Friday, October 30, 2009

I have no idea what to title this post

I can't believe it's already the end of October. I'm just doing a quick update this morning so people won't think I've forgotten my blog.

I'm busy doing rewrites for the memoir. It's a slow process, and while I'm not quite sick to death of my book, I can see it on the horizon. On the distant, distant horizon, but nevertheless...

I've also been hard at work gathering information for a support group I'm starting soon, called MOMS - Moms Off Meth Support. My plan is to hold the first meeting in mid-January. I've been talking with people at Probation and Parole, and some wonderful women in Iowa who first started the group 10 years ago. This will definately be a labor of love, but it will also be worth it. The support group is for women who are meth addicts and mothers who may or may not have had their children taken away due to their drug use or incarceration, or who may be in danger of losing their kids.  It will be a place where women can come together to help each other and learn to empower themselves.

My son has a Halloween dance at his developmental therapy program today. He's going as a bug in a boy suit. (what can I say? I'm cheap)  If you know me, you'll understand the costume.  If you don't know me, you're probably better off not knowing.

And finally, just for fun:

This is hard. Was for me, anyway. Look at the two pictures, and see if you can find all the differences in less than a minute. When time's up, click the pictures and an audio file will tell you what the differences were and where to find them.

Happy Halloween

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Rollin', rollin', rollin'...

The first chapter of my book can now be found on my website, The Next 24.

Thank you to everyone who's been so supportive of me.  This past week has been thrilling!  The manuscript is finished, I've signed with an comes the hard part.  Or the beginning of the hard parts

I'll be working on revisions, continuing to build my platform, and spreading the word about my book.

One project I'm working on right now is starting a Moms Off Meth support group in my city.  There's a group in Iowa that's been running for 10 years.  I've contacted the women who started MOMS, and I'm hoping to be able to attend a facilitator training in November.

I'm excited about this project.  It's something I think is not only needed, but will be well received.  I'll keep you updated.

I've also got some guest bloggers coming up this next month.  I've met some amazing people in recovery, and their stories are powerful and inspiring. 

That's it for now.  Thank you again!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dreams can come true

Last night, I signed with literary agent, Jenny Bent. My dream of becoming a published author is coming to fruition. Thank you so much, Jenny, for your belief in me and my work.

Being a writer is something I've always dreamed of in that sort of daydreaming way, along the lines of, "When I grow up, I want to be (fill in the blank)." My fill in the blank has always been just that: a daydream.

Until I finally got sober just over two and a half years ago.

I've always kept journals, even when I was using, and they were the beginning of my memoir about my meth addiction and recovery. I've saved all the writing from those years. Words scribbled in day planners, scraps of paper and notebooks, letters I'd written to people... In November of 2008, I started putting them together in book form. I completed my memoir this spring.

I've worked hard toward my goal, always hoping, but never truly believing, until these past few months, when I began to see a flicker of light on the horizon.

People become addicts for lots of different reasons. The further we get into our addiction, the more we lose ourselves, and hope that our lives can work, and be better, without drugs.
I never could have achieved the things I have if I were still using. Not in a million years. I'm so grateful for my sobriety, and although I've always been my own worst enemy at times, I'm proud of me. Proud of seeing things through, and having the courage to shoot for the moon.

Most of all, though, I'm proud of the life I've created for my son and myself. I dare say, we both deserve it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

For the families

This is a re-post from June. I've been talking to some people lately, and thought it might be a good time for this.

What did I do? How could I have been so blind? How do I fix this? Why don't they just stop?

Beautiful Boy, a book by David Shef about how his life was affected by his son's addiction, is an intimate look at what it is to love an addict while being powerless to make them stop. Shef gives a voice to the people on the other side of addiction: the ones who watch helplessly while someone they love destroys himself. Beautiful Boy is at once a requiem for the hope and expectation a father has for his son, and a ballad of self-preservation in the eye of the storm of addiction. If you haven't read it, you'll want to.

Recovery is a complicated process and successful recovery involves more than simply separating the addict from the drug. (As always, when I talk about drugs, I'm talking about all drugs, including alcohol.) HELPGUIDE.ORG , a comprehensive website about drug use and recovery, as well as other life issues, has this to say:

Understanding what is involved in recovery

•You cannot force someone you love to stop abusing drugs. As much as you may want to, and as hard as it is seeing the effects of drug abuse, you cannot make someone stop using. The final choice is up to them. The right support can help you make positive choices for yourself, and balance encouraging your loved one to get help without losing yourself in the process.

