One thing that grabbed my attention when I was skimming over all of my blog posts the other day was the countless number of times I’ve tried to quit drinking over the past 9 months. Obviously, I am well aware of my ongoing battle with the bottle, but to see it all in writing, to see how many times I’ve relapsed but continued to persevere, and to realize how many years this has gone on, was an eye opener. I’ve also been thinking lately of the people who have helped me along the way and how invaluable they have been; some of them quite unlikely friends.
Take for instance the man on the right wearing the ball cap in the back row of this pic, which was taken circa 1976; I was the only girl on this motley crew. Farm team baseball … that’s where I started my sports career. You probably read all about it in Sports Illustrated … not! I don’t think T-ball was invented back in my day, and they sure as heck didn’t have anything for girls to do, so I signed up for baseball! Dolls just weren’t my thing. Anyhoo, that gentleman is Mr. Rooney … he did some wonderful things for our family, which I think I may have mentioned in a past post.
I don’t think I’ve laid eyes on Mr. Rooney in 30 years or more, but through one of the very FEW good things that has come out of Facebook, we reconnected awhile back. Let me just share some snippets from e-mails he has sent me regarding my struggle with sauce and sadness:
- July 28, 2012: “Jen you have a lot to offer, you have many years ahead of you. Stay strong. I believe in you and know you can do it. You proved that to me those many years ago.”
- August 3, 2012: “Keep up the faith I’m with you.”
- August 4, 2012: “Pity that you won’t get from me! Some times it is enough to just talk. One thing I am sure of you can do it if you make up your mind to it. But you H-A-V-E–T-O R-E-A-L-L-Y__W-A-N-T T-O …Remember and believe me prayer does help. It got me through 4 major operations one was open heart a quad by-pass. I am with you Jen you are well worth it.”
- August 7, 2012: “So if you make your mind up you can do it too. Sure it’s hard but you are tougher you showed that way back when. You were my only girl and you showed the other teams what they were up against. As you remember we were the troops nobody wanted and we beat them all and it was with guts like yours we did it. So you see if you make up your mind you are going to beat this thing. You got me in your corner and I have confidence that you will do it. Go Gal Go.”
- September 4, 2012: “Remember if you REALLY WANT TO DO IT YOU CAN!!!! God Bless you Jen you are worth it.”
Although, I’ve had my ups and downs between July and September, those words were an incredible inspiration. The rest I’m gonna share is from my more recent relapse and depressive episode.
I e-mailed this handsome man, my brother Jeff, because I wanted him to know what I was going through and to assure him not to worry. I felt it important to reach out to him. Here’s his sweet reply:
August 28, 2012: “First-congratulations on the sobriety—I imagine your body is adjusting and it will be tough-but you’re a tough broad…I can’t offer you any advice but know I am behind you 100%.”
… this friend of mine. She knows who she is and that she is even crazier than me, THANK YOU LORD! She sent me this message on Facebook:
August 29, 2012: “I know u are hurting right now. I am ur friend and I am concerned for and about you. I know the strength to do this thing called “Life” is down deep inside of you. It is not easy…it isn’t always neat and tidy…it is a mess sometimes. But it is worth it. You are such an inspiration to me..you will never know. You just never will now it so I am telling you this. Love you.”
So what if she’s certifiably nuts and a class 4 _____, (I can’t say it cuz she’ll get mad, but it rhymes with 4), she still means the world to me!
Cat fight! I would be remiss not to mention this next comment I received on this blog, as I’ve quoted the same person before … we have since mended the rift between us … I hope. An unlikely friendship indeed, but one that I will forever cherish. She said:
August 29, 2012: “I just want you to know I do think you really are a good person and like myself have struggled with a lot in your life that you had no control over. I just want you to know that even I have enjoyed reading your writings. You are very talented with this and I hope you pursue it more deeply.”
And from Lynn of my favorite married couple this side of the Mason-Dixon Line, John and Lynn:
- August 31, 2012: “Hang in there Jen. We are proud of you for overcoming these horrible obstacles.”
