KaRyn: The Countdown


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IMG_8466Justin comes home this friday.  I don’t even know what to say about it that will make sense to anyone. ever.  People sometimes ask me, “So are you excited?”.  To illustrate how that question causes me problems, I would like to tell you a story.

Because I have some weird food things right now, I have become chummy with a few of the food service staff at the treatment facility.  Nothing forces you to create a bond faster than constantly asking if there’s dairy in the breakfast/lunch/dinner menu.  One fellow, we’ll call him Ron, was especially helpful and often went the extra mile to make sure I had food to eat.  By the end of my family week tenure, we were trading recipes for granola and discussing the price of cantaloupes.  You know, the usual. Continue reading


KaRyn: Falling Apart (& How We Put It Back Together)


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Sometimes, the washing machine breaks on an ordinary Tuesday night.    And occasionally, when you hear that unbalanced sound of metal crashing into metal and you realize with horror that there is nothing with a zipper in this load, your heart starts beating faster than normal and you push the “end cycle” button so hard that it pushes the button right off the machine.  It’s possible that you might open the washing machine lid to see everything just horribly wrong in there – basket askew, water not draining – and you remember that you bought it (and the one year warranty) in February of last year and it is now June.  Sometimes, the washing machine breaking feels like the whole world collapsing and so you collapse on the washing machine and just FEEL.  Maybe that feeling looks like a lot of hot, angry tears and a tiny “woe is me!” especially when you remember that your husband, a huge and vocal proponent of extended warranties, definitely invited you to extend THIS warranty, and you politely declined. Because, well, you know better.

Fast forward to Wednesday and the start of another family week at Justin’s treatment facility.  This time, I went in preparation for his homecoming in two weeks.  His treatment team thinks (and I agree) that sober living (a sort of half-way house for addicts) is not the best option for a dude with a wife and kids.  It’s time to come home, step out of the safety bubble of rehab, go to intensive outpatient treatment and start rebuilding relationships and life in general.  A huge part of this planning and transitioning was a weekend home pass that we’ve been jokingly calling Justin’s Furlough.  Overnight passes Wednesday and Thursday and then home with me and the kids Friday to Sunday.

After it was clear that the washing machine was definitely compromised and after I had cried enough to feel like I’d done some good, I did what any normal person without an active warranty does…I started to poke around in there to figure out what the problem was.  This is where my Sue O’Daly gene takes full effect.  I realized, after feeling up the insides of my washing machine, that there was a sort of metal pole missing.  I took to the internet and began with the most logical thing: A diagram. Must. Find. Name for metal thingy.


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Justin: The Good (seeing it in other people!)

June 21.   Justin notices that he’s beginning to really believe that people are good and not just always out for themselves.  His sobriety is reminding him that he wants to see other people succeed and he’s excited to see other people the way God sees them.  The help he received from everyone involved in the project is a powerful reminder of the goodness of others.


KaRyn: The Release

KaRyn: The Release

Have you ever been held captive by an inanimate object? Not even really an object, more like an idea, a concept, a perception, or maybe even an erroneous belief about yourself? My captor’s name is not what you might think. Yes, I’m the wife of a recovering addict and am myself a recovering codependent, but the thing that has held me captive for the past two years has nothing to do with addiction.

Do you know what an IRB is? No problem. I’m happy to explain. IRB stands for Internal Review Board and it’s a group of professors who decide if the research you are going to do will harm human subjects. It’s a good thing. NObody wants another Tuskegee Study. You make an application to the IRB and then you get approved and then you go merrily on your way with your research.  Easy, right?  hmmm…well somewhere between my race to graduation and sitting down in the middle of the road (that’s for you, adam), that IRB hopped on my back like a monkey and hunkered down.  Sometimes it hovered.  Other times it weighed a million pounds.  However it manifested, it was a mountain to me that even the von Trapps couldn’t climb. Continue reading

KaRyn: The Non-Update


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I have been swimming in deep waters this past week.  My brain is tired.  I’ve been depressed, anxious, confused.  I haven’t written because I was afraid that if I wrote it would come across…well….like this is coming across.  Debbie Downer.  It has a little to do with recovery but that’s not all of it.  I don’t really want to write about it and that’s ok.  And I guess I just need to be true to the project now (writing what’s REALLY happening) instead of waiting for something cheerful or insightful to arrive on my doorstep.  The reality is, most of the time I’m just treading water like everyone else and occasionally, I have an awesome day where spell-check doesn’t have to work so hard and life becomes a poem.  But that’s not this week or even this day…this is just treading. water.

