The last first day

It’s funny, 6 years sober and I still try to hide from emotional events.

Yesterday was my sons last first day of school (first day of grade 12). I almost went to work, even though I have flexibility to work from home. He told me he was ok with that.

At the last minute I stayed home, made him breakfast, took pictures and told him I love him and to enjoy his last first day of school, mask and all. And after he left I cried happy tears that my baby is grown up.

I strive for the middle path, and contentment. But I sometimes need to remember that avoiding the downs also means losing out on the highs.

Stillness and peace

Anne

So much time!

Hello! It has been so long since I am updating my blog and I cannot believe I have been so negligent. When I was last year with Fort McMurray had just experienced the flood. It was a huge blow to the city but things are slowly resuming normal. Many people were impacted. 2020 has been a tough year.

My workplace sent us all home to work from home in mid March. As an engineer my work is easily done at home and I was happily set up here. My kids school and did the same day and they resumed work online.

My workplace began to return to work in early July. There are usually over 8000 people at the plant site. I was very concerned when they first called me about this and told me that my return date was July 27. I stressed about it for a lot of July, but in the end decided I would go and see.

The morning of July 27 I got ready for work and it was just me defined oh my clothes are too small LOL. I still managed to get dressed and went to site. We have mandatory masking whenever outside of our office and there’s sanitizer and cleanliness all around. I have a lovely closed-door office with a beautiful view.

Once I got past the shock of return I quickly realized I missed the routine of getting out of bed and leaving the house. Even a few days in I’ll be on to feel much less distressed about being out. I think this was very healthy for my mental well-being. I also reverted back to my normal generally low carb eating and M able to fit some of my clothes!

A few weeks ago a new, very small yoga studio opened. My old studio is also open but it appears to be full of people and I am not comfortable returning. I went to check out the new studio and it was very lovely. I took another step outside my comfort zone and went to a class. I decided to go to the first class in the morning. There were only four students and it was so lovely.

Past few weeks have me feeling more like a regular person. My hair is no longer gray. I’m leaving the house more. Although I loved working from home and would like to do that more, I am OK with the way things are. I have no interest or prospects in dating LOL. I think I will be happy sleeping alone in my king size bed in definitely.

Kids and I have settled into a nice routine. My son and I love sports and watch them together every night. I cherish this time as he is 17 years old and I know that he won’t be here in definitely. Every night we share a piece of gluten-free cake. No diet is going to take that away! My daughter is out with friends a little in a safe Covid positive sort of way. She seems happy and content. Both wonder what September will bring, but neither are stressed about

As much as I hate the whole covid pandemic and economic downturn, pausing and enjoying a bit slower life it’s good for me. I have a very fortunate that I have a job so I can work from home. Although I am in the oils industry my company is still ok. And I’m in Canada, where cases are being managed.

I see lots of new bloggers. I welcome you here! Sobriety allows me to manage the curveballs life throws my way, and has helped me cultivate enough serenity to go with the flow sometimes. Life can be so good.

Stillness and peace

Anne

2020 Flood

Anyone who has followed me knows I was evacuated with my entire city during 2016 Fort McMurray wildfires. It was extremely scary and traumatic, and the city continues to heal from that.

Well. If pandemic wasn’t enough, we are in the middle of a 100 year flood. 15,000 people are currently evacuated from the city centre. Most essential services are located downtown, as this city grew from a trading post along the river.

Fortunately, I live way up a hill and my house is safe. My sister in law (ex? Not sure) who is my good friend, lives downtown. Fortunately she was out of town, or she would most likely have been evacuated in a boat. Her condo building is under water.

The city is devastated and it’s not over. The river is still jammed. The water treatment plan is impacted and we are on a boil water advisory. The hospital has been threatened.

It is truly shocking and scary and I cannot believe that this is how 2020 continues to unfold. In the picture below, the green roof is a grocery store. 4 of the 8 grocery stores for the city are in this area. And the city itself is a 5 hour drive up one highway from the next major centre. This happened over night.

I am inspired by the resiliency of people and the effort the entire city has put forward to help in any and all ways. Sandbagging, donating, volunteering. In the midst of a health crisis true humanity shines through.

