Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Listen! Doo Wah Doo! Do You Wanna Know a Secret?

Warning, this starts out heavy but gets light at the end!

This week marks week three of Dr. MS’s rehab.

This is the half-way point in his six week “out-patient-intense-rehab” regimen. In three more weeks we’ll figure out if he has a job or not.

Normally I’m no good in limbo situations like this, so I’m surprised at how well I’m taking it. However, I think it could be because I’m getting past the initial anger and hatred and entering either a numb state. Or it could possibly be an “I don’t give a shit about what you do” state.

I have decided I won’t be participating in any Al Anon meetings.

There some things that bug me about Al Anon.

The first thing is the religious aspect of it (and yes, I know they claim not to be affiliated with one religion, but it’s really hard to relate to the majority going on and on about giving their cares up to God and how wonderful their lives are because of it when I don’t believe in their God. It’s kind of like Ravelry. I see the appeal of it to many people, but I just don’t “get” it myself.).

I won’t get any further into that on here. I’m not changing your mind about religion, and you won’t change my mind about my lack of religion in the textbook definition of that word.

The next issue I have is the anonymous aspect of it.

But that’s not really Al Anon’s fault.

I blame the stigma that mental illness has in our society. (I refrain from saying “alcoholism” because in my opinion, excessive drinking to the point where it is classified as alcoholism is a byproduct of mental illness.) I feel it drives people to go underground and create and participate in this support group subculture where people commiserate, lean on their God, walk through the 12 steps, and heal themselves. Yes, it's easier to open up to strangers, but there's still a "Fight Club" feel of secrecy to it all. At least to me.

I’m hoping by blogging and being frank about the shit that’s been going down at our Bezidence, I’m at least helping take a small bit of the stigma off of mental illness.

Finally, I’m not a team player. I hate groups. I’ve always hated groups.

Every time in school we’d get a group project, my stomach would turn. I’d much rather work on my own.

Now maybe this group hatred and self-isolation isn’t the best thing in the world and maybe it’s a byproduct of growing up with an alcoholic father, but as Al Anoners like to say “Take what you want and leave the rest.”

So I’ll leave them to their groups and 12 steps and blaze my own trail to figuring shit out. I’ve always been a DIYer. And this is no different.

And speaking of secrets and cloaks and daggers, I can finally tell you about something.

Some might remember the really big project I alluded to in December as taking up a lot of my time.

Well, here's a picture of what I was working on.

Don't they look like some kind of blinged up version of a medieval weapon?

That would be 50 mirror yarn balls for Chewy Spaghetti's Blue Plate Special Sock Yarn Club.

She commissioned me to make 50 of them as the little swaggy-do-dad she sent out with her first batch of sock yarn to the peeps who enrolled in her sock yarn club using her yarn.

Very cool yarn I gotta say. It took a lot of willpower not to knit up a little swatch to see what it would look like knitted!

Thanks Chewy for letting me be your swaggy-do-dad person!

And a big thanks to Turtlegirl for pimping one of the first balls I ever made on her blog--that's where Chewy saw them and contacted me.

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Anonymous marymac said...

I was involved with an alcoholic once upon a time and I know exactly what you mean about Al-Anon. If you're not overwhelmed with suggestions yet, I could probably come up with the titles of the books that helped me at the time.

Congrats on the gig with Chewy!

8:52 PM  
Blogger Calling on Kahlo said...

Congrats on the gig! They look fabulous!

Stay strong!

9:04 PM  
Blogger allelejean said...

Ive gone to 2 al-anon meetings so far, and I will go to more, but I have to agree with you on the religious aspect of it. I'm not quite sure that it's going to be right for me, but I'm trying. Does the treatment center DMS is going to have any family support services, other than recommending al-anon?

I've been thinking about you and this issue, and if there's any way I can help just say so.

9:04 PM  
Blogger Amby said...

Whoa, those look like cat o' nine tails....kinky! ;-)

9:07 PM  
Blogger janna said...

Cute! Although I, too, thought they looked like cat o' nine tails at first, too.

I've never been to an Al-Anon meeting, but I also think the anonymous part of it would bother me. Plus, frankly, the whole 'sharing' part. I like to figure things out on my own....

9:28 PM  
Blogger turtlegirl76 said...

That's awesome! You're swaggin' up the sock clubs cool!

I think this blog is your Al Anon. You're doing a great job.

9:45 PM  
Blogger Jo said...

I'm not one for groups, either - so I hear you on that one. And you said the R word!

9:51 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

My husband never took to Al Anon. Never tried it, never wanted to.

I tried it once. I didn't really feel welcome.

The anonymity of the 12 step programs isn't about secrecy, though. It's about keeping the program safe from boozy celebrities who might want to tell the world how they're sober now, and next week, they're scraping them off some barroom floor. It's also about equality within the rooms. Someone may be a CEO outside, but in a meeting, he's just another recovering person, no better or no worse than the next guy.

10:09 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

For a second, all of those mirror yarn balls looked like upside down dried flowers. I wasn't wearing my glasses. When I squinted, I could see them. Congrats on getting an order for 50!

