This semester is almost over; my second semester back in college since dropping out because of my drug use back in 2011. It has been wonderful and stressful. It’s the good kind of stressful though, the kind I thrive under. I am good at school. I always have been. Between Biology, Modern American History, and American Sign Language, this semester has really challenged me, and I feel like this entire week, I have been drowning in assignments. Why is it, that all of these major assignments are due the week before finals? If I were still the kind of student that I used to be, I would have been spending all next week trying to finish all of these assignments right before they’re due, and have no time to study for the finals themselves. But this isn’t my first rodeo. I know what I have to do to have the best shot at succeeding.

I have enjoyed my ASL class this semester, however, it may be the one thing to keep me from a 4.0 this semester. I’ve worked my butt off, and if I end up with a B, I’m going to be sad, but I’ll accept it. Learning a new language is difficult. Language is considered a critical period in development. Learning a language (or multiple languages) is best done in the first several years of life. It’s just the way the brain is wired.

On top of school, I have been holding a secretary commitment at a Cocaine Anonymous meeting every Friday. The meeting is not close to my home, and Vince didn’t think it was the greatest idea, but no matter how tired I am every week, when the meeting is said and done, I’m glad I was there.

I’m going to really truly try to post more often. I should have been posting when my mother passed away. I think I could have shared a lot about that, and maybe I will share more soon, for it is truly worth its own post. I miss my mom. But my ability to maintain a stable sense of being, and continue to function and succeed as I have grieved, has been something that has amazed me. Since this page is meant to share and inspire about motherhood as well as recovery, I will definitely get something up soon about it.

I will also post as the process comes along, but I successfully completed my 3 years of probation in January and have since hired a lawyer to help me get my record expunged. Since my goal is to transfer to San Diego State University, this is so important. And I am so confident that it will go well.

Also, it is time to buy supplies and get all of the details together for the party, but it is almost Deklen’s 2nd birthday. I have kept this wonderful and precious human life love for 2 years! I have to sign off because he’s just crawled into bed with me but there will be more to come!!!

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Awestruck

There are moments in motherhood… Sometimes just one little thing he does.. That just leaves me in awe. Today and tonight we’re just so full of wonder for me. His new ability to say “uh oh” leaves me giggling nonstop. I can ask him where his toes are and he bends over to touch them and stands to clap because I’m applauding his wonderful little mind. I can ask him where his belly button is and he lifts his shirt and pokes the place where I once nourished him from within my body. He knows where his ears are. And as of today, his nose also. And his kisses. Don’t even get me started on his so so sweet fishy lipped kisses. I don’t care if his face is sticky from munching on some fruit, or gooey from slobber covered cookie crumbs. I can’t even imagine turning away one of his kisses. I love him. I would move Heaven and Earth for this boy. There is no greater love….. There really isn’t. You know how your parents always said “wait til you have kids of your own”? Ok well… I get it. 

 

Old Words… The Poetry and Rants that I Come Across

Just a poem I came across in the drafts folder of my email. I wrote this in 2012. I wrote a lot of things back then. When I come across them, they’re intense reminders of what it used to be like. I’m just going to copy and paste directly. I’m not going to fix the stanzas or flow. I’m not going to take away from EXACTLY what it was. I’ll just leave this here with you guys…

The clock ticks as Her heart sinks.
One by one the others drift to sleep
Not her, she knows
As the dread grows.
The beast wakes
And her demons arose
They scream silence louder than the snores of those she is with.
They no longer exist on the same plane.
The sounds with the soulless.
She is dragged out to limbo. Her own personal hell.
She waits patiently, mindless work in her hands. For the time to pass. Lonliness taken from her hands.
She waits for the sun to fight off the hellhounds. Recapturing what is left of her soul for that night. And she continues on as though she has slept
Digging in the powder where her soul has been kept. Digging deeper the darker it gets. The loudest echo shell never forget. That soulless hour where she lies awake. Wondering back on all her mistakes.

Will My Past Affect My Goals?

I come across so many topics I intend to write about, and then time goes by and the topic just becomes belatedly awkward. But that’s ok. As some events come and go, others will come right along. That’s how life works. Sometimes opportunities come and go, but new ones will always come along.

