When it rains it pours, the sh*t hits the fan, and the tree hits the house.


When I related that life hadn’t been particularly easy for me these past couple weeks (and especially the week before last), an AA friend of mine said, “Well, God must think you’re awfully strong.”

If that’s the case, I kinda wish God would let up for a bit.

Two weeks ago my younger daughter, who has Neurofibromatosis, had to undergo another battery of tests. For the better part of a day, she laid in a hospital bed, IVs in her arms, as nurses drew blood every half hour. She was drained and exhausted at the end of the evening.

On Mother’s Day, my Daisy dog got hit by a car. After spending the evening in an emergency hospital, she emerged bruised but not too broken, I’m thankful to report.

Last Tuesday, I took my car to the dealership for a litany of problems, plus a 60,000-mile checkup. With everything that needed to be repaired, I ended up with a $1700 tab. (And Daisy’s vet tab came to $500. Ouch.)

Last Thursday and Friday evenings were spent in the throes of relationship angst and Big Talks, which included what appeared to be a game-changing bombshell – and one I never saw coming.

Then, last Saturday morning at 6:41, the house shook with what I first thought was a tornado, then an earthquake, but turned out to be a large hackberry from next door crashing onto the back of my house.

Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. OUCH!

For days, I’ve been wallowing in sadness, frustration, anger and self-pity. I’m experiencing a great deal of financial insecurity. Harder than that, though, is the emotional insecurity that’s haunting me.

I’ve been trying to do “the next right thing.” I’ve prayed. A lot. I’ve gone to AA meetings. I’ve read a small library of self-help books. I’ve talked with my sponsor and others in the AA program. I’ve seen my therapist. I’ve tried to keep active and healthy and to take care of myself by exercising and eating as well as I can. And I’ve leaned on some good friends and my sister.

I know I’ll be okay. It’s just been an emotional rollercoaster. So I’ve cried a whole lot, and felt some pretty deep pangs of despair.

However, though I experience those moments more frequently than I’d like, I haven’t sunk so deep that I haven’t been able to see the silver lining of the storm clouds that seem to have camped over my home.

First, my sister was able to come from 1,000 miles away for an impromptu weekend visit on the day my daughter had her tests. It was wonderful. She provided much-needed emotional support, entertained my daughters, played Scrabble with her word freak little sis and prompted some really good bonding and Conversations About Life.

Second, while the test results weren’t great, my ex and I are meeting in the coming weeks with my daughter’s specialists to discuss next steps – and I have health insurance to cover whatever needs to be done. That’s huge.

Third, Daisy is going to be fine. She’s recovering nicely and when I think of what could have happened when a 50-pound canine collides with a 2-ton truck, I realize how lucky we were.

Fourth, while my high insurance deductible means I have to pony up the cash for my house repairs (yes, it was the neighbor’s tree, but my insurance would be the one to cover it), it looks like it’s only going to amount to a couple hundred dollars for roof repairs – and it could have been much, much worse. Amazingly, the tree missed my car and the main part of my house. In fact, it knocked off some siding that had rotted and needed to be replaced anyway. Perhaps the universe was just giving me a little nudge there to get some stuff done around the house…

Finally, I’ve been praying for some clarity and resolution regarding my love relationship. I feel like some things are getting better; there have been some important breakthroughs. Still, I’m feeling very powerless and confused about it. My sponsor has suggested working the 12 Steps around it, and so I’m attempting to do that. I am extremely grateful to be sober while experiencing this. I can’t imagine how much worse I’d feel if I weren’t. Well, actually, I can. I’d be engaging in all sorts of less-than-dignified shenanigans while tipsy or even drunk. It’d no doubt be very ugly. And the hangovers? Ugh. Pure hell, I’m sure.

The thing is, my desire to drink was removed so quickly – or it least it seems that way, in retrospect. So of course I expected that I would have clarity and serenity just as immediately with this. That isn’t proving to be the case. I’m muddled and confused and spend countless hours delving and analyzing and planning possible solutions. I’m having a hard time figuring out the balance between action and acceptance.