If you have a moment, please send me some thoughts of heat. We need the ice to melt so the river can flow!

Stillness and peace

Anne

Hello! a check in from home

Hi all! I can’t believe it has been so long since I wrote. Things seems to be progressing in my life and then I started watching this crazy epidemic in China in January and that became a bit obsessive.

My friends thought I was crazy. I started stockpiling food, meds, etc…not tons, but enough. My kids laughed at me and called me a conspiracy theorist.

Of course, now they all think I’m smart. I wish I wasn’t.

I live in northern Canada. I am currently working from home and am deeply grateful to still have a job. My work is in the oil industry and it is suffering. We are still operating as the world need power and oil.

In the midst of all the uncertainty I have found a lovely refuge. My kids are home with me. They are doing online school, or at least one is. Crow is not overly interested and I am not yet willing to force this. It has been too much change for her and I am just happy she is otherwise thriving. School can wait.

The kids and I have all our basic needs. I pick up groceries once a week and I still get a food delivery box weekly. We have implemented week night dinners at the table with China and candles. It is lovely.

In the evening my son and I watch either the office or a movie. Both of us are lost without sports, so this is our compromise. It’s such a nice time and he is almost 17. I don’t have too many more years of him at home. I am cherishing each moment.

Crow is a night owl. She is often asleep when we are awake, but then she is around when I am working. She is a nice distraction.

Many days I feel scared of the future. what will happen to the economy? Will the pandemic become worse? Is there more to the virus that we don’t know? What about my parents, how are in their 80s? My grandma who is tuning 99 soon?

I have to refocus myself on today quite often. So much uncertainty….and all out of my control. Clearly most things are. I guess I have learned a lot over the years.

I see many memes about people drinking during quarantine. It makes me very thankful that is not me, and sad that that’s such a common coping mechanism. I do eat more than usual, and much of it is out of boredom, but I just can’t quite bring myself to care. I try to make some good choices and drink enough water and enjoy the extras.

I hope you are all well during this scary time. Tell me some new things you are doing that you enjoy!

Stillness and peace

Anne

Explore – Word the Year

For a number of year now I have picked a word of the year. This word becomes my intention at yoga, my touchstone to inspire me. Each word has been exactly perfect in both expected and unexpected ways.

In 2019 I picked the word bloom. It was a good choice for me. In my post I added a picture with a quote – when you feel you’re in a dark place and have been buried , sometimes you’ve just been planted, bloom.

I spent much of my year feeling exactly that way. Things were dark, heavy and much of the time i felt confused, in an unfamiliar place and suffocated. It was difficult to understand what had happened to my life and I could not see the light ahead.

I spent a lot of time hibernating. I was deeply depressed. I stayed home. I did less. I cried a lot. Amazingly, as the year went on, the love and support I received from others slowly worked their magic and I began to find myself again. My energy and clarity returned. Unexpected friends appeared. Life became less confining and I felt like myself again.

As 2019 comes to an end I feel like I have left that dark, underground place behind. I have returned to the light, where bloom finally makes sense. Bloom. I am finally free, bright, alive and willing to be seen. The hope that bloom provided actually kept me going many dark days.

Bloom is the grace that has come from the suffering.

So 2020. I asked myself , what do I need for myself now? Immediately the word explore comes to mind. I want to explore life from my own perspective . I want to explore my body feels in yoga, how my heart feels. I want to explore going places on my own. I want to explore Life with my kids, who are growing into adults so quickly. I want to explore who Anne is.

Earlier this year my therapist asked me what my wants and needs are. I couldn’t answer the question it distressed me that I didn’t even know what I like to do or what I need. I’m 48. Have I really ignored me for that long?

2020 is my year to ask…What do I want to the rest of my life to be?

Explore feels exciting, little scary and motivating. Exactly what I need.

Thank you all for your love and support and wishing you a wonderful 2020.

Stillness and peace

Anne

Please share your word with me. If you have never picked one, consider it. It’s very empowering to know your intention for the year. It’s magical.

What a difference a year makes. My story.

Writing out my story of the past year has helped me put the year into perspective. One never knows how things are going to turn out…

Still here and still sober. Perhaps I’m even blooming finally!