So, right now I am gearing up for school. Yup, that’s right- I’m going back to college!! My registration date has been posted. On July 28th at 2:30pm I’m going to be online, securing my spots in the classrooms of Grossmont College (or most likely putting my name on some waitlists, but I’m trying to be optimistic here). In a matter of two semesters (and maybe one course over the next summer since apparently “Physical Science” is a requirement here) I should be finishing my associates degree in general studies and have the necessary 12 units of child development courses to allow me to work in preschools. But that’s not exactly my end game.

My hope from there, is to attend school and training to become a Montessori School teacher for infants/young children (I haven’t decided which yet, maybe both). I had never heard of Montessori until my mother-in-law to be had mentioned it early on in mine and Vince’s relationship. She had just mentioned that he had attended Montessori school and from there I decided to google it. The wikipedia article describing the Montessori method of teaching struck my interest. Mixed-age classrooms?? Student choice of activity?? Freedom of movement within the classroom?? Why, what anarchy is this??  But as I talked to friends who have had their children enrolled in Montessori schools, and read more and more about it, I fell in love with the idea. I mean, I’ve come to realize and believe, although my son has barely just turned a year old, that children aren’t exactly meant to ALL sit in one place, at the same time, for a long time, being expected to pay attention. Children are the purest of free spirits and Montessori embraces this. There are still specific things to be taught and learned, but the child gets to decide their own order in which to do these things. Whatever subject strikes their interest and attention in the morning, THAT’S what they get to focus on first! Sounds a lot more effective to me…

I still don’t know as much as I’d like to, but today my aunt connected me with somebody whom I can hopefully sit down with one of these days and talk to. I’d like to learn more from her about how Montessori works and her experience with it, but I also have many questions pertaining whether this educational community will embrace me or not. I have questions about my criminal history. Will someone look at my livescan, see that I am a registered narcotics offender, and throw my application into the shredder? Or will I be given the chance to explain? I’ve been arrested twice. The first time, I collected 2 charges: petty theft and possession of a controlled substance (a small amount of meth). The second arrest was another possession charge which occurred while I had been released from jail on my “own recognizance” which tacked “crime-bail-crime” onto my record, though my public defender convinced the judge to have that detail stricken. I was told to complete at least a year of drug treatment with a minimum of 90 days of that time being in residential treatment. I was also given 3 years of probation and had to register in my county of residence as a narcotics offender. I spent 7 months in residential treatment and over a year in outpatient with a couple of months overlapping where I actually attended both. I dutifully reported to my probation officer monthly, and soon after finishing treatment, was granted informal probation. My probation term will be complete in the end of this upcoming January at which point I may be eligible to have all 3 of my convictions dismissed. But the narcotics offenders registry will hold my name and pertinent information for 5 years after the completion of my probation. I’m positive this will appear in the fingerprinting required to obtain any kind of volunteer work, internship, or job in a school. These are the consequences of my actions and I can only pray that I will be given the chance to explain what happened and what advances I have made in my life since. I have remained sober for over two years. I am living in a home with an address that I have had for over a year. I am raising a very happy and healthy boy. And I have remained out of trouble since the last time I was in the courtroom. I’ve returned (and by then) completed school, and will be fully qualified. But will that be enough? Or will my prospective future employers see nothing but a drug addict with a criminal record who must think she’s crazy for believing she will be allowed to be responsible for other peoples’ children on a daily basis? I hope this friend of my aunt’s will be able to shed some light on what I can expect.

The last thing I’m wanting to talk to her about, is my appearance. I am a small woman with 11 tattoos. My arms are tattooed, my foot, ankle, the front of my shoulder… I understand that this may be off-putting to parents. I mean… I have a tattoo of a stick figure skater couple on my ankle…NOT my finest moment in decision making. Last night, I considered blogging but instead found myself online searching companies that specialize in conservative clothing. I have a hard time picturing myself in a little business suit… Actually, the idea is kind of laughable. But I was looking for mature styles that I could see myself wearing that would have neckline high enough to cover the tattoo on my shoulder, and sleeves that would go to my wrists. There was plenty that I found that I could ACTUALLY see myself wearing. But I live in San Diego! What about the days when the temperature climbs over 100 degrees? I would be miserable seeing as my preferred wear on any given day is a tank top. I live in tank tops. So I started looking into tattoo concealing tricks and makeup. If this is a career that I really decide to pursue, and if I am passionate about it, I will go to any length to present myself however I need to do so. Covering up my tattoos would be a little extra effort, but totally worth it to wear a blouse or appropriate dress if I really love my job. And in fact, when I start making money, I may actually invest it in having a few of my tattoos removed.

