Book Review: “Fall to Pieces”

I love to read memoirs. For some reason, I really enjoy reading memoirs of those with addiction, and this was before my drinking became a problem. I’ve read “Life” by Keith Richards, which was fantastic but took three weeks because it’s over 500 pages.

I’ve also read Nikki Sixx’s book, “The Heroin Diaries”. It was a bit wild, but still very interesting. I’m just waiting for a member of Fleetwood Mac to come out with their memoirs. If anyone knows of one, please let me know.

I”ve read “Fall to Pieces” before, but it was a bit different re-reading it this time. This book was written by Mary Forsberg Weiland, the first wife of Scott Weiland.

He was the lead singer for Stone Temple Pilots, one of the best rock bands of the 90s. If you’re too young to know who this band is, you might want to go on YouTube. They were a great band. Scott died in December 2015, unfortunately from an overdose.

Book cover

The book opens with a very descriptive explanation of her childhood in California, a bit in New Jersey after her mom’s remarriage and, of course, when she met Scott.

Mary also became a model while moving around and became quite successful while still a teen. She also met her best friends during this time. She became friends with Anthony Kiedis, lead singer of Red Hot Chili Peppers. They have remained friends for many years.

It wasn’t until I read Scar Tissue, his autobiography, that I understood all the while Anthony was being my true friend, his own soul was being badly shaken.”

This stood out. We don’t always know what our friends are going through, much less anyone else. People hide things but still make things look at least bearable. I’ve been there for my friends through their own issues but yet struggling through my own.

The story of her relationship and later, marriage, with Scott, is so well detailed. She tells of the good, bad and in between. They were together off and on nearly a decade before marrying, and they had two kids together- a daughter and a son.

During this time, Mary drank and used a lot of substances. She knew it wasn’t the best way to live, but it took multiple attempts to finally stop using.

Mary also has had a long battle with bipolar disorder, possibly beginning when she was a teen. It’s hard for her or anyone else to know. She wasn’t diagnosed until well into adulthood, and this is well documented in the book. She struggled to accept this diagnosis along with being an addict.

Many people with either issue do. I will say she is being treated and is sober, but I won’t spoil the ending for you on how she got there.

Mary shared a quote from a community college class:

“In recovery, we look for progress, not perfection.”

Collage 2018-04-15 14_57_12.jpg

This is very accurate. Nobody is perfect, and anyone recovering from any kind of addiction certainly isn’t. Progress is what counts the most. It is not close to easy, and anyone who tells you it is- they are not entirely correct.

One of my best friends, Tyson, once asked me if I was okay while sitting at dinner and the talk to turned to beer for a while. I wasn’t a fan of beer to begin with, and he knows this, but he was making sure I wasn’t thinking about having a drink.

I wasn’t, but I am very grateful that he asked. It took a year before I could even go into a sports bar. “One day at a time” is the best quote I have ever heard that applies to recovery.

As many of us know, Scott and Mary did not work out (the section about the end of their marriage is a sad one) but they were able to co-parent, at least as of the writing of this book. I’m one of the millions of fans that were saddened to hear of Scott’s death. He was incredibly talented, like many others, but yet, he had an addiction that he was never quite able to end.

Pic courtesy of Google

Behind the Name 

I have a lot of new followers and I’m pretty sure not everyone gets the idea behind the name Shortstack Blogs, “One Day, One Blog at a Time, or even my Facebook page, which you can find at ShortstackBlogs

Field trip

Field trip with Lily

The Facebook page is pretty ordinary- Meredith is my middle name. Thanks, Mom and Dad. I’ve actually hated it as long as I can remember but in this case, it flowed and I ran with it.

The title of my blog comes from sobriety and blogging coming together. If you’ve ever heard of any kind of recovery phrases, I’m willing to bet that one of those is “One day at a time.” This phrase is tattooed on the inside of my left wrist.

I live this way because I know the feeling of planning out the rest of your life and then having it fall apart. I have spent almost four years putting myself and my life back together. I’ve literally had to do it one day at a time, sometimes an hour at a time.

One day at a time
“Shortstack” is a nickname. I’m 5’2″ and Jake was 6’3″. I don’t remember how this got started, but we had a long-running joke about our height difference and this was one of his nicknames for me. (I’m used to getting jokes about my height from pretty much everyone I know, including my own kids.)

His brother Josh still gets me every chance he gets. My blog was created partially to spread awareness about mental health issues, and Jake’s death was the background for it. As my therapist would say, it’s turning something awful into something good. The other part, of course, is to tackle the fun and sometimes not fun part of parenting.

One of my life’s greatest lessons

I am being myself everyday, no excuses.

The name behind the blog is as important as the blog itself. 😀

I have been raising money towards a book getting published. If you would like more info, please go here

The Best Benefits of Sobriety

I’m coming up on two and a half years of sobriety on July 1. I don’t count the days anymore, I count the months. My math sucks, but 2 1/2 years is 30 months, right?

The Sunlight Does Come In

Sobriety isn’t always fun. It isn’t always easy. Sometimes it just sucks..including the work, it takes to stay sober. It doesn’t matter what your DOC (drug of choice) is. Sobriety is rough.

