mental health

*THE STRUGGLE IS REAL*

It’s been almost 5 months since my mom passed and the world still feels just as confusing as it did the day she died. The feeling of complete emptiness is unbearable. It’s like I am going through life on auto pilot and no sense of direction at all. My therapist who I started seeing before my mother passed away told me this past week that I am in such a grief fog that I am disassociating from reality. When she said that I was like “Damn I’m really that jacked up”. I told her how I can have a full-blown conversation with someone and not remember it later on. Like I’m waking up from a massive hangover everyday not remembering stuff from the night before. Only that I haven’t had a drink in 5 years. So, she gave me some homework. I have to spend at least 3 hours by myself outside of my house to try and re-group and ground myself again (as best as I can). Currently I am sitting in a Mediterranean cafe eating a delicious gyro salad lol. I can’t not lie this feels weird as hell. I am so used to being in my house because I work from home, when I log off from work I just move over to the next room to my living room. So I really don’t get a break from being at my house unless its to take the kids to school or go to the store. So here I am…

These past 5 months have been such a strange transition. My daughter and I have been doing grief peer support for the past couple of years (she was having bad anxiety since my husband’s stepdad passed because she was really close with him) So with all the coping skills you would think I would be ok to process everything rationally right?(Shout out to Hopeful Hearts!! Love you all ❤️) But that would be a big fat negative of the coping skills. Every single one of them went out of the window that morning on 11/28/21 at 4:36am. We had a session last week and our group leader told us that our upcoming session would be our quilt night. Quilt night is when you and family (or just yourself) get together and make a quilt square for your lost loved one. Our first quilt square was of course for Daddy Ed. Then the following quilt was for both of my grandmothers. It was in that moment that I realized I was going to make one for my mom and I just lost it. I was doing good in group up until then (Damn you Laura lol jk). I don’t know if anyone else is like me when you are trying to control your crying and then someone says those 3 magical words “are you ok?” and then you just loose it even more?? Yeah that was me. But the tears were much needed. I don’t get to full out ugly cry at home because my daughter would start freaking out so I silent cry in my office trying not to sniffle but she has hound dog ears and can hear me sniffle 2 rooms over lol. So its hard. But that was a release that I needed bad. So quilt night will be a rough night, but I will try to compose myself as much as I can.

In these 5 months I have noticed a few things. Family members who we may talk with a couple times a year we are talking to a couple times a week. My brothers and I communicate more. One of my brother’s *cough Kyle cough* actually answers his phone all the time now lol! Shocked I know (anyone who knows him will understand lmao). My sister and I communicate more. Being the baby is different when you have 6+ years between each other. But she is just as strong as she always has been. It took losing the anchor of our family for us to come together. We are all we have now and it is a very weird and bittersweet feeling. My dad is still my rock as well and I still bother him all the time lol. If it wasn’t for him, our Aunt Barb and our Aunt Cheryl, I really don’t know how we would have gotten through all of this. Everybody actually. My mom’s church has rallied around us so much it’s unreal. But it’s a love that is needed. My mom was such a bright presence at church FOR YEARS that they become your family. It has been a while since I have been to church due to work and then it was shut down for a while due to Covid. But best believe my next weekend I am off and don’t have pre arranged plans already I will be sitting in my mom’s seat next to my “Aunt Linda” praising his name. I do feel closer to my mom at church and its because she was such a god fearing woman that when he called her name she went home with open arms.

So to say that the struggle is real… is an understatement but I didn’t know how else to title this post lol. I miss her every single second of these last almost 5 months that I put myself in such a fog that I am disassociating from reality. I know I have to keep going for our family. I am afraid that if I’m not missing her or thinking about her that I’m not loving her or carrying on her memory. But my therapist said one thing to me that has stuck to me and I am trying to put my energy to it. She stated “Sometimes your mom needs a rest too” and that hit hard. So all we can do is live life and make her proud. She wanted me to find my inner strength that she knew I had and I will spend the rest of my life making her proud.

