Since my last post, recovery and life has been pretty smooth. That is not to say not hard, just smooth. As a person recovering from neglect, among other things, it is difficult to keep home IT (information technology) up, running, updated, and repaired. My laptop was down for over a year, leaving me with my tiny notebook not meant for all the jobs of a full-grown PC. Then the notebook crashed leaving me with my smart phone. Finally, at long last I budgeted money for repairs and $280 later, home IT was up and running once more.

The helpful, not helpful, and problems as I see them regarding my computers are as follows. I need to stop buying cheap PCs and value myself, my future education, and love for writing enough to save for a Mac. When I was living rent free for 6 years this would have been a smart thing to save for and purchase. However, I didn’t have a self, so, no I didn’t do that. On the helpful side, I was smart enough to get a notebook for school so as not to have to lug a full laptop to school and clinicals. My notebook fits in my purse! It is wise for me, given my inattention to maintenance, to have TWO of something really important; however, shouldn’t I learn to pay attention to necessities? I also have two printers because I write papers at the last-minute. A printer problem at 6am for an 8am due time has been disastrous. (Yes, I know, the paper should be done a few days ahead of the due date. I am ACOA, remember?) I am actually much better at maintaining the printers. Some of the problems are that I completely suck at keeping up with updates, clearing out cookies, cashes, defragging, repurchasing security and malware disks, and physical maintenance. I have discovered that this is part of a generalized and deeply ingrained behavior of continuing to neglect myself just as I was neglected growing up. Just as I continued my needy, people-pleasing, other oriented behaviors of co-dependency, I also continued to ignore my own needs.

Now I have a self. Now I live alone in an expensive city, same old under-employed job, same old PCs, and same old behavioral tendencies; but now I have two years sitting on my bed figuring this crap out. In this society it is absolutely necessary to have fast, reliable internet capability at home, period. End of walking on the risky side. End of ignoring the mean budget. End of inner children whining. IT at home is now a priority to sustain my 5 values and uphold my personal Declaration Of Self. Self Neglect is a difficult problem for me one of the most vital to overcome through recovery. This success of saving for, finding a good computer repair person, and following through to get my IT in good shape was a confidence and competence builder for me. It showed me to myself that I am as valuable as others, and my daily life is as important as other people’s. It put me back in my place in my society, my peer group, and my parental role. My recovery is not just about beating depression, staying out of bed, finishing my degree, or not committing suicide; but it is also about the millions of ways I don’t take care of myself. It is about the millions of things I don’t account for that healthy people do a better job planning for.  It is about the millions of things capable parents do and teach with and without even realizing what they are doing or teaching.

Life has been smooth because I have been medicated. This does continue to be a struggle for me. It isn’t that I don’t think I need my meds, or want my meds, or even in this case that I don’t have the money or access to them. This go-round was purely Self Neglect. I-just-didn’t-order-them. No obvious reason. Finally, today I did. According to the pill bottle, I could have ordered them 60 days ago. I ran out 5 days ago and I have about a one week stash. Why? Somebody tell me why it is so damn hard to order my meds when it is time to order them. Currently I am therapeutic, in a good place, I have a few until the new ones arrive, and am not in danger of withdrawal. I don’t want drama. Seriously, what is the deal that I won’t just matter-of-fact take care of business in a normal way? For lack of any better ideas I am going with I don’t know what normal feels like so I don’t do normal. If this order goes well, I will be a step closer though.

In the last three days, switching gears, adjusting, readjusting, recapturing momentum, and balance has been in my mind. My nearly grown child lives 7 hours away from me. Over New Year’s I drove to see him and his live-in girl friend. Normally, he spends a week to ten days with me where I live, so it was weird for me to go there for the holiday. It was also weird that he has his own roof (his father threw him out-yeah dad). I haven’t made the drive since he graduated from high school (1 1/2 years ago) and actually had no thoughts of making that drive again anytime soon. However, we have yet to not spend New Year’s and his birthday immediately following, together. Since not being with him these days is unthinkable, in the car I went. Now, I was very agitated upon leaving. To say I didn’t want to go would be a huge understatement and I was going to be very late getting there. But I went and didn’t have any problems either. The time spent with them went really well in all ways. No over-spending, not too much annoying parenty behavior, no freak outs because I was in my small rural home town after a dozen years gone, no discussion of or run ins with my mother. All good until the police knocked on the door.