- September 2, 2012: “You are evolving into quite the writer…keep it up. I also think it is very therapeutic for you.”
This one is totally cool … from Becky, a gal I’ve never met, a lover of camping. She found me on the interwebz when she was looking for pics of Hunting Island, SC:
August 30, 2012: “Will definitely follow you on FB. I looked on FB the other day since it had been a while since seeing any posts from you. I noticed you were no longer on there by your name. Remember it’s not about how you fall, it’s about how you get back up. Hang in there and God Bless!”
I was so happy to get this e-mail from Buddy’s Mom’s. Buddy is Sammie’s summertime fling, the black lab she is staring at above; I think it was more than just a fling, but she tells me to shut my cake hole whenever I mention it. Buddy’s mom and I share a lot in common, and despite the fact we only camped across the way from each other for a few days, we are forever friends:
August 30, 2012: “Well I was thinking of you yesterday while I was doing dishes LOL… seems I do a lot of thinking at the kitchen sink Anyways, I came in to my computer and no shit you had just sent a post to your blog. I love that kind of synchronicity happening … Yes, depression/anxiety or a combination of the two SUCKS!!!! I can totally relate to not being able to “function” as I used to either. … When I started school back in January and was only able to do it for 6 weeks (right before my house flood)… I too was really starting to lose it. It was like I just couldn’t handle deadlines, focusing my thoughts enough to complete assignments and just keeping it together. I miss my old brain, my old self, the one before trauma and menopause. It’s like I’m now a completely different person, having to battle these “episodes” which I go through… And, it sounds like you too. … YOU’RE AWESOME JUST AS YOU ARE RIGHT NOW!!!!”
Funny she mentioned the kitchen sink, as I’ve always found washing dishes to be very cathartic. Back atcha on the being awesome, Buddy’s mom!
And what friendship is more unlikely than one with an ex-BF, the relationship having ended just as bitterly as most do?! Hi Frank. Any of you Jerry Springer fans (I know there’s a ton of you out there reading this) might recognize him as the winner of the song contest Springer had a few years ago. I’m so proud of him … I mean SPRINGER … JERRY FRICKN SPRINGER!!! Just messin’ with ya, Frank, you are an incredibly talented musician and amazing songwriter. Check it out:
We’ve stayed in touch over the years, and I so enjoy his blunt honesty; I wonder why. Here’s what he said in an e-mail recently:
September 7, 2012: “I really can’t offer any advice about your drinking that you don’t already know. It seems to be damaging to you but I think the main thing is the way you like to be in control of your life. You like to raise the bar as they say. I mean [not that you are old] but humping that cop course had to be Hell …I am not going to preach about the drinking thing … But I have some advantages that you don’t:
- I do not change personalities.
- I do not get destructive to me or to anyone else.
- I have boundaries.
- It is not depressing me that I do it.
… to you it is the dragon that you have to slay. I say slay it. Find out what it takes and do it. Fail get up fail again and get up and just keep trying. You might not even win but never give up on something you want or something you want to become and yes something you want to get rid of … You and I are a lot alike for we swim up stream against the current. You have found physical strength. Now you have to find the strength that is inside of you. You know it is there for this is pissing you off WAY too much …
I just care about you and I am in your corner drunk or sober. Feel free to tell me the go pack rock salt up my ass.”
Hmmm … anybody know where I can get some rock salt and a rubber mallet? That almost sounds like fun (in a sadistic sort of way).
Then there is this guy … I had a raging crush on him when I was a teen. I still have a thing for older men. Here’s what he had to say on my blog:
- September 9, 2012: “Keep the Beast train on the tracks.”
- September 11, 2012: “You’ve done it ,,,gone off the deep end and didn’t come up for air in time …lov ya Jon.”
Priceless. Thanks to all y’all. Your words have helped me immensely … much more than I reckon you realize. Thanks to those I may not have mentioned. Thanks to my Auntie in Cleveland and my cousins up in Massachusetts … XOXO to all of you (well, X’s for the guys, O’s for the chicks).
Because I care,