Tag Archives: crazy

What God Won’t Ask

God won't ask

God won’t ask what kind of fancy car you drove. He will ask how many people you drove because they didn’t have transportation.

God won’t ask the square footage of your house. He will ask how many people you helped who didn’t have a home.

God won’t ask how many fancy clothes you had in your closet. He will ask how many you helped to clothe.

God won’t ask what social class you were in. He will ask what kind of “class” or kindness you displayed.

God won’t ask how many material possessions you had. He will ask whether those material possessions dictated your life.

God won’t ask what your highest salary was. He will ask if you compromised your character in order to receive it.

God won’t ask how much overtime you worked. He will ask if you worked overtime for your family.

God won’t ask how many promotions you received. He will ask what you did to promote others.

God won’t ask what your job title was. He will ask did you perform your job to the best of your ability.

God won’t ask how many promotions you took to chase a dollar bill. He will ask how many promotions you refused to advance your family’s quality of life.

God won’t ask how many times you didn’t run around on your spouse. He will ask how many times you did.

God won’t ask how many degrees you had. He will ask how many people you thanked for helping you get those degrees.

God won’t ask what your parents did to help you. He will ask what you did to help your parents.

God won’t ask what you did to help yourself. He will ask what you did to help others.

God won’t ask how many friends you had. He will ask how many people you were a friend to.

God won’t ask what neighborhood you lived in. He will ask how you treated your neighbors.

God won’t ask how many times you told the truth. He will ask how many times you told a lie.

God won’t ask about the color of your skin. He will ask about the color of your heart -the content of your character.

God won’t ask how many times your deeds matched your words. He will ask how many times they didn’t.

-unknown (I couldn’t find the source.)

This was shared at a conference I attended this week.

Sometimes we get so self-absorbed and don’t think about how we impact others – positively or negatively. Choose to positively impact others. Great thought provoking read.

Finding the sweet side of crazy!

Kandy

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I Hate Vodka!

I walked into the liquor store and went straight to the checkout counter. The man standing behind the counter asked if he could help me find something. I nodded. I was slightly embarrassed and a little nervous. “I need some really cheap vodka. It’s for my hair,” I quickly stated.  I knew what he was thinking…sure lady it’s for your “hair.” Wink. Wink. I wanted to tell him it REALLY was for my hair. A bunch of us make this awesome recipe with Vodka and essential oils. But I knew he’d think I was just covering for my own addiction. I wanted to tell him how much I hated vodka – that it had killed my mother. It slowly and painfully killed her 5 months ago. But I didn’t. He showed me a few cheap brands. There it was. The one I really hated. The one I had purchased several years ago when mother was still alive. It was the first and last time I had ever bought it for my mother. It was the last time I had ever purchased vodka.

My mind took me back to that painful time…

Out of desperation, I had driven to the liquor store with mother in the car. She had been drinking heavily for a long time and I knew if she didn’t get more alcohol she could die from life threatening alcohol withdrawals. Going against everything I believed in, I drove her to the liquor store and while she sat in my car in a very bad way, for the first time in my life I went in and purchased what she needed…and the very thing that was killing her. I purchased the cheap brand she had asked for. I had never bought my mother vodka before that particular day. I had always refused because in my mind I was contributing to her addiction. I wasn’t going to spend my money on vodka she was slowly killing herself with. I had learned over the years to stop giving her money. It made me angry when she used it for a substance or alcohol. I somehow felt it made me part of her addiction and I tried desperately to separate myself from it. But the truth was I couldn’t separate myself from it and she always found a way to get the things her body and mind desperately craved. At one point, when she was still driving, I thought I was a genius when I had decided instead of giving her money I’d just put gas in her car. But somehow she always managed to outsmart me and still managed to somehow use that gas to get her substances. Walmart cards worked the same way – she’d trade or sell those too. I could never completely separate myself from the darkness.

Earlier, the same day I purchased the vodka for Mother I had found out about more darkness my mother had been living through. The kind of darkness you only see in movies. The kind of darkness that doesn’t happen to those you love. Something bad had happened. Something unbelievable. Something that made my heart hurt whenever I heard of those things happening but it disgusted me and broke my heart that it had happened to my mother. It made me cry and it made me so angry that she kept doing the same things over and over again. Everything was spinning out of control. It was so much worse than in years before and the years before had been excruciating. I didn’t know how to make it stop. I didn’t know how to help. All I could do was limit myself. Protect myself from the toxicity and pain. Powerlessly sitting by and watching the destruction she was creating and causing was paralyzing and heartbreaking. I wanted desperately to make her stop but I couldn’t. The truth was – I was as powerless as she was. She had to want it. She had to do the work. I couldn’t want it for her or do the work for her. Everything was getting worse. All of the ugliness centered around her powerlessness of substances which happened to be vodka at that point in time. Mother had always struggled and always been powerless to drugs and alcohol for as far back as I could remember.  