Yup, the police. My kid had confessed to me his recent troubles the second I walked through my door of my apartment on Christmas night 10 days earlier. He breezed through his summer troubles, his fight with his dad, the move out, and a second bout of trouble in November. There was the usual scene of the confessing kid and the patient, loving, firm parent. There was some discussion of what lead up to the events, why there was continued bad behavior, and I thought some agreement about FULL disclosure in the future. Nope to the part about future FULL disclosure.

So imagine my surprise as I prepare to leave and there is police on the porch. Honestly, I think my kid was surprised too, and even more surprised at what he was served. He had a court date in two days, so I stayed to go with him. There was more to the story as I found out reading the complaint; hence the going to court with him and I will be driving the 7 hours again in a month for another court date. (We requested time to obtain a lawyer. KIDS!!!)

After reading the complaint, I called my support at my job. As I sobbed on the phone, she comforted me and took me off the schedule for my next two days. Then I spoke with management and received further support. I love those people. My job was safe, they would plug-in vacation time, they sent their care, and future days off could be scheduled. Next I emailed the co-ordinator of a volunteer thing I do to let her know that I wouldn’t be able to make my run for the agency we help. She replied that she would get my run covered and sent hope that my “problem” would get resolved. I felt the crappiest about this one. Finally, I had to get someone to feed the pets I left at home. I left them enough food and water for a few days, but they would need more now. A few texts to someone in my building and a few calls to my property owners and my babies were all set with someone to take care of them. The last issue was my twelve step meeting. I sent off a text that I wouldn’t be there, that I was still with my kid. One of my ACOA buddies texted back appreciation of notification and “see-ya-next-time-then”. It is with great pleasure and gratitude that all went well.

All of this was really difficult, but I did well. The hardest part was today. I wanted to spin-off in a thousand different directions, but I didn’t. Things have been okay. They are still okay. Yes, I came home to a chinchilla with a uterine infection necessitating a quick trip to the vet and I lost my money for tires on a vet bill, but I had the money for a vet bill/tires and still have enough to last until payday. This is new and wonderful money management. It sucks, but it is still better behavior. Recovery is working.

I struggle with over-responsibility as on the Laundry List. I got home at 1 am the day of my volunteer hours and one of my work days. Old me would have called to do my volunteer run and gone to work out of guilt, over-responsibility, shame, and fear. I would have feared being viewed as unreliable to the co-ordinator of the volunteer group to which I belong. Out of this fear, I actually never would have emailed that I couldn’t fulfill my hours. I’d have gone in exhausted and rushed, feeling that I must do what I was to do no matter what my needs were. I could have still worked my volunteer hours and just not gone to work if I was that tired. I thought of it. But then, I realized that alternate plans were made and I didn’t need to mess with them. The relief was truly AMAZING. I didn’t need to mess with something. A new and different thought and subsequent feeling. Recovery at work.

I didn’t go to work either. Old me would have been afraid to not go to work. Old me thought she knew she was off the next day and would rest then instead. New me has learned that I have been not so very accurate remembering my schedule, that I must look every-single-day. So, new me took a moment to look at my schedule and found that no, I was on the next day too. New me said, “Holy crap!” No, I will take my manager’s grace and my vacation pay and stay the hell home and rest. Normal people plan a day or two home after a trip before resuming work and life, why can’t I? Again new and different thoughts.  Recovery works.

Then there is the get-things-done-you-lazy-thing. I should have driven the hour and forty-five minutes to my garage and gotten a small cage for my sick chinchilla. I should have taken my air-conditioner, my christmas stuff, and emptied out my car. I should have brought decorations for the next holidays, the tall cage for my kid’s ferrets to take with me next month and whatever else I “should” have done while at my garage. Nope. I have missed church twice, ACOA twice, and they cancelled mid-week church lunch due to the cold. I am in serious need of recovery.

I need to sit in front of my wall, journal, read the Red Book, do some research, post to my blog, or a combination of these things. I will cling to Erik Erikson and study the paper by Suzanne Vogel-Scibilia and her colleagues. I am going to get off my bed this year, but I am taking Vogel-Scibilia, Cohan McNulty, Baxter, Miller, Dine, and Frese with me. I will not walk alone.