** I love you mommy and happy early birthday (4/21/59)

*much love* ❤️

mental health

WHO AM I NOW??

That is the one question that has been eating at me since losing my mother. Who am I? For 36 years I was “lil Marianne”, “Marianne’s twin” or “Her precious gem”. That’s all I really knew. But now that she’s gone I have no clue who I am anymore. I always knew losing a parent would be a pain that hit way different. But what I didn’t know was that I would completely lose who I am as a person because I didn’t know how to be anything else. Being a motherless daughter has my mind so confused that nothing makes sense anymore. I don’t know my place in the family anymore. I don’t have that mother figure to call whenever I needed advice on anything. Being a motherless daughter has completely f****d me up because I feel lost. This is in by no means to over shadow the horrible pain that my brothers have. If I could take away their pain I would in a heartbeat. I told them that we all had our own unique relationship with our mother. I am trying to make sense of everything from a daughters point of view.

I have 2 kids of my own and trying to grieve while still being a mom is extremely hard because you have to be strong for them. My kids have seen me cry, but its usually my daughter coming in to give me a hug. How do you grieve properly without completely breaking down because you still have to be a parent. That’s what I am trying to figure out. Balancing the two while not going completely insane.

When I say “who am I now?” I mean that as not only a mother, sister, daughter, wife. Do I take over the roll of “mom” for the family to make sure that everyone is doing ok and that they aren’t alone, or keeping up with the traditions that we would have with her. My entire identity is in question and that hurts. People tell me just to be myself but how can I be myself when I don’t even know who the hell I am anymore. I know I feel stuck, confused. Not sure about feelings that I have. Trying to find myself and happiness has me scared that it will lead me away from people. I have really dove into religion because 1 my mom always said god will make a way and 2 it makes me feel closer to her. But how do I know if I’m on the right path or if I’m going in the right direction for my own happiness and inner peace. I have so many questions about my life, my marriage, my womanhood and I’m so confused on them all I just wish my mom was here to help talk me through it. Trying to become yourself again after losing one of the biggest impacts in your life has you questioning everything. Is the sky even blue anymore lol.

I don’t know who I am going to be during this new walk of life but all I know is I can’t keep doing it for other people. And that is the type of peace I am looking for. Doing me without being worried about other peoples reactions or critiques. My mom would say “people are going to talk about you no matter what. But just do you boo because that’s all you can do” I wish she was physically here to help me through it all. But I know she is walking right beside me. Making me strong for myself. I just hope whatever path I’m walking on is the right one.

**MUCH LOVE**

cancer · death · mental health · self love

* A MOTHER’S LOVE *

Growing up with divorced parents is hard enough. Especially when things seem to get torn apart. Once you get older the relationship changes especially with your mother. You notice that you have a lot of her mannerisms. Whether its you looking like twins or just being one of the same person. That how it was with my mom. Like any other mother and daughter relationship you fight and argue. But at the end of the day you hug it out and say how much you love each other. For the past year and 4 days my mom was battling leukemia. Then she contracted pneumonia.

She got admitted Thanksgiving of this year and I went down to be with her like I always do. She was doing good. She had shortness of breath but it wasn’t as bad as as we thought. My brother, nephew and his fiancé went to my brothers son’s championship game and we call her on Bluetooth just to talk about it. The last thing she said to all of us was “I love you all”. 4:34am 11/28/21 I got the worst phone call of my life

“Me- Hello?
MD- Hi is this Antoinette
Me- Yes it is. Is everything ok?
MD- Hi Antoinette this is Dr. Rivera with Shadyside Surgical ICU. I don’t have good news, Marianne is gone.
Me- Wait.. Wait do you mean???
MD- I’m sorry. But your mother passed away just a few minutes ago”

