The Big Smoke
My beautiful son, Brian, drinking in the smoke. Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35/2.4 film/Canon Rebel XSI
Substance Use vs. Abuse
So I’m studying all of the psychoactive drug groups and their accompanying behavioral properties in my Behavioral Neuroscience class, and I came across a fallacy in my instructor’s PowerPoint Presentation. She had written this:
Substance abuse = a pattern in which a person relies on a drug chronically and excessively for the psychological and behavioral changes the drug produces.
I can’t tell you how much I disagree with that statement/definition. That defines substance use, not abuse. By that definition alone, that would mean that every person who counts on his or her daily antidepressant to make those necessary biochemical, physiological changes in both their brains and behaviors are “addicts”. This is so untrue.
Keeping in mind that I have my CPC in Substance Abuse (from Vincennes University), I’ve created my own definition of substance abuse, and it’s as follows:
Substance abuse= destructive behaviors that accompany the drug-user in which he and others are affected in negative ways.
Just because somebody takes a drug regularly- with hopes of behavioral and psychological changes (even chronically/daily or “excessively”)- does not make that person a substance abuser. The word “excessively” is a tricky one because what is excessive to one person will not be to another. Some people take one Ibuprofin- some take 5. Every person’s body is different and each person’s drug use is both circumstantial and situational. I think we really need to be careful labeling a person as a drug abuser if he or she continues taking a drug for holistic/homeopathic, and or medicinal reasons.
Back to your scheduled program. 🙂
(Don’t worry peeps- it’s only toilet paper from a ‘toilet paper challenge” I hosted at a photo site once.)
The Crazy Train has Left Town
For the first time in many weeks, it’s quiet here. It’s 3:14 a.m. and I really have no business being up at this time of night; tomorrow’s a school day- in more ways than one. I’m home-schooling my nephew, Johnboy, now. He comes over 3 times per week and we put in about 30 hours weekly. I won’t say where he was academically before I took over, but he’s making great progress and he’s got the grades to prove it. 🙂 Before we began, I made him an irresistible proposition: I offered to buy him a cell phone if he wrote me a report on any book from the library that was 300 pages or more. Over the next few weeks, he cultivated a careful 3 page report on Malcom X and I made good on my promise.
There are other incentives! Such as this:
I made him his favourite pie (cherry) the other day. It looks a little beat up, but it did the trick. 😉 (I also made 2 salted caramel chocolate pumpkin cheesecakes and homemade red pepper and roasted garlic chickpea hummus. It was to die for!)
Earlier this evening, things got a little out of hand, as they usually do, and Josh and I parted ways. I really hope it’s for good this time. I’m exhausted from the emotional chaos and I deal with conflict in a calm, peaceful way the majority of the time. I usually just “go away”. I like my quiet time where I can reflect and collect myself (and talk
to with God). But these past few days, I’ve felt this raging sea boiling up in me, because that’s what’s been unleashed on me for weeks now. I just reached my breaking point- I really did. Thankfully, Josh left, taking his things with him.
It’s been hard lately, but I’m eager to explore this new chapter in my life! Even a year ago, the thought of living my life as a single woman was daunting, but I lived the whole winter “manless” and got by just fine. Sure, it was pretty rough sailing for a while! And I was heartbroken. But what I feel now is actually relief. I’ve waited a really long time to be able to focus on me and actually begin a career. (Or, begin to begin a career.)
And now I’m there. I don’t need anyone screwing that up for me! I want to be alone for a good long while. I don’t feel sad at all, but I’m sure those days are coming. Pain is inevitable. I’m just at the very beginning of it all when denial is still at its peak and everything is “just spiffy”. But the gray days are coming.
I’m going to be alright though. I’ve come to a new place where I enjoy solitude- not only enjoy it, but crave it.
I think I’m actually growing up.
Work in Progress
I had a dream a few months ago.
I was in a factory. It was a large factory and I was in a control room with 12 executives who were sitting around an oblong table. It looked like a think tank and some of the workers had notebooks and pens and were taking notes. I too had a notebook and was jotting down some notes. One of the female employees looked up from the table and said, “I’m the boss.” I corrected her, saying, “I’m the boss.” My hair was long and sleek and parted on the side and I wore a periwinkle suit (and high heels). I was able to see the entire factory through a large window in the room and I was aware that I was in charge of the entire factory- including the 12 executives at the table. I was professional and serious in disposition.
When I awoke, I almost cried, because I knew that I wasn’t that girl in the dream. I was aware that i had a long way to go! I understand the dream. The factory represented me. The workers were different parts of me on a subconscious level: thoughts, feelings, ideas, etc. I was struggling to ascertain my authority in that area.
I’ve been through an incredible amount of stress in the past few months, but what it’s really done is given me new feet. I tell my friends all the time that their trying circumstances are the very things that allow them to develop new feet and become “firewalkers”. And, I know by now that the diamonds are hidden among the rubble. Bad experiences are never just “bad experiences”. Every horrible experience is an instructor. Knowing this going in allows me to keep a positive attitude and embrace all aspects of the experience.
I was standing in the kitchen a few days ago, talking to God, when I realized that I have new feet/shoes! I’m still not that girl in my dream, and I still have a long way to go, but I do have the shoes. I’m learning to be patient; and some day, I’ll have that periwinkle suit. But for now, I’m alright with being a work in progress. After all, it’s not always about the destination, but the journey that gets us there, and makes us who are.