Anyway, what it comes down to is that teaching was one of the first things I ever thought I wanted to do. The idea has come back to me here and there in different forms but ever since I was pregnant with Deklen, I couldn’t get enough. I couldn’t get enough information about babies and young children and the way they develop and learn. I am so excited to be going back to school to finish my associates degree. I couldn’t believe how truly close I have been all this time. All I need to complete is math, a biological science with lab, and basically P.E. And I realized that I want to study children: hopefully toddlers and babies. I want to work with them. I have a dream- a REALISTIC dream. And I want to pursue it. I hope that my passion might outweigh my past. I have to earn the trust of employers and parents (the parents never need to know my past but with the background check for work, the employer’s knowledge will be inevitable). I’ve worked hard to dig myself out of the hole I created in my past. Hopefully my effort and passion will be seen. Hopefully it will be enough.

I just have to remember to take things one at a time and not to get ahead of myself. It’s a trap I have been know to set in my own self sabotage. I know myself now better than I ever have. I believe I am capable and deserving of my dreams, and I won’t let myself get in my own way. Not this time.

I’m going to miss Deklen though as he goes to day care. It will be a break- of sorts from his wild toddler antics, but while I won’t be busy chasing him down all day and making sure he doesn’t eat hidden cat puke (it’s happened twice now), I will be doing so much more work. Work that as an end result will enrich his life. Not only will I gain knowledge and skills that I just lack as a single parent, but I may be able to work in his school when that time comes, and I will be financially contributing to our family. I will no longer have to rely 100% on Vince for any of my immediate wants and needs or my parents who have put me through rehab, given me a car, bought so many of the things we needed when the baby got here, and still pay my phone bill and car insurance at the age of 23. In fact, there is a small issue with my financial aid for school, and I will probably not be receiving it in time for the beginning of the semester, and they will be helping me with that too. I will have a sense of self reliance and independence that I have never had.

I look forward to talking to my aunt’s friend and getting a better idea of what I’m hoping to do and what to expect. But most importantly I look forward to my future. Something that once upon a time was a feeling I couldn’t even imagine.

My Journey With Breastfeeding

From the time I found out I was pregnant, I knew that I would do everything I could to breastfeed, a dream I never even considered before I got sober. In my using days, I once believed that I WOULD be a mom and that formula feeding while using a little bit of speed would be ESSENTIAL to getting through those first couple months of sleeplessness. Thank GOD I got over that. But anyhow, I knew from the day I got that positive pregnancy test, that I would nurture my baby, the most natural and wonderful way that I could. However, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. My doula (one of the best investments ever) had educated me and told me that it would be difficult and wonderful. But like motherhood itself, it’s one of those things that can be explained in detail, but can not be truly understood until it’s experienced.

I felt so much joy in the month or so before giving birth when I started producing colostrum. I took this as a great sign that at least my breasts were starting to hold up their end of the deal, now it was just up to baby to get a good latch.

When little Deklen came, I struggled to find the right hold. The first couple days were just a struggle of trying to find the easiest or most comfortable way to hold him and get him to have a good latch. Lactation consultants and nurses all seemed to KNOW just the right way to do it, but they all seemed to tell me something different. But we just figured it out. We figured it out day by day.