The day I bought her vodka, I had so much hope. Because of the darkness (I can’t bring myself to share those details), I had brought mother to our home. I was going to save her. I was going to move her closer and protect her from the evil that surrounded her. The evil she was a part of. The evil her addiction was holding her hostage to. My plan was to ration her vodka so she could get sober and I’d find her a clean little apartment and get her help. I told Scott my plan. He agreed. He was in charge of rationing the vodka out to her a little at a time until we had her tapered off of it. It was too heavy for me to give my mother Vodka. I couldn’t emotionally handle it. But Scott could handle it.   It didn’t create the pain for him like it did me. That illusion of saving my mother lasted from a Friday to a Monday.

Everything was going well according to my brilliantly stupid plan, or so I thought. It was Monday evening and I was driving home from Mason’s baseball game when I got the phone call from Derrelyn.  She was laughing hysterically. She said “have you talked to your mother?” We all had a pretty crazy sense of humor. “No, why?” I questioned.   Derrelyn replied “She’s drunk. I just got off the phone with her.” Derrelyn was still laughing. Dang it! I was pissed! She found the vodka Scott hid from her.  I thought he put it in a place where she couldn’t find it. She was so resourceful. I was disappointed. I thought she wanted to get better. Derrelyn was still laughing. She was trying to tell me more but she was laughing so hard. I was so mad! She kept on…“That’s not all.” Oh goodness! What else? She was laughing so hard she could barely talk. Which made me laugh too. She kept on…”she walked around your neighborhood knocking on doors until she found someone to take her to the liquor store.” Derrelyn laughed louder. My heart sank. Holy Cow! I couldn’t believe it. Derrelyn was still laughing. She wasn’t laughing because she thought it was funny. She was laughing because it was so stinking crazy and that’s how we dealt with the crazy. We laughed through the craziness. That’s how we got through it. We inappropriately laugh. How the heck did I think I could just whisk Mother away and save her? I started laughing and my stomach hurt at the same time. I was driving home going from being super mad to laughing in complete disbelief. Poor Madden. He had stayed at home that evening and she was there. Poor us. Scott and I had roots in this town. We knew people. People knew us. Whose door did she knock on? Who took her? Holy Cow! I was embarrassed and mad. Scott was on the School Board and I had previously been on the School Board. I wasn’t going to allow my kids to live through the embarrassment and junk I lived through. I was so mad at her.

I called Scott. He checked on Madden. Madden was okay.

I pulled into the garage and hurried into the house. I found mother. Of course she was totally hammered. There is no reasoning with an intoxicated person. Don’t waste your breathe. I did anyway. It did no good. I did it anyway. I asked in desperation – “Who did you get to take you to the liquor store?” Mother’s drunken slurred reply almost made me laugh “I walked several blocks over, Kandy.” Like somehow that made it okay. Like we might not know the people who lived that far from us. Mother muttered her drunken slurred words that made no sense. I was so stinking mad at her. But mainly my heart hurt. She finally went to bed. But she kept getting up and down going to the bathroom. Each time she’d mutter and almost growl some drunken hateful words showing us her ugliness that the vodka brought to life.

That night, Mason went to his other grandmothers to spend the night. He couldn’t take it. It was scary to be around. Madden and I slept in my room while Scott slept on the couch in the living room that separated where Mother was sleeping from the room his family was sleeping in…as if to protect his family from her craziness.

The next morning, I called work and told them I wouldn’t be there. After Scott, Mason and Madden were all gone to work and school, I went to mother and told her she wasn’t doing this in my house. She wasn’t going to do this to my kids. I told her I couldn’t help her if she wouldn’t help herself. I told her she had two choices. Go to treatment or go back home. She was still mean and hateful as if I was to blame for the current situation. And the truth was…in some way I probably was. She didn’t ask me to drag her to my house and save her. I just decided that’s what needed to happen. We made phone calls. She cried. I got angry. She called Derrelyn and cried and told her how mean I was being. She said I was being really mean to her. I was. I was mad. She needed treatment and I wanted her to make the right decision. But she didn’t. Ultimately she chose to go back to her house. It was a long two hour drive back down to her home. Just she and I. I had knots in my stomach. I was angry at her for once again choosing the alcohol over a better life. I had offered to help her. She refused. I cried the whole way home. My heart hurt. I was disappointed and didn’t get it. But I was also thankful. Thankful I had somehow been saved and that my children hadn’t grown up in a home filled with that junk. I hated taking her back down there but I wasn’t living this way and neither were my kids. I had to protect myself and them. This disease wasn’t stealing any more from me.

