Monthly Archives: May 2013

Greg’s Story ~ “It Wasn’t Just MY Struggle”

This story was written by Greg, my super hot and super sober husband 😉  Tomorrow he will celebrate 365 consecutive days of not picking up a drink.  It’s a day I never thought I would see come.  I don’t think it’s a day he thought he would ever see come either.  Greg’s story is very real.  It was not written and shared for anyone to judge.  It was written to help, to give hope, and to inspire.  Although you may identify greatly with his struggles and triumphs, not a single one of you has thought the EXACT same thoughts and felt the EXACT same feelings as Greg in his situations.  Please keep that in mind before you think it’s acceptable to judge him.  It’s not.  And if you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all.  Today, it is only okay to support.  It’s okay to sympathize or empathize.  It’s okay to encourage.  Thank you, Greg, for sharing your story ❤

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“Hi, my name is Greg and I am an alcoholic, but not a writer, so I am going to tell my story as best I can.  It might seem jumpy from one subject to another, but I’ll try and keep it in line.

There are some addicts that can probably pinpoint a time in their lives where or why they started to abuse.  I am not one of them.  There isn’t a specific part of my life or something that happened that made my drinking spiral out of control: it just did.  I moved to America in 1988 from a completely different culture and way of life.  To me, life at age 8 seemed very simple and just.  I came from Poland, and to a lot of people in my new country it seemed that we were all just farmers, drinkers and weird dressers.  Well, that was kinda true back then…and I’m sure to some it still seems true today. In our culture, the men made the money and worked the long, hard hours (and that was reason enough to drink every night) while the women took care of the house and the kids.  My mother was never much of a drinker, but my father drank enough for both of them.  In fact, just this past December we lost my father due to liver failure and other complications from his drinking.

Since I came here when I was only 8 years old I grew up mostly in the American culture, but my family was pretty much set in their way of life, especially the men who were drinkers.  I went to a Catholic elementary school but then had to attend public high school.  It was a bit of a change going from one to the other.  When I got to high school I didn’t have many friends because they had all gone on to the Catholic high school.  We were poor immigrants and couldn’t afford the tuition.  I had to try and fit in as best I could and to do so I partied and drank with every crowd I hung out with.  Even though I tried a few drugs, I never got into them.  Alcohol was what would become my addiction.  I hung out with my older brothers and their friends a lot, so I had access to booze very easily.  Pretty quickly I became the popular kid because I could get alcohol for me and my friends with just a simple phone call.  I also lived with my brothers unsupervised on the top floor of our apartment house while my parents lived downstairs, so my place quickly became the party house.  If you lived on the west side of Grand Rapids, there is  a good chance you partied at my house more than once!

As much as I tried (or didn’t try) I didn’t graduate from high school, but I set a quick goal for myself and received my G.E.D. within a couple months of dropping out.  I went to work in the restaurant industry, because that’s all I knew how to do. (Is it a coincidence that a lot of bars offer “Industry Nite” for people who work in restaurants to get tanked after work??)  Every place I worked at I moved up in rank pretty quickly.  I guess I had a knack for it, and with that came more responsibility and stress.   To calm the stress, I drank.

I guess I started drinking because it was so accessible for me, especially when I was old enough to buy.  I could drink at work because I could function drunk.  Somewhere along the line I became a little depressed and felt my life was going nowhere, and the booze numbed that feeling pretty well.  Even though I had a great wife and a gorgeous daughter, I felt as if this is who I was and that I didn’t do anything “great” in my life.  Before I knew it, I would drink all day and all night.  For me, the greatest accomplishment was that I could drink two fifths of gin in a day and no one would notice because I was still functional.  If my wife wouldn’t have found me on the couch covered in sweat that cold February morning , I don’t know if I would still be here today.  And if my withdrawals hadn’t been as severe as they were, I would probably STILL be drinking today.

