Friday, July 24, 2009

just can't get enough

In less than 24 hours, I will be swaying to the beats of one of my all time favourite bands - Depeche Mode. At times it seems as if it has taken a lifetime to get here - the moment I heard Just Can't Get Enough when I was seventeen, way back in 1981 I was hooked. I've remained hooked until this very day. They have been one of the constants in my life. It seems rather fitting that I'll be enjoying them with two of my other constants - my husband and daughter. Come September, it will be twenty-nine years since I met and was introduced to Jim. Imagine that, almost three decades ago. We've definitely shared some adventures over the years.

Now we are sharing in our recovery. Both of us have been on MMT for just over three years, and neither one of us has stumbled - yet, cause you can just never say never...Had we been still using, this concert would have been missed. In fact, I doubt very much that it would have even been much more than a blip on my radar. No time for stuff like that back then. Would have dismissed it with the excuse that we could simply not afford it, which was not at all truthful. In reality, we couldn't be bothered to afford it, as our money was already earmarked for something far more important. What a difference a few years has made. I paid $150 for our three concert tickets, and yesterday paid out almost another $150 for our three bus tickets to Toronto. I've budgeted another $150 to use for our spending money. To a former addict, this is a massive step forward. Being able to hold onto money, to put it away to use later, to actually save is a skill that we rapidly lose once we become a junkie. I am happy, and proud and plan on really enjoying our family day out together at the show - Toronto garbage strike be damned!

P.S. Jim also just celebrated his 43rd birthday on Thursday! Happy birthday baby...Love you always...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I Got The Music In Me!!!

For as long back as I can remember, music has played an important part of my life. Discovering the wonders of Elvis Presley as a nine year old would forever alter the way that I looked at the world. To me at that time, I felt as if I had discovered something that no one else had any idea even existed. It was truly a magical and innocent time for me, and from that point on, I had to have music on in the background for every one of my waking moments - the hours of my day devoted solely to school would at times seem unbearable. From Elvis I moved on to pretty much whatever happened to be playing on the local AM Top Forty radio stations in my area. You can well imagine just how limited I actually was in regards to my musical choices, seeing how I just so happened to be growing up in the deepest, darkest musical abyss that was southwestern Ontario of the late 70's. To my young and naive being though, I didn't really know quite how awful it really was, and how much I was really missing out on. Of course, this all changed the summer that I turned fifteen, 1979. This would be the summer that, for better or worse, changed me in ways I can't even begin to describe. Those brief months became a revelation to me, and from this point on, there was no way that SW Ont would ever be able to hold me down!

It was getting towards the end of June 1979. Grade Nine was rapidly coming to an end, and summer vacation was beckoning us all. Couldn't wait for those lazy days of summer, especially as this summer just happened to offer something very, very special. My father was a teacher at the local community college, so he too, got to enjoy a couple of months vacation each and every summer, just like myself and my brother. As a family, we also had immigrated from Ireland to Canada a decade prior to this summer, and while my Dad had returned home a few times over the preceding ten years, the rest of us hadn't. This was all about to change, as my family would be spending this summer's vacation in Ireland, as well as England - my Mom's parents had moved there from Ireland a number of years earlier so we were going to spend an equal amount of time between both countries and both sets of grandparents. I was so excited, although at the time, I had no idea exactly what kind of adventures awaited me, nor how profound a change these brief couple of months would end up having on me.

Although, my brother and I had more cousins living in Ireland, we did have a handful our age living in London, England, and they were more than happy to show their cousins from the colonies exactly what a huge city has to offer. Nothing in Canada prepared me for the grandness of London. At the time, we lived in a small town with a population of slightly more than 1 100. The largest city was a twenty minute drive from where we lived, and even then, its population didn't quite reach 250 000. I was captivated instantly. I surrendered completely the second my cousins took us to Kings Road in Chelsea. I had never, ever seen or heard anything quite like I found here. Punk rock was alive and kicking, so to speak, although by the time I had arrived in the UK, the original punk movement that had exploded in 1976, had long since disappeared and been replaced by what many classify as a second wave of the punk rock movement. By the time that I arrived, punk had splintered into a number of sub groups, many of which I found exciting beyond belief, and for the brief couple of months spent in England and Ireland that summer, I couldn't consume enough of this new music fast enough. I discovered what would soon be called New Wave and Pop Punk were my favourites and to this very day, I remain faithful and true to my first loves.

In just over a week's time, I will be going to see one of my very first loves, Depeche Mode! They have a show at Toronto's Molsen Amphitheatre on Friday, July 24 - just so happens, this show falls on the day after Jim's birthday! We're going to make it a bit of a family day as Sara is coming with us - she was also allowed to bring a friend with her so she wouldn't be stuck all day with our boring selves! This is also a bit of a big step for us as we've been keeping pretty much to ourselves this past year. Certainly, this event will have the largest crowd of people that we've had to interact and function within since the attack. Could prove fairly interesting. If nothing else, it certainly is a testament to how much I adore this particular band as I can't think of too much else that would motivate me this much that's for bloody sure.

Now, as an aside and for anyone that might be interested, besides Depeche Mode, my other all time favourite bands would have to be the Clash, Social Distortion, and Manic Street Preachers. I have a boatload of almost rans but that list would be too long...If I were stuck on a desert island, though...

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Pen Is Mightier...

