Thursday, March 26, 2015

Looking Back

I haven't been to my blog for a LONG time. Truth be told, I've forgotten about it. It became, like a lot of things, a very distant memory.

Somehow, through the course of the day, through conversations with new friends, and reminiscing about old memories, I remembered this was still here.

So I read.


So where is Jake and Rocky? What happened? Is Rocky still sober? Are they still married?

I'll tell you. And the present may surprise you.

On March 3rd, 2015 Rocky celebrated 4 years of sobriety. We are indeed still married. We actually now have 4 kids (sweet baby Carolina is 6 months old!). We sold our house in California and moved to rural Missouri.

Rocky is a sheriff's deputy.

This is a picture from his first year in law enforcement as a police officer.

I am still a stay at home mom. We homeschool. We are preparing to buy our first house in rural Missouri and grow some roots.

Looking back and reading these old posts blows my mind!

I remember telling another wife I met through this blog that I understood why blogs written by addicts wives fell to the waste side: spouses do not want to continually live in the shadows of addiction years after their spouses become sober (or they have left them behind).

The truth is, life happens. We get busy, we move on to bigger passions, families grow, locations change, marriages crumble. What I've learned though, is that your spouse's addiction never leaves you, even after years of sobriety.

Though I'm not actively blogging about Rocky's addiction, it's still a regular conversation in our house. I still have nightmare about him relapsing. I still wake up in tears, and voice my concerns. Rocky still thinks about drinking. He still wonders if he'll ever be able to enjoy a drink.

Just one drink.

I still don't think he's ready. I still ask him to wait a couple more years. I still tell him that I don't miss drinking. I still remind him how far he has come. I still show him that life is just as enjoyable sober as it was drunk.

Somethings haven't changed.

We still meet people that challenge his alcoholism. People still question his addiction. Rocky still struggles with finding healthy relationships (but he has improved!).

What has changed?

Us. We are different as a couple. Stronger. Recently (when Rocky was struggling with one of those unhealthy relationships), I over heard him telling someone how much he put me through in the past. I was shocked! Although I have explained to him my side of his addiction, I never felt he truly understood. I didn't think he could actually see my point of view. He reminds me that he won't relapse. He lets me know he has too much to lose. He enjoys the legacy he is leaving behind for his children.

And yet, like I've always said, addiction will always be with him. It's that brick that's there, offering him feelings and desires that have always been there and never left. They will never leave. Addiction will never leave. It will always be a part of Rocky, just as his arm is attached to his body, addiction his attached to his brain.

So where do I go from here?

I'm not sure. I enjoy reading this digital copy of my life. Recently, I've enjoyed sharing it. But there certainly are not any promises to be made. It's a crazy little life we've led. I've received quite a few emails over the years asking for advice from spouses. I've even considered becoming an addiction counselor.

We'll see where the road takes me...

 "I truly believe that everything that we do and everyone that we meet is put in our path for a purpose. There are no accidents; we're all teachers - if we're willing to pay attention to the lessons we learn, trust our positive instincts and not be afraid to take risks or wait for some miracle to come knocking at our door." - Marla Gibbs

Sunday, May 19, 2013


Last time I posted, we were in the middle of training to become foster parents. We had about 24 of our required 30 hours needed and were gearing up our house for the addition of more wee ones. My how things change in a blink!
A brief conversation with our neighbor about rising sale prices in our neighborhood, ANOTHER warning letter from our HOA because I didn't ask for approval to plant water conserving flowers, and Rocky's growing desire to move on from construction led us to casually inquiring about potentially selling our house.
We met with our realtors hoping for worst case scenario, and were presented three times that amount - something we were not expecting. We took a weekend to discuss what to do with this information. Where did we want to go? What did we want to do? Basically, we decided that the entire US was open to possibilities.
We made lists, compared statistics, reviewed articles, reports, and literature. We put everything into consideration. We already knew the cost of living was high for San Diego. The US average cost of living is rated 100. San Diego is 130, Temecula is 117. We kept being drawn back to a portion of the country where the cost of living hovered around 87.
In 2007, we had visited St. Louis, MO. I blogged about it here as one of our worst trips ever. It was just...interesting. While we really liked the city and everything we saw, our host scared us away. Now, in 2013, as we started researching places with cost of living in mind, Missouri kept popping back up on our radar.
Within a week of meeting with our realtors, our house pre-sold at our asking price. No open houses, no listing on MLS. Easy peasy. Escrow is set to close May 29th.
As we continue to hash out the details, I'll fill you all in. We are waiting word back from our Plan A to determine if we go to Plan B. We'll have that answer this week.
But what about foster care? It's something we still plan on doing. We learned a lot, and our heart is still set on that path. We just have to put it on hold for now. The opportunity presented before us is just too huge not to try out. We've always wanted to live outside of California, and at 30 years old, this is our chance.
I look forward to filling you all in as more information rolls in!