I don't like groups much either. I'd volunteer do to most of my group projects for the others just so I could do it alone.

Sounds like you're keeping your head up.

10:23 PM  
Anonymous KnitMongrel said...

Dude. Re: Al Anon - I think I might be with you on that. Being an atheist doesn't exactly mesh with their whole "higher power" thing. Plus, I don't play well with others. We should have our own Al Anon meetings. "Hey Bezz, how's things?" "Shitty, you?" "Shitty. Want to knit?" "Sure, here have some whiskey too."

Good plan.

10:31 PM  
Blogger Linnea said...

The do-dads look awesome! Now I'm thinking I need one for the Frenchmobile.

And, for what it's worth, I appreciate your blogging about everything that's going on.

10:35 PM  
Blogger Dkswife said...

Sweet. Hanging balls! ;p

You know, I think all these support groups and programs are great...if a person really is seeing their help. If a person doesn't want the help, nothing is being achieved, and it is a waste of time all the way around.

And the regligion aspect, being a self proclaimed Jesus Freak, I firmly believe there is a time and a place for religion, but not so much in a group of mixed individuals. People can carry the church with them and not be so in your face about it.

5:16 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Sweet gig! The mass balls look is very cool. It would be hard to take those down. Still love mine BTW, they are so silly.

Hope Dr MS has a job still, but since there's no worrying about it good for you for not. I went to Al Anon one time and was turned off by the smoking, coffee drinking scene. It was so underground.

I think its great if you click with a support group, the more support we can get the better, but why go if it is not your thing, ya know? I end up more grounded by making something too. I sort out my thinking when I am creating and I feel better for having been doing something I love. Everyone is different. You seem to be figuring it out. Good luck.

6:02 AM  
Blogger The Curly Knitter said...

I can see your point about the whole religious aspect. That sort of bothered me about it too. But hey, in situations like this you gotta go with whatever works for you. That is so awesome that you were commissioned to make those! What a great idea for sock club swag!

6:02 AM  
Blogger Carol said...

What a concept Bez, accepting, facing, and dealing with life's problems as you see fit to do so. You may be on to a way to live right thing here. Start the book! Goos thing you have a "hobby-like" therapy going on in life. Think you would be different without the skills you have?

6:13 AM  
Blogger Cindy in Happy Valley said...

Had to chuckle about the "group work" comments. I don't know anyone who wouldn't rather work independently.

But a little story. About a year ago I went to a student run "business conference". There were folks from major companies talking about different aspects of their organizations. A gentleman from human resources for General Electric, opened his session with the question, "Who hates to work in groups?" As you might guess, about 95% of the audience raised their hands. His response, "Tough! Get over it. If I get an inkling that you don't like to work in groups, you never get to the department interview. I'm the Gatekeeper and you have to be able to function well in a group setting."

I had to laugh because we've struggled with this for years in higher ed. (And how to manage the one person taking over, and the slacker member, blah, blah...)

8:01 AM  
Blogger Carol said...

I've had friends and one family memeber do the al anon and one narc anon route. I too have been uncomfortable with the religiuos aspect. Do what feels comfortable for you and the hell with what others think or want.

and one yarnball is cute. together like that , I think my head will implode from the niftyness!

8:03 AM  
Blogger buttercup said...

I thought they were dried flowers too! Awesome on the gig. I love her yarn and that's such a great idea for the yarn club.

Maybe you can see if Dr. MS's work will foot the bill for a couple sessions with a therapist. At least you can vent verbally to someone.

We all deal with stuff differently. What works for me or for the folks at the Al Anon meetings, won't work for you. I'm a firm believer in following your gut. You seem to be doing well so far by following yours.

8:19 AM  
Blogger Ina said...

Excellent balls! Congratulations on the commission!

Keep on keeping on. The wrapped in cotton balls phase passes too (just be extra careful driving or operating heavy machinery). If beating serious illness was easy and if progress happened in a straight line, it would be done already.

8:24 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi Bezzie,

Thanks for your comment on my blog - yep, that's the Babysitter Club woman! My daughter got a bunch of them from the library, and we got through about a third of one before she got bored, and didn't want to read the rest, LOL! I worked for a library too, for about 6 months, when I was 19. I was bored to tears shelving books all day, and went back to my fast-food restaurant job - hey, at least I had fun there with my coworkers!

Glad to hear your're working through the issues with your husband. One of my brothers has schizophrenia (but it's controlled really well with medication, so he's able to work, etc), so I understand what you mean about the mental illness stigma. I've told very few people outside of my family about it.

8:27 AM  
Blogger Pam the Yarn Goddess said...

I'm with you, honey. I was hooked on prescription drugs when I was in my 20's. I went to something similar to AlAnon, stayed for 10 minutes, and walked out. I kicked it cold turkey on my own. You can be supportive without having to go to those things. I don't mean to sound cold, but he has to fix himself after the mess he's made out of your lives. It's not like he's alone - he's dragged his family into all this. I was married to an alky (my first marriage) and it was hell. It's a difficult thing to kick and even harder to stay away from. I wish you all the luck in the world.

