Someone to watch over me.

Yesterday I spent most of the beautiful 75 degree day in my bedroom tearing it apart in order to reorganize.  I do this mainly when I’m wrestling with emotions and I don’t want my mind to eat itself.   Fast forward to 11pm last night, not much but the destruction part had  been done as I’d left my house at 2pm intending to get food and ended up staying gone for the rest of the day. As I stood looking at the remnants of my space and thought about the monumental task of putting it all back together again, I began to cry.

This wasn’t a regular cry. This was one for the record books. Huge crocodile tears filled my eyes and plopped down to the floor. One of those Viola Davis Doubt*, streams of snot ran down my nose.  My body shook.  I even got those crying kid hiccups, you know the ones they always try to talk through but end up sounding like they have a severe stutter. I was deeply sad, and I let myself be there until I could figure out why. My eyes were  just at swelling, and my gullet jam packed with Mike and Ikes when it occurred to me that in that moment, I wanted someone to take care of me. I wanted a male somebody to come in and make this shit right. I then did the other thing I do when faced with an internal crisis (I mean beside glutting myself with dime store candy), I wrote.

My writing put me in touch with something I didn’t know was there.  I’m tired of being the strong, smart, independent one.  The one that puts things together, or figures things out. Compound that with me not being one of these dainty little women that men tend to want to take care of and on most days I feel like a female Grizzly Adams.  I didn’t have a father, while I love my brothers dearly they are fairly useless in the area of handy-mandom, my romantic relationship … what romantic relationship? Anyway, the bottom line is that the times in my life when I felt protected and cared for by a man were few and far between.

So I stewed for a bit, swallowed the sticky wad of Mike and Ikes and tried to “activate my faith” (phrases like that tickle me ^_^).  I thought about times that I had been loved and supported specifically by men, in ways that were non-sexual. What I discovered is while those times are scattered, they are there. I have been loved and wonderfully cared for by men in my romantic relationships (even the sucky ones) – in my family (my Grand Pa always came through with a happy meal when I needed it most and my brothers  effectively kept me dateless through my teens for my own safety.) –and in my male friendships (these are men who have “dated” me, danced and laughed with me, given me emotional and financial support without  any expectations).

The more I wrote and thought and cried and chewed, the more I realized how skewed my perspective is. There is nothing I can do about my past life experience. Nothing. So there is no need to let it make my current existence  miserable. My history with men is just that, HISTORY.  I can make new choices, shift my perspective,  find new mistakes to make and  new lessons to learn. I can only do these things if I choose not to fall back into old patterns, which is what I was avoiding by destroying my bedroom in the first place. See. Full circle. Don’t you love how life works? I know I do.


*the magic happens at 1:11.

Hello, My name is Stacey and I’m an addict.

I have officially broken my own anonymity per the 12th tradition of all 12 step programs. I broke it for the need to speak freely about what addiction is and isn’t and what recovery is and isn’t per my own experience.  Clearly I’m writing this because of the recent passing of Whitney Houston, but it’s been bubbling up in me since the passing of Amy Winehouse.  It nags the shit out me to see the joke addiction is made out to be in this society, as if it is some signifier of inferiority that only the weakest of society are afflicted with.

Guess what? That man negotiating million dollar deals on the 54th floor of your nearest sky scraper, is smoking crack in his office after board meetings cause he can’t take the pressure.  Your son’s 3rd grade teacher that is always so great with getting him to do his daily reading, is tweaking meth while her class is on the playground. Not convinced?  Sigmund Freud was a damn coke head! Addicts are everywhere and the sooner we start acknowledging addiction as a disease like diabetes or heart disease, the better off we’ll be as a society.

For starters, addiction has more to do with obsession and compulsion than sheer sloth. It is a disorder of the brain, and it’s treatment often consists of a multifold approach.  My own course of treatment has included: outpatient rehab, 12 steps, meetings, prayer, meditation, and therapy (and that’s not even everything.)  You see, contrary to popular belief one does not pop into rehab, pop out after 28 days and go on living their lives normally. Recovery from addiction takes work  and a lifetime of work at that. How is it then that we expect people who are in the lime light to “get their shit together”. I can barely shuffle my shit into the same building much less get it together after two years clean, but I’m getting better :).

When I heard of Whitney’s death, I was in a room full of recovering addicts. We talked, some cracked inappropriate jokes ( laughter being the 2nd cousin of fear), some sang songs, but the sentiment was the same: She was one of us, and she never “got” it. It saddens me when I see the requisite apathetic tweets and facebook updates after tragedies like these. “She/He brought it on her/hisself” or “Yeah, but A MILLION people are dead in (place 3rd world country here)”. I challenge these types of people to take a good look at what addiction has done and is doing in THIS country. Incidents like these are opportunities for us to take our own inventories, not platforms for self righteousness.

Ain’t it the American/Human way. We dress people up, call them our “darlings” and when they stray from our expectations of them we seek their complete annihilation.  Fame is so dangerous in that way.  Just for today, I’m good with being regular assed Stacey R. from Elizabeth, NJ trying to piece together this thing called life with a lil’ help from my friends. If any good can be said to come from the recent deaths of Amy, Etta (the wear and tear on her body was drug related y’all), and now Whitney is my resolve to stay and live clean, is  that much stronger.

Stacey R.