My silence was met with a scream I could only feel as my heart breaking. What do you mean she’s gone. We just talked to her earlier that night. What am I do to do now? I called my brother, dad, nephew, aunt, husband. Everyone I thought I had to call. I ended up speaking with the nurse that took care of my mom during that time and she said “Antoinette, Everything went so fast. She called out and said she wasn’t feeling too good so they agreed to put her on the bipap mask and when the nurse said “are you ready” She said my mom’s eyes went into the back of head and her heart stopped. My mom was a DNR with limited restrictions. So she did not want to be on a ventilator. The MD’s said she developed a rare lung disease and caught covid pneumonia. In my heart I feel it was something different than the covid but we have to wait until the autopsy results come back. We got to see her at the hospital. We had to gown up but she looked exactly like her self. It was so hard for me to leave her there. I never liked leaving her at all. I was always scared. The week leading up to the funeral was a complete overwhelming blur. But seeing all of the love from everyone that knew her I knew she was looking down saying “Oh we about to praise his name” and we did. The hardest thing to do was my siblings and nephew and aunt closed the casket. If I’m being honest I almost threw up right there.

Its been 2 weeks and my heart still feels shattered. I feel empty. I’ve tried to call her I don’t even know how many times because we talked so much. They say time heals all wounds. But this wound won’t ever be healed. I lost my best friend. We lost our matriarch and when you lose the glue of your family it makes the whole dynamic so off it doesn’t feel right. I ended up joining my mom’s home church. She’s been asking me for years to do it, I just never felt ready. But yesterday I did. I’m ready to see what she has in store for all of us and the teachings that we learned from her. If I have one request. If your mom is still alive and even if you two are fighting. FIX THAT SHIT NOW. Because I thought I would have able to call my mom the next morning but the only thing we could do is say “see you later”

Please pray from my entire family because this pain is so unbearable. But I made her a promise before we left her room and I promised her that I would not relapse. And as god sees fit me for to continue to live. I’m not taking one drink.

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. Always hug our family and tell them you love them no matter what.

**MUCH LOVE**

mental health

** ADELE… WHY YOU DO US LIKE THAT??**

Just like every other millennial right now Adele’s new song “Easy on me” got me all in my feels. It is astonishing how one person with one song can bring up memories and feelings that have been suppressed for so long. This song is living rent free in my spirit because a lot of what she sings about in that song rings true to my life. Like she is personally singing to me (I know she’s not but you know what I mean lol)

To make a starting point to why this song makes me feel like crawling in the fetal position is that I have never really been “on my own” let alone “felt the world around me”. I lived with my dad until graduating high school, went off to college where my roommate was my brothers now wife and after graduating I moved in with my boyfriend from high school. 2 long years later we broke up. It was not a good break up. Do I hate him? No, But definitely no loved lost but whatever he’s doing I hope he’s has the day he deserves. 3 weeks after that I met my now husband Jason. A mutual friend of ours set us up and when we first started talking during the “myspace days” I made him in my top 8 (you had to be there lol). We instantly started dating and after about 5-6 months I called it off. I felt like I needed to find out who I was because I had no clue. I was 20 years old. Who the hell knows who they are at 20. So a friend and I moved to Erie because that’s where our best friend lived at. And let me tell you. That was by far one of the best years of my life. I made so many new friends there, so many memories. It definitely was a pivotal time in my life.

Six months into living in Erie, Jason and I ended up getting back together. I ended up getting pregnant with our son Jackson. Which was a blessing since because from JR year of high school I was told I couldn’t have kids due to having endometrioses. So to say it was a shock was a huge understatement. But boy was I thrilled. Scared… But thrilled. I ended up moving back home to Indiana and moved in with Jason and so started our life together. Almost 2 years later we got married. Being married and having 1 kid it felt like life went from fun and games to exhaustion and solitude. My depression started to creep back up and that is when I started to drink more. Not a lot. Just a glass or two after work just to calm my nerves. It seemed like life was just passing by and it was like I blinked and then I was pregnant with our daughter (3 1/2 years after our son) so emotions on full drive. Working full time with a 3 year old son who has some special needs. Life was hard. But we made it work. But then an incident occurred where I completely lost who I was as a person. Infidelity… When a spouse has an affair it can literally destroy you. For whatever factor it makes you question who you are as a person and why you weren’t good enough. I lost my entire self. I was so hurt that I wanted him to hurt as well. 2 wrongs don’t make a right but I was slowly self destructing. I just did not care about myself anymore because I had no clue who I was anymore.

