Dear America: I Wish We Cared About Solving Addiction as Much As We Care About Kim Kardashian’s Robbery

I can’t sleep thinking about that poor woman whose step daughter posted on the Yard Sale pages looking for a support group for her stepmother who had lost her son to addiction. It’s rampant, it’s growing, it’s everywhere. I’ve written many times about the fact that in Tennessee more people died of heroin overdoses than auto accidents last year.  Yet we force you to wear your seatbelt, but what action are we taking to insulate our population from overdose and to overcome addiction. Why are we still — yes, I’m talking to you Dickson County — covering it up? Why aren’t we talking about it, lecturing about this in our schools and our Sunday School classrooms?

Whether you drink yourself into a stupor;  you are gambling addict, a sex addict, a food addict, or you starve yourself — it’s all the same. Or, perhaps, if you’re not one of those,  you’re maybe one of these people that have $15,000 in credit card debt where you can’t step out of the house every morning without being dressed from head to toe because you’re so darn insecure.  Pick your poison.

Unless and until we fill that hole in our soul with something other than ourselves, we suffer. Where the disease of alcoholism gets you is that not only do we suffer in shame and silence, but our form of coping mechanism kills us.  With increasing frequency.  We have generations brought up under what I call the ‘Mama’s Broken Heart Generation’ — where you don’t feel, you don’t talk, and, God forbid,  you show your crazy, right? You lie to save face and you hide it, and the truth,  at all costs.  That was that generations’ mentality.  It’s also the signature characteristics of families peppered by alcoholism.

That particularly damaging line of thinking — never being able to be honest or be real about what’s going on in our life — is what drives people to seek some sort of solace outside of themselves. But we’ve also got to shatter this long-standing American-held notion that men aren’t allowed to have feelings.

I even had battles with Democrats who criticized President Obama when he shed a tear over not being able to do something about gun laws.

“A president can’t be emotional,” they said.

“Maybe Congress needs to be a bit more emotional, maybe Congress needs to shed some tears their own damn self and something might actually get done,” I said.

“Yeah, but presidents can’t boo hoo.  I mean, is he going to stand there and cry when we.get attacked,”  they said.

“He wasn’t crying when he killed Osama Bin Laden, now — was he?”

I think we know who won that round. 

When 20-something first graders were gunned down in their classroom and nobody gave a damn enough to do something, we have problems as a nation. And when one man can buy a weapon that killed 47 people in nightclub — it IS the damn gun,Conservatives.

We don’t want your handgun;  we don’t want your shotgun, we want to stop psychos from outarming the police, and we want to stop one-man killing crews from being able to slaughter dozens in minutes.

Anyway, this wasn’t a gun control rant,  this was a drug addiction awareness one. I’m simply linking to the fact that so ingrained in American society is the belief that we can’t feel emotions, that the president is not even supposed to give way to human elements of showing the ache that comes from burying babies in double digits.

Chhildren are dying, people are dying, in large numbers due to addiction, and I want to know when we are going to get serious about solving it and stop sweeping it under the rug as something ‘bad’  children do.

Yes, good little girls raised in the Church of Christ who can quote the Bible better than you, drink. And good children from wealthy homes who had every opportunity, try drugs and then wake up dead.

We’ve got to fix this so there are no more mothers like that poor woman on the yard sale page.

It’s time to get serious,  Tennessee!

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I Owe My Life To Words. I Won’t Abandon Them Now.

Karma has never been kind. Ever.

I learned in 12-step meetings that if we all got what we deserved, we would all be in trouble. And I come to witness this fundamental truth — that God can take far better care of people than you can.

When you know that you’ve always went above and beyond to try to help;  you’ve always extended a hand when you can;  been giving of  yourself and your resources;  always been nice and you let yourself be mistreated on multiple occasions. And someone takes advantage of a situation and uses it as an excuse to get in your face and belittle you — and it’s not even original, it’s the same verbal abuse you’ve heard many times before — I will never again be down on myself enough to apologize for getting angry.  Because I’m human, and that anger is  loooongg overdue. Hell,  even Jesus got angry in The Garden of Gethsemane. All you have to know when you lie down to sleep at night is you have always done your best.