Once I got out of the hospital I stayed sober for about two months.  Even with rehab and substance abuse counseling that whole time I started to slowly drink again.  I was looking for a miracle to just brain wash me out of this damn disease.  I thought that non-alcoholic beer would be okay, and I started to drink some of those.  Before I had even realized it, I was drinking regular beers followed by shots and mixed drinks.  I would leave my counseling session and go straight to the liquor store on my way to work and get six single shooters for “at work” and a half pint for the ride there.  When I could, I would sneak away and take the shots during the lunch hour to help hold me over until I could get a break from work and head back to the liquor store to restock.    One day, a friend of mine that is in the AA program asked me if I wanted to go to a meeting someday.  He never pressured me, and I knew no one at the meetings would judge me because they had all heard it before.  It was a goal I set for myself just to see if I could do it, and trust me when I say that my life almost immediately changed for the better.  Now, I don’t know if I’m working this program the right way or not, because I haven’t gotten through the 12 Steps yet, but what I DO know is that I haven’t picked up a drink today and I don’t plan on doing so tomorrow, but I can’t always plan tomorrow so for TODAY I will not drink.

This last part I write with a big smile on my face and a tear in my eye because on May 22nd, 2013 I will celebrate one year sober.  I look back on my struggle and realize that it wasn’t just MY struggle, but also a struggle for my friends and especially my family.  The support I have received from so many old friends and a lot of great new friends is overwhelming.  The years wasted with my wife, daughter and family I will never be able to pay back…but today it is with a heart full of joy that I get to say THANK YOU to all that have been there every step of the way.”

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Jeanna’s Story ~ “My lifelong struggle with anxiety and self-harm: I thought about it, and I think this is all that matters…..”

This was written by my beautiful friend Jeanna, whose laughter and positive attitude and love for life is contagious!   We started talking one day a few months ago when she saw this picture posted on my friend Melissa’s blog page, Adventures of Ninja Mama:

Pal's
This was one of the first family pics we had taken after my hubby had gotten sober.  We had been cruising around at a classic car show –Greg’s idea of a good time, not mine 😉 –and then stopped for lunch at an old fashioned diner that had a mirror on the ceiling.   That was one of the best days the 3 of us had had together in a long time.

She commented that she loved this.  I commented back.  Then I started following HER blog, My Children Think I’m Perfect.  It is AMAZING.  Painfully and brilliantly genuine and forthcoming (and I highly recommend you read her post Unsinkable when you get a chance). Then we started messaging each other back and forth and then we discovered that we only lived a couple hours from each other!!  Jeanna and her hubby drove with me and Greg and my sister and her boyfriend to Chicago to shave their heads for kids’ Cancer awareness.  We had so much fun together that she picked me up a different weekend and drove us to support another blogger in a Chicago show.  We talk on the phone, we text, and she was more than happy to help me out with my blog by writing this story for you today.

Jeanna’s story is very real.  It was not written and shared for anyone to judge.  It was written to help, to give hope, and to inspire.  Although you may identify greatly with her struggles and triumphs, not a single one of you has thought the EXACT same thoughts and felt the EXACT same feelings as Jeanna in her situations.  Please keep that in mind before you think it’s acceptable to judge her.  It’s not.  And if you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all.  Today, it is only okay to support.  It’s okay to sympathize or empathize.  It’s okay to encourage.
Thank you, Jeanna, for sharing your story. ❤

"I am at peace." ~Jeanna

“I am at peace.” ~Jeanna

“…..I walk outside and look into the night, all I see is a life worth living. Surrounding me at every turn are blessings. I fall to my knees in gratitude.

For I know darkness.

And because of this I scream thank you into the light.

I know hope.

I close my eyes and I whisper, “this too shall pass.”

And I believe myself.

Once upon a time I drew razor blades across my flesh and begged for my mind to stop hurting. I drew words into my skin and hoped that they would be heard. My restless mind begged to be forgiven, redemption for every task I couldn’t tackle. I was at war with myself and the battles raged endlessly.

For years I clung to childlike prayers of optimism and when the world fell around me, as the world on occasion will, it tore my heart into a thousand pieces. The burden of realization tore at my insides; I ripped at my outsides to validate my pain.

I doubted my worth at every turn. I noticed the rafters where I could tie a noose before I noticed validation in the faces of those around me. I feared love, because I feared loss. And in doing so, I feared life. I drowned in terror.

And somehow, by some chance, by a blessing, by one last breath of shear will, I decided to swim.