Fast forward some years and I had my life changing breakdown. To this day I am very thankful for that. God knew I needed to settle my ass down and sure as hell he sat me down. So this new chapter in my life has me wanting to try new things, find my calling. But more importantly find my self again. Not for anyone but for myself. I can’t tell my kids to do what makes them happy and live up to their potential if I’m not doing the same. So thanks to Adele and her soul searching words I have now made myself a priority. I am TIRED of living by everyone else’s standards. Take me as I am or leave me where I am. It’s never to later “feel the world around you”

https://youtu.be/U3ASj1L6_sY

*** I DO NOT OWN THE RIGHTS TO THIS SONG***

**MUCH LOVE ❤ **

mental health

**WHEN YOU SEE RED FLAGS**

Depression is not a once size fits all type of disease. It isn’t always crawling up in your bed with the covers over your head bawling your eyes out. But in all fairness, I have done that a time or two. What people who don’t know how it feels to be that deep in depression is that we slowly start to show red flags beforehand . Sometimes not enough to warrant any concerns but they are there. So if you see any of these signs no matter how small, make it known to your loved one it can possibly make a huge difference.

SOME RED FLAGS TO LOOK OUT FOR

  • sadness
  • tiredness
  • trouble focusing or concentrating
  • unhappiness
  • anger
  • irritability
  • frustration
  • loss of interest in pleasurable or fun activities
  • sleep issues (too much or too little)
  • no energy
  • craving unhealthy foods
  • anxiety
  • isolation

Now these aren’t all the signs, just a few to be on the look out for. If you see a loved one experiencing any of these signs don’t it slide thinking that maybe they are having a bad day or week. It just might save someone’s life

*MUCH LOVE* ❤

Addiction · alcoholism · mental health · self love

**Another New Med???**

One thing no one really talks about while suffering with mental health issues is the constant medication change. I first got diagnosed with depression at the age of 16. Back then (2001) no one was open about depression. It wasn’t so much frowned upon but more of an “embarrassment “. It definitely wasn’t publicized like it is now. People either thought you were crazy or just looking for attention . So as a teenage girl already being hormonal and then on top of that getting put on antidepressants. I honestly felt like an outsider, ashamed that I would be labeled like as a weirdo or something. The 1st antidepressant I was put on at the age of 16 was Paxil. I honestly don’t remember if it made a big difference or not because I also was also put on birth control to try to stop the endometriosis that I had. I was on Paxil until I graduated from college (age 19) because I was no longer on my dad’s health insurance. So I went a good amount of years before I ended up back on antidepressants. I was 26 and just had my daughter and I just felt off. Just down in the dumps and felt like I could cry or snap at any moment. So I went to my MD and he kept trying to tell me that it was all in my head. So needless to say I switched doctors.

My new MD was very thorough with everything. Ran all kinds of blood test and he asked why I went to my other MD because he didn’t do “shit” (which was completely true). So we ended up increasing the dose of the Paxil to see if that would help at all. A few months later it felt like there was no change. The meds weren’t working because I was extremely depressed still and had no motivation for anything. In comes antidepressant #2 Prozac. Now that med did help. But after about a year and a half and two strength increases it stopped helping. It was getting to the point where I just wanted to give up because it felt like I would never find a medication that would work fully. So we ended up trying to switch it again and that was the 3rd medication change in about 3 years. We tried Lexapro next and once again that seemed to help. But around this time was when I started to drink heavily because it seemed like nothing was going right. So I decided to go see a therapist and try to talk through my depression and anxiety.