A couple days in, cue the bleeding cracked nipples that NO amount of lanolin or hot washrags could ease. Pair that with a cluster feeding baby who wanted to eat every 20-45 minutes, and soon enough I was DISTRAUGHT. I remember insisting to Vince that we must be overfeeding him and trying to find research to back this up. I remember him accusing me of trying to starve the baby and how hysterical that made me- feeling like he was accusing me of being an abusive mother. Once I knew it wasn’t a matter of overfeeding, and just how nature works, I remember this one time he headed him to me with a sorry but stern look on his face. “Baby, I think he’s hungry.” And I just broke down. “He can’t be hungry again.” I cried. “He just ate! He can’t be hungry again! I don’t want him to be hungry!” But I took my hungry child, sucked in a sharp breath, and yelped as he latched. But I endured. My doula’s name was Debbe, and she assured me that it would get better. She told me in our months leading up to birth that the beginning would be hard. REALLY hard. That I might even want to quit. But she promised me that it would get better. That it would be second nature. I never considered quitting but those first three weeks or so, I lived in a hell of painful determination. But as promised, it got better, and easier. I had an electric pump that I used from time to time (because it just seemed like a good idea to have milk on hand), but I didn’t even like the idea of letting or asking Vince to take over feedings. I cherished this thing that only I could do for him. The bond, the snuggling. This was MY thing. I didn’t know at first how essential breast pads would be. I found out the hard way when I took a much needed nap and woke up wondering why my bed was wet. Had I been sweating? No… I woke up in a POOL of milk with my breasts still entirely engorged. More than once, I nudged my little boy awake saying “come over here and drink baby; Mommy needs you to help her out.”

Naps began and ended with nursing. Everything I did and everywhere I went had to fit around it (especially before I became comfortable nursing in public).

I don’t remember the exact time, but somewhere around three months into all of this, we were pros! And then I noticed some white patches in Deklen’s mouth. Thrush!! Doc called in a prescription for Nyastin, and after doing my research, I just hoped and prayed that it wouldn’t be transferred to me. Unfortunately, we would share in this pain together. Again we were back to pain. Cracks, and redness. SHOOTING pain. Again, we endured.

Solid foods were introduced, and my son is an AMAZING eater (I mean really, what ISN’T amazing about him?). Nursing continued on demand.

Several months ago I started to suffer panic attacks. My doctor was willing to prescribe a non addictive anti anxiety medication (yay! thank God!), until I told her that I was still breastfeeding. She couldn’t think of anything off the top of her head that was definitely safe while breastfeeding that could help me and with an apologetic look on her face, recommended deep breathing and meditation. I was overwhelmed, and suffering multiple panic attacks a day. I decided to go back to therapy, and give it a month. If I hadn’t found a way to manage the attacks by then, I might CONSIDER ending our breastfeeding relationship so that I could use medication. I could not care for my baby in the midst of a panic attack. My therapist told me to quit caffeine, and my attacks were nearly eliminated. But get this! I was at an AA meeting one night when I began to feel my anxiety rising. I asked a friend to hold my baby so that I could sit quietly in the other room. As the attack worsened, and I found myself sitting in the fetal position, I had an epiphany! Oxytocin! Oxytocin is a relaxing hormone relaxed during breastfeeding. So I took my baby and rocked back and forth as he began to suckle. As I felt the letdown, I took a few deep breaths, and let the oxytocin work it’s magic. My pulse regulated, and the overall feeling of dis-ease, lifted.

I gave up on the electrical pump long ago. I hated that thing. I bought a manual pump back around New Year since we were leaving Deklen with grandparents. It would be the first time I had left him for anything other than to run a quick errand, but I was being given the opportunity to experience Vince’s pilot skills first hand in a helicopter ride! It had just snowed inland (in places where it NEVER snows) and was going to make for some breathtaking views.So I bought the manual pump and had left a bottle or two. He wouldn’t take the bottle but hey, I found that in case of emergency, I actually really liked the manual pump, even if it takes a little longer to use.

On Wednesday, I had surgery to repair a hernia above my belly button that I got while pregnant. The surgeon said that I could immediately nurse after returning home, but I pumped what I had anyway and dumped it. I had a bottle that I defrosted last night from last week when  Deklen had an ear infection and NO appetite. I pumped a bottle and a half in one sitting while Vince played with Deklen at the park. I warmed that up on the stove and put it in the one bottle that we kept.He downed it like a champ. I was able to carefully nurse him a couple times before the local anesthesia started to wear off from the site of the surgery. Come dinner time, I could barely speak loudly due to pain, let alone position my baby to nurse. Ear infection means antibiotics, the antibiotics encouraged the return of thrush and for the last couple of days I’ve been suffering from one SEVER crack in my nipple. Nevertheless, I pumped a bottle for him to after bath time.. I just really wanted to share this tonight. I am so PROUD of this one thing that I have managed to remain dedicated to. I’m not very good at following through with things when the going gets tough but this experience has been unbelievably worth it!I don’t know when we will stop. Whenever we are ready. Until then, I will continue to breastfeed my baby. No matter the obstacles.

