Time to be Honest

Today, March 7th 2020 should have been Tony’s and my 4-year Sobriversary. I should be writing about how glorious life still is on the other side of alcohol. But I’m not because we’re not still on the other side of alcohol. We’re back in the thick of it again. And, it bloody sucks.

At the end of last summer, on a whim while making late-night music with my family, I had a sip of my sister’s wine. And then someone appeared with a glass for me, and then someone else kept it full all night long.

I went home and told Tony. I was honest, because that’s what you do when you’ve committed to sobriety and you fuck up. You get real. You admit your mistakes. And you move forward.

Except we didn’t move forward. We moved backwards.

My mistake was all the permission he needed. Tony started coming home with a bottle of wine now and then to go with our grilled steaks. It tasted terrible to me. Then he started coming home with two bottles of wine twice a week. I could get through the terrible tasting first glass, and suddenly I wanted another glass and another. That was always my drinking problem. I didn’t drink often, but when I did, I didn’t know how to stop. Then he found those fruity new hard seltzer drinks that every brand is hawking. Those started coming home every night. I watched in horror as it got worse and worse.

I tried to pretend everything would be alright; he assured me it would. I didn’t drink often, but just as before, once I started I didn’t want to stop. And now with no tolerance, three drinks of anything left me with a wicked hangover. The novelty quickly wore off. Not to mention I was wracked with guilt every time I drank.

I didn’t want to be that person. I didn’t want to go back to the hell we had created before.

I started reading and researching and came across a medication called naltrexone. It’s an opiod blocker that helps take away the buzz and the desire for more to keep the buzz going. That’s basically all an alcoholic is chasing when it comes down to it. There’s a lot more science to it than that, obviously, but you get the gist. I messaged my doctor telling the truth and she prescribed it no questions asked.

And it worked.

It made me awfully sleepy for the first hour after taking it, but it made alcohol taste even worse and it truly killed my desire for anything more than the first couple of sips.

But then I got inconsistent. And it worked less well. I spoke with another woman online who had had great success with it; her alcohol cravings were nearing “extinction” as she put it. She told me I have to be consistent. I have to take the medication every single time I drink. In a nutshell, I had to be honest.

I convinced Tony to try it with me once. He hated the sleepy, loopy feeling it gave him and said he’d never take it again.

He’s been consistent.

Now, he’s drinking almost daily.  I did drink all the fruity drinks recently when we were on a tropical vacation, and I’ll join him for a drink once or twice a month at home. But I have no desire to be a drinker anymore. Tony, unfortunately, can’t stop and doesn’t seem to want to. He stays out after work every night and comes home to us later and later all buzzed up. At first, he’s annoying to me and goofy with the kids. But when the alcohol starts wearing off, he’s impatient and mean. He mocks me. He yells at Iris. He dropped Julian.

This is the man I love. And I’m willing to fight for him. I’m willing to stand beside him to help him see what this drug is doing to him and to us. But right now, I don’t know how. I’m so angry that he would even consider risking all we’ve built ifor the sake of a false buzz.

I know it’s chemical. I know it’s addiction. A disease. Etc.

I know.

What I don’t know right now is how to love him through this. I’m so very afraid. It got really, REALLY bad between us before we got sober last time. There were bruises. There was blood. I can’t go back to that. I won’t. And, I will never let my kids be around that.

I will leave him before anything happens like that ever again.

But I don’t want to have to.

I want to raise my kids with their sober father who is sweet and funny and quiet without the booze propping him up. I want to love this man until I have to cut his steak for him, until I have to drive the car because he can’t see or hear anymore. I don’t want a poisonous liquid to ruin us and our peaceful grow-old-together future.

I want to celebrate more Sobriversary’s. I want to reach big anniversaries of all sorts.

And I want to always be honest. Because that’s the only thing that’s going to save us now.

And we’re in dire need of saving.

A Holiday Letter

Dear Friends and Family,

A decade ago, on the Saturday between Christmas and New Year’s, a handsome man I had never seen before walked through the door at my parent’s annual Holiday Dance. “Who is that?” I said out loud. I walked over, introduced myself and now we have two kids, four broken-down vehicles in our yard and a whole lot of memories of the meandering path that brought us here.

Oh, and there’s going to be a wedding! Nope, not ours; we believe in loooong engagements. Tony’s oldest, Molly, is getting hitched to my nephew, Jordan, and we all get to have double titles from now on. I’ll be Jordan’s aunt and his stepmom-in-law. Julian will be Molly’s brother and cousin. Iris will be Jordan’s first cousin and his sister-in-law. Tony will be Jordan’s father-in-law and uncle. You get the gist. Most people get kind of quiet and wide-eyed when we laugh about this, but we don’t mind. Their looks of confusion and mild distaste remind me we need to do something about those four broken-down vehicles in the yard.

Our first year as a family of four – with Tony’s four older daughters flitting in and out from time to time – has been, well, … messy. I’d seriously consider using all the money I make at my Grandma Grace’s resort cleaning cabins to hire someone to clean our cabin if it weren’t for the fact that we know everyone who lives around here. Our mess will have to stay our own.

Iris, who is in first grade and turns seven at the end of January, continues to make one beautiful mess after the other, setting up puppet shows, song and dance performances, all manner of arts and crafts, and a fun favorite: indoor athletic obstacle courses. She dances from joy to joy, happy as a clam, even when I’m grumpy at her for not cleaning up her mess or turning down her joyful noise.

Julian, who just turned one, is our bull in the proverbial China shop. If there’s an electric cord, string of any sort or even a hanging plant accessible, he pulls on it until he finds out what’s on the other end. If there’s something that will rip, he likes to see how many pieces he can create. If there’s food to be squished, buttons to be pushed, drawers to be pulled or saliva to be drooled, he’s on the job.