I saw those little balls of yarn on Etsy, but you didn't have one in turquoise. I need that color to match my T-Bird. If you do make one, let me know, wouldya?


8:53 AM  
Blogger Wendy said...

I have a hard time with the whole "joiner" thing, too. I mean, I'm all for support, but don't invade my personal space. You know?

I think the anonymity of the Internet makes it a great place to vent ... or whatever. I'm happy for you that you're able to find the support you need here.

Congrats on the big job! Your hanging blue balls look very cool :).

9:09 AM  
Blogger sgeddes said...

Very cool swag for the sock club! What a cool idea.

I'm with you on the God aspect of the 12 step programs. I wouldn't be able to ever complete that step and it would probably affect my acceptance of the rest of the program. I think you are right on with the coming out in the open part too. Keeping things secret hasn't helped my SIL at all.

9:09 AM  
Blogger Beverly said...

Ugh, I hated group work too. I was so glad to get out of high school and undergrad thinking that I wouldn't have to do group work anymore. Then I ended up in a grad class where we had a group project. It sucked!

The blog seems to be pretty good therapy for you. Whatever works is what's best for you.

Congrats on the job!

9:32 AM  
Blogger Miss T said...

"...maybe it’s a byproduct of growing up with an alcoholic father..." I don't think so--I feel the same way about most groups and my background's different. I think it's just a personality thing.

Congrats on the commission!! Very cool!

9:46 AM  
Blogger knottygnome said...

wow, that's very cool. you're a trendsetter!

if i had a car, i would buy your balls. tee hee.

10:03 AM  
Blogger Tactless Wonder said...

See, if you wait too long to be the "last" commenter, everything gets said before you...

I was gonna chime in on the AA/personality thing... maybe even the idea of the "addictive" personality thing. My uncle substituted one addiction for another, for another, never really kicking anything...AA did become his support, and then yeah, he got addicted to those meetings too. It was at least a safer addiction than say, heroin.

10:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cute balls!! Yes, I think that this blog is helping you through this rough time. Not letting things eat you up inside is the first thing to gettting over them. And as someone already said "Keep on Keeping on!" Love, Mom

10:26 AM  
Blogger Donna Lee said...

I work in a mental health center. Almost every one of the individuals who come in for service of some sort says that they don't feel comfortable in the world because folks (including their families and friends) are afraid of them. It is so frustrating because there are some fabulous folks in here and the world will never know them because they're afraid. And I agree that alcoholism is a mental illness. No one does that to themselves and their family voluntarily.

11:37 AM  
Blogger Erin said...

They do look like weapons. May I ask what you use for the little knitting needles (if it's not a trade secret)? I sometimes make cards with little yarn balls on them, and the best I could come up with were toothpicks that I cut in half and glued beads on the end. Yours look much sturdier.

11:50 AM  
Blogger weezalana said...

They *do* look like weapons! You could grab a bunch, swing them around and nunchuk someone's eyes out! Congrats on being a swag hag! :D

12:19 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

I'm the proud owner of two of your balls (hmm...that sounds weird). I love the one you made for Chewy Spaghetti's sock club! Since I don't have two cars, I just hang them both from my rear view mirror. I hope that if I ever get in an accident they they don't poke an eye out or something. If tragedy strikes, I promise I won't sue you.

2:41 PM  
Blogger Starfish said...

Hey, only you know what will get you through this. I hear you on the group thing - I probably wouldn't go if I were you either. I felt the same way about RESOLVE for infertiles - I couldn't imagine sitting around and talking through my feelings. I just wanted to sit home and process them in my own way. Whatever works for ya, girl.

And very cool about the yarn balls!

9:47 PM  
Blogger Zonda said...

Great Balls o' Bezzie! Awesome about your custom order!

As for the rest, like T-girl said, you are doing it here, and if you aren't comfortable in a place like that, why go. You gotta do what's right for you! :)

10:19 PM  
Blogger Alisha said...

I hope you find what you need to get through this in your own way.

You did a great job on those mirror hangers.....that is so awesome!!!

10:46 PM  
Blogger Rebel said...

Dude! I keep trying to leave an inspiring and super thoughtful comment but blogger keeps telling me I already posted it!

I'm thinking of you... let's leave it at that.

10:00 AM  
Blogger Lynn said...

Yowza. I'm sorry, I've been out of the loop. I'm sorry to hear you're putting up with being addition-recovery-supportive; it's no fun at all. I'll go read backwards some more in the archives. In the meantime, um, hugs. Supportiveness. Sock yarn, if necessary. Chocolate, for sure. {I'm no good at this - sorry!]

12:46 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

I don't think I'd be cool with the whole group anonymity thing either. Writing is great therapy so vent away, you've got lots of support here.

Congrats on the yarn balls! You deserve it!

4:37 PM  
Blogger Disco said...

Wow, I am so pleased for you that you got a huge order for your balls. Congratulations.

I hope things are working out well for you and the DMS. Big hugs

1:59 PM  

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