At this very moment, I’m feeling strong and clear-headed and optimistic. But give me an hour, and I’ll be sobbing into my coffee. It doesn’t help that my hormonal state these days is a bit off-kilter as well. I’m a few weeks from my 45th birthday, and I know that my body and its chemistry are changing, and that’s working its dark magic on my psyche as well. (As is the fact that I’m now that much closer to the big 5-0, which looms ominously on the horizon.)

From here, I’ll just go on to…well, go on. “Hangin’ in and hangin’ on,” as my sponsor likes to say.

I’ll be okay.

I’m just hoping the clouds and rain will move on soon, and stay away for a while. I could use a rainbow right about now.

8 Responses to “When it rains it pours, the sh*t hits the fan, and the tree hits the house.”

  1. I’ve been thinking about you.

    I am so sorry to hear about the new turn with your little girl. I will keep her in my prayers.

    Please don’t go too far. I like knowing that you are still around.

  2. Wow. I always get a lot out of hearing people share in meetings that they’ve walked through X, Y, and Z in sobriety and not had to pick up a drink. It gives me confidence that I can do the same if/when the time comes. Your experience will show others that it even when life happens, we can stay sober. Best wishes!

  3. 3 Sharon

    Well… the s%*t DID hit the fan and go SPLAT 😮 Texas must have different laws… in Ohio, your neighbor pays… NO deductible for you.

    You sound awesome… life sux and you are rolling and flowing with it all!

    GOOD LUCK with your daughter

  4. 4 Marie

    Mama got sober in 1972. She stayed that way till she died in 1999.
    On my 22nd birthday, she called me to come over for my birthday present. She was drunk, in bed. I looked at her and told her I was leaving, and she could call me when she was not drunk. That afternoon, she went to Willingway Hospital in Statesboro, Georgia, which had just opened it’s residential treatment facility.
    After she came home, she told me about a talk that Dr. Mooney did while she was there. He said that everybody told him that his life was screwed up because he was a drunk. He needed to stop drinking and then his life would be great.
    Dr. Mooney said that after he got sober, he still had all of those same problems. They didn’t go away.
    What changed was that he was sober while dealing with them.
    Mama was learning to deal with her own problems sober. It was a new experience, not only for her, but for me, too.
    It took me a quarter of a century before I came to expect that she would stay sober even when things got tough.
    I hate that I did not trust her recovery and progress. I wanted to, but experience had taught me otherwise. That was a burden, I’m sure she could have done without.
    But she was stronger than me. And her strength taught me how strong I could be, too.
    When I read your writings, I know that your children will come to see your strength, just as I came to see my Mama’s.
    But it may take a long time.
    Stay on your path.
    Take it from the daughter of an alcoholic – your strength is a true beacon for your daughters.

  5. 5 C

    Wow. Thank you, Marie, for sharing the story of your Mama. I’m glad she was able to be a good example for you in her sobriety.

    And yeah, while life is better, I still have the same problems – even more, it often seems. But I feel so much better dealing with them sober than the alternative. I’m so glad to be present for my daughters. I hope I’m providing a good example for them. As you noted, only time will tell.

    Comments like yours help reinforce my desire to stay on this path. Thanks again.

  6. 6 Chaz

    Hey C…. I hear ya. On many fronts. WARNING… LONG REPLY AHEAD!

    The overwhelm can be staggering to say the least.

    It sounds, however, that you are “doing the doing” as I have come to phrase it. Meaning just pressing on and pressing through even though it hurts and is ubelievably frightening.

    Many times, “the doing” (talking to sponsor, going to meetings, reading, getting counsel, doing the next right thing, etc.) don’t feel like they are paying any return. To which we often reply, “WTF”?

    Then in the midst of it all, someone comes along and says something like, “God must feel you are pretty strong”, which is probably near the bottom of the list of things you want or feel you need to hear at that moment.

    A line I heard, oddly enough, from the TV Series, Kung Fu, when a student told the master that what he was being taught was pointless, the wise master said, “The student cannot know the value of the lesson until the lesson is complete”. (Chaz ducks as C hurls object Chaz’ way).