Monday, April 15, 2013


It's been an interesting process watching my husband grow up.
Our first time meeting
Gordon's Well, 2002
We didn't really know what we were getting into when we started the process of becoming foster parents. In one aspect, it has become a sense of healing for Rocky. He was a ward of the state when he was 16 years old - detained in juvenile hall for 9 months and living in two separate group homes far away from his family home, until he aged out at 18.
I've sat in our training and watch him tear up at hearing personal accounts and stories of children entering the system. We've heard about the emotional damage and confusion of children being taken away from their parents. How they have left their homes often in the middle of the night with nothing more than the clothes on their backs, sometimes even missing a shoe on their foot.
Rocky knows what it's like. I've had him whisper in my ear, "that's awful." His eyes turn red and he stares straight ahead. I realize the emotion he feels is of being devalued.
 We were 19 when we met. Between 18-19, he was living up his freedoms. Lots of drinking, drugs, and partying. When I met him, I knew he was broken. I always had this feeling that he felt relieved to meet me - that someone was there to take care of him.
Inkopah 2003
Foster care has opened up a door of personal healing for Rocky. We have had new conversations. He has spoken openly about past experiences. He has shared some deep thoughts and painful truths that had been masked behind years of alcohol abuse.
Las Vegas 2005
We've had conversations where Rocky has expressed future interest in taking on young men that were in situations similar to his. He feels like he can offer wisdom and guidance to displaced youth.  This sad child that was devalued has become a man that feels he can share his worth.
And that's when I realized my husband grew up.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Living the Dream

When I was in my teens, I had a conversation with my mom about what I wanted to do after graduation. She asked me where I saw myself in the future. My response: a stay at home mom.
It's what I always wanted to be. I was that little girl stuffing cabbage patch dolls under my tshirt pretending I was pregnant. I always wished some person would abandon a baby in our backyard and we'd get to keep it. I begged and pleaded with my parents to adopt more siblings. 
Eventually I did become pregnant, and it wasn't a cabbage patch doll. My parents never did adopt. And no one every abandoned a baby in our backyard. I checked...often.
Rocky and I tried conceiving about 6 months after our wedding. I always had issues in the reproduction department and several doctors had expressed concern that I wouldn't become pregnant. After a year of trying, I started considering that it might not happen for us. So I inquired to our local county about what is referred to as Fostering-to-Adopt. It was another dream of mine. However, Rocky, who never envisioned having children of his own (and truth be told was beginning his slow spiral into addiction) couldn't even imagine being a father to someone else's child. So I put the dream aside, hoping to pull it out another day.
Well that day has arrived.
Rocky and I have begun the process of becoming foster parents - with the hope of eventually adopting one of our placements. We are enrolled with a private agency, and are attending our second class tonight. I hope to blog about the entire experience. I know I have many loving friends that have expressed interest.
I am usually not one to ask for favors. However, there is an unfortunate side to fostering: and that's prepping your house for placements. I call it unfortunate because there is an out of pocket expense: extra smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, extra locks, fire extinguishers, furniture, bedding, etc. etc. Quite a bit of it we already have, but there is also quite a bit we don't have.
Currently, we are being rushed into the process of fostering as there is a great need in Riverside County, CA (as there is everywhere!). What normally takes 12-15 weeks will probably be completed in 6-8 weeks. So I'm reaching out and asking for help so that we may accommodate placements sooner rather than later.
To the right of my posts you will find a "DONATE" button. Any and all amounts will be so super, wonderfully, graciously, excitedly appreciated. I have reached out to some big box names to ask for help as well (Sleep Train, Home Depot, Jeromes), and hope they can make some miracles happen.
I'll take down the button when our home preparations are completed. And hopefully take pictures along the way to show you the work in progress.

If you are committing to fostering, shouldn't you be prepared to pay up front costs?
Yes. Most definitely. However, we thought this would be a slow process and it would allow us to slowly build up to different purchases. Instead of delaying the process, we thought we'd ask for the communities help in helping us to place a needy child.
To all my family and friends, I love you all very much. Thank you for supporting us in growing our family, and helping children in need.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Closet Alcoholic

When did I realize Rocky was an alcoholic?

The night I had him arrested.

When did Rocky realize he was an alcoholic?

2 years prior to that night.

So how is it two people have differing views of one's alcoholism?  Simply put, Rocky was a closet alcoholic.

Rocky has always like to drink excessively. Since we met at 19, drinking excessively just seemed like part of the gig. You got drunk, you got stupid, you got hung over, and you repeated the same scenario every weekend.

He hid A LOT of his drinking from me. Rocky is a union tradesman and I was an office girl. He would get home at 3pm and wait for my arrival around 6pm. Often times he would pick something up and drink it while driving home. Between the car ride home and my late homecoming he had plenty of time to hide the evidence. On the weekends, he would volunteer to pick up breakfast. That's when he would fit in his morning drink or purchase stash to hide in his vehicle for later consumption.

Didn't his breath smell? Did he act differently? How did you not know??

First and foremost, I wasn't looking for it. Who goes around making blanket assumptions that their spouse is an alcoholic? Not I, but I definitely wasn't in denial either. It just was a non-issue for a long time.