The MD was ok. Not really my cup of tea but I kept going thinking it would just take time. So here comes antidepressant #4 Zoloft. And lets just say once I was on that med is when the shit show of my life really started. I would throw up about 45 minutes of taking it and it was like that for a couple months. I let therapist know and he just kept saying “it takes time. I don’t want to switch you to something else” That’s when I started to feel helpless. I just wanted to feel happy and it seemed nothing would work, other than alcohol. Zoloft + alcohol= self destructive Antoinette. I really didn’t care about anything at that point. I was so hurt by things that was going on in life at that moment that I felt extremely exhausted with life. After a few months of living in that mind frame I just gave up. I stopped taking the meds correctly and tried every other day thinking that would help. But it didn’t. So the drinking was in full force because that seemed to be the only thing that would help. And all it did was destroy my life. That’s what led up to my breakdown.

At the mental facility I checked myself into the psychiatrist that was there was awesome. He was very patient and kind. So we tried going back to using Paxil. So when I got out of there my primary MD kept me on it because it seemed to help. Whelp that fairytale didn’t last to long and as of this moment right now I am on antidepressant change #6. I have been on trintellex for about 2 years now and it was helping. Then covid hit and my depression and anxiety went through the rough (just like everyone else) So my strength got increased and a “booster med” was added to help. Wellbutrin was added to the mix and so far it seems to be ok. But still having all of this stress and lack of self worth it feels like I might has to change again. But I really don’t want to. Having to go through that whole routine of waiting for a month or so for the meds to work is complete shit and it sucks. So now I am trying to find something to help calm me down that is not a medication. And this blog has definitely helped.

So no matter what your situation is. Whether you are medicated or not. Its still a battle trying to get your mental health to a point where it doesn’t consume your entire life. No matter what you are going through. Just remember that you are going to be ok. It won’t seem like it. Hell it still doesn’t feel like it for me but I’m hoping that connecting with people going through the same thing as me will help break that stigma embarrassment that we feel.

*Much love*

Uncategorized

** THIS IS MY FIGHT SONG**

If you could pick one song to be your theme song of your life what would it be? Currently I swear I could use at least 15 songs lol. But right now in this moment. It is “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten.

These last few months have been nothing short of a roller-coaster and what these last few months have taught me is for me to settle my ass down and take time for myself. I am not used to doing that. I’m like the damn energizer bunny to everyone else and then by the time I get to my needs I am completely empty and just stay empty. When I sit and think about EVERYTHING that has happened over these last few years of my sobriety I get sad because each time I come to the conclusion that I don’t know what the hell I want out of life and even worse I don’t know who I am as a person anymore. I’ve been so consumed with molding myself to everyone else’s expectations that I have no clue who the hell Antoinette is. Every one tells me that I need to take time for myself and do my own self care. I’ve bought books, calenders, affirmation cards thinking that the answer would be in one of those items. And you know what. I didn’t find one damn answer for anything in those items that I bought.

What I did find though. Is that I’ll be damned if I continue to live my life under everyone else’s thumb. Family, friends, colleges everyone. I am always so worried about what people would think of me in situations that would not benefit them or make them feel uncomfortable. But do they even care about my feelings during it all? Most likely not. I don’t know why I am scared to just say fuck it and do what I want to do because everyone else does. And honestly I don’t know what I would even do lol. Start over, go back to school, become an actual example of you can be whatever you want to be to my kids. I preach that to them every single day because they are my heart and soul and they definitely can do whatever they want to if they put their mind to it. So why can’t their mama do it lol? I don’t know how else to live life other than how I am now and its sure as shit not making me happy. I want to wake up without constantly feeling like I have to be everyone’s people pleaser because I don’t want them to be mad at me or feel like I don’t love them. But for a fact I still will do what I can for my family and friends. I just have to do it my own way. What that is, hell if I know. I have done so many things to protect my family and friends that I don’t even know how I did half of it. But something my older brother Kyle told me has been stuck in my head and I know what I need to do. He told me “Remember who the fuck you are because you’re a boss” (love you biggie brother)