D day was 1 year ago. We were on our way to a weekend in Vegas. Dd turned on her iPad and yikes…all her dads texts, which included sexting with the ow.

She tells him, he tried to convince her not to tell me, it comes out he’s texting a girl from AA (13th stepping). We agree to not discuss until the trip ends. I am livid and devastated. This man has been my best friend for 25 years. We met at university, we work at the same company, we got sober together in 2013. We have a fun life full of travel, concerts and our kids finally are old enough to have fun with us.

The last day of the trip he confesses. He’s been sleeping with this girl for a few months. He doesn’t know why. He loves me and our family. I am his best friend. I tell him we are getting divorced and he moves out as soon as we get home. I immediately go to the bank and split all finance. I am the money manager in the family, and both of us have excellent incomes.

You all know the devastation. I try to comprehend how this person, who claims to love me, could betray me. I consider reconciling….the kids, who know everything (13 &15) demand I divorce him. They are angry and hurt,but they refuse to let me accept this disrespect.

Next it appears he’s texting a young girl, who is my friend, from work every day. I ask, she tells me to fuck off. I get a lawyer. He continues to ask me to give him time, goes to step meetings, therapy. He rarely sees the kids and they pretty much go no contact.

Next comes a stalker girl who shows up at our house. She knows all about us. I file for divorce. He agrees to give me everything, the house, savings, full custody, child support.

Ex decides to run 800 km away to an alternate work location. Doesn’t even tell the kids…and it turns out he moved in with a coworker (his bosses secretary) who, it also turns out, is pregnant. This is about 8 months post d day. I finally have had enough and take a mental health leave from work. Best decision ever. I took time to deeply grieve and in doing so I regained my balance and self esteem.

Today, exactly one year later, we are divorced. Clear eyes show me he was always a selfish asshole, but I was a very good buffer between him and the world. The kids are flourishing. My codependency was deep. I grew up with a narcisstic parent and I had never realized just how much I believed my job was to make sur everyone else was ok…

I am truly settled and happy on my own now. Being financially secure and him conceding everything without a fight has been vital. I love living alone with my kids.

I wouldn’t wish this suffering on anyone. It almost took me down a few times this year…my pain and the pain I feel for my kids has been sharp and deep and overwhelming, but I got through it with support from friends,online, through my blog and by asking for help over and over again.

Some days I am at meh, but I expect it won’t be a full time thing until my kids are grown up as ex’s behaviour still hurts them. They are generally still no contact. They haven’t seen him since he moved in June. And on those days I wish him grave harm.

Chumplady has been the source of my strength and resolve. Knowing others have gone through this horror and have advice on how to manage and proceed has been vital. I thank you all for sharing every single day.

Stillness and peace

Tears for the end

The judge signed my divorce. It is over. 25 years.

I’m very sad and have cried many tears since I got the email on Friday. I knew it was coming…and it fills me with a crazy mix of relief, anger, resentment and resignation…

I look back at our wedding picture and I know I didn’t expect things to end this way. Of course, I also didn’t foresee any of our other struggles. I didn’t expect I would ever be sober. Be a mom. Be a yoga teacher. And I expect today there are many more things ahead of me that I haven’t even thought of!

I returned to work oct 9 and have been enjoying it. I feel settled in my skin. I am enjoying my independence and I have no interest in dating. I like having my time to myself and the kids and I are enjoying life. Things are very good.

I think I need to grieve for these few days. If I don’t let these tears out they will weigh me down. I’m not scared of them. They feel well earned, not self destructive. I’m always worried to be sad…depression seems much too possible…but not right now, if that makes any sense.

I don’t regret marrying Craig. I had some great times and the two kids are worth any painful ending. I wish he could see that he has abandoned his kids when he moved away, and just how shitty and unfair to them that is for them. I wish he could fix that. But I know he can’t…or won’t…so I will make sure I love them enough for two parents.

This is what life is about right now!

Thank you all for your unending love and support. This year has been the most absolutely shocking, painful and unexpected. I have found new friends in the most unexpected places.

No matter how hard this drama has been, I am absolutely sure that staying sober has been the best choice I could have ever made. It is choosing me. It is choosing love. And it is choosing life. I don’t doubt that one bit.