You have to get in touch with yourself, even the parts you don’t like. This part was not fun at all for me when I started and I am glad I was in therapy at that point. Nobody is perfect.. So I was trying to rebuild myself while not drinking.

Ha.

This can get bad. Lots of tears, yelling and venting are involved. Or maybe that’s just me.

There’s a lot of looking at yourself, thinking about your mistakes and how you can be a better person. Maybe even how you can fix things with people, if that’s possible.

If you’re familiar with the 12 Steps, that sounds like stepwork. Making amends can be hard and I learned it isn’t always possible. Sometimes you break a bond and that’s it- there is no fixing it. All you can do is wish that person well and try not to repeat those actions.

I’ve had to do this and my goodness, it is painful. It has been one of the hardest parts of my recovery.

The Work is Worth It

After some work on yourself, developing a positive outlook, good things happen. It happens a little each day.

Eventually, you actually start liking yourself again. Wow! It’s a neat thing. You don’t mentally bash yourself on a daily basis and want to take care of yourself, maybe even start a new hobby, job or something similar. Every day isn’t a blast, but it’s a lot better than it used to be.

The sunshine is here and it peeks in a bit every day.

Sunshine

Is That ME?

Going out with your friends and being able to remember it?

Not waking up hungover and regretting dumb things the next day?

Caring about yourself a bit more?

Being present for your family and friends, and work performance improving?

Sleeping, eating and feeling better all around? (Once the withdrawals are gone, of course. Those can get bad.)

WHOA… that is you!

Applause

What Are the Benefits?

Besides the obvious of not using/drinking, here are the best benefits I’ve seen so far:

  • Clearer thinking
  • Happy to try new things
  • Saving money (fireball and vodka are NOT cheap, and believe me, I drank a LOT)
  • I can remember things from the night before
  • No hangovers (who really likes those?)
  • More time to do things with my friends and family
  • Ability to be there for friends and family- my mom broke her shoulder in three places and I was actually able to be supportive and helpful while she recovered. (She’s okay, btw)
  • I’m much happier (even on my bad days)
  • My liver functions well again (minus the sulfa medication allergy snafu)
  • Better coping skills have been formed- writing, actually talking it out (eek), coloring, reading, yoga.. Healthy things

These are just the first ten that I could think of. I can’t recommend a Y12SR class enough. It’s a yoga class but for those in recovery (from anything).

The first half of the class is a meeting then yoga. I started going when I was super struggling and I was close to relapsing. I didn’t and have been attending this class since November. There’s only two classes in Louisville, so it might be hard to find depending on where you are.

I am working on myself daily to stay sober because it’s a long term thing. Some days are harder than others. #OneDayAtATime

If you do need help with addiction please seek it! You will thank yourself so much later. Please see my resources page for information.

Mid-Year Check-In

I did a check-in right before the holidays and I think it is time for another one.

Headache

Physically:

Migraines are still in check. They come and go, and I take my meds when they show up. The weather and sun are two of my biggest triggers. I also have issues with noise and stress as triggers.

RA is no fun and I rate it 0/10. I struggled with a previously unknown sulfur medication based allergy for a couple of weeks, along with a stomach bug. I was miserable and ended up in the ER.

I have a great rheumatologist and if you aren’t that lucky, search until you find one. If you are in the Louisville, KY area, let me know. I’ll give you her info. Same for my neurologist. Bonus: he is adorable. Unfortunately, he is married with kids.

If you want to read more about my RA journey, you can read RA and Me Part 2

All joking aside, I guess I’m doing okay. I’m trying to do what I can on the good days and resting on the bad ones. Listening to my body is tough sometimes but it’s important that I do so.

Sobriety:

As of the date of this post, I am 2 years, 5 months and 5 days sober. That’s a lot of work, tears, and yoga.

It continues to be a daily struggle not to drink. I don’t think about it every day- I am well beyond that point. There are days, however, that one drink would make everything better. Or so I think.

Stress is a trigger.

Anxiety is a trigger.

Depression is an even bigger trigger.

If all three show up, it takes everything I have to not drink. I read. I color. I listen to music. I watch a funny movie. I talk to someone.

Whatever it takes.

Most Sundays, I go to a Yoga 12 Step for Recovery class. I found it on Facebook a few months ago and loved it. Sometimes I talk, sometimes I don’t.

If you’re in recovery, I highly recommend it.

Anxiety pic

Emotionally:

For the most part, I’m okay.

Anxiety remains a daily part of my life. I’ve learned to control it, deep breaths and slowing down are my main coping skills.

Depression creeps in when I don’t expect it, and it keeps me up at night. It’s not my friend at all, I shut it down when it gets to be too much. I may get quiet but that is me working through my thoughts.

What’s Next:

Summer vacation is coming for me! The kids have three days of school -then they can sleep in, play video games, and have lots of adventures.

I’m looking forward to this. We had a lot of fun last summer and want to repeat this. I’ll be working on the blog, a book, reading and listening to podcasts.

This is my mid-year check-in. It’s nice to reflect and see where I’m going next.

Where are you with your year? What do you want to do with the next six months?