It’s okay to stand up and say I will not be intimidated, I will not be verbally assaulted, and I will not go through another round of verbal put-downs “everybody is embarrassed of me; everybody hates me; I’ll never amount to anything; my Uncle Chunky wouldn’t speak to me if he was alive because he’d be ashamed of me… blah blah blah” by a grown  man who gets in your face and threatens you — or, on several occasions, tells you to open the door so you they can kick your ass — all because you FINALLY attempt to stop lying for them. Stop covering.

Stop pretending to have an answer to “How is so and so…” and start saying, “I have no clue.  They’re not allowed to speak to me because I have no more money to give or because I’m the only one that can’t be manipulated or that one can try to sway, play, draw to their side.”

I’ve never been a piece on that chessboard.

Because here’s the thing: I wouldn’t have made it through the things I made it through if I cared about having anybody on my side. I wouldn’t have made it through what I made it through if I cared what anybody else thinks. I  learned when I was very small that all I have to live for is me and God. And if I’m okay with my choices,  it doesn’t matter if I stand alone. Because when you stand in truth, you don’t ever stand alone.  You stand with your higher power.

The truth is, life has never been that hard for me, but it’s never been that easy either.

I recently had a conversation with someone I went to school with who has always followed my writing who said, “I never would have known it, but girl,  you’ve been through some shit. I always knew you were tough, but I didn’t know how much.”

I haven’t hung out with this girl since high school. But she had no clue how true those words were.

From a court case that changed the course of my life and went all the way to the state Supreme Court that really shook me to my core. To losing two instrumental people in my life so young. To surviving the suicide of a boyfriend and then the persecution by those who tried to have me arrested and intimidated to cover up for the fact that they were involved in his “suicide” that the TBI would not rule out as a murder. To watching so many friends from Spencer to Red Wing succumb to the disease of addiction and alcoholism. I miss them every day. To learning what it’s like to navigate a life where you may not talk to another person for days at a time except for the woman who takes your coffee order. To learning what it’s like to treat food as food and not just another drug to abuse yourself with. To battling depression. To surviving alcoholism with a genetic disease that wanted alcohol more than it wanted sanity. To overcoming the post-traumatic stress that follows you from an experience that shaped every relationship you have with a man a
for the rest of your life — one you still aren’t ready to talk about. The real reason you bailed on college and that degree. Because you couldn’t go back. You can never go back. Not after something like that.  And the only thing you know to do was work double shifts and two jobs and stay busy and don’t think.  And when that didn’t work, you drank.

Until the drinking stopped working, too.

So, see if you think I care about sides, or you think I care what you say about me, you never really took a good look at me at all — did you? Here’s why I will never be quiet and why I will never stop writing, no matter who wants me to…

because through everything that I went through,  it was always the word of somebody else that helped me. Either the words in a book, either in a meeting, or either the tear stained Dixie Chicks album cover jacket and the words that got me through nineteen.  Whatever the source, I swore that if I ever got to a place in my life where it made sense, and I could use one word or one experience to give somebody else some peace, some hope, or some light — then that would make it all worthwhile. The only point of life is each other. And I am only here because somebody gave to me. Every experience I’ve been through has made me stronger.  Every time I didn’t stand up for myself, I learned something and I had to live with disappointment. When I come out of it on the other side, I realize this:   everything we go through is not about us, it’s about somebody else.   We’re here to share our experiences, to pass on our truth, our lessons, and I will never be quiet about my struggles just because somebody else has appearances to keep up — and God forbid the truth be out there, that people who are miserable abuse, manipulate and hurt others.

And people who are generally just content to hurt themselves — while appearing to be the one with all the “problems” — are generally stronger than all the perfect people together.

I’ve lived the life of one who has earned the right to speak out. I’ve battled for my place in this life, and I fought like hell to keep my head above water while everyone else just stood around and said: “Ha, ha — look! She’s drowning!”

I never fucking drowned. 

And this is my time.  It is my time,  and if you think I need you to be there with me — you don’t know me at all.

I’m just sad that anybody else has to be mistreated for actually standing up for me.  I’m just sorry that someone has to be hurt with the things they love the most in life because they had the audacity to finally stand up for me. It’s beyond wrong. It’s shameful.

