his way to treatment. I have had highs and lows this week that I never knew possible. I'm sure they pale in comparison to what Scott is physically going through. But all the same my roller coaster ride feels like it's coming to an end. I'm not ignorant to the fact that there will be trials ahead. But I can lay my head down at night and dream of relief and the future. Not fear and the inability to see past my nose.

He is with people who have quickly become extended family. People who look after him when we can't. There is peace in that. I told you it takes a village to raise someone. It doesn't matter if you are a child or new to recovery. We are so blessed to have angels among us.