Relapse 4-11-19

March 4th for the past 17 years has been my sobriety anniversary. Every year I celebrate another year of sobriety. This year I didn’t have that opportunity.

Many of you look up to me for being strong. I often hear I’m an inspiration. I’m extremely embarrassed but today I have to be honest with myself and all of you.

Up until last July I have faced my challenges. Often times white knuckling life and often times on my knees praying for god to grant me the strength to get through another day. Last July I had my breaking point. I gave up on myself, god and life in general. I don’t feel the need to share the personal details of what happened but I will say for me it was the last straw. I picked up a bottle. In the beginning my drinking was occasional but by December my drinking had become my only way of coping with the many challenges that life continues to throw my way. What can I say? I relapsed.

Last fall, I somehow managed to get myself in therapy as well as seeing a psychiatrist. It’s no secret. I am battling chronic PTSD. I also succumbed to agreeing to anti depressants. Still I kept drinking. I wasn’t going out or anything like that. In fact, I have to find the humor in the fact that I spent my evenings like a hermit isolated in my room, watching Hallmark, CNN and even Dr Pimple Popper while drinking a glass, or shall I say, a bottle of wine. I am so embarrassed.

Through the grace of God I recognized my downfall. I picked myself up and got my ass to AA. I was not only honest with myself, but honest with the people I love. I didn’t sugar coat it. I owned it. I have owned it ever since.

Today I’m 30 days sober. It sucks to start all over again after 16 1/2 years but I’m sharing because like anyone in sobriety I’m only human. I’m also sharing because I want everyone including myself to recognize relapse happens. The important thing is to recognize it, own it and start doing the work. I am attending AA four nights per week, celebrate recovery one night per week, I see a therapist and a psychiatrist. I also have a life coach.

I owe myself an apology for letting myself down but more importantly I owe the people I love an apology for letting them down too.

Sobriety is hard work. Especially when life throws you a curve ball. Or in my case one curveball after the next. However sobriety is possible if you want it. I want it! I’ll do anything to stay this way including being honest. I’m not always perfect. But who is? One thing about me that those who know me is if I did it, I’ll admit it. Relapse….I did it and I admit it. I recognize it and I’m doing something about it. Thirty days may not seem like a lot after 16 1/2 years but I did it once and I’ll do it again. Thirty days is only the beginning.

With that said I hope that my honesty helps someone struggling today.

The All The Time Guy 4-2-19

A friend from Brazil shared this with me a few years ago. She said in Brazil there’s a sayin’ about men. There are 3 types of men. The good time men. The bed time men and the all the time men.

The good time man is the man who is with you through the good times. And I mean the good times only.

The bed time man is just that. A bed time guy. Only there for one reason and one reason only. My friend would say the bed time men can be found at every street corner.

Then there’s the all of the time man. He’s the guy who’s there with you in the good times, the bad times, the down times and the up times.

My friend would say in Brazil women have these three choices. They can choose the man who’s only there in the good times. Bales on you in the bad. They can choose the man who’s only there in the bed times. Of course you can find a bed time guy on every street corner. The safe bet is to chose the all the time man. He’s the guy who will be there for you in sickness and in health. He will be by your side in the good times and the bad times. He will love you unconditionally forever and always. My friend would say “I don’t know about you but I choose the all the time man”.

I think about my friend sometimes and find myself grateful for her Brazilian words of wisdom. I have a friend experiencing some stuff in her life. As I listened to her story my Brazilian friends words of wisdom came to my mind. My dad used to say “men are like greyhound busses. There’s always another one at the next stop”. I’ve always loved my dads analogy but somehow my friends words of wisdom make more sense.

Dear Me 11-12-18

Dear Me, (you)

Why is it that you’re everyone else’s greatest cheerleader, but you struggle to pick up the pom poms for yourself?

Don’t you realize that your cheer means more to others when they see you yelling “Yes you can!” for yourself? Only when you’re your own greatest cheerleader can you achieve what you must.

Not hearing that voice within?

YOU CAN DO IT! YES YOU CAN! BE YOUR SWEET SELF’S GREATEST FAN!