Sometimes you have to make a decision to remove people who bring toxicity into your life. I couldn’t completely remove her. I knew I wouldn’t be able to live with myself. But I had to limit the time I spent with her. Because I knew if I didn’t I’d turn into something I’d hate. If we’re honest we’ll see that as much pain as those people bring into our lives – we bring pain into theirs as well.  Sometimes it’s better to set boundaries and love from afar.

I hate vodka. For me, it symbolizes the heroin, cocaine, alcohol, prescription pills and all the substances that took my mother from me. I know it’s not really about the vodka but sometimes you just need something to blame and something is better than someone. I hated it for all the ugliness it brought into my life. I know it was really about Mother’s disease and the choices she made or didn’t make. But I hate vodka!

The man said… “Is this the one you want?” I pointed to the other one. The one I didn’t recognize or have a relationship with… “I’ll take that one.” I purchased the Vodka and took it home.  I made the beloved “Sassy Hair.” Stupid Vodka! It isn’t going to control my life anymore. I’ll spray that junk on my hair and wear it like I own it!

Finding the sweet side of crazy!

Kandy

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Feeling unbalanced? Maybe there’s too much sand.

Feeling unbalanced? Maybe you’re filling your jar with sand and there’s no room for the stones.

A professor of philosophy stood before his class. When the class began, he placed a glass gallon jar in front of his students. Without saying anything he began to fill it with large stones. He asked the students if the jar was full.

They agreed it was full.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. Together they watched as they slid into the empty spaces. The professor then asked the students again if the jar was full.

This time some said yes while others said no.

The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. He lightly shook the jar and watched as the sand filled the remaining open areas of the jar. The professor asked, “Is it full?”

Together the class shouted, “No!”

“Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this jar signifies your life. The stones are the truly important things, such as family, health and relationships. If all else was lost and only the stones remained, your life would still be meaningful. The pebbles are the other things that matter in your life, such as work or school. The sand signifies the remaining “small stuff” and material possessions.

If you put sand into the jar first, there is no room for the stones or the pebbles. The same can be applied to your lives. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are truly important. This will leave you feeling unbalanced and off center. But if you prioritize your life to take care of the important things first, everything finds and settles into its place.

What are the stones in your life? Are you making the important things a priority or are you letting the less important things rule your life and dictate your time?

Make a list of the stones in your life. Prioritize them and make sure they are getting the time and energy they need. Do the same with the pebbles. You’ll want to make a list of the sand in your life – eliminate the junk that is taking your time away from the important stuff.

Live consciously. Don’t just wander and waste your precious time and throw away your important stones!

Your mind, body and soul will thank you. And so will those you love.

Finding the sweet side of crazy!

Kandy

 

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“MugShot of the Day!!!

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I google most everything. Google knows everything…all the important stuff and the junk.

April 6, 2015, five days after Mother was found dead on her couch from years of binge drinking…with trails of blood that had drained from her nose –  I googled her name. I’m not sure why.  I think I expected to see some kind of death notice. But I didn’t. There was nothing that let the world know my Mother had died a brutal slow death from her own powerless actions.  Her addiction killed her. And even though she had died just five days prior – I had lost her over 40 years ago when I was just a little girl.

I knew the obituary wouldn’t be there. That’s the family’s responsibility. My responsibility. I hadn’t written it yet. And still haven’t. I will. I’m trying to make sense of all of it. Trying to do something positive with such a tragedy. No, I knew a big fancy well written obituary outlining all of her loves and accomplishments wouldn’t be there. But I thought there would at least be something listing her name, age, city and date of death. Maybe I expected to see some kind of article about how she was found and how she lived. I’m not exactly sure what I was looking for.

But I did find something. It was such a strange feeling. It made me sad, cry and mad.  And in a very crazy way – it brought me a speckle of comfort.  It reminded me of the misery and devastating life she had been living but was now free from. It reminded me that I no longer had to worry about her.  Or that I would no longer be getting the crazy drunk phone calls…powerless to the craziness.   It was a mugshot. Mother’s mugshot. MY mother’s mugshot. The whole thing was heartbreaking really.   It was dated October 2012. The title read…”MugShot of the Day!!!” Just like that. Three exclamation marks!!! Making fun of my mother during such a heartbreaking time. It listed her full name, age, arrest date, city she was arrested in and charges. I looked at the picture. She was drunk. I could tell just by looking. She had on her glasses and the picture captured the tears that rolled down her cheek. It showed the misery her addiction had brought into her life. It made me sad. It made me cry. I sat looking at the picture of my crying sad drunk mother as the mugshot of the day.  I saw a broken, sad, hurt, out of control, devastated woman.  I cried.