    So not feel much better or relevant than your friend who told you God thinks you are pretty strong. So perhaps put these kinds of comments on the shelf for now.

    So you know of which I speak, in 2006, my wife’s betrayal was finally revealed to me and what seemed like the real reason for her sudden demand for seperation and divorce now all became clear and hit me like a Mack Truck. Fell into deep depression and hospitalized. A “friend” embellised the incident then fed all to my ex who then went after soul-custody of our kids based on half truths and the rest lies.

    Left hospital high on sedatives… judgement out the window… relapsed on booze and coke. Ex hired shark (henceforth shall refer to as “The Queen of Darkness”) lawyer to handle the case. I get served while in recovery house. Then my car gets stolen including my laptop that was the centre of my work world. Got car back, never see computer again. Then car gets rear ended… back to hospital for neck injury. Court battle with ex… 3 months and $20,000. Oh ya, btw, at this point I am 2 years behind on tax filing. CRA demanding filing and repayment + penalties… $50k. Um… oh ya, girlfriend breaks up with me (good choice on her part but it still hurt). And elderly father living in alcoholic squalor has to be emergency evac’d to hospital.

    Buddy in the program tells me, “The things that you think are the worst to happen to you, will probably turn out to be the best things ever to happen to you. So based on this and much input and a lot of doing the doing in spite of how it felt, here is the outcome over the years to follow:

    Late 2006:

    Win court battle. Ex-wife ordered to pay 1/3 of my legal bill. Ex’s lawyer reprimanded by judge for “mis-statements” of facts and embelishments. Maintain joint-custody. My Lawyer gives me terms to pay over time. Canada Revenue Agency gives me a compassionate deferral on my late tax filings. Remain clean, sober, and recovering the rest of the year and to date. Did 90-in-90 meetings + set of steps. Get back together with girlfriend. Kids back in my life.

    2007: Start new job in January, make great money and company car. File complaint with law society against ex’s lawyer for lying to judge and other ethical violations… they investigate. Ex fires her lawyer and tells her to go pound salt on her bill. Back-file 3 years of taxes, awarded appeal decision cutting bill from 50k to 27k. Finance it out. All square with Canada Revenue. Pay off legal bill. Remain clean/sober. Relationship better than ever with kids. Marry my girlfriend. Company keeps me in nice cars including 4×4 when snow flies.

    2008: Continue great job. Remain sober and recovering. Kids doing better than ever. Law society investigation finds ex’s lawyer shows misconduct. Receives discipline and black mark on her record (total cow that she is).

    I wont go any further… but suffice it to say, my early 2006 sounds like your recent phase. I had to remind myself to keep going. To do the next right things and ignore everything else. Even when my head was screaming at me to resent, self-pity, blame, hate, and implode.

    Oh sorry… one last interjection to show that vengeance really belongs to God. 2009: Family member of my ex asks me for name of my lawyer to refer her to someone she knows who needs a good divorce lawyer! Thats right. My ex’s family seeks out my lawyer… not hers!

    So my friend…. stay strong for another day. You will be amazed at what happens in the months and years ahead. Even though you may not feel it a bit while going through it. Keep counting those blessings that you listed. They are amazing things that not everyone has!

    And don’t worry about that birthday! I had it already and it is great! We have 50 to look ahead to and keep in mind that 50 is the new 30! What 20-something or even 30-something is capable of going through the stuff you have? Not many!

    Then you will be able to pass along your experience of endurance to the next person. Especially your kids. It will all be worth it. Even if it seems entirely pointless today.



  7. Passion Jay,

    I’ve been thinking about blogging and celebrity and anonymity ( http://stark-raving-sober.blogspot.com/2010/06/online-and-celebrity-anonymity-what.html ) and I’d love to hear your opinion. Thanks!


  8. What’s great about this post is that you realize the truest part of the lessons which always come back to our gratitude, when I ended up with some hefty bill, a broken marriage, no friends who would come near me due to my marriage, I realized there were many who would and they were honest and they were loving and that I could rely on…and that the lessons though seemingly pounding were also what has helped me to profoundly change this past year also so keep up the amazing work and so glad to see you on the blogs!

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