Welp… Boss bitch it is then! What ever happens after this is god leading me down a path I need to be on for myself and no one else

*MUCH LOVE*

“This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song
My power’s turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me”

Fight Song- Rachel Platten

Uncategorized

** THIS IS ME ** SPECIAL GUEST

My beautiful daughter Emily wanted to make a post on my blog because she too likes to write her feelings down. Love that she wants to help kids who have anxiety like her too

Hi, I am Emily, and this is me! I worry a lot and I am not sure why. I get sad and angry easily. Things that make me angry are when my brother is mean to me, when I mess up, and when people yell. I do not like when people get sad because I feel bad, and it makes me sad. My favorite things are unicorns, dogs, books, blankets, and my family! My mommy helps me when I am sad because she cuddles with me, my daddy helps by making me laugh, and my brother helps by being funny. My best friend is my dog Sparky. He is cute and fluffy. When I am sad, he licks me and lets me hug him. We like to fall asleep together. I like to make people happy, I don’t care if I get rewards and treats, I just want people to be happy without having to give me stuff in return. I hope you enjoyed my story!! 😊

Addiction · alcoholism · music

** Crawling in my skin **

Do you ever feel like your entire soul is crawling out of your skin and it just feels like no matter what you do nothing will ever make you feel better? That’s exactly how I feel in this very moment. Depression and anxiety is over-drive and no matter what I do I can’t seem to get myself back into a safe place mentally.

This last year has definitely been a tough one. Covid has put a halt in life for everyone. Life has not been the same and you get to the point where you keep asking “Is this shit ever going to end?” and not knowing what will happen will drive you fucking crazy. But what do you do when you suffer from depression, anxiety and also in recovery from addiction during a fucking pandemic? You go even more crazy. If the pandemic wasn’t bad enough. On November 24th 2020 my mom was admitted to the hospital for what we would find out is Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML for short). Being told that your parent has cancer is like a bomb going off in your heart and you feel helpless. You go in to panic mode and you want to know each and every move that is going to happen to make sure your parent is going to beat it. But what a lot of people don’t know is the pain in your heart watching your parent fight an illness that could possibly kill them (if the treatment doesn’t take them) My mom is a VERY STRONG woman. She has been through so much in her life and she is living her life following the lord. But I can’t lie. A lot of times I just want to scream at god and ask him why?? Why my mom? They say he won’t give you more than you can handle. Well with everything being thrown at me I feel like I should be able to lift a damn semi truck. But my mom keeps telling all of us that she will keep serving the lord because he has a bigger purpose for her.

I pray that its true. I’m a fixer. And the fact I can’t fix her is driving me up a damn wall. Dealing with 1 sick parent is enough. To add to it all my dad also got sick but he is doing better now. So now my emotions are completely fucked and mentally feel like I can just lose my shit at any given moment. But with being a “fixer” you also have to be the strongest one for not only your parents but for the rest of your family. One of the worst feelings is to be the strong one and not being able to be weak. Being surrounded by a room full of people and still feeling completely alone. Constantly being in your head on why things are happening a certain way and trying to find a way to shift it so things turn out differently. No matter what you do it just feels like nothing will make things better. Everyone is afraid that with all of this stress I will relapse and start drinking again. I can’t sit here and say that having some drinks hasn’t crossed my mind. Just to try and forget for a few moments but what does that solve? Not a god damn thing. So I know I won’t because I have to be the strong one. But what can the strong one of the family who suffers from depression, anxiety and in recovery do to not lose their shit during all of this plus a pandemic? WRITE… If it wasn’t for this blog I honestly don’t know if I could get through this sober. I have a decent support system. But sometimes the people the closest to you make you feel like you so distant.