And also, I ate pizza.  A double whammy of inflammatory stupidity and self-loathing.  Seriously, WHY PIZZA? WHY?????

NEW TOPIC:   People keep asking (because that’s customary and kind) how Justin is doing.  And the answer? I actually don’t know.  Remember when he was full of information for those 5 minutes?  That was awesome.  Now, he’s really living in his own rehab world and when we see each other he is consumed with that world in his head and I don’t feel like I can get through.  He’s still recording his videos (we’re waiting for ted to get back from vacation for approvals) but even there I don’t feel connected.  It would be easy for me right now to try to psychoanalyze him.  I’ve been doing that for two years (also, remember when our other therapist invited me no less than three time to join his masters program for clinical social work but made me promise to stop therapizing my poor husband?  He was like, “make it a profession but give up that hobby, KaRyn..it does NOTHING for your marriage.”)  So I won’t pretend to know what’s clicking through Justin’s brain these days.  It’s not my job.

I know he’s different in good ways and the same in others.  I’m sure he’s weirded out by his life in the same way that I am.  Now that the fire is dying down, we’re seeing just how long its going to take to turn the ashes into something viable.  He’s got a little over 3 weeks left at the facility.  For father’s day, I made him a little countdown calendar with tiny origami envelopes for each of the days he has left filled with teeny papers with song lyrics and quotes.  Before I gave it to him, we were talking a little about how hard it is for him to stay focused on everything right now without thinking too far to the future and how he wants to stay present in the moment so he can get the most out of the last bit of time.  And then I realized.  My calendar was a BAD IDEA!  It was of course a tribute to my excitement but not necessarily what he actually needed or wanted.  I was immediately embarrassed that I didn’t see it before I put all that work into it.  So I told him about it and said, “I bet that will make it harder for you?”  He said “it might.”  I said (slowly) “well you can just pull all the little papers out and send the calendar home with me.”  I wasn’t even being a martyr.. I really felt like I wanted to help him and though I was sad that my gesture of love was ill conceived, I could understand everything.  Well, he looked at it and said finally that it wouldn’t be that bad and he wanted to keep it.  I know he was just doing it to make me feel better, and it did. So that was nice.

The point is that pizza makes your body feel like it’s been in a car crash with gluten and I’m unsure of how Justin is doing.  I on the other hand am doing a little bit better tonight (except for the pizza car crash, of course) and think that this week will shed some light on some of my sadnesses.  







Justin: The Love (Part 2)


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“I feel a lot of love for myself…I’m really attracted to myself.”

June 10 part two. Justin shares the love that is coming from sobriety…loving himself and finding relationships that are grounded in respect. And there are ants crawling all over him. It’s so cool to see the growth from the beginning of his treatment to now…

KaRyn: The Rehabilitation


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We’ve been throwing around the word REHAB an awful lot at our house. In fact, we’ve kind of been taking it in vain.  K2 and I did a little activity in poetic license to the tune of “Mother, I Love You”, a popular LDS children’s song that she learned for Mother’s Day.  Our new lyrics went something like:

Father, I miss you.  Father, I do.
While you’re in rehab, do you miss me too?
You go to classes, I go to school.
When you’re out of rehab it’s gonna be cool.
Father, I miss you, I miss you, I do.

It is funny/sad and a little unnerving to hear your 9 year old bandying the word REHAB around like she wrote that Amy Winehouse song.  And now, today, REHAB is on my mind.  But not the abbreviated, slang term.  The actual long, drawn out word.  Rehabilitation. Continue reading