•Don’t expect your loved one to be able to quit without support. Withdrawal symptoms can be unpleasant, painful, and even deadly. While medical input is always a good idea, if your loved one is addicted to benzodiazepines or is a heavy drinker, withdrawal can be dangerous and should be done under medical supervision.

•Recovery will be an ongoing process. Someone who abused drugs will not suddenly be a cured person once sober. Drug use may have been masking painful feelings that will bubble up to the surface. Many in recovery experience depressed moods for up to a year or more as their brain reestablishes from the drug abuse. Learning new coping skills to resist cravings, and how to apply them in stressful situations, is an ongoing process. Ongoing support is crucial to work through those issues.

Above all, take care of yourself.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The new marketing package

Writers, if you haven't already read this, you should. It's laugh-out-loud funny, and three-tissue sad.

Weighing in

All my life I have struggled with my weight. I’ve been on diets, joined gyms, bought exercise equipment and consumed disgusting liquids, all with the hope of attaining some golden number on the scale.

These days the number on my scale bounces around a lot - while I’m standing on it. This is because I’ve kicked it into the wall a few times too many and it’s not exactly in the best shape

I have a pretty good idea of what I weigh, hence the ritualistic ‘kicking of the scale’ and it’s too damn much. I no longer reward a two pound loss with a box of Twinkies, but it hardly seems to matter. I have parked myself in a fat suit and am uncomfortable living in my own skin.

I know that the only way to fix this is through exercise - and lots of it. But I’m so embarrassed being in public (let alone attempting to move quickly while other people are watching) that it’s hard to get started again. I bought a bicycle and rode it to work for about a week, but I was ashamed to be seen peddling and sweating in commuter traffic. I keep it in my house next to front door. It makes a unique coat rack. I bought some weights and keep them in the living room as a visual reminder to use them, but after tripping over them so often I’ve developed animosity toward them. They are now “out of sight, out of mind”. I have a brand new mini-trampoline that sits in the middle of the living room - again as a visual reminder. This, I actually use. I step on it every time I go to put a DVD in the player. I just love movies! I bought a complete set of workout DVD’s featuring Jillian Michaels from The Biggest Loser. I’ve watched them all. I also have a membership to a gym. The little plastic tab given to me for checking in and out of the gym makes a stylish key ring accessory.

I’ve been thinking, the past couple of days, that there may be a better use for all this extra furniture/exercise equipment I’ve invested in. I mean, for God’s sake! I have a coat closet right next to my front door. It has hangers in it and everything.

So one day on my way home from work I stopped at a store and bought a nifty, new scale. According to the box, it’s a “scale, body fat analyzer, water and muscle monitoring, precision electronic scale.” NICE!

You need to understand something before I continue. I’ve always been a little accident prone. Well, not exactly accident prone, but kind of ‘bizarre occurrence’ prone. Examples: 1) once I slept with my eye propped open against my pillow. I guess I was in REM sleep and my eyeball was rubbing against the pillow, because when I woke up it looked like it was bleeding and felt like I’d been punched in the eyeball. Not the eye, the eyeball. 2) when I was in college I fell asleep with my arms stretched out over my head. When I woke up, they were numb from the shoulder down - both of them. When my friend came to get me for breakfast I couldn’t open the door because they were just two dead weights. The only movement I could make with them was by twisting my body quickly from side to side. They would just kind of flop. It took awhile before I could open the door. My friend couldn’t help me - it was locked from the inside.

So I took the scale home and began the programming. I entered my sex (which is zero, but that’s another story) weight, height and age. It registered all of these and gave me an accurate weight, but when it came to the other statistics, I kept getting and “Err” message.

I re-read the directions, reprogrammed and tried again. Same thing. Then I noticed a tip that said the scale may not work correctly if your feet are dry, and to apply a little lotion to them to make better contact with the sensors. Now, let me say this: It DID cross my mind momentarily that there could be catastrophic consequences for this action - but only momentarily, and with no specifics.

It never occurred to me what would happen while standing on linoleum, applying lotion to one foot and then standing on that foot to apply lotion to the other one.

As I was falling, I remember thinking, “What did you think was going to happen, Grace?” WHAM! I fell against the toilet and now have a huge blue and green bruise on my…

But, I haven’t given up. This morning I jogged on my mini-trampoline for about 20 minutes. It’s a start - and no injuries yet! NICE!