I’ve said this to my naysayers all along and I’ll say it again. You better hope that your children have one ounce of my soul in them — because  it would be the best gift you could give them. Life could beat the shit.out of them and they’d still stand.

So while you’re out to get a pizza and you see someone who constantly talks about what a fuck up you are drunk and at the liquor store on a weeknight — and driving —  you remember what you learned that made all the difference.

That God can take faaaar better care of people that I can. Everybody gets their dose of Humble Pie, and I’ve eaten enough that I can tell you  — it’s a taste you won’t ever forget.

Some folks have a big ole helping coming.

I speak from experience:  there’s no amount of success, or shit that you can buy, or liquor you can drink to make that mess taste good when you wash it down once it comes your turn at the table.

Best remember that.

Rage Against The Internet

Let me rant about a couple things with regards to the internet today. 

1) I left Verizon for Straight talk years ago after my then boyfriend ran up a $800 cell phone bill on our phones buying Madden football games and using the internet 24-hours a day. I learned a couple things then:  a) never sign a contract for a phone for a boyfriend;  b) Straight Talk is the same thing as Verizon but much cheaper. The only downside to that is I have to use a dinosaur of a phone and when I watch the Presidential and Vice Presidential debates four times a piece each on YouTube and used up all my high speed data, my phone is at Turtle crawl. Which makes uploading things on yard sale pages of pain in the booty. 

Now, I’m a bright girl. I did Data Entry for XO Communications, hired at the ripe old age of 20, chosen over people who have retired from BellSouth and came to XO to pursue a second career, given the only position as an order coordinator who had the responsibility of being the sole overseer of two new markets, and not only began to become the go-to trainer for all markets handled by our Service Delivery Center, but became responsible for training sales techs and admins in Austin and San Antonio on a job I have never done — theirs. “Candi in Nashville” became the solution for everything. For several markets. “Call Candi in Nashville,” was a well uttered phrase. I was a political science major, I had absolutely no experience in Tech.  Other than working for BellSouth Mobility which was a welcome change fom the retail and waiting tables double jobs I had been doing while still trying to go to school during my time in BOTH cities, Murfreesboro and Knoxville (I loved that money you could make in a Bill Clinton economy, it bought a lot of alcohol). In another life, I could have given Carly Fiorina a run for her money as becoming the first female CEO of a major tech company.

I can learn anything. I just don’t like to. Especially things like Apple and data. It’s like… Zzzzz!

Which is why when I do get married, he’s going to be, like, a tech geek and get me new iPhones and shit.

Now, next internet rant.

2)  The yard sale pages. That really bugs me. For example, I have a bed that I’m just distressing and selling. It’s been left out in the elements — where a certain someone borrowed it (bet you can guess) and then, because they weren’t having to pay rent, went on a buying themselves new furniture spree, got a new bedroom set, and just threw my bed in the woodpile at my Pop’s instead of bringing it back to me until my Pop called ranting about someone “having no damn sense”and he put it in the bed of his truck and brought it to me, but it had set out in the rain for days and the wood veneer on the front warped and peeled,  but it’s still a solid headboard and footboard, comes with rails, and I’m distressing it to camouflage what just paint won’t. (Is it any wonder I reached my breaking point on a certain individual?)

So… a man saw my post and asked me what I wanted for it. I said $50,  hoping he would come back with $30, and he says nevermind. Now, it’s a solid headboard and footboard even though it’s down to the  pressed board in some spots and comes with rails, and I’m spending my hard-earned time to make it look like something you buy in a window shop in Franklin and pay way too much for. How is $30 unreasonable? Some of these online yard salers irk me. The “looking for free stuff” ones. Particularly when they throw their kids in there. Who isn’t looking for free stuff? But this is life and that doesn’t happen!!

Here’s my bed:

image

image

What was he thinking? $10? It’s worth more than that just to paint. By the time I sand and gloss it, with the right bedding, all you will see is the posts and it’ll be adorable.

Some of these “will you hold it seven weeks and take $0.50 for it folks” are gonna get cut.

I just need to calm down and eat. I realized earlier, due to anger and stress,  that I hadn’t eaten since Friday. Like any girl that’s in recovery from abnormal relationships with food, I realize I haven’t eaten the way some women find out they’re pregnant. Wait… it’s been how many days?