Stillness and peace

Anne

Shinedown and smiling

I returned to work last week. I was off for 2 months. 2 months that took me from despair to ok. Over the past couple of weeks I finally felt like me again.

When I was trapped in anxiety my thoughts were all in the front part of my brain. They were fizzy and frazzles and I couldn’t think very far ahead. It’s hard. I felt dull and slow. This is how I felt in August, when I realized I was not coping well. Things didn’t make sense. Life didn’t make sense.

Now, my thoughts are in the back of my head. They are clear and connected and I can see them. I can plan ahead and envision how things will unfold. I can understand what I want and I see my emotions for what they are. I feel sharp and intelligent. I can handle unexpected problems.

It’s amazing how this shifted. In the frazzled state I did worry I might be like that forever. It was hard and scary. That’s part of the problem. No matter how prepared I am for a low, I still get trapped there…Hope becomes very small.

But I am out of that pit. I am back feeling productive. And so I returned to my life and I returned to work. I missed it. iWork with some amazing people.

I am being gentle with myself, but I am also re engaging with my responsibilities. It’s time. Although a part of me would like to hide at home forever, I do know that avoidance is not a viable solution

The past couple of months have been a true period of grieving. I have cried many tears. I have questioned my life and wondered what I did to deserve the crazy events of the past 10 months. I licked my wounds. I repeated the word acceptance a million times.

A few weeks ago I went to a lovely heart centred yogic healing evening. During the class we focused on the energy around our heart. At one point I was filled with the sensation that my heart was whole again and that it belonged to me…as it always had. I had just forgotten….I had finally found a bit of the acceptance that I had been looking for .

Since that night I have felt optimistic about the future. I get to do things my way! There’s no one around to tell me what to do! It’s up to me!

I’m not sure why this is so exciting…but it is.

So, act one of “Anne’s rediscovered life” was to go to a concert to see if I still liked them…I drove the 5 hours and went to the venue and I was overjoyed. The music filled and inspired me. The song lyrics made sense. I was truly happy. And, although I went to the concert alone, I didn’t feel lonely once. I plan to do it again soon!

Shinedown and Papa Roach. I have seen both before. I look forward to seeing them again.

Thank you all for your continued love and support! It’s keeping me moving forward!

Stillness and peace,

Anne

Happier Wednesday post

Hello!

I stopped in to say thank you all for your lovely thoughts.

The bleakness of depression has lifted. I hand many days of tears and sadness. I also changed my medication. Many love,y friends asked me for coffee and I went. Every single one of those people reminded me that I have so much love in my life. I just need to ask for it. And share mine back with them.

Together those things have worked to bring me back to where I can see some stillness and peace.

Along the way came another big blow. Craig is having a baby with his new girlfriend. A baby.

He is 48 and not even divorced yet. And he decided to do this with another employee who works for the same company as both of us. Sometimes I think his actual goal here is to humiliate and belittle me.

But, What it did was shine a light into my heart that showed that there was a small piece that was still holding on to hope that he would realize his mistake, beg for forgiveness, prove to me and the kids that he needed us and life would return to normal. After all…weren’t we worth it? Weren’t we worth some grovelling and missing?

Funny…that small bit of hope was fighting with the rest of my heart that wants me to see my freedom. That knows getting divorced was the right decision and that I could never live with someone is didn’t trust or respect. This part of me wants to reacquaint myself with Anne. To be me.

So. I have cried more and grieved and gently let go of that last piece of hope that things could be different than they are.

And you know what? It feels right. The anxiety is lessened. The future looks bright.

I think I now feel a bit of sympathy for him. 48 and a new baby? No thank you. I plan on retiring in 8 years. I guess he will be working a lot longer than me! Lol

And the kids have found their own interest in the idea of a sibling. This included anger, tears, heart wrenching sadness that they were not enough to keep their father happy (I can only say it takes everything in me to not hate craig for creating that thought) and acceptance. It’s only been a few days, but I can see that they will both be ok.

We will all be ok. Hopefully even craig, the gf and the baby.

Thank you for being there for me! The saga continues.

Stillness and peace,

Anne