Tony’s mess is chock full of hunting gear, grilling accessories, books he’s read and everything woodworking. He both bow- and rifle-hunted this year, putting two deer in our freezer. Iris especially loves the venison jerky he makes, asking for it in her school lunches long after we’ve run out. I appreciate the mess we don’t make in the kitchen when he asks “What’s for dinner? Want me to grill?” The Traeger pellet grill and smoker he got last Christmas sure wasn’t granted an easy life when it came to live at our home. He loves it and uses it many times a week. Smoked boiled eggs? So good.

I continue to play at music, jewelry making, sewing, driftwood art and my writing, keeping at least three corners of the house messy with more than is required for all of those undertakings. I wrote a column for the Warroad Pioneer for four years and sadly watched it close its doors this past spring. Without the forcing function of a deadline, writing fell to the back burner until this past fall when I began to write in earnest on my first novel. I say “first” with confidence, because whether this book comes to something or not, the joy I get from the process tells me all I need to know about what I’m meant to be doing. If only there were self-cleaning houses and children and yards so I wouldn’t have to stop so often or worry about what the neighbors think when Iris is left-unattended, using the broken-down vehicles as climbing structures.

Of Tony’s girls, Molly is now in Washington state, Sophie is in Grand Forks, and Maggie and Evangeline are busy with hockey and school. We see them whenever we can and miss them always.

We are blessed to have both sets of Grandparents close-by. Deb and Marvin still live on the westernmost point of Flag Island and we love to visit them when busy life and the water or ice allows. My folks, Bill and Linda, are still in “The Big House”, as we’ve all come to call their big log cabin. If I’m even a minute late to pick-up Iris from school, she runs across the road to visit them before I can track her down.

Our little parcel of land, adjacent to my folks’ land and the resort, now has a dirt driveway and a cleared plot for our future house. When the ground thaws in the spring, we’ll get the remaining stumps pulled and gravel poured to make it ready for building. It will be lovely to live walking-distance to the school, the lake and the Knight / Prothero side of the family.

Tony is still a summer fishing guide and The Angle’s UPS driver, wearing out vehicle after vehicle on the long Angle road. Kids in tow, I fill in driving as needed and help at the resort. Life is trucking right along. Our kids are healthy. And we’re all decently happy with our messy lot in life. We’d sure welcome a visit from anyone who wants to see our little corner of the world. Or get ready, and maybe we’ll come to you!

From our mess to yours, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and have the most amazing New Year and new decade!

Love,

-Kellie, Tony, Iris & Julian

I’m a bad feminist

How a military man might just help me become a better one

My man’s love language is physical touch. And often times, as he’s nuzzling my neck in the kitchen or stealing a quick grope of my butt cheek when I pass him in the hallway, I wonder to myself “how can he love me when my body looks like this?”

As if my body is all there is of me to love. As if my worth is based on my attractiveness alone. As if my “fuckability” is all that matters. Continue reading “I’m a bad feminist”

273

Today, 274 days, he is more of the world than of me. Today he belongs to us all. And forever more he’ll be more his own that he ever will be mine again. 273 days he grew inside my womb and now the scales tip to the world, to the earth, to the ways of men.

But the ways of women and the ways of the reed grass, the songbirds, the deep water trout will move with you, Julian Loren. The early yellowing ash and the shallow black dirt held up Angle clay. It’s your cement. Your founding earth. It stands for the good, hard work of decent people. The crowded table of family love. The imperfect world of wanting more than there is to have. This garden is all yours, my sweet boy. Share it the way I now have to share you.

Be you. Have yours. But please, my brown haired boy, always be a little bit mine.

#AllInForAugust comes to a So-So close

#AllInForAugust Comes to a So-So Close

I didn’t meet my goals of staying 100% carnivore for August. I went so far off the rails that I even baked a chocolate cake and ate 3 pieces over the course of several days.

But I kept coming back to carnivore because with even the slightest deviation off plan, the achiness in my hips would flare, my moods went drastically haywire, and my gut was noticeably bloated.

The biggest success I have to report is that my god-awful toothache that had plagued me for weeks went away within the first week. There is some residual sensitivity from clenching my teeth while I sleep, but it’s nothing like the nonstop, almost debilitating pain that I had been numbing with high doses of Advil.

I also completed a 48-hour fast, which was surprisingly easy. I felt great and have decided to start a fasting protocol for my September focus.

I have always blamed my own willpower for my failure, but many nutrition experts agree that if you’re on a “diet” and can’t stay on the diet, then it’s not a very good diet. Carnivore is a way of eating, not a diet and I do believe in its merits. But I still have a dieting mindset and I did my darnedest to prove my story right that I fail in the second or third week. (The book Chasing Cupcakes and the author’s podcast Primal Potential is helping me address a lot of personal issues I have in this regard.)

At the end of the month of August, the scale read a loss of 4 pounds, which surprised me. I felt sure that I had gained. I was about 50% on-plan and 50% off.

September is starting with less structure, but I feel optimistic and ready for another bit of positive change. Carnivory, intermittent and extended fasting, lifting weights and a few other small self-care practices like journaling are all on my radar.

It’s a busy month with school starting and a hectic work schedule, but all of this will help me take back my life and harness this mid-life crisis before it gets out of control.

Mid-life crisis??  Yeah, as real and complex as it feels, that’s definitely a topic for another time.

What do you have going on in September?

 

 

Why Did the Porcupine Cross the Road?

We all rode to town together on Friday. It’s an hour+ drive, so it’s no small thing. We packed the diaper bag, installed the car seats and rushed through our morning in order to leave by 8AM. The whole way to town, the 6-year old watched her tablet. the 8-month old slept, and Tony and I argued. Continue reading “Why Did the Porcupine Cross the Road?”