When He Hurts, I Hurt, But I Wouldn’t Give It Up For Anything

  
It broke my heart from the beginning of yesterday to just see my ever-so-happy bundle of joy SO distraught, and uncomfortable. It’s such a helpless feeling when your child can’t communicate to you where it hurts or how. But as heartbreaking as it has been to see him hurt, I was reminded of my purpose when my son crawled up and used my legs to stand. Then he proceeded to lift his leg up my leg in an attempt to climb up. This is his way of telling me to pick him up. And when I did, he laid his head on my shoulder and wrapped the opposite arm around my neck, humming/whining to himself. He was hugging me. I am the nurturer. I am the soother. It soothes him to be close to me and I realized that he knows- really KNOWS that I am his safe place. I put all of my love into him, and in this display of affection, he showed me that none of this is in vain. I love that he is now old enough to express his love in return. EVERY second of this life is worth it. I don’t feel like I could ever find a greater or more fulfilling purpose in life than to be this little boy’s home base. In these moments when he INTENTIONALLY hugs me or voluntarily kisses me (these ones are a little more few and far between) I know I’m doing something right. The loss of sleep is totally worth it. I would do anything to make sure that this little person doesn’t suffer or hurt. But I know that sometimes it’s inevitable. Everyone gets sick. And it’s a miserable experience. And I’m raising a boy. He’s going to get hurt. But to be the person he runs to. For comfort, and love, and reassurance.. There is no greater feeling. He needs me. And he will never understand until he has babies of his own, how much I need him.

It started yesterday morning as I joked with my mom on the phone that my baby had “his cranky pants on.” My sweet tempered little boy was just being uncharacteristically fussy, frustrated, indecisive, emotionally sensitive, and easily upset. His dad eventually got out of bed and the first thing he saw and heard when he joined us in the living room was Deklen fussing/whining because (at his request) I had picked him up and put him on the couch and he now immediately wanted down. “Oh no Bubba! What’s wrong?” Vince asked. And I just rolled my eyes and gave half of a chuckle and said “I don’t know.. he’s been like this all morning. Maybe he’s got some more teeth coming in.” Our baby has RARELY ever been sick in this first year of life, and his first four teeth never bothered him, so really, anyone’s guess was as good as mine.

Deklen’s first birthday party is scheduled for this Saturday and we had just found out over the weekend that the sheltered park spot we wanted and planned to hold the party at was a “permit only” kind of deal. The Parks and Recreations office was closed on Sundays and we forgot about it on Monday so he picked up the phone to call and make sure the spot was open for this weekend only to find out that the gazebo we wanted to use has actually been booked out pretty much every weekend for the next couple months. There would be a wedding right where we had wanted to have our party (good thing we called!). So, with the party 4 days away, this was a matter that needed to be resolved quickly. Deklen had just had a pretty epic meltdown. My poor baby had been crying for about a half hour (over what, we had no idea at the time) and was just starting to calm down when we put him in the car to go scope out a new spot for his party. He fell asleep in the car right away and we found the perfect place. We stayed a while to play in the park. The swings and slides, and walking around in the ocean with his dad seemed to cheer baby up quite a bit or at least distract him. We came home and got him down for a nice long nap on the couch (which I gratefully took part in).

