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I start to write something that I feel would be significant to someone and end up playing with my hair. I get angry about the hate and politics going on, and then, I just don’t care. Overdoses are at an all time high, and it doesn’t feel like my problem anymore.

My dad died. Damn. It just hurts. I know, even as the tears are streaming down my face, that I am not the only person to lose a parent. …

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Photo Bobbie Kaltmayer

I remember the first time I said that out loud. My voice was shaking, and the chair had just asked if anyone had any birthdays. I was one month sober. Four weeks. I had about ten meetings under my belt, but I had never spoken a word. People were friendly to me. They gave me space because that was what I wanted. I wasn’t sitting there crying anymore, like at the first few meetings I attended. I spoke the words out loud for the first time.

If you are familiar with the steps of AA — step one is admitting you are powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable. There’s a lot of controversy over giving up power, with stating that you are powerless, especially women, in a time where we are fighting for power in every aspect of our lives. Empowering is the buzzword, so powerless would seem to be the antithesis. I had issues with this. I’m Bobbie. I can do it all, be anyone I want; no one can control what I do. No one is going to tell me I’m powerless. Except for alcohol. At that point in my life, alcohol was running and ruining every aspect of my life. …

The In-between

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(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

When you come to the realization that your child is a drug addict, it completely knocks the wind out of you. You summon resolve and seek resources. You ask questions and find professionals to help. He came to you, asking for help, so you seek all the help you can find.

For us, help began with counseling. Twice a week for several months I took my son to an addiction counselor. No one suggested, at that time, a twelve step program. …

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Stock Photo

This year I heard a lot of complaining that family get-togethers are becoming a thing of the past. People are making statements like “I remember everyone gathering at grandma’s, but today’s generation doesn’t seem into it,” and other comments of that nature. Of course, always blaming the millennials and the younger generation. I attended a few of these get-togethers over this past holiday season, and I think I might have a little insight as to why the young people are no longer showing up.

First of all, if you have been bleaching your hair white-blonde for the last 40 years, you probably shouldn’t comment on a little blue in your niece’s hair. Let’s take the hypocrisy away and point out the fact that it is mean and rude to say, “I don’t know why anyone would do that to their hair,” while she is standing in front of you. …

Grandma’s Mixer

Photo from Bobbie Kaltmayer

I find out 3 weeks before Thanksgiving that my mom would like me to host it this year. My dad has been sick so this is really no surprise to me. I’ve done it before. I’m not freaking out. Really. I’m not.

On Sunday before Thanksgiving I find a checklist on Pinterest. “How to Host the Perfect Thanksgiving” or something like that. Well, it seems I am already 3 weeks behind. Clean your refrigerator, clean your oven, empty your coat closets, clean your baseboards…things you are supposed to begin weeks before the big event. Then, I find all the menus. The perfect holiday feasts were all listed in various forms but sharing mostly the same menu. There is also a cheat sheet for how much of each item you need per person. I don’t think I have enough food. I really know I have enough food, but I start having doubts. …

***Trigger Warning — Suicide***

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Photo Credit Mike Frailey

I watched as Bradley Cooper’s character glanced at the camera and pulled down the garage door. I couldn’t breathe. I knew what he was going to do. I knew what he was feeling. I glanced at my husband, who was now sound asleep. I started to cry.

It has been 4 years for me. 4 years since I woke up in the ER surrounded by family. 4 years since I felt what he was feeling on that screen. But I knew those feelings intimately. He was just a character in a movie, but at that moment, he was me. Aging, past his prime, alcoholic, an embarrassment to his family. …

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“Do you need those?” Someone asked as they pointed to my prescription bottle of antidepressants. My face got red, and I was embarrassed that I forgot to put the bottle away.

“I mean, yeah, for a little bit. I’ve just been feeling kind of off, you know. So my doctor thought I should try them. I probably won’t need them long.” I replied. It was so embarrassing admitting that I wasn’t okay.

“Wow. I always thought you were so strong.” They said.

Bam. There it is. I glanced at the bottle and changed the subject. …

My Dad

At family gatherings he somehow manages to be the center of attention. Everyone moves to be a little closer. He tells jokes and pokes fun and usually at someone’s expense, but that doesn’t matter. When he included you it made you feel special.

He came from very little. 1 of 12 kids from a small house in The Bootheel of Missouri. Of the 12 my dad only had four sisters, so as one can imagine, they were always causing trouble. …

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Image by Eudaimonia Recovery Homes

Today I don’t want to be strong.

Today, I don’t want to tell everyone they’ll be okay. I mean, what if they won’t?

Today, I don’t want to say “you got this.” I mean, what if you don’t?

I don’t feel like saying, hang in there, keep getting up, it’s worth it. What if it’s not?

“Life on life’s terms” is not always an even playing field. Sometimes, life’s terms suck. …

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“Why do they even try it?”
“Why don’t they just stop?”
“Why is Narcan free?”
“Harm reduction, really?”
“Medically assisted treatment is not treatment.”
“Not my kid.”

In the 60’s and 70’s if you were to picture in your head a heroin addict, you would see the bum living under the bridge. Forty or fifty years ago heroin addicts were overwhelmingly male, disproportionately black, and very young (the average age of first use was 16). Most came from poor inner-city neighborhoods. The heroin addict represented the “bad” family.

It looks a little different today. We could discuss the resurgence of America’s dependence while Europe has seen a decline. We could talk about how Mexico’s poppy fields have increased more than ten times what they were in 2000, and with the decline of sales from the US for marijuana they had to come up with something new. We could discuss the over-prescribing of opiates and the realization that heroin was cheaper. We could discuss all of that. There’s a lot to discuss. …


Bobbie Tipton Kaltmayer

In long term recovery. Trying to make my part of the world a little nicer. Published in Love What Matters and For Every Mom.

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