11/12/10

thank you




So there I was on the TV. That was surreal. It was all a blur and then it was done and I whispered, I hope it helps. I didn't know if it would...I'm just me, it's just a few moments in time, but I hoped.


Even if it was just one person, sitting on the other side of the screen, ready to see themselves in my story and feel less alone, I wanted something new for them. I wanted the mom or dad out there who feels stuck and alone to know that I was living it too and I didn't believe in living in any kind of new way and today, I'm okay. I mean, I'll always be a work in progress and this is in no way easy, but I'm okay, I'm better than okay. I am somehow living something new.

I wanted that person to know that they can do this, too. I just simply, as trite as it sounds, wanted people to see hope.


~~~~~

I saw the lovely Trish Van Pilsum (who had done the Tuesday night story with such beauty and grace) when I arrived for a quick interview the next day on Fox 9's morning show. She took a moment to tell me that after the story aired the night before, Hazelden was a bit inundated...

In Trish's words later on her blog:

"Immediately after the story aired last night we held a live chat for viewers with the clinical director of the women's residential program at the world famous Hazelden Treatment Center. We were swamped with people looking for help and more information."

When Trish was talking about this, I was in a I-was-just-lost-and-am-super-late haze, so I hardly comprehended what she was saying.

Until I got in the car after everything was done and I started the two hour drive home. I turned out of the parking lot and pulled up behind a string of cars waiting at a red light. I looked out my window and down at the ground beside my car and there lay an owl. A white owl with spots of gray, perfectly still and lifeless, unmarked with gross evidence of it's death, but very obviously gone. This beautiful and wise and powerful creature, caught by surprise in a suburb right outside the city.

I cried. I cried because I love owls and I cried because it made no sense for it to be right there at that moment, away from a forest, ending up in a place so far from home, so lovely and so gone. I cried because for a few moments I thought it was some crazy omen, one that was telling me that speaking publicly of my very personal story was wrong. (Yes, my mind is generally all over the place.)

But mostly, I think I cried because this scene spoke to me, the way that the addict's life speaks to me...my life and your life. It spoke of loss and beauty and fear and pain. It was a picture of how randomly unfair life can sometimes be and how it all means something, even if we don't always know what that something is. It's there, the meaning, underneath even the sad ending of the snowy owl in the city.

And then I cried harder because my life is so weird, you know. Never would I have thought that I would try to help someone else not drink. Never. I thought I would always drink, wanted to always drink. I wouldn't have been able to dream up this exchange I had with Trish, that I would be standing there hearing that my story helped someone make a phone call that could change their life. Never.

I am just as touchy-feely-cheesy as ever, so I am going to tell you again what an honor it is, how completely humbling it is, to walk this road. A whole lotta people called Hazelden not because of me, but because of a beautiful story that once made absolutely no sense, held very little hope, gripped me lifeless and felt very unfair.

People called that night because the thing is, there is always something underneath it all, and that is redemption.

~~~~~

In case you missed it and would like to see it, you can watch the morning show interview here:
(and yes, I LOVE that my face is frozen in this particular expression)



And lastly, to those of you who have written to me, telling me your truths, thank you. Thank you for letting me know my story made a difference in your life. I want to tell you about some places you might like to look around:

Crying Out Now
Don't Get Drunk Fridays
The Booze-Free Brigade
Hazelden
One Crafty Mother

I wish you peace and I believe you can find it.


25 clicked right here to comment:

Adventures In Babywearing said...

Oh I just have chills all over. I am so proud of you, and I know you didn't do this to your life so that you could be an example but there sure is Someone up there that is taking your story and making it a testimony.

I know we don't ask to be the hero or the inspirational ones, when we're going through the hard times, but being on this side of things now, isn't it amazing? You are amazing. God is good.

Steph

Becca said...

Heather, thank you for sharing all of this. Especially for posting the interview. It is a precious gift of yourself - and I appreciate it daily.

Kim said...

Oh my Heather, my heart friend. You are strong, you are brave, you are amazing. I know you didn't want to be a hero or an example to anyone, but you are. I know that with this, and every word you write, you are changing someone's life, helping someone else to improve, helping someone else to discover their truth.

I love you so much.

Alita said...

"I cried. I cried because I love owls and I cried because it made no sense for it to be right there at that moment, away from a forest, ending up in a place so far from home, so lovely and so gone. I cried because for a few moments I thought it was some crazy omen, one that was telling me that speaking publicly of my very personal story was wrong. (Yes, my mind is generally all over the place.)

But mostly, I think I cried because this scene spoke to me, the way that the addict's life speaks to me...my life and your life. It spoke of loss and beauty and fear and pain. It was a picture of how randomly unfair life can sometimes be and how it all means something, even if we don't always know what that something is. It's there, the meaning, underneath even the sad ending of the snowy owl in the city. "

So I cried while reading this.

...

You are strong and supportive in your story. It moved me. I've had a couple falters along the way to my sobriety and you really helped when I reached out to you. (It will be a month in 6 more days and I work hard every. single. day. not to drink) but I'm selfish. I don't think I could share my story. I don't think I could help others because I'm so busy helping myself.

So yes. You ARE VERY STRONG.

Sabrina said...

Oh Heather, I thought it was so inspiring and beautiful. I was sitting there in the dark, bawling! Not just for you, but for everyone who has a secret inside and needs to find the strength to speak it outloud. I know your segment touched many in many different ways.