I got up from my nap and let the baby keep sleeping with his dad while I got up and showered and prepared for an AA meeting. A very special AA meeting. I got ready, and then got Deklen ready, and we were out the door. This meeting was special because I received a very special 2 year token from a good friend of mine (YAY ME!). Though Deklen wasn’t screaming or crying through the meeting, he did seem to be humming, and making other kinds of low-key but constant noise and toward the end of the meeting I noticed that his eyebrows seemed tense. Like he was in some sort of physical discomfort. Again, I thought maybe this is what it’s like for a baby to be in discomfort while teething… We got home and I my poor boy ready for bed. He took a couple bites of the food I offered him but really just wasn’t hungry and I soon gave up on it. “My poor baby. I wish you could tell me what was bothering you so I could know for sure and do my best to fix it.” Something was just off and I hate to see him so down. This is just so uncommon for us. Once I got him bathed and into his pajamas, I thought he felt a little warm. The top of his head gets pretty hot when he cries, fusses or nurses. So I checked his forehead. Yup, definitely warmer than it should be. And his cheeks. The back of his neck and his little hands were radiating heat as he had a couple little coughs. Nothing crazy. I still thought maybe some new teeth were to blame since I have read about teething as a cause of low-grade fevers and even an occasional cough or two from extra saliva and drool. He had been drooling more than usual yesterday too. Anyway, I couldn’t find the “good” thermometer so I had no idea how to gauge the severity of his fever. He refused to nurse after I got him in his PJ’s (which just doesn’t happen…) so finally I remembered that I had some infant’s Advil in the kitchen from the one other time he was sick. About 20 minutes later he seemed quite a bit more relaxed and his temperature seemed perfectly fine. We tried to carry on as usual but about 20 minutes after Vince put him in his crib, I went to retrieve him. After hearing him cough a few more times, watching him toss and turn in his crib on the video monitor and hearing him bump his head, arms, and flailing legs against the sides of the crib, I knew I wouldn’t get any sleep with him being in the other room. If he’s coughing, I need to be able to hear how his breathing is, and if his fever spiked, I wanted to know. I finally fell asleep around 2 AM and woke up from a nightmare around 4. Vince had been about to wake me up due to rapid breathing and some concerning sounds when my brain mercifully took me out of the hell I had been in. It took me a while to go back to sleep so when Deklen woke up, as unhappy as he had been yesterday, and unwilling to go back to sleep at 6:30 in the morning, I was exhausted.

Anyhow.. I got us into a very light nap about an hour later. I played his favorite youtube nursery rhymes on the living room TV and started to doze with him laying on top of me. He couldn’t get comfortable but I knew that if I started to fall asleep, he wouldn’t be going anywhere without my knowing it. I woke up from dozing, realized he was asleep (finally), turned off the TV, and snuggled in for whatever time he would allow for a nap. His fever was back… I gave him some more Advil and called the doctor. The nurse said it would be a good idea to have him seen but that I could keep an eye on it for another day just to see how it goes. “No, no. My baby is so uncomfortable. If it IS teething, than at least the doctor can tell me that and I can go get him some teething tablets or SOMETHING. If not, then I’d rather figure out how to take care of whatever it is. I just want to know what’s wring because unfortunately, he can’t tell me.” So I took the soonest appointment.

And to make a bad day worse, in his confusion and exhaustion, soon after I got off the phone, my little man, cruising between the coffee table and the couch, tripped over his own foot and hit his face on the coffee table. This isn’t the first time it’s happened but I just felt so much worse for him. I thought he had bumped his nose but as I sat in the rocking chair trying to keep him happy and calm, I saw the little purple goose egg under his eye where the coffee table had assaulted his poor little face.

Come to find out, he has his very first ear infection… Well no WONDER! But I’m glad I got him in today. The doctor said with some Advil, antibiotics, and extra cuddles, he should be feeling fine in time for his big day!

What the f*** was I thinking

I thought looking like this was ok... The outside finally matched how sick and tired I felt on the inside.

I thought looking like this was ok… The outside finally matched how sick and tired I felt on the inside.

This blog was something I decided to do because I felt that it would be a healthy thing for me to do. It was something I decided to do because I love to write. It was something I decided to do because I wanted to share my experiences with others. And it was something that I forgot about for a while. Maybe I’ve been lazy. Or maybe I haven’t known what to say. But whatever the reason, I am still just trying to find a way to flow with this.

This entry may end up being a little all over the place, but it;s just where my head is at right now. My son’s 1st birthday is VERY quickly approaching on June 8th, and I’m having a hernia repair surgery shortly after that. And then I am on to just make whatever preparations I can to return to college for the Fall semester. These are all the major events that are up and coming and taking priority in my mind most days. I’m looking forward to returning to school SO MUCH, and I can not believe that my little boy entered this world an entire year ago. As for the surgery, I’m not so excited about that, but I’m excited to be getting it over with. And though these are such big things, they are big accomplishments. Oh! I almost forgot. June 1st marks my second year of sobriety. THAT is what makes all of these things so amazing to me.