Highs and Lows 11-12-18

I’ve put $3 worth of gas in my tank before and I’ve put $40 in my tank. I’ve had $5 to feed myself and I’ve had $500 to go out to eat. I’ve asked for rides and given rides. I’ve had a house full of food and I’ve been without food. I’ve given people clothes. I’ve been given clothes. I’ve been in stores cashing out with no worries and I’ve also had to add it up and put it back. I’ve paid my rent in full and I’ve had to pay it late too. I’ve given money and I too have had to ask for it. We all have highs and lows in life, some certainly more than others, but we’re all just trying to make it. No one is better than anyone else, and I pity those who think that they are. No matter how big your house is, how new your car is, or how much money sits in your bank account – we all bleed red and will all die someday. Death has no discrimination neither should your life. Be kind to others. And know not everyone has the same heart as you… The people who pretend they love you so much will leave you standing in all the storms just so they can shine…

I Challenge you to copy & paste this! Most people won’t because they’re the person I’m talking about…. But if you are Genuine, Post A Picture of yourself.

Enjoy life! You only get one. ❤️

Being A Silver Girl 9-26-18

This past May I posted this song on my blog. Not for any reason other than I think the song is beautiful. I love the lyrics. As I listened to the lyrics this morning while I was at the gym, I began to ponder the lyrics. Like many women, Silver Girl is a woman caught up in a high tech world. While some of us can not relate to the high tech world, I think as women we can all relate to the fact that we are all caught up in an “all man’s world”.

Like Silver Girl, some of us have the Midas Touch. Some of us are Lady Luck. Some of us are Golden Girls. Some of us are girlie girls. Some of us have a million bucks and some of us look like we have a million bucks. At times, many of us are actresses putting on a performance as we face challenges every day. I can certainly relate to being an actress. Often times people think they know everything about me but they don’t. I don’t think anyone truly knows what’s in my soul. They don’t know my fears, my insecurities, my pain or even my joy. All I know, I’m just me. Right or indifferent….I am who I am. I’m just me.

As women we are all different but one thing for sure, like Silver Girl, often times we look back at the hard times and recognize how far we’ve come. It’s mind blowing. Personally as I look back at all the trials and challenges I’ve faced it is very mind blowing for me. I don’t always want to remember but I do. One thing I know, despite everything I’ve been through, I’m still here. I’m still standing. I have some regrets but I keep getting up.

Like Silver Girl, I feel alone sometimes. I am confident I’m not the only woman in the world to feel lonely. I’m insane beyond my years from all my experiences and like Silver Girl despite it all, I will forever be an adventurer. I’m sure many women reading today can relate.

I’d like to imagine myself dressed in all silver. Successful, strong and wealthy. I don’t know Silver Girl but somehow I feel like her when I listen to this song.

Today I dedicate this song to all the Silver Girls out there. We stand strong. We stand together and we stand in all Silver as Silver Girls. Women with a force to be reckoned with. Women in an all mans world surviving and winning every day.

Lap Top Life 7-21-18

I’ve had this dream to live a “lap top” life. Meaning, I can work or do anything I want to do from anywhere by simply using a lap top. I would love to start my coaching business. I want to write a book and I’d love to share my story all over the world standing on a stage wearing a super “hot” red dress. I would even love to be a healer In some capacity. I’ve been praying and waiting for god to answer my prayer. I’ll admit I’ve been rather frustrated. As you know prayer goes a long way but god just doesn’t throw things out of the sky. You have to take action. Hello….now I tell me! Lol

I’ve been waiting for my dreams to come true and my prayers to be answered. However, the other day I had an “aha” moment. I want this “lap top” life and yet my prayers haven’t been answered. Could it be because I don’t have a laptop?!!!

I’ve made the decision if I want to lead this “lap top” life it’s time for me to take the first step and buy a lap top. Isn’t it amazing how we can get so discouraged thinking god will never answer our prayers when the only thing he’s waiting for is for us to make the decision to take action. What an easy yet complicated concept.

Boldly Be 6-15-18

Whatever is in you to be, whatever you love, is your fire. Ignite it, trust it; it is a gift born of your spirit. Be it in words, dance, colors, or a song….have absolute faith in what you have been given; chase it no matter how elusive; be it….however challenging; pursue it without pause; seek to….boldly be whatever is in your heart to be. – Pam Reinke

Get Out Of Your Own Way 6-12-18

Today I’d like to focus on getting out of my own way. For seven years since my dad passed away, I’ve been in a funk. When I say funk I literally mean Rock bottom. I can hardly wrap my head around how I’ve allowed myself to arrive at this dismal place.