You can be reborn. You can have a life worth living. You can awaken to a dream. I promise.

You can heal.

But you must stay to see another day.”

 

Katy’s Story ~ “I Drank the Kool Aid”

Today, I am honored to have permission to re-share a blog post with you.  This was written by my friend Katy…but a lot of you might know her better as the platinum blonde, spazz dancing tornado of awesomeness that is I Want A Dumpster Baby.  I started following her by pure accident after Greg got sober, but she changed everything for me.  EVERYTHING.  My husband adores her.  I adore her.  One of the biggest privileges we’ve had on our journey to sober living was to meet her in real life 🙂
Katy Katy Dumpster Baby
Katy’s story is very real.  It was not written and shared for anyone to judge.  It was written to help, to give hope, and to inspire.  Although you may identify greatly with her struggles and triumphs, not a single one of you has thought the EXACT same thoughts and felt the EXACT same feelings as Katy in her situations.  Please keep that in mind before you think it’s acceptable to judge her.  It’s not.  And if you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all.  Today, it is only okay to support.  It’s okay to sympathize or empathize.  It’s okay to encourage.  Thank you, Katy girl, for sharing your story!!!  You know that Fregs and I love you so, so much ❤

I Drank the Kool Aid by Katy M.
— from the blog I Want A Dumpster Baby

          I never met a vice I didn’t have to quit.

Hi my name is Katy and I am a grateful alcoholic. Here’s where you all say, “Hi Katy”. I am many other things, but if I don’t acknowledge and be grateful to be an alcoholic, I won’t be any of those other things. I am a hardened, some say, cold, black-hearted woman and I am not ashamed of it today. I know better. I know I am really a tender, soft spoken, afraid little girl, in a beat up, world-weary, yet still hopeful and healthy woman’s body. I am proud as hell of myself and so very grateful. I still want a drink sometimes, not often, but sometimes. Not to drink, but just to not be so VERY SOBER all the time.

Today I have a wonderful husband, a great job, a great apartment and two lovely kitty cats. My family and in-laws are amazing. I have good friends, not many, but a few who get me and love me. I have a lot of acquaintances and then this weird circle of AA friends who really know the most intimate screwed up things about me and love me anyway. It’s a pretty kick ass club, but only the really fucked up get to join, and it comes at a devastating price. My life is good; great actually. But it wasn’t always.

I am the only thing that got in the way. I grew up with an amazing, supportive family in the suburbs and had every advantage and even graduated college, all courtesy of my non-alcoholic parents. So, if you think you become alcoholic because your parents were, let this be a lesson to you. It is indiscriminate. It can happen to anyone.

I was and am highly insecure. I started drinking at 18 at college and that alleviated the insecurity. Then I drank – and drank and drank and drank. I don’t have an off switch like most people. My natural inclination is to drink. To NOT drink is a miracle. I will spare the sordid details, but I wound up drinking 24 hours a day – cheap vodka from a water bottle. I got fired, I got evicted and I became homeless. I stole, lied, cheated and manipulated people like a sociopath. I was a terrible person who did terrible things when drinking. But I’ve learned that I wasn’t terrible, I was sick, which doesn’t excuse anything, but helps to accept it all.

My parents paid for four rehabs and let me stay at their house until they couldn’t stand it any longer. My mom, bless her heart, was very involved in Al-Anon and had the good sense to kick me out. Which I know was the hardest thing she’s ever had to do. But it wound up being the best thing in the world for me. My parents lost a couple years of their lives due to my selfish addiction. They would spend evenings driving around the city of Chicago looking for their daughter – absolutely heartbreaking.

I had no money, nowhere to live and no one who trusted or believed in me any more. And rightly so. I was a typical Jekyll and Hyde alcoholic. I was a sweet and generous person who became belligerent, mean and compulsive liar while drinking.

I got sober a month after 9/11 and I will never forget that at that time I was so out of it, that I believed it was all a hallucination. I didn’t have enough of a grasp on reality to know we were being attacked and it was real.

There were a few hospital stays, psych ward holidays and that last jail stint at 26th and California……

(INSERT MY MUG SHOT HERE)
Just kidding, I don’t have my real mug shots. But I’m sure this is close.  I was pretty hot.