Rocky chews tobacco and gum. His breath always stinks regardless and easily could mask a smell of alcohol. Plus, we often had a beer with dinner. There were times he acted differently, and I knew flat out he was drunk - like when arguments had no stopping points. However, there were many times I had no idea. He went to work at 5am so he was tired earlier than I was and would often fall asleep on the couch. I assumed he was tired from work.

There was only one thing that was a pretty dead giveaway of his intoxication. His eyes would turn red - vein bursting, blood shot red. I would always ask him if he was drinking, and he'd always joke, "yes, I had 10 beers." In reality, his joke was the truth. Addicts lie. They lie, they lie, they lie.

The month leading up to his arrest, he had started car pooling with a different co-worker. The signs of addiction started coming on pretty quickly. At this point I was a stay at home mom. He started coming home from work really late, or looking for reasons to leave. He was obviously drunk. He was angrier. He was the most volatile he had ever been. This time was very dark for me as I have images locked into my head of his stagger, the redness in his eyes, the stained work clothes. Mostly though, it was the look in his eyes - similar to being possessed. It was scary. There was no reasoning with Rocky during this period. The arrest was just the peak of it all.

Do you remember that moment when you realized your spouse was an alcoholic? Was there a defining moment? How long did you wait before you/him did something about it?

Alcoholism doesn't just sprout up overnight. It's like growing weeds in your garden; all of the sudden the plant sprouts a flower and you realize it's been a dandelion all along. The great thing about dandelions - they really are beautiful, and I make wishes on them all the time.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

"What Should I Do?"

I get quite a number of emails from women in all walks of life, all enduring the same journey - being an alcoholic's wife.
Other than being married to an addict, they all share a common emotion:

When do I walk away?
What do I tell my children?
Do I kick him out?
Do I have him arrested?
Do I tell his company?
What if I can't afford to arrest him?
What happens if I out him?
Will it get better?
What if it doesn't get better?
What do I do?
When will he hit bottom?
Can I help him hit bottom?

These questions go round and round. Where one is answered, another one pops up.  Truth be told, there is not a concrete answer to any of these questions. That's the hardest part. The path of existing in a marriage with an alcoholic meanders much like their drunken gaits: winding, stumbling, faltering, falling, and hopefully, eventually, getting back up.

To each person, the answer is completely different. Even Rocky and I have opposing views on a lot of "what-should-I-do" questions.

When an old friend called me today to ask for advice for her husband, I had no answers. And I so desperately wish I could tell her what to do. I wish I could put myself in her shoes, trap myself in her body, experience her every day, and come back to her with an answer.

But I can't.
And I HATE that I can't.
When an alcoholic is the world's greatest dad, goes to work every day, and is a pretty upstanding citizen,  - well, how do you know when to draw a line in the sand?

Much like every alcoholic has a different low, every wife also has a different low. As my children have gotten older, I look back and wonder how long I could have gone on with Rocky being an alcoholic. The only answer I can think of is till I have had enough.

It may differ for you. It might be till he gets a DUI, or until he physically hurts you, or if your children become aware. It might not be any of those things. It may just be a culmination of events far less drastic. See, even my answer is confusing!

If you are in that place of "what do I do?", put it in writing. Write down what you want, and what you currently have. Write down your last straws, and the lines he'd have to cross to push you over the edge. Write down the resolution you want - and not just sobriety. How do you want him to achieve it? A moment of clarity? Forced his hand to counseling, AA, or rehab (inpatient or outpatient?)? Are you willing to accept losing it all? What's your plan B? You may never answer any of these lingering thoughts, but you also may be surprised how one concrete answer can change your whole life.

Peace, love, & sobriety.

"Haters Gunna Hate"

I have a groupie. Don't know who it is.

Someone I have offended somewhere in the course of my life.

They keep commenting on my SSAW posts. I don't know why?

Part of me wonders, if this follower hates me so much, why continue to follow me? Why engross themselves in continually hating me? Isn't it exhausting? To take the time and effort to read my posts, to visit my website, to see when I've updated, to write and leave comments anonymously. It takes time. I must have really pissed them off. And then I'm grateful that my own hatred has matured past this point. There was a time I hated my sister so much I stalked her facebook and personal website.

Another part of me wonders if it's just a random internet troll. They exist. I like the idea of a troll, like the one that lives under the bridge in Dora the Explorer. Fat, ugly, and dumb.
A third part of me, honestly feels bad. What did I do to this person to make them so angry? Is this something I have done recently? Is this something I did several years ago? I have tried to work on myself: be more compassionate, not be involved in drama, find a purpose, lead by example....

So for now, I have turned off anonymous commenting on my personal blog. And it makes me slightly stabby. I have put myself out there, like a wide open book, so that people who go through similar experiences can find a soft place to rest their thoughts - to be personally available, so when that moment in life arises where you need to vent your frustrations, or commiserate with company - I'm here. And you don't have to jump through hoops to get to me.

So, to my fan, I love you. I love you for making me re-evaluate myself. I love that at some point in my life, I was so outspoken that I had the ability to move you - though it did not sway you in my direction. I love this game we play, and yes, I love that you are a coward, and can't put on your big girl panties.
Sorry, it had to be said.

Hugs and Kisses Sugar Pie Honey Dumpling,

XO Jake