I’ve shared many times that my life spiraled out of control after my dad passed away. I made some poor decisions despite my intuition saying “Don’t Do It!” I didn’t listen to that voice of reason and the result led me to a very dark place. Cancer, an abusive boyfriend, financial lack, financial debt, depression, PTSD, isolation, rejection…..the list goes on.

I have spent the last three years feeling sorry for myself. After all, in my mind I am a failure. Recently, something happened. I woke up and realized seven years had gone by. Wow. Seven years!! It seems like only a few months have gone by. My eyes were open and I began to recognize the wreckage that had overtaken my life. I thought to myself “I don’t want to live like this anymore.” I made the decision to get my shit together.

I was blessed last month to travel to Maui. I had a free flight and a free place to stay. I spend the time with my cousin doing everything I could to heal myself internally. You can read about my experience on my previous blog. Maui my paradise.

I am a licensed realtor in the state of California. I have done nothing with that either. My license expired in March. I had not even completed any of the required continuation classes however I was granted an extension. The bureau gave me until June 16th, this Saturday, to complete my hours and provide them to their office no later than the 16th. I’m not sure how I did it other than through the grace of God. I passed all eight exams and mailed everything off today.

I’m not sure what’s next for me but what I do know is I have to keep moving forward. Will I sell real estate? I don’t know. I’m a certified John Maxwell member. I’m a certified coach, trainer and speaker. Will I pursue a career in coaching? I don’t know. What I do know is I have to get out of my way and quit being my worst enemy. It’s easy to blame circumstances or even others for our downfalls however at the end of the day our biggest enemy is ourselves. It’s even easier to allow fear, doubt, low self esteem to rule our existence. I’m guilty of that myself. Today I am just going to trust that God has a plan for me and keep moving forward.

I love U2. Their music is incredible. They sing a song called “Get Out Of Your Own Way”. I love the song. While it’s actually a politically motivated tune, for me it’s a reminder to “get out of my way” and keep moving forward. Might I suggest to anyone who is in a rut like I’ve been for seven years, to do the same. Lean in and take charge of your life. Life is short. Live it to the fullest.

Life After Gaslight 5-19-18

Meet “Ron”. “Ron” was a 68 year old retired San Francisco firefighter. He is also my ex-boyfriend. I met “Ron” in 2012. At first, I was apprehensive about him but he was persistent in his pursuit to capture my heart. He showered me with compliments and gifts. He called me cutie pie, baby and would constantly tell me how “fine” I was. He uttered the words “I love you” after knowing me for only a month. I recall thinking his infatuation was too good to be true, but his words also came with his promises of a wonderful life filled with travel, love and affection. He was so sweet, after only a few months he swept me off my feet.  Unfortunately, I quickly learned that this was merely a facade with words he said to all the women he manipulated. “Cutie pie”, “baby”, “fine” and “I love you” was something he had said to all the girls.

Looking back there were a mine field of red flags, however “Ron” had a way with showering me with such kindness in the beginning that it was easy to overlook the flaws. And when I say flaws, I mean some serious issues that no woman should have to deal with ever in their life.

My experience is not unique.
“Ron” is a good guy. I think he has a good side to him. He’s been married twice like most people in America. Both divorces ended due to his infidelity.  He was the cheater but “it wasn’t his fault” or so he claimed. Red flag number one. He was also in a long term relationship with a woman who he referred to as “Mo”. I think because she brought so much havoc and “mo” trouble in to everyone’s life than one can imagine. She certainly brought trouble in to my life.  In her defense, “Ron” brought the insanity out in her. I later found her story with “Ron” was nothing short of tragic. Worse was what he did to his first wife. Sadly she was one of the sweetest women I ever met and in my opinion did not deserve what he did to her.  No woman deserves the kind of treatment myself and I’m sure many others have endured.

“Ron’s” past consisted of drunken behavior. He was an alcoholic/addict who had arrests for driving under the influence under his belt.  He stopped drinking while we were together after humiliating me with his drunken behavior. He also had an infatuation with young women in their twenties and was known to engage in sexual acts with many prostitutes. I later learned he had been on house arrest for engaging in these acts. Of course, I can’t say for sure since this was merely hear say.