I’m just not sure technology is for me. I still read a hardback, why would I think that I would actually enjoy online yard selling.  No, I’m not going to waste my gas or my coffee money to meet you to sell a $3 pair of britches. What is this stuff?? I think I’m still team the real thing.

The internet, and my lack of high-speed access to it, is on my bad list today, bloggers.

Dear Depression: You Can Suck It

I was just talking to somebody about someone and they said, “What if they apologized?” And I said,  “They can shove their apology right up their rectum with that hose that they used to inflate themselves to a pint-sized Michelin Man. The best thing they can do from now till eternity when they’re around me is to keep their head down and not talk. That’s their only salvation.”

And I remembered.

I remembered who I used to be.

I got an email from a college friend a year or so back that said,  “You just don’t sound like the same girl that I knew. What happened to that girl that wouldn’t take anything off anybody?”

I didn’t know. But it’s true. Depression changes you. In college I mostly hung out with all male friends, didn’t take crap from anybody, unintentionally intimidated most of the other girls that came around and routinely got my tab picked up as an incentive to get me to get in verbal fights with Republican men at the bar. I can still hear my college boyfriend, a Republican, saying: “Here she goes,  here she goes, grab a seat — she’s about to crush him!”  Right before I would tear into somebody over Bill Clinton. This was during the impeachment trial, so I got to do that a lot.

I used to operate on that three-strike system and once you got three strikes, neither Jesus nor Bil Clinton could convince me to let you back in my good graces.

I don’t know, perhaps I’ve been taking Cymbalta and running again long enough to get the benefits that I started to remember who I am and what I’m worth.

I just know that I’ve been walking around today with a completely different attitude of “F*ck you,  depression!”  Maybe it comes from standing up for myself. Maybe it comes from the endorphin release from good old fashioned go-till-you-drop exercise. Or maybe it comes from knowing that my lifelong political hero, Hillary Clinton,  is about to take the White House, and in doing so, is going to defeat a bullying, uninformed idiot who belittles women and verbally abuses them when he can’t outwit them. 

I’ve had a lot of experience with those, so perhaps this victory feels personal.

I started out a journal when I was 19, the very first line reading:  “Someone once told me if you leap, you just might find you could fly. So I jumped. And I hit the ground.  But the fall didn’t kill me,  and I saw some pretty incredible things on the way down.”

That was why I always claimed that the title of my memoir was going to be “On The Way Down.” I can’t think of anything else that sums up life, or at least my life, any more beautifully than that.

Of course like everything else I wrote and did nothing with, it’s now the title of a country song making somebody else money, but first penned by me.

C’est La Vie, friends. C’est La Vie.

Which, coincidentally, is the same way I feel about depression. That’s life. But not ALL of life. There’s so much more to me — and you — than that.

Honey, That Ain’t Nothing But Sheer Hate Driving You Home

Oh, my little legs are sore from running around the lake again.  Every time I get mad, I run. It was a lot easier at  27 than 37. But with every turn,  I kept hearing that line from that Ashley Judd movie ‘Double Jeopardy’ in my head:  “Honey, that ain’t nothing but sheer hate driving you home.”

I kept thinking, tell me my whole family thinks I’m a “crazy b-tch who belongs in a home.” Considering I’ve watched every third kid in Dickson County over the last 15 years, that doesn’t speak very highly for my family or friends.  I mean, I personally wouldn’t let somebody who belongs in a home watch my kids. And I distinctly remember picking two little kids up from school and daycare every day for awhile.

I actually appreciate it though. Insults have always been the motivation I need to keep my little butt running. I shouldn’t have to be used to taking them, but the sad fact of my life is I just am. I’ve had a lot of experience.

I kept thinking I might slug the first person that tells me to “calm down” or “just be the bigger person.” I’ve been the bigger person for a decade, and all it’s gotten me was children that act like they’re afraid to speak to me and my closest genetic relative who doesn’t even acknowledge me out of fear they might get nagged at.

Or, else just hates me for some sin I wasn’t even aware I was committing.