Taken today. Perrin Park- Indiana. Super Tak SMC 28 MM/Canon Rebel XSI
I love my Helios 44-2 (M42) 58 MM. Best (film) lens ever. :0)
My son Brian (on the right), with his cousin, Johnboy. Taken yesterday at Rose Island- Charlestown, Indiana.
When Love Comes Walking In
It’s such an awesome thing; when life has given you a big crap sandwich for a bit, and then you see two people madly in love and you just have to smile and be in awe and think- I remember that. :0 )
In this case, it’s my son, Brian, and his little lady- Mandy Tator Tots:
And then when I was driving home tonight, and saying, “God, I know you have a great plan for me. It’s painful, it’s hard right now. But I know you have my best interest at heart.”
And then I looked up and saw this!
“Yeah. I’ve got you, kid,” He said…and smiled.
Death of a Friend
Josh and I are no longer in a “partnering relationship”. We’ve been together (off and on) for 8+ years and really, have been like each other’s skin. Recently, he underwent a horrible ordeal which ultimately changed his personality. I thought it was only temporary, but it’s proving to be permanent. He’s become so aggressive and has resorted to screaming and raving every day- all day- it’s as though he has acute brain damage or something. I honestly don’t know how much more I can take. I’ve lost the man and best friend that I loved so much. That man died. It’s as though my son and I are living with a total stranger. My son jumped up and scared him earlier in the kitchen- just playing around as he likes to do. Rather than be surprised or even annoyed, Josh threatened to punch my son in the mouth.
I couldn’t believe it. Not long afterwards, I exited the kitchen to go to my room- away from Josh- and he followed me. For the next 10 to 15 minutes, he raged and yelled and beat on my door, demanding that I not walk away when he’s talking. He’s become so abusive, my son and I both now have high(er) blood pressure as a direct result from the daily stress.
He owes me $350- the cell phone he’s using, I payed for. The blanket he’s sleeping with- I payed for. The medicine he’s now taking- I payed for. (Nice.) Rather than pay me what he owes, he abuses me. So, I’ll be looking for a new place to live for my son and I. My kids will always be a priority over any man.
In all the years I’ve known Josh, he’s still a taker. And I’m still a giver, apparently.
Update and to his credit: he’s payed me what he owes.
But no more. When a person threatens my kid- it’s over. Plain and simple. I’ve seen many women in life stay with abusive men- all because they think they “need” them. That’s where they and I differ! I don’t need any man. Certainly not an abusive one.
After weeks of enduring Josh’s (escalating) abuse, I decided to give him a dose of his own medicine. More times than I can even count, I’ve gone to my room to get away from his screaming/raging, and he follows me. All of my pleading for “peace” and calm and quiet fall on deaf ears. He just doesn’t go away! Not at first, anyway. I’ve literally begged him to get away from my door and to simply “choose peace” but to no avail. He refuses to go away and chooses rather to rage at me. Sadly, much of the time it’s over nothing at all. Yesterday’s eruption was caused because he came in raging against his boss, and I told him that he should have a smidgeon of gratitude, because his boss pays his salary and is kind enough to give him a job. It behooves an employee to recognize that if nothing else, their boss has chosen to hire him/her and he should acknowledge that he owes the man a debt of gratitude. It’s not a corporation; it’s a small 3 (and sometimes 4) person crew.
His lack of grace just floored me. So I told him that perhaps if he were to shift his focus from his anger at his boss to the fact that he even has a job, maybe it would help him. I also told him that he is hyper-focused (again) on himself and is internalizing again. It’s as if he’s got a large lazer beam pointed at himself and can only see HIM right now. As awful as it sounds and as awful as it makes me feel to say it- he’s an extremely selfish person.
I wasn’t expecting him to thank me for pointing that out, but I wasn’t expecting the war that ensued either. Everything offends him and if he’s not getting his ego stroked, he gets lost in whatever topic is being discussed, and always, always- he’ll make it about him- no matter what.
But back to my revenge.
I wanted to shake him up a bit because I think that 2 straight weeks of taking a person’s verbal abuse is two weeks too long. I realized that all of my “asking nicely” for peace was getting me nowhere, so I decided to give him an interactive demonstration; one that he could (inadvertently) participate in.
I waited until 4 in the morning (keeping in mind he had to work the next day), and I took two glass teacups and dropped them on the coffee table together. The sound of glass breaking shook him awake and startled him. (Mission accomplished.) He became irate immediately- but you see- he’s usually irate anyway, and so when he calmed down some time later, I explained that from now on, every time he “took” my peace from me- especially when I was asking to be left alone- I was going to take some from him.
It really pains me that I had to resort to such drastic measures, but hey- whatever works!
And it worked like a charm.
In other parts of the world, I’m doing phenomenally well in my two courses: Behavioral Neuroscience and Cognitive Psychology. I absolutely love being a student again. Above all else, It’s a wonderful and necessary distraction that is highly welcome in my life at the moment.
I don’t want to spend one more day with Mr. Raging Preachy-Pants. But until we get a new place, chances are I’ll have to.
Chance– taken yesterday in my bedroom with my new SMC Super Tak (umar) 28 MM/3.5 wide angle lens
(Naturally, accompanied by the essential college highlighter and neuroscience notes.)