A few years ago, I had dropped OUT of college, with no hope in the near future of returning. A few years ago, my body (I don’t believe) would have been capable of pregnancy, and if it had, or if I had had a baby, I would have not been allowed or able to care for it. Yet, I am an amazing mother to a person more wonderful than I could ever have imagined to exist. The hardships that can be known in life are yet unknown to him. And I can only hope as his mother, to show him that no matter what happens in life, there is always love and always hope… if you know where to look. I can only hope to be around a very long time to be someone he can turn to. I created this little life. So full of energy. He has new ideas and discovers new things every day. And he has HUMOR!! His laugh is the sweetest thing I have ever heard. And when I think of my life now… and it’s “normal” stresses/complications/whatever you want to call them, compared to what havoc wreaked my day to day (or rather the hour to hour I was trying to survive) life a couple years ago, I can’t help wondering “what the f*** was I thinking??”

I didn’t even do drugs like other addicts that I knew. They all knew how to party. They all had their own hustle. They could walk the streets and knew what they were doing. I think I just had a lot of pain. I had a lot of pain that had built up over years. I had no tools, no idea how to face these things. I had no self esteem. My lack of self worth made it impossible to thrive in any job and I easily gave up on everything. Instead of learning from my mistakes and growing from them, I took them as deep personal failures and would just quit. I had experienced deep loss relatively close to the time I found my love for crystal meth. There weren’t many “ups” or even nearly hopeful situations after I started using. There was no plateau even, in my drug use.. See, I tried my first line one day, and basically took a nose dive off the “deep end”. I didn’t use for a very long time (less than 2 years with meth specifically), but I just…. well I guess if you talked to anybody who spent time around me in those years, they would tell you that I just wasn’t GOOD at it. I couldn’t roam the streets without getting lost or into some VERY precarious situation.I couldn’t be on my own. I was often just a tag along to some chaos I wanted no part of. Honestly, I just wanted to get high, and write (or go “shopping” but that was NEVER a good idea) and that often wasn’t what happened when I basically put myself at the mercy of the “safety” of whatever company I kept. It was awful. Not fun. The situations I would get into with these people. They were just.. ridiculous. Stressful. Adventures. Not the fun kind of adventures… the furthest thing from it.

I went to jail TWICE. The first time was the result of attempting to shoplift a magnifying glass (tweaker stuff) while in possession of dope. And the other arrest was just a possession charge which happened because I was in the wrong part of town roaming around at somewhere close to 4am. Even since being a child, I just DON’T get away with things. I didn’t eat. I didn’t sleep. I knew if I wanted to even live long enough to keep using that these were things I needed to do. I just didn’t CARE.

I mean.. It’s past my bedtime here but I’ll just close with this. I was nearing death’s door by the time I went to detox, weighing in at 84 lbs (after having gained 12 lbs in jail) and I didn’t want to give up the drug. It was never the “lifestyle” that I was addicted to like so many people that I know. That part was RARELY fun for me. I was just trying to stay awake… Trying to escape things I didn’t want to face. But I guess after my short time dancing with the devil, I finally just got the hint. I never felt like I fit in growing up, but guess what? I didn’t fit in with the drug addicts either. I wasn’t “hardcore” like they were. I wasn’t into the “hustle and flow”. Someone still very close to me one day, while he nodded out on heroin, hurt my feelings when he asked me “what the f*** are you DOING?? Like… you don’t belong here… You being out there doing big things. You have so much potential.” I went to detox about a week later. There’s so much more that I can say on this subject, but I’ll save it for another time… It’s late here, and I know my son will be up early..

I’m just so grateful. I’ve found love for myself, and confidence I never thought I’d find. My life hasn’t been just a trail of screw ups like I had once known it to be. My life is a journey of lessons, beauty, love, and learning. I can’t wait to be back in school and headed down the path to (hopefully) being a school teacher with young children. I’m an asset to those I love now, rather than being a burden or a tragedy. I hold my family so dear to my heart. Life is a precious gift that I will not take for granted. Even if I ever have a fleeting moment of missing the high of when I used, all I have to do is think of what INEVITABLY comes with it and I laugh.. Like, “nope… not a chance. NOT even worth it.”