“Ron” had a volatile temper and exhibited many mood swings that were enough to turn a sane person in to a psychotic nut. I should know. After three years with this man, I lost my confidence, my self esteem, my self respect, my identity and I felt like I was losing my mind. I really believed I might be crazy. My biggest regret….I only wish I had known these things before I allowed this man to capture my heart.

“Ron” was a pack rat. He had junk all over his condo, which was located in a well to do area of San Francisco. You would have never known it. His condo belonged on an episode of Hoarders. He had so much clutter and he even had old plastic bottles filled with water all over the place. Maybe it was his age.

Two years after I moved in with him he finally opened a carton of lemonade that had been in the refrigerator and had an expiration date of 2010. It had been expired for four years yet he refused to throw it out insisting it was still good. The lemonade was so spoiled when he finally opened the carton to have a glass, he had no choice but to throw it out. What a surprise. Mind you he had vilified me for wanting to throw it the year prior.

“Ron” had odd sleeping habits. He was up all night and slept all day. When I say all day….I mean all day. Often times “Ron” would arise from his slumber at six in the afternoon. Two or three was early for him. He also liked to conserve water. He was a dedicated California resident who only bathed once a month and always on a Thursday. I firmly believe he deserved accolades for being the most conservative California resident during a drought. However, if you ask me he should’ve opened up one of his plastic bottles of old tap water and taken a bath.

At times he had white crust around his ears that was creamy and had the appearance of cradle cap.  At times he smelled so bad I would want to vomit. His solution was wipes (he was the poster child for cottonelle wipes) and he would also use lots of cologne. I often wondered if he was European but was inclined to believe he might be crazy. He led me to believe he was suffering from dementia. In my experience when “Ron” would shower it was His cue for wanting to be intimate.


   “Ron” was wonderful in the beginning. He took me on trips, showered me with gifts,  he catered to my every whim and treated me like a queen. He always held my hand and opened my door.  But that stopped and he would throw the door in my face. He portrayed himself as a family man. An attribute that was merely a facade. He was also lots of fun.  We went dancing and even took salsa lessons. He would hum in my ear every time we danced. He was a terrible salsa dancer but no worries….he would always blame me for his shortcoming and would become extremely verbally abusive.

All his positive attributes stopped three months after moving in with him. That’s when the “real” “Ron” emerged. The trouble only got worse when a his 27 year old Latina Stripper “friend” continued to call and text at all hours of the day including when we were on vacation. Harassment that continued the entire duration of our relationship. “Ron” also began to withhold any contact with me intimately. We went from having an active intimate life to a periodic one, provided it was on his terms. “Ron” had a penile implant. I suspect many of his issues might have stemmed from this creating his own insecurities however, I’ll never know. I will share that on occasion I would wake up in the middle of the night and catch him naked in the bathroom engaging in questionable acts or even plucking his pubic hairs. I found myself in such disbelief that I would run back to bed and keep quiet.

“Ron” did crazy things such as pluck his facial hair while watching tv. He often had a scowl on his face and would pluck to the point he would cause sores on his face. He would often file his feet over the couch. This odd behavior caused me to believe either he was crazy but he convinced me I was crazy for thinking this behavior was odd.

He was very private about everything. He caused me to believe he had many secrets. Especially, since I wasn’t allowed to ask him even simple questions like “how was your day?” I wasn’t allowed to say “have a great day” and God forbid I wasn’t allowed to express how he made me feel. I wasn’t allowed to ask any questions….period!!!  He would explode and punish me  for days calling me names, accusing me of being suspicious and rejecting me to the point I couldn’t breathe. I would cry for days. Rejection can cause so much pain and anguish.

When I was diagnosed with cancer, I got zero emotional support from “Ron”. He was extremely un-empathetic and lacked any ounce of compassion. He would insult me and make me feel so bad about myself that more often than not I found myself in the bathroom on my knees crying from the pain this man would cause. Somehow in the midst of it all he managed to blame me for his behavior and would punish me for days by ignoring me and giving me the silent treatment. In my experience, I’m not sure what was worse, chemo or “Ron”. This man made fighting cancer the hardest journey of my entire life.