That last morning in jail, I felt grace and hope.  I have no idea why I was given this gift, but I was.  The tiniest smidgen of hope was all it took to get me off that cold slab and into the world of recovery.  I walked out of that jail with my number in black marker on my hand and headed to the bus to get me to a safe place where my parents could pick me up when I called my mom and said, “I’m ready.  Please come get me.”  I decided it was time and I surrendered. I WANTED TO LIVE.

I was so sick when I stopped drinking for even a few hours that my delirium tremors scared the life out of me. It’s been almost 10 years and I still so vividly remember them. The visions, the sweats, the shaking, the cold; I never want to forget where I came from.

My sponsor told me for the first year I was sober, “Shut up and listen.  You have nothing to say that these people need to hear.”  And as much as I hated it, I completely understand what she meant now.  And she was right.  *kicks dirt*

I get a kick out of people who come into the rooms of AA for the first time and they ALWAYS think they are somehow unique and can do it differently. I did too, and when you get tired of the insanity – trying the same thing over and over again and expecting different results – you try something else. I don’t know why it works, but I‘ve had the pleasure and horror of working with all kinds of drunks. Some still sober, some drunk and some dead. I know a lot of dead people. I have become accustomed to “walking over the bodies”, which means, the reality is this disease kills people all the time. Those of us who are sober have to keep going or we too get dragged down. Everyone has their own story and their own path, but underneath all of it is addiction and it is essentially the same with everyone.

Many people say AA is a cult, and I say, who cares? It’s way better than the alternative. And I am Agnostic. I can believe in whatever the hell I want to believe in as a Higher Power and still get sober. People who get held up by thinking AA is a religious program are just using that as an excuse.

I will always be a drunk. I’ve gotten many qualities from being a drunk that normal people don’t ever get. I am funny. I am tolerant of addicts, to a limit. I can turn anything into an “it can always be worse” scenario that annoys the hell out of people. The compassion for people who struggle with addiction is the overwhelming element of my make up that I am grateful for. I root for the loser. I was that loser and I found people who rooted for me when everyone else quit on me.

I am in a fortunate position of not caring one bit for people who judge that this is who I am. I would be dead had I not accepted my powerlessness over alcohol. They say there are three outcomes for people like me, hospitals, institutions or death. I’ve done two of the three and today I choose to live. I wanted to kill myself and just gave up, hoping that I wouldn’t wake up from a blackout. But I continued to wake up, and I have to believe there’s a reason that I received this gift when so many don’t. It’s a big weight to carry. It’s my responsibility to help other people who are trying to get this – whenever and wherever – to help people who want to get sober.

I’m really not a sappy, sentimental person and yet I freely admit that every day is a gift. I believe you get back what you put out. And for a long time I put out crap and got crap in return. These days I am most kind to animals, secondly to humans, although that is more difficult for me. Humans will let you down. Eventually everyone does. I’ve had the privilege of making amends to my family and employers and several others. I think my family would say my living sobriety is the best amend they could have.

I lived in a women’s halfway house with 8 other women for the first 6 months of my sobriety. It was incredibly helpful for my developing relationships with women. Out of those women, only one other than me is still sober. The rest are using or dead. That is the reality. The truth of this recovery is that I cannot do it alone, my higher power and other sober people help me every day.

One of my favorite things, and one that my husband of two years tends to deal with very patiently being with me, is that I frequently have random people contact me to talk about a friend or family member or themselves having a drinking problem. I love that. It is a subject I know an awful lot about and can speak to with much enthusiasm and wisdom, I hope. I also joke about all this, a lot. And man, I laugh harder now than I ever did when I was drinking. We laugh and laugh. It’s my favorite thing in the world to make him laugh. My husband is a “normie” and he drinks. But like most people, he can handle it. I will never be like that and that’s OK. It’s good to have both sober people and people who drink in my life. He eats meat and I don’t. He drinks and I don’t. I smoke and he doesn’t (I’ve quit smoking as of this re-post). See, we really can all just get along. I’ve learned to look for the similarities and not the differences in people. I have told my husband that if I drink again, he needs to leave me. Not stick around for the destruction. I hope if that ever happens that he will heed that call.