What do you do when you feel like your life is going in a totally different direction than what you thought god had planned for you? What do you do when people say “do what you need to do to make sure you are ok” but you feel like a POS person if you actually try to do what’s best for you? Going back and forth between your head and your heart while trying to make sure everyone else is ok. Those thoughts can make you feel like you are “crawling in your skin” with no way out of it. But the only thing you can do is keeping on pushing through because at some point it’s gotta get better right?? Hopefully

*Much love*

“Discomfort, endlessly has pulled itself upon me
Distracting, reacting
Against my will I stand beside my own reflection
It’s haunting How I can’t seem to find myself again
My walls are closing in
(Without a sense of confidence, I’m convinced)
(That there’s just too much pressure to take)
I’ve felt this way before
So insecure. Crawling in my skin
These wounds, they will not heal
Fear is how I fall
Confusing what is real”

  • Linkin Park- Crawling

Addiction · alcoholism · music · self love

**BRAND NEW ME**

You know how on New Year’s day you see people posting “NEW YEAR NEW ME”. But within the first couple months of the New Year they go back to the same old routine and their “New Me” disappeared. Well that is me I am “people”. Just like everyone else in the world we set out to improve ourselves and we do good for a little bit but eventually you get comfortable again and just give up. That’s recovery. Finding your “new me” living sober.

It’s so hard trying to find yourself no matter what the age you are at, but trying to find who you are sober is extremely difficult. For the longest time I have always put everyone else’s feelings before mine and the only thing that made me feel like me was vodka. I’m gonna call her “Jackie” because my vodka of choice was Jacquin’s. For years Jackie was my best friend when I felt like no one else was there, she made me happy and helped mask the pain I had within myself. So when I finally cut Jackie off I had to find a new way of making myself happy. I had no clue how to do that. I was going to AA meetings and going to my group counseling and everything was going good until it felt like some of the people closest to me wanted to control my recovery. And you would think that would make me want to just say f**k it and start drinking again. But it didn’t. Because deep down I would be more disappointed in myself if I did that. But the resentment was there ( and honestly still have some resentment I am trying to get through). Going through the motions of learning how to live life sober I felt like a toy soldier and just had to “fall in line” because that’s what I felt like I had to do in order to stay sober and make sure everyone else was happy. At that point being sober seemed more like a chore than anything else because I wasn’t doing it for myself. I was just falling in line of everyone else’s expectations. And I knew something had to change big time.

These last 4 and a half years of my recovery has taught me so many things. And this past year dealing with life as a recovering alcoholic, living in this jacked up world of the covid pandemic and my mom’s cancer treatment. I know that I don’t want to just settle and keeping falling in line. I want more things out of life. I want to go back to school to get into addiction counseling and I want to just be happy for my family. But more importantly I want to be happy for my damn self. The mom in me feels guilty for trying to find my own self love because my kids come first. But if I can’t find my own self love how can I show my kids that no matter what always love yourself and be true to yourself. I have not been true to my self at all. Mainly because I’m afraid of other peoples reactions or feeling guilty trying to love myself. As a mom it feels like its a crime to want time to yourself or be in anything else other than mom / wife mode. When it is ok for me to love myself without feeling like I’m not a good person because other peoples feelings won’t be forefront of my life? When is it ok for me to become the Antoinette that I am striving to be without worrying about everyone else’s feelings? When is it ok for me to love me first?

Now…. Now is my time. I can no longer fall in line to everyone else’s reality of my own life. I may lose people who I love by trying to become my true self but you can only take so much before things explode. The old saying goes “those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind” Its time for me to find my “brand new me” once and for all no matter the outcome. This recovery and healing journey has made me stronger. In my heart I know I am strong, but my own actions have not been reflecting what I feel in my heart. Welp… Its time for a change.

Watch my glow up 😉

**MUCH LOVE**

“It took a long long time to get here
It took a brave, brave girl to try
It took one too many excuses, one too many lies
Don’t be surprised, don’t be surprised if I talk a little louder
If I speak up when you’re wrong
If I walk a little taller
I’d be known to you too long
If you noticed that I’m different
Don’t take it personally
Don’t be mad, it’s just the brand new kind of me
And it ain’t bad, I found a brand new kind of free”

*Brand New me
– Alicia Keys