I posted the following post on Facebook after my first treatment.  The following five treatments were not much different.  In the end he admitted he had treated me poorly because I was no longer attractive. In my defense, when you’re in a fight against cancer, it’s rather hard to remain the beautiful person you once were. Hair loss doesn’t help.  I take solace in knowing God is a just God and my abuser will get his in the end.


    

Ron showered me with love, trips, gifts, fancy dinners, compliments, concerts…..everything and anything. It was short lived and it came at a very painful price. I now know that this is not just my experience, it’s been the experience of many women who have found themselves involved with their “Ron”. While my story may seem tragic I know I’m Not alone. There are many “Ron’s” out there and I feel they dont deserve to have any women in their life. In fact, they should be locked up and throw away the key.

If you happen to be approached by any man who exhibits any of these behaviors, my advice is run and never look back. Do not make the same mistake that I made getting involved with a man like this. It’s hard to get away once he’s got you under his spell.  I can assure you the life you have today will be no more. Happiness, joy, self respect, confidence and love for yourself will be a thing of the past. You will find yourself questioning your own sanity, when clearly the one with the mental issues is your knight in shining armor. However, if you don’t heed my advice and find yourself in a crazy relationship I will warn you..don’t bother reaching out to anyone because no one will believe you. “Ron” had two personalities. The one I dealt with at home and the other who was sweet and loving around his friends. Friends, family, doctors and church begged me to leave him but I resisted their warnings hopeful for the man I initially met to return.  Finally one day, I snapped and saw this man for he really was. I was heartbroken, humiliated and felt like there’s no way out.

On May 16th, 2015 with the help of the Deacon and sisters from my church, I packed up and left this emotionally abusive man. I left this relationship with a broken heart along with a diagnosis of anxiety, severe depression and PTSD caused from this crazy relationship. You might ask “PTSD?!” It’s a result of the war zone I found myself in. The sad part is  I really cared for this man.

Healing from this relationship has taken three years. Counseling was inevitable and it’s taken a lot of strength and determination to come out on the other side. The pain and scars left behind from a three year nightmare has taken a long time to heal. Occasionally I still experience flashbacks. Three years ago I found myself broken hearted and on my knees praying for strength to get through this. I am happy to say I made it.

I’m sharing my story tonight because May 16th was the anniversary of leaving my abuser. On May 16th, I was blessed to be given the opportunity to fly to Maui where I’m spending time with my cousin. I couldn’t put my finger on why this trip fell in to place. It was crazy how it all happened. My friend who owns a condo here offered her condo to me for a week for free. The dates she had available were May 16-24. I accepted her offer not even knowing how I would pay for my flight. My brother and sister in law used their air miles to buy me a ticket. Everything happens for a reason. I knew there was a reason I was coming back to Maui. I love Maui however, Maui is also reminder of the time I shared with my ex. We spent many weeks here together. Today I found an old blog and noticed that May 16th was the day I broke free from my abuser. Three years have passed. I suspect my trip here is somewhat of a Re-birth for me. I no longer have to look behind me. I can finally move forward and what better place to be to begin my new life than to start my new beginning in Maui on vacation with my cousin who is also my best friend.

I don’t particularly enjoy sharing the details of my past relationship. After three years, I’m still so embarrassed. I take comfort knowing there’s a term for what I went through. It’s called “gaslighting”. Gaslighting is a term where someone uses manipulation to cause you to question your own sanity. My “Ron” did just that. Today I’m free from that relationship as well as that toxic environment. Slowly but surely I’ve gotten my confidence back but more importantly my sanity back. Like so many women, I never thought this would happen to me. What I’ve learned is even the smartest and most intelligent women can find themselves in a relationship such as mine. I still ask myself “what was I thinking? How did I allow this to happen to me?” I still have flashbacks and I’m no longer the woman I once was but I’m happy to report I’m a new woman in progress.

Today I’m hopeful again. I’m eager to laugh and have fun again and I believe my knight in shining armor is out there and more importantly I know that when I find him I will never allow him to manipulate me to the point where I lose myself.

Life happens. Today I’m on vacation in Maui. I am waking up to the sound of the ocean and the cool breeze coming in through my lanai. I have no plans other than to spend the day at the farmers market then the beach taking in all that healing spirit Maui has to offer. Life is good again. I heard a quote once that said “I may not be everything I want to be, but thank god I’m not where I used to be!” Truth!! I’m not close to being who I want to be. Thank god I’m Not where I used to be!!