My darling husband.  Married May 24, 2009.  I LOVE love.

On October 4th of 2012, I was sober for 11 years.  I don’t like to celebrate my earth birthday any more as I am so much more grateful for my sobriety date. I take responsibility and it all goes into who I am today. It is only through karmic grace and the 12 steps that I am sober and happy today. All we have is today, and I choose not to drink. EVERYTHING depends on that choice that I make just for today. My sponsor told me in the beginning, “You can drink tomorrow if you want, but don’t drink today”. I have told many sponsees the same thing over the years. As tomorrow appears I, hopefully, will say the same thing.

Libby’s Story ~ ” Some days I have to stay on my knees so I don’t pick up drugs.”

This was written for you all by my beautiful friend Libby, who I attended Catholic school with for  seven years.  Yes, we were plaid skirt wearing, Peter Pan collar popping “good girls” together 😉  Libby’s story is very real.  It was not written and shared for anyone to judge.  It was written to help, to give hope, and to inspire.  Although you may identify greatly with her struggles and triumphs, not a single one of you has thought the EXACT same thoughts and felt the EXACT same feelings as Libby in her situations.  Please keep that in mind before you think it’s acceptable to judge her.  It’s not.  And if you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all.  Today, it is only okay to support.  It’s okay to sympathize or empathize.  It’s okay to encourage.  Thank you, Libby, for sharing your story. ❤

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I am a loving daughter, a loyal sister and friend, an Incredible Zia (Italian for Aunt) and a devoted student THEN I am a recovering drug addict. 

The devils candy (crack cocaine) no longer has my soul…I am blessed and I am strong. I am 32 years old and will have 9 years sober on November 2, 2014 and this is a daily struggle.  Some days I have to stay on my knees so I don’t pick up drugs.  I started drinking at a young age, then smoked marijuana and got mixed up with the wrong crowd and “stepped” into the downward spiral to running away, stealing, lying, hating, beating, being beat, and prostitution.  I have been kidnapped.  I have hurt others (physically and mentally). I have lived on the streets and have turned my back to my family. 

I got into some legal trouble November 5, 2005 and was taken to jail. It was a very serious physical altercation that was on the news, and that was how my family found out about the trouble that I was in. I was sentenced to 3 years in prison and it never occurred to me that there were drugs in prison…I decided that I would stay sober in prison and do ALL I could do to stay focused and connected to my family, friends and professionals on the outside. 

When I came home I had to take care of many medical/psychological issues that were not treated in prison, and after a year I decided to take some classes at a community college.  I got straight A’s and from there made the huge decision to become a social worker. I am currently in my last year at Grand Valley State University studying social work. I will be focusing on dual diagnosis clients with mental disorders and substance abuse issues. 

YES!! Me…I am doing this because I was there and just know I can really help people that are struggling with active addictions. I am a miracle that has/is going to make a difference in this world with positive intentions. I am love.

Amy’s Story ~ ” It seemed at the beginning like there were a lot of rules…You know what? The only real rule is: DON’T DRINK or USE. That’s the only rule.”

This was written for you all by my beautiful friend Amy, who I met on Facebook via a friend I met on Facebook 😉  Amy’s story is very real.  It was not written and shared for anyone to judge.  It was written to help, to give hope, and to inspire.  Although you may identify greatly with her struggles and triumphs, not a single one of you has thought the EXACT same thoughts and felt the EXACT same feelings as Amy in her situations.  Please keep that in mind before you think it’s acceptable to judge her.  It’s not.  And if you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all.  Today, it is only okay to support.  It’s okay to sympathize or empathize.  It’s okay to encourage.  Thank you, Amy, for sharing your story. ❤

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“When a friend asks you to write a little bit about your addiction life, of course you want to share as part of the 12th step, or merely in the name of helping another person find hope – but you also struggle through the thoughts of having to dredge it all back up. So, let’s just dive right in… like a meeting I guess.

Hi. I’m Amy. I’m an addict.