I have been keeping a journal of some sort on and off since I was about 10 or 11, so about 34 or 35 years now. I kept one religiously all thru high school and university because it seemed like so much was happening with things changing so quickly, I was afraid that I would forget stuff and at that time in my life, I wanted to remember everything, good or bad. As I settled down into married life in my twenties and then motherhood in my thirties, keeping a journal was but a faint and distant memory. It was the farthest thing from my mind. At that time, there seemed to be no time left to undertake this sometimes time consuming task, plus, for better or worse, my life had seemed to have settled into something of a routine. Excitement and change seemed to be memories of the past. Not that this was necessarily a bad thing, just different.

Seven years ago this past June, my father was diagnosed with cancer and he passed away the following March. For the first time in over a decade, I picked up pen and put it back to paper. Towards the end of his life, I found myself in a long since forgotten place, but suddenly it became extremely important that I remembered everything that was happening around me these last seven or eight months of his life. Now more than any other time, I did not want to lose so much as a single memory from what was happening. I was so very afraid that I might forget something about his last days. For all of us, it was definitely a time of change.

I carried my journal with me everywhere. I filled up dozens of blank ones over this period of time, and every time I started to feel restless, I would write, and write, and write. Many days, I had a lot of time to do this. For twenty plus weeks, I spent each and every week day waiting in various rooms at the hospital for my father to complete whatever appointment he had that day. Every day he had his radiation treatment, plus there were a multitude of other types of appointments related to his cancer. To top everything else off, he was also getting chemo at the exact same time as his radiation, although the chemo finished about a month after the radiation. For just over five months, I drove him to the hospital five days a week for his treatments. Most days we would be at the hospital the entire day, but there were others where we were lucky enough to get out of there within the hour.

Regardless of the length of each visit, there was plenty of time for me to reflect and write. It was also a time for me to really get to know my dad all over again, as well as he had a chance to reacquaint himself with me. Bittersweet is an apt description I should imagine. After he passed, I continued to write as an outlet for my emotions. To this day, I carry a journal with me everywhere I go, and any time I feel the need, I write something in it. An entry can be one word to endless pages. I have found that whenever I am restless, upset, bored, impatient, irritated, you name it, the moment that I start writing I am immediately calmed. My recent journals follow no set form. They range from neat and tidy to tremendously disorganized and messy. I paste pictures in them sometimes. I doodle in them. I make sure that each one is different from the next. I haunt stores looking for unique and different books to use as journals. I have become quite creative in my quest to make each somewhat unique in its own way.

Now, I also keep an on line journal, although it is nowhere near as current or updated as my written - I am hindered somewhat by my complete inability to type as well and as fast as I would like. It was about five years ago that I was told about . This became my first foray into on line journaling. It seemed to take me an exceptionally long time to feel comfortable expressing myself publicly, although once I more or less got the hang of it, it became easier and easier. For the most part, I have liked using livejournal, and in fact, initially, I ended up having a number of separate accounts there. In the beginning, I mostly used them to display and store my art work. But these earlier attempts were dishonest at best, half truths at the most. They in no way reflected my actual life, although they did allow brief glimpses of it from time to time.

As I became more familiar and comfortable with this method of journaling, it became increasingly important that they start to actually reflect what was really going on in my life at that time. Initially though this caused me momentary paralysis as I certainly had no desire to lay bare those portions of my life I had spent years pretty much hiding from the general populous. My "alternate" life needed to continue being exactly that - one face for the majority and another for the precious few that were familiar with my drug use/abuse. That face was not yet ready for public consumption.

With the identity that I had been using, I found that this was going to be impossible to be completely frank and open about my lifestyle. Finally one day, I created an alternate online identity to reflect my alternate life. This is the one that I continue to use today. Over the past four and a half years there has been a blurring of my real and of my alternate world. This has become possible because my comfort level continually increases allowing me the luxury of honesty. For the most part, my mask is still there. I try to keep my name and my families and those that are important to me as anonymous as possible in an effort to ensure that their privacy is respected, as there is no certainty that they may feel as relaxed as I.

The majority of my drug use/abuse years are currently not available to read anymore online as the site that I had been using for this particular period of my life, literally disappeared overnight about two years ago. I used to be part of a group of addicts and recovering addicts that all had their personal journals at JUNKLIFE. At any given time, there were about twenty to twenty five of us sharing our stories with each other and anyone else who was interested. Sadly, it is now gone. After a number of frantic months attempting to contact the web master, I finally was able to get all of my writings from my time spent there. Until I received them, I was utterly gutted, as I had well over two hundred separate entries just from the two years I had been writing there. More importantly, I needed these writings available to me as an aid in my current recovery. I had only just started MMT when my site disappeared, so the lion's share of what was happening to me during this period reflected my very active addiction, as well as documenting how I allowed it to get so out of control. With each passing month, you could see where I was inevitably heading - the proverbial, or cliched, rock bottom.

Now, while I have all of these entries stored on my computer's hard drive, I have utterly no clue how to get them uploaded once again to the INTERNET. They were sent to me as one .sql file - whatever the heck this means cus I've so got no clue! Ideally, I'd like to add them to this site, or even if I had to, start a new site for my archived writings from my addiction period. I can go through this very large file and enter one entry at a time by copying and pasting it, and then back dating said entry with its original publishing date and time. I've manually entered a few, but it is just too time consuming, and honestly tres boring to have to do it this way. This site was actually started approx May 2007 when I first started having trouble accessing my previous site. Any writings from that point on are all original to this site, any before this time, were culled from my previous two sites, and are sadly not remotely enough to really paint the complete picture of my severe addiction years. If nothing else though, they are a start. Perhaps I'll suddenly feel energized enough to enter a few more of my old entries! LATER...