Then I noticed the comments. Heartless cruel comments. People were making fun of her. The people writing those comments obviously hadn’t experienced the heartache of addiction like I had.  They hadn’t had their mother stolen from them at a very young age and watched as she spiraled out of control over and over again.  They hadn’t watched as their mother continually fell further and further into darkness.  They hadn’t tried to stop the out of control spinning only to realize the more you tried to stop it the faster things would spin and spiral further and further into ugliness.

I’m sure they had no idea her daughter would one day read those things. Especially not just after she died. Or maybe they wouldn’t care. Maybe they couldn’t understand the devastation and heartbreak addiction brings to the addict and those who love them. I don’t really know why they took the time to write ugly comments about a person who was already miserable. It made me mad. Then it just made me sad and cry some more.

People are mean. Making fun of someone when they are at their worst…when they are hurting and obviously in a very bad way is just cruel. I get it. She wasn’t there. They weren’t doing it in front of her. They were hiding behind a computer typing ugliness not facing those who were affected.

Some people still think addiction is a moral issue instead of the brain disease that it is.  They don’t realize how much power addiction has over a person.  That it devours the person as much as the person devours the alcohol or drug.  They wouldn’t make fun of someone who had another disease such as dementia, cancer, diabetes or heart disease but yet we are cruel to addicts…and their families.

I saved the picture to my phone. I knew I would need to be able to look at it in the future.

I looked past the hurt and the ugly comments. It was strange. I found comfort. When I looked at that picture…I was and I am reminded of how miserable my mother was. How miserable I was. How helpless we both were. She had been in a bad way for a very long time. I was thankful she finally had peace. Of course I would have rather she beat the disease. I would have rather had my Mother. Not like she was but like I dreamed she could have been. I would have loved for her to have known me. To have known my boys. I would have rather she would have known the simple joys in life. But the disease controlled her. She was ate up with it and had been for far too long. It had weakened her. Stolen her strength. Stolen her family. Stolen her joy. Stolen her life. The picture reminded me of how sad she had been and brought me peace knowing she was no longer living like that. Besides, what choice did I have? Be miserable and give the disease more power than it already had. Allow it to take even more from me than it already had?

It’s the younger picture of her that made me sad.  I looked at that picture, before she was controlled – all I could see was a beautiful girl who lost so much. I saw what could have been.

So tonight, as I was typing this – I googled to see what else I could find. Surprisingly, the Mugshot is gone. I looked and looked and can’t find it. I have it. I know it existed. I have proof. I looked to see what day I saved the picture – It was April 6th, 2015. Tonight when I googled her name, I found the death notice that I was originally looking for. It was posted April 6th. The very day I was originally searching for it. The day I found the mug shot instead. Strange.

It’s as if God erased that sad, heartbreaking photo where people were making fun of my mother. It made me smile.

Addiction is a devastating brain disease.  It affects not only the addict but the whole family.  It is heartbreaking and tragic.  Please be kind, empathetic and compassionate.  You never know another’s struggles.  Your kindness may be the only thing that helps someone get through the day.  Show love. Love does.

Finding the sweet side of crazy!

Kandy

 

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Two people trapped in one body

 

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. – Reinhold Niebuhr

“Hello?”

“Mason, is that you? This is Nana.” She gave a little giggle like she did when she was sober and happy to talk to someone. “Oh, hi” he said.

“Mason, do you have a gun?” she asked. “Well, yes…I have a gun. Why? Do I need it?” he questioned. She went on to explain how there were some bad people who were getting ready to get out of prison and she was scared. Really scared. She told him he needed a gun to protect himself and us.

The phone call bothered Mason. “Mom, Nana asked me if we had a gun.” He went on to tell me about the conversation. I told him there was probably some truth in what she was saying about the men in prison and getting released soon but we were safe.