With every mile I pound out,   I think about the difference between then and now.  Then was filled with years of me just taking stuff and knowing I had to be quiet about it. And taking it from various sources. Knowing I couldn’t even acknowledge it because it was going to be turned on me and it was always going to be my fault.  I was “crazy”  or  “too sensitive” or “overreacting.”  And it was up to me to just be the bigger person. It wasn’t just up to me, it was expected. And I would face backlash if I didn’t.

Boy, would I ever.

But now… No, I won’t be silent. And here’s why.  I saw a therapist that helped me through some step work once who told me this:  Secrets keep you sick.

Everytime the “shunning” happens, continues, escalates, and nobody takes up for you (and nobody ever takes up for me out of fear for the way psycho will act if they do);  every time you can’t tell anybody because you don’t want people mad at you and because of the verbal abuse that you will receive  if you do speak out;  every time you just take it;  every time you can’t tell anybody, every time you can’t talk about it,  every time you are verbally abused for pressings back, acknowledging it or even pointing it out, it further perpetuates the cycle of emotional manipulation.  Every time no one else says,  “You know what, it’s really messed up that you treat her that way, she has done a lot for you,” or every time nobody says, “Hey, if you can’t treat every other member of this family with respect, maybe you shouldn’t come to (insert function),” or every time they don’t say, “You know, it’s kinda f-cked up that Candi gets treated like a leper and no one even acknowledges it, because she didn’t do anything to you and she’s been generous to you on multiple occasion,” every time they just expect me to show up and be quiet and be the adult and ignore it or refuse to acknowledge the elephant in the room, it continues the cycle of abuse. And the message one internalizes from that is:  “It’s all your fault.”  I’m sick of always feeling like it’s all my fault.

It’s particularly upsetting when people say, “I don’t want to take sides” and then comes to the corner of the room where I’m sitting in to say hi,  while someone else makes a very public spectacle about the fact that they think they’re running the show — while making it very clear that I’m not in the show by intentionally making it known that they’re not talking to me like this is real life Jr High — while another acts like they’re afraid to be seen talking to me because they might get in trouble,
thereby  “not taking sides,” that puts more weight and blame on me. Because there is no side. I did nothing but run out of assets to share and get sober. If I still have 40 grand to be gained in a condo I was willing to share by agreeing to sell it for whatever one could get approved for, you better believe I’d be talked to. 

Again, that compliance by others — simply because I’m not the one that will act psycho if they don’t — only continues the abuse and emotional manipulation and whispers to the person being treated that way that they’re not worth it.

I’m tired of not being worth it.

Then you wonder how someone ends up depressed and “crazy”? They’ve been told they’re not worth it for a decade.

It’s classic textbook! I didn’t have to major in Psychology to understand this pattern.

And if I want to feel better — and I do — it’s up to me to end the pattern by whatever means necessary.

Abuse; gaslighting thrives on silence. I will no longer make myself sick to save face for somebody else. Not for one more day of my life.

Repeat:  I will no longer make myself sick to save face for anybody else. I don’t care who it is. As I’ve said many times, you don’t like what I write on Facebook via my blog, wait until you see what’s in my hard drive over the years where I’ve written about this and didn’t show anybody, just waiting for the day that I can pound it out in a self-help memoir. You don’t want me to tell Dickson County, or eventually the world,  how you treat me — try doing better. Because I’m taking my power back. And I will use whatever tools I have at my disposal to do that. If it’s a Facebook, if it’s writing, if it’s a blog, so be it. I will no longer suffer or be mistreated in silence. Not one more day.

Not one more day.

I am worthy of people in my corner. I am worthy of acknowledgement. I am worthy of respect. Even if I only get it from myself.

And I no longer have to cease — refrain — from kicking somebody else’s ass just so I can be loved.  I’m going to be hated no matter what I do anyway,  I might as well kick their butt and enjoy it.

That day has been looooong coming.

Until then, like most who put up with this, I’ll just find a way to take it out on me: so, run.

Thank God I’m a Democrat

Did you see the Yale study done on politics and Medicine? It exposes  the ridiculousness of Republican politics. It found that Republican doctors are more concerned with  abortion and pot. Democratic doctors (which has got to be the majority of them since Democrats believe in science) are more concerned with gun violence.