I’m an alcoholic, I’m a drug addict, I’m a sex addict, I’m a card carrying member of Debtors Anonymous (pun intended), and clinically bipolar. (Right here I’d love to say, “…and I’ll just listen tonight. I pass” whereby everyone would chant, “Thanks for comin, Amy.”)

The deal is this. The way I understand it, addiction is addiction. Whatever it is I do in my life to escape the reality of it all, and do it to a point that it causes me distress and despair – it’s addiction. And typically, if you’re addicted to one thing – the chances are, you’re addicted to many things. Addictions don’t discriminate. They can accumulate, but rarely discriminate. 
I think the underlying issue for me is the bipolar diagnosis. As far back as I can remember (3 years old-ish) I’ve had some things that just “weren’t right”.

I have to mention that my life growing up was so normal. My parents were married, stayed married and raised my brother and me in a very loving home. The fact that we are both addicts is a matter of heredity, I learned in treatment. My parents didn’t display addictive behaviors growing up, and they’re only slight if any at this point. My point here is – I didn’t come from a “broken home” and I wasn’t born to “druggie” parents who moved me around from school to school. They were, and are, good people. My choices are not their fault.

As I grew up, I had to find a way to cope with the highs of mania and the lows of depression. At 8 years old I managed to masturbate for the first time. How does an 8-year old know how to do that? I don’t know. All I know is that it was self-soothing and quieted my mind. I remember it vividly. 
I was searching and clawing my way through elementary and middle school appearing absolutely normal to the outside world. Well, mostly. I found my self-worth in the arms of a myriad of men – or boys I guess, at age 14. I wanted/needed someone to cling to. As boys turned to men, the weight of disappointment when a relationship ended became insurmountable. I would do nearly anything to cling to a relationship.

Because I was so relationship focused, I didn’t have a lot of girlfriends. There weren’t a lot of weekend sleep-overs and parties. I had a few just to keep my parents calm thinking that everything was “normal.” 
The first taste of alcohol I had was a Sun Country wine cooler out of a 2-Liter bottle. I didn’t care for it. In fact, I never did acquire a taste for any alcohol. In order to drink beer, I had to chew Big Red gum to disguise the taste. Turned out that when I drank, I’d slam down 5 shots of whatever someone bought for me – and I was set for the night. (I hated the feeling of being “full” too. Drinking always made me feel full.) When I felt myself coming ‘down’, I’d have one or two more to keep me at it. The truth of the matter is, most of the time I went out, I was manic so it didn’t take much to make me SEEM wasted.
My first serious boyfriend was a known pot-head. I never even considered smoking anything because, to me, smoking looked very low class. I’m glad now that I never tried it – I KNOW I would have loved it. After telling him several times I wouldn’t smoke with him, he asked me to try LSD. I did. And then I did it again. And again. And again. But that was it. Four of the most hysterical nights of my life. Also, they were some of the most dangerous as I look back.

It wasn’t long after I fell into that trap that he moved on and I graduated from high school. I wound up pregnant (learning later that I didn’t know who the father was) and lost. Married and divorced in 18 months I was still searching.
In the arms of another man I was given cocaine. A LOT of cocaine. I HATE cocaine, but I did it because I wanted to feel alive. To escape the nightmare that was my mind. As I type this I realize that my manic mind is very similar to being on cocaine… no wonder I hated it.

As that relationship fizzled I found myself alone, with a baby, without a job and broken. I went to a doctor (this is before I was diagnosed with Bipolar) who prescribed anti-depressants. They worked! They shot me RIGHT into full-blown mania. Oh Mylanta – what a mess.

I destroyed marriages, slept with multiple men, got married and divorced again and racked up over $60,000 in credit card debt. I chartered private planes, had closets full of clothes with tags still on them and drove cars right off of the showroom floor. THIS is the danger of prescribing antidepressants to someone with Bipolar.

During the course of my manic phase, I often struggled with anxiety (ya think?). So I went back to the doctor (who I now call the “candy man”) to get more drugs. He prescribed me Ativan. I LOVED Ativan. This was exactly what I needed to quiet my mind. I fell in love. I took the anti-depressants to drive me up, and the Ativan to bring me back down. I was IN CONTROL… until the depression came.