I called Mother. “Hello?” she said. Good, I had reached sober Mother. I could always tell if she was sober by the way she answered the phone. I went on to inquire as to why she was asking Mason about a gun. She explained there were some really bad people who were locked up years ago and it was time for them to start getting out of prison. “Well why would we need a gun?” I asked. “Because I think they might come after you.” Mother stated.    “Why, me?” I asked. She replied “because you’re my daughter.” She wouldn’t elaborate any more. I asked her for their names so I could look them up and see where they were and when they would be released. She said she didn’t know their names. It was a long time ago and that I needed a gun to protect myself and the boys. I tried to comprehend what she was saying. She had mentioned people getting out of prison a lot lately. I wasn’t exactly sure what she was talking about. I remembered a couple of incidents from my teenage years and early twenty’s that she could possibly be referring too. About 23 years ago, I had received letters addressed to Mother at my house. Scott and I had only been married a short time. After getting the first letter, I called Mother who told me to open it and read it to her. It contained such ugliness – “We won’t stop until you’re wearing a toe tag.” It really scared me. Holy Cow! What twenty one year old gets death threats in the mail for their mom? It really freaked me out. I ended up taking those letters to the FBI and I never got another one. Those ended up being from someone she had known. What Mother was referring to was different and I knew it had nothing to do with the old letters.

Mason had given her his cell phone number sometime back. He felt bad for her and when she had asked him, he gave it to her. Once, she called Mason when she was drunk. It was a terrible experience – talking to drunk Mother. She was mean, slurred her speech and difficult to understand. You had this overwhelming sadness and felt desperate to help her. The call had upset Mason terribly. Scott who is extremely protective called Mother and gave her the what for. “Don’t ever call his phone again. If you want to talk to him, you call my phone. I’ll decide if you can talk to him.” I felt sorry for Mother. I knew she was crying and she felt bad but I also understood Scott’s need to protect his son and family. Mother had been drinking so the ugly fighting person was who he was confronting. They went toe to toe…Mother arguing and throwing ugliness with her words to Scott. Scott making sure she got the point…Not to call his son again. She finally submitted. Scott could get in a verbal war with her when she was drunk and win. Not many could. However, it didn’t matter if you won over drunk Mother because sober Mother wouldn’t remember the whole incident. Besides sober Mother was sweet and timid. She would never hurt a fly. She didn’t like her drunk self any more than anyone else did. I think she hated drunk Mother more than anyone. You can tell a lot about a person by the way they treat animals. Mother had the most compassionate loving heart for animals. Especially dogs. Sober Mother was kind, gentle and wanted to be good.

Mason eventually ended up blocking her phone number. He couldn’t take the drunk calls. It was tearing him up. After Mother’s death, Mason told me he felt guilty for blocking her calls. I told him he had done the right thing. He had set the boundaries he needed too in order to care of his own emotional wellbeing. Besides, she could always call my number to speak with you – I told him.

I never tried to shield my boys from all of the craziness addiction brings but I did try to shield them from some of the hurt. I didn’t want them to know the heartache like I had experienced. But they needed some sort of understanding so they would be able to maneuver through the ugly world of addiction. They needed tools in order to stand a chance to beat it themselves and in order to have some sort of relationship with those they love. I didn’t want them to just cut those people out of their lives. I wanted them to be able to recognize the difference between drunk Mother and sober Mother. I wanted them to learn to set boundaries based on which they were dealing with…have little contact with drunk Mother but show love and kindness to sober Mother because they really were two very different people trapped in one body. Some families have a genetic predisposition to diabetes, cancer, heart disease or hypertension…mine is addiction. I have experienced the consequences of addiction my whole life and have managed by the grace of God, prayers and compassionate loving people to find some sort of a balance between what was thought to be normal and dealing with the craziness.

Mother was like most addicts, a liar. However, her lies were not about things like this. They were about when the last time she had used or drank was…or things related to her addiction. Although mother kept my world scattered with craziness through her addiction, she was also very protective. She tried to protect me from others. She couldn’t protect me from her own craziness but she fought tooth and nail not to let others hurt me. She was tormented by demons from her past. And as time progressed she drank more and more to try and drown out or quiet the demons. I told her over and over again…”Mother, forgive yourself. God has already forgiven you. Stop living in the past. Go forward and create a different future for yourself.” Those words rolled so easily off of my tongue because I believed them.  Mother believed God forgave her.  She talked to me about that stuff sometimes.  But I don’t believe Mother ever forgave herself.

Mother couldn’t protect me from her choices and consequences from her addiction but she did do her best to protect me from the harm of others.

I couldn’t protect my boys from the world of addiction and how it affects our lives but I could teach them how to maneuver through the craziness, set boundaries and still show love. I could teach them the difference between sober Mother and drunk Mother. They were two completely different people. It was important to recognize the difference.

Finding the sweet side of crazy!

Kandy

 

 

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