That’s because coming into the ER with a gunshot to the face is a for real thing. Regardless of how you feel about abortion, morally, it  is one of the safest medical procedures a woman can have. Birth is way more risky. You can even take a pill now and expel a fetus. And nobody ever died in the history of the world from smoking grass.

If they wanted to play moral authority with their medicine, why wouldn’t these Republican doctors say they’re more concerned with ACTUAL drug addiction. Could it be because of the kickbacks from the pharmaceutical company that keep them from not caring about one of the leading accidental killers in many states — opioids?

Thank GOD I’m a Democrat. And not in the business of the protecting the biggest dealers there are — the drug companies. And that goes for doctors on both sides of the aisle.

I’m Taking My Power Back

I’m going to sleep like a baby for the first time in ages. I haven’t been this mad since I went to the bowling alley, caused a scene, got kicked out,  and tried to fist fight a man stone cold sober. (Dustin. If you’re wondering.)

I went riding around apartment complexes looking for somebody’s very specific ass I was gonna verbally tear into, and I realized I must be madder than hell — because I hadn’t done that since I got jacked up on Maker’s Mark at 3 in the morning and went there looking for my “father.”

That was a showdown of epic proportions that only resulted in me staying out of jail because the cops thought I had every right to tear into that no-count son of a bitch.

Then, I ran a mile around the lake.   I haven’t ran a mile around that lake since I was young enough to still give a shit.

37 is a lot harder than 27.

When I was that age, I ran around it 5 times a day, did 100 crunches, 16 different sets of 16 rep arm weights, and 100 squats. Religiously. I also didn’t eat carbs.

Now, I had to stop and bend over a few times just to make it a mile.

Every time I bent over, I just saying to myself (yes, out loud): “This is your time!”

I have let caring for my grandmother, living on just a few hours of sleep a night on her couch drive me to the breaking point until I’m so exhausted I can’t even get up and go to the twins birthday party because it’s the only day I actually have help with my grandmother and all I want to do is sleep. I can’t even make it through one football game at home without having to get up and go to Burns because I know she’ll be alone.

And she was — as usual — all alone. And full of lies and excuses for the one supposed to be there taking care of her.

I have to go all Benny Cowan (the aforementioned “father”)
with a baseball bat in my backseat to get anything to change.

I’m so completely over it. I dared anybody to say one word to me, let alone get in my way, because I’ve done it alone too long.

I’ve done everything alone too long. That ends right now.

This is my time. That’s what I kept telling myself as sheer anger drove me around that lake.

Hillary is about to take hold of that tangerine-tinted twat tomorrow night and tear him a new one, and  it’s her time.  It’s my time. It’s our time. Let’s seize on it, ladies.

I let a man steal 5 years of my life, locked up in wondering why he married some tall, “kind” girl that — no matter how pretty, let’s be real — won’t ever be me.  Torturing myself over what I did wrong, why I wasn’t enough, when the truth is,God was just doing  me a favor. 
Because I deserve somebody who would smash a grown man in the mouth for disrespecting me, I don’t deserve to be the man myself in all my relationships.  I let that devastating death of a dream and heartbreak overlap into a codependent relationship with a man that got so far in his addiction, he would rather lie when the truth sounds better. Cheating on me with girls that look like the back side of my unwashed ass and outweigh me by a good 150, while I was exercising myself stupid. I let people use me and take advantage of me — from a certain member of my own family to boyfriends — and then when you stand up and demand a little damn respect, they tell you you’re crazy, that it never happened, and throw some verbal abuse your way. I may never physically be able to be in the shape I was when I was 27 because my heart is not so good, but I don’t have to eat my damn feelings and let stress sicken me.  I can stop taking it and I can go the f-ck off.

I’ve been an insomniac for two decades and the only time I’ve ever slept good is after I go the f-ck off. I should do it some more.

I’ve wasted enough of my life making other people more important than me,
That ends now. I’m taking my power back. I’m taking my skinny pants back. And I’m taking my sanity back. One “For Sale” sign is all it takes to start over. And if anybody deserves to start over, it’s me.

And I’m keeping the baseball bat in the back seat.

Nobody takes advantage of this me — ever. And I need to stay her.

It’s time.

Ladies, you relate?