I took more and more Ativan. I slept most of my time away. <This is pretty hard to dredge up because this is where I feel the most loss. I don’t care that I frittered away hundreds of thousands of dollars. Or that I wrecked marriages. What I hate the most is that I missed out on my little girl’s childhood. If I wasn’t in recovery, this in and of itself would drive me to suicide even today.>

I was in and out of a local psych ward trying to make some sense of it all. I had stopped abusing alcohol but the pills remained. I began taking the correct pills as prescribed but I was still drowning. After many meetings and testing, it was confirmed that I am, in fact, bipolar. FINALLY. An answer.
Somewhere in the course of this nightmare I started going to AA meetings. And then NA meetings. And then SLAA meetings. I got chips. And key tags. And I shared. And I read. And I prayed. It seemed at the beginning like there were a lot of rules. Read this book, do these steps, don’t talk to those people, yadda yadda. You know what? The only real rule is: DON’T DRINK or USE. That’s the only rule. How you get there is your choice.

There is a lot of wisdom in the years of sobriety sitting in an AA room. LISTEN to the oldies. They know stuff. Take what you want and leave the rest. 
I’m sick of writing about this. I’m depressed and angry at the whole mess all over again. And I will be again. And again. Because that’s life. These are emotions. They don’t go away.

I’ll close by saying: Nothing in the WORLD is worth dying for. No matter what you’ve done, or not done – suicide is not the answer. I was merely breaths away from taking that way out. It’s really not the answer. You have to believe it.

You’re gonna get tired as hell, and you’re gonna get angry, sad and lonely. There will be shame and disappointments. You may even get too happy and over-celebrate. NONE OF IT MATTERS RIGHT NOW. Just stop what you’re doing. Put your feet on the floor and close your eyes. BREATHE. It will all be different in a little while. Call for help. Call ANYONE. Walk. Talk. Shower. Eat. Cry. Scream. ANYTHING, just do not end your life based on temporary feelings.

People love you. You may not know it or realize it yet – but they do.”

KIDS FOOD BASKET REALLY PACKS A LUNCH…ERRRR, I MEAN PUNCH!! ;)

Soooo, a little over a week ago I finished up working on my 4th charity.  My FOURTH.  Which makes me one third of the way done with my New Year’s resolution!  Me, the girl who rarely finishes anything, and if so it is certainly never on time.  Me, the girl who has a 45 second attention span and jumps ship at the sight of something shiny.   Meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! 🙂
I feel like someone should fetch me a podium and a microphone, so I can thank the people that got me to this point.  People like my hubby and my daughter, who forfeit some of their very important time with me so I can write blogs and run my Facebook page.  People like my friends and family, who support me and encourage me and remind me that even if I reach just one person then I am making a difference.  People like my fellow bloggers, who wrote the stories and divulged the personal experiences that inspired me to choose some of the charities that I did, and who share me with their own fans way more than I deserve.  People like YOU, a follower that is reading this and sharing my statuses and interacting with me on my Facebook page and messaging me to let me know how this inspires you too.  Oh, and of course I can’t forget to thank my Adderall, without which my dedication and focus on this year long task would not be remotely possible 😉  I am seriously loving every minute second of what I’m doing.  Thank you, you guys!!!
*[waits for wolf whistles and thunderous applause to die down]*

Okay, but seriously.  Let’s get back to the good things, which are actually more like great things!  Kids Food Basket was my April charity, and I already miss it.  Is it crazy to miss assembling and packing 300 bologna sandwiches!?!

100 sandwiches to a box :)

100 sandwiches to a box 🙂

KFB works to ensure that children in my West Michigan community do not go to bed hungry by distributing Sack Suppers, which are paper lunch bags filled with over 1,000 calories from five food groups.  When paired with the breakfast and lunch served in school, KFB’s Sack Supper is enough to meet a child’s daily nutritional requirement.  Both the Grand Rapids and Muskegon locations together serve FIVE THOUSAND school children every weekday.  Within the next year, KFB’s goal is to take every school off of their waiting list, and by doing so they would accommodate another 1,000 students.  Is it as disturbing to you as it is to me to know that 6,000 children from just around MY TOWN go home to no dinner???  That means it’s happening around your town too!  And that sucks.  I love dinner.  Who doesn’t love dinner?!  

The Sack Supper menu for my first day of volunteering.  The items listed first are packed on the bottom, and as you make your way down the list, the lighter items get packed towards the top so nothing gets smooshed!!

The Sack Supper menu written on the white board the day I took my tour of the KFB facility 🙂


There is a new menu put up every day, and the items listed first are the heaviest so they get packed towards the bottom of the bag.  As you move down the list, the lighter items end up on top so that the kids’ dinners don’t get squished!  The KFB staff also took into consideration the fact that a lot of the children receiving the Sack Suppers may not have access to a stove or a microwave or any other appliance that would heat their meals.  Therefore, they are very careful to only send food that can be consumed “as is.”  KFB also sends out Snack Sacks, baggies filled with pudding cups and sunflower seeds and granola bars, which help sustain children over long weekends and holidays when they won’t have the chance to receive their regular bagged dinner.   They are always looking for large groups to assemble Snack Sacks off site, as well as to fill snack bags full of trail mix and popcorn!  If you live in the area, and are looking for a team building activity for your office or your students or your church group, etc,  then pretty please consider volunteering for KFB.  It is so much fun, and they need all the help they can get.

Oh yeah...and did I mention we donated over 50 packs of pudding?!?

Oh yeah…and did I mention we donated over 50 packs of pudding?!?

 

And Cheerios.  And applesauce.  And peanut butter.  And baggies.  Lots and lots of baggies.  It says so right here:

Yep, you read that right.  7 pounds of plastic baggies.

Yep, you read that right. 7 pounds of plastic baggies.

Sigh.  There’s so much to love about this organization that I can’t even put it into words, even though my job is to put it into words.  Kids Food Basket has the most amazing, passionate staff.  I did not meet one employee that wasn’t fully invested in the success of this organization.  From the moment I emailed them to inquire about helping, I had nothing but positive feedback and complete support.  There was Ashley, who was totally enthusiastic about my project, and took me on a complete tour of the facility, while giving me the detailed background on how they got started and where they plan to take it in the future.  There was Laura, who runs the volunteer process flawlessly, and who made sure I was able to get my volunteer time done in the month of April even though I gave her very little warning.   There was Austin, who has the actual assembly process running like clockwork and down to a science.  They are friendly and outgoing and always appreciative of the helpers.  There are so many more that I didn’t list on here, but they are just as crucial to the success of Kids Food Basket.

(Left to right)  Ashley, Austin and Liz :)

(Left to right) Ashley, Austin and Liz  🙂

So….how did we do???  We did fantastic, as usual!!  You people are amazing.  I never ask people how much they’ve donated when they let me know that they have, so sometimes my final number is just my best guess, but I know for sure that we donated at least $175.00, and I know for sure that we donated 5 huge bags of food and packing supplies.  I know that I spent 3 hours on site, trying to work as fast as I could to get as much done as possible.  I know there are about 1,000 decorated paper sacks that we will end up turning in total.  I also know for sure that I will ABSOLUTELY be back to spend more time working with them!  I will be back to help put thousands of juice boxes into crates and stack them five crates high.  I will be back to help assemble and bag hundreds of bologna sandwiches.  I will be back to drive the lunches to the schools that they get distributed at.  I will be back to drop off lunch sacks decorated by the entire student body at my daughter’s school.  I will constantly be on the lookout for weekly deals at local grocery stores on items that go into the Sack Suppers.  And I will be encouraging you all to do this too.  It’s easy.  Just go to their website www.kidsfoodbasket.org and click on the red DONATE tab or the blue VOLUNTEER tab at the top of the screen.  Tell them that Liz from My Sudden Attack of Conscience sent you.  Decide that you want to make a difference and then just get up and do it.   Find a program like this in your town.  START a program like this in your town.  You, too, can really pack a punch.  xoxo

Every volunteer who comes through KFB gets to sign the walk in cooler.  I am one of THOUSANDS, but I'm still making a difference.

Every volunteer who comes through KFB gets to sign the walk in cooler. I am one of THOUSANDS, but I’m still making a difference.

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