Not sure about the owl. How strange is that? Maybe the owl people were bowing down to you for your bravery? IDK?

Oh I just have to point out that it was funny when Alix was talking about being a sloppy drunk. I laughed. It was just a funny moment. She is goofy. All you could do was chuckle. :)

Becky said...

Beautiful! Just like you.
I loved your story and know it helped many. Obviously.

One Crafty Mother said...

Oh, Heather. You would think, wouldn't you, that after all the talking we've done, the sharing of heartache, struggles, joys and triumphs, that I'd be able to watch you TV without crying? Well, you'd think wrong.

I was SO INCREDIBLY moved by you, up there, all brave and beautiful and so YOU. Your story is powerful because your light, humanity and compassion just shine right on through. I watched it over and over, with tears of joy and gratitude just streaming down my face. I love you to pieces.

And, OH, how amazing that Hazeldon's phones were ringing that night. You are a gift. Truly.

-Ellie

Mommy Mo said...

O Heather, with tears streaming down my face, I just want to reach through my computer screen and give you a big hug. I keep thinking back to that lunch we had last August in Minneapolis, where I did ALL the talking (and the boo-hooing) and you shared a few things but I was too busy focusing on myself to even catch on or ask more questions. I love you.

Casey Petersen said...

Isn't it just like God to take a bad situation and turn it into something positive?!! I hope someday God can take my story and make it just as powerful and inspirational as yours...not sure how to do that yet...He's put it on my heart several times (and with increasing frequency) to write out my testimony...and your story gives me a bit more inspiration to do so! Praise the Lord...He is good all the time!

Sarah Viola said...

Heather, I haven't commented much before on your posts about your story. I never knew what to say, or felt like what I did know how to say was too trite. Who am I to say that I'm proud of you? It never felt like enough.

My truth is that it affects me so deeply, so much. My dad's second wife, my first step-mom, was an alcoholic. She tried to stop drinking twice, with inpatient help, and couldn't. She passed away 11 years ago, when she was 44. I haven't told this story before because it's not mine to tell. I don't know really why I'm even sharing this much.

I just want you to know that I *am* proud of you, and I know what a big thing it is that you're doing, living sober and sharing your story for other moms. And their children and husbands.

I love you, dude.

jodilee0123 said...

Wow! So much has happened in the last two years. I think it's cool that I connected with your blog from the beginning. . . I'm sure our paths will cross in person, someday, with all our mutual friends. Then I can say I finally met somebody famous in person! Congrats Heather~ You are working so hard to make things happen! I'm really proud of you!

nosmallthing said...

Awesome. It was so nice to see you and hear your voice and put all of the words I have read in the past with that voice and that face. Well, I've seen your face before, but this time it was moving! :)

What a great interview...good for you girl! You just keep getting stronger, don't you?!

Robin said...

I love your honesty n your writing, and I love the same honesty shown in person. And I love your accent! :)

deb said...

Heather,
It was an honour to watch the video. And I cried . Anguish for it , for all the moments you must have been in anguish .
And also tears to celebrate your courage and strength and triumph.

prayers and blessings always. (and seeing those blog comments flashing up there was so strange. blogging is real. and I have always felt strange for leaving you that comment way back when you were reaching out re my father's suicide from depression. He was an alcoholic, I don't know if I added that. ( and later started abusing prescription drugs ). There are three of us children and none of us have a problem with addiction or depression at all. I wish you peace in this worry.

Christine said...

You are a brave woman. An inspiration in ways I'm sure you don't even imagine. An inspiration to ME, and even though alcohol isn't my struggle, I feel stronger working through what IS my struggle because of you. I've told you this before, how much of what you say here rings true for so many moms, it's real, the only difference is how we choose to cope (or perhaps hide) from those struggles. So thank you, keep writing as you can, and I'll keep reading because I no longer feel alone.
XO

Melissa said...

I love you and your and your touchy-feely-cheesy heart gut and all over the place mind.

(That's about as coherent a sentence as my hormonal mind can make after watching your videos)

Dawn said...

Wow. This has got my head spinning. So much I can relate to. So many feelings being brought to the surface.

I wish I could write like you. You write with beautiful words.

Don Guitar said...

I admire your strength and courage. Your story brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart.

Cameron said...

I just love you, that's all. :) <3

Tooje said...

Reading your story is one thing. Listening to it another. Watching you something else. :) We are pleased that you allowed us to be part of your journey just as you are grateful to be part of everyone else's. And you looked great too, by the way!

Anonymous said...

I am compelled to write to you and to say Thank you for sharing your story. I am the wife of a newly recovering alcoholic. He wanted me to watch your story with him when it aired on Fox 9 last week. I added your blog to my favorites so I can follow your journey. Going through this with my husband, gives me a new look into a world that I previously knew nothing about. I know since I am not an alcoholic, I can not have the same impact that you have on someone to get sober but I feel like I now have a purpose to help the spouses. And the more stories that I can hear, the more I know how much we have in common. I wish you the best in your sobriety. Be strong.

Rachel said...

You are strong. You are brave. You are a gift to so many. Thank you Heather.

Aidan Donnelley Rowley @ Ivy League Insecurities said...

This is nothing short of amazing. Your story, your bravery, that owl. I hope you do stop and allow yourself to realize how many people you are helping.

Anonymous said...

Amazing!

Lee Vandeman said...

Heather. We will talk more but wow. Just wow. You are so beautiful and the piece was done just beautifully.

So proud